Sunday, January 29, 2017

Purity is Necessary for Knowledge: Christ Corrects the Philosophers


Some philosophers have thought that happiness lies in the knowledge of truth, especially of supreme truth. This was the teaching of Plato and Aristotle. They were but little preoccupied with purity of heart, and their lives, on more than one point, were in contradiction with their doctrine. Christ tells us: "Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God." He does not say that those are blessed who have received a powerful intellect, who have the leisure and means to cultivate it; but rather, blessed are the clean of heart, even though they may be naturally less endowed than many others. If they are clean of heart, they shall see God. A truly clean heart is like the limpid waters of a lake in which the azure of the sky is reflected, or like a spiritual mirror in which the image of God is reproduced.

That the heart may be pure, a generous mortification is prescribed: "If thy right eye scandalize thee, pluck it out. . . . If thy right hand scandalize thee, cut it off." (Matt 5:29) We must particularly watch over purity of intention: for example, not giving alms through ostentation, not praying to draw upon ourselves the esteem of men, but seeking only the approbation of "the Father who seeth in secret." Then will be realized the words of the Master: "If thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be lightsome." (Matt 6:22)

Even here on earth, the Christian will, in a sense, see God in his neighbor, even in souls that at first seem opposed to God. The Christian will see God in holy Scripture, in the life of the Church, in the circumstances of his own life, and even in trials, in which he will find lessons on the ways of Providence as a practical application of the Gospel. Under the inspiration of the gift of understanding, this is the true contemplation which prepares us for that by which, properly speaking, we shall see God face to face, His goodness, and His infinite beauty. Then all our desires will be gratified, and we shall be inebriated with a torrent of spiritual delights.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Napro

Friday, January 20, 2017

The True History of Cuba, Without the Communist Slant


There is a website composed by the organization of Cuban political exiles with numerous articles and documents which are fundamental to an unbiased history of Cuba (without the Communist or the USA bias). It is of the Organización Auténtica and is at autentico.org. The dozens of works on that site should be formed into a book and translated into English.

A must read for anyone interested in the political history of Cuba.

September 4, 1933 was a decisive moment in that history.

Any history of Cuba which does not include a central place for Doctor Juan Antonio Rubio Padilla, for example, is a bunch of lies. He was the hero behind the Island's best democratic government and constitution, that of President Ramón Grau San Martín.


De pie podemos identificar a:

Quirino Uría, Echevarría, Carreño Fiallo, Izquierdo, Pérez Pérez, Diego Rodríguez, Hernández Nardo, López Migoya, Querejeta, Jorge Hernández Volta, Genovevo Pérez Dámera, Julio Velazco Irrisarri, Marchena, Desiderio Sánchez, Luna, Estévez Maymir, Galíndez, Santana

Sentados reconocemos a:

Manuel Benítez Valdés, doctor Antonio Guíteras, el entonces sargento Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar, el profesor universitario doctor Ramón Grau San Martín, Pablo Rodríguez, entre otros.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Travel Chasuble


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Jesus Christ is Allah


If Allah is the God of Abraham, then Jesus Christ is He:

"Before Abraham was made, I Am (i.e. Yahweh)."

Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it, and was glad.
The Jews therefore said to him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am.
They took up stones therefore to cast at him. But Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Why the Truth is "Up for Grabs" Today: We've Lost the Only Sure Point of Reference


As Descartes wrote, "the certitude and truth of all science depend on knowledge of God and on that alone" for "the certitude of all other truths is so dependent on this one that without the knowledge of God it would be impossible ever to know anything else."

Religion and Culture, Christopher Dawson, New York: Meridian, 1958, "Natural Theology as the classical theology of humanism", 7 (pages 4-5 in the google edition CUA Press 2013 link above).

[T]he specific nature of the religious phenomenon...[is that a]ll religion is based on the recognition of a superhuman Reality of which man is somehow conscious and towards which he must in some way orientate his life. The existence of the tremendous transcendent reality that we name GOD is the foundation of all religion in all ages and among all peoples. Ibid., 25.

The [self-satisfied rationalist, confident that he has mastered the secrets of the universe], has focused all his attention and all his activity on the region which can be explored by human reason and controlled by human will, and has thereby made it wider and more habitable, but he has not changed the fact of its ultimate limitation. In so far as he is content to live within this world of his own creation--the artificially lit and hygienically conditioned City of Man--he is living precariously on a relatively superficial level of existence and consciousness, and the higher he builds his tower of civilization the more top-heavy it becomes. For his nature remains essentially the same as that of primitive man--the nature of a rational animal, limited internally by the conditions of his consciousness and externally by his dependence on non-human forces which transcend his animal existence. Ibid., 28-29.

Imitatio Christi Online Audio


https://librivox.org/de-imitatione-christi-by-thomas-a-kempis/

Looks like it has three of the four books of that work.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Esto Vir!

