Saturday, December 14, 2013

Something beautiful for the feast of St. John of the Cross ...

"I tell you the truth,
unless you turn from your sins
and become like little children,
you will never get into the
 Kingdom of Heaven."

Surrendering Self-Interest

In Ascent of Mount Carmel, St. John of the Cross wrote: “Oh that someone might show us how to understand, practice and experience what this counsel is which our Saviour here gives us concerning the denial of ourselves, so that spiritual persons might see in how different a way they should conduct themselves upon this road than that which many of them think proper.... Oh that someone would tell us how far Our Lord desires this self-denial to be carried!” This lament is addressed to us “spiritual persons,” who claim to be Christ’s friends. 
What Jesus asks is always possible. The stern, uncompromising injunction to “deny thyself” is not a call to strip ourselves of earthly goods, to take on a life of rigid austerity—the ego could grow fat on that sort of thing. It is not things but self that has to be denied. Our Lord addresses each one of us in our particularity. There can be no pattern. We must want to follow him, want what he wants for us and died to give us. Enlightenment is progressive. Once we really give our attention to the matter, we see more and more how powerful, how tenacious is our selfishness. Every day offers small occasions for surrendering self-interest, our own convenience and wishes for the sake of others; for accepting without fuss the disappointments, annoyances, setbacks, humiliations that frequently come our way. The battle is largely fought out in relations with other people. “By this we know love, that [Jesus] laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for one another” (1 Jn 3:16). 
Watch! Pay attention to thoughts, words, behavior. We soon realize how difficult it is to get rid of our innate self-centeredness. We find our ego lurking behind even our most generous efforts. 
Paradoxically, to accept humbly and trustfully the impurity of our motives, seeing ourselves far from the loving selfless person we would like to be, is choosing to be little, admitting our helplessness and unimportance—provided, of course, that we are doing our utmost. Childlike, we surrender our autonomy to our Lord who, we now see, must do everything for us, and we find a happy freedom in the knowledge that he is everything we are not and he is all for us. When we no longer insist on being god to ourselves, every one of our doors is thrown open to the king of glory. Our sustained, earnest effort is important, but what God does is infinitely more important and decisive.  - Sr. Ruth Burrows, O.C.D.

An interview with Ruth Burrows here.

H/T Fr. Martin, SJ 

A terrible story about an elderly nun ...

"Don't let anybody hurt anybody today."

She was choked, punched, thrown to the ground, assaulted and raped.
BEAVER COUNTY (KDKA) – An 18-year-old has been charged in the brutal rape and beating of an elderly nun in Aliquippa. 
Andrew Bullock, of Orchard Street, faces at least 10 charges in the Friday morning attack. 
The nun serves at St. Titus Church on Franklin Avenue.  
She was walking in a parking lot behind the church when she was approached by a man who choked her, punched her, then threw her to the ground where she was assaulted and raped. - Finish reading here.
Pray for the sister's recovery and for the conversion of her assailant.

It might be nice to have a Mass said or just send the sister a Christmas/Get Well card to assure her of prayers and concern as she recovers.  The address for the Church here:
St. Titus Church
952 Franklin Ave
Aliquippa, PA 15001
Since sister remains anonymous, you could send it c/o Rev. Paul Householder.

Feast of St. John of the Cross

"Where there is no love, put love -- and you will find love." - John of the Cross

Did you know one Christmas Eve at the end of the monastery posada, St. John danced in ecstasy as he placed the Divine Infant Jesus in the crèche?

Friday, December 13, 2013

A few comments on Lectio Divina - for ordinary, unattached lay people.

I normally use the readings from daily Mass.

