Thursday, September 30, 2010

Memento Mori

A quick reminder: if you, a friend, or loved one are facing a poor prognosis or terminal illness, remember a slim volume that is written in faithfulness to the Church's teachings and has received high marks from a few folk like Mark Shea, Joseph Pearce, Fr. Dwight Longenecker, and Amy Welborn. Namely,
A Little Guide for Your Last Days.

It is comforting, at times humorous, always as truthful as the author can make it, facing, as he is, a struggle with cancer himself.

For a wonderful collection of written resources visit the Little Guide blog here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Knox - True Peace

HOW IS IT THAT THE WORLD gives us peace, or tries to give us peace; and why is that effort unsatisfying? Partly, of course, because peace in the true sense, in the Christian sense, is a threefold gift, and the world only offers us one third of it. True peace means peace with God, peace within ourselves, and peace with one another. I think it is probably true that the world at this moment is more genuinely anxious for the maintenance of peace between nations than it has ever been in all its history; nor should we do well to belittle or to deride the efforts made, even by those who differ deeply from us in fundamental opinions, to secure an object so dear to the heart of Christ. But, if the last irrevocable treaty were signed, and the last cruiser scrapped, and the last gun melted down, would that be peace? Peace in a world that for the most part either forgets God, or openly defies him? Peace in a world where human hearts, emancipating themselves from every moral tie, are carried to and fro by their passions, and win from the gratification of them only discontent? For the war within our own intellects, for the war within our own wills, the world has no solution to offer; hold congresses at every town in Switzerland, and our hearts will still be a battleground, for God made them for himself, and they can find no rest until they find rest in him.

- Ronald A. Knox

Invitation to Marian Chivalry

Have you never wanted to be a part of the true, good, and beautiful? to make a difference even in a small corner of your world that is part of a far greater cause? to find a niche in the sublime Catholic world that is forever old and forever new?

This is your opportunity to be an active force and forceful practitioner in Marian chivalry. The witness of our forbears like Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (and his brothers and father) give us exemplars and, while we may not give up our marital or other responsibilities to fight the good fight behind cloistered walls, the Acta Militum of prayer and service is ours to pick up for the battle.

Corpus Christianum is an international Private Association of the Faithful, open both to men and women, dedicated to praying for a renewal of Christendom.

Marian in character and guided by a Catholic chivalrous spirit, Corpus Christianum members pray daily for the following key points:

- The renewal, unity, and spread of Christendom
- The Supreme Pontiff and all priests/religious
- The protection of Christians around the world
- The restoration of the family
- The conversion of sinners and the sanctification of all people

Consider prayerfully joining. Marian chivalry is a great gift to our hurting, sinful world. Your witness, prayers, and service may very well be the turning of the tide, no matter how small you may believe your part to play may be.

Pro Christo et Ecclesia!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Deo Gratias

One really must give thanks for the wonderful thoughts - and pix - from young John Cusack like the latter (above). Go. Read. Rejoice.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Corpus Christianum


We are looking for courageous souls who are willing to take up the standard of Christ the King! We invite you to review the association's statutes for more information about the organization and its obligations.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


An interesting and frustrating problem has developed that will not allow - in some instances - links to be embedded in my posts. Therefore, I will simply list the website and trust that you, the reader, will try to use the address as listed. I apologize for the inconvenience.

For a short-course in the difference between the Scimitar (read: a culture still negligent of influence of the biblical Spirit, or in René Girard's terminology, a "primitive sacred" culture) and western culture that is still Christ-haunted (read: still under the influence of the "external mediation" of Jesus Christ) go to the following:

Knox - At the Altar and Tabernacle, Pt. 2

IF A PRIEST WERE wrecked, all by himself, on a desert island, and by some incalculable chance had all the requisites for Mass ready to hand, I suppose he would be justified in saying Mass, day after day, without even a server to share in the exercise. And still, day after day, he would find himself interceding not only for himself but pro omnibus circumstantibus, for all the people standing round; he would turn and bid them ask acceptance for this sacrifice, his sacrifice and theirs; he would ask God to remember, together with his own, the intentions of the bystanders; and all the while there would be no answer to his Mass except the lapping of the waves and the cry of sea-gulls. I wonder if he wouldn't be impressed, merely by this ironical contrast, with the fact which ought to impress us whenever we go to Mass, but all too seldom does; that the Mass is essentially a corporate affair, a family affair, in which the priest is meant to stand out against a background of faithful laity; in which the laity ought to have the sense of sharing God's mercies with all the people round them, even with the woman who has taken their favorite seat, even with the man who looks as if he had come to rob the poor-box? The Mass is not just me worshipping; I am part of a crowd, the crowd of circumstantes, who are making, by their concerted action, a joint offering to almighty God.

