Saturday, January 08, 2011

Our Blessed Lady's Saturday

I venerate thee with my whole heart,
O Most Holy Virgin,
above all the Angels
and Saints in Heaven,
ad Daughter of the Eternal Father;
and I consecrate to thee my soul
with all its faculties.

Hail Mary...

I venerate thee with my whole heart,
O Most Holy Virgin,
above all the Angels
and Saints in Heaven,
as Mother of the only-begotten Son of God;
and I consecrate to thee
my body with all its senses.

Hail Mary...

I venerate thee with my whole heart,
O Most Holy Virgin,
above all the Angels
and Saints in Heaven,
as the beloved Spouse of the Holy Ghost;
and I consecrate thee my heart
with all its affections,
beseeching thee to obtain for me
of the Most Sacred Trinity
every help for my salvation.

Hail Mary...


Friday, January 07, 2011

Friday At the Foot Of the Cross

Prayer by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori

O my Jesus! I see that Thou couldst have done nothing more in order to compel me to love Thee; and I also see that by my ingratitude I have labored to force Thee to abandon me. Blessed forever be Thy patience, which has borne with me so long. I would deserve a hell made on purpose for myself; but Thy death gives me confidence. Ah! make me understand well the claims which Thou, O infinite Good! hast to my love, and the obligations by which I am bound to love Thee. I knew, O my Jesus! that Thou didst die for me; how then, O God! have I been able to live for so many years in forgetfulness of Thee? Oh that the past years of my life commenced again! I would wish, O my Lord! to give them all to Thee. But years do not return. Ah! grant that I may at least spend all the remaining days of my life in loving and pleasing Thee. My dear Redeemer! I love Thee with my whole heart; but increase this love within me. Remind me always of all that Thou hast done for me; and do not permit me to be any longer ungrateful to Thee. No; I will no longer resist the lights Thou hast given me. Thou didst wish to be loved by me, and I desire to love Thee. And whom will I love, if I do not love a God of infinite beauty and infinite goodness? a God who has died for me? a God who has borne with me with so much patience, and who, instead of chastising me as I deserved, has changed chastisements into graces and favors? Yes; I love Thee, O God! worthy of infinite love, and I sigh and seek to live wholly employed in loving Thee, and forgetful of everything but Thee. O infinite charity of my Lord! assist a soul that ardently desires to be entirely Thine.

O great mother of God, Mary, do thou too assist me by thine intercession; beg of Jesus to make me belong entirely to him.


Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Epiphany Of the Lord

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

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

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.

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Saint John Neumann

Saint John Neumann was part of the generation(s) when beauty in Catholic worship continued to mean something, and was sought out. When looking over some sites about Saint John, I came across a couple of images I wanted to share.

Saint Philomena's, Pittsbugh, a church Saint John built on a wing and prayer, and precious little money in 1846.

Exterior of Saint Alphonsus, Baltimore, a German parish of which Saint John was the first rector.

Interior of Saint Alphonsus. Now that is what I call a Sanctuary!

The Neumann Chalice, a gift to Saint John from German Catholics on his elevation to Bishop of Philadelphia

Shrine containing the body of Saint John at Saint Peter's, Philadelphia.

Saint John Neumann, please pray for us!


Music For The Twelfth Day Of Christmas

Loreena McKennitt, The Seven Rejoices Of Mary

Burl Ives, The Twelve Days Of Christmas

Celtic Woman, Ding Dong Merrily On High

Bing Crosby, Do You Hear What I Hear?

Sarah MacLachan, O Little Town Of Bethlehem

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Music for the Eleventh Day Of Christmas

Maureen Hegarty, O Holy Night

Anne Murray, Joy to the World

Monteverdi Choir, Lo How A Rose E'er Blooming

Maureen Hegarty, Ave Maria (Shubert)

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Monday, January 03, 2011

Music For the Tenth Day Of Christmas

The Chieftains with Burgess Meredith, Don Oiche Ud I mBeithil

Choir Of Saint Paul's Cathedral, Once In Royal David's City

David Archuleta, Pat-A-Pan

Frederica von Stade & Kathleen Battle-I Wonder as I Wander, Mary Had a Baby

It is back-to-work day, the modern equivalent of Plough Monday (which is tyraditionally observed next Monday) in the secular world, but Recta Ratio is still in full christmas mode.

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Sunday, January 02, 2011

Music For the Ninth Day Of Christmas

Celtic Woman, Away In A Manger

Andrea Bocelli, Angels We Have Heard On High

Hark, the Herald Angels Sing

Andrea Bocelli, Adeste Fideles

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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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