For the Work of On-Going Personal Conversion (Part I)

I’ve written in the past about the deleterious side effects of cults of personality. If I wasn’t clear before, let me rectify the situation and say that I believe in the only cult of personality that really matters. It is the same one that all of the saints point us towards: the Person of Jesus Christ.

The Church is built around this, and this alone. One of the reasons I am a Catholic now is that I believe I became ready to move past the milk and head on to the solid food of the Faith. Prior to my conversion, I was a milk drinker for so long that I grew tired of it. So I left and as a result, I almost missed the feast that awaits Christians that persevere along the Way.

One way I have found that helps me stay grounded in the faith is to follow the advice of St. Philip Neri,

It is very useful for those who minister the Word of God, or give themselves up to prayer, to read the works of authors whose names begin with S., such as Saint Augustine, Saint Bernard, etc.

Or in the case today, the works of St. Catherine of Siena. What follows is from Chapter 63 of her Dialogue of the Seraphic Virgin. How do I know it’s chapter 63? Because something I was reading that was written by Father Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. identified it as such in his The Three Ways of the Spiritual Life. How did I find out about his book? From the tip I received from the Chinese “Chesterton”, and author of The Three-fold Way of Love, John C.H. Wu. See?

Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)

The common thread among these folks, and the other saints (such as St. John of the Cross, St. Thomas Aquinas, and others), is that Christianity is not just a “one-and-done” conversion. Far from it.

As Christians, see, through no merit of our own, we help spread the Good News, while the saints help us to persevere in the faith in that which we cannot see. In the passage below, God gives information through a vision of St. Catherine that points out how after our first conversion, the second must be attained, which leads unto the third. Come and see,

How the Soul, after having mounted the first step of the Bridge, should proceed to Mount the Second.

“Thou hast now seen how excellent is the state of him who has attained to the love of a friend ; climbing with the foot of affection, he has reached the secret of the Heart, which is the second of the three steps figured in the Body of My Son. I have told thee what was meant by the three powers of the soul, and now I will show thee how they signify the three states, through which the soul passes. Before treating ‘ of the third state, I wish to show thee how a man becomes a friend and how, from a friend, he grows into a son, attaining to filial love, and how a man may know if he has become a friend. And first of how a man arrives at being a friend.”

“In the beginning, a man serves Me imperfectly through servile fear, but, by exercise and perseverance, he arrives at the love of delight, finding his own delight and profit in Me. This is a necessary stage, by which he must pass, who would attain to perfect love, to the love that is of friend and son. I call filial love perfect, because thereby, a man receives his inheritance from Me, the Eternal Father, and because a son’s love includes that of a friend, which is why I told thee that a friend grows into a son. What means does he take to arrive thereat ? I will tell thee.”

“Every perfection and every virtue proceeds from charity, and charity is nourished by humility, which results from the knowledge and holy hatred of self, that is, sensuality. To arrive thereat, a man must persevere, and remain in the cellar of self-knowledge in which he will learn My mercy, in the Blood of My onlybegotten Son, drawing to Himself, with this love, My divine charity, exercising himself in the extirpation of his perverse self-will, both spiritual and temporal, hiding himself in his own house, as did Peter, who, after the sin of denying My Son, began to weep. Yet his lamentations were imperfect and remained so, until after the forty days, that is until after the Ascension.”

“But when My Truth returned to Me, in His humanity, Peter and the others concealed themselves in the house, awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit, which My Truth had promised them. They remained barred in from fear, because the soul always fears until she arrives at true love. But when they had persevered in fasting and in humble and continual prayer, until they had received the abundance of the Holy Spirit, they lost their fear, and followed and preached Christ crucified. So also the soul, who wishes to arrive at this perfection, after she has risen from the guilt of mortal sin, recognising it for what it is, begins to weep from fear of the penalty, whence she rises to the consideration of My mercy, in which contemplation, she finds her own pleasure and profit. This is an imperfect state, and I, in order to develop perfection in the soul, after the forty days, that is after these two states, withdraw Myself from time to time, not in grace but in feeling. My Truth showed you this when He said to the disciples ‘I will go and will return to you.’”

