31 March 2007

Persea americana

One of my favorite fruits is the avocado. Not only is it delicious, it is loaded with nutrients (and also makes a handy object for pelting communist-minded colleagues). Here is the recipe for one of my favorite, more unusual treats: the bacon & avocado sandwich.

4 slices bacon, cooked
1/2 or 2 slices red onion
Slice of Swiss cheese
1/2 avocado, sliced
Warm crusty bread (Italian or French)

Pile on ingredients in order of your choice; dressing is optional, as bacon and avocado add plenty of flavor on their own. Bon appetit.

29 March 2007

I don't mean to keep dwelling on the topic, but this e-mail from a member of my homeschooling e-list just came to me:

Please pray for my son, N___ and his wife, A___. I just found out they are expecting a child and are planning to abort it!

If you have the time, please offer a Hail, Mary for this child and his parents.

A Sad Day

There are some who think Portugal has enjoyed the special protection of Our Lady of Fatima. The bishops of Portugal solemnly consecrated the nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on May 13, 1931 and 1938, and the effects were striking. First, there was a Catholic renaissance throughout the country to such an extent that one of the bishops remarked:
Anybody who would have closed his eyes twenty-five years ago and opened them now would no longer recognize Portugal, so vast is the transformation worked by the modest and invisible factor of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin at Fatima. Really, Our Lady wishes to save Portugal.
Secondly, the political and social climate transformed, and laws were enacted in keeping with Catholic doctrine, to protect marriage and the family. Portugal was also protected from the evils of communism, as well as the devastations of the Second World War. Sr. Lucia herself wrote to one of the bishops that "in this horrible war, Portugal would be spared because of the national consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary made by the bishops."

It is, therefore, a sad day when we read that the country is soon to pass legislation allowing unqualified abortions up to ten weeks.
The abortion bill was introduced jointly by the Socialist Party, the Communist Party, the Left Block and the Green Party, all of which had participated in drafting the legislation. The ruling Socialist Party holds an absolute majority in the legislature—the party has been working to introduce pro-abortion legislation for the past decade.
A large pro-life demonstration in Lisbon on Jan. 28 drew a crowd of more than 18,000, indicating strong support for pro-life laws in the country. Regardless, the government declared its intention of pushing through early-stage abortion on demand following the Feb. 11 referendum.
The bill is subject to the president's ratification in the next 20 days, but will become law only once officially published (which could take months). There is still time to pray this measure will be defeated.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

The Depths to Which They'll Sink...

Planned Parenthood will be passing out free emergency contraception (morning after pill) at nine of their Indiana facilities during Holy Week, on April 3rd.

27 March 2007

Queen for a Day

Mrs. P has kindly reminded me that, as a result of my recent Ghoul Pool win, I am queen for a day and subsequently have the right to issue two royal decrees.

But before issuing said decrees, a few questions must be answered. You see, being queen for a day is not as simple as it seems, because there are a multitude of contingencies one must take into account, all of which bear on said edicts soon to be uttered by my royal lips. First off, what is my territory? Or, for the legally minded, my jurisdiction? Am I queen of, say, the entire world? But surely not, for that right belongs only to the Queen of Heaven and Earth, the Blessed Virgin Mary Herself, whose role I could not usurp, not even for a day, not even for so august a win as the Ghoul Pool.

My gaze, then, turns toward those countries with existing monarchies--but out of the handful, which to choose? As I spent two lovely years there, England, perhaps? But then how would one explain the existence, even for a day, of a French-Vietnamese Catholic monarch sitting on the British throne, when the Act of Settlement is still in force and the oaths sworn during the Chrismation Liturgy would send me straight to Hell? Oh no, my dear Britannia, you will not do.

