For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. ---Ephesians 6:12

"The age of casual Catholicism is over; the age of heroic Catholicism has begun. We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead must be Catholics by CONVICTION." ---Fr. Terrence Henry TOR, Franciscan University of Steubenville

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Feast of St. Augustine 2010

St. Augustine was chosen by me to be my patron saint when I finally joined the Catholic Church for several reasons.  The least of these reasons was that I joined late in life.  And upon reading The Confessions, I knew that in some ways we were tied together.

The following is from today's Office Of Readings from the Liturgy of the Word:

From the Confessions of Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo

(Lib. 7, 10, 18; 10, 27:  CSEL 33, 157-163.  255)

O eternal truth, true love and beloved eternity

Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under your guidance into the inmost depth of my soul.  I was able to do so because you were my helper.  On entering into myself I saw, as it were with the eye of the soul, what was beyond the eye of the soul, beyond my spirit:  your immutable light.  It was not the ordinary light perceptible to all flesh, nor was it merely something of greater magnitude but still essentially akin, shining more clearly and diffusing itself everywhere by its intensity.  No it was something entirely distinct, something altogether different from all these things:  and it did not rest above my mind as oil on the surface of water, nor was it above me as Heaven is above the Earth.  This light was above me because it has made me; I was below it because I was created by it.  He who has come to know the truth knows this light.

O Eternal truth, true love and beloved eternity.  You are my God.  to you do I sigh day and night.  When I first came to know you, you drew me to yourself so that I might see that there were things for me to see, but that I myself was not yet ready to see them.  Meanwhile you overcame the weakness of my vision, sending forth most strongly the beams of your light, and I trembled at once with love and dread.  I learned that I was in a region unlike yours and far distant from you, and I thought I heard your voice from on high:  "I am the food of grown men; grow then, and you will feed on me.  Nor will you change me into yourself like bodily food, but you will be changed into me."

I sought a way to gain the strength which I needed to enjoy you.  But I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who is above all, God blessed for ever.  He was calling me and saying:  I am the way of truth, I am the life.  Ie was offering the food which I lacked the strength to take, the food he had mingled with our flesh.  For the Word became flesh, that your wisdom, by which you created all things, might provide milk for us children.

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you!  You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you.  In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created.  You were with me , but I was not with you.  Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all.  You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness.  You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness.  You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you.  I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more.  You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

God Comes Before Caesar...And Allah, Too

Archbishop Chaput of Denver
Yesterday Archbishop Chaput of Denver gave a very stirring speech in Slovakia indicative of the "new direction of the American episcopate."  It was a speech about "living within the truth," and was a continued call for active Christian resistance in the ongoing spiritual war against societal notions that Christianity is intolerant and obsolete.  One need only look at the necessity of the fight by reading one of today's posts at Jihad Watch about New York state high school exams slamming Christianity while simultaneously praising Islam, an oppressive religion.  Here are various extracts of the Archbishop's speech:

Two of the biggest lies in the world today are these: first, that Christianity was of relatively minor importance in the development of the West; and second, that Western values and institutions can be sustained without a grounding in Christian moral principles. [...]

Downplaying the West’s Christian past is sometimes done with the best intentions, from a desire to promote peaceful co-existence in a pluralistic society. But more frequently it’s done to marginalize Christians and to neutralize the Church’s public witness.

The Church needs to name and fight this lie. To be a European or an American is to be heir to a profound Christian synthesis of Greek philosophy and art, Roman law, and biblical truth. This synthesis gave rise to the Christian humanism that undergirds all of Western civilization.

Relativism is now the civil religion and public philosophy of the West. Again, the arguments made for this viewpoint can seem persuasive. Given the pluralism of the modern world, it might seem to make sense that society should want to affirm that no one individual or group has a monopoly on truth; that what one person considers to be good and desirable another may not; and that all cultures and religions should be respected as equally valid.

In practice, however, we see that without a belief in fixed moral principles and transcendent truths, our political institutions and language become instruments in the service of a new barbarism. In the name of tolerance we come to tolerate the cruelest intolerance; respect for other cultures comes to dictate disparagement of our own; the teaching of “live and let live” justifies the strong living at the expense of the weak.

If human rights do not come from God, then they devolve to the arbitrary conventions of men and women. The state exists to defend the rights of man and to promote his flourishing. The state can never be the source of those rights. When the state arrogates to itself that power, even a democracy can become totalitarian.

What is legalized abortion but a form of intimate violence that clothes itself in democracy? The will to power of the strong is given the force of law to kill the weak.

There is much more to this speech, and I pray that the contents go viral on the web.  I found it referenced by Roma Locuta Est, who got it from Chiesa.  For God's sake, as well as ours, spread it around!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Obama Executive Order Allowing Federal Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research STRUCK DOWN!

