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Happy Catholic*

Not always happy but always happy to be Catholic.

Updated: 2018-03-20T10:48:55.912-05:00


Scott couldn't believe they threw Julie overboard, but the sea calmed immediately so he couldn't argue their logic.



The Book of Jonah — it's not just the story of a man and a big fish. We dig deeper into Jonah's story in Episode 178 of A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast. Join us!

Well Said: Unconsciously bearing testimony to God


I maintain that whatever either our lawgivers of philosophers uttered well, they elaborated by finding and contemplating some part of the Word. But since they did not know the whole of the Word, which is Christ, they often contradicted themselves … For all these writers were able to see realities darkly through the sowing of the implanted word that was in them … it was the work of Divine Providence on your behalf, that they, though often unconsciously, bore testimony to what the prophets said regarding one God … It is not, mind you, that we Christians hold the same opinions as your poets, but that all speak in imitation of ours.
St. Justin
More proof that Catholics have long relished looking for God's fingerprints in everything. Love it!

Worth a Thousand Words: A Street in Venice


John Singer Sargent, A Street in Venice

Solemnity of St. Joseph


Good news! NO FASTING on a solemnity. So enjoy a break from your Lenten fasting while giving thanks for St. Joseph. May he help us to all be so self-giving and faithful.

Giuseppe Maria Lo Spagnolo Crespi - Death of Saint Joseph [c.1712]
Via Gandalf's Gallery
The season of Lent is interrupted by the Solemnity of Joseph, Husband of Mary. With the exception of Our Lady, there is no greater saint in Heaven than Saint Joseph. This feast originated in the fifteenth century and was then extended to the whole church in 1621. In 1847 Pope Pius IX named Saint Joseph Patron of the Universal Church. Pope John XXIII had Saint Joseph's name included in the Roman Canon.

Here was an ordinary man to whom God granted extraordinary graces. Joseph was to fulfill a most singular mission in the salvific design of God. He experienced indescribable joys along with the trials of doubt and suffering. We recall his perplexity at the mystery of Mary's conception, at the extreme of material poverty in Bethlehem, at the prophecies of Simeon in the Temple, at the hurried flight into Egypt, at the difficulties of having to live in a foreign land, at the return from Egypt and the threat posed by Archelaus. Joseph proved himself always faithful to the will of God. He showed himself always ready to set aside his own human plans and considerations.

The explanation for this remarkable fidelity is that Jesus and Mary were at the centre of Joseph's life. Joseph's self-giving is an interweaving of faithful love, loving faith and confident hope. His feast is thus a good opportunity for us to renew our commitment to the Christian calling God has given each of us. (St. J. Escrivá, Christ is passing by)

In Conversation with God, Vol. 6: Special Feasts: January to June

7th Sunday of St. Joseph


Coronation of Joseph, Valdés Leal, c, 1670

The Fatherly Intercession of St. Joseph

The fatherly intercession of Saint Joseph in the Church is a prolongation of the authority he exercised over Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, and Mary, Mother of the Church. This is the reason why Saint Joseph has been declared Patron of the Universal Church. That home in Nazareth contained all the elements of the nascent Church. It is fitting that Joseph care for the Church in the same holy manner in which he watched over the Holy Family  in Nazareth. (Pope Leo XIII) ...

Saint Joseph's mission extends to the end of time. His fatherhood applies to each one of us. Saint Teresa of Avila has written: Would that I could persuade all men to have devotion to this glorious Saint; for I know by long experience what blessings he can obtain for us from God. I have never known any one who was really devoted to him, and who honored him by particular services, who did not visibly grow more and more in virtue; for he helps in a special way those souls who commend themselves to him. It is now some years since I have always on his feast asked him for something and I have always received it. If the petition be in any way amiss, he directs it aright for my greater good.
In Conversation with God: Volume Six: Special Feasts: January - June

Weekend Joke: Didn't Get the Job


There are plenty more where that came from — at Savage Chickens.

