Saturday, February 28, 2009

Saturday - Our Lady's Day - click to read previous post



In order that her virginity might be perfect, Mary consecrated it to God by a vow. Since the Old Law made the generation of children a matter of obligation for God's Chosen People, Mary did not make an absolute vow of virginity until, through the Angel Gabriel, she knew she was to be the Mother of Christ. Then she took this vow in conjunction with St Joseph, her husband. In spite of her perpetual virginity, Mary was really married to St Joseph. In justice to her Son, to herself, and to society, it was necessary that she be married. If she had not been married, men would have said that her Son was an illegitimate child, the fruit of some sinful union. Christ needed the name, the protection and the care of human father. If Mary had not been married, the Jews might have considered her an adulteress, and so might have stoned her to death ro ruined her reputation. Again, because Joseph was the husband of Mary, he is a witness to the miraculous conception and birth of Christ. He confirms Mary's story about the conception and borth of her divine Child. The marriage of Mary and Joseph was a real marriage in terms they were united to one annother by the bond of mutual love, a love of the spirit. They gave to each other those conjugal rights which are of the essence of marriage, although, by their vow of virginity, they agreed never to use those rights. And their marriage was blessed with a Child to Whom they gave parental love, care and upbringing.





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Friday, February 27, 2009

St Therese, the Mistress of Novices with a gift of spiritual discernment

Fascinating picture of St Therese, the Novice Mistress, as seen by her sister, Celine Martine (Sr Genevieve). St Therese had a rare gift of spiritual discernment which made her able to guide souls according to their individual needs to avoid "grafting roses on a peach tree".


In her direction of the novices the Saint always adapted her counsel to the particular meed of the soul in question. She enlightened our consciences, and solved our problems according to our individual temperaments, our personal needs, or our actual trials or joys. From her own words we learn that the wise Mistress was keenly aware that a spiritual counsel profitable to one soul might be meaningless - or even harmful - to another. The following passage from her Autobiography bears witness to the rare gift od spiritual discernment which was ever manifest in her training of the novices. She writes:



"....I realized that, while for the most part all souls have the same battles, yet no two souls are exactly alike. It was easy then for me to understand what Father Pichon used to say: "There are as many shades of differences among souls as there are in human countenances." Each soul, therefore, should be dealt with in a different way.....Our own tastes, our personal ideas must be forgotten, and we must guide souls not by our own way but along that particular path which Jesus indicates....What would happen if an ill-instructed gardener did not properly graft his trees; if, without understanding the nature of each, he should try, for instance, to grow roses on a peach tree? The tree, which had been vigorous and, perhaps, gave promise of much fruit, would simply wither away.How important it is to be able to recognize God's claims on the individual soul, even form early childhood, so that instead of anticipating or hindering it we might, rather, second the action of divine grace in the lives of others...."

Saint Therese made these observations about the spiritual education of children. But how well she knew how to apply the principle when there was question of the guidance of souls, the chief task of a novice-mistress! In the study of this Memoir, therefore, let us make a similar distinction, and each reader may take to himself that advice or counsel which is best adapted to his individual needs. Although our holy Mistress was remarkably sweet in character, she was also very firm. She never overlooked anything in the novices which needed correction. As soon as she noticed something at fault, she would hurry to find the "culprit" to take her to task. This was not at all easy for her to do; nevertheless, she let nothing prevent her from doing her duty. She assures us that whenever truth was in the balance she feared nothing and would in fact go out to meet the enemy. She gave proof of this one day shortly before her death when, burning with fever and suffering from tuberculous throat which seemed to be on fire, she summoned up all her strength and vigour in order to admonish a novice who was at fault. Later she said to me, "You see, I must die with my weapons in hand - and in my mouth 'the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.' (Eph 6:17 and Rule of Carmel).

In one of our intimate conversations, Sister Therese of the Child Jesus told me:..."Ever since I took over the novitiate, my life has been one of war and struggle....But the good God has done the work for me. I have laboured for Him and my soul has made astounding progress....My only desire has been to please Him; consequently I have not worried over what others might be thinking or saying about me. I have not sought to be loved for myself, nor have I desired that my efforts bear fruit. True, we must sow the seed of goodness on all sides, but if it does not spring up, what matter! Our lot is to work; the victory is for Jesus. When there is question of doing good to our neighbour, we must let nothing deter us nor pass over anything to make things easier for ourselves. As for reprimands, our intention in giving them must be directed first to the glory of God and must not spring from a desire to succeed in enlightening the novices. Moreover, in order that a correction bear fruit, it must cost in the giving, and the heart must be free from the least shadow of passion."


This testimony interprets the Saint's complete thought on the subject. I often had cause to marvel at her wonderful spirit of renunciation in her contacts with the novices, how patiently she listened to us and instructed us without ever seeming to desire any joy or distraction for self. No less remarkable was her disinterested zeal in the case of those novices who were less favourably endowed; towards them she always manifested the greatest affection. It was evident that she was never influenced by external appearances but always maintained a universal reverence and respect for the soul for its own sake.

