Saturday, January 10, 2004

by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"If e'er I fall beneath Thy rod,
As through life's snares I go,
Save me from David's lot, O God!
And choose Thyself the woe.

How should I face Thy plagues? which scare,
And haunt, and stun, until
The heart or sinks in mute despair,
Or names a random ill.

If else ... then guide in David's path,
Who chose the holier pain;
Satan and man are tools of wrath,
An Angel's scourge is gain. "

Off Malta.
January 10, 1833.
Fr. Johansen
is keeping us posted on the continuing battle to preserve Terri Schiavo's life.
Is it my imagination, or do I hear the Professor pleading up there ?
"Please, please... could You just send one little thunderbolt to take care of this ? "

Link courtesy of Fr. Bryce Sibley.

I like it !
Over at Mr. Shea's blog, a commentor by the name of Tom R. came up with a label for the converts/reverts/etc. that hang out at said blog ... "Newmanoreans" !

Thursday, January 08, 2004

For Thursday
"And if you are conscious that your hearts are hard, and are desirous that they should be softened, do not despair. All things are possible to you, through God's grace. Come to Him for the will and the power to do that to which He calls you. He never forsakes anyone who calls upon Him. He never puts any trial on a man but He gives him grace to overcome it. Do not despair then; nay do not despond, even though you do come to Him, yet are not at once exalted to overcome yourselves. He gives grace by little and little. It is by coming daily into His presence, that by degrees we find ourselves awed by that presence and able to believe and obey Him. Therefore if any one desires illumination to know God's will as well as strength to do it, let him come to Mass daily, if he possibly can. At least let him present himself daily before the Blessed Sacrament, and, as it were, offer his heart to His Incarnate Saviour, presenting it as a reasonable offering to be influenced, changed and sanctified under the eye and by the grace of the Eternal Son. "- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O. Faith and Prejudice, and Other Unpublished Sermons
And the final addition to the pictures kick..
A portrait of one of the more tragic couples of Arda:
Fëanor and Nerdanel
It seems I'm on a bit of a pictures kick today...
and I found this interesting page:
Emblems and Heraldry in Middle-earth.
A few pictures...
of St. Philip Neri from the Confederation website. Out of these, I think this is my favorite- St. Philip at prayer while celebrating Mass.

For any Benedictines and/or Tolkien geeks out there...
happy feast of St. Frodobert, O.S.B. !

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

On January 7th, 1864
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O. wrote a reply in his escalating epistolary battle with the Reverend Charles Kingsley.

"The Oratory, Birmingham,
January 7, 1864.
I have to acknowledge your letter of the 6th, informing me that you are the writer of an article in Macmillan's Magazine, in which I am mentioned, and referring generally to a Protestant sermon of mine of seventeen pages, published by me, as Vicar of St. Mary's, in 1844, and treating of the bearing of the Christian towards the world, and of the character of the reaction of that bearing upon him; and also, referring to my works passim; in justification of your statement, categorical and definite, that 'Father Newman informs us that truth for its own sake need not, and on the whole ought not to be, a virtue with the Roman clergy.'

I have only to remark, in addition to what I have already said with great sincerity to Messrs. Macmillan and Co., in the letter of which you speak, and to which I refer you, that, when I wrote to them, no person whatever, whom I had ever seen or heard of, had occurred to me as the author of the statement in question. When I received your letter, taking upon yourself the authorship, I was amazed.
I am, Reverend Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) JOHN H. NEWMAN. "

The next day, he wrote a letter to the publisher involved, who had attempted to 'calm the waters' a bit with a letter of his own.

" The Oratory, January 8, 1864.
I thank you for the friendly tone of your letter of the 5th just received, and I wish to reply to it with the frankness which it invites. I have heard from Mr. Kingsley, avowing himself, to my extreme astonishment, the author of the passage about which I wrote to Messrs. Macmillan. No one, whose name I had ever heard, crossed my mind as the writer in their Magazine: and, had any one said that it was Mr. Kingsley, I should have laughed in his face. Certainly, I saw the initials at the end; but, you must recollect, I live out of the world; and, I must own, if Messrs. Macmillan will not think the confession rude, that, as far as I remember, I never before saw even the outside of their Magazine. And so of the Editor: when I saw his name on the cover, it conveyed to me absolutely no idea whatever. I am not defending myself, but merely stating what was the fact; and as to the article, I said to myself, 'Here is a young scribe, who is making himself a cheap reputation by smart hits at safe objects.'

