Saturday, December 01, 2007

Just for Today, December 2

Then wilt thou rejoice more that thou hast kept silence, than that thou hast made long discourses, or talked much.
- Bk. I, ch. xxiv.

Some time after she came to Carmel she was appoint­ed aid to Sœur Agnes de Jesus, her beloved "Pauline", in the refectory. Knowing that unnecessary speaking was forbidden, she never once allowed herself to say any­thing intimate.

"Oh! little Mother, how much I went through at that time!" she said later. "I could not tell you what was in my heart, and I thought you no longer knew me."After five years of this heroic silence, Sreur Agnes was elected Prioress. On the evening of the election "little Therese's" heart must have beat with joy at the thought of at length being able to speak freely to her "little Mother", and pour out her soul to her as of old. However, God so permitted that she saw less than any of the nuns of the Prioress.

- H.
For a List of Abbreviations, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - December 2

No one should think or say anything of another which he would not wish thought or said of himself.

- St. Teresa
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for December 2, The Life of Union

Yesterday, in considering my preparation for Christmas in union with Mary awaiting Jesus, I meditated upon my call to intimacy as one consecrated.

But there is another and more weighty reason for this intimacy, namely, that through baptism I have become a living tabernacle of the Most High.

God has not destined human beings to be merely human beings and nothing more. Over and above my human nature, my soul and body, a life transcending nature has been given me, a supernatural life. This supernatural life consists not only in the presence of a certain something within me, something that purifies my cognitive faculties, but rather in the mysterious yet very real presence of that great Someone who is God Himself.

Why will the Word come to the manger? For His own pleasure? No, indeed, but to restore to the intimate manger of my heart that ineffable Presence of God which original sin banished.

Every soul in grace is a living shrine of the Most High. Every soul in the state of grace, whether in the cloister or in the world, is by virtue of baptism alone called to a magnificent intimacy with God. It is my duty to ponder well this beautiful mystery of God present in my soul.

"O Holy Trinity, dwelling within me, make known to me this great secret, that I may not be ignorant of the gift of God which delighted the happy Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob. Let me seek daily to penetrate ever better this splendid reality of Your Presence in me. I wish to live in this nearness to You; to share with You my thoughts, my joys, my sufferings, be they great or small. Since I am never alone, but there are always two, You and I, is it not right that I associate You with all that happens to me and with all that I do?"

Here, then, is the first condition of the life of union, complete awareness of this sublime duality.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

1st Sunday of Advent-The Ten Commandments

"Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect." St. Matthew 24:44

An eminent lawyer once asked a Catholic friend to suggest some reli­gious book that would appeal to his legal mind. The Catholic urged him to read the Bible. The inquirer thought that his request had been misun­derstood. He again tried to make it clear that what he wanted was an ex­planation of what was in the sacred book. But the Catholic insisted that he start with the inspired text itself. The lawyer asked him:
"Where shall I begin?"

"Begin at the beginning, and read it through," urged his friend.

Now and then the Catholic called upon his legal friend to find that he was faithfully reading part of the Bible every day. But one evening he found the lawyer walking up and down in his office, deep in thought.

"What's on your mind, Bill?" questioned the Catholic.

"I've been reading the Book of Exodus, especially that twentieth chap­ter, which tells about God giving the Ten Commandments to Moses."

"Well, what about it?" asked his visitor.

"What about it?" echoed the lawyer. "Why, I have been trying to see whether I could add anything to it, but I can't; it takes in everything. Then I've tried to see whether there is any thing that could be left out, to improve it. Nothing can be added or left out."

Then, with earnestness, he exclaimed: "It's perfect."

Truly, the Ten Commandments are a perfect set of laws, whether we look at them from the standpoint of God or from the viewpoint of man. They are often called the "Decalogue," which means ten words, the ten laws which sum up the wish and will of God.

From the very moment when God created man the Almighty imprinted upon the human soul the natural or unwritten law. Man always could tell the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. Man always knew, for instance, that theft and adultery and lying and murder were wrong.

But the mind of man became darkened and his heart hardened. No longer did he see or want to see what was right and what was wrong. God found it necessary to declare His law again and in unmistakable words. How God gave His Ten Commandments to His chosen people we read in the Book of Exodus, Chapter Twenty.

God had given the Jews one favor after another, one blessing, one gift after another. But they were faithless to their Divine Benefactor. They preferred their blind passions and sinful appetites to the law God had planted in their hearts. Then it was that God decided to give them His Commandments in a way that would strike terror in their hearts.

Three months after the chosen people had left Egypt the Almighty assembled them at the foot of Mt. Sinai. He bade them keep three solemn days of preparation, praying, fasting, and purifying themselves from all uncleanness.

The third day dawned bright and clear. The rising sun lit up the summit of Mt. Sinai. Suddenly the scene changed. A black cloud covered the mountain, terrifying peals of thunder rolled along the mountainside, and blinding flashes of lightning skipped through the gathering darkness.

Surrounded by fire, the Lord descended upon the steep summit and called the prophet Moses. The whole mountain seemed wrapped in thick smoke. A trumpet sounded. The people trembled and took to their tents. But God called them forth to hear as He declared to them in tones of thun­der His Ten Commandments:

1. I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the Land of Egypt and out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt not have strange gods before me.
2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
3. Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day.
4. Honor thy father and thy mother.
5. Thou shalt not kill.
6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
7. Thou shalt not steal.
8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.

Here is the most complete and perfect set of laws in the world, given by God Himself, given in a way that was solemn and awful, given to show us the way to heaven, given that we might know what He wants, and, that, doing what He wants, we might someday be with Him.

But isn't it impossible to keep these laws? Without God's help, yes. With God's help, no. Some, like Pelagius, an early heretic, taught that man could keep God's law by his natural powers alone. Others, like Calvin, in the 16th century, claimed that with or without grace it was impossible to keep the Commandments.

God's Church, the Catholic Church, teaches that with the help of God everyone can keep the law of God. Countless souls, of every age, sex and condition, have observed the Commandments. Countless others are keeping them today. It can be done. It must be done. God will punish those who deliberately refuse to keep His law. God rewards, even here, those who keep His Commandments.

Heaven and earth and everything in them will pass away, but the word of God, given on Mt. Sinai, and carved into the fleshly tablets of the human heart - God's Ten Commandments - the perfect law - will never pass away. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Commandments
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (© 1948)

Gospel for Saturday, 34th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 21:34-36

The Need for Vigilance

(Jesus said to His disciples), [34] "But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare; [35] for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth. [36] But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."


34-36. At the end of His discourse Jesus emphasizes that every Christian needs to be vigilant: we do not know the day nor the hour in which He will ask us to render an account of our lives. Therefore, we must at all times be trying to do God's will, so that death, whenever it comes, will find us ready. For those who act in this way, sudden death never takes them by surprise. As St. Paul recommends: "You are not in darkness, brethren, for that day to surprise you like a thief" (1 Thessalonians 5:4). Vigilance consists in making a constant effort not to be attached to the things of this world (the concupiscence of the flesh, the concupiscence of the eyes and pride of life: cf. John 2:16) and in being assiduous in prayer, which keeps us close to God. If we live in this way, the day we die will be a day of joy and not of terror, for with God's help our vigilance will mean that our souls are ready to receive the visit of our Lord; they are in the state of grace: in meeting Christ we will not be meeting a judge who will find us guilty; instead He will embrace us and lead us into the house of His Father to remain there forever. "Does your soul not burn with the desire to make your Father-God happy when He has to judge you?" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 746).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Just for Today, December 1

The saints and friends of Christ served the Lord in hunger and thirst; in cold and nakedness; in labor and weariness; in watchings and fastings; in prayers and holy meditations; in persecutions and many reproaches. Alas! what is our life if compared to theirs!
- Bk. I, ch. xviii.

