Category Archives: forgiveness

Forgiveness

crucifix

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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.

 

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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.

 

“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.

Detraction: What it is and isn’t

I read an article about a celebrity who’s Catholic who had a personal conversion experience a few years ago and has been taking his faith more seriously.  I can be vague because it seems in recent years we’ve been happily seeing quite a few celebrities who are either converts or “reverts” to Catholicism.  And, as a celebrity, this person has a “past,” and I think such behavior is taken for granted among celebrities.

Meanwhile, some people seem to be relishing in allegations by various women that they had adulterous relationships with the current President at a time be professes to have really “found Jesus” and that were as “consensual” as a relationship with a married billionaire can be, so really no worse, sadly, than many presidents and at least not as bad as some presidents who’ve been accused of rape.  Thus, it seems appropriate to talk a bit about detraction.

There is a big difference between the “Known Sinner” coming back from the parabolic Pig Sty, and the “Righteous” who speak in hypocrisy.  So the reaction when a “Known Sinner” repents should be one of “Hey, good for you! Keep it up!”  If a person is going around saying, “I’m a good Catholic” and then sleeping around or doing drugs or gossiping or whatever, then perhaps it would be “objectively good reason” to point out their hypocrisy, but otherwise, to poi

Detraction: it’s a sin that, on the one hand, is far too common and we all fall into very easily, with or without the Internet.  On the other hand, it’s a sin people with a few thin lines.  According to the Catechism, one is guilty

“of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them” (CCC 2247).

An ambiguity in our day lies in the fact that there’s so much detraction and calumny in the media that most of us know very quickly about things, so for the average person, the secondary principle is often moot, though that’s one very good reason to avoid the “news.”

Then there’s the question of an objectively valid reason, which has two sides: if the goal is purely to destroy someone’s reputation, then it’s definitely sinful, and that is one of the problems with elected versus hereditary or appointed governance: our system is supposed to based upon deciding which candidate one believes shares ones values and is of the best character. That, contrary to what many think, is the point of the Electoral College: we’re supposed to meet our electors personally and get to know them at literal “political parties,” and the electors are supposed to personally know the presidential candidates.  Still, “I’m the best man for the job” often degrades to “I’m the lesser of two evils,” as it has from pretty much the beginning of the US:


I have always believed that character counts in an election, and I have always believed that people should vote for the candidate on their ballot who best reflects their views (I usually draw the line, literally, at “write ins,” unless it’s a local election with only one name).

The tensions of the last election strained and in some cases ended many relationships for me, like everyone else–and ironically for me it was mostly other conservatives because, even to the last minute, I could not bring myself to vote for Donald Trump.  I voted for Castle.  Had I been in another state, I might have voted for a different third party candidate, but as far as I’m concerned, one candidate was a Northern liberal who supported gay marriage and socialized medicine, and the other was Hillary Clinton.  One candidate was a rich, white racist and warmonger, and the other was Donald Trump.

I’m immensely relieved Clinton is not president, and until he and the GOP failed to merely defund Planned Parenthood, much less actually do anything for Personhood, I’d have said they were doing a fairly decent job, and I’m considering voting for him next time.

The cry of Republicans today, like that of Democrats in the early 1990s, is, “We’re electing a president, not a pastor.”  I believe character matters because a politician should be trustworthy.  If I’m electing someone based upon my convictions, I want to know that person shares my convictions.  In theory, at least, we want someone who’s relatively honest, able to keep a vow, emotionally stable, etc.

And it should definitely matter if someone in office is accused of an actual felony–the reason “high crimes and misdemeanors” is worded like that is to say that “character counts.”  The Founding Fathers intended for impeachment to be applied more generously than it has been, to put the Office above the Officeholder.

So it would not, then, be detraction to point out the sins of a public official–if it were, John the Baptist and most of the other Prophets would be guilty.  Indeed, Leviticus tells us that the entire people bear the guilt of the sins of their leaders.

Still, we knew Donald Trump was an adulterer before he was elected.  He was not, as far as I’m aware, accused of any crimes, and he has not been accused of adultery or sexual harassment that allegedly occurred recently.  Yet some people continue to harp on allegations made by different women to a degree that I would argue constitutes detraction, since their goal is mainly to impugn his character more than to discuss his qualifications to be president.

