The Act of Love

O my God,
I love Thee above all things
with my whole heart and soul,
because Thou art all good
and worthy of all love.
I love my neighbor as myself
for love of Thee.
I forgive all who have injured me,
and I ask pardon
for all whom I have injured.

Pray for Peace and Reparation!

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. And by the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins , save us from the fire of hell. Take all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.
O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Pray the Rosary for Peace! Please!

IMG_1666

Pray for peace; forgive each other, please!

I give you a new commandment:* love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
-John 13:34

“Forgive as you would be forgiven” (Luke 6:37)

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But, if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Mat 6:14)

[21] Then came Peter unto him and said: Lord, how often shall my brother offend against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? [22] Jesus saith to him: I say not to thee, till seven times; but till seventy times seven times. [23] Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened to a king, who would take an account of his servants. [24] And when he had begun to take the account, one was brought to him, that owed him ten thousand talents. [25] And as he had not wherewith to pay it, his lord commanded that he should be sold, and his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.

[26] But that servant falling down, besought him, saying: Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. [27] And the lord of that servant being moved with pity, let him go and forgave him the debt. [28] But when that servant was gone out, he found one of his fellow servants that owed him an hundred pence: and laying hold of him, throttled him, saying: Pay what thou owest. [29] And his fellow servant falling down, besought him, saying: Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. [30] And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he paid the debt.

[31] Now his fellow servants seeing what was done, were very much grieved, and they came and told their lord all that was done. [32] Then his lord called him; and said to him: Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all the debt, because thou besoughtest me: [33] Shouldst not thou then have had compassion also on thy fellow servant, even as I had compassion on thee? [34] And his lord being angry, delivered him to the torturers until he paid all the debt. [35] So also shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you forgive not every one his brother from your hearts.

(Matthew 18:21-35)

St. Louis IX, pray for us!
St. Katharine Drexel, pray for us!
St. Florian, pray for us!
St. Martin de Porres, pray for us!
St. Peter Claver, pray for us!
St. Andrew Corsini, pray for us!
Our Lady of Peace, pray for us!
Viva Cristo Rey!

Psalm 30

2 I will extol you, LORD, for you have raised me up,
and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.
3 O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
4 O LORD, you have lifted up my soul from the grave,
restored me to life from those who sink into the pit.
5 Sing psalms to the LORD, you faithful ones;
give thanks to his holy name.
6 His anger lasts a moment; his favor all through life.
At night come tears, but dawn brings joy.
7 I said to myself in my good fortune:
“I shall never be shaken.”
8 O LORD, your favor had set me like a mountain stronghold.
Then you hid your face, and I was put to confusion.
9 To you, O LORD, I cried,
to my God I appealed for mercy:
10 “What profit is my lifeblood, my going to the grave?
Can dust give you thanks, or proclaim your faithfulness?”
11 Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me;
be my helper, O LORD.
12 You have changed my mourning into dancing,
removed my sackcloth and girded me with joy.
13 So my soul sings psalms to you, and will not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will thank you forever.

Psalm 142

2 With all my voice I cry to the LORD;
with all my voice I entreat the LORD.
3 I pour out my trouble before him;
I tell him all my distress
4 while my spirit faints within me.
But you, O LORD, know my path.
On the way where I shall walk,
they have hidden a snare to entrap me.
5 Look on my right hand and see:
there is no one who pays me heed.
No escape remains open to me;
no one cares for my soul.
6 To you I cry, O LORD.
I have said, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”
7 Listen, then, to my cry,
for I am brought down very low.
Rescue me from those who pursue me,
for they are stronger than I.
8 Bring my soul out of prison,
and I shall give thanks to your name.
Around me the just will assemble,
because of your goodness to me.

What is truly a “slap in the face”?

