Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Vision

Towards the end of last year, Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme stated while he was praying the Rosary during Adoration, Our Lord appeared to him in a vision that would stress the importance of the Rosary against Boko Haram.  Worth a listen!

Words of Wisdom from the Legend Himself

Why are you in such a hurry? Go about your work slowly and peacefully, doing one thing at a time. You will make good progress.

- St. Francis de Sales
30 April 2015
Feast of St. Catherine of Siena

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Crown

"Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one recieveth the prize?  So run that you may obtain.  And every one that striveth for the mastery, refraineth himself from all things: and they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown; be we an incorruptible one. I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty: I so fight, not as one beating the air: But I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway."
-I Corinthians 9:24-27.
This beautiful passage is given by Holy Mother Church to Her children every year on Septuagesima Sunday. After the joys of Christmas and Epiphany, we are quickly reminded that we are still on our earthly pilgrimage and still have the arduous task of saving our souls before us.  I have been thinking of this passage for the last couple of days because of the upcoming boxing match that is grabbing all the headlines.  Seeing a few videos on how the boxers have been training for Saturday night's match, it is quite clear to me that both fighters are pushing into a new gear in order to win.  I see their dedication and passion but then I wonder to myself, if these two are working so hard to win a fight and a title belt, why am I so lukewarm on my conquest of self? Why am I so nonchalant about the most important thing, my salvation?

These questions have been biting away at me this week and so I know that I have much to work on.  St. Paul tells us quite clearly and bluntly that we are fighting for an incorruptible crown.  All the crowns and jewels of the world, as glorious as they may be, are already passing.  Can any man take his belongings to heaven or hell?  Can any man win heaven by his worldly treasures?  The answer is, of course, no.

When I look at myself, I have many disordered worldly attractions but I have few spiritual treasures.  All I have are sins. Mortal sins.  Venial sins.  Sins of omissions.  The thoughts of my past life gives me much fear as I think about my Judgment before the Throne of God.

Pray for me, a sinner.

29 April 2015
Feast of St. Peter of Verona
Feast of Saints Odo, Majolus, Odilo and Hugh

Sunday, April 26, 2015

"Your joy no man shall take from you."

"Múlier cum parit, tristítiam habet, quia venit hora ejus: cum autem pepérerit púerum, jam non méminit pressúræ propter gáudium, quia natus est homo in mundum. Et vos ígitur nunc quidem tristítiam habétis, íterum autem vidébo vos, et gaudébit cor vestrum: et gáudium vestrum nemo tollet a vobis." 
"A woman, when she is in labour, hath sorrow, because her hour is come; but when she hath brought forth the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. So also you now indeed have sorrow: but I will see you again and your heart shall rejoice: and your joy no man shall take from you."
-Words taken from the Holy Gospel for the Third Sunday After Easter 

It is very easy to look at our sufferings and to start counting the months/years/decades that a particular ailment has been inflicting us.  It can feel like it has been forever and maybe for some of us, we are not able to recall how it was to live life before having the particular cross that is making us suffer.  Our Lord in today's Gospel reminds us about how short life is and how the sufferings of this life cannot be compared to the joys of the next.  If we suffer here patiently with full trust in Christ, He will provide us the necessary means to carry our Cross into heaven.  It will not be easy.  We may have to suffer even more sufferings in the future (one should read the Roman Martyrology during Prime if they have a chance every morning to see this point) however eventually it will all end.

Just keep carrying your Cross.  It is not easy but we have this one life to build up merit and then we will be with Him forever in eternity!  How much peace this should bring us.  Let us always keep these words of Our Lord's in front of us as we live through our daily trials,
"your joy no man shall take from you." 
26 April 2015
Third Sunday After Easter

The beauty of boxing (with a Mayweather prediction!)

