Monthly Archives: April 2015

“Self-Awareness” is The Answer To All Our Problems ;)

28 April 2015

I stand by this:

chickenstages

Still laughing. Hope with all the misery out there today, you take time to laugh at ourselves and our nitwittery. Thank you Toya Graham for showing the world a mother isn’t afraid of showing her son what an “idiot” acts like.

God love every one of you!


Good Shepherd Sunday

19 April 2015

by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

“I am the Good Shepherd.”–John 10.

In today’s Gospel Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd, and well does the title become Him. Many other names are given to our Lord in Holy Writ. He is called “God” and “Lord,” the “Father of the Family,” the “Promised Messiah,” the “Saviour and Redeemer of His People.” That He deserves them all, every well-instructed Christian readily understands; for He is, indeed, both God and Lord the Father of the family, which, as Messiah, He has redeemed and saved.

Good Shepherd MainOne name, however, is especially applicable to Him, that of the “Good Shepherd.” Christ calls Himself, emphatically, the Good Shepherd; and it is profitable for us to consider what this title of Christ means, as the elect are frequently typified by our Lord and His Prophets as sheep. The more clearly, then, we realize what the shepherd is to the sheep, the more ready and willing shall we be to follow Christ, our Good Shepherd, as His faithful sheep. Let its, therefore, today consider Christ as the Good Shepherd, and reflect on the qualities that entitle Him to this appellation.

Mary, thou who art next to Christ, the Good Shepherdess of His flock, thou zealous and first follower of the Lord, pray for us, that thy divine Son may acknowledge us as His sheep, and may be to us a Good Shepherd our Redeemer, our Lord! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, for the greater glory of God!

Christ calls Himself the Good Shepherd, and such indeed He is. To prove this, we need only think of the attributes which Christ mentions as belonging to a good shepherd. The first of these is: “To know his sheep.” Every good shepherd, of course, knows his sheep; but none know their flock so well as Christ knows His. Even the most careful shepherd is not always able to recognize a sheep that has strayed from the flock, so that he may lead it back to the fold. Christ, however, as Good Shepherd, knows every human soul which He redeemed, and knows it better than the soul knows itself He knows every one. He knows the thoughts, the words, the wishes, and the actions of each all his good and all his evil inclinations. He has a thorough and complete knowledge of each and every man.

A good shepherd calls his sheep, that they may remain near him, and not stray away from the flock and the good pasture; and the sheep know His voice. How perfectly Christ possesses all the qualifications of a Good Shepherd! An inner and an outer voice is continually calling us. He admonishes, instructs and guides us by His voice. We hear it in the depth of our heart, through the inspirations of His grace, and we hear it, too, in the admonitions and warnings of those whom He has installed as His vicars upon earth.

Happy are we it we listen to this voice, if we follow it, and avoid the dangers which threaten our salvation! Happy are we if, when tempted, we make use of all those means of evading the persecutions of Satan which Christ points out to us! The good shepherd loves his sheep, and goes before them. How admirably our Lord fullills this duty to us! “I am the way,” He cries to us, “follow Me.” “I am the Truth and the Life.”

The path of virtue and perfection lies before us, glorious in the light ot our Lord’s example an example of the perfect fulfillment of the great commandment of loving God above all things and one’s neighbor as one’s self. If we but follow the voice of Christ, it will guide us in the way of salvation, into the best, the most nourishing of meadows, which is His Holy Word–the instructions and the graces which He imparts to us through His Church. How refreshing, strengthening and delicious is this pasture! Nor is this all; but He does for us what no other shepherd does for his sheep, He sacrifices Himself for us, and nourishes its, soul and body, with His sacramental flesh and blood.

What a Good Shepherd! And, to accomplish this, what does He do for each one of us? He not only leads us by His almighty power and goodness towards heaven, but He also offers Himself up daily for us all in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. “A good shepherd,” says our Lord, “protects his sheep.” And Christ promised His powerful protection to His Church, which is the flock of the Good Shepherd, when He said: “The gates of hell shall not prevail against her;” nor shall they prevail against any of His children who make use of those weapons and means of salvation which He intrusted to them.