“Everything that He said was said primarily, and in particular, to the disciples, but referred in general to the whole present and future, to those, that is to say, who should come after. He said ‘I will go and will return to you;’ and so it was, for, when the Holy Spirit returned upon the disciples, He also returned, as I told you above, for the Holy Spirit did not return alone, but came with My power, and the wisdom of the Son, who is one thing with Me, and with His own clemency, which proceeds from Me the Father, and from the Son. Now, as I told thee, in order to raise the soul from imperfection, I withdraw Myself from her sentiment, depriving her of former consolations.”

“When she was in the guilt of mortal sin, she had separated herself from Me, and I deprived her of grace through her own guilt, because that guilt had barred the door of her desires. Wherefore the sun of grace did not shine, not through its own defect, but through the defect of the creature, who bars the door of desire. When she knows herself and her darkness, she opens the window and vomits her filth, by holy confession. Then I, having returned to the soul by grace, withdraw Myself from her by sentiment, which I do in order to humiliate her, and cause her to seek Me in truth, and to prove her in the light of faith, so that she come to prudence. Then, if she love Me without thought of self, and with lively faith and with hatred of her own sensuality, she rejoices in the time of trouble, deeming herself unworthy of peace and quietness of mind.”

“Now comes the second of the three things of which I told thee, that is to say: how the soul arrives at perfection, and what she does when she is perfect. This is what she does. Though she perceives that I have withdrawn Myself, she does not, on that account, look back, but perseveres with humility in her exercises, remaining barred in the house of self-knowledge, and, continuing to dwell therein, awaits, with lively faith, the coming of the Holy Spirit, that is of Me, who am the fire of charity.”

“How does she (the soul) await me? Not in idleness, but in watching and continued prayer, and not only with physical, but also with intellectual watching, that is, with the eye of her mind alert, and, watching with the light of faith, she extirpates, with hatred, the wandering thoughts of her heart, looking for the affection of My charity, and knowing that I desire nothing but her sanctification, which is certified to her in the Blood of My Son. As long as her eye thus watches, illumined by the knowledge of Me and of herself, she continues to pray with the prayer of holy desire, which is a continued prayer, and also with actual prayer, which she practises at the appointed times, according to the orders of Holy Church.”

“This is what the soul does in order to rise from imperfection and arrive at perfection, and it is to this end, namely that she may arrive at perfection, that I withdraw from her, not by grace but by sentiment. Once more do I leave her, so that she may see and know her defects, so that, feeling herself deprived of consolation and afflicted by pain, she may recognise her own weakness, and learn how incapable she is of stability or perseverance, thus cutting down to the very root of spiritual self-love, for this should be the end and purpose of all her self-knowledge, to rise above herself, mounting the throne of conscience, and not permitting the sentiment of imperfect love to turn again in its death-struggle, but, with correction and reproof, digging up the root of self love, with the knife of self-hatred and the love of virtue.”

More from St. Catherine’s Dialogue can be found on the YIMCatholic Bookshelf. I’ll post more on this subject with thoughts from my Franciscan mentor, Francisco de Osuna.

You’ve Been Corapi Rolled. What Now?

So the Corapi bombshell that went off a few weeks back? It turns out that Corapi fragged himself while committing mutiny. Yes, a self-inflicted grenade explosion. He hoped you wouldn’t notice, and that you would assume his wound was honorably received.

But now his order has issued a statement and there are plenty of folks jiving on it. Telling you all about it. “What it all means,” etc.

Just check the sidebar and you’ll find everything you want to know, but were afraid to ask. Deacon Greg Kandra broke the announcement; The Anchoress on SOLT and CorapiMark Shea on Mercy and Forgiveness; Deacon Scott Dodge on the unsurprising denouement; New Advent with all this and more. The human drama is all there, in more detail than you want to know.

What does John Corapi have in common with pop singer Rick Astley? Nothing, unless you count momentary fame. Because everything that Rick says he wouldn’t do, John Corapi did do. But let’s get down to earth and realize that Rick Astley can’t live up to his lyrics either. Nor can I.

Only one person can, and He happens to be God.

Only Jesus Christ is,

Never gonna give you up,
Never gonna let you down,
Never gonna run around and desert you.
Never gonna make you cry,
Never gonna say goodbye,
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you.

You can take that to the bank. Sing it Rick,

I suggest you do what I recommended back when this story first broke. And I recommend you watch Sweetgrass, which is airing on PBS today, and learn a little about the nature of sheep, which Our Lord compares us to favorably.

Pray for all involved, pray for healing, and pray for a faith strong enough to stay true to Christ and His Church through thick and thin.

