Saturday, November 24, 2007

Our Blessed Lady's Saturday

Prayer of a Sinner to the Queen of Heaven

O Queen of Heaven, Mother of holy love! since thou art the greatest of creatures, the most beloved of God, and His greatest lover, be pleased to allow the most miserable sinner living in this world, who, having by thy means been delivered from Hell, and without any merit on his part been so benefited by by thee and who is filled with love for thee, to love thee. I wiah it were in my power, to let all men who know thee not how worthy thou art of love, that all might love and honor thee.

I would desire to die for the love of thee, in defense of thy virginity, of thy dignity of Mother of God, of thy Immaculate Conception, should this be necessary, to uphold these thy great privileges. Ah! my most beloved Mother accept this my ardent desire, and never allow a servant of thine, to become the enemy of thy God, whom thou lovest so much.

Alas! poor me, I was so for a time, when I offended my Lord. But then, O Mary, I loved thee but little, and strove but little to be beloved by thee. But now there is nothing that I so much desire, after the grace of God, as to love and be loved by thee. I am not discouraged on account of my past sins, for I know that thou, O most benign and gracious Lady, dost not disdain to love even the most wretched sinners, nay more, that thou never allowest thyself to be surpassed by any in love.

Ah! Queen most worthy of love, I desire to love thee in Heaven. There, at thy feet, I shall better know how worthy thou art of love, how much thou hast done to save me; and thus I shall love thee with greater love, and without fear of ever ceasing to love thee.

O Mary, I hope most certainly to be saved by thy means. Nothing else is needed; thou hast to save me; thou art my hope. I will therefore always sing O Mary, my hope, thou hast to save me.

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori


Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday At the Foot Of the Cross

The Sacred Passion

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son Jesus Christ,
in atonement for my sins,
for the relief of the Holy Souls in Purgatory,
and for the wants of Holy Mother the Church.

O my God, who didst die on the Cross for me, have mercy on me.

O my God, through the Passion of
Thy Divine Son, give me the
grace of sincere repentance.

O my God, give me the grace rather to die than commit a mortal sin.

Holy Mother, pierce me through;
in my heart each wound renew
of my Saviour Crucified.

I adore Thee, 0 Christ,
and I praise Thee;
because by Thy Holy Cross
Thou hast redeemed the world.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Mass Sunday Night In Waterbury, CT

Was packed.

The Society of Saint Hugh of Cluny has photos.

And the Mass will be held there again this coming Sunday at 6pm!!!


Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

I will be scarce until next Monday. Life comes before blogging.

May all enjoy their Thanksgiving. Eat way too much turkey and pumpkin pie, drink too much cider, and save some white meat for me!


Two Primary Accounts Of the First Thanksgiving

The first is from Governor William Bradford's history of the Plymouth Colony. The second is from Mort's Relation.

"They begane now to gather in ye small harvest they had, and to fitte up their houses and dwellings against winter, being well recovered in health & strenght, and had all things in good plenty; for some were thus imployed in affairs abroad, others were excersised in fishing, aboute codd, & bass, & other fish, of which yey tooke good store, of which every family had their portion. All ye somer ther was no wante. And now begane to come in store of foule, as winter aproached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degree). And besids water foule, ther was great store of wild Turkies, of which they took many, besids venison, &c. Besids they had aboute a peck a meale a weeke to a person, or now since harvest, Indean corne to yt proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largly of their plenty hear to their freinds in England, which were not fained, but true reports.

"William Bradford. "Bradford's History Of Plimoth Plantation." Boston: Wright & Potter Printing Co., State Printers... 1898. p. 127

"Our Corne did proue well, & God be praysed, we had a good increase of Indian Corne, and our Barly indifferent good, but our Pease not worth the gathering, for we feared they were too late sowne, they came vp very well, and blossomed, but the Sunne parched them in the blossome; our harvest being gotten in, our Governour sent foure men on fowling, that so we might after a more speciall manner reioyce together, after we had gathered the fruit of our labors; they foure in one day killed as much fowle, as with a little helpe beside, served the Company almost a weeke, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Armes, many of the Indians coming amongst vs, and among the rest their greatest King Massasoyt, with some nintie men, whom for three dayes we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed fiue Deere, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed upon our Governour, and upon the Captaine, and others. And although it be not alwayes so plentifull, as it was at this time with vs, yet by the goodneses of God, we are so farre from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."

