Divisions of Colliding Wills


A 7 Quick Takes post, kindly hosted at This Ain’t the Lyceum

 

St. Cyprian
 
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“The spouse of Christ cannot be defiled; she is uncorrupted and chaste. She knows one home . . . Does anyone believe that this unity which comes from divine strength, which is closely connected with the divine sacraments, can be broken asunder in the Church and be separated by the divisions of colliding wills? He who does not hold this unity, does not hold the law of God, does not hold the faith of the Father and the Son, does not hold life and salvation.”  St Cyprian – On the Unity of the Catholic Church

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Went to the FSSP parish in my fair city for Pentecost Sunday and, for some reason, it was just what I needed spiritually.  I had been feeling really worn down by something like three or more weeks of daily rain, in fact, one stretch of 8 days of almost solid rainfall.  All the moisture brought water seeping in to one room of our basement and the constant use of a very large Shop Vac was, along with the lack of sunshine, also a bit wearing.  Yet, somehow, one Latin Mass, something I hadn’t experienced in over a year did the trick.  I need  to do that more often.

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Attending a Latin Mass is often taken as a sign of extreme conservatism and Catholic zealotry, even among Catholics.   That’s unfortunate in the extreme.  Even worse, the idea is most often talked up by those who consider themselves the most righteous and orthodox Catholics on the block.  It’s a shame these folks do not see that they are doing far more harm than good.  

The Latin Mass is a beautiful and wonderful gift of the heritage of the Church.  It retains to this day the element of beauty and mystery, something that everyone needs to remind them of the Absolute Mystery that is being celebrated in the liturgy, a beauty and mystery that, frankly, has been under attack since the “reforms” of the liturgy after Vatican II.  It isn’t a matter of doctrine at all, it’s a recognition that human beings need constant reminders, in many forms, of Who they are worshipping and what is taking place during that time of worship.  It should be a time of beauty and awe, not self affirmation.  It also is never a sign of personal political opinion.

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Speaking of doctrine, the same extreme Catholic zealots are beginning to crank up the panic level over what they term “the coming schism” or “the coming heresy”, and other such comings.  It seems to me the operative word in all this is “coming”; not one of the apocalyptic events predicted by these folks has come about as of this writing.  The point is, those who are so actively engaged in panic mode over events over four months away are not doing themselves or their readers any good.  All they are doing is building up anger within the Church, and surely such activities, which amount to little more than gossip, are to be regretted, perhaps repented.  It is well to remember, none of these people have had a role in speaking for the Church and her Tradition.

There’s no denying there are those in the Church who are promoting ideas that are contrary to her own good.  There may be danger ahead.  But when, in her 2,000 year history has it ever not been so?  The role of faithful Catholic laity now is to pray for the Church and those within her walls, and to trust Jesus words when he told Peter:

“And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.”

If Jesus promised that the “powers of death” shall not prevail against His Church, what chance do the German bishops have?

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We have had a momentous amount of rain here in Colorado over the month of May, nearly 8″ officially in my fair city.  I think my neighborhood, some distance from the official airport rain guage, we have probably had closer to 12″, with a couple of days still left in the month.  We have had roads flooded, creeks at or over their flood stage, and many city parks and hiking trails either severely damaged or washed away entirely, even in Garden of the Gods.  As inconvenient as all this has been, I am reminded it could always be worse.  In Texas, houses have washed away, dams have failed, and the death toll has been far too high.  Please pray for the all of the victims of the Texas flooding.

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I’ve been reading a book, C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, I hadn’t picked up before my crossing the Tiber.  I had forgotten how really enjoyable reading this short book is.  The odd thing is the book is much more understandable, and enjoyable, to me as a Catholic than it ever was to me as a Protestant.  It reminds me of one of the truths Lewis discusses in the book, a point I totally glossed over when I first read it.  His point is that, when he was an atheist, he could not allow himself to be open to ideas from those with other points of view but, as a Christian, he learned he could be open to truth where ever and whenever he found it.  Good thing to keep in mind.

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I may have ranted a bit too much today, I tend to do that and regret it afterwards.  In mitigation of my guilt, I offer a quote from Chesterton that will give you an idea of how things end up appearing on this site, and their relative importance in the grand scheme of things: 

“. . .crude and shapeless papers upon current or rather flying subjects; and they must be published pretty much as they stand. They were written, as a rule, at the last moment; they were handed in the moment before it was too late, and I do not think that our commonwealth would have been shaken to its foundations if they had been handed in the moment after.”