My first introduction to prayer came about after a retreat with the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, shortly after my return to the Church a long time ago.  Later I learned more 'about' prayer through the practice of Teresian mental prayer.  St. Teresa speaks about taking a book to mental prayer, and it is there I see a connection to the traditional practice of the monastic prayer of Lectio Divina.  Monks and nuns are the experts in this field, so far be it from me to contradict, add anything, or claim to know more than they do.  In practice my personal spiritual exercises have become rather simple, and like I say, I'm no expert.  Yet after so many years, it has been my experience, that what seems to be a mysterious, lofty spiritual exercise or discipline, is in actual fact, very accessible and practicable for ordinary people.

A friend who recently entered a monastery wrote to me telling me of the excellent training he is receiving as regards Lection Divina, and he happened to mention his experience with the practice was so far rather numb, without any sense of connection.  Indiscreet as usual, I jumped in with my unasked for advice on the matter ...
What I think the author was trying to convey is that thinking too much and studying the word can be a substitute for Lectio.  It becomes a sort of Bible study.  In a way, that is how Magnificat presents Lectio.  It is not like that.  You read and listen - by faith you know the Lord speaks - Today!  He is actually present in the Word.  He is right there!  Listen with the heart, not trying to find a specific message or insight - we need to let the word speak, to reveal itself - we listen - we hear one word, one phrase, and we can think - 'I never noticed that before'.  or, 'I never heard it that way before'.  Then you look up - and there he is, gazing at you through the lattice of the sentences - you catch a glimpse.  But then he hides.  God is more humble than we are.
Not great advice, and spoken out of turn - because when a candidate for religious life is in 'training' no one save his spiritual fathers should interfere.

Besides, the 'practice' of prayer takes time - especially when we are surrounded by so many distractions.  It also takes some effort to accustom ourselves to sitting quietly.  St. Teresa writes about such difficulties.

That said, after reading a post for today on Fr. Mark's blog, I noticed something Father wrote on Lectio - which echoed what I had told my friend (which is why I decided to write this post, BTW):
The monk falls on his knees to seek the Face of Christ shining through the lattice–work of the sacred text. - Fr. Mark
I was happy to see it.  I'm not sure, but that image may be derived from Guigo the Carthusian, who wrote the most simple text on Lectio.  You see, the encounter with the Word - the Word of God - is a real encounter, it is like the encounter with Christ in the Eucharist.  We eat the Word, we chew it, we ruminate it, we consume it - swallow it, we digest it without expelling it - it becomes part of us.  I may be wrong, but I can't help understand it in the same sense St. Teresa uses while explaining the prayer of recollection:
We should know and abide with the Person with Whom we are speaking, and not turn our backs upon Him; for that, it seems to me, is what we are doing when we talk to God and yet think of all kinds of vanity. The whole mischief comes from our not really grasping the fact that He is near us, and imagining Him far away -- so far, that we shall have to go to Heaven in order to find Him. How is it, Lord, that we do not look at Thy face, when it is so near us? - Way of Perfection 
(Remember, I'm just thinking out loud here.)

The Magnificat version of Lectio Divina

The actual prayer of Lectio Divina differs somewhat from the example Magnificat offers.  The Magnificat version, in my opinion, is an excellent example or means for the remote preparation of Lectio.  Perhaps studied the night before?  It makes for a useful guide to Lectio.  But in practice, Lectio is not Bible study or concordance - it is prayer, a lifting of the heart, a receiving, a communion, a listening, a conversation.  The Word acts - so it seems to me.  Returning to what Fr. Mark wrote:
Today the meditation of the Word of God, also known as lectio divina, is an indispensable element of the monastic life. It takes place first of all in the Oratory of the monastery where each monk in his choir stall applies himself to chant the psalms with understanding and to listen to the Word of God with the ear of the heart.  What begins anew each day in choir is prolonged in the solitude of each monk’s cell where, opening the Bible as one would open the door of the tabernacle, the monk falls on his knees to seek the Face of Christ shining through the lattice–work of the sacred text. He reads the text aloud, repeats it, allows it to become a prayer rising from his heart, and then falls silent in God to rest in Him and to adore Him. - Fr. Mark
Monastics may differ in their methods and practice, while remaining basically the same as regards the fundamentals.  Lay people can be even more idiosyncratic because they are not bound by any particular school of spirituality, canonical obligation nor horarium.  It seems to me freedom of spirit is essential for prayer, to allow the spirit to soar, and that we prepare for by docility to the Holy Spirit. 
"Any preparation we do on the text will aid in the actual lectio process.  For example, looking up references and footnotes; if your text is from the liturgy for the day, compare other texts from the same Mass., etc." - Outline on Monastic Lectio Novena,  c.1985.

