Sunday, August 14, 2005

A Fond Farewell...

+JMJ+

Today is the big day. I do not often make prayer requests via the blog, but now would seem to be an appropriate time to ask for prayers both for myself and my novice class. Today, I am off to the Jesuit novitiate in Grand Coteau, LA. Unfortunately, it looks as though I will not be able to continue writing here, as our novice master is concerned that it would take away from our formation as Jesuits. I would tend to agree with his concern, and even if I didn't, I would still respect his opinion with obedience.

If it happens that this is still up and running by the end of the novitiate (2 yrs.), I may come back if fj'll have me. At any rate, perhaps she can post up an update or two on my progress, as she gets them. I have most definitely enjoyed myself here, and spouting off my many and varied opinions. God willing, in two years time I'll be saying these words:

Almighty and eternal God, I understand how unworthy I am in Your Divine sight.
Yet I am strenghthened by Your infinite compassionand mercy,
and I am moved by the desire to serve You.
I vow to Your Divine Majesty,
before the most holy Virgin Mary and the entire heavenly court,
perpetual poverty, chastity, and obedience
in the Society of Jesus.
I promise that I will enter this same Society to spend my life in it forever.
I understand all these things according to the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus.

Therefore, by Your boundless goodness and mercy
and through the Blood of Jesus Christ,
I humbly ask that You judge this total commitment of myself acceptable;
and, as You have freely given me
the desire to make this offering,
so also may You give me the abundant grace to fulfill it.

St. Ignatius de Loyola, patron of Jesuits and founder of the Society, pray for us.
St. Stanislaus Kostka, patron of Jesuit novices, pray for us.
Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ and of us all, pray for us.

+Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam+

"I prefer the servants of God to stand out in virtue rather than in number, and to be distinguished more by deeds than by an honorable name."
-St. Ignatius de Loyola, SJ

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Simply Silly

+JMJ+

There's nothing quite so good as some really good jokes, especially involving the Jesuits. All funny, and all in good taste, but of course. My two favorites:
  • Definition- JESUITS: An order of priests known for their ability to found colleges with good basketball teams. (from "A Catholic Dictionary")
  • The Franciscans, Dominicans, and Jesuits were having a big meeting that went well into the middle of the night. Suddenly all the lights went out in the meeting room. The Franciscans immediately took out their guitars and sang songs, and the Dominicans lept upon the tables and began preaching. The Jesuits went to the basement, found the fuse box and reset the breaker.

Classics, really.

+Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam+

In lieu of a quote, I'm going to put up another joke, told to me by one of my librarians:

"A famous philosopher was taking an airplane to a conference. The steward came up to him and asked the philosopher if he would like any tea. The philosopher responded "I think not." and -POOF- he dissapeared."

Friday, August 12, 2005

Essential Ethics

+JMJ+

Recently, a friend of mine was complaining that one of her main hang-ups with the Church is the complexity of the moral law, and that once she started to just relax and not worry about what the Church said, life got easier.

Far from it, the ethics of the Church, in my humble opinion, is perhaps among the simplest around, theoretically. It is the practical application that gets you. But then again, given how many possible moral situations exist, that should not surprise anybody.

What it all boils down to is an imitation of Christ, a constant struggle to perfect ourselves according to Him.

Aquinas (he always gets mentioned, doesn't he?) said in his wonderfully short and simple devotional The Ways of God that we ought to perform every act as though the whole of our salvation hinged on it.

Now, of course, the controversy lies in the implications of all this. For guidance, I would say that three things need to be known.

1) The Decalouge (aka "The 10 Commandments")- The basis of the law given to Moses by God, this is important because it is this same law that Christ fulfilled. Also, when you consider that an exposition of the commandments constitutes an entire section of the CCC, you do get the impression they might be important.

2) The Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7) Were I to reduce my list of three to only one, it would probably be this. In here is the Beatitudes, Golden Rule, the parable of the Narrow Gate (why, yes, it would seem that Jesus did in fact speak of people going to Hell for doing bad things. Imagine that!) and other classics that remind us that avoiding sin is just the start of the good life.

