Saturday, November 24, 2012
Summary of "Dark Night of the Soul" by St. John of the Cross

In honor of today's Feast Day of St. John of the Cross (1962 Calendar), I present the following excerpt from a summary of his "Dark Night of the Soul."  You may purchase the remainder of the summary online.  Only a brief section is posted here to comply with the publisher's policy.  The excerpt begins:

BOOK ONE: A Treatise on the Night of the Senses

One dark night, fired with love's urgent longings -ah, the sheer grace!- I went out unseen, my house being now all stilled.


The soul mortifies itself through purgative contemplation of all attachment to self and all things to reach the life of love with God. The soul was only able to achieve this negation through the strength of its loving Bridegroom. None of the soul's three enemies (the world, the devi,l or the flesh) could impede it, because the purifying contemplation deadened the passions and appetites of the soul.

Chapter 1 : Quotes the verse and begins to discuss the imperfections of beginners.

God draws souls through three states to divine union. Beginners are those who practice spiritual meditation. Proficients are those who are already contemplatives. The Perfect are those who are in divine union of the soul with God. Beginners should understand their feebleness of state and take courage that God has placed them in the dark night to strengthen the virtue of their soul to receive the delights of love of God.

God nurtures and caresses the soul who is newly converted to his service as a mother nurtures her child at the breast. As the child grows the mother withholds her caresses and puts the child down so the child may put away childish habits and grow to greater things. At this stage the soul, through no effort of its own, receives great satisfaction in performing spiritual exercises. The soul finds great joy and consolation in the prayers, penances, fasts and sacraments. However, the motivation of the soul is the consolation and satisfaction received from these acts. They have not long practiced virtue so they still possess many faults and imperfections. Their habits are feeble like a weak child.

We will describe, using the seven capital vices, some of the many imperfections beginners commit. The dark night purifies the soul of these childish imperfections.

Chapter 2: Some of the imperfections of pride possessed by beginners.

Beginners feel a secret pride due to their fervor and diligence in their spiritual exercises, so that they become complacent with themselves. They become vain and speak of spiritual things in the presence of others, sometimes instructing, condemning, or criticizing the practice of others, like the Pharisee in Lk. 18-11-12.

The devil uses this growing pride by increasing their fervor and readiness to perform spiritual works. But he does this to negate the worth of these virtues turning them into vices. These
beginners will condemn and detract others, seeing the splinter in their brother‟s eye, rather than the plank in their own. (Mt. 7:3)

When confessors or spiritual directors disapprove of their spirit and methods, the beginner will say the director does not understand, or will seek a new confessor who will praise them. They will make many resolutions with little result, and will also make public displays of raptures so others will take notice.

Beginners want their confessor to think highly of them, so rather than accuse themselves of their true sins, they will excuse their behavior. Or they might seek out different confessors to confess so that their regular confessor thinks they commit no sins at all. They confess their good behavior. It would be better for them to make light of the good they do and wish no one consider it of any importance at all.

Beginners minimize their faults or become discouraged by them, since they felt they were already saints. They become impatient and angry with themselves, which is another fault. They wish that God would remove all their faults, but it is for personal peace rather than love of God. They don't realize that removal of their faults might make them more proud and presumptuous. They love praise from others, but dislike praising others, like the foolish virgins who had to borrow oil, (Mt. 25:8)...

Continue reading here
St. Catherine of Alexandria

Double (1954 Calendar): November 25

The patron saint of philosophers and wheelwrights and one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, Catherine of Alexandria was very popular in the Middle Ages. Her legend relates that in the early years of the fourth century, Catherine converted to Christianity a group of philosophers whom Emperor Maximinus had appointed to shake the maiden's own faith. The infuriated ruler had Catherine scourged and bound to wheels on which knives were fixed; but the wheels broke and the knives flew off, killing some of the onlookers. Then she was beheaded. Angels are said to have carried her body up to Mount Sinai in Arabia. 

Dom Gueranger writes, "Gertrude the Great, from her very infancy, felt a special attraction towards the glorious virgin Catharine. As she was desirous of knowing how great were her merits, our Lord showed her St. Catharine seated on a throne so lofty and so magnificent, that it seemed her glory was sufficient to have filled the courts of heaven had she been its sole queen; while from her crown a marvelous brightness was reflected on her devout clients. It is well known how the Maid of Orleans [St. Joan of Arc], entrusted by St. Michael to the guidance of St. Catharine and St. Margaret, received aid and counsel from them during seven years; and how it was at Sainte-Catherine-de-Fierbois that she received her sword." 

Her feast has long been celebrated and was in some places a holy day of Obligation. Dom Gueranger continues, "In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the Crusaders of the West experienced the powerful assistance of the Alexandrian martyr; and on their return from the East they introduced her cultus, which soon became extremely popular. An Order of knighthood was founded to protect the pilgrims visiting her holy body on Mount Sinai. Her feast was raised to the rank of first class, and as observed was a holiday of obligation by many churches. She was honoured as patroness by Christian philosophers, scholars, orators, and attorneys. The senior advocate was called bastonier, because it was his privilege to carry her banner; while confraternities of young girls were formed under the invocation of St. Catharine, whose members vied with one another in their zeal for adorning her venerated image. She was classed among the helping saints, as being a wise counsellor; and was claimed patroness by various associations merely on account of their experience of her powerful intercession with our Lord. Her betrothal with the divine Child, and other scenes from her legend, furnished Christian rt with many beautiful inspirations."

