Saturday, October 23, 2004

From Parochial and Plain Sermons
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

And if such were the figures, how much more was the Truth itself, the good Shepherd, when He came, both guileless and heroic? If shepherds are men of simple lives and obscure fortunes, uncorrupted and unknown in kings' courts and marts of commerce, how much more He who was "the carpenter's Son," who was "meek and lowly of heart," who "did not strive nor cry," who "went about doing good," who "when He was reviled, reviled not again," and who was "despised and rejected of men"? If, on the other hand, they are men of suffering and trial, how much more so He who was "a man of sorrows," and who "laid down His life for the sheep"?

"That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee," says Jacob; "I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it." And has not Christ undertaken the charge of our souls? Has He not made Himself answerable for us whom the devil had rent? Like the good Samaritan, "Take care of him," He says, "and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again I will repay thee." [Luke x. 35.] Or, as in another parable, under another image: "Lord, let it alone this year also ... and if it bear fruit, well; and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down." [Luke xiii. 8, 9.] "In the day the drought consumed me," says Jacob; and who was He who at midday sat down at that very Jacob's well, tired with His journey, and needing some of that water to quench His thirst, whereof "Jacob drank himself, and his children and his cattle"? Yet whereas He had a living water to impart, which the world knew not of, He preferred, as became the good Shepherd, to offer it to one of those lost sheep whom He came to seek and to save, rather than to take at her hand the water from the well, or to accept the offer of His disciples, when they came with meat from the city, and said, "Master, eat." "The frost" consumed me "by night," says Jacob, "and my sleep departed from mine eyes;" and read we not of One whose wont it was to rise a long while before day, and continue in prayer to God? who passed nights in the mountain, or on the sea? who dwelt forty days in the wilderness? who, in the evening and night of His passion, was forlorn in the bleak garden, or stripped and bleeding in the cold judgment hall?

Again: Moses, amid his sheep, saw the vision of God and was told of God's adorable Name; and Christ, the true Shepherd, lived a life of contemplation in the midst of His laborious ministry; He was transfigured on the mountain, and no man knew the Son but the Father, nor the Father but the Son.

Jacob endured, Moses meditated—and David wrought. Jacob endured the frost, and heat, and sleepless nights, and paid the price of the lost sheep; Moses was taken up into the mount for forty days; David fought with the foe, and recovered the prey—he rescued it from the mouth of the lion, and the paw of the bear, and killed the ravenous beasts. Christ, too, not only suffered with Jacob, and was in contemplation with Moses, but fought and conquered with David. David defended his father's sheep at Bethlehem; Christ, born and heralded to the shepherds at Bethlehem, suffered on the Cross in order to conquer. He came "from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah;" [Isa. lxiii. 1-3.] but He was "glorious in His apparel," for He trod the people "in His anger, and trampled them in His fury, and their blood was sprinkled upon His garments, and He stained all His raiment." Jacob was not as David, nor David as Jacob, nor either of them as Moses; but Christ was all three, as fulfilling all types, the lowly Jacob, the wise Moses, the heroic David, all in one—Priest, Prophet, and King.

Why encouraging contraception to try to limit abortion is like shooting yourself in the foot....

by the ever-sensible Professor Janet Smith

Link courtesy of Zorak.

The Feast of St. John of Capistrano, O.F.M., Priest
is today. There is information on him here. My friend Jim did a presentation on him at our Secular Oratory meeting some time ago and he commented that St. John "put the 'militant' in the Church Militant !"

