Saturday, January 08, 2005

Our Snowstorm...

Has fizzled and turned to rain. No 2-4 inches as the weather harpies have been screeching for the last two days. A coating, then rain, which is washing away the coating. There were some very lare flakes this morning, but they never amounted to enough.

Curiously, I've been looking at the radar, and though Boston is shown as firmly within the snow belt, but on its edge, it has been raining here for over an hour.

Good Taste, Elegance, and Proportion In Salem's Architecture

Celebrating the work of Samuel McIntire

The Gardner-White-Pingree House (1804) in Winter.

And a house a few blocks away built 50 years earlier, perhaps by McIntire's father, and displaying a slightly more old-fashioned sense of elegant and tasteful proportion for the first American millionaire, Elias Haskett Derby

Explosion On Boston Street

Just before 9am, there was a fiery explosion in a manhole on Massachusets Avenue in Boston near the Christian Science complex. I happened to be walking about a block from the explosion, and heard a muffled "Pouff". Looking to my left (I was on Huntington Avenue), I saw a ball of flame, which shot about 12-15 feet into the air, and which was followed by thick black smoke. Though I could not see the source of the explosion, the muffled sound and the concentration of the fire seemed to indicate an underground explosion. I don't know if anyone was hurt. I did not walk closer to it because of the smoke and the possibility of toxicity. But I stayed there a few minutes looking at it from a block away before going about my business.

Not something you see every day.

One other passerby said "terrorism," but I think not. Terrorists have better things to do than blow up manholes in front of a liberal protestant cult building in Boston.

As of an hour and a half later, there was no mention of it in either of the Boston newspaper on-line editions, so I may be breaking this story.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Around St. Blog's

Some good Plum talk over at The Shrine of the Holy Whapping.

A great rant from Dale Price.

Hey, I Wasn't the Only Catholic Blogger To Note Epiphany

Or to mention Little Christmas, or to rely on Kevin Danaher's book.

John, the Boston Public Library has a copy, so your local library might as well, if you can't find your own. Better get it in time for St. Brigid Cross making time, not to mention St. Patrick's Cross making time.

No, reader. As far as I know, John and I are not related. Just great minds working on the same track

And the ever-astute Mark Sullivan at Irish Elk also noted Little Christmas.

Hue and Cry After Christmas

But is old, old, good old Christmas gone?
Nothing but the hair of his good, gray old head and beard left?
Well, I will have that, seeing I cannot have more of him.

Christmas Oratorio

By W.H. Auden

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.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

I've Got A Little List

Two lists, actually.

This morning I was making out a comprehensive list of things I dislike about the post-Vatican II Church, and another of things I like about it. I was disappointed to find that the list of dislikes was much longer than the list of things I like.

These lists may find their way into essay form in the next few days.

The Journey of the Magi

By T.S. Eliot
'A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For the journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.
'And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, sayingT
hat this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins,
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death,
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

Little Christmas

As long as I can remember, Epiphany has been known in my family as "Little Christmas" on both the Irish and Italian sides of my family.

Doing some research, I find that the name is of Irish derivation. Epiphany merry-making is a smaller, less formal, less stressful mirror of the festivities of Christmas Day itself. Hence, it it called "Little Christmas".

Interestingly, in Ireland, it is also known as Women's Christmas. Some on-line sources indicate that men do the housework on that day, but Kevin Danaher in The Year In Ireland, does not mention this. He only states that the festive foods of Little Christmas (cookies, cake, tea) are lighter and more dainty than the hearty beef, mince pie, beer, and turkey of Christmas Day, and that is the cause for the distinction.

What all sources agree on is that, on or after Little Christmas, the Christmas decorations can come down (though some leave them up until Candlemas- February 2nd). There is a tradition of saving the holly and ivy and using it to start the fire that will fry up the Shrove Tuesday pancakes. But that only works if you are using a wood-burning stove.

So a Happy Little Christmas to one and all!

