Saturday, October 31, 2009

What is Your Guiding Belief?

I am closer to six decades old than five. When I write using my own experiences I am coming from a perspective that has both observed and experienced the cultural and intellectual changes that have occurred. That a society or culture would change is not surprising, that anybody including myself would not change with it is also not surprising. Here is what surprises me: that from this single idea that as a young man, I believed, and we collectively as a country believed, as a people, we could and would make this a better world, not guided by any set of beliefs but rather by a spirit of our own independence, to a nation that now has become narcissistic, vulgar, uncivil, materially obsessed, devaluing human life, and sadly a phony caricature of its former greatness. There is no guiding principle for the nation and sadly there are no leaders. The truth is this: most Americans are not independent thinkers, not freely living according this "mythical philosophy" of independent thought, and "rugged individualism." The greatest lie (think about where the really big lies originate) is that they believe there are two kinds of people; one who are guided by a set of beliefs and thus are trapped in them and have no freedom of thought, and the smart people, who after seeing the progression of the world and humanity, know better, and are free to think wherever it takes them. What they can't and won't acknowledge is that they have a "philosophy or belief" that is guiding them, thus by their own definition they too are trapped. Many people have within their collection of beliefs some that are for the betterment of humanity and yet others that are not. They may find that at times their beliefs contradict one another or are illogical, but they dismiss this in the name of freedom of thought. Now you may say that I am cynical or disillusioned but I believe that what I possess is the knowledge that comes from someone who has experienced the changes (50+ years of watching), who has lived under the same set of relative beliefs (yes I was in their camp), has children who have spanned the years (children enable you to see first hand where the culture is headed), and am now guided by an authentic, set of beliefs or rather yet guided by Truth, Himself. It is very clear to me that the world is ordered, that the teachings of Jesus Christ are true and are the very best means of living to make the world a better place and is that through Him I may gain eternal life. I believe that the Church has faithfully safeguarded his Truth and that through a sacramental life of grace, I, though weak, foolish, a slave to sin, can live righteously, can grow spiritually and through a share in the divine life attain wisdom that is unattainable through any other means. At times I am saddened by those who cannot recognize this because I so desire for them to share in my joy. But Christ came to "seek and save what was lost" and I was certainly in that category. We all are guided by some belief and even if it is disordered and not clear from day to day what it is, it is there. The only truth that will ever set you free is the Christ Himself, the Truth.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Cave Man - GK Chesterton

"Today all our novels and newspapers will be found swarming with numberless allusions to a popular character called a CaveMan. He seems to be quite familiar to us, not only as a public character but as a private character. His psychology is seriously taken into account in psychological fiction and psychological medicine. So far as I can understand, his chief occupation in life was knocking his wife about, or treating women in general with what is, I believe, known in the world of the film as 'rough stuff.' I have never happened to come upon the evidence for this idea; and I do not know on what primitive diaries or prehistoric divorce-reports it is founded."

" The primitive man may have taken a pleasure in beating women as well as in drawing animals; all we can say is that the drawings record the one but not the other. It may be true that when the cave-man's finished jumping on his mother, or his wife as the case may be, he loves to hear the little brook a-gurgling, and also to watch the deer as they come down to drink at the brook. These things are not impossible, but they are irrelevant. The common sense of the child could confine itself to learning from the facts what the facts have to teach; and the pictures in the cave are very nearly all the facts there are. So far as that evidence goes, the child would be justified in assuming that a man had represented animals with rock and red ochre for the same reason as he himself was in the habit of trying to represent animals with charcoal and red chalk. The man had drawn a stag just as the child had drawn a horse; because it was fun. The man bad drawn a stag with his head turned as the child had drawn a pig with his eyes shut; because it was difficult. The child and the man, being both human, would be united by the brotherhood of men; and the brotherhood of men is even nobler when it bridges the abyss of ages than when it bridges only the chasm of class. But anyhow he would see no evidence of the CaveMan of crude evolutionism; because there is none to be seen. If somebody told him that the pictures had all been drawn by St. Francis of Assisi out of pure and saintly love of animals, there would be nothing in the cave to contradict it. Indeed I once knew a lady who half-humorously suggested that the cave was a creche, in which the babies were put to be specially safe, and that colored animals were drawn on the walls to amuse them; very much as diagrams of elephants and giraffes adorn a modern infant school. And though this was but a jest, it does draw attention to some of the other assumptions that we make only too readily. The pictures do not prove even that the cave-men lived in caves, any more than the discovery of a wine-cellar in Balham (long after that suburb had been destroyed by human or divine wrath) would prove that the Victorian middle classes lived entirely underground"

"That is the sort of simple truth with which a story of the beginnings ought really to begin. The evolutionist stands staring in the painted cavern at the things that are too large to be seen and too simple to be understood. He tries to deduce all sorts of other indirect and doubtful things from the details of the pictures, because he cannot see the primary significance of the whole; thin and theoretical deductions about the absence of religion or the presence of superstition; about tribal government and hunting and human sacrifice and heaven knows what."

"Yet he will think us very narrow-minded, if we say that this is exactly why there really is a difference between being brought up as a Christian and being brought up as a Jew or a Moslem or an atheist. The difference is that every Catholic child has learned from pictures, and even every Protestant child from stones, this incredible combination of contrasted ideas as one of the very first impressions on his mind. It is not merely a theological difference. It is a psychological difference which can outlast any theologies It really is, as that sort of scientist loves to say about anything, incurable. Any agnostic or atheist whose childhood has known a real Christmas has ever afterwards, whether be likes it or not, an association in his mind between two ideas that most of mankind must regard as remote from each other; the idea of a baby and the idea of unknown strength that sustains the stars. His instincts and imagination can still connect them, when his reason can no longer see the need of the connection; for him there will always be some savor of religion about the mere picture of a mother and a baby; some hint of mercy and softening about the mere mention of the dreadful name of God.

"But I have begun this story in the cave, like the cave of the speculations of Plato, because it is a sort of model of the mistake of merely evolutionary introductions and prefaces. It is useless to begin by saying that everything was slow and smooth and a mere matter of development and degree."

The simplest truth about man is that he is a very strange being; almost in the sense of being a stranger on the earth. In all sobriety, he has much more of the external appearance of one bringing alien habits from another land than of a mere growth of this one. He has an unfair advantage and an unfair disadvantage. He cannot sleep in his own skin; he cannot trust his own instincts. He is at once a creator moving miraculous hands and fingers and a kind of cripple. He is wrapped in artificial bandages called clothes; he is propped on artificial crutches called furniture. His mind has the same doubtful liberties and the same wild limitations. Alone among the animals, he is shaken with the beautiful madness called laughter; as if he had caught sight of some secret in the very shape of the universe hidden from the universe itself."