Friday, October 22, 2004

From An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

There is a celebrated passage in St. Cyprian, on the subject of the punishment of lapsed Christians, which certainly seems to express the same doctrine. "St. Cyprian is arguing in favour of readmitting the lapsed, when penitent; and his argument seems to be that it does not follow that we absolve them simply because we simply restore them to the Church. He writes thus to Antonian: 'It is one thing to stand for pardon, another to arrive at glory; one to be sent to prison (missum in carcerem) and not to go out till the last farthing be paid, another to receive at once the reward of faith and virtue; one thing to be tormented for sin in long pain, and so to be cleansed and purged a long while by fire (purgari diu igne), another to be washed from all sin in martyrdom; one thing, in short, to wait for the Lord's sentence in the Day of Judgment, another at once to be crowned by Him.' Some understand this passage to refer to the penitential discipline of the Church which was imposed on the penitent;and, as far as the context goes, certainly no sense could be more apposite. Yet ... the words in themselves seem to go beyond any mere ecclesiastical, though virtually divine censure; especially 'missum in carcerem' and 'purgari diu igne.'"

The very first Catholic Carnival
will be next week.

Link courtesy of

Flos Carmeli
posts a verse by Richard Crashaw. There are more of his works here. Here's a short one- one of the "Divine Epigrams":

Two went up into the Temple to pray.

Two went to pray ? O rather say
One went to brag, th' other to pray.

One stands up close, and treads on high,
Where th' other dares not lend his eye.

One nearer to God's altar trod,
The other to the altar's God.

The Feast of Sts. Alodia and Nunilo, Virgins and Martyrs
is today. There is information on them here and here. Prayers for all Christians who are being persecuted in Islamic countries would be appropriate.
It is also the feast of St. Mary Salome, witness to the Resurrection of the Lord and mother of the apostles St. James the Greater and St. John the Evangelist. A blessed feast day to all who have her as a special patron, especially little Salome Rose, the infant daughter of some friends of mine !

Thursday, October 21, 2004

On October 21, 1860
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:

Cardinal Virtues—Fortitude

1. INTROD.—Fortitude and temperance (unlike prudence and justice), and fortitude especially, virtues of warfare in a fallen world. Cowardice the opposite. We know about bravery and cowardice in human matters. How our warfare spiritual, Eph. vi. 12 .

2. 'Overcometh the world,' 1 John v. 4 ; overcometh the devil, Apoc. xii. 10-11 .

3. Hence the Old Testament puts it forth as the characteristic virtue. The spies of the Lord, Deut.xxxi. 7 ; Josh. i. 6, 7, 9 —Gideon, David; Aggeus ii. 4 .

4. In the new covenant, martyrs, active courage as well as passive—St. Ignatius. St. Barlaam—his hand burnt off. All the children of the city coming to the governor saying, 'Kill us,' and he saying: 'O cacodaemons, have you not precipices and halters?'

5. This is how Christianity was set up—a whole epistle, the Hebrews, not to say 1st of St. Peter, on the duty and virtue.

6. But you will say this is beyond us. How is it a cardinal natural virtue? Well, I can give instances, e.g. 'because iniquity shall abound,' etc.; cowardice—'lest they be discouraged' (ut non pusillo animo fiant).

7. Cowardice in telling the truth.

8. Cowardice in resisting evil, in not going after the way of sinners in act and deed.

9. Impatience of ill-usage from others.

10. Impatience at continued evils; disgust—giving up.

11. This brings me to perseverance. It is difficult to persevere in any course, though no positive obstacles or opposition. How great this cardinal virtue then, as connected with the end of life.

12. If the merits of the martyrs are to assist us, let us merit that assistance by some portion of their bravery.

The Feast of St. Margaret Clitherow, Martyr
is today. There is information on her here.

I am conscious of the history, especially the religious history, of this part of England. I refer to Holy Island where Aidan and Cuthbert brought the Catholic faith. I recall Bede, who wrote so lovingly of the early life of the Church in England. I remember that a thousand years later men and women laid down their lives in this region for the faith they loved. Mary Ward taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ to English exiles; Margaret Clitheroe gave her life in this city of York. These holy women inspire women today to take their rightful place in the life of the Church, as befits their equality of rights and particular dignity.

Pope John Paul II, York, England, May 31, 1982

It is also the feast of St. Gaspar Bufalo.A blessed feast day to all the Missionaries of the Precious Blood out there, including this blogger!
Finally, it is the feast of Blessed Charles of Austria, who was beatified this month.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

A Thanksgiving
by Venerable John Henry Newman

"Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me."

