A Spiritual Reflection: “In his “Final Testament” to his brothers, St. Francis of Assisi taught that part of conversion involves “leaving the world.” He said, “I tarried for a little while, and then I finally left the world.” Most of us are still tarrying. We haven’t left the world, and we don’t want to. We’ve partly embraced our Christian vocation, but we really haven’t immersed ourselves in Jesus Christ. In fact, sometimes we belong more to the world than to the kingdom of God. . .Many of us spend a good deal of our lives accumulating stuff. What the “stuff” is will differ from person to person. Yet at the end of our lives, it’s all finally the same junk. It piles up in bookcases, in garages, in boxes in the attic, in the secret places of our souls. As life’s evening sets in, we see the need to begin to detach. The things we’ve accumulated are distractions. They should become less and less important. We need to strip them away – the layers of our life – until, at the very end, all that is left is God and us.”
– Archbishop Charles Chaput
“The phrase ‘God-less religion’ is surely applicable to pantheism which is the fashionable religion of today. John Henry Newman prognostication, ‘pantheism is the great deceit which awaits the age to come’ has come true, except for the fact that if you call it pantheism. One of its names is, tellingly, New Age. Another name is environmentalism. The man of today wants so much a religion minus God as to prefer to speak only of the pan ( one of the words of the Greeks of old, for the universe, or great nature) and ignore as much as possible “theism,” evocative as this word is of the true God. Modern man does not even want to know that he has made nature, (including his own nature) his one and only god.
Pantheism should seem a God-less religion in contrast to the notion of God which half a century ago and certainly a century ago was still widely present in public discourse. According to that notion, God is a being wholly transcendent to nature, and indeed a being on whom nature is dependent in every sense.”
-from ” Questions on Science and Religion”.- Fr. Stanley Jaki
SHUN the gossip of men as much as possible, for discussion of worldly affairs, even though sincere, is a great distraction inasmuch as we are quickly ensnared and captivated by vanity. Many a time I wish that I had held my peace and had not associated with men. Why, indeed, do we converse and gossip …
Linked from the Excellent Michigan Man blog:
I started some spiritual direction with one of the wonderful priests of the religious order of Miles Christi. My meditation today focuses on the quote from Ste. Teresa: “May everything perish…
Source: We Owe It All to Him
“When you find yourself greatly distracted and devoid of devotion due to countless devil-inspired thoughts or because of your own heart’s bitter passions or are disturbed by the unpleasantnes…
A friend and fellow Old St. Mary’s Parishioner has written an article below about his memories of his time attending the Traditional Latin Mass with Justice Scalia. May eternal light shine upon him!
Wall Street Journal: Scalia the Music Critic and Pew Policeman
Putting on a tie using his car’s mirror before attending Mass—the one in Latin, of course.
By Kenneth J. Wolfe
Feb. 18, 2016 7:01 p.m. ET
Antonin Scalia attended the traditional Latin Mass nearly every Sunday, at St. John the Beloved church near his home in McLean, Va., or at St. Mary Mother of God church in the Chinatown section of Washington, D.C. When he went to the latter location, it was usually followed by a day of reading in his nearby Supreme Court office, which he did for decades on certain Sundays during the court’s term.
In the 20 years I saw him at Mass, not once was he protected by Supreme Court police or by U.S. Marshals. The associate justice with his home number still listed in the telephone book was surprisingly down to earth, true to his New Jersey roots. It was not uncommon to see him park his BMW on G Street in the District before Mass and put on his necktie using the car’s mirror. He would walk into St. Mary’s with his pre-Vatican II handmissal, always sitting in the same general area, near Patrick Buchanan, about halfway up the aisle on the far left side of the nave.
Justice Scalia loved music, especially opera. So when I was the director of an amateur choir at St. Mary’s in the late 1990s (in a Verizon Center-less neighborhood far different from today), we were under increased pressure during the Sundays when he attended High Mass. Our choir was admittedly awful, and even though we rehearsed every Thursday night and Sunday morning, it didn’t seem to help much.