All this will make you see, not only how I live out of the world, but also how wanton I feel it to have been in the parties concerned thus to let fly at me. Were I in active controversy with the Anglican body, or any portion of it, as I have been before now, I should consider untrue assertions about me to be in a certain sense a rule of the game, as times go, though God forbid that I should indulge in them myself in the case of another. I have never been very sensitive of such attacks; rarely taken notice of them. Now, when I have long ceased from controversy, they continue: they have lasted incessantly from the year 1833 to this day. They do not ordinarily come in my way: when they do, I let them pass through indolence. Sometimes friends send me specimens of them; and sometimes they are such as I am bound to answer, if I would not compromise interests which are dearer to me than life. The January number of the Magazine was sent to me, I know not by whom, friend or foe, with the passage to which I have animadverted, emphatically, not to say indignantly, scored against. Nor can there be a better proof that there was a call upon me to notice it, than the astounding fact that you can so calmly (excuse me) 'confess plainly' of yourself, as you do, 'that you had read the passage, and did not even think that I or any of my communion would think it unjust.'

Most wonderful phenomenon! An educated man, breathing English air, and walking in the light of the nineteenth century, thinks that neither I nor any members of my communion feel any difficulty in allowing that 'Truth for its own sake need not, and on the whole ought not to be, a virtue with the Roman clergy;' nay, that they are not at all surprised to be told that 'Father Newman had informed' the world, that such is the standard of morality acknowledged, acquiesced in, by his co-religionists! But, I suppose, in truth, there is nothing at all, however base, up to the high mark of Titus Oates, which a Catholic may not expect to be believed of him by Protestants, however honourable and hard-headed. However, dismissing this natural train of thought, I observe on your avowal as follows; and I think what I shall say will commend itself to your judgment as soon as I say it.

I think you will allow then, that there is a broad difference between a virtue, considered in itself as a principle or rule, and the application or limits of it in human conduct. Catholics and Protestants, in their view of the substance of the moral virtues, agree, but they carry them out variously in detail; and in particular instances, and in the case of particular actors or writers, with but indifferent success. Truth is the same in itself and in substance to Catholic and Protestant; so is purity: both virtues are to be referred to that moral sense which is the natural possession of us all. But when we come to the question in detail, whether this or that act in particular is conformable to the rule of truth, or again to the rule of purity; then sometimes there is a difference of opinion between individuals, sometimes between schools, and sometimes between religious communions. I, on my side, have long thought, even before I was a Catholic, that the Protestant system, as such, leads to a lax observance of the rule of purity; Protestants think that the Catholic system, as such, leads to a lax observance of the rule of truth. I am very sorry that they should think so, but I cannot help it; I lament their mistake, but I bear it as I may. If Mr. Kingsley had said no more than this, I should not have felt it necessary to criticize such an ordinary remark. But, as I should be committing a crime, heaping dirt upon my soul, and storing up for myself remorse and confusion of face at a future day, if I applied my abstract belief of the latent sensuality of Protestantism, on à priori reasoning, to individuals, to living persons, to authors and men of name, and said (not to make disrespectful allusion to the living) that Bishop Van Mildert, or the Rev. Dr. Spry, or Dean Milner, or the Rev. Charles Simeon 'informs us that chastity for its own sake need not be, and on the whole ought not to be, a virtue with the Anglican clergy,' and then, when challenged for the proof, said, "Vide Van Mildert's Bampton Lectures and Simeon's Skeleton Sermons passim;' and, as I should only make the matter still worse, if I pointed to flagrant instances of paradoxical divines or of bad clergymen among Protestants, as, for instance, to that popular London preacher at the end of last century who advocated polygamy in print; so, in like manner, for a writer, when he is criticizing definite historical facts of the sixteenth century, which stand or fall on their own merits, to go out of his way to have a fling at an unpopular name, living but 'down,' and boldly to say to those who know no better, who know nothing but what he tells them, who take their tradition of historical facts from him, who do not know me,—to say of me, 'Father Newman informs us that Truth for its own sake need not be, and on the whole ought not to be, a virtue with the Roman clergy,' and to be thus brilliant and antithetical (save the mark!) in the very cause of Truth, is a proceeding of so special a character as to lead me to exclaim, after the pattern of the celebrated saying, 'O Truth, how many lies are told in thy name!' ..."