Lectio is reading.  Lectio Divina is sacred reading.

Therefore we really should read and study the Scriptures.  Again, the example of the Magnificat version of Lectio Divina can be an excellent way to do that.  Yet for the period of prayer, which can be anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, Sacred reading is more concentrated, more focused - especially when we are well disposed or prepared.  Sometimes it can be flat, we feel cold, and we derive no satisfaction - I consider that a grace in itself.  Sometimes, even much later after the hour of prayer, we may encounter the text, or it comes to mind spontaneously, as a gentle breeze, or even a great light.  Never be discouraged, remembering it is the Holy Spirit who prays in us, for we do not know how to pray as we ought. 

Guigo the Carthusian breaks the practice down to four rungs upon a ladder:  Reading, meditation, prayer, contemplation.  (I've posted on this before here.)
Reading concerns the surface,
Lectio in cortice,

meditation concerns the depth
meditatio in adipe,

prayer concerns request for what is desired,
oratio in desiderii postulatione,

contemplation concerns delight in discovered sweetness.
contemplatio in adeptae dulcedinis delectatione. - "The Ladder of Monks"

Back to basics - for ordinary, unattached lay people.

Read with an open heart.

Ponder what you read.

Then whisper your heartfelt desire in prayer.

Remain in His presence - gratefully loving Him who loves you.

NB:  Technique and methods of prayer vary of course, and are useful to 'learn' how to pray, or to acquire the practice of prayer, I suppose, but prayer becomes very simple after that, and one doesn't measure or delineate the manner or order of it after long practice - I think it takes on its own rhythm, as it were. 

I also wanted to mention that the Liturgy of the Hours, the psalms are a rich depository for Lectio as well.  I also understand the rosary as a type of Lectio - but that may just be me.

Disclaimer:  Always follow the advice of your spiritual director and read the masters of the spiritual life on prayer.


St. Lucy

Light the candles ...
it's today.

In Scandinavia they wear a crown of candles ... the name Lucy derives from 'lux' meaning light.

"Christ isn't really talking about plucking out our our eyes, we think - and then we happen upon St. Lucy." - Heather King

Pray for us St. Lucy, that we may see.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Shop talk.

I got my haircut today.

Guess what everyone was talking about?

Pope Francis.

The place was packed and everyone was talking about Time magazine choosing him as their Man of the Year.

Not a negative comment in the place.  Not even a hint of criticism.  Ordinary people - so excited. 

What a difference from some of the Catholics online.


Our Lady in prison ...

I thought of this photo at adoration this afternoon.

Showers - Danny Lyon 1968*

"I will hear their weeping, their complaints and heal all their sorrows, hardships and sufferings..."

The inmate with the tattoo of Our Lady always moves me.  It reminds me of another thing Our Lady told St. Juan Diego, "Am I not your mother?" 

“When Our Lady appeared to Saint Juan Diego, her face was that of a woman of mixed blood, a mestiza, and her garments bore many symbols of the native culture. Like Jesus, Mary is close to all her sons and daughters; as a concerned mother, she accompanies them on their way through life. She shares all the joys and hopes, the sorrows and troubles of God’s People, which is made up of men and women of every race and nation.

