Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Happy Feast Day, St. Ignatius

May the great saint, whose answer to God's call brought about so much good, fill your heart with many graces and infuse in his children, the Jesuits, great zeal for Holy Mother Church and Christ's Vicar on earth.

Let us pray for the continuing work established by St. Ignatius when he founded the Society of Jesus: To reform the Church through education and the Sacraments; be involved in missionary work; and fight heresy.



P.S. Look, Karen! A picture!

Friday, July 21, 2006

I (temporarily) levae you with this...

"An optimist may have no brakes, but a pessimist has no engine."

I'll be back to full bloggy strength on Saturday the 29th. Y'all pray I may have a safe trip and the same number of landings as takeoffs.



P.S. K., I'll be on standby should you infuriate the usual suspects in my absence.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My nominee for Honorary Jesuit

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Watch this space.

I have some vacation time coming. I'll be cheerfully spending time with the wife and kids from the 21st through the 28th. I don't want to spend any time thinking about the thing I just read which nearly had me blowing a gasket.

I typed out a superb rant, and--so as not to be uncharitable and all that--I saved it as a draft, rather than posting it. When I get back, I'll reopen it, edit, prune, adjust, give it generous lashings of charity (which, I assure you, it desperately needs) and post it up for all to read.

Thus endeth the lesson.



Sunday, July 16, 2006

..and now for something completely different

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

So, a special shout-out to the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles whom I love and whom I expect to see in 7 days at their motherhouse. A more dedicated, faithful, dynamic, loving, solid, prayerful group of women cannot be had.

That they do all they do ::coughcough:: "where they do it" is a near-miracle and proof of Divine Providence as if any were required.

Remember St. Teresa of Avila's words:
Let nothing disturb you
Let nothing frighten you
All things are passing
God Alone is unchanging
Patience conquers all things
He who has God, wants nothing
God Alone Is Sufficient.

I am inexpressively blessed to know them.



Friday, July 14, 2006

Here we go again. Again.

To my non-Catholic pals (or to the Catholic ones who are fed up to the back teeth with the Jesuit thing) this would be an ideal time to reorganize the sock drawer.


So I'm over at the lovely and gracious Karen's reading about her husband breakfasting on Scotch and cheeseburgers and--mirable dictu!--not feeling so hot afterwards. Or about her La Bamba Airlines episode on the way to meeting Francis Cardinal Arinze to ask him what the deal is on Catholics in SoCal not being allowed to kneel. (Seriously, WTH is up with that?)

Then I ran across a post referencing a blog entry by American Phoenix on why she can no longer support the Jesuits.

Uh oh.

Steve Bogner, in his brief encapsulation of Contemplatives In Action, mentions that the Jesuit way is all about tension and balance. Which is appropriate to this entry because I am real-l-ly trying to stay balanced with the cubic goatload of tension brought about by posts detailing the current awfulness of the Society of Jesus. I am upset because while I believe much of what she wrote to be in line with my thinking, her post falls under the category of "the patient is too sick...shoot him."

Let's, for the moment, grant everything she wrote is 100% true and accurate and fully in context. (I fear she may be far closer to 100% right than I would wish.) What does it do to the spirit of a young, orthodox man discerning a vocation to the Company? Whatever it does do, it's likely not positive. It could give cover to other folks to issue similarly discouraging missives. What does a post like this do to the orthodox, solid Jesuits (in formation or already ordained) out there? I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it until I am blue in the face (I'm a husband, so I am well-versed in this): The way to fix the problems which beset the Society is by praying up brigades of orthodox, solid, faithful men to become Jesuit priest and brothers (everyone forgets the Brothers!).

We, as Catholics, NEED these men to become Jesuits.

I was once taught by Fr. Felipe Arroyo, SJ that one ought never complain about something one is unable or unwilling to fix. Well, we're able to participate in the fix. We can pray for the Society. We can find solid, orthodox, "old school" Jesuits (ordained or in formation) and manifest our support for them. We can channel our donations to where these sorts of Jesuits are. I'm not going to give up on the Jesuits.

And you can't make me.



Thursday, July 13, 2006

Straighten up and fly right

The lovely and gracious Karen, having been forced by circumstances to rethink a blog entry in which she waxed wroth, has instead posted a post which featured this tidbit:

On 31 July 1734, St. Ignatius, whose feast day was being celebrated, showed Brother Hoyos by a very affectionate look, how pleased he was to see his sons working together for the glorification of the Sacred Heart. [Emphasis Karen's, and right she is.] On the other hand, when the holy religious prayed for those who opposed this holy cause, he understood to what extent their attitude displeased St. Ignatius by the severity and indignation that showed in his eyes.

