Saturday, December 04, 2010
Here is what The Catholic Encyclopedia has to say about the patroness of artillerists.
Happy Feast of Saint Barbara to all my gunner friends in the Royal Artillery, the Royal Irish Artillery, and those who have served and are serving in the Artillery branch of the United States Army!
Labels: Our Saintly Brethern
Taken from HIS FAVORITE PRAYERS: St. John Neumann, C.SS.R.
O my Mother Mary, Mother of God, turn not thine eyes from me on account of my sins. I desire to love thee as a little child. I am not worthy that thou shouldst think of me. How can I say that I love thee when my sinful life proves the contrary. I weep but what do such tears as mine avail me. Are they tears of penance? Alas, how insignificant is my penance compared with my sins! O Mother, help me whose sins crucified thy Son.
Labels: Our Blessed Lady
Friday, December 03, 2010
Read what The Catholic Encyclopedia has to say about this great missionary and apostle.
BTW, his last name is properly pronounced in English "Zaahviar," or "Zaahviah" if you speak with with a Boston accent. It is never "ExAvier." The X is always pronounced like a Z. You can trust me on this one. I went to a prep school run by the Xaverian Brothers, and for 3 of my four years, my Latin class was held in Xavier Hall (and taught by a great Latin teacher, Brother Joseph Comber, CFX!).
Saint Francis Xavier, please pray for us!
Labels: Our Saintly Brethern
From The Incarnation, Birth, and Infancy Of Jesus Christ, by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori:
O my Redeemer and God ! and who am I, that Thou shouldst
have loved me, and still continuest to love me, so much ? What
hast Thou ever received from me that has obliged Thee so to
love me? what, except slights and provocations, which were a
reason for Thee to abandon me, and to banish me forever from
Thy face ? But, O Lord ! I accept of every penalty except this.
If Thou dost forsake me, and deprive me of Thy grace, I can
nevermore love Thee. I have not the pretensions to escape
punishment; but I wish to love Thee, and to love Thee exceed
ingly. I wish to love Thee as a sinner is bound to love Thee,
who, after so many special favors, and so many marks of love
received from Thee, has, in spite of all, so frequently turned his
back upon Thee ; who, for the sake of wretched momentary and
poisonous gratifications, has renounced Thy grace and Thy love
Pardon me, O my beloved Infant, for I am sorry with my whole
heart for every single displeasure I have given Thee. But
know that I shall not be content with a simple pardon ; I desire
also the grace to love Thee ardently ; I wish to make compen
sation by my love as much as possible for the past ingratitude
which I have shown Thee. An innocent soul loves Thee as
innocent, and thanks Thee for having preserved it from the
death of sin. I must love Thee as a sinner ; that is, as one who
has rebelled against Thee, as one condemned to hell, as often as
I deserved it ; and then so often graciously received back by
Thee and re established in the way of salvation, and over and
above enriched with lights, with helps, with invitations to be
come a saint. O Redeemer, and Redeemer again and again of
rnysoul! my soul is now enamoured of Thee, and loves Thee.
Thou hast loved me above measure, so that, overcome by Thy
love, I could no longer resist its winning appeals, and at last I
now surrender myself, and fix all my love on Thee. I love Thee,
then, O infinite Goodness ! I love Thee, O most lovable God !
Labels: Friday At the Foot Of the Cross
Thursday, December 02, 2010
The Catholic Encyclopedia on this Roman martyr.
Saint Vivian, please pray for us!
Labels: Our Saintly Brethern
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Giovanni Vianini, Creator Alme Siderum
Alma Redemptopris Mater
Choir Of Litchfield Cathedral, Lo, He Comes With Clouds Descending
Rorate Caeli De Super
Brother Alphonsus Mary, On Jordan's Bank
Choir Of King's College, Cambridge, Gabriel's Message
Giovanni Vianini, En Clara Vox
Consortium, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
The Catholic Encylopedia on this heroic martyred priest.
Here is the text of Campion's Brag, his defense of the Faith against the English protestant establishment.
