Monday, March 31, 2008

Marie Moore, R.I.P.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Marie Moore, who passed away this morning. Marie was the mother of Katie Moore, OPL (of my chapter, but no relation).

Prayer to the Sorrowful Mother
by St. Alphonsus Ligouri

O my afflicted Mother! Queen of martyrs and of sorrows, thou didst so bitterly weep over thy Son, who died for my salvation; but what will thy tears avail me if I am lost? By the merit, then, of thy sorrows, obtain me true contrition for my sins, and a real amendment of life, together with constant and tender compassion for the sufferings of Jesus and thy dolours. And if Jesus and thou, being so innocent, have suffered so much for love of me, obtain that at least I, who am deserving of hell, may suffer something for your love. "O Lady," will I say with St. Bonaventure, "if I have offended thee, in justice wound my heart; if I have served thee, I now ask wounds for my reward. It is shameful to me to see my Lord Jesus wounded, and thee wounded with Him, and myself without a wound." In fine, O my Mother, by the grief thou didst experience in seeing thy Son bow down His head and expire on the cross in the midst of so many torments, I beseech thee to obtain me a good death. Ah, cease not, O advocate of sinners, to assist my afflicted soul in the midst of the combats in which it will have to engage on its great passage from time to eternity. And as it is probable that I may then have lost my speech, and strength to invoke thy name and that of Jesus, who are all my hope, I do so now; I invoke thy Son and thee to succour me in that last moment; and I say, Jesus and Mary, to you I commend my soul. Amen.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Been to Confession Yet?

On September 24, 1936, St. Faustina Kowalska recorded in her diary these words of Jesus regarding the Feast of Divine Mercy, which He desired should be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter:

I desire that the Feast of Mercy [which is tomorrow] be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day are open all the divine floodgates through which graces flow. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate my love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Paul Scofield, R.I.P.

Actor Paul Scofield passed away on the 19th of this month at the age of 86, after a battle with leukemia. He is seen here as St. Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons, a role that won him both an Oscar and a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award. Like the great saint he portrayed, Scofield was known as a man of brilliant intellect. He is survived by Joy Parker, his wife of 65 years, and two children. The St. Thomas More website features links to tributes to this great actor.

St. Thomas More, intercede on behalf of his soul and those he leaves behind.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Anniversaries and Feast Days

It occurred to me earlier that it was twenty-four years ago today that I received the Sacrament of Confirmation (almost immediately after which, I am sorry to say, I quit going to church for about six years).

Today is also (usually) the feast of the Annunciation, as well as the feast of St. Dismas, the Good Thief who repented and was promised Paradise that very day.

When I was in law school in Moscow, I boarded at the local Ursuline convent. The superior of that convent, Sr. Bernadette, had a devotion to St. Dismas, and swore that he had helped her out of many difficulties. One day, I was out on the road during a fog after a heavy snowfall. After turning onto one of Moscow's rather ill-plowed side streets, which turned out to be worse than it looked, my little Chevy LUV pickup got stuck in a snow drift. I couldn't move, I couldn't see, and this was before the ubiquity of cell phones, so I had no ready means of calling for help. I wondered how I was going to get out of this. Then I remembered what Sr. Bernadette always said about St. Dismas.

So I prayed to St. Dismas to help me out of the snow. Before the fog from my breath had dissolved away, a great big truck with tow equipment suddenly loomed up out of the snow just ahead of me. Without any ado, three people jumped out, hitched up my pickup, and towed it out of the snow drift. It was as though they had come on orders. Within a minute, they were gone and I was safely back on my way.

How's THAT for service? And chivalry?

Prayer to St. Dismas

Glorious Saint Dismas, you alone of all the great Penitent Saints were directly canonized by Christ Himself; you were assured of a place in Heaven with Him "this day" because of the sincere confession of your sins to Him in the tribunal of Calvary and your true sorrow for them as you hung beside Him in that open confessional; you who by the direct sword thrust of your love and repentance did open the Heart of Jesus in mercy and forgiveness even before the centurion's spear tore it asunder; you whose face was closer to that of Jesus in His last agony, to offer Him a word of comfort, closer even than that of His Beloved Mother, Mary; you who knew so well how to pray, teach me the words to say to Him to gain pardon and the grace of perseverance; and you who are so close to Him now in Heaven, as you were during His last moments on earth, pray to Him for me that I shall never again desert Him, but that at the close of my life I may hear from Him the words He addressed to you: "This day thou shalt be with Me in Paradise."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Worthy Is the Lamb

If I remember right (and I haven't got a copy handy to check), Dante's Inferno describes the edifices of Hell as being in ruins -- on account of today's Event.

