Wednesday, 21 January 2015

"But we preach Christ crucified"

I write this to bloggers.

Do not be divided. We know who is behind all divisions.

We know who likes chaos, anarchy, tyranny.

We know who breaks up families and prevents families from being together,including my own.

This entity who causes divisions has a name.

St. Paul had to deal with this divisive spirit over and over.

I only know of one way to avoid divisions among the faithful and that is humility. If we are not humble and lowly with each other in the Church, we can cause unnecessary divisions.

Some divisions are necessary, like those between unbelievers and believers. Christ warned us and told us that He Himself brought about such divisions.

But, divisions among the faithful can be mended, and must be. Let us remember who we really are. Self-knowledge prevents pride.

Here is the Apostle of the Gentiles speaking on this point.

Here is the beginning of one of his epistles.

1 Corinthians 1 Douay-Rheims 

Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes a brother,
To the church of God that is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that invoke the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, in every place of theirs and ours.
Grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
I give thanks to my God always for you, for the grace of God that is given you in Christ Jesus,
That in all things you are made rich in him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
As the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you,
So that nothing is wanting to you in any grace, waiting for the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Who also will confirm you unto the end without crime, in the day of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful: by whom you are called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among you; but that you be perfect in the same mind, and in the same judgment.
11 For it hath been signified unto me, my brethren, of you, by them that are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith: I indeed am of Paul; and I am of Apollo; and I am of Cephas; and I of Christ.
13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul then crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
14 I give God thanks, that I baptized none of you but Crispus and Caius;
15 Lest any should say that you were baptized in my name.
16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanus; besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not in wisdom of speech, lest the cross of Christ should be made void.
18 For the word of the cross, to them indeed that perish, is foolishness; but to them that are saved, that is, to us, it is the power of God.
19 For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent I will reject.
20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world, by wisdom, knew not God, it pleased God, by the foolishness of our preaching, to save them that believe.
22 For both the Jews require signs, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness:
24 But unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For see your vocation, brethren, that there are not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble:
27 But the foolish things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the wise; and the weak things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the strong.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Blessed Titus Watch

In Dublin, an interesting mini-shrine of Blessed Titus Brandsma stands on the left side of the church of Whitefriars.

Yesterday, I prayed to him for some of my specific needs. As some of you know, he was in Dublin for a while and the church there has letters from when Bl. Titus was in America.

This blessed, as patron of this blog, needs to inspire all of us at this time of changes. The changes in the political scene and in the atmosphere surrounding Church news create insecurity. However, as St. Teresa pointed out in her time, meditation and contemplative prayer become more important in times of trial than in times of peace.

To find that center of peace which only God can give must be developed by each one of us in order for us to withstand the temptations of cynicism and despair.

Praying before a saint who encountered one of the worst tyrannies in modern history, I realized that I had to have the type of moral and spiritual fiber of a Blessed Titus.

We all have different walks to God. Each call is unique. However, in this time of upheaval, and, in my humble opinion, we are witnessing a crossroad in European history, all of us must develop the type of serenity and focus so clearly witnessed in the life and death of Blessed Titus Brandsma.

There is no more slush time, no more leisure time to waste.

Pray to Blessed Titus Brandsma now for extra graces. Now.

Another posting...

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Going to Mary, The Mater Dolorosa

Those in Europe are entering into a new time of trial. Forces which hate old Christendom and monarchies based on Catholicism, which hate the spiritual power of the Catholic Church, have become obvious in the past month.

We cannot ignore the boundaries which are being set up by those who do not value what we do-free speech, freedom of artistic expression, poetry, beauty, art, music and so on.

Hell must be drab compared with the constant joy and praise which is heaven. To be a Catholic means that we partake in heaven a bit on earth, such as in the Holy Mass, or when praying the Divine Liturgy.

In my humble opinion, Catholics must face what it means to have a Catholic identity in these times and happily embrace that identity.

The first way to preserve Catholic identity is to stay close to Holy Mother Church in doctrine, dogma, sacramental life, the worship of Christ in the Eucharist, which would be central to the Faith.

The second way is to go to Mary, the Theotokos, a Woman who had to face hostility towards Her Son, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity and finally go herself into exile to Ephesus with her "adopted son" St. John.

