Friday, January 16, 2009

The King-Martyr, Louis, by the grace of God

January 21, besides being the feasts of St. Agnes, virgin and martyr, and St. Meinrad, monk and martyr, is the commemoration of the murder of King Louis XVI, the king-martyr, and savior of the American Revolution. The evil deed of evil me was 215 years ago: January 21, 1793. The more I study that whole period and the lives of the principal players, the more I come to see that the French Revolution was one of the most satanic events in human history. It has produced nothing but evil in its wake and the world still suffers from it. The noble king Louis, and his sainted wife, Marie Antoinette of Austria, are the most maligned persons that I have ever encountered. Almost everything that popular culture believes about them are, and were, malicious lies, the monstrosity thereof unfathomable. I truly believe that the king and queen are in the ranks of the martyr saints, and deserve our veneration and admiration. Louis' support for the American Revolution, albeit a totally political act to embarrass Britain, bankrupted France while it rocketed our nation to freedom. In so doing, the evil "thinkers" of France found their opportunity to create the first political holocaust of modern times. God save the king! Holy Louis, pray for us.

This is vocations awareness week

Have you noticed how often the call for freedom is made without ever referring to the truth of the human person? Some today argue that respect for freedom of the individual makes it wrong to seek truth, including the truth about what is good. In some circles to speak of truth is seen as controversial or divisive, and consequently best kept in the private sphere. And in truth’s place – or better said its absence – an idea has spread which, in giving value to everything indiscriminately, claims to assure freedom and to liberate conscience. This we call relativism. But what purpose has a “freedom” which, in disregarding truth, pursues what is false or wrong? How many young people have been offered a hand which in the name of freedom or experience has led them to addiction, to moral or intellectual confusion, to hurt, to a loss of self-respect, even to despair and so tragically and sadly to the taking of their own life? Dear friends, truth is not an imposition. Nor is it simply a set of rules. It is a discovery of the One who never fails us; the One whom we can always trust. In seeking truth we come to live by belief because ultimately truth is a person: Jesus Christ. That is why authentic freedom is not an opting out. It is an opting in; nothing less than letting go of self and allowing oneself to be drawn into Christ’s very being for others (cf. Spe Salvi, 28).
Saint Joseph Seminary, Yonkers, New YorkSaturday, 19 April 2008

Sts. Maur and Placid

Yesterday, the 15th of January, was the feast of Sts. Maur(us) and Placid(us), companions and students of St. Benedict. They had joined up with him in their youth, and became, in tradition, the quintessential disciples of the Master. The picture at the left, by Filipo Lippi at Monte Oliveto Maggiore (the home office of the Olivetan branch of the Benedictine family), shows St. Benedict telling Maur that Placid was drowning and that he should go pull him out of the water. St. Gregory, in his Dialogs, where this event is narrated, says that the obedience of Maur was so perfect that he hastened to the lake and, walking on the water, pulled Placid to safety. He doesn't explain why they all had to wear choir dress for this undertaking, but I suppose that was simply the artist's way of depicting them.
Legend says that Maur went to France and founded a monastery there. Placid and his companions were martyred in Sicily by the perfidious Mohammedan infidels.

Collect: Lord our God, you have filled us with wonder by the example of monastic observance in the lives of blessed Maurus and Placid. As we follow in their footsteps, may we come to share in their reward. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen.

If you can watch through all of this, you have more control than I do

Monday, January 12, 2009

From Epiphany to Ordinary

With the Feast of the Lord's Baptism we move from the Christmas-Epiphany liturgical cycle to the weeks of "ordinary time." These are so-called because they are ordered from week one to week 33. They are interrupted by the Lent-Easter cycle that begins with Ash Wednesday. In the Liturgy of the Hours, we begin week 1 today. (Baptism of the Lord is in the Advent-Christmas book.)
I am planning to teach on the sacred liturgy and liturgical music during these Sundays before Lent. During Lent, our "Tuesdays in Lent" series will be on basic Catholic Apologetics which I am going to teach. I get requests for this every now and then so I thought that this year it would be a good thing to do.
Someone sent me the very nice 3-d-like image of my coat of arms that I've added to this post. It shows a nice way to make a flat-2-dimensional rendering into something with more zip. I'm not sure who sent it to me, though, as I opened it here in my house, and the name doesn't ring a bell with others in my address book. An old friend or an anonymous admirer? We'll see.
Butch and Brice are resting this afternoon after spending yesterday evening and this morning visiting their friends. I wish Brice would get over all the chewing up of stuff. Butch out-grew it, I'm still waiting for little Brice.
It's in the 50's and cold, but quite sunny here in old El Dorado today. I've been invited to someone's home for dinner this evening. I need to start on my garden soon.