Saturday, August 12, 2006

Subject of new movie on 9/11 says Catholic faith saved him from death

Mahalo to my friend Alexandrina.

Washington DC, Aug. 10, 2006 (CNA) - Will Jimeno, whose story of survival in the 9/11 attacks is retold in the new Oliver Stone movie “World Trade Center,” said this week his Catholic faith and an unexpected vision kept him alive during the long hours in which he was trapped under the rubble of the twin towers.

“What kept me going was the faith in God that my mother instilled in me as a Catholic. And, as the last Pope (John Paul II) said, we Hispanics have very great faith,” Jimeno told the EFE news agency in one of dozens of interviews he has granted.

“World Trade Center” recounts the story of Jimeno and John McLoughlin, two New York police officers who ran into the second tower to help rescue people. When the tower collapsed, all of their fellow officers were crushed to death. Jimeno and McLoughlin managed to survive 12 hours under the rubble, unable to see one another but at least able to communicate. Only 20 people were pulled from the rubble, alive - Jimeno was number 18 and McLoughlin number 19.

“When we got to the twin towers and I saw people jumping out, I felt like my hands were tied, and that’s the worse thing that can happen to a police officer. We really wanted to help as many people as possible,” Jimeno said...
Read the rest here.

Saturdays Dedicated to Our Lady and the Holy Souls in Purgatory

As we all may be aware, Saturdays are traditionally dedicated to our Blessed Mother.

However, are you aware that on her Feast Days and Saturdays, she brings many souls in Purgatory, to Heaven?

I don't remember where I read that recently...maybe in Purgatory by Fr. F. X. Schouppe, S.J. but I just thought it wonderful!!

Pray for the holy souls in Purgatory!

Friday, August 11, 2006

"How Bishops Discourage Vocations (and the Key to Attracting Them)”

Hat tip to Sunny

Here's an article worth reading if you want to know what happened to vocations.

Status Ecclesiae
Aug.-Sept. 2005

“How Bishops Discourage Vocations (and the Key to Attracting Them)”
-by John Mallon, Contributing Editor, Inside the Vatican

In the mid 1990s, I attended a clergy meeting in the diocese where I was employed as the newspaper editor. The meeting was to discuss ideas to increase vocations to the priesthood, because the diocese was facing a crisis. Predictably, the discussion was going nowhere until the retired archbishop raised his hand, stood up and said, “Why don’t we study those dioceses which are attracting vocations, like Lincoln, Nebraska, and Arlington, Virginia, and see what they are doing and what we can learn from that.” I smiled to myself, eager to see the response to his suggestion, because I knew that the reason those dioceses were attracting so many vocations would be utterly unacceptable to this group of priests. Predictably, the priests just looked at each other and said nothing. No one responded to the archbishop’s suggestion.

The answer was obvious. I may have even taken the retired archbishop aside and told him, but I suspect he already knew. The plain simple answer was that the bishops of those dioceses, Bishops Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln and the late John Keating of Arlington, were both explicitly, vocally and publicly committed to orthodoxy in Catholic teaching and practice. Meanwhile, the dominant priests of this diocese were known for being firmly committed to dissent...

...There is a solidarity among the orthodox youth, which John Paul II wisely and shrewdly nurtured as the future of the Church in his World Youth Days and his plain, simple love for them, which was direct and unmediated

I have glimpsed this phenomenon first hand.

When I worked and studied theology at Boston College in the 1980s, there was a widely celebrated theology department, boastful of its dissent. The professors counted their undergraduate theology majors in the single digits. When I sought my master’s degree in theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, a university explicit in its orthodoxy, and ridiculed for it by larger schools, it had a smaller theology faculty but the largest number of undergraduates in the country, at the time, as I recall, 140.

At the Jesuit-run Boston College, I do not recall many students pursuing a religious vocation. I recall two who did who received hostility from the Jesuits — for their orthodoxy. At Steubenville, there were so many vocations they started a pre-theologate program, and a group for young women considering the convent....


Americans will die for liberty

Hat tip to Shana!

By Andrew Gimson

(Filed: 11/08/2006)

As we took off from London for New York a few days ago, our three over-excited children asked if there was any chance of the plane being blown up. I explained that the likelihood of that happening was virtually zero, and wondered how we were going to maintain some semblance of order during the flight. One did not wish the sedate American passengers by whom we were surrounded to form the impression that British parents are unable or unwilling to impart the rudiments of good manners.

Luckily, American Airlines had provided a screen on the back of the seat in front of one's own, on which one could watch old movies. There was also a map showing how far we had gone, on which places of interest were marked. It began by showing only two places: London and Chartwell.

