Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Christian Carnival 41 --- Salvation History

Thanks to all who submitted posts this week. In between creating oolie-ghoulie secularly traditional food, sewing like mad to turn the children into their favorite saints and heroes for the All saints' Day procession, and trying to figure out how and whether to vote, take a little time with me for the double-speed tour of salvation.

Of course, we must begin with the First Things --- creation, fall, promise of redemption. "And God created the human being in His own image. In the image of God He created them, male and female He created them" ".... and they hid themselves, for they realized they were naked ...."

The human nature as body, soul, and spirit is pondered by Douglas at Belief Seeking Understanding in his post, The Spiritual Man - Who Are You, And What Do You Have?

Diane of the Crossroads also posts on the basic nature of humanity in her CT Letters, a lot of which have to do with the meaning of masculinity and femininity. (and also on Christians in the secular world, and on marble monuments to the Commandments from Sinai...)

"You will be as God is, knowing good and evil," said the tempter. In I Know Good and Evil, Am I Arrogant?, a sermon by a recently consecrated Episcopalian bishop is analyzed by Jerry of Truth Be Told.

Eutychus Fell, who's one of my most favorite inquirers, has just learned in his RCIA Group about she whose seed crushes the serpent's head, the new Eve, and also about the communion of saints, and he blogs about it at Hail Mary, Full of Grace.

Abraham got reminded of God's fatherhood, we are reminded by Brad at the 21st Century Reformation,in Experiencing the Fatherhood of God --- the Foundation of Intimacy. Yet God does not only love and nurture Abraham, but he loves intimately every single one of us.

Eventually, the Lord brought us out of the house of slavery in Egypt, and brought us to His holy mountain, and delivered ten words to us, how we should live. "You shall have no other gods." "You shall not use the Name of the Lord to make incantations."

Incantations. Sometimes we come terribly close to that line. Joe Missionary writes of this in his Theology Thursday essay, injesusnameamen.

"Remember the Sabbath Day." "Honor your father and your mother."

Do we? Cindy rises up in defense of the stay-at-home mom at Notes in the Key of Life

"Do not kill." "Do not steal." "Do not commit adultery." "Do not covet your neighbor's wife."

The vocation of faithful lifelong marriage is tough. Julie Fidler on her Roof celebrates Four Years of Marriage --- and Counting by writing about the trials, and the blessings, and her thankfulness.

"Do not give false testimony." "Do not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor."

But I want it! Really truly do! Mine! What to do when your Wanter's turned ON is explicated by Joy at karagraphy

And He promised us "if you hear My voice, and keep my covenant, you shall be My special possession, dearer to Me than all others, though all the earth is Mine."

At Another Man's Meat there are lessons learned on a rooftop about the wisdom of God and the vanity of man, actually, one man, in The Man Who Was Smarter than God.

Kathy of Imago Veritatis is looking back on the excitement of when she first met the Lord and is reveling in the joy of first love.

Brutally Honest brings us the recent work of a gifted poet in "This Talk of Sin is Not Productive!

A Contrite Heart You Will Not Scorn is a rewrite of Luke 18: 9-14 for the benefit of self-righteous POD ["pious and over devotional"] Catholics, by the gentleman of Ales Rarus.

Beyond the Rim's William hears the political season as a clarion call to prayer.

In Theology of Conversion, Matt Hall discusses just what it means to "become a Christian".

Many centuries passed, plenty of blessings, even more trials and tribulations. The Messiah came, our kinsman-redeemer, the Word Himself, and He gave us two words that took up all the ten. "Love God with everything you are. Love your neighbor as you love yourself." So we are called to live the works of mercy.

Mr. Standfast writes on forgiveness, and what further description can be given?

Ephesians seems very popular this week in Bloggsville. Humilis Penitens examines the condemnation of "silly talk" in Talk the Talk at his fine site, A Penitent Blogger.

Ray Pritchard also bears witness to the power of a few angry words, in If You Keep Your Cool.

Do we perceive the ill differently than we do the healthy? And does God? And, how about how we perceive ourselves when we're not healthy anymore? Allthings2all asks and tries to answer in In Sickness and in Health

Here's a View from the Pew about the place that faith must take in everyday life, Faith in Public. When I typed this, the permalink was refusing to load completely, so you may need to scroll for it......

LaShawn Barber's back in her Corner following her hiatus, proclaiming that we must engage the culture, but we must engage it in love. Elsewise we are but A Clanging Cymbal.

Giving mercy to others, we "work out our salvation in fear and trembling."

Viewpoint raises Nine objections to Christianity, and invites his readers to take them on.

A small smile is granted us by Intolerant Elle, in Good Works Down the Toilet, where she expresses her thankfulness that Martin Luther did not have a "squatty potty."

Our Crusty Curmudgeonexpounds on the authority and sufficiency of Scripture.

Persecution is real. Proverbial Wife knows a bit about it. Blogging on personal depths makes one vulnerable --- and she got clobbered. She lets us know in Just to Let You Know.

The Pseudo-Polymath gives us some thoughts on Leviticus to ponder, especially the "abominations" passages and how they apply to Christians.

Mark of CowPi Journal shows to us all the tracks of joy and sorrow. Joy and sorrow are like two rails of a train track. They are always present in every moment of our lives. We always have foot on both rails, although some times our weight seems to shift to one side or the other.

