Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Prayer, Pigeons and Injury,...

Sometimes I feel as if I’m in a vacuum.  My thoughts, erratic, my posture broken.  Alas, an injury, a hyperextension of my elbow from being trapped in an armbar.  My prayerlife a little shaken, can’t train, just let my body heal.  Ahh the ego, that bit of male pride stuck in me… Now?  Gotta heal and take it easy, can’t lift….Rooaaaarrrr!  You see, this is my break, a reading week.  My plan was to pray, study, train and repeat.  This injury forced a detour...

God uses this moments to calm me down.  The enemy if he can’t get to you, will keep you busy and away from prayer life.  God is a jealous God, and wants let me really spend time with Him in prayer.  Message received.  

A short post, some odds and ends… Discernement is going well, although the ‘What ifs?’ seem to pop up especially during times of injury or inactivity.  Mass, Breviery, Rosary, all good, yet sometimes I feel as if the sky is closed. Not being able to train though is frustrating,..  This squirrel out my window is annoying me greatly, so do pigeons....(sky rats)  Seeing old friends has been good... Therapeutic in a sense.  

I will return with something a little more substantial later,..

Chillin' with my old Seminarian brother Xavier,..another dude who needs action... 

St Jude.......................................................ora pro nobis!

Monday, October 14, 2013

But uhhh 'Bro,.' All u do iz Pray Bro,..'

What’s it like?  What do you guys do all day?  Are there women in your classes? Are you guys allowed to have women visitors?  All awesome questions, and all questions that I will hope to answer a little bit within this post.  Obviously my experience is from my particular lens, so in a sense this is a very subjectivist blog post.

My day begins usually between 4:15 – 4:30am.  After a quick visit to the third floor Oratory chapel, I say ‘Goodmorning’ to Jesus and offer Him my day.  I usually stay for about 5mins.  Then I go outside for my morning jog.  Usually I’m back by about 5am, shower, shave, and brush my teeth, check my email/facebook then head to the ‘refectory’ for a morning coffee where I meet two other ‘morning’ confreres.  Usually around 6:20am we go our separate ways, I will go outside and pray my Rosary or just contemplate Jesus.  (In the winter, I’m usually before the Blessed Sacrament).  By about 7:20am, I head to the main chapel where the community gathers together to pray Laudes or assist at Mass.  (The Seminary tries to mirror a parish setting, so that sometimes Mass is in the morning, and sometimes at 5pm the afternoon.)

At 8am, more or less, the community heads to the refectory for breakfast, whereby we sit at table, laugh and joke, sometimes even stress about whatever awaits whether it be a class or otherwise.  Classes start at 9am and last until noon.  Then it is midday prayer, followed by lunch.  Our classes fall into two categories, philosophy and Theology, with seminars on psychology and human relations.  We have several committees in the house, the Co-ordination committee, basically the president of the seminarian student body and members, who act as a link between the directors and the seminarian life.  We have the Liturgy committee, essentially which plans the in house Liturgies, the Service Committee (general maintenance) and the Welcoming committee, who handle visitors. We also have the Sports Committee which plans the Thursday afternoon hockey match. The afternoons can be taken up with meetings and planning, or pastoral work while at times they are also open.  Does that mean there is nothing to do?  In my case, during the free time, I will study and hit the gym.  We gather again around 5pm for either a Rector’s conference with a theme. (or Mass) Supper at 6pm, then Vespers at 7pm, followed by a music practice, lectio Divina, or any other small workshop or another pastoral work such as ‘café trottoire’ (sidewalk café, outreach to the homeless and marginalized, drug addicts, etc…).  I usually go to bed by 10:30pm if I don’t have Café Trottoir, or any other work.  Sometimes I will study, then go back to the third floor oratory, say goodnight to Jesus, pray Compline and retire. 

As far as women in our classes?  YES!  The academic wing is called the ‘Institution de formation Theologique de Montreal.’  It functions as does any other University so there are external students. (I was once one of them!  When I was negotiating with God not to go into the priesthood! Lolol!!!)  Back then, I was seeing a great girl, and worked as a trainer, so good money too.
Within the Seminary, we can have visitors, (many of my friends have come by) and YES, we can have women visit us as well.  As an aside, it is important for future priests to have female friendships, even the guys like me, (who ‘had a life’ so to speak…) in order to maintain a proper balance anthropologically speaking.  There is, however, a difference between a girl visiting you at the seminary in your room ‘cell’ with the door closed at night. 