The Epiphany of the Lord

Ninth Day January 6th Traditional Epiphany
O holy Magi, who were the first among the Gentiles called to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and who persevered in the faith until thy deaths, obtain for us from the Lord the grace of living always in conformity to the baptismal promises and especially in accordance with our religious vows (or 'the duties of our state of life'), leading ever a life of faith, that like thee we may attain to beatific vision of that God Who now is the object of our faith.
Glory Be...

I like this particular version of the Adoration of the Magi, painted by Benedetto Bonfigli in 1445, because of its prefiguration of the Sacrifice fo the Cross, a reminder that as we celebrate Epiphany and the final joys of Christmas, Ash Wednesday, Lent, Passiontide, and Good Friday itself are not far away. That is especially so this year, as Easter is almost as early as it can be, and Ash Wednesday is a mere 31 days or so away.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Snowing Again In Boston

This may be a light blogging day as, despite the flu shot I had a month ago, for the third time this winter I'm febrile with vague digestive unease and aches and pains in the pins and other joints. And I had a really bad asthma attack last night that closed down my lungs just as I was trying to swallow dinner. So between trying to get my lungs calmed down and just trying to rest, I doubt I'll be doing much blogging.

Twelfth Cake

I've given my recipe (actually Martha Washington's) for Great Cake several times.

This is what one looks like if it is coated with rolled marzipan and then iced with royal icing.

Enjoy! Christmas feasting is almost over. Then you can worry about the waistline.

Eighth Day of the Epiphany Novena

Eighth Day January 5th Twelfth Night

O holy Magi, who when warned by an angel not to return to Herod, traveled back to your country by another road, obtain for us from the Lord the grace that, after having found Him by true repentance, we may avoid all danger of losing Him again.
Glory Be...

Happy Twelfth Day of Christmas!!!

Tonight is Twelfth Night, the culmination of Christmas festivity, as tomorrow is Epiphany (everywhere except in American Catholic church liturgy: rolling eyes icon if I could use one in Blogger).

Today's Nativity image was painted by the Master of Avila in 1474.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Good 2004 Wrap-Up

By Ann Coulter.

Wade Boggs Makes the Hall of Fame

Jim Rice does not.

The difference is 5 AL batting titles, and two Gold Gloves at third base, as well as playing for a World Champion (1996 Yankees).

I know the topic of Jim Rice's suitability for the Hall has been hotly debated ever since his retirement. Basically, Rice was a power hitter whose career was made by the fact that he played in Fenway Park. He struck out an awful lot.

But I have a sentimental wish to see three consecutive generations of Red Sox leftfielders make the Hall (Ted Williams, succeeded by Carl Yastrezemski, succeeded by Jim Rice). So I hope he makes it next year.

BTW the, AHEM, World Champion Boston Red Sox start Spring Training in about 6 weeks.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

January 4th is her feast day.

Seventh Day of the Epiphany Novena

Seventh Day January 4th

O holy Magi, who offered to Jesus Christ gold, incense, and myrrh, thereby recognizing Him to be at once King, God, and Man, obtain from the Lord for us the grace never to present ourselves before Him with empty hands, but that we may continually offer to Him the gold of charity, the incense of prayer, and the myrrh of penance and mortification.
Glory Be...

Happy Eleventh Day of Christmas!!!

Tomorrow is Twelfth Night, and the day after Epiphany itself. Hard to believe that Lent starts in about a month.

It appears that the year 1445 was a popular one for nativity paintings. Both yesterday's and today's were painted that year. And the Adoration of the Magi image that I will be using for Epiphany was also painted that year.

This nativity was painted by the Flemish artist Petrus Christus

January 4th: Most Common Feast of the Holy Name

The date on which the Holy Name is honored varies from country to country and from order to order. But January 4th is the most common traditional date for it.

There is a complicated formula for calculating it in the traditional calendar of the Universal Church, where it was supposed to be a Sunday, but could not fall on particular dates. The observance was dropped from the calendar after Vatican II, but restored in 2002 as only an option for January 3rd.

