Saturday, January 15, 2011

Our Blessed Lady's Saturday

Prayer by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori:

Ah, my most holy Lady, the Ecclesiasticus tells me that thou art “the Mother of holy hope;” and the holy Church, that thou art our hope. For what other hope, then, need I seek? Thou, after Jesus, art all my hope. Thus did Saint Bernard call thee; thus will I also call thee: ‘Thou art the whole ground of my hope;’ and, with Saint Bonaventure, I will repeat again and again, ‘O, salvation of all who call upon thee, save me!'


Friday, January 14, 2011

Saint Hilary Of Poitiers

This is the feast of a bishop, confessor, and Doctor of the Church, who lends his name to the academic term beginning in January each year: Hilary Term.

Saint Hilary, pray for us!


Friday At the Foot Of the Cross

Prayer by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori:

Ah, my dear Redeemer! it is true that I have not loved Thee because I have not reflected on the love which Thou hast borne me! Ah, my Jesus! I have been very ungrateful to Thee! Thou hast given Thy life for me by submitting to the most painful of all deaths; and have I been so ungrateful as not even to think of Thy sufferings? Pardon me; I promise, O my crucified Love! that from this day forward Thou shalt be the only object of my thoughts and of all my affections! Ah! when the devil or the world presents me a forbidden apple, remind me, O my beloved Saviour! of the pains which Thou hast endured for my sake, that I may love Thee, and may never more offend Thee! Ah! if one of my servants had done for me what Thou hast done, I could not bring myself to displease him. And I have dared to turn my back so often on Thee, who hast died for me. O beautiful flames, which have obliged a God to give his life for Me, come, inflame, fill my whole heart, and destroy all affections to created things. Ah, my beloved Redeemer! how is it possible for me to contemplate Thee, either in the manger, in Bethlehem, on the cross on Calvary, or in the sacrament on our altars, and not be enamored of Thee? My Jesus! I love Thee with my whole soul. During the remaining Years of my life Thou shalt be my only good, my only love. I have unhappily lived long enough forgetful of Thy Passion and of Thy love. I give Thee all things, and if I do not give myself to Thee as I ought, take me, and reign in my whole heart. Thy kingdom come. May my heart be the servant only of Thy love. May I speak of nothing else, may I treat of nothing else, may I think of nothing else, may I sigh and desire only to love and please Thee. Assist me always by Thy grace, that I may be faithful to Thee. In Thy merits I trust, O my Jesus! O mother of fair love! make me ardently love thy Son, who is so amiable, and who has loved me so tenderly.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tabernacles Front and Center!

Nicely done. A lot more could be said about this, including more concentrated focus on the propblem of not having the Tabernacle at the geographic center of a church, and as the focus of attention at Mass. But this is as nice start.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tops On My Next Christmas List

A 1/4 scale King Tiger Tank.

A quarter the size of the real thing.


It would need its own berth in a garage.

The $10,000 price tag is a little steep, but we are talking about a tank here! You might be able to pick up a real, live Chafee or Sherman in need of $250,000 worth of repairs for short money because Michigan turned out more of them than boxes of Cornflakes. You can't get a real, full size King Tiger anywhere. The Krauts didn't make that many of them, and there only are only about 5 of them left, and they are all in museums, or decommissioned as permanent memorials. So you have to settle for a quarter of the real thing with a King Tiger.

Drool. Pant. Drool.


Fixin' For A Storm

We may see up to 17 inches of snow here in Boston starting after midnight tonight.

It can be fun to be snowed in.

For the last week, I've been laid up with a severe chest cold that seems to want to turn itself into pneumonia. Prayers appreciated.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Requiescat In Pace

Just saw that Major Richard Winters, the commander of E Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, made famous in the Stephen Ambrose book and HBO miniseries Band Of Brothers, died a few days ago at the age of 92. Winters took over E Company on D-Day and led an assault on a strongly held fixed artillery position with a handful of men that is considered a classroom example of how to do it. He was promoted to commander of the 506th's 2nd Battalion and led it at Market Garden, at the Battle of the Bulge, and in the invasion of Germany. A great American soldier. Requiescat in pace.


Plough Monday 2011

Another Plough Monday, and the end of Christmas festivity and vacation for another year. One is reminded of the line from W. H. Auden's Christmas Oratorio, that, though we are now in the merry season of carnival, there is vague awareness of the "whiff of apprehension at the thought of Lent and Good Friday." Thankfully, this year Septuagesima is still an appreciable way off, as Easter is relatively late this year.

Here is Auden in full:

Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree,
Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes --
Some have got broken -- and carrying them up to the attic.
The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school. There are enough
Left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week --
Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted -- quite unsuccessfully --
To love all of our relatives, and in general
Grossly overestimated our powers. Once again
As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain His disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot keep his word for long.
The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,
And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought
Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now
Be very far off. But, for the time being, here we all are,
Back in the moderate Aristotelian city
Of darning and the Eight-Fifteen, where Euclid's geometry
And Newton's mechanics would account for our experience,
And the kitchen table exists because I scrub it.
It seems to have shrunk during the holidays. The streets
Are much narrower than we remembered; we had forgotten
The office was as depressing as this. To those who have seen
The Child, however dimly, however incredulously,
The Time Being is, in a sense, the most trying time of all.
For the innocent children who whispered so excitedly
Outside the locked door where they knew the presents to be
Grew up when it opened. Now, recollecting that moment
We can repress the joy, but the guilt remains conscious;
Remembering the stable where for once in our lives
Everything became a You and nothing was an It.
And craving the sensation but ignoring the cause,
We look round for something, no matter what, to inhibit
Our self-reflection, and the obvious thing for that purpose
Would be some great suffering. So, once we have met the Son,
We are tempted ever after to pray to the Father;
"Lead us into temptation and evil for our sake."
They will come, all right, don't worry; probably in a form
That we do not expect, and certainly with a force
More dreadful than we can imagine. In the meantime
There are bills to be paid, machines to keep in repair,
Irregular verbs to learn, the Time Being to redeem
From insignificance. The happy morning is over,
The night of agony still to come; the time is noon:
When the Spirit must practice his scales of rejoicing
Without even a hostile audience, and the Soul endure
A silence that is neither for nor against her faith
That God's Will will be done, That, in spite of her prayers,
God will cheat no one, not even the world of its triumph.


