October 07, 2006

ON OCTOBER 7 A.D. 1571, Christian Europe united to defeat another Muslim invasion.

October 7 is the Church's "Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary", a day originally named "Our Lady of Victory". The Church instituted this memorial to commemorate the anniversary of united Christian Europe's victory against a massive Muslim military invasion. On the day of the decisive "Battle of Lepanto", the Pope had the faithful join him in praying the Rosary.

I posted some of the following information a few weeks ago.

The lands washed by the Mediterranean Sea were all formerly Christian.

Then Islam happened, wiping out most traces of Christianity in the lands on the Southern, Eastern and Northeastern Shores of the Mediterranean ...
... before the Crusades ...
... provoking the Crusades ...
... causing the start of Crusades.

From North Africa, the Muslims invaded Spain in A.D. 711, exterminating, driving the Christians to flee to the northern extremes of Spain. Spain would fight for nearly eight hundred years to retake its land.

From Spain, the Muslim armies advanced into France, reaching as far as Tours and Poitiers in the middle of France. They were, however, defeated there in 732.

The first crusade was not launched until 1095. The last Medieval crusade ended with the defeat of Christian forces about 1290.

In 1453, the Muslims smashed the Christian kingdom at Constantinople, the heart of Eastern Christianity.

ON OCTOBER 7 A.D. 1571 (today is the anniversary), Christian Europe united at Lepanto to defeat yet another Muslim invasion. During the battle, the Pope and the faithful of Rome publicly prayed the Rosary. The commander of the Christian force carried a painted copy of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on board his ship in battle.

Muslim attempts at invasion continued, and in 1683 their attempt to take Vienna, Austria, failed.

several hundred years of Muslim invasions before the Crusades,
and several hundred years of Muslim invasions after the Crusades.

The history of Islam in the West was violent aggression from the very beginning.

The terror continues.

¡Señora de Guadalupe, Señora de la Victoria, Señora del Rosario!
¡Ruega por nosotros!

The Third Luminous Mystery is often mostly obscured

Published guides for praying the Rosary’s “Luminous Mysteries” or “Mysteries of Light” usually give an incomplete description of the third of these mysteries.

They designate it merely as Jesus proclaiming the Kingdom of God.

When Pope John Paul II promulgated the Luminous Mysteries, he wrote that the third of these mysteries is Jesus doing four things, not just one.

Here, in the official English translation, is the description of the Third Luminous Mystery in the words of Pope John Paul II.

Jesus proclaims the coming of the Kingdom of God,

calls to conversion

and forgives the sins of all who draw near to him in humble trust:

the inauguration of that ministry of mercy which he continues to exercise until the end of the world, particularly through the Sacrament of Reconciliation which he has entrusted to his Church.

Accordingly, the Third Luminous Mystery is correctly summed up as follows.

Jesus proclaims the Kingdom of God,
calls to conversion,
forgives sins,
and inaugurates the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Be nice today to Fr. Tim Finigan, pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Blackfen, Kent, England

Pray for him and all the faithful there.

In that church today is a SOLEMNITY.

He has a blog.
Click HERE for it.

October 06, 2006

An online Catholic research library

The library at Catholic Answers
Click HERE for it.

October 05, 2006

Follow me, and I will make you KILLERS of men

MATTHEW 4:18-20
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother,
casting a net into the sea;
for they were
fishermen [Greek "haleeis"].
And he said to them,
"Follow me,
and I will make you
fishers of men" [Greek "haleeis anthropon"].
Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

Fishing kills the fish.

Is that what Jesus has in mind?

That his followers will fish men and thus kill them?

The Gospel of Luke has a different angle.

LUKE 5:10-11
Jesus said to Simon,
"Do not be afraid;
henceforth you
will be catching [Greek "zogron"] men."
And when they had brought their boats to land,
they left everything and followed him.

The Greek "zogron" has "zoe" as its root: Life.

Taking men into LIFE.

October 04, 2006

Dean Soto of Fanatholic.com tagged me in a geography meme.

1. A place you've visited and your favorite thing there.
The hermitage of St. Nicholas of Flue, Switzerland. The location, down in a gorge, has been kept as it was in the saint's day. Unlike other religious pilgrimage sites I've seen in Europe, this one is pristine, undecorated and unmodified. You see and experience the place as the saintly hermit did.

2. A country you'd like to visit and why.
Catalonia. I want to visit the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat. Fellow U.S.A. monks who toured Europe while we were students in Rome always told me that Montserrat was their favorite location both for its physical setting and the personality of the monastic community.

