A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Monday, May 31, 2004

Be clothed with humility

All of you, be subject one to another,
and be clothed with humility:
for "God resists the proud,
and gives grace to the humble."
Humble yourselves therefore
under the mighty hand of God,
that he may exalt you in due time:
Cast all your cares upon him;
for he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:5b-7

The law of the LORD is perfect,

reviving the soul:
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple.

The statutes of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart:
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes.

The fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring for ever:
the judgments of the LORD are true
and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold,
yes, than much fine gold:
sweeter also than honey
and the honeycomb.

Moreover, by them is Your servant warned:
and in keeping of them there is great reward.
Who can understand his errors?
cleanse me from secret faults.

Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me:
then shall I be upright,
and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth,
and the meditation of my heart,
be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Psalm 19:7-14

Everyone rejoices

In the readings for today’s Feast of the Visitation, everyone rejoices: the prophet Zephaniah rejoices, Israel rejoices, St. Elizabeth rejoices, St. John the Baptist rejoices while still in his mother’s womb, and the most Blessed Mother Mary rejoices.

Why do they rejoice? Because they are aware of the very real and very intimate presence of God.

Why do we not rejoice? Because we are not so aware: we are thinking of something else, looking at something else, listening to something else.

We need to stop, to set aside our worries and those things we think important in our day-to-day world, to look, to listen, and to be aware of the very real and very intimate presence of God.

The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love…

Zephaniah 3:17

The Magnificent Magnificat

Et Maria dixit,
Magnificat anima mea Dominum,
et exultavit spiritus meus in Deo salvatore meo,
quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae.
Ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes,
quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est,
et sanctum nomen eius,
et misericordia eius in progenies et progenies
timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo,
dispersit superbos mente cordi sui;
deposuit potentes de sede
et exaltavit humiles;
esurientes implevit bonis
et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum,
recordatus misericordiae,
sicut locutus est ad patres nostros,
Abraham et semini eius in saecula.

And Mary said,
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
My spirit rejoices in God my savior,
For He has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

Behold, from this day, all generations shall call me blessed.
He who is mighty has done great things for me
and holy is His name;
and His mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear Him.

He has shown the strength of his arm;
He has scattered
those who in their hearts thought themselves lofty;
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones
And has lifted up the lowly;
He has filled the hungry with good things
and the rich He has sent away empty.

He has helped Israel His servant,
remembering His mercy,
just as he said to our fathers,
to Abraham and his offspring forever.

Luke 1:46-55

The child in the womb

When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting,
the child leaped in her womb;
and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit:
And she shouted out with a loud voice, and said,
Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For behold,
as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears,
the child in my womb leaped for joy.
Luke 1:41-44

Say "No" to abortion.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Did you say "unconscious" or "un-conscience?"

“Let your conscience be your guide,” people used to say.
Today, some people use “conscience” as their earplugs.

Also, when some people say “my conscience,”
what they really mean is “my convenience.”

May God give us all the courage
to listen to the voice of Jesus,
not the enticements of the world,
and to follow informed consciences
beyond our conveniences.

The Holy Father's Homily on the Vigil of Pentecost

"Thanks to the Charismatic Movement, many Christians, men and women, youths and adults, have rediscovered Pentecost as a living and present reality in their daily life. I desire that the spirituality of Pentecost be spread in the Church, as a renewed thrust of prayer, holiness, communion and proclamation."

An exemplary atheist?

A recent news story mentioned a Methodist woman whose 16-year-old daughter professes atheism because religion “constrains people.”

How many other people are there whose self-described atheism really seems to be just adolescent rebellion?

God bless them and all of us.

"Brüder - überm Sternenzelt
Muß ein lieber Vater wohnen
Friedrich Schiller und Ludwig van Beethoven

Come, Creator, Spirit

Veni Creator Spiritus,
Mentes tuorum visita,
Imple superna gratia,
Quae tu creasti, pectora.

Qui diceris Paraclitus,
Altissimi donum Dei,
Fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
Et spiritalis unctio.

Tu septiformis munere,
Digitus Paternae dexterae,
Tu rite promissum Patris,
Sermone ditans guttura.

Accende lumen sensibus,
Infunde amorem cordibus,
Infirma nostri corpis
Virtute firmans perpeti.

Hostem repellas longius,
Pacemque dones protinus;
Ductore sic te praevio,
Vitemus omne noxium.

Per te sciamus da Patrem
Noscamus atque Filium;
Teque utri usque Spiritum
Credamus omni tempore.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
Et Filio, qui a mortuis
Surrexit, ac Paraclito
In sacculorum saecula.