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40 Days and 40 Nights


Posting here has been limited and, I expect, may be limited for the rest of this month.  My fair city has been under the deluge of two weeks of rain, hail, snow, and landslides.  There has been far too much for a climate and a land normally thought of as “high desert” to deal with.  We have had water in the basement and lost a good portion of the wood floor I rather foolishly put down nearly three years ago.  While that has dried, mostly, the forecast for the next week calls mostly for rain, so I may be bailing again soon.  While this has been more nuisance that anything, it is far too early to send out the dove to discover dry land.  I hope to resume these efforts soon.  

In Mystery


  

A 7 Quick Takes Post as hosted at the This Ain’t the Lyceum blog.

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“Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or publicly enjoined which are preserved in the Church some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have received delivered to us “in mystery” by the tradition of the Apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force. And these no one will contradict; – no one, at all events, who is even moderately versed in the institutions of the Church. For were we to attempt to reject such customs as have no written authority, on the ground that the importance they possess is small, we should unintentionally injure the Gospel in these matters…” St. Jerome

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This will be 7 quick takes on the fly, so to speak, since I’m going to try something I have never done.  That something is composing this post on the WordPress app, real time.  I like to edit and rewrite, and think posts over, but I have a reason for my madness.  The reason is the past week has been more than hectic due to being almost totally preoccupied with the band I joined back in January.  Last night was our semi-annual concert and the week came complete with a dress rehearsal on Wednesday night and the concert last night.  I think the whole thing went remarkably well, considering we have the entire range of musical skill levels, from rank beginner to 80 year old pro.  The point is, with weekly, sometimes twice weekly rehearsals since early January, I’m more than happy to get back into some sort of routine.

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On top of the hectic band schedule, we have had the most incredible week of weather in our fair city.  It has rained all week and yesterday we had a hailstorm of unique proportions.  I had the misfortune to have to have been out in it, and the hail was making such a noise hitting the car, even with the radio turned nearly all the way up, you couldn’t hear it.  The hail collected on the ground until it looked like two or three inches of snow, driving in it was like driving in a blizzard.  Even coming home from the concert, many of the streets looked like they were covered with snow, and this more than six hours later.  I’m a little worried about the roof on the house and will probably need to get it inspected.  Can’t wait to see what today brings since it’s supposed to keep raining until Sunday or Monday.

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To make matters worse, today I have to brave the bad weather and return the tux I rented to be all spiffily turned out for the concert.  I think for the next one I’ll just get a black suit and be done with it.

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A further cause for wonderment — we are expecting snow showers over the weekend.  Funny, I thought the last time I looked at the calendar, it said “May”.

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One thought that’s been noodling around in the back of my mind for the last week or two is the question of beauty in the liturgy.  From previous comments I’ve made, you may have guessed that I’m not totally impressed with what happened to the Liturgy after Vatican II, rather the opposite.  It seems the revisions made were with the express purpose of trivializing the Mass, I can think of no other way to put it.  No wonder many people say the liturgy isn’t doing much for them.  It’s true, on the one hand, the liturgy isn’t really about being entertainment or being interesting.  On the other hand, and this is the point I’ve been cogitating between moments overcome with stage fright, there is a role for beauty and transcendence to be had in worship.  This role may not be primarily, the worshipper has his or her own work to do as well, but I do believe the place for beauty, awe, is a necessary one.  

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Another thing rolling around in my little gray cells is the importance of books in relation to faith.  I guess another way to put it is the relation between reason and faith.  The trigger for this train of thought came when I saw a column, somewhere, I wish I could remember where, of seven “must read” books by Chesterton.  I thought the list interesting and wrote it down the list, do you agree?  

  • Autobiography (1936). 
  • Heretics (1905). 
  • Orthodoxy (1908).
  • The Dumb Ox: St Thomas Aquinas (1933). 
  • The Everlasting Man (1925). 
  • What’s Wrong with the World (1910).
  • Charles Dickens: A Critical Study (1906).


