Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Two Women Doctors of the Church

Yesterday  marked the four hundred year anniversary of the beatification of Saint Teresa of Jesus (Avila). There will be celebrations throughout the coming year by the Discalced Carmelites throughout the world. The coming year of 2015 marks the five hundred year jubilee of the Saint's birth.

Saint Teresa is not only a saint, founder and beloved patron, she is one of four women doctors of the Church. Her teaching on prayer is classic and a universal guide for the Church. She is particularly interesting because she had no real formal training and yet her works along with those of Saint John of the Cross are what many consider to be the definitive works on prayer and mystical experience.

Today in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite we celebrate another great soul and doctor of the Church: Saint Catherine of Siena. Her mystical life did not keep her from a mission of charity and even a guide to ecclesiastical leaders. She is also an example of lay holiness; she belonged to the Third Order of Preachers (Dominican) and did not live in a convent.

The prayer, St. Teresa's Bookmark, is a powerful summary of her teaching and needed today more than ever:

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

Two images of Saint Catherine: the first, "The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine of Siena" by Giovanni di Paolo; the second, Saint Catherine of Siena by unknown artist.

H/T to Diane at "Te Deum Laudamus" blog for the Saint Teresa anniversary.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

We are pilgrims

Jesus Taking Leave of His Apostles

Today's Epistle in the Extraordinary Form reminds us that we are pilgrims and strangers on this earth.

Jesus, in His Last Discourse to His disciples, reminds them that He will leave them and yet return.

During this Easter season, we have joy and the sorrow of being "in this vale of tears" awaiting our true home, the Kingdom of Heaven.

Is not this the real yearning of the human heart?

We are pilgrims and strangers as those who follow Christ; so much sorrow, so much pain, so many separations...and yet...

His Risen Life...His Easter Gift...is the beginning of our life with Him in Heaven.

For wherever He is, Heaven is.

I read something to the effect that if the "signs and outer appearances" of the Sacred Host were made apparent to us we would see Heaven.

May we receive, in a deep way, the Easter Gift of our Lord's Presence, Heaven Itself,
to give us courage in the midst of all the sin, darkness, evil and suffering this present life offer us.

"I leave and yet I remain."


Come, Lord Jesus!

Image source: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_9sScfAI8Y6E/ShEKACaYFDI/AAAAAAAAANw/pfs1pVKowdI/s1600-h/Fatimskaia.jpg

Friday, May 13, 2011

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Today is the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima in 1917.
May we heed her call to pray the daily rosary, make reparation for sin and live the Gospel of Her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ!


Theology of the Body

Pope Benedict XVI extolled his predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, for introducing the “theology of the body,” as he met on May 13 with participants in a conference organized by the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.

Offering his own reflections on the subject, Pope Benedict noted that with a proper knowledge of human nature “we can understand that our bodies are not inert, heavy material but, if we know how to listen, they speak the language of true love.”

With the Incarnation, the Pope said, “God takes on the body and revealed himself in it.” In his short talk, the Holy Father extended his predecessor’s meditation on the language of the body.

Source: http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=10325

As an anecdotal aside, I was asked, when teaching at a Northeastern seminary, to teach a class on the the "Theology of the Body".

I opted for a focus upon the "foundations" of this particular teaching of Blessed John Paul II rather than the "popular" Christopher West material, which has come under critique and criticism from people such as David L. Schindler, a renowned theologian, and Alice von Hildebrand, a philosopher and wife of the heroic Dietrich von Hildebrand, a man that Pope Pius XII called "a 20th century doctor of the Church".

I am most grateful that Pope Benedict XVI has made the "authentic" teaching of his predecessor a positive thing. Unfortunately this whole issue has become polemical in the last two years because of a lack of proper understanding.

The Incarnation is truly the point of reference. The authentic interpretation of the "Theology of the Body" absolutely must be seen in the light of "The Word made Flesh";
every other interpretation fails when it is grounded in the mere material aspects of human existence. Christ reveals who man is (from Lumen gentium, Second Vatican Ecumenical Council). It is not the other way round. We do not know Who Christ Is from our human experience: He, and only He, reveals who we are. That is fundamental.

There are all kinds of "interpretations" out there...unfortunately, there are those who either dismiss this as some kind of "modernism" or those who try to make the love between man and wife in marriage something it is not meant to be.

Our Lord Jesus Christ in His Revelation reveals to us our inherent dignity, our mission/vocation to a love that is completely self-giving (in marriage or in virginity/celibacy) and He is the only reference-point. Marital union is an aspect of the Sacrament of Marriage; it must always be held within the moral law of God and in the sacred "reserve" of intimacy/secret (as the von Hildebrands emphasize) that upholds both the dignity of the partners and the dignity of the marital union.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Open Wide the Doors to Christ! Beatification Hymn of Blessed John Paul II

Rit. Open the doors to Christ!
Do not be afraid:
Open wide your hearts
Love of God

Witness to Hope
for those who await salvation
pilgrim of love
on the roads of the world. Chorus.

Father to the young
You sent it to the world,
sentinels of the morning,
living sign of hope. Chorus.

Witnesses to Faith
annunciasti that with life,
firm and strong in the test
confermasti your neighbor. Rit.

Insegnasti to every man
the beauty of life
indicating the family
as a sign of love. Chorus.

Bringer of Peace
and herald of justice,
you made between people
nuncio of mercy. Chorus.

In pain betrayed
the power of the Cross.
Always drive your brothers
love on the streets. Chorus.

In the Mother of the Lord
indicasti us a guide,
in her intercession
the power of grace. Chorus.

Father of mercy,
Son, our Redeemer,
Holy Spirit of Love
to you, Trinity, glory be. Amen. Chorus.

(google translated it from the site, so it may not be perfect)