Thursday, 24 July 2014

"Nothing else is worth our living for...." Obedience and The Will of God

I am writing this as the American Anglophile in the Guild. With all the bad news in Europe and in the Middle East, I am not sure those in Great Britain have become aware of the huge sea-change in America.

Not only are laws being presented in Congress to curb online news, such as silencing Drudge Report, but a draconian executive order has been responded to by the USCCB regarding serious risks to religious freedoms.

One may read about that here--

Many Catholics are feeling that "time is speeding up" and that some great wave of evil has struck the West in a way unprecedented since WWII. Those who have discernment and reflect can see clearly, as we all should, the increasing bombardment against the Catholic Church in America, as well as the increasing pressures on freedom of speech and freedom of religion for all persons.

The Catholic Church is the only international organization which is counter-cultural. The Catholic Church is the only institution created by Christ while He was on earth, which stands against the evils of all nations full of men and women who hate or ignore the Living, Trinitarian God.

We have to stand up to these growing threats to the independence and freedom of the one, true, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.

This is not a time for petty squabbling, but a time for all Catholics to examine their consciences to see whether they are orthodox. Only those in obedience to the Church can grow in holiness.

I rarely share the same thing on this blog as I do on mine, but here is a post I feel this audience would understand, from England's own Cardinal Manning.

Here it is:
I have been looking at the actual sermons of young Cardinal Manning in his handwriting. His handwriting and mine are so similar, I was taken aback by the comparison.

I am reading "Obedience The Only Reality". It is superb, especially coming from a very young curate.

One of his points is that the great intellectual and reasoning powers we have been given by God to often become separated from the soul, the spiritual part of man. When this happens, Manning clearly states that anxiety, pain, sorrow and "the season of death" face men and women with the abolishing of these gifts they have refused to use.

The only "thing" we actually have in this world is our own spiritual life, which we take into the next world, he writes.

Everything we have done or spoken, states Manning, will either harm or help our spiritual life. He writes, "Of all the encumbrances, goings on of this busy life, of all its deeds and achievements, and possessions, how small a remainder shall be found after that fiery trial has done its work." He is referring to the final judgment, the keen accounting of God of our lives.

Manning asks how shall our works, our thoughts, our imaginations, self-persuasions and other deceits stand up to the sight of God's scrutiny.

The clergyman then goes on to say that the disobedient are condemned already. And, those who take part in the eternal obedience of Christ, the following of the will of God, use the gifts of grace given to them.

Here is another direct quotation: "Nothing else is worth our living for....Obedient or disobedient, we must be real or unreal, unperishable or perishing."

Manning states that the first step in holiness is to see what it is what God's will is for each one of us; then, to abandon everything else.

"What we are is a revelation of His will towards us. Our lot is a reality, the works of our calling are real, as long as they are done as a service to obedience. Within these bounds there is nothing which does not bear upon Eternity....Obedience to the will of God is work of direct and simple consciousness. It is to be wrought in us by its own self-confirming power. It is by doing the will of God, by recognizing it in all the changes of life; by reading it in the course of this troubled world; the Expression of the Divine Mind; by bowing ourselves down before it, it whatsoever guise it might reveal itself; by yielding ourselves in gladness of mind both to do and to suffer it, counting it a holy discipline, and a loving correction of our own willfulness, and by praying Him ever to stay His hand, till the mind of self be abolished from our regenerate being;--by this means it is that we are changed from a shadow of a fleeting life to the abiding realities of the Eternal world, being made partakers of the will of God."

Would that we heard sermons like this today! If you want to read more of this thrilling sermon, go here.

Catholic Identity Conference 2014

Catholic Identity Conference 2014 will take place in Weirton, West Virginia, 12-14 September 2014, beginning with a Solemn High Mass on Friday, 12 September, Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary, and concluding with a High Mass on Sunday, 14 September, Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

This year's speakers include:
For additional information and to register, see here.

Knights of Columbus Latin Mass

Monday, 21 July 2014

Some On ISIS Marking Christians for Extermination and Expropriation in Iraq

As jihadist Sunni Islamist terrorists from ISIS/ISIL strive to create a sharia inspired Caliphate as they take over territory in Iraq and Syria, they are slaughtering innocent Christians.  

However, even sharia law allows for dhimmitude, second class citizen status for "people of the book" (i.e. Jews and Christians) so long as they pay the jizya tax.  But that is not good enough for ISIS jihadists.  They have taken to mark the buildings of Christian institutions with spray-painted red marks indicating holdouts to exterminate and expropriate.

