LENT AND EASTER: THE SEARCH FOR QUIET
Fr. Reginald Martin, O.P.
When the Prophet Isaiah relates the consolations God has promised His people, he says, "In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see." (Is. 29:18) When John the Baptist sends his disciples to ask whether Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah, Jesus replies, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear...." (Mt. 11:4)
In my family, the grown-ups were "hard of hearing," so I was not surprised to find myself, one day, in a doctor's office being fitted for a pair of hearing aids. What a difference they make! At the same time, I am newly aware how much noise surrounds us: not just sounds of birds and rustling leaves, but the annoying, mechanical chirps from computer games fellow passengers play as we ride the bus together. I am grateful not to ask others to repeat themselves, but I look forward to returning to my room, removing my hearing aids, and no longer hearing quite so clearly the sound of the nearby freeway.
Perhaps because I have never expected to find myself in prison, I have always imagined Solitary Confinement to resemble the seclusion embraced by Carthusian monks. My readers may imagine my surprise when I read a recent editorial (February 21, 2014) in the New York Times by the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections. He wondered whether Solitary Confinement (now termed "Administrative Segregation") is overused, and whether alternatives should be considered. To help form his opinion, he spent a night in "Ad Seg".
Rather than an experience of dark and quiet, he found himself
Compare this to St. Thomas Aquinas' description of hell. When asked whether the damned exist in material darkness, he replies
If such punishment awaits the sight of the damned, we may shudder to consider what torments will afflict their hearing.
Our newspapers carry daily reports of violent uprisings in various corners of the world, and we can imagine the noise that accompanies them. Violence is seldom a quiet enterprise, and if we look at the gospel accounts of Good Friday, they reveal an all-too-familiar cacophony, with each of the evangelists recording the crowd's shouting, "Crucify him!" By contrast, the Book of Genesis relates God's bringing everything into existence with only a calm and ordered voice. Voices raised in anger, insult and contempt are altogether a human invention, a sign of how far we fell, and how quickly, when we learned to dissemble in the Garden.
If we substitute "heaven" and "hell" for "calm" and "noise," we get a very good idea of what our options are during Lent, and the blessing the Church calls us to choose during this holy season. Let us take advantage of these forty days - as well as the Church's sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist - to draw closer to the Jesus who took on our flesh so he could sanctify and redeem it. On the cross.
NEWS OF FR. DUFFNER
The Rosary Center's beloved Paul Duffner will celebrate his 99th birthday in April. Although Fr. Duffner "retired" from active duty as Director of the Center in 2004, he has never given up his interest in the Rosary Confraternity or the ministry of the Rosary Center. Despite the health setbacks one might expect a near-centenarian to experience, Fr. Duffner continues to come to the Rosary Center each day, and to enter - by hand - the name of each person who wishes to enroll in the Confraternity!
LOOKING FOR A NEW CHILD'S BOOK?
We are quite pleased to offer The Miracle of the Dancing Sun at Fatima, an interactive, devotional and doctrinal book designed to broaden the faith of young people. Although it is presented as a "companion" to the animated film The Day the Sun Danced, the book can be enjoyed by itself, and its clever question and answer format is quite engaging. In the course of her encounters with the young children at Fatima, the Blessed Mother instructed them in the necessity of receiving the Eucharist and the value of praying the Rosary. The text makes clear and simple presentations of these truths, and follows each of them with quizzes and prayers to help the message "stick."
OLD FAVORITES REVISITED
We are very happy we can once again make available Fr. Brian Mullady's cd, Conscience: Preparing for Lent. This has proven a best-seller in the past, as it helps the faithful Catholic appreciate the season's call to a change of heart, and the unsurpassed value of the Sacrament of Reconciliation as a spiritual aid on this quest. The Dominican Mission Manual is an excellent, pocket sized resource for the holy season of Lent. It contains numerous prayers, as well as a non-threatening examination of conscience that offers superb guidance for those preparing for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. All of these may be found in our on line catalog.
2 Novenas of Masses in honor of
The Rosary Center
PO Box 3617
Portland, OR 97208 USA