Friday, December 07, 2007

The Medicing Bag

Hi all!
My daughter wrote a paper in her reading class about a medicine bag. She had to make the bag and decorate it. Then she needed to find something very special, put it in the bag and write a paper about it. I am attaching it. Hope you all enjoy.
Our family is doing well, but we all miss Karen. Our father passed away on October 1st. So needless to say it was a ruff couple months.


My Medicin Bag By: Cora Spangler

I did my medicine bag on a rosary. This is special to me because my Aunt Karen used to hand make them all the time. She used to make all different colors, even mixed. And she made big ones and small ones. My Aunt loved church and everything that had to do with it. Even if someone did not go to church she would try to help them anyways. She used to have a blog online where people would comment and send her letters. The letters, which came from all over the United States, were from people asking for a rosary. She would send it to them free of charge. Sometimes she would send one and sometimes she would send fifty. She even got phone calls from people saying that they needed a rosary, whether it was for a whole church or just themselves. She passed away on August second while visiting here for my Aunt Martha’s funeral a week earlier. She was fifty-one years old. At her calling hours she had so many rosaries left over we put them out for people to take. We knew that’s what she would have wanted. I would pass this down to my child because I got this from her calling hours, so my family will always remember what she did for people and what she did for God, and always have a little piece of her with us to keep us going.AMEN!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thank you ALL!

Yea, We have a new password. I am Susan, Karens #6 sibling. I copied Christines post so all will know how much we appreciate your prayers. If anyone can make it to the mass we would love to meet you.
Talk Later,

SUSAN

To all the kind souls out there in blogger, thank you soo much for all the loving and heartfelt prayers. Our family truly appreciate them. I too will miss Karen's posts. Rest assured, we are doing our best to reset the password to delete the posting that is not and never will be any part of what Karen's message was. Anyone in the Milwaukee or surrounding area, please know that we are having a memorial mass/service in Milwaukee at St John's Cathedral -downtown. The Mass will be Saturday, September 1 at 10 am. A major majority of the siblings will be there, and we would love to meet any and all of Karen's friends and external family. Even if you've never met her, but were touched by her blog, please know you are welcome and we can share her spirit with you. Again, thank you to everyone for the prayers and kind words. Please know that all are welcome and well needed.
With Love and Prayer,
Christine Knapp (Litteral) #8 of 8
15 August, 2007 08:05

Friday, July 20, 2007

Normative Catholicism

Sherry Weddell at Intentional Disciples, before she began the Catherine of Siena Institute, belonged to the Nameless Lay Group. She's written about that over there, and also posted a list that the Nameless Lay Group made yon many years ago. It's still challenging and still true, so I've brought it over here for you-all to noodle with in the comment box.

from the Nameless Lay Group of Seattle:

1. It is NORMAL for lay Catholics to have a living, growing, love relationship with God.

2. It is NORMAL for lay Catholics to be excited Christian activists.

3. It is NORMAL for lay Catholics to be knowledgeable about their faith, the Scriptures, the doctrinal and moral teachings of the church, and the history of the Church.

4. It is NORMAL for lay Catholics to know what their charisms of service are and to be using them effectively in the fulfillment of their vocation or call in life.

5. It is NORMAL for lay Catholics to know that they have a vocation/mission in life (primarily in the secular world) given to them by God. It is NORMAL for lay Catholics to be actively engaged in discerning and living this vocation.

6. It is NORMAL for lay Catholics to have the fellowship of other committed lay Catholics available to them, to encourage, nurture, and discern as they attempt to follow Jesus.

7. It is NORMAL for the local parish to function consciously as a house of formation for lay Catholics which enables and empowers lay Catholics to do #1-6 above.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Answering the Cave Man's question

Vir Speluncae Catholicus asked me a question, in a thread about cozying up with the SSPX, which I promptly and politely answered, but he has deigned not to allow the answer to post, Unfortunately, I didn't keep a copy of my answer, but I am pretty sure I can recompose it.

The Cave Man asked:

Karen Marie said...
A "rad-trad", short for "radical traditionalist", is someone who falsely claims to keep the Holy Tradition as an excuse to separate themselves from the Holy Church and from their proper bishop.

Does that include Anglicans, Lutherans and Calvinists who also falsly claim to keep Holy Tradition (as they see it per Henry VIII, Martin Luther, John Calvin) as an excuse to seperate themselves from the Holy Church and from their proper bishop?

Well... does it?


Those Catholic people who have thrown away the Faith and run away from their bishops to go be a Lutheran or Anglican or X-brooker or whatever are indeed in the same pityable position as the SSPXers

The biggest difference between the SSPX, SSPV, CMRI, Spiritus Christi, the followers of the antipopes Michael and Pius XIII, et alii, and (other) Protestants is that the vast majority of the SSPX and company have been Catholic, and have thrown it all away to go their own way, out into the wilderness, in their own willfullness. Whereas the vast majority of Lutherans, Anglicans, etc., have never been in the Church to separate themselves. have never had a proper bishop to guard their faith, and are not running away from anything. In fact, many of them are diligent about seeking out and clinging to every crumb of Truth and Faith us Catholics have left laying about outside over the centuries. We need to evangelize them all.

That's where my attempted comment at the Cave Man's ended. But, I think another paragraph's in order:

This is actually a judgment on us. Many poor cradle-Protestants, with only the crumbs of the Truth and Faith that we've left laying around, have been very graced and become very spiritually sleek and strong, whereas too many of us cradle-Catholics, with full access to the complete banquet and the stuffed pantry of Truth and Faith from babyhood, could not care less, and are such wimpy starvelings. We need to pray for each other and evangelize ourselves, also.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Two totally exceptional Saints

Today the Church commemorates two truly exceptional holy people: Saint Camillus de Lellis, and Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.

I am not my own; I have given myself to Jesus. He must be my only love. The state of helpless poverty that may befall me if I do not marry does not frighten me. All I need is a little food and a few pieces of clothing. With the work of my hands I shall always earn what is necessary and what is left over I'll give to my relatives and to the poor. If I should become sick and unable to work, then I shall be like the Lord on the cross. He will have mercy on me and help me, I am sure.
------ Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha



Today the Church celebrates one of the scariest of the scary-holy penitent saints, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.

Tekakwitha was born in 1656, the daughter of a Mohawk chief, the head of the Turtle clan, and his wife, a captive Algonquian woman who was a Catholic Christian. When Tekakwitha was four, she lost her mother, her father, and her brother in a smallpox epidemic, and she was left badly scarred and nearly blind. Her name means "she pushes all before her," and most likely refers to her habit of feeling in front of herself so she wouldn't run into stuff, but that name was also appropriate because she seemed to have a gift from childhood for domestic management, for imposing order on chaos. This talent kept her tolerated by her surviving relatives, who otherwise considered her a burden and who were upset that she would not allow herself to be married off.

When the Jesuit missioners arrived in her village, she was one of the first converts, in 1676 when she was twenty, and was baptised with the name Kateri, Mohawk for Catherine. This was to the extreme displeasure of her relatives. When their treatment of her degraded from grudging neglect to outright abuse, she left, and moved to a settlement about 200 miles away that was entirely Christian, living a life of deep prayer and strict austerity, in reparation for the sins of her nation.

When on a visit to Montreal she met some religious sisters, she was drawn to their life, and set out to form a community of sisters in her village, but was discouraged from that by the pastor; however, she herself made the vow to the counsels in 1679, becoming the first consecrated person among the Mohawk, in fact among any of the original nations of North America.

Never strong or healthy, and weakened by her austerities, she died at the age of 24 on this day in 1680.

===========

Today is also the memorial day of Saint Camillus de Lellis, founder of the Servants of the Sick [who still thrive today, and have a motherhouse in Milwaukee].



Camillus was the son of a military officer, born in 1550. His mother died when he was still a toddler. Following his father's trade, Camillus became a mercenary soldier while still very young, fighting first for Venice and then for Naples.

Camillus also has an addiction to gambling, and lost so much that he had to take a second job working construction to repay his gambling debts. He was working on a building belonging to the Capuchin Franciscans when they brought him to conversion.

He left the military and entered the Capuchin novitiate three separate times, but injuries from his fighting days forced him to leave each time. He went to Rome seeking medical treatment, and there became a protege of Saint Philip Neri (that God-bitten character!). Camillus moved into San Giacomo hospital for incurables to live, and, eventually, became its administrator.

Aware of his total lack of education, he began elementary school at the age of 32, studying with the local children, and after long study was ordianed a priest. He formed the Congregation of the Servants of the Sick, now commonly called the Camillans, dedicated entirely to the care of the sick. Camillus honored the sick as living images of Christ.

