Saturday, February 12, 2005

by Venerable John Henry Newman

When Heaven sends sorrow,
Warnings go first,
Lest it should burst
With stunning might
On souls too bright
To fear the morrow.

Can science bear us
To the hid springs
Of human things?
Why may not dream,
Or thought's day-gleam,
Startle, yet cheer us?

Are such thoughts fetters,
While Faith disowns
Dread of earth's tones,
Reeks but Heaven's call,
And on the wall
Reads but Heaven's letters?

Between Calatafimi and Palermo.
February 12, 1833.
The Feast of Blesseds John Nutter, John Munden, James Fenn, Nicholas Herman, and Thomas Hemerford, Priests and Martyrs
is today. There is information on them here, here, and here.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Yet another entry...
in the superbly geeky series of The Science of Middle-earth articles
God bless the woman...
who rescued this little boy! May he overcome this terrible start to his life and be given to parents who will love and cherish him!

Link courtesy of Two Sleepy Mommies.
Prayers requested...
for Andrew, a newborn who had to undergo two open-heart surgeries soon after birth. Prayers for his parents in their time of distress would also be welcome.
Also, please pray for the protection of an innocent woman's life.
My friend Eric...
has blogged a picture of himself with one of the Fathers of the Pittsburgh Oratory. This is the "Fr. Bryan" whom I have mentioned here, and who is the source of my favorite pro-life anecdote.
You know, the more I hear about Cardinal Pell...
the more I like him. There's a Zenit article summarizing a talk he gave last fall. Since the link won't work, here it is in its entirety.

Synopsis of a Talk on Newman and a Drama

CHICAGO, FEB. 10, 2005 ( Australian Cardinal George Pell delivered an address to members of the Lumen Christi Institute at the University of Chicago last fall, on the "primacy of truth" and the "primacy of conscience." ZENIT offers this synopsis of the Sydney archbishop's speech.

Newman and the Drama of True and False Conscience
By Cardinal George Pell

Cardinal John Newman's view of conscience is far from that usually held by those who speak of "primacy of conscience" today. Newman believes a good Catholic conscience can never accept a position of dissent against central Church teaching. Moral truth is the key to conscience, and this is very difficult to deny coherently.

People who claim primacy of conscience rarely see the problems this raises in the moral life. Furthermore, this view causes a range of problems for the practice of the faith and for the Catholic sense of belonging. Newman's view of conscience has a more transcendent importance: Conscience is the normal means by which most people know of the existence of God. ...

People from across the theological spectrum would agree with Newman that conscience is "a connecting principle between the creature and his Creator" ("Grammar of Assent," Chapter 5). But while some see conscience as God's invitation to embrace his law as free subjects, others see it as a radical call to personal freedom. For many people today, conscience suggests freedom to judge God's law by our own personal resources and the right to reject the notion or reformulate this law as we think best.

I imagine that to non-Christians this must seem rather odd: If moral and religious teachings bind only to the extent that one's individual mind and will enthuse about them, then pretty clearly the teachings do not bind at all. What "binds" is simply the autonomous self, with all the limitations that our selves are prey to. And to say "I am bound by me" is hardly to make a meaningful moral utterance. Rather, it is to reject the need for morality and creed and to claim that I should be allowed to live as I choose within the constraints imposed by family, friends and society.

Of course, this theory is often dressed up with the claim that conscience is a special faculty that speaks to us, rather like an oracle. The theory may also be elevated to the status of a doctrine -- the "primacy of conscience."

But annunciating grand titles does not change moral reality. Conscience is simply the mind thinking practically, thinking morally; the mind thinks well when we understand moral principles and apply them in clear and reasonable ways; the mind thinks badly when we ignore or reinvent moral principles, or apply them in ambiguous and unreasonable ways.

"Good conscience" simply means good grasp and good application of moral truths -- it is the truth that is primary, it is the truth that is grasped and applied by the practical mind, or, if you prefer, by the conscience. …

Newman carefully distinguishes himself from those who equate conscience with integrity, sincerity or preference. In the famous passage of the "Letter to the Duke of Norfolk" (Part 5), which the Catechism (1778) part-quotes, he writes: "Conscience is not a long-sighted selfishness, nor a desire to be consistent with oneself; but it is a messenger from Him, Who, both in nature and grace, speaks to us behind a veil, and teaches and rules us by His representatives. Conscience is the aboriginal Vicar of Christ."