“When the image of the Virgin appeared on the tilma of Juan Diego, it was the prophecy of an embrace: Mary’s embrace of all the peoples of the vast expanses of America – the peoples who already lived there, and those who were yet to come. Mary’s embrace showed what America – North and South – is called to be: a land where different peoples come together; a land prepared to accept human life at every stage, from the mother’s womb to old age; a land which welcomes immigrants, and the poor and the marginalized, in every age. A land of generosity.

That is the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe”, concluded the Pope, “and it is also my message, the message of the Church. I ask all the people of the Americas to open wide their arms, like the Virgin, with love and tenderness. I pray for all of you, dear brothers and sisters, and I ask you to pray for me! May the joy of the Gospel always abide in your hearts. May the Lord bless you, and may Our Lady be ever at your side." - Pope Francis

*Divine Mirrors: The Virgin Mary in the Visual Arts by Melissa R. Katz - Robert A. Orsi 

Getting ready for Christmas

Gabby decorates.

This year seems different ...

The cat decorated.  Well, she only just kitzles the decorations which have been put up. She's crazy about shiny stuff.

Nevertheless, this year Advent and Christmas are different for me - wonderfully different.  I do not have a sense of waiting or looking forward to Christmas.  Everything seems to me artificial about that.  The liturgy is alive for me, Christ is present in it - he lives and makes intercession for us.  besides, he has already come - he is here - he is present.  The Bridegroom is here.  I wish I had language to express that sense - yet the liturgy does it for me.  When Our Lady carried Christ in her immaculate womb, did she anticipate his 'coming'?  Now you see what I mean ...

Secular Christmas, lights, decorations, outlandish outdoor displays with electronic music, Santa impersonators all over, silly ads, sappy Christmas specials, sentimental Christmas stories, carols, costumes, I am completely indifferent to these.  It's not Christmas.  It is simply entertainment.  That stuff doesn't matter - it is what it is and that's just fine - take it for what it is.  let no one take your joy away.  Giving presents, giving alms, working with the poor - even just at Christmas, that's fine too, and it's probably better, more satisfying - yet Christmas is more than what we do.

Oh - and the war on Christmas?  It isn't real.  No one can stop Christmas - it already happened and happens now.  It is beyond any one's power to abolish it.  It is a mystery unfolded and unfolding, revealed and revealing - for those who are able to accept it, able to receive it.  Christmas is a gift to be received - and the gift we receive we give as a gift.  Nothing stands in our way except the desire to control and construct the holidays into an idol of our personal preference - an ideal we imagine to suit our taste, with the decree, 'this is how it should be' - only when it disappoints, or someone breaks the rules, we become disgruntled and annoyed.

Every year it becomes clearer to me - and I hope for you:  Christ is already born - he dwells amongst us - now.  He is risen and lives to make intercession for us, and we participate in that, in and through the liturgy, the prayer of the Church.


Something to think about.

"The priest who is slow in granting generous and ready forgiveness, who wastes his words on detraction, who succumbs to the pettiness of gossip, resentment, vindictiveness, moodiness, and all such miseries of self-love, to such a priest Jesus will certainly not grant an increase of charity.  He may even withdraw his ordinary assistance, and thus the priest will remain all his life poor in grace and charity, wallowing in self-pity." - Sr. Nazarena

"Praying the Mass is the most beautiful and efficacious sermon a priest can give." - Sr. Nazarena

So I think it's more than just saying the black and doing the red.

"My little son, am I not your Mother?"


"Know, know for sure, my dearest, littlest, and youngest son, that I am the perfect and ever Virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the God of truth through Whom everything lives, the Lord of all things near us, the Lord of heaven and earth. I want very much to have a little house built here for me, in which I will show Him, I will exalt Him and make Him manifest. I will give Him to the people in all my personal love, in my compassion, in my help, in my protection: because I am truly your merciful Mother, yours and all the people who live united in this land and of all the other people of different ancestries, my lovers, who love me, those who seek me, those who trust in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their complaints and heal all their sorrows, hardships and sufferings. And to bring about what my compassionate and merciful concern is trying to achieve, you must go to the residence of the Bishop of Mexico and tell him that I sent you here to show him how strongly I wish him to build me a temple here on the plain; you will report to him exactly all you have seen, admired and what you have heard. Know for sure I will appreciate it very much, be grateful and will reward you. And you? You will deserve very much the reward I will give you for your fatigue, the work and trouble that my mission will cause you. Now my dearest son, you have heard my breath, my word; go now and put forth your best effort." - Our Lady to St. Juan Diego

Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun? Ecclus. 50: 8. As the rainbow giving light in the bright clouds, and as the flower of roses in the days of spring.