"This sketch of the human story began in a cave; the cave which popular science associates with the cave-man and in which practical discovery has really found archaic drawings of animals. The second half of human history, which was like a new creation of the world, also begins in a cave."

"It was here that a homeless couple had crept underground with the cattle when the doors of the crowded caravanserai had been shut in their faces; and it was here beneath the very feet of the passersby, in a cellar under the very floor of the world, that Jesus Christ was born But in that second creation there was indeed something symbolical in the roots of the primeval rock or the horns of the prehistoric herd. God also was a CaveMan, and, had also traced strange shapes of creatures, curiously colored upon the wall of the world ; but the pictures that he made had come to life.



Prayer to Blessed Miguel Pro

Blessed Miguel, before your death, you told your friend to ask you for favors when you were in Heaven. I beg you to intercede for me and in union with Our Lady and all the angels and saints, to ask Our Lord to grant my petition, provided that it be God's Will.

[Here mention your request.]

We honor and adore the triune God. (Gloria)
We ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. (Come Holy Spirit)
We pray as Jesus taught us to pray. (Our Father)
We venerate with love the Virgin Mary. (Hail Mary)
All you angels, bless you the Lord forever.
Saint Joseph, Saint [name of your patron], and all the saints, pray for us.
Blessed Miguel, high spirited youth, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, loving son and brother, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, patient novice, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, exile from your homeland, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, prayerful religious, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, sick and suffering, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, defender of workers, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, courageous priest in hiding, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, prisoner in jail, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, forgiver of persecutors, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, holy martyr, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

from Ad Majorem De Gloriam

Vivaldi Gloria

Ugly Churches

In April of 2008 I had the fortune to travel to Italy and experience the beauty of the churches there. I have been railing against ugly churches for some time now. Many modern Catholic Churches have been designed not with any attempt to show the splendor of God but rather what we get are these utilitarian structures that have track lighting, video display, and all the features of home theatre. The message of course is that what goes on here is a form of entertainment. The exteriors resemble the message conveyed in most "modern architecture" -bland, bleak, hopelessness, cold, impersonal, pointing to everything, yet pointing to nothing. Why should we care, you ask? The point of worship in my humble opinion is to elevate us to the Divine. As we are expressing our very being, as we relate to God, we are moved by the liturgy and all that is in our environment. Beauty is a mirror of God. It also reflects back our understanding of His perfection. A Church is, as Jesus once put it "my Father's House", not a storage shed, a parking garage, a theatre, or a detention center. In that moment of worship we transcend time, we enter the eternal, timelessness of our Creator. The point is not to diminish Him but to expand ourselves. If you think that the worship is about you, and how you feel, and what you take out of it, then you truly do not understand Catholicism. Michale Rose has just published a new book called Ugly as Sin that goes into detail about the destruction of Catholic worship. Let's return to honoring God our Father with the beauty and splendor only He deserves.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

From The First Apology - Justin Martyr

Reason directs those who are truly pious and philosophical to honor and love only what is true, declining to follow traditional opinions, if these be worthless. For not only does sound reason direct us to refuse the guidance of those who did or taught anything wrong, but it is incumbent on the lover of truth, by all means, and if death be threatened, even before his own life, to choose to do and say what is right. Do you, then, since you are called pious and philosophers, guardians of justice and lovers of learning, give good heed, and hearken to my address; and if you are indeed such, it will be manifested. For we have come, not to flatter you by this writing, nor please you by our address, but to beg that you pass judgment,

And when you hear that we look for a kingdom, you suppose, without making any inquiry, that we speak of a human kingdom; whereas we speak of that which is with God, as appears also from the confession of their faith made by those who are charged with being Christians, though they know that death is the punishment awarded to him who so confesses. For if we looked for a human kingdom, we should also deny our Christ, that we might not be slain; and we should strive to escape detection, that we might obtain what we expect. But since our thoughts are not fixed on the present, we are not concerned when men cut us off; since also death is a debt which must at all events be paid.
Justin Martyr, First Apology 150AD

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Created in God's image and called to know and love him, the person who seeks God discovers certain ways of coming to know him. These are also called proofs for the existence of God, not in the sense of proofs in the natural sciences, but rather in the sense of "converging and convincing arguments", which allow us to attain certainty about the truth. These "ways" of approaching God from creation have a twofold point of departure: the physical world, and the human person.

The world: starting from movement, becoming, contingency, and the world's order and beauty, one can come to a knowledge of God as the origin and the end of the universe.

St. Paul says of the Gentiles: For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.

And St. Augustine issues this challenge: Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air distending and diffusing itself, question the beauty of the sky. . . question all these realities. All respond: "See, we are beautiful." Their beauty is a profession [confessio]. These beauties are subject to change. Who made them if not the Beautiful One [Pulcher] who is not subject to change?

The human person: with his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience, with his longings for the infinite and for happiness, man questions himself about God's existence. In all this he discerns signs of his spiritual soul. The soul, the "seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material",[9] can have its origin only in God.

The world, and man, attest that they contain within themselves neither their first principle nor their final end, but rather that they participate in Being itself, which alone is without origin or end. Thus, in different ways, man can come to know that there exists a reality which is the first cause and final end of all things, a reality "that everyone calls God".

Man's faculties make him capable of coming to a knowledge of the existence of a personal God. But for man to be able to enter into real intimacy with him, God willed both to reveal himself to man, and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith.(so) The proofs of God's existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason.
Catechism of the Catholic Church 31-35

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


VAIN is the man who puts his trust in men, in created things.

Do not be ashamed to serve others for the love of Jesus Christ and to seem poor in this world. Do not be self-sufficient but place your trust in God. Do what lies in your power and God will aid your good will. Put no trust in your own learning nor in the cunning of any man, but rather in the grace of God Who helps the humble and humbles the proud.

If you have wealth, do not glory in it, nor in friends because they are powerful, but in God Who gives all things and Who desires above all to give Himself. Do not boast of personal stature or of physical beauty, qualities which are marred and destroyed by a little sickness. Do not take pride in your talent or ability, lest you displease God to Whom belongs all the natural gifts that you have.

