At Calvary…

It’s been a while since I’ve made a post. I am requesting that you pray for me, because I’m praying for you; offering sacrifice for you. If you have any specific requests, please offer them up and let me know. I’ll be happy to receive them. I’m on the path to a Masters in Divinity and the priesthood please God, and my life has been busy.

As it is, with the Blessed Mother and the saints we praise, let us further extol them all in this following song…

I’m only human, I’m just a man (or) woman
Help me believe in what I could be
And all that I am
Show me the stairway I have to climb
Lord for my sake, help me to take
One day at a time

One day at a time sweet Jesus
That’s all I’m askin’ of you
Just give me the strength
To do every day what I have to do
Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine
Lord, help me today, show me the way
One day at a time

Oh, Do you remember when you walked among men
Well Jesus you know
If you’re looking below, it’s worse now than then
Oh! there’s pushing and shoving  and crowding in my mind
So for my sake, teach me to take
One day at a time

One day at a time sweet Jesus
That’s all I’m askin’ of you
Just give me the strength
To do every day what I have to do
Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine
Lord, help me today, show me the way
One day at a time

Here’s a link. It’s as good for us as anyone.

Mildly, He Lays His Glory By

It’s amazing how University can take over your life. This first term has just come to an end, and with it, the beautiful season of Christmas and the culmination of another year

I haven’t had time to breathe, to sneeze, only time for a quick prayer and a visit with my friends. Then it was off to another class, practise, Mass, or service of some sort. Disposable words, once intended for good marks, have left the petrichor of an A average and a stronger desire to know this world of God’s creation.

University throws you into this state of oblivion. I am still confused by, and fail to understand the pretence that flows in the air at this school and because only a few friends followed me there, it saddens me to find it hard to meet someone who is half down to earth, with their feet firmly planted on the ground. Whether it be how one grew up, what one eats (or rather, smokes) for breakfast, or the books they read, there is no reason someone should be considered higher in the social hierarchy because they turn their sleeves up a certain way or flip the bottoms of their trousers up in a queer fold so as to look three sizes too small.

With that said, what would I learn if I wasn’t thrown into the unfamiliar? I’d be something like Plato’s cave dwellers. I don’t believe in some kind of ephemeral Catholicism, but (life) is ephemeral. Our chances are only as long as Heaven gives them time. So why waste what we have?

In the Church’s liturgy, the divine blessing is fully revealed and communicated to us through the Eucharist, which is the sacrifice on the Cross shown again to us, the children of God. We are with the Blessed Mother there, as we behold the spotless Victim. He is not there only then, but forever in Divinity expressed. This isn’t temporary. If I cannot grow closer to God, the Rock of Ages, the very Child whose birth we have erected trees, showered love, and given gifts to celebrate, then where shall I fall?

There need not be this oblivion; the sense of uncertainty, when you have the veil of a Blessed Mother to lead you. Knowing what to do with my life, knowing what you want to do with your life, will not arrive at the senses in  a smack. That only happens when you hit the rock bottom floor of despair, something I hope we can avoid. If we rely on God, don’t you trust him to hold you up?

This is something I’ve come to realise this first university Christmas. We’ve been singing for quite some time at Mass, and at the service of Nine Lessons and Carols, at tree lightings, etc, these words:

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

The Prince of Peace does not leave us in anguish, the Son of Righteousness would not let us despair, for He indeed does bring light and life to all that ask Him, humility personified, and He came that we may more should die. The fiat of the Queen of Heaven and Earth. Winning supplication, glory unspeakable and remarkable. Here is Christmas. I pray that we keep this spirit every day, so that we can love and be loved as we truly are meant to do.

“I was received as an envoy of the Holy See with true respect and with cordiality”

If you have been following the traditional Catholic blogs and know anything of the SSPX, you’d know by now that there has been for the last year or two, beginning with Pope Benedict XVI, talks between the superior Bishop Fellay and various Cardinals and prelates. Today, over on Rorate Caeli, I read this heartwarming interview done by the blog’s Spanish correspondents:

