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We greet you on this Ash Wednesday with a message from one of the Church’s outstanding priests, Father Gerald Murray, whose talk at the recent Lepanto Conference in New York gives us the start to this holy Lenten season that is sorely needed. Well did Father Murray title his talk:
“Truth, Holiness and Obedience to God’s Word: the Remedy for the Church’s Travails”
I had the wonderful privilege of attending the Lepanto Conference, now in its second year, sponsored by the Society of St. Hugh of Cluny. Further information and talks from this year’s conference can be found at: http://sthughofcluny.org/2019/02/the-second-lepanto-conference-part-i.html and https://www.facebook.com/events/2462826193746314/.
Here is Father Murray’s talk, with introduction by Father Kevin Cusick:
Our love and prayers to you all for
a most holy and blessed Lent,
Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B.
and the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope
Beloved, I have been told that the video below has been on social media for a month or so. However, I (un-social media person that I am) never saw it prior to its appearance as a Fox News item this morning. I am astonished that our high tech youth of today were not at all familiar with this non-push-button contraption!
While we’re on “old-fashioned”, here is a beautiful and heart-warming story about a phone outdated by even the one above:
The Old Phone on the Wall…. Hello
When I was a young boy, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood…. I remember the polished, old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it.
Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person. Her name was “Information Please” and there was nothing she did not know. Information Please could supply anyone’s number and the correct time.
My personal experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible, but there seemed no point in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy.
I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear.
“Information, please” I said into the mouth piece just above my head.
A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.
“I hurt my finger…” I wailed into the phone, the tears came readily enough now that I had an audience.
“Isn’t your mother home?” came the question.
“Nobody’s home but me,” I blubbered.
“Are you bleeding?” the voice asked.
“No,” I replied. “I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts.”
“Can you open the icebox?” she asked.
I said I could.
“Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger,” said the voice…
After that, I called “Information Please” for everything.. I asked her for help with my geography, and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math.
She told me my pet chipmunk that I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts.
Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary, died. I called, “Information Please,” and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was not consoled. I asked her, “Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?”
She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, ” Wayne, always remember that there are other worlds to sing in.”
Somehow I felt better.
Another day I was on the telephone, “Information Please.”
“Information,” said in the now familiar voice. “How do I spell fix?” I asked.
All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much. “Information Please” belonged in that old wooden box back home and I somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall. As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me.
Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.
A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, “Information Please.”
Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well.
I hadn’t planned this, but I heard myself saying,
“Could you please tell me how to spell fix?”
There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, “I guess your finger must have healed by now.”
I laughed, “So it’s really you,” I said. “I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?”
I wonder,” she said, “if you know how much your calls meant to me. I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls.”
I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.
“Please do”, she said. “Just ask for Sally.”
Three months later I was back in Seattle. A different voice answered, “Information.” I asked for Sally.
“Are you a friend?” she said.
“Yes, a very old friend,” I answered.
“I’m sorry to have to tell you this,” she said. “Sally had been working part time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago.”
Before I could hang up, she said, “Wait a minute, did you say your name was Wayne?”
Yes,” I answered.
“Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you.”
The note said, “Tell him there are other worlds to sing in. He’ll know what I mean.”
I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.
God bless and keep you and all whom you love,
Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B.
O Eternal Father, after having thanked thy infinite bounty for thy exceeding benefits in the past, we humbly implore pardon for our manifold sins and negligences, for the time we have consumed and wasted in vanities and in things that profit not unto salvation, and for the woeful want of correspondence with Thy graces which we have so habitually manifested.
But filled with confidence in Thy mercy, so lavishly displayed in a multitude of ways, we ask Thy blessings upon our good purposes and resolutions. For now we renew the sacred promises we made in Baptism, when we first became Thy children and heirs of the heavenly kingdom, and we renounce Satan with all his works and pomps.
