Daily Archives: March 13, 2011

Lenten Poetry Series 1: T. S. Eliot’s “Ash Wednesday 1”

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man’s gift and that man’s scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

Hour of Mercy: Thirty Days’ Prayer to Mary

Ever glorious and Blessed Mary,
Queen of Virgins, Mother of mercy,
hope and comfort of dejected and desolate souls,
through that sword of sorrow
which pierced thy Heart whilst thine only Son,
Jesus Christ, our Lord,
suffered death and ignominy on the Cross;
through that filial tenderness
and pure love through that filial tenderness
and pure love He had for thee, grieving in thy grief,
while from His Cross He recommended thee
to the care and protection of His beloved Disciple,
St. John, take pity, I beseech thee,
on my poverty and necessities;
have compassion on my anxieties and cares;
assist and comfort me in all my infirmities and miseries.

Thou art the Mother of mercy,
the sweet consolatrix and refuge
of the needy and the orphan,
of the desolate and the afflicted.

Look, therefore, with pity on a miserable,
forlorn child of Eve,
and hear my prayer;
for since, in just punishment of my sins,
I am encompassed with evils
and oppressed with anguish of spirit,
whither can I flee for more secure shelter,

O amiable Mother of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
than to thy maternal protection?
Attend, therefore, I beseech thee,
with pity and compassion to my humble and earnest
request.

I ask it through the infinite mercy of thy dear Son,
– through that love and condescension wherewith
He embraced our nature, when,
in compliance with the divine Will,
thou gavest thy consent, and Whom,
after the expiration of nine months,
thou didst bring forth
from the chaste enclosure of thy womb,
to visit this world
and bless it with his presence.

I ask it through the sores of His virginal Flesh,
caused by the cords and whips
wherewith He was bound and scourged
when stripped of His seamless garment,
for which His executioners afterwards cast lots.

I ask it through the scoffs and ignominies
by which He was insulted,
the false accusations and unjust sentence
by which He was condemned to death,
and which He bore with heavenly patience.

I ask it through His bitter tears and bloody sweat;
His silence and resignation;
His sadness and grief of heart.

I ask it through the Blood
which trickled from His royal and sacred Head,
when struck with His sceptre of a reed,
and pierced with the crown of thorns.

I ask it through the excruciating torments He suffered,
when His hands and feet were fastened
with huge nails to the tree of the cross.

I ask it through His vehement thirst,
and bitter potion of vinegar and gall.

I ask it through His dereliction on the cross,
when He exclaimed:
“My God! my God! why hast Thou forsaken me?”

I ask it through His mercy extended to the good thief,
and through His recommending His precious Soul and Spirit
into the hands of His Eternal Father before He expired.

I ask it through the Blood mixed with water,
which issued from His sacred Side,
when pierced with a lance,
and whence a flood of grace and mercy has flowed to us.

I ask it through His immaculate life,
bitter Passion,
and ignominious death on the cross,
at which nature itself was thrown into convulsions,
by the bursting of rocks,
rending of the veil of the temple,
the earthquake,
and the darkness of the sun and the moon.

I ask it through His descent into hell,
where He comforted the Saints of the Old Law with His
presence,
and led captivity captive.

I ask it through His glorious victory over death,
when He arose again to life on the third day,
and through the joy
which His appearance for forty days after gave thee,
His blessed Mother,
His Apostles,
and His Disciples,
when, in thine and their presence,
He miraculously ascended into heaven.

I ask it through the grace of the Holy Ghost,
infused into the hearts of the Disciples,
when He descended upon them in the form of fiery tongues,
and which they were inspired with zeal
for the conversion of the world
when they went forth to preach the Gospel.

I ask it through the awful appearance of thy Son,
at the last dreadful day,
when He shall come to judge the living and the dead,
and the world by fire.

I ask it through the compassion He bore thee in this life,
and the ineffable joy thou didst feel
at Thine Assumption into heaven,
where thou art eternally absorbed
in the sweet contemplation of His divine perfections.

O glorious and ever-blessed Virgin,
comfort the heart of thy suppliant,
by obtaining for me the graces and the favours
which I now most earnestly solicit.

(Here mention your requests)

And as I am persuaded my Divine Saviour honour Thee
as His beloved Mother, to whom He can refuse nothing,
so let me speedily experience
the efficacy of thy powerful intercession,
according to the tenderness of thy maternal affection,
and His filial,
loving Heart,
who mercifully grants the requests and complies
with the desires of those that love and fear Him.

