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Veritatis Splendor

"Keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith" --Hebrews 12:2

Pope Benedict XVI before our Lord

And only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution.
Each of us is the result of a thought of God.
Each of us is willed,
each of us is loved,
each of us is necessary.
There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him.
~Pope Benedict XVI, Homily April 24th, 2005

Friday, June 06, 2008

Falling in Love

Today, my parents are coming to the Cities. Tomorrow morning, we'll load up the stuff that my family is storing or wants to take and head back to Wisconsin for the weekend. Monday, we'll start the journey down to Kansas City, by way of Ames, Iowa (where my nephew is living). Wednesday morning, at 10:00 am Central Time, during the celebration of Holy Mass according to the Extrodinary Form, I will enter the community of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles.

I am not going to delete the blog, perhaps after years of inaction Blogger will delete it for me but I hope it, and Roamin' Roman, will remain available for more people to discover - especially about roaming in Rome!

It is possible that this blog will continue under the care of a friend of mine, but whether it does or does not, know that all of you whom I have gotten to know through these years of keeping the blogs will be ever in my daily prayers.

Please keep me and the community in your prayers, and if you ever get to Norcia, Italy (scroll to bottom of the page), please pray about sending your Sisters some of that famous monastery milk chocolate from the monks' store! :)

Prayer requests (and chocolate ;) can be sent to me and the community at:

Mary Gibson
Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles
Priory of Our Lady of Ephesus
1400 NE 42nd Terrace
Kansas City, MO 64116

I leave you with this beautiful piece of prayerful advice, which the Lord has placed before me in multiple places and in surprising ways of late, so I am taking it to heart! It sums up exactly what it means for all of us to discover and embrace our vocation, which is truly an embrace of Him, our Beloved, and the fulfillment of our meaning:

Falling in Love

"Nothing is more practical than finding God,
that is, than falling in a love in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings,
what you will do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, who you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything."

~ Servant of God Pedro Arrupe, S.J.

I pray that you, too, will fall in love with Love, and stay in Love eternally! Dio ti benedica!

~Mary Gibson

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Our Lady, Queen of Apostles - My Entrance Holy Card!

Behold, a beautiful image of Our Lady as Queen of Apostles, drawn by Matthew Alderman of the Shrine of the Holy Whapping blog, per my request!

For a larger version of the image, go to Matthew's original post, here.

I wanted to post this gorgeous image earlier, but decided to wait and only do so if Matthew did first - we must respect our artists! As he has now posted it, I will let him describe the image himself (and be sure to check out his other works, many available on the Shrine's blog):

Our Lady, Queen of the Apostles, with an Attendant Angel (version I). Commissioned for the announcement of the entry of a young lady into the convent of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles. 4" x 6", Ink on Vellum, pieced together in Photoshop. April-May 2008. Artist's Collection.

There is not much of a fixed iconography built up around the Virgin as Queen of Apostles, besides an association with Pentecost. One seventeenth-century treatise cataloging her various titles and emblems shows a curious image in which she is shown twice--first on clouds, above, encircled by an enormous hoop marked with the signs of the Zodiac, and accompanied by an angel bearing a crown, and below, with the apostles at Pentecost. Another, more modern emblem consisted of a large closed royal crown surrounded by twelve tongues of flame.

Originally, I had intended to show Our Lady richly dressed, and crowned with an enormous diadem, surrounded by the twelve shields of the Apostles. It then occurred to me that while in images of her as Queen of Heaven and Empress of the Universe she should be shown dressed as splendidly as possible, the beatific poverty of the Apostles suggested she should be far more simply dressed, with the elaborate falling folds of drapery being all she needed to manifest her simple beauty in this particular instance.