E.W., Plymouth, in New England, this 11th of December, 1621. in A RELATION OR Journal of the beginning and proceedings of the English Plantation settled at Plimoth in NEW ENGLAND, by certaine English Aduenturers both Merchants and others. LONDON,Printed for John Bellamie,..1622. pp. 60-61.


Wednesday Will Be the Busiest Travel Day of the Year

Over the river and through the woods
To Grandfather's house we go.
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh
Through white and drifted snow.
Over the river and through the wood --
Oh, how the wind does blow!It stings the toes
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river and through the woods
To have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring,Ting-a-ling-ling!
Hurrah forThanksgiving Day!
Over the river and through the wood,
Trot fast, my dapple gray!
Spring over the groundLike a hunting hound,
For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river and through the woods,
And straight through the barnyard gate.
We seem to go
Extremely slow --
It is so hard to wait!
Over the river and through the wood --
Now Grandmother's cap I spy!
Hurrah for fun!Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!


The Selkirk Grace

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And so the Lord be thanket.


Psalm 66/67

A Psalm of Thanksgiving

May God have mercy on us, and bless us: may He cause the light of His countenance to shine upon us, and may He have mercy on us.

That we may know Thy way upon earth: Thy salvation in all nations.

Let people confess to Thee, O God: let all people give praise to Thee.

Let the nations be glad and rejoice: for Thou judgest the people with justice, and directest the nations upon earth.

Let the people, O God, confess to Thee: let all the people give praise to Thee:

The earth hath yielded her fruit. May God, our God bless us,

May God bless us: and all the ends of the earth fear Him.


Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God’s own field, fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come, and shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day all offenses purge away,
Giving angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store in His garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified, in Thy garner to abide;
Come, with all Thine angels come, raise the glorious harvest home.


A Thanksgiving Wish

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of my readers and loved ones a happy and joyous Thanksgiving. Even in tough times (and we are not quite out of the woods yet) and in war, we have much to be thankful for in this wonderful country.

May God, in His mercy, through the graces imparted by Our Blessed Lady, grant us reconciliation, peace, harmony, and renewed joy. May He bind up old wounds, help us grow and mature, and always live in the light of the Gospel and in His grace.

God bless you all.


A Thanksgiving Prayer

On this Thanksgivng Day, Lord, we Thy people count our blessings, which Thou hast given us. With joyful gratitutude, we raise our voices in praise of the Author of Creation.

We thank Thee for the gifts of life, free will, and good health of both body and mind.

We thank Thee for the bountiful food we eat, the warm clothes we wear, the shelter of our homes, the love and comfort of our families.

We thank Thee for gainful and challenging employment.

We thank thee for a free country, made prosperous by Thy grace and the effective exercise of our free will.

We thank Thee for the rights to earn our bread, speak our minds, elect our leaders, choose our friends, protect our families, and worship Thee.

We thank Thee for those who make our freedom possible: EMTs, doctors and nurses, firemen, policemen, soldiers, airmen, sailors, marines, Coast Guardsmen, agents, analysts, and national leaders.

We thank Thee for the sacrifice of so many brave young men who have given the last full measure of devotion, and for all who have served, so that we may live free in this land Thou hast provided for us.

We thank Thee for the gift of Faith which helps us to understand that we shall transcend all difficulties through Thy grace.

We thank thee for Thy Church here on earth, divided as it is, troubled by sin, beset by Satan, yet ultimately triumphant.

Most of all, Lord, we thank Thee for Thy Sacrifice on Calvary, which opened the gates of Heaven to us, giving us the promise of eternal life.

We adore and thank Christ, Oh Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.


Harvest Home

The Horkey by Robert Bloomfield

The first Thanksgiving was really just an English Harvest Home celebration, and probably occurred in either late September, or October, when the harvest is all in here in Massachusetts.


