Friday, April 18, 2014

Archbishop Lefebvre! :)


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Good Friday


said Jesus to the Filiae Jerusalem 
with His Cross, bearing heavily on His most precious, yet bruised and scourged body,
on His Way to Mount Calvary
Parce Domine, parce populo tuo. Ne in aeternum, irascaris nobis. 
Parce Domine, parce populo tuo. Ne in aeternum, irascaris nobis. 
Parce Domine, parce populo tuo. Ne in aeternum, irascaris nobis. 


Juxta crucem tecum stare,
Et me tibi sociare
In planctu desidero
By the †cross with thee to stay,
There with thee to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of thee to give.
(From the Stabat Mater)


[Prayer for the Sovereign Pontiff] St Catherine of Siena

O Most High and ineffable God, I have sinned and am not worthy to pray to Thee, but Thou canst render me less unworthy. Punish, O Lord, my sins and do not look upon my misery. 

I received a body from Thee. I give it back to Thee and I offer it to Thee. Here is my person and my very blood; strike, destroy! Reduce my bones to dust, but grant that which I ask for the Sovereign Pontiff, Unique Spouse of Thy Unique Spouse.

May he always know Thy Will. May he love and follow it, so that we do not perish. Give to him, O my God, a new heart; so that Thy grace may always grow in him. May he not tire in carrying the standard of Thy Holy Cross. May he dispense to the [unbelievers], the treasures of Thy Mercy, as he does to us who benefit from the Passion and Blood of the Lamb without blemish, Thy beloved Son. 

I have sinned, Lord. Eternal God, have mercy on me. Amen.


Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Anne, Therese, I love You; Save Souls!

Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)

Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori. 

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

In the footsteps of St Francis Xavier


St Francis Xavier was in Malacca for a total of 4 times, each of varying durations. 

*"I will post up all I remember of St Francis Xavier asap!" 

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Anne, Therese, I love You; Save Souls!

Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)

Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Note to Parents and Teachers

Parents and teachers should be vigilant that nothing is introduced into the curriculum which violates a child’s innocence and even attempts to instill in the child gravely wrong ways of thinking.


O Holy Ghost, please help us as we go on this journey, as you always have. What responsibility we have and how hard it is to not violate a child's innocence because it is very hard not to heed the call of worldly and senseless pleasures. 

ACT of CONFIDENCE
By Saint Claude de la Columbiere

My God, I am so intimately convinced that Thou dost watch over all those that hope in Thee, and that we can want for nothing while we expect all from Thee, that I am resolved to live without anxiety in the future, casting all my care on Thee. "In peace I will sleep and I will rest for Thou hast wonderfully established me in hope." (Ps IV, 9,10) 

Men may turn against me: sickness may take away my strength, and the means of serving Thee; I may even lose Thy grace by sin, but I will never lose my hope. I will keep it even to the last moment of my life, and all the demons in hell shall try in vain to tear it from me. In peace I will sleep and I will rest.

Others may look for happiness from their riches or their talents; they may rely upon the innocence of their lives, the rigour of their penance, the number of their good works, or the fervour of their prayers; but for me, O Lord, my confidence shall be my confidence itself. For Thou hast wonderfully established me in hope.

This confidence has never decieved anyone. No one hath hoped in the Lord and been put to shame. I am sure that I shall be eternally happy, because I hope firmly to be so, and it is from Thee, O Lord, that I hope it. In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; I shall not be confounded forever.

I know that I am frail and changeable; I know the power of temptation against the most firmly based virtues: I have seen the stars of heaven and the pillars of the firmament fall; but not even this can make me fear. As long as I hope, I am safe from every evil, and I am sure of always hoping because I hope for this unchanging hope. For Thou, O Lord, hast wonderfully established me in hope.

In fine, I am sure that I cannot hope too much in Thee; and that I cannot obtain less than I hope for from Thee. Thus I hope that Thou wilt uphold me (and my family) in the greatest dangers, protect me (and my family) in the most violent assaults, and make my weakness triumph over my most formidable enemies. I hope that Thou wilt love me always, and that I also shall love Thee with unfailing love; and to carry my hope at once as far as it can go, I hope for Thee from Thyself, my Creator, both in time and eternity. Amen.

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Anne, Therese, I love You; Save Souls!

Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)

Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

St Benedict, Father of Western Monasticism, twin of St Scholastica and Patron Saint against Poison

Today is the Feast of St Benedict! 

Here is a little on him I grabbed from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

Ford, H. (1907). St. Benedict of Nursia. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved March 21, 2014 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02467b.htm

 St Benedict

his twin sister, St Scholastica


Benedict was the son of a Roman noble of Nursia, a small town near Spoleto, and a tradition, which St. Bede accepts, makes him a twin with his sister Scholastica. His boyhood was spent in Rome, where he lived with his parents and attended the schools until he had reached his higher studies. Then "giving over his books, and forsaking his father's house and wealth, with a mind only to serve God, he sought for some place where he might attain to the desire of his holy purpose; and in this sort he departed [from Rome], instructed with learned ignorance and furnished with unlearned wisdom" (Dial. St. Greg., II, Introd. in Migne, P.L. LXVI). There is much difference of opinion as to Benedict's age at the time. It has been very generally stated as fourteen, but a careful examination of St. Gregory's narrative makes it impossible to suppose him younger than nineteen or twenty. He was old enough to be in the midst of his literary studies, to understand the real meaning and worth of the dissolute and licentious lives of his companions, and to have been deeply affected himself by the love of a woman (Ibid. II, 2). He was capable of weighing all these things in comparison with the life taught in the Gospels, and chose the latter, He was at the beginning of life, and he had at his disposal the means to a career as a Roman noble; clearly he was not a child, As St. Gregory expresses it, "he was in the world and was free to enjoy the advantages which the world offers, but drew back his foot which he had, as it were, already set forth in the world" (ibid., Introd.). If we accept the date 480 for his birth, we may fix the date of his abandoning the schools and quitting home at about A.D. 500.

