Wednesday, July 26, 2006

SS. Anne and Joachim

My post from last year on this feast celebrating the parents of Our Blessed Lady

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Saint Christopher

While we are being politically incorrect, today is also the feast of one of the most popular saints in Christendom, who was unwisely deprived of saint status after Vatican II, but is nevertheless widely venerated and prayed to anyway.

The Golden Legend on Saint Christopher

Saint James the Greater

July 25th is such an important day, and Saint James has become such an important symbol for the faith. In legend, St. James became the first apostle of Spain. In theory, his remains lie buried at Santiago de Compostela (St. James of Compostela, "Iago" in Spanish meaning "James"). Santiago became the patron of Spain, and Compostela became the thrid most important pilgrimage place in Christendom, after Jerusalem and Rome.

It was during the Reconquista, when Spain was painfully, bit-by-bit, inch-by-inch recaptured from the Moslems over a period of centuries, that St. James allegedly appeared leading the Catholic armies of Spain against the Moslems. That is how he got the title Santiago Matamoros, Saint James the Moor-Killer.

This July 25th, we are marking the 70th anniversary of the start of the Spanish Civil War, when the forces of Catholic Spain rallied again to end pagan depridation on the Catholic cultural heritage that is the strength of Spain. Members of my own Irish family played some small part fighting as soldiers in the cause of the Church in Spain in the 1930s.

Spanish nationalist coat of arms, including the Sacred Heart at the center
And today, all is not well again in Spain. It is not the enslaving Moors and the vile doctrines of armed Mohammedanism that are the greatest threat (though Spain, like the rest of Europe has too many Moslems living there and their birthrate is alarmingly high, threatening to overwhelm the native Catholic population and submerge Catholic Christendom into an Islamic state, if measures are not taken to stop the flow into Spain, and reverse it). It is not the murderous Communists. Franco gave Spanish communism its richly-deserved death sentence in his 30 years in power. It is the secularizing socialists, stripping Spain of all that is good and pure and pushing filth like gay "marriage," divorce, and abortion onto the Spanish people with the avidity of a drug pusher. And the Spanish people, degenerating from the solid examples of their fathers, are not blameless, since they elected this vile government that now misrules Spain.

Spanish communists shooting at the Sacred Heart statue, which they later blew up, courtesy of Rorate Caeli

Catholic Spain needs a rallying point now. Carlist requites once went into battle against the communists and their thoroughly reprehensible international allies with the Sacred Heart, the Corazon Sagreda, pinned to their chests or in their berets. Why shouldn't the Sacred Heart again serve as a symbol for a revival of Catholic Spain?

And if the cause of Catholic revival is to take on specific meaning for Spaniards and others, why not a rallying cry: "For the Sacred Heart and Saint James!" "Por Corazon Sagreda et Santiago!"

But today, while Spain is a battlefield in the war with islamofacism, the conflict between christendom and Islamofacism is global. All of Christendom finds itself fighting against Islamofascism at almost every point of the Globe where Islam and Christendom come into contact. The Sacred Heart is the traditional symbol of Catholic counter-revolution. But the Sacred Heart allied to the patronage of Saint James, who aided Spain in its battle against the Islamofacists of his day would be a very compelling and totally politically incorrect symbol of Christendom militant and unwilling to cave into the Mohammedans today.

In Afghanistan, we are still fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

In Iraq, we are fighting al Qaeda In Iraq.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

In Lebanon, Israel is fighting Hezbollah, and in Gaza, Hamas, both made up of militant Moslems, who, if they didn't have Israel to kick around, would be fighting us in Iraq. Even the supposedly "moderate" al Fatah Palestinian faction is part of the problem, allied as it is with Islamic Jihad and the Al Acqsa Martyrs Brigade. Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

Iran threatens to develop, and maybe use, nuclear weapons. Iran and Syria are supporting Hezbollah, Hamas, and al Qaeda in Iraq.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

In the Philippines, the Moro Liberation Front, essentially al Qaeda in the Philippines, is fighting the government, which is getting support from the US.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

