Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Peggy Noonan on Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules for Life


The following comes from Peggy Noonan at the Wall Street Journal:

When I speak with young people beginning their careers I often tell them that in spite of the apparent formidableness of the adults around them—their mastery of office systems, their professional accomplishments, their sheer ability to last—almost everyone begins every day just trying to keep up their morale. Everyone’s trying to be hopeful about themselves and the world. People are more confused, even defeated by life, than they let on; many people—most—have times when they feel they’ve lost the plot, the thread. So go forward with appropriate compassion.
This flashed through my mind when I saw the interview this week between British television journalist Cathy Newman and clinical psychologist and social philosopher Jordan Peterson. It burned through the internet, in part because she was remarkably hostile and badgering: “What gives you the right to say that?” “You’re making vast generalizations.” He seemed mildly taken aback, then rallied and wouldn’t be pushed around. It was also interesting because she, the fiery, flame-haired aggressor, was so boring—her thinking reflected all the predictable, force-fed assumptions—while he, saying nothing revolutionary or even particularly fiery, was so interesting. When it was over, you wanted to hear more from him and less from her.
I wondered when I first read the headlines: What could a grown-up, seemingly stable professor (former associate professor of psychology at Harvard, full professor for 20 years at the University of Toronto) stand for that would make a journalist want to annihilate him on live TV—or, failing that, to diminish him or make him into a figure of fun?
He must have defied some orthodoxy. He must think the wrong things. He must be a heretic. Heretics must be burned.
I had not known of his work. The interview was to promote his second book, “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.” Mr. Peterson is called “controversial” because he has been critical, as an academic, of various forms of the rising authoritarianism of the moment—from identity politics to cultural appropriation to white privilege and postmodern feminism. He has refused to address or refer to transgendered people by the pronouns “zhe” and “zher.” He has opposed governmental edicts in his native Canada that aim, perhaps honestly, at inclusion, but in practice limit views, thoughts and speech.

An Interview with Saint John Bosco

A unique event marks the year 1884 in the life of Don Bosco. He gives his first and only press interview to a French journalist writing for the Journal de Rome. An excerpt of this historic event is reproduced below:


"Reporter: By what miracle have you been able to found so many houses in so many different countries?


Don Bosco: I have done far more than I hoped, but I don't know how.  The Blessed Virgin knows our needs, and She helps us.


Reporter: How does She help you?


Don Bosco:  For instance.  Once I received a letter from Rome saying that the building of the Sacred Heart needed 20,000 lire within a week.  At that moment I had no money.  I left the letter by the holy water stoop, fervently prayed to the Blessed Virgin and went to sleep, leaving the matter in Her hand  Next morning I received a letter from an unknown person.  "I had made a vow to Our Lady.  In exchange for a certain favour I would give 20,000 lire."  On another occasion I was in France.  There I got the unpleasant news that one of my houses was in dire straits unless 70,000 lire were found at once.  I could see no solution, so I prayed.  I was about to go to bed at 10:00 pm when someone knocked.  It was a friend of mine with a thick file in his hands.  "Don Bosco, in my will I had assigned 70,000 lire for your works.  But today it occurred to me that it is better not to wait for death in order to do good.  I've brought it to you. Here is 70,000 lire."


Reporter: These are miracles.  May I indiscreetly ask you whether you have performed miracles yourself?


Don Bosco: I have only thought of doing my duty.  I have prayed and trusted in the Madonna.


Reporter: Don Bosco, could you comment on your educational philosophy and the methods you use in your schools that are so much admired? How do you manage to maintain discipline when dealing with so many boys?

Don Bosco: The Salesian way of educating the young is quite simple. Basically, I insist on letting boys be boys. Let them play and enjoy themselves as much as they want as long as God is not offended. But if I have a philosophy of education, it consists in discovering a boy’s best qualities and then exploiting them to his advantage. You must admit, sir, that any person is at his best when he is doing what he likes and does best. Children are the same. Promote their positive qualities and they will thrive. As for discipline—love and respect for the young is the answer. In the 46 years I have worked among children, never once have I had to resort to corporal punishment, which by the way is very much in vogue. And if I may say so, all those children who have come under my care have always continued to show me their love and respect.