Do not think yourself better than others lest, perhaps, you be accounted worse before God Who knows what is in man. Do not take pride in your good deeds, for God's judgments differ from those of men and what pleases them often displeases Him. If there is good in you, see more good in others, so that you may remain humble. It does no harm to esteem yourself less than anyone else, but it is very harmful to think yourself better than even one. The humble live in continuous peace, while in the hearts of the proud are envy and frequent anger.

Thomas a' Kempis - The Imitation of Christ

Monday, October 26, 2009

Opportunties of the Holy Spirit

When we are open and vulnerable, when we surrender our lives, acknowledging that it it is not I am who in control but God, Himself, we begin a new awareness. This is most visible in the opportunities that present themselves through the Holy Spirit. He is the third person in the Trinity. He is fully God. He is eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, has a will, and can speak. He is alive. He is a person. His ministry is to bear witness of Jesus. It becomes our challenge then to discover through spiritual discernment where and when theses opportunities of the Holy Spirit are.

When we walk through the door and embrace these opportunities an enormous amount of Grace is poured down, that Grace strengthens our faith, affirms our mission and vocation, and thus makes us more aware to even greater opportunities. Each and every door opens to a new door and Graces flow. These opportunities occur even in the most bleak and darkest places. God is the Light that penetrates the darkness. Be diligent in examining where and when God's Graces are there for the taking, like luscious fruit hanging from the most beautiful tree.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Jesus Christ, the First Fruits of the Resurrection

The Word of God became man, the Son of God became the Son of Man, in order to unite man with himself and make him, by adoption, a son of God. Only by being united to one who is himself immune could we be preserved from corruption and death, and how else could this union have been achieved if he had not first become what we are? How else could what is corruptible and mortal in us have been swallowed up in his incorruptibility and immortality, to enable us to receive adoptive sonship? Therefore, the Son of God, our Lord, the Word of the Father, is also the son of man; he became the son of man by a human birth from Mary, a member of the human race.

The Lord himself has given us a sign here below and in the heights of heaven, a sign that man did not ask for because he never dreamt that such a thing would be possible. A virgin was with a child and she bore a son who is called Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” He came down to the earth here below in search of the sheep that was lost, the sheep that was in fact his own creature, and then ascended into the heights of heaven to offer to the Father and entrust to his care the human race that he had found again. The Lord himself became the first-fruits of the resurrection of mankind, and when its time of punishment for disobedience is over the rest of the body, to which the whole human race belongs, will rise from the grave as the head has done. By God’s aid it will grow and be strengthened in all its joints and ligaments, each member having its own proper place in the body. There are many rooms in the Father’s house because the body has many members.

God bore with man patiently when he fell because he foresaw the victory that would be his through the Word. Weakness allowed strength its full play, and so revealed God’s kindness and great power.

Irenaeus, Early Church Father 185 AD

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Armenian Chant

Hail Mary Full of Grace

My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity forever.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen

Scripture text: Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition

Friday, October 23, 2009

Father Longenecker Spells Out the Slippery Slope

Father Dwight Longenecker has a a fabulous blog Standing on My Head This entry is exactly what the Stranger here has been saying but much more eloquently and to the point.

The Slippery Slope

Here is how Satan spreads his lies:

1. Natural Law is ignored, undermined or made to look stupid by particular instances where it seems not apply.
2. Subsequently religious and civil authorities have their laws questioned because they are 'too strict' too 'black and white', 'unworkable' or 'lacking in compassion'.
3. Relativism is therefore introduced. An understanding gradually grows that 'there are no objective rule' that apply to all people at all times.
4. Individualism is the next step. 'I guess I have to decide what is right for me in my situation.'
5. Sentimentalism: People who live in a sinful situation demand that they not be judged. They deserve compassion and understanding. They are nice people really...but they have a problem. They're sick. They're wounded. Who are you to judge?
6. Dialogue is demanded. "You need to listen to us and to our stories. Then you will understand we are just like you."
7. Once sympathy is won, the goalposts are moved. Now they are not 'sick' or 'wounded' they're just 'different'. They expect to be accepted despite their 'differences'.
8. Equal rights are expected by those who are acting against God's law. "We are not asking you to approve us. We are simply asking you to tolerate a difference of opinion. Simply allow us to be who we are!"
9. Equal rights are demanded. Legislation and lobbying and protests are now in order. The pressure group for sin starts to get aggressive. They do so out of 'hurt' and 'woundedness.' Once they get their 'rights' (they claim) they will be happy and won't be so aggressive.
10. Tolerance being won, they will not stop. They now demand not only that you tolerate, but that you approve. They've moved from being 'sick' or 'wounded' or 'disabled' by their condition to tolerance, and now they proclaim their condition to be 'good'. As Thomas More was not allowed to remain silent on the King's 'great matter' but had to approve, so the pressure group insists on approval.
11. What was once tolerated now becomes mandatory. Society must integrate the new morality into every level--right down to schools and churches and scout groups. Everyone must adopt the new morality or suffer.
12. Persecution of those who resist.
13. Devil's real happy.

This process happens on an individual level, a family level, a community level and a societal level. The bigger the level the longer it takes, and for it to take effect at the societal, community and family level it must first work on the individual level.

This means you and I must watch for the signs in our own moral life and be alert. Any of us can go down this path, and any of us may be victims of those who are already well down the path of evil and darkness.

Nun Volunteering as Abortion Clinic Escort in Illinois

I hope when the Vatican envoy gets here they clean up the kookiness of some religious orders and particularly this nun in a story from

Sr. Donna Quinn, OP, is renowned in the Chicago area as an advocate for legalized abortion and other liberal issues.

In 1974 she co-founded the organization Chicago Catholic Women, which lobbied the USCCB on a feminist platform before it dissolved in 2000. She is now a coordinator of the radically liberal National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN), which stands in opposition against the Catholic Church's position on abortion, homosexuality, contraception, and the male priesthood.

While (LSN) was unable to reach Sr. Quinn for comment, NCAN's Sr. Beth Rindler confirmed to LSN that Quinn is still a member of their group, which favors unrestricted legalized abortion and disagrees with the teaching that abortion is intrinsically evil. "We respect women, and believe that they make moral decision, and so we respect their decisions," Rindler explained.

In a 2002 address to the Women's Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School, Sr. Quinn described how she came to view the teachings of her Church as "immoral": "I used to say: 'This is my Church, and I will work to change it, because I love it,'" she said. "Then later I said, 'This church is immoral, and if I am to identify with it I'd better work to change it.' More recently, I am saying, 'All organized religions are immoral in their gender discriminations.'"

