Friday, June 26, 2009

Living Purgatory

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven" (Matt 5:10-12)

Those who are seriously trying to live out the gospel and will not capitulate to the spirit of the world have every reason to expect persecution. It would be expected to meet with persecution from neighbors, co-workers, even family, but the place we would least expect this would be within our very own parishes. This is a most painful affliction indeed.

For where does one turn when their "heaven on earth" has become a living purgatory....or worse. Drive to another parish - 50, 100 or 150 miles? Stay and close your eyes tightly to the "innovations" thrust upon your weary soul? How does one close their ears? What of the scandal given to children? Stay and suffer with the Hidden Jesus? Change parishes? Stay? Go? Just because it valid does that mean we can do NOTHING that is beautiful? Nothing that is reverent?

O Lord, You once told Peter that one day he would be led where he did not want to go. Do Thou shepherd me Lord and save my ears and my eyes from all that offends Thee. Amen+

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Narrow Gate

Virgin of Sorrows by Albrecht Durer
"Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!" ~Matthew 7:13-14
How often we have heard these beautiful words of our Lord. How often we have heard that true devotion of Mary is the fastest, more sure, safest way to become closer to God? We need to turn to Mary, give her all of our selves, sparing nothing and place within her Immaculate Heart all our spiritual and temporal needs. It is within this sacred vessel that we shall oneday break upon the shores of salvation.
Dear Blessed Mother, I ask, wilt thou be for me
and my family the Narrow Gate which leads to Heaven?

Mary, Mother of Sorrows, Mother of God, be our salvation!

O Mater Dolorosa ~ Ora Pro Nobis! Amen+

Monday, June 22, 2009

Vengeance is Mine saith the Lord

( Photo credit)
Recently I had a dream that I saw a dump truck, or perhaps a garbage truck from far above. As it drove along, it looked like garbage was falling out from the back of it onto the road. As I came closer, I realized with horror that what was falling out were dismembered body parts of aborted babies. Then I looked at the ground and it was soaked thickly with blood, as far as my eye could see, the entire ground of the earth was soaked and flooded with dark, red blood.

This prayer I then uttered, or rather exclaimed to the Lord: "O Lord, is now the entire earth soaked with the blood of innocents? How it must cry to you for vengeance!"

How unfathomable is the mercy of the Lord that He would continue to send us rain, to grow our crops, to shine the sun upon us - even to allow us to continue to exist!

"Penance! Penance! Penance!"
~St. Bernadette Soubirous

MY GOD, I believe, I adore, I trust, and I love Thee!
I ask pardon for for those who do not believe, do not adore,
do not trust and do not love Thee.
~Angel of Portugal to the seers of Fatima

Saturday, June 13, 2009

St. Edmund, Martyr VI

(photo credit)

The High Altar at East Barsham Church, England, with the brightly coloured reredos depicting amongst them St. George, St Edmund King and Martyr and Our Lady of Walsingham.

From right to left: St. George, St. Winifred (?), St. Edmund, Our Lady of Walsingham, two unknown female saints and St. Thomas Becket. Anyone recognize the unnamed saints?
Henry VIII stopped here on his pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham to pray for a son and would have heard Mass from this very church. Oddly enough it was this same King, who had once been named by the Holy Father "Defender of the Faith" who through his own lust broke with Rome to form his own church. What all know what a success this has been. I think it was Martin Luther who said "Every man has a pope in his belly." Ironic...

Friday, June 12, 2009

St. Edmund, Martyr V

St Edmund the Martyr crowned by angels
from a manuscript of Bury St Edmunds circa 1130
(photo credit)

No Christian can be surprised that innocence should suffer. Prosperity is often the most grievous judgment that God exercises upon a wicked man, who by it is suffered, in punishment of his impiety, to blind and harden himself in his evil courses, and to plunge himself deeper in iniquity. On the other hand God, in his merciful providence, conducts second causes so that afflictions fall to the share of those souls whose sanctification he has particularly in view. By tribulation a man learns perfectly to die to the world and himself, a work which, without its aid, even the severest self-denial and the most perfect obedience, leave imperfect. By tribulation we learn the perfect exercise of humility, patience, meekness, resignation, and pure love of God; which are neither practiced nor learned without such occasions. By a good use of tribulation a person becomes a saint in a very short time, and at a cheap rate. The opportunity and grace of suffering well is a mercy in favour of chosen souls; and a mercy to which every saint, from Abel to the last of the elect, is indebted for his crown. We meet with sufferings from ourselves, from disappointments, from friends, and from enemies. We are on every side beset with crosses. But we bear them with impatience and complaints. Thus we cherish our passions, and multiply sins by the very means which are given us to crucify and overcome them. To learn to bear crosses well is one of the most essential and most important duties of a Christian life. To make a good use of the little crosses which we continually meet with is the means of making the greatest progress in all virtue, and of obtaining strength to stand our ground under great trials. St. Edmund's whole life was a preparation for martyrdom.

