Oh Lord, purify me, make me a chalice in which you dwell, offer your sacrifice in me and spread your love through me. Let me shine like gold, adorn me with the jewels of virtue that I may always be open to you. Fill me. Overflow me. Let me be like that most perfect vessel, the Singular Vessel of Devotion, She to whom I cry for protection against the Evil One. I ask this for your glory, for the vessel is nothing without the sustenance inside, the cup nothing unless it is filled. Oh Lord, purify me.

Give me a word, Abba

Monday, August 29, 2011

Let's try this out...

So, I put a donate button up on the blog. I've seen others do it, and I thought "Why not?" But it's not for just getting money (which, as a college student is a particularly important thing to me) but rather to help me pay for a trip that my choir is taking next spring to sing for the Pope in Italy.

Now, I will already be in Italy studying abroad for my architecture degree, but it is not cheap to live over there, and since this tour is also not cheap (although discounted since I won't be coming from the states) I thought "Perfect, an opportunity for me to get some small donations for a very worthy cause." So, if you wish to donate, you may do so. It doesn't matter how much, but if it's not enough, I'll just buy a bunch of gelato...

Just Kidding.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Job 11:1-6

This goes out to all the people out there (and especially Bloggers and other NewMedia persons) who believe that as long as they hash something to pieces, they will convince everyone that they are right. One of the temptations for a blogger is to be the Lone Voice of Reason. Well that's a common temptation, but it comes out in blogs a lot. Anyway:
And Zophar the Naamathite spoke out and said: Should not the man of many words be answered, or must the garrulous man necessarily be right? Shall your babblings keep men silent, and shall you deride and no one give rebuke? Shall you say: "My teaching is pure, and I am clean in your sight"? But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against you, and tell you that the secrets of wisdom are twice as effective: so that might learn that God will make you answer for your guilt.
There has been lots of talk about courtesy on blogs. Oh well, might as well turn to scripture.

This Week in Feasts

This week is one of my favorites of the Year. Starting on Monday, we had the Queenship of Mary. Mary as Queen is one of my favorite images so this is one of my favorite Marian Feasts. On the 23rd is St. Rose of Lima. Don't ask me why this is one of my favorite female saints, it just is. Wasn't she also Royalty before she gave it up? Oh and I think she had the Stigmata. Following that was the Great and High Feast of St. Bartholomew. Today we celebrate yet another royalty: St. Louis IX of France, husband and ruler (as it said in the missal of readings at St. John the Evangelist church here in Milwaukee). I have liked St. Louis since my brother and sister were in a play about the Crusades when I was like....6. "To the Holy Land we ride..." I even considered him for my Confirmation Saint. Then on the 27th is St. Monica who was the mother of St. Augustine my all-time favorite writer of Catholic Theology. Her dedication in prayer is an astounding witness...plus I just like the name Monica. Then, the next day, the 28th, is St. Augustine himself. Now, I have yet to finish the Confessions, but I'm working on it and I can't get over the absolute gems in that book, and that wasn't his most potent theology. His commentary on Heaven at the end of the City of God is astounding to put it mildly.

Anyway, this is a great week for the Church.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Living under the shadow of the fig tree.

I was intending to write this yesterday, but never got around to it.

August 24th is the Feast of St. Bartholomew, who happens to also be named Nathaniel and is my patron saint. I have known the story of his martyrdom since I was al little child (he was flayed alive), but it never seemed to bother me. Yesterday, I read this article by Fr. Z. which discusses St. Augustine's commentary on the story of St. Bartholomew. St. Augustine talks about how Christ saw Bartholomew (or Nathaniel) under a fig tree and that the fig tree is the tree that Christ cursed for not bearing any fruit. Most of us know the interpretation that Christ, when he met Bartholomew, called him a "true Israelite, a man without guile", and that he was being facetious because Israel was anything but guileless. However, there's more to the story than Jesus's awesome sense of humor. What St Augustine said got me thinking about living under the shadow of sin. Sin is a curse (and its origin is related to a tree), and we live under that curse from the moment of our conception. However, Christ calls us out from under that Tree of Sin and instead to the foot of the Tree of Life. And how does He do this? Well, for Nathaniel (or Bartholomew), He used Nathaniel's friend Philip to bring him the good news. He often does the same for us. He uses our friends to tell us when we are under the Cursed Tree because we are often blinded to our own faults with blaze forth for the rest of the world to see. We can then be led to the Tree of Life to worship God. And that is one lesson to be learned from the great story of St. Bartholomew.

Monday, August 22, 2011


The "blogosphere" is an interesting place. It's almost like the collective human mind. One thought or post leads to another through links and eventually you start to dwell on certain trains of thought. Eventually though, those trains of thought will connect to others and soon you have a whole new world of thought before you.

This happened to me recently. I forget where I first found the link, but I discovered a new train of thought on the Catholic Blogosphere. It is a community of faithful Catholic bloggers of the JPII and BXVI generation. Since I consider myself part of this generation, I quickly applied to join in the fun.

See my first post here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Concerning the Heavenly Court

One of the images of God which most potently strikes my heart (as well as my head) is that of King. See, for those who know me, I tend to talk a lot about monarchy. It's one of my "ideals" is some form of Monarchy as the "perfect" government. The thing is, I don't actually believe it's possible.

But when I think of a knight swearing fealty to his King and offering his life for his country, I can't help thinking that we need a little more of that in our tepid (or do I mean torpid? torrid?) hum-drum, pathetic, exhausting political system.

There is, however, an opportunity for me to swear loyalty to a King...and be willing to die for a cause. That King is God.