Reporter: Let me ask about your mission work in foreign lands. How have you managed to reach such faraway places as Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego?

Don Bosco: Well, honestly, we got that far by taking one step at a time."


Reporter: What do you think of the present conditions of the Church in Europe and in Italy?  How do you see the future?


Don Bosco:  I'm no prophet.  You journalists are, a bit.  You should be asked that.  Nobody but God knows the future.  Nevertheless, humanly speaking, the future seems bleak.  My forecast is very sad, but I'm not afraid.  God will always save his Church, and our Lady, who visibly protects the contemporary world, will make redeemers arise.


(From Teresio Bosco's book "Don Bosco")

Monday, January 29, 2018

Faces Among Icons: Conversion of Russia to her Christian Roots


The following comes from Crux:

One hundred years after the Russian Revolution - when the Bolsheviks and Vladimir Lenin overthrew the Tsar and took control of the Russian state, eventually leading to the formation of the Soviet Union - a new documentary produced by Catholic News Service, chronicles both the ruin and the rebirth of the Russian Orthodox Church during that time.
The documentary, Faces among Icons, was released earlier this month, and showcases a range of individuals providing firsthand accounts of the changes that have occurred within the country since the fall of communism and offering their perspectives on the extent to which church-state cooperation is healthy for the future.
Following the Revolution, Russian believers faced severe persecution. While the exact numbers are unknown, an estimated 12-20 million Russian believers were killed for their faith throughout the twentieth century.
As one of the documentary’s main subjects, Eugene Vodolazkin, recounts, “There were more martyrs in our country during the 20th century than there were during all previous epochs.”
Yet despite such devastation, the persecuted faithful kept the Church alive during this time and in many ways, Faces among Icons is a testimonial to the resilience of faith and proof that indeed, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church,” as the Church father Tertullian once said.
Another interviewee, Daniel Khudyakor, a Russian Orthodox churchgoer, highlights the recent progress by noting “There has never been a time in our history when so many churches and monasteries were being opened without persecution.”
In the past thirty years, 20,000 churches have been restored and over 800 monasteries restored or reopened.
“We are modern, but we are keeping our traditions,” says another churchgoer in the film.
By some accounts, eighty percent of the country’s 144 million inhabitants identify as Russian Orthodox, yet only an estimated five to eight percent attend services at Easter, the Church’s largest feast, an indication that the work of renewal is an ongoing effort.
Yet, the documentary focuses predominantly on the faith of the younger generations, who are still influenced by the country’s recent history, but are eager not to let it define them.
“For us students, young people of the faith, the whole idea of the Church was our search for something unique, something different from the Soviet environment,” says one of the film’s subjects.
He goes on to add that it is “not only a search for faith, but a search for the true Russia.”

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Nature's Alchemy

Alchemy from Henry Jun Wah Lee / Evosia on Vimeo.

Psalm 148

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights!

Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his host!

Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars!

Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created.

He established them forever and ever; he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.

Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command!

Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!

Wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds!

Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!

Young men and women alike, old and young together!

Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven.

He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Saint John Paul II: "Be prepared to undergo great trials"

The following comes from In God's Company 2:

St. John Paul II in that candid interview with pilgrims in Germany:
November 1980
We must be prepared to undergo great trials in the not-too-distant future; trials that will require us to be ready to give up even our lives, and a total gift of self to Christ and for Christ. Through your prayers and mine, it is possible to alleviate this tribulation, but it is no longer possible to avert it, because it is only in this way that the Church can be effectively renewed. How many times, indeed, has the renewal of the Church been effected in blood? This time, again, it will not be otherwise. We must be strong, we must prepare ourselves, we must entrust ourselves to Christ and to His Mother, and we must be attentive, very attentive, to the prayer of the Rosary. —POPE JOHN PAUL II

Saint Marianne Cope


The following comes from the American Catholic site:

Though leprosy scared off most people in 19th-century Hawaii, that disease sparked great generosity in the woman who came to be known as Mother Marianne of Molokai. Her courage helped tremendously to improve the lives of its victims in Hawaii, a territory annexed to the United States during her lifetime (1898).


