Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

" You are that handmaid chosen by God and in whom there is no venial, mortal, original or actual sin, nor any other form of sin is found in you: and you see why Adam was created pure and without sin.  THere are some who say that you, Mother, are touched by original sin and they are saying a wicked thing since it is said above that my Father chose you because of your purity before Adam was created, to incarnate His Son.  Thus, if you had been touched by original sin, our mother Eve could say that she was made purer without any stain of sin: this is why, glorious Mother, infidels who accuse you of such a stain are silenced"

-- from Dialogue of Holy Wednesday, S. Peter Paschasius, O. de M.

"God wanted to preserve you from original sin which is mortal and from any other harm of pollution.  God's grace did tat since, as it was prophesied, the one who was to be born of this flesh had to be noble, the noblest of the sons of men.  Original sin came in man through disobedience, incurring the wrath of God who said: I regret having made man.  Therefore, if the Virgin Mary had been conceived in original sin, we would have to say that at some point she incurred God's ire, something which we do not want to say or believe; instead, before and after her conception, Mary remained in God's grace and love.  God did that, by a special grace, as God did with the three youths placed in the furnace to burn"

-- from the Dispute of the Bishop, S. Peter Paschasius, O. de M.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Feast of S. Peter Paschasius,O. de M., Bishop & Martyr

Today, my friends, is the Feast of St. Peter Paschasius, Bishop and Martyr.  He is the Patron saint of all Mercedarian Students.  Because of the Sunday, his Feast was "bumped".  Nevertheless, it is worth remarking and calling to mind the zealous example of faith given to us by this man.

The son of devout Mozarabs, Peter Paschasius was born in Valencia in 1227. Peter Nolasco and his brothers knew young Peter’s family and they stayed at their house near the Gate of Valldigna when they were on their way to a redemption. Peter Paschasius started his ecclesiastical career in his native city and he completed his studies at the University of Paris. Upon returning to Valencia, he was honored with the post of canon of the cathedral church.
Soon after, he left his post to join the Order of Mercy and he received the habit in the Valencia Cathedral at the hands of Arnaldo of Carcassonne in 1250. He traveled to Rome in 1296 and Pope Boniface VIII appointed him bishop of Jaén. On February 20, 1296, he was consecrated by Cardinal Mateo de Acquasparta in Saint Bartholomew’s chapel of the island on the Tiber. Later, when he was making a pastoral visit to his Jaén Diocese, he was attacked and taken captive to Granada by the Moors of that kingdom. While in jail, he wrote in Provençal: Dispute of the Bishop of Jaén with the Jews and Refutation of the Mohammedan Sect, two very interesting works with apologetic content to provide Christian captives with arguments against the proselytizing sermons of the Jews and Moslems. Peter also wrote: The Book of Gamaliel dealing with Christ’s passion and death, The Destruction of Jerusalem, Treatise against Moslem Fatalism, The Gloss on the Pater Noster and The Gloss on the Ten Commandments.
This learned Mercedarian doctor has the honor of having publicly defended the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary in Paris and in his work, Life of Lazarus, written in 1295, long before any other Western theologian.
Several times, his fellow redeemers sent him the ransom money but Peter preferred to have other captives recover their freedom instead of him. The fifty years he had been wearing the Mercedarian habit had left a Mercedarian imprint on his soul. On December 6, 1300, while he was still wearing the vestments he had used to offer Holy Mass, he was beheaded in his dungeon. He was buried in the place where the prison was and where he died. Christians called this place, Martyrs’ Hill. Peter’s written works constitute a valuable legacy of the Order of Mercy. Some Mercedarian writers like Manuel Mariano Ribera, 1720, Juan Interián de Ayala, 1721 and Peter Armengol Valenzuela, 1901, have defended the religious status and the Mercedarian profession of this distinguished bishop of Jaén. His works were compiled and published by Fathers Bartolomé de Anento, 1676 and Peter Armengol Valenzuela, 1905-1908.

There is a painting of this saint depicting him offering the Mass before his martyrdom.  What is keenly remarkable about this image is that the acolyte for his Mass is the Christ-child, Himself.  So the say goes, as faithfully and devoutly did he serve Me, so now, in his last act of love, I shall serve him.  It is a lesson of humility for us all... a lesson of Faith, Hope, and Charity.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tiber and the Moskva?

Our friend over at this blog has announced breaking news in the diplomatic front. The Holy See and Russia are on possibly on the verge of entering into full diplomatic relations. What a great thing!!! Since the ascent of the Russian Patriarch to the See of Moscow, it has been more than a notable occurrence of improved and friendly relations between the Holy Father and the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. Perhaps, some may have considered the Cold War over between the West and the Soviet Union, yet that war -- though on another level -- was still being waged well into the 21st century. Now, by God's grace, politically and spiritually Russia and Rome are speaking. Let us pray for the Unity of the Church, but not, as von Hildebrand warns us, at the expense of the Truths. Let us not fall into irenicism (i.e. false ecumenism), but remain steadfast in Faith, Truth, and, above all, Charity.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Memorial of S. Francis Xavier.... Pray for the Church in Asia

A great missionary for Holy Mother Church, let us see in S. Francis Xavier Christ's zeal and love for souls... His zeal and love for YOUR soul

Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Feast of St. Andrew!!!

