Saturday, December 15, 2007

What Kind Of Christmas Tree Are You?

You Are a Bright Christmas Tree

For you, the holidays are all about fun and seasonal favorites.
You are into all things Christmas, even if they're a little tacky.
What Christmas Tree Are You?

This fits very well. Heck, my trees have thousands of multi-colored lights on them, are crammed with ornaments, most of them very shiny, in red or gold, and bedecked with gold and red bead garland.

I didn't plan it, but this looks like my first Christmas post. It is still Advent, but the joy of Christmas cannot be contained, and we are moving this Guadete Sunday, into a period of more joyous anticipation and preparation.

Found this via Drew at Running River Latin School


Our Blessed Lady's Saturday

Hail, most gracious Mother of mercy! Hail, Mary for whom we fondly yearn and through whom we obtain forgiveness! Who would not love thee? Thou art our light in uncertainty, our comfort in sorrow, our consolation in trial and our refuge from every danger and temptation. Thou art our sure hope of salvation, second only to thine only-begotten Son. Happy are they who love thee, Our Lady! I beg of thee, listen graciously to the prayers of this thy servant, a miserable sinner. Scatter the darkness of my sins by the bright beams of thy holiness so that I may be pleasing in thy sight.
From The Raccolta


Friday, December 14, 2007

The O Antiphons Begin Monday

This is sometimes called Sapientide, after the first of the O Antiphons, "O Sapientia."

With Gaudete Sunday this coming Sunday, it is a sure sign that the period of Christmas joy is nearly upon us (along with the Christmas blog postings). But, in case we were about to get too joyful, the Church has the Advent Embertide starting next Wednesday. This is a final period of penitential waiting before Christmas.


Friday At the Foot Of the Cross

The Abasement of Jesus

From The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus, by St. Alphonsus Liguori

Formam servi accipiens.

"Taking the form of a servant."-----Phil. 2:7

The eternal Word descends on earth to save man; and whence does He descend? His going out is from the end of Heaven. [Ps. 18: 7] He descends from the bosom of His Divine Father, where from eternity He was begotten in the brightness of the Saints. And where does He descend? He descends into the womb of a Virgin, a child of Adam, which in comparison with the bosom of God is an object of horror; wherefore the Church sings, "Thou didst not abhor the Virgin's womb." Yes, because the Word being in the bosom of the Father is God like the Father,-----is immense, omnipotent, most blessed and supreme Lord, and equal in everything to the Father. But in the womb of Mary He is a creature, small, weak, afflicted, a servant inferior to the Father, taking the form of a servant." [Phil. 2:7]

It is related as a great prodigy of humility in St. Alexis that, although he was the son of a Roman gentleman, he chose to live as a servant in his father's house. But how is the humility of this Saint to be compared with the humility of Jesus Christ? Between the son and the servant of the father of St. Alexis there was, it is true, some difference; but between God and the servant of God there is an infinite difference. Besides, this Son of God having become the servant of His Father, in obedience to Him, made Himself also the servant of His creatures, that is to say, of Mary and Joseph: And He was subject to them. [Luke 2: 51] Moreover, He made Himself even a servant of Pilate, who condemned him to death, and He was obedient to him and accepted it; He became a servant to the executioners, who scourged Him, crowned Him with thorns, and crucified Him; and He humbly obeyed them all, and yielded Himself into their hands.

O God! and shall we, after this, refuse to submit ourselves to the service of so loving a Savior, Who, to save us, has subjected Himself to such painful and degrading slavery? And rather than be the servants of this great and so loving a Lord, shall we be content to be slaves of the devil, who does not love his servants, but hates them and treats them like a tyrant, making them miserable and wretched in this world and in the next? But if we have been guilty of this great folly, why do we not quickly give up this unhappy servitude? Courage, then, since we have been delivered by Jesus Christ from the slavery of Hell; let us now embrace and bind around us with love those sweet chains, which will render us servants and lovers of Jesus Christ, and hereafter obtain for us the crown of the eternal kingdom amongst the blessed in Paradise.

