Showing posts from 2010

Jesus's genealogy and colourful ancestors

Hat tip to Apostolate of the Laity for spotting this interesting video.

If the Three Kings were on Twitter...

Mulier Fortis: Another Neat Christmas Video...

If the Holy Family were using facebook...

Elizabeth comments that her baby John leaps in her womb when Our Lady, pregnant with Jesus, approaches her. The future John the Baptist's jubilant bounce marks the joyousness of the occasion of the visit of Jesus to his home.
At the time of Our Lady's visit to Elizabeth, Jesus would have been an embryo, but even in his tiny embryonic state he is still recognised as fully human and Divine. I don’t mean to sound too preachy, but there’s a profound, echoing message here for our generation. There are endless debates among Catholics and Christians as to whether or not embryos are ‘human’ or not or if they have any ‘value’. Yet the founder of our Christian religion, Jesus Christ was celebrated as the Messiah, when He was an embryo.
Twitch-of-the-mantilla to Mulier Fortis, I saw this video on her outstanding blog.

Poignant video that may touch the coldest of hearts

Hat tip to Robert Colquhoun. I first saw this video on Robert’s ground-breaking blog, Love Undefiled.

Affectionate, warm Padre Pio

A penitent recounted that; “Padre Pio often, stopped in the sacristy greeting his spiritual children and friends by kissing them. I looked with holy envy on those so fortunate and I thought: “Blessed him! If I were him! Blessed! Blessed him! On Christmas 1958, I knelt, in front of Padre Pio for confession. Afterwards, I looked at him and while full of emotion I asked him: “Father, today is the Christmas day, can I wish you Merry Christmas by giving you a kiss? And he, with a sweetness that I am not able to describe with the pen, smiled at me and said: “Hurry up, my child, don’t make me waste time“! He also embraced me. I kissed him and as a bird, joyful, I went toward the exit full of celestial delights. And what can I say about some slaps on the head? Every time, before leaving from St. Giovanni Rotondo, I desired Father Pio gave me a sign of particular predilection. In fact I also wanted two small slaps on the head as two fatherly caresses. I have to underline that he never refused …

ECHR rules: ‘Ireland must enact abortion laws.’ Ireland treated like a badly behaved nation of stupid children who need their laws decided for them.

The ECHR unanimously ruled this morning that the rights of one of three women who took a case challenging Ireland’s abortion laws were breached because she had no “effective or accessible procedure” to establish her right to a “lawful abortion”. The woman—known only as “C”—had a rare form of cancer and feared it would relapse when she became pregnant. She claimed she was unable to find a doctor willing to make a determination as to whether her life would be at risk if she continued to term.In the absence of any medical evidence, the court concluded that neither the “medical consultation nor litigation options” relied on by the Government constituted “effective or accessible procedures”.

“Moreover, there was no explanation why the existing constitutional right had not been implemented to date,” the court ruled, referring to the "X Case" judgement. “Consequently, the court concluded that Ireland had breached the third applicant’s—C’s—right to respect for her priv…

Baby Jesus was seen to appear in Padre Pio's arms. Padre Pio and Christmas Part Four

Padre Pio had a profound humility; he was blessed with extraordinary spiritual gifts, but he always, always considered himself the least of his fellow priests. Padre Pio never asked anything for himself, but he treasured and loved the privilege of offering Midnight Mass. This was a solemn Mass, and the right to offer it usually belonged to the guardian of San Giovanni. But successive guardians, knowing how much offering this Mass meant to Fr. Pio, gave Padre Pio the honour of celebrating it.
It was a long Mass – Padre Pio sometimes finished at five in the morning. But many of the faithful went to great pains to attend it. It was an arduous journey to the friary in the 1920s and 1930s, when the road was a rocky mule path, and in winter it was coated in snow and ice. Before Midnight Mass, Padre Pio waited and greeted those who had come; his face would be transfigured with joy.
Lucia Ladanza recalls a miraculous event that took place, the night of December 24, 1922. The friars had brou…

Why was Padre Pio thought to be 'in ecstasy' during Christmas time? Part Three

Padre Pio was advised to become a confessor, instead of a preacher. On account of his ailing health, preaching would have been too tiring and strenuous. His brother friars told how Padre Pio requested that the crib be placed opposite his confessional so that he would be able to adore Baby Jesus while he administered the sacrament of penance (Padre Pio was a prayer multi-tasker!). For long hours, Padre Pio stayed in the confessional, sometimes up to and beyond 14 hours a day, and would rest his eyes on the statue of Baby Jesus. A spiritual daughter of his, Raffaeline Cerase, received a letter from him that gave powerful insights as to his deep devotion to Baby Jesus. Padre Pio, without any hyperbole, described how he felt his spirit was ‘being born again to a new life’ when the Holy Novena in honour of Baby Jesus began. St. Pio’s exact words to Raffaeline were: “When the Holy Novena begins in honour of the Baby Jesus; it feels as though my spirit were being born again to a new life. I …

