Diaconal Conscience

 “I like to meet you now, while you are deacons, because one does not become a pastor without first being a deacon. The diaconate does not disappear with priesthood: on the contrary, it is the foundation on which it is based. You will be priests in order to serve, conforming with Jesus who “came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life” (cf Mk 10:45). I would say, then, that that there is an inner foundation of priesthood to be preserved, which we could call “diaconal conscience”: just as conscience underlies decisions, so the spirit of service underlies being a priest.”- Pope Francis to those preparing for transitional diaconate


I find this delightfully affirmative of what I have explained to disciples in OCIA; namely, that what we experience on Sunday is the Mass in the Absence of a Deacon, except when the Pastor proclaims the Gospel, he is standing at the Ambo as a Deacon, not a Priest. 

But the idea that a good pastor has a Deacon's Conscience at his root. To this I would add he is employing his Feminine Genius as well. 

Masculine Genius

 Many discussions of the feminine or masculine "geniuses" open themselves up to anecdotal rebuttals about particular men or women who defy the characterization.  Here we do not define "genius" as something essential to each of the sexes, such as capacity for motherhood or fatherhood, but, rather as: "a set of characteristics, and proclivities that derive from those essential and mutually distinct capacities."  The feminine genius, therefore, is the set of characteristics that a well-formed woman will display with a particular proclivity due to her capacity for motherhood.  The masculine genius is the set of characteristics that a well-formed man will display with a particular proclivity due to his capacity for fatherhood.

As Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in his Letter to Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and the World,

It is appropriate…to recall that the feminine values mentioned here [a capacity for the other] are above all human values: the human condition of man and woman created in the image of God is one and indivisible.  It is only because women are more immediately attuned to these values that they are the reminder and the privileged sign of such values.

The same could be said for the masculine genius, which is a set of characteristics that are ultimately human values, attainable also by women.  The integration of both sets of human values leads to human flourishing, beautifully exemplified by the father of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, described by her thus: "Hard as he was on himself, he was always affectionate towards us.  His heart was exceptionally tender toward us.  He lived for us alone.  No mother's heart could surpass his.  Still with all that there was no weakness.  All was just and well-regulated."

With these preliminaries in mind, we will now turn to the masculine genius.


My Confirmation Saint

speaks to my soul, from the Dominicana blog:

Aquinas identifies sorrow as arising from the recognition of something lacking, a lacking that effects us in a painful and interior way (ST I-II, q. 35). When we are mourning a loved one, we feel this interior pain because we are coming to terms with the reality: this person whom we loved so much is no longer with us. It is precisely in this painful process of mourning that the goodness of the person becomes more apparent to us, which can have the effect of intensifying our sadness (cf. ST I-II, q. 37).

This mourning period—painful as the stirring up of our memory of the person is—can be an opportunity to be thankful to God. In our recollections, we think of the person we miss (how he talked, treated us kindly, etc.). As we think of these qualities, we come to realize how God’s ever present love has been working in our lives for our good, in its own mysterious way. It turns out that what we are really missing is not just the person in himself, but the goodness which God endowed him with in his own particular way. We miss this particular instantiation of the goodness of God as it overflowed and was constructed in this person.


God Rest Ye Merry

 Ah, the true meaning of a MERRY Christmas is a Mercy-filled Christmas, one where we wish passersby that they should be as filled with the sensation of both impending doom & redemption as we are who know Christ truly. 


Abide with me

 A beautiful reflection from Spiritual Direction about finding the Still Point.


Chaput rhymes with

 Slap You, and that he certainly does:




Do I not love you as a Mother?

from a homily by Abp.Cordileone in honor of Guadalupe and Little Juan:

"From the enlightenment he received in his baptism he learned that this was the way to live his life in this world already with a foretaste of the Flower World.  That only comes from the imitation of the woman who appeared to him: the Mother of the one who is the source of all beauty and truth.  That is the way of lowliness, which is the only way to say and live out our “yes” to God...She is thus the model of Christian discipleship, the path to the place at which we all wish to arrive. 

This is how it works for each one of us, for it is the way God designed us as human beings.  And it is the way that God works for each of us, preparing us to receive Him, to receive the fullness of His love, truth and beauty.  As He prepared the Aztec people for the coming of His Son through His Mother with the prophecies of the Flower World, and as He prepared the entire world through His original Chosen People for the coming of the Savior through His Mother, so in each of our lives He is at work preparing us to receive the fullness of His truth and beauty.  But we are incapable unless we follow her example, lowering ourselves to humbly accept his way, to live a life of virtue and of unbounded love of God and neighbor.  Only in this way can we begin to anticipate the life of heaven, and be ready to receive it in its fullness when we pass from this life to the next."


The real north pole

Why I love the liturgical cycle, because of insights like this one:

I have often thought of December as being the last month of the year. The perception has, I suppose, been tacitly reinforced by any number of calendars I’ve owned. But just looking at the world around me, calendars aside, I was particularly struck last month at how very deathlike the landscape (in the northern hemisphere) becomes during November, an ending of sorts. And then as November wrapped up, edging into December, we welcomed our first big snowfall, and the world was all fresh and new. I imagine this is probably obvious to most people, but it really hit me for the first time that there is a natural, visible logic in the fact that many Christian traditions hold November to be the month of the dead. And it’s also interesting that many Christian traditions’ “liturgical year” is slightly offset from the secular year, with about a month separating their respective New Years. It’s like the offset between the geographic north pole and the magnetic north pole. Both are real; both are useful — but the Earth only spins around one of them.

