Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Welcome to the new kids...

I'll soon be adding these two to my blogroll, but until I can work the software to do it easily (or get off my lazy...ahem) check them out and tell them I said "hi."

http://youngfogeys.blogspot.com/
http://veritatissplendor.blogspot.com/ (the Roamin' Roman's other blog)

AMDG,

-J.

Losing touch with your flock is bad enough, losing touch with reality quite another.

OK, so I'm traipsing merrily through the Internet before tackling that rather vexing (and humbling...keep praying, please) business problem and I run across this priceless gem regarding the possible motu proprio by the Holy Father on the Traditional Latin Mass:

http://cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=47263

The money quote--and I cannot be the only one to have felt this way-- from the above article simply HAS to be:

The clerics predict that by allowing broader use of the Tridentine rite, the papal document would "plunge us back into the liturgical life of another age."

Color me reactionary, but methinks "Yee-HAH!!" Because if memory serves, the liturgical life of THIS age (assuming you don't live in a parallel universe like THIS GUY) hasn't actually produced anything. Anything good, I mean. Which is how you can tell I'm all reactionary and so forth...I'm a slave to results. The "another age" so dismissively treated had much to be admired, and ardently so, especially when compared to "this age" which frankly, is like comparing a purple leisure suit to a Savile Row tuxedo.

The "liturgical life of another age" (1965) ceding to the one of this age (2004/5/6) has brought:

1- A freefall in vocations (especially in religious sisters, ouch)
2- A skyrocketing (how does 650% grab ya?) in the number of parishes without a resident pastor.
3- The shuttering of parishes, elementary and parochial schools.
4- A collapse in Mass attendance.

To say nothing of the number of divorces among Catholics, the number of Catholics living en concubinage, the number of abortions or the collapse in devotions. To say nothing of the abysmal catechetical crisis that the climate of "this age" engenders, which has led to millions of Catholics slipping into material heresy. (Quick, go find out how many Catholics believe in the True Presence.) To say nothing of the scandals which seem to thrive in the hospitable climate of an age with a lax liturgical life.

Those who are trembling like an aspen over the possibility the Holy Father might allow (not compel) a broader use of the Traditional Latin Mass would do well to look up St. Matthew 7:16-20.

AMDG,

-J.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Yeah, there's a big surprise.

You scored as Roman Catholic. You are Roman Catholic.
Church tradition and ecclesial authority are hugely important,
and the most important part of worship for you is Mass.
As the Mother of God, Mary is important in your theology,
and as the communion of saints includes the living
and the dead, you can also ask the saints to intercede for you.

Roman Catholic

100%

Neo orthodox

86%

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan

71%

Fundamentalist

50%

Charismatic/Pentecostal

14%

Classical Liberal

14%

Reformed Evangelical

14%

Modern Liberal

0%

Emergent/Postmodern

0%

What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

Friday, October 20, 2006

Prayer request.

Friends and passerby,

Please keep in your prayers my friend Sam's mom, Mary Ann, who died this afternoon after a long, tough bout with a progressive lung disease. Mary Ann was a wonderful lady, a kind and gentle soul who spent worrying and doing for others without a care for herself. (Pray for Sam, also.)

Thanks,

-J.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Genesis, Chapter 6, verse 4a

[If you are reading this post on a site other than Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam or reading this somewhere with "Bitacle.org" in the address, you are reading scraped and stolen content.]

Today Catholics celebrate the Feast of the North American martyrs.

These were French Jesuits who had come over to Canada to evangelize the various indigenous tribes, and who were martyred.

I always find it somehow comforting that all "three" branches of Jesuitdom were represented in this martyrdom; brother, priest and lay. (I'm taking a liberty with the lay thing, sue me.)

The first of the Jesuit missionaries arrived in Quebec in 1625. At first, they were mostly concerned with the French colonists, trappers and traders, as well as preaching and converting the tribes in the vicinity. Eventually, their missionary work took them to the Hurons. At first, these Jesuit missionaries visited various Huron villages, and they were welcomed and lived with various Huron families.

