26 April 2016

Life of St. Serafim of Sarov

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An animation of the life of Saint Seraphim of Sarov in Russian with English subtitles.  Although this was intended for children, it is a lovely way to introduce Saint Seraphim of Sarov to those who do not know of him.  

Saint Seraphim of Sarov, intercede for us with the Lord our God.

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22 April 2016

St. Cyprian: "The Day of Our Own Struggle"

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Saint Cyprian writes:


"Divine Providence has now prepared us. God's merciful design has warned us that the day of our own struggle, our own contest, is at hand. 


"By that shared love which binds us close together, we are doing all we can to exhort our congregation, to give ourselves unceasingly to fastings, vigils and prayers in common.



"These are the heavenly weapons which give us the strength to stand firm and endure; they are the spiritual defences, the God-given armaments that protect us. Let us then remember one another, united in mind and heart. 



"Let us pray without ceasing, you for us, we for you; by the love we share we shall thus relieve the strain of these great trials."



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15 April 2016

St. Isaac of Nineveh: The Gift of Tears

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Saint Isaac the Syrian writes:

Perpetual tears during prayer 
are a sign of divine mercy 
of which the soul is deemed worthy 
because of her repentance 
which has been accepted: 
and with tears 
she begins to enter the plain of sincerity, 
the plain of purity.

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05 April 2016

Gregg: Regensburg Revisited

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Dr. Samuel Gregg
Dear Reader, today there is an article posted to the internet that is both timely and insightful regarding Pope Benedict's Regensburg lecture of ten years ago. 
        
The article by Dr. Samuel Gregg is a "must read" to my way of thinking, and I commend it to you.  Below you will find the opening paragraphs of the article and then a link taking you to the article itself:


Regensburg Revisited: 
Ten Years Later, A West Still in Denial
April 04, 2016
Dr. Samuel Gregg

Irrationality not only manifests itself in violence 
but also in an inability to apply authentic reason 
to the many pressing challenges of our age.

A decade ago, a 79 year-old soft-spoken, white-haired German theologian returned to visit a university at which he had spent much of his academic career. On such occasions, it’s not unusual for a distinguished professor-emeritus to offer some formal remarks. Such reflections rarely receive much attention, and are often seen as exercises in reminiscing by scholars whose most substantial achievements are behind them.


In this instance, however, the speech delivered at the University of Regensburg on 12 September 2006 by the theologian Joseph Ratzinger, better known as Pope Benedict XVI, had immediate global impact. For weeks, even months afterwards, newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, and even entire books attacked, defended, and analyzed the almost 4,000 words which came to be known as the Regensburg Address. Copies of the text and effigies of its author, however, were also ripped up, trampled on, and publicly burnt throughout the Islamic world. Television screens were dominated by images of enraged Muslim mobs and passionate denunciations by Muslim leaders, most of whom had clearly not read the text.

Also noticeable, however, was the frosty reception accorded to Pope Benedict’s remarks in much of the West. Descriptions such as “provocative,” “ill-timed,” “insensitive,” “un-feeling,” and “undiplomatic” appeared in religious and secular media outlets. Certainly the Pope had plenty of vocal defenders in North America and Europe. Among other things, they suggested that some Muslims’ frenzied reaction to the Regensburg Address proved that Benedict’s gentle query about the place of reason in Islamic belief and practice was dead on-target.

Yet there’s no doubt that Benedict’s words at Regensburg touched a nerve—perhaps even several nerves—in the Western world. For while the Regensburg Address received so much attention because of nine paragraphs in which Benedict analyzed a fourteenth-century exchange between a Byzantine Emperor and his Persian Muslim interlocutor, the text’s primary focus concerned deep problems of faith and reason that characterize the West and Christianity today. And many of these pathologies quickly surface whenever and wherever Islamist terrorism rears its head. They continue to enfeeble the West’s response to people whose acts in locations ranging from Brussels to Paris, Beirut to Jakarta, Jerusalem to San Bernardino, Abuja to London, and Lahore to New York reflect many things, including a particular understanding of the nature of the Divine.

