Saturday, February 28, 2015

Maltreatment and Providence

As I mentioned the other day, I have decided to get back to reading Fr.Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange's Providence, which I have on my Kindle. I have read parts of it, and as I returned to it, I noticed excerpts I had highlighted (I like that highlighting feature of Kindle! ). Thank goodness I highlight some things; otherwise, I would forget them forever.   

Below I’ve inserted one of those excerpts. When I read it, I saw that it was applicable to a situation that had developed between a good priest friend of mine and his bishop. It is so sad that so many good priests are persecuted by their bishops! And yet, there is much grace given to those who choose to endure the maltreatment and injustice (though, as we read below, there are times when “some answer is called for”).

St. Thomas, speaking of the injuries and undeserved reproaches, the insults and slanders that affect only our person, declares we must be ready to bear them with patience in compliance with our Lord's words: "If one strike thee on thy right cheek, turn to him also the other" (Matt. 5: 39). But, he continues, there are occasions when some answer is called for, either for the good of the person who injures us, to put a stop to his insolence, or to avoid the scandal such slanders and calumnies may cause. If we do feel bound to retaliate and offer some sort of resistance, let us put ourselves unreservedly in God's hands for the success of the steps we take. In other words, we must deplore and reprove these acts of injustice not because they are wounding to our self-love and pride, but because they are an offense against God, endangering the salvation of the guilty parties and of those who may be led astray by them.

So far as we are concerned, we should see in the injustice men do to us the action of Divine justice permitting this evil in order to give us an opportunity of expiating other and very real failings, failings with which no one reproaches us. It is well also to see in this sort of trial the action of Divine mercy, which would make of it a means to detach us from creatures, to rid us of our inordinate affections, our pride and lukewarmness, and thus oblige us to have immediate recourse to a fervent prayer of supplication. Spiritually these acts of injustice are like the surgeon's knife, very painful at times but a great corrective. The suffering they cause must bring home to us the value of true justice; not only must it lead us to be just in our dealings with our neighbor, but it must give birth in us to the beatitude of those who, as the Gospel says, hunger and thirst after justice and who shall indeed have their fill.

And so, instead of upsetting and embittering us, men's contempt for us may have a very salutary effect, by impressing us with the utter vanity of all human glory and with the sublimity of the glory of God as the saints have understood it. It is the way leading to that true humility which causes us to accept contempt and to love to be treated as objects worthy of contempt.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Road Trip to Lent

It was a good retreat. I don't think I've ever started Lent on retreat before. 

The drive was beautiful both ways. 

Going there:

And coming back:

I spent more time than usual sitting before the Blessed Sacrament. 

Just being there...

I spent more time than usual thinking about Divine Providence, and prayers for others, and how to pray that God's will be done without trying at the same time to convince Him that my will might be a good way to go, too.

My spiritual director asked me if I had any particular Lenten reading in mind, and I didn't. But after my few days there, I have decided to focus on reading more of Providence by Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange. I have it on Kindle, and I have highlighted some passages already. I went back and re-read some of quickly we forget the things we "learn"!! (Well, at least I forget quickly. Could be an age thing!)

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Favorite Views

I'll be on retreat this coming week, so I'll leave you with some photos. 

They are taken from roughly the same spot on different days - this has become one of my favorite views! 

Sometimes I wish we lived in a more forested area, but there is something to be said for the views we have from our house. Just as "you can't see the forest for the trees", sometimes you can't see the view for the forest. 

Here are my current favorites, all taken within the last couple of months:

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Letting Go

Well, I completed the Alaska Project last week, and the parish received the final shipment of antependia and tabernacle veils on Monday. 

Yesterday, they sent me a photo.

Let me backtrack a bit before I show you the photo (which is just below, so you’re probably already looking at it anyway!).

I had had some anxiety and doubts about this project from the beginning. I wanted to do it, and I was actually very happy to have the opportunity to contribute to the effort to move a parish toward more traditional, appropriate vestment of the altar. I knew that it was the parish priest himself who was the impetus for the project, and that’s a good thing! But I also knew that he was leaving the parish for a new assignment and was leaving the set of antependia and veils as a sort of legacy in the hope that they would be used and would have an effect on the people.

Now, that is all well and good, but I also know that when a more traditional parish priest leaves, the more liberal people of the parish see an opportunity to re-assert their power. For instance, in a parish near us, for which I also made antependia, as soon as the pastor was transferred, the antependia disappeared. The altar has gone back to its old short, doily-like tablecloth arrangement.

I was also concerned that I could not be on-site, but would have to rely on measurements sent to me. I couldn’t try things on before making them “final” – for instance, I couldn’t put the linens on the altar and credence table to adjust the hems properly. I couldn’t demonstrate in person the correct way to attach the antependium, and show how to make little minor adjustments to correct sags and wrinkles. I did sent some illustrated instructions to help with this.

So…I received this photo:

I believe it is a huge improvement over this:

Still…the fringe is dragging on the floor, which means the antependium is not hanging properly. Pulling it up just a bit higher would alleviate that problem.  

UPDATE: The pastor of the parish sent me this photo, which I think was taken before the other one. Notice what a difference the additional candles make (at least, I think they do!):

It also looks like I made the linen cloth just a bit too long.

In the background you can see the credence table. Ideally, the credence table is covered by floor-length linen, on all sides. I sent two pieces – one to cover from side to side, and one to cover from front to back. Only the side-to-side piece is on the credence table in the photo.

The tabernacle veil looks great, though!

Even before the photo came, I had resigned myself to being a little disappointed, and I have been telling myself to just let it go. (And if you have seen the move “Frozen” and have heard the “Let It Go” song a thousand times, I apologize for using the phrase!) So I’m trying to detach my emotions (and pride) from the situation. I did suggest that they make the adjustment on the height of the antependium, and I hope I did so tactfully. I didn’t mention the credence table.

I pray the new pastor is supportive of the traditional paraments, and that they will be used to enhance the Catholic identity of this parish!

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

ISIS Again

Another ISIS atrocity: burning a Jordanian pilot alive in a cage.

I listened to one reporter's detailed description of what went on in that video. I also watched a small part of it - the part where the ignition trail is lit and the flames start to surround the poor soul in the cage. He was jumping around, and I clicked away. No need to immerse ourselves in such scenes, I think; it is enough to know that this evil is happening.

I saw too that the king of Jordan had authorized the execution of some terrorists that were being held in prison in his country. And I saw that early the very next morning after the immolation video was released, two terrorists were in fact executed by hanging.

There's a part of me - maybe a part of all of us? - that thinks that those executions were justified. There's a part of me that doesn't. I just don't know; it is possible to argue both ways on it, I suppose, but I'm not really interested in figuring it out. For the most part, I am horrified by these deaths - all of them. I am horrified when I think about the state of the souls of those who would intentionally set fire to a man that way. I am horrified to think that these things - the beheadings, the immolation, and throwing bound men off a tall tower to their deaths - are going on in the world today. 

I knelt before my icon of Our Lady of Sorrows, and wondered how sad she must feel to see such atrocities being committed. I think she is sorry to see the retribution that followed the pilot's death, too - whether or not it was justified.

And then there's the Super Bowl...

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.