I really enjoy boxing.  Fr. George Rutler wrote a wonderful article on the sport on Crisis.  In it, Father says many golden points and I will only include some of them here,

"The amateur boxer learns three things immediately. First, few activities are as physically demanding and, at least in my case, one three minute round can be more exhausting than running five miles.  Second, boxing is highly intellectual, requiring so much quick reasoning and psychology, that of all sports, it is the one rightly validly called the “Sweet Science.”  
"Amateur boxing, of which I sing, ranks 71st in sports injuries, far below even baseball and soccer." 
"Saint Paul may very well have been a boxer. He refers to the races and boxing in 1 Corinthians 9: 24-27.  The “corruptible crown” was a reference, not to the Olympian games of Athens, but to the Isthmian games of Corinth, which had been restored by Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. "
I am convinced that there is no other sport that is trying and mentally tough as boxing.  The physical aspect of the sport is quite obvious but why is it so cerebral?  Why it is called "The Sweet Science"?  First, we must make a note of what boxing is not.  Boxing is not two high schoolers getting into a fight over some random girl.  No, that is stupidity mixed in with ill-timed punches mixed in with hormones.  The actual act of boxing requires a mind that is sharp and alert.  The boxing mind is not one that can afford to be irrational.  The mind of the boxer must always be rational for there is a time for a jab and time to defend.

Boxing has a majestic rhythm to it which every great boxer knows by heart.  The great Sugar Ray Robinson once said,

"Rhythm is everything in boxing.  Every move you make starts with your heart, and that's in rhythm or you're in trouble."
It is that same rhythm that forces a man to make a split-second decision to go for the knockout cross or to tilt his head to the left to avoid an incoming punch.  It is romantic really.  To everyone watching, it may look like pure violence.  However, not for those two who are in a ring.  They are dancing to their own tune at their own speed.

On May 2nd, every boxing fan will have an opportunity to see that beauty of this most majestic sport in all its glamour and romance in Las Vegas.  It has been called "The Fight of the Century" and it has the potential to be the greatest fight ever.  On one side, we will have Floyd Mayweather Jr. and the other side we will have Manny Pacquiao.  These two fighters are a blessing for any boxing fan for they show the passion of the sport. The defensive mastermind Mayweather and the offensive blitzkrieg Manny.  The lad from Grand Rapids and the Pride of the Philippines.

The fight is going to be a lot of fun and I hope that it is clean and is not stained with any controversy.  Hopefully this fight only occurs once and both fighters will leave it all on the line on Saturday.  Now, If Manny wants to win this fight, he has to knockout Floyd.  I know that is a bold claim to make however Floyd is not going to allow himself to lose in twelve rounds.  His class is second to none as fights progress into the later stages. That is why I expect Manny will go for the KO in the first six rounds.  These first six rounds are critical for him because that is where he will win or lose the fight.  If Floyd is not knocked out in the first six rounds, the chances of Manny winning are incredibly low.  For Floyd to win this fight, he just has to do everything that he normally does however he has to execute his game plan to perfection.  Southpaws are hard to fight against and Floyd knows that.  He will not allow Manny to go for the KO early and being the the defensive master that he is, he will protect himself from a such a predicament.  If Floyd reaches the seventh round, he will win this fight.  He wears down every opponent in this way.  He lulls them to sleep in the late rounds while hitting enough shots to win the round and to add to his score.

I will not hide my bias.  I am a huge Floyd Mayweather fan and I have been one for years.  Manny can win this fight but it has to be in the first six rounds with a KO.  Nevertheless, after twelve rounds, I believe that Floyd Mayweather will end up victorious.  At the end of the night, his class will be a little too much for Manny and this will be easier to note as the fight enters the late rounds.  Go get 'em, Champ.

Prediction: Floyd Mayweather wins, UD, 116-112.
Result: Floyd Mayweather goes to 48-0 and retires.

TBE.  The. Best. Ever.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Major Rogation

Today is the Feast of St. Mark and is also the Major Rogation.  The Rogation Days were prominent days in which the faithful fast and do penance while asking for God's protection from danger.  In Lauds today (1962 Divine Office), the Litany of the Saints was recited asking the saints for intercession in this valley of tears.   The video below was for St. John Paul's funeral and henceforth the response was "ora/orate pro eo"

St. John Paul II, pray for us.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


"Pride? Why Before long — years, days, — you will be a heap of rotting flesh: worms, foul-smelling liquids, filthy shreds of cloth, and no one, on earth, will remember you."
-St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way, 601
Often times, we as Catholics can fall into a trap which tells us that our lives will end up in a great amount of glory.  We can get lost in the vast domains of our minds pondering great plans for the future that may never actually come true.  We prefer not to live in the present but the future is where we reside for we find consolations in our opaque imaginations. 

