Saturday, December 04, 2004

Please pray...
for an urgent intention of mine today.
On December 4, 1849...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., gave some catechetical instructions, of which the following notes survive:

Inde Venturus Est, etc.—XIV

1. INTROD.—['Thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.']

2. Particular judgment—some think the soul is not taken up to Christ literally, for it [i.e. this] is introducing the wicked into heaven, but only intellectually.

3. The soul of the just goes to purgatory, unless a Saint; of the sinner to hell.

4. General judgment at the end of the world: it will come suddenly.

5. Signs previous, though unheeded then.

6. Preaching of Gospel all over the earth; now this has in great measure been done.

7. Apostasy—love of many waxing cold—1 Tim. iv. [l], 2 Tim. iii. [1-2].

8. Antichrist, 2 Thess. ii. [3] .

9. Fire burning up all things, and becoming the purgatory of the living just—[general] resurrection.

10. The judgment—reasons for it; first, to show the full consequences of good and evil in individuals; to clear the just; to bring shame to the wicked. Wisdom iv.

11. Secondly, to justify God—Ps. lxxii. 16-17 , Ps. xlix .

12. Matt. xxv. [32] , division of good and bad, as if the separation had already been made.

13. No venial sins, only mortal sins [judged] at last judgment.

14. Necessity of confessing sins now, that we may not have to confess them then.

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

Fr. Louis Bouyer has gone to his reward. I have often seen him described as an "Oratorian", but he was a member of the French Oratory, not the original type of Congregation. He wrote a fine little book on St. Philip Neri, and another book on Venerable Newman.

Link courtesy of Christopher.

The Feast of St. Barbara, Virgin and Martyr
is today. There is information on her here. G.K. Chesterton wrote a bit of verse about her. She is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. It is also the feast of St. Giovanni Calabria, Priest and Founder, pen pal of C.S. Lewis. (They corresponded in Latin.)

In the Eastern Church, this is the feast of St. John Damascene, Priest and Doctor of the Church.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Irish Elk
links to a monstrosity in my diocese. Whenever I have to pass that place, I shudder a little. It was built for the glory of God. Now it is being used for 'shock value'....
From Sermons Preached on Various Occasions
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

As we approach the season of our Lord's advent we are warned Sunday after Sunday by our tender Mother, Holy Church, of the duty of looking out for it. Last week we were reminded of that dreadful day, when the Angels shall reap the earth, and gather together the noxious weeds out of the midst of the corn, and bind them in bundles for the burning. Next week we shall read of that "great tribulation," which will immediately precede the failing of the sun and moon, and the appearance of the Sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And today we are told to wait in expectation of that awful Sign, serving the Living and True God the while, as is His due, who has "converted us from idols," and "delivered us from the wrath to come."

What St. Paul calls "waiting," or "expecting," or "looking out," that our Lord Himself enjoins upon us, when He bids us "look up and lift up our heads, when these things begin to come to pass"; as if it were our duty to be on the alert, starting up at the first notice, and straining, as it were, our eyes with eager and devout interest, that we may catch the earliest sight of His presence, when He is manifested in the heavens—just as a whole city or country from time to time is found to sit up all night for the appearance of some meteor or strange star, which Science has told them is to come. Elsewhere, this frame of mind is called watching,—whether by our Lord or by His holy Apostles after Him. "Watch ye, therefore," He says Himself, "for you know not when the Lord of the house cometh; at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning; lest, coming suddenly, He find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all,—Watch." And St. Paul: "It is now the hour for us to rise from sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. The night is past, the day is at hand." And St. John: "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments."

Passages such as these might be multiplied, and they lead to reflection of various kinds. The substance of religion consists in faith, hope, and charity; and the qualification for eternal life is to be in a state of grace and free from mortal sin; yet, when we come to the question, how we are to preserve ourselves in a state of grace, and gain the gift of perseverance in it, then a number of observances have claims upon us, over and above those duties in which the substance of religion lies, as being its safeguard and protection. And these same observances, as being of a nature to catch the eye of the world, become the badges of the Christian, as contrasted with other men; whereas faith, hope, and charity are lodged deep in the breast, and are not seen. Now, one of these characteristics of a Christian spirit, springing from the three theological virtues, and then in turn defending and strengthening them, is that habit of waiting and watching, to which this season of the year especially invites us; and the same habit is also a mark of the children of the Church, and a note of her divine origin.

Interesting article....
from Wales. It is fun to speculate ....

"The gentil faucoun, that with his feet distreyneth/The kinges hond;..."
from Geoffrey Chaucer's The Parlement of Foulys .
It seems that Fr. Sibley is going to bless a rabbit hunt, in which birds of prey rather than guns will be used. I find hawks fascinating- a pair of red-tails nested in the woods behind our apartment building for years, and I was always thrilled when I managed to see them at fairly close range.

The Feast of St. Francis Xavier, S.J., Priest
is today. There is information on him here.