Soeur Therese was in the habit of quoting to us texts from Holy Scriptures in order to emphasize a particular lesson, and were replying to our questions she usually illustrated the point by a story. In this way, she succeeded in impressing on our memories the truths which she desired to instill into our souls.I was often lost in admiration on seeing how clearly she detected the wiles of nature, and how well she succeeded in regulating the diverse movements of our souls. She seemed to possess a supernatural discernment, and this to such a degree that we were sometimes led to believe that she could actually read our souls. We were convinced that she was truly inspired from on high, and whenever I consulted her it was with the firm belief that the Holy Spirit of God would answer me through her. But there was not any extraordinary manifestation in all this, she was simplicity itself; she never suspected that any powerful grace might be going out from her.
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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lent '09







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The Burial Cloth of Jesus, new evidence indicating last carbon dating mistake - click to read



The Hungary Prayer Manuscript of 1192 illustrates what can only be the Shroud of Turin, predating the earliest possible date of manufacture calculated by the AMS Carbon 14 testing. This paradigm assumes that the radiocarbonists' claim that the Shroud of Turin is a 14th century forgery is correct. It is based on what that conclusion tells us about the forger. It tells us hypothetically that:



1. The forger first painted the bloodstains before he painted the image.

2. The forger integrated forensic qualities to his image that would only be known 20th century science.

3. The forger duplicated blood flow patterns in perfect forensic agreement to blood flow from the wrists at 65° from vertical to suggest the exact crucifixion position of the arms.

4. The forger "painted" the blood flows with genuine group AB blood that he had "spiked" with excessive amounts of bilirubin since the forger knew that severe concussive scourging with a Roman flagrum would cause erythrocyte hemolysis and jaundice.

5. The forger "plotted" the scourge marks on the body of the "man in the shroud" to be consistent under forensic examination with two scourgers of varying height.

6. The forger also duplicated abrasion and compression marks on the scourge wounds of the shoulders to suggest to 20th century forensic examiners that the "man in the shroud" had carried a heavy weight following the scourging.

7. The forger, against all convention of medieval artistry, painted the body he was "hoaxing" as Jesus of Nazareth, nude to conform to genuine Roman crucifixions.

8. The forger, as the forensic genius he was, illustrated the nails of crucifixion accurately through the wrists rather than the hands as in all other conventional medieval representations. He also took into account that the thumbs of a crucified victim would rotate inward as a result of median nerve damage as the nails passed through the spaces of Destot.

9. The forger was clever enough to "salt" the linen with the pollens of plants indigenous only to the environs of Jerusalem in anticipation of 20th century palynological analysis.

10. The forger was an artist who surpassed the talents of all known artists to the present day, being able to "paint" an anatomically and photographically perfect human image in a photographic negative manner, centuries before photography, and be able to do so without being able to check his work, close up, as he progressed.

11. The forger was able to paint this image with some unknown medium using an unknown technique, 30-40 feet away in order to discern the shadowy image as he continued.

12. The forger was clever enough to depict an adult with an unplaited pony-tail, sidelocks and a beard style consistent with a Jewish male of the 1st century.

13. The forger thought of such minute details as incorporating dirt from the bare feet of the "man in the shroud" consistent with the calcium carbonate soil of the environs of Jerusalem.

14. This forger was such an expert in 20th century biochemistry, medicine, forensic pathology and anatomy, botany, photography and 3-D computer analysis that he has foiled all the efforts of modern science. His unknown and historically unduplicated artistic technique surpasses all great historical artists, making the pale efforts of DaVinci, Michaelangelo, Raphael and Botticelli appear as infantile scribblings.

If the Shroud of Turin is a forgery of the 14th century, as the radiocarbonists claim, and not a genuine artifact of the 1st century, all of these qualities of the purported medieval "forger" must be accepted. If the Shroud was "forged" it would have to have been painted.

It is an irrefutable fact that there is NO paint or pigment on the Shroud of Turin leaving the only explanation of the technique of the forger to have used "photography" to manufacture the relic in the THIRTEENTH CENTURY!! Some authors have gone so far as to suggest exactly that. This is patently absurd!

CONCLUSION

The Shroud of Turin is a genuine artifact of a first century Roman crucifixion of an adult Jewish male. The radiocarbon dating placing the manufacture of the linen in the 14th century was flawed by extrinsic C14 accumulated over centuries of fungal growth, candle smoke and the intense heat of the fire of 1532. There is NO paint on the linen of the shroud and is not the artifice of a forger.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

ASH WEDNESDAY - click to read the post


...On this day the Church blesses ashes, and places them on the heads of her faithful children, saying: "Remember man, thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return." The Christians of the earliest times followed this practice as often as they did public penance for their sins (Jer 25:34; Psalm 101: 10; Jonas 3: 5; Judith 9:1; Esth 4:1; Job 42:6).

Prayer at the beginning of Lent
Almighty God! I unite myself at the beginning of this holy season of penance with the Church militant, endeavoring to make these days of real sorrow for my sins and crucifixion of the sensual man. O Lord Jesus! in union with Thy fasting and passion, I offer Thee my fasting in obedience to the Church, for Thy honor, and in thanksgiving for the many favors I have received, in satisfaction for my sins and the sins of others, and that I may receive the grace to avoid such and such a sin, N. N. and to practice such and such a virtue, N. N.