Sunday, January 09, 2011

Feast Of the Holy Family

From The Liturgical Year, by Abbot Prosper Gueranger, OSB:


THIS Sunday has been chosen by the Church for the celebration of the Feast of the Holy Family; the liturgy of the day, as expressed in the Gospel, harmonizes well with the mystery of the new Feast, for it already carries us forward to the childhood of our Emmanuel and gives us those wonderful words which, after the example of his Blessed Mother, we must ever ponder within our hearts: 'And he went down with them' and came to Nazareth and was subject to them.'

The Feast of the Holy Family is of recent origin. In 1663 Barbara d'Hillehoust founded at Montreal the Association of the Holy Family; this devotion soon spread and in 1893 Leo XIII expressed his approval of a feast under this title and himself composed part of the Office. The Feast was welcomed by succeeding Pontiffs as an efficacious means for bringing home to the Christian people the example of the Holy Family at Nazareth, and by the restoration of the true spirit of family life, stemming, in some measure, the evils of present-day society. These motives led Benedict XV to insert the Feast in the universal Calendar, and from 1921 it has been fixed for this present Sunday [meaning the Traditional Rite since the New Order of Mass did not exist in Dom Gueranger's day-----in the Novus Ordo, is December 30].

We will read the Gospel passage for this Feast and the author's short prayer of praise, followed by the Offertory, the Secret, the Commemoration of the Epiphany, The Communion and the Hymn at Vespers:

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.
Ch. 2.

When Jesus was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast; and having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the Child Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents knew it not. And thinking that He was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His wisdom and His answers. And seeing Him, they wondered. And His Mother said to Him: Son, why hast Thou done so to us? Behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing. And He said to them: How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business? And they understood not the word that He spoke unto them. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And His Mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men.

Thus, O Jesus!-----didst Thou come down from Heaven to teach us. The tender age of Childhood, which Thou didst take upon Thyself, is no hindrance to the ardour of Thy desire that we should know the one only God, Who made all things, and Thee, His Son, Whom He sent to us. When laid in the Crib, Thou didst instruct the Shepherds by a mere look; when swathed in Thy humble swaddling-clothes, and subjected to the voluntary silence thou hadst imposed on Thyself, Thou didst reveal to the Magi the light they sought in following the star. When twelve years old, Thou explainest to the Doctors of Israel the Scriptures which bear testimony to Thee. Thou gradually dispellest the shadows of the Law by Thy presence and Thy words. In order to fulfill the commands of Thy heavenly Father, Thou dost not hesitate to occasion sorrow to the heart of Thy Mother, by thus going in quest of souls that need enlightening. Thy love of man will pierce that tender Heart of Mary with a still sharper sword, when she shall behold Thee hanging on the Cross, and expiring in the midst of cruelest pain. Blessed be Thou, sweet Jesus, in these first Mysteries of Thine Infancy, wherein Thou already showest Thyself devoted to us, and leavest the company of Thy Blessed Mother for that of sinful men, who will one day conspire thy Death.

The Offertory takes us in thought to the Feast of the Purification; let us again offer ourselves to the Lord.

(Luke 2.)

The parents of Jesus carried Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord.

In the Secret the Church again prays that she may be strengthened in peace and grace; these gifts have been purchased for us by our Lord Himself; it is through the Holy Mass that we can be more strongly established in them.


We offer to thee, O Lord, an atoning Victim, humbly entreating that through the intercession of the Virgin Mother of God and blessed Joseph, Thou wouldst strongly establish our families in Thy peace and grace. Through the same Lord.

Commemoration of the Sunday

May the sacrifice we have offered to thee, O Lord, always enlighten and defend us. Through, etc.

Commemoration of the Epiphany

Mercifully look down, O Lord, we beseech Thee, on the offerings of Thy Church; among which, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, are no longer offered; but what was signified by those offerings is sacrificed, and received, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Who liveth, etc.

(Luke 2.)
And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them.

If we have kept before our eyes the example of the Holy Family, we may humbly trust that at the hour of our death we shall be helped and consoled and be found worthy to have fellowship with Christ in the eternal dwellings. Such is the last prayer of the Church, and may it be one we love to repeat and dwell on.



Blest light of all the heavenly hosts,
Sole hope of them that dwell on earth,
The purest love that ever graced
A home, did smile upon Thy birth.
Mary, dear Mother, who but thee
Was ever yet so rich in grace?
Didst nourish Christ upon thy knee
And fold Him in a sweet embrace?
And Joseph, chosen out to guard
The Virgin with thy gentle might,
The Infant Jesus smiled on thee
And called thee father as by right.
You, Who to save a guilty race
Were born of David's noble line,
O hear the humble prayers of all
Today, who gather round Your shrine.
The sun now wends his way to rest
And earth is veiled in shadows gray;
Yet hearts a-fire with joy and love
Still bid us linger on to pray.
O may the grace of that sweet home
Which held the earthly Trinity,
Be shed abroad upon the world
And bless the Christian family.
O Jesu, born of Virgin bright,
Immortal glory be to Thee;
Praise to the Father infinite
And Holy Ghost eternally. Amen.

V. I will make all thy children to be taught of the Lord.
R. And great the peace of thy children.


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