Happy Is He Who Is Faithful To God In Adversity

Job on the Dunghill

Some people think they are beloved of God when all their affairs go prosperously with them and they have no troubles. But St. James says: Blessed is the man that suffereth temptation; for when he is tried, he will receive the crown of life which God hath promised to them that love him. The faithfulness of soldiers is tried, not in repose, but in battle.


The faithfulness of soldiers is tried, not in repose, but in battle. This earth is our battlefield, where every one is placed to fight, and to conquer, in order to be saved: if he conquers not, he is lost forever. Therefore, said holy Job, Every day I now fight; I wait until my change cometh. (Job. xiv. 14). Job suffered in struggling with many a foe, but he comforted himself with the hope that, in conquering and rising from the dead, he would change his whole state. Of this change St. Paul spoke, and rejoiced in speaking of it: The dead shall rise again incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Cor. xv. 52). Our state is changed in Heaven, which is a place not of toil, but of rest, not of fear, but of security; not of sorrow or weariness, but of gladness and joy eternal. With the hope, then, of so great a joy, let us inspire ourselves, and fight till death, and never give ourselves up conquered to our enemies until our change comes; until the end of our struggle is attained, and we possess a blessed eternity.

The patient man will endure for the time, and then shall gladness be restored to him. Blessed is he who suffers for God in this life; he suffers for the time, but his joy will be eternal in the country of the Blessed. This will end the persecutions, the temptations, the infirmities, the annoyances, and all the miseries of this life; and God will give us a life full of satisfaction which will never end. Now is the time for pruning the vine, and for cutting off everything that hinders its growth towards the promised land of Heaven. But the cutting off produces pain, so that we have need of patience; and then comes the restoration of gladness, when the more we have suffered, the more we shall be filled with consolations. God is faithful; and to him who suffers on earth for His love’s sake, with resignation, He promises that He Himself will be his reward; a reward infinitely greater than our sufferings: Behold, I am thy exceeding great reward. (Gen. xv. i.).

Nevertheless, before we receive the crown of eternal life, the Lord wills that we should be tried with sufferings. Blessed is the man that suffereth temptation; for, when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which God hath promised to them that love him. (James i. 12). Blessed, then, is he who is faithful to God in adversity. Some people think they are beloved of God when all their affairs go prosperously, and they have no troubles; but they complain because God does not try the patience and faithfulness of His servants by prosperity, but by adversity, in order to give them that crown which fadeth not away, as all the crowns of this life do fade away. This will be a crown of eternal glory, as St. Peter writes: Ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. (1 Peter v. 4). To whom, then, is this crown promised? St. James says: He shall receive the crown of life, which God hath promised to them that love him. (i. 12). God has promised it again and again to those that love Him, because Divine love makes us fight with courage and win the victory.


To the love of God we must also join humility. The Preacher says, Gold and silver are tried in the fire, but acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation. (Ecclus. ii. 5). It is in humiliation that Saints are revealed, in which it is made known whether they are gold or lead. Such a one has been counted a Saint; but when he receives an injury from another, he is all in agitation; he complains of it to everyone; he says he will make him repent of it. This is a sign of what he is; it is a sign that he is lead. The Lord said, In thy humility have patience. (Ecclus. ii. 4). The proud man, whatever humiliation he receives, considers it a great injustice, and therefore cannot endure it; but the humble man, accounting himself deserving of every evil treatment, suffers all with patience. Let him who has committed a mortal sin cast a glance upon the hell that he has deserved, and thus he will suffer with patience every contempt and every pain.

Let us, then, love God, and be humble; and whatever we do, let us do it, not to please ourselves, but only to please God. O cursed self-love, which intrudes itself in all our works. Even in our spiritual exercises, in meditation, in works of penance, and in all our pious works, it goes about seeking its own interests. Few are the devout souls who do not fall into this defect: Who shall find a valiant woman? Far and from the uttermost coasts, is the price of her. (Prov. xxxi. 10). Where shall we find a soul so brave that, despoiled of every passion, and of all concern for its own interests, continues to love Jesus Christ in the midst of sighs, pains, desolation of spirit, and weariness of life? Solomon said that these are gems of great price; they come from the very ends of the world, and therefore are most rare.

O my crucified Jesus, I am one who, even in my devotions, have been seeking my own pleasure and satisfaction, all so unlike Thee, Who, through love of me, passed a life of sorrow and deprived of every alleviation. Give me Thy help that henceforward I may seek only Thy pleasure and Thy glory. I would love Thee without any other reward; but I am weak, and Thou must give me strength to accomplish this. Behold, I am Thine! Dispose of me as Thou pleasest. Make me love Thee and I ask for nothing more. O Mary, my Mother, by thy intercession, obtain for me fidelity to God. Amen.



(Wednesday Meditation after Passion Sunday of Lent – by St Alphonsus Liguori)

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Why do we Veil the Crucifix and Statues on Passion Sunday?

This excellent video from Sensus Fidelium explains it well:

Father Z says:

From [Passion] Sunday, traditionally called 1st Sunday of the Passion, it is customary to veil images in churches. In the Gospel in traditional Form of the Roman Rite we hear:

Tulérunt ergo lápides, ut iácerent in eum: Iesus autem abscóndit se, et exívit de templo. … They therefore took up stones to cast at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out from the temple.

This is a fine old tradition. It has to do with deprivation of the senses and the liturgical dying of the Church in preparation for the Lord’s tomb and resurrection. We do this to sense something of the humiliation of the Lord as he enters His Passion, something of His interior suffering.

