Saturday, July 08, 2006

Novena To Our Lady Of Mount Carmel

Second Day, July 8th

Most Holy Mary, Our Mother,
in thy great love for us
thou gave us the Holy Scapular of Mount Carmel,
having heard the prayers
of thy chosen son Saint Simon Stock.
Help us now to wear it faithfully and with devotion.
May it be a sign to us of our desire to grow in holiness.

(State your request here...)

Recite the following prayers...

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory Be...

Our Lady of Mount Carmel,
pray for us.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Novena To Our Lady Of Mount Carmel

First Day, July 7th

O Beautiful Flower of Carmel,
most fruitful vine,
splendor of heaven,
holy and singular,
who brought forth the Son of God,
still ever remaining a pure virgin,
assist us in our necessity!
O Star of the Sea,
help and protect us!
Show us that you are our Mother!

(State your request here...)

Recite the following prayers...

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory Be...

Our Lady of Mount Carmel,
pray for us.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Saint Maria Goretti

A 12 year-old virgin and martyr (really a martyr for the sake of Christian virginity). On her deathbed she forgave her attempted rapist (and murderer). Her mother is believed to be the only woman who has ever attended the canonization of her own child.

Prayer To Saint Maria Goretti:
Oh Saint Maria Goretti who, strengthened by God's grace, did not hesitate even at the age of twelve to shed your blood and sacrifice life itself to defend your virginal purity, look graciously on the unhappy human race which has strayed far from the path of eternal salvation. Teach us all, and especially youth,with what courage and promptitude we should flee for the love of Jesus anything that could offend Him or stain our souls with sin. Obtain for us from our Lord victory in temptation, comfort in the sorrows of life, and the grace which we earnestly beg of thee (here insert intention), and may we one day enjoy with thee the imperishable glory of Heaven.

Meanwhile In Mexico

The party of reason has apparently prevailed in the presidential election by a razor-slim margin.

But, as here in 2000 and continuing to this very day, the leftists say they will not recognize the legitimacy of the new government.

The fact that a leftist party did so very well is a disturbing sign that all is not well in Mexican society. That plus record emigration to the US adds up to there being something rotten in the state of Sonora. Lack of opportunity derived from free-market solutions is the problem. High taxation and invasive and bloated government in Mexico is the problem. And a hundred years of official hostility, persecution, and at least coldness to the Church and the Faith does not help.

If revolutionary violence comes to Mexico, is the US ready to stop a huge flow of refugees across our own border? We will need huge numbers of troops, police, federal agents, and whatever volunteers we can get to patrol the border to maintain the integrity of that border. Are about to once again find ourselves short of manpower because of the inexplicable decision of the Secretary Rumsfeld to not only not expand the US Armed forces post-September 11th, but to even cut them back?

The Demographic Crisis In the Church

The crisis in demographics we have seen in the Church in the US is even worse in Britain.

And the same in Spain.

What is the real problem? In a nutshell, it is too much of the social(ist) gospel, and too little traditional Catholicism. It is too much "I'm OK, you're OK" and too little, "If you keep that up and don't get your behind into the confessional, you will roast in Hell eternally." It is too much Father Flapdoodle and Sister Joan Wannabepriester, and too little Saint Jean Vianney and Saint Clare of Assisi. It is too much environmental activism and too little First Friday Devotion. It is too much, "Let's all gather around the communion table in a big circle," and too little hieretic Benediction. It is too much Haugen and Haas (one of them isn't even Catholic!) and too little Missa De Angelis. Too much guitar, and not enough Gregorian Chant. Too much really hip LifeTeen Mass, and not enough Real Presence. Too much relevance, not enough reverence. And of course, for 50 years it has been too much, "We need every willing hand we can get into the priesthood," and not enough, "We just need a few good and truly holy men."

