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Archive for November, 2007

Confession

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“I found much to bewilder me in my memories of the long time which had passed since I was nineteen, the age at which I had firsts begun to search in earnest for truth and wisdom and had promised myself that once I had found them, I would give up all the vain hopes and mad delusions which sustained my futile ambitions. I realized that I was now thirty years old and was still floundering in the same quagmire, because I was greedy to enjoy what the world had to offer, though it only eluded me and wasted my strength. And all the time I had been telling myself one tale after another.

‘Tomorrow I shall discover the truth. I shall see it quite plainly, and it will be mine to keep…

‘The Academics! What wonderful men they are! Is it true that we can never know for certain how we ought to manage our lives….?

‘No, not that! We must search all the more carefully and never despair. I can see now that the passages in the Scripture which I used to think absurd are not absurd at all. They can be understood in another sense, quite fairly. I shall fix my foot firmly on the step where my parents set me as a boy, until I find the manifest truth. But where and when am I to look for it? Ambrose has no time to spare and I have no time for reading. Where am I to look for the books I need? Where and when can I buy them or get someone to lend them to me? I must plan my time and arrange my day for the good of my soul…..

‘Great hope is born in me, because I have found that the doctrines of the Catholic faith are not what I thought them to be, and my accusations were unfounded.’…

As I reasoned with myself in this way, my heart was buffeted hither and thither by winds blowing form opposite quarters. Time was passing and I kept delaying my conversion to you, my God. Day after day I postponed living in you, but I never put off the death which I died each day in myself. I longed for a life of happiness but I was frightened to approach it in its own domain; and yet, while I fled from it, I still searched for it.”

(St. Augustine, Confessions, Book VI: 11)

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If you value Liberty and Democracy

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Check out An Open Letter to the Catholic Community in Behalf of Ron Paul by Thomas E. Woods Jr.

h/t Catholics for Ron Paul

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Reverence

“How did I live through that next hour? It is a mystery to me. The silence, the solemnity, the dignity of these Masses and of the church, and the overpowering atmosphere of prayers so fervent that they were almost tangible choked me with love and reverence that robbed me of the power to breathe. I could only get the air in gasps.

O my God, with what might You sometimes choose to teach a man’s soul Your immense lessons! Here, even through only ordinary channels, came to me graces that overwhelmed me like a tidal wave, truths that drowned me with the force of their impact: and all through the plain, normal means of the liturgy—but the liturgy used properly, and with reverence, by souls inured to sacrifice.

What a thing Mass becomes, in hands hardened by grueling and sacrificial labor, in poverty and abjection and humiliation! “See, see,” said those lights, those shadows in all the chapels. “See Who God is! Realize what this Mass is! See Christ here, on the Cross! See His wounds, see His torn hands, see how the King of Glory is crowned with thorns! Do you know what Love is? Here is Love, Here on this Cross, here is Love, suffering these nails, these thorns, that scourge loaded with lead, smashed to pieces, bleeding to death because of your sin and bleeding to death because of people that will never know Him, and never think of Him and will never remember His Sacrifice. Learn from Him how to love God and how to love men! Learn of this Cross, this Love, how to give your life away to Him!” Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain

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The Motherload

In Catechism class Fr. Brendan gave us a great resource for Catholic lectures available for download. I would especially recommend Fr. Brian Mullady’s series on Lumen Gentium, the Vatican II document on the nature of the Church. Anything by Fr. John Hardon is also recommended.

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On All Saints Day

“Why should our praise and glorification, or even the celebration of this feast day mean anything to the saints? What do they care about earthly honours when their heavenly Father honours them by fulfilling the faithful promise of the Son? What does our commendation mean to them? The saints have no need of honour from us; neither does our devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs. Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by a tremendous yearning.

Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself. We long to share in the citizenship of heaven, to dwell with the spirits of the blessed, to join the assembly of patriarchs, the ranks of the prophets, the council of apostles, the great host of martyrs, the noble company of confessors and the choir of virgins. In short, we long to be united in happiness with all the saints. But our dispositions change. The Church of all the first followers of Christ awaits us, but we do nothing about it. The saints want us to be with them, and we are indifferent. The souls of the just await us, and we ignore them.

Come, brothers, let us at length spur ourselves on. We must rise again with Christ, we must seek the world which is above and set our mind on the things of heaven. Let us long for those who are longing for us, hasten to those who are waiting for us, and ask those who look for our coming to intercede for us. We should not only want to be with the saints, we should also hope to possess their happiness. While we desire to be in their company, we must also earnestly seek to share in their glory. Do not imagine that there is anything harmful in such an ambition as this; there is no danger in setting our hearts on such glory.

When we commemorate the saints we are inflamed with another yearning: that Christ our life may also appear to us as he appeared to them and that we may one day share in his glory. Until then we see him, not as he is, but as he became for our sake. He is our head, crowned, not with glory, but with the thorns of our sins. As members of that head, crowned with thorns, we should be ashamed to live in luxury; his purple robes are a mockery rather than an honour. When Christ comes again, his death shall no longer be proclaimed, and we shall know that we also have died, and that our life is hidden with him. The glorious head of the Church will appear and his glorified members will shine in splendour with him, when he forms this lowly body anew into such glory as belongs to himself, its head.

Therefore, we should aim at attaining this glory with a wholehearted and prudent desire. That we may rightly hope and strive for such blessedness, we must above all seek the prayers of the saints. Thus, what is beyond our own powers to obtain will be granted through their intercession.”

From A sermon by Saint Bernard, abbot (d. 1153)

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