Man, the Worshipping Animal


  
Fr. Richard John Neuhaus is probably best known to Catholics through his work with EWTN, especially as a commentator during their coverage of the death of Pope St. John Paul II and the conclave which followed soon after, a conclave resulting in the election of Pope Benedict XVI.  They may know him as well as for his work as the founder and publisher of First Things magazine.  Yet, there is far more to Neuhaus’ life and career, and the entire story is skillfully told in a new biography by Randy Boyagoda, Richard John Neuhaus, A Life in the Public Square.  Whether familiar with Neuhaus or not, readers will find Boyagoda’s book provides an astonishing wealth of detail, not only about the subject, but also the historical context in which Neuhaus lived and worked, from his time as a committed civil rights worker and anti-war protestor during the 1960’s to his role as occasional, sometimes controversial, advisor to President George W. Bush in the first decade of the 21st century.  To many readers, much of his life story may come as a surprise, perhaps even a shock, but the story is interesting and important. The extent of the causes he engaged in, the friends and enemies he made, and the things he achieved, is astonishing.

The book is organized as a chronological narrative of the events of Richard John Neuhaus’ life, taking him from his birth in 1936 in Pembroke, Ontario where his father, Clem Neuhaus, was serving as a Missouri Synod Lutheran pastor, to his death in 2009.  In his early teens Neuhaus was sent off to a Lutheran boarding school in Nebraska, a school he was asked not to return to after just one year, the result of a few youthful indiscretions.  After leaving Nebraska, Neuhaus lived with relatives in Texas and the book details his adventures shooting jack rabbits and being a teen age gas station owner liked to brag about being the youngest member of the Cisco Chamber of Commerce.  All during this time, however, Neuhaus displayed strong, active interests in Lutheran theology and ecclesiology, philosophy, and whatever else happened to strike his fancy, despite having dropped out of school entirely.  After a year in Cisco, Neuhaus, realizing that any career he would want to pursue required an education, applied to a small Lutheran college in Austin, Concordia Lutheran College, being admitted only after bluffing admission authorities into waiting for evidence of his nonexistent high school graduation papers to arrive in the mail.  

After graduation from Concordia in Austin, Neuhaus attended Concordia– St. Louis seminary, the most influential seminary in the Lutheran Missouri Synod.  At St. Louis, he fell under the influence of Arthur Carl Piepkorn.  “Pieps,” as he was known on campus, was a prominent professor, one with known “Romish” sentiments, and a man of great influence on Neuhaus.  Piepkorn accomplished this by providing Neuhaus with “a catholic-framed Lutheran ecclesial identity integrated with intellectual sophistication and ordered to and by a joyful love of God and the Church.”  Boyagoda goes on to say that many of Neuhaus’ fellow students at the seminary were convinced that Piepkorn was so catholic-minded that he “wore a Roman collar with his pajamas.”  Among the entire faculty of this most prominent Lutheran seminary there is little doubt Piepkorn exerted the strongest influences on Neuhaus during his seminary career, even to the point of Neuhaus picking up the use of a breviary for his daily prayers.  

Once he finished seminary, Neuhaus was assigned, perhaps as a punishment for his association with the “Romish” Piepkorn, as pastor of a tiny church in upstate New York, where he spent a year.  Then he was transferred to the church that became his home, in one way or another, for the next twenty years, St John the Evangelist Lutheran church in Brooklyn.  It was here that he would begin the career that would make him famous and influential, as political activist, Lutheran pastor, and finally, editor and publisher of First Things magazine.

While at St John the Evangelist, Neuhaus became active, and gained a level of prominence, in the civil rights and anti-war movements, working with people like the Berrigan brothers, William Sloane Coffin, and even Martin Luther King himself.  However, the unrest and outright violence triggered at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, which he participated in, marked the beginning of his disillusionment with the left.  It was from that event that he began the long process of disengagement from these leftist associations, leading ultimately to his conversion to Catholicism, to the priesthood, and to the founding of First Things.  
The process took time after that 1968 awakening but quickened during the 1980s, when Neuhaus came into contact, especially through his ongoing engagement with pro-life issues, with prominent Catholic officials, including Cardinal John O’Conner, (then) Fr. Avery Dulles, and even, in a minor way, Pope St. John Paul II and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.  It ended in 1990 when Neuhaus began First Things and entered the Church.  He was ordained a priest a year later, having been personally formed under the tutelage of Fr. Dulles.
Neuhaus’ journey from activist liberal to renowned “theo-con” was remarkable, as was Neuhaus the man.  Boyagoda paints a picture of a man with an outsized intellect and a lifetime of singular accomplishment.  It isn’t surprising that Neuhaus also had some of the flaws typically associated with such people.  To all who came in contact with him, Neuhaus was clearly a man of great intellect, huge ambition, strong, domineering personality, with the ego to match, who tended to dominate any room he entered.  He also didn’t mind enjoying a good cigar and a sip of 18 year old Scotch along the way.  

