Sunday, October 29, 2017

Franciscan quotation

As in heaven Your will is punctually performed, so may it be done on earth by all creatures, particularly in me and by me.
- Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
Pax et bonum

The Divine Praises (and inappropriate language)

Blessed be God.
Blessed be His Holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.
Blessed be the Name of Jesus.
Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be His Most Precious Blood.
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most Holy.
Blessed be her Holy and Immaculate Conception.
Blessed be her Glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints. Amen.

The Divine Praises have been a part of my prayer life for a while now.

Often associated with Benediction services - I do say it then - I've made recitation of it as a part of my morning prayers each day, and as a prayer that I recite at Mass after Communion (along with the St. Michael Prayer and the Hail Mary).

Apparently it was originally composed in the 18th Century as a way to make reparation for profane or blasphemous language. I did not know that, but given my ongoing fight against the use of foul and  offensive language, it makes my use of the prayer even more appropriate.

And now knowing this, maybe I should recite it whenever I'm tempted - or give in - to using insulting or sarcastic language. After all, when I speak unkindly of or toward others I am insulting Our Lord as well.

I recommend daily recitation of this prayer - and especially when moved to be less guarded in what we say.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Franciscan quotation

Any old woman can love God better than a doctor of theology can. - St. Bonaventure

Pax et bonum

Federal Heartbeat Bill: Ban Abortion Once Heartbeat Is Detected

This would be wonderful!

Federal Heartbeat Bill would ban abortion once a heartbeat is detected

Pax et bonum

40 Days for Life - one early Saturday morning

I was outside Planned Parenthood shortly after 7 a.m. this morning holding up my 40 Days for Life sign ("Pray For An End To Abortion") saying a rosary when a driver pulled up to me.

Not know what to expect I said good morning through his open window.

He greeted me back, and said that abortion is wrong (phew), but it won't change until the government does.

I agreed that the government has to change, but noted that the current administration is cutting back on Planned Parenthood /abortion funding, and we have a chance to change the Supreme Court.

He thought it was good to cut their funding, then repeated the government has to do something.

I said that I thought Planned Parenthood is getting scared they will lose funding and that the laws will change, and that I'm more optimistic.

He said that's good, then drove off.

Several other people drove or walked by and gave a thumbs up or waved. Only one person gave me the finger.

A woman walked behind me. I said, "Good morning." She responded in kind, then asked what my sign said. She walked in front of me, read it, and commented that it would be good if we could get rid of abortion. We chatted for a moment, then she wished me well and turned to leave. I said "God bless." She nodded, then continued down the street.

As staff arrived at the clinic I turned my sign toward them. I kept smiling - and hoping that their hearts will be touched. I prayed for them.

I'm optimistic.

I sense things are slowly changing.

Pax et bonum

Nani Chineke (ft. Fr. Tansi Ibisi, CFR)

Lovely - and inspiring.

Pax et bonum

Friday, October 27, 2017

Franciscan quotation

Men do not fear a powerful hostile army as the powers of hell fear the name and protection of Mary. - St. Bonaventure

Pax et bonum

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Franciscan quotation

"You cannot please both God and the world at the same time, They are utterly opposed to each other in their thoughts, their desires, and their actions." - Saint John Vianney

Pax et bonum

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Franciscan quotation

Those who are called to the table of the Lord must glow with the brightness. - St. John of Capistrano

Pax et bonum

Monday, October 23, 2017

Our God Is Good

Rock of Faith - my group - will be leading the congregation in this hymn November 12. 

Pax et bonum

Franciscan quotation

You have the Testaments, both old and new,
and the shepherd of the church to be your guide;
and this is all you need to lead you true.

- Dante, The Paradiso, Canto V (John Ciardi translation)

Pax et bonum

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Crisis Pregnancy Centers Deserve Support

One of the ways to counter abortion - and the frequent charge that pro-lifers only care about the unborn children - is by highlighting and promoting the many health centers and crisis pregnancy centers

There are so many people doing good work, promoting life, supporting women and children, even in the face of violence and threats.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Planned Parenthood, "Pro-Woman" When It Supports Sex-Selection Abortion?

