Monday, December 31, 2007

Something to Carry With Us On the Coming Year's Journey

Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen OCD, (Author of the great spiritual Classic, Divine Intimacy) reminds us:

'When Jesus says to us, "Be you perfect as also your heavenly Father
is perfect", He gives us a model of perfection that we can never
exhaust. The perfection of the very greatest saints when compared
with God's perfection is nothing. Jesus teaches us then not to rest
complacent in the degree of perfection we have attained, nor be
satisfied with our progress or even our efforts. Compared with the
lofty ideal He sets out for us, we are nothing. This is why He tells
us never to stop, never to say, "This is enough." No matter how much
progress we make, we never advance far enough. Who, indeed, can
become as just, as merciful as God? As long as we are on earth, our
holiness will always consist in a continual tending toward divine

Wishing you a fruitful and joyous journey in the new year!

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Feast of St. Stephen

Today is the feast of St. Stephen, the protomartyr of the Church. I have always wondered why the juxtaposition Christmas, the most glorious and well, innocent, of Feasts, with the occasion of the martyrdom of Stephen, a gritty and bloody wake-up call.

Maybe that is the idea. I am sure that it isn't just some gruesome coincidence; but rather a well thought out reminder. Also featured in this week is the feast of the Holy Innocents, which is something in the same vein, I think.

This tiny and innocent child came, not to bring the peace the world gives, but the edge of the sword, the vicious and personal blow of the stoning. The peace on earth the angels proclaim isn't here, in the world's terms. Her in the world we will face stones and swords, persecutions of all kinds.

Yet Stephen experienced the peace of Christ, and experienced it in the midst of his cruel and bloody murder--he looked up and saw the heavens opened, and Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father. His last words were of forgiveness, and he hastened forth from the world full of love and joy.

Let the peace of the Lord be with us all, and as we follow in the footsteps of this first, great witness, returning love for hate, and good for evil, may that hasten the day when peace will reign here, as well.

God is here with us, who can be against us?

Help us, Oh Lord, to seek and to find your peace, the true peace, even here now in the midst of our anxieties, conflicts and persecutions. Let us see just a little bit of what Stephen saw, that we may be strengthened and encouraged in the midst of our troubles, whatever they may be.

Merry Christmas Season

It is my wish and prayer that all of you have a joyous and blessed Christmas season.

I had hoped to go to Midnight Mass, but ended up at the 10am on Christmas morning. And you know what, I'm glad it worked out that way. Evidently the crush and throng had attended one of the two anticipation services or the Midnight Mass (which, with its promised concert and carol singing was surely enticing--and hey, you know its Midnight Mass, so cool) so that the 10 am was peaceful, though still festive. And I am also happy to relate that we (my daughter and I) arrived early.

The Church was beautiful, the small ensemble very lovely, and best of all, Jesus was there. I very much enjoyed Fr. Jim's homily, the readings, etc.....and best of all, Jesus was there.

After Mass, we took time for Lauds (a bit late, but hey, its Christmas) and to look at the nativity scene, the flowers, and to enjoy the lingering aroma of the incense....
and best of all, Jesus was there.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Modestly Yours--Modesty Blog

Just stumbled across the blog Modestly Yours, a group blog by women who value modesty.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Prudence in Action

A list I subscribe to sent me this chapter fromThe Imitation of Christ. I like it because it helps me to clarify what prudence really is, and how to exercise it.

The Fourth Chapter
Prudence in Action

DO NOT yield to every impulse and suggestion but consider things carefully and patiently in the light of God’s will. For very often, sad to say, we are so weak that we believe and speak evil of others rather than good. Perfect men, however, do not readily believe every talebearer, because they know that human frailty is prone to evil and is likely to appear in speech.

Not to act rashly or to cling obstinately to one’s opinion, not to believe everything people say or to spread abroad the gossip one has heard, is great wisdom.

Take counsel with a wise and conscientious man. 8 Seek the advice of your betters in preference to following your own inclinations.