Her greatest hardship at Carmel was doing without a fire in winter. It is easy to imagine what this delicate child must have endured during the long Norman winters, in the damp climate of Lisieux. When the cold was more intense, after having spent the whole day shivering, the Saint would go and warm herself for a few minutes in the Community room after Matins. But to reach her cell afterwards, she had to walk about forty yards along an open cloister, and the rest of the way up the stairs and down the icy corridor robbed her of the little warmth she had acquired. When she finally lay down on her straw mattress, covered by two thin blankets, she could only get snatches of sleep. Sometimes she spent the whole night awake, shivering with the cold.

If at the beginning of her religious life she had spoken of this to the novice-mistress, she would have been given some relief, but she preferred to endure this severe hardship without complaint. It was only her death­bed that the truth became known, when she admitted: "The greatest physical suffering of my religious life has been from the cold; I suffered from it to such an extent that I nearly died of it."
- H.
For a List of Abbreviations, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - December 1

If we consider all that is imperfect and worldly in us, we shall find ample reason for abasing ourselves before God and man, before ourselves and our inferiors.

-St. Vincent de Paul
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for December 1, The Call to Intimacy

Advent begins the preparation for Christmas - that life of close­ness to Mary awaiting Jesus. I wish to cull from it a better under­standing of my call to intimacy with God.

I am called to INTIMACY with God as one consecrated--­

I. By reason of MY VOCATION:
If I examine my vocation from the viewpoint of God's call to me, what do I find? The Good Master stooping to draw me. To what? Certainly not to an ordinary union with Him. If He has distinguished me from my companions of former days, it is to make me His intimate, His chosen one.

II. By reason of MY PROFESSION:
I have been received into the cloister. I have pronounced my Holy Vows. What have I promised? To strive for perfection according to the spirit of the Religious Congregation that accepted me. The essential element of my vocation is simply this: To strive to efface myself and to give my best measure of virtue. The day that voluntarily and definitely I fall short of this ideal, I shall no longer be in the deepest sense a Religious.

III. By reason of MY MISSION:
If my vocation is the contemplative life and I fail to aspire to intimacy, I am a living contradiction.
If, in a certain measure, my vocation entails the exterior apos­tolate, no matter what its nature, how can I hope to give God to souls if I myself am not exceedingly rich in God?

"O Jesus, I understand; my call to the religious life is a call to Intimacy with You - the closest intimacy. Grant that I may respond to Your expectations, that I may be a true religious according to Your Heart."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Local Priest Resigns as Pastor

The Rev. Vincent Heier has resigned as pastor of All Saints Catholic Church in University City and was "relieved of his duties" as director of the archdiocese's Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Heier led the archdiocese's interfaith office for about 25 years. Earlier this month, he was at the center of a controversy surrounding two Catholic women who were ordained in a St. Louis synagogue as priests of a group called Roman Catholic Womenpriests...

The archdiocese said in a statement that Heier had resigned from All Saints "in order to devote his complete attention to personal matters."
Please keep Fr. Heier in your prayers.

Archbishop Burke approves new oratory for Latin Mass

From the St Louis Review:
Archbishop Raymond L. Burke has announced he is establishing this weekend the Oratory of St. Gregory the Great and St. Augustine of Canterbury at the Abbey of St. Mary and St. Louis in Creve Coeur.

The oratory will be the new West County home for the regular celebration of the "extraordinary form" of the Mass, commonly known as the traditional or Tridentine Latin Mass.

The decree of erection establishing the oratory will take effect the First Sunday of Advent, Dec. 2.

This will be the archdiocese’s second such oratory, or nonterritorial parish, that has been set aside for the celebration of the Latin Mass. St. Francis de Sales Oratory was the first, established by Archbishop Burke in 2005.

As part of the archbishop’s decree, he appointed Benedictine Father Bede Price to the office of rector of the oratory, effective Dec. 2. That day Father Price will celebrate the first traditional Latin Mass at the oratory at 10:30 a.m.

The oratory will then celebrate Latin Mass Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and Mondays through Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. The Masses will take place in St. Anselm Parish Centre Chapel on the grounds of St. Louis Abbey, 530 S. Mason Road. The site was chosen in part because it is easily accessible to Catholics residing in West County and surrounding areas....

The Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem for the past four years had been celebrating the Latin Mass according to the rites in force in 1962 at the Passionist Monastery in Ellisville. Father [Thomas] Keller began caring for the community of 75 to 100 people when the order left.

Father Price began assisting Father Keller in October. The community now will be served by the oratory at the abbey. Other monks as they are trained in the traditional Latin rite will later assist Father Price, Father Keller said...

Father Price also thanked Father Karl Lenhardt, rector of St. Francis de Sales Oratory, for his strong support and Father Keller for his tireless help "in keeping this little community together..."

Father Lenhardt added he was particularly grateful and pleased the oratory was connected to the Benedictines, who he said are renowned for their care of the liturgy. "I have no doubt this beautiful treasure of the Church is in the right hands at the abbey..."
The complete article is here.

Minnesota Heat Wave?

For the second time in less than a week, Archbishop John Nienstedt has been publically vilified for simply communicating the Catholic Church’s teaching on human sexuality.

In today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune, Nick Coleman castigated the Archbishop for his recent column in the Catholic Spirit newspaper in which the Archbishop concisely and charitably explained the Catholic Church's teaching regarding a homosexual's obligation to chastity and the Church's obligation to support and encourage such a chaste lifestyle. Nick Coleman’s criticisms, together with those of other homosexual activists, expose a deep-seated intolerance and hatred some have towards those who hold traditional values regarding human sexuality.


* Click here to send a note of thanks to Archbishop Nienstedt for having the courage to speak-out on the moral teachings of the Church.

* Click here to write a letter to the editor in response to Nick Coleman's article attacking Archbishop Nienstedt.

* Please FORWARD THIS MESSAGE to friends and family members.
HT to DM for the update!

Prayer Vigil in support of Bp. Nienstedt and for healing of homosexuality

From our norhern friends, we received this:

2:00 - 3:00 PM
Sunday December 2, 2007
Cathedral of Saint Paul
Selby Aveneue Entrance
Rosary exposed.

We will pray all 4 sets of mysteries of the most holy rosary and the divine mercy chaplet and several litanies while processing around the Cathedral for the support of Bishop Nienstedt and for the healing of the affliction and plague of homosexuality, especially in Minnesota.
Coincidentally, another group, hostile to Church teaching and the natural moral law will be at the Cathedral, as we read in this notice:

Do you encourage and support your lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) family members, and friends who accept and express their sexuality?

If so, you're "cooperating in a grave evil," according to Archbishop Nienstedt.

If you find yourself in disagreement with the archbishop's views and would like to see the Church's teaching on homosexuality reformed in light of credible science and the lived experiences of LGBT people and their families, then you're invited to a . . .

Vigil for Solidarity with LGBT Catholics, their families, friends, and supporters

Sunday, December 2, 2007
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Front steps of the Cathedral of St. Paul
St. Paul, MN

We invite you to stand with us as we "promote" Jesus' message of inclusion, justice, and compassion.

