Category Archives: Catholicism

The View of God as Seen from Hell

“Sin is something that changes God into a projection of our guilt, so that we don’t see the real God at all; all we see is some kind of judge. God (the whole meaning and purpose and point of our existence) has become a condemnation of us. God has been turned into Satan, the accuser of man, the paymaster, the one who weighs our deeds and condemns us…It is very odd that so much casual Christian thinking should be worship of Satan, that we should think of the punitive satanic God as the only God available to the sinner. It is very odd that the view of God as seen from the church should ever be simply the view of God as seen from hell. For damnation must be just being fixed in this illusion, stuck forever with the God of the Law, stuck forever with the God provided by our sin (155-156).” https://www.americamagazine.org/herbert-mccabe-faith-within…
I found this quote as someone in a Catholic discussion group was discussing The Sacrament of Reconciliation, and I recalled how Father Michael H. Hull had explained it to us in his homily on the Prodigal Son. Someone mentioned it sounded like what Fr. Herbert McCabe had described as well. What’s funny about this is I realized what McCabe describes above from reading Dean Koontz’s LIFE EXPECTANCY, which features a sociopathic kidnapper–as long as you do what he says, you won’t get killed or tortured, but you’ll never be sure whether what you’re doing is right for his expectations. I realized I was treating God like that, unknowingly. It was one of the biggest breakthroughs of my spiritual life as an adult Catholic. I think perhaps too many of us worship God as the accuser, whether we realize it or not. It’s why we can’t love as we should, and we begin accusing others. Too much fear and too much pretense of control we and our neighbor don’t have.

ash background beautiful blaze

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Manliness and a Perfect Funeral

http://jenniferfitz.com/manliness-and-a-perfect-funeral/

A beautiful tribute to my beloved John.

grayscale photo of wheelchair

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Matthew 23

We learned of the allegations against Fr. Flores at our local Latin rite parish, at the end of Mass, and we were just gobsmacked in disgust and bewilderment.  Last week, before I learned of this, I was in a discussion about priests and them not understanding women and children and family life, thinking of a particular homily Fr. Flores said that showed zero understanding of the disabled or families with children, and then this matter came to light.  SIGH.  Finding myself, yet again, trying to explain these situations that I am tired of explaining.
I have been reassured that seminaries are vetting such matters so much better when I asked how are parents supposed to trust our children at convents and seminaries, thinking of the orgies my uncle witnessed at Spring Hill College in the 1960s and he withdrew asap…this priest is a young priest…what are we supposed to do?  This is the fourth? priest in 4 parishes who has engaged in such behavior at parishes we have attended in the last 18 years–and they were all younger priests. The formation problems have not been resolved–apparently, one of the priests at his seminary agrees there needs to be major reform. The seminaries are NOT doing their jobs–but the question is– can they?!  How am I supposed to explain, yet again, to my children and try to comprehend this evil!
This is why we need married or widowers as priests you know, like the original 11. Old enough to have figured yourself out, have a wife to guide and support you in the realm of women and children, and old enough to stand up to sin when you see it. Old enough to have the wisdom the young need, to counsel through the ins and outs of life. The Rock the Church was built on was St. Peter, a married (possibly widower, but St. Clement said married, and either way, he had a wife!) fisherman, accustomed to constant hard work and intimately aware of the family life and knew how to preach on it, with the wisdom of his wife and children and his mother-in-law. That’s the Rock.
Also, he was directly counseled by Our Lady: the daughter, the virgin, the cousin, the wife, the mother, the widow–the spectrum of woman’s experience, including as well the wives of the apostles (why are they denied?) and other female relatives and friends. Are pastors and bishops and the Pope listening to women representing the fullness of the female experience and directly referencing their voices when they consider the implementation of policies, disciplines, and doctrine? (Hint: largely, NO.)
I think women being priests is as ridiculous as men being nuns, but I do think it should be a requirement for such visible counsel, as it is directly mirroring what the Church had, from the beginning–the Church is the Bride of Christ, not the Groom. And from the Beginning, before the Fall even, God said it was NOT good for the man to be alone.  If a priest is truly a celibate, he should be required to have his mother (and father) live with him in the rectory or another female relative and her family. You know, like Jesus did? If He chose to need it, why do we think priests, who are supposed to act in the person of Christ, do not?
And, yes, of course, I am praying for everyone involved–St. Mary’s pastor Father Wilson was breaking down in tears and shaking horribly when he bravely told us from the pulpit–versus NEVER telling us like in other parishes. Pray for him and for all the priests who are having to deal with this. He has consistently encouraged everyone to call the police right away if they have been victims of abuse and has signs up everywhere with that information and with the phone numbers–his leadership should be modeled by anyone who runs any organization with children.
My late husband wrote this 8 years ago with similar thoughts.
adult alone anxious black and white

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ecumenism v. orthodoxy

C. S. Lewis observes of ecumenism, even in his day, that those who speak most of being “ecumenical” are more likely to fight, while those who speak of being orthodox relative to their specific denominations are more likely to actually find agreement with one another and discuss things.  (John snippet)

“And you, yourself, a sword shall pierce”–the role of the Presbytera, and a case for married priests

The Church needs more married priests, but not for the reason people think.
One of the reasons the Western Church moved to mandatory celibacy was that it simplified things.
It has always been the case that ordination is an impediment to marriage. Once a man is ordained a deacon, he becomes a spiritual father to his community (in the East, deacons are called “Father,” as well).  Except for very rare extenuating circumstances, if a married, ordained man is widowed, he is not permitted to remarry.  Even while his wife lives, a married priest and his wife are expected *at least* to abstain from marital relations before celebrating the Liturgy (incidentally, fasting from sexual relations was part of the traditional fasting rules for laity, as well), often, and always in the Roman sui iuris church, married priests are required, or choose, to practice perpetual marital continence.
In the east, the wife of a deacon is called a “deaconess,” and the wife of a priest is called the “priestess” (or sometimes “Sister” or “Mother”).  Usually in Engish, the original language of the autocephalic church is used (such as “diakona” or “presbytera” in Greek).  The wife participates in her husband’s ministry (1 Cor 9:5).
As his wife, she is his confidante and supporter.  As the traditional observance of Sunday includes a community gathering after Divine Liturgy, the wife of the priest is to be the hostess of that gathering, mirroring her husband’s role in the liturgy.

(unfinished piece by John)

Ornan’s Threshing Floor and the Baptism of the Lord

Ornan the Jebusite offers his threshing room floor for sacrifice

Ornan the Jebusite offers David his threshing room floor for the sacrifice

In Acts 2, the early Church shared everything, even though they were being taxed by the pagan government.  In Second Kings and First Chronicles , David and his people suffered horribly because he took a census, described as “A satan–rose up against Israel, and he incited David to take a census of Israel.” In other words, the devil cajoled David such that trusted his own wisdom over that of God’s and doubted His Providence.  Given 3 choices, he chose to be punished by God for 3 days until he made the atonement.  Because of the generosity of a stranger, Ornan the Jebusite, who gave him the land, including his threshing room, and freely offered to pay the entire atonement, at the very spot that would house the Temple in Jerusalem, David and his sins for presuming God had not granted enough for the people, were atoned.  Interestingly, David turned down Ornan’s offer for it to be free, wanting to pay from his own stores.

Consider Matthew 3: 7-12:

7 But when John saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his place of baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit worthy of repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax lies ready at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 I baptize you with water for repentance, but after me will come One more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in His hand to clear His threshing floor and to gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Jesus came when a “census of the whole world” was being done by the secular, pagan government and offered His Life, once and for all, in atonement for our sins and for the whole world, essentially paying the price for our taking a census, of saying, no God, there isn’t enough, we can’t provide for all, which is blasphemy, as He does indeed provide for all. That pride and greed is essentially where all the other sins come from.

It’s Caesar we worship when we refuse to help each other, saying it’s the government’s job or those in need should have planned better (taken a census) instead of our very duty as followers of Christ is to trust Him and do whatever *He* tells us. Read Matthew 25 for those responsibilities. No, I am not even talking about immigration matters, though that certainly is part of it. Asking myself how many times I have “taken a census” to avoid helping someone or put someone down, period, is a good examination of conscience.

Published on John’s Facebook page on October 6, 2018

Went to Confession today. Didn’t want to be a “10 minute Confession,” so I prayed a long time about it–including my post about the Saints last night–and I talked about my existential doubt/Dark Night, my doubt of the Church, and rash actions committed because I was really angry at God and didn’t realize it. Father said to pray the Glorious mysteries and focus on the third. Didn’t even say that Penance till later this evening, but when I came out of Confession, I sat down, rejoined the people saying the Sorrowful Mysteries in church, and felt a deep sense of God’s Presence to a level I haven’t felt in a long time, and didn’t think I’d ever feel again now that I ‘m in the last stages of the Dark Night. I felt so overwhelmed by JOY, by LOVE, by PEACE, that I practically felt like a Charismatic. I thought of Joy Davidman Lewis’s famous description of her conversion:
“All my defenses—the walls of arrogance and cocksureness and self-love behind which I hid from God—went down momentarily. And God came in.”

selective focus photo of brown and silver rosary

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Image

Our Lady as Widow

It was my consolation from God on the night my husband died, to realize that of all the titles I had heard of Our Lady, widow was not one of them, but now I know intimately the pain she must have felt at St. Joseph’s death. I suddenly realized every time Jesus refers to a widow and/or an orphan, He refers to His Mother and Himself.   I found this article very helpful:

“The experience of Mary and her times of loneliness that arose from the circumstances of her life as the mother of Jesus is a reminder that Mary’s life was real and truly human.