Saint Leo the Great Audio Sermons


Audio podcasts of Saint Leo's Sermons are online, public domain, free, and user friendly.

E.g. On the Feast of the Nativity, I

N.B. LibriVox has many books on MP3 online, public domain, free, and user friendly. Check it out!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Scandal of Amoris Laetitia


The great error of Amoris Laetitia is that it condones and attempts to justify sexual mortal sins; ignoring the radical depravity of it, excusing it, and even acquiescing to it.

It is like claiming (despite the obvious fact) that the prodigal son never left home, even when he did; that the father should welcome back the son even while the son is still in a far away land divulging his dissolute life. A contradiction. How can you welcome one while he is obstinate in his refusa to return, who has not converted: i.e., never yet "returning to himself" (Luke 15:17).

Amoris annuls 1 Corinthians 6. One cannot be in communion with Christ and with a harlot at the same time. To say so would be proportionalism, a moral theory clearly condemned by Veritatis Splendor.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Magi Carol (German)

AD (Anno Domini Nostri Jesu Christi) and AC (Ante Christum/BC: Before Christ)


Dionysius Exiguus (c. 470 - c. 544) introduced the use of the Christian Era (see CHRONOLOGY) according to which dates are reckoned from the Incarnation, which he assigned to 25 March, in the year 754 from the foundation of Rome (A. U. C.). By this method of computation he intended to supersede the "Era of Diocletian" previously employed, being unwilling, as he tells us, that the name of an impious persecutor should be thus kept in memory. The Era of the Incarnation, often called the Dionysian Era, was soon much used in Italy and, to some extent, a little later in Spain; during the eighth and ninth centuries it was adopted in England. Charlemagne is said to have been the first Christian ruler to employ it officially. It was not until the tenth century that it was employed in the papalchancery (Lersch, Chronologie, Freiburg, 1899, p. 233). Dionysius also gave attention to the calculation of Easter, which so greatly occupied the early Church. To this end he advocated the adoption of the Alexandrian Cycle of nineteen years, extending that of St. Cyril for a period of ninety-five years in advance. It was in this work that he adopted the Era of the Incarnation.

Cf. Wiki

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Christian Personalism of Ferdinand Ebner, Key to Ratzinger


The malaise of the culture which followed the First World War with the first wave of existential thought and the coming forth of dialogical thought is the context in which to place Ebner. But, because he did not think the thoughts of another but rather thought from the original source of his own existence, his work has the seal of an original. In addition, his dialogical thought develops coherently listening to an interlocutor. Apart from the Bible, his most important interlocutor is, without doubt, Kierkegaard.

First of all we have before us a believer awake to existence and whose faith seeks understanding. Nothing strange that he should experience the influence of Kierkegaard, especially of his work Sickness Unto Death.

He receives from Kierkegaard illumination on the value of the second person, of you. From Kierkegaard, who in the cited work says that sin is sleeping rather than existing, he also receives the image of "sleeping with the spirit",  which serves to indicate the profound cultural alienation of the modern world. And just as Kierkegaard, the rebel against the abstract reason of his time, does not deny every type of reason, given that he fully develops in Sickness unto Death a rigorous anthropology from the faith, so also Ebner, equally rebellious against the same type of abstract reason, sketches the outlines of a new concept of man.

What are those outlines? Above all the affirmation of real man as in himself an incomplete being, turned toward something outside of himself, toward a you. Man is, therefore, essentially relational. Ebner values the relational entity as something primordial, constitutive; not as an accident which inheres in a being already constituted. Man exists in the apriori and transcendent realm of the "between". And that realm is transcendent because it is rooted in God: "Only in relation with God does man understand himself". For that reason, every understanding is mediation and will not cease to be so until it leads to the knowledge of God, which, if it is real knowledge, is also decision. Man exists in that way because he "is" so; because he is ontologically determined in this way. Being spirit, he is essentially open to the call of the Spirit. His being is pneumatological, being at its highest level.

So, if man is a relational being and is at the same time a corporal being, it is understood that the constituitive relation acts through the word. Surely this is a valid form of reasoning, but let us say that it was not by reasoning that Ebner arrived at the esteem of the word. Let us say that all of the terms of our reasoning are jointly intuited by Ebner in a "syneidetic" way [from Gk. eidos: essence], to use the apt term used by López Quintás, and we point out also that it was the reading of the Gospel with the eagerness of faith--"as a sick person seeking a doctor"--that leads Ebner to make the world the key of his thougth: I live spiritually only and uniquely from my understanding of the word".

The being of the word consists of its condition of vehicle between the I and the you.

The word does not originate from nature, it is in man, but it transcends him, it is originally from God.

From thence it is that proceeding from the Spirit and objectifying itself bodily it presents an irreducibly double essence.