Lord, in this dust Thy sovereign voice
First quicken'd love divine;
I am all Thine,—Thy care and choice,
My very praise is Thine.

I praise Thee, while Thy providence
In childhood frail I trace,
For blessings given, ere dawning sense
Could seek or scan Thy grace;

Blessings in boyhood's marvelling hour,
Bright dreams, and fancyings strange;
Blessings, when reason's awful power
Gave thought a bolder range;

Blessings of friends, which to my door
Unask'd, unhoped, have come;
And, choicer still, a countless store
Of eager smiles at home.

Yet, Lord, in memory's fondest place
I shrine those seasons sad,
When, looking up, I saw Thy face
In kind austereness clad.

I would not miss one sigh or tear,
Heart-pang, or throbbing brow;
Sweet was the chastisement severe,
And sweet its memory now.

Yes! let the fragrant scars abide,
Love-tokens in Thy stead,
Faint shadows of the spear-pierced side
And thorn-encompass'd head.

And such Thy tender force be still,
When self would swerve or stray,
Shaping to truth the froward will
Along Thy narrow way.

Deny me wealth; far, far remove
The lure of power or name;
Hope thrives in straits, in weakness love,
And faith in this world's shame.

October 20, 1829.

My friend at Ales Rarus..
has a picture of himself and his lovely bride.
And here I thought...
that the Cathari has disappeared a long time ago. Here's a truly vile sample from a modern-day one.

Link courtesy of Envoy Encore.

Flos Carmeli
posted some lesser-known lyrics by the brilliant W.S. Gilbert.
Dave Armstong
takes apart some misrepresentations of the Venerable.
Rejoice, all you lands of Arda !
On this date in 1955, the final volume of The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, was published, to the great joy of all those who were nearly frantic after the cliffhanger at the end of The Two Towers.
The Feast of St. Acca, O.S.B., Abbot and Bishop
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of St. Bertilla Boscardin, Virgin.
I believe this is also the anniversary of the death of Venerable Ursula Benincasa, Virgin and Foundress, whose piety and humility impressed St. Philip Neri. Besides founding two communities of female religious, she also introduced the Blue Scapular of the Immaculate Conception.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

On October 19, 1856....
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the folowing notes remain:

Purity of Mary
1. INTROD.—If there is one thing more than another which marks Christianity, it is the honour given to virginity. We, who have ever heard the doctrine, cannot fancy how it must come upon the heathen at the beginning by the contrast.

2. And indeed the Holy Fathers appeal to it from the first as a great miracle. When we consider the state of the heathen, etc. So wonderful that numbers of persons should be found who were willing to debar themselves even of the marriage state, living in chastity.

3. Moses, Aaron, the Priests, the Prophets.

4. Nay, the Jews—hardness of the heart, divorce, polygamy.

5. Nay, celibacy was not held in honour even from a religious reason. They each wished to be mother of the Messias.

6. Hence the force of the prophecy, 'A virgin shall conceive.' And when the time came, St. John the Baptist went before Him a virgin. He Himself, the Messias, pre-eminently such; and His Virgin Mother, and His favourite disciple, the other John, St. Paul, and all of them, either gave up their wives or had none.

7. Hence we see the force of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. A new thing was coming upon the earth. It was fitting that it should begin with a new beginning, as Adam's at the first—of grace before sin.

8. A new thing, though Joshua, Elias, Eliseus.

9. The heathen philosophers, stern, proud, etc., whereas, St. Gregory insists, humility must be with chastity, and our Lady a special instance of humility.

10. But further, the celibacy of false religions has been negative—the absence of love.

11. This indeed is what is imputed to us—blighted affections. The peculiarity of Christian celibacy is that it is from love to God—'and followed Thee.' St. Jerome in Breviary.