Life in the Seminary is about living in community, and while we all pray together, study and eat together, you also have to deal with personality clashes,.. The above examples need to be counterbalanced with burping together, farting together and getting on each other nerves together.  My life is prayer, community, study, training and pastoral works.  Do I miss my old life?  At times, of course!  Through it all, it is nothing compared to what Jesus is giving me now.  Discernement is tough, priesthood is tough, and we need men to step up to the plate and accept.  Be willing to follow that ‘itch’ inside you, until it can be truly scratched.  A calling is Supernatural! 

Same guy in all the pics,. Pastores Dabo Vobis= healthy balance!

St Jean Viannay..................................................Ora pro nobis!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Take a Breath, Reflect, and don't React...

Sometimes it can become easier to throw in the towel and just give up.  The gains that ‘we’ the more Traditional minded acquired over the last two Pontificates, (Opus Dei prelature, Motu Propio Ecclesia Dei and Motu Propio Summorum Pontificum) it would seem are now in danger especially according to some current trends of thought(paranoia) freely whirling about in different Sacristies throughout the world.  Gentle Pope Francis is gonna undo everything, turn back the clock to 1975 and resurrect the clown ‘Mass.’  To be fair, I sincerely believe that not to be the case, still I sincerely believe that this is an excellent opportunity to undergo Sanctification.  What can we do to further the Universal Call to Holiness (Vatican II)? 

Well for one, we can stop acting like the most arrogant and hardened ‘I know better than the Pope crowd’ that sometimes we can all fall into.  We can pray for our Holy Father, obey and use that to unite our sufferings to the Cross of Christ.  We can, as the Holy Father requested, ‘Go out and make a mess!’  So here is a battle plan!  When news (usually a slanted editorial) disturbs you, take it to prayer!  The enemy uses occasions like this to make us fall into sin. For some it can be booze, women, drugs, etc… Gentlemen, you know what I’m talking about, high level stress = Pornography/masturbation.  Then when it’s over (the act), we are angrier than ever at the latest Liturgical abuse, seek to blast the hierarchy and claim that we, and others who think like us know better.  We fall into depression and despair, and forget that the Holy Spirit is still in charge, and Pope Michael, Pope Gregory the 17th, the brothers Dimond, Pope Pius 13th, the sedevacante, the sedeimpede, the SSPX, even the Stay Puffed Marshmellow Man, all look like like a salvific end for our own sanity. The end result?  We are deep in mortal sin and cut off… The cure?  The Sacrament of Reconciliation and a great Spiritual Director.  To use a personal anecdote, I too questioned an awful lot of stuff, (especially recently) and without hesitation my Spiritual Director asked when my prayer life was cut off.


The oxygen of the soul!  No doubt about it.  A prayer life is constantly bookending your day (as St Paul says, To pray constantly…) with Laudes and Vespers.  Daily Mass if you can, Adoration (even prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament) and of course the Rosary!  A trick that I use, is to meditate before the Blessed Sacrament upon the Gospel of the day.  My day is then given its orientation in God and thus when a ‘down’or a disturbance in my soul interferes, I can tell the thought is not from God.  (Think of St John of the Cross, and discern.)  In prayer is where we praise and thank God for our very being, and whereby we can ask for the Grace to understand.  I am reminded of the prayer attached to Our Lady of Perpetual Help,..’If it be your Will that we should suffer longer,..’ 


In my case, academics and Pastoral works.  Sometimes listening to a person tell us their problems can shed a light on our inadequacies.  People are hurting, and an absence of Faith sees the confessional empty, but long line ups at the made for profit ‘self help psychological guru of the day.’  What’s most perplexing is that even practicing Catholics who claim a relationship with Jesus, will justify seeing a ‘shrink’ but not confession, even though they will still spill their souls to these people.  The sad part is that the guru can’t offer Absolution.  Back to the work dynamic, sometimes keeping busy, can be therapeutic, yet again, we can’t go too far.  If the devil can’t tempt you, he’ll keep you busy. (and thus, too busy for prayer.) 
I truly believe that the Pope when critiquing pelagianism, did so after critiquing the other extreme, about making the Church an NGO.  He went after extremes, a point that Benedict also went after!  A great strategy for the more Traditional minded, (myself included) is to show the Holy Father that despite our love of Liturgy, that we do have a heart for social issues.  If we love through the eyes of Jesus, then we need to show it!  Sure, we are mobilized on Life and Family issues, but what can we do to show the ‘social justice’ crowd, that we too care for the poor?  We pray Rosaries, but can we not set up a soup kitchen?  Give a little or our time?  The question is not ‘Either ‘or’ but rather a ‘Both’ /And!’…


Well, in my opinion, this is crucial!  In a day and age when we take better care of our cars than we do our bodies.  Training is good for you, it makes you stronger and can train the Will as well.  How many times are you tired and your psychology takes over, you gotta get it in!  That is training!  Resistance, weights, heavy bag, kettle bells, battle ropes, sled dragging, bench pressing and squatting!  If you can take care of your body, your discipline will grow along with your will power!  Those days when you live a down, are frustrated?  Take it out in the gym!  Leave it all there, hit the irons and hit them hard!