She knew what it meant to be isolated, to fear, to experience terrible anxiety, loneliness, and hurt. For all her sinlessness, Mary’s life was filled with the faith-demanding events just mentioned. There likely were many more.”

happydeath

“A union of soul with soul more perfect”

My husband, John, the author of this blog, always said he was (_) with a life expectancy of 20. He had a genetic disorder, and so he and I discussed death probably way more than the average couple. I shared this in a discussion about what Heaven will be like, and I thought it might be helpful. It’s from a letter to a young widow by St. John Chrysostom:

But, as it is, we have been relieved from this apprehension, and we are firmly persuaded that in the great day he (the widow’s husband) will appear in much radiance, shining forth near the King, and going with the angels in advance of Christ and clad with the robe of unutterable glory, and standing by the side of the King as he gives judgment, and acting as one of His chief ministers. Wherefore desisting from mourning and lamentation do thou hold on to the same way of life as his, yea even let it be more exact, that having speedily attained an equal standard of virtue with him, you may inhabit the same abode and be united to him again through the everlasting ages, not in this union of marriage but another far better. For this is only a bodily kind of intercourse, but then there will be a union of soul with soul more perfect, and of a far more delightful and far nobler kind.

accessory anniversary band celebration

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Forgiveness

crucifix

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I’m John’s wife.  I wrote this the day of his death, October 11, 2018.

“If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

Many of you are asking what you can do for us. One thing I know John C. Hathaway wants us all to do is forgive, from the bottom of our hearts. He had an intense dark night of the soul, but he was graced with healing and light by Jesus in the weeks before he died (1am on 10/11/18). So, please, know that John and I and the children ask forgiveness for trespasses committed, extend forgiveness, and encourage everyone to repent and extend forgiveness as Jesus adjourned us all to do in the Our Father/Lord’s Prayer. His 3 months in the ICU (after descending aorta replacement surgery) in 2013 were fraught with disturbing images. He saw hell, and God told him he needed to extend mercy to receive mercy. We have been deeply hurt by many people, often being misunderstood, rejected, and abandoned as we struggle in a world that is hugely cruel to the weak. Yes, even amongst our own brothers and sisters in Christ. It makes for a lot of bitterness, I must confess.

As a kid, I never understood why “Mary,” the name of Jesus’s Mother, would mean bitter. It was only in the past several months that I realized there are two types of bitterness. There is a bitterness that causes the drying up of one’s soul from holding grudges, losing hope, giving up, shoving people away. Conversely, there is also the meaning of bitters as a medicine or herb. The type of bitterness that we can allow by God’s grace to bring healing, slowly, yes painfully, but very surely to our souls of all wrong. I read that bitters are a part of the Seder meal, which got me to thinking of the Last Supper and the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. Catholics have a devotion to Our Lady as the Mother of Sorrows. As I lay in bed last night, desperately missing his warm presence next to mine, it dawned on me that Mary is also a Widow. As a Catholic, I believe in Mary’s perpetual virginity but for the first time, it dawned on me how much she would have ached for her husband’s chaste presence, who guarded them through so much in the temporal life. John, I love and miss you so. Your name means God is gracious and Manly, and that you are.

 

Symbols mean things

I’m a big supporter for formalism/”New Criticism.”  I always forget who said which, but often, when writers are asked what things in their books “mean,” they say things like, “I wrote a poem, not a puzzle,” (pretty sure that’s TS Eliot) or “If I wanted to write an essay, I’d write an essay.  I wrote a story” (Flannery O’Connor, paraphrased).
I

John’s Funeral Plans and Holy Hour

My husband, John, passed away on October 11, 2018.  This blog was his labor of love for God.  He long knew he would die an early death, and he made these funeral plans when he was facing major surgery in 2013.  Thanks to our local pastor, he will be able to have his full Requiem Mass he so long desired. However, I wanted to share what he had written and ask that if you read this, that you say at least some of the prayers he shared here.   Please pray for his soul and all of us he leaves in this vale of tears.  –Mary, his wife

Entrance antiphon and hymn:
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis, te decet hymnus, Deus, in Sion, et tibi reddetur votum in Ierusalem.  Exaudi orationem meam ad te omnes caro veniet

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

 

Collect (from the Carmelite Propers):
Lord, You are the glory of those who serve You.

Look lovingly on our departed brothers and sisters, especially John of the Little Way,

united in following Christ and his Mother,

by the waters of baptism and the bonds of Carmel.

In Your mercy,

grant them everlasting sight of You,

their Creator and Redeemer.
We ask this through Our Lord, Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

 

First Reading: Sirach 18:7-12
Psalm 42:2,3,5

Second Reading: 2 Timothy 2:8-13

Gospel Acclamation: John 6:51-52

Gospel: John 19:17-18, 25-29

Offertory: Now We Remain
Communion: I Am the Bread of Life
Recessional: On Eagle’s Wings or In Paradisum or both

After Mass:

Saint Michael the Archangel,

defend us in battle.

Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.

May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;

and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host –

by the Divine Power of God –

cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,

who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Amen.

 

Reception–secular songs and readings?

 

HOLY HOUR

Leader: O God, come to my assistance

Response: O Lord, Make haste to help me

Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament

Hymns

 

O salutaris Hostia,

Quae caeli pandis ostium:

Bella premunt hostilia,

Da robur, fer auxilium.

Uni trinoque Domino

Sit sempiterna gloria,

Qui vitam sine termino

Nobis donet in patria.

Amen.

 

DIES irae, dies illa,

solvet saeculum in favilla,

teste David cum Sibylla.

THAT day of wrath, that dreadful day,

shall heaven and earth in ashes lay,

as David and the Sybil say.

Quantus tremor est futurus,

quando iudex est venturus,

cuncta stricte discussurus!

What horror must invade the mind

when the approaching Judge shall find

and sift the deeds of all mankind!

Tuba mirum spargens sonum

per sepulcra regionum,

coget omnes ante thronum.

The mighty trumpet’s wondrous tone

shall rend each tomb’s sepulchral stone

and summon all before the Throne.

Mors stupebit et natura,

cum resurget creatura,

iudicanti responsura.

Now death and nature with surprise

behold the trembling sinners rise

to meet the Judge’s searching eyes.

Liber scriptus proferetur,

in quo totum continetur,

unde mundus iudicetur.

Then shall with universal dread

the Book of Consciences be read

to judge the lives of all the dead.

Iudex ergo cum sedebit,

quidquid latet apparebit:

nil inultum remanebit.

For now before the Judge severe

all hidden things must plain appear;

no crime can pass unpunished here.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?

quem patronum rogaturus?

cum vix iustus sit securus.

O what shall I, so guilty plead?

and who for me will intercede?

when even Saints shall comfort need?

Rex tremendae maiestatis,

qui salvandos salvas gratis,

salva me, fons pietatis.

O King of dreadful majesty!

grace and mercy You grant free;

as Fount of Kindness, save me!

Recordare Iesu pie,

quod sum causa tuae viae:

ne me perdas illa die.

Recall, dear Jesus, for my sake

you did our suffering nature take

then do not now my soul forsake!

Quaerens me, sedisti lassus:

redemisti crucem passus:

tantus labor non sit cassus.

In weariness You sought for me,

and suffering upon the tree!

let not in vain such labor be.

Iuste iudex ultionis,

donum fac remissionis,

ante diem rationis.

O Judge of justice, hear, I pray,

for pity take my sins away

before the dreadful reckoning day.

Ingemisco, tamquam reus:

culpa rubet vultus meus:

supplicanti parce Deus.

You gracious face, O Lord, I seek;

deep shame and grief are on my cheek;

in sighs and tears my sorrows speak.

Qui Mariam absolvisti,

et latronem exaudisti,

mihi quoque spem dedisti.

You Who did Mary’s guilt unbind,

and mercy for the robber find,

have filled with hope my anxious mind.

Preces meae non sunt dignae:

sed tu bonus fac benigne,

ne perenni cremer igne.

How worthless are my prayers I know,

yet, Lord forbid that I should go

into the fires of endless woe.

Inter oves locum praesta,

et ab haedis me sequestra,

statuens in parte dextera.

Divorced from the accursed band,

o make me with Your sheep to stand,

as child of grace, at Your right Hand.

Confutatis maledictis,

flammis acribus addictis.

voca me cum benedictis.

When the doomed can no more flee

from the fires of misery

with the chosen call me.

Oro supplex et acclinis,

cor contritum quasi cinis:

gere curam mei finis.

Before You, humbled, Lord, I lie,

my heart like ashes, crushed and dry,

assist me when I die.

Lacrimosa dies illa,

qua resurget ex favilla.

iudicandus homo reus:

huic ergo parce Deus.

Full of tears and full of dread

is that day that wakes the dead,

calling all, with solemn blast

to be judged for all their past.

Pie Iesu Domine,

dona eis requiem. Amen.

Lord, have mercy, Jesus blest,

grant them all Your Light and Rest. Amen.

 

O God of spirits and of all flesh, Who hast trampled down death and overthrown the Devil, and given life to Thy world, do Thou, the same Lord, give rest to the souls of Thy departed servants in a place of brightness, a place of refreshment, a place of repose, where all sickness, sighing, and sorrow have fled away. Pardon every transgression which they have committed, whether by word or deed or thought. For Thou art a good God and lovest mankind; because there is no man who lives yet does not sin, for Thou only art without sin, Thy righteousness is to all eternity, and Thy word is truth.

For Thou are the Resurrection, the Life, and the Repose of Thy servants who have fallen asleep, O Christ our God, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, together with Thy Father, who is from everlasting, and Thine all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever unto ages of ages. Amen.


Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a Sinner (100 times)

 

The Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Six Decade Carmelite Form, Glorious Mysteries
Apostle’s Creed
Our Father
For an increase in Faith: Hail Mary . . . .
For an increase in Hope: Hail Mary . . .

For an increase in Love: Hail Mary . . .

Glory to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit . . .

First Glorious Mystery: the Resurrection:
Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. [20] And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord.  Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. [20] And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord. (Jn 20:19-23)

Our Father
10 Hail Mary’s

Glory be
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need of Thy Mercy.  Jesus, it is for Your love, for the conversion of sinners, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the Holy Father.
Second Glorious Mystery: the Ascension
Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. [20] And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord. (Matthew 28:16-20

Our Father
10 Hail Mary’s

Glory be
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need of Thy Mercy.  Jesus, it is for Your love, for the conversion of sinners, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the Holy Father.
Third Glorious Mystery: Pentecost

[1] And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: [2] And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. [3] And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them:[4] And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak (Luke 2:1-4)

Our Father
10 Hail Mary’s

Glory be
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need of Thy Mercy.  Jesus, it is for Your love, for the conversion of sinners, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the Holy Father.
Fourth Glorious Mystery: Assumption
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.

2I say to the LORD, “You are my LORD.

My happiness lies in you alone.”

And so, my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;

even my flesh shall rest in hope.

10For you will not abandon my soul to hell,

nor let your holy one see corruption. Psalm 16 1-2,9-10

Our Father
10 Hail Mary’s

Glory be
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need of Thy Mercy.  Jesus, it is for Your love, for the conversion of sinners, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the Holy Father.


Fifth Glorious Mystery: Coronation of Mary
And the temple of God was opened in heaven: and the ark of his testament was seen in his temple, and there were lightnings, and voices, and an earthquake, and great hail.  And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars:  (Revelation 11: 19-12:1)

Our Father
10 Hail Mary’s

Glory be
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need of Thy Mercy.  Jesus, it is for Your love, for the conversion of sinners, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the Holy Father.
Sixth Glorious Mystery: Patronage of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

“Whosoever dies

wearing this scapular

shall not suffer

eternal fire.”

Our Father
10 Hail Mary’s

Glory be
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need of Thy Mercy.  Jesus, it is for Your love, for the conversion of sinners, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the Holy Father.

Hail, Holy Queen, mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope.  To thee do we cry, poor, banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then,  O most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus, O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
We fly to thy patronage, O Holy Mother of God.  Despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us from all dangers O glorious and blessed Virgin
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

 

 

Ad Vesperas

At Vespers

Absolute incipitur: Is absolutely begun:
Ant: Placebo Domino. Ant: I will please.
Psalmus [114]:

Dilexi, quoniam exaudiet Dominus: vocem orationis meae.

Quia inclinavit aurem suam mihi: et in diebus meis invocabo.

Circumdederunt me dolores mortis: pericula inferni invenerunt me.

Tribulationem, et dolorem inveni: et nomen Domini invocavi.

O Domine, libera animam meam, misericors Dominus, et iustus: et Deus noster miseretur.

Custodiens parvulos Dominus: humiliatus sum, et liberavit me.

Convertere anima mea in requiem tuam: quia Dominus benefecit tibi.

Quia eripuit animam meam de morte: oculos meos a lacrymis, pedes meos a lapsu.

Placebo Domino: in regione vivorum.

Psalm [114]:

I have loved, because our Lord: will hear the voice of my prayer.

Because he hath inclined his ear to me: and in my days I will call upon him.

The sorrows of death have compassed me: and the pains of hell have found me.

I have found tribulation, and sorrow: and I called on the name of our Lord.

O Lord, deliver my soul, merciful Lord, and just: and our God hath mercy.

Our Lord keepeth little ones: I was humbled, and he hath delivered me.

Turn O my soul into thy rest: because our Lord hath done good to thee.

Because he hath delivered my soul from death: my eyes from tears, my feet from sliding.

I will please our Lord in the country of the living.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis. Eternal rest give unto them O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them.
Ant: Placebo Domino in regione vivorum. Ant: I will please our Lord in the country of the living.
Ant: Heu mihi. Ant: Woe is me.
Psalmus [119]:

Ad Dominum cum tribularer, clamavi: et exaudivit me.

Domine libera animam meam a labiis iniquis: et a lingua dolosa.

Quid detur tibi, aut quid apponatur tibi: ad linguam dolosam?

Sagittae potentis acutae: cum carbonibus desolatoriis.

Heu mihi, quia incolatus meus prolongatus est, habitavi cum habitantibus Cedar: multum incola fuit anima mea.

Cum his, qui oderunt pacem, eram pacificus: cum loquebar illis, inpugnabant me gratis.

Psalm [119]:

When I was in tribulation I cried to our Lord: and he heard me.

O Lord Deliver my soul from unjust lips: and from a deceitful tongue.

What may be given to thee, or what may be added unto thee: to a deceitful tongue?

The sharp arrows of the mighty: with coals of desolation.

Woe is unto me, that my sojourning is prolonged, I have dwelt with the inhabitants of Cedar: my soul hath been much a sojourner.

With them, that hated peace, I was peaceable: when I spake to them, they impugned me without cause.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis. Eternal rest give unto them O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them.
Ant: Heu mihi Domine, quia incolatus meus prolongatus est. Ant: Woe is me O Lord, that my abode is prolonged.
Ant: Dominus. Ant: Our Lord.
Psalmus [120]:

Levavi oculos meos in montes: unde veniet auxilium mihi.

Auxilium meum a Domino: qui fecit caelum et terram.

Non det in commotionem pedem tuum: neque dormitet, qui custodit te.

Ecce non dormitabit: neque dormiet, qui custodit Israel.

Dominus custodit te, Dominus protectio tua: super manum dexteram tuam.

Per diem sol non uret te: neque luna per noctem.

Dominus custodit te ab omni malo: custodiat animam tuam Dominus.

Dominus custodiat introitum tuum, et exitum tuum: ex hoc nunc, et usque in saeculum.

Psalm [120]:

I have lifted up mine eyes unto the mountains: from whence help shall come to me.

My help is from our Lord: which made heaven and earth.

Let him not give thy foot to be moved: neither let him slumber that keepeth thee.

Lo he shall not slumber: nor sleep, that keepeth Israel.

Our Lord keepeth thee, our Lord is thy protection: upon thy right hand.

By day the sun shall not burn thee: nor the moon by night.

Our Lord doth keep thee from all evil: let our Lord keep thy soul.

Let our Lord keep thy coming in, and thy going out: from henceforth, now and forever.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis. Eternal rest give unto them O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them.
Ant: Dominus custodiat te ab omni malo, custodiat animam tuam Dominus. Ant: Our Lord doth keep thee from all evil, our Lord can keep thy soul.
Ant: Si iniquitates. Ant: If thou O Lord.
Psalmus [129]:

De profundis clamavi ad te Domine: Domine exaudi vocem meam.

Fiant aures tuae intendentes: in vocem deprecationis meae.

Si iniquitates observaveris Domine: Domine quis sustinebit?

Quia apud te propitiatio est: et propter legem tuam sustinui te Domine.

Sustinuit anima mea in verbo eius: speravit anima mea in Domino.

A custodia matutina usque ad noctem: speret Israel in Domino.

Quia apud Dominum misericordia: et copiosa apud eum redemptio.

Et ipse redimet Israel: ex omnibus iniquitatibus eius.

Psalm [129]:

From the depths I have cried to thee O Lord: Lord hear my voice.

Let thine ears be attentive: unto the voice of my petition.

If thou wilt observe iniquities O Lord: Lord who shall endure it?

Because with thee there is pitifulness: and for thy law I have expected thee O Lord.

My soul hath stayed in his word: my soul hath hoped in our Lord.

From the morning watch even until night: let Israel hope in our Lord.

Because with our Lord there is mercy: and with him plentiful redemption.

And he shall redeem Israel: from all his iniquities.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis. Eternal rest give unto them O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them.
Ant: Si iniquitates observaveris Domine, Domine quis sustinebit? Ant: If thou O Lord observe iniquities, O Lord who shall be able to endure it?
Ant: Opera. Ant: The works.
Psalmus [137]:

Confitebor tibi Domine in toto corde meo: quoniam audisti verba oris mei.

In conspectu angelorum psallam tibi: adorabo ad templum sanctum tuum, et confitebor nomini tuo.

Super misericordia tua, et veritate tua: quoniam magnificasti super omne nomen sanctum tuum.

In quacumque die invocavero te, exaudi me: multiplicabis in anima mea virtutem.

Confiteantur tibi Domine omnes reges terrae: quia audierunt omnia verba oris tui.

Et cantent in viis Domini: quoniam magna est gloria Domini.

Quoniam excelsus Dominus, et humilia respicit: et alta a longe cognoscit.

Si ambulavero in medio tribulationis, vivificabis me: et super iram inimicorum meorum extendisti manum tuam, et salvum me fecit dextera tua.

Dominus retribuet pro me, Domine misericordia tua in saeculum: opera manuum tuarum ne despicias.

Psalm [137]:

I will confess to thee O Lord in my whole heart: because thou hast heard the words of my mouth.

In the sight of Angels I will sing to thee: I will adore toward thy holy temple, and will confess to thy name.

Upon thy mercy and thy truth: because thou hast magnified thy holy name above all things.

In what day soever I shall call on thee, hear me: thou shalt multiply strength in my soul.

Let all the Kings of the earth O Lord confess to thee: because they have heard all the words of thy mouth.

And let them sing in the ways of our Lord: because great is the glory of our Lord.

Because our Lord is high, and he beholdeth low things: and high things he knoweth far off.

If I shall walk in the midst of tribulation, thou wilt quicken me: and upon the wrath of mine enemies thou hast extended thy hand, and thy right hand hath saved me.

Our Lord will repay for me, O Lord thy mercy is forever: despise not the works of thy hands.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis. Eternal rest give unto them O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them.
Ant: Opera manuum tuarum Domine ne despicias. Ant: The works of thy hands dispise not O Lord.
V: Audivi vocem de caelo dicentem mihi. V: I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me.
R: Beati mortui qui in Domino moriuntur. R: Blessed are the dead which die in our Lord.
Ant: Omne. Ant: All.
Canticum Beatae Mariae Virginis [Luc. 1]:

Magnificat: anima mea Dominum .

Et exultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo .

Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae: ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes .

Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est: et sanctum nomen eius .

Et misericordia eius, a progenie et progenies: timentibus eum .

Fecit potentiam in brachio suo: dispersit superbos mente cordis sui .