Having said this, I wonder if his human failings, the untamed ego, over arching ambition, and domineering personality are traits that merit the attention Boyagoda gives them.  Do those human failings, while interesting, really affect our assessment of a life dedicated to ensuring that the voice of faith be heard in the public square?  If I have a complaint about Boyagoda’s book, it’s that I think these personal traits sometimes appear out of any context within the narrative, at the expense of conveying more substantive details of Neuhaus’ life and work.
Neuhaus considered himself throughout his career, as both Lutheran pastor and Catholic priest, to be a Christian and a patriot, in that order.   It was his lifelong concern that the voice of those of religious faith be heard in the public square, not as the dominant voice, but certainly as an equal part of the national conversation of ideas.  This is an important message in a age when the popular culture is doing all that it can to silence those voices. The emphasis on Neuhaus’ personal failings is regrettable because the attention paid to these minor faults distracts from the important, lifelong, theme of Neuhaus’ thinking, neatly summarized by R. R. Reno in the April, 2015 issue of First Things: “What will endure is Neuhaus’s constant reminder: Man is first and foremost a worshipping animal, not a voting animal.  Rendering to God what is God’s matters most.  The rest is commentary.”  To miss this point is to misunderstand Richard John Neuhaus.

One other minor criticism concerns a sometimes disjointed narrative.  For example, Neuhaus spent his early years in Pembroke, Ontario and his early life in that small Canadian town is covered in the first three chapters, which conclude with a brief allusion to events to come in Neuhaus’ life.  At the start of the next chapter, we find him attending boarding school in Nebraska, where one of his sisters lived.  How, and why, was he sent there?  Why would his parents send him so far away from home at such an early age?  There’s no explanation, leaving the reader only to question.  Another, more glaring, example:  given the time spent on Arthur Piepkorn’s early, strongly Catholic, liturgically based influence on Neuhaus, the reader expects Piepkorn to have played some part in Neuhaus’ ultimate decision to become Catholic.  Yet, this connection remains undrawn, and once Neuhaus leaves the seminary, Piepkorn drops from view, the reader can only guess how Piepkorn contributed to the formation of the future Fr. Neuhaus, as he must have done.

Despite these few quibbles, Richard John Neuhaus, A Life in the Public Square, is a worthy endeavor and deserves attention. The book is backed up by meticulous research, is well written, suffering only a few minor flaws.  Boyagoda offers his readers critical background in trying to appreciate all of the various forces of upheaval spawned during the unrest of the 1960’s and later years, and the efforts of one man to participate in and shape those forces according to his deeply Christian, and finally Catholic, point of view.


FTC  Disclaimer:  “I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

A Belated Lenten Reading Program




We’re approaching the third Sunday of Lent and, therefore, are close to half way to Easter.  It’s long been a custom for Catholics, perhaps stemming from the practice St. Benedict outlined in his Rule, to step up their spiritual reading for Lent.  This spiritual reading is usually planned for some days before the season begins on Ash Wednesday.  If you’re like me, however, that doesn’t always happen; Ash Wednesday comes and goes and suddenly you find yourself getting little or no spiritual reading done at all.  Then, like all good procrastinators, you say to yourself, I’ll do better next year and give up on the idea altogether.  Shame on you, it’s never too late to set things right.

To assist all you procrastinators out there, I’ve come up with a list of five books that make good Lenten reading, in fact good reading, no matter if you start on time or not.  I’m not saying you should try to read all five books between now and Holy Saturday, but you might pick one, possibly two of them and start reading today.  Then, come Holy Saturday, you might have firmed up your spiritual reading habit and decide to read the other three or four books to finish the list.

What are these five little books?  Here’s the list.

  1. The Spiritual Combat, Lorenzo Scupoli
  2. This Tremendous Lover, Eugene Boylan
  3. In Silence with God, Benedict Baur
  4. Seasons of Celebration, Thomas Merton
  5. Bread in the Wilderness, Thomas Merton

Why these five books?  Well, I have a reason for selecting each of these books as candidates for a belated Lenten reading program, but I leave you with a challenge – after you’ve read the books on the list, tell me why you think I consider them candidates for reading during Lent, even if you start late.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Beliefs and Practices




St Athanasius


A 7 Quick Takes post as hosted at This Ain’t the Lyceum

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Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or publicly enjoined which are preserved in the Church some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have received delivered to us “in mystery” by the tradition of the Apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force. And these no one will contradict; – no one, at all events, who is even moderately versed in the institutions of the Church. For were we to attempt to reject such customs as have no written authority, on the ground that the importance they possess is small, we should unintentionally injure the Gospel in these matters… St. Athansius On the Holy Spirit 27 .

