Glorious Saint Gabriel the Archangel

                                        Eustache Le Sueur, "The Annunciation," c. 1650

                                        Eustache Le Sueur, "The Annunciation," c. 1650

From today's traditional Mass:

"O God, Who from among all the Angels didst choose the Archangel Gabriel to announce the Mystery of Thine Incarnation:  mercifully grant that we who keep his feast on earth may feel the effect of his patronage in Heaven...

We who have partaken of the Mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, O Lord our God, implore Thy pity:  that as by the message of Gabriel we have known Thine Incarnation, so, by his help we may obtain the benefits of the same."

The words of Saint Gabriel himself:

"Hail, full of grace:  the Lord is with thee:  blessed art thou among women....Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God:  behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His Name Jesus.  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father:  and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end....The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee.  And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God."

From Litany of Saint Gabriel:

"O blessed Archangel Gabriel, we beseech thee, intercede for us at the throne of Divine Mercy in our present necessities, that as thou didst announce to Mary the Mystery of the Incarnation, so through thy prayers and patronage in Heaven we may obtain the benefits of the same, and sing the praise of God forever in the land of the living.  Amen."

As beautiful and glorious as the Archangel Gabriel is, he, like all the holy, is merely a reflection of the beauty and brightness of the Most Holy Trinity.  Just like the Moon reflects the Sun....we mere creatures reflect the glory of God.  The feast of Saint Gabriel appropriately is followed tomorrow by the feast of the Annunciation (in both the old and new calendars)....Hail, full of grace!....a joyful mid-Lenten feast, bringing to mind the Cycle of Christmas in the midst of our Cycle of Easter this year, reminding us of the beginnings of these great happenings 2,000 years ago.

 

Image courtesy https://www.etsy.com/listing/207823219/saint-gabriel-archangel-the-annunciation

Random Thoughts.....

Sometimes, by the time I get around to writing about something, it's already old news.  Its amazing these days, how a big event could take place and literally a week later, no one is talking about it.  So, what's the stupid old news I want to provide a random thought about?  The Oscars.  Yes, stupid and old.  The night they were on, I was sitting in a booth in an Italian restaurant waiting for my veggie pizza and there it was, on the big screen right in front of me.  For a moment, I had a macabre fascination, like rubber-necking when you pass a car accident.  You just can't help yourself, even though you know you might see something you don't want to.  When I finally came to my senses, I moved to the other side of the booth and felt a great sense of relief, like I had just been dangling off the edge of a cliff and someone rescued me.  After all, why would I be interested in watching a bunch of creepy people giving themselves awards?  They don't have the great sacrament of Penance.  All they can do to assuage their guilt is praise themselves.  When we don't worship God anymore, we make men our gods.  Do they know how foolish they look?  Grown women posing in their princess dresses like 4-year-olds, our modern-day clowns and jesters (freak show might be more like it) preaching to us about politics, a collection of drug-addicts and adulterers, people who can't even run their own lives, telling us what we should think.  Theater....of the absurd.....

This is what the world does to us....its like a many-tentacled evil octopus (yes, I just said that-go easy on me-I'm trying to get through this day without Advil)....attacking us from all angles, even when we are innocently waiting for a pizza, reaching around our throats.  We must use our heavenly sword to cut the tentacles, free ourselves....the fact is, we are indeed dangling off a cliff....and below is hellfire.  If it were an actual cliff, would you go right up to the edge?  Or would you stay far from the edge?  We must remind ourselves, in this increasingly pagan, atheistic culture, of the spiritual dangers all around us.  What is the true answer?  I believe the answer is radical:  a new culture.  But that's another post for another day!

+ + +

How do I know there is a God?  Coffee.  Its the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning.  When I take those first few sips of that divine liquid, hot and fresh....yes, I know there must be a God.  If you're not a coffee drinker....no idea what you're missing!