Affections and Prayers
My beloved Jesus, Thou art the Sovereign of Heaven and earth; but for the love of me Thou hast made Thyself a servant even of the executioners who tore Thy flesh, pierced Thy head and finally left Thee nailed on the Cross to die of sorrow. I adore Thee as my God and Lord, and I am ashamed to appear before Thee, when I remember how often, for the sake of some miserable pleasure, I have broken Thy holy bonds, and have told Thee to Thy face that I would not serve Thee. Ah, Thou mayst justly reproach me: Thou hast burst My bands, and thou saidst: I wIll not serve. But still, O my Savior, Thy merits and Thy goodness, which cannot despise a heart that repents and humbles itself, give me courage to hope for pardon: A contrite and humble heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise. [Isaiah 1: 19] I confess, my Jesus, that I have offended Thee greatly; I confess that I deserve a thousand Hells for the sins I have committed against Thee; chasten me as Thou seest fit, but do not deprive me of Thy grace and love. I repent above every other evil of having despised Thee. I love Thee with my whole heart. I propose from this day forth to desire to serve Thee and love Thee alone. I pray Thee bind me by Thy merits with the chains of Thy holy love, and never suffer that I see myself released from them again. I love Thee above everything, O my deliverer; and I would prefer being Thy servant to being master of the whole world. And of what avail would all the world be to him who lives deprived of Thy grace? "My sweetest Jesus, permit me not to separate myself from Thee, permit me not to separate myself from Thee." This grace I ask of Thee, and I intend always to ask it; and I beg of Thee to grant me this day the grace to repeat continually to the end of my life this prayer: My Jesus; grant that I may never again separate myself from Thy love. I ask this favor of thee also, O Mary, my Mother: help me by thy intercession, that I may never separate myself again from my God. Jesus enlightens the World and glorifies God.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Please Remember In Your Prayers

Fellow bloggers Lane Core, Ken from Hallowed Ground, and Steve Skojec, who are all facing serious adversity, medical or occupational.


Requiescat In Pace

Alfons Cardinal Stickler has died. The Church has lost a great leader.


Boston Getting It's First Big Snowstorm This Afternoon

We have had a little snow a couple of times (starting November 20th, if memory serves, and it does), but the forecasters are calling for 6-12 inches this afternoon into this evening.

Just what we didn't need.

Sorry to sound like a Grinch, when everyone is hoping for a White Christmas, but snow, ice, and so forth doesn't agree with me anymore, not since my kneecaps have developed the habit of dislocating during slips on the ice.


Saint Lucia

From The Golden Legend

Santa Lucia customs. Scroll down for lots of links.

St. Lucia's Saffron Bread

On December 13 people in Sweden celebrate St. Lucy's Day. They remember how Lucia, a young girl, brought food to persecuted Christians hiding in the catacombs in Rome
during the time of Emperor Diocletian. In order that she could carry the food and see where she was going in the dark, Lucia wore candles on her head. On St. Lucy's Day each year by tradition one of the daughters of the family is chosen to be St. Lucy. She gets up early and takes coffee and 'Lucia' buns (Saffronsbrod) to the rest of the family who are still in bed. She dresses in a white robe with a scarlet sash and wears on her head a crown of green leaves with five candles in it. Sometimes she is escorted by boys dressed in long white shirts and pointed hats, called star boys.

· 2 tsp sugar
· 1/2 cup warm water
· 1 tsp saffron powder
· 8 cups strong plain flour (all purpose flour)
· 4 tsp salt
· 1/2 cup butter
· 3/4 cup castor (table) sugar
· 1/4 cup raisins
· 1 tsp ground cardamom
· 1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
· beaten egg for brushing

· 1 tbsp chopped almonds
· 1 tbsp coarsely crushed cube sugar

1. Dissolve sugar in the warm water and add yeast.

2. Mix the saffron powder with 1 tbsp hot water.

3. Leave about 20 minutes, until frothy.

4. Sift flour and salt and rub in the butter. Add castor sugar, cardamom and raisins.

5. Mix to a dough with the yeast mixture and milk and add saffron.

6. Knead thoroughly, return to bowl, cover and allow to rise until doubled in bulk.

7. Shape into small buns, put on a greased baking tray until doubled in size. Brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with coarse sugar and almonds.

8. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

9. Cool on a cooling tray.

10. Serve fresh with coffee.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Our Lady of Guadalupe


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary of Guadalupe, that in thy celestial apparitions on the mount of Tepeyac, thou didst promise to show thy compassion and pity towards all who, loving and trusting thee, seek thy help and call upon thee in their necessities and afflictions.

Thou didst promise to hearken to our supplications, to dry our tears and to give us consolation and relief. Never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession, either for the common welfare, or in personal anxieties, was left unaided.

Inspired with this confidence, we fly unto thee, O Mary, ever Virgin Mother of the True God! Though grieving under the weight of our sins, we come to prostrate ourselves in thine august presence, certain that thou wilt deign to fulfill thy merciful promises. We are full of hope that, standing beneath thy shadow and protection, nothing will trouble or afflict us, nor need we fear illness, or misfortune, or any other sorrow.

Thou hast decided to remain with us through thy admirable image, thou who art our Mother, our health and our life. Placing ourselves beneath thy maternal gaze and having recourse to thee in all our necessities we need do nothing more. O Holy Mother of God, despise not our petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer us.
[Here mention your petition.]

