President Trump's Stunning Pronouncement....

"When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.  There should be no fear.  We are protected and we will always be protected.  We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement. 

And most importantly, we will be protected by God.

....And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator....God bless you and God bless America....God bless America."

As I watched Donald Trump's inauguration speech yesterday, I sat stunned and speechless when I heard the above words.  How wondrous to hear our Commander in Chief speak fearlessly and proudly of faith in God and the sanctity of life.  Let us pray for President Trump, his family and his new Administration.  Let us pray for their safety, well-being and all their spiritual needs....and for faith and life to flourish once again in the Home of the Brave and the Land of the Free!

Following is a wonderful traditional prayer (abbreviated), written specifically for the United Stated of America, in 1791 by Archbishop John Carroll.  He was the first bishop, and later the first archbishop of this country, of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.  His cousin was Charles Carroll, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence....

Traditional Catholic Prayer for the United States of America

We pray Thee, O almighty and eternal God, Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name.  We pray Thee, O God of might, wisdom, and justice, through Whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude, the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides, by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion, by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy and by restraining vice and immorality.  Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.  We pray for the Governor of this state, for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled by Thy powerful protection to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability.  We recommend likewise, to Thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy Law, that they may be preserved in union and in that peace which the world cannot give, and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.  Amen.

+++   God Bless America!   +++

January is the Month of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Nomen Christi) ~ Happy New Year!

[this post has been edited since publishing]

This is a bit late due to computer issues, but here we go....

Our year commences with a month which Holy Church dedicates to the Holy Name of Jesus.  A Name which is so often disrespected in our culture, a sin against the Second Commandment of God, Lord have mercy.  How do we respond when those around us take this Name in vain?  It is in these moments when our friendship with Christ is truly tested.  Do we allow entertainment in our home which freely disregards the holiness of God's Name?  What effect does this have on us?  What effect does it have on our children?  Perhaps we can all do better in these matters in the coming year.  If we defend Christ before man, He will defend us before the Father!

Here are some of the notable feastdays of this month:

1/1-Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary/Circumcision of Our Lord (trad)

1/2-Most Holy Name of Jesus (trad)/Saint Basil the Great

1/3-Most Holy Name of Jesus (new)

1/4-Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

1/5-Saint John Neumann

1/6-Epiphany of Our Lord (trad)/Saints Caspar, Balthasar & Melchior, the Three Wisemen (non-standard)/First Friday

1/7-First Saturday

1/8-Epiphany of Our Lord (new)/The Holy Family (trad)

1/9-Baptism of Our Lord (new)

1/13-Baptism of Our Lord (trad)

1/15-Our Lady of Prompt Succor/Saint Paul the First Hermit

1/16-Our Lady of Refuge (non-standard)

1/18-Chair of Saint Peter at Rome (non-standard)

1/19-Saint Canute

1/21-Saint Agnes, Martyr

1/23-Espousals of the Blessed Virgin Mary (non-standard)

1/24-Saint Francis de Sales (new)

1/25-Conversion of Saint Paul

1/27-Saint John Chrysostom

1/28-Saint Thomas Aquinas "The Angelic Doctor"

1/29-Saint Francis de Sales (trad)/Saint Gildas the Wise (non-standard)

1/31-Saint John Bosco

The 12 Days of Christmas / Epiphany of Our Lord

Happy New Year and I hope all of you, wherever you are in the world, have had a wonderful Christmas!  I have been having computer problems, so I am behind on my posts.  I was going to write about the 12 Days of Christmas in a more timely manner, but now they are over, and we have arrived today at the Epiphany of Our Lord in the traditional calendar.  The Epiphany is celebrated this Sunday in the new calendar.  I have several other posts in the works, including the Month of January-will get that up as soon as possible!

About the 12 Days of Christmas, I wanted to share an idea I have been doing with my family for a number of years now.  I think I came up with this idea on my own and have written about it previously.  You may be aware of the theory that the song "The 12 Days of Christmas" originated as a covert teaching tool in England, during the persecution of Catholics.  I am not concerned about the theory itself, nor even the song.  What does concern me is the re-creation of authentic Catholic culture for our times.  What is wrong with creating new traditions?  I think we are at such an hour in history, when we must take the bull by the horns and move things forward aggressively (moving forward may at times require that we look back-if you have taken the wrong fork, you must go back before you can truly go forward). 

