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Mio Dio, Trinità che adoro,

aiutatemi a dimenticarmi interamente,

per fissarmi in voi, immobile e quieta

come se la mia anima fosse già nell’eternità;

che nulla possa turbare la mia pace o farmi uscire da voi, mio immutabile Bene,

ma che ogni istante mi porti più addentro

nella profondità del vostro mistero …


(le prime righe dell’Elevazione alla Santissima Trinità della Beata Elisabetta della Trinità)


The Eden of touch

We share a hymnal at Sunday Mass
Shoulders rubbing, heads leaning
Together toward each other

Our eyes meet in “Panis Angelicus”
I touch her bare arm in “Jubilate Domino”
We smile through Latin hymns

And the slow dour notes of the organ
Lighten for a moment with the sound
Of her voice singing soft and fragile

God the almighty lives at
That instant in the sweetness
Of words sung in her whisper

And I am filled with prayers of thanksgiving
For that Eve and this Adam
In the Eden of touch

(by Doug Tanoury)

Not meant for a child?

I remember my first Bible. The book had a fragrance to it, not like paper from a mill, but something like perfumed parchment. That set it apart as holy. ‘The Poky Little Puppy’, after all, did not have fragrant red-dyed pages. Moses with tabletsOn the inside of the front cover was a drawing of a man with a long beard and horn-like shafts coming from or penetrating into his forehead. The man was climbing down a mountain. He was carrying big tablets of stone, that began “I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange gods before Me”. I did have an inkling, even then, of what that meant: a childlike intimation of the Being beyond beings, of the God who made all and rules all, who Himself was strange because He was God, while all the ‘strange gods’ were not gods at all, as strange as they might be. On the inside of the back cover was a similar drawing of Jesus standing on a hillside, preaching to people below. This time the caption began “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” . I’m still working on that one.

There were special laminated pages set between the Old Testament and New Testament, illuminated with small drawings and red letters, for recording births, baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and deaths. My name is there, in my father’s handwriting, as are the names of my brother and sisters. That alone gave me an idea as to the importance of the book. Here was something that had to do with what for me were, and still are, the mysteries of birth and death, not to mention the marriage between a particular woman and a particular man, without whom I would not have come to be.

That such love and reverence should be accorded a book, a family Bible, isn’t surprising. Perhaps it should be. Nobody would think of recording births, marriages, and deaths in laminated insets of Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species, or Marx’s ‘Das Capital’.

CreationI remember reading “In the beginning God created heaven and earth, and the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters”.  I didn’t even know what “waters” meant. I imagined darkness like a sea, and God brooding upon the sea. I found it strange that the “earth” was there but wasn’t there. But the words that fixed their wonder in my mind were those first three: “In the beginning.” Then came the words that flooded my mind, strange words that no storyteller I’ve known would conceive: “Then God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light”.

Moses in the bulrushesI didn’t stop there. I read on. I read about Adam and Eve and the serpent. I read about Cain and Abel. My eyes were dazed by the great lists of begats, of unpronounceable names, living prodigiously long lives, and occasionally inventing metalwork or settling in the land of Edom, named after a cheese. My child’s mind was fascinated. I read about Abram and Sara, and how hard it was for her to get a child, though I had no idea why she couldn’t get one from the same place where other people got them. Tobias and the fishI read about concubines, and had no clue what they were, though they all seemed to be women, like secretaries. I read about Lot and Mrs. Lot, and their visitors, and the rain of fire from heaven.  Moses in the wicker basket, the burning bush, the staff of Aaron, the gnats and locusts and boils (what are boils?), the frogs and the angel of death – then the ten commandments, the golden calf … finally I stalled at the law of purity in Leviticus. “What does the word is-sue mean?” I asked my mother. “Let me see” she said, taking the book and considering. She paused, and gave me an odd look. “I don’t know” She said.

SamsonAfter that I stopped reading in order, but bounced around the book – reading about Gideon, about Samson and the honeycomb in the carcass of the lion (the business with Delilah I found pretty dull and incomprehensible but a lion carcass and a honeycomb, that was another story entirely), about Tobias and the fish and I remember how sad I felt when the prophet Elisha was mocked by a gang of rotten boys and he cursed them and they were eaten up by some bears.

What was so exciting about the stories? Not the things I could imagine already, but the mystery of it all. They were not Disney tales easily understood, and easily forgotten. These stories were rooted in the heart of our humanity. The imagination of a child opens out to the half hidden, the unsearchable.

It is therefore a grave mistake, even if only for the sake of education, to suppose that schools should be neutral with regard to the being of God. An even worse mistake is to provide for our children, though with good intent, “children’s Bibles” and “children’s liturgies” that end up starving the imagination and stifling the faith.

A child will be aware from church, from family life and from his reading, of the tremendous mystery of that Father who is utterly different from us, yet Who knows our inmost thoughts. But the child for whom God has been reduced to a googly-eyed cartoon of a smiling old man will reject the cartoon as he grows older, believe me,  just as he rejects dressing up as Batman and running around the house in his shorts.

