Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas night bestowed peace on the whole world

“Christmas night bestowed peace on the whole world;
So let no one threaten;
This is the night of the Most Gentle One
– Let no one be cruel;
This is the night of the Humble One
– Let no one be proud.
Now is the day of joy
– Let us not revenge;
Now is the day of Good Will
– Let us not be mean.
In this Day of Peace
– Let us not be conquered by anger….
This present day cast open the heavenly doors to our prayers;
Let us open our door to those who ask our forgiveness.
Today the Divine Being took upon Himself
the seal of our humanity,
in order for humanity to be decorated by
the seal of His Divinity.”

— St. Isaac the Syrian

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Jubilee of Mercy

Forgive me friends, it has been a while again since I posted. After the spiritual high I was on after my retreat at New Norcia, I have fallen back into old habits. I was in post break up depression, immersed myself in work sometimes 10-12 hour days, lust, lethargy and acedia.

All of this reminds me of how badly I NEED mercy in my life, God's precious Mercy for myself and for others. There is a lot of debate going around in right wing, conservative Catholic cirlces at the moment about mercy being made meaningless and cheap without a correct understanding of sin. So recognising how much my sin distances me from God and alienates me from my true self in Christ, also reminds me of how desperate I am in need of Mercy and how humbled I need to be to ask for mercy and forgiveness.

I wanted to share with you Pope Francis' homily for the opening of the year of Mercy and highlight parts which I felt I need to hear.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In a few moments I will have the joy of opening the Holy Door of Mercy. We carry out this act, so simple yet so highly symbolic, in the light of the word of God which we have just heard. That word highlights the primacy of grace. Again and again these readings make us think of the words by which the angel Gabriel told an astonished young girl of the mystery which was about to enfold her: “Hail, full of grace” (Lk 1:28).
The Virgin Mary was called to rejoice above all because of what the Lord accomplished in her. God’s grace enfolded her and made her worthy of becoming the Mother of Christ. When Gabriel entered her home, even the most profound and impenetrable of mysteries became for her a cause for joy, faith and abandonment to the message revealed to her. The fullness of grace can transform the human heart and enable it to do something so great as to change the course of human history.
The feast of the Immaculate Conception expresses the grandeur of God’s love. Not only does he forgive sin, but in Mary he even averts the original sin present in every man and woman who comes into this world. This is the love of God which precedes, anticipates and saves. The beginning of the history of sin in the Garden of Eden yields to a plan of saving love. The words of Genesis reflect our own daily experience: we are constantly tempted to disobedience, a disobedience expressed in wanting to go about our lives without regard for God’s will. This is the enmity which keeps striking at people’s lives, setting them in opposition to God’s plan. Yet the history of sin can only be understood in the light of God’s love and forgiveness. Were sin the only thing that mattered, we would be the most desperate of creatures. But the promised triumph of Christ’s love enfolds everything in the Father’s mercy. The word of God which we have just heard leaves no doubt about this. The Immaculate Virgin stands before us as a privileged witness of this promise and its fulfilment.
This Extraordinary Holy Year is itself a gift of grace. To pass through the Holy Door means to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them. This will be a year in which we grow ever more convinced of God’s mercy. How much wrong we do to God and his grace when we speak of sins being punished by his judgment before we speak of their being forgiven by his mercy (cf. Saint Augustine, De Praedestinatione Sanctorum, 12, 24)! But that is the truth. We have to put mercy before judgment, and in any event God’s judgement will always be in the light of his mercy. In passing through the Holy Door, then, may we feel that we ourselves are part of this mystery of love. Let us set aside all fear and dread, for these do not befit men and women who are loved. Instead, let us experience the joy of encountering that grace which transforms all things.
Today, as we pass through the Holy Door, we also want to remember another door, which fifty years ago the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council opened to the world. This anniversary cannot be remembered only for the legacy of the Council’s documents, which testify to a great advance in faith. Before all else, the Council was an encounter. A genuine encounter between the Church and the men and women of our time. An encounter marked by the power of the Spirit, who impelled the Church to emerge from the shoals which for years had kept her self-enclosed so as to set out once again, with enthusiasm, on her missionary journey. It was the resumption of a journey of encountering people where they live: in their cities and homes, in their workplaces. Wherever there are people, the Church is called to reach out to them and to bring the joy of the Gospel. After these decades, we again take up this missionary drive with the same power and enthusiasm. The Jubilee challenges us to this openness, and demands that we not neglect the spirit which emerged from Vatican II, the spirit of the Samaritan, as Blessed Paul VI expressed it at the conclusion of the Council. May our passing through the Holy Door today commit us to making our own the mercy of the Good Samaritan.
Our Lady of Mercy and Refuge of sinners - pray for us

