Saturday, February 24, 2007

My Crucifix Project

What I would like to end up producing is something between this,


and this

Letting Your Footsteps Be Guided By the Holy Ghost Pays Off

As recently as last week, my personal Lenten preparation reading was somewhat up in the air. I had prayed, in a general way, to the Holy Ghost for guidance in my Lenten preparation this year, and had, I think, asked my Guardian Angel to keep an eye out for good spiritual preparation, too. I had some books on order (which order, it turned out, the bookstore I ordered them from had, in fact, lost), but wasn't really satisfied with some of it. When I found out that the order was lost, it gave me a chance to add a title I had neglected to ask for, and to subtract a title I wasn't really interested in.

Then there was this morning.

I have this pet project in mind. I want to take a simple, unpainted crucifix, and apply my small (miniscule) painting talents to it, so that it more accurately depicts Our Lord's wounds (all the marks from the flagellation and other beatings as seen on the Holy Shroud, nails in the wrists, more blood generally). After all, if I can paint 2-inch toy soldiers fairly well (and I have been doing that for 20+ years) shouldn't I be able to do an even better job with a 4 or 6 or 8 inch Corpus?

So I was looking this morning for a low-cost wooden crucifix with a resin or plastic unpainted Corpus to try my hand at. I didn't feel like running up to the North End, to the CMRI nuns' bookstore, where I know they have a few crucifixes, though nothing that really grabs me. I checked at one Catholic goods shop downtown. Not open on Saturday. Odd, but there you are. They say that 90% of life is just showing up, and the Society for the Propagation of the Faith decided to sleep in on a Saturday. I tried another one, run by some nuns, and specializing in very Novus Ordo liturgical gear, but with some items that a trad like me could make use of. But their cheapest crucifix was $45. Not what I had in mind.

I must admit, I was discouraged. I walked out of the store, and headed for the Downtown Crossing T stop. But a few doors down from the shop run by the nuns is the Brattle Book Shop, one of my favorite used book stores. And I seldom pass a used book store without at least going in. In the fall, I had lucked out there, and found for only $3 each, an assortment of classical and Christmas CDs, which they don't normally carry, but had as a result of an estate sale purchase.

I didn't have anything specifically in mind. If asked, I could not have told you why I even went in. Pure whim, it seemed. I looked around on the first floor. Nothing grabbed me. A long debate on whether to climb the stairs to the second floor. Sloth arguing very loudly that my knee is bothering me, so why climb stairs I don't have to climb to look at books I can't afford to buy. But something urged me up.

Upstairs I went. I found the religion section. Old readers of this blog will remember me recommending Saint John Fisher's An Exposition of the Seven Penitential Psalms, published a few years ago by Ignatius. I read it 3 years ago, using a copy that the Boston Public Library has, alas, for in-library-use only. Well, you guessed it. St. John Fisher. For only $5.95. And, pending the arrival of the titles I have on order (assuming they arrive this time), my Lenten reading program fell into place. Thank you, Holy Ghost and Guardian Angel.

Motu Proprio Watch

I think this may become a new regular feature here.

This British blogger pretty accurately sums up my view on getting this done as soon as possible.

Allow Me To Advert Your Attention To

A part of our Catholic cultural heritage very pertinent to Lent, and especially to Passiontide and Good Friday. In the town of Valenzano, Italy on each Good Friday, there is a procession of people carrying on their choulders scenes of the Passion, amounting to 41 stations. Each is life-size, or nearly so, and is made from papier mache, laquered and painted. The statues are owned by individual families, and are passed down from generation to generation.

This site provides one image of each of the 41 scenes or stations.