Yes, the most holy name of Jesus alone protects us triumphantly in every danger that threatens our salvation, for no one shall be conquered or lost who pronounces with confidence this holy Name, and with it calls for help. For, to protect and save us, Jesus gave His life, and the last drop of His blood. This Christ did for us His children, His sheep. Never has an earthly shepherd done a work like this; never could it have been done. Where was there ever found a shepherd who was wounded and slain for his sheep? Yet Christ was wounded and slain for us! “He has delivered Himself for me,” can every soul exclaim gratefully and lovingly with St. Paul? For me, He was born one cold winter’s night; for me, He fled into Egypt; for me, He remained working in Nazareth; for me, He bore all the toils of His apostolic life; for me, He was scorned, scourged and crucified! What a Good Shepherd!

A good shepherd guards his sheep; but still, at the last, every sheep becomes the prey of death. Christ, the Good Shepherd, calls to us: “He that believeth in Me, although he be dead, shall live.” Death, since Christ has redeemed us, is no longer to us what death is to a sheep, namely, destruction. No; through Christ, the Lamb of God, sacrificed for us, we have a right to exclaim: “O death! where is thy sting?”

Oh, the goodness our Shepherd shows to us, especially if we consider the relationship in which this Good Shepherd stands to us! As Shepherd, He is at the same time our Father, who has made us children of God. He is our Brother, and a Brother who has taken to Himself our nature, and elevated it above the choirs of angels. He is our Friend, and what a Friend! He gave His life for us! He is our King, and how generous, how wise, how grand a Monarch, who will place us all on thrones! He is our Bridegroom, and what a union awaits us with Him in the joys of heaven!

Let us follow Him like good sheep, that He may lead us into the fields and meadows of Paradise! Amen!

 

“My sheep know Me, and hear My voice.”–John 10.

No one doubts that Christ has the right of calling Himself our Good Shepherd, since the qualities which He mentions, when speaking of the good shepherd, are strikingly apparent in Himself. But is it qually clear that we are His sheep? Do we bear the marks which Christ gives us to recognize His sheep? How many, alas! of those who, because they have been baptized and educated in the bosom of the Church, style themselves Catholics, deserve that reproach of Christ, which we find in the Apocalypse: “Thou hast the name of being alive, and thou art dead “(3 – 1).

Reflecting on the marks by which Christ distinguished His sheep, and listening to the secret revelations of our own consciences, let each one examine and see if, perhaps, this reproof of Christ be not directed to himself. In this manner will each one be able to determine whether he belongs or not to the fold of Christ, the Good Shepherd. What, then, are the marks which, according to the words of Christ, distinguish the true sheep of the fold? I will point them out to you today.

O Mary, devotion to thee is one of the signs by which the true sheep of Christ’s fold are recognized, pray for us, that we may receive the grace not only to be called Catholics, but also to live a Catholic life! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

In the words: “My sheep know Me,” we have the first sign by which Christ describes His sheep. In how few of the many who call themselves children of the Catholic Church can we trace this sign in its full and comprehensive significance? There are multitudes who believe in Jesus Christ, and outwardly fulfill their duties as children of the Church, and yet are strangers to that intimate knowledge which their close relationship with Christ, as souls redeemed by Him, naturally supposes. How many, who, though baptized, live like children of the world, without further instruction, and know Jesus only in name!

They know Him as the Redeemer and Saviour of mankind, but are grossly ignorant of the beneficent and manifold relationship in which He stands to them as the Dispenser of the innumerable blessings of redemption. How many fail to grasp the meaning of the words: “Jesus our Father!” Ah, how loving a Father! It is He that restored to us the glorious birthright of the children of God, which we had lost in the fall of Adam and by our own personal sins, thus becoming children of Satan instead of children of God.

How many understand not the meaning of the words: “Jesus our Lord and King!” and fail to appreciate the happiness of being His subjects, soldiers of the Church militant, fighting valiantly under her standard, and strong in the hope of reigning one day with Christ, the “King of kings!” How many fathom not the meaning of the words: “Jesus our Brother!” Through the mystery of the Incarnation, Christ has become in very deed our Brother! How many consider not the meaning of the words: “Jesus our Friend!” How great a Friend has He not been to us! He has shed the last drop of His blood for us; and we know, according to His own rule, that “greater love no man hath, than that a man lay down his life for his friends!” Finally, as a reward of His friendship, He invites us to share with Him the joys of heaven. How many know not the meaning of the words: “Jesus our Light!” Yet He is “the true Light that enlighteneth every man who corneth into this world.” How many ponder not the meaning of the words: “Jesus our Counsel, our Example, our Guide!” Still what a depth of instruction they contain! He is, indeed, our Counsel, our Example, our Guide; and He Himself calls upon us: “Follow Me.”

