Saturday, January 09, 2010

Our Blessed Lady's Saturday

From The Mystical City of God, by Ven. Mary of Agreda:

My daughter, in what thou hast written I wish that thou learn a lesson from the very sorrow and apprehension with which thou hast performed this task. Well-founded is thy sorrow to see how such a noble creature as man, made according to the likeness and image of the Lord, endowed with such Divine qualities, and gifted with the power of knowing, loving, seeing, and enjoying God eternally, should allow himself to be degraded and defiled by such brutal and abominable passions as to shed the innocent blood of those who can do no harm to anyone. This should induce thee to weep over the ruin of so many souls; especially in the times in which thou livest, when that same ambition which incited Herod has kindled such great hatred and enmity among the children of the Church, occasioning the ruin of countless souls and causing the waste and loss of the blood of my most holy Son, poured out for the salvation of men. Do thou I bitterly deplore this loss.

But likewise be warned by what thou hast seen in others; ponder the effects of passions admitted into the heart; for if once they have mastered the heart, they will either smother it in lust when it finds success, or consume it with wrath at meeting any opposition. Fear thou, my daughter, this danger, not only on account of the results thou seest of ambition in Herod, but also on account of what thou seest going on every hour in other persons. Be very careful not to allow thyself to be mastered by anything, be it ever so small; for in order to start a great conflagration the smallest spark is sufficient. I have often repeated to thee this same warning, and I shall continue to do so more often in the future; for the greatest difficulty in practicing virtue consists in dying to all that is pleasurable to the senses. Thou canst not be a fit instrument in the hands of the Lord, such as He desires thee to be, if thou dost not cleanse thy faculties even of the images of all creatures, so that they do not find entrance into thy desires. I wish it to be to thee an inexorable law that all things, except God, His Angels and Saints, be to thee as if they did not exist. These should be thy sole possession; on this account the Lord has opened to thee His secrets, honors thee with His familiarity and intimacy, and for this purpose also do I honor thee with mine, that thou neither live nor wish to live without the Lord.


Friday, January 08, 2010

Friday At the Foot Of the Cross

From The School Of Jesus Crucified, by Father Ignatius Of the Side Of Jesus, Passionist

Yes, my soul, every time that thou hast sinned thou hast renewed the cause of the death of the Son of God, thou hast crucified Him anew; and by every fresh sin thou committest thou renderest thyself guilty of His death. And shall not sin, which has crucified Jesus, be henceforth most hateful to me? But oh, how sweet and how deserving of love must be my Divine Jesus, Who prays for me, even while I am desiring His death! Ah, sweet Jesus! In the very height of Thy suffering, in Thy mortal agony, Thou art mindful of sinners, Thou art mindful of me! Are not even my innumerable sins and base ingratitude sufficient to banish me from Thy loving Heart? Are not all my sins present to Thy mind, being as they are the very cause of Thy death? And still Thou dost implore Thy Eternal Father to forgive me! But through the blessed effects of that prayer, Thy death, which is caused by my sins, has become my hope and my salvation. Art thou a sinner? What canst thou fear, when Jesus Christ Himself is the Great Advocate who prays for thee, and from His Cross beseeches His Father to pardon thee? Come, come, O sinner, cast thyself with entire confidence at the feet of Jesus, bathe them with thy tears, and then, if sincerely penitent, thou wilt be secure of forgiveness and Heaven. But if thou persistest in sin, His Blood will be thy condemnation.


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Scott Brown for US Senate

With the electoral disasters of the last 4 years, I have grown more distant from the political process in a nation that seems intent of fulfilling Fisher Ames' and Orestes Brownson's most dire predictions.

The death of Ted Kennedy presents an opening, and perhaps a spark of hope. Two months ago, I would have written off the election to fill Kennedy's seat as hopeless. Whoever won the Democrat nomination would win the seat. That may still be the case, but Republican state Senator Scott Brown is giving Martha Coakley, the stidently pro-abortion Democrat Attorney General, something of a challenge. It may be more a case of Coakley's failures as a candidate than any brilliance on the Republican's part.

Scott Brown isn't everything I would like to see in a Republlican US Senator from Massachusetts (I was hoping Curt Schilling would have run), and there hasn't been a Republican contender for anything in Massachusetts who won my whole-hearted approval since the late Ray Shamie tried to prevent John Kerry from making the other Senate seat his personal property.

But you have to look at the alternatives. Forget about the libertarian guy. As always, just a distraction who will pull free-enterprise votes from the Republicans. Martha Coakley will win, or Scott Brown will win. Martha Coakley is an assured vote for any Obama moonbat leftist appointee to the Supreme Court, a sure vote for nationalized health care, for a national right to gay "marriage," for higher taxes and more government regulation of the economy, and on critical national security issues would be what the late Jeanne Kirkpatrick called, "the trumpet that always sounds retreat."

Scott Brown would not necessarily be any of those things.

