Saturday, June 19, 2010

Our Blessed Lady's Saturday

O Intemerata

O Untouchable, and forever blessed, singular and incomparable virgin Mary Mother of God, most grateful temple of God, the sacristy of the Holy Ghost, the gate of the kingdom of heaven, by whom next unto God the whole world liveth, incline O Mother of Mercy the ears of thy pity unto my unworthy supplications, and be pitiful to me a most wretched sinner, and be unto me a merciful helper in all things. O most blessed John, the familiar and friend of Christ, which of 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 mother of the same Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour, 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 offences. For you are those two in whom the only begotten Son of God, for the merit of most sincere virginity, hanging upon the cross confirmed the privilege of his love, saying thus to the one of you: woman, behold thy son: and then unto 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 in one, I a most wretched sinner recommend this day to you both my body and soul that at all hours and moments, inwardly and outwardly, you would vouchsafe to be unto me firm guardians, and before God devout intercessors: ask earnestly for me I beseech you, health of body and soul. Procure I beseech you, procure by your glorious prayers, that the pure spirit, the best giver of graces, may vouchsafe to visit my heart and dwell therein, which may thoroughly purge me from all filth of vice, lighten and adorn me with sacred virtues: cause me perfectly to stand, and persevere in the love of God and my neighbour, and after the course of this life the most benign comforter may bring me to the joys of his elect, who with God the Father, and the Son liveth and reigneth world without end.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Wasn't Meant To Be

The Celtics will not be hoisting their 18th championship banner to the ceiling of the Garden next fall. They lost a close game 7, to the disappointment of all of New England. No victory cigar sitting with Red's statue at Quincy Market this year. Alas.

At least the Red Sox swept the Diamondbacks and pulled to within 2 games of the first place Yankees and Devil Rays.


Friday At the Foot Of the Cross

Prayer Of Saint Alphonsus de Liguori:

Therefore my God! when my soul had the happiness of being in Thy grace, it was Thy friend, Thy child, Thy spouse, and Thy temple; but, by committing sin, it lost all, and became Thy enemy and the slave of hell. But I thank Thee, O my God, for giving me time to recover Thy grace. I am sorry above all things for having offended Thee, O infinite Goodness! and I love Thee above all things. Ah! receive me again into Thy friendship. For Thy mercy’s sake do not reject me. I know that I deserve to be banished from Thy face; but, by the sacrifice which He offered on Calvary, Jesus Christ has merited for me mercy and pardon. Thy kingdom come. My Father (it is thus Thy Son has taught me to call Thee),—My Father, come with Thy grace to reign in my heart; grant that I may serve Thee alone, that I may live for Thee alone, and that I may love Thee alone. And lead us not into temptation. Ah! do not permit my enemies to tempt me so that I may be conquered. But deliver us from evil. Deliver me from hell; but deliver me first from sin, which alone can lead me to hell. O Mary pray for me, and preserve me from the great misfortune of ever seeing myself in sin and deprived of the grace of thy and my God.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Catholic Eye Candy

Downside Abbey, Somerset 19th Century Gothic Revival


Game Seven Tonight

The Celtics and Lakers in the Finals. All that is missing is Red Auerbach and Johnny Most. Tonight at 9 is the deciding game in Los Angeles.



The Battle Of Breed's Hill

This is the anniversary of the bloodiest single battle of the American War of Independence. It happened quite early in the war, and its outcome colored British tactics for the next 8 years.

Penned up inside the town of Boston after the retreat from Concord, the British under General Gage and the newly arrived Generals Howe, Clinton, and Burgoyne planned to make their position more secure by seizing the heights of Charlestown and Dorchester, and then converging on the main rebel force at Cambridge. The New England rebels pre-empted this plan by secretly fortifying Breed's Hill in Charlestown on the night of June 16-17.

The next day, with frigates and shore batteries bombarding the rebel positions and burning Charlestown, General Howe landed on the Charlestown shore with an eventual force of 2,500 redcoats. The New England rebels under Massachusetts' Colonel William Prescott, New Hampshire's Colonel John Stark, and Connecticut's General Israel Putnam were not impressed and held their ground atop Breed's Hill.