Her hair modestly covered by her plain hood, and the only touches of ornament at her throat and wrists. The Virgin's hair is not, as it might appear at first glance, bobbed, but pinned up behind her head in the manner of Abbot Thayer's numerous allegorical females. Likewise, she does not wear her crown, but is accompanied by an angel bearing it; the diadem is topped by a cross holding a very small image of Christ enthroned in its center, and one of the four plaques on the rim contains one of the four zoomorphic emblems of the Evangelists. The flame of the Holy Ghost, her eternal spouse, hovers over her head, and appears again enclosed within her brooch. The arrangement of the Apostles' emblems is in itself symbolic, with Peter and Paul--who frequently replaces Matthias--on Our Lady's right, and the other ten on the other side, with John singled out as the only non-martyr. The "P" in APOSTOLORUM below also does double-duty as a Chi-Rho, the combined monogram of the first two letters of "Christ" in Greek.

This drawing was pieced together on Photoshop from two other drawings, after I discovered the dark reddish-brown backdrop for the Apostles' shields did not register very well in a JPG; but all the drawing is done by hand, and is original.

FYI - per Matthew, the "key" for the Apostles' shields is as follows:

(columns from left to right, from the top down)

Keys - Peter
Scripture & Sword - Paul
Cockleshells - James the Greater
Cross - Philip
Ship - Simon
Face of Christ - Jude
Moneybags - Matthew
Flaying Knives - Bartholomew
X Cross - Andrew
Carpenter's Square & Spear - Thomas
Chalice & Serpent - John
Saw - James the Lesser

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Justice and Charity

From "The Pursuit of Happiness - God's Way: Living the Beatitudes" by Servais Pinckaers, O.P.; pages 102-104:

Justice and charity

This way of viewing justice has direct consequences upon its relation to charity. The relationship becomes difficult because the first movements of justice and charity are now contrary. Being a form of love, charity implies an openness to the other and a readiness to give more than is strictly required. Justice, if it is primarily a claim to our rights, will be basically an insistence on receiving, and even a struggle to gain what is due us. According to this latter concept, charity will have to be satisfied with what is left over after justice has been done. It will be nothing more than a remnant, a form of optional generosity which may be exercised after the rights of the law are satisfied. This is why in current parlance charity is associated with alms. Its meaning has become impoverished.

On the other hand, if the virtue of justice is understood as the generous and spontaneous will to render to each his due, and is thus oriented to the other, it finds a place within the concept of love. It is already a form of charity and the very foundation of this virtue. The first law of charity will be that we practice this kind of justice, whose circle can then be extended beyond the strict precepts of the external law. Authentic justice inclines us, for example, to give to our parents, children, and neighbors, beyond what is legally required for their subsistence, the kindness and affection they have a right to expect from us, and that not in niggardly fashion, but with generosity. In regard to others, justice inclines us to carry out our allotted tasks conscientiously, especially those connected with our profession, for this may benefit many other people and lead us eventually to assume public functions which, beyond our legitimate concern for our own particular interests, we will perform with an eye to the common good. This kind of justice is not rigid but very supple and adaptable to individual needs and situations.

We see from this how the ancients could say that the object and principal effect of justice was to create friendship among men, in their individual relationships and in the setting of political life. It is precisely this idea of friendship that St. Thomas [Aquinas] uses to define charity - the love which unites us to God and neighbor. Justice, even when simply human, works toward the same goal as charity, bu the latter carries us farther. Justice is a certain will to give. It includes uprightness, rectitude in judgment regarding what is due to each person, and proper human relations.

The justice of God and His mercy

If we turn to Scriptures once more, we understand why it refers to God's justice as a supreme quality and invites us to love, hunger, and thirst for it. When Scripture speaks of justice it has obviously risen above the plane of purely human relationships and is considering it as that divine quality which is the source of all justice, notably man's. In God justice is one of the aspects of His mercy and liberality, that generosity with which He distributes freely to every creature whatever it needs, and gives to man, in particular, the gift of justice, which is the will inclining him to give God and neighbor their due with a glad heart.

The justice of God is distinguished from His mercy because it stresses the idea of rectitude, uprightness, and the harmonious ordering of those things which are fitting, while love and mercy point more directly to spontaneity, generosity, and abundance in the gift. But Scripture never sets these virtues in opposition. It often mentions them together to show us that they are two aspects of the one same quality whose richness surpasses our words and ideas.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My Entrance Mass at the Cathedral

For those of you who are in the area, there will be a simple Entrance Mass for me this Friday, May 30th, at 5:15 pm at the Cathedral of St. Paul (during the time for the regular daily Mass). It will be held in the Sacred Heart chapel, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart - fittingly enough!

