A Catholic Blog for Lovers

A celebration of beauty, truth, and goodness, and, of course, love...and perhaps a little nastiness

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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Shortly I will be on my way. To Paris! To quote a line from one of my favorite movies: "Inconceivable!" (The Princess Bride, of course).

Thank God I feel pretty good and even "ready."

Procedamus in pace.
In nomine Christi. Amen.


by Etienne Gilson

abelard.jpg (7102 bytes)
This is the book I hope to take with me on my trip/pilgrimage to Paris; and I am hoping, too, to visit the graveside of Abelard and Heloise. This Gilson book, long one of my favorites, plumbs the depths of this tragic, but very profoundly beautiful - and spiritual - relationship, and in the meantime gives a glimpse into some of the wonders of a truly Christian civilization and its exquisite sensibilities. It may blast to shreds some stereotypes and prejudices held by some (myself included). This beautifully crafted book, by one of the great scholar-historians of our times, shows why the love between Heloise and Abelard has gone down into history and folklore. Discover the "mystery" of Heloise - utterly fascinating! This is a book, perhaps most especially, for those who have fallen profoundly in love, and who desire to give their heart completely to Christ. It shows forth clearly in the midst of ambiguity and even sin - THE MYSTERY OF LOVE AND ROMANCE DEEPENED AND PURIFIED, NOT DESTROYED, BY CHRIST.


Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Excited and anxious

It's hard to believe that tomorrow I leave for a week in Paris. I just never would have dreamed such good fortune would be mine; especially after the grave illness and close call with death of 3 years ago. Amazing how life unfolds!

I hope to see places and visit sites that have captivated me for many years, but always from a distance. I am excited.

But anxious, too. I am disabled and have serious health issues and conditions. I am anxious about such a long flight over (the major segment going to Paris is 9 hours and coming back to Baltimore that segment is 10 hours). I hate airplane bathrooms and will need to use it at least several times. I will be far away from the familiar but that's already a hurdle I've learned to bear. I suppose I don't have to have this anxiety and sure wish I didn't. I haven't been feeling quite a hundred percent lately - since ONION's death but not sure if that is a factor or not. I have some swelling in my legs, more than usual. My doctor saw that and wasn't too concerned.

But I am trying to entrust my cares to the care of the One who cares for me, for us. To let go and entrust myself into the Hands and Heart of God.

More than most of my many trips, this one will be in large part a pilgrimage. I hope to pray in Notre Dame and Chartres and Lisieux and more. So I do ask your prayers and will pray for you, too, in these great holy places gracing the Eldest Daughter of the Church.

Welcome to St Blog's

Jumping Without a Chute
- Anthony
Diary of a Suburban Priest - Father Ethan
Land of Hope and Glory - Charles Everson - Baptist minister now Catholic layman
Baptized Priesthood - Nancy Ullrey
Of the Cross - Jason Cardona

Weymouth parishioners stage sit-in to protest closing

WEYMOUTH -- Angry and grieving parishioners at St. Albert the Great have begun a sit-in prayer vigil to protest the closing of their parish by the Archdiocese of Boston, and vowed yesterday to remain inside the church indefinitely. The church is scheduled to be shut down tomorrow under a reconfiguration plan that has targeted 82 parishes for closing by year's end.

''We're going to go down with the ship," said Pat Perry, a eucharistic minister who works in the rectory. ''There is no reason under the sun to close us. We've got a wonderful pastor, a debt-free church, and standing room only at every Mass. I feel like I'm at a wake, but we don't have a casket.."

Today in Christian history

August 31, 1535: Pope Paul II excommunicates English King Henry VIII, who had been declared by an earlier pope as "Most Christian King" and "Defender of the Faith".

August 31, 1688: English Puritan writer and preacher John Bunyan, author of "Pilgrim's Progress," dies at age 69. Though one of England's most famous authors even in his own day, he maintained his pastoral duties to his death, which was caused by a cold he caught while riding through the rain to reconcile a father and son.

Monday, August 30, 2004
Forgetting God

Why decadence drives out discipline.
By Philip Yancey

"Observing the modern world, French sociologist Jacques Ellul noted a striking trend: As the Christian gospel permeates society, it tends to produce values that, paradoxically, contradict the gospel..

..Groups organized around devotion and discipline tend to produce abundance, but ultimately that very success breaks down discipline and leads to decadence.

