Thursday, August 1, 2013

Our Lady of Sorrows, ora pro nobis

"Behold, O Lord, for I am in distress, my bowels are troubled: my heart is turned within me, for I am full of bitterness: abroad the sword destroyeth and at home there is death alike." Lamentations 1:20

Monday, June 6, 2011

Deo Gratias!

I would like to offer my most heartfelt thanks to God for a great and very generous grace GRANTED to my family today. Trust in the Lord - He will NEVER let you down. Ask anything in the Father's name and it will be granted! Amen!

Te Deum Laudemus!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What we have lost IV - The chapel veil

No, I am not a stuffy ultra conservative type. Actually I prefer the Novus Ordo mass Ad Orientem with chant as the only music. Actually the Church has stated officially that the organ is the preferred instrument, chant is the preferred liturgical accompaniment and Latin is the be given pride of place.

I am not actually interested in my own preferences and opinions but rather I STRIVE to care about God's opinion. Therefore we ought to set aside our petty opinions to which was are so attached and study what God reveals to us through His Holy Catholic Church.

But I digress....we have thrown away and simply cast off so much of the beauty, formality of the Mass and along with it reverence and piety. Hot on the heels of this we've lost belief in the Truths of our Catholic Faith. The way I see it - we restore the Mass we restore belief.

Sacred Scripture presents several reasons for wearing the chapel veil. St. Paul tells us in his first letter to the Corinthians (11:1-16) that Christian women must cover their heads because it is a Sacred Tradition commanded by our Lord Himself and entrusted to Paul: "The things I am writing to you are the Lord's commandments" (1 Cor. 14:37). "That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head, because of the angels" wrote St. Paul (1 Cor. 11:10).

A veil or head covering, is both a symbol and a mystical sacrifice that invites the woman wearing it to ascend the ladder of sanctity. When a woman covers her head in the Catholic Church it symbolizes her dignity and humility before God. It should not surprise us why so many modern women have so easily abandoned the tradition of the chapel veil (head covering) when the greatest meaning of the veil is modesty. It is purely an anti-Catholic culture that frowns on modesty.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What we have lost III - the Catafalque and my inherent sarcasm

Yes its been months since I've posted. Yes, the feast of Our Lady's Sorrows and most of Lent has gone by and I've not posted, not once. Yes well...I'm busy and stressed and not feeling very virtuous, or talkative, or social or....well you get the picture. Quite frankly I don't feel I have a single thing to say of any value whatsoever. Shortly this will become glaringly obvious...

And no I'm not having a "dark night" I find it irritating when folks jump to the "oh, you're having a dark night" experience. Are you kidding me? The dark night of the soul of which SAINT John of the Cross speaks about is for SAINTS, people very advanced in the spiritual life. That is not me. Not even close. This is not what people like me go through. No...I'm afraid this is quite mundane, more like the Dark Knight maybe but not THE dark night.

Nope, I'm in the desert eating the liturgical sand along with everyone else. Nope, no oasis IN SIGHT of the many things of which I mourn the loss of in the Happy Clappy MODERNE Catholic church in which I exist is any sort of clear thinking about death. Yes death. That's what I said. We ought to think alot about death. It is the most important moment of our lives. The state in which we die in determines WHERE we spend ALL ETERNITY. We have a serious disrespect and disconnect from death.

I do not dwell on death but I do not feel disconnected to it. Perhaps this is the result of having experienced the death of my sister in a car accident when we were children. I grew up with death, under the spectre of death. Death came to live in our house. No, I'm not feeling sorry for myself. I believe very strongly that my sister is in Heaven because she died young, this was what God caused or allowed and so I long ago accepted this. She died shortly after her first Holy Communion and was buried in her lacy white dress. Weeks after First Communion is a very good time to die actually. I thank God she missed all the disgusting mess that was the 70's drug, sex and garbage scene.'s more on the catafalque:

From New Advent:

"Catafalque, derived from the Italian word catafalco, literally means a scaffold or elevation, but in its strictly liturgical sense the word is employed to designate the cenotaph-like erection which is used at the exequial offices of the Church, and takes the place of the bier whenever the remains are not present. It is covered with a black cloth or pall, on which there is a cross either of white or some other colour (De Herdt, Praxis Sac. Lit., II, 328). The catafalque is usually placed immediately outside the sanctuary, and is the centre of the ceremonies of that part of the exequial office known as the absolution, receiving the same attention as the corpse would if present. Hence it is that lights burn around the catafalque during the function, and it is aspersed with holy water and incensed. During the absolution at the catafalque the cross-bearer should always stand between it and the door of the church, the celebrant or officiant being at the other end, between it and the sanctuary. When it is not possible for any reason to have a catafalque, its place may be supplied by a square piece of black cloth (pannus niger), which should be laid in front of the lowest step of the altar, and be sprinkled with holy water and incensed at the proper time by the officiant. Formerly the word was used to designate the bier or structure on which the corpse rested. No flowers should be used in connection with it, but it is allowable in the case of deceased prelates to mount their insignia to show the dignity, and in the case of nobles to display the family coat of arms, together with coronets, orders, and other insignia, to show the rank of the deceased. A very notable monument of this kind was that erected to the memory of Michelangelo by his brother artists on the occasion of his funeral in the Church of Santa Croce, Florence. "

Monday, January 24, 2011

What We Have Lost II - The Pulpit

Notre Dame Basilica
Montreal Quebec, Canada
No longer used
"The desire to be more plainly understood was the reason why the preacher's platform was pushed towards the centre of the nave; which change led to its assuming the present form. It was not until modern times that the two terms attained clearly distinct meanings. At present the pulpit no longer serves for the reading of the Epistles and Gospels, nor as the tribune for singing, hence the eagle or dove formerly used as support of the book now has little meaning. A position in which the preacher could be heard throughout the church became necessary, and the pulpit was then adapted to receive a greater amount of adornment, having reference to the preaching of the Gospel. "

I do not claim to be any sort of authority on Church architecture. I only know that I am a Catholic who sorely misses all that was so thoughtlessly and wrecklessly dismantled in the last 45 years. My first memory of mass was in the 70's modern parish where a skylight was right over the plain altar and a hippy looking man with a long beard sat in the light strumming on a guitar....(heavy sigh)
I am not a sedevacantist, I am not an "ultra traditionalist" But I will say I often interiorly groan at Mass and I long for with all my heart beauty, solemnity, piety, orthodoxy - in a word authentic Catholocism. Not some remade neo-catholic-protestantism - which is what so many of our parishes have become.
Look at the visual emphasis placed upon the Church's readings and the Priest's homily to be said from such a pulpit. Where has this gone? See what we have lost?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What We Have Lost Part I

Altar Rail or Communion Rail

The railing which guards the sanctuary and separates the latter from the body of the church. It is also called the communion-rail as the faithful kneel at it when receiving Holy Communion.

It is made of carved wood, metal, marble, or other precious material; it should be about two feet six inches high, and on the upper part from six to nine inches wide. The "Rituale Romanum" (tit. iv, cap. ii, n. I) prescribes that a clean white cloth be extended before those who receive Holy Communion. This cloth is to be of fine linen, as it is solely intended as a sort of corporal to receive the particles which may by chance fall from the hands of the priest. It is usually fastened on the sanctuary side and when in use is drawn over the top of the rail. It should extend the full length of the rail, and be about two feet wide, so that the communicant, taking it in both hands, may hold it under his chin. Its very purpose suggests that it is not to be made of lace or netting, although there is nothing to forbid its having a border of fine lace or embroidery.

Instead of this cloth a gilt paten, larger than the paten used at the altar, to which a handle may be attached, or a small gilt or silver salver, or a pall, larger than the chalice pall, may be used. These latter are usually passed from one communicant to the other, and when the last at the end of the rail at the Gospel side has received Holy Communion the altar boy carries the paten to the first communicants at the Epistle side. A consecrated paten may never be placed for this purpose in the hands of lay persons.

Written by A.J. Schulte. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume I. Published 1907. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

For a return of the altar rail I am currently fighting at my parish. Recently my husband attended a Catholic men's group and a parish historian spoke. He related that shortly after Vatican II the entire parish came one Sunday for Holy Mass and the altar rail was GONE. No preparation, no explanation, no nothing. Just gone....I choke up just thinking about it. The priests had it removed and no one knows where it went. Next to go was the pulpit....

God have mercy on your people, save us from wolves in sheep's clothing who lead your flock astray and do not instruct the faithful of Your True Presence in Holy Communion. May we again recieve you with due reverence on our knees. Amen+

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Our Lady's Tears Latest Production

Movie trailer is posted on Vimeo and is in HD - I am unable after several attempts to post the video to Blogger without crashing the APP. Please go to link below to view a short trailer for our latest production.