Lastly, how many understand not the meaning of the word: “Jesus our Solace, in all the woes and trials of life; Jesus our Hope; our Strength;–Jesus the Joy of our heart;–our All!” This intimate knowledge of Jesus Christ we secure by prayer, and, especially, by devotion to the blessed Sacrament of the altar. That there is no more effectual means of acquiring a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ than frequent communion with Him present upon our altar, is the testimony of all who have reached that sublime union of which St. Paul speaks, when commending the hidden life through Christ in God.

Therefore, if we consider the lives of the majority of those who call themselves Catholics, how few shall we find among them who can say in the full acceptation of the words: I know Jesus! If we possess this personal knowledge of God, then our lives will be stamped with those other characteristics, which Christ enumerates, when He speaks of the sheep whose Shepherd He is.

He says: “They hear My voice, and follow Me.” Doubtless, if our knowledge of Christ be real, it will be inseparable from a desire to please Him, and, hence, to know and fulfill His will. Is that your case?–“They hear My voice, and follow Me.” How certain, how characteristic a sign of the true sheep, the true follower of Christ!

In order to understand the inspirations of the Holy Ghost, and to hear and follow the voice of Jesus, we must not only be thoroughly in earnest and filled with a great longing to do His holy will, but we must also be animated with that loving confidence, which is so well symbolized by the sheep following the voice of the shepherd and crowding around him. They hear My voice, and follow Me with true self-abnegation, perseverance and love of the cross, upon the path which I walk before them.

The true sheep of the flock of Christ flee all the occasions of sin, and dread losing sight of Him. They are watchful, and seek the protection of their Shepherd at the slightest approach of danger. The real sheep of the fold of Christ understand how to use those means which He bequeathed to His Church, in order to heal the wounds her children may have received from the wolves of the spiritual life, and they know, moreover, how to guard themselves against new attacks.

As this trait of being with Christ is distinctive of His sheep, so, too, is that abhorrence they experience for those hirelings who seek to corrupt them, and for the wolves of sinful inclinations, which threaten to tear them to pieces. Christ as the Good Shepherd protects them by His gracious providence, and they follow Him as predestined souls towards the pasture-lands of eternal life ! Amen !


Good shepherds do not flee from the wolves.

19 April 2015

The Inaugural Mass of Pope Benedict XVI

Originally published 1 May 2010 A.D.

From the blog of Father John Zuhlsdorf: WDTPRS

Five[ten years ago presently] years ago Pope Benedict sat down to preach at the first solemn “inaugural” Mass of his pontificate.

Inter alia he said:

One of the basic characteristics of a shepherd must be to love the people entrusted to him, even as he Pope+Benedict+XVI+Holds+First+Mass+Saint+Peter+CSkBJBo_CSDlloves Christ whom he serves. “Feed my sheep”, says Christ to Peter, and now, at this moment, he says it to me as well. Feeding means loving, and loving also means being ready to suffer. Loving means giving the sheep what is truly good, the nourishment of God’s truth, of God’s word, the nourishment of his presence, which he gives us in the Blessed Sacrament. My dear friends – at this moment I can only say: pray for me, that I may learn to love the Lord more and more. Pray for me, that I may learn to love his flock more and more – in other words, you, the holy Church, each one of you and all of you together. Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves. Let us pray for one another, that the Lord will carry us and that we will learn to carry one another.

The Good Shepherd, and those shepherds after His Heart, do not flee from the wolves.

I read in CNA:

Head of Italian Senate: Pope not afraid to ‘face the wolves’ in the Church

SchifaniRome, Italy, Apr 29, 2010 / 09:11 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Holy Father has “never been inert in the face of suffering and injustice,” the President of the Italian Senate said as he reflected on the impact of the five years of Benedict XVI’s time as Pope. The politician noted that the Pope has opted to “face the wolves” rather than avoid addressing difficulties such as cases of priests who sexually abuse minors.

