Saturday, February 08, 2003

Since I am, after all, the Rat Maiden
I think I should post that while the loss of human lives on the crash of the Columbia is infinitely more important, there were a few other lives lost as well - 13 rats.
Digging through the paper archives again
I found a handout sheet from a retreat I went on years ago . I don't know who wrote it-the priest who led the retreat or someone else whose writing he found, but I think it's interesting. I'll be blogging a paragraph each time I have a computer available.

"One traditional model for the life of grace is that of the avoidance of the seven deadly cardinal or deadly sins and the pursuit of the seven cardinal virtues. Thus the fount of all sin, the sin of Adam and Eve, pride, is attacked with the recognition that we are not divine, but depend on God for all graces, even life itself. Therefore we need Him, and we need others. Vanity, arrogance, superiority, claiming to be indispensible, are all rejected in favor of humility, shown in being honest and realistic about ourselves- that we may be acceptable to God, but we are not yet as He wants us to be. Humility as the opposite of pride requires that our self-esteem does not blind us to our own faults or to the virtues of others. "

Interesting essay
on why St. Isidore of Seville should be the patron of the Internet . I agree that he should be the patron, though I disagree on some of her other points, and I'm not sure some of the facts are straight. (I always thought St. Francis de Sales was the patron of writers, not editors ! And I never heard anywhere else of St. John Bosco being a writers patron.)
Thanks to Relapsed Catholic for the link.

I probably won't be able to blog tomorow
so I will post this now.
Music for Sunday's noon Mass
Processional Hymn: "Sing Praise To God Who Reigns Above"
Offertory: "Oh Most Merciful" - Charles Wood (1866-1926)
Communion: "Tu Solus Qui Facis Mirabilia" - Josquin des Pres (c.1450-1521)
Recessional Hymn: "Lord of All Hopefulness"

Friday, February 07, 2003

For Friday
"6. A hand was lifted up against the Face of Christ. Whose hand was that? My conscience tells me: "thou art the man." I trust it is not so with me now. But, O my soul, contemplate the awful fact. Fancy Christ before thee, and fancy thyself lifting up thy hand and striking Him! Thou wilt say, "It is impossible: I could not do so." Yes, thou hast done so. When thou didst sin wilfully, then thou hast done so. He is beyond pain now: still thou hast struck Him, and had it been in the days of His flesh, He would have felt pain. Turn back in memory, and recollect the time, the day, the hour, when by wilful mortal sin, by scoffing at sacred things, or by profaneness, or by dark hatred of this thy Brother, or by acts of impurity, or by deliberate rejection of God's voice, or in any other devilish way known to thee, thou hast struck The All-holy One.

O injured Lord, what can I say? I am very guilty concerning Thee, my Brother; and I shall sink in sullen despair if Thou dost not raise me. I cannot look on Thee; I shrink from Thee; I throw my arms round my face; I crouch to the earth. Satan will pull me down if Thou take not pity. It is terrible to turn to Thee; but oh turn Thou me, and so shall I be turned. It is a purgatory to endure the sight of Thee, the sight of myself—I most vile, Thou most holy. Yet make me look once more on Thee whom I have so incomprehensibly affronted, for Thy countenance is my only life, my only hope and health lies in looking on Thee whom I have pierced. So I put myself before Thee; I look on Thee again; I endure the pain in order to the purification.

O my God, how can I look Thee in the face when I think of my ingratitude, so deeply seated, so habitual, so immovable—or rather so awfully increasing! Thou loadest me day by day with Thy favours, and feedest me with Thyself, as Thou didst Judas, yet I not only do not profit thereby, but I do not even make any acknowledgment at the time. Lord, how long? when shall I be free from this real, this fatal captivity? He who made Judas his prey, has got foothold of me in my old age, and I cannot get loose. It is the same day after day. When wilt Thou give me a still greater grace than Thou hast given, the grace to profit by the graces which Thou givest? When wilt Thou give me Thy effectual grace which alone can give life and vigour to this effete, miserable, dying soul of mine? My God, I know not in what sense I can pain Thee in Thy glorified state; but I know that every fresh sin, every fresh ingratitude I now commit, was among the blows and stripes which once fell on Thee in Thy passion. O let me have as little share in those Thy past sufferings as possible. Day by day goes, and I find I have been more and more, by the new sins of each day, the cause of them. I know that at best I have a real share in solido of them all, but still it is shocking to find myself having a greater and greater share. Let others wound Thee—let not me. Let not me have to think that Thou wouldest have had this or that pang of soul or body the less, except for me. O my God, I am so fast in prison that I cannot get out. O Mary, pray for me. O Philip, pray for me, though I do not deserve pity. "

from Meditations and Devotions, by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.
Bill Cork
is on a roll. Check out his magnificent post on Professor Kreeft discussing Professor Tolkien and his interesting post on doctrinal development.

Brilliant !
I may be one of the last to blog it, but here is Catholic Howl by Gen X Revert
Heart-breaking post
by Mark Sullivan at Ad Orientem .

