Saturday, October 22, 2011

Beauty Is Truth, And Truth Beauty -- No, Really!

Any time I argue in favor of Gregorian chant at Mass, there always seems to be somebody around -- somebody, that is, of the Haugen-Haas mindset -- to inform me that my preference for chant is purely a matter of taste, and that other people have different tastes and opinions.  What never gets explained is why, if liturgical music is purely a matter of taste and opinion, their opinion always deserves to prevail over mine.  The answer, of course, is that where no one acknowledges universal standards, the party that prevails is always the one with the most power.  Thus, the ultimate end of relativism masquerading as "liberalism" or "tolerance" or "progressivism" is that might makes right.

Fortunately, however, there are universal standards; and even more fortunately, there are some in authority who stand up for them.  Bishop Robert C. Morlino of the Diocese of Madison in Wisconsin is one such, and his recent column in the diocesan organ, the Catholic Herald, addresses precisely the question of beauty and the liturgy.  The liturgy, he declares, "always requires beauty in its celebrations."  Imagine a bishop coming out with the following just 15 or 20 years ago:
Since the frequently mistaken implementation of Vatican II (almost 50 years ago), many liturgies have taken place which are, at least, less than beautiful. To this statement, our country and our culture would respond immediately, "but beauty is in the eye of the beholder," or, "everything is beautiful, in its own way." Just as our culture has sought to relativize everything important to human nobility, asserting that it is human nature not to have a nature, so too is this the case with beauty itself.
But Bishop Morlino does not simply lob hydrogen bombs and then run for cover.  He goes on to spell out the universal standards for what is beautiful:
Beauty is not, in fact, simply in the eye of the beholder, from the viewpoint of reason. For reason tells us that beautiful, good, true, and one are interchangeable; therefore, whatever is beautiful is also good and true, and expresses unity and harmony.
In order to understand what beauty is, it is useful to understand what it is not:
Beautiful can never be mistaken as an indicator of what pleases some majority of people somewhere. The fact that our parish likes to sing a particular song at the liturgy cannot, of itself, make that song beautiful. To be beautiful, indeed, is to be good and is to be true. As much as some people may enjoy the musical antics of Lady Gaga, these cannot honestly be described as beautiful.
We must never forget that, being wounded by original sin, it is possible for us to take as good that which is not good.  We are not only capable of loving what is unworthy but also of rationalizing it.  Consider, for example, the ancient Roman taste for gladiatorial games, under the guise of admiring the combatants' skill and prowess.  Of course, the need to rationalize a taste for violence, or overt sexual displays, or low company, or other forms of spiritual trash, at least shows that the person caught in those snares still realizes, deep in his core, that these things are wrong.  Eventually, however, if we wallow long enough in baseness, that spark of conscience will be smothered and we will no longer see a need to rationalize.

Bishop Morlino goes on to explain his thesis, picking, as a particular example, on a selection from the Oregon Catholic Press repertoire:
Beautiful means, in the first place, embodying the truth. Some of the songs that we sing at liturgy contain lyrics which clearly are not true — for example, the song “All Are Welcome.” As a matter of fact, the liturgy takes place mystically in the heavenly sanctuary. All are welcome at the liturgy who truly seek salvation in and through Jesus Christ, by following God’s Will, as spelled out through His Son’s very Body, the Church. People who have little interest in doing God’s Will don’t fit at the liturgy. And certainly, by their own choosing, the poor souls who suffer in Hell for all eternity are not welcome. Those are simple, but true facts. Thus the song, “All Are Welcome,” gives an impression that the choice for the Will of Jesus Christ, as it comes to us through the Church, makes no difference; and nothing could be further from the truth. It could therefore be concluded that the song, “All are Welcome,” is not beautiful so as to be appropriate-for-liturgical-use. Being true is necessary before anything can be beautiful.
To become inured to such as "All Are Welcome" has serious consequences.  Set to an (appropriately) insignificant melody, the sentiments as expressed in "All Are Welcome" rise only from the nonsensical to the sophomoric ("Let us build a house where love can dwell/And all can safely live,/A place where saints and children tell/How hearts learn to forgive."), and the doctrine stinks ("Let us build a house where love is found/In water, wine and wheat:/A banquet hall on holy ground/Where peace and justice meet.").  Yet, for years, we have preferred this diet of spiritual Spam to the prime rib that is our birthright and heritage; and, as a result, we no longer know what is good.