The address from the leader of the Italian Senate, Renato Schifani, took place during a Wednesday evening presentation organized by the Congregation of the Children of the Immaculate Conception, which was themed “The world suffers for a lack of thought.”

Likening the Holy Father to the “messenger” of the Gospel, the image of the pastor and the fisherman, Schifani said that “Benedict XVI really knows that loving means being ready to suffer, and as pastor he gives witness to (Him) who has truly made history with men.

The day after his election, noted Schifani, the Pope asked for prayers for strength to confront “the wolves.”

Reflecting on the Pope’s attitude since then, Schifani observed that, “Facing the hidden dangers, the betrayals, the scandals, the open and painful wounds of the Church, Benedict XVI doesn’t flee out of fear before the wolves.More…



Fulton Sheen and the Playfulness of the Gospel

14 April 2015

Posted on April 14, 2015 by: Br. Innocent Smith, O.P. at Dominica Blog

Fulton-Sheen-Dominican-missionaries-8-31-1956-e1428941559970

This post is the second part of a series on Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

St. Philip Neri once remarked to a Dominican friar, “All that I have of good I owe to your fathers of San Marco.” Could the same be said of Fulton Sheen?

In his autobiography, Sheen speaks movingly (and amusingly) about his friendship with a certain Fr. Smith:

fjs quotes

While it would perhaps be going too far to attribute all of Fulton Sheen’s goodness to Ignatius Smith, it is striking to note the aspect of joy and good humor that Sheen associates with Smith. (Although Sheen doesn’t give any specific examples, one story that is part of the oral tradition at the Dominican House of Studies is that Ignatius Smith, a talented organist, would occasionally slip in a few bars of “Goodnight Ladies” into the recessional as the good Sisters were departing from Sunday Vespers.) Ignatius Smith was able to share a sense of joy with his friend, which Sheen in turn passed on to his students. Entering the classroom laughing, Sheen could give the whole classroom the opportunity to get in on the joke.

For St. Thomas Aquinas, the great master of Fulton Sheen and Ignatius Smith alike, the virtue of eutrapelia (playfulness or pleasantness) is necessary in order to have a proper balance in our lives and to avoid the soul becoming overburdened with seriousness. As Sheen writes in his autobiography, “[T]here is a close relationship between faith and humor. We say of those who lack a sense of humor that they are ‘too thick’; that means they are opaque like a brick wall. Humor, on the contrary, is ‘seeing through’ things like a windowpane. Materialists, humanists, and atheists all take this world very seriously because it is the only world they are ever going to have. He who possesses faith knows that this world is not the only one, and therefore can be regarded rather lightly.”

We are but pilgrims in this present world, journeying to our heavenly homeland. But we have a choice: we can be like whining children, grating the ears of their parents in the front seats with cries of “are we there yet?”—or we can entertain our fellow pilgrims with humor and good cheer.

Image: Archbishop Fulton Sheen blessing Dominican missionaries to Lebanon and Pakistan (Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C., August 31, 1956)

Thank you to Dominica Blog. Please visit there for so much more on Fulton J Sheen and other authentically Catholic reading.


Fulton Sheen Week! It’s ON!

13 April 2015

Posted on April 13, 2015 by: The Editor at Dominicana Blog

Sheenatprayer-478-FLIP1

This week, The Catholic University of America is hosting “Archbishop Fulton Sheen Week.” As his cause for beatification is underway, the University chose this year to celebrate Sheen’s life, as 2015 marks the 75th Anniversary of Sheen’s first television appearance (Easter Sunday, 1940, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City). At that time, Sheen was celebrating the 10th anniversary of his Catholic Hour Radio Show. He would later go on to host a television series, Life Is Worth Living, a major step for the Church in evangelization through media.

Dominicana Journal will be publishing blog posts on Sheen this week, in conjunction with CUA’s efforts to celebrate his life and promote his cause. A full schedule of events at CUA can be found here, as well as a video archive of Sheen’s time at the University and elsewhere.

Recordings of Sheen’s Life is Worth Living series are available here (in mp3) or you can download the app!

