Daily Archives: January 16, 2010

Pray with me: Job Novena, Day 6

Emergency Novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague

O Jesus, Who said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock
and it shall be opened to you,” through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be answered. Please let me get a full time job.

O Jesus, Who said, “All that you ask of the Father in My Name He will grant you,”
through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I humbly and urgently ask Your Father in Your Name that my prayer be granted.
Please let me get a full time job.

O Jesus, Who said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My word shall not pass,”
through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother,
I feel confident that my prayer will be granted. Please let me get a full time job.

Novena to St. Jude

May the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, loved in all tabernacles until the end of time. Amen.
May the most Sacred Heart of Jesus be praised and glorified now and forever. Amen.
St. Jude pray for us and hear our prayers. Amen
Blessed be the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Blessed be the immaculate Heart of Mary.
Blessed be Saint Jude in all the world and for all eternity. Amen.

Our Father
Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen

Prayer to St. Jude
O glorious Apostle, St. Jude, true relative of Jesus and Mary, I salute you through the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through this heart I praise and thank God for all the graces He has bestowed upon you.

Humbly prostrate before you I implore you through the Heart to look down upon me with compassion. Despise not my poor prayer, let not my trust be confounded. To you God has granted the privelege of aiding mankind in the most desperate cases.

Oh come to my aid that I may praise the mercies of God. All my life I will be grateful to you, and will be your faithful client until I can Thank you in Heaven. Amen

Dean Koontz

There has been a lot trickling around recently about Dean Koontz, the best selling novelist, and his Catholicism. Posts come up on message boards or Facebook asking about Koontz, and his purported Catholicism, and the obligatory curiosity of “how good a Catholic is he” (in the vein of “can we expect him to show up on The World Over or speak at March for Life or something?”)

One of the reasons for this is that, apparently, his more recent books have some overtly Catholic themes.

Well, a brief Google search this evening turned up two interesting hits.

One is a very fascinating 2007 interview with Koontz by Tim Drake at National Catholic Register where Koontz could be paraphrasing Flannery O’Connor with his views on Catholic fiction, including his emphasis on maintaining his own privacy and distance from the public so that the public doesn’t confuse artist with work.

(Interesting note: both Koontz and I have been interviewed by Tim Drake at the _Register_!)

A particularly moving passage:

I grew up in Bedford, Pa. My dad was a very difficult man. He drank heavily and chased women. He was a gambler, and violent. He held 44 jobs in 24 years and was sometimes fired because he punched out a boss. We never knew if we would be able to keep a roof over our heads. I used his behavior as a guide: Each time I was in a quandary about a decision with moral implications, I did exactly the opposite from what I believed he would have done in the same situation.

My mother was far different from my father — a good, honest, very dear person with a lot of health problems. Considering the hell he put her through, I don’t know why she stayed with him. Sometimes at 2 a.m., we got calls from barrooms where my father was unconscious on the floor. So we walked two or three miles to load him in his car and bring him home.

My mother gave me shelter in the midst of poverty and violence. Without her inner strength, my father would have done great harm to her and me.

My cousin told me that once my mother, having found 20 cents in a pay phone return slot, agonized for a couple of days before deciding what to do with it. She put it in the church collection plate.

He goes on to discuss his conversion and his admiration for Chesterton.

A fairly recent interview posted on Catholic Exchange, points out that Koontz’s books are not only filled with Catholic themes about good and evil, but are explicitly pro-life:

CC: Dean, in your books like Brother Odd and One Door Away from Heaven, you talk about the dignity of special needs children and you talk about modern bioethics. How and why did these life issues become so important to you?

Dean Koontz: My wife and I have long worked with a charity for people with disabilities – Canine Companions for Independence. They train service dogs for all kinds of people with disabilities. People who are paraplegic or quadriplegic, with one of these dogs, can live on their own when they couldn’t before. They have great effect on autistic children. Working with that and being a part of that, I saw that a lot of these people were shunted aside. There’s a lot of people who think they shouldn’t be given medical care. People like Peter Singer think a disabled child should be allowed to die or should not be given antibiotics because they have nothing to contribute to the world. [Singer’s] an idiot. If you bring these [disabled] people into your life, I’ve discovered – I’ve never found one who whined or complained like average people do. I’ve never found one who wasn’t grateful for every good thing that comes their way. And I haven’t found one that wasn’t an inspiration to people. If you can inspire other people by your own courage and your own stoicism, you’ve had a very valuable and important life. So they bring a great deal to the world… I’ve featured Down Syndrome kids in books at times and I’ve gotten literally thousands of letters from people who have Down’s children. Every single one of them says, “This was the best thing that happened to me.” They’re not pretending; they’re not trying to make the best of a bad situation. They’re saying it really was a tremendous benefit to their lives. That’s why I wish people would stop thinking that you have to be the perfect physical specimen in order to be worth living. That is far from the truth.

