Sunday, December 25, 2005

A Christmas sermon

by St. John Chrysostom (via the Metanoia listserv, via a blog called Orthodixie):

I behold a new and wondrous mystery!

My ears resound to the shepherd's song, piping no soft melody, but loudly chanting a heavenly hymn!

The angels sing!

The archangels blend their voices in harmony!

The cherubim resound their joyful praise!

The Seraphim exalt His glory!

All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead herein... on earth and man in heaven. He who is above now, for our salvation, dwells here below; and we, who were lowly, are exalted by divine mercy!

Today Bethlehem resembles heaven, hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices and, in place of the sun, witnessing the rising of the Sun of Justice!

Ask not how this is accomplished, for where God wills, the order of nature is overturned. For He willed He had the powers He descended. He saved. All things move in obedience to God.

Today He Who Is, is born! And He Who Is becomes what He was not! For when He was God, He became man-while not relinquishing the Godhead that is His... And so the kings have come, and they have seen the heavenly King that has come upon the earth, not bringing with Him angels, nor archangels, nor thrones, nor dominions, nor powers, nor principalities, but, treading a new and solitary path, He has come forth from a spotless womb.

Yet He has not forsaken His angels, nor left them deprived of His care, nor because of His incarnation has He ceased being God. And behold kings have come, that they might serve the Leader of the Hosts of Heaven; Women, that they might adore Him Who was born of a woman so that He might change the pains of childbirth into joy; Virgins, to the Son of the Virgin...

Infants, that they may adore Him who became a little child, so that out of the mouths of infants He might perfect praise; Children, to the Child who raised up martyrs through the rage of Herod; Men, to Him who became man that He might heal the miseries of His servants;

Shepherds, to the Good Shepherd who was laid down His life for His sheep;

Priests, to Him who has become a High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek;

Servants, to Him who took upon Himself the form of a servant, that He might bless our stewardship with the reward of freedom (Philippians 2:7);

Fishermen, to the Fisher of humanity;

Publicans, to Him who from among them named a chosen evangelist;

Sinful women, to Him who exposed His feet to the tears of the repentant woman;

And that I may embrace them all together, all sinners have come, that they may look upon the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world! Since, therefore, all rejoice, I too desire to rejoice! I too wish to share the choral dance, to celebrate the festival! But I take my part, not plucking the harp nor with the music of the pipes nor holding a torch, but holding in my arms the cradle of Christ!

For this is all my hope!

This is my life!

This is my salvation!

This is my pipe, my harp!

And bearing it I come, and having from its power received the gift of speech, I too, with the angels and shepherds, sing:

"Glory to God in the Highest! and on earth peace to men of good will!"


Don't even try to resist the Baby......

they're all irresistable. A blessed Nativity!

from a hymn of St. Ephrem of Syria:

Whom have we, Lord, like you? -
The Great One who became small, the Wakeful who slept,
The Pure One who was baptized, the Living One who died,
The King who abased himself to ensure honor for all.
Blessed is your honor!

It is right that man should acknowledge your divinity,
It is right for heavenly beings to worship your humanity.
The heavenly beings were amazed to see how small you became,
And earthly ones to see how exalted.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A Personalist Take on Current Events

Here I am, George... Come and Get Me is an interesting and kind of sweet commentary on the recent revelations about warrantless snoopery.

Anyone else here old enough to remember the original CoIntellPro? Maybe not....


Friday, December 16, 2005

Pope's World Day of Peace 2006 Message

via chiesa on line:


1. In this traditional message for the World Day of Peace at the beginning of the new year, I offer cordial greetings and good wishes to men and women everywhere, especially those who are suffering as a result of violence and armed conflicts. My greeting is one filled with hope for a more serene world, a world in which more and more individuals and communities are committed to the paths of justice and peace.

2. Before all else, I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to my predecessors, the great popes Paul VI and John Paul II, who were astute promoters of peace. Guided by the spirit of the Beatitudes, they discerned in the many historical events which marked their respective pontificates the providential intervention of God, who never ceases to be concerned for the future of the human race. As tireless heralds of the Gospel, they constantly invited everyone to make God the starting-point of their efforts on behalf of concord and peace throughout the world. This, my first message for the World Day of Peace, is meant to follow in the path of their noble teaching; with it, I wish to reiterate the steadfast resolve of the Holy See to continue serving the cause of peace. The very name Benedict, which I chose on the day of my election to the chair of Peter, is a sign of my personal commitment to peace. In taking this name, I wanted to evoke both the patron saint of Europe, who inspired a civilization of peace on the whole continent, and pope Benedict XV, who condemned the first world war as a “useless slaughter” (1) and worked for a universal acknowledgment of the lofty demands of peace.

3. The theme chosen for this year's reflection – “In truth, peace’ – expresses the conviction that wherever and whenever men and women are enlightened by the splendor of truth, they naturally set out on the path of peace. The pastoral constitution “Gaudium et Spes,” promulgated forty years ago at the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, stated that mankind will not succeed in “building a truly more human world for everyone, everywhere on earth, unless all people are renewed in spirit and converted to the truth of peace.” (2) But what do those words, “the truth of peace,” really mean? To respond adequately to this question, we must realize that peace cannot be reduced to the simple absence of armed conflict, but needs to be understood as “the fruit of an order which has been planted in human society by its divine founder,” an order ''which must be brought about by humanity in its thirst for ever more perfect justice.” (3) As the result of an order planned and willed by the love of God, peace has an intrinsic and invincible truth of its own, and corresponds “to an irrepressible yearning and hope dwelling within us.” (4)

4. Seen in this way, peace appears as a heavenly gift and a divine grace which demands at every level the exercise of the highest responsibility: that of conforming human history – in truth, justice, freedom and love – to the divine order. Whenever there is a loss of fidelity to the transcendent order, and a loss of respect for that “grammar” of dialogue which is the universal moral law written on human hearts, (5) whenever the integral development of the person and the protection of his fundamental rights are hindered or denied, whenever countless people are forced to endure intolerable injustices and inequalities, how can we hope that the good of peace will be realized? The essential elements which make up the truth of that good are missing. Saint Augustine described peace as “tranquillitas ordinis,” (6) the tranquility of order. By this, he meant a situation which ultimately enables the truth about man to be fully respected and realized.

5. Who and what, then, can prevent the coming of peace? Sacred Scripture, in its very first book, Genesis, points to the lie told at the very beginning of history by the animal with a forked tongue, whom the evangelist John calls “the father of lies” (John 8:44). Lying is also one of the sins spoken of in the final chapter of the last book of the Bible, Revelation, which bars liars from the heavenly Jerusalem: “Outside are all who love falsehood” (22:15). Lying is linked to the tragedy of sin and its perverse consequences, which have had, and continue to have, devastating effects on the lives of individuals and nations. We need but think of the events of the past century, when aberrant ideological and political systems willfully twisted the truth and brought about the exploitation and murder of an appalling number of men and women, wiping out entire families and communities. After experiences like these, how can we fail to be seriously concerned about lies in our own time, lies which are the framework for menacing scenarios of death in many parts of the world. Any authentic search for peace must begin with the realization that the problem of truth and untruth is the concern of every man and woman; it is decisive for the peaceful future of our planet.

6. Peace is an irrepressible yearning present in the heart of each person, regardless of his or her particular cultural identity. Consequently, everyone should feel committed to service of this great good, and should strive to prevent any form of untruth from poisoning relationships. All people are members of one and the same family. An extreme exaltation of differences clashes with this fundamental truth. We need to regain an awareness that we share a common destiny which is ultimately transcendent, so as to maximize our historical and cultural differences, not in opposition to, but in cooperation with, people belonging to other cultures. These simple truths are what make peace possible; they are easily understood whenever we listen to our own hearts with pure intentions. Peace thus comes to be seen in a new light: not as the mere absence of war, but as a harmonious coexistence of individual citizens within a society governed by justice, one in which the good is also achieved, to the extent possible, for each of them.

The truth of peace calls upon everyone to cultivate productive and sincere relationships; it encourages them to seek out and to follow the paths of forgiveness and reconciliation, to be transparent in their dealings with others, and to be faithful to their word. In a particular way, the followers of Christ, recognizing the insidious presence of evil and the need for that liberation brought by the divine Master, look to him with confidence, in the knowledge that “he committed no sin; no guile was found on his lips” (1 Peter 2:22; cf. Isaiah 53:9). Jesus defined himself as the truth in person, and, in addressing the seer of the Book of Revelation, he states his complete aversion to “every one who loves and practices falsehood” (Revelation 22:15). He has disclosed the full truth about humanity and about human history. The power of his grace makes it possible to live “in” and “by” truth, since he alone is completely true and faithful. Jesus is the truth which gives us peace.

7. The truth of peace must also let its beneficial light shine even amid the tragedy of war. The fathers of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, in the pastoral constitution “Gaudium et Spes,” pointed out that “not everything automatically becomes permissible between hostile parties once war has regrettably commenced.” (7) As a means of limiting the devastating consequences of war as much as possible, especially for civilians, the international community has created an international humanitarian law. In a variety of situations and in different settings, the Holy See has expressed its support for this humanitarian law, and has called for it to be respected and promptly implemented, out of the conviction that the truth of peace exists even in the midst of war. International humanitarian law ought to be considered as one of the finest and most effective expressions of the intrinsic demands of the truth of peace. Precisely for this reason, respect for that law must be considered binding on all peoples. Its value must be appreciated and its correct application ensured; it must also be brought up to date by precise norms applicable to the changing scenarios of today's armed conflicts and the use of ever newer and more sophisticated weapons.