We must come to the realization that the millenarian/Age of Aquarius fantasies of Greeley, Wills, Carroll, Egan, Dowd, Quindlen, Berrigan, McBrien, Reese, Kung, Chittester, Merton, VOTF, Catholics For A Free Choice, We Are Church, and the whole "Spirit of Vatican II" gang et al. are completely worthless. They themselves are either heretics or poorly catechized cafetaria "catholics" and almost nothing they say about the Church and the Faith has any value whatsoever. These people couldn't run a successful yard sale, and they want to direct the Church? They have had their day, and their influence on the Church has been an utter disaster. Time to sweep them and their obviously failed experiments in liturgy, the priesthood, religious life, and the lives of Catholics into the dustbin of history and move back to what is permanent and enduring in the Faith.

And then, and only then, there will be a genuine improvement in the demographics on the priesthood, on Mass attendence, and on Catholic belief among Catholics.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Requiescat In Pace

Kenneth Lay of Enron infamy has died of a massive heart attack before being sentenced to prison.

I Think the Words All Red Sox Fans Are Searching For Are...

"What the ...?"

The American League East first-place Red Sox, fresh from a twelve game winning streak and after taking 2 out of 3 from the Florida Marlins (in Florida) have dropped two straight to the lowly, if not despicable, Devil Dogs?

Yes, I know that in Major League Baseball, on any given night, any team can lose to any other. That is why they play 162 games. Over the course of the season, teams like the Red Sox or Yankees ought to make mincemeat out of the Devil Dogs. And yet, they will still lose many games to the lesser teams.

Beyond that, Tampa Bay and the Red Sox seem to have developed a mini-rivalry over the last few years, with many bench-clearing brawls and other incidents. So emotions are high in the Devil Dogs' dugout. If they can knock off the kings of the division, they don't have to reflect so much on their generally lowly status.

So what was it last night? Curt Schilling miffed at being left off the All-Star team? Everyone jonesing for that three-day vacation? Putting it into low gear because the Yankees are having an equally tough time?

The age-old question in Boston is not about the exorbitant taxation and rampant corruption in a one-party state. It is not about astronomical auto insurance, a public transportation system that is a joke, or the Big Dig. No, the question being asked around the water cooler this morning and on every sports talk show in town is:
"What's the matter with the Red Sox?"

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

July 4th, 1776

For those men who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 2nd, 1776, the odds did not look very good. Public opinion polls, if they existed, probably would have told them that only one-third of the population favored the course upon which they were about to embark. One-third was indifferent. One-third opposed independence. The men gathered from the thirteen colonies in Philadelphia, even without polling, probably had a sense that this was the case. After all, recruitment for the Continental Army was disappointing, and there had already been more than one pro-British uprising by loyalists.

The army which would be the primary instrument of winning independence was scarcely disciplined, poorly uniformed, badly armed, and ill-supplied with food and ammunition. Pay was a promise (which, in fact, was mostly ignored 7 years later). Its generals had no experience commanding larger bodies of troops than a battalion. Many found themselves commanding troops just because of political influence in their colonies.

True, there had been some victories. Boston had been rendered untenable for the enemy, and he had evacuated it. Fort Ticonderoga had fallen to a surprise attack, and supplied the heavy artillery that had led the British to evacuate Boston. Montreal had been captured, though that invasion force had been stopped at Quebec, and even now, after being rolled back within the boundaries of New York, was building an anti-invasion fleet on Lake Champlain. The delegates in Philadelphia probably did not know it, but an enemy invasion of Charleston, SC had been averted a few days before.

But there had also been defeats. Despite inflicting heavy losses on the enemy, Bunker Hill had been captured. The attempt to capture Canada had failed miserably.

Most significant was what was coming. As the delegates debated independence, they knew that the British army that had left Boston was en route from Halifax, probably heading for New York. If their spies were accurate, that army would rendezvous with another escorted by an even larger fleet. And those troops who had failed to capture charleston were also heading to New York with a large fleet. Large numbers of British and German troops had driven the American Northern Army from Canada, and were poised to drive down Lake Champlain.