Monday, June 29, 2015

The thorny issue of Same Sex Marriage

I usually try to stay clear of this topic, but since America has made it legal in all 50 States it has become a major topic on Facebook and a subject I am no longer able to stay away from. This is my personal opinion on the matter and I call it a "middle ground" - the following is what I wrote to someone on Facebook after I had deleted them because of comments on their wall and they inboxed me asking my opinion.

Christians and gays are arguing from two different definitions of marriage,. Christians believe it a for a man and woman to have children and is a sacrament before God that the state recognises for stability of the children.

The modern definition of marriage is that it is a public proclamation of love to the exclusivity of all others. So it is basically just a legal contract. Based on the modern understanding of marriage there is no reason why gays should not be able to get married.

The problem is Catholics still argue using natural law, but society no longer accepts natural law theory. It is all relativism,. So in this way I believe the Church is trying to fight a losing battle. Secular weddings and divorce and contraception have been destroying the "sanctity of marriage" for years, don't try to blame the gays for it. Gays wanting marriage is a natural conclusion based on the current practices and beliefs of marriage. So many gay people grow up hating them selves, being bullied and sometimes even victimised for how they feel. So this is why they want marriage - if it becomes a social norm through recognising same sex unions, then people will no longer have reasons to ridicule gay kids or bully them. that's the main reason why people want gay marriage.

In my point of view the Church needs to accept that it no longer has influence over politics as we are now living in a post-Christian society. So therefore leave marriage as a sacrament, something spiritual. So priests should no longer be civil celebrants, you should have to register in the registry and have a separate religious ceremony. That way Catholics can be married according to the law of the land as well as have the sacrament of holy matrimony.
That is the middle ground that I personally believe the church should make. Eg... both my parents are baptised catholics but got married in an Anglican church - so canonically according to the church they are not married, but legally they are.

Why can't we just have the same attitude to same sex unions? There are more important things to be fighting over. Also yes children deserve a mother and father, but the reality from divorce is that most children don't get to have two parents. So why not let them have two loving same sex parents? If a mother and grandmother can bring up a child with love and care, why should a same sex couple be discriminated against?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Learning to Fall in love with God again

One of the hardest things to do after stopping practicing the faith for many years, is learning to fall in love with God again.

I have always thought I still loved God, but it was more of an intellectual acknowledgement that yes He exists and yes I have a duty to love Him and worship Him. However for many years it was a cold love. I never realised before just how hurt and rejected I felt by God and the Church for these past 6 years after I was denied entrance to a religious order in Croatia because I had depression 2 years beforehand while in the local Diocesan Seminary.

It was only at my retreat while in New Norcia, that I realised how much I had stopped trusting and loving God because of that experience. I got to reflecting on how leading an unchaste life, being actively homosexual and getting into relationships that I had been deliberately pushing God out of my life - but all I had done was hurt myself. I had denied myself sanctifying grace available to me in the sacraments. I had tried to push God so far out of my life apart from on an intellectual level because I felt like a jolted lover. I felt that God had let me down, rejected me and hurt me when I wanted so bad to be a monk and a priest.

Now I have realised just how childish it was. I am starting to see how in the bigger picture, God uses all things for His greater Glory - even though it may appear painful at the time. If I had've entered religious life at that stage in life then, I probably would not have lasted due to personality issues, or even worse, I may have become a very bad religious. I was very arrogant, self righteous and thought I had to change everything in the world but myself.

Now I am older I have mellowed out a lot. I have had to grow through my sorrows and trials in love. Also being in a relationship with someone 11 years younger than me has taught me a lot about patience, as well as unconditional love. A lot of the issues we had together of trust, and the patience I needed everyday to love someone who without meaning to would hurt me a lot or not be able to reciprocate my love equally, made me reflect on how it is analogous to my relationship with God. It reminded me how God told the prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute to make him understand about unfaithful relationships.