Deposuit potentes de sede: et exaltavit humiles .

Esurientes implevit bonis: et divites dimisit inanes .

Suscepit Israel puerum suum: recordatus misericordiae suae.

Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros: Abraham, et semini eius in saecula .

The Song of the Blessed Virgin Mary [Luke 1]:

My soul: doth magnify our Lord.

And my spirit hath rejoiced: in God my saviour.

Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me: and holy is his name.

And his mercy from generation unto generations: to them that fear him.

He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath dispersed the proud in the conceit of their heart.

He hath deposed the mighty from their seat: and hath exalted the humble.

The hungry he hath filled with good things: and the rich he hath sent away empty.

He hath received Israel his child: being mindful of his mercy.

As he spake to our fathers: to Abraham, and his seed forever.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis. Eternal rest give unto them O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them.
Ant: Omne, quod dat mihi Pater, ad me veniet, et eum qui venit ad me, non eiiciam foras. Ant: All, that my Father giveth me, shall come unto me, and he that cometh unto me, I will not cast forth.
Preces infrascriptae in ferialibus diebus dicuntur flexis genibus: The prayers hereafter set down are to be said on the working days kneeling:
Pater noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum: adveniat regnum tuum: fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra: panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. 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.
V: Et ne nos inducas in tentationem. V: And lead us not into temptation.
R: Sed libera nos a malo. R: But deliver us from evil.
Psalmus [145]:

Lauda anima mea Dominum: laudabo Dominum in vita mea: psallam Deo meo quamdiu fuero.

Nolite confidere in principibus: in filiis hominum, in quibus non est salus.

Exibit spiritus eius, et revertetur in terram suam: in illa die peribunt omnes cogitationes eorum.

Beatus cuius Deus Iacob adiutor eius, spes eius in Domino Deo ipsius: qui fecit caelum et terram, mare et omnia quae in eis sunt.

Qui custodit veritatem in saeculum, facit iudicium iniuriam patientibus: dat escam esurientibus.

Dominus solvit conpeditos: Dominus illuminat caecos.

Dominus erigit elisos: Dominus diligit iustos.

Dominus custodit advenas, pupillum et viduam suscipiet: et vias peccatorum disperdet.

Regnabit Dominus in saecula, Deus tuus Sion: in generatione et generationem.

Psalm [145]:

My soul praise thou our Lord, I will praise our Lord in my life: I will sing to my God as long as I shall be.

Put not confidence in Princes: in the children of men, in whom there is no salvation.

His spirit shall go forth, and shall return into his earth: in that day all their cogitations shall perish.

Blessed is he whose God of Jacob is his helper his hope in our Lord his God: which made heaven and earth, the sea, and all things that are in them.

Which keepeth truth forever, doth judgement for them that suffer wrong, giveth food to the hungry.

Our Lord looseth the fettered: our Lord lighteneth the blind.

Our Lord lifteth up the bruised: our Lord loveth the just.

Our Lord keepeth strangers, the fatherless and widow he will receive: and the ways of sinners he shall destroy.

Our Lord shall reign forever, thy God O Sion: in generation and generation.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis. Eternal rest give unto them O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them.
V: A porta inferi. V: From the gate of hell.
R: Erue Domine animas eorum. R: Deliver their souls O Lord.
V: Requiescant in pace. V: Let them rest in peace.
R: Amen. R: Amen.
V: Domine exaudi orationem meam. V: O Lord hear my prayer.
R: Et clamor meus ad te veniat. R: And let my cry come unto thee.
Oratio:

Deus, qui inter Apostolicos sacerdotes famulos tuos pontificali seu sacerdotali fecisti dignitate vigere: praesta quaesumus: ut eorum quoque perpetuo aggregentur consortio.

Deus veniae largitor et humanae salutis amator, quaesumus clementiam tuam: ut nostrae congregationis fratres, propinquos, et benefactores, qui ex hoc saeculo transierunt, beata Maria semper virgine intercedente cum omnibus sanctis tuis, ad perpetuae beatitudinis consortium pervenire concedas.

Fidelium Deus omnium conditor, et redemptor animabus famulorum, famularumque tuarum remissionem cunctorum tribue peccatorum: ut indulgentiam, quam semper optaverunt, piis supplicationibus consequantur. Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.

Prayer:

O God, which among the Apostolic priests hast made thy servants to have power by pontifical or priestly dignity: Grant we beseech thee: that they may also be joined unto their perpetual society.

O God the giver of pardon, and the lover of human salvation, we beseech thy clemency: that thou grant the brethren of our congregation, kinsfolk, and benefactors, which are departed out of this world, blessed Mary ever virgin making intercession with all the saints, to come to the fellowship of eternal blessedness.

O God the creator, and redeemer of all the faithful, give unto the souls of thy servants men, and women remission of all their sins: that through Godly supplications they may obtain the pardon which they have always wished for. Who livest and reignest world without end.

R: Amen. R: Amen.
V: Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine. V: Eternal rest give unto them O Lord.
R: Et lux perpetua luceat eis. R: And let perpetual light shine unto them.
V: Requiescant in pace. V: Let them rest in peace.
R: Amen. R: Amen.

Flos Carmeli

FLOWER of Carmel, Tall vine blossom laden; Splendor of heaven, Childbearing yet maiden. None equals thee.

Mother so tender, Who no man didst know, On Carmel’s children Thy favours bestow. Star of the Sea.

Strong stem of Jesse, Who bore one bright flower, Be ever near us And guard us each hour, who serve thee here.

Purest of lilies, That flowers among thorns, Bring help to the true heart That in weakness turns and trusts in thee.

Strongest of armour, We trust in thy might: Under thy mantle, Hard press’d in the fight, we call to thee.

Our way uncertain, Surrounded by foes, Unfailing counsel You give to those who turn to thee.

O gentle Mother Who in Carmel reigns, Share with your servants That gladness you gained and now enjoy.

Hail, Gate of Heaven, With glory now crowned, Bring us to safety Where thy Son is found, true joy to see. Amen. (Alleluia.)

 

Litany of the Carmelite Saints

Lord, Have Mercy on Us/Lord, Have Mercy on Us

Christ, Have Mercy on Us/Christ, Have Mercy on Us

Lord Have Mercy on Us/Lord Have Mercy on Us

 

Christ, Hear Us/Christ, Graciously Hear us

 

God, the Father of Heaven/Have Mercy on Us

God, the Son, Redeemer of the World/Have Mercy on Us

God, the Holy Spirit/Have Mercy on Us

Holy Trinity, one God/Have Mercy on Us

 

Divine Infant Jesus [of Prague]/Have Mercy on Us

 

Holy Mary, Mother of God/Pray for Us.

Holy, Virgin of Virgins/Pray for Us.

Mother of Divine Grace/Pray for Us.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel/Pray for Us.

Mother and Ornament of Carmel/Have Mercy on Us

Patroness of all who wear the Scapular/Pray for Us.

Hope of all Who Die Wearing the Scapular/Pray for Us.

Mystical Rose/Pray for Us.

Star of the Sea/Pray for Us.

Our Lady of Guadalupe/Pray for Us.

Our Lady of Fatima/Pray for Us.

Queen of all Saints/Pray for Us.

Queen conceived without original sin/Pray for Us.

Queen assumed into heaven/Pray for Us.

Queen of the most holy Rosary/Pray for Us.

Queen of families/Pray for Us.

Queen of peace/Pray for Us.

 

All holy angels/Pray for Us.

 

Holy Father Elijah/Pray for Us.

St. Elisha/Pray for Us.

St. John the Baptist/Pray for Us.

St. Joseph, friend of the Sacred Heart/Pray for Us.

St. Joseph, chaste spouse of Mary/Pray for Us.

St. Joseph, our patron/Pray for Us.

All holy Patriarchs and Prophets/Pray for Us.

 

St. Peter/Pray for Us.

St. Paul/Pray for Us.

St. John [the Evangelist]/Pray for Us.

All holy Apostles and Disciples of Our Lord/Pray for Us.

 

St. Angelus/Pray for Us.

Bl. Denis and Redemptus/Pray for Us.

Bl. Jean-Baptiste [Duverneuil]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Michael-Aloysius [Brulard]/Pray for Us.

Bl. James [Gagnot]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Teresa [of St. Augustine] and Companions [of Compiegne]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Isidore [Bakanja]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Maria Mercedes [Prat]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Maria Pilar [of St. Francis Borgia]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Teresa [of the Child Jesus and of St. John of the Cross]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Maria Angeles [of St. Joseph]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Maria Sagrario [of St. Aloysius Gonzaga]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Titus Brandsma/Pray for Us.

St. Teresa Benedicta [of the Cross]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Alphonsus Mary [Mazurek] and Companions/Pray for Us.

All Holy Martyrs/Pray for Us.

 

St. Albert of Jerusalem/Pray for Us.

St. Peter [Thomas]/Pray for Us.

St. Andrew [Corsini]/Pray for Us.

Bl. John Paul [II]/Pray for Us.

All Holy Bishops and Doctors of the Church/Pray for Us.

 

Holy Mother Teresa [of Jesus, of Avila]/Pray for Us.

St. John [of the Cross]/Pray for Us.

St. Therese [of the Child Jesus, of Lisieux]/Pray for Us.

 

St. Simon [Stock]/Pray for Us.

St. Albert [of Trapani]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Nuno [Alvares Pereira]/Pray for Us.

Bl. John [Soreth]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Baptist [Spagnoli]/Pray for Us.

St. Peter [of Alcantara]/Pray for Us.

St. Francis [Borgia, SJ]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Francis [Palau y Quer]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Kuriakos Elias [Chavara]/Pray for Us.

St. Henry [de Osso y Cervello]/Pray for Us.

St. Raphael [Kalinowski]/Pray for Us.

St. George [Preca]/Pray for Us.

 

St. Mary Magdalene [de Pazzi]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Mary of the Incarnation/Pray for Us.