As it says in today's Office of Readings passage, a citation from a biography written by one of his companions:

.....The mere sight of the sick was enough to soften and melt his heart and make him utterly forget all the pleasures, enticements, and interests of this world. When he was taking care of his patients, he seemed to spend and exhaust himself completely, so great was his devotion and compassion. He would have loved to take upon himself all their illness, their every affliction, could he but ease their pain and relieve their weakness.

In the sick he saw the person of Christ. His imagination was so vivid that, while feeding them, he perceived his patients as other Christs. He would even beg of them the grace of forgiveness for his sins. His reverence in their presence was as great as if he were really and truly in the presence of his Lord. In his conversations he talked of nothing more often or with greater feeling than of holy charity. He would have liked to plant this virtue in every human heart. .....


After many years of selfless service, he died on this day in 1614.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

New Liturgy documents out!

Not rumors, not mania, but the Real Deal, here. [Beware, it's pdf; Adobe Reader required]

Was glad to read that both the normative redaction, the ordinary form, and the extraordinary form, the previous redaction, are one Rite, not two, not separate. I've never been able to quite catch on to the whole carrying-on about "rupture" and about "manufacture" of the normative redaction. I'm old enough to remember, but not old enough to be nostalgic, and with slow and careful implementation and good cetechesis I went almost seamlessly from the Mass of 1962 as permitted by the bishop, which was the dialogue Missa Cantata, right to the current Mostly-Sung Dialogue Mass in the Known Tongue, by the time I graduated from high school.

Going back to read more. Then I'll come back and maybe Blogger will let me type in a title...... (title fixed)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

A reminder to commenters (especially anonymous ones)

Comments in violation of Part Three, Section Two, Chapter Two, Article Eight, numbers iii and iv, of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or that place this blogger in violation of number v of the same Article of the Catechism, are not welcome on this blog and will not be retained here. When Blogger gets a banning mechanism and I figure it out, anonymous violators and repeat violators will be banned also.

A word to the wise should be sufficient.
What a way to have to spend my birthday [frowny face]
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Friday, June 22, 2007

Wish I'd taken a picture

it was so cute. Two little boys about 5 or 6 years old, sitting on the floor in the corner at the grocery store. (I think they belonged to the two ladies in the checkout lane not too far away.) They were chatting away in all the happy-tones, but I respected them enough to keep my distance enough that I don't even know which language they were using, in this neighborhood it could be any of four. And there was no need to hear their words to know what was up, just from their actions. They were tugging up their shorts hems to compare their knee scrapes!

Just like we did, when we were young......

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Forget all the awful saccharrine artwork

inspired by today's and tomorrow's holy feasts, and just cling to the truth:

Look Upon the Heart of Jesus
Which So Loves the Humanbeing!

And see the heart of the all-pure Mother of God,
which loves all whom her Son loves.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Milwaukee's been a favorite battlefield since at least Archbishop Messmer's time.....

so I'm kind of used to it, having lived and prayed here since I was 18, yon many years ago.

An emailer tipped me to this article about the recent history of my beloved archdiocese, from the local secular lifestyle magazine. It's actually pretty good, much better than could normally be expected from a secular lifestyle mag. Also, compares favorably with reality in most aspects, as seen from the pews I've been in the last several decades.

[Now, my emailer wouldn't agree; he claimed that I'd "enjoy the fantasy". There is no fantasy involved.]

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Better Late than Never

the Catholic Carnival was a bit delayed this week, but it's finally up. So, here's this week's Catholic Carnival 122 and this week's Christian Carnival CLXXV. Enjoy the rides!

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

There is neither Jew nor Greek,

there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. [Galatians 3:28]

Today, I'd like to call to mind yet more African teenaged martyrs, who courageously witnessed to the truth of the Christian Faith, and lost their lives in that witness.

In 1997, there was a genocidal civil war taking place in Rwanda and Burundi, fueled by long-standing tensions and grievances between the Tutsi and Hutu ethnic groups. On April 30th, the large minor seminary at Bura in Burundi was invaded by approximately 2000 Hutu militiamen, who caught the seminarians in the senior's dormitory unawares, with no chance to flee.

The militia officer ordered the seminarians to sort themselves by their ethnic groups, so the Tutsi could be slaughtered and the Hutu conscripted. And the seminarians refused to sort themselves, asserting that there was neither Hutu nor Tutsi, but all were one in Christ. After many threats would not get the seminarians to separate, the militia officer ordered the slaughter of them all. A few who survived reported that the seminarians were heard forgiving their murderers, and praying fragments of the Psalms, while they were being hacked to death.

So, do please remember the Forty Martyrs of Bura, who died in witness to the unity of all Christians in Christ:
Jean-Thierry Arakaza
Bernard Bahifise
Gilbert Barinakandi
Alain-Basile Bayishemeze
Sébastien Bitangwaniman
Remy Dusabumukama
Robert Dushimirimana
Eloi Gahungu
Léonidas Gatabazi
Willermin Habarugira
Désiré Ndagijimana
Audace Ndayiragije
Pie Ndayitwayeko
Pascal Hakizimana
Joseph Harerimana
Jean-Marie Kanani
Pacifique Kanezere
Adronis Manirakiza
Jules Matore
Longin Mbazumutima
Joseph Muhenegeri
Jimmy-Prudence Murerwa
Emery Ndayumvaneza
Alexis Ndikumana
Boniface Nduwayo
Désiré Nduwimana
Phocas Nibaruta
Prosper Nimubona
Diomède Ninganza
Patrick Nininahazwe
Egide Niyongabo
Prosper Niyongabo
Protais Niyonkuru
Pasteur Niyungeko
Alphonse Ntakiyica
Pierre-Claver Ntungwanayo
Gédéon Ntunzwenimana
Lénine Nzisabira
Oscar Nzisabira
Gabriel Sebahene

All holy martyrs, pray for us.
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Monday, June 04, 2007

Fr. David Kirk has reposed

according to the New York Times [free registration required], Father David Kirk, founder of the Emmaus House Community of New York City, one of the oldest and longest disciples of Venerable Dorothy Day, and the compiler of the book Quotations from Chairman Jesus, has died, at the age of 72.

Eternal rest grant to him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

It's a Mystery! If you can understand it, it isn't God!

"There are some things so beautiful that one can only gaze in awe" [+Timothy my archbishop in his Trinity Sunday homily in 2004]

icon: Holy Theologian Bernard in the Mysteries of the Processions of the Most Holy Trinity

This icon, in Toronto, Ontario, is titled, if my memory serves, "Holy Theologian Bernard in the Mysteries of the Processions of the Most Holy Trinity." The three holy visitors to Abraham, the iconic representation of the Trinity, are those three angel figures. The tiny guy in the righthand corner, who's prostrating after dropping his book and pen, is the indomitable Bernard Lonergan. I myself suspect that the great and holy theologians Karl and Hugo Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar are just out-frame right in the same state of awe. The only way one can be, when face to face with the truly True.

A glorious Trinity Sunday to you!
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Saturday, June 02, 2007

If it wasn't Sunday

and the solemnity of the Holy Trinity, it would be the memorial day of the Martyrs of Uganda. But, given our own society's problems with the abuse of sex and power, these Ugandan teenagers are worth remembering, even when their memorial day gets bounced.

an icon of the 22 canonized Catholics among the martyrs

What do you do when you are a eager shining new Christian, you are an obedient member of the court of an absolute monarch, and your absolute monarch is an absolute mess?

Sometimes you have to die.

Mwanga II came to the throne following the unexpected death of his father, Mutesa I. He had an older brother, but that brother was determined unfit to be king. Mutesa was a wise and tolerant ruler. He had welcomed the newly-arrived Muslim and Catholic and Anglican missionaries and had declared religious liberty in Buganda, but had himself remained a traditionalist --- he refused to be circumcised, a requirement to become a Muslim, and he would not abandon his wives, required by both varieties of Christian.

Mwanga II was not nearly so tolerant, however. Not that he had any real beliefs at all, except in the superiority of his royal self. He'd study Islam with the Arabs, or Anglican Christianity with the British, or Catholic Christianity with the French, or consult the shamen, whatever looked to be most advantageous economically and politically to his royal self. And, he considered it his right to be pampered in every imaginable way by the pages of his court --- including their service as his boy-toys.

When pages became Christians, they became extremely resistant to immediate blind obedience, and would hide, run away, or outright refuse to relieve the king's sexual tensions. Higher-ranking court Christians would actually tell the king that he was wrong!

