Saturday, 31 May 2014

Meeting of the Wombs: On the Feast of the Visitation

Concerning the visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Elizabeth. In honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Elizabeth; and in honour of the Word and John the Baptist as babe.


O happy day!
The meeting of the wombs.
When summit of old
Met summit of new.

O happy day!
The meeting of the wombs.
When darkened face was
Visited by kissing dawn.

O happy day!
The meeting of the wombs.
When God’s-slave mothers
Set free by God’s Mother.


O happy day!
The meeting of the wombs.
When shadow cave was
Flooded with valley's grace.

O happy day!
The meeting of the wombs.
When babe John leapt
In hiding Babes Presence.

O happy day!
The meeting of the wombs.
When every babe leapt
With joy of Salvation.

O happy day!
The meeting of the babes.

O happy day!
The meeting of the wombs.

O happy day!


On the Feast of the Visitation, 30th May 2014

Visitation's Giggles: On the Feast of the Visitation


Concerning the visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Elizabeth, as she bore the
Word Incarnate in Her most blessed womb.


 Up hill country of Judea,
Climbs pregnant Virgin Mother;
With little Word inside Her womb,
And Joseph virgin father.

As living dawn walks up that hill,
Coo She does as greeting dove.
Dear Elizabeth laid resting,
Until Virgin’s knock of love;

At which the child inside her womb
Leapt with joy like gay gazelle!
As Elizabeth and Mary
Met; they laughed beyond all tell.

Meanwhile as mother’s laughed, small babes
Sent forth waves of giggles;
Sending the Saviour’s waters to
All people as saving tickles.




On the Feast of the Visitation, 30th May 2014

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

A Prayer to the Little Ones

A prayer to the little ones of God's Kingdom; the meek, simple, humble and innocent ones.

O favourites of the Father,
Teach me your playful games;
For by them He bursts with laughter,
Calling you funny names.


 O I too want to be simple,
And I want to be small.
Therefore pray I become little,
And smaller than you all.

O happy delights of the Son,
Lend me your daring cheek.
He swoons from your kisses of fun;
As learnt from He the meek.


O I too want to be simple,
And I want to be small.
Therefore pray I become little,
And smaller than you all.

O little joys of the Spirit,
Give me your childish love;
Which compels our Dove to visit,
With happy flame above.


O I too want to be simple,
And I want to be small.
Therefore pray I become little,
And smaller than you all.

27th May, 2013

Friday, 23 May 2014

The Eucharistic Crisis

AND The need for A EUCHARISTIC RENEWAL IN PRIESTLY FORMATION
 From Part II of 'Eucharistic-Contemplation: A Spirituality of Divine Intimacy'.

The teachings of the Second Vatican Council sublimely developed Eucharistic theology, and they sought to reinforce Eucharistic devotion. In practice however, since Vatican II, false Eucharistic theologies have proliferated, along with a decline in the practice of Eucharistic Adoration.[1] In this regards, in 2003, referring to what we might call the Eucharistic-crisis, Pope John Paul II in Ecclesia de Eucharista writes:

In some places the practice of Eucharistic adoration has been almost completely abandoned. In various parts of the Church abuses have occurred, leading to confusion with regard to sound faith and Catholic doctrine concerning this wonderful sacrament. At times one encounters an extremely reductive understanding of the Eucharistic mystery. Stripped of its sacrificial meaning, it is celebrated as if it were simply a fraternal banquet.[2]

This ‘confusion’ and ‘reductive understanding’ to which John Paul II refers; is demonstrated by a contemporary priest and theologian, who goes so far as to assert concerning Eucharistic Adoration: it is “a doctrinal, theological, and spiritual step backward, not forward”[3]. On another occasion he writes it is a

Step back into the Middle Ages…It erodes the communal aspect, and it erodes the fact that the Eucharist is a meal. Holy Communion is something to be eaten, not to be adored… [it is a practice that ought to be] tolerated but not encouraged.[4]