Bl. Anne [of St. Bartholomew]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Mary [of Jesus]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Mary [of the Angels]/Pray for Us.

St. Teresa Margaret [Redi of the Sacred Heart]/Pray for Us.

St. Joachina [de Vedruna]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Mary [of Jesus Crucified]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Josepha [Naval Girbes]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Teresa Maria [Manetti of the Cross]/Pray for Us.

St. Teresa of Jesus [of the Andes]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Elia [of St. Clement]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Elizabeth [of the Trinity]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Maria Candida [of the Eucharist]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Maria Maravillas [of Jesus]/Pray for Us.

All Holy Priests and Religious/Pray for Us.

 

Bl. Louis and Zelie [Martin]/Pray for Us.

All Holy Men and Women/Pray for Us.

 

All you Saints of Carmel, intercede for us

All you Saints of God, intercede for us

 

We sinners/We beseech You to hear us

That You would spare us/We beseech You to hear us

That You would pardon us/We beseech You to hear us

That You would bring us to true penance/We beseech You to hear us

That You would deign to govern and preserve your holy Church/We beseech You to hear us

That You will guide and protect Our Order/We beseech You to hear us

That You would deign to preserve our Apostolic Prelate, and all orders of the Church in holy religion/We beseech You to hear us

That You would deign to humble the enemies of Holy Church/We beseech You to hear us

That You would deign to give peace and true concord to Christian kings and princes/We beseech You to hear us

That You would deign to grant peace and unity to all Christian people/We beseech You to hear us

That You would deign to call back to the unity of the Church all who have strayed from the truth and lead all unbelievers to the light of the Gospel/We beseech You to hear us

That You will bring many vocations to the Carmelite Orders/We beseech You to hear us

That You would deign to confirm and preserve us in your holy service/We beseech You to hear us

That You would lift up our minds to heavenly desires/We beseech You to hear us

That You would render eternal blessings to all our benefactors/We beseech You to hear us

That You would deliver our souls and the souls of our brethren in Carmel, relations and benefactors, from eternal damnation/We beseech You to hear us

That You would deign to give and preserve the fruits of the earth/We beseech You to hear us

That you would deign to grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed, particularly from the Order of Carmel/We beseech You to hear us

That you would deign graciously to hear us/We beseech You to hear us

Son of God/We beseech You to hear us

 

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,

R/ spare us, O Lord.</em>

 

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,

R/ graciously hear us, O Lord.</em>

 

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,

R/ have mercy on us.</em>

 

V/ Christ, hear us.

R/ Christ, graciously hear us.</em>

 

V/ Lord, have mercy.

R/ Christ, have mercy.</em>

 

Lord, have mercy.</em>

 

Our Father . . .

 

Lord, You are the glory of those who serve You.

Look lovingly on our departed brothers and sisters, especially John of the Little Way,

united in following Christ and his Mother,

by the waters of baptism and the bonds of Carmel.

In Your mercy,

grant them everlasting sight of You,

their Creator and Redeemer.
We ask this through Our Lord, Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

 

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!</em>

 

Benediction
Tantum ergo Sacramentum

Veneremur cernui:

Et antiquum documentum

Novo cedat ritui:

Praestet fides supplementum

Sensuum defectui.

 

Genitori, Genitoque

Laus et jubilatio,

Salus, honor, virtus quoque

Sit et benedictio:

Procedenti ab utroque

Compar sit laudatio.

Amen.

 

  1. Panem de caelis[4] praestitisti eis (in Paschaltide, ‘Alleluia’ is added).
  2. Omne delectamentum in se habentem[Wis 16:20] (in Paschaltide, ‘Alleluia’ is added).

Let us pray.

 

O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament

left us a memorial of your Passion:

grant, we implore you,

that we may so venerate

the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood,

as always to be conscious of the fruit of your Redemption.

You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

 

The Divine Praises

Blessed be God.

Blessed be His Holy Name.

Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.

Blessed be the name of Jesus.

Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.

Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the paraclete.

Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.

Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception.

Blessed be her glorious Assumption.

Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.

Blessed be Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse.

Blessed be God in His angels and in His Saints.

 

May the heart of Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, be praised, adored, and loved with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time. Amen.

Except during Lent:

You are God; we praise You.

You are the Lord; we acclaim You.

You are the eternal Father; all creation worships You.

To You all angels, all the pow’rs of heaven,

cherubim and seraphim, sing in endless praise:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of pow’r and might,

heaven and earth are full of Your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise You.

The noble fellowship of prophets praise You.

The white-robed army of martyrs praise You.

Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims You:

Father, of majesty unbounded;

Your true and only Son, worthy of all worship;

and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father.

When You became man to set us free,

You did not spurn the virgin’s womb.

You overcame the sting of death

and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.

We believe that You will come and be our judge.

Come, then, Lord, and help Your people,

bought with the price of Your own blood,

and bring us with Your saints to glory everlasting.

 

How Considering Sedevacantism led me back to the Novus Ordo

I have recently “come out of the closet,” so to speak, that after 5 years of wavering I cannot accept the notion that Jorge Bergoglio is or ever has been the Vicar of Christ.
So that leaves the question: “What now?”
Many people have attempted to provide “plans” or “predictions” for worldly processes of “purifying” the Catholic Church–but that is only going to happen with direct, obvious intervention by God, whether it’s in the form of the actual Second Coming or the time period variously called the “new Pentecost,” the “Triumph of the Immaculate Heart,” “Eucharistic Reign of Christ,” etc.
As I have also been very open about sharing, I’ve been deeply shaken to my core not just by recent news headlines, which really aren’t that surprising to me except the depth to which we have been lied to by the hierarchy, but by personal events.  I was diagnosed with epilepsy, and since that diagnosis have read some very convincing arguments that most of the Bible and most of the apparitions and miracles that have given me confidence in Christ may have just been epileptic seizures.
And they make a good case. And every “But what about–” I think about comes from the Church, which has been lying to us  about all sorts of basic things.
So, trying to get my mind around all this stuff, I was reading a sedevacantist page last night, and much like C. S. Lewis applied the arguments atheists made against Christianity and applied them to atheism, I took home a few key points:
On the one hand, much of what sedevacantists see as heresy in the Vatican II era is really based on their own Jansenism and/or the Tridentine and Vatican I rejection of all but a few specific theological traditions and emphasis on Papal supremacy.
In spite of their own arguments for Jansenism, the sedes seem to hold that if they are wrong about the Papacy being vacant or the Mass being invalid, we’re saved by faith, so doing what they think is faithful to the True Church, even if they’re wrong, is better in their view than attending the Novus Ordo.  They do not seem to give the same benefit of the doubt to those who go to the so-called “Vatican II sect” in good conscience.
Then there was this point, which basically seems to be what sedes do to begin with:

Do not spend too much time trying to figure things out — it can lead to pride, vain curiosity, dangerous ideas, and a misplaced reliance on self rather than on God. In general, we are well-advised to seek after virtue rather than knowledge. Certainly we may suppose that living a holy prayerful life and seeking to be pleasing to God, cannot but hasten the day of Restoration.

So, if I should be relying totally on God, then shouldn’t I just do the basics in the most practical way possible?

“With zeal, I have been zealous”

I took “OCDS” off my Facebook profile.
But I feel more Carmelite than ever.

I just don’t know how I can be “Catholic” anymore.  And the questions I have are so deep and existential that no one can answer them but God.

Kindly people are answering with platitudes and apologetics.  Folks, I was reading Catholic Answers when I was 12.  I read the entire New American Bible, with footnotes, from ages 12-14 because at the time as a Catholic among Protestant kids in the South, “Have you read the whole Bible yet?” was a kind of a status question I wanted to be able to answer affirmatively.  I spent most of 1990 and 1991 reading Lewis, Merton, St. Augustine, St. Teresa of Avila, St. JP2, etc.

St. John of the Cross wrote Dark Night of the Soul while he was imprisoned by his “brothers in Carmel.”  The Dark Night is when one is cut off from “the Church” by the wolves in shepherds’ clothing.The Carmelite motto comes from 1 Kings (3 Kings in the traditional naming) 19:14:

[14] With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant: they have destroyed thy altars, they have slain thy prophets with the sword, and I alone am left, and they seek my life to take it away.

coat_of_arms_ocd_discalcedcarmelites

 

Juridically, one must be a “Catholic in good standing” to be OCDS.  I do not believe that the man posing in white robes in the Vatican is the Vicar of Christ.  I believe the true Vicar of Christ has been forced into hiding for the past 5 1/2 years, per numerous prophecies, some of which have come to us through Carmelite mystics.

I believe that, in order to truly be a good Catholic, one cannot at this point even pretend to be loyal to a man who:
a) As Archbishop actively covered up sexual abuse
b) Was a Jesuit but broke their Rule by accepting ecclesiastical preferment
c)-zzz) Do I really need to list them?
At this point, anyone who supports “Pope Francis” is either a raging liberal, poorly catechized or so blinded by an oddly inconsistent popalotry that they are willing to say that a cube is round if the “Pope of Humility” says so.
So until this mess is cleared up–and one way or another–I’m tired of playing “undercover Catholic” within the Church, though ironically, it is now the “Vatican II Catholics” who are demanding Ultramontanism.

But I’m going through a deep spiritual crisis, and it’s not one anyone has an answer to, or can answer, except God Himself.  And if and when He does answer, whatever it is, I know I’m not going to like the experience:
1) I’m wrong and Francis is legitimate, and I have to completely rethink my understanding of everything
2) I’m right, and we’re in for some pretty drastic Chastisements before either the Second Coming or whatever the “Era of Peace”/”New Springtime” is
3) The immediate future of the Catholic Church will be more the long, arduous persecution that then Fr. Ratzinger predicted in the late 60s
4) The Orthodox are right, Roman Catholicism is and always has been a vast conspiracy of homosexuals, and I have to rethink several fundamental aspects of my spirituality and theology.
5) The notion that there’s one, “True” Church is wrong and God doesn’t care as much as we’re told He does.
6) Then there’s always the fear of C. S. Lewis and St. Francis de Sales that God’s just the Cosmic Vivisectionist.

