31 August 2007

Class Schedule for Fall Semester

Well, I registered for classes today and here are the results.

8:00-8:50 - Introduction to German
9:00-10:15 - Ancient Political Philosophy
2:15-3:30 - Natural Philosophy
3:45-5:00 - Ecclesiology: The City of God

9:00-10:15 - Synoptic Gospels
3:45-5:00 - Prophets

St. Raymond Nonnatus, Confessor

With SS. Peter Nolasco and Raymond of Penafort, the Founders of the Order of Our Lady of Mercy, St. Raymond Nonnatus is the glory of his Congregation. He gave himself up to the Mohammedans in order to ransom a Christian. The Pope Gregory IX created him cardinal: he died on his return in 1240.

Well the sun is finally back out today, although it's still a little chilly. Here are a couple of pictures of the park that lies between the Kartause and our flat. It makes for a nice walk every day.

30 August 2007

Ecumenism and the Traditional Latin Mass

Yesterday, The New Liturgical Movement (a wonderful source of news and information pertaining to Liturgy) posted this headline: Russian Orthodox Patriarch, Alexy II Praises Letter on 1962 Missal.

If you are interested in either the ecumenical movement or the Traditional Latin Mass you might find the above linked post to be an interesting read. Its focus is Alexy II's positive reaction to Pope Benedict XVI's decision to derestrict the Traditional Latin Mass.

This story reminds me of a very good article written last year on this same topic by Brian Mershon entitled, Archbishop Burke, Bishop Rifan Comment: Will Classical Liturgy Aid Reunion with Eastern Orthodox?

Some excerpts from Mershon's article:

Bishop Rifan: "I really think that the Traditional Latin Mass widely and freely available would be, among many other good reasons, a great benefit in the field of the true ecumenism with the Orthodox," he said. "This would be primarily because the Traditional Liturgy is much more similar to the Oriental [Eastern] rites in the aspect of the sacred, veneration, and beauty."

Archbishop Burke: "It seems to me for the Eastern rites, and for those of the Orthodox Churches, the reform of the liturgy after the council and the concrete expression is so stripped of the transcendent, of the sacral elements, it is difficult for them to recognize its relationship with their Eucharistic Liturgies," he said.

St. Rose of Lima, Virgin

St. Rose was the first flower of holiness which bloomed in South America. She was born at Lima in Peru. Too feeble for the monastic life, she lived a life of severe mortification as a Tertiary of St. Dominic and died at the age of thirty years in 1617.

More rain today. It's been rather cold, wet, and dreary for the past two days now. Hopefully it will abate by Saturday, since one of the students has organized a pilgrimage for that day to the shrine at Mariazell. Hopefully the weather is beautiful in Lansing as well - best wishes to Will and Anna. Mariazell is an 8 hour walk from Gaming, at the end of which, exhausted and hopefully holier than when we began, we'll hear Mass in the shrine. Mariazell is the most important pilgrimage site in Austria as it has housed a miracle-working image of the Blessed Virgin carved in lime-tree wood since 1157. You can visit the official website of the Mariazell shrine here (in German). This is also the shrine that Pope Benedict XVI will be visiting next Saturday on the birthday of the Blessed Virgin. You can be sure that I will have lots of pictures of the place on both occasions.

Speaking of pictures, this one was taken today from the window of the living room of our flat. You can see the edge of the little plaza in front of the Spar, the grocery store in Gaming, as well as the main street that runs through Gaming and the low wet clouds hugging the top of the mountain:

This next one is the view from the back side of our flat. Again, you can see how low the clouds are on the mountains:

29 August 2007

The Beheading of St. John the Baptist

St. John reproached Herod with his unlawful union. The adulterous Herodias and her shameless daughter Salome forced Herod to behead the Precursor. The Gospel of the Mass describes his martyrdom. (Mark 6:17-29)

Today is an important feast day in the Eastern Rite Churches. In fact, it's a fasting-feast (contradiction in terms?), which in the East means no meat or dairy products (which means no Milka chocolate!). It was quite rainy and dreary all day today so I have no pictures to share, but I do have good news. I caught a ride into Vienna to IKEA and picked up a blanket and pillows and other such stuff to make our flat finally a little more livable. It will be nice to sleep on a real down pillow tonight at last.

28 August 2007

St. Augustine, Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church

Augustine, born at Tagaste (Africa) in 354, was the son of St. Monica and of a pagan father, Patricius. His mind was ensnared by errors and his soul and body corrupted by debauchery and impurity. Converted by the prayers of his mother, he became one of the most famous Doctors of the West and a Father of the Church. He died after an episcopate of 36 years at Hippo (Africa) in 430.

In honor of this great Saint's Feast Day, here are some gems from St. Augustine:

"I would not believe in the Gospel myself if the authority of the Catholic Church did not influence me to do so." (Against the letter of Mani, 5,6, 397 A.D.)

"This Church is Holy, the One Church, the True Church, the Catholic Church, fighting as she does against all heresies. She can fight, but she cannot be beaten. All heresies are expelled from her, like the useless loppings pruned from a vine. She remains fixed in her root, in her vine, in her love. The gates of hell shall not conquer her." (Sermon to Catechumens, on the Creed, 6,14, 395 A.D.)