So please, please, let’s not throw Baltimore out and let Sesame Street in – not with our Bibles, not with the catechism, not in our Churches, not in our Liturgy.

Eybl - Girl reading

A touch of His garment …

He called her 'daughter'

Reading from the Gospel of St. Matthew on the woman haemorrhaging blood for twelve years, my thoughts lingered on the strong contrast that is presented to us: the woman – alone, silent, humble, full of faith – and “the minstrels and the multitude” – noisy, intrusive, cynical, hard of heart.

Our Lord says to the woman, “Be of good cheer”.  The Son of God calls her “daughter”.  But to the others His words are short: “Give place”.

And we are told by St. Matthew that He would not enter the house of the ruler whose daughter appeared to be dead until the minstrels and multitude were “put forth”.

Is not that lone woman perhaps an outstanding example of what modern spiritual writers might describe as “human come to full stature”?  She is reticent, furtive, unassertive and diffident, holding her peace instead of speaking out.  No.  If she serves as an example, she will more likely remind us of the common portrait of the much-caricatured “pre-Vatican II Catholic”, silent at Mass, head bowed in humble adoration, mumbling Paters and Aves as the great Mystery unfolds at the altar, content with a glimpse of the Host and the Elevation, “a touch of His garment”.

Much contemporary scorn has been heaped upon such as she, while the minstrels and the multitude, for their part, have seemingly prevailed, even invading the sanctuary with their noisy and noisome clamour, minding “earthly things”, fully and – loudly – confident in their position and possessions.

Yet we cannot fail to see that it is the confident and assertive minstrels and multitude that end by being excluded by the Son of God from His great Work.  But the shy and diffident invalid, of no interest to the mob and unable to draw from them notice or compassion, merits the Divine encounter that wins her far more than just the healing of a flow of blood.  

She does not disrupt, as the mob does, the Presence with her noise.

Her conversation, unlike theirs, is “in heaven”.


Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow it’s mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Holy anger


Mannono’s comment to my post ‘Niente crisi per i veggenti’ – “irascimini et nolite peccare” – gave me much food for thought.

There is a kind of minimalist approach to the Faith to which many Catholics are prone, not because they are Catholic, but because they are men.  There is something irksome about religion, and we have a tendency either to shirk off or minimalize all that is irksome to us.  And religion is irksome because it asks of us the most difficult of all things: that we reform our lives.  Genuine reform. 

For beginners, and even for veterans of many failed campaigns, in which number I include myself, the first objective must be to make friends with one’s conscience.  It may sound odd to speak of such a necessity, but our conscience is often regarded by us as a hostile force rather than a valued ally.  We are wont to indulge in activities in which conscience cannot participate; so it stands and looks on, and its aloofness and expression of regret can be irritating in the extreme.  We rather wish it would go elsewhere for the time being and return when we summon it, not hang about with its long face casting a gloom upon our pleasures.

So how does one befriend his conscience?  The problem was addressed admirably by a monk of the late fourth century named Isaiah the Solitary.  Isaiah quotes Our Lord’s advice that we come to agreement with our adversary before he turns us over to the judge, and the judge turns us over to the officer, who will cast us into prison.  The adversary, Isaiah explains, is our conscience, whose claims we must satisfy if we are to escape judgment and condemnation.  Chief among the means of satisfying conscience is the proper use of what he calls “the incensive power” – an anger of the intellect that is in accord with nature, which he identifies as the nature which God gave us, not our fallen condition as a result of original sin, which he regards as unnatural.  He writes: “Without anger a man cannot attain purity; he has to feel angry with all that is sown in him by the enemy”.  This “holy anger” can help us in our efforts to establish a habit of attentiveness.  We must develop a detestation of sin, realizing its ugliness and malice, and then set about rooting out its causes.  We must stop aiding and abetting the enemy and stand on the side of the angels, and then conscience will be transformed from being our accuser to being our defender.

Le parole non bastano e non servono, serve il ricordo!


Oggi per posta mi sono arrivati gli auguri dai miei figli per la festa della mamma e io oggi voglio dedicare questo mio post alla memoria della mia di mamma.

img030Oggi sarebbe stato il suo compleanno e, dopo tanti anni, voglio ancora ringraziarla per l’amore, la dedizione e l’allegria che mi ha donato nei pochi anni che ho avuto la fortuna di averla vicina … e anche perché grazie a lei oggi sono quella che sono  … e le assomiglio molto in tanti versi.

Oggi avrebbe compiuto 75 anni!

Ma per una mamma non c’è età e per i figli la propria mamma non ha età.  Davanti a una mamma si rimane bambini … sempre.

img031Quando penso a mia mamma, ancora oggi, la mia mente va a un film della mia generazione, Marcellino pane e vino.  Marcellino, che non aveva conosciuto padre e madre, chiese a Gesù: “Chi è la mamma?”  E Gesù rispose: “La mamma è una persona che dà tutto” …

Ecco, mamma, tu mi hai dato tutto!  Grazie.

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Another beautiful day! Praise the Lord.

