Monday, October 07, 2019
The history of the feast from The Catholic Encyclopedia.
The Fifteen Promises To Those Who Recite the Rosary given By Our Blessed Lady to Saint Dominic:
1. Whoever shall faithfully serve me
by the recitation of the Rosary, shall
receive signal graces.
2. I promise my special protection
and the greatest graces to all those
who shall recite the Rosary.
3. The Rosary shall be a powerful
armor against hell, it will destroy
vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.
4. It will cause virtue and good works
to flourish; it will obtain for souls the
abundant mercy of God; it will with-
draw the hearts of men from the love
of the world and its vanities, and will
lift them to the desire of eternal
things. Oh, that souls would sanctify
themselves by this means.
5. The soul which recommends itself
to me by the recitation of the Rosary,
shall not perish.
6. Whoever shall recite the Rosary
devoutly, applying himself to the
consideration of its sacred mysteries
shall never be conquered by misfor-
tune. God will not chastise him in His
justice, he shall not perish by an
unprovided death; if he be just he
shall remain in the grace of God, and
become worthy of eternal life.
7. Whoever shall have a true
devotion for the Rosary shall not die
without the sacraments of the Church.
8. Those who are faithful to recite the
Rosary shall have during their life and
at their death the light of God and the
plentitude of His graces; at the
moment of death they shall participate
in the merits of the saints in paradise.
9. I shall deliver from purgatory those
who have been devoted to the Rosary.
10. The faithful children of the Rosary
shall merit a high degree of glory in
11. You shall obtain all you ask of me
by the recitation of the Rosary.
12. All those who propagate the holy
Rosary shall be aided by me in their
13. I have obtained from my Divine
Son that all the advocates of the
Rosary shall have for intercessors
the entire celestial court during their life
and at the hour of death.
14. All who recite the Rosary are my
sons, and brothers of my only Son
15. Devotion of my Rosary is a great
sign of predestination.
This is the anniversary of the great Catholic victory over the Moslems at Lepanto. We need another great Catholic victory against a Moslem in Christian clothing who seems to be fooling a lot of people today.
by G.K. Chesterton
White founts falling in the Courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard;
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips;
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.
Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
That once went singing southward when all the world was young.
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war,
Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Love-light of Spain--hurrah! Death-light of Africa! Don John of Austria Is riding to the sea.
Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri's knees,
His turban that is woven of the sunsets and the seas.
He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees;
And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Giants and the Genii, Multiplex of wing and eye,
Whose strong obedience broke the sky
When Solomon was king.
They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn,
From the temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn;
They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea
Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be,
On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl,
Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl;
They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground,--
They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound.
And he saith, "Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide,
And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide,
And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest
For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun,
Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done.
But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
The voice that shook our palaces--four hundred years ago:
It is he that saith not 'Kismet'; it is he that knows not Fate;
It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey at the gate!
It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth."
For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
Sudden and still--hurrah!
Bolt from Iberia!
Don John of Austria
Is gone by Alcalar.
St. Michaels on his Mountain in the sea-roads of the north
(Don John of Austria is girt and going forth.)
Where the grey seas glitter and the sharp tides shift
And the sea-folk labour and the red sails lift.
He shakes his lance of iron and he claps his wings of stone;
The noise is gone through Normandy; the noise is gone alone;
The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes,
And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,--
But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea.
Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse
Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips,
Trumpet that sayeth ha!
Domino gloria! Don John of Austria
Is shouting to the ships.
King Philip's in his closet with the Fleece about his neck
(Don John of Austria is armed upon the deck.)
The walls are hung with velvet that is black and soft as sin,
And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in.
He holds a crystal phial that has colours like the moon,
He touches, and it tingles, and he trembles very soon,
And his face is as a fungus of a leprous white and grey
Like plants in the high houses that are shuttered from the day,
And death is in the phial and the end of noble work,
But Don John of Austria has fired upon the Turk.
Don John's hunting, and his hounds have bayed--
Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid.
Gun upon gun, ha! ha!
Gun upon gun, hurrah!
Don John of Austria
Has loosed the cannonade.
The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
(Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
The hidden room in man's house where God sits all the year,
The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
They veil the plumèd lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
They are lost like slaves that sweat, and in the skies of morning hung
The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
Before the high Kings' horses in the granite of Babylon.
And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign--
(But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate's sloop ,
Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!
Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
(Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.)
And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
Up which a lean and foolish knight for ever rides in vain,
And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade....
(But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.)
Friday, October 04, 2019
Saint Francis is a great saint, if you can get past the syrupy nonsense people who claim to be devoted to him claim is his legacy. Aside from his personal holiness, and I doubt that many could take holiness to a higher level than Francis did, there is his founding of one of the most important orders in the history of Christendom (actually, he founded three orders, and others have sprung up from that tradition and family of orders), his invention of the Christmas creche scene, his extension of the love of Christ to animals and all creation, and his being a stigmatist, his is also one of the most striking conversion stories in the history of the Church.