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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lent in Traditional Catholicism

The season of forty days preceding Easter is traditionally called 'Lent' ("spring" in anglo-saxon). Term "Quadragesima" ("forty" in latin) was traditionally used by the Church. These forty days period does not include Sundays.
The season of Lent, according to the early Fathers of the Church, was instituted by the Apostles. The universal fast was then established for the purpose of purifying souls of sin, of subduing passions and evil inclinations. In other words, penitential practices were established to develop self-discipline in the practice of virtues which is indispensable in pursuing holiness and closeness to God. It is good to remember that the struggles with temptation and the evil one are the struggle of wills.


The Lenten fast used to be observed in every day of Lent from Ash Wednesday until Easter, except Sundays, for those over 21 and under 59 years of age. The corporal fast allows one large meal with meat and two small meals without. Between meals no solid food should be consumed. Complete abstinence from meat pertains to those over age 7 on Ash Wednesday and, on Fridays. This is certainly a mild form of self-mortification or rather self-discipline in comparison to what was usually practiced by Christians in earlier centuries. However, these practices will leave us still on the hungry side and remind us to subordinate our bodies to higher spiritual purposes and to use them for God's purposes. In this way, we will prepare ourselves for the proper celebration of Easter. Here are some suggestions for observance of the Lenten discipline, consisting of corporal and spiritual observances:
 Corporal or external fast.
* Observe the traditional Lenten fast (consuming less than usually) and abstinence (from meat and additionally from anything we like very much).
* Limit significant entertainments and parties during Lent.
* Avoid listening to popular music (rock, pop) and instead listen to Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony.
* At mealtime, take more of what you dislike rather than your favourites (at least for one day).
* Try for one day to abstain from using food/drink seasoning like salt, pepper and sugar.
* Avoid listening to the radio or watching television at least for one day or for all fast days. 

 Spiritual, internal fast.
* According to St. John: "The value of fasting consists not so much in abstinence from food, but rather in withdrawal from sinful practices."
* St. Basil the Great said: "Turning away from all wickedness means keeping our tongue in check, restraining our anger, suppressing evil desires, and avoiding all gossip, lying, and swearing. To abstain from these things - herein lies the true value of fast!"
Therefore, we should do our best to:
* Abstain from all evil (any, even slightest form of gossip, ridiculing, slandering, 'snaring' at others in thoughts and words)". 
* Avoid unnecessary, 'idle', 'empty' talks, at least for one day.
* Make extra efforts to exercise patience in all things.
* Make extra efforts not to complain.
* Make extra efforts to restrain anger.

Spiritual Change
* Make extra efforts to grow spiritually and to amend life.
* Practice the virtues, particularly the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity, and the cardinal moral virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.
* Attend Divine Office, Holy Mass, and liturgical exercises as often as they are offered during Lent.


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HOLY FACE OF JESUS - click for link


..."All those who attracted by my love, and venerating my countenance, shall receive, by virtue of my humanity, a brilliant and vivid impression of my divinity. The splendour shall enlighthen the depth of their souls, so that in eternal glory the celestial court shall marvel at the marked likeness of their features with my divine countenance." (Our Lord to St Gertrude)

..."I firmly wish that my face reflecting the intimate pains of my soul, the suffering and love of my heart, be more honoured! Whoever gazes upon me already consoles me." (Our Lord Jesus Christ to Sister Pierina)

Link on the title of this post will lead us to read a meditation on the Feast of Holy Face of Jesus. The author encourages us to see the Face of Our Crucified Lord in suffering human beings in particular in countless Jewish victims exterminated in Nazi concentration camps during second World War. I would like to add something to these reflections; it is very good to remember advice like this when we may have negative feelings developing in our heart towards others. In the Face of our Lord we should first see and remember those who were martyred for the Catholic faith in the first centuries of Christianity, Missionaries who gave their lives evangelizing pagan nations, in the Religious, Priests, Nuns, lay people who were martyred during Reformation, during anti-Catholic persecutions of the French Revolution, during numerous communist upheavals, in the concentration camps of Nazis and Soviets. We can see the face of Our Lord in Catholic Priest, St Maximillan Kolbe, who gave his life to spare the fellow prisoner at Auschwitz and in Catholic Nun, St Edith Stein, Carmelite and Jewish convert who died in the concentration camp because she was Catholic. There is a big international row over erecting crosses it the area of Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland and I suspect that any reference to seeing Christ face in Jewish victims of Holocaust would make many deeply unhappy.

Further reading Auschwitz Cross controversy





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Monday, February 23, 2009

Sexagesima Sunday video from "In Caritate Non Ficta" blog







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St Teresa of Avila - movie starring Concha Velasco - click to follow the link


This movie is recommended by EWTN and available only on Amazon.com



Miracle of St Therese - 1959 movie starring France Descaut as
Therese - relatively accurate presentation of 'Little Way'.



"Therese" - another 'Carmelite' movie (1986) starring Catherine Mouchet, much less recommended. Only from Amazon.com.

