O Lord Thou shalt open my lips and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ember Wednesday: Rorate

Here is a nice rendition of the hymn Rorate, with a picture of today's Mass (Ember Wednesday in Advent), which in some places is celebrated in the dark with extra candles. The words (Latin/English below) are a nice summary of the texts of today's Mass and what they are trying to say.

(Scroll down for English)

Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant iustum.
Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant iustum.

Ne irascaris Domine, ne ultra memineris iniquitatis: ecce civitas Sancti facta est deserta: Sion deserta facta est: Jerusalem desolata est: domus sanctificationis tuae et gloriae tuae, ubi laudaverunt te patres nostri.

Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant iustum.

Peccavimus, et facti sumus tamquam immundus nos, et cecidimus quasi folium universi: et iniquitates nostrae quasi ventus abstulerunt nos: abscondisti faciem tuam a nobis, et allisisti nos in manu iniquitatis nostrae.

Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant iustum.

Vide Domine afflictionem populi tui, et mitte quem missurus es: emitte Agnum dominatorem terrae, de Petra deserti ad montem filiae Sion: ut auferat ipse iugum captivitatis nostrae.

Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant iustum.

Consolamini, consolamini, popule meus: cito veniet salus tua: quare maerore consumeris, quia innovavit te dolor? Salvabo te, noli timere, ego enim sum Dominus Deus tuus, Sanctus Israel, Redemptor tuus.

Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant iustum.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.
Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

Be not angry, O Lord, and remember no longer our iniquity : behold the city of thy sanctuary is become a desert, Sion is made a desert. Jerusalem is desolate, the house of our holiness and of thy glory, where our fathers praised thee.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

We have sinned, and we are become as one unclean, and we have all fallen as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast crushed us by the hand of our iniquity.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

See, O Lord, the affliction of thy people, and send him whom thou hast promised to send. Send forth the Lamb, the ruler of the earth, from the rock of the desert to the mount of the daughter of Sion, that he himself may take off the yoke of our captivity.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

Be comforted, be comforted, my people; thy salvation shall speedily come. Why wilt thou waste away in sadness? why hath sorrow seized thee? I will save thee; fear not: for I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Redeemer.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

He is coming...

This is a powerful rendition of Veni, Veni Emmanuel (all Latin of course, or else it wouldn't be here):

I was moved by it while looking at this image of OLG, as she is pregnant:

Since December 12 (of all days), I've gotten quite a devotion to her, both for personal reasons and because she's the titular of the FSSP Seminary that, God willing, will be my alma mater.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Which Do You Prefer: Venereal Pleasure or Spiritual?

The devil and his minions in the world (demon and human alike) love to tempt us with physical pleasure. Regarding carnal pleasure vs. other temptations, St. Alphonsus Liguori said that when the devil temps people, he fishes with a hook. When he tempts people with venereal pleasure, he fishes with a net. God also offers us pleasure, but that pleasure is spiritual, not physical. We must choose one. Which is more important to us?

One can liken it to a silver coin and a gold bar. The silver coin is carnal pleasure and the gold bar is spiritual pleasure.The two types of pleasure are very different. One is in the flesh, the other is in the soul. They are different as gold and silver are different. They are both precious and necessary. Carnal pleasure is needed for procreation and spiritual pleasure (union with God) for sanctification. However spiritual matters are above physical, as gold is more precious than silver. Carnal pleasure is of a certain quantity and is precious to a certain degree, and so it is with a coin. Carnal pleasure is from man, who is finite, thus rendering carnal pleasure finite and the coin is small.

On the other hand, spiritual pleasure is from God. Thus, spiritual pleasure is of greater size and value, and so is the bar. In fact, since God is infinite, spiritual pleasure has an infinite intrinsic value (the value of what God does or tries to do). It's extrinsic value however (what we allow God to do), is based on the soul receiving it. Since the soul is finite, it has a finite capacity for spiritual pleasure. The better disposed the soul is, that is, the more the soul opens itself up to God, the greater the extrinsic value of the spiritual pleasure, thus the soul receives more spiritual pleasure. The gold bar then, has an infinite source of gold to melt in the furnace and the soul is only limited by how big of a mold it provides the Goldsmith (God). The more the soul offers itself to God and dedicated itself to God, the bigger the mold and the more gold it receives from God. The silver coin however, has a finite source of silver, as well as a finite capacity.