Spraypainted ISIS Extermination Graffiti on Christian buildings in Mosel, Iraq
"Nun" 14th letter in Arabic alphabet
 The symbol is "Nun", the 14th letter in the Arabic alphabet.  It is the first letter in the name "Nazara" (or Nazarenes) the way in which Muslims have referred to Christians since the 7th Century. This is intended as a badge of shame for what is perceived as a contemptible and disobedient sect. 

SEE MORE at DC-LausDeo.US 

Cardinal Burke to Ordain Priests in the Traditional Roman Rite in St. Louis, 5 August 2014

Priestly Ordinations for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest

Tuesday, 5 August 2014
Feast of Our Lady of the Snows

St. Francis de Sales Oratory
2653 Ohio Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri

The Sacrament of Holy Orders will be conferred by His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, during a solemn Pontifical Mass.

See here for details.

Knights of Columbus Latin Mass

We cannot escape ourselves...…without each other and God

The difference between some bloggers and others is that some of us are born and bred journalists. We know that blogging days are numbered and we want to get in as much of the Truth on line before we are stopped by powers that be.

Singapore now demands that bloggers get and pay for a license. Nancy Pelosi stated months ago that bloggers were not real journalists and, therefore, most likely, did not received the respect or the rights of "real journalists."

But, we are real and we do have freedom and rights as of now.

But, there is another killer of blogs and that is ennui. Ennui can be caused by discouragement, or cynicism, or just plain being physically exhausted. Some bloggers have "turned in the towel" in order to pray more, be more silent in their days, or just concentrate on other things.

Some of us pray and meditate better, as Newman said of his pen, with a laptop on our laps.

To meditate or even pray better when writing is a sign of a vocation. One can be called to write and one can love the tools of writing.

When I was a child, in pre-computer days, I literally loved my crayons, markers, pencils, pens, pencil and pen cases, paper of all kinds and so on. A sign of a vocation is the love of certain tools.

The builder loves and respects his tools, so does the teacher, or the surgeon. Priests love their altar ware and vestments, if they are good priests.

Remember the Star Trek Bones bragging about his tools and degrading 20th century methods in the hilarious Star Trek IV?

But, when ennui sets in, one gets writer's block, a real deal, not a myth. Writer's block comes when one, like Psyche facing her chores in order to win back Cupid's love, sees a mountain of work, or data, and one feels overwhelmed with life, the universe, and everything.

I had writer's block for about two months in the middle of my doctoral thesis at Bristol. It was a terrible experience. I was just getting out of it when my advisor fell so ill, he could not continue working with me.

Blocks can be emotional, physical, even spiritual. The physical blocks can be overcome with more sleep and good food. The emotional can be overcome with reason, and the spiritual with prayer and sometimes, fasting.

Accidie was the common sin of the monastics, a sort of sloth brought on by the monotony of life in a monastery.  Accidie is defined as  "a state of restlessness and inability either to work or to pray" in the OED.

Aquinas and others call it "sorrow of the world". It is a serious condition, which like the ennui described by the Existentialists as a listlessness, a tiredness of everything, a world-weariness, can lead to the deadly sin of sloth.

There is only on cure for this and that is the remembrance of the duty given to us in baptism as well as the call to be part of the Church Militant given to us at confirmation.

We do not have the luxury for ennui or accidie. We do not have the time for slack.

I pray for all bloggers who have worked so hard for years and may be discouraged.

Here is a thought for you and for me: we are all in this together and we need to pray for each other.

Ephesians 6:18Douay-Rheims 

18 By all prayer and supplication praying at all times in the spirit; and in the same watching with all instance and supplication for all the saints:

Thursday, 17 July 2014

False Sacrifice vs. Real Sacrifice

I was speaking with a person today who is one of my muses. Now, writers sometimes have one muse, like Petrarca with his Laura, or Dante with his Beatrice. But, I have many muses, people who inspire me to think,  act and even write in a certain way through inspiration.

This muse lives about 3,500 miles from me, and so we do not talk very often. But, whenever I do have a conversation, this person inspires me to write.

Today, I am inspired to write about false and real sacrifices. Sometimes, people sacrifice their entire lives for a cause, or even for a person who is not worthy of that sacrifice. I think of the novel, The Remains of the Day, (and if someone would like to send it to me, I would love to read it). I only know this story from someone telling me about it, but my muse conversation today reminded me of the butler who spent his entire life wasting loyalties on someone who simply was not worth the trouble. But, the main character, Stevens, also passed up his one chance for a loving relationship.

The point is that his sacrifice was not worth the source of his decision--an unworthy employer.