Click here for the entire article at Catholic World Report.

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03 April 2016

Divine Mercy

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Jezu ufam Tobie
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02 April 2016

01 April 2016

Requiescat in Pace

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May Mother Mary Angelica 
 
rest in peace
 
and rise in the Glory 
 
of Jesus Christ
 
Our Living Lord and Saviour.

Amen.

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31 March 2016

Mother Angelica

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It is true that at a very crucial moment in my life I did not lose my way because of Mother Angelica's counsel and prayer for me.  To have been prayed for by Mother Angelica and to have felt her hands upon me as she prayed was one of the greatest moments in my life in this natural world as that time of prayer overflowed with the love and compassion of Jesus for me in my suffering. I simply do not have adequate words to state how much I feel I owe Mother Angelica for her wisdom, her teaching, her joy, and her uncompromising witness to Jesus and His Church.

The following prayer is an old one put it into English and modified by me as a way of asking Saint Mary the Blessed Mother of Jesus to guide Mother Angelica home to Jesus her Belovèd:


                May Mary the most merciful Virgin Mother of God, 
                   kindest comforter of them that mourn, 
                commend to her Divine Son 
                the soul of His bride, Mary Angelica; 
                that, by the maternal intercession of Mary, 
                   the Spouse of the Holy Ghost, 
                this her daughter Mary Angelica 
                may overcome the pains of death and, 
                   with the Blessed Mother as guide, 
                joyfully reach her longed-for home 
                   within the heavenly realm of God the Father 
                   in the arms of Jesus her belovèd Lord and Saviour. Amen.




Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation, pray for us to the Lord.


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28 March 2016

Mother Angelica, pray for us.

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Mother Mary Angelica, pray for us to the Lord.

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Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation

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There is no doubt in my mind that Mother Angelica is one of God's great saints.  I pray that her soul finds perfect respose in the Lord.







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27 March 2016

King's College Choir: Jesus Christ is Risen Today

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Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluya
The Choir of King's College, Cambridge

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Welcome, Happy Morning

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Easter Hymn: Welcome, Happy Morning
St. John's, Detroit
Easter A.D.  2013

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Austin Farrer: Of Heaven and Resurrection

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The following is an excerpt from Austin Farrer's classic Saving Belief :

1. To hope for heaven has nothing particularly selfish about it.  No one ever thought he could keep heaven to himself.

2. Heaven is not a cash payment for walking with God; it's where the road goes.

3. Heaven isn't an optional extra; our belief is nonsense without it.

4. Our reason for believing it isn't that nature points to it, but that it leads us to itself.


http://www.quotehd.com/imagequotes/authors19/tmb/austin-farrer-theologian-quote-christ-does-not-save-us-by-acting-a.jpg
I should like to develop the last point a bit.  Heaven is nothing that created nature produces; it is a new creation.  Two consequences follow from this.  The first is, that we have no interest in trying to isolate a piece of us called 'soul', which tends to outlive the body's collapse.  Our immortality is the new gift of God, not the survival of our old nature, whether in whole or in part.  It was pagan Greeks who talked about immortal soul; and with reason; for (to put it shortly) they thought the human spirit was a piece of godhead, able to guarantee immortal being to itself.  The religion of the Bible teaches no such doctrine.  God alone can give us a future.  It is better, then, to talk about the resurrection of man than about the immortality of 'soul'.  Belief in resurrection is belief not in ourselves, but in God who raises us.  It is in fact the acid test, whether we believe in God or not.  A God who raises the dead is a real power; he is not just a fanciful name for the order of nature, whether physical or moral.  A God so identified with the natural order that he adds nothing to it is difficult to distinguish from the world he rules, or from the laws which govern it.

Old Indian thought evaded the issue by making the cycle of the soul's rebirths a part of nature, like the seasons and the tides.  And as the lazy mind need not distinguish the God of the tides from the tides, neither need it distinguish the cycles of rebirth from the God of the cycles.  But when we realise that man's person, the living image of God, is bound to be sucked down in the whirlpool of decay, unless God rescues it; then faith in God begins to mean something.  It alters the whole picture.


