The Wilderness

What "the wilderness" has brought to mind:
And saying: Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by Isaias the prophet, saying: A voice of one crying in the desert, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. (Matthew 3:2-3)

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaias the prophet: Behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare the way before thee. A voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. John was in the desert baptizing, and preaching the baptism of penance, unto remission of sins. (Mark 1:1-4)

As it was written in the book of the sayings of Isaias the prophet: A voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled; and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight; and the rough ways plain; (Luke 3:4-5)

They said therefore unto him: Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? What sayest thou of thyself? He said: I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Isaias. And they that were sent, were of the Pharisees. (John 1:22-24)

You know that the only-begotten Son is called the Word of the Father. Now we know, in the case of our own utterance, the voice first sounds, and then the word is heard. Thus John declares himself to be the voice, i.e. because he precedes the Word, and, through his ministry, the Word of the Father is heard by man.
(Catena Aurea on John 1)

With the topics of the impending election nagging every waking moment, we have the Voice to keep us focused. For instance, John stood up for marriage against Herod, and called him on other wrongs he was doing. John was imprisoned, and then eventually beheaded for it:
But Herod the tetrarch, when he was reproved by him for Herodias, his brother's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done; He added this also above all, and shut up John in prison. (Luke 3:19-20)

"The wilderness" also brings to mind Christ in the desert. The example He sets for us:
And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the desert, For the space of forty days; and was tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry. (Luke 4)

The Devil knows Scripture...

For it is written, that He hath given his angels charge over thee, that they keep thee. And that in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering, said to him: It is said: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (Luke 4:10-12)

We have the devil here again citing Scripture, (Ps. xc. v. 11.) [Read what is given on this subject in note on v. 6, c. iv. of S. Matthew's gospel (reproduced in the next quote section)] which shews how very dangerous a thing it is to put the Scripture, in the first instance, indiscriminately into every, even the most illiterate person's hands, without any previous disposition of the mind and heart, by study and prayer. How much more satisfactory must it be to be guided by the Church of God, which Christ has promised to secure against all error, and which he commands all to obey! How much more rational to begin with distributing elementary catechisms, approved by the Catholic Church as conformable to the word of God, and then only opening to them the sacred mystic book, when their minds and hearts are better prepared to avail themselves of the inestimable treasure, and of justly appreciating and exploring the golden lore. If humility be a virtue that renders us most pleasing to God, it is a virtue particularly necessary for the proper understanding of Holy Writ. This will teach us to submit (whenever the Scripture is either silent or obscure in points of faith) our own private and unassisted judgment to the judgment and comments of the Church. This was the sentiment of a great philosopher of this nation, who, when charged with scepticism and a love of novelty by his contemporaries, replied: "However fanciful I may be esteemed in matters of philosophy, in religious concerns I like to go the beaten road. Where the Scripture is silent, the Church is my text. Where that speaks, it is but the comment; and I never refer any thing to the arbitration of my own judgment, but in the silence of them both." (Haydock Commentary Luke 4:10)

Heretics, says S. Augustine, quote Scriptures, as the devil does here, in a wrong and forced sense; the Church cites them, like Jesus Christ, in their true sense, and to confute their falsehood. Cont. lit. Petil. l. ii. c. 51. It is on this account, that the Catholic Church wishes persons who come to the study of the most mysterious and difficult book ever published, should bring with them some preparation of mind and heart; convinced that the abuse of the strongest and best food may be converted into deadly poison. The promoters of Bible societies have published in Ireland a tract to encourage the universal perusal of the Scriptures, as the sole rule of faith. In this they give not only a mutilated and corrupt version of the letter of his late Holiness Pius VI. to the now archbishop of Florence, (to be seen at the head of this edition of the Bible) but certain letters from German Jansenists, who are described as being good Catholics. A. (Haydock Commentary Mark 4:6)



Prayers and fasting for those potentially burdened by Hurricane Sandy. Prayers and fasting for Benghazi also.


Sadness and Sorrow

Introduction to the Devout Life
by St. Francis de Sales
PART IV. Containing needful counsels concerning some ordinary temptations.
12. Of Sadness and Sorrow

St. Paul says that "godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of, but the sorrow of the world worketh death." So we see that sorrow may be good or bad according to the several results it produces in us. And indeed there are more bad than good results arising from it, for the only good ones are mercy and repentance; whereas there are six evil results, namely, anguish, sloth, indignation, jealousy, envy and impatience. The Wise Man says that "sorrow hath killed many, and there is no profit therein," and that because for the two good streams which flow from the spring of sadness, there are these six which are downright evil.

