Friday, January 10, 2003

I've added two links on the left.
One, under "Tolkien Links" is to the Encylopedia of Arda , one of the better reference sites I've come across. The other, listed under "Oratorian links" is to the official site of Heinz Chapel. Heinz Chapel actually belongs to the University of Pittsburgh, but I have the site listed since the Fathers celebrate Mass there every Sunday, and every weekday during the school year. It's not a Catholic church, the Eucharist cannot be reserved there, and some of the people in the windows are not ones I would have wanted commemorated, but such is life. It's more inspiring,architecturally, than some of the buildings that actually are Catholic churches, alas !

Hey, watch it !
A blogger links to a story on the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League changing their name , and adds the comment, "A Rose is still a rose. A rat is still a rat."
Now that's just insulting. Rats have enough publicity problems....

I'm a bit worried
The piece on Aragorn I linked to is getting clobbered in the comments box in the place where I found it. I may have blogged too quickly on the thing. If anybody puts up something defending Aragorn/Strider/Elessar Telcontar/all the rest of the names he acquired in his life, I'm liable to like it, even if the writing isn't up to par.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

For Epiphany week...
Omnipotence in Bonds , by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.
I think this is setting your sights too low...
A gentleman of St. Blog's notes a longing for a certain lost artifact. Tsk, tsk...
Now if it were, say, Maglor's Silmaril....

Ignore the 'mini-balrog' in the title
and some other spelling errors. This is a pretty decent piece on Aragorn. (Note: Lord of the Rings book spoilers, of course)

Interesting article...
from Fr. Richard Neuhaus, in the August/September 2000 edition of First Things.
Lord Acton, Cardinal Newman, and How To Be Ahead of Your Time
A problem with G.K. Chesterton
Things he uses as examples of reductio ad absurdum are now being outdone by reality. Take this passage from "The Everlasting Man", where G.K.C. discusses the horror of the Carthginian Empire:
"These highly civilised people really met together to invoke the blessing of heaven on their empire by throwing hundreds of their infants into a large furnace. We can only realise the combination by imagining a number of Manchester merchants with chimney-pot hats and mutton-chop whiskers, going to church every Sunday at eleven o'clock to see a baby roasted alive. "
Compare it with this monstrosity apparently being shown in Chesterton's own country now.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Again, just because

The end of the Apologia Pro Vita Sua
"I have closed this history of myself with St. Philip's name upon St. Philip's feast-day; and, having done so, to whom can I more suitably offer it, as a memorial of affection and gratitude, than to St. Philip's sons, my dearest brothers of this House, the Priests of the Birmingham Oratory, AMBROSE ST. JOHN, HENRY AUSTIN MILLS, HENRY BITTLESTON, EDWARD CASWALL, WILLIAM PAINE NEVILLE, and HENRY IGNATIUS DUDLEY RYDER? who have been so faithful to me; who have been so sensitive of my needs; who have been so indulgent to my failings; who have carried me through so many trials; who have grudged no sacrifice, if I asked for it; who have been so cheerful under discouragements of my causing; who have done so many good works, and let me have the credit of them;—with whom I have lived so long, with whom I hope to die.

And to you especially, dear AMBROSE ST. JOHN; whom God gave me, when He took every one else away; who are the link between my old life and my new; who have now for twenty-one years been so devoted to me, so patient, so zealous, so tender; who have let me lean so hard upon you; who have watched me so narrowly; who have never thought of yourself, if I was in question.

And in you I gather up and bear in memory those familiar affectionate companions and counsellors, who in Oxford were given to me, one after another, to be my daily solace and relief; and all those others, of great name and high example, who were my thorough friends, and showed me true attachment in times long past; and also those many younger men, whether I knew them or not, who have never been disloyal to me by word or deed; and of all these, thus various in their relations to me, those more especially who have since joined the Catholic Church.

And I earnestly pray for this whole company, with a hope against hope, that all of us, who once were so united, and so happy in our union, may even now be brought at length, by the Power of the Divine Will, into One Fold and under One Shepherd.

May 26, 1864.
In Festo Corp. Christ. "

It isn't on the US calendar, and I don't even know if it is on the Benedictine calendar...
but I just have to mention that today is the feast of St. Frodobert, O.S.B.
"Sure, we want the laity's input, but...."
Great post at Envoy Encore by Dwight Longnecker.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Jesus, Son of Mary
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

When our Lord came upon earth, He might have created a fresh body for Himself out of nothing—or He might have formed a body for Himself out of the earth, as He formed Adam. But He preferred to be born, as other men are born, of a human mother. Why did He do so? He did so to put honour on all those earthly relations and connections which are ours by nature; and to teach us that, though He has begun a new creation, He does not wish us to cast off the old creation, as far as it is not sinful. Hence it is our duty to love and honour our parents, to be affectionate to our brothers, sisters, friends, husbands, wives, not only not less, but even more, than it was man's duty before our Lord came on earth. As we become better Christians, more consistent and zealous servants of Jesus, we shall become only more and more anxious for the good of all around us—our kindred, our friends, our acquaintances, our neighbours, our superiors, our inferiors, our masters, our employers. And this we shall do from the recollection how our Lord loved His Mother. He loves her still in heaven with a special love. He refuses her nothing. We then on earth must feel a tender solicitude for all our relations, all our friends, all whom we know or have dealings with. And moreover, we must love not only those who love us, but those who hate us or injure us, that we may imitate Him, who not only was loving to His Mother, but even suffered Judas, the traitor, to kiss Him, and prayed for His murderers on the cross.