The Roman Martyrology which is read every day in the Breviary by priests, monks, nuns, and laypeople who wish to pray it, recounts the following on her life for her feastday on November 25th. It is especially beautiful and worthy of meditation:

At Alexandria, St. Catherine, virgin and martyr, in the time of Emperor Maximinus. For the confession of the Christian faith she was cast into prison, endured a long scourging with whips set with metal, and finally ended her martyrdom by having her head cut off. Her body was miraculously carried by angels to Mount Sinai, where pious veneration is paid to it by great gatherings of Christians.

Traditional Matins Reading:

Catharine, a noble virgin of Alexandria, united from early youth the study of the liberal arts with an ardent faith; and attained in a short time to such a degree of holiness and science, that at the age of eighteen she surpassed the most learned men. Seeing many, at the command of Maximin, cruelly tortured and executed for professing the Christian religion, she went boldly to Maximin himself and reproached him for his impious cruelty, showing him by wise reasons that faith in Christ is necessary for salvation.

Maximin, marvelling at her wisdom, caused her to be kept in custody. Then he summoned the most learned men from all parts, and promised a large reward to him that should refute Catharine's arguments, and lead her from the faith of Christ to the worship of idols. But the result was contrary to his expectations. For many of the philo­sophers who had assembled to refute her were, by the force and subtility of her reasoning, so enkindled with love of Jesus Christ, that they were ready to die for him. Maximin next tried to seduce her by flatteries and promises; but seeing his labour lost, he caused her to be lashed and torn with scourges tipped with lead, and finally shut up in prison for eleven days without food or drink.

During this interval, Maximin’s wife, and Porphyrius general of the army, going to see the virgin in prison, were by her exhortations brought to believe in Jesus Christ, and were afterwards crowned with martyrdom. Meanwhile Catharine was brought out of prison, and a wheel was set up garnished with many sharp knives cruelly to rend the virgin’s body. But at Catharine’s prayer the wheel was speedily broken; by which miracle many were converted to the faith of Christ. Maximin only grew more obstinate in wickedness and cruelty, and ordered Catharine to be beheaded. Offering her head bravely to the sword, she took her flight to heaven, adorned with the double crown of virginity and martyrdom, on the seventh of the Kalends of December. Her body was miraculously carried away by angels and buried on Mount Sinai in Arabia.


O God, you gave the law to Moses on the summit of Mount Sinai, and through your holy angels, wonderfully put in that same place the body of the blessed Catherine, your virgin and martyr; grant, we beseech you, that by her merits and intercession, we may reach that mountain which is Christ.  Who lives and reigns with you…
Thursday, November 22, 2012
How to Create a Catholic Blog PDF eBook

UPDATED EDITION: A newly revised version with more information on social media has been published in 2019. The current version is 45 pages long.

Ebook Content:
  • Part I: What Makes A Blog A Catholic Blog?
  • Part II: Starting the Blog
  • Part III: Maintaining the Blog
  • Part IV: Feeds: What are they and do they matter anymore
  • Part V: Statistics & Analytics
  • Part VI: Building a Catholic Brand
  • Part VII: Monetize Your Blog in an Ethical Way
  • Catholic Blog Help – Printable Resource List

Reviewer Testimonials:

“Love it or hate it, the internet is a powerful tool which, in the rights hands, can be employed for the glory of God. I cannot but help think that having just launched myself into the blogosphere, the fact that a copy of ‘How to Create a Catholic Blog’ landed in my inbox was nothing but providential. This is a clearly written and highly informative ‘beginner’s guide’ to everything one needs to know, not just about creating a blog but how to make a successful and engaging blog. Matthew provides a wealth of information on maintaining it, marketing it, and even on how to make money on it. In 50 pages, he takes us by the hand and leads us through the desperately daunting digital world of the blog, makes sense of it and turns us into experts. The author patiently explains the meaning of such mysterious terms as RSS and Atom, which it seems, are not names of space shuttles, but two different types of web feeds. Matthew is both extremely knowledgeable and generous in the information which he has shared with us. This, I think, will be an invaluable source to anyone who has aspirations to join the fast growing network of Catholic bloggers.”

Dr. Bella D’Abrera, Catholic Author and Historian

“Matthew walks us through very practical tips to successful blogging and creating a blog "from the ground up". The content is shared in a won't-make-you-fall-asleep format and with plenty of personality. Perhaps one of my favorite aspects of the book is the fact I know Matthew to be an avid blogger with multiple sites to his credit. Therefore, the tips that he shares all come from personal experiences and not from third party research. This ebook was a great help to me in helping me understand what it takes to create a successful blog and all of the behind the scenes work involved in blogging. I love that it is geared for the Catholic Blogger, so he gives you all of the tools and tips for blogging in general as well as creating a Catholic atmosphere to your blog. If you are thinking about blogging or have a blog that might need tweaking, this is the book for you!”

