Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

The Dangers of an Active Life without an Interior Life: Part Four

Fr. Chautard describes a situation I am sure is familiar to us all - the putting-off of prayer because we simply have "too many things to do," when we are reminded of our lack of an interior life - but gives another reminder of how the devil is at work:
Yet a day comes when the soul scents danger. The .guardian angel has had something to say: conscience has registered a protest. Now would be the time to take hold of himself, to examine himself in the calm atmosphere of a retreat, to resolve to draw up a schedule and follow it rigorously, even at the cost of neglecting the occasions of trouble to which he has become so attached. Alas! It is already late in the day! He has already tasted the pleasure of seeing his efforts crowned with the most encouraging success. “Tomorrow! tomorrow!” he mumbles. “Today, it is out of the question. There simply is no time. I have got to go on with this series of sermons, write this article, organize this committee, or that ‘charity,’ put on this play, go on that trip — or catch up with my mail.” How happy he is to reassure himself with all these pretexts! For the mere thought of being left alone, face to face with his own conscience, has become unbearable to him. The time has come when the devil can have a free hand to encompass the ruin of a soul that has shown itself disposed to be such a willing accomplice. The ground is prepared. Since activity has become a passion in his victim, he now fans it into a raging fever. Since it has become intolerable for him to even think of forgetting his urgent affairs and recollecting himself, the demon increases that loathing into sheer horror, and takes care at the same time to intoxicate the soul with fresh enterprises, skillfully colored with the attractive motives of God’s glory and the greater good of souls. 
Friends, the devil hates us and wants to see us fail, and turn away from God, lured away by false promises of success and glory and comfort. How often have we seen rising Catholic stars - so to speak - fall so spectacularly? Turn to other religions? Fall into serious sin with nary a repentant word to pass their lips? Or worse, justify their serious sins? Become so busy with an apostolate and good works that we forget our primary duty - to give glory, honor, and praise to God?

Reject the devil - and embrace God!

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

The Dangers of an Active Life without an Interior Life: Part Three

Here, Fr. Chautard describes the various assaults a soul invites - or, rather, inflicts - upon themselves when they undertake an apostolate without adequate interior preparation.
There you have our apostle, filled with his desire to throw himself into active works, and on the point of entering upon this ministry which is so completely new to him. It is not long before circumstances that inevitably arise from these works (as will readily be understood by anyone who has led the active life) produce a thousand-and-one occasions to draw him more and more out of himself; there are countless appeals to his naive curiosity, unnumbered occasions of falling into sin from which we may suppose he has hitherto been protected by the peaceful atmosphere of his home, his seminary, his community, or his novitiate — or at least by the guidance of an experienced director. Not only is there an increasing dissipation-, or the ever growing danger of a curiosity that has to find out all about everything; not only more and more displays of impatience or injured feelings, of vanity or jealousy, presumption or dejection, partiality or detraction, but there is also a progressive development of the weaknesses of his soul and of all the more or less subtle forms of sensuality. And all these foes are preparing to force an unrelenting battle upon this soul so ill-prepared for such violent and unceasing attacks. And it therefore falls victim to frequent wounds! Indeed, it is a wonder when there is any resistance at all on the part of a soul whose piety is so superficial — a soul already captivated by the too natural satisfaction it takes in pouring out its energies and exercising all its talents upon a worthy cause! Besides, the devil is wide awake, on the look-out for his anticipated prey. And far from disturbing this sense of satisfaction, he does all in his power to encourage it.  
Friends, has this happened to us? Have we abandoned ourselves to our natural energies, our natural gifts, and our concupiscence without nourishing our interior lives, which would also give us the graces to counter this concupiscence? Without turning to God first and foremost - or, if we do, has it been superficial and lacking the level of conversation appropriate to the One Who Created us? Have we succumbed to the devil and his willies in all of their forms?

This particular danger need not solely apply to brand-new apostolates - this can and does happen to apostolates which have been running for a number of years.