For more information, contact Michael Bayly
of The Progressive Catholic Voice
Phone: 612-201-4534
Progressive "Catholic" Voice? Hardly - this position is far removed from the Catholic faith. What we have here are those who have a twisted and distorted understanding of Jesus' mercy and justice.

For those who cannot make it to the Rosary Prayer Vigil, one can always unite his prayers with those who have gathered there to pray for those who have chosen a path away from Christ and His Church.

The USCCB's "unfortunate" review of "The Golden Compass"

Unfortunate is one way to categorize Harry Forbes' review and the USCCB 'approval'...

Carl Olson also has a nice commentary on this movie at Ignatius Insight here.

"SPE SALVI," the Encyclical Letter

VATICAN CITY, NOV 30, 2007 (VIS) - Benedict XVI's second Encyclical, "Spe Salvi" which is dedicated to the theme of Christian hope, was published today. The document - which has an introduction and eight chapters - begins with a quote from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans: "spe salvi facti sumus" (in hope we are saved).

The chapter titles are as follows: "1. Faith is Hope; 2. The concept of faith-based hope in the New Testament and the early Church; 3. Eternal life - what is it?; 4. Is Christian hope individualistic?; 5. The transformation of Christian faith-hope in the modern age; 6. The true shape of Christian hope; 7. 'Settings' for learning and practicing hope: i) Prayer as a school of hope, ii) Action and suffering as settings for learning hope, iii) Judgement as a setting for learning and practicing hope; 8. Mary, Star of Hope."

The Holy Father explains in his Introduction that "according to the Christian faith, 'redemption' - salvation - is not simply a given. Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey...."
This article from the Vatican Information Service is continued here.

The Encyclical begins:

1. “SPE SALVI facti sumus”—in hope we were saved, says Saint Paul to the Romans, and likewise to us (Rom 8:24). According to the Christian faith, “redemption”—salvation—is not simply a given. Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey. Now the question immediately arises: what sort of hope could ever justify the statement that, on the basis of that hope and simply because it exists, we are redeemed? And what sort of certainty is involved here?
Continued here...

Gospel for Nov 30, Feast: St. Andrew, Apostle

Old Calendar: St. Andrew

From: Matthew 4:18-22

The First Disciples Called

[18] As He (Jesus) walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. [19] And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." [20] Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. [21] And going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them. [22] Immediately, they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.


18-22. These four disciples had already met our Lord (John 1:35-42), and their brief meeting with Him seems to have had a powerful effect on their souls. In this way Christ prepared their vocation, a fully effective vocation which moved them to leave everything behind so as to follow Him and be His disciples. Standing out above their human defects (which the Gospels never conceal), we can see the exemplary generosity and promptness of the Apostles in answering God's call.

The thoughtful reader cannot fail to be struck by the delightful simplicity with which the evangelists describe the calling of these men in the midst of their daily work.

"God draws us from the shadows of our ignorance, our groping through history, and, no matter what our occupation in the world, He calls us in a loud voice, as He once called Peter and Andrew" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By," 45).

"This divine and human dialogue completely changed the lives of John and Andrew, and Peter and James and so many others. It prepared their hearts to listen to the authoritative teaching which Jesus gave them beside the Sea of Galilee" ("ibid"., 108).

We should notice the words of Sacred Scripture used to describe the alacrity with which the Apostles follow our Lord. Peter and Andrew "immediately" left their nets and followed Him. Similarly, James and John "immediately" left the boats and their father and followed Him. God passes by and calls us. If we do not answer Him "immediately", He may continue on His way and we could lose sight of Him. When God passes by, He may do so rapidly; it would be sad if we were to fall behind because we wanted to follow Him while still carrying many things that are only a dead weight and a nuisance.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

U.S. Bishops Give "Golden Compass" a "Thumbs Up"...

...Is anyone really surprised?

For weeks, controversy has surrounded this film as noted here:






The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification for this film is A-II -- adults and adolescents. Harry Forbes' glowing yet misinformed review can be read here.

Thankfully though, AmericanPapist has been diligently covering the matter, also:
You’ve probably heard about the controversy surrounding New Line Cinema’s upcoming movie The Golden Compass and the claims that the book it is based on by Philip Pullman is anti-Catholic.

Today the USCCB Office for Film and Broadcasting released a very favorable review of the movie, discounting the many criticisms and calls for boycotts it has received.

I have commented on the USCCB’s review, and proposed what I think is a compelling argument for why Catholics and other Christians should prudently consider avoiding it.

This movie deserves to be avoided as do the USCCB movie reviews (Brokeback Mountain, anyone?)...

Fauithful Catholics would do well to review the Catholic League articles as well as the commentary by Tom Peters at AmericanPapist before funding and rewarding Pullman and his "Golden Compass"...

Just for Today, November 30

To bear the cross, to love the cross, to chastise the body and bring it under subjection, to fly honors, to be willing to suffer reproaches, to despise one's self, and wish to be despised; to bear all adversities and losses, and to desire no prosperity in this world, is not according to man's natural inclination.

If thou lookest to thyself, thou canst do nothing of this of thyself. But if thou confidest in the Lord, strength will be given thee from heaven, and the world and the flesh shall be made subject to thee.
- Bk. II, ch. xii.

It is true that it costs us much to give Our Lord what He is asking, but what joy it is to feel the cost and carry our cross so weakly! Instead of reproaching Him for having sent us this cross, I cannot fathom the depths of divine love which move Him so to treat us. God must love Father very dearly to send him such suffering. What joy for us to share this humiliation with him!

I know that the only way to sanctity is by humilia­tions, and our great trial should prove a veritable gold­mine for us. I, who am but a little grain of sand, face the task without courage or strength, but my weakness will be victorious, as I undertake to do this out of love. This is the beginning of martyrdom, let us enter the arena together and offer up our sufferings for the sal­vation of souls.
- L.
For a List of Abbreviations, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - November 30

It is absolutely necessary, both for our ad­vancement and the salvation of others, to follow always and in all things the beautiful light of faith.

-St. Vincent de Paul
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for November 30, Saint Andrew

St. Peter and St. Andrew seemed to have advanced by a triple invitation from Our Lord. Jesus calls them at first to the knowl­edge of His person, then to follow Him for a certain period, after which they returned to their fishing (John 1:42; Luke 5:4-7), and finally to the definite vocation of accompanying Him always (Matt. 4:19).

How many stages have marked my vocation, not so much my vocation to the religious life, but my vocation to sanctity? That also has been offered several times. I understood, even in the world, that I ought not to follow the world; it was an immense grace; I did not grasp at first what it meant to leave the world. Little by little, however, I saw it clearly and I left my own, my bark and my nets.

But once in the religious life, all is not finished; it is then only that all begins. It is possible to live in it some years and lead all told only a rather ordinary existence. A moment comes, according to the great masters of the spiritual life, when one is invited to take the step, to break absolutely, definitely as far as possible with weakness, with the last reserves of self-love; and to plunge into sacrifice through love. God touches the soul with His special grace and immediately the soul sees differently from the past. A world is dead; a new life begins. A fidelity already great has en­couraged God to ask more; a perfect fidelity is henceforth re­quired; it means that the soul will always be with the Master and the Master always with the soul.

O great Apostles Peter and Andrew, lead me to Jesus. Lead me to His dwelling. Make me to know the secret dwelling places where I have still so much to learn, so many words of love to say and to hear.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Msgr. Wach meets with Pope Benedict

On Wednesday, October 3, Msgr. Gilles Wach, Prior General of the Institute of Christ the King, had a very special surprise visit with the Holy Father at the Holy Father's General Audience.