Quinn called gender discrimination "the root cause of evil in the Church, and thus in the world," and said she remained in the Dominican community simply for "the sisterhood."

St. Dominic would be so proud of you - oh that's right he's a sexist, patronizing male dominant, patriarch who along with John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI is just another evil in the Church.

Catholic Rites & Churches

I have a fondness and admiration for the way different people worship and the beauty of their liturgy. In that interest here is an overview of the different Rites and Churches which are part of the Catholic Church. As a Roman Catholic I find some of the liturgies fascinating. It is my hope that I will participate in worshiping at some of theses churches some time soon.


A Rite represents an ecclesiastical, or church, tradition about how the sacraments are to be celebrated. Each of the sacraments has at its core an essential nature which must be satisfied for the sacrament to be confected or realized. This essence � of matter, form and intention � derives from the divinely revealed nature of the particular sacrament. It cannot be changed by the Church. Scripture and Sacred Tradition, as interpreted by the Magisterium, tells us what is essential in each of the sacraments (2 Thes. 2:15).

When the apostles brought the Gospel to the major cultural centers of their day the essential elements of religious practice were inculturated into those cultures. This means that the essential elements were clothed in the symbols and trappings of the particular people, so that the rituals conveyed the desired spiritual meaning to that culture. In this way the Church becomes all things to all men that some might be saved (1 Cor. 9:22).

There are three major groupings of Rites based on this initial transmission of the faith, the Roman, the Antiochian (Syria) and the Alexandrian (Egypt). Later on the Byzantine derived as a major Rite from the Antiochian, under the influence of St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom. From these four derive the over 20 liturgical Rites present in the Church today.

Church is an assembly of the faithful, hierarchically ordered, both in the entire world � the Catholic Church, or in a certain territory � a particular Church. To be a sacrament (a sign) of the Mystical Body of Christ in the world, a Church must have both a head and members (Col. 1:18). The sacramental sign of Christ the Head is the sacred hierarchy � the bishops, priests and deacons (Eph. 2:19�22). More specifically, it is the local bishop, with his priests and deacons gathered around and assisting him in his office of teaching, sanctifying and governing (Mt. 28:19�20; Titus 1:4�9). The sacramental sign of the Mystical Body is the Christian faithful. Thus the Church of Christ is fully present sacramentally (by way of a sign) wherever there is a sign of Christ the Head, a bishop and those who assist him, and a sign of Christ's Body, Christian faithful. Each diocese is therefore a particular Church.

The Church of Christ is also present sacramentally in ritual Churches that represent an ecclesiastical tradition of celebrating the sacraments. They are generally organized under a Patriarch, who together with the bishops and other clergy of that ritual Church represent Christ the Head to the people of that tradition. In some cases a Rite is completely coincident with a Church. For example, the Maronite Church with its Patriarch has a Rite not found in any other Church. In other cases, such as the Byzantine Rite, several Churches use the same or a very similar liturgical Rite. For example, the Ukrainian Catholic Church uses the Byzantine Rite, but this Rite is also found in other Catholic Churches, as well as the Eastern Orthodox Churches not in union with Rome.

Finally, the Church of Christ is sacramentally present in the Universal or Catholic Church spread over the entire world. It is identified by the sign of Christ our Rock, the Bishop of Rome, Successor of St. Peter (Mt. 16:18). To be Catholic particular Churches and ritual Churches must be in communion with this Head, just as the other apostles, and the Churches they founded, were in communion with Peter (Gal. 1:18). Through this communion with Peter and his successors the Church becomes a universal sacrament of salvation in all times and places, even to the end of the age (Mt. 28:20).

Western Rites and Churches

Immediately subject to the Bishop of Rome, the Supreme Pontiff, who exercises his authority over the liturgy through the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.


The Church of Rome is the Primatial See of the world and one of the five Patriarchal Sees of the early Church (Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem). Founded by St. Peter in 42 AD it was consecrated by the blood of Sts. Peter and Paul during the persecution of Nero (63�67 AD). It has maintained a continual existence since then and is the source of a family of Rites in the West. Considerable scholarship (such as that of Fr. Louis Boyer in Eucharist) suggests the close affinity of the Roman Rite proper with the Jewish prayers of the synagogue, which also accompanied the Temple sacrifices. While the origin of the current Rite, even in the reform of Vatican II, can be traced directly only to the 4th century, these connections point to an ancient apostolic tradition brought to that city that was decidedly Jewish in origin.

After the Council of Trent it was necessary to consolidate liturgical doctrine and practice in the face of the Reformation. Thus, Pope St. Pius V imposed the Rite of Rome on the Latin Church (that subject to him in his capacity as Patriarch of the West), allowing only smaller Western Rites with hundreds of years of history to remain. Younger Rites of particular dioceses or regions ceased to exist.

As a consequence of the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Pope Paul VI undertook a reform of the Mass of the Roman Rite, promulgating a revised rite with the Missal of 1970. This Missal has since been modified twice (1975 and 2002). Mass celebrated in accordance with this missal is the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

At the time of the revised Missal's promulgation in 1970 almost all Catholics assumed that the previous rite, that of the Missal of 1962, had been abolished. By decision of the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI this general assumption has been declared false and the right of Latin Rite priests to celebrate Mass according to the former missal has been affirmed (Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum, 7 July 2007). Mass celebrated in accordance with the Missal of 1962 constitutes the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

