Sunday 31st May 2020

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

The Divine Invitation

September 19, 2019 Featured Today No Comments

JAMES MONTI

Those who have seen the classic religious film Song of Bernadette (1943) often enough to notice some of the subtler details of this compelling adaptation of Franz Werfel’s 1941 historical novel of the same name will recall that in the final scene, as the saint and visionary of Lourdes is speaking her last words on her deathbed, the voice of a priest can be heard in the background reciting the beautiful verses from the Song of Solomon, “My beloved speaks and says to me: / ‘Arise, my love, my fair one, / and come away; / for lo, the winter is past, / the rain is over and gone…. O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, / in the covert of the cliff, / let me see your face, / let me hear your voice. . . .’ ”(Song 2:10-14).
In these words the Church has always heard the voice of her Beloved, the voice of her Lord and her God, summoning her to the marriage feast of Heaven. They are the words that sooner or later, in one way or another, and more than once, God addresses to every soul He has created — the divine invitation. Like the seeds in the Parable of the Sower, the words may fall on deaf ears, or may be welcomed by receptive ears. Yet regardless of the reception, God does not cease striving to make His invitation heard — for He is a Shepherd ever in search of His lost sheep.
Speaking in his Confessions of the life-changing event of his own conversion, an event that changed not only his life but also the history of the world, St. Augustine writes, “You have called to me, and have cried out, and have shattered my deafness” (The Confessions of St. Augustine, trans. John Ryan, Garden City, New York, Images Books, 1960, bk. 10, chap. 27, p.254). The decisive moment came when, having become intellectually convinced to embrace the Catholic faith, Augustine was wrestling with the desires of the flesh which were holding him back: “I still hesitated to die to death and to live to life…” (ibid., bk. 8, chap. 11, p. 200). To a man of books and ideas like Augustine, God tailored His invitation in such a way that it would both appeal to his powerful and intellectually curious mind and humble him: “And lo, I heard from a nearby house, a voice like that of a boy or a girl, I know not which, chanting and repeating over and over, ‘Take up and read. Take up and read’ ” (ibid., chap. 12, p. 202).
Startled by this curious voice coming to him seemingly out of nowhere, Augustine arose and returned to the book of Sacred Scripture he had at hand, for as he explains, “. . . I interpreted this solely as a command given to me by God“ (ibid., p. 202), and opening it at random, found these words staring up at him: “…not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:13-14). Augustine understood at once what he needed to do — the battle was over, God had won, and a sinner went on to become one of the greatest saints and pillars of the Church.
The Bible is one long history of divine invitations — the burning bush seen by Moses, the voice heard by the young Samuel in the Temple, the word of the Lord coming to Jonah, the Annunciation of Our Lady, the star seen by the Magi, the calling of the Apostles, the parable about being invited to the wedding feast of the King’s Son, the voice of the Good Shepherd. . . .
These words and events have not only summoned those to whom they were first addressed; they summon still, and will do so until the end of time. Now as then, the divine invitation goes forth with a purpose: “For as the rain and the snow come down from Heaven, / and return not thither but water the earth, / making it bring forth and sprout, / giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, / so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; / it shall not return to me empty, /but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, / and prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).
Often enough, the divine invitation comes in the form of a “song without words,” a message expressed through that wordless phenomenon called beauty, and in a very special and intimate way, the beauty of nature: “For from the greatness and beauty of created things / comes a corresponding perception of their Creator” (Wisdom 13:5).
My late brother Anthony (God rest his soul) used to enjoy telling the story of an astronomer who one day was visited by a friend of his who was an atheist. The visitor noticed on a table a finely crafted model of the solar system depicting the planets in their respective orbits around the sun, and admiring it greatly, asked his friend, “Who made this?” The astronomer replied, “It made itself.” The visitor retorted, “That’s absurd. How could it have made itself?” The astronomer answered, “It’s no more absurd than what you believe — that the universe made itself, without God.”