3) The 7 Virtues (Cardinal and Theological)
  1. Prudence-the virtue St. Thomas called "right reason in action", it is the cornerstone of all other virtues. It is also fairly fitting that the Church G.K. Chesterton called frequently a bulwark of common sense would have this as the base of all other virtues.
  2. Justice-giving to those what is their rightful due, such as obedience to authority, respect to humans, and love to God before others. It is the root of true peace, which St. Augustine felt was our highest good.
  3. Temperance-a moderation of desire, essential to any sort of self-control
  4. Fortitude-courage, basically. A patient endurance of adversity.
  5. Faith-of the three theological virtues, St. Thomas divided them up into two categories in his Summa. The virtues that originate in the intellect, and those that originate in the will. Faith was the only of the three that he felt came from the intellect. It is an intellectual assent that there are some truths beyond the grasp of human reason, and although the exact why's and wherefore's are not known, the fact that they exist is not doubted with this virtue.
  6. Hope- Here, I will give the description used by the CCC, as it is a far better description then I could ever give: "Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness."
  7. Charity-the pinnacle and summation of all virtues, it can be summed up as 'love ordered rightly'. There's more to love than saying everything is good, and more to piety than saying everything is bad. You love what you should love, and hate what you should hate. And love, for those who think it may be a mushy feeling or something beyond your control, is defined by the Catechism (1766), who took their definition from Aquinas (S.Th. I-II.xxvi.4), who in turn took his definition from Aristotle (Rhetoric, II.iv), that "To love is to will the good of another." That would also be why it is a virtue. It is not typically considered virtuous to do something which we have no control over doing. It is when we have a choice between two things and choose to do the good thing that we are called virtuous.

For further guidance, of course, turning to the Church (and good ol' common sense) is recommended, but any Christian armed with those three things should do pretty well in the "good behavior" department. Additional Church teachings on this matter are not confusing the issue, but rather clarifying definitively the meanings and implications of these virtues in our everyday lives. What we must do is clear, how to do it is not always so easy this side of paradise.

+Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam+

"There is no moral precept that does not have something inconvenient about it."
-Denis Diderot

"My Name...Is Neo!"

+JMJ+

A little while back, I first came across a piece by Fr. Joseph O'Leary about a group he referred to as "neo-Caths", short, I suppose, for "neo-Catholics". I have never heard this term before, but having read his description, I think I am able to offer a better description of this
group.

The neo-Catholic is anything but that, really. They come from a long and proud line, a 2000 year long line, to be precise.

They are people who love the sacred liturgy at the mass, who view it as an encounter with God, and wish to see its music and ritual be different from anything found in the world. For many, this means a use of Latin througout the liturgy, for others, just having music such as Gregorian chant will do. If nothing else, performances of the hokey-pokey during the consecration of the Eucharist done in order to remind people that mass is really "what it's all about" are quite frowned upon.

Passionately in love with the Church, they eagerly accept any and all of her teachings. They defend her with equal vigor against those who reject the Second Vatican Council and those who reject every other council.

Because they love these teachings, they wish to understand them with a greater depth, and turn to the great teachers such as St. Ignatius of Antioch, Augustine, Aquinas, and the popes and bishops througout the ages, to name but a very few. They wish also to pass this instruction on to the next generation, and feel strongly about giving young Catholics the best possible education in their faith.

They seek to comprehend how a Church which has given such perfect teachings has also come to be associated with decidedly imperfect actions, and probably find a succinct explanation in the proverb "God writes straight with crooked lines."

And last but certainly not least, following the example of G.K. Chesterton, the art of apologetics is not just a thing of spiritual edification in their hands. It is very much a form of entertainment as well.

These are the "neo-Caths", and I am one of them.

+Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam+

"In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress."
-John Adams

WYD indulgence!

"For what is believed to be the first time in WYD history, the Vatican announced this week that people who “attentively and devotedly participate” in any of the WYD events are eligible to receive a plenary indulgence. "

Awsome!

I love waking up to good music. This morning was no exception, and there was a song I hadn't heard in a very long time on the radio- I'll leave you with this:

May the bird of Paradise fly up your nose,
May an elephant caress you with its toes...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Google!

Well, thanks Google, and "Howdy" to all of ya'll who found us by searching for:

"anglorite," "eucharistic synod," "justin daffron sj," "fiorenza AND pallium," "catechism pretest" and "spritual photo's of Jesus Christ." I'm not too sure why we came up with the last search, hmmm.

I'm not sure what you expecting, "Paraclete St. Augustine mathematicians sun moon" person, but you are welcome, too.

and last but not least,

"shot in the back by a storm trooper."

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Remember that WYD Band?

Remember that WYD band?

It seems they were misquoted.

Monday, August 08, 2005

"Silver and Gold Have I None"

+JMJ+

One of the other interesting questions I got from family concerned the fact that the bishops and other high clergy seem to live quite well, particularly Pope Benedict. They were curious as to how they squared this with their vow of poverty.

Well, the first part of the answer is that diocesan priests do not take a vow of poverty, so technically they wouldn't have to worry about such things.

