Life in a small town

God’s Presence … in Prayer …

“… keeping alive the thought of God’s presence consists in beholding God within our very selves. It is not necessary to ascend to Heaven to find the Lord God; we need only to recollect ourselves, and we shall find Him within us. He who, at prayer, pictures the Lord at a great distance from him is preparing for himself a source of abundant distractions.

St. Alphonsus Liguori

St. Teresa says: “I never really knew what it meant to pray well until the Lord Himself taught me the proper way to converse with Him. I entered within my very self and found this practice exceedingly profitable for my soul.” God is within us in a different manner from what He is in other creatures; in us He dwells as the Lord in His temple and in His house.

“Know you not,” says St. Paul, “that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16). And our Divine Saviour Himself has said: “If anyone love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with”

St. Alphonsus Liguori. “The Twelve Steps to Holiness and Salvation” (p. 164). Saint Benedict Press and TAN Books. Kindle Edition.

St. Alphonsus Liguori was born in 1696 to Neapolitan nobility at Marianella, Italy. He became a recognizable lawyer after going through law school at the age of sixteen, but later decided to leave law in favor of giving his salvation more attention. Alphonsus joined the Oratory of St. Philip Neri as a seminarian and was ordained in 1726, when he was thirty.

The homilies he gave had the special ability of converting those who had fallen away from the faith. He also founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, and authored such works as The Glories of MaryThe True Spouse of Jesus ChristAttaining SalvationThe Blessed Virgin MaryPreparation for Death AbridgedWhat Will Hell Be Like?The Twelve Steps to Holiness and Salvation, and The Way of the Cross.

After being a bishop for over a decade, St. Alphonsus Liguori died on the first of August, 1787. He was canonized by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839, and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1871. His feast is celebrated on August 1.

“The Twelve Steps to Holiness and Salvation” is a concise, easy to read little book available on Kindle for $5.00, and this is one of the easiest reading and understanding spiritual books I have ever read. Perhaps if I had found this in my teens I would never have left the church but who knows … we encounter these things when we are ready and the promptings of the Holy Spirit are easy to ignore if we are busy loving ourselves to death … and we really are “loving ourselves to death” aren’t we?

Here is a bit more from that lovely little book:

“We ought always to pray and not to faint.” —Luke 18:1 According to the teaching of the angelic St. Thomas, the worship of God takes the first place in the order of moral virtues; it is occupied more with God and leads us nearer to Him than the others. For every Christian, therefore, who is striving after perfection it must be a matter of no little concern to make this virtue his own in the highest degree.

Now the easiest means of doing so, a means that we can employ at all times and in all places, is found in prayer. Whether it be the prayer of praise or thanksgiving or impenetration or propitiation, we are worshipping God, for every prayer is a humble acknowledgment of the greatness or goodness or fidelity or mercy of God. Vocal prayer, or prayer pronounced by the lips, is very pleasing to God because by it the endless Majesty of God is acknowledged and glorified.

“The sacrifice of praise shall glorify me,” says the Lord by the mouth of the prophet David, “and there is the way by which I will show him the salvation of God.” (Ps. 49:23).

Liguori, St. Alphonsus. The Twelve Steps to Holiness and Salvation (p. 167). Saint Benedict Press and TAN Books. Kindle Edition.

and:

QUALITIES OF VOCAL PRAYER:  In order, however, that vocal prayer may tend to God’s glory and our own salvation, it must be accompanied by attention and devotion. Not only the pronouncing of the words, says St. Gregory, but also the devotion of the heart is required for true prayer; for in the eyes of God, our sentiments are of greater worth than the sound of our voice. If we wish, therefore, to please God we must pray not only with the lips, but also with the heart. How could the Lord, continues the same Saint, hear the prayers of him who knows not what he wants, and does not even wish to be heard?

