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, December 26, 2014

After the Angels

"Glory to God in the highest!" rang a shout from every throat;
We stood there motionless, our souls suspended--
As had the shepherds who first heard that hymn--
Until the the ground grew still and the hymn ended.
(Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio, Canto XXII, tr. by John Ciardi)

Friday, December 19, 2014

In Dulci Jubilo

Now let us sing with joy and mirth,
In honour of our Lordes birth,
Our heart's consolation
Lies in praesepio,
And shines as the sun...

"When the servant heard the beloved name of Jesus so sweetly sung, he was so happy in heart and mind that all the sufferings he had ever endured disappeared." (Henry Suso, The Life of the Servant)

Henry Suso was a Dominican friar and mystic. When the angels visited him circa 1328, they sang In Dulci Jubilo to celebrate the Savior's birth. We know this German/Latin carol most familiarly in its Victorian incarnation, Good Christian Men, Rejoice. The above is a 16th century translation. "Praesepio" is manger.

Friday, December 12, 2014


"What graces all these little crosses have been....It seems they are so small. [But] they do their work. How God works on your soul by these obscure and unremarkable sufferings that cleanse and drain your wounds! I am glad of every kind of trouble that I have had and thank God in advance for all the trials that are to come." (Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas, entry for December 13, 1948.)

He makes the rough places in you plain. Yet his yoke is easy, and his burden light.

Friday, December 5, 2014

"Advent is a time for rousing....It is precisely while he is still deep in the helpless, semi-conscious state, in the pitiable weakness of that borderland between sleep and waking, that man finds the golden thread which binds earth to heaven and gives the benighted soul some inkling of the fullness it is capable of realizing and is called upon to realize." (Alfred Delp, S.J., 1907-1945)

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Advent of Advent

Wilt thou be angry with us forever?
Wilt thou not revive us again, that thy people may rejoice in thee...
that glory may dwell in our land?
(Psalm 85:5,6,9)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Bible Study: Conquest and Judges

"...the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy...every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Beautiful Light

Morning Light
"St. Albert defines beauty in terms of light, which is present in every being as a reflection of the divine light. All created perfections stem from God, who is their model and exemplar. They all exist most perfectly in him. Every creature is composite...but God's being alone is simple (simplex essentia). That is why his proper name, revealed in Scripture, is 'He Who Is' (Exod. 3:14)"--Armand A. Maurer, C.S.B., on Saint Albert the Great in Medieval Philosophy, 1962. Saint Albert's feast day is tomorrow, November 15.

Friday, November 7, 2014

...who turned the hard rock into a pool of water, and flint-stone into a flowing spring.

                                                   (Psalm 114:8)

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Miracles of Exodus

"For Yahweh's cloud stayed over the dwelling during the daytime and there was fire inside the cloud at night, for the whole of the house of Israel to see, at every stage of their journey." (Last verse of Exodus)

Sometimes God is comfortable and familiar; sometimes He is strange and powerful.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Bible Study 3

The Old Testament-- all those wild stories!
And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And Jacob said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me....And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. And as he passed over Peniel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh. (Genesis 32, 26, 29-31) 

Friday, October 17, 2014


                                                     For I have swift and speedy wings
With which to mount the lofty skies,
And when thy mind has put them on
The earth below it will despise:
It mounts the air sublunary
And far behind the clouds it leaves...

Here the King of kings holds sway...
The Lord of all things shining bright.
If there the pathway brings you back--
The path you lost and seek anew--
Then "I remember" you will say,
"My home, my source, my ending too."

(Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, translation by V.E. Watts. Written in prison in 524 A.D. while awaiting execution on charges of treason trumped up by Arian conspirators.)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Bible Study Continues: Genesis 4-11

O God, who by water didst wash away the crimes of a guilty world, and by the overflowing of the deluge didst give a figure of regeneration, that that one and the same element might in a mystery be the end of vice and the origin of virtue; look, o Lord, on the face of thy Church, and multiply in her thy regenerations, who by the streams of thy abundant grace fillest thy city with joy, and openest the fonts of baptism all over the world. (From the Blessing of the Font, Office for Holy Saturday, translation of Abbot Fernand Cabrol, O.S.B., in 1926 and reprinted by IHS Press, 2013.)

