Tuesday, December 6, 2016

St. Nick

At the Council of Nicaea in the 4th century, St. Nicholas famously smacked Arius, a priest who denied the divinity of Christ.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Intercession of Mary

Monday, February 22, 2016

Recording of Leo XIII Singing the Ave Maria

Yes, there exists a recording of Pope Leo XIII singing the Ave Maria! 

This makes him both the oldest born person to be recorded (b. 1810) and the first pope in history to have his voice recorded.

    Pope Leo XIII, born Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci to an Italian comital family, reigned as Pope from 20 February 1878 to his death in 1903. 
    Born:  March 2, 1810, Carpineto Romano, Italy 
    Died:  July 20, 1903, Vatican City 
    Successor: Pope Pius X  
    Predecessor: Pope Pius IX 
    Sibling: Giuseppe Pecci 
    Cool Facts:
  • Under Leo the Catholic Faith made great progress; during his pontificate two hundred and forty-eight episcopal orarchiepiscopal sees were created, and forty-eight vicariates or prefectures Apostolic.
  •  Historical scholars are indebted to him for the opening of the Vatican Archives(1883)
  • Civilization owes much to Leo for his stand on the social question. As early as 1878, in his encyclical on the equality of all men, he attacked the fundamental error of Socialism.


Link to the recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9Pv-UuGUDM
New Advent

Sunday, January 10, 2016

I Shall Not Want

 I Shall Not Want  by Audrey Assad  is based on the Litany of Humility  and on Psalm 23.  This song models the humility Christ gave us in Philippians 2:5-8:
"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."
The Litany of Humility is a prayer from the perspective of one who recognizes our naturally wicked disposition, but also recognizes the grace given through Jesus who reshapes and reforms our hearts into ones that beat in rhythm with his - hearts that look like the heart of Jesus shown in Philippians 2:5-8.

Audrey Assad’s song I Shall Not Want  blends the words of this prayer with an echo of Psalms 23 and 34 as the refrain: “When I taste your goodness, I shall not want.”

Monday, December 14, 2015

Mary Did You Know FAQ (by Mark Shea)

Thank you . What a great article!