Adelante la Fe: Your Excellence has recently visited the SSPX [seminaries] in the United States and France. We know it was a “discreet” meeting but, can you make an evaluation for us of what you saw and talked with them about? What expectations do you have of a coming reconciliation and which would be the main obstacle for it? Mons. Schneider: The Holy See asked me to visit the two [seminaries] of the SSPX in order to conduct a discussion on a specific theological topic with a group of theologians of the SSPX and with His Excellency Bishop Fellay. For me this fact shows that for the Holy See the SSSPX is not a negligible ecclesiastical reality and that it has to be taken seriously. I am keeping a good impression of my visits. I could observe a sound theological, spiritual and human reality in the two [seminaries]. The “sentire cum ecclesia” of the SSPX is shown by the fact that I was received as an envoy of the Holy See with true respect and with cordiality. Furthermore, I was glad to see in both places in the entrance area a photo of Pope Francis, the reigning Pontiff. In the sacristies there were plates with the name of Pope Francis and the local diocesan bishop. I was moved to assist the traditional chant for the Pope (“Oremus pro pontifice nostro Francisco…”) during the solemn exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
 
To my knowledge there are no weighty reasons in order to deny the clergy and faithful of the SSPX the official canonical recognition, meanwhile they should be accepted as they are. This was indeed Archbishop Lefebvre’s petition to the Holy See: “Accept us as we are”.
 
I think the issue of Vatican II should not be taken as the “conditio sine qua non”, since it was an assembly with primarily pastoral aims and characteristics. A part of the conciliar statements reflects only its time and possesses a temporary value, as disciplinary and pastoral documents do. When we look in a two millennia old perspective of the Church, we can state, that there is on both sides (Holy See and the SSPX) an over-evaluation and over-estimation of a pastoral reality in the Church, which is Vatican II.

It is well known that Msgr Schneider, who is the auxiliary Bishop of Astana in Kazakhstan, has always been firm in his orthodox practise of faith. In February, he took a moment to point out, define, and denounce what can be seen as a New Gnosticism. His Grace has had the opportunity to visit the French and American seminaries and was welcome with open arms and free from criticism, and I think that that is absolutely wonderful. While a few cracks would certainly have to be paved in the way of regularisation of the Society, I agree with Msgr Schneider that we ought to take them as is, “as what’s written on the tin” so to speak. Please remember to keep Msgr Schneider in your prayers, and the Society of St Pius X as well, in your prayers and offerings.

Bishop Schneider offering the Pontifical High Mass during the Latin Mass Society pilgrimage to West Grinstead

If you’re interested, take a minute to pop over here and read the article that attaches the photo above.

Vater Unser!

We don’t require a lot in life to be happy, that blessed minimalism that defines true felicity either situational or in the terms of a long, well lived life. We see this in the penitential lives of friars and brothers, sisters and nuns all over the world that have devoted themselves to monetary poverty and yet are so rich in faith that happiness exudes from their beings. I hear it in the music of Arvo Part, whose sacred minimalistic style has become popular in recent musical and liturgical history.

It only takes a drop of water to know the refreshment it gives and you only need a penny to understand the value of the pound or dollar. Of more value to us is kneeling down and receiving the precious Body of the Lord, and it only takes one communion to increase our piety and for God to work His grace that we can only receive through that sacrament alone. Ironic to that minimalism is that we should receive Communion regularly, and drink water regularly. Our graces will multiply and so will our health, bodily and spiritually.


I leave you now, with a great example of Mr Part’s work, the Vater Unser.

A compass to follow

I have surprised myself in how long a hiatus I took from the world online. It’s not only this blog I’ve neglected to update, but even my Facebook and emails have gone unchecked. I understand that in a time like this that that can be completely dangerous and grounds for admission to the nearest psych ward, but allow me to explain and tell you, my dear readers, what has happened in that time I’ve been away.

Soon enough, this will be the blog of a Catholic at University. I have passed all my courses, and today found out that I have even passed my Maths in which I went into the exam with a failing mark, but having pass THAT, passed the course. I’ve been accepted to University for a Major in Philosophy and a Minor in Theology, and I ask for your prayers in that regard. The overused phrase in the Catholic sphere is “discerning the vocation”, and at a loss for a new and reformed expression I have to admit that I’m doing the same right now. I have felt a calling to the priesthood for a long time, even since I was a young thing only four inches high off the ground, and that is my long term goal as it stands. I have also been looking into various forms of religion life, but I understand that in no way will this be a personal decision but rather like steering a ship with an unsure compass. Sooner enough, I’ll be pointed in the right direction by Almighty God but I am happy to follow wherever He and the Blessed Mother needs me.

In my absence, I have also grown closer to God in that I have experienced the things that the “man of Sorrows” could only help me through. The loss of good friends who had to leave because life desires them not to be held back, but to go and bloom as every flower does. I mean moving away and going to better schools, not fights or rows. I still have my main group of friends, all of which I wouldn’t trade for the moon and sun. It is through them that I have seen the light of God at night and saw Him as captain during the day.