Additionally, as word of man it is bound to the body, it possesses a physical base, a sensory and logical meaning. It is the objective, expressed, sign. Ebner is interested in this infrastructural and empirical dimension of the word, offering some linguistic observations and full of acumen and refinement.

But, also, the word also has its founding dimension as the vehicle of the I-you relation. Thus the profoundest sense of the relation I-you as motor principle and as intentional end of the empirical and objective sense of the word is on the transcendental level of the pneumatological.

According to the faith, "in the beginning was the Word. All things were made by Him" (John 1:1-3). At the summit of all things He made man, in being bound to the You, Who is God: "The relation of man with God is at the base of our being, in the Word, which existed in the beginning".

If man is a creation of the Word, he is doubly ennabled, as much to hear it as to say it and to perform it. Marked by the word, he carries, in one aspect, the essential disposition toward It. But the Word is not the natural culmination of his being. The Word is grace; a paradox regarding the essential ordaining toward the fullness of life and the gratuitous character of that life. One thinks of Blondel.

It is clearly that, in the first moment, the Word is the carrier of meaning, it moves in the cognitive realm, and knowledge as such does not make values, it is only the illuminative moment of action.

Whence the tight connection between the Word and love. The divine Word proceeds from love and leads to love. In man it gives rise to hearing, creating the listener of the word, and it moves him to love, which acts, then making him a doer of the word. Thus we move to the apex at which the fulfillment of man should culminate.

This religious schema extends its execution on the closest level of human coexistence, expressing the mystery which sustains it. Also in this coexistence the true word is grace, it is daughter of freedom and love, executor of the I-you relation, creator, wherefore, likewise of interpersonal relationships as of cosmic reality,  in so far as the world of things named by the word experiences a second birth thanks to its promotion in the spirit. That is what happens especially in art work.

In this way, Ebner weaves an anthropology around the word as original as it is fecund, opening new perspectives to philosophical reflection.

From the grasping of true reality--the I-you relation mediated by the word--idealist philosophy appears as unreal thought which absolutizes the I disuniting it from its constituitive relation. With that it is condemned to the void. The same goes for the objective thought of science, expecially mathematics, and also theology, if it is not done "in second person"; and, in general, regarding every other cultural manifestation which forgets the dialogical relation. All of that is solitude of the I, therefore unreal vapor, sleep of the spirit. For Ebner, it is there that the root of the profound cultural alienation of Europe must be sought, which speaks of reason, of art, of freedom, of rights and--what is much worse--even of Christianity, while it destroys man with oppression and violence. And Ebner only lived to see the first act of the tragedy. The worst was still to come; it would begin right after his death.

La Palabra y las Realidades Espirituales, Ferdinand Ebner, Madrid: Caparrós, 1995, from the introduction by the translator José Garrido, 8-11.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The First Vatican Council Revisited: "The Same Doctrine, The Same Sense, And the Same Understanding"


Amidst the present confusion within the Papal Magisterium Itself, it is prime time to examine the definitions and canons of The First Vatican Council, the Council par excellence against relativism.

If anyone says that it is possible that at some time, given the advancement of knowledge, a sense may be assigned to the dogmas propounded by the Church which is different from that which the Church has understood and understands: let him be anathema.


Chapter 4. On faith and reason

1. The perpetual agreement of the Catholic Church has maintained and maintains this too: that there is a twofold order of knowledge, distinct not only as regards its source, but also as regards its object.

2. With regard to the source, we know at the one level by natural reason, at the other level by divine faith.

3. With regard to the object, besides those things to which natural reason can attain, there are proposed for our belief mysteries hidden in God which, unless they are divinely revealed, are incapable of being known.

Wherefore, when the Apostle, who witnesses that God was known to the gentiles from created things (Rm 1, 20), comes to treat of the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ (Jn 1, 17), he declares: We impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification. None of the rulers of this age understood this. God has revealed it to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God (i Cor 2, 7-8, 10). And the Only-begotten himself, in his confession to the Father, acknowledges that the Father has hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to the little ones (Mt 11, 25).

4. Now reason, does indeed when it seeks persistently, piously and soberly, achieve by God's gift some understanding, and that most profitable, of the mysteries, whether by analogy from what it knows naturally, or from the connection of these mysteries with one another and with the final end of humanity; but reason is never rendered capable of penetrating these mysteries in the way in which it penetrates those truths which form its proper object.

For the divine mysteries, by their very nature, so far surpass the created understanding that, even when a revelation has been given and accepted by faith, they remain covered by the veil of that same faith and wrapped, as it were, in a certain obscurity, as long as in this mortal life we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, and not by sight (2 Cor 5, 6-7).

5. Even though faith is above reason, there can never be any real disagreement between faith and reason, since it is the same God who reveals the mysteries and infuses faith, and who has endowed the human mind with the light of reason.