As their efforts increased in success greater numbers of missionaries followed. As a result a Christian outpost in the Huron nation was established, and there converts and missionaries could live. They began constructing Sainte Marie in to house ten Jesuits and five laborers. Eventually it became a fort/village where almost 30 Jesuits and almost 40 workmen lived; it included a church, food warehouse, a hospital, and housing for traveling Hurons. For the next few years, this mission was the epicenter of an effort that saw hundreds of converts receive baptism as well as the building of churches in the nearby settlements.

But the combative Iroquois to the south had become a very serious threat, attacking the route between Huronia and Quebec. In 1648 they invaded Huronia, where they destroyed several villages. In the winter of 1648, more than 6,000 homeless Hurons managed to get food and shelter at Sainte Marie. Fifteen Huron villages had been destroyed in the first half of 1649 alone. The survivors departed to Sainte Marie or to neighboring settlements but they knew Sainte Marie could not resist an Iroquois onslaught. Therefore they left for St. Joseph's Island with the remaining converts. In St. Joseph, they experienced a bitter winter, where they were sorely tested by starvation and sickness. The following summer (1650) the surviving Jesuits and three hundred or so Huron converts left St. Joseph and, forty-nine day journey, they finally reached safety in Quebec.

St. Jean de Brebeuf
Jean de Brébeuf was ordained at age 33 and was the first Jesuit Missionary in Huronia (1626). He had a gift for language and conversed with the various tribes fluently. He worked tirelessly all over the region, founding Missions and converting thousands. He was the inspiration for many Jesuits to volunteer in this region. He was a strong, athletic man of impressive build, but with a disarmingly gentle nature. He had received visions of the cross and these were fulfilled when he was taken on March 16, 1649. He received savage torture for almost half a day (When he started evangelizing to his assailants, he was gagged. He, along with Gabriel Lalemant, had his nose cut off and his lips ripped out. His captors mocked the Sacrament of Baptism by showering them with gallons of boiling water. According to Butler's Lives of the Saints: "large pieces of flesh were cut out of the bodies of both the priests and roasted by the Indians, who tore out their hearts before their death by means of an opening above the breast, feasting on them and on their blood, which they drank while it was still warm.") and was martyred.

St. Gabriel Lalemant
Gabriel Lalemant was ordained at 27, and although he was a college professor and of a frail frame, he had a burning zeal for the Huron missions. Less than a year after arriving, he was speaking the local language. He was martyred the day after Brebeuf (March 17, 1649) and in a similar fashion.

St. Anthony Daniel
Anthony Daniel was ordained at 29, founded the first boys' College in North America in 1635, and worked among the Hurons for 12 years. On July 4, 1648 he had just finished saying Mass when the Mission was attacked. In vestments, he faced the Iroquois, allowing many converts to escape to safety. The assailants surrounded him and, at point-blank range, shot him dead with arrows. His martyred corpse was tossed into the flames of the burning Church.

St. Charles Garnier
Charles Garnier was a Jesuit Missionary by age 31, and pastor and missionary to the Hurons and Petuns. Gentle, kind, brave, and heroically faithful, he attracted hundreds of converts to the faith. Even when his Mission was attacked and he was wounded, he continued to administer the Sacraments and to help with those wounded, giving absolution and baptizing until he received a fatal tomahawk blow to the head.

St. Noel Chabanel
Noel Chabanel, was a Jesuit ordained at age 28, was also a university professor in France, and also had a zeal for the North American Missions. His work was always difficult and he judged himself harshly, but vowed to stay with the missions, always in danger of martyrdom. He was betrayed and martyred on December 8, 1649.

St. Isaac Jogues
Isaac Jogues arrived to the Huron missions in 1636 and was captured by the Iroquois when he was traveling to Ste. Marie in 1642, and he was brutally he was tortured, he lost his fingers (his Iroquois captors ate them while they were on him), and he was enslaved. He escaped but returned to be a missionary to the Iroquois. He was martyred by beheading on October 18, 1646.

