Saturday, January 16, 2010

Our Blessed Lady's Saturday

O Beata Virgo Maria
Attributed to St. Augustine

O Blessed Virgin Mary, who can worthily repay thee thy just dues of praise and thanksgiving, thou who by the wondrous assent of thy will didst rescue a fallen world? What songs of praise can our weak human nature recite in thy honor, since it is by thy intervention alone that it has found the way to restoration? Accept, then, such poor thanks as we have here to offer, though they be unequal to thy merits; and, receiving our vows, obtain by thy prayers the remission of our offenses. Carry thou our prayers within the sanctuary of the Heavenly audience, and bring forth from it the antidote of our reconciliation. May the sins we bring before Almighty God through thee, become pardonable through thee; may what we ask for with sure confidence, through thee be granted. Take our offering, grant us our requests, obtain pardon for what we fear, for thou art the sole hope of sinners. Through thee we hope for the remission of our sins, and in thee, O blessed Lady, is our hope of reward. Holy Mary, succour the miserable, help the faint-hearted, comfort the sorrowful, pray for thy people, plead for the clergy, intercede for all women consecrated to God; may all who keep thy holy commemoration feel now thy help and protection. Be thou ever ready to assist us when we pray, and bring back to us the answers to our prayers. Make it thy continual care to pray for the people of God, thou who, blessed by God, didst merit to bear the Redeemer of the world, Who liveth and reigneth, world without end.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Time To Help

First of all, let me say that, since I gave up watching TV more than a dozen years ago, I experience news events in a different way from most. My reactions to things lack the immediacy that others have. It sometimes takes a bit for things to sink in. And I had meant to post an appeal to help yesterday, but Blogger was undergoing one of its periodic nervous breakdowns when I was available, and the effort had to be postponed.

This set of photos from the Boston Globe helped the horror of the Haitian earthquake sink in. Be warned: some of these images are not for the squemish.

OK. That was something like a 2"x4" to the head for me.

First, you can help with your prayers. Pray for the repose of the souls of the dead. Pray for the recovery of those injured. Pray for material relief for the dispossessed and those in need. Pray for spiritual comfort for those who have lost loved ones. Pray for the Church in Haiti, which has lost the Archbishop of Port-Au-Prince and may have lost hundreds of seminarians and priests.

Next. I know the economy here in the US is in a wretched state. Times are very tough. But please reach deep into your wallet and give what you can afford. I am sure that there will be special collections at Mass this weekend at nearly every parish in the country, probably in the world. Dig deep, and toss a tener or at least a fiver into that collection basket. My experience is that Catholic charitable organizations will deliver more relief with what they receive than just about any other. Less overhead. Fewer layers of bureaucracy to absorb funds.

Third. If you are in a position to do so, consider sitting down and writing the same Catholic charitable organization a goodly check, maybe $100.00, more if you can afford it. This is for long-term rebuilding, once the people there get past the initial shock and have the bodies recovered.

Fourth. If you are a trained relief worker, and are in a position to do so, consider volunteering to go to Haiti and help. Lord knows we have plenty of people sitting idle now, with unemployment so wickedly high. If you can go a few months without pay, please contact the appropriate relief agecies and put your name in.


Scott Brown Ahead In Polls

Polls released this morning show that Republican Scott Brown has gained a slight lead in the race against Democrat Martha Coakley for the US Senate seat being filled in Tuesday's special election. This is nearly unheard of here.

Let us hope that this continues and that when the results are in tuesday night, he is still ahead!

Go Scott!!!



Friday At the Foot Of the Cross

My Dear Lord and Savior! Though I am but a sinful servant, I approach Thee with confidence, for Thou hast said in Thy goodness and mercy: "Come to me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you." Thou wilt not despise a contrite and humble heart. I am truly sorry for having offended Thee by my sins, because Thou art infinitely good. I have wounded Thy Sacred Heart by foolishly resisting Thy holy will and transgressing Thy Commandments; but I love Thee now with my whole heart and above all things. I adore Thee truly present on the Altar. I have a great desire, dear Jesus, to receive Thee in Holy Communion, and since I cannot now approach the Holy Table to be united to Thee in the Blessed Sacrament, I beseech Thee most earnestly to come to me at least spiritually and to refresh my soul with the sweetness of Thy grace.

Come, my Lord my God and my All! Come to me, and let me never again be separated from Thee by sin. I wish to become like to Thee. Teach me Thy blessed ways; help me with Thy grace to practice meekness, humility, purity, charity, and all the virtues of Thy Sacred Heart.

Oh Thou Lamb of God! Who takest away the sins of the world, take away from me whatever may hurt me and displease Thee. With St. Francis of Assisi I pray: May the fire of Thy love consume my soul, so that I may die to self and the world for love of Thee, Who hast vouchsafed to die on the Cross for the love of me!

Jesus, I consecrate to Thee my heart with all its affections, my soul with all its powers, and my body with all its senses. In union with Thee I will labor and suffer to do the Heavenly father's will. I will ever be mindful of the presence of my God and strive to be perfect. Bless me in life and in death that I may praise Thee forever in Heaven.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Saint Hilary Of Poitiers

This is the feast of a bishop, confessor, and Doctor of the Church, who lends his name to the academic term beginning in January each year: Hilary Term.