In Pakistan, and Indonesia, and Malaysia, we see Moslem groups, either part of or inspired by al Qaeda, attacking western, and specifically Christian, targets. In Pakistan, they bomb Christian hospitals and schools. In Indonesia, they blow up western tourist resorts.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

In every Western nation, growing Moslem minorities threaten the peace, and often serve as recruiting grounds for Moslem terrorists. Look at the rail bombing in Spain which drove the solid previous Spanish government from power, and brought in this "surrender-to-the-terrorists-and-subvert-traditional-Spain" socialist government. In the UK, last July's rail and bus bombs were the work of Moslem terrorists. Numerous plots, all involving Moslems, have been thwarted here in the US since September 11th. Even France, so accomodationist to every enemy, was targeted by Moslem extremists, which caused weeks of destructive rioting by Moslem youths in the suburbs of Paris last fall.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

SantIago Matamoros, pray for us!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Saint Thomas a Kempis

Today is the feast of Saint Thomas a Kempis, author of The Imitation of Christ. For those not familiar with it, you ought to be. It is the second most popular Catholic spiritual work, trailing only the Holy Bible. The little Confraternity of the Most Precious Blood edition illustrated by Ariel Agemian is with me always. If you can't find it, my Lectio Divina links certainly include it (first).

The Catholic Encyclopedia offers this biography of St. Thomas.

Book Four of The Imitation is a short treatise on receiving the Blessed Sacrament in a worthy manner. Read more about St. Thomas' devotion to the Blessed Sacrament here.

The Imitation was not St. Thomas' only published work. He also wrote On the Passion Of Christ, which makes excellent Lenten reading.

His Consolations For My Soul recently appeared in its first English translation, but I was severely disappointed with William Griffin's butchery of a translation. The translation is almost sacriligious. Would to Heaven that a skilled and faithful translator gets a hold of this work and releases a normative edition.

New Additions To the Links

New Catholic blogs added recently to the Daily Reads:

Ite Ad Thomam

What Does the Prayer Really Say?

Against All Heresies

Filius Prodigus

Ecclesia Militans

Totus Pius

The Rule

Orbis Catholicus

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Seventh Sunday After Pentecost

From The Liturgical Year, by Abbott Prosper Gueranger, OSB.

THE dominical cycle of the Time after Pentecost completes to-day its first seven. Previous to the general adoption of the changes introduced into the Sunday Gospels for this portion of the year, the Gospel of the multiplication of the seven loaves gave its name to the seventh Sunday; and the mystery it contains is still evident in more than one section of to-day’s liturgy.

As we have already seen, this mystery was that of the consummation of the perfect in the repose or rest of God Himself; it was the fruitful peace of the divine union. Nothing, then, could be more fitting than that Solomon, who is pre-eminently the peaceful, the sacred and authorized chanter of the nuptial Canticle, should have been selected to come forward, on this day, to speak the praises of infinite Wisdom, and reveal her ways to the children of men. When Easter is kept as late in April as it is possible, the seventh Sunday after Pentecost is the first of the month of August; and the Church then begins, in her night Office, the lessons from the Sapiential Books. Otherwise, she continues the historic Scriptures, and that, in some years, for five weeks more; but even in that case eternal Wisdom maintains her rights to this Sunday, which the number of seven had already made hers in so special a way. For, when we cannot have the in­spired instructions of Proverbs, we have Solomon’s own example preaching to us in the third Book of Kings; we find him preferring Wisdom to all other treasures, and, on the throne of his father David, making her sit there with him as his inspirer and most noble Bride.

St. Jerome, who has been appointed by the Church herself as the interpreter of to-day’s Scrip­ture lessons,1 tells us that David, at the close of his life of wars and troubles, knew, as well as Solomon, the loveliness of this incomparable Bride of the Peaceful; the chill of his age was remedied by her caresses, whose very contact is purity.