Mother Marianne’s generosity and courage were celebrated at her May 14, 2005, beatification in Rome. She was a woman who spoke “the language of truth and love” to the world, said Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes. Cardinal Martins, who presided at the beatification Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, called her life “a wonderful work of divine grace.” Speaking of her special love for persons suffering from leprosy, he said, “She saw in them the suffering face of Jesus. Like the Good Samaritan, she became their mother.”

On January 23, 1838, a daughter was born to Peter and Barbara Cope of Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany. The girl was named after her mother. Two years later the Cope family emigrated to the United States and settled in Utica, New York. Young Barbara worked in a factory until August 1862, when she went to the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis in Syracuse, New York. After profession in November of the next year, she began teaching at Assumption parish school.

Marianne held the post of superior in several places and was twice the novice mistress of her congregation. A natural leader, three different times she was superior of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, where she learned much that would be useful during her years in Hawaii.

Elected provincial in 1877, Mother Marianne was unanimously re-elected in 1881. Two years later the Hawaiian government was searching for someone to run the Kakaako Receiving Station for people suspected of having leprosy. More than 50 religious communities in the United States and Canada were asked. When the request was put to the Syracuse sisters, 35 of them volunteered immediately. On October 22, 1883, Mother Marianne and six other sisters left for Hawaii where they took charge of the Kakaako Receiving Station outside Honolulu; on the island of Maui they also opened a hospital and a school for girls.

In 1888, Mother Marianne and two sisters went to Molokai to open a home for “unprotected women and girls” there. The Hawaiian government was quite hesitant to send women for this difficult assignment; they need not have worried about Mother Marianne! On Molokai she took charge of the home that St. Damien de Veuster [May 10, d. 1889] had established for men and boys. Mother Marianne changed life on Molokai by introducing cleanliness, pride and fun to the colony. Bright scarves and pretty dresses for the women were part of her approach.
Awarded the Royal Order of Kapiolani by the Hawaiian government and celebrated in a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, Mother Marianne continued her work faithfully. Her sisters have attracted vocations among the Hawaiian people and still work on Molokai.

Mother Marianne died on August 9, 1918 and was beatified in 2005 and canonized seven years later.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Remembering Blessed Laura Vicuña

Today the Salesians remember Blessed Laura Vicuña.  Laura Carmen Vicuña was born in Santiago, in Chile, on the 5th April 1891 to Joseph Domenico and Mercedes Pino. The Vicuña family were Chilean aristocrats, forced into exile by the revolution. They took refuge in Temuco in a poor house, but soon after Joseph Domenico died suddenly, and Mercedes had to take refuge with her two daughters in Argentina. They came to Junín de los Andes. Mercedes came to know the rather pushy Manuel Mora and accepted working for him, but also living with him.

In 1900 Laura went to board with her sister Julia Amanda with the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians at their school. She was a model pupil: prayerful, listened to the Sisters, available to her companions, always happy and ready to make sacrifices.

The following year she made her first communion with the same fervour and ideals as Saint Dominic Savio, whom she had taken as a model. she entered the Children of Mary. While one of the Sisters was explaining the sacrament of marriage during catechetics, Laura began to understand her mother’s sinful state, and fainted. She also understood because during the holidays on the farm her mother made her pray in secret, and never went to the sacraments. From then on Laura increased her prayers and sacrifices for her mother’s conversion. During the holidays in 1902 Manuel Mora threatened Laura’s virtue; she firmly refused him, sending him into a rage.

She went back to school as a student assistant, because he would no longer pay her fees. With all her heart she asked if she could become a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, but she was denied this because of her mother’s living in sin. She offered her life to the Lord for her mother’s conversion, became more self-sacrificing, and with the consent of her confessor, Fr Crestanello, made private vows.  Weak from sacrifices and from other sickness, she was hit by Mora for refusing him yet again. On her final night she confided: “Mamma, I am dying! For a long time I have asked Jesus, offering my life for you, so you will return to God... Mamma, before I die will I have the chance to see you repent?”. “Laura”, Mercedes answered, “ I promise I will do what you ask”.  With this joy Laura died the evening of the 22nd January 1904. 