Saint Hilary, pray for us!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The "Big Mo"

I think it was 1976 Democrat candidate for president Senator Mo Udall who coined the phrase when, at one point early on, he seemed to have the momentum in the race for the Democrat nomination (of course, in the end, the Goveror of Georgia got it, and the presidency).

Today, the Big Mo is on the side of Scott Brown in his race against Democrat Martha Coakley for the Massachusetts US Senate seat. Polls now show the race a dead heat among likely voters. Brown has the backing of an outrageous 71% of unenrolled voters. Problem is, this is the most pinko of blue states (I am still upset that red is the Republican color, and blue the Democrat, it should be the other way around, as the Democrats are the socialists), and just about everybody is dependent upon government for a check, whether a payroll check or some sort of benefit. And then there are the union allies of the Democrats. So many people who will vote are in the back pocket of the big government coalition that there is just too small a group of voters who are independant of government to put Brown over the top. He needs the big Democrat machines to snooze through this election, and fail to get out their vote. And that is unlikely.

But nearly everyone who isn't a red-diaper/doper baby moonbat leftist, or feeding at the public trough in one form or another thinks Brown would be a better choice for US Senator from Massachusetts. If he loses, it will only be because the entrenched left-wing special interests were too organized, too powerful, and too clever.




Baptism Of the Lord

Today is the traditional date for the Baptism of the Lord, occurring on the Octave date of the Epiphany. It is the close the second part of the Christmas cycle of the liturgical year. This year the third part will be fairly short, as it runs from Saint Hilary's day until Septuagesima Sunday, and that is January 31st. So only about 2 weeks now until pre-Lent begins, and things take on a more somber cast.

One of the things I dislike about the Ordinary Form is that it lends itself too much to spiritual laziness by making things too easy, by moving everything to a Sunday, lest anybody feel bad they didn't get their butt into a pew on a feast day. There is a reason why the liturgical year was structured the way it is.

I think it is better to set high expectations for the Faithful. Everything should not be based on our own convenience. If a feast day does not fall naturally on a Sunday, too bad. You have to go to church twice that week. What a shame. You might have to miss hockey practice, or cheerleading. Too bad. The Faith comes first. If it doesn't, maybe you don't belong in the Catholic Church.


Monday, January 11, 2010

End Of the Football Season

Just as the end of the Red Sox season is the end of the baseball season for Bostonians, so the end of the Patriots' season is the end of football. Who cares what happens to the foreign teams, from such jumped-up outlandish locals as Baltimore, etc. who will continue to play. Once the Patriots are done, that is it for football. There is no further interest in the subject.

Go Bruins and Celtics!!!

Less than five weeks until Red Sox pitchers and catchers report (they report on or about February 18th).


Plough Monday 2010

Another Plough Monday, and the end of Christmas festivity and vacation for another year. One is reminded of the line from W. H. Auden's Christmas Oratorio, that, though we are now in the merry season of carnival, there is vague awareness of the "whiff of apprehension at the thought of Lent and Good Friday."

Here is Auden in full:

Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree,
Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes --
Some have got broken -- and carrying them up to the attic.
The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school. There are enough
Left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week --
Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted -- quite unsuccessfully --
To love all of our relatives, and in general
Grossly overestimated our powers. Once again
As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain His disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot keep his word for long.
The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,
And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought
Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now
Be very far off. But, for the time being, here we all are,
Back in the moderate Aristotelian city
Of darning and the Eight-Fifteen, where Euclid's geometry
And Newton's mechanics would account for our experience,
And the kitchen table exists because I scrub it.
It seems to have shrunk during the holidays. The streets
Are much narrower than we remembered; we had forgotten
The office was as depressing as this. To those who have seen
The Child, however dimly, however incredulously,
The Time Being is, in a sense, the most trying time of all.
For the innocent children who whispered so excitedly
Outside the locked door where they knew the presents to be
Grew up when it opened. Now, recollecting that moment
We can repress the joy, but the guilt remains conscious;
Remembering the stable where for once in our lives
Everything became a You and nothing was an It.
And craving the sensation but ignoring the cause,
We look round for something, no matter what, to inhibit
Our self-reflection, and the obvious thing for that purpose
Would be some great suffering. So, once we have met the Son,
We are tempted ever after to pray to the Father;
"Lead us into temptation and evil for our sake."
They will come, all right, don't worry; probably in a form
That we do not expect, and certainly with a force
More dreadful than we can imagine. In the meantime
There are bills to be paid, machines to keep in repair,
Irregular verbs to learn, the Time Being to redeem
From insignificance. The happy morning is over,
The night of agony still to come; the time is noon:
When the Spirit must practice his scales of rejoicing
Without even a hostile audience, and the Soul endure
A silence that is neither for nor against her faith
That God's Will will be done, That, in spite of her prayers,
God will cheat no one, not even the world of its triumph.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Holy Family

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

December 30 [New Calendar]

THIS Sunday has been chosen by the Church for the celebration of the Feast of the Holy Family; the liturgy of the day, as expressed in the Gospel, harmonizes well with the mystery of the new Feast, for it already carries us forward to the childhood of our Emmanuel and gives us those wonderful words which, after the example of his Blessed Mother, we must ever ponder within our hearts: 'And he went down with them' and came to Nazareth and was subject to them.'

