Archive for April 16th, 2011

The New Creation

“The monastery is the prophetic place where creation becomes praise of God and the precept of concretely lived charity becomes the ideal of human coexistence; it is where the human being seeks God without limitation or impediment, becoming a reference point for all people, bearing them in his heart and helping them to seek God.”

Pope John Paul II, Orientale Lumen (Light of the East)
(From Christ the Bridegroom Monastery:

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I Just Realized Today

That I don’t like any song that has the word “boogie” or the word “funky” in it.

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The Tea Party Lesson

There is a lesson from the Tea Party trajectory. Watch out for political operatives:  you can start out as a populist, in the wake of the Ron Paul disappointment, but if you are not careful before you know it you are attacking unions and promoting ever lower taxes for the rich.

And I hope that lesson is not lost on the resurgent labor movement. Energized by the attacks on workers’ rights in Wisconsin, Ohio, and elsewhere, they may have begun by defending the right of hardworking men and women to make a decent living and have some bargaining rights in the workplace, but unless they are vigilant, before you know it union activists will be lured into promoting abortion “rights” and federal subsidies for transgender surgery; the whole enchilada of  “identity politics” which has rendered the left less than relevant to ordinary Americans.

Let’s not let it happen; let’s stick to the vital task of defending what is left of America’s middle and working classes and pulling more and more out of poverty.

 Just say no to the establishment Democrats, as the Tea Party should have said no to establishment Republicans.

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Today is the feast of St Benedict Joseph Labre in the Roman calendar. He was a holy fool, a type not unique to the East. This is from Dom Mark Daniel Kirby, prior of the Benedictine Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle in Tulsa (http://vultus.stblogs.org/):

A Pilgrim

Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, born on March 26, 1748 in northern France, exemplifies a very particular kind of holiness found in both East and West. He was a wanderer who prayed ceaselessly, a pilgrim walking from one holy place to another, a fool for Christ.

A Misfit

As a young man, Benedict Joseph made a number of unsuccessful attempts at monastic life. He tried his vocation with the Trappists, with the Cistercians, and with the Carthusians, but, in every instance, after a few months or a few weeks, he was rejected as being unsuitable. Benedict Joseph was endearing in his own way. He was a gentle young man, tortured by scruples of conscience, and sensitive. He was completely honest, humble, candid, and open. He was cheerful. But, for all of that, he was a misfit. There was an oddness about him. He was drawn irresistibly to monastic life and, at the same time, rejected from every monastery in which he tried his vocation.

The Road

When he was twenty-two years old, Benedict Joseph left the Abbey of Sept-Fons, still wearing his Cistercian novice’s habit, with a rosary around his neck, and a knapsack on his back. His only possessions, apart from the clothes he wore, were his two precious rosaries, a New Testament, a Breviary for reciting the Divine Office, and The Imitation of Christ.

Walking all the way to Rome, begging as he went, he became a consecrated vagabond, a pilgrim vowed to ceaseless prayer. He walked from one shrine to another, visiting the Holy House of Loreto, Assisi, Naples, and Bari in Italy. He made his way to Einsiedeln in Switzerland, to Paray-le-Monial in France, and to Compostela in Spain. He lived on whatever people would give him, and readily shared what little he had. He observed silence, praying constantly. He was mocked, abused, and treated like a madman. Cruel children pelted him with garbage and stones.


After 1774, apart from an annual pilgrimage to the Madonna at the Holy House of Loreto, Benedict Joseph remained in the Eternal City. At night he would sleep in the Colosseum. During the day he would seek out those churches where the Forty Hours Devotion was being held, so as to be able to adore the Blessed Sacrament exposed. So striking was his love for the Blessed Sacrament that the Romans came to call him “the beggar of Perpetual Adoration.” He was graced with a profound recollection in church. More than once he was observed in ecstasy, ravished into the love of God and shining with an unearthly light. It was on one of these occasions that the artist Antonio Cavallucci painted the beautiful portrait of Saint Benedict Joseph that allows us, even today, to see his handsome face illumined by union with God.

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