Traveling a little eastward, one might consider Denmark, which would be in need of just such a queen as I to help restore its Viking soul to its Catholic pre-Reformation glory. The thought of consorting with the Crown Prince Frederik also appeals. But the very fact that I met, fell in love with, and was unceremoniously dumped by a Dane I met at Oxford rules it out. Karsten read Theology at Wycliffe Hall (named after the 13th century heretic), and was just the sort of tall, grey-eyed, intelligent, mysterious sort of man my inexperienced, unconverted, 22-year-old heart could delight in. We spent a week together in France doing all sorts of very unCatholic things, my youthful amour growing all the while, only for him to tell me most politely while reading the morning paper on the train back to London that our little affair was just that and no more, thus taking my inexperienced, unconverted, 22-year-old heart and tearing it up into a thousand tiny bits on the cabin floor. Heartbreak on the Eurostar. So, Denmark, you can thank Karsten for my refusal to be your queen for a day.

Perhaps instead I might be queen for a day of the country in which I reside. But then that would mean scrapping the Constitution, the three branches of federal government, and the separation of powers to set myself up as Supreme Monarch, with powers second only to George W. Bush himself. On second thought, I suppose that wouldn't be so bad. My first course of action would be to assign myself a trusted advisor; Elizabeth had her Walsingham, Henry had his Cromwell, and Mary had her Maitland (and then she didn't, and then she did, and then she didn't, and then she once again did), so Christine must have her own worthy sidekick. One mustn’t make such decisions lightly; the Queen’s advisor must not only be bright, capable, and experienced, he must also have the appropriate gravitas. It doesn’t hurt to be good-looking, either. That puts me rather in a bind because practically everyone in the Peperium clique fits the description. I must, therefore, go on instinct with this one, and choose the sole clergy member who frequents the blog and enlightens with each comment: Fr. M. True, he may have been a hellion in younger days, but a decade in the priesthood has surely mellowed him out and lent him the appropriate gravitas.

On to the royal decrees. As I am only allowed two, I must choose wisely and carefully. After all, the United States of America is in a great mess, and I have any number of issues to concern myself with: abortion, divorce, war, corruption, Justin Timberlake. As the last issue is far too disturbing and troublesome, we’ll go with the first.

The First Royal Decree
By royal command of Her Majesty Queen Christine, it is hereby proclaimed that:

Whereas the Honorable Nancy Pelosi is a self-proclaimed Catholic mother of five who refuses to recognize the sanctity of life;

Who regularly commits sacrilege by receiving Holy Communion week after week while obstinately and publicly persisting in her error;

And who utilizes far too much hairspray;

In exercise of Our Power as Supreme Monarch for one twenty-four hour period over the United States of America, We hereby decree that the Honorable Nancy Pelosi be soundly spanked on the bottom as many times as she has declared herself “a powerful woman” in public speeches since her ascendancy to the position of Speaker of the House. This will take place on the National Mall promptly at 8 a.m. every twenty-second day of January each year until the Honorable Pelosi publicly and openly repents of her position with regard to abortion.

The Second Royal Decree
Be it herein enacted that the Honorable Hillary Clinton will perform the public spanking of the Honorable Nancy Pelosi on the National Mall promptly at 8 a.m. every twenty-second day of January each year until the Honorable Clinton publicly and openly repents of her position with regard to abortion.

(Addendum: As Our trusted advisor, Fr. M strenuously objected to the wisdom of such measures; but, consistent with the nature of Our Office, We have overridden his undoubtedly prudent advice and look forward with satisfaction, nay, delight at next year’s anniversary of Roe v. Wade.)

24 March 2007

To balance the, let's face it, terrifying message of the sermon below (admittedly, St. Leonard exempted pious souls from the message, directing it towards the lukewarm and halfhearted Christian, and the obstinate sinner), I thought it would be a good idea to set forth some quotations from St. Faustina's diary, which records private revelations she received directly from Our Lord. The diary was one of only two books Pope John Paul II requested when he lay recovering in the hospital from his bullet wounds (the other was the Bible).

