TEMPUS PER ANNUM | Year A—Gospel of St. Matthew, Cycle II


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We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, he draws us to himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.” —Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ecumenical Food for Thought

Jeff B. Harris' cartoon for the 20th of July.

For additional humour with an edge (of a sword), visit his site: CLICK HERE: Sword of Peter

If you are a Catholic lover of the Magisterium, no explanation is necessary. If you are a relativist, no explanation is possible.

The relativist's credo:

The Blind Men and the Elephant
John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887)

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a WALL!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, "Ho, what have we here,
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a SPEAR!"

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a SNAKE!"

The Fourth reached out an eager hand, 
And felt about the knee
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he:
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a TREE!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a FAN!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a ROPE!"

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pistol Packing Parishioners Promote Pulchritude

Poetry is in the details.

The idea that the Liturgy must accommodate the low-information Catholic or potential convert says more about the limited thinking at work among "liturgists" than it does about the ability of potential converts or reverts to the Faith to comprehend the signs, symbols and sacraments of the Church. Too often in the past—and there is a mountain of data available around the internet testifying to the fact that—misguided priests and misinformed liturgy committees appropriated the Liturgy and dumbed the Liturgy down in an effort to make it more "understandable". Understandable?—to whom? What is there to understand if there is little substance and precious little meaning left to appreciate? If experience has taught this blogger anything, it's precisely the careful attention to liturgical detail that invites the imagination and aids, for example, in the recruitment of souls as servers who, thirsting after depth and the divine, thrill to the discovery of meaning in the ritual gestures that have guided countless Catholics into a deeper communion with Christ, the Christ Who reveals Himself in the Sacred Liturgy. These same servers are dedicated, enthusiastic and pious and are fine examples of charity and joy to their peers.

Pope-Emeritus Benedict taught us that the recovery of the truth of beauty is the way forward, a way around the sterile utilitarianism that has ensnared souls for decades. Pope Francis is teaching us about the beauty of mercy. The most merciful thing we can do for the souls of our fellow human beings is to reintroduce into the world beauty and goodness.

Beauty requires a defence. Shouldn't beauty attract and, therefore, isn't beauty its own defence? Emaciated models prancing down a Paris runway or the airbrushed caricatures of men and women in trendy magazines are not defences of beauty, they are examples of victims whose beauty has been corrupted. Beauty requires a defence from those who would misuse power, exploit the innocent and/or corrupt beauty to serve commercial interests.

The beauty of the Liturgy requires a charitable defence against those who wrongly imagine that by ignoring attention to detail and promoting "accessibility" others may participate more fully in the Liturgy. The quest for accessibility is a slippery slope. Accessibility to foster active participation deprives the imagination of the opportunity to discover, on one's own terms guided by the Holy Spirit, the ineffable, the transcendentals of truth, beauty and goodness. The souls of modern men and women crave meaning. The catechumenate, that process wherein converts awaken to reality in the Sacraments, is a preparation, a revelation and gradual entrance into the mysteries (sacraments) Christ gave to His Church. The concept that seekers must be initiated into the Mysteries, i.e., the Sacraments, prior to receiving the Sacraments is lost on a modern crowd that fears mystery as much as it does commitment. Certainly, the Liturgy was given to us by the Lord for our salvation. The Lord left us the design for the Mass and the Holy Spirit has been shaping the Mass for nearly twenty centuries, and shaping us, too. We are shaped by the Liturgy; we do not shape the Liturgy. The Liturgy is received; we do not invent the Liturgy any more than we invent the One to Whom we pray, adore, praise and offering thanks.

The Ordinary Form of the Mass (Pauline Missal) is routinely badly beaten, so much so that it is difficult not to agree with the TLM-only crowd that the Novus Ordo liturgy should simply be abandoned for the Johannine (John XXIII) Missal of 1962. A recent and ongoing reading of Volume One of the original Missale Romanum (Missal of Paul VI) in Latin—albeit a very slow process for me since I am not fluent in Latin—has restored my confidence that there is great beauty to be found in and through the Pauline Missal. Found, that is, if the Mass is celebrated without reduction or avoidance of the liturgical norms contained within the Missal. Those in the tradition-minded camp hardly need reminding that the Novus Ordo is not being celebrated as intended. We have allowed the Liturgy to be hijacked by anarchists, to put it bluntly.

So then, how do we deal with hijackers? In a few words—we should not negotiate with liturgical terrorists. We are, however, still on that hijacked plane which is circling above the runway. We could mount a rebellion that would likely result in the plane going down (—a parish in turmoil). We could be patient and wait for the hijackers to have their demands met (—capitulation surrenders truth to falsehood). We could look for a moment to open the doors and toss out the terrorists who have been occupying the plane. The last option has a certain appeal. A better option is to arm the passengers with weapons, i.e., knowledge: knowledge of history; knowledge of sacraments and the sacred. Faced with the prospect of a planeload of well armed parishioners, the liturgical terrorists typically sense the futility of their campaign and jump off the plane. And, frankly, who cares if they do not have parachutes? If they don't, they would be wise to surrender and take a pew.