Firmly convinced that the salvation of our immortal souls is the one great business of life, the purpose for which we have come into the world, we solemnly resolve for the future not only to do all in our power to avoid every grievous sin in thought, word, and deed but also to shun every unnecessary occasion that might imperil our souls. We further resolve to fulfill with greater exactness and fidelity the duties of our station in life, to give more attention to our progress in things spiritual, to be more devoted to holy Mass, to receive the Sacraments more frequently, and to pray more often and more fervently.
Bless, O my God, these good resolutions which we offer to Thee at this, the threshold of a new year. Give us Thy precious grace and make us truly wise. The days and years of our life are passing so swiftly away. Help us, in Thy mercy, to utilize them, as we ought to do, for Thy greater honor and glory, for the good of our neighbor, and for our sanctification. The night cometh in which no man can work longer; soon, at best, we shall have to appear before Thee to render an account of our stewardship. May we then be found worthy to receive from Thee that divine welcome: “Well done, good and faithful servants, enter into the joy of thy Lord.”
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Homily for the 4th Sunday of Advent1
Roráte caeli, désuper, et nubes pluant iustum. . .
“Drop down dew from above, you heavens, and let the clouds rain down the Just One; let the earth be opened and bring forth a Savior” (cf. Isaiah 45:8).
The prophet Isaiah greets us in today’s Entrance Antiphon and helps us to prepare for Christmas. Dr. Pius Parsch writes that “(Isaiah’s) cry must become our own. Before God comes to us, He demands preparation. He will not force His gifts upon us. We must desire them, we must be spiritually hungry.” Parsch makes this great statement: “Advent desire means that we must cultivate a fruitful soil for the seed of grace, that we become receptive to God’s kingdom” (The Church’s Year of Grace, Vol. I: Advent to Candlemas, p. 134). This applies directly to these words from the prophet Isaiah: “Drop down dew from above, you heavens, and let the clouds rain down the Just One; let the earth be opened and bring forth a Savior.” This prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled with the coming of the Divine Child. By analogy, we can say that He has come down from heaven as a drop of dew from the clouds.
Though this is an analogy, this imagery is quite accurate. Remember the Gospel of the Annunciation. The Angel Gabriel said to Mary: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” She is full of grace. She is filled with the Holy Spirit to overflowing. Because the Lord is with her in a singular way, she is the soil that is receptive for the dew which drops down from the clouds of heaven. In fact, it is a cloud from heaven that dropped down upon her. The angel announced: “The Holy Spirit will descend upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” It was the glory cloud of the Holy Spirit. That same cloud descended upon the Holy of Holies in the Temple. When the cloud descended, God took His seat on His throne upon the Cherubim. And when that cloud descended upon Mary, God claimed His throne in the Immaculate cloister of her womb. The drop of dew which is the Word of God, found a receptive soil in her. “Drop down dew from above, you heavens, and let the clouds rain down the Just One; let the earth be opened and bring forth a Savior.” Mary was the Immaculate rich soil which brought forth the Savior.
The Eternal Word entered into human flesh. That is really the meaning of the word ‘Advent’. Ad means ‘into’ and vent from the verb ‘venir’ means to come. So, the Eternal Word came into this world, into human flesh, into the womb of Mary, so that He could come into our hearts.
The consequence of the Eternal Son of God entering into human flesh, is that He has entered into time. Time is fleeting. So, the moment Mary has heard these words, she begins planning her journey. She sets out in haste. Immediately, the Word of God sends out His Holy Spirit to those around Him. From the womb, Jesus sends His Holy Spirit to the infant John in the womb. “St. Augustine is even of the opinion that the unborn Baptist was miraculously endowed with the use of reason and will so that he could joyfully recognize, believe in and say Yes to his Lord” (Saward, Redeemer in the Womb, p. 25). Whether this is true or not, the Church has not defined; but it is certain that this event fulfills the prophecy made by the angel Gabriel to Zechariah promising that “[John] will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15). “The grace of the Holy Spirit flows from Jesus through Mary to John and from John to Elizabeth” (Saward, 26).