We are also being pruned during Lent. From Septuagesima onward we lose things bit by bit in the Church’s sacred liturgy until, at the Vigil, we are even deprived of light itself. The Church is liturgically dying.

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God Deserves To Be Loved Above Everything

St. Teresa says that it is a great favour God bestows upon a soul when He commands it to love Him. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart. The Venerable Louis de Ponte felt ashamed at saying to God: “O Lord, I love Thee above everything–more than creatures, than all riches, than all honours, than all earthly pleasures.” For it seemed to him it was like saying: “My God, I love Thee more than straw and smoke and mire!”


Let us love God since we are called to this love, and let us love Him as He deserves to be loved. God is satisfied when we love Him above all things. Therefore, at least let us say to Him: Yes, O Lord, I love Thee more than all the honours of the world, more than all its riches, more than all my relations and friends; I love Thee more than health, more than my good name, more than knowledge, more than all my comforts; in a word, I love Thee more than everything I possess–more than myself.

And let us further say: “O Lord, I value Thy graces and Thy gifts, but more than all Thy gifts, I love Thyself Who alone art Infinite Goodness, and a Good infinitely amiable, and surpassing every other good. And, therefore, O my God, whatever Thou mayest give me besides Thyself, which is not Thyself, is not sufficient for me. If Thou givest me Thyself, Thou alone art sufficient for me. Let others seek what they will, I will seek nothing but Thee alone, my Love, my All: In Thee alone I find all that I can seek or desire.”

The sacred Spouse said that among all things she had chosen to love her Beloved: My beloved is fair and ruddy and chosen out of thousands. (Cant. v. 10). And whom shall we choose to love? Among all our friends of this world, where can we find a friend more worthy of love and more faithful than God? And who has loved us more than God? Let us pray, then, and let us pray constantly, “O Lord, draw me after Thee; for if Thou dost not draw me after Thee, I cannot come to Thee.”

O Jesus, my Saviour, when will it be that, stripped of every other affection, I may ask and seek for none but Thee. I fain would detach myself from everything; but again and again some importunate affections enter my heart, and draw me away from Thee. Separate me, then, with Thy powerful hand, and make Thyself the one object of all my affections and all my thoughts.


St. Augustine said that he who has God has everything, and he who has not God has nothing. What does it profit a rich man that he possesses many treasures of gold and jewels, if he lives apart from God? What does it profit a monarch to extend his dominions, if he has not the grace of God? What does it profit a man of letters to understand many sciences and languages, if he knows not how to love his God? What does it profit a general to command an army, if he lives the slave of the devil, and far from God? While David was yet king, but in a state of sin, he walked in his garden, he went to his sports and his other pleasures; but these creatures seemed to say: Where is thy God? Wouldst thou seek in us thy happiness? Go, seek God Whom thou has left, for He alone can give thee rest. And thus David confessed that, in the midst of all his delights, he found not peace, and mourned night and day, lamenting that he was without God. Tears were my bread night and day, while they daily said to me, Where is thy God? (Ps. xli. 4).

In the midst of the miseries and toils of this world, who can console us better than Jesus Christ? He alone says: Come to me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. (Matt. xi. 28). O, the folly of worldlings! One single tear shed for our sins, one aspiration, “My God!” uttered in love, by a soul in a state of grace, gives more joy to a man than a thousand festivities, a thousand plays, a thousand banquets can bring to a heart that loves the world. I say again, O folly! and a folly, too, which none can remedy when there comes that death, when it is night, as the Gospel says, The night cometh in which no man can work. (Jo. ix. 4). Wherefore our Lord warns us to walk while the light favours us; for the night will come, when no man can walk. Let God alone, then, be all our treasure, all our love; and let all our desire be to please God Who will not suffer us to conquer Him in love. He rewards a hundredfold everything that we do to give Him pleasure.

Our Lady of Perpetual Succour

O my God, my only Good! Be Thou the ruling power in my soul; and, as I would choose to love Thee above all things, so do Thou grant that in all things I may prefer Thy will to my own pleasure. O my Jesus, I trust in Thy Blood, that, through the rest of my life I may love none but Thee upon this earth, in order that I may come one day to possess Thee forever in the Kingdom of the Blessed. O holy Virgin, succour me with thy powerful prayers, and take me to kiss thy feet in Paradise.


(Tuesday Meditation after Passion Sunday of Lent – by St Alphonsus Liguori)

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Greetings From Dungarvan

Ernest Walton (and John Cockcroft) were the first to split the atom in 1932. The rest is history. Ernest was born and raised in Dungarvan, the son of a minister.

Hallo readers, it’s Brother Burrito here, on holiday, during Lent!

I used to be a regular contributor here, of lightweight and humorous fluff pieces mostly, until mid 2015 when I took on some serious extra responsibilities in “meat-space” and had to take a sabbatical from this blog. Those burdens were not worth it: All I did was waste my talents, energy, and health in trying to achieve the impossible and evitable. Anyway, my membership as a CP&S author has not expired and so I have ventured back, as you can see.

For the last few years I have taken all my paid annual leave as a block to encompass Lent and Eastertide. I thought it might be wise to synchronise my holydays off from the profane world of paid employment, with THE Season of Grace. Let me tell you what: it works!!!

This year, after spending some time as a house-husband, supporting my wife for a change, I headed over to Ireland to attend to my grandmother’s old cottage which I inherited some years ago. Over that time, I evicted most of the spiders and woodlice, had it re-roofed and dry-lined etc. It is almost 20th century housing stock now. When funds arise, I shall really modernise it, with sensitivity I hope.