For many years now I have been the harlot, quite literally. I have not lived my baptismal promises and I was using lust to replace the love of God that I had when I first converted to the faith as a teenager. But now God has gentle called me back to Him, taken me back through the Sacrament of Confession and washed away my sins. God has called me to fall in love with him again, but this time with a more mature love.

When I was in novitiate with the Salvatorian Fathers I remember reading Mechtilde of Magdeburg and falling in love with her poetry and being introduced to Bridegroom Mysticism. Before then, I had never thought of God as the Bridegroom of the soul - but it was a concept I fell in love with instantly. My favourite quote from her that has always stuck with me has always been "'Whoever has been wounded by love, cannot be healed unless kissed by the same mouth that wounded them"'. This is very similar to what St John of the Cross also says about the wound of Love.

So now that I am able to receive Communion again and am coming back to praying and being in union with God - I am also learning to fall in love with Him again everyday. Falling in love with my Creator, my King - the lover of my soul. Receiving Him in the Eucharist so that through the resurrected humanity of Jesus I become the dwelling place for the Blessed Trinity.

May the Holy Trinity always dwell in the Bridal chamber of my heart. Amen

Friday, June 19, 2015

Laudato si - New Encyclical on creation and ecology

I have only had a chance to skim over the new Encyclical. A lot of it just seems to be babble about needing to respect Earth as a gift from our loving Creator, the need for stewardship on the earth, as well as some interesting points about Christ and St Francis' lives being so in tune with nature they embodied original harmony.

This last part of the encyclical is what got most of my interest, something that is very much part of my own spirituality and it is the most theological part of the encyclical. I love how there is a reference the St Bonaventure's notion of the "'vestiges of the Trinity"' in all of creation.

Some of the passages regarding the Eucharist and the cosmos seem very much influenced by Tielhard de Chardin - so althought it is not heresy by virtue of being in a Papal Encyclical, I am still a bit cautious of people misinterpreting some of it. But all in all, I was not expecting a lot from this Encyclical, so I am actually pleasantly surprised it is better than what I assumed it would be. It is good to hear some sacramental theology come out from this Pope though.
233. The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely. Hence, there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face.[159] The ideal is not only to pass from the exterior to the interior to discover the action of God in the soul, but also to discover God in all things. Saint Bonaventure teaches us that “contemplation deepens the more we feel the working of God’s grace within our hearts, and the better we learn to encounter God in creatures outside ourselves”.[160]

234. Saint John of the Cross taught that all the goodness present in the realities and experiences of this world “is present in God eminently and infinitely, or more properly, in each of these sublime realities is God”.[161] This is not because the finite things of this world are really divine, but because the mystic experiences the intimate connection between God and all beings, and thus feels that “all things are God”.[162] Standing awestruck before a mountain, he or she cannot separate this experience from God, and perceives that the interior awe being lived has to be entrusted to the Lord: “Mountains have heights and they are plentiful, vast, beautiful, graceful, bright and fragrant. These mountains are what my Beloved is to me. Lonely valleys are quiet, pleasant, cool, shady and flowing with fresh water; in the variety of their groves and in the sweet song of the birds, they afford abundant recreation and delight to the senses, and in their solitude and silence, they refresh us and give rest. These valleys are what my Beloved is to me”.[163]

235. The Sacraments are a privileged way in which nature is taken up by God to become a means of mediating supernatural life. Through our worship of God, we are invited to embrace the world on a different plane. Water, oil, fire and colours are taken up in all their symbolic power and incorporated in our act of praise. The hand that blesses is an instrument of God’s love and a reflection of the closeness of Jesus Christ, who came to accompany us on the journey of life. Water poured over the body of a child in Baptism is a sign of new life. Encountering God does not mean fleeing from this world or turning our back on nature. This is especially clear in the spirituality of the Christian East. “Beauty, which in the East is one of the best loved names expressing the divine harmony and the model of humanity transfigured, appears everywhere: in the shape of a church, in the sounds, in the colours, in the lights, in the scents”.[164] For Christians, all the creatures of the material universe find their true meaning in the incarnate Word, for the Son of God has incorporated in his person part of the material world, planting in it a seed of definitive transformation. “Christianity does not reject matter. Rather, bodiliness is considered in all its value in the liturgical act, whereby the human body is disclosed in its inner nature as a temple of the Holy Spirit and is united with the Lord Jesus, who himself took a body for the world’s salvation”.[165]