Happy feast day!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fake signer at Mandela memorial service ...


I could so see myself doing that.

St. John of the Cross in free verse ...

             "Malice, rancor, pusillanimity, discouragement,

sluggishness, and dissipation of spirit."
"The soul began to set out on the way of the spirit,
... wherein God Himself teaches and refreshes the soul without meditation or any active efforts that itself may deliberately make."  
Nevertheless the soul continues to struggle to remove the obstacles to this grace and to be faithful to it.
Hence, the necessity of purification
arises from the defects of beginners, which may be reduced to three:  
spiritual pride, spiritual sensuality, and spiritual sloth.
Yet the mystical doctor considers only the disorder that results from them in our relations with God; he does not speak of all that taints our dealings with our neighbor and the apostolate which may be under our care.
Spiritual sensuality...  spiritual gluttony, consists in being immoderately attached to sensible consolations ... The soul seeks these consolations for themselves, forgetting that they are not an end, but a means; In others, this self­seeking is in the exterior apostolate,  
in some form or other of activity. 
Spiritual sloth comes as a rule from the fact that, when spiritual gluttony or some other form of selfishness is not satisfied, one falls into impatience and a certain disgust for the work of sanctification as soon as it is a question of advancing by the "narrow way." 
 [It's] called acedia. 
[It] leads to malice, rancor, pusillanimity, discouragement, sluggishness, and dissipation of spirit ... in regard to forbidden things. 
Spiritual pride manifests itself quite frequently when spiritual gluttony or some other self-seeking is satisfied, when things go as one wishes; then a man boasts of his perfection, judges others severely, sets himself up as a master ... 
To the defects of spiritual gluttony, spiritual sloth, and spiritual pride, are added many others:  
curiosity, which decreases love of the truth; 
sufficiency, which leads us to exaggerate our personal worth, to become irritated when it is not recognized; 
jealousy and envy, which lead to disparagement, intrigues, and unhappy conflicts, which more or less seriously injure the general good.  
Likewise in the apostolate, the defect rather frequent at this time is natural eagerness in self-seeking,  
in making oneself a center,  
in drawing souls to oneself or to the group to which one belongs instead of leading them to our Lord.
 Finally, let trial, a rebuff, a disgrace come, and one is, in consequence, inclined to discouragement, discontent, sulkiness, pusillanimity, which seeks more or less to assume the external appearances of humility. 
However ... 
Rancor ... the critical spirit ... often gives us away. - Adapted from Three Ages
That's a good thing.
 Art: St. John imprisoned in the conventual jail in Toledo, incarcerated by his own brothers of the Ancient Observance.  Teresa wrote to the king for his release, exclaiming: “I would rather see (him) among the Moors, for (he) might well show (him) more pity.”  The king did not intervene.

In contemporary life a lie is making itself known ...