Mary Did You Know?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
A: No. Mary is not omniscient and could not foresee every particular act of her Son. See the story of the Finding in the Temple in Luke 2:41-51.
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
A: Yes. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus” (Lk 1:31). “Y’shua” means “the Lord is salvation”. Mary knew the meaning of that Name. That’s why she said, “My spirit exults in God my *Savior*.” It’s also why she spoke with complete awareness that her Son was the fulfilment of the promise of salvation to Abraham, a promise that encompasses the whole world since Abraham was told that through him, all the nations of the earth would be blessed. So she says,
“He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.” (Lk 1:54–55).
Did you know that your Baby Boy has come to make you new? This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.
A: Yes. In fact, she knew that her Son had *already* delivered her, because she, the most saved person in the world, was immaculately conceived by his grace and preserved from all sin both original and actual. That’s why the angel greeted her with “Kaire, Kecharitomene” or “Hail, Full-of-Grace” (Luke 1:28) and why she thanks God her Savior.
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
A: No. Mary is not omniscient and could not foresee every particular act of her Son. See the story of the Finding in the Temple in Luke 2:41-51.
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
A: No. Mary is not omniscient and could not foresee every particular act of her Son. See the story of the Finding in the Temple in Luke 2:41-51.
Did you know that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?
A: Yes. In fact, an angel who walked where angels trod, named Gabriel, specifically informed her that “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High (Luke 1:32)
And when she asked for clarification of this astounding claim, the angel told her:
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you;
therefore the child to be born will be called holy,
the Son of God.”(cf. Lk 1:32–35).
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
A: Yes. This goes with being “Son of the Most High” and conceived by the Holy Spirit. Part of the job description, particularly since Mary (who, along with Joseph, taught Jesus his Bible) knew the Book of Daniel backwards and forwards and knew this passage:
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion
and glory and kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.(Da 7:13–14).
She heard Jesus refer to himself as the Son of Man many times. She knew what he meant by that.
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations?
A: Yes. The Angel Gabriel was really quite plain about all that:
“and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever;
and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:32)
Did you know that your Baby Boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you’re holding is the Great, I Am.
A: In summary, yes.  Mary did know that.  And Christians knew she knew that for roughly the first 17 centuries of the Church until a small but influential minority of Protestants, mostly in the English-speaking world came to dominate Christian discourse. The result was multiple generations of Evangelicals so filled with fear and loathing of Mary that they came to believe that Mary had no idea who Jesus was and lived her life in either stupid incomprehension of, or hostility to, the Son of God.  So we get tales that constantly cast her as either an unbelieving blasphemer (in Evangelical exegeses of Mark 3).  Or conversely, we get condemnation of Mary for believing Jesus too much and trying to shove him on to the public stage (in Evangelical exegeses of the Wedding at Cana).
So the myth has grown up that Mary had no idea who Jesus was and that Jesus was typically hostile to her.  What this illustrates is that the same principle by which the Latest Real Jesus always reflects our face back to us also applies to Evangelical takes on Mary.  What we discover in the strange Mommie Dearest vision of Mary in older Evangelical circles is nothing about Mary, but plenty about the peculiar fears Evangelical culture has of connecting anything feminine with Christian piety.
Given that background, I regard songs like “Mary Did You Know” as a step forward for Evangelical culture, but a step backward for Catholic culture.  I think it’s a song that has no place in the liturgy since it is a marinated in a theology that is, at best, describable as “Recovering Evangelical”.  It is a song written by and for a younger generation of Evangelicals who see Mary as a sort of “forbidden fruit”: someone their parents did not talk about and weirdly treated as taboo.  Someone they are becoming curious about.  That’s good.  I encourage that curiosity because it will, with God’s help, lead to a recovery of the fully Marian piety that was handed down by the apostles to Holy Church.  But Catholics should not sacrifice that fulness by embracing Evangelical and post-Evangelical notions that Mary was ignorant of and hostile toward her Son.  She wasn’t.  She was his greatest disciple and knew herself to be the Mother of the Son of God from the start.  The sooner we see that, the sooner we grasp how to be disciples ourselves.

This is a perfect addition to my Catholic Notebook. It is most definitely  keeper.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Grand Punch of St. Nicholas

During the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea (AD 325) there was a big argument

over the divinity of Christ. Arius — a heretic — was of the idea that Christ was not divine, but rather a mere creature. The Council gave him leave to speak, to defend his claims, and he did, yammering on — I have no doubt — in a relentless flood of sophistry.

Jolly Old St. Nicholas — oh yes, he was a bishop — wasn’t having any of it. He tried to listen patiently, he really did, but Arius’ speech was just so wrong, that he was compelled to get up in the midst of it and, yep, punch him in the face.


I hold that this is the image of Santa Claus we need to reclaim. Because when you think about it, this was the original campaign to Put the Christ Back in Christmas. Arius would have made the nativity a non-event. He, majestically prefiguring the various sects of Happy-Holiday-ers, Winter Solstice-ers, and it’s-actually-a-pagan-holiday-ers (that’s the point, you muppets!) denied that Christmas need be a celebration of substance at all. So when the modern world promotes the consumerist image of Santa Claus over the image of Christ, it is not so much the wrath of Christ they should fear as it is the wrath of Santa Claus. He may very well climb down the chimney and wup you.

Christmas is about this singular, terrible reality: That the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. In the spirit of St. Nick; accept no substitute.

Perhaps our Christmas carols need to be rewritten in light of the Grand Punch of St. Nicholas. It wouldn’t be too hard, we could sing: 
~~> Jolly Old St. Nicholas/Lend your fist this way . . . .
~~> I saw Dawkins rocked by Santa Claus/flying from the podium last niiighht . . . . .
and of course, 
~~> He sees when you’re dissenting/he knows when you’ve blasphemed/he knows your schismatic doctrines/and so he’s gonna punch your face/Oh, you better not doubt/You better not divide/You better not bring scandal to the Holy Roman Catholic Church/I’m telling you why/Saaaanta Claus is smacking you down . . . .
etc. etc. etc.