Photo by Beverly Rezneck
In March of 2009 President Obama signed an executive order allowing federal funding for embryonic stem cell research (embryonic destruction) and the expansion thereof.  Shortly after, a group which encourages adoption of frozen embryonic children known as Nightlight Christian Adoptions filed suit in federal court challenging the executive order.  

Today, US District Court Judge for the District of Columbia, Royce Lamberth (pictured left) ruled that the executive order issued by President Obama clearly violated the "plain language" of the Dickey-Wicker amendment, which states that taxpayer money is not to fund research in which embryos are "destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death."

Hooray for the unborn!  While this, of course, won't solve the problems of abortion in America or our death-laden culture, it's always great to see a pro-abort-President stopped in his tracks.

Read the full story HERE.

Monday, August 16, 2010

iPieta Review

If you are Catholic, or are interested in Catholicism, and you are trying to decide which of the many iPhone apps to download, your first choice should be iPieta.  It seems to have just about everything except the Liturgy of the Hours, and at $2.99 is likely the best app value on the market.  The incomplete list of contents include the following:

First, you get the Holy Bible in both the Douay-Rheims (English) version AND Latin Vulgate!  You can choose to have it all English or all Latin...OR do what I did and choose both.  Each verse is English on top with the Latin translation just underneath ---good way to learn Latin!

Second, you have a calendar either in Novus Ordo (ordinary form) OR Traditional (extraordinary form).  The calendar displays the season and feast.  Martyrs are in red.  By merely touching the day's entries you have access to the Readings and Gospel.  There are more complexities too numerous to mention here.

Third, you have a seemingly endless list of prayers (by clicking on the Prayer tab) in English and Latin.  But the Divine Mercy prayers have been omitted due to copywrite objections by the Marian Helpers in Stockbridge.  Don't worry, there is a Divine Mercy app HERE.  On iPieta's prayer tab there are 14 Sacred Heart of Jesus Prayers, 15 Passion Prayers, the entire Traditional Mass, Graces, Vesting Prayers, Holy Eucharist Prayers, Devotions to Jesus, Holy Spirit Prayers, Consecration (St. Pius X), Immaculate Heart of Mary prayers, basic Blessed Virgin Mary prayers and devotions (including Rosaries), Perpetual Helps (9),  St. Joseph Prayers, Basic Prayers (all in Latin or English) all updated with the new English interpretations, grace before meals and after meals, prayers for Popes and priests, 4 Keys to Heaven, The Blessings (all of them, I think) angel and saint prayers (as many as you can imagine)  ...really I could go on and on here.

Fourth, by virtue of the Veritas tab you can search for saints by name, saints by type, Q & A Catechisms (oddly no Catechism of the Catholic Church, not yet...still negotiating with the USCCB on that), 3 Baltimore Catechisms, the writings of so many like St. Teresa of Jesus, St. Jean-Marie Vianney, Confession of St. Patrick, just to name a few.  You'll have St. Thomas' Catechism, Councils Before Trent, Trent, Vatican I and II, what I believe to be the entire Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas (this really blew me away), Papal encyclicals from Benedict XVI back to Pius VI, and the writings of the Fathers of the Church:  St. Augustine's Confessions, City of God (normally a very thick book), etc... , the works of the Nicene Fathers and Ante-Nicene Fathers, and St. John Chrysostom.  And still I haven't done it justice.

Many of the prayers have an optional audio feature that you can download for free from the app creator's website, but there have been some issues with this.  I tried and failed in applying them tom my iPhone and am waiting to hear back from the support team.  Will let you know how that goes.  But even without the audio, I am still getting more than my money's worth, and strongly recommend this app both for its comprehensiveness as well as ease of use.  BTW, it's also available as an iPad app, too.

iBreviaryPro Review

Anyone watching the news, reading their Diocesan Publication, or grabbing a copy of the latest OSV has noticed quite a lot of attention is being given to various Catholic inspired iPhone apps, some of which have been available for a while.  Fortunately this attention finally got me to visit the iTunes store.

My iPhone is a couple of years old, and I'm not even too sure what model it is.  I think it's a 3G8 or something.  I never visited the iTunes store in the past because I thought it was only about music, and why would I want to press an iPhone up to my head to listen to stuff I could blast on my stereo at home with CD's?  The point is, I got my OS updated to 4.02 for free at the Apple Store (from a lowly, outdated 2.01) so I can now download pretty much anything offered at the iTunes store without spending $200 for an upgrade to iPhone 4. 

In my search I found there are around 300 Catholic apps from which to choose.  And the choices can get rather confusing if you aren't sure where to start, as there is significant overlap among the selections.  I found there are two that every Catholic should start with, and then proceed from there:   they are iBreviaryPRO and iPieta.  It should be noted that both also have their own iPad versions, too.  For a detailed review on iBreviary for iPad, click HERE for Roma Locuta Est.