So the Battle is won. The rest is mop-up operations, no matter how hairy things get, or how close it looks like Hell is to winning. It's already lost. Period.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Harrowing of Hell

Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden. See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree. I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

Ancient homily for Holy Saturday; from today's Office of Readings

Friday, March 21, 2008

Why He Died

From St. John Bosco's vision of Hell in 1868, as recorded in Biographical Memoirs. "I" is Don Bosco; "he" is his guide in his journey to Hell. Don Bosco always had a guide during his visions, to give him courage and explain the meaning of what he saw and heard. He had several guides: sometimes it was the Blessed Mother; sometimes it was someone he had known personally in this life, such as St. Dominic Savio; often, however, he described the guide simply as "the stranger" and would not give clear answers when questioned on this point. Whatever the identity of the guide in this vision, it is worth pondering on this Good Friday, as a reminder of what Jesus died to save us from.

"Now that you have seen what others suffer, you too must experience a touch of Hell."

"No, no!" I cried in terror.

He insisted, but I kept refusing.

"Do not be afraid," he told me; "just try it. Touch this wall."

I could not muster enough courage and tried to get away, but he held me back. "Try it," he insisted. Gripping my arm firmly, he pulled me to the wall. "Only one touch," he commanded, "so that you may say you have both seen and touched the walls of eternal suffering and that you may understand what the last wall must be like if the first is so unendurable. Look at this wall!" I did intently. It seemed incredibly thick. "There are a thousand walls between this and the real fire of Hell," my guide continued. "A thousand walls encompass it, each a thousand measures thick and equally distant from the next one. Each measure is a thousand miles. This wall therefore is millions and millions of miles from Hell's real fire. It is just a remote rim of Hell itself."

When he said this, I instinctively pulled back, but he seized my hand, forced it open, and pressed it against the first of the thousand walls. The sensation was so utterly excruciating that I leaped back with a scream and found myself sitting up in bed. My hand was stinging and I kept rubbing it to ease the pain. When I got up this morning I noticed that it was swollen. Having my hand pressed against the wall, though only in a dream, felt so real that, later, the skin of my palm peeled off.

Read the entire account of the vision here.

NOTE: A reader has noted in the comment box that the site containing the text of the above vision is run by sedevacantists. Please note that this blog does not endorse sedevacantism. If anybody can find this vision at an orthodox site, please let me know.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Holy Thursday

Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament.....There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth, and more than that: Death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man's heart desires.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Brianna: Getting Serious

This from Gayle, OPL, Brianna's grandmother, on the latest turn in her condition:
The prognosis is not very good for Brianna. They found her colon in much worse shape than it was a year ago. The doctor said it was infected all the way through and that if they can’t get this under control they will have to remove her colon and she will be confined to a colostomy bag for the rest of her life. Quite a tall order for a 10 year old.
God in his great wisdom won’t let us down however as I can attest to the power of prayer and if we all commit to include her in our daily Rosary, I’m confident that God will shine and all will be well. Please join me in a 54 day Rosary novena for this intention beginning tomorrow.
And I would add: in addition to the Rosary novena, pray the novena prayer to Bl. Margaret, too. This sort of thing is right up her alley. Both she and Bri need a miracle.

O God by whose Will the blessed virgin, Margaret, was blind from birth, that, the eyes of her mind being inwardly enlightened, she might think without ceasing on You alone: be the light of our eyes, that we may be able to flee the shadows in this world, and reach the home of never-ending light. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, glorify your servant, Blessed Margaret, by granting the favor we so ardently desire. This we ask in humble submission to God’s Will, for His Honor and Glory and the salvation of souls. Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Glory of Ireland; The Squalor of Popular Culture

The late hullabaloo over Holy Week taking precedence over St. Patrick's feast day (which St. Patrick would have backed 100%) is mild compared to some of the other signs of how low we've sunk. One of the local girlie bars in the Treasure Valley is "celebrating" St. Patrick's Day with a wet T-shirt contest; according to the sign outside, the "winner" gets $100.00. St. Patrick must have made some serious inroads into Hell's dominion for the devil to try to avenge himself by arranging for a "tradition" of crass and sinful entertainments to "celebrate" Patrick's feast day.