And where does this happen? It happens on a mountain. Mary hastens to the hill country. She ascends the mountain in order to meet the Just One in the clouds whence He came, having dropped down like dew from above. He has come to her from heaven and she now goes to be near heaven to prepare and to be of service to her Son’s first disciple, still in the womb himself.
Mary makes haste. We too must make haste. Time is short and God has given us these last days of Advent to prepare. In those days, Mary came to the mountain. This day we have come here to this holy mountain: the altar of God; as near to heaven as we can come in this life. Mary received the Word of God and she conceived and bore fruit in her womb. We have received the Word of God in this Mass. Let our souls now be prepared as rich soil for the Word of God that will drop down like dew from the clouds of heaven.
“Let the earth be opened and bring forth a Savior.”
1. A homily by Fr. Eric M. Andersen, Sacred Heart-St. Louis in Gervais, OR December 23rd, 2012, Dominica IV Adventus, Anno C ↩
From The Liturgical Year by Dom Gueranger
To-day, again, the Church is full of joy, and the joy is greater than it was. It is true that her Lord has not come; but she feels that He is nearer than before, and therefore she thinks it just to lessen some what the austerity of this penitential season by the innocent cheerfulness of her sacred rites. And first, this Sunday has had the name of Gaudete given to it, from the first word of the Introit; it also is honoured with those impressive exceptions which belong to the fourth Sunday of Lent, called Laetare. The organ is played at the Mass; the vestments are rose-colour; the deacon resumes the dalmatic, and the subdeacon the tunic; and in cathedral churches the bishop assists with the precious mitre. How touching are all these usages, and how admirable this condescension of the Church, wherewith she so beautifully blends together the unalterable strictness of the dogmas of faith and the graceful poetry of the formulae of her liturgy. Let us enter into her spirit, and be glad on this third Sunday of her Advent, because our Lord is now so near unto us. To-morrow we will resume our attitude of servants mourning for the absence of their Lord and waiting for Him; for every delay, however short, is painful and makes love sad.
The Station is kept in the basilica of St. Peter, at the Vatican. This august temple, which contains the tomb of the prince of the apostles, is the home and refuge of all the faithful of the world; it is but natural that it should be chosen to witness both the joy and the sadness of the Church.
The night Office commences with a new Invitatory. The voice of the Church no longer invites the faithful to come and adore in fear and trembling the King, our Lord, who is to come. Her language assumes another character; her tone is one of gladness; and now, every day, until the vigil of Christmas, she begins her nocturns with these grand words:
|Prope est jam Dominus: venite adoremus.||The Lord is now nigh; come, let us adore.|
Now let us take the book of the Prophet, and read with the Church:
From the Prophet Isaias.
In that day shall this canticle be sung in the land of Juda. Sion the city of our strength: a Saviour, a wall, and a bulwark shall be set therein. Open ye the gates and let the just nation, that keepeth the truth, enter in. The old error is passed away, thou wilt keep peace: peace, because we have hoped in thee. You have hoped in the Lord for evermore: in the Lord God mighty for ever. For he shall bring down them that dwell en high, the high city he shall lay low. He shall bring it down even to the ground, he shall pull it down even to the dust. The foot shall tread it down; the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy. The way of the just is right, the path of the just is right to walk in. And in the way of thy judgements, O Lord, we have patiently waited for thee: thy name and thy remembrance are the desire of the soul. My soul hath desired thee in the night: yea, and with my spirit within me in the morning early I will watch to thee.
