Saturday, July 12, 2003

Jesus the Light of the Soul
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

Mane nobiscum, Domine, quoniam advesperascit.
Stay with us, because it is towards evening.

1. I adore Thee, O my God, as the true and only Light! From Eternity to Eternity, before any creature was, when Thou wast alone, alone but not solitary, for Thou hast ever been Three in One, Thou wast the Infinite Light. There was none to see Thee but Thyself. The Father saw that Light in the Son, and the Son in the Father. Such as Thou wast in the beginning, such Thou art now. Most separate from all creatures in this Thy uncreated Brightness. Most glorious, most beautiful. Thy attributes are so many separate and resplendent colours, each as perfect in its own purity and grace as if it were the sole and highest perfection. Nothing created is more than the very shadow of Thee. Bright as are the Angels, they are poor and most unworthy shadows of Thee. They pale and look dim and gather blackness before Thee. They are so feeble beside Thee, that they are unable to gaze upon Thee. The highest Seraphim veil their eyes, by deed as well as by word proclaiming Thy unutterable glory. For me, I cannot even look upon the sun, and what is this but a base material emblem of Thee? How should I endure to look even on an Angel? and how could I look upon Thee and live? If I were placed in the illumination of Thy countenance, I should shrink up like the grass. O most gracious God, who shall approach Thee, being so glorious, yet how can I keep from Thee?

2. How can I keep from Thee? For Thou, who art the Light of Angels, art the only Light of my soul. Thou enlightenest every man that cometh into this world. I am utterly dark, as dark as hell, without Thee. I droop and shrink when Thou art away. I revive only in proportion as Thou dawnest upon me. Thou comest and goest at Thy will. O my God, I cannot keep Thee! I can only beg of Thee to stay. 'Mane nobiscum, Domine, quoniam advesperascit.' Remain till morning, and then go not without giving me a blessing. Remain with me till death in this dark valley, when the darkness will end. Remain, O Light of my soul, jam advesperascit! The gloom, which is not Thine, falls over me. I am nothing. I have little command of myself. I cannot do what I would. I am disconsolate and sad. I want something, I know not what. It is Thou that I want, though I so little understand this. I say it and take it on faith; I partially understand it, but very poorly. Shine on me, O Ignis semper ardens et nunquam deficiens!—'O fire ever burning and never failing'—and I shall begin, through and in Thy Light, to see Light, and to recognise Thee truly, as the Source of Light. Mane nobiscum; stay, sweet Jesus, stay for ever. In this decay of nature, give more grace.

3. Stay with me, and then I shall begin to shine as Thou shinest: so to shine as to be a light to others. The light, O Jesus, will be all from Thee. None of it will be mine. No merit to me. It will be Thou who shinest through me upon others. O let me thus praise Thee, in the way which Thou dost love best, by shining on all those around me. Give light to them as well as to me; light them with me, through me. Teach me to show forth Thy praise, Thy truth, Thy will. Make me preach Thee without preaching—not by words, but by my example and by the catching force, the sympathetic influence, of what I do—by my visible resemblance to Thy saints, and the evident fulness of the love which my heart bears to Thee. "

Meditations and Devotions
For Saturday

"We have all of us this instinct about our Blessed Lady, that she is not merely the Mother of all our fallen race, but the Mother of each of us individually; not our Mother, but my Mother. Protestants sometimes laugh at us because we address ourselves now to our Lady of Perpetual Succour, now to our Lady of Good Counsel, now to our Lady of Lourdes, and so on, as if they were so many different people. But the case is far worse than that, if they only knew; every individual Catholic has a separate 'our Lady' to pray to, his Mother, the one who seems to care for him individually, has won him so many favours, has stood by him in so many difficulties, as if she had no other thought or business in heaven but to watch over him. " - Msgr. Ronald Knox

The Feast of St. John Jones
is today. There is information on him here.

Oh, and BTW, it's my birthday.

Friday, July 11, 2003

For Friday
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"1. Place yourself in the presence of God, kneeling with hands clasped.

2. Read slowly and devoutly

St. Luke xxii. verses 40 to 46 (as it occurs in the Passion on Holy Wednesday).

