November 18, 2006

'LISTEN, MY SON-- St. Benedict for Fathers"

Dwight Longenecker's book includes the whole Rule of St. Benedict broken down into daily readings. Longenecker wrote a commentary for each day’s reading applying Benedict’s practical wisdom to the joys, stresses and trials of modern family life. It’s called ‘St Benedict for Fathers’ but it can be used as a daily reader for all parents. Longenecker is a Benedictine oblate, a layman who has associated himself spiritually to a particular monastery; in his case, Downside Abbey in England. This book came out of his own experience of trying to live out the Benedictine rule as a layman, husband and father.

Longenecker was a American Evangelical who became an Anglican, and then was ordained as an Anglican.

He has converted to Catholicism, and is to be ordained a priest next month.

More information about him and his books on his blog.
Click HERE for it.

November 16, 2006

O. J. Simpson's upcoming interview and book, "If I Did It, Here's How It Happened."

Today on the Fox News blog of Fr. Jonathan, L.C.
A less-than-sincere interview can make things worse for O. J. and his children. Human beings have a marvelous capacity for psychological and spiritual redemption. The public has an admirable capacity for forgiveness. However, there is at least one condition for both— honesty. If he mocks the truth this time he will set himself up to go to the grave a shameless liar. I can't think of anything worse. Oh, wait, there is something worse. He would be leaving his children the legacy of a life lived as if it were just theater.
Click HERE for it.

Today's nun has a veil-- and a blog.

More young women are entering convents. How they are changing the sisterhood.

Read the article in "Time" magazine online.
Click HERE for it.

The Memorial of St. Gertrude the Great, 16 November

She was a Benedictine nun of the monastery of Helfta, in Saxony. She was born on 6 January A.D. 1256, and died on 17 November A.D. 1301.

St. Gertrude wrote a book recounting her visions of Christ.

A Prayer by St. Gertrude
May my soul bless you,
O Lord God my Creator,
may my soul bless you.
From the very core of my being
may all your merciful gifts sing your praise.
Your generous care for your daughter
has been rich in mercy;
indeed it has been immeasurable,
and as far as I am able
I give you thanks.

This sainted Benedictine mystic received visions of the Wound in the Sacred Heart of Jesus almost four hundred years before St. Margaret Mary Alacoque saw the same.

More than six hundred years before St. Faustina’s Divine Mercy Prayer, St. Gertrude was already devotedly offering up Christ to the Father in atonement for sins.

Here is part of another prayer by St. Gertrude, a prayer whose echo is heard in the “Divine Mercy Chaplet.”
To make amends…
I offer you, most loving Father,
all the sufferings of your beloved Son….

To atone for all my neglect
I offer, most loving Father,
all that your only-begotten Son did….

… as an act of thanksgiving,
I praise and worship you, Father,
in deepest humility for your most loving kindness and mercy.

Atonement for our sins and worship for the Father of mercy— both atonement and worship pour out of the living Wound in the Sacred Heart of Jesus in his Holy Eucharist.

More details of her life are available at the online “Catholic Encyclopedia.”
Click HERE for it.

November 14, 2006


Today the Catholic bishops of the U.S.A. published a document entitled:
On Preparing to Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist

Here is an outline of it.


A. Participating in the One Sacrifice of Christ
B. Communion with One Another
C. Sharing in Jesus’ Resurrection and Divinity

Lack of Sanctifying Grace
Lack of Adherence to Church Teaching
Giving Public Scandal


In section number 5, the bishops first spell out various ways of preparation that concern “how we live our Christian lives every day.” Then the bishops go on to specify three specific preparations that are to take place just before going to Mass.
Prayerful Recollection
We should prayerfully recollect ourselves prior to coming to Mass. We should strive to arrive on time, allowing ourselves to prepare our minds and hearts for the liturgy. Upon entering the church, we should maintain reverent silence so that we and those around us are able to pray before Mass begins. This will ensure that we are at peace within ourselves and with others. Such recollection helps to eliminate distractions and allows us to focus more easily on the great mystery of the Eucharistic celebration in which we are about to participate. A prayerful and reflective reading of the Scripture selections for the Mass of the day will help make our hearts and minds ready to receive God’s Word more deeply.