Benedict does not seem to have left Rome for the purpose of becoming a hermit, but only to find some place away from the life of the great city; moreover, he took his old nurse with him as a servant and they settled down to live in Enfide, near a church dedicated to St. Peter, in some kind of association with "a company of virtuous men" who were in sympathy with his feelings and his views of life. Enfide, which the tradition of Subiaco identifies with the modern Affile, is in the Simbrucini mountains, about forty miles from Rome and two from Subiaco. It stands on the crest of a ridge which rises rapidly from the valley to the higher range of mountains, and seen from the lower ground the village has the appearance of a fortress. As St. Gregory's account indicates, and as is confirmed by the remains of the old town and by the inscriptions found in the neighbourhood, Enfide was a place of greater importance than is the present town. At Enfide Benedict worked his first miracle by restoring to perfect condition an earthenware wheat-sifter (capisterium) which his old servant had accidentally broken. The notoriety which this miracle brought upon Benedict drove him to escape still farther from social life, and "he fled secretly from his nurse and sought the more retired district of Subiaco". His purpose of life had also been modified. He had fled Rome to escape the evils of a great city; he now determined to be poor and to live by his own work. "For God's sake he deliberately chose the hardships of life and the weariness of labour" (ibid., 1).
A short distance from Enfide is the entrance to a narrow, gloomy valley, penetrating the mountains and leading directly to Subiaco. Crossing the Anio and turning to the right, the path rises along the left face oft the ravine and soon reaches the site of Nero's villa and of the huge mole which formed the lower end of the middle lake; across the valley were ruins of the Roman baths, of which a few great arches and detached masses of wall still stand. Rising from the mole upon twenty five low arches, the foundations of which can even yet be traced, was the bridge from the villa to the baths, under which the waters of the middle lake poured in a wide fall into the lake below. The ruins of these vast buildings and the wide sheet of falling water closed up the entrance of the valley to St. Benedict as he came from Enfide; today the narrow valley lies open before us, closed only by the far off mountains. The path continues to ascend, and the side of the ravine, on which it runs, becomes steeper, until we reach a cave above which the mountain now rises almost perpendicularly; while on the right hand it strikes in a rapid descent down to where, in St. Benedict's day, five hundred feet below, lay the blue waters of the lake. The cave has a large triangular-shaped opening and is about ten feet deep. On his way from Enfide, Benedict met a monk, Romanus, whose monastery was on the mountain above the cliff overhanging the cave. Romanus had discussed with Benedict the purpose which had brought him to Subiaco, and had given him the monk's habit. By his advice Benedict became a hermit and for three years, unknown to men, lived in this cave above the lake. St. Gregory tells us little of these years, He now speaks of Benedict no longer as a youth (puer), but as a man (vir) of God. Romanus, he twice tells us, served the saint in every way he could. The monk apparently visited him frequently, and on fixed days brought him food.

During these three years of solitude, broken only by occasional communications with the outer world and by the visits of Romanus, he matured both in mind and character, in knowledge of himself and of his fellow-man, and at the same time he became not merely known to, but secured the respect of, those about him; so much so that on the death of the abbot of a monastery in the neighbourhood (identified by some with Vicovaro), the community came to him and begged him to become its abbot. Benedict was acquainted with the life and discipline of the monastery, and knew that "their manners were diverse from his and therefore that they would never agree together: yet, at length, overcome with their entreaty, he gave his consent" (ibid., 3). The experiment failed; the monks tried to poison him, and he returned to his cave. From this time his miracles seen to have become frequent, and many people, attracted by his sanctity and character, came to Subiaco to be under his guidance. For them he built in the valley twelve monasteries, in each of which he placed a superior with twelve monks. In a thirteenth he lived with "a few, such as he thought would more profit and be better instructed by his own presence" (ibid., 3). He remained, however, the father or abbot of all. With the establishment of these monasteries began the schools for children; and amongst the first to be brought were Maurus and Placid.

The remainder of St. Benedict's life was spent in realizing the ideal of monasticism which he has left us drawn out in his Rule, and before we follow the slight chronological story given by St. Gregory, it will be better to examine the ideal, which, as St. Gregory says, is St. Benedict's real biography (ibid., 36). We will deal here with the Rule only so far as it is an element in St. Benedict's life. For the relations which it bore to the monasticism of previous centuries, and for its influence throughout the West on civil and religious government, and upon the spiritual life of Christians, the reader is referred to the articles MONASTICISM and RULE OF SAINT BENEDICT.

The Benedictine rule

1. Before studying St. Benedict's Rule it is necessary to point out that it is written for laymen, not for clerics. The saint's purpose was not to institute an order of clerics with clerical duties and offices, but an organization and a set of rules for the domestic life of such laymen as wished to live as fully as possible the type of life presented in the Gospel. "My words", he says, "are addressed to thee, whoever thou art, that, renouncing thine own will, dost put on the strong and bright armour of obedience in order to fight for the Lord Christ, our true King." (Prol. to Rule.) Later, the Church imposed the clerical state upon Benedictines, and with the state came a preponderance of clerical and sacerdotal duties, but the impress of the lay origin of the Benedictines has remained, and is perhaps the source of some of the characteristics which mark them off from later orders.

2. Another characteristic feature of the saint's Rule is its view of work. His so-called order was not established to carry on any particular work or to meet any special special crisis in the Church, as has been the case with other orders. With Benedict the work of his monks was only a means to goodness of life. The great disciplinary force for human nature is work; idleness is its ruin. The purpose of his Rule was to bring men "back to God by the labour of obedience, from whom they had departed by the idleness of disobedience". Work was the first condition of all growth in goodness. It was in order that his own life might be "wearied with labours for God's sake" that St. Benedict left Enfide for the cave at Subiaco. It is necessary, comments St. Gregory, that God's elect should at the beginning, when life and temptations are strong are strong in them, "be wearied with labour and pains". In the regeneration of human nature in the order of discipline, even prayer comes after work, for grace meets with no co-operation in the soul and heart of an idler. When the Goth "gave over the world" and went to Subiaco, St. Benedict gave him a bill-hook and set him to clear away briars for the making of a garden. "Ecce! labora!" go and work. Work is not, as the civilization of the time taught, the condition peculiar to slaves; it is the universal lot of man, necessary for his well-being as a man, and essential for him as a Christian.

