The Eponymous Flower: "In Every Dictatorship The Past is Censured" -- Fr...: (Milan) Don Alberto Secci, born in 1963, ordained in 1988, is a priest of the Diocese of Novara on the border with Switzerland. Don Sec...
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Et Verbum caro factum est
Et Verbum caro factum est
A READING FROM THE ROMAN MARTYROLOGY:
IN THE 5199th year of the creation of the world, from the time when in
the beginning God created heaven and earth; from the flood, the 2957th
year; from the birth of Abraham, the 2015th year; from Moses and the
going-out of the people of Israel from Egypt, the 1510th year; from the
anointing of David as king, the 1032nd year; in the 65th week according
to the prophecy of Daniel; in the 194th Olympiad; from the founding of
the city of Rome, the 752nd year; in the 42nd year of the rule of Octavian
Augustus, when the whole world was at peace, in the sixth age of the
world: Jesus Christ, the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
desiring to sanctify the world by His most merciful coming, having been
conceived by the Holy Ghost, and nine months having passed since His
conception (A higher tone of voice is now used, and all kneel) was born
in Bethlehem of Juda of the Virgin Mary, having become man.
THE NATIVITY of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.
Friday, December 20, 2013
Father Renzo Lavatori on Angels
Angels exist but do not have wings and are more like shards of light, at least according to a top Catholic Church “angelologist” who says the heavenly beings are now back in vogue thanks to New Age religions.
“I think there is a re-discovery of angels in Christianity,” Father Renzo Lavatori told AFP on the sidelines of a conference on angels in a lavishly-frescoed Renaissance palace in Rome.
“You do not see angels so much as feel their presence,” said Lavatori, adding: “They are a bit like sunlight that refracts on you through a crystal vase.”
The clergyman was taking part in a debate on angelic art by the Fondazione Archivio Storico organised in the Vatican-owned Palazzo della Cancelleria.
He said the popularised image of angels is a necessary result of their being “back in fashion” but is dismissive of all the angel art around Christmas.
“There is space for that, but you have to understand that these are not real representations. Angels do not have wings or look like cherubs,” he said.
The widely-published Catholic clergyman is also a “demonologist” and says angels are more needed than ever because increasing secularisation and materialism in society have left an “open door” for the devil.
“There is a lot more interference from diabolical forces. That is why you see queues of people outside the exorcists’ offices in churches,” he said.
“Pope Francis talks more about the devil than about angels and I think rightly so. But it’s still early, he will get round to the angels too.”
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Catholic Collar And Tie: Traditional Believers: Beware!
Catholic Collar And Tie: Traditional Believers: Beware!: In a recent post I said (slightly revised here for clarity): Truly, since Tradition is a vehicle of Divine Revelation it is not Traditi...
Saturday, December 14, 2013
I recently had a conversation with a good friend regarding the practice of a holy confession. I related that I often felt a deep sense of inadequacy in making a confession. I attempt to spend some time in preparing with a proper examen and by praying the seven penitential Psalms etc. Yet I often find during confession that my mind goes blank and I often leave the confessional with rather mixed emotion (grateful for having been shriven but dissatisfied with my own sense of inadequacy).
My friend related to me that when he went to confession, he simply allowed himself to be embraced by Jesus and to feel His love for him. He speaks directly to Jesus himself just as if He were sitting there and not the priest. He speaks directly to Jesus in his own wretchedness as his greatest love.
I have been watching the last few weeks a documentary series on the history of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. A devotion that I have known and loved since my childhood. I have fond memories of sitting in my own parish church as a boy in the darkness which was only illuminated by the flickering of red votive lights before the image of the Sacred Heart and speaking to Him intimately heart to heart.
Our Lord comes at crucial times to remind us of His great love for us just as he did to St Margaret Mary. Jansenism which stressed the divine justice at the expense of the divine mercy had left many hearts filled with fear or worse with feelings of hopelessness. These vestiges of Jansenistic tendencies are very much alive within the Church (especially here in America and above all among traditional Catholics). Let us embrace Jesus in holy confession and allow Him to embrace us and to envelope us in His love and mercy in preparation for his birth. Let us pray for one another that we might all arrive at the feast of Christmas with souls swept clean and prepared to meet our bridegroom. However, let us do this out of love for Him and not out of fear.
