The Inn at the End of the World
"[A] man . . .the other day pointed out that I was never bored. I hadn’t thought of that before, but it’s true: I’m never bored. I’m appalled, horrified, angered, but never bored. The world appears to me so infinite in its variety that many lifetimes could not exhaust its interest. So long as you can still be surprised, you have something to be thankful for." -Theodore Dalrymple
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
The Undenied Major
The Times has been full lately of another of those assumptions which require no explanation.
It appears that not only the I.R.S., but no one else in the entire country believes that any liberal would be associated with the words patriot or patriotism or with the constitution. The unexamined assumption is that if you're an American patriot, you are clearly on the right side of spectrum.
Makes sense to me. But I would've thought that at least a few of the left-leaning brethren would've been a trifle miffed.
Monday, May 06, 2013
Next month Blessed John Henry Newman Catholic Church will not be the only place in California to attend Mass in the Anglican Use. St Augustine of Canterbury in San Diego will -- at long last -- have its own priest.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Some Piping (and dancing) for the Weekend
Last November the memsahib and I were at the annual dancing weekend put on by the San Francisco branch of the RSCDS. There was Scottish country dancing from Friday evening through Sunday morning at Asilomar on the Monterey peninsula.
The clip above shows the Reel of the 51st Highland Division being danced at the ball on Saturday night to music from Fiddlesticks & Ivory with Ron Wallace standing in on pipes. If you want to skip the brief, i.e., dance instructions, and go right to the music, move the cursor up 60 seconds. I meant to post this some time ago but after being shown it by the man who filmed it, I couldn't find it again. Seems I was searching for The Reel of the 51st when I should've been searching for RSCDS Asilomar.
Those of you who already know what I look like shouldn't have too much trouble locating your servant off on the left rank. And, no, Mary wasn't my partner for this one. She was up in the balcony with a friend of ours, the one who, in fact, took this video with a wee Samsung camera phone.
(The Reel of the 51st has an interesting history. You can find a short version here and a slightly longer one here.)
Friday, April 26, 2013
No Priests Allowed
It's not bad enough that the deranged wing of the Mahometan persuasion wants to blow you up.
We learn in this morning's WSJ that the City of Boston would also like to make sure that you leave this earth without the sacraments.
The heart-wrenching photographs taken in the moments after the Boston Marathon bombings show the blue-and-yellow jackets of volunteers, police officers, fire fighters, emergency medical technicians, even a three-foot-high blue M&M. Conspicuously absent are any clerical collars or images of pastoral care.
This was not for lack of proximity. Close to the bombing site are Trinity Episcopal Church, Old South Church and St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine, all on Boylston Street. When the priests at St. Clement's, three blocks away, heard the explosions, they gathered sacramental oils and hurried to the scene in hopes of anointing the injured and, if necessary, administering last rites, the final of seven Catholic sacraments. But the priests, who belong to the order Oblates of the Virgin Mary, weren't allowed at the scene.
I suppose you have to be a Catholic to find that more outrageous than the bombing itself. But I am and I do.
One more thing especially for those who don't click the link above and read the entire article:
But it is a poignant irony that Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy who died on Boylston Street, was a Catholic who had received his first Communion just last year. As Martin lay dying, priests were only yards away, beyond the police tape, unable to reach him to administer last rites—
Friday, April 05, 2013
Some Piping for the Weekend
It's been a while since some weekend piping showed up on The Inn. Just this morning I ran across this clip of the City of Invercargill Highland Pipe Band and their winning street march performance in New Zealand. It's almost eight minutes of hornpipes beautifully played while on the march. A really impressive piece of business.
"To be up-to-date is a paltry ambition except in an almanac."-G.K. Chesterton in "The Philosopher"
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Breviaryomancy. . .sort of
I started my doing my taxes today.
And the following reading was appointed for today in Fr Stallaert's Little Breviary:
Extract from the works of Pope Saint Gregory
It may well be asked why Peter, who was a fisherman before his conversion, after his conversion went back to fishing. Why did he turn again to that which he had forsaken, when he who is Truth itself had said: "No one who looks behind him, when he has once put his hand to the plough, is fitted for the kingdom of God"?
If we examine the question carefully we shall soon see the answer: without any doubt if the business pursued before conversion was honest there was no sin in returning to it after conversion. We know that Peter was a fisherman, but Matthew was a tax-gatherer. After his conversion Peter went back to his fishing. Matthew, however, did not resume his work in the customs-house, for it is one thing to gain a living by fishing, quite another to amass riches by drawing profit from tax-collecting.
There are indeed many kinds of business which it is difficult if not impossible to carry on without sin, and, once converted, a man should not return to anything that will involve him in sin.
