Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

September 8: The Birth of Humanity’s Sole Boast

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The Virgin

  Mother! whose virgin bosom was uncrost

With the least shade of thought to sin allied;  

Woman! above all women glorified,  

Our tainted nature’s solitary boast;  

Purer than foam on central ocean tost;  

Brighter than eastern skies at daybreak strewn  

With fancied roses, than the unblemished moon

 Before her wane begins on heaven’s blue coast;  

Thy Image falls to earth.

Yet some, I ween,

 Not unforgiven the suppliant knee might bend,  

As to a visible Power, in which did blend  

All that was mixed and reconciled in Thee

 Of mother’s love with maiden purity,  

Of high with low, celestial with terrene!

William Wordsworth →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Mother of God

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It is appropriate that on the first day of the year we honor the woman who brought the Alpha-Omega to us.  It has ever been the glory of the Catholic Church that we venerate the Mother of God.  From His Cross, Christ told the the Apostle John to look at Mary and behold his Mother, an indication that he was entrusting all of mankind into the maternal care of His mother.  Throughout the ages Mary has ever been vigilant to continue to make visits to her children, visits that we celebrate at Tepeyac, Lourdes and Fatima, to name only a few of hundreds.  God recognizes how precious to us are our Earthly mothers, and he deigns to share His mother with us.  We see in God’s love for Mary a glorious reflection of the love He has for each of us. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Hell and Good Intentions

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L’enfer est plein de bonnes volontés et désirs.  (Hell is full of good wishes and desires.)

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

Klaven reminds us of something that is very true in the above video.  In human affairs someone who, from the outset, intends to do evil can cause quite a bit of calamity and tragedy.  However, for true catastrophes you generally need someone who is seeking to do good, but is blind to the negative consequences of his actions.  History is replete with examples.  Martin Luther, I think, really did start out honestly intending to merely give impetus to reform within the Church.  Gandhi did not want to see India divided once the British withdrew because he honestly believed that Muslims and Hindus could live in peace together throughout the subcontinent.  Neville Chamberlain resisted taking any stand against Hitler until September 1939 because he honestly wished to spare Britain another World War only a generation after the first one.  →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism Because The Pope of Christian Unity (Pope Benedict XVI) Is Gathering the Scattered Flocks Left Behind by Those Who Thought They Knew Better Than The Church

The Catholic Church has always had a bull’s-eye attached to it, and in truth many of us wouldn’t want it any other way, for when we are almost universally loved, as has happened a few times in the last 40 years we have become “of the world,” instead of suffering for the world.”  Lately, during the pontificates of Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI dark forces have gathered at the gates of truth attacking the Church for a variety of long held beliefs.  These beliefs can range from the theological to the social. However, following the US Election of 2008 a tidal wave seems to have inundated the Church from the mainstream media, the political realm and even the entertainment world. The Church’s 2,000 year old teachings and beliefs have been attacked in the United States and Western Europe from elected officials, the mainstream media and well known entertainment celebrities. Some of the faithful have become discouraged and questioned me as to how the thesis of my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, could possibly be true in light of this news.

The truth of the matter is that against this troubling backdrop the Church continues to grow around the world, especially in African and Asia but even in North America, where much of the onslaught against the Church has emanated. Seminaries and Mother Houses often have no room for those pursuing a vocation and those young African and Asian men and women are often sent to the US or Europe to explore their vocation. Even in the US and pockets of Europe seminaries are experiencing a mini boom. One seminary rector told me that in the 40+ plus years of being affiliated with the Church, he has never seen a longer sustained period of top notch orthodox minded young men coming in and being ordained as he has seen in the last 10 years. Perhaps this is why the powers that be are so angry.

It seemed the US midterm Election of 2006 emboldened the cause of those militant liberals and secularists who have contempt for much of what orthodox minded Catholicism holds dear. Following the results of the Election of 2008, many pundits proclaimed the results as a sea change for America. Agnostics and atheists gleefully announced that a world where religion and especially conservative or orthodox minded Catholicism held sway was being replaced by a humanist brand of religion where age old teachings were replaced by the ideas of “enlightened” religious leaders, agnostic thinkers, and pop culture celebrities. It seemed this new brand of liberal thinker was less idealistic than their 1960s peers and displayed an anger and hostility that was a far cry from the utopian idealism displayed some 40 years ago. Yet, beneath the surface and below the radar screens of many news organizations, lies the hope of the Catholic faithful who hold on to the ideas  imparted by Christ, His Apostles, Popes, Bishops, Priests, Women Religious, Saints and holy laymen and laywomen throughout the centuries. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

O Sacred Head

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Something for the weekend.  O Sacred Head Now Wounded sung by Fernando Ortega with scenes from The Passion of the Christ.  The lyrics of this hymn derive from the latin poem Salve Mundi Salutare.  The authorship is open to doubt although I agree with those who attribute at least part of the poem to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, based upon stylistic similarities with portions of his other writings.    The sanctity and eloquence of Saint Bernard alloyed with the musical genius of Johann Sebastian Bach makes a potent combination indeed.

On a personal note this hymn has always moved me as no other does.  It reminds me that God died for me, something I find absolutely stunning.  Love and sacrifice begin and end with God, who regards each man as if there were no other.

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