3. Bring what you have read before you, as a picture.

4. Then say to Him whatever comes into your mind to say; for instance:—

(1) What is it that bows down the Almighty Son of God? What is it that so terrifies and overwhelms my dear Saviour? What is it that thus convulses Him from head to foot? See how He trembles! He falls on his knees as under a tremendous load! His flesh quivers, and at length out of its pores comes a dew. It is red, and it trickles down Him, and falls heavily on the ground. It is His precious blood, and this is His agony.

(2) Alas! I know well enough what was the cause of it. He came on earth to undergo it, and to destroy it by undergoing it. It is the weight of sin. The sins of every child of Adam, of the whole race, were all then heaped into one mass, higher than the mountains, and placed upon His head. The burden would have crushed anyone else, even the highest Archangel, even the Blessed Mother of God. One human heart alone could undergo it, the heart of the Divine Son; yet see how His soul and body agonised with it, though it was the soul and body of God Incarnate.

(3) My most dear Saviour, give me some little tenderness to grieve for Thee suffering for me.

5. Conclusion.—My dear Mother Mary, thou wert sinless, teach me to grieve with Thee. "

Meditations and Devotions
July 11, 1972
was the day the Professor wrote these lovely, sad lines to his son Christopher.
" I have at last got busy about Mummy's grave... The inscription I should like is:


brief and jejune, except for Lúthien, which says more for me than a multitude of words: for she was (and knew she was) my Lúthien. "

It was done. The stone now reads:


Fr. Tucker over at Dappled Things
has a post about the formal introduction of the cause for beatification of Antoni Gaudí . However, for some reason neither link mentions that he was a Secular Oratorian, connected with the Barcelona Congregation....sigh.....
The Feast of St. Benedict
is today. There is information on him here. To all the Benedictines, Cistercians, and others who follow St. Benedict's Rule in some form, out there, (especially at St. Vincent Archabbey and St. Emma Monastery), and for all those who have him as a patron, Happy Feast Day !

Here is a link to an article on St. Benedict by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

Today is also the feast of St. Oliver Plunkett, Archbishop and Martyr. There is information on him here. He was the last of the Tyburn Martyrs. Check out the website for Tyburn Convent. (The nuns at Tyburn Convent are, BTW, Benedictines....)

Thursday, July 10, 2003

The Kingdom of God
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"1. My Lord Jesus, how wonderful were those conversations which Thou didst hold from time to time with Thy disciples after Thy resurrection. When Thou wentest with two of them to Emmaus, Thou didst explain all the prophecies which related to Thyself. And Thou didst commit to the Apostles the Sacraments in fulness, and the truths which it was Thy will to reveal, and the principles and maxims by which Thy Church was to be maintained and governed. And thus Thou didst prepare them against the day of Pentecost (as the risen bodies were put into shape for the Spirit in the Prophet's Vision), when life and illumination was to be infused into them. I will think over all Thou didst say to them with a true and simple faith. The "kingdom of God" was Thy sacred subject. Let me never for an instant forget that Thou hast established on earth a kingdom of Thy own, that the Church is Thy work, Thy establishment, Thy instrument; that we are under Thy rule, Thy laws and Thy eye—that when the Church speaks Thou dost speak. Let not familiarity with this wonderful truth lead me to be insensible to it—let not the weakness of Thy human representatives lead me to forget that it is Thou who dost speak and act through them. It was just when Thou wast going away, that then Thou didst leave this kingdom of Thine to take Thy place on to the end of the world, to speak for Thee, as Thy visible form, when Thy Personal Presence, sensible to man, was departing. I will in true loving faith bring Thee before me, teaching all the truths and laws of this kingdom to Thy Apostles, and I will adore Thee, while in my thoughts I gaze upon Thee and listen to Thy words.

2. Come, O my dear Lord, and teach me in like manner. I need it not, and do not ask it, as far as this, that the word of truth which in the beginning was given to the Apostles by Thee, has been handed down from age to age, and has already been taught to me, and Thy Infallible Church is the warrant of it. But I need Thee to teach me day by day, according to each day's opportunities and needs. I need Thee to give me that true Divine instinct about revealed matters that, knowing one part, I may be able to anticipate or to approve of others. I need that understanding of the truths about Thyself which may prepare me for all Thy other truths—or at least may save me from conjecturing wrongly about them or commenting falsely upon them. I need the mind of the Spirit, which is the mind of the holy Fathers, and of the Church by which I may not only say what they say on definite points, but think what they think; in all I need to be saved from an originality of thought, which is not true if it leads away from Thee. Give me the gift of discriminating between true and false in all discourse of mind.