Indeed, the most potentially criminal allegations against Trump have been made, via that infamous recording, by Trump himself, and he has publicly admitted to and acknowledged his past sins about as honestly as a public figure can do without fleeing to a monastery afterwards.  It arguably help him.  I know it was the main reason I considered changing my vote.

Now, getting back to the main topic, one thing I have always struggled with is the Church’s insistence on avoiding scandal by not discussing past sins.  In her Life, St. Teresa of Avila talks about a habitual sin she struggled with.  She says it came from reading fairy tales and adventure stories.  She says it was something that made her a very bad nun and caused her father to almost disown her at one point, but that she never did anything to dishonor her family.  She says it’s a sin many people struggle with, and she wished she was permitted to be open about it because it could help others who struggle with the same sin.  And yet people always say, “Oh, it was just scrupulosity.”  Now, Therese of Lisieux was definitely scrupulous, but I think Mother was being as honest as she could about an actual bad habit.

When Mary and I did our Engaged Encounter, one of the couples leading the retreat were as we expected to be in a few years–and pretty much were.  They were a vibrant young Northern Virginia, JP2-era, Catholic couple who met on a cruise, spend 2 weeks together, got engaged the first time they saw each other after the cruise, and got married as soon as they’d gone through their 6 months.

The other couple were middle-aged, and they had a palpable tension between them.  I could sense from the start that something major had happened in their relationship–not just the comfort of years but an actual rift that they’d had and healed from.  Throughout their various talks, they eventually said that they’d had a serious rift they’d had to heal from and eventually that the husband had committed adultery.  And it became a profound story of forgiveness and healing.

If a couple were standing there, talking about marriage and *not* admitting to such problems, that would be hypocrisy.  Saying, “I sinned, and Jesus forgave me, and my [wife/parents/kids/friends/whomever] forgave me for sinning against them” is not hypocrisy and should not be considered scandal–it’s testimony.

 

 

To the individual who used my information to open a Belk Account

Since you tried to steal my identity, I’m here to reclaim it.  My name is John Hathaway.
You obviously know my address as well as SSN because the card was sent to my home.  If you want my identity, I think you should know what goes along with it.

You’ll probably never see this, but hopefully it will go viral.

I have Marfan syndrome 
(Regular readers should know this)
If you want my name and my “credit,” would you like the dissected and twice-grafted aorta that goes with it?  How about the brain aneurysm? The scarred lung? The leaking heart valves?  The bleeding and bruising from Coumadin?  The joint and rib pain?  Would you like to share in those?
Would you like to share in wondering any  time you have a sharp pain if it will be your last, in genuinely being aware–every day of your life–that you have no idea when you will die?  Many people live that way, of course.  Maybe you do, but most do because of the threat of violence from people who care more about $200 watches than they do about other human beings who are made in the image and likeness of God.

I am Catholic
I have a deep love for Jesus Christ, and the Church He established, particularly His Mother and His Saints in Heaven.  If you want to share in my “identity,” I invite you to share in the love of Christ.
I wish I could afford to be as generous as the Bishop in Les Miserables.
But I do forgive you, and I do call you my brother.

You need to know that your action has violated three of God’s Ten Commandments,

The seventh, eighth, and tenth, specifically.
7.  You have obviously stolen my legal “identity,” and you have stolen two expensive watches from Belk.
8.  You have also born false witness against me by performing an act in my name that I never would have done.
10. You have done this out of covetousness.

For my part, I forgive you, and God is willing to forgive you, too.  If you are not baptized, please seek out any Christian, but ideally a Catholic priest or deacon, and request to be baptized.  If you are baptized, please find a priest and confess your sins and sin no more.

You need to know that your action has done in my name something that I find morally repugnant

I can’t remember the last time I bought anything at Belk.  I don’t even wear a watch, and if I did it would be the least expensive, most practical watch I could find.  I think it’s wrong to pay more than $30 for shoes without a good medical reason or more than $30 for a watch for the same.  The most expensive items of clothing I have ever bought myself were the blazer for my wedding, which I still wear; the overcoat I bought at Penney’s in 2005 to wear over my blazers when I worked outside the home; and a few other blazers for when I worked, which I gave away to charity because I believe and do a very poor job of practicing the teaching of St. John the Baptist that anyone with two coats should share with the one who has none.