When we receive messages, we listen to them. We do not make them up and reword them to reflect what we wish had been said. If we disagree with the Church's message so seriously that we cannot follow its terms, then we cannot reinvent it to make it easier or more palatable.

Rather, we enter into a period of prayer, study and inquiry to try to understand the message and to understand why we find ourselves opposed to it. And we should realize that if the matter that puzzles us is one of a binding Church teaching or a central moral teaching, then prayer and study of this may be a lifetime's work.

A Catholic conscience cannot accept a settled position against the Church, at least on a central moral teaching. Any difficulties with Church teaching should be not the end of the matter but the beginning of a process of conversion, education and quite possibly repentance. Where a Catholic disagrees with the Church on some serious matter, the response should not be "that's that; I can't follow the Church here"; instead we should kneel and pray that God will lead our weak steps and enlighten our fragile minds, as Newman recommends in Sermon 17 -- "The Testimony of Conscience."

Of course, Newman's view of conscience is profoundly counterintuitive to modern ears. For Newman, conscience is objective, hard work, a challenge to self, a call to conversion, a sign of humility; and this sits uncomfortably for those who see freedom as the right to reject what is unpalatable. Many will say: "You can interpret conscience this way if you want to -- I'll even defend your right to do so! But my own view is very different."

The only answer to this is to explain and to defend the existence of moral truth. In theory, this should not be too difficult. After all, everyone agrees that there is a basic truth of the matter in cases of social justice, children's protection, the immorality of torture, lying and cheating in public life, and so on.

But the twist is that many people who accept moral truths in some area of life reject moral truth especially in areas such as sexual morality, and perhaps also in life issues such as abortion and euthanasia. Moral truth is a great ally when it is on your side; but when it grates against your own convenience it can be tempting to treat it as an anachronism. But either there are or there are not moral truths, and if there are, these will have something to say about unpopular matters as well as more fashionable causes. ...

The Pope argues that in their consciences human persons encounter moral truth, freely embrace it, and personally commit themselves to its enactment. This account (see "Veritatis Splendor," 54-64) builds upon Newman's theory of conscience as man's free adoption of God's law. Conscience is neither apprehending an alien law nor devising our own laws: rather, conscience is freely accepting the objective moral law as the basis of all our choices. Thus forming and following a Christian conscience is a dignifying and liberating experience; it means not resentfully following God's law but freely embracing it as our life's ideal. ...

This specifically Catholic view rejects the mistaken primacy of conscience doctrine and clearly asserts the primacy of truth. The Pope writes: "In any event, it is always from the truth that the dignity of conscience derives. In the case of the correct conscience, it is a question of the objective truth received by man; in the case of the erroneous conscience, it is a question of what man, mistakenly, subjectively considers to be true. It is never acceptable to confuse a 'subjective' error about moral good with the 'objective' truth rationally proposed to man in virtue of his end, or to make the moral value of an act performed with a true and correct conscience equivalent to the moral value of an act performed by following the judgment of an erroneous conscience" ("Veritatis Splendor," 63).

Newman and John Paul II, from their very different traditions of Anglo and Continental philosophy, reach the same conclusion: Conscience is the free grasp of objective law. Some would pay lip service to the great work of Newman, saying, "Yes, I accept the moral truth -- I just reject the particular set of moral truths that the Church proposes."

This approach to morality has been tried many times before. The endorsement of law as "form" which then allows us to reject any determinate "content" and to construct our own content is common to various subjectivists, intuitionists and Kantians. It is found too in the still-influential writings of Lawrence Kohlberg.

For the earlier Kohlberg at least, morality is simply certain rational constraints upon freedom; morality is content-free requirements of form upon our reason. Kohlberg himself equivocated over whether morality is truly empty of content, or gives at least a little guidance. It is certainly hard to take seriously the notion of morality as contentless-logic -- a kind of color-in-the-picture-for-yourself ethics.

Anyone in a real life situation that requires moral strength, honesty, and accuracy would surely be repelled by the advice that "morality has nothing to say about the details of your choice; it's all up to you." This is purely abandonment of people when they most need and expect guidance. ...

In a recent response to an article by Brian Lewis on "The Primacy of Conscience in the Roman Catholic Tradition" (Pacifica, 13 (3), 2000, 299-309), Frank Mobbs states: "if conscience is not so to speak looking at itself, then it is looking for objective truth" (cf. "Brian Lewis on Conscience," a paper delivered to the Catholic Moral Theology Association of Australia and New Zealand, last July 6).