Thanksgiving In Massachusetts in 1779

My scholarly analysis of an extensive diary entry by Juliana Smith, daughter of a rural Massachusetts minister at the time of the Revolutionary War.


Turkey Or Eagle?

Benjamin Franklin caused a minor commotion in objecting to the adoption of the bald eagle as the symbol of the United States. He preferred our favorite Thanksgiving fare, the turkey.

"For my part, I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen representative of our country; he is a bird of bad moral character....For in truth the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird withal, a true original native of America. Eagles have been found in all countries, but the turkey is peculiar to ours...he is besides (though a little vain and silly, it is true), a bird of courage who would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British Guard who should presume to invade his farmyard with a red coat on."

Others, including John Adams, objected that the turkey was notoriously stupid as well.

But the country has settled into a happy compromise.

"May one give us peace in all our states,
The other a piece for all our plates."


The Landing Of the Pilgrim Fathers

By Felicia Hemans

The breaking waves dash'd high
On a stern and rock-bound coast,
And the woods against a stormy sky
Their giant branches toss'd;

And the heavy night hung dark,
The hills and waters o'er,
When a band of exiles moor'd their bark
On the wild New-England shore.

Not as the conqueror comes,
They, the true-hearted came;
Not with the roll of the stirring drums,
And the trumpet that sings of fame:

Not as the flying come,
In silence and in fear;–
They shook the depths of the desert gloom
With their hymns of lofty cheer.

Amidst the storm they sang,
And the stars heard and the sea!
And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang
To the anthem of the free.

The ocean-eagle soar'd
From his nest by the white wave's foam;
And the rocking pines of the forest roar'd–
This was their welcome home!

There were men with hoary hair,
Amidst that pilgrim band;–
Why had they come to wither there,
Away from their childhood's land?

There was woman's fearless eye,
Lit by her deep love's truth;
There was manhood's brow serenely high,
And the fiery heart of youth.

What sought they thus afar?
Bright jewels of the mine?
The wealth of seas, the spoils of war?–
They sought a faith's pure shrine!

Ay, call it holy ground,
The soil where first they trod!
They have left unstain'd what there they found–
Freedom to worship God.


The Importance Of Pumpkins In Colonial New England

How important was the pumpkin to the early American settlers?

An early 18th century rhyme answers that question.

For pottage and puddings and custards and pies
Our pumpkins and and parsnips are common supplies;
We have pumpkin at morning and pumpkin at noon,
If it was not for pumpkin, we should be undone.

Pumpkin keeps well, and was often dried for use throughout the winter and into the spring. It was not an uncommon thing for Yankee farm families to be subsisting on dried pumpkin, salt pork, fermented cider, and baked beans well into May.

One incident from the Battle of Lexington demonstrates this. The night before the battle, a patrol of British officers and their servants rode down what is now Massachusetts Avenue in East Lexington (with a mission of stationing themselves at likely spots on the road to stop messengers from getting to Concord). They stopped at a house and helped themselves to supper, which was, of course, dried pumpkin, baked beans and brown bread, it being early spring, the meat supply pretty much exhausted, the shad run not having started yet, and the spring crops not available yet. The family was outraged, and reported the incident as a British atrocity of the day.

Plus, pumpkins were hollowed out and used as tureens, as storage vats, and parts were often cut and used as ladles.


Cooking Pumpkin

All spelling and punctuation as in the original:

"But the Huswives manner is to slice them when ripe, and cut them into dice, and to fill a pot with them of two or three Gallons, and stew them upon a gentle fire the whole day, and as they sink, they fill again with fresh Pompions [pumpkins], not putting any liquor to them; and when it is stewed enough, it will look like bak'd Apples; this they Dish, putting Butter to it, and a little Vinegar, (with some Spice, as Ginger, &c) which makes it tart like an Apple, and so serve it up to be eaten with Fish or Flesh. It provokes Urin extreamly and is very windy."

From The Old Farmer's Almanac Colonial Cookbook, 1976


Massachusetts And Pies

Pies are not only the primary dessert for Thanksgiving, but are very popular year-round throughout New England. Unlike the author of the following doggerel, I love pies. Bring them on. The more, the merrier.

