Monday, May 31, 2004

a working definition of "orthoprax"

I was on one of my usual soapboxes the other day, and a kind commenter now wants to know what I mean when I say "orthoprax". I've never tried to systematize that before; it's an idea I grew up with and pretty much just accepted as an assumption about life. But now I'll try to make a beginning, for M.David's sake. Please comment, and help with hashing this one out!

"Orthopraxy" means "right acting" or "proper behaviour", just as "orthodoxy" means "right teaching" or "proper belief".

Catholic orthopraxy, at its core, is an internal disposition --- a determination, with God's help, to have the Faith inform every aspect of one's life, and to do absolutely everything in a way worthy of one who is loved by God. There is not the "spiritual" realm at church on Sunday and the "secular" realm everywhere else, but only a life lived in Christ at all times and places, submitted to Christ in and out of church.

In my own experience and observation, orthopraxy nearly always manifests externally in a few specific ways: an unobstentatious devotion to the Holy Eucharist, daily prayer and/or lectio outside of Mass, a willingness to do the unheralded less-favored parish chores, and, most especially, frequent and joyous commission of the Works of Mercy, which, for me, define "what Catholics do". In the Spiritual Fitness Program for Beginners, a major component is a prescribed daily act of mercy, to instill a taste for merciful behaviour and a habit of acting mercifully, on the athletic theory of "fake it till you make it."

Just how important this has always been in the Church is manifested extremely early in our history when we named the holy Eucharistic Liturgy after its final words --- "Go, you are sent," "ite, missa est." We call the Eucharistic Liturgy the Mass, the Sending service, for from it we are sent out to be the Body of Christ in the world outside and beyond the walls of the church; maybe the only contact some will ever have with Christ will be their contact with Christ in us. May we never obscure Him or put Him to shame in us.
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Remember the Ember Days

The summer Ember Days are this week Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, June 2, 4, and 5.

Our daily bread does not come from Cargill or from Archer Daniels Midland.
It doesn't come from General Foods, Kraft, or Nabisco,
or even from Brownberry or Natural Ovens of Manitowoc.

Our daily bread is given us by the Lord,
the creator of the heavens and the earth.
It comes from the fertility of the good earth;
it is nourished by the sunlight
and by the snows and the rains in the proper seasons;
it is nurtured and gathered and prepared
by our sisters and our brothers
who work very hard for very little
on our farms and ranches and in our gardens,
in our canneries and bakeries and dairies and slaughterhouses.

This we must remember:
Our food does not come from Pick 'n Save or from Sentry Foods or from Jewel-Osco.
Costco and Sam's Club cannot create a single green bean or tomato.
Only God can.

God created the earth, and He created the earthworms, and the soil microbes.
God created the plants, and also the trees that bear nuts and fruits.
God created the bees, the hummingbirds, and all the other little pollinating creatures.
God created us, and commanded us to nurture the plants and the animals, to care for His garden.
He told us to have dominion and to subdue them, shaping them to our needs.

We can plant seeds. We can tend animals.
Yet, only God can make a plant grow.
Only God can create calves, chicks, lambs, ducklings, and piglets.
Only God has power over the often-chaotic patterns of the weather.

So, four times each year,
at the turning of the seasons,
Mother Church, being very wise,
gives us some days to fast and pray
that the earth may be fruitful,
that our plants and our livestock will stay healthy,
that the rains and the dry times and the snow cover come at the proper times,
that the cyclones and the floods and the insect swarms stay far away from us,
that our sisters and our brothers who do the work
that takes our food from a seed planted to a can on the grocery store shelf
will always be treated with respect and with justice.

These days, the Ember Days, are this week.
Let us not forget.
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Philip Jenkins' Pallium Lecture

Back on the 11th, I attended the second of this year's Pallium Lectures, by Dr. Philip Jenkins. Here is an excellent article about the lecture, which I am giving you since I've been too lazy lately to transcribe my notes for you. The third and last Pallium Lecture for this year will be on June 28th, featuring Mary Higgins Clark ---- hope to see some of you there who are driving distance to Milwaukee. The price is even right!
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Sunday, May 30, 2004

Of all the days

that Laidlaw Transit could choose to mess up my ride to church! I mean, if they really have to do this kind of thing --- this isn't the first time they've left me high and dry --- why couldn't they choose some Sunday or other of ordinary time instead of one of the greatest of high feasts????

So, I'm stuck at home today, yet another thing to offer up. At least, though, the Mass I attend is broadcast, and I'll at least be able to hear Bishop Sklba's homily on the radio......
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The ten lessons of this blog's beginnings

Happy Pentecost! when Babel is reversed and the Church is birthed in unity and power.

It's also May 30th, and the second anniversary of the launching of this site. Only about ten days before, Mark Shea, who was on the REBORN listserv, and Gerard Serafin, on a few listservs he was on, had posted about their shiny new blogs, and I went over to give them an ogle. On May 23rd, one of my grad-school classmates delivered a nasty retirement present to my retiring archbishop, and the early long Dormition Fast of 2002 began, and the Catholic portions of the internet seemed to explode, often with statements that appeared to have little correspondence with reality. There was so much that needed said, by someone who actually belonged to this local church, so, less than two weeks after I read my first blog, I was writing my own. I couldn't bold or italic or make a link that actually worked, so the first few days were painfully plain. My first-day posts were an introduction, a reply to Sean of Nota Bene about what had happened here, and a prayer request for our archbishop.

There are ten lessons, truths of faith and life, that were learned, or powerfully reinforced, in the first few turbulent months of this site, which will remain true no matter what the current troubles are or who might be the current pariah. Or even if the current pariah should come to be me. This anniversary is an excellent time to review them:

1) The details of our long-ago-confessed and long-ago-forgiven sins and stupidities are the business only of God. They are not the business of those who would turn them into cudgels.

2) The details of the sins of other people are none of my business; I've enough troubles with my own.

3) Sins and stupidities do not negate goodness, wisdom, love, or generosity.

4) The Accuser of the Brethren can have no foothold among us if we refuse to play his foul game. We must not accuse others, only ourselves. We cannot defend ourselves, even justly, by accusing anybody else of anything; not if we seek to live truly submitted lives.

5) The Church has wisely declared that the Lord can and does use imperfect instruments to build his Kingdom, and that the sacraments are not dependent on the perfection of their ministers. If we insist on having only perfect bishops who have only perfect priests, we will have neither bishops nor priests; for all of us have sinned, every single one of us has done spectacularly stupid things, and even the strongest and most faithful of us come equipped with two clay feet.

6) Where the bishop is, there is the Catholic Church, which the Lord has promised to protect and sustain, and there is no other place where one can be certain of that.