For Lines on Liberty Like These

Transfiguration
by Raïssa Maritain
When I have vanquished you,
Oh my life, oh my death,
When I am free of the hard pull of joy
And I have gained my heavenly liberty,
When I have chosen the hardest way,
My heart will rest in the balance of grace,
But I shall retain you, love,
Retain from you not death, but life,
And I shall discover you, happiness,
Having given the Lord the whole of myself.
Like a prosperous ship, her cargo intact,
Which safe into harbor comes again,
I shall sail to heaven with transfigured heart,
Bearing human gifts made free from stain.

We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident…

Frank likes to Rock! And I’m not alone. I’m on-board with Deacon Scott Dodge, see, and his Friday series of mega rock classics. In fact, he’s taking requests. Go let him know what you would like to hear. Here is my suggestion for the day, and for this holiday weekend.

It’s also Canada Day, which is where these fellows hail from. Rock…It’s an American Tradition.

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Salute the flag, shoot the fireworks, remember the Declaration of Independence. But whatever you do, don’t forget to rock!

A Thought For This Holiday Weekend

As he was dying, Abba Benjamin said to his sons: If you observe the following, you can be saved, “Be joyful at all times, pray without ceasing, and give thanks for all things.”

Because Christ Is In Every Book of the Bible

Interestingly, I missed this video (below) last week when Deacon Greg Kandra ran it over at his place. Maybe there is a reason for that. You see, earlier this week some friends of mine got into a discussion regarding books of the Bible. [Read more...]

Christian Thoughts On Private Property: What Ayn Rand Missed, Part II

Still in my library, I found the following selection on the subject of private property, and of “the state,” in Life of Leo XIII And the History Of His Pontificate. Ayn Rand missed this book as well as Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum. Perhaps this is just a case of too much writing and too little research. That’s what I think anyway. Of course, she was a novelist, so facts weren’t necessary (head-slap). [Read more...]

Christian Thoughts On Private Property: What Ayn Rand Missed

It’s been a couple of weeks since publishing my last post on Ayn Rand.Things have settled down a bit here and now I can turn my attention to what she missed regarding a concept that is near and dear to all of her devotees: the concept of private property.

Given how much ink Rand spilled on this subject, you would think she came up with the idea of private property in the first place. Alas (for her fans), no. [Read more...]

Social Networks and the Church

Is social media here to stay? Probably. Others, like Brandon Vogt, discuss this phenomenon at length. Matthew Warner wants more Catholics to be on-line, and authentic, too. Because when you get right down to it, social networks are about community.

In the video below are a few factoids about the rise of social networks that you may find interesting. The Vatican has noticed, which is why the Church hosted a meeting of Bloggers a little while back.

Have you introduced your children to the YouCat on Facebook yet? Welcome to St. Blogs Parish.

Update: History has been made…the Pope’s first Tweet via his new i-Pad.

Mish Mash Rock (Music for Monday’s)

How’s your upcoming week looking? I’m trying to keep calm. Here’s how I don’t want to feel like come Friday.


Of course, there are no guarantees that it won’t end up like that, but I like starting the week off with a laugh. “Take that, high anxiety!” And I like to start the week off with some tunes as well. They’re from all over the spectrum. A true mish mash assortment, for sure.

Maybe you’ll like a few of ‘em.

The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/With a Little Help From My Friends. ‘Nuff said?

Eric Clapton, I Shot the Sheriff. Seriously. At least I didn’t shoot the deputy. As for the sheriff, I just did what had to be done.

Real Life, Send Me An Angel. This always makes me think of Star Trek. I don’t think that was the artist’s intent, but that’s the breaks.

The Knack, My Sharona. Took the family to see Super-8 at the movies this past weekend. Left the theater with this earworm in my head. Sorry!

Foo Fighters, Learn to Fly. Dave Grohl is a gifted musician and songwriter. Listen to the lyrics of this song. Regardless of the reason why he wrote it, what he thinks he’s sayin’, this answers reasons YIMCatholic.

Carlos Santana, Evil Ways. I dedicated this song to a friend this morning. She is so Evil! How evil is she? As evil as me. How evil is that? Gotta change.

John Cougar Mellencamp, Pink Houses. I saw this in the news today. While reading that, this song popped into my head.

Echo & The Bunnymen, The Cutter. I heard this on the radio earlier this week. It’s been a million years since I heard this! Spare us the cutter, indeed.


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