My muse was pointing out to me that the British many times do not make a huge false sacrifice, like Stevens, the butler, but small, gratuitous and even symbolic gestures which may or may not redeem the person. For example, a CEO of a company, totally unhappy with his role, and wanting to avoid the evils of immoral business practices into which he has fallen, may choose to give to charity to assuage his conscience, as he is not capable of leaving his job. This is a sad compromise which lacks redemption.

Another person may "leave the manse", such as William Faulkner's character who decides that the evil in his family's past means that he must do reparation for the family.

Some people leave the family and choose a sacrificial lifestyle in order to make reparation for past sins.

Others may do token things, which they feel will bring merit upon them and their families. This could take the form of living an ascetical life in the world, or extra prayers, or others forms of sacrifice.

Some people never find themselves in an effort to break away from evil in the family tree, afraid to be what they are and redeem the time, redeem the family through the gifts and opportunities given.

The lost generation of teens and young people after the chaos of liturgical destruction following Vatican II has seen many people who were, and perhaps still are, confused about where they fit in the Church.

There is only one Real Sacrifice and that is Christ, the God-Man's sacrifice on the Cross. If He allows us to pick up a cross and follow Him, it has to be one He ordains and not one we choose.

Too often, people tell God how they are to become saints, and ignore the urgings of Divine Providence in their daily decisions or actions.

Only the sacrifices asked by God are the ones which bring merit. One can waste an entire life missing out on love and spiritual growth by insisting that God acts in one way, when He is calling a person to be open to His plan.

For all eternity, Divine Providence has determined a perfect way for each of us to live and to love.

Are we open to that way?

Do we predetermine our own way to holiness, or worse, ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit?

Let us not meet God on the day of our particular judgment and see that we wasted opportunities for love and holiness because of our own preconceived ideas of sacrifice and redemption.

There is only one true Sacrifice to which we can join ourselves daily in the Eucharist, and that is the Sacrifice of Our Lord.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

CNA/EWTN News reported yesterday: “During a recent event discussing the origin and implementation of European hate-speech laws, lawyers argued that the “ill-conceived” laws pose a danger to free speech and often stifle constructive dialogue.”

I have been giving this self-same topic some considerable thought of late, thoughts I thought I might share.

Hate Speech Proponents Hate Free Speech
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” (Evelyn Beatrice Hall, 1906, in Friends of Voltaire.)

“Over my dead body!” (David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Alex Salmond jointly, severally and together with leaders of all developed countries as they held hands with “Gay Rights”.)

But when all people are allowed to express their views and ideas, the principles of democracy and liberty are enhanced. This extends even to that speech which is most hateful and offensive.” (Oliver Wendall Holmes, Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America.)

When debating or discussing Free Speech, invariably the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America is cited. There being no obvious reason to depart from this rhetorical tradition, it reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

(For those unfamiliar with American politics and government, the Congress is the Senate and the House of Representatives together forming the Legislature; and this is akin to the House of Commons and the House of Lords acting together as our Legislature.)

One of the great defenders of Free Speech in the USA in the 20th century was HL Mencken, the “Bad Boy of Baltimore”. One of the guiding principles I like to think I live by is Mencken’s dictum: “To every complex problem there is a solution which is simple, neat and wrong!” So I was pleasantly surprised when I recently came across an example of a slightly altered form of this sage advice employed in a High Holy Day Message of the distinguished Jewish Theological Seminary of America which appeared as an advert in the September 23, 1982, issue of The New York Times. It read:


Two men are crossing a desert. They are three days from the nearest water hole. One of the men is carrying a canteen. The canteen holds three days’ supply of water — for one man. Should they divide it? Then both will die. Then what is the obligation of the owner of the canteen? One opinion says: a man must not stand by and watch his fellow man die. He should share the water with his companion. Another says: preservation of one’s own life takes precedence. The owner of the water must drink it and live.

Not so simple, is it? If you don’t see a simple, obvious solution, you’re in good company, because the discussion is nearly 1900 years old. It is recorded in the Talmud, and here is the interesting thing: both opinions are presented in the Talmud, the prevailing and the dissent.

Why both? Because Judaism recognizes life’s dilemmas and the difficulty of knowing how to handle them. The truth is, for most significant issues there is NO simple solution. Euthanasia? Abortion? Freedom of expression? Pornography? Skokie? In most cases, it just isn’t clear what God wants us to do.