There is no suffering the Mater Dolorosa has not experience in and through Her Son. The Seven Dolors are known to most of us: The Prophecy of Simeon, in Luke; the Flight into Egypt in Matthew; the Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple, in Luke; the meeting of Mary with Christ on the way to Calvary; the Death of Jesus Christ, in John; the Piercing of the Side and the Holding of Christ at the Foot of the Cross, the Pieta in Matthew; and the Burial of Christ in John.

In this moment of history, let us go to Mary, ponder the sorrows she endured, think about the way of suffering which can purify us all if we cooperate with grace, and stop pretending that things will go on as they always have gone on.

The days of Christendom and, perhaps, even secular humanism, are fast disappearing.

More than ever, we should go to Mary. Mary is the Mother of Europe, the Mother of the Church. She will not abandon us or ignore our prayers.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Go To Confession

I am in France and the events of the last three days have impressed upon all of us the uncertainty, insecurity and brevity of life.

Let me share one or two thoughts from this horrible set of events which have gripped the nation here.

One should be prepared for death at all times. One may be shopping, or visiting friends in an office, or at work and such violent people who hate the West could interfere with one's life and happiness.

A person may be walking down the street, or going to church and find one's self in the presence of danger.

We live in dangerous times. We live in times prophesied by such great minds as G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc.

We live in times when those who hate Christ, the Church and the Western civilization will try and destroy us.

Be prepared. Stay in sanctifying grace. If you are not, get there.

Be real and face the situation.

Go to confession, pray to be ready for anything.

Hamlet said, "The readiness is all" and it is more true today than for a long time

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Unusual Note

I do not advertise my blog on this one, but I know there are many people confused about the synodal documents. Starting on January 1st, I have over fifteen posts on the heresies behind some of the ideas coming out of the cardinals from Germany and America specifically. Please feel free to ask questions, as we must, as Catholics be very clear as to what is being pushed by some church leaders, as opposed to the long teaching on marriage and same-sex active relations.

The problems are, in a nutshell, these:

First, there was an attack on the Liturgy, starting in the years after Vatican II. Then, there was an attack on the priesthood, with the undermining of the priest's role in the Church and the rising, especially in England, of latent anti-clericism. After that, there was an attack on the sacraments, especially marriage and the Eucharist, which has come to a head this last October. Now, there is an attack on grace and the Church's teaching on predilection.

In addition,  there is also an attack on the entire set of truths about the Fall of Man, Original Sin and even the Redemption of Christ. Next, there will be an attack on the very nature of God's relationship to humans.

Unless the laity understand that all of these attacks are diabolical in nature and come from those who want to Protestantize the Church, the lay person will become more confused. We do not have to be confused, as we have the resources to find out the truth and error of all positions.

This takes time and commitment. God bless you all, and please take time to follow up on some of those posts.

Thursday, 1 January 2015


When I was a young person, in my twenties, as a member of the Boomers, some pundits wrote and talked about the "vibrancy" of my generation. Firstly, there were so many of us that we could hardly be ignored. Secondly, we were the last group to get classical education in America before the rot set in, many of us having a true liberal arts education based on the Trivium and Quadrivium. Thirdly, we were fiercely competitive and "on the make" type of kids. Most of us strove after professional careers and worked hard at being the best.

The times had not seen the gross inflation which was to change forever the ideal of family life, nor the long succession of political problems such as the Iran Contra Affair and the resignation of Richard Nixon. The worst thing in our corporate memories was the assassination of Kennedy when we were kids. This "vibrancy" came from confidence and trust in the civilization, the cultural identities in which we moved and lived.

We all knew and understood that we had a place not only in the home, and school, but in the Church.

The Church experiencing a vibrancy as well, as many of us had flirted with other "isms" and come back home, happily embracing the new life of the emerging laity with joy and interest. Most of my peer group got married and started to have children immediately.

The Catholic parishes in my state were growing so fast that new schools and new churches were being built almost constantly, one after the other.

This vibrancy lasted about ten years, a decade, until the realities of political unrest, inflation, and the awareness of the quickly growing secularism which cut across religious communities became deadly obvious. By the mid-eighties, the vibrancy was fading and a new attitude of utilitarianism took the place of optimism. This utilitarianism, always an underlying current in the States, became more and more sinister with the Age of Greed and the new "Me Generation" of the Gen-Xers who lacked community and the old cohesiveness of a religious and moral framework.