3. The religious life, as conceived by St. Benedict is essentially social. Life apart from one's fellows, the life of a hermit, if it is to be wholesome and sane, is possible only for a few, and these few must have reached an advanced stage of self-discipline while living with others (Rule, 1). The Rule, therefore, is entirely occupied with regulating the life of a community of men who live and work and pray and eat together, and this is not merely for a course of training, but as a permanent element of life at its best. The Rule conceives the superiors as always present and in constant touch with every member of the government, which is best described as patriarchal, or paternal (ibid., 2, 3, 64). The superior is the head of a family; all are the permanent members of a household. Hence, too, much of the spiritual teaching of the Rule is concealed under legislation which seems purely social and domestic organization (ibid. 22-23, 35-41). So intimately connected with domestic life is the whole framework and teaching of the Rule that a Benedictine may be more truly said to enter or join a particular household than to join an order. The social character of Benedictine life has found expression in a fixed type for monasteries and in the kind of works which Benedictines undertake, and it is secured by an absolute communism in possessions (ibid. 33, 34, 54, 55), by the rigorous suppression of all differences of worldly rank - "no one of noble birth may [for that reason] be put before him that was formerly a slave" (ibid. 2). and by the enforced presence of everyone at the routine duties of the household.

4. Although private ownership is most strictly forbidden by the Rule, it was no part of St. Benedict's conception of monastic life that his monks, as a body, should strip themselves of all wealth and live upon the alms of the charitable; rather his purpose was to restrict the requirements of the individual to what was necessary and simple, and to secure that the use and administration of the corporate possessions should be in strict accord with the teaching of the Gospel. The Benedictine ideal of poverty is quite different from the Franciscan. The Benedictine takes no explicit vow of poverty; he only vows obedience according to the Rule. The rule allows all that is necessary to each individual, together with sufficient and varied clothing, abundant food (excluding only the flesh of quadrupeds), wine and ample sleep (ibid., 39, 40, 41, 55). Possessions could be held in common, they might be large, but they were to be administered for the furtherance of the work of the community and for the benefit of others. While the individual monk was poor, the monastery was to be in a position to give alms, not to be compelled to seek them. It was to relieve the poor, to clothe the naked, to visit the sick, to bury the dead, to help the afflicted (ibid., 4), to entertain all strangers (ibid., 3). The poor came to Benedict to get help to pay their debts (Dial. St. Greg., 27); they came for food (ibid., 21, 28).

5. St. Benedict originated a form of government which is deserving of study. It is contained in chapters 2, 3, 31, 64, 65 of the Rule and in certain pregnant phrases scattered through other chapters. As with the Rule itself, so also his scheme of government is intended not for an order but for a single community. He presupposes that the community have bound themselves, by their promise of stability, to spend their lives together under the Rule. The superior is then elected by a free and universal suffrage. The government may be described as a monarchy, with the Rule as its constitution. Within the four corners of the Rule everything is left to the discretion of the abbot, the abuse of whose authority is checked by religion (Rule, 2), by open debate with the community on all important matters, and with its representative elders in smaller concerns (ibid., 3). The reality of these checks upon the wilfulness of the ruler can be appreciated only when it is remembered that ruler and community were bound together for life, that all were inspired by the single purpose of carrying out the conception of life taught in the Gospel, and that the relation of the members of the community to one another and to the abbot, and of the abbot to them, were elevated and spiritualized by a mysticism which set before itself the acceptance of the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount as real and work-a-day truths.

6. (a) When a Christian household, a community, has been organized by the willing acceptance of its social duties and responsibilities, by obedience to an authority, and, further, is under the continuous discipline of work and self-denial, the next step in the regeneration of its members in their return to God is prayer. The Rule deals directly and explicitly only with public prayer. For this Benedict assigns the Psalms and Canticles, with readings from the Scriptures and Fathers. He devotes eleven chapters out of the seventy-three of his Rule to regulating this public prayer, and it is characteristic of the freedom of his Rule and of the "moderation" of the saint, that he concludes his very careful directions by saying that if any superior does not like his arrangement he is free to make another; this only he says he will insist on, that the whole Psalter will be said in the course of a week. The practice of the holy Fathers, he adds, was resolutely "to say in a single day what I pray we tepid monks may get through in a whole week" (ibid., 18). On the other hand, he checks indiscreet zeal by laying down the general rule "that prayer made in common must always be short" (ibid., 20). It is very difficult to reduce St. Benedict's teaching on prayer to a system, for this reason, that in his conception of the Christian character, prayer is coexistent with the whole life, and life is not complete at any point unless penetrated by prayer. .

(b) The form of prayer which thus covers the whole of our waking hours, St. Benedict calls the first degree of humility. It consists in realizing the presence of God (ibid., 7). The first step begins when the spiritual is joined to the merely human, or, as the saint expresses it, it is the first step in a ladder, the rungs of which rest at one end in the body and at the other in the soul. The ability to exercise this form of prayer is fostered by that care of the "heart" on which the saint so often insists; and the heart is saved from the dissipation that would result from social intercourse by the habit of mind which sees in everyone Christ Himself. "Let the sick be served in very deed as Christ Himself" (ibid., 36). "Let all guests that come be received as Christ" (ibid., 53). "Whether we be slaves or freemen, we are all one in Christ and bear an equal rank in the service of Our Lord" (ibid., 2).