I once attended a youth day here in Milwaukee where we had Adoration, a Eucharistic procession and Benediction. Now all of us know how much I like architecture and think that it lends itself to worship, but here we were in the old Field-house of an all girls college. It wasn't an amazing building, but the experience blew me away. More so than any experience up to that point, it seemed like the Great Hall of a King. Does it not strike you as it struck me that it would be hard to get 1000 people no matter what age to be silent for an extended period of time? Well, I was amazed that teenagers could keep it up. And yet, they were there for their King, because we all need someone to give us orders, but not only to give us orders but to have a King's affection for his men. The youth in that field-house knew what it was like to need a King.

Since then, Adoration has been something different for me. It is more about putting myself completely at His service. "You are my King, you are the Ruler of my Life! Give me my orders for I swear my fealty to your terrible and Divine Majesty."

Every Good King has a Queen, and the Knights first duty is to defend her honour. We as Catholics happen to have the Best Ever Queen. She is Princess, Queen-Mother, and Queen-Consort all rolled into one. She is the Virgin-Mother, the Contradiction and because of her Mystery she is even more fascinating and we shall defend her.
Her feast is today, Aug. 22. Queenship of Mary, I think it's called, and I as a Divine Monarchist am pleased that the Daughter, Mother and Bride of my Divine Monarch has been crowned my Queen and that that crown can and should rule over my life and my love.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Proof that hope springs eternal

It's often easy to be discouraged by the culture we live in. It's easy to wish for the "better days". Well, reality check: there were problems then too. Here's the thing, if we give up on the culture, it will never change. Here is a story about a young woman who didn't give up hope....

And neither should we. When all the powers of darkness seem to be against us. When the world seems to be falling apart, when violence, cruelty, death, and sin seems the norm, we should remember that in the midst of all this, we are human with an immortal soul and a conscience and we have been redeemed by the Savior. He "will not abandon [the world] to the netherworld nor allow [his] holy one to suffer corruption."

Which, by the way, segues nicely into a discussion of the Feast for today. In the Dioceses of the United States, The Assumption is not a Holy Day of Obligation today because it falls on the day after a Sunday. Now we can argue the merits of this, or we can just talk about the Feast. I prefer to do the latter.

God did not allow Mary's body to undergo corruption. He did however allow her to go through intense pain and suffering. Mary is the prefigure of the Church and indeed the first member of the New Covenant. She experienced the saving power of God from the moment of her conception (a different feast) and is a sign of hope that no matter what pains we go through as a Church and as a world, we are saved and intended for God. God will sanctify the world and all of creation. One of the ways He does that is through our continual offering of our whole lives, actions, experiences etc. When we offer Him our time, the people in our lives, our emotions, our thoughts, our desires, our actions, our environment, he is able to work amazingly in our lives.

Although not required, I did go to Mass today. Thinking of the Gospel now, I realize that it is very relevant to the story I linked to above. Mary visits Elizabeth and they pretty much immediately start swapping baby stories...sort of. They both are in pregnancie situations that would be cause for concern. One, an old woman, could easily expect complications in the pregnancy including miscarriage. Mary was a virgin and would not be in a good position when people found out.
Except Elizabeth knew, and she welcomed Mary into the house. This story as well as the Feast on which it was proclaimed is designed to give us hope, to build up our faith in God and to call us to charity, especially those in difficult pregnancie situations.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Churches that Might have Been: St. Dominic's, San Antonio

One of the things that happened in the last century was the de-emphasizing of churches. A lot of them were built to look like other things, barns for instance.

However, in the last decade, there has been a revival even outside of traditional circles to reclaim the church as a building type. We are still in the growing pains phase of this revival and so we aren't quite up to the standard of even the early 20th century, but we're getting there. The problem is, now we often get churches that are close but are very obviously not quite there. And since it's not just a barn and the congregation has paid millions for it, there's no hope of replacement for a while.

I call these churches "churches that might have been." Here is an example, the first in a series:

What I don't understand is how they decided to put the new church at such an ange with the original church facade. The continuity is just plain absent. It however is very nice in its materials, it looks like, and give off a generally good impression. Inside, however, there is a huge absence of natural light. It's kind of atrocious.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The importance of Scripture

Catholics often get a bad rap. We apparently don't know the Scriptures well enough and it's likely because we "don't believe it is infallible teaching" or rather we don't hold to Sola Scripture, a somewhat self contradicting dogma. We do however hold that the Scriptures are infallible and the Word of God itself. So, what does it mean to us that we have in our possession the Word of God? St. Jerome said "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." True, seeing as Jesus Christ himself is the Word of God, the fulfillment of all revelation and all Scripture speaks of Him.

Therefore, we should read Scripture to get to know our Lord better. After all, our telos is to know, love, and serve God in this world and the next, if I recall the Baltimore Catechism correctly.

In our Sunday bulletin, our Pastor gave a scriptural basis for the response "And with your Spirit" which will be used in the new translation of the Roman Missal. In fact, the whole liturgy is and has always been heavily scriptural. Mostly the Mass has consisted of Psalms and allusions, quotes and references to other books of the Bible. Of course in the Novus Ordo there are two readings and a Gospel read each Sunday (usually one reading and a Gospel on a weekday) in a three year cycle. This cycle takes us through most of scripture so that the daily Mass goer will become familiar with almost the whole Bible while at the same time participating in the highest form of prayer we have and receiving our Lord. It seems to be the perfect combination.

Finally, as we Catholics do believe in the authority of the Magisterium, I thought I might link to this article about Pope Benedict's advice concerning reading Scripture.

Soon I'll have some more reflections on scripture up.