The controversy continued in these letters, and led to a pamphlet by the Reverend Kingsley in whch he made his original accusation seem downright tame by the heap of insulting verbiage he poured out on Newman and the Catholic Church. However, it was this which led to the writing of Venerable Newman's masterpiece, Apologia Pro Vita Sua.

Over at Mere Comments
there is currently a plethora of links to good articles, but there was one in particular which I found profoundly disturbing:
Dead Kids on the Block
The article deals with the pain-filled lives and early deaths of women who sell their bodies- usually for money to feed their drug addictions- and is, obviously, not meant for children-though most of the subjects of the piece are so young they are almost children themselves. The part I found most appalling was this:

"I remember a few years back listening to a talk radio program. A jolly lady, in her own words a 'senior citizen,'was speaking with chuckles about the time she gave her husband a special birthday present. She took him to the Block and paid for him to cut off a young woman’s clothes with scissors.The host, whom I know to be a very intelligent and principled conservative, said, 'And I bet everybody had a good time.'
'Oh yes,' chuckled the elderly woman. Hey, a bit of fun. It is one of those things that makes Balmer (ed. Baltimore) a grand ole’ place."

How could a woman possibly have so little self-respect that she would pay,
pay, for her own husband to drool over one of these pathetic kids ?
From the homily
Fr. David was the celebrant at noon Mass today. The point I remember best is that no matter what the storms around us are, our God is is "God with us", who never abandons us in our difficulties.
The Feast of St. Raymond of Peñafort, Priest
is today.There is information on him here.
One source says that this is the feast of the Oratorian beatus Joseph Vaz, but as all my other sources say that his feast is January 16th, I will mention it then.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

I looked at an old post...
and discovered that Blogger had messed up the special characters in it-and that just won't do. So here, once again, thanks to Helge Fauskanger at Ardalambion and the Professor, is Genesis 1 in Quenya.

1. I yessessë Eru ontanë Menel ar Cemen. 2 Cemen né cumna ar lusta, ar engë mornië or i undumë, nan Eruo Súlë willë or i neni.

3 Ar equë Eru: "Eä cálë!" Ar engë cálë. 4 Eru cennë sa i cálë né mára, ar Eru ciltanë i cálë i morniello. 5 Ar Eru estanë i cálë Aurë, ar i mornië estanes Lómë. Ar engë sinyë, ar engë arin, i minya aurë. 6 Ar equë Eru: "Eä telluma endessë i nenion, ar ciltuvas nén nenello." 7 Ar Eru carnë i telluma ar ciltanë i neni or i telluma i nenillon nu i telluma. Ar engë sië. 8 Ar Eru estanë i telluma Menel. Engë sinyë, ar engë arin, i attëa aurë.

9 Ar equë Eru: "Na i neni nu menel hostainë minë nómessë, ar na i parca nór cénina!" Ar engë sië. 10 Ar Eru estanë i parca nór Cemen, nan i hostainë neni estanes Eär. Ar Eru cennë sa nes mára.

11 Ar equë Eru: "Á colë cemen salquë, olvar carila erdi, yávaldar colila yávë nostalentassen, cemendë." Ar engë sië. 12 Cemen collë salquë, olvar carila erdi, nostalentassen, ar aldar colila yávë yassë ëar erdentar, nostalentassen. Ar Eru cennë sa nes mára. 13 Ar engë sinyë, ar engë arin, i nelya aurë.

14 Ar equë Eru: "Eä calmar tellumassë menelo ciltien aurë lómillo, ar nauvantë tannar asarion ar aurion ar coranárion. 15 Nauvantë calmar tellumassë menelo caltien cemenna." Ar engë sië. 16 Eru carnë i atta altë calmar, i analta calma turien auressë ar i pitya calma turien lómissë, ar i eleni. 17 Ar Eru panyanë ta tellumassë menelo caltien cemenna 18 ar turien auressë ar lómissë ar ciltien cálë morniello. Ar Eru cennë sa nes mára. 19 Ar engë sinyë, ar engë arin, i cantëa aurë.