236. It is in the Eucharist that all that has been created finds its greatest exaltation. Grace, which tends to manifest itself tangibly, found unsurpassable expression when God himself became man and gave himself as food for his creatures. The Lord, in the culmination of the mystery of the Incarnation, chose to reach our intimate depths through a fragment of matter. He comes not from above, but from within, he comes that we might find him in this world of ours. In the Eucharist, fullness is already achieved; it is the living centre of the universe, the overflowing core of love and of inexhaustible life. Joined to the incarnate Son, present in the Eucharist, the whole cosmos gives thanks to God. Indeed the Eucharist is itself an act of cosmic love: “Yes, cosmic! Because even when it is celebrated on the humble altar of a country church, the Eucharist is always in some way celebrated on the altar of the world”.[166] The Eucharist joins heaven and earth; it embraces and penetrates all creation. The world which came forth from God’s hands returns to him in blessed and undivided adoration: in the bread of the Eucharist, “creation is projected towards divinization, towards the holy wedding feast, towards unification with the Creator himself”.[167] Thus, the Eucharist is also a source of light and motivation for our concerns for the environment, directing us to be stewards of all creation.

237. On Sunday, our participation in the Eucharist has special importance. Sunday, like the Jewish Sabbath, is meant to be a day which heals our relationships with God, with ourselves, with others and with the world. Sunday is the day of the Resurrection, the “first day” of the new creation, whose first fruits are the Lord’s risen humanity, the pledge of the final transfiguration of all created reality. It also proclaims “man’s eternal rest in God”.[168] In this way, Christian spirituality incorporates the value of relaxation and festivity. We tend to demean contemplative rest as something unproductive and unnecessary, but this is to do away with the very thing which is most important about work: its meaning. We are called to include in our work a dimension of receptivity and gratuity, which is quite different from mere inactivity. Rather, it is another way of working, which forms part of our very essence. It protects human action from becoming empty activism; it also prevents that unfettered greed and sense of isolation which make us seek personal gain to the detriment of all else. The law of weekly rest forbade work on the seventh day, “so that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your maidservant, and the stranger, may be refreshed” (Ex 23:12). Rest opens our eyes to the larger picture and gives us renewed sensitivity to the rights of others. And so the day of rest, centred on the Eucharist, sheds it light on the whole week, and motivates us to greater concern for nature and the poor.

238. The Father is the ultimate source of everything, the loving and self-communicating foundation of all that exists. The Son, his reflection, through whom all things were created, united himself to this earth when he was formed in the womb of Mary. The Spirit, infinite bond of love, is intimately present at the very heart of the universe, inspiring and bringing new pathways. The world was created by the three Persons acting as a single divine principle, but each one of them performed this common work in accordance with his own personal property. Consequently, “when we contemplate with wonder the universe in all its grandeur and beauty, we must praise the whole Trinity”.[169]

239. For Christians, believing in one God who is trinitarian communion suggests that the Trinity has left its mark on all creation. Saint Bonaventure went so far as to say that human beings, before sin, were able to see how each creature “testifies that God is three”. The reflection of the Trinity was there to be recognized in nature “when that book was open to man and our eyes had not yet become darkened”.[170] The Franciscan saint teaches us that each creature bears in itself a specifically Trinitarian structure, so real that it could be readily contemplated if only the human gaze were not so partial, dark and fragile. In this way, he points out to us the challenge of trying to read reality in a Trinitarian key.

240. The divine Persons are subsistent relations, and the world, created according to the divine model, is a web of relationships. Creatures tend towards God, and in turn it is proper to every living being to tend towards other things, so that throughout the universe we can find any number of constant and secretly interwoven relationships.[171] This leads us not only to marvel at the manifold connections existing among creatures, but also to discover a key to our own fulfilment. The human person grows more, matures more and is sanctified more to the extent that he or she enters into relationships, going out from themselves to live in communion with God, with others and with all creatures. In this way, they make their own that trinitarian dynamism which God imprinted in them when they were created. Everything is interconnected, and this invites us to develop a spirituality of that global solidarity which flows from the mystery of the Trinity.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

St John of Avila - Doctor of the Church

While away on my retreat recently, I decided to start reading the letters of St John of Avila for my spiritual reading. Let's just say I am very glad I did, and I can see why Pope Benedict made him a Doctor of the Church!!