Also, a happy Feast Day to our own Bro. Daniel Andrew Bowen, O. de M.!!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dominica I Adventus

"To Thee I have lifted up my soul" -- Advent is here, my friends. A season of immense grace. Year after year we embark upon this journey of faith, prayer and preparation for the coming Nativity of Our Lord. For the faithful, this is a "new year". A time to really begin to change our lives. In times past, Advent was stressed to be a 'semi-penitential' season. Now, however, this stress, amid other things, has fallen by the wayside. But there was wisdom in this, wasn't there? Are we prepared for the coming of Christ? When Christ comes, do we not need to rid of ourselves of that which hinders intimacy with Him? And doesn't this need to be done, in fact, before He comes?

The Church invites us to pray, to meditate upon the saving mysteries of Christ, in His Incarnation. Then, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger wrote concerning Advent,

Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope.

Let us begin the journey, lifting our souls to God.

--Mercedarian Friar

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sacred Arts

In light of the Holy Father's recent addresses and statements surrounding the use of beauty in the liturgy, particular in regard to music, the arts, architecture, etc... i have found this organization -- the Foundation for the Sacred Arts to be a remarkable endeavour in our world. Too often many Catholics encounter either purposeful poor taste, or poor taste as a result of ignorance and a lack of knowledge and awareness. Perhaps, the few readers that we have of this blog, might become supporters of this organization by word-of-mouth and prayer.

Look to the past and see the great beauty that was exemplified by the ingenuity of our fathers. The great cathedrals and the equally great parish churches built from the sweat and tears of the poor, themselves. While they may not have been able to share in the splendor of the great Chartres Cathedral in their homes, the assuredly would give it, as an act of worship and thanksgiving, to God for the many blessings and favors He has given. As the years past, it was the magnificence of these great pieces of art that drew many from the errors of Protestantism and the like, into the Truth of the Catholic Church. They were ransomed via truth, beauty, and goodness.


Happy Thanksgiving to all. In this time of uncertainty -- politically, socially, personanly, globally -- it is unique that we are given this "civil" opportunity to give thanks to God for His abundant blessings in our lives. However, it is even more unique that we isolate this day as a moment to give thanks. Even the Sacred Liturgy of the Church gives to us -- via US Adaptations -- Propers that can be used within the US and its territories for this "civil" holiday. Yet, how often we forget that every moment is a moment of thanksgiving to God; every experience is an opportunity to, for the briefest period, render thanks to Him, Who is the source of our lives and particular vocations.

Here, in Philadelphia, the Monastery and the Casa Massabielle and the Convent of our Sisters will come together -- ready to eat -- to give thanks for gifts and graces we have received throughout this year and the years past, and perhaps, in the years to come. Particularly, we thank God for the gift of our vocations to the consecrated religious life.....

Pray for us all; as we will remember you in our prayers.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Our Friars were in Italy this past June for the occasion of the Provincial Chapter of the Roman Province. It was a time of prayer and meetings for friars from throughout the Province -- Italy, USA, India -- to discuss the current issues of the province and to hear reports of the life of the religious friaries and houses of formation throughout the provincial territories....

The Provincial was re-elected, as was the Provincial Council. The photo above is the official picture of the Chapter Fathers.

Blast from the past

Well, friends, it has been some time since my last post on this blog. I hope that you did not give up hope or confidence in this simple exercise of religious mass media. The summer continues to roll ahead. Many of us - the students - are in a state of Diaspora. Some of us are in the midst of our home-visits and others (4 of the students) are on their way to Ecuador to spend roughly 2 weeks undergoing formational classes and experiences to better and/or more fully prepare them for Solemn Vows. Please pray for them as they travel - pray that they may be further enlightened by the Holy Spirit and confirmed even more in their religious consecration.

Two more of our brothers were in Libertyville, IL, taking some graduate level classes on the Sacred Liturgy, as a part of the Liturgical Institute. It was a 6 week program that occurs for 5 summers. They both expressed their happiness and satisfaction at the experience of studying the Sacred Liturgy of the Church....

One of our parishes in Cleveland -- Our Lady of Mt.Carmel -- recently had their annual festival and parish feast day. All accounts were that it was a terrific success in the sense that many families were edified by the event and delighted to see, once again, the enthusiasm of the religious in working and supporting the event. Some of the students from Philadelphia were there to help out, as well.... I'm hoping to have some "summer pics" soon on this page.....

To our readers... I will endeavor this year to be better in keeping communication up to date. Don't give up......