Her body lies in the chapel belonging to the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Bahía Blanca. At the centenary of Don Bosco’s death, this chosen daughter, who had given her life for the virtue dearest to the Master, was proclaimed Blessed by John Paul II, on the 3rd September 1988.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Jim Caviezel: Be warriors animated by faith!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Restoration of All Things in Christ


On the Restoration of All Things in Christ: the Era of Peace.
The video conference is given by Daniel O'Conner at the 2017 Divine Will Conference in Tampa, Florida. He speaks on what is found in the Magisterium of Pope St. Pius X and Pope Pius XI, and the Divine Will revelations given by Jesus to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta. Dan finishes with what we can do to hasten this Coming of the Kingdom.

Trust in the Lord: Psalm 37


Psalm 37


Do not fret because of the wicked; do not be envious of wrongdoers,

for they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.

He will make your vindication shine like the light, and the justice of your cause like the noonday.

Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who carry out evil devices.

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath. Do not fret—it leads only to evil.

For the wicked shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look diligently for their place, they will not be there.

But the meek shall inherit the land, and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.

The wicked plot against the righteous, and gnash their teeth at them;

but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that their day is coming.

The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to kill those who walk uprightly;

their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

Better is a little that the righteous person has than the abundance of many wicked.

For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.

The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will abide forever;

they are not put to shame in evil times, in the days of famine they have abundance.

But the wicked perish, and the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

The wicked borrow, and do not pay back, but the righteous are generous and keep giving;

for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off.

Our steps are made firm by the Lord, when he delights in our way;

though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong, for the Lord holds us by the hand.

I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.

They are ever giving liberally and lending, and their children become a blessing.

Depart from evil, and do good; so you shall abide forever.

For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his faithful ones. The righteous shall be kept safe forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.

The righteous shall inherit the land, and live in it forever.

The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak justice.

The law of their God is in their hearts; their steps do not slip.

The wicked watch for the righteous, and seek to kill them.

The Lord will not abandon them to their power, or let them be condemned when they are brought to trial.

Wait for the Lord, and keep to his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on the destruction of the wicked.

I have seen the wicked oppressing, and towering like a cedar of Lebanon.

Again I passed by, and they were no more; though I sought them, they could not be found.

Mark the blameless, and behold the upright, for there is posterity for the peaceable.

But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the posterity of the wicked shall be cut off.

The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their refuge in the time of trouble.

The Lord helps them and rescues them; he rescues them from the wicked, and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Saint of the day: Brother Andre


Today the Church remembers Saint Andre Bessette. His story is a remarkable one and he is a great example of faith and devotion that we might imitate today!

Alfred Bessette was born in Canada on August 9, 1845. He entered the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1870, taking the name of Brother Andre. He was assigned to be doorkeeper at the community's high school in Montreal. There he fostered devotion to Saint Joseph among the sick and otherwise afflicted and soon became known as the "Miracle Man" of Montreal.

With ever bigger crowds of the poor and needy gathering in front of the school. it soon brought protests from the students' parents and some community members. Bro. Andre, aware of this problem, asked in 1904 to build a small chapel on the hill beyond the school. This was the small beginning of the Oratory of St. Joseph that now stands there.

Bro. Andre died on January 6, 1937. His burial had to be postponed for several days until the last of more than three million people were able to pass by his bier and pay him homage. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on May 23, 1982.

To learn more about Blessed Andre please look here!

