Friday, April 29, 2016

Jeanne d'Arc, 1429

On this date, April 29th, 1429, St. Joan of Arc (1412-1431) led the French force in relieving the city of Orléans, which had been under siege from the English since the previous October.

Having been counseled by St. Michael and other angels, as well as St. Margaret (a 4th century martyr), St. Catherine of Alexandria, and others, the Maid of Domremy acted out of an abundance of patriotic love to help her fellow Frenchmen. At first she balked - "I am a poor girl; I do not know how to ride or fight," she protested. Her Heavenly counselors told her, however, "It is God who commands it.”

Joan's divine mission was miraculously confirmed in the court of the Dauphine, after which she prophesied how Orléans would be delivered. The details of her remarks are recorded in a letter written by Sire de Rotslaer, in which he wrote that the Maid "would save Orléans and would compel the English to raise the siege, that she herself in a battle before Orléans would be wounded by a shaft but would not die of it, and that the King, i the course of the coming summer, would be crowned at Reims..."

Before entering upon her campaign, Joan summoned the King of England to withdraw his troops from French soil. The English commanders were furious at the audacity of the demand, but Joan by a rapid movement entered Orléans on April 30th. Her presence there at once worked wonders. By May 8th the English forts which encircled the city had all been captured, and the siege raised, though on the 7th the Last Crusader was wounded in the breast by an arrow.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

End of Lent Novena

Good Friday next week marks the 25th anniversary of the death of Abp. Marcel Lefebvre.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre
* Born: November 29, 1905
* Ordained: September 21, 1929
* Consecrated: September 18, 1947
* Founded the Society: November 1, 1970
* Died: March 25, 1991

Today begins a novena, for private use, ending on the anniversary of the Archbishop's death, asking:
* The triumph of Holy Mother the Church
* The preservation and flourishing of the Society of St. Pius X
* The holiness of his priestly sons and religious

O Jesus, Eternal High Priest, who deigned to elevate Thy faithful servant Marcel Lefebvre to the episcopal dignity and to grant him the grace of being a fearless defender of the Holy Mass, of the Catholic Priesthood, of Thy Holy Church, and of the Holy See, of being a courageous apostle of Thy Kingdom on earth, of being a devoted servant of Thy holy Mother, and of being a shining example of charity, of humility and of all virtues; bestow upon us now, by his merits, the graces we beseech of Thee, so that, assured of his powerful intercession to Thee, we may one day see him elevated to the glory of the altar. Amen.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Processions and Marches

The day before yesterday I flew to Washington, D.C. and back to participate in the March for Life.

Later I came across someone remarking that such a march is a waste of time, adding that one would be better off taking more practical actions. The comment reeked of William James pragmatism.

Marches are rather like latter-day processions, which have numerous excellent precedents - e.g. the processions with the Ark of the Covenant in 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Kings 8, the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem.

In the case of Friday's event, for this Catholic the march became a form of public prayer attended by Rosaries and hymns involving numerous co-religionists. This is an old Catholic custom, which has been done for centuries during emergencies to implore Divine aid for all kinds of calamities - e.g. war, plague, famine, storms, drought.

Among the participants the public display of a march also serves as a great reminder that - all the efforts of the popular culture and media to suggest the contrary - we are not alone or isolated in attempting to cure a great evil.

I think a favorable word can be added about a public event that has peaceably gathered hundreds of thousands of people each year for over four decades.

In conjunction with other efforts, a march like last Friday's is a crucial and valuable aid.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Eternal, Not Modern

Time is the measure of movement and change. It is partly objective, partly subjective.
* Objectively, time exists whether or not we perceive it.
* Subjectively, we know time only in its relation to movement or activity.

Attributes of Time
(1) Succession: Time’s parts can be realized only one after the other as the past, the present, and the future.
(2) Irreversible: Time’s order of succession cannot be changed. Past time does not come back.
(3) Continuity: Time does not pause and cannot be interrupted.
(4) Divisible, measurable: Time represents to us a reality only the continuous parts of which can be measured.

Created or uncreated?
Is time or movement infinite - without beginning? Philosophically, there is no problem with the possibility of time being infinite - without any contradiction, God could have created time to be infinite. By Revelation we know that God in fact created time with a beginning; by Revelation we also know that one day, time will end in dramatic fashion.

We moderns are avaricious about time. The notion of time passing without any private advantage is terrible to us; thus, time-misers that we are, we hoard our hours for mercenary activity and fill our days with even frenetic, mindless activity. Before we’ll do nothing, we’ll do anything; pushing irrelevant buttons is preferable to considering the lilies of the field.

Eternal, not Modern
Give time away generously. Bestow it without counting the cost or tabulating the seconds and minutes. Blessed are the poor in time, for theirs is the kingdom of the eternally debonair.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Augustine Christmas

The maker of Mary, He was born of Mary;
The son of David, He is David’s Lord;
The maker of earth, made on earth;
Creator of Heaven, created under Heaven;
He is Himself the day which the Lord made, the day of our heart, that is the Lord.

He lies in a manger, but holds the world;
He is nursed by Mary, but feeds the Angels;
He is wrapped in swaddling clothes, but vests us with immortality;
He found no place in the inn, but makes for Himself a temple in the hearts of all who believe in Him.

He who so loves us, that for our sakes
He was made in time, through Whom all times were made;
Was in the world less in age than His servants, though older than the world itself in His eternity;
Was made man, who made man;
Was created by a mother, whom He created;
Was carried by hands that He formed;
Cried in the manger in wordless infancy;
He is the Word, without Whom all human eloquence is mute.

- St. Augustine (A.D. 354-430)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Texting Speed

Driving through the parking garage at work this morning, I was behind someone who was moving at a pace slower than I could push my car. “What’s up with this guy driving like my grandmother?” I wondered. When he parked I saw him heads-down, presumably looking at his mobile device. “That’s it,” I said, “he was driving at texting speed.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Good and Evil

Good is the harmony of conduct with right reason and desire that results in happiness. By right reason humans are possessed of the power to give intelligibility to the intelligible - and this not as a matter of self-interest, but because of the intrinsic worth of truth and beauty.

Evil is a negation of the good, whether as a deficiency or by destroying the good. It is not being, but the privation of being; thus, there is no supreme, independent principle of evil. Ignorance - a deficiency of knowledge - is an evil. Murder - unjustly depriving another of life - is another evil.