His Holiness, recognizing Msgr. Wach in the front row, amidst the pilgrims awaiting his passing by, graciously stopped for a short conversation in which he commented on the Institute's large number of vocations, and inquired about its latest developments, including those in America. For images, click here.

UN Committee Further Empowers Controversial CEDAW Committee

C-FAM reports today on the creeping expansion of time, money, and power garnered by the controversial CEDAW committee. The committee, made up largely of NGOs, regularly abuses the very treaty it is responsible for upholding in order to promote a universal right to abortion.

Henry Hyde; May he rest in peace

Nov. 29, 2007 ( - Henry Hyde was a big man, in every meaning of that term.

As a college basketball player, Hyde once guarded George Mikan in a tournament game won by Hyde's Georgetown team. Mikan went on to set the standard by which every "big man" is measured in professional basketball. Hyde set a similar standard for pro-life legislators.

It was in 1976, during his first term in the US Congress, that the Illinois Republican introduced the legislation now known as the "Hyde Amendment," forbidding taxpayer subsidies for abortion. For 30 more years after that success he was the most visible, tireless, and effective pro-lifer in Congress. Blessed with natural eloquence and a quick wit, he could speak with passion and still maintain a cool command of the facts. I know from experience how difficult it was to write a good speech for Henry Hyde; his off-the-cuff remarks were usually more memorable than the prepared text....
Phil Lawler has an excellent commentary on this great

May our Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word of God, say to him, "Today, thou shalt be with Me in paradise."

Time for the Hammer....?

US Catholic Parish set to "Publicly Bless the Relationship of Same-Sex Couples"
Openly challenges Church moral teachings
By Hilary White

ST. PAUL - MINNEAPOLIS, November 28, 2007 ( - St. Francis Cabrini church, of the St. Paul and Minneapolis archdiocese, has announced on their website that they are ready to "bless" homosexual partners.

The parish has published a "Statement of Reconciliation" repudiating the Church for its teaching on sexual purity and married chastity and misrepresenting these teachings as a form of "oppression." The statement said the parish will "Publicly bless the relationships of a same sex couple after the couple completes a process of discernment similar to that completed by heterosexual couples before marriage."

The parish statement goes on to pledge that it will publish in the homosexual press their commitment to the homosexual activist agenda and to including "a gay/lesbian perspective in catechesis at all levels, including elementary school age." The parish currently runs catechesis programmes for children from ages three and up.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the pastor of the parish is Fr. Leo Tibesar who is a national leader in the anti-Catholic homosexual lobbying organisation, Dignity. Fr. Tibesar was recorded this week preaching a homily refuting Catholic teaching on sexuality and accusing those who uphold it, including bishops, Cardinals and "Evangelicals", of hypocrisy....
You may contact the Archdiocese to express concerns:

Most Reverend Harry J. Flynn
Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
226 Summit Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55102
(651) 291-4400

Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt
Coadjutor Archbishop
Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
226 Summit Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55102
(651) 291-4400

Over 37,000 Catholic religious over 70

News Release via Religion News Service
November 2007, For immediate release

The 20th national annual appeal for the Retirement Fund for Religious will be conducted in Catholic parishes in the United States on Dec. 8-9.

Coordinated by the National Religious Retirement Office of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, the appeal benefits the projected $9 billion retirement liability of the nation’s religious orders.

In 2006, this appeal distributed $23 million in Basic Grants that benefited 515 of the nation’s Catholic religious institutes, primarily those of women.

“The unfunded retirement liability is difficult and painful to comprehend,” said Sister Janice Bader, a Sister of the Most Precious Blood of O’Fallon, Missouri, and acting director of the National Religious Retirement Office. The appeal, she says, has helped ensure that this liability can become a “manageable concern...”
. . .

More than 37,000 Catholic religious are now past age 70. More than 5,000 women and men require skilled nursing care. While costs for care in a skilled nursing facility in the U.S. average more than $65,000 annually, religious institutes have kept their average cost of skilled nursing care to $49,850....
More at California Catholic Daily here.

HB 1804 author blasts bishop's position

In a followup from a report yesterday:
State Rep. Randy Terrill questions the motivation for the support of illegal immigrants.

The chief author of the state's new immigration law took issue Wednesday with a leading Oklahoma clergyman who called the law unjust and immoral.

Roman Catholic Bishop Ed ward J. Slattery of the Tulsa Diocese this week blasted House Bill 1804 in a 22-page pastoral letter, only his second such letter in 14 years as a bishop....

Terrill said HB 1804 does not criminalize help given to illegal immigrants for purely humanitarian, charitable or religious purposes....

HB 1804 cuts off public assistance to illegal immigrants, and so it threatens the work of Catholic Charities.

"Some in the Catholic hierarchy confuse private charity with public charity," Terrill said. "I'm curious what he (the bishop) finds immoral or unjust. It's neither righteous nor just to provide tax money to illegal aliens; it's just plain wrong. The state shouldn't be in the business of subsidizing illegal aliens. If the church wants to do that, fine, but it shouldn't be using taxpayer money...."

This newest article is here.

Book bound in martyred Jesuit priest's skin for sale

A macabre 17th century book about the execution of Gunpowder Plot conspirator Father Henry Garnet believed to be bound in the priest's own skin will go under the hammer this Sunday.

Perhaps most spooky of all, some claim to see an image of the priest's tortured face peering out of the anthropodermic binding of 'A True and Perfect Relation of the Whole Proceedings against the Late Most Barbarous Traitors, Garnet a Jesuit and his Confederats'....

This brings new meaning to the phrase, "you can't judge a book by its cover".....The link above is to the Catholic Encyclopedia entry for Fr Garnet.

The Remodeling of "L'Osservatore Romano"

"L'Osservatore Romano" Has Been Remodeled. Here Are All of the Changes
More interviews. More space given to women. Non-Catholic contributors. International news, and about the Churches and the religions. Major cultural topics. To prompt thought and discussion even outside of Catholic boundaries.
by Sandro Magister

ROMA, November 29, 2007 – To the cardinals gathered behind closed doors for their consistory with the pope, on Friday, November 23, Vatican secretary of state Tarcisio Bertone recommended one thing above all: that they read "L'Osservatore Romano." And he did the same thing with his fellow diners at a celebratory dinner for one of the new cardinals, the evening of Sunday, November 25....

Gospel for Thursday, 34th Week in Ordinary Time

Old Calendar: St. Saturninus, martyr

From: Luke 21:20-28

Discourse on the Destruction of Jerusalem
and the End of the World (Continuation)

(Jesus said to his disciples), [20] "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. [21] Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it; [22] for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. [23] Alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days! For great distress shall be upon the earth and wrath upon this people; [24] they shall be upon the earth and wrath upon this people; [24] they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led captive among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

[25] "And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, [26] men fainting with fear and foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. [27] And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. [28] Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.


20-24. Jesus gives quite a detailed prophecy of the destruction of the Holy City. When the Christians living there saw the armies getting closer, they remembered this prophecy and fled to Transjordan (cf. Eusebius, "Ecclesiastical History," III, 5). Christ had advised them to flee as soon as possible because this is the time when God would punish Jerusalem for its sins, as the Old Testament predicted (Is 5:5-6).