8. Here I wish to express gratitude to the international organizations and to all those who are daily engaged in the application of international humanitarian law. Nor can I fail to mention the many soldiers engaged in the delicate work of resolving conflicts and restoring the necessary conditions for peace. I wish to remind them of the words of the Second Vatican Council: “All those who enter the military in service to their country should look upon themselves as guardians of the security and freedom of their fellow-countrymen, and, in carrying out this duty properly, they too contribute to the establishment of peace.” (8) On this demanding front the Catholic Church's military ordinariates carry out their pastoral activity: I encourage both the military ordinaries and military chaplains to be, in every situation and context, faithful heralds of the truth of peace.

9. Nowadays, the truth of peace continues to be dramatically compromised and rejected by terrorism, whose criminal threats and attacks leave the world in a state of fear and insecurity. My predecessors Paul VI and John Paul II frequently pointed out the awful responsibility borne by terrorists, while at the same time condemning their senseless and deadly strategies. These are often the fruit of a tragic and disturbing nihilism which pope John Paul II described in these words: “Those who kill by acts of terrorism actually despair of humanity, of life, of the future. In their view, everything is to be hated and destroyed.” (9)

Not only nihilism, but also religious fanaticism, today often labeled fundamentalism, can inspire and encourage terrorist thinking and activity. From the beginning, John Paul II was aware of the explosive danger represented by fanatical fundamentalism, and he condemned it unsparingly, while warning against attempts to impose, rather than to propose for others freely to accept, one's own convictions about the truth. As he wrote: “To try to impose on others by violent means what we consider to be the truth is an offense against the dignity of the human being, and ultimately an offense against God in whose image he is made.” (10)

10. Looked at closely, nihilism and the fundamentalism of which we are speaking share an erroneous relationship to truth: the nihilist denies the very existence of truth, while the fundamentalist claims to be able to impose it by force. Despite their different origins and cultural backgrounds, both show a dangerous contempt for human beings and human life, and ultimately for God himself. Indeed, this shared tragic outcome results from a distortion of the full truth about God: nihilism denies God's existence and his provident presence in history, while fanatical fundamentalism disfigures his loving and merciful countenance, replacing him with idols made in its own image. In analyzing the causes of the contemporary phenomenon of terrorism, consideration should be given, not only to its political and social causes, but also to its deeper cultural, religious and ideological motivations.

11. In view of the risks which humanity is facing in our time, all Catholics in every part of the world have a duty to proclaim and embody ever more fully the “Gospel of Peace,” and to show that acknowledgment of the full truth of God is the first, indispensable condition for consolidating the truth of peace. God is love which saves, a loving father who wants to see his children look upon one another as brothers and sisters, working responsibly to place their various talents at the service of the common good of the human family. God is the unfailing source of the hope which gives meaning to personal and community life. God, and God alone, brings to fulfillment every work of good and of peace. History has amply demonstrated that declaring war on God in order to eradicate him from human hearts only leads a fearful and impoverished humanity toward decisions which are ultimately futile. This realization must impel believers in Christ to become convincing witnesses of the God who is inseparably truth and love, placing themselves at the service of peace in broad cooperation with other Christians, the followers of other religions and with all men and women of good will.

12. Looking at the present world situation, we can note with satisfaction certain signs of hope in the work of building peace. I think, for example, of the decrease in the number of armed conflicts. Here we are speaking of a few, very tentative steps forward along the path of peace, yet ones which even now are able to hold out a future of greater serenity, particularly for the suffering people of Palestine, the land of Jesus, and for those living in some areas of Africa and Asia, who have waited for years for the positive conclusion of the ongoing processes of pacification and reconciliation. These are reassuring signs which need to be confirmed and consolidated by tireless cooperation and activity, above all on the part of the international community and its agencies charged with preventing conflicts and providing a peaceful solution to those in course.

13. All this must not, however, lead to a naive optimism. It must not be forgotten that, tragically, violent fratricidal conflicts and devastating wars still continue to sow tears and death in vast parts of the world. Situations exist where conflict, hidden like flame beneath ashes, can flare up anew and cause immense destruction. Those authorities who, rather than making every effort to promote peace, incite their citizens to hostility towards other nations, bear a heavy burden of responsibility: in regions particularly at risk, they jeopardize the delicate balance achieved at the cost of patient negotiations and thus help make the future of humanity more uncertain and ominous.

What can be said, too, about those governments which count on nuclear arms as a means of ensuring the security of their countries? Along with countless persons of good will, one can state that this point of view is not only baneful but also completely fallacious. In a nuclear war there would be no victors, only victims. The truth of peace requires that all – whether those governments which openly or secretly possess nuclear arms, or those planning to acquire them – agree to change their course by clear and firm decisions, and strive for a progressive and concerted nuclear disarmament. The resources which would be saved could then be employed in projects of development capable of benefiting all their people, especially the poor.

14. In this regard, one can only note with dismay the evidence of a continuing growth in military expenditure and the flourishing arms trade, while the political and juridic process established by the international community for promoting disarmament is bogged down in general indifference. How can there ever be a future of peace when investments are still made in the production of arms and in research aimed at developing new ones? It can only be hoped that the international community will find the wisdom and courage to take up once more, jointly and with renewed conviction, the process of disarmament, and thus concretely ensure the right to peace enjoyed by every individual and every people. By their commitment to safeguarding the good of peace, the various agencies of the international community will regain the authority needed to make their initiatives credible and effective.

15. The first to benefit from a decisive choice for disarmament will be the poor countries, which rightly demand, after having heard so many promises, the concrete implementation of their right to development. That right was solemnly reaffirmed in the recent general assembly of the United Nations Organization, which this year celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of its foundation. The Catholic Church, while confirming her confidence in this international body, calls for the institutional and operative renewal which would enable it to respond to the changed needs of the present time, characterized by the vast phenomenon of globalization. The United Nations Organization must become a more efficient instrument for promoting the values of justice, solidarity and peace in the world.

For her part, the Church, in fidelity to the mission she has received from her Founder, is committed to proclaiming everywhere “the Gospel of peace.” In the firm conviction that she offers an indispensable service to all those who strive to promote peace, she reminds everyone that, if peace is to be authentic and lasting, it must be built on the bedrock of the truth about God and the truth about man. This truth alone can create a sensitivity to justice and openness to love and solidarity, while encouraging everyone to work for a truly free and harmonious human family. The foundations of authentic peace rest on the truth about God and man.

16. At the conclusion of this message, I would like to address a particular word to all believers in Christ, inviting them once again to be attentive and generous disciples of the Lord. When we hear the Gospel, dear brothers and sisters, we learn to build peace on the truth of a daily life inspired by the commandment of love. Every community should undertake an extensive process of education and witness aimed at making everyone more aware of the need for a fuller appreciation of the truth of peace. At the same time I ask for an increase of prayers, since peace is above all a gift of God, a gift to be implored incessantly. By God's help, our proclamation and witness to the truth of peace will be all the more convincing and illuminating. With confidence and filial abandonment let us lift up our eyes to Mary, mother of the Prince of Peace. At the beginning of this new year, let us ask her to help all God's people, wherever they may be, to work for peace and to be guided by the light of the truth that sets man free (cf. John 8:32). Through Mary's intercession, may all mankind grow in esteem for this fundamental good and strive to make it ever more present in our world, and, in this way, to offer a safer and more serene future to generations yet to come.

From the Vatican, December 8, 2005.

Benedictus PP. XVI


Thankfully resting

What have I been up to these past two weeks?

Wandering from one durable medical equipment provider to the next, seeking one which would be both able and willing to fill my prescription for very expensive custom made medical panty hose. Wasting lots of van tickets and hours of time, and going out in unplowed streets several times in the doing. Took two weeks and three different providers, but it is finally started. About three weeks and I should have my first pair, if it doesn't need to be sent back for alterations. Once pair one is right, then they order pair two, one to wash and one to wear. Maybe by Lent I'll be able to semi-retire the multilayer pressure bandages.....

However, my rollator endurance is building nicely; on Monday I managed 4 1/2 laps of the physical therapy gym (with two rest stops) before turning blue. Thumbs up!

And, my kindly delivery internet grocery, Peapod, _delivers_ rock salt, at only 4 cents a bag more than it costs at the Pick n Save, and $2 a bag less than from the handy corner gas station. So there's 150 pounds of that blessed stuff stacked in the corner ready for the next snowstorm. Just because the city does a poor job of plowing and salting......


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Acts of Mercy and of Justice

with no organizational structure,
no official means of support,
no tax exemption,
and, since the founder died, 25 years ago, no leader.

But the servive, the mercy, and the reshaping of society continue.

A NYT editorial observation about the Catholic Worker Movement. [It's the NYT, of course registration's required!]


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Template Tampering Time

Thanks to reading in Bloglines, I let my sidebar maintenance slip a little. In the past few days, I've taken care of that, and the sidebar links should all be live, current, etc. If I accidentally broke yours in the doing, let me know and I'll fix it.


Saturday, November 26, 2005

An Advent Prayer

from Walking on the Wings of the Wind [Paulist Press, 1980]

"Come, Lord Jesus, come!"

How often during the Advent season I have said these words, dear Jesus. Teach me to understand what they really mean.