How to make a good Confession
1. Examine your conscience.
2. Be sincerely sorry for your sins.
3. Confess your sins to a priest.
4. After your confession, do the penance the priest has given you.
5. Do not forget to thank God for His forgiveness, and ask Him to help you as you try to do better.“The most precious result of the forgiveness obtained in the Sacrament of Penance is to be found in the reconciliation with God which takes place in the inmost heart of a son who was lost and is found again”.
Blessed John Paul IIExamination of Conscience
For any penitent:
Have I ignored God or excluded Him from my life?
Have I neglected my daily prayers or said them badly?
Is my daily prayer a real conversation with God in mind and heart?
Have I used the name of God, or of Our Lady, in anger or carelessly?
Did I miss Holy Mass on a Sunday or Holyday of Obligation through my own fault?
Did I receive Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin?
Do I observe the one hour fast before receiving Holy Communion?
Do I abstain from meat or perform some other act of penance on Fridays?
Do I pray for my husband or wife?
Am I critical of my spouse, putting them down in public or in private? What efforts have I made to demonstrate and foster the warmth of my love and affection for my spouse?
Do I try to make up whenever there has been a disagreement or do I allow things to fester beneath the surface? Am I too proud to say ‘Sorry’?
Do I mistreat my spouse verbally, emotionally or physically? Have we used artificial means of birth control in order to prevent having children?
Have I neglected to teach my children their prayers and give them a Christian education?
Have I set my children a bad example by not bringing them to Holy Mass, or being careless about my religious duties?
Do I take care to ensure that my children do not witness arguments at home? Do I watch over the books they read and the television and videos they watch? Do I take care to ‘befriend’ my children? Am I over strict or over lax with them? Do I explain decisions to them and so help them grow to maturity?
Have I been disobedient or rude to my parents or teachers? Do I treat my parents with affection and respect? Do I pray for them?
If I live away from home, do I write to my parents and other members of my family in order to keep in touch?
Do I quarrel with my brothers or sisters or other members of my family? Do I study hard at school or college? Am I grateful for the sacrifices my parents have made for me? Do I show my gratitude?
For any penitent:
Am I careful to set my friends a good example, especially in matters of behaviour, attendance at Holy Mass and moral issues? Do I realise that my support might help them live up to their Christian calling?
Have I been impatient, angry or jealous?
Have I taken part in, or encouraged, an abortion or any other means of taking human life?
Did I get drunk, use drugs, or give bad example to others?
Have I placed myself in danger of sin by reading or looking at what was indecent or pornographic?
Have I sinned against the virtue of purity by myself or with others?
Have I been dishonest by stealing or cheating?
Have I been lazy at my work or at home?
Have I been uncharitable or unkind in thought, word, or deed?
Have I told lies? Do I judge others rashly?
THINGS TO REMEMBER
• If it is a long time since your last confession you can ask the priest to help you.
• Don’t make the mistake of putting off Confession – that never solves anything.
• Try to go to confession frequently – at least once a month.
• Sin is any deliberate thought, word, action or omission which would be against the Commandments of God.
• We have to be truly sorry for our sins, and to have the sincere intention of trying to improve our lives, for our sins to be forgiven.
• We are bound to include in our confession every serious (or mortal) sin of which we are aware.
• The conditions for a sin to be serious (or mortal) are:
1. The offence must be serious.
2. We must know that we are committing a mortal sin.
3. There must be full consent of our will to the action.
- Begin by saying, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It is …………weeks (or months, or years) since my last confession”.
- Then tell the priest the sins you remember since the last confession. (If any sins are serious, you should say how many times you have committed them).
- When you have finished your confession, just say, “I am sorry for these sins, and all the sins of my past life”.
- The priest may give you some advice, then he will give you the Penance (to be said later); and then he will ask you to recite an Act of Contrition. This is a common one: O my God, because you are so good, I am very sorry that I have sinned against you, and by the help of your grace I will try not to sin again.
- The priest then gives you the Absolution (in these words), through which your sins are forgiven:
- God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
- The priest may add this prayer:
- May the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the Saints, whatever good you do and suffering you endure, heal your sins, help you to grow in holiness, and reward you with everlasting life. Amen.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Carrying Our Lady Through Advent
There exists in German-speaking Europe a very praiseworthy custom during Advent known in German as, "Frauen Tragen" or "Carrying of Our Lady". It is a custom that we would do well to introduce here in North America. Above all to introduce authentic Marian piety to Catholic families and introduce the nightly family Rosary.