Image: Sheen at prayer


“Porn Industry and Modesty”: a 23 yr old woman tells us the hard truth.

11 April 2015

 

Porn Industry and Modesty

by Layna Hess at her blog,
My Thoughts, My Words

Purity

I thought I would take the time to write about something a bit different. It’s something I am passionate about. I love books, and I enjoy reading as much as the next person. Unfortunately, I believe that there are some books that should simply be burned due to the fact that they are poisonous to the mind.There is a book called 50 Shades of Grey, and recently the movie came out. As a female, I must say I find it rather appalling due to the fact that they constantly engage in BSDM–and to those that are not aware of what this is, it’s nothing more than a celebration of rape, pain, abuse, and disrespect towards a human being. This is the constant trash that you would find in porn. Porn treats a body not as glorious reflections of the image of God, but as sources of sin and temptation.

I’m not sure what I’m more concerned about. The fact that this is socially “acceptable” entertainment, or the fact that women enjoy reading this. The core to this is: we don’t have a positive example for our children. The divorce rate is 50%. We live in a society where broken families is the norm, and we have kids growing up without a mother or a father..sometimes both. In this instance, I will be speaking about fathers. There are many girls growing up without that father figure. A girl’s first love should be her father. Unfortunately, in today’s society this isn’t always the case. A father should be there to give the parental love and affection they need, and to show them what they deserve for later on in life. Boys, never having a male role model around to tell them how to treat women with respect and love. Aside from our paternal father, we should be looking to our Heavenly Father first and foremost as the ultimate example.

But, what is teaching our children? The porn industry, which teaches us violence against a human being. It teaches us to degrade another life. Some would use the term “violence against women”, but two people take part in the act, both people are at fault in my eyes.

Let’s look at some statistics:

statistics

  • 80% of 15-17 year olds have been exposed to hard core porn.
  • 67% of men and 59% of women said that porn was acceptable.
  • Studies have shown porn is more addictive than heroin or cocaine.

On top of all of this, we have sex trafficking that takes place in the world. We are disgusted at those who would hold women and children as sex slaves, deny them their human rights, and make them mere objects for sexual pleasure. At the same time, pornography is tolerated, accepted, openly defended, and even celebrated. What you might not know is that many women and children who are being sexually exploited and trafficked are also being used for the production of pornography.

Reading these statistics saddens me, especially since I have known people that have struggled with porn. It breaks my heart. Impurity chains your heart, and clouds your mind. What you choose to feed your brain makes a difference. To those that struggle, every single time my advice is to pray constantly. Pray for the graces to be pure, and stay close to Mary through the Rosary. Even though porn may not seem “real”, it is. You aren’t dealing with just a woman. You aren’t dealing with just a man.You are dealing with a daughter of God. You are dealing with a son of God. His creations are meant to be respected and loved. His creations are not meant to be mistreated, abused, and lusted after for ones own selfish pleasure. Treat him/her, accordingly. It might take more than prayer to beat the addiction. I highly suggest spiritual guidance/counseling. Because it is a selfish act, true love becomes harder to find. Love is about self giving and sacrifice. Christ is the perfect example of love.

One should really contemplate on the selfish aspect alone.
Just try to imagine. You are spending hours pleasuring yourself to impure images and various videos, you begin to become obsessed not only to the pornographic material, but to yourself. You don’t know how to embrace the sacrifice that true love is designed for. Instead you view others as toys for your own selfish entertainment that are designed to fulfill every want and need—just like the pornographic material. A Christ love is about giving and serving. It’s about sacrifice. What kind of love is narcissistic and abusive?

So, what can we do to help others remain pure?

For the rest of the post, and a positive, Catholic and loving answer from a very smart young woman…CLICK HERE!