This is of course antithetical to Church Teaching and Tradition. Since it is erroneous to assert that ‘to eat’ and ‘to adore’ the Eucharistic are conflicting practices; for as St. Augustine writes concerning the Eucharist: “No one eats that flesh without first adoring it; we should sin were we not to adore it.”[5] Furthermore “the Church, even from the beginning, adored the body of Christ under the appearance of bread”.[6] Thereby it is a practice which stems from the early Church and not merely from the Middle Ages. According to Church Teaching, Eucharistic Adoration is not a devotional practice which should be merely tolerated but encouraged. Pope Benedict XVI affirms the relevance of Eucharistic Adoration even today, in his Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis:

Besides encouraging individual believers to make time for personal prayer before the Sacrament of the Altar, I feel obliged to urge parishes and other church groups to set aside times for collective adoration.[7]

In further testament to the Eucharistic-crisis, firmly associated with the crisis of faith within the Church; Cardinal Joseph Bernardin stated: that “according to a Gallup poll only thirty percent of our [American] faithful believe what the Church teaches on the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.”[8] One reason behind this “confusion with regard to [the] sound faith and Catholic doctrine concerning” the Eucharist, is priests and institutionally catechised teachers, who have been infected with false Eucharistic theologies. Such false Eucharistic theologies often reduce the Eucharist to its horizontal communal dimensions; or to a maligned understanding of the Real Presence. An example of such false Eucharistic theologies include theologies that reduce the Real Presence to the conceptions of ‘transfinalization’ and ‘transignification’.[9],[10] Though proponents of these theories such as Schillebeeckx and Rahner respectively, employ the term Real Presence, they reduce it to a type of ‘personal presence’ without the reality of the ‘spatial presence’, a reality which requires this ‘personal presence’ to be ontological or substantial. In other words, the Real Presence is deemed as a non-ontic personal presence that is mediated through the bread and wine; as opposed to the bread and wine becoming the ontic-personal presence of Christ; the latter of which is the true understanding of the Real Presence through transubstantiation. Pope Paul V I condemns these teachings in Mysterium Fidei under the heading: ‘False and Disturbing Teachings’. In this encyclical he refers to the role that the propagation of these teaching have in distorting true Eucharistic devotion and belief.

It is not permissible…to discuss the mystery of transubstantiation without mentioning what the Council of Trent had to say about the marvelous conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body and the whole substance of the wine into the Blood of Christ, as if they involve nothing more than "transignification," or "transfinalization" as they call it…Everyone can see that the spread of these and similar opinions does great harm to belief in and devotion to the Eucharist.[11]

Furthermore Cardinal “Ratzinger is careful to point out that the species do not only receive a new meaning, as the term “transignification” might suggest, or a new function, as the term “transfinalization” might suggest.”[12] However those who espouse or defend the notions of transfinalization and transignification as acceptable teachings that are only false if the Real Presence is reduced to these understandings, promote a theology that collapses, even if they assert otherwise, the ontological reality of the Real Presence.[13] Since these teachings are inherently reductionist.  Here is a quotation from Rahner which demonstrates this,[14] by the twisting of the true definition of transubstantiation as the changing of the ontological substance of the bread and wine into the ontological substance of Christ; into a mere change in meaning:

The words of institution indicate a change. But [do] not give any guiding line for the interpretation of the actual process. As regarding transubstantiation it may be said, the substance, essence, meaning and purpose of the bread are identical but the meaning of a thing can be changed without changing the matter. The meaning of the bread has been changed through the consecration something which served profane use now becomes the dwelling place and the symbol of Christ who is present and gives Himself to His own.[15]

