Thursday, December 12, 2002

A plea
Does anybody out there know how I can get Blogger to accept characters with umlauts, circumflexes, and accent marks in my template ?
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
is today. There is a link to information on this feast here.
While I doubt that Venerable Newman was ever even aware of this particular feast, I think this little meditation fits it well, since in this apparition Our Lady wore a black sash, which in the culture of pre-Columbian Mexico, indicated a woman who was with child. Thus she showed herself to St. Juan Diego as the one who was housing the Incarnate Lord within her body.....

Mary is the "Domus Aurea," the House of Gold
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.
Why is she called a House? And why is she called Golden? Gold is the most beautiful, the most valuable, of all metals. Silver, copper, and steel may in their way be made good to the eye, but nothing is so rich, so splendid, as gold. We have few opportunities of seeing it in any quantity; but anyone who has seen a large number of bright gold coins knows how magnificent is the look of gold. Hence it is that in Scripture the Holy City is, by a figure of speech, called Golden. "The City," says St. John, "was pure gold, as it were transparent glass." He means of course to give us a notion of the wondrous beautifulness of heaven, by comparing it with what is the most beautiful of all the substances which we see on earth.

Therefore it is that Mary too is called golden; because her graces, her virtues, her innocence, her purity, are of that transcendent brilliancy and dazzling perfection, so costly, so exquisite, that the angels cannot, so to say, keep their eyes off her any more than we could help gazing upon any great work of gold.

But observe further, she is a golden house, or, I will rather say, a golden palace. Let us imagine we saw a whole palace or large church all made of gold, from the foundations to the roof; such, in regard to the number, the variety, the extent of her spiritual excellences, is Mary.

But why called a house or palace? And whose palace? She is the house and the palace of the Great King, of God Himself. Our Lord, the Co-equal Son of God, once dwelt in her. He was her Guest; nay, more than a guest, for a guest comes into a house as well as leaves it. But our Lord was actually born in this holy house. He took His flesh and His blood from this house, from the flesh, from the veins of Mary. Rightly then was she made to be of pure gold, because she was to give of that gold to form the body of the Son of God. She was golden in her conception, golden in her birth. She went through the fire of her suffering like gold in the furnace, and when she ascended on high, she was, in the words of our hymn,

Above all the Angels in glory untold,
Standing next to the King in a vesture of gold.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Toasting the Professor
Mr. Bill Cork has blogged about the annual Tolkien birthday toast on January 3rd, 2003. I am registered for this toast, as I was last year. Since this will be the commemoration of the Professor's eleventy-first birthday, various people are planning parties of special magnificence. However, I've taken a slightly different tack. If anybody happens to be in Pittsburgh that day, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be offered for the Professor's soul beginning at 5:15 pm at the Pittsburgh Oratory. if you can't make it, remember to at least give him a moment of prayer.

Interesting link
Mr. Chris Burgwald has a link to an article on one of the few TV shows I actually watch on a regular basis. Monk really is a good show, though certain episodes have been less good than others. ( The one with Mr. Nelson was weak, IMHO, and while "Mr. Monk and the Earthquake" was better, they should have done a bit of research on the diaconate before they made it a plot point.) Monk, while he certainly has, ahem, issues, is, in many ways, more morally sane than the average TV character. He was obviously a loving, faithful husband ( His wife has been dead for four years and he isn't even looking at other women. How often do you see that much loyalty to a spouse on the box ?), and is almost scarily transparent.
(As a side note: in one episode, on a list of the terrible things done by a particularly disgusting murderer, his pressuring his girlfriend to abort their child is mentioned. It is also alluded that she has suffered grief from this, and has named her dead baby 'Rachel'. Again, something one does not see often.)
Of course, for me it's also something of an identification thing. As someone who has OCD, albeit a much milder case than that depicted, I find my sympathies engaged by Monk's symptoms, particularly when they reflect my own. For example,when Monk counted bricks in a wall while on hold, I got a 'been there, done that' feeling.
Some people might find this odd, though. After all, OCD is often not treated as a Big Serious Problem on the show, but as something to laugh at. Shouldn't I be all huffy ? ("They're not taking my particular problem with the utmost gravitas. How dare they?") However, OCD is, in a way, a lack of proportion in certain matters. ( The finest example on the show: Monk fleeing from a car which seems to be trying to run him down... yet going slowly enough to keep touching and counting a series of parking meters.) Since humor and a sense of proportion are closely linked, keeping the latter seems to require the former. Thus one could call it therapeutic for me, to have a bit of fun with my own condition...
(Um, one of my other symptoms:'s just a TV show, after all....)
Mr. William Luse
was kind enough to mention me on his blog . I am glad that he did not tell the rat story he mentions, but I wouldn't hate him for doing so. My fondness is for domestic rats, not the wild ones...very different animals. A common comparison made among rat fanciers is that our rats are to the rats on the streets as dogs are to wolves..the former are wonderful pets, the latter wild animals to be treated with caution.
It seems that Blogger doesn't like it when I put letters with umlauts or circumflexes in the template. Anybody got a clue why and what I can do to fix it ?
Blogging may be light for a few days
There has been a death in my extended family, and I may not be able to get to a computer tommorow or for the next several days. Prayers for the soul of Constance and her family would be appreciated.
While I'm blegging for prayers, Fr. Joseph's grandmother is ill, and facing surgery. Prayers for her would certainly be appreciated as well.

