Saturday, October 26, 2002

My 100 things about me- Fifth and Final 20
81. I'm actually working on a Tolkien fanfic... it should be completed soon.
82. It's Elrond-angst.. if anybody has cause to be angsty, he certainly does.
83. IMNSHO, nobody should be permitted to write a Tolkien fanfic who hasn't read "The Lord of the Rings" at least three times and "The Silmarillion" at least once.
84. And, no, seeing the movie 27 times does not count...
85. Favorite fanfic author : Thundera Tiger. She has quite an ear for dialogue.
86. Favorite "Lord of the Rings" characters: Samwise Gamgee, Aragorn and Gandalf
87. Favorite "Silmarillion" characters: Finrod Felagund and Fëanor. Although I admit the latter is a trifle scary !
88. I am fond of the writings of C.S. Lewis. However, I prefer his apologetic works and "Till We Have Faces" to the Narnia books.
89. I've tried reading Charles Williams, but found his writing totally bewildering.
90. I've lost count of the number of times I've read "The Everlasting Man" by G.K. Chesterton.
91. Favorite Fr. Brown story: "The Sign of the Broken Sword"
92. I'm very excited that the Oratory here is founding a National Newman Library for study and research on the Venerable.
93. It makes me worried that so few people in the U.S. realize that Christians are being persecuted in many places in the world right now.
94. Another favorite quote: "God wouldn't have given us an intellect, if He didn't want us to think straight." - Msgr. Ronald Knox.
95. I love making the Seven Churches Visit on Holy Thursday night.
96. Favorite Old Testament books : Genesis and Song of Songs
97. Favorite New Testament books: The Gospel of John, Paul's Letter to the Philippians, and the Letter of James.
98. I need to pray before the Blessed Sacrament more often.
99. I need to learn to listen.
100. My favorite passage of Scripture:
Philippians 4: 4-9
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!
5 Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near.
6 Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.
7 Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
9 Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Friday, October 25, 2002

Nihil Obstat noticed me !
Some people might think I'm crazy, but I think this is great. I am very new to this blogging thing. Therefore, I need all the help I can get, even from an anonymus proofreader .
I have two return comments. First, I fixed the link, and it should work now. Second, I wouldn't call myself fluent in Elvish. Compared with some people, I am very much a beginner. Helge Fauskanger, for example.
Feast Day
Today is the feast of The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales .

" Salvete, flores martyrum ! " - St. Philip Neri, to the students of the English College in Rome

" Can we religiously suppose that the blood of our martyrs, three centuries ago and since, shall never receive its recompense? Those priests, secular and regular, did they suffer for no end? or rather, for an end which is not yet accomplished? The long imprisonment, the fetid dungeon, the weary suspense, the tyrannous trial, the barbarous sentence, the savage execution, the rack, the gibbet, the knife, the cauldron, the numberless tortures of those holy victims, O my God, are they to have no reward? Are Thy martyrs to cry from under Thine altar for their loving vengeance on this guilty people, and to cry in vain? Shall they lose life, and not gain a better life for the children of those who persecuted them? " - Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., The Second Spring

UPDATE: I am glad to see that I am not the only one in the Blogosphere to notice this feast day. More information at the blogs of Amy Welborn , Gerard Serafin, Lane Core, and Lover of Christian Art . Thank you all !

Thursday, October 24, 2002

A Blog
The title is a quotation from St. Philip could I not link to it ?

And Then ?
My 100 things about me- Fourth 20
61. Most of my ancestors came from Ireland and Wales. One great-grandfather came from Italy.
62. I belong to the local St. David's Society, a group for people of Welsh ethnicity.
63. As far as I know, I'm the only Catholic member.
64. My favorite hymns to sing in Welsh: Cwm Rhondda and Calon Lan
65. Every time I attend a Gymanfa Ganu (hymn-singing), I enjoy the singing, but then get a bit sad that Welsh Catholics are such a minority, both in Wales and here.
66. I have medals of Our Lady from two shrines: the Rue de Bac and Walsingham.
67. I wish I could visit the Holy Land but I have no money, and no desire to get shot at or blown up.
68. The first factor prevents me from visiting Rome, either.
69. Ditto for England.
70. I agree with Dr. Janet Smith that Pope Paul VI spoke prophetically in Humanae Vitae .
71. One of my favorite movie lines, ever..."It's not going to bed with a man that proves that you love him..It's getting up with him in the morning ! " - Henry Fonda, in Yours, Mine and Ours
72. I have a weakness for 'nature shows'.
73. Part of this may be because when the subjects start acting like animals, at least they have the excuse of actually being animals.
74. I like Flannery O' Connor's fiction.
75. Favorite short story: "The Lame Shall Enter First"
76. Runners-up: "Revelation" and "Parker's Back"
77. However, her letters in The Habit of Being make me uneasy at times.
78. I think every artist or writer, but especially Christian ones, should read "Leaf by Niggle" by J.R.R. Tolkien.
79. It's not a bad idea for average Tolkien fans either.
80. I hope that maybe something I write, or do, will help to give someone a glimpse of the Mountains....