Post production recently completed on our THIRD movie, a digital video short on the Revelations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus featuring St. Margaret Mary Alocoque. This was filmed at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul Minnesota and features the above pictured scene of the apparition of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary.

go HERE to view trailer

Enter site and the trailer should be right there.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Why are you sleeping?

Sleeping Apostles - Boticelli

"We must be prepared to undergo great trials in the not-too-distant future; trials that will require us to be ready to give up even our lives, and a total gift of self to Christ and for Christ. Through your prayers and mine, it is possible to alleviate this tribulation, but it is no longer possible to avert it, because it is only in this way that the Church can be effectively renewed. How many times, indeed, has the renewal of the Church been effected in blood? This time, again, it will not be otherwise. We must be strong, we must prepare ourselves, we must entrust ourselves to Christ and to His Mother, and we must be attentive, very attentive, to the prayer of the Rosary." —POPE JOHN PAUL II, interview with Catholics at Fulda, Germany, Nov. 1980

"Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test." (Luke 22:46)
We must pray much and pray often for our Holy Father. Before the sheep of his church (us) are scattered the Shepherd (the Pope) will be struck - just as in Gethsemane Jesus was struck and His sheep - the Apostles, were scattered. I pray this will happen in later times, but in looking around at what is occurring in the world, it appears we are in these times. This is the time that God ordained for us to live and so we must make the best of it.

Lord have mercy upon us and grant us the grace to perservere until the end without faltering. Amen+

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What is Truth?

"WHAT is truth? That was the question Pontius Pilate posed after Jesus said to him:
For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. 'Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.' "(John 18:37)

"Pilate’s question is the turning point, the hinge on which the door to Christ’s final passion was to be opened. Until that point, Pilate resisted handing Jesus over to death. But after Jesus identified Himself as the source of truth, Pilate caves into the pressure—to the alternate "truths" about the Lord—and decides to leave Christ’s fate to the people. Pilate washed his hands of Truth itself."

"If the body of Christ is to follow its Head in its own passion, what the Catechism calls "a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers" (CCC 675), then we too will see a time when our persecutors will ask "What is truth?" When the world will also wash its hands of the "sacrament of truth," the Church itself."

"Tell me brothers and sisters, has this not already begun to be the case in our day?"

Read the entire post HERE. Pray for perserverence. Amen+

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"In your patience you shall possess your souls"

"With tragic consequences, a long historical process is reaching a turning-point. The process which once led to discovering the idea of "human rights"—rights inherent in every person and prior to any Constitution and State legislation—is today marked by a surprising contradiction. Precisely in an age when the inviolable rights of the person are solemnly proclaimed and the value of life is publicly affirmed, the very right to life is being denied or trampled upon, especially at the more significant moments of existence: the moment of birth and the moment of death… This is what is happening also at the level of politics and government: the original and inalienable right to life is questioned or denied on the basis of a parliamentary vote or the will of one part of the people—even if it is the majority. This is the sinister result of a relativism which reigns unopposed: the "right" ceases to be such, because it is no longer firmly founded on the inviolable dignity of the person, but is made subject to the will of the stronger part. In this way democracy, contradicting its own principles, effectively moves towards a form of totalitarianism."
—POPE JOHN PAUL II, Evangelium Vitae, “The Gospel of Life”, n. 18, 20

Look with eyes that see. We need to wake up and see that soon this country and the world will be sunk in the mire of totalitarianism where Christianity will be persecuted and not tolerated. We need to pray for the grace to persevere until the end...

"And there shall be great earthquakes in divers places, and pestilences, and famines, and terrors from heaven; and there shall be great signs. But before all these things, they will lay their hands upon you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and into prisons, dragging you before kings and governors, for my name's sake. And it shall happen unto you for a testimony. Lay it up therefore into your hearts, not to meditate before how you shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to resist and gainsay.
And you shall be betrayed by your parents and brethren, and kinsmen and friends; and some of you they will put to death. And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake. But a hair of your head shall not perish. In your patience you shall possess your souls. And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed about with an army; then know that the desolation thereof is at hand."
~Luke 21:11-20 Douay-Rheims version