I think that if a Christian tells himself that he's a contemporary Christian, he's already losing the battle. He should remember that he's a CHRISTIAN, and that he is carrying on the same battle that has been going on for two thousand years - the battle for the knowledge of God, for that which remains forever, for that which forms man and his relationship to the world, God, and other people. If he understands this, then he's on the sure path to discovering what he's striving for. Christ is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow, and unto the ages of ages, as the Apostle Paul said (cf. Heb. 13:8). I think that in contemporary life a lie is making itself known, which is brought to us by the devil: that now there is some kind of special situation, for which there are not yet any methods or rules; that now is the time of computers and modern technology, that the path of salvation is now different. I think that along with this lie that he's instilling in us, he's foisting a parallel religion on us, a religion of this world. The fact that modern technology exists now, that we dress differently, that social relationships have changed, does not separate us from the Gospel in any way. The Gospel remains as it was before, for it's outside time, and was written not only for the time when the Lord walked the earth, but for all times. - By Archimandrite Luka of Dajbabe (+ February 8, 2013) From The Orthodox Word, No. 287, 2012, pp. 302-303.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Feast of Our Lady of Loreto and the Translation of the Holy House

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Loreto.

Commemorating the miraculous translation - by angels - of the Holy Family's house in Nazareth; this feast recalls its transfer from Croatia to the hilltop of what is now known as Loreto, Italy.

Since a little boy, I have never had the least problem with this story. In fact, when I lived as a pilgrim in Italy, in imitation of St. Benedict Joseph Labre, I spent some time at Loreto.

Every day I would stand praying within the Holy House, which is enclosed within an ornamented marble edifice, a sort of tabernacle or aedicule. I would stand in a back corner of the interior so as not to be in the way of the groups of pilgrims as they passed through. Occasionally I'd step out to pray Our Lady's office from time to time, seated on a bench outside the House, since the light was easier to read by. My experience there convinced me the Holy House is authentic.

It was there I prayed most especially for my family. Years later, my older brother died on this feast day.  It was the year when the feast of the Immaculate Conception was observed on the 9th of December because the 8th fell on Sunday.  I had an intuition Our Lady would come for him.  I stayed by his bedside praying, hoping Our Lady might be there on the 8th.   My brother hung on throughout the day and night.  I thought, 'Well then, maybe she will come on the day the Church transferred the solemnity.'  The next day, the observance of the solemnity, I asked my brother, who had been in and out of coma "When is Our Lady coming?"

He lifted his head from his pillow and opening his eyes, looking directly at me, responded clearly like a little boy, "I don't know?" Then he fell back into the coma.
The following day was Tuesday of course, and the feast of Our Lady of Loreto.  Before going to be with him I went to Mass.  After communion, I had a conviction he had just died. When I got to his house, his nurse told me he had died about 20 minutes earlier, and I said "I think I knew that." When I got to him he was still warm.
My brother had a vision of Our Lady a few years before his death. he told me she just suddenly appeared as Our Lady of Grace - for a few seconds - he described it as just a glimpse. He began to pray again, wondering what it meant. I always believed it was Our Lady, I think that accounts for my intuition that she would come for him, as well as why I asked him when she was coming for him as he lay in the coma.
So that's my Loreto story.  My brother's funeral Mass and burial took place on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
A brief history on the Holy House.

"According to Catholic tradition, the Holy House came under threat during the turmoil of the Crusades, so in 1291, angels miraculously translated the house from its original location to a site in modern-day Croatia. An empty space was left in Nazareth, while a small house suddenly appeared in a field. The bewildered parish priest, brought to the scene by shepherds who discovered it, had a vision in which the Virgin Mary revealed it was her former house.

On December 10, 1294, the house was again moved by angels because of the Muslim invasion of Albania. It landed first in Recanti, Italy, but was shortly thereafter moved for a third time to its present location in Loreto.

The Holy House of Loreto, or Santa Casa di Loreto in Italian, has been venerated by pilgrims great and small, including many popes and saints, and numerous miracles and healings have been reported. Scientists are said to have confirmed the materials to be the same as those found in Nazareth and the house lacks any foundations."

Monday, December 09, 2013

Comments about stuff other people are saying....

So anyway, Fr. Z wrote about talking like a girl.

I hate it that he has more screen time than I do and can write about all that stuff I set aside to write about when I get some time.  Oh to be a priest with nothing to do.  What?

More men speaking in girl's dialect ...