7) When chaos is breaking out all over and the world is spinning and shaking, you reach deep down inside, down to the foundation, and find one of those things that are known to be true and will not change, and you cling tightly to that until the chaos subsides. Two of those unchanging true things are "God made me to know Him, and to love Him, and to serve Him, and to be happy with Him forever and ever in Heaven" and "God is all-good and deserving of all my love."

8) I have sinned and have done some incredibly dumb things; I have no right to ridicule anybody, ever.

9) The judgment I judge is the judgment I will be judged by; the forgiveness I offer will be the forgiveness I receive. So how dare I even think of stringent judgment or withholding my forgiveness.

and 10) from the last teaching of my gentle and devoted retired archbishop, who was the designated pariah when this site was birthed two years ago: I have learned how frail my own human nature is, how in need of God’s loving embrace I am. Empty-handed for me now means a willingness to accept my humanity totally, just as Christ accepted that same human nature out of love. But for me it also means to be fully receptive to whatever God wants to place in those hands, to be ready with empty hands to receive new life.
But I am also aware much self-pity and pride remain. I must leave that pride behind. Each day I will try to leave room for God to enter into my life more and more. Ultimately I understand that the humanity God so loved and sought to redeem, including my own humanity, will be transformed by his loving embrace and grace.

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Saturday, May 29, 2004

It amazes me

in a sad and miserable way, that the topic of the month on the news-blogs of our cyberparish, is uproar over certain of our brothers and sisters in Christ --- granted, they're the mistaken ones or the bad-example ones, or the ones we don't agree with --- refusing to fall away. Now, back in the day, when I was growing up, we were eager to keep people from falling away,no matter how tenuously they were hanging on, since we knew that the grace of God was in the Church, and we could never be certain about outside. If anyone, no matter how totally screwed-up, stayed inside, where the grace of God is, there would be hope for ever-further conversion, baby-step by tiny baby-step. Yet nowadays, it seems to me, too many seem eager to chase their siblings into the outer darkness. Maybe this is another sign of the "soul-less society" that the Holy Father spoke about to our Wisconsin bishops the other day, that we need to resist. Lord have mercy on all of us dutiful elder brothers and sisters......
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"Full, active, and conscious participation"

An illustrative incident from the times of the desert Christians:

There once was an Christian emperor who on one Sunday came to the church for the Divine Liturgy. He was apparently praying, but his mind was really occupied with the plans for a new palace. He was considering the site he had chosen for his palace and how the palace would sit on that site and how it all would look. Later, that evening as he slept, he dreamed that he met our Lord Jesus Christ who asked him where he had been for Christ had not seen him at Liturgy. The emperor replied, "Lord, just this morning I was at the Divine Liturgy, did you not see me there." To which our Lord answered, "No, this morning you were on the hill overlooking the site for your new palace --- you were not in the liturgy."

For it is not only our bodies that must be present in the Church when we come for Eucharist, but our whole being, body, mind, heart, and will participating together in prayer that is required of us.
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Friday, May 28, 2004

The Revival of Reconciliation

An excellent article on the sacrament of Penance appeared in this week's Tablet. I belong to two of those "city-centre churches" that the article refers to --- and, yes, the confessionals are quite busy, especially at the Gesu which has two confession periods every day except Sunday.

It doesn't hurt, and the priests who were yellers have mostly gone to their rewards --- so come to confession, and eagerly grab the mercy and fidelity of God!
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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Just one St. Philip Neri story

For today, St. Philip's Day, just one story out of the thousands. Narwen, Gerard, and company have posted many more. St. Philip Neri was, among other great things, one of our world's greatest joy addicts.

Today's story also is a reminder that prayerful holy people tend to think alike: there is a similar incident, only involving a down pillow, in the life of the Ba'al Shem Tov.

So, one day, not long after Philip Neri was ordained, a penitent came to him, a society woman with a major problem --- she loved to gossip, the more shocking or scandalous the better, and she wanted to stop but didn't know how.

Philip told her: Go to the market and buy a good plump fresh-killed chicken, and pluck it when you bring it to me. So she did; she bought a plump chicken, and plucked it as she was taking it back to Philip.

Philip thanked her for the chicken, then continued: Now, gather up the feathers and bring them all here also. The society woman was totally dismayed, saying: I cannot gather them, they have blown to all places on the wind.

Philip replied: Precisely. This is the same as what happens to the tales you tell; they fly away all over, and you cannot take them back or unsay them, and others can pick them up and use them as they would. Now go, and commit no more slander. She left him, and was freed of her problems with sins of speech.
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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Giving all the pain to God

is the essence of that great art of "offering it up." Here's another passage from St. Faustina Kowalska's diary which puts "offering up" in its larger context of God's neverending mercy.

O my Jesus, in terrible bitterness and pain,
I yet feel the caress of Your Divine Heart.
Like a good mother, You press me to Your bosom,
And even now You give me to experience what the veil hides.

O my Jesus, in this wilderness and terror which surround me,
My heart still feels the warmth of Your gaze,
Which no storm can blot out from me,
As You give me the assurance of Your great love, O God.

O my Jesus, midst the great miseries of this life,
You shine like a star, O Jesus, protecting me from shipwreck.
And though my miseries be great,
I have great trust in the power of Your mercy.

O hidden Jesus, in the many struggles of my last hour,
May the omnipotence of Your grace be poured out upon my soul,
That at death's moment I may gaze upon You
And see You face to face, as do the chosen in heaven.

O my Jesus, midst the dangers which surround me,
I go through life with a cry of joy, my head raised proudly,
Because against Your Heart so filled with love, O Jesus,
All enemies will be crushed, all darkness dispelled.

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Monday, May 24, 2004

"You are a priest forever...."

Lots of reasons to pray for priests this past week. On Friday two upstanding young, but not too young, men were ordained for our archdiocese, then, on Sunday, Cathedral's pastor Father Carl Last, and Cathedral's number-one help-out, Father Mike Hammer, celebrated their 35th anniversary of ordination. [and, yes, there were also three parties --- never been in a Catholic church yet that would pass up an opportunity for a feast or three!]

This is what Father Last wrote in the bulletin yesterday about being a priest.

It seems like yesterday that, with 25 of my classmates, I prostrated myself on the Cathedral floor on May 24, 1969, and was ordained to service as a priest in the Church of Milwaukee. Those were heady, hopeful, and optimistic days in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council. But they were also challenging days as we struggled to embrace a new paradigm of what it meant to be "the Church", one which was inclusive of the gifts and talents of laity as well as clergy.