+ + +

And another morning contemplation:  There is a sparkling white marble staircase that leads straight to Heaven.  Each and every day, we as faithful Roman Catholics, ascend one step higher...now that's exciting!  Better than coffee and better than....the Oscars!

March is dedicated to Saint Joseph and....it's Lent!

Saint Joseph's feast is March 19th (and the 20th this year) and this month is also dedicated to him.  How can we honor Saint Joseph this month?  You can say the short prayer on our Home page and perhaps memorize it....and share it with others!  Of course there are many other wonderful prayers and devotions to Saint Joseph.  Also, if you don't have a statue of him in your home, now might be the time to get one.

Lent has commenced, the beautiful yearly time of spiritual renewal that we all need-how wise is Mother Church!  The photo above is the window in my dining room....my husband made fun of me last weekend when I decorated the window-he said, "Some people, they're always putting the Lent decorations up early!"  I don't know what's funnier, the fact that I put them up early or the fact that I put up Lent decorations.  So, I know you all know about no meat on Fridays, but do you know that traditionally, meat was eaten only at one meal each day of Lent (except Sundays)?  I have never successfully kept to that before, but I am going to try this year....the real issue is forgetting, so I have marked my calendar to remind myself and am hoping for the best.  Dear Lord, guide us in observing a holy Lent, which is pleasing to Thee and may we be that much closer to Heaven at the celebration of Thy glorious Resurrection!

And...we have the Ember Days of Lent as well.  This is a time of prayer and penance for the coming season of Spring (we can pray for Saint Isidore's intercession, whose feast is the 22nd), a Christianized version of pagan customs.  On these days, I love to read the masses in the traditional missal.  It is sad the Ember Days have largely been lost-this is what I mean when I say it is time to create new traditions-be creative with it!

What else is going on this month?  We have three Doctors of the Church, three people involved in Christ's Crucifixion and death, several Marian feasts and Saint Patrick's Day.  Saint Gabriel's feast is appropriately, the day before the Annunciation.  It is also interesting to note that the Annunciation and the feast of Saint Dismas fall on the same day, giving us a perspective from Our Lord's conception to his death.  And let us not forget to retire from our penance and be joyful on Laetare Sunday....remembering that its really all about the Resurrection and an eternity in Heaven!

3/1-Ash Wednesday-Fast and abstinence

3/3-Saint Katharine Drexel, 1955

3/6-Saints Felicitas & Perpetua, Martyrs, 203

3/7-Saints Felicitas & Perpetua (new)/Saint Thomas Aquinas,"The Angelic Doctor," Doctor of the Church, 1274

3/8-Ember Wednesday in Lent

3/10-Ember Friday in Lent

3/11-Ember Saturday in Lent

3/12-Saint Gregory the Great, Pope, Doctor of the Church, 604/Saint Theophanes the Chronicler, 817

3/15-Saint Longinus, Pierced the Heart of Our Lord

3/17-Saint Joseph of Arimathea, Provided the Tomb for Christ/Saint Patrick, Patron of Ireland, 461

3/18-Our Lady of Mercy/Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Doctor of the Church, 386

3/19-Saint Joseph

3/20-Saint Joseph (new, transferred)

3/22-Saint Isidore the Farmer, 1130

3/23-Our Lady of Victories

3/24-Saint Gabriel the Archangel

3/25-The Annunciation of Our Lord/Saint Dismas, "The Good Thief"

3/26-Laetare Sunday

(this blog provides new and traditional feasts)

What does Michael Moore have to say about THIS? Part II

Courtesy nytimes.com, below is all business-related content of Trump's press conference speech of last week.  Pay particular attention to the last paragraph, which specifically mentions jobs in Michigan, Michael Moore's home state, which he supposedly has been so concerned about.  It even mentions General Motors, the company that "Roger & Me" was centered on, Roger Smith being the CEO.  It even mentions Ford abandoning plans for Mexico, which was the issue which "Roger & Me" focused on...jobs moving from Michigan to Mexico.  Trump is moving jobs from Mexico to Michigan and still Mr. Moore is unhappy with him!