We’ve all heard by now of the suicide of Brittany Maynard, a 29 year old brain cancer victim who decided to become the poster woman for so called “death with dignity,” and then got mad when people criticized her “personal choice.”  The Pontifical Academy for Life issued a statement condemning assisted suicide, and calling her death “reprehensible.”  Maynard’s mother has now posted an article on some site called “Compassion and Choices“, saying that PAV statement is “immoral” and “a slap in the face.”  The Culture of Death is now calling it “the Pope’s sin.”  I submitted the following to “Compassion and Choices.”  Re-posting here:

You posted an article by Brittany Maynard’s mother, claiming that the Pontifical Academy for Life’s statement on her daughter’s suicide is a “slap in the face” and “immoral.” No, Brittany Maynard’s suicide, and your entire “death without dignity” movement is immoral and a slap in the face to every one of us who deals with debilitating, life threatening illnesses. I have Marfan syndrome. I have suffered horrible pain every day of my life. I have dealt every day with the knowledge it could be my last. I have also dealt quite regularly with the temptation to “end my suffering” in this life–but a death with *true* dignity, the death of a Saint, is far more appealing to me. The risk of eternal suffering in Hell, and the knowledge that Jesus died undeservingly for my sins, and continues to suffer that infinite pain of the Passion for me, make it worth it to me to share His sufferings now for love of Him. Leon Bloy said the only tragedy is not to be a Saint.
What is reprehensible is the notion that people with terminal illnesses should be killed or pressured to kill ourselves because we are a “burden” to others. What is reprehensible is saying that it is dignified and courageous to die the death of a coward.
I pray that Brittany Maynard was not culpable for her decision, or that she repented in her last seconds, but what she did was neither moral nor compassionate, for herself or others.

Sincerely,
John C. Hathaway, OCDS

This week’s Gospel is very appropriate

<blockquote>The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.  He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’ Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business.  The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them.  The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come.  Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ The servants went out into the streetsand gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests, he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.  The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen.”</blockquote>

This is a fitting reading to have in the midst of the debates surrounding the Synod on the Family.  We are told by Cardinal Walter Kasper–one of those whose retirement Pope Benedict was very eager to accept–that the current praxis of denying communion to divorced and remarried Catholics is “unmerciful.”  He claims that those who emphasize “one verse” (actually, two separate occasions) are “fundamentalists.”
Meanwhile, Cardinal Wuerl, the latest Archbishop of Washington, DC, to do nothing about enforcing Canon 915–and who has, rather, punished priests for enforcing it–says that refusla of Communion is a matter of discipline, not doctrine.
They both seem to miss the meaning of this week’s Gospel, that those who present themselves for the Wedding Feast–that is, the Eucharist–must wear a “proper garment”–that is, a clean soul.
The news coming out of the Synod does not bode well for the short term health of the Church or the immortal souls of some hierarchs and the laity they are encouraging to “live in sin” (sorry, we’re supposedly not supposed to say that anymore).  Supposedly, the “working groups” voted on by the Synod Fathers are all very “conservative,” with Cardinal Burke (whom the media had reported would not even be in attendance) being chair of the English language committee, but Pope Francis of “decentralization” and “collegiality” fame, who supposedly convened the Synod to gauge the bishops’ views towards his proposed “reforms”, has now appointed six Cardinals of his own choosing–Wuerl among them–to write the working document.  The exact relationship of those six to the “working groups” is not yet clear.
For the most part, ad hominems and genetic fallacies are at work in dismisssing the few sites reporting on these issues, but even Robert Royal at _The Catholic Thing_ has been reporting that the Synod is exposing deep fissures in the hierarchy, that even the “moderates” are unhappy with the Holy Father’s proposals.
It is true that a properly “pastoral” approach takes into consideration a person’s growth (so-called “gradualism”) and the various factors that play into culpability, etc., but that doesn’t excuse someone from the Sacrament of Reconciliation–it *does* mean that priests should be more merciful when it comes to habitual sin and being encouraging to those who come over and over with the same sins.

Time will tell, and prayer is called for, but it is so very disheartening, having just begun to heal the damage done in the 1960s and ’70s, to have it all come flooding back.

 

St. Francis and the Sultan; the question of conversion

I’ve long been familiar with the account of St. Francis going to Sultan in Egypt, demonstrating his faith, and gaining free passage through the Holy Land (a right which has historically extended to all Franciscans).  Last week, however, I picked up on a detail I’d never noticed before, from at least two sources: the Sultan spiritually accepted Christ.  From a later Evangelical perspective, one could argue the Sultan had been “saved.”  He did not want to openly convert, however, because not only would he have been killed, but so would Francis, and he knew the Saint had greater work ahead.