"By the same word, by the same Sacrament you were born, but you will not come to the same inheritance of eternal life, unless you return to the Catholic Church." (Sermons, 3, 391 A.D.)

"Tell us straight out that you do not believe in the Gospel of Christ; for you believe what you want in the Gospel and disbelieve what you want. You believe in yourself rather than in the Gospel." (Against Faustus, 17, 3, 400 A.D.)

"Man, destined to die, labors to avert his dying; and yet man, destined to live in eternity, does not labor to avoid sinning." (Homilies on the Gospel of John, 49,2, 416 A.D.)

"The Catholic Church is the work of Divine Providence, achieved through the prophecies of the prophets, through the Incarnation and the teaching of Christ, through the journeys of the Apostles, through the suffering, the crosses, the blood and the death of the martyrs, through the admirable lives of the saints. When, then, we see so much help on God's part, so much progress and so much fruit, shall we hesitate to bury ourselves in the bosom of that Church? For starting from the Apostolic Chair down through successions of bishops, even unto the open confession of all mankind, it has possessed the crown of teaching authority." (The Advantage of Believing, 391 A.D.)

27 August 2007

St. Joseph Calasanctius, Confessor

St. Joseph Calasanctius, a Spaniard of noble family, famous for his charity towards children, founded the Piarists or the Order of Clerks Regular of the Poor Schools of the Mother of God for the education of youth. He died at the age of 92 in 1648.

Today in Gaming the sun was finally out in all its splendor. These pictures were taken from the balcony of the Ave Maria common room on the rear side of the top floor of the Kartause. The old stone wall is the old monastery's outer fortifications against the advancing Turks.

Osterreichs Bestes Bier

My German isn't all that good yet, but I think I know what it means when the bottle says Osterreiches Bestes Bier:

26 August 2007

Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost

The Liturgy shows us that by faith we put all our hope in Jesus, for He is our refuge; and we ask for the virtue of charity, which renders us lovers of the divine law, and practicers of it. Let us pray for an increase of faith, hope, and charity.

After lunch today I had some amazing chocolate. The brand is Milka, and the particular bar is called Triolade - Milk Chocolate on the bottom, white chocolate in the middle, and dark chocolate on top. Truly delicious.

25 August 2007

St. Louis, Confessor

The pious queen of France, Blanche, educated her son Louis IX to be a model for all kings in his faith, courage, and love of justice. He undertook two crusades to reconquer the Holy Land. The plague, which decimated his army in Africa, struck him down and he died at Tunis. This most Christian king reigned from 1226 to 1270.

The big news from Gaming today is that I bought a six-pack of Kaiser Bier from the Spar today. So, just to make you all jealous...

24 August 2007

St. Bartholomew, Apostle

St. Bartholomew the Apostle, whose name means son of Tholomy, is believed to be the same as the Nathanael whom the Master praised as the Israelite in whom was no guile. He preached the faith in India and Armenia. He was flayed alive and beheaded in 71.

In between a short nap this afternoon and a delightful presentation on "The Deep and Catholic Meaning of the Lord of the Rings" this evening I chanced to walk out onto the balcony beneath my temporary room here in the Kartause just in time to see this magnificent sight:

23 August 2007

St. Philip Benizi, Confessor

St. Philip was born at Florence of the noble family of Benizi. He entered the Order of the Servites as a lay brother. Ordained a priest, he was made General of his Order in 1285.

After a late night last night consisting of meeting some people, drinking my first Austrian beer, as well as some delicious Becherovka, and watching a movie, I slept in until 11:00. Today I finally got a tour of the Kartause and three of the students began painting our flat - it needed it! Here are some of the pictures I took today:

The Kartause
A portion of the Medieval wall which surrounded the monastery in order to fend off the Turks

One of the mountains which literally surround Gaming

Part of the ceiling of the "Sistine Chapel of the North", the library of the old monastery

22 August 2007

Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Mary began her journey along the road to perfection at a height to which other Saints arrived only at the end of a long life of saintliness. In all other children of Adam original sin prevented the divine generosity from having a free course. But Mary was created immaculate, and therefore the grace of God streamed into her soul without check or hindrance. Her sinlessness, her heavenly purity, directed every action, every movement to God. Her heart was the pattern and model of all virtues, of all purity. "Blessed are the pure in heart!"

This morning I was up early and walked around for a while. Here are a couple of pictures to give you some idea of the beautiful surroundings here. The first is the view from within the courtyard of the old monastery. The second is one of the views that can be seen while walking from the Kartause towards the main center of the city.

I've Arrived

Having departed from Detroit at 3:45 Eastern Time I landed in Frankfurt, Germany at 5:50 Central European Time, and then departed again at 8:50 landing in Vienna at 10:10 local time. From there I took a bus to the Westbahnhof (Vienna's big train station) where I purchased a one way ticket to Keinberg-Gaming. The train ride was spectacular. From Vienna we headed west to Pochlarn, the stop just past Melk, where I got off. Then a little one car train took me south to the Kienberg-Gaming stop where I was picked up in a car by ITI staff and driven to the Kartause where I soon collapsed on a bed and slept for the first time in 27 hours.