When I was ordained, parts of the Mass were still in Latin. We were charged with the responsibility of beginning the implementation of those historic documents, beginning with the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.

Over time, that heady idealism gave way to a measured realism as we learned to be the Church together --- clergy and laity in partnership under the leadership and guidance of our bishop. I never dreamed that I would see the present nostalgic effort at retrenchment into a model of Church that the Council Fathers moved away from 40 years ago. But, after 35 years of surprises, why should I be surprised? Christ is present to us, His Church, leading and guiding us --- if only we let Him!

Over these years, I've been privileged to have had many different opportunities to serve the Church --- post-graduate studies, diocesan work, seminary teaching, national Church work, different boards and committees --- both locally and nationally. I was thrilled to return to my first love when, in 1986, I was appointed to pastor Corpus Christi parish on Milwaukee's northwest side. In 1992, I was appointed pastor of St. Matthias parish on Milwaukee's far southwest side until I was appointed to come to the Cathedral in January, 2000 to oversee the renovation. Each of these positions has taught me so much and has reinforced my desire to spend my life "in service to the Church of Milwaukee"!

Last week, someone asked me, if, given everything that is transpiring in the Church, I would make this commitment again? My response: My life in ordained ministry has been a grace for me and, hopefully, for those I've served. In spite of those difficulties (or maybe because of them) I wouldn't hesitate to speak my "adsum" again.

I'm grateful to God for the precious gift of ordained ministry. I'm grateful to all of you for your care for me and your support. I ask for pardon for those times when I've taken my ministry or anyone I've been privileged to serve for granted.

With my love, Father Carl

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"Catholic" still takes no adjectives!

Pope John Paul II to the bishops of Texas and Oklahoma on Saturday:

As in any family, the Church's internal harmony can at times be challenged by a lack of charity and the presence of conflict among her members. This can lead to the formation of factions within the Church which often become so concerned with their special interests that they lose sight of the unity and solidarity which are the foundations of ecclesial life and the sources of communion in the family of God. To address this worrisome phenomenon bishops are charged to act with fatherly solicitude as men of communion to ensure that their particular Churches act as families, so that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

Confirmation that I'm right to stand on this soapbox, at least. AmChurch is a myth, MaChurch also. Progressive, conservative, liberal, reactionary, etc., are terms that just do not work to modify Catholic --- they just don't. So let's just stop that kind of shenanigans, and do our best to live as Catholics. That will, eventually, make every single one of us orthodox, orthoprax, radical (right down to the roots!), and all those other good things; and not one at a time as though they were contradictory, but all of them at the same time happily together.
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Saturday, May 22, 2004

A song for Julie of the Theoscope

Here's a song for Julie of the Theoscope, and for any others among us who have been accepted for postulancy in religious communities this season ---- especially those going to communities with a teaching charism. It's by Michael Peter Smith, not to be confused with that other CCM artist.....

Sister Clarissa

Sister Clarissa could have been on the stage,
But Jesus came over and told her
He'd rather she taught the fifth grade.
Sister Clarissa is engaged to Our Lord.
He has promised to take her to heaven,
He never goes back on His word.
Sister Clarissa is eleven feet tall;
Her rosary hangs and it clatters and it clangs
When she moves down the hall.
She writes "Sister Clarissa" up high on the board.
The chalk won't dare squeak;
The children sit meekly without a word.
Somehow you know summer's over.

Who made me?
God made me
To know Him,
To love Him, and
To serve Him in this world,
And to be happy with Him
Forever.

Sister Clarissa believes in free will,
The communion of saints,
The forgiveness of sins,
And a quiet fire drill.
And when she hugs you
She hugs you too tight,
And she gives you a star on the forehead
For spelling Connecticut right.

Who made me?
God made me
To know Him,
To love Him, and
To serve Him in this world,
And to be happy with Him
Forever.

Many years later on a memory walk
Through the old wooden doors,
Down the same corridors,
Dusted with years of chalk,
You see Sister Clarissa
And she looks just the same.
And the sound of her rosary still brings a chill,
And she remembers your name.
And the years disappear
As though they've never been,
And you hear yourself saying,
"Yes, Sister,"
"No, Sister,"
Like you were ten.
And you're so glad to see
That she's still the same way,
And to tell her you love her
Before she goes over to
Her Fiance.

Who made me?
God made me
To know Him,
To love Him, and
To serve Him in this world,
And to be happy with Him
Forever.


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Thursday, May 20, 2004

The only thing I'm going to blog about elections this season

Dorothy Day, when questioned why she wasn't headed out to the polls one election day, replied, "If God had wanted us to vote, he would have provided some candidates."

I believe every Catholic in our country should read and ponder this excellent document about the moral and spiritual things we must consider when deciding for whom we should cast our votes, or whether it is possible, in a particular race, to vote for anyone at all. Written before the current controversies, it is thoughtful and complete, and well worth the study.
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a passage that resonates with me

from a saint I'm just now discovering, St. Faustina Kowalska. I missed her growing up, because back in the olden days when I was a child, her works were suppressed, suspected of heresy, and her devotion was forbidden, for the same reason. But, fortunately for us all, there was a learned and wise bishop and theologian who was able to read her diary in its original, and was able to clear her name and memory, and reassure the Church that she was not trying to overthrow devotion to the Sacred Heart, so now we all get to read Divine Mercy in my Soul.

Today during Holy Mass, I was unwittingly absorbed in the infinite majesty of God. The whole immensity of God's love flooded my soul. At that particular moment, I became aware of how much God abases himself for my sake. He, the Lord of Lords-and what am I, miserable being that I am, that You would commune thus with me? The wonder that took hold of me after this special grace continued very vividly throughout the entire day. Taking advantage of the intimacy to which the Lord was admitting me, I interceded before Him for the whole world. At such moments I have the feeling that the whole world is depending on me.

My Master, cause my heart never to expect help from anyone, but I will always strive to bring assistance, consolation, and all manner of relief to others. My heart is always open to the sufferings of others; and I will not close my heart to the sufferings of others, even though because of this I have been scornfully nicknamed "dump"; that is, [because] everyone dumps his pain into my heart. [To this] I answered that everyone has a place in my heart and I, in return, have a place in the Heart of Jesus. Taunts regarding the law of love will not narrow my heart. My soul is always sensitive on this point, and Jesus alone is the motive for my love of neighbor.

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another speaking of empty-handedness

Anyone who's been here awhile has read about empty-handedness before God: the pearl of great price, the prayer of St. Therese, the teaching of our own Archbishop Rembert, and others. I've just read another such passage, from a somewhat less likely source:

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say "I used everything You gave me." ------Erma Bombeck

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Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Fighting the sin of mental murder

CCC #2303: Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of the neighbor is a sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm. "But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven."