(emphasis added)

I like this guy!!!

Thoughts on Haiti, Part 2

I’m afraid that, trailing off on random thoughts inspired by the Haitian Crisis, I may have been a bit unclear in my conclusion.

Let me start this second reflection by using the quotation from C. S. Lewis that the writers of _Shadowlands_ caricatured: “Suffering is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Nowhere is that statement more fitting than in this case. I do not, for the record, agree with Pat Robertson. I think that *WE* deserved the Haitian earthquake. The real tragedy is that it has taken this disaster to open up people’s eyes to the plight of Haiti.

“Deserve” is the wrong word to use in a crisis, because we all “deserve” it. The slightest thought against God deserves eternal damnation.
How any Christian could say another person “deserved it” when Christ Himself so obviously did not “deserve” His suffering is absurd.
Haiti may be one of the most materially poor countries in the world, but it is also one of the most spiritually rich: a country where *everyone* gets up first thing in the morning to *walk* to daily Mass.

Is there Satanism going on in Haiti? Certainly, and in the US, as well, which is a point I made in a Facebook exchange which inspired my summary post on Freemasonry.

Is there often a connection between a society’s actions and its disasters? Absolutely. When the US executed Timothy McVeigh, the Bishops warned about the cycle of violence and how the rift in the Natural Law would only get worse. Three months after McVeigh’s execution was 9/11. Does that mean the victims of 9/11 “deserved” it?

California has been experiencing an ongoing forest fire for a couple years now–a fire that started just days after one of Schwarzeneggar’s great atrocities against the Natural Law.

But the connection is not to sit back and say, “HA! GOTCHA!” The connection is to repent. The connection is to solve the problem. The connection is to fall on our knees and beg for the Divine Mercy to shower us and the whole world.

Last night, Mary was reading a passage from Mother Angelica’s _Answers Not Promises_ about a woman named Rosalie. Mother was having one of her stressful days when Rosalie, whose brother was a priest, came to the door. Rosalie came to Mother for advice because her brother the priest was insisting that suffering was always God’s punishment, that God was just up there hurling down lightning bolts at bad people. Rosalie, by contrast, believed (as I do) that the purpose of suffering is for us to share with Jesus, and vice versa. She coined a term: “Tribulate.” “The way I see it,” said Rosalie, “We’re supposed to tribulate!”
The conversation inspired Mother Angelica, who went back to the other nuns and said to stop fretting about their crisis: “We’re supposed to tribulate!”

Another appropriate reflection from my wife this past week was an article she read last week about being careful of getting what you pray for: stories of people who prayed for things to happen, got their superficial prayers answered, suffered horribly in the process, but then found their *true* prayers answered in the end. One example was a family who dropped everything to move closer to the husband’s dying father. The husband ended up out of work, and the family had tough financial times, but, during the husband’s period of unemployment, he was able to spend quality time with his father before his father died. Then, after his father died, he got a great job.

I think suffering is one of God’s greatest gifts. St. Teresa of Avila teaches that every time we pray the Our Father, we are praying for suffering. When we pray, “Thy will be done,” we mean “Your will, not mine.” And God’s will is always for us to suffer, just as God’s will was for Jesus to suffer.

Again, the operative issue, when we confront suffering, is not to judge the victim but to consider why God allowed it. If the devout people of Haiti “deserved” their earthquake, then the godless United States ought to get about a 20.0 on the Richter scale.

As I said yesterday, the salient issue is not “God’s punishment” but “God’s protection.” The fundamentalist believes the Christian should never suffer. The Catholic believes that Christians should, as Rosalie put it, “Tribulate.”

Every day I am alive is a miracle. Every day I’m alive is a sign of God’s protection: St. Jude valve tethered to weak connective tissue in my heart and natural aorta that could tear out; artificial valve that could cause a stroke or get clogged with clots (and is always perfectly clean on my tests even though it should be all clogged up according to my usual INR readings); artificial valve that could get infected; mitral valve prolapse; tortuous carotid artery; venal ectasia; brain aneurysm; descending thoracic aortic aneurysm. Eight conditions that can cause sudden death.

Now, one could, in my situation, “blame God.” An outsider could look on and say, “God is punishing you.” There are many reactions one could take to such a situation. The way I see it, by all rights I should have been dead for the past 13 years, 8 months, 7 days and counting.

God keeps me alive because He wants me here, because He needs me to share a message with the world, and part of that message is the very point that suffering is His Gift, not His punishment. The only tragedy, as Leon Bloy said, is not to be a saint.

Chapter 13

At that time some people who were present there told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.
He said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?
By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!
Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them –do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?
By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”