There were sporadic executions --- such as three Anglican pages killed for going to catechism class after Anglican lessons had been forbidden. But the persecution began in earnest when James Hannington, first Anglican bishop of Uganda, was approaching the kingdom, from a direction that the local traditionalist shamen considered inauspicious, and Mwanga sent soldiers to massacre Bishop Hannington and his entire party. Mwanga's majordomo, Yosefu Mukasa Balikuddembe, a Catholic, told him that the killing of Bishop Hannington was evil and wrong, and Mwanga had him executed.

So, one afternoon in mid-May, 1886, Denis Ssebuggwawo sneaked out of the royal compound to Catholic catechism class, and took one of the traditionalist pages withn him, who had shown an interest in Christianity. Unfortunately, this page was Mwanga's current favorite boy-toy, and Mwanga wanted him, now!, and was furious to find out that he'd gone to catechism class --- and was likely to tell the king to buzz off, like all those miserable Christians did sooner or later.

So the king gathered all his pages. The head pages, who were both Christians, gathered their believers around them, and gave them strength. Karoli Lwanga, a Catholic and in charge of pages of the inner court, baptised those who had not yet been baptised. Moses Mukasa, an Anglican and in charge of the outer court, had not received permission to baptise, so the newest Anglican converts went to their trial still catechumens.

In the assembly hall, after a long harrangue about the duties of pages to obey their rightful king, Mwanga called out of the assembly "all of you who pray." And all of the Christians, Anglicans and Catholics alike, stepped out, as did a few of the Muslim pages. Another member of the court weeded out the Muslims, and the Christians were condemned to death, marched, with a few casualties along the way, to the traditional royal site of Namugongo, and burned alive on June 3, 1886. The persecutions continued at a lower level for a few years more, until the death of Mwanga and the enthronement of his successor, who was an Anglican Christian.

The entire list of those martyrs whose names are documented can be found at this link.

The Catholic martyrs were canonized in the early 1960's, and to the best of my knowledge this was the first time the Catholic Church had dealt with a mixed group of martyr-companions. Though it will not be the last --- just two examples: Sophie Scholl and companions, known as the "White Rose" martyrs, are a mixed group, Catholic, Orthodox, and Lutheran; and the martyrs of the Guatemalan persecutions, though mostly Catholics, include also Lutherans and Mennonites.

Yosefu, Karoli, and all your companions, and all holy martyrs, pray for us.

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It's Official!!!!

as reported at Whispers in the Loggia, at last, the heroic virtues and the fact of martyrdom of my own favorite martyr, Franz Jagerstatter, has been affirmed and his beatification has been approved.

photo of Ven. Franz Jagerstatter, martyr

Not that I'll ever get to Europe, but ever since I was in grade school I said that if I ever got the chance to cross the ocean, I was going to go to St. Radegund to pray at holy Franz's grave............

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Friday, June 01, 2007

St. Justin and the Eucharist's Six Movements

Today is the memorial of St. Justin, a philosopher of the second century and martyr. A noted philosopher even before his conversion to Christianity, he continued to teach in the schools after his conversion, and also was famous for his public defense of the Christian faith.

St. Justin, in chapters 65-67 of his First Apology, which he wrote to the emperor to defend the Christians from accusations of atheism (wouldn't worship the state gods), promiscuity (treated women as equals and married across class lines), and cannabalism (ate Christ's Body), writes about the six movements through which the Christian people have celebrated the holy Eucharistic Liturgy from the beginning to this very day --- the earliest explanation we have of the movements of the Eucharist.

From St. Justin:

But we, after we have thus washed him who has been convinced and has assented to our teaching, bring him to the place where those who are called brethren are assembled, in order that we may offer hearty prayers in common for ourselves and for the baptized [illuminated] person, and for all others in every place, that we may be counted worthy, now that we have learned the truth, by our works also to be found good citizens and keepers of the commandments, so that we may be saved with an everlasting salvation. Having ended the prayers, we salute one another with a kiss. There is then brought to the president of the brethren bread and a cup of wine mixed with water; and he taking them, gives praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and offers thanks at considerable length for our being counted worthy to receive these things at His hands. And when he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people present express their assent by saying Amen. This word Amen answers in the Hebrew language to "so be it". And when the president has given thanks, and all the people have expressed their assent, those who are called by us deacons give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced, and to those who are absent they carry away a portion.

And this food is called among us the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, "This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body;" and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, "This is My blood;" and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn.

And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost. And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.


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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It's hard to beleive it's been five years.....

Today is May 30th. Five years ago this day, the virtual Anchor Hold was born, out of the internecine warfare that mars the face of our holy Church.

Only about ten days before, two of my dearest listserv acquaintances, Mark Shea from the REBORN listserv, and the late Gerard Serafin of FreeCatholic and a few other places (Gerard pray for us!) had written to the lists about their shiny new blogs, and I went over to give them an ogle. On May 23rd, one of my graduate-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 or no 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 didn't know how to bold or italic or make a link that actually worked, so the first few days were painfully and embarrassingly 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 painfully and 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. The site's anniversary is an excellent time to review them:

1) The details of our long-ago-confessed and long-ago-absolved sins and stupidities are the business only of God. They are most definitely 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, one reaches deep down inside, down to the foundations of the soul, and finds one of those things that are known to be true and will not change, and one clings 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 myself 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 public chapter of faults, the last formal teaching, of my gentle and devoted retired archbishop, who was the designated pariah when this site was brought into being five 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 19, 2007

Two new priests!

Last night was Milwaukee's ordination day, and we now have two fine new priests, Fr. Sean and Fr. Carmelo. A youngster and one who already has wisdom and age. The men entering major seminary in 2002 had a lot of extra trials, above and beyond the normal stress and hard work of study and discernment, and they persevered.

Actually, we'll have three new priests this year --- a third is studying in Rome and will be ordained in July (God willing...) out in the Unknown Lands beyond 124th Street where dragons dwell and the transit doesn't go.

Pray for all priests, and especially the new ones wherever you are.
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[edit] links to the new Fathers' testimonies, from the Catholic Herald

Fr. Sean: Boot camp was step toward priesthood

Fr. Carmelo: Priesthood came from ‘dreaming big’

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Catholic praise choruses, anyone?

According to Brian Michael Page, there's a favorite hymns meme making the rounds. I'm going to dodge that one because 1) there are just too many good hymns and 2) when I mention some of them, I end up being told "Hey, that's not a hymn! that's a _______!"

So, as I've been cruising around the town on my daily constitutionals, I seem to have reverted to my prior habit, back in my able-bodied days, of singing "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs" --- also known as Catholic praise choruses ---- at the bus stop. Or, nowadays, while tooling down the sidewalk on Maxima. Here's the ones I've caught myself singing in the streets:

Gloria, laus, et honor (the 12th century polyphonic one that sounds like sycopated dance music)

Laudate, laudate Dominum (by Walker?)

Laudamus Te (Jeffrey Honore)

Praise God in His holy Dwelling (Psalm 150, Vermulst)

I Know that my Redeemer lives (and on that last day I will rise again.... by Robert Fabing)

To Jesus Christ, Our Sovereign King

O filii et filiae.

Anyone have their own streetcorner praise favorites?
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Friday, May 04, 2007

From the listserv world

When someone tells you to ask yourself,
"What would Jesus do?",
remember that at least one valid answer is,
"Freak out and knock over tables."

and:

Sure I'm a practicing Catholic. Practice, practice, practice, until I get it right.
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Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Christian Carnival fell on a little hard times

but it's reviving and is back. According to Jeremy at Parableman, the 170th Carnival will go on, as the show always must. Details at Parableman about how to get you submissions to this week's host, Brain Cramps for God. [The Carnival address no longer works.......part of the little hard times....]

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Another synod's coming up

and your bishop could really use your input.

Here's the guidelines and opening queries for the synod coming in Fall 2008, on the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church. Your bishop needs to send in his written responses by November. Remember that us layfolk do perceive things much differently than the ordained folk much of the time, and that we need to tell each other, so we all know.

So, try on some of the questions, and if you have good answers, let your bishop know. And pray over the queries for your own edification...... and, when the time comes, pray for the synod.

[by the way, Milwaukeans, our bishops do read their email, and often reply, also. I can't vouch for bishops in other dioceses, but postal mail always works!]

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Oh, what a couple of weeks!

Went to CJ Pawlak's baptism on Sunday; new pictures are to come real soon now on the Pawlaks' blog Modern Commentaries. Bright Sunday is a wonderful day for a baby's baptism.