Last Sunday I went to Mass at the nearby Augustinian Friary in Dungarvan. Fr Seamus, who gave my father the last rites 12 years ago, was not presiding. Instead was the Provincial of the Irish Augustinians, his boss. His sermon started bleakly: all the friars of his Order are ageing and dying, friaries/parishes must be closed, decisions are difficult etc.

Instead of dictating a policy though, this wise and holy priest gave the members of the congregation five minutes in which to turn to their nearest neighbours and discuss why this parish should not be dissolved. As a visitor, I felt a bit awkward but took part. One other of my neighbours was also a visitor from the UK. In a speed-dating sort of way we all conflabbed and deduced that what made this particular parish great was its warmth as a community, its talented folk choir, and its long history as both. I contributed rather uselessly my observation that in recent years the liturgical abuses were much less, judging by UK standards. I got a lot of strange looks for that. I suppose it was like my attending the resuscitation of a seriously ill patient and remarking about the patient’s shoddy haircut.

Anyway, the Provincial gathered the consensus of the the people of God, by earwigging a lot I guess, and then the Mass continued as usual and I received my Transplant and Transfusion of Divine Grace, and then I returned to my usual life of moral confusion and sins-to-be-avoided, for another week. Next stop: Lunch with my long-lapsed older brother…..

[To be continued if any interest is shown…..]

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Author of “The Dictator Pope” revealed (officially) and book format now available

Some people were clued in a long time ago, but were asked to keep it under wraps.  Now it is out in the open.

The Dictator Pope (revised and updated)now available in hard copy from Regnery for pre-order (23 April – US HERE – UK HERE) highly critical of Pope Francis and those around him, originally was published under the pen name of “Marcantonio Colonna”.

Previously, it was available only on Kindle.

Now his name has been revealed.  HERE

Marcantonio Colonna is the pen name of Henry Sire (H. J. A. Sire), an author and historian. Sire was born in 1949 in Barcelona to a family of French ancestry. He was educated in England at the Jesuits’ centuries-old Stonyhurst College and at Exeter College, Oxford, where he gained an honors degree in Modern History. He is the author of six books on Catholic history and biography, including one on the famous English Jesuit, writer, and philosopher Father Martin D’Arcy, SJ. The Dictator Pope is the fruit of Henry Sire’s four-year residence in Rome from 2013 to 2017. During that time he became personally acquainted with many figures in the Vatican, including Cardinals and Curial officials, together with journalists specializing in Vatican affairs.

He is also the author of another book, which I’ve noted here in the past.

Phoenix from the Ashes: The Making, Unmaking, and Restoration of Catholic Tradition


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The Glorious Death Of St. Joseph

Pretiosa in conspectu Domini mors sanctorum ejus! Joseph had the happiness to die in the arms of Jesus and Mary. How could death be painful to him who died in the arms of Life? The devout clients of St. Joseph should hope with confidence that, at their death, the Saint will visit them accompanied by Jesus and Mary, to help them to die happily.


Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (Ps. cxv. 15). Consider that St. Joseph, after having faithfully served Jesus and Mary, arrived at the end of life in the house of Nazareth. There, surrounded by Angels, assisted by Jesus Christ, the King of Angels, and by Mary, his spouse, who placed themselves one at each side of his poor bed, in this sweet and noble company, filled with the peace of Paradise, he departed this miserable life.

The presence of such a spouse, and of such a Son, a name by which the Redeemer condescended to call himself, rendered the death of Joseph exceedingly sweet and precious. How could death be painful to him who died in the arms of Life? Who shall ever be able to explain or understand the pure sweetness, the consolations, the blessed hopes, the acts of resignation, the flames of charity, which the words of Eternal Life, coming alternately from the lips of Jesus and Mary, breathed into the soul of Joseph at the end of his life? There is, then, great probability in the opinion of St. Francis de Sales, that St. Joseph died of the pure love for God.

My holy Patriarch, now that thou dost rejoice in Heaven on a glorious throne, near thy beloved Jesus Who was subject to thee on earth, have pity on me who am still living in the midst of so many enemies, devils and bad passions, that continually strive to rob me of the peace of God. Ah, through the grace given thee on earth of enjoying the continual society of Jesus and Mary, obtain for me the grace to live always united with God, by resisting the assaults of hell, and to die loving Jesus and Mary, that I may be able one day to enjoy their company with thee in the kingdom of bliss.


Such, then, was the death of St. Joseph, all placid and sweet, free from anguish and fear; because his life was always holy. They who have offended God, and merited hell, cannot expect to die such a death. But great, indeed, will be the comfort of those who, at the hour of death, shall be protected by St. Joseph, who, since a God was once obedient to him, has power to command the devils, will drive them away, and hinder them from tempting his clients in their last moments. Happy the soul that shall then be assisted by this great advocate, who, on account of having died with the assistance of Jesus and Mary, and of having preserved the infant Jesus from the dangers of death by his flight into Egypt, has received the privilege of being the protector of a good death, and of delivering his dying clients from the danger of eternal death.

My holy protector, thou hadst a just claim to so holy a death, because thy entire life was holy. I justly merit an unhappy death, because I have deserved it by my wicked life. But if thou dost defend me I shall not be lost. Thou hast been not only a great friend of my Judge, but thou hast also been His guardian and protector. If thou wilt recommend me to Jesus, He will not know how to condemn me. I choose thee, after Mary, for my principal advocate and protector. I promise to honour thee every day by some special devotion, and by placing myself under thy protection. I am unworthy of being thy servant; but through the love which thou dost bear to Jesus and Mary, accept me for thy perpetual servant. Through the sweet company of Jesus and Mary, which thou didst enjoy during life, protect me during my whole life, that I may never be separated from God by losing His grace. And through the assistance which Jesus and Mary gave thee at death, protect me at the hour of my death, that, dying in the company of thee, of Jesus, and of Mary, I may one day go to thank thee in Paradise, and in thy company to praise and love thy God for ever.