St. René Goupil
Rene Goupil was a Jesuit oblate who had studied medicine and offered his assistance to the Jesuit missions in North America. He was traveling with Isaac Jogues when they were both taken and tortured. He was martyred by tomahawk, for making the Sign of the Cross on a small child, on September 29, 1642.

St. Jean de Lalande
At only 19, Jean de Lalande (a layman) volunteered to help the Jesuits in North America. He was with Jogues at the Mohawk Mission and was taken with him, and was also tortured and saw Jogues martyred. The next day, October 19, 1646, he himself was martyred, at Auriesville, N.Y.
The North American Martyrs were canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930. Their feast day is celebrated on October 19th in the United States. The dates of their martyrdom are as follows:

Now, given that:

1- These guys are Jesuits, and
2- Sometimes there are some prominent Jesuits who do not quite adhere as closely as we'd like to the teachings of the Church and the Magisterium and all that, it seems extra appropriate to post the prayer to the NAMs:

Holy Martyrs and patrons, protect this land which you have blessed by the shedding of your blood. Renew in these days our Catholic faith which you helped to establish in this new land. Bring all our fellow citizens to a knowledge and love of the truth. Make us zealous in the profession of our faith so that we may continue and perfect the work which you have begun with so much labour and suffering. Pray for our homes, our schools, our missions, for vocations, for the conversion of sinners, the return of those who have wandered from the fold, and the perseverance of all the Faithful. And foster a deeper and increasing unity among all Christians. Amen.

AMDG,

-J.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Thou Shalt Not Steal

[If you are reading this post on a site other than Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam or reading this somewhere with "Bitacle.org" in the address, you are reading scraped and stolen content.]

As I was reading one of my favorite blogs I ran across this little lovebomb: some imbeciles at bitacle.org are STEALING various blogs' contents and posting them on their own site and appending advertising thereto and--surprise--not compensating the bloggers whose contents they steal/stole. As it is, it seems my blog is not yet caught in their machinery, but that could change at any moment.

Oh, and they utterly ignore any and all copyright* notices.

To see if your blog (they seem to prey on blogs which have feeds**) has been one that has been pillaged, read this article. So far, nothing's been done to me or my blog...but I feel soiled and violated anyway.

-J.

* Unfortunately, I'm too dense to append such a copyright to my blog.
** Fortunately, I am too dense to know HTF the whole "feeds" thing works.

Monday, October 16, 2006

What this is and what this ain't.

You may be unaware of this, but not everyone in the Catholic blogosphere agrees with me. Sure, it's utterly incomprehensible to consider, but it's true.

The hard part is to deal with those with whom I disagree (you know who you are) charitably. The way I see it, certain viewpoints and opinions have been responsible for (or, at a bare minimum, greatly contributed to) The Mess We're In. Which upsets me. Coincidentally, this upsets a lot of people as well. However, some of those people who are as upset as I am, um, let their baser passions rise.

"Kick the ______ [group holding to a certain viewpoint] out!" they say and it's only the current state of the information society that prevents them brandishing torches and pitchforks. I feel their pain. I get upset when I read what I consider absurd and harmful things from people who really ought know better. However, I have a better response than to start hucking gravel at them. Conveniently, it comes directly from Our Lord as written by St. Mark (5:43-45, for those of you scoring at home):

"You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thy enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you: That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh his sun to rise upon the good, and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust."

Smite them with kindness. NUKE them with charity and comity and goodwill. That doesn't mean you roll over and let their views prevail. It means be kind to them, that you may persuade them of the truth. That they may also know the truth and they may also, like you, be made free.

When people at XYZ Magazine say all manner of things about people who adhere to the Magisterium come-what-may, do not indulge your desire to rip 'em a new one. (C'mon, you KNOW who wants that sort of reaction from you, right?) When someone at some blog publishes a strongly divergent view on why we need something antediluvian as, say, The Catechism...stay your hand. When some "thinking" Catholic website starts to preen and strut its ostensible intellectual firepower with a fusillade of SAT words, stop fantasizing about correcting them with a BF Hammer.