See other Catholic movies as recommended by Fisheaters website

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bloggingLOURDES - click for link

I recommend the blog from Père Georges David Byers, Chapelain des Sanctuaires Notre-Dame de Lourdes. bloggingLOURDES and Vultus Christi, although different in scope and style, are my first choice of the blogs by religious, I would recommend to follow. 




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Remnant's exclusive interview with Bishop Fellay





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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Letter of St Teresa written in 1579 to Fr Prior of the Carthusian Monastery - in time of Carmelite's persecution


The Saint gives this holy man an account of the persecutions which the Carmelites of Seville had suffered, and she recommends to his notice the bearer of the letter. Let us read carefully this letter and think how St Teresa's account of what happened is balanced and although the persecution and deposition of St Joseph's Carmelite convent Prioress was very unjust, she bears no grudge against the persecutors. Recommended and edifying reading in particular in these days when Traditional Catholicism is so despised, misunderstood and misinterpreted by 'modern/liberated minds' .


To the very Reverend Father Prior of the Carthusian Monastery at Seville.

JESUS. The Grace of the Holy Spirit be ever with your Reverence.

What do you think, my father, of what has taken place in our house of the glorious St. Joseph? What do you think of those who have treated (and do still treat) the poor sisters so ill? What do you think of the spiritual trials and troubles which they have now endured so long–from those even who ought to have consoled them? For my part, I think that if they have besought our Lord to send them these troubles, He has, indeed, heard their prayers. May He be blessed for ever.

I assure you I am not at all troubled about those Religious who came with me for the foundation. Sometimes I even rejoice to see what great advantages they derive from this war, which the devil has excited against them. But I am certainly grieved for those who have taken the habit since that time; for instead of their being occupied with the care of acquiring interior peace and of learning the rules of the Order, everything is in confusion; and this may do a great deal of harm to their souls, as they have only lately given themselves to the service of our Lord. May he send a remedy. I assure your Reverence, it is now some time since the devil began his machinations against them. I have written to the prioress, and told her to mention all her troubles to you. Perhaps she did not venture to do so. It would be a great comfort for me if I could speak plainly to your Reverence, but I dare not trust to a letter, I should not have said so much now, had I not sent this by a trusty messenger.

The young man who brings this letter came to ask me, if I knew any one, at Seville who would be responsible for his taking a place in the service of some lady, for he cannot live in this part of the country, as the air is too cold for him, although he was born in it. He has been a servant to a canon of this city, who is a friend of mine, and who assures me the young man is very good and honest. He can write and cast up accounts very well. Do keep him with you, if you can: this favour I beg of your Reverence, for the love of God. If any opportunity of getting him a place should present itself, please to be responsible for him, according to the character I have given him; your Reverence may do this with perfect security, for he who spoke about him to me is incapable of telling any untruth.

When he told me of his intention of going to Seville, I was delighted to have so good an opportunity of consoling myself, by writing to your Reverence, and begging of you to act in such a manner that the deposed prioress may read my letter, and all the letters I or others may send her from this part. No doubt your Reverence is already aware, how she has been deprived of her office, and how one of those who took the veil in that convent has been chosen in her place. I do not now dwell on many other persecutions which they have endured, which were so great, that the sisters were forced to give up the letters which I wrote to them, and which the Nuncio now possesses.

The poor souls stood in great need of some advice, for even the lawyers here are astonished at what they were made to do, through fear of excommunication. I am afraid they said many things against their conscience, and perhaps they did not understand matters properly; for they asserted many things in their depositions which are altogether false, for I myself was at that time in the convent, and what they deposed never happened there. But I do not wonder at their being made to utter so many most untrue things and such extravagances, for one of the nuns was examined for six hours together, and some of the sisters, through want of judgment, would have signed everything that their enemies wished. We have learned a lesson here by what has happened, for we considered what we signed, and so there has been nothing which could be turned against us.

For a year and a half our Lord has afflicted us in all kinds of ways: but I feel the greatest confidence that He will protect His servants, and enable them to discover the snares which the devil has raised against this house. The glorious St. Joseph will bring the truth to light, and make known the virtues of those sisters who went forth to found the convent: as regards those who took the habit there, I know them not: I know, however, that they have great influence over her who governs them, and this has caused much harm in many things.

I entreat your Reverence, for the love of God, not to forsake them, but to help them with your prayers in this their tribulation, for they have no one but God in Heaven, and upon earth none but yourself to comfort them. But His Majesty knows their heart will protect them, and will give you the charity to do the same.

This letter I send open, so that if the sisters should be commanded to give up the letters they receive from me to the provincial, you will arrange matters so that some one may read it, and then some relief may be given in seeing my letter.

It is thought that the provincial would wish them to leave the monastery: if this should be the case, the novices must accompany them. What I understand by this is–that the devil cannot bear the Carmelites: it is for this reason that he wages such a cruel war against them: but I trust in our Lord, that all his stratagems will avail him little.

I hope your Reverence will consider that you have been the protector of the Religious at Seville; and now, as they stand in such need of assistance, help them, I beg of you, through your love of the glorious St. Joseph. I know the favours which your Reverence has bestowed on our fathers: may His Divine Majesty be pleased to grant you a long life for the protection of these poor Religious, and to give you that sanctity which I always beg for you. Amen.

