Vocationing with Joseph

Two excellent articles distill the essence of vocation:

One on matrimony--

One on celibacy--


A gentle rap on the knuckles?

This is full of decorous language, obfuscation, and almost none of the righteous indignation demanded by the people precisely to whom the Holy Father has said the US Bishops must collectively listen. It lacks any decisiveness. In fact, it goes on to call into question, "false, facile and futile forms of triumphalism that would defend spaces rather than initiate processes. It will keep us from turning to reassuring certainties that keep us from approaching and appreciating the extent and implications of what has happened. It will also aid in the search for suitable measures free of false premises or rigid formulations no longer capable of speaking to or stirring the hearts of men and women in our time."

He is using the crisis to promote the empty-headed machinations of liberalism. He discredits those whose response to the crisis is too organizational, yet he also criticizes those who would defend spaces rather than initiate processes. How is initiating processes the opposite of being too organizational? This whole document smarts of internal contradictions, much like his papacy.

Basically, if liberals do it, it's part of a listening church, but when conservatives do it, it's clericalism. I want them ALL to stop behaving like invertebrates, starting at the top. The pope should be eating his own words- if you want the bishops to stop taking sides, then he should stop siding with liberals and start siding with the magisterium. For as he himself says, "Constant reference to universal communion, as also to the magisterium and age-old tradition of the Church, saves believers from absolutizing any one group, historical period or culture within the Church." He should stop absolutizing progressives who are so open-minded, in the name of mercy, their brains have fallen out.

I'm eager to hear other commentators make sense of this letter.

Of course the voice of reason comes from Amy Welborn:

Is the culture of church leadership in desperate need of encouragement to be more gently tolerant of all points of view and less critical of each other? Seems to me it’s pretty much the opposite.

Phil Lawler writes, "Where is the evidence of this disunity, which worries Pope Francis so much? The American bishops have not been criticizing each other; far from it. They have been criticizing the Vatican. They have, in fact, been—gently, respectfully, but insistently—criticizing the Pope himself."

He continues, "The papal letter encourages the American bishops to find ways to protect against sexual abuse in the future, but not to look too deeply into how the problem arose in the past: not to investigate the corruption that gave rise to a culture of secrecy and cover-ups, of protecting the guilty at the expense of the innocent. If the same attitude prevails when the Vatican hosts the presidents of the world’s episcopal conferences in February—and we have little reason to expect otherwise—that meeting will result in further frustration, greater cynicism about Church leadership, more damage to the evangelical mission of the Church."


O those antiphons



7 antiphons and 7 gifts

The seven “O’s” are sung more as expressions of wonder than invocations. In them we signify the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, by which the Incarnation is carried out, and through which Christ is invited by the Church. For he is the Wisdom in which the Father made all things, and came in the spirit of wisdom to teach us “the way of prudence.” He is Adonai, who revealed his name to Moses when he gave him the Law on Sinai, who comes in the spirit of understanding to redeem us. He is the Root of Jesse, who “stood as a sign to the peoples” when he willed to be adored everywhere through the sign of the cross, and he comes in the spirit of of counsel to deliver us. He is the Key of David who “opened” heaven for the just, “shut” the gates of hell, and came in the spirit of fortitude to “free those who were bound in the prison house.” He is the Morning Star and the Sun of justice who comes to “enlighten” us with the spirit of knowledge. He is the King of the nations and the Cornerstone, who comes to save man through the spirit of piety. He is Emmanuel coming to us in Israel, “coming to save” us through the spirit of fear, giving to everyone the chrism oils of love.

