Lex Orandi. Lex Credendi.

To discuss meditations and insights into our daily, traditional (Tridentine) Roman Catholic readings. Also, this is to discuss the development of the interior life as traditional, Roman Catholics in complete obedience to the Pope, Magesterium and the Apostles of Christ.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The 7 Sorrows of Mary


The Prophecy of Simeon.
1. I grieve for you, O Mary, most sorrowful, in the affliction of your tender heart at the prophecy of the holy and aged Simeon. Dear Mother, by your heart so afflicted, obtain for me the virtue of humility and the gift of the holy fear of God.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

The Flight into Egypt.
2. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the anguish of your most affectionate heart during the flight into Egypt and your sojourn there.
Dear Mother, by your heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of generosity, especially toward the poor, and the gift of piety.
Hail Mary, full of grace...

The Loss of Your Child, Jesus.
3. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in those anxieties which tried your troubled heart at the lost of your dear Jesus. Dear Mother, by your heart so full of anguish, obtain for me the virtue of chastity and the gift of knowledge.
Hail Mary, full of grace...

The Way to Calvary.
4. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the consternation of your heart at meeting Jesus as He carried His cross. Dear Mother, by your heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of patience and the gift of fortitude.
Hail Mary, full of grace...

The Crucifixion.
5. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the martyrdom which your generous heart endured in standing near Jesus in His agony. Dear Mother, by your afflicted heart, obtain for me the virtue of temperance and the gift of counsel.
Hail Mary, full of grace...

The Descent from the Cross.
6. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the wounding of your compassionate heart, when the side of Jesus was struck by the lance before His Body was removed from the cross. Dear Mother, by your heart thus transfixed, obtain for me the virtue of fraternal charity and the gift of
Hail Mary, full of grace...

The Burial of Jesus.
7. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, for the pangs that wrenched your most loving heart at the burial of Jesus. Dear Mother, by your heart sunk in the bitterness of desolation, obtain for me the virtue of diligence and the gift of wisdom.
Hail Mary, full of grace...


O sorrowful Virgin, unite me at least to the humiliations and wounds of thy Son, so that both He and thee may find comfort in having someone sharing thy sufferings. Oh, how happy I would be if I could do this! For is there perhaps anything greater, sweeter, or more advantageous for a person? Why dost thou not grant me what I ask? If I have offended thee, be just and pierce my heart. If I have been faithful to thee, leave me not without a reward: give me thy sorrows.


O afflicted Virgin, O soul great in virtues, as in sorrows, both the one and the other spring from that great fire burning in thyr heart for God, the only love of thy heart!

Mother, have pity on me, who has not loved God, and who has so greatly offended Him. Thy sorrows, it is true, assure me of pardon, but that is not sufficient. I wish to love God. Who could obtain for me that grace if not thee, who are the Mother of holy love! O Mary, Thou consolest everyone; favor me also, with thy consolations. Amen.

Monday, July 17, 2006

When "Peace" = Chaos


St. Ignatius of Antioch, pray for us!

This will be a rather brief posting. I'd like to share a thought with my two readers (or, perhaps by virtue of the fact that this will be a considerably less loquacious blog article that there will be more readers, or at least, more readers who actually complete a post to its conclusion).

Today it seems that our Catholic culture has predominately bought into the common societal fallacy that peace means to follow the cultural norm. We've only to look at fashion, advertisements, common entertainment, popular movies, books, music, etc. to see that we highly intellectual beings, always giving into the sensual pleasures of every kind (of the sight, taste, touch, hearing) we are, spiritually speaking, as dumb as a group of lemmings charging headlong towards the edge of a very high cliff.
Yet, maintaining the "cultural norm" has been the means to determine even standards in liturgy. While, I can understand certain things which do not exclude piety as being cultural differences, say for example, within the Holy Sacrafice of the Mass, between different nations, none-the-less, we more frequently find that even well-meaning authorities tamper with the essential elements. Following the norm to such of a degree of losing latria (worship and honor DUE to God) within the Holy Sacrafice of the Mass is due in large part to the catering of the culture on the whole. We have been calling that ecumenism. While that very word, "ecumenism", itself has changed a bit over time, even its present use within the Church can not begin to explain many of the liturgical changes, and the changes of understanding of the Mass both by the laity and many religious. One example of this is how since Vatican II, many priests misconstrue the very heart of the Mass, the Holy Eucharist, as being a mere "meal... to be chewed" and "enjoyed as if it were a meal". This is a very scary thought, for reasons I will not get into at the moment, but it is implying that the Holy Eucharist is not actually the both Sacrafice for our sins of Christ's crucified and resurrected body. Rather, it brings the Holy Eucharist down to a temporal level, a mere representation of Christ, which is the ultimate blasphemy. Our Holy Eucharistic Feast is not a representation of Christ at the Last Supper, it is Jesus truly Crucified and Resurrected. However, people are confused by the Novos Ordo Mass, with the priest facing the congregation, as if they were re-enacting the Last Supper. (I know I was confused for a very long time on this myself.)