(c) Secondly, there is public prayer. This is short and is to be said at intervals, at night and at seven distinct hours during the day, so that, when possible, there shall be no great interval without a call to formal, vocal, prayer (ibid., 16). The position which St. Benedict gave to public, common prayer can best be described by saying that he established it as the centre of the common life to which he bound his monks. It was the consecration, not only of the individual, but of the whole community to God by the oft-repeated daily public acts of faith. and of praise and adoration of the Creator; and this public worship of God, the opus Dei, was to form the chief work of his monks, and to be the source from which all other works took their inspiration, their direction, and their strength.

(d) Lastly, there is private prayer, for which the saint does not legislate. It follows individual gifts - "If anyone wishes to pray in private, let him go quietly into the oratory and pray, not with a loud voice, but with tears and fervour of heart" (ibid., 52). "Our prayer ought to be short and with purity of heart, except it be perchance prolonged by the inspiration of divine grace" (ibid., 20). But if St. Benedict gives no further directions on private prayer, it is because the whole condition and mode of life secured by the Rule, and the character formed by its observance, lead naturally to the higher states of prayer. As the Saint writes: "Whoever, therefore, thou art that hastenest to thy heavenly country, fulfil by the help of Christ this little Rule which we have written for beginners; and then at length thou shalt arrive, under God's protection, at the lofty summits of doctrine and virtue of which we have spoken above" (ibid., 73). for guidance in these higher states the Saint refers to the Fathers, Basil and Cassian.