O holy Roman Church, city of our strength! behold us thy children assembled within thy walls, around the tomb of the fisherman, the prince of the apostles, whose sacred relics protect thee from their earthly shrine, and whose unchanging teaching enlightens thee from heaven. Yet, O city of strength: it is by the Saviour, who is coming, that thou art strong. He is thy wall, for it is He that encircles, with His tender mercy, all thy children; He is thy bulwark, for it is by Him that thou art invincible, and that all the powers of hell are powerless to prevail against thee. Open wide thy gates, that all nations may enter thee for thou art mistress of holiness and the guardian of truth. May the old error, which sets itself against the faith, soon disappear, and peace reign over the whole fold! O holy Roman Church! thou hast for ever put thy trust in the Lord; and He, faithful to His promise, has humbled before thee the haughty ones that defied thee, and the proud cities that were against thee. Where now are the Caesars. who boasted that they had drowned thee in thine own blood? where the emperors, who would ravish the inviolate virginity of thy faith? where the heretics, who, during the past centuries of thine existence, have assailed every article of thy teaching, and denied what they listed? where the ungrateful princes, who would fain make a slave of thee, who hadst made them what they were? where that empire of Mahomet, which has so many times raged against thee, for that thou, the defenceless State, didst arrest the pride of its conquests? where the reformers, who were bent on giving the world a Christianity, in which thou wast to have no part? where the more modern sophists, in whose philosophy thou wast set down as a system that had been tried, and was a failure, and is now a ruin? and those kings who are acting the tyrant over thee, and those people that will have liberty independently and at the risk of truth, where will they be in another hundred years? Gone and forgotten as the noisy anger of a torrent; whilst thou, O holy Church of Rome, built on the immovable rock, wilt be as calm, as young, as unwrinkled as ever. Thy path through all the ages of this world’s duration, will be right as that of the just man; thou wilt ever be the same unchanging Church, as thou hast been during the eighteen hundred years past, whilst everything else under the sun has been but change. Whence this thy stability, but from Him who is very truth and justice? Glory be to Him in thee! Each year, He visits thee; each year, He brings thee new gifts, wherewith thou mayst go happily through thy pilgrimage; and to the end of time, He will visit thee, and renew thee, not only with the power of that look wherewith Peter was renewed, but by filling thee with Himself, as He did the ever glorious Virgin, who is the object of thy most tender love, after that which thou bearest to Jesus Himself. We pray with thee, O Church, our mother, and here is our prayer: ‘Come, Lord Jesus! Thy name and Thy remembrance are the desire of our souls: they have desired Thee in the night, yea, and early in the morning have they watched for Thee.’
In Palestine Christians gather today in Jerusalem for the celebration of holy Mass. In Rome they proceed to the stational church “Holy Cross at Jerusalem” which serves to give the atmosphere of the Holy City.
Why “Jerusalem”? Excavations of ancient sites often reveal a number of strata. When enemies destroyed a city, a new one would rise on the same location, so that today there are several layers of remains, one city, as it were, above the other. Our Jerusalem likewise has four strata. The bottommost layer is the Jerusalem of the Jews, that venerable land where the Lord Jesus began His mission of redemption, where He suffered and died. This is the historical Jerusalem so dear to us Christians. Anyone making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land enters that ancient city with holy awe. That Jerusalem, however, lies buried deep.
For us another has been built upon it, the Jerusalem of Christians, God’s kingdom on earth, the holy Church. This city still stands; it is the one which the divine King will enter at Christmas. Now we understand why we will hear so much about Jerusalem during the coming week. We should now clean and adorn our city, improving its streets and avenues through which the Savior will make His entrance. As a motto we should take the words of the precursor, St. John the Baptist: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths; let every valley be filled, every hill be leveled.” Holy Mother Church’s message today is that the Savior is coming to the Jerusalem of the Christians, to the Church.
Above the second stratum there arises a third, the heavenly Jerusalem at the end of time. Already now the Church sings of this Jerusalem. For during Advent we await the Savior who will appear on the Last Day to take all into “the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven.”
Finally, there may be recognized a fourth Jerusalem, our souls in sanctifying grace. This city too must be adorned and prepared, for the King will want to enter. That is our present task.
On Epiphany, the climax to the current season, the Church will cry out: “Arise, shine, O Jerusalem, for the glory of the Lord has risen upon thee.” That is the goal. Today we must prepare for the great King’s visit to our city. The whole coming week must be devoted to it. The Church prays: “Awaken our hearts to prepare the way for Your only-begotten Son that we may serve Him with purified hearts.”