The very same Savior who came into this world as a poor baby born in a manger, coming on a peace mission to save the Jews, also tells us that he came to "bring the sword". How do these two truths co-exist? Easily, the truth is what separates the temporal from the heavenly, as well as the lies from the truth in the spirit of the world, so that we may be saved. I think the fullness of Christ is not even contemplated on a surface level among most Christians, as our culture has become Protestantized.

Having peace in Christ is not the same as having exterior peace. It doesn't mean the same as doing everything for the sake of peace among men, but doing everything for the sake of He Who Died for Our Sins. To Him we owe all latria, and not to ourselves and our neighbors for the sake of peace. If our peace is through Christ, then why are we selling out tradition? Why are we buying instead into modernistic theology and regurgitated heresies? Why are we extending ourselves to except a cultural norm without regarding what is proper latria to the unchanging God? Is He no longer the one we look to as our guide as to how to be towards our neighbor? What about his mother? Take popular fashions, for example, and how many women wear jeans, t-shirts, tight tops, bare legs with short skirts, etc., while entering the Lord's House? What would his mother say? (What has Our Lady said about it? https://www.ewtn.com/vexperts/showmessage.asp?Pgnu=1&Pg=Forum10&recnu=12&number=474308)

My point: is that the peace that many Christians purport to have today is false, exterior modesty that relies more upon worldliness than Christ. Unfortunately, that culture has prevaded even among the Catholics.

Modesty, by the way, means more than regarding the 6th and 9th Commandments. Modesty, in the true sense, means "formality and propriety of manner" (according to Webster's), in other words, an exterior demonstration of what is appropriate to the time, place and appropriate to the person(s). The time and place at the Holy Mass, for example, requires due latria first to God, and our partaking in that is only appropriate as much as we show that proper latria in our exterior dress, talk (or rather, silence and talk only when due to latria to God alone), and gestures. Nothing that we do should call attention to ourselves in the Holy Mass (for one example), because that robs God of the latria due to Him and Him alone. This modesty is necessary regardless of the cultural "norms", regardless of what any Bishop says. While holy obedience is an imperative, it must first be directed to God, so that it is rightly ordered, otherwise, we are doing Him and our neighbor injustice.

The exterior peace is not an indication of interior peace, at least when we are talking about the soul. Too often that "peace" that many people perceive within themselves or others is not reflective of a living, Supernatural faith, but rather a simple complacency with one's spiritual state, as if in a sense they have 'arrived', and now the God can be worshipped at their level of comfort. It is the same mentality that whether one prays sitting down or on his knees (assuming that the person in question is able to both sit or kneel) it makes no difference, as it is merely the intention that counts. This is simply not so, as kneeling, even as simple of an act it is for most people, is a sign of greater obedience than sitting, just as sitting is more reverential than lying down. And the argument is not merely splitting hairs, as our Lord Jesus himself demonstrated how we are to pray as he himself, even being God, prayed to the Father on his own knees. Who are we then to not follow suit?

Yes, it is true, that God desires mercy over sacrifice, but this does not mean we do away with all that is arduous to us and less comfortable. How we pray and worship determines how and what we truly believe. Rather, today there seems more of a focus on being friends with God, as if He is on our level. This isn't a recipe for true peace in Christ, but rather a false interior peace that is really worldliness and spiritual slothfulness. This same mentality is what has been procuring folk masses, with inappropriate music, instruments and other activities within the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that the Vatican has explicitly warned against.

