A Choice Against Creation

The events in Ireland this week have been much discussed. While there are a thousand perspectives on it, though, one truth cannot be denied: Abortion is an unnatural act. That is to say, it is literally an act against creation, and writ large it exposes a terrible failure of humanity itself.  We have so distanced ourselves from the nature of God that we, collectively, think we can deny it, blind ourselves to it, overrule it.  But we cannot, and the evidence of that fact is everywhere, if we care to look for it.

creation2God is ever creating the universe and we are all a part of that.  Creation, after all, was not just In The Beginning but is also now, right now.  The unmoved mover by His stillness keeps everything in motion, alive, creating, being.  From atoms to the universe itself, everything is in movement.  It is ingredient in the nature of things, ingredient in the world we live in, clear from the simple observation of creation.

God’s infiniteness cannot be constrained by His stillness, for it is infinite, so instead it drives all that is around Him, all that He has created and is creating now.  God Is.  He Himself said to Moses: “I AM WHO AM.  Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: HE WHO IS, hath sent me to you.” And that is the key point of the matter.  It is not central that He was Creator, it is central that His is Creating now.

In this whirlwind of motion, of being, of infinite infiniteness He created all of us, individually. Human beings are special. They are not like the animals, not even like the angels. We are a part of a great experiment called Free Will. Infused by God with a soul at the moment of our creation, we each represent a facet of the infiniteness of God. A unique sliver of the everything that God is, we were put into the world to cope, thrive, suffer and, eventually, exist forever. Every finite human being is connected to God in their soul, and by God to everyone else.

All of this is to say we are all children of God, he is the Father of Creation—not just the creation back then, but the creation of this moment. As such, in such a whirlwind of divine fecundity, how could we die?  Alas we cannot. We too are eternal, not infinite, but eternal.  We can return to our Maker during this life and recognize Him or we can freely reject Him.  All of our choices decide the matter. All of our attitudes. All of what we Will during this time we are given, this time we are tested.

It is in this perspective that the matter of taking an innocent life must be viewed. In the midst of a universe of creation, of motion, of love, of endless moments alive with life, it is a choice to end another’s earthly existence.  It is a choice to go against the movement of God, the instinct to create, to move, to dance, to live, to love.

The life ended, on this plane of existence, is violently treated but it is eternal.  But the simple fact that we can offer such a choice, given what we have been told and shown for so long, is even more unthinkable and unnatural.  It is a rejection of the God that Is. Nature is demonstrating to us how to be, hinting, prodding, revealing. To end an innocent human life is to reject these messages, to deny the nature of creation that moves like a wind around us.

The sad vote in Ireland last week shows we are much farther from where we are supposed to be than we can even imagine.

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Prayers for the Battle

Put ye on the armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. Therefore take on the armor of God, that ye may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice, And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace: In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit.

Ephesians 6:11-17

The passage above, from The Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians, seems on the surface to be comparing, in metaphor, aspects of the Christian faith to the various pieces of armor a warrior might wear.  Each item protecting or arming the faithful in the way that a breastplate or sword might.  As metaphor, and as spiritual truth, it is powerful.  However, it also speaks to a later tradition.

It speaks to the Lorica.

lsegm

“Lorica” is the Latin word for armor worn on the torso, and developed from the word lori, referring to a leather strap, which no doubt was a part of early armor. The word is ancient and lent itself to many meanings over the centuries.  Lorica hamata, was a ring mail used by the Roman soldiers until the First Century A.D., which was followed by lorica segmentata, a body armor fashioned from strips of iron or steel attached to a leather interior, a cheaper alternative to mail.  This was replaced by more efficiently made mail armor at the end of the third century. The word lorica, over this time, generally came to mean the breastplate section of armor, and eventually became a more general reference to complete body armor.

The battles of the Middle Ages, though, were not all against other peoples, but were often against the forces of evil as well.  As such, the armor would receive a blessing.  Over time, the blessing of the armor became known as a lorica as well.  Over time, when entering a purely spiritual battle, the prayer itself was rightly considered the stronger protection.