It only takes one saint to turn around a parish. Saints, by-the-way, are typically convinced and convincing, indomitable and unfailingly charitable.

Msgr. Charles Pope "arms" the passengers well in an excellent article on the nature of the Catholic worship HERE entitled The Extraordinary Form of the Mass and the Evangelization of the Culture.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sign of Persecution


If you're wondering, the Twitter feed icon has been changed to the Arabic letter 'nun', which is being used by Islamic terrorists to mark Christian homes, churches and other buildings in Iraq. The ن stands for nasara, i.e., Nazarenes, the term of derision muslims use to refer to Christians.

An article at Rorate Caeli blog titled Nun: The Sign of Genocide declares this:
They (the muslims) mean it as a mark of shame, we must then wear it as a mark of hope: Yes, we are in the army of the Resurrected Nazarene, the Master and Lord of the Universe, the Man who is God Almighty, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity. You may kill our brethren and expel them, but we Christians will never go away.

Who are you calling a fanatic?

St. Andrew's Cathedral, 2014. CS

It is zeal for your house that has consumed me.—Psalm 69(68):9.

These days when people hear the word 'fanatic' they tend to think of a suicide bomber, a raving lunatic or intolerant ideologue frothing at the mouth.

No frothing, please.
noun: fanatic; plural noun: fanatics
—a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal

a person with an obsessive interest in and enthusiasm for something, especially an activity.

mid 16th century (as an adjective): from French fanatique or Latin fanaticus ‘of a temple’ from fanum ‘temple.’—Google Dictionary.
If you agree with Winston Churchill, or at least a phrase associated with the British Bulldog, then
A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
Churchill's definition applies to today's socialist and/or secularist ideologues who are trying (and far too often succeeding) in co-opting and corrupting public education and government policy to gain approval for what was a generation ago considered dangerous and immoral behaviour.

I would like to propose that the world, the West in particular, needs more Catholic fanatics. Holy fanatics; zealots perhaps, but not lunatics, terrorists or bullies. Not a sedevacantist ostrich with his head stuck in the sand nor a milquetoast progressivist toad who has surrendered her soul to the world, the flesh and the devil.

Then Mattathias cried out in the city with a loud voice, saying:
“Let every one who is zealous for the law and supports the covenant come out with me!”—1 Maccabees 2:27.

I propose the world needs more fanatics who wear Christ 24/7/365, not just on Sundays. That is to say, we can do without more cultural Catholics who dangle a crucifix round their necks for mere decoration. We need real zealots who may don a crucifix and are fanatics in the sense that they are utterly possessed by the Truth (note: capital 'T' Truth!) of the Incarnation, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We need zealots humble enough to stand their ground when their feet are held to the fire by the tolerance police who, resenting any kind of confidence except their own absolute belief that there are no absolutes, attempt to bully them into changing their allegiance. The bumper sticker on the car belonging to a fanatic reads "This driver doesn't burn incense to the emperor."

For I resolved to live according to wisdom, and I was zealous for the good;
and I shall never be put to shame.—Sirach 51:18

The saints are fanatics. What's that, you don't agree?
  • Blessed (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta was labelled "a fanatic, fundamentalist and a fraud" by the likes of none other than Christopher Hitchens who, in a 2003 article, took diabolical delight in his attempt to slander one of the most beloved saints of the modern era. Blessed Teresa, if it needs to be said, was possessed by the desire to serve Christ in the poorest of the poor. She and her Missionary Sisters of Charity have helped millions know the love and joy of Christ while tending to people's physical and spiritual needs.
  • Or, how about any of the Mexican saints martyred during the Cristero Wars? Among the 25 martyr saints canonized by another saintly fanatic—Pope St. John Paul II—was St. Toribio Romo González. St. Toribio received a special dispensation to be ordained to the priesthood when he was just 21 years old. He was killed when he was 28 years old for being a priest. Fr. Toribio was told by representatives of the state not to pray the Rosary in public, the same government that imposed a form of education that was intended to be "a socialist one and, in addition to excluding all religious doctrine, shall combat fanaticism and prejudices by organizing its instruction and activities in a way that shall permit the creation in youth of an exact and rational concept of the Universe and of social life." (Sounds like the policy of more than a few Canadian provinces, eh?) Like the many other saintly fanatics who perished at the hands of the politically correct tyrants of his day, Fr. Toribio challenged the status quo simply by being who and what he was—a humble, faithful priest.
  • Who can doubt the holy fanaticism of one, Mary Wagner, Canadian, pro-life advocate and frequent political prisoner who has been arrested half-a-dozen times for walking into the lion's den and witnessing to abortion mill staff and mothers, begging them to reconsider the destruction of unborn babies? Mary's peaceful and faithful (fanatical) witness puts most us to shame. In total, Mary has spent some two years behind bars for her various nonviolent challenges to the status quo.