What is true peace in Christ? True peace in Christ is a habitual, interior awareness of God's presence within oneself... 24/7. It is awareness of the one, true Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Ghost within oneself that is evidenced by one's motivations being for the sake of loving God above all created things. (NOTE: When I say, "evidenced", this does not mean that anyone could perceive such a peace within another's soul, and one should not try to 'read' into another's soul never-the-less. This is not to say that we do not apply right reason to judging actions ,in word or deed, of other's as they applies to our duty in charity, and according to our state in life.) Likewise, it is our duty to judge objectively whether or not a current form of worship is in keeping with the pious traditions of the Church, or rather, a culturally homogenized version created to please the poplace, giving God second consideration. This is a recipe for chaos.

So much for brevity.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Examine Your Means and End


On the Blessed Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
May Our Lady of Mount Carmel Pray for Us!

What is your means?
What is your end?

Many Catholics, traditional or non-traditional, use political issues (however grounded in Truth), prayer groups, church congregational groups, religious affiliations, charitable work, or even the Catholic doctrine as if it was their end. These can be our means, but they are certainly not our end. Having the true faith, meaning, believeing 100% of what the Church believes and teaches (the same as what the Apostles believe and taught), is not enough if one isn't making Heaven their end goal. We can't simply presume upon such a gift. Heaven is a reward for those who do the work given to them! Some people (actually, many) hide behind their outwardly pious devotions, religious debates, and even hide behind prayers and various church-affiliated business to keep from doing the work. These things, while prayer, pious devotions and acts of charity are good, in them of themselves, they can also be a way of throwing off one's cross, the very cross given to them by God. Yet, they make themselves content and even proud for the fact that they are doing the will of God. Not necessarily so.

So what is "the work" we are each and all called to do? That work to which I refer includes prayer, but it isn't just any prayer, it is this: daily acts of Contrition. This is where we begin the battle, otherwise, we are on our way to becoming casualties. Yes, the daily rosary is ESSENTIAL to doing spiritual battle against the Devil, but how can you act in grace against the other two enemies, the flesh and the world, if you are not even contrite? In sure order and quickly will the enemy, the Devil, take advantage of a soul who has allowed himself to become blinded to his own imperfecions by keeping his mind's focus on all the good he's doing, or all the bad he's not doing. Such lack of humility is a sure way towards falling, because such a person's spiritual eyes to see such traps are closed shut. Yes, complacency in one's Catholic-ness is not only a sure way towards being tricked by the devil (usually unknowingly), but it is a certain, expedient and common way.

What keeps us from our evening Act of Contrition? Or rather, more precisely put, what brings us to that spiritual complacency, or "lukewarmness"? The answer: lack of contrition is due to lack of proper examination of conscience.

What are some of the COMMON causes of the lack of proper examination of conscience?
1.) Not enough priests in the Confessionals. What? Vatican II was so great that Catholics have become so holy, that there is simply considerably less need for the Sacrament of Penance? Only up until relatively recently, confessing one's sins to a priest was used to not only confess mortal sins, but to keep those already living in Sanctifiying Grace in that state, by confessing venial sins, ESPECIALLY habitual venial sins. But who talks about "venial sins" anymore? Certainly, it's not because we've all suddenly become saints, but because it's become taboo (sp?) (priests don't want to lose congregational members by turning them off and making them talk about their sins, afterall, they might leave the Church and go to some denominational church where the Sacrament doesn't even exist).


Confession: it worked for the saints, but the Catholics of today think they know better, or perhaps they could careless and think, "Well, I'm no saint, therefore, I'm not concerned about becoming one." Well, guess what, our Lord and Savior tells us to "be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Not a single one of us can get into Heaven without becoming first a saint. IF we do get into Heaven, most likely we will burn off our imperfections in Purgatory. But if you are shooting for Purgatory, and you miss, game over! You've just earned yourself the encountering of death for eternity.

Oh, but that's "fire and brimstone talk" you say. Oh, yes it is. It's also true.
But here are the positive reinforcements:

If we want to love Jesus more, we need to do the work. If we want to know Jesus more, we need to encounter him mystically by not throwing off the cross given to us. It was made perfectly for us in order to make us perfect, that is, so long as we embrace it.

2.) The second reason many (if not most) Catholics no longer do (or are yet able to) examine their consciences is because they don't know how. Since they don't have a Confessor that they go to at least once or twice a month (perferably), or they have one who simply is not giving them good direction regaring their major fault(s) and how to conquer them, these Catholics are without proper self-knowledge.

1.) Get a good Confessor who will help you eventually to assess your major fault. If he's not interested in doing this, keep looking. Make certain the priest is regularly available, so you can confess all sins, mortal and venial (even if only venial), and even faults (when you go to confess a fault you also will be asked by the priest to confess something from your past, some major sin... this procures HUGE GRACES).