Saturday After Ash Wednesday

Station Church:
S. Agostino in Campo Marzio

Devotions for a Lenten Saturday:
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer
Stabat Mater Dolorosa
Litany of Our Lady of Sorrows
Sorrowful Mysteries

Friday, February 23, 2007

Requiescat In Pace

I heard last evening of the death of Celtics' great Dennis Johnson, who collapsed while the NBA development team he was coaching was practicing. The cause of his death, at age 53, is now unexplained. I am not a big basketball fan, but back in the days when the Celtics often fielded a starting lineup of Larry Bird, Dennis Johnson, Kevin McHale, Robert Parrish, and Danny Ainge, and Johnny Most was alive and doing the broadcasts and Red Auerbach was alive and directing the overall basketball operations, I did pay more attention. How could you not with 2 world titles and a team that was always in contention (unlike the current version, which is a cellar-dwelling disgrace to the glorious history of the francise)?

One thing I loved about Dennis Johnson, was that he was not a giant. He was somewhat taller than me (as is another sports figure I like, Doug Flutie) but not by much. Guys like Johnson hustling all the time are inspiration to those of us who are rather vertically challenged.

Requiescat in pace.

Feast of the Crown of Thorns

This Crown of Thorns is a reproduction based on the Wounds of Our Lord on the Holy Shroud of Turin.

This feast was removed from the calendar even before Vatican II, and the Catholic Encyclopedia says it was never adopted for the Universal Church. it had moved around a bit before settling on the Friday After Ash Wednesday.

O Sacred Head surrounded by crown of piercing thorn!
O bleeding Head so wounded, reviled and put to scorn!
Death's pallid hue comes o'er Thee, the glow of life decays,
Yet angel hosts adore Thee and tremble as they gaze.

I see thy strength and vigor all fading in the strife,
And death, with cruel rigor, bereaving Thee of life;
O agony and dying! O love to sinners free!
Jesus, all grace supplying, O turn Thy face on me.

In this, Thy bitter passion, Good Shephered think of me
With thy most sweet compassion, unworthy though I be;
Beneath Thy Cross abiding forever would I rest,
In Thy dear love confiding, and in Thy presence blest.

Friday After Ash Wednesday

Station Church:
Ss. Giovanni e Paolo al Celio

Devotions For a Lenten Friday Holy Hour:
Dies Irae
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer of Saint Augustine
Devotions To the Holy Cross
Stations of the Cross

My preferred method: The one from St. Alphonsus Liguori, as republished by TAN, with the illustrations from the Benzinger Brothers edition.

I also prefer to do my Stations at a separate time from the other devotions, as they alone take over an hour.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

New Blogger And I Are Not As Happy Together As We Were Last Week

As i mentioned, I swtiched over to New Blogger last week. And at first everything seems OK. Archives moved over, along with the whole template. Then, yesterday and today, I decided I wanted to make changes in my template. I wanted to clean out the dead wood from the blog roll, and establish a League of Evil Traditionalists link section (long overdue). Simple enough, right?

Well, New Blogger seems to be very upset with the size of my template. Admittedly, the code alone takes up 162 kb in my drafts. But still, old Blogger had no problem with my template. Now New "improved!!!!" Blogger has conniption fits and keeps excising part of my template when I save it. What disappears the most is the set of webring links on the bottom, and about half the bottom-of-the-page images. No matter how many times I restore the entire template from my non-Blogger draft folder, part of it does not appear in the saved template after I tell it to save settings. Yet, oddly, the template parts that are missing from the saved template are visible on the screen!

And I have noticed that, after it says the settings were successfully saved, the screen remains frozen for a good 3-5 minutes while New Blogger is doing, or trying to do, what it says it has already done.

New Blogger: acceptable Lenten mortification of the spirit, or something to be battered into pulp with a 2x4? You decide.

