Saturday, January 02, 2010

Our Blessed Lady's Saturday

From The Mother of the Saviour
by Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O. P.

Grace of Intimacy with Mary

Some souls are favored with a special grace of union with Mary. Fr. E. Neubert, the Marianist, has gathered a number of significant testimonies in this connection. [38] Reference must also be made to the work 'Mystic Union with Mary,' written by a Flemish recluse, Marie de Sainte-Therese (1623-1677), who had personal experience of the subject on which she wrote.

Fr. Chaminade, who exercised the priestly ministry at Bordeaux with great zeal during the French Revolution and who founded the Marianists, had the same experience. He wrote: 'There is a gift of the habitual presence of the Blessed Virgin even as there is a gift of the habitual presence of God ---- very rare, it is true, but obtainable through great fidelity.' As Fr. Neubert explains, this text refers to normal and habitual mystical union with Mary. The Ven. L. Ed. Cestac had the same gift. 'I do not see her,' he said, 'but I feel her presence as the horse feels the hand on the rein.' Thus these souls are conscious of the influence which Mary exercises on us continually by transmitting actual graces to our souls.

Marie de Sainte-Therese has words to the same effect: 'That sweet mother has taken me under her maternal direction just as a teacher takes in her own the hand of the child she is teaching to write. . . She remains almost uninterruptedly before my soul, drawing me to herself in so loving and motherly a manner, stimulating me, guiding me, instructing me in the way of the spirit and in the perfect practice of the virtues. And I do not lose for a single instant the charm of her presence along with that of the Godhead . . . she produces the Divine life in me by an imperceptible inflow of different graces . . . It is of the nature of love to unite itself to the object loved . . . Thus tender, burning and unifying love draws the soul which loves Mary to live in her, to be united to her, and to other effects and transformations . . . Then God shows Himself in Mary and by her as in a mirror.' Such was a great part of the life of this servant of God.

Some souls who have had great intimacy with Mary say that they never experienced her presence in them, but rather her presence very near them ---- as near as possible, in fact and that they felt a great joy at knowing of her happiness. We have known a Saintly Carthusian who said: 'I suffer, but she is happy.'

Finally, many holy souls have had, in the midst of their sufferings, a gift of deep intimacy with Mary which was the source of their strength even though they have left no account of it. Many of them have experienced, were it only for an instant, her presence like that of a mother who peeps into the room where her children are. In such experiences she communicates an indescribable holiness, and prompts to more generous sacrifices, such as lead the soul into the depths contained in the Magnificat and the Stabat Mater.


Music For the Ninth Day Of Christmas

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

In Dulci Jubilo, the Choir of York Minstger Cathedral

Celtic Woman, Ding Dong Merrily On High


Friday, January 01, 2010

The Circumsion Of the Lord/The Octave Of Christmas/Solemnity Of Mary the Mother Of God/World Day Of Peace

January First has many titles in the Church. A proliferation coming after Vatican Ii, as the church seems unable to settle on lasting theme having diminished its previous traditional theme for the day. But traditionally it has been observed as the Feast of the Circumcision.

The Catholic Encyclopedia on this feast.


Friday At the Foot Of the Cross

What child is this, who, laid to rest,

On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the king,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The babe, the son of Mary!

Why lies He in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear; for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you;
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The babe, the son of Mary!

So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh;
Come, peasant, king, to own Him.
The King of kings salvation brings;
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise the song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby;
Joy, joy, for Christ is born,
The babe, the son of Mary!


Music For the Eighth Day Of Christmas

Mahalia Jackson singing What Child Is This?

Loreena McKennitt's version of Greensleeves


Music For the Eighth Day Of Christmas

Celtic Woman, The Little Drummer Boy

From The Tailor Of Gloucester, The Sussex Carol

Peata Beag/Hey For Christmas/Here We Come A Wassailing

Venereum Arvum, The Gower Wassail

Mannheim Steamroller, The Gloucestershire Wassail

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January 2010

Important feasts during the month of January include:

1st Octave of Christmas, Solemnity of the Blessed Mother, The Lord's Circumcision
2nd SS. Basil the Great and Macarius the Younger
3rd St. Genivieve
4th St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
5th St. John Neumann (Twelfth Night)
6th Epiphany of the Lord
7th St. Raymond of Penafort
9th St. Adrian of Canterbury
10th St. William of Bourges
12th St. Benedict Biscop
13th The Baptism of the Lord
14th St. Hilary of Poitiers
15th St. Paul the Hermit
17th St. Anthony the Abbot
18th Chair of St. Peter
20th St. Sebastian
21st St. Agnes
23rd Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph
24th St. Francis de Sales
25th Conversion of St. Paul
26th SS. Timothy & Titus
27th St. Angela Merici
28th St. Thomas Aquinas and Bl. Charlemagne
30th St. Aldegundis
31st St. John Bosco

The First Friday of the month of January is the 1st.
The First Saturday of the month of January is the 2nd.

The month of January is dedicated by the Church to The Holy Name and Childhood of Jesus.

January begins in the Season of Christmas. The Epiphany of January 6th ushers in the Season after Epiphany. This year, Septuagesima Sunday is January 31st. The Deposito of the Alleluia takes place in the evening of Saturday January 30th. There are no embertides in January.

Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI's published prayer intentions for the month of January, 2010 are:

That young people may learn to use modern means of social communication for their personal growth and to better prepare themselves to serve society.