2.) Become a GRACE HOG like the saints and rely heavily upon the graces of the Sacrament of Penance. Start reading about the saints and their thoughts on their faults.

3.) Start thinking on the 7 Deadly Sins, and examining yourself. Are there near occasions of sin that you are willingly and unnecessarily (without due or reasonable cause... this must be further explained by a priest) entering into? Are YOU offering an occasion of unncessary sin to others, perhaps by immodest dressing (i.e., a woman who wears tight pants, high heels, other suggestive clothing)... these are all sins against charity, as is willfully offering occasions of sin of any kind (such as alcohol to someone who has had shown to have trouble in this moderation). Examine your interior dialogue that provokes you to take in scandal or to offer it. Examine your interior dialogue that provokes you towards any near occasion of sin, or outright sin. Examine your interior diaglogue towards thoughts that you have that may not be sinful, but a fault as they are offensive to God. This is NOT the same thing as scrupulosity, as having scruples is the inclination to believe you are sinning when, infact, you are not. (I've actually had a new priest confuse examining and confessing of a fault as scrupulosity. If that is the case, then all the Doctor's of the Church were way off-base. I'm today blessed with a good Confessor, who knows the difference, can assess whether or a penitent knows the difference that they penitent is not scrupulous, and aids all his penitents in overcoming their main faults. This isn't merely a good idea, it is essential. If you see a bad weed in a garden, do you merely cut it down, or do you look to remove it by its root?)


5.) At every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, as the Lord to give you light that you may see yourself and come into true, and perfect contrition.

6.) Pray the 3 Hail Mary's the very first moment you get out of bed and the very last thing you do before getting into bed, and ask at the end of each prayer, "By thy Holy and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, prevent me this day/night from mortal sin" and you may also wish to add something like, "a guide from committing any venial sin" or "give me the grace to see my faults".

7.) MEDITATE OFTEN ON THE PASSION OF CHRIST. Try to remain recollected at every moment you are awake. Talk to a Spiritual Director or a good Confessor as to the obstacles that are keeping you from maintaining recollection. You may get to a point where you realize that you have to make a choice between certain social situations, groups, environments, that provide such distractions that you find it impossible to maintain the thoughts of Christ. This may be a sign that you need to chose between an attachment that is temporal (and possibly dangerous to your soul) and God. Another reason for lack of spiritual peace* is the rebellion of the soul towards perfection. This is, more plainly put, due to habitual sins and faults.(*This is not to be confused with spiritual sloth, which FEELS like spiritual peace to a lot of people, but is actually a false sense of security in Christ hidden by complacency for one's own spiritual state, due to disordered pride. Real spiritual peace is recollection and promotes the state of one's soul towards perfection in all the virtues, to where the person has true magnaminity in the theological sense).

The more we meditate on the passion of Christ, the more we will want to be like him, the more we will want to embrace our own crosses, the more we will become like him.

Don't let anyone every tell you this type of thinking is "old school". Jesus tells us he hates the lukewarm, and that He would rather we cold or hot. If we are cold, it is due mostly to ignorance, but if we are tepid, there is always an element of knowledge, but unwillingness to act on that knowledge. It is this disobedience that puts between us an even greater distance between ourselves and God, because to that degree that we are lukewarm, we deny the grace of our Baptism.

One last piece of advice: Commit yourselves to your Blessed Mother. Do so by the means of the oldest and surest path known to Christians for at least the past 1000 years (although it was only popularized recently by the Montfortians through their spiritual Father's writings) ...
Read the Secrets of Mary.
Read (or re-read, as the case may be) True Devotion.
Re-consecrate yourself to Mary through the Preparation for Total Consecration as often as possible.

Also, I recommend reading or listening to, "The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis.

God bless you.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Charity, Above All Else


Happy Commemoration of St. Henry II, Emperor of Germany!