In the rationalists’ dark world of Darwinian functionality, beauty makes no sense whatsoever. But in a world made from scratch by a loving Creator, beauty makes perfect sense.
For beauty in all its manifestations is a divine invitation, a message from God addressed directly to the heart. It was just earlier this month that the headlines were all about a hurricane named Dorian that became one of the most powerful land-falling storms ever seen in the Atlantic Ocean. Storms can be things of great destructive fury as Dorian was, but they are also creatures of God, manifestations of the glory and omnipotence of God as we find them repeatedly portrayed in the Bible. Those who have flown into the eye of a “Category Five” hurricane or typhoon have described it as a place of unutterable beauty and solemn majesty. Commenting upon what it was like to be inside the eye of Hurricane Edna in 1954, the television journalist Edward R. Murrow observed, “The eye of a hurricane is an excellent place to reflect upon the puniness of man and his works. If an adequate definition of humility is ever written, it’s likely to be done in the eye of a hurricane” (quoted in David Toomey, Stormchasers: The Hurricane Hunters and Their Fateful Fight into Hurricane Janet, New York, W.W. Norton and Co., 2002, pp. 234-235).
It was after an October 1979 aircraft reconnaissance flight into the most powerful storm ever recorded anywhere, the Western Pacific storm Super Typhoon Tip, that one U.S. Air Force weather officer on the flight, describing it as “a thing of great beauty,” said afterward, “. . . the second penetration was beyond description. This is unquestionably the most awe-inspiring storm I have ever observed. In the 2 ½ hours that transpired between the first and second fixes, the moon had risen sufficiently to shine into the eye through an 8 nm [nautical mile] clear area at the top of the eyewall. To say it was spectacular is totally inadequate… ‘awesome’ is a little closer” (1979 Annual Typhoon Report, Guam, Mariana Islands, U.S. Naval Oceanography Command Center, Joint Typhoon Warning Center, 1980, p.77).
In the experience of beauty man is confronted by God. How important it is to have an “awakened ear” that is “open to every created thing in its mysterious message from above, in its God-given meaning” (Dietrich von Hildebrand, Liturgy and Personality, Steubenville, OH, Hildebrand Project, 2016, p. 77).
It was to a young naval officer named Neil Diamond serving during World War II that the divine invitation came one day in the form of a beautiful sunset over the Pacific. Utterly captivated by the splendor unfolding before his eyes, he thought to himself, “I must find out what is the secret of this message. It cannot just be a scientific fact…. There is a message behind this” (quoted in Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, He had to Sacrifice a Great Human Love for a Greater Love, Arlington, VT, Charterhouse of the Transfiguration, 2016, p. 14). It was this intimate moment, amid the silence of the sea, that set Neil on a journey of the human spirit that would led him out of the dark night of atheism into the daylight of the Catholic faith. It was also the beginning of a love story. For on his journey he would later meet and fall in love with a Catholic girl from Belgium named Louloute Jourdain.
Yet the divine invitation Neil had first heard on a quiet evening in the Pacific was going to ask of him a very precious gift, the most precious he could give, “something beautiful for God” as St. Teresa of Calcutta would say. To Louloute he broke the news one evening: “. . . Neil told her how he loved her, that he had never loved anybody as much as he loved her, but that he heard God’s call to enter a religious order, and that therefore he had to sacrifice a great human love for a greater love” (ibid., p. 17).
Neil went on to become a Carthusian, ultimately the prior of Vermont’s Charterhouse of the Transfiguration, his divine love story lovingly written after his death by Louloute’s sister, Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, the widow of the Fordham University professor who had helped Neil to discover the meaning of that beautiful sunset over the Pacific, Dietrich von Hildebrand.
Responding to the divine invitation won’t mean an easy way, a way that won’t disrupt our own plans. But in the end, we will learn to rejoice that God’s plans have triumphed over our own: “Your best servant is he who looks not so much to hear from you what he wants to hear, but rather to want what he hears from you” (St. Augustine, Confessions, bk. 10, chap. 26, p. 254).
However varied the divine invitation may be for the human soul, to the man or woman who perseveres in answering it, at journey’s end, when at last “the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done” (Blessed John Henry Newman), there will come the invitation that brings with it the light of eternal day: “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…” (Matt. 25-34).