I mean I know you want to. But don't. Like Sheriff Buford T. Justice used to say: "Y'can think about it...but don't do it."

Quickly now, what are the first two spiritual works of mercy?

OK, then...engage in those mercifully.

Off you go.

AMDG,

-J.

Funny you should say that.

The lovely and gracious Karen hath posted something related to the "folk" music at Mass. Those who know me best will cheerfully testify I am driven to fits or seizures by folk music under the best of everyday circumstances, and my views on tambourines and acoustic guitars cannot be given full expression on a blog where ladies and children may come across strong language. (If you've seen the film A Mighty Wind, I'm like the bald guy in the front row who kept rolling his eyes and looking at his watch. Folk music = torture...I'm surprised the progressivist element among us hasn't begun to protest it as the cruel and unusual punishment it clearly is.)

So, to hear that sort of music at Mass, frankly, gives me a dull ache and makes me wonder if people aren't tempting Judgment Day to arrive ahead of schedule and with unexpected severity.

What's interesting about this loose thread in the blogosphere is that today at my parish we had missionaries from Jamaica who came in to report all the good stuff they're doing (building schools and orphanages and that sort of thing) and they played the music at all the Masses this weekend. This parish is, for a "regular" parish a pretty High Church sort of place, with as much in the way of Ye Olde Yells, Bells and Smells as can be found in 2006 America without a special indult. What's more, the congregation likes it that way. So, I felt a little bad for the Jamaican guys who couldn't get the faithful to clap along quite as heartily as they might have wished.

THAT SAID, I don't mind an occasional variation from more traditional sorts of music on special occasions such as this. There is a difference between exalted and exclusive, you know. The fact these guys schlepped all the way from Jamaica to be with us and that they're doing good and merciful deeds (as opposed to heralding the Red Dawn) sort of, in my view, gives them a Free Pass. The fact they played a calypso-ish sort of music--leagues ahead and above that [spit]"Gather"[/spit] pablum--made me want to buy one of their CDs. Just because I wouldn't want to listen to this sort of stuff at Mass doesn't mean I don't want to hear it at all.

Which all brings me to the point that for the most part, modern Masses have tried to engage the faithful in precisely the most temporal and least permanent of ways. When all you can (or are willing to) offer the average* parishioner is some level of enjoyment, you will get the results you have before you: a hemorrhage of vocations and attendance, material heresy on a number of issues and such woeful ignorance of the basic tenets of the faith so as to make my 4th grader seem like a Pontifical University professor in comparison.

The more an emphasis is made on getting people to "like" Mass, the more you will get these results**. I am reminded of the adage that the first thing you ought do when you find yourself in a deep hole is to drop the @#$%ing shovel.

AMDG,

-J.

* And these days "average" means "criminally un(der)catechized"
** If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always gotten.

Friday, October 06, 2006

"To God be all the glory. ALL the glory."

No, I'm not out of the woods yet, but the trees have thinned out considerably. Those of you who have kept me and my intentions in your prayers:

1- All honor and praise and glory to Our Lord.
2- THANK YOU. Know you are in mine, always.

As I try to develop my new "sea legs" as a result of this recent episode, I now notice the things that used to go unnoticed.

I'll give you an analogy: Many years ago, in Disney World, one of the cast members told us that Orlando, FL was (I'm paraphrasing) "The lightning capital of the world" (or was it the USA?) and that's why there were THOUSANDS of lightning rods on all the buildings; the hotels, the parks, etc. I had been going to Disney World year after year, sometimes 3-4 times a year...and had never noticed this. But after the realization, I can't not see the lightning rods any more.