Mary Wagner

Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is right?—1 Peter 3:13

Saints have heads, hands and voices in this world and hearts in the next. Fanaticism and sainthood go together like nail and cross. Fanatics are prepared to suffer for the Faith. Unlike the kind of martyr who straps a bomb to his body and in so doing causes others suffering and death, the Christian fanatic suffers for the sake of others. The Catholic martyr suffers with (compassio) others, shares in carrying another's burden and binds another's wounds.
The (Conventual Franciscan) brothers housed 3,000 Polish refugees, two-thirds of whom were Jewish, and continued their publication work, including materials considered anti-Nazi. For this work the presses were shut down, the congregation suppressed, the brothers dispersed, and Maximilian (Kolbe) was imprisoned in Pawiak prison, Warsaw, Poland on 17 February 1941. 
On 28 May 1941 he was transferred to Auschwitz and branded as prisoner 16670. He was assigned to a special work group staffed by priests and supervised by especially vicious and abusive guards. His calm dedication to the faith brought him the worst jobs available, and more beatings than anyone else. At one point he was beaten, lashed, and left for dead. The prisoners managed to smuggle him into the camp hospital where he spent his recovery time hearing confessions. When he returned to the camp, Maximilian ministered to other prisoners, including conducting Mass and delivering communion using smuggled bread and wine. 
In July 1941 there was an escape from the camp. Camp protocol, designed to make the prisoners guard each other, required that ten men be slaughtered in retribution for each escaped prisoner. Francis Gajowniczek, a married man with young children was chosen to die for the escape. Maximilian volunteered to take his place, and died as he had always wished – in service.—SQPN
The true Catholic fanatic does not cause others suffering, he accepts his suffering and offers it up to God. By taking on suffering, he becomes more like his Master:
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church, of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man mature in Christ. For this I toil, striving with all the energy which he mightily inspires within me.—Saint Paul's Letter to the Colossians 1:24-29.
Here are a few ways one might become a fanatic and behave like a convinced believer:
    "The phrase subsistit in is intended not only to reconfirm the meaning of the term est, that is, the identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church. Above all, it reaffirms that the Church of Christ, imbued with the fullness of all the means instituted by Christ, perdures (continues, remains) forever in the Catholic Church".—K.J. Becker, "'Subsistit in' — (Lumen Gentium, n. 8)" (cf. L'Osservatore Romano English edition [ORE], 14 December, pp. 11-14). Quoted in an article by Fernando Ocáriz.
  • Insist that the Mass be celebrated with reverence and decorum according to the rubrics. Be obsessed with liturgical beauty and goodness. Promote ad orientem liturgies. Don't let forty years of deviant practice(s) dissuade you from convincing others that the proper orientation of the Liturgy is ad orientem, i.e., toward the liturgical East. Express your convictions with enthusiasm and charity. Start by enlisting others to the cause and propose to your pastor that once a month an ad orientem Mass be celebrated. If you are a priest—preach on ad orientem worship and, in due course, offer the Ordinary Form ad orientem. Back up your enthusiasm with ongoing catechesis in the parish bulletin and in your homilies. Search HERE for information items for your parish bulletins.
  • Be prepared to lose friends over your choice to be faithful to Christ and His Church in all things. Keep Jesus' commandments. Love God; love His Church. “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."—St. John 14:23.
  • Practice limitless mercy. Be quick to forgive and equally ready to seek forgiveness. Go to confession once a week. Examine your conscience at the end of every day before bedtime. Ask God for forgiveness. Practice the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.
  • Love until it hurts, then keep on loving.
  • Do not shy away from fraternal correction. Offer it gently and receive it eagerly.
  • Begin and end your day in prayer. Pray for priests, the Holy Father, your family, your country, etc.
  • Attend daily Mass and prepare for Mass by reading the Bible readings ahead of time. The fanatic belongs in the fanum, i.e., the temple.
  • Volunteer as a server, lector or choir member.
  • Model/demonstrate obedience. Strive to be a saint. Read the lives of the saints.
  • Be joyful because God has rescued you from sin and death, is rescuing you daily and will rescue you when you surrender your spirit at death if, upon Him, all your hope is founded. Trust in Jesus. Confess your sins to a priest. Convert daily! See you all in the lineup to the confessional.
Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election
 for if you do this you will never fall.—2 Peter 1:10

Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these,
be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.—2 Peter 3:14

Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent.—Revelation 3:19