Since particular orders move the observance around to suit their needs, and since it is only optional, I think I'll just follow the example of the good priest who edited The Lives of the Saints I am accustomed to using, and make January 4th Holy Name day.

Check out the indulgences that used to be available connected with the utterance of the Holy Name.

Litany of the Holy Name
V/ Lord, have mercy.
R/ Lord, have mercy.
V/ Christ, have mercy.
R/ Christ, have mercy.
V/ Lord, have mercy.
R/ Lord, have mercy.
V/ Jesus, hear us.
R/ Jesus, graciously hear us.
R/ for ff: have mercy on us
God, the Father of Heaven,
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God, the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, One God,
Jesus, Son of the living God,
Jesus, Splendor of the Father,
Jesus, Brightness of eternal Light,
Jesus, King of Glory,
Jesus, Sun of Justice,
Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary,
Jesus, Most amiable,
Jesus, most admirable,
Jesus, the mighty God,
Jesus, Father of the world to come,
Jesus, angel of great counsel,
Jesus, most powerful,
Jesus, most patient,
Jesus, most obedient,
Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
Jesus, Lover of Chastity,
Jesus, our Lover,
Jesus, God of Peace,
Jesus, Author of Life,
Jesus, of Virtues,
Jesus, zealous for souls,
Jesus, our God,
Jesus, our Refuge,
Jesus, Father of the Poor,
Jesus, Treasure of the Faithful,
Jesus, good Shepherd,
Jesus, true Light,
Jesus, eternal Wisdom,
Jesus, infinite Goodness,
Jesus, our Way and our Life,
Jesus, joy of the Angels,
Jesus, King of the Patriarchs,
Jesus, Master of the Apostles,
Jesus, Teacher of the Evangelists,
Jesus, Strength of Martyrs,
Jesus, Light of Confessors,
Jesus, Purity of Virgins,
Jesus, Crown of all Saints,
V/ Be merciful,
R/ spare us, O Jesus!
V/ Be merciful,
R/ graciously hear us, O Jesus!
R/ for ff: deliver us, O Jesus
From all evil,
From all sin,
From Thy wrath,
From the snares of the devil,
From the spirit of fornication,
From everlasting ,
From the neglect of Thine inspirations,
Through the mystery of Thine holy Incarnation,
Through Thy Nativity,
Through Thine Infancy,
Through Thy most divine Life,
Through Thy Labors,
Through Thine Agony and Passion,
Through Thy Cross and Dereliction,
Through Thy Sufferings,
Through Thy and Burial,
Through Thy Resurrection,
Through Thine Ascension,
Through Thine Institution of the Most Holy Eucharist,
Through Thy joys,
Through Thy Glory,
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R/ spare us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R/ graciously hear us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R/ have mercy on us, O Jesus!
Jesus hear us.
R/ Jesus, graciously hear us.
Let us pray.
O Lord Jesus Christ, Thou hast said, "Ask and thou shalt receive; seek, and thou shalt find; knock, and it shall be opened unto thee"; mercifully attend to our supplications, and grant us the grace of Thy most divine love, that we may love Thee with all our hearts, and in all our words and actions, and never cease to praise Thee.
Make us, O Lord, to have a perpetual fear and love of Thy Holy Name, for Thou never failest to govern those whom Thou solidly establish in Thy love. Thou, who live and reign forever and ever.
R/ Amen.

The Jesus Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.

The Psalter of Jesus
This devotion is a bit too long to reproduce here, but its 15 petitions are an excellent centerpiece for a holy hour in honor of the Holy Name. Here is the good translation of Michael Martin of Thesaurus Preces Latinarum. The earliest trace of this prayer is to 1520, and we know that it was popular among English Catholics during the days of persecution.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Fifty Years of National Review

Standing athwart history, yelling, "Stop!".

Indispensible to the health of American democracy.

Is Cardinal Ratzinger the Favorite To Be the Next Pope?

Time thinks so.