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This has been a strange two weeks on many levels.  First and foremost, by any of my past history in this fair city in Colorado, we’ve had a LOT of snow.  Over this past weekend we had close to 14” in my driveway.  Shoveling that out, at my age, was no fun, even when done in two shifts.  There was more shoveling yesterday morning, after two more inches fell; we were trying to stay ahead of the snow this time.  On top of that, we had another inch of snow last night and are expecting heavy snow, perhaps up to 3” or more starting late this afternoon.  Then we get a short break before more snow is forecast for Saturday afternoon and Sunday.  Won’t be going very far for the next few days.  

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More troubling, we have a President who seems to more and more feel less bound by the convention that the American president have some remnant of the Christian faith about him.  In fact, he seems increasingly willing to align himself with the Muslim camp, and the media os perfectly OK with that.  Scott Walker was asked if he thought B.O. was a Christian and got hammered for offering the absolutely correct answer, the only answer anyone can give: “I don’t know.”  Somehow, that answer became national news, for no reason other than that it offended the media’s sensibilities in some way or other.  I confess, I think I understand less and less of what’s happening these days – and I don’t think I’m the one that’s crazy.

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We have a new Doctor of the Church, from, I gather, the Armenian branch of the Eastern Church which was accepted into full communion with Rome back in the late 19th century.  I think the only thing that surprises me about this is that there hasn’t been a hew and cry from the very conservative Catholic blog world.  There actually has been very little comment either way about the subject and that, I think, is a good thing.  We need to find wisdom where ever it can be found.

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I came across an interesting article yesterday on the always excellent Crisis website.  The point of it is that we need some adult supervision; we need to drop our fear our fear of making judgements about the goodness of things.  To say, flat out, someone’s choice of actions or lifestyles is either good or bad, is to be “judgmental”, and therefore, mean-spirited.  It seems the Archbishop of New York may have fallen into this trap concerning the upcoming St. Patricks Day parade in New York City, which is quite disappointing.  Here’s a quote, read the rest HERE

“Judgment is an essential component of the exercise of authority. If you do not have the courage to judge, then you should avoid positions of authority. Not being judgmental is a curse of our age. When I cautioned my teenagers not to hang out with so and so, the standard response was ‘Oh, Dad, you are so judgmental!’ Not to judge is a dereliction of duty that afflicts so much of the Church’s hierarchy. It obscures our Lord’s message, sows confusion among the faithful, and undermines lay efforts to fight against the perversions of the day.”

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I also found an interesting article, linked from the First Things website, about one of my favorite whipping boys these days, the sad state of classical, and especially, sacred classical music.  To me, it seems there is no one writing modern classical music who understands the first thing of what such music is about.  The story is actually from a UK site called Standpoint and I was pleasantly surprised at what the article had to say, given what I understand to be the almost universal loss of the Christian faith in Britain today.  Here’s just one example

“Musical modernism is what was left behind after the feelings which motivated the great classical composers had dissipated. What you are hearing in the dysfunctional harmony and unattractive groans of Harrison Birtwistle and his many imitators is a massive God-shaped hole, where once natural authority and faith resided. This is what “atonal” music really is: a loss of faith, and this is why anyone who counteracts its dominance is quickly condemned as “naive”, in just the same manner as those who continue to hold religious convictions in a scientific age. It is what has led composers such as Robin Holloway to confess that “all we like sheep have dumbly concurred in the rightness of [Schoenberg’s] stance; against the evidence of our senses and our instincts”.

That’s the problem in a nutshell.  Read the entire story HERE.

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I’ve worked very hard today to avoid making this whole post little more than a rant.  I’m not sure I’ve succeeded but I promise to try to do better next week.

Monday with Merton


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“Keeping a journal has taught me that there is not so much new in your life as you sometimes think. When you re-read your journal you find out that your latest discovery is something you already found out five years ago. Still, it is true that one penetrates deeper and deeper into the same ideas and the same experiences.”
― Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas

Let’s Quarrel


This is a 7 Quick Takes post now hosted at the The Ain’t The Lyceum Blog.

