Next Sunday (the 18th of March)

Click here for more information.

Advertisements

Saving the Eighth

I was in Dublin again yesterday for the pro-life rally. Tens of thousands of supporters turned up, and a handful of pro-choice protesters. This is the most representative video I could find but it only covers a small section:

Apologies for the small bit of profanity you might see on a sign. The green and red flags represent the people from my county: Mayo. Four coaches of us set off in the early hours of the morning and I didn’t get back until just before midnight. It was worth it.

Irish Babies Need Your Prayers

Please watch this video.  It doesn’t contain any distressing images but it’s hard to watch without crying.  Ireland’s future as a caring nation is in jeopardy.  Please pray that its people vote to protect their most vulnerable citizens.

Devotion to the Holy Face

This year the Feast of the Holy Face falls on the 13th February.  The novena starts tomorrow.  You should be able to get daily reminders by subscribing to Patricia Enk’s blog IlluminaDomine.com.

If you watch the video, please say a prayer for the priest giving the sermon, and also for the person (people?) behind the excellent Catholic YouTube channel called “Sensus Fidelium“.

Why Ireland Must Save The 8th

Happy World Vegan Day

child-1725120_640

People are born with compassion for all animals and then they are gradually habituated to not caring about the plight of farm animals. Image from Pixabay

The Catholic Concern for Animals (CCA) blog has alerted me to the fact that it is World Vegan Day and the start of World Vegan Month.  This has prompted me to do a job that I have been putting off for a while.  I have added a new category called “Vegetarian and Vegan” to my blog, and I have gone through my old posts and put the relevant ones into this new category.  There aren’t that many but now it’s easier to find them.  Just look to the right, under the pictures of the “community posts I like”, and click on the folder icon to see all my categories.  You should see “Vegetarian and Vegan” at the bottom of the list.

If you can’t be bothered to do that (and I wouldn’t blame you), I recommend the short stories Alien Report and Alien Harvest.  I was working on part 3 but my graphics machine is still causing me problems so I haven’t been able to finish the illustration that goes with the story.  There’s also this story that has vegan leanings.

The Mystery of Miracles

overcoming-1673170_640

For me, the mystery of miracles is not the how or the why of miracles themselves but why they are so ignored.  There are miracles happening all around the world all the time.  How is it that we never hear about genuine miracles like healings at Lourdes or scientifically-tested Eucharistic miracles in the mass media?  We see plenty of people on news reports saying things like “It was a miracle…” but we don’t seem to be expected to believe that God had anything to do with it.  When people hear about miracles they mostly seem to just shrug it off. ‾\_(ツ)_/‾

I know someone who, decades ago, cried out to God in extremis and was answered in abundance.  When our prayers are answered they are often answered with overflowing generosity, as at the wedding at Cana.  I know that this person was relieved and thankful that her prayer had been answered but she didn’t respond in kind.  She did what many people do.  She treated it as a welcome anomaly and then got on with life as usual.  People often only turn to God when they want something.  As Our Lord says in Chapter 6 of John’s Gospel:

Amen, amen I say to you, you seek me, not because you have seen miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves, and were filled.  Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto life everlasting, which the Son of man will give you.

Shouldn’t miracles prompt at least a little curiosity or a desire to do something in thanksgiving?  When a hardened heart is granted a miracle or is a witness to one, it is a call and an opportunity for that heart to respond.  God loves us so much, shouldn’t we try to love Him in return?  When we witness or hear about a miracle, we shouldn’t shrug it off, we should get curious.  The Lord is reaching out to us.

I leave you with this link to a beautifully-written, moving story of what happened to a sick little boy after a trip to Lourdes.  The writer (his mother) is not claiming that this is a miracle healing but it certainly sounds like a miraculous transformation to me.  Here are some excerpts:

Before his pilgrimage, at almost eighteen months old, Oscar was functionally stalled at a developmental level between three and nine months…

Within a week of returning home, however, we had appointments with his physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, and neurologist, … I didn’t say anything about the remarkable changes I had noticed in Oscar. I didn’t need to. Every person who knows him well and has spent time with him this month has commented that he is markedly different.

… By the end of the hour, she [the physical therapist] told me, “I’m a little freaked out.”

Icon O’Class

Here is a photo of most* of the participants of the recent icon course at Knock, Ireland.  The teacher is the tall guy in the middle at the back, and I’m third from right at the front (with my red painting pinny still on).

groupphotosmall

*A couple of people had to leave early so they didn’t make it into the group photo.

Here is a photo of my icon after I touched it up a little at home.

icon16

I have since coated it with a thin protective layer.  I have to wait at least six months for the tempera to harden before I can varnish it and protect it properly.  I will probably hang it on the wall to dry so that the cats don’t get at it.

My First Icon

I was on an icon course this past week.  The teacher, Theodoros Papadopoulos, came all the way over from Greece and he was excellent.  He managed to get a packed room full of people of very different skill levels to produce a difficult icon despite coming down with a cold.  We worked for six days from about nine in the morning until after six with about forty-five minutes for lunch.  Sometimes we stayed later in the evenings.  It was very intensive and we were feeling a bit fatigued by the end.  One poor lady had a funny turn on the last day, and Theodoros had to help her finish the icon.  Despite the intensive pace I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would do it again in a heartbeat.  I’m sure the others would agree with me.  Some people had come all the way from the U.S. and one was a Chilean living in Ireland.  Anyway, enough waffle, let me show you some photos:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

More on the Papal Correction

What do you think Leo XIII meant when he wrote, in the exorcism prayer he composed after his alleged vision of St. Michael: “In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered”? Are you familiar with this passage?

Yes, I discovered it right after Amoris Laetitia came out, and it surprised me very much because, frightening as it was, it seemed to be a perfect picture of the situation. I think no fictional writer could have imagined this and it’s a true prophecy which is unfolding now. No one could have imagined that this prophecy would really come true (at some moment that paragraph was thought so incredible that it was even deleted from the St. Michael Prayer in official texts), but I think what Leo XIII was describing is coming true.

It is important to add that this is not a moral judgment about the Pope. I think the Pope and his counsellors — for example Fr. Spadaro, whom I got to know when I was a young student in Rome — are in fact good people. I believe they are well intentioned. Pope Francis is charismatic and has many human and Christian virtues, so of course many people tend to believe him. But this is precisely what creates more confusion and so behind all of this there is a truly diabolical trick.

Excerpt from interview with Prof. Claudio Pierantoni, one of the lay scholars who helped shape the filial correction.