Your Reverence's unworthy Servant, and Subject,

TERESA DE JESUS.

P.S.–Your Reverence may read the letters I send to the sisters, provided they do not tire you too much. 

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Holy Smoke blog reports on Tablet's campaign against Fr Tim Finnigan from Blackfen - click for link





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QUINQUAGESIMA SUNDAY - click to read




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Saturday - Our Lady's Day - click to read previous post



The perpetual virginity of Mary is not so surprising when we reflect that Mary is the Mother of God. Christ is the true and natural Son of God. It is not fitting that he should have any other natural father. It was not fitting that God should share His parenthood with a man. Christ is also the Word of God, He proceeds from His Father without corruption. It was fitting that He should proceed from His Mother without corrupting her virginity. He came to take away the sins of men. But if He had been conceived of Mary by a human father, He Himself would have been subject to original sin. It was not fitting that He should be subject to the sin which He came to destroy. He came so that the men might be reborn spiritually of the Holy Spirit. It was, therefore, fitting that He Himself should be conceived by the Holy Spirit. He came to restore the integrity of human nature. It was not fitting that He should destroy the integrity of His Mother. Lastly, it is He Who has commanded us to honour our fathers and mothers. It was fitting that He should not lessen the honour due to His Mother by destroying her virginity in His birth.




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Thursday, February 19, 2009

'Doubt' the movie review on Dinoscopus blog - click to read



Story of the conflict between Mother Superior of certain pre-Conciliar Convent School and the Priest.




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Sexagesima - Thoughts on the Parable of the Sower -click to read part 1

Good opportunity to examine ourselves and honestly admit to what "soil" category do we fit the most. Thoughts on the Parable of the Sower may be the eye opener for truthful soul.


In Luke 8:4-15 are mentioned four categories of people who receive the seed of the divine word in different ways. It compares them to the hard ground, to the stony soil, to the earth choked with thorns, and lastly, to the good fertile field.
The hard grounds: souls that are frivolous, dissipated, open to all distractions, rumours, and curiosity; admitting all kinds of creatures and earthly affections. The word of God hardly reaches their heart when the enemy, having free access, carries it off, thus preventing it from taking root.



The stony ground: superficial souls with only a shallow layer of good earth, which will be rapidly blown away, along with the good seed, by the winds of passion. These souls easily grow enthusiastic, but do not persevere and "in time of temptation fall away". They are unstable, because they have not the courage to embrace renunciation and to make the sacrifices which are necessary if one wishes to remain faithful to the word of God and to put it into practice in all circumstances. Their fervour is a straw fire which dies down and goes out in the face of the slightest difficulty.
The ground covered with thorns: souls that are preoccupied with worldly things, pleasures, material interests and affairs. The seed takes root, but the thorns, but the thorns soon choke it by depriving it of air and light. Excessive solicitude for temporal things eventually stifles the rights of the spirit.
Lastly, the good ground is compared by Jesus to those "who, with a good and upright heart, hearing the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit in patience." The good and upright heart is the one which always gives first place to God, which seeks before everything else the kingdom of God and His justice. The seed of the divine word will bear abundant fruit in proportion to the good dispositions it finds in us: recollection, a serious and profound interior life, detachment, sincere seeking for the things of God above and beyond all earthly things, and finally, perseverance, without which the word of God cannot bear its fruit in us.

Today is memorial of Blessed Archangela Girlani, Virgin of the Carmelite Order. She came from noble family, since her childhood she was showing the unusual piety towards God and charity towards her neighbour. She was determined to live consecrated life and her example was followed by her two cousins. She entered Of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt Carmel in Parma. She excelled in the practice of virtue and soon was elected the Mother Superior.


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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

NEWS from SPUC

..."An academic scientist says clinicians suspect that IVF carries developmental risks for the children it produces. Dr Richard Schultz, associate dean for natural sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, is among several specialists calling for more research to ascertain such risks. Our source suggests that studies have found that the fertility technique leads to "abnormal patterns of gene expression" and increased likelihood of genetic disorders, prematurity and low birth weight.. One piece of research in the US was by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on more than 14,000 babies. Scientists at Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, found an unusually large number of IVF children with Beckiwth-Wiedemann syndrome. Our source also mentions Angelman syndrome in this context. IVF consent forms at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts, reportedly mention a possible risk. The medium in which embryos are grown may affect them".

Join and support SPUC group on  the FACEBOOK 





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The Tablet haunts Fr Finnigan, Damian Thompson of the "Holy Smoke" blog reports - click to read





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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Thoughts on the Parable of the Sower.



