Saturday, November 10, 2018

It is spring here which is why we have not posted in a fair bit. That's right, we are south of the equator and spring means a very busy time with our cattle and our garden.

I know it seems odd to most of those living in the northern hemisphere. Warm weather at Christmas time is normal for us while others cannot quite wrap their heads around it. Our warm weather peaks in February around 26-32˚C or 80 - 90˚F.

We are joining the rest of the Plain Catholics in prayers for the priesthood and our Church. May we all endure in faith and fidelity to Jesus.

Cheers and ta.

Friday, September 7, 2018

The Lord is cleaning His house

We see the need for the purification of our Catholic Church and even though it will be painful, needs must be done. Our Lord is cleaning His house, which seems to happen every 500 years or so. The first was with Saint Benedict who established monasteries and reformed monastic life in Europe around 500 AD. 

About 500 years later, St. Peter Damian, Benedictine monk, reforming Cardinal and a Doctor of the Church, in 1050 AD wrote a scathing treatise on the corruption of bishops and clergy and started a reform of ordination of clerics and bishops.  Pope Benedict XVI described him as "one of the most significant figures of the 11th century ... a lover of solitude and at the same time a fearless man of the Church, committed personally to the task of reform." We could use another St. Peter Damian right now.

Of course, in the next 500 (plus or minus) years later complacency set in yet again and the Reformation with Luther's 95 theses in 1517 AD spurred another house cleaning.

Now we are 500 years after the Reformation and it is time for another house cleaning by the Lord. It will not be comfortable but it is necessary for us to become rededicated to serving Jesus as worthy disciples. As Hebrews 12:11 reminds us:

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

May God bless us with the grace to endure and persevere in holy discipleship.

Romans 12:12 Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Amen.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Doing what we can with what we have...

Fr. Longenecker wrote an insightful article that resonates with Plain Catholic living and we feel offers encouragement to everyone in these troubled times.

Opting for Saint Benedict in an Ordinary Parish

Benedictines don’t opt out or hunker down waiting for an apocalypse. They are simply realistic and understand that when things reach a particular state of societal breakdown, there is an accompanying breakdown in rational discourse and conscientious dialogue. Where there is social anarchy, there is philosophical anarchy.
Realizing this, Saint Benedict and his followers down the ages have simply gotten down on their knees, rolled up their sleeves, and gotten to work doing what they can, with what they have, where they are. Without grumbling or being paranoid and apocalyptic… they simply get on with it... 
Like Saint Benedict we’re not trying to change the whole world. We’re simply doing what we can with what we have where we are. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Novus Quodlibet: the New Whatever

An article lamenting the loss of our heritage Mass music (Novus Quodlibet: the New Whatever) has me thinking about forced enculturation in general and the need for silence for the purpose of prayer. The author also makes the point:
At one church, I am urged to get up (if I can; they make allowances for people with disabilities) and greet the people around me by name. I do not want to do this. I find it false. I do not remember the names of strangers, and I do not like to give my name out to strangers, either. It’s an act of aggressive etiquette, parading as bonhomie. I do not go to church for bonhomie. If I ever wanted it, I would go to a bar and order gin and tonic.
Whether it is politically correct speech being forced into conversations, forced greetings, "entertainment Masses" or the aforementioned "New Whatever", the whole idea of silence and prayer seems to be left out.

In our Plain Catholic home we only have a weather radio with emergency bands. It can run on electric or on a dynamo hand crank in case our electricity is out. That is all we need. No telly with its incessant whinging about the latest political brush fire or insta-celebrity mouthing scripted politics. Our computer usage is limited to correspondence via email and to financial records as well as our occasional contribution to this blog.

The rest of our lives are the conversations with each other and the silence of prayer. Those conversations we have are as much about listening to each other as they are about talking to each other. To truly listen means to silence our own thoughts and our own lips. We do not force politically correct speech onto the other. We listen with an open heart.

What can you do today to silence the relentless noise of mass media and enculturation that distracts you from your relationship with Jesus?