Have any of the rest of you ever noticed that there are near occasions of sin in the virtual neighborhoods of Bloggsville, just like in our real-world neighborhoods? That the virtual world actions in Bloggsville can plop one into real-world contrition?

I've been there. Repeatedly. For me, it's running into the professionally outraged and the veteran faction fighters. I'm extra sensitive to them, living in a real city that's been a favorite battlefield for them all my adult life, in fact, since at least the Great Depression. I read or hear the ongoing tongue torture, the detraction and rash judgment and harsh judgment and gloating, that goes on, and I get steamed, and start pondering how many different ways I can string up the Professionally Outraged Faction-Fighting Idiot of the Day (TM) --- and attempted murder is no less a sin for only going on inside my head. I catch myself, and cease and desist --- until the next vicious backbiting or stupid tittillating slanderous tidbit comes by.

I've found three ways of attack to fight this one:

First, avoid the near occasions. There are some sites in the Christian internet world, and some Christian blogs, that specialize in detraction, backbiting, and related activities. Since I have no business with or interest in professional outrage, and it's so bad for me, then why even go to sites such as Spiritus Christi, or CWN, or Diocese Report, or MagesterialFidelity, or Novus Ordo Watch. Let strong people like Mark Shea and Bill Cork and Father Rob and Shawn McElhinney wear the flak jackets and blue helmets and deal with the armed idiot fringes.

Second, wait before doing. Don't grab the bait so often planted in some people's comment boxes. Go away. Do something else. Make some rosaries. Elevate the feet. Come back in a few hours. Whatever it was might not need refuting any more. And, if it still does need refuting, I will do a better job of it by cultivating peace and patience.

Third, redirect my mind. An urge to string someone up by the toes is a sign that they belong on my God-Bless list. It's not possible for me to hang, draw, and quarter Diogenes or Podles while I'm pleading before God for their good, or gag and strangle Padovano, Dan Maguire or Joe d'H while begging grace for them. Keep the mind busy with good, and it'll have no space for mischief.

Lord, keep me mindful.
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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Error has no rights, but erroneous people do: Pope St. John I

Today's saint, Pope John I, was born in Tuscany and was elected Pope in 523, when the Church was in, shall we say, interesting times. Italy was ruled by Theodoric the Ostrogoth, who was an Arian, while most of his subjects remained Catholic. As time passed, Theodoric became more and more suspicious of the allegiances of his Catholic subjects, especially since the Catholics had very strong links with the Catholicism of the surviving Roman Empire in the East, where Julian, the Roman Emperor, was prosecuting/persecuting his Arian subjects. The eastern Arians were begging Theodoric to help them.

So Theodoric sent a diplomatic mission to Constantinople, led by Pope John, to plead for better treatment for the Arians. Pope John was successful in obtaining an easing of the persecution, but the great respect and utter enthusiasm with which John was received in Constantinople roused the suspicions of Theodoric. What if John and Julian were plotting together to overthrow him, the great Theodoric???

Immediately upon Pope John's return to Italy, Theodoric had John arrested, and he died there, of ill-treatment in prison, a few days later, in 526.

The life of St. John reminds us of what true tolerance is and isn't. There could be no compromise with Arianism, a dangerous heresy that made the atonement all but pointless, but this did not mean that people who believed in Arianism had lost their human dignity and were fair game for ill-treatment. It is wrong for a state to use the force of the state to enforce uniformity of thought or belief --- even in the attempted service of the truth.

After all, if the emperor Julian can use his armies to enforce Catholic orthodoxy, Theodoric can use his to enforce Arian beliefs --- and do we really want to go there?
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Monday, May 17, 2004

Another Abba Pachomius story

It was a custom with the brothers of our holy abba Pachomius, to assemble every evening in an appointed place in the monastery to hear his teaching. Once, as they were assembled as usual to hear the abba, he commanded a certain Theodore, who had been in the monastery only twenty years, to speak to the brothers. Straightway, without any disobedience, he spoke to them about things profitable to them.

Some of the eldest brothers, when they saw what was happening, did not want to listen to him. They said to themselves, "He is just a beginner and he is teaching us! We will not hear him." They left the assembly of the brothers and withdrew to their cells.

When the brothers were dismissed from the instruction, Abba Pachomius sent for those who had left the assembly early. They came to the abba and he asked them, "Why did you leave us and withdraw to your cells?" They said, "Because you have made a mere boy a teacher of us, a large group of old men and of other brothers."

When the abba heard this, he sighed and said, "Do you know from where evil first had its beginning in the world? From pride, for which 'the bright star dawning in the morning was dashed in pieces upon the ground', and for which also Nebuchanezzar, the king of Babylon, `dwelt among the wild beasts'. Or have you not heard what is written, `The man with an arrogant heart is abhorrent to the Lord? For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled'. Now you have been despoiled by the devil of all your virtue, not knowing that pride is the mother of all evils. For it was not Theodore whom you left when you went away, but you fled from the word of God and you fell away from the Holy Spirit. Truly wretched are you, and worthy of all pity. How is it that you did not understand that it was Satan who was causing this in you, and because of this you have been separated from God? O what a great wonder! God humbled Himself and became obedient even unto death for your sake; and yet we, who are by nature lowly, puff ourselves up.

The order is overthrown by us: He who is above all things and exceedingly great brought the world to Himself through His humility, when He could have burned it up by a mere glance! And we who are nothing make ourselves proud, not knowing that by this we are pushing ourselves into the depths of the earth.

Did you not see that I was standing and listening to his teaching? In truth I tell you, I profited greatly from listening to him. For it was not to test him that I enjoined him to speak to you, but because I expected to draw profit for myself. How much more then ought you to have heard his word with great eagerness and humility?

Verily, I, your father in the Lord, was listening to him with all my soul as one who does not know his right from his left. Therefore, before God, I tell you that if you do not show great repentance for this error, and if you do not weep and mourn for yourselves so that what happened may be forgiven you, you will go to perdition."

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John Paul II on "simple, single, and submitted"

"And he was transfigured before them ..."