There is not a lot written or known about him in the english speaking world, but I hope there will be soon. Pope Benedict made him a Doctor for a reason, so we should use this grace to help us in our spiritual life. He really is a wonderful spiritual director. This is what Pope Benedict said about him in his Apostolic Letter proclaiming him a Doctor of the Church

The declaration that a saint is a Doctor of the Universal Church implies the recognition of a charism of wisdom bestowed by the Holy Spirit for the good of the Church and evidenced by the beneficial influence of his or her teaching among the People of God. All this was clearly evident in the person and work of Saint John of Avila. He was often sought out by his contemporaries as a master of theology, gifted with the discernment of spirits, and a director of souls. His help and guidance were sought by great saints and acknowledged sinners, the wise and the unlearned, the poor and the rich; he was also responsible for important conversions and sought constantly to improve the life of faith and the understanding of the Christian message of those who flocked to him, eager to hear his teaching. Learned bishops and religious also sought him out as a counsellor, preacher and theologian. He exerted considerable influence on those who came into contact with him and on the environments in which he moved.

The thing that I got most out of his letters was learning to embrace suffering out of love of God, learning to trust and love God during the hard times no matter what, and keeping the Cross before all things. He truly is a wonderful spiritual director. These are some excerpts from his letters on suffering:

To a widow:
Let none deceive themselves. but let them feel assured that, as the King of Heaven entered his kingdom through tribulations, we must reach it by the same point. There is but one way - "Christ and Christ crucified''. If we seek a different road, we shall not find it. We should lose ourselves by any other path, and find that, however hard the sufferings in this world may be, those in the next world are far worse.... Although your life may not be a very happy one, it will greatly profit your soul, for by it you will purge away your sins, you will imitate Christ on the cross, and you will hold the certain hope of gaining his eternal kingdom.
To an invalid:
Ever keep the Cross before your eyes, and unite your heart to him who placed himself upon it. Do not be satisfied until suffering becomes sweet for you, for that is the sign of true love... The Almighty does not wish you to feel lonely and sorrowful out of any ill will He bears you, but because His blessed Son was afflicted, and God would not have us unlike Him. Nothing pleases Him so well as to see in us a resemblance to His Only -Begotten Son. What so touches the soul as to see the Lord upon the Cross tortured for the love of us? The more afflicted and deformed by pain he appears, the more beautiful he seems to us; so the more we suffer for Him, the better will his Father look to love on us. Thus, we strive to beautify our souls with the crimson hue of suffering to win God's favor, just as fashionable women suffer pain and take trouble to attract the admiration of men.

To friends under threats and persecution:
God forbid that our souls should find rest in or choose any other lot but that of suffering beneath our Lord's Cross. I know not if bearing the cross can be called ''pain'' , for to my mind it is to repose on a bed of down and roses.
 To a grieving mother:
It is no easy matter to be the friend of Jesus Christ. Suffering born for Him is the only sure way to test which is the true and which is the false friend... Learn to love God as he loves you, and know that a true love will make you give yourself wholly to him, and keep back nothing for yourself. Do not fear to place yourself in God's hands, abandoning yourself entirely to him, for all that He holds is safe, and all else will certainly be lost.
To a friend:
Forgetting all things, let us go to God, and abide entirely in Him; let us fast from all consolation in any creature, so that, as our souls dwell in solitude. God may come fill them, because they are empty of all else. When you place yourself in God's presence, endeavor rather to listen to Him than to speak with Him, and strive more to love Him and then learn from Him.
To a young woman:
Close your eyes to all that afrights you and trust in the wounds of Christ, who received them for your sake, and you will find rest.
 To a student:
Brace up your heart to suffer afflictions, for without the battle there is no victory, and the crown is only for the conqueror. Think not that your burden is heavy; it is very light, compared with what you deserve to have to bear and with what Jesus Christ our Lord bore for your sake; it is slight indeed in comparison with the reward it will bring you. Remember that we shall soon quit this world, and then all the past will seem to us like a short dream. and we shall see that it is better to have labored than to have rested here. Learn how to profit by your sorrows, for they bring great riches to the soul. They cleanse it from past sin; what fire is to gold, that tribulation is to the just man, whose heart it purifies... Soon the vanity of this world will be unmasked, and the Kingdom of God will be revealed. Live here as a stranger - your body on earth, but your heart above - so that when our Lord calls you, he may not find you sleeping, but ready to go with Him, and to hear the sweet words "'well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord''.
 St John of Avila - pray for us that we may learn to embrace suffering so that we can embrace Jesus in Heaven.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Being gay and Catholic

