Saturday, July 16, 2005

From Faith and Prejudice and Other Unpublished Sermons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

Now a very few words will be sufficient to show that our Lord's words are no disparagement to the dignity and glory of His Mother, as the first of creatures and the Queen of all Saints. For consider, He says that it is a more blessed thing to keep His commandments than to be His Mother, and do you think that the Most Holy Mother of God did not keep the commandments of God? Of course no one, no Protestant even—no one will deny she did. Well, if so, what our Lord says is that the Blessed Virgin was more blessed in that she kept His commandments than because she was His Mother. And what Catholic denies this? On the contrary we all confess it. All Catholics confess it. The Holy Fathers of the Church tell us again and again that our Lady was more blessed in doing God's will than in being His Mother. She was blessed in two ways. She was blessed in being His Mother; she was blessed in being filled with the spirit of faith and obedience. And the latter blessedness was the greater. I say the Holy Fathers say so expressly. St. Augustine says, "More blessed was Mary in receiving the faith of Christ, than in receiving the flesh of Christ." In like manner St. Elizabeth says to her at the Visitation, "Beata es quae credidisti, Blessed art thou who didst believe"; and St. Chrysostom goes so far as to say that she would not have been blessed, even though she had borne Christ in the body, unless she had heard the word of God and kept it.
The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
is today. There is information on it here.
A blessed feast day to all the Carmelites out there, including this blogger, and the nuns at the Carmel of St. Therese of Lisieux in Loretto, Pennsylvania, most especially Sr. Claire Benedicta of the Cross.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Feast of St. Bonaventure, O.F.M., Bishop, Cardinal, and Doctor of the Church
is today. There is information on him here.

Who can understand, who can undertake to describe, the excellences of a holy man, except one who in good measure partakes of them, and can by sympathy enter into the spirit by which his words and his deeds have been governed? It is said in the lesson of the Office for St. Bonaventure's day, that when St. Thomas found him writing the life of St. Francis, he observed, "Suffer a saint to minister to a saint"...

Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., Sermons Preached on Various Occasions

Thursday, July 14, 2005

On July 14, 1870
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., wrote to his old friend Maria Giberne, who was now Sr. Maria Pia in the Convent of the Visitation in Autun, France:

My dear Sister Pia,

I write on the 37th anniversary of the commencement of the Oxford Movement. I am quite well, thank you—I have not been so well for years, nay, I can't tell when. I have not written to you because I have had nothing to say, though I ought to have thanked you for your so kindly contriving to give me a claim on your community's prayers. Of course, as life goes on, or rather as death approaches, that is what one wants most, and after death also. Don't fancy all the vulgarities of the Tablet annoy me personally. First, I never see them; next, I had such a seasoning of the like when I was an Anglican that I am hardened against them; thirdly they do me good by disgusting people, who in consequence take my part. My "Grammar" (ed. An Essay in aid of a Grammar of Assent ) has been well spoken of generally. Fr. Harper is my friend, but he has a right to criticize the book, especially so far forth as it is not in coincidence with the Jesuit Traditions.

'I am very well, except when I move about. That tries me. Lately, in execution of long promises, I went from home from Monday to Saturday, visiting Mr. Church, my cousin Louisa Deane (whom I had not seen for 26 years), H. Wilberforce, and George Copeland; and was certainly not the better for it. George Copeland, who, as you must know, is utterly paralysed except in his head, which is as full of vigorous thought as ever, inquired much after you. I had never seen his daughters before. They are suffering from their Father's long illness. He showed me your first oil painting, which he praised very much.

This leads me to thank you, as I do sincerely, for the precious presents which you are sending me by Fr. M. I have given you (with some others) a Mass a week since January— Indeed have done the like for years.
Ever yrs affectly. in Xt.
The Feast of Blessed Kateri Tekawitha, Virgin
is today in the dioceses of the Unted States. There is information on her here.

Elsewhere, it is the feast of St. Camillis de Lellis, C.R.M.I., Priest and Founder, . His feast is transferred to July 18th here. He went to St. Philip Neri for confession on a regular basis.
To any Native Americans or Servants of the Sick out there, blessed feast day !

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Our local excommunicated schismatic heretic...
is in the news again.

Link courtesy of Amy Welborn.
The Catholic Carnival
is up.
In case anyone is wondering...
I didn't blog yesterday because I was too busy celebrating my birthday.
The Feast of St. Henry II
is today. There is information on him here.

It is also the feast of St. Clelia Barbieri, Virgin and Foundress , St. Terese of the Andes, O.C.D., Virgin, and St. Margaret of Antioch, Virgin and Martyr, who is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and was one of the Voices who spoke to St. Jeanne D'Arc.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Feast of St. Benedict, O.S.B., Founder
is today. There is information on him here.
A blessed feast day to all the Benedictines and Cistercians out there, especially the monks of St. Vincent Archabbey, the nuns of St. Emma Monastery, (Sr. Maria Johanna in particular), and the nuns of St. Joseph Monastery (Sr. Clare Joseph in particular.) .