-from sicutincensum.wordpress.com/2018/11/20/on-the-o-antiphons-and-the-nativity-ga-3-5-7/


Patiently Waiting

Dappled Things just made my day by posting this poem from St. John of the Cross:

Here is St. John’s marvelous poem about Advent. I’ve found it worth contemplation.
If you want, the Virgin will come walking down the road
pregnant with the Holy and say,
“I need shelter for the night.
Please take me inside your heart, my time is so close.”
Then, under the roof of your soul,
you will witness the sublime intimacy,
the divine, the Christ, taking birth forever,
as she grasps your hand for help,
for each of us is the midwife of God, each of us.
Yes, there, under the dome of your being,
does creation come into existence eternally,
through your womb, dear pilgrim,
the sacred womb of your soul,
as God grasps our arms for help:
for each of us is His beloved servant never far.
If you want, the virgin will come walking down the street,
pregnant with Light, and sing!


Swept away

Dorothy Day recalls her initial encounter with it [the novel Kristen Lavransdatter]: “I first saw it, in the hands of my friend Freda, who lived next door. While she was reading it, her house remained unswept, her husband and son unfed."

So true.


Womb and Tomb

In this article, Advent is compared to Holy Saturday:

In the Incarnation, Christ descends from heaven to earth. In the Passion, he descends to Hades. One is the darkness of the womb. The other is the darkness of the tomb. Each sleep leads to new life. Out of the womb of Mary came God made flesh. Out of the tomb came the Life and the Resurrection.


Catholic Thanksgiving

A re-post from 2008  https://catholicland.blogspot.com/2008/11/banqueting.html

The history books will tell you that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the pilgrims in 1621. Not true.

An interesting bit of trivia is that the first American Thanksgiving was actually celebrated on September 8, 1565 in St. Augustine, Florida. The Native Americans and Spanish settlers held a feast and the Holy Mass was offered.

A second similar "Thanksgiving" celebration occurred on American soil on April 30, 1598 in Texas when Don Juan de Oñate declared a day of Thanksgiving to be commemorated by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The Catholic origins of Thanksgiving don’t stop there. Squanto, the beloved hero of Thanksgiving, was the Native American man who mediated between the Puritan Pilgrims and the Native Americans. Squanto had been enslaved by the English but he was freed by Spanish Franciscans. Squanto thus received baptism and became a Catholic. So it was a baptized Catholic Native American who orchestrated what became known as Thanksgiving.


Another bit of trivia is that the truly “First Thanksgiving” celebration occurred on American soil on April 30, 1598 in Texas when Don Juan de Oñate declared a day of Thanksgiving to be commemorated by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

And let everyone remember that “Thanksgiving” in Greek is Eucharistia. Thus, the Body and Blood of Christ is the true “Thanksgiving Meal”.


Foretaste of Heaven


First of all, the synagogue worship was formal and liturgical. They used set prayers and established readings as Catholics do with their liturgy and tables of readings. Furthermore, the worship of the “domestic church” for Jews was structured around seasons and feasts. Throughout the year, as Catholics do, they celebrated certain feast days and fast days. For the feasts they had structured, ceremonial meals that they shared together. These ceremonial meals consisted of set, written prayers and psalms and Scripture readings.

In addition to the worship of the domestic church and the synagogue, the Jews in the time of Jesus all worshipped at the Temple in Jerusalem. The worship in this splendid and ornate structure was predicated by the Temple of Solomon which was in turn established according to the instructions given by God in Exodus for the construction of the tabernacle. The tabernacle, and both the Herodian and Solomonic temples in Jerusalem were splendid, ornate and rich buildings where the worship was ceremonial and ritualistic. The priests wore ornate vestments, there were ritualistic processions into and around the Temple, ornate images of angels surround the worship space and incense was burned before God to symbolize the prayers of the faithful rising to heaven.


Male Privilege

Until we become true feminists, upholding the genius of women, abortion will always remain one more notch in the male belt buckle, rather than anything to do with women's rights.