As many of you know, devotion to the Sacred Heart and that particular chapel in the Cathedral is very dear to my heart and soul. Praised be Jesus Christ!

Two weeks from today, on June 11th, the Feast of St. Barnabas, my actual Mass of Entrance into the cloister will be celebrated at 10:00 am at the Priory of Our Lady of Ephesus in Kansas City, MO. If thought of it arises in your mind, please say a prayer for me and my family during that time!

Prayer to the Sacred Heart

Take me, O Heart of Christ!

Take me, O Heart of Christ, in all that I am,
take me in all that I have and that I do,
in all that I think and all that I love!

Take me in my spirit, that it may cling to Thee;
take me in my willing, that it will but Thee;
take the depth of my heart, that it love only Thee!

Take me, O Heart of Christ, in my secret desires
so that you be my dream and only goal,
my one affection and my complete happiness!

Take me for the work of Thy great mission,
for a complete gift toward my neighbor's salvation,
and for every sacrifice in service of your people!

Take me, O Heart of Christ, without limits, without end;
take even what I've failed to offer Thee;
and never give back to me what you have taken in hand!

Take for eternity all that is in me,
that one day I may, O Heart, possess Thee,
in the embrace of Heaven take Thee and keep Thee!

-by Fr. Jean Galot, S.J.

Praying for Holy Priests

Fr. Mark has a great post up today dealing with the need for all of us to pray for our priests, those who stand at the altar of God in persona Christi and are thus used by God to offer us absolution for our sins and the possibility of literally being in communion with the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. What a tremendous gift they are to us all!

We who pray often for vocations are typically praying for new vocations, for the hearts of many young men and women to hear the voice of God calling them to the consecrated life. But do not ever forget to pray for those priests and religous who are already in their vocation, for their perseverence in following Christ and for their sanctification.

I would like to call attention to the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests, observed this Friday, May 30th (the Feast of the Sacred Heart, a feast near and dear to my heart!). Visit World Day of Prayer for Priests to find out more!

Fr. Mark also proposes considering making any of the following resolutions to pray for our priests:

...a hour of Eucharistic adoration every Thursday in thanksgiving, reparation, and supplication for priests. — the Litany of the Sacred Heart or the Litany of the Precious Blood for priests every Friday. — the Rosary offered for priests every Saturday. — consecration and entrustment of priests to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. — the acceptance of illness or pain, the offering of fasting or other prudent mortifications for the deliverance of priests locked in spiritual combat. — silence when tempted to speak ill of priests. — readiness to offer priests a simple word of encouragement and gratitude. Avoid sentimental gushing and fawning, but be affirming of your priest's efforts to serve Christ, preach His Word, and dispense His Holy Mysteries. — frequent prayer in reparation for the sins of priests.

I recommend the following chaplet prayed on ordinary rosary beads: At the beginning of each decade: Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Thy Beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb without blemish or spot (1 Peter 1:18), in reparation for my sins and for the sins of all priests. On the decades: By Thy Precious Blood, O Jesus, purify and sanctify Thy priests. At the conclusion of each decade: O Father, from whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth is named (Ephesians 3:14), have mercy on all priests, and wash them in the Blood of the Lamb.

Urgent prayer request!


I just got this e-mail update:

Hello all.

I have an urgent prayer request for some excellent youth ministers like yourselves!

Yesterday our friends Brad & Libby Dupont rushed their 2.5 month old baby to the hospital. We don’t know a lot of details.

Not to long ago Brad and Libby had a baby boy (Peter) pass away unexpectedly, and it's possible that the same genetic complications may be happening with their baby girl- Gianna.

Could all of you take a moment right now to storm the heavens with intercessory prayer? Remember Gianna in your daily prayers and specifically when you go to Mass, offer her up.

It is our ability to stand in the gap through prayer that changes the world! Please Please Please pray for the Dupont family, for healing and strength during these difficult and unclear times.

Friends of the DuPonts will be fasting tomorrow for their intentions. Please join us! If you cannot fast from food, maybe think of something else you could offer up for the day.