When I read this, my first reaction was that I disagreed with these learned Jewish scholars: I think that more often than not it IS perfectly clear what God wants us to do. However, more or less simultaneously a question also sprung to mind: who, what or where is Skokie? And, why should it matter to these good men? The answer to the former, I found out, is that Skokie is a small suburb of Chicago, Illinois, which came to both national and international notice because, and this is the answer to the latter, of a highly unusual and seriously controversial case brought before the Supreme Court of the United States of America in the late 1970s.

I had recourse, of course, to the internet where I first read a review of a book, “When the Nazis Came to Skokie: Freedom for Speech We Hate”, by Philippa Strum (Landmark Law Cases and American Society: Series Editors Peter Charles Hoffer and N. E. H. Hull; University Press of Kansas). The review outlined the background:

In the Chicago suburb of Skokie, one out of every six Jewish citizens in the late 1970s was a survivor — or was directly related to a survivor — of the Holocaust. These victims of terror had resettled in America expecting to lead peaceful lives free from persecution. But their safe haven was shattered when a neo-Nazi group announced its intention to parade there in 1977. Philippa Strum’s dramatic retelling of the events in Skokie (and in the courts) shows why the case ignited such enormous controversy and challenged our understanding of and commitment to First Amendment values.

It should be noted that the neo-Nazi group in question had intended to hold their parade on April 20, Hitler’s birthday.

Clearly, differing legal rights were engaged here. On the one hand, the desire of the National Socialist Party of America, under its then leader Frank Collin, to parade through the streets of any community, anywhere in the United States, was supported by their First Amendment rights. On the other hand, the people of the town had every right to live in peace, free from any assault on their sensibilities — there was a village ordinance prohibiting the display of Nazi uniforms and the distribution of material deemed offensive — and free from violence, or the threat of violence, on their streets, and to their persons. (A couple of years later, it transpired that Frank Collin had been born Francis Joseph Cohen, the son of Max Simon Cohen, a survivor of Dachau Concentration Camp. Arrested for serious sexual offences against several children, a psychiatric report concluded that he was “consumed with hatred for his father”. This, it seems, was supposed to explain his name change, political activity and his sexual abuse of the children.)

Nobody could doubt that the good people of Skokie had every reason to apprehend that, in what would inevitably be a volatile climate, either the neo-Nazi marchers, or the counter-demonstrators — Sol Goldstein, a Holocaust survivor and local community leader, on hearing of the proposed parade had immediately announced his plans for a counter-demonstration — or both, would resort to violence. And so Albert Smith, Mayor of Skokie, a devout Catholic and graduate of Notre Dame University, sought and obtained an injunction prohibiting the parade.

Incredibly, the American Civil Liberties Union then took up the case in behalf of the Nazis and for their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly. Their case was fought by attorney David Goldberger: a Jew defended before the Supreme Court the rights of neo-Nazis against the rights of fellow Jews. And won! No wonder this mattered to the faculty of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

One can hardly say ironically, but the ACLU both won AND lost — 30,000 of its members left the organization as a direct consequence of their taking up the neo-Nazis’ case. Doubtless, the ACLU decision-makers later rued the fact that subsequently the march never did in fact take place, but that is another story. The main story here is that in her book the point that Philippa Strum makes, and forcefully makes, is that freedom of speech MUST be defended — even when the beneficiaries of that defence are far from admirable individuals!

So what if those who some would silence are not far from admirable individuals, but are, on the contrary, perfectly ordinary, sane and sensible people? People just like you and me, for instance, the normally silent majority? Surely, no-one would ever dream of denying us our rights to Free Speech?

After all did not Oliver Wendall Holmes, a great Justice of the American Supreme Court (if we set aside Buck-v-Bell), not once say: “The First Amendment protects free thought, not free thought for those who agree with us, but freedom for the thought we hate. If the past two centuries of struggle to preserve freedom of expression have taught us anything, it is that the first target of government suppression is never the last. Whenever government gains the power to decide who can speak and what they can say, the First Amendment rights of all of us are in danger of violation. But when all people are allowed to express their views and ideas, the principles of democracy and liberty are enhanced. This extends even to that speech which is most hateful and offensive.”

But, of course, this is not the USA and their Supreme Court’s writ does not run here. However, the legal and moral issues are just the same and the legal frameworks in which they must be dealt with are strictly analogous. In Rome, on November 4, 1950, the High Contracting Parties, the Governments of those countries who were then full members of the European Council, signed the European Convention on Human Rights. Section 1, Article 10 states:

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

(2) The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or the rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

But both in the USA and in the UK, Free Speech is no longer respected as a Civil Right IF you happen to disagree with a tiny fraction of one of the smallest minorities in either land: the professional proselytes, many, if not most, at least in the UK, paid through the public purse in one way or another, within the less than 1½% of the population who are homosexuals of one sort or another (which statistic seemingly holds good more or less else- and every-where in the developed world).

