Thursday, April 27, 2017

First Sleep and Second Sleep

However, historical evidence, borne out by scientific studies, suggests that lying awake in the middle of the night was a normal part of the way our ancestors slept—so normal, in fact, that the night was broken into two chunks, “first sleep” and “second sleep.” The two sleeping periods were interrupted by an hour or two of quiet activity, in which people prayed, discussed their dreams, chatted about the day’s events, performed household chores, smoked, or had sex. Darker activities are also said to have been common during these late hours: jealous husbands alleged that their wives used the time to fly off to the witch’s Sabbaths; petty thieves took advantage of the darkness to steal from dockyards and orchards, among other crimes.

More here.

So perhaps Matins in the middle of the night for monks and nuns was not such an extraordinary thing to do.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Reeds but no Pipes



Clive Williams plays a knockout version of Morpeth Rant on the melodeon.  No hidden meaning or relevant connection to the day that's in it.  I just like the tune and the playing here is outstanding.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

The English Hymnal

I've lost track of who cited  me to this piece on The English Hymnal.  It's a lovely read full of good sense about many things including communal singing in general.  I was interested at first since this was our little parish's first choice of hymnal.  Alas, the few copies we could find were too expensive for our budget.

The musical editor of The English Hymnal was the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. This task came at an early stage in his career, and he told the story of how it began with an unexpected visit: 
It must have been in 1904 that I was sitting in my study in Barton Street, Westminster, when a cab drove up to the door and ‘Mr. Dearmer’ was announced. I just knew his name vaguely as a parson who invited tramps to sleep in his drawing room; but he had not come to me about tramps. He went straight to the point and asked me to edit the music of a hymn book. I protested that I knew very little about hymns but he explained that Cecil Sharp had suggested my name […] and the final clench was given when I understood that if I did not do the job it would be offered to a well-known Church musician with whose musical ideas I was much out of sympathy.
The rest of the essay can be found here.  It's worth a click and a read.

As something of an aside, Mr Dearmer is he of The Parson's Handbook fame.  And Cecil Sharp, aside from being the fons et origo of English folk music collecting was also one of the principal founders of the EFDSS.


Friday, April 14, 2017

And again . . . .

The world is on fire; and it looks as though they would like to condemn Christ anew, so to speak, for they keep bringing up endless accusations; they are trying to wreck His Church.  For the love of God beg His Majesty to hear our prayers in this regard; and I--wretch that I am--will also beg Him for the same thing, since His glory and the good of His Church are at stake. 
There is nothing I want apart from this.
S Teresa of Avila, -The Way of Perfection

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Spy Wednesday



Luke chapter 22 beginning the first verse:

Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.
And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.
Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.
And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.
And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.
And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.

Here the Clerk of  Oxford gives us a Middle English poem in which Judas has an excuse (of sorts) for his betrayal.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Phoenix from the Ashes

Still making my way very slowly through H.J.A. Sire's Phoenix from the Ashes, a brilliant but not very optimistic book.  The progress would be a lot quicker if I didn't find something to highlight in almost every paragraph.

This isn't a review, if for no other reason than that I haven't finished it yet.  A short review can be found at the link above.  But I did want to give some sort of introduction before posting a few of my highlighted and underlined excerpts.  This isn't much of an introduction but it will have to do for now.


". . .how closely our time repeats the tide of barbarism which, in the fifth century, overwhelmed the security and culture of the Roman Empire. Despite the cushions of artificial progress that surround us,  our frontiers have been pierced and the standards of civilisation overthrown.  We are like the Romans in the kingdom of Theodoric.  The city still stands, recognisable in its main landmarks though battered by two destructive invasions; the toga is still worn by ancient nobles, beside the uncouth jackets of the invaders; the senate and consuls rehearse their solemn rites; but only the weak-minded deceive themselves.  The barbarians are in control.  Those who have not been taught to despise the greatness of the past are left to clutch, like Boethius, at the last tatters of literature and philosophy."  

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Earthquakes I Have Known

Ever since the destruction began last August I've been following news about the earthquakes in Norcia, principally Hilary's blogs, the bulletins from the monks, and assorted Italian sites with the help of translategoogle.com and www.freetranslation.com/ (Literalism isn't all it's cracked up to be; what's really needed is a translation service that does dynamic equivalence, if you'll pardon the phrase.)