Tradition has it that when St. Patrick went to confront and convert Irish King Leoghaire and his pagan subjects in 433 A.D. he wrote a particularly powerful lorica, invoking the divine protection of the Holy Trinity in a litany of petitions seeking to defend and strengthen him for the confrontation.  Naturally, there is evidence that the lorica attributed to him is of his time, and evidence to the contrary, but it is a prayer of protection that was respected and revered throughout the Middle Ages, usually recited in the morning each day to prepare for the day ahead.  And many with the wisdom say it today as well.

Prayer over actual instruments of battle, however lyrical, was not the work of poets and storytellers, it was very real.  Indeed, the blessing of armor was a part of the 1595 Pontificale Romanum of Clement VIII (a collection of religious rites for celebration by bishops).  These were only recently removed in the 1961 revision.  Until then the Pontificale Romanum allowed for the the blessing of armor, the blessing of a sword, and the blessing and consignment of a military banner.  One of the two blessings of armor went as follows:

Let us pray. May the blessing of Almighty God, the +Father, the +Son and the Holy +Spirit, descend upon this armor, and upon him that weareth it, that he may defend justice. We ask Thee, Lord God, that Thou protect and defend him, that livest and reignest, one God for ever and ever. R. Amen.

Pontificale Romanum, 1595 (see here and here).

While they were for real armor for real battles, there can be no doubt that prayers of this type were not necessarily always for physical battle, but also for spiritual warfare, the often unseen battle that surrounded them and us against the forces of evil.

While these are hardly the Middle Ages, there can be no doubt that exorcisms are on the rise, the culture has drifted from its Christian foundations and consideration of the holy is all but absent from popular discourse.  In other words, it is a time when those preparing for spiritual warfare might want to turn again to the lorica prayers.




The Lorica of Saint Patrick
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I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.

Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

Amen.

 

A Prayer

Prayer Trad Priests

Church of Nice

Battle for Souls

God Is Life – The Via Fecunditatis

Life is springing up around you every moment of the day. The trees that surround us, the animals that make them home, the people of all ages passing under them. It is filling gardens, pushing through the cracks in the pavement, living and thriving in environments all around the globe, both urban and remote. All of this life abounds because God is growing, fecund, spouting, twisting life.

In this Age they say that we are made up of spinning atoms and maybe even twisting strings, ever in motion, bumping into each other, splitting and whirling about. If everything needs a cause, and everything was caused by something else, we still need the unmoved mover, the uncaused cause, God, and if the world is evidence, he is not only the Creator, He is ever creating, ever in motion, ever causing.

God is infinite they say, and we were all made by God. This then is an explanation for the incredible diversity of life, a God spinning out His infiniteness, one atom, one plant, one person at a time. They are all an expression of his ever expanding infinite nature. It is as if we are all in motion and He is at the other end of the gears, turning the dial, giving of Himself with the utmost energy. Life abounds.

Perhaps one of society’s ills as we move away from the greatness of God, is that our culture is not about life. From the beginning of life to the end, death is embraced and enshrined in law. A cold sterility is on offer for all to hear, life is blocked, prevented, denied, avoided. The priorities and pressures of our society are to protect the right to sterility, the choice of death, to celebrate the ways deliberately closed to life, and then we wonder why we feel cut off from our Maker. Our ancestors looked at nature and saw the relentless, enduring, energetic creation of life in all of its unending forms, forms almost as infinite as God, and they saw that it was of our Creator. Not in the past tense, not some watch wound up and left to go on its own, but everywhere you look, everywhere you go, right now. And now. And there again.

More than that, God is loving you into existence, spinning your atoms, causing you, moving you right this moment. He is in your soul, stirring you at times, whispering at times, conveying that through Him you are connected to all this that is around you, this present moment, this living energy, this glorious path. He makes clear in so many ways, as of course he would, that the life He offers is also infinite, not only in its diversity but eternally, the life He offers is undying. Simply look around you, breathe in this moment, feel the crazy energy of life and you will know that it could not be any other way.

To connect back to His fecund, ever-present energy requires being in the moment and leaving your anxieties for tomorrow. See the life teeming around you, breathe it in, pray to be in the thick of it. Buried under all of our complexes, rules and anxieties is an energy that puts the lie to so much of what we think is important. Like all the teeming life around you, connect back to the source, to Him, and walk the path of life again.

The Tridentine Fallacy

trent.png
What most people call the “Latin Mass” seems to have a bewildering number of names and many of them are imprecise for one reason or another. Perhaps surprisingly ”Latin Mass” is the least precise of all. But another label, Tridentine, can be used by some naysayers in a way that is downright troublesome.

