Saturday, November 20, 2004

On November 20, 1849...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., gave some catechetical instructions, of which the following notes survive:

Mortuus, Sepultus—XII
1. INTROD.—'Dead and buried; He descended into hell.'

2. Dead. He died for our sins—but also because He came subject to the laws of our fallen nature; man, though not naturally immortal, was not to die. 'Dust thou art,' etc.—even our Blessed Lady, Enoch, Elias, and so Christ.

3. Hypostatic union preserved even in blood, which after the Resurrection was all gathered up.

4. Buried. This mentioned to show He was dead.

5. Hell eternal prison; purgatory; Limbo Patrum.

6. He went there, not as the others, but to triumph and take them out.

7. And so on the third day He rose again.

8. Even the instruments of the Passion a triumph; the cross—its meaning changed: He sanctified it. History of its finding.

9. The goodness of God not only in saving us, but in condescending to our weakness in religion; difficult to form spiritual ideas of God—the populace and [the] philosophers. Hence He has deigned [firstly] to take a body, [and secondly], with [it] a (personal] history . And this is perpetuated in the two great devotions of the Blessed Sacrament and of our Lady.

is making me blush...

The Feast of St. Felix of Valois, O.SS.T., Priest and Founder
is today. There is information on him here. To any Trinitarians out there, blessed feast day !
Back in 2000, Fr. Neuhaus noted inFirst Thingsthat this order was returning to its original charism in one place....

The Trinitarian Fathers, who have 600 members and 378 priests in 32 countries, were founded in 1198 for the purpose of ransoming and educating slaves, both Christian and Muslim. Eight hundred years later, they have announced that they are returning to their original charism in Sudan, where slavery is a big business under the auspices of the government in Khartoum. There the Trinitarians will be joined by Christian Solidarity International, which has been ransoming slaves for several years. For its trouble, Christian Solidarity was, at the urging of Sudan, recently decertified as a nongovernmental organization (NGO) at the United Nations. According to human rights groups, Khartoum is responsible for the deaths of two million Christians and animists in the South over the last ten years. Eight hundred years later. Think about it. It’s enough to raise doubts about the idea of moral progress.

Friday, November 19, 2004

A friend I haven't seen in a while was at Mass today...
Sr. Clare Joseph Godt, O.S.B. She is in Pittsburgh for a medical appointment. The last time I saw her she was a novice- now she is in temporary vows. Prayers for her and for all the Benedictines in St. Mary's, Pennsylvania would be most welcome.
From Sermons Bearing on Subjects of the Day
by Venerable John Henry Newman:

Many a man, and especially many a woman, may abandon themselves to the real delight, as it will prove, of passing hours in repeating the Psalms, or in saying Litanies and Hymns, and in frequenting those Cathedrals and Churches where the old Catholic ideas are especially impressed upon their minds; and they will find, in the words of Scripture, that our Lord's "Name is like ointment poured forth," [Cant. i. 3.] and His "fruit is sweet to their taste." [Cant. ii. 3.] Yet like the Prophet's roll, though ''in the mouth sweet as honey''—nay, almost literally so in a strange way—yet as soon as they have eaten it, it will be bitter, if they have forgotten that "before honour is humility," sowing in tears before reaping in joy, pain before pleasure, duty before privilege. Nothing lasts, nothing keeps incorrupt and pure, which comes of mere feeling; feelings die like spring-flowers, and are fit only to be cast into the oven. Persons thus circumstanced will find their religion fail them in time; a revulsion of mind will ensue. They will feel a violent distaste for what pleased them before, a sickness and weariness of mind; or even an enmity towards it; or a great disappointment; or a confusion and perplexity and despondence. They have learned to think religion easier than it is, themselves better than they are; they have drunk their good wine instead of keeping it; and this is the consequence. I need not enter, however, into the full consequences of this incaution; they are very various and sometimes very awful. I am but calling attention to the fact. And then the persons in question will be ashamed or afraid to confide to others what their state is, or will not have the opportunity; and all this the more, because affectionate, sensitive, delicate, retired persons are perhaps more open than others to the danger I have been describing.

The most awful consequences of this untrue kind of devotion, which would have all the glories of the Gospel without its austerities, of course are those into which the dreadful heretics fell who are alluded to in the text; and of which it is well not to speak.

Kyrie, eleison !
Nelson father acquitted of murder...
Outrage as father walks free

The two opening sentences of the first article are utterly appalling...

A Nelson father has been acquitted on charges of murdering his brain-damaged baby daughter.

The 34-year-old man had pleaded not guilty to murdering the five-month-old baby in May, although he says he smothered her face with his hand until she stopped breathing.....