Catholic tradition sees Israel as symbolizing the Church. In fact, in the Book of Revelation the Church triumphant is called the heavenly Jerusalem (cf. Rev 21:2). Therefore, by applying this passage to the Church, the sufferings the Holy City experiences can symbolize the contradictions the pilgrim Church will experience due to the sins of men, for "she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the children of God" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 48).

24. "The times of the Gentiles" means the period in which the Gentiles, who do not belong to the Jewish people, will become menbers of the new people of God, the Church, until the Jews themselves are converted at the end of the world (cf. Rom 11:11-32).

25-26. Jesus refers to the dramatic changes in natural elements when the world is coming to an end. "The powers of the heavens will be shaken"; that is to say, the whole universe will tremble at the Lord's coming in power and glory.

27-28. Applying to himself the prophecy of Daniel (7:13-14), our Lord speaks of his coming in glory at the end of time. Mankind will see the power and glory of the Son of man, coming to judge the living and the dead. Christ will deliver this judgment in his human capacity. Sacred Scripture describes the solemnity of this event, when the sentence passed on each person in the particular judgment will be confirmed, and God's justice and mercy to men throughout history will shine out for all to see. "It was necessary not only that rewards should await the just and punishments the wicked, in the life to come, but that they should be awarded by a public and general judgment. Thus they will become better known and will be rendered more conspicuous to all, and a tribute of praise will be offered by all to the justice and providence of God" ("St Pius V Catechism", I, 8, 4).

This coming of the Lord is, then, a day of terror for evildoers and of joy for those who have remained faithful. The disciples should hold their heads high because their redemption is at hand. It is the day they will receive their reward. The victory won by Christ on the cross--victory over sin, over the devil and over death--will now be seen clearly, with all its implications. Therefore St Paul recommends that we be "awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Tit 2:13).

"He [Christ] ascended into heaven whence he will come again to judge the living and the dead, each according to his merits. Those who have responded to the love and compassion of God will go into eternal life. Those who have refused them to the end will be consigned to the fire that is never extinguished" (Paul VI, "Creed of the People of God", 12).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Just for Today, November 29

Lord, this is the work of a perfect man, never to let one's mind slacken from attending to heavenly things.
- Bk. III, ch. xxvi.

"How do you manage always to be thinking about God?" Sœur Marie du Sacre-Cœur asked her.

"It is natural to think of those one loves; I find no difficulty in doing so."

"Are you then always consciously aware of His presence?"

"Yes; I believe that I have never spent more than three minutes without thinking of Him."
- Sum.
For a List of Abbreviations, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - November 29

The reason why so many souls who apply them­selves to prayer are not inflamed with God's love is, that they neglect to carefully prepare them­selves for it.

- St. Teresa
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for November 29, Useless Worry

I am emotional and events, particularly painful events, create a profound, a prolonged and often a most exaggerated impression on me.

This is true not only in regard to occurrences which have really happened, but also events which perhaps will never occur or which might be remotely possible. I make mountains out of fancies, pic­turing the worst and worrying myself unduly over merely possible evils.

What I lack is a sense of the real, and a deep spirit of faith.

The Sense of the Real: One day a pilgrim met a fearful looking sorcerer; it was the Plague.

"Where are you going?"

"I am going to Bagdad to kill five thousand persons."

Some days later the pilgrim met the sorcerer returning from Bagdad.

"But you killed fifty thousand victims!"

"Yes," responded the Plague, laughing. "I only killed five thou­sand of them; the other forty-five thousand died of fear."

Enough troubles come to me. I must not suffer a hundred times in advance from troubles which might happen, the greater number of which never arrive. I will strive to cultivate a deep spirit of faith by calling on the supernatural to correct my excessive appre­hension. It is good if I acquire a just view of things to avoid naivete. I must also learn to practice a joyous spirit of abandon­ment, nothing happens without the permission of God. The Most High protects the lilies of the fields. Am I less in His eyes than a lily of the fields?

I will spend my life in living and not in dying of fear.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

A St Joseph Radio Catholic Lecture Series Update

Sharing an email with you from St Joseph Radio:

Please join us for these very special talks- Dec 8 & 9.

Our Lady of Guadalupe:
Her Role in Our Lives Today

The words that Our Lady spoke to Saint Juan Diego nearly 500 years ago are meant for us today as well. Come hear the message of truth, hope, love and mercy.

Christmas Miracles: Forgiveness, Apology & Reconciliation
Christmas time is a time for miracles. Make this Christmas a miraculous one for you and your family and friends.

Speaker: John LaBriola
John uses his professional experience as a business consultant and trainer to help Catholics of all ages deepen their love and knowledge of the one, true Church.
He can be heard on St Joseph Radio Presents, a worldwide radio program that helps Catholics spread the truth of the Catholic faith. He is the author of the books: Catholic Truth for Catholic Teens: A Guide to Embracing and Defending Your Faith, Christ Centered Selling: A Scripturally Based Guide to Principled, Profitable Persuasion, and has just completed his third book, Onward Christian Soldier: A Catholic Layman’s Guide to Spiritual Warfare.

Saint Margaret of Scotland: A Saint for Our Times

Speaker: Fr. John Paul Hopping

Fr. John-Paul Hopping received two years of Catholic elementary school education prior to attending public schools through high school and college, earning a degree in Business Administration. He believes this public school exposure gives him the ability to understand “regular” Catholics and converts who did not have
a Catholic education.

He studied at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, California, and was ordained in 1985. For 21 years he served as associate pastor in mixed parishes, including one predominately Spanish and another Vietnamese, in the Diocese of Orange, California. He is now associate pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in St. Charles, Missouri.

SATURDAY • DECEMBER 8, 2007 • 9:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M.

Holy Mass at 11:30 a.m.

Historic Old St. Ferdinand Shrine • 1 Rue Saint Francois • Florissant, MO

Freewill Donations Appreciated! Reservations required for lunch – please call 636-244-0089

Sponsored by St. Joseph Radio and Friends of the Old St. Ferdinand Shrine

John LaBriola will also be speaking at two other locations this weekend:
Saint Alban Roe Church, 2001 Shepard Road, Wildwood, MO: Saturday, December 8 at 7:00 p.m.

Ascension Church, 230 Santa Maria Drive, Chesterfield, MO: Sunday, December 9 at 7:00 p.m.

Three locations – three different talks!

Tune in to St. Joseph Radio Presents live every Saturday at 2:00 p.m. (Eastern) on Shortwave, AM/ FM, Internet and Sirius Satellite Radio

Bishop calls immigration law immoral

Oklahoma's new immigration law is immoral and unjust, Roman Catholic Bishop Edward J. Slattery declared in a pastoral letter made public this week.

It is only the second pastoral letter Slattery has written in his 14 years as bishop of the Diocese of Tulsa.

In it, he said ministry will not be withheld from illegal immigrants.

Slattery said the letter is a teaching document.

"I don't give my personal opinion. You won't find anything in there that is not in Scripture," he said.

"It's not my teaching, it's Christ's teaching, and I'm one with him because I'm one with the pope and the college of bishops worldwide......"

The immigration law, House Bill 1804, which went into effect Nov. 1, makes it a felony to knowingly transport illegal immigrants, creates barriers to hiring them and restricts benefits they can receive from the government.

In the 22-page pastoral letter, Slattery said that since the intention of HB1804 is immoral, its effects will be an intolerable increase in suffering of il legal immigrants, and those who must enforce the law....

Some just can't handle the truth

Instead, they attack the messenger as in this Star Tribune hit piece on Archbishop Nienstedt:

John Nienstedt, Coadjutor Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, has been quoted as saying he believes homosexuality is the result of some kind of childhood trauma. Today, he is inflicting trauma of his own.