Such a way of life is incredibly dangerous and is an outright waste of time for those who are trying to live holy lives.  In our made up plans for the future, the horrible vice of pride can kick in.  Pride about our past victories and pride about any future events.  Why do we have this pride?  Do we not realize that we are nothing but misery and sin?  How can we sinful human beings consent to spend even one second on puffing ourselves up on such things?

Another point to ponder will go back to my first sentence.  Why do we feel like our lives have to include the glorious events that so many others around us have?  It is easy to dream about a future spouse, future job, future vocations, future children or future properties.  Are we actually guaranteed these things?

NO!  We are not guaranteed these things.  One of the beauties of the Pater Noster is the verse "Fiat Voluntas Tua" (Thy Will Be Done).  In the life of a Catholic, he might recite the Pater Noster thousands of times but how many times does he pay attention to "Fiat Voluntas Tua".  When we truly say to the Lord "Thy Will Be Done", we are giving Him control over all parts of our lives.  Every single part.  We must be content with whatever He chooses for us and live day by day doing His Will.  The key virtue needed for this to happen is humility.  If we do not pray for humility and if we do not suffer humiliations, we will not attain this most important virtue.  However, with humility, we can attain to a deeper understanding of "Fiat Voluntas Tua."

Imagine how beautiful a soul must be to Christ when that soul gives Christ full control of his will and intellect? Now see how happy it would make Our Lord if this holy soul said to Our Lord

"Lord, I do not ask for great glories in this life for they all nothing but vanities.  All I want to do is to do Your Will so that my soul may be saved.  Whatever my purpose is in my life, let it be fulfilled.  It does not matter if it a small purpose or a larger one.  Be it done unto me according to Thy Word."
Now imagine if the main purpose for this holy soul's life was to suffer a great illness and to offer the pains to Christ for the forgiveness of his sins and for the intentions of Our Lord.  Our Blessed Lord, seeing how this holy soul resigned himself to His Will, would use these sufferings to convert a hardened sinner into a faithful Catholic and into a holy Priest!  What a joy is it to participate in the economy of salvation!  This holy soul, with his humility, not only saved his soul but also did his part in the salvation of the soul of this sinner!

When napkins are utilized to clean the engine of a dirty automobile, does the napkin complain about being utilized for such a task and then for being thrown away?  They do not and we must see ourselves in the same way.  Let us put ourselves in the Hands of God so that while dying to self, we may attain to everlasting happiness.

May St. Anselm pray for us and help us with our holy aspirations,

Ecclésiam tuam, quæsumus, Dómine, benígnus illústra: ut beáti Ansélmi Confessóris tui atque Pontíficis illumináta doctrínis, ad dona pervéniat sempitérna.  Per Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti Deus, per ómnia sæcula sæculórum.  Amen.

21 April 2015
Feast of St. Anselm
Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church

Monday, April 20, 2015

" et audacter introivit ad Pilatum, et petiit corpus Jesu..."

I know that we are in Eastertide but my heart is never really far away from Lent/Passiontide for I find that part of the year to be most consoling. 

The video below shows one of my favorite hidden gems about the Old Rite.  It shows Fr. Finigan singing the Gospel of the Mass after the Passion was recited in this elegiac tone.  Our FSSP priest also utilized this tone to sing the burial of Christ on Good Friday.

20 April 2015

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Joys of the Traditional Roman Rite

I, for one, am very glad for the diversity of liturgies in the Catholic Church.   I love the liturgies of the West and the liturgies of East for they are truly the two lungs of the Church.

That being said, the Traditional Roman Rite/Mass of St. Pius V will always be number one for me.  I have seen/experienced many things in my twenty-three years of life however nothing tops the beauty and majesty of this most august Rite.

While attending High Mass today, I was reminded about one of things that has brought me much spirtual solace.  Prior to the High Mass, normally the Asperges Me is sung while the Priest sprinkles Holy Water on the people however now that we are in Eastertide, Holy Mother Church gives us the sublime Vidi Aquam.

What a beautiful chant.  What tears it springs in the heart of a soul that has been redeemed by Christ.  How it reminds us of The Lamb who has been slain yet still lives.

Vidi aquam egredientem de templo,
a latere dextro, alleluia:
et omnes, ad quos pervenit aqua ista,
salvi facti sunt, et dicent, alleluia, alleluia.

Confitemini Domino quoniam bonus:
Quoniam in saeculum misericordia eius.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto:
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper,
et in saecula sæculorum. Amen.

