28 February 2015

et alia

28 FEBRUARY 2015. In these days of winter, time has been short for blogging and otherwise addressing anything beyond what presents itself as the next emergency or "must do" task. I recognize this is the devil at work in the world. He places before us all that we are constantly bombarded with and cajoles us to believe that this is reality, that this is what is most important. Doing so, the evil one prevents us from lifting our eyes to God, worshipping Him, and spending time in prayer.

Running on at the keyboard:

The Church on earth, always eager for new exemplars of the faith, has a new Doctor of the Church: Saint Gregory of Narek. An Armenian monk, poet, mystical philosopher, and theologian. Pope Francis named Saint Gregory as a Doctor of the Church on 21 February 2015. Look for further AS articles on this wonderful exemplar.

Many saints are at work in the world today. Not only are each of the faithful called to holiness and, thus, to be saints for us all, but the Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere are under terrible and constant attack. Not only have the brutal killings of ISIS or ISIL proved to us today the great persecution of the Church, but so many of the faithful are persecuted each day, and suffer white martyrdom, in the face of a Western culture that ignores God for the glorification of self and self-indulgence.

I and my employer have had many difficulties over the past months as we are the object of attack by ignorant people who are focused on attempting to achieve a legal end by political means. They will not and cannot be successful.

The recent legalization of euthanasia in Canada is another sign that Christian faithful and all those of good will need to redouble their efforts to provide protection for all human life, from conception to natural death. Each of us are made in the image and likeness of God, and each of us are possessed of an immortal soul, which shares in God's divinity by its immortal nature and God's plan for each of us to love Him and share in His being for eternity. Pray for life.

The Academy Awards . . . Why does anyone care?

What joy there is in this season of Lent, for each of us to have the opportunity to examine ourselves in preparation for the death and resurrection of Christ at Easter.

How many know that Pope Francis also created a new sui juris Eastern Rite Church, which is in full communion with Rome? On 19 January 2015 Pope Francis created the Eritrean Catholic Church as a metropolitan sui juris Eastern Particular church distinct from the Ethiopian Catholic Church. It uses the Alexandrian Liturgy.

Thinking of the Eastern Rites, on 15 November 2014, Pope Francis approved a document from the Congregation for the Oriental Churches which permits married priests in the Eastern Rites, in a turn from tradition, to serve outside of their geographic and cultural homes. Coming to the United States, now more so with Anglican Use parishes . . . married priests.

The Lay Dominicans del Espiritu Santo, the Tallahassee, Florida group of Lay Dominican faithful, are eagerly awaiting the celebration of Pentecost and the perpetual profession of our Brother into the fullness of Dominican lay life.

Pray to the Dominican Saints for their intercession for all your needs:

St. Dominic, pray for us.
St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us.
St. Martin de Porres, pray for us.
St. Mary Magdalen, pray for us. (Patroness of the Order)
St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
St. Albert the Great, pray for us.
St. Rose of Lima, pray for us.
St. Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
St. Pius V, pray for us.
All you holy angels and saints, pray for us.
Blessed Virgin Mary, Most Chaste Spouse of the Holy Spirit, pray for us.

Dear readers, please pray for me, and I will pray for you


25 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

25 DECEMBER 2014. Today the Church and all of Christendom celebrate the birth of our Savior, Christ the Lord. He who was in the beginning, has taken flesh upon Himself and been born of the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sent by the Father to forgive us our sins, let us always praise Him who has loved us with such heavenly generosity beyond our knowing.

Merry Christmas!

24 December 2014

Belief in Nothing is not a Protected Right that Trumps the Right to Express our Faith

24 DECEMBER 2014. In Tallahassee this year, the Department of State, concerned with law suits, has decided to let anything be displayed as a part of the Capitol's annual holiday displays.

Several groups, with the pure intent of mocking faith and the existence of God, have petitioned and been allowed to make displays which are both offensive to our community's sense of appropriateness and pitiful for their sheer display of ignorance.