Since I do not have my missal on me at the moment, I will instead make some quick comments about some thoughts I have been pondering on charity. This is a subject that seems to be a topic of confusion for many people, and while I don't pretend to have all the answers, I would like to comment on some hypocrisy I have seen in some people, both Catholic and non-Catholics alike:

1.) Charity is a virtue in which we are commanded by God to act. It is not an option. In this day and age, however, charity is misconstrued to such a degree that it has almost taken a full, 180 degree turn from its actual meaning. Charity is love that is ordered, that is, directed first towards God, and simultaneously, and of second importance, to our neighbor. In today's culture, charity is perverted and degraded into meaning the act of empathy towards our neighbor, regardless of the consideration of Divine Law. This is the grey that the coward (the devil) loves so much. He doesn't like to simply lie outright to people who mean well, he will rather take something that is in it of itself (out of context), objectively a good (a good act and/or intention) and poison one part of it to make it against God's Divine Will. (This is not the "Ad hominem" argument; this is an objective truth which stands on its own. Just consider, "The path to hell is paved with good intentions.")

2.) The other extreme of the perversion of the meaning of charity I see a lot with is people going off the deep end by putting all their emphasis on the first principle of charity, that it is directed primarily towards God-- but they 'forget' that that to act in charity out of latria to our suffering Savior, is to remember we must have also in our end of our actions/motivations, love of neighbor.
It saddens me to see people who should know better profess to love the Catholic faith more than most people, when they act as if their love of God is so great, that it eclipses their need to act in charity towards others. Yes, there are objective evils prevalent in this society, we need only to step out the front door of our homes to see that, or turn on the TV (if you still have one). But here's the deal: God gave you your faith, and you don't deserve it. None of us do. Therefore, we don't have the right to pass judgment on the INTERIOR lives of others, which often is the cause for so many traditional rite Catholics for committing sins against the virtue of charity.

Slander, gossip, and detraction are the more common sins against this virtue. People seem to think "it's OK since all the other people I know are doing it, and they go to Church every week." OK, then if that's what you think, you are no better, or actually worse than those you may even be criticizing. Even outside of these more obvious sins of the tongue, there are sins against charity that we often commit when directing our comments or simply our thoughts regarding a weakness/fault/sin we perceive in another. It's a hard pill to take, but to whom God gives more, more is expected from them. So, while the grace of God allows one to see the objective right and wrongs in many cases, pride blinds us to first our own sins, therefore, it is possible to be intellectually and spiritually blinded by our pride, even while we are trying to walk with Christ. The antidote to this is, of course, humility; recognize our place before Christ, but this isn't simply to be intellectualized. In order to grow in humility, we must daily aim to develop and maintain in every waking moment a recollected interior life, so that we do not dissipate the Presence of our Living Savior within us (from having received him in Holy Communion after being so properly disposed through Penance to receive him).

I think highly scholarly people have it most rough. When you think about it, none of the saints boasted of their education or intelligence. Even when St. Thomas Aquinas was asked what natural gift he was most proud of he said it was his ablity to understand everything he read (of the Bible). St. Thomas Aquinas, just before the end of his life, denounced all his writing just because he was comparing them to the knowledge of God. This was a sure sign of his great humility that allowed him to have such clear intellectual vision. Certainly, it was this humility more than anything he learned in his formal education that gave him more knowledge and understanding of Divine Law, rather, it was his simplicity due to his reverence for God that made him holy. Look at so many of the saints that did not have a formal education, even take Doctor of the Church, St. Therese of Avila. However, there are some Catholics that are so puffed up in their pride over their education (forgetting that it was a gift from God that they had the opportunity to have such an education), that if St. Therese were alive today few people would listen to her that was out in the world. They'd think she was nuts. (Actually, look at her life, and that did happen among certain religious, however, had it been today, it would have been likely an even greater persecution.) The one thing all the saints have in common is their simplicity --- NOT their love of being able to respond to an argument, but simplicity of spirit: They worked (prayed) towards directing their souls and minds to God, and proved their love to Him through resulting Charity.

What is the person we are correcting is a priest who showed himself to have a bad temper? Or, what if this person just didn't learn the most basic prayers, or seemed distracted during Mass? What if the person we are correcting seems to be less than pious, and/or has a 'bad reputation' for being (fill in the blank). Does our own acting in prudence pre-suppose our charity towards them? No. As-a-matter-of-fact, I just described some well-known saints whose reputations were bashed about by other well-intended Christians.

Here is an example of something I see a lot of by fellow Traditional Catholics: Bob and Joe are two very pious Christians. Joe decides to not do A. Joe's friend Bob tells Joe that by not doing A it is a sure sign that the devil is prompting him. (NOTE: The doing of A is not a mortal or venial sin.) Bob is not the person's Confessor, nor Spiritual Director, and therefore is out of line by his accusation. Bob doesn't know for a fact that this is true, but his mere speculation to the fact is, in it of itself, a fault of Bob's disordered pride. Usually, such a comment as Bob has made indicating that Joe's influenced by the devil is so salacious, that it has the tendency to gloss over the now more subtle issue, but REAL problem of the judging of Joe's interior by Bob.