The newest blogger in the Carnival, the Unapologetic Catholic, gives an account of the life that is in him in his post Why Unapologetic Catholic?.

"Playing God." That's what's said. Jeremy the Parableman studies the reasoning underlying the "playing God" arguments about things moral. Do they hold water? Can a stronger argument be made without God-recourse --- maybe the claim of our ignorance of consequences, for an example?

Jay of Deo Omnis Gloria pursues the question Who has the best point of view about Christ? (instigated by an article by Karl Keating). Would it be the men who were discipled by the Apostles, who lived and worked with them in the first and second centuries? Or would it be one or more of the various reformers of centuries later?

And, being as this is the last Christian Carnival before the United States Presidential election, several bloggers are working out their salvation in the penitential purgatory of politics. The Midwestern Mugwump calls his fellow conservativeChristians to show their positive power (energized by the election) in areas other than politics --- and specifically, towards the poor and oppressed --- in a very tangible way, in New Money, New Time. In Majority Rules? the importance of the Electoral College system is expounded, as Travis of Quadrivium sees a threat to it in Colorado. Jay of Living Catholicism asks Are Catholics Obliged to Vote? And at The Great Separation they claim to have an exclusive memo from the Kerry campaign in Exclusive: Kerry's Nuisance Doctrine MEMO. [for those with impaired humor or b.s. meters, the memo's a satire].

Talk of purgatory leads us directly to the Last Things. Death. Judgment. Heaven. Hell. "He is seated at the right hand of the Father, and will come again to judge the living and the dead."

Fr. Jim Tucker preaches a homily on Christian Death, a consideration of what death means for a Christian, at Dappled Things

Thus we've traveled from the very first things to the very last. I hope you enjoy all the fine offerings, have excellent colloquies in the comment boxes, and come to the Carnival again next week!

Monday, October 25, 2004

an oolie-ghoulie recipe for the coming weekend

Fowl Flesh in Grimy Green Guts with Toadstools
by Thomas E. Knapp (my eldest younger brother --- he created this recipe last year)


5 boneless-skinless chicken breasts
1 lb Gemelli Pasta
2 7-oz containers Genova Pesto (Trader Joe’s)
1 8-oz box white mushrooms
2 medium size Portobello mushrooms
½ C grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbl garlic powder
White pepper, to taste


1) Get a 6-8 quart pot, and put 6 quarts of lightly salted water on to boil.

2) While the water’s getting hot, cut the white mushrooms into quarters, reserving 4-6 of the smallest, whole, for decoration.

3) Slice one of the Portobello mushrooms.

4) Slice the chicken breasts into strips. Think fajita, or stir-fry.

5) By now, the water should be boiling. Add the pasta, and cook according to the package instructions.

6) Drain the pasta. Put half a container of the pesto in the pot, while it’s still warm. As soon as the pasta is reasonably drained, put it back in the pot, add the rest of the first package of pesto, and stir it up until the pesto is evenly distributed. The oil in the pesto should keep the pasta from sticking together.

7) In a LARGE fry pan or sauterne, add enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Heat the pan, and sauté the chicken strips with the garlic powder and white pepper, to taste, cooking them all the way. Remove the chicken, and add another shot of olive oil. Sauté the sliced portobello and the white mushrooms, just til the Portobello slices are cooked. Reduce the heat to a very low simmer.

8) Add the chicken back into the fry pan. Stir it to mix with the mushrooms. Add most of the second container of pesto, and stir til everything is a pretty green.

9) Add the chicken and mushrooms to the pasta, in the big pot, stirring to make sure everything gets off the bottom. Add the grated Parmesan at this point, so it gets mixed in.

10) In a small sauté pan, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil, and put the seasoned whole Portobello mushroom in, gill side down, to cook. Turn down the heat so it doesn’t scorch.

11) Transfer the pasta mixture to your serving dish or crock pot. Place the whole cooked Portobello in the center, and the reserved whole white mushrooms along the edge for decoration.

12) Mangia!

Favorite posts here! Christian Carnival call for submissions

Here's the official notice I posted to the Christian-Carnival list and to a few folk from my blogroll for whom I had email addresses. All of you, my dear readers, are welcome to join in, if you have a blog.


Peace and good!

This coming Wednesday, October 27th, is the next Christian Carnival, which will be hosted at From the Anchor Hold. If you have a blog, this will be a great way to get read, and possibly pick up readers in the process or highlight your favorite post from the past week.

To enter is simple. First, you post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are political (or otherwise) in nature from a Christian point of view. Secondly please send only one post dated since the last Christian Carnival deadline, which was 10/19.

Then, do the following:

email Karen Marie at


and please put "Christian Carnival Submission" in the subject line, so it doesn't get dumped with the spam!

Provide the following:

Title of your Blog
URL of your Blog
Title of your post
URL linking to that post
Description of the post

Cut off date is Tuesday October 26th at 10 pm Central time ---- that's Wednesday 0300 UTC/GMT, for those of you in far places.

Don't forget to encourage a friend to contribute, and have them stop by and join the Christian Carnival mailing list at

karen marie
"from the anchor hold" http://kmknapp.blogspot.com/

Top ten hymns

Courtesy of the Tablet, the list of the top ten hymns among Catholics in Great Britain, with a few comments from Daniel Schutte. Back when I was a healthy person singing in the Gesu choir, I was privileged to sing with him there, and learn to read his music handwriting ....... and was very thankful when he got a music processor!