What "Roger & Me," really is, and what all Moore's films really are, is a diatribe against capitalism.  He is an admitted socialist.  Yes, he wants jobs, but he wants the government to provide them....and everything else apparently.  The same people who scream "Freedom!  Freedom!," don't seem to realize (perhaps the intellectuals do, but not the average college kid holding a placard) that with EVERY government regulation, comes one LESS freedom.  When the state gives, it is in control.  Let us remember the words at every traditional Catholic Mass, during the Washing of the Hands, from Psalm 25:  "In whose hands are iniquities, their right hand is filled with gifts."  In one line, we have our description and indictment of socialism.  Oh, the genius of God's word!

President Trump is Moore's latest male obsession of hatred.  I'm no psychologist, but this guy sure seems to have Daddy issues.  He has a habit of focusing on male figures to an irrational, obsessive degree.  He did it to Roger Smith, to Charlton Heston in "Bowling for Columbine," and now his latest Dark Lord of All Evil is Donald Trump.  He seeks power over these individuals, even to the point of lies and distortions.  Its sad, really, because Moore is quite talented, perhaps a genius.  His films are riveting, he re-created the documentary genre, everyone copies him...if he put his talents to some good use, he could actually make the world a better place.  I do have to give him credit for shedding light on some very real problems but at the end of the day, he is a socialist propagandist, waving his flag at just the right time...when Americans have become terribly vulnerable to it.  It is a war we are fighting and Moore knows this.  He is waging it and we must also.  Remember the words of Saint Paul: 

"Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil.  For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.  Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace:  In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one.  And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God)."  Ephesians 6:11

Mr. Moore came out with a film entitled "Michael Moore in Trumpland," just a few weeks before the election.  This film followed Moore interviewing Trump supporters (not very articulate ones) and performing a one-man anti-Trump show.  Didn't swing the election, did it?  Moore's latest fun is, "Do these 10 things and Trump will be toast."  After Trump's pronouncement that jobs will now be coming in droves to Moore's beloved home state, it took the filmmaker all of 5 days to publish his oh so shiny & streamlined set of directives, apparently to make sure these jobs get immediately directed back to Mexico.  Has he turned his back on Flint after all these years?  He and his friends have also come out with something called "The Resistance Calendar," which provides local event info for those who oppose Trump.  How about a Catholic response to Moore's "10 Things?"  He was actually raised Catholic, once considered becoming a priest and used Christianity to attack capitalism in his film "Capitalism: A Love Story," complete with several interviews of Catholic priests.  But we know the truth:  the state is no friend of the Church.  So what 10 things can we do this coming Lent for the good of souls and the good of our country?  I can certainly come up with a few....and you'll have to stay tuned for Part III to see some of my ideas!

"No one can be at the same time a sincere Catholic and a true socialist."  Pope Pius XI

Business-Related Content of President Trump's Press Conference Address, February 16, 2017:

"The stock market has hit record numbers, as you know. And there has been a tremendous surge of optimism in the business world, which is — to me means something much different than it used to. It used to mean, 'Oh, that’s good.' Now it means, 'That’s good for jobs.' Very different. Plants and factories are already starting to move back into the United States, and big league — Ford, General Motors, so many of them...

We’ve withdrawn from the job-killing disaster known as Trans Pacific Partnership. We’re going to make trade deals but we’re going to have one on one deals, bilateral. We’re going to have one on one deals.  We’ve directed the elimination of regulations that undermine manufacturing and call for expedited approval of the permits needed for America and American infrastructure and that means plant, equipment, roads, bridges, factories. People take 10, 15, 20 years to get disapproved for a factory. They go in for a permit, it’s many, many years. And then at the end of the process — they spend 10s of millions of dollars on nonsense and at the end of the process, they get rejected...