August 2019
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The most beautiful thing this side of heaven!


e-campagna: Io sto con il Papa


Dopo due millenni di studi, di ricerche e di esplorazioni scientifiche, la genesi del canto gregoriano resta un mistero irrisolto



The story of our salvation!

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INDIFFERENTISM is a mortal sin; a condemned heresy. That's the Catholic view of the matter. INDIFFERENTISM paves the way to MORAL RELATIVISM. I have been accused of the opposite of ‘Indifferentism’, which is defined as ‘Rigorism’, and the charge is not without some merit. I believe in a rigorous following of Church doctrine and in strict accuracy in proper Catholic catechesis, and I openly attack watered-down Catholic doctrine and catechesis whenever and wherever I encounter it. Many friends scold me saying that for me it’s either my way or the highway. But here’s the thing … it’s not my way; I didn’t make up all (or any of) the rules of Catholicism. I’ve been told “you’re too rigid in your doctrine,” as if it were my doctrine. When it comes to Catholic catechesis, there is only one Church teaching, and it is represented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I’m prepared to defend any item in it, against any opponent. I draw the line at ‘indifferentism’ and ‘moral relativism’. All belief systems are not the same. The ones who push it the most are the ones who seek to replace it with something less. Again, indifferentism paves the way to moral decay. Don’t let it seep into your thinking. May you please God, and may you live forever.

“Oremus pro beatissimo Papa nostro Benedicto XVI: Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.”

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The Catholic Church doesn’t need progressives, Nor does it need Reactionary Conservatives - It badly needs Catholic Traditionalists that practice faith, hope and charity. So don’t be shy! Come forward.

“When Christ at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its corner-stone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward - in a word, a man. And upon this rock He has built His Church, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed and will not prevail against it. All the empires and the kingdoms have failed because of this inherent and continual weakness, that they were founded by strong men and upon strong men. But this one thing - the historic Catholic Church - was founded upon a weak man, and for that reason it is indestructible. For no chain is stronger than its weakest link.”
(G.K. Chesterton)

Anno Sacerdotale

Pope Benedict XVI has declared a “Year for Priests” beginning with the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 19, 2009. The year will conclude in Rome with an international gathering of priests with the Holy Father on June 19, 2010.

Quest'anno sia anche un'occasione per un periodo di intenso approfondimento dell'identità sacerdotale, della teologia del sacerdozio cattolico e del senso straordinario della vocazione e della missione dei sacerdoti nella Chiesa e nella società.

Let your light so shine before men that, seeing your good works, they may glorify your Father in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

In Domino laudabitur anima mea.

"That sense of the sacred dogmas is to be faithfully kept which Holy Mother Church has once declared, and is not to be departed from under the specious pretext of a more profound understanding."- Pope Leo XIII, Testem Benevolentiae

Nessuno di noi entrerà in Paradiso senza portare con sé un fratello o una sorella. Ciascuno di noi deve uscire dalla folla e reggersi sulle proprie gambe, fiero di essere un Cattolico e capace di testimoniare la sua Fede.
Ci stiamo comportando come se la Fede Cattolica fosse un affare privato. Questo non è affatto vero. Penso che potremo andare molto, molto lontano, se riusciremo a convincere tutti i Cattolici a farsi carico della salvezza del mondo intero.
Il mondo ha bisogno di essere salvato e deve essere ciascuno di noi a farlo.

Cantate …

Cantate Domino canticum novum. Cantate Domino omnis terra. Cantate Domino et benedicite nomini Ejus. Annuntiate de die in diem salutare Ejus.

Causa nostrae laetitiae

“We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe”.
(John Henry Newman)

Pueris manus imponit

Iesus vero ait eis - Sinite parvulos, et nolite eos prohibere ad me venire - talium est enim regnum caelorum.

“There is another essential aspect of Christianity: the interior, the silent, the contemplative, in which hidden wisdom is more important than practical organizational science, and in which love replaces the will to get visible results”.
(Thomas Merton)

Lo Spirito Santo

Uno dei Suoi nomi è "Consolatore"!


Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession.

“Almeno sei volte durante gli ultimi anni mi sono trovato nella situazione di convertirmi senza esitazione al cattolicesimo, se non mi avesse trattenuto dal compiere il gesto azzardato l'averlo già fatto”.
(G.K. Chesterton)

"Whatsoever I have or hold, You have given me; I give it all back to You and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and your grace, and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more."

(St. Ignatius of Loyola - Spiritual Exercises, #234)

"Mia madre è stata veramente una martire; non a tutti Gesù concede di percorrere una strada così facile, per arrivare ai suoi grandi doni, come ha concesso a mio fratello e a me, dandoci una madre che si uccise con la fatica e le preoccupazioni per assicurarsi che noi crescessimo nella fede".
J.R.R. Tolkien scrisse queste parole nove anni dopo la morte di sua madre.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

“Beati sarete voi quando vi oltraggeranno e perseguiteranno, e falsamente diranno di voi ogni male per cagion mia. Rallegratevi ed esultate perché grande è la vostra ricompensa nei cieli”.