Five Hail Marys. . . in gratitude for the four apparitions to Juan Diego and the one to Juan Bernardino.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

For Advent Reflection: Saint Alphonsus Liguori's Maxims To Attain Perfection

1. To desire ardently to increase in the love of Jesus Christ.

2. Often to make acts of love towards Jesus Christ. Immediately on waking, and before going to sleep, to make an act of love, seeking always to unite your own will to the will of Jesus Christ.

3. Often to meditate on his Passion.

4. Always to ask Jesus Christ for his love.

5. To communicate often, and many times in the day to make spiritual Communions.

6. Often to visit the Most Holy Sacrament.

7. Every morning to receive from the hands of Jesus Christ himself your own cross.

8. To desire Paradise and death, in order to be able to love Jesus Christ perfectly and for all eternity.

9. Often to speak of the love of Jesus Christ.

10. To accept contradictions for the sake of Jesus Christ.

11. To rejoice in the happiness of God.

12. To do that which is most pleasing to Jesus Christ, and not to refuse him anything that is agreeable to him.

13. To desire and to endeavor that all should love Jesus Christ.

14. To pray always for sinners and for the souls in purgatory.

15. To drive from your heart every affection that does not belong to Jesus Christ.

16. Always to have recourse to the most holy Mary, that she may obtain for us the love of Jesus Christ.

17. To honor Mary in order to please Jesus Christ.

18. To seek to please Jesus Christ in all your actions,

19. To offer yourself to Jesus Christ to suffer any pain for his love.

20 To be always determined to die rather than commit a willful venial sin.

27. To suffer crosses patiently, saying, "Thus it pleases Jesus Christ."

22. To renounce your own pleasures for the love of Jesus Christ.

23. To pray as much as possible.

24. To practice all the mortifications that obedience permits.

25. To do all your spiritual exercises as if it were for the last time.

26. To persevere in good works in the time of aridity.

27. Not to do nor yet to leave undone anything through human respect.

28. Not to complain in sickness.

29. To love solitude, to be able to converse alone with Jesus Christ.

30. To drive away melancholy [i.e. gloom].

37. Often to recommend yourself to those persons who love Jesus Christ.

32. In temptation, to have recourse to Jesus crucified, and to Mary in her sorrows.

33. To trust entirely in the Passion of Jesus Christ.

34. After committing a fault, not to be discouraged, but to repent and resolve to amend.

35. To do good to those who do evil.

36. To speak well of all, and to excuse the intention when you cannot defend the action.

37. To help your neighbor as much as you can.

38. Neither to say nor to do anything that might vex him. And if you have been wanting in charity, to ask his pardon and speak kindly to him.

39. Always to speak with mildness and in a low tone.

40. To offer to Jesus Christ all the contempt and persecution that you meet with.

41. To look upon [religious] Superiors as the representatives of Jesus Christ.

42. To obey without answering and without repugnance, and not to seek your own satisfaction in anything.

43. To like the lowest employment.

44. To like the poorest things.

45. Not to speak either good or evil of yourself.

46. To humble yourself even towards inferiors.

47. Not to excuse yourself when you are reproved.

48. Not to defend yourself when found fault with.

49. To be silent when you are disquieted [i.e. upset].

50. Always to renew your determination of becoming a saint, saying, "My Jesus, I desire to be all Yours, and You must be all mine."

From St. Alphonsus de Liguori, The Incarnation Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ, Rev Eugene Grimm Trans., Redemptorist Fathers, Brooklyn, Publishers (1927) pp. 437-439.


My Big Traddie Project Right Now

Well, Christmas is coming, and there is much to do.

But for me, the biggest obstacle I am trying to overcome is my own memory. I am trying to memorize the Alma Redemptoris Mater, which is the proper Marian antiphon from the First Sunday of Advent until Candlemas.

For a long time, I have somewhat lazily been concluding my holy hours with the Salve Regina, in Latin, as I had it memorized years ago, and love it. It is also the Marian antiphon said the longest, from Whitsunday until the start of Advent, which is about half the year. But I felt twinges of guilt at not using the proper seasonal Marian antiphons. I had the sense of not praying with the Church, but of doing my own thing too much.

So now, I am trying to end with the Alma Redemptoris Mater, and am carrying a cheat card in my pocket.

It should not be beyond my abilities. In the last two years, I have learned the Grace Before Meals in Latin, as well as all the prayers of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, except the Apostles' Creed. Now I rattle off the Divine Mercy Chaplet in Latin without a bit of hesitation.


Father Rutler Saying the Extraordinary Form Of the Mass

From the Society of Saint Hugh of Cluny.

I've always loved Father Rutler, and it is no surprise to me that, now that the traditional Mass has been liberated (and his boss, Cardinal Egan, has interpreted Summorum Pontificum correctly, unlike many bishops and, indeed, whole national bishops' conferences) he is saying it more frequently.


