Saturday, September 25, 2010

Our Blessed Lady's Saturday


O Mother of Sorrows, thou, who beneath the Cross of Jesus were given to
us as our Mother, look down with pity on us, thy children, who weep and
mourn in this valley of tears. By that sword of sorrow which pierced thy
Heart when thou looked upon the Face of thy dead Son, obtain for us
that comfort we so sorely need in our sufferings.

Thou were given to us our Mother in the hour of thy greatest grief that
thou might be mindful of our frailty and the evils that press upon us.
Without thy aid, O Sorrowful Mother, we cannot gain the victory in this
struggle against flesh and blood. Therefore, we seek thy help,
O Queen of Sorrows, lest we fall prey to the wiles of the enemy.
We are orphans in need of the guiding hand of our Mother amid the
dangers that threaten our destruction. Thou whose grief was boundless
as the sea, grant us by the memory of those sorrows the strength to be

Intercede further, O Mother of Sorrows, for us and all who are near and
dear to us, that we may ever do the Will of thy Son, and may direct all
our actions to His honor, and to the furtherance of devotion to thy sorrows.

Virgin Most Sorrowful, pray for us.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday In the Michaelmas Embertide

Today is an Ember Day, a day of especially intense prayer, fasting, abstinence, and almsgiving. Of course, being a Friday,k it is a day of penance and abstinence anyway. But it is all the more serious a penitential day since it is Embertide.


Friday At the Foot Of the Cross

Prayer by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori:
Eternal God! I adore Thee, and I thank Thee for all the benefits Thou hast bestowed upon me,—for having created me, for having redeemed Me through Jesus Christ, for having made me a Christian, for having waited for me when I was in sin, and for having so often pardoned me. Ah, my God! I should never have offended Thee, if in my temptations I had recourse to Thee. I thank Thee for the light by which Thou now makest me understand that my salvation consists in praying to Thee, and in asking graces of Thee. Behold, I entreat Thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, to give me a great sorrow for my sins, holy perseverance in Thy grace, a good death, heaven, but above all, the great gift of Thy love, and perfect resignation to Thy most holy will. I well know that I do not deserve these graces, but Thou hast promised them to all who ask them of Thee through the merits of Jesus Christ; through these merits I hope and ask for them. O Mary! thy prayers are always heard; pray for me.


Our Blessed Lady Of Walsingham

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


Our Lady Of Ransom

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.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Saint Padre Pio Of Pietrelcina

Because Saint Padre Pio was canonized after 1962, his feast does not appear in the 1962 Ordo. But he is one of my very favorite saints, one who I thank and beg help from everyday. I have read much about him, and every Holy Week use his meditations on the Agony In the Garden for my own devotions.

Here is his Prayer After Communion, which is part of my daily prayer routine:

Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have Thee present so that I do not forget Thee. Thou know how easily I abandon Thee.
Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Thy strength, that I may not fall so often.
Stay with me, Lord, for Thou art my life, and without Thee, I am without fervor.
Stay with me, Lord, for Thou art my light, and without Thee, I am in darkness.
Stay with me, Lord, to show me Thy will.
Stay with me, Lord, so that I may hear Thy voice and follow Thee.
Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love Thee very much, and always be in Thy company.
Stay with me, Lord, if Thou wishest me to be faithful to Thee.
Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is, I wish it to be a place of consolation for Thee, a nest of Love.
Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes: death, judgement, eternity approach. It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not fall by the wayside and for that, I need Thee.
It is getting late and death approaches. I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows. O how I need Thee, my Jesus, in this night of exile!
Stay with me today, Jesus, in life with all its dangers, I need Thee.
Let me recognize Thee as Thy disciples did in the breaking of bread, so that the Eucharistic Communion be the light which disperses the darkness, the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart.
Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to Thee, if not by Communion, at least by grace and love.
Stay with me, Jesus, I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not merit it, but, the gift of Thy Presence, oh yes, I ask this of Thee!
Stay with me, Lord, for it is Thee alone I look for. Thy Love, Thy Grace, Thy Will, Thy Heart, Thy Spirit, because I love Thee and ask no other reward but to love Thee more and more.
With a firm love, I will love Thee with all my heart while on earth and continue to love Thee, perfectly, during all eternity.

Saint Pio, please pray for us.