From this short examination of the Rule and its system of prayer, it will be obvious that to describe the Benedictine as a contemplative order is misleading, if the word is used in its modern technical sense as excluding active work; the "contemplative" is a form of life framed for different circumstances and with a different object from St. Benedict's. The Rule, including its system of prayer and public psalmody, is meant for every class of mind and every degree of learning. It is framed not only for the educated and for souls advanced in perfection, but it organizes and directs a complete life which is adapted for simple folk and for sinners, for the observance of the Commandments and for the beginnings of goodness. "We have written this Rule", writes St. Benedict, "that by observing it in monasteries, we may shew ourselves to have some degree of goodness in life and a beginning of holiness. But for him who would hasten to the perfection of religion, there are the teachings of the holy Fathers, the following whereof bringeth a man to the height of perfection" (ibid., 73). Before leaving the subject of prayer it will be well to point out again that by ordering the public recitation and singing of the Psalter, St. Benedict was not putting upon his monks a distinctly clerical obligation. The Psalter was the common form of prayer of all Christians; we must not read into his Rule characteristics which a later age and discipline have made inseparable from the public recitation of the Divine Office.
We can now take up again the story of Benedict's life. How long he remained at Subiaco we do not know. Abbot Tosti conjectures it was until the year 529. Of these years St. Gregory is content to tell no more than a few stories descriptive of the life of the monks, and of the character and government of St. Benedict. The latter was making his first attempt to realize in these twelve monasteries his conception of the monastic life. We can fill in many of the details from the Rule. By his own experiment and his knowledge of the history of monasticism the saint had learnt that the regeneration of the individual, except in abnormal cases, is not reached by the path of solitude, nor by that of austerity, but by the beaten path of man's social instinct, with its necessary conditions of obedience and work; and that neither the body nor the mind can be safely overstrained in the effort to avoid evil (ibid., 64). Thus, at Subiaco we find no solitaries, no conventual hermits, no great austerities, but men living together in organized communities for the purpose of leading good lives, doing such work as came to their hand - carrying water up the steep mountain-side, doing the other household work, raising the twelve cloisters, clearing the ground, making gardens, teaching children, preaching to the country people, reading and studying at least four hours a day, receiving strangers, accepting and training new-comers, attending the regular hours of prayer, reciting and chanting the Psalter. The life at Subiaco and the character of St. Benedict attracted many to the new monasteries, and their increasing numbers and growing influence came the inevitable jealousy and persecution, which culminated with a vile attempt of a neighboring priest to scandalize the monks by an exhibition of naked women, dancing in the courtyard of the saint's monastery (Dial. St. Greg., 8). To save his followers from further persecution Benedict left Subiaco and went to Monte Cassino.
Upon the crest of Monte Cassino "there was an ancient chapel in which the foolish and simple country people, according to the custom of the old Gentiles, worshipped the god Apollo. Round about it likewise upon all sides there were woods for the service of devils, in which, even to that very time, the mad multitude of infidels did offer most wicked sacrifice. The man of God, coming hither, feat in pieces the idol, overthrew the altar, set fire on the woods and in the temple of Apollo built the oratory of St. Martin: and where the altar of the same Apollo was, he made an oratory of St. John: and by his continual preaching he brought the people dwelling in those parts to embrace the faith of Christ" (ibid., 8). On this spot the saint built his monastery. His experience at Subiaco had led him to alter his plans, and now, instead of building several houses with a small community in each, he kept all his monks in one monastery and provided for its government by appointing a prior and deans (Rule, 65, 21). We find no trace in his Rule, which was most probably written at Monte Cassino, of the view which guided him when he built the twelve small monasteries at Subiaco. The life which we have witnessed at Subiaco was renewed at Subiaco was renewed at Monte Cassino, but the change in the situation and local conditions brought a corresponding modification in the work undertaken by the monks. Subiaco was a retired valley away in the mountains and difficult of access; Cassino was on one of the great highways to the south of Italy, and at no great distance from Capua. This brought the monastery into more frequent communication with the outside world. It soon became a centre of influence in a district in which there was a large population, with several dioceses and other monasteries. Abbots came to see and advise with Benedict. Men of all classes were frequent visitors, and he numbered nobles and bishops among his intimate friends. There were nuns in the neighbourhood whom the monks went to preach to and to teach. There was a village nearby in which St. Benedict preached and made many converts (Dial. St. Greg., 19). The monastery became the protector of the poor, their trustee (ibid., 31), their refuge in sickness, in trial, in accidents, in want.
Thus during the life of the saint we find what has ever since remained a characteristic feature of Benedictine houses, i.e. the members take up any work which is adapted to their peculiar circumstances, any work which may be dictated by their necessities. Thus we find the Benedictines teaching in poor schools and in the universities, practising the arts and following agriculture, undertaking the care of souls, or devoting themselves wholly to study. No work is foreign to the Benedictine, provided only it is compatible with living in community and with the performance of the Divine Office. This freedom in the choice of work was necessary in a Rule which was to be suited to all times and places, but it was primarily the natural result of the which St. Benedict had in view, and which he differs from the founders of later orders. These later had in view some special work to which they wished their disciples to devote themselves; St. Benedict's purpose was only to provide a Rule by which anyone might follow the Gospel counsels, and live, and work and pray, and save his soul. St. Gregory's narrative of the establishment of Monte Cassino does little more for us than to supply disconnected incidents which illustrate the daily life of the monastery. We gain only a few biographical facts. From Monte Cassino St. Benedict founded another monastery near Terracina, on the coast, about forty miles distant (ibid., 22). To the wisdom of long experience and to the mature virtues of the saint, was now added the gift of prophecy, of which St. Gregory gives many examples. Celebrated among these is the story of the visit of Totila, King of the Goths, in the year 543, when the saint "rebuked him for his wicked deeds, and in a few words told him all that should befall him, saying 'Much wickedness do you daily commit, and many sins have you done: now at length give over your sinful life. Into the city of Rome shall you enter, and over the sea shall you pass: nine years shall you reign, and in the tenth shall you leave this mortal life.' The king, hearing these things, was wonderfully afraid, and desiring the holy man to commend him to God in his prayers he departed: and from that time forward he was nothing so cruel as before he had been. Not long after he went to Rome, sailed over into Sicily, and in the tenth year of his reign he lost his kingdom together with his life." (ibid., 15).
Totila's visit to Monte Cassino in 543 is the only certain date we have in the saint's life. It must have occurred when Benedict was advanced in age. Abbot Tosti, following others, puts the saint's death in the same year. Just before his death we hear for the first time of his sister Scholastica. "She had been dedicated from her infancy to Our Lord, and used to come once a year to visit her brother. To whom the man of God went not far from the gate to a place that did belong to the abbey, there to give her entertainment" (ibid., 33). They met for the last time three days before Scholastica's death, on a day "when the sky was so clear that no cloud was to be seen". The sister begged her brother to stay the night, "but by no persuasion would he agree unto that, saying that he might not by any means tarry all night out of his abbey.... The nun receiving this denial of her brother, joining her hands together, laid them on the table; and so bowing her head upon them, she made her prayers to Almighty God, and lifting her head from the table, there fell suddenly such a tempest of lightening and thundering, and such abundance of rain, that neither venerable Bennet, nor the monks that were with him, could put their head out of door" (ibid., 33). Three days later, "Benedict beheld the soul of his sister, which was departed from her body, in the likeness of a dove, to ascend into heaven: who rejoicing much to see her great glory, with hymns and lauds gave thanks to Almighty God, and did impart news of this her death to his monks whom also he sent presently to bring her corpse to his abbey, to have it buried in that grave which he had provided for himself" (ibid., 34).
It would seem to have been about this time that St. Benedict had that wonderful vision in which he came as near to seeing God as is possible for man in this life. St. Gregory and St. Bonaventure say that Benedict saw God and in that vision of God saw the whole world. St. Thomas will not allow that this could have been. Urban VIII, however, does not hesitate to say that "the saint merited while still in this mortal life, to see God Himself and in God all that is below him". If he did not see the Creator, he saw the light which is in the Creator, and in that light, as St. Gregory says, "saw the whole world gathered together as it were under on beam of the sun. At the same time he saw the soul of Germanus, Bishop of Capua, in a fiery globe carried up by the angels to Heaven" (ibid., 35). Once more the hidden things of God were shown to him, and he warned his brethren, both "those that lived daily with him and those that dwelt far off" of his approaching death. "Six days before he left this world he gave orders to have his sepulchre opened, and forthwith falling into an ague, he began with burning heat to wax faint; and when as the sickness daily increased, upon the sixth day he commanded his monks to carry him into the oratory, where he did arm himself receiving the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ; and having his weak body holden up betwixt the hands of his disciples, he stood with his own hands lifted up to heaven; and as he was in that manner praying, he gave up the ghost" (ibid., 37). He was buried in the same grave with his sister "in the oratory of St. John the Baptist, which [he] himself had built when he overthrew the altar of Apollo" (ibid.). There is some doubt whether the relics of the saint are still at Monte Cassino, or whether they were moved in the seventh century to Fleury. Abbot Tosti in his life of St. Benedict, discusses the question at length (chap. xi) and decides the controversy in favour of Monte Cassino.
Perhaps the most striking characteristics in St. Benedict are his deep and wide human feeling and his moderation. The former reveals itself in the many anecdotes recorded by St. Gregory. We see it in his sympathy and care for the simplest of his monks; his hastening to the help of the poor Goth who had lot his bill-hook; spending the hours of the night in prayer on the mountain to save his monks the labour of carrying water, and to remove from their lives a "just cause of grumbling"; staying three days in a monastery to help to induce one of the monks to "remain quietly at his prayers as the other monks did", instead of going forth from the chapel and wandering about "busying himself worldly and transitory things". He lets the crow from the neighboring woods come daily when all are at dinner to be fed by himself. His mind is always with those who are absent; sitting in his cell he knows that Placid is fallen into the lake; he foresees the accident to the builders and sends a warning to them; in spirit and some kind of real presence he is with the monks "eating and refreshing themselves" on their journey, with his friend Valentinian on his way to the monastery, with the monk taking a present from the nuns, with the new community in Terracina. Throughout St. Gregory's narrative he is always the same quiet, gentle, dignified, strong, peace-loving man who by the subtle power of sympathy becomes the centre of the lives and interests of all about him. We see him with his monks in the church, at their reading, sometimes in the fields, but more commonly in his cell, where frequent messengers find him "weeping silently in his prayers", and in the night hours standing at "the window of his cell in the tower, offering up his prayers to God"; and often, as Totila found him, sitting outside the door of his cell, or "before the gate of the monastery reading a book". He has given his own portrait in his ideal picture of an abbot (Rule, 64):