The Golden Legend
The Catholic Encyclopedia
Saint Francis took mortification of the flesh very seriously. When he found the desires of the flesh beginning to take hold, he used to roll around in thorn bushes, to drive them away. If only moderns did that, I doubt we would have heard anything of a pervert priest scandal these last 10 years.
There was no humbug about Saint Francis. He truly loved those in need, the poor, and all creation. Where friars since his time have grown fat and overfed, with far too much luxury for a mendicant order, he, who came from wealth, lived a life of real poverty. And where modern friars make a show of doing good works institutionally, but then drive the poor from their own door, Saint Francis adopted a radical love for others that involved genuine giving of himself.
Saint Francis entertained an abiding, even fierce desire to give his life for the Faith. He made several efforts to go to Moslem lands, so that he would be martyred. But obstacles prevented his first efforts. But he persisted. When he finally made it to Moslem-controlled territory, the local emir or pasha listened politely to him, discoursed with him, and then sent him back to Italy. Later, when some seven of his followers were martyred by the Moslems, he exclaimed, "Now I have seven true friars minor!". Thwarted in his own effort to die for the Faith, he recklessly undertook dramatic penances, and did things like embracing lepers.
The stigmata he received, like that of Saint Padre Pio, gave constant pain and discharge. Also like Pio, he had the gift of bilocation.
One thing most people don't know about Saint Francis is that he was never ordained a priest. He could never say Mass. All he could do was assist at Mass. Why wasn't he ordained? Was he illiterate? No. Too stupid to learn the Latin? No. He was too humble to take onto himself the role of the priest.
Put aside the phony "Prayer of Saint Francis" which he had nothing to do with, and was not even written until the 20th century, when it was "discovered" by an American bishop visiting Italy. Pray instead this prayer, truly the work of Saint Francis:
Hail Lady, Holy Queen, Holy Mary Mother of God,
Who art the Virgin made Church
And the One elect by the Most Holy Father of Heaven,
Whom He consecrated with His Most Holy beloved Son
And with the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete;
Thou in whom was and is all fullness of grace and every good.
Hail His Palace;
Hail His Tabernacle;
Hail His Home.
Hail His Vestment;
Hail His Handmaid;
Hail His Mother
And hail all thee holy virtues, which through the grace and illumination of the Holy Ghost are infused into the hearts of the faithful, so that from those unfaithful thou make them faithful to God.
Or this prayer, which he said before the Crucifix of San Damiano, when he was given his commission:
All-highest, glorious God, cast Thy light into the darkness of my heart. Give me true faith, firm hope, perfect charity and profound humility, with wisdom and perception, O Lord, so that I may do what is truly Thy holy Will.
Thursday, October 03, 2019
Today is the feast of the great Carmelite Theresa (or Therese) of Lisieux. For the a Ordinary Form, her feast is October 1st.
I think it is no exaggeration to say that she has become the most celebrated female saint since Jeanne de Arc and Bridget of Ireland. Her autobiographical Story Of A Soul is a modern Catholic classic. The spirituality of her "little way" has become a role model for millions of the faithful (and was a source for the spiritual approach to life of Opus Dei's founder St. Josemarie Escriva de Balaguer).
You may explore her poetry in e-book form here.
Saint Therese of Liseaux, please pray for us!
Wednesday, October 02, 2019
h OK, no mention of the Guardian Angels would be complete without Hansel and Gretel, the image in a million homes and instantly familiar to almost all Christians. Now we move past this chestnut to other, better traditional images of our Guardian Angels at work.
I have often thought, though it is utterly inadequate, and probably impossible, that I would love to sit down with my Guardian Angel, and chat about things over a cigar and a glass or two of Drambuie, and a darned fine steak. A meaningless impulse, since Angels probably do not consume things like that. But, one born of gratitude and love, nevertheless.
One notion about Angels that I am pretty sure we need to dispel is that Angels are the souls of people who have died, gone to Heaven, and "earned their wings." Frank Capra, God love him, really planted that one firmly in the American psyche in It's A Wonderful Life. But it is wrong. Angels are a separate order of creation. People do not become Angels. They can become Saints. Not Angels. Angels never were people living on earth. Saints were. Therefore, we ask for the intercession of "All the Angels and Saints." We are praying for the prayerful assistance of two different and non-overlapping groups.
People who thrive off popular culture over the last 20 years or so have gone absolutely ga-ga over Angels. Most of what we see about them is sickly-sweet and sentimental in the extreme. And even in these very traditional Catholic images of Guardian Angels, the people they are guarding are always depicted as children. Why are there no good traditional depictions of Guardian Angels watching over adults? My own upbringing did not emphasize the presence of our Guardian Angels. But I have felt the presence of mine strongly as an adult, and never more than in the last 9 years.