Also we will end the fast with an hour of prayer at the NET Alumni chapel from 9pm to 10pm.

Thanks so much, we all have hope, God is good!
Please pass this on to whoever will pray!

~Joe Roueche & Julie Carleton~

A young couple who work as youth ministers at a parish in the metro area is in need of all of your prayers - their new baby is in the hospital, with high acid levels and the liver is not functioning properly. A few years ago, they lost another baby and it began in the same way. I cannot imagine the suffering and worry that they are experiencing right now, and implore you and everyone to pray for this family. They are a joyful, faithful and devout family who trust in the Lord, and in His holy will, but we are reminded of Mary's confidence in prayer and the result of her intercession at Cana - and we too dare to implore Him, through her!

Please spread the word, we need to storm heaven - there has been enough sorrow and grief of late. We must beg the Lord for this ray of hope and life, while asking for the grace to accept His will, and to stand besides this family faithfully!

Father, for the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

St. Gianna, you who know what it is like to have a daughter in danger of death, pray for her.

Mother Mary, intercede for us in this dark hour:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, we fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins our mother. To thee we come, before thee we stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer us. Amen.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Now I've Gone and Done It...

Today my name was one of the 1,010 names called off at the University of St. Thomas to come forward, shake Archbishop Flynn's hand (or in the case of a few of us, kiss his ring!), and receive a form letter "certificate" in a nice folder that says basically: "we don't care what your parents think, you're not getting a diploma until we verify you've met all requirements. When we do that, we'll mail you your diploma in a plain brown envelope just like all those other people who were smarter than you and didn't bother to sit out in the blazing sun for three hours to get this lousy piece of paper"

By the way, Archbishop Flynn was dashingly dressed in episcopal cassock, complete with biretta and whatever that Superman cape is called! (Alas, no photos seem to be online yet.) Is it any wonder that I couldn't resist doing a quickie kneel to kiss that ring? Even though it's sure to have screwed up the photographer's shot of the "event"... sorry, Mom.

Also, I'm proud to say that of everyone in that arena, I was the most American. If having three majors, hence a three tasseled cap, with tassel colors corresponding to the good ole' Stars and Stripes, counts as making one more patriotic that is. (For the record: I had white for Catholic Studies, which seems fitting; scarlet red for Theology, for the martyrdom endured I suppose; and blue for Philosophy, which I haven't really been able to rationalize yet...)

Photos to follow, perhaps. If Mom can figure out how to get them off her camera and e-mail them to me!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Lasts of Life

We all know that Scripture verse where our Lord warns us to be always ready, for we know not the day or the hour. But not many of us really live our life like each moment could be our last. Lately, as I've realized that my entrance into the Benedictines of Mary is less than a month away, I've been struck anew by the power of possibility of "last". Last dinner with a friend, last time driving a certain route, last time eating at a favorite restaurant, last, last, last.

Oh yeah, last final exam tomorrow - I just realized that again.

And yet, amidst all these supposed lasts, it is this story that inspired this post, and has helped me put everything in perspective once more.

Those people were going about their business at 2:30pm - how many of them were living that moment like it could be their last? How many of us are right now?

Prayer for Final Perseverance
O sovereign and eternal God, I thank You for having created me; for having redeemed me by means of Jesus Christ; for having made me a Christian by calling me to the true faith, and giving me time to repent after the many sins I have committed. O Infinite Goodness, I love You above all things; and I repent with all my heart of all my offences against You. I hope You hast already pardoned me; but I am continually in danger of again offending You. For the love of Jesus Christ, I beg of You holy perseverance till death. You know my weakness; help me, then, and permit me never again to separate myself from You. Rather let me die a thousand times, than ever again to lose Your grace. O Mary, my Mother, obtain for me holy perseverance! Amen.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

An Italian tongue-twister

So I'm currently in the midst of studying furiously for my Italian finals, so I'm being pretty quiet online... but I thought I'd share this Italian alternative to "how much wood would a woodchuck chuck..." that was presented in our online workbook:

Trentatré Trentini entrarono a Trento tutti e trentatré trotterellando su trentatré trattori trainati da treni.

