“Flashmobs are another ministry we offer here”

March 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Boy, was Robert Heinlein right when he said, “Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.” I was reminded of that adage when I saw this video of a “flashmob” inflicting itself on those attending Mass at a Catholic parish in South Dakota.

From what I can tell by the news report in this video, it was encouraged and orchestrated by the Catholic teachers and allowed to take place by the priest! The saddest part of this spectacle is that whatever reverence for Mass and Our Eucharistic Lord these poor school children may have is being systematically eradicated by this kind of “Let’s-Make-Mass-More-Relevant” foolishness.


The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius

March 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Books, Products

By St. Ignatius of Loyola

Is it time to take your spiritual pulse, re-orient yourself to your Creator, and seek His guidance to live your faith more seriously? The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola outline the rigorous self-examination and spiritual meditations St. Ignatius set forth. Readers will learn how to make a new beginning on the path to holiness, repenting of their sins and attaining freedom from Satan’s power.

Though St. Ignatius wrote The Spiritual Exercises as a handbook for a four week guided retreat, this edition contains step by step explanations suitable for independent use over any time period.

This is the original TAN edition now with updated typesetting, fresh new cover, new size and quality binding, and the same trusted content.

About the Author

St. Ignatius of Loyola was born in 1491 in Guipuzcoa in the Basque country. He was brought up in the household of Ferdinand and Isabella as head treasurer and joined the army in 1517. In 1521, while defending the citadel of Pamplona his leg was broken by a cannon ball and, having nothing to read but the Life of Christ, and the Lives of the Saints during his recuperation, he became inspired to direct his competitive spirit toward heavenly goals. In 1537 after many trials he was ordained a priest and in 1541 founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). He died at Rome in 1556, and was canonized in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV.

Introduction to
the Devout Life

March 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, Products

By St. Francis de Sales

As no sensible person would make a long road trip without first consulting a map, so the person intent upon gaining Heaven should first resort to a competent guide to reach that Goal of all goals. And no better guide to Heaven exists than An Introduction to the Devout Life, by St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622), Doctor of the Church. It is at once easy to read, being laid out in short chapters, yet thorough, authoritative, reliable, kind and gentle a mirror of its author. It is a book, moreover, for all, because all are called to the devout life. True devotion to God, the author points out, adorns every vocation. The devout life, moreover, is a lovely, a pleasant, and a happy life. (p. 5)

Addressed as a personal letter to Philothea, the lover of God which genuinely represents the reader the book covers: our first desire to lead a devout life to our full resolution to do so, how we should approach God in prayer and the Sacraments, the practice of 16 important virtues, remedies against ordinary temptations, and becoming confirmed in our practice of devotion. St. Francis says, Devotion is spiritual agility and vivacity, by means of which charity works in us, or we in her, with love and readiness; and as charity leads us to obey and fulfill all God s Commandments, so devotion leads us to obey them with promptitude and diligence. (p. 3)

An Introduction to the Devout Life is a book to be read with pencil in hand. It is a book to be read again and again. It is a book to make your guide for the rest of your life. It goes to the heart of becoming good. Its aim is to help you be rid of sin and even the inclinations to sin. Alone, its 10 brief meditations in Part I will orient you toward God for the rest of your life. No one will come away without being profoundly impressed and without being motivated to enter upon the devout life . . . which leads ultimately to God and to Heaven.

This is the original TAN edition now with updated typesetting, fresh new cover, new size and quality binding, and the same trusted content.

About the Author

St. Francis de Sales was born in 1567 in Savoy, became a doctor of law at the age of 24 at the Jesuit College of Clermont, Paris, and was ordained a priest and stationed in Geneva in 1593. He became bishop of Geneva in 1602. Though known for his great intellect and theological wisdom, he spoke with simplicity and earnestness, so that all could understand.

An Introduction to the Devout Life, his best-loved work, is based on notes he wrote for a cousin for marriage, stressing that sanctity is possible in everyday life.


The Imitation
of Christ

March 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, Products

By Thomas a’ Kempis

After the Bible, The Imitation of Christ is the all-time favorite book of Catholics throughout the world. And of the English editions, none can equal this inspiring translation of Bishop Richard Challoner.

This book speaks to the soul of every true Christian, reminding him of the fleeting nature of earthly joy as opposed to the eternity of happiness with God.

The guide of saints since it first appeared in 1418 it was the sole spiritual reading of St. Therese of Lisieux, who loved it and knew it by heart. Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange asserted that the true mysticism of which it speaks is accessible to all, if they are willing to follow the way of humility, the cross, continual prayer, and docility to the Holy Ghost.