The point is that no one -- at least, no Christian -- believes conscience simply asserts the first thing that comes into our heads. Conscience looks for real answers to our questions; and where can it look except to the truth? But then the value of conscience surely lies not in conscience itself but in the objective truth to which conscience looks for answers. It is the truth that is primary, and it is from the truth that conscience takes its value.

Searching for a needle in a haystack may be diligent, but what gives the search point and value is the importance to us of the needle. Conscience only matters because truth matters to us passionately.

So, conscientious thinking matters to Christians because objective truth is so important to us. Why would we take conscientious belief seriously at all unless we believed it represented access to objective truth? After all, the bare fact that it is my private belief is of no moral significance whatsoever. It matters because objective truth matters. ...

Much of the debate over conscience in Catholic circles focuses on the possibility of a conscience against the Church's teaching. This seems to me a peculiar notion. For a start, it would mean that dissenters believed that following the Church on, for example, contraception or same-sex relationships, would actually give them a guilty conscience, not just frustrated wishes. Yet it seems clear that most dissenters do not fear guilt if they obey the Church: What they fear is precisely the frustration of their unsatisfied wishes. ...

On many occasions Newman explained that true conscience recognizes an external Being, who obliges us to perform certain actions and avoid others (for example, see "An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent," edited by I.T. Ker [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985], pp. 40, 47, 72-83). The mind is carried beyond itself to the idea of a future tribunal, where reward and punishment will be assigned. From our inadequacies we envision the need for redemption and atonement. ...

Nonetheless, a false notion of conscience has helped to carry many away from Catholic practice and indeed from Catholic faith. If there are two opposing versions of conscience, and there are, this is the obverse side to Newman's claim that true conscience helps us to recognize the One True God.

A debased notion of conscience, a barely concealed enthusiasm for autonomy disguised as an appeal to the primacy of conscience, weakens our sense of obligation, damages our purity of heart, and makes it harder and harder to see God.
The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes...
is today. There is information on it here.

Mary is the "Virgo Prædicanda," the Virgin who is to be Proclaimed

Mary is the Virgo Prædicanda, that is, the Virgin who to be proclaimed, to be heralded, literally, to be preached.

We are accustomed to preach abroad that which is wonderful, strange, rare, novel, important. Thus, when our Lord was coming, St. John the Baptist preached Him; then, the Apostles went into the wide world, and preached Christ. What is the highest, the rarest, the choicest prerogative of Mary? It is that she was without sin. When a woman in the crowd cried out to our Lord, "Blessed is the womb that bare Thee!" He answered, "More blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it." Those words were fulfilled in Mary. She was filled with grace in order to be the Mother of God. But it was a higher gift than her maternity to be thus sanctified and thus pure. Our Lord indeed would not have become her son unless He had first sanctified her; but still, the greater blessedness was to have that perfect sanctification. This then is why she is the Virgo Prædicanda; she is deserving to be preached abroad because she never committed any sin, even the least; because sin had no part in her; because, through the fulness of God's grace, she never thought a thought, or spoke a word, or did an action, which was displeasing, which was not most pleasing, to Almighty God; because in her was displayed the greatest triumph over the enemy of souls. Wherefore, when all seemed lost, in order to show what He could do for us all by dying for us; in order to show what human nature, His work, was capable of becoming; to show how utterly He could bring to naught the utmost efforts, the most concentrated malice of the foe, and reverse all the consequences of the Fall, our Lord began, even before His coming, to do His most wonderful act of redemption, in the person of her who was to be His Mother. By the merit of that Blood which was to be shed, He interposed to hinder her incurring the sin of Adam, before He had made on the Cross atonement for it. And therefore it is that we preach her who is the subject of this wonderful grace.

But she was the Virgo Prædicanda for another reason. When, why, what things do we preach? We preach what is not known, that it may become known. And hence the Apostles are said in Scripture to "preach Christ." To whom? To those who knew Him not—to the heathen world. Not to those who knew Him, but to those who did not know Him. Preaching is a gradual work: first one lesson, then another. Thus were the heathen brought into the Church gradually. And in like manner, the preaching of Mary to the children of the Church, and the devotion paid to her by them, has grown, grown gradually, with successive ages. Not so much preached about her in early times as in later. First she was preached as the Virgin of Virgins—then as the Mother of God—then as glorious in her Assumption—then as the Advocate of sinners—then as Immaculate in her Conception. And this last has been the special preaching of the present century; and thus that which was earliest in her own history is the latest in the Church's recognition of her.