Links courtesy of Fr. Rob Johansen.
Bendigedig !
That's Welsh for 'Wonderful!'. It seems some doctors in one of my ancestral homelands are doing an end-run around those promoting embryonic stem-cell research.

The Feast of Pope St. Pontian, Martyr
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of St.Obadiah, Prophet , and St. Raphael Kalinowski, O.C.D., Priest. A blessed feast day to all the Carmelites out there, especially a certain blogger and Sr. Claire Benedicta of the Cross, O.C.D. !

Thursday, November 18, 2004

From Meditations and Devotions
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

The Holy Evangelist St. John, in the visions of the Apocalypse, thus speaks of Him: "I saw, … (Apoc. v. 6), and behold a lamb standing as it were slain;" and then he saw all the blessed "fall down before the Lamb," ... (verses 8, 9), and they sung a new canticle saying, "Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God in Thy blood, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation" (verse 9) ... Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and benediction" (verse 12).

This is Jesus Christ, who when darkness, sin, guilt and misery had overspread the earth, came down from Heaven, took our nature upon Him, and shed His precious blood upon the Cross for all men.

Let us pray for all pagan nations, that they may be converted.

O Lord Jesus Christ, O King of the whole world, O Hope and Expectation of all nations, O Thou who hast bought all men for Thy own at the price of Thy most precious blood, look down in pity upon all races who are spread over the wide earth, and impart to them the knowledge of Thy truth. Remember, O Lord, Thy own most bitter sufferings of soul and body in Thy betrayal, Thy passion and Thy crucifixion, and have mercy upon their souls. Behold, O Lord, but a portion of mankind has heard of Thy Name—but a portion even professes to adore Thee—and yet thousands upon thousands in the East and the West, in the North and the South, hour after hour, as each hour comes, are dropping away from this life into eternity. Remember, O my dear Lord, and lay it to heart, that to the dishonour of Thy name, and to the triumph of Thine enemies, fresh victims are choking up the infernal pit, and are taking up their dwelling there for ever. Listen to the intercessions of Thy Saints, let Thy Mother plead with Thee, let not the prayers of Holy Church Thy Spouse be offered up in vain. Impute not to the poor heathen their many sins, but visit the earth quickly and give all men to know, to believe, and to serve Thee, in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection...

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord...
and let perpetual light shine upon him.

Gerard Serafin went to his reward early this morning. God give peace to his soul and comfort to his family and friends.
The Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles
is today. There is information on it here.
It is also the feast of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, R.S.C.J., Virgin. To any Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus out there, blessed feast day!
Finally, any Catholic Star Trek fans might want me to note that it is the feast of St. Odo of Cluny, O.S.B., Abbot.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Pontificator
continues to quote the Venerable.
The Feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Widow
is today. There is information on her here.
It is also the feast of the Jesuit Martyrs of Paraguay, St. Hugh of Lincoln, O. Cart., Bishop, and St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, Bishop. While he was still an Anglican, Venerable Newman wrote two essays on miracles , one of which, among other things, defended the miracles wrought by the intercession of the last-named, as mentioned in the works of St. Gregory of Nyssa,Bishop .

Further, Nyssen not only lived too near the times to allow of a spurious tradition fastening itself on the history, whether of the tree or of the people, but he was a native and inhabitant of that part of Asia Minor, and his family before him. His grandmother, Macrina, was brought up at Neocæsarea, Gregory's see, by his immediate disciples. Should the account be false, it will be somewhat of a parallel to suppose a person, at this day, in high ecclesiastical station, born and educated and writing in the Isle of Man, and assuring us that Bishop Wilson once laid a storm in behalf of the fishermen, and that a lighthouse was built at the time, and still remains, in commemoration of the event; and writers, moreover, of this day, in England, Scotland, and Ireland, confirming the testimony, by incidentally observing, without allusion to the particular story, that Bishop Wilson had the gift of miracles. We should say it was impossible that such evidence could be offered in behalf of a fiction now; and why not say the same of a similar case then? "But a fiction was possible then," it may be argued, "because the age was more superstitious than now." I answer, "And so was a miracle possible, because Christendom was more Catholic and Apostolic."

Venerable John Henry Newman, Two Essays on Biblical and Ecclesiastical Miracles

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

had two articles in the October issue which interested me. The first was on two liturgical conferences. One of the priests here at the Oratory attended the second. The other was about a Secular Oratorian who cause is being pursued.

Yet another case...
of human beings picking on defenseless rodents !