Thursday, February 06, 2003

I missed an interesting anniversary
back on January 23. It was the anniversary of the day back in 1875 when a certain Anglican clergyman went to his reward. No, not a former Anglican clergyman-this one went to his grave as a member of the Church of England. While he claimed that, at one point, he had flirted a bit with High Church ideas, he later repudiated them violently. He was known for writing both essays and novels in which hearty Englishmen or Germans, whether pagan or Protestant, are depicted as the models of true virtue, while Latins, including some of the early Church Fathers, are shown as decadent and corrupt.
Now why would such a person interest me ?
Because his name was Charles Kingsley, and in 1864 he wrote these words in an anonymus article in Macmillan's Magazine.

"Truth, for its own sake, had never been a virtue with the Roman clergy. Father Newman informs us that it need not, and on the whole ought not to be; that cunning is the weapon which Heaven has given to the saints wherewith to withstand the brute male force of the wicked world which marries and is given in marriage. Whether his notion be doctrinally correct or not, it is at least historically so."

When the Venerable's attention was brought to this passage, he wrote to the magazine in question, stating that they surely would wish to correct so egregious a libel. Instead an exchange of letters ensued, culminating in Mr. Kingsley publishing a pamphlet in which he not only refused to apologize, but increased his offensiveness ten times over.
Venerable Newman's response was, of course, the Apologia Pro Vita Sua, his masterpiece, with which his reputation in England, and later his reputation in Rome, began to revive.
The Venerable's own comment upon Mr. Kingsley's death follows:
'As to Mr. Kingsley, much less could I feel any resentment against him when he was accidentally the instrument, in the good Providence of God, by whom I had an opportunity given me, which otherwise I should not have had, of vindicating my character and conduct in my "Apologia." I heard, too, a few years back from a friend that she chanced to go into Chester Cathedral and found Mr. K. preaching about me, kindly though, of course, with criticisms on me. And it has rejoiced me to observe lately that he was defending the Athanasian Creed, and, as it seemed to me, in his views generally nearing the Catholic view of things. I have always hoped that by good luck I might meet him, feeling sure that there would be no embarrassment on my part, and I said Mass for his soul as soon as I heard of his death.
'Most truly yours,

The Feast of St Paul Miki, S.J., and Companions, Martyrs
is today. There is information on these amazing witnesses for Christ here .
The more I hear about it
the less I am convinced by the accusation against J.R.R. Tolkien's now late eldest son . The brilliant Mr. Shea has a good post on this sad topic.

Interesting post
over at Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor , on being half-Irish, half-German.
Hmm. My ancestry is half-Irish, not-quite-half-Welsh, one-sixteenth Italian. My love of vocal music, both listening to it and singing it, is an obvious inheritance from my forebears in Cymru. And, unfortunately, all three ethnicities are known for having explosive tempers !
Reason to rejoice
The choir is rehearsing again tonight and singing again on Sunday, after a hiatus of two weeks. We were off while the University in its wisdom decided to replace the cork under the flooring in Heinz Chapel. (Why couldn't they have done this in the summer, when the number of people attending our Sunday Mass at noon is considerably smaller ? ) The noon Mass was celebrated in an auditorium (provided by same University) across the street for the past two Sundays. The acoustics in the place were so dismal our choir director decided to let us have a short break until the Chapel was available again.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Had to chuckle a bit when I read this
over at Pompous Ponderings.

Just finished the Silmarillion. I'll never think of elves the same way again.

Yes, The Silmarillion gives you a lot more insight into the Elven character than you get in The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien's Elves are beautiful, and have amazing abilities, but they are not all sweetness and light ! Of course, as someone who has a bit of a Fëanor fixation, I'm more aware of this than most....

Even trolls can have a point
No, I'm not talking Tolkienian trolls, but the Internet-type. There's a certain one who has apparently taken to haunting comment boxes on certain blogs. He seems to be a evangelistic atheist person, with a particular axe to grind against those teachings on sexual morality which are out of step with current culture. Most of the opinions he expresses are, to put it bluntly, drivel. However, this one post made me seriously uncomfortable.

Orthodox Catholics are a small minority of American Catholics. Most American Catholics dissent from Church teaching in all sorts of ways--on contraception, on divorce, on abortion, on the ordination of women, on the celibacy requirement for priests, and so on. The more orthodox the Catholic Church becomes in America, the more it will drive these rank-and-file Catholics out of the Church. I get the impression that that's what many of you orthodox types want, anyway.