Carrying Our Lady in Advent
"Carrying Our Lady - an old custom" - what is it?
The "Carrying of Our Lady" is an old Christian Advent custom. The festive season is all about the path of renewal and pilgrimage: Mary and Joseph are traveling to Bethlehem, the shepherds search for the child. God and man are coming toward each other. The search for shelter, the biblical account in Luke 2.7 is: "because there was no room in the inn for them."
In the period from the first Sunday of Advent until December 24 Catholic parishes in December there is the opportunity with an image of the pregnant Virgin Mary represented along the lines of "Bogensberger Madonna" to be offered a place to stay in Parish family's homes or in their apartments.
The image of the Holy Virgin is passed during the Advent season from family to family. Our Lady remains emblematic in every family one day. In the evening the image of Our Lady is brought by the family to the next family. Upon arrival There will be an Advent devotional. The next day the statue is passed on to the next family. Or if there is no place to be found, Our Lady remains longer in that household until another family is found. The image can also visit in a kindergarten or day care center for carol singing for a day or a few hours and then brought back to the family for the evening.
Those families wishing to house the image of Our Lady in their homes, place their names on a designated list in November in the parish office. For a day - or more - this gives ample time for personal conversation with Our Lady, and on the other hand, there is the possibility for the family, to invite friends and family to an Advent rosary together.
The blessing and sending of the image of Our Lady takes place on first Sunday of Advent in the parish church, and on 24 December, the Mother of God is brought in procession to be received in the Christmas midnight Mass.
It is not known in how many parishes carry on the tradition of "carrying of Our Lady" which in other areas is also known as a "search for shelter for Our Lady". There is Evidence that it is common in any case in parts of Bavaria, Austria and more recently in the Rhineland. The custom is practiced in families, day care centers and other parish houses, there are different variants. The Marian image, which corresponds to the "Bogensberger Mother of God" and the pregnant Virgin as portrayed, in the 18th and 19 Century in many "common than Pilgrimage statues" (see Lechner, p 119). But there were e.g. and representations of the "Visitation", the visit of Mary to Elizabeth carried around.
One of the customs of the early 1990s from circulating letters from Linz states that "Seeking Shelter" begins nine days before Christmas. The magazine recommends:... "It is Best when we have a reception of the Image of Our Lady on December 16 in the church. Then during the midnight Mass the image is brought in procession back to the Church on Christmas Eve, it must be ensured that artistically acceptable images are selected, the image is not picked up by the next family but brought to it by the previous one in expectation. Along the way the family prays ideally the first two decades of the Joyful mysteries Rosary (aloud or silently), or sings Advent carols. " Vienna in 1990/91 there was a poll that showed the result that 59% of Catholic parishes practiced this tradition of "seeking a shelter for Mary".
Report on women wearing, introduced in a Catholic parish in Schäftlarn 2003, see
Lechner, Gregory M.: The Bogensberger miraculous image of "Mary in the hope". In: Mary Everywhere. Landshut 1999, pp. 113-122.
Wolf, Helga Maria: The custom book. Old traditions, new traditions, customs, anti. Vienna 1992
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Venerable Bernhard Lehner of Herrngiersdorf (1930 - 1944)
Venerable Bernhard Lehner of Herrngiersdorf (1930 - 1944)
|"Little Bernhard," as he is called by his many admirers affectionately, was born on the 4th of January 1930, the son of a carpenter in the Lower Bavarian village of Herrngiersdorf, near Regensburg. In baptism he received the name of the great mystic, St.. Bernard of Clairvaux. Even before his birth, he had been consecrated by his pious mother, Anna, to the Mother of God in Altötting. The large family lived in modest, but quite harmonious proportions. Even in primary school, he attended Holy Mass almost daily in the neighboring parish church in Semerskirchen. He made His first Confession and First Communion on the 16th of April 1939 which were for him an important experience. This Probably germinated in him already the deeply felt desire: "I want to be something in order to get to heaven." To achieve this lofty goal, the little boy strove daily. So grew in Bernhard the desire to become a priest. His pastor was able to write in good conscience in his application for admission for the episcopal boy's seminary in Obermünster in Regensburg: ". Bernhard Lehner has the inclination and aptitude for the priesthood" After overcoming time-related difficulties - the wretched Nazi regime indeed which held Bavaria firm in its grip - the boy came on the 21st of September 1941 to Regensburg to visit as a seminarian the old school of the cathedral city. In his aspiration, he lived according to the principle: in the praying to be the most pious, the most diligent in studying and in recreation the most cheerful. The pious, fresh boy was loved by all. When he was allowed to receive the sacrament of Confirmation in 1942, he recorded in his diary a yellow star - the day meant to him the pinnacle of his short earthly life. Beginning in December 1943 Bernhard fell ill of septic diphtheria. Hurriedly he was admitted to the urban children's hospital. Around Christmas, his condition deteriorated rapidly. The soft palate paralysis followed diaphragmatic paralysis.|