Top o' the Mornin' to Ya: Happy St. Patrick's Day


A Joke from Miss Cellania some time ago, but which I continually find amusing. Mrs. O'Connor wants a Divorce"Well, Mrs. O'Connor, so you want a divorce?" the solicitor questioned his client. "Tell me about it. Do you have a grudge?""Oh, no," replied Mrs. O'Connor. "Shure now, we have a carport."The solicitor tried again. "Well, does the man beat you up?""No, no," said Mrs. O'Connor, looking puzzled. "Oi'm always first out of bed."Still hopeful, the solicitor tried once again. "Well, does he go in for unnatural connubial practices?""Shure now, he plays the flute, but I don't think he knows anything about the connubial."Now desperate, the solicitor pushed on. "What I'm trying to find out are what grounds you have.""Bless ye, sor. We live in a flat -- not even a window box, let alone grounds.""Mrs. O'Connor," the solicitor said in considerable exasperation, "you need a reason that the court can consider. What is the reason for you seeking this divorce?""Ah, well now," said the lady, "Shure it's because the man can't hold an intelligent conversation.""It is my design to die in the brew-house; let ale be placed to my mouth when I am expiring so that when the choir of angels come they may say: 'Be God propitious to this drinker.'"So said St. Columbanus who is just one of those written about at Patron saints of beer.A bit of St. Patrick's Confession which you may read it its entirety here.1. I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many, had for father the deacon Calpurnius, son of the late Potitus, a priest, of the settlement [vicus] of Bannavem Taburniae; he had a small villa nearby where I was taken captive. I was at that time about sixteen years of age. I did not, indeed, know the true God; and I was taken into captivity in Ireland with many thousands of people, according to our deserts, for quite drawn away from God, we did not keep his precepts, nor were we obedient to our priests who used to remind us of our salvation. And the Lord brought down on us the fury of his being and scattered us among many nations, even to the ends of the earth, where I, in my smallness, am now to be found among foreigners.2. And there the Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief, in order that, even so late, I might remember my transgressions and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my insignificance and pitied my youth and ignorance. And he watched over me before I knew him, and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil, and he protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son.3. Therefore, indeed, I cannot keep silent, nor would it be proper, so many favours and graces has the Lord deigned to bestow on me in the land of my captivity. For after chastisement from God, and recognizing him, our way to repay him is to exalt him and confess his wonders before every nation under heaven. ...St. Patrick's Breastplate ... the confession above is exactly the sort of thing you'd expect to have led to the glory that is this prayer.I arise today, through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the threeness, through confession of the oneness, of the Creator of Creation.I arise today, through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism, through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial, through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension, through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.I arise today, through the strength of the love of the Cherubim, in obedience of angels, in the service of archangels, in the hope of the resurrection to meet with reward, in the prayers of patriarchs, in prediction of prophets, in preaching of apostles, in faith of confessors, in innocence of holy virgins, in deeds of righteous men.I arise today, through the strength of heaven; light of sun, radiance of moon, splendor of fire, s[...]

Lagniappe: The White Meats


By the middle of Henry VIII's reign, the white meats — that is, dairy products — were considered common fare and people from all classes would eat meat whenever they could get it.
Clarissa Dickson Wright,
A History of English Food (The Tudor Kitchen)
Now that is really the "other" white meat! That makes perfect sense. Nutritious dairy put on the same playing ground as meat. They may not have had the chemistry but they didn't need it in this case.

Worth a Thousand Words: Melting


Melting, Laszlo Mednyanszky

Litany of St. Joseph


This is timely both for our Lenten litany and for the upcoming solemnity of St. Joseph.

This litany reminds me of how St. Joseph models not only fatherhood for us, but also life as a faithful believer. It was approved by Pope St. Pius X (1903-14).
Litany of Saint Joseph
In Honor of the Foster Father of Jesus
Lord, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary,
Pray for us.
Holy Joseph,
Pray for us.
Noble Son of the House of David,
Pray for us.
Light of the Patriarchs,
Pray for us.
Husband of the Mother of God,
Pray for us.
Chaste Guardian of the Virgin,
Pray for us.
Foster-father of the Son of God,
Pray for us.
Sedulous Defender of Christ,
Pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family,
Pray for us.
Joseph most just,
Pray for us.
Joseph most chaste,
Pray for us.
Joseph most prudent,
Pray for us.
Joseph most valiant,
Pray for us.
Joseph most obedient,
Pray for us.
Joseph most faithful,
Pray for us.
Mirror of patience,
Pray for us.
Lover of poverty,
Pray for us.
Model of all who labor,
Pray for us.
Glory of family life,
Pray for us.
Protector of Virgins,
Pray for us.
Pillar of families,
Pray for us.
Consolation of the afflicted,
Pray for us.
Hope of the sick,
Pray for us.
Patron of the dying,
Pray for us.
Terror of the demons,
Pray for us.
Protector of the holy Church,
Pray for us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.
He made him master of his house,
and ruler of all his possessions.