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

Thursday, February 10, 2005

From Parochial and Plain Sermons...
by Venerable John Henry Newman

Reflect upon our Saviour's plain declarations, "Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." [Mark viii. 34.] "If any man come to Me, and hate not his father and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross and come after Me, he cannot be My disciple." [Luke xiv. 26, 27.] "If thy hand offend thee, cut it off ... if thy foot offend thee, cut it off ... if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: ... it is better for {66} thee to enter into life maimed ... halt ... with one eye than to be cast into hell." [Mark ix. 43-47.]

Now without attempting to explain perfectly such passages as these, which doubtless cannot be understood without a fulness of grace which is possessed by very few men, yet at least we learn thus much from them, that a rigorous self-denial is a chief duty, nay, that it may be considered the test whether we are Christ's disciples, whether we are living in a mere dream, which we mistake for Christian faith and obedience, or are really and truly awake, alive, living in the day, on our road heavenwards. The early Christians went through self-denials in their very profession of the Gospel; what are our self-denials, now that the profession of the Gospel is not a self-denial? In what sense do we fulil the words of Christ? have we any distinct notion what is meant by the words "taking up our cross?" in what way are we acting, in which we should not act, supposing the Bible and the Church were unknown to this country, and religion, as existing among us, was merely a fashion of this world? What are we doing, which we have reason to trust is done for Christ's sake who bought us?

The Feast of St. Scholastica, O.S.B., Virgin
is today. There is information on her here. A blessed feast day to all the Benedictines out there, especially those at St. Emma Monastery and St. Vincent Archabbey !

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

From Parochial and Plain Sermons
by Venerable John Henry Newman

"When thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men ... When thou prayest thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men ... When ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance, for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast." [Matt. vi. 2-16.] Here let us ask ourselves, first about our alms, whether we be not like the hypocrites. Doubtless some of our charity must be public, for the very mentioning our name encourages others to follow our example. Still I ask, is much of our charity also private? is as much private as is public? I will not ask whether much more is done in secret than is done before men, though this, if possible, ought to be the case. But at least, if we think in the first place of our public charities, and only in the second of the duty of private alms-giving, are we not plainly like the hypocritical Pharisees?

The manner of our prayers will supply us with a still stronger test. We are here assembled in worship. It is well. Have we really been praying as well as seeming to pray? have our minds been actively employed in trying to form in us the difficult habit of prayer? Further, are we as regular in praying in our closet to our Father which is in secret, as in public? Do we feel any great remorse in omitting our morning and evening prayers, in saying them hastily and irreverently? And yet should not we feel excessive pain and shame, and rightly, at the thought of having committed any open impropriety in church? Should we, for instance, be betrayed into laughter or other light conduct during the service, should we not feel most acutely ashamed of ourselves, and consider we had disgraced ourselves, notwithstanding our habit of altogether forgetting the next moment any sinful carelessness at prayer in our closet? Is not this to be as the Pharisees?

Today is Ash Wednesday.
There is information on it here.
If it were not Ash Wednesday, today would be the feast of St. Miguel Febres Cordero Muñoz,C.F.C.. To any Christian Brothers out there, blessed feast day !