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

BREAKING:

Supreme Court rules 5-4 AGAINST a California church that challenged Gavin Newsom’s unconstitutional public gathering restrictions

Why is it “legal” to burn our cities but officially illegal to go to church in CA?

John Roberts disappoints again

What a disgrace.

RT!

Minneapolis Mayor Frey, the poster boy of liberal progressive Democrat leadership literally gave one of his police stations to the looters last night.

Load More...

US bishop reverses plan to ban Communion on tongue as churches reopen

LAFAYETTE, Louisiana, May 15, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Bishop Douglas Deshotel has revised his decision to allow only reception of the Eucharist in the hand amid the coronavirus pandemic. He credited guidelines issued by the Thomistic Institute for correcting his previous…Continue Reading

Sainthood causes open for St John Paul II’s parents

A ceremony launching the causes of the Wojtyłas took place at the Basilica of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Wadowice, John Paul II’s birthplace. At the ceremony, the Kraków Archdiocese officially formed the tribunals that will seek…Continue Reading

President Trump on National Day of Prayer: “Never Forget That All Things are Possible With God”

On this National Day of Prayer, Americans reaffirm that prayer guides and strengthens our Nation, and we express, with humility and gratitude, our “firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.”  As one Nation under God, we share a legacy…Continue Reading

Coronavirus In Minnesota: Archbishop Hebda Gives Guidelines For Reopening Catholic Churches

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Archbishop Bernard Hebda, head of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, says he anticipates reopening churches on May 18, which is when the state’s current stay-at-home order expires. In a letter to Catholics, he outlined strict guidelines…Continue Reading

Joe Biden Calls Killing Babies in Abortions “Essential Health Care That Cannot be Delayed”

Today, presumed Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden stated that abortions are “essential health care that cannot be delayed” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden’s statement was in response to a question during a virtual town hall in which pro-abortion…Continue Reading

Archbishop Viganò: Third Secret of Fatima has not yet been fully published

April 22, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In a stunning new interview, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former papal nuncio in Washington, D.C. and the prelate who accused Pope Francis of covering up the crimes of Theodore McCarrick, has now publicly stated…Continue Reading

George Pell: In the suffering, we find redemption

Every person suffers. None escapes all the time. Everyone is confronted with a couple of questions. What should I do in this situation? Why is there so much evil and suffering? And why did this happen to me? Why the…Continue Reading

Covid-19: First Catholic bishop dies of coronavirus

Ethiopia’s Apostolic Vicar, Bishop Angelo Moreschi, has died. He is the first Catholic Bishop to succumb to the coronavirus pandemic. By Fr. Benedict Mayaki, SJ Italian missionary and Apostolic Vicar to Ethiopia’s Gambella Vicariate, Bishop Angelo Moreschi, SDB, died on…Continue Reading

Catholic church offers curbside confessions during coronavirus outbreak

STILLWATER, Minn. — Drive-thrus, curbside pick-up, contactless methods. We’re becoming best buds with terms like these as we try our best to stay home, and flatten the curve of the coronavirus outbreak. However, today, we’re not talking about food or…Continue Reading

All priests, half of seminarians at traditional Catholic order infected by coronavirus

OPFENBACH, Germany, March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Almost all priests and roughly half of the seminarians currently at a German seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), a traditionalist community of priests and seminarians, have been infected by…Continue Reading

Catholic Herald US to shut down offices

The Catholic Herald’s U.S. edition is shutting down its offices in Washington, D.C., after less than two years of publication, people familiar with the matter told the Washington Examiner. The magazine, which claims to be “America’s only national Catholic weekly…Continue Reading

Middle school hangs LGBT flag in cafeteria, bans flag of traditional family

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota, March 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A small town Minnesota school has become a center of controversy because of a LGBT pride flag hanging in its cafeteria. Following several weeks of parental and community concern, packed school board meetings, and…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Supreme Court rejects challenge to limits on church services; Roberts sides with liberals

WASHINGTON — A divided Supreme Court on Friday rejected an emergency appeal by a California church that challenged state limits on attendance at worship services that have been imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Over the dissent of the four more conservative justices, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals in turning away a request from the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, California, in the San Diego area.

Twitter censors Trump hours after he signs executive order combatting social media censorship

UNITED STATES, May 29, 2020  (LifeSiteNews) — Twitter has censored a new post by President Donald Trump within 24 hours of him signing an executive order to combat social media censorship. The social media giant covered a tweet published by Trump earlier today with the words: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”

Catholic Bishops Pander To Washington State Politics Rather Than Defend Their Faith

Washington state Catholic leaders would rather stick it to the president than let him defend their right to celebrate Mass. Following President Donald Trump’s direction on Friday for states to allow houses of worship to reopened and to declare public worship as essential, Gov. Jay Inslee immediately thumbed his nose, and Washington bishops quickly follow suit. In a disappointing response, the bishops demonstrated that rather than stand up for their flock and acknowledge the president’s commitment to religious…Continue Reading

Book calling for Catholic blessing of homosexual couples was requested by Austrian bishops’ conference

CNA Staff, May 26, 2020 / 11:02 am MT (CNA).- A book considering how homosexual couples might receive a formal, liturgical blessing of their union in the Catholic Church was written in response to a request from the liturgical committee of the Austrian bishops’ conference, according to the book’s principal author. The work includes contributions by a number of German speaking theologians and a liturgical section, including a suggestion for how such a Church blessing…Continue Reading

Trump announces that houses of worship are ‘essential,’ calls on governors to open them up

President Trump on Friday announced that new Centers for Disease Control guidance will classify houses of worship as “essential,” as he called on governors to allow them to open “right now” after being closed during the coronavirus lockdowns. Trump announced the policy for churches, synagogues and mosques, during a short briefing at the White House. BALTIMORE PASTOR RIPS UP CEASE-AND-DESIST LETTER MID-SERMON: ‘WE’RE GONNA DO IT GOD’S WAY!’ “The governors need to do the right thing and allow…Continue Reading

Advertisement3

Does Life Have Any Meaning?