The Enemy makes use of sadness to try good men with his temptations:--just as he tries to make bad men merry in their sin, so he seeks to make the good sorrowful amid their works of piety; and while making sin attractive so as to draw men to it, he strives to turn them from holiness by making it disagreeable. The Evil One delights in sadness and melancholy, because they are his own characteristics. He will be in sadness and sorrow through all Eternity, and he would fain have all others the same.

The "sorrow of the world" disturbs the heart, plunges it into anxiety, stirs up unreasonable fears, disgusts it with prayer, overwhelms and stupefies the brain, deprives the soul of wisdom, judgment, resolution and courage, weakening all its powers; in a word, it is like a hard winter, blasting all the earth's beauty, and numbing all animal life; for it deprives the soul of sweetness and power in every faculty.

Should you, my daughter, ever be attacked by this evil spirit of sadness, make use of the following remedies. "Is any among you afflicted?" says St. James, "let him pray." Prayer is a sovereign remedy, it lifts the mind to God, Who is our only Joy and Consolation. But when you pray let your words and affections, whether interior or exterior, all tend to love and trust in God. "O God of Mercy, most Loving Lord, Sweet Saviour, Lord of my heart, my Joy, my Hope, my Beloved, my Bridegroom."

Vigorously resist all tendencies to melancholy, and although all you do may seem to be done coldly, wearily and indifferently, do not give in. The Enemy strives to make us languid in doing good by depression, but when he sees that we do not cease our efforts to work, and that those efforts become all the more earnest by reason of their being made in resistance to him, he leaves off troubling us.

Make use of hymns and spiritual songs; they have often frustrated the Evil One in his operations, as was the case when the evil spirit which possessed Saul was driven forth by music and psalmody. It is well also to occupy yourself in external works, and that with as much variety as may lead us to divert the mind from the subject which oppresses it, and to cheer and kindle it, for depression generally makes us dry and cold.

Use external acts of fervour, even though they are tasteless at the time; embrace your crucifix, clasp it to your breast, kiss the Feet and Hands of your Dear Lord, raise hands and eyes to Heaven, and cry out to God in loving, trustful ejaculations: "My Beloved is mine, and I am His. A bundle of myrrh is my Well-beloved, He shall lie within my breast. Mine eyes long sore for Thy Word, O when wilt Thou comfort me! O Jesus, be Thou my Saviour, and my soul shall live. Who shall separate me from the Love of Christ?" etc.

Moderate bodily discipline is useful in resisting depression, because it rouses the mind from dwelling on itself; and frequent Communion is specially valuable; the Bread of Life strengthens the heart and gladdens the spirits.

Lay bare all the feelings, thoughts and longings which are the result of your depression to your confessor or director, in all humility and faithfulness; seek the society of spiritually-minded people, and frequent such as far as possible while you are suffering. And, finally, resign yourself into God's Hands, endeavoring to bear this harassing depression patiently, as a just punishment for past idle mirth. Above all, never doubt but that, after He has tried you sufficiently, God will deliver you from the trial.

24th Anniversary

For the honour and glory of the Holy Catholic Church, for the consolation of the much troubled faithful, and for the peace of their conscience, the undersigned, members until now of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X, declare with profound regret over the illicit consecration of bishops on 30 June that they have remained within the Catholic Church as pars sanior of this same Fraternity, and that they have but one desire: to be able to live as a religious society in this Church and place themselves at her service under the authority, of course, of the Roman Pontiff, her supreme head.

With great satisfaction, they affirm that in the generous and truly maternal propositions which the Church offerred to the Fraternity in the agreement of 5 May 1988 are laid the foundations for a fruitful and without doubt Catholic future for their society. They express their hope that the ecclesiastical authorities would establish them canonically as a society, so that they might work for the realisation of their own particular vocation: to dedicate themselves to the People of God and above all to the formation of future priests in an authentic Catholic spirit, and in so doing, as befits the venerable tradition of the Catholic Church, to celebrate Divine Worship according to the guidelines of immemorial tradition.

In order to clarify their ecclesiastical status as quickly as possible, the undersigned, brought together in prayer, will present this declaration to the Holy See without delay, in order to place their work under the protection of the princes of the Apostles, Saint Peter and Paul, and with the blessing of the Holy Father.