Why was Padre Pio thought to be 'in ecstasy' during Christmas time? Part Two

Padre Pio's great love for the crib started when he is a child.  Padre Pio practised this great devotion to the crib, which is so reminiscent of Saint Francis, even as a child when he lived with his parents. At his home in Pietrelcina, he always wanted to prepare the crib himself. He would start work on it as early as October. While he pastured the family’s flock of sheep with his friends, he would search for the clay which he would use to fashion the small statues of shepherds, sheep, and the other characters which he would place in the crib scene. He became very quick and accomplished in this task, and would prepare statuettes for his friends, too.  The picture above shows examples of clay figures for a crib, but are there any pictures of Padre Pio's handmade figures for his family crib?

He would take particular care when making the model of the Baby Jesus. He would make and re-make the Christ-child continually, remembered one of his playmates, Luigi Orlando. When he had fini…

Next Thursday might just mark the most dismal day in Irish history

What if only the top of Ireland, representing the North of Ireland is left green after next Thursday?

For all the wrong reasons, next Thursday December 16th might be a drastic turning point in Irish history. It’s the day that the ‘European Court of Human Rights’ may make a decision for Ireland – to legislate for abortion. This court has the authority to rule that Ireland’s pro-life laws infringe upon women’s human rights.
The reason that a far-off court is mulling over Ireland’s law that bans abortion, is because Ireland is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights. And this court, the ‘ECHR’ has the authority to decide that Ireland’s pro-life laws are ‘in breach’ of the Convention. Whatever next? The court’s rulings are binding, and Ireland could be under strain to make abortion-on-demand lawful. This is a change from when the women originally took the case, when the rulings of the court/the ECHR were not ‘binding’.

In 2005, the case was originally founded on three wome…

Why was Padre Pio thought to be 'in ecstasy' during Christmas time? Part One

Fr. Ignazio da Ielsi, the guardian of the convent at San Giovanni Rotondo from 1922 to 1925, when Padre Pio was still young and had just received the stigmata, wrote in his diary: It is unnecessary to say with what passion Padre Pio celebrates Christmas. He thinks about it all the time. He counts the days to go from one Christmas or the next. The Baby Jesus holds a special attraction for him. It is enough for him to hear a Christmas carol or a lullaby and his spirit soars. To look at him you’d think he were in ecstasy. Everyone who counts the days to Christmas, and enjoys carols has a lot in common with Padre Pio. It is a surprise for many to learn that Padre Pio yearned so profoundly for the Christmas liturgical feast. A lot of descriptions of Padre Pio throw around words like ‘stern’, ‘strict’ and ‘harsh’, but we need to amend our image of Padre Pio to allow the images of the spirited saint who looked as if he were ‘in ecstasy’ upon hearing a carol or lullaby and who had fervent aff…

Padre Pio: Baby Jesus 'is satisfied with humble and poor adorers'

Refused lodging among men, he seeks refuge and comfort among mere animals, choosing their habitation as the place of his birth, allowing their breath to give warmth to his tender body. He permits simple and rustic shepherds to be the first to pay their respects to him, after he himself informed them, by means of his angels, of the wonderful mystery.
Oh wisdom and power of God, we are constrained to exclaim – enraptured along with your Apostle – how incomprehensible are your judgments and unsearchable your ways! Poverty, humility, abjection, contempt, all surround the Word made flesh. But we, out of the darkness that envelops the incarnate Word, understand one thing, hear one voice, perceive one sublime truth: you have done everything out of love, you invite us to nothing else but love, speak of nothing except love, give us naught except proofs of love.
The heavenly babe suffers and cries in the crib so that for us suffering would be sweet, meritorious and accepted. He deprives himsel…

Padre Pio: the Infant Jesus’ newborn cries were ‘the first ransom for our redemption’

Far into the night, at the coldest time of the year, in a chilly grotto, more suitable for a flock of beasts than for humans, the promised Messiah – Jesus – the savior of mankind, comes into the world in the fullness of time. There are none who clamor around him: only an ox and an ass lending their warmth to the newborn infant; with a humble woman, and a poor and tired man, in adoration beside him. Nothing can be heard except the sobs and whimpers of the infant God. And by means of his crying and weeping he offers to the Divine justice the first ransom for our redemption. He had been expected for forty centuries; with longing sighs the ancient Fathers had implored his arrival. The sacred scriptures clearly prophesy the time and the place of his birth, and yet the world is silent and no one seems aware of the great event. Only some shepherds, who had been busy watching over their sheep in the meadows, come to visit him. Heavenly visitors had alerted them to the wondrous event, inviting…

The Little Flower and James Joyce - what do they have in common?