20 Ar equë Eru: "Á ëa úvë cuinë onnolíva i nenissen, ar á wilë aiweli tellumassë menelo." 21 Ar Eru ontanë i altë ëarcelvar ar ilya i úvë cuinë onnaiva i rihtar i nenissen, nostalentassen, ar ilyë rámavoiti onnar nostalentassen. Ar Eru cennë sa nes mára. 22 Ar Eru laitanë te ar quentë: "Na yávinquë ar na rimbë, á quatë nén i ëarion, ar na i aiwi rimbë cemendë!" 23 Ar engë sinyë, ar engë arin, i lempëa aurë.

24 Ar equë Eru: "Á colë cemen cuinë onnar nostalentassen, lamni ar celvaller ar cemeno hravani celvar, nostalentassen." 25 Ar Eru carnë cemeno hravani celvar nostalentassen, ar i lamni nostalentassen ar ilyë celvar i vantar cemendë, nostalentassen. Ar Eru cennë sa nes mára. 26 Ar equë Eru: "Alvë carë Atan venwelvassë, canta velvë; ar turuvas ëaro lingwi ar menelo aiwi ar i lamni ar ilya i cemen ar ilyë celvar i vantar cemendë." 27 Ar Eru ontanë Atan venweryassë, Eruo venwessë ontaneryes; hanu ar ní ontaneryet. 28 Ar Eru laitanë te, ar equë Eru tienna: "Na yávinquë ar na rimbë, á quatë cemen ar ása panya nu le, ar á turë ëaro lingwi ar menelo aiwi ar ilyë cuinë onnar i vantar cemendë." 29 Ar equë Eru: "En! antan len ilyë olvar carila erdi, ilya i ëar ilya i palúressë cemeno, ar ilyë aldar carila yávi yassen ëar erdi. Nas ya matuval. 30 Ar ilyë hravani celvain ar ilye menelo aiwin ar ilyan i vanta cemendë, ilya cuinan, antan ilyë laiquë olvar matien."

31 Ar Eru cennë ilya ya carnes, ar en! nes ammára. Ar engë sinyë, ar engë arin, i enquëa aurë.

When I was on Ardalambion, I discovered that Mr. Fauskanger has also done a bit of the New Testament as well....

18 I colië Yésus Hristova martanë sië: Írë amillerya María né nauta vestien Yósef, nes hírina lapsarwa i Airefëanen, epë nentë ertainë. 19 Mal Yósef vennorya, i né faila ar úmë merë naitya se, mernë lerya se nuldavë. 20 Mal apa sannes sin, en! i Heruo vala tullë senna oloressë, quétala: "Yósef Lavirion, áva rucë mapiello María vesselya marenna, an ya ná nostaina sessë i Airefëanen ná. 21 Coluvas yondo, ar estuvalyes Yésus, an etelehtuvas lierya úcarintallon." 22 Ilqua sina martanë quantien ya i Heru quentë tercánoryanen, quétala: " En ! i vendë nauva lapsarwa ar coluva yondo, ar antuvantë sen i essë Immanuel" - ya tëa "Aselvë Eru". 24 San Yósef, apa cuivierya fúmeryallo, carnë ve i Heruo vala cannë sen, ar mampes vesserya marenna. 25 Mal úmes ista se epë colles yondo, ar ánes sen i essë Yésus.
[Chapter 2] Apa Yésus né cólina Ves-Lehemessë Yúrëo i auressen Heros i arano, en! elentirmor rómenyë ménallon tuller Yerúsalemenna, 2 quétala: "Massë ëa i ná cólina aran i Yúrain? An Rómessë cennelmë elenerya, ar utúlielmë cavien sen." 3 Íre hlarnes sin, Aran Heros né horyaina, ar ilya Yerúsalemo as se, 4 ar hostala ilyë i hérë airimor ar i parmanduri imíca i lië, maquentes te pa i colienómë i Hristo. 5 Quententë senna: "Ves-Lehemessë Yúrëo, an sië ná técina i Erutercánonen: 'Ar elyë, Ves-Lehem Yúrëo, laumë i ampitya imíca i cánor Yúrëo; an elyello tuluva túro, i nauva mavar Israel lienyan.' "
7 San Heros nuldavë tultanë i elentirmor ar maquentë te pa i lú ya minyavë cennentë i elen. 8 Mentaneryet Ves-Lehemenna quétala: "Á lelya, á saca i hína, ar írë ihírielles á nyarë ninna, sa yando inyë polë lelya cavien sen." 9 Írë hlarnentë i aran lendentë oa, ar en! i elen ya cennentë Rómessë lendë epë te, tenna pustanes or i nómë yassë engë i hína. 10 Cenië i elen ánë tien alta alassë. 11 Lendentë mir i coa ar cenner i hína as María amillerya, ar lantala undu canwentë sen. Pantanentë harmantar ar áner sen annar, malta ar ninquima and nísima suhtë.