ACTION ITEM! Support Our Lady of Hope Clinic! via @FatherZ

11 April 2015

Our Lady of Hope Clinic is a cause I personally support. This Catholic health clinic here is Madison WI is an example of how professional, caring physicians, nurses and others give to those in need. The Teachings of the Catholic Church are upheld without question.
Many times Catholics want to give to certain national causes only to find out that the organization is at odds with Church Teaching. What’s a faithful Catholic to do?
My suggestion is to give locally. Give to ONLY organizations which are truly Catholic. First, give to your priest personally. For example, Father Zuhlsdorf has a ministry where he must raise money to continue to minister millions on the Internet. A worthy cause.
Giving to an order of nuns you know are orthodox and not jumping on a bus to protest Catholic Teaching. The Dominicans of Summit NJ are one of many good choices.
If you want your money to go directly to help the healthcare of those in need who do not want to be pressured to have an abortion or to go on birth control or who cant pay the difference owed in Medicare, Our Lady of Hope Clinic, Madison, Wisconsin  is the place.
It is a beautiful facility with doctors and health professionals who provide excellent healthcare according to Church Teaching and do so joyfully.
What follows is Father Zuhlsdorf’s post announcing their fundraiser near the end of April. Please consider donating even a small amount. Your money will go DIRECTLY to care for someone truly in need.

God love you,
Sofia
……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Posted on 9 April 2015 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
at his blog, “Father Z’s Blog”

olhopeI have an ACTION ITEM for you good readers. You have been generous to causes I have mentioned in the past. Sometimes people have a hard time finding causes to support. This is one of them that I admire.

I have written about Our Lady of Hope Clinic before. This is one of the worthiest causes I have seen for a while and it could use your help, wherever you are.

Read more HERE and HERE

This could be a new model for health care in a rapidly changing – disintegrating – time. The “Affordable” Care Act really isn’t. It is going to be harder in the future for people to get health care, not easier. And for those without much bucks?

They have a DONATION page.

Contact Julie Jensen, Director of Development, at Julie -AT- ourladyofhopeclinic -DOT- org, or by calling (608) 957-1137.

In the clinic you see a sign on the wall explaining that…

clinic sign“Our Lady of Hope Clinic practices medicine consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church”

Therefore, they will not refer for abortion, prescribe contraception, refer for sterilization, refer for in vitro fertilization, etc.

And…

“We will practice in complete accord with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.”

This is a worthy cause.

I received an email today, about a fundraiser event for Our Lady of Hope clinic. They told me that whenever I mention them on the blog, they get donations from all over.

15_04_08_OL_Hope

Thanks Father Z!


From the Archives: ‘The Way of Shame: Moral Education in Northanger Abbey”

11 April 2015

11 April 2015 A.D.

By: Br. Aquinas Beale, O.P.
April 9, 2014 (Original Publication Date)
Posted at Dominicana Blog

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The third in a series considering Jane Austen in light of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas.

“Teach us almighty father, to consider this solemn truth, as we should do, that we may feel the importance of every day, and every hour as it passes, and earnestly strive to make a better use of what thy goodness may yet bestow on us, than we have done of the time past.”
—from Jane Austen’s Prayers

Northanger Abbey is quite often the most difficult book for the Austen reader to enjoy, as it appears to lack the gravitas that underlies her other novels. Apart from a satirical reflection on the value of the Gothic genre, the novel seems to lack consideration of any serious issue. The language of the novel is replete with playful banter, pointing to the author’s youthful age when she penned the work, and the heroine is extremely naïve. Finally, there is the seeming mismatch of hero and heroine; Catherine Morland is a young and rather silly girl whose only purported source of attraction for the more mature Henry Tilney was “a persuasion of her partiality for him,” suggesting a certain shallowness in the hero. Given such a match, how could the narration of their history be gratifying for the demanding expectations of the avid Jane Austen reader?

In light of the theme of virtue and the stark contrast that Northanger Abbey presents with regard to her other novels, I suspect that the key to getting over many of these concerns lies in a careful consideration of the importance Austen gives to moral education as a source for plot development. From the beginning, the narrator informs the reader that Catherine Morland is a heroine in training and that the course of the novel will follow her education as a heroine. Though playfully framed as the adventures of a Gothic novel, these chronicled episodes of Catherine’s life outline a genuine and sober education in prudence, or practical wisdom. Ironically, by the end of the novel, when Catherine is thrown into truly dire and dramatic circumstances, she acts with such discretion and presence of mind that it hardly even occurs to her, or the reader, that she has finally been thrown into the midst of circumstances that properly befit the stuff of a Gothic novel.