Prayer of St. Patrick

As I arise today, may the strength of God pilot me, the power of God uphold me, the wisdom of God guide me. May the eye of God look before me, the ear of God hear me, the word of God speak for me. May the hand of God protect me, the way of God lie before me, the shield of God defend me, the host of God save me. May Christ shield me today...Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit, Christ when I stand, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me. Amen.

Monday, March 10, 2008

How I Spent My Afternoon

















Don't say I didn't warn you...

(...though at least I cleaned them up a little before photographing them...)

Yes, today I had a date with the oral surgeon, who, after cranking up the nitrous oxide as high as it would go, proceeded with great gusto to yank out an abscessed molar (right) and the broken wisdom tooth right behind it (left). He had to stitch up the holes these things left, and I feel pretty raw, but I have (a) some really far-out dope for the pain, man, and (b) the consolation of being rid of these tormenters. I unite this pain to the pain Christ felt when the high priest's servant struck Him in the face.

Why -- you may well ask -- am I keeping these disgusting things? Because the need to have them out arose at a time when it was beyond my resources to have it done; nevertheless, Divine Providence arranged to meet this need in spite of my lack. So from now on, they will serve as a reminder that God does provide. Being the weak creatures that we are, we all need to keep the reminders of Providence before us, even after we have had proof after proof of it. Look at the children of Israel: after the plagues upon Egypt, and the deliverance from slavery, and the pillar of fire, and the pillar of cloud, and the parting of the Red Sea, it still took them all of about thirty seconds to forget Whose Hands they were in. I can't honestly say I'm any different.

in case the above pic "grosses" out anybody in particular, then I respectfully remind him whose idea it was to post it.

(Even if I did go along with it.)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Could It Happen?

Somebody brought up an interesting possibility today in regards to the Democrat ticket: could Bill become Hillary's running mate?

Whether it's a realistic possibility in political terms is not the purpose of this inquiry (though I rather doubt it will happen). From a legal standpoint, however, barring some case law I haven't found, it could happen. Clause 1 of the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, limiting presidential terms:
No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President, when this Article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.
Note that it says, "No person shall be ELECTED" to the office of President, etc.; it does not say, "No person shall HOLD the office of President" more than twice. If Bill were Hillary's Vice-President, and Hillary became incapacitated, such that the Vice-President had to take over as President, then Bill would have attained to the office of President by a means other than being elected; as such, he would not come under the purview of the Amendment.

The way I see it, the 22nd Amendment does not operate to bar Bill Clinton from occupying the bottom spot on the Democrat ticket. My cursory research doesn't turn up any case law, but I am subject to being proved wrong.

It should be remembered, though, that just as Bill and Hill were a package deal in 1992, so they are still a package deal in 2008, even if Bill doesn't appear on the ticket. Think about it.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Keep Your Ovaries off My Rosaries!

And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

Matthew 28:18-20 (Douay-Rheims)

The Church, following the example of her Founder, places great emphasis on the necessity of Baptism. So critically important is this Sacrament that, in danger of death, it may be validly administered by literally anyone -- even an atheist -- so long as the person administering it uses water, intends to do what the Church intends when baptizing, and uses the correct formula as clearly enunciated by Christ above.

As unmistakable as Christ's command is regarding Baptism, however, there seems no shortage of people who think they can improve upon it, and then go on to take it upon themselves to do just that, "baptizing" in the name of "the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier." The incredible pride that it takes to tamper with such an all-important Sacrament is apparently so prevalent, even among those in Holy Orders, that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has felt it necessary to issue a statement condemning the use of this feminist formulation, and warning that it results in an invalid Baptism. Anyone who has been "baptized" in the name of "the Creator, the Redeemer and the Sanctifier" is in fact not baptized at all.

This tampering with Baptism is not only prideful, but indicative of an appalling lack of faith. If you think it's more important to avoid being sexist than it is to save souls, your problem goes a lot deeper than poor prioritizing. If you take it upon yourself to change the formula for Baptism, then you don't really care whether Baptism is properly administered; if you don't care whether Baptism is properly administered, then you must not believe in its necessity; and if you don't believe in its necessity, then you can't possibly think that you have any use for a Redeemer, much less His Church.

Happily, the Pope has taken note of this problem in the Church, and issued the appropriate warning. Feminist priests and deacons are on notice.