Come to me, Jesus, in my weakness, in my sinfulness.

That coming, I know, will be more like iodine on an open sore. My faults are so exposed, like open wounds, but after the burning sensation comes the healing lotions that soothe and mend.

Come to me, Jesus, in my moments of doubt and insecurity.

How difficult it is to be a bishop! So many demands and expectancies from these clay feet. Lord, I have my moments of self-doubt, too. Why must people think it is I who must have a solution to everything? Or are they only looking for an ear that will listen to their hurts?

Come to me, Jesus, in my moments of depression and discouragement.

I try, really, Lord, to teach your gospel and put it into practice, but my words are so often twisted against me --- sometimes even by friends, almost as if they were eager to see me tripped up. Teach me to see, Jesus, that you are able to bring good out of wrong and order out of confusion, teach me to see and understand the hurts in others that lie beneath the twists.

Come to me, Jesus, in my moments of tiredness and irritability.

Give me always, Jesus, the strength to go out to one more hurting person, one more soul in need, one more group to be touched.

Come to me, Jesus, in my moments of arrogance and pride. (It is not easy, Jesus, to say that and mean it.)

Yes, I do need to be brought down so very often. Too much adulation, too much praise is not good for a bishop. One moment of silence, though, and I see the facade crumble. Come to me in those moments, pick me up, sustain me.

Come to me, Jesus, in my moments of joy.

When I am at the altar or with good friends, or at the piano, or just walking along the streets greeting people, come to me through all these moments of pleasure and teach me to rejoice in you.

Come, Jesus, come!

What an empty life it would be, Jesus, if you did not come at Christmas and bring together into one solemn encounter all those moments of weakness and strength, depression and solace, sorrow and joy!

Come, Lord Jesus, come!


Evening Prayer I, in heaven

Dorothy's family's world, which would be hers as well, was Journalism. She, as a grade school girl, had survived the Great San Francisco Earthquake --- but her nightmares afterwards sent her family to Chicago, and then to New York City, the city that would become her own. They weren't believers, particularly; and she wasn't either. She had an extremely short failed marriage (hubby abandoned her in Europe after only a month or two....), became an activist for the vote for women, got a job in journalism behind her father's back (he didn't want her in journalism, blackballed her at all the mainstream papers, but he didn't think she might apply at the Socialist Call), associated with the radical intelligentia of the age before finding the one she thought was her true love and entering a common-law union with him. Forrest being an atheist and anarchist wasn't a problem since she very nearly was also. But then her life took a 180 degree turn.

Dorothy was pregnant. And God-haunted. She was starting to believe that she ought to be a Catholic, if she could with the two marriages and all. And she was certain that the baby had to be baptised and raised as a Catholic, and not spend so much time adrift as she had. When she told Forrest, that was the end, She could have Forrest, or God, said Forrest; and of course God won.

So the baby was baptised, and Dorothy was baptised not long after. She found a small apartment, went looking for a new job since Catholicism was inconsistant with the Socialist Call, and wondered what she would do next.

But there was an apostolate waiting for her. A wandering Catholic philosopher from France wandered into her life and taught her to think like a Catholic. Her neighbors and people from her past life who were in trouble knew there was a listening ear and a hot cup of tea at her place. And, since she knew Newspapers, she started one of her own, a Catholic paper to compete with the Call and the Daily Worker. The Catholic Worker still sells for one penny, even now.

In time, especially with the Great Depression, her apostolate grew out of her little apartment to several apartments --- to a storefront --- to a little farm --- to other people in other cities --- all serving Christ by sharing one's own food with the hungry and one's own home with those who have no home. Living the fulness of the "explosive" Catholic social teachings, and writing about it in the paper.

In the 1970's, as Dorothy became frailer in her old age, she handed the headship of the house in the Bowery over to "the young folks" but continued to live and to serve there. Until 1980. It was Saturday of the 34th week, the last day of the Church's year, November 29th. Dorothy was becoming weaker and weaker. Until, just before sunset, with her daughter and several of her old friends with her, she died, just in time to pray Evening Prayer I of the New Year with the saints of heaven.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Bless us, O Lord, and these Your gifts,

which we receive from Your bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

or, as the late Jean-Paul Ranieri would pray to begin the Sanctuary's feasts back in the day: Thanks for everything, Dad.

As I prepare, with the other folk in my household, to prepare the Thanksgiving feast --- tentative menu: roasted turkey thighs, baked sweet potatoes, baked squash (probably acorn, possibly butternut, one or the other), roasted onions/carrots/parsnips, green bean casserole with fresh beans, Splendad cranberry crisp --- here's the table grace of St. Brigid of Kildare, the great Irish abbess:

I should like a great lake of the finest ale
for the King of kings.

I should like a table of the choicest food
for the Family of Heaven.

Let the ale be made from the fruits of faith,
and the food be forgiving love.

I should welcome the poor to my feast,
for they are God's children.

I should welcome the sick to my feast,
for they are God's joy.

Let the poor sit with Jesus at the Highest Place,
and the sick dance with the Angels.

God bless the poor.
God bless the sick.
God bless our human race.
God bless our food.
God bless our drink.

All homes, O God, embrace.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Whatsoever you do for another you do for Christ, and its relationship to the zoning authorities

Terrence linked to me a couple of days ago. Don't know why to me, when I haven't posted specifically Catholic Worker things for months, and wasn't due to until this coming Saturday. But he googled or leap-blogged around, and found out how a home of a Catholic Worker becomes a Catholic Worker House --- and seemed a little shocked at just how not an institution it all is. Especially that the tradition is against tax exemption, that many Catholic Worker communities have no more insurance than their sisters and brothers whom they serve, and that someone would actually write that the zoning laws should be studied, in case anyone might want to make trouble, but that how one follows them is a matter of conscience.

My response was: what in the world would a zoning authority have to do with houseguests and dinner companions received as Christ? As of last night, that wasn't answered in Terrence's combox, but I've had some time to noodle on that too, and have some idea what's up.

As a radio amateur, I receive regular warnings from the ARRL and other radio societies about the dangers of "CC&R's", a kind of addition to an house's deed that can out of all conscience restrict perfectly legal, proper, and nondisruptive activities in one's own home, like having antennas. And, in speaking to elders, occasionally I've met one having grief from landlord/developer/condo association/other quasi-legal authority over whether they can cook aromatic ethnic specialties, fly an American flag, or have their grandchild visit overnight.

So, if the neighbors get upset somehow, they might go looking for some pretense. Along the lines of, Ooooh, there are four people living in that 4-bedroom house. Or, Me Oh My, craftworks are sold by the people there! (which would be no problem at _my_ home, which is zoned light industrial!) It would be wise to take a good look at the zoning, the CC&R's, any obsolete unenforced laws that might suddenly get resurrected, and avoid condos, before finding a home where one can live this past Sunday's Gospel, just to have a head's up and, if possible, avoid possible headaches.

But sometime one just has to do what has to be done --- then offer up the headache.

And, if you offer your guestroom to the Lord, He will send you the guest.


Friday, November 18, 2005

A Yahrzeit light for Gerard Serafin

Granted, I've been very distracted torturing myself for the physical terrorists, but I can't just let this drift by; I owe him.....

Mother of God, Light in All Darkness.

Back in the mid-1990's when I first entered the listserv world --- I was kknapp@omnifest.uwm.edu then jochebed@phantasy.com back then --- Gerard was already there, bearing witness to the truth of the Faith and, even more so, to the everlasting faithfulness and ever-deeper depths of the heart of Jesus. [The word "heart" he always printed in red as a witness.]

In May of 2002, that fateful month, his was the very first blog I ever saw. Since it was such a fateful time, I was blogging long before I had any idea what I was doing, and Gerard encouraged me. And when the chaos moved from my neighborhood to his, I tried my very best to encourage him.

One of his very last public acts of mercy was to beg for prayers for me when I was hospitalized this time last year. And one year ago this morning, Gerard Serafin, faithful witness to the everlasting love of God and priest forever, was born to life true and eternal.

Gerard, I pray for you. Please pray for me, and for all of us who live in the cyberworld you served, and your site continues to serve, so well.

Gerard's site: The Catholic Pages for Lovers

Gerard's blog: A Catholic Blog for Lovers


Saturday, October 29, 2005

A quick update (assuring my siblings I'm still alive!)

I've been very busy exercising my obedient submission muscles under the authority of my physical terrorists. The pressure bandages have been very successful in making my lower legs shrink to the size and proportion of real legs, with the steadily increasing exercise prescription --- five new ones were added on Thursday --- doing its share, along with all the time in bed with the feet up. They say that well before Thanksgiving I'll be able to be measured for Jobst Garments, which will be much more convenient than the bandages.

I finally have a rollator (a kind of 4-wheeled walker with a seat for when I run out of steam) and have been using it regularly, the PTs say that the more I use it, the better my endurance will get. I'm aimimg that by spring I'll be able to get from the house to the bus stop (or the grocery store on the other side of the block) with only one rest stop in between; that should free me up to wander in the pretty part of the year. If I had a camera I'd post a picture of the critter!

I also attended Dave Pawlak's wedding last weekend. Some of you may remember him from his retired blog Improvising. Please keep Dave and his dear Amy in your prayers.


Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Sorrowful Mysteries: from Pope John Paul II

from his Apostolic Letter on the Rosary:

22. The Gospels give great prominence to the sorrowful mysteries of Christ. From the beginning Christian piety, especially during the Lenten devotion of the Way of the Cross, has focused on the individual moments of the Passion, realizing that here is found the culmination of the revelation of God's love and the source of our salvation. The Rosary selects certain moments from the Passion, inviting the faithful to contemplate them in their hearts and to relive them.

The sequence of meditations begins with Gethsemane, where Christ experiences a moment of great anguish before the will of the Father, against which the weakness of the flesh would be tempted to rebel. There Jesus encounters all the temptations and confronts all the sins of humanity, in order to say to the Father: "Not my will but yours be done" (Lk 22:42 and parallels). This "Yes" of Christ reverses the "No" of our first parents in the Garden of Eden. And the cost of this faithfulness to the Father's will is made clear in the following mysteries; by his scourging, his crowning with thorns, his carrying the Cross and his death on the Cross, the Lord is cast into the most abject suffering: Ecce homo!

This abject suffering reveals not only the love of God but also the meaning of man himself.

Ecce homo: the meaning, origin and fulfillment of man is to be found in Christ, the God who humbles himself out of love "even unto death, death on a cross" (Phil 2:8). The sorrowful mysteries help the believer to relive the death of Jesus, to stand at the foot of the Cross beside Mary, to enter with her into the depths of God's love for man and to experience all its life-giving power.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Abolishing the Poll Tax Again

An excellent commentary on the current movement toward restoring slightly-veiled poll taxes again --- which is being attempted even here in Wisconsin.

If the legislative powers were actually interested in having proper picture identifications for everyone, they would do what was necessary to make them simple to get, no matter where in the state one lives and even outside of "normal working hours", and the ids and the documents needed to get the ids would be without cost. (I'm usually counted among the wealthy of my neighborhood, and it takes doing to scrape up the fee every time my undrivers id comes due for renewal; I know some of my neighbors are priced out, or can't afford to take the unpaid day from work)


Saturday, October 15, 2005

What Kind of Catholic? the quiz

via Catholic Sensibility:

You scored as Radical Catholic. You are "Radical" in its Catholic sense -- from the Latin word radix, or root. You are not just a "church person" but you are a disciple of Christ, making a total commitment to the Gospel, to voluntary poverty, and self-sacrifice for others. You give without counting the cost.

You need to be sure that you remain obedient to the Church and your superiors, and do not consider yourself a prophet or become elitist. Try to make good examinations of conscience and to be humble.

Radical Catholic


Evangelical Catholic


Traditional Catholic


Neo-Conservative Catholic


New Catholic


Liberal Catholic


Lukewarm Catholic


What is your style of American Catholicism?
created with QuizFarm.com

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Luminous Mysteries

My original gameplan for this was to find and offer twenty different sources for the twenty different standard mysteries, but I'm finding that my now-limited computer time is making me fall behind ... so I'm offering the luminous mystery meditations all from the same source, Fr. Phelan at Holy Cross Family Ministries.


“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17

Christ descended into the waters of the Jordan River, the innocent one who became “sin” for our sake (2 Cor. 5:21). The heavens opened wide and the voice of the Father proclaimed him the beloved Son. Our prayer time, too, is an opportunity to rejoice that we are beloved of God, that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him (sees his light) might not perish, but might have eternal life.” (JN 3:16) The Spirit descended on him to invest him with his mission.

Loving God, help me to realize that the mission vested in me by virtue of my baptism is based upon your tremendous love for me.


“His mother said to the servers, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’” John 2:5

In the finding of the child, Jesus, in the Temple, he had to be about the work of his Father, while his mother was upset that he could have done such a thing as to go missing. Now at Cana it is the mother of Jesus who prepares the way for his self- manifestation as the Christ. “Do whatever he tells you.” she says confidently to the servers, implying that the hour of his self-manifestation had come.

What love was felt by Son and mother for the bride and groom. This was the first of many signs which revealed Christ’s glory.

Loving God, teach me that there is no need or disappointment I may experience which does not stir you to compassion.


“But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth, he said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.’” Mark 2:10, 11

What greater sign of God’s loving mercy than the testimony of forgiveness of sins freely given? The people were scandalized that Christ would forgive sins, and yet amazed when he cured a paralytic, having first forgiven him. The forgiveness combined with the healing are signs of the true identity of the merciful Christ (cf. Mark 2:3-13).

Oh God, you are so loving that you grant me forgiveness of my sins through the sacramental reconciliation offered by your Church. What a grace and blessing! May I never be too proud to seek conversion. Help me see in Christ the revelation of your Kingdom of mercy and light.


“While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.” Luke 9:29

Those who are close to God in prayer have something different about their appearance. There is an aura about them, much like what is depicted as a luminous halo. The fact is, real deep prayer changes us and makes us more loving, more like the Christ. In this mystery we contemplate the Christ, transfigured and beaming, shining in splendor and holiness. The voice of the Father speaks once again and commands the apostles to listen to His chosen Son.

Loving God, help me to remember those mountain-top experiences of grace and favor in which your presence was so obvious to me. May the luminous memory of them motivate me to listen to your word even when I am uninspired.


“He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.” John 13:1b

Jesus, at the last supper, gave himself to his apostles as bread and wine transformed, and as service in the washing of their feet. He revealed himself not only as master and teacher, but as the Christ as he encouraged them to imitate him by washing each other’s feet.

Real love manifests itself in service. Help us, oh God to know how to reach out to others and aid them. I am confident that such washing of the feet will help me realize how great is your love for all your sons and daughters. May we imitate Christ in service, for we are the Body of Christ.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Fifth Joyful Mystery: the Finding of Jesus at the Temple

from a somewhat strange site called Shepherds of Christ, but the meditations are ok.

1. When Jesus was twelve years old, the Holy Family went to Jerusalem for Passover.
2. When it was over Mary and Joseph had traveled a day's journey before they realized Jesus was not with them.
3. With sorrow in their hearts they returned to Jerusalem to find Him.
4. After searching for Him for three days, they found Him in the Temple talking to the doctors.
5. The doctors were astounded at His wisdom.
6. He said He had to be about His Father's business.
7. Jesus teaches us today through His Word.
8. "He went down with them then and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority. His mother stored up all these things in her heart." (Lk. 2:51-52)
9. Mary, if we ever lose Jesus, lead us back to His tender Heart.
10. Jesus, help us to love Mary more.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Fourth Joyful Mystery: the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple

from the rosary meditations written by St. Josemaria Escriva:

When the days of the Mother's purification are accomplished, according to the Law of Moses, the Child must be taken to Jerusalem, to be presented to the Lord (Luke 2:22).

And this time it will be you, my friend, who will carry the cage with the doves (Luke 2:24). —Just think: She —the Immaculate!— submits herself to the Law as if she were defiled.

Through this example, foolish child, will you learn to obey the Holy Law of God, regardless of any personal sacrifice?

Purification! You and surely do need purification! —Atonement, and more than atonement, Love. —Love as a searing iron to cauterize our souls' uncleanness, and as a fire to kindle with divine flames the wretched tinder of our hearts.

A just and God-fearing man has come to the temple led by the Holy Ghost —it had been revealed to him that he would not die before he had seen the Christ. —He takes the Messiah in his arms and says to Him: Now, My Lord, Thou canst take Thy servant out of this world in peace, according to Thy promise... because my eyes have seen the Saviour (Luke 2:25-30).


Third Joyful Mystery: the Nativity of Our Lord

from Father Tommy Lane's website:

Let us adore baby Jesus in the manger. A baby easily wins the heart and love of anyone with human feelings, but how much more does this baby win our heart and love. Let us kneel before baby Jesus and thank him for coming to save us. Thank baby Jesus now in your own words.

Imagine, Jesus, the Son of God and our Saviour born in a stable and placed in a manger instead of in a cot! When God comes he usually comes in humility, silently and peacefully, without causing a great disturbance. God’s humble coming in Jesus would not surprise us if we knew God better. But of course we will never know God sufficiently to understand. So no matter how much we try to understand God becoming human in Jesus we will not be able to comprehend, it will remain a mystery. The best reaction is that of the shepherds, simply to praise God. Let us praise God now in our own words.

As we look on baby Jesus we think of the mystery of God’s love for us. Why did God who is almighty and all-powerful become small and powerless as a baby? Quite simply, out of love for us. God became human so that we might become more like God. Jesus if you had not come as a human like us, we might have had difficulty in believing that God really loved us. But now we know for sure. John the Evangelist says, “This is the revelation of God’s love for us, that God sent his only Son into the world that we might have life through him”. Let us thank God for revealing his love for us in Jesus, that he who is so big and powerful became so small and weak for us, that he became one of us, to help us be more like him, to have life through him.

As we see baby Jesus in the manger we reflect on God’s way being a way of gentleness and tenderness. God’s way is not one of violence but gentleness. There is a lack of goodness and love in the world but God is tender and loving. As we look on baby Jesus in the manger we see that he is the answer to today’s problems. Instead of violence, in baby Jesus in the manger we see gentleness. Instead of hatred, in baby Jesus in the manger we see tenderness. Instead of selfishness, in baby Jesus in the manger we see love for us. Let us ask baby Jesus to help us to be gentle, tender and loving with those around us as he was in the manger.

Jesus in the manger, you give us hope. In the darkness of our world, your light has shone. Your coming in gentleness encourages us to hold out the hand of reconciliation, to help one another, to work for peace. We remember the message of the angels; “Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace”. Baby Jesus, help us to be people of peace and to spread peace everywhere we go. Let us pray now for peace.