Have spent the last two weeks getting a refinance on the little anchor hold, having the porch rebuilt, an electric porchlift (a small outdoor elevator) installed, and today I took delivery of a beautiful reconditioned used Pride Maxima mobility scooter. I practice-drove around the neighborhood for three hours and am beginning to get the knack of it. Tomorrow or Saturday, I try to get on a city bus..... and if I'm successful, I'll scoot to church on Sunday.

No more waiting on the tenant or imposing on the next-door neighbors to lift the wheelchair or walker up and down the porch steps, and no more calling taxicabs to go around the block! Hip Hip Hooray, Sweet Liberation!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

pray for courageous bishops everywhere

[hat tip: cathworker listserv and www.justpeace.org]

'God Hears The Cry Of The Oppressed'
Pastoral Letter by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference


This Pastoral Letter by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference was formally released on the 5 April, Holy Thursday Mass evening, in every Catholic Church in Zimbabwe.

Please spread word about the Day of Prayer and Fasting for Zimbabwe, on Saturday, 14 April 2007

Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference (Harare) DOCUMENT March 30, 2007

Pastoral Letter by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference on the Current Crisis of Our Country Holy Thursday, 5 April 2007

As your Shepherds we have reflected on our national situation and, in the light of the Word of God and Christian Social Teaching, have discerned what we now share with you, in the hope of offering guidance, light and hope in these difficult times.

The Crisis

The people of Zimbabwe are suffering. More and more people are getting angry, even from among those who had seemed to be doing reasonably well under the circumstances. The reasons for the anger are many, among them, bad governance and corruption. A tiny minority of the people have become very rich overnight, while the majority are languishing in poverty, creating a huge gap between the rich and the poor. Our Country is in deep crisis. A crisis is an unstable situation of extreme danger and difficulty. Yet, it can also be turned into a moment of grace and of a new beginning, if those responsible for causing the crisis repent, heed the cry of the people and foster a change of heart and mind especially during the imminent Easter Season, so our Nation can rise to new life with the Risen Lord.

In Zimbabwe today, there are Christians on all sides of the conflict; and there are many Christians sitting on the fence. Active members of our Parish and Pastoral Councils are prominent officials at all levels of the ruling party. Equally distinguished and committed office-bearers of the opposition parties actively support church activities in every parish and diocese. They all profess their loyalty to the same Church. They are all baptised, sit and pray and sing together in the same church, take part in the same celebration of the Eucharist and partake of the same Body and Blood of Christ. While the next day, outside the church, a few steps away, Christian State Agents, policemen and soldiers assault and beat peaceful, unarmed demonstrators and torture detainees. This is the unacceptable reality on the ground, which shows much disrespect for human life and falls far below the dignity of both the perpetrator and the victim.

In our prayer and reflection during this Lent, we have tried to understand the reasons why this is so. We have concluded that the crisis of our Country is, in essence, a crisis of governance and a crisis of leadership apart from being a spiritual and moral crisis.

A Crisis of Governance

The national health system has all but disintegrated as a result of prolonged industrial action by medical professionals, lack of drugs, essential equipment in disrepair and several other factors.

In the educational sector, high tuition fees and levies, the lack of teaching and learning resources, and the absence of teachers have brought activities in many public schools and institutions of higher education to a standstill. The number of students forced to terminate their education is increasing every month. At the same time, Government interference with the provision of education by private schools has created unnecessary tension and conflict.

Public services in Zimbabwe's towns and cities have crumbled. Roads, street lighting, water and sewer reticulation are in a state of severe disrepair to the point of constituting an acute threat to public health and safety, while the collection of garbage has come to a complete standstill in many places. Unabated political interference with the work of democratically elected Councils is one of the chief causes of this breakdown.

The erosion of the public transport system has negatively affected every aspect of our Country's economy and social life. Horrific accidents claim the lives of dozens of citizens each month.

Almost two years after the Operation Murambatsvina, thousands of victims are still without a home. That inexcusable injustice has not been forgotten.

Following a radical land reform programme seven years ago, many people are today going to bed hungry and wake up to a day without work. Hundreds of companies were forced to close. Over 80 per cent of the people of Zimbabwe are without employment. Scores risk their lives week after week in search of work in neighbouring countries.

Inflation has soared to over 1,600 per cent, and continues to rise, daily. It is the highest in the world and has made the life of ordinary Zimbabweans unbearable, regardless of their political preferences. We are all concerned for the turnaround of our economy but this will remain a dream unless corruption is dealt with severely irrespective of a person's political or social status or connections.

The list of justified grievances is long and could go on for many pages. The suffering people of Zimbabwe are groaning in agony: "Watchman, how much longer the night"? (Is 21:11).

A Crisis of Moral Leadership

The crisis of our Country is, secondly, a crisis of leadership. The burden of that crisis is borne by all Zimbabweans, but especially the young who grow up in search of role models. The youth are influenced and formed as much by what they see their elders doing as by what they hear and learn at school or from their peers. If our young people see their leaders habitually engaging in acts and words which are hateful, disrespectful, racist, corrupt, lawless, unjust, greedy, dishonest and violent in order to cling to the privileges of power and wealth, it is highly likely that many of them will behave in exactly the same manner. The consequences of such overtly corrupt leadership as we are witnessing in Zimbabwe today will be with us for many years, perhaps decades, to come. Evil habits and attitudes take much longer to rehabilitate than to acquire. Being elected to a position of leadership should not be misconstrued as a licence to do as one pleases at the expense of the will and trust of the electorate.

A Spiritual and Moral Crisis

Our crisis is not only political and economic but first and foremost a spiritual and moral crisis. As the young independent nation struggles to find its common national spirit, the people of Zimbabwe are reacting against the "structures of sin" in our society. Pope John Paul II says that the "structures of sin" are "rooted in personal sin, and thus always linked to the concrete acts of individuals who introduce these structures, consolidate them and make them difficult to remove. And thus they grow stronger, spread, and become the source of other sins, and so influence people's behaviour." [1]

The Holy Father stresses that in order to understand the reality that confronts us, we must "give a name to the root of the evils which afflict us." [2]. That is what we have done in this Pastoral Letter.

The Roots of the Crisis

The present crisis in our Country has its roots deep in colonial society. Despite the rhetoric of a glorious socialist revolution brought about by the armed struggle, the colonial structures and institutions of pre-independent Zimbabwe continue to persist in our society. None of the unjust and oppressive security laws of the Rhodesian State have been repealed; in fact, they have been reinforced by even more repressive legislation, the Public Order and Security Act and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, in particular. It almost appears as though someone sat down with the Declaration of Human Rights and deliberately scrubbed out each in turn.

Why was this done? Because soon after Independence, the power and wealth of the tiny white Rhodesian elite was appropriated by an equally exclusive black elite, some of whom have governed the country for the past 27 years through political patronage. Black Zimbabweans today fight for the same basic rights they fought for during the liberation struggle. It is the same conflict between those who possess power and wealth in abundance, and those who do not; between those who are determined to maintain their privileges of power and wealth at any cost, even at the cost of bloodshed, and those who demand their democratic rights and a share in the fruits of independence; between those who continue to benefit from the present system of inequality and injustice, because it favours them and enables them to maintain an exceptionally high standard of living, and those who go to bed hungry at night and wake up in the morning to another day without work and without income; between those who only know the language of violence and intimidation, and those who feel they have nothing more to lose because their Constitutional rights have been abrogated and their votes rigged. Many people in Zimbabwe are angry, and their anger is now erupting into open revolt in one township after another.

The confrontation in our Country has now reached a flashpoint. As the suffering population becomes more insistent, generating more and more pressure through boycotts, strikes, demonstrations and uprisings, the State responds with ever harsher oppression through arrests, detentions, banning orders, beatings and torture. In our judgement, the situation is extremely volatile. In order to avoid further bloodshed and avert a mass uprising the nation needs a new people-driven Constitution that will guide a democratic leadership chosen in free and fair elections that will offer a chance for economic recovery under genuinely new policies.

Our Message of Hope: God is always on the Side of the Oppressed

The Bible has much to say about situations of confrontation. The conflict between the oppressor and the oppressed is a central theme throughout the Old and New Testaments.[3]

Biblical scholars have discovered that there are no less than twenty different root words in Hebrew to describe oppression. One example is the Creed of the chosen people, which we read on the First Sunday of Lent:

"My Father was a homeless Aramaean. He went down to Egypt to find refuge there, few in numbers; but there he became a nation, great, mighty and strong. The Egyptians ill-treated us, they gave us no peace and inflicted harsh slavery on us. But we called on the Lord, the God of our fathers. The Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, our toil and our oppression; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with mighty hand and outstretched arm, with great terror, and with signs and wonders . . " (Deut 26:5b-8).