It is sad that the 12 Days of Christmas have largely been forgotten and no one seems to know how to celebrate them anyway.  One idea is to discuss points of the Faith on each of the 12 Days, that correspond to the particular number of the day.  You can be creative with it.  For instance, Day 3 could be about the Holy Trinity or the Three Theological Virtues.  Day 7, you could discuss the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost or the Seven Deadly Sins.  In addition, you can say prayers and sing songs that also correspond to the topic of the day....the song "Holy Holy Holy" for the Holy Trinity....or a Litany to the Holy Ghost for the Seven Gifts.  The possibilities are endless and you can have a lot of fun with it!  So, now that the 12 Days of Christmas are over, just thought I'd share that idea:)

As for the Epiphany, there is a beautiful traditional Blessing of the Home that you can find online, which includes writing above your doorway with blessed chalk.  We must give our children something to love about the Faith....real, concrete ways to BE Catholic that they in turn will continue with their own children.  And these practices enrich life so much and add a dimension to life that simply cannot be fulfilled through any secular pursuit.  This is what the world does not understand:  that all things pale in comparison to the Holy Faith, the Body of Christ, the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.  This is what we must show them.  Love demands it!

Fr. Alfred Delp...Advent not over yet!

[originally published December 13, 2015]

For our Advent meditation today, here are some excerpts from Fr. Delp's "Homily for the Third Sunday of Advent, Preached in Munich, December 14, 1941:"

"Standing in the presence of the Last Things [Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell], in the presence of the Ultimate...results in-a peculiar knowledge of ourselves...
Someone facing the Ultimate will not be apathetic, not just accept everything simply because it is, and because it does not change, and because it goes on and on, and because it is happening everywhere...
In the presence of God, the Absolute Ultimate, nothing counts but that which is real. Man can pass the test of the last days only without pathos, without cramps, without lies, without masks. This requires an honesty of being that has measured itself against the Ultimate...
Alexander, Caesar Augustus, Napoleon...were not content with the laurel wreath of greatness, but wanted to take the diadem of the Messiah [Delp and others like him, could not publicly mention Hitler or the Nazi regime...but would cleverly allude to their present reality in the hopes of avoiding a legal cause against them-Delp would consult others on these matters before giving his homilies]...
...one must contradict false claims when they are set forth or intimated, and false promotions when they are offered...
'Who are You?'...One day, when we stand in the presence of the Absolute, this question will cut through our existence like a lightning bolt and manifest what is real and what was masquerade...
'In your midst stands One Whom you do not know.' He is, however, in our words and in the beating of our hearts and the hammering of our pulses and in everything. What you do not comprehend, and yet what should be so real and merciful, is that He is standing there, through it all, in your midst. That should be our confession. It is not a protest, not a proclamation, but our very being..."

Fr. Delp concludes this Gaudete homily on a joyful note: Christ is with us always!

More on Father Alfred Delp.....

[Originally published December 11, 2015.]

I gave a brief introduction to Fr. Alfred Delp and the book Advent of the Heart in [a previous post]. Advent was a topic that concerned Fr. Delp throughout his life (1907-1945). It became a metaphor for his own experience "waiting" for the end of the terrifying Nazi regime. In his case, Christmas became his own martyrdom, when he encountered, not a porcelain baby in a creche, but Christ Himself as the Second Person of the Beatific Vision. Almost in anticipation of this extraordinary journey, his preaching and writings on the subject were gripping theological genius...and very appropriate for our own times. It is ironic that the United States of America, rolling into Germany in 1945 with her tanks of salvation, would one day need so desperately this martyr's words of warning and instruction.

The book divides into the 4 weeks of Advent, with appropriate selections of Fr. Delp's writings. It is a wonderful way to celebrate the Season of Advent, but not at all for the faint-hearted. If you take these writings to heart, they will challenge and change you in the most fundamental, deep ways. So....consider yourself warned. As it states in the introduction to Saint Louis de Montfort's The Secret of Mary, these words will exact a responsibility from you:

"...beware, then, of remaining inactive...it would turn into a poison and be your condemnation."

To proceed, I'd like to offer a few brief excerpts from the various introductions to Advent of the Heart, which I feel are essential to the understanding of Fr. Delp:

"Delp wrote the 1944 meditations in Tegel Prison, usually while his hands were in handcuffs. These meditations were smuggled out of the prison as seret messages...