15. And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah". He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him". When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces, and were filled with fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and have no fear". And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, "Tell no one the vision, until the Son of man is raised from the dead"
(Mt 17:1-9).The event of the Transfiguration marks a decisive moment in the ministry of Jesus. It is a revelatory event which strengthens the faith in the disciples' hearts, prepares them for the tragedy of the Cross and prefigures the glory of the Resurrection. This mystery is constantly relived by the Church, the people on its way to the eschatological encounter with its Lord. Like the three chosen disciples, the Church contemplates the transfigured face of Christ in order to be confirmed in faith and to avoid being dismayed at his disfigured face on the Cross. In both cases, she is the Bride before her Spouse, sharing in his mystery and surrounded by his light.This light shines on all the Church's children. All are equally called to follow Christ, to discover in him the ultimate meaning of their lives, until they are able to say with the Apostle: "For to me to live is Christ" (Phil 1:21). But those who are called to the consecrated life have a special experience of the light which shines forth from the Incarnate Word. For the profession of the evangelical counsels makes them a kind of sign and prophetic statement for the community of the brethren and for the world; consequently they can echo in a particular way the ecstatic words spoken by Peter: "Lord, it is well that we are here" (Mt 17:4). These words bespeak the Christocentric orientation of the whole Christian life. But they also eloquently express the radical nature of the vocation to the consecrated life: how good it is for us to be with you, to devote ourselves to you, to make you the one focus of our lives! Truly those who have been given the grace of this special communion of love with Christ feel as it were caught up in his splendour: he is "the fairest of the sons of men" (Ps 45:2), the One beyond compare.

"This is my beloved Son": listen to him!

16. The three disciples caught up in ecstasy hear the Father's call to listen to Christ, to place all their trust in him, to make him the centre of their lives. The words from on high give new depth to the invitation by which Jesus himself, at the beginning of his public life, called them to follow him, to leave their ordinary lives behind and to enter into a close relationship to him. It is precisely this special grace of intimacy which, in the consecrated life, makes possible and even demands the total gift of self in the profession of the evangelical counsels. The counsels, more than a simple renunciation, are a specific acceptance of the mystery of Christ, lived within the Church.

In the unity of the Christian life, the various vocations are like so many rays of the one light of Christ, whose radiance "brightens the countenance of the Church." The laity, by virtue of the secular character of their vocation, reflect the mystery of the Incarnate Word particularly insofar as he is the Alpha and the Omega of the world, the foundation and measure of the value of all created things. Sacred ministers, for their part, are living images of Christ the Head and Shepherd who guides his people during this time of "already and not yet", as they await his coming in glory. It is the duty of the consecrated life to show that the Incarnate Son of God is the eschatological goal towards which all things tend, the splendour before which every other light pales, and the infinite beauty which alone can fully satisfy the human heart. In the consecrated life, then, it is not only a matter of following Christ with one's whole heart, of loving him "more than father or mother, more than son or daughter" (cf. Mt 10:37) --- for this is required of every disciple --- but of living and expressing this by conforming one's whole existence to Christ in an all-encompassing commitment which foreshadows the eschatological perfection, to the extent that this is possible in time and in accordance with the different charisms. By professing the evangelical counsels, consecrated persons not only make Christ the whole meaning of their lives but strive to reproduce in themselves, as far as possible, "that form of life which he, as the Son of God, accepted in entering this world." By embracing chastity, they make their own the pure love of Christ and proclaim to the world that he is the Only-Begotten Son who is one with the Father (cf. Jn 10:30, 14:11). By imitating Christ's poverty, they profess that he is the Son who receives everything from the Father, and gives everything back to the Father in love (cf. Jn 17:7, 10). By accepting, through the sacrifice of their own freedom, the mystery of Christ's filial obedience, they profess that he is infinitely beloved and loving, as the One who delights only in the will of the Father (cf. Jn 4:34), to whom he is perfectly united and on whom he depends for everything.By this profound "configuration" to the mystery of Christ, the consecrated life brings about in a special way that confessio Trinitatis which is the mark of all Christian life; it acknowledges with wonder the sublime beauty of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and bears joyful witness to his loving concern for every human being.

Vita Consecrata, 15-16

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Saturday, May 15, 2004

What! You can be a religious and not be alone?

How novel!

Today is St. Pachomius' day, he who was the first to see that you did not have to be a solitary hermit to be a religious.

Abba Pachomius, a former army draftee who converted to Christianity and went out to the desert, established a large monastic establishment at Tabannissi, one of the first of its kind; and he wrote the first ever rule for monks to live in community. Before his days, the norm of monastic life was the solitary hermit or anchorite, or a particularly wise abba or amma with two or three disciples in what was called a laura. The Rule of Pachomius became the basis for the later rules of both St. Basil and St. Benedict. A story from the life of Abba Pachomius --- who eventually led 9 monasteries of men and two of women......

Once some brothers from the monastery of Chenoboskion came and told Abba Pachomius, "A brother is sick and he wants to see you and to be blessed before he dies." When the man of God heard this, he rose up and followed them. When he was about two miles from the monastery, he heard a holy voice in the air. He lifted up his eyes and saw the soul of the sick brother with the holy angels, singing psalms and being taken to the blessed life of God. Now the brothers who were following him neither heard nor saw anything. As he stood and gazed a long time to the east, they said to him, "Why are you standing, O Father? Let us go quickly, that we may find him alive." He answered them, "We shall not find him, for I am right now seeing him being taken up to eternal life. Return, then, to your monastery, children." As the brothers entreated him to tell them how he saw the soul of the dead brother, he told them the manner. After they had heard it, the departed to their monastery. They verified very exactly from the brothers in the monastery the hour which the Great Man had told them, and then they knew that what the holy man had told about the dead brother was true.

As Pachomius was journeying to his own monastery, and had come near the desert called Amnon, legions of demons rose both on his right hand and on his left, some following him and others running in front of him, saying, "Behold the blessed man of God." They were doing this, wishing to sow vainglory in him. But he knew their cunning, and the more they shouted, the more he cried out to God, confessing his sins.

And undoing the demons' cunning, he spoke out to them saying, "O wicked ones! You cannot carry me away into vainglory, for I know my failures, for which I ought to weep constantly over eternal punishment. I have therefore no need of your false speech and guileful deceit, for your word is the destruction of the soul. And I am not carried away by your praises, for I know the cunning of your unholy minds." And although Abba Pachomius said these things to them, they did not stop their
shamelessness. They followed alongside the blessed man until he drew near to his monastery.

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It's done

I'm on Blogger comments and post-archive now, and it appears to be operational. I've also edited all the posts back to Easter Sunday to give each post a proper "title" and to enable comments. I'll do a little each night for as long as my patience lasts, but I do not expect to get through my entire archives with this project.

If you've a hankering to comment on an older post without comment access, don't hesitate to send an email.

Have fun, and give it a good testing.
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Testing, Testing

a post for testing my Blogger comments and post-archiving.

testing, testing
1 2 3 4 5 5 4 3 2 1

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Friday, May 14, 2004

Wish me luck.......