My Mother's Twelfth Anniversary

Twelve years ago today, my mother died of pneumonia after a hernia operation, at the age of 75. She had been suffering from dementia for some years prior to that. My father had died at the age of 69 about 7 years prior to her death.

As with all who have lost loved ones, the way the news came remains a vivid memory. I walked into my office early, as I always did, put on a pot of coffee, and then checked voice mail. A call from the hospital to call them. At 6:30 am. Never good news when the hospital calls at 6:30.

O God, Who hast commanded us to honor our father and mother, look in the tenderness of Thy mercy upon the souls of George, my father, and Kathryn, my mother, and forgive them their sins, and grant unto me the joy of seeing them again in the glorious light of everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord.

V. Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord.
R. And may perpetual light shine upon her.
V. May she rest in peace.
R. Amen.

An Irish boy was leaving,
leaving his own native home,
Crossing the broad Atlantic,
once more he wished to roam;
And as he was leaving his mother,
while standing on the quay,
She threw her arms around his neck
and these were the words she said:

A mother's love's a blessing,
no matter where you roam,
Keep her while she's living,
you'll miss her when she's gone;
Love her as in childhood,
though feeble, old and grey,
For you'll never miss your mother
'til she's buried beneath the clay.

And as the years go onward,
I'll settle down in life,
I'll find a nice young colleen,
and make her my sweet wife;
And as the kids grow older
and climb around my knee,
I'll teach them the very same lesson that
my mother once taught to me.

A mother's love's a blessing,
no matter where you roam,
Keep her while she's living,
you'll miss her when she's gone;
Love her as in childhood,
though feeble, old and grey,
For you'll never miss your mother
'til she's buried beneath the clay.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday Of the Michaelmas Embertide

Today is the first Ember Day we have had in quite a while. Ember Days are days of fasting, abstinence, prayer, and almsgiving that mark the changes of the seasons. This one marks the change from summer to autumn, and occurs between Roodmas and Michaelmas. Ember Days are always Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday (not Thursday as that was the day on which Our Lord instituted the Most Blessed Sacrament).


Mid-Week Mix

CelticStrings, O'Carolan's Concerto

Ann & Nancy Wilson, My Thing Is My Own

Tommy Makem, The Leaving Of Liverpool

Al O'Donnell, The Bold Grenadier

The Ronnie Drew Group (The Dubliners), McAlpine's Fusiliers

The Yetties, Lillibulero

Jim McCann & The Dubliners, Killieburn Brae

The Liberty Boys Jamie Keena and Joe Nelson), Nottingham Ale

Notice something? Three of the songs use the same tune, Lillibulero.

Here is Lillibulero as I am most used to hearing it:

From Barry Lyndon


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

This is what The Golden Legend has to say about St. Matthew the Evangelist and Apostle.

The Calling of Saint Matthew, by Caravaggio c. 1600.

Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, pray for us!


Monday, September 20, 2010

Ember Alert!

Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of this week constitute the Michaelmas Embertide, a period of special fasting, abstinence, prayer, and almsgiving corresponding to the change of season from summer to autumn.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

New England's Foliage Season Begins

The Foliage Network is reporting low color beginning in far northern New England. Two previous reports did not show and appreciable change. There are isolated trees changing even in the more temperate immediate Boston area and coastline.


It Be The Day, Arrrrgh

Brush up your Bristol accents and channel your inner Robert Newton. Today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Of course we are not glorifying those speed-boat losers who prey on shipping today. We wish them a speedy drop to the bottom of
Davy Jones' Locker and a lengthy stay there.

We are nostalgic over the Age of Sail.


Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman

The Holy Father today beatified John Henry Cardinal Newman at a Mass celebrated in the Ordinary Form at Cofton Park, Birmingham.

This is a moment of great joy for all the faithful in the UK, as well as all admirers of Blessed John Henry. Despite security worries, including some arrests of Moslem extremists on Friday, this has been a great trip and state visit for the Holy Father.

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, please pray for us!


The Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost

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

THE Gospel, which is now assigned to the Mass of the seventeenth Sunday, has given it the name of the Sunday of the love of God, dating, that is, from the time when the Gospel of the cure of the dropsy and of the invitation to the wedding-feast was anticipated by eight days. Previously even to that change, and from the very first, there used to be read, on this seventeenth Sunday, another passage from the new Testament, which is no longer found in this series of Sundays: it was the Gospel which mentions the difficulty regarding the resurrection of the dead, which the Sadducees proposed to our Lord.{St. Matt. xxii. 23--33.}

The judgments of God are always just, whether it be, in His justice, humbling the proud, or, in His mercy, exalting the humble. This day last week we saw this sovereign disposer of all things, allotting to each his place at the divine banquet. Let us recall to mind the behaviour of the guests, and the respective treatment shown to the humble and the proud. Adoring these judgments of our Lord, let us sing our Introit; and, as far as regards ourselves, let us throw ourselves entirely upon His mercy.