(The Feast Of St Joseph – by St Alphonsus Liguori)

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When Silence Speaks Volumes: A St Joseph’s Day Reflection


When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.
— Matthew 1:24

By Fr Thomas Kocik:

In the Gospel passage for today’s Mass Saint Joseph’s virtues appear in subtle but distinct relief: his humility, his justice or righteousness, his unwavering faith, his reverential fear of the Lord, his docility, his obedience, his courage, his chastity, and his promptness in the service of God. All these virtues gleam forth from the man without his uttering a single word. His interior silence was the nursery of prayer—the occasion of an intimate and vibrant relationship with the God of Israel.

We call Saint Joseph, in hymns and in devotional prayers, the “comrade of angels” not only because of his angelic purity but also because, according to Saint Matthew’s account, angels were Saint Joseph’s counselors and guides. To Joseph the angel spoke in a dream the commands of God, and guided his steps in safeguarding the earthly life of the Lord Jesus Christ and of His most holy Mother. It is worth noting an important distinction in dignity between the immaculate Virgin and her humble spouse. Whereas the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Our Lady and solicited her affirmative reply to God’s plan of salvation, an unnamed angel appears to Saint Joseph, but only in a dream. This arrangement is significant: the Virgin Mary is requested to make a reply, namely to pronounce her fiat, thereby allowing the Incarnation to take place within her. Saint Joseph is neither consulted nor asked to fulfill a role. He is given a command and he fulfills it.

The silence of Saint Joseph allowed God to speak to His saint and to be heard over the noise of the carpenter’s shop, over the haggling of customers and suppliers in Nazareth, where he plied his artisanship, over the multitude of taxpayers thronging into Bethlehem at the time of the census of Caesar Augustus, and over the foreign tongues that he would hear in Egypt. Joseph, the just man, distinguished himself by his intimate rapport with the Lord whom he served, for he obeyed the Father’s command to take to his home the Blessed Virgin, the living tabernacle of the new and eternal covenant. Saint Joseph provided food, shelter, and a loving home for God the Son, and he protected the Mother of God from idle speculation and malicious gossip. The Fathers of the Church, beginning with Saint Irenæus of Lyons, maintain that Saint Joseph played an important role in keeping from the devil the secret of Christ’s virginal conception and virginal birth. The devil, although he knows more than we do, is not omniscient. God alone knows all things, and He kept from the devil the particulars of our Savior’s conception and birth, lest the evil one try somehow to undermine God’s wise and loving plan for the redemption of our fallen human race.

saintjosephandchild-1Among the early doctors of the Church, Saint Jerome is the staunchest defender of Saint Joseph’s honor and integrity. For he clarifies that Joseph feared to take Mary home as his wife not out of any fear that Our Lady had in any way sinned; rather, Saint Joseph, the son of David, shared his royal ancestor’s fear of coming into overly close contact with the Tabernacle of the Lord. “Who am I,” asked King David, “that the Ark of the Lord should come to me?” (2 Sam. 6:9).

Joseph, believing fully that Mary had conceived by the power of God’s Spirit, feared to bring her into his home lest he be overcome by the majesty of the divine mystery and overwhelmed by the presence of such sanctity. This is why he chose to honor Mary’s secret, not to expose her mystery. He decision not to bring her into his home was born not out of envy but out of reverential fear. In this view, Saint Jerome is supported by the Mellifluous Doctor, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux.

God, however, sent His angel to Joseph to command him not to fear, as one in terror, but rather to offer his home to the disposal of the Blessed Virgin and her Child. Joseph had no need to fear, for he resembled not his direct ancestor, the adulterous King David of Psalm 50(51), but rather the patriarch Joseph of Genesis 39, who retained his virtue and integrity against the lascivious advances of Potiphar’s wife.

Scripture demonstrates how aptly Saint Joseph, last of the patriarchs, was named after the early patriarch Joseph. For just as the early patriarch Joseph had stored up in Egypt grain to provide bread for the preservation of the People of Israel, so Saint Joseph, the splendor of the patriarchs (as we address him in his litany), rescued in Egypt the Bread of Life for the salvation of the people of the New Israel, the Church. To Saint Joseph the Church owes the safeguarding of the Incarnate Word, the preservation of the Bread of Life. For this very reason, Blessed Pius IX declared Saint Joseph the Patron of the Universal Church on December 8th, 1870.

Devotion to Saint Joseph had begun to grow in the Western Church by the 13th century, thanks to the preaching and writing of Saint Bernard in the 12th century and its promotion by the Franciscans, who found in the poor, humble carpenter of Nazareth a kindred spirit. Devotion to Saint Joseph, however, made great progress in the 15th century thanks to the efforts of Saint Bernardine of Siena and his contemporary Jean Gerson, a French scholar who served as the chancellor of Paris.

Devotion to Saint Joseph came to full flower by the 16th century with the renewed emphasis on the Incarnation and the Holy Family. Saint Teresa of Avila strongly encouraged prayer to Saint Joseph; in the next century, Saint Francis de Sales preached eloquently on Saint Joseph and encouraged countless numbers to have recourse to Joseph’s powerful intercession.