‘Oh that this wisdom may be mine!’ exclaims the fervent solitary of Bethlehem; ‘may she embrace me, and abide with me. She never grows old. She is ever the purest of virgins, fruitful, yet ever immaculate. I think the apostle means her when he speaks of a something that can make us fervent in spirit.2 So again, when our Lord tells us in the Gospel that, at the end of the world, the charity of many will grow cold,3 I believe it will be because wisdom will then grow rare.’4

The history of the two blind men, as related in the ninth chapter of St. Matthew, is the subject of to-day’s Gospel in the Greek Church.

The Church, leaving the Synagogue in its cities which are to perish, has followed Jesus into the wilderness. Whilst the children of the kingdom5 are assisting at, without seeing it, this transmigra­tion which is to be so fatal to them, the root of Jesse, now become the standard of nations,6 is rallying the people, and marshals them by thousands on towards the Church. From east and west, from north and south, they are pouring in, sitting down to the banquet of the kingdom,7 in company with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. Here is our Introit; let us mingle our voices with these their glad chants.

Hub Of the Universe Considerations

Courtesy of Dom Bettinelli, I discovered that Wikipedia has an excellent article on the history of the Big Dig, the extravagantly expensive public works project that put Boston's Central artery underground with the help of a whole lot of federal money. Now that the incredibly corrupt process that created the Big dig has taken a life, that of 38-year old mother of two and newlywed Melina Del Valle of Jamaica Plain (when multi-ton celing panels fell in on the car she was a passenger in on her way to the airport to meet family), and tunnel and ramp closures tying up Boston traffic to nightmare proportions, we are learning an awful lot about this.

I must admit that, for most of the project, I was living on the North Shore, and just avoided Boston if I could, or used the commuter rail to North Station. And as a result, much of what was happening with the Big Dig just passed me by without me paying much attention. Now, I want to learn more.

There is a poll published in today's Boston Globe in which almost half the respondents says the entire Big Dig ought never to have been built. I saw in the Wikipedia article that President Reagan had vetoed the project originally in 1987, but his veto was overridden by a Democrat-controlled Congress. The Gipper knew a boondoggle when he saw one. And Tip O'Neill, who pushed it through, and for whom one of the main tunnels is named, never saw a boondoggle he didn't love.

And it doesn't take much effort to guess that donuts are near and dear to the heart of someone as round as I am. I have watched Dunkin' Donuts coffee and donut triumphal march through metropolitan Boston, where there is one on almost every street corner. A DD franchise in a good location is like a license to print money. On a typical weekday morning, there are lines of cars twenty-thirty long at a DD drive-through. When Krispy Kreme came to town, I confidently predicted that, with Starbucks hitting DD on the coffee side with better coffee, and KK hitting it on the donut side with superior, better-tasting donuts, that would be the end of DD, or Dunkies, as we call it here.

I was wrong. Krispy Kreme failed to capture the hearts of Boston donut eaters. The handful of stores they opened within my Boston-North shore patrol radius are almost all closed now. They bought the landmark Russo's Candy Store in Saugus, in order to tear it down and build a Krispy Kreme. That tells you an awful lot about the corporate management of Krispy Kreme. Dumb as rocks. Insensitive to local tradition. Imagination and adaptability of a brick. Their coffee was mediocre at best. And now, after being rebuffed in the Boston market, they are in full retreat.

And the Boston news everyone wants most, the Red Sox, despite losing to the Mariners yesterday, are maintaining a tenuous 2.5 game lead over the Yankees. This really is perilous. the starting pitching was already a shambles before Tim Wakefield came down with a stress fracture to a rib. Josh Beckett has won a lot of games, but has not been anything like dominant. Matt Clement has been about as effective as a dish rag, and we are probably seeing David Wells career come to and end with a sad whimper. Thank heavens, so far for Jon Lester!

And Boston Globe/Sports Illustrated/ESPN baseball beat legend Peter Gammons has been transferred to a rehabilitation facility as he tries to recover from a brain aneurysm that struck him almost a month ago. I certainly wish the best for Peter, whose baseball writings I have long been a fan of.

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