- Ronald Knox

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Mass - Something Greater is Happening Here

From The Magnificat September 13, 2010

Saint John Chrysostom was born in Antioch about the year 349. After an extensive education he embraced a life of asceticism. He was ordained a priest and distinguished himself by his preaching which achieved great spiritual results among his hearers. He was elected bishop of Constantinople in 397 and proved himself a capable pastor, committed to reform- ing the life of the clergy and the faithful. Twice he was forced into exile by the hatred of the imperial court and the envy of his enemies. After he had completed his difficult labours, he died at Comana in Pontus on September 14, 407. His preaching and writing explained Catholic doctrine and presented the ideal Christian life. For this reason he is called Chrysostom, or Golden Mouth.

The liturgical service takes place on earth, but it belongs to the realm of heavenly realities. In fact it was not instituted by a human being or an angel, but by the Spirit himself, so that those who are still living in the flesh should think of performing the service of angels.

O what mercy, O what love of God for human beings! Christ who is seated with the Father in highest heaven is at that moment grasped by the hands of all and does not hesitate to give himself to anyone who wants to embrace him and be bound to him.

He whom the eyes of faith perceive is possessed by everyone. You remember how Elijah was surrounded by a great crowd and had in front of him the victim for sacrifice placed on the stone (see 1 K 18). Everyone stood stock still. The silence was complete. Only the prophet raised a prayer. Suddenly from heaven came down fire on the victim. It was a marvellous spectacle that filled everyone with amazement.
Here, however, something much more than a marvellous spectacle is unfolded. Something is happening that is greater than any marvel. Here the priest draws down not fire but the Holy Spirit himself.

SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM Saint John Chrysostom († 407) was a famed preacher and commentator on Scripture.

Now let us add anthropology to this reading:
René Girard René Girard scrutinizes the human condition from creation to apocalypse.
(René Girard) began to see the Bible as "anti-myth"—a description of humankind's long climb up from barbarity. Violence, retaliation and a vengeful God evolve over centuries into themes of forgiveness, repentance and the revelation that the scapegoat is innocent, culminating in the Crucifixion.
Read more HERE!
"Something is happening that is greater than any marvel. Here the priest draws down not fire (the mob's violence) but the Holy Spirit himself."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Good Day to Delve into the Meaning of Freedom

Freedom can only thrive in a culture where self-giving, discipline and obedience overcomes Individualism, Hedonism, Minimalism – and their various sundry ally philosophies such as Relativism and Materialism. Great excerpt on freedom here. 
Are you thriving? Or are you just surviving? Discipline awakens us from our philosophical stupor and refines every aspect of the human person. Discipline doesn’t enslave or stifle the human person; rather, it sets us free to soar to unimagined heights. Discipline sharpens the human senses, allowing us to savor the subtler tastes of life’s experiences. Whether those experiences are physical, emotional, intellectual, or spiritual, discipline elevates them to their ultimate reality. Discipline heightens every human experience and increases every human ability. The life and teachings of Jesus Christ invite us to embrace this life-giving discipline. - by Matthew Kelly

Friday, September 10, 2010

Offering One's Death - Knox

IS IT POSSIBLE THAT the hall-mark of the true Christian is not, necessarily at least, being brave about death; but rather, being prepared to offer whatever shrinking he feels about it as part of the sacrifice which he makes of his life to God? Fear is not a sin. You may through fear, by neglecting your duty, by denying your faith; granted. But fear in itself is not a sin; or what was our Lord doing in Gethsemani? It seems to me that whatever were the precise feelings of fear and disgust; the Greek is perhaps better represented if we say that he began to be mystified and dismayed - he was evidently condescending, as far as Incarnate God could, to our human weakness, and inviting us to unite our secret misgivings about death with the sacrifice he was making then. We were to see - that is how I read the story - that we should not be held responsible for having a dry feeling in the mouth, and a quaking about the legs, in moments of danger; that was not the point.