Let us pray God for our relations, friends, well wishers, and enemies, living and dead.

O Jesus, son of Mary, whom Mary followed to the Cross when Thy disciples fled, and who didst bear her tenderly in mind in the midst of Thy sufferings, even in Thy last words, who didst commit her to Thy best beloved disciple, saying to her, "Woman, behold thy son," and to him, "Behold thy Mother," we, after Thy pattern, would pray for all who are near and dear to us, and we beg Thy grace to do so continually. We beg Thee to bring them all into the light of Thy truth, or to keep them in Thy truth if they already know it, and to keep them in a state of grace, and to give them the gift of perseverance. We thus pray for our parents, for our fathers and our mothers, for our children, for every one of them, for our brothers and sisters, for every one of our brothers, for every one of our sisters, for our cousins and all our kindred, for our friends, and our father's friends, for all our old friends, for our dear and intimate friends, for our teachers, for our pupils, for our masters and employers, for our servants or subordinates, for our associates and work-fellows, for our neighbours, for our superiors and rulers; for those who wish us well, for those who wish us ill; for our enemies; for our rivals; for our injurers and for our slanderers. And not only for the living, but for the dead, who have died in the grace of God, that He may shorten their time of expiation, and admit them into His presence above.

In the "how the mighty have fallen" department...

Bill Clinton heads Oxford's wishlist for new Chancellor

Two surprises today...
The big one... I mentioned the Pittsburgh Oratory elections were going to be held yesterday. Well, the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Pittsburgh has a new Provost ! The exclamation point is because this is definitely a surprise, as the previous Provost had served for many years. Please pray for Fr. David Abernethy, C.O., as he sets about the task God and his brothers in St. Philip have set for him.

The other surprise happened while I was helping put away the altar linens and such after Mass. There was a priest visiting Pittsburgh from West Virginia, and he was speaking with Fr. Michael and Fr. Joseph at the door of the ambulatory. (Heinz Chapel is non-denominational and, while the Oratory celebrates daily Mass there, it is missing certain features a Catholic church would have. Thus there is no sacristy and the things needed for Mass must be kept in a cupboard in the ambulatory.) I had just closed the cupboard door when I heard the visiting priest say "Actually, I've found that some lady involved with the Oratory here has a blog..."

Feast of St. Raymond of Peñafort... and a "From the homily"
There's information on the saint here. Fr. Michael was the main celebrant, with Fr. Joseph concelebrating. The homily focused on the first reading, particularly the verse "In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as expiation for our sins." One of the points was that, while many people scoff at theology as 'hairsplitting', without a proper theological understanding of who Christ is, the true meaning of love as sacrificial is lessened. For example, denying Christ's full divinity, as certain early heresies and many modern 'Christians' do, implies that God has not completely given Himself in the Crucifixion. If even God has not given Himself, then how could we, in our weakness and sinfulness, give of ourselves in the way God desires ? Only through, and in imitation of, His ultimate act of love can we follow Him, as the saints throughout the ages have, and thus by the power of His grace gain the salvation He won for us.

Monday, January 06, 2003

Lots of things connected with this date....
Besides being the traditional (and international) date for Epiphany, today is also feast of Blessed Andre Bessette.
Also, on this date, in 1982, Fr. William Clancy, C.O., Provost of the Pittsburgh Oratory, went to his reward. Prayers for the repose of his soul would, of course, be appreciated. I never knew him personally, since I did not encounter the Oratory until a good many years after his death, but the affection and respect with which he is remembered by the priests here who did know him speaks a great deal.
One of these priests gave me permission to recount this little anecdote. When he was a novice, (and still an undergraduate in college, I believe) he went to see a movie...The Exorcist. He was deeply disturbed by the film, and Fr. Clancy noticed that something was troubling him. After he admitted that he had found the depiction of demons terrifying, to the point where he was having a bit of difficulty sleeping, Fr. Clancy gave him some advice, which included this little quote.
"Demons climbing up the side of the Oratory to come get you aren't the problem. If they did come like that, what would happen ? You'd pray- and why on earth would they want to make you do that ? The problem is demons climbing up the side of your heart, tempting to pettiness, jealousy, lack of charity, and so on... That's the everyday Enemy."
Finally, this is also the date of the triennial Election of the Provost and Deputies for the Pittsburgh Oratory. It seems it has been held on this date since Fr. Clancy went to his reward, since the community needed to elect a new Provost upon his death . Please pray that the Fathers may be guided by the Holy Spirit in this matter.