How can you expect the Lord to hear you when you cannot hear yourself? says St. Cyprian. Prayer made with attention and devotion is like sweet-smelling incense that is agreeable to God and wins for us treasures of graces. On the other hand, prayer without recollection is insulting and offensive to God and calls down His wrath on the offender. If a subject came into the presence of his sovereign, and while petitioning some favor, gazed about and occupied himself with irrelevant matters in such wise that he scarcely knew what he was saying, would not that sovereign be justly offended?

For this reason St. Thomas teaches that he who permits his mind to wander about during prayer cannot be excused from sin, because by such conduct he seems to be guilty of contempt of God. The Lord might well say of many Christians what He once said of the Jews: “They honor me with their lips but their heart is far from me.” (Matt. 15:8).  It is easy to understand why the devil is so intent upon turning our thoughts towards worldly affairs during prayer. On the one hand, he desires to rob us of the benefit we derive from fervent prayer; and on the other he wishes to make us guilty of disrespect towards God, and therefore, deserving of punishment.

Liguori, St. Alphonsus. The Twelve Steps to Holiness and Salvation (pp. 168-169). Saint Benedict Press and TAN Books. Kindle Edition.

The angels that St. John the Evangelist saw held golden vials of incense and odors which were the prayers of the Saints. (Apoc. 5:8). In a word, think before prayer that you are going to converse with God and to treat with Him about some very important affairs. Then the Lord will look upon you with a gracious eye and turn an attentive ear to your petitions. Offer Him beforehand the prayers you intend to say, and beg Him to preserve you from distractions.

During prayer, avoid haste. Many people, when praying, seem to be intent only on reaching the end of their prayers, as if it were a torture that must be endured, but during the shortest possible time. Such irreverent haste can hardly be pleasing to God or profitable to ourselves. “Zeal and fervor,” says St. Augustine, “gradually cool off and, like a fire, become extinct unless they are kept alive.” Endeavor from time to time to renew your attention while at your prayers and devotions.

Liguori, St. Alphonsus. The Twelve Steps to Holiness and Salvation (pp. 169-170). Saint Benedict Press and TAN Books. Kindle Edition.

That’s enough for now, Cheers and GOD bless you all

Joe

Domine, quo vadis?

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Life in a small town

Humility … lots to consider looking towards the horizon of humility …

My search for true peace has led me down quite the path from that man who once was angry at the world for being so unjust, obtuse, and self centered, all the while not noticing just how self-centered I was being in my anger at the self centeredness of others.

On page 127 of the little book “12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation” St. Alphonsus Liguori  writes “Humility of the intellect, as we have seen, consists in acknowledging that we are nothing and deserving only of contempt.

Humility of the will consists in the desire to be despised by others and in the pleasure such contempt affords us. Humility of the will Our Lord had especially in view when He said: “Learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart.” (Matt. 11:29).   , . The Twelve Steps to Holiness and Salvation (p. 127). Saint Benedict Press and TAN Books.

and …

Paul Thigpen wrote a book called “A Year With The Saints” with which I was gifted this Christmas past. Here is one of the entries from page 162. Saint Catherine of Siena recounts in her book “The Dialogue” a conversation with Christ. In this quote He tells her that she must know herself truly, as she truly is, and to do that she must know Him.

*****

Imagine a circle drawn on the ground, and in the centre of the circle, a tree growing with a shoot grafted onto the trunk. The tree is nourished in the soil contained within the circle, for if the tree were out of the earth, it would die and bear no fruit.

Now think of the soul in the same way: It’s a tree that’s created for love and can live only by love. In fact, without the divine love that is truly perfect charity, this soil cannot produce the fruit of life, but only the fruit of death.

It’s necessary, then, that the root of this tree, which is the soul’s love, should grow up within the circle of true self-knowledge that is contained in Me. Like the circle, I have neither beginning nor end. Within the circle you can go round and round, never finding a beginning or end, and always remaining within it.

This knowledge of yourself and of Me is grounded in the soil of true humility, which is as wide as the breadth of the circle. If your knowledge of yourself were not contained within Me, it wouldn’t be a complete circle. It would have its beginning in knowledge of self, but would end in confusion.