Argeles Nazi Concentration Camp

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Will of the Lord

Have I mentioned before and I am NO MYSTIC? I am just a simple Catholic lady struggling like every one else. The list of my faults and frequent failures are too numberous to list. I have been undergoing a great trial in my life and am currently burning in the furnace of stress. To deal with this I have turned, as I have in the past, to penance and daily Mass. When I am suffering mentally/spiritually I have a very difficult time praying, except perhaps a desperate ejaculatory prayer from time to time and an offering of my anguish. Anyway - I was offering one such prayer this morning before mass "Lord, what do you will?" ...or something to that effect. Without thinking anything of it, I then opened my missal and my eyes fell DIRECTLY upon the following:

"This is the will of God - your sanctification." (I Thess iv. 3)

I guess that's pretty clear. Lord do with me what you will. Amen+

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Absolution over the Catafalque

The Absolution of the dead is a series of prayers for pardon and remission of sins that are said in the Catholic Church over the body of a deceased before burial. Sadly, this beautiful rite has gone into serious lack of use since the second Vatican Council.

From Wikipedia-

"In the Catholic Church the Absolute are said over a deceased Catholic following a Requiem Mass and before burial. The absolution of the dead does not forgive sins or confer the sacramental absolution of the Sacrament of Penance. Rather, it is a series of prayers to God that the person's soul will not have to suffer the temporal punishment in purgatory due for sins which were forgiven during the person's life.
The absolution of the dead is only performed in context of the Tridentine Mass. Following the Second Vatican Council, the absolution of the dead was removed from the funeral liturgy of the Mass of Paul VI."

Very happily - I came into possession of an early 1900's pocket missalette called "Manna of the Soul" This is the little gem I've been bringing with me to Mass. I have taken to the practice of reading from the Mass of the Dead at differing times before and during mass. The prayers are so beautiful, so uplifting - at times they cause my soul to soar. Although these are prayers for the dead, I have found them among THE most consoling prayers ever written.

I encourage anyone - everyone to obtain an old missal, or simply download them from the internet and try them out. Pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, they desperately need our charity - especially now during the month of the dead.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

St. Winefride

An excellent blog post on one of my patron saints. I pray God grant me to be able to pilgrimmage to Holywell someday and walk the ground of St. Winefride and also St. Edmund, martyr. Amen+

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Holy Trinity

The Trinity with the Holy Souls in Purgatory
Corrado Giaquinto, c. 1743 Italy

I've posted this amazing picture before. I'm proud to say it's home is here in Minnesota at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. This is one of my favorite works of art. I have not seen an image of the Holy Trinity before that depicts Jesus dead. Also the facial expression of the man in the purgatorial flames in the bottom left - sublime.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Well Deserved Chastisement

All should read this and shiver -

"Now I beg those who read this book not to be disheartened by these misfortunes, but to consider that these chastisements were meant not for the ruin but for the correction of our nation. It is, in fact, a sign of great kindness to punish sinners promptly instead of letting them go for long. Thus, in dealing with other nations, the Lord patiently waits until they reach the full measure of their sins before he punishes them; but with us he has decided to deal differently, in order that he may not have to punish us more severely later, when our sins have reached their fullness. He never withdraws his mercy from us. Although he disciplines us with misfortunes, he does not abandon his own people." ~2 Maccabees 6:12-16

Holy Card

Image of a French Holy card published by R. Pannier, Paris, in the late 19th century
They don't make them like this anymore. This is an old, 1800's holy card that I ran across when searching for an image for my previous post on a prayer for the dying - putting into google "holy card dying" This is a poignant meditation on death. This is a topic close to me at present as I spent the better part of the last day assisting at the bedside of a dying family member. Below is the interpretation of the words on the card from French.
“Eternity. You, mortal, who has an immortal soul, study, meditate, ponder over this great word: ETERNITY.” Frame: “Do the good while there is time. Ponder over Death to live well and to die well. Think about death, give up sin, stay out of the world, give yourself up to God. Death is certain, only its hour is uncertain.” Inside the frame: “Prepare for a good death through a good life, for time is short. Today is my turn, tomorrow yours. I have been, you shall be what I am. Pray for the souls in Purgatory. They expect your prayers and the relief of their plight. Make a choice. Eternal Heaven. Eternal Hell.”

Friday, October 22, 2010

Prayer for the Dying

Jesus and Mary at the deathbed of St. Joseph

O merciful Jesus, lover of souls, we beseech you by the agony of your most Sacred Heart and by the sorrows of your Immaculate Mother, to wash clean in your blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in their final agony, but especially those on their way to eternal damnation and who are to die this day. Heart of Jesus, who suffered death’s agony, have mercy on these poor souls. Amen.