My family spends way more than we should, but most of that is on fast food.  With six people with various physical impairments and on the autism spectrum, we have  a lot of medical appointments.  Other than that, our incomes goes to housing, utilities, food, and a bit of technology.  We enjoy way too many luxuries yet far less than most Americans.

I would never spend $200 for a watch, much less $400 for 2!  And these days I’d buy a $30 cell phone rather
We don’t even have enough to regularly donate to the Church.  Usually, when we do plan to give something to the Church, we find some person in urgent need first.  I don’t say this to brag, but to make an appeal to you not to be materialistic and greedy, and to think about others.

I once dropped a credit card at a gas station.  The person who found it used it to buy gas someplace else.  While I disputed the charge, I also thought “At least they did something practical.”

We are just getting our credit up to where we might be able to get a loan to make repairs on our home without appealing to charities for help in making them.

It is cosmically unjust that if I apply for credit at a store I actually shop at — and not because I need it but just to take advantage of one of those offers and then pay it off — I get denied, but you, my brother, have managed to get credit at a store that I rarely even enter to buy products that I not only would never buy but whose very existence I consider mortally sinful per the teachings of the Fathers of the Church.

For those reasons this hurts me deeply, but I seek the grace in my pain.  I pray that, like St. Stephen and St. Paul, my prayers will inspire your conversion and we can be together in Heaven where we will both share the identity of Christ.

Our Top-Secret Sin by Fr. Theodore from St. Michael’s Abbey

This is Mary, John’s wife posting.  I found this homily exactly the challenge I need to grow in holiness by rooting out the base that is in me, through God’s Grace.

“The mentality just described by St. Francis might be summed up in one sentence: “I’m too weak to practice virtue—at least, not heroically like the saints did—so I’m definitely dispensed from doing so.” Some of us here may be thinking similar thoughts. Despite this presumption, we might still manage to save our own soul, but many others will be lost—those onetime wayward souls whom any given saint manages to drag along with himself to heaven. Even one mortal sin can cost us much peace of mind, yet umpteen souls are lost and our conscience won’t be any worse for the wear, because here below this sin of which we speak will remain buried under a heap of excuses. We wanted to avoid the cross, but in the end we only managed to exchange one cross for another—perhaps even a heavier one. In the process, we forfeited ever so much joy to which the saints are privy both in time and eternity. What shall we say about all this? How about a prayer? Lord, spare us so rude an awakening in purgatory! Save us from our secret sin—and from our top secret sin: ingratitude. Make us thankful in thought, word and deed. Amen.”

Is God a Cosmic Sadist?

Question: “Why would a loving God send people to Hell?”
Answer: People choose Hell over God.
Question: “Why would anyone choose Hell over God?”
Answer: Because they’ve spent their lives preparing themselves to make that choice.”
Question: “How could a Christian make that choice?
Answer: By formulating and clinging to a false notion of God that makes us recoil when we see the reality, or by allowing ourselves to be so attached to sin that we don’t want to be relieved of the attachment even in Purgatory.
Question: “Well, why did God make it so hard.  Doesn’t that make Him some kind of Cosmic Sadist who just wants to torture us?”
Answer: That’s a mystery.  The Old Testament basically says that’s what God is, at least from our perspective, and we just have to accept it because He’s God and we’re not.  New Testament atonement theology doesn’t help much, and there are many interpretations that try to get us out of that trap.

The simple answer is love, and the personalism of St. John Paul II.  Yes, God could have made us differently than He did. He could have made the angels differently than He did.  Maybe He has made other life-forms that are different–He certainly seems to love diversity and possibility.  But the fact is, He made us, and He made us such that, just as each specific kind of plant or animal needs certain nutrients and environmental factors to thrive, so people function to our fullest potential when we live according to God’s design and intention for us.


