Please fast and pray every Thursday for the renewal of the Catholic Church in America. Please note: The Cybersociety will fast on Fridays beginning January 2013, in accordance with ancient custom.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Seamless Liberty

"There is not a single instance in history in which civil liberty was lost and religious liberty preserved entirely. If therefore we yield up our temporal property, we at the same time deliver the conscience into bondage."

"We appeal to that God who searcheth the hearts of men for the rectitude of our intentions: and in his holy presence declare...through every possible change of fortune, we will adhere to this our determination."

--Rev. John Witherspoon of New Jersey, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, president of Princeton University (then the College of New Jersey), and teacher of statesmen (James Madison among them).

Friday, June 21, 2013

St. Aloysius Gonzaga

Today is the feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a saint who makes us uneasy. He's a little too pure and a little too scrupulous for our tastes. In the fifties, he was held up to youth as the great exemplar of chastity, almost alone out of all his manifold virtues. Depictions of him usually wound up looking like the androgynous "good boy" so beloved by pious women of the times.

So what’s a red-blooded American male to do? What can we learn from him? I suggest we emulate his determination, his devotion to the cause of his own salvation. He maintained a deep prayer life (and that famous chastity) in the midst of all the intrigues of a ducal court of Italy (he was born only about fifty years after Machiavelli described such courts in The Prince). All the perquisites of a young noble were his for the taking; he chose to become a Jesuit instead, in the face of fierce opposition. He could have fled Rome like all the rest; he stayed to care for the plague-stricken. He stood over and against the times—something we need very much to do today. 

St. Aloysius, pray for us!

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Candle

Some administrative matters today. The Executive Board has reviewed
the Friday fast policy and has decided to continue fasting on Fridays instead of Thursdays. The Board also considered the case of certain weak-kneed members who have reverted to abstinence from meats and sweets on Fridays, as opposed to a full fast. This is perfectly acceptable; all members should do what they can, with prayer, not severity for severity's sake, as the first priority. The Board has also allowed a little wine with dinner. As is stated in the Rule of St. Benedict, "We think one hemina of wine a day is sufficient for each [monk]. But to whom God granteth the endurance of abstinence, let them know that they will have their special reward." Amen.

The meeting adjourned with a little inspiration, from the late Cardinal Foley, as quoted by Fr. L. "A Christian's life should be like a candle on the altar: bringing light, providing warmth, and extinguished in service to the Lord."

Friday, June 7, 2013

Corpus Christi and Ordinary Time

Some people don't like it, but I love celebrating Ordinary Time. Yes, Christ is risen, the world is new, it's the Eighth Day of Creation-- true, all amazingly true! But all the same, I love Ordinary Time. The very term suggests moderation, order, grace, and peace. In one of his sermons on the Sunday Eucharist, Pope Benedict XVI said, "This gift is the Lord himself: the Risen one, whom Christians need to have close and accessible to them, if they are to be themselves. Yet this accessibility is not merely something spiritual, inward and subjective: the encounter with the Lord is inscribed in time on a specific day. And so it is inscribed in our everyday, corporal and communal existence, in temporality. It gives a focus, an inner order to our time and thus to the whole of our lives." 

"...teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." --Psalm 90