Erika Drain, President - Catholic Bloggers Network 

“From the first page Matthew informs and encourages potential bloggers…I highly recommend this book for evangelizing, and even as a possible mechanism for adding a bit of income where it might be needed. ‘Creating a Catholic Blog’ will be an interesting and effective book for anyone who wishes to blog or wants to improve their blogging skills.”

John Bowden, Administrator – St. Blog’s Directory

Order the eBook on Amazon

Thanksgiving Day for Catholics

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Let us remember to thank God today for the many blessings we have received. Remember to say a special Blessing before your Thanksgiving meal today.

Invite someone to dinner who has no place to go for Thanksgiving. If you have no other commitments volunteer to help serve Thanksgiving dinner at a place that is serving the poor.

We are thankful for our families, our health, our Faith, the Sacraments, the Church, the grace to be a Catholic, the opportunities given to us, and so much more. Thursday is especially honored each week in honor of the Institution of the Eucharist, and the word "Eucharist" is Greek for "Thanksgiving."

May we render to God each and every day - and especially today - our thanks since everything we have, do, experience, know, and love is a gift from God.


O God of Whose mercies there is no number, and of Whose goodness the treasure is infinite: we render thanks to Thy most gracious Majesty for the gifts Thou hast bestowed upon us, always beseeching Thy clemency; that as Thou grantest the petitions of them that ask Thee, Thou wilt prepare them for the greater rewards that still await them.

Prayer Source: Votive Mass of Thanksgiving (1962 Missal)
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
The Perfect Christmas Gift for Catholic Moms

Each year as the leaves begin to fall, and the sweaters are taken out of storage, our minds start turning naturally towards Advent, and the coming expectation of the joys of Christmas. But as we get closer to that blessed season, it’s all too easy to be bogged down in the material things of life: What do I get people for Christmas? And while Christmas is about so much more than any material gifts, expressing our gratitude and love to those around us is an important part of the season. That’s why I was happy to see that Angelus Press just made this year a bit easier when choosing gifts for the mothers in your life.

As of this past month, Angelus Press released a brand new, completely retypeset edition of the famed Mother Love, a prayer book and manual for Christian mothers. Written in the 1880s by a Capuchin priest, this book contains much that a mother would need to nurture and grow her spiritual life. It also comes in a nice faux-leather, soft cover with gilded edges and a ribbon for devotional use.

The book begins with Morning and Evening prayers, followed by the Holy Rosary and various prayers to be used throughout the day. From there, it examines the Points of doctrine which a Christian mother should teach her children, and principles a Christian mother should instill in her children, such as “The road to heaven is the Way of the Cross,” or “If heaven is gained, all is gained. If heaven is lost, all is lost.” The goal seems to be to teach children a number of small maxims that will help form and prepare them for a life of grace.

After this, there are various devotional prayers to be said throughout the Holy Mass, followed by the “10 Commandments of Christian Education,” and Devotions for Confession, Communion, and other devotions.

After this, the second part of the book begins, which is Prayers for Various Special Necessities of Christian Mothers for all of the duties of their state in life, flowering in the third section with prayers to some of the patrons of mothers.

The book concludes with a long educational section, helping Christian mothers to effectively do their duties, and, as the book says, to help do them easily. The section of instructions on Christian training of children is priceless and a sure aid to any mother trying to raise Catholic children in this vale of tears.

Put simply, I am not aware of any book for Christian mothers that surpasses this one. Whether you are a mother of a newborn, or a grandmother whose children are already grown and out of the house, this book will help you to advance in the spiritual life primarily by aiding you to better accomplish your duties of state. The amazing thing is that this book, which is so full of information and prayers, is available from Angelus Press for only $24.95.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Catholic Perspective on the English Reformation: Part III


On October 13 1536, Robert Aske, a partially blind barrister from Yorkshire, gathered nine thousand men and marched to York under the banner of the Five Wounds of Christ in response to attacks both upon England’s monasteries and the ancient Faith. In 1534, Thomas Cromwell had already begun to plan the dissolution of England’s monasteries by assessing the total value of all the Church property, [which involved] handpicking a small group of suitably anti-Catholic individuals and sending them out to investigate the spiritual and temporal conditions of every monastery in the realm. They had just six weeks, and managed to visit only one third of the religious houses on their lists. Still, Cromwell’s spies cobbled together a report of supposed tales of monkish evilness and presented it to Parliament in 1536. In response, the politicians passed Bill for the Dissolution of the Lesser Monasteries . Was this document published by a name that is still available for academics to see?

Over the next few months, the people watched with growing dismay as the King Henry VIII’s agents traveled from monastery to monastery, summoning the monks to appear before them, informing them of their impending doom, expelling them from their homes, and then taking anything that could be put into the back of a cart. After they had left, they sent in workmen to demolish the buildings. Many of the abbots were easily bought, cooperating with the King in their own demise.