From the Stream:

It seems to me that abortions happen because sexual intercourse is pleasant. But it sometimes results in pregnancy. And men are naturally (as feminists endlessly tell us) inclined to pressure women for sex without commitment. But they don’t always want to man up. To support the women they impregnate, at least financially. Our culture blasts the rather obvious message “Sex is fun” into our heads almost 24/7. Groups that target children like Planned Parenthood encourage sexual experimentation (and ample perversions) at ever younger ages. Churches that discourage premarital sex get constantly ridiculed, and harassed by the government.

Maybe the root cause of abortion is … men pressuring women for sex. And women saying “yes” when they should mean “no.”

Do you want to dig down that far, and fix that problem at the root? Maybe by promoting chastity? Enforcing child support more ruthlessly? Banning porn? Promoting marriage?



This literary critic offers an insight into Tolkien's work that reveals the true nature of sanctity: 
In Tolkien’s tales, evil’s greatest successes require not just monsters and machinations, but the weakness and wickedness of free men, elves, and others.
Tolkien’s work illuminates how moral weakness is the real problem of the human condition, not moral dilemmas and uncertainty. The latter are rare, the former is ubiquitous. I rarely do wrong because I do not know what is right; I often do wrong because it is fun, easy, or otherwise attractive.
Tolkien was not a moral simpleton but a moral realist. He could write of tragedy and moral ambiguity (see The Children of Húrin, for instance), but he knew that we mostly lack the will to do right, rather than the knowledge of what is right, and so his tales bring the moral imagination to the aid of the will. By identifying with his heroes, we want to choose to do right, but are constantly reminded of our capacity to give in to temptation and do wrong. His works do not fill readers with assured self-righteousness. His heroes are heroic not because they are morally incorruptible, but because they could be corrupted (if not to active evil, then certainly to despair), but resist the temptation. 


Reclaiming Halloween

Here is the best article I've found thus far:


Bishop Konderla of Tulsa expounds:

In contrast to popular culture's observance of Halloween, even the customary appeal to the "frightful" has a devotional meaning in the Catholic tradition. Props such as skulls and scythes have historically recalled our mortality, reminding us to be holy because we are destined for judgment. Visible symbols of death thus represent a reminder of the last things---death, judgment, Heaven, and hell. While the Gothic aspect of Halloween reminds us of Christian teaching about the resurrection of the dead, our culture often represents this in a distorted manner, for when the dead are raised they will in truth be "clothed with incorruptibility". Separated from Catholic teaching, grim or ghoulish or Gothic costumes can furthermore be mistaken as a celebration or veneration of evil or of death itself, contradicting the full and authentic meaning of Halloween. For the Christian, Christ has conquered death, as has been prophesied and fulfilled, "Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?" Christ has conquered death by his Passion, Death, and Resurrection, the Paschal Mystery whose graces are evident in the glory of all saints.

UPDATE: There's also this from Adoremus:

While the so-called “Gothic” aspect of Halloween might originally have been intended to remind us of our belief in the resurrection of the dead, the first-fruits of which have been glimpsed in Christ’s victory over death, our wayward culture has dislodged Halloween’s outward symbols of our mortality from their original source. Thus, today’s typical observance obscures the meaning of Halloween itself, or, worse, devolves once again into an essentially pagan festival.

And this from CWR:

Allhallowtide is actually a kind of triduum: three days of commemoration that includes All Hallows Eve (October 31, shortened Hallowe’en), All Saints Day (All Hallows Day, November 1), and All Souls Day (November 2). As with other major feasts, celebration of All Saints Day begins on the vigil, which is why secular culture celebrates Halloween on the night of October 31st, but then does nothing on the actual feast days that follow.

Halloween is a Christian holiday.


State of Conflict

So life within the visible Church is required to repair the damage done by the Fall to take us to heaven. If people aren’t in that position, you dialogue with them, but you also try and baptize them, both for their own good and fully realizing that if they remain unconverted, you will face spiritual conflict. That doesn’t remove the relationship of love you have towards them, but it involves being ready for constant confrontation with what they believe.

-excerpt from one of the best assessments I've read of the current state in the church

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