The Thursday After Ash Wednesday

Station Church: S. Giorgio al Velabro

Devotions For A Lenten Thursday Holy Hour:

Dies Irae
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer of Saint Augustine
Devotion To the Holy Face

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


As a lenten sacrifice on this first day of Lent, I was going through my blogroll, and removing some of the blogs I have listed in the first two categories on the right, Daily Reads (an aspiration at best) and Great Catholic Blogs. I was laboriously culling the herd, when I noticed that, after moving back and forth from the top of my enormous template to the bottom (where the "retired" blogs category reposes), suddenly the whole top of the template was just plain gone. So I cleared the edits, and got back my whole template. I had noticed something similar recently, when the bottom of the template was, inexplicably, missing. Is this a problem with New Blogger, which I switched to over a week ago? I don't know.

The upshot is that, instead of culling the dead branches off the blogroll, and moving them to the bottom of the template, they are still there. I am sorry that anyone surfing from my blogroll will have to continue to wade through the dead blogs.

I assume that, if you haven't posted for 2 months or more, your blog is pretty much abandoned. For the record, these are the "Daily" Reads that were going to "assumed room temperature" status before Blogger started playing hide-and-seek with parts of my template:
Anathema Sit
Blog From the Core
Cacoethes Scribendi
The Cassock and the Cotta
College Catholic
The Confessionator
Confessions of a Wayward Catholic
Confraternity of Uber Catholics
Corpus Meum
Ecclesia Militans
Enchiridion Militis
Extreme Catholic
Fireside Chat With the Rector
Hey, Irishman!
Laudetur Jesus Christus!
Libertas et Memoria
Marcus the Bard's Tale
Nobis Quoque Peccatoribus
Notes Of a Thirsty Scribe
Our Lady
Padre's Pulpit
Res et Rationes
Restore the Church
Sancta Liturgia
Speculative Catholic
The Rule
Traditio In Radice
Trad Book And Movie Reviews (open to invited readers only: how assinine!)
Throne and Altar
The Troglodyte
True Restoration
Vive Christus Rex!

From the Great Catholic Blogs category:

Ad Limina Apostolorum
Barefoot and Pregnant
Caritate Dei
Catholic Birder
Catholic Blogic
Catholics for Bush
Commentarium Meum
Contemplata Aliis Tradere
De Fidei Oboedientia
Episcopal Spine Alert
Faith and Football
Fathers Know Best
Gregorian Rant
Life Matters! (Evidently not enough, since last May was the last post)
Luminous Miseries
Mary and Mercy
The Mass of Vatican II (more short-lived than the 1965 Missal!)
Mere Catholics
NorthWestern Winds
Notes To Myself
Old Oligarch's Painted Stoa
Persevere In Faith (but not in blogging, evidently)
The Pope Blog
Proud To Be A Papist
The Roamin' Roman
Sancta Sanctis
Secret Agent Man's Dossier
The Thing Is (I guess it ain't)
Times Against Humanity
Young And Catholic

Quite a list! I haven't culled the herd in a while. Thus is the nature of blogging. some are in it for the long haul, and some are just trying it, and don't have staying power.

Recommended CDs For Lent/Passiontide

There is plenty of time before Holy Week to order these CDs. And buying them ahead of time allows us to listen and use these wonderful recordings to prepare for the Great Triduum.
Paraclete Press is the US distributor for Solesmes' CDs, and they feature Tenebrae (which is the combined offices of Matins and Lauds) for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. They also have the Mass of the Lord's Supper for Maundy Thursday.

In Passione Et Morte Domine: Gregorian Chant For Good Friday, from Naxos. This is the chant for Veneration of the Cross for Good Friday.

Ash Wednesday

Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.

Image unearthed by Ken at Hallowed Ground
Station Church:
S. Sabina all'Aventino

Fish Eaters on Ash Wednesday

The Cornell Society For A Good Time on whether to display your ashes.

The Catholic Encyclopedia on Ash Wednesday.

And check this out at Hallowed Ground.

Devotions For a Lenten Wednesday Holy Hour:
Dies Irae
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer
Seven Prayers of St. Gregory

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Right On!

Cardinal Pell on global warming scaremongers!
Can this man please, please, please be the next pope?