To the Right Honourable, the Lords of Her Majesty's Privy Council:
Whereas I have come out of Germany and Bohemia, being sent by my superiors, and adventured myself into this noble realm, my dear country, for the glory of God and benefit of souls, I thought it like enough that, in this busy, watchful, and suspicious world, I should either sooner or later be intercepted and stopped of my course.
Wherefore, providing for all events, and uncertain what may become of me, when God shall haply deliver my body into durance, I supposed it needful to put this in writing in a readiness, desiring your good lordships to give it your reading, for to know my cause. This doing, I trust I shall ease you of some labour. For that which otherwise you must have sought for by practice of wit, I do now lay into your hands by plain confession. And to the intent that the whole matter may be conceived in order, and so the better both understood and remembered, I make thereof these nine points or articles, directly, truly and resolutely opening my full enterprise and purpose.
i. I confess that I am (albeit unworthy) a priest of the Catholic Church, and through the great mercy of God vowed now these eight years into the religion [religious order] of the Society of Jesus. Hereby I have taken upon me a special kind of warfare under the banner of obedience, and also resigned all my interest or possibility of wealth, honour, pleasure, and other worldly felicity.
ii. At the voice of our General, which is to me a warrant from heaven and oracle of Christ, I took my voyage from Prague to Rome (where our General Father is always resident) and from Rome to England, as I might and would have done joyously into any part of Christendom or Heatheness, had I been thereto assigned.
iii. My charge is, of free cost to preach the Gospel, to minister the Sacraments, to instruct the simple, to reform sinners, to confute errors—in brief, to cry alarm spiritual against foul vice and proud ignorance, wherewith many of my dear countrymen are abused.
iv. I never had mind, and am strictly forbidden by our Father that sent me, to deal in any respect with matter of state or policy of this realm, as things which appertain not to my vocation, and from which I gladly restrain and sequester my thoughts.
v. I do ask, to the glory of God, with all humility, and under your correction, three sorts of indifferent and quiet audiences: the first, before your Honours, wherein I will discourse of religion, so far as it toucheth the common weal and your nobilities: the second, whereof I make more account, before the Doctors and Masters and chosen men of both universities, wherein I undertake to avow the faith of our Catholic Church by proofs innumerable—Scriptures, councils, Fathers, history, natural and moral reasons: the third, before the lawyers, spiritual and temporal, wherein I will justify the said faith by the common wisdom of the laws standing yet in force and practice.
vi. I would be loath to speak anything that might sound of any insolent brag or challenge, especially being now as a dead man to this world and willing to put my head under every man's foot, and to kiss the ground they tread upon. Yet I have such courage in avouching the majesty of Jesus my King, and such affiance in his gracious favour, and such assurance in my quarrel, and my evidence so impregnable, and because I know perfectly that no one Protestant, nor all the Protestants living, nor any sect of our adversaries (howsoever they face men down in pulpits, and overrule us in their kingdom of grammarians and unlearned ears) can maintain their doctrine in disputation. I am to sue most humbly and instantly for combat with all and every of them, and the most principal that may be found: protesting that in this trial the better furnished they come, the better welcome they shall be.
vii. And because it hath pleased God to enrich the Queen my Sovereign Lady with notable gifts of nature, learning, and princely education, I do verily trust that if her Highness would vouchsafe her royal person and good attention to such a conference as, in the second part of my fifth article I have motioned, or to a few sermons, which in her or your hearing I am to utter such manifest and fair light by good method and plain dealing may be cast upon these controversies, that possibly her zeal of truth and love of her people shall incline her noble Grace to disfavour some proceedings hurtful to the realm, and procure towards us oppressed more equity.