That being said, they should still live in a simple manner, and be generous with what they have. However, one thing that most people fail to keep in mind is that, like it or not, bishops, cardinals, and the Pope are leaders of the community, either local or universal as the case may be. That being said, they will need to meet with other leaders, both local and international, in order to carry out some of their duties. They need to continually advise the leaders and urge them to make moral decisions, and need to do what they can as well to see to it that their flock is safeguarded. Because they need to interact with secular leaders (as well as leaders of other religions), they need to a) have the means to recieve and host them, should they come and b) have the means to go to the leaders in order to present the views of the Church, argue them, advise the leaders, or whatever else needs to be done. To do this, they need something of a nice place, and a travel budget.

Should some of them perhaps live a little less extravagantly? Yes. But many, such as Cardinal Dulles do it quite well. Archbishop Sean O'Malley, of the Capuchins, has also done a good job, selling the former bishop's residence for a simpler, though still adequate, place.

+Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam+

"The most overlooked advantage to owning a computer is that if they foul up there's no law against wacking them around a little." (Amen to that!)
-Joe Martin

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Vow Number Two

+JMJ+

While I was out on vacation, I did get a few questions from family about a) the priesthood in general and b) the Church in general. One of the questions that I was asked was about a particular vow I'll be taking, and my opinon of it. It wasn't poverty. My family has had its share of college students. Nor was it obedience. I've got an incredible amount of family members in the U.S. Navy, so they're good with that. Nor was it the fourth vow particular to Jesuits, that of special obedience to the pope. Evidently not a lot of people know that one exists. Nope, it was the other vow. Yep, chastity.

Darling and obsession of American society, our vow of chastity (or to be more specific, its implications for preists and religious) seems to fly right in the face of everything our culture tells us: sex is a very good thing which is in fact the fulfillment of your being. You have an innate right and duty to have as much of it as possible, and should excercise this right frequently in order to be "normal".

So, my opinion of priestly/religious celibacy? I like it. Members of religious orders should definitely keep it. The community life that they live is usually a key aspect of the spirituality or mission of the order. More often than not, either the order is very big on living with fellow members, mostly monastic orders such as Benedictines and Augustinians, or they are very active and either do or may have to travel frequently in the course of their ministry, like mendicant orders such as the Dominicans and Fransicans. For the Jesuits, it's very much both.

As for diocesan priests, I really doubt they would have time to do all that they do, be as available as they are, and still run a parish if they were to be married. The (now former) pastor of St. Mary's in College Station, Fr. Mike, was usually up by 6:30-6:45 to lead a group in lauds, and was busy working/praying until 10 or 11 at night. I think that were he married and keeping a schedule like that, he would very quickly find himself with a broken marriage, possibly a divorce.

Certainly, many theologians far smarter than I have written at length on the Biblical basis and justifications, and as I don't think I have anything to add of particular value in that arena, I won't.

So while I say that the Church could theoretically change this rule if it wanted to, I don't necessarily think it is a very prudent idea, and so far as I know, neither does anyone in the Church. I am fairly sure I can speak for just about everyone when I say: please, keep us celibate!

+Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam+

"It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important."
-Martin Luther King, jr

Friday, August 05, 2005

First Friday

+JMJ+

As it is the first friday of the month of August, I thought I'd post up the Promises of the Sacred Heart again.

1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
2. I will give peace in their families.
3. I will console them in all their troubles.
4. They shall find in my Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.
5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
6. Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
9. I will bless the homes in which the image of my Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored.
10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in my Heart and it shall never be effaced.
12. The All-Powerful Love of my Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving the Sacraments; my Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.

+Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam+

"The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the modest are near to virtue."
-Confucius, The Confucian Analects

Thursday, August 04, 2005

WYD Band is certainly NOT Catholic

I'm thinking things I probably shouldn't say, so I'm afraid you won't get my full opinion on this :). The word "livid" may be a good start...

Santiago, Aug. 04, 2005 ( CNA ) - In an interview with a popular music website in Chile, the Christian rock band from Argentina, Rescate, which boasts of being “the only Hispanic artists that will participate in the closing concert for the XX World Youth Day,” criticized Pope Benedict XVI, who will be the central figure at the celebrations in Cologne, Germany.

The 8-member rock band told the Chilean website “Musica123” that the group seeks “to spread the message of Jesus in a language that is understandable to every person.” In the interview granted during their first visit to Chile, the band said, “Personally, we don’t think the Pope is God’s representative on earth. Jesus came to do away with any intermediary between God and man, and therefore we have a direct relationship with Him.”

“To me the Pope’s strength is more political than spiritual,” said vocalist and band leader Ulises Eyherabide. “This Pope, who is so orthodox, so rigid and not very ecumenical in eyes of some, could turn out to be a surprise because of how he might be forced to change due to political situations from which he cannot escape.” “Replacing John Paul II obviously has more of a political than a spiritual significance,” he added.


I really want to know who invited these guys- really really want to know. I won't be suprised if, upon saying something like that at WYD, they would be boo'd off the stage. Honestly, I'd like that.