It's about profits, not women or real health care.

How Can Planned Parenthood be Pro-Woman When It Supports Sex-Selection Abortions?: Planned Parenthood wants you to think it is the champion of women. But if it achieves its goals, there may not be very many women left to champion. Last year

Pax et bonum

Blogs are dead?

I keep seeing people comment that blogs are dead. Indeed, other forms of social media seem to have supplanted them.

But then I see people still posting. Some combine them with other media - links to Twitter or Facebook, for example.

Blogs still provide an outlet for sharing thoughts and creativity and spirituality.

I will keep blogging

Blog's not dead.

Pax et bonum

Friday, October 20, 2017

Suspicious Package Left Near Pro-Lifers Praying Outside Abortion Clinic to Scare Them Off

I wonder if a pro-choicer will face arrest?

Suspicious Package Left Near Pro-Lifers Praying Outside Abortion Clinic to Scare Them Off: A suspicious package was found near a 40 Days for Life prayer vigil Friday in Dallas, Texas, prompting pro-life advocates to call the police and the bomb squad.

Pax et bonum

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Franciscan quotation

“Be sure that you first preach by the way you live. If you do not, people will notice that you say one thing, but live otherwise, and your words will bring only cynical laughter and a derisive shake of the head.” - St. Charles Borromeo

Pax et bonum

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Catholic Bishop: You Can’t be Catholic and Support Abortion

I've been saying this - as have a number of bishop and theologians.

Catholic Bishop: You Can’t be Catholic and Support Abortion: From our Catholic readers around the world, but especially in the United States, one of the biggest complaints we often hear is that fellow Catholics do not follow ...

Pax et bonum

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Franciscan quotation

“If a tiny spark of God’s love already burns within you, do not expose it to the wind, for it may get blown out… Stay quiet with God. Do not spend your time in useless chatter… Do not give yourself to others so completely that you have nothing left for yourself.” - St. Charles Borromeo

Pax et bonum

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Franciscan quotation

Be a Catholic: When you kneel before an altar, do it in such a way that others may be able to recognize that you know before whom you kneel. - St. Maximilian Kolbe

Pax et bonum

My Heart Beats Too (Pro-life)

Pax et bonum

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Independent Christian Films and Outsider Art

I've been somewhat critical of independent Christian films like War Room and Facing the Giants and God's Not Dead. I don't hate them - I even like many of them - but they often have poor production values, weak plots and character development, and uneven acting; they allow message to overwhelm good storytelling.

But, as I said, I still like many of them. Given the moral dreck Hollywood tends to put out - even when it tries to make religious/faith-based films (Gods and Kings, the misguided remake of Ben-Hur, and so on) - I'd pick the flawed but well-meaning films. And there are even some good ones lately - like Risen.

Then it dawned on me - many of these movies are akin to outsider art (also called self-taught art, folk art, or na├»ve art).

These self-taught outsider artists have something to say. Some have mental illness or various mental disabilities, and art is a way they try to express their thoughts and feelings. Some are perfectly normal people who just seek ways to give vent to their artistic sides though they are not formally trained - think of Grandma Moses.

Some of these independent Christian films have a lot in common with outsider art. Good people are trying to communicate with the world though they lack polished film-making skills - or lack the money to make better movies. But their flaws are sometimes part of their charm.

They are not alone in this. There have been "outsider" film makers since the dawn of movie-making. Some even become cult figures like Ed Wood (about whom a funny tribute film was made starring Johnny Depp as the cross-dressing Orson Wells fan!).

And as these Christian film-makers keep making films, some of them are getting better.