The Bible describes oppression in concrete and vivid terms: Oppression is the experience of being crushed, degraded, humiliated, exploited, impoverished, defrauded, deceived and enslaved. And the oppressors are described as cruel, ruthless, arrogant, greedy, violent and tyrannical; they are called 'the enemy'. Such words could only have been used by people who in their own lives and history had an immediate and personal experience of being oppressed. To them Yahweh revealed himself as the God of compassion who hears the cry of the oppressed and who liberates them from their oppressors. The God of the Bible is always on the side of the oppressed. He does not reconcile Moses and Pharaoh, or the Hebrew slaves with their Egyptian oppressors. Oppression is sin and cannot be compromised with. It must be overcome. God takes sides with the oppressed. As we read in Psalm 103:6: "God who does what is right, is always on the side of the oppressed". [4]

When confronted with the politically powerful, Jesus speaks the language of the boldest among Israel's prophets. He calls Herod 'that fox' (Lk13:32) and courageously exposes the greed for money, power and adulation of the political elite. And he warns his disciples never to do likewise: "Among the gentiles it is the kings who lord it over them, and those who have authority over them are given the title Benefactor. With you this must not happen. No, the greatest among you must behave as if he were the youngest, the leader as if he were the one who serves" (Lk 22:25-27). And he warns Pilate in no uncertain terms that he will be held to account by God for his use of power over life and death (John 19:11).

Throughout the history of the Church, persecuted Christians have remembered, prayed and sung the prophetic words of Mary:

"[The Lord] has used the power of his arm, he has routed the arrogant of heart. He has pulled down princes from their thrones and raised high the lowly. He has filled the starving with good things, sent the rich away empty" (Lk1:50-53).

Generations of Zimbabweans, too, throughout their own long history of oppression and their struggle for liberation, have remembered, prayed and sung these texts from the Old and New Testaments and found strength, courage and perseverance in their faith that Jesus is on their side. That is the message of hope we want to convey in this Pastoral Letter: God is on your side. He always hears the cry of the poor and oppressed and saves them.

Conclusion

We conclude our Pastoral Letter by affirming with a clear and unambiguous Yes our support of morally legitimate political authority. At the same time we say an equally clear and unambiguous No to power through violence, oppression and intimidation. We call on those who are responsible for the current crisis in our Country to repent and listen to the cry of their citizens. To the people of Zimbabwe we appeal for peace and restraint when expressing their justified grievances and demonstrating for their human rights.

Words call for concrete action, for symbols and gestures which keep our hope alive. We therefore invite all the faithful to a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Zimbabwe, on Saturday, 14 April 2007. This will be followed by a Prayer Service for Zimbabwe, on Friday, every week, in all parishes of our Country. As for the details, each Diocese will make known its own arrangements.

May the Peace and Hope of the Risen Lord be with you always. Happy Easter.

Prayer For Our Country

God Our Father,
You have given all peoples one common origin,
And your will is to gather them as one family in yourself.
Give compassion to our leaders, integrity to our citizens, and repentance to us all.
Fill the hearts of all women and men with your love
And the desire to ensure justice for all their brothers and sisters
By sharing the good things you give us
May we ensure justice and equality for every human being,
An end to all division, and a human society built on love,
Lasting prosperity and peace for all.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Amen.
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory be to the Father .


+Robert C. Ndlovu, Archbishop of Harare (ZCBC President)
+Pius Alec M. Ncube, Archbishop of Bulawayo
+Alexio Churu Muchabaiwa, Bishop of Mutare (ZCBC Secretary/Treasurer)
+Michael D. Bhasera, Bishop of Masvingo
+Angel Floro, Bishop of Gokwe (ZCBC Vice President)
+Martin Munyanyi, Bishop of Gweru
+Dieter B. Scholz SJ, Bishop of Chinhoyi
+Albert Serrano, Bishop of Hwange
+Patrick M. Mutume, Auxiliary Bishop of Mutare


References:
[1]John Paul II (1987), Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, paragraph 36
[2]Ibid
[3] The Kairos Document (1985), Challenge to the Church, A Theological Comment on the Political Crisis in South Africa, p 19 f
[4] The Kairos Document (1985), Challenge to the Church, A Theological Comment on the Political Crisis in South Africa, p 20 Forward Ever (by any means necessary)! Karen C. Aboiralor

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Christ is Risen!

He is truly risen!

Yes He is
We have seen Him

I thought He was the gardener at first, but then He called me by name and I recognised Him

When I went to anoint the body God's messenger told me He'd meet us in Galilee

The two of us talked Scripture with Him on the road all afternoon, and when we stopped for supper we recognised Him in the breaking of the bread

The bunch of us had locked ourselves in, we didn't want to get arrested, and He came right in to see us, right through the locked door

It was definitely Him we recognised Him we know His voice the wounds are still there and He lives He really does

He met us at the lakeshore and cooked us breakfast after our long night fishing

We know His voice the wounds are there it's definitely Him and He lives!

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This is the night!

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God's people!

My dearest friends,
standing with me in this holy light,
join me in asking God for mercy,
that he may give his unworthy minister
grace to sing his Easter praises.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And also with you.
V. Lift up your hearts.
R. We lift them up to the Lord.
V. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
R. It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam's sin to our eternal Father!

This is our passover feast,
When Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night,
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slav'ry,
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night,
when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin.

This is night,
when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night,
when Jesus broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?

Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says:
“The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy.”

The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed,
when heaven is wedded to earth
and we are reconciled to God!

Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church's solemn offering.

Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.

Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

R. Amen.


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Saturday, April 07, 2007

We have an invitation

As we finish preparing to celebrate the Great Paschal Vigil, here is our open invitation, from St. John Chrysostom.

If anyone is devout and a lover of God, let him enjoy this beautiful and radiant festival.

If anyone is a wise servant, let him, rejoicing, enter into the joy of his Lord.

If anyone has wearied himself in fasting, let him now receive his recompense.

If anyone has labored from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If anyone has come at the third hour, with thanksgiving let him keep the feast. If anyone has arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; for he shall suffer no loss. If anyone has delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near without hesitation. If anyone has arrived even at the eleventh hour, let him not fear on account of his delay. For the Master is gracious and receives the last, even as the first; he gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, just as to him who has labored from the first. He has mercy upon the last and cares for the first; to the one he gives, and to the other he is gracious. He both honors the work and praises the intention.

Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our Lord, and, whether first or last, receive your reward. O rich and poor, one with another, dance for joy! O you ascetics and you negligent, celebrate the day! You that have fasted and you that have disregarded the fast, rejoice today! The table is rich-laden; feast royally, all of you! The calf is fatted; let no one go forth hungry!

Let all partake of the feast of faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness.

Let no one lament his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed.

Let no one mourn his transgressions, for pardon has dawned from the grave.

Let no one fear death, for the Saviour’s death has set us free.

He that was taken by death has annihilated it! He descended into hades and took hades captive! He embittered it when it tasted his flesh! And anticipating this Isaiah exclaimed, "Hades was embittered when it encountered thee in the lower regions." It was embittered, for it was abolished! It was embittered, for it was mocked! It was embittered, for it was purged! It was embittered, for it was despoiled! It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!

It took a body and, face to face, met God! It took earth and encountered heaven! It took what it saw but crumbled before what it had not seen!

"O death, where is thy sting? O hades, where is thy victory?

Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!

Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!

Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!

Christ is risen, and life reigns!

Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!

For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the First-fruits of them that slept.

To him be glory and might unto ages of ages. Amen.


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God.....is dead.......?

To all human appearances this day, hope has been crushed, the light extinguished, darkness is triumphant. But, this is only an appearance.

There is one who has guarded the Light with her whole life, who knows that even this cannot be the end, and continues to guard and cherish the Light in her heart as she always has. She waits, and gathers in the crushed and hopeless disciples and encourages them to wait with her and not despair; and so they wait.

the icon Mother of God, Light in All Darkness --- a special treasure of Cathedral Parish

Mother of God, Light in all darkness,
intercede for us.
Be a companion to us,
and bring to our confusion and darkness
the Light you bore,
the Light you guard and cherish.
Although we do not yet see light,
do not let us fall into the abyss,
and assure us that there is still light
until such time as the Light shall return.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

her only-begotten Son

After Jesus died, two very well-placed followers, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, got permission to take Jesus' body away, and hurried to the execution site with the minimal requirements for burial.

the pieta, by John Carroll Collier.  The body of Jesus in the lap of His mother, with Joseph of Aramathea reminding her she has to let go, Sabbath is coming.

