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Tag Archives: Catholics

HAIL, THOU WHO MAN’S REDEEMER ART (HYMN)

HAIL, THOU WHO MAN’S REDEEMER ART (HYMN)

Hail, thou who man’s Redeemer art,

Jesu, the joy of every heart;

Great Maker of the world’s wide frame,

And purest love’s delight and flame:

 

What nameless mercy thee o’ercame,

To bear our load of sin and shame?

For guiltless, thou thy life didst give,

That sinful erring man might live.

 

The realms of woe are forced by thee,

Its captives from their chains set free;

And thou, amid thy ransomed train,

At God’s right hand dost victor reign.

 

Let mercy sweet with thee prevail,

To cure the wounds we now bewail;

Oh, bless us with thy holy sight,

And fill us with eternal light.

 

Our guide, our way to heavenly rest,

Be thou the aim of every breast;

Be thou the soother of our tears,

Our sweet reward in endless years.

Amen.

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TWELVE STEPS OF SILENCE – SILENCE OF THE IMAGINATION

Step 1: Speak seldom with creatures and often with God

Step 2: Silence in work, in movements

THE TWELVE DEGREES OF SILENCE

Step 3: Silence of the imagination

This faculty is the first which knocks at the Spouse’s garden; inexplicable disturbances accompany it, vague impressions, sadness. But in this secluded place, the soul will give to the Beloved proofs of her love. She will present the beauty of Heaven, the charms of her Lord, the scenes of Calvary and the perfections of her God to this faculty that cannot be annihilated. Then she will also rest in silence, she will be the silent handmaid of Divine Love.

Step 4: Silence of the memory

Silence of the past… forgetfulness. It is necessary to saturate this faculty with the remembrance of the mercies of God… It is gratitude in silence. It is the silence of thanksgiving.

Next chapter

– From: The Twelve Degrees of Silence, Supplemento am.n.2/2008 di “De Vita Contemplativa”

 

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MILLIONS OF EVIL SPIRITS ROAM ABOUT THE WORLD AND EXERCISE TREMENDOUS INFLUENCE OVER WORLD EVENTS

St Michael, Archangel, Helper and Defender of Christians

“Besides the protection which the glorious Archangel Michael extends to the Church at large, he is also the protector of every individual Christian and of all Christian nations . How fortunate we are in having so powerful an advocate! Surely, never so urgently as in the present time have Catholics needed St Michael’s help to remain steadfast in their Faith. Unbelief has carried its insolence to the very limit and boldly proclaims that there is no God . Blasphemy against Jesus Christ, against His mysteries and His doctrines has increased in the most frightful manner. It is our duty to be faithful Catholics, to confess our Faith openly and energetically and to preserve a glowing, invincible love for Jesus Christ.

When Satan rises to seduce us…

St Michael is the conqueror of Satan . Under his leadership, let us unfurl everywhere the banner of the Catholic Faith and have no fear of godlessness . In a thousand secret ways, Satan plots and wars against God and tries to usurp His throne. Let us keep the kingdom of our heart firmly closed against him, that he may never reign therein by sin. When the spirit of darkness incites us to thoughts of pride or rebellion, let us answer him with St Michael: “Who is like unto God? ” Who am I – a creature of dust and ashes, the fleeting phantom of an hour – in comparison to God?

When Satan tries to seduce us to commit this or that sin; when in alluring pictures he presents to us the pleasures and attractions of this world; when he promises us honours, riches, happiness , on condition that we break a Commandment , omit a good work, or commit an evil deed; when he tempts us to give way to murmuring and impatience and to find fault with the inscrutable ways of Divine Providence; when the siren song of sinful pleasures sounds in our ears, filling our hearts with unholy longings and crowding our imagination with forbidden sights and scenes; then let us ever oppose the tempter with the same energetic words: ‘Who is like unto God?’

Our whole life is a continuous temptation

‘Our whole life,’ says St Bernard, ‘is a continuous temptation.’ He drew this truth from Holy Scripture. We have to battle against foes who are mighty in power, cruel in their vengefulness, fearsome in their craftiness, countless in their number, tireless in their persecutions. There are spirits who deal blows without being seen , who intrude everywhere, who see everything that we do, while remaining invisible to us. And they battle with weak persons who wander in darkness, on slippery paths, surrounded by frightful abysses . With furious rage these many enemies have sworn to avenge themselves upon us, because God has called us to occupy the thrones left vacant by them. They are bent upon the eternal ruin of our souls.

