Saturday, January 04, 2003

Joyous note....and an odd little grouse..
Tommorow is the day when we, in the US, celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord. That means that Vespers with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament starts up again tommorow evening . Yes !
If it were not Sunday, it would be the feast of a saint I'm afraid I have somewhat mixed feelings about: Saint John Nepomucene Neumann . I don't have a problem with his life or anything, just his name. People will mispronounce it, you see. The saint had a German father. Therefore his surname, would, properly, be pronounced "Noy-mann", I believe. However, in our English-speaking sloppiness it is common to anglicize it as "Noo-man".... and herein lies my problem. I've lost track of the number of times I've had to explain, "no, Venerable Newman is not the saint who lived in Philadelphia...." Once, I even came across a website on the saints which had information on the two men hopelessly conflated. Arrrgh!

Friday, January 03, 2003

Today is the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, and, on an infinitely lesser level, the eleventy-first anniversary of the birth of the Professor...
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was duly offered today for "the repose of the soul of John on the one-hundred-and-eleventh anniversary of his birth. " ( I hadn't a clue that somebody in Chicago , of all places, picked up on this ! ) It is appropriate that the recently re-established Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus is today, since Tolkien spent his life and thought dealing with words and names.....
May the name of Jesus Christ be praised now and forever ! Amen !
And rest in the peace and joy of Eru, Professor, Essenen Atarwa, ar Yondova, ar Ainasúleva. Amen.

OK, about the ordination ...
(Note: these are my reflections, and are not being checked over by anybody.Therefore any infelicities of expression are mine and mine only.)
What can I say ? Moving, glorious, amazing. I was, of course, in the Cathedral's choir loft, which meant I didn't exactly have a close-up view... but it was still incredible.
The readings were wonderful.
First Reading : Jeremiah 1:4-9
"4 The word of the LORD came to me thus: 5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you. 6 "Ah, Lord GOD!" I said, "I know not how to speak; I am too young." 7 But the LORD answered me, Say not, "I am too young." To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak. 8 Have no fear before them, because I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD. 9 Then the LORD extended his hand and touched my mouth, saying, See, I place my words in your mouth! "

Second Reading: Acts of the Apostles 20:17-36
"17 From Miletus he had the presbyters of the church at Ephesus summoned. 18 When they came to him, he addressed them, "You know how I lived among you the whole time from the day I first came to the province of Asia. 19 I served the Lord with all humility and with the tears and trials that came to me because of the plots of the Jews, 20 and I did not at all shrink from telling you what was for your benefit, or from teaching you in public or in your homes. 21 I earnestly bore witness for both Jews and Greeks to repentance before God and to faith in our Lord Jesus. 22 But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem. What will happen to me there I do not know, 23 except that in one city after another the holy Spirit has been warning me that imprisonment and hardships await me. 24 Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the gospel of God's grace. 25 "But now I know that none of you to whom I preached the kingdom during my travels will ever see my face again. 26 And so I solemnly declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, 27 for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock of which the holy Spirit has appointed you overseers,in which you tend the church of God that he acquired with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock. 30 And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them. 31 So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day, I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to that gracious word of his that can build you up and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated. 33 I have never wanted anyone's silver or gold or clothing. 34 You know well that these very hands have served my needs and my companions. 35 In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" 36 When he had finished speaking he knelt down and prayed with them all. "
Gospel: St. John 17:6, 14-19
" 6 "I revealed Your Name to those whom You gave Me out of the world. They belonged to You, and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 14 I gave them Your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. 15 I do not ask that You take them out of the world but that You keep them from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. 17 Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, so I sent them into the world. 19 And I consecrate Myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth. "

In the actual Rite of Ordination, the two things which moved me the most came one after the other: first the Litany of the Saints, and then the Laying On of Hands and the Prayer of Consecration. The first is remarkable since, besides Good Friday, it is ( so far as I know) the only time in the Western Church when someone is not just kneeling but lying prostrate, i.e. flat on his face, before God. The candidate lies there while the Litany is chanted and all of us sing the responses, asking the holy ones of God from the past two thousand years to intercede for this man who is about to become 'a priest forever', and then beseeching God to give him His blessing . As the Litany says:
"Ut hunc electum benedicere et sanctificare et consecrare digneris/ Te rogamus, audi nos "
("Bless this chosen man, make him holy, and consecrate him for his sacred duties/ We beseech You, hear us")
This is followed by the Laying On of Hands, and the Prayer of Consecration...the critical moment. When Michael knelt down, he was still a candidate for the priesthood. After the Bishop had put his hands on Michael's head and Prayer of Consecration, he was a priest-still to be vested in stole and chasuble, still to have his hands anointed by the sacred chrism, but a priest. I have been blessed to witness several ordinations, and that moment always sends a quiver of joy through me. It continues. The Lord calls and some still respond, despite all the cultural mess and rampant poor catechesis. Blessed be His Holy Name !

There was a lot more, of course. Listening to Fr. Michael as he prayed part of the Eucharistic Prayer for the first time was wonderful. The fact that about fifteen or so priests came to concelebrate on the Saturday after Christmas was a blessing, and they included not only the other Pittsburgh Oratorians and diocesan priests but Fr. Kurt Belsole, O.S.B, Rector of the seminary where Fr. Michael studied , some of Fr. Belsole's fellow Benedictines, and Fr. Daniels, the Provost of the Pharr Oratory, down in southern Texas.
I won't say much about the reception afterwards, since this post is already long, but it was certainly a time to rejoice !
I'll blog on the First Mass another time...