In the meantime, Cromwell had appointed the most radical, anti-Catholic preachers he could find and sent them out to openly preach against Catholic doctrine. In August 1536, he issued a set of anti-Catholic Injunctions in which the clergy, under pain of imprisonment, were compelled to obey the legislation which abolished the Pope’s jurisdiction. They were also required to preach the Ten Articles as well as dissuade the faithful from undertaking pilgrimages. The veneration of the Saints and the invocation of their intercession, rejected by the Reformers as unbiblical, was deemed superstitious and prohibited.

By October, the people had had enough. Upon arriving in York, the first thing that Aske did was to expel the King’s squatters from the religious houses and recall the monks and nun to their homes. He then moved to Doncaster with approximately forty thousand men, each man wearing a pilgrim’s badge. Such was the strength and organisation of this army that the King was compelled to negotiate with the rebels, promising that a general pardon be granted and Parliament held at York within the year.

Unfortunately, Aske foolishly believed the King, and told his followers to disarm and disband. It was soon manifestly evident however, that Henry had never had the slightest intention of keeping his disingenuous promises. In 1537, he and several other leaders, as well as four Abbots were rounded up, arrested, convicted of treason and brutally executed. Henry declared martial law, taking revenge upon his own subjects by ordering a routine series of massacres and the north of the country became littered with corpses dangling in chains from gibbets. Henry had killed the opposition. The pilgrimage had failed. By the autumn of 1539, some one-hundred and fifty monasteries had signed their own death warrants and handed over their property to their tyrannical monarch.

Author's Biography: This is a guest post written by Dr. Bella d'Abrera.  Bella Wyborn d’Abrera, who is based in London, is a graduate of Monash University in Melbourne. She completed her Masters degree at the University of St. Andrews, and was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy by the University of Cambridge in 2003. She is also the author of  ‘A King with a Pope in His Belly’ and ‘Papists, Spaniards & Other Strangers.’
Dedication of the Basilicas of Ss Peter and Paul in Rome

Greater Double (1955 Calendar): November 18
Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): November 18

Today the Church goes on a spiritual pilgrimage to the tombs of the two greatest apostles. To the famous basilica of St. Peter's, built over the tomb of the Vicar of Christ at Rome, have come Christians of every age, every race, and every nation, for Peter is the rock and foundation of their Faith. While we are thus reminded of the unity of all the members of the Mystical Body, St. Paul, Apostle of the Gentiles, directs our thoughts toward those who have yet to be taught the message of Salvation.

The St. Benedict Center writes:
The Basilica of Saint Peter, the Apostle and first Pope, was built at the foot of Vatican Hill in Rome by Pope Saint Cletus. It has since grown to be the greatest and most impressive church in the world. Fifty thousand people can be accommodated in it. The feast of November 18 commemorates the solemn consecration of the new basilica there by Pope Urban VIII, in 1626. It is on the spot where Saint Peter was crucified upside down in the year 67.

Pope Saint Cletus also built a church over the tomb of Saint Paul-outside-the-walls, on the road to Ostia. This church has been made larger and larger through the years. A great fire destroyed it in 1823. It was rebuilt, and its final structure, as we see it today, was [re]consecrated by Pope Pius IX in 1854, two days after he had defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. The dedication of that church was transferred to be kept on this day as well.

The tradition of keeping the dedication of the two basilicas (namely St. Peter's Basilica and St. Paul outside the walls) as a single joint feast is a medieval custom, and Pope Pius IX decreed that the custom would continue unaltered. And so even today we keep today in remembrance of both of these sacred places.

The Traditional Reading at Matins tells the origin of today's basilica under Emperor Constantine:

Among the holy places ve­nerated of old by the Christians, those were the most honored and most frequented in which the bodies of the Saints were preserved, or some relic or memorial of the Martyrs. Chief among these holy places has ever been that part of the Vatican hill which was called the Confession of St. Peter. Christians from all parts of the world flocked thither, as to the rock of the faith and the foundation of the Church, and honored with the greatest reverence and piety the spot hallowed by the sepulcher of the prince of the Apostles.

Hither on the octave day of his baptism, came the emperor Constantine the Great; and taking off his diadem, he prostrated on the ground with many tears. Then taking a hoe and mattock he broke up the earth, of which twelve basketfuls were taken away in honor of the twelve Apostles; and on the site thus marked out, he built the basilica of the Prince of the Apostles. Pope St. Sylvester dedicated it on the fourteenth of the Calens of December, just as he had consecrated the Lateran church on the fifth of the Ides of November. He erected in it a stone altar which he anointed with chrism and decreed that thencefor­ward all altars should be made of stone. The same blessed Sylvester dedicated the basilica of St. Paul the Apostle on the Ostian Way, also magni­ficently built by the emperor Constantine, who enriched both basilicas with many estates and rich gifts and ornaments.