Taken from Vol. III of "The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints" by the Rev. Alban Butler

Thursday, June 11, 2009

St. Edmund, Martyr IV

The Martydom of St Edmund. St Mary's Church, Bury St. Edmund, England
(photo credit)

The saint's head was carried by the infidels into a wood and thrown into a brake of bushes; but miraculously found by a pillar of light and deposited with the body at Hoxdon. These sacred remains were very soon after conveyed to Bedricsworth, or Kingston, since called St. Edmundsbury, because this place was St. Edmund's own town and private patrimony; not on account of his burial, for in the English-Saxon language signified a court or palace. A church of timber was erected over the place where he was interred, which was thus built according to the fashion of those times. Trunks of large trees were sawn lengthways in the middle and reared up with one end fixed in the ground, with the bark or rough side outermost. These trunks being made of an equal height and set up close to one another, and the interstices filled up with mud or mortar, formed the four walls, upon which was raised a thatched roof. Nor can we be surprised at the homeliness of this structure, since the same was the fabric of the royal rich abbey of Glastonbury, the work of the most munificent and powerful West-Saxon kings, till in latter ages it was built in a stately manner of stone. The precious remains of St. Edmund were honoured with many miracles. In 920, for fear of the barbarians under Turkil the Dane, in the reign of King Ethelred, they were conveyed to London by Alfun, bishop of that city, and the monk Egelwin, or Ailwin, the keeper of this sacred treasure, who never abandoned it. After remaining three years in the Church of St. Gregory, in London, it was translated again with honour to St. Edmundsbury in 923. The great church of timberwork stood till King Knute, or Canutus, to make reparation for the injuries his father Swein, or Sweno, had done to this place and to the relics of the martyr, built and founded there, in 1020, a new most magnificent church and abbey in honour of this holy martyr. The unparalleled piety, humility, meekness, and other virtues of St. Edmund are admirably set forth by our historians. This incomparable prince and holy martyr was considered by succeeding English kings as their special patron, and as an accomplished model of all royal virtues. The feast of St. Edmund is reckoned among the holidays of precept in this kingdom by the national council of Oxford in 1222; but is omitted in the constitutions of Archbishop Simon Islep, who retrenched certain holidays in 1362.

Taken from Vol. III of "The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints" by the Rev. Alban Butler

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

St. Edmund, Martyr III

Beautiful icon showing St. King Edmund with the instruments of his martyrdom: the arrow and sword.

The people, relying upon the faith of treaties, thought themselves secure, and were unprepared. However, the good king raised what forces he could, met the infidels, or at least a part of their army near Thetford, and discomfited them. But seeing them soon after reinforced with fresh numbers, against which his small body was not able to make any stand, and being unwilling to sacrifice the lives of his soldiers in vain, and grieving for the eternal loss of the souls of his enemies, who would be slain in a fruitless engagement, he disbanded his troops and retired himself towards his castle of Framlingham, in Suffolk. The barbarian had sent him proposals which were inconsistent both with religion and with the justice which he owed to his people. These the saint rejected, being resolved rather to die a victim of his faith and duty to God, than to do anything against his conscience and religion. In his flight he was over taken and surrounded by infidels at Oxon, upon the Waveney: he concealed himself for some short time, but, being discovered, was bound with heavy chains and conducted to the general's tent. Terms were again offered him equally prejudicial to religion and to his people, which the holy Icing refused to confirm, declaring that religion was dearer to him than his life, which he would never purchase by offending God. Hinguar, exasperated at this answer, in his barbarous rage caused him to be cruelly beaten with cudgels, then to be tied to a tree and torn a long time together with whips. All this he bore with invincible meekness and patience, never ceasing to call upon the name of Jesus. The infidels were the more exasperated, and as he stood bound to the tree, they made him a mark wantonly to shoot at, till his body was covered with arrows like a porcupine. Hinguar at length, in order to put an end to the butchery, commanded his head to be struck off. Thus the saint finished his martyrdom on the 20th of November, in 870, the fifteenth of his reign, and twenty-ninth of his age; the circumstances of which St. Dunstan learned from one who was armour-bearer to the saint and an eye-witness. The place was then called Henglesdun, now Hoxon, or Hoxne; a priory of monks was afterwards built there which bore the name of the martyr.

