Balm for the Catholic Soul

As I sit here typing on my tablet, I am aware of the irony of relating my New Year’s resolution. I have long been aware of spending way too much time on my electronic devices, but trying to set a limit on time spent has been tough to quantify and to enforce. Then it hit me that a better approach may be to set a positive goal which will achieve the same effect.

I love to read, and in my whole life I have had at least one book going, and usually several. Then a year or two ago I started reading on the tablet, for convenience. But you might have noticed that the way the brain takes to reading literary, philosophical , or theological works on a screen just isn’t the same. And reading on the tablet makes it so easy to just switch over to the internet or social media.

And so I recalled that I once loved to read books. Made of paper. Three dimensional. Real.

Therefore, my resolution is to make daily progress on a real book. By so doing I hope by necessity to spend less time in the ones and zeroes.

The book that chose me is Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop. I haven’t read it in years, but just reading the prologue has confirmed my decision. Instead of wallowing in the sludge of pope/antipope, it is a blessing to read of growth in faith, of beginnings…

Feast of the Holy Family

Do you want your family to more closely resemble the Holy Family? St. Paul tells us how in today’s epistle, Colossians 3: 12-17:

Put ye on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience: Bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another. Even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also. But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts, wherein also you are called in one body: and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly: in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God. All whatsoever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Hilary Makes a Very Good Point

Everyone wants to talk about McCarrick, the guy the cabal served up as a sacrifice – though apparently nothing is going to happen to him – because he was old and had had his fun and can probably have no more.

No one wants to talk about Maciel because the Legion is still worth billions.

There’s a lot that makes me want to pack up a bug-out bag and go walk into the Appenines and never come out, and the fact that Benedict XVI did nothing to dissolve the Legion is close to the top of the list.

Legion. Opus Dei. The two groups who operate on people who want tradition but have no idea what it is. That’s it.

CATHOLICS: IF YOUR PRIEST/PARISH/ORDER/WHATEVER DOES NOT CELEBRATE THE TRADITIONAL MASS, LEAVE IT.

Ersatz Catholicism is not good enough. For you or for God.

Feast of Pope St. Sylvester

Today’s feast of St. Sylvester brings the secular year to a close. It is entirely fitting that this great saint’s day should mark the occasion. St. Sylvester was the 31st Pope, following 30 martyred ones. In his time, Constantine was converted to, and legalized, the Faith.

Pope St. Sylvester confirmed the Council of Nicea which condemned the Arian heresy. He oversaw the construction of the mother Church of Christendom– the Basilica of Our Saviour, otherwise known as St. John Lateran. He governed the Church immediately following that period of severe persecution, lasting three hundred years, by the Roman empire.

As Dom Prosper Gueranger wrote:

So that Sylvester is messenger of the Peace which Christ came to give to the world, of which the Angels sang on Christmas night. He is the friend of Constantine; he confirms the Council of Nicea; he organizes the discipline of the Church for the new era on which she is now entering: the era of Peace. His predecessors in the See of Peter imaged Jesus in his sufferings; Sylvester represented Jesus in his triumph. His appearance during this Octave reminds us that the Divine Child who lies wrapped in swaddling-clothes, and is the object of Herod’s persecution, is, notwithstanding all these humiliations, the Prince of Peace, the Father of the world to come.

Pontiff of Peace! from the abode of rest where now thou dwellest, look down upon the Church of God, surrounded as she is by implacable enemies, and beseech Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to hasten her triumph. Cast thine eye on that Rome which is so dear to thee, and which is so faithful in her love of thee. Protect and defend her Father, King and Pontiff. May she triumph over the wiles of political intrigue, the violence of tyranny, the craft of heretics, the perfidy of schismatics, the apathy of worldlings, and the cowardice of her own children. May she be honoured, loved and obeyed. May the sublime dignity of the Priesthood be recognized. May the spiritual power enjoy freedom of action. May the civil authority work hand in hand with the Church. May the Kingdom of God now come, and be received throughout the whole world, and may there be but one Fold and one Shepherd. Amen.

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I can never mark this feast day without thinking of the final conclave and last Sovereign Pontiff in The Lord of the World, by Robert Hugh Benson. It is a good reminder to always trust in God’s Providence in the face of the worst of worldly situations. And ain’t we in one now?

It could always get worse. And likely will. But victory is just as certain. Come, Lord Jesus!