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

My Favorite Prayer To Be Used Before the Blessed Sacrament

A Short Visit to the Blessed Sacrament before Meditation

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

I place myself in the presence of Him, in whose Incarnate Presence I am before I place myself there.
I adore Thee, O my Saviour, present here as God and man, in soul and body, in true flesh and blood.
I acknowledge and confess that I kneel before that Sacred Humanity, which was conceived in Mary's womb, and lay in Mary's bosom; which grew up to man's estate, and by the Sea of Galilee called the Twelve, wrought miracles, and spoke words of wisdom and peace; which in due season hung on the cross, lay in the tomb, rose from the dead, and now reigns in heaven.
I praise, and bless, and give myself wholly to Him, who is the true Bread of my soul, and my everlasting joy.

- From Meditations and Devotions by Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman, C.O.

My 100 things about me- Third 20
41. I'm wondering when Nihil Obstat is going to find this blog.
42. I also wonder whether or not Nihil Obstat will correct one's Elvish as well as one's English.
43. I'm a bit sad that the Sindarin Dictionary Project's searchable dictionary is down.
44. The notice says it should be up again in September. I just hope they are just running a bit late, and they don't mean September 2003.
45. I know someone who is writing a "Middle-earth cookbook."
46. I like her, but she has some ideas about Tolkien which I think are a trifle odd.
47. On the other hand, her lembas is delicious.
48. My own 'cooking skills' are limited to heating up precooked stuff and making toast.
49. I miss the honey barbeque sauce at C.J. Barney's.
50. Favorite hymn: "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence"
51. I'm also fond of "Firmly I Believe and Truly" and "Praise to the Holiest in the Height", for an obvious reason !
52. I found out that Thomas Carlyle is not to be trusted the hard way. I was assigned to write a paper on Oliver Cromwell in college. I saw Carlyle's biography and thought, "Hey, he's a famous author, right ? I'll read his book, since I have to write this paper anyway." I read it. Fortunately, I also read another biography of Cromwell which lets you in on some stuff Carlyle the fact that the man ordered massacres of women and children in Ireland, and sundry other unsavory points. From Carlyle's book, you'd think the man was a saint.
53. I believe it was Carlyle who denigrated the Venerable Newman as having the intellect of 'a moderately-sized rabbit.' When I read that quote, (in a much later college class) I remember thinking, "At least Newman didn't have the gall to do a haigiographical book on Torquemada."
54. Actually, I believe comparing Cromwell to Torquemada is unfair to the latter.
55. I have come to All Saints Day parties as the following:
St. Jeanne D'arc
St. Margaret Clitherow
Blessed Margaret Pole
St. Perpetua
St. Winifred
Blessed Julian of Norwich
56. My friend Kate calls me 'Julian' because I was dressed as Blessed Julian when we met.
57. Favorite magazine : First Things
58. I like icons, and even icon-style painting of more modern provenance.
59. One of the reasons is because Eastern-style angels don't look like pretty teenaged girls with wings.
60. I think this is one of the most glorious quotes ever....
"I put before you the one great thing to love on earth:the Blessed Sacrament.... There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth, and more than that: Death, by the divine paradox, that which ends life and demands the surrender of all, and yet, by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man's heart desires."
J.R.R. Tolkien, to Michael Tolkien, March 8, 1941, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