3. And, for that end, give me, O my Lord, that purity of conscience which alone can receive, which alone can improve Thy inspirations. My ears are dull, so that I cannot hear Thy voice. My eyes are dim, so that I cannot see Thy tokens. Thou alone canst quicken my hearing, and purge my sight, and cleanse and renew my heart. Teach me, like Mary, to sit at Thy feet, and to hear Thy word. Give me that true wisdom, which seeks Thy will by prayer and meditation, by direct intercourse with Thee, more than by reading and reasoning. Give me the discernment to know Thy voice from the voice of strangers, and to rest upon it and to seek it in the first place, as something external to myself; and answer me through my own mind, if I worship and rely on Thee as above and beyond it. "

Meditations and Devotions
Remember my link to Mr. Serafin's post on converts ?
Well, here's another: a man who was just ordained to the priesthood in my diocese.
The Wall Street Journal
has a piece on efforts to limit or eliminate eulogies.
I seriously dislike eulogies at Catholic funerals- the point is to pray for the deceased's soul, not to give him the 'instant canonization' all too commonly present in eulogies.
However, I'll admit it- I would really like to have been there when the one guy in the pews stood up and 'ruined' a set of eulogies by publicly stating that the deceased was 'a no-good S.O.B. ' !

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

From "Neglect of Divine Calls and Warnings", Discourses to Mixed Congregations

by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"Thousands are dying daily; they are waking up into God's everlasting wrath; they look back on the days of the flesh, and call them few and evil; they despise and scorn the very reasonings which then they trusted, and which have been disproved by the event; they curse the recklessness which made them put off repentance; they have fallen under His justice, whose mercy they presumed upon;—and their companions and friends are going on as they did, and are soon to join them. As the last generation presumed, so does the present. The father would not believe that God could punish, and now the son will not believe; the father was indignant when eternal pain was spoken of, and the son gnashes his teeth and smiles contemptuously. The world spoke well of itself thirty years ago, and so will it thirty years to come. And thus it is that this vast flood of life is carried on from age to age; myriads trifling with God's love, tempting His justice, and like the herd of swine, falling headlong down the steep! O mighty God! O God of love! it is too much! it broke the heart of Thy sweet Son Jesus to see the misery of man spread out before His eyes. He died by it as well as for it. And we, too, in our measure, our eyes ache, and our hearts sicken, and our heads reel, when we but feebly contemplate it. O most tender heart of Jesus, why wilt Thou not end, when wilt Thou end, this ever-growing load of sin and woe? When wilt Thou chase away the devil into his own hell, and close the pit's mouth, that Thy chosen may rejoice in Thee, quitting the thought of those who perish in their wilfulness? But, oh! by those five dear Wounds in Hands, and Feet, and Side—perpetual founts of mercy, from which the fulness of the Eternal Trinity flows ever fresh, ever powerful, ever bountiful to all who seek Thee—if the world must still endure, at least gather Thou a larger and a larger harvest, an ampler proportion of souls out of it into Thy garner, that these latter times may, in sanctity, and glory, and the triumphs of Thy grace, exceed the former.

'Deus misereatur nostri, et benedicat nobis;' 'God, have mercy on us, and bless us; and cause His face to shine upon us, and have mercy on us; that we may know Thy way upon earth, Thy salvation among all the nations. Let the people praise Thee, O God; let all the people praise Thee. Let the nations be glad, and leap for joy; because Thou dost judge the people in equity, and dost direct the nations on the earth. God, even our God, bless us, may God bless us; and may all the ends of the earth fear Him.' "
The Feast of St. Augustine Tchao, Priest and Martyr
is today. There is information on him here. Prayers for the persecuted Church in China would be especially appropriate. Information can be found at this link: The Cardinal Kung Foundation.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