I believe a good way to start fixing some of the problems which beset the Society would be to foster anew a greater reverence for the supernatural aspects of the divine. A greater emphasis--one than is currently in evidence--of the seventh* Gift of the Holy Spirit is, I firmly believe, an ideal first step. Those who resist or demur or oppose will do us the inestimable favor of revealing themselves.



* Look it up, it'll do you good.

Monday, July 10, 2006

4 out of 5 theologians agree

People who describe themselves as "think-for-myself Christians" are ver-r-r-r-r-ry rarely either.

This weekend someone I know and love revealed herself to be one of these, spouting off such a torrent of absurdities that I was dumbstruck. Where to begin in the 5 minutes left before we had to wrap up and go back to our respective offices?

The problem, as I see it, is that if you are all about thinking for yourself, you mustn't think in an abstract vacuum, lest you become a theological flat-earther. You can't just survey things at a surface level and draw conclusions. "The earth is flat because it looks flat!" This, my dears, is you placing yourself as the supreme arbiter of things. Which--and some of you may not have gotten the memo--is a position currently occupied by Someone who guards the job with great zeal.

When you start to say "X is not a sin to me." you have neatly positioned yourself at the vortex of a whirlpool of self-idolatry. Because it's not about what you think. (Or, for that matter, what I think.) Just because you play Monopoly counter-clockwise and use poker chips in lieu of fake money doesn't mean the rules have changed.

It is what it is.

That is to say, what is good and moral and upright or wrong, immoral, and evil is not a function of individual choice. Nor shall it ever be.

If you intend to be one of those "thinking" types, do the title honor and actually THINK, and read, and ponder and pray. And try to view yourself a little bit less as the center of what is and isn't. There isn't enough room for both the Creator of Everything Ever Created and you.

Regardless what you think.



Thursday, July 06, 2006

A convoluted "Thank You!"

I want to publicly send a big fat "THANKS!" to the lovely and gracious Karen, for the excellent Ignatian-ness she hath slung my way. Gratuituously. Best of all was the trail of lit candles on my behalf. The Spanish authorities must consider her the world's slowest arsonist, but I am inexpressively grateful.

Now this means I must ply her with fabada* in retaliation.


* Required for wheezing out of one's nostrils at heretics, heathens, enuretics, dissenters, and "Admiral Nelson" types.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Blogosphere brilliance!

Tony at Catholic Pillow Fight has, in the course of a discussion on what is/isn't proper apparel in church, written the best "Cliffs Notes" on Why Catholics Go To Mass." Join me in grooving along with this gem:

I think we have lost sight of the reason we are at Mass every week.

We are at Mass that hour every week to worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who is substantially real and present on the altar of sacrifice.

As a matter of fact, it is obligatory that we attend mass. And if we are excommunicated and are not allowed to receive the sacraments, attending Sunday (or Saturday evening) mass is still required. Even if we can't receive communion, we still have to go to Mass, because we owe almighty God an hour of worship a week.

We can feed the poor, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner, give drink to the thirsty and attend to people's physical needs the other 6 days and 23 hours. But for that single hour, we need to concentrate on our own spiritual sustenance, and gather to communally worship God with over a billion other people praying the same prayers at the same time and joining their praise with each other, and the heavenly host.

God gave Moses a commandment on Mount Sinai. It was: "Keep holy the sabbath day". This is not a suggestion, it's a commandment. I take this commandment seriously, and I get a little testy, much like Jesus did, when people treat his Father's house like a marketplace (in the 21st century, the mall).

So I won't pull out a knotted cord, and beat people in church about the head with it, but I will swing what I like to think of as a well timed pillow.

It probably won't help in my church, because it isn't my place to correct people who are, in my opinion, "dissing" my Lord and their fellow parishioners on a weekly basis, but maybe someone who reads this will understand where I'm coming from, and why it's important to enter into communion not only with each other (which seems to be the focus in many parishes) but with Jesus.

Jesus accepts us into Himself. We, in turn, accept Him into ourselves really, truly, and substantially, completing the "communion". This is what we need to concentrate on during that one hour or so of weekly mass.

Stellar stuff!

Read the whole thing here.