The number of the demons is incredible. St Anthony of the Desert (251-356) said repeatedly that millions of evil spirits were roaming about the world. And the influence which these evil spirits exercise over world events is tremendous. Yet we need not despair, because St Michael is a defender more powerful by far than the spirits of darkness. In the prayer of the Church we daily ask him to ‘cast into Hell Satan and the other evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.’

Prayer of exorcism to St Michael

Viewing the world situation in the spirit of faith, we cannot deny that the great evils which now afflict the world will never be amended without prayer and penance. Yet even Catholics have lost sight of this truth. They pray for the cure of the sick, for success in their undertakings and for many other personal intentions – but not enough, or not at all, for the cessation of the prevailing moral evils which mean triumph for Satan and attack on the Church and ruin for souls. The Prayer to St Michael deserves to be taken to the hearts of all Catholics and recited by them frequently, and even daily. It is a prayer particularly applicable to our times and to all Christendom.”

– From “Neath St. Michael’s Shield” (links added afterwards)

 

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“TRYING TO BALANCE THE PRESSURES OF FAMILY AND POLITICAL LIFE, IT IS UNDERSTANDABLE THAT JOHN F. KENNEDY’S ROSARY SHOULD SHOW SUCH WEAR AND TEAR”

BEFORE THE TIMES OF CATHOLIC TV, THE BISHOP RECITED THE ROSARY OVER THE RADIO INSTEAD, SO THAT FAMILIES COULD JOIN IN PRAYER.

“Whilst Catholics don’t normally approve of the sale of relics, there has been huge interest in the news that an American auction house is planning to sell President John F. Kennedy’s personal rosary beads, just ahead of the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas…

THE ONLY NON-PROTESTANT PRESIDENT

Kennedy was the only non-Protestant president. During campaigns and while in office, he often attended Mass with his special assistant, David F. Powers… A letter of provenance, written by Power’s son, David Powers, comes with the items to explain their origins: ‘My father was David F. Powers, the Special Assistant to President John F. Kennedy and Curator at the Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston. Many consider my father to have been President Kennedy’s best friend and confidant.

They campaigned together from 1946 to 1963, and travelled the world together on presidential visits. During their travels, they frequently attended Mass… My father was in the fateful motorcade in Dallas, right behind President Kennedy’s vehicle. I can imagine that reflecting with these rosary beads gave my father comfort in the years after the President’s death…

THE AUCTION HOUSE’S EXPLANATION OF THE USE OF A ROSARY:

‘While rosaries were made with myriad different materials, it was common for Catholics of high status to have them made of finer materials, such as the sterling silver and black onyx (one of the more common choices for men, due to its masculine appearance).

Though one would not get his or her own rosary engraved, it was common for upper-class Catholics to do so when giving it as a gift; with Jackie’s known penchant for personalising meaningful pieces that she gave her husband, and with her undeniable eye for the finest modern styles, it is likely that this was a gift to Kennedy from his wife.

During Kennedy’s time, the rosary was a major part of Catholic practice. It was used in family life, highly encouraged by the Kennedy’s close friend Archbishop Richard Cushing, who recited it over the radio so that families could gather at home and join in prayer; in personal life, with the rosary carried at all times as a reminder to pray; and in community life, as most Catholics would silently pray the rosary during Latin Mass, when they could not follow the priest’s words.’ The auction house also notes…: ‘trying to balance family life with the pressures of political life, it is understandable that this rosary should show such wear, with the sterling heavily rubbed and the onyx beads slightly chipped… It holds incredible significance in its signs of daily use and its representation of the faith that carried him through life.’

A SECOND SET OF ROSARY BEADS KENNEDY USED ARE IN CO. WEXFORD, IRELAND

But stories about JFK’s rosary are nothing new. Back in 2010, whilst making a documentary on the life of JFK, RTE presenter Ryan Tubridy made the dramatic claim that the rosary beads that were in the late President John F. Kennedy’s pocket when he was shot in Dallas, Texas, in 1963 were given to his Irish relatives in County Wexford by the president’s wife Jackie. President Kennedy visited the Kennedy homestead in Dunganstown near New Ross on his June 1963 state visit after two earlier low-profile trips to Ireland.