I was talking to a friend on facebook today who is gay and identifies as catholic. We were discussing how it is hard to keep faith while not feeling accepted. This is what I had to say to him based on my own experiences and my recent reconversion after my retreat at New Norcia

People will always have issues with us, but that's their problem not ours lol. As a gay catholic you feel rejected by God and the Church, and you are constantly ridiculed and attacked in the gay community. It's really tough. The two things that I always keep in mind is from the letter to the Romans where St. Paul says nothing can separate us fr the love of Christ. In other words I am the only person responsible for not being in union with Christ because he is always there loving me. The other thing to keep in mind is where Jesus tells the apostles to remember when the world hates you and persecuted you, that they did it to Jesus first. So in other words, all of our suffering, rejection, depression, problems we feel in our life - Jesus went through it too for love of us. But because we are baptised we can unite our sufferings with Jesus and offer them to him to sanctify and then that suffering is coredemptive. It makes us holy and purifies us. It's why I could never be Buddhist, I love it as a philosophy, but Catholicism is the only religion in the world where suffering is coredemptive and makes you beautiful. It's an existential faith. It's why I have my chest tattoo "beauty through sorrow"

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Cor Jesu, amore vulneratum, consolator afflictorum et raptor cordium - miserere nobis

The title is taken from 3 of the petitions from St John Eudes Litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
  1. Heart of Jesus, wounded with love
  2. Heart of Jesus, consoler of the afflicted
  3. Heart of Jesus, ravisher of hearts
The reason why I am posting this is because my boyfriend and I just broke up this morning after a year and a half together. We’ve had many issues for months now.

We are both at different places in our lives. I am getting back into my faith after my retreat with the monks in New Norcia WA, and I think he could sense that so that was the final breaking point to push me away before he got hurt if I was to discern religious life again. Our relationship has been non sexual for a while now, and I think God was using this time to bring me back to practicing my faith, it was a way to prepare my to live as a celibate gay catholic.

Today when I got home after crying , I decided to pray the Divine Office - and lauds had everything that I needed. The reading for the day was from the letter of the Romans about nothing separating us from the love of Christ and that we are conquerors in all things through His love. Also the intercession were “stay with us Lord Jesus”

So I am accepting this breakup as part of God’s will for my life and to bring me back to Him. I am coming back to my faith after 6 years of falling away and living a sexual lifestyle. I have deleted all my hookup apps and website I had profiles on to keep me away from the temptation against chastity.

Please keep me in your prayers today that I can remain strong and continue trusting God, not growing despondent and as we prepare for the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that He may be able to console my aching heart.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Superficial Preaching - Priests need to preach the Gospel and not themselves!

Here is a video that explains how I feel most of the time. As a convert to the faith and someone who struggles a lot with lust and acedia, when I go to Mass there is nothing more upsetting or off putting than a priest who does not preach the GOSPEL or explains the FAITH but instead espouses wish washy pop-psychology. I went to Mass last week on Divine Mercy Sunday and the monsignor of the Cathedral preached all about political issues relating to refugees and asylum seekers, not once did he mention of expand on the Gospel or even try to weave the theme of Social Justice into the biblical readings of the day. He was more interested in getting us all the take pamphlets home from a writer who had written about the Government's anti-immigration policies instead of Zealously preaching the Gospel. I was infuriated!

Catholic priests need to start realising how important the homily is. The homily is something sacred, it is not the place or time to be expressing personal opinions. It is the time to explain the Word of God, it is the time to feed the faithful from the Table of the Word before feeding them from the Altar. Pope Francis in Evangelii gaudium even goes so far to say that the homily is actually part of the sacrifice of the Mass itself! :

138. When preaching takes place within the context of the liturgy, it is part of the offering made to the Father and a mediation of the grace which Christ pours out during the celebration. This context demands that preaching should guide the assembly, and the preacher, to a life-changing communion with Christ in the Eucharist. This means that the words of the preacher must be measured, so that the Lord, more than his minister, will be the centre of attention.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Misericordiae Vultus