For Those Of You Not Familiar With It

The two images of Our Lord as The Man of Sorrows flanking the Crown of Thorns (based on the Holy Shroud of Turin) in my banner are of a statue made in the 1930s and based on the revelations to a Canadian-born mystic and stigmatist named Mary Rose Ferron. The statue became a significant pilgrimage object, and was housed at St. Mary of Czestochowa parish in Philadelphia until that parish was closed in 2003.

Now the statue is itself a pilgrim, every Lent being displayed in a different parish. This Lent, it can be seen at:
Epiphany of Our Lord
3050 Walton Road
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
(610) 828-8634

Read a bit more about this statue here.

Shrove Tuesday

Fasting's Eve, Mardi Gras, Carnival, or Shrove Tuesday are names for this day before the beginning of Lent. The great fast of Lent begins tomorrow. Since pre-modern Europe observed what we would call a stringent fast (no meat, or dairy products from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday) the last day before the fast was a time for eating up meat, eggs, cheese, and drinking.

The names reflect that reality. The French "Mardi Gras" means "fat Tuesday." The Latin "Carne Vale" means "good-bye meat." The name "Shrove Tuesday" comes from the expectation that the pious would seek to be shriven (to confess) before undertaking the Lenten fast. "Fasting's Eve" is fairly clear.

Shrove Tuesday celebrations are continued to some extent in New Orleans' Mardi Gras, and Rio's Carnival. Drinking, feasting, and lewd behaviour were common.

But some Shrove Tuesday pastimes have passed away.

This used to be a great day for cockthreshing. A cock would be tethered to a pole, and selected participants would hurl stones at it in an effort to knock it down or kill it. It was also a good day for cockfighting, which continued to be popular into the 18th century. PETA-types would probably immolate themselves to stop that if it were common today (common, at least at the top of society: it is still widely, though secretly undertaken down at the lower levels).

Football games (we would call it soccer) were common on Shrove Tuesday in England. The difference was that in the 15th century, there were no teams and no rules. A football game was, therefore, a free-for-all. With the participants fueled by large amounts of alcohol and fresh meat, lots of people were injured. But it was all in good fun.

The Shrove Tuesday pancake is a slightly later tradition. The pancake requires milk, eggs, and butter, all of which had to be consumed before Lent started in that age before refrigeration. So the eating of pancakes became a Shrove Tuesday custom. Pancake races started at least 100 years before the Reformation. The Tossing of the Pancake at England's Westminister School is a natual development of the pancake tradition (a large pancake is tossed in part of the refectory, and the boy who comes out of a general scramble with the largest piece is given a reward).

Enjoy this last free day of Carnival. Tomorrow things take on a more sober cast.

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Race. Those wild and wacky Anglicans! But wait, this is from the US National Cathedral website. Those wild ecumenical whatevers!

Here is a real Anglican Shrove Tuesday pancake race, from the UK.

Throwing the Shrove Tuesday Pancake at Westminister School, London, 19th century. There was a scramble for it, as those who ended up with the pancake, or portions thereof if it was torn apart in the scrum, got a small cash prize.
More on Shrove Tuesday here at Wilson's Almanac.
And yet more, at Wikipedia.
But wait, there is even more Shrove Tuesday fun over at Fish Eaters.
How about a good pancake recipe?

Here's one from the files of Recta Ratio: The Yahoo Group (where there are over 500 recipes, many of them of seasonal interest):

2 eggs
1/2 c. whole milk
1/2 c. flour
2 T. brandy
2 T. butter
1 lime

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place an iron skillet in the oven and get it very hot. Beat eggs until fluffy. Add milk, brandy, and flour. Melt butter in the hot skillet, coating bottom and sides. Pour in the batter. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 mins (or until golden brown and puffy). Remove from oven and squeeze fresh lime juice over the pancake to deflate it. Dust with confectioners's sugarm maple syrup, and butter and serve immediately.