Above is a picture of the Satanic Temple's holiday display. The Satanic Temple has officially gone on the record to say it does not worship Satan, but rather believes there should be absolutely no expression of religious belief in the public square. The Satanic Temple has no religious belief. The temple's display is not an exercise of religious expression. It is mere retaliation against expressions of faith that has been, now, given the equal footing to expressions of faith.

So, in the name of First Amendment rights, the Satanic Temple, with the assistance of the State of Florida, has somehow garnered to itself the right to mock and retaliate against expressions of religious faith, even offending the community, and in doing so the rights of all others to express religious belief in the public square are demeaned.

Belief in nothing is irrational. St. Thomas Aquinas, who was himself building upon the work of Aristotle who was a Greek pagan, has proven that reason alone leads each person to proof of the existence of God.

Belief in nothing is not a right guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. Expression of belief in the public square is such a right.

10 October 2014

Pray for our Church in the United States and Everywhere

10 OCTOBER 2014. As many have probably been following the information that is coming from the Synod on the Family in Rome, I too have been trying to learn what I can. However, I watched a recent video over at CNS (available here), which puported to display some Americans' "hopes" for the Synod from interviews with American parishoners of Santa Susanna in Rome. Frankly, I was horified.

The video protrays American attitudes toward marriage and the Church as being based more in nostalgia than anything, while at the same time calling for the Church to wake up to contemporary times, contemporary issues, and "come up to speed" with today's culture. One poor soul even articulates that the purpose of the Church is to "increase its flock" and that to do so it really must "give the people what they want." Pray, pray, pray for these poor people. I have to wonder, where is their catechises?

I pray this is not really the sentiment of the majority, or a significant number, of faithful Catholics in the United States. I want a Church that proclaims truth! I want a Church that is faithful and emphasizes that faithfulness to the Body of Christ. I want a Church that strives toward holiness and is focused on bringing all men and women closer to God so that they may be be holy saints, destined for heaven. I want a Church that loves with the tenderness of Christ, forgives sins - as Christ came to do and instituted the Church as his bride - but continues to call all of us sinners to a life that is free from sin. Oh, the folly of seeking the impossible (in the eyes of the world), but oh the joy (for the faithful) of following Christ, though I will certainly at times fail.

Watch the video and let me know if you agree or disagree with these "American" views.

I would also commend a well written, and I think insightful, article by Father Dwight Longenecker, published by Zenit. Father Longenecker takes on the dueling videos (as portrayed by the media and in social media) from Cardinal Walter Kasper and Cardinal Raymond Burke in the days leading up to the start of the Synod. While I would not question the faithfulness of either Cardinal Kasper or Cardinal Burke, Father Longenecker makes some good, if slightly over generalized, points. Points which may go a long way toward explaining a real divergence in attitudes among Catholics, particularly American Catholics.

Here are few snipets:
Catholic New Service issued videos featuring the two cardinals expressing their points of view. Video Kasper could be summed up as, “couples in a second marriage show love and tenderness. We should do the same and forgive.” Video Burke was, “Jesus said if a man divorces his wife and marries another he commits adultery. Any questions?”
 . . .
 Kasperian Catholicism is not only a European phenomenon. It is also the main religion of the American Northeast where, as in Europe, Catholicism is the de facto established religion. In this country, we might call Kasperian Catholicism “Kennedy Catholicism.” This religion regards the moral teachings of the Church as “guidelines.” The traditions of the Church are quaint customs to feel nostalgic about, and the dogmas of Catholicism are medieval notions that should be re-interpreted and understood in fresh ways for the modern world. The fact that both Kasperian and Kennedy Catholicism are found in areas where the Catholic faith is the established religion is no coincidence. It is only when a religion is established as it is in these sub cultures that it can afford the luxury of liberalism.
. . . Rather than being comfortable within the established Church, Burke seems more aware of the growing conflict between the world and the gospel. For Burkeans, Christ and culture are in conflict and the Church is there to challenge the prevailing mores, not condone them. The Burkean Catholic sees the core faith once delivered to the saints as being unchangeable, and adaptation to the prevailing culture only involves a change in emphasis, a tweaking of presentation or a re-packaging of the unchanging truths.
Read the whole article here.