We can all profit by the example and intercession of Saint Joseph. He is the pattern of the spiritual life, and his powerful intercession has wrought countless graces, providential interventions, holy promptings, and even miracles. Saint Joseph continues to protect on earth the Church, Christ’s mystical body, just as once he protected Christ’s physical body from imminent danger to His life.

Saint Joseph is the ideal saint of Lent, precisely because of his great silence (prayer, contemplation), his unfailing devotion to duty and to self-denial (fasting and mortification), and his goodness to others (charity and almsgiving), which still finds expression in the granting of favors and supernatural interventions recorded by grateful souls. May we strive to imitate his virtues and call upon his aid in all our needs.

Saint Joseph, pray for us!

(source: OnePeterFive)

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Vatican Reveals Full Text of Benedict XVI’s Letter to Msgr. Viganò. Updated.

Here are the latest updates excerpted from Ed Pentin’s post:

UPDATE March 17:

The Vatican released the following statement this afternoon (my translation), only sending it to accredited journalists and not publishing it in its daily bulletin:

“On the occasion of the presentation of the series The Theology of Pope Francis, published by the Vatican Publishing House on March 12, a letter was published by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Much controversy followed about an alleged censorial manipulation of photography distributed as a photographic handout.

What was read out from the letter, which was confidential, was considered appropriate and related to the sole initiative, and in particular to what the Pope Emeritus says about the philosophical and theological formation of the present Pontiff and the inner union between the two pontificates, leaving out some notes regarding contributors to the series.

The choice was motivated by confidentiality and not by any intention to censor. In order to dispel any doubts, it was therefore decided to make the letter public in its entirety [see the full contents of the letter, released March 17, here].”

Earlier today Vaticanista Sandro Magister revealed there was more to the letter which was neither read out, nor published in the Vatican’s press release.

The second missing paragraph which comes at the end of the letter reads (my translation):

“Only as an aside, I would like to note my surprise at the fact that among the authors is also Professor Hünermann, who during my pontificate had distinguished himself by leading anti-papal initiatives. He played a major part in the release of the “Kölner Erklärung”, which, in relation to the encyclical “Veritatis splendour”, virulently attacked the magisterial authority of the Pope, especially on questions of moral theology. Also the “Europaische Theologengesellschaft”, which he founded, was initially conceived by him as an organization in opposition to the papal magisterium. Later, the ecclesial sentiment of many theologians prevented this orientation, allowing that organization to become a normal instrument of encounter among theologians.”

According to Magister, Hünermann was an “implacable critic both of John Paul II and of Joseph Ratzinger himself as theologian and as pope.” A professor at the university of Tubingen, Magister said “he is the author of, among other things, a commentary on Vatican Council II that is the polar opposite of the Ratzingerian interpretation.”

UPDATE March 17:

The letter in full:

Benedictus XVI

Pope Emeritus

Most Reverend Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò

Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications

Vatican City

February 7, 2018


Most Reverend Monsignor,

Thank you for your kind letter of 12 January and the attached gift of the eleven small volumes edited by Roberto Repole.

I applaud this initiative that wants to oppose and react to the foolish prejudice in which Pope Francis is just a practical man without particular theological or philosophical formation, while I have been only a theorist of theology with little understanding of the concrete life of a Christian today.

The small volumes show, rightly, that Pope Francis is a man of profound philosophical and theological formation, and they therefore help to see the inner continuity between the two pontificates, despite all the differences of style and temperament.

However, I don’t feel like writing a short and dense theological passage on them because throughout my life it has always been clear that I would write and express myself only on books I had read really well. Unfortunately, if only for physical reasons, I am unable to read the eleven volumes in the near future, especially as other commitments await me that I have already made.

Only as an aside, I would like to note my surprise at the fact that among the authors is also Professor Hünermann, who during my pontificate had distinguished himself by leading anti-papal initiatives. He played a major part in the release of the “Kölner Erklärung”, which, in relation to the encyclical “Veritatis splendour”, virulently attacked the magisterial authority of the Pope, especially on questions of moral theology. Also the “Europaische Theologengesellschaft”, which he founded, was initially conceived by him as an organization in opposition to the papal magisterium. Later, the ecclesial sentiment of many theologians prevented this orientation, allowing that organization to become a normal instrument of encounter among theologians.

I am sure you will understand my refusal and I offer you cordial greetings.


Benedict XVI

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The Love Jesus Showed In His Passion

Jesus, by His Passion and Death, says a devout writer, gave us the greatest possible proof of His love, beyond which there remained for Him nothing He could do to show how much He loved us: “The biggest proof of love was that which He showed forth at the end of His life on the Cross.” The Passion of Jesus is even said to be an excess. Oh, that all men, then, loved Thee, my most lovely Jesus! Thou art a God worthy of infinite love.


Blessed Denis the Carthusian says that the Passion of Jesus Christ was called an excess, —And they spake of his excess, which he would accomplish in Jerusalem (Luke ix. 31), –because it was an excess of mercy and of love: “The Passion of Jesus Christ is said to be an excess, because in it was shown forth an excess of love and of compassion.” O my God, and where is the believer who could live without loving Jesus Christ, if he were frequently to meditate upon His Passion? The Wounds of Jesus, says St. Bonaventure, are all of them Wounds of love. They are darts and flames which wound the hardest hearts, and kindle into a flame the most frozen souls: “O Wounds that wound stony hearts; and set frozen minds on fire!” In order the more strongly to impress upon his heart a love towards Jesus in His Passion, the Blessed Henry Suso one day took a knife, and cut out in letters upon his breast the Name of his beloved Lord. And, when thus bathed in blood, he went into the church and, prostrating himself before the Crucifix, he said: “Behold, O Lord, Thou only love of my soul, behold my desire. I would gladly have written Thee deeper within my heart; but this I cannot do. Do Thou, Who canst do all things, supply what is wanting in my powers, and imprint Thy adorable Name in the lowest depths of my heart, that so it may no more be possible to cancel in it either Thy Name or Thy love.”