That's the opinion of many Catholic friends and relatives of gay and lesbian people in the Twin Cities. They say they have been wounded and angered by comments Nienstedt made about homosexuals in the Nov. 15 edition of The Catholic Spirit, the official newspaper of the archdiocese.

The archbishop teaches courageously what the Church teaches so that men and women might cooperate in God's plan of salvation, yet so many reject the truth, blinded by their own love of sin.

"He's the only archbishop in the country to put this aggressive of a spin on Catholic teaching," says Mary Lynn Murphy of Catholic Rainbow Parents. "We knew he was very conservative, but people had hoped that he wanted to bring people together. Then, right out of the chute, he fired this cannon. It's extreme talk, and it gives license not just to homophobia but even to violence. This bishop says gays are 'evil.'"

Some are incapable of even telling the truth - the archbishop was quite clear in his statements - nowhere did he say that "'gays' were evil." Archbishop Nienstedt said previously:
Those who actively encourage or promote homosexual acts or such activity within a homosexual lifestyle formally cooperate in a grave evil and, if they do so knowingly and willingly, are guilty of mortal sin. They have broken communion with the church and are prohibited from receiving holy Communion until they have had a conversion of heart, expressed sorrow for their action and received sacramental absolution from a priest.
The act itself is a grave evil...But many times, those confused by sin, whose minds and intellects are clouded and darkened by sin, refuse to acknowledge the life preservers being thrown to them in efforts to save them from drowning...

This Sunday, they [homosexuality advocates] plan to hold a 2 p.m. vigil on the steps of the Cathedral of St. Paul to demonstrate against Nienstedt's comments, and to deliver an open letter to the Chancery, across Summit Avenue from the Cathedral.
Let's hope it's not a candlelight vigil...Not only will these people be demonstrating against the archbishop but also against the the natural moral law and Divinely revealed truth. Simply put, their demonstration is an act of rebellion against God, Himself! Homosexual activists wish to impose upon others a reprobate 'belief system' that their sickening acts of depravity are as normal and in accord with the natural law.

"It is a human right to express your sexuality," says Murphy, who met last week with Catholic parents of gays who were in tears over Nienstedt's statements on homosexuality.
One would hope that those tears were being shed for the eternal souls of their children rather than on a misunderstanding of the archbishop's remarks. But, many times, activists fan the flames of dissent and rebellion, while disregarding the truth and working others into a frenzied state.

The reporter, it seems, failed to ask Murphy if it's a "human right" for NAMBLA members and supporters to express their "sexuality." What about criminal pederasts and those priests, teachers, and others who engage in criminal sexual activity? What about all those who enjoy and seek other types of disordered expressions of sexual perversions?

"They are being tormented by a church that is driving a wedge between parent and child," Murphy said. "They believe they are being asked to choose between loving their church and loving their child. And they are furious. For the most prominent religious leader in the state to use that kind of language, well, it brings shame on him."
This woman and others need prayers. It is either ignorance or wilful rejection of the truth which leads them to believe such lies. They are in bondage, slaves to sin, shackled and chained, refusing the truth which will set them free.

Gospel for Wednesday, 34th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 21:12-19

Discourse on the Destruction of Jerusalem
and the End of the World (Continuation)

(Jesus said to His disciples), [12] "But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for My name's sake. [13] This will be a time for you to bear testimony. [14] Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; [15] for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. [16] You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; [17] you will be hated by all for My name's sake. [18] But not a hair of your head will perish. [19] By your endurance you will gain your lives."


19. Jesus foretells all kinds of persecution. Persecution itself is something inevitable: "all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Timothy 3:12). His disciples will have need to remember the Lord's warning at the Last Supper: "A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you" (John 15:20). However, these persecutions are part of God's providence: they happen because He lets them happen, which He does in order to draw greater good out of them. Persecution provides Christians with an opportunity to bear witness to Christ; without it the blood of martyrs would not adorn the Church. Moreover, our Lord promises to give special help to those who suffer persecution, and He tells them not to be afraid: He will give them of His own wisdom to enable them to defend themselves; He will not permit a hair of their heads to perish, that is, even apparent misfortune and loss will be for them a beginning of Heaven.

From Jesus' words we can also deduce the obligation of every Christian to be ready to lose life rather than offend God. Only those will attain salvation who persevere until the end in faithfulness to the Lord. The three Synoptic Gospels locate His exhortation to perseverance in this discourse (cf. Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13) and St. Matthew gives it elsewhere (Matthew 10:22) as does St. Peter (1 Peter 5:9)--all of which underlines the importance for every Christian of this warning from our Lord.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Just for Today, November 28

If thou wilt be exalted in heaven, humble thyself in this world: If thou wilt reign with Me, bear the cross with Me, for none but the servants of the Cross find the way of bliss and of true light.
- Bk. III, ch. lvi.

How meek and humble of heart Thou dost appear, my beloved Saviour, when I look upon Thee hidden under the white Host! Thou couldst not stoop lower in order to teach me humility; I, therefore, in return for Thy love will put myself in the last place and share Thy humiliations, that I may have a part with Thee (John xiii, 8) in the kingdom of Heaven.

I beg of Thee to send me a humiliation every time I try to exalt myself above others.

- Pr.
For a List of Abbreviations, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.

Thoughts and Counsels - November 28

We should blush for shame to show so much resentment at what is done or said against us, knowing that so many injuries and affronts have been offered to our Redeemer and the saints.

-St. Teresa
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for November 28, Living by Faith

If I am afraid sometimes at the thought of events which worry me, or at the prospect of possible physical suffering or failures in my apostolate, I am lacking in faith.

My faith in God is weak. I recite the Credo the same as any­one else, but I am far from giving to the phrases I recite their full implication. Instead of saying "I believe in God," I ought to say, if I were sincere, "I do not believe in God." It is not an absolute certitude with me that God has perfect mastery over individuals and circumstances; I reason about life like those for whom the Lord is not truly the Lord; I neglect to examine the things of earth in the light of eternity.

If I were entirely sincere, could I even say with sincere truth the first words of the Our Father? In affirming that God is our Father, do I not affirm that everything under any circumstances emanates from the all-powerful and paternal goodness of the Most High?

I forget the power of God.

I forget the Fatherhood of God.

That is why I am no longer able to say the Our Father and Credo with perfect sincerity.

Yes, O my God, I wish to be able to say them with my whole soul by exercising all my faith. I have finished judging by appear­ances only. Now the words suffering, trials, difficulties, weariness, death take on a new meaning. All is controlled by Thy Infinite Power. All emanates from Thy Infinite Love.

Shall I fear with a God who is God, with a God who is my Father?
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Dec 29-Cardinal George at Special Event at the Shrine of Christ the King

As noted at the Institute's Web Site:

On Saturday, Decemer 29th, His Eminence Francis Cardinal George will come to the Shrine of Christ the King to solemnly crown the statue of the Divine Infant King. This crowning will occur during a Solemn High Mass at which His Eminence will assist. The Mass, at 1:30 pm, will be celebrated inside the church building, which is under restoration. All are welcome to attend this moment of grace in the history of our Shrine.