I was rather hoping that the Little Flower's writing style would be more that of Jane Austen, but when I put this section from The Story of a Soul into the 'I Write Like' soft-ware analysis, it came up with James Joyce.
'Jesus set before me the book of nature. I understand how all the flowers God has created are beautiful, how the splendour of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away the perfume of the violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy. I understand that if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wild flowers. So it is in the world of souls, Jesus' garden. He has created smaller ones and those must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God's glances when He looks down at His feet. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be.'
The above extract demonstrates how she came to be known as the Lit…

Cardinal Ratzinger, attempted reforms to Canon Law that would have forced local bishops to observe proper juridical procedures against priests accused of abuse

This picture is the work of Anthony Corner. In 1988 Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, then-head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, attempted to bring reforms to the Code of Canon Law that would have forced local bishops to observe proper juridical procedures against priests accused of sexual abuse, and impose specific penalties against them if they were found guilty.
In an article published today by the Vatican’s press office, Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru, the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, shows that Pope Benedict XVI has for decades attempted to reform the process by which “graviora delicta,” or grave crimes, including sexual abuse of minors by clerics, are tried in the Church.
Bishop Arrieta writes, “The initiative [for reform] sprang from a deeply-held conviction of the Pontiff, the fruit of years of personal experience, and from his concern for the integrity and the consistent application of Church discipline.”
The article highlights a let…

The You-Tube Way to Meditating on the Rosary

Today, is a First Saturday, and I find that the other conditions may be met with relative ease. I, however, find that the most difficult stipulation is fifteen minutes meditating on the Mysteries of the Rosary while keeping Our Lord company. This must be a separate spiritual exercise to reciting the Five Decades of the Rosary.
Most days, I usually have the concentration of a flea with dementia, but now that it's December, when I start to set my mind to thinking about the Resurrection, I think of Christmas cards with the Infant Jesus. This You-Tube video really helped me concentrate on the Glorious Mysteries.

I’m offering my devotions today for my friend ContraSign, who has an important job interview soon. I prayed to St. Anthony for the intention that ContraSign become aware of lucrative job opportunities. Now, during this glacial Saturday in London, I will pray to the Immaculate Heart for the intention that ContraSign is successful in getting this job. Of your charity, may I ask…

Halleluja Chorus - so much better than jingle bells ad infinitum!

Can you imagine if something similar happened in those food courts/restaurants upstairs in Victoria Station? We'd probably have to negotiate with the police and scarper before the secularist 'societies' took a hold of us.

Pope Benedict: The Vatican addressed Maciel scandal ‘slowly and late’ and Maciel ‘remains a mysterious figure.’

From the Regnum Christi website:
Peter Seewald: The Church was shaken also by revelations about the double life of Marcial Maciel Degollado…
Benedict XVI: Unfortunately we addressed these things very slowly and late. Somehow they were concealed very well, and only around the year 2000 did we have any concrete clues. Ultimately unequivocal evidence was needed in order to be sure that the accusations were grounded.
To me, Marcial Maciel remains a mysterious figure. There is, on the one hand, a life that, as we now know, was out of moral bounds—an adventurous, wasted, twisted life. On the other hand, we see the dynamism and the strength with which he built up the congregation of Legionaries.
Meanwhile we have had an apostolic visitation carried out and appointed a delegate who together with a group of collaborators is preparing the necessary reforms. Naturally corrections must be made, but by and large the congregation is sound. In it there are many young men who enthusiastically want…

Extremely Rare Footage of St. Pio. I never wanted this You-Tube video to end.

Hat-Tip to Mark for telling me about this video. You can access Mark's excellent blog here.