Among the many names for it, calling the liturgy conducted in Latin and pursuant to the 1962 Missal the “Extraordinary Form” is certainly accurate since Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum formalized the term, along with the term Ordinary Form for the form of the Mass commonly seen today. Pope Francis seems to prefer calling the Extraordinary Form the Vetus Ordo, or Old Form, which lines up nicely given that the Ordinary Form is also called the Novus Ordo, or New Form. So, regardless of any possible connotations, the benefit of the labels Extraordinary Form or Vetus Ordo for the so-called Latin Mass is that they are precise, accurate and used by popes. Many, though, prefer to call the Traditional Latin Mass/Old Form/Extraordinary Form the “Tridentine Mass,” which, historically speaking, can be both right and wrong, and which is often a springboard to an increasingly common and often deliberate fallacy.

Read the rest of this entry

Rebuild My Church

The words God spoke to St. Francis seem to be hanging in the air lately. It is obvious that the traditional Church, in the corners where it is still allowed to thrive, thrives.

The FSSP the ICKSP, the diocesan Traditional Latin Mass parishes, the orders that embrace the mystical aspects of the faith and reject the dangerous embrace of the values of the Age. All see increases in seminarians, in parishioners, in confessions, in the saving of souls.

Meanwhile, the Church of modernity withers and its leaders declare that it is because we do not cling to the Age tightly enough, that we do not adopt its progressive politics, that we do not flexibly shed the words of prior pontiffs and cast off timeless truths.

As things transform around us though, it becomes increasingly clear that a rebuilding will need to be done to turn the Faith back toward truth and growth.

 

St Francis Rebuild

Monastic Herbalism: Part One

Some say the monastics of the Middle Ages merely kept good records of the classical era, preserved them, copied them, and made use of them. Others say they developed many skills and a great deal of information themselves through trial and error. What cannot be doubted, though, is that monks and nuns of medieval times had records, gardens and medicines for the practice of herbalism. Indeed, they were the masters of it, particularly the Benedictines, and they held and built this treasure of knowledge for over a millennium, with many continuing to do so to this day.

herbs

Sage, rue and rosemary.

Ancient Rome used herbs as part of its medical system. Indeed, the Roman Army took seeds with them along the way so they could plant and use them when they dug in at a particular location. The system itself came mainly from Greek discoveries, particularly Hippocrates and his followers, and it is well recorded that the Hippocratic humeral system was used by Ancient Rome. This system held that an excess or deficiency of any of four bodily fluids in a person, called humours, had a direct effect on their health and attitude. Herbs were among the things that they thought could restore balance to the humours. While the system was flawed in its foundational assumptions, the trial and error involved in it led to discovering many herbs and plants that helped the body to heal itself.

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When You Suffer, Offer it Up

Sufferings.jpg

Doubt

That little part of you that doubts

the traditions of the faith

That tiny whisper

Is all that stands between you

And the peace of the Lord.

You Are Right To Be Concerned

precious bloodTurn Your eyes to the most prominent place and there You will find the face of suffering. It is not hidden, not swept away, not tucked into a corner. There is pain, all of the pain, beaten and bloody. It is a tangible suffering You are quixotically invited to join with Your own. It is blood You are bizarrely asked not to turn away from but to wash Yourself in. It is anointed flesh and that same precious blood You are preposterously told to believe is eternally offered as sustenance. Imagine such a scene. Do not look away from it. And know one thing: Truth such as this will never submit to the times.

It is an age where the people’s seers wear labcoats, and all that can be seen can be measured and categorized, but You know that there are echoes at the very depths of Your being, parts of You that understand that all of the explanations They offer are not enough, parts of You that instinctively know that not everything can be measured, not everything can be seen, not everything can be explained. There is always a piece of You, a piece which They would deny even exists, an indispensable piece that looks at their explanations, smiles knowingly and says “there is more than just this.”

The efforts by many to explain the Faith in terms the current age will understand, these are valiant and necessary efforts, but to the degree the World considers them subversive efforts, They are precisely right. The Faith is not of this world, it is beyond the natural, it includes all that You admit and all that You deny. The dogma it declares, dimly here, loudly there, should be among the gravest of concerns to those who breathe deeply of the times. Because We are out to change this world, to make straight the path to the new one. As many times as needed, as difficult as it may be. Forever and ever.