And what goes better with pancakes than

and lots of it? I dearly love my bacon, and the next six and a half weeks will be a sore trial going without it, or sausages.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Great Lenten Suggestions

Moneybags at A Catholic Life has a post up, linked to prominently in his links column, with a compendium of Lenten resources.

I should add that the original Recta Ratio Yahoo Group's files section, which I have been compiling over the last 3 years, is also loaded with Lenten material. The Catholic Prayers File contains a Subfile for Lenten and Passiontide Prayers:

The Stations of the Cross according to the method of St. Alphonsus Liguori
The Devotion To the Holy Face
The Devotion To the Five Sacred Wounds
The Devotion To the Seven Last Words
The Seven Prayers of Saint Gregory
The Fifteen "O"s of Saint Bridget
A Litany for Lent
The Litany of the Passion
The Litany of Our Lady of Sorrows
The Chaplet of the Most Precious Blood
The Stabat Mater Dolorosa in both Latin and English
Dies Irae
The Improperia for Good Friday
The Tenebrae for Holy Week
A 30-day Pieta Novena
The Prayer of St. Thomas More while awaiting martyrdom
The Threnus Prayer of St. Augustine
The Seven Penitential Psalms with the prayers against one of the Seven Deadly Sins
The Lenten Stational Churches of Rome
The Text of The Dream of the Rood
Saint Robert Bellarmine's The Seven Words On the Cross
Saint Thomas More's The Sadness of Christ
Luisa Piccarreta's Meditations On the Hours Of The Passion Of Our Lord Jesus Christ
The lyrics of a half-dozen Lenten or Passiontide hymns
Meditations on The Seven Sorrows by Donald Fantz
And more

Meanwhile, Dom Gueranger's The Liturgical Year File contains entries for:

The History of Lent
The Practice of Lent
The Mystery of Lent
The First Sunday of Lent
The Second Sunday of Lent
The Third Sunday of Lent
The Fourth Sunday of Lent
The Practice of Passiontide and Holy Week
The Mystery of Passiontide and Holy Week
Passion Sunday
Palm Sunday
Maundy Thursday

Membership is always free, and I make an effort to prevent suspected spammers from joining. If one gets by me, the first time I see spam going to group members, that member is banished for good.

While I am in the mode of recommending tools for Lenten preparation, check out the TAN titles I recommend for Lent, and the CDs I recommend for Lent.

Preparing For Lent

Taking on something of a Lenten hue here, and at the original Recta Ratio Yahoo Group.

Collop Monday

Originally, the word "collop" meant only a dish of fried eggs and bacon. But it came to mean slices or steaks or chops of meat of all kinds.

Because of the stringent fasting and abstinence requirements of pre-Vatican II Lents, traditional European society consumed the existing meat and dairy stocks in a huge celebration known as Shrovetide or Carnival (from the Latin "Carne" + "Vale," meaning "Good-bye, Meat!"), the Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.

The meat and dairy products could not be eaten for six and a half weeks, and could not be frozen or refrigerated as we would do today. So, a huge feast was held to finish off meats so that they would not go to waste. Monday before Ash Wednesday was a day for eating collops of meat, especially, though eating as much meat as possible would have taken place on all the days of Shrovetide.

Presidents' Day

Put Reagan On the Rock!

Solemn Pontifical High Mass In New England

This Sunday, the First Sunday of Lent, A Solemn Pontifical Mass will said according to the Missal of 1962 to Bishop Salvatore Cordileone, Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego, CA at St. Mary's church, Stamford, Ct. Father Cipolla, saying the Sunday 2pm indult Mass at Sacred Heart in New Haven yesterday, appealed for people to attend this Mass as a show of support for one of the few American bishops who is a true friend of the 1962 Missal, and hinted that this may be critical for continuation of the indult Mass at St. Mary's as that parish has a new pastor, who is no friend to the traditional Mass.

Cornell Society For A Good Time has more details here.

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