(Prayer for Mercy for the Dying from the booklet, Devotion to the Divine Mercy)


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Distraction at Mass a bad thing?

I have a great deal of longing for piety, reverence, sacredness and solemnity at Mass. My family and I are blessed to be members of a very good parish actually. Positives: We have order priests, many (not all) altar servers wear cassocks, our priests wear cassocks, 1880's style church architecture, rather minimal wreckovation, orthodox homilies, pipe organ, fairly solid catachetics...well not too bad right?

Negatives: Odd mixture of sappy 70's music, a virtual ARMY of extraordinary ministers, no altar rail, altar girls wearing flip get the picture.

The point of this post is not to complain but to rather share with you how I've learned to cope with this. Oh, about 3 years ago or so I went through a terrible, close to one year temptation to flee the Church. If there had been an SSPX chapel in my town, I don't think I could have resisted going there. Anyway - I would at times be in such spiritual pain at mass I would try to let my soul flee the church while "I" stayed put in the pew to make my Sunday obligation. This was a terrible affliction. Currently my soul has calmed down and this is why...

I went to confession about my "distraction" and was directed to close my eyes when this temptation (to flee Mass) came upon me and pray to Jesus and His mother for help and join my suffering with thiers.
So I began as directed and after months and months of struggle I can now sit rather peacefully through anything. Through God's grace I have been gifted with some help in this regard. The ONLY time I open my eyes once the Liturgy of the Eucharist starts is when I go to Communion until we stand for the prayers of the faithful. I never look upon the hand raising at the Our Father, I look not upon the scantily clad making the mad dash for the altar. Even with the use of the rather horrible Mass of Creation my soul follows the liturgy while my eyes cannot see the horrors before me.

I let my soul explore the depths of the beauty of our Catholic religion as it were. At the Agnus Dei I imagine a multitude of saints surrounding Jesus the Lamb at Knock and all the angelic choirs sing to Him. I can barely hear the organ, or the people around me. During the Eucharistic prayer I imagine being instead in a medieval Cathedral with St. Charles Borromeo saying mass ad orientam with great sanctity. At other times I kneel at the feet of a holy priest in a Nazi gulag saying a secret, private Mass. Going on...the Sanctus can be the Seraphim bowing low to the Throne singing out "Sanctus, Sanctus!" or St. Thomas More singing as he walked to the block, or St. Joan of Arc singing her love of God from the get the picture. The great amen could be the moment that Maria Goretti chose to give her life rather than into her attackers impure desires, staring up at the tip of the knife "Amen"

My soul can soar the heights while my body stays still and quiet in the pew. In a word I try to join my soul with the Church Triumphant because it is only there that my thirst for beauty and solemnity will be satified. Only Heaven shall not disappoint. Sometimes my soul is so immersed in my contemplation that I have a hard time not crying or letting it show.

The Lord had pity on me and has granted me this great consolation and has saved me from further discouragement. I wanted to share this with you so you may try this to see if it is helpful for your soul as well.

May Mary's prayers go with you always. Amen+

Thursday, September 23, 2010

One True Refuge - One True Church IV & Final

"For, were the Church in any time hidden and invisible, to whom would men have recourse in order to learn what they are to believe and to do? It was necessary that the Church and her pastors be obvious and visible, principally in order that there might be an infallible judge, to resolve all doubts, and to whose decision everyone should necessarily submit. Otherwise, there would be no sure rule of faith by which Christians could know the true dogmas of faith and the true precepts of morality, and among the faithful there would be endless disputes and controversies. "And Christ gave some apostles, and others pastors and doctors, that henceforth we be no more children tossed to-and-fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine" [Eph 4:11-14]. "
"But what faith can we learn from these false teachers when, in consequence of separating from the Church, they have no rule of faith. How often Calvin changed his opinions! And, during his life, Luther was constantly contradicting himself: on the single article of the Eucharist, he fell into thirty-three contradictions! A single contradiction is enough to show that they did not have the Spirit of God. "
"He cannot deny Himself" [
2 Timothy 2:13]. In a word, take away the authority of the Church, and neither Divine Revelation nor natural reason itself is of any use, for each of them may be interpreted by every individual according to his own caprice. Do they not see that from this accursed liberty of conscience has arisen the immense variety of heretical and atheistic sects? I repeat: if you take away obedience to the Church, there is no error which will not be embraced. "
St. Alphonsus D. Ligouri