Now, they may be rejected with me but it’s going to be a quick rejection. Not going to take years. But mostly it’s going to be an acceptance. We want plants built and we want factories built and we want the jobs. We don’t want the jobs going to other countries. We’ve imposed a hiring freeze on nonessential federal workers. We’ve imposed a temporary moratorium on new federal regulations. We’ve issued a game-changing new rule that says for each one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated. Makes sense. Nobody’s ever seen regulations like we have. You go to other countries and you look at indexes (ph) they have and you say 'let me see your regulations' and they’re a fraction, just a tiny fraction of what we have. And I want regulations because I want safety, I want environmental — all environmental situations to be taken properly care of. It’s very important to me. But you don’t need four or five or six regulations to take care of the same thing....

We have also taken steps to begin construction of the Keystone Pipeline and Dakota Access Pipelines. Thousands and thousands of jobs, and put new buy American measures in place to require American steel for American pipelines. In other words, they build a pipeline in this country, and we use the powers of government to make that pipeline happen, we want them to use American steel. And they are willing to do that, but nobody ever asked before I came along. Even when this order was drawn and they didn’t say that. And I’m reading the order, I’m saying, why aren’t we using American steel? And they said, that’s a good idea, we put it in....

So we’ve begun preparing to repeal and replace Obamacare, and are deep in the midst of negotiations on a very historic tax reform to bring our jobs back, to bring our jobs back to this country. Big league. It’s already happening. But big league...

Jobs have already started to surge. Since my election, Ford announced it will abandon its plans to build a new factory in Mexico, and will instead invest $700 million in Michigan, creating many, many jobs. Fiat Chrysler announced it will invest $1 billion in Ohio and Michigan, creating 2,000 new American jobs. They were with me a week ago....General Motors likewise committed to invest billions of dollars in its American manufacturing operation, keeping many jobs here that were going to leave. And if I didn’t get elected, believe me, they would have left. And these jobs and these things that I’m announcing would never have come here. Intel just announced that it will move ahead with a new plant in Arizona that it probably was never going to move ahead with. And that will result in at least 10,000 American jobs. Walmart announced it will create 10,000 jobs in the United States just this year because of our various plans and initiatives. There will be many, many more, many more, these are a few that we’re naming."

What does Michael Moore have to say about THIS?

Trump announced at his press conference yesterday that he'll be bringing jobs back to Michigan.  The vehement Trump-hater was made famous by his (questionable) film "Roger & Me," which dealt with the economic demise of Flint, Michigan.  Mr. Moore, you want jobs in your home state so much.....here you go!  A campaign promise kept!

In God's Image and Likeness...

We are fundamentally social creatures.  We are not meant to be alone.  The Father decided that Adam should have a "helper" and that they should bear children.  All sins are considered by the Church to be sins against the community, that is one reason we confess.  We are not even meant to keep our deepest and darkest secrets to ourselves.  This is how much we are woven into the fabric of humanity.  Many of our challenges in this testing ground which determines our eternal fate, called earth, involve how we relate to others, how much we love them....how much we are willing to put our own desires aside.  So why did God make us social creatures?  Because HE is fundamentally "social" in His own nature, three in one, Father, Son and Holy Ghost....because we are made in His Image and Likeness.  Its not a perfect comparison, but it is significant.

Happy Valentine's Day.  Saint Valentine, pray for us.  Lord have mercy on us for our sins against chastity.  May we, in our own small way, console Your Heart on this day by remaining pure in mind and body.  May we continue to be a witness to the virtue of chastity, especially to our young people.  Amen.

What is Life?

An immersion in chaos.

When I look around my house and consider how hard I try and how "wrong' everything still is, I wonder.....how does anything work in the world?  I have been meditating lately on the immersive quality of life.  Life is an immersion.  We are placed into an environment full of the good, the bad and the ugly.  Babies have an innate ability to navigate this environment.  They just seem to know how to do it.  It's only as adults, after developing stodgy habits and ideas, that we can begin to forget.  We develop behaviors that are incompatible with life.  We want to control an environment that cannot be entirely controlled.  Life has its own agenda.