Wherefore, O Most Blessed Virgin,
beside the object of my present petition,
and whatever else I may stand in need of,
obtain for me also of thy dear Son,
our Lord and our God,
a lively faith,
firm hope,
perfect charity,
the contrition of heart,
unfeigned tears of compunction,
sincere confession,
just satisfaction,
abstinence from sin,
love of God and of my neighbour,
contempt of the world,
patience to suffer affronts and ignominies,
nay, even, if necessary,
an opprobrious death itself,
for the love of thy Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Obtain likewise for me,

O Holy Mother of God,
perseverance in good works,
performance of good resolutions,
mortification of self-will,
a pious conversation through life,
and at my last moment,
strong and sincere repentance
accompanied by such a lively
and attentive presence of mind,
as may enable me to receive
the last Sacraments of the Church worthily,
and to die in thy friendship and favour.

Lastly, obtain, I beseech Thee,
for the souls of my parents,
brethren, relatives,
and benefactors both living and dead,
life everlasting.

Amen.

Hour of Mercy: Psalm 32

Add another Louis to the Crusade

In response to my quotation from Fr. Corapi, below, one of my Facebook friends sent me a link to the popular legend about a famous scientist. . . .

The story goes that, sometime in the late 19th Century, a young French student was riding a train. An old man was sitting next to him and saying the Rosary.

The student said, “I can’t believe you’re saying that outdated nonsense!”

“What?”

The boy scoffed. “The Rosary is an outdated practice of fools! Modern science has disproven all that religion business! Throw the Rosary out the window and learn what science has to say.”

“Really?” said the old man, beginning to cry. “This is quite disturbing. I’m afraid I don’t understand.”

Not wanting to upset the man, the boy said, “Why don’t I send you some books on the subject? Do you have a card?”

The old man reached into his pocket and handed the boy a card. The boy’s head fell down in shame. The old man was Louis Pasteur.

I’ve heard the story before–either from Fr. Corapi or Bishop Sheen.

I’ve also heard that it’s nothing more than an urban legend, especially as its’ been embellished from the retelling or it’s been retold with different scientists plugged in in place of Pasteur. However, the story does go back at least as far as Chesterton, and even if it’s not 100% true, it does reflect a truth about Pasteur himself.

According to the New Advent Catholic Encylcopedia,

Pasteur’s faith was as genuine as his science. In his panegyric of Littré, whose fauteuil he took, he said:

Happy the man who bears within him a divinity, an ideal of beauty and obeys it; and ideal of art, and ideal of science, an ideal of country, and ideal of the virtues of the Gospel.

These words are graven above his tomb in the Institut Pasteur. In his address Pasteur said further “These are the living springs of great thoughts and great actions. Everything grows clear in the reflections from the Infinite”. Some of his letters to his children breathe profound simple piety. He declared “The more I know, the more nearly is my faith that of the Breton peasant. Could I but know all I would have the faith of a Breton peasant woman.” What he could not above all understand is the failure of scientists to recognize the demonstration of the existence of the Creator that there is in the world around us. He died with his rosary in his hand, after listening to the life of St. Vincent de Paul which he had asked to have read to him, because he thought that his work like that of St. Vincent would do much to save suffering children.

Rosary Crusade for Fred Phelps and Osama bin Ladin

People like to organize rosaries and novenas for the Pope, or Mother Angelica, or sick people, or for “causes,” but you never hear calls for prayer for the conversions of specific people.

When conversions happen, we’re happy (Mary’s currently reading Abby Johnson’s _UnPlanned_), but we seem to doubt God’s power to do it when it comes to the challenge of hoping for it.

I’ve said it since 9/11: wouldn’t it be great if Osama bin Ladin (assuming he’s still alive) suddenly announced his conversion to Catholicism?

Or Barack Obama?

Or Fred Phelps?

Or whomever is currently president of Planned Parenthood?

Fred Phelps certainly doesn’t have much time left–the guy’s 72ish. It would be an amazing triumph for God to have that bastion of Satanic hate and misguided Fundamentalism suddenly soften his hardened heart and cross the Tiber.

We really need to start unleashing the power of the Rosary on the world. It’s been 94 years since Fatima, folks, and we still haven’t done it.