Try saying that three times fast!

A (very) rough translation:
Thirty-three Trentini all entered Trento (a town) and thirty-thirty waddling (?) on thirty-three tractors towed by trains.

Hmmm... Well it must make sense in Italian. :)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Speaking of Fr. Carola... another homily!

A. M. D. G.

The Res of Diaconal Ministry at the Altar: The μαρτυρι,α [Martyrdom] of Saint Stephen
Father Joseph Carola, S.J.
The Pontifical North American College, Vatican City
31 March 2008, the Solemnity of the Annunciation

Acts 6:1 – 8:1

At his ordination to the diaconate, the candidate declares his resolution to shape his way of life always according to the example of Christ, whose Body and Blood he will give to the people. Through the invocation of the Holy Spirit and the laying on of the bishop’s hands, the deacon is ordered to Christ the Servant, who, though He was in the form of God, did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at, but rather emptied Himself taking on the form of a slave serving obediently unto death on a cross. In the words of this Christological hymn found in St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, we recognize the example of Christ according to which the deacon solemnly promises to conform his way of living. He commits himself to a life of selfless service unto death. Thus serving he promises, moreover, to give not himself, but rather Christ to others. Serving at the altar he enters intimately into the mystery of Christ’s redemptive suffering. In the martyrdom of the Deacon Saint Stephen, we behold most clearly the res or sacramental reality of this diaconal ministry at the altar. On this account, I have chosen this evening to meditate with you upon the saintly Deacon’s holy death in order to grasp what diaconal ministry at the altar truly means. But before we consider the martyrdom account from Acts, let us first recall the intimate bound which Our Lord establishes between humble service and the Eucharistic Sacrifice. His final discourse at the Last Supper will provide us with a most helpful hermeneutical key.

After Jesus had washed His disciples’ feet, he asked them: “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master” (John 13:12b-16). Later that same evening, Jesus continued: “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecute me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also” (John 15:20). Concluding His final discourse, Jesus explained: “I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Since no servant is greater than his master, the deacon should realize that his ministry at the altar of Our Crucified Lord will entail suffering. His ministerial suffering, however, is not some oppressive burden ultimately leading to despair. Rather, it is a share in the redemptive suffering of Christ which the deacon joyfully bears in the sure hope of the Resurrection. By pouring himself out in ordained service of others, the deacon makes up in himself what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ. Indeed, the deacon’s ministry of self-sacrifice in conformity with Christ the Suffering Servant furthers the cause of our salvation. It becomes a source and channel of saving grace for others. In order to see more clearly the redemptive mystery at the heart of diaconal ministry, let us turn now to the martyrdom of Saint Stephen.

Through prayer and the laying on of hands, the Apostles ordained seven deacons for service at table. These seven cared especially for widows in the daily distribution. Their diaconal ministry was above all a ministry of charity which freed the Apostles to devote themselves to the more contemplative duties of prayer and the ministry of the word. First among the seven men chosen was “Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5). He “did great wonders and signs among the people” (Acts 6:8). But regarding the nature of these marvellous deeds, the Scriptures remain silent. Nor do they recount even a single episode of Stephen’s service at table. Rather they record at length the saintly Deacon’s final testimony and heroic witness when like his Lord he stood falsely accused before the council. Stephen’s martyrdom providentially parallels in great detail the passion and death of Our Lord. Indeed, the same men who had persecuted Jesus persecuted Stephen as well. It is in his death that we behold Stephen serving in imitation of his Divine Master who Himself served obediently unto death on a cross. Of Saint Stephen Jesus most truly said: no servant is greater than his master. We find in Saint Stephen what the deacon’s resolution to shape his way of life always according to the example of Christ ultimately means.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the unique Sacrifice of Christ upon the Cross. Christ the High Priest “entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption….he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9;12, 26). At each celebration of Holy Mass, the priest, deacon, ministers and faithful gathered at the altar sacramentally transcend both time and space and stand at the foot of Christ’s Cross on Calvary. Through the ministry of the priest, Christ’s unique Sacrifice is re-presented, that is, made truly present. Closer to the altar than all others save the priest himself, the deacon kneels in adoration before the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Thus his ordained service intimately unites him to his crucified and risen Lord. The Deacon Saint Stephen’s angelic face (cf. Acts 6:15) reminds us as well that the deacon minsters alongside angels at the Altar of Sacrifice. For “[a]t that moment,” Saint John Chrysostom instructs, “angels attend the priest, and the whole dais and the sanctuary are thronged with heavenly powers in honor of Him who lies there” (Six Books on the the Priesthood, IV.4).