My beloved is white and ruddy, chosen out of thousands. (Cant. v. 10). O my Jesus, Thou art all white through Thy spotless innocence; but upon this Cross Thou art also all ruddy with Wounds suffered for me. I choose Thee for the one and only Object of my love. And whom shall I love if I love not Thee? What is there that I can find amongst all other objects more lovely than Thee, my Redeemer, my God, my All? I love Thee, O most lovely Lord. I love Thee above every thing. Do Thou make me love Thee with all my affection, and without reserve.


“Oh, if thou didst know the mystery of the Cross!” said St. Andrew to the tyrant. O tyrant (it was his wish to say), wert thou to understand the love that Jesus Christ has borne thee, in willing to die upon a Cross to save thee, thou wouldst abandon all thy possessions and earthly hopes in order to give thyself wholly to the love of this thy Saviour. The same ought to be said to those Catholics who, believing as they do in the Passion of Jesus, yet do not think of it. Ah, were all men to think upon the love which Jesus Christ has shown forth for us in His Death, who would ever be able not to love Him? It was for this end, says the Apostle, that He, our Redeemer, died for us, that, by the love He displayed towards us in His Death, He might become the Possessor of our hearts: To this end Christ died and rose again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living; therefore, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. (Rom. xiv. 9). Whether, then, we die or live, it is but just that we belong wholly to Jesus Who has saved us at so great a cost. Oh, who is there that can say, as did the loving Martyr St. Ignatius, whose lot it was to give his life for Jesus Christ: “Let fire, cross, beasts, and torments of every kind come upon me: let me only have fruition of Thee, O Christ.” Let flames, crosses, wild beasts, and every kind of torture come upon me, provided only that I obtain and enjoy my Jesus Christ.

Gerard Seghers: Christ and the Penitent Sinners

O my dear Lord, Thou didst die in order to gain my soul; but what have I done in order to gain Thee, O Infinite Good? Ah, my Jesus, how often have I lost Thee for a nothing! Miserable that I was, I knew at the time that I was losing Thy grace by sin; I knew also I was giving Thee great displeasure; and yet I committed sin. My consolation is that I have to deal with an Infinite Goodness Who remembers his offences no more when a sinner repents and loves Him. Yes, my God, I do repent and love Thee. Oh, pardon me, and do Thou from this day forth bear rule in this rebellious heart of mine. To Thee do I consign it; to Thee do I wholly give myself. Tell me what Thou dost desire, wishing, as I do, to perform it all. Yes, my Lord, I wish to love Thee; I wish to please Thee in every thing. Do Thou give me strength, and I hope to do so.

(Passion Sunday Meditation – by St Alphonsus Liguori)

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Reflection for the 5th Sunday of Lent – Cycle B – 2018

From the Benedictine Monastery of Christ in the Desert

Image result for I have glorified


FIRST READING        Jeremiah 31:31-34

The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.  It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers the day I took them by the hand to lead them forth from the land of Egypt; for they broke my covenant, and I had to show myself their master, says the Lord.  But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord.  I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives how to know the Lord.  All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the Lord, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.

SECOND READING             Hebrews 5:7-9

In the days when Christ Jesus was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.  Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

GOSPEL            John 12:20-33

Some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.”  Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.  Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.  Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.  Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be.  The Father will honor whoever serves me.  “I am troubled now.  Yet what should I say?  ‘Father, save me from this hour’?  But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.  Father, glorify your name.”  Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.”  The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder; but others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”  Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come for my sake but for yours.  Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out.  And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”  He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.

My sisters and brothers in Christ,

This Sunday the readings focus us on the life and death of Jesus and the Old Testament passages that help us understand the life and death of the Lord.  It is really important for us to recognize that without the Old Testament, the Jewish Scriptures, it would be very difficult for us—perhaps even impossible—to understand Jesus and His life and death.

The first reading today is from the Prophet Jeremiah.  This Prophet is clear that the relationship of God with His people has been difficult and that the previous Covenants have been broken and that there is a need for a New Covenant that will last forever.  The Prophet Jeremiah shows us a God who is always seeking us out, who is willing to start a New Covenant with us, who always wants to love us.  And so we hear in this reading today:  “All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the Lord, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.”

What a wonderful God we have.  This God was known and loved by the Prophet Jeremiah and we are invited to know and love this same God, who loves us and who always forgives us—and forgets our sins!

The second reading comes from the Letter to the Hebrews.  This letter is used more and more during the time we come close to Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  The letter speaks so clearly of the sufferings of the Lord Jesus:  “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”

God has taken on our flesh and our human weakness even though God in Christ never sins.  God in Christ knows our sinful nature and truly suffers.  The carrying of the Cross and the death on the Cross are real and unite Jesus to us in a way that is unimaginable for God to share in our lives.  Yet God chooses this way to draw us to Himself.  We are invited to learn obedience to the will of the Father, even though we know that in the process of obedience, we also shall suffer.

The Gospel from Saint John today includes a short passage in which the divine breaks through into the ordinary life once again.  When we hear a voice from heaven in the Gospels, then we know that the divine is breaking into the ordinary.  Jesus says:  “Father, glorify your name.”  The Voice from Heaven says:  “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.”

