“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

November 14, 2008

If Father Z Says It's “Stunning,” You Know It's Got to Be Good

He says:

Get excited. . . .

Fr. Nolan sent me an advance copy of their long-awaited instructional DVD for priests who desire to learn the older form of Mass.

The fuller title is The Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, an Instructional Video for Priests and Seminarians.

DVD is stunning in its production values and its detail.  It is easy to follow, well explained, beautifully recorded.   This is a must obtain for priests, must give to seminarians, must be used by them set of disks.

On Reaching a Comfortable Cruising Altittude

A few days ago, I travelled to Phoenix for some important Envoy Institute meetings. The morning of my departure, the sky over Columbus was typical for early November: gray, overcast, dreary.

I was looking forward to the sunny blue skies of Arizona and, thankfully, when I got there I wasn’t disappointed. But this little reflection is not about the sunny skies that awaited me. Rather, it’s about something I learned on the way there.

This life, filled as it is with so many mundane things like catching a flight from point A to point B, can yield up intuitions and insights about the spiritual life that suddenly float unexpectedly into view. I love how the Lord teaches me through the routine and seemingly insignificant things in my day-to-day life.

So, I’m seated on the plane, getting ready to take off. I prefer an aisle seat, but this morning I find myself seated next to the window, where I have a nice view of the dismal sky. We take off, and the plane quickly climbs through the clouds toward what I hope will be “a comfortable cruising altitude,” where my mind will be free to move about the universe.

Gazing absentmindedly out my window, I watch the clouds fall away beneath me as we ascend to our appointed height. But just as the plane passes through the lowest cloud layer, we enter a clear gap between cloud decks that’s fairly bright, enough for me to see a fair distance away, although there's nothing to see except more clouds. I enjoy this view for a few moments and then the sky begins to darken and becomes obscured once more, as the plane rises through another looming mass of dark mist.

Nothing but gray for the next few minutes, and bumpy, since passing through clouds usually causes turbulence. Nothing unusual there. We’re rising higher, but still, all I can see is a wall of gray, formless clouds.

Suddenly, we break back into another clear zone between the clouds. This time, I can see for miles and miles. It’s much brighter here, but I still can’t see the blue sky I had expected. Craning my neck to look upward, I can see another layer of clouds above us, this one lighter and thinner than the ones below. In a few minutes, we plunge upward into it. I see that this layer is suffused with light and even has a hint of blue peeking through, here and there.

That’s when it occurs to me how similar this flight is to the spiritual life. A simple metaphor that stirs my soul with thoughts about my own journey toward heaven. I know that “somewhere up there” is the clear blue sky — heaven — where I want to be. I want to get out of the gray, cold, dreary clouds, out of the mist, out of the turbulence, and into the warm, tranquil, light above. To get there, though, I have to pass through who knows how many more clouds that stand between where I am now and where I am headed.

The great spiritual masters, such as St. Augustine, St. Francis, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Francis de Sales, and St. Therese of Lisieux, all say that the upward path to heaven leads through the stages of purgation and then illumination before finally reaching that blessed union with God.

Passing through the dark and difficult “clouds” in this life and thinking for a moment, “Hey! I’ve made it!” only to realize with a sigh, “No, I still have a good way yet to go,” becomes a source of joy and consolation for the man or woman who truly desires God. The higher one goes, the great saints say, the more illuminated things become. Until one day, that joyful day when, by God's grace, one has finally passed through all those interminable clouds of this earthly life, he suddenly finds himself enveloped within splendorous light and glory, as he is ushered into the presence of the Triune God.

Thank you, Lord, for this little insight. I know I’ll think about this every time I travel on a plane.

An Abortionist Has a Dream . . .

Madrid, Nov 12, 2008 / 09:21 pm (CNA).- The Spanish daily “La Razon” has published an article on the pro-life conversion of a former “champion of abortion.” Stojan Adasevic, who performed 48,000 abortions, sometimes up to 35 per day, is now the most important pro-life leader in Serbia, after 26 years as the most renowned abortion doctor in the country.

“The medical textbooks of the Communist regime said abortion was simply the removal of a blob of tissue,” the newspaper reported.  “Ultrasounds allowing the fetus to be seen did not arrive until the 80s, but they did not change his opinion. Nevertheless, he began to have nightmares.”

In describing his conversion, Adasevic “dreamed about a beautiful field full of children and young people who were playing and laughing, from 4 to 24 years of age, but who ran away from him in fear. A man dressed in a black and white habit stared at him in silence.  The dream was repeated each night and he would wake up in a cold sweat. One night he asked the man in black and white who he was. ‘My name is Thomas Aquinas,’ the man in his dream responded. Adasevic, educated in communist schools, had never heard of the Dominican genius saint.  He didn’t recognize the name”

“Why don’t you ask me who these children are?” St. Thomas asked Adasevic in his dream.

“They are the ones you killed with your abortions,’ St. Thomas told him. 

“Adasevic awoke in amazement and decided not to perform any more abortions,” the article stated.

“That same day a cousin came to the hospital with his four months-pregnant girlfriend, who wanted to get her ninth abortion—something quite frequent in the countries of the Soviet bloc.  The doctor agreed. Instead of removing the fetus piece by piece, he decided to chop it up and remove it as a mass. However, the baby’s heart came out still beating. Adasevic realized then that he had killed a human being” . . .  (continue reading)

Confessions of a Former Contracepter

LittleDeb recently started following this blog, so I did what I do when each new person graciously signs up as a follower (my thanks to you all), I visited her blog, Confessions of a Former Contracepter, and found it very thoughtful.

I hope she won't mind my drawing a little attention to it and suggesting that you go read her posts on this hugely important and widely misunderstood issue that affets most marriages today. Here's a little sampling from her post titled “Contraceptive Thinking Takes Over”:
So what really happened to make this thinking take over? I have some ideas, but I'm not sure I am willing to definitively state them as fact. They are working theories. The first and foremost is the change in believing that having children is a privilege to the belief that having children is a right. Because the converse is also true, that thinking NOT having children was a privilege before to thinking that NOT having children was a right. That is where contraception made its early inroads. The targets of the first contraception clinics were the poor, the under-privileged. The message drummed into their heads was that fewer children meant more prosperity. The fact that a simple reading of world history proves that untrue did not sway the march.
“What the original contraceptionists sought was a reduction in the poor by merely 'un-breeding' them out of existence. That is still the stance. It is still touted that 'the poor woman doesn't need another baby.' I mean that statement alone just confuses me. Is it like she is going out and aquiring another handbag and heels? I mean is the baby her possession? It seems to be that many think so. Because to view something as a 'right' means you hold it as something you possess. I have the right to life, liberty, and the pusuit of happiness. No matter what ever happens to me I possess those rights. Even if someone seeks to remove them, they can't. I own them just because I exist.”
Very insightful. Thanks, LittleDeb!