Cosby termed this pattern the "monastic cycle" — with good reason, for the movements led by idealists such as Francis of Assisi and Benedict of Nursia repeatedly demonstrate the cycle. In the sixth century, early Benedictines worked hard to clear forests and cultivate land, investing their surplus in drainage, livestock, and seed. Six centuries later, according to historian Paul Johnson, "Benedictine abbeys had virtually ceased to be spiritual institutions. They had become collegiate sinecures reserved very largely for members of the upper classes." The abbots absorbed about half the order's revenue in order to maintain their luxurious lifestyles, becoming "unenterprising, upper-class parasites.."

I set before you life or death...

"To love at all is to vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung, possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping your heart , you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it up carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries, avoid all personal entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable."

-C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Pope to Patriarch

VATICAN CITY, AUG. 29, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Here is the message, published by the Holy See on Aug. 28, which John Paul II sent to Alexy II, Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow and all Russians, when returning the Icon of the Mother of God of Kazan to Russia. A Vatican delegation returned the image to the Orthodox patriarch on Saturday, in the Kremlin's Cathedral of the Dormition.

To His Holiness Alexy II
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia

After a lengthy period of trials and sufferings endured by the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian people in the last century, the Lord of history, who disposes all things in accordance with his will, today gives us common joy and hope as the Icon of the Mother of God of Kazan returns to her native land.

In the joy and the sentiments of communion which I have always felt, together with my Predecessors who were ever concerned for the Russian people, I rejoice that Your Holiness today receives the Delegation which I have sent to you. Led by Cardinals Walter Kasper and Theodore Edgar McCarrick, the Delegation has been charged with consigning to you this sacred Icon, so closely linked to the faith and the history of Christians in Russia.

By a mysterious design of Divine Providence, during the long years of her pilgrimage the Mother of God in her sacred icon known as Kazanskaya has gathered about her the Orthodox faithful and their Catholic brethren from other parts of the world, who have fervently prayed for the Church and the people whom she has protected down the centuries. More recently, Divine Providence made it possible for the people and the Church in Russia to recover their freedom and for the wall separating Eastern Europe from Western Europe to fall. Despite the division which sadly still persists between Christians, this sacred Icon appears as a symbol of the unity of the followers of the Only-begotten Son of God, the One to whom she herself leads us.

The Bishop of Rome has prayed before this sacred Icon, asking that the day may come when we will all be united and able to proclaim to the world, with one voice and in visible communion, the salvation of our one Lord and his triumph over the evil and impious forces which seek to damage our faith and our witness of unity.

Today I join you in prayer, dear Brother, along with the Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, the priests, monks and nuns, and the People of God in the land of Russia. United in this prayer are all the sons and daughters of the Catholic Church in their profound devotion and veneration for the Holy Mother of God.

May this venerable image guide us along the path of the Gospel in the footsteps of Christ, protecting the people to whom she now returns, and all humanity. May the Holy Mother of God turn her maternal gaze towards the men and women of our time; may she help believers not to stray from the path which God has set before them: the proclamation of Jesus Christ, the way, and the truth and the life, and a courageous testimony to their faith before society and before all the nations. Today we pray with confidence to the Most Holy Virgin, knowing that she implores for us and for all nations the gift of peace.

With these sentiments of charity, in the joy of the event which we today celebrate, and with our eyes lifted to the Holy Mother of God, I exchange with Your Holiness a fraternal kiss in our Lord.

From the Vatican, 25 August 2004


Sunday, August 29, 2004
Brought to tears

Andrew Sullivan, can at times really annoy me. Yet sometimes he says the most wonderful things. Here's a paean of praise to Cape Cod. I wish I could have written it. It really did move me to tears.

Area Catholic Schools Grow, Bucking Trend

"Catholic education in the region is expanding - with the Archdiocese of Washington opening its first new elementary school in Montgomery County in a decade and hundreds of students heading to parochial schools under the D.C. voucher program...

In Northern Virginia, two high schools are being planned by the Diocese of Arlington, each to house about 1,000 students within three years...

The Archdiocese of Washington, which includes the District and the Maryland counties of Montgomery, Prince George's, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's, has seen a 13 percent increase at its more than 100 schools in the past 10 years, increasing its enrollment to 33,500 students.

The Diocese of Arlington, now with 42 schools and 17,850 students, reported a 32 percent jump in enrollment and has opened nine elementary schools in the past decade..."

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