The Feast of the Holy Family is of recent origin. In 1663 Barbara d'Hillehoust founded at Montreal the Association of the Holy Family; this devotion soon spread and in 1893 Leo XIII expressed his approval of a feast under this title and himself composed part of the Office. The Feast was welcomed by succeeding Pontiffs as an efficacious means for bringing home to the Christian people the example of the Holy Family at Nazareth, and by the restoration of the true spirit of family life, stemming, in some measure, the evils of present-day society. These motives led Benedict XV to insert the Feast in the universal Calendar, and from 1921 it has been fixed for this present Sunday [meaning the Traditional Rite since the New Order of Mass did not exist in Dom Gueranger's day-----in the Novus Ordo, is December 30].

We will read the Gospel passage for this Feast and the author's short prayer of praise, followed by the Offertory, the Secret, the Commemoration of the Epiphany, The Communion and the Hymn at Vespers:

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.
Ch. 2.

When Jesus was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast; and having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the Child Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents knew it not. And thinking that He was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His wisdom and His answers. And seeing Him, they wondered. And His Mother said to Him: Son, why hast Thou done so to us? Behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing. And He said to them: How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business? And they understood not the word that He spoke unto them. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And His Mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men.

Thus, O Jesus!-----didst Thou come down from Heaven to teach us. The tender age of Childhood, which Thou didst take upon Thyself, is no hindrance to the ardour of Thy desire that we should know the one only God, Who made all things, and Thee, His Son, Whom He sent to us. When laid in the Crib, Thou didst instruct the Shepherds by a mere look; when swathed in Thy humble swaddling-clothes, and subjected to the voluntary silence thou hadst imposed on Thyself, Thou didst reveal to the Magi the light they sought in following the star. When twelve years old, Thou explainest to the Doctors of Israel the Scriptures which bear testimony to Thee. Thou gradually dispellest the shadows of the Law by Thy presence and Thy words. In order to fulfill the commands of Thy heavenly Father, Thou dost not hesitate to occasion sorrow to the heart of Thy Mother, by thus going in quest of souls that need enlightening. Thy love of man will pierce that tender Heart of Mary with a still sharper sword, when she shall behold Thee hanging on the Cross, and expiring in the midst of cruelest pain. Blessed be Thou, sweet Jesus, in these first Mysteries of Thine Infancy, wherein Thou already showest Thyself devoted to us, and leavest the company of Thy Blessed Mother for that of sinful men, who will one day conspire thy Death.

The Offertory takes us in thought to the Feast of the Purification; let us again offer ourselves to the Lord.

(Luke 2.)

The parents of Jesus carried Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord.

In the Secret the Church again prays that she may be strengthened in peace and grace; these gifts have been purchased for us by our Lord Himself; it is through the Holy Mass that we can be more strongly established in them.


We offer to thee, O Lord, an atoning Victim, humbly entreating that through the intercession of the Virgin Mother of God and blessed Joseph, Thou wouldst strongly establish our families in Thy peace and grace. Through the same Lord.

Commemoration of the Sunday

May the sacrifice we have offered to thee, O Lord, always enlighten and defend us. Through, etc.

Commemoration of the Epiphany

Mercifully look down, O Lord, we beseech Thee, on the offerings of Thy Church; among which, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, are no longer offered; but what was signified by those offerings is sacrificed, and received, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Who liveth, etc.

(Luke 2.)
And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them.

If we have kept before our eyes the example of the Holy Family, we may humbly trust that at the hour of our death we shall be helped and consoled and be found worthy to have fellowship with Christ in the eternal dwellings. Such is the last prayer of the Church, and may it be one we love to repeat and dwell on.



Blest light of all the heavenly hosts,
Sole hope of them that dwell on earth,
The purest love that ever graced
A home, did smile upon Thy birth.
Mary, dear Mother, who but thee
Was ever yet so rich in grace?
Didst nourish Christ upon thy knee
And fold Him in a sweet embrace?
And Joseph, chosen out to guard
The Virgin with thy gentle might,
The Infant Jesus smiled on thee
And called thee father as by right.
You, Who to save a guilty race
Were born of David's noble line,
O hear the humble prayers of all
Today, who gather round Your shrine.
The sun now wends his way to rest
And earth is veiled in shadows gray;
Yet hearts a-fire with joy and love
Still bid us linger on to pray.
O may the grace of that sweet home
Which held the earthly Trinity,
Be shed abroad upon the world
And bless the Christian family.
O Jesu, born of Virgin bright,
Immortal glory be to Thee;
Praise to the Father infinite
And Holy Ghost eternally. Amen.

V. I will make all thy children to be taught of the Lord.
R. And great the peace of thy children.


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