Friday, October 3, 2014

St. Therese the Anti-Blogger

"I love to say the Divine Office every day, but apart from that I cannot bring myself to hunt through books for beautiful prayers. There are so many of them that I get a headache. Besides, each prayer seems lovelier than the next. I cannot possibly say them all and do not know which to choose, so I behave like children who cannot read: I tell God very simply what I want and He always understands. For me, prayer is an upward leap of the heart, an untroubled glance towards heaven, a cry of gratitude and love which I utter from the depths of sorrow as well as from the heights of joy."--Saint Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul.

Her feast day was October 1. With the above duly considered, the Executive Council has nonetheless decided to continue to "hunt through books." There are, we trust, many ways to pray.

Friday, September 26, 2014


Be courageous, and do not fear the dark wrath of Lucifer. Always remember this: it is a good sign when he is roaring and clamoring around your will, since it means he is still on the outside. Courage!...with Jesus, courage! -- St. Pius of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)
St. Pius of Pietrelcina - September 23
St. Michael the Archangel - September 29

Friday, September 19, 2014


God said, 'Let there be a divide the waters in two.'
 And so it was. God made the vault, and it divided the waters....God called the vault 'heaven.' (Genesis 1:6-8)

Bible Study has commenced here. Every time you plunge in, it's different. Read a great novel at 20, then again at 30, or 60. Not the same book. Even more so with Scripture. The Spirit speaks to you, uniquely, multifariously, every time you read or hear it.

Friday, September 12, 2014

September 15th - Our Lady of Sorrows

If you cannot enter into the warmth of books of devotion, it is a deficiency in you....Depend on it, the way to enter into the sufferings of the Son is to enter into the sufferings of the Mother. Place yourselves at the foot of the Cross, see Mary standing there....Imagine her feelings, make them your own....Feel what she felt and you will believe well. ("Our Lady in the Gospel," sermon of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman.)

Friday, September 5, 2014

O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth;
O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, show thyself!
Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth!

Lord, how long shall the wicked triumph?
They break in pieces thy people, O Lord, and afflict thine heritage.
They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless;
they condemn innocent blood.

Who will rise up against the evildoers?
Who will stand up against the workers of iniquity?

The Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.
 The Lord is our defense, and our God is the rock of refuge.
He shall cut them off in their own wickedness;
 yea, the Lord our God shall cut them off.  (from Psalm 94)

Pray for the Christians of Syria and Iraq, indeed all Christians within Islam's bloody borders, God preserve them.

Friday, August 29, 2014

August 29--Passion of Saint John the Baptist

"Come and see"--John 1:39
... for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody.When he heard him, he was much perplexed--

 and yet he liked to listen to him. (Mark 6:19-20)

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Queenship of Mary

"So it was that she began to taste the fruits of her future reign while still in the flesh. At one moment she would withdraw to God in ecstasy; at the next she would bend down to her neighbors with indescribable love."--St. Amadeus, Bishop of Lausanne, Abbot (d. 1159)

My soul magnifies the Lord...(Luke 1:46)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Vitam praesta puram,
iter para tutum,
ut videntes Jesum
semper collaetemur.

Bestow a pure life,
Prepare a safe way,
That seeing Jesus,
We may ever rejoice with you.

("Ave Maris Stella," Marian hymn, 7th (?) century)

Friday, August 8, 2014

August Days

You have taught me from my  youth, and to this day I declare your wondrous works. 

Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me.

Let my mouth be filled with Your praise and with Your glory all the day. (Psalm 71:8, 17-18)

Friday, August 1, 2014


     Ah, my dear angry Lord,

              Since Thou dost love, yet strike;

                        Cast down, yet help afford;

                                       Sure I will do the like.

     I will complain, yet praise;

                  I will bewail, approve;

                  And all my sour-sweet days,

                                      I will lament and love.

--George Herbert, "Bitter-Sweet," 1633



Friday, July 25, 2014

Ashes his heart is!...Because he knew not the One who fashioned him....To know You well is complete justice, and to know Your might is the root of immortality. (Wisdom 15:3, 10-11)(NAB)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Knowing God is, we say our vows
When vesper deer come forth to browse
Telling the beads of many a yesterday.


Ave Maria while the evening star leans low...(Donald Davidson, "Gradual of the Northern Summer")

Friday, July 11, 2014


Earth in her heart laughs, thinking of the harvest,
Sharp as a sickle is the edge of shade and shine.
--George Meredith, "Love in the Valley"

"Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increase." (Psalm 4:7)

Friday, July 4, 2014


...ut cum sanctis tuis laudem te in saecula saeculorum.
...that with Thy saints I may praise Thee forever and ever.