Bishop Morlino goes on to explain that that which is beautiful appeals to our dignity and nobility as rational creatures made in the image and likeness of God:
But, it is equally important for something to be good so that it also might be judged beautiful. The truth, which is clothed by beauty, must be such as to ennoble the human person in terms of bringing out his or her very best, both of intellect and of will. The beautiful must embody that which is true, but also ennobling to our human nature as made in the image and likeness of God. Whatever is beautiful must fix our minds and our hearts on the things above, according to St. Paul (Phil 4).
Beauty, then, is a taste of the supernatural.  The last sentence in this paragraph contains a good rule for determining whether we are in the presence of beauty: to what does this thing I am considering direct my mind?  It must be admitted that the 20th century could be described as an age of the exaltation of the ugly, whether in art, literature, cinema, drama, architecture or music; and even the Church bears its scars.  When I enter a church built during the last century, do I feel as though I am in the portico of heaven?  Or do I feel like I'm in an airplane hangar?  Does the music make me feel as though I am at the foot of the Cross, or in the audience at a Broadway musical?  If I were an alien from the Andromeda Galaxy observing the sacred liturgy, would I guess by the vessels used at Mass that they contain Something precious?

I will give Bishop Morlino the last word:
When one realizes that to be authentically beautiful, something must be both true and ennobling of our human nature, that tells us a great deal about what exactly is appropriate at the liturgy. Because it is the source and the summit of our lives as followers of Christ, the liturgy must never be anything less than beautiful, beautiful in such wise as to evoke the correct sacramental attitude of reverence, beautiful as befitting our communion at the liturgy with all the angels and saints.
H/T Fr. Z.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Going It Alone

I have been listening to Bach's St. Matthew Passion (conducted by Leonard Bernstein and performed in English); and this, coupled with a recent Fr. Z. post about the sin of presumption, has gotten me to thinking about Peter's three-fold denial of the Lord.  

Peter's sin was basically the same as the sin of Judas.  We are accustomed to distinguish Peter from Judas by looking to the fact that Peter repented of his sin, while Judas gave in to despair.  Both realized the horror of what they had done, but unlike Peter, Judas failed to have recourse to the forgiveness that would have been his for the asking.

It is easy to see how sin made its way into the heart of Judas: greed.  But how did Peter, who loved Jesus above all things, fall into sin?  Was it not because he thought he could resist temptation all on his own?

Imagine if, instead of protesting that he would not betray Jesus even if it meant his death, Peter had asked the Lord not to let him give in to temptation.  How many things in our lives would have turned out differently, had we done that?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Filth as a Political Statement

Much like their forebears at Woodstock...
...Occupy Wall Street protesters elevate America's level of political and cultural discourse -- not to mention hygiene.  Source.
The more I hear about the Occupy Wall Street mob, with their overrunning of public places, turning parks into garbage dumps and open-air elimination, the more I compare them to their hippie/yippie/SDS forebears -- and the more a paragraph from Leo Rosten's 1970 classic A Trumpet for Reason kicks around in my head.  I couldn't rest until I'd thumbed through my autographed copy and found, on p. 51, Rosten's pithy comments on the deliberate cultivation of filth by radicals:
The glorification of dirt is a clinical signal of psychological disturbance.  I feel sorry for the hippies who cannot know the psychological price they pay for this infantile regressing to the anal level.  The "corruption and chaos" they reject, in their search for Arcadian innocence, is -- alas -- transported within themselves.  Their hell is inside them.  It is folly for adults to glamorize the hippies' weird cult.  It is cruel to idealize mental illness as a new "youth culture."
Any less true today than it was 41 years ago?     

Monday, October 10, 2011

Is This Really a Bad Idea?

The city of Topeka, Kansas is coming under fire because it has announced that, due to lack of resources, it will no longer prosecute misdemeanor domestic violence cases.  This follows the Shawnee County District Attorney's announcement that that agency will no longer prosecute misdemeanors.

Naturally, this is being made to look like a regression back to the Neanderthal era, when a caveman could get away with clunking a woman over the head with a club and dragging her off by her hair.  "When an abusive partner is arrested, the victim's danger level increases," says Becky Dickinson, interim director of the YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment. "The abuser will often become more violent in an attempt to regain control. Letting abusive partners out of jail with no consequences puts victims in incredibly dangerous positions."

What doesn't get mentioned is the fact that domestic violence has been politicized to such an extent that it is almost impossible to deal with it in a common-sense, reasonable manner.  Section 21-5414(a) of the Kansas Statutes defines domestic battery as follows (emphasis added):
(a) Domestic battery is:

(1) Knowingly or recklessly causing bodily harm by a family or household member against a family or household member; or

(2) knowingly causing physical contact with a family or household member by a family or household member when done in a rude, insulting or angry manner.
Section 21-5414(c)(1) defines a "family or household member and provides in relevant part:
"Family or household member" means persons 18 years of age or older who are spouses, former spouses, parents or stepparents and children or stepchildren, and persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past, and persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or who have lived together at any time. "Family or household member" also includes a man and woman if the woman is pregnant and the man is alleged to be the father, regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time.... 
A couple of things become immediately apparent.  First, in an age when the status of "victim" is prized so highly, any person aggrieved by someone living under the same roof has an inordinate amount of leverage to invoke draconian penalties against the other party, including the near-total and irretrievable loss of his Second Amendment rights under the federal Violence Against Women Act, whose sanctions are triggered by a misdemeanor conviction related to domestic violence -- even if the conviction is for a lesser offense.  Thus is a further wedge driven between family members in the shape of a hair-trigger "right" to invoke the coercive police powers of the state, instead of resorting to the charitable resolution of domestic disputes.

Secondly, it is clear that the law ranks a trivial, non-harmful incident during a fight -- say, a push -- with a bloody beat-down that lands a woman in the hospital with bruises and broken bones.  As a denizen of the criminal justice system, I can attest that a good many domestic violence cases are of the push variety, where no one was actually physically injured.  Thus is authentic domestic violence trivialized.   

So before we start condemning the city of Topeka for setting the clock back to the Neolithic Age, perhaps we ought to take stock of the consequences of political correctness on the law of domestic violence, before we all end up in the same fiscal bind.

Friday, October 07, 2011

October 7th: Most Holy Rosary

Heaven intervenes in the Battle of Lepanto, where the Muslim fleet outnumbered that of the Christians.
Per the Rule for the Dominican Laity, I pray the Rosary (five decades) every day.  I don't usually pray the Luminous Mysteries, because I prefer the traditional 150 Hail Marys that mirrors the 150 Psalms.  (Pointing out that the very number of Hail Marys in the Rosary is biblical enables one readily to refute what I call the Jimmy Swaggart Theorem of the Rosary, which runs roughly thus: since there are 10 Hail Marys to one Our Father, this proves Catholics prefer Mary to Jesus 10 to 1.)  

Although many objected to Bl. John Paul's change to the Rosary, he is not the first Pope to have made such a change.  As. Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P. has reminded me, during the latter half of the 18th century, the Franciscan Pope Clement XIV replaced the last two Glorious Mysteries with the ones we are familiar with today: the Assumption and the Coronation of Mary.  The Glorious Mysteries used to be: (1) the Resurrection; (2) the Ascension; (3) the Coming of the Holy Spirit; (4) the Second Coming of Christ; and (5) the Last Judgment.  I suppose it could be said that Pope Clement did not substantially change these last Mysteries, but merely changed their emphasis.  Mary, after all, is a type and figure of the Church: she anticipates the state of the Church at the end of time.  Our physical bodies will share in our triumph at the Second Coming, as Mary's already does in her Assumption; and we shall be crowned in glory at the Last Judgment as she has already been.

The best way to conclude this post seems to be with the Lesson from the Extraordinary Form of the Mass for today's feast, taken from Proverbs 8:22-24, 32-35.  The Church applies these praises to Our Lady:
The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways, before he made any thing from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old, before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived. Now, therefore, ye children, hear me: blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my doors. He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.
Pray the Rosary every day.  If you're already doing that, keep doing it.  If you're not...start!  The times grow more and more ominous.  

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Worship the Lord in Holey Attire...?

Fr. Richard Simon of Skokie, Illinois in the Archdiocese of Chicago -- also known as Reverend Know-It-All -- hits another one out of the park with his latest offering on the subject of holy attire, or how not to dress for Mass.  In an age when heavily-made-up women march through the church doors in spray-on rayon, unshaven men slouch in in tattered shorts and flip-flops, and tarted-up little girls in slutty white dresses present themselves for their First Holy Communion, Fr. Simon's take is a must-read.  This excerpt is probably the punchiest and most succinct summation that I have ever seen on the subject:  

There is only one Mass in all of history. The upper room, Calvary the inn on the road to Emmaus, the early weekday Mass and the 5PM Vigil Mass on Saturday evening are all the same thing. You aren’t just lounging in the 3rd row from the back near the closest door to the parking lot. You are standing before God’s throne in the presence of untold billions of saints and angels. Perhaps you can’t see them, but they can see you, and I think I hear some giggling among the smaller cherubs.

There you stand at the most exalted gathering in all of human and angelic history, wearing old plaid gym shorts a ripped T-shirt and flip flops. I suggest wear something a little more presentable. The seraphim and the patriarchs don’t think your knobby knees are quite as attractive as you do. It’s all about being comfortable, isn’t it? It’s a big enough bother to have to go to Mass anyway, God should be grateful just to see me there! And now you want me to wear actual clothing?

...All the powers of Heaven and all the saints of Earth are there even if you can’t see them. And they are looking at you. And they think that outfit you’re wearing is ridiculous.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Real Discrimination

Jesus, Parent 1, and Parent 2 most kind,
Bless us now and in death's agony.
It has been announced that henceforth applicants for British passports will not give the names of their mothers and fathers, but instead will be asked about "Parent 1" and "Parent 2."  This is in response to pressure from the homosexual lobby, which complains of "discrimination" against the children of same-sex "parents."

I think the best response to this so far comes from Fr. John Boyle of Caritas in Veritate, who says:
When you enter the world of political correctness you end up discriminating against those who have natural rights, the right of a father and a mother to be recognised as such, not simply as a parent. "Parent" is a term that includes both father and mother but does not distinguish between them. Each has a right to be recognised. Feminists should protest about the lack of recognition of the woman as mother. In this sense, all distinction between the sexes is denied, which is of course one of the fruits of the denial of the purpose of sex: the generation of offspring. This denial begins at contraception.
In our rush to acquire "rights" to things we have no business pursuing, we chuck our legitimate rights out the window.  Then one fine day we will wake up and find ourselves chained up from head to toe, and wonder why.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Battle Lines are Being Drawn

Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, U.S.A. may smile as he marches into battle against the enemies of natural law, but he has probably never been more serious in his life.   

Now that the Obama Regime has given the green light to military chaplains to perform same-sex "marriages" in states where such purports to be legal, the question arises: will West Point's Chapel of the Most Holy Trinity host same-sex "marriages"?

Ixnay on that, says the Military Archdiocese.  Says Archbishop Broglio's spokesman, Taylor Henry:  "Holy Trinity is an actual Catholic parish, unlike the non-denominational chapels that are found on other military installations, and the only services held there are Catholic services. The Catholic Church does not perform the sacrament of matrimony for same-sex couples....[N]o Catholic chaplain is authorized to perform a same-sex marriage under any circumstances."

End of subject.  Not a lot of wiggle room there.  What more can be added?  

The archbishop finds himself having to guide his flock through territory more dangerous than the physical battlefields on which they risk their earthly lives -- and he has to do it with fewer than 300 priests.  Archbishop Broglio has a record of plain speaking on the Obama Regime's assaults on Christian civilization (see, for example, his statement in June of last year regarding the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell", and his statements last month on forced coverage of sterilization and contraceptives and in defense of the Defense of Marriage Act).  It is well that the shepherd of our soldiers is so bold and forthright, because the time swiftly approaches -- and let us not kid ourselves on this -- when Catholic chaplains will be ordered to witness same-sex "marriages."

May Servant of God Fr. Vincent Cappodanno, Servant of God Fr. Emil Kapuan, Servant of God Fr. Willie Doyle, St. Lawrence of Brindisi, and all holy military chaplains intercede for Archbishop Broglio and his priests, under siege by their own government.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Not All that Gets Thrown Out Is Trash

In his 1907 encyclical Pascendi Domini gregis, Pope St. Pius X identified and condemned modernism, which he dubbed the "synthesis of all heresies."  Seeing the ground that the modernists continued to gain, St. Pius issued the motu proprio Sacrorum Antistitum in 1910, in which he ordered all clergy, seminary professors, preachers, religious superiors, holders of eccelsiastical office, etc., to swear an oath against modernism.  This order held until after the Second Vatican Council, when the oath ceased to be required.  

Now that the oath is no longer sworn, the question arises: what could any orthodox priest, bishop or religious superior find objectionable in it?  Who gained by not having to swear it anymore?  By the time the oath was discarded, modernism had gained more ground than ever in the Church.  The oath clearly sets forth what it is that must be rejected, so no one could plausibly argue that he had to take it in a state of ignorance.  The inevitable conclusion, then, is that some of those who were required to take the oath swore falsely.  One shudders to think of newly-ordained priests beginning their ministry with an act of perjury.

Today, the tide is turning, but modernism is still woven closely into the fabric of Church life.  How many of us, even at this late date, have not heard the old modernist chestnut that the Feeding of the Five Thousand was merely a "miracle of sharing"?  Or that Jesus did not know He was God?  Or that the Blessed Virgin made the Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth in order to escape lynching because she was unmarried and pregnant?  (Yes, I actually heard that one from the pulpit.)  And how many of us still have to attend Masses that look more like Broadway musicals or night club acts than the unbloody re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Calvary?

Today, picking up a cue from Fr. Z., Fr. Ray Blake posts the Oath against Modernism, signs it, and asks others who have blogs to pass it on.  Well, I have a blog, so here is the Oath against Modernism, much needed today in spite of -- perhaps because of -- having been tossed aside.

Given by His Holiness St. Pius X September 1, 1910.

To be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries.

I . . . . firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day. And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (see Rom. 1:90), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated: Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time. Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time. Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical' misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely. Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. By this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our creator and lord.

Furthermore, with due reverence, I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, especially those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas. I also reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian religion. I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that a well-educated Christian assumes a dual personality-that of a believer and at the same time of a historian, as if it were permissible for a historian to hold things that contradict the faith of the believer, or to establish premises which, provided there be no direct denial of dogmas, would lead to the conclusion that dogmas are either false or doubtful. Likewise, I reject that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists and with no prudence or restraint adopts textual criticism as the one and supreme norm. Furthermore, I reject the opinion of those who hold that a professor lecturing or writing on a historico-theological subject should first put aside any preconceived opinion about the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition or about the divine promise of help to preserve all revealed truth forever; and that they should then interpret the writings of each of the Fathers solely by scientific principles, excluding all sacred authority, and with the same liberty of judgment that is common in the investigation of all ordinary historical documents.

Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact-one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history-the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a school begun by Christ and his apostles. I firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way.

I promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing. Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God.

Respect Life Sunday

Today my parish observed Respect Life Sunday.  Father preached forthrightly that abortion is always and everywhere a sin, an intrinsic evil, and that freedom does not mean we are free to commit abortion. 


I will see Father, and raise him.  What about the evil of contraceptives?  Will we ever get rid of abortion as long as Catholics buy the cultural line on contraceptives?  Imagine if priests got up in front of their congregations and declared that contraceptives are always and everywhere a sin, an intrinsic evil, and that freedom does not mean we are free to contracept.

We have a long way to go.


When I was a kid, there was always the sound of church bells in the air.  I could hear the bells -- or, more accurately, the carillon -- from my parish church, St. Catherine of Siena in Reseda, California, all the way from home.  There were the Westminster chimes that ushered in every hour; there were the Angelus bells three times a day; there was the single tolling bell for Mass; and then there were the special chimes at noon, followed by bell renditions of hymns.  I don't know whether they got the bells up and running again after the Northridge earthquake, but I hope they did.

Now I seldom hear church bells.  I cannot hear any from my home, although there is a Catholic church nearby that has a carillon.  The bell is rung a few minutes before Mass at my cathedral parish, and sometimes when I go downtown for Mass on Sundays I can hear a bell or two from the Protestant churches.  But these days, the world is full of sourpusses who complain to the sourpusses on city councils about church bells exceeding decibel levels.  The liberal First-Amendment rampart watchers are nowhere to be found when local governments and courts silence church bells; the overall effect has been to substitute them with less edifying ambient sounds.

And so we turn to, of all places, YouTube for edification.  Today I felt like listening to church bells.  Here is an interesting video on the bells of Cologne Cathedral in Germany, where you can hear each of its individual bells -- some of which go all the way back to the Middle Ages -- and then all of them together (plenum):

And here is one where you can just listen to all of them for a while:

Saturday, October 01, 2011

October 1st: St. Therese of Lisieux

The Communion of Saints is not a figment of the Catholic imagination, as St. Therese of Lisieux herself testified.  Since her death in 1898, she has continued to prove it.  Her Little Way was instrumental to the sanctity of Fr. Willie Doyle, S.J., the "Trench Priest" of World War I who was born in 1873 -- the same year as the Little Flower herself -- and killed at the Battle of Ypres in 1917.  Because of this influence of hers on this courageous and lovable priest who did not live even to see her declared Venerable, many souls were saved.

St. Therese is often remembered for her promise to let fall a shower of roses after her death.  Let no one scoff at the weakness of those who ask for roses as a sign of her intervention: there is a reason for it.  Just ask Fr. Gordon McRae.

For the Feast of St. Therese, say 24 Glory Be's, in thanksgiving to the Holy Trinity for each of the 24 years of this saint's life on earth.  In the third year of her life, she formed her determination to give herself entirely to God; in her fifteenth, she entered Carmel.