We've sent prayers and a few bucks. And we ourselves have finally gotten something we've never had before, even living as we do 4 or 5 miles from one of the San Andreas fault's tributaries. We now have earthquake insurance. It's not great insurance. It doesn't cover everything, the deductible is rather high, and the premium is higher than we'd like. But if the house is flattened -- and we survive -- it'll be something to carry on with.

This is from Google maps and if you're using the Opera browser you can click on it and make it gigantic:


What you're looking at is 7th Street in Long Beach CA. The V.A. hospital is on the left and there's a shopping center on the right. You see how 7th Street is on one level and the CVS pharmacy drops down to a lower level? That's the fault line. I could probably drive there in 10 or 15 minutes depending on the traffic.

I rather enjoyed my first earthquake. That was the Tehachapi quake. I was four. It woke me up and bounced the bed around the room. I was delighted. I had no idea the bed could do that. When my mother rushed into the room to comfort me I asked when it would happen again. She assured me that it was all over now. You can imagine my disappointment. A ride like that on the mechanical horse at the supermarket cost a nickel. Nickels didn't come easy to four-year-olds in 1952.  This ride was free.

My grandfather's reaction was slightly different than mine but still became part of family legend. When my aunt ran into his room with "Oh, dad, dad, it's an earthquake!" his response was "Thank God. I thought it was a heart-attack."

In any event, my mother was wrong. It wasn't all over for good. There were aftershocks. Once again, I was in bed for the next big one. And now I wouldn't get up. My mother thought I was too afraid to get up. But, in fact, I now believed that, much like Santa Claus, the earthquakes wouldn't come unless I was in bed. I did get up eventually, albeit reluctantly, and life went on.

As did earthquakes in southern California. The next one I really remember was the Sylmar quake. By now I was in my 20s and no longer quite so sanguine about earthquakes. In my 20's indeed, but once again in bed. I remember being awakened -- or half awakened -- and looking up at the Grundig Satellit



on my headboard and thinking "If that falls on my head, it is really going to hurt." And then, rather than moving, I closed my eyes.

Yes, older but not appreciably wiser. At least not when half asleep. To be sure, it did not fall but the reasonable and prudent man really should have gotten out of the way.

 The picture below was in the Times the next day and gave me a dislike for driving under freeway overpasses that remains to this day.



The epicenter of the Whittier Narrows quake was probably the closest to our home. It happened when I was on my way to work. I was driving over a bridge across the L.A. River at the time and thought I had a flat tire. I got out to look and noticed that the entire lane of traffic thought the same thing. We had all got out to check our tires. At which point we all seemed to notice at the same time that the street lamps were still swaying. There was nothing else to do but continue on. And get off that bridge. The power was out here and there as were the traffic lights so it took a while longer to get to work. Memory says that we were sent home that day so they could check the structural integrity of the building. But I may be mistaking that for the Northridge quake a few years later.

Two things I do remember about the Northridge quake. The first was the impeccable good taste of that particular quake. Mary had -- still has -- quite a bit of Waterford. (Her father knew Somebody and got a really good deal on it.) But the quake didn't disturb any of it. All sorts of the cheap stuff, jelly glasses and dimestore stuff, went crashing down on the kitchen floor. It took a good while to get it all cleaned up. But none of the Waterford ever budged.

The other thing I remember about Northridge was that the home of a woman I worked with was damaged and red tagged. (Or was it yellow tagged? It was whichever of those means you can't go back in.) Well, she didn't want to sleep on a cot in a school gymnasium for who knows how long and she couldn't afford a hotel for the aforesaid who-knows-how-long. So we found out later that what she did was park her car in the street behind her house, walk through the adjoining back yard, and in through her own untagged and untaped back door to spend the night in her own house. I don't remember how that all worked out in the end but she apparently got away with it for a good long time.

We've had a few since but those were the really memorable ones. There was one out in the desert somewhere that we only got the tail end of.  I think I was working on the 18th floor then in the old Transamerica Centre. That building was the first of L.A.'s high rises and the builders had earthquakes in mind when it was built. Rollers are part of its foundation. (No, I don't know how that works either. But that's how it was explained to me.) We were far enough away from the center that we didn't feel a great jolt but it did start the building to swaying. Which it continued to do for quite some time . . . long after the actual earthquake had stopped. It was a very gentle sway but a few folks got quite nauseous.