Another reason such an understanding is erroneous is because it states that through the Eucharistic consecration the bread “becomes the dwelling place…of Christ”, which suggests the bread retains its ontological substance, as opposed to being transubstantiated into the ontological substance of Christ. Either Rahner with this view of transignification is suggesting that Christ ontologically dwells with or in the substance of the bread, and therefore falls into the heresy of of Consubstatiation; or he is suggesting that the substance of the bread remain after the consecration and Christ becomes present, but not present ontologically, but in some other manner (i.e. in meaning or purpose). Whichever position Rahner’s notion of transigification does imply, such a Eucharistic theology remains false; and therefore the propagation of this view, in unison with other erroneous teachings, have led to the “to confusion with regard to sound faith and Catholic doctrine concerning”[16] the Eucharist. Such a false Eucharistic understandings that assault the doctrine of the Real Presence and degrade Eucharistic devotion have permeated entire nations.[17]

The reality of the Eucharistic-crisis as inferred through the evidence enlisted above, highlights the need for a reform of priestly formation in true and authentic Eucharistic theology and in true and intensified Eucharistic devotion. To address the issue the crisis of faith involving the contemporary Eucharistic-crisis in the Catholic Church, is to address the crisis of intimacy failure within the clergy (and even as suffered by the laity); because the Eucharist is Divine Intimacy itself, and it therefore a “healing remedy”[18] to the brokenness of intimacy failure. Such a Eucharistic renewal ought not to be reduced to a renewal in priestly formation, since the entire Church from laity, religious and clergy; to parishes, schools and religious congregations; is in need of such a renewal. However perfecting priestly formation through a Eucharistic renewal, is an essential corner stone to this movement known as the New Evangelisation. For a healthy flock is the fruit of a good shepherd. Yet a shepherd can only become good if he becomes koinonia (intimate companions) with Christ the Good Shepherd; wherefore he shall be transfigured into His Likeness. One meets this Good Shepherd on the summit of Mount Tabor. That summit which is the Holy Eucharist.




[1] Francis X. Rocca, “Vatican Tries to Revive Eucharistic Adoration,” The Christian Century, June 15, 2011, http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2011-06/vatican-tries-revive-eucharistic-adoration.
[2] op.cit., John Paul II, ‘Ecclesia De Eucharistia,’ 10.
[3] Richard McBrien, “Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration,“ National Catholic Reporter, September 8, 2009, http://ncronline.org/blogs/essays-theology/perpetual-eucharistic-adoration.
[4] op.cit., Francis X. Rocca, “Vatican Tries to Revive Eucharistic Adoration.”
[5] Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos, 98,9.
[6] Pius XII, ‘Mediator Dei: Encyclical on the Sacred Liturgy,’ Vatican: the Holy See, 1947. Vatican Website: Liberia Editrice Vaticana, 129.
[7] op.cit., Benedict XVI, ‘Sacramentum Caritatis,’ 68.
[8] Regis Scalon, Modern Misconceptions about the Eucharist, http://www.ewtn.com /library/DOCTRINE/MOD MISC.TXT.
[9] “We might say that transfinalization is another name for transignification. In both cases the substance of bread and wine, I repeat and I wish to emphasize, remain. There is no change in their being bread and wine – merely take on a new meaning. Transignification, or new purpose, transfinalization.” Fr. John A. Hardon.
[10] Paul VI, ‘Mysterium Fidei: Encyclical of Pope Paul VI on the Holy Eucharist,’ Vatican: the Holy See, Vatican Website: Liberia Editrice Vaticana, 1965, 11.
[11] i.bid., 11, 12.
[12] Emerey de Gaal, The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI: The Christocentric Shift, (Palgrave Macmillan: New York, 2010), 262.
[13] As seems to be the case in Teresa Whalen, The Authentic Doctrine of the Eucharist, 73-80.
[14] However this is not to say that all the theologies of Rahner are completely false.
[15] John A. Hardon, Crisis of Faith and the Eucharist, http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Faith/Faith_006. htm.
[16] op.cit., John Paul II, ‘Ecclesia De Eucharistia,’ 10.
[17] op.cit., John. A. Hardon, Crisis of Faith and the Eucharist.
[18] Said by the priest at the breaking of the bread in the Eucharistic liturgy. 