Second Joyful Mystery: the Visitation to Elizabeth

from the Catholic Online site. in the voice of Mary:

As soon as I realized by Gabriel's message that Elizabeth, my cousin, who had been barren for a long time and who was yet now old, had nonetheless conceived, I was prompted by God's grace to go to help her in her need. She was in her sixth month: I went from Nazareth to Judea. I was only pondering the message that the angel had given me. It all seemed so wonderful that God would use me for His kingdom; for His glory. As I arrived at Zechariah's house, I greeted Elizabeth. I had heard that Zechariah had become mute: he had doubted the Lord: he doubted that God could work a miracle in his life. As I entered and greeted Elizabeth, Elizabeth shouted for joy and said, "Blessed are you among all women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Who am I that the Mother of my Lord should come to me." Out of Elizabeth's mouth came the confirmation of Gabriel's message: that I had conceived the Son of God and later all ages were to proclaim me as blessed as the Mother of their Lord; the Mother of God. I began to sing the hymn of praise that came from my heart. I was so filled with God's Love that I had to share my Joy with Elizabeth and her house hold.

My children, never doubt that God can work a miracle in your Life even if things seem humanly impossible: all things are possible with God. Trust Him, trust Him my children. As I visited Elizabeth out of love, I wish to visit you out of love. I wish to come into your situation whatever it may be: to be present with you and to pray with you and for you. God will manifest His power if we believe. Elizabeth told me, "Blessed are you who have believed that the Lord's words would be fulfilled in you." Trust in the Lord. I am with you to pray with you. Offer this mystery to the Heavenly Father that He will also work a miracle of grace in your life: ask the Heavenly Father for the gift of faith and absolute trust in His work. I am praying with you and for you.


Monday, October 03, 2005

The First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation

I'm hoping I can keep this up, but in honor of October, the month of the Rosary, I intend to present meditations on all the standard mysteries through this month.

Today's is from In Pursuit of Peace: Praying the Rosary through the Psalms, which is Pax Christi USA's Rosary meditation book.

"Happy are those who find their pleasure in the Law of God and meditate on it day and night," Psalm 1 teaches us. It is such an innocent statement, such a seemingly benign idea: Keep the law of God within your heart; hold the will of God always before your eyes; don't substitute your will for the will of God. The ideas trip so lightly off the tongue, until the moment of annunciation comes, until the law of God invites us to do things that we don't want to do, until we come to realize that what God is asking of our powerless, unimpressive selves is important to the whole human race. Then comes the moment of truth.

God's annunciation to us is, "Sell what you have and give to the poor" ---here in our own cities where we keep the poor carefully hidden behind the welfare agencies. God announces, "Love one another" ---even the people our country is teaching us to hate. God announces, "Do unto others what you would have others do unto you" ---and we hear the word in a culture that puts more money into the military than it does into the millions who need food, education, medical insurance, day care and housing. Oh, yes, God announces and announces and announces and all of the announcements are contrary to what we are being taught to value or enticed to do. Where do we turn for strength when we meditate on all of that? To whom can we look then for a model of dissent? What will we do then when we are faced with two goods ---personal security and the good of others ---and one of the goods is higher than the other?

There is a model for us so unlikely that whatever our own insignificance, whatever our social fragility, we can take heart. We can turn to Mary in the first mystery of the rosary. Turn to the young woman who knew that if she listened to the unconventional call of God to expect an unexpected, unexplainable child, she stood to lose it all ---her honor in the community, her future security, her marriage. The neighbors would talk about her. No man would marry her. She would be a barnacle on the human community, ostracized, unwanted, unkept, a woman without an honorable future.

But because, brought up on the Psalms, she had meditated on the law of God all her life, Mary took the step for us that can give us the courage to take the step for others. She trusted that God's will was more to be followed than her own. Whatever the cost. Mary of the Annunciation is a model of the kind of courage it takes to follow the call of God in life.

"Happy are those who find their pleasure in the law of God and meditate on it day and night."


Monday, September 26, 2005

General update just because it's been a while

I really do hope to get back in the swing of things very soon.

I've been very obedient about that leg elevation order --- which means I've been spending lots of time reading books (real print-on-pulped-wood books) in bed (the only place in my house it's possible to get my legs higher than my torso) far away from the computer (which will be replaced by a laptop the next time it dies!) And I've also been spending a lot of time sitting out in the yard before the snow season starts and sitting outside stops.

And, I finally got the written referral for physical therapy --- for which I'd campaigned for almost three years --- and I started last week Monday. New exercises, special massages that are supposed to stimulate the lymphatic system, and multilayer tight bandages on both legs, which, odd as it may seem, actually make the legs feel good while they put the squeeze on the bloat. A couple of my tenants are helping me redo the bandages in between therapy visits, and the tape measure of the PT testifies that my legs are actually starting to shrink! Hooray!

However, exercising, being in bed with my feet up, going to the rehab clinic several times a week, and so on is putting a crimp both in computer time and in suitable inspiration --- I doubt you all hang around here to listen to my medical tales (siblings exempted) but at least you know that I have not fallen off the face of the earth and that I hope to get this virtual space shaped up again soon. Thanks for your prayers.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A writing Blog --- for non-writers

Writing, Clear and Simple is a brand new blog by a longtime listserv acquaintance, Roy Jacobsen of the Dispatches from Outland. Will join the sidebar in my next bout of template-tampering, but is well-deserving of attention before I get it in the sidebar proper-like. Go take a peek.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

the corona and crucifix above the altar of my parish, Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

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.

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.

The Cross and the Seraph Serpents

The very first symptom of the Fall was the desire to hide from God. And from each other. And, even, from ourselves. Hiding from God is just futile and frustrating. Hiding from others and from ourselves, however, is death-dealing. Secrets bind and kill. Delusions make one stupid. Both are what makes up the wide and downhill superhighway to despair.

Today's Mass readings show to us the antidote to this mess.

We have to face, straight-on, exactly what we've done, precisely what our besetting problem is.

In the journey out of Egypt to the Land of Promise, the people suffered an invasion of poisonous seraph serpents, and many were bitten and died. The way of healing prescribed by the Lord was to look upon the image of a seraph serpent. Those who would look upon the bronze serpent, who could admit, "I have been bitten by the serpent", would be healed. Those who would not look, those who feared or panicked or denied that the serpent was their problem, would die.

In the same way, we must look at the cross of Jesus. We _must_ look. In fact, the cross of Jesus must be our only glory. But, what do we see when we raise our eyes to the crucifix above the altar, or finger the cross that dangles from the rosary? Our Lord and Messiah, Our true King and only true Love, is put to a torturous death, and submits to it freely, that we may be redeemed. And that death, the death of a true Innocent, is at my hands, is at our hands. I am a betrayer, an abandoner, a coward and denier, a crucifier. And the Crucified forgives me, and redeems me, and raises me up. All that is required is to gaze upon His cross, and to know and say, "This is what I have done to my Lord of Glory. He deserves all my love and I have given Him this." At that, the Lord will conquer death in me, and tear down the gates of the netherworld in me, and heal me, and, on that Day, call me to Himself. But if I refuse to look upon the cross, and deny that I had anything to do with that, and try to say that it's all Pontius Pilate's problem, then I will die, as surely as my fathers and mothers died in that desert when the seraph serpents came, and as sure as, before that, Adam and Eve took death for their inheritance.

Look upon the Cross, on which is hung Salvation Himself, and we will be healed and live!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Don't forget to keep on praying

and, those of you all who have any, Send Money --- Red Cross, Salvation Army, Mercy Corps, Catholic Relief Services would all use it well and gratefully. Same for those living near refugee camps, listen to the local servers like St. Vincent de Paul.

Noticed a language quirk on CNN:

Upper-class tourists in the Ritz-Carlton break into and take a pharmacy's prescription drugs so they can give themselves antibiotic prophylaxis before they wade two blocks to their special buses out .... "commandeering".

Young couple seen going into standing-open Winn-Dixie and taking two bags of diapers, a few cans of infant formula, and a big bag of pretzels down the street to wherever they had to stay ..... "looting".


Wednesday, August 31, 2005

There again, back again

Legs are supposed to be mobilating and support structures for a body, not a handy microbial nursery! [MRSA and Group G Strep this time, for those of you as decode medical....]

Home again, but on a strict leg elevation order, so won't be with the computer but maybe an hour a day. New antimicrobials, two pills and, of all things, a _nostril_cream_! And, a small victory --- after two years of campaigning, I've finally won the precious referral to lymphadema clinic; but only after the infections are certified gone and the current bunch of wounds are healed.

Still hope to get a holy person or two profiled every week, but no promises. Keeping Leg elevated comes first......

Thanks for your prayers and support and I'll keep you all in my prayers.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Brother Roger's Funeral

The video of Brother Roger of Taize's funeral is here. Click button marked "regardez L'Archive video", it will play in a popup window. It is viewable with a dailup (I did it), but the video portion will appear more like a slideshow.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

We can't let schismatic "traditionalists" steal our saint!

If it wasn't Sunday, today would be the memorial day of Pope Saint Pius X, who was born Giuseppe Sarto --- warrior against spiritual starvation.