I think he's generalizing a bit, and also mixing together issues of varying degrees of importance. (While I don't think the celibacy requirement for priests in the Latin Rite should be altered, it's not in the same category as the impossibilities of the Church ordaining women or allowing for the killing of unborn children.) However, part of me resonates with what he's saying. Lots of times I hear or read of people calling themselves Catholic publicly dissenting, and I end up seething and wishing somebody would just kick them out for crying out loud ! Then I realize I'm not being charitable, I don't know what their formation was like, I'm letting my temper get the best of me, etc. This is particularly stinging for me to realize since my patron St. Philip was known for dealing kindly with everyone.
However, another part of me wonders if the Church might be better off smaller, stricter, but more faithful. We started out with the folks in the Upper Room, after all. Then again, I wonder if I'm indulging in sectarianism when I say that. (See the brilliant book Enthusiasm by Msgr. Ronald Knox.)
Yep, I'm confused. Need more prayer and counsel to sort this one out.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Another reason not to like Mark Twain
I entered the first line of Phyllis McGinley's verse on St. Philip into the Google search engine, to see if it is online anywhere. ("When Phlip Neri walked abroad/Beside the Tiber, praising God...") It seems that that verse is not online, since the first result was a quote from Mr. Twain's Innocents Abroad , in which Mr. Twain mocked St. Philip's Pentecost experience, saying that he wondered what Philip had had for dinner.
Apparently the smug materialists around nowadays are nothing new...
Yet another thank you
This time to Jeanetta for linking to my blog. She also has an amazingly cool story about a relative of hers. (She gives the disclaimer that he wasn't a blood relative, but I think it's close enough to count !)

Flags at half-mast all over today
The Oratory's flags (American and Papal) included.....

For the Dead
(A Hymn.)

by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

Help, Lord, the souls which Thou hast made,
The souls to Thee so dear,
In prison for the debt unpaid
Of sins committed here.

Those holy souls, they suffer on,
Resign'd in heart and will,
Until Thy high behest is done,
And justice has its fill.
For daily falls, for pardon'd crime,
They joy to undergo
The shadow of Thy cross sublime,
The remnant of Thy woe.

Help, Lord, the souls which Thou hast made,
The souls to Thee so dear,
In prison for the debt unpaid
Of sins committed here.

Oh, by their patience of delay,
Their hope amid their pain,
Their sacred zeal to burn away
Disfigurement and stain;
Oh, by their fire of love, not less
In keenness than the flame,
Oh, by their very helplessness,
Oh, by Thy own great Name,

Good Jesu, help! sweet Jesu, aid
The souls to Thee most dear,
In prison for the debt unpaid
Of sins committed here.

The Oratory

Whoops !
A student at an evangelical college discovered a Christological heresy in the school's Mission Statement.
Actually, I'm impressed the Mission Statement is theologically detailed enough to have a heresy.
Thanks to Sursum Corda for the link.

Monday, February 03, 2003

Mr. Muncey
over at One Pilgrim's Walk was kind enough to add me to his links.

to Amy Welborn and Jeff Miller who are shutting down their blogs.
The Feast of St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr
is today. There is information on him here.

Sunday, February 02, 2003

Cool idea, not happy about the implementation..
The controversial Jesuit-focused blogger Not For Sheep has posted a Litany of Jesuit Saints on her blog. Another Jesuit-focused blogger, Disordered Affections, has a post complaining about the same. While I rather like the idea of a litany of saints from a particular community, this one indulges in random 'canonization' of people whose causes have never even been introduced, and several names included are, IMHO, scandalous. It's bad enough we're often 'canonizing' people at their funeral Masses without this sort of thing.
That said, I'm thinking of writing a Litany of Oratorian Saints, but with only those who have been declared Saint, Blessed, or Venerable in my list. Unfortunately, finding material in English on the Oratorian Beati and Venerabili can be like pulling teeth...sigh... Since I'm only including those I know something about, this means it will be a short litany !

Two days late, but at least I'm not two dollars short..
My answers to the Friday Five...
1. As a child, who was your favorite superhero/heroine? Why?
I don't remember properly. I think it might have been Spiderman, because he seems to have been more angst-ridden than some of the others. None of the female superheroine impressed me much. And of course, I read The Lord of the Rings for the first time when I was 10, and The Silmarillion when I was 12. Who needs Wonder Woman when you've got Éowyn and Lúthien ?

2. What was one thing you always wanted as a child but never got?
I wanted to not be pestered by the other kids. Never happened until my freshman year of college.

3. What's the furthest from home you've been?
Macon, Georgia. For a wedding.

4. What's one thing you've always wanted to learn but haven't yet?
It hasn't been always, but I have wanted to learn Cymraeg (Welsh) for a while. Haven't gotten to it.

5. What are your plans for the weekend?
10 am Mass Saturday, watching the desk at the Oratory Saturday afternoon, noon Mass Sunday, Vespers and Benediction Sunday evening.
The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple
is today. This is also known as Candlemas. I believe that in the old calendar Lent was preceded by several other penitential weeks, so that in most years, Candlemas was followed by the beginning of preparation for Lent.

by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

(A Song.)

THE Angel-lights of Christmas morn,
Which shot across the sky,
Away they pass at Candlemas,
They sparkle and they die.

Comfort of earth is brief at best,
Although it be divine;
Like funeral lights for Christmas gone,
Old Simeon's tapers shine.

And then for eight long weeks and more,
We wait in twilight grey,
Till the high candle sheds a beam
On Holy Saturday.

We wait along the penance-tide
Of solemn fast and prayer;
While song is hush'd, and lights grow dim
In the sin-laden air.

And while the sword in Mary's soul
Is driven home, we hide
In our own hearts, and count the wounds
Of passion and of pride.

And still, though Candlemas be spent
And Alleluias o'er,
Mary is music in our need,
And Jesus light in store.

The Oratory.