Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Door We Have to Pass Through

A door at St. Michael's Cathedral.

Humble yourselves...We cannot pass through the low door with our head held high unless we want to crack it.  And the door we have to pass through is Christ crucified, who humbled Himself down to the level of us witless fools.       
                 – St. Catherine of Siena

By the by, Dear Hearts, I am back from Rome.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

How to Bring Souls to God and His Church

St. Michael's Cathedral reaches up toward heaven.

Pray and weep for their conversion like St. Monica because...

Nothing is far from God. – Saint Monica

Friday, August 27, 2010


A poster in the narthex of St. Michael's Cathedral reminds Catholic Ryerson students about the upcoming Annual Mass and BBQ at St. John's Chapel.

Do you wish to study to your advantage?
Let devotion accompany all your studies.
Consult God more than your books.
Ask Him to make you understand what you read.
Never begin or end your study except by prayer.
Science is a gift of God.
Do not consider it merely the work of your own mind and effort. 
                          – St. Vincent Ferrer, OP

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

For Frequent Use

Holy water in the sacristy of St. Michael's Cathedral.

I know by frequent experience that there 
is nothing which puts the devils to flight like Holy water. 
– St. Teresa of Avila

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What Joy

A Deacon greets parishioners outside St. Michael's Cathedral with evident joy.

Would that mortal men might know how wonderful is divine grace, how beautiful, how precious; what riches are hidden therein, what treasures, what joys, what delights. If they but knew, surely they would direct their energy with all care and diligence to procuring sufferings and afflictions for themselves. Instead of good fortune all men everywhere would seek out troubles, illness and suffering that they might obtain the inestimable treasure of grace...No one would complain about the cross or about hardships coming seemingly by chance upon him, if he realized in what balance they are weighed before being distributed to men
                                    – St. Rose of Lima

Sunday, August 22, 2010

On Christian Modesty

Women wearing mantillas at St. Michael's Cathedral.
Photo from internet.

The mantilla is not an obligation but it is a traditional way for women to do honour to the Blessed Sacrament. These veiled heads are also a powerful answer to the androgyny and immodesty of our age:

One cannot sufficiently deplore the blindness of so many women of every age and station. Made foolish by a desire to please, they do not see to what degree the indecency of their clothing shocks every honest man and offends God. Most of them would formerly have blushed for such apparel as for a grave fault against Christian modesty. Now it does not suffice to exhibit themselves on public thoroughfares; they do not fear to cross the threshold of churches, to assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and even to bear the seducing food of shameful passions to the Eucharistic Table, where one receives the Heavenly Author of Purity.  
                    - Pope Benedict XV, 1921.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Memento Mori

The funerary marker of Rev. P.F. Cummins in the basement crypt of St. Michael's Cathedral.

DIED July 17, 1862.

Father died young. One summer day was his last day on this earth. 
Memento mori.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


A cross in a stained glass window in the narthex of St. Michael's Cathedral.

Thanks be to God I am having my share of these crosses in my life. I live, but my life is that of Christ’s, and in possessing me, my poor Lord possesses a nothing, and I, in possessing Him, possess everything.  
                           – St. Anthony Mary Claret

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On Worrying about Every Detail

Detail of stained glass window at St. Michael's Cathedral.
photo credit

[The Lord] does not tell us that we must not work, must not plan ahead. He does not tell us that everything will be done for us. But He does tell us that we must not be always worrying and fretting and making a great commotion, as though we, and not He, were responsible for the universe. 
                                     – Fr. Gerald Vann, OP

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

On Obedience

A single pious soul stands with the angels (not pictured) before the altar of the Blessed Sacrament in St. Michael's Cathedral.  Photo from internet.

Obedience unites us so closely to God that in a way it transforms us into Him, so that we have no other will but His. If obedience is lacking, even prayer cannot be pleasing to God.
                    – St. Thomas Aquinas

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ite ad Joseph

A stained glass window dedicated to St. Joseph in St. John's chapel at St. Michael's Cathedral. Note the S.J. for Saint Joseph,  the tools of his trade, the lilies for his chastity, and the directive "ite ad Joseph".