Your new bishop, the poorest of all, has but one ambition --- to see all the children under his care united in one large, happy family, in the shelter of which their souls shall be safe. For the well-being of souls I shall consider no sacrifice too great, and have nothing more at heart than your salvation. I know that for the salvation of my little flock, I shall have to bear great difficulties, encounter dangers, bear insults, and struggle against the foe who seeks its ruin. But my people will find me ever at my post, always meek and full of charity.
---Giuseppe Sarto at his installation as Bishop of Mantua

photo of Pope Pius X

Giuseppe Sarto was a man of prayer, a loving and diligent priest and bishop (of Mantua, then of Venice) and eventually pope, and one of that subspecies of fool-for-Christ saints known as "giveaway" saints --- who could not be trusted to not give away everything he touched, the exasperation of his bishop as a priest because he would pawn the candlesticks and thurible, the terror of his valet as bishop and pope because he would give away his last pair of socks.

But his greatest contribution to us who come after him was the final overcoming of a rigorist heresy known as Jansenism, for which we should give thanks every time we receive the Eucharist.

Before Pius X, under Jansenist influence, lay people actually receiving communion was rare. Although first confession was at age 6 or 7, first communion was delayed into the mid-to-late teenaged years, and it would be a full year before second communion. The Church had to have a law to command people to receive communion as often as once a year! (and some pastors resisted the law, not wanting their parishioners to receive that often; dissenters are not a new phenomena.)

But Pius X saw this dire situation and set out to do some things about it. He urged frequent communion for the faithful, communion every week or even every day. He set the requirements to be admitted to communion as the ability to tell the difference between the Eucharist and ordinary food, and the ability to show reverence appropriate to one's age; he regularly admitted children as young as 3 and 4 to first communion. And he issued a regulation that children who were regularly confessing were not to be excluded from communion --- no more confession at 6 or 7 and first communion at 15 or 16 anymore!

So, whenever you go to daily Mass and Father comes to the altar rail or communion station presuming that at least some of you will want to receive communion, thank St. Pius X, the warrior against spiritual starvation.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Yeah, I'm still here

Just very restricted in computer time right now. I'm under strict command from my visiting nurse to elevate my legs as much as possible, because a patch of damaged skin on one leg is weeping, and at my house I can only elevate my legs in bed, far away from this computer.

The next time this beast needs to be replaced, I think I'll find a laptop I can take to bed with me!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Carnivals time again

The Catholic Carnival is up at Deo Omnis Gloria. I contributed my long post on l'affaire d'affaire.

The Christian Carnival is up at all kinds of time. Here I contributed my Dormition Day post.

Lots of good stuff on both of them, as always. But, please, be sure that fron Christian Carnival you visit Minos Tirith and pray for the poor blogger there. He's in grief because folk he loves have found the holy apostolic Faith and are coming Home, and he's afraid that they will be damned.....

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Breaking sad news

Brother Roger of Taize was murdered during Vespers at the Taize monastery this evening.

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

And, Brother Roger and Father Max, pray for us.

Monday, August 15, 2005

".... to be happy with Him forever in Heaven."

Today is the solemnity of the Dormition, alias the Assumption, of the Mother of God.

Now, as we all know perfectly well, Holy Mother the Church never defines anything about the Blessed Virgin Mary unless it teaches us something about Jesus or something about us. This is why, short of a major new obnoxious heresy arising claiming that we cannot pray for each other, exercizing our universal call in holiness to be co-redeemers of the world with Christ, the Maria Mediatrix Coredemptrix people are going to be greatly disappointed. So, what is Holy Mother Church setting out to teach us by defining the content of this feast as doctrine? What does the Dormition, alias the Assumption, mean for us believers?

First, a proper definition of this feast: Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, at the end of her life on earth, was taken up to heaven by her Son, both soul and body together. There she lives forever in the glory of the Presence of God in her resurrection body.

Note that she did not not die --- though that would not have been out of line, since Enoch did not die, nor Elijah, and maybe not Moses either, and some even claim not Arthur the King. She did die, and her Son resurrected her, and took her to Heaven.

This is not all that different than what has been promised to each one of us. Dormition, falling asleep in the Lord, will come for each of us. We are made "to be happy with Him forever and ever in Heaven", as the first grade CCD book taught us. And just as His mother Mary has been resurrected to dwell in heaven body and soul together, the time will come when He will raise us up, and our soul will rejoin our resurrection body to the praise and glory of God.

Mary is the first-fruit of the general resurrection. Where and as she is, so shall we come to be, whole people, body and soul together, happy with God our Creator and Father in His eternal presence.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Do you believe in plentious redemption? A Pope and his Antipope

Today's saints, Pontian and Hippolytus, give us a case study of tensions that we see replayed again in our own time.

Pontian was elected bishop of Rome immediately following a period of fierce persecution, and, believing in the plentious redemption, he set to work facilitating the reconciliation and restoration of those poor people who had not remained faithful during the persecution, who ran away or who denied the faith in the trial.

Hippolytus was one of his presbyters, like Pontian a confessor of the faith, and he was utterly opposed to the reconciliation of those who had not stood during the trial, except, maybe, possibly, on their death-beds, if they'd been penitent enough by his lights. Hippolytus believed that Pontian was horribly lax and soft on sinning (not to mention dishonoring the sacrifices of the holy martyrs and courageous confessors!) --- and was so sure of his rightness that he allowed himself to be invalidly elected bishop by the other priests who agreed with him, becoming the Church's first antipope. Yet, in the end, Hippolytus renounced his error and his supposed episcopacy, and when the persecution heated up again, was arrested and exiled to hard labor in the mines along with Pontian, and they died as friends and martyrs together.

With God, all things are possible. All people are capable of redemption. No one, no matter how far fallen, is incapable of restoration. No one can be unworthy of our prayers, we who are also sinners. God can and will remake each one of us, if we only allow Him.

Friday, August 12, 2005

It's tough to keep the serfs in line after they pray Magnificat

It isn't just in Central America and very recent time that supposed Christians murder other Christians for being Christians. For it is very hard to become an oppressor with one's faith intact. And, when one becomes a Christian, one learns about the dignity and honor that accompany being a human being made in the very Image and Likeness, and the responsibility that comes from being buried with Christ in baptism and raised with Him to a new everlasting life. "Because the boss/jefe/King says so" is no longer a reason to do evil, or to refuse to share the faith that saves.

Today's the memorial day of Blessed Isidore Bakanja. His actual yahrzeit day is the 15th, but the Church deemed his witness too important to always be covered up by the Dormition, so nudged the celebration a few days.

Bakanja, of the Boanji nation, was born in the town of Bokendela, Belgian Congo, sometime between 1880 and 1890 (not in the 80 census, shows up in the 90 one). From childhood he labored on farms, and he also gained skills as a bricklayer. He converted to Christianity from animism on 1906 and was baptized and given the Christian name Isadore; the baptismal record estimates that he's about 18 years old at that time.

He continued to work as a bricklayer or a general farm laborer on the various plantations in the area, which were owned and managed by colonialists who, although baptized back home in Belgium, were functional atheists who had an animus against the Catholic Church and her missioners due to the Church's defense of the human rights and dignity of the Congolese peoples.

He was working on a plantation in Ikili in 1909 (and teaching his co-workers about the Faith and how to pray) when he asked the boss for some home leave --- he hadn't seen his family for a long time. He was refused, and commanded to throw away his crucifix and rosary and scapular [for my non-Catholic readers, a scapular is a miniaturized garment worn under the shirt as a devotional, in his case a sign of his membership in the Confraternity of OL of Mt. Carmel] and stop teaching other workers to pray. "You'll have them all praying and turn them all into Christians, then they'll want to see their families and stop working, too!" When they caught him continuing to teach his co-workers to pray, he was beaten. He still didn't stop evangelizing his co-workers.

On 22 April 1909 he was caught talking about Jesus and prayer again.That and the sight of Isidore's scapular (farmworkers don't always keep their shirts on) enraged the overseer, who stripped him and beat him with a flesh-tearing whip over 100 blows, tearing him open to the bones, then for weeks after kept him tight-tethered in one place 24 hour a day.

When the government inspectors came, the bosses tried to hide Isidore in another village, but Isidore escaped them to hide in the forest, then dragged himself --- he couldn't walk, and his back was just a bunch of deep infected wounds --- to the inspector who was talking to the overseer. The overseer offered to put "this animal of mon pere" out of its misery, but the inspector would not allow that, and took Isidore to his home to heal. But Isidore knew he was beyond that. "If you see my mother, or if you go to the judge, or you meet a priest, tell them that I am dying because I am a Christian." Missioners who spent several days with him while he was dying, and who received his last confession and gave him Communion for the last time, urged Isidore to forgive the overseer, and Isidore answered that he already had done so. "I shall pray for him. When I am in heaven, I shall pray for him very much. After six months of prayer and suffering, he died of his wounds on Assumption/Dormition Day, 1909.

Young adult ministry can be hazardous to your health

Today is the memorial of Blessed Karl Leisner, youth minister.

photo of Karl Leisner

Karl was a theology student and youth minister in Germany in the 1930s. As the National Socialist regime rose to power and the oppression of the Church increased, he developed a notable interest in hiking, camping, and natural history --- a cover for getting groups of youth away from prying eavesdropping official eyes and ears to freely speak of the Faith.

He did a stint of forced agricultural labor, during which he continued his theology studies and illicitly oranized Sunday Mass and faith formation for his fellow conscript laborers. During this time, his dwelling got raided by the Gestapo --- who confiscated Karl's spiritual journal and in their meticulous way carefully preserved it (for us!).