This miniscule minority has decided that mainstream Christians and their beliefs about marriage, the family and society, and, their Bible and patristic writings, and, their, ethics, morals, philosophy, theology, tradition and history (which history in Europe is consubstantial with the history of Europe), all are “most hateful and offensive” to them and, therefore, to each and every other homosexual, of whatever sort, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding for the good and simple reason that evidence to the contrary is neither admitted nor allowed. Indeed, evidence, any evidence, in the matter from within the homosexual community has never been sought by them. So in that respect at least the overwhelming majority of the homosexual community are most definitely just like the overwhelming majority that is the rest of us.

And for this miniscule minority, there can be no question of respecting the civil right to Freedom of Speech for we Christians, we perfectly ordinary, sane and sensible people. Nor for those, including many homosexuals, who though not sharing our religious perspective and background nevertheless concur with our views on marriage, the family and society. And they are getting their way. And, just like Oliver, they want more. But unlike Oliver, they are likely to get it. But how can this be so?

These homosexual proselytes, thinly disguised as “equal rights activists”, and their fellow travellers, mainly of the political left but naturally including both trendy liberals and libertine Tories, have assiduously applied the principle enunciated by Friedrich Nietzsche: “I am afraid we are not rid of God because we still have faith in grammar.” They have totally subverted the honest use of language, aided and abetted by those three greatest users, and abusers, of language: the print and broadcast media (aka MSM); the politicians, and; the judiciary.

In his letter to Pinocchio, the then Cardinal Patriarch of Venice Albino Luciani, later Pope John Paul I, quoted an anecdote from “Pitigrilli” (Dino Segre, 1893-1975) the noted Italian aphorist (whose novel Cocaine was placed on the Index) in which he recounted that a preacher was addressing the crowd gathered at Hyde Park Corner in London when he was heckled by a dirty and dishevelled individual who shouted out: “The Church has existed for two thousand years and the world is still full of thieves, adulterers and murderers.”

“You are right,” replied the preacher “but for two million centuries water has existed in the world and your neck has still not been washed.”

Among Pitigrilli’s well-known sayings is this: “Grammar: a complicated structure that teaches language but impedes speaking.”

Time for us all to speak out. Unimpeded.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Thoughts on A Thursday from A Guild Member

Years ago, the woman who stood up in my wedding as matron of honor told me to “transcend difficulties”. I had to do this, as circumstances forced me to do so.  This great lady was almost my mother’s age, but a good friend of mine. She had been raised in India, in the Raj. Her father died early. Then, she and her mother came back to London to live. She had to leave her mom and live on a farm, as she was young enough to be sent out of harm’s way during the Blitz of London. Later, she married a wonderful man, but only had two children.

She and her husband took care of her mother until that old woman died. Her mother never learned to cook, or sew, or clean, as when she grew up, she had seventeen servants and lived in the luxury of the English in India. My friend had to pay for all her mother’s many needs.  As a person with many hardships to bear, my friend knew how to “transcend” trials. She was “self-possessed”; that is, she had control over her emotions, mind, soul. She was a peaceful woman. Another friend of mine is the same way. She is in her nineties and had an extremely hard life, living with a husband who was ill all their married life. She, too, was and is, “self-possessed”, able to transcend all types of difficulties.

This type of transcendence and self-control only comes with humility and prayer. There is a reality about people who live transcendently. Garrigou-Lagrange writes that we must become closer to God daily in simplicity of heart, “…without which there can be no contemplation of God and no true love.”

What does he mean by this? The death of the ego is the beginning of this emptying of the heart. Egotism must go, must, as I have written many times on this blog.

If we are “too full of ourselves”, there is no room for God. We must not desire attention, or fame, or status, or riches. We must find contentment in what is given to us. We must transcend the trials put on our paths. We need to meditate, and then, to contemplate.

Contemplation is not meditation, again, as I have noted on this blog. Contemplation, whether active, or passive, demands focusing on God Himself, and not on ourselves.

Do we think of ourselves and our problem before Christ in Adoration, or do we immerse ourselves in Him? Do we come with the proverbial laundry list of prayers, or do we just, like Mary of Bethany, sit in His Presence?

Purity of heart, mind, and soul comes with a combination of prayer and sheer gift. Some great saints have these gifts early. Most of us must walk the road of travail and suffering to get to such purity.  We must choose mortification, however, as the given trials may not be enough.