viii. Moreover I doubt not but you, her Highness' Council, being of such wisdom and discreet in cases most important, when you shall have heard these questions of religion opened faithfully, which many times by our adversaries are huddled up and confounded, will see upon what substantial grounds our Catholic Faith is builded, how feeble that side is which by sway of the time prevaileth against us, and so at last for your own souls, and for many thousand souls that depend upon your government, will discountenance error when it is bewrayed [revealed], and hearken to those who would spend the best blood in their bodies for your salvation. Many innocent hands are lifted up to heaven for you daily by those English students, whose posterity shall never die, which beyond seas, gathering virtue and sufficient knowledge for the purpose, are determined never to give you over, but either to win you heaven, or to die upon your pikes. And touching our Society, be it known to you that we have made a league—all the Jesuits in the world, whose succession and multitude must overreach all the practice of England—cheerfully to carry the cross you shall lay upon us, and never to despair your recovery, while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn, or to be racked with your torments, or consumed with your prisons. The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God; it cannot be withstood. So the faith was planted: So it must be restored.
ix. If these my offers be refused, and my endeavours can take no place, and I, having run thousands of miles to do you good, shall be rewarded with rigour. I have no more to say but to recommend your case and mine to Almighty God, the Searcher of Hearts, who send us his grace, and see us at accord before the day of payment, to the end we may at last be friends in heaven, when all injuries shall be forgotten.
Labels: Our Saintly Brethern
I am repeating last year's banner image because I like it so much
Important feasts celebrated during December include:
1st St. Edmund Campion
3rd St. Francis Xavier
4th St. Barbara
6th St. Nicholas
7th St. Ambrose
8th The Immaculate Conception
9th Ven Fulton Sheen
12th Our Lady of Guadalupe
13th St. Lucy
16th St. Adelaide
21st St. Thomas the Apostle and St. Peter Canisius
22nd St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
23rd St. John Cantius
24th Christmas Eve and Adam & Eve
26th St. Stephen
27th St. John the Apostle
28th Holy Innocents
29th St. Thomas a Becket
December is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Lady.
The Immaculate Conception on Wednesday December 8th and Christmas on December 25th are Holy Days of Obligation. January 1st 2011 is also a Holy Day of Obligation.
Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI's prayer intentions for December, 2010 are:
That our personal experience of suffering may be an occasion for better understanding the situation of unease and pain which is the lot of many people who are alone, sick or aged, and stir us all to give them generous help.
That the peoples of the earth may open their doors to Christ and to His Gospel of peace, brotherhood and justice.
The First Friday of the month is December 3rd.
The First Saturday of the month is December 4th.
Important novenas commonly said during the month include the Advent Novena I (Nov. 30th-Dec. 24th), Advent Novena II (Dec. 16th-Dec. 24th), and the Epiphany Novena (Dec 28-January 5th).
The O Antiphons of Advent are integrated into evening prayer beginning December 17th.
The Season of Advent began on Sunday November 28th, and continues until the 24th, when it is succeeded by the Season of Christmas.
The Advent Embertide is the week of Gaudete Sunday. Ember Wednesday is December 15th, Ember Friday is December 17th, and Ember Saturday is December 18th.
December 31st is New Year's Eve in the secular calendar.
Labels: First Of the Month Almanac
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Artillerists, who have always been a breed apart, no matter what the nationality (and in the 18th century, American, British, French, and German gunners all wore blue coats faced red, as a symbol of their guild-like international commonality) celebrate their own patron, St. Barbara, on December 4th.
Because of my re-enacting experience, I am either a member of, or have been a guest of, the messes of regiments of all four major ethnic groups of the British Isles. I have dined with the Royal Welch Fusiliers (23rd Regiment of Foot) officers' mess on March 1st, with the Friendly Brothers of Saint Patrick on March 17th, with the officers' mess of the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment, or 42nd Regiment of Foot) on November 30th, and with the Loyal and Friendly Society of the Blue and Orange on April 23rd (St. George's Day).
These evenings are convivial occasions, with a formal dinner, many, many toasts, and seemingly eccentric regimental customs. You would not want to drive yourself home after one of these dinners. Re-enactor officers are just being true to the characters they portray in these celebrations. But 18th century officers could not be pulled over for DUI.