This book presents Advent sermons from Father Delp's parish work in Munich, alongside the powerful messages from his prison Advent experience of 1944...

Their roughness evokes a powerful sense of immediacy rooted in the suffering and danger of the times."

Fr. Delp was originally arrested for suspicion of having knowledge of the attempt on Hitler's life which took place on July 20, 1944.....

"Although all charges related to the assassination attempt were dropped, the irreconcilable opposition of Christianity to Nazism became the focus of the proceedings...Delp was convicted of high treason and sentenced to death by hanging."

Dear Father Alfred Delp, pray for us!

Thought for the Day: How we navigate in darkness....

Did you ever witness something and 10 minutes later your friend relates it to someone else and you think to yourself, "That's not exactly what happened"???

Many years ago, I attended a pro-life event in NYC, where a number of pro-aborts were arrested for disorderly conduct.  The front page of the newspaper the following day said it was the pro-lifers who were arrested.  Anyone reading this blog probably already knows how "accurate" the mainstream media tends to be.

So I wonder....how much of what we hear about the present is false?  Should I take a stab at it?  25%???  I have no idea.  Now let's apply that to the past....even less percentage of truth.  We must assume history is largely fiction.  Orson Welles said the same thing once in an interview, after relating how a journalist quoted him inaccurately.  Now let's think about speculations on the future-completely off the wall!  I recently watched a film about the first "human cloning" experiment, in which someone said they believe cloning will ultimately eliminate all birth defects.  I also watched a film featuring a billionaire from Russia who wants to become a hologram....and is actually working on it.  We hear a lot about the coming "sentience" of computers as well....which some dramatically call "The Singularity."  I contend the future will be nothing at all like the above.  That's because I walk by Faith.  There's got to be some point when God steps in and says, "Okay, My patience ends HERE!"  I am actually amazed that He hasn't stepped in yet.

How much of our own perception of reality is nothing more than a reflection of other people's lies and fantasies?  I wonder.

Advent of the Heart, Writings of Fr. Alfred Delp, Martyr under Hitler

I'm very busy for the next few weeks, so I will re-publish some posts from last advent, dealing with the amazing writings of Fr. Alfred Delp....here goes....

[The following was originally posted on November 29, 2015.]

alfred delp.jpg

There is an INCREDIBLE book by Ignatius Press, compilations of Fr. Alfred Delp, martyr under the Nazis, entitled Advent of the Heart: Seasonal Sermons & Prison Writings, 1941-1944. It takes us week by week through Advent....and believe me, with this book, you will not be the same person when you arrive at the creche on Christmas Day. I will be posting some quotes from this book throughout Advent. No better time than today to begin. Here are excerpts from Fr. Delp's "Homily for the First Sunday of Advent Preached in Munich, November 28, 1943" (remember the words you are about to read, this man was killed for).....

"There is nothing more blessed in life than true waiting."

"Man is truly human only when he transcends himself."

"We should discover life and its fundamental order."

"This should be our first Advent light: to understand everything, all that happens to us and all that threatens us, from the perspective of life's character of waiting."

"God enters only His own rooms, where someone is always keeping watch for Him."

"Other values of secondary importance impose themselves, making life inauthentic and bringing it under an alien law and an alien paradigm."

 

Image courtesy amazon.com

It is Advent! And....December is the Month of the Divine Infancy

As of this past Sunday, in both the old and new calendars, the Season of Advent has commenced!  Wishes to all for a holy and blessed Advent which draws you closer to the Christ Child!  (Please see prayer on Home page.)  Lent is a time when we practice sacrifices of self-denial.  Perhaps during Advent, our sacrifices may be ones of charity-almsgiving and good works.  We may consider volunteer work, cleaning out the old clothes in our closets and giving them to the poor, visiting a homebound neighbor down the block, etc.  Admittedly, Christmastime is often a time of stress and feeling like we have too much to do.  But if the very celebration of the Birth of Christ prevents us from exercising charity...then something is wrong.  We all need to downscale.  Also...spiritual reading, the rosary and learning Christmas hymns....children should learn the words to our beautiful hymns and they will likely remember them for a lifetime!