We may not become great saints, few of us will be Padre Pios or Mother Teresas. However, all of us are called to be saints and that means we are all called to purification and perfection.

It is rather ironic that I always  think and sometimes write that “this is my last post on perfection” but I can now see that as I learn and grow, taking the long road through suffering and dying to self.  May God be patient with me. Let me return to Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

My favorite photo of Mother Teresa is not one of her with her beloved dying, or with St. John Paul II, but one of her alone in prayer. Like all saints, like Christ, she needed to be alone with God. Sister Agnes, her helper, said once,“Every day we have Mass, half an hour of meditation, morning prayer, afternoon prayer, and in the evening we have a full hour of Adoration. It would not be possible to work otherwise. There must be a spiritual motive. You can work only for God. You can never work for any man.”

Mother Teresa said, “That is why we begin and end the day with prayer, because, when we pray, we are touching the body of Christ.  You people in the world might not have the time or leisure to pray. It is a beautiful gift of God for us to have that amount of time.”

We must make time. We must.

Mother Teresa also said, “I am not afraid to say I am in love with Jesus because He is everything to me.”

For all Catholics, our work should be for Jesus, and He can be All in All.

Here is the voice of a simple heart. Mother Teresa states that chastity is “undivided love”, that poverty is “freedom”, that total surrender is “obedience”.

“If I belong to God, if I belong to Christ, then He must be able to use me. That is obedience. ….If you really belong to the work that has been entrusted to you, then you must do it with your whole heart.  And you can bring salvation only by being honest and by really working with God. It is not how much we are doing, but how much love, how much honesty, how much faith, is put into doing it. It makes no difference what we are doing. What you are doing, I cannot do, and what I am doing, you cannot do. But all of us are doing what God have given us to do. ….”

And, I love Mother Teresa for saying this-as I have experienced the disrespect which comes to the poor, even from priests, sadly.

“The poor are not respected. People do not think that the poor can be treated as people who are lovable, as people like you and I. You know, the young are beginning to understand. They want to serve with their hands. And to love with their hearts. To the full, not superficially.”

I believe this as I believe that in the remnant will be many young people who have sought and found love.

And, Mother Teresa’s comment about doing the work God has called us to do is also a call to humility. Sometimes people want desperately to do something big for God. But, sometimes, we are called to do something small for God.

I blog. I pray. I do dishes, clean, do laundry, make coffee, take walks. Nothing grand in all of this… but more than that, I love. I am learning daily to live in love, to choose love, to walk, clean, make coffee in love. I blog in love, as that is what God wants me to do right now.

There is nothing to do but to love.

Some of us learn this by loving and being loved by another. Some of us learn this directly from Jesus, the Bridegroom. Either way, love hurts.

“True love hurts. It always has to hurt. It must be painful to love someone, painful to leave them, you might have to die for them. ….A young American couple told me once, ‘You know a lot about love; you must be married.’ And I said, Yes, but sometimes I find it difficult to smile at Him.”

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The Party Spirit

The "party spirit" has nothing to do with balloons or cake.

Few Catholics understand what the “party spirit” is and how it comes about. Factions have been within the Church since day one. St. Paul refers to such in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17,  in Roman 12: 9-21 and Romans 14: 1-12.

St. Paul tells us that the party spirit is a spirit, or demon, of division. Divisiveness is never from God within the Church. Divisiveness is not the same as criticism, which should include positive solutions to problems.

For example, one may criticize a catechetical program in a church, but not offer to find alternatives which may be better or teach. Those who judge and criticize merely to stir up trouble build the doorway for the party spirit.

Divisiveness usually means three things. Firstly, that a lack of charity and forbearance has crept into a parish or a group. This lack of charity comes from concentrating on people’s sins and failings, rather than encouraging their good points.

Secondly, egotism, which rears its hydra head, creates division. Egotism must be heard, seen and is in everybody’s face. Egotism is not humble ever and defends itself constantly.

Thirdly, the seeking for power creates a party spirit. To the extreme, this seeking of power creates entirely new churches, such as the four churches found in the 1960s on one corner in my home town, all split-offs from the other. Division caused confusion, anger, even hatred.

In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, St. Paul tells us where the party spirit comes from.

“But understand this, that in the last days, there will come times of stress. For men will be lovers of self, love of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, loves of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people.”

The last phrase must include the discernment to know when to avoid and when to correct.
Avoiding means not being friends with those who are untrustworthy of the Gospel of the Lord. Avoiding means that if one does not avoid slanderers or the abusive or the arrogant, on becomes like them and loses the gifts of discernment, temperance, and prudence.