The tree of love, then, is nurtured in humility, bringing forth from  its side the offshoot of true discernment. The heart of this tree of loving charity within the soul is patience, the evidence that I am in the soul and the soul is in me. Pleasantly planted, this tree produces fragrant blossoms of virtue, with a great variety of scents; and its fruit is grace and usefulness to her neighbors.   (St. Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, 10 ... from : “A Year With The Saints” Daily Meditations With The Holy Ones Of God, by Paul Thigpen.)

*****

So I have been praying sincerely to my Guardian Angel to “Show me how I appear to God, all my faults, all my vices, all my failings, all my sins”. And imagine my surprise when my Guardian Angel has up and got onboard with this request with great enthusiasm. Its like he exclaimed “I thought you would never ask!”. It has been both painful and humiliating, and yet I cannot imagine a better way to learning “humility”.

I have had a few Recollections (Retreats) and Reconciliations (Confessions) where I just knew that I was, and am, a great sinner but I could not for the life of me come up with anything specific to confess. My mind would go blank, and I would be left mumbling about knowing that I am a sinner, and being sorry for my sins, and so on and it was, well, very uncomfortable. So thank you my guardian Angel for clearing up the fog of battle and giving me lots to focus on.

Fr. Ripperger

Then I found some very enlightening and bracing talks by Fr. Chad Ripperger, two talks on “Self”, and then a third talk on “Stages of Attachments”, and a fourth talk on “Impediments to Holiness”.

Very humbling and very, very helpful. I’d bet finding these talks at this time was also the work of my Guardian Angel but who can fathom how that actually works.

Anyway, the talks are here:

SELF KNOWLEDGE:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxzRmjHSG1A&list=PLWwA0UeSARsbjK1dYbjrrYxT3kaIjaT99&index=83

THE PROBLEM WITH SELF:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3_M-ychkTA

STAGES OF ATTACHMENTS:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woHJtSz_KEw

IMPEDIMENTS TO HOLINESS:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPWOGL7JP60

I suppose those are going to be a huge discovery for some of us, I know they sure were for me.

Take care and may GOD bless you and keep you.

Cheers

Joe

it’s all so crazy making …

I’m NOT crazy … really, I’m not …

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

… If … “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose“ …part 1

Winter is coming. It has been snowing all day. Its only September 13th. Blahhh!  A Facebook meme:  Mother Nature: “It is not possible to have all seasons in one week!”  Alberta: “Hold My Beer!”

I guess this effort will be part one, of I don’t know how many parts, over how many days, dealing with the current media scrum relating to misbehavior and crime on the part of nominally catholic prelates of the highest rank.

Pope Francis and Scalfari

Pope Francis and Eugenio Scalfari

What a mess, its what PF likes to call a “lio”. Speaking extemporaneously he likes to encourage others, like young fans, to “Start a “Lio! Make a big ruckus!”. Well, Pope Francis wanted a “lio” and now he has got himself a nice big “lio”.

His problem is that he didn’t expect it to be in his courtyard and his publicists have dropped the ball big time. Where is Eugenio Scalfari when one needs him?

I guess PF didn’t understand that his darling media friends are not his friends, they just want blood, whether it’s PF’s enemies blood or his own blood doesn’t matter to the media devils.

So now we are expecting a big bishop’s conference to … to what? To deal with the problem that has come up? I wonder how that will play?  And really, truly none of this matters.

This is the long defeat, mentioned by J.R.R. Tolkien who expressed this well in his stories. Borrowing somewhat from the Norse mythos of the “twilight of the gods,” the Elves of Middle-earth fight what they call “the long defeat,” both against the evil forces of Morgoth and Sauron, and against the decay of all things.

The immortal elves themselves do not age, but as the world around them does, it wearies them. Thus great elf-lords like Elrond and Galadriel use their power to preserve their havens of timelessness, Rivendell and Lothlorien.