These troops who would confront their own tattered, inexperienced army were the best Europe could field. British troops who had conquered an empire just 15 years before would be joined by excellent troops from Brunswick and Hesse Cassel, Frederick the Great's best allies. The enemy was supported by professional artillerists, and by a navy that was (despite peacetime decline and corruption) still, ship-for-ship, the best in the world. Thousands of their fellow countrymen would be happy to take up arms alongside the British army. To make matters worse, the Indian nations were ready to take up arms on behalf of the King, raising the prospect of burned farms, scalped settlers, and women and children abducted into captivity among the savages.

The men in Philadelphia must have found the prospect of declaring independence a daunting task. In the next three months, the most likely outcome was that the British army would take New York, flatten their own army, and then march on Philadelphia to hang them for treason. Their property would be taken from their families. At best they would become fugitives constantly on the run from British authorities.

But the best of them had a vision for the future, and strong reasons to feel the need to break with the past. The vision was that they would govern themselves, as they actually had for the most part, until the Imperial government decided to tap America for revenue to pay for keeping the peace with the Indians. John Winthrop's vision of a city set upon a hill remained a strong one, and merged with Locke's ideas about government, and newer ideas coming from Adam Smith about how an economy ought to be allowed to develop. A unified vision of a new nation which would serve as a beacon of liberty for all nations emerged, and was in the forefront of the minds of the men in Philadelphia. They had in this synthesis of ideas and in adapting to conditions on the American frontier, become a new nationality in need of a new nation.

And yet, despite all the obstacles, it was the vision that prevailed, and not the balance of forces. It is that vision that we celebrate today. John Adams, who did more than anyone to push the cause of independence through Congress, wrote to his wife that July 2, 1776 (the day the Declaration was approved):

"...Will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverence by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more."

May it always be so.

First Reading of the Declaration Of Independence At Boston's Old State House

Virtual Fireworks

Nothing could be more American than watching fireworks on July 4th. Yet, for many in remote areas, this is not practical. Your town may not be putting on a display this year because of budget constraints. Or you might not be able to get to the nearest fireworks display.

It is a tradition here at Recta Ratio to link to virtual fireworks displays you can enjoy in the comfort of your own study. So turn off the lights, crank up the volume on your speakers, plug some John Phillips Sousa, some Handel Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks, and some into the CD player, pour yourself some wine, and put some more mustard on that hot dog!

I always link to Hogpainter's fireworks display. For the record, I just figured out that this is a guy who paints motorcycles.

And try this one.
But you activate it by left-clicking the mouse within the field.

I like this one, too.

This one allows you to watch fireworks over the White House and over New York City, or at a carnival or baseball game.

This one over New York Harbor reminds me of the one 20 years ago (can it be that long?) when the Statue of Liberty was newly rehabbed and President Reagan came for the show and watched from the deck of USS Iowa.

The L.A. Fire Department has its own virtual fireworks show.

Happy Independence Day!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Saint Thomas

An important saint for me, since he is one of my personal patrons.

But I have developed an annoying habit of missing his feast because I have for years relied on Father Omer Englebert's The Lives of the Saints, written before 1950. And St. Thomas feast was in December (22nd) before they started arbitrarily moving saints' days around after Vatican II.

But this year, when the Sunday takes precedence over the saints' day, I remembered.

St. Thomas was a Jew, called to be one of the twelve Apostles. He was a dedicated but impetuous follower of Christ. When Jesus said He was returning to Judea to visit His sick friend Lazarus, Thomas immediately exhorted the other Apostles to accompany Him on the trip which involved certain danger and possible death because of the mounting hostility of the authorities.

At the Last Supper, when Christ told His Apostles that He was going to prepare a place for them to which they also might come because they knew both the place and the way, Thomas pleaded that they did not understand and received the beautiful assurance that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

But St. Thomas is best known for his role in verifying the Resurrection of his Master. Thomas' unwillingness to believe that the other Apostles had seen their risen Lord on the first Easter Sunday merited for him the title of "Doubting Thomas." Eight days later, on Christ's second apparition, Thomas was gently rebuked for his scepticism and furnished with the evidence he had demanded - seeing in Christ's hands the point of the nails and putting his fingers in the place of the nails and his hand into His side. At this, St. Thomas became convinced of the truth of the Resurrection and exclaimed: "My Lord and My God," thus making a public Profession of Faith in the Divinity of Jesus.