That's the title of the article on a study conducted by a linguist at the University of California, which the BBC reported on here.  It's called uptalk.
More young men in California rise in pitch at the end of their sentences when talking, new research shows. 
This process is known as "uptalk" or "valleygirl speak" and has in the past been associated with young females, typically from California or Australia. 
But now a team says that this way of speaking is becoming more frequent among men. - BBC
Finally someone is pointing this out.  I've noticed it for a long time in younger men - and not just amongst gay men.  You hear guys talk like that in interviews, on the news, or on late night talk shows.  Voice inflection amongst young men, and fast talking conversations amongst guys can sometimes sound a bit how women talk amongst themselves.  For instance, sometimes when I'm at the store or some other public space - even church, I can't help but overhear conversations.  Many times I look around to see who is speaking and very often it's a guy with his kids or with his wife or girlfriend.  I look around because the guy is talking that way. 

Maybe guys just feel they are wrong all the time?  Especially when speaking to women.  Maybe they use the uptalk to demonstrate they are not being sarcastic, hostile or aggressive with their significant other?
"One possibility is that this is an extension of a pitch pattern that we actually find in most varieties of English which is used when you're making a statement but you're [also] asking indirectly for the interlocutor to confirm if they are with you," Prof Arvaniti said. - BBC
I first noticed the trend when guys came back from Europe.  I'm not sure it is always related to  valleygirl speak, nor is it necessarily related to the 'feminization' of men - yet both of those categories may derive from the way boys are educated these days, as well as the influence of pop culture and media.  I have to wonder however, if the study overlooks a European connection - when Americans attempt to emulate the accent of some of their European counterparts when they speak English.  "Non?"  "Oui?"

I've also noted the inflection used by people who worked in India, and most especially those who worked with the Missionaries of Charity.  I had several religious friends who did the uptalk thing back then. 

Now everybody does it.   (No big deal, but that's all I wanted to say on the study.)

The cassock coat.
The black traditional cassock deserves decent outerwear.
Here we have a long, full trench which stops
about 6 inches from the hem of the cassock.
The trench coat is constructed of soft black microfiber
with a contrasting french khaki lining.
Extra wide collar and belted (not shown).

Fr. Z again: How to upbraid an outspoken deacon... Soooo many thoughts and responses. ^

Play the celibate-continence card:  Remind the pertinacious permanent deacon of the “canons about sexual continence for all clerics, including deacons?”

Fr. Z can get a little bitchy sometimes, and his commenters can be worse.  The post was about cassocks and Fr. Z gets pretty defensive about that stuff.  However - when it comes to permanent deacons, I think people need to be a lot more respectful and avoid any sign of clericalist snobbery related to hierarchical status.  A couple of commenters to Fr. Z's post addressed the problem this way:
adeacon says:

I would like to chime in. It seems that this conversation is becoming anti-deacon – because of the comments of one deacon about cassocks. The deacon should probably have kept his thoughts to himself. Still, we know comments like this come from all sides – deacons to priests, priests to deacons. Who here is not a sinner?
I am a permanent deacon. The Lord called me to this vocation, the same as he called all my ordained brothers. I am not a liberal heretic. I have no issue with cassocks. I feed the “poorest of the poor.” I am conservative – as many of my deacon brothers are. Some are not conservative. Still, we give our all for Mother Church. Please, love your deacons.
Subdeacon Joseph says:

I am a married priest who always wears the cassock whenever I serve. I also have children. There are 22 particular churches within the Catholic Church who ALL have married priests, and in all of these particular churches the cassock is the norm, not the Roman collar. There is only one particular church within the Catholic Church that suppresses their priests from marriage, and canonically expects their deacons to abstain from normal and healthy relations in marriage, and that particular church is the Roman church. Bringing up “canons about sexual continence for all clerics, including deacons?” is painting with a real broad brush, and offensive to the majority of particular churches in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
Fr. Z's post was about cassocks of course and what to say to a deacon who upbraided a priest for wearing one.  Oh the persecution!  Why does something like that have to turn into a bitch fight? 