It beseemeth the abbot to be ever doing some good for his brethren rather than to be presiding over them. He must, therefore, be learned in the law of God, that he may know whence to bring forth things new and old; he must be chaste, sober, and merciful, ever preferring mercy to justice, that he himself may obtain mercy. Let him hate sin and love the brethren. And even in his corrections, let him act with prudence, and not go too far, lest while he seeketh too eagerly to scrape off the rust, the vessel be broken. Let him keep his own frailty ever before his eyes, and remember that the bruised reed must not be broken. And by this we do not mean that he should suffer vices to grow up; but that prudently and with charity he should cut them off, in the way he shall see best for each, as we have already said; and let him study rather to be loved than feared. Let him not be violent nor over anxious, not exacting nor obstinate, not jealous nor prone to suspicion, or else he will never be at rest. In all his commands, whether spiritual or temporal, let him be prudent and considerate. In the works which he imposeth let him be discreet and moderate, bearing in mind the discretion of holy Jacob, when he said: 'If I cause my flocks to be overdriven, they will all perish in one day'. Taking, then, such testimonies as are borne by these and the like words to discretion, the mother of virtues, let him so temper all things, that the strong may have something to strive after, and the weak nothing at which to take alarm.

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Anne, Therese, I love You; Save Souls!

Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)

Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori

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Prayer to obtain the grace of a devout life. St Thomas Aquinas.


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What has been happening at Tacloban City, Philippines

A quick post before I do work.


Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Anne, Therese, I love You; Save Souls

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Seven Last Words of Jesus & Some Thoughts


said Jesus to the Filiae Jerusalem 
with His Cross, bearing heavily on His most precious, yet bruised and scourged body,
on His Way to Mount Calvary

The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, Mount of Olives

somewhere beyond the Kidron Valley, 
on the western slope of the Mount of Olives, Gethsemane 
(gath shemani: "oil press")

hematidrosis, hemorrhagia percutem: an excretion of blood or blood pigments in the sweat. (Stedman's Medical Dictionary)

- writing for this blog post is still underway (during period of Lent) ... -
- material taken from various sources ... one of which: The Crucifixion of Jesus: A Forensic Inquiry, Second Edition by Frederick Zugibe M.D., Ph.D - 

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Anne, Therese; I love You; Save Souls

Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)

Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori

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Friday, March 07, 2014

St Thomas Aquinas


The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false.
-Saint Thomas Aquinas
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March 7 is the Feast Day of Dearest Saint Thomas Aquinas! Patron Saint of Students, the Angelic Doctor


The patron of all scientists, St Albertus Magnus (St Albert the Great) once said this of St Thomas Aquinas, 

"We call Br. Thomas the Dumb Ox! But I tell you that one day he will make his bellowing (loud voice), heard through the whole world!"


Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.
-Saint Thomas Aquinas
Here's a little more about St. Thomas Aquinas:
J.M.J.
St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274)
St. Thomas Aquinas was born in 1225, in the Castle of Rocca Secca, high up in the mountains near the town of Aquinas, in Italy. His Father was Count of Aquinas and his Mother was Countess.
Before St. Thomas was born, a holy hermit known as Buono, went to the Castle of Rocca Secca and made a great prophecy to his Mother. While speaking to the Countess he pointed to a picture of St. Dominic, saying, "Lady be glad, for you are about to have a son whom you will call Thomas. You and your husband will think of making him a monk in the Abbey of Mount Cassino (Benedictines), where lies the founder, St. Benedict, in the hopes that your son will attain to its honours and wealth. But God has disposed otherwise, because he will become a Friar of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans). And so great will be his learning and sanctity, that there will not be found in the whole world, another person like him!"

Countess Theodora was amazed at the prophecy and falling on her knees exclaimed, "I am most unworthy of bearing such a son, but God's will be done according to His good pleasure!"


A few miles to the south of Rocca Secca, stands the Abbey of Mount Cassino. From the age of five to about the age of thirteen, Thomas went to school there. The Benedictine Monks liked his modest, sweet and gentle nature. They realized that Thomas had special talents and virtues, and encouraged his Father to send him to University.
Thomas was brought home from Mount Cassino for a short vacation, before going to University. At home Thomas did not become spoiled, because the Monks had trained him well. He remained the same gentle boy: serious, studious, and prayerful. His greatest delight was to give alms to the poor. He even gave his own food to the poor! The Countess feared that Thomas might loose his innocence at University but his Father thought differently, and sent him to the University of Naples. His only joy was study and prayer. He really wanted to become a saint and longed to give himself more completely to God. Gradually the desire grew in his heart, to join the Dominicans. As soon the Count heard about his son's plans, he commanded Thomas to put the idea out of his head. But Thomas had his mind made up to do the Holy Will of God, so one day when he was seventeen, he took the habit in the Dominican Monastery of Naples.


His Mother used tears, promises and threats, to make her son leave the Dominicans but Thomas had made up his mind to remain in the Order. He was then imprisoned in one of the castle towers, where he had to suffer cold and hunger, and had to do without many things. Thomas was kept a prisoner for over one year, and during this time, he memorized the whole Bible as well as the four books of the "Sentences", (Theological textbook of the time).

When Thomas' two brothers came home from the army, they decided to teach their brother a lesson. They sent an evil woman into the tower to tempt him towards sin! But Thomas grabbed a piece of burning wood from the fireplace, and drove the wicked woman from the tower. He then traced a cross upon the wall with the burning wood and kneeling down, begged God to grant him the gift of Purity until his death. Suddenly, Thomas went into ecstasy! Two Angels appeared and tied a cord tightly around his waist saying, "We have come from God to give you this cord of Chastity and God has heard your prayer. God has granted you the gift of Purity until your death!" This cord, which was worn by St. Thomas until his death, is now kept as a relic, in the Monastery of Chieri in Piedmont, Italy.