Friday, June 27, 2014


In hora mortis meae voca me, et jube venire ad te.

At the hour of my death, call me,
and bid me come to you.

Thou inward Stranger/ Whom I have never seen/ Deeper and cleaner/ Than the clamorous ocean.../ Hold me in Thy Hand!
Thomas Merton, "Stranger"

...lo, I am with you always, even unto the end...(Matt. 28:20)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
 Ne permittas me separari a te.
Never let me be separated from you.

Sunday is the feast of Corpus Christi, the feast of God with us.

"My church is never empty so long as the ruby burns in the sanctuary lamp; my church is filled with all times and all places." 
--Richard Rodriguez, "Irish Catholic," Political Passages, J. Bunzel, ed.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Intra tua vulnera absconde me.
Within your wounds, hide me.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Passio Christi, conforta me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
We see the word is "conforta." Perhaps we would better translate it as "form," or "shape," or "fashion." When we suffer, we are formed in Christ's image. And as Thomas Merton points out, without Christ, human suffering is just misery.

Friday, May 30, 2014


Aqua lateris Christi, lava me.

Water from the side of Christ, wash me.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Anima Christi

Anima Christi, sanctifica me.
Corpus Christi, salve me.
Sanguis Christi, inebria me.

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.

Friday, May 16, 2014

"...and the late afternoon mingled with the sanctity of trees."
 (Hilaire Belloc, The Path to Rome)

Friday, May 9, 2014

And how shall they preach?

                                                     ...except they be sent?

How beautiful are the feet                                            
                                         of them that preach

the gospel of peace. (Rom. 10:15)

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Pope: Now a Benedict, Now a Francis

"Why does the Church incur the dislike of so many men, even of believers?...Most people have trouble with the Church because she is an institution like any other, which as such restricts freedom....The limits that the Church erects seem doubly burdensome because they reach into man's most personal and most intimate depths. For the Church's rules for ordering life are far more than a set of regulations to keep the traffic of humanity from collision. They inwardly affect my course in life, telling me how I am supposed to understand and shape my freedom. They demand of me decisions that cannot be made without painful renunciation....

"[Yet] in the midst of this world full of harsh discipline and inexorable pressures, a secret hope still looks to the Church...There, at least, one would hope to know the taste of freedom, of redeemed existence....We think we must establish a better Church: a Church full of humanity, pervaded by a spirit of brotherhood and large-minded creativity, a place of reconciliation of all and for all....However much [one] may resist this noble project, it must be begun in earnest....[But] the reform that is needed that is needed at all times does not consist in constantly remodeling 'our' Church according to our tastes, or in inventing her ourselves, but in ceaselessly clearing away our subsidiary constructions to let in the pure light that comes from above and that is also the dawning of pure freedom."

---Pope Benedict XVI. Redacted from six pages of dense prose in Called to Communion. Really, dear Benedict, you need an editor. Happy to oblige.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Death and Life

"The death of Christ gives life....The Resurrection is the revelation of life, which is affirmed as present beyond the boundary of death."--Saint John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

 "Everyone who looks for salvation, not only the Christian, must stop before the cross of Christ....God has embraced all men by the Cross and Resurrection of his Son....
The Paschal Mystery is now grafted onto the history of humanity, onto the history of every individual."--Blessed John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Way of the Cross

"The life of men is a pilgrimage, continual, long and wearisome. Up and up along the steep and stony road, the road marked out for all upon that hill ...Every one of us must have his own cross to bear; otherwise tempted by selfishness or cruelty, we should sooner or later fall by the roadside....We pray for strength for all....We pray that the Blood of Christ may be to all the pledge and promise of eternal life." --From a meditation on the Fourth Sorrowful Mystery by Blessed John XXIII.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Out of Love for Man

"Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing"--Luke 4:21
"People today need to turn to Christ once again in order to receive from him the answer to their questions...It is he who opens up to the faithful the book of the Scriptures and, by fully revealing the Father's will, teaches the truth about moral action...The moral life [is] the due response to the many gratuitous initiatives taken by God out of love for man...Such is the witness of Sacred Scripture, imbued in every one of its pages with a lively perception of God's holiness." --John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor