27 07 2009


Saturn is the supreme intellect among the angels by whose rays souls in addition to the angels are illumined and inflamed and are raised continually with all their might to the intellectual life. Whenever souls are converted to this life, they are said to be under Saturn’s rule in that they live by the understanding. Consequently, in this life they are said to be regenerated by their own will because they choose to be reformed for the better. Again, they are said to grow young again daily (that is, if days can be numbered then) and to blossom more and more. Hence the words of the Apostle Paul, “The inward man is renewed day by day.” Finally, fruits are said to be supplied men in abundance, produced unbidden and in a perpetual spring, and this is because there- not by way of their senses and laborious discipline but by way of inner light- men enjoy to the highest degree the tranquility of life and pleasure, along with the wonderful spectacles of truth itself.

-Marsilio Ficino

San Ramon Nonato

27 07 2009


From the site of E. Bryant Holman (R.I.P.):

While still a young man, he joined the Orden de la Merced, which was an order which raised money to go to North Africa and pay the ransom for Christians who were being held there. While on one such mission, he was found, by the Muslim authorities, to be preaching and attempting to gain converts to Christianity. The local ruler warned him that he must stop, or else he would be punished. A zealous preacher, he continued, and was arrested. In order to literally shut him up, his lips were perforated and a padlock was installed, which was later removed when they put him on a ship back to Spain.

For this last reason, he has become a very popular saint in Mexico, where people appeal to him by way of a spell designed to shut up gossips. In this, one acquires and image of the saint, along with a red votive candle. One prays the prayer to him which one finds on the back of his prayer card or his votive candles, and then one asks him to shut up a particular gossip or group of gossips, and then one takes chewing gum and uses it to press a coin over his mouth. One lights the candle and sets it next to the image on one’s altar (this is what curanderas do) or else one sets it in some place where it will not be disturbed.

Of course, he is also invoked for a safe childbirth:

Oh excelso patrono, San Ramón, modelo de caridad para con los pobres y necesitados, aquí me tenéis postrado humildemente ante vuestros pies para implorar vuestro auxilio en mis necesidades. Así como era vuestra mayor dicha ayudar a los pobres y necesitados en la tierra, socorredme, os suplico, oh glorioso San Ramón, en esta mi aflicción. A vos, oh glorioso protector acudo para que bendigáis al hijo que llevo en mi seno. Protegedme a mí y al hijo de mis entrañas ahora y durante el parto que se aproxima. Os prometo educarlo según las leyes y mandamientos de Dios. Escuchad mis oraciones, amante protector mío, San Ramón, y hacedme madre feliz de este hijo que espero dar a luz por medio de vuestra poderosa intercesión. Así sea.

Hey, hate to break it to you, but…

27 07 2009

No. 1: Ryan from Athanasius Contra Mundum states the obvious: the Song of Songs isn’t about sex! That’s right, people, deal with it:

The reason is that human love as we know it exists only in this world, and as good as it is, is unfulfilling and lame in comparison to divine love. There is no sex in heaven, there is no marriage in heaven. Those things while good in themselves are also mundane when considered in that light, which is why the mystics viewed the human love as a mere beginning, and someone unable to break out of it as someone who could not advance in the spiritual life. West on the other hand would have you believe they are everything. The principle fallacy of such an approach is that marriage exists in the order of nature, primarily for the procreation and education of children, and secondly as a remedy for concupiscence. The husband has spiritual headship of the family because it is ordered to the family (not his) benefit, essentially the husband rules the family to get it to heaven. In heaven however, people do not rule in the order of nature, but in the order of grace, thus women may rule and have authority in heaven. Our Lady is queen of heaven, and rules over every man, except for her divine Son to Whom her will is always united. In heaven husbands and wives have no common life, because life in heaven exists by the order of grace. The two effects to which marriage is ordered no longer exist. A holy woman of a husband who barely makes it into purgatory will rule, while the husband will be at a lower order. Amidst such a reality, one has a difficult time finding the lofty conception of sex and marriage which West (and it would appear) the late Holy Father find.

No. 2: A friend of mine once told me that you know you are really in the soup when you find that the only purpose of your life may be to serve as a cautionary tale to others. Well, this is one of those moments in my life:

Once again, via the Conservative Blog for Peace, this quote from an Orthodox blogger:

That said, as an Eastern Catholic I reject the idea that Trent is truly ecumenical, and hold instead that its decrees espouse Latin (mainly Scholastic) theological theories, which no one outside the Latin Church is required to accept…

[Comment:] Clearly the concept of “cafeteria” Catholicism is not limited to the Latin Rite. I am slowly coming to the view that many of these people are neither Catholic nor Orthodox. They are Protestants dressed in Byzantine vestments. “I will believe whatever I want to believe.”

I don’t want to bore people with that story again, but I am entirely in agreement. I have to say, at least when it concerns Catholics, such talk is more a demonstration of personal boredom than anything, tinged a bit perhaps with intellectual sloth. They see the state of contemporary American Christianity, and particularly the childish gags of Catholic AmChurch, get discouraged, and start to look for real “ancient piety” elsewhere, all the while bringing their modern sensibilities with them. Carl Jung painted a pretty accurate picture of these people when he wrote:

People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. They will practice Indian yoga and all its exercises, observe a strict regimen of diet, learn theosophy by heart, or mechanically repeat mystic texts from the literature of the whole world- all because they cannot get on with themselves… the soul has gradually been turned into a Nazareth from which nothing good can come. Therefore, let us fetch it from the four corners of the earth- the more far fetched and bizarre, the better!

Of course, Jung was speaking against the notion of absolute human depravity, and I cannot agree with him in that regard, but I think he is right to criticize the wanderlust that certain “spiritual seekers” have when they approach the traditions and attitudes that are right in front of them. The problem is not the “church you’re in”. The problem is you.