Further, the coin is offered by a crooked salesman waving it in your face and pressuring you to take it. The gold bar sits on a table. Nobody pressures you. Nobody sells it. It's yours for the taking. Which do you take? There is a vast amount of pressure put on you to take the silver coin. There is no mention made of the gold bar, but you can see that it is there offered to you without any pressure. Nobody is telling you to take it, but everyone is trying to make you take the coin. The problem is that the gold bar is far more of a treasure than a silver coin. Such is the dilemma of a soul trying to be chaste.

P.S.: I know someone will bring up the issue of those who are married, as they are expected to have carnal pleasure and spiritual pleasure through union with God like everyone else. I suppose we can say that their gold bar has a different silver coin embedded in it, with the same pressure as above: take the coin and ignore the bar (even though the bar has a coin, which according to the salesman is an inferior coin).

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cd. Wuerl not a Dope

Cardinal Wuerl of Washington has shown that his red hat was worth at least the price the pope paid for it, as he has condemned pro-gay groups. The Rainbow Sash Movement and Catholics for Equality claim that the latter's appearance at Georgetown comes with archdiocesan approval. Now, Georgetown is the same place that complied with the request of US Dictator, sorry, President, Obama's request to cover up the Holy Name. Georgetown obeys liberals, not the Catholic Faith, so this appearance by "Catholics" for Equality is no surprise. They readily deny the faith to support people's "feelings".

The Archdiocese of Washington had this to say (via LifeSiteNews, via CatholicVote.org):
“Putting the label ‘Catholic’ on a group doesn’t make it Catholic. It’s not a Catholic organization. It was formed in opposition to Catholic teaching.”

Darn right...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Go Take a Shower!

II Sunday of Advent - I Cl.

Epistle: Rom 15:4-13
Brethren: Whatever things have been written have been written for our instruction, that through the patience and the consolation afforded by the Scriptures we may have hope. May then the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of one mind towards one another according to Jesus Christ; that, on in spirit, you may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive one another, even as Christ has received you to the honor of God. For I say that Christ Jesus has been a minister of the circumcision in order to show God’s fidelity in confirming the promises made to our fathers, but that the Gentiles glorify God because of His mercy, as it is written, Therefore will I praise You among the Gentiles, and will sing to Your name. And again He says, Rejoice, you Gentiles, with His people. And again, Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; and sing His praises, all you peoples. And again Isaias says, There shall be the root of Jesse, and He Who shall arise to rule the Gentiles... in Him the Gentiles shall hope. Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Gospel: Matt. 11:2-10
At that time, when John had heard in prison of the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples to say to Him, Are You He Who is to come, or shall we look for another? And Jesus answering said to them, Go and report to John what you have heard and seen: the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not scandalized in Me. Then, as they went away, Jesus began to say to the crowds concerning John, What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Behold, those who wear soft garments are in the houses of kings. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before Your face, who shall make ready Your way before You.’

Today we get the first of three Advent exhortations concerning St. John the Baptist. We are to make ready for the Lord's arrival. The Lord has three arrivals, three comings. The first coming was in the flesh, in Bethlehem. It is a past event. It is not happening now, even though many people who celebrate Christmas act as if it is. The Novus Ordo acts as if it does. The first coming has come and ascended back to heaven. While we celebrate that coming, for it is Our Savior's birthday, we must not make it the primary aspect of the celebration. Instead, we focus on the second coming, which is in the spirit. The second coming is now. The second coming is the coming of the Lord into our souls. It is His dwelling in us through the Sacraments. It is us treating Him as Our Divine Lover and not some Guy we see once a week. It is us having an intimate relationship with Him. That acceptance of Him is the second coming, the coming in the spirit, our spirit, our soul. The third coming is the coming at the end of time. Protestants and doom-sayers falsely claim that the third is really the second. They leave out the second coming in the spirit. This is not all to surprising. They do not have the Eucharist, so they cannot be intimate with Him and He cannot dwell in them.

So while we celebrate the first coming, we cannot let it be the primary focus of the Advent and Christmas seasons. I'll cover the focus of the Epiphany season when we get there. (Preview: It's the three-fold manifestation of Christ.) While we also prepare for the third coming, we cannot let that get out of control and start thinking we know the day or the hour, for God alone knows that. Instead, we focus primarily on the second coming-receiving the Lord and keeping an intimate relationship with Him.