Link courtesy of The Thinklings

From Parochial and Plain Sermons
by Venerable John Henry Newman:

When Zacchaeus gave half his goods to the poor, and restored fourfold what he had wrongfully obtained, this was an act of repentance in one who would fain undo the past. They are acts of a mind, lingering and engaged in the past, as hope is engaged in contemplating the future. It is common enough at present to speak lightly of the past, as if it was past and could not be helped, as if we could not reverse the past. We cannot literally reverse it; yet surely instances such as the foregoing are the acts of persons who would if they could; who, as it were, are trying to do so, and in a manner doing so from the intense feeling of their hearts. Regret, vexation, sorrow, such feelings seem to this busy, practical, unspiritual generation as idle; as something despicable and unmanly,—just as tears may be. And many men think it religious to say that such feelings argue a want of faith in Christ's merits. They are unbelieving, they are irrational, if they are nothing more than remorse, bitterness, gloom, and despondency. Such is "the sorrow of the world" which "worketh death." Yet there is a "godly sorrow" also; a positive sorrowing for sin, and a deprecation of its consequences, and that quite distinct from faith or amendment; and this, so far from being a barren sorrow, "worketh," as the Apostle assures us, "repentance to salvation, not to be repented of." "Behold this selfsame thing," continues the Apostle to the Corinthians, "that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea what clearing of yourselves, yea what indignation, yea what fear, yea what vehement desire, yea what zeal, yea what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter." [2 Cor. vii. 10, 11.] Faith, then, neither is repentance, nor stands instead of it.

The Fourth Catholic Carnival is up...
and it's a virtual abbey.

The Pontificator...
is quoting the Venerable.

The Man with Black Hat...
is giving me ideas....

God works
in mysterious ways! Thank the Lord that she isn't listening to those who would want her to destroy these little ones !
The Feast of St. Margaret of Scotland
is today. There is information on her here.
It is also the feast of St. Agnes of Assisi,P.C., Virgin and Abbess, St. Gertrude the Great, O.Cist., Virgin, and St. Joseph Moscati.

Monday, November 15, 2004

On November 15, 1846
Venerable John Henry Newman wrote from Rome to a friend (one who later became an Oratorian):

Collegio di Propaganda, Nov. 15, 1846.
We have been at Rome three weeks next Wednesday, and in College nearly a week. They are wonderfully kind to us, we have everything our own way and, if we pleased, might be mere sight seers come to Rome to kill time (I suppose, however, they would not be pleased with us if we were). We are in daily lectures with the boys. We dine at 11½ and Sup at 8—both very good meals. At 7 A.M. have café au lait, and tea as we go to bed. They insist on the tea. They have put stoves in our rooms and anticipate all our wants. We have not yet been introduced to the Pope. The climate of Rome is trying—as variable as England, and some days very keen. We have seen Meyrick, who is very happy; we have been to the Passionists—but have seen more of the Jesuits than of any others. We have not yet seen anything of the Oratorians. We had a most pleasant time at Milan, and much regretted to leave it. We were lodged in a Priest's house, but quite to ourselves, and we employed ourselves in visiting Churches and attempting Italian. It was a time when most people, even Priests, were out of town; which would have been a loss, had we been better Italian scholars—and we were even glad to be to ourselves. We made one or two very pleasant acquaintances, besides dining at Count Mellerio's, who is a great person at Milan. Our passage to Genoa might have been much worse, but as it was, we had first to be shipped in boats (a little way past Pavia), when we rowed through the fields and woods of the place for an hour or so—then we had all our luggage opened under a most threatening sky, without any covering—then we were mounted atop of our own luggage in two one horse carts, riding backwards, for sundry miles, till night-fall—and then in the dusk and rain to be rowed across the mighty Po. The Jesuits are in great force at Genoa, the French Fathers having taken refuge there. We fell in with an Irish Novice, a very nice fellow, who was allowed to take us over the place—and with a French Father, who had been in England, and spoke English, of whom we saw a good deal. From Genoa we came to Civita Vecchia by the steamer, and went up by a railroad to Pisa on our way. See what a dull matter of fact letter I am writing, but I have not the pictorial power for any other—and you must take it as the best article I can produce ... There are above thirty languages in the town; we have been introduced to all the youths—as many as 30 (out of perhaps 120) speak English —but we are the only Englishmen. Everything goes on with quite a military punctuality—but the boys seem very happy and merry.

We hear no Politics here—but the English papers seem to be full of the Politics of Rome. The Pope's solemn Processo was this day week, when he gave his blessing from the loggia of St. John Lateran—it was a most wonderful sight. We saw him the very first morning we came, walking about St. Peter's, and stood quite close to him, and the first Mass we heard in Rome was his, and that at St. Peter's Tomb—a very unusual occurrence. St. John desires all kind remembrances—and now good bye.

