Wednesday, May 8, 2019

A sad day "under the earth"


Today is a Sad Day

for the Powers of Darkness


     Today we celebrate the Apparition, in 492, of St. Michael the Archangel on Monte Gargano, Italy, which was and is, in some places, a feast day of the Archangel. (This feast was in the universal calendar of the Roman Rite until 1960.)

     On this day in 1429, St. Joan of Arc won her first victory. She had specifically, clearly and concretely prophesied it: Orleans was liberated. The Archangel was her spiritual and also military advisor.

     On this day in 1668, Blessed Catherine of Saint Augustine fell asleep in the Lord in Québec. She was in her life, and is now in glory, a powerful foe against the evil spirits. She is a Mother of the Church in Canada. Today is her liturgical celebration in Canada and elsewhere.

     On this day, in 1786, St. Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney, the holy Curé of Ars was born. He snatched many “big fish” away from the powers of darkness. The demons were so angry with him that they even lit his bed on fire one night (with the permission of Providence, obviously)


A Litany for Today:

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.

Christ hear us. Christ graciously hear us.

God, the Father of heaven,                 have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world             have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit,                           have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, one God,                                   have mercy on us.

Holy Mary,                                         pray for us.

Holy Mother of God,                                      "

Holy Virgin of virgins,                                               "

St. Michael                                                     "

All you holy angels                                        "

St. Jochaim and St. Anne                                           "

St. Joseph                                                       "

St. John the Baptist                                         "

St. Peter and St. Paul                                      " 

St. Catherine of Alexandria                            "

St. Margaret of Antioch                                 "

St. Joan of Arc                                                "

Blessed Catherine of Saint Augustine            "

St. John-Mary Vianney                                  "

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,

       spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,

       graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,

       have mercy on us.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.

That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

G RANT, we beseech You, O Lord God,

that we, Your servants,

may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body;

and by the intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin,

of St. Michael the Archangel,

and of all the angels and saints,

may be delivered from present sorrow,

and obtain eternal joy.

Through Christ our Lord.


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Wednesday, Week 3, January 30, 2019

Some Notes on Today's Gospel ‎ 1. ‎Since it is absolutely certain that "God wills all human beings to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth" the reference to seeing but not understanding and not being forgiven refers to the bad dispositions of some moral men who do not want to understand because they do not want to repent. ‎2. The Gospel of Mark is Mark's transmission of the Gospel as preached by the Apostle Peter. Or, more likely, it is the translation into Greek of a Hebrew original written by Peter. A sign of Peter's humility: the boat belonged to him, but he doesn't mention it. 3. No one is by nature, or through mere human virtue, "good soil". Only divine grace can make us ready to receive the seed of the word of God and then bear supernatural good fruit.  4. In the parable, the evil spirits are compared to birds eating seed. Perhaps to fix this image in our hearts, we could watch Alfred Hitchcock's movie "The Birds", or think of birds that we regard as somewhat of a nuisance like... Canada Geese. 5.. Excessive desires, which may even be legitimate, within due limits, can choke the effect of the word of God and of grace. 6. For the word to bear fruit, as the nature of the "message of truth" demand,s requires that the word be understood.‎

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Back again, with today's Gospel

How today’s Gospel should be translated: Mark 3:31-35 Revised Standard Version (RSV) with corrections The True Kindred of Jesus 31 And his mother and his kinfolk came; and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting about him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your kinfolk are outside, asking for you.” 33 And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.” This text gives a clue that it is not originally written in Greek, but translated into Greek from Aramaic or, more likely, Hebrew. It does not have the paragraph long, logically and elegantly composed sentences. Rather it has short uncomplicated sentences, typical of Hebrew. So it is fitting and reasonable to observe that Aramaic and Hebrew do not have a specific word “brother” as opposed to “cousin”, but rather a word that covers both, which we have given as “kinfolk”. Hebrew can of course communicate our “brother” by specifying that the person was born of the same mother as me, and “cousin” by stating born of my mother’s kinswoman. “Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Whoever does God’s will, whoever “does the truth in charity” is a child of God through Faith. So they are brothers and sisters of the Lord Jesus. But “mother”? Yes. Who ever “does God’s will” is a living branch on the true Vine, Jesus Christ. They are a “good tree” that produces “good fruit”. Thus they bring about that, or contribute to the rebirth of others into the supernatural life of a regenerated child of God. So they are “mothers”. All of us believers can carry out this good work by prayer. We should pray for the conversion and eternal salvation of all “poor sinners” and all “poor unbelievers”.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Monday, December 21, 2015