The Americans are more old-fashioned than us, and what is equally admirable, they are not ashamed of being old-fashioned. They know Churchill was a great man, so they put his house on the map. There is a kind of Englishman to whom this sort of behaviour seems painfully unsophisticated.
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Wednesday Feast Day of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Feast Day August 9th
Picture courtesy of The Vatican

Second Exodus

The Early Years

Edith Stein was born on October 12, 1891, Yom Kippur, of Orthodox Jewish parents. A brilliant Jewish girl, but at age 14 she suddenly stopped praying and dropped out of school, angry because an anti-Semitic teacher consistently refused to put her at the head of the class even though the entire class thought she had earned it. However, eager for education, she received private tutoring and was admitted to the University of Breslau, one of the very first women admitted to full matriculation at a major university, where she majored in psychology.

The Philosophy Years

In the summer of 1913, when she was nearly 22 years old, Edith was an atheist on the surface but a Jew deep in her heart. This is fairly common among young Jews when their faith is presented to them simply as ethical idealism. They see it as a philosophy rather than a faith, and find it appropriate to probe its defects. Edith took a neutral position on God and refused all religious practice. Instead, she began to look for intellectual principles more deeply rooted in truth than those of Judaism.

Edith Stein did not find these higher principles in psychology, so she switched to the University of Göttingen to study philosophy under Edmund Husserl. His “phenomenology” sought to make philosophy a hard science by resolving the conflict between empiricism (observation) and rationalism (reason and theory). Phenomenology highlights the origin of all philosophical and scientific systems and theoretical constructs in the experiential life. Soon Edith became Husserl’s most gifted student; and when she had brilliantly completed her studies with a doctorate summa cum laude, he took her on as his assistant and collaborator.

The Old Damascus Road

Christ calls to us in ways that fill our needs. Phenomenology led Edith Stein into a state of Voraussetzungslosigkeit, total impartiality, without which she would have been incapable of opening herself to thinking of God in terms of objective analysis. She set out to understand what should be her relationship with God. She began to weigh the three alternatives within her environment: Jewish, Protestant, and Catholic.

She tried to return to the Judaism of her parents, especially by reading the Old Testament prophets. After deep exploration, Edith decided that Judaism did not fill the need in her heart. But she never tried to refute it, as some Jews who have become complete in Christ do. She was always respectful. Her exploration of Protestant religion fit in with her preference for Bach’s Christian music. More important, the Christian response to grief for the atrocities of World War I and the strength of Christian hope born of the Cross of Christ deeply impressed her.

Edith had tried to reach Christ on a rational level, but He reached her heart. She had become close to Adolf and Anna Reinach, both Jewish converts to the Evangelical Church. Adolf enlisted early in World War I and was killed in 1917. Edith went to his home to help Anna arrange his scholarly papers. She had also come to console Anna. Anna, however, was serene; her deep Christian faith led her to see the Cross in Adolf’s death. Anna’s deep faith made a deep impression on Edith, and prepared her for what was to come. Relating this experience many years later to Father Hirschaum,a Jesuit, Edith told him, “This was my first meeting with the Cross, with the divine strength it brings to those who bear it. I saw for the first time within my reach the Church, born of the Redeemer’s sufferings in his victory over the sting of death. It was at that moment that my incredulity was shattered and the light of Christ shone forth, Christ in the mystery of the Cross.” However, this was preparation. Many Jews who find Christ, myself included, experience something like what Saul of Tarsus experienced on the road to Damascus, which breaks our attachment to our old way of thinking and prepares us for the conversion itself.

During the next three or four years Edith, again like many Jews attracted to Christ, entered a period of intense reflection. She read numerous books on Catholic spirituality. One day she bought a book on the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius. She began by getting involved in the Exercises at a purely psychological level, but after a few pages she found this impossible. She ended up doing the Spiritual Exercises as an atheist thirsting for God. The Exercises were Christ’s preparation for what was to follow. That came in June 1921. she went to Bergzabern, to the home of a friend, Hedwig Konrad Martius, a regular meeting place of Husserl former students. Edith discovered in the library The Book of the Life, the autobiography of the great Spanish mystic, St Teresa of Avila, who originated the Carmelite Reform that restored and emphasized the austerity and contemplative character of primitive Carmelite life. Edith, astonishlingly, finished the entire book in a single night. Closing it, she exclaimed, “This is the truth! Her Damascus transformation was complete; all became light for her.