So this election next week doesn't call for much in the way of Occam-like perspicacity.

Go, Scott!!!



A Late Christmas Gift

">I just came across the Flickr photostream of "Greater Boston Tridentine."

This is a rich treasure trove of over 1000 pics of the traditional Mass and its settings in the Greater Boston area. The Cathedral and its Lower Church (why are TLMs always relegated to the basement?), Mary Immaculate of Lourdes with the wonderful Father Higgins, Saint Adelaide's in West Peabody (the parish I lived in geographically and would have grown up in if it had a school: it didn't, so 27 of the first 30 years of my Catholic life were spent in the adjacent parish, Our Lady of the Assumption, Lynnfield), St Columbkille's for First Fridays, and Holy Rosary in Lawrence are all well represented.

The only ones I did not see represented were the new Saturday morning Low Mass in Lynn and the, and the Monday evening Mass at Sacred Heart in East Boston.

The latest pics are from last night's Solemn High Mass at Saint Adelaide's, West Peabody.

Here are a couple to whet your appetite:


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Wassail Recipe

4 C (2 pints) Guinness
4 C fresh apple cider
2 C sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
20 cloves
1 C apple sauce

In a saucepan combine the cider, sugar, and spices. Stirring until the sugar dissolves, heat over medium heat. Strain out the whole spices, and return to saucepan. Add the apple sauce, and simmer for about 20-30 minutes stirring very frequently. Then add the Guinness, and heat thoroughly, but do not boil.

For Christmas Day and anytime you are having friends over between Christmas and Twelfth Night. "Wassail" means "Be well," in Old Anglo Saxon. Traditonally, this beverage was passed around in a large ceremonial cup or bowl from which each guest drank. It is sometimes called "Lamb's Wool" because of the apple sauce. Sometimes it is made with baked apples, but I have found the apple sauce easier. Of course, those who could not afford their own Wassail went about from house to house, sometimes with an empty bowl, offering songs and bits of impromptu plays in exchange for a drink. This is one of theose luck visits I talk about so much from Halloween until Twelfth Night, a New Year's custom.


The Feast Of the Epiphany

In the US, the USCCB has moved Epiphany to the second Sunday after Christmas Day. But in the universal Church, January 6th remains Epiphany. And Epiphany at Recta Ratio always immediately follows Twelfth Night, not before, not after, no matter what the benighted American bishops vouchsafe to decree.

Adoration of the Magi by Sandro Botticelli, c. 1470-75, Florence, from the Uffizi

The Golden Legend has this to say about the Epiphany.

Epiphany sermon by St. Pope Leo I.

Reliquary said to contain the remains of the Three Magi, Cologne Cathedral (we all remember this from WYD2005).

We Three Kings of Orient Are
We three kings of Orient are;
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.


O star of wonder, star of light,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
Over us all to reign.


Frankincense to offer have I;
Incense owns a Deity nigh;
Prayer and praising, voices raising,
Worshipping God on high.


Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone cold tomb.


Glorious now behold Him arise;
King and God and sacrifice;
Alleluia, Alleluia,
Sounds through the earth and skies.


Adoration of the Magi, by Rogier Van der Weyden, c. 1455, central panel of altarpiece tryptych from Saint Columba's parish church, Cologne

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, saying
That 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.

Adoration of the Magi, by Juan Reixach, active late 1400s in Valencia, central panel of an Epiphany Altarpiece whis was in a church in Rubielos de Mora, Spain.
"The table at which the King sat was richly decorated and groaned beneath the good fare placed upon it, for there was brawn, roast beef, venison pasty, pheasants, swan capons, lampreys, pike in latimer sauce, custard, partridge, fruit, plovers, and a huge plum pudding which required the efforts of two men to carry. Afterwards plays were performed and there was much music and dancing, and in the large kitchens after the spit had ceased its ceaseless turning and the King had dined...a merry crowd gathered...and we had besides a good chine of beef and other good cheer, eighteen mince pies in a dish..."
Diary of Samuel Pepys, January 6, 1662 (the king referred to is King Charles II)

Adoration of the Magi, by Giotto, Scrovengi Chapel

La Marche des Rois


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

I Love Annual Traditions

And one of the best is Jay Anderson's "How the Puritans Stole Christmas."


Twelfth Night

This is the last day of Christmas festivity. Tomorrow is Epiphany, which has a joy of its own. The wassail flows again tonight, and the enormous fruitcake, wrapped in layers of marzipan and iced in Royal Icing and often decorated, known as the Twelfth Cake is served.

The Twelfth Cake itself was the center of games related to the feast. Symbolic items were hidden in the cake, much as with an Irish barmbrack at Halloween. A king and queen of the feast were selected based on what items showed up in whose slices of cake. This is related to the Lord of Misrule custom.