I desire that priests proclaim this great mercy of Mine towards souls of sinners. Let the sinner not be afraid to approach Me. The flames of mercy are burning Me - clamouring to be spent; I want to pour them out upon these souls....Distrust on the part of souls is tearing at My insides. (50)

Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. I use punishment when they themselves force Me to do so; My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice I am sending the Day of Mercy. (1588)

Write, speak of My mercy. Tell souls where they are to look for solace; that is, in the Tribunal of Mercy. There the greatest miracles take place [and] are incessantly repeated. To avail oneself of this miracle, it is not necessary to go on a great pilgrimage or to carry out some external ceremony; it suffices to come with faith to the feet of My representative and to reveal to him one's misery, and the miracle of Divine Mercy will be fully demonstrated. Were a soul like a decaying corpse so that from a human standpoint, there would be no [hope of ] restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores that soul in full. Oh, how miserable are those who do not take advantage of the miracle of God's mercy! You will call out in vain, but it will be too late. (1448)

Every time you go to confession, immerse yourself in My mercy, with great trust, so that I may pour the bounty of My grace upon your soul. When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity. The torrents of grace inundate humble souls. The proud remain always in poverty and misery, because My grace turns away from them to humble souls. (1602)

17 March 2007

Lenten Wake-up Call

This is perhaps the greatest sermon I have ever read, and will likely ever read. I include portions of it here.

The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved, by St. Leonard.

St. Vincent Ferrer...relates that an archdeacon in Lyons gave up his charge and retreated into a desert to do penance, and that he died the same day and hour as St. Bernard. After his death, he appeared to his bishop and said to him, "Know, Monsignor, that at the very hour I passed away, 33,000 people also died. Out of this number, Bernard and myself went up to heaven without delay, three went to purgatory, and all the others fell into hell."

Our chronicles relate an even more dreadful happening. One of our Brothers, well-known for his doctrine and holiness, was preaching in Germany. He represented the ugliness of the sin of impurty so forcefully that a woman fell dead of sorrow in front of everyone. Then, coming back to life, she said, "When I was presented before the Tribunal of God, 60,000 people arrived at the same time from all parts of the world; out of that number, three were saved by going to purgatory, and all the rest were damned."

O abyss of the judgments of God! Out of 33,000, only five were saved! And out of 60,000, only three went to heaven! You sinners who are listening to me, in what category will you be numbered? What do you say? What do you think?
If you consider the sacrament of penance, there are so many distorted confessions, so many studied excuses, so many deceitful repentances, so many false promises, so many ineffective resolutions, so many invalid absolutions! Would you regard as valid the confession of someone who accuses himself of sins of impurity and still holds to the occasion of them? Or someone who accuses himself of obvious injustices with no intention of making any reparation whatsoever for them? Or someone who falls again into the same iniquities right after going to confession? Oh, horrible abuses of such a great sacrament!
Why, then, are you so surprised that the greater number goes to hell? To come to a door, you must take the road that leads there. What have you to answer such a powerful reason?

The answer, you will tell me, is that the mercy of God is great. Yes, for those who fear Him, says the Prophet; but great is His justice for the one who does not fear Hiim, and it condemns all obstinate sinners."
God is so good that when He sees a sinner running to his ruin, He runs after him, calls him, entreats and accompanies him even to the gates of hell; what will He not do to convert him? He sends him good inspirations and holy thoughts, and if he does not profit from them, He becomes angry and indignant, He pursues him. Will He strike him? No. He beats at the air and forgives him. But the sinner is not converted yet. God sends him a mortal illness. It is certainly all over for him. No, brothers, God heals him; the sinner becomes obstinate in evil, and God in His mercy looks for another way; He gives him another year, and when that year is over, He grants him yet another.

But if the sinner still wants to cast himself into hell in spite of all that, what does God do? Does He abandon him? No. He takes him by the hand; and while he has one foot in hell and the other outside, He still preaches to him, He implored him not to abuse His graces. Now I ask you, if that man is damned, is it not true that he is damned against the Will of God and because he wants to be damned? Come and ask me now: If God wanted to damn me, then why did He create me?