A few years back, I lambasted an arch liberal who disrespectfully used to refer to Pope Benedict XVI as ‘Papa Ratzinger’ or ‘Pope Ratzinger.’  It was one of the most disgusting and harsh treatments of an office, (a Divinely instituted one at that! St Matt 16:18) that I had ever heard.  Now ‘we’ the most Liturgically minded find within our ranks people criticizing Pope Francis, even calling him ‘Papa’ Bergoglio?  C’mon!  The Holy Spirit chose him and regardless of what happens, we can offer it all to God in reparation for our own sinfulness!  The battle plan of prayer, penance, and exercise is a no brainer and has been offered to us down through the ages. 

To borrow a line from ‘Big’ John McCarthy; ‘LET’s GET it ONNN!!!

Sacred Heart of Jesus,……………………….Have Mercy on us!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Lumen Gentium(A walk through), Mary and Francis

I guess this blog will be more of a walk through the recesses of my own thoughts, trying to speculate and piece together what is my opinion.  To be sure, it is just that, my opinion. 

I think I’ve resisted writing a full post about Vatican II as it was intended, however I fully believe that the time has come in order to shed some light and a ‘How to’ so that it reads in continuity with the previous Councils of the Church.  While everyone remembers Pope Emeritus Benedict, in his final address to the priests in Rome, distinguished between the actual Council and the Council of the media, people forget that a major point of contention dear to many Catholics is the hermeneutic of continuity and the role of Mary in the Church.  ‘Lumen Gentium,’ The Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, is the first written text to address specifically Mary.  Before we begin, let’s set the stage.  First off, there are no dogmatic definitions and it is written in what is a ‘pastoral’ language.  Secondly, the sexual revolution is in full swing, women going to work in the wake of the second world war, and thirdly, especially in the west, the Communist threat is building.  (Cuban missile crisis).  As well the teachings of Vatican II do not use ‘ex’ cathedra language because that was not its intent.  Vatican II is meant to reach the world, and presupposes that the Truths do not change.  See the opening address by Pope John XXIII.  The reality that this hasn’t happened yet is not because of Vatican II, ‘ambiguities’ or ‘Spirit of VII’ or whatever, it is because of sinful people with an agenda, demolishing the Church from the inside.  It took 300 years for Trent to be implemented fully in Quebec, it shouldn’t shock anyone that Vatican II is only just beginning.  The issue today is one of Mass media, and many more ‘freemasons.’ (Even Pope Francis acknowledged that,..)  Did Vatican II cause a priest shortage and demolish the Church?  No, but an argument can be made that it served as a cataclyst launchpad for an agenda ridden ideology to hijack the Church.

Let us begin with a base schema of the Textual Corpus of Vatican II, basically how we can read it.  We begin with God who reveals Himself in Jesus Christ through Revelation.  This comes to us by transmission in a Document called Dei Verbum.  It affirms both Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture as having both the same font of Truth as its source.  For our protestant friends, this means that Vatican II affirms and explains the Catholic position that the Bible didn’t and couldn’t fall out of the sky, all wrapped up with a leather bound ‘Divine’ Table of contents. 

From this document, we can now understand, our two Constitutions on the Church, namely Lumen Gentium and Sancrosanctum Concilium.  The first is composed of eight chapters, each with a specific point to address;  ‘Lumen Gentium’ means ‘Light of the World!  Already the Church in Her Divine Constitution presupposes a Christocentric approach.  Let’s go through them, shall we? 

1.      Church as Mystery
2.      Church as ‘People of God.’ (All the baptized)
3.      Church as Hierarchical.  (The favorite of the heterodox crowd)
4.      Church as Laity
5.      Church ‘Universal Call to Holiness’
6.      The Religious
7.      The Eschatological dimension
8.      Mary

I think it is important to highlight the Marian dimension.  If there was a ‘hot button’ topic at the Council, this topic was akin to speaking about the benefits of Marxism while attending a Bible tent revival in the deep south of the USA.  Mary was formally given the title ‘Mater Ecclesia’ as a compromise.  One school of thought was that ‘Co-redemptrix’ and ‘mediatrix’ as titles (5th Marian dogma?) were not ready to be accepted at that time.  This is where this walkthough becomes a little personal, not as Optimusmastro but as Marco, a seminarian. 