Ever yours affectionately,

On the same day, Newman's friend Ambrose St. John wrote to the same man:

We have visited the seven Basilicas, the tre Fontane (St. Paul's place of martyrdom) St. Peter Montorio (St. Peter's) St. Clement's where lie St. Ignatius M. and St. Clement, (close as might be expected to the Colosseum); St. Ignatius Loyola's bedroom and the room where he wrote his constitutions; here also died St. Francis Borgia; there are in the Gesu also St. Stanislaus Kostka's bedroom at the Noviciate (where he died); also St. Philip Neri's relics, and what is most interesting the very little chapel in the Catacombs where his heart was enlarged. We have been extremely kindly treated, there is no doubt about it: two of the best rooms in the house have been selected for us, and fitted up with very handsome furniture new from top to bottom; which in Italy is a special compliment ... When we first came they seemed to propose that we should have our own way entirely, living here as [at] a lodging house, going to Church at a fashionable hour at the Church opposite, going in and out as we liked: but when they found that this would not do, they were evidently not unwilling that we should conform to the rules as much as we pleased, ourselves; and we are accordingly given three lectures a day. The rector was evidently pleased when Newman talked with him the other day, and spoke of the great sacrifice we chose to make &c. I wonder what he thinks we have been used to. We have everything in greater luxury than at Maryvale except fires which we might make up for with stoves. I cannot doubt however Newman does edify them in the true sense of the word by turning schoolboy at his age. For me it is all very well, and I have no doubt with time I shall not find old Perrone very dry. We shall move together and get on in spite of a cut and driedness which one may have to expect. What they will do with us I have no idea yet, we have not had any hints about ordination or anything else. All the authorities in the house are Jesuits, and the domestic places of responsibility are filled by Jesuit lay brothers: as doctor, porter, superintendent of the house affairs, &c. So much for our new school, for school it is, tho' for grown up boys albeit. There is every prospect of its being a very happy place to stop in. I hardly know what else to tell you—we have met the Ryders and a good many others that we know, amongst others Newman's friend and convert Miss Giberne.

St. John might well write how "Newman does edify them in the true sense of the word by turning schoolboy at his age"- he was the closest in age to Newman, being only fifteen years younger. All of the other students were in their early twenties at most- and at 45, the Venerable must have, well, stuck out a bit !

Since I blog quotes from the Venerable just about every day...
when I was given a copy of a quote from Henry Edward Cardinal Manning by a friend (thanks Steve!), I thought it only fair to blog it. ( Venerable Newman and Cardinal Manning were, unfortunately, a fine example of two men who both tried to serve God, and found themselves often at odds over how it should be done.)

A Visit to Our Beloved Lord

They who love the Blessed Sacrament love it also because it is the most intimate way of conversing with Jesus. We converse with Him in our private chamber in our prayers; we converse with Him when we pray anywhere all the day long, by the roadside, on in the throng of men. But what is that to kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament? If every day you could speak for a quarter of an hour with your angel-guardian it would leave an impression on you all the day long. St. Stephen's face shone like an angel's; so if you could stand visibly face to face with your guardian-angel for a quarter of an hour in the morning your face would shine, and people would know that you had been conversing with some bright and blessed presence higher than your own. Or if you could daily see one of the Saints- the beloved disciple, who lay upon the bosom of Jesus at Supper- if you could see him, day by day, even for a passing moment, what an impression it would leave upon you. And yet, do you not see here the Lord of Angels and King of Saints morning after morning in the Holy Mass? and may you not at any time come and kneel down here in His presence? and may you not converse with Him, not for a quarter of an hour only, but as long as you will? You may weary of His presence; He is never weary of yours.

From The Glories of the Sacred Heart
The Feast of St. Albertus Magnus, O.P., Bishop and Doctor of the Church
is today. There is information on him here. To all the Dominicans out there, including a certain blogger, and to all those who have him as a special patron, blessed feast day !
It is also the feast of St. Leopold III, and of Blessed Hugh Faringdon, Blessed John Eynon , Blessed John Rugg , Blessed John Thorne , and Blessed Richard Whiting and Blessed Roger James , all Benedictine monks martyred under Henry VIII.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

From The Idea of a University
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