Herrick had this to say about the Twelfth Cake:

Now, now the mirth comes
With the cake full of plums,
Where Beane's the King of the sport here;
Besides we must know,
The Pea also
Must revell, as Queene, in the Court here.
Begin then to chuse
This night as ye use
Who shall for the present delight here,
Be a King by the lot,
And who shall not
Be Twelfe-day Queene for the night here.
Which knowne, let us make
Joy-sops with the cake,
And let not a man be seen here,
Who unurg'd will not drinke
To the base from the brink
A health to the King and Queene here.
Next crowne the bowle full
With gentle lamb's woll;
Add sugar, nutmeg and ginger,
With store of ale too;
And this ye must do
To make the wassail a swinger.

(Robert Herrick, "Hesperides, Twelfe Night, or King and Queene", 1648).

In my reading of the various charming books by the late Sir Alec Guiness (a Catholic convert, btw), he mentioned the custom of the Drury Lane Cake.

In the Green Room of London's Drury Lane Theatre, however, Twelfth Cake still is eaten and a toast drunk in honor of Richard Baddeley the comedian, who died in 1794. The ancient ceremony, interrupted by war, was revived in 1947, and will continue — God willing — for centuries to come.

Richard Baddeley was a pastry cook who later became an actor. Upon his death he left the sum of one hundred pounds, invested at three per cent interest, to provide a cake, known as the "Baddeley Cake", which was to be eaten annually, in his memory, by "His Majesty's Company of Commedians".

From CatholicCulture.org.

Here is a history of Twelfth Cakes.

And the excellent devotional site Fish Eaters has two superb articles on Twelfth Night and Epiphany, for all of your Catholic end-of-Christmas needs.


Music For the Twelfth Day Of Christmas

The Twelve Days Of Christmas

The Three Kings


Monday, January 04, 2010

Music For the Eleventh Day Of Christmas

I Wonder As I Wander, Maureen Hegarty

Pat-A-Pan by David Archuleta

Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming, by Sting


Sunday, January 03, 2010

Wassailing Revivals

Malpas Wassail

In Herefordshire


Music For the Tenth Day Of Christmas

Perry Como, Adeste Fidelis

Perry Como, The Little Drummer Boy

Perry Como, Do You Hear What I Hear?


The Most Holy Name Of Jesus

Hymn From the Invitatory For Matins

Jesu, Rex admirábilis,
Et triumphátor nóbilis,
Dulcédo ineffábilis,
Totus desiderábilis.

Quando cor nostrum vísitas,
Tunc lucet ei véritas,
Mundi viléscit vánitas,
Et intus fervet cáritas.

Jesu, dulcédo cordium,
Fons vivus, lumen méntium,
Excédens omne gáudium,
Et omne desidérium.

Jesum omnes agnóscite,
Amórem ejus póscite :
Jesum ardénter quærite,
Quæréndo inardéscite.

Te nostra, Jesu, vox sonet,
Nostri te mores éxprimant,
Te corda nostra díligant,
Et nunc, et in perpétuum.

Litany Of the Holy Name

V. Lord, have mercy on us.
R. Christ, have mercy on us.
V. Lord, have mercy on us. Jesus, hear us.
R. Jesus, graciously hear us.
V. God the Father of Heaven
R. Have mercy on us.
V. God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
R. Have mercy on us.
V. God the Holy Spirit,
R. Have mercy on us.
V. Holy Trinity, one God,
R. Have mercy on us.
V. Jesus, Son of the living God, R. Have mercy on us.
Jesus, splendor of the Father, [etc.]
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, lover of us.
Jesus, God of peace.
Jesus, author of life.
Jesus, example of virtues.
Jesus, zealous lover of 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 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 Saints.

V. Be merciful, R. spare us, O Jesus.
V. Be merciful, R. graciously hear us, O Jesus.

V. From all evil, R. deliver us, O Jesus.
From all sin, deliver us, O Jesus.
From Your wrath, [etc.]
From the snares of the devil.
From the spirit of fornication.
From everlasting death.
From the neglect of Your inspirations.
By the mystery of Your holy Incarnation.
By Your Nativity.
By Your Infancy.
By Your most divine Life.
By Your labors.
By Your agony and passion.
By Your cross and dereliction.
By Your sufferings.
By Your death and burial.
By Your Resurrection.
By Your Ascension.
By Your institution of the most Holy Eucharist.
By Your joys.
By Your glory.

V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. spare us, O Jesus.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. graciously hear us, O Jesus.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. have mercy on us, O Jesus.

V. Jesus, hear us.
R. Jesus, graciously hear us.

Let us pray.

O Lord Jesus Christ, You have said, "Ask and you shall receive, seek, and you shall find, knock, and it shall be opened to you." Grant, we beg of You, to us who ask it, the gift of Your most divine love, that we may ever love You with our whole heart, in word and deed, and never cease praising You.

Give us, O Lord, as much a lasting fear as a lasting love of Your Holy Name, for You, who live and are King for ever and ever, never fail to govern those whom You have solidly established in Your love. R. Amen.


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