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

One True Refuge - One True Church III

Detail of the Polytriptich of the Resurrection by Titian

"The innovators have been challenged several times to produce a text of Sacred Scripture which would prove the existence of the invisible church they invented, and we are unable to obtain any such text from them. How could they adduce such a text when, addressing His Apostles whom He left as the propagators of His Church, Jesus said: "You cannot be hidden" [Matt 5:14].
Thus He has declared that the Church cannot help but be visible to everyone. The Church has been at all times, and will forever be, necessarily visible, so that each person may always be able to learn from his pastor the true doctrine regarding the dogmas of faith, to receive the Sacraments, to be directed in the way of salvation, and to be enlightened and corrected should he ever fall into error. "

St. Alphonsus D. Ligouri

Church Suffering

Watch it over and over

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

One True Refuge - One True Church II

"The innovators themselves do not deny that the Roman Church was the first which Jesus Christ founded. However, they say that it was the true Church until the fifth century, or until it fell away, because it had been corrupted by the Catholics. But how could that Church fall which St. Paul calls the "pillar and ground of truth" [1 Timothy 3:15]? No, the Church has not failed. The truth is, that all the false churches, which have separated from the Roman Church, have fallen away and erred. "

"To convince all heretical sects of their error, there is no way more certain and safe than to show that our Catholic Church has been the first one founded by Jesus Christ. For, this being established, it is proved beyond all doubt that ours is the only true Church and that all the others which have left it and separated are certainly in error. But, pressed by this argument, the innovators have invented an answer. They say that the visible Church has failed, but not the invisible Church. But these doctrines are diametrically opposed to the Gospel. "
~St. Alphonsus Ligouri

Monday, September 20, 2010

One True Refuge - One True Church I

Introduction: I've said before that I am not a Catholic apologist. I tend to spend little to no time in consideration of protestant faiths. Unfortunately I did go to a Lutheran High School so did study Martin Luther's heresies for 4 years. As a result of this I came back to the Truth in the Catholic Church. I have experienced first hand the errors of protastantism and shun them like the plague they are. Anyway, I read a fine reading called "Against the Reformers" by St. Alphonsus Ligouri. Beautiful, simple title is it not? I'll post it in parts and God bless you.

Against the Reformers
"A church which is not one in its doctrine and faith can never be the True Church. Hence, because truth must be one, of all the different churches, only one can be the true one, and outside of that Church there is no salvation. "

"Now, in order to determine which is this one true Church, it is necessary to examine which is the Church first founded by Jesus Christ, for when this is ascertained, it must be confessed that this one alone is the true Church which, having once been the true Church must always have been the true Church and must forever be the true Church. For to this first Church has been made the promise of the Savior that the gates of Hell would never be able to overturn it [Matt 16:18]. "

"In the entire history of religion, we find that the Roman Catholic Church alone was the first Church, and that the other false and heretical churches afterwards departed and separated from her. This is the Church which was propagated by the Apostles and afterwards governed by pastors whom the Apostles themselves appointed to rule over her. This character can be found only in the Roman Church, whose pastors descend securely by an uninterrupted and legitimate succession from the Apostles of the world [Matt 28:20]. "
St Alphonsus Mary De Liguori (1696-1787) Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cult of Feelings

I just read my husband's excellent post on just one of the many current scourges upon the world in this time - what I have come to call the "cult of feelings" Far too many in our times have lost what so many in the past once took as a truth - that reason and the will must rule the emotions. The higher self must rule over the lower more base part of ourselves. Our will to live in virture must rule the physical desires of the body to wallow in passion. Emotions have their place, but they ought never to rule the soul.

Over my desk at work I have a list of things our Lord said to St. Faustina - one statement sums it up nicely:

"Do not be guided by feeling, because it is not always under your control; but all merit lies in the will."

~Our Lord Jesus Christ to St. Faustina.

