Wilderness of Sin

Magdalene, O Magdalene,
With you in the wilderness of sin,
Together, we rejoice.
As sisters, embracing.

Dawn rose as the sun
Hope entered our lives with our Savior
Sinister evil fled at His Presence
In our souls.

Jesus, Son of God,
Son of Man,
Freed us of all gods,
Loosed all obsession.

Magdalene, O Magdalene
Cry out with me,
Emmanuel, God with us.

by Joann Nelander

Come Lord Jesus! A Meditation on the Stunning Glory of Being Gathered to Christ on the Last Day « Archdiocese of Washington

"In Advent, as we continue to meditate on the Parousia (the magnificent Second Coming of the Lord), we do well to allow our imaginations to be engaged in contemplating the glory that awaits those who are faithful, to meditate on the joy and ecstasy of the culmination of all things!

Though we have soberly meditated on the need to be ready and on the great danger that many who are not serious may be lost, for those who ARE ready, what glories await! The great and terrible day of the Lord will indeed be great for those who have allowed the Lord to prepare them.

I was stirred this past month in reading a magnificent book by Cardinal Jean Danielou on Angelology (usually pronounced an-GELL-o-gee), the study of angels. The book is entitled The Angels and their Mission: According to the Fathers of the Church. It is must reading and very accessible—only 114 pages—but packed full of stirring and edifying accounts of the wonderful works of the angels, according to Scripture and the Fathers of the Church.

The final chapters on the eschaton (the last things) and the Parousia (the Second Coming) are particularly magnificent. I would like to distill them here, adding some material and reworking it just a bit. However, the research is that of Jean Cardinal Danielou. I hope you will be stirred with as much joy and zeal as I was in reading and preparing this material. And thus we proceed:

Perhaps as a beginning point, we may wonder what happens to the ministry of our Guardian Angel when we die. Even if our souls are in heaven, our bodies are still awaiting the resurrection. Ancient Christian tradition maintains that during this time the angels keep watch over the tombs of the saints. In the Jewish apocalyptic book The Assumption of Moses, it is said that Joshua saw Moses’ soul rising to Heaven with the angels (40:1–7). However, the Epistle of Jude also says that the Archangel Michael fiercely disputed with the devil about the body of Moses (cf Jude 1:9). Stories such as these, combined with the ancient Christian practice of frequently depicting angels in cemetery art and funeral monuments, indicate a role for the angels in guarding the bodily remains of the elect, even those sadly scattered about or buried in the depths of the sea.

Scripture is replete with descriptions of the role of angels in the great Second Coming of the Lord. In the Gospel of Matthew there is a text that may refer to 70 AD, but surely also describes the end of time:

Then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (Matt 24:30-31).

The first epistle to the Thessalonians also says,

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise … (1 Thess 4:16).

St Cyril goes on to describe the extraordinary magnificence that the presence of the immense multitude of angels gives to the final judgment. He considers how the great depth and breadth of the spiritual world has been invisible until now, except to the eyes of faith. But suddenly it is made manifest! He asks us to try to imagine the immense multitude of angels by considering the vast numbers of human beings who ever existed, from the time of Adam to the present day, now standing before the Lord Jesus. And then he asks us to imagine that the angels are vastly more numerous than we are. For they are the 99 sheep whereas humanity is but the one sheep! Such vast numbers can only be spoken of as myriads and myriads! Or as Daniel poetically says,

Thrones were set up and the Ancient of Days took his throne. His clothing was white as snow, the hair on his head like pure wool; His throne was flames of fire, with wheels of burning fire. A river of fire surged forth, flowing from where he sat; Thousands upon thousands were ministering to him, and myriads upon myriads stood before him (Dan 7:9-10)."READ MORE:via Come Lord Jesus! A Meditation on the Stunning Glory of Being Gathered to Christ on the Last Day « Archdiocese of Washington.

Whispers in the Loggia: "Merry Christmas – Go To Confession": The Pope’s Tree-Lighting Message

"As 2014 begins to wrap up, one of the year’s indelible images bears recalling: the moment at the Lenten penance service in St Peter’s when the Pope stunned his MC – and everyone else – by going to Confession himself before heading to his own box to conduct the sacrament for others.

Indeed, it was an unprecedented public sight of a Roman pontiff. And as was said at the time, having made Reconciliation his most frequent and urgent cause among the sacraments over 21 months in office – not to mention doing so infinitely more than his recent predecessors – Francis’ affinity for the confessional stands as a principal proof that the reality of Jorge Bergoglio is far from the caricature accepted either by his champions or his castigators.

In the latest instance of the push, the Pope issued an appeal for penitents last night, while following in the footsteps of B16 at lighting the mega-tree of Gubbio – the evergreen-shaped display along a side of Mt Ingino that’s won the Perugian town the distinction of "world’s largest Christmas tree," even if it isn’t one per se.

As his predecessor did in 2011, Francis lit the tree via a tap on a tablet… and here, video of his pre-lighting remarks with English translation:

Buona sera! I wish you a holy and happy Christmas.

When we turn on the lights of the creche [sic – he said "Presepio" but meant "albero" (tree)], we want the light of Christ to be in us. A Christmas without light isn’t Christmas. So let there be light in our souls, in our hearts; let there be our forgiveness for others; and let there not be hatred, for this are darkness. Let there be the light of Jesus, which is so beautiful. This is my wish for all of you. Many thanks for your gift – it’s beautiful. And I give you my warmest tidings of peace and happiness.

If you have something dark on your soul, ask the Lord’s forgiveness. This is a beautiful chance Christmas gives us – to clean up our souls, eh! Don’t be afraid – the priest is merciful, he forgives everything in the name of God, because God forgives everything. May the light be in your hearts, in your families, in your cities. And now, with this wish, let’s turn on the lights.

May almighty God bless you, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Merry Christmas and pray for me!

via Whispers in the Loggia: "Merry Christmas – Go To Confession": The Pope’s Tree-Lighting Message.

The Return of the Prayer to St. Michael – Crisis Magazine

by Joe BissonnetteThe image above titled “St. Michael defeats the Devil” was painted by Eugene Delacroix

"Modern philosophy is full of all sorts of absurd theories about the illusory nature of existence and the unreliability of everything we know to be true. But the boots on the ground, living, breathing, day to day philosophy of even the most angst-ridden German nihilist or the most wild-eyed French existentialist has to be common sense realism. Even German and French philosophers must eat, sleep and conduct themselves in civil society.

There’s great consolation in the reliability of the law of gravity and the fact that it means something specific to me or anyone else when you say dog, cat, house, person, good, true and beautiful. But the last three of those words; good, true and beautiful, and maybe even person, do enjoin some philosophical reflection. They are the basis for making sense of right and wrong, obligation, prohibition and so on. Philosophy isn’t just a waste of time.

Catholicism is deeply philosophical and also deeply mystical and of late the mysticism of the Catholic world view has been confronting me with great force, and confronting the minimalist common sense realism I had more or less taken for granted.

Our parish and a number of Catholic churches I’ve been to recently have begun saying the St. Michael prayer after Mass. It is a breathtaking departure from the modern psychological deconstruction through which I have made sense of my own mental states and those of others. Pride, envy, sloth, greed, lust, gluttony and wrath are not merely maladjustments, but rather they are the snares of a spiritual being who seeks the ruin of souls. They are our weaknesses within our wounded souls, but they are also passions from outside of us, which act upon us, against which we must not be passive, or we will be swept away."

READ MORE via The Return of the Prayer to St. Michael – Crisis Magazine.