O God, You were pleased to choose Saint Joseph as the husband of Mary and the guardian of your Son. Grant that, as we venerate him as our protector on earth, we may deserve to have him as our intercessor in heaven. We ask this through Christ our Lord.


Lagniappe: The gentleman's smile and the shine on his boots


And if the observer chanced to be ill-natured, as well as acute and susceptible, he would probably suspect that the smile on the gentleman's face was a good deal akin to the shine on his boots, and that each must have cost him and his boot-black, respectively, a good deal of hard labor to bring out and preserve them.

Nathaniel Hawthorne,
The House of the Seven Gables
We all know what to think of Judge Pyncheon now ... watch out! That sentence was so perfect I just had to share it.

Worth a Thousand Words: The Perfect Fisher


The Master Fisher, Remo Savisaar

Lagniappe: Overeating as the English Vice


Wolsey and Henry VIII, it has to be said, were not exceptional in their love of the table. The English of Tudor times had a reputation throughout Europe for gluttony. Indeed, overeating was regarded as the English vice in the same way that lust was the French one and drunkenness that of the Germans (although looking at the amount of alcohol consumed in England, I expect the English probably ran a close second to the Germans).
Clarissa Dickson Wright,
A History of English Food (The Tudor Kitchen)
Oho, so perhaps our English heritage is showing these days!

Worth a Thousand Words: Mantel Clock


Mantel Clock, about 1789, Clock case attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire,
clock movement by Charles-Guillaume Manière. The J. Paul Getty Museum

Worth a Thousand Words: Jupiter's Great Red Spot


Jupiter's Great Red Spot, NASA
(March 1, 1979) As Voyager 1 flew by Jupiter, it captured this photo of the Great Red Spot. The Great Red Spot is an anti-cyclonic (high- pressure) storm on Jupiter that can be likened to the worst hurricanes on Earth. An ancient storm, it is so large that three Earths could fit inside it. This photo, and others of Jupiter, allowed scientists to see different colors in clouds around the Great Red Spot which imply that the clouds swirl around the spot (going counter-clockwise) at varying altitudes. The Great Red Spot had been observed from Earth for hundreds of years, yet never before with this clarity and closeness (objects as small as six hundred kilometers can be seen).

Lagniappe: Climbing 8,000 Feet


The most disheartening thing about climbing 8,000+ feet in the Alps is finding a bunch of cows already there. It just feels like less of an achievement with a cow next to you.
Patrick Hunt

Life Everlasting by Gary Jansen


This book is about Catholic devotions—prayers, meditations, and small actions you can take right now that will assist you in directing your life toward the greater good, helping you to find solace, healing and direction when all seems lost....

Devotions function as a tap on the shoulder, a way of reorienting our soul's journey to the divine. They not only help us know God better, but they help us know god's beloved son, Jesus, better and in different ways.
Everyone knows that praying the rosary is a very Catholic thing to do. But it is just one of the many options the Catholic church offers to help people find their way to God both in prayer and in living everyday life. This was really a revelation to me after my conversion. I loved trying out different devotions as I came across them, seeing which fit my life and which didn't, incorporating them into my journey with God.

Gary Jansen takes us along on his personal journey of discovery in this book of prayer and devotions. It includes insights, general guidelines to help prayer, insights, and examples from the lives of the saints. The devotions range from basic Catholic touchstones like the rosary and Stations of the Cross, to lesser known devotions such as the Divine Mercy Chaplet, the Jesus Prayer, and the Miraculous Medal. It also includes something which can be hard to find, a lengthy appendix of prayers for every need.

I enjoyed Jansen's way of leading us into each devotion by coupling the history with his own personal experience. Although these devotions are often rooted far back in time, he shows us that they can be vital in our own lives today. Jansen also casts a wide enough net to surprise those of us who feel we already know all about devotions. For example, I have long had a devotion to my guardian angel but it never occurred to me to ask him to pray with me. Here's a person you never have to feel shy about praying with. I was especially touched by the prayer in step 3 of the explanation.
Guardian angel, pray with me. Lead me closer to God. Protect me and give me direction throughout the day.
The prayer not only covers all the bases but leads us to a new intimacy with someone who has known us since the day we were born.

I had several such moments when reading this very enjoyable and inspirational book. This would be a great gift for people entering the church but it will also be a good refresher for those who, like me, thought they knew all about devotionals.

Worth a Thousand Words: A Meat Stall with the Holy Family Giving Alms


A Meat Stall with the Holy Family Giving Alms, Pieter Aertsen
You've got to click on the picture so you can see it larger, but they are there and giving alms ... waaaaay in the background.