Mary, in the economy of Salvation already co-operates with Christ, by simply saying ‘Yes’ to God by her ‘Magnificat.’ (St Luke 1)  In this light, can now be read, not only her Immaculate Conception but all the way to Her Assumption and eventual crowning as Queen of Heaven.  Mary participates by suffering with her Son.  She stands at the foot of the Cross and was given to us by Jesus Himself. (St John’s Gospel.)  She intercedes at Cana, and She appears with a Crown in the Apocalypse of St John (Revelation.)  Regardless of these realities, our current ecumenical situation finds ourselves in dialog with protestants. That being said, defining as Co-redemptrix would have fundaMENTALists doing handstands frothing at the mouth, as they would hear ‘Co-equal’ instead.  Can you picture the CNN interviews with such ‘scholars’ as Bob Jones III and Benny Hinn?  It would be entertaining,..(I digress).  Since Biblical times, then there have been countless apparitions of Our Lady, from Our Lady of the Pillar, (To St James) all the way to Our Lady of Fatima, (1917).  One constant, is that throughout all of the CHURCH APPROVED apparitions, the message is always Christocentric, she points to Jesus! 

At Fatima, Our Lady gave three ‘secrets’ with which, depending upon who you listen to have either been completed, not fulfilled or somewhere in between.  A sticking point has been Russia.  Has Russia been consecrated?  Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart, subsequently, Pope John Paul II did the same.  One theory is that consecrating Russia by itself would cause an Ecumenical nightmare from the perspective of the Russian Orthodox Church.  Another theory is that this consecration must take place in communion with the world’s bishops, and in this light, it is safe to assume that back in the 1980s, not everyone was on the same page.  Now what does any of this have to do with Pope Francis?

Well,…since his election to the chair of Peter, his first visit was to the Church of St Mary Major in Rome, bringing flowers to the high Altar.  He has since asked that he be consecrated to Our Lady of Fatima, he will consecrate the world this coming October 13th  to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Now knowing this, according to the media, he has approved gay actions (nope) thinks abortion is okay (nope) and believes atheists are going to Heaven. (nope.)  According to Catholic sources, he has since his Papacy began;

-Reaffirmed Church Teaching against women’s ordination.  (same airplane interview where he supposedly was open to homosexual marriages.  Sadly the media must of all went to the washroom at the same time when he cited Ordinatio Sacerdotalis?)
-Publically rebuked the LCWR in the USA, thereby backing the CDF findings.
-Has mentioned the presence of ‘masons’ and a homosexual lobby in the Vatican.
-Has mentioned satan more than any other Pope in recent memory.
-Consecrated the Vatican (invited Pope Emeritus Benedict) to St Michael the Archangel.
-Publically criticized Archbishop Mueller’s personal opinions of ‘Liberation Theology.’
-Publically endorsed and reconfirmed Msgr Guido Marini, against the wishes of the Italian bishops who wanted him gone.  Warned of extremism but nothing that Pope Benedict XVI didn’t already say either.
-Theologically endorsed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (‘Theologically we are in agreement.’) 
(To be fair, I doubt that Liturgically they are,…)
-Excommunicated a dissident priest in Australia who promoted women’s ordination, pro choice pro gay marriage, and gave Communion to a dog.  (Again, certain media outlets didn’t openly wonder how he is so fluffy, smiley and cuddly, yet did something like this.)
-Finally, Cardinal Raymond Burke still at the Apostolic Signatura.…nuff said!

Perhaps as some people on the extreme right are wondering, he is a Pope of contradictions, or maybe he is a crafty old school Jesuit? 

How do we tie in Lumen Gentium, Mary and Francis all together? Well, after some prayer, this is my OPINION, nothing more.  It stems from my Faith in the Church, that the Holy Spirit  guides Her and that ultimately, the Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph.  I believe that Pope Benedict resigning means that the 2nd Vatican Council has been given its proper orientation within the hermeneutic of continuity.  Pope John Paul II, gave us and reasserted the Catechism, when dogmas such as ‘Purgatory’ were called into question.  Pope Benedict XVI corrected and set into motion proper Liturgical understanding and reform.  Pope Francis will usher in the real Vatican II the way the Holy Spirit wants, not the way Fr McFruitloop and his merry band of lesbian universalists want it. 

Back to Lumen Gentium,.. I think I'll need a dozen more posts to develop it more!

I smell Co-Redemptrix…

Just sayin’

Our Lady of Fatima,…………………………….ora pro nobis!