In the Eucharist we encounter the Risen Jesus Crucified. It is His resurrected Body which the deacon ministers to the faithful. Saint Stephen witnessed to this truth. For at the moment of his own self-offering in strict conformity with the Sacrifice of Christ, Stephen, “full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55-56). Despite the severe trial, which he was undergoing, he witnessed joyfully to the Resurrection. He was of good cheer, acknowledging that Jesus had indeed overcome the world. But Stephen’s joy was met with rage. They “rushed together upon him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him” (Acts 7:57b-58a).

No servant is greater than his master. Just as the Roman soldiers had led Christ outside the city walls to the place called Golgotha where they crucified Him, the outraged crowd led Stephen outside the walls and stoned him to death. “As they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit’” (Acts 7:59). From the day of his ordination until the day of his death, the deacon similarly prayers each night before falling asleep—that is, before entering into a death-like slumber: “Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.” He echoes Stephen who echoed Jesus who from the Cross had cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). From the cathedra of His Cross Christ likewise taught Stephen to love his enemies and to pray for his persecutors. “Father, forgive them;” Jesus had prayed, “for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). With his dying breath Stephen similarly interceded, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60). Saint Stephen’s prayer did not go unheeded. His diaconal ministry at the altar—the reality which his martyrdom reveals—proved a powerful instrument of the Lord’s saving grace. For through it the persecutor Saul became the preacher Paul.

Saint Stephen’s example teaches us that the deacon’s ministry at the altar intimately conforms him to the Sacred Mysteries which the Church celebrates in Her Eucharist. In answering the call to serve at the altar, the deacon willingly acknowledges that no servant is greater than his master. The Master of the Altar at which the deacon serves is the Risen Lord Jesus Crucified who by His Cross redeemed the world. I would argue, then, that we can rightly apply to the diaconal vocation the summons which our Father Ignatius places upon Christ’s lips in the Kingdom Meditation found in the Spiritual Exercises. “It is my will,” Christ declares, “to conquer the whole world and all my enemies, and thus to enter into the glory of my Father. Therefore, whoever wishes to join me in this enterprise must be willing to labor with me, that by following me in suffering, he may follow me in glory” (Spiritual Exercises # 95). To serve at the altar means nothing other than to serve under the Banner of Christ, that is, under the Banner of the Cross. In imitation of Christ Crucified, the deacon conquers by love, pardon and prayer. His ministry calls him to serve in the highest spiritual poverty, and should it please the Divine Majesty, our Father Ignatius would also counsel, and should He deign to choose His servant for it, even in actual poverty. A servant no greater than his master, the deacon gladly bears insults and contempt with Christ who suffered them before him. Such intimate union with the Suffering Christ assures the humility of his diaconal service by which he should never give himself but only and always Christ to others.

My brothers, when you serve at the altar and kneel in adoration before the Eucharistic Sacrifice, remember that no servant is greater than his master. Recall the martyrdom of the Deacon Saint Stephen. Pray that your own ministry will likewise bear such salvific fruit. For Stephen’s death gained us Paul. May your own humble service at the altar likewise win many souls for Christ Our Lord.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Some Have Hats!

Um, this completely doesn't have anything to do with almost anything that pretty much anyone who is reading this blog cares about... but I can't help it.

The heading banner image up at the always-wonderful blog Some Have Hats includes... a photo of Fr. Carola that I took when he was in Norcia, Italy - wearing that trademark hat of his! And what company he keeps - right between his spirtiual father, St. Ignatius, and his Holy Father, Pope Benedict.

Hey, Karen... tip of the hat to you for your taste in headwear (and the heads wearing it)!