The Press Release from the Institute of Christ the King provides more information:

(Chicago, November 26, 2007) A historic landmark church in Chicago, once on the road to demolition, will be the site of a rare ceremony following Christmas, on December 29th. During the course of a Solemn High Mass in the traditional Latin form, Francis Cardinal George will solemnly crown a statue of the Infant Jesus at the Shrine of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, formerly known as St. Gelasius Church in south side Woodlawn. The antique wooden sculpture from southern Spain will be the central piece above the future high altar of the church that is now being restored.

The magnificent church building, designed by revivalist architect Henry Schlacks in the 1920s, was the center of much controversy when in 2003 it was slated to be razed but eventually was made a historic landmark of Chicago. Originally known as “St. Clara Carmelite Church,” it had been commissioned by Carmelite Friars of the Old Observance to replace a smaller structure of this parish founded by German immigrants in 1894. The church had the distinction of being the National Shrine of St. Therese of Lisieux, where weekly novena prayers were held beginning on the very day of her canonization in 1925 until the mid 1980s. Vicissitudes affecting the neighborhood, a fire in the 1970s, disrepair and a dwindling congregation eventually led to the church’s closure in 2002.

However, after its near brush with destruction, St. Clara/St. Gelasius Church was given new life when Cardinal George invited the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest to take charge of it. The Institute is a society of priests established in 1990 in Florence, Italy, under the Ecclesia Dei indult.

Priests of the Institute of Christ the King celebrate Mass and all the sacraments according to the 1962 liturgical books -- the traditional form of the Latin Rite recently given new impetus by Pope Benedict XVI in his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. The group’s experience in reforming and restoring church buildings to their former beauty, coupled with the track record of growth in the “Latin Mass” milieu, made the Institute of Christ the King a good fit for the task of transforming the gutted former St. Gelasius into a living church.

Indeed, since the Institute began regularly offering Mass in 2005 at their Chicago location using a provisional chapel in the adjacent rectory, the congregation has increased from not a single person to an ever growing group of faithful, which required that a second Mass be added on Sundays for lack of space. In June 2006, the church received its decree of erection as the Shrine of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

The Cardinal’s ceremonial crowning of the Infant Jesus during Christmastide this year is of special significance for the church. The first Mass ever offered inside the building was on Christmas 1924, a few years prior to its completion. And 2007 marks the 80th anniversary of the dedication of the church, on May 15, 1927. Those who attend the Solemn High Mass at 1:30 pm on Saturday, December 29th, will be treated to what many describe as the “transcendent beauty” of the Latin Mass, with its ancient prayers chanted in Latin, studied and choreographed movements, moments of silent prayer, incense, traditional vessels and vestments, and timeless music. Members of the Chicago Chorale will sing William Byrd’s four-voice polyphonic setting of the Mass, as well as motets by Tomás Luis de Victoria and Josquin de Près. The Gregorian Chant will be provided by the Shrine’s own schola.

This Christmas season, the ever-growing congregation at the Shrine of Christ the King will be moved from the basement-chapel in the rectory to the historic church when regular Sunday Mass again returns to the once-shuttered building. On Christmas Eve, Mass will be at 11:00 pm. On Christmas Day there will be the traditional “Mass at Dawn” at 8:00 am (Low Mass) and the “Mass during the Day” at 10:00 am (High Mass). For more information call 773-363-7409.

Contact: M. Cristina Borges, Development Director
Tel 773 363 7409
Fax 773 363 7824
cborges [at]

Fear of allowing people to see what abortion really is

Abortion is a reality which is so horrific that words alone can never convey its meaning. [-Priests for Life]

Georgia Cops Impound Anti-Abortion Billboard Truck, Jail Driver
Police action an egregious abuse of power

Atlanta, Georgia – Bob Roethlisberger was arrested and jailed over Thanksgiving weekend in a northern suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, on the charge of “Disorderly Conduct” for driving Operation Rescue’s Truth Truck bearing signs with photos of aborted babies. The Truth Truck was impounded.

Gwinnett County Police Department officers arrested Roethlisberger Saturday after telling him that signage on the Truth Truck was “vulgar and obscene.” Officers ransacked the back of the Truth Truck without a warrant and ordered Roethlisberger to change or remove the signs. When he refused, he was arrested and incarcerated for three days before being released on $1,000 bond.

The Truth Truck was released from impound late Monday, however both the signs and the mounting hardware on the truck were damaged when police forcibly ripped the signs off the sides of the truck. Monetary damage to the property is estimated to be in the thousands of dollars....

The Truth Truck was in Georgia because of a recently introduced Human Life Amendment that is scheduled to be considered by the State Legislature in January. The Truth Truck’s mission was to help draw the attention of Georgians to the reality that abortion brutally takes an innocent human life, and emphasize the need to ban the grisly procedure.

So these Georgia cops abuse their power and authority by infringing on others' First Amendment rights, for starters.

Instead of upholding the law they are sworn to uphold, they break it and in so doing, they deserve to be fired from their jobs, at least for incompetence, and sued for damages and for violating Roethlisberger's civil rights.

Operation Rescue asks:
Please contact the Gwinnett County Police Chief and ask for:
* The immediate dismissal of charges against Roethlisberger
* The immediate reimbursement for damages to the Truth Truck
* An apology

Chief of Police Charles M. Walters

Young Catholics Are Leading a Resurgence of the Traditional Mass

Parts of it are 1,500 years old, it's difficult to understand, and it's even more challenging to watch. And it's catching on among young Catholics.

It's the traditional Latin Mass, a formal worship service that is making a comeback after more than 40 years of moldering in the Vatican basement.

In September, Pope Benedict XVI relaxed restrictions on celebrating Latin Mass, frequently called the Tridentine Mass, citing "a new and renewed" interest in the ancient Latin liturgy, especially among younger Catholics.

Spoken or sung entirely in sometimes inaudible Latin by priests who face the altar instead of the congregation, it is a radical departure for most Catholics, who grew up attending a more informal Mass celebrated in their native tongue.

"It's the opposite of the cacophony that comes with the [modern] Mass," said Ken Wolfe, 34, a federal government worker who goes to up to four Latin Masses a week in the Washington area. "There's no guitars and handshaking and breaks in the Mass where people talk to each other. It's a very serious liturgy."

And it is a hit with younger priests and their parishioners....

Beginning Nov 29-Novena to the Immaculate Conception

St. Francis de Sales Oratory
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118

Daily Masses, Sermons and Devotions
Thursday, November 29 7pm:
Our Lady of Good Counsel
Rev. Edward Richard, M.S., Prof. of Moral Theology, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

Friday, November 30 7pm:
Our Lady of Consolation
Rev. Philip Bené, Judge at the Metropolitan Tribunal, Archdiocese of St. Louis

Saturday, December 1 8am:
Immaculate Heart of Mary
Rev. Joseph Begue C.M., Vincentian Press, Confessor at the Oratory

Sunday, December 2 10am:
First Sunday of Advent
Very Rev. Msgr. Vernon Gardin, Vicar General Archdiocese of St. Louis

Monday, December 3 7pm:
Mother of Divine Shepherd
Rev. Msgr. Theodor Wojcicki, President-Rector, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

Tuesday, December 4 7pm:
Our Mother of Perpetual Help
Rev. Gregory Lockwood, Lect. of Systematic Theology, Kenrick-Glennon Sem.