The British plan was not to launch a frontal assault, but to have the fast-moving light infantry companies strike quickly along the Mystic River beach, get up behind the rebel fortifications, and attack from the rear, while the rest of the assault force kept them pinned in front. Efforts to land troops in the rear of the rebel works were impossible because of the tide.

By the time the troops were landed, and General Howe had a chance to see how things looked on the ground, the rebels had fortified the beach that the light infantry was to use. The emphasis of the first attack was still trying to get a column of light infantry to hammer a way through the hastily-constructed stone wall on the beach. But the cost proved too high, and the light infantry recoiled after company after company had been decimated.

Two frontal assaults were driven back with huge British losses. Howe's third assault only succeeded when the rebel defenders ran out of ammunition. Fierce hand-to-hand fighting erupted in the redoubt as the Massachusetts men there withdrew. Doctor Joseph Warren, the leading figure of the Massachusetts rebel government was killed at the end of the battle as he and other volunteers tried to cover the retreat.

Howe, who had lost 1,054 killed and wounded, including 10 of his 12 aides, found his troops too decimated and exhausted to pursue. The plan to sweep from Charlestown on to Cambridge and Roxbury was abandoned. The rebels lost some 300 killed and prisoners and a few hundred wounded. Recriminations followed in the Rebel camp, with courts martial the order of the day. Not all the New England troops or leaders had behaved as well in the fighting as had Prescott, Putnam, and Stark. Troops atop Bunker Hill behind the battle scene had refused Putnam's orders to join the battle, and had cowered from the cannon fire in droves. Other troops sent to reinforce the rebel positions refused to cross Charlestown Neck, the narrow strip of land connecting Charlestown to the mainland of Massachusetts, as British naval cannons swept the Neck.

Howe, who succeeded Gage in the supreme command later in the year, was transformed by the bloody experience. He would win a knighthood and much praise for his handling of the army, driving Washington from position after position in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Never again, even when his subordinates told him that all he need do was press an attack on a dispirited American force crouching behind makeshift entrenchments to finish Washington off, would he commit his forces to a direct frontal attack. He would use flanking movements, coups de main, amphibious landings. But never again would he hurl his army against defended positions. Because of that, the Continental Army would live to fight another day, again and again.

Today, the battlefield, except for the block-sized area where the monument is located- the site of the redoubt- is covered over by highways and row houses. Authentic re-enactments of the battle on the site are impossible because of this, and because of National Park Service regulations.

But a perversion of the spirit of Bunker Hill is perhaps the battle's most enduring living legacy. Many state workers and city workers in Suffolk County have long had the day off as a result of union contracts. So Bunker Hill Day is primarily comemmorated in Massachusetts as a Hack High Holy Day. It is most unfortunate that this is the most we do to remember the bravery of those Yankee rebels and the intrepid redcoats, whose descendants are now our staunchest allies.

The Massachusetts Historical Society has an exhibit on the battle on-line.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Midweek Mix

Loreena McKennitt, The Bonny Swans

The Furey Brothers And Davey Arthur, Steal Away

The King's Singers, Greensleeves

The Rankin Family, Mo Run Geal, Dileas

Mairead Nesbitt of Celtic Woman, The Butterfly

Nigel North, Lute Music Of John Dowland

The Clancy Brothers And Tommy Makem, Portlairge


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Saint Anthony Of Padua

The Catholic Encyclopedia on St. Anthony


This great Franciscan saint, proclaimed by Pope Pius XII the "Evangelical Doctor" of the Church, is also the patron of those seeking lost things.

When Saint Anthony was preaching in Rimini, a local heretic (some sources say the man was Jewish) stated that he would not believe in Our Lord's Real Presence in the Eucharist unless a horse knelt before the Blessed Sacrament. After praying, Saint Anthony had a horse brought to him, and showed the horse the Blessed Sacrament in his right hand, and some oats in his left. The horse refused the oats, and knelt before the Blessed Sacrament. And the heretic made his submission to Holy Mother the Church.