I stopped teaching from the end of the summer semester of 1986 until the the autumn semester of 1996, ten full years, and I saw the huge difference in students. Cynicism and relativism, subjectivism and a lack of competitiveness marked these students. Something happened to smash any vibrancy of youth and the natural optimism of the young.

I learned quickly that the end of the Gen-X group had lost confidence and were increasingly a bunch of unhappy, isolated kids.

What had happened? The obvious answer presented itself when I took a survey in class as to religious affiliations of my students. The vast majority had never been to church, or were fallen away, or even into weird and wild New Age cults. Until I stopped teaching in December 2010, I rarely witnessed the peace and confidence I had seen in my students from 1979 on.

One thing had happened. An entire generation had grown up without a moral framework, an idea of God, a sense of religion based church communities. Ah yes community became the buzz-word, but one only talks about something after it has gone, like love.

The vibrancy of one generation had come from a sense of being children of God and heirs of heaven. People knew who they were and the ultimate goal of their lives. Happiness would be a by-product of a virtuous life.

Until I taught Millennials, who are a breed apart and very individualistic and more idealistic than their parents, I never met a class which was full of life and vigor. It was my job to instill this love of life and God somehow in my students, even without talking about it.

How did I do this, because I did and I was successful? By loving learning and teaching my students to pursue knowledge not for an utilitarian end for knowledge for the sake of knowledge.  I knew that the meaning of "liberal art" was not license but freedom, freedom to think, to be, to do.

Vibrancy comes from within the soul. Those who find meaning in life cannot help but share that with others. Life just spills out. The energy and activity of those days are long gone, replaced by a silent narcissism which seems to be a protective shield against the unknown. Sin kills the soul and death replaces life. The person without a live soul has no vibrancy.

I am convinced that the field is ripe for the harvest, that if we preach the Good News of the Gospel, which is our duty, and not merely a suggestion from God, there are those who do not want to curl up and die who will take in this message of life like little hungry birds.

I have seen this happen. Those geeky, computer-gamers are more "romantic" and great seekers than their jade parents. They want more than stuff, as they see clearly that stuff did not make their parents happy. They do want to recapture something, but most of them do not know what this something is.

We do. We know Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We only need to be open to these young people of any nationality who have had everything and know it means nothing.

Become vibrant if you are not. Pray for new life on this first day of the new year. Pray like you have never prayed before for eyes to see Life in all His Beauty so that you can share this with those who need and want the God of Love and Order, the God of Boundaries, Mercy and Justice.

We are the remnant, and the remnant is getting smaller daily. Time to bring in the sheaves....we need these young people as much as they need us. To be vibrant ourselves means dying to self and letting God be God in us. God brings new energy and new life. There is no other way.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Facing A New Year

The past two years have been, perhaps, the most trying for Catholics. We have seen the open schismatic movements, which many of us knew were there from experience, coming out of the woodwork and wreaking havoc in the perceptions of Catholicism.

We have seen the persecution of Catholics worldwide increase to a point where it is hard for anyone concerned with news to keep up with these financial losses, mutilations, deaths.

We have witnessed confusion among the laity regarding sound bites and statements from a new pope, who is not European and a Jesuit. We have seen our favorite cardinal sent to the Knights of Malta.

We have seen, on the other hand, a rising of the laity in such groups as Voice of the Family, and SPUC coming into a maturing regarding lay involvement and fidelity to the Teaching Magisterium of the Church.

We have also seen more people in the Church realizing that prayer is the number one priority and that sainthood is the call for all.

As we face a new year, some with sadness, some with hesitancy, some with a muted joy, I am reminded of the words of Our Lord to a church which no longer exists, one which was persecuted to the death and to exile. Eventually, the Ghazi, the Islamic warriors, destroyed the Christian presence in Smyrna, overcoming the Knights of Malta in the process. We have been warned, but also promised life through all of this persecution, which is beginning and not yet in earnest.