Should you have an interest -- and you might if you read this far -- all of these temblors* have their own webpages thanks to Wikipedia:

Tehachapi  (They call it the "Kern County" quake.  But it's the Tehachapi.)




And now in the wake of Norcia, we have earthquake insurance.

(*All essays about earthquakes have to use the word temblor at some point. I think it may be statutory.)




Monday, April 03, 2017

A New Venture in Farming

A fascinating new enterprise is beginning on the Hebridean isle of Islay.  You can read about it here.

I suppose it is incumbent upon me to mention that this link was sent to me last Saturday, the first of April.


St Richard of Chichester . . . probably


No, I don't mean probably a saint.  Bishop Richard de Wyche is a saint all right. He was canonized by Urban IV on January 12, 1262.  And today is his feast day.

Probably.

Well, the good old Catholic Encyclopædia says it is.  But there's been a whole lot of liturgical tinkering since the early part of the 20th century when the original Catholic Encyclopædia was printed.  And the old Roman Martyrology says so, too.  (But see above re: tinkering.)  Wikipedia says today sometimes is but that some folks keep it in June, Lent being well and truly over by then and a better time for keeping a feast day.  And then it says the Catholic Church still keeps it on 3 April and gives the text of St Richard's collect from the Ordinariate Missal, to wit:

MOST merciful Redeemer,
who gavest to thy Bishop Richard a love of learning,
a zeal for souls, and a devotion to the poor:
grant that, encouraged by his example,
and aided by his prayers,
we may know thee more clearly,
love thee more dearly,
and follow thee more nearly,
day by day;
who livest and reignest with the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God,
world without end. Amen.
Except the Ordinariate calendar keeps his day on 16 June.

So take your pick.  Either day is a good day to honour a sturdy English bishop who didn't take any guff from kings or libidinous clergymen.

The good old Catholic Encyclopædia gives his life here.

Wikipedia's text is here.

This site gives a few additional facts and seems pretty certain he was a Dominican, wearing their habit.  (Perhaps 3d Order?)

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

St Patrick's Day as was


God help us, The Inn missed a St Patrick's Day mention on the day entirely.  His collect from the old English Missal:

O God, who for the preaching of thy glory unto the Gentiles wast pleased to send forth blessed  Patrick, thy confessor and Bishop : grant by his merits and intercession ; that we may through thy mercy be enabled to accomplish those things which thou commandest us to do. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
For more than you even knew existed about St Patrick, bookmark this wonderful site Trias Thaumaturga and peruse at your leisure.  There is much for the feasts of St Brigid (1 February) and St Colum Cille (9 June) also.

And in an attempt to atone for inexcusable tardiness, here is the St Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band's medley performance at the 2015 Worlds.






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Monday, March 13, 2017

Cue impending doom music. . .

. . . because Friday the 13th occurs on a Monday this month, i.e., today.

Well, certainly.  Why did you think?  Oh, that.  Well, of course, that too.  But in any event caution is still advisable.  So don't break any ladders or walk under any mirrors.  It's bad luck to be superstitious.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

12 March

Today is not only the feast of St Gregory the Great but it's also the day on which in 1622 that same Gregory canonized Teresa of Avila, Ignatius Loyola, Philip Neri, and St Frances of Rome.

2d Sunday in Lent

The Blogspot folks have been messing about with what I have always called the control panel but which they, for some reason, refer to as the dashboard.  And the template was missing this afternoon.  It seems ungrateful to complain about a free service so I only mention this to inform those of you who also use Blogspot that the template is still there.  After rather more time puttering around with the control panel/dashboard than I had planned on, I found that if you click on the "Theme" link you'll discover the template.

So you'll notice that I have finally been able to change "Shrovetide" and "February" to "Lent" and "March" over there on the left-hand panel.

And speaking of Lent, today is the 2d Sunday thereof and for no other reason than that I liked it, here is the collect from our Ordinariate Mass this morning:

ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves: keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
It's essentially a translation of the collect in the traditional Roman rite.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Quinquagesima Sunday

And, to repeat, also called Shrove Sunday or Dominica ingressus  ieiunii, or as the old English bard would've written, if he'd thought of it, penance is ycumen in. And so it is with Ash Wednesday just around the corner.