OK. If you followed that, you get what I mean. This is sooo common among people who even mean well, but they do not have the ability to discern clearly their thoughts and put them into perspective because they lack the interior disposition to be directed towards Jesus. True devotion consists in putting God first, and others second, and ourselves last. In doing so, we look to see the needs of others first, not what we are trying to get out of a situation, or try to judge the objective and moral right and wrong of other's actions as if we are to correct everyone we can. Yes, as a Church it is our obligation to impose our morality, but on an individual level, when there is no issue of mortal sin, and we have the authority, and knowledge and reasonable cause to believe that the person committing the mortal sin will listen and be changed, then we do not correct that person (---paraphrased from St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologicae). Instead we should simply pray for that person and invoke the Blessed Mother and the saints to intercede for him. If there is an instance in which we must correct, then it must be done with honey, as much as possible without losing any firmness in our correction. All of this is true charity.
Let's not "through the baby out with the bathwater". If we have reason to believe that we may be in Sanctifying Grace, then hold onto it as tightly as you can by making it your first aim to please God through charity.

Here's a newsflash for many of my fellow Traddy's: you can't judge a book by its cover, the same way you should never judge a person's interior by what you perceive. I know that it is a good thing, objectively-speaking, to have been Traditional all one's life, but that doesn't give you the right to compare others to yourself. Certainly, you do not know the thoughts of our Lord, and such vanity of supposing that this is possible is spiritual dangerous. Why do I make such a sweeping claim? Simply put, it is not only wrong to judge someone in this manner (since it is the person and not an action or set of actions we are judging, something Jesus says will call judgment upon ourselves), but because we also lose grace by such thoughts, and we often then lose with it the opportunity to act the grace of charity. Wow. Think of it: for all the times so many of us have committed such atrocities in the heart of Christ by our thoughts, how much closer we could have (and would have surely) been brought to our Lord had we seen with his Most Sacred Heart! This internal piety is sooo important, that it is actually essential for us to grow in grace, yet it is the most common stumbling block.

How great every person should be humiliated at the sight of our Lord's True Presence when held up to the Congregation as a small, piece of unleavened bread, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!" Jesus, God the 2nd Divine Person in the Blessed Trinity takes on the form so easily forsaken by the human eye, that we might receive him truly in the Three Persons, in order that he who is the Living Word, might live within us! This frequented act is the Word of God whole/entire under the appearance of bread and wine. What a lesson for us all! What more is their to contemplate, when he who holds Heaven and earth is contained within himself?

"Fulfil ye my joy, that you may be of one mind, having the same charity, being of one accord, agreeing in sentiment. Let nothing be done through contention, neither by vain glory: but in humility, let each esteem others better than themselves:Each one not considering the things that are his own, but those that are other men's.
For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names: That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father."
-- Philippians 2:2-11

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Spiritual Sickness

The 4th of July 2006

Today at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, our congregation had a Votive Mass for the Sick. This Mass was for all those who are suffering in sickness of any kind, especially for a newborn baby boy who is suffering right now of complications regarding his heart and leg. He needs our prayers.

Epistle: James, v. 13-16
Gospel: Matthew viii. 5-13

ON THIS FOURTH OF JULY, its hard not think about the spiritual sickness of our nation. We can see evidence of it in the culture’s prevailing materialistic values threatening the culture of life. Little babies, not even yet born to their mothers, are seen as a threat to their own parent’s freedom, and an inconvenience. It’s unbelievable that such atrocities as abortion could be seen as our legal “right” when it certainly, by God’s standards, not a moral right. So, Catholics who are pro-Christ are pro-life because Christ is pro-life. The Triune God, source of all life, both corporal and spiritual, we worship Him, and placing Him first we ascribe to His values. But that makes us Catholics a threat to the modern culture, just like the first Christians were to the paganized cultured of the Romans.

Because of our fallen nature, we’ve inherited a pride that often gets easily wounded and offended when we are told that we are WRONG, especially spiritually (with God). The mentality is go with the flow, the status quo, let’s take a vote on everything, or at least, don’t impede on my freedom to choose by trying to enforce your morality on me, my choice, or material goods and feelings. Who are you to tell me? Well, I'm a Christian and I am morally obliged to correct moral wrongs, when and where applicable, in charity, both "in and out of season", as a spiritual work of mercy.