Yes, yes, I know. I don't suppose the IRS is quite the same thing. Still, it made a nice break from form 1040.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Rules to Live By Dept
There is no need to cite further examples, when it is more elegant to put this in the form of a general rule, which can be stated as follows: Whenever a public person, whether in politics or in the media, introduces a statement with a phrase using the word fact ( as in "The fact is," "The fact of the matter is," or "Face or accept the fact that"), the statement that follows will very likely be an entirely subjective opinion. More simply put, Fact = Fancy.
-Thomas Fleming, in the March 2013 number of Chronicles
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Meanwhile. . . .
After far too many hours trolling (in the good sense) the web, I am about Poped out. It occurs to me that the new Holy Father is who he is and is going to do what he's going to do whether I can predict it or not. And he's unlikely to ask my opinion in any event.
So I decided to look for a good version of the reel JB Milne that shows the first couple's turn and cast on bars 9-12. I found one, but this wasn't it; on this one you can't really see clearly how anyone's doing the pas de basque turn. But I liked the music and the general energy and enjoyment going on. Don't know who the band is but they seem to be enjoying themselves, too.
There's one more SCD video that must needs appear on The Inn but I've got to locate it again. In the meantime, some nice border piping by a lassie named Shonagh Duncan playing Steal Away, Kalabakan, and Sleepy Maggie. My own border pipes arrived a few weeks ago, but in between miserable health and Santa Ana winds (it dries out the air and bellows-blown pipe reeds don't get enough moisture to tune properly) I haven't had much chance to get very proficient with them.
This lady on the other hand. . . .
The Holy Father and Summorum Pontificum
From Fr Z's blog:
Forty-eight hours after Summorum Pontificum, then Card. Bergoglio arranged Holy Mass in the traditional Roman Rite.
He quotes an article which appeared at the time in an Argentine publication. You can find it here.
It is, alas for us anglophones, solamente in Español but pretty easy to work out the gist of it (especially for us Californians, who should be used to figuring out simple Spanish by now).
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
". . .ut disperdere(t) de civitate Domini
omnes operantes iniquitatem."
At least we hope so.
A random selection of early reports and opinions:
Msgr Steenson of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter
Chronicles -- from an Orthodox writer.
Holy Souls Hermitage -- (this report does not seem to be accurate although it is being repeated. No directory of traditional Masses lists any in Argentina. One report lists a house of the Institute of the Good Shepherd in the new pope's former archdiocese. The webpage of the Institute lists no such foundation.)
Sandro Magister -- on the new pope - via NLM
Catholic Herald -- an article from 2005 on Cardinal Bergoglio
The Latin Mass Society -- mildly optimistic
Rorate Cæli -- not optimistic at all. There are a few posts; you can scroll down. The one from the journalist from Buenos Aires we can only hope is. . .exaggerated.
LifeSiteNews -- optimistic, and then some.
National Catholic Reporter -- a John Allen essay on Cardinal Bergoglio written before the conclave.
Just received an extensive letter from Robert Moynihan full of information on the new pope. As of this writing it isn't up on his website yet but it should be shortly. Check here.
Oremus pro beatissimo Papa nostro Francisco
Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum
faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.
Let us pray for our Holy Father Francis
The Lord preserve him and give him life, that he may be blessed
upon earth; and may he not be delivered up to the will of his enemies.
Saturday, March 02, 2013
Non Habemus Papam, But We Still Have an Ordinary
He is Msgr Jeffrey Steenson of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter.
You can see an interview with him here done just last week on the Journey Home programme,
Our little parish of Blessed John Henry Newman is part of the Ordinariate and owes its canonical allegiance to Msgr Steenson.
She hates too much praise. . . .
. . . so for the most part I just link without comment. But sometimes you have to risk it.
I've been following the papal retirement story as much as I can bear to. The secular press is, well, wrong. To put a kindly word on it. The Catholic commentary contains a tremendous amount of pious drivel. (No, I won't cite you to any. It may be twaddle, but so far as I can tell, harmless twaddle.) Some commentary is just bizarre. Some quite good. Robert Moynihan's series of reflections have been informative and balanced.
But Hilary White's piece in LifeSiteNews pierces the heart. This is a beautiful piece of writing you shouldn't miss. Do click on the link. It's quite moving. She puts you in the square at Castelgandolfo on the day itself.
(I put more up here in this space originally. I re-read what I wrote. Hmmm. I may have overdone it. I tend to gush (especially at one in the morning) when I really like something. It's still true, mind, but it was a bit florid. Even for me.)