"Free" is a the first word that comes to mind, and a very important one it is in these Obama times of high unemployment and economic sinking, when iBreviaryPro is mentioned.  Yes, this iPhone app containing the updated Liturgy of the Hours with the touch of a button costs nothing to download or use.  It has the Office of Readings, Lauds (morning prayer), Daytime Prayers, Vespers, and Compline (night prayers).  It also has a list of Lectures consisting of Antiphone and Opening Prayer, Readings, Prayer over the Gifts, and Antiphon and Prayer after Communion.  On another tab are 23 other prayers ranging from Litany of Our Lady of Lourdes to Spiritual Assistance to the Dying.  Then there is the Daily Missal consisting of Ordinary, Readings and Prayers, Preface, Eucharistic Prayer and Prayer of the Faithful.  All this for free.  There are other apps out there like Universalis and Surgeworks, both of which are highly rated, but cost money. 

The resolution for iBreviaryPRO on the iPhone is very sharp, and the settings for font size can be adjusted to 150% for visually impaired folks like me who wear bifocals.  And though (I hate to admit) I have gotten a little bit confused by the Christian Prayer book on the order and locations of prayers, this app is VERY user-friendly.  Everything is in its proper place and easy to handle.  When I am out  on the job and have a moment, rather than twiddle my thumbs and tell myself to be patient, I can simply pull out the iPhone and do Liturgies instead.

This app was created and developed by Fr. Paolo Padrini and Dimitri Giani and "a group of volunteers motivated solely by a desire to spread the Faith and Prayer through new media."

UPDATE:  iBreviaryPro is now called "iBreviary Pro Terra Sancta" and is every bit as good, if not better than before.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Feast Of The Assumption

As the Assumption of Mary nears its end, and after seeing so many other great blog postings for the occasion, there isn't much left to say except:

Ave Maria gratia plena Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus et benedictus fructus ventris tui Iesus.
Sancta Maria Mater Dei,  Ora pro nobis pecatoribus nunc et in hora mortis nostrae.  Amen.

(Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. 
Blessed art thou among women,  and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.)

Check out other postings HERE, HERE, and HERE.

The Greatest Threat To Islam

Many in the Muslim world want this man's head cut off.  But can you picture this guy as a martyr???

Found the video at Acts Of The Apostasy.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I WANT YOUR MONEY Should Be Seen By Everyone

This is the trailer of a film coming out in the Fall (hopefully released in all theaters with plenty of time to be absorbed by a distracted populace), which appears to be very cleverly done, entertaining, and enlightening (sorry Glenn), and sorely needed.  If people aren't shaken out of their sitcom-app-computer game stupors, this country will keep re-electing the status quo --or enough of them to keep causing trouble.  And we can't have that, can we?

Spread this around!

I got it from A Dei in the Life.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Return To 7 Quick Takes Friday

  1. I haven't done this in a while, so I should have much to catch up on...if I can remember all of it.  First, I should direct you to my cat's blog, Truckin' Buster, where you can read the true tales of our recent exploits in Brooklyn, NY, where I was dispatched by my company to pick up a truckload of cheap clothes.  It was rather shocking, to say the least.  Please don't be too put off by the fact that it's written from the cat's point of view.
  2. Last weekend afforded me some extra time while out on the road, so I stopped by my long time friend (partner in crime), Kevin's place near Chicago, where we (Kev, his kids, and I) visited Brookfield Zoo.  And I was lucky to snag a picture of a wandering female peacock with baby (see below).
  3. We also stopped at a Culver's, which is famous (for some reason) for its butter-burgers.  The last time I visited one in Green Bay, WI about 12 years ago, I got a burger with a moldy bun.  This time I found the menu to be much more extensive with creative selections and lots of custard-laden desserts.  Yum.
  4. Recently when I was stranded in Henrietta, NY waiting for the truck to be repaired, I sat in my motel room watching EWTN and an interview with John LaBriola, author of Onward Catholic Soldier, which should be read by every Catholic in these spritually challenging times.  Upon going to his website I found a phone number to call for submitting book orders.  After leaving a message, the author, himself, returned my call and agreed to autograph and personalize two copies of his book, for which I promptly paid.  Both were received in excellent condition and I will start reading my copy very soon.
  5. My diocese is installing a new bishop on the 18th, so I requested time off so I could attend the ceremony at St. Patrick's in Harrisburg.  The only problem is that I just found out today that it's not open to the public, but by invitation only.  And I wasn't invited.  But lots of big-wigs from Philly will be there.  I could watch it on TV, but I don't own one.  Oh well.
  6. HERE is a place you can get a list of the Catholic iPhone apps, which now include iBreviary, which means you've got Liturgy of the Hours delivered right to your iPhone!
  7. Please be sure to visit 7 Quick Takes Friday at Conversion Diary to see Jennifer's own takes along with links to several others.

    Female peacock with baby at Brookfield Zoo

Monday, August 2, 2010

GREAT!!! But what took you so long?

This is good to finally see...after so many years of silence...  But with so many years of silence, is it to be 

I will have to see many more of these to be convinced, for certain.