Friday, January 5, 2018

A New Year's Resolution: Charity in Discussion


The following comes from Dr. Jeff Mirus at Catholic Culture:
When I reflect on my own interaction with critics over the past year, I recall those occasions when I was decidedly not conciliatory. And in surveying various discussion groups, including some consisting only of dedicated Catholics, I’ve overheard my share of vitriolic exchanges. We’ve come to expect a low level of social discourse in political discussion, led by political advertising and the verbal maneuvering of televised debates. But there is something wrong—something spiritually wrong—when the same problem afflicts religious discussions.
Hilaire Belloc wisely wrote that the grace of God is in courtesy. Nobody likes being ignored, ridiculed, insulted or otherwise abused. Everybody appreciates being treated with respect and listened to as if his ideas matter. And while not everyone has good ideas, everyone’s ideas do matter. They give us clues to the personality, to the strengths and weaknesses of a particular character, and—perhaps most important—to the needs of a brother or sister in a family that ultimately belongs to God.
But the Christian’s call goes far beyond the mere appearance of courtesy. Our Lord requires of us a courtesy motivated by something deeper, namely charity. We all know this, yet again and again, as soon we find ourselves on opposite sides of an issue, we tend to plug our ears and hold our noses—when we should be opening our ears and biting our tongues.
Sometimes, of course, we find ourselves under deliberate and even malicious attack. At CatholicCulture.org, we receive numerous messages through our Contact form in which “unregistered visitors” simply open fire on the Faith, the Church and those who write for the site. Sometimes it is wisest to ignore such messages, especially if the nature of the correspondence and the available time suggest that we will not be in a position to make a positive impact. Similarly, there will be times when any Catholic will have little choice but to extricate himself as politely as possible from an unpleasant personal confrontation.
But often we are faced with disagreements caused by approaching similar questions from different directions or backgrounds, in which animosity, if any, is largely incidental. In such cases, both charity and good sense demand that we hold our fire long enough to understand the values and principles which have led to a contradictory statement. We need to determine, first, whether we’ve missed something significant in either our own thoughts or, as is quite likely, in our own brief comments on the subject at hand. Second, we must discover the strengths and weaknesses of this rival point of view so that we can address the comments reasonably, and even generously.
And third, precisely as a matter of charity, we are called to discern the motivation of our would-be opponent so that we can figure out whether there is something incomplete, weak or broken which cries out for help and healing. Who knows if Our Lord might choose to bestow a grace here through an unworthy servant—through you or me—if we can but hold ourselves open for the task.
This readiness to be used as a means of grace is admittedly difficult to maintain. We are proud, which translates into an excessive attachment to our own ideas, along with a corresponding contempt for contrary ideas and those who express them. And because we are proud, we are also very prickly, taking offense easily, and prone to unseemly distress when contradicted. We seem to be able to recognize the absurdity of such reactions only when we have no stake in the game.
Those of us with dogmatic personalities—and that includes many who take the Faith seriously in a hostile culture—have an additional spiritual hurdle, because we so often confuse our commitment to God’s principles with our own self-importance as God’s spokesmen. This can lead to a habit of self-righteous indignation, as if we must denounce others in defense of Christ, though to be sure He has already indicated His complete willingness to suffer disrespect in order to win hearts. This is usually a case of the servant not really following the Master.
Moreover, we have a tendency to assume that because we know we are right about some things—namely, the dogmas of the Faith—therefore we must be right about everything. But because we have the privilege of accepting the truths of Catholicism, it does not follow that our pastoral preferences are infallible, or our political insight, or our social theories, or our ability to separate truth from falsehood in other fields, or even our spiritual perception. Why then do we pronounce as Catholics on virtually everything under the sun with the same certainty which we ought to reserve for the most basic precepts of the catechism? How easily do all men and women assume the rightness of their own judgments! But in Catholics, who ought to know that they depend at all times on the most generous gifts of God, this belief in our own perfection is a particularly offensive fault.
Here's a sobering thought: The next person to contradict us (or to contradict the Church) may actually be at an early stage of his own interior journey home. Now it just so happens that, for better or worse, in almost every discussion we ourselves represent home. A harsh word now may drive this person away. A good rule of thumb is that we need to know someone extremely well and have a pre-existing relationship with him if we are to be in any position to speak harshly, and then only as a last resort. We dare not break the bruised reed or quench the smoldering wick (Is 42:3; applied to Christ in Mt 12:20). But I know I have done it. Have you?
Therefore, as we begin a new year and consider our own resolutions, I’d like to recommend that we all strive to discuss the issues that animate CatholicCulture.org with greater charity. I don’t mean so much on the website itself, for we have precious little opportunity for discussion here, except for just a bit of it in Sound Off! or via email. I am referring instead to the deliberate and persistent cultivation of charity in our discussions with those who are not part of the CatholicCulture.org family.
Our purpose—the purpose of all those who take seriously the issues presented through CatholicCulture.org—is to enrich faith, strengthen the Church and form Catholic culture. These tasks are, inescapably, oriented toward others. None of this can be done without love and, in most cases, the first opportunity to show love is in how we talk with others.
Charity in discussion: This could easily be the most important thing we accomplish in the New Year and beyond.