So thank you St. Nicholas, for your inspired punch. Oh, I almost forgot the end of the story. I’ll let Taylor Marshall, who writes over at Cantebury Tales tell it:
Now if that were the end of the story, we probably wouldn’t know about Saint Nicholas, and our children wouldn’t be asking him for presents. However, after Nicholas was deposed, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary visited Nicholas who was being held in a prison cell for his fist-fight with the heretic. 
Our Lord Jesus Christ asked Saint Nicholas, “Why are you here?” Nicholas responded, “Because I love you, my Lord and my God.”
Christ then presented Nicholas with his copy of the Gospels. Next, the Blessed Virgin vested Nicholas with his episcopal pallium, thus restoring him to his rank as a bishop.
 When the Emperor Constantine heard of this miracle, he immediately ordered that Nicholas be reinstated as a bishop in good standing for the Council of Nicea. Today we recite the Nicene Creed every Sunday so we know how the controversy played out. The bishops at Nicea sided with Saint Nicholas and Saint Athanasius and they condemned Arius as a heretic.

To this very day, we still recite in the Creed that Christ is “God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father.”

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving 1, 2, 3, Squanto, Eucharista, Belloc

Most history books these days tell us that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the pilgrims in 1621. Not true. Perhaps these 3 facts will clear up this culturally accepted historical misconception which has reached the proportions of "myth."  
Have you ever heard the old adage, "real power belongs to those who write the history books?"  Unfortunately there is veracity in that statement, but we shouldn't let us deter us from seeking the truth.
But the truth is out there. Let's hang onto it. Here are the facts.

1st --> The First American Thanksgiving was celebrated on September 8, 1565 in St. Augustine, Florida. September 8 is the Feast of the birth of the Blessed Virgin. The Native Americans and Spanish settlers held a feast and the Holy Mass was offered. This was 56 years before the Puritan pilgrims of Massachusetts. 

2nd --> The next Thanksgiving celebration occurred on American soil on April 30, 1598 in Texas when Don Juan de Onate declared a day of Thanksgiving to be commemorated by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Think about it . . . this was 23 years before the Pilgrims set sail from England on the Mayflower.
Don Juan de Oñate & the Mansos.
Painting by Jose Cisneros, courtesy of the University of Texas at El Paso 
3rd --> On the third Thanksgiving in 1621, the Pilgrims allegedly celebrated a happy meal with Native Americans and the rest is the history with which we are familiar.
Did you know that the Puritan pilgrims were violently anti-Catholic? The Puritans left England because they thought that the Church of England was too Catholic. These folks were strict Calvinists. The pilgrims also opposed celebrating Christmas, dancing, musical instruments in church, and even hymns. They considered these things too papistical.  Ironically, the Pilgrims shared the same problems that Catholics had in England. The Catholics who lived in Nottinghamshire where the Pilgrims originated, were persecuted mercilessly.

So while that 3rd Thanksgiving may celebrate the Calvinist Separatists who fled England,
there is more to the story. Catholics should remember that the same unjust laws that granted the crown of martyrdom to Thomas More, John Fisher, Edmund Campion, et al., are the same injustices that led the Pilgrims to Plymouth. Hmmmm, why don't the history books mention this? I do believe that the Protestant-shaded history textbooks is the fodder for a future post.

Here is my favorite favorite piece of Thanksgiving trivia.Remember Squanto, the beloved hero of Thanksgiving?  Squanto (also known as: Tisquantum) was the Native American man who mediated between the Puritan Pilgrims and the Native Americans. Squanto's history is amazing. He had actually been enslaved by the English but then freed by Spanish Franciscans. Squanto thus received baptism and became a Catholic. So it was a baptised Catholic Native American who orchestrated what has become known as the "first Thanksgiving."

Most importantly, let us remember that Thanksgiving" in Greek is Eucharista. Thus, the Body and Blood of Christ is the true "Thanksgiving Meal."

This Thanksgiving be sure to raise your wine glass and recite the wonderful limerick of Hilaire Belloc.
"Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
There's always laughter and good red wine.
At least I've always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!"

Taylor Marshall

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