Part of me hopes this is accurate, but the other part wants someone who mirrors his views and forcefulness, but is much younger.

By the way, Cardinal Ratzinger is not an archconservative. He was a liberal, but the tide of events has moved some activists so far to the left that both Ratzinger and the Holy Father seem conservative (when in fact they are just about where they were idealogically in 1960).

Ratzinger is conservative (or orthodox, if you prefer) compared to Richard McBrien, Andrew Greeley, Hans Kung, James Carroll, Charles Curran, and other leftists. But compared to the Pius X Society? Mel Gibson? No.

In fact, in practical terms, especially with regard to liturgical practice, Cardinal Arinze may be more "hard-line" than Ratzinger, who is more theological and philosophical in his approach.

Interesting Review

Of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World posted over at Popcorn Critics and Two Sleepy Mommies. And that touches on a discussion last month over at Flos Carmeli.

HMS Rose as HMS Surprise
For the record, I've been critical of the casting of Bettany and Crowe as Stephen and Jack from the time I first heard of it. My Jack would have been Steven Waddington ( A&E's Ivanhoe), and I was open on Stephen, though a younger thinner version of Brian Cox would have worked, as Stephen is supposed to be short, slight, dark, and ugly.

I've Never Mentioned This

But I like the art of Johannes Zoffany

This is Charles Townley and friends admiring his collection of antiquities.

Sixth Day of the Epiphany Novena

Sixth Day January 3rd
O holy Magi, who, entering full of faith into the stable of Bethlehem, prostrated yourselves on the earth, to adore the new-born King of the Jews, though He was surrounded only by signs of poverty and weakness, obtain from the Lord for us a lively faith in the real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, the true spirit of poverty, and a Christlike charity for the poor and suffering.
Glory Be...

Happy Tenth Day of Christmas!!!

Today's image was painted in 1445 by Sano Di Pietro, and is in the
Vatican Museum.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

You Probably Noticed

That at Mass today, it was Epiphany.

That is an AmChurch thing. One of those, "let's make it 'easier' for them" by tossing tradition out the window into the freezing cold actions American bishops are so inclined towards.

In the Universal Church, and at Recta Ratio (both blog and Yahoo Group) Epiphany is always January 6th, twelve days after Christmas.

Went to the Indult for the Octave of Christmas yesterday, a very plain, virtually silent low Mass, though with a little nice chant, and to St. Francis Chapel today for a good sermon and a nice brief Novus Ordo Mass.

It's A New Year

Time for stepping out and looking good.

Boston is enjoying mild, spring-like temperatures that have me jonesing for Spring, and that have melted most of the 4-6 inches of snow we received last week.

Fifth Day of the Epiphany Novena

Fifth Day January 2nd

O holy Magi, who were gladdened by the reappearance of the star which led you to Bethlehem, obtain for us from God the grace that, remaining always faithful to Him in afflictions, we may be consoled in time by His glory.
Glory Be...

The new Journey of the Magi image was painted by Benozzo Gozzoli in 1459, and features Lorenzo the Magnificent as Balthasar. It was commissioned by Lorenzo's grandfather, Cosimo de Medici.

Happy Ninth Day of Christmas!!!

Today's image is from the Tres Riches Hueres de Duc de Berry

The ninth day of Christmas.
By now, the Christmas carols are starting to sound a little old: time to make use of Christmas chant, medieval and baroque settings, and other musical means of extending Christmas without too much repetition of the same old same old.

Little Christmas is just a few days away now, then Plough Monday puts an end to Christmas festivity (though greens and other doecorations can stay up until Candlemas).

Sixth Day of the Epiphany Novena

O holy Magi, who, entering full of faith into the stable of Bethlehem, prostrated thyselves on the earth, to adore the newborn King of the Jews, though he was surrounded only by signs of poverty and weakness; obtain from the Lord for us a lively faith in the real presence of Jesus in the blessed Sacrament, the true spirit of poverty, and a Christ-like charity for the poor and suffering.
Glory be...

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