Declaration of Intention by the Founders (2 July 1988)

A little more than three months later a decree written by the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" erected the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter. God bless this priestly fraternity today, October 18th, on their anniversary.


He went away sad...

Sloth is defined by St. Thomas Aquinas as sadness in the face of some spiritual good which one has to achieve. The Catholic Encyclopedia's entry on sloth goes on to state: "A man apprehends the practice of virtue to be beset with difficulties and chafes under the restraints imposed by the service of God. The narrow way stretches wearily before him and his soul grows sluggish and torpid at the thought of the painful life journey. The idea of right living inspires not joy but disgust, because of its laboriousness."

This sadness is noted in the story of the young rich man:
... The young man saith to him: All these I have kept from my youth, what is yet wanting to me? Jesus saith to him: If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come follow me. And when the young man had heard this word, he went away sad... (Matthew 19:16-22)

The Handbook of Moral Theology by Prummer lists some of the evil results of sloth: tepidity to the divine precepts, wandering towards what is forbidden, faint heartedness, and despair of salvation. The remedies given are: consideration of the evil results of this vice, meditation on man's eternal reward.


Save America Sunday

Please visit http://www.saveamericasunday.com/ and discuss this with your priests.

Processions to Save America is a Catholic campaign initiated in honor of the upcoming year of faith declared by Pope Benedict XVI, and in honor of Pope Pius XI's encyclical Quas Primas. During the year of faith, beginning in October 2012, the Holy Father has expressed his wish that parishes emphasize liturgy and the Eucharist.

The Processions to Save America Campaign seeks to promote public processions of the Blessed Sacrament in parishes across the country, in order to restore the social kingship of Christ in our nation, as Pope Pius XI asserts in Quas Primas. We are calling upon all Catholics to organize public processions of the Blessed Sacrament at the diocesan and parish level, especially in celebration of the upcoming feast of Christ the King on October 28th in the extraordinary form calendar.

Action Items:
1. Talk to your parish priest about having a Eucharistic procession at your church (preferably on Oct. 28th).

2. Let us know where and when you're having your procession. Click on "Register" link in menu above. [See website]

3. Publicize your procession via email, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. Spread the word!!!

Beware the emotionalism played at in this video.


It is a piercing noise...

I have always had a love-hate relationship with social media. Through social media, I have met a number of very good people and a select few role models (living saints) who, by example, encourage me to be much better than I am. Social media unfortunatly feeds my disordered desire for human respect, it feeds my curiosity, it swallows my time... It leaves a "ringing in the ears" when I yearn for Quiet.

The stream that appears in my Google+ (don't get me started on Facebook or Twitter) account is the definition of psychotic. One moment I am reading of the heroic virtues of St. Joseph, reading about true acts of Charity, discussing the beauty of our Catholic Liturgy, reading of the spiritual life, being encouraged to pray and fast for a complete stranger, praying for the soul of a departed one, or learning of the unchanging Truth as taught by the Doctors of our Church. It is reality. The next moment I am reading blasphemy presented as humor, hedonism presented as a lifestyle, modernism (and its endless developing flavors) promoting mind rot, blocking a profile for displaying rancid pornographic images, or getting pulled into mindless squabbling with fellow Catholics over slothful semantics. It is insanity. (For those wondering -- yes, I uses 'circles' judiciously.)

Reality insanity reality insanity insanity insanity.

Often, the noise is deafening to the senses. All of us living in this world trod through the muck of "insanity" hopefully striving to have a firm hold in the "reality". We all deal with living in the world in varying degrees regardless if we participate in social media. I do believe that in comparison to "real" social interaction... social media amplifies the strength and quickens the pace that the "insanity" is offered for consumption.

I am not puritanically condemning social media as some intrinsic evil. I am not planning to go sit in some enlightenment spawned self help circle where I dub myself an "addict of social media" and swear never to use it again. I am not off to live in a cave... not today anyway.

This morning I was ready to delete my accounts and take a social media vacation for a few months. After some discussion with those who know the beard behind the blog, I decided to leave the accounts alone and come back to them at some point in the near future. I do not have good reason for removing past posts today, but I will be cleaning up certain items in the next couple weeks.

For now I am restricting my cooperation with social media, and eagerly looking forward to the vacation from it. There are some important things that require attention.