Come, Creator, Spirit,
Visit the minds that are Yours.
Fill with heavenly grace
The hearts You created.

You who are called the Paraclete,
Gift of God Most High,
Living Spring, Fire, Love,
And Spiritual Anointing.

You sevenfold gifts give,
Finger of God's right hand;
You, clear promise of the Father,
The tongue empower.

Kindle a light in our minds.
Pour love in our hearts.
Our weak bodies
Make firm with Your unfailing strength.

Drive our foe far away.
And give us peace always
Lead in such a way that
We may avoid all things despicable.

Through You, may we know the Father
And know also the Son,
And You, the Spirit of them both
May we believe at all times.

To God the Father be glory
And to the Son, who from death
Rose, and to the Paraclete
For Ages of Ages.

Pray for it

Many talk about the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit and we see these gifts manifested powerfully in the Pentecost account from the Acts of the Apostles: not just the gift of speaking in tongues, but the gift of interpretation of tongues, as the bystanders hear in their native languages about “the mighty acts of God.”

As wonderful as these gifts are, however, we should not overlook the more ordinary gifts of that same Holy Spirit.

Consider interpretation of tongues. This does not happen only in spectacular charismatic events. I humbly submit that it happens all the time: that out of what objectively might be considered gibberish or baby talk, a person hears and understands a powerful message from the Lord.

Remember this
the next time you are listening to a really poor sermon
and pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

What are we focusing on?

For those who live according to the flesh
focus on the things of the flesh;
but those who live according to the Spirit
the things of the Spirit.
To focus on the flesh is death,
but to focus on the Spirit is life and peace.
Because the mind focused on the flesh is against God:
it does not submit to God's law, nor can it.
So then those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit,
if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ,
does not belong to Him.
But if Christ is in you,
the body is dead because of sin,
the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
If the Spirit of Him who raised up Jesus from the dead
dwells in you,
then He who raised up Christ from the dead
will also give life to your mortal bodies
by His Spirit that dwells in you.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are debtors,
not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh,
you shall die:
but if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the body,
you shall live.

Romans 8:5-13

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Where are they now?

Today's readings remind me of those "Where are they now?" features that summarize what's happened to once-famous people who've slipped from public view.

Both readings are the ends of their books, the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of John. Both end with narratives focusing on Apostles: in Acts, it's Paul; in John's Gospel, it's that unnamed Apostle everyone surmises to be... John.

Both inspire the question, what happened to that Apostle? In fact, it's in the Gospel passage: "Lord, what about him?"

Both readings give the same answer: they preached the Good News; they "taught about the Lord Jesus Christ;" they testified "to these things."

That summarized their lives perfectly.

Does that summarize our lives?

Shouldn't it?

Catholic and enjoying it!

Mark Shea, a convert to Catholicism, has a rambunctious blog. Never at a loss for words, he does not always consider with scrupulous care everything that he says (nor do I always do that perfectly), but his heart seems ultimately in the right place.

Not everyone's cup of tea, but a great blog for an energetic and candid exchange of views.

This brings to mind one of the great dangers in the world of blogs, including (ironically) those that speak to matters of faith and morals -- there are too many opportunities for failures of charity. I must confess that I sometimes fail in this as well.

Oremus pro invicem.

Open Book

Amy Welborn is arguably the Queen of Catholic Blogdom. Her posts are generally well-written, not overlong, and stimulate extensive debate among a large group of commenters.

Thrown Back

Father Rob Johansen, a parish priest who is courageous in both words and deeds, publishes his blog under the title "Thrownback" (fashioning a badge of honor out of a pejorative sometimes used against conservatives).

Should he retire?

Some, most recently some in Switzerland (where the Holy Father is visiting soon), have said that the Pope should be required to retire at 75, as every other bishop must.

Personally, I do not favor mandatory retirement ages if there are structures and processes are in place to help make up for the deficiencies that come with advancing age and so protect the common good as well as the dignity of the individual.

The Roman Curia has no shortage of such structures and processes.


Dei Gratia: Daily Thoughts on Catholicism and Church Life

Before I go further, I should point out some of the other blogs that are more worthy than mine, for one or more reasons.

"Dei Gratia: Daily Thoughts on Catholicism and Church Life" is hosted by Joshua LeBlanc - webmaster of Cybercatholics.com - and is devout, humble, and earnest.

A hesitant beginning

It is long past the time when I should have begun this -- a place for me to stand humbly on my own in Cyberspace and gently share my thoughts at the moment when it is right to share them, and not to wait and hide in the shadow of someone else's worthier blog.

May truth, charity, humility, and penitence be my watchwords every time I post.

May I be a useful tool in the hand of God
in the name of Jesus.