He was ordained deacon by Bishop Von Galen (soon to be beatified himself) in 1939, but was quickly imprisoned for his continued criticism of the National Socialist regime. After time in prisons at Freiburg, Mannheim, and Sachsenhausen, he was transferred to Dachau in December 1941. On 17 December 1944 he was ordained a priest while in Dachau by a French bishop finangled into the camp with the help of the local religious authorities. Being too ill to stand, he had to postpone his Mass of Thanksgiving for more than a week.

Still clinging to life in the prison camp when it was captured by the Allied forces in May, 1945, he was immediately transferred to a sanitarium near Munich, where he died on this day in 1945 of tuberculosis and effects of his long-suffering in prison.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

My Bloglines list was too active today

It seems that the Accuser of the Brethren is on the prowl again, looking to get his jollies. There's a new designated pariah, and soon the comment-box denizens will have him gnawed to bare bones (with plenty of tooth marks).

The teaching on these things (As stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church):

2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty

--- of
rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;

--- of
detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them;

--- of
calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

2478 To aviod rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor's thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:

Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another's statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understand it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.

2479 Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one's neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.

and the tradition, as demonstrated by St. Moses the Ethiopian:

A brother at Scetis committed a fault. A council was called to which Abba Moses was invited, but he refused to go to it. Then the priest sent someone to say to him, "Come, for everyone is waiting for you." So he got up and went. He took a leaking jug, filled it with water, and carried it with him. The others came out to meet him and said to him, "What is this, Father?" The old man said to them, "My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I am coming to judge the errors of another." When they heard that they said no more to the brother but forgave him.

and also:

[Abba Moses said,] "If the monk does not think in his heart that he isa sinner, God will not hear him." The brother said, "What does that mean, to think in his heart that he is a sinner?" Then the old man said, "When someone is occupied with his own faults, he does not see those of his neighbor."

and in the life of St. Isaac the Theban:

One day Abba Isaac went to a monastery. He saw a brother committing a sin and he condemned him. When he returned to the desert, an angel of the Lord came and stood in front of the door of his cell, and said, "I will not let you enter." But he persisted, saying, "What is the matter?" and the angel replied, "God has sent me to ask you where you want to throw the guilty brother whom you have condemned." Immediately he repented and said, "I have sinned, forgive me." Then the angel said, "Get up. God has forgiven you. But from now on, be careful not to judge someone before God has done so."

and St. Bessarion:

A brother who had sinned was turned out of the church by the priest; Abba Bessarion got up and went with him, saying, "I, too, am a sinner."

Let's not give the Accuser of our Brethren any jollies at all. We do not need to play his foul games and become ravenous mobs or bickering factions; each of us need only accuse no one but one's own self.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Christian Carnival #82

It's Wednesday, and Carnival Time again, this week at in the outer. I submitted "August Ninth", but it's not posted yet, maybe it'll show up with the corrections later today. As usual, there's a ton of good stuff there, not all from people as history-fixated as me.

All the Riches of Christ's Church

Lawrence the deacon, the last surviving deacon of the Church in Rome ---- the bishop, Sixtus, all the other deacons, and the vast majority of the presbyters having been executed a few days before ---- was ordered to appear before the magistrate of the city at a assigned time and place, bearing all the wealth of the Church.

So he gathered all the Church's wealth and brought it to the appointed place.

He gathered together every widow, every orphan, every beggar and street kid, all the blind and deaf and lame and lunatic ---- all the riches of Christ's Church ---- and presented the riches to the emperor's representative, as he had been commanded.

But the riches of the Church were not the riches that the magistrates were seeking; they were seeking jewels and precious metals and manuscripts of forbidden writings. So Lawrence was condemned to death ---- death by torture, by being cooked on a grill. According to the tradition, Lawrence kept his good humor even in dying. After some time, he informed his executioners that it was time to turn him over, since he was done on that side!

Holy St. Lawrence, help us to remember what and where the Church's riches really are, and pray for us that we may truly cherish them and never ever lose heart.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

August Ninth: the Martyrs, Confessors, and Innocents of World War II

......or, shall we say, the memorial of the Desecration of the Temples? After all, it does coincide with the mourning day Tisha b'Av often enough, and the temple of the Lord which is each one of us is as truly a holy place as the one built of rocks and mortar in Jerusalem.

No human planned it, but this will be the way our grandnieces and grandnephews will recall this day. For three remembrances coincide this day: the memorial of St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, nee Edith Stein; the memorial of the Servant of God Franz Jagerstatter, umlauts over both a's in that last name; and the day when the second of two towns of minimal military significance was destroyed and its people murdered in a single instant.

Edith Stein, Teresia Benedicta a Cruce

portrait of Edith Stein, Teresia Benedicta a Cruce

Edith Stein was the atheist daughter of non-practicing Jewish parents. Brilliant and eager to learn, she excelled academically, and eventually became a disciple and protege of one of the most brilliant philosophers of her day. She came to Christianity and the Catholic Church by way of her philosophical explorations and her study of the writings of St Teresa of Avila. She eventually gave up her professorship at the university to enter Carmel.

When the National Socialists came to power in Germany, they began to impose their ideas of "racial purity," and life became more and more difficult. Eventually, her superiors judged that things were getting too dangerous and were only likely to get worse, so they sent Edith out of the country to another Carmel in the Netherlands, where it was believed she'd be safe. Edith had already offered up her life for and with her people, but she wasn't courting death. Then the Nazis conquered the Netherlands.

The Catholic Church in the Netherlands was, from the beginning, in active opposition to the National Socialists and all their pomps and works; the bishops ordered their preists to refuse communion to known Nazi sympathizers, and the Church was very heavily involved in the resistance to the occupation. In June of 1942, the bishops preached the absolute condemnation of National Socialism, with emphasis on its racial policies, and had the condemnation read from every pulpit in the country, published in every Catholic periodical.

In retaliation, the Nazi occupiers arrested every "non-Aryan" Catholic priest and religious in the country, including Edith, first imprisoning them in Holland, then deporting them to extermination camps further east. The Catholics were the first to be taken from the Netherlands. Edith Stein, Sister Teresis Benedicta a Cruce, was killed in Auschwitz on this day in 1942.

Franz Jagerstatter

photo of Franz Jagerstatter

Franz Jagerstatter was a farmer, the child of farmers, in a back-of-beyond part of Austria called St. Radegund, a town too little to have a post office or even appear on a map. He was an extremely rowdy young man, noted in his youth mostly for 1) having gotten a young lady pregnant and not marrying her, for which he was exiled from the village for a few years, and 2) bringing the first motorcycle to the village when he returned. He got married to a seriously Catholic woman, and they went to Rome for their honeymoon, where Franz came to the love of Jesus and the conversion of his life while visiting the holy places.

Franz and his wife returned to St. Radegund, took up the operations of the Jagerstatter family farm, joined the Secular Franciscan Order, and had three daughters. Franz also took the unpaid second job of sexton at the parish church, where he's remembered for turning down the customary gratuities of that job. The other men of the village thought he was "a little too Catholic," but also noticed that his duties to his wife, his children, and the farm were always well fulfilled.

Then came National Socialism. In the supposed vote, he voted "no." His was the only "no" vote in the village; the parish priest deliberately spoiled his ballot, everybody else voted "yes." He wouldn't say "Heil Hitler" to anybody, but maintained the traditional greeting, "Bless God." Although not a teetotaller, he stopped going to the tavern; he was getting in too many fights about Nazism. The only one of the ubiquitous Nazi charitable collections he'd donate to was the police pension fund; he said that he'd made the police work too hard during his wild youth. When he was called up for a few weeks of mandatory reserve training (there's a picture of him in his army reserve uniform), what he saw and heard confirmed in him the need to cooperate no further.

Eventually, the draft came even for married men with children. Franz went to the induction station as ordered, but refused to be inducted; he could not join an army fighting an unjust war to establish evil. He was beheaded for this refusal, this day in 1943.


This is the crucifix of the cathedral in Nagasaki, very near the hypocenter, laying amid the radioactive ruins and the dust of the congregation.

the altar crucifix of the Catholic Cathedral of Nagasaki

Nagasaki was the second of two cities, chosen for their lack of military significance, to be destroyed by a new kind of weapon, where with a single bomb one could wipe out an entire population. That's why cities with minimal military significance were chosen, such cities would have no previous bombing damage to complicate the analysis of the before-and-after pictures. Tens of thousands of civilians killed instantly, more thousands left to die slowly as involuntary human subjects in this new military experimentation and testing. The very image of God destroyed, dishonored, defaced thousands of times.

Twenty-some years later, there would be an Ecumenical Council. That Council would issue only one anathema: Any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities or of extensive areas along with their population is a crime against God and against man himself. It merits unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation. [Gaudium et spes, 80].

St. Edith, holy Franz, holy innocents of the Church in Nagasaki, pray for us, help us to remember, and give us strength to stand.

Today's Office of Readings reading

from the spiritual writings of St Teresia Benedicta a Cruce [aka Edith Stein]:

"We greet you, Holy Cross, our only hope!" The church puts these words on our lips during the time of the passion which is dedicated to the contemplation of the bitter sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The world is in flames. The struggle between Christ and antichrist rages openly, and so if you decide for Christ you can even be asked to sacrifice your life.