The church’s pastor at the time would hear from Justice Scalia about the choir’s underwhelming performances. In what would become a familiar ritual over a period of months, we would fail to sing basic, four-part sacred music in tune. Justice Scalia would register his disappointment with Father, and I would be urged to try to do better. I wasn’t surprised when one day I was called into the pastor’s office to be gently informed that my volunteer choir-director days were over.
As was so often the case during his career, Justice Scalia’s dissent was entirely justified and ultimately a blessing to the world. The mixed-voice choir was soon replaced by a group of men (including me) who would sing Gregorian chant at the Sunday 9 a.m. Latin Mass at St. Mary’s, with that schola continuing to chant to this day. The congregation seems to appreciate it, and as recently as a few months ago when we last saw Justice Scalia, there have been no complaints about the music.
He was a character at a church full of character. After the Sunday 9 a.m. Mass at St. Mary’s, a coffee and doughnut hour is held in the basement, and Justice Scalia could often be found there. For years, the rear right corner was where the smokers gathered, doing a balancing act of cigarettes, pastries and hot beverages. Justice Scalia seemed to relish that time, smoking and talking, recounting his world travels and shaking his head over the liturgical and theological argle-bargle he found in some Catholic churches overseas.
One morning in the smoking corner, Justice Scalia pulled out a cigarette and looked around to see no one joining him with a lighter. He asked where his fellow tobacco traditionalists were, only to learn that a newly established traditional Latin Mass in rural, conservative Front Royal, Va., was apparently a more convenient option for the smoking crowd. Conversation carried on anyway, and by request he got the latest scoop on shenanigans at his alma mater, Georgetown University.
Like the rest of us, Justice Scalia was not perfect. He had no patience for unruly children and was the local sheriff of the rear left of the nave of St. Mary’s. But his willingness to talk with anyone—as long as it was not about a pending court case—was generous, and he certainly could have had better coffee and doughnuts at home instead of a church basement in Chinatown.
Despite his having attended the traditional Latin Mass for decades nearly every Sunday, the funeral for Justice Scalia will be a post-Vatican II, concelebrated service in English on Saturday morning at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Still, pre-Vatican II Latin Masses have already been offered this week for the repose of his soul, and fellow parishioners continue to beg God that the good and faithful servant attains salvation after years of prayer and labor. May there be a tuxedo-clad waiter in a dark Italian restaurant serving him white pizza and Chianti in heaven. And good music, we pray.
February 9, 2016
On Prayer And Fasting
My dear brethren,
According to an ancient and salutary tradition in the Church, on the occasion of the beginning of Lent, I address these words to you in order to encourage you to enter into this penitential season wholeheartedly, with the dispositions willed by the Church and to accomplish the purpose for which the Church prescribes it.
If I look in books from the early part of this century, I find that they indicate three purposes for which the Church has prescribed this penitential time:
- first, in order to curb the concupiscence of the flesh;
- then, to facilitate the elevation of our souls toward divine realities;
- finally, to make satisfaction for our sins.
Our Lord gave us the example during His life, here on earth: pray and do penance. However, Our Lord, being free from concupiscence and sin, did penance and made satisfaction for our sins, thus showing us that our penance may be beneficial not only for ourselves but also for others.
Pray and do penance. Do penance in order to pray better, in order to draw closer to Almighty God. This is what all the saints have done, and this is that of which all the messages of the Blessed Virgin remind us.
Would we dare to say that this necessity is less important in our day and age than in former times? On the contrary, we can and we must affirm that today, more than ever before, prayer and penance are necessary because everything possible has been done to diminish and denigrate these two fundamental elements of Christian life.
Never before has the world sought to satisfy—without any limit, the disordered instincts of the flesh, even to the point of the murder of millions of innocent, unborn children. One would come to believe that society has no other reason for existence except to give the greatest material standard of living to all men in order that they should not be deprived of material goods.
Thus we can see that such a society would be opposed to what the Church prescribes. In these times, when even Churchmen align themselves with the spirit of this world, we witness the disappearance of prayer and penance-particularly in their character of reparation for sins and obtaining pardon for faults. Few there are today who love to recite Psalm 50, the Miserere, and who say with the psalmist, Peccatum meum contra me est semper—”My sin is always before me.” How can a Christian remove the thought of sin if the image of the crucifix is always before his eyes?