The challenge in this last part of Lent is to LISTEN to the Lord, to the whole of the Old Testament and to the Church.  God is speaking to us.  Will we answer?  Will we give our lives in obedience to the Lord Jesus—always with love and joy?

Your brother in the Lord,

Abbot Philip


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Mary Suffers For Our Salvation


Why, O Lady, asks St. Bonaventure, didst thou also go to sacrifice thyself on Calvary? Was a crucified God not sufficient to redeem us, that thou, His Mother, shouldst also be crucified with Him? The death of Jesus was more than enough to redeem the world, but His good Mother, for the love she bore us, wished to help in the cause of our salvation.


St. Bonaventure, addressing this Blessed Virgin, says: “And why, O Lady, didst thou also go to sacrifice thyself on Calvary? Was a crucified God not sufficient to redeem us, that thou, His Mother, wouldst also go to be crucified with Him?” Indeed, the death of Jesus was more than enough to save the world, and an infinity of worlds; but this good Mother, for the love she bore us, wished also to help the cause of our salvation by the merit of her sufferings which she offered for us on Calvary. Therefore, Blessed Albert the Great says that, as we are under great obligations to Jesus for His Passion endured for our love, so also are we under great obligations to Mary for the Martyrdom which she voluntarily suffered for our salvation in the death of her Son. I say voluntarily, since, as St. Agnes revealed to St. Bridget, “our compassionate and benign Mother was satisfied rather to endure any torment than that our souls should not be redeemed, and be left in their former state of perdition.” And, indeed, we may say that Mary’s only relief in the midst of her great sorrow in the Passion of her Son, was to see the lost world redeemed by His death, and men who were His enemies reconciled with God. “While grieving she rejoiced,” says Simon of Cassia, “that a Sacrifice was offered for the redemption of all, by which He Who was angry was appeased.”


So great a love, then, on the part of Mary deserves our gratitude, and that gratitude should be shown by at least meditating upon and pitying her in her sorrows. But she complained to St. Bridget that very few did so, and that the greater part of the world lived in forgetfulness of them: “I look around upon all who are on earth, to see if by chance there are any who pity me, and meditate upon my sorrows; and I find that there are very few. Therefore, my daughter, though I am forgotten by many, at least do thou not forget me; consider my anguish, and imitate, as far as thou canst, my grief.” To understand how pleasing it is to the Blessed Virgin that we should remember her dolours, we need only know that, in the year 1239 she appeared to seven devout clients of hers (afterwards Founders of the Religious Order of the Servites), with a black garment in her hands, and desired them, if they wished to please her, often to meditate on her sorrows: for this purpose, and to remind them of her sorrows, she expressed her desire that in future they should wear that mourning dress. Jesus Christ Himself revealed to the Blessed Veronica de Binasco, that He is, as it were, more pleased in seeing His Mother compassionated than Himself; for thus He addressed her: “My daughter, tears shed for My Passion are dear to Me; but as I loved My Mother Mary with an immense love, the meditation of the torments which she endured at My death are even more agreeable to Me.”

Wherefore the graces promised by Jesus to those who are devoted to the dolours of Mary are very great.

(Saturday Meditation for the Fourth Week of Lent – by St Alphonsus Liguori)

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

This video with prayer request was uploaded for the Feast of Saint Patrick:

Please pray for the Catholic Church in Ireland that we don’t get the spiritual leaders we deserve but the ones we need. Warrior Priests ready to wage war on Satan at any cost and protect the flocks trusted to their care.

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Zeal For The Salvation Of Souls

St. Augustine says that the zeal for the salvation of souls, and for the growth of Divine charity in the souls of men, springs from love. He, then, the Saint adds, that has not zeal shows he does not love God, and he that loves not God is lost. “If you wish to honour God,” says St. Laurence Justinian, “you cannot do better than labour for the salvation of souls.” “Give me ten zealous priests,” St. Philip Neri used to say, “and I will convert the world.” What did not a St. Francis Xavier do single handed in the East? What did not a St. Patrick, a St. Vincent Ferrer do in Europe? God wishes priests to be the very saviours of the world.*

St. Patrick was another St. Paul in apostolic zeal for souls. In his famous Confession, which he wrote before his death, he prays: “Wherefore may it never happen to me from my God that I should ever lose his people whom He hath purchased at the ends of the earth … And if I ever accomplished anything good for the sake of my God Whom I love, I ask Him to grant me that I may shed my blood … for His Name’s sake, even though I should want for burial, or my corpse be most miserably divided limb from limb for the dogs and wild beasts, or the birds of the air should devour it.”


To understand how ardently God desires the salvation of souls, it is enough to consider what He has done for the redemption of man. Jesus Christ clearly expressed this desire when He said: I have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptized, and how am I straitened until it be accomplished! (Luke xii. 50). Jesus felt as if fainting away through the ardour with which He longed to see the work of the Redemption accomplished, so that men might be saved. From this St. John Chrysostom justly infers that there is nothing more acceptable to God than the salvation of souls. And before him St. Justin had said that nothing is so pleasing to God as to labour to make others better. Our Lord once said to a holy priest: “Labour for the salvation of sinners, for this is most pleasing to Me.” So dear is this work to God that as Clement of Alexandria says, the salvation of man is God’s sole concern. Hence, addressing a priest, St. Laurence Justinian says: “If you wish to honour God you can do no better than to labour for the salvation of souls.” According to St. Bernard, a soul is more valuable in the eyes of God than the whole world. And, according to St. John Chrysostom, you please God more by converting a single soul, than by giving all your goods to the poor. Tertullian asserts that the salvation of one sheep that has strayed is as dear as that of the whole flock. St. Paul wrote: I live in the faith of the Son of God who loved me and delivered himself for me. (Gal. ii. 20). By these words is signified, as St. John Chrysostom says, that Jesus Christ would have died as soon for a single soul as for all men. And this Our Lord gives us to understand by the Parable of the Lost Groat. “He calls together all the Angels,” says St. Thomas, “not that men, but that He Himself may be congratulated, as if man were God’s God, and His own Divine salvation depended on man; and as if without man He could not be happy.”