How does the Tablet's list compare to the "top ten" of your parish?

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Queries for preparing for Confession

A few days ago I posted the goals and dreams of my archbishop +Timothy. One of them was ti increase the use of Confession. In the Spiritual Fitness Plan tract, one of the suggestions is to get to confession. But, how?, some might ask. Especially if they've been away awhile.

Here is an excellent [and short!] set of queries preparatory to Confession, courtest of Archpriest William DeBovik, an Orthodox pastor and a listserv acquaintance; first used in his parish bulletin, I believe:

Coming To Confession? Let's Prepare

We all by now should be following the teachings of the Church in
preparing to receive Communion. But, how do we prepare for Confession?

No one lives without sinning. It is sad, but true. Sin is anything
that separates us from God; the missing the mark of the teachings of the
Church, which seeks to united us to God. We may be so cold spiritually
that we are indifferent to sin. Some, even though sincere, may not
recognize sin to the delight of Satan. Others may be confused. It is
through God's Grace--and we must open ourselves to that Grace--that we
come to know our sins.

And, as in all things we do or try to accomplish, we need to pray
as we prepare for this Sacrament of Repentance. We benefit in our
preparation by using the Trisagion Prayers, as well as reading and
praying some of the Psalms, especially Psalm 51. (After Confession we
benefit from Psalms 23, 24 and 116 as well as others.), and the Canons.

We need to examine ourselves, which we should do each day, before
our participation in individual Confession. We need to ask God to open
us up to our weaknesses and guide us through His strength. We need to
look at our attitudes, words, thoughts, actions toward each others;
toward our Church and her clergy and hierarchs; and first and foremost
toward God. When we come to Confession we come to be forgiven by God of
our sins, the authority for which He exercises through His priests.

From there we can work on our repentance-that is the changing of
our minds and hearts, our directions, so that we may live a life more
closely united with God, and thus find true fulfillment in this world
that will carry us into eternity.

What are some areas in which we need to examine ourselves? Here are
some questions to assist us:

1. Do I pray mornings and evenings?

2. Do I attend, whenever possible, and am I attentive at Church
Services Sundays, evenings, Feasts?

3. Do I thank God for all things?

4. Do I use God's name in vain?

5. Do I wish anyone harm?

6. Do I judge persons, or harshly criticize others?

7. Do I envy others?

8. Do I rejoice in the good fortune of others?

9. Do I engage in gossip?

10. Do I respect my children and my parents?

11. Am I obedient to the Church? Her hierarchs? Her clergy?

12. Do I show respect toward the bishops, priests and deacons of the

13. Have I helped others in need?

14. Do I pray for those who need God's mercy?

15. Have I regularly read God's word in the Bible?

16. Do I give joyfully to the Church?

17. Is there anything or anyone that I would not give up for Christ?

18. Do I try to see Christ in each person that I meet?

19. If I had the opportunity, would I physically care for another?

20. Have I physically or mentally hurt my spouse?

21. Have I supported and shown love to my husband or wife?

22. Have I mistreated animals or anything living in God's Kingdom on

23. Have I been a good steward of the earth?

24. Have I forsaken my faith and the teachings of the Church to please
another or to fit in with others?

25. Have I participated in abortion or encouraged someone to do so?

26. Is God and His Church truly the priority in my life? Do I come to
Church to worship and to pray?

27. Have I hurt myself or another physically or spiritually?

28. Do I doubt God in any situation?

29. Am I sorry for my sins?

30. Do I truly desire to be a better Orthodox Christian?


Friday, October 22, 2004

Prayer Warriors unite!

because rabies has been confirmed in Fond du Lac County teen hurt by a bat. She removed a bat from Holy Trinity-St. Patrick's Church during Mass back in September, received a minor scratch doing it, washed the scratch well, and thought no more about it. Now she's in a Milwaukee hospital, and only one human in history has survived rabies after symptoms appeared.

Pray for her and her family in this great trial.

update 12:41 pm: Her name is Jenna Giese.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Christian Carnival 40

is now open for your enjoyment at the Proverbial Wife. I've only started reading the entries, but I know that, as usual, there will be many true gems.

Speaking of gems: next week is my turn, so all my regular readers who blog should be praying for inspiration now, so you will have a wonderful post to submit after the weekend! [Send it to me at the address in the sidebar email link, put "Christian Carnival submission" in the subject line. I'll post another reminder closer to deadline.]

Monday, October 18, 2004

A poor attempt at newsblogging.....

.....+Timothy's vision statement at Pius XI High School on Friday.

We were all there:
+Timothy, archbishop;
and priests and deacons;
and consecrated folk;
and various and sundry Church workers;
and a lot of regular old just plain Catholics;
and one canonically-incorrect anchor hold dweller.

And we (every single one of us and us all together) have to be the light of Christ to the world.

The Church is like the dawn, for there is both light and darkness together --- +Timothy said quoting some saint whose name I didn't catch --- and that is obvious both in the glory and in the pain.

There were words to say about the planning processes, both the parish one and the strategic one. +Timothy had written down his list at the beginning and stashed it away in his prayer-place. When the results of the processes --- the goals, the visions, the priorities --- had come out, he took his own little list out, and was pleased (and a little surprised) at how much his list and ours were alike.