The Vatican basilica, however, began to decay through age; and was rebuilt from its foundations on a more extensive and magnificent scale, through the piety of several Pontiffs. It was solemnly dedicated by Urban VIII., on this day in the year 1626. In the year 1823, the Ostian basilica was burnt to the ground; but the ruins were repaired and it was rebuilt more splendidly than before, through the unwearied exertions of four Popes. Pius IX., seizing the auspicious occasion, when his Definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary had drawn an immense number of Cardinals and Bishops even from distant parts of the Catholic world to Rome, solemnly dedicated this basilica on the tenth of December 1854, assisted and surrounded by this noble gathering of prelates; and he decreed that the anniversary commemoration should be celebrated on this day.

Image Source: A Catholic Life Blog

Genesis 28: 17

Terrible is this place: it is the house of God, and the gate of heaven; and shall be called the court of God. (Ps. 83: 2, 3) How lovely are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Terrible is this place...

COLLECT - O God, by Your care we come safely each year to commemorate with these sacred rites the dedication of Your holy temple. Graciously hear the prayers of Your people and grant that all who implore Your blessings in this church may joyfully receive the favors they ask. Through Our Lord . . .

Apocalypse 21: 2-5

Lesson from the Book of the Apocalypse of blessed John the Apostle. In those days, I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven,from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying, Behold the tabernacle of God with men; and He will dwell with them: and they shall be His people, and God Himself with them shall be their God: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away. And He that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. Thanks be to God.


This place was made by God a priceless mystery, it is without reproof. V. O God, before Whom stands the choir of angels, hear the prayers of Thy servants. Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Ps. 137: 2) I will worship toward Thy holy temple; and I will give glory to Thy name. Alleluia.

Luke 19: 1-10

At that time, Jesus entering in, walked through Jericho. And behold there was a man named Zachæus, who was the chief of the publicans, and he was rich; and he sought to see Jesus Who He was, and he could not for the crowd, because he was of low stature. And running before, he climbed up into a sycamore-tree that he might see Him, for He was to pass that way. And when Jesus was come to the place, looking up, He saw him, and said to him, "Zachæus, make haste and come down, for this day I must abide in thy house." And he made haste and came down, and received Him with joy. And when all saw it, they murmured, saying that He was gone to be a guest with a man that was a sinner. But Zachæus standing, said to the Lord, Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor, and if I have wronged any man of anything, I restore him fourfold. Jesus said to him, "This day is salvation come to this house; because he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Praise be to Christ

1 Par. 29: 17,18

O Lord God, in the simplicity of my heart, I have joyfully offered all these things; and I have seen with great joy Thy people, which are present: O God of Israel, keep this will. Alleluia.

SECRET Graciously hear our prayers, O Lord. May the gifts we offer You help us to attain Your eternal rewards. Through our Lord . . .

PREFACE (Common Preface) - It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise

Image Source: A Catholic Life Blog

Matthew 21:13

My house shall be called the house of prayer, saith the Lord: every one that asks therein, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened.

POST COMMUNION -O God, by Your divine choosing, living stones are used to build an everlasting dwelling place for Your majesty. Hear the prayers of Your people who call upon You and grant that the material growth of Your Church may be accompanied by a deepening spiritual development in her. Through our Lord . . .
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Holy Cross Seminary Fall 2012 Newsletter

The latest newsletter from Holy Cross (SSPX) Seminary in Australia is now avaiable.  Please click here to read it.  Some great advice from this issue:

Life has a purpose. As life may be described as self motion, rational life may be described as self motion to a freely determined end. The end must always be good and an object is good inasmuch as it is ordered to God. Consequently, for rational man, there would be no real life in what we call aimlessness. The axiom every mover moves for an end makes clear that man acts for some end. Honourably, he freely directs his life to some goal ordered to giving glory to God (his Ultimate Goal) in his physical life as well in his spiritual life. Grace builds on nature. 
To neglect to develop our natural lives is to waste this life. If so little regard is had towards our physical life, also a gift from God, it is certain that we will also neglect to develop our supernatural life and faculties. This is to waste God’s gifts – natural and supernatural, which in turn is to oppose God’s Will – God gives no gift in vain. This opposition of my will to God’s Will is radically established in self-seeking or selfishness for which end, one adapts this disposition of aimlessness. in life, simply “enjoying life” – eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. 
Fidelity to God requires direction in this life (naturally and supernaturally) so as to be well directed to eternal life. A good choice must be made. Free will is given to us in order to choose what is good and ordered – ultimately, God, Who is perfectly good. Earthly happiness cannot satisfy us. The capricious pursuit of earthly distractions is not seeking true good, but avoiding it. With respect to man’s life, ordained to God, a man not binding himself to this End, does not really live, but stagnates and dies – i.e. fails to move toward his Ultimate End. 
So, let us live! The subordination of all intermediate goals to our Last End is the grace-driven disposition which demands the determination of our energies, efforts and talents rightly ordered to God’s service and not frittered away aimlessly and indecisively in vainly chasing the world’s multitudinous promises of material bliss. We shall live, and live perfectly, when ordered ultimately to God.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
7 Steps to a Deeper Catholic Faith

Guest Post by Judith Costello

When I first started writing for, I was told to follow the formula on which this form of catechesis is based.  It is a 7 part formula, and the truth is, I thought it was too cumbersome. But I set out to try it, to work within this format. And now I truly believe this is a Divinely inspired way to teach! 