We do not have to win every battle and even fight every battle in the Church. Some battles require great holiness and purity of heart. Some require patience and intense prayer and fasting.

How does one avoid strife in groups? St. Paul has the answer, “Put on then, God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness and patience, forbearing one another, and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving one another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all of these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”Colossians 3:12-15

One must find peace within one’s self in order to spread peace and only those who have found peace, through meekness to God can truly stay away from unnecessary conflicts.

Grieving the Holy Spirit, another one of Paul’s inspirations, comes about when people engage and encourage, wrath, anger, bitterness, clamor, and slander. See Ephesians 4: 25-32 on these points.

If one reads all the epistles, one finds the theme of communal harmony is almost in each one. If St. Paul had to address divisiveness over and over, one can see that it can be a persistent problem.

I cannot refer to all the passages on this theme, but list a few ways to avoid divisiveness in the Church, in our parishes, in our communities, in our families, and so on.

One, look to one’s own sins in humility and truth. If one sees the horribleness of one’s own weaknesses and failings, one cannot judge nor cause dissension by pointing to another’s faults.

Two, think on Christ and not on one’s self. If one is truly in love with Christ, the Bridegroom, one supernaturally wants to love His brothers and sisters and find creative ways to show this love.

Three, forgiveness covers a multitude of sins and failings. To forgive is to forget, which some priests do not teach. I would hope people in my life forgive and forget instead of constantly saying a litany of my faults to me. This concentration on negativity rises from unforgiveness and even hatred. The negative litany destroys community.

Four, egotism must go. The rule of the saints and the great teachers on purity of heart, mind and soul tell us that the ego stands between us and God, between us and His Perfect Will in our lives, between us and the community, between us and eternity. If the ego is not destroyed, we shall not see God after our particular judgment as we have chosen our self-will over Him.

Lastly, egotism and narcissism constantly fall back on talking about one’s self and one’s grievances. As we say here in Iowa, “Get over it, he (or she) is not that into you.” I have discovered that really most people are truly not interested in me, but only in themselves. This should be a freeing experience of grace, enabling one to concentrate on God and not one’s self.

St. Paul wraps up this discussion so poignantly: “I hear that there are divisions among you ; and I partly believe it, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.”

The genuine are not those who cause the factions, but the Truth of the Gospel itself causes factions-however, we can teach, preach, instruct, but never judge. “For if we judge ourselves truly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened, so that we may not be condemned along with the world.”

The genuine are those who allow God to purify them and those who cling to the orthodoxy of the Church in all things.

Let us allow God to chasten us first before we have the audacity to chasten others.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Evangelium Conference 2014

Evangelium 2014 will again be taking place this year in Reading. It will be a wonderful occasion for those who seek to use the internet to evangelise to deepen their knowledge of the Catholic Faith and to meet with others who are committed to evangelisation.

Registration is open for the seventh Evangelium weekend residential conference on the theme of explaining the Catholic faith in the modern world, 1 – 3 August 2014.

Are you interested in the Catholic faith, but lack the time or opportunities to learn? Do you wonder why the faith exists or how to flourish as a Catholic? Do you face challenges in living, sharing or defending the faith in secular society? Do you lack friendly support? Are you uncertain what you should be seeking in life, or what God is asking of you for your life? The Evangelium conference provides an opportunity to meet these challenges and to help participants, especially young Catholics age 18 – 35, to live a more abundant Catholic life. Over a single afternoon and weekend, the conference provides:

  • dynamic talks by excellent speakers
  • mix with other young people who share your faith
  • discuss and talk informally with our speakers
  • daily Mass and eucharistic adoration
  • opportunities for confession
  • relax in the beautiful grounds
  • opportunities for sport and evening entertainment

A new feature of the conference from summer 2014 will be the ability to build a personalised short course of four sessions, with a summaries and references provided for ongoing reading, selected from one of the fourfold areas of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: CREED, SACRAMENTS, MORALS, and PRAYER. Annual conferences that present a variety of talks within these themes will enable regular participants to build up a body of knowledge year by year.

Guest speakers for Evangelium 2014 will include:

  • Rt. Rev Philip Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth
  • Joanna Bogle – Broadcaster and Writer
  • Lynette Burrows – Journalist, Social Commentator and Family Rights Activist
  • Mary Killeen – Director of Marriage and Family studies at Maryvale Institute
  • Fr Marcus Holden – Maryvale Tutor, Custodian of the National Shrine of St Augustine, Ramsgate
  • Dr William Newton – International Theology Institute
  • Fr Armand de Malleray – Chaplain of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter
  • Fr Andrew Pinsent – Theology Faculty of Oxford and former CERN physicist

Visit the website to book your place on the Conference.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

From The Internal Mission of the Holy Ghost

Cardinal Manning cuts to the quick concerning why so many people who are baptized and confirmed, have the gifts of wisdom and counsel, as well as discernment, and still go astray, into foolishness.