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

From Parochial and Plain Sermons
by Venerable John Henry Newman

What Scripture reproves is the inconsistency, or what it more solemnly called the hypocrisy of being fair without and foul within; of being religious in appearance, not in truth. It was one offence not to be religious, it was a second offence to pretend to be religious. "Ye fools," says our Lord, "did not He that made that which is without, make that which is within also?" Such as a man is outwardly, such should he be inwardly. "How can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man, out of the good treasure of the heart, bringeth forth good things; and an evil man, out of the evil treasure, bringeth forth evil things." [Luke xi. 40. Matt. xii. 34, 35.] The light of Divine truth, when in the heart, ought to beam forth outwardly; and when a man is dark within, well were it that he should show himself outwardly what he is. Such as a man is inside, such should be his outside. Well; but do you not see that such a view of doctrine condemns not only those who affect outward religion without inward, but those also who affect inward without outward? For, if it is an inconsistency to pretend to religion outwardly, while we neglect it inwardly, it is also an inconsistency, surely, to neglect it outwardly while we pretend to it inwardly. It is wrong, surely, to believe and not to profess; wrong to put our light under a bushel. St. Paul says expressly, "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God had raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." [Rom. x. 9.] Belief is not enough; we must confess. Nor must we confess with our mouth only; but by word and by deed, by speech and by silence, by doing and by not doing, by walk and conversation, when in company and when alone, in time and in place, when we labour and when we rest, when we lie down and when we rise up, in youth and in age, in life and in death,—and, in like manner, in the world and in Church. Now, to adorn the worship of God our Saviour, to make the beauty of holiness visible, to bring offerings to the Sanctuary, to be curious in architecture, and reverent in ceremonies,—all this external religion is a sort of profession and confession; it is nothing but what is natural, nothing but what is consistent, in those who are cultivating the life of religion within. It is most unbecoming, most offensive, in those who are not religious; but most becoming, most necessary, in those who are so.

Persons who put aside gravity and comeliness in the worship of God, that they may pray more spiritually, forget that God is a Maker of all things, visible as well as invisible; that He is the Lord of our bodies as well as of our souls; that He is to be worshipped in public as well as in secret. The Creator of this world is none other than the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; there are not two Gods, one of matter, one of spirit; one of the Law, and one of the Gospel. There is one God, and He is Lord of all we are, and all we have; and, therefore, all we do must be stamped with His seal and signature. We must begin, indeed, with the heart; for out of the heart proceed all good and evil; but while we begin with the heart, we must not end with the heart. We must not give up this visible world, as if it came of the evil one. It is our duty to change it into the kingdom of heaven. We must manifest the kingdom of heaven upon earth. The light of Divine truth must proceed from our hearts, and shine out upon every thing we are, and every thing we do. It must bring the whole man, soul and body, into captivity to Christ. They who are holy in spirit, are holy in body. They who submit their wills to Christ, bow their bodies; they who offer the heart, bow the knee; they who have faith in His Name, bow the head; they who honour His cross inwardly, are not ashamed of it before men. They who rejoice with their brethren in their common salvation, and desire to worship together, build a place to worship in, and they build it as the expression of their feelings, of their mutual love, of their common reverence. They build a building which will, as it were, speak; which will profess and confess Christ their Saviour; which will herald forth His death and passion at first sight; which will remind all who enter that we are saved by His cross, and must bear our Cross after Him. They will build what may tell out their deepest and most sacred thoughts, which they dare not utter in word: not a misshapen building, not a sordid building, but a noble dwelling, a palace all-glorious within; unfit, indeed, for God's high Majesty, whom even the heaven of heavens cannot contain, but fit to express the feelings of the builders,—a monument which may stand and (as it were) preach to all the world while the world lasts; which may show how they desire to praise, bless, and glorify their eternal Benefactor; how they desire to get others to praise Him also; a Temple which may cry out to all passers by, "Oh, magnify the Lord our God, and fall down before His footstool, for He is Holy! Oh, magnify the Lord our God, and worship Him upon His holy hill, for the Lord our God is Holy!" [Ps. xcix. 5, 9.]

This, then, is the real state of the case; and when our Lord blamed the Pharisees as hypocrites, it was not for attending to the outside of the cup, but for not attending to the inside also.

The Feast of St. Jerome Emiliani,C.R.S., Priest and Founder
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of St. John of Matha,O. Tr., Priest and Founder , and St. Josephine Bakhita,F.D.C.C., Virgin .
To any Somascan Fathers, Trinitarians, or Canossian Daughters of Charity out there, blessed feast day !

The Catholic Carnival...
is up.

My friend Rob...
has some interesting posts on calendars. calculations, and the dates of Good Friday and Easter.