3. A place from history you'd like to visit and why.
Nazareth, Bethelehem, Jerusalem and Cana in Galilee. Guess why yourself!

4. A place you know a lot about.
Obergesteln, in Canton Valais, Switzerland. It is the second to the last village before reaching the Rhone Glacier. The present structure of the village church is from the Gothic period. It stands over the foundation (still partly visible) of the previous Romanesque-period original church. Beneath that is what's left of a Roman temple, and the temple was built over an ancient Celtic sanctuary. Finally the church sits atop a glacial moraine-- a mound or hill left when an advancing glacier retreats, leaving behind a pile of stone and soil that it had been scraping up and pushing forward during its former advance.

4. A place you'd like to learn more about.
Amoy, China. My maternal grandfather and his father were from there.

6. A fictional place you'd like to visit.


October 03, 2006

An “Amish-style” culture for Catholics?

“The Bethlehem Community” is a small colony of Catholic families living together in Bathgate, North Dakota.
Read a webpage about them HERE.

Articles that mention them:
one HERE;

a second HERE;

a third HERE.

The Bethlehem Community publishes children’s books HERE.


I think this is a striking image. It's from the cover of a book of daily readings that Magnificat is now selling.
Click HERE for it.

Registrations to attend the Pope's final Mass for World Youth Day 2008 in Australia are outstripping the numbers who attended the Olympics there.

Organizers are having to raise their estimates of attendees, as there are now more than one and a third times what they initially projected. They are now expecting more than half a million.

Reported today in "The Universe" Catholic weekly newspaper.
Click HERE for it.

The Amish are still Amish. God bless them!

Given the tragic shooting of several Amish children, I thought it timely to post some links to information about this religious culture.

Click HERE to read an article about the Amish.

Click HERE for a well-done short video about the Amish.

Click HERE to read an article about how the Amish conduct their funerals.

October 02, 2006



Click HERE for it.

Benedictine monasteries open their most precious treasure to the public: the hours of liturgical prayer

The Richness of Benedictine Liturgy

[Zenit.org has interviewed the president of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute. The published text of the following English translation has some lack of clarity when it mentions the Benedictine Rule— the book of regulations that St. Benedict gave his monks. Wherever the text uses “BR” or “Rule”, I have inserted “Benedictine Rule”. Wherever the text uses numbers to refer to verses in the Benedictine Rule, I have inserted the words "chapter" and "verse". Where an occasional Latin phrase is not translated into English, I have inserted a translation.]

Question: Can one speak specifically of a Benedictine liturgy, or is it an inadequate expression?

Father Flores: There is no "monastic liturgy," as there is no Benedictine liturgy, nor has it ever existed, as the liturgy belongs to the Church and is planned, acted and lived for all Christians. What does exist is a monastic or Benedictine way of celebrating the sacred liturgy.

Monks do not distance themselves from the liturgy of the Church; rather, they take advantage of it and live from it, as the liturgy belongs to the Church.

With this principle as base, I believe that, in today's monasteries, the liturgy must be one that reflects the spirit and letter of the liturgical books renewed after the liturgical reform.

Without nostalgias or returns to a romantic past, monasteries were in the vanguard of the liturgical movement and, in line with this, must continue to be places where the liturgy of today is celebrated and lived with the same spirit as always.

St. Benedict's Rule has no peculiarity in regard to the Eucharist or the rest of the sacraments. It is a 6th century document; immediately reflecting the ecclesial situation of the moment.

Only with reference to the Divine Office, which we now call Liturgy of the Hours, does it have a great peculiarity and originality. In the course of time and until today, there have been two types of offices in the Latin Church: the monastic office and the cathedral or clerical office.

The Benedictine Office is based on principles of the previous monastic tradition; it brings together and orders liturgical elements that, at the time, were in use in different churches. Both as a whole as well as in innumerable details, the Divine Office of the Benedictine Rule has great originality.

Question: What has been the influence of the Benedictines in the history of the liturgy?

Father Flores: Since their beginning, therefore, Benedictine monasteries have had a Divine Office different from that of the diocesan clergy and other religious, based on the distribution of the Psalter made by St. Benedict.

The principle of the Rule which has been categorically maintained over the centuries until now is that "care be taken that each week the whole Psalter of 150 Psalms is recited…" [Benedictine Rule, chapter 18].

And one must also acknowledge that from the beginning monastic piety has been marked to a great extent by the piety of the Psalms.

Given that it is true that Benedictine monasteries should not be museums of Church history or of the history of the liturgy, they should consequently not be transformed into this. Nevertheless, the hope is very legitimate that the “Psalterium per hebdomadam” [the whole “Psalter per week”], which has more than 1,500 years of tradition, might be maintained in Benedictine monasteries, at least in the monastic office.