It's not about maintenance, it's about mission!

The goals/priorities/vision of our Church in Milwaukee can be expressed in six points, he said.

(1) Seek ye first the Kingdom of God --- always, always first. (it's about interior conversion of heart: "The Kingdom of God is within you")

---- emphasis on the Sunday Eucharist
---- avoiding any parish or school scheduling that conflicts with Sunday Mass
---- promoting regular attendence at Sunday Mass
---- celebrating Sunday Mass with beauty, dignity, reverence, and the very best the parish has to offer, according to the General Instruction, etc., etc.
---- remember that the Eucharist is without and beyond the walls (the Pope spoke of that in this week's apostolic letter, though he did not use those words!)
---- return to frequent use of Reconciliation
---- promote retreat opportunities

(2) To strengthen the parishes.

all of the Archdiocese's/Central Office's/Chancery's activities exest to support the parishes, not the other way around.

---- be certain that chancery offices serve and assist the parishes. Look for the ways this can be best done. Examples include payroll services, land management, insurance pool, and suchlike services.
---- continuation of parish planning with building, expanding, and merging, and prudent assignment of priests.
---- relieve priests of the overwhelming administrative load to allow them to work as priests and do the things that only priests can do.
---- encourage priestly vocations. The number of seminarians is still rising but there is plenty of room (and need) for more. (Could every one of us, in the next, let's say, three years, raise up one vocation to the priesthood, the deaconate, or religious life?)
---- retrieve our "fallen aways"

(3) Foster a sense of vocation.

Every member of the Church, by reason of baptism, has a mission.

yet must promote vocations to (a) Marriage and (b) priesthood and religious life.

We absolutely must foster the sacred vocations of husband, wife, father, and mother. In many ways the priesthood/religious life vocations will take care of themselves if we have healthy faithful families.

---- Proposes the "Nazareth Institute on Marriage and Family Life".

(4)Strengthen Catholic education and faith formation.
(a) the Catholic K-12 school system
(b) religious education for children not in Catholic schools
(c) need for adult faith formation
(d) and for formation in the critical age group post-high-school, pre-marriage.

The Catholic schools have to be affordable to all Catholic students (and they definitely aren't at this time!). Every Catholic student who wants a Catholic school should be able to go (and this isn't right now either).

We may need to build more high schools [understatement?] and definitely need to strengthen the thirteen we already have. And not just academically, but spiritually --- these are not private prep schools, but Catholic schools first!

Adult faith formation has to be readily available --- some parishes do a great job, some not-so-hot --- and this formation could happen in coordination with the two seminaries and five Catholic colleges and universities.

We must train catechists. And support them in their ministry. Volunteer have been working very hard and with the best intent, but not always with the knowledge they should have to do the very best by our children.

And there have to be high-quality homilies at Sunday Mass --- those homilies may be the only "continuing religious ed" many adult Catholics get, for, after all, can't make them go to class......

(5) Emphasis on the mission of justice and peace

The poor and the needy and the alien have always looked to the Church. And we are always called beyond just ourselves and ours, even to the Church Universal.

Some ways:
---- St. Vincent de Paul societies
---- parish twinning
---- shelter work [like Cathedral Center]
---- meal programs
---- etc., etc., etc.

---- strengthen Church presence in the central cities
---- be in the forefront of welcoming immigrants from wherever. "Catholic immigrants are as much at home in the Church as any of us. It is their home, too."
---- defense of the lives of babies in the womb
---- support of Catholic hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, etc., as specifically Catholic institutions, not secular businesses or human warehouses.
---- ministry to prisoners, who must never be forgotten.
---- Mass and homilies form us as witnesses to the whole world.
---- Ecumenical and interfaith outreach

(6) ("and you all knew this was coming") Stewardship

We have to share our time, our talents, and our treasure. A lot of the stuff already mentioned is going to require money.

Some specific points:
---- central services to hold to a budget within the cathedraticum ("parish tax"), freeing other cash, such as the Stewardship Appeal, for other use.
---- an archdiocesan capital campaign for those parish expansions, new high schools, other capital improvements needed.
---- build an endowment for the support of central ministries.
---- increase Catholic Stewardship Appeal to intake $10 million/year.

Question time:
[first two from the email, others in person]

---- Guidelines for Catholic voters?
---- Why is it important for people to get involved in their parishes.
---- More queries about election issues
---- About the factions in the Church (yes, they are awful)
---- Issue of Confession for very young children, concern about insisting on the sacrament for children not yet capable of mortal sin, and for whom "sin" means "whatever made a grownup mad." ( from a woman who said "I'm probably what you'd call part of the darkness, but I am a godmother")
---- "When will we see the end of exclusive language in the Liturgy?" [the only question that seemed to startle +Timothy, but only for a moment.]
---- about children in faith formation --- could +Timothy visit sometimes? --- problems with CCD kids not being brought to Sunday Mass, so where would they ever see or hear a priest or bishop?
---- merging/closing parishes changing to building/growing parishes
---- when will Redemptionis sacramentum be implemented? [Both questioner and various clauses of +Timothy's answer were applauded --- but not by the same people.]
---- needs and desires of teenaged Catholics, high schools, CCD, etc.
---- what makes Catholic hospitals, SNFs, etc. distinctively different from their secular counterparts.