Contemplate the Lord Who hangs before you on the wood, because He was obedient even to the death of the cross. He came into the world not to do His own will but that of the Father. And if you wish to be the spouse of the Crucified, you must renounce completely your own will and have no other aspiration than to do the will of God.

Before your the Redeemer hangs on the cross stripped and naked, because He chose poverty. Those who would follow Him must renounce every earthly possession.

Stand before the Lord Who hangs from the cross with His heart torn open. He poured out the blood of His heart in order to win your heart. In order to follow Him in holy chastity, your heart must be free from every earthly aspiration. Jesus Crucified must be the object of your every longing, of your every desire, of your every thought.

The world is in flames: the fire can spread even to our house, but above all the flames the cross stands on high, and it cannot be burnt. The cross is the way which leads from earth to heaven. Those who embrace it with faith, love, and hope are taken up, right into the heart of the Trinity.

The world is in flames: do you wish to put them out? Contemplate the cross: from His open heart the blood of the Redeemer pours, blood which can put out even the flames of hell. Through the faithful observance of the vows you make your heart free and open; and then the floods of that divine love will be able to flow into it, making it overflow and bear fruit to the furthest reaches of the earth.

Through the power of the cross you can be present wherever there is pain, carried there by your compassionate charity, by that very charity, which you draw from the divine heart. That charity enables you to spread everywhere the most precious blood in order to ease pain, save and redeem.

The eyes of the Crucified gaze upon you. They question you and appeal to you. Do you wish seriously to renew your alliance with Him? What will your response be? "Lord, where shall I go? You alone have the words of life." Ave Crux, spes unica!


Monday, August 08, 2005

Sometimes it's the Good Guys getting excommunicated

Today is the memorial of Blessed Mary MacKillop, one of that exclusive club of excommunicated saints. Yes, sometimes the Good Guys run afoul of their badly mistaken bishops or a particularly foul glob of church-politics....

picture of Blessed Mary MacKillop

Mary was the eldest child of poor Scottish immigrants to Australia, but she was well-educated, mostly by her father who had been a seminarian back in Scotland. To help support her family, she became a schoolteacher, teaching in the local state school and also running a small private school in the family home. She couldn't answer her call to religious life because her family needed her income. But eventually, a scandal caused by a corrupt school board official gave her an excuse to leave her teaching job in the state school without alienating her family.

Mary moved to a town called Penola; there she met a supportive priest and opened a free Catholic school for the poor. This school was the beginnings of the first religious order in Australia, the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, with a community charism to educate poor children in remote areas. Her order grew, and soon had 17 free Catholic schools under her care.

Her independence, her preferential care for the poor, and her insistence on the human rights of the Aborigines aggrevated her bishop, who ordered her to turn over the order and the schools to him so he could turn them into proper tuition-paying schools for the deserving well-to-do. She couldn't do that, and was excommunicated in 1871. Mary prayed and patiently put up with the situation, refusing to let it separate her from God or God's beloved poor. About a year and a half later, the bishop repented, apologized, and restored her to communion.

Mary spent the rest of her life travelling from house to house of her growing community, working for the education of the poor and the rights of the Aboriginal people, until her death in 1909.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

The Day of Transfigurations

Today we remember a Transfiguration in glory

icon of the Transfiguration

when Peter, James, and John saw Jesus as he truly was, glorious with uncreated Light, conversing with Moses and Elijah. Flabbergasted, the threesome said dumb things about pitching tents for them all and staying there always, but were told they all had to go back down the mountain, back to "real life" ---- though what was at the top of the mountain was more real than the "real life" down below.

And we also remember a transfiguration in horror

the Cathedral of Hiroshima after Transfiguration morning

when the first of two cities, chosen because they had minimal military significance (therefore had no previous bomb damage to complicate the before-and-after photos), was utterly destroyed by a single bomb, its people transformed in an instant from living embodied ones to etched shadows on the pavements, and others left to slowly die over weeks and months from radiation-related illnesses unknown before. Those two cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were not chosen because they were the heart of Japanese Catholicism; that was accidental.

So, we celebrate this feast of our Lord, and remember our brothers and sisters who were doing the same in the Hiroshima Cathedral when they themselves were transformed in a single instant, to see the Lord for eternity as he truly is.

May the perpetual Light, which we celebrate especially on this day, shine upon them all.

Friday, August 05, 2005

St. Ephrem about the Transfiguration

1. From the land comes the joy of harvest, from the vineyard fruits that give food, and from the Scriptures teaching that gives life. The land has one season for the harvest, and the vineyard has one season for the vintage, but the Scripture when read always overflows with teaching that gives life. The land when it has been harvested lies fallow and the vineyard when the grapes have been picked is unproductive, but when Scripture is harvested the grapes of those who expound it are not lacking in it. It is picked every day and the grape clusters of the hope in it are never exhausted. Let us then draw near to this land and enjoy its life-giving furrows; and let us harvest from it grapes of life, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, who said to his Disciples, ‘There are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of man coming in his glory’.

2. ‘And after six days he took Simon Peter and James and John his brother to a very high mountain and he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white like light’. Men whom he said would not taste death until they saw the image of his coming, are those whom he took and led up the mountain and showed them how he was going to come on the last day in the glory of his divinity and in the body of his humanity.

3. He led them up the mountain to show them who the Son is and whose he is. Because when he asked them, ‘Whom do men say the Son of man is?’ They said to him, some Elias, others Jeremias, or one of the Prophets. This is why he leads them up the mountain and shows them that he is not Elias, but the God of Elias; again, that he is not Jeremias, but the one who sanctified Jeremias in his mother’s womb; not one of the Prophets, but the Lord of the Prophets, who also sent them. And he shows them that he is the maker of heaven and earth, and that he is Lord of living and dead. For he gave orders to heaven and brought down Elias, and made a sign to the earth and raised up Moses.

4. He led them up the mountain to show them that he is the Son of God, born from the Father before the ages and in the last times incarnate from the Virgin, as he knows how, born ineffably and without seed, preserving her virginity incorrupt; for wherever God wills it, the order of nature is overcome. For God the Word dwelt in the Virgin’s womb, and the fire of his divinity did not consume the members of the Virgin’s body, but protected them carefully by its nine month presence. He dwelt in the Virgin’s womb, not abhorring the unpleasant smell of nature, and God incarnate came forth from her to save us.

5. He led them up the mountain to show them the glory of the godhead and to make known to them that he is the redeemer of Israel, as he had shown through the Prophets, and they should not be scandalized in him when they saw his voluntary sufferings, which as man he was about to suffer for us. For they knew him as a man, but did not know that he was God. They knew him as son of Mary, going about with them in the world, and he made known to them on the mountain that he was Son of God and God. They saw that he ate and drank, toiled and rested, dozed and slept, things which did not accord with his divine nature, but only with his humanity, and so he took them to the mountain that the Father might call him Son and show that he is truly his Son and that he is God.

6. He led them up the mountain and showed them his kingship before his passion, and his power before his death, and his glory before his disgrace, and his honor before his dishonor, so that, when he was arrested and crucified by the Jews, they might know that he was not crucified through weakness, but willingly by his good pleasure for the salvation of the world.

7. He led them up the mountain and showed the glory of his divinity before the resurrection, so that when he rose from the dead in the glory of his divine nature, they might know that it was not because of his harsh toil that he accepted glory, as if he lacked it, but it was his before the ages with the Father and together with the Father, as he said as he was coming to his voluntary passion, ‘Father, glorify me with the glory which I had with you before the world existed’.

8. And so on the mountain he showed his Apostles the glory of his divinity, concealed and hidden by his humanity. For they saw his face bright as lightning and his garments white as light. They saw two suns; one in the sky, as usual, and one unusually; one visible in the firmament and lighting the world, and one, his face, visible to them alone. His garments white as light showed that the glory of his divinity flooded from his whole body, and his light shone from all his members. For his flesh did not shine with splendor from without, like Moses, but the glory of his divinity flooded from him. His light dawned and was drawn together in him. Nor did depart somewhere else and leave him, because it did come from another place and adorn him, nor was it for his use. And he did not display the whole depth of his glory, but only as much as the limits of their eyes could encompass.

9. ‘And there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him’. And the words that they said to him were such as these: they were thanking him that their words and those of all their fellow Prophets had been fulfilled by his coming. They offered him worship for the salvation which he had wrought for the world for the human race; and that he had fulfilled in reality the mystery they had only sketched. There was joy for the Prophets and the Apostles by this ascent of the mountain. The Prophets rejoiced when they saw his humanity, which they had not known. The Apostles also rejoiced when they saw the glory of his divinity, which they had not known, and heard the voice of the Father bearing witness to his Son; and through this they recognized his incarnation, which was concealed from them. And the witness of the three was sealed by the Father’s voice and by Moses and Elias, who stood by him like servants, and they looked to one another: the Prophets to the Apostles and the Apostles to the Prophets. There the authors of the old covenant saw the authors of the new. Holy Moses saw Simon the sanctified; the steward of the Father saw the administrator of the Son. The former divided the sea for the people to walk in the middle of the waves; the latter raised a tent for the building of the Church. The virgin of the old covenant saw the virgin of the new: [Elias and John;] the one who mounted on the chariot of fire and the one who leaned on the breast of the flame. And the mountain became a type of the Church, and on it Jesus united the two covenants, which the Church received, and made known to us that he is the giver of the two. The one received his mysteries; the other revealed the glory of his works.