The Path to Carmel
Edith was baptised on January 1st 1922 and at once began to consider becoming a Carmelite nun. She had always sought the most complete path; Carmel seemed the only way to satisfy her desire for totality. Thirty years old, full of energy and enthusiasm, her faith became an integral part of her life.

Mt. Carmel is in some mysterious way associated with Jews who become Catholic. The prophet Elijah had spent most of his life on Mt. Carmel. Elijah, the rabbis taught, would return to herald the arrival of the Messiah. Jesus told us Mt 11:14 “[John the Baptist] is Elijah who is to come.” Rev. Elias Friedman, a Jew who became a Catholic priest and founded the Association of Hebrew Catholics, was a Carmelite friar. Edith Stein, when she was baptized, received a vocation to Carmel.

Twelve years passed, however, before she entered the Carmel of Cologne. During that time she taught at the Institute for Scientific Pedagogy in Munster, gave lecture tours, studied, and above all matured interiorly. Here again, Christ’s ways are above ours. Edith may well have continued her brilliant academic career for the rest of her life, but the rising tide of anti-Semitic measures made it impossible for her to continue teaching. Edith became a Carmelite nun, taking the name of Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Her name, “of the Cross,” probably taken in honor of St. John of the Cross, was prophetic. The Germans discovered her Jewish origins. She was no longer safe behind monastery walls in Germany, so in the wee hours of New Year’s Day 1939 she was taken to Holland, to the Carmel of Echt. It seemed tranquil, but Edith sensed that she would not escape the destiny of her people.

The Final Journey

On Sunday July 26, 1942, a protest by the Catholic Bishops of Holland against the Nazi deportation of Dutch Jews was read at every Mass in all churches. It said, “In this we are following the path indicated by our Holy Father, the Pope.” Gestapo General-Commissar Schmidt announced, “We are compelled to regard the Catholic Jews as our worst enemies and consequently see to their deportation to the East with all possible speed.” One week later, the Gestapo arrested, deported, and sent to Auschwitz all Dutch Catholics of Jewish origin. At the Carmel of Echt, while she was writing her book on the doctrine of St John of the Cross, titled The Science of the Cross, two officials of the German occupation forces came to the monastery. She had to go with them, together with her sister Rose, also a convert, who had joined her in Echt. Edith and Rose Stein were deported to Auschwitz. On August 9th, 1942, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, in a white house filled with Zyklon-B gas, went to heaven.

Pope John Paul II beatified Sr. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross on May 1, 1987 and canonized her on Oct. 11, 1998.

St. Teresa Benedicta, pray for us!

Copyright © 1999-2006 Martin K Barrack. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Effects of the Eucharist Are Visible in the Devout Communicant

by Cure' of Ars, St. John Mary Vianney and complied by Abbe' H. Convert

From the NAS (Nocturnal Adoration Society) Letter August 2006

We can tell when a soul has received the Sacrament of the Eucharist worthily. It is so flooded with love, so pervaded and changed, that we recognize it no longer in its words and actions. It is humble, gentle, mortified, charitable, and modest, and at peace with everyone. It is a soul capable of the greatest sacrifices; in fact, it is unrecognizable.

St. Magdalen of Pazzi tells us that it needs only one Communion, made with tender love and a very pure heart, to raise us to the highest perfection.

People who practise devotion, who confess and communicate often, and who neglect works of faith and charity, are like trees in blossom; you think there will be much fruit as flower - but there is a great difference.

The blessed Cure' contended with our Lord in generosity. Every morning he received the Body and Blood Christ, and in return sacrificed his whole self in union with the divine Savior. For the conversion of his parish he multiplied prayers, vigils, and scourgings, and led a life more and more austere. Insensible to so many mortifications, however, the people confided to his care indulged in dancing and frivolous pleasures with the same ardour, profaned the holy day of Sunday with the same obstinacy, and still frequented the public houses.

The holy Cure' thought he was thus unsuccessful because he had not offered enough penances to our Lord, and he exclaimed, distressed but resolute, "I will go on till I can do no more." It was then that he was found trying to live on the grass in his garden and during certain periods of the year taking a meal only once every two days. And what a meal! It consisted of a piece of dry bread and a single boiled potato which was often moldy.

The servant of God was no less lavish towards souls with his time and toil than with his fasts and penances. In contact with the God of the Eucharist who delivered himself up for our redemption, and who daily renews his sacrifice, St. John Vianney's zeal was kindled to such a point that he could say one day; "If the good God should give me my choice of going to heaven this very minute or staying on earth till the end of the world to work for the conversion of sinners, I would stay, and I would continue to get up at midnight."