I'm going to try to enable the Blogger comments tonight.

Not that Haloscan's been bad to me, not at all..... but Haloscan comments are a bit fugitive. Every couple of months Haloscan hiccups, and all the comments are lost and gone forever --- and sometimes the comments are corrections and clarifications that truly need to stick around, or are truly insightful, and are missed when they evaporate. I'm hoping that the Blogger comments, imbedded as they are in the archival link, might be a bit more permanent.

But, of course, every time this semi-cyberilliterate does major template surgery, there's a risk of major damage, also, so ....remember me to God tonight.

See you on the other side.
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St. Ephrem, one of my favorites, sings

I fall in adoration at Your feet, Lord!
I thank You, God of goodness;
God of holiness, I invoke You,
on my knees, in Your sight

For me, an unworthy sinner,
You have willed to undergo the death of the Cross,
setting me free from the bonds of evil.

What shall I offer You in return for Your generosity?

Glory to You, friend of man!
Glory to You, most merciful!
Glory to You, most patient!
Glory to You, Who forgive sin!
Glory to You, Who have come to save us!
Glory to You, Who have been made man in the womb of a Virgin!
Glory to You, Who have been bound!
Glory to You, Who have been scourged!
Glory to You, Who have been derided!
Glory to You, Who have been nailed to the Cross!
Glory to You, laid in the sepulcher, but risen again!
Glory to You, Who have preached the Gospel to men and have been believed!
Glory to You, Who have ascended to Heaven!
Glory to You, seated at the right hand of the Father,
and Who will return with Him, in majesty, among the angels,
to judge those who have disregarded your Passion!

The powers of Heaven will be shaken;
all the angels and archangels, the cherubim and seraphim
will appear in fear and trembling before Your glory;
the foundations of the earth will quake
and all that has life will cry out before Your majesty.

In that hour, let Your hand draw me beneath Your wings,
and save me from the terrible fire, from the gnashing of teeth,
from the outer darkness and from despair without end.
That I may sing to Your glory:
Glory to Him Who through His merciful goodness
has designed to redeem the sinner.

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Thursday, May 13, 2004

St. John Climicus on how to pray

If we wish to stand before our King and God and converse with Him, we must not rush into this without preparation. . .

When you are going to stand before the Lord, let the garment of your soul be woven throughout with the thread of obliviousness to wrongs. Otherwise your prayer will bring you no benefit.

Let your prayer be completely simple. For both the publican and the prodigal son were reconciled to God by a single phrase.

The work of prayer is one and the same for all, but there are many kinds of prayer and many different prayers. Some converse with God as with a friend and master, interceding with praise and petition, not for themselves, but for others. Some strive for greater spiritual riches and glory for confidence in prayer. Others ask for complete deliverance from their adversary.

Before all else, let us list sincere thanksgiving first on the scroll of our prayer. On the second line, we should put confession and heartfelt contrition of soul. Then let us present our petition to the King of all. This is the best way of prayer.....

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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Surprises happen every day

The mail arrived today. That's normal. There was an especially heavy clunk when it came through the mail slot. I didn't bother to get up about the clunk; my kind reader Paul said he was mailing me his HTML-in-20-EZ-lessons book, so I was expecting a clunk --- more important this afternoon that my swollen feet stay in the air.

Then, when I got up, I came to my front room, and picked up the mail from under the mail slot --- but it wasn't the HTML book. It was a book mailer from Amazon. I haven't ordered anything from Amazon! In fact, my fall into temptation after the Pallium Lecture last night has blown my budget for new book buying for the year --- bought two of Dr. Jenkins' books, one even a hardcover.

I double-checked the address, the houses are numbered really strangely here on the court, so sometimes mail ends up at the wrong house if there's a substitute mail carrier. But, yes indeed, it was mine. I opened it, and found inside a copy of St. John Cassian's Conferences, a book I've been pining for for a long time. Fortunately, there was also an invoice inside, so I know where to send the thank-you note, to a woman who used to work with me when I was a library clerk. Thank you, thank you, Pat! Many, many years!

However, this does mean that I've got a whole new source of desert Christian stories with which to plague you all.
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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

They're up!

Thanks to the clues left by Terrence, I just could not give up tonight until I'd tried my hand at getting the tracts a permanent web address. So, go ogle some very amateur HTML, that I don't think is half bad, at these sites:

Maximal Catholic Living: Spiritual Fitness for Beginners and the Out-of-Shape

and

Six Movements of the Eucharist

and these links are now also in the sidebar.

Comments and helpful hints quite welcome.

I do have to get to bed before the sun rises; I need some beauty sleep for the Pallium Lecture tonight. Then, maybe, I can get around to blogging both my father +Rembert's teaching from Thursday and Dr. Jenkins' lecture tonight. Maybe......
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Monday, May 10, 2004

AARRRRRRGH!!!!!!

I just spent almost two hours hand-coding templates for my standard website to store and link the "New Tracts for the Times" texts ----- and then it somehow got scrambled as it got saved so I have to start all over again. [Thanks, Terrance for your hints in the comment box, everybody else for their encouragement, and a kind reader who's going to send me an HTML in 20 easy lessons book.}

Then I come to Blogger to post, and find the interface all changed and turned about. I was used to the good old interface; now I have to learn my way around all over again.

I couldn't even elevate my legs today because the oxygen delivery guy, who usually comes before noon, didn't deliver until 4:50!!!!!!!

Definitely not my day --- been in pain all day besides, the weather's changing ---- getting lots of practice in offering-up.

Maybe I should add a couple paragraphs on offering-up in "Spiritual Fitness: Advanced Beginners program"?
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Saturday, May 08, 2004

It's Blessed Julian's Day

.... the anniversary of the day she saw her "Showings" in her anchor hold at Norwich. One tiny taste of this foremother of mine:

To consider the sins of other people will produce a thick film over the eyes of our soul, and prevent us for the time being from seeing the "fair beauty of the Lord" --- unless, that is, we look at them contrite along with the sinner, being sorry with and for him, and yearning over him for God. Without this it can only harm, disturb, and hinder the soul who considers them.
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Remembering the holy ones

An article in the Journal Sentinel, my local daily paper, is a great illustration of the very first steps in the canonization procedure: a holy person dies, and the ones left behind are determined that he or she not be forgotten.......

Mary McCormick lived for years in a house directly across the street from Holy Rosary Church, and was the "mom" for everyone for blocks around. Then, when most people would start to relax and enjoy a leisurely retirement, she heard and answered a call to serve the desperately poor in a foreign land, went to Columbia, and served for thirty years there in her old age.