Any attempt at instruction should include facts, background information, inspiration and a way to integrate the material--but that rarely happens.  In the format, the head and the heart, the body and the soul are reached because of a clearly defined process. 

What is this format?  It includes stunning visuals from the rich history of our faith. And then there are 7 stages to the instruction:

The Introduction includes the historical background on the topic as well as a clear, concise description of the material to be covered. 

This is followed by Prayer. All we do should begin and end in prayer. In the case of these lessons, the prayers are often related directly to the material being studied. 

The next step is to consult Scripture. Our faith is deeply rooted in the Word of God.

The following step is to look at the Church documents which address the topic. The Catechisms of the Church-- not only the current Catechism but our historical documents-- as well as the writings of the Popes and the saints, give clear instruction and inform us on the Sacred Tradition of our faith. When we instruct our youth, new members of the faith and adults who want to deepen their faith, we are not giving them a new theory. We are sharing from the deep well of faith. Truth must be understood and then we must proclaim it to the world!

To deepen the understanding of the previous materials, there is a section of Integration. Again, this is not theory. It is a reflection based in Scripture and Tradition that deepens the understanding of faith topics.

Following this section, an Activity and Comprehension Quiz are offered. These materials allow the student to interact with the lesson. The activities may vary greatly, but the purpose is to put the lesson into practice in some way.  I like to offer creative activities: make a rosary, draw a picture, journal, create a frame for artwork…these are some ideas I have shared with readers. Then the quiz offers a way to test understanding, which is absolutely essential. We want to make sure the material is truly understood.

The end is of course, Prayer. We begin and end in prayer and make the entire teaching a form of prayer! As Christ Himself taught us, “Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17. 

I highly recommend the lessons presented by This is a format that has power! 
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Armistice Day: 94th Anniversary

The Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month at the Eleventh Hour...

Before Omaha Beach, D-Day (June 1944)

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be

During World War I (1914 - 1918)

In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,

Funeral Mass (Date Unknown)

A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers blest by the suns of home.

Mass on the Battlefield (Date Unknown)

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thought by England given;

Mass on the Battlefield (Date Unknown)

Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English Heaven

Source: "The Soldier" by Rupert Brooke (1887 - 1915)

Image Sources: Believed to be in the Public Domain
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Why Catholics Failed in the 2012 Presidential Election

 Source: Associated Press

The Novus Ordo Catholic Church has failed. 

We have failed in our duty to Almighty God and to country.  We should be utterly ashamed of ourselves.  But then again, how could we expect anything else now that the Catholic Faith has been virtually eliminated from the face of the earth these past 50 years?  Catholics don't know their Faith and they don't care.  They don't revere our Lord and His Holy Name or His divinely instituted Sacraments?  They don't respect the priestly (and the newly ordained priests don't either!)

As many of you are aware (if you are a regular blog reader), the Latin Mass is truly universal and transcendent.  It is also the litmus test to determine if a person is truly a Catholic.  If someone were to claim to be Catholic and oppose a return to the Mass of the Ages and criticize it (despite it being the unbloody re-presentation of Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross) how could such a person truly be a Catholic?  The past two generations have entirely lost the meaning of what it is to be a Catholic since no one is any longer living a Catholic life!

Only a full return to the Tridentine Mass can restore Catholicity and unite Catholics (by driving from the ranks of so called Catholics who support grave evils).  And this should come as no surprise - the Tridentine Mass is Catholic at its core and is at its core opposed to the evils of the modern world (i.e. the six components of liberal Catholicism that are destroying our Church). 

Catholics - the country's largest religious group with one-quarter of the population - have supported the winner of the popular vote in every election since 1972. 

Reuters/Ipsos exit polling found that 51 percent of Catholics favored President Barack Obama, compared with 48 percent for Republican contender Mitt Romney. A report by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life had a similar finding, with 50 percent of Catholics for Obama and 48 percent for Romney, the same as the popular vote in the general population.

Hispanic Catholics were far more likely to favor Obama - by 76 percent to 23 percent - than white Catholics, who favored Romney by 56 percent to 43 percent, according to the Reuters poll. Black Protestants favored Obama by 97 percent to 3 percent, while white Protestants favored Romney by 69 percent compared to 29 percent for Obama.

Source: Reuters
According to the exit polls from the 2012 Presidential election, 51% of Catholics voted in favor of the pro-abortion, anti-Catholic Obama while 49% voted in favor of the pro-life candidate.   Even more discouraging is the continued trend in which states that contain large number of Catholics - even the majority of the states population - have consistently voted for anti-Catholic Democrats (and Republicans at times).  Why is it that New England is a Democratic stronghold even though 36.6% of Conneticut's population is Catholic or 37.1% of New York is Catholic?