Our Lord had a full knowledge and love of fallen man. He came to save that which was lost. And St. Paul had that love according to his measure after Him, and so the great missionaries, as St. Francis Xavier.

Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

As I noted here, it is the name day of the Professor's guardian, Fr. Francis Xavier Morgan, C.O.
It is also the feast of Blessed Edward Coleman, Martyr.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

The Feast of St. Bibiana, Virgin and Martyr
is today. There is information on her here.
On December 2, 1866...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:

Omniscience of God

1. INTROD.—Omniscience and omnipresence of God—knowing the heart; incomprehensible; millions of men, yet He knows all that goes on in the heart [of each one] and remembers.

2. [Incomprehensible] yet familiar to children .

3. Scripture—1 Kings xvi. 7, 1 Paralip. xxviii. 9 , 2 Paralip. vi. 30 , Jeremias xvii. 10 , Apoc. ii. 23. Future judgment—Rom. xiv. 10, 1 Cor. iv. 4-5 , Heb. iv. 12-13.

4. Suitable to this time of year—the particular and general judgment.

5. The keenness of the judgment—as above, Heb. iv.—magnifying-glass, the wonders of the microscope, a new world, diseases. Hence we must feel we do not know ourselves. Therefore 1 Cor. i., 'judge nothing before the time.'

6. Most awful, but different way in which good and bad take it.

7. The bad dread it. Adam and Eve in the garden. 'And then shall they say to the rocks, Fall upon us,' etc., etc., Luke xxiii. [30], Apoc. vi. [16] .

8. The good desire it—to be known to God, Ps. cxxxviii . Purgatory—willing victims.

9. This is one test whether we can bare our hearts before God.

Please pray...
for my friend and fellow Secular Oratorian Ed, who will be having surgery to remove a tumor from his head next week.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

On December 1, 1850...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:

On Death

1. INTROD.—Again Advent. Christmas!—the day darkens; the year dies; all things tend to dissolution. It is the end; we have to think of death and all connected with it.

2. We are going on right to death; a truism, yet not felt. We are on a stream, rushing towards the ocean; every morning we rise nearer to death; every meal we take; every time we see our friends, etc.; nearer the time when we shall lose them. We rise, we work, we eat; all such acts are as milestones. As the clock ticks, we are under sentence of death. The sands of the glass run out; we are executed; we die.

3. And when it comes, what happens? We all know. This happens—we are no longer here. We see not indeed whither we go, but this we know full well, we are not here. The body which was ours is no longer ours; we have slipped it off; no longer a part of us. It is a mask, as a dress; but it is not our instrument or organ. We who think, feel, speak, etc., are not here. Where we are, nothing that is here tells us; but this we know full well, we are not in the body. We are cut off from all here. This minute here, the next a wall impenetrable has grown up; we are as utterly cut off as if we had never been here; as if we had never known any one here. We don't go by degrees—we do not (as it were) lessen in perspective and disappear in the horizon—we go at once and for all.

4. Where it is we see not; what it is we know not; but what it is not we know, as we know where it is not. The man is not what he was. He took pleasure; he depended on this world. He depended for its enjoyment on the senses. That life was not a burden; that it was dear to him; that he enjoyed it; that he was unwilling to quit it, was because he saw, he heard, etc., his amusements, his pleasures; he went to his club, or to business, with his friends; he liked the warm fire, the light; he liked his family, home comforts, his dinner; he strolled out in summer, or he went to places of merry-making and enjoyed the gratifications of sin—nothing supernatural: how many we have known such! Why are people unwilling to die? What is the one reason? There is no pain in it. Because they leave what is known; they go to what is unknown. They leave the sun, etc.; they leave their families, their schemes, their wealth.

5. Oh, how much is implied in this! Men witness against themselves. They are afraid to leave this life; they own they are going to the unknown, yet they are unwilling to make that unknown known. Do lay this to heart;—you are going to the unknown.

6. Now I will tell you what you are going to—not to creatures as here, but to God. Oh the dreadful state of the soul when this step is over! Another world is close to us. It has taken the step, and is in that other world. Have you any relations with God? Do you know aught about Him? Do you know what He is like? Have you tried to make Him your friend? Have you made your peace with Him? What madness! If men are going on a voyage they take letters of introduction; they inquire about the country; they try to make friends beforehand; they take money with them, etc. Yet you do not try to disperse the thick darkness; on the contrary, you learn to be content, because you do not know.

7. Yet that acquiescence is an additional alarm, for it shows God is angry with you. Men lightly say: 'It is a matter of opinion.' No, it is a matter of punishment. This very discordance of sects is a sign of God's displeasure.

8. The longest life comes to an end. You may be young, you may be vigorous, but you must die. When it is over, the longest life is short.

9. Seek the Lord therefore; this is the conclusion I come to; this world is nothingness. Seek Him where He can be found, i.e. in the Catholic Church. He is here in the same sense in which we are.