The epistle for today in the traditional rite is the charity epistle, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.  The lovely old prayer book collect riffs on St Paul's text nicely:

O LORD, who hast taught us that all our doings without charity are nothing worth; Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee. Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ's sake. Amen. 

And an Old English sermon for Quinquagesima.

 'Now a pure and holy time draws near, in which we should atone for our neglect. Every Christian, therefore, should come to his confession and confess his hidden sins, and amend according to the guidance of his teacher; and let everyone encourage each other to good by good example, so that all people may say of us what was said of the blind man when his eyes were enlightened: that is, All people who saw that miracle praised God, who lives and reigns forever without end. Amen.'

The rest is here in Old English and in Dr Parker's rather more modern version.



Septuagesima

The Inn missed mentioning Septuagesima Sunday on the day, burying the Alleluia the day before, and half of Septuagesima week was gone before I got round to up-dating Miss Chadwick's liturgical reminders over there in the left-hand column.  The Inn isn't being minded as diligently as once it was; I haven't even revised the format as  promised all  those months ago.  We shall see about doing better, which is something less than a promse, although more than a mere wish.

So, what is Septuagesima Sunday anyway?  I hear you ask from the poor desert of the Pauline Rite.  Fr Dr Pius Parsch explains it here in a few paragraphs.

[And even this poor little post got written and the posting never  went through.  Only  noticed it today when looking for something to say about Quinquagesima Sunday, i.e., today, also known as Shrove Sunday or Dominic ingressus jejunii.]

Thursday, February 09, 2017

What's Old is New Again

Our "post-truth" world:  Dr Parker shows us what Chaucer thought of it.  He knew it well.

'Post-truth’ is a word of our times, at least according to Oxford Dictionaries, who declared it their word of 2016. Their definition said that ‘post-truth’ refers to ‘circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’. 
The appearance of a new word tends to encourage the idea that the phenomenon itself is new: that it did not exist before there was a neologism to describe it. That is not the case here, even if ‘post-truth’ is the current buzz-word; as historians know well, there has never been a time when public opinion was not shaped more powerfully by emotion and personal belief than by facts. What is different now, perhaps, is how rapidly false stories and fake news can circulate: social media allows the public as well as giant news organisations to be involved in spreading untrue or distorted tales. That is a formidable challenge for those who care about truth. 
But even concern about the ease with which false stories can spread is far from new. At the end of the 14th century, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote incisively on this subject in his poem The House of Fame.

The heart of the essay is here.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

And How Was Your 12th Night?

To anyone who knows any history it is wholly needless to say
that holidays have been destroyed.  As Mr. Belloc, who knows
much more history than you or I, recently pointed out in the
"Pall Mall Magazine," Shakespeare's title of "Twelfth Night:
or What You Will" simply meant that a winter carnival for everybody went on wildly till the twelfth night after Christmas.  Those of my readers who work for modern offices or factories might ask their employers for twelve days' holidays after Christmas.  And they might let me know the reply.
                              -G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Good Cheer for the New Year



Makes a change from Auld Lang Syne. . . .


Welcome, Yule



The youtube blurb attributes this wonderful tune to Sir Charles Parry but I thought I read that it is based on a medieval carol . . . or possibly two.  Once again, this was cited somewhere  and I copied the link but not the source.   It's not where I thought it was going to be so the h/t is going to have to be to unknown.


Thursday, December 29, 2016

More Christmas Music



Because I can't get enough Christmas music. . . .

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Christmas story in opus anglicanum

From the website of the Victoria and Albert Museum:

The Christmas season was a high-point of the medieval English calendar. Celebrations in medieval England took place over 12 days, from Christmas Eve (24 December) to Twelfth Night (5 January), and incorporated church rites (our word for Christmas comes from the Middle English 'Christ's Mass') and pagan winter solstice rituals. Houses were decorated with evergreens like ivy, mistletoe and holly, sumptuous banquets were held, and singing and dancing were important parts of the Christmas season. 
Christmas imagery appears throughout medieval art, and particularly on richly-worked and intricate opus anglicanum (Latin for 'English work'), one of the most important art forms of the period. These embroideries were often used to decorate church vestments (garments worn by the priest) and altar furnishings, and were important vehicles for storytelling. 