The New Testament tells us over and over that God has “imprisoned all in disobedience” that He might show Mercy to all, that He prizes the sheep who stray and come back more highly, and so on.  Again, it might seem like a weird way to set things up, but the more we understand it as a relationship of love, the more sense it makes.

To be free to love we must be free to reject, and I believe strongly that Christ gives us the freedom to reject Him. I believe that we have to pray to Christ to shape our understanding and our will to accept Him, just as spouses must both try themselves and pray for the grace to improve ourselves to be better people and to love our spouses for who they are, not who they want them to be.

I believe we set ourselves up for rejecting Christ when we form images of Him that conflict with Who He really is and refuse to allow those images to grow. In marriage, we start off with an idealized Other whom we love. As we grow, we realize the Other doesn’t always match that Ideal. The Ideal gives way to the Real, we try to make ourselves more like the Other’s Ideal, and one day hope that we will be together, perfected, in Heaven, where the truly Ideal and the truly Real meet.
The same is true of our relationships with Christ, but the difference is that He is unchanging.  We are mutable and weak, and blessed with the gifts of ignorance and unknowing that He gave us to give us the opportunity to grow.  However, we start with an “ideal” of Christ that we tend to cling to.  If we take our mistaken view of Christ, whatever its basis, without trying to grow in our understanding, we end up like Javert, confronted with the reality of Christ and too proud to admit we were wrong.
In this sense, the ancient Christian tradition, reflected in both Catholic and Orthodox sources, tells us that it might sometimes be easier for a pagan or an atheist who has gone through life with an attitude of sincerely seeking God, to embrace Jesus when she meets Him than for a self-proclaimed Christian who is too self-confident to admit being wrong.
This is also why we must caution ourselves against the extreme of presumption–we use the rather extreme example of someone who has lived a life of erstwhile holiness potentially “snapping” and committing a murder-suicide, but the far more realistic example is that we are too attached to *something* to let it go for Christ when called to do so.
Paradoxically, one of those attachments can itself be scrupulosity.  We can often be the worst Javert’s to ourselves–indeed, in the book, Javert resigns his position, writes a confession, and commits suicide because he has broken the Law by not arresting Valjean on sight.  He cannot forgive himself for being forgiving–the ultimate paradox of the damned.
The possibility of damnation does not make God a Cosmic Sadist–though, as C. S. Lewis, St. Francis de Sales and the Book of Job all tell us, even if God *is* a Cosmic Sadist, we don’t have any choice in the matter so we might as well play by His rules.
At judgement, we put God in the Dock, as Lewis says–we judge Him.  We say, “I can’t accept Your Mercy,” or “I can’t accept Your Justice,” or both.  In Lewis’s Great Divorce, souls are first tempted — not with the more obvious ones but tests of pride, impatience, etc.–and then greeted by Saints they have the biggest grudges against.  This is similar to the Orthodox theory of the “toll booths”—that personal judgement is a journey, where we must stop and confront different temptations that plagued us in life, and if we don’t built up the resistance to them now, we won’t be able to resist them then.  As well as the tollbooths, like in Lewis’s story, the soul is called to both by the Damned and the Saved, and if the soul has kept bad company in this life, she will be drawn to the appeal of the Damned to join them.
It’s like the joke about the millionaire who is told he can decide between Heaven and Hell and after seeing Heaven, he is taken to Hell for his three day preview.  He spends three days at a luxury resort, with every pleasure imaginable, and all his friends and family are having a big party.  So he decides that Hell has been misrepresented and tells the angel he wants to stay in Hell.  He finds himself in torment, with his friends and family chained nearby, cursing him and each other, and the handsome concierge now revealed as Satan, and he asks what happened.  “That was sales pitch.  You purchased.”
The other mistake we can make with every conception of judgement, even the “tollbooths,” is that we think, “Christ forgives everyone.  He will forgive me.”  We presume that we haven’t bought into Satan’s sales pitch.  We presume we will be able to withstand any temptation in our final journey or that we won’t find ourselves agreeing with all the celebrities and internet combox atheists who say that they’d rather be in Hell because all the interesting people are there.
We have to shape our minds, our lives, our desires to make God, as He has revealed Himself to be, desirable to us, and to recognize when the World is trying to make us think differently of Him.