Political Economy is the science, I suppose, of wealth,—a science simply lawful and useful, for it is no sin to make money, any more than it is a sin to seek honour; a science at the same time dangerous and leading to occasions of sin, as is the pursuit of honour too; and in consequence, if studied by itself, and apart from the control of Revealed Truth, sure to conduct a speculator to unchristian conclusions. Holy Scripture tells us distinctly, that "covetousness," or more literally the love of money, "is the root of all evils;" and that "they that would become rich fall into temptation;" and that "hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God;" and after drawing the picture of a wealthy and flourishing people, it adds, "They have called the people happy that hath these things; but happy is that people whose God is the Lord"—while on the other hand it says with equal distinctness, "If any will not work, neither let him eat;" and, "If any man have not care of his own, and especially of those of his house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." These opposite injunctions are summed up in the wise man's prayer, who says, "Give me neither beggary nor riches, give me only the necessaries of life." With this most precise view of a Christian's duty, viz., to labour indeed, but to labour for a competency for himself and his, and to be jealous of wealth, whether personal or national, the holy Fathers are, as might be expected, in simple accordance. "Judas," says St. Chrysostom, "was with Him who knew not where to lay His head, yet could not restrain himself; and how canst thou hope to escape the contagion without anxious effort?" "It is ridiculous," says St. Jerome, "to call it idolatry to offer to the creature the grains of incense that are due to God, and not to call it so, to offer the whole service of one's life to the creature." "There is not a trace of justice in that heart," says St. Leo, "in which the love of gain has made itself a dwelling." The same thing is emphatically taught us by the counsels of perfection, and by every holy monk and nun anywhere, who has ever embraced them; but it is needless to collect testimonies, when Scripture is so clear.
Now, observe, Gentlemen, my drift in setting Scripture and the Fathers over against Political Economy. Of course if there is a science of wealth, it must give rules for gaining wealth and disposing of wealth, and can do nothing more; it cannot itself declare that it is a subordinate science, that its end is not the ultimate end of all things, and that its conclusions are only hypothetical, depending on its premisses, and liable to be overruled by a higher teaching. I do not then blame the Political Economist for anything which follows from the very idea of his science, from the very moment that it is recognized as a science. He must of course direct his inquiries towards his end; but then at the same time it must be recollected, that so far he is not practical, but only pursues an abstract study, and is busy himself in establishing logical conclusions from indisputable premisses. Given that wealth is to be sought, this and that is the method of gaining it. This is the extent to which a Political Economist has a right to go; he has no right to determine that wealth is at any rate to be sought, or that it is the way to be virtuous and the price of happiness; I say, this is to pass the bounds of his science, independent of the question whether he be right or wrong in so determining, for he is only concerned with an hypothesis.

To take a parallel case:—a physician may tell you, that if you are to preserve your health, you must give up your employment and retire to the country. He distinctly says "if;" that is all in which he is concerned, he is no judge whether there are objects dearer to you, more urgent upon you, than the preservation of your health; he does not enter into your circumstances, your duties, your liabilities, the persons dependent on you; he knows nothing about what is advisable or what is not; he only says, "I speak as a physician; if you would be well, give up your profession, your trade, your office, whatever it is." However he may wish it, it would be impertinent in him to say more, unless indeed he spoke, not as a physician but as a friend; and it would be extravagant, if he asserted that bodily health was the summum bonum, and that no one could be virtuous whose animal system was not in good order.

Mr. Luse
has another post on my confirmation name Saint.
On this date, one hundred years ago...
one of the great tragedies of the Professor's life happened. His mother, Mabel Tolkien née Suffield, died at the age of 34, after spending six days in a diabetic coma. John Ronald Reuel was twelve,while his brother Hilary Arthur Reuel was ten. Their father had died eight years previously.
It was his mother who first began to teach the boy who would become the Professor, and it had been she, a struggling, penniless widow, who had brought herself and her sons into the Church, despite fierce family opposition.
According to a friend of mine, the first person to live a long life with the help of insulin injections began her treatments the next year.

I remember trying to tell Marjorie Incledon (ed. his cousin) this feeling, when I was not yet thirteen after the death of my mother, and vainly waving a hand at the sky saying "it is so empty and cold".

J.R.R. Tolkien to Michael Tolkien, January 24, 1972

If it were not Sunday...
today would be the feast of St. Lawrence O'Toole, O.S.A., Archbishop. A blessed feast day to any Augustinians out there !
My friend Rob..
contributes to this blog : Hypotheses Non Fingo.

to Bill White and his wife on the birth of their baby girl !

Music at Noon Mass
Processional Hymn: "Jesus Shall Reign"
Offertory: "Locus Iste"- Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)
Communion: "If Ye Love Me" - Thomas Tallis (1505-1585)
Recessional Hymn: "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name"