I will pray more fervently for our Church, especially our Church in the United States.

16 September 2014

Dominican Laity in Tallahassee

13 SEPTEMBER 2014. Today the Lay Dominicans del Espiritu Santo celebrate six new temporarily professed members of the Order. All this, from a gathering of two or three more than seven years ago. Praise God!

10 September 2014

Ordained a Priest on the Threshold of Eternity

8 SEPTEMBER 2014. The Church celebrated the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary this day, but her birthday prayers were certainly with a man to be ordained on her day, as he prepared to cross the threshold into eternity with our Lord, her Son.

Read the story here about Father William Carmona, ordained as a Priest of our Lord Jesus Christ on 8 September 2014, who was born into eternal life on 10 September 2014.

Truly, this act of mercy and love, by Bishop Choby and all those who worked to make the ordination possible, shines a glorious and moving light on the value of the human person and the calling that each one of us has to pour out our lives to the God who made us and gives us all.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace. 

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
though the mercy of God, rest in peace. 

13 June 2014

Saint Anthony of Padua


13 JUNE 2014. Today the Church celebrates the feast of Saint Anthony of Padua, priest, friar, and Doctor of the Church.

O Holy St. Anthony, gentlest of Saints, your love for God and Charity for His creatures, made you worthy, when on earth, to possess miraculous powers. Encouraged by this thought, I implore you to obtain for me [your request here]. 0 gentle and loving St. Anthony, whose heart was ever full of human sympathy, whisper my petition into the ears of the sweet Infant Jesus, who loved to be folded in your arms; and the gratitude of my heart will ever be yours.


22 May 2014

Lovely Rita

22 MAY 2014. Saint Rita of Cascia. Re-posted from Dominica. By Br. Joseph Martin Hagan, O.P.

Lovely Rita

The life of St. Rita can read like a Shakespearean tragedy.  As a young woman, Rita desired to enter the convent and consecrate herself to God alone, but her parents had other ideas.  They arranged for Rita to marry a nobleman, Paolo, and she humbly obeyed their wishes.  Sadly, her husband was an abusive, violent man who treated Rita with little dignity.  Paolo, however, died a sudden death when he was ambushed and stabbed by members of a rival family.  Rita was left a widow with two young sons.
At her husband’s funeral, Rita forgave his murderers and pleaded for peace between the feuding families.  So strong was her family’s vendetta that she asked God to take her sons’ lives rather than allow them to commit murder.  Her prayers were answered rather brutally: both of her sons died of a fatal illness before they could seek vengeance. Rita was now a widow and childless.
Returning to her childhood desire, Rita again sought to enter the local convent of Augustinian nuns; however, the nuns objected to her entrance.  Many of the nuns were related to the murderers of Rita’s husband, and they were wary of inviting dissension if they accepted Rita.  Before allowing her into the convent, they required the impossible of Rita: bringing peace to the rival families.
By this point in her story, we get the message: Rita, though innocent, had a tough life.  Is this what made her a saint?  Was her holiness merely a matter of patiently suffering the tragedies of her life?  No.  Surely suffering is part of every Christian’s journey with the Cross of Christ, but a saint suffers without the usual pessimism of a tragedy.
The life of St. Rita can also read as a song of hope.  She met adversity with an anthem of God’s unfailing mercy.  Rita did not merely endure her husband; she met his abuse with her love and kindness.  She was a mercy to him, and many accounts record that by the time of his death, he had become a good, peaceful man.  His violent death came not by his instigation, but by the betrayal of his trusted allies.
Her sons’ premature deaths too were a sort of mercy.  No good parent desires their child’s death.  And we do not know if Rita’s sons would have grown up to seek violent revenge.  But what is worse: the death of the body or of the soul?  Our dead bodies will be resurrected, but a dead soul in hell awaits no return.  Rita’s prayers potentially saved her boys from murder and from losing their souls by attempting to fulfill their inherited vendetta.
In response to the convent’s initial rejection, Rita worked one of her greatest miracles: bringing peace to a town torn by family feuds. First, she invoked the intercession of St. Augustine, St. Nicholas, and St. John the Baptist.  Then, she successfully exhorted her family to accept peace, and subsequently the rival family.  For this, she received the title the Peacemaker of Cascia.
Then, as a nun, she committed herself to a life of prayer and penance. She entered into mystical union with the Crucified Christ and received a thorn in her forehead—a suffering born of love.  Offering herself to God, her life was a blessing to all of Cascia, to all of the Church.  Even unto today, St. Rita is invoked as the saint of the impossible.
This second reading of St. Rita’s life emphasizes an important point.  Saints do not just suffer through life, waiting for it to be over.  Rather, they raise a song of hope in the midst of life’s suffering.  And even more, this song is not a solo but a chorus.  St. Rita’s holiness was contagious, bringing others closer to God.
To rightly praise St. Rita and her love of God, the words of Psalm 84 seem fitting:
They are happy, whose strength is in you,
in whose hearts are the roads to Zion.
As they go through the Bitter Valley
they make it a place of springs.
The autumn rain covers it with blessings.
They walk with ever growing strength,
they will see the God of gods in Zion.
By her intercession, may we go through the Bitter Valley of our life and make it a place of springs.  May the roads to Heaven be written in our hearts, and may we travel with ever growing strength.
St. Rita, pray for us.
Image: Frederic Leighton, The Reconciliation of the Montagues and the Capulets over the Dead Bodies of Romeo and Juliet