� Roman � The overwhelming majority of Latin Catholics and of Catholics in general.
Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Mass celebrated in accordance with the Missale Romanum of 1970, promulgated by Pope Paul VI, currently in its third edition (2002). The vernacular editions of this Missal, as well as the rites of the other sacraments, are translated from the Latin typical editions revised after the Second Vatican Council.
Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Mass celebrated in accordance with the Missale Romanum of 1962, promulgated by Blessed Pope John XXIII. The other sacraments are celebrated according to the Roman Ritual in force at the time of the Second Vatican Council. The Extraordinary Form is most notable for being almost entirely in Latin. In addition to institutes which have the faculty to celebrate the Extraordinary Form routinely, such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, any Latin Rite priest may now offer the Mass and other sacraments in accordance with norms of Summorum Pontificum.
Anglican Use. Since the 1980s the Holy See has granted some former Anglican and Episcopal clergy converting with their parishes the faculty of celebrating the sacramental rites according to Anglican forms, doctrinally corrected.
� Mozarabic � The Rite of the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) known from at least the 6th century, but probably with roots to the original evangelization. Beginning in the 11th century it was generally replaced by the Roman Rite, although it has remained the Rite of the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Toledo, Spain, and six parishes which sought permission to adhere to it. Its celebration today is generally semi�private.
� Ambrosian � The Rite of the Archdiocese of Milan, Italy, thought to be of early origin and probably consolidated, but not originated, by St. Ambrose. Pope Paul VI was from this Roman Rite. It continues to be celebrated in Milan, though not by all parishes.
� Bragan � Rite of the Archdiocese of Braga, the Primatial See of Portugal, it derives from the 12th century or earlier. It continues to be of occasional use.
� Dominican � Rite of the Order of Friars Preacher (OP), founded by St. Dominic in 1215.
� Carmelite � Rite of the Order of Carmel, whose modern foundation was by St. Berthold c.1154.
� Carthusian � Rite of the Carthusian Order founded by St. Bruno in 1084.

Eastern Rites and Churches

The Eastern Catholic Churches have their own hierarchy, system of governance (synods) and general law, the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches. The Supreme Pontiff exercises his primacy over them through the Congregation for the Eastern Churches.

The Church of Antioch in Syria (the ancient Roman Province of Syria) is considered an apostolic See by virtue of having been founded by St. Peter. It was one of the ancient centers of the Church, as the New Testament attests, and is the source of a family of similar Rites using the ancient Syriac language (the Semitic dialect used in Jesus' time and better known as Aramaic). Its Liturgy is attributed to St. James and the Church of Jerusalem.

Maronite � Never separated from Rome. Maronite Patriarch of Antioch. The liturgical language is Aramaic. The 3 million Maronites are found in Lebanon (origin), Cyprus, Egypt, Syria, Israel, Canada, US, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Australia.
Syriac � Syriac Catholics who returned to Rome in 1781 from the monophysite heresy. Syriac Patriarch of Antioch. The 110,000 Syriac Catholics are found in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Canada and the US.
Malankarese � Catholics from the South of India evangelized by St. Thomas, uses the West Syriac liturgy. Reunited with Rome in 1930. Liturgical languages today are West Syriac and Malayalam. The 350,000 Malankarese Catholics are found in India and North America.

Chaldean � Babylonian Catholics returned to Rome in 1692 from the Nestorian heresy. Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans. Liturgical languages are Syriac and Arabic. The 310,000 Chaldean Catholics are found in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and the US.
Syro�Malabarese � Catholics from Southern India using the East Syriac liturgy. Returned to Rome in the 16th century from the Nestorian heresy. Liturgical languages are Syriac and Malayalam. Over 3 million Syro�Malabarese Catholics can be found in the state of Kerela, in SW India.

The Church of Constantinople became the political and religious center of the eastern Roman Empire after the Emperor Constantine built a new capital there (324�330) on the site of the ancient town of Byzantium. Constantinople developed its own liturgical rite from the Liturgy of St. James, in one form as modified by St. Basil, and in a more commonly used form, as modified by St. John Chrysostom. After 1054, except for brief periods of reunion, most Byzantine Christians have not been in communion with Rome. They make up the Orthodox Churches of the East, whose titular head is the Patriarch of Constantinople. The Orthodox Churches are mostly auto�cephalous, meaning self�headed, united to each other by communion with Constantinople, which exercises no real authority over them. They are typically divided into Churches along nation lines. Those that have returned to communion with the Holy See are represented among the Eastern Churches and Rites of the Catholic Church.

Considered either its own Rite or an older version of the Byzantine. Its exact form is not used by any other Byzantine Rite. It is composed of Catholics from the first people to convert as a nation, the Armenians (N.E. of Turkey), and who returned to Rome at the time of the Crusades. Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians. The liturgical language is classical Armenian. The 350,000 Armenian Catholics are found in Armenia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Ukraine, France, Romania, United States and Argentina. Most Armenians are Orthodox, not in union with Rome.

Albanian � Albanian Christians, numbering only 1400 today, who resumed communion with Rome in 1628. Liturgical language is Albanian. Most Albanian Christians are Albanian Orthodox.
Belarussian/Byelorussian � Unknown number of Belarussians who returned to Rome in the 17th century. The liturgical language is Old Slavonic. The faithful can be found in Belarus, as well as Europe, the Americas and Australia.
Bulgarian � Bulgarians who returned to Rome in 1861. Liturgical language is Old Slavonic. The 20,000 faithful can be found in Bulgaria. Most Bulgarian Christians are Bulgarian Orthodox.
Czech � Czech Catholics of Byzantine Rite organized into a jurisdiction in 1996.
Krizevci � Croatian Catholics of Byzantine Rite who resumed communion with Rome in 1611. The liturgical language is Old Slavonic. The 50,000 faithful can be found in Croatia and the Americas. Most Croatians are Roman (Rite) Catholics.
Greek � Greek Christians who returned to Rome in 1829. The liturgical language is Greek. Only 2500 faithful in Greece, Asia Minor (Turkey) and Europe. Greek Christians are almost all Orthodox, whose Patriarch is the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople.
Hungarian � Descendants of Ruthenians who returned to Rome in 1646. The liturgical languages are Greek, Hungarian and English. The 300,000 faithful are found in Hungary, Europe and the Americas.
� Italo�Albanian � Never separated from Rome, these 60,000 Byzantine Rite Catholics are found in Italy, Sicily and the Americas. The liturgical languages are Greek and Italo�Albanian.
Melkite � Catholics from among those separated from Rome in Syria and Egypt who resumed Communion with Rome at the time of the Crusades. However, definitive union only came in the 18th century. Melkite Greek Patriarch of Damascus. Liturgical languages are Greek, Arabic, English, Portuguese and Spanish. The over 1 million Melkite Catholics can be found in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Canada, US, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and Australia.
Romanian � Romanians who returned to Rome in 1697. The liturgical language is Romanian. There are over 1 million Romanian Catholics in Romania, Europe and the Americas. Most Romanian Christians are Romanian Orthodox.
Russian � Russians who returned to communion with Rome in 1905. The liturgical language is Old Slavonic. An unknown number of the faithful in Russia, China, the Americas and Australia. Most Russian Christians are Russian Orthodox, whose Patriarch is the Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow.
Ruthenian � Catholics from among those separated from Rome in Russia, Hungary and Croatia who reunited with Rome in 1596 (Brest�Litovsk) and 1646 (Uzhorod).
Slovak � Byzantine Rite Catholics of Slovakian origin numbering 225,000 and found in Slovakia and Canada.
Ukrainian � Catholics from among those separated from Rome by the Greek Schism and reunited about 1595. Patriarch or Metropolitan of Lviv. Liturgical languages are Old Slavonic and the vernacular. The 5.5 million Ukrainian Catholics can be found in Ukraine, Poland, England, Germany, France, Canada, US, Brazil, Argentina and Australia. During the Soviet era Ukrainian Catholics were violently forced to join the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Their hierarchy, which continued to exist outside the homeland, has since been re�established in Ukraine.