If we are going to be able to receive Him in this way, we need to make ready, as St. John the Baptist says. We must clean our souls. St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, paraphrasing St. Peter Damian (double sainted for that extra saint goodness) says "that all the obscenities of the sinner shall be one day converted into pitch, which shall eternally nourish in his bowels the fire of hell." So to travel along on the logic of Sts. Peter Damian & Alphonsus Liguori, a sin is like a measure of tar on the soul. It blackens the soul. It is very difficult to remove. If you try to remove it yourself, you only rub it in more. You need a powerful grease-cleaner. This grease cleaner is Confession. There is no other path to cleanliness. If you remain covered in tar, then that tar will be lit aflame and will be the unending fuel for the eternal hellfire. It's as if a soul's judgement is an attempt by God to set it on fire. It it bursts into flames, it is cast into Hell. If the amount of fuel is minuscule, but still present, it isn't enough to light, but still must be cleaned, so it is cast into Purgatory. If the soul cannot light at all and has no pitch at all, it is pure enough for Heaven.

If God is going to dwell in us, then we must clean ourselves. We would certainly clean our homes if someone famous would visit. The same is true if God is to visit our souls and accept each of us. In today's Gospel, Christ asks the crowd who they went to see in the desert, if it was just anyone. They did not go to see just anyone, but a prophet. Likewise, it is not just anyone that we go to see at Mass, but God Himself that is there waiting for us, waiting to be intimate with us at the Communion rail. If we are going to have Christ as Our Divine Lover, then we would of course have "dates" by way of hearing Mass and approaching the altar rail. If we are to have dates, we must get ready first. No one dares show up for a date dressed like a slob, covered in filth and smelling like who knows what. That person would never get a second date with any living, breathing, human being. That is exactly what sin does to the soul. Sin leaves the soul dirty and with a foul stench. If God is to welcome us and be willing to dwell in us, we must get ready and wash our souls in Confession. The confessional is like a shower stall for the soul. A person that never showers their soul, is like a person that never showers their body. St Jean Marie Vianney once saw a wealthy and famous woman at his church, making an appearance just to look good. She wasn't there because she loved God, but rather she wanted to look good, she was only concerned with her appearance and reputation. The priest-saint, knowing full well why she was there, said to her, "Madame...I am sorry, but the stench of your soul is so great, I must vomit." Let us not be the same way. Let us go to Confession.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sexual Self-Control

Saint Bibiana, Virgin, Martyr - III Cl.

St. Bibiana was a roman girl who was orphaned by Julian the Apostate martying her parents. She was, with her sister Demetria, taken to prison and had all her possessions taken away by the Roman Praetor, Apronianus. The girls resisted arrest and Demetria was beaten to death before her sister's eyes. Bibiana survived to be coerced into loosing her virginity by a woman named Rufina, but refused and survived with her virginity intact, only to be scourged to death. The priest John retrieved her body, after it had been rotting outside for two days, and buried her with her parents and sister. A church dedicated to St. Bibiana now stands over the graves. 

In an age where sex is seen as a normal, healthy part of any relationship, and as something casual, that every couple is expected to have, the human nude is reduced to an instrument of pleasure, that it is no more than a means of making yourself happy. At that point, your just being used by your partner. Few people see the body as something that is, in a certain sense, sacred; something to be veiled and treated with awe and wonder, for it is the masterpiece of physical creation and thus the most beautiful and dignified thing created by God among physical creation, so it gets special treatment. Many say that the Saints' Calendar in the 1962 Missal needs to updated to include recent canonizations, and it does, but it also needs more martyrs. In our times, marked by the increased persecution of the Catholic Church (both from enemies outside the Church looking to silence the Church and enemies inside looking to change and eliminate the practices dating from the years 30-1962), we need more martyrs on the calendar, especially virgin martyrs, since sexual sins are so rampant and so many beautiful young women grow up to be objects of pleasure, just because they want to keep their boyfriends happy or rebel against their parents (who themselves are probably committing similar sins-some role models they are). We all can name a number of individual girls that were beautiful once in grace of the sacraments, but have fallen away from the Church and their bodies have been desecrated by their sins. The horrifying nature of these sins is only made more horrifying by the fact that there are so many people committing them. How many are confirmed, fall away, and cohabit? Surely it's millions in the US alone. O St. Bibiana, virgin pure, pray for us!