Monday, February 07, 2005

From Faith and Prejudice and Other Unpublished Sermons
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

By a subtle temptation or a subtle sin, I mean one which it is very difficult to find out. Everyone knows what it is to break the ten commandments, the first, the second, the third, and so on. When a thing is directly commanded, and the devil tempts us directly to break it, this is not a subtle temptation, but a broad and gross temptation. But there are a great many things wrong which are not so obviously wrong. They are wrong as leading to what is wrong or the consequence of what is wrong, or they are wrong because they are the very same thing as what is forbidden, but dressed up and looking differently. The human mind is very deceitful; when a thing is forbidden, a man does not like directly to do it, but he goes to work if he can to get at the forbidden end in some way. It is like a man who has to make for some place. First he attempts to go straight to it, but finds the way blocked up; then he goes round about it. At first you would not think he is going in the right direction; he sets off perhaps at a right angle, but he just makes one little bend, then another,till at length he gets to his point. Or still more it is like a sailing vessel at sea with the wind contrary, but tacking first this way, and then that, the mariners contrive at length to get to their destination. This then is a subtle sin, when it at first seems not to be a sin, but comes round to the same point as an open direct sin.

To take some examples. If the devil tempted one to go out into the highway and rob, this would be an open, bold temptation. But if he tempted one to do something unfair in the course of business, which was to one's neighbour's hurt and to one's own advantage, it would be a more subtle temptation. The man would still take what was his neighbour's, but his conscience would not be so much shocked. So equivocation is a more subtle sin than direct lying. In like manner a person who does not intoxicate himself, may eat too much. Gluttony is a more subtle sin than drunkenness, because it does not show so much. And again, sins of the soul are more subtle sins than sins of the body. Infidelity is a more subtle sin than licentiousness.

Even in our Blessed Lord's case the Tempter began by addressing himself to His bodily wants. He had fasted forty days, and afterwards was hungered. So the devil tempted Him to eat. But when He did not consent, then he went on to more subtle temptations. He tempted Him to spiritual pride, and he tempted Him by ambition for power. Many a man would shrink from intemperance,of being proud of his spiritual attainments; that is, he would confess such things were wrong, but he would not see that he was guilty of them.

Next I observe that a civilized age is more exposed to subtle sins than a rude age. Why? For this simple reason, because it is more fertile in excuses and evasions. It can defend error, and hence can blind the eyes of those who have not very careful consciences. It can make error plausible, it can make vice look like virtue. It dignifies sin by fine names; it calls avarice proper care of one's family, or industry, it calls pride independence, it calls ambition greatness of mind; resentment it calls proper spirit and sense of honour, and so on.

God bless...
this little one. Prayers that he will grow up healthy and happy in a strong Catholic family would be welcome.

Link courtesy of Open Book.

The Feast of Blessed William Richardson, Priest and Martyr
is today. There is information on him here.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

From Parochial and Plain Sermons
by Venerable John Henry Newman

Consider how great a profession, and yet a profession how unconscious and modest, arises from the mere ordinary manner in which any strict Christian lives. Let this thought be a satisfaction to uneasy minds which fear lest they are not confessing Christ, yet dread to display. Your life displays Christ without your intending it. You cannot help it. Your words and deeds will show on the long run (as it is said), where your treasure is, and your heart. Out of the abundance of your heart your mouth speaketh words "seasoned with salt." We sometimes find men who aim at doing their duty in the common course of life, surprised to hear that they are ridiculed, and called hard names by careless or worldly persons. This is as it should be; it is as it should be, that they are surprised at it. If a private Christian sets out with expecting to make a disturbance in the world, the fear is, lest he be not so humble-minded as he should be. But those who go on quietly in the way of obedience, and yet are detected by the keen eye of the jealous, self-condemning, yet proud world, and who, on discovering their situation, first shrink from it and are distrest, then look to see if they have done aught wrongly, and after all are sorry for it, and but slowly and very timidly (if at all) learn to rejoice in it, these are Christ's flock. These are they who follow Him who was meek and lowly of heart, His elect in whom He sees His own image reflected.

If it were not Sunday...
today would be the feast of St. Paul Miki, S.J., Martyrs, and his Companions, Martyrs.
Those companions included children- a 12-year-old boy and two thirteen-year-olds. One of the young teenagers, Thomas Kozaki, wrote a letter to his mother on the night before the execution:

Dear Mother: Dad and I are going to heaven. There we shall await you. Do not be discouraged even if all the priests are killed. Bear all sorrow for our Lord and do not forget you are now on the true road to heaven. You must not put my smaller brothers in pagan families. Educate them yourself. These are the dying wishes of father and son. Goodbye, Mother dear. Goodbye.

Music at Noon Mass
Processional Hymn: "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence"
Offertory: "Sicut Cervus"- Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594)
Communion: "Ave Maria" - Fr. Carlo Rossini
Recessional Hymn: "Sing Praise to God, Who Reigns Above"