Saint Anthony, I thank thee for favors granted, and please continue to pray for us!


The Third Sunday After Pentecost

THE faithful soul has now witnessed in the holy liturgy the close of the mysteries of our redemption. The Holy Ghost has come down to support her during this second portion of her career, by forming and de­veloping within her the fullness of the Christian life as taught by her divine Saviour when on earth. He begins by teaching her how to pray. Prayer, said our Lord, must be continual: we ought always to pray, and not to faint,1 We know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the holy Spirit helpeth our infirmity, and Himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings2.

In the Introit and the whole Mass for this Sunday, we are taught that prayer must have, amongst its other requisite qualities, that of humble repentance for our past sins, and of confidence in God’s infinite mercy.

This is the Third Sunday after Pentecost; it is the first that has no rubrical connexion with the great feasts we have been solemnizing; it is a Sunday with all the simplicity of the Office of the Time.

The miseries of this present life are the test to which God puts His soldiers; He passes judgment upon them, and classifies them, according to the degree of courage they have shown. Therefore is it, that we all have our share of suffering. The combat has commenced. God is looking on, watching how each of us comports himself. The day is not far off, when the Judge will pass sentence on the merits of each combatant, and award to each one the recompense he has won. Combat now; peace and rest and a crown, then. Happy they who, during these days of probation, have recognized the mighty hand of God in all the trials they have had, and have humbled themselves under its pressure, lovingly and confidingly! Against such Christians, who have been strong in faith, the roaring lion has not been able to prevail. They were sober, they were watchful, during this their pilgrimage. They were fully convinced of this, that every one has to suffer in the present life; they therefore never sighed and moaned, as though they were the only sufferers; they did not assume the attitude of victims, and call it resignation; but they took each trial as it came, and, without talking to every one about it, they quietly and joyously united it with the sufferings of Christ. O true Christians! you will be joyous for all eternity, when there will be made the manifestation of that eternal glory in Christ Jesus, which He will pass on to you, that you may share it with Him for ever!

But it is from St. Gregory the Great that the Church, in her Matins of this Sunday, took the commentary on this Gospel. And in the sequel of his homily, the holy doctor gives us the explanation of the parable of the woman and the ten groats. ‘He,’ says St. Gregory, ‘that is signified by the shepherd is also meant by the woman. Jesus is God; He is the Wisdom of God. And because good coin must bear the image of the king upon it, therefore was it that the woman lost her groat, when man, who had been created after God’s image, strayed from that image by committing sin. But the woman lights a lamp; the Wisdom of God hath appeared in human flesh. A lamp is a light which burns in a vessel of clay; and Light in a vessel of clay, is the Divinity in our flesh. It is of the vessel of His Body, that this Wisdom says: My strength is dried up like a potsherd.4 For, just as clay is made hard by the fire, so His strength was dried up like a potsherd, because it has strengthened unto the glory of His resurrection, in the crucible of sufferings, the Flesh which He (Wisdom) had assumed…. Having found the groat she had lost, the woman calleth together her friends and neighbours, saying: Rejoice with me I because I have found the groat which I had lost. Who are these friends and neighbours, if not the heavenly spirits, who are so near to divine Wisdom by the favours they enjoy of the ceaseless vision? But we must not, meanwhile, neglect to examine why this woman, who represents divine Wisdom, is described as having ten groats, one of which she loses, then looks for, and again finds. We must know, then, that God made both angels and men, that they might know Him; and that having made both immortal, He made both to the image of God. The woman, then, had ten groats, because there are nine orders of angels, and man, who is to fill up the number of the elect, is the tenth groat; he was lost by his sin, but was found again, because eternal Wisdom restored him, by lighting the lamp, that is, by assuming his flesh, and through that working wonderful works, which led to his recovery’.5 The Offertory is an outpouring of gratitude and love for the God who dwelleth in Sion; He does not abandon them that seek Him; He does not forget the poor man’s prayer.


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