So it is with a given sin from which you might have thought--foolishly!--yourself free. Now I see the little tiny glimmers of pride peeking out here and there. I'm absolutely certain I'm not catching them all. But I'm catching a whole bloody lot more than I was 72 hours ago. Is there something deeper at work here? I don't know. But I do know that as I walk, ver-r-r-r-r-ry awkwardly, towards Grace, I realize how much more I still have to go AND that Our Lord is walking beside me, much like a parent holding a toddler as he tries to venture across the room.

This has been, and continues to be, a humbling and exhilirating experience. If history is any indication, it won't be something I'll enjoy but after all is said and done, I won't want to trade the "eventual me" for the "me" of three days ago. After all, Christ didn't get crucified for me to remain in comfortable ignorance regarding my own faults.

AMDG,

-J.

P.S. Just to show you how much God means business, read THIS. (And God bless Fr. P., a man fast becoming my favorite Dominican.)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

OK. Show of hands.

Y'ever have a great, dear friend and one day you say something off-the-cuff...only to find out a-a-a-a-a-a-ages later that what you said and thought to be of no consequence deeply hurt your friend?

Do you remember how that felt?

This is what it likes when God reveals to you a sin, of which you never thought you were in the grip, is something you've been nuzzling with all lovey-dovey.

While we may feel bad at the stuff we did willingly even though we knew/know better, there is nothing worse than finally getting a clear look in the mirror at a part of your soul you (foolish mortal!) thought was A-OK.

I'm dealing with this now. I know that I have to be on guard against sin X, Y and Z...those being particular weak spots for me. To realize I needed to add Sin Q to that list has floored me. In my case, Sin Q is Pride. 48 hours ago, I had no clue. I thought I was pride-free. But sin (and he who directs sin among those of us who traipse around this world) is cleverer than that. Certainly cleverer than I am on my own. My own mind was lulled into a false sense of security regarding this and as such, I have tripped.

How and when I get up is God's will and it will be by His providence, grace and mercy alone. I praise Him for correcting me instead of allowing me to persist in my error. He does so out of love for me, even if it proves a painful correction. "This hurts me more than it hurts you."

So here I am, humbled and humiliated within the confines of my own mind and spirit. CLEARLY reminded I am so completely and utterly dependent on Him. Ashamed of my sin and aghast at my naivete as it relates to my own sinfulness. Desirous as never before to get "right" with God once again and grateful I have been shown what else I need be vigilant of.

While I am grateful for your prayers of intercession, I also specifically ask for your prayers of praise to Our Lord, that He has given me, out of His ceaseless love and infinite mercy, this opportunity to avail myself of His sanctifying grace and loving correction. Know you are all in my prayers.

AMDG,

-J.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"This is a test. This is only a test."

If we accept -- and we ought -- that God is our teacher, we must also accept that we will be tested. Like a regular classroom teacher, we are tested for one reason only. To see what has stuck with us after all we have been taught.

Rummage through the Acts of the Apostles, 16:22-26:

"And the people ran together against [Paul and Silas]; and the magistrates rending off their clothes, commanded them to be beaten with rods. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them diligently. Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight, Paul and Silas praying, praised God. And they that were in prison, heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and the bands of all were loosed."

Now, stop and ponder the following...if a Roman prison is a dank hellhole on a bright and breezy spring morning, what must it have been like at midnight AFTER you've had "stripes" beaten into you with rods and your ankles restrained by shackles? But Paul and Silas, instead of whining and moaning and complaining prayed and -- this is the key bit -- praised God. In the middle of a vicious persecution they made it a specific point to, in prayer, praise God.

The onus is on us, therefore, to see if when we are tested we make the same specific point to praise God. If we're paying attention, we learn from what happens to us during a test. We must give thanks to God for the opportunity even if all we'd prefer to focus on would be the scars of our beatings and the shackles around our ankles and the darkness of a repulsive prison.

I'm kinda going through something of a test* with a business project, an infinitely milder test than a bloody beating and shackling and imprisonment, and it's a point of effort to focus on giving God all the praise due Him always and everywhere.

AMDG,

-J.

*Any and all prayers for a successful outcome will be accepted with inexpressible gratitude and the deepest humility.