Taken from Vol. III of "The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints" by the Rev. Alban Butler

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

St. Edmund, Martyr II

The holy king had reigned fifteen years when the Danes infested his dominions. Hinguar and Hubba, two brothers, the most barbarous of all the Danish plunderers landing in England, wintered among the East-Angles; then, having made a truce with that nation, they in summer sailed to the north, and landing at the mouth of the Tweed, plundered with fire and sword Northumberland, and afterwards Mercia, directing their march through Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, and Cambridgeshire. Out of a lust of rage and cruelty, and the most implacable aversion to the Christian name, they everywhere destroyed the churches and monasteries; and, as it were in barbarous sport, massacred all priests and religious persons whom they met with. In the great monastery of Coldingham, beyond Berwick, the nuns, fearing not death but insults which might be offered to their chastity, at the instigation of St. Ebba, the holy abbess, cut off their noses and upper lips, that appearing to the barbarians frightful spectacles of horror, they might preserve their virtue from danger; the infidels accordingly were disconcerted at such a sight, and spared their virtue, but put them all to the sword. In their march, amongst other monasteries, those of Bardney, Crowland, Peterborough, Ely, and Huntingdon were levelled with the ground, and the religious inhabitants murdered. In the Cathedral of Peterborough is shown a monument (removed thither from a place without the building) called Monks'-Stone, on which are the effigies of an abbot and several monks. It stood over the pit in which fourscore monks of this house were interred, whom Hinguar and Hubba massacred in 870. The barbarians, reeking with blood, poured down upon St. Edmund's dominions, burning Thetford, the first town they met with, and laying waste all before them.

Taken from Vol. III of "The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints" by the Rev. Alban Butler
St. Edmund, Martyr - Ora Pro Nobis!

Monday, June 8, 2009

St. Edmund Martyr I

St. Edmund is the third from the left in armor. Photo credit - aisle of St. Andrew's Church, Kimbolton, Cambridgeshire England

I know I did a series on this saint before, but can you learn too much about the lives of the saints? I don't think so...My own devotion to this saint grows stronger with each passing day and so I here wish to honor him. All my searching for a medal, picture or holy card of St. Edmund Martyr have proven fruitless. If you know of any, please contact me!

Feast: November 20

Though from the time of King Egbert, in 802, the Kings of the West-Saxons were monarchs of all England, yet several kings reigned in certain parts after that time, in some measure subordinate to them. One Offa was King of the East-Angles, who, being desirous to end his days in penance and devotion to Rome, resigned his crown to St. Edmund, at that time only fifteen years of age, but a most virtuous prince, and descended from the old English-Saxon kings of this isle. The saint was placed on the throne of his ancestors, as Lydgate, Abbo, and others express themselves, and was crowned by Humbert, Bishop of Elman, on Christmas Day, in 855, at Burum, a royal villa on the Stour, now called Bures, or Buers. Though very young, he was by his piety, goodness, humility, and all other virtues, the model of good princes. He was a declared enemy of flatterers and informers, and would see with his own eyes and hear with his own ears, to avoid being surprised into a wrong judgment, or imposed upon by the passions or ill designs of others. The peace and happiness of his people were his whole concern, which he endeavoured to establish by an impartial administration of justice and religious regulations in his dominions. He was the father of his subjects, particularly of the poor, the protector of widows and orphans, and the support of the weak. Religion and piety were the most distinguishing part of his character. Monks and devout persons used to know the psalter without book, that they might recite the psalms at work, in travelling, and on every other occasion. To get it by heart St. Edmund lived in retirement a whole year in his royal tower at Hunstanton (which he had built for a country solitude), which place is now a village in Norfolk. The book which the saint used for that purpose was religiously kept at St. Edmundsbury till the dissolution of abbeys.

Taken from Vol. III of "The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints" by the Rev. Alban Butler