According to Tubridy, the presence of JFK’s rosary beads in the house where his great grandfather Patrick Kennedy was born reflected his deep attachment to Ireland, and the importance of his Wexford ancestral home to the American President. ‘Jacqueline felt they belonged to the President’s ancestral home in Ireland,’ said Tubridy. ‘To this day in the house which is run by Patrick Grennan, they have this extraordinary memento.’…

The president’s late brother Robert, who was assassinated in June 1968, died with a rosary in his hands, which had been given to him by hotel employee Juan Romero moments after he had been fatally shot whilst leaving a conference via the back kitchens of the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles.”
– These are excerpts of an article published in “The Catholic Universe” issue Sunday 20th October 2013. For subscriptions please visit http://www.thecatholicuniverse.com (external link).

 
 

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THE INTERNET IS MISSIONARY TERRITORY WE ARE ALL CALLED TO EVANGELISE

CREATING ‘SACRED SPACE IN CYBERSPACE’

“This time last year there were approximately 2.4 billion people using the internet – about twice as many as there are Catholics in the world. The rapid growth of the online networks we know as the internet, and the ever increasing number of hypertext documents we call the world wide web, affect us all. More and more services, from shopping to government, are delivered via the internet; more and more information is accessed via the web. Add to this the explosion of social media such as Facebook and Twitter and you can see how interconnected the world has become in a very short space of time.

THE INTERNET IS ESSENTIALLY CHAOTIC

The internet is essentially chaotic. It is supranational, and the norms governing its operation are not always or everywhere enforcable by law. Here in the West we have established certain protocols regarding the mechanics of such things as domain names, but individual countries, indeed individual persons, can often flout them at will. More importantly, there is very little that can be done to ensure that the uses to which the internet is put are always ‘good’ or constructive.

WE MOVE UNEASILY BETWEEN ‘FREEDOM OF SPEECH’ AND ‘CONTROL’

We may smile when North Korea turns the internet on and off; we do not smile so readily when terrorists post their gruesome videos or people post malicious or libellous remarks about others. Even in a country such as Britain, we move uneasily between ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘control’. There has been widespread revulsion at some of the appalling remarks made on Twitter/blogs/online newspaper comments sections by people who should know better, but still we are reluctant to have any policing of the internet by the state.

The easy availability of pornography troubles many, yet we are curiously accepting the way it intrudes into our lives. The current FBrape campaign, which is trying to stop Facebook allowing degrading photographs of women, has highlighted the fact that a corporation can determine what is ‘acceptable’ without reference to any objective standards. Thus, you may be unlucky enough to find that when you click on the page of a well-known company, the advertisements and other related material running down the side contain images you would not want to see even in your worst nightmares.

DIGITAL CURRENCIES AND MONEY LAUNDERING

Recently, digital currencies have been in the headlines. These are not currencies backed by any government, but they are real in a sense that they can be used to buy and sell over the internet, and some people have been investing in them as a hedge against the woes besetting many world economies. The revelation that Liberty Reserve, based in Costa Rica, has been a vehicle for multi-billion pound money laundering comes as no surprise. Drugs, prostitution and cybercrime will always find a way of processing ill-gotten gains, and what better way than through an online bank which is not subject to the usual regulatory controls? At the time of writing, 17 countries are separately taking legal action, but the fact that each must act individually is in itself measure of our lack of any effective scrutiny.

THE INTERNET IS MISSIONARY TERRITORY WE ARE ALL CALLED TO EVANGELISE

The internet has not yet come of age. It is still in its adolescent phase, when everything is possible and everything seems equally attractive. That is why it is supremely important that the Church should do some long, hard thinking about how we translate our traditional values into the cybersphere. It is not enough that we tweet and blog and podcast, make cool apps or whatever. These things are merely one aspect of what we do online.

Technology will go on advancing, bringing more and more capabilities within the grasp of even the most technologically-challenged of us, but how we use the technology, what we use it for, is still largely unexplored. For many years I have argued that we should see the internet as sacred space, as much subject to divine law as any other. Internet activity needs prayer and reflection but, if it is to be fruitful, for ourselves and for others, it also needs to be expressed in ways that take account of what already exists.