Ungrateful sinner, learn today that if you are damned, it is not God who is to blame, but you and your self-will.
Stop, and turn around; it is Jesus who calls you and who, with His wounds, as with so many eloquent voices, cries to you, "My son, if you are damned, you have only yourself to blame: 'Thy damnation comes from thee.' Lift up your eyes and see all the graces with which I have enriched you to insure your eternal salvation. I could have had you born in a forest in Barbary; that is what I did to many others, but I had you born in the Catholic Faith; I had you raised by such a good father, such an excellent mother, with the purest instructions and teachings. If you are damned in spite of that, whose fault will it be? Your own, My son, your own: 'Thy damnation comes from thee.'

"I could have cast you into hell after the first mortal sin you committed, without waiting for the second: I did it to so many others, but I was patient with you, I waited for you for many long years. I am still waiting for you today in penance. If you are damned in spite of all that, whose fault is it? Your own, My son, your own: "Thy damnation comes from thee." You know how many have died before your very eyes and were damned: that was a warning for you. You know how many others I set back on the right path to give you the good example. Do you remember what that excellent confessor told you? I am the one who had him say it. Did he not enjoin you to change your life, to make a good confession? I am the One who inspired him. Remember that sermon that touched your heart? I am the One who led you there. And what has happened between you and Me in the secret of your heart, ...that you can never forget.

"Those interior inspirations, that clear knowledge, that constant remorse of conscience, would you dare to deny them? All of these were so many aids of My grace, because I wanted to save you. I refused to give them to many others, and I gave them to you because I loved you tenderly. My son, My son, if I spoke to them as tenderly as I am speaking to you today, how many others souls return to the right path! And you... you turn your back on Me. Listen to what I am going to tell you, for these are My last words: You have cost Me My blood; if you want to be damned in spite of the blood I shed for you, do not blame Me, you have only yourself to accuse; and throughout all eternity, do not forget that if you are damned in spite of Me, you are damned because you want to be damned: 'Thy damnation comes from thee.' "
Brothers, I want to send all of you away comforted today. So if you ask me my sentiment on the number of those who are saved, here it is: Whether there are many or few that are saved, I say that whoever wants to be saved, will be saved; and that no one can be damned if he does not want to be. And if it is true that few are saved, it is because there are few who live well. As for the rest, compare these two opinions: the first one states that the greater number of Catholics are condemned; the second one, on the contrary, pretends that the greater number of Catholics are saved. Imagine an Angel sent by God to confirm the first opinion, coming to tell you that not only are most Catholics damned, but that of all this assembly present here, one alone will be saved. If you obey the Commandments of God, if you detest the corruption of this world, if you embrace the Cross of Jesus Christ in a spirit of penance, you will be that one alone who is saved.

04 March 2007

This is famous Runnymede Meadow, where King John, surrounded by rebel barons, was forced to sign Magna Carta on June 15, 1215. Although the document (it is actually a collection of writings) has been praised as the great forerunner of modern constitutional law, Pope Innocent III had called it a "shameful and demeaning agreement, forced upon the king by violence and fear." The Pope construed the document to be a threat to the Church's authority over the king and declared it null and void, releasing the king from obedience to it. Indeed, King John renounced the oath as soon as the rebel barons left. Most troubling to the Pope and King was Clause 61, which granted a committee of twenty-five barons the power to meet at will and overrule the king's authority by seizing his property. The king was also required to swear loyalty to the committee. When Magna Carta was reissued during the reign of Henry III, Clause 61 was omitted. The document (sans Clause 61) was reissued for the last time in 1297 by the Parliament of Edward I. The charter, however, kept the key provision hailed by constitutionalists today: Clause 39, or habeas corpus, which protected any person from unlawful seizure and imprisonment without due process.

03 March 2007

Some of us have been busy over at Mr. Cusack's blog clogging up the comments boxes. It's mostly a discussion between Catholics and Anglicans, that sort of thing...

01 March 2007

It is the humble man whom God protects and liberates; it is the humble whom He loves and consoles. To the humble He turns and upon them bestows great grace, that after their humiliation He may raise them up to glory. He reveals His secrets to the humble, and with kind invitation bids them come to Him. Thus, the humble man enjoys peace in the midst of many vexations, because his trust is in God, not in the world. Hence, you must not think that you have made any progress until you look upon yourself as inferior to all others.

--Imitation of Christ, Bk II, Ch 1