Boy am I glad I got to see that before entering the convent. :)

Friday, May 02, 2008

Welcome to our new ordinary!

Congratulations, Your Excellency, and WELCOME from all of us!

It's official - Archbishop John Nienstedt is the ordinary of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Am I really the first of the local blogs to post this?

From the Vatican's daily Bollettino:


Il Santo Padre ha accettato la rinuncia al governo pastorale dell’arcidiocesi di St. Paul and Minneapolis (U.S.A.), presentata da S.E. Mons. Harry Flynn, in conformità al can. 401 § 1 del Codice di Diritto Canonico.

Gli succede il Coadiutore S.E. Mons. John C. Neinstedt.

My quick translation:

Resignation and Succession of the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis (USA)

The Holy Father has accepted the resignation of pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis presented by His Excellency Harry Flynn, in conformity with canon 401 §1 of the Code of Canon Law [A diocesan bishop who has completed the seventy-fifth year of age is requested to present his resignation from office to the Supreme Pontiff, who will make provision after he has examined all the circumstances.].

He is succeeded by the Coadjutor, His Excellency John C. Neinstedt.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Quiet Strength - Avery Cardinal Dulles

Earlier this month, Cardinal Dulles gave his last McGinley Lecture, which he wrote but had to be read for him. Entitled “A Life in Theology,” the lecture reflected this latest phase of his long life — he will be 90 this August.

“Suffering and diminishment are not the greatest of evils, but are normal ingredients in life, especially in old age. They are to be accepted as elements of a full human existence,” he said. “As I become increasingly paralyzed and unable to speak, I can identify with the many paralytics and mute persons in the Gospels, grateful for the loving and skillful care I receive and for the hope of everlasting life in Christ. If the Lord now calls me to a period of weakness, I know well that his power can be made perfect in infirmity. Blessed be the name of the Lord!”

I have long been a reader of the sensible and yet elegant insights offered by Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J. - but I had no idea that his health had taken such a turn for worse. What a marvelous witness to the reality and meaning of our life and the suffering that we are offered, be it from illness or simply the passage of time. The good Cardinal is 90 years old and suffers from post-polio symptoms, leaving him unable to walk or speak any longer, yet still he lives his life to fullest, keeping his "eyes fixed upon Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith" (Hebrews 12:2).

Do read the whole article over at the National Catholic Register.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sandals & Fiddlebacks

...a perfect combination if I do say so myself.

Ecco, behold, a wonderful video produced by the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate of the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass:

Gorgeous, simply gorgeous. Oh, and no - that wasn't Latin you were hearing, the singing was in Italian! (The community's order of Sisters in Italy recorded the "soundtrack")

They are singing a setting of St. Francis of Assisi's "Prayer in Praise of Mary".

Here is the Italian, and then the most common of the English translations:

Ave, Signora, santa regina, santa Madre di Dio, Maria, che sei vergine fatta Chiesa ed eletta dal santissimo Padre celeste, che ti ha consacrata insieme col santissimo suo Figlio diletto e con lo Spirito Santo Paraclito; tu in cui fu ed è ogni pienezza di grazia e ogni bene.

Ave, suo palazzo,
Ave suo tabernacolo.
Ave, sua casa.
Ave, suo vestimento, ave, sua ancella.
Ave, sua Madre.
E saluto voi tutte, sante virtù,
che per grazia e illuminazione dello Spirito Santo
venite infuse nei cuori dei fedeli,
perché da infedeli,
fedeli a Dio li rendiate.

Hail, holy Lady, most holy Queen,
Mary, Mother of God, ever Virgin.
You were chosen by the Most High Father in heaven,
consecrated by Him, with His most Holy Beloved Son
and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.

On you descended and still remains all the fullness of grace and every good.
Hail, His Palace.
Hail His Tabernacle.
Hail His Robe.
Hail His Handmaid.
Hail, His Mother.
and Hail, all holy Virtues, who, by grace and inspiration of the Holy Spirit,
are poured into the hearts of the faithful
so that from their faithless state,
they may be made faithful servants of God through you.

Bellissima, eh?

Fra Angelico's Annunciation