Labels: Vale Benedicte
St David of Wales
Oh, dear. Mea culpa. I had my citations ready and then on the day got distracted. But it's not too late for a bowl of potato leek soup or to pray a collect in honour of St David.
Almighty God, who dist call Thy servant David to be a faithful and wise steward of Thy mysteries for the people of Wales: in Thy mercy, grant that, following his purity of life and zeal for the gospel of Christ, and assisted by his prayers, we may with him receive the crown of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to Whom with Thee and the Holy Ghost be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.
More about St David here and here.
Labels: Patronus Cambriæ
Thursday, February 28, 2013
A Fascinating Hypothetical
Can an excommunicated cardinal be allowed to participate in a conclave? Civil and common lawyers will not be surprised to learn that the canon lawyer's answer is an answer they are very familiar with indeed:
You can find out what it depends on here.
(And by the way, it punctures a few holes in some sede vacantist arguments. And, yes, I am aware we are all sede vacantists at the moment. But I mean those who are more or less permanently so.)
Labels: Non habemus papam
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Oculos habent et non videbunt
I have a new pair of glasses.
Same frames, but first new prescription in 10 years.
I've been visiting non-mobile-optimized websites (apparently, that is indeed what they're called) on my phone and reading the miniscule print just because I can. And there are directions on back of Tylenol bottles. (It'll do what to my liver??) Who knew?
I can even read the Latin text in my Baronius Press missal in less than perfect light. We're talking 7 pt type here, if I recall correctly.
What an unexpected pleasure this has been. If your world has been a little fuzzy lately, I can recommend a good eye doctor.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
One #$%& Thing After Another
There's nothing quite so tedious as reading about -- or worse: listening to -- the details of somebody else's illnesses. On the other hand, there's nothing quite so fascinating as one's own. So the following is of absorbing interest to me. You, however, will likely find it quite stunningly boring.
When I started this post about eight hours ago I really was going to go into detail. Loving detail might be overstating the case. But, certainly, detail. Now, after a baker's dozen interruptions and assorted errands of varying consequentiality, even I have lost interest.
So, the short version:
-touch of food poisoning;
-flare up of diverticulitis;
-cold: sore throat, sinusitis, etc.
-flare up of diverticulitis II
. . . .successively over a period of about 5 weeks.
And that's why you have read nothing here since February 11th and not much prior to that.
I hope to do better in the future. But then I always do, don't I.
Monday, February 11, 2013
I Didn't Expect to Need These Again Quite So Soon
From the traditional Missal, the Votive Mass for the Election of a Pope:
We humbly beseech Thee, O Lord: That of Thy unbounded mercy Thou wouldest grant unto the holy Roman Church a Pontiff; who by his tender care towards us may ever find favour in Thy sight, and, studying to preserve Thy people in safety, may ever be honoured by us to the glory of Thy name. Through our Lord. Amen.
Supplici, Domine, humilitate deposcimus: ut sacrosanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ concedat Pontificem illum tua immensa pietas; qui et pio in nos studio semper tibi placitus, et tuo populo pro salubri regimine sit assidue ad gloriam tui nominis reverendus. Per Dominum nostrum. Amen.
From the BCP, slightly adapted:
Almighty and everlasting God, who by thy Holy Spirit didst preside in the Council of the blessed Apostles, and hast promised, through thy Son Jesus Christ, to be with thy Church to the end of the world; We beseech thee to be with the College of Cardinals assembled in thy Name and Presence. Save them from all error, ignorance, pride, and prejudice; and of thy great mercy vouchsafe, we beseech thee, so to direct, sanctify, and govern them in their work, by the mighty power of the Holy Ghost, that the comfortable Gospel of Christ may be truly preached, truly received, and truly followed, in all places, to the breaking down the kingdom of sin, Satan, and death; till at length the whole of thy dispersed sheep, being gathered into one fold, shall become partakers of everlasting life; through the merits and death of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.
And once more, and for a while yet, what's been near the top of the left-hand column for the past few years:
Oremus pro beatissimo Papa Nostro Benedicto:
Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatam faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.
Almighty and everlasting God, have mercy upon Thy servant, Benedict, our Supreme Pontiff, and direct him, according to Thy loving-kindness, in the ways of eternal salvation; that, of Thy gift he may ever desire that which is pleasing unto Thee and may accomplish it with all his might. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Quinquagesima SundayStation at St Peter
This solemn assembly at the confessio of the Vatican brings to a close the Triduum in preparation for the great solemnity of the coming fast. Having assured ourselves of the patronage of St Lawrence, St Paul, and St Peter, we shall be ready with full confidence to commence next Sunday at the Lateran Basilica the holy cycle of penance. In imitation of the Greeks, all religious communities and the more devout amongst the laity began, in early times, to abstain from meat from this week onwards. The Church has adopted this use to a certain extent by beginning Lent on the following Feria IV (Ash Wednesday).