 Source: USCCB News Release as of 2008 Official Catholic Directory

This is a betrayal!  This is a crime by these so-called Catholics.  So if you see one of these people in your life (e.g. in class, on the subway, at work) tell them they are not welcome to call themselves Catholics.  They are not welcome to have Catholic weddings or funerals or use their connection with the Holy Catholic Faith for their personal/financial growth.  They are no longer welcome at Mass.  They are not welcome in our lives. They are not Catholics and should be radically removed from Catholic circles.

The Church has been betrayed.  True Catholics can no longer be silent as apostles of Judas continue to betrayed our Lord.  We will not be silent any longer.
Madonna and Child with Angels Music Box

I was recently given the opportunity to review Discount Catholic Products, an online retailer specializing in Catholic merchandise. Discount Catholic Products offers some of highest quality religious items for spiritual or sacramental occasions.

Last week I ordered the Madonna and Child with Angels music box (pictured above) and received it in the mail last Thursday.  Discounted Catholic Products offers a wide number of music boxes, all of which are quite beautiful.  In my review of the product, I found the music box to be beautiful, inspiring (i.e. genuinely Catholic in its artwork and design), and durable.  The wood is of high quality and the craftsman indicates it was done skillfully.  I have several music boxes on my dresser but this one is truly a favorite of mine already.  It measures 8" x 6" x 2 1/3" and is the new home of some of my blessed medals, blessed chalk, and scapulars.

I am very pleased to have learned about this organization when I did and I am happy to recommend their products to you. Please take a minute to browse the items at Discounted Catholic Products.  If you do find something of interest, please share in the comments.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Gregorian Chant: Together on the Way

Tuesday, besides being the release of Christmas in the Cloister, was the release of Gregorian Chant: Together on the Way.  This is the 4th album Jade Music is doing with the Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael's Abbey.  I have written about prior releases before as well. This newest album includes chant performed with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra at Segerstrom Hall. Liner notes are by Carl St.Clair, the music director of the Pacific Symphony.
1. Dominabitur Gradual, Feast of Christ the King
2. Oremus pro Pontifice for the Holy Father
3. Anima Christi in honor of the Blessed Sacrament
4. Adoremus in honor of the Blessed Sacrament
5. Qui sunt isti Responsory, Common of Apostles
6. Resurrexi Introit, Easter Sunday
7. Lætatus sum Gradual, Fourth Sunday of Lent (Lætare Sunday)
8. Cantemus Tract, Easter Vigil
9. Tota pulchra es Hymn, in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary
10. Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
11. Anima mea Antiphon, in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary
12. Christus Gradual, Good Friday
13. Dum fabricator Antiphon, Good Friday
For three grace-filled nights in February of 2011 the choir of St. Michael’s chanted at Segerstrom Hall to introduce and complement Maestro Carl St. Clair’s conception of Anton Bruckner’s Symphony 9 as performed by the Pacific Symphony Orchestra. Then, in March of 2012, Biola University asked the Norbertines to chant at the close of their Art Symposium on Sacred Space as a demonstration of what sacred music should fill a sacred space.

Although the Fathers knew those who heard them would for the most part not understand what they were chanting, it was their fondest hope that by listening they would be inspired to join their hearts in prayer.

Since none of these concerts were recorded, the Norbertines thought to capture the experience in the only way possible—to produce this album with the same pieces sung before, yet in the very homely studio of their own abbey church and now with translations provided.
I have been pleased to review the entirety of this album prior to its release and I am very pleased to fully endorse and recommend this to everyone.  Please purchase a copy today (either as a CD or digitally) and help support the Norbertine Fathers.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Catholic Perspective on the English Reformation: Part II


Image: The Execution of Monks by Decree of Henry VIII

On November 3 1534, Parliament re-assembled to finish off what it had begun earlier that year, which, as the Imperial Ambassador at the time had reported, was ‘to complete the ruin of churches and churchmen.’ Since 1531, Thomas Cromwell had been laying the statutory foundations for the breach with Rome, which in turn prepared the way for the radical religious changes which were implemented during the reign of Henry VIII’s son, Edward VI. During these years, a number of bills authored by Cromwell and designed to weaken the power of the Church and strengthen that of State were passed in Parliament to the detriment of the kingdom.

Notable amongst Cromwell’s bills were the Act of Restraint of Appeals (1533), the First Act of Succession (1534) and the Treason Act (1534). In the former, all appeals to Rome were abolished and henceforward, the king, rather than the pope, would be the final court of appeal in both ecclesiastical matters and matters of conscience. In the Act of Succession, the yet to be born Princess Elizabeth who was the daughter of Anne Boleyn was made successor to the Crown, whilst Princess Mary, daughter of Catherine of Aragon, was declared a bastard and therefore deprived of the right of succession.

Cromwell wrote an oath to accompany the Act of Succession and in April 1534 he sent out commissioners to extricate signatures from members of both Houses of Parliament. Under the Treason Act, anyone who refused to take the oath was subject to a charge of treason which was punishable by the particular gruesome death of hanging, drawing and quartering. It is no surprise that with the exceptions of Sir Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher, all the members of Parliament readily agreed to sign. Later, the king’s commissioners travelled out to administer the oath to the general populace, and even those who were unable to write were required to make some kind of mark on the document.