There is a need of living well, but there is even more need of dying well. A good death is everything. – Blessed Louis Guanella

You want to die in God’s friendship? Me too. Let's go to St. Joseph whose singularly privileged death (in the presence of Jesus and Mary) makes him the patron of a happy death.  

Saturday, August 14, 2010

St. Padre Pio on the Storms of Life

A storm drain in the front courtyard of St. Michael's Cathedral.

It is very easy to guide a boat when it is not troubled by the winds, and to go through life without any accident whatsoever. But in the middle of the obstacles or trials, as through the winds, it is very difficult to continue the journey.

Behold the necessity to always watch and to look after one’s self, of one’s own actions, of one’s intentions and to show that the heart is good and just, sweet, humble and generous. To such an end, often place your heart in the state of an absolute confidence in Him who has called you into the bosom of His affection.                                        – St. Padre Pio

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Gift of Himself on the Cross

A cross in the moulding around a window in the narthex of St. Michael's Cathedral.

I dare say that God

in His omnipotence could not give more;
in His wisdom, He knew not how to give more;
in His riches He had not more to give. 

– St. Augustine

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Nature Liberated From its Dross

Mosaic flowers in the Altar to the Sacred Heart in St. Michael's Cathedral.

Only by the power of grace can nature be liberated from its dross, restored to its purity, and made free to receive divine life. And this divine life itself is the inner driving power from which acts of love come forth. Whoever wants to preserve this life continually within herself must nourish it constantly from the source whence it flows without end: from the holy sacraments, above all from the sacrament of love. To have divine love as its inner form, a woman’s life must be a Eucharistic life. 
                 – St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What to Ask of the Blessed Virgin

Detail of the Marian altar in St. Michael's Cathedral.

I will ask the Blessed Virgin for an all-embracing charity and perfect union with God, a most profound humility, and the desire for contempt from others. I will greatly esteem virtues in others.  I will look on everybody as my superior, judging well of all his works, reprehending, cen­suring, and judging only myself.   
                    – St. Anthony Mary Claret

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Verbum Sapienti


I had occasion last week to be in the sacristy of Santa Maria Maggiore (Rome) and saw there the following sign:


This word of advice hangs in the sacristy of St. Michael's Cathedral where it will be seen before every Holy Mass.

The priest or layperson looking for more advice on the Holy Mass and matters Catholic would find it convenient to look to Father Z whose simple directive to priests (Say the Black, Do the Red) is now famous.

Monday, August 9, 2010

On Confession

The top of a confessional (the wood was once part of the reredos) in St. Michael's Cathedral.

My children, we cannot comprehend the goodness of God towards us in instituting this great Sacrament of Penance. If we had had a favour to ask of Our Lord, we should never have thought of asking Him that. But He foresaw our frailty and our inconstancy in well-doing, and His love induced Him to do what we should not have dared to ask.   
                              – St. Jean Vianney

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sing To The Lord

The prophetess Mary, sister of Aaron, leads the women with timbrel in hand in a stained glass window of St. Michael's Cathedral.

Let us sing to the Lord: for He is gloriously magnified, the horse and the rider He hath thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my praise, and He is become salvation to me: He is my God and I will glorify Him: the God of my father, and I will exalt Him.                                – Exodus 15:1-3

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Want To Stand Out In A Crowd?

A smartly uniformed Police Officer departs after Holy Mass at St. Michael's Cathedral.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fourth Ordinary of Toronto

A painting of Archbishop John Walsh (d.1898) hangs in the sacristy of St. Michael's Cathedral.

Inside St. Michael’s Cathedral Walsh was ordained a priest, consecrated a bishop, seated as archbishop, and buried. In so far as we Christians have a home in this vale of tears, St. Michael’s Cathedral must have been his.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Detail of mural by Vaclav Vaca at the Lady altar in St. Michael's Cathedral.

Be blessed, O most pure Virgin, for having vouchsafed to manifest yourself shining with light, sweetness and beauty, in the Grotto of Lourdes, saying to the child Saint Bernadette: "I am the Immaculate Conception!"

O Mary Immaculate, inflame our hearts with one ray of the burning love of your pure heart. Let them be consumed with love for Jesus and for you, in order that we may merit one day to enjoy your glorious eternity...