. . . . .
The mystery of the cross is so difficult for the mind of man to understand that even the Apostles, who had studied for three years in the school of Christ, had not yet penetrated it. They did not understand it now as they journeyed to Jerusalem, nor yet on the evening of the paschal feast, at which they were consecrated the Pontiffs of the New Testament. One short hour later, omnes, relicto eo, fugerunt, leaving Jesus to go up to Calvary alone. How necessary, then, is it for us to meditate upon Christ crucified, lest we should fail in a matter of the highest moment, towards which the whole of our spiritual life should be directed -- that is, the mystery of expiation through suffering.
From The Sacramentary (Liber Sacramentorum) of the Blessed Ildefonso Cardinal Schuster.
Vol II, pgs 36, 38.
Friday, February 01, 2013
Found While Looking for Something Else
- from the Liber Sacramentorum of Bl Ildefonse Cardinal Schuster in the article on the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, pg 417 of volume 1.There is nothing greater than the Church, the "Great Church", as Celsus called her in the third century, in order to distinguish her from the heretical self-styled "churches." She is likened to a tree in which the birds build their nests. Indeed, since the sanctification and glorification of the Church are the ultimate end of all created things it is necessary that social institutions, kingdoms and families should derive their strength and their permanence from her. At Rome, in the pontificate of St Clement, she was called the firstborn of all creatures, for whom all other things were made. Therefore liberalism, the theory that the Church and the State are two irreducible parallels, is an anarchical idea, which resolves itself in pure atheism. History, life's great teacher, demonstrates but too clearly the truth of that which was said by the ancient author of the Epistle ad Diognetum -- namely, that the world without the spirit of Christianity is no more than a decaying corpse from which the soul has fled.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Last Sunday was Septuagesima Sunday so Lent is practically on our doorstep. No more Alleluia or Gloria in Excelsis for a couple of months.
Here's what we said about Septuagesimatide and the farewell to Alleluia a few years ago.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Did you see the press coverage of the March for Life this year?!?
Neither did I.
Of course, the WSJ does have a nice article on the front page this morning all about teaching dogs to swim. So there probably wasn't room.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
California Needs More Children
Interesting article here in this morning's OC Register.
It seems there are more old folks and not enough babies to pay for our social security. The article talks about immigration, falling support for schools, and the economy.
But never once does it mention what seems to me to be the obvious bottom line. Outlaw abortion and contraceptives. Or at least, far from making all and sundry pay for contraceptives, there should be a size-able tax on them. It could go into the FICA fund. Assuming there were a FICA fund. Which there isn't. But that's a whinge for another day.
Two in One Weekend
Stan Musial and Earl Weaver: two baseball names to conjure with and both gone in one weekend.
Earl Weaver was usually arguing on the wrong side so far as I was concerned. But he was a vital part of baseball and highly entertaining when they got him in the booth for an interview.
Stan Musial was one of those names from my youth that defined the word hero. I'm not a follower of statistics, as my friend Gary can tell you. The boyhood impression has stayed with me that he was one of the unconquerables, like Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio. It was a nansecond of a surprise to see in the paper this morning that his lifetime average was "only" 331. Not 1,000? Or even 931? Oh, yeah. That's right. He was only human, wasn't he.
From his home-town paper.
Not your average sportwriter.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
The Fried Egg Theory of Cathedral Windows
Christopher Howse in The Telegraph:
In his tremendously entertaining new book, How England Made the English: From Hedgerows to Heathrow, Harry Mount mentions the effect of climate on the fenestration of churches. Big windows in hot countries would fry the people at Mass, he says, so they made them small.
Our own Diocese of Orange is about to discover the truth of the matter one way or the other. The "Crystal Cathedral", doncha know.
It may not matter, though. Even if the parishioners are fried, so many people out here seem to enjoy being fried. I don't happen to be one of them, but I'm probably in the minority. Again.
Labels: Crystal Gazing
Someone cited this a couple of days ago and I've forgotten who it was. (If it was you, thank you.) It's a nice appreciation of the communion rail from a permanent deacon who has not been accused of traditionalist recidivism lately:
Frankly, we should not only be humbled, but intimidated enough to ask ourselves if we are really spiritually ready to partake of the sacrament. Kneeling means you can't just go up and receive without knowing how it's properly done. It demands not only a sense of focus and purpose, but also something else, something that has eluded our worship for two generations.