The Act of Supremacy passed in the middle of November 1534 and it finally effected the breach with Rome and placed the entire English church into schism. Henry’s declaration that he was ‘the only supreme head in earth of the Church of England, called Anglicans Ecclesia’ was an illicit assumption of the headship of the Church was at complete variance with Catholic tradition and without precedent. As a result, England floundered in a state of schism for nearly two decades until November 1554, when Cardinal Reginald Pole finally landed upon the shores of the kingdom to reconcile her to the Church.

Author's Biography: This is a guest post written by Dr. Bella d'Abrera.  Bella Wyborn d’Abrera, who is based in London, is a graduate of Monash University in Melbourne. She completed her Masters degree at the University of St. Andrews, and was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy by the University of Cambridge in 2003. She is also the author of  ‘A King with a Pope in His Belly’ and ‘Papists, Spaniards & Other Strangers.’
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Christmas in the Cloister: Traditional Gregorian Chants

Today is the release of Jade's newest album, Christmas in the CloisterChristmas in the Cloister is Jade Music's first collaboration with the Nuns of Mount St. Mary's. The album combines traditional Gregorian Chant with more recent and popular Christmas Carols. 
1. Christmas Midnight Mass (Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Offertory, Communion)
2. Christmas Lauds Hymn: A Solis Ortus Cardine
3. Third Mass of Christmas Morning  (Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Offertory, Communion)
4. Susani
5. In Dulce Jubilo
6. Il est Ne
7. Silent Night
8. How Far to Bethlehem
9. Coventry Carol
10. While Shepherds in Meadows
11. Welcome, Son of Mary
12. Lullay, My Liking
13. The Christmas Child
14. Abbey Bells
At the time of the founding of Mount St. Mary's, in the age-long tradition of the Church, the music for the Eucharist and the Divine Office was all Gregorian Chant in Latin. However, almost from the beginning, the sisters sang a program of carols before Midnight Mass.

The community, which began with thirteen sisters, grew rapidly, and by 1962, there were over sixty members. We were blessed with two outstanding mentors: Dom Desroquettes, O.S.B. for chant, and C. Alexander Peloquin, director of music at the cathedral of Providence, Rhode Island, for polyphony. It seemed a good time to make a recording—a long-playing record at the time--Christmas in the Cloister.

That was 50 years ago. Since good music has a timeless appeal, and since there is a growing interest in chant, this seemed like a good time to reissue the original record as a CD.

It is only natural that song, the inseparable companion of joy and love, is so often on the lips of the contemplative. This recording is a celebration of God's greatest expression of love for us - the gift of Christ. The song in which the sisters are here reflecting on the mystery of Christmas is of two kinds: first, Christmas Biblical texts set to ancient and prayerful melodies of Gregorian Chant, and secondly, carols in modern polyphonic arrangements.  
I have been pleased to review the entirety of this album prior to its release and I am very pleased to fully endorse and recommend this to everyone.  Please purchase a copy today (either as a CD or digitally) and help support the Nuns of Mount St. Marys.
Friday, November 2, 2012
All Souls Day Prayer for the Dead

Today is the day after the Solemnity of All Saints and is the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls Day). This feast, dating back to the 11th Century, is a time to remember all of the faithfully depart and pray that they are now in the grace of God. God certainly is Love and He is mercy. The only thing we can do is trust in Him and pray for our loved ones.

In the middle of the 11th century, St. Odilo, the abbot of Cluny (France), said that all Cluniac monasteries were to offer special prayers and sing the Office for the Dead on November 2, the day after the feast of All Saints. The custom spread from Cluny and was was adopted throughout the entire Roman Catholic Church. Now we the entire Church celebrates November 2nd as All Soul's Day.

Please remember to say prayers for the souls in Purgatory tonight! Please! I have posted some prayers under my Category Prayers, but the prayer at the end of this post is also wonderful! Please just don't forget about them. They NEED our prayers.


To gain a Plenary Indulgence form noon Nov. 1 until midnight Nov. 2, visit the church, pray for the Holy Souls and also for the intentions of the Holy Father. On All Soul's Day and for a week afterward, a Plenary Indulgence for the Holy Souls is granted for a visit to the cemetery with devotion and prayer for the dead. All through November, you can gain partial indulgence every day you visit the cemetery and pray for the dead.

Also a Mass said for a person during life or death is worth immense value because the Mass is the memorial of Jesus Christ's sacrifice of the Cross. Mary, in one apparation, once told someone that Our Lord would die for us again as many times as we have heard Mass. The Mass is extremely important.

Please pray with your whole heart and mind this following prayer, which Our Lord promised St. Gertrude would free 1,000 souls from purgatory.
Eternal Father,I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus,in union with the Masses said throughout the world today,for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory,for sinners everywhere,for sinners in the Universal Church,those in my own home and within my family.Amen.

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