In Massachusetts, sad to say
From Gloucester down to Cape Cod Bay
They feed you 'til you want to die
On mincemeat and pumpkin pie.
Until at last it makes you cry,
"What else is there that I can try?'
They look at you in some surprise
And feed you apple and custard pies.

And this little ditty was written at least a century before Boston Cream Pie came into prominence.

Mmmmmmm. Mince pie. Yummy!


The Pumpkin

by John Greenleaf Whittier

Oh, greenly and fair in the lands of the sun,
The vines of the gourd and the rich melon run,
And the rock and the tree and the cottage enfold,
With broad leaves all greenness and blossoms all gold,
Like that which o'er Nineveh's prophet once grew,
While he waited to know that his warning was true,
And longed for the storm-cloud, and listened in vain
For the rush of the whirlwind and red fire-rain.

On the banks of the Xenil the dark Spanish maiden
Comes up with the fruit of the tangled vine laden;
And the Creole of Cuba laughs out to behold
Through orange-leaves shining the broad spheres of gold;
Yet with dearer delight from his home in the North,
On the fields of his harvest the Yankee looks forth,
Where crook-necks are coiling and yellow fruit shines,
And the sun of September melts down on his vines.

Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,
From North and from South come the pilgrim and guest,
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored,
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before,
What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?

Oh, fruit loved of boyhood! the old days recalling,
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!
When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune,
Our chair a broad pumpkin,--our lantern the moon,
Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam,
In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!

Then thanks for thy present! none sweeter or better
E'er smoked from an oven or circled a platter!
Fairer hands never wrought at a pastry more fine,
Brighter eyes never watched o'er its baking, than thine!
And the prayer, which my mouth is too full to express,
Swells my heart that thy shadow may never be less,
That the days of thy lot may be lengthened below,
And the fame of thy worth like a pumpkin-vine grow,
And thy life be as sweet, and its last sunset sky
Golden-tinted and fair as thy own pumpkin pie!


The Importance of Cider

Here is a story from 17th century Lynn, Massachusetts about the appeal of apple cider. In this case, though, it is the hard, fermented variety.

Mr. Whiting was minister of the Puritan church in Lynn during part of the 1600s.

"Mr. Whiting had a score of apple trees from which he made cyder. And it hath been said yt an Indian once coming to hys house and Mrs. Whiting giving him a drink of ye cyder he did sett down ye pot and smacking his lips say yt Adam and Eve were rightlie damned for eating ye appills in ye garden of Eden, they should have made them into cyder."

Here is some good information for making cider at home safely.


A Thanksgiving Menu for Eight Or More

Or two people who really like leftovers.

Appetizer Course
Brie With Table Water Crackers
Goose Liver Pate With Club Crackers
Pepperoni & Cheddar Cheese on Rye Rounds
Sausage Puffs

Relish Course
Cranberry Rum Raisin Relish
Apple Sauce
Pickled Watermelon Rind
Tomato Aspic With Horseradish Sauce

Soup Course
Clam Chowder

Entree Course
Large Roast Turkey or Hotel-Style Turkey Breast
Herbed Dressing
Turkey Gravy (made from the giblets and spicy)
Butternut Squash with Maple Sugar & Cinnamon
Cranberry Sauce
Carrot Pudding
Onion Pie
Mushrooms In Cream
Corn Custard
Harvard Beets
Nottingham Yam Pudding
Chicken Pie

Beaten Biscuits With Sage
Corn Muffins
Crescent Rolls
Buttermilk Biscuits With Cheese
Sally Lunn Bread (great toasted later)
Pumpkin Butter
Apple Butter

A Basket of Walnuts & Hazelnuts
Date and Nut Bars

Pumpkin Pie With Cointreau Cream
Apple Pie With Cheddar
Mince Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream

Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur No. 1 cigars

Cream Sherry to start
May Wine with the early courses
Beaujolais Noveau with the entree
Fresh Cider
Dairy Eggnog, both for the non-drinkers
Starbuck's Pumpkin spice Coffe with dessert
Vintage Tawney Port (Offley Baron de Forester?) with the cigars

Post Dinner
Ranitidine, Alka Seltzer, & Tums

Hint: Many of the recipes for the dishes I could not find links to can be found at Recta Ratio: The Yahoo Group



What Would the Pilgrims Have Eaten?