It demands a sense of the sacred. It challenges us to kneel before wonder, and bow before grace. It insists that we not only fully understand what is happening, but that we fully appreciate the breathtaking generosity behind it. It asks us to be mindful of what "Eucharist" really means: thanksgiving.
The rest is here.
Monday, January 14, 2013
Thoughts at a Very Secular Funeral
You know what is extraordinary? Well, yes, that too. But what I had in mind was the people with no thought of God one way or the other but who have a very definite and detailed - complete with furniture - belief in heaven. It wouldn't be quite correct to call them agnostic. That would imply that they'd given the matter some thought. But heaven is definitely there and everyone they know and like is definitely there also.
But God. . . .not so much.
Labels: Eschatology without anxiety
Thursday, January 10, 2013
10 January - St Sæthryth, O.S.B.
Another of the old Anglo-Saxon saints is commemorated today, St Sæthryth, 2d Abbess of Faremoutier-en-Brie.
This site gives the following information:
Princess Saethrith was the daughter of King Anna of East Anglia by his first wife of unknown name. Like her younger half-sisters, Sexburga, Etheldreda, Withburga and Ethelburga, she became a nun. This was after being educated with the latter by St. Fara at the nunnery in Faremoutier-en-Brie in France. She later succeeded her teacher as the second abbess there. She died on 10th January sometime in the late 7th century.
She's mentioned a few other places on the web but every mention is short and says not much more than that quoted above. One site says she is mentioned by Bede the Venerable. Another calls her the least known of the sisters. True enough, so far as I can tell. I had never heard of her to be sure.
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
Oh, Bother. . .late again
What with New Year's Eve and all I forgot the Bonnie Prince's birthday, which was, of course, the 31st of December 1720.
YOU'RE WELCOME, CHARLIE STUART
You're welcome, Charlie Stuart,
You're welcome, Charlie Stuart,
You're welcome, Charlie Stuart,
There's none so right as thou art.
1. Had I the power, by my will,
Thy foes to scatter, take and kill,
I'd make thee famous by my quill,
From Billingsgate (*) to Duart (*).
2. Thy sympathising complaisance
Made thee believe intriguing France;
But woe is me for thy mischance,
That saddens every true heart!
You're welcome, Charlie Stuart, etc.
3. Hadst thou Culloden's battle won,
Poor Scotland had not been undone,
Nor butchered been with sword and gun,
By Lockhart (**) and such cowards.
You're welcome, Charlie Stuart, etc.
4. Kind Providence to thee a friend,
A lovely maid, did timely send,
To save thee from a fearful end,
Thou royal Charlie Stuart.
You're welcome, Charlie Stuart, etc.
5. Illustrious prince, we firmly pray
That she and we may see the day,
When Britons with one voice shall say,
"You're welcome, Charlie Stuart."
You're welcome, Charlie Stuart, etc.
6. Whene'er I take a glass of wine,
I drink confusion to the swine,
But health to him that will combine
To fight for Charlie Stuart.
You're welcome, Charlie Stuart, etc.
7. Though Cumberland, the tyrant proud,
Doth thirst and hunger for thy blood,
Just Heaven will preserve the good,
The gallant Charlie Stuart.
You're welcome, Charlie Stuart, etc.
8. The ministry may Scotland maul,
But our brave hearts they'll ne'er enthral,
We'll fight like Britons, one and all,
For liberty and Stuart.
You're welcome, Charlie Stuart, etc.
9. Then haste, ye Britons, to set on,
Your lawful king upon his throne,
And to Hanover drive each one,
Who will not fight for Stuart.
You're welcome, Charlie Stuart, etc.
Labels: Qui regis partibus studet
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
26 December -- ". . .on the feast of Stephen. . ."
"Wenceslaus" fits nicely on the pipe scale, I might add.
In Ireland St Stephen's Day was the day for hunting the wren, an old custom that almost died out and with a few changes is making a come-back:
More here.There, it was the feast of St. Stephen or Wren Day. At one time, groups of small boys would hunt for a wren, and then chase the poor bird until they either caught it or it died from exhaustion. It was then tied to the top of a pole or holly bush, which was decorated with ribbons or colored paper. Early in the morning on St. Stephen's, the wren was carried from house to house by the boys, who wore straw masks or blackened their faces with burnt cork, and dressed in old clothes. At each house, the boys sang the Wren Boys' song. There are many versions and variations, including the following:
The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
On St. Stephen's Day was caught in the furze,
Although he is little, his family is great,
I pray you, good lady, give us a treat.
My box would speak, if it had but a tongue,
And two or three shillings, would do it no wrong,
Sing holly, sing ivy - sing ivy, sing holly,
A drop just to drink, it would drown melancholy.
