Friday, June 22, 2007

Wish I'd taken a picture

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

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


Friday, June 15, 2007

Forget all the awful saccharrine artwork

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

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

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


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

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

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

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

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


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Better Late than Never

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


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

There is neither Jew nor Greek,

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

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

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

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

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

All holy martyrs, pray for us.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Fr. David Kirk has reposed

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

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


Sunday, June 03, 2007

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

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

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

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

A glorious Trinity Sunday to you!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

If it wasn't Sunday

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

an icon of the 22 canonized Catholics among the martyrs

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

Sometimes you have to die.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


It's Official!!!!

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

photo of Ven. Franz Jagerstatter, martyr

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


Friday, June 01, 2007

St. Justin and the Eucharist's Six Movements

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

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

From St. Justin:

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

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

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