Prayer to the Angel who comforted our Lord

St Luke tells us that an angel was sent by the Eternal Father to strengthen and comfort our Saviour in the Garden of Olives, in his Agony. The Servant of God, Bernardino of Portogruaro, composed a prayer, which was endorsed by the Holy See, by the granting of an indulgence.
« The one who had the task of consoling the Head in his Agony, received also the power and the mission of consoling the members [of Christ, ourselves] when they are in pain, and above all in agony. Test this out and you will see that devotion to the Consoling Angel of Jesus, will be immensely precious to you during your life and at the hour of your death.»

Hail, holy Angel, Consoler of my Agonizing Jesus, and I praise with you the Most Holy Trinity, for having chosen you among all the angels, to comfort and strengthen Him, who is the consolation and strength of all the afflicted. I beg you, for the sake of the honour you received, and the humility, obedience and affection with which you helped the Holy humanity of my Saviour Jesus, who fell under the weight of the view of the sins of the world, and especially mine, to obtain for me perfect contrition for all my faults, deign to console me in my distress which weighs on me today, and during all others which will come to me in the future, and especially in my last agony. Amen.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Thursday, October 1, 2015

An Awesome Miracle of the Scapular receives Providential Confirmatrion

I love miracles. I mean real ones, such as those approved by ecclesiastical authority. But there is something that impresses me even more. You see, God is almighty. “God can do all that he wills to do: he is the all-powerful one” (“Catechism of Pope Saint Pius X”) and He watches over all things, great and small: “God takes care of created things and exercises providence over them; he preserves them in existence and directs all of them toward their own proper purposes with infinite wisdom, goodness and justice” (same Catechism).

Miracles are exercises of divine power which can over rule the ordinary workings of the natural world any time He wants. (Sorry certain prissy philosophers and theologians, but the Lawmaker is above His laws of the created order. I am not talking about moral goodness. God, for example, can neither deceive nor be deceived.)

But when God makes something happen providentially, using free human choices, and other factors, so that it comes about just so, this is very impressive. When he has arranged the whole universe so that certain things freely happen, we don’t have a miracle, but a “sign for the Faithful”.

* * *

About twenty years ago I was preaching a public novena to prepare for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, at the Carmelite nuns’ monastery in Buffalo, NY. One night, I decided, was “miracles of the Scapular night”. But there was one miracle which, though I had read about it in a reliable book, it just seemed to be too much, too over the top. But finally I decided to recount it:


At the beginning of the twentieth century, in Ashtabula, Ohio, a man was run over by a train, and cut in half. This would normally be fatal, you must admit. But he stayed alive, and conscious for 45 minutes, until a priest arrived to give him the Last Sacraments. Then he died. He was wearing the Brown Scapular.

He benefitted from the promise of Our Lady, “whoever dies in this clothed in this, will not suffer eternal fire”, that is, they will be saved.

When the Mass was over I heard confessions, and finally it was time to drive back to Canada. I started my car, and backed out of the driveway of the monastery. There was no traffic. I came to a stop sign and turned left. Another stop sign at Hertel Avenue. I turned right and stopped at a red light. Here I encountered by first car. I looked at it without much interest. Then my eyes fell on its licence plate, from the State of Ohio. And then I gasped. The license plate frame said “Ashtabula, Ohio”.

“Well, its all just chance”. Really? I would at any moment have noticed such a thing, and yet it never came to pass. I mean, “Ashtabula” is a name that has stuck with me because of this story. But for it to happen on the day and at the first possible moment... I think I am right in seeing it as a confirming sign of the truth of the story of the man in Ashtabula.

Now, if I only knew more. What was his name? When, exactly, did this happen...