Saturday, January 08, 2005

To all my fellow Tolkien nuts...
and any Benedictines out there, blessed feast of St. Frodobert, O.S.B., Abbot !

Thursday, January 06, 2005

On January 6, 1850...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:

On the Catholic Church
1. INTROD.—Today the birthday of the Catholic Church, for the Gentiles came to it.

2. From eternity in the councils of God. At length in time it began to be; it was conceived and lay in the womb. Its vital principle faith, therefore with Abraham especially it began. It remained in the womb of former dispensations its due time; long expectations; burstings of hope, till the time came; and was born when Christ came.

3. In the fulness and consummation of time. OBJECTION.—Why so late? True answer, because unmerited. God may choose His time and place. Again, because He had to work through human wills, and therefore, so to say, under the present order could not choose His time. But here I say fulness and consummation of time, i.e. man is born after months in the womb. He is born in due time, not an abortion. So of the church.

4. When born, a robust and perfect offspring, fulfilling its promise—its promise that it was to be everywhere, and was to be able to be everywhere.

5. Able to be, for this is the difficulty which no other religion ever attempted. None but the Catholic has been able to be everywhere. Local religions—whether Eastern mythologies or Protestantism.

6. But even earthly empires do not spread over the world so widely as this and so diversely—now from east to west, now from north to south. Mahomet by the sword.

7. But even empires of this world gained by the sword do not last. Not only is this a single religious empire, but it has lasted out earthly empires, and now shows as little decay as ever.

8. And in such tumults—the whole world broken up so many times—present revolutions nothing to former. The deluge; describe waters—whirlpools, waterspouts, currents, rush of waters, cataracts, waves, yet the ark on them. This, the ark, the greatest of miracles. Well, it is but the acknowledged type of the Church: as this was the miracle (as we all confess) of the deluge, such that morally of the Church.

9. A house not divided against itself does stand—other religions specimens of the reverse. House at this moment less divided than ever. Protestants have looked: they felt the question was, whether we were in extremities? not whether the Pope was alive, but whether nations acknowledged him? (1) No jealousy about Pope's power. Pope never so powerful as now—perfectly good understanding; jealousy at an end. (2) No heresies now. (3) Nay, schools at an end, [e.g.] Immaculate Conception

The 11th Catholic Carnival...
is now up.
The Christian Carnival is also up.
(NOTE:Many of the posters on the latter are not Catholic, so there may be posts which do not follow the Church's teachings.)

The Feast of Blessed André Bessette , C.S.C.
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the anniversary of the death of Fr. William Clancy, C.O., former Provost of the Pittsburgh Oratory. Prayers for the repose of his soul would be welcome.
Internationally, it is the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

On January 4, 1857...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:

Passage of Time
1. INTROD.—All times, all days are the beginning of a year, but especially when the date changes.

2. Time, as present, is momentary, as future, is unknown, as past, is irrevocable.

3. As present, momentary. No standing still. While we speak, it goes. We are all older when we leave this church than when we enter it. Whether it be joy or sorrow, it goes. We look forward to a great day; we keep a great festival. It comes once in a year. [As] grains in an hour-glass, it is gone ere it is well come.

4. And on what road is this swift time driving? On a road of darkness. We are every moment entering and driving along an unknown future—on a steam-engine on a railroad in the dark. Accidents may happen any moment. Unseen dangers waiting for us. Balaam and the angel. Hence Jacob asking God's blessing on his journey. St. Raphael. We are not merely journeying, we are rushing forward, and to what?

5. To judgment. On the importance of time.

6. Thirdly, the past is irrevocable. What would we give to wipe out much!

7. On the necessity of taking good heed how we spend time. Counsel of perfection never to misuse time. Vow by some saints.

8. Desideria efficacia et sterilia.

9. Let us begin the new year well.

God have mercy...
on the people who are messing up this child's life. Please pray that this little boy will, somehow, recover from the pain being inflicted upon him.
The Feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, S.C., Widow and Foundress
is today. There is information on her here. To any Sisters of Charity out there, blessed feast day!
It is also the feast of Blessed Angela of Foligno, O.S.F., Widow and Blessed Thomas Plumtree, Priest and Martyr.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord...
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May the souls of all those killed by the horrific natural disaster find peace and joy, and may all those who mourn the death of their loved ones be comforted in this time of agony.

Donations to help the survivors may be made here.

Link courtesy of Amy Welborn.

From Parochial and Plain Sermons
by Venerable John Henry Newman

Another year is now opening upon us; it speaks to the thoughtful, and is heard by those, who have expectant ears, and watch for Christ's coming. The former year is gone, it is dead, there it lies in the grave of past time, not to decay however, and be forgotten, but kept in the view of God's omniscience, with all its sins and errors irrevocably written, till, at length, it will be raised again to testify about us at the last day; and who among us can bear the thought of his own doings, in the course of it?—all that he has said and done, all that has been conceived within his mind, or been acted on, and all that he has not said and done, which it was a duty to say or do. What a dreary prospect seems to be before us, when we reflect that we have the solemn word of truth pledged to us, in the last and most awful revelation, which God has made to us about the future, that in that day, the books will be opened, "and another book opened, which is the book of life, and the dead judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works!" [Rev. xx. 12.] What would a man give, any one of us, who has any real insight into his polluted and miserable state, what would he give to tear away some of the leaves there preserved! For how heinous are the sins therein written! Think of the multitude of sins done by us since we first knew the difference between right and wrong. We have forgotten them, but there we might read them clearly recorded. Well may holy David exclaim, "Remember not the sins of my youth nor my transgressions, according to Thy mercy remember Thou me." Conceive, too, the multitude of sins which have so grown into us as to become part of us, and in which we now live, not knowing, or but partially knowing, that they are sins; habits of pride, self-reliance, self-conceit, sullenness, impurity, sloth, selfishness, worldliness. The history of all these, their beginnings, and their growth, is recorded in those dreadful books; and when we look forward to the future, how many sins shall we have committed by this time next year,—though we try ever so much to know our duty, and overcome ourselves! Nay, or rather shall we have the opportunity of obeying or disobeying God for a year longer? Who knows whether by that time our account may not be closed for ever?

"Remember me, O Lord, when Thou comest into Thy kingdom." [Luke xxiii. 42.] Such was the prayer of the penitent thief on the cross, such must be our prayer. Who can do us any good, but He, who shall also be our Judge?

A reminder to anyone who will be in the Pittsburgh area tommorow...
At 5:15 pm, Mass will be celebrated for the repose of the soul of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, on the 113th anniversary of his birth. The Mass will be in the Chapel of St. Philip Neri, in the Pittsburgh Oratory.
If it were not Sunday...
today would be the feast of Sts. Basil the Great
and Gregory of Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church- and good friends as well.
In Historical Sketches, Volume II by Venerable John Henry Newman, there is a chapter on Basil and Gregory. Here's a quote:

Gregory the affectionate, the tender-hearted, the man of quick feelings, the accomplished, the eloquent preacher,—and Basil, the man of firm resolve and hard deeds, the high-minded ruler of Christ's flock, the diligent labourer in the field of ecclesiastical politics. Thus they differed; yet not as if they had not much in common still; both had the blessing and the discomfort of a sensitive mind; both were devoted to an ascetic life; both were men of classical tastes; both were special champions of the Catholic creed; both were skilled in argument, and successful in their use of it; both were in highest place in the Church, the one Exarch of Cæsarea, the other Patriarch of Constantinople.

Music at Noon Mass
Processional Hymn: "As With Gladness Men of Old"
Recessional Hymn: "Hark ! The Herald Angel Sing"