Alas, my Jesus, my Redeemer, how few there are who have the true Faith! O God, the greater part of mankind lies buried in the darkness of infidelity and heresy! Thou didst humble Thyself to death, even to the death of the Cross, for the salvation of men, and these very men ungratefully refuse to know Thee. Ah, I beseech Thee, Almighty God, supreme and Infinite Good, make Thyself known, make Thyself loved by all men.


Zeal, as St. Augustine says, springs from love, and, therefore, according to St. John Chrysostom, God can have no better proof of our fidelity and affection than our zeal for the welfare of our neighbour. The Saviour three times asked St. Peter if he loved Him: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? (Jo. xxi. 17). When assured of Peter’s love, Jesus Christ asked him for nothing else in proof of his love than to take care of souls: He said to him: Feed my sheep. (Jo. xxi. 17). St. John Chrysostom says: “The Lord might have said: If you love Me, cast away your money, fast, macerate yourself with labours. But no; He says Feed my sheep.”

After reading the Lives of the Martyrs and of the holy workers in God’s vineyard, St. Teresa said that she envied these latter more than the former on account of the great glory they that labour for the salvation of sinners give to God. St. Catharine of Sienna used to kiss the ground trodden by priests who were engaged in saving souls. And such was her zeal for the salvation of sinners that she desired to be placed at the mouth of hell, that no soul might enter that abode of torments. And what are we doing? We see so many souls perishing and shall we remain idle spectators of their perdition?

St. Paul said that to obtain the salvation of his neighbours he would have consented to be separated for a time from Jesus Christ: For I wished myself to be anathema from Christ for my brethren. (Rom. ix. 3). St. Bonaventure declared he would have accepted as many deaths as there were sinners in the world that all might be saved. St. Ignatius used to say that he would rather live uncertain of his own eternal lot than die with a certainty of salvation, provided he could continue to assist souls. St. Augustine teaches: Animam salvasti.; animam tuam praedestinasti. By saving the soul of another, you have predestined your own. And St. James has written: He must know that he who causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his way, shall save his (own) soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins. (James v. 20).

Jesus once said to the Venerable Seraphina de Capri: “Assist Me, O my daughter, to save souls by your prayers.” To St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi He said: “See, Magdalen, how Christians are in the hands of the devil. Unless My elect by their prayers deliver them, they shall be devoured.” Hence the Saint said to her Religious: “My sisters, God has not separated us from the world only for our own good, but also for the benefit of sinners.” And, on another occasion, she said: “We have to render an account of so many souls lost. Had we recommended them to God with fervour, they would not, perhaps, be damned.”

O my Lord Jesus Christ, how can I thank Thee enough for calling me to do the same work Thou didst Thyself on earth; namely, to help with my poor efforts in the salvation of souls. How have I deserved this honour after having offended Thee so grievously and been the cause of others also offending Thee? I will serve Thee with all my strength. Behold, I offer Thee all my labour, and even my blood, to obey Thee. I desire nothing but to see Thee loved by all as Thou deservest.

Most holy Mary, my advocate, who lovest souls so much, assist me.

(Friday Meditation for the Fourth Week of Lent – by St Alphonsus Liguori)

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As Thin As A Planck


(This is a joyous rejoinder or perhaps a ‘rejoynder’ to the recent post by St Alphonsus et al).

We Catholics often pray for Our Lady’s comforting intercession at “the hour of our death”.

But what if we don’t have an hour, a minute, or even a nanosecond of our death, in which to repent of our sins, tear our garments, show true purposes of amendment, etc.

What then? Does God wield a stopwatch? I have known at least one Catholic priest who fiercely wielded a stopwatch, but it was only in the service of mere sport.

The point of this article is to suggest that Mary instead prays for us in the “Planck Instant” of our death, for it is the shortest possible length of time that we humans can possibly conceive of.

That way maybe we will all be in Heaven before the devil has put his boots on!

[NB, This is Brother Burrito writing here: please don’t automatically assume I am trying to subvert all of Salvation History And Everything Else That Is Holy! 😉 I am a full-time amateur fool, one of Christ’s legions of such.]

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The Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Congregate Again – As Pious Women

For those who have been following and sharing in the plight of the beleaguered Franciscans of the Immaculate, here is some encouraging news from Gloria TV:

Allegedly dozens of Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate who were pushed out of the order by the Vatican, are again gathering together, according to the blog Veritacommissariamentoffi which usually spreads hatred against the sisters.

The plan of the sisters is to form a public association of the faithful. This allows them to escape the persecutions enacted by the Vatican Congregation for the Religious. The sisters are wearing a habit and are returning to their convents which they were forced to leave under obedience. The Vatican has no power over the convents because they are owned by an independent lay association.

This way the sisters have returned to their convent in Frigento, to a building in San Giovanni Rotondo, the place where Padre Pio died, and to the shrine on the Mount Gargano.

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