Sunset, and Sabbath, was approaching too quickly, so they hurriedly prepared the body and put it in a borrowed tomb (was it Joseph's own?) that happened to be nearby. The womenfolk resolved to return right after Sabbath to do a more complete and respectful anointing .....
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what we have done, what He has done

It requires great self-denial and resignation of ourselves to God to attain that state wherein we freely cease from fighting. ....Whoever rightly attains to it, does in some degree feel that Spirit in which our Redeemer gave His life for us. (John Woolman)

Behold, behold, the wood of the cross,
on which is hung our Salvation;
O come, let us adore!
(Liturgy of Good Friday)

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,
for by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.


image of the crucifixion morphed from a photo of the crucifix of Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles California.

O my Lord, Messiah and (truly!) King,
You have been lifted up, and have triumphed.
You Yourself mend our lives, and draw us to Yourself,
and make Yourself our greatest yearning, greatest gift.

We who lifted You up from the earth ---
not far, not nearly to the sky, let alone the heavens ---
intending only evil; or not intending at all, "just following orders,"
just another execution in a busy day

It was for us that You took everything we gave,
that You offered Yourself, unresisting,
(and You, our Messiah and Lord, are God;
You had the power to save Yourself)
so that when we had done our very worst
Your forgiveness and Your triumph would rescue us,
very thankful and truly humble.

We know what we have done.
We know of what we are capable.
We look upon Your cross
and our sin remains before us,
we cannot ignore the truth of ourselves.

We deny You. We are cowards and run away from You.
We drag You all over the city, from courtroom to courtroom.
For You, our King, we weave a crown of thornbush to force upon Your head.
We beat You. We mock You. We parade You through the streets.
We disdignify You, stripping You of everything.
And, clothed only in welts and bruises and Your own blood,
we nail You to a cross to torture You to death.

Our sin is always before us,
and yet,
and yet,
so also is Your mercy,
so also Your forgiveness,
so also Your great offering.

And, in time's fullness,
the sign of Jonah ---
even Death itself is conquered, vanquished;
so we might proceed from life to Life true and eternal,
Life that knows no end.

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it continues, hither and yon

Jesus was marched all over town --- to the High Priest's, to Pilate's palace, to Herod, back to Pilate. He was beaten, then the soldiers had their fun by giving Him a robe and a crown and a sceptre. When that wasn't diverting enough, they banged Him on His crown with His sceptre.

the icon usually called the bridegroom, Jesus with His hands bound and with His royal attire

"My people, what have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me!"

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

At the olive grove,

quiet, where Jesus took His disciples to watch and pray (and He to agonize, and they to mostly doze); Judas arrives, with company

the kiss of judas, from a fresco by Giotto

and betrays the Lord with a kiss. Placing Jesus in the hands of those who believe Him to be their enemy. It begins.

---------

We humanbeings are expert at betrayal, unfortunately.

The Institution, by Lisa Basarab for Gerard

Like a wrench turned inward
Flashing pain, and gone
Then squeezing, pounding
All of life

A grip of fear so real
That all becomes hell
Swirling, mashing black
In dreams

Nightmares without release
With jeering, fractured finger
Seeping unholy accusation
Pointing, pointing

Like a knife backstabbing
Like a serpent striking
Like a nail in my heart
A plea

To kill my God in me
To sever bonds with Him
And make of me a shade
Pulled so down

Down in mire so weak and pale
The squalid self abyss,
Marrow-deep fatigue (and
Endless night)

No light, no piercing stream of light
No hint of water
For me on a jury's slate
Only guilt

Of my own making, breaking a
Heart so cold from stone
Jabbing guilt, always guilt
Never mercy

Never.

Why no priestly absolution,
Just a toll to pay and pay?
A slim, tortuous road bending
So far, so far

You promised in His words to me
A feast on my return
A fatted calf
Not noose

To string along and up a swaying
Body in surreal ease
Poked like a child on a swing
Whee!

But the glee of games is gone
For my heart's hunt-ripped effigy
Searing, burning,
Flamed

On the spit of upright clerics
Turning folly into shame
Shame, shame!
(An ancient game.)

And so, alone, I hurt
Slipping into nowhere else to go
Except a shrinking Body
Tree-hung

Battered limbs, blood-splashed
Spittle-strewn and slung
With friends looking up
In misery

Save me, sweet Convicted One
In faint aches of rage I spew
that steal Your breath
From mine

Lift the noose away, heal the ache around
To squelch only every urge to bolt
And not Your pain
In me


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Re-presentation: Passover and Eucharist

Jesus and his disciples went to a certain upper room (that happened to be not very far from Jesus' mother's apartment), and there they shared the Passover meal together, and inconceivably more.

The Lord's Supper by Fritz Eichenberg for the Catholic Worker newspaper

As the Passover made each generation of Israel actually present in the exodus from Egypt, so the Eucharist makes us truly present at the Lord's one Sacrifice through all the ages. Remember that it is the evil child who says, "The LORD brought our ancestors out of Egypt." Note, not himself, just his great-great-grands. We are as much present, as much implicated, as our ancestors in the first century AD.

And we believe that it was in this night when the Lord Jesus instituted His first priests in the new covenant, saying to them, "This is My Body... this is My Blood of the new everlasting covenant..... do this in memory of me." [anamnesis, we still call it, it means "to not forget"] Now, of course, this doesn't mean priests are perfect. Even the first ones, Jesus' Twelve, weren't such a great lot. One would sell Jesus for 30 silver pieces before the night was over. Nine others would scamper away like a bunch of scared mice. Another, before morning dawned, would deny repeatedly ever having known Jesus. Yet, they were the ones chosen by our Lord.

[Pray for priests!]
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and He humbled Himself

Jesus was invited to dinner by a well-to-do gentleman, Simon the Pharasee, one day. The dinner party was crashed by a woman of rotten reputation. When Simon asked why Jesus did not rebuke this sinner-woman: Quit harrassing her! You invited Me to dinner, and didn't even provide a basin for Me to rinse My dusty feet, yet she has been washing them with her tears and drying them with her hair, and she has not stopped kissing them since she got in here. She loves much; she has been forgiven much. Those who are stingy with their love will receive stingy forgiveness .......

It wasn't all that much later



that Jesus took up a towel and basin, and got down on the floor, and performed for His disciples that menial guest-service that was one of the less-enviable chores of the most junior house-servant, washing the dust and grime from their feet in those days of open sandals and dirt roads.

This is My command: that you love one another.

The one who would lead must be the servant of all, the slave of all.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Triduum is here

and I get to attend!

I've been grounded for the last two weeks with leaky skin lesions. Antibiotics, leg elevation, try not to leave too many puddles.... but this time it was stopped _before_ catching MRSA or Strep G. My followup appointment was today, and I've been declared healthy and cleared to be out in public again. So, Triduum, here I come! (Not even to mention CJ Pawlak's baptism come Bright Sunday!)

I also sign the final papers for my porchlift financing tomorrow morning, so the porchlift should be installed by farmers' market season.

And, when I left for the doctor's this morning, both rhubarbs were sprouted out of dormancy. Spring is definitely on its way when the rhubarbs wake up.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

The Word became flesh

and dwelled among us.

painting of the Annunciation by John Carroll Collier

"Rejoice, Full of Grace, The Lord is with you. Do not be afraid, you have found favor with God. You are to concieve and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the son of the Most High....."

"How will this come to be, since I am a virgin?"

"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. The child will be holy and will be called Son of God. By the way, your kinswoman Elizabeth, elderly and barren, is now in her sixth month; nothing is impossible to God."

"I am the slave-girl of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you have said."

And the angel went away.
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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

For Saturday

via the Archbishop Romero House of Hospitality, Oklahoma City, here's a prayer service in the way of Morning Prayer for the anniversary of the death of Archbishop Romero on Saturday the 24th.
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Monday, March 19, 2007

Stations of the Cross

So you are working, or need a sitter, or lack transportation, or for some other reason haven't been able to get to church for the Stations of the Cross this Lent? And, you'd still like to?

Well, why not try praying the Stations where you are and when you can, with my parish's virtual Stations of the Cross. The images are the actual stations in the Cathedral.