John Peebles, an officer of the grenadier company of the 42nd Regiment celebrated St. Andrew's Night thus in his New York-area garrison in 1779:
Went to town to celebrate the day with his Ex (he mounted a round blue device with a white Saint Andrew's cross in his regulation highland bonnet-GTF): where the field offs. & Capts. of the 42nd. were invited, the Adml. there the offrs. of the Royal Highland emigrants & some others, about 24 in all. Major Small personated the Saint who gave very good toasts & apropos for the occasion. The Adml. very chatty & entertaining. Major Hay sang some good songs & spouted a prologue very well. A good dinner & drink till 10 o'clock. A numerous party of the Sons of St. Andw. din'd at Hick's above 60, among whom were the subs. (subalterns: lieutenants and ensigns- GTF) of the 42d. Exchanged a complit. & some of our Compy. join'd them after we broke up, & made a night of it.
John Peebles'American War 1776-1782, edited by Ira Gruber, 1997.
I wish my Scottish friends of the 42nd, 71st, 74th, and 84th Regiments of Foot a happy Saint Andrew's Day, with much enjoyment of haggis and that amber-coloured beverage distilled in the Highlands.
Labels: Once A Redcoat
From The Golden Legend
Today, the Church celebrates Saint Andrew, brother of Simon Peter, disciple of John the Baptist, and Apostle of the Lord.
Andrew was a fisherman from Capharnaum. He was with John the Baptist at the time of the baptism of the Lord, and followed Him from that time, later bringing Peter into the fold of the apostolic college. It was Andrew who reported the state of the food supply to the Lord before the feeding of the five thousand. But ortherwise, he appears to have faded into the apostolic group.
Andrew exercised his ministry in the region of the Black Sea, and was crucified on an "X" form crucifix at Patras in Achaia. He is the patron of fishermen and fishmongers, as well as patron of Scotland.
The St. Andrew's Novena (also called the Christmas Anticipation Novena) begins today, and runs through Christmas Eve.
“Hail and blessed
be the hour and the moment
when the Son of God was born
of the most pure Virgin Mary,
in a stable,
in the piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe,
O my God,
to hear my prayer
and grant my desires,
through the merits
of Our Savior Jesus Christ,
and of His Blessed Mother.
Labels: Our Saintly Brethern
Sunday, November 28, 2010
The History Of Advent from The Liturgical Year, by Abbot Prosper Gueranger, OSB:
The name Advent (From the Latin word Adventus, which signifies a coming) is applied, in the Latin Church, to that period of the year, during which the Church requires the faithful to prepare for the celebration of the feast of Christmas, the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. The mystery of that great day had every right to the honour of being prepared for by prayer and works of penance; and, in fact, it is impossible to state, with any certainty, when this season of preparation (which had long been observed before receiving its present name of Advent) was first instituted. It would seem, however, that its observance first began in the west, since it is evident that Advent could not have been looked on as a preparation for the feast of Christmas, until that feast was definitively fixed to the twenty-fifth of December; which was done in the east only towards the close of the fourth century; whereas it is certain that the Church of Rome kept the feast on that day at a much earlier period.
We must look upon Advent in two different lights: first, as a time of preparation, properly so called, for the birth of our Saviour, by works of penance: and secondly, as a series of ecclesiastical Offices drawn up for the same purpose. We find, as far back as the fifth century, the custom of giving exhortations to the people in order to prepare them for the feast of Christmas. We have two sermons of Saint Maximus of Turin on this subject, not to speak of several others which were formerly attributed to St. Ambrose and St. Augustine, but which were probably written by St. Cesarius of Aries. If these documents do not tell us what was the duration and what the exercises of this holy season, they at least show us how ancient was the practice of distinguishing the time of Advent by special sermons. Saint Ivo of Chartres, St. Bernard, and several other doctors of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, have left us set sermons de Adventu Domini, quite distinct from their Sunday homilies on the Gospels of that season. In the capitularia of Charles the Bald, in 846, the bishops admonish that prince not to call them away from their Churches during Lent or Advent, under pretext of affairs of the State or the necessities of war, seeing that they have special duties to fulfil, and particularly that of preaching during those sacred times.