The irony is if we were physically ill, say for example, with a very bad cold/flu, and someone came up to us and said, “wow, Joe, you look as though you’re coming down with something. Take care of yourself!” we would not normally then say, “What right do YOU have to tell ME that (*cough*) I’m coming down with something (*sneeze*)?”

Chances are that we won’t say that. Why? Because by the time we are visibly ill, we probably feel ill, so we have the physical symptoms, and even the emotional symptoms of not wanting to go out, etc. Physical illness typically carries with it signs that are visible to us through the physical and emotional senses. It's more obvious to us to know when we are physically not well because we may not have developed spiritual 'eyes' to see. Spiritual illness does not necessarily show through physical and emotional senses.

When we say, “Wow, Joe, that wasn’t a good choice to bad mouth your neighbor in front of your peers,” Joe may say to us, “Who are you to judge me?” But this is wrong. We not only have a right to judge, not our neighbor’s interior life, that is, their relationship with God, but we do have a right, even an obligation in charity (and sometimes in justice as well) to care for our neighbor both spiritually and corporally when possible. We have a right even a duty to judge actions, which is completely separate from judging persons.

But why then does it still offend so many people to be corrected for their actions?
I think this is for two reasons primarily:

1.) Because most of us tend to feel offended because we actually want to do good and to be good, and perhaps even be seen as doing and being good. If we did something wrong and are corrected, perhaps we feel offended that we are being judged for all that we do, and who we are as a person. But why don’t we think clearly that this is about what we are doing, not who we are? This is because …

2.) We aren’t all oriented towards God. (Or those of who are, or at least, think we are, aren’t consistent.) We can not do good apart from grace, since God is all good and all good comes from Him. Yet, how often we decide what is right and wrong by our own means, by what feels right. And, it doesn't always "feel right/good" to be admonished. However, the spiritual life is not dependent upon feelings, only the physical and emotional life. So we busy ourselves trying to do things good and possibly even good for God, but never discerning His will. If we are habitually not oriented towards God as our means and end, we are not looking to be fed spiritually and can not grow spiritually, since that requires our own free will to cooperate with the grace of God. We end up worshipping our senses, feelings, vanities and worldly ambitions even in the name of worshipping Jesus, without so much as cultivating the means to discerning his will through constant prayer, and interior reflection that includes examinations of conscience.

But we, as Catholics, know that Jesus teaches us how to BE good, not how to FEEL good. The symbol of our faith, afterall, is the Cross.

Physical and emotional sicknesses are signs pointing to the reality of spiritual sickness. (“And fear not them that kill the body, and cannot kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.”) This is why things like illness and poverty can be seen as a blessing. These are outwards signs pointing towards The Cross. Many (if not most) of the saints sought poverty and had great spiritual insights resulting in greater graces from physical illness. Poverty and bodily illness purifies us, if we let it. Those who have poverty and/or illness thrust upon them are even MORE blessed, unlike other situations or virtues one might try to acquire through their will. Why is that? Because when “it is then despised, rejected, reproached and forsaken then it is real poverty. And such is usually poverty in the world; for men who are poor not voluntarily but of necessity are not thought much of, and for that very reason their poverty is more truly poor than that of professed religious, although the latter poverty ahs a special and great charm by reason of the vow and of the motive.” – St. Francis de Sales, Philothea. Let us choose rather to accept our Cross, the means God chose to purify us and unite us to His only Son.

So, let us all be poor of spirit, humble and subject to correction when it is pointed towards growing in Christ. We are all sick spiritually-speaking, but we all should be developing our interior lives so that we become spiritually well. If you are accused unjustly, then remember that Jesus Christ suffered your injustice. He suffered every injustice you will ever encounter, and every injustice you have procured, even unintentionally.

We Catholics are a burden to the conscience of the spirit of the world, but righteously so. We will be persecuted by our own for that simple fact, and to the degree that we have our being, not simply our intentions, oriented towards Christ. In having our being in Christ, we must accept humiliations, poverty, and injustice as in accepting such crosses as these as Catholics we bear witness to the spiritual poverty of the world, as we live for not this life but the Life that is Eternal. Our nation has a cancer known as the culture of death. Even those who might wish to be in the fold of our own sacred religion suffer from sometimes this same cancer, or yet another cancer: modernism (often cloaked in misguided “ecumenism”). Such symptoms of this cancer come in the common forms of immodesty, in actions and in dress.