Lagniappe: Writing Advice


In writing. Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers, “Please will you do my job for me.
Letter to Joan Lancaster, June 26, 1956
C.S. Lewis, Letters to Children
I guess this is lagniappe only if you are not a writer. Although we could all use it when wondering why a book isn't grabbing us the way it should. Perhaps we're being asked to do the writer's job.

It's Funny Because It's True: The Onion and A Wrinkle in Time


Negative Review Of ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ Peppered With Critic Assuring Readers He Still Totally Supports Diversity

OAKLAND, CA—Alternating his problems with the film’s story structure, pacing, and overall tone with effusive praise for the cast of strong, multicultural women, Bay Area Examiner film columnist Justin Garren published a negative review of A Wrinkle In Time Friday in which he nevertheless took pains to remind his readership of his support for diversity. “This adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s young-adult classic sanitizes the book’s most powerful themes, making it a rare miss for director Ava DuVernay, whose MLK biopic, Selma, I give my highest recommendation,” Garren wrote in his two-star review of the science-fiction adventure, painstakingly and repeatedly noting that his objections to the film are purely on cinematic grounds. “There’s plenty of blame to go around, as many of the film’s problems lie squarely at the feet of white people—Jennifer Lee delivered a tepid screenplay that was done no favors by Chris Pine’s hardly there performance.” At press time, Garren had taken to social media to promote his thinkpiece lavishing praise on virtually every aspect of Black Panther.
From The Onion which boldly says what we're all thinking, and makes us laugh along the way. I have to say I never saw Joe Morgenstern be as nice as he was in his review while still pointing out all the reasons it was a bad movie. He's usually perfectly happy to rip a film to shreds, but not this time.

6th Sunday of St. Joseph


Death of Joseph, St. Martin's at Florac

Death and Glorification of Saint Joseph

It is perfectly fitting that Saint Joseph has been proclaimed the Patron of a Good Death. Certainly no one can ever have experienced a more serene departure from this life than Joseph's in the physical presence of Jesus and Mary. Let us go to Saint Joseph whenever we are helping someone to prepare for death. Let us ask this help when our time arrives to go to the House of the Father. Joseph will lead us by the hand to Jesus and Mary.

After Our Lady, Saint Joseph enjoys the greatest glory accorded to a creature (cf B. Llamera, Theology of St. Joseph). This is only fitting considering his holiness on earth. Joseph gave his entire life to the care of the Son of God and his blessed Mother. Since Jesus honoured Joseph as his father during his earthly life, sincerely calling him "father," He would certainly want to exalt Joseph in heaven after his death (Isidoro de Isolano, The Gifts of St. Joseph).

Weekend: Fish and Chips


A young hiker was traveling through a heavily wooded area and came upon a monastery full of friars and monks. He knocks on the door for directions, however he was invited inside for "fish and chips" for lunch.

After lunch he exclaimed that this was the most delicious fish and chips he had ever eaten. Seeing a chef emerge from the kitchen, he raced over and said, "Are you the Fish Friar?"

To which the reply was, "No, I am the Chip Monk."
Thanks to Mark Woodward of CowPi Journal for this one!

Worth a Thousand Words: Houses at Auvers


Vincent van Gogh, Houses at Auvers

Well Said: Arrogance and God's Mercy


"Kristin," the priest said sternly. "Are you so arrogant that you think yourself capable of sinning so badly that God's mercy is not great enough?"
Sigrid Undset, Kristin Lavransdatter

Listen Up — The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry


Science sleuths Dr Adam Rutherford and Dr Hannah Fry investigate everyday mysteries sent by listeners.
Here's another great show from the BBC. This half-hour podcast combines science with light-hearted presentation. Hannah Fry and Adam Rutherford are bona fide scientists but they bring a sense of fun and discovery to each question. Finding the answers can lead them into unexpected places but the questions themselves are often very simple.
  • Why do we dream?
  • Why do tunes get stuck in our heads?
  • How far up can a helium balloon go?
  • Can horses count?
  • Why don't children like vegetables?
And many, many more. I love the hosts' chemistry and banter and their willingness to investigate any question, even when they seem silly. 

These questions are often suitable for family listening, as their simplicity indicates, and the show is produced for the radio so it is fairly family friendly. However, it is produced for adult listeners so you may want to preview episodes before listening with the kids. For example, when they examine the question of hair growing to different lengths leads to discussion including  all the different places where hair grows.