The oldest document in which we find the length and exercises of Advent mentioned with anything like clearness, is a passage in the second book of the History of the Franks by St. Gregory of Tours, where he says that St. Perpetuus, one of his predecessors, who held that see about the year 480, had decreed a fast three times a week, from the feast of St. Martin until Christmas. It would be impossible to decide whether St. Perpetuus, by his regulations, established a new custom, or merely enforced an already existing law. Let us, however, note this interval of forty, or rather of forty-three days, so expressly mentioned, and consecrated to penance, as though it were a second Lent, though less strict and severe than that which precedes Easter.
Later on, we find the ninth canon of the first Council of Macon, held in 582, ordaining that during the same interval between St. Martin's day and Christmas, the Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, should be fasting days, and that the Sacrifice should be celebrated according to the lenten rite. Not many years before that, namely in 567, the second Council of Tours had enjoined the monks to fast from the beginning of December till Christmas. This practice of penance soon extended to the whole forty days, even for the laity: and it was commonly called St. Martin's Lent. The capitularia of Charlemagne, in the sixth book, leave us no doubt on the matter; and Rabanus Maurus, in the second book of his Institution of clerics, bears testimony to this observance. There were even special rejoicings made on St. Martin's feast, just as we see them practised now at the approach of Lent and Easter.
The obligation of observing this Lent, which, though introduced so imperceptibly, had by degrees acquired the force of a sacred law, began to be relaxed, and the forty days from St. Martin's day to Christmas were reduced to four weeks. We have seen that this fast began to be observed first in France; but thence it spread into England, as we find from Venerable Bede's history; into Italy, as appears from a diploma of Astolphus, king of the Lombards, dated 753; into Germany, Spain, &c., of which the proofs may be seen in the learned work of Dom Martene, On the ancient rites of the Church. The first allusion to Advent's being reduced to four weeks is to be found in the ninth century, in a letter of Pope St. Nicholas I to the Bulgarians. The testimony of Ratherius of Verona, and of Abbo of Fleury, both writers of the tenth century, goes also to prove that, even then, the question of reducing the duration of the Advent fast by one-third was seriously entertained. It is true that St. Peter Damian, in the eleventh century, speaks of the Advent fast as still being for forty days; and that St. Louis, two centuries later, kept it for that length of time; but as far as this holy king is concerned, it is probable that it was only his own devotion which prompted him to this practice.
The discipline of the Churches of the west, after having reduced the time of the Advent fast, so far relented, in a few years, as to change the fast into a simple abstinence; and we even find Councils of the twelfth century, for instance Selingstadt in 1122, and Avranches in 1172, which seem to require only the clergy to observe this abstinence. The Council of Salisbury, held in 1281, would seem to expect none but monks to keep it. On the other hand (for the whole subject is very confused, owing, no doubt, to there never having been any uniformity of discipline regarding it in the western Church), we find Pope Innocent III, in his letter to the bishop of Braga, mentioning the custom of fasting during the whole of Advent, as being at that time observed in Rome; and Durandus, in the same thirteenth century, in his Rational on the Divine Offices, tells us that, in France, fasting was uninterruptedly observed during the whole of that holy time.
This much is certain, that, by degrees, the custom of fasting so far fell into disuse, that when, in 1362, Pope Urban V endeavoured to prevent the total decay of the Advent penance, all he insisted upon was that all the clerics of his court should keep abstinence during Advent, without in any way including others, either clergy or laity, in this law. St. Charles Borromeo also strove to bring back his people of Milan to the spirit, if not to the letter, of ancient times. In his fourth Council, he enjoins the parish priests to exhort the faithful to go to Communion on the Sundays, at least, of Lent and Advent; and afterwards addressed to the faithful themselves a pastoral letter, in which, after having reminded them of the dispositions wherewith they ought to spend this holy time, he strongly urges them to fast on the Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, at least, of each week in Advent. Finally, Pope Benedict XIV, when archbishop of Bologna, following these illustrious examples) wrote his eleventh Ecclesiastical Institution for the purpose of exciting in the minds of his diocesans the exalted idea which the Christians of former times had of the holy season of Advent, and of removing an erroneous opinion which prevailed in those parts, namely, that Advent concerned religious only and not the laity. He shows them that such an opinion, unless it be limited to the two practices of fasting and abstinence, is, strictly speaking, rash and scandalous, since it cannot be denied that, in the laws and usages of the universal Church, there exist special practices, having for their end to prepare the faithful for the great feast of the birth of Jesus Christ.