However, Benedictine monasteries adapt to time and place. The possibility to move away from the principle assumed by monasticism of praying 150 Psalms in a specific way, was already foreseen in chapter 18 of the Benedictine Rule: "Above all we note that if, perhaps, some one might not like this distribution of the Psalms, that he order them in another way, if it seems better" [Benedictine Rule, chapter 18, verse 22], but, St. Benedict adds, maintaining the previous principle of the weekly Psalter.

Question: How is the distribution of the Psalms organized?

Father Flores: The reform of the Divine Office in Benedictine monasteries is based solely on the "Thesaurus Liturgiae Horarum Monasticae" [Thesaurus of the Monastic Liturgy of the Hours] prepared by and for the Benedictine Confederation, where other ways of distributing the Psalter were not being set out according to the possibilities of the different monasteries.

Among the four possibilities that monasteries can choose is plan A— or of the [Benedictine] Rule— plan B— Fuglister— which distributes the Psalter in one or two weeks with different exegetical and biblical criteria other than those that St. Benedict had in his day, in addition to two other plans that have had less resonance.

Therefore today the different monasteries have the choice to opt for a Divine Office that responds more to the exigencies of time, place and work of each monastery.

Some have opted for maintaining the traditional Benedictine plan; a great majority today follow plan B with the distribution of the Psalter in one or two weeks. Some have actually opted for adopting the Roman Liturgy of the Hours itself.

It is, therefore, more the responsibility proper to each Benedictine monastery to choose one or another plan, knowing that among the elements of Benedictine life the Divine Office must occupy first place [Benedictine Rule, chapter 8, verse 20; chapter 43, verse 3], and nothing must be preferred to it.

Question: What repercussion do Benedictine monasteries have in the liturgical life of the Church?

Father Flores: In the course of the centuries Benedictine monasteries have been places of spiritual and liturgical radiance; more than that, they maintained culture during the Middle Ages and from their schools arose the personalities of the Church of the moment. Let us think of the great monasteries, such as Cluny, Saint Gall, etc.

In 1909, specifically around the Belgian monastery of Mont Cesar, a "liturgical movement" arose led by Dom Lambert Beauduin who from being a priest dedicated to the labor world became a Benedictine monk in the said monastery. From this liturgical movement the Church moved to the liturgical reform stemming from the Second Vatican Council.

The Benedictine monasteries were centers of spiritual— and therefore of liturgical— radiance. Let us think of Solesmes (France), Beuron and Maria Laach (Germany), Montserrat [Catalonia] … Silos (Spain), Montecassino and Subiaco (Italy), Maredsous and the already mentioned Mont Cesar (Belgium), etc.

All these monasteries have their doors open to their most precious treasure, their liturgical prayer, so that the prayer of the community living there is shared with guests and visitors, who are thus introduced to the great prayer of the Church.

This can be considered the monastic apostolate par excellence; monasteries have evangelized in this way. Also today there is an excellent way of spending one's "vacations" by staying in a monastic guesthouse and participating in the different Hours of the day, to the rhythm and with the help of the Benedictine monks and nuns.

Question: Has Pope Benedict XVI been influenced by this Benedictine liturgical spirituality?

Father Flores: Benedict XVI has expressed great love and appreciation of the Benedictine Order and St. Benedict throughout his trajectory. The fact that he chose the name of the father of Western monasticism is very significant, as he himself explained a few days after his election.

The liturgy has been part of his life, as he himself says in his autobiography, already from his seminary years. He regularly visited the German Benedictine monastery of Scheyern in Bavaria and every year, for the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, now living in Rome, he went to the convent of the Benedictine nuns of Rosano, near Florence, where he participated in the nuns' liturgy and presided personally at the Corpus Christi procession.

October 01, 2006

Takashi Nagai, the Saint of Nagasaki

This holy Catholic man was less than half a mile from the epicenter of the atomic blast in Nagasaki. For six years afterwards, he suffered the effects of the radiation. Men and women from all over Japan came to him for consoling strength and wise instruction-- souls humiliated by defeat, suffering the bodily and mental injuries of war. Emperor Hirohito visited him, and Pope Pius XII wrote to him.

When he died on May 1, 1951, more than 20,000 people gathered for his funeral. Throughout Japan, bells rang in his honor-- in Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines and Christian churches. He had inspired so many with his prayerful teachings of wisdom, peace and generosity.

I never knew of him until this evening.

I read his story in a Catholic publication, and I heartily recommend it to all of you.

The city of Nagasaki also offers an online account of his life .