I was diagnosed with Epilepsy last month and while researching it, found all these articles with convincing explanations that the Bible is nothing but a series of stories about epileptics having seizures, and I have to admit they’re pretty convincing.

The only thing I cannot accept is that God doesn’t exist, because His intervention is too obvious in my life.

For example, He worked an amazing miracle this weekend, dissipating Hurricane Florence, though most people are chalking it up to “unpredictable weather” and “the media got it wrong,” which means the next time there’s a hurricane they won’t prepare and it will get worse.

I keep asking Him to intervene, and He seems to remain silent while things keep getting worse.

Life is always “One step forward; two steps back,” and us “Older Brothers on the Porch,” begging for the Father to show us some love, get maligned, while His vicars don’t just greet the Prodigal siblings returning (which we’re more than happy to do): they go out to them in the mud and tell them to stay in the mud because God loves them just the way they are, and God made them that way, and we’re the wrong ones for being so judgmental.

At what point does one give up trying?  Which “trying” should I give up?

If God doesn’t care, why should I?

But He remains silent.

I was going to quote Holy Father John, but I decided to quote Eliot’s Ash Wednesday, instead:

“Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will

And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,

Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.”

On Obligation versus Obligation

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like “obligation.”  It’s my Asperger.  It’s my Americanism.  It’s my modernism.  But I balk at being required to do something.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of “obligation” and the faith, and I thought I’d look up what the word actually means.  While today it means more a “requirement” or “responsibility,” it originally meant “pledge.”  Before that, it came from a Latin word for “binding.”  In one sense, an “obligation” binds the person to do it, but also binds one party to another.
St. Augustine’s oft-misquoted “dilige et quod vis fac” comes into play here.  “Dilige” is the root word for “delight” or “delicious,” but it’s also the root for “diligence.”  So while St. Augustine is misquoted as saying “Love and do as you will,” with “love” here meaning “follow your delights” (something St. Augustine quite obviously would not endorse), he really means “Love your duty from that that do as you will.”
This is really a functional definition of “obligation.”  It is always an act of love.  Socrates says he accepts the death penalty because he loves Athens too much to be exiled.  The patriot loves his country so much he offers his life in military service, which involves obligations.  The student has an obligation to study, but if she loves learning, the obligation is easier.
I have obligations to my body.  I have had to drastically adjust my diet and lifestyle since epilepsy was added to my list of ailments last month.  Out of love for my family, I fulfill the obligations of my new condition, whether I really desire them or not.
I have obligations to my children.  Some are difficult.  Some are enjoyable, but I do all of them because I love my children.
I have obligations to my wife.  I keep those obligations because I love her.  Some of those obligations are tedious, like chores, while others are more pleasurable.  But they’re still obligations.  One of the things Natural Family Planning teaches about marriage is how to make love when one doesn’t feel like it: it’s an obligation.
Thus, when we speak of obligations in the Church, or even not obligations but “requirements” of devotions, the purpose is not to be legalistic as such: it’s to provide a tried and true guideline for building a relationship with Christ.  Just as hugging and kissing daily strengthen a marriage, so prayer and certain practices strengthen our relationship with God.  Sure, I could skip checking for discount flowers at the grocery store, but when I bring my wife flowers, she feels loved and I grow in love for her from that appreciation.  Sure, I can skip my Rosary, but when I give Jesus and His Mother that spiritual bouquet, they feel loved, and I grow in love for them.
Studies show that married couples should make love at least once a week, on average, to feel happy and fulfilled in their marriages.  That, again, can be an “obligation” if one or both isn’t “in the mood,” or especially if they have to schedule a time, and if legitimate impediments exist, they are usually stressful situations that will either strengthen or weaken the marriage depending on how they’re handled: do the couple turn to each other or away from each other?.
Similarly, frequency of Confession and Communion builds our bonds to Jesus Christ.  It’s an “obligation” because it binds us to Him.  We should receive the Sacraments because we love Jesus.  Sometimes, the experience can be full of spiritual consolation.  Sometimes, it can be dry.  Sometimes, we receive indicators that we need to improve our relationship with Christ.  And as with marriage, when crises, however frequent or infrequent, impede us from coming to Him Sacramentally, do we turn to Him for help or away from Him?

Remembering 9/10/2001

Yes, you read that right.

Last night, I was in the ER.  I was in what I call “Marfan limbo”: I felt kind of like I did before my aortic dissection: I’ve been very active lately, I’ve had a lot of stress, my blood pressure has been erratic, and I feel a lot of pressure and pain in my arteries (a concept which many doctors claim is “Impossible,” even though it’s the experience of many people I’ve talked to either with Marfan syndrome or atherosclerosis).  Before I digress into a complaint about ERs, the point is I came to the hospital around 7 PM and got into a room at 11.   I went to CT at 12:15 AM and noticed that the clock in my room said 2:15, so I wondered if it was broken or just off by 2 hours.  It still said 2:15 when I left the hospital at 1:45.  So it wasn’t “off by two hours”; it was “off, period,” thus illustrating the adage that a “stopped clock is right twice a day.”

An illustration of the adage in application happened 17 years ago.
On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh, a disgruntled Gulf War veteran and atheist, used a truck full of fertilizer to commit what at the time was the deadliest and most destructive act of terrorism on US soil in history.
On June 11, 2001, McVeigh was executed, and given St. John Paul II’s guidelines for the proper use of the death penalty, his execution could have been considered justified.  At that point in my life, I was a young husband with a wife and unborn daughter, trying to work on my MA thesis and trying desperately to find a full time job so my wife could be a stay at home mother as she wanted.
We had a stack of Catholic periodicals I hadn’t had time to read yet.

On September 10, 2001, I was doing both–working on my thesis and catching up on my periodicals.  I read two things which a day later had great significance and showed me as always that God tends to guide my reading where He wants and when He wants me to know things.

C. S. Lewis’s fictional and allegorical books are sometimes considered novelizations of his nonfiction-he himself makes that point specifically in some cases, such as his association of That Hideous Strength with The Abolition of Man.

So in preparation for my thesis on Till We Have Faces, I was rereading The Four Loves and happened to be reading the part about patriotism.  Therein, Lewis (who was ironically pro-death penalty and one of the few pro-death penalty Christian writers that influenced me in my early reading) talks about how “Just War Theory” and Self-defense follow parallel principles.   He says that if someone invades your home and threatens you, robs you or assaults you, you have the right to fight back, but you do not have the right to chase the invader back to his home and kill him.  That’s vigilantism, not self-defense.  Thus, Lewis says, just war has to be defensive, not retaliatory.

Then I picked up a stack of slightly old diocesan newspapers and scanned for articles that might still have relevance.  I hit upon the USCCB’s statement about the then-upcoming execution of McVeigh.  I thought of the broken clock metaphor when I read the statement, presented by Roger Mahony, who argued that violence only perpetuates violence.  They warned that worse terrorism might result from McVeigh’s execution.

Three months to the day after McVeigh was executed, those words proved prophetic, as an even deadlier and more destructive act of terrorism was perpetrated by men with utility knives on commercial airlines.

These men had come into the country “legally” on student visas but stayed after those visas were expired.  Like McVeigh, the disgruntled Gulf War veteran, they were supposedly motivated by their anger at the United States’ imperialism in the Middle East.  I thought at the time how this event not only fulfilled that warning by the Catholic bishops–it also validated every warning that Patrick “I like what he has to say but I don’t think he can win so I’m not voting for him” Buchanan had made during his bids for the presidency, how if Republicans had nominated Buchanan instead of “likely to win” incumbent Bush in 1992, or possibly even in 2000, that 9/11 might not have happened because Buchanan would have tightened immigration policy, and brought our troops back to guard our own country instead of oil companies’ interests.

A week or two before, we went to a Sunday Mass where the priest quoted the famous Billy Graham quip that if God didn’t punish America, He owed an apology to Sodom and Gomorrah.

“Yet know this, that the kingdom of God is at hand. [12] I say to you, it shall be more tolerable at that day for Sodom, than for that city. [13] Woe to thee, Corozain, woe to thee, Bethsaida. For if in Tyre and Sidon had been wrought the mighty works that have been wrought in you, they would have done penance long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. [14] But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgement, than for you. [15] And thou, Capharnaum, which art exalted unto heaven, thou shalt be thrust down to hell.” (Luke 10:11-15, Douay).

For about a week, people flooded into churches.  People prayed.  It seemed like America was having its Ninevah moment.  Then, suddenly, it became “They hate us because of our freedom.”
Suddenly, we were being told, “Islam means ‘peace,'” even though I was always taught before that–by Muslims–that “Islam means ‘submission.'”  We were being told that it was wrong to see God’s justice in the “tragedy,” that the victims were “innocent” (even though there has only been one innocent victim in history).  Rather than doing things that might have actually prevented something like 9/11 from happening again, like tightening our immigration policies and bringing our troops back to our country to defend our own borders, we got involved in a perpetual “War on Terror” that has just perpetuated the cycle of violence even further, and we’re told that if one criticizes this cycle of violence, if one criticizes the imperialism of it, one is “dishonoring the Troops.”

Socrates said it is better to suffer wrong than to do it.

A common theme of many Marian apparitions–which have very accurately warned of the times in which we live–is that our only weapons should be the Rosary and the Cross.

Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.

“The Weight of Glory” and the Weight of the Church

Probably one of the most bottom-line important pieces of Christian thought outside the Bible was the famous paragraph of C. S. Lewis’s “The Weight of Glory”:

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.  All day long we are in some degree helping each other to one or other of these destinations.  It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.  There are no ordinary people.  You have never talked to a mere mortal.  Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.  But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.

I get the argument that the kinds of sexual abuse, physical abuse, corruption and cover-ups in the Catholic Church occur in any institution, and are often objectively worse.  For example, as my dear friend Jen Fitz has pointed out, no one is legally obligated to go to Catholic anything, but they are legally obligated to go to public schools (barring the resources for private or home schooling).

