June 30, 2013

Let Us Pray For The New World Order

Attentive readers of this blog will have noticed that since initiating a liturgical life in Italian a little over a year ago, I have tried to be attentive to the possibility of sinister forces at work in the Italian Liturgy of the Hours. For example, there was my fear for the reappearance to the Joachimite heresy in the prayers for the feast of St. Benedict.

Today I have another concern to share.

June 29, 2013

Humility Against Shame

It's been my turn to be hebdomadary this past week so it fell to me to proclaim the short reading for first vespers of Peter and Paul:

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son: To all God's beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:1-3a, 7)

June 27, 2013

Building Concessions

One of the benefits of my current assignment in the Order is being under no exterior obligation to be reading anything in particular and so I've been able to go back and read various things I never got to in the past. One of these has been the selections we are given in the Francis of Assisi: Early Documents series from Ubertino da Casale's Arbor vitae crucifixae Jesu Christi, 'The Tree of the Crucified Life of Jesus Christ.' One gets the feeling that Ubertino is one of those friars about whom one enjoys hearing stories more than one would enjoy actually living with him in community, a not unknown type in the Order.

June 26, 2013

The Call to Holiness

We are taught that the 'universal call to holiness' was one of the great gifts and insights of Vatican II, and it's quite true. But like all good doctrines, it wasn't new at all but something that the Church had always taught, as they say. It's just that at certain moments it seems good to the Holy Spirit to highlight certain truths anew or to give them a new expression so that they may be more joyfully and confidently received by the Churches.

I was thinking about this today, namely the doctrine of the universal call to holiness winding its way through the last couple of generations before Vatican II. For us Capuchins today is the feast of Blessed Andrea Giacinto Longhin, who was a a Capuchin spiritual director, seminary reformer, and bishop of Treviso from 1904 until his death in 1936. He also suffered imprisonment during the First World War. Here's the selection we are given from his writings for the Office of Readings:

June 23, 2013

with blessed Joseph, her Spouse

I must be a little out of it, or busy, or preoccupied, or distracted--'all of the above' perhaps--to have missed something as sweet and lovely as the addition of St. Joseph to the Eucharistic Prayers last month.

It's a beautiful thing for the whole Church Universal of which St. Joseph is patron; that is, the Church at rest in Heaven, the Church suffering the purifying hope of purgatory, and the Church here on earth, still struggling on the earthly pilgrimage. But it's also a particular joy for those of us who have a devotion to St. Joseph.

June 8, 2013

301 Years Under Immaculate Mary

A little post for the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary today, which is also the feast day of my province of the Order. On the 7-language grid of the circumscriptions of the Order, to which I'm always referring in my current work, we are along the line Provincia Neoeboracensis et Nov. Angliae. So happy feast day to all the brothers at home.

In his forthcoming circular letter for the Year of Faith, our General Minister refers to an event of which I had never heard. In 1712, he says, the Capuchin Order was placed under the patronage and protection of Mary Immaculate.

June 6, 2013

The Ambiguous Fate of the Fat

This morning I thought to practice the readings for the solemnity of the Sacred Heart tomorrow, knowing that I would be asked to proclaim one or another of them.

I soon found myself in an eschatological dubium.

June 4, 2013

Boasting in the Lord

Not to scandalize anyone, but I can't say that in my experience of religious life I have been edified overwhelmingly by the influence of Sacred Scripture in the discernment and planning of everyday tasks and administration. Today, however, was an exception.

A brother was at work preparing a request to certain ministers of the brothers, that they might compile certain informations regarding the maintenance of buildings, the condition of temporal goods, that sort of thing.

Another brother issued a warning, reminding the first brother that it had been Satan who had incited David to "number" Israel, and that the end result had been a divine judgment that left seventy thousand dead and Jerusalem just missing being destroyed. (Cf. 1 Chronicles 21)

The first brother responded that David had been punished because he tried to make an accounting of his strengths (which intimated failure to have faith in the Mighty One of Israel), but that the Order (according to the salutary spiritual advice of the Apostle) was endeavoring to render an account of its weaknesses.

June 2, 2013


I guess a Catholic blog is supposed to be an enterprise of the New Evangelization, using new means to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to a world once-evangelized but grown confused and forgetful. But one can't be in the world and totally not of it, as it were, and one can't be online and not be, at least to some degree, bedazzled and rendered subject to the internet's beguilings. So, after, seven years of blogging I surrender to the internets, and present to you a post of kitten pictures.

aliquantulum quiescit

There are about thirty friars assigned to the house where I live. Most of them are priests. Many of them live itinerant lives in their service to the Order, so at any given moment two-thirds or so of the group might be at home. This means that as a priest one gets to be principal celebrant only once or twice a month. I really look forward to it, especially for the particular circumstances of Holy Communion.

After the Behold the Lamb of God...(the phrasing of which is curiously inverted in Italian, i.e. it goes, first, Blessed are...and then Behold...) the concelebrants begin to approach the front of the altar, where the acolyte has already placed the paten and chalices for them. Given that this procession of the concelebrants takes a few minutes, the principal celebrant is left with all the time he could want in receiving Holy Communion. I really appreciate it. One can even observe the brief period of meditation prescribed in the Extraordinary Form after receiving the Host and before receiving the Precious Blood. Tridentine accretion or 'mutual enrichment'? I don't know...but the great thing is that nobody else is paying you any mind such that he might render an opinion.

I just love the stress-free nature of the moment, the chance to receive Holy Communion in total peace. No worried temptation to look out of the corner of your eye to make sure the full complement of EMsoHC has assembled, no anxiety over whether you will soon find out that you will be expected to engage in some bizarre 'local custom' or illicit Communion Rite procedure.

As I received Holy Communion today, the gospel came back to me. (Luke 9:11b-17) I knew myself as one of those tired faces in the crowd, finding myself in the 'deserted place' of this world--and is if that weren't bad enough, finding myself as the 'deserted place' of my own soul, my own prayer and devotion having been made a desert by my negligence and sin. But it was precisely for me and all my brother and sister miserable sinners that Jesus Christ gave himself as bread to the Twelve, that they might give him to us. And it is in just this way that the bread that was more than enough for the hungry crowd, passed on by the apostolic Churches down to today, comes even to me.