The point was, first, that we should do our duty, whatever inward tremors we had to crush down in the doing of it. And second, that we should make an offering to God of this human weakness, this shameful disability, and tell him, "My God, I know I'm a coward, but I want to offer my terrors, like every other discomfort my human destiny involves, to you. Cowards die many times before their deaths; and all those deaths I offer to you" ...

The dearer a thing life seems to you, the harder it seems to relinquish, the more motive for generosity in offering it. So little, the real value of the sacrifice we make, when we give our souls into his hands; all the better, then, if (by a kind of sentimental value) it means much to us, who make it.

- Ronald Knox

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1305) - Giotto

Monday, September 06, 2010

Let's Just Share

In a Fallen World - Knox

WHAT ST. PAUL WOULD TELL us, I think, is that all this suffering is beastly, to be sure; but there is nothing surprising about it, nothing unexpected about it. It all fits in, you see, with the conditions of our life here, because we live in a fallen world.

"We ourselves, although we have already begun to reap our spiritual harvest" - although, that is, we have eternal life already abiding in us through our baptism - "we ourselves groan in our hearts, waiting for that adoption which is the ransoming of our bodies from slavery." We look forward to heaven not merely as a place in which our souls will be happy, but as a place in which our bodies, mysteriously restored to us, will share those conditions of happiness. Man, yes, if you like, man is a misfit, in this imperfect world which is all the world we know at present. Man so infinitely great, whose thought can read the secrets of nature, can sweep the heavens in their immensity, and look beyond them in thought, as he sees in them the hand of the God who made them; man so infinitely great, harnessing the forces of nature and taming the beasts to his will; man with all his splendid works of art, his exuberant fancy, his aspiration towards holiness, his capacity for receiving God. And man, at the same time, so infinitely little. Man, always making resolutions which he doesn't keep, always being blinded by prejudices and aversions which he can't account for; man looking back on his own conduct and knowing himself mean, and selfish, and degraded; there is no littleness like his. All you can say of him, then, is that he, too, is a misfit ... He gets bored, for example - the dumb animals don't get bored ... But man must be always amusing himself, distracting himself; he can't bear to be left alone with his own thoughts. Why's that? Because he is a misfit; he was born for a nobler world than this transitory world, and he lives here in exile ...

St. Paul would tell us that all the sufferings people are having to undergo, all the sufferings you and I may have to undergo, before the thing is finished, aren't really so very extraordinary; it's just the world, our fallen world, being true to form. Man is meant to lives, not in enjoyment of this world, but in hope of the next. All his efforts to settle down and make himself comfortable here defeat their own ends; all the civilization he is so proud of only results in horrible bloodthirsty affairs ... which do their best to turn us all into savages. You can't ever really feel at home in this world until you realize that you're an exile. You can't ever really make the best of this world until you begin to understand that it's only an out-of-date model which has got to be scrapped. That is how the saints have lived; that is how the saints have managed to alter the course of the world's history - by not minding much whether the course of the world's history was changed or not. St. Paul, for example, whose preaching changed the face of Europe; and all the time he was saying to himself, "Heaven! The adoption of the sons of God! It can't be far off now; thank goodness, it can't be far off now! The creaking machinery of this imperfect creation must surely run down at last."

- Ronald Knox

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

God’s Repeated Calling and the Soul’s Continued Wariness in Response

Das Herz der Welt (Heart of the World) – Hans Urs von Balthasar 

Soft it approaches, almost inaudible and yet quite unavoidable: a ray of light, an offer of power, a command that is more and less than a command – a wish, a request, an invitation, an enticement: brief as an instant, simple to grasp as the glance of two eyes. It contains a promise: love, delight and a vision extending over an immense and vertiginous distance. Liberation from the unbearable dungeon of my ego. The adventure I had always longed for. The perfect feat of daring in which I am sure to win all only by losing all. The source of life opening up inexhaustibly to me, who am dying of thirst! The gaze is perfectly tranquil, having nothing of magical power or of hypnotic compulsion: a questioning gaze which allows me my freedom. At the bottom of it, the shadows of affliction and of hope alternate. I lower my eyes; I look to one side. I don’t want to say "no" in the face of those eyes. I give them time to turn away.… These “ghostly hours” recur more and more seldom, and the enveloping layers of everyday life grow stronger and thicker around me…. I seal myself off from God and this becomes my usual state – my second nature. Maybe this is the habit of sin, the habit of evil.