So, this is how our archbishop sees our future. There are still a few more of these meetings, including on Thursday at Messmer high, and a few out beyond where the transit goes whence dwell dragons [grin], with different folk to talk with afterwards and different people asking their own questions .... If you are Milwaukean, I highly recommend your attendance. Recall the arms of Moses ....

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Happy Name Day, Gerard Serafin!

My dear cyber-acquaintance Gerard Serafin is one of the pioneers and shining stars of St. Blog's, and also keeps the most numinous site in cyberspace. Please remember him especially today.

and now, the tale of his name-saint:

Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse.....and he opened not his mouth

I wish to love God.
I wish always to be with God,
and to do everything for the love of God.
The center of all love for God
consists in giving ourselves entirely to God
by being in all things conformable to the divine will,
and remaining in this conformity for all eternity.

------ St. Gerard Majella

St. Gerard was a tailor, born in 1727 to a family in that trade. He was still an apprentice when his father died; he became a servant in the household of a cantankerous bishop for a while, then he went back to his hometown and opened his own tailor shop.

In 1748 he entered the Redemptorist community as a lay-brother; the founder of the community, St. Alphonsus Ligouri, received his profession in 1752. Gerard served as tailor and infirmarian in the community, and became known for great holiness and charity, and for charisms of prophesy and infused knowledge; his advice and spiritual direction was sought after even though he was not a priest.

However, disaster was coming over the horizon.

In 1754, a woman whom Gerard had helped to enter the convent washed out of the convent, and to distract attention from her failure at religious life she accused Gerard of fornication and lechery, and that he had imposed himself upon the young daughter of a gentleman who regularly gave hospitality to travelling Redemptorists, believably. When confronted with the charges, Gerard made no answer at all to them, and, the charges being credible, he was placed under every penalty short of expulsion from the community: close confinement and surveillance, no contact with the outside world, exclusion from communion..... and this went on for months and months. Finally, the accuser became gravely ill, and, believing herself to be dying, she admitted she had lied about Gerard. When St. Alphonsus asked Gerard why he had remained silent before the accusations, Gerard replied that he believed that was what was required in the face of unjust accusations; after all, Jesus did not answer Pilate, and the rule of the Redemptorists said that one was not to defend oneself from the charges of one's superior.

Not long after he was cleared of the charges, he died, of TB, in 1755 at the age of 29.

A Parish Examination

Does your parish measure up?

Here are the queries, as proposed by the Holy Father's chief liturgist early in October in preparation for this Year of the Holy Eucharist. [via John Allen of NCReporter]

1) Is the Sunday Mass a celebration of the entire parish community (no movement or sub-group excluded or isolated)?

2) Is the proclamation of the Word of God, and especially the homily, truly effective in opening up the Scriptures? (The pope makes a special point of calling for care in the preparation and delivery of homilies).

3) Are the reformed liturgical texts, and especially the Roman Missal, being applied in their integrity?

4) Are the tone of voice, the gestures, the movements, the sense of respect, the moments of silence, the whole constellation of modes of acting consistent with the dignity of the Eucharist?

5) Are people being educated in prayer, especially in the Liturgy of the Hours?

6) Are communities engaging in genuine Christian witness outside the liturgy, acting upon the commission at the end of the Mass?

Remember to offer up a thankgiving to God if your parish measures up, and don't forget to give thanks for your priests and your bishop(s).

And, if you don't think your parish measures up, it's no excuse to stop praying, and time to consider what you (not Father, not the DRE, not Sister, ......) are going to do to improve the situation. Remember that we become what we receive in the Eucharist, and each one of us may be the only Jesus someone ever meets.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Sound bites from "Mane nobiscum Domine"

Whoever learns to say ‘thanks’ in the manner of the crucified Christ can be a martyr, but never a petty dictator.

We must not deceive ourselves: it is from our reciprocal love and, in particular, from the concern we have for those in need that we will be recognized as true disciples of Christ [Jn 13:35; Mt 25:31-46]. This is the criterion on the basis of which the authenticity of our Eucharistic celebrations will be confirmed.

I'm generally apathetic on the upcoming election

but this little Catholic Voter quiz was a bit enlightening. For me there were quite intriguing Bush v. Kerry results, but as I might have guessed, I'm 90-100% in the bishops's pockets.

Vespers and Visions

This coming evening I'm off to Vespers and the archbishop's regional gathering at Pius XI high school. This article about the first of the gatherings should give you a good idea about what's in store for me.

Sounds to me like "second verse, same as the first" or maybe "let's sing that again --- with feeling!" But we definitely can use the extra enthusiasm on the holiness front. On some of my more discourageded days, I'm tempted to think I was the onlyest one to actually listen and attempt to heed our last archbishop's exhortations to faithfulness and growth in holiness. Maybe dear +Timothy will be more successful at being heard and heeded ........

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Prayers in time of war

[from the Archbishop Oscar Romero House of Hospitality, Oklahoma City]

Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us according as we hope in thee.

Our Lady of Sorrows,
we pray for those who will die today
because of war, economic chaos, injustice, and exploitation,
especially the children.