I saw water flowing from the temple,
on the right side, alleluia:
And all to whom that water came
have been saved, and they will say, alleluia.

Praise the Lord, for He is good:
for His mercy endureth forever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen. 
19 April 2015
Good Shepherd Sunday

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Silent Canon

One of the many beauties of assisting at the Mass of St. Pius V is the majestic silence that one experiences when the Canon is being said by the Priest.  In the Mass of Bl. Paul VI, there are many options that one can utilize in place of the Canon and in fact the Canon is often neglected.  What one will hear mostly while attending the Ordinary Form is Eucharistic Prayer 2.  In my opinion, this is really unfortunate because the beauty of the Roman Canon cannot be matched.

In the Mass of St. Pius V, there is only one option and that is the Canon.  The Roman Canon is in perfect in every way.  The venerable Council of Trent, in the Twenty-Second Session (Chapter IV) states:

"And whereas it beseemeth, that holy things be administered in a holy manner, and of all holy things this sacrifice is the most holy; to the end that it might be worthily and reverently offered and received, the Catholic Church instituted, many years ago, the sacred Canon, so pure from every error, that nothing is contained therein which does not in the highest degree savour of a certain holiness and piety, and raise up unto God the minds of those that offer. For it is composed, out of the very words of the Lord, the traditions of the apostles, and the pious institutions also of holy pontiffs."

Now that I have shown the absolute superiority of the Roman Canon I want to get into the silence that accompanies it during the Holy Mass.  The Priest will say the Canon in a low voice so that those in the pews will not be able to hear it being recited.  This might strike some as odd but this practice is quite wonderful for many reasons.  To explain this mode of recitation, I will bring in an analogy.  When a virtuous man is with his wife at a restaurant, what tone will he utilize when communicating intimate words?  Unless he is a complete nutcase, he will lower his voice considerably.  The lower on the decibel scale, the higher on the intimacy scale.  This same experience can be seen in many different places as we journey through our lives.  Henceforth, at the Mass, does it not seem right that the most intimate part of the Liturgy would require a lower voice?

Another reason that the silence works well is that it allows those at the Mass to enter into the Sacrifice of Christ in their own way and at their own speed.  The Mass of St. Pius V is not fascistic, it does not force you to do any single thing at a particular time.  Thus, when the Canon is being said by the Priest, we can all go at our speeds.  It is the silence itself that allows us to mediate on Christ on his sufferings.  How can be at the Foot of the Cross with noise and words surrounding us?  That would be really hard!  

These are two of the many reasons of why (I think!) that Canon should said by a Priest in a low voice at the Holy Mass.  I hope that one day in the future, the Silent Canon will be an option in the Mass of Bl. Paul VI so that future generations will be introduced on the beauties that await the soul as it showers in silence.

Pray for me, a sinner.

15 April 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Pharisee

"Two men went into the Temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.   The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: Oh God, I give Thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican.  
 I fast twice in a week: I give tithes of all that I possess.  And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven; but struck his breast, saying O God, be merciful to me a sinner.  
 I say to you, this man went down into his house justified rather than the other: because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled: and he that humbled himself, shall be exalted." 
-The Gospel of St. Luke 18:10-14

This Parable of Our Blessed Lord's is my favorite one because of how it pierces the heart of all who know how it is to be a Pharisee.  How easy is it, huh?  To look at someone else and say:

"Oh wow, look at what she is wearing, it is so ugly." 

"Can you believe that he is marrying her?  What did he see in her?

"These Novus Ordo Catholics are so ignorant."

"I heard her daughter is sleeping with the Johnson's boy."

You know, first of all, if you are making these types of remarks about others, you need to analyze where your life is going.  If you have a problem with gossiping and go to the Sacrament of Penance as often as you can, than keep it up and fight as hard as you can against this most horrible vice.  However, if you do not think that this is a big deal, you really need someone to come up to you and slap you so hard that you get sent to a different zip code.  Think about the dirt that is coming from your mouth.  Think about how much you offend Our Lord with the hatred that you are creating.  You want talk about the sins of human beings, well, how about you remind yourself about your own sins and how you are the greatest of sinners.  Be harsh with yourself but do not judge others.  Gossiping/uncharitable thoughts are such sick illness that I am convinced that it will lead many souls to hell.