Jesus, the divine Sower, comes to scatter the good seed in His vineyard the Church. He wishes to prepare our souls for a new blossoming of grace and virtue. "The seed is the word of God." Jesus Christ, the Word Incarnate, eternal Utterance of the Father, came to sow this word in the hearts of men; it is, as it were, a reflection of Himself. The divine word is not a sound which strikes the air and disappears rapidly like the word of men; it is a supernatural light which reveals the true value of things; it is grace, the source of power and strength to help us live according to the light of God. Thus it is a seed of supernatural life, of sanctity, of eternal life. This seed is never sterile in itself; it always has a vital, powerful strength, capable of producing not only some fruits of Christian life, but abundant fruits of sanctity. This seed is not entrusted to an inexperienced husbandman who, because of his ignorance, might ruin the finest sowing. It is Jesus Hi,self, the Son of God, who is the Sower.

Then why does the seed not always bring forth the desired fruit? Because very often the ground which receives it does not have the requisite qualities. God never stops sowing the seed in the hearts of men; He invites them, He calls them continually by His light and His appeals; He never ceases giving His grace by means of the Sacraments; but all this is vain and fruitless unless man offers to God a good ground, that is his heart, well prepared and disposed. God wills our salvation and sanctification, but He never forces us; he respects our liberty.

Fragments of meditation from "Divine Intimacy" by Fr Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen OCD
Painting by Bruegel "Landscape for Parable of the Sower"







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Monday, February 16, 2009

Bp Fellay interview with Swiss newspaper - click to read






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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Novena to the Holy Face of Jesus starts today - click to read and pray



..."Devotion of reparation to the Holy Face of Jesus? It is a devotion that was given by Our Lord to a Carmelite Nun named Sister Mary of St. Peter in France, 1844, and allows us to make reparation for the sins which offend God. Many first class miracles have been associated with this devotion over many years which have been recognized as authentic by the Catholic Church. These miracles attest to the authenticity of the revelations from Our Lord to Sister Mary of St. Peter"....Read more HERE

Holy Face of Jesus DEVOTIONS





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SEAXAGESIMA SUNDAY - click to read




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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Excellent Remnant's essay on "Holocaust Revisionism on both sides" - click to read

Very recommended read....." When Christians are routinely smeared as haters, with Sacred Scripture savaged as hate literature, and holy days such as Christmas attacked every year like clockwork, it’s not unthinkable that there might be reactionary blowback here and there. It's the talk radio approach to “discussing differences”—badger and provoke the “caller” until he discredits himself completely by saying something utterly indefensible.


Rene and Gabrielle Lefebvre, parents of Ab Marcel Lefebvre.

Far from achieving justice, however, for the Christian victims of Hitler’s murderous Reich (e.g., Archbishop Lefebvre’s own father, who was tortured and murdered in 1944 in the Sonnenburg concentration camp after having been arrested by the Gestapo on May 28, 1942, for complicity with the enemy of the Greater German Reich), holocaust denial, in addition to doing grave injustice to the Jewish victims of Hitler's maniacal ethnic cleansing, has proven itself a most effective battering ram against the Church, as well.".....

..."Hitler’s National Socialists spent eleven years persecuting not only the Jewish people, but the Catholic Church as well, arresting Catholic priests and nuns and launching campaign after campaign against members of the Catholic hierarchy who tried to stop the madness. How many Catholics today know (or care) of the hundreds of Catholic priests, monks and sisters who died in Auschwitz, Sachsenhausen and Dachau?

Who remembers? Who cares!"....

How very true, who remembers, who cares....

...."Please note that the first concentration camp was established in 1933 at Dachau, outside of Munich; this camp was not so much an “extermination camp” as one for the political prisoners, including priests. At Dachau alone, 2,700 priests were imprisoned (of which 1,000 died), and were subject to the most awful tortures, including the medical experiments of Dr. Rascher.

Such persecution was not confined to Germany. The Church in Poland also suffered severely. During the first four months of occupation following the September 1939 invasion, 700 priests were shot and 3,000 were sent to concentration camps (of which 2,600 died). By the end of the war, 3 million Polish Catholics had been killed in concentration camps. How many other Catholics—priests, religious, and laity—in other countries died for the faith during the Nazi era?"....

See the postBeatification of Nuns of Novogrodek martyred by Nazis




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Marian Shrines in Holy Land - click for link to previous post


ROMANCE OF CARMEL

Behold what romance it holds! It was the theatre of the prophet's contest, at its foot the priests of Baal were slain. Sisera kept his nine hundred chariots of iron nearby, and Saul could have seen it chariots of iron nearby, and Saul could have seen it that day on Mt Gilboa when he "leaned upon his spear, and the chariots and the horsemen followed hard after him. "


View of Mt Gilboa



Achab, that wicked king, must have known Carmel well, and Elias ran before his chariot thence all the way across the plain to Jezreel. 


Valley of Jezreel with Mt Tabor

Our Lord Himself must have often have stood to admire Carmel as He porceeded from Galilee to Jerusalem. This way have come Paul, ships of Tyre, Crusaders. Richard Coeur de Lion must have walked the deck with Queen Berengaria, when they, too were at anchor beneath it in Acre Bay;


Richard the Lionheart

Queen Berengaria of Navarre, Richard's wife.

View of Acre Bay

of which (the Acre Bay) Deborah the prophetess did sing in far-off days: "Asher dwelt at the shore of the sea and abideth by its bays." It was Jeremias who declaimed that most enchanting and symbolic expression, "Carmel by the Sea"


Michelangelo's "Prophet Jeremiah" - Sistine Chapel fresco

Look away to the north - across the bay from Haifa is Acre itself white in the sun: at night this scene is exquisite: farther on is the Ladder of Tyre



and the climbing heights of the Lebanon.