Prepare them for the agony, despair,
and terror of the violence that is upon them.
Comfort them and hold them close to the
bosom of thy Wounded Heart as they drink deeply
of the bitter cup which is forced upon them.

Wipe their tears, calm their fears,
welcome them to peace and safety.
Eternal rest grant to them,
and may perpetual light shine upon them.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, help the helpless,
strengthen the fearful, comfort the sorrowful,
bring justice to the poor, peace to all nations,
and solidarity among all peoples.

Overturn the thrones of tyranny and scatter the unjust.
Cast down the bloody rulers who make the cry of
the widow and orphan rise to heaven.
Open our eyes to see the beauty, joy,
redemption, and goodness which comes
through obedience to the Gospel of your Son our Lord.

Teach us to be a refuge of hope for all
who are oppressed by injustice and violence.
Give us strength to stand against the
demonic powers which prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

O Christ God, Lord of Glory,
who gave us joy and blessing from your Mother's womb,
have mercy on us and save us.

Remember, St. Joseph, most humble and loving protector of the poor,
that no one ever had recourse to your protection
or asked your aid without obtaining relief.
Confiding therefore in your goodness,
we come before you and pray to you on behalf of all those at risk
today of war, economic catastrophe, and injustice..
Holy Joseph, help the helpless, comfort the dying,
bring justice to the poor, and peace to all nations.
Bless our enemies with reconciliation,
and bless our nation by removing from us the temptations of
empire, wealth, violence, and greed,
so that we might realize the promise of our ancestors and
be a blessing to all the peoples of this good earth.

O Christ God, Lord of Glory,
who gave us joy and blessing from your Mother's womb,
have mercy on us and save us.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our shield against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou,
O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God thrust into hell Satan
and all the evil spirits which prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

O Christ God, Lord of Glory,
who gave us joy and blessing from your Mother's womb,
have mercy on us and save us.

O Mary, bright dawn of the new world,
Mother of the living, to you do we entrust the cause of life:

Look down, O Mother,
upon the vast numbers of babies not allowed to be born,
of the poor whose lives are made difficult,
of men and women who are victims of brutal violence,
of the elderly and the sick killed by indifference or out of misguided mercy.

Grant that all who believe in your Son may
proclaim the Gospel of life with honesty and love to the people of our time.

Obtain for them the grace to accept that Gospel as a gift ever new,
the joy of celebrating it with gratitude throughout their lives
and the courage to bear witness to it resolutely,
in order to build, together with all people of good will,
the civilization of truth and love, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life. Amen.

O Christ God, Lord of Glory,
who gave us joy and blessing from your Mother's womb,
have mercy on us and save us.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

"Stay with us. Lord"

The new apostolic letter Mane nobiscum Domine is now available in English. The introduction to the upcoming Year of the Eucharist, it's been long-awaited by tabernacle addicts like me. More later, after I get a chance to noodle on it a bit.

A Litany of an Unbroken Heart

A new litany of prayer by my listserv acquaintance Dan'l can be found right here, at his site, Sturgeon's Lawyer.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Blessed John's Day

Today is the memorial of Blessed John XXIII. My parish is the home of one of the first public shrines in his honor.

the statue of Blessed John XXIII at my parish

from the Opening Address of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council:

Thus, venerable brethren in the episcopate, "our heart is wide open to you." Here we are assembled in this Vatican Basilica at a turning-point in the history of the Church; here at this meeting-place of earth and heaven, by St. Peter's tomb and the tomb of so many of Our predecessors, whose ashes in this solemn hour seem to thrill in mystic exultation.

For with the opening of this Council a new day is dawning on the Church, bathing her in radiant splendor. It is yet the dawn, but the sun in its rising has already set our hearts aglow. All around is the fragrance of holiness and joy. Yet there are stars to be seen in this temple, enhancing its magnificence with their brightness. You are those stars, as witness the Apostle John; the churches you represent are golden candlesticks shining round the tomb of the Prince of Apostles. With you We see other dignitaries come to Rome from the five continents to represent their various nations. Their attitude is one of respect and warm-hearted expectation.

Hence, it is true to say that the citizens of earth and heaven are united in the celebration of this Council. The role of the saints in heaven is to supervise our labors; the role of the faithful on earth, to offer concerted prayer to God; your role, to show prompt obedience to the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit and to do your utmost to answer the needs and expectations of every nation on earth. To do this you will need serenity of mind, a spirit of brotherly concord, moderation in your proposals, dignity in discussion, and wisdom in deliberation.

God grant that your zeal and your labors may abundantly fulfill these aspirations. The eyes of the world are upon you; and all its hopes.

Almighty God, we have no confidence in our own strength; all our trust is in you. Graciously look down on these Pastors of your Church. Aid their counsels and their legislation with the light of your divine grace. Be pleased to hear the prayers we offer you, united in faith, in voice, in mind.

Mary, help of Christians, help of bishops; recently in your church at Loreto, where We venerated the mystery of the Incarnation, you gave us a special token of your love. Prosper now this work of ours, and by your kindly aid bring it to a happy, successful conclusion. And do you, with St. Joseph your spouse, the holy apostles Peter and Paul, St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, intercede for us before the throne of God.