Friday, June 22, 2018

Renew Yourself in Christ

Romans 12: 2
Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

2 Corinthians 4:16
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5
for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ

Colossians 3: 2
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as you teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

John 8:32
and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Hidden Life

 What does the hidden life of Jesus in Nazareth teach us?

In the course of his hidden life in Nazareth Jesus stayed in the silence of an ordinary existence. This allows us to enter into fellowship with him in the holiness to be found in a daily life marked by prayer, simplicity, work and family love. His obedience to Mary to Joseph, his foster father, is an image of his filial obedience to the Father. Mary and Joseph accepted with faith the mystery of Jesus even though they did not always understand it.
Further reading: CCC 533-534, 564

One of the things I find most striking about this bit of the Catechism is how everything, EVERYTHING is grounded in the living and love of one's family. It reminds me of the importance of what we as Plain Catholics are trying to do. Through prayer, simplicity, work and family love we're given a foundation that we share with Jesus. Amen!

Friday, March 2, 2018

A Less Well-Known but Essential Role of the Priest

This is one of the those thought jogger articles. We always enjoy Msgr. Pope's clear common sense.

A Less Well-Known but Essential Role of the Priest
 • March 1, 2018
There are many roles that come to mind when one thinks of a parish priest or pastor: he is to celebrate the Liturgy, to preach, to teach, and to care for the people’s pastoral needs. In the reading for Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent, Jeremiah refers to a role many of us would not think of. As he reflects on his prophetic role, Jeremiah says to the Lord,
Remember that I stood before you to speak in their behalf, to turn away your wrath from them (Jer 18:20).
Very few people would say, “My pastor turns away God’s wrath from me.” Part of the reason for this is that we have “domesticated” God, even trivialized Him. Many think of God more as a grandfather than a father. The idea that we need to be prepared to see Him has often been replaced by the notion that He will simply welcome us into Heaven.
We must also be careful to understand what is meant by the “wrath” of God. It does not mean that He is angry or in a bad temper; God is not moody. Scripture says,

  • In God there is no variableness or shadow of turning (James 1:17).
  • For I, the LORD, do not change (Malachi 3:6).
  • And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: (Ex 3:14).

God is not wrathful one moment and serene the next.
The wrath of God is not in Him; it is in us. It is our possible experience of God if we are not ready to encounter Him. For example, if we are used to moral darkness, the glorious brightness of God’s holiness will seem harsh and unbearable to us. We might call this the “horror of God,” but the horror is in us not in Him. Similarly, if we are used to the coldness of this world of sin, the fiery warmth of God’s love will seem to us as a blazing, wrathful inferno. The problem is in us, not in God. (I have written more on this topic here: What is the Wrath of God?.)
Jeremiah sees a role for the preacher as turning away the wrath of God from His people. The bishop, priest, or deacon does this by accustoming God’s people to the light of truth and the temperature of glory. As we are repeatedly taught God’s ways and learn them, the proclaimed word of God does more than inform us; it transforms us (if we let it). This prepares us to see God—and we must be prepared to see Him.
St Gregory the Great says this of the priest:
The lips of the priest are to preserve knowledge, and men shall look to him for the law, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts … Anyone ordained a priest undertakes the task of preaching, so that with a loud cry he may go on ahead of the terrible judge who follows (Pope Gregory Pastoral Guide, Book 2:4).
We almost never speak of Jesus this way, as “terrible judge.” Of course, “terrible” is used here more in the sense of awe or reverential fear. The word “terrible” literally means “able to cause terror.” If there is a terror, though, it is in us, not in God, who is love. Thus St. Gregory is actually saying the same thing that Jeremiah did: the role of the priest is to prepare God’s people so that terror is not their experience on their day of judgment. The judgment seat of Christ is nothing to be cavalier about. It will be a place of great honesty—and most of us are made uncomfortable by that! Therefore, we must be prepared by Word and Sacrament for our day of judgment.

Matthew 5:16 So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

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