After a year or two passed, the Pope and Emperor learned about Thomas. They were very displeased at the way he had been treated. At last the Countess became more merciful. The Dominicans came to rescue Thomas, and one of his sisters helped him to escape by letting him down in a basket, from the tower. In 1244, the General of the Dominican Order took Thomas to Cologne, Germany, where St. Albert Magnus was teaching. Thomas gave full attention to his studies, seeking to learn all he could for the greater honour and glory of God. He even went without sleep, in order to have more time to study his books. Because of his humility, St. Thomas hid his learning from others. But one day St. Albert found a paper that Thomas had written, explaining the answer to a very difficult question. The next day, Albert asked Thomas some questions in public and then exclaimed, "We call Br. Thomas the Dumb Ox! But I tell you that one day he will make his bellowing (loud voice), heard through the whole world!" In 1245, St. Albert went to the University of Paris, to obtain the Degree of Doctor, taking St. Thomas along as his companion. They set out on foot and in time reached the Dominican Monastery of St. James, in Paris. Here, St. Thomas became the model of the whole Monastery because of his deep Humility, his Spirit of Prayer, his perfect Obedience, and his great Charity. Heavenly grace glowed from St. Thomas, and some said they only had to look at him to become more fervent!

In Paris, St. Thomas met another holy monk known now as St. Bonaventure, who was a Franciscan. They studied together for three years and became the closest of friends. They both obtained the Degree of Bachelor of Theology in 1248.In November 1248, Albert went back to Cologne and took St. Thomas with him.

Thomas became a teacher under the direction of St. Albert, and the new school in Cologne soon overflowed with students. Thomas always used these five basic ideals, when he was teaching; (1) Clearness (2) Brevity {Short} (3) Utility {Useful} (4) Sweetness (5) Maturity {Complete}.

Soon after his return to Cologne, Thomas became a priest. He became yet closer to the good God, and spent many hours of the day and night, praying in Church. He loved God so much, that he would shed many tears while saying Holy Mass. In 1252, St. Thomas was ordered by the General Chapter (special meeting) to go to Paris to obtain his degree as a Doctor. In those days, one had to be at least thirty-five to teach Theology, but his learning was so extraordinary, that he was allowed to be a Professor at twenty-five. When he was in Paris, his success in teaching was so great, that crowds of people came to the Monastery of St. James to hear him. Later on St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure were asked to defend the truths of the Faith in the Papal Courts, because someone had written a heretical book. They were victorious and on October 23, 1257, both monks received their Doctor's degree.St. Thomas taught in Rome for a while and in 1269, he went to Paris to teach. 

At the time, here was a disagreement among the Doctors at the University, about the Holy Eucharist. They presented their questions to Thomas. After praying for a long time about the question, he wrote his opinion on paper. In great Humility he brought it to the Church and laid it on the Altar of the Blessed Sacrament. Thomas then prayed, "Lord Jesus, Who art truly present and who works wonders in the adorable Sacrament, I beg Thee, if I have written the truth, please enable me to teach it. But if some of the things I have written are not true, then please do not allow me to talk about it."Then the Monks who were watching, saw Our Lord Himself come down and stand upon the written paper, They heard Jesus say these words: "Thomas, thou hast written well concerning the Sacrament of My Body." St. Thomas suddenly went into ecstasy! His soul was filled with joy and he floated in the air, eighteen inches above the ground! 

In 1271, St. Thomas returned to Italy and began to teach in Rome. During the following Holy Week he preached in St. Peter's on the Passion of Our Lord, and those who heard him were moved to tears, and cried until Easter Sunday. And at Easter, a miracle took place when a sick woman kissed the hem of his mantle, and was immediately cured! The whole soul of St. Thomas was filled with love for the Holy Eucharist. He only wanted God, and one day as he was praying at Naples after he had finished writing the first part of the Summa, Jesus spoke from the Crucifix: "Thou hast written well of me, what recompense dost thou desire?" Thomas humbly answered, "None other than Thyself, O Lord." He wished to continue having Our Lord, as his greatest love forever! One of his fellow Dominican's once asked him, what he considered to be the greatest gift that God had given him after Sanctifying grace itself. After a few moments St. Thomas replied: "I think that of having understood whatever I have read." He had an ability to remember all that he heard, so that his mind was like a well stocked library. On December 6, 1273, St. Thomas stopped writing. That day while saying Mass, he went into ecstasy and received a revelation. Fr. Reginald urged Thomas to continue to write, but he replied, "The end of my labours is come. All that I have written appears to me as so much straw, after the secrets that have been revealed to me! I hope in the Mercy of God that the end of my life may soon follow the end of my labours." He wanted to give himself entirely to God and prayer. St. Thomas was suffering from some illness, when he was ordered by Pope Gregory X to attend the General Council at Lyons, France. The purpose of the Council was to unite the Greek and Latin Churches. So on January 28, 1274, Thomas set out with some of his Dominican Brothers. On the way his condition became much worse, and he was taken to the home of his niece. However, the Cistercian Monks of Fossa Nuova urged Thomas to come to their Monastery. Upon arrival at the Monastery, St. Thomas went straight to the Church, to adore Jesus. Thomas was very ill for a month. During this time, the monks were very kind to him. There was no hope for the holy monk to get better, so he made his General Confession. He then received the Last Rites and when Holy Communion was brought to him, tears came to his eyes as he made this Profession of Faith. "I firmly believe Jesus Christ, True God and True Man, Son of God and Son of the Virgin Mary, is in this Sacrament. I receive Thee the price of my Redemption, for whose love I have watched, studied and laboured, preached and taught." He died a little after midnight March 7, 1274.

The things that we love tell us what we are.
-Saint Thomas Aquinas
SUMMARY:
The teaching in philosophy and theology as developed by St. Thomas Aquinas is called Thomism. His philosophy is known as Scholastic philosophy. St. Thomas had a special talent for bringing together human knowledge from the best of sources that had gone before him. Using human reason, this saint helped the Church come to profound conclusions as to understanding in greater depth the true faith of the Church. He teaches us all this necessity to love the truth, to seek it and to put it into practices. Holiness in the mind of St. Thomas was nothing other than the love of God put into practice. In other words, the living out of the reality or truth that we have to come to learn. While faith is a free gift of God, nevertheless faith and reason are two different ways of realizing the knowledge of truth. By using reasoning correctly, we can arrive at a greater understanding of the true faith given us by God. St. Without a correct use of reason, such as shown us by St. Thomas Aquinas, members of the Church can become confused as to what is true faith. Thomas Aquinas did much for the Church, and his work is still of great value today. The authority of the Church exercised by Popes and Church Councils has repeatedly stated that the clear principles of St. Thomas, which give us a solid grasp of both faith and reality, should be what guides us in the education and formation of students.

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A short video: of a beautiful plan (which is on it's way to fruition), a beautiful Seminary.

It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.

-Saint Thomas Aquinas

A Prayer to Obtain the Grace of a Devout Life by Sancte Thomas Aquinas


A Prayer to Obtain the Grace of A Devout Life

Grant me, O merciful God, to desire eagerly, to investigate prudently, to acknowledge sincerely, and to fulfil perfectly those things that are pleasing to Thee, to the praise and glory of Thy holy Name.

Do Thou, my God, order my life; and grant that I may know what Thou wilt have me to do; and give me to fulfil it as is fitting and profitable to my soul.

Grant me, O Lord, my God, the grace not to faint either in prosperity or adversity, that I be not unduly lifted up by the one, nor unduly cast down by the other. Let me neither rejoice nor grieve at anything, save what either leads to Thee or leads away from Thee. Let me not desire to please anyone, nor fear to displease anyone save only Thee.

Let all things that pass away seem vile in my eyes, and let all things that are eternal be dear to me. Let me tire of that joy which is without Thee, neither permit me to desire anything that is outside Thee. Let me find joy in labour that is for Thee; and let all repose that is without Thee be tiresome to me.

Give me, my God, the grace to direct my heart towards Thee, and to grieve contiually at my failures, together with a firm purpose of amendment.

O Lord, my God, make me obedient without gainsaying, poor without despondency, chaste without stain, patient without murmuring, humble without pretense, cheerful without dissipation, serious without undue heaviness, active without instability, fearful of Thee without abjectness, truthgul without double-dealing, devoted to good works without presumption, ready to correct my neighbour without arrogance, and to edify him by word and example, without hypocrisy.

Give me, Lord God, a watchful heart which shall be distracted from Thee by no vain thoughts; give me a generous heart which shall not be drawn downward by any unworthy affection; give me an upright heart which shall not be led astray by any perverse intention; give me a stout heart which shall not be crushed by any hardship; give me a free heart which shall not be claimed as its own by any unregulated affection.

Bestow upon me, O Lord my God, an understanding that knows Thee, diligence in seeking Thee, wisdom in finding Thee, a way of life that is pleasing to Thee, perseverance that faithfully waits for Thee, and confidence that I shall embrace Thee at the last. Grant that I may be chastised here by penance, that I may make good use of Thy gifts in this life by Thy grace, and that I may partake of Thy joys in the glory of heaven: Who livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen.

(St. Thomas Aquinas)

An indulgence of 3 years once a day.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, provided that the daily recitation of this prayer be continued for a month (S.C. Ind., Jan.17, 1888; S.P.Ap., July 31,1936).


Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.
-Saint Thomas Aquinas, Commentary, I Metaphysics, lect. 3
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Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Anne, Therese, I love You; Save Souls;
Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)
Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori.

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Domine Deus meus, adjuva me. Mater Dei, adjuva me. Spiritus quidem promptus est, caro autem infirma.

" If God causes you to suffer much, it is a sign that He has great designs for you and that He certainly intends to make you a saint. And if you wish to become a great saint, entreat Him yourself to give you much opportunity for suffering; for there is no wood better to kindle the fire of holy love than that of the Cross, which Christ used for His own great sacrifice of boundless charity." 


- Saint Ignatius of Loyola - 

Domine Deus meus, cor meum, adjuva me
Mater Dei, usque ad proximum Cor Jesu, adjuva me, ora pro nobis.

Spiritus quidem promptus est, caro autem infirma...
Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. 

Multis gratias to S.M.I. & S.M.C. & many many many others.

Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori.

Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Anne, Therese, I love You; Save Souls!

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Thursday, February 06, 2014

Book Review (to be): Vatican Encounter!

I know the title of this post says book review ... so I must have had least read the book ... but ... I only wish I have the time to read this book! ah!!! 


*peering through the big pile of the daily grind, work and marking together with our little one in tow...* ... I WILL FIND THE TIME

This book is a rare interview between Archbishop Lefebvre and a Dutch Catholic journalist in 1976. It covers everything from the Archbishop’s family background in Northern France to the veneration of the Senegalese people for their bishop and his anti-liberal interdict on the Island of Fadiouth. It includes the courageous attacks made by the Archbishop at the Council, as well as his letter of 1966, one year after the Council. It also features the story of Ecône, the dreary days of of the apostolic visitors, and the accusations and sanctions against the seminary. Yet, beyond the wonderful details of the book are underlined the vital principles which animated the founder of the Society of St. Pius X - the same principles which all its members hold as definitive and non-negotiable. This work reveals a striking characteristic of the man, a mind and heart deeply at peace in the thick of pressure:
I am not worried. God is almighty; what appears insurmountable to us is only a little thing in his eyes. If my work is God’s work, God will preserve it and make it serve the Church for the salvation of souls."

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