Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Heart of Mary

WHEN (SIMEON) TOLD our Lady that the effect of her Son's appearance in Israel would be to reveal the thoughts of many hearts, he gave her this additional piece of information: "Thy own soul a sword shall pierce." Other people's hearts will unfold their goodwill, or their wickedness, to a more or less degree, as they come in contact, to a more or less degree, with this little Son of yours. but you, who have been closer to him, who will always be closer to him than any other, your heart will be torn open as with a sword for all the world too the treasures it contains.

That prophecy, as we know, was verified on Calvary. When we contemplate our Lady in the stable, by the crib, the beauty of her is blinding enough, as she is lit up by the rays of the Child she holds in her arms. The humility which he showed in coming to earth is reflected in the humility with which she adapts herself to those wretched surroundings, the dark cave, and the manger, and the cold. The kindness of God our Saviour which appeared, St. Peter tells us, in his coming down to redeem us from our sins, is reflected in that love which lights up her features; all that love drawn from him and given back to him. But we have not yet really seen the Heart of Mary.

The Heart of Mary is not torn open, exposed fully to our view, until we see her standing beside the Cross; the great fire of charity which burned in the Heart of the Crucified playing on her features as she stands there, and lighting them up with a glow as red as the glow of martyrdom. We have not really seen the Heart of Mary until we learn to recognize the amazing considerateness with which she allowed him, all his life, to take his own course, though she knew where that course would lead, never asking him to hold back from the thought of what it would mean to her; until we learn to guess something of the compassionate love with which she grieved over the outrages done to him; grieved, in doing so, over our sins, and offered her satisfaction for them in union with his. That sword of sorrow opens to us the Heart of our Lady, as the centurion's lance opened for us the Heart of our Lord.

- Ronald A. Knox

Scimitar Burns Bible, and ...

To understand this, gentle reader, one needs to engage in studying the model/rival relationship in mimetic theory; what René Girard calls the "problem of the doubles." The rival - in this case, the Scimitar - can barely get the model - in this case, the Christian faith in general and Catholics in particular - even to notice their slight. This in itself it infuriating to the rival. Alas.

Christians don't always follow the high road, but the Holy Spirit makes it an inchoate part of our awareness. What, do you ask, is that? For that, go here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Burne-Jones PRB

Dolan - Don't Let Our Sins

Archbishop Timothy Dolan slams one out of the park:

Let’s see now: we’ve got a Sunday night series on one of the most corrupt and tawdry families in Church history, the Borgias, with popes, cardinals, bishops, and priests, all part of this big, happy family; we’ve heard non-stop for a decade about abusive priests, (albeit a small minority) and lax bishops who reassigned them; we’ve got front page stories of priests who embezzled money from their parishes; and I saw one not long ago about a priest arrested for DUI.

Yes, all this is scandalous, sinful, sickening, and criminal.

But, it is not new.

Popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons, nuns, brothers are human.

That means, we are sinners.

Granted, when one of us falls, it hurts and shocks more. People rightly expect their spiritual leaders to practice what we preach. When we don’t, we’re hypocrites. And we know what Jesus thought about hypocrites.

But, this is not new.

If you think it worse today than in the past, I ask you to consider the solemn days we will observe next week, Holy Week: Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

Keep reading here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rosetti PRB

Luciferian Naïveté, Expediancy

This is a manifestation of this. What riles and infuriates, however, is this. Why? Because it feeds into the fallacious and luciferian thinking of this.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Praying for 'This Generation'

When our Lord describes his generation, what simile does He use? He says in Luke 7,32:

"To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the market place and calling to one another, `We piped to you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not weep.'"

And that was only His generation. Or, was it only His generation? Elsewhere in Matthew 12, 39b-45, He describes the plight of a man who believes he can, on his own, whisk clean his "house" of evil spirits:

"An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nin'eveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here ... "When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest, but he finds none. Then he says, `I will return to my house from which I came.' And when he comes he finds it empty, swept, and put in order.
Then he goes and brings with him seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. So shall it be also with this evil generation."

Gil Bailie posits that what our Lord means by "this generation" is "business as usual" in terms of how culture is always generated among fallen human beings, the taxonomy of which is most clearly spelled out by René Girard's mimetic theory, a worthy tool in the hands of the Church's Magisterium. (For example, cf. especially the work and homiletics of Father Raniero Cantalamessa, ofmcap.)

"This generation" is what Satan offers our Lord during His temptations in the wilderness (Mtt 4,8ff).

The staggering thing is to be living and moving and having our being as people who affirm Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church among leaders of nations, industry, and global policy who are plainly and willfully citizens of "this generation." They cannot begin to accept the beliefs of the Church's deposit of faith, the Magisterium, and lordship of Jesus Christ. And so, they are like the cleaner of the evil spirit; like children in the marketplace - all cleaned up and so blindly naive to the realities of Satan in their lives, their thinking, their politics and policies.

Good reason to pray during this season of Lent. Very good reason. And very good reason to join in-arms in Marian chivalry in this godless age in need of the hope and glory our Lord offers.

Rotation Lives

Not saying it is this easy, but the Jive Aces depict theological hope in a nice Walker Percy Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 kind of way:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Watching and Being Watched

As if I needed any proof for my hypothesis, I noticed a correlation between my television viewing and a proportionate amount of junk mail asking me to support a certain channel that promotes the arts.

DVRs are wondrous things. But be aware that they are yet another way for one's interests to be monitored by "powers that be." Put another way, DVRs - and, of course, the internet and the availability of reading choices for Nook, iPad, Kindle, etc. (as if you did not know) - also sway people toward this or that interest at a very unconscious level.

What if Story of a Soul just isn't available via Kindle (it is) or Nook (it isn't) or iPad (it is)?

Marshall McLuhan, famous for his media theory when I was in graduate school, said famously, "The medium is the message." And judging by the number of persons reading from electronic devices in the public square today, an uptick is evident supporting his claim. But I will keep scoping out yard sales for providential gifts of grace. Not only because my eyes prefer paper and ink to dancing pixels, but because I prefer not to equate my ontological worth with keeping up with the latest fad:

The little front wave
Ran up the sand
And frothed there,
Wildly elated.
"I am the tide,"
Said the little front wave,
"And all the waves before me
Are dated."

- (A modern) Simon Stylites

Story of a Soul - Pope Says So

St.Thérèse costumed as St. Joan of Arc

Some years back, I was walking among items at the yard sale of our school's Oktoberfest. I found three (of the four) Liturgy of the Hours prayer books and a book I felt strangely drawn to: the Autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. I bought them all for a pittance and took them home.

While I've delved into the Hours, generally via the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I never opened the Little Flower's autobiography. Until now.

Benedict XVI just encouraged us, you see, to read her Story of a Soul. Talk about timely. And, just in case I had any doubts about the importance of doing so, I notice that the translator of my copy happens to be ... Monsignor Ronald Knox. Hmm. Time to get started.

UPDATE: Listen or read here.

Hope and Eternity

If - IF - one forgets everything else about the Christian faith, never, gentle reader, forget what our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, drives home here. The crusty old Baptist preacher, Carlyle Marney, whom I had the privilege of hearing preach at the Duke Chapel, once said, "If it don't preach in the cancer ward, it ain't the gospel."

For the entirety of Benedict's message, go here.