Continue to enjoy this happy Lent, and come to Easter with mind and heart renewed.
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Unheralded Lesson of Sophie Scholl

Here's a fine essay on the witness of the White Rose Society (aka Sophie Scholl and companions).

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Welcome, CJ

Dave and Amy Pawlak's child CJ was delivered yesterday evening. Pictures of the latest St. Blog's baby can be found here at the Pawlak's blog Modern Commentaries. Congratulations and continued prayers for all.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

What every new bishop needs to hear

from his faithful faithful.

With all the recent new bishops appointed, and as many retirements as are coming up in the next few months .... [I did tell this to +Timothy when he was newly-appointed.....]

Please, my father, if anything ever goes terribly horribly wrong, or if you ever discover you've done something really dumb or spectacularly stupid, do not waste any time or effort or money to protect us from it, just tell us. We have a duty to honor and care for you, as you do to honor and care for us. Embarrassment, even the public kind, does not kill; in fact it liberates in the long term. It's secrets that bind and maim and fester and kill. When there's bad news, we need to hear about it from you first, not from some church-political faction looking to use it as a cudgel, and not from some media outlet distorting and exploiting it for a circulation boost or extra Nielsen point. We Catholics are strong and resilient people, and we easily fall in love with our shepherds if permitted to at all. We can handle bad news. We can survive the trials and embarrassments of life. Be not afraid, my father, for yourself or for us; stand straight and step forward faithfully.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

.... Felicity, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy,.....

Today is the day for Perpetua and Felicity, whom we remember by name regularly in the Eucharistic Prayer. Read their story here, written mostly by St. Perpetua herself. (After she left prison for the arena, Tertullian finished it for her.)

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Venal and greedy priest makes good

Today is the memorial of Sylvester of Assisi.

Sylvester was of noble birth, and a priest, but he had neither nobility nor holiness, no credit to either noblesse oblige or the holy priesthood. He was money-hungry and totally attached to the comfortable life.

In the earliest days of Francis' conversion, before he learned to renounce money, he bought some stone from Sylvester for his church restoration projects, at the going market price.

Some time later, after Francis' contretemps with his father, his old partying buddy Bernard of Quintavalle was called to join Francis in following the Gospel, the first of the Lesser Brothers. Francis and Bernard proceeded to give away all of Bernard's possessions. Sylvester, seeing this, was exceedingly wroth, and came to them, claiming that he had been cheated in the sale of the stone and he wanted compensation, whereupon Francis and Bernard gave him several large handfuls of cash.

Back at his residence, the money was filling Sylvester with guilt, and contrition, and conversion. Sylvester renounced his venal greedy ways, gave everything he had away, and joined Francis and Bernard, the first priest to be a Lesser Brother. For many years he was Francis' travelling companion, then he became a hermit, dedicating his whole life to contemplation and intercession.

When Francis had his vocational crisis, about whether he should continue as a wandering preacher or himself become a recluse, it was to Clare and Sylvester that he went for counsel.

So Sylvester, an unworthy priest, came to his senses and became an exemplar of holiness.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

A very important very long sentence about the Holy Eucharistic Liturgy

from the documents of the most recent Ecumenical Council:

The Church, therefore, is very concerned that the Christian faithful not be present at this mystery of faith as outsiders or mute spectators,
but that, understanding the mystery through the rites and prayers,
they take part in the sacred action consciously, devoutly and actively,
that they be instructed by the word of God,
that they be nourished at the table of the Lord's Body,
that they give thanks to God,
that, offering the immaculate host
not only through the priest but with him,
they may learn to offer themselves,
and that, through Christ the Mediator,
they may be drawn day after day into more perfect union with God and with one another,
so that in the end God may be all in all.


---- Sacrosanctum concilium 48

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Rich Little Rich Girl



Katharine Marie Drexel, born in 1858, was the second of three daughters of an insanely wealthy banking and railroad entrepreneur. Her father and stepmother (her birth mother died when she was still a newborn, and as was traditional for widowed fathers of infants, her father promptly remarried....) raised her and her sisters in the tradition of noblesse oblige and with a love of generosity, which all three would follow into their adult lives. When Katharine nursed her stepmother through her final illness, she learned for herself just how little money and power matters.

At the passing of her father, she and her sisters came into their inheritance --- but it was structured as an untouchable trust, to protect them from fortune-hunting husbands-to-be. Remember, this was pre-feminist times, when all a woman's possessions became the husband's at marriage, for him to steal or waste at whim. The income of the inheritance would go to the daughters, and then to their children, for as long as they lived, and then when there were no more descendants, the principle would go to a list of the father's favorite charities. The income stream from the trust was about $3000 each day ---- in an era when $1000/year was considered a respectable annual income for a hard-working family man.

Katharine remembered the travels she took with her father into the West, and the poverty and oppression of the native peoples there, and into the South. She began building and financing schools on the reservations. She had an urging to retire from the world, but could not see how, unless she could find others to administrate the schools. So she went to Rome, looking for a community of European missionary sisters who could go to Montana and run her schools, so she could be free to enter a cloister. When she asked Pope Leo XIII if he knew of an appropriate community, he said, "Why don't you become a missionary?" Katharine took it as a word from the Lord, and, with the help of her bishop, received formation, and established the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for the Indians and Colored People, vowed to poverty, chastity, obedience, and to service to the Indian and Colored people forever. Because of the terms of her inheritance, however, she could not renounce it; she could only keep giving away the income every day she lived.

She spent the next several decades building schools and churches for the poorest people in the United States, and staffing them with eager young sisters and dedicated and justly compensated lay staff --- the money for this coming from the trust fund. All of her churches were integrated, except where that was illegal. Where integrated churches weren't legal, they would be quite subversively segregated --- the laws insisted on separation, not on colored people always having the bad seats. So they'd be segregated, colored on the main floor and whites in the balcony, or colored on one side of the center aisle and whites on the other. After all, there may be white and colored in Mississippi, but not in the Kingdom of God. In 1915, she founded Xavier University in New Orleans, the first Catholic University for Colored people in the US.

In 1935, she suffered a massive heart attack, from which she never fully recovered. She resigned as superior of the order she founded in 1937, and was able to fulfill her youthful desire to be retired from the world in contemplative prayer. And, to live just as long as the Lord would let her, so that the trust fund money would keep flowing, at least long enough for Xavier University to grow and have enough alumni to support it. [Her father had no idea that years after his passing his daughter would be a founder, so her order was not among those receiving the principle on her death....] She finally reposed, her work complete, in 1955, age 97.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Warning to Readers

It took seven attempts to get this computer to come up this morning, and another nine to get it up again when it crashed just now. In my experience, this is a sign that this lovely machine will soon die and turn itself into a doorstop. When it does, I will be missing, probably, for several months, while I organize a replacement.

Not only do I converse here, get my news here, learn what I'm supposed to pray for here, and play games here, but I also buy my groceries with this machine. [Can't trust cabbies to carry groceries to the door even after they are generously bribed, and the van service is limited to 2 bags/40 lbs which isn't much groceries, so I let Peapod deliver my basic monthly groceries.......] So when it finally gives up the ghost, things are going to get a bit rough around here. So, if you all can keep me and my relations with this machine in your prayers.........

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Do "liberal" and "conservative" have any meaning at all?

another quiz:

Your Political Profile:
Overall: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Social Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Ethics: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal


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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Conversion by Charity

Among the saints who share this day with the great Cyril and Methodius and two martyrs named Valentine is St. Abraham of Harran.

St. Abraham was a hermit in Syria in the later 300s. Hearing of a poor pagan village in the Mt. Lebanon area, he left his solitude and went there to gain the village for Christ, setting himself up as a fruit dealer. The villagers really liked his high quality produce and honest low prices, but weren't so in love with his preaching, which they ran away from or poked fun at. Until the economy took a decided turn for the worse, and the empire's taxes came due, which none of the villagers had any money to pay.

They saw no hope, and were resigning themselves to inevitable dispossession and imprisonment, but Abraham, their crazy Christian fruit man, took out a loan and paid the taxes for the whole village. Thankful for being able to stay in their village and homes and out of prison, they were convinced that Christians were really good generous people, and might be worth listening to. In short order, the whole village was converted. Abraham stayed there for another three or four years, teaching, and working hard to pay off the loan, then he went back to his hermitage in the Syrian desert.