According To My Dashboard, This Is My 9,000th Posting Here

Lots of changes and ups and downs since I started this blog back in June, 2002. But it is a story of evolving and deepening conversion, from conservative Novus Ordo to moderate traditionalist.

I think I'll keep at it.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

I've Been Really Trying Hard To Hold Back the Christmas Posts

But sometime this week, I expect that Christmas will start seeping through.

Honestly, when I was a kid, I would play my parents' Christmas records (viz: the Harry Simeone Chorale, 2 Perry Comos, a Dean Martin, and a Jackie Gleason 2-record set with a very gorgeous blonde in a Santa coat) surreptitiously on my own stereo starting in mid-November. Despite parental yelling about Christmas lights, since the lights were stored in a closet in my room, very soon after Thanksgiving, the lights (those big C-9 and C-7 bulbs, some clear, some frosty, some steady-buring, some blinking) would go up in the windows of my room. Even this year, I have been whistling and humming Christmas songs that most people would never recognize (The Holly and the Ivy, I Saw Three Ships, Master's In This Hall, The Gloucestershire Wassail, The Carol of the Birds, to name a few) quietly in public since Thanksgiving.

So, I think I have been showing immense restraint not Christmas blogging up until now. I haven't always exercised such restraint. But, as we reach the mid-way point of Advent later this week (Christmas falling on a Tuesday means the 4th week of Advent is a Sunday, and Christmas Eve), you can expect the gloves to come off. The time of spiritual preparation and penitential waiting will continue, but the joy of Christmas will begin to overcome the penitence as Gaudete Sunday looms.

I will say that readers who enjoy themselves in the kitchen might want to join Recta Ratio the Yahoo Group, as there is an enormous store of recipes for Christmas cookies, candies, cakes, puddings, pies, and other desserts there, in the Files section. I also have the lyrics of just about every good Christmas song there.


The Second Sunday of Advent

Act of Communion During Advent, from The Liturgical Year, by Abbot Prosper Gueranger, OSB(my otherwise impressive collection of Dom Gueranger's meditations on the Sundays of the year is lacking during Advent):

It is true that everything in Advent is so arranged as to be a preparation for the coming of the Saviour at the feast of Christmas, and that the spirit of the faithful should be one of earnest expectation of this same Saviour; and yet, such is the happy lot of the children of the new Law, that they can, if they wish it, really, and at once, receive this God whom the Church is expecting; and thus, this familiar visit of Jesus will become itself one of the preparations for His great and solemn visit. Let those, then, who are living the life of grace, and to whom the glorious day of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ will bring an increase of spiritual life, not omit to prepare, by Communion, for the reception they intend to give to the heavenly Spouse on the sacred night of His coming. These Communions will be interviews with their divine Lord, giving them confidence, and love, and all those interior dispositions wherewith they would welcome Him who comes to load them with fresh grace, for this Jesus is full of grace and truth.

They will understand this better by reflecting on the sentiments which the august Mother of Jesus had in her blessed soul during the time which preceded the divine birth. This birth is to be an event of more importance, both to the salvation of mankind and to Mary's own glory, than even that of the first accomplishment of the Incarnation; for the Word was made Flesh in order that He might be born. The immense happiness of holding in her arms her Son and her God, would make the sacred hour of Jesus' birth dearer and happier to Mary, than even that in which she was overshadowed by the Holy Ghost, and received from Him the divine fruit of her womb.

During those nine months, when she knew that her Jesus was so undividedly hers, what must have been the happiness which filled her heart! It was a bliss which was a worthy preparation for that more blissful night of Bethlehem.

Christians! your Communions during Advent are to prepare you for your Christmas joy, by giving you something of the delight which Mary felt before the birth of Jesus.

Knowing that thou art about to enter under my roof, O eternal God, Jesus Son of the Father, I have need of all my faith. Yes, it is thou who art coming to me, thou who didst enter into Mary's virginal womb, making it the sanctuary of thy Majesty. Thou didst send thine angel to her, and she believed his word, when he said: 'Nothing is impossible to God: the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee.' She believed, and then conceived in her chaste womb him who had created her. Thou hast not sent an angel to me, O my Saviour, to tell me thou art coming into my heart. Thou hast spoken thyself, and thou hast said: 'I am the living Bread come down from heaven: he that eateth my Flesh and drinketh my Blood, abideth in me and I in him.' Thou hast willed that these words of thine, spoken so many hundred years ago, should reach me by thy Church, that thus I might have both the certainty that they are thine, and the merit of bowing down my reason to the deepest of mysteries. I believe then, O Jesus! Help the weakness of my faith. Enable me to submit, as Mary did, to thy infinite wisdom; and since thou desirest to enter under my roof, I bow down my whole being before thee, using her blessed words: 'May it be done to me according to thy word;' for how dare I, who am but nothingness, resist thee, who art all wisdom and power!


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