St. Thomas is also mentioned as being present at another Resurrection appearance of Jesus - at Lake Tiberias when a miraculous catch of fish occurred. This is all that we know about St. Thomas from the New Testament.

Tradition says that at the dispersal of the Apostles after Pentecost this saint was sent to evangelize the Parthians, Medes, and Persians; he ultimately reached India, carrying the Faith to the Malabar coast, which still boasts a large native population calling themselves "Christians of St. Thomas." He capped his life by shedding his blood for his Master, speared to death at a place called Calamine. His feast day is July 3rd and he is the patron of architects.

From Catholic On Line

I would just add that the silent ejaculation traditionally prayed by the laity at the moment of the consecration of the Host is St. Thomas' own words, "My Lord and my God." ("Remember, O Lord, Thy creature whom Thou has redeemed by Thy Most Precious Blood," traditionally silently prayed at the moment of the consecration of the Chalice, is from St. Ambrose's Communion Prayer).

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

From The Liturgical Year, by Abbot Prosper Gueranger, OSB:

The fourth Sunday after Pentecost was called, for a long period, in the west, the Sunday of mercy, because, formerly, there was read upon it the pas­sage from St. Luke beginning with the words: 'Be merciful, as your Father is merciful.' But, this Gospel having been since assigned to the Mass of the first Sunday after Pentecost, the Gospel of the fifth Sunday was made that of the fourth; the Gospel of the sixth became that of the fifth; and so on, up to the twenty-third. The change we speak of was, however, not introduced into many Churches till a very late period;1 and it was not universally received till the sixteenth century.

Whilst the Gospels were thus brought forward a week, in almost the whole series of these Sundays, the Epistles, Prayers, and the other sung portions of the ancient Masses were, with a few exceptions, left as originally drawn up. The connexion which the liturgists of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries had fancied they found between the Gospel and the rest of the liturgy for these Sundays was broken. Thus the Church spared not those favourite views and explanations which were at times far­fetched; and yet she did not intend thereby to condemn those writers, nor to discourage her children from perusing their treatises, for, as the holy reflections they contained were frequently sug­gested by the authority of the ancient liturgies, such reading would edify and instruct. We are quite at liberty, then, to turn their labours to profit; let us only keep this continually before us—that the chief connexion existing between the several portions of the proper of each Mass for the Sundays after Pentecost consists in the unity of the sacrifice itself.

In the Greek Church there is even less pretension to anything approaching methodical arrangement in the liturgy of these Sundays. On the morrow of Pentecost they begin the reading of the Gospel of St. Matthew, and continue it, chapter after chapter, up to the feast of the Exaltation of the holy Cross, in September. St. Luke follows St. Matthew, and is read in the same way. The weeks and Sundays of this season are simply named according to the Gospel of each day; or they take the name of the evangelist whose text is being read: thus, our first Sunday after Pentecost is called by them the first Sunday of St. Matthew; the one we are now keeping is their fourth of St. Matthew.

So important is the Sunday's liturgy, destined each week to honour such profound mysteries, that, for a long time, the Roman Pontiffs kept down the number of feasts which were above the rank of semi-doubles; that thus the Sunday, which is itself a semi-double, might not be superseded. It was not till the second half of the seventeenth century that this discipline of reserve was relaxed. Then it was that it had to give way in order thereby to meet the attacks, made by the Protestants and their allies the Jansenists, against the cult of the saints. It was needful to remind the faithful that the honour paid to the servants of God detracts not from the glory of their Master; that the cult of the saints, the members of Christ, is but the con­sequence and development of that which is due to Christ their Head. The Church owed it to her Spouse to make a protest against the narrow views of these innovators, who were really aiming at lessening the glory of the Incarnation by thus denying its grandest consequences. It was, there­fore, by a special inspiration of the holy Spirit that the apostolic See then permitted several feasts, both old and new, to be ranked as of a double rite. To strengthen the solemn condemnation she had pronounced against the heretics of that period, she wisely adopted the course of allowing the feasts of saints to be sometimes kept on Sundays, although these latter were considered as being especially reserved for the celebration of the leading mysteries of our Catholic faith, and for the obligatory attend­ance of the people.