Austin Farrer
Austin Farrer
Saving Belief .
pp. 120-121
Library of Anglican Spirituality, Susan Howatch, ed.

“Born in 1904, the son of a Baptist minister, Austin Farrer was ordained an Anglican priest and served in Oxford as chaplain and fellow of both St Edmund’s Hall and Trinity College before becoming Warden of Keble College, a post he held until his death in 1968. Austin Farrer was a renowned preacher, philosopher and biblical scholar as well as being regarded for his humour, originality, eloquence and deep spirituality. His life was rooted in prayer. He wrote, ‘Prayer and dogma are inseparable. They alone can explain each other’.” — from The Diocese of Oxford, Church of England.
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26 March 2016

Kiri te Kanawa: I know that my Redeemer liveth

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I know that my Redeemer liveth
MESSIAH - Georg Friedrich Händel
Dame Kiri te Kanawa, soprano
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Sir Georg Solti, KBE, conductor

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Contemporary Song: Nicole C. Mullen "My Redeemer Lives"

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My Redeemer Lives” by Nicole C. Mullen
Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning?
And who told the ocean you can only come this far?
And who showed the moon where to hide till evening?
Whose words alone can catch a falling star?

Chorus:
Well I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
All of creation testifies
This life within me cries
I know my Redeemer lives

The very same God
That spins things in orbit
Runs to the weary, the worn and the weak
And the same gentle hands that hold me when I’m broken
They conquered death to bring me victory
Now I know, my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
Let all creation testify
Let this life within me cry
I know
My Redeemer
He lives
To take away my shame
And He lives
Forever I’ll proclaim
That the payment for my sins
Was the precious life He gave
And now He’s alive and
There’s an empty
Grave!
And I know
My Redeemer lives
He lives
I know
My Redeemer lives
Let all creation testify
Let this life within me cry
I know my Redeemer
I know
My Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
I know, that I know, that I know, that I know, that I know
He lives
My redeemer lives
Because He lives I can face tomorrow
He lives
I know, I know
He lives
I spoke with Him this morning!
He lives
The tomb is empty
He lives
He Lives! I’m going to tell everybody!


25 March 2016

Lady Day and Good Friday: 3 Poems by Anglicans

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Reflecting upon Lady Day and Good Friday falling upon the same day, Father Zuhlsdorf included the following on his blog today, 3 poems by Anglican faithful:
It also occurred in the year 1608. That day, the poet John Donne, one of the Metaphysical Poets, penned a magnificent poem.  He contrasts the two experiences of our Lady.
Upon the Annunciation and Passion Falling upon One Day.  1608
Tamely, frail body, abstain today; today
My soul eats twice, Christ hither and away.
She sees Him man, so like God made in this,
That of them both a circle emblem is,
Whose first and last concur; this doubtful day
Of feast or fast, Christ came and went away;
She sees Him nothing twice at once, who’s all;
She sees a Cedar plant itself and fall,
Her Maker put to making, and the head
Of life at once not yet alive yet dead;
She sees at once the virgin mother stay
Reclused at home, public at Golgotha;
Sad and rejoiced she’s seen at once, and seen
At almost fifty and at scarce fifteen;
At once a Son is promised her, and gone;
Gabriel gives Christ to her, He her to John;
Not fully a mother, she’s in orbity,
At once receiver and the legacy;
All this, and all between, this day hath shown,
The abridgement of Christ’s story, which makes one
(As in plain maps, the furthest west is east)
Of the Angels’ Ave and Consummatum est.
How well the Church, God’s court of faculties,
Deals in some times and seldom joining these!
As by the self-fixed Pole we never do
Direct our course, but the next star thereto,
Which shows where the other is and which we say
(Because it strays not far) doth never stray,
So God by His Church, nearest to Him, we know
And stand firm, if we by her motion go;
His Spirit, as His fiery pillar doth
Lead, and His Church, as cloud, to one end both.
This Church, by letting these days join, hath shown
Death and conception in mankind is one:
Or ‘twas in Him the same humility
That He would be a man and leave to be:
Or as creation He had made, as God,
With the last judgment but one period,
His imitating Spouse would join in one
Manhood’s extremes: He shall come, He is gone:
Or as though the least of His pains, deeds, or words,
Would busy a life, she all this day affords;
This treasure then, in gross, my soul uplay,
And in my life retail it every day.
Another poet, George Herbert wrote a poem in Latin reflecting on our life through Christ’s death:
In Natales et Pascha Concurrentes
Cum tu, Christe, cadis, nascor ; mentemque ligavit
Una meam membris horula, teque cruci.
O me disparibus natum cum numine fatis !
Cur mihi das vitam, quam tibi, Christe, negas ?
Quin moriar tecum : vitam, quam negligis ipse,
Accipe; ni talem des, tibi qualis erat.
Hoc mihi legatum tristi si funere praestes,
Christe, duplex fiet mors tua vita mihi :
Atque ubi per te sanctificer natalibus ipsis,
In vitam, et nervos Pascha coaeva fluet.
Christina Rossetti has this:
Good Friday
Christina Rossetti
Am I a stone, and not a sheep,
  That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss,
   And yet not weep?
Not so those women loved
   Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
   Not so the thief was moved;
Not so the Sun and Moon
   Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon –
   I, only I.
Yet give not o’er,
   But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
   And smite a rock.
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Reproaches - José Ángel Lamas