However, in an institution which is supposedly founded by God Himself, which supposedly exists to train people up to be Saints, and which supposedly believes every individual is of infinite worth, shouldn’t there be a Higher Standard?

If the Catholic Church is what She claims to be, then just one priest abusing his authority to spiritually or psychologically abuse one person should be a matter of grave horror to every member of the Church–did not Ven John Henry Newman say that it would be better for all the stars to fall than one person ever commit even a venial sin?

If we’re going to compare the Catholic Church, statistically, to other religions, government institutions, or businesses, aren’t we thereby saying that the Catholic Church is just another human institution?

And if the Catholic Church is just another human institution, with networks of predatory behavior, actions like wearing a Crucifix being used as signs of “grooming” by homosexual priests, bishops being reprimanded by the Vatican or dying mysterious deaths for trying to laicize homosexual and pedophile priests, and everything else that people like Fr. Malachi Martin and Fr. James Haley sacrificed their own priesthoods by trying to expose, but now the world believes because the state of Pennsylvania has validated its existence–then if the Church is just another human institution, then that makes the anti-Catholics right, and it’s just a gigantic network of people unwittingly and sometimes wittingly providing various sexual predators, narcissists and/or sociopaths a steady supply of victims and proteges.

But if the Church is the Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ (as well as the Whore of Babylon), then She must be held to a higher standard.  It shouldn’t be about PR.  It shouldn’t be about statistics.  It shouldn’t be about minimal legal requirements.  It should be about saving the immortal souls of the victims and of the guilty.  It should be about fasting and prayer and penance.  It should be about sacrificing wealth and privilege and social status for the sake of souls.

And that applies to just about every issue you can think of: sex abuse, abortion, poverty, people with disabilities.  “Everyone who has two cloaks must share with the one who has none.”  We hear of St. Martin of Tours giving his military cloak to a beggar.  We don’t often hear of him being nearly rejected as a bishop because many priests and bishops didn’t like the fact that he dressed as a beggar.
St. Vincent de Paul is known for his service of the poor later in his life but he originally became a priest because he was born into a very poor family and, at the time, the priesthood was the best avenue for upward mobility.
Bl. Pier Giorgio was known for rarely coming home at the end of the day wearing the same clothes he put on in the morning, or  more than the most basic clothes decency required, because throughout the day he’d give away his clothes to the poor or trade clothes with them.  “Oh, but health.”  Yes, he died at a relatively young age because he gave his life in service to the poor.

In America, we have a “vocations crisis” because young men don’t want to give up their lives of pleasure, or more usually because they learn very quickly–as I did, as one of my childhood best friends did, as my wife’s uncle did–that if you want to pursue holiness the priesthood as it exists in America is not the place to be.
In the Middle East and Africa, by contrast, they have a vocations crisis because so many priests are being martyred.

My wife recently posted a “rant” on Facebook about how the two “ideological camps” of Catholicism are mutually inconsistent about respecting Life and supporting people.  She meant that, whatever our political views, we’re still obligated to help one another when and where we need it, and we should do so in a manner that treats people with respect.  This post was inspired not just by need but by the wonderful example of some local Catholics who’ve recently not only provided us with great material blessings but done so in a manner that was loving and respectful.

Of course, the post degraded into a political argument.

If each of us reminded ourselves every day of the infinite worth of every individual we meet, how different would our world be?  What if, as Lewis depicts in _The Great Divorce_ and as the Orthodox teach in the Tollhouse theory of personal judgement, the person I find most annoying, intolerable, disgusting, hateful, ugly or unforgiveable, ends up as a Saint in Heaven, whom I must love in order to get to Heaven?  What if the person I find most admirable, pleasant, enjoyable, beautiful, lovable and tolerable ends up in Hell?  What if someone ends up in Hell because of my sin?

We all sin, of course, but there’s a reason the Church and society distinguish degrees of sin and evil.

And no one who truly respects the infinite worth of every individual could sexually, physically, psychologically or worse, spiritually abuse another person.
No one who truly respects the infinite value of every soul could shrug their shoulders when a homebound or hospital-bound parishioners begs for Sacraments.
No one who truly respects the infinite value of every soul could decline to even make an attempt at helping anyone else in need.
No one who truly respects the infinite worth of every individual could say, “Well, I obeyed the reporting laws as I understood them.”
I could go on, but if you’ve read this far, you get the point.

Each of us, as always, needs to do a better job of acting like we actually believe in God.
If we want to win people to Christ, acting like Christ is the way, not comparing His Church to other earthly institutions.

Wake up!

From Evening Prayer, Friday Week 3:

2b Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials,*3for you know that the testing* of your faith produces perseverance.4And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.5But if any of you lacks wisdom,* he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it.c6But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind.d7For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord,8since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:2-8)

On May 25, the feast of St. Mary Magdalene De Pazzi, OCD, and the feast of the great and “venerable” Englishman St. Bede, Ireland, which St. Patrick prophesied would one day lose the faith but regain it to spread around the world, officially severed itself not just from Catholicism but from basic decency and Natural Law by sentencing millions of children to death by abortion.

About 20 years ago, I had a dream that the Chastisements would begin if Ireland legalized abortion. Prepare your hearts. Repent. Go to Confession. Get baptized if you aren’t. Fast. Pray. Stop blaspheming. Love God with all your hearts, minds and souls. Arm your family with faith, service and sacramentals. This is war. And we’re all soldiers asleep at our posts. Our Lord warns us that when we have done our duties, we should say “I am an unprofitable servant for I have only done my duty.” “You’ve done your duty; nothing more,” said Valjean to Javert.

St. John Bosco had a dream where St. Dominic Savio showed him all the souls he might have helped to bring to Heaven but even his efforts and faith were not strong enough.  One of the saints said that the thing Heaven and Hell have in common is that everyone says “I don’t deserve to be here.”

I for one know I could and should do much more for God.

I spent years reading books on apparitions.  I’ve always been conflicted on the “Three Days of Darkness,” yet it seems to match up not just with the prophecies of so many saints and approved visionaries but of many secular and Protestant ideas (the “zombie apocalypse,” for example).

Any Cradle Catholic who’s paid attention to their grandparents or “pious old Church ladies” has at least heard of it.  The prophecy is that, in a time such as ours, when the world and the Church herself fall into sin and rebellion and division, God will reveal Himself through various signs and plagues like those of Egypt, and one of the first will be three days of complete darkness (volcano? EMP?) when no lights will work except for the light of blessed beeswax candles.  One candle will last the three days and light a home, but it will only burn in the homes of those who are in a presumptive state of grace.  It will be the inverse of the “Rapture” as understood by Protestants: those who are in sin will be confronted by their sin and by demons and die.  Reanimated corpses will torment the godly in their homes, so doors and windows should be locked and covered, and protected with sacramentals.  Though it’s always struck me as a bit superstitious, too many signs are being fulfilled to not at least be prepared in spirit and in sacramentals:
https://www.cukierski.net/collections/spiritual-goods-collection

The Doctor, The Dialogue, and Dean Koontz

“The pilgrim, having passed the Bridge, arrives at the door which is part of the Bridge, at which all must enter, wherefore He says—‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, he who follows Me does not walk in darkness, but in light. And in another place My Truth says, ‘ That no man can come to Me if not by Him,’ and so indeed it is. Therefore He says of Himself that He is the Road, and this is the truth, and I have already shewn thee that He is a Road in the form of the Bridge.”   The Dialogue of the Seraphic Virgin, Catherine of Siena: Dictated by Her, While in a State of Ecstasy, to Her Secretaries, and Completed in the Year of Our Lord 1370

Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble has provided insightful reasons for Catholics and non-Catholics alike to embrace the practice of “memento mori.”   Many spiritual classics encourage us to keep ever mindful that our paths all lead to one place–to death, to God, to our final judgment.  In a world that has long valued health, fame and fortune, perfection in anything but the spiritual life, the practice of remembering one’s death, one’s judgment before Christ, will always be a challenge.

I struggle with the fear of death, both my own and my loved ones, but God granted me my husband John, now a Third Order Carmelite, whose strong faith enhanced by the extreme medical challenges from his genetic disorder, Marfan syndrome, has allowed me to understand and embrace my mortality through my Catholic faith.  

Are there days when I falter and allow fear to overcome me?  Yes, just about every day. But thanks to God for bringing John into my life, I have slowly come to a better understanding of how to climb the ladder of theosis, to dialogue with God, to explore my interior castle, and embrace the Little Way.  So many times, Christ delights me in the amusing ways He brings my interests together in my life to remind me to get back to the path that leads to Him.

Recently, John chose a book he has owned for years, entitled Praying with Catherine of Siena, by Patricia Mary Vinje, for our family Bible study and saint study.  St. Catherine is a doctor of the Church, a title given for the insights into the Faith she provided in her life and writings.  I just happened to be in the middle of reading The Silent Corner and The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz when we started the studies.  I confess I pouted about being interrupted in the midst of the thrillers when God suddenly reminded me that His Way is the only way, and that He loves irony.

I sat down with the family, and we began reading. Each chapter takes an image from St. Catherine’s Dialogue as a means of meditation and contemplation.  The first one we came to was the “inner cell.” As we pondered the life of St. Catherine who had chosen a cell for her prayer life and was called from there by God to take on politicians who were corrupting Christ’s teachings, and adjure the Pope to go back to Rome, the higher meaning of Koontz’s new series dawned on me.  

Every one of Dean Koontz’s books I have read (most of them published since 2000, the year of his reversion to Catholicism) have made me marvel, laugh at the absurdity of humanity’s pride, be filled with proper fear, squirm in my sinfulness, and repent. His work is a true horror, meant to entertain, yes, but also to bring the reader to reconciliation with God.  And he does provide some great laughs along the way–a skilled mixture of bathos and pathos. Drawing from Flannery O’Connor’s discussion of Biblical exegesis applied to literature in her essay “The Nature and Aim of Fiction,” every one of his books can be considered literally, allegorically, typologically, and anagogically. His new Jane Hawk series is no exception.  