03 May 2014

Pope Saint Pius V

Pius v

Born in a town called Bosco in Northern Italy, and raised in the humblest surroundings of poverty and obscurity, Anthony Ghislieri was born to poor parents in the year 1504.  His Baptismal Name was Anthony, as he was born on the Feast of St Anthony of the Desert (Jan 17th).

After entering the Order of Preachers as a young man he became renowned for his holiness, and Fr Michele Ghislieri soon attracted the attention of the hierarchy in Rome. In 1566 he was elected Pope, taking the name Pius V. The new Pope led the Church with the deepest sanctity; a holiness of life that would inspire all those who encountered him. Pius V was a man intent on interior spiritual renewal of the Church. In this desire we see many similarities between him and our present Holy Father, Pope Francis. Pius’ first public act as Pope was to give all the money that was received for the installation ceremonies of the new Pontiff to the poor and neediest. The thousand crowns usually given for the banquet for the Cardinals and ambassadors were sent to hospitals and the poorest convents in the city: “For I know,” said the Pope, “that God will not call me to account for suppressing a feast for the wealthy, but he may punish me severely if I neglect His poor.”

From the first moment of his election Pius V saw as his top priority not so much the battle from without but the need for spiritual renewal within, starting with the hierarchy. Leading by example he endeavored to inspire the Cardinals to a renewed life of Christian simplicity and fervor.  He established regular life in the apostolic palace, gave conferences to his court and the Cardinals on the life of virtue that would be needed to reform the Church. Always clothed in his Dominican habit, he slept on a hard pallet and he kept continual fasts according to the rules of the Order, knowing that only sacrifice and a life of holiness would draw down the graces necessary for the re-invigoration of the Church. His table was characterized by its extreme frugality so all saw in him a man devoted to the imitation of the life of Christ shown by his Holy Father Dominic. He had a deep love for the Rosary and for this he was called ‘The Pope of the Rosary.’ Likewise he was called the “The Pope of the Crucifix” loving with all his heart the Sacred Humanity of Christ crucified. In the Saviour’s crucified humanity he saw the deepest expression of Divine love.

On May 1st 1572,  Pius V clothed in his old Dominican habit, and clutching his Rosary beads made one last request of his Lord: “Increase my sufferings but also increase my patience.” This saintly Dominican Pope shows us that the path of renewal remains the same in our day; interior conversion of life and the life of holiness practiced by all the faithful who are called by their Lord to be light to the world. He challenges us not to settle for mediocrity but to strive to be the saints of the third millennium, echoing the challenge given to us by Pope St John Paul II.

RE-POSTED FROM Domincans Interactive, Irish Province.