Here is an excerpt from the Bull of Indiction for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy by our Holy Father in the Faith, Pope Francis. As someone who can often fall into pharisaical legalism as well as struggling with my own person sins, these beautiful words struck my heart.:

2. We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life. Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to a hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness..  
12. The Church is commissioned to announce the mercy of God, the beating heart of the Gospel, which in its own way must penetrate the heart and mind of every person. The Spouse of Christ must pattern her behaviour after the Son of God who went out to everyone without exception. In the present day, as the Church is charged with the task of the new evangelization, the theme of mercy needs to be proposed again and again with new enthusiasm and renewed pastoral action. It is absolutely essential for the Church and for the credibility of her message that she herself live and testify to mercy. Her language and her gestures must transmit mercy, so as to touch the hearts of all people and inspire them once more to find the road that leads to the Father. 
The Church’s first truth is the love of Christ. The Church makes herself a servant of this love and mediates it to all people: a love that forgives and expresses itself in the gift of one’s self. Consequently, wherever the Church is present, the mercy of the Father must be evident. In our parishes, communities, associations and movements, in a word, wherever there are Christians, everyone should find an oasis of mercy. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Co-Redemptive Anxiety

As someone who struggles a lot with over thinking, and anxiety that can cause attacks. Here is a useful thought I found while sifting through von Balthasar's usual verbosity.

From the perspective of the anguished bringing-forth of the new aeon upon the Cross, all subsequent anxiety is now seen to be revalued. Now it is possible for anxiety to participate in the fruitful anguish of the Cross...
All grace is the grace of the Cross. All joy is resulting from the Cross, marked with the sign of the Cross. And Cross means anguish, too. When sin-anxiety in its forms (which comprises everything that throws a person back upon himself, closes him off, constricts him, and makes him unproductive and unfit) has been fundamentally removed from a man and hence has been forbidden him, then from the Cross opens up something completely different: grace, and in the measure granted by grace, permission to suffer anxiety as a share in Christ's anguish. It is evident how thoroughly the grace revalues anxiety, starting at its basis, and even turns it into its opposite. For if the anxiety of man who is closed in upon himself and isolated amounts to a constriction and a loss of communication, then the anxiety granted from the Cross is, on the contrary, the fruit and result of a communication: it is an expansion, a dilatio of the love found on the Cross. As such, it in turn can produce nothing other than a broadening in the person who participates in it.
Hans Urs Von Balthasar The Christian and Anxiety


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pope Francis the Frigid

Here is a quote from a blog post by Fr Ray Blake that I recently read and it perfect summs up some of my concerns/feelings to do with our current Pontiff.

I must admit I still don't understand Francis. Is he the greatest thing since unsliced bread, a cunning old Jesuit, a conservative, a trad, a prophet, a fool or even the anti-Christ; a breath of fresh-air or the stench from the tomb of those rather detestable men who surrounded the Blessed Paul VI and added to his suffering?

I have never done the Benedict through Francis thing at least, but neither am I convinced of the Francis against Benedict thing entirely. I am still perplexed and confused by him. Perhaps it is in Francis who rather than being an Emperor who is wearing no clothes we actually have clothes with no Emperor. I mean those morning homilies that come out of the marble halls of Sta Martha that are full of barbs but actually teach nothing. Perhaps we should expect nothing!

Another thing that confuses me about him, is that he is widely know for his smile and how friendly he is. Yet have you seen him when he offers Mass? He looks miserable, mutters and mumbles the words, won't kneel or sing... yet he has no problems giving speeches or kneeling to wash feet.

I pray for him, but so much about him leaves me cold

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The original Irascible Hermit

Here is a lovely link regarding St Jerome, who is my inspiration for this blog.

Too often the saints are presented to us as saccharine, almost feeble and pathetic people who are so removed from our everyday lives. But St Jerome is so earthly, raw and real. He is a saint I can connect with as someone very passionate with strong opinions. Sometimes his temper got the better of him in the defense of the Faith... read these two quotes from his Defence of our Lady's perpetual Virginity against Helvidius. The first quote is from his introduction, and the second quote is his conclusion.