To the northeast lie the hills of Galilee,



and within them cupped the little town of Nazareth; behind, guardian-like, is the snow topped Hermon



the Old Man Mountain, as the Arab called it. East streches the mighty rolling plain of Esdraelon



across which have fought and bled the soldiers of every great empire of the past. At the end of the plain rises Thabor, majestic, alone.



To the south, down by the sea is Athlit, where stands the ruins of the Castra Peligrinorum of the Crusaders



Away to the west is the Mediterranean, the Middle Sea.



Memories rush upon us now. To stand there at eventide - an hour of calm and mystery; nature is not merely a vision but a mystic language: it moves the hardest spirit to tenderness, to sweetness and to virtue. The great sun is sinking on to the western world and with it go our thoughts to places and persons dear but distant. As the shadows of evening softly fall and all is husband in silence we enter Carmel's shrine and kneel before the sweet image of Mary who looks down benignly upon us from her altar throne. Prayer, silent, sincere, ardent prayer beyond all words; prayer, sanctifying and consoling. A smile from the virgin....

Ave Maria! 'tis the hour of prayer!
Ave Maria! 'tis hour of love!
Ave Maria! may our spirits dare
Look up to thine and to thy Son's above!
Ave maria!


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The sunset of Darwinism - click for link



...."Francis Crick, who together with Watson discovered the structure of DNA, openly declared, “An honest man, armed only with the knowledge available to us, could affirm only that, in a certain sense, the origin of life at the moment appears to be rather a miracle,” In the same wavelength, Harold Hurey, a disciple of Stanley Miller who made history with his failed attempt to recreate life in the laboratory from a so-called primordial broth, said, “All of us who studied the origins of life uphold that the more we get into it, the more we feel it is too complex to have evolved in any way.” Indeed, a lot of faith is required to believe in evolutionism, and it is precisely that faith, of a clearly positivist mold, that is now beginning to weaken".... 




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The cure of Italian woman at Lourdes has been recognized by the Vatican as miraculous - click for link

Vatican has officially recognized the healing of Anna Santaniello in 1952 as miraculous. Anna, now 94 Italian, was cured of fatal rheumatic heart disease while praying at the shrine of Our Lady in Lourdes. 





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Foster parent disqualified after muslim teenager in her care converted to Christianity - click for link

The news and comments from Catholic News Agency






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Saturday - Our Lady's Day


The sinlessness of Mary is due chiefly to the fullness of grace which God gave her. Christ is the source of grace to all men. But Mary is closer to Christ than any other human being, because He took His flesh from her and dwelt in her womb, and lived intimately with her for approximately thirty years. The closer one is to Christ, the source of all grace, the greater the degree of grace one receives from Christ. Mary, therefore, received from Christ a fullness of grace not granted to any other creature. Her Immaculate Conception made her worthy to be the Mother of God became incarnate in her womb, and while He dwelt with her until the time of His public ministry to men, the constant presence of the source of all grace confirmed Mary in the state of grace. Finally, after her death and Assumption into heaven, Mary enjoys in heaven the fullness of grace and glory.


Thoughts on Immaculate Conception



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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Intimations of Happiness

Thoughts on prophecies, contemplative and active life and the vision of God - the ultimate goal of human life.


The life of faith that leads to happiness is not an easy one. One of its darkest difficulties is the fact that it is a life based on faith. The vision of God - man's final destiny 0 is not on display in the window of our large department stores. You cannot find it enthroned in the main room of our museums. A man cannot see it in this life; he must believe in it, hope for it, work for it in the darkness of this present life.
But God is good and wise. He knows that these who toil in the dark depths of the mine of life must glimpse an occasional pinpoint of light to strengthen their faith in the existence of the sun. In His great generosity God gives man intimations of His own existence and power and love. In this way He confirms man's faith, strengthens his hope and increases his love for Himself. God gives these intimations to man in the gifts of prophecy, speech and miracles.




Through prophecy God reveals to man things that are knowlable only to God Himself. It is by prophecy that man has come to know the deep secrets of the divine life, such as the mystery of the Trinity. More importantly, from the point of view of man himself and his need for certainty, the prophets of God have been able to foretell the future, especially the free future acts of God and men. The mysteries of the divine life are so profound that men might not accept them from a prophet; but the accurate forecasting of free future acts is a clear sign of the divinity. It is an intellectual miracle confirming the truth of the divine revelation given to men by God through prophets.
God can speak to His prophets in different ways, He may send them visible and audible sights and sounds in which His messages to men is contained; He may illumine the intellect of the prophet immediately, making him aware of the divine judgment he must manifest to men.
The prophet himself needs no previous preparation or disposition to be the recipient of a divine message. He may not even fully realise the meaning of what he himself sees or transmits to men; but in the hands of God he is a chosen vessel carrying the light of divine wisdom to men.
Occasionally the prophet is carried out of himself in rapture. His soul remains in his body, but it withdrawn from the turmoil of the life of the senses, and the prophets gazes for a moment on the face of Divinity Itself. Refreshed and inspired by this glimpse of God Himself, the prophet can speak with authority to men and import to them his own conviction of the truth and love of God.
As far as public revelations is concerned - that is the revelation which God has entrusted to His Church to be proposed to all men for belief - the age of prophecy ceased at the time and with the work of Christ and His Apostles. But God still sends private revelations to men as signs of His continuing love and care for us.