As for the liturgical calendar of December, it is unique in several ways.  Aside from the great feast of Christmas, we also have the Marian feasts of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe, along with the feast of the Holy Family.  We have the Sundays of Advent when we light the pink and purple candles and the Ember Days of Advent, when we beseech God's mercy and blessings for the coming season of winter.  We have several feasts of the time of Our Lord and the time of the Old Testament....5 Doctors of the Church and December 13th, devoted to 2 saints invoked for blindness!  Here's our sampling....

12/3-Saint Francis Xavier, Priest-patron of missions

12/4-Saint John Damascene, Priest, Doctor/Saint Peter Chrysologus, Bishop, Doctor/Saint Barbara, Virgin, Martyr-invoked against lightning

12/6-Saint Nicholas, Bishop-patron of children, bakers, pawnbrokers, mariners & Russia

12/7-Saint Ambrose, Bishop, Doctor-patron of candlemakers/Vigil of the Immaculate Conception-trad meat at one meal

12/8-Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patroness of the United States of America-Holy Day of Obligation

12/9-Saint Juan Diego, Seer of Our Lady of Guadalupe

12/11-Gaudete Sunday, 3rd Sunday of Advent-a day to remember the joy of our coming Savior!

12/12-Our Lady of Guadalupe, Empress of the Americas

12/13-Saint Lucy, Virgin, Martyr-patron of the blind/Saint Odilia, Virgin-invoked against blindness (non-standard)

12/14-Ember Wednesday in Advent-trad meat at one meal/Saint John of the Cross, Priest, Doctor

12/16-Ember Friday in Advent/Saints Ananias, Azarius & Misael, Companions of Patriarch Daniel (non-standard)

12/17-Ember Saturday in Advent-trad meat at one meal/Saint Lazarus, Friend of Our Lord, Brother of Saints Martha & Mary-raised from the dead by Christ (non-standard)

12/20-Saints Abraham, Isaac & Jacob, Patriarchs (non-standard)

12/21-Saint Thomas the Apostle, Martyr-Apostle of India, baptized the Magi/Saint Peter Canisius, Priest, Doctor

12/24-Saints Adam & Eve (non-standard)/Vigil of Christmas-trad meat at one meal

12/25-The Birth of Our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, Christmas

12/26-Saint Stephen, First Martyr-patron of stonemasons, due to the fact that he was stoned to death

12/27-Saint John the Evangelist, Apostle-Writer of Holy Scripture, patron of theologians & Asia Minor

12/28-Holy Innocents, Martyrs under King Herod the Great, re-builder of the Holy Temple

12/29-Saint David the King, Patriarch (non-standard)

12/30-The Holy Family

(this blog provides both old & new feasts)

A Strange Dream About the Blessed Virgin...

First of all, I want to impress upon you, how unusual it is for me to write about something like this.  In 8 years of blogging, I don't think I've ever written about a dream of mine.  But this dream I had recently was so extraordinary, I just felt I had to share it.  I'm going to write this sort of "stream of consciousness."  So here it is, for what it's worth....

Such a community of love we have here, getting ready for her to come, like she said she would.  Such a celebration!  The food, the festivities, the togetherness, comradery.  It is so beautiful and she hasn't even come yet!  But we will be properly prepared for her.  We will give the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of God, the reception she deserves.  We will make it the greatest feast!  But we cannot tell the priests.  They do not know the real reason we are celebrating.  They would laugh at us.  How glorious it will be when we see her!

There is so much to do....we are not ready.  So much still to do!  If things are not right, she may not appear.  I have to try.  I have to get it all right.  We are running so late.  Everyone is gathered around the beautiful area....waiting.  So many people.  But we are not quite ready and suddenly.....

A stillness.  It draws me in.  I stop everything, though I am not ready!  It draws me in.  A great stillness, a great quiet, an extraordinary beauty and peace, such as I have never felt nor comprehended before!  The very air is changed.  It is like...Heaven?  But she is not here.  She does not appear.  Why?  Please come, dear Mother!  She does not come.

Perhaps we have failed.  We were not ready.  We disappointed her.  Why did she not come?  I am saddened.  Such work, such preparation....and for what?  We will make the best of it.  We have all this food!  But she did not come.  I wonder why.

Upon waking from this dream, I still felt the sadness that the Blessed Mother did not appear as she said she would.  I related the dream to my dear husband and do you know what he said?  "She did come. That was the moment of peace and beauty you felt.  But you were so wrapped up in what you thought you had to do, you didn't realize it."

Wow.  Maybe he was right.