The 46th Christian Carnival
is up.
In one of its strongholds...
the Culture of Death marches on.

Link courtesy of Catholic Light.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The Sixth Catholic Carnival
is now up.
Quiz time...
Oddly enough, this is fairly accurate....

What Liturgical Year Are You ?

Quiz courtesy of James Preece

Winking rattie...
over at Rat of the Week !

The Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle and Martyr
is today. There is information on him here. A blessed feast day to all who have him as a patron, especially Fr. Drew of the Pittsburgh Oratory !

Little is known of St. Andrew in addition to these inspired notices of him. He is said to have preached the Gospel in Scythia; and he was at length martyred in Achaia. His death was by crucifixion; that kind of cross being used, according to the tradition, which still goes by his name.

Yet, little as Scripture tells us concerning him, it affords us enough for a lesson, and that an important one. These are the facts before us. St. Andrew was the first convert among the Apostles; he was especially in our Lord's confidence; thrice is he described as introducing others to Him; lastly, he is little known in history, while the place of dignity and the name of highest renown have been allotted to his brother Simon, whom he was the means of bringing to the knowledge of his Saviour.

Our lesson, then, is this; that those men are not necessarily the most useful men in their generation, not the most favoured by God, who make the most noise in the world, and who seem to be principals in the great changes and events recorded in history; on the contrary, that even when we are able to point to a certain number of men as the real instruments of any great blessings vouchsafed to mankind, our relative estimate of them, one with another, is often very erroneous: so that, on the whole, if we would trace truly the hand of God in human affairs, and pursue His bounty as displayed in the world to its original sources, we must unlearn our admiration of the powerful and distinguished, our reliance on the opinion of society, our respect for the decisions of the learned or the multitude, and turn our eyes to private life, watching in all we read or witness for the true signs of God's presence, the graces of personal holiness manifested in His elect; which, weak as they may seem to mankind, are mighty through God, and have an influence upon the course of His Providence, and bring about great events in the world at large, when the wisdom and strength of the natural man are of no avail.

Venerable John Henry Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons

Monday, November 29, 2004

The Scars of Sin
by Venerable John Henry Newman

My smile is bright, my glance is free,
My voice is calm and clear;
Dear friend, I seem a type to thee
Of holy love and fear.

But I am scann'd by eyes unseen,
And these no saint surround;
They mete what is by what has been,
And joy the lost is found.

Erst my good Angel shrank to see
My thoughts and ways of ill;
And now he scarce dare gaze on me,
Scar-seam'd and crippled still.

November 29, 1832.

has two fine quotes from the Venerable.
November 29, 1971...
was a sad day in the life of the Professor....

I am grieved to tell you that my wife died this morning. Her courage and determination (of which you speak truly) carried her through to what seemed the brink of recovery, but a sudden relapse occurred which she fought for nearly three days in vain. She died at last in peace.
I am utterly bereaved, and cannot yet lift up heart, but my family is gathering round me and many friends.

J.R.R. Tolkien to William Cater

She was (and knew she was) my Lúthien.

J.R.R. Tolkien to Christopher Tolkien, July 11, 1972

Sunday, November 28, 2004

From Sermon Notes
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

Signs of the Second Advent

1. Sign of our Lord's coming, though we don't know the day, viz. an apostasy or revolt—[ho anomos] [the lawless one, 2 These. ii. 8]; Antichrist [cf.] [he anomia], Matt. xxiv. 12.

2. Give circumstances of St. Paul saying so—belief that our Lord was then to come when St. Paul wrote.

3. Our Lord says, Matt. xxiv. [9, 'Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall put you to death: and you shall be hated by all nations for my name's sake']—contrast of prosperity, ib. 38, ['For as in the days before the flood they were eating and drinking ... so also shall the coming of the Son of man be'], and persecution, the greatest persecution, as holy men have anticipated.

4. But why will they not persevere, as [the] first Christians [did]? Want of faith (vide verse 12). We can do all things by faith if we have faith; but false reason cuts at the root (vide verse 24, false prophets).

5. Sophistry and false reason—even the elect.

6. This all is opening on us—like the last age.

7. But as sun shining through clouds, or as a dying man kept alive by prayer, always going and never gone, so (for the chance of more conversion and more elect), the world ever dying.

8. Alas! the next generation—young people, I fear for you!

9. Let us at this time of year pray that as Christ on His first coming came with preparation, so we may be prepared for His second coming.

A thank-you to the Whapsters...
for noting the website of the London Oratory. (I was particularly happy to see pictures of the recent ordinations.)

The November issue of First Things
is now online.
Music at Noon Mass
Processional Hymn: "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel"
Offertory: "Veni, Veni, Emmanuel" - Plainsong
Communion: "Soul of My Saviour"- William Maher (1823-1877)
Recessional Hymn: "Savior of the Nations, Come"