Nevertheless, there are few cases in which a person should judge.  For example, a father can (and should) judge his son's friends and tell him that he does not want to hang with a sinful crowd.  You have to use common sense when it comes to judging.  I am not a father yet, however, if the Lord Wills it, I know that many lawful judgments will have to be made in order that the souls of my wife and children are saved.

Want to stop this illness?  Hate the illness.  Hate it with all that you have.  Ask Our Lord for help and convince yourself that you are the worst sinner in the world.

Pray for me, the commander of sinners.

14 April 2015
Feast of St. Justin Martyr 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Low Sunday/Octave Day of Easter!

Quasi modo géniti infántes, allelúja: rationabiles, sine dolo lac concupíscite, allelúja, allelúja allelúja.
Vs. Exsultáte Deo, adjutóri nostro: jubiláte Deo Jacob.
Vs. Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto. Sicut erat in princípio, et nunc, et semper, et in saécula sæculórum. Amen.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Liturgy done right

At Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini!  If the Lord Wills that I ever go to Rome, I will leave my heart in this Church so that a part of me never leaves.

Victimae Paschali Laudes

Victimae paschali laudes immolent Christiani. Agnus redemit oves: Christus innocens Patri reconciliavit peccatores.  Mors et vita duello conflixere mirando: dux vitae mortuus, regnat vivus.

Dic nobis Maria, quid vidisti in via? Sepulcrum Christi viventis, et gloriam vidi resurgentis: Angelicos testes, sudarium, et vestes.

Surrexit Christus spes mea: praecedet suos in Galilaeam. Scimus Christum surrexisse
a mortuis vere: tu nobis, victor Rex, miserere. Amen. Alleluia.

This beloved sequence will be heard throughout the Octave of Easter in the Usus Antiquior.  Rejoice and be glad, for Our Lord is Risen!

8 April 2015
Day IV in the Octave of Easter

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

What life is all about

The great Abbe Quoex once said about the Mass of St. Pius V,

"In contact with the Mass of Saint Pius V -- in which we also contemplate the purest masterpiece of Western Civilization, hierarchical as well as sacral -- our souls lift up and our hearts expand, while our minds taste the most authentic Eucharistic doctrine. This is why we wish to understand and love, at all times more, the Traditional Mass, our treasure, and we will not cease to defend and advance it. "

The words "purest masterpiece of Western Civilization" ring in my ears and in my heart and remind me about what life is all about.  Life is not about collecting a number of material goods or winning the hearts of women for that is all vanity.  Life is about adoring and worshiping the Holy Trinity.  Nothing else matters.  If we have not done everything the Lord has wanted us to do in our lives, we must not despair but start all our endeavors with the intention of doing all that we do in our lives to please the Holy Trinity. 

How should we worship God?  There are many ways however Holy Mother Church recommends participation in the Liturgy over anything else.  Since the Liturgy is the public prayer of the Church, it reigns supreme over devotional prayers.  Within the liturgical sphere, the two large towers of sanctity are the Holy Mass and the Divine Office.  The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the greatest of all prayers and is the most august prayer of the Church.

Henceforth, as we learn about the beauties of the Mass, how can we not learn to appreciate the actions that take place on the altar every time we assist at the Mass.  The Traditional Latin Mass is the "purest masterpiece of Western Civilization" and even though there are other rites and forms that the Church has for her children to worship in, the beauties of the Traditional Mass are unique and grand.  When we assist at this form of the Mass, do not we recall how our forefathers in faith participated in this Divine Mystery.  How their hearts must have torn in half while hearing "Crux Fidelis" during the Good Friday Liturgy, how they were lifted up while hearing "Veni Creator Spirtus" on Pentecost or how tears must have fallen from their moist eyes while seeing the Host elevated in the midst of silence surrounding the Altar.

Yes, it is this Mass that brings us so much joy and is the "purest masterpiece of Western Civilization."  It is this Mass that gave saints so much comfort in tribulation, the martyrs hope in their darkest hours, the Virgins refuge in the midst of temptations, father and mothers consolations in the midst of their daily labors.

So what is life all about?  Adoring and worshiping the Holy Trinity with all of our hearts and there is no better way to do this than to provide ourselves as a holocaust to the Trinity as we participate in this most beautiful form of the Mass.

7 April 2015
Day III in the Octave of Easter