The Greek Church still continues to observe the fast of Advent, though with much less rigour than that of Lent. It consists of forty days, beginning with November 14, the day on which this Church keeps the feast of the apostle St. Philip. During this entire period, the people abstain from flesh-meat, butter, milk, and eggs; but they are allowed, which they are not during Lent, fish, oil, and wine. Fasting, in its strict sense, is binding only on seven out of the forty days; and the whole period goes under the name of St. Philip's Lent. The Greeks justify these relaxations by this distinction: that the Lent before Christmas is, so they say, only an institution of the monks, whereas the Lent before Easter is of apostolic institution.
But, if the exterior practices of penance which formerly sanctified the season of Advent, have been, in the western Church, so gradually relaxed as to have become now quite obsolete except in monasteries, the general character of the liturgy of this holy time has not changed; and it is by their zeal in following its spirit, that the faithful will prove their earnestness in preparing for Christmas.
The liturgical form of Advent as it now exists in the Roman Church, has gone through certain modifications. St. Gregory seems to have been the first to draw up the Office for this season, which originally included five Sundays, as is evident from the most ancient sacramentaries of this great Pope. It even appears probable, and the opinion has been adopted by Amalarius of Metz, Berno of Reichnau, Dom Martene, and Benedict XIV, that St. Gregory originated the ecclesiastical precept of Advent, although the custom of devoting a longer or shorter period to a preparation for Christmas has been observed from time immemorial, and the abstinence and fast of this holy season first began in France. St. Gregory therefore fixed, for the Churches of the Latin rite, the form of the Office for this Lent-like season, and sanctioned the fast which had been established, granting a certain latitude to the several Churches as to the manner of its observance.
The sacramentary of St. Gelasius has neither Mass nor Office of preparation for Christmas; the first we meet with are in the Gregorian sacramentary, and, as we just observed, these Masses are five in number. It is remarkable that these Sundays were then counted inversely, that is, the nearest to Christmas was called the first Sunday, and so on with the rest. So far back as the ninth and tenth centuries, these Sundays were reduced to four, as we learn from Amalarius St. Nicholas I, Berno of Reichnau, Ratherius of Verona, &c., and such also is their number in the Gregorian sacramentary of Pamelius, which appears to have been transcribed about this same period. From that time, the Roman Church has always observed this arrangement of Advent, which gives it four weeks, the fourth being that in which Christmas day falls, unless December 25 be a Sunday. We may therefore consider the present discipline of the observance of Advent as having lasted a thousand years, at least as far as the Church of Rome is concerned; for some of the Churches in France kept up the number of five Sundays as late as the thirteenth century.
The Ambrosian liturgy, even to this day, has six weeks of Advent; so has the Gothic or Mozarabic missal. As regards the Gallican liturgy, the fragments collected by Dom Mabillon give us no information; but it is natural to suppose with this learned man, whose opinion has been confirmed by Dom Martene, that the Church of Gaul adopted, in this as in so many other points, the usages of the Gothic Church, that is to say, that its Advent consisted of six Sundays and six weeks.
With regard to the Greeks, their rubrics for Advent are given in the Menaea, immediately after the Office for November 14. They have no proper Office for Advent, neither do they celebrate during this time the Mass of the Presanctified, as they do in Lent. There are only in the Offices for the saints, whose feasts occur between November 14 and the Sunday nearest Christmas, frequent allusions to the birth of the Saviour, to the maternity of Mary, to the cave of Bethlehem, &c. On the Sunday preceding Christmas, in order to celebrate the expected coming of the Messias, they keep what they call the feast of the holy fathers, that is the commemoration of the saints of the old Law. They give the name of Ante-Feast of the Nativity to December 20, 21, 22, and 23; and although they say the Office of several saints on these four days, yet the mystery of the birth of Jesus pervades the whole liturgy.
Labels: The Liturgical Year