Bright hope for tomorrow.

But St. Agnes answered to him in this matter: Go from me thou fardel of sin, nourishing of evils and morsel of death, and depart, and know thou that I am prevented and am loved of another lover, which hath given to me many better jewels, which hath fianced me by his faith, and is much more noble of lineage than thou art, and of estate. He hath clad me with precious stones and with jewels of gold, he hath set in my visage a sign that I receive none other espouse but him, and hath showed me over-great treasures which he must give me if I abide with him. I will have none other spouse but him, I will seek none other, in no manner may I leave him…

Chapter 24 of the Golden Legend by Jacobus Voragine (1275), translated by William Caxton (1483) – Source Here
St Agnes, Ora Pro Nobis!

Today is the feast of St Agnes, the martyr of Rome, who instead of marriage devoted her life to the glory of God alone. Growing up, my grandmother had a devotion to St Agnes and taught me this wee prayer: Dear St Agnes, come to me, and keep me good, as God kept thee. I hope this helps you to keep yourself chaste and vigilant.

In celebration of this great saint, and in the spirit of general sharing the gospel as one ought, I received a small parcel in the post. Within the little box were three bundles of the Gospel of St John that came from the USA. They are published in the New International and New Living translations of the Bible in American English, however, it is good to note that Catholic editions of both translations are published in the whole canon if you with to pay. These little editions came to me for only a small donation of a few pennies (or more) and our parish priest and local TLM society were delighted to have them at the back of the church for the congregation to take home.

I also left a few copies hanging around the University. (Expect a protest in the name of discrimination against whatever happens to be in style in the name of social justice.)

I think the covers are cute, especially the “Bright Hope for Tomorrow.”
Certain phrases and words of Our Lord are emboldened and emphasised with a different font as you can see.

Before you protest, “well this is just for the Evangelicals en masse,” hear me out. If you wish to distribute these copies of the gospel to a secular network, write the name of your local chapter of the Catholic Truth Society, FSSP, or SSPX on the interior to provoke proper interpretation. Speak with whomever you give these to and do it with charity. Click here to order, and please note that in no way am I sponsored by the Pocket Testament League, but grateful for so many wee copies of the Gospel of St John.

Beauty, Past Change

Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Fr Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

The famous Romantic poet, a contemporary of the illustrious Christina Rossetti, and convert received into the Church by Bl John Cardinal Henry Newman. This priest lead a troubled life, and fell into melancholy later on: but he never abandoned the faith nor fell into despair.

 

Frightened and Offended

Something about the Scottish Church (the actual Church, not the Presbyterian conglomerate) that amazes me is their immense devotion to orthodoxy, or at least an attempt to be. His Grace Philip Tartaglia has been published in the latest online edition of  First Things, which I highly recommend. It is one of the best treatises in support and protection of the priesthood. He writes,

…the Church’s transcendent orientation fascinates our culture. Holiness offends and frightens people. As an old translation of the New Testament put it, when the angel of the Lord came to them, the shepherds in their fields were “sore afraid.” Holiness also arrests and romances. We flee from God, yet we crave to come into his presence.

While I won’t delve into the priesthood yet in this point, something else raises in my mind. His Grace points out something interesting: ‘holiness offends and frightens people.’ 

Why does it? Now, I won’t go full on Zizek with you; any time we encounter the truth it offends and disturbs the illusion of our day-to-day lives. When we receive the Eucharist, some may break into tears or humble ourselves or some might not even understand what’s happening due to ill catechesis. But if we truly knew what was occurring, we would die on the spot of happiness and piety! Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen wrote something like that, and I can’t find the quote.

The “real” is shocking, and God is the highest love, truth, devotion. God is omniscient. Perhaps we ought to return to greater reverence, greater repentance, all in recognition of our sins and offences. God loves us so very much, and is closer than our very breath! His love is rapturing, and we see this in the saints – St Teresa flew into ecstasy, St Padre Pio bilocated, St Francis received the stigmata. We have to be saints! We need be frightened and offended, so that we might further the call to universal holiness.

 

God’s Movement towards Mankind

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God’s love is the source of all our love, and he is the one taking the initiative in the lovestory between him and us. For this reason, the heart of Christ is the starting point of the dynamics of love.  Christ is the incarnation of the Godhead, which means that he is the embodiment of God, who is love. Because he is Love incarnated, he is the standard by which all love is measured. Since love has its seat in the heart, Christ’s heart is the symbol of this love.

It is an important property of this love that it makes the lover shift his gaze from himself to the beloved. As a consequence, none has greater love than he who gives his life for his friends. It follows from this that the love of God is most profoundly revealed in Christ crucified, and to Francis de Sales he is the best teacher of the dynamics of love: «Mount Calvary is the true school of love.»

  • Taken from the writings of Susanne A. Kjekshus Koch,”SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES AND THE THEOLOGY OF HEARTS: The Dynamics of Love” (link)