Eternal rest and perpetual light to her, O Lord.
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Friday, May 07, 2004

got in late last night

after attending the adult religious ed session on the Eucharist. We are so blessed by our bishops here! Still digesting, will probably blog later on it, and it will make for tweaking in the "Six Movements of the Eucharist" text, especially in the final segment.

Too tuckered out to make the concert tonight ---- but I hope it is a success, there is such need for recognising goodness and beauty in Catholic music as well as in other things.

Thanks to all who have been commenting on "Six Movements" and on "Spiritual Fitness Program...." ---- please keep it up, my email is clickable near the top of the sidebar and also just above Mater Ecclesiae at the bottom of the blogroll.

Also, I need some technical help! I'd like to put the New Tracts for the Times texts on my standard website, so they can be linked on my sidebar and not scroll away with time. But I don't want my text lines to go the entire width of the screen, because I find lines that long hard to read when they happen on other sites. So, what are the html commands to get a colored margin on each side of the text, like the purple one on this blog, and to get the text to march down the "center column." I've looked at the blog's template, but can't figure which commands there are doing that versus which are making the sidebar happen........ email welcome! or in the comment box if it is simple enough.......
Thanks lots!
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Wednesday, May 05, 2004

The Asceticism of the Open Door

See The Asceticism of the Open Door by St. Maria Skobtsova, a WWII martyr very recently glorified by the Orthodox Church. (the link is the headline.)

St. Maria, pray for the Open Door Cafe.
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Maximal Catholic Living ......

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Maximal Catholic Living: Spitritual Fitness Program for Beginners and the Out-of-Shape [A New Tract for the Times]

Sometimes I'm challenged to define what a Catholic is. To that there is only the answer the Church has always given.

A Catholic (1) has been baptized in the Church, or has been received into the Church and chrismated/confirmed after having been baptized elsewhere, (2) does not publicly and stubbornly deny any of the truths in the Creed, and (3) hasn't left (gone to SSPX or Spiritus Christi or etc.) and hasn't been thrown out by the bishop.

This definition includes every cultural Catholic and cafeteria picker and "carried in." And it ought to, because they are all Catholics. They may be uninstructed Catholics or mistaken Catholics or Catholics who are bad examples, but they are still Catholic, and they are still our siblings.

Declaring anyone to be "not a Catholic" is way beyond my pay-grade. Only the bishop can define somebody or some group as "not Catholic" --- not any of us in the noisier corners of the internet. Yet even bringing up the definition of Catholic is awfully close to that poor excuse of a question "what is the bare minimum I have to do to be saved?" and none of us should be satisfied with that. What's to be done about it?

First, we admit that our brothers and sisters are our brothers and sisters; even the ones we scream at across the dinner table, or even the holy altar. (Dare I say, even those who've run away from home and are getting lost in the wilderness of places the bishop is not?) We have a duty to care, we don't get an easy out by defining "them" out of the family. They may be prodigals and problem children and pains in the posterior, but they are our prodigals and problem children and pains.

Second, we ourselves set out to live a maximal, not a minimal, Catholic life. Granted, minimal practical Catholicism is likely enough to keep one from eternal exile, but it's husks for food and rags for clothes in comparison of the riches available to any child of God and child of Mother Church just for the asking. We have a rule of prayer we follow every day. We assist at Eucharist as often as we can. We take advantage of Reconciliation frequently. We pay attention when our pastor or our bishop attempts to teach us. We are obedient. We beg the saints to pray for us. We do those "things Catholics do," otherwise known as the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. We pray for mercy for ourselves, and we do not judge others. And we set out to do this with a joyful heart and all our strength.

Third, we invite others to share in our joy, and to be supported by the strength we are developing. Our lives should show to those we know and meet that the Lord's love is the one thing that really matters in the end, even if we never speak a word. That the Lord's mercy and covenant fidelity are forever, no matter how many times I fail. We bring others to love the same One we love, "who is all-good and deserving of all my love." Learning the ways of the One we love beyond all else and living in a way worthy of one who is loved by Him follow as surely as sunrise follows night.

Now, there are some who say that this is daunting and difficult to accomplish. Maybe I'm just hopelessly naive, but I've always thought it was addictive. The more you do, the more you want, and eventually the more you need.

Maybe the problem is that folk think everything has to happen immediately, or they don't know where to start. But Catholic living is very much like weight training: one doesn't start with the big barbell, one starts with the little 2 lb handweights and some sit-ups; after some months of work, doing a little more at a time while one's getting strong, one can consider using the big barbell.

So, I'm going to propose a starter set of spiritual exercises for the out-of-shape, a place to begin.
First, if you are not observing a minimal practical Catholicism, start right now ----- if you're not going to Mass on Sunday, or you're making a point of going out for steak dinner on Lenten Fridays, cut it out! Go to Sunday Mass, and eat fish fry! It may seem odd or really minor, but it truly does make a difference. You have to have the minimum before striving for the maximum.

Then, first: Pray before doing anything else in the morning. Thank God for another day and give it to Him to use. My grandparents had the "morning offering" prayer taped to the bathroom mirror so they wouldn't forget even if they weren't quite awake yet. A prayer like the morning offering, and maybe the Benedictus canticle [Luke 1:68-79] and, on Fridays, Psalm 51, will start a day off on the right foot.

The morning offering comes in many flavors, composed over many centuries; here are three samples to choose from. After you've had some experience with prayer, you might end up composing your own version, who knows?

version one:
My Lord, my God, thank you for giving me another day in which to praise and serve You. I offer this new day and everything in it back to You, my Lord, for Your honor and Your glory, and so You may make me more conformed to You. Help me in my weakness, Lord, that I may be made worthy of the glorious promises You have made. Keep me faithful to You this day, for Your love and Your covenant fidelity are forever. Amen.

version two [I'm pretty sure this was the one on my Grandma's mirror]:
Most holy and adorable Trinity, one God in three Persons, I firmly believe that You are here present; I adore You with the most profound humility; I praise You and give You thanks with all my heart for the favors You have bestowed on me. Your goodness has brought me safely to the beginning of this day. Behold, O Lord, I offer You my whole being and in particular all my thoughts, words, and actions, together with such crosses and contradictions as I may meet with in the course of this day. Give them, O Lord, Your blessing; may Your divine Love animate them and may they tend to the greater honor and glory of Your sovereign majesty. Amen.

version three [short and sweet]:
O my God, I offer to You all my thoughts, works, joys, and sufferings of this day. And I beg You to grant me Your grace that I may not offend You this day; but may faithfully serve You and do Your holy will in all things. Amen.