Forgetting Ourselves and Finding Healing in the Divine

I was reading a fascinating and orthodox book titled: "Leave your Life Alone by Hubert Van Zeller. Most surprising was that fact that it was written in the 1970s, a time of turmoil and descent from the Church. He writes:" In spite of its concern with outward things, western society has ever been so concerned about its inward troubles. Escape into materialism has shown itself to be a boomerang and we are all more locked up inside ourselves than ever: the boomerang has come back in the form of a ball and chain. That is why we bore one another so incessantly: we are fellow prisoners whose recreation is to talk about ourselves . We revel in our prison sentences while preaching freedom, we are so earger to outdo one another with our permissiveness that the only real freedom worth having is missed." Indeed, it seems that the pop-psychology approach of caring for ourselves first, has led us into an obsession about self that has taken the form of "self-consciousness", "self-determination" and self-evaluation". Aldous Huxley writes wisely of the negative impact of self-empowerment and caring for self philosophies--a widely misguided cultural phenomenon that has perhaps lead us into becoming a society afflicted with clinical depression. Huxley writes: "The systematic cultivation of self-awareness may as easily produce undesireable as desirable results. Where personality is developed for its own sake, and not in order that it may be transcended, there tends to be a rising of the barriers of separateness and an increase of egotism". The evidence, right now, points towards this separateness pervading the American landscape and causing isolation and a notable increase in depression and anxiety. The National Institute of Mental Health, reported in 2004, that approximately 26% of adult Americans suffered from a variety of mood and anxiety disorders, representing close to 58 million Americans. There is indeed a malaise sweeping through American society, causing a restlessness of the soul, and compromising the individual's ability to cope with the demands of daily life. A data health management firm, IMF Health, estimates that in 2007, pharmaceutical sales of antidepressants in the US topped $11.9 billion, an amount that should cause alarm. The talk of treatments and remedies for depression remain centered on the prescription of antidepressants and on coping mechanisms for getting through the day. For those who are spiritually minded, the culture contaminates Church teachings regarding selfless charity as a remedy for ailing souls, and whispers to the soul the perverted notion that an inward examination will bring peace. There is something to an inward examination of conscience that is good, but Van Zeller cautions the reader that there is a danger, when seeking knowedge of self with too much zeal, that can lead the individual into discouragement and confusion. Van Zeller claims that when an individual looks inward and asks the question: "What do I feel bout the problem?" rather than "What does God feel about these things?, "he ceases to be a spirtual person". He further writes "Among the first fallacies of today is the one which believes that worry and fear and guilt can be exorcized by talking about them. Do you wonder that we all become bores?" Could it be that the cure for our depression epidemic is to not worry about our own situation, but to simply feed the hungry and clothe the poor? for in doing so we feed and clothe Jesus himself?

Our Lady's Tears Productions has begun the filming of our second documentary which will explore the depression epidemic in American society. Pray for our endeavor and help us, if you can, by visiting our website: and purchasing our documentary on the Theology of Human Suffering, in addition to chaplets and rosary beads.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Remember our Lady's Tears

In all the business of life, with all your stress and difficulties - remember there was a darker day. No one suffered more than Our Lord. Secondly suffered His holy Mother - no mere human suffered more than she and for her the grace of God sufficed. Is shall suffice for you and me as well. When darkness comes to your soul, go to her feet and pour out your suffering to her. She understands suffering well and will obtain assistance in all your needs.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Understanding Human Suffering: The Germaine Cousin Paradox

As Christians we struggle with the understanding of suffering. We love the glory of the resurrection and we are delighted by the wonder of the transfiguration, but we struggle with the implications of the Holy Cross. The life of Saint Germaine Cousin, a Catholic saint whose life is virtually unknown, [click here to view the short produced by Our Lady's Tears Productions], is a paradox that leaves us restless for we have trouble understanding how an all loving God could allow an innocent child to suffer. We are appalled and silenced in the face of such a mystery. I would like to engage the reader to share how such suffering could be allowed. To give some fuel for discussion, I would like to quote Fr William of Saint Thierry, a 12th Century Cisterian abbot, theologian and mystic, who rightly discerned what hindered the human spirit from understanding these mysteries, that only angels seem to contemplate joyfully. “The unclean soul, the impure conscience, the proud mind, and curious conceit are rightly kept at a distance from the quest of the divine sacraments and mysteries. For the spirit of discernment flees anything false and will not dwell in a body subject to sin. Wisdom will not enter into an ill-disposed soul” [Fr William of Saint Thierry † 1148; Cistercian Abbot].

