January 19, 2017

Macarius the Great

According the Roman Martyrology, today is the feast of Macarius the Great.
A brother came to see Abba Macarius the Egyptian, and said to him, 'Abba, give me a word, that I may be saved.' So the old man said, 'Go to the cemetery and abuse the dead.' The brother went there, abused them and threw stones at them; then he returned and told the old man about it. The latter said to him, 'Didn't they say anything to you?' He replied, 'No.' The old man said, 'Go back tomorrow and praise them.' So the brother went away and praised them, calling them, 'Apostles, saints and righteous men.' He returned to the old man and said to him, ‘ I have complimented them’. And the old man said to him, 'Did they not answer you?' The brother said no. The old man said to him, 'You know how you insulted them and they did not reply, and how you praised them and they did not speak; so you too if you wish to be saved must do the same and become a dead man. Like the dead, take no account of either the scorn of men or their praises, and you can be saved.'
(Sayings of the Desert Fathers)

All Things To All

"I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some" said St. Paul. (1 Cor 9:22) And so the saints who followed.

In that spirit, Mother Teresa now available in happy, pensive, disapproving, motherly, frozen in carbonite, and mermaid.

(click to enlarge)

December 16, 2016

Resting Like A Bundle of Myrrh

Back on the feast of All Franciscan Saints, long-time internet friend and sometime fellow American in Rome Fr. Daren J. Zehnle tweeted this lovely image of some of said saints from St. Francis of Assisi church in Teutopolis, Illinois:

(It looks like a nice parish by the way. See their website here.)

That's St. Bonaventure, of course, to Our Lady's left. You can tell because of his red cardinal's hat, which he has rightly doffed in such heavenly company and deposited on his little cloud. So right away I wanted to know what his book says. You couldn't quite make it out in the photo, though you can tell that it says something. So I asked Fr. Daren to find out, and now he has come back with a closer photo, in which you can see that it says crucifixus.

Now I was intrigued. Certainly St. Bonaventure speaks often enough of the crucified, but usually--at least in my memory--in a declined form. I couldn't remember any instance of it in the nominative, as in the book in the picture.

But sure enough a little searching surfaced what must be the page of the book Bonaventure is holding open. It's from chapter nine of the Major Legend of St. Francis, on Francis's "ardor of charity and desire for martyrdom."

Christus Iesus crucifixus intra suae mentis ubera ut myrrhae fasciculus iugiter morabatur in quem optabat per excessivi amoris incendium totaliter transformari.

"Jesus Christ crucified always rested like a bundle of myrrh in the bosom of [St. Francis's] soul, into Whom he longed to be totally transformed through an enkindling of ecstatic love."

(FA:ED II: 597, cf. Song of Songs 1:13)

December 5, 2016

Cooperatores veritatis

Today I finished Last Testament: In His Own Words. To be honest, I didn't find it as interesting as Seewald's other interview books, but if you appreciate Benedict XVI very much, as I do, you will enjoy it. Particularly interesting is the material about Joseph Ratzinger's younger life, especially the time around the Second World War.

November 19, 2016

Priestly Vocations Ramble/Rant

That tweet is from the other day. Given responses, it seems to have hit some particular nail on the head. In thinking about it I decided it needed some follow-up for fairness sake.

November 7, 2016

All Franciscan Souls Ramble

On Saturday, in the Mass I celebrated with the Capuchin Sisters of Mother Rubatto and in the Liturgy of the Hours here at home, we had the Commemoration of all the Franciscan Faithful Departed, or All Franciscan or All Seraphic Souls.

Sister Death presides over the friars' cemetery, Yonkers, New York

I like how we Franciscans have our own All Souls Day. It's like a family thing; just as in a family folks might take care to have Masses celebrated for their dear departed, so we Franciscans have a liturgical day for ours. I forget how we do it at home in the USA, but here in Italy this day always gets scheduled for the first totally free liturgical day after November 2. So this year, having duly celebrated the days for Martin de Porres and Charles Borromeo, it was this past Saturday.

The gospel for the Mass was from St. John.

November 1, 2016


The feast of All Saints today and the commemoration of All Souls tomorrow are perfect opportunities to recall to ourselves the catholicity of the Church. We are members of the Catholic Church, practitioners of Catholic Christianity. Catholic is a Greek word that simply means general or universal. The Church is ‘universal’ or ‘general’ in many ways. In one sense the Church is universal because it extends over the whole earth. There’s even a Catholic chapel in Antarctica; it’s dedicated to St. Francis by the way. The moon, it’s already been decided, is part of the diocese of Rome, in case you were thinking of making a visit and were wondering who your bishop might be. The Church is also universal because it extends until the end of time. But most of all, the Church is universal and catholic because it passes beyond the boundaries of time and space to include both heaven and earth.

This teaching on the catholicity of the church comes to us in the classic language of the Church Triumphant, the Church Militant, and the Church Suffering or Expectant. The Church Triumphant is the Church we honor today on All Saints’ Day: those Christians who have completed their journey and enjoy the vision of God in heaven. We who make up the Church on earth are classically called the Church Militant; “militant” in the sense that we are in the midst of the struggle with sin and the work of ushering in the fullness of the Kingdom of God.