This year will be the 440th Annivesary of Lepanto. Think about what would have happened if the Catholics of Europe had kept it up past Oct. 7, 1571! Imagine if the Pope had called for a Rosary every day from everyone, for a different cause.

Back when I was in high school, I read a book on the power of the Rosary and the role of Mary. I forget its title or who wrote it. It had a chapter each on Judaism, Protestantism, Islam, and other religions and how the Blessed Virgin could be used both in prayer and in apologetics to convert each of those groups. The book also talked of the power of the Rosary, and it pointed out how lax Catholics are about our obligation to bring others to the Church.

It pointed out how simple it would be to convert the whole world to Catholicism if each and every Catholic took his or her faith seriously.

I’ve said it before about elections, and even more about conversions: look at how many Catholics there are. If even a significant fraction of us took our faith seriously, we could change the world. Only 24 percent of people who claim to be Catholic go to Mass weekly. Only 10%–if that–of those who attend Mass weekly go to Confession regularly. Much less engage in any serious form of daily prayer such as the Rosary or the Office or daily Mass or reading the Bible.

I used to feel rather alone in the world. Now, I’m surrounded by all sorts of wonderful Catholics on the Internet, in my Carmelite group, etc., but then I stick my feet slightly out of my comfort zone, and am reminded how superficially most people treat their faith and how badly catechized most people are.

And that’s not just because of Vatican II. After all, like I say, we should have achieved this centuries ago.

Judas was an Apostle. The bulk of St. Paul’s letters address all the corruption that was already rampant in the early church. We don’t read the passages at Mass where Paul is denouncing Christians for engaging in incestuous relationships and stuff. . . . Yet, at the same time, those early Christians were amazing. Even if the early Saints were as rare among the Christians of their times as today’s saints, back then you had Christians who said, “Hey! Let’s get ourselves arrested so we can be martyred and get to Heaven quickly!” You had martyrs who actually guided their executioners’ hands, cracked jokes from the scaffold or sang hymns of praise while being eaten alive.

Today, it’s “We don’t want to be martyrs because we have responsibilities” or “Being a martyr means you’re causing someone else to commit murder, so that’s wrong.” Even worse, it’s “We need to preserve our lives in this world” and “We don’t want to cause people embarrassment” or “We don’t want to lose money.”

Yet if every Catholic made a serious effort at both prayer and study, and if every Catholic made a serious effort at helping other people to the faith, and if every Catholic brought at least one person into the Church per year. . . . Imagine.

The book I’m talking about took it further: 3 converts a year per Catholic, and the world would be converted in 3 years. It’s that simple.

So, why not start with prayer. We’re supposed to be fishers of men, and the more “big fish” we bring in, the more “small ones” will get caught in the net as well. So let’s make a serious effort to pray specifically for the conversions of Westboro Baptist Church and its “pastor” Fred Phelps, and for the conversion of Osama bin Ladin and his al Qaeda people.

Remember: Jesus said to St. Faustina that, if a person in a state of grace prayed the following prayer sincerely for a person, that person would make it to Heaven, even if only by a deathbed conversion:

“O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You!”

Think you’re too sophisticated to say the Rosary?

“If you think you’re too sophisticated or too educated to pray the Rosary, you’re too sophisticated and too educated, if you think that. So stop it.” –Fr. John Corapi, SOLT

“When you love Jesus’ mother more than He does, then you can start to worry that you love her too much.”
–St. Louis Marie de Montfort

We received a check in the mail this weekend from the Blessed Mother, via one of her daughters in Carmel, who said not to thank her because it was from Our Lady, not from her. So, thank you, Mother and Ornament of Carmel!

Is the Prophecy of Akita being fulfilled?

The apparitions of Akita, Japan (1973-1981) are the only apparitions to receive full approval by the Church since Fatima.

Akita was specifically a prophecy that God was sending horrible chastisements on the world, and that the people would suffer horribly.

Further, an alleged visionary (“Our Lady of Peace”) in Brazil (my take on many alleged apparitions is that, just as with more purely natural social critics, is that as long as they’re not total hoaxes or nuts, even if an apparition is coming from the Devil, it’s bound to have some value to know about), prophesied on 3/10/10 that in one year Japan would suffer a “megaquake.” The same guy predicted the Haitian earthquake.