12. The more we love God, the more we are drawn off from earth.

13. The Blessed Virgin's Purity arose from the excess of her love.

This news item really disturbed some of my friends ....
A woman with the same first and last name as your humble webscribe was killed in a local car accident this weekend. The Oratory got a number of worried phone calls on Saturday. Fortunately, they were able to tell those concerned that it was not me. As for my 'namesake', let eternal rest be given to her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her.
The Feast of the North American Martyrs
is today. There is information on them here. Prayers for all those under threat of martyrdon for the Faith today would be appropriate.
It is also the feast of St. Philip Howard, Martyr, and of St. Paul of the Cross, C.P., Priest and Founder. To any Passionists out there, blessed feast day ! (The Oratorians in English-speaking countries owe a debt to this particular Passionist.)

Monday, October 18, 2004

The Feast of St. Luke, Apostle, Evangelist and Martyr
is today. There is information on him here.

St. Luke differed from his fellow-evangelists and fellow-disciples in having received the advantages of (what is called) a liberal education. In this respect he resembled St. Paul, who, with equal accomplishments appears to have possessed even more learning. He is said to have been a native of Antioch, a city celebrated for the refined habits and cultivated intellect of its inhabitants; and his profession was that of a physician or surgeon, which of itself evidences him to have been in point of education something above the generality of men. This is confirmed by the character of his writings, which are superior in composition to any part of the New Testament, excepting some of St. Paul's Epistles.

Venerable John Henry Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons
Happy Blogoversary ...
to me ! Here is a link to my first post.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

In case anyone is wondering...
The wedding went well, including the music. Prayers for Eric and Amanda as they begin married life would be very welcome.
If it were not Sunday...
today would be the feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr.

In the colloquy of the aged Ignatius, the disciple of the Apostles, with the Emperor Trajan, we have a sort of type of what went on for three, or rather four centuries. He was sent all the way from Antioch to Rome to be devoured by the beasts in the amphitheatre. As he travelled, he wrote letters to various Christian Churches, and among others to his Roman brethren, among whom he was to suffer. Let us see whether, as I have said, the Image of that Divine King, who had been promised from the beginning, was not the living principle of his obstinate resolve. The old man is almost fierce in his determination to be martyred. "May those beasts," he says to his brethren, "be my gain, which are in readiness for me! I will provoke and coax them to devour me quickly, and not to be afraid of me, as they are of some whom they will not touch. Should they be unwilling, I will compel them. Bear with me; I know what is my gain. Now I begin to be a disciple. Of nothing of things visible or invisible am I ambitious, save to gain Christ. Whether it is fire or the cross, the assault of wild beasts, the wrenching of my bones, the crunching of my limbs, the crushing of my whole body, let the tortures of the devil all assail me, if I do but gain Christ Jesus." Elsewhere in the same Epistle he says, "I write to you, still alive, but longing to die. My Love is crucified! I have no taste for perishable food. I long for God's Bread, heavenly Bread, Bread of life, which is Flesh of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I long for God's draught, His Blood, which is Love without corruption, and Life for evermore." It is said that, when he came into the presence of Trajan, the latter cried out, "Who are you, poor devil, who are so eager to transgress our rules?" "That is no name," he answered, "for Theophorus." "Who is Theophorus?" asked the Emperor. "He who bears Christ in his breast." In the Apostle's words, already cited, he had "Christ in him, the hope of glory."

Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent

It also would be the feast of St. Richard Gwyn, Martyr, and of St. John the Little, who was both vertically challenged' and naturally short-tempered- characteristics I share. (With God's grace he overcame his temper and was known for his gentleness.)

Music at the Noon Mass
Processional Hymn: "Alleluia ! Sing to Jesus"
Offertory: "Ave Verum" - William Byrd (1540-1623)
Communion: "Sacris Solemnis"- Gregorian Chant - (Men's Schola)
Recessional Hymn: "Praise My Soul the King of Heaven"

Fr. Joseph was the celebrant. His homily was on Eucharistic Adoration, to encourage people to sign up for this.