As we read excerpts from St. Catherine’s Dialogue, my mind reeled with the understanding that Koontz’s “silent corner” is a synonym for the “inner cell.”  Thus began the revelation of the higher meanings of The Silent Corner that I would never have learned if I had tried to bow out of the saint study.  (Pray for me.)   With that realization of the parallels between St. Catherine’s Dialogue and the names and imagery in Koontz’s Jane Hawk series, I continued to find the gems of allusion he had used from Catherine’s spiritual work and incorporated into his fictional yet spiritual masterpieces.

I don’t want to give too many spoilers in my brief analysis, but I would like to provide a few key points.  In her Dialogue, St. Catherine of Siena refers to Christ as the Bridge, and she refers to the importance of having an inner cell of the soul recollected to God, essentially a “silent corner.” In the Jane Hawk series, Jane has a son named “Travis,” which means “bridge.”   The name “Jane” means ” God is gracious” and one of the meanings of the name “Hawk” is “nook” or “corner,” so, her name blended could be construed as “God’s gracious corner.” Catherine in her Dialogue refers to the sin of the world as a “river.” So, extending the imagery, Jane as the soul recollected to God’s grace can use her focus on Christ as the Bridge (Travis) who has overcome the river of sin.  Every hotel room (silent corner, inner cell) she stays in as she pursues and is pursued by the enemy, she considers her actions and inspiration (Holy Spirit) as a means to return to her son and honor his father (so, the Trinity). In that sense, Jane could be the Blessed Mother, God’s full of grace corner.  Dean Koontz made Our Lady a rogue FBI agent! Or, taken another way, Jane is Catherine herself, a soul recollected to Christ, who took on the powers that be to bring them to repentance and to bring them to Christ.

As a final insight, in St. Catherine’s Dialogue she describes the Body of Christ as the staircase to Heaven…the next Jane Hawk novel is The Crooked Staircase...and the fourth novel in the series is The Forbidden Door, yet another reference to Christ in Catherine’s Dialogue.  I can only guess what images will be taken for the fifth, sixth, and seventh books in the series. 

So, if you were looking for a unique way to practice “memento mori,” I suggest reading The Dialogue of St. Catherine and Dean Koontz’s Jane Hawk series.  All of his books since 2000 can be considered a type of “memento mori,” as he encourages us readers to see our good deeds in the work of the heroes and heroines, but also to see our sins in those of the villains, and thus consider our final judgment, all the while providing suspenseful, amusing, inspiring, sobering, and terrifying fiction.

 

—Mary Hathaway

stcatherineofsiena

“Why did he do it?”

A young woman goes to college.  She comes from a decent home and family that has its issues like any family.  She maybe has a genetic propensity for autism or bipolar or something that wasn’t quite caught because his parents were able to manage it with love, discipline and counseling from time to time.  She was never really engaged in her faith, and whichever comes first, the usual college combination–skipping Mass, “partying” and collectively anti-Catholic ideology among professors and classmates–cause her to abandon the Church.
She meets a boy. He considers himself an atheist.  They base their relationship on sexual attraction and what bands they like but say religious, philosophical and political matters are irrelevant to their relationship.  They *might* discuss a bit of modern philosophy or New Age “mysticism,” and they might talk pop psychology.  They start fornicating.  Then they decide they “love” each other.  They use contraception, unknowingly conceiving and aborting several babies.  At one point, one of the babies escape all the “Plan B” mechanisms and manages to implant.  Worried about her career, she has an abortion.
Then they decide that maybe they should get married.  They “wait” to have children till they’re “ready.”  They spent 10 years living for careers and vacations and things, having a relationship based on a self-centered “love.”  Maybe they self medicate with booze or cigarettes or worse.  Maybe they go to the professional drug dealers and get Prozac or Ritalin.
After a few years, they decide they’re “ready” to have kids.  They have their boy and girl.
They say they’re going to raise their kids “open minded” and refuse to have them baptized.  Maybe they expose them to bits and pieces of Islam, Buddhism, Wicca, any anything but Christianity.
Believing that children need lots of “stuff” to be happy, wanting their kids to have whatever they believe they were deprived, and believing that they have to limit themselves to 2 kids, so they want the most of the experience, they fill their kids’ lives with toys, video games, movies, etc.  But they also fill their kids’ lives with workaholism and competitiveness: sports, scouting, fine arts, clubs, and lots and lots of homework.
Their son can’t keep up, and starts acting out.  Quite often, the child in this all-too-familiar scenario is probably just stressed.  “I don’t want to give him an MRI,” says the doctor.  “That might have dangerous side effects, and it’s really expensive.  Let’s see how he does on Ritalin first.”
So the kid goes on Ritalin.  He’s on the equivalent of 2-4 cups of coffee a day.  He focuses better at school and his many activities, but his schedule is still stressful with no time for true relaxation or recreation.  He still needs to burn his energy, and he’s stimulating it chemically with a drug that produces rage as a side effect.  So he starts bullying other kids.  And he starts trying to channel his rage through video games and movies.  Oh, and since he’s chemically stimulating his dopamine and endorphins, he loses his ability to feel satisfaction from oxytocin.  He just starts craving more dopamine and endorphins, so more video games and more movies.
Now, if he was relatively neurotypical and just stressed, this would be bad enough.  If he even legitimately had ADHD it would be bad enough.  But what if he actually has something else, like bipolar?  So the the effect of the stimulants is even worse.
They try different meds over the years, never actually doing medical tests to see if and what meds he needs, even though they have tests available that in many cases the DSM says to do first.  Hundreds of dollars a month in prescriptions and doctor visits are so much more cost effective than a few thousand dollars at one time to actually find out what’s wrong.
Meanwhile, the daughter goes on similar spiral, but this, as Aslan might say, is not her story.
Meanwhile, the parents who didn’t put much thought into values before they married start to do so.  They realize they have little in common.  They rarely spend time together.  Going off “the Pill” to have kids then going back on changed her hormonal reactions to him and vice versa.  They’re burdened with stress of money, jobs, the kids’ demanding schedules and the kids’ mental and behavioral issues.
Maybe the mother decides to start taking the kids to church, and they fight about that.
There’s some anger and abuse.  One or both commits adultery.  They divorce.
Now the kids, as Maggie Gallagher documents in _Abolition of Marriage_, have lost their trust in relationships.  They both come to think of marriage as something temporary and mutable.  They have lost their one mooring in life.
The son starts expressing his anger at his Christian classmates, arguing all the time in favor of atheism, abortion, etc.  The daughter becomes sexually active.  The son starts using marijuana and other drugs.  All those resume-building activities begin to implode: grades collapse; he starts dropping out of his activities.  He spends most of his time watching violent movies and pornography and playing video games.  All the activities meant to “build social skills” never taught him to make friends.  His original genetic propensity, whether it’s for autism or schizophrenia or bipolar, is now largely irrelevant except that it’s compounding his lifetime of stress, betrayal, materialism, overstimulation, drugs, etc.  He doesn’t know how to approach girls, and girls find him creepy.
His parents have tried to give him everything the world has to offer but they’ve deprived him of the most important things a  human being needs: God and a stable family.
Depending on who reaches into his life at this point, and whatever his earlier issues, he grabs onto whatever sense of hope and acceptance he can find.  We could go several ways from here, but this all-too-common story lends itself to several results.
But our particular instance is following the path to hate and violence.
He’s been inoculated against Christianity, of course, by his parents and by the schools.  He’s been taught that Islam is a “religion of peace,” so he starts reading the Koran.
He’s been taught that socialism is a great thing and capitalism is bad, so he starts reading Marx.
He starts reading  Hitler.
Eventually, the violence he imagines becomes reality.  Maybe his mother has found true Faith in her middle age, and desperately tries to get him to come to church with her as she tries to atone for her younger lifestyle.  Maybe he is interested in a girl who’s not interested in him.  Maybe he’s had a girlfriend who recently broke up with him.  Maybe he’s been taught by the media, the movies and the few books he’s read that Christians are the real enemy.  Maybe he’s just filled with hate for all the institutions he’s come to mistrust.
Thousands upon thousands are in his situation.  Many turn to suicide.  Many turn to matricide or patricide.  Many murder the girl they’re interested in.
Many join gangs and commit gang murders.  Many just retreat into themselves and into the games and drugs, committing a slow suicide.  Many live lives of abuse and fighting without actually killing.  Many find Jesus and overcome the hate.
So what makes one person “snap”?
If any of these few circumstances could clearly explain why people commit mass murder, then it should happen far more often than it does.  If guns are the reason, it should happen far more than it does. If guns are the reason, then there wouldn’t be suicide bombers and fertilizer bombs and madmen driving trucks through crowds.
If, as the Joker claims, all it takes is “one bad day” to make someone like him, why aren’t there?
There’s a movie called Conspiracy Theory where a guy says all notorious assassins owned the same book, and to the extent that it’s been reported, all the notorious mass murderers in the US in the past 20 or 30 years have had one thing in common: hatred of Christianity.  Many of them have shouted or posted “Allahu Akbar.”  Most of them seem to have some sort of admixture of Communist, Anarchist and Nazi leanings.
As long as a person has some faint fear of God, he’s going to have a line of conscience.  Once we strip that line of conscience away from him, it doesn’t matter what tool he uses, he will find a way to kill as many people as possible before he kills himself.  He might do it in the name of “The Revolution,” or “The Master Race,” or “Satan” or “Allah,” but he will do it.  Should we put tougher restrictions on certain kinds of weapons?  I don’t know.  It seems to me the government should do a better job of enforcing the gun laws that are already on the books.
But to address the real problem is to address, across the board, the moral and spiritual rot of our society and requires each of us to look at our own responsibility, not for our political choices but for our moral ones."Occupy Rome" Protestors Desecrate a Statue of Our Lady