Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Government Does Not Help the Poor -- Italy

For those of you who are able to read Italian, here is an article written by a 19 yr. old friend (Pietro Serra) from Sardegna, Italy about what the government there does or does not do to help the (poor) working class.

The article appeared in Il Sardegna.

**I just want to say that in order to get a good idea of what the article talks about one has to be somewhat familiar with Italian politics, especially in Sardegna.... otherwise, the message of the artcile will not be that clear or interesting.**
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IL GOVERNO NON AIUTA GLI UMILI LAVORATORI
I poveri sempre più poveri

~Pietro Serra
Sorso

È sconcertante vedere come alla fine delle trattative con le parti sociali e i sindacati, il Governo Prodi, dei comunisti e dei figli del proletariato abbia concesso solo 33 euro di aumento per le pensioni minime. Tutto ciò è vergognoso! È chiaro che l'evidente complicità tra Governo e Sindacati, non avrebbe potuto portare niente di meglio. I pensionati sono stati illusi, traditi e umiliati. Non capisco infatti come possa sostenere questo Governo di essere attento alle classi meno abbienti e ai pensionati se poi, di fatto, attua provvedimenti pessimi come questo. Non è possibile che in uno Stato come quello italiano, che dovrebbe essere prima di tutto basato sull'etica e la morale, vi siano sprechi come quelli che vedono da una parte politici, e amministratori di aziende partecipate con stipendi da far girare la testa e dall'altra il popolo con stipendi e pensioni da fame! Sicuramente chi sta a governare non ha la più pallida idea e non ha mai pensato a cosa significhi vivere con appena 400 euro al mese. Che fine ha fatto tutta quella sensibilità, tanto proclamata in campagna elettorale, sui problemi sociali e sulle pensionati?

(Loose) TRANSLATION:

It’s alarming to see how after some negotiations with the social parties and labor unions, the Prodi government, the communists and the children of the proletariat have conceded only an increase of 33 euro to social security. All this is very shameful! It’s very clear that the evident complicity between the government and the unions could not have accomplished any better. Retired citizens have been deluded, betrayed and humiliated. I don’t understand how this government could claim to be attentive to those who are in greater need and to retired citizens if later, in deeds, takes bad measures such as this. It’s not possible that in a nation such as Italy – which should be first of all based on ethics and morals – there should be examples of waste of money such as when one sees politicians and business owners receiving a salary that would make our heads spin, yet the people do not make money or receive enough help to put food on the table! Surely those who are part of the government have not the slightest idea and do not even think about the hardships of trying to make a living with only 400 euro every month. What was the final result of all that insight that was frequently proclaimed during the electoral campaign about social problems and retired citizens?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Catholic Church: A Divine Institution


What benefit is there in a judge who judges in his days, and dies? A perpetual doctrine tested by a perpetual rule needs a perpetual judge! Who judged in the times following the Apostles but the Church in their next successors? Who in the century after, when heresy arose, but the Church in councils? Who in the heresy of Arius, the heresy of Eutyches, the schism of the Greek Church? Who judged in the Middle Ages? Who in later times? Who judges today? The same Judge always sitting, the same One living body, which by the illumination of Pentecost received the Truth.



What Church is it that speaks for God in the world? What Church but ONE not only claims, but possesses and puts forth at this hour an Universal Jurisdiction? What Church is it which is not shut up in a locality or in a nation, not bounded by a river or by a sea, but interpenetrates wheresoever the name of Christ is known? What Church, as the light of Heaven, passes over all, through all, and is in all? What Church claims a Universal Authority? What One sends missions to the sunrise and to the sunset? What Church has the power of harmonizing its Universal Jurisdiction, so that there can be no collision when its pastors meet? What Church is there, but One, before Whom kingdoms and states give way? When, yet, did the Church of Greece, for instance, make a whole nation rise? When did a voice issue from Constantinople before which even a civilized people forgot its civilization? Why came not such a voice from the East? BECAUSE there was no divine mission to speak it!

What created Europe? What laid the foundation of a new empire when the old had withered in the East? What was the mould from which Christian nations sprang? What power was it that entered into England when it was divided by seven jarring, conflicting kingdoms, and harmonized them, as by the operation of light, into one empire? What power is it that as it created all these, also survived them all? What created the very constitution of which we are so proud? Whence came its first great principles of freedom? Why do we hear, then that because the Catholic Church has a polity and is a kingdom, because it claims Supremacy, and is found everywhere supreme, therefore it is not to be tolerated? What Church but One has ever claimed a Primacy over all other Churches instituted by Christ? Did any Church before the great division, four hundred years ago, save that One Church which still possesses it, ever dream of claiming it? Has any separate body since that time ever dreamed of pretending to such a Primacy?