Feast of St. John the Evangelist

Today’s Lesson:

Ecclus, ch, XV.

He that feareth God, will do good; and he that possesseth justice, shall lay hold on her, and she will meet him as an honourable mother. With the bread of life and under standing she shall feed him. and give him the water of wholesome wisdom to drink, and she shall be made strong in him, and he shall not be moved; and she shall exalt him among his neighbours; and in the midst of the Church she shall open his mouth, and shall fill him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding, and shall clothe him with the robe of glory; she shall heap upon him a treasure of joy and gladness, and our Lord God shall cause him to inherit an everlasting name. 

I love this reading for the many meanings it contains. The surface reading is true enough– fear God, and do good, and wisdom, justice, and everlasting life follow. And any reference to the just one who possesses wisdom evokes the Messias, the Divine Wisdom Himself.

But on the Feast of St. John it is especially rich food for meditation. Our Lady is often equated with Wisdom in readings taken from the Old Testament Wisdom-books. She was in the mind of God from the beginning, before the world was made, she is the mother of fair love, and fear, and holy hope. And to whom does Our Lord give His mother during His last agony? To St. John, the one He loved. And “she will meet him as an honorable mother.”

I could reflect on that phrase for days. I pray that one day, after following the example of that holy trio at the cross, after fearing God and trying to do good, Our Lady might meet me as an honorable mother and make me pleasing to her Son such as to secure my salvation.

Mother of Divine Grace, pray for us.

St. John, pray for us.

A Very Merry Christmas!

From The Liturgical Year:

‘Christ is born – glorify him! Christ comes down from heaven – go ye forth to meet him! Christ is on the earth – be ye lifted up above it! O sing to the Lord, all thou earth! [Ps xcv i] and to say all in one word, Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad [ibid. xcv 11], because he that is now born is both of heaven and of earth! Christ has assumed our Flesh – exult in fear and in joy; in fear, because of sin; in joy, because of hope! Christ is born of a Virgin: women! honour holy virginity, that you may become Mothers of Christ!

‘Who would not adore him that is from the beginning? Who would not praise and extol him that is born in time? Darkness is at an end; Light is created; Egypt remains in darkness, and Israel is enlightened by the pillar of fire. The people that sat in the darkness of ignorance, now possess the bright light of knowledge and wisdom. The old things are passed away, and lo! all things are made new. The letter has given way, the spirit has triumphed; shadows have faded, the reality is come. … The laws of nature are set aside; the world of Heaven is to be peopled; Christ commands it –  let us obey.

‘O clap your hands, all ye nations! [ibid. xlvi 2] – for a Child is born unto us, and a Son is given unto us. The emblem of his Government is upon his shoulder, for his exaltation shall come by the Cross; and his name shall be called the Angel of the Great Counsel, that is, of the Counsel of his Father [Isa. ix 6]. 

‘Let the Baptist now cry out: Prepare ye the way of the Lord! We, too, will proclaim the virtues and power of this day. He that is without flesh takes flesh; the Word takes a Body; the Unseen is seen; the Intangible may be touched; the Eternal has a beginning; the Son of God is made the Son of Man – Jesus Christ, yesterday and to-day, and the same for ever [Heb. xiii 8]. Let the Jew take scandal, and the Greek mock, and the heretic prate. They will believe when they shall see him ascending into heaven; and if not even then, at least when they shall see him coming down from heaven, and seated on his judgement-seat.’

Christmas Eve

From the Martyrology read at Prime this morning:

December 25th anno Domini 2018 The 18th Day of Moon

In the year 5199th from the creation of the world, when in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, in the year 2957th from the flood, in the year 2015th from the birth of Abraham, in the year 1510th from the going forth of the people of Israel out of Egypt under Moses, in the year 1032th from the anointing of David as King, in the 65th week according to the prophecy of Daniel, in the 194th Olympiad, in the 752nd from the foundation of the city of Rome, in the 42nd year of the reign of the Emperor Octavian Augustus, in the 6th age of the world, while the whole earth was at peace, Jesus Christ, Himself Eternal God and Son of the Eternal Father, being pleased to hallow the world by His most gracious coming, having been conceived of the Holy Ghost, and when nine months were passed after His conception, (all kneel down) was born of the Virgin Mary at Bethlehem of Juda made Man, Our Lord Jesus Christ was born according to the flesh.

Come, Lord Jesus!