The powers of our Guardian Angels are impossible for us to fathom. They work in numerous ways. I know I have benefited from my Guardian Angel's power to delay me with something that annoys me, but delays me just enough to keep me from some catastrophe, like a wild car wreak.
The number of ways in which my own Guardian Angel watches out for me is incomprehensible. He must be working non-stop, and working not just in my vicinity and on what I am concentrating on at the moment, but in numerous vicinities and numerous spheres of my existence simultaneously. The power of the Guardian Angel to protect me in so many ways all the time is, while awesome to me, just a pale shadow of the power of God.
In a family, the various Guardian Angels of the household must cooperate with each other in interesting ways. They must be very sad when families break up.
We, each of us, owe our Guardian Angel thanks in so many ways, we can never adequately express it. Our Guardian Angel has done more for us than even our earthly parents. And, unlike our earthly parents, our Guardian Angel is always there until the moment we die, and probably still protecting us in Purgatory. Thank you, Guardian Angel. I love you.
Angel of God, my Guardian dear,
To whom God's love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and to guard, to rule and to guide.
Monday, September 30, 2019
The Golden Legend
The Catholic Encylopedia
A familiar image to old readers, once a banner image here at Recta Ratio
Saint Jerome, please pray for us!
Sunday, September 29, 2019
Today is Michaelmas, the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels.
Saint Michael, perhaps the greatest of the Archangels, is the protector of the Church.
Michaelmas was a quarterly rent day in England and Ireland. It is the start of the university term at both Oxford and Cambridge. Presents and feasts featuring geese were very much the custom at this time of year.
Check here and here for Michaelmas customs.
Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio, contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: tuque, Princeps militiae caelestis, Satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo, divina virtute, in infernum detrude.
Saint Michael the Archangel,
Defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the
Wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him,
We humbly pray.
And do thou,
O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
By the Divine Power,
Thrust into Hell
Satan and all the other evil spirits
Which prowl about the world,
Seeking the ruin of souls.
St. Michael protecting a newly deceased soul from the clutches of demons lurking by the deathbed.
Saint Michael also has another important duty. He is the principal usher of newly deceased souls to heaven. Medieval Books of Hours, as part of the Office of the Dead, often included a deathbed scene, where the soul of the just-departed leaves the body, and St. Michael has to fight off various demons who try to snatch the soul and carry it off to Hell. St. Michael is, therefore, one of the saints whose intercession is customarily invoked for a happy death, along with Our Blessed Lady, St. Joseph, and St. Peter.
And of course, St. Michael is believed to be the one who will measure the worthiness of souls at the Last Judgment, as seen in this detail from Memling's Last Judgment triptych.
Here is a site with prayers to Saint Michael, including the variations of the basic prayer above.
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Actually, the Universal Church embraces many dates in the Ordo that are dual feasts of Blessed Lady. The feast of Our Lady of Walsingham is particular to England. Walsingham was the primary Marian Shrine in England prior to the protestant rebellion. It is a Catholic shrine still, but jointly controlled with the Church of England, and the faintest shadow of what it once was. Once England was so faithful as to be considered "Our Blessed Lady's Dowry." Not only did the protestants wreck the place, they actively tried to exterminate Our Blessed Lady's most ardent clients there. And the name of Queen Elizabeth I's spymaster and primary persecutor of the Church, was named Francis Walsingham.
In the wracks of Walsingam
Whom should I chuse
But the Queene of Walsingam
To be guide to my muse?
Then, thou Prince of Walsingam
Graunt me to frame
Bitter plaintes to rewe thy wronge
Bitter wo for thy name.
Bitter was it, oh to see
The sely sheepe
Murdered by the raveninge wolves
While the sheepharde did sleep.
Bitter was it, oh, to viewe
The sacred vyne
Whiles the gardiners plaied all close
Rooted up by the swine.
Such were the worth of Walsingam
While she did stand
Such are the wrackes as now do shewe
Of that (so) holy lande.
Levell, levell with the ground
The Towres doe lye
Which with their golden, glit-t'ring tops
Pearsed oute to the skye.
Where weare gates noe gates are nowe,
The waies unknowen,
Where the presse of freares did passe
While her fame far was blowen.
Oules do scrike where the sweetest himnes
Lately wear songe,
Toades and serpents hold their dennes
Where the palmers did throng.
Weep, weep O Walsingam,
Whose dayes are nightes,
Blessings turned to blasphemies,
Holy deedes to dispites.
Sinne is where our Ladye sate,
Heaven turned is to helle;
Sathan sitte where our Lord did swaye,
Walsingam, oh, farewell!
From Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars
This feast was instituted because of Our blessed Lady's private revelations that led to the founding of the Mercedarians, an order devoted to the ransom of Christians held captive by Moslems.