Thursday, January 02, 2003

Just a little reminder...
January 3, 2003, is the day upon which the Professor would have been eleventy-one. As I remarked here , I have arranged for Mass to be said for the repose of his soul tommorow at 5:15 pm, at the Pittsburgh Oratory. I doubt that people would be able to attend, but perhaps my readers could pray for him.

Today is the Feast
of Sts. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen . The Venerable Newman, who had a great love for, and devotion to, the Fathers of the Church, wrote about these two particular Fathers in his book Historical Sketches, Volume 2 . Here is a link to one of the most relevant chapters.

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

For tommorow's feast
Mary is the "Mater Creatoris," the Mother of the Creator-
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

This is a title which, of all others, we should have thought it impossible for any creature to possess. At first sight we might be tempted to say that it throws into confusion our primary ideas of the Creator and the creature, the Eternal and the temporal, the Self-subsisting and the dependent; and yet on further consideration we shall see that we cannot refuse the title to Mary without denying the Divine Incarnation—that is, the great and fundamental truth of revelation, that God became man.

And this was seen from the first age of the Church. Christians were accustomed from the first to call the Blessed Virgin "The Mother of God," because they saw that it was impossible to deny her that title without denying St. John's words, "The Word" (that is, God the Son) "was made flesh."

And in no long time it was found necessary to proclaim this truth by the voice of an Ecumenical Council of the Church. For, in consequence of the dislike which men have of a mystery, the error sprang up that our Lord was not really God, but a man, differing from us in this merely—that God dwelt in Him, as God dwells in all good men, only in a higher measure; as the Holy Spirit dwelt in Angels and Prophets, as in a sort of Temple; or again, as our Lord now dwells in the Tabernacle in church. And then the bishops and faithful people found there was no other way of hindering this false, bad view being taught but by declaring distinctly, and making it a point of faith, that Mary was the Mother, not of man only, but of God. And since that time the title of Mary, as Mother of God, has become what is called a dogma, or article of faith, in the Church.

But this leads us to a larger view of the subject. Is this title as given to Mary more wonderful than the doctrine that God, without ceasing to be God, should become man? Is it more mysterious that Mary should be Mother of God, than that God should be man? Yet the latter, as I have said, is the elementary truth of revelation, witnessed by Prophets, Evangelists, and Apostles all through Scripture. And what can be more consoling and joyful than the wonderful promises which follow from this truth, that Mary is the Mother of God?—the great wonder, namely, that we become the brethren of our God; that, if we live well, and die in the grace of God, we shall all of us hereafter be taken up by our Incarnate God to that place where angels dwell; that our bodies shall be raised from the dust, and be taken to Heaven; that we shall be really united to God; that we shall be partakers of the Divine nature; that each of us, soul and body, shall be plunged into the abyss of glory which surrounds the Almighty; that we shall see Him, and share His blessedness, according to the text, "Whosoever shall do the will of My Father that is in Heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother."

I seem to have distressed the blogger at And Then ? with my Tolkien/Foxtrot post. Yes, I post jokes only Tolkien-savvy people get. Hey, even geeks want to have fun sometimes !
Exciting news
This ought to be good. However, Elvish, in its two primary forms, is not primarily based on early English. Quenya was influenced by Finnish and Sindarin by Welsh. The Professor did use Old English to a certain extent in The Lord of the Rings, but he used it to represent the language of the Rohirrim.
Quote for the day
"The hour is finished-we may say the same of the year; but the time to do good is not finished." - St. Philip Neri

Monday, December 30, 2002

Ok, where do I sign up ?
The Liturgy Police . Link courtesy of St. Cecilia Was Here .

The Old Oligarch
has really nailed it when it comes to the neo-pagan nonsense. (In addition to their historical and theological ignorance, the way they try to appropriate and distort Tolkien drives me up the wall. Fifteen years ago, while eating dinner, I saw a 'human interest' story on a TV news show about a Wicca group calling themselves 'the Lorien coven'. I nearly choked on my spaghetti.)

Fine post on the Professor
by Mr. Bettinelli .

From Mr. Lane Core...
A fine suggestion on how to begin the New Year . I would, of course, particularly recommend the Triduo by the Venerable.....

OK, things happened...
and I haven't had enough time to get my thoughts together in order to blog on the ordination yet. I will get to it before the week is out !

Sunday, December 29, 2002

Had to link to this...
The Foxtrot comic today is just too cute !
Music for noon Mass
Again, I don't have enough time to post properly, so I am just posting the music for noon Mass on the Feast of the Holy Family, 2002, Fr. Michael Darcy's first Mass.
Processional Hymn: "Angels We Have Heard On High"
Offertory: "Myn Lyking"- R.R. Terry (1865-1938)
Communion: "Domine Deus"- Antonio Vivaldi - (1678-1741) -(This is a piece for organ and violin...Steve gave the choir a little bit of a break !)
Recessional Hymn: Hark ! The Herald Angels Sing"