A good life makes a man wise according to God and gives him experience in many things, for the more humble he is and the more subject to God, the wiser and the more at peace he will be in all things.

http://www.ccel. org:80/ccel/ kempis/imitation .ONE.4.html

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Theodore Dalrymple on What the New Atheists Don't See

I have just run across a very thoughtful article in the City Journal on the topic of the various vituperations and imprecations cast a believers of all sorts by the newest crop of atheist authors (Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris).
Written as it is by a man of letters who is not himself a believer, I found it to be especially credible, reasoned and thoughtful.

Dalrymple addresses some of the more strident and shocking claims of this group of authors. The most shocking idea I met with in the review, having not--I will admit--read the book in question was Harriss' idea that one must consider the wisdom of killing people because they entertain a certain belief. I mean here that he feels, owing to "the link between faith and behavior" that such an idea might be a good one. Gee, and we thought Diocletian was long dead.

We are accustomed, in the United States and the rest of the Western World, to say that whatever we have to suffer in the cause of our faith is of the "mere inconvenience" category of things. Or at least is confined to subtle job discrimination and family insults. I believe that most sane persons of any philosophical bent or belief system would still decry the idea of genocide --but maybe a day will come when that is no longer true, and even we in the West will be able to earn the crown of a "red martyrdom" rather than a "white" one. To say I rather hope not certainly doesn't capture the sick, sinking feeling I had when reading that the idea had been offered forth in End of Faith.

Anyhow, go and read the Dalrymple Article. There's a lot more to it than that bit of sickening info (I guess I've got to start reading these vituperative books, just to know what's up) and I found the article so well written, that I expect to be looking back for more of his thought and reviews.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Eve of the Feast of OHF St. John of the Cross

Heads up all ye Carmelites! Today is the eve of the feast of Our Holy Father St. John of the Cross--whom I find I am growing love more and more!

A Poster of Controversy

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the Blog of Lon has a very interesting and controversial post regarding how Jesus' actual teachings are or are not followed by those who call themselves Christians.

Look at the poster and think about it. Where do you stand here? The actual post has excellent comments, some of which get close to my thoughts here, without actually getting there. Here goes.

I know that Jesus loves each of these people with an everlasting love, and that he died to save them. What greater service could there be than that? However, he never condoned evil or endorsed or served the causes of those who do evil. Look at all of his interaction with the Pharisees. Look at the cleansing of the temple. Yet even this is service, because to tolerate evil inanother does not do them any service of love, but is in itself sin.
Jesus, who truly loves Osama bin Ladin (but who abhors all evil) would never serve him in any way which enabled him to continue in falseness. Rather, He died for him, and calls out to him to turn away from evil and do good. To me, the image is an apparent contradiction, but really the deeper one goes, the more one can see that it is not so. It is just hard for people to get past the rather shocking image.

It is so hard for us to accept the idea that God loves passionately the one whom we hate. And we must not hate--but that does not translate to endorsing, accepting or "serving" evil

So while I find the image controversial and thought provoking, I don't find it offensive or dissonant in the way which many seem to.

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Tiny Wonder

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A friend at Stumbleupon, 14PeaceNow, has this--the story of convicted forger A. Schiller-- on his page. This is mind boggling to me.

Schiller spent the last 25 years of his life in Sing Sing prison. When he died in the late 1800's several straight pins were found on his body. He had painstakingly inscribed the Lord's prayer on each pin. What I want to know is, who even thought to look?

Consider the size of a regular straight pin. On the page the head's diameter is reported as being 1.17 mm in diameter or 47/1000ths of an inch! What an artist,and what a sweet and flawless hidden sacrifice to the Lord!

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Our Holy Father on the Immaculate Conception

"As a merciful Mother, Mary is the anticipated figure and everlasting portrait of the Son. Thus, we see that the image of the Sorrowful Virgin, of the Mother who shares her suffering and her love, is also a true image of the Immaculate Conception. Her heart was enlarged by being and feeling together with God. In her, God's goodness came very close to us."
- - Pope Benedict XVI (December 8, 2005)

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