And if you draw it of the best,
I hope in heaven your soul will rest;
But if you draw it of the small,
It won't agree with these wren boys at all.
Often, those who gave money were given a feather from the wren for good luck and then the money that had been collected was used to hold a dance for the entire village.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
The Date of Christmas
Ten years after the eastern patriarchate of Antioch began celebrating the feast of Christmas on December 25, Saint John Chrysostom in a homily to his congregation said that the Western churches had from the very commencement of Christianity kept it on this day. Moreover, the holy doctor provided arguments for this date drawn from reason and from Scripture.
As Abbot Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B. writes in his Liturgical Year, volume 3, page 2, Saint John declared that "the Church of Rome had every means of knowing the true day of our Savior's birth, since the acts of Enrollment, taken in Judea by command of Augustus (Luke 2:3-5) were kept in the public archives of Rome." In arguing from Scripture, Gueranger continues, Saint John "reasons thus: we know from the Sacred Scriptures that it must have been in the fast of the seventh month that the priest Zachary had the vision in the temple (cf: Leviticus 23:24: 'The tenth day of the seventh month is the day of Atonement when you shall. . .offer an oblation to the Lord" -- the seventh month corresponds to the end of September and the beginning of October); after which Elizabeth, his wife, conceived John the Baptist; hence it follows that the Blessed Virgin Mary, having, as the Evangelist Saint Luke relates, received the Angel Gabriel's visit, and conceived the Savior of the word in the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, that is to say in March, the birth of Jesus must have taken place in the month of December."
A Child of the Snows
There is heard a hymn when the panes are dim,
And never before or again,
When the nights are strong with a darkness long,
And the dark is alive with rain.
Never we know but in sleet and in snow,
The place where the great fires are,
That the midst of the earth is a raging mirth
And the heart of the earth a star.
And at night we win to the ancient inn
Where the child in the frost is furled,
We follow the feet where all souls meet
At the inn at the end of the world.
The gods lie dead where the leaves lie red,
For the flame of the sun is flown,
The gods lie cold where the leaves lie gold,
And a Child comes forth alone.
What time was Midnight Mass last night?
I'd have told you in time for you to attend but our internet connection was down all day yesterday. I finally got it back up this morning. Considering that I've lived most of my life without an internet -- without, indeed, knowing what an internet might be -- the feeling of disconnect from life without an internet connection is quite amazing.
In any event, I missed the 'net and you missed a beautiful Mass last night. Here's a little of what you missed:
Sunday, December 23, 2012
So. . . .why reindeer?
Most efficient choice all the way 'round. Santa knows what he's doing.
Creative Minority Report gives the details here.
December 23 -- O Emmanuel
O Emmanuel, rex et legifer noster, exspectatio gentium et salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos, Domine Deus noster.
O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the Desire of all nations and their Salvation: Come and save us, O Lord our God.
This is the last of the commentaries "Oriens" did on the O antiphons in that mail-list many years ago. I can't tell you which one. I got from someone who copied it to a different list, the old CinGreg which was itself taken down several years ago.
'Emmanuel' derives from Isaiah 7:14,
'Ecce virgo concipiet, et pariet filium,
Et vocabitur nomen eius Emmanuel'
'Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
And his name shall be called Emmanuel.'
This is referred to the birth of Christ in St Matthew's Gospel:
'Hoc autem totum factum est,
ut adimpleretur quod dictum est a Domino per prophetam dicentam:
Ecce virgo in utero habebit, et pariet filium,
et vocabunt nomen eius Emmanuel,
quod est interpretatum Nobiscum Deus.'
'Now all this was done,
that it might be fulfilled which was said by the Lord through the prophet,
saying: Behold, a virgin shall have a son in her womb, and bear him,
and they shall call his name Emmanuel,
which is, being translated, God with us.' (Matthew 1:22-23).
Emmanuel, 'God with us', is perhaps the most important title in the
'Rex', 'King' is a title often applied to Christ in the New Testament,
e.g., at Matthew 2:2, 'Ubi est qui natus est rex Iudaeorum?' 'Where is
he that has been born King of the Jews?' Or the title placed on the cross:
'Hic est Iesus rex Iudaeorum' 'This is Jesus, King of the Jews' (Matthew
'Legifer', 'lawgiver' equates Jesus with Moses who gave the law to the
Israelites on Mount Sinai. Jesus is portrayed as giving a new law, e.g.
in his delivery of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7. Or cf. John 13:34,
'Mandatum novum do vobis: ut diligatis invicem, sicut dilexi vos' -
'A new Commandment I give you, that you should love one another,
as I have loved you.' ['Mandatum' here gives us 'Maundy' as in Maundy
Thursday, the day of the Mandate].