To Jesus Christ, our most loving Redeemer, the immortal King of all peoples and all ages, be love, power and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

And, links to his two greatest encyclical letters, Mater et Magistra and Pacem in Terris.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Standing up to apostate rulers: St. Publia

the story of one of today's saints, from the Ecclesiastical History of Theodoretus:

I will now include in my history the noble story of a right excellent woman, for even women, armed with divine zeal, despised the mad fury of Julian.

In those days there was a woman named Publia, of high reputation, and illustrious for deeds of virtue. For a short time she wore the yoke of marriage, and had offered its most goodly fruit to God, for from this fair soil sprang John, who for a long time was chief presbyter at Antioch, and was often elected to the apostolic see, but from time to time declined the dignity. She maintained a company of virgins vowed to virginity for life, and spent her time in praising God who had made and saved her. One day the emperor was passing by, and as they esteemed the Destroyer an object of contempt and derision, they struck up all the louder music, chiefly chanting those psalms which mock the helplessness of idols, and saying in the words of David "The idols of the nations are of silver and gold, the work of men's hands," and after describing their insensibility, they added "like them be they that make them and all those that trust in them."

Julian heard them, and was very angry, and told them to hold their peace while he was passing by. She did not however pay the least attention to his orders, but put still greater energy into their chaunt, and when the emperor passed by again told them to strike up "Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered." On this Julian in wrath ordered the choir mistress to be brought before him; and, though he saw that respect was due to her old age, he neither compassionated her gray hairs, nor respected her high character, but told some of his escort to box both her ears, and by their violence to make her cheeks red. She however took the outrage for honour, and returned home, where, as was her wont, she kept up her attack upon him with her spiritual songs, just as the composer and teacher of the song laid the wicked spirit that vexed Saul.

Glad to have missed the "debate"

because reading Exodus 19 with Bishop Sklba was so much fun! Wheras the "debate" would have been a total waste, given the lack of candidates. It's becoming more and more sure to me that Venerable Dorothy of New York City was right about elections, that if God wanted us to vote He would supply some candidates to vote for.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Christian Carnival XXXVIII, Part 1

is now available at Belief Seeking Understanding.

He's got so many contributions this week that a part two will be issued shortly!

Hope my own upcoming turn, in a few weeks, is as successful.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The struggle to be totally pro-life

from Newsweek Online, this column by Melinda Henneberger about being all the way pro-life. Not exactly politically correct in our latter days, but correct anyway.

We need to be concerned with right and wrong, not with right and left.

Monday, October 04, 2004

How St. Francis taught Brother Leo that perfect joy is only in the cross

One winter day St. Francis was coming to St. Mary of the Angels from Perugia with Brother Leo, and the bitter cold made them suffer keenly. St. Francis called to Brother Leo, who was walking a bit ahead of him, and he said: "Brother Leo, even if the Lesser Brothers in every country give a great example of holiness and integrity and good edification, nevertheless write down and note carefully that perfect joy is not in that."

And when he had walked on a bit, St. Francis called him again, saying: "Brother Leo, even if a Lesser Brother gives sight to the blind, heals the paralyzed, drives out devils, gives hearing back to the deaf, makes the lame walk, and restores speech to the mute, and what is still more, brings back to life a man who has been dead four days, write that perfect joy is not in that."

And going on a bit, St. Francis cried out again in a strong voice: "Brother Leo, if a Lesser Brother knew all languages and all fields of study and Scripture, if he also knew bow to prophesy and to reveal not only the future but also the secrets of the consciences and minds of others, write down and note carefully that perfect joy is not in that."

And as they walked on, after a while St. Francis called again forcefully: 'Brother Leo, Little Lamb of God, even if a Lesser Brother could speak with the voice of an angel, and knew the courses of the stars and the powers of herbs, and knew all about the treasures in the earth, and if be knew the qualities of birds and fishes, animals, humans, roots, trees, rocks, and waters, write down and note carefully that true joy is not in that."

And going on a bit farther, St. Francis called again strongly: "Brother Leo, even if a Lesser Brother could preach so well that be should convert all unbelievers to the faith of Christ, write that perfect joy is not there."

Now when he had been talking this way for a distance of two miles, Brother Leo in great amazement asked him: "Father, I beg you in God's name to tell me where perfect joy is."

And St. Francis replied; "When we come to St. Mary of the Angels, soaked by the rain and frozen by the cold, all soiled with mud and suffering from hunger, and we ring at the gate of the Place and the brother doorkeeper comes and says angrily: 'Who are you?' And we say: 'We are two of your brothers.' And he contradicts us, saying: 'You are not telling the truth. Rather you are two rascals who go around deceiving people and stealing what they give to the poor. Go away!' And he does not open for us, but makes us stand outside in the snow and rain, cold and hungry, until night falls --- then if we endure all those insults and cruel rebuffs patiently, without being troubled and without complaining, and if we reflect humbly and charitably that that doorkeeper really knows us and that God makes him speak against us, oh, Brother Leo, write that perfect joy is there!

And if we continue to knock, and the doorkeeper comes out in anger, and drives us away with curses and hard blows like bothersome scoundrels, saying; 'Get away from here, you dirty thieves --- go to the hostel! Who do you think you are? You certainly won't eat or sleep here' --- and if we bear it patiently and take the insults with joy and love in our hearts, Oh, Brother Leo, write that that is perfect joy!