In English... "This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about...."
Just because

"The Church, though she embraces all conceivable virtues in her teaching, and every kind of good, temporal as well as spiritual, in her exertions, does not survey them from the same point of view, or classify them in the same order as the world. She makes secondary what the world considers indispensable; she places first what the world does not even recognise, or undervalues, or dislikes, or thinks impossible; and not being able, taking mankind as it is found, to do everything, she is often obliged to give up altogether what she thinks of great indeed, but of only secondary moment, in a particular age or a particular country, instead of effecting at all risks that extirpation of social evils, which, in the world's eyes, is so necessary, that it thinks nothing really is done till it is secured. Her base of operations, from the difficulties of the season or the period, is sometimes not broad enough to enable her to advance against crime as well as against sin, and to destroy barbarism as well as irreligion. The world, in consequence, thinks, that because she has not done the world's work, she has not fulfilled her Master's purpose; and imputes to her the enormity of having put eternity before time.

And next, let it be observed that she has undertaken the more difficult work; it is difficult, certainly, to enlighten the savage, to make him peaceable, orderly, and self-denying; to persuade him to dress like a European, to make him prefer a feather-bed to the heather or the cave, and to appreciate the comforts of the fireside and the tea-table: but it is indefinitely more difficult, even with the supernatural powers given to the Church, to make the most refined, accomplished, amiable of men, chaste or humble; to bring, not only his outward actions, but his thoughts, imaginations, and aims, into conformity to a law which is naturally distasteful to him. It is not wonderful, then, if the Church does not do so much in the Church's way, as the world does in the world's way. The world has nature as an ally, and the Church, on the whole, and as things are, has nature as an enemy.

And lastly, as I have implied, her best fruit is necessarily secret: she fights with the heart of man; her perpetual conflict is against the pride, the impurity, the covetousness, the envy, the cruelty, which never gets so far as to come to light; which she succeeds in strangling in its birth. From the nature of the case, she ever will do more in repressing evil than in creating good; moreover, virtue and sanctity, even when realised, are also in great measure secret gifts, known only to God and good Angels; for these, then, and other reasons, the powers and the triumphs of the Church must be hid from the world, unless the doors of the Confessional could be flung open, and its whispers carried abroad on the voices of the winds. Nor indeed would even such disclosures suffice for the due comparison of the Church with religions which aim at no personal self-government, and disown on principle examination of conscience and confession of sin; but in order to our being able to do justice to that comparison, we must wait for the Day when the books shall be opened and the secrets of hearts shall be disclosed. For all these reasons, then, from the peculiarity, and the arduousness, and the secrecy of the mission entrusted to the Church, it comes to pass that the world is led, at particular periods, to think very slightly of the Church's influence on society, and vastly to prefer its own methods and its own achievements. "- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O. Difficulties of Anglicans, Volume 1
A thank you to Gerard Serafin..
for reminding everyone that today is the birthday of my confirmation name patroness.
From the homily
Fr. Joseph was the celebrant at noon Mass today. The point I remember best is that in today's Gospel Our Lord first teaches the people who have come to Him, and then miraculously feeds them. This is a parallel to what He still does for us in the Mass- He teaches us through the Liturgy of the Word, then miraculously feeds us with His own Body and Blood.
The Feast of Blessed Andre Bessette, C.S.C.
is today. There is information on him here. It is, internationally, the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord. As a person of half Irish and almost half Welsh ancestry I should also mention the feasts of St. Diman Dubh of Connor and St. Hywyn of Aberdaron.
Finally, it is, in addition, the anniversary of the date Fr. William Clancy, C.O., Provost of the Pittsburgh Oratory, went to his reward. Prayers for the repose of his soul would be most welcome.