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“There were two old men who had lived together for many years, and they never quarreled. Now one of them said: ‘Let us try to quarrel just once like other people do. And the other replied: “I don’t know how quarrel happens.’ Then the first said: ‘Look, I put a brick between us, and I say, “This is mine” and you say: “No, it is mine”, and after that, a quarrel begins.’ So they placed a brick between them, and one of them said: ‘This is mine’, and the other said: ‘No—it is mine.’ And he replied: ‘Indeed – it is all yours, so take it away with you.’ And they went away unable to fight with each other.” Sayings of the Desert Fathers.

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I learned something on Christmas Eve, at Mass.  Perhaps I should say I re-learned a hard truth – be careful what you pray for, you might get it. In this case, my desire for better, really good, music with the weekly Sunday Liturgy. Well, at the Cathedral for Christmas Eve Mass, I got it. They had about a half an hour of organ recital before the Mass and it was quite good, a generous portion of Bach’s fugues and other classical pieces; I was in seventh heaven. Then they had a girl, I don’t think she could have been in her mid-twenties, who sounded pretty close to being a professional opera singer, sing an Ave Maria and a couple of classic Christmas carols. She had a beautiful voice. I immediately began wishing every Mass could be accompanied with music like that; it truly was one of the most beautiful Masses I’ve been too. Adding to it, Fr. David, a priest with a fine Irish tenor voice, chanted the entire Mass, beginning to end

Afterward though, the next morning it dawned on me: the music was so beautiful that I was completely distracted, to the point I remember very little else besides the music; I was completely oblivious to everything else going on. That isn’t a good thing and it set me wondering if this wasn’t a case of far too much of a good thing; I didn’t go to church on a very cold Christmas Eve night to listen to a concert, I went to offer worship to the baby Jesus. Even in the best of circumstances, my ADD makes concentration on things right in front of me difficult, this was an ADD overload to a lover of classical music. I’m embarrassed, I should have known better than to get sucked into it.

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imageI start the New Year with a cold, not a serious one, but enough of one to make concentration difficult, and writing this post even more difficult. The cold comes from going to Mass on Christmas Eve, I’m quite sure of it; people insist on going out in public when they are sick and, therefore, spread their contagion far and wide. In my case, it was the fellow sitting in front on me, coughing and sneezing his way through the liturgy that did me in. I really wish people would stay home when they are sick.

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The weather has been COLD here in Colorado this week. Just before Christmas we had temperatures in the 40s and 50s. On Tuesday, the high was something like 8º, the low -12º and a wind chill of something -23º. At least we should get into the 30s next week and we should be able to get out a little more. I’m getting cabin fever

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Word Press, the hosting service I use for the blog published a year end wrap up of statistics thereby putting the meagerness of this effort into full perspective. Among the interesting facts: I had 2,200 visitors/page views during the year and I learned that, if my blog were a cable car, it would take 37 trips to fill it up. Interesting way of putting it. A little more interesting, the blog had visitors from 51 countries in 2014. It’s odd how such a little thing can be so far reaching. I thank all of you who stopped by here in 2014 and especially those who have become followers of the blog. It is much appreciated.

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I saw an interesting article on the Crisis website earlier this week about the Sign of Peace in the liturgy and it’s placement therein. The headline asked the question – Move or Remove? Since I’m sure that the contagion of this cold of mine was confirmed during that little exercise, my immediate answer to the question was REMOVE. However, the right answer, according to the author was, move. I can understand his thinking, have the sign of peace where it is now completely changes the tenor of the moments just before and just after it occurs. It should come just before the presentation of the gifts, or perhaps even earlier. It’s an interesting article that you’ll find HERE.

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And finally, I have made my choice for a 2015 wall calendar to hang over my desk. It’s the beautiful calendar from Our Lady of Clear Creek Monastery. Normally, this is a big decision and I try to choose from several possibilities but this year, since it’s the only one I received in the mail, it made the choice easy. Please support the monks of Clear Creek with a donation this year if at all possible.

And that’s all that I have the energy to write about; please pray for a quick recovery for me from this blasted cold.

Merry Christmas


Nativity
 The Christ-child lay on Mary’s lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary were the world,
But here is all aright.)The Christ-child lay on Mary’s breast
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
But here the true hearts are.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary’s heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here the world’s desire.)

The Christ-child stood on Mary’s knee,
His hair was like a crown,
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
And all the stars looked down

A Christmas Carol Poem by G. K. Chesterton

Happy Thanksgiving


I hope you all have a very blessed and Happy Thanksgiving. In this difficult time for our nation, I once again post George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation as a reminder of the long tradition of this great national holiday.

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October 3, 1789

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Geo. Washington