Second: Do at least one of the "things Catholics do" every day. Here is the list.

Feed the hungry.
Give drink to the thirsty.
Clothe the naked.
Visit the imprisoned.
Shelter the homeless.
Visit the sick.
Bury the dead.
Admonish the sinner (but themselves first).
Instruct the ignorant.
Counsel the doubtful.
Comfort the sorrowful.
Bear wrongs patiently.
Forgive all injuries.
Pray for both the living and the dead.

The first seven listed are called the "corporal works of mercy" and the other seven the "spiritual works of mercy." I'm going to suggest starting with the "corporal" list, they're simpler and more straightforward. (And if you're spiritually out of shape, you're probably not ready for some of the other ones yet.) What you do does not need to be a great act, even the little things count.

Third: Make prayer a part of getting ready for bed, also. Go over your day with God looking over your shoulder: what was right, what wasn't, where you need help and grace, what you're sorry for. A good Act of Contrition, or maybe Psalm 130, with possibly the Magnificat canticle [Luke 1:46-55] and a Marian hymn or prayer, and tuck yourself in in peace.

Keep these three up every day for a few months. one day at a time.

And, fourth: If you haven't been to Confession in a long time, go! Most priests will be happy to help you if it's been so long you've forgotten how. Larger downtown parishes run by religious orders tend to have more generous confession times, if that's a problem. And if your life's so screwey that you can't be absolved, go anyway, maybe you're wrong; and if there's really Church law tangles to be untangled, the sooner started, the sooner done.

Now, for just why I propose this program, above and beyond "morning offering and night examination of conscience is how Catholics have always done it" --- which is true.

The long-term goal is to become totally in love with the God who never stops loving us. How can we let our love grow for God if we never bother to spend any time with Him? By doing the exercises I propose, what we are doing is establishing a habit of spending time with God. Eventually, we want "offering our day to God" to be just as natural a part of morning as washing face, brushing hair, and starting the coffee pot, and "looking over the day with God" to be as routine as checking that the door's locked and putting on the pajamas. That's why I propose to do it for a couple of months, consistently; so the habit would form.

In the morning, in addition to the morning offering, I suggest praying the Benedictus, and at night the Magnificat. This is a tiny way of being connected with the whole Church that prays. In the Liturgy of the Hours, the Benedictus is prayed every morning in Morning Prayer ("Lauds") and the Magnificat every night in Evening Prayer ("Vespers"). For us to pray them also helps us to be united with everybody else in all the Lord's Church in our prayer. It's also very traditional to close the day with a Marian prayer; the part of the Hours called Night Prayer or Compline ends with a Marian hymn. Plus, it just feels so good to have Our Lady and all the saints looking out for us as we sleep.

Psalm 51 on Friday morning is another tiny reminder of a great truth. Friday is a special day. Our Lord Jesus gave up His life, at our hands, for our salvation, on a Friday. Every Friday can be an occasion to remember that great gift especially.

Just like we are forming a habit of spending time with God, we are also in need of a habit of behaving like a Catholic, which is why I propose a merciful act every day. It is my hope that by the end of two months and the sixtieth day and sixtieth act of mercy, we will have developed a taste for acting mercifully, and be, at least sometimes, doing the merciful thing without planning it or having to think about it. This is a big step toward acting like a Catholic, a state the theologians call "orthopraxy," which is just as important as believing rightly, "orthodoxy." The athletic types have a kernel of truth in their old saying, "Fake it till you make it." We could say, "Behave as though you believed, and you'll come to believe."

And, going to Confession (and getting to Mass on Sunday): We have been given the sacraments for a very good reason.(we need them!) and therefore we ought to be taking full advantage of them and the graces they contain for us. Why spurn such great gifts? Grab them instead! This is one part of life where being greedy can work as a goodness.

Now that you know _why_ you're doing what you're doing, you'll keep it up and get those good Catholic habits well-established, so they can make for the rest of one's life, a solid foundation for an active lively faith.


As usual, constructive criticism invited in the comments box, by email, or on one's own site linked in the comment box definitely welcomed!
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And, still more.....

And, still more: the Pallium Lectures!

And then, next week Tuesday starting at 6:30 pm, Dr. Philip Jenkins will deliver the second in the 2004 Pallium Lecture Series at the Cousins Center, free of charge. Just the right price for me!

This is almost as much fun as those little leaflets of the encyclicals and Council documents that warmed my nerdish heart as a schoolgirl.......
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Tuesday, May 04, 2004

So many opportunities......

So many opportunities.....

After attending the teaching on the holy Eucharist on Thursday night, why not follow it up with a concert of live choral music, for free?

On Friday at the St Joseph Center Chapel, 1501 S. Layton Blvd., at 7 pm, eleven choirs will assemble and sing a tribute to the Archdiocese's 150-year-old legacy of music, featuring, of course, the work of Milwaukean Catholic composers such as Theophane Hytrek SSSF and Jeffrey Honore.
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one of the most important Desert Christian stories

A brother in the community at Scetis committed a fault. A council was called to which Abba Moses had been summoned, but he refused to go to it. So a messenger was sent to urge him, "Do come, everyone is waiting for you." So he found a very worn basket, filled it full of sand, and carried it, leaking, as he went to the council. When he arrived, the brothers went out to meet him, and asked, "What is this all about?" Abba Moses replied, "My sins run out behind me, and I do not even see them, and yet I am come here to judge the errors of someone else." On hearing this, the community called off the council and forgave their brother.
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Monday, May 03, 2004

".....don't pronounce our demise too soon."

See Reflections in Retirement today for an excellent reflection on the relation of Church and culture. I do wish he'd post his reflections more often than just once or twice a month!

By the way, for my Milwaukean readers: the fourth in the teaching series "Let us proclaim the Mystery of Faith" will be this coming Thursday, May 6, at 7 pm, at Three Holy Women Parish's Holy Rosary site on Oakland Avenue. It's free for members of the Riverbank Catholic Connection parishes (that's Cathedral, Old St. Mary, Three Holy Women, SS Peter and Paul, and OL of Divine Providence) and suggested donation of $5 for everybody else. This session's topic is "Eucharist without Walls" and our archbishop-emeritus will be teaching.

In these next few weeks there are so many opportunities available, for free or really cheap, to strengthen one's faith --- I wish I was stronger and more mobile so I could take advantage of them all!
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to my sibs

--- not dead, just busy...

just a quick post to alleviate the worries of those who peek in here just to check on my welfare. Crazy busy and composing more posts, including dress-rehearsal versions of a couple more "New Tracts for the Times" that should be ready for posting for fisking later in the week.

Back, I hope, this evening.
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