“The Rapture” and Cosmic Braxton Hicks

The “Rapture” is back in the news, with the mainstream Left Behind remake starring Nicholas Cage hitting theaters.  A writer at the Huffington Post has a great piece dissecting the Rapture theory from a Protestant perspective that’s really Catholic. He gives a great explanation of the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming, the purpose of Revelation as a liturgical text (see Scott Hahn’s The Lamb’s Supper), and so forth.  However, he misses the other “proof text” for the Rapture, Matthew 24:36-42:

* 36p “But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son,* but the Father alone. 37*q For as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38In [those] days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. 39They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be [also] at the coming of the Son of Man. 40*r Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. 41Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. 42*s Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.

If you’re driving around with a bumper sticker that says, “Warning: in case of Rapture, this car will be unmanned,” you’d better stop and think about what Jesus actually means here: the people who will be “taken” in this metaphor *are the ones going to Hell*: “It will be as the days of Noah.” Noah was left to start the world new without the previous corruption.  The “rapture” if it happens in some literal way, would not be about leaving the good people behind so they don’t suffer; it would be about taking out those who are more evil so the remnant can rebuild.

However, the qualifier of all this that we know not the day or the hour.  We should be watchful and ready, not just for the end of the World but more realistically for our own deaths, and be right with God.

Which brings me to the teaching that begins this whole chapter, 24:6-8:

b You will hear of wars* and reports of wars; see that you are not alarmed, for these things must happen, but it will not yet be the end. 7c Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be famines and earthquakes from place to place. 8* All these are the beginning of the labor pains.

I have never understood why people take, “You will hear of wars and reports of wars; see that you are not alarmed” to mean, “We should be alarmed!  There are wars and rumors of wars!”  This has been the reading of this passage not just from Protestants but from Catholics, even going back to the ECFs, and it puzzles me.

What just struck me, however, was that, maybe, this is a case where the problem comes from the interpretations being made by celibate males in a “separate spheres” world.  They didn’t know how labor works.

In a world where female midwives deliver babies and the men are off hunting or fishing or farming, and get news, “Hey, your wife just gave birth!”–perhaps in some cultures to barely see the baby–most men just don’t know how labor works, and even in cultures like ours, few pay attention or remember enough to get the metaphor.

“The beginning of the labor pains” is *weeks* of, “I just felt a contraction!”  “I wonder if I’m going into labor!” Then labor itself is often stereotypically long (“36 hours of labor,” and so on).  The childbirth classes say, “It’s never like the movies. You don’t just suddenly go into labor and deliver a baby.”  Actually, our children’s births were “just like the movies.”  My wife’s labors were extremely fast when they came on, but always had weeks of “Braxton Hicks”–which can begin as early as the “second trimester.”  Like most couples with a first, we thought labor was starting every time she had one.  Then, when the time came, it was unmistakable–like true love or aortic dissection.

She started having “really bad back pain,” after we’d spent the day making the final preparations for birth.  We got to the ER 2 hours into labor, and the triage nurse said, “You’re 10 cm dilated!  Why did you wait so long?”
“I didn’t!!  I just went into labor 2 hours ago!”

With the second full-term birth, we were more nonchalant about the Braxton Hicks. Woke up Sunday, February 29, and boom!  Labor, 9 AM-2 PM.

Our son was more the “Is it time yet?”  We went to the hospital, I think, 3 times.   had to cancel a final exam because we thought she was going into early labor.  The third time, we spent the evening at the hospital, and we were now past due date.  We joke that the Dude has never liked change or going places.  The midwife scheduled an induction for the next morning and said to be at the hospital at 6, IIRC.  She woke up at 3 with labor.

The Boy

The Boy

With our youngest, we had just moved into a new townhouse in a new town a week before.  My parents had taken the eldest.  We had two toddlers in a new house in a new town, and had not even finished pre-registering at the hospital.  They were all in bed, and I was up watching a movie when Mary came and told me her water broke.  We jumped in our minivan–which thankfully had OnStar.  I contacted OnStar, and they patched me through to the hospital, so they had some knowledge we were coming.  I panicked about the younger kids and missing the birth.  A security guard came and took them to the cafeteria with her during her lunch break (may God bless that security guard at Lexington Medical Center).  By the time I got into the delivery room, the baby was born.   The doctor had just gotten in there a few minutes before.  As I understand it, the conversation went something like,
“Hi, I’m Dr. So-and-so.  Do you normally–“
“AAAAH!”
Baby.

Over and over, Jesus (and St. Paul) tells us, “Just when they’re saying ‘peace and security,'” “I will come like a thief in the night.”