The Church of Alexandria in Egypt was one of the original centers of Christianity, since like Rome and Antioch it had a large Jewish population which was the initial object of apostolic evangelization. Its Liturgy is attributed to St. Mark the Evangelist, and shows the later influence of the Byzantine Liturgy, in addition to its unique elements.

Coptic � Egyptian Catholics who returned to communion with Rome in 1741. The Patriarch of Alexandria leads the 200,000 faithful of this ritual Church spread throughout Egypt and the Near East. The liturgical languages are Coptic (Egyptian) and Arabic. Most Copts are not Catholics.

Ethiopian/Abyssinian � Ethiopian Coptic Christians who returned to Rome in 1846. The liturgical language is Geez. The 200,000 faithful are found in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, and Jerusalem.


Chant from the Church of Antioch

What is Catechesis?

Catechesis has to reveal in all clarity the joy and the demands of the way of Christ. Catechesis for the "newness of life"(We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.Romans 6:4) in him should be:

  • a catechesis of the Holy Spirit, the interior Master of life according to Christ, a gentle guest and friend who inspires, guides, corrects, and strengthens this life;

  • a catechesis of grace, for it is by grace that we are saved and again it is by grace that our works can bear fruit for eternal life;

  • a catechesis of the beatitudes, for the way of Christ is summed up in the beatitudes, the only path that leads to the eternal beatitude for which the human heart longs;

  • a catechesis of sin and forgiveness, for unless man acknowledges that he is a sinner he cannot know the truth about himself, which is a condition for acting justly; and without the offer of forgiveness he would not be able to bear this truth;

  • a catechesis of the human virtues which causes one to grasp the beauty and attraction of right dispositions towards goodness;

  • a catechesis of the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and charity, generously inspired by the example of the saints;

  • a catechesis of the twofold commandment of charity set forth in the Decalogue;

  • an ecclesial catechesis, for it is through the manifold exchanges of "spiritual goods" in the "communion of saints" that Christian life can grow, develop, and be communicated.
The first and last point of reference of this catechesis will always be Jesus Christ himself, who is "the way, and the truth, and the life." It is by looking to him in faith that Christ's faithful can hope that he himself fulfills his promises in them, and that, by loving him with the same love with which he has loved them, they may perform works in keeping with their dignity:

I ask you to consider that our Lord Jesus Christ is your true head, and that you are one of his members. He belongs to you as the head belongs to its members; all that is his is yours: his spirit, his heart, his body and soul, and all his faculties. You must make use of all these as of your own, to serve, praise, love, and glorify God. You belong to him, as members belong to their head. And so he longs for you to use all that is in you, as if it were his own, for the service and glory of the Father.
For to me, to live is Christ. Catechism of the Catholic Church 1697,1698

Is this the catechesis going on in our churches today?

St. John of Capistrano, OFM

John was born in the town of Capistrano, near L'Aquila, on 24 June 1386. His father was a baron. The family was deeply involved in local politics and rival hatred between warring factions, and John's childhood years were marked by the sad history of assassinations of many of the members of his family. John later left for Perugia, where he studied law and became a magistrate. But when Perugia was attacked by the army of Malatesta, John was imprisoned. During this time, in 1415, he matured the idea of consecrating his life to God as a Franciscan friar.

When he was 30 years old he entered the Franciscan Observant friary of Monteripido, near Perugia. During this period the Church had just gone out of one of the most troubled moments of its history. In 1417 the Council of Constance put an end to the Great Schism of the west, and Martin V was elected Pope. John became a disciple of Bernardine of Siena, one of the great reformers of the Franciscan Order. n 1430 he presented the Martinian Constitutions, which were an attempt at the genuine reform of the Order. Pope Eugene IV was highly in favour of the Observant reform and helped both Bernardine of Siena and John of Capistrano in their reform programmes.

In 1441 Capistrano was elected Vicar General of the Observants in Italy, after returning from the Holy Land, which the Pope had given to the custody of the Observants in 1439. In 1446 Pope Eugene IV gave full autonomy to the Observants with the Bull "Ut Sacra Ordinis Minorum". In the meantime John Capistrano was also working hard at reforming the Second Franciscan Order, in the observance of the Rule of St. Clare of Assisi. The Popes also chose John Capistrano as their personal ambassador and nuncio in various countries, with the aim of preaching against heretical tendencies in Europe.

John Capistrano is considered one of the great apostles of Europe. He travelled widely, to Germany, Poland, Transylvania, Moldavia, Russia. When the sultan Muhammad II entered Constantinople in 1453, Europe was in dire peril. The Pope wanted to halt the advance of the Turks, who had penetrated into Europe and were going to attack Belgrade. Thus, in 1456, John Capistrano led a crusade against the Turks. But during the battle John's health failed. He died in the friary of Ilok, in what is today Croatia, on 23 October 1456. He was canonised by Alexander VIII in 1690. Pope John Paul II declared John Capistrano as patron saint of military chaplains.
(courtesy of

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Testify to The Light that Shines in The Darkness

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God.He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man's decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Thomas a' Kempis on Adversity & Charity

It is good for us to have trials and troubles at times, for they often remind us that we are on probation and ought not to hope in any worldly thing. It is good for us sometimes to suffer contradiction, to be misjudged by men even though we do well and mean well. These things help us to be humble and shield us from vainglory. When to all outward appearances men give us no credit, when they do not think well of us, then we are more inclined to seek God Who sees our hearts. Therefore, a man ought to root himself so firmly in God that he will not need the consolations of men.

When a man of good will is afflicted, tempted, and tormented by evil thoughts, he realizes clearly that his greatest need is God, without Whom he can do no good. Saddened by his miseries and sufferings, he laments and prays. He wearies of living longer and wishes for death that he might be dissolved and be with Christ. Then he understands fully that perfect security and complete peace cannot be found on earth.