Here is his answer. I use his words which are found in the long perfection tradition in the Church, similar to those of other saints, reiterated by me, concerning the loss of discernment. Let the holy and expert Cardinal answer: “This gift of counsel lies dormant in them; it is oppressed, kept down by their own mental and moral faults. They have made their ear dull of hearing and their eye dark so that they cannot discernThe first great antagonist of this spirit of counsel is the wisdom of the world.  And the wisdom of the world is the fashion and opinion of men possessed with the spirit which is of the world and not of God. The maxims, the traditions, the habits of thought, and the habits of life which spring from flesh and blood…these things stifle the voice of counsel.”

Too many Catholics do not want to admit that the thinking of the world perverts their own minds and therefore, their consciences.

Manning states the problem better than I do. “The love of pre-eminence; the inordinate desire of their own proper excellence; a ser-conscious straining to be spiritual guides of other men, to correct their faults, to criticize their actions and their states before God, and to go about setting others right—these are some of the least perceived and subtilest workings of pride….The greatest intellects are sometimes found in the smallest moral characters. The want of counsel makes them to be strange mixtures of greatness and littleness.”

I have struggled on this blog and my own blog to know what and when to state some things critical of others or even of groups. One must look carefully at one’s self to look at motives and leanings, the lack of purity and the need for healing. I have chosen to back off from criticizing the clergy, for example, believing that I cannot judge publicly and that it is better if I pray for those I think have gone astray and are no longer good pastors.

The other great sin of those who have received baptismal and confirmed gifts is that of presumption. Manning notes this, “This presumption, the root of which is in all of us, will, if indulged, destroy and utterly extinguish the gift of counsel.”

I have seen this happen among good people who are working in the Church. I have seen this in fellow bloggers, as well as in myself. One must be willing to let God deal with us, take us through purgation.

Presumption can lead to becoming rash and not praying to God for guidance.

It can lead to impetuosity, which is of the flesh, not the Spirit, states Manning. “They invert the divine order; and having set out in the way of their own choosing, they come to crosses and sorrows.  Then, they begin to ask for counsel, and perhaps they ask it of God; but they ask it too late. They are already so committed that they cannot go back. At last they so persuade themselves, that they will not follow good advice even if it were given.”

This is why we need to find good spiritual directors, which is so hard at this time.  We cannot fall into a pattern of trying to force our will upon the Will of God. How silly it is to think that we can make God’s will give way.

Manning quotes the great St. Augustine: “Thou, O Lord, givest counsel to all that ask. If they ask of Thee divers things, Thou always answerest he same; Thou answerest clearly enough, but they will not hear Thee, for they ask the things they desire, and they wish to make Thy will bend to theirs. Thou answerest that which is Thy will, and they hear what they will not; and therefore they do it not. He is the best servant who does not desire that God should say the things that he wills, but who desires himself to will the things that God says.”

This is the reason for the Dark Night. The purgation of self-will and “self-counsel” that is the “pride of his own will, and the pride of his own judgment” must happen.

Submitting to the Will of God really means giving in. Manning states, “When you kneel at the holy Mass, put your heart upon the paten and let it be offered up. God will counsel you. If you do His will, even though it cross your own, then you have the surest sign that you are not following your own choice.”

This purgation of the will leads, finally, to purity of heart.  That is the reason for such purgation. One has to stop playing God and let God be God in one’s life. 

Manning advises us, “Desire, then, to please God above all things, and all things shall be added unto you. If you cannot do all you desire, at least desire great things for His sake.”

This is what it means to become like a little child. Children who have good parents implicitly trust those parents in love.“Freely choose His service; for it is your freedom, and its own exceeding great reward,” which are the Cardinal’s last words on this subject.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Report: 2014 Blue Mass

On the Sunday after Ascension, 1 June 2014, the Knights of Columbus Woodlawn Council 2161 Traditional Latin Mass Guild hosted a Blue Mass at St. Titus Church in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, to honor members of the Aliquippa Police and Fire Departments, and the Beaver County Sheriff's Office, and to invoke God's blessing and protection upon them.

Additional photos and a brief report can be found here.

Knights of Columbus Latin Mass.