Tolkien wrote in his letters that this was not simply a story convention, but a basic belief of his, derived from his Catholic faith. He wrote:  “Actually I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect ‘history’ to be anything but a ‘long defeat’— though it contains (and in legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory. (Letters, 255)”

“Quid Hoc Ad Aeternitatem”.

If mankind were actually holy, as his Creator commands him to be:  1 Peter, 1: 15  then the current crisis in the Roman church would not exist.

Rome

Rome

We have a crisis today because we did not and do not strive to be holy, and this has been a human constant since long before Christ and the Catholic Church came into the world.

Rather, we always strive to do whatever we want, whenever we want, as often as we want, and then rationalize why its OK for us to do what we want. This is so even though there are many rules of behaviour for everyone else, and our one article of faith is that the rules do not apply to us.  And now we are ruled by Pandemonium, are we not?

And if anyone does object to our current peccadillo, we belittle, discredit, and attack our detractors with all manner of ad-hominum character assassinations, or if that doesn’t scare them away we deny, deny, deny, and shove the blame off onto any handy scapegoat we can lay hands on. Everyone does that, right? And all right minded people know this to be true.

Or if the rules do actually apply to us then we change the rules … most of the current “sexual misconduct” incidents reported in the current spate of media frenzy, something in the order of 80% to 90%, actually involve adult males indulging in mutual attraction, lust, and drug use. This is now legal in most western nations so what’s the big deal? Whatever … the real crime here is the breach of trust and the subsequent coverups at all levels.

This sort of behaviour has been very much the norm in our current polite progressive culture, which flagrantly does whatever it wants every day around us and has done pretty much all my life.

Oh Canada … why should we be hypocritically pretending to be shocked or upset by some inappropriate diddling in another elite management hierarchy in the good old US of A, eh?

It doesn’t matter the brand or the organization, senior bureaucrats are all highly susceptible to temptation and corruption. They place high value on the perks of power, have a lot to lose, and are very willing to compromise, go along to get along, especially if they have no particular faith except in themselves.

And everyone does it, right? Didn’t the Elder Trudeau, way back in 1967, begin that round of charades with his famous line “The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation“?

Then-Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau (Justin’s old dad) was everywhere a media darling when he introduced modernizing reforms to the Criminal Code1 in 1967 that decriminalized homosexual acts. It’s now cool to be a tool.

Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky on February 28 1997

Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, February 28 1997

None of this is in any way new and shocking. These sort of things have been going on within and without, both society at large and all churches pretty much since the day that  churches and politics came into existence.

What about Billery and Intern-Gate? Ever hear of Profumo? Corrupted power always turns to abuse and eventually to sacrifice to their chosen god. At least Bill and John were into girls … seems that is not so exciting any more.

This whole bucket of filth, along with a serious dearth of answers from ecclesial authority figures, was a huge part of why I left the Roman Catholic Church as a youth back in 1969 … Vatican II and the “Spirit of Vatican II” and never ending homosexual sex scandals … No more trustworthy authorities …

No cred, no cred, no cred,  so I decided, in my know-it-all 16 year old mind, that I would Do It My Way!  First of all, let’s observe that no 16 year old boy even has something resembling a mind, and secondly, “doing it my way” is the penultimate foundation of all Liberal Progressive evil in the world. The 60’s were just our generation’s edition of the book which humans have been writing since there were humans on the planet.

I returned across the Tiber about 25 years go after exhausting all avenues looking for Truth – no other religion or political system had it.  Not Communism, not Fascism, not Zen Buddhism , not Shinto, not Democracy or Socialism, … Monarchy had a clue but only in the context of being under God. But where is the Truth?

Christ and Christ’s Church is the sole repository of Truth regardless of the corrupt and fallible sinners working within that church. It’s not about the human beings wading through the muck of corruption and perversion for their own ambitions. Its all about Eternal Truth.