However, I am not as happy as I ought to be, and I need to understand a few things about truth that I find hard to grasp, but I know that with the help of Our Lady, I’ll be there, just as I am.

Your Reward Shall Be Great

Sometimes I find myself sulkily sitting in my chair, just wasting time thinking over nothing useful. Then a week ago as I continued the tradition, I had an idea to pick up the Bible and see what I’d flip open to. This is what I found:

But I say to you that hear: Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you. Bless them that curse you, and pray for them that calumniate you. And to him that striketh thee on the one cheek, offer also the other. And him that taketh away from thee thy cloak, forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every one that asketh thee, and of him that taketh away thy goods, ask them not again. And as you would that men should do to you, do you also to them in like manner. And if you love them that love you, what thanks are to you? for sinners also love those that love them. And if you do good to them who do good to you, what thanks are to you? for sinners also do this. And if you lend to them of whom you hope to receive, what thanks are to you? for sinners also lend to sinners, for to receive as much. But love ye your enemies: do good, and lend, hoping for nothing thereby: and your reward shall be great, and you shall be the sons of the Highest; for he is kind to the unthankful, and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

If you’re like me, you wouldn’t know what chapter and verse and book that was out of and it’s a good thing I looked because it came from the Gospel of St Luke 6:27-36, and the angels couldn’t have pointed me to a better passage at any better time than this. First a story.

Last night myself and two friends did a usual Saturday-night routine, go downtown for some chips and a diet beverage and then drive around to eat away the night. After we came out of the chip shop I noticed walking right alongside my car a young fellow with the same pattern jumper I had on and, curious as I am, I wanted to see the face of the one with such good taste. It was a guy that used to go to school with us, had since dropped out, moved out on his parents and got a flat and lived alone. He was completing his final year at the Sally Ann school and in order to get by was selling spliff and working at a pizza restaurant.

It was three thousand below zero so he asked could he hop in with us and I told him to go for it. Friend 1 wasn’t impressed due to an apparent “troubled history” with the chap and I can understand that. Friend 2 got a kick out of it and didn’t shut up the moment he got in the back seat, which I enjoyed. We drove him where he needed to be and he was grateful to us all, au revoir. I felt terribly bad for him, considering his circumstances and the unreasonable faction of his family that can’t find it in their heart to give a damn about rehabilitating the child – but something Friend 1 said to me I couldn’t get out of my mind. It was in regard to the worth of this former classmate, where he was going in life, how was apparently useless and that Friend 1 was going to “stick to his engineering degree so as to not end up like that.” Friend 1 is usually a gentle, caring person and is easy to point out my flaws – but I was stuck for words when he said that. I literally had to haul the car over and stop for a minute, my heart skipped a beat (the song on the radio was of the same title by the xx). It bothered me greatly how someone could apparently look down on someone who through no fault of their own finds themselves at the bottom of the scale. That’s my job. I’m the one quick to judge, not him, not until now.

The ugliness in my own heart was exposed to me in the form I least expected it. That was my small conversion last night, which leads me to how important that “classic” verse from the scriptures is.

For whatever reason, known only to Him, God had to show me my error in someone else, a mirror of our imperfection. He has done this countless times to countless saints, and in His infinite mercy – the sins of our youth will be washed away as if they never were there. Continuing on with the theme of reflection, the passage demands that we be mirrors of God’s mercy – our Blessed Lord Jesus is our loving King. He has asked us to make the sacrifice of our own pride, tear out our own ego. “He that takes from you your cloak, forbid him not also to take your shirt.” “If a man should strike you on one cheek, turn the other and let him strike it.” These are just paraphrases, but is it so hard to heed these simple motto’s?

But love ye your enemies: do good, and lend, hoping for nothing thereby: and your reward shall be great, and you shall be the sons of the Highest; for he is kind to the unthankful, and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”

This is SO very important during Lent. God has given us everything as a means to His grace – the Blessed Mother, Our Lady, the image of perfection after whom we must strive to conform our hearts. The saints, the intercessors before Him and our guides in life; our angels each and everyone of us our own – to keep us through the day and night, guard us and watch over us, and furthermore His own Vicar the Holy Father, the Pope. This is the Church: the mystical body. We have a duty – the Church tells us this – to love our neighbour as ourselves, for the strong to protect the weak, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and so on in act of charity. I hope that I will remember this lesson far past and after Easter!