The road to salvation begins here, in this life. This is our opportunity today. We who wish to follow Christ do not presume upon his grace by merely acting in his name, but through the means he gives us in prayer, making our lives about always preparing to more worthily receive our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Monday, July 03, 2006

What the Apostles Did and Believe, That's What We Do and Believe


On the Commemorative Celebration of St. Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr
Introit: Mal.ii.6
Epistle: 2 Tim iii 14-17; iv. 1-5
Gospel: Matthew x. 16-22

“For there shall come a time when they shall not endure sound doctrine; but according to their own desires shall heap up to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and from the truth, indeed, will turn away their hearing and be turned unto hearing and be turned unto fables.” -- as taken from today’s Epistle.

“Fear ye not them that kill the body and are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.” – as taken from today’s Gospel.

Last night I had a conversation with a (non-traditional) religious who says that the Dogma of the Catholic Church can “evolve”. That was news to me. His point was regarding the “ecumenism” movement within the Church since Vatican II. Specifically, he claims that the Church (“pre-Vatican II”) was not well informed enough to be able to state that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church.

This conversation came up when I had mentioned what I had heard on live “catholic” radio just Thursday evening coming home from work. A certain apologist had a caller asking about hell, and making the comment that it seems that a larger percentage of people might in fact be heading in that direction in our current times. The apologist pointed out what our Lord had said was probably only reflecting the times in which he was living. This apologists further explained his own take by suggesting that many more people were probably going to be saved because there are many more “monotheists” in this day and age than there were percentage-wise back in the time of Christ.

Interesting. I’m no apologist of theologian, but Jesus was a Jew, was he not? Jesus knew that the Jews only believed in one God, yet did he not warn them?

Oh yes, back to my conversation with my religious friend. All I can say simply is this: he’s wrong.

A good priest I know speaks truthfully, “What the Apostles did and believe, that’s what WE do and believe in the Roman Catholic Faith.”

In the book, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, by Tan Publishers, there are loads of citations refuting such heresy. As-a-matter-of-fact, the issue of salvation from the Catholic Church and only from the Catholic Church was a non-issue, so to speak, among every single one of the Church Fathers. They all agreed on this issue, which was clearly the teaching of the Apostles. “The Apostles teach the necessity of the Church for salvation by promulgating Faith in Christ and His Gospel as a condition for salvation. Peter confesses before the High Council: “Neither is there salvation in any other””. (Fundamentals, pg. 312) Further reading is in: Acts 4. 12, Gal. 1,8; Tit. 3,10 et seq.; 2 John 10 et seq.

Our Church, the only Christian Church with the fullness of the Faith, is the only Church that can trace it’s roots with the Apostles. St. Irenaeus himself was a student of the Bishop of Polycarp, who himself was a student of St. John the Evangelist.

What the Apostles did and believe, that’s what WE do and believe in the ROMAN CATHOLIC FAITH.

St. Ireneaus, pray for us.

Tomorrow’s Collect:

“We beseech Thee, O Lord, mercifully to receive the prayer of Thy Church: that, all adversity and error being destroyed, she may serve Thee in security and freedom.”

Lex Orandi. Lex Credendi.


Praised be Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar!

Ave Maria!

This is the very first, official blog of "Lex Orandi. Lex Credendi." Also, it should be noted, that I am not an experienced blogger. Actually, I am starting this on a whim.

A few fellow bloggers who are Traditional Catholics have inspired me to have my own blog. However, this blog will differentiate from the many other, as rather than focus on topics of the day, this will be more on prayer and focused on the development of the interior life. I will share with you my thoughts on the day's readings, and especially relative quotes by saints. I think this will be kind of neat, don't you? Who else has a blog focused on prayer and the development of the interior life?

OK. Here's a little disclaimer: I am not always very articulate. I may sometimes suddenly become artictulate, but that is by accident. Normally, I write like I talk, and apparently, I talk with a New York accent (I'm origianlly from upstate, and people out here in the midwest seem to think I have an accent). Also, I tend to be blunt, and my attempts at providing honey-coating to my words sometimes fails. Never-the-less, I will open my heart to all of you (such are the inherited traits of my Italian-Jewish ancestry).

En Jesu per Mariam,
Ancilla Parva Indigna