At the Council the bishops requested such a diminution of fast and abstinence that the prescriptions have practically disappeared. We must recognize the fact that this disappearance is a consequence of the ecumenical and Protestant spirit which denies the necessity of our participation for the application of the merits of Our Lord to each one of us for the remission of our sins and the restoration of our divine affiliation [i.e., our character as adoptive sons of God].
- In the past the commandments of the Church provided for:
- an obligatory fast on all days of Lent with the exception of Sundays, for the three Ember Days and for many Vigils;
- abstinence was for all Fridays of the year, the Saturdays of Lent and, in numerous dioceses, all the Saturdays of the year.
What remains of these prescriptions—the fast for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and abstinence for Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent.
One wonders at the motives for such a drastic diminution. Who are obliged to observe the fast?—adults from age 21 to 60 [here in the USA, the minimum age is 18 years old—Ed.]. And who are obliged to observe abstinence?—all the faithful from the age of 7 years.
What does fasting mean? To fast means to take only one (full) meal a day to which one may add two collations (or small meals), one in the morning, one in the evening which, when combined, do not equal a full meal.[The archbishop is referring to the European order of meals; in the United States though, dinner is usually the evening meal—Ed.]
What is meant by abstinence? By abstinence is meant that one abstains from meat.
The faithful who have a true spirit of faith and who profoundly understand the motives of the Church which have been mentioned above, will wholeheartedly accomplish not only the light prescriptions of today but, entering into the spirit of Our Lord and of the Blessed Virgin Mary, will endeavor to make reparation for the sins which they have committed and for the sins of their family, their neighbors, friends and fellow citizens.
It is for this reason that they will add to the actual prescriptions. These additional penances might be to fast for all Fridays of Lent, abstinence from all alcoholic beverages, abstinence from television, or other similar sacrifices. They will make an effort to pray more, to assist more frequently at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, to recite the rosary, and not to miss evening prayers with the family. They will detach themselves from their superfluous material goods in order to aid the seminaries, help establish schools, help their priests adequately furnish the chapels and to help establish novitiates for nuns and brothers.
The prescriptions of the Church do not concern fast and abstinence alone but also of the obligation of the Paschal Communion (Easter Duty). Here is what the Vicar of the Diocese of Sion, in Switzerland, recommended to the faithful of that diocese on February 20, 1919:
- During Lent, the pastors will have the Stations of the Cross twice a week; one day for the children of the schools and another day for the other parishioners. After the Stations of the Cross, they will recite the Litany of the Sacred Heart.
- During Passion Week, which is to say, the week before Palm Sunday, there will be a Triduum in all parish churches, Instruction, Litany of the Sacred Heart in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament, Benediction. In these instructions the pastors will simply and clearly remind their parishioners of the principal conditions to receive the Sacrament of Penance worthily.
- The time during which one may fulfill the Easter Duty has been set for all parishes from Passion Sunday to the first Sunday after Easter.
Why should these directives no longer be useful today? Let us profit from this salutary time during the course of which Our Lord is accustomed to dispense grace abundantly. Let us not imitate the foolish virgins who having no oil in their lamps found the door of the bridegroom’s house closed and this terrible response: Nescio vos—”I know you not.” Blessed are they who have the spirit of poverty for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The spirit of poverty means the spirit of detachment from things of this world.
Blessed are they who weep for they shall be consoled. Let us think of Jesus in the Garden of Olives who wept for our sins. It is henceforth for us to weep for our sins and for those of our brethren.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for holiness for they shall be satisfied. Holiness—sanctity is attained by means of the Cross, penance and sacrifice. If we truly seek perfection then we must follow the Way of the Cross.
May we, during this Lenten Season, hear the call of Jesus and Mary and engage ourselves to follow them in this crusade of prayer and penance.
May our prayers, our supplications, and our sacrifices obtain from heaven the grace that those in places of responsibility in the Church return to her true and holy traditions, which is the only solution to revive and reflourish the institutions of the Church again.
Let us love to recite the conclusion of the Te Deum: In te Doming, speravi; non confundar in aeternum—”In Thee, O Lord, I have hoped. I will not be confounded in eternity.”
+ Marcel Lefebvre
February 14, 1982