Monday, 14 January 2019

The Dangers of an Active Life without an Interior Life: Part Two

Here, Fr. Chautard describes the seeds of the 'heresy of good works' found in a soul who is enamored with ideals but fails to take into account the 'nitty-gritty' of what really needs to be there for one's good works to bear good fruit.
First let us go back to the seed of corruption fostered in our nature by concupiscence, and the fight to the death that is ever waged against us by your enemies, within as well as without. Let us go back to the dangers that threaten us on every side. With this in mind, let us consider what happens to a soul that enters upon the apostolate without being sufficiently forewarned and forearmed against its dangers. Fr. (or Mr.) So-and-So feels within himself a growing desire to consecrate himself to good works. He has no experience whatever. But his liking for the apostolate gives us the right to suppose that he has a certain amount of fire, some impetuosity of character, is fond of action, and also perhaps, inclined to relish a bit of a fight. Let us imagine him to be correct in his conduct, a man of piety and even to devotion; but his piety is more in the feelings than in the will, and his devotion is not the light reflected by a soul resolute in seeking nothing but the good pleasure of God, but a pious routine, the result of praiseworthy habits. Mental prayer, if indeed he practices it at all, is for him a species of day-dreaming, and his spiritual reading is governed by curiosity, without any real influence on his conduct. Perhaps the devil even eggs him on by reason of an illusory artistic sense, which the poor soul mistakes for an “inner life,” to dabble in treatises on the lofty and extraordinary paths of union with God, and these fill him with admiration and enthusiasm. All in all, there is little genuine inner life, if any at all, in this soul which still has, we grant, a certain number of good habits, many natural assets and a certain loyal desire to be faithful to God; but that desire is altogether too vague.
Friends, are we guilty of heaping loads of idealism on the good works we imagine ourselves capable of without injecting a good dose of realism into our veins? Have we already sown the seeds of our own fatigue and defeat before we have even begun our good works?

Cardinal "Joe" Tobin blasphemes Our Lord's Baptism!

Yesterday being the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the "new calendar," Cardinal Joseph Tobin decided to tweet about it.

But is this appropriate to say about Our Lord and His Baptism? The irony of this is that he and several other members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have just come back from retreat - a retreat Cardinal Tobin tweeted throughout - where they were supposedly nourishing their interior life.

You be the judge.

Pray for this man, and that he may find repentance before it is much too late. 

Pray for me, Barona, and yourself, that we all may never fall into abject heresy like this.

Let this be a prime example of how the lack of an interior life sabotages one's active life. 

Sunday, 13 January 2019

The Dangers of an Active Life without an Interior Life: A Series - Part One

In what will be a multi-part series, I will be reproducing fairly lengthy block quotes from The Soul of the Apostolate, written in 1946 by Jean-Baptiste Chautard, O.S.C.O. Specifically, I will be lifting verbatim from the section describing what occurs to a soul when the interior life is neglected in favor of an active life, otherwise known as "An Active Worker with No Interior Life."

Here, Fr. Chautard is merely describing an active man with no interior life or a bare one at the very least, in simple terms.
To sum up such a one in a word; perhaps he is not yet tepid, but he is bound to become so. However, when a man is tepid, with a tepidity that is not merely in the feelings, or due to weakness, but residing in the will, that man has resigned himself to consent habitually to levity and neglect, or at any rate to cease fighting them. He has come to terms with deliberate venial sin, and by that very fact, he has robbed his soul of its assurance of eternal salvation. Indeed, he is disposing and even leading it on to mortal sin.10 Such also is St. Alphonsus’ teaching on tepidity, so well expounded by his disciple, Fr. Desurmont.11 Now how is it that, without an interior life, the active worker inevitably slides into tepidity? Inevitably, we say; and the only proof we need for this is the statement of a missionary bishop to his priests, a statement all the more terrifying by its truth, since it comes straight from a heart consumed with zeal for good works and filled with a spirit that goes clean contrary to anything that smacks of quietism. “There is one thing,” said Cardinal Lavigerie, “one thing of which you must be fully persuaded, and it is that for an apostle there is no halfway between total sanctity, at least faithfully and courageously desired and sought after, and absolute perversion.” 
Friends, does this describe us? Have we fallen into the heresy of good works? Are we on the way to becoming tepid, to the point where the Lord will spit us out of His Mouth? Or are we already tepid?

This will be continued.

The Holy Family

A blessed Feast of the Holy Family to you all.

(The Holy Family, 1610, by Bartolomeo Schedoni)

Being the first Sunday after the Epiphany, the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, normally celebrated on January 13th, is omitted entirely to give this feast pride and place in the calendar, following the 1962 rubrics.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

"Parents of the Celebrant"

This was painted by Jose Alcazar Tejedor in 1887, and is called "Parents of the Celebrant After His First Mass."

Parents, if you have a son or daughter who is aspiring to join the Church as a priest, sister, monk or nun, do not stand in the way of their aspirations or otherwise put up obstacles for them.

God does not look kindly on parents who do. 

We, especially in our time (though this can be said for any other time), need holy vocations. They start in the home, and are best fostered by parents who model Our Lady and Her Spouse, Joseph. That is not to say it's impossible to do so without such models, just that it is much easier if one is so lucky.

Sons and daughters, if you have such aspirations, follow them. You never know where they might lead. The Church needs you.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Drain the Wuerl Pool

May it just be the beginning of many pools drained, including those filthy ones hidden here in Canada.