I'd expect that the bands preforming at WYD would be compromised of Catholic bands. Even if they are not Catholic, they certainly should not be insult our Holy Father when asked to entertain for us!

I Love Books!

+JMJ+

I really enjoy books. When I was in grade school, I was the nerd who would be reading during lunch instead of talking to others. When I stand in line at the post office or anything of that nature, I have a book with me. I recall the last time I was at Disney World, I had with me Shakespeare's The Scottish Play-y'know, the one about the dude who shall remain nameless that killed a king on the advice of three witches- both to read and to memorize, as I almost played the part of the aforementioned dude. I may not be doing theatre, but I still honor the traditions (go figure!). Memorizing the "Is this a dagger I see before me?" soliloquy as I stand in line for "It's a Small World After All" is a very fond and interesting memory (and perhaps an explanation to my peculiarities).

So when I see a list such as this, I get very, very curious. It is a list of the top 100 books published in the 20th century. Below are the ones that I have read. Not very many, I'm afraid. I've never been much for 20th century literature-if you want to call it that.


The Power and the Glory
by Graham Greene- a must for any seminarian, in my humble opinion. It is one of the few books I will be taking along with me to the novitiate.

The Aubrey/Maturin Novels by Patrick O'Brian- that's 20 books, actually, and I have only read the first one, Master and Commander. Pretty good, although my first loyalty as far as naval literary heroes will always be the intrepid Captain Horatio Hornblower. Why he did not make the list is a mystery to me.

Jacob Have I Loved
by Katherine Paterson-It has been too long since I've read it (6th grade) to give a good review, but I remember liking it, and was thinking about it just the other day. Wonders never cease.

+Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam+

"A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author."
-G.K. Chesterton

UPDATE
: Goodness, where are my manners? You'd think I was a Yankee, from what I just did (sorry, Seeker)! Nod to Sr. Marianne Lorraine Trouve (also in Boston) over at Open Wide the Doors for Christ for the link.

Fr. Ratzinger could use extra prayers

"ROME -- Pope Benedict XVI's older brother, the Rev. Georg Ratzinger, had a pacemaker implanted because of an irregular heartbeat and is recovering well, the Vatican said Thursday.
After being diagnosed, Ratzinger was outfitted with a pacemaker, which regulates the heartbeat, the spokesman said. Ratzinger's postoperative recovery was "satisfactory," and he was expected to be released soon from Gemelli, Navarro-Valls said."

Support Your Local Pastor!

+JMJ+

Today, among other things, is the feast day of St. John Vianney. What makes him special and worth pointing out (besides the fact that he's got his day in the Breviary, which is good in itself) is that he is the patron of priests. Believing, as I do, the axiom that there is no such thing as a bad priest, just one that needs to be prayed for, take a bit of time today to pray for your parish priest, or perhaps one who's less than orthodox methods (we'll be charitable) annoy or infuriate you.

+Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam+

"No doubt the mur'drous knife was dull and blunt
'Till it was whetted on they stone-heard heart."
-"Queen Elizabeth", Richard III IV:iv:227-228

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Susan Torres Update

+JMJ+
A while back, I put up a post on Susan Torres, who was being kept alive on life support until she gave birth to her baby. This from the e-mail update that I get:
Susan Torres gave birth at 8:18 am on Tuesday, August 2, 2005 to Susan Anne
Catherine Torres. The baby weighs 1 pound 13 ounces and measures 13 ½ inches long.There were no complications during delivery. The baby is doing well and is being monitored in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Virginia Hospital Center.
God be praised! It was also felt that since there was no hope of recovery, that Susan be taken off the respirator and other life-support equipment, and she passed away shortly after the delivery.
Holy Mary, Mother of our Lord, pray for us.
Saint Agnes, patroness of young girls, pray for us.

+Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam+
"It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust."
-Samuel Johnson

Ninja

Beware, for The Ninja may one day cross your path...

Monday, August 01, 2005

My Own Dark and Stormy Night...

+JMJ+

Down at Jimmy Akin's blog, a contest has been initiated along the lines of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, to find who can write the worst opening line for a novel. My own entry:

That cinammon scent eminating from the kitchen of his murder victim (or was it coming from the victim herself? "So hard to gage these things accurately!", the ruthless, bloodthirsty, and utterly depraved, yet still vaguely sensitive and caring, killer said to himself) reminded him of his mother, who also smelt of cinnamon.

The sad part is, were I to show that sentence to the American population, a significant number would probably think that I had just crafted one of the deepest and most complex characters in the history of literature. This would be why I tend to avoid books on best seller lists like the plague. For all such people out there, I have but two words: Aristotle's Poetics.

+Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam+

"Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months."
-Oscar Wilde