Wednesday, December 5 7pm:
The Purity of Our Lady
Rev. Randy Soto, Assoc. Prof. Sacred Scripture, Kennrick-Glennon, Seminary

Thursday December 6 7pm:
The Humility of Our Lady
Rev. Bede Price, O.S.B., Rector-St. Gregory, and St. Augustine Oratory

Friday, December 7 7pm:
Conclusion of the Novena
His Excellency, The Most Rev. Robert Hermann, Auxiliary Bishop in St. Louis
Saturday, December 8
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Patroness of the United States of America

8am: Low Mass
12pm: Solemn High Mass with Procession and Dedication to the Immaculate Conception, followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament

6pm: Benediction and Reposition

Confessions daily, 30mins. before all Masses

Cardinal McCarrick's scandal becomes bishops' scandal

From Catholic Insight:
Washington—Theodore Cardinal McCarrick is no longer archbishop of Washington, but even in retirement, he is holding to his position of accommodation with “pro-choice” Catholic politicians. Furthermore, he is always ready and willing to enunciate his views in this regard to the secular media.

In a late October interview with the Associated Press, the Cardinal criticized statements by the Archbishop of St. Louis, Raymond Burke, who stated as long as five years ago that priests should not give Holy Communion to Catholics who publicly support abortion. Recently, Burke repeated this stand with respect to Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, on the grounds that the politician is “a Catholic who has been publicly espousing positions contrary to the moral law and … knows it.”

McCarrick opposes Burke’s position based on a vague rule of his own; namely, “that no elected official will ever perfectly fall in line with every policy position the Church takes” (LifeSiteNews, Oct. 16, 2007). McCarrick mentioned euthanasia and the death penalty. (Editor: The latter indicates his confusion: opposition to the death penalty is a prudential option, not a mandatory teaching of the Church.)...

I don't believe it's as much confusion on the part of the retired (thankfully) cardinal as it is a misguided and seemingly wilful attempt to blur the issues and refuse to abide by the discipline of the Church or the Code of Canon Law.

After all, did not McCarrick withhold (some would say, deliberately) from the body of bishops the contents of Cardinal Ratzinger's memorandum, "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion - General Principles" when they discussed the issue in Denver in 2004?

An MAHC Update on Cloning and Stem Cell Reseach

From Missourians Against Human Cloning:

...on Saturday, November 17 the UK based Telegraph announced the scientist who cloned Dolly the Sheep was abandoning human cloning research in favor of more promising stem cell research.

This important announcement by Ian Wilmut, one of the most respected pioneers in cloning research, was quickly followed by even more exciting news. On Tuesday, November 20 two teams of researchers, one in Japan and one in Wisconsin, reported success in "reprogramming" ordinary skin cells to take on the pluripotent capabilities of embryonic stem cells. Experts and reporters around the world grappled with the right words to explain such a significant breakthroughs....

This staggering breakthrough was actually reported quite accurately by many media sources. However, the two largest newspapers in Missouri, the Kansas City Star and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch scrambled to minimize the news and reiterate the need to continue human cloning research. Predictably biased editorials appeared over the weekend in both papers. I find it fascinating that the same journalists who have hailed every fantastic claim made by the cloning proponents are now urging caution regarding the prospects of direct reprogramming. And while the Post-Dispatch still used the ridiculously inaccurate term "very early fertilized eggs", the KC Star was forced to finally use the term embryonic stem cell research. It must have nearly choked them.
These lies, decptions and falsehoods should be expected. The public and the citizens of Missouri were deceived by lies and deceptions propagated by the supporters and promoters of Amendment 2. News like this should serve as a death knell to public funding of human cloning and the killing and destruction of innocent human life.

We have much to be thankful for with this exciting scientific breakthrough but our work is far from done. Did the so-called Coalition for Lifesaving Cures herald this newest development which could provide real cures and therapies for those suffering? Nope. In fact, they are going to need our tax dollars now more than ever to pursue their cloning agenda as private research funds will target the more promising reprogramming technology.

This has been one of my longer emails but the ramifications of this breakthrough are so critical. I encourage you to also read the articles posted on our web site for more information. Armed with the facts, I urge you to write letters, hundreds of letters to the editors of every paper in the state (especially the STL Post-Dispatch and the KC Star). I simply cannot think of a better time to show the voters of Missouri why it is imperative to close the cloning loopholes in our constitution. We don't want human cloning, we don't need human cloning and we really don't want to pay for it!

Jaci Winship
Executive Director

Gospel for Tuesday, 34th and Final Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 21:5-11

Discourse on the Destruction of Jerusalem and the End of the World
[5] And as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, He (Jesus) said, [6] "As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down." [7] And they asked Him, "Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?" [8] And He said, "Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He!' and, 'The time is at hand!' Do not go after them. [9] And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified; for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once."

[10] Then He said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; [11] there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven."


5-36. The disciples are in awe of the magnificence of the temple, and Jesus uses the occasion to give a long discourse, known as the "eschatological discourse" because it has to do with the last days of the world. The account given here is very similar to those in the other Synoptic Gospels (cf. Mt 24:1-51; Mk 13:1-37). The discourse deals with three inter-connected subjects--the destruction of Jerusalem (which took place some forty years later), the end of the world, andthe second coming of Christ in glory and majesty. Jesus, who also predicts here the persecution of the Church will experience, exhorts His disciples to be patient, to pray and be watchful.

Our Lord speaks here in the style and language of prophecy, using images taken from the Old Testament; also, in this discourse prophecies which are going to be fulfilled very soon are mixed in with others which have to do with the end of the world. It is not our Lord's intention to satisfy people's curiosity about future events, but to protect them from being discouraged and scandalized about what is going to happen in the days immediately ahead. This explains why He exhorts them: "Take heed that you are not led astray" (v. 8); "do not be tempted" (v. 9); "watch at all times" (v. 34).

8. On hearing that Jerusalem is going to be destroyed, the disciples ask what sign will be given as a warning of these events (vv. 5-7). Jesus answers by telling them "not to be led astray," that is to say, not to expect any warning; not to be misled by false prophets; to stay faithful to Him. These false prophets will come along claiming to be the Messiah ("I am He!"). Our Lord's reply in fact refers to two events which in the Jewish mind were interrelated--the destruction of the Holy City and the end of the world. This is why He goes on to speak of both events and implies that there will be a long gap between the two; the destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem are a kind of sign or symbol of the catastrophes which will mark the end of the world.

9-11. Our Lord does not want His disciples to confuse just any catastrophe--famine, earthquake, war--or even persecution with the signals of the end of the world. He exhorts them quite clearly: "Do not be tempted," because although all these has to happen, "the end will not be at once;" in spite of the difficulties of all kinds the Gospel will spread to the ends of the earth. Difficulties should not paralyze the preaching of the faith.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Just for Today, November 27

He that loves God with his whole heart neither fears death, nor punishment, nor judgement, nor hell; because perfect love gives secure access to God.
- Bk. I, ch. xxiv.

"What would you do if you had to begin your religious life over again?"

"I think I should do just as I have done."

"Then you do not share the feelings of the hermit who said: "No matter how many years I have spent in penance, as long as I have quarter of an hour of life left, and breath in my body, I should be afraid of damnation"?

"No, I do not feel like that, I am too little to be damned; little children do not go to hell."

"You always try to remain as a little child, but tell us how to obtain the spirit of childhood; what does it mean to remain little?"

"It means acknowledging our own nothingness, and looking to God for everything, just as a little child relies entirely on its father. It means not worrying about anything, nor amassing a fortune."

- C.
For a List of Abbreviations, see this post.
Adapted from Just For Today(©1943 Burns & Oates)
Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Phillips, S.T.L.,Censor deputatus
Imprimatur: Edwardus Myers, Vic. Cap.