My 100 things about me- Second 20
21. I have an alto voice.
22. I'm in the choir which sings at noon Mass.
23. I think our choir director's taste in music is excellent...lots of Gregorian chant and 16th century polyphony !
24. I love Sunday Vespers with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
25. My confirmation name is Joan, for St. Jeanne D'arc.
26. IMHO, the English and Welsh martyrs are woefully neglected in the United States. ( Ever try to find a St. Edmund Campion prayer card ?)
27. I'm puzzled by the fact that their feast day isn't even given as an option in the US Sacramentary.
28. Only one Contemporary Christian type musician wrote songs that actually impressed me : the late Rich Mullins.
29. I had never met the man, but I cried and prayed for him when I heard of his death.
30. I'm a cradle Catholic, but I have at least three people in my ancestry who became Catholic as adults: one grandfather, one great-grandfather, and one great-great grandfather.
31. I'm addicted to conversion stories.
32. I have a bad habit of checking out books of literary criticism in bookstores. This is bad because the inanities on Tolkien, Chesterton, and even Venerable Newman I sometimes find are a serious temptation to uncharitable thoughts.
33. Even worse, I check out Tolkien fanfiction on the web. A small part of it is very good. A lot of it is utter garbage.
34. For example, why in the name of Eru would anybody take the writings of a devout Catholic and distort the relationships of characters into 'slash', as homosexual relationships in fanfic are called ? I find this incomphrehensible.
35. Controlling my temper is something I really have to work hard at.
36. I sympathized with Mr. Bettinelli's blog here.
37. I'm somewhat heartened by knowing certain saints had trouble with their tempers, too.
38. I love this quote... a friend of Msgr.Knox was told to pull himself together. He replied "I haven't got any together."
39. I have got to read "The Second Spring" again
40. It's not easy to 'gaudete semper'. God give me the grace to try.

Monday, October 21, 2002

OK, again...

Newman Links
Links for the Cause

I forgot to post a link to the best set of Venerable Newman links on the Web, by the redoubtable Dave Armstrong.
My 100 things about me- First 20
1. I'm 4' 11" tall.
2. Brown hair, brown eyes
3. Pale, but with freckles
4. I have a degree in writing.
5. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a job in which I actually use my degree.
6. I believe everything the Catholic Church teaches, as is stated below.
7. I am a Secular Oratorian. I'll be explaining that later.
8. IMHO, St. Philip Neri is not as well known as he ought to be.
9. And he is somewhat misunderstood by people who only know him superficially.
10. I pray for the canonization of Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., every day.
11. IMHO, his teaching on conscience has been distorted beyond recognition by certain folks.
12. I absolutely, positively WILL NOT vote for anybody who supports the 'right' to dismember babies.
13. I have voted third party in the past when no pro-life candidate was on a major party ticket.
14. I have skipped voting in a particular race when no pro-life candidate was available at all.
15. The best explication of the doctrine of the Trinity I've ever found is in Theology and Sanity by F.J. Sheed.
16. I've discovered that domestic rats make wonderful pets, though their lifespan is short enough to cause some heartbreak.
17. I've been a Tolkien fanatic for 20 years.
18. I had some problems with the movie.
19. Nevertheless, I've seen it 19 times...
20. And the next one can't come fast enough !

My What Medieval Figure Do You Resemble ? Results
1: Joan of Arc
#2: Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (El Cid)
#3: Zoe
#4: Robin Hood
#5: Theodora
#6: Constanstine
#7: Pope Leo I
#8: Pope Urban XVII
#9: Clovis
#10: Mohhammed
#11: Richard the Lionhearted
#12: Charlemagne
#13: Fredrick Barbarossa
#14: Justanian
#15: King Arthur
#16: King Alfonso
#17: Belisarius
#18: William the Conqueror
#19: Saladin
#20: Genghis Khan

I'm thrilled that St. Jeanne D'arc came up on top. She's one of my Confirmation name saint.

On the other hand, who is Zoe ? And Mohammed is above King Arthur ? Ick.

The Cause
Those few people who have noticed this blog may also have noticed that I have a link to the Newman Reader on the left. I happen to believe that his cause is important. If anyone would care to pray for his canonization, I would be most grateful. Here is a prayer that one could use:

Eternal Father, You led JOHN HENRY NEWMAN to follow the kindly light of Truth, and he obediently responded to your heavenly calls at any cost. As writer, preacher, counsellor and educator, as pastor, Oratorian, and servant of the poor he laboured to build up Your Kingdom.

Grant that through your Vicar on Earth we may hear the words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the company of the canonized saints."

May You manifest Your servant's power of intercession by even extraordinary answers to the prayers of the faithful throughout the world. We pray particularly for our intentions in his name and in the Name of Jesus Christ Your Son our Lord.


Please report any favours received to:
The Postulator, The Oratory, Hagley Road, Birmingham B16 8UE, England

Note: This is from a prayer card printed in England. That is why it follows British spelling rules....

Sunday, October 20, 2002

From today's homily
Our deacon Michael was preaching today at the noon Mass. (His ordination to the priesthood is scheduled to be on December 28. I'll probably be blogging about it when it gets a bit closer.) He had a quote from St. Augustine of Hippo which I can't reproduce exactly, but which ran something like this: "As the coin with the image of Caesar was to be rendered to Caesar, we, who are made in the image of God, are to be rendered to God, entirely, in all that we have and all that we are."
This is something for me to think about whenever I get too wrapped up in claiming anything as 'mine'.....