That every believer in Christ may be conscious that unity among all Christians is a condition for more effective proclamation of the Gospel.


Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Father's Twentieth Anniversary

My father, George Thomas Senior, died twenty years ago this morning. He had just returned from 9:30 Mass with my mother, and went around the corner to chip ice away from the door of an elderly neighbor. Moments later, there was a frantic phone call that he had collapsed. I dressed and rushed to the scene and arrived just in time to see the ambulance crew carry him in. Efforts to revive him failed.

V. Requiem aeternam, dona ei Domine.
R. Et lux perpetua luceat in ei.
V. Requiescat in pace.
R. Amen.

Deus, qui nos patrem et matrem honorare praecepisti: miserere clementer animabus patris et matris meae eorumque peccata dimitte: meque eos in aeternae claritatis gaudio fac videre. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Enjoy Celtic Thunder performing, The Old Man

In your charity, please pray for the repose of his soul.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Music For the Sixth Day Of Christmas

Loreena McKennit, The Holly And the Ivy

Celtic Woman, In the Bleak Mid-Winter/The First Noel


Christmas Decor In Colonial America

Christmas was the major holiday of the year outside the New England Colonies in the 18th Century. Feasting and decorating were the order of the day when the cold, rain, and snow made the fields unplowable.

I have always been fascinated with 18th Century Christmas decor, and have over the years, with varying degrees of success, tried to copy it on my own very modest budget. So here we are, on the 6th Day of Christmas with a photo-essay on colonial Christmas decor. Consider it my antidote to the deplorable modern tendency to discard Christmas with the used wrapping paper on the morning of December 26th.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Music For the Fifth Day of Christmas

Christmas with a French touch for today.

Il Est Ne

Loreena McKennitt - Noël Nouvelet !

Bring A Torch Jeanette, Isabella

O Holy Night, by Pavarotti

The Breton Carol, from The Chieftains' The Bells Of Dublin


Saint Thomas a Becket

From The Golden Legend

From Catholic On Line

Remember the especial vehemence with which English protestants attacked the cult of Saint Thomas a Becket, because Henry VIII saw it as a potential rallying point for anti-royal Catholic revolt. So celebrate this great martyred with special emphasis.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Music for the Fourth Day Of Christmas

The Boar's Head Carol/Here We Come A'Wassailing

Pavarotti, from the famous 1978 concert at Notre Dame du Montreal


The Slaughter Of the Holy Innocents

The Coventry Carol

1. Lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.
Lullay, Thou little tiny Child.
By, by, lully, lullay.

2. O sisters, too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day;
This poor Youngling for whom we sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.

3. Herod the King, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day;
His men of might, in his own sight,
All children young, to slay.

4. Then woe is me, poor Child, for Thee,
And ever mourn and say;
For Thy parting, nor say nor sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.

In Herod's time, a slaughter of holy innocent babes was an outstanding once-in-a-lifetime event. For us, the murderous sin of abortion has made the slaughter of holy innocents a daily, constant massacre. God help us!

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Saint John the Evangelist

This is the feast of one of my special patrons, Saint John the Evangelist. John is my confirmation name.

From The Golden Legend

A prayer to Our Blessed Lady and to her adopted son, Saint John (translation by Michael W. Martin):

O Intemerata

O UNSPOTTED and forever blessed, unique and incomparable virgin Mary, Mother of God, most graceful temple of God, sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, gate of the kingdom of heaven, by whom next unto God the whole world liveth, incline O Mother of Mercy thy ears of piety unto my unworthy supplications, and be merciful to me a most wretched sinner, and be unto me a helper in all things.

O most blessed John, the beloved and friend of Christ, which by the same Lord Jesus Christ was chosen a virgin, and among the rest more beloved, above all instructed in the heavenly mysteries, for thou wast made a most worthy Apostle and Evangelist: thee also I call upon with Mary, the mother of the same Lord Jesus Christ our Savior, that thou wouldst vouchsafe to afford me thy aid with hers.

O ye two celestial jewels, Mary, and John. O ye two lights divinely shining before God. Chase away by your bright beams the clouds of my offenses.

For you are those two in whom God the Father through His own Son, specially built His own house, and in whom the only-begotten Son of God as the reward of your most sincere virginity confirmed the privilege of His love while hanging on the Cross, saying thus to one of you: "Woman, behold thy son," and then to the other, "Behold thy mother."

In the sweetness therefore of His most sacred love, through which by our Lord's own mouth, as mother and son you were joined to each other, I, a most wretched sinner, commend this day to you my body and soul, that at all hours and moments, inwardly and outwardly, you would vouchsafe to be unto me steadfast guardians and devout intercessors before God.

I indeed firmly believe and accept beyond any doubt that one who wants to be yours will belong to God and one who does not want to be yours will not belong to God, for you can obtain whatever you ask from God without delay. By virtue of your most powerful worthiness, beg, I beseech you, for the well being of my body and soul.

Plead, I beseech you, plead for me by your holy prayers that the loving Spirit, the best giver of graces, may vouchsafe to visit my heart and dwell therein, the self same Spirit who may thoroughly purge me from all filth of vice, lighten and adorn me with sacred virtues: who would cause me to stand perfectly and to persevere in the love of God and my neighbor, and, after the course of this life, may this most benign comforter bring me to the joys of His elect, He, who with God the Father and the Son is co-eternal and consubstantial with them and in them, liveth and reigneth as Almighty God, forever and ever.


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