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Be a Needy Child of God

Selfish Desires in Children and Formation in Natural Love

Towards our earthly mother's and father's it is wrong to be needy. Yet children naturally posses an inherent desire to want and demand things they need, and eventually as they grow things they want (i.e. that special toy in the shop). This is a consequence of original sin and an effect wrought by it which inclines the human will to almost demand what it needs and wants. Such needy desires are relatively normal; and expressing them is initially beneficial since through them the parent comes to know when the child is hungry or when it is hurt or when it is scared etc. Through conditioning the child grows in maturity and strength of will to be less demanding and self-centred. Yet this conditioning or formation must occur through parents who will teach their children how to be other-focused and thus be rendered sociable and disposed to virtue. A common example of this is when a mother says to her child: "now what do you sayyyy?", with the child responding "thank youuuu". Such a process is required because the child must be trained in being one who loves, that is one who has developed a concern for others. After all, the primary purpose of saying "thank you" is for the edification of the other. Yet this awareness of the other and natural human love must be formed in the child; since due to original sin human beings have lost the aptitude (competency) to be selfless in a love which seeks not the gratification of self-desires or ones own will but the will of the other, that is the will of ones neighbour.

Selfless Desires in God's Children and Trans-Formation in Divine Love

It is taught that there can be attributed to the human person two natures, a first nature and a second nature. The first nature constitutes the essential humanness of a person, and being made in the image of God; and thus refers to the body and soul, with all their corresponding faculties. The second nature constitutes the acquired habits of a person and being made in the likeness of God. So when it is said that grace builds upon nature, it is meant that the first nature of the human person remains the same, whilst the second nature grows and develops by God's grace. Of course these two natures must be viewed as interconnected within the human person as an individual being. Thus we can view first nature as the foundation stone; second nature the structure which is built upon it, and the building in its entirety, the whole human person. For the structure (second nature) to be renewed is for the whole building (human person) to be renewed, including the foundation stone (first nature) which remains essentially the same naked stone but is renewed accidentally in the clothing of the structure upon it.

Before the Fall man's second nature was Divine in the sense that his very being was totally infused with the Divine Will and Love of God. However after the Fall, though man's first nature remained the same (image of God), he lost his Divine second nature (his likeness to God) along with the countless Celestial Desires and Virtues that came with it. Even after the Fall however man still possessed a natural inclination to the good; since this natural inclination or primary desire for the good is of man's first nature. So although man since the Fall is still inclined towards the good in his first nature, his second nature has been corrupted by sin, and thus though his primary desire is towards the good, his secondary desires towards evil dominate the thrust of his search for good. It is thus that man seeks the good, the happiness, the truth, the pleasure and fulfilment in finite and created things; as opposed to in God. Reflect on ones past and look around at those in the society in which we live. All thirst for God who is Good, Happiness, Truth etc. yet they seek Him in places where He is not; and thus they turn finite things (i.e. wealth) and finite experiences (i.e. pleasure, travelling etc) into a god. Examples of this include people who are highly promiscuous: they seek happiness and love, for they seek God by virtue of their first nature; yet due to their second nature which is filled with sinful desires, they lead themselves astray in idolatry by submitting their primary desire for God to their secondary desires for sin. Of course most sinners do not know that they seek God; since only those sinners who have come to self-knowledge come to understand that all their desires were vain attempts to fill the infinite void of hunger for God within, with anything and anyone but God.

We could say that in ones first nature one has the infinite hunger for God and the Food of His Will which is Love and Mercy itself. Before the Fall man through his Divinely infused and grace filled second nature, possessed this Food within himself; since God lived within him. Yet after the Fall man's second nature was emptied of all grace, and was thus emptied of the Food of Divine Will. So whilst man still held an infinite desire for God and the Food of His Will; he lost the possession of such Food along with the knowledge, wisdom and understanding required in order to have access to it and to know it, to posses it and to taste and enjoy it. 'Twas thus that man roamed the earth in search of a food that could satisfy; but his own hands could not supply that for which he craved. The food of idols left man empty. Yet still he creates and crafts new idols each and every day in the vain hope of tasting a food which can satisfy; a food which no hand except God in Jesus Christ can supply.

