Friday, December 26, 2003

Music from the Vigil Mass of Christmas
A Festival of Carols:
Choir and Congregation: "Once in Royal David's City"
Choir: " Ding, Dong ! Merrily on High"- 16th Century French Carol
Choir: "Up, Good Christen Folk and Listen"- from Piae Cantiones, 1582
Choir and Congregation: "Angels We Have Heard on High"
Choir: "The Infant King"- Basque Noel
Choir and Congregation: "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen"
Choir: "The Truth from Above" - English Carol, arranged by Ralph Vaughn Williams (1872-1958)
Choir and Congregation: "Silent Night"

Processional Hymn: "O Come, All Ye Faithful"
Offertory: "Salvation is Created" - Pavel Tschesnokoff (1877-1944)
Communion: "O Magnum Mysterium"- Tomas Luis da Vittoria (1548-1611)
Recessional Hymn: "Hark ! The Herald Angels Sing "
The Feast of St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr
is today. There is information on him here. To all who have him as a special patron, especially any deacons out there, happy feast day !

Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon on December 26th, 1875, on which the following notes survive:

" December 26 (St. Stephen)
[The Martyrs]

1. INTROD.—The first martyr—what meant by a martyr—witness for the truth. Christ the first martyr, but He more than a martyr.

2. There is one God, but He was forgotten by all the earth (except the Jews).

3. If one God, only one religion. But every nation had its own god or gods, and they never thought of interfering with each other.

4. God suffered this for a long while (Acts xiv. 16), but at length, etc.

5. Hence preachers and evangelists, apostles—but men did not like to be interfered with. It was a new thing; hence persecutions, and the preachers became martyrs.

6. In Jerusalem they first suffered, because they came in collision with the prejudices of the Jews—such St. Stephen—then a wider range—the apostles all martyrs.

7. The Te Deum calls them an army—(enlarge upon this). Contrast to Mahometans—nay, to Protestantism, which spreads, not indeed by persecution, but by the patronage, etc., of the State. What can be more wonderful than an army conquering by being beaten?

8. The most horrible deaths; stoning is bad enough, but it [was] only one way—St. Andrew, St. Bartholomew, St. Peter, St. James, St. Paul, St. John (oil)—the young, the old, the weak, the strong, men and women.

9. FIRST REFLECTION.—Thus are we Christians. What, under God, do we not owe to them?

10. SECOND REFLECTION.—How comfortable our lives are! The thought of the martyrs should support those too who are in pain, etc., and those who see their friends in pain.

11. All this should humble us. "

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

To everyone....
A blessed Christmas to all! I send special greetings to William Luse, who e-mailed me the compliments of the season. (Bill, I tried to e-mail back twice, but the messages both failed ! Sorry !)

" 'The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us;' this is the glorious, unsearchable, incomprehensible Truth, on which all our hopes for the future depend, and which we have now been commemorating. It is the wonderful Economy of Redemption, by which God became man, the Highest became the lowest, the Creator took His place among His own creatures, Power became weakness, and Wisdom looked to men like folly. He that was rich was made poor; the Lord of all was rejected: 'He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.' This, I say, is the grand mystery of the season..." - Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.
The Feast of St. Charbel Makhlouf, Priest
is today. There is information on him here. A happy feast day to any Maronite Catholics out there !

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Yes, I saw the movie yesterday....(SPOILERS!)
I could nitpick until the cows come home, and I didn't care for the depiction of Denethor or the Frodo/Sam 'rift', short-lived though it was... but I was on the edge of my seat for most of it and was in tears during the Grey Havens scene. Not perfect by a long shot, but I think it's an impressive effort and am looking forward to the extended edition.

Actually, I may be a bit easier on the films than some, simply because I have seen them interest a lot of people in the book. Anything that gets more people to read the Professor tends to win my approval by that very fact. (For example, before the movies, you did not see copies of the three volumes on grocery store bookracks. Now they are everywhere. )
If it were not Sunday
today would be the feast of St. Peter Canisius, S.J., Priest and Doctor of the Church.