And if later, suffering intensely from hunger and the painful cold, with night falling, we still knock and call, and crying loudly beg them to open for us and let us come in for the love of God, and he grows still more angry and says: 'Those fellows are bold and shameless ruffians. I'll give them what they deserve.' And he comes out with a knotty club, and grasping us by the cowl throws us onto the ground, rolling us in the mud and snow, and beats us with that club so much that he covers our bodies with wounds --- if we endure all those evils and insults and blows with joy and patience, reflecting that we must accept and bear the sufferings of the Blessed Christ patiently for love of Him, oh, Brother Leo, write: that is perfect joy!

'And now hear the conclusion, Brother Leo. Above all the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit which Christ gives to His friends is that of conquering oneself and willingly enduring sufferings, insults, humiliations, and hardships for the love of Christ. For we cannot glory in all those other marvelous gifts of God, as they are not ours but God's, as the Apostle says: 'What have you that you have not received?' But we can glory in the cross of tribulations and afflictions, because that is ours, and so the Apostle says: 'I will not glory save in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ.'"

To whom be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

[from The Little Flowers of St Francis]

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Transitus Night

This night, many years ago, was the night that our brother Francis was Called to his Father.

It had been seen coming for a long time, Francis was never very strong, and he'd been ill and frail ever since he had come back from the Crusades with that eye disease. And, a few years before, he had become totally conformed to his Lord --- the holy brother Leo the priest had witnessed it --- and his suffering was extreme. But now the time had actually arrived.

Earlier in the day, Francis had asked one of his brothers to go, just as fast as he could, to Rome, and bring back to him the third lady in his life, after Lady Poverty and the Lady Clare, Jacopa Frangipani di Settesoli, and if she could please bring with her some fabric for his shroud and a batch of those almond cookies it would be such a goodness. [All the brothers were entirely hooked on Jacopa's almond cookies.] But before the brother could even leave the place, Jacopa and her entourage rode up; she said she'd had a vision to come. She even had with her the new shroud, everything necessary to prepare the body for burial, and even a triple batch of those almond cookies. A few of the brothers were upset about Jacopa's arrival, and wouldn't let her into the place; after all, she was a girl, and there were rules. But Francis told them to lighten up and let Brother Jacopa in.

Francis asked his brothers to take him out of bed and lay him on the ground. He took some bread, broke it and shared it with them each, then asked that Jesus' words at the Last Supper [John 14-17] be read for him. The community then sang the Canticle of the Creatures that Francis had composed, and then prayed some psalms. Francis died during Psalm 142, his last words were, "Bring my soul out of prison, and I shall praise Your name."

Thus did our brother Francis pass from this life to the life true and eternal; may he pray for us, that we may also be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Oh, no! Prayers led by layfolk three times daily!

and folk not blissfully happy about being forced into an anonymous mega-congregation! Behaving just like good Catholics!

But you would not think so from the panic at one of the places I end up sometimes even though I shouldn't.

Serious Catholics, good traditional Catholics, pray three times a day and more. Together when they can. What else are the church bells at 7 am, noon, and 6 pm all about, after all?

So many of the ways of common prayer in our Church are not dependent on the presence of clergy. Beginning with the Church's official prayer, the Liturgy of the Hours. Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer. Night Prayer. Office of Readings. Together with the whole Church. Only natural for Catholic people who are together in one place to pray for a season.

Then the Angelus, the prayer those church bells are named after. An iteration of the Hours for busy people without Liturgy of Hours books.

Novena services. Communal Rosaries. Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 pm. Scripture services. Hymn sings. Stations.

Not a one dependent on having a cleric to lead. Not one.

So, why the presumption that "lay-led prayer services" has to mean "some abomination that's supposed to look like Mass"? Catholic layfolk, especially those who take their faith as seriously as this group seems to, have so many ways to pray together, and it's no surprise they use them.

Maybe there's a catechetical error that needs corrected among those who think that all common prayer must be the Mass .....

That elusive Washington Post article

can be found right here as a gif image, courtesy of Katherine who loves Suscipe, who scanned her paper copy. I had trouble reading the one at her place, so I put it in my own webspace as an image --- if you have trouble with one format, try the other.

Sorry for the delay, but I just got home from the parish Packer Party, which was a lot of fun but would have been much better if the Pack had actually won the game. Do you believe, I've lived in Milwaukee since 1974 and this was my very first Packer Party?

Saturday, October 02, 2004

St. Blog's Parish in the Washington Post?

Was tipped off this morning by Katherine who loves Suscipe that there's an article on Catholic blogging in the Washington Post. I Googled for it, went to www.washingtonpost.com and searched eight different ways, and went to scope out Mark's and Amy's, and cannot find the article. I think maybe she's seen it in a print edition, since she lives in the DC metro area --- but if any of my dear readers can point me the right diection, I'll post it asap, and consider it a small miracle that Katherine and I could scoop even Mark and Amy!

Update 8:05 pm Saturday:
Still no online copy, but I've got an exact paper-edition reference: October 2 Washington Post, Metro section, page B9, titled "To Congregate or Confess, Believers Are Turning to Blogs". Anyone spotting an online reference, let me know in the comments --- I'd like to see this one!

Friday, October 01, 2004

Social Justice Spirituality

By Bill Quigley (with whom I'm acquainted through the listservs), a meditation on the prophet Micah, and us. [It's a .pdf file, and requires Acrobat Reader]