Read the rest of this entry

The Tridentine Fallacy

trent.png
What most people call the “Latin Mass” seems to have a bewildering number of names and many of them are imprecise for one reason or another. Perhaps surprisingly ”Latin Mass” is the least precise of all. But another label, Tridentine, can be used by some naysayers in a way that is downright troublesome.

Among the many names for it, calling the liturgy conducted in Latin and pursuant to the 1962 Missal the “Extraordinary Form” is certainly accurate since Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum formalized the term, along with the term Ordinary Form for the form of the Mass commonly seen today. Pope Francis seems to prefer calling the Extraordinary Form the Vetus Ordo, or Old Form, which lines up nicely given that the Ordinary Form is also called the Novus Ordo, or New Form. So, regardless of any possible connotations, the benefit of the labels Extraordinary Form or Vetus Ordo for the so-called Latin Mass is that they are precise, accurate and used by popes. Many, though, prefer to call the Traditional Latin Mass/Old Form/Extraordinary Form the “Tridentine Mass,” which, historically speaking, can be both right and wrong, and which is often a springboard to an increasingly common and often deliberate fallacy.

Read the rest of this entry

Why is Latin the Language of the Church?

oldmassMany today do not understand the eternal link between the Church and the Latin language.  While it is true that Jesus did not speak it, he clearly founded the Church in the Book of Acts, and sent his disciples to the “ends of the Earth.”  In that age there was only place where all roads led, where a Church could be central and universal, and that was Rome.  Even the documents of Vatican II call for Latin’s preservation, though the foul “Spirit of Vatican II” that followed did its best to systematically dispense with it.  To the faithful, though, the idea of the Church actually abandoning Latin is unthinkable, and to return to it, even if only to hear it spoken in the Mass, is to come home to what your ancestors knew was the language of the saints.  Ten years after Summorum Pontificum, let’s take a look at this history, step-by-step:


Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio Latina Lingua establishing the Pontifical Academy for Latin (2012).


Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum expanding access to the Traditional Latin Mass (2007).


Pope Benedict XVI’s letter to the bishops accompanying the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum (2007).


The formation of the Fraternitas Sacerdotalis Sancti Petri (FSSP) as a traditionalist Catholic society for priests interested in promoting and protecting the Traditional Latin Mass, which broke off from the SSPX and is in communion with the Holy See, occurs (1988).


Bl. Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution Scripturarium Thesaurus promolgating the Nova Vulgata (1979).


The Nova Vulgata, or new Vulgate, the official modern version of St. Jerome’s Vulgate Bible, is published (1979).


The Ottaviani Intervention, a famous letter by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani to Pope Paul VI stressing that the Traditional Latin Mass should not be replaced by the new mass (1969).


Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, is promolgated by Pope Paul VI, allowing for Mass in the vernacular instead of Latin when a territorial decree permits the exception, see p. 36. (1963). (Permission for the change was obtained by U.S. bishops in May of 1964.)


Bl. Pope John XXIII’s Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia on the Promotion of the Study of Latin (1962).


Pope St. Pius X‘s Motu Propio Tra le Sollecitudini stresses the majesty and importance of Gregorian Chant as a part of the liturgy (1903).


Following the Council of Trent, Pope Clement VIII issues the Papal Bull Cum Sacrorum accompanying the issuance of the Clementine Vulgate (searchable text), the revision of St. Jerome’s Vulgate Bible, which stands until the 1979 revision (1592).


Pope St. Pius V‘s Apostolic Constitution Quo Primum is issued, implementing the decision of the Council of Trent to require the use of the historic Latin liturgy in perpetuity, and foregoing any other which did not have 200 years of consistent use by that date (1570).


Pope St. Gregory The Great formalizes the Mass in Latin and, tradition states, begins Gregorian Chant during his pontificate (c. 600).


St. Jerome writes a letter to Pope Damasus prefacing his translation of the Gospels into Latin (c. 377).


St. Irenaeus describes the “Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul” at Book 3 Chap. 3 Para. 2 of his work Against Heresies (c. 180).


St. Paul arrives in Rome, Acts 28:11, later martyred there (c. 64).


 

Not You