God through Baptism restores us to His likeness in Christ Jesus; and it is thus that God cleanses the grime off of our second nature and therefore restores the entire person in the state of sanctifying grace. Furthermore through baptism God infuses into the soul the theological virtues of faith, hope and love. Through faith we gain access to and come to know how to find God and the Food of His Will; through hope we come to posses God and the Food of His Will; and through love we come to taste and enjoy God and the Food of His Will. At first the soul is as a newborn child in God's grace, inclined to imperfect love; since it seeks God for the sake of self; it possess God for the sake of self; and tastes and enjoys God for the sake of self. It is thus that in the beginning of the spiritual life one is like a needy child of God, yet the reason this neediness is an imperfect love is because it is a neediness for the sake of the self. Such a soul is thus more in love with the gifts of God (i.e. consolations in prayer) as opposed to God Himself. 

Yet as the soul advances by God's grace, eventually ones second nature is not just restored to His likeness in Jesus but grows into the fullness of likeness in Jesus. Accompanied by this spiritual growth is the soul's transformation in the likeness of God's Love, which renders the soul increasingly apt in selfless love. It is in this development therefore, that the soul through faith comes to know and seek God and the Food of His Will, not for the sake of the self but for the sake of God in giving Him glory; and by extension for the sake of others in the salvation of souls. Likewise through hope the soul desires to possess God for the sake of God's delight and for the sake of giving, as it were, God to her neighbours. And through love she desires to taste and enjoy God only so that God may taste and enjoy Himself, and so that her neighbours may taste and enjoy God. Such a soul thus comes to increasingly pray out of genuine selfless love for God; and this intrinsically involves love for ones neighbour. Such a soul would therefore be considered a needy child of God, but needy not for the sake of oneself, but for the sake of seeking to appeasing a God who Himself thirsts and hungers for love more than we! For what thirst can compare to the thirst of God made flesh in Christ Jesus, who exclaimed on the Cross: "I thirst!" (Jn 19:28)? Surely our thirst for God who is Infinite Love, is but a seed planted within us as human beings. As we grow in God's Likeness, we shall come to grow in God's Thirst, and this is to grow in thirst for Love.


The Call to Be a Needy Child of God

The directing of ones neediness or ones hunger towards created people, experiences and things arises from a corrupt second nature; that leads the thirsty and hungry soul astray towards waters that will not quench and satisfy. Ones inherent neediness once misdirected, thus becomes perverted and effects an evil; for it causes one to seek self-satisfaction whilst being antithetical to love as selflessness and otherness. However a restored second nature infused with God's Will and grace, leads the thirsty and hungry soul towards the Eternal Waters and Food of God's Love and Mercy. It is thus that by God's grace ones inherent neediness and hunger for God who is Good, Happiness, Truth, Love etc. can be satisfied; since in properly directing ones neediness to its origin and source in God, the soul is thus led to God and is satisfied by Him.

It is thereby false to live out the spiritual life as if it consisted in repressing ones desires. For beneath the maligned secondary desires that lie within us and lead us to sin; are the good primary desires that seek God in His multiplicity and greatness. 

For example: The remedy to seeking intimacy through sexual lust, thus lies not in trying to repress the desire for intimacy; but rather in seeking to fulfill ones desire for intimacy by striving to be intimate with God in a relationship of prayer and servitude. This is because the root cause of such a sin is not the desire for intimacy itself, for this is a primary desire which is good. Rather the root cause of such a sin lies in the will's attachment and enactment of the desire to sexual lust. It is thus that the remedy to sexual lust as perverted intimacy, lies in affirming the will in its desire for intimacy, yet in good intimacy, intimacy with God. This affirmation of the will in goodness is what brings about the negation from sin. For the will cannot choose to do evil as such; since evil is a privation (of good) as opposed to a reality. It is therefore more precise to say that the will can choose either 'for good' or 'against good', as opposed to 'for good' or 'for evil'. In this regards one does not overcome sin by routinely choosing against sin 'directly' (which is really to choose against sin indirectly), but by routinely choosing for God (Goodness) which is to 'indirectly' choose against sin (which is really to choose against sin directly).