Some trivia about trivia

March 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Merriam-Webster defines “trivia,” a plural noun that can be both singular or plural, as: “unimportant matters : trivial facts or details; also singular in construction : a quizzing game involving obscure facts.” Big deal, right? Right. Trivia is no big deal. Still, I’ll bet you didn’t know these  six trivial yet interesting facts about trivia. I didn’t.

These dreams

March 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

When I read the horrible news this morning about the murder of Shabaz Bhatti, a Pakistani Catholic politician, I was prompted to mention here some dreams I have been having this past year.  I suppose you could classify them as nightmares, though they all seem to have the same underlying message of hope and confidence in the face of danger. By way of examples, let me describe two recent dreams that have had me pondering their meaning ever since. Both are part of a confluence of other, similar dreams that all seem to lead me to the same point, though along different paths and through different scenarios and images.

In the first dream, I had been captured and was being held by a mob of furiously angry Muslim men. Their appearance — bearded, armed, wearing Kaffiyehs — was identical to the images we’ve all become accustomed to seeing on the television news reports about “Jihadists” who use violence and terror to achieve their goals.

In this dream, my captors were screaming at me, punching and kicking me, pointing at me and demanding that I renounce Jesus Christ and convert to Islam. In my mind’s eye, what is most vivid about this dream was the sheer fury with which they threatened to slay me if I would not abandon Christ.

Several of them brandished long knives and swords. It was obvious that I had only two choices: convert or die. In my dream, my heart racing and my mind engulfed with fear and panic, I was thinking, “So this is how I will die? They will cut off my head for being Catholic?” And I knew the answer to both questions was “yes.” The only alternative would be to deny Christ. If I didn’t do that immediately, it was clear to me, they would grab me by the hair, pull my head back, cut my throat, and then cut off my head.

It was “now or never.” “Do or die.” “Apostatize and live, or stand firm and suffer the consequences.” I can’t adequately describe here the intense fear of death that I felt in this dream.

And that’s when I woke up. Heart pounding and gradually realizing that I was home and safe and that it was all a bad dream, I was left with a burning question in my mind and heart: “If it had been real, not a dream, what would I have done?”

I told myself then, as I tell myself now, that I would have stood firm and remained faithful to Christ even unto death. I hope and pray that I am never tested in that way, but I know how weak I am and how it is only the grace of God that could give me the strength and courage to accept death rather than renounce the truth. This is true of all the martyrs. And what this dream impressed upon me is twofold: First, that although such a terrible ordeal is not likely for me, given where I live, it is still a possibility for me, given the times in which I live. Second, I know that if that supreme sacrifice “death rather than apostasy” were ever required of me, without the grace of God to strengthen me, I would likely fail the test. So I pray, pray, pray every day (and I would ask all of you, in your kindness, to pray for me, too) that the Lord would always keep me close to him, and supply those things that I lack should a test like the one in my dream ever overtake me.

The second dream was also dramatic and frightening, but in a different way and with a different though related message. In this dream, I and my family had run down to the basement of our home to take shelter from a raging hurricane-tornado-superstorm. As we huddled in the dark, praying that we would survive this direct hit on our house, we could hear the tremendous din of destruction just above our heads. After what in the dream seemed to be several minutes, the brief but extremely violent storm passed, and we emerged from our basement. What I saw in this dream was utter devastation in every direction. Our house had been literally destroyed down to the foundation. Nothing, no house, no tree, nothing, had withstood the  annihilating force of the storm. Except for one thing.

I looked down at the ground and there at my feet was my Bible — front cover facing up, all pages perfectly intact, entirely untouched — as if it had been protected by a steel vault during the storm. As I stared down at my Bible, a single, clear, and certain message entered my mind: If the worst comes, whether it be political upheaval, social unrest, natural disasters, war, natural disasters, or some other catastrophe we might suffer through, all that will remain is our faith in God. That’s it. Everything else in this life may be utterly extirpated and razed down to the foundations but, for those who love God, what cannot be removed is His Truth and His love for us.

St. Paul said, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, ‘For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39).

The second clear and unambiguous message I felt in my heart when I awoke from this dream is this: If storms of persecution or societal upheaval come our way, and I do believe that they very well may, those who love God and have been building their house on the rock will not be swept away. And what’s more, it was impressed upon me very deeply that, as Catholics, we must know why we believe what we believe about Jesus Christ and His Church. For the time will likely come when those who don’t know why they believe what they believe will not be able to stand firm when real opposition comes. When the storm breaks, those who don’t clearly know why they believe what they believe will simply cease to believe.

Jesus said, “Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:24-27).

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