Giving the term "dead-letter" a whole new spin
A bill collecting agency goes after a saint who went to her reward in the 700's. Thanks to for the link.

Cool article
on the Catholicness of Tolkien's vision here .

Sunday, January 05, 2003

While we celebrate Epiphany today in the US...
Elsewhere it is the vigil, or Epiphany Eve. It was also the date Mary Newman, the Venerable's youngest sister, and the one closest to him, died suddenly at the age of nineteen. This was a terrible blow to him, and it, along with an illness of his own and other factors, helped keep him from sympathy with the 'liberalizing' tendencies common among many of the Fellows of Oriel College. As he states in the Apologia Pro Vita Sua :
" The truth is, I was beginning to prefer intellectual excellence to moral: I was drifting in the direction of liberalism. I was rudely awakened from my dream at the end of 1827 by two great blows—illness and bereavement."
He wrote a verse on the subject a few years later:

A Birthday Offering

Birthday gifts, with the early year,
Lo! we bring thee, Mary dear!
Prayer and praise upon thy death
Twined together in a wreath,
Grief and gladness, such as may
Suit a solemn holiday.
Christmas snow, for maiden's bloom
Blanched in winter's sudden tomb;
Christmas berries, His red token
Who that grave's stern seal hath broken;
These for thee the faithful heart,
Due mementos, sets apart.

'Twas a fast, that Eve of sorrow,
Herald veil'd of glorious morrow.
Speechless we sat; and watch'd, to know
How it would be; but time moved slow,
Along that day of sacred woe.
Then came the Feast, and we were told
Bravely of our best to bring,
Myrrh, and frankincense, and gold,
As our tribute to our King.

Dearest, gentlest, purest, best!
Deep is thy mysterious rest,
Now the solemn hours are over
And the Angels round thee hover,
With the fanning of their wings
Keeping time to one who sings
Of high themes consolatory,
Of the All-loving and His glory,
Of the age that has no ending,
Of the day of thy ascending
From those shades of paradise
To the bright supernal skies.

Thinkest of us, dearest, ever?
Ah! so be it nought can sever
Spirit and life, the past and present,
Still we yield thee musings pleasant.
—God above, and we below;—
So thought ranges, to and fro.
He, in sooth, by tutorings mild,
From the rude clay shaped His child,
Fiery trial, anguish chill,
Served not here His secret will;
But His voice was low and tender,
And so true was thy surrender,
That the work in haste was done,
Grace and nature blent in one.—
Harmless thus, and not unmeet,
To kiss the dear prints of thy feet,
Tracing thus the narrow road
All must tread, and Christ has trod.

Loveliest, meekest, blithest, kindest!
Lead! we seek the home thou findest!
Though thy name to us most dear,
Go! we would not have thee here.
Lead, a guiding beacon bright
To travellers on the Eve of Light.
Welcome aye thy Star before us,
Bring it grief or gladness o'er us;—
Keen regret and tearful yearning,
Whiles unfelt, and whiles returning;—
Or more gracious thoughts abiding,
Fever-quelling, sorrow-chiding;—
Or, when day-light blessings fail,
Transport fresh as spice-fraught gale,
Sparks from thee, which oft have lighted
Weary heart and hope benighted.

I this monument would raise,
Distant from the public gaze.
Few will see it;—few e'er knew thee;
But their beating hearts pursue thee,—
And their eyes fond thoughts betoken,
Though thy name be seldom spoken.
Pass on, stranger, and despise it!
These will read, and these will prize it.

January 5, 1830.

This one is obvious...

Tolkienology 101: What is Your Tolkien Belief System?

brought to you by Quizilla

TOLKIEN CONSERVATIVE: Traditional, loyal, faithful, and, above all, reverent defender of Tolkien and his works. You probably either belong to the Canon Police or are a sympathizer. Though you have a tendency to be pompous, supercilious, and condescending in conversing with fans who fail to meet your exacting standards for approval, you won't burn anyone at the stake.
I might add two things from my "100 Things About Me" list....

" 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(s) 27 times does not count..."

And there's my post here.

Somebody in the state highway department knows his or her Tolkien...
and is using this knowledge to further the rivalry between the football teams playing here today. A friend told me there's a large electronic sign on the Parkway which reads:
I know zip about football, but this cracked me up anyway .....
Music at noon Mass
Processional Hymn: "We Three Kings of Orient Are"
Offertory: "Reges Terrae"- Jean Mouton (1459-1522)
Communion: "The First Noel"
Recessional Hymn: "Songs of Thankfulness and Praise"