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New Catholic Film Company

My wife and I were concerned about the quality of the films produced by Hollywood and their impact on the minds of our children. We discussed, late into the night, that the Lord would ask us at the moment of our death: "Where are your children? and where is your wife or husband?" We knew that we would have to say: "Watching TV or a movie, Lord". The next question would invariably be: "..and what are they watching?" This idea of the Lord Jesus holding me accountable for what my family was viewing on TV frightened me because I knew that I could not be certain that the programs they were were viewing were not scandalizing them with images of impurity. Sensuality and impurity in film, stick to a child's brain like tar and is removed only with great difficulty. Movies today, even Disney productions, are laced with sensuality. When I looked more closely at what my children were viewing, I was shocked by the degree to which Hollywood was successfully endocrinating my children into the ideals of sensuality, and ultimately into the notion that feelings, not reason, should govern ones life. We also felt that Hollywood was convincing our children that God did not exist, and that their Catholic faith was a lie. Films like "The DeVinci Code" created great controversy and doubt around the Catholic church, and we found that it was difficult to protect our children from the lies. As Catholics we felt deeply called to counter Hollywood and its lies about religion, God and Catholicism. We decided to form this new film company, using our retirement money, and drew our community into action. We convinced them that we can make a difference as individuals. It is true that countering Hollywood is a little bit like David facing Goliath, but we understood that this call was real and powerfully strong. Many times I have asked the Lord to remove this desire if it was not from Him, but that if it was His inspiration, then to quadruple the intensity of the fire so that I could not stand it anymore. He answered my prayer with the latter. Using our church scola choir, we recorded the Miserere Mei as the theme song for our first movie short on the life of Saint Germaine Cousin. We wrote the script on the life of saint Germaine Cousin who lived in Pibrac France during the 17th century. Then we requested volunteer actors from our state university Theater and Dance department, and hired a professional crew of camera, sound and light specialists. With three days of filming we completed the short and then realized that a full motion picture needed to be done in order to fully reveal the miraculous life of this unknown Catholic saint. Sometimes called the ‘True-Life Cinderella’, Germaine Cousin grew up as a poor shepherd girl in 16th century France. Burdened with an unsightly and painful skin condition called scrofula, she was ostracized by her community and feared by her peers. After the death of her kind mother, her over-worked father remarried. His new wife was cruel and selfish, and beat little Germaine ceaselessly. Germaine was forced to sleep in the icy barn, year after year, and was required to do all of the work around her stepmother’s house. She was given barely enough food to eat, and was constantly subjected to horrible physical and emotional abuse. Her days were filled with back breaking labor and devastating isolation. Despite all this, Germaine’s heart was filled with love and forgiveness. Starving, she nevertheless shared her food with the desperate poor. Rejected by the town's people, she still prayed for her community’s well being, and for the souls of her tormentors. Her selflessness and love of Christ brought her closer to the most holy cross, and to a greater understanding of the redemptive nature of suffering. She soon began to perform miracles that wonderously transformed the people around her. She parted waters, turned bread to flower blossoms, healed the sick, and was protected from from hungry wolves by powerful angels. Constantly sick herself, she died at the age of 22. Approximately 43 years later, her body was exhumed in an incorrupt state, thus demonstrating her sanctity and holiness. Hers is a story of courage, love, and dedication to a holy life in which could be found the three pillars that hold up all saints, namely: prayer, charity and suffering. You can view the movie short: here: GERMAINE: Requiem of a Soul. From the movie we created a documentary on suffering. The idea came from the realization that deep human suffering permeates our entire culture as evidenced by the epidemics of obesity, depression and sexually transmitted infections. Using medical experts and researchers in the fields of medicine, nutrition and sexual health, we produced a 96 minute documentary that explores the prevalence of the epidemics of obesity and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in American society, and their relationship with deep moral, physical and spiritual sufferings which have now insidiously found their way into the lives of the American populace. The fabric of society is now changing into a culture guided by a dictatorship of relativism, for which no moral standards exist. The consequence is a youth that engages in lifestyles that rob them of the flame of purity and innocence, corrupting, as it were, their very souls and casting a shadow that blocks their access to life giving joy. This documentary is a must see for those searching for deep meaning and hope in life's journey and its many sufferings. It invites the audience to embrace a life in Jesus Christ and open their minds to new possibilities of experiencing joy in this life as well as in the next. Using footage from the Germaine movie short, the viewer can understand how suffering often results from abandoning ourselves to the Lord's perfect and holy will so that we may be able to also participate in the suffering of Christ on the cross. You can view the trailer to the Theology of Human Suffering. .

David James