Let us not try to will against evil by choosing against sin and by repressing our maligned desires; but rather let us try to will for good by choosing God and by affirming our good desires. This is the difference between walking the imperfect road of sanctification and the perfect road. Allow me to quote our Lord's words to St. Maria Faustina; words which say very briefly what I have failed to even touch upon within an entire novel:

“Let souls who are striving for perfection particularly adore My mercy, because the abundance of graces which I grant them flows from My mercy. I desire that these souls [that’s us] distinguish themselves by boundless trust in My mercy. I myself will attend to the sanctification of such souls. I will provide them with everything they will need to attain sanctity [, to become saints]. The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is-trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive. Souls that trust boundlessly are a great comfort to me, because I pour all the treasures of My graces into them. I rejoice much that they ask for much, because it is My desire to give much, very much. On the other hand, I am sad when souls ask for little, when they narrow their hearts.” (Divine Mercy in My Soul, 1578).

Beyond the complexities which I have failed to articulate well in any sense, what this all means is that we must not seek to become less needy, but rather let us seek to become more needy, but needy for God. Let us avoid placing our neediness as a heavy yoke upon the shoulders of others; expecting them to be God when God alone is God. "My yoke is easy and my burden light" says the Lord; because His neediness for us is not oppressive like the neediness of creatures which makes life hard and burdensome; for it freeing and liberating. For in the Divine Neediness of His Love, we do not need to meet conditions, since His love is unconditional. All we need to do is accept such Divine Love, which is the Food we all truly crave for; yet which we can only consume through the longing hunger of desire for God. This is to desire to live in His Will, and to feast upon It in the Blessed Sacrament in Holy Communion and Eucharistic Adoration. Let the words of our Lady descend into your heart: "the rich he has sent away empty, but the hungry he has filled with good things." And the words of our Lord: "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. (Mt 5:6) And what does this mean, to hunger and thirst after justice? Well justice concerns that which is fair and deserved, thus it is to hunger and thirst for God at the elevated spiritual level of not just wanting God but of desperately needing Him. This perfect desire of neediness for God lies deep within each soul; yet God's Loving Touch is needed in order to set it ablaze. 


And Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life. He that cometh to me shall not hunger: and he that believeth in me shall never thirst.




Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Daily Prayer to St. Joseph the Virginal Father of Jesus

O Virginal Father of Jesus; God’s Resplendent Lilly, and our dearest patron and protector St. Joseph.

We submit ourselves into the hands of thy patronage; that thou mayst craft and form us according to the perfect designs of God’s Will for us. We give fervent praise to God the Almighty Father; for having exalted thee to the highest office, of being the chaste custodian of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Holy Child Jesus.

Defend us from the wickedness and snares of the Devil. Bring comfort to the sick, mercy to the dying and relief to the holy souls in purgatory. Be our Master of Prayer and guide us into the depths of Divine Intimacy. Provide for us in the material necessities and costs of life; and keep us safe from all natural disasters and from a sudden and unprovided death. Sustain us with the Heavenly Wheat, which thou dost store in the infinite granary of thy heart. And obtain for us those favours [mention requests] which we confidently place into thy holy hands.

And finally St. Joseph; give to us thy very own love which thou hast for Jesus and Mary, and help us to fall deeper in love with them every day.

We make this prayer in the Holy Name of Jesus. Amen.

St. Joseph, Shadow of the Eternal Father; pray for us.
St. Joseph Virginal Father of Jesus; pray for us.

St. Joseph, Most Chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary; pray for us.