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (24 November 1808 – 29 September 1890)

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (24 November 1808 – 29 September 1890)

plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose“, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (24 November 1808 – 29 September 1890) was a French critic, journalist, and novelist. His epigrams are frequently quoted, and the first link line, plus ça change, is one of his best.

Another of Karr’s targets was a proposal of the period to abolish capital punishment, which injustice, that is capital punishment, was recently inveighed against by Pope Francis thusly: “Pope Francis has once again appeared to contradict two millennia of clear and consistent scriptural and Catholic teaching.

The Vatican has announced that the Catechism of the Catholic Church will be changed to declare the death penalty “inadmissible” given the “inviolability and dignity of the person” as understood “in the light of the Gospel.”

Karr’s acerbic opinion is “je veux bien que messieurs les assassins commencent” or “let the gentlemen who do the murders take the first step”, or “I wish the assassins to go first”, a view which I happen to share.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

And, indeed, there is absolutely nothing new about deviant sexual shenanigans in the hierarchy of the Roman Church, and all the other western churches as well.

Here is just a short timeline to give us a better perspective not only on how serious the current crisis is but also on how often men and women, human souls, insist on pursuing their own diverse objectives in search of worldly pleasure and gratification.

Even before there was a real established Catholic Church we can start our little reminiscence. What was the societal norm before the Catholic Church? First, just a bit from St Paul’s Letter to the Romans:

St. Paul

St. Paul, Pieter Paul Rubens

18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 

21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools, 

26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.

30They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.

32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

As in the pre-Christian world, so now in post Christian Canada … they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. These days, just you try to get nominated as a Liberal Candidate in any Canadian Federal election anywhere any time … HA!

Good luck with that unless of course you literally signed a statement, on the line, for Justin and the Liberal Party, affirming that you personally support killing babies and seniors and endorse putting your pecker into places it really shouldn’t be put EEEEWWWWW! Personally, and in writing. That’s Justin’s rules – you don’t like it …To Bad So Sad for you.

So, enough for this little post. Much to follow from St. John Chrysostom, the Medici Popes, The Avignon atrocity, St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Josemaria Escriva, St. John Paul II, St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Clement, St. Alphonsus Liguori, Julian of Norwich.

And also from St. Thomas More, St. Francis de Sales, St. Isidore of Seville, St. John Vianney, St. Claude de la Colombiere, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Pio of Pietrelcina, etc. etc. and possibly others.

Not necessarily in that order but more or less progressing historically as things continued to develop and be preached against by the true practitioners of the One True Faith, unless, of course, I get sick of writing about all this evil BS or lose interest before I finish.

The one thing that all of this evil has in common is Human beings. Its a very good thing that ALL Humans die.

Now its Friday the 14th, and David Warren has a good post on the same theme but better written …

*****

“A gentleman who wears the collar expresses surprise at the surprise. He has been wearing that collar for some time. He was in the seminary so long ago, that he can remember when the classes were taught in Latin. He has lived with degeneration in the Church since before Vatican II — has seen it all, and heard it all, and now he is seeing and hearing more.

“I find it hard to stomach all the misplaced surprise. I hear echoes of Genesis‎: ‘Who told you that you were naked?’ …

“Where were these alarmists as our children’s catechism was denuded, our altars disobediently despoiled, our Catholic institutions‎ demolished? … Catholic Children’s Aid, gone‎. … Catholic Hospitals, gone‎. … Catholic Schools, no longer Catholic. … Immigration Services for Catholic immigrants, gone. … Seminaries, not even a shadow of their former institutional selves. … Convents turned to condos. …

“As to clerics who lived lifestyles not in keeping with their calling: one would have had to ‎be a member of the Orange Lodge not to have rubbed shoulders with a multitude of them in the ’sixties and thereafter. …”

***

I’d guess it is appropriate to end this post with a small passage from John 6: 67-71.

67“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

70Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71(He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)

This is, after all, and forever, Christ’s Church, and we believe that He is the Holy One of God.

Cheers

Joe

 

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