Never do evil for anything in the world, or for the love of any man. For one who is in need, however, a good work may at times be purposely left undone or changed for a better one. This is not the omission of a good deed but rather its improvement.

Without charity external work is of no value, but anything done in charity, be it ever so small and trivial, is entirely fruitful inasmuch as God weighs the love with which a man acts rather than the deed itself.

He does much who loves much. He does much who does a thing well. He does well who serves the common good rather than his own interests.

Now, that which seems to be charity is oftentimes really sensuality, for man's own inclination, his own will, his hope of reward, and his self-interest, are motives seldom absent. On the contrary, he who has true and perfect charity seeks self in nothing, but searches all things for the glory of God.

from The Imitation of Christ

Scott Hahn: Eucharistic Kingdom

St. Peter of Alcantara

Born of noble parents at Alcantara in Spain in 1499, Peter entered the Order of Friars Minor when he was sixteen. He showed himself a model of all virtues, especially poverty and chastity, and brought numberless men from vice to repentance by preaching the word of God. Eager to restore the original observance of St. Francis of Assisi, he built a very small and very poor monastery near Pedroso. The way of life there was of the strictest, and from this auspicious beginning it spread in a remarkable way. He was a help to St. Teresa of Avila in promoting the Carmelite reform, having approved the spirit in which she had begun it. Teresa often referred to him as a saint even while he was still living; and we learn from her that he was famous for the grace of contemplation and miracles, and was imbued with the gift of Prophecy and of the discernment of spirits. Finally he went to heaven in his sixty-third year, and blessed Teresa saw him in a vision, shining with wonderful glory. (courtesy of

Perhaps the most remarkable of Peter's graces were his gift of contemplation and the virtue of penance. Hardly less remarkable was his love of God, which was at times so ardent as to cause him, as it did St. Philip Neri, sensible pain, and frequently rapt him into ecstasy. The poverty he practised and enforced was as cheerful as it was real, and often let the want of even the necessaries of life be felt. In confirmation of his virtues and mission of reformation God worked numerous miracle through his intercession and by his very presence. He was beatified by GregoryXV in 1622, and canonized by Clement IX in 1669. Besides the Constitutions of the Stricter Observants and many letters on spiritual subjects, especially to St. Teresa, he composed a short treatise on prayer, which has been translated into all the languages of Europe
.(courtesy of catholic

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Cure de' Ars

Do you know what the Devil’s first temptation is to the person who wants to serve God with dedication? It is human respect.”

"Avarice is like a pig which seeks its food in the mud, without caring where it comes from."

"I throw myself at the foot of the Tabernacle like a dog at the foot of his Master."

"Every Consecrated Host is made to burn Itself up with love in a human heart,"

“St. Francis de Sales, that great saint, would leave off writing with the letter of a word half-formed in order to reply to an interruption.”

" Leave a village without a priest for twenty years and they will worship animals"

"We have not deserved to pray - but God, in his goodness, has permitted us to speak with Him."

"When we pray with attention, with humility of mind and of heart, we quit the earth, we rise to Heaven, we penetrate the Bosom of God, we go and converse with the angels and the saints."

"It is a beautiful thought, my children, that we have a sacrament that heals the wounds of our souls!"

"In Heaven, faith and hope will exist no more for the mist which obscures our reason will be dispelled...But love; oh we shall be inebriated with it! we shall be drowned, lost in that ocen of divine love, annihilated in that immense charity of the Heart of Jesus! so that charity is a foretaste of Heaven."

"To love the good God with our whole heart is to prefer Him to love nothing that is incompatible with the love or God. To love the good God with our whole mind is to think of Him often, and to make it our principle study to know Him well...To love the good God with all our strength. is to employ our possessions, our health, and our talents, in serving Him and glorifying Him. It is to refer all our actions to Him, as our last end.."

From the Sisters of St. Benedict - Contemplative Prayer

Contemplative prayer is the normal development of the grace of baptism and the regular practice of reading Scripture. We may think of prayer as thoughts or feelings expressed in words. But this is only one expression. Contemplative prayer is the opening of mind and heart — our whole being — to God, the Ultimate Mystery, beyond thoughts, words, and emotions. We open our awareness to God whom we know by faith is within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than choosing — closer than consciousness itself. Contemplative prayer is a process of interior purification leading, if we consent, to divine union.

Marked by silence, this kind of prayer invites one to deeper reflection on the presence and action of God within one's life, and to rest in that presence. Lectio Divina is a particularly Benedictine form of prayer involving reflection on Scripture; Centering Prayer draws on the repetition of a sacred word to bring one to a silent state of being with God. Many of the Sisters of St. Benedict practice both of these forms of contemplative prayer.

Practical Suggestions for Praying

  • Set aside 15-60 minutes each day for prayer time.
  • Commit to praying at the same time each day for a week. (This will help you set a prayer-filled rhythm in you life.)
  • After a week, make any necessary changes to your schedule and then stay to the schedule for a month.

Creating your Sacred Space

  • The space provides a prayerful atmosphere in which you can pray undisturbed.
  • Choose a comfortable seat that will help you remain alert and focused.
  • Choose spiritual tools for your space — the Bible or other sacred reading, images of God, candles, plants, water fountains, quiet music.
  • Create a space free of distractions.

Hell - The Door is Locked from the Inside

Spe Salve( In Hope We are Saved)