In the four novels (Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Northanger Abbey) in which her heroines lack in virtue in some significant way, Austen uses shame as the impetus for the moral reform that in large part leads to the resolution of the novel. Marianne is ashamed of her carefree openness to Willoughby; Elizabeth regrets her prideful disdain for Mr. Darcy and imprudent trust in Mr. Wickham; Emma rues her callous treatment of Miss Bates and meaningless flirtation with Frank Churchill; and, of course, Catherine cries and laments over her naïve and unfounded suspicion of General Tilney’s character and her bold liberty in snooping about a house in which she is a guest. Each of these heroines experiences proper shame in seriously reflecting on her behavior, and each subsequently resolves to amend her character by acquiring the habits that would counteract the foolhardy inclinations that had previously led her into such folly. In contrast, the absence of shame tints the behavior of many of Austen’s antagonists; it is her shameless that shocks and disgusts Lydia Bennet’s sisters, who observe that “Lydia was Lydia still; untamed, unabashed, wild, noisy, and fearless.”

Such a role for shame in the moral education of a young person can be found in Aristotle, as well. Shame holds an interesting position within Aristotle’s theory of human action. As he describes it, it is more like a pseudo-virtue because it is not fitting for the virtuous person to experience fear of disgrace due to incorrect actions, since the virtuous person would have behaved in a proper fashion. He observes that shame “is not becoming to persons of every age but only to the young…because, living according to their emotions, many of them would fall into sin but are restrained by shame.” In other words, shame is conducive to the end of a young person’s growth in virtue and belongs to the virtuous person hypothetically; that is, if she were to commit an unvirtuous act, then she would experience shame. Aristotle maintains that it is ultimately a matter of practice and repeated experience of shame due to failure that a young person manages to grow in virtue. Thus, shame and activity are indispensable features of a moral education.

On this last point, it is interesting that in each of Austen’s novels, the critical moments of each heroine’s development occur in the midst of activity, particularly travel. Even Emma Woodhouse, who has rarely ever left her father’s side, receives Mr. Knightley’s chiding remarks during an outing to Box Hill. It seems that at least implicitly, Austen agrees that an active life is conducive to the development of virtue. So there is more than just a semblance of truth to the narrator’s ironic claim in Northanger Abbey that adventure is a necessary component in the education of a young woman. Through her adventures in Bath and at Northanger Abbey, Catherine learns how to apply the good principles she has already learned and how to properly esteem the variety of characters and behaviors in the world.

Normally in Austen’s novels the heroines are not the only students of virtue, but each of their heroes is, as well. For example, Mr. Darcy must learn to temper his pride with amiability before he can gain the respect and love of Elizabeth as he ought. On the other hand, Henry Tilney appears to be rewarded for merely feeling a sense of gratification at receiving the attentions of a pretty young woman. Nevertheless, Henry does not get the satisfaction of marrying Catherine directly after he expresses his intention. Catherine’s parents insist upon waiting for his father’s approval, which he did not receive until the end of a rather anxious series of months. Moreover, the narrator intimates that such a period did a great deal of good for Henry, as well as Catherine, by “adding strength to their attachment,” hence the rather enigmatic closing of the novel: “I leave it to be settled by whomsoever it may concern, whether the tendency of this work be altogether to recommend parental tyranny, or reward filial disobedience.” Catherine is not the only one who must grow more mature in order to ensure her happiness, but Henry must also establish firmer foundations in his regard for Catherine, which can only be done through a more thorough knowledge of her character. With this prolonged period of engagement, Catherine gains more time to grow in virtue and Henry receives the opportunity to become better acquainted with Catherine’s character. In this way, they become more suited for the type of virtuous friendship that will enrich and sustain their marriage.

Image: John Atkinson Grimshaw, November Moonlight

About the Author

Br. Aquinas Beale is originally from West Virginia, and studied Political Science at the University of Virginia, receiving a Master’s degree in 2010. He entered the Order of Preachers in 2011.


“Think of Heaven Daily…”

9 April 2015

 

The battle is near.