In answer you may say, “Yes, but the Primacy of Rome has been denied from the beginning.” Then it has been asserted from the beginning!!! Tell me that the waves have beaten upon the shore, and I tell you that the shore was there for the waves to beat upon. Tell me that St. Irenæus pleaded with St. Victor that he would not excommunicate the Asiatic Churches, and I tell you that St. Irenæus thereby recognized the authority of St. Vincent to excommunicate. What do wars of succession prove but the inheritance and succession of the crown? Because from the beginning this Truth has been denied, THEREFORE, from the beginning it has been both held and taught.

What other church is there that has even spread itself through all the nations of the world as speaking with the Voice of God? Does Protestantism ever claim in any form to be heard by nations or by individuals as the Voice of God? Do any of their assemblies or conferences put forth their definitions of faith as binding the conscience with the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven? Do they venture to loose the conscience, as having the power of absolving men?

Take Rome from the earth, and where is Christendom? Blot out the science of Catholic Theology, and where is Faith?


The Glories of the Catholic Church, Vol. II

Death -- ~Fr. Eugenio Escribano


A day will arrive --who will dare to doubt it?-- when I myself shall be the one who is seriously ill, the one past recovery, the one dying, with people around me beginning to worry about preparations for my burial: the laying out, the coffin, the funeral, obituary cards...

Do you think these details are somewhat ludicrous, unworthy of the seriousness of a meditation? Apply them to yourself, and perhaps they will have the effect of plunging you into deep thought. If the thought of death does not impress me or deter me from evil, as the Scriptures promise it will, it is because I think of someone else's death, not my own.

My God, frankly, I have never really given a thought to my own death, I have hardly believed in it, despite the fact that I see the face of death in my daily ministrations and almost feel its icy breath.

When my time comes everything and everywhere around me will echo that "respónsum mortis" of which St. Paul speaks. God forbid that I should be the only one deaf to its challenge!

Let us picture the scene: The priest comes to hear your last confession; the tinkling bell heralds your Viaticum; then follow the Last Anointings, the prayers for the recommendation of the soul, and the low mumblings, drawn faces, and silent tears of relatives and friends standing round your bed --if indeed there is anyone at all to weep your departure!-- Your whole body is in a cold sweat, there is a gradual stiffening of your features, a twitching of your rigid fingers as if trying to clutch at somthing, the cold impression of the crucifix on your livid half-open lips; and the shadows of death crowd upon you thicker and thicker, and your eyes acquire that fixed look as if pursuing sights that vanish from you...

My Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Who for love of me didst submit to the anguish of dying, do not fail me Thou when everything and everyone else forsakes me!

At long last your soul will quit the body, leaving it a repulsive heap of lifeless matter.

The bells you so often heard toll or had toll for others will now toll for you. The funeral service that you so often [heard] chanted for others is now to be chanted for you. And there will be a burial, your very own; and the officiating priest, while your body sinks into the earth, will seal your disappearance from this world with a last supplication wherein you will lose even your name: Anima ejus et ánimæ ómnium fidélium defunctórum, per misericórdiam Dei requiéscant in pace. Amen.



And then, what will this world have to offer you? What will become of those material goods that you seemed to have fused with your inmost soul, so deeply had you buried them within your heart's affections?

Your name will be struck off all the lists of the living; your benefice, office, money, titles, every one of them will be handed over to another; and people will be quite indifferent and oblivious; they are used to these irrevocable resignations!

Lord, let me not live like the heathen, a slave to death. Allow me to pluck from the Tree of Thy Cross this luscious fruit: joyful confidence and constant readiness in preparation for my death.


Molumba: El monaguillo negro

For those of you who are able to read Spanish, here is a link to a beautiful and inspiring story about a 12 year old black Altar server.

Molumba: The Black Altar Server

Enjoy!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wake up and Smell the Incense

I do not really know what the "Wake up and Smell the Incense" thing that is going around is really about, but I assume that it has to do with the traditional Mass and the results the Motu Proprio will have. So, here is a picture (from a Magazine from 1947) that a friend gave me.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Holy Mother Church


"In dealing with the world, the Church says: "All things of the world are yours, in all things pertaining to you, in all that is temporal, we are submissive; we are your subjects, we love to obey. But within the sphere of the Truth of God, within the sphere of the unity and discipline of God's Kingdom, there is no choice for the Catholic Church but mastery or martyrdom.'"

~The Glories of the Catholic Church, Vol. II

Vainglory



"As the shadow follows him who flies from it, and flies from him who persues it, so glory follows him who flies from it and flies from him who seeks it."
~St. Jerome



Saturday, September 15, 2007

Flattery



No smoke of incense has blinded more eyes and caused so many tears to flow than the incense of flattery.
~Fr. Escribano

Friday, September 14, 2007

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

In the interval between the cradle and the grave how many Signs of the Cross are made over man! At Baptism, through which we become children of God, the Sign of the Cross; at Confirmation, through which we are made soldiers of virtue, the Sign of the Cross; in receiving the Eucharist, when we are nourished with the Bread of Angels, the Sign of the Cross; in Confession, through which we recover divine life, the Sign of the Cross; when we receive Extreme Unction, through which we are fortified for the last battle, the Sign of the Cross; at Ordination and Holy Matrimony, through which we become associated to the paternity of God Himself, the Sign of the Cross. Always and everywhere, today as in other times, in the East as in the West, the Sign of the Cross is made over men.

BUT that’s not all! Take a look at what the Church does through the person of the Priest at the Altar. Armed with the Omnipotence that was given to Her, She commands not only creatures, but the Creator Himself; not man, but God Himself. At Her voice the Heavens are opened, the Word incarnates and renews all the mysteries of His Life, Death, and Resurrection! Also, in the course of the Action par excellance, that is the Mass, what does the Church do? More than ever, She multiplies the Sign of the Cross; She surrounds Herself with the Sign of the Cross; She walks by means of the Sign of the Cross; She repeats It so frequently that the number could even seem an exaggeration, if it were not deeply mysterious!!! Do you know how many times the Priest makes the Sign of the Cross during the Mass? Forty-eight (48) times! I’m wrong, forty-nine (49) times because as long as the Holy Sacrifice is taking place, the Priest himself is a living Sign of the Cross. Would the Catholic Church, the great Instructor of nations, the great Teacher of Truth, would She be amused at repeating so frequently in Her Most Solemn Act a useless, superstitious and unimportant sign? If you or your friends think so, then you are guilty of incredulity.


We are soldiers, and the Sign of the Cross is a weapon against the enemy. More than three (3) thousand years ago, Job defined human life as a continuous battle. Centuries have gone by and the definition has remained the same. Life is a battle for you, for me, for your peers, for the rich as well as for the poor. It’s a battle that begins at the cradle and it does not end until the grave! Such my dear friend is the condition of man, and we can’t do anything to change that. And who are man’s enemy, yours, and mine? Eh! We all know them, not only by their name, but also by their attacks: The devil, the world, and the flesh!!! Three (3) powers conspiring to bring us to ruin!

Demons are fallen angels. Their intellect, strength, agility, etc., are superior to ours; their number is incalculable. Jealous that the children of Adam were called to eternal happiness, which they had lost, their only aim and occupation is our destruction, increasing or passions, creating dangerous situations, darkening in us the gift of faith, destroying our moral sense, suffocating our remorse, making us accomplices of their rebellion in order to make us their companions in Hell!!! So, as sure as our battles, and man being in so weak a condition, could it be conceivable that Divine Wisdom would not give us a way to defend ourselves? On the contrary, in order to help us in our battles, God has given to man a powerful and universal weapon that is always at the reach of everyone. What could this weapon be???

Let us question every century, above all the Christian centuries. They respond with a unanimous voice that this weapon is the Sign of the Cross! This weapon had been used by the most learned and holy men in the East as well as in the West. St. John Chrysostom says: “Do not ever go out of your house without making the Sign of the Cross. It will be for you a shield, a weapon, an inexpugnable tower. Neither man nor demon will ever dare to attack you, if they see you clothed with this armor.” Origen says: “The Sign of the Cross is the invisible armor of Christians. Soldier of Christ that you are, wear (use) This Armor always during the day, and during the night, and everywhere. Without It do not undertake any task, whether it be sleeping or traveling, resting or working, eating or drinking, be always clothed with This Protective Armor. Adorn and protect every single one of your members with This Victorious Sign. At the sight of This Sign the infernal powers flee scared and stupefied.” St. Augustine used to say to the Catechumens: “We must confront the enemy with the Symbol and Sign of the Cross; so that the Christian vested with these weapons may easily triumph over the ancient and prideful tyrant.” St. Athanasius says: “By means of the Sign of the Cross the works of magic are made impotent; all the enchantments lose their efficacy. By means of It, the impetus of the most brutal will is moderated and pacified.”


~Il Segno della Croce by Mgr. Gaume

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Brother Like That

A man named Paul had received a new car as a Christmas gift. The night before, when Paul left his office, there was a boy looking around close to the amazing and astounding car, which he gawked with admiration.

- "Is this your car, Sir?" – The boy asked.
- Paul nodded. – "My brother gave it to me for Christmas."

The boy was amazed. – "You mean that your brother gave it to you for free? Wow! You are lucky, I wish…" (The boy sighed…).

Naturally, Paul thought he knew the boy’s wish. “The young boy wishes he had a brother like that” thought Paul, but what the boy said left Paul paralyzed from head to toes.

- “I wish” – the boy continued – “I were a brother like that.”

Paul looked at the boy stunned, and added, impulsively: “Would you like to ride in my car?”

“Oh, yes, Sir, I’d love it!”

After a short ride, the boy turned to Paul and with sparkling eyes said: “Sir would it be a bother if you went by my house?”

Paul smiled. He thought he knew what the boy wanted to do… that the boy wanted to show to his neighbors that he could arrive home in a big, beautiful car. However, this time too Paul was wrong.

- “Can you park right where those two steps are?” asked the boy. He ran up the steps. After a few minutes, Paul heard him coming back, but he was not moving fast. The boy was carrying his handicapped little brother. He sat him on the lower steps, and then he hugged him and pointed towards the car.

“That is ‘Buddy’ (the car) as I told you upstairs. His brother gave it to him for Christmas and it did not cost him a penny. Some day, I will give you a car like that… and then you will be able to see all the beautiful things there are in the stores during Christmas… of which I have told you about.”

Paul got out of the car and sat the little boy on the front seat of the car. His older brother was euphoric… and the three of them went on the most memorable ride of their lives. That Christmas Night, Paul understood what Jesus meant when he said: “It’s better to give than to receive…”

Taken from the book Chocolate caliente para el Alma.

Subida al Monte Carmelo / Notte Oscura

San Juan del Cruz / San Giovanni della Croce

En una noche oscura,
Con ansias, en amores, inflamada,
¡Oh dichosa ventura!
Salí sin ser notada,
Estando ya mi casa sosegada;

A oscuras y segura,
Por la secreta escala, disfrazada,
¡Oh dichosa ventura!,
A oscuras y celada,
Estando ya mi casa sosegada;

En la noche dichosa,
En secreto, que nadie me veía,
Ni yo miraba cosa,
Sin otra luz y guía
Sino la que en el corazón ardía.

Aquesta me guiaba
Más cierto que la luz del mediodía,
Adonde me esperaba
Quien yo bien me sabía,
En parte donde nadie parecía.

¡Oh noche que guiaste!,
¡Oh noche amable más que la alborada!,
¡Oh noche que juntaste
Amado con amada,
Amada en el Amado transformada!

En mi pecho florido,
Que entero para Él sólo se guardaba,
Allí quedó dormido,
Y yo le regalaba
Y el ventalle de cedros aire daba.

El aire de la almena,
Cuando yo sus cabellos esparcía,
Con sus manos serena
En mi cuello hería,
Y todos mis sentidos suspendía.

Quedéme y olvidéme,
El rostro recliné sobre el Amado,
Cesó, y dejéme,
Dejando mi cuidado
Entre las azucenas olvidado.

†††††††
1. In una notte oscura
anelante e d’amori infiammata
- oh felice ventura!-
uscii senz’essere vista
la casa mia essendosi acquietata.

2. Al buio riparata
per la scala segreta, travestita,
- oh felice ventura!-
uscii senz’essere vista
la casa mia essendosi acquietata.

3. Nella notte felice
in segreto e da nessun notata,
senza nulla guardare,
senz’altra guida o luce
fuor di quelle che nel cor mi riluce

4. Essa mi conduceva
più certa della luce a mezzodì
là dove mi attendeva
chi bene io conosceva
e dove nessun altro si vedeva

5. Notte che m’hai guidata,
notte più dell’alba incantata!
Oh notte che riunisti
L’Amato con l’amata,
l’amata nell’Amato trasformata!

6. Sul mio petto fiorito
che intatto per lui solo si serbava
egli trovò riposo
ed io lo compiacevo
e la chioma dei cedri ventilava

7. Dagli alti merli ‘aura,
mentr’io i suoi capelli carezzavo,
con la mano leggera
il collo mi feriva
e tutti i sensi miei in sé rapiva

8. Dimentica rimasi
il volto reclinato sull’Amato
tutto cessò e ristetti
obliando ogni premura
tra i gigli abbandonata

The Crucifix

Holy Monday Procession in Guatemala










Saturday, September 8, 2007

Concistory - 1946

Pope Pius XII creating new Cardinals in 1946. (Great stuff!)

Consistory of 1946 (<---- Click here)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Envy

Envy: Its Malice and Destructiveness
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There is nothing like envy for spreading sickness of mind and heart thoughout the whole body, until it eats into the very marrow of the bones. Envious people, we may say, adapting a quotation from Shakespeare,
... like serpents are, who though they feed
On sweetest flowers, yet they poison breed.

... if I envy you for the good you have done, my envy not only misses the opportunity of making that good my own, it is fain to destroy whatever good you possess. Envy would rather your good did not exist, did not give glory to God or service to the neighbor; it begrudges you the merit of climbing a step higher up the path of moral goodness and perfection. And yet everyone else rejoices at the good you have done: God, His holy Angels, the Just, the sound of mind and the upright of heart. Only two beings are sad, only two people fret and consume with anguish -- the devil and envious me! What blindness! To perish by what brings health to others! To waste away on the strength of what imparts life and joy! What a dreadful calamity: another's gain, my loss; the good tidings of others, my sentence of doom!


Envy is a fire devouring and destroying every germ of life. Envy, by its very nature, is death and deals with death, being born of Satan, who was a murderer from the beginning. (John 8:44). It was envy that instigated him to bring about the fall of our first parents, and by the envy of the devil death came into the world.

Envy was the evil genius which inspired the first human murderer to assassinate his own brother, on the noble score that this brother of his was a better man than he. It is envy that has put weapons into the hands of man, and so blinded man as to make him commit the foulest crimes that have ever stained the face of this earth. It was envy which challenged God Himself, persecuted Him, calumniated Him, nailed Him to the wood of the Cross --
For he (Pilate) knew that for envy they had
delivered Him.-- (Matt. 27:13)

No other passion could go to such an extreme; only in envy does there remain not a trace of common humanity... In order to defend its own interests, envy would sweep everything away, would annihilate even God Himself.


And all these horrors, the natural outcome of envy, arise when I am not guided by the principles of faith, when I care not a straw for God's glory and the welfare of souls; that is, when I foster but one love, self-love; the cruel idol at whose altar I have slaughtered every other love.
~Fr. Escribano

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Hatred



Oh, when hatred enters your heart so as to govern it completely, be silent, flee, hide yourself, disappear, play dead, or be ready in advance to forswear all that you hold most precious, with honor in the lead! ~Fr. R. L. Bruckburger

The History of Jesus Christ



THE HISTORY of a man is the inscription of his personality on his time, and the deciphering of that inscription. Most men barely have a history; they leave on the sands of time the faint tracings of an insect. But some go deeper, reach the rock, rend it, hollow it out, shape it, and their course is indelible.

A history of Napoleon exists. We also have Napeloen's memoirs. No one interested in the subject could neglect Napoleon's own point of view about himself and his life. Jesus Christ left no memoirs, but an idea of His personal view of Himself can be formed from what the Gospels tell us about His actions, gestures, and words.

One peculiarity strikes us at once. All through the Gospels a single question keeps returning to Jesus again and again like the flood tide recurrently seeking a cliff. "Who are You? Who do You say that You are? Are You He that is to come, or must we wait for another? Explain what You mean about Yourself." Friends, enemies -- everyone, at one time or another, puts this question to Him; He Himself sometimes puts it to others: "Who do you believe that I am?" Not Socrates, not Alexander, not Napoleon was asked who he was; men thought they knew, and, in effect, they did.

It seems that Jesus took pleasure in evoking and maintaining this atmosphere of interrogation about His origins and His true mission. His replies were not always clear, sometimes they sidestepped the question, somtimes He replied in riddles or in parables, but He made sure the question would be repeated.

One day He gave an astounding reply. "Before Abraham was," He said, "I am." A speech with which no utterance of any other man can be compared, a speech impossible for an Evangelist to invent if it had not been said by Him Who had the right to say it. A speech in which without warning eternity erupts into time. A false evangelist, wishing to magnify his hero to the dimensions of eternity, would have made the tenses agree; he would have written: "Before Abraham was, I was." The tranquil affirmation of that solemn present, prior to Abraham, I am, has an authority that takes one's breath.

"Before Abraham was, I am." That present tense, which breaks the sentence, that present, all alone, agreeing with nothing but its subject, must have evoked in the minds of its hearers the famous sentence in which God defines Himself outside of time: "I am He that am." Therefore, when St. John in his old age returns in memory to what he has seen and heard, it is quite natural for him to choose a starting point outside time. "In the beginning," he says "was the Word. And the Word dwelt with God. And the Word was God.... And the Word was made flesh. And He pitched his tent among us. And we saw His glory."