St. Benedict, then, like the great Hebrew Patriarch, was the "Father of many nations." He has been styled "the Patriarch of the West," a title which there are many reasons for ascribing to him. Not only was he the first to establish a perpetual Order of Regulars in Western Christendom; not only, as coming first, has he had an ampler course of centuries for the multiplication of his children; but his Rule, as that of St. Basil in the East, is the normal rule of the first age of the Church, and was in time generally received even in communities which in no sense owed their origin to him. Moreover, out of his Order rose, in process of time, various new monastic families, which have established themselves as independent institutions, and are able in their turn to boast of the number of their houses, and the sanctity and historical celebrity of their members. He is the representative of Latin monachism for the long extent of six centuries, while monachism was one; and even when at length varieties arose, and distinct titles were given to them, the change grew out of him;—not the act of strangers who were his rivals, but of his own children, who did but make a new beginning in all devotion and loyalty to him. He died in the early half of the sixth century; at the beginning of the tenth rose from among his French monasteries the famous Congregation of Cluni, illustrated by St. Majolus, St. Odilo, Peter the Venerable, and other considerable personages, among whom is Hildebrand, afterwards Pope Gregory the Seventh. Then came, in long succession, the Orders or Congregations of Camaldoli under St. Romuald, of Vallombrosa, of Citeaux, to which St. Bernard has given his name, of Monte Vergine, of Fontvrault; those of England, Spain, and Flanders; the Silvestrines, the Celestines, the Olivetans, the Humiliati, besides a multitude of institutes for women, as the Gilbertines and the Oblates of St. Frances, and then at length, to mention no others, the Congregation of St. Maur in modern times, so well known for its biblical, patristical, and historical works, and for its learned members, Montfaucon, Mabillon, and their companions. The panegyrists of this illustrious Order are accustomed to claim for it in all its branches as many as 37,000 houses, and, besides, 30 Popes, 200 Cardinals, 4 Emperors, 46 Kings, 51 Queens, 1,406 Princes, 1,600 Archbishops, 600 Bishops, 2,400 Nobles, and 15,000 Abbots and learned men .

Nor are the religious bodies which sprang from St. Benedict the full measure of what he has accomplished,—as has been already observed. His Rule gradually made its way into those various monasteries which were of an earlier or of an independent foundation. It first coalesced with, and then supplanted, the Irish Rule of St. Columban in France, and the still older institutes which had been brought from the East by St. Athanasius, St. Eusebius, and St. Martin. At the beginning of the ninth century it was formally adopted throughout the dominions of Charlemagne. Pure, or with some admixture, it was brought by St. Augustine to England; and that admixture, if it existed, was gradually eliminated by St. Wilfrid, St. Dunstan, and Lanfranc, till at length it was received, with the name and obedience of St. Benedict, in all the Cathedral monasteries (to mention no others), excepting Carlisle.

- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., Historical Sketches, Volume II

It is also the feast of St. Oliver Plunkett, Archbishop and Martyr.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

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

"The Calls of Grace".

The penultimate paragraph is particularly beautiful:

And if you are conscious that your hearts are hard, and are desirous that they should be softened, do not despair. All things are possible to you, through God's grace. Come to Him for the will and the power to do that to which He calls you. He never forsakes anyone who calls upon him. He never puts any trial on a man but He gives Him grace to overcome it. Do not despair then; nay do not despond, even though you do come to Him, yet are not at once exalted to overcome yourselves. He gives grace by little and little. It is by coming daily into His presence, that by degrees we find ourselves awed by that presence and able to believe and obey Him. Therefore if any one desires illumination to know God's will as well as strength to do it, let him come to Mass daily, if he possibly can. At least let him present himself daily before the Blessed Sacrament, and, as it were, offer his heart to His Incarnate Saviour, presenting it as a reasonable offering to be influenced, changed and sanctified under the eye and by the grace of the Eternal Son. And let him every now and then through the day make some short prayer or ejaculation, to the Lord and Saviour, and again to His Blessed Mother, the immaculate most Blessed Virgin Mary, or again to his guardian Angel, or to his Patron Saint. Let him now and then collect his mind and place himself, as if in heaven, in the presence of God; as if before God's throne; let him fancy he sees the All-Holy Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. These are the means by which, with God's grace, he will be able in course of time to soften his heart—not all at once, but by degrees; not by his own power or wisdom, but by the grace of God blessing his endeavour. Thus it is that Saints have begun. They have begun by these little things, and so become at length Saints. They were not saints all at once, but by little and little. And so we, who are not saints, must still proceed by the same road; by lowliness, patience, trust in God, recollection that we are in His presence, and thankfulness for His mercies.
If it were not Sunday...
today would be the feast of St. Amalburga, O.S.B.