Recta Ratio: The Yahoo Group--Your Resource For Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's

As most of my readers know, I branched out the Recta Ratio project a few years ago from its beginnings here at this blog, and created first one Recta Ratio Yahoo Group, then last year, 4 more. These Yahoo groups mostly hold images of interest to me. There is a limit on how many images you can store in a Yahoo group, and I wanted to expand further than that limit allowed. So Recta Ratio Yahoo Group holds many images of sacred art topics. You can find there many examples of the works of Carravaggio, Reni, Fra Angelico, the della Robbias, Giotto, as well as a few assorted topics like the Nativity and Our Lord's Dolorous Passion.

Recta Ratio 2 Yahoo Group
is also somewhat eclectic, with images of sacred relics, church interiors and exteriors, Celtic Crosses, monstrances, crucifixes, and other topics of interest to me.

Recta Ratio 3 Yahoo Group
is entirely devoted to Our Blessed Lady. You will find numerous images of her there. There are 16 albums, arranged by topic or artist.

Recta Ratio 4 Yahoo Group
is devoted to the Saints, the Church Triumphant.

Recta Ratio 5 Yahoo Group is made up of images from various illuminated manuscripts, though Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry and the Hours of Henry VIII predominate. There is also a nice collection of images from the Office of the Dead from various Books of Hours.

Recta Ratio 6 Yahoo Group, will have memento mori and vanitas images. It is kind of empty in there now, but that will change with time.

But Yahoo has a less restrictive limit on the storage of text items in its groups. And the original Recta Ratio Yahoo Group has the links and text items. The other Recta Ratio Groups do not have the text dimension that the original group has.

Those text items include a growing treaury of traditional Catholic prayers, including the complete text of the traditional Office of the Dead, a good selection of Advent Prayers, lyrics to dozens of traditional Catholic hymns, Christmas carols and Irish songs, selections of seasonal prose and poetry, lectures of the late Dr. Russell Kirk, quotations from various persons, and selections from Abbot Gueranger's The Liturgical Year. Recently, I added what I hope is the complete text of Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson's book on Medieval English Devotions, A Book Of the Love Of Jesus.

But the most popular text items stored in the original Recta Ratio Yahoo Group, I have to admit, is the Recipes and Menus section. I have been dabbling in the kitchen now for over 20 years, since my early college days, and I have a lot of enthusiasm for food, particularly at this time of the year. The recipes section has grown along with my waistline. No, thank heavens, I can say it has grown a lot faster than I have. Not that I'm not too far behind, mind you. The recipes section now has over 500 recipes. So if you are still struggling to come up with a menu for your Thanksgiving feast, or want to plan ahead for Christmas Dinner and Christmas baking, you might want to take a stroll through the Files of the original Recta Ratio Yahoo Group.

That means you have to join. But the good news is that membership is always 100% free. Afraid that by joining you will be spammed? That isn't a big concern, because I am a very active group owner, and monitor new member applications very closely. Just this morning, I had a request to join from someone, and turned it down, as it looked fishy to me. In fact, I was quite justified, because elsewhere in my email, there was something this same person had posted at another Catholic Yahoo group, and it was spam, promoting some Catholic dating service. But if a clever spammer does get through, the instant I see the spam, they get banished forever to the hinterlands outside the membership of Recta Ratio, where there is only wailing and gnashing of teeth.

So join up and take a stroll around the text files of the original Recta Ratio Yahoo Group. Or join any of the groups and meander through their photo albums. My Yahoo Groups are always a work-in-progress, since as I see more things that interest me, I post them.

But I don't think it is too much self-promotion if I say that joining the original Recta Ratio Yahoo Group is like getting a free cookbook, one fairly well-organized, and one which contains about 500 recipes. And especially at this time of year, if you are looking to try something different, or want to establish a new food tradition for your family, you might find something there that fits the bill.

Oh, I forgot to mention, there is one thing I ask. Just remember me in your prayers if anything in my files, links, or photo albums interests or appeals.


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