Monday, December 09, 2002

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
is today.
" The child is like the parent. Mary was no mere instrument in God's dispensation; the word of God did not merely come to her and go from her; He did not merely pass through her, as He may pass through us in Holy Communion; it was no heavenly body which the Eternal Son assumed, fashioned by the Angels, and brought down to this lower world: no, He imbibed, He sucked up her blood and her substance into His Divine Person; He became man of her; and received her lineaments and her features, as the appearance and character under which He should manifest Himself to the world. He was known doubtless, by His likeness to her, to be her Son. Thus His Mother is the first of Prophets, for of her came the Word bodily; she is the sole oracle of Truth, for the Way, the Truth, and the Life, vouchsafed to be her Son; she is the one mould of Divine Wisdom, and in that mould it was indelibly cast. Surely then, if "the first fruit be holy, the mass also is holy; and if the root be holy, so are the branches." It was natural, it was fitting, that so it should be; it was congruous that, whatever the Omnipotent could work in the person of the finite, should be wrought in her. I say, if the Prophets must be holy, "to whom the word of God comes," what shall we say of her, who was so specially favoured, that the true and substantial Word, and not His shadow or His voice, was not merely made in her, but born of her? who was not merely the organ of God's message, but the origin of His human existence, the living fountain from which He drew His most precious blood, and the material of His most holy flesh? Was it not fitting, beseemed it not, that the Eternal Father should prepare her for this ministration by some pre-eminent sanctification? Do not earthly parents act thus by their children? do they put them out to strangers? do they commit them to any chance person to suckle them? Shall even careless parents show a certain tenderness and solicitude in this matter, and shall not God himself show it, when He commits His Eternal Word to the custody of man? It was to be expected then that, if the Son was God, the Mother should be as worthy of Him, as creature can be worthy of Creator; that grace should have in her its "perfect work"; that, if she bore the Eternal Wisdom, she should be that created wisdom in whom "is all the grace of the Way and the Truth"; that if she was the Mother of "fair love, and fear, and knowledge, and holy hope," "she should give an odour like cinnamon and balm, and sweetness like to choice myrrh." Can we set bounds to the holiness of her who was the Mother of the Holiest?

Such, then, is the truth ever cherished in the deep heart of the Church, and witnessed by the keen apprehension of her children, that no limits but those proper to a creature can be assigned to the sanctity of Mary. Did Abraham believe that a son should be born to him of his aged wife? then Mary's faith was greater when she accepted Gabriel's message. Did Judith consecrate her widowhood to God to the surprise of her people? much more did Mary, from her first youth, devote her virginity. Did Samuel, when a child, inhabit the Temple, secluded from the world? Mary, too, was by her parents lodged in the same holy precincts, at the age when children begin to choose between good and evil. Was Solomon on his birth called "dear to the Lord"? and shall not the destined Mother of God be dear to Him, from the moment she was born? But further still; St. John Baptist was sanctified by the Spirit before his birth; shall Mary be only equal to him? is it not fitting that her privilege should surpass his? is it wonderful, if grace, which anticipated his birth by three months, should in her case run up to the very first moment of her being, outstrip the imputation of sin, and be beforehand with the usurpation of Satan? Mary must surpass all the Saints; the very fact that certain privileges are known to have been theirs, proves to us at once, from the necessity of the case, that she had the same and higher. Her conception then was immaculate, in order that she might surpass all Saints in the date as well as the fullness of her sanctification. "- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., Discourses to Mixed Congregations

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Current reading list
I've noticed a few folks have lists of current reading on their blogs. I'm not sure how to do the list thing on the sidebar, so I'll blog my list here for now.
"The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien- for something like the 50th time... I need to read it again before the new movie comes out...
"The Catechism of the Catholic Church"- about the 4th time for this one..
"Welsh National Heroes" by Alun Roberts
"The New Faithful: Why Young Adults are Embracing Orthodoxy" by Colleen Carroll

On a light note
I found this at First Things , in the Public Square section of the November 2002 issue.
" I don’t know who wrote it. These things come in over the Internet transom, so to speak. But the following science report may possibly be pertinent to matters governmental, educational, corporate, and even ecclesiastical. 'A major research institution has recently announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science, with an atomic mass of 312. This new element has been tentatively named ‘Administratium.’ Administratium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 111 assistant deputy neutrons. These particles are held together by a force called morons which is surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since Administratium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Administratium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete when it would normally take only a few minutes. Administratium has a normal half-life of three years; it does not decay but instead undergoes a reorganization, in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons and assistant deputy neutrons exchange places and additional peons are added. In fact, Administratium’s mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization causes some morons to become neutrons forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to speculate that Administratium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as ‘Critical Morass.’ ' "
Music at noon Mass
Processional Hymn: "Comfort, Comfort Ye My People"
Offertory: "Jerusalem Surge "- Heinrich Isaac (1450-1517)
Communion: "Canite Tuba" - Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599)
Recessional Hymn: "On Jordan's Bank"