All serious and upright human conduct is hope in action. This is so first of all in the sense that we thereby strive to realize our lesser and greater hopes, to complete this or that task which is important for our onward journey, or we work towards a brighter and more humane world so as to open doors into the future. Yet our daily efforts in pursuing our own lives and in working for the world's future either tire us or turn into fanaticism, unless we are enlightened by the radiance of the great hope that cannot be destroyed even by small-scale failures or by a breakdown in matters of historic importance. If we cannot hope for more than is effectively attainable at any given time, or more than is promised by political or economic authorities, our lives will soon be without hope. It is important to know that I can always continue to hope, even if in my own life, or the historical period in which I am living, there seems to be nothing left to hope for. Only the great certitude of hope that my own life and history in general, despite all failures, are held firm by the indestructible power of Love, and that this gives them their meaning and importance, only this kind of hope can then give the courage to act and to persevere. Certainly we cannot “build” the Kingdom of God by our own efforts—what we build will always be the kingdom of man with all the limitations proper to our human nature. The Kingdom of God is a gift, and precisely because of this, it is great and beautiful, and constitutes the response to our hope. And we cannot—to use the classical expression—”merit” Heaven through our works. Heaven is always more than we could merit, just as being loved is never something “merited”, but always a gift. However, even when we are fully aware that Heaven far exceeds what we can merit, it will always be true that our behavior is not indifferent before God and therefore is not indifferent for the unfolding of history. We can open ourselves and the world and allow God to enter: we can open ourselves to truth, to love, to what is good. This is what the saints did, those who, as “God's fellow workers”, contributed to the world's salvation (cf. 1 Cor 3:9; 1 Th 3:2). We can free our life and the world from the poisons and contaminations that could destroy the present and the future. We can uncover the sources of creation and keep them unsullied, and in this way we can make a right use of creation, which comes to us as a gift, according to its intrinsic requirements and ultimate purpose. This makes sense even if outwardly we achieve nothing or seem powerless in the face of overwhelming hostile forces. So on the one hand, our actions engender hope for us and for others; but at the same time, it is the great hope based upon God's promises that gives us courage and directs our action in good times and bad.
Pope Benedict XVI Spe Salve Section II-35 Encyclical on Hope

Your Life is Not About You

In his presentation "The Three Paths to Holiness" Father Robert Barron reminds us the our "lives are not about us." This is truly something that one can expound upon and even consider as a slogan similar to "what would Jesus do." God in his infinite wisdom chose to create man as described in Genesis in his divine image and so began the salvation story, with man's failings and his restoration, throughout the centuries. Man in his fallen state has chose to follow the path of evil and over and over again God has rescued us. In Christ Jesus we have the highest degree of love possible. The paths that the secularized society has one on is always a path that is selfish and focused on the here and now. It ignores God and his plan for our salvation. Its message is quite contrary, for its message is that your life is about you. In that philosophical structure man is seeking smallness, man is seeking the height of the natural, man is aspiring for temporal and limited things. Man is holding in his hand sand which will pass through it when there is an ocean of beauty and love just beyond himself. The message is of course paradoxical. In seeking what is close, what can be touched and held - the here and now one misses the greater reality , participation in the Divine and Eternity. The message that your life is about you leads to disappointment, despair, emptiness, a need to continually be fed by things that could not possibly satisfy you. It is not a life of charity and giving, and it is not a life of hope. God desires greatness for each one of us and we can live a life of holiness by surrendering ourselves. The joy is that our life is not about us, it is about something much larger, much greater, much happier, and everlasting. Give up the message of the secular world - aspire for greatness - be like Christ!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Byzantine Hymn



MY CHILD, hear My words, words of greatest sweetness surpassing all the knowledge of the philosophers and wise men of earth. My words are spirit and life, and they are not to be weighed by man's understanding. They are not to be invoked in vanity but are to be heard in silence, and accepted with all humility and with great affection.


"Happy is the man whom Thou admonishest, O Lord, and teachest out of Thy law, to give him peace from the days of evil,"and that he be not desolate on earth.


I taught the prophets from the beginning, and even to this day I continue to speak to all men. But many are hardened. Many are deaf to My voice. Most men listen more willingly to the world than to God. They are more ready to follow the appetite of their flesh than the good pleasure of God. The world, which promises small and passing things, is served with great eagerness: I promise great and eternal things and the hearts of men grow dull. Who is there that serves and obeys Me in all things with as great care as that with which the world and its masters are served?

"Be thou ashamed, O Sidon, for the sea speaketh."And if you ask why, listen to the cause: for a small gain they travel far; for eternal life many will scarcely lift a foot from the ground. They seek a petty reward, and sometimes fight shamefully in law courts for a single piece of money. They are not afraid to work day and night for a trifle or an empty promise. But, for an unchanging good, for a reward beyond estimate, for the greatest honor and for glory everlasting, it must be said to their shame that men begrudge even the least fatigue. Be ashamed, then, lazy and complaining servant, that they should be found more eager for perdition than you are for life, that they rejoice more in vanity than you in truth.

Sometimes indeed their expectations fail them, but My promise never deceives, nor does it send away empty-handed him who trusts in Me. What I have promised I will give. What I have said I will fulfill, if only a man remain faithful in My love to the end. I am the rewarder of all the good, the strong approver of all who are devoted to Me.

Write My words in your heart and meditate on them earnestly, for in time of temptation they will be very necessary. What you do not understand when you read, you will learn in the day of visitation. I am wont to visit My elect in two ways -- by temptation and by consolation. To them I read two lessons daily -- one reproving their vices, the other exhorting them to progress in virtue. He who has My words and despises them has that which shall condemn him on the last day.


O Lord my God, You are all my good. And who am I that I should dare to speak to You? I am Your poorest and meanest servant, a vile worm, much more poor and contemptible than I know or dare to say. Yet remember me, Lord, because I am nothing, I have nothing, and I can do nothing. You alone are good, just, and holy. You can do all things, You give all things, You fill all things: only the sinner do You leave empty-handed. Remember Your tender mercies and fill my heart with Your grace, You Who will not allow Your works to be in vain. How can I bear this life of misery unless You comfort me with Your mercy and grace? Do not turn Your face from me. Do not delay Your visitation. Do not withdraw Your consolation, lest in Your sight my soul become as desert land. Teach me, Lord, to do Your will. Teach me to live worthily and humbly in Your sight, for You are my wisdom Who know me truly, and Who knew me even before the world was made and before I was born into it.

Thomas a' Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

Are the Anglicans Coming Aboard?

Pope establishes structure for Anglicans uniting with Rome
From CNS

Psalm 143

LORD, listen to my prayer;
turn your ear to my appeal.
You are faithful you are just give answer
Do not call your servant to judgment
for no n one is just in your sight.
The enemy has pursues my soul;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
He has made me dwell in darkness
like the dead, long forgotten.
Therefore my spirit fails
my heart is numbed within me.

I remember the days that are past;
I ponder all your works;
I muse on what your hands has wrought
and to you I stretch out my hands.
Like a parched land mu soul thirsts for you.

LORD make haste and answer;
for my spirit fails within me.
Do not hide your face from me,
lest I become like those in the grave.
In the morning let me know your love
for I put my trust in you.
Make me know the way I should walk:
to you I lift up my soul.

For your name's sake, LORD, save my life;
in your justice save my soul from distress.
In your love make an end to my foes;
destroy all who oppress me
for I am your servant, O LORD