The Sunday, or dominical, liturgy was not, how­ever, altogether displaced by the celebration of any particular feast on the Lord's Day; for, no matter how solemn soever the feast falling on a Sunday may be, a commemoration must always be made of the Sunday, by adding its Prayers to those of the occurring feast, and by reading its proper Gospel, instead of that of St. John, at the end of Mass. Neither let us forget that after the assisting at the solemn Mass and the canonical Hours, one of the best means for observing the precept of keeping holy the sabbath-day is our own private meditation upon the Epistle and Gospel appointed by the Church for each Sunday.

Recently, however, in view of the great increase in the number of festivals of Saints kept by the Universal Church, which had resulted in the Sunday liturgy being very rarely used, the Holy See has thought well to ordain that greater or lesser double feasts falling on Sundays shall be merely commemorated in the Mass and Office of the day. Henceforth the Mass of the season is said on every Sunday throughout the year which is not occupied by a double feast of the first or second class, or by a Feast of Our Lord. Thus the Sunday liturgy is restored to its former high rank in the scheme of the Church's year.

Saint Swithun's Day

Today would also be Saint Swithun's Day, were it not a Sunday. St. Swithun's Day has always been used as a weather prognosticator, as in the following ditty:

Saint Swithun's day, if thou dost rain,
For forty days it will remain;
Saint Swithun's day, if thou be fair,
For forty days 'twill rain nae mair.

There are some T-storms passing through the Boston area on radar (mostly to the north) as I write this, but the thought of another 40 rainy days after May and June is too much!

USS Constitution Battles Rainy Boston Weather

Seems this spring/summer's extraordinarily damp, rainy weather is a threat to the good preservation of one of our most treasured artifacts, Old Ironsides.

If Today Were Not Sunday

We would be liturgically observing the Feast of the Visitation, the anniversary of part of the Ave Maria and of the Magnificat, as well as the sanctification in the womb of Saint John the Baptist.

From Luke 1: 39-56

39 And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda.

40 And she entered into the house of Zachary and saluted Elizabeth.

41 And it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.

42 And she cried out with a loud voice and said: Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

43 And whence is this to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

44 For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.

45 And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.

46 And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord.

47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

48 Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

49 Because he that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is his name.

50 And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him.

51 He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.

52 He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble.

53 He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.

54 He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy.

55 As he spoke to our fathers: to Abraham and to his seed for ever.

56 And Mary abode with her about three months. And she returned to her own house.


For the first time in a while, I went through the two categories of Catholic blog links (Daily Reads and Great Catholic Blogs) and sent to the Retired Blogs section at the bottom of the links those blogs that, after life's fitful, fevered fight apparently have assumed room temperature and will not be down for breafast tomorrow.

Some great ones are gone now: A Little Flower Garden, "Not So Quiet" Catholic Corner, The Evil Traditionalist, And God's First, Musum Pontificalis, Coloumbe's Law, From A Monastery Cloister, Kross and Sweord, Fiddleback Fever, The Mighty Barrister (again), The PPK Blog, A Son Becomes A Father (very tragically).

Happily, some that I thought were sure to end up on the dustbin of blogdom are back and posting, including Throne and Altar, Marcus the Bard's Tale, and Fireside Chats With the Rector.

And some promotions to the rank of Daily Reads were in order. Argent By the Tiber, The American Inquisition, and Confessions Of A Recovering Choir Director were so honored.

Blogs come and go. We still miss such classics as Otto-da-Fe, Maine Catholic and Beyond, Quodlibeta, De Civitate Dei, and Saintly Salmagundi. And we still pray for Chris of Maine Catholic and Beyond, whose blogging stopped suddenly and completely two years ago after some rather dire warnings about changes in his life that could not be for the good.

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