From An Essay in aid of a Grammar of Assent
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

" I can understand the rabbia of a native of Southern Europe, if I am of a passionate temper myself; and the taste for speculation or betting found in great traders or on the turf, if I am fond of enterprise or games of chance; but on the other hand, not all the possible descriptions of headlong love will make me comprehend the delirium, if I never have had a fit of it; nor will ever so many sermons about the inward satisfaction of strict conscientiousness create in my mind the image of a virtuous action and its attendant sentiments, if I have been brought up to lie, thieve and indulge my appetites. Thus we meet with men of the world who cannot enter into the very idea of devotion, and think, for instance, that, from the nature of the case, a life of religious seclusion must be either one of unutterable dreariness or abandoned sensuality, because they know of no exercise of the affections but what is merely human; and with others again, who, living in the home of their own selfishness, ridicule as something fanatical and pitiable the self-sacrifices of generous high-mindedness and chivalrous honour. They cannot create images of these things, any more than children on the contrary can of vice, when they ask whereabouts and who the bad men are; for they have no personal memories, and have to content themselves with notions drawn from books or from what others tell them."
Digging in .....

What Is Your Animal Personality?

brought to you by Quizilla

Link courtesy of Zorak.

Mr. McElhinney
has two more extracts from Venerable Newman's Letter to the Duke of Norfolk.
Fellow Catholics in the United States...
it seems that our tax dollars are at work funding the glorification of a heresiarch. The website link is offensive in itself, comparing the man with a famous figure with his name and claiming that both "left the world a better place".
The Feast of the Martyrs of Shanxi
is today. There is information on them here. Please pray for all those who are persecuted for professing the Faith, particularly in China.

Monday, July 07, 2003

Jesus our Guide and Guardian
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

" There are men who think that God is so great that He disdains to look down upon us, our doings and our fortunes. But He who did not find it beneath His Majesty to make us, does not think it beneath Him to observe and to visit us. He says Himself in the Gospel: 'Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings? and not one of them is forgotten before God. Yea, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore: you are of more value than many sparrows.' He determined from all eternity that He would create us. He settled our whole fortune—and, if He did not absolutely decree to bring us to heaven, it is because we have free will, and by the very constitution of our nature He has put it in part out of His own power, for we must do our part, if to heaven we attain. But He has done every thing short of this. He died for us all upon the Cross, that, if it were possible to save us, we might be saved. And He calls upon us lovingly, begging us to accept the benefit of His meritorious and most Precious Blood. And those who trust Him He takes under His special protection. He marks out their whole life for them; He appoints all that happens to them; He guides them in such way as to secure their salvation; He gives them just so much of health, of wealth, of friends, as is best for them; He afflicts them only when it is for their good; He is never angry with them. He measures out just that number of years which is good for them; and He appoints the hour of their death in such a way as to secure their perseverance up to it.

Let us pray for ourselves and for all our needs.

O my Lord and Saviour, in Thy arms I am safe; keep me and I have nothing to fear; give me up and I have nothing to hope for. I know not what will come upon me before I die. I know nothing about the future, but I rely upon Thee. I pray Thee to give me what is good for me; I pray Thee to take from me whatever may imperil my salvation; I pray Thee not to make me rich, I pray Thee not to make me very poor; but I leave it all to Thee, because Thou knowest and I do not. If Thou bringest pain or sorrow on me, give me grace to bear it well—keep me from fretfulness and selfishness. If Thou givest me health and strength and success in this world, keep me ever on my guard lest these great gifts carry me away from Thee. O Thou who didst die on the Cross for me, even for me, sinner as I am, give me to know Thee, to believe on Thee, to love Thee, to serve Thee; ever to aim at setting forth Thy glory; to live to and for Thee; to set a good example to all around me; give me to die just at that time and in that way which is most for Thy glory, and best for my salvation. "

Meditations and Devotions
Please pray...
for the martyrs and confessors of today.
Nice article by Mr. Olson
"Dogma is Not a Dirty Word"

The Feast of Blessed Roger Dickenson, Blessed Ralph Milner and Blessed Lawrence Humphrey
is today. There is information on them here.
Gerard Serafin has a post on them here.