'Exspectatio gentium' has already been mentioned with reference to 'O
Clavis David'. It derives from Genesis 49:10,
Non aufertur sceptrum de Iuda,
Et dux de femore eius,
Donec veniat qui mittendus est,
Et ipse erit expectatio gentium.
'The sceptre shall not be taken away from Judah,
nor the leader from his thigh,
until he comes who is to be sent,
and he will be the expectation of the nations.'
'Salvator', 'Saviour', is applied regularly in the OT to God, and equally
regularly in the NT to Jesus. The equation is made explicit in the last
words of our antiphon, 'veni ad salvandum nos Domine Deus noster' -
'Come and save us, O Lord our God'.
In England, there was an eighth antiphon, 'O virgo virginum', 'O virgin of
virgins', applied to Mary; an example of English exuberance spoiling
the careful and spare patterning of the Roman liturgy. I shall not go into it
now, but rather wish all list-members a very happy Christmas, Hannukah,
Ramadan or whatever. I shall switch on again in the New Year.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
December 22 -- O Rex Gentium
O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.
O King of the Nations, and their Desire; the Cornerstone, who makest
both one: Come and save mankind, whom thou formedest of clay.
Another exegeses of the Advent “O” antiphon from the same author:
The key text here is Haggai 2:8, 'Et movebo omnes gentes, Et veniet
Desideratus cunctis gentibus' 'And I shall shake all nations, and the
Desired One will come to all nations.' Haggai is a prophet writing at the
time of of what is called the Restoration, that is, the return of the Jews
to the holy land after the exile in Babylon, the rebuilding of the temple
and the restoration of public and religious institutions. As Haggai
writes, these things do not yet amount to much, but he forsees a time
when the glory of the restored temple with exceed that of Solomon's
original building. Christians see this prophecy fulfilled in Christ.
The phrase 'Rex Gentium' I have not found exactly, but cf. Psalm 2:6-8,
Ego autem constitutus sum Rex ab eo
Super Sion, montem sanctum eius,
Praedicans praeceptum eius.
Dominus dixit ad me: Filius meus es tu;
Ego hodie genui te.
Postula a me, et dabo tibi gentes haereditatem tuam,
Et possessionem tuam terminos terrae.
'Yet have I set my King:
upon my holy hill of Sion.
I will preach the law, whereof the Lord hath said unto me:
Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
Desire of me, and I shall give thee the heathen [i.e. nations]
for thine inheritance:
and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.'
The corner-stone goes back ultimately to Isaiah 28:16,
Ecce ego mittam in fundamentis Sion lapidem,
Angularem, pretiosum, in fundamento fundatum;
'Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious
This is quoted at 1 Peter 2:6. St Paul at Ephesians 2:20 also refers to
Christ as 'ipso summo angulari lapide Christo Iesu' - 'Jesus Christ himself
being the chief corner-stone.' In context, Paul explores the meaning of this
image as referring to the Jews and Gentiles as it were coming to God from
two directions, and meeting in Christ, as two walls meet and join in the
corner-stone. 'Who makest both one' refers to Ephesians 2:14,
'qui fecit utraque unum'.
'Quem de limo formasti' derives from Genesis 2:7, 'Formavit igitur Dominus
Deus hominem de limo terrae.' Again Jesus is identified with the God of
Creation, the God of Genesis.
A number of texts have been combined to produce a coherent theology:
Christ is the Lord of all nations, both Jews and Gentiles, as a corner-stone
supports both walls; he is the agent through whom both were made, and
will lead both to a destiny greater than anything in their previous existence. "Oriens"
Friday, December 21, 2012
December 21 -- O Oriens
O Oriens, splendor lucis æternæ et sol iustitiæ: veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris et umbra mortis.
O Dayspring, Brightness of Light Everlasting, and Sun of Righteousness: Come and enlighten them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death.
Today Fr East's ("Oriens") wonderful explication of the “O” antiphons is resumed.
(My copy of his posts for the 19th and 29th of December remain among the missing.
My illustrious namesake derives his title from the Song of Zechariah, or
Benedictus, which I quoted yesterday. Luke 1:78-79,
Per viscera misericordiae Dei nostri:
In quibus visitavit nos, Oriens ex alto,
Illuminare his qui in tenebris et in umbra mortis sedent . . .
'Through the bowels of compassion of our God,
Through which the Dayspring from on high has visited us,
To illuminate those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death . . .'