 -Matthew Giambrone from Hearth & Field magazine

It's also why I detest the Elf on the Shelf phenomenon. Santa is real; your marketing gimmick (designed by scientific materialists to emphasize their false claim that Santa is also a marketing gimmick) is not real.


To go before the Lord

We emphatically do NOT become angels. Language matters:

But when those who believe in the Christian view of the world—or any view that involves the survival of the soul—use “departed” and “passed away,” we are using literal language. Death is the end of this bodily life, but it is not the end of our human being. To be “at home in the body” is to be “away from the Lord,” St. Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians. This is the language of travel, which involves passage from one “place” to another. Like those fifteenth-century English spiritual progeny, he had no intention of rendering what he called “the last enemy” “inoffensive” or “bland.” He too was speaking blunt and literal terms about what death was—a journey whose final destination, he hoped, would end in the place where he considered his full and final citizenship to lie. And yet, as he warned the Corinthians, it was a journey whose penultimate destination was the final day in court: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.”

We hope to be in communion with the angels, and we pray for the dead in the hope that they will have passed judgment favorably.


Let this chalice not pass my lips

During Holy Mass, I saw the Lord, who said to me, Lean your head on My breast and rest. The Lord pressed me to His Heart and said, I shall give you a small portion of My Passion, but do not be afraid, be brave; do not seek relief, but accept everything with submission to My will (Diary, 1053).

When the Beloved was at the Last Supper in John 13:23, he leaned on Jesus to rest. Yet, that rest means preparing oneself for the Cross. 

"Cleanse me with your hyssop" says the psalmist in 51. St. John the Beloved had observed the hyssop that was used to skewer the lambs of sacrifice also being used to press the quench of thirst to Christ's lips. 

I have struggled to describe the duality of Grief: you are both torn asunder and filled by grace in the same breath, you are like an Ampersand, you are like the counterpoint melody living a bass clef and treble simultaneously, you are Abundance over Fear. 

Yet this versicle resonates more than any other. Grief skewers what you love while Divine Mercy is being poured out upon your soul as a purifying balm. Lord, have mercy! St. John the Beloved, pray for us!

May my wife's soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, in your Mercy, rest in peace!

Here is a poem I found at Happy Catholic:

Rest Eternal Grant Them, Lord!
Take we up the touching burden of November plaints,
Pleading for the Holy Souls, God’s yet uncrowned Saints.
Still unpaid to our departed is the debt we owe;
Still unransomed, some are pining, sore oppressed with woe.
Friends we loved and vowed to cherish call us in their need:
Prove we now our love was real, true in word and deed.
“Rest eternal grant them, Lord!” full often let us pray—
“Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine!”


God Bless Africa!

 from the Register's interview with a Cameroon archbishop:

One of the biggest contributions that Africa brought to this synod is the idea of Small Christian Communities. If we don’t go back to Small Christian Communities, all this about broad-based consultation, getting everybody involved, is a pipe dream […] When you are looking at those Small Christian Communities, you’re looking at families and no one is left behind. That’s why Africa opted for the image of Church as a family, not a tent. I think this is something you see. At the end of this meeting, nobody talked about a tent anymore. We’re all about family. This is one of the big things that Africa brought on board, that in Church is the family of God.

Another contribution that Africa brought up within this synod was our view on the teaching of the Church, on the human person, and human sexuality. In Africa, we understand marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and anything short of that is witchcraft. This is something we said very strongly. We cannot be talking about sensitivities and orientations within the Church setting when this is what the Gospel says. This is what the teaching of the Church has said all along and this is what various cultures believe.



 “The thinnest yellow light of November is more warming and exhilarating than any wine they tell of. The mite which November contributes becomes equal in value to the bounty of July.” - Thoreau


Niche issue vs. Mission

 Well, thank the Lord, and God bless Renee Ryan:

Australian laywoman Reneé Ryan, a professor of theology and philosophy at the University of Notre Dame in Australia, said, “It’s always good to know, always good to get a bit of a lead on what the Holy Father would like to guide us in as our spiritual leader.”

Regarding the question of women’s priestly ordination, Ryan said that “as a woman, I’m not focused at on the fact that I’m not a priest. I think that there’s too much emphasis placed on this question and what happens when we place too much emphasis on this question is that we forget about what women, for the most part, need in the world.”

Most women, she said, are focused on the needs of their family the practical realities of everyday life, and are not caught up in internal church debates.

“Some people are very focused on this idea that only if women become ordained will they have any kind of equality, but we’re not looking at equality as a one-for-one thing in the Church,” she said, saying, “we can become too distracted by this particular issue and what that does is it detracts from all of the other things that we could be doing.”

Other areas of focus, she said, are finding ways to ensure that professional women are not forced to choose between family and career, and that families receive the support they need amid various economic pressures.

“I think that’s a far more interesting conversation for most women than what I tend to think of as a fairly niche issue,” she said.

In the maelstrom of ink being spilled, it's gratifying to know she is in the room!

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