6. God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever be in opposition to truth. The appearance of this kind of specious contradiction is chiefly due to the fact that either the dogmas of faith are not understood and explained in accordance with the mind of the Church, or unsound views are mistaken for the conclusions of reason.

7. Therefore we define that every assertion contrary to the truth of enlightened faith is totally false (See Lateran Council V, session 8).

8. Furthermore the Church which, together with its apostolic office of teaching, has received the charge of preserving the deposit of faith, has by divine appointment the right and duty of condemning what wrongly passes for knowledge, lest anyone be led astray by philosophy and empty deceit (Cf Col 2, 8).


9. Hence all faithful Christians are forbidden to defend as the legitimate conclusions of science those opinions which are known to be contrary to the doctrine of faith, particularly if they have been condemned by the Church; and furthermore they are absolutely bound to hold them to be errors which wear the deceptive appearance of truth.

10. Not only can faith and reason never be at odds with one another but they mutually support each other, for on the one hand right reason established the foundations of the faith and, illuminated by its light, develops the science of divine things; on the other hand, faith delivers reason from errors and protects it and furnishes it with knowledge of many kinds.

11. Hence, so far is the Church from hindering the development of human arts and studies, that in fact she assists and promotes them in many ways. For she is neither ignorant nor contemptuous of the advantages which derive from this source for human life, rather she acknowledges that those things flow from God, the lord of sciences, and, if they are properly used, lead to God by the help of his grace.

12. Nor does the Church forbid these studies to employ, each within its own area, its own proper principles and method: but while she admits this just freedom, she takes particular care that they do not become infected with errors by conflicting with divine teaching, or, by going beyond their proper limits, intrude upon what belongs to faith and engender confusion.

13. For the doctrine of the faith which God has revealed is put forward not as some philosophical discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence, but as a divine deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and infallibly promulgated.

14. Hence, too, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by Holy mother Church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding.

May understanding, knowledge and wisdom increase as ages and centuries roll along, and greatly and vigorously flourish, in each and all, in the individual and the whole Church: but this only in its own proper kind, that is to say, in the same doctrine, the same sense, and the same understanding (Vincent of Lerins, Commonitorium [Notebook], 28 [PL 50, 668]).

Cf. The very important book De Immutabilitate Traditionis contra Modernam Haeresim Evolutionismi, Ludovico Billot, SJ, Romae: Pontificia Instituti Pii IX, 1907.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

On New Years, Months, Weeks, Days, Hours, Minutes, Seconds: On Time and What it Means


In a previous post we mentioned the historical origins of the choice of New Year's Day in Western Civilization. However, we did not mention the cosmic logic of the choice of new year's day. It is a solar calendar, divided by the lunar calendar: viz. it is the beginning of the growth of the new growth cycle of the sun coordinated with the cyclic beginnings of the growth of the moon (i.e. December 20th the days begin to become longer after the shortest day of the year, and so we take the next new moon, ca. January 1st, and divide the year approximately into the moons thereof (hence twelve months, each new moon being roughly 30 days). Ours is a solar calendar because it is based on the solar cycle with an approximate alignment with that of the moon. And the Pope determined that we should calculate our time from this reference point because of its agreement with the birth of Christ (commemorated December 25th to January 6th).

Weeks probably come from the seven days of creation of the Judeo-Christian dispensation, roughly equivalent to an half moon (cf. consult any normal calendar and you will see each week indicating the lunar phases, the first week of the month there is a new moon, second week a first quarter moon, the third week a full moon, and the fourth week a third quarter moon). The length of our days are based on the sun, the daily revolutions of the earth. The hours (24) and the minutes (60) and the seconds (60) are from 3,000 B.C. Sumerian origin.

Another related question is the etymology (in various languages) of the words/names which we give to all of these temporal divisions. Perhaps a future post.

Happy Anno Domini MMXVII!, Merry Christmas Octave!

"Christ, yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, Alpha, and Omega. All time belongs to him, and all the ages; to him be glory and power, through every age for ever" Cf. Pope Saint John Paul II, 1999.

The sun represents Christ Our Most Blessed Lord and God and the moon represents Mary Our Most Blessed and Ever Virgin Mother, and so it is most fitting that we count our years in reference to their cooperation, for that indeed is our salvation.


Anticipating Lauds and Prime


In addition to having anticipated matins (anytime after 2:00 PM, in the 1962 ritual, [after 4:00 PM in the novus ordo]), this is the perfect time (viz. 2:30 AM) to do lauds and prime, just before going to bed, on the rare occasion when doing so after midnight.

Makes for a much more serene morning the next day, i.e. not having to cram in the whole breviary into a Sunday parish schedule, in addition to the daily meditation and rosary, etc. Better spacing of the prayer.



Happy Octave Day of Christmas, Circumcision of Our Blessed Lord, Θεοτόκος, Anno Domini MMXVII!
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