Monday, January 05, 2004

I found two short articles in the magazine Sacred Archtecture
that sum up a lot of what is wrong with the attitudes of many people towards the worship of the Almighty.

Elaborate sound and video systems are rapidly becoming the worship enhancer of choice
" 'Worship is a form of entertainment' said Al Perry, technical adviser for media ministry at Fort Foote Baptist Church in Fort Washington, Md. 'If people are not entertained, they don't feel like they're participating.' Megachurches are most likely to spend megabucks for audio-visual equipment- the 3,000-seal Evangel Temple in Upper Marlboro, Md, and the 1-500-seat McLean, Va., Bible Church each spent about $800,000,said George Sauer of DMX Music in Rockville, MD"

;Who wants to sit in church if you're uncomfortable?'
"said Laurie Werfel of Perrysburg, Ohio, as she sat in the burgundy theater-style seats at Cedar Creek Church in suburban Toledo. ' I grew up in a Catholic church, and I hated sitting in those benches.' Some denominations are beginning to move away from pews. Chairs with cupholders, plenty of space, and padding are finding their way into churches where clergy say the seat can be as important as the message. The current trend of theater-style seating is a throwback to a movement in the mid-19th century, when Protestant churches in America modeled their buildings after theaters with sloping floors and individual seats. Irwin Seating, one of the world's biggest seat makers, jumped into church seating in the past year, after installing seats in places such as Carnegie Hall and the Atlanta Motor Speedway. The company is hoping to expand its reach into denominations such as the Roman Catholic Church. 'We're never going to sell there until we develop a kneeler option' a representative said. 'What you fight is really tradition.' "

Sure, we're following a Crucified Savior- but you just can't ask us to sit on seats with no padding, for crying out loud ! And you certainly can't expect us to spend our time at something that isn't fun.

The final sentence of the second article is probably the most striking of all. "What you fight is really tradition". I'll say.
January 5, 1828
was a terrible day in the life of Venerable John Henry Newman. His beloved youngest sister, Mary, who had suddenly become ill the previous evening, died. She was nineteen years old. As I have previously written, the Venerable attributed this grief, along with an illness of his own slightly earlier, with shaking him out of the tendency to drift in the direction of the liberalism that was becoming common among the Fellows of Oriel College. An old family friend, Maria Giberne, who became Catholic somewhat later than the Venerable, wrote a letter to him about fifty years later, in which she recalled this event.


… But I do not want to talk of myself. I want to tell you of my entire sympathy with you in what you say and feel about the anniversary of our dear Mary's death. This season never comes round without my repassing in my heart of hearts all the circumstances of those few days—my first visit to your dear family. Who could ever behold that dear sweet face for any length of time and forget it again? And again, who could ever have been acquainted with the soul and heart that lent their expression to that face and not love her?

My sister Fanny and I arrived at your house on the 3rd [of January], and sweet Mary, who had drawn figures under my advice when she was staying with us at Wanstead, leant over me at a table in the drawing-room, and in that sweet voice said, 'I am so glad you are come; I hope you will help me in my drawing.' I forget about the dinner and evening on that day, for I was doubtless under considerable awe of you in those first days; but the next day Mr. Woodgate and Mr. Williams dined there, and dear Mary sat next you, and I was on the other side; and while eating a bit of turkey she turned her face towards me, her hand on her heart, so pale, and a dark ring round her eyes, and she said she felt ill, and should she go away? I asked you, and she went: I longed to accompany her, but dared not for fear of making a stir. It was the last time I saw her alive. Soon after Jemima (ed. one of Newman's other sisters) went after her; and then your Mother, looking so distressed; and she said, 'John, I never saw Mary so ill before; I think we must send for a doctor.' You answered as if to cheer her, 'Ah, yes, Mother, and don't forget the fee.' How little I thought what the end would be! Next morning Harriett (ed. the eldest Newman sister) came to walk with us about one o'clock—after the doctor had been, I think—but though she said Mary had had a very bad night, she did not seem to apprehend danger. We went to dine with a friend, and only returned to your house about nine. I felt a shock in entering the house, seeing no one but you—so pale and so calm, and yet so inwardly moved; and how, when I asked you to pray with us for her, you made a great effort to quiet your voice, sitting against the table, your eyes on the fire, and you answered, 'I must tell you the truth: she is dead already.' Then you went to fetch vinegar, which I did not need, for I felt turned to stone. Fanny cried—I envied her her tears. "
Venerable Newman wrote several verses dealing with this painful blow. Here is one of them:

Consolations in Bereavement

"Death was full urgent with thee, Sister dear,
And startling in his speed;—
Brief pain, then languor till thy end came near—
Such was the path decreed,
The hurried road
To lead thy soul from earth to thine own God's

Death wrought with thee, sweet maid, impatiently:—
Yet merciful the haste
That baffles sickness;—dearest, thou didst die,
Thou wast not made to taste
Death's bitterness,
Decline's slow-wasting charm, or fever's fierce

Death came unheralded:—but it was well;
For so thy Saviour bore
Kind witness, thou wast meet at once to dwell
On His eternal shore;
All warning spared,
For none He gives where hearts are for prompt change

Death wrought in mystery; both complaint and cure
To human skill unknown:—
God put aside all means, to make us sure
It was His deed alone;
Lest we should lay
Reproach on our poor selves, that thou wast caught

Death urged as scant of time:—lest, Sister dear,
We many a lingering day
Had sicken'd with alternate hope and fear,
The ague of delay;
Watching each spark
Of promise quench'd in turn, till all our sky was

Death came and went:—that so thy image might
Our yearning hearts possess,
Associate with all pleasant thoughts and bright,
With youth and loveliness;
Sorrow can claim,
Mary, nor lot nor part in thy soft soothing name.

Joy of sad hearts, and light of downcast eyes!
Dearest thou art enshrined
In all thy fragrance in our memories;
For we must ever find
Bare thought of thee
Freshen this weary life, while weary life shall be. "

April, 1828.

Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor
has a post full of Venerable Newman quotes.
The Feast of St. John Nepomucene Neumann, C.S.S.R., Bishop
is today. There is information on him here.. As I have mentioned before, while he is a wonderful saint, and actually lived in my hometown of Pittsburgh for a while, the fact that people mispronounce his name and then mix him up with someone else drives me up the wall.
It is also the feast of St. Simeon Stylites, who seems to have invented a unique way of getting away from it all in order to pray. Apparently it worked, since he was subsequently copied by others....

Sunday, January 04, 2004

The Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord
is celebrated today in the United States.
" The Epiphany is a season especially set apart for adoring the glory of Christ. The word may be taken to mean the manifestation of His glory, and leads us to the contemplation of Him as a King upon His throne in the midst of His court, with His servants around Him, and His guards in attendance. At Christmas we commemorate His grace; and in Lent His temptation; and on Good Friday His sufferings and death; and on Easter Day His victory; and on Holy Thursday His return to the Father; and in Advent we anticipate His second coming. And in all of these seasons He does something, or suffers something: but in the Epiphany and the weeks after it, we celebrate Him, not as on His field of battle, or in His solitary retreat, but as an august and glorious King; we view Him as the Object of our worship. Then only, during His whole earthly history, did He fulfil the type of Solomon, and held (as I may say) a court, and received the homage of His subjects; viz. when He was an infant. His throne was His undefiled Mother's arms; His chamber of state was a cottage or a cave; the worshippers were the wise men of the East, and they brought presents, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. All around and about Him seemed of earth, except to the eye of faith; one note alone had He of Divinity. As great men of this world are often plainly dressed, and look like other men, all but as having some one costly ornament on their breast or on their brow; so the Son of Mary in His lowly dwelling, and in an infant's form, was declared to be the Son of God Most High, the Father of Ages, and the Prince of Peace, by His star; a wonderful appearance which had guided the wise men all the way from the East, even unto Bethlehem." - Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O. , Parochial and Plain Sermons