Notice that our antiphons are proceeding in a chronological direction
through the Bible; not in the texts quoted, which are from here, there
and everywhere, but in the events alluded to: Creation - Exodus - Jesse -
David - and now the beginning of the Gospel, John the Baptist.
The symbolism of light is often applied to Christ in the NT, but for
specifically eternal light we should look to Isaiah 60, which is all about
light. The chapter begins,
Surge, illuminare, Ierusalem, quia venit lumen tuum,
Et gloria Domini super te orta est.
'Arise, shine, Jerusalem, for your light has come,
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.'
Note orta, 'risen', the past participle of orior, of which Oriens is the
present participle. At verse 19 of this chapter we find,
Non erit tibi amplius sol ad lucendum per diem,
Nec splendor lunae illuminabit te;
Sed erit tibi Dominus in lucem sempiternam.
'The sun shall be no more thy light by day;
neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee:
but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light.'
This is taken up in the Book of Revelation, or Apocalypse:
Et civitas non eget sole, neque luna ut luceant in ea, nam claritas Dei
illuminavit eam, et lucerna eius est Agnus. (Rev. 21:23)
'And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it;
for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.'
We should also note the Second Letter of St Peter, 1:19,
Et habemus firmiorem propheticum sermonem: cui benefacitis attendentes
quasi lucernae lucenti in caliginoso donec dies elucescat, et lucifer
oriatur in cordibus vestris.
'We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereto ye do well that ye
take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn,
and the day star arise in your hearts.'
The 'Sun of Righteousness' comes from Malachi 4:2,
'Et orietur vobis timentibus nomen meum Sol iustitiae, et sanitas in
(note again the use of orior)
'And there shall rise upon you who fear my name the Sun of Righteousness,
with healing in his wings.'
To quote a much later writer who continued this highly creative tradition
of turning the scriptures into liturgy:
"Christ, whose glory fills the skies,
Christ, the true, the only Light,
Sun of Righteousness, arise,
Triumph o'er the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high, be near;
Daystar, in my heart appear."
Or again, by the same author - I quote it in his original form; we are
more familiar with it in the slightly altered form it received from G.
Whitefield, M. Madan and others:
"Hail the heavenly Prince of peace!
Hail the Sun of righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings."
Thursday, December 20, 2012
20 December -- O Clavis David
O clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel: qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris et umbra mortis.
O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel; that openest and no man shutteth, and shuttest and no man openeth: Come and bring the prisoners out of the prison-house, them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death.
The fourth of the "O" antiphons is chanted today at Vespers. This post, like the others in the series, is a re-run from a few years ago. But it's a part of the Advent/Christmas office I'm particularly fond of. This text is taken from Parsch’s “The Church’s Year of Grace”, vol. I:
“The six-pointed star is the Jewish symbol for the shield or key of David. To Jews it is still a symbol of God and His most holy Name. It also was for them a sign of the promised Messiah (star of Balaam [Is this right? Shouldn’t that be ‘star of Bethlehem’? Did Balaam have a star? –jpc-]). It should, then, be perfectly obvious that Christ is the “Key of David,” i.e., the One who opens all the secrets and mysteries of the Old Testament. The scepter implies a true fullness of power over God’s kingdom.
“Reflections. (a) The figure. Substantially the passage is from Apocalypse 3:7, where Christ speaks of Himself as the ‘Key of David, who opens and no one shuts; who shuts and no on opens.’ But there also is a passage in Isaias (22:22) which corresponds almost word for word with our antiphon. The Old Testament text, however, is not messianic; it is directed to the faithful civil ruler whom God supports: ‘I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder. He will open and no one will shut; he will shut and no one will open.’ The symbol of handing over the keys denotes the conferral of supreme authority. With the keys he becomes chief executive and all his transactions are divinely approved. Evidently St. John borrowed the passage from Isaias and applied it to Christ, a precedent followed by the liturgy. The antiphon puts additional stress on Christ’s power by adding the title: ‘Sceptre of the house,’ or better, ‘over the house of Israel.’
“(b) Exegesis. . . . . .
“Lastly, the petition in our antiphon is somewhat more extended than on previous days. Christ holds the keys to the prison where Satan keeps men enchained. Through original sin mankind languishes in prison; redemption includes deliverance from this imprisonment. The antiphon describes it very realistically: Captive mankind sits in darkness and in the black shadows of death. Imagine an ancient prison (they called it a ‘lion’s den’). May Christ the Redeemer, we plead, unlock this prison, He has the key. May He convert the countless pagans whom Satan still holds captive; may He loose the bonds of sin and show sinners the rising light of Christmas. And are there no passions, no evil enticements from which He must free me?”