I'd still prefer quality films with religious themes - and there have been many (The Song of Bernadette, The Mission, Babette's Feast, and so on). But I'll still buy tickets for the outsider films and appreciate them for what they convey, just as I sometimes enjoy outsider art.

Maybe some day one of the Christian directors will even get to declare, "Perfect."

Pax et bonum

Christ Have Mercy - The Thirsting

Not my style of music normally, but powerful message.

Pax et bonum

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima

In honor of the 100th anniversary of Mary's last apparition at Fatima, we are watching The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima.

Although it's a little "Hollywoodized" (The  Gilbert Roland character, for example), it is still sincere and respectful in away that so many more modern Hollywood "religious" movies are not.

Yes, there are the earnest independent Christian films, but the preach dominates and they lack the qualities of good movie storytelling.

This 1952 movie holds up well. The plot is well crafted, the acting and dialogue are fine, the characters are believable. And it successfully conveys a message of faith.

(We also own and like the more recent - and "artsy" - The 13th Day, but were in the mood for the older film.)

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Pax et bonum

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Paradiso (Dante)

After my detour with contemporary Catholic fiction (Motherless), I've returned to more nourishing spiritual and literary fare - Dante's Paradiso. I'd already read the Inferno and Purgatorio, so it's time to finish.

After that? Hmm. Maybe something by Joseph Pearce.

Pax et bonum

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Franciscan quotation

“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” - Pope St. John XXIII

Pax et bonum

Monday, October 9, 2017

Franciscan quotation (Columbus)

No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of our Saviour, if it is just and if the intention is purely for His holy service. - Christopher Columbus

Pax et bonum

Pretty dog at pet blessing

Ignore the fat guy - great looking dog!

Pax et bonum

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Franciscan quotation

More and more, Francis harbored within himself a profound instinct that the saving plan of God, as revealed by the child-Savior born in Bethlehem, was to touch every part of the created world. - Father Jack Wintz, O.F.M.

Pax et bonum

Focus on the Good, the True, the Beautiful

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. - PHIL 4: 8

God has created an incredible universe, and has blessed our lives in so many way. Yes, pain and sorrow exist, but we have a choice what we focus on and how we deal with it.

I remember the mother of a high school friend. She was dealing with illness - I'm not sure of the nature of it, but she was bed-ridden much of the time, and they even set up her bed in a first floor room that I think used to be an enclosed porch with windows on three sides so she did not have to go up and down stairs, and so she could be with her family and friends.

She never complained about her illness. She always seems to have a smile and a positive, encouraging word. We teens used to go to visit her, to pour out our latest woes, to listen to her funny and uplifting stories, or simply to sit with her. She made us feel better.

And then there's St. Francis. He could have railed against the corruption in the Church or in his society. Instead, he sang praises to God for the sun the moon, the wind, and even Sister Death.

Francis did not ignore what was wrong. But rather than just criticizing and entertaining others with sarcasm and clever put downs, he went lovingly among the outcasts and lepers to take care of them and give them comfort. And he choose not to feed his mind and soul with what was sinful and dark and which could tempt him.

So, we too need to focus on the Good, the Beautiful, the True. I know I need to question what television shows and movies I watch, the music I listen to, the materials I read. I need to keep asking myself if God came right now, would He be happy with what I choosing to spend my time with?

Instead, I need to turn to things that are nourishing for my soul and mind, and that won't open the doors of temptation and of distorted thinking and morality. And in my writing, even when I do decry what is wrong in the world, I need to ask myself, "Is what I am saying for the greater Glory of God"?

Yes, there is room for - even a need for - John the Baptists crying out in the wilderness, but that must be done with love. The goal is not simply to tear down, but rather, to point to salvation.  

And even when we do speak out, we must never be blind to the many gifts with which God has blessed us, and to let praise ever be in our hearts and on our lips.
The Canticle of the Creatures
By St. Francis of Assisi

Most High, all-powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, and the honor, and all blessing.

To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no human is worthy to mention Your name.