To be continued

The painting is Vermeer's "Christ in the house of Martha and Mary"

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

150th Anniversary of Lourdes Apparition - Jubilee Year



For links
150th Anniversary of Lourdes Apparition - official website
Lourdes - Sanctuary official website
Traditional Latin Mass in Lourdes blog - provides info on availability of TLM in Lourdes
"Decree according to which is granted a daily Plenary Indulgence on the 150th Anniversary of the Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes" - a list of conditions can be found in the Decree - a link to Vatican website
"Song of Bernadette" - vividly written classic story of St Bernadette available from Abebooks
"Song of Bernadette" chapter preview
Collection of Lourdes videos including "Song of Bernadette" movie trailers
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NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF LOURDES - starts today! - click for link to pray



Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes
O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy,
Health of the sick, refuge of sinners,
comforter of the afflicted, you know my wants, my troubles,
my sufferings, look with mercy upon me.

By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes, you were
you were pleased to make it a privilege sanctuary, whence
you dispense your favours, and already many
sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities,
both spiritual and corporal. I come therefore with
complete confidence to implore your maternal intercession

Obtain, O loving Mother, the grant of my request.
Through gratitude of your favours, I will endeavor
To imitate your virtues, that I may one day share your glory in. Amen

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes




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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes - click for link


Beyond the river Gave, to the west of Lourdes there is an old rock, jutting up from the ground. To the inhabitants of Lourdes the rock is known as the 'Big Rock', or Massabielle in the local dialect. Here, on this very spot, Our Lady appeared to St Bernadette eighteen times in 1858, not long after Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of Immaculate Conception in the apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus on December 8th 1854


The statue marks the spot and candles burn there perpetually as a sign of prayer.



OUR LADY OF LOURDES, PRAY FOR US!




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St Scholastica, Virgin - click for link


Mt 25:1-13.
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish and five wise. But the five foolish, having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them. But the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh. Go ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell and buy for yourselves. Now whilst they went to buy the bridegroom came: and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage. And the door was shut. But at last came also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answering said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.




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Monday, February 09, 2009

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor condemns Pope Benedict decree of excomunication removal from SSPX Bishops - click for link



Unhappy musings of a Cardinal about His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI decree removing excommunication from SSPX Bishops.





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Marian Shrines in Holy Land - click to read previous posts

A Visit to Carmel

The monastery of Carmel, Stella Maris, is situated two miles from Haifa. It is four hundred and ninety-five feet above the sea and has all the solidity of a fortress. Its thick walls, its heavily barred windows, its low doors, present a fine specimen of Medieval Monasteries in the Orient, always exposed to attack.


On reaching the esplanade you are faced with a bronze pillar set in a granite plinth and crowned by a statue of Immaculate Conception, the gift of Chile. To the right is a guest house, Stella Maris, once a villa built by Abdullah Pasha of Acre in 1821 from the ruins of the monastery.


This building also serves as the base of a lighthouse, whose big white light flashes one minute out over the sea and then back over the mountain. It can be seen at a distance of fifteen miles: surely a Star of the Sea.



To the right is the monastery within which is enclosed the church. In front of the monastery is a stone pyramid built in 1876, a monument to the two thousand dead of Bonaparte.




The main door leads into the church, which makes a profound impression for its sheer beauty.


Above the High Altar rises the statue of Our Lady of Carmel. Graceful and lonely the Virgin sits enthroned with the Child Jesus in her left arm, her sceptre in her right hand from which hangs a scapular.



The original statue was carved in 1821 by the Genoese Caraventa, but strange to relate it consisted only of head, hands and feet in wood, the rest was arrayed in rich clothing. In 1933, these were attached to a new statue carved from Lebanese cedar by the sculptor Rieda.

Beneath the altar is a dim grotto supported by two porphyry pillars. This grotto served on many occasions as the dwelling of St Elias.




It was near this grotto that the hermits had built the small chapel, during the lifetime of the Virgin. Within the Grotto an altar hewn in the rock is adorned with a statue of St Elias, his arm raised in a threatening gesture.





Beautiful dome above St Elias Grotto

Thousands of pilgrims flock to Mt Carmel on July 20, the feast of St Elias. From the terrace of the monastery the view is magnificent.




You seem to stand on the neck of a lusty giant resting on ancient and solid foundations, embraced by the waters of the Mediterranean. Two powerful forces, two giants, meet face to face. Between these two imposing elements puny man is ruler of all he surveys - how finite and insignificant he feels. It is difficult to decide which of the two elements encroaches upon the other - whether the land abuts on the sea, or the sea threatens the land. But it is Carmel at least that places the frame for the fascinating picture.

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