1. I was requested by certain of the brethren not long ago to reply to a pamphlet written by one Helvidius. I have deferred doing so, not because it is a difficult matter to maintain the truth and refute an ignorant boor who has scarce known the first glimmer of learning, but because I was afraid my reply might make him appear worth defeating. There was the further consideration that a turbulent fellow, the only individual in the world who thinks himself both priest and layman, one who, as has been said, thinks that eloquence consists in loquacity and considers speaking ill of anyone to be the witness of a good conscience, would begin to blaspheme worse than ever if opportunity of discussion were afforded him. He would stand as it were on a pedestal, and would publish his views far and wide. There was reason also to fear that when truth failed him he would assail his opponents with the weapon of abuse. But all these motives for silence, though just, have more justly ceased to influence me, because of the scandal caused to the brethren who were disgusted at his ravings. The axe of the Gospel must therefore be now laid to the root of the barren tree, and both it and its fruitless foliage cast into the fire, so that Helvidius who has never learned to speak, may at length learn to hold his tongue.

 I must call upon the Holy Spirit to express His meaning by my mouth and defend the virginity of the Blessed Mary. I must call upon the Lord Jesus to guard the sacred lodging of the womb in which He abode for ten months from all suspicion of sexual intercourse. And I must also entreat God the Father to show that the mother of His Son, who was a mother before she was a bride, continued a Virgin after her son was born. We have no desire to career over the fields of eloquence, we do not resort to the snares of the logicians or the thickets of Aristotle. We shall adduce the actual words of Scripture. Let him be refuted by the same proofs which he employed against us, so that he may see that it was possible for him to read what is written, and yet to be unable to discern the established conclusion of a sound faith....

2 .....I have become rhetorical, and have disported myself a little like a platform orator. You compelled me, Helvidius; for, brightly as the Gospel shines at the present day, you will have it that equal glory attaches to virginity and to the marriage state. And because I think that, finding the truth too strong for you, you will turn to disparaging my life and abusing my character (it is the way of weak women to talk tittle-tattle in corners when they have been put down by their masters), I shall anticipate you. I assure you that I shall regard your railing as a high distinction, since the same lips that assail me have disparaged Mary, and I, a servant of the Lord, am favoured with the same barking eloquence as His mother

St Jerome is one of the little spoken about Doctors of the Church, and he is also one of the 4 great Western Doctors.

St Jerome, patron of us cantankerous hermits - Pray for us, that we may love Christ in the scriptures and be defenders of Our Lady as you were

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sinner and Theologian

Currently I am reading Christ and Spirituality in St Thomas Aquinas by Jean-Pierre Torrell, OP. In it I found a very though provoking quote that has helped validate me in my current journey so to speak.

As many of you are aware, and as I have mentioned in previous posts, I am a gay catholic who lives a gay lifestyle, yet still adheres to the Catholic faith intellectually. Often I find myself defending the teachings of the Church from people, friends, facebook and even other catholics.

I have a seminarian friend who I knew from before I entered the seminary (obviously I am no longer there, and now he has entered the seminary), we catch up once a year to discuss philosophy, theology, debate current Church politics and so forth. Often I find myself giving him suggested books or authors to read.

This quote by Fr Torrell has helped validate me in a sense, that by helping my seminarian friend and sometimes through this blog, I am a theologian (in the broadest sense of the term) even though to many my faith may be seen as to be dead. Any and every time I teach/discuss with anyone Sacra Doctrina I am fulfilling the role of a theologian and helping to santcify (or bring closer to God) the other person, even though I myself am in a state of sin and therefore I do not have sanctifying grace present in my soul. My state of soul, does not affect the truth that I am conveying

One can practice theology with a dead faith. I ought to remark, however, that this objection does not touch on theology as such, but only on the theologian. We thus pass from what is de jure to what is de facto . The latter might justify all kinds of reservations, but it remains that, de jure, "theology is a pious science"' [Chenu]. Although the loss of charity does not bring about the dissolution of the theological habitus, nevertheless it constitutes a fate as violent as that of  dead faith. The diminished habitus that we designate by this name still allows a person to adhere to supernatural truths, but the absence of charity radically deprives the theologian of his or her ability to cling to these truths in a life giving manner

In cruce latebat sola Deitas,
At hic latet simul et Humanitas,
Ambo tamen credens atque confitens,
Peto quod petivit latro pœnitens.
Plagas, sicut Thomas, non intueor:
Deum tamen meum te confiteor.
Fac me tibi semper magis credere,
In te spem habere, te diligere.

St Thomas Aquinas - pray for me