In the time of the Roman Empire, rulers rode from city to city for the purpose of official visitations. Their appearance, called epiphany or parousia, was a great event, one preceded by months of preparation. Something analogous takes place in the Jerusalem of our souls. From a high watchtower we see the Lord coming afar off. Suddenly John the Baptist appears; he hurries into the city to announce the King’s approach. God condescends to manifest Himself to us in grace; but He demands the proper reception.
Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace by Pius Parsch
From: Catholic Culture (https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2018-12-09)
Greetings, Beloved Family,
I wanted to bring you what to me is a most blessed and welcome encouragement in the midst of the evil and confusion of our day. I pray it will cheer up your Advent and give you renewed strength and hope for the coming of the Christ Child and the indestructible Rock on which His Church is built.
Both the video below on Bishop Robert Morlino and the magnificent letter from Father Richard Munkelt are from the The Remnant, whose apostolate I greatly appreciate: https://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php. We have omitted some of the photos and block quotes from the article which you can read in full here: https://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/articles/item/4246-enough-mr-dreher-an-open-letter-from-a-concerned-catholic-priest.
We have included Michael Matt’s introduction to the article as well. Mr. Matt is the editor of The Remnant and a dear brother in the battle for truth and the glory of the Church.
A most holy and blessed Advent to you all,
Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B.
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Enough, Mr. Dreher!
(An Open Letter from a Concerned Catholic Priest)
Written by Fr. Richard Munkelt
Editor’s Note: Anyone reading The Remnant for a period of time can attest to the fact that in these dark days of confusion we have long been committed to “uniting the clans” against the enemies of Christ’s Church whenever possible. Now more than ever before, those who can “pray the Creed with us, and mean it” (as the late, great Dr. William Marra used to say) must be considered brothers in arms. The following article pulls no punches. It is written by a diocesan priest, Father Richard Munkelt–an academic not given to the kind of pot-stirring polemics all the rage on social media. This is not a “spitting contest” with Rod Dreher–a well-known and talented writer with whom Father Munkelt has been acquainted for many years. Instead, this is a priestly tour de force on the fundamentals of Catholicism, closely following and critiquing Mr. Dreher’s recent articles on the Catholic Church. We are publishing it not because we have some personal animus against Mr. Dreher, who left the Church over the clerical scandals, but rather because we seek his return to the fold, while encouraging others not to follow the dangerous and misguided path he’s taken.
At this most critical moment, faithful Catholics are confronted with the same fork in the road that has divided these two men–Munkelt and Dreher: When faced with an ecclesial crisis of apocalyptic proportions, what are faithful Catholics to do: Stay on and fight for the Bride of Christ, no matter how vile her captors might be? Or shall we yield to the scandal we all feel in our heart and abandon Mother Church in pursuit of the illusion of greener pastures. In this article, we have the opportunity to consider the latter course of action as seen through the eyes of a faithful priest who has chosen the former. May God grant us all the grace to know the truth and the courage to defend it, come what may. Fr. Munkelt holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. MJM
Your recent articles in The American Conservative on “Catholic Triumphalism,” constituting your latest broadside against the Catholic Church, were brought to my attention. After reading the articles, and in close connection with your remarks, I have some sobering thoughts concerning your departure from the Church and ongoing vilification not just of her abusive personnel (who are fair game) but of her very person. As such, I am not writing to you alone but also to those among your Catholic readers who may not be fully cognizant of your not-so-hidden campaign to turn souls away from and against the Bride of Christ. To them I say, there is nothing more unprofitable than to try to pick figs from thistles. It is my duty, therefore, to assist my fellow Catholics in not becoming unwitting purveyors of your Anti-Catholicism. I’m sure you understand.
If you care to read on, brace yourself, for charity sometimes carries a stick, as St. Augustine noted. And I shall not spare it, especially since you boast of being irreformable. I promise you, therefore, something in the spirit of St. Jerome.