Bravely, patiently, even cheerfully he endured all the pain. After a bout of weakness on the 16th of January 1944 he seemed to have come to an end. He asked for the last sacraments, and said to his family: "., Let me die: Who will cry when they get to heaven!" Finally, he died on 24 January 1944 to the last fully conscious. All who witnessed his death, had the impression that he had gone home like a saint. Even then his seminary director said: "Now we have an advocate in heaven" when he learned of the death of Bernard; Years later he said: "He was the best seminarian, I had in my 35-year seminary time" On 27 January 1944, a harsh winter day,many of the faithful came including countless children and young people, for burial in the small cemetery of Herrngiersdorf. This was not, of course, apart from the weather, because at that time in 1944 the Bavarian population had truly other problems. The sufferings of the war, Nazi harassment, bombings, food crisis and an uncertain future occupied the people. But at the funeral was a touching feeling of emotion. The participants, relatives, villagers, classmates, seminarians, teachers and seminary directors, they all felt, here's a little 14-year-old boy, whose only desire was to become a priest, was found ready for eternity before God: he was perfected early, he was spared the arduous earthly pilgrimage. In the life of Bernard no striking or even outstanding achievements of holiness stand out. Rather, his holiness came from a conscientious, persevering faithfulness in everyday duties: a "little way" ie, similar to the little St Therese of the Child Jesus.
Also Bernhard had a healthy, natural, fresh, happy and pious presence. But above all, his fine and compassionate, always helpful childlike quality is attractive, who sincerely took an interest in all suffering of those he encountered. The source of this is to be found in his generous love towards God's will and His commandments. Also noteworthy was his ardent devotion to the dear Mother of God, which was expressed in devout faithfulness to the rosary among other things. So he was in his lifetime and even after his death a silent role model for children and adolescents. The boy was, however, only during his serious illness, and on his death bed able to grow beyond himself. "Holy," he seemed to everyone who knew him and were allowed to visit him. His life, suffering and death, especially his love for God and neighbor left a strong and lasting impression. After the war the reputation of Bernhard spread by leaps and bounds as an intercessor at the throne of God, first in his immediate homeland, then in Bavaria and far beyond. The Regensburg Bishop Michael Buchberger (1927 - 1961) was prompted by that fact to initiate the process of beatification from 1950 to 1951. On 14 September 1952 the mortal remains were carried in a solemn transfer and burial of the Servant of God in a tomb of the Herrngiersdorf parish church. About 20,000 of the faithful attended. Since then, the beatification process in Rome is pending and in the meantime was also the basic question of whether one can already speak of heroic virtue in children, has been positively resolved. Thus the conditions for the continuation of the process are present .1994/95, also a necessary addition process has been performed.
There continues to be amazingly great devotion among the Catholic people in continually trust in his intercession. Thousands of answers to prayer are not to be overlooked. During the audience granted by the Prefect of the Congregation of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato, of 2 April 2011 authorized Pope Benedict XVI. the Congregation to promulgate the decree on the heroic virtues of Bernhard Lehner. The church confirmed that: Bernhard lived the Christian virtues of his age and level in an exceeding manner. He can now be referred to as "venerable servant of God." It is hoped, assuming a detectable miracle that the venerable servant of God Bernhard Lehner will be given the honors of the altar. Therefore, all the faithful are invited to bear their petitions through his intercession before God in prayer alongside their own concerns. A help and inspiration to offer the following prayer.
prayer for the beatification of the Venerable Servant of God Bernhard Lehner
Triune God, the crown of all holiness! You always awaken new saints in your church. We ask that you let your servant Bernhard Lehner, who has to you and neighbor out of love all his duties conscientiously fulfilled, will soon be raised to the honors of the altar, that he may be to all the faithful, especially the children and young people, a model of Christian life and so that you, almighty God, are glorified by him all the more so where you live and reign for ever. Amen.
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