Cassocks - wear them if you want.  It's like chapel veils - wear them if you want.

I wear jeans to Mass, and I don't care what people think.

These are stupid issues.

Chinese lady say:
"I like a man in uniform.
My man wear Changshan.
Notice the lift in her voice?


The Immaculate Conception

Hail, city of refuge!
Hail, David's high tower!
With battlements crown'd
And girded with power!

Filled at thy Conception
With love and with light!
The dragon by thee
Was shorn of his might!

O Woman most valiant!
O Judith thrice blest!
As David was nurs'd
On fair Abisag's breast;

As the Saviour of Egypt
Upon Rachel's knee:
So the world's great Redeemer
Was cherish'd by thee:


Sunday, December 08, 2013

Modern miracles of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker

I told you he is still active in the Church and the world, didn't I?
In the province of Tambov a family bought an old abandoned home. Furthermore, the building was deserted and an old door was thrown under the shed.

On a rainy day the daughter went out to the garden and saw an icon above the door. Having venerated it she went home happy saying: "There was a miracle! St. Nicholas the Wonderworker appeared!" - Finish reading here.
Eighteen more stories here.

Who knows?  This Sunday many churches will probably host a special visit from St. Nicholas.  I just found out St. Peter's in Richfield is hosting a pancake breakfast with the Saint tomorrow morning.

O Immaculate Conception, Consoler of the Afflicted, help those suffering persecution.


O PURE and immaculate and likewise blessed Virgin, who art the sinless Mother of thy Son, the mighty Lord of the universe, thou who art inviolate and altogether holy, the hope of the hopeless and sinful, we sing thy praises. We bless thee, as full of every grace, thou who didst bear the God-Man: we bow low before thee; we invoke thee and implore thine aid. Rescue us, O holy and inviolate Virgin, from every necessity that presses upon us and from all the temptations of the devil.
Be our intercessor and advocate at the hour of death and judgment; deliver us from the fire that is not extinguished and from the outer darkness; make us worthy of the glory of thy Son, O dearest and most clement Virgin Mother. Thou indeed art our only hope most sure and sacred in God's sight, to Whom be honor and glory and majesty and dominion for ever and ever world without end. Amen. - St. Ephraim the Syrian
Urgent prayer need for the Christians of Central African Republic

BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — Thousands of Christian civilians sought refuge at an airport guarded by French soldiers Friday, fleeing from the mostly Muslim ex-rebels with machetes and guns who rule the country a day after the worst violence to hit the chaotic capital in nine months.
Outside the barbed wire fences of the airport, bodies lay decomposing along the roads in a capital too dangerous for many to collect the corpses. Thursday's clashes left at least 280 dead, according to national radio, and have raised fears that waves of retaliatory attacks could soon follow. 
"They are slaughtering us like chickens," said Appolinaire Donoboy, a Christian whose family remained in hiding. 
France had pledged to increase its presence in its former colony well before Christian militias attacked the capital at dawn Thursday. The arrival of additional French troops and equipment came as the capital teetered on the brink of total anarchy and represented the greatest hope for many Central Africans. - Source

Most holy Virgin, who wast pleasing to the Lord and became His Mother, immaculate in body and spirit, in faith and in love, look kindly on those suffering from persecution and violence as we implore thy powerful patronage. The wicked serpent, against whom was hurled the first curse, continues fiercely to attack and ensnare the unhappy children of Eve. Do thou, then, O Blessed Mother, our queen and advocate, who from the first instant of thy conception didst crush the head of the enemy, receive the prayers which, united with thee in our single heart, we implore thee to present at the throne of God, that we may never fall into the snares which are laid out for us, and may all arrive at the port of salvation; and, in so many dangers, may the Church and Christian society sing once again the hymn of deliverance and of victory and of peace. Amen.