Revelation 2:8-11 Douay-Rheims 

And to the angel of the church of Smyrna write: These things saith the First and the Last, who was dead, and is alive:
I know thy tribulation and thy poverty, but thou art rich: and thou art blasphemed by them that say they are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer. Behold, the devil will cast some of you into prison that you may be tried: and you shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful until death: and I will give thee the crown of life.
11 He, that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches: He that shall overcome, shall not be hurt by the second death.
Let us pray and hope that the Church in Great Britain, and, indeed, in Europe, will not suffer this type of almost complete destruction.
I am not optimistic and believe in a very small remnant.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Happy Christmas from Europe

The customs of Europe for Christmas vary greatly. In Malta, there is virtually no penitential Advent, so Baby Jesus is in the manger for almost the entire four weeks before Christmas, and carols are sung at Mass.

The real celebrations take place in the families, but families go out for Christmas as well. Some restaurants are closed but many are open.  The Mediterranean custom of being in community, and Malta being a country which celebrates feasts outside, leads to this groupy type of eating out.

I, as a single person not part of any extended family, am grateful for this open-air custom of being out on Christmas Day, and today, December 26th. Boxing Day is not celebrated here and the buses are running on the normal daily schedules.

One thing I miss, despite the plenitude of food and good wishes, is the sense of a solemnity. I attended the supposedly most solemn high Mass on the island and some people were so dressed down I was surprised. The majority were not, were in their Christmas best. But, the Co-Cathedral was not full, despite the superb choir and the fact that the Apostolic Administrator was the celebrant. We all received a pontifical blessing, which was nice.

But, I wonder if the type of high liturgy, which one experiences in Rome, or London, or even Dublin, is possible here on this relaxed island.

Later today, I am going to Gozo, for a bit, and the natives take Nativity Cribs, or Creches, seriously, as do the Maltese. This custom was imported from Naples, apparently.

Merry Christmas from Malta, and it is now 16 degrees C.

Ciao, ciao from one member of the Guild.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Report: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe 2014

On Friday, 12 December 2014, the Knights of Columbus Woodlawn Council 2161 Traditional Latin Mass Guild hosted a High Mass at St. Titus Church, Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas.

The celebrant was Canon Moreau of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.  Attending in choir were Monsignor Anthony Spinosa, Rector of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon, North Jackson, Ohio, and Fr. Ladis Cizik.

For a brief report and additional photos, see here.

Knights of Columbus Latin Mass

Sunday, 14 December 2014


Rejoice...we are almost through this time of waiting and preparation.

For all the tired and beleaguered bloggers...Praise God in all things!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

St. Nicholas Day Thoughts

When we lived in Sherborne in the early 1990s, as usual in our little family, we celebrated St. Nicholas Day.

At that time, no one is my "group" had ever heard of the customs surrounding this wonderful feast day. Coming from Czech and Luxembourg background, this day was an important feast day in my family growing up. My husband, who was a convert, loved the celebrations, as, he had brought up low church. We would get panettone, giant oranges, giant apples, Belgian chocolates as well as gifts. Stollen was a must.

The entire day was one of anticipation in my family back in Iowa, As the day wore on, we wondered if we had been good enough to get small presents, candy, huge oranges, gigantic apples and nuts in the cold, dark evening of the sixth of December.

Every year the custom happened exactly the same. We would all be seated down at the dinner table, Mom, Dad, three brothers and me, waiting. At six o-clock the doorbell would ring. We held our breaths, because we knew that if we had been bad, we would only get coal and willow switches for "gifts"

Dad would get up and go to the door. Now, it is black as black can be in Iowa at six on this day, and as a child and through my teen years, snow was on the ground. Dad would open the door, and, of course, no one was there.

St. Nicholas had a habit of never being seen. We would run to the door and look out on to the snow to see if there were any footprints.

No, of course, not. Saints, we knew, do not leave footprints. Neither did the Moor, Peter, who was in charge of the switches and coal, and of whom we had a fear of punishment.

When I was in my fifties, I finally asked my mom how they managed to be all sitting down at table, when St. Nicholas came. Who was his earthly emissary?

Mom told me that it was Mr. Jens, the Lutheran next door, who would use his snowshoes to hide tracks. Mom would bring the presents over earlier and our ecumenical friend would bring the things over at just the right time.

Simple days of simple joys cannot be forgotten. In Sherborne, so long ago. my son claims he saw the red vestments of the saintly bishop, as the holy man was running away from the door, after leaving his presents, now including legos, on the front stoop on Trendle Street.

Hmmmm, another secret of St. Nicholas, never to be known, until we all share stories in heaven, God willing.

More thoughts on the day may be found here.
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