The Eucharistic Fast
We are required to keep the Eucharistic fast, that is, refraining from food and drink (except for water and medicines) for at least one hour prior to receiving Holy Communion. This fast demonstrates reverence and respect for the Body and Blood of Christ that we are going to receive. It also teaches us to hunger for Jesus in Holy Communion.

Appropriate Attire
We should also come to the sacred liturgy appropriately dressed. As Christians we should dress in a modest manner, wearing clothes that reflect our reverence for God and that manifest our respect for the dignity of the liturgy and for one another.

The complete document is available online as a PDF.
Click HERE for it.

November 13, 2006

British Muslims join in asking that city officials NOT take out references to Christmas and Christianity.

Click HERE for it.

Pope Paul VI: “from some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.”

[Update alert]

That is my translation of what the Vatican published as words that Pope Paul VI spoke in a homily on 29 June 1972.

It's necessary to read the whole homily to know the context of those often quoted words.

Click HERE for the complete account of the homily in Italian on the Vatican website.

Click HERE to read my translation of it.

UPDATE! Click HERE for Jimmy Akin's good analysis of the Vatican's published text.

November 12, 2006

November 12 is the anniversary of a Catholic “Thanksgiving” in North America that took place 18 years before the “Pilgrims" left England.

UPDATE. See the end of this post.

In the year of our Lord 1602, the Spanish explorer Vizcaíno led an expedition sailing up the coast of California with three Carmelite friar priests. On 12 November that year, the expedition arrived in what is now called San Diego Bay, and celebrated the first Mass in California on a spot that is now part of a U.S. Naval facility. “Eucharist” is from the Greek word for “thanksgiving.”

I joined a small crowd of Carmelite friars and nuns at the chapel of that Naval facility for the Four-Hundredth Anniversary Mass, 12 November 2002. The icon below was painted by Brother Claude Lane, O.S.B., of Mount Angel Abbey, Oregon. It was carried in procession down the street and into the chapel for the Mass that day. I don’t have a better image of the icon. The icon itself is more than two feet tall.

Eighteen years after the first REAL Thanksgiving in California, the Puritans sailed from England on the ship Mayflower and landed on the rocky coast of what is now Massachusetts. They planted crops, and celebrated their first harvest in the Fall of 1621.
The harvest celebration of autumn, 1621, was quite plainly neither a fast day nor a thanksgiving day in the eyes of the Pilgrims. Rather it was a secular celebration which included games, recreations, three days of feasting and Indian guests. It would have been unthinkable to have these things as part of a religious Thanksgiving. The actual first declared Thanksgiving occurred in 1623, after a providential rain shower saved the colony’s crops.

The Holy Days of the Puritans
When the Puritans rejected the old Medieval ecclesiastical calendar of Christmas, Easter and Saint’s days, they submitted three allowable holy days: The Sabbath, the Day of Humiliation and Fasting, and the Day of Thanksgiving and Praise. The latter two were never held on a regular basis but only in direct response to God’s Providence. When things went well, signaling God’s pleasure with the community, then it was proper to declare a Day of Thanksgiving in His praise. But when God’s displeasure was evident and events were unfortunate, it was an indication that the community should repent and declare a Day of Fasting and Humiliation. Each of these days were held on weekdays and meant an extra day of church services and devotion in addition to the Sabbath. The Day of Thanksgiving was often concluded with a feast, while the fast days saw voluntary privation. [Click HERE for the source and more information on the official website of “Plimoth Plantation”.]


So... the Puritans ain't got nothin' on the Catholics, and Plymouth ain't got nothin' on San Diego.

HOWEVER, THE VERY FIRST KNOWN MASS ON THE MAINLAND OF THE AMERICAS WAS IN 1502, on a beach in what is now called Honduras, Central America, during the fourth and last trip by Christopher Columbus.

The first known Mass celebrated in Canada, North America, was on 7 July 1534 by a priest with the explorer Jacques Cartier.

The first Mass on North American soil that would become part of the United States was celebrated by the Spanish on 8 September 1565 in St. Augustine, Florida.