Praised be You, my Lord, with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Son, who is the day and through whom You give us light.

And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor;
and bears a likeness of You, Most High One.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
in heaven You formed them clear and precious and beautiful.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather,
through whom You give sustenance to Your creatures.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night,
and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.

Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains and governs us,
and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs.

Praised be You, my Lord,
through those who give pardon for Your love,
and bear infirmity and tribulation.

Blessed are those who endure in peace for by You,
Most High, shall they be crowned.

Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no one living can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin.

Blessed are those whom death will find in Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.

Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks and serve Him with great humility.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Franciscan quotation (a prayer of St. Francis)

May the Lord bless you.
May the Lord keep you.
May He show His face to you and have mercy. May He turn to you His countenance and give you peace.
The Lord bless you.

-- St. Francis

Pax et bonum

Friday, October 6, 2017

Franciscan quotation ( a prayer of St. Francis)

Prayer before the San Damiano Crucifix

Most High, glorious God enlighten the darkness of my heart. Give me true faith, certain hope and perfect charity, sense and knowledge that I may carry out Your Holy and true command.  

- Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi to discern God’s will

Pax et bonum

Senate Introduces Pro-Life Bill Banning Late-Term Abortions After 20 Weeks

This bill is not perfect - it still permits the execution of children conceived in rape, even though they are not at fault - but it is a step in the right direction.

Senate Introduces Pro-Life Bill Banning Late-Term Abortions After 20 Weeks After House Passage: Now that the House has passed a pro-life bill that bans abortions from after 20-weeks of pregnancy up to the day of birth, the Senate plans to follow suit. ...

Pax et bonum

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Franciscan quotation

In the hour of farewell, or, better, of leave-taking, I repeat once more that what matters most in this life is: our blessed Jesus Christ, his holy Church, his Gospel, and in the Gospel above all else the Our Father according to the mind and heart of Jesus, and the truth and goodness of his Gospel, goodness which must be meek and kind, hardworking and patient, unconquerable and victorious. - Pope St. John XXIII

Pax et bonum

Brother Sun And Sister Moon (St. Francis)

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us.

Pax et bonum

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Franciscan quotation

If there be a true way that leads to the Everlasting Kingdom, it is most certainly that of suffering, patiently endured.  - Saint Colette of Corbie

Pax et bonum

House Passes Bill Banning Late-Term Abortions After 20 Weeks

This is a welcome vote - but now it must make it through the Senate. I am less optimistic about passage there due to some Republicans who are coopted.

House Passes Pro-Life Bill Banning Late-Term Abortions After 20 Weeks: The House of Representatives today approved a pro-life bill that bans abortions from after 20-weeks of pregnancy up to the day of birth.

Pax et bonum

"Motherless" - well-meaning, but ...

I'm reading Brian Gail's Motherless, the middle book of his trilogy (Fatherless, Motherless, Childless).

I'm at the point where I'm reading to finish it because I started it, not because I have a driving desire to find out what happens.

The book has it's merits, and it is addressing important moral issues, but like too many "Christian" movies, those issues are front and center instead of good storytelling.

There are some interesting characters, but too many of them run together and too many plot situations are strained to make the moral points.

Moral issues - faith struggles - can be dealt with in good fiction - Dostoyevsky, Graham Greene, and Michael O'Brien come to mind.

I wanted to like this book.

I will finish the it, but I don't know if I will go on to Childless.

Pax et bonum

Monday, October 2, 2017

Franciscan quotation

I care not where my body may take me as long as my soul is embarked on a meaningful journey. - Dante

Pax et bonum

President Trump expected to sign bill banning abortions after 20 weeks

Such abortions are truly barbaric - and that's saying a lot for a procedure that is by its very nature barbaric.

President Trump expected to sign legislation banning abortions after 20 weeks

Pax et bonum

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Franciscan quotation

“God is the love that moves the sun and stars.” - Dante

Pax et bonum