By DONALD DeMARCO W. Somerset Maugham was among the most popular writers of his era and reputedly the highest-paid author during the 1930-40s. His most popular novel, The Razor’s Edge (1944), which was made into a most successful movie two years later, is about the search for meaning. It takes as its theme the Zen…Continue Reading

Jinping Takes Up The U.S. Challenge

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Is the U.S. up for a second Cold War — this time with China? What makes the question newly relevant is that Xi Jinping’s China suddenly appears eager for a showdown with the United States for long-term supremacy in the Asia-Pacific and the world. With the U.S. consumed by the coronavirus…Continue Reading

Man Who Smeared Wartime Pope Dies

By RONALD RYCHLAK (Editor’s Note: Ronald Rychlak is a distinguished professor of law at the University of Mississippi Law School. He also serves on the Board of Advisors of the Catholic League, which distributed this article on May 15.) + + + Rolf Hochhuth has passed away in Germany at the age of 89. He…Continue Reading

Pope Francis . . . Merges Two Alaska Dioceses Into New Archdiocese

(CNA) — Pope Francis merged two dioceses in Alaska on May 19, creating the new Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau which will cover a territory larger than Montana. The Pope appointed Bishop Andrew E. Bellisario as the metropolitan archbishop of the newly formed archdiocese in southern Alaska. The Diocese of Juneau, located on the Alaska’s southeastern panhandle,…Continue Reading

Does Pelosi Believe A Baby Has A Right To A Mother?

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSNews.com. Creators Syndicate distributes his column.) + + + When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared on CNN with Anderson Cooper on Monday, May 18, she started the interview with an effusive statement about Cooper’s “new baby.” “Well, first let me…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. You recently wrote about Reiki as something not in accord with Church teachings. What about yoga? — L.S., via email. A. In his book Catholics and the New Age, Fr. Mitch Pacwa said that the word “yoga” is Sanskrit for “yoke” or “union” and, in Hinduism, it describes “the general category of various kinds of disciplines meant to unite…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . Pandemic Brings Unseen Into View

By FR KEVIN M. CUSICK The Church and her work for souls, unseen and unknown so often by so many in a world which has made God so invisible, has in some ways become more tangible in these months when so much of “normal” life has ground to a halt. Many of our physical activities and concerns, our business and…Continue Reading

Manifest The Gifts Of The Holy Spirit

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Solemnity Of Pentecost (YR A) Readings: Acts 2:1-11 1 Cor. 12:3b-7, 12-13 John 20:19-23 In the second reading, St. Paul tells us: “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God.” In these verses, St. Paul…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. While I’ve read letters in religious publications from prisoners begging for Catholic materials, I have never had any success making contact with Catholic chaplains who might have requests for certain items. I’ve tried both prison and diocesan addresses, and no one responds. Any suggestions? — N.D., Illinois. A. Perhaps readers who are involved in prison ministry can recommend places…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… A Pope Francis Primer

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK We are immersed in cultural and political wars, with opposing parties engaged in perpetual bickering and posing for effect. On the political front we are faced daily with the spectacle of elected officials who don’t want to work. Instead, they go on the attack and attempt to impeach the reputations of others. False criminal accusations…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Blessed Titus Zeman

By DEB PIROCH “Even if I lost my life, I would not consider it wasted, knowing that at least one of those that I helped has become a priest in my place” — Slovak priest, Blessed Titus Zeman. + + + Czech Communists attempted to eliminate the Catholic Church in Czechoslovakia, beginning in 1945, Prime Minister Klement Gottwald working hand-in-hand…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Louis Marie Grignion De Montfort

By DEB PIROCH During the month of Mary, we turn to St. Louis Marie de Montfort (1673-1716), a saint inseparable in devotion to Christ’s Blessed Mother. His feast falls on the anniversary of his death, April 28, as if he is joyfully pointing us to the Marian month ahead. Many are familiar with Pope St. John Paul’s personal motto, “Totus…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)