Alphonse Ratisbonne and the Miraculous Medal. Part Two

See Part One for the beginning of the story on how Our Lady appeared to Alphonse in St. Andrew’s Church in Rome. The baron, having made the funeral arrangements for his friend, went back to Alphonse who was on his knees in St. Michael’s chapel. The baron nudged Alphonse at least three times, and mysteriously there was no response. Then, Alphonse turned to the baron. Alphonse’s face was dripping with tears, and he joined his hands and whispered, "Ah, how this man has prayed for me!" Gradually, they left the church. Alphonse who has poured scorn on the Miraculous Medal was kissing the medal and now his tears covered it. Alphonse repeated: "How happy I am.  How good God is!  How great are the graces of happiness!  How we should pity those who do not know this!" He grasped the arm of the astonished baron, and asked to see a 'confessor' so that he might take instruction on being baptized.  The baron, who was mourning the death of a friend, was so bewildered and …

Alphonse Ratisbonne and the Miraculous Medal. A ‘test’ that changed his life. Part One

1842. A young French Jew, Alphonse Ratisbonne, was due to get married, but spent some time travelling on the continent. When he arrived in Rome, he met Baron de Bussieres, a Protestant who had converted to Catholicism. Ratisbonne was candid with the devout Catholic Baron de Bussieres and declared, ‘a Jew was I born, and a Jew shall I die."
"Well then, since you are so strong-minded and so sure of yourself," said the baron to Alphonse, "promise me to wear something I am going to give you."
"We shall see. What is this?"
"It is only a medal." Then the baron showed him a Miraculous Medal. After some discussion, he challenged Alphonse to wear it and placed it around his neck. Alphonse giggled, but did not say no to it. This was just a dare, a test of belief, thought Ratisbonne.
"Now," said the baron, "you must not shirk the rest. Each morning and evening you must say the Memorare, a very short and effective prayer written by…

Finding Love on the Internet. "When I saw her on my webcam, I fell for her…"

"When I saw her on my webcam, I fell for her…"

Padre Pio and the Irish Part Two

Padre Pio statue in Mamore Gap, Donegal, Ireland. In June 2002, this life-size statue of Padre Pio was erected and blessed in the Gap of Mamore, and it faces a shrine of Our Lady. It was finished just in time for Padre Pio's canonisation ceremony in Rome. During that summer, in honour of the 'new' saint, St. Pio, the people of Donegal organised for the Rosary to be said by the site of this statue of St. Pio.

Padre Pio and the Irish Part One

This week I have been steeped in research on Ireland's recent economic history. I'm doing some journalism on how the faith in Ireland fell, and economic carelessness rose. This may sound all too coincidental and a fluke, but as Ireland went further from the teaching of the Church on how to manage its finances, it went more towards a very unrealistic continental-style financial model that did not suit our wet, windblown island's interests.
Precisely, how has the faith fallen? Mass attendance has dropped to such low levels, that only in the time of St. Patrick's arrival were there fewer people going to Mass (this might not be an exaggeration!). Fewer people know the basics of the faith. But Padre Pio is still very well-regarded and people are more likely to know the basics of his life story than they are the Catechism. Devotion to Padre Pio, is a golden thread of faith that unites both 'Catholic Ireland' of old and modern Ireland. In the days of 'Catholic I…

JFK's RIP prayer card - Catholics just don't make them like they used to

47 years ago today, JFK was murdered in broad day-light. While, it was an impossibility for me to ever meet JFK, but I did meet his sister. I still pray for the repose of JFK's soul. If JFK went to Purgatory, then we may remember that when Padre Pio was asked how long one soul may stay in Purgatory - Padre Pio answered that it could be up to one hundred years. 
 Here is one of my most treasured possessions - the prayer card that was sent out after JFK's death. Let's see, we have an indulgence of 500 days listed on the back. When was the last time you saw an indulgence on a funeral prayer card? And the quote from St. Ambrose, about conducting the faithfully departed to Heaven with our prayers would be considered very old-school in Catholic circles today. Linen on the Hedgerow's postthis morning inspired me to take photos of this card and post it. Part of this post reads, ' it is fashionable to name call JFK these days; we hear the woman chaser accusations ad nauseu…

Pope Benedict on Communion in the hand

During a long interview with Peter Seewald, Pope Benedict has said that: “I am not opposed in principle to Communion in the hand; I have both administered and received Communion in this way myself.”

But, he explains: “The idea behind my current practice of having people kneel to receive Communion on the tongue was to send a signal and to underscore the Real Presence with an exclamation point. One important reason is that there is a great danger of superficiality precisely in the kinds of Mass events we hold at Saint Peter’s, both in the Basilica and in the Square. I have heard of people who, after receiving Communion, stick the Host in their wallet to take home as a kind of souvenir.

“In this context, where people think that everyone is just automatically supposed to receive Communion — everyone else is going up, so I will, too—I wanted to send a clear signal. I wanted it to be clear:  Something quite special is going on here! He is here, the  One before whom we fall on …