We must speak the language of our times, but we must also help to form that language by the values and ideals we bring to it. That means you and me and every Catholic online. The internet is missionary territory we are all called to evangelise.”
– This article headed “We must create sacred space in cyberspace” by Catherine Wybourne [capital subtitles added afterwards] was published in “The Catholic Universe”, issue Sunday 9th June, 2013. For subscriptions, please visit http://www.thecatholicuniverse.com (external link)

 

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PRAYER FOR THE INTERCESSION OF THE ENGLISH MARTYRS

THE ENGLISH MARTYRS, FEAST DAY: MAY 4th

On this day in 1535 there died at Tyburn three Carthusian monks, the first of many English men and women martyred for the Catholic Faith during the Reformation. Of these martyrs, two hundred and eighty four have been canonised or declared blessed, but the number of those who died or suffered harsh persecution for their faith between 1535 and 1680 cannot now be reckoned. They came from every walk of life and are remembered for the example they gave of constancy of faith, and courage in the face of persecution.

PRAYER:

Almighty God,
who in our country raised up martyrs
from every walk of life
to vindicate the authority of your Church
in teaching and worship,
grant through their intercession, we pray,
that all our people may be gathered once again
to celebrate the same sacraments
under the one Shepherd, Jesus Christ your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

 

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SOMETHING HUMOROUS WITH A GRAIN OF WISDOM: “A CONCLUSION DUE TO PREVIOUS BAD EXPERIENCES”

Some years ago, as I pulled my rental car into the parking lot of the Catholic parish where I would be giving a lecture that evening, I glanced up at the large, non-denominational Protestant church standing prominently on a nearby hill. What caught my eye was a large banner stretched across its facade that read in big, bold letters: GUILT SHOW.

“GUILT show? What’s a guilt show?” I asked myself, puzzled by the enigmatic message. It didn’t take long, though, before I had figured it out. Those Protestants up there on that hill were mocking Catholics, I reasoned indignantly. The folks who attend this parish have to see that banner every time they come to Mass. Why else would it be so prominently displayed?

“Guilt show” must obviously express those people’s disdain for the Catholic sacrament of confession. After all, those Protestants believe in the doctrine of eternal security: “once saved, always saved”. In other words, that “true Christians” cannot lose their salvation. They regard the Catholic emphasis on guilt and confession and examining one’s conscience to be wrong and unbiblical. So I was certain that that’s what the banner meant. Clearly, those Protestants up on the hill were mocking Catholics! I asked the parish secretary what she thought it meant. “Oh, I never really noticed it,” she said. But when I explained what I thought it meant, a look of dismay crossed her face. It had never occurred to her that the next-door neighbours up the hill might be making fun of her and her fellow Catholics.

I decided to “take the bull by the horns” and call the Protestant church to ask them directly about the banner. “Hi, I’m from out of town,” I told the friendly receptionist who answered the phone, “and I am curious about the banner you have out front. What does “guilt show” mean? Is it intended to be some kind of message for Catholics?” “Guilt show?” she asked, befuddled by my question. She paused for a moment and then said, “Oh, you mean the QUILT show banner,” she chuckled. “Yes, we’re hosting a quilt show here next weekend and everyone’s invited.”

Boy, did I feel stupid. Sheepishly, I explained that the banner must have been folded a little – just enough to make the “Q” in “quilt” look like a “G” as in “guilt”. She said she’d have the janitor smooth it out so it would read properly. I thanked her and hung up, ashamed of myself for having so quickly jumped to the (totally erroneous) conclusion that “those Protestants” up on their hill were taunting Catholics. In my haste to account for the banner I had assumed ill-will on their part, concluding without any evidence that their motives were dishonourable.

I had done, albeit in a minor way, exactly what Jesus tells us not to do: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matt 7:1-5).

The memory of that incident has never left me. Ever since, whenever I have been tempted to assume the worst of others based solely on appearances, or impute bad motives to someone who disagrees with me, or judge other people’s hearts, I think of that banner. Maybe God intended it to read GUILT SHOW, just for me. After all, it showed me I had something in my eye. –
This article by Patrick Madrid was published in “Messenger of Saint Anthony”, January 2013 issue. Contact for subscriptions etc.: “Messenger of Saint Anthony”, Basilica del Santo, via Orto Botanico 11, 35123 Padua, Italy.

 
 

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