We'll never discover the Authentic Life if we don't understand the nature of life.  We'll never survive the coming days if we are not able to accept....to embrace....chaos.  We will navigate through much chaos.  And as the Body of Christ, the Remnant, we can do no less than accept this task with complete joy.  It is what we are given.  Just as Noah navigated the tumultuous deluge...it is all for a purpose.  And it is all good.

February is the Month of the Passion of Our Lord

Holy Church dedicates this month to Our Lord's Passion on that fateful Good Friday....such a terrible day, yet the day which wrought our Redemption.  So how can we remember and honor His suffering this month?  We honor His Passion every Friday by some act of penance and every Lent through various exercises and devotions.  How then, does the month of February distinguish itself?  Well, that is up to you.  We are at such a juncture in human history, in the history of the Church, when we need to take the bull by the horns and create new traditions that will last perhaps, till the end of time (which, by the way, may not be too long from now). 

So let's examine this month a little more closely....LENT begins exactly on March 1st, creating a nice clean cut between February and March!  That means the 2 1/2-week Time of Septuagesima, our preparation for the rigors of Lent, begins about halfway through the month.  What a great time to begin our commemoration of the Passion of Our Lord.  I'm not going to give you any ideas.  I assume if you are reading this blog, you must be intelligent enough to come up with something!

Shrove Tuesday also presents a wonderful opportunity to do a special meditation on the Passion...it is also the feast of the Holy Face of Jesus, given to Saint Veronica in the very midst of His suffering.  I also am a proponent of doing penance on this day, to atone for the over-indulgences (a nice way to put it) that go on during Mardi Gras celebrations.

Some unique features of this month:  a few feasts which call the New Testament to mind (Presentation, Chair of Saint Peter, Saint Matthias, Holy Face), 2 Cyrils and feasts pertaining to Lourdes and Fatima-the 2 most spectacular approved Marian apparitions of all time.

Here is a sampling of some upcoming feasts....I will begin to give the years associated with the saints, so we can have a better understanding of historical context....

2/2-Presentation of Our Lord (Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary/Candlemas)

2/3-Saint Blaise, 316-invoked for throat disorders

2/9-Saint Cyril of Alexandria, 444

2/11-Our Lady of Lourdes, 1858

2/12-Septuagesima Sunday (warning that Lent is coming!)/Seven Holy Founders Order of Servites, 1233 (trad)

2/14-Saints Cyril & Methodius, 869, 885/Saint Valentine, 269 (make reparation for sins against chastity on this day!)

2/17-Seven Holy Founders Order of Servites, 1233 (new)

2/18-Saint Bernadette, Seer of Lourdes, 1879 (lesser feast-it appears this date was chosen for its proximity to the date of the first apparition at Lourdes, but interesting to note there were in fact, 18 apparitions in total)

2/19-Sexagesima Sunday (even closer to Lent!)

2/20-Blesseds Francisco & Jancinta Marto, Seers of Fatima, 1919, 1920

2/22-Chair of Saint Peter

2/23-Saint Polycarp, Martyr, 166

2/24-Saint Matthias, Apostle-replacer of Judas

2/26-Quinquagesima Sunday (are you ready yet for Lent???)

2/28-Shrove Tuesday/Holy Face of Jesus

Waiting for the Miracle?

Leonard Cohen, may he rest in peace, has a song called "Waiting for the Miracle."  The protagonist asserts that there is "nothing left to do" when things have reached an all-time low.  The only option for him is to "go on waiting for the miracle to come."  I don't envy this person.  He does not know....the miracle has come.  And it is all around him.

Christ did not come and go.  He came and stayed.  The Most Blessed Sacrament lies in every tabernacle.  This is the Miracle.  And the only Miracle that matters.

So next time you feel completely lost, completely emptied, completely bereft.  Remember despair has no place in the Catholic soul.  It may feel like your last shred of sanity...appeal to this Miracle which you have received in Holy Communion.  And He will do the rest.