People from the village, then others who heard of him, went out to the desert to seek his spiritual counsel. One of those people was a young nobleman named Theodosius the Younger, who came out for regular spiritual guidance whenever he could absent himself from his noble duties. A big problem with having a highly-placed disciple is that one doesn't get to stay in one's desert hermitage --- Abraham was taken to be bishop of Harran in Mesopotamia. Despite his preference to go back to the desert, he was both holy and competent as a bishop, and the church at Harran thrived. When Theodosius became emperor, he kept Abraham as his spiritual director, and several times each year, Abraham went to Constantinople for his pastoral visits with the emperor. During one of these visits to the capital, Abraham died of natural causes, in the year 422.
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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Holiness and almond cookies

Today is also the memorial of Blessed Jacopa de Settesoli.



Jacopa was born in 1190, into a noble Roman family of Norman heritage, and was married in her early teens to a gentleman even more noble than she was, Count Gratien de Frangipani, whose family had been noted for generations for their charity.

In 1212 or thereabout, the recently widowed Jacopa met a tattered young preacher who was visiting Rome for an audience with the Pope and other Church business about his new young community. She was so impressed, she took him and his brother companions home with her for some personal counsel. If it were up to her, she'd follow him back to Umbria and join his Poor Ladies --- but it wasn't up to her. Her sons, the heirs to both the Frangipani and Settesoli estates, were not yet five years old, and it was her duty to manage the estates and see to the raising and education of her sons until they came of age. So, she asked Francis, how was she to live the Gospel, since she was not free to leave all and follow? He gave her very practical advice about humility and charity, and raising up her little boys in that way, and she followed it. This was the very first time Francis counselled a person who could not renounce all and become a religious. (But not the last. In due time he would write a rule of life just for them; the community that is now known as the Secular Franciscan Order.)

So she set out to live the Gospel, right there in Rome in her place of wealth and power as the Frangipani and Settesoli regent. She organized and financed direct assistance to the destitute of Rome. She located, bought, and donated the land for a hostel, then nursed in it herself once it was built. Whenever any of the Lesser Brothers needed to be in Rome, they were guests in her home, where they would be fed the same treats she made for her boys. She nursed St. Francis back to health several times. All of the brothers were entirely hooked on her almond cookies, so much so that Thomas of Celano wrote the recipe for them into one of his biographies of St. Francis. Once, in appreciation for the cookies, a brother gave her a trained pet lamb, which followed her everywhere and which would wake her up in the morning so she wouldn't miss Morning Prayer and Mass.

With the help of a vision, she was present at the Little Portion when St. Francis died, having brought with her from Rome all the stuff necessary for burial, and a double batch of the almond cookies, just as Francis has written to request in the letter that hadn't yet been sent.

Soon, her sons were both of age, and she moved to Assisi to be near the brothers and the tomb of St. Francis, and she continued her prayer and charitable activities there until her death in 1273, when she was buried in the same crypt as St. Francis, where her relics are to this very day.
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Nobody knew the name her parents called her

not even her.



Today's saint, who would come to be called Giuseppine Bakhita, was born in a totally average family in rural Darfur, Sudan in 1869, and was kidnapped by slavers at about eight years old. Her kidnappers gave her the name Bakhita --- which means "fortunate, lucky". At the time that was a sick joke. She was sold repeatedly to various owners in the markets of El Obeid and Khartoum, and suffered all the standard evils, physical (beatings, malnutrition, neglect, scarification....), mental (forbidden to learn and "kept in her place"....), and moral (rape, molestation, coercion to service owner's sexual whims....).

Eventually, in her early teens, she was bought by an Italian diplomat and his wife to be an housemaid and cook. As owners go, these weren't very bad at all. They did not use the whip when giving orders. They would show her how they wanted things to be done. Neither of them insisted on sexual services. About as good as one could expect an owner to be. When the diplomat was recalled to Italy, Bakhita begged not to be sold, but to go with them. (Who could tell how the next owner would be?) So she went to Italy with them.

The diplomat's wife's best friend had a baby, a little girl named Mimmina, and Bakhita was given to the friend to be a babysitter-companion for the newborn. That family wasn't bad either. When Mimmina got to be school aged, her parents placed her in a boarding school run by the Cannossian Daughters of Charity, and Bakhita, of course, went with her as a maidservant. Expected to stay with Mimmina at all times, she began to learn the lessons Mimmina was being taught, reading and writing and arithmetic --- and, the Christian Faith, the first that Bakhita had ever heard it. Bakhita came to believe almost immediately, and eagerly sought even more instruction in the faith, and she was enrolled in the catechumenate. She also began to sense the first glimmerings of a calling to the religious life.

After a time, Mimmina's parents received an overseas diplomatic posting, and went to the boarding school to withdraw their daughter and take her, and, they totally presumed, Bakhita also, to their new African posting. But, Bakhita refused to go. She wanted to stay, and get baptised, and keep learning. With the backing of the Sisters, some of the Sisters' benefactors, and the local Catholic authorities, Bakhita's case to disobey her owners went to court, and it was ruled that, since slavery was illegal in Italy, that as soon as Bakhita was brought to Italy she was made free. Soon after, in January of 1890, she was baptised with the new name Giuseppine, and she remained under instruction at the school for several more years.

After a period of prayer and discernment, Giuseppine Bakhita entered the community of the Cannossian Daughters, making her vows in 1896. She served in the community as a seamstress and cook, and as the doorkeeper, and became noted as an intercessor. After her memoirs of her slavery days were published, she spend years on tour speaking to raise money for her community's missions. Eventually, her health declined, and she died on this date in 1947.
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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Have you heard the words "incurable and fatal"?

or do you care for someone who has? Never thought about indulgences, in part because you just can't get out to church for confession and communnion in the timeframe? Well, for the World Day of the Sick on February 11th, these indulgences are for you. We've been remembered!
[hat tip to Wheelie Catholic]
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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Public Service Announcement

The precept of the Church to attend Mass on Sunday is not intended to risk one's life or health.

The predicted temperature at leaving-for-church time tomorrow morning will be minus11F. That's thermometer temp, not wind chill. It's supposed to be windy, also. So, if you do not have reliable heated transportation door to door to church tomorrow, STAY HOME!

Instead, set your alarm clock and at 8 am tune in Mass from the Cathedral, with our archbishop +Timothy preaching. North of the city, tune in 100.1 FM, in the city 920 AM, south of the city 1550 AM. Mass on the radio is so much less than actually being there, but it is such a blessing when one just can't get there.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Catholic teaching affects all parts of life

Given the current debates concerning the minimum wage laws, it's good to know that the Church has teachings on such things --- and not newfangled ones either. Here's what Pope Leo XIII taught about just wages, back near the turn of the last century, in his encyclical "Rerum novarum":

44. To this kind of argument a fair-minded man will not easily or entirely assent; it is not complete, for there are important considerations which it leaves out of account altogether. To labor is to exert oneself for the sake of procuring what is necessary for the various purposes of life, and chief of all for self-preservation. "In the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat bread." Hence, a man's labor necessarily bears two notes or characters. First of all, it is personal, inasmuch as the force which acts is bound up with the personality and is the exclusive property of him who acts, and, further, was given to him for his advantage. Secondly, man's labor is necessary; for without the result of labor a man cannot live, and self-preservation is a law of nature, which it is wrong to disobey. Now, were we to consider labor merely in so far as it is personal, doubtless it would be within the workman's right to accept any rate of wages whatsoever; for in the same way as he is free to work or not, so is he free to accept a small wage or even none at all. But our conclusion must be very different if, together with the personal element in a man's work, we consider the fact that work is also necessary for him to live: these two aspects of his work are separable in thought, but not in reality. The preservation of life is the bounden duty of one and all, and to be wanting therein is a crime. It necessarily follows that each one has a natural right to procure what is required in order to live, and the poor can procure that in no other way than by what they can earn through their work.

45. Let the working man and the employer make free agreements, and in particular let them agree freely as to the wages; nevertheless, there underlies a dictate of natural justice more imperious and ancient than any bargain between man and man, namely, that wages ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and well behaved wage-earner. If through necessity or fear of a worse evil the workman accept harder conditions because an employer or contractor will afford him no better, he is made the victim of force and injustice.


Postscript: for the curious who'd like to try to figure out how they'd make it:
the current USA minimum wage for above-the-table work is $5.15 per hour. Presuming that one manages to get enough jobs to average 40 hours a week for a full year, this is annual gross income of $10,712.00, or $892.67 per month. If the new law passes, once it is in full effect, the minimum wage will be $7.25 per hour, under the same very optimistic presumptions $15,080.00 annually, $1256.67 monthly. Remember, most of these jobs do not have health insurance, pensions, sick leave, or other frills, and actually getting 40 hours a week is questionable. Could you make it?

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