The Church, by thus giving these words from St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, again takes up the subject so dear to her, viz., the dignity of her children. She beseeches them to correspond, in a becoming manner, to their high vocation. This vocation, this call, which God gives us is, as we have been so often told, the call, or invitation, made to the human family to come to the sacred nuptials of divine union; it is the vocation given to us to reign in heaven with the Word, who has made Himself our Spouse, and our Head.{Eph. ii. 5.} The Gospel read to us last week was formerly the one appointed for this present Sunday, and was thus brought into close connexion with our Epistle. These words of St. Paul to the Ephesians are an admirable commentary on that Gospel, and it, in turn, throws light on the apostle's words about the vocation. `When thou art invited to a wedding (cum vocatus fueris) sit down in the lowest place!' These were our Lord's words to us last Sunday; and now we have the apostle saying to us: Walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called, yes, walk in that vocation with all humility!

Let us now attentively hearken to our apostle, telling us what we must do, in order to prove ourselves worthy of the high honour offered to us by the Son of God. We must practise, among other virtues, these three---humility, mildness, and patience. These are the means for gaining the end that is so generously proposed to us. And what is this end? It is the unity of that immense body, which the Son of God makes His own, by the mystic nuptials He vouchsafes to celebrate with our human nature. This Man-God asks one condition from those whom He calls, whom He invites, to become, through the Church, His bride, bone of His bones and flesh of His flesh.{Eph. v. 30.} This one condition is, that they maintain such harmony among them, that it will make one body and one spirit of them all, in the bond of peace. `Bond most glorious!' cries out St. John Chrysostom---`bond most admirable, which unites us all with one another, and then, thus united, unites us with God.'{ST. CHRYS., in Ep. ad Eph., Hom. ix. 3.} The strength of this bond is the strength of the holy Spirit Himself, who is all holiness and love; for it is that holy Spirit who forms these spiritual and divine ties; He it is who, with the countless multitude of the baptized, does the work which the soul does in the human body---that is, gives it life, and unites all the members into oneness of person. It is by the Holy Ghost that young and old, poor and rich, men and women, distinct as all these are in other respects, are made one, fused, so to say, in the fire which eternally burns in the blessed Trinity. But, in order that the flame of infinite love may thus draw into its embrace our regenerated humanity, we must get rid of selfish rivalries, and grudges, and dissensions, which, so long as they exist among us, prove us to be carnal,{1 Cor. iii. 3.} and, therefore, to be unfit material either for the divine flame to touch, or for the union which that flame produces. According to the beautiful comparison of St. John Chrysostom,{ST. CHRYS., ubi supra.} when the fire lays hold of various species of wood which have been thrown into it, if it find the fuel properly dry, it makes one burning pile of all the several woods; but, if they are damp and wet, it cannot act on them separately, nor reduce the whole to one common blaze. So is it in the spiritual order; the unhealthy humidity of the passions neutralizes the action of the sanctifying Spirit; and union, which is both the means and the end of love, becomes an impossibility.

But our Lord does not stop there; He obliges them to acknowledge, at least implicitly, the Divinity of the Messiah. He puts a question, in His turn, to them, and they answer it by saying, as they were obliged to do, that the Christ was to be of the family of David; but if He be his Son, how comes it that David calls Him his Lord, just as he calls God Himself, as we have it in Psalm cix., where he celebrates the glories of the Messiah? The only possible explanation is, that the Messiah, who in due time, and as Man, was to be born of David's house, was God, and Son of God, even before time existed, according to the same psalm: `From my womb, before the day-star, I begot thee.'{Ps. cix. 3.} This answer would have condemned the pharisees, so they refused to give it; but their silence was an avowal; and, before very long, the eternal Father's vengeance upon these vile enemies of His Son will fulfil the prophecy of making them His footstool in blood and shame: that time is to be the terrible day when the justice of God will fall upon the deicide city.


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