 
By Layna Hess at her blog,
“My Thoughts, My Words”

battle-of-evermore_angels

I have spoken before about a dream I’ve had when I was 6, but I never shared the one I had when I was 17. I was staying in California when I had this dream. In my dream I saw a battlefield. This battlefield wasn’t like an ordinary battlefield on land. Though the entire dream was in sepia coloring, I still saw shadows, smoke, fire, and light. There were two different sides. Heaven’s army had some followers, but not as much. It was small. The front line was Christ, the angels, Saints, and a man wearing a papal hat. Satan’s army was much larger, with “important” leaders. Christ and Satan were both starting to look to the side lines for followers. Numerous people started walking to join the army of Satan. Angels and demons began fighting to death. Then it flashed to a scene where one angel stabbed the head demon…then there was a flash of white and I woke up.

I have said it before but that’s the purpose of this banner. I want to make people think: “Which army are you a part of?” Because now more than ever, I truly believe there’s a battle going on, and it’s only going to get worse. We are living in the times of Fatima, and we need to be on guard, and ready. There is a battle within the Church, within the media, and within the entire world. We are called to grow closer to Christ and to prepare ourselves for the difficult times to come. I recall a Saint that said something along the lines of “think of Heaven daily”. We should think of Heaven daily. Hourly, even. We can’t lose sight of Heaven. Christ calls us in many ways, and that might just be through suffering. When things get hard, we shouldn’t despair, but rejoice and be glad. It is through despair, that we invite the works of Satan. I can’t stress doing penance enough. Even the message of Fatima stresses doing penance.

Please click HERE to go to Layna’s Blog for the rest of this post…

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A Spiritual Reflection on Loneliness

9 April 2015

Layna Hess picLayna Hess in her words: “I am a 23 year old Catholic girl that is in love with our Lord. My one desire is to share my love and knowledge of God in a simplified way.” We think she does just that. Layna has contributed to Always Catholic Blog a couple years back with her writing. She’s back writing after a two year hiatus.We hope Layna will be moved to write as much as possible. As long as she writes she has a home here at Always Catholic. Here is her first of two pieces she published on April 8, 2015. Her other posts may be found at her blog, “My Thoughts, My Words“.

Loneliness

by Layna Hess at her blog,
“My Thoughts, My Words”

Lonely_by_Kryogen_s_Art

I haven’t written in a very long time, but I miss it terribly. I keep on coming to my blog and I stare at it with the intention to write, but nothing ever comes to my mind. I’ve been debating between: “should I write with just raw, honest, emotion?” or “should I write and preach, even though my own spiritual life is struggling?” I would feel hypocritical. I can’t write when I’m struggling in a spiritual sense. There is much that I am confused about in my own spiritual life. Because of this confusion, I will be leaving for California next month, and I’ll be starting a new life, while getting my spiritual life in order. I appreciate your prayers.

I have chosen to write with an honest approach. I’m not sure why, but to this day I still receive numerous comments telling me to continue to write, and that pushes me to want to write. I never made it “big” in the blogging world, but to the few that did take the time to read…I appreciate it. Some of you have actually expressed that my posts help you in your own spiritual life. I’ll admit, when I first started writing I just did it for me. I didn’t really expect to have any readers. To know that I have been able to help some people is amazing, and I couldn’t have done it without the grace of God.

To those that read my page, I see you as friends automatically. To my friends, I don’t want to hide when I’m in the darkest of times. Struggling is part of the Christian life. We aren’t saints yet. All I’ve ever been on this blog was real. I can’t count how many times I’ve mentioned suffering .

I suppose the reason why I’ve mentioned suffering a lot in my writings is because I have had my share of suffering. In fact, I deal with it daily. I suffer from depression, and that’s the cross I have to endure. Some days are easier than others, I’ll admit. Because of this, I’m forced to live for joyful moments because I never know what tomorrow will bring. Even in the worst case scenario, I still try to find beauty in everything. I never feel defeated, because I never give up.

I always tell myself “This too, shall pass” and that has always helped me through hard times.
Though I don’t always feel God, I trust He’s there. I know He watches over me and loves me. That reminder is enough for me to make it another day.

One of the main struggles I’ve been dealing with is loneliness. Loneliness is something we all struggle with, and it becomes even harder when you feel like you can no longer hear God. I think part of the problem for me is I tune Him out with various distractions and often my depression (and sin) alters my way of thinking to the point where I feel unworthy. “Why would He want anything to do with me?” I start thinking to myself.

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