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POPULE MEUS de José Ángel Lamas (1775 1814)
Catedral de Caracas - Venezuela
Ensamble/Orquesta: Camerata Barroca de Caracas 
Isabel Palacios, dir.

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24 March 2016

2 Collects, Palm Sunday & Maundy Thursday

Repost
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I have thought a great deal this last week about the treasury of prayer found in the collects of the Church. They do what most of us would like to do when we pray: address God, confident that He is listening, recalling some aspect of the life of Jesus and the Sacred Scriptures and relating those to a need that we have, and finally offering up the prayer in God's Name and to the Glory of the Holy Trinity. Below are 2 collects I treasure and pray often throughout the year, one for Palm Sunday and the other usually paired with Maundy Thursday in Holy Week and every Thursday each week of the year:


ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O GOD, who in a wonderful Sacrament hast left unto us a memorial of thy passion: Grant us so to reverence the Holy Mysteries of thy Body and Blood, that we may ever know within ourselves the fruit of thy redemption; who livest and reignest with the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.


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Consumed, a film

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Sometimes a film will communicate a truth that cannot be communicated otherwise.  For some reason people in the USA do not seem to understand the danger of Genetically Modified Organisms, but perhaps this film will help take the blinders off for some:







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23 March 2016

O Bread of Heaven, Beneath This Veil

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Holy Mass in the Cathedral of the Most Precious Blood 
of Our Lord Jesus Christ, 
City of Westminster, England, 18 September 2010


O Bread of Heaven
Words: St Alphonsus Liguori
Translation: Rev. E. Vaughan C.SS.R.
Music: Tynemouth - H. F. Hemy
Performed by: Westminster Cathedral Choir


O Bread of Heaven, beneath this veil
Thou dost my very God conceal:
My Jesus, dearest treasure, hail!
I love Thee and, adoring, kneel;
Each loving soul by Thee is fed
With Thine own Self in form of Bread.

O food of life, Thou Who dost give
The pledge of immortality;
I live, no 'tis not I that live;
God gives me life, God lives in me:
He feeds my soul, He guides my ways,
And every grief with joy repays.

O Bond of love that dost unite
The servant to his living Lord;
Could I dare live and not requite
Such love - then death were meet reward:
I cannot live unless to prove
Some love for such unmeasured love.

Beloved Lord, in Heaven above
There, Jesus, Thou awaitest me,
To gaze on Thee with endless love;
Yes, thus I hope, thus shall it be:
For how can He deny me Heaven,
Who here on earth Himself hath given?
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