Sunday, August 14, 2005

A Fond Farewell...


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


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


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!"


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

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. "


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


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"


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


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