What follows are some beautiful examples of medieval English embroidered vestments and altar hangings.  Not the least of which you'll find about 1/3 of the way down the page -- at least on my browser anyway.  It shows one of the shepherds abiding in their fields and he's playing his one-droned bagpipe.  He appears to be playing it with one hand while the other hand rings a bell.   Just what a bagpipe doesn't need:  an even smaller range.

Worth a look even if -- unlikely as that may be -- you don't care for bagpipes.  But don't dawdle; I suspect the page comes down when the exhibition ends.  That's how those things usually work.

Opus Anglicanum page.


St Stephen's Day



St Stephen's Day in Ireland:
The 26th December is known as St Stephen's Day in Ireland. In Northern Ireland it's also known as Boxing Day. In most homes it is a sociable day, when visitors may call in to share some seasonal foods or liquid (usually alcoholic) refreshments. . . . . St Stephens is also the day when a purely Irish phenomenon can be witnessed: the tradition of Hunting the Wren. This is when the Wren Boys take to the streets in colourful costumes and masks, and noisily parade a dead wren on a decorated pole. It's a strange tradition and its origins are often debated. Some say it originated in Pagan times. Others from the Viking invasion. Most opt for a simplified religious reference: the betrayal by a wren of St Stephen who was hiding from the Romans who subsequently killed him for his Christian beliefs. Wren on tree branch This, then, gave the reason for hunting down the wren, and in olden days a bird was, indeed, captured and killed. The Wren Boys would then carry the dead bird on a pole from house to house and beg for money to bury the 'evil bird'. . . .
More here.


Christmas Day




This year, at last.  After an annual series (3 or 4?) of unfortunate Christmas dinner missteps, I finally got the gravy right.   Perhaps a little thick, but that can be remedied.

Christmas midnight Mass (midnight=7:00 p.m. in our case) was splendid.  Latin Gregorian propers and a Charpentier setting for the Ordinary.  Christmas Day itself was quiet.  Even our somewhat rumbustious neighbourhood hardly made a peep.  The children must have all gotten computer games from Santa rather than something that required being taken out of doors to race up and down on.  Or in.  Or with.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Trent in the News . . . sort of


Sure, it's not Vatican II.   But it still might have some sort of authority.

Ya think?.


A Little Advent Music

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

13 December -- St Edburga of Minster-in-Thanet

 St Edburga, as so many of the sainted Anglo-Saxon abbesses seemed to have been, was of royal birth.  She died on this day in 759.

There are a few other Edburgas who merit a write-up on the internet but there is a short life of this one here.  There are some propers apparently in the Anglican tradition here, though the author doesn't give his source.




Monday, December 12, 2016

12 December -- St Finnian of Clonard

 'The Master of the Saints of Ireland', Finnian is known as a great teacher - Ciarán of Clonmacnoise and Colmcille of Iona are among the many to have trained under him. They and others have taken seeds of knowledge from Finnian's monastery at Clonard, and planted them abroad with great success. As might be expected from such a renowned teacher, Finnian has invested much of his life in his own education. France and Britain have been formative training grounds for him, and have had a direct bearing on the values and culture of his foundation at Clonard. In itself, this is far from unusual, as schooling in foreign lands is the norm for early Christian teachers such as Finnian.

More here on one  of the more well-known of ancient Ireland's saints.  He's pretty much eclipsed in this country by Our Lady of Guadalupe's great feast on the 12th.  But he's still on the Irish calendar.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Vicar of Bray . . . once again



Yes, you've seen it here before.  The Vicar of Bray.  I can't help it.  As I read the church news I find myself humming it unbidden.

For in my Faith and Loyalty,
I never once shall Faulter.
And George my Lawful King shall be,
. . . except the Times shall alter.  
Different church, different times.  But moistened fingers still test the wind direction.

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St Andrew's Day

The 30th of November is the feast of St Andrew the Apostle, the patron of Scotland  -- and Russia, Prussia, somewhere in Greece, Amalfi in Italy and a lot of other places and things,  too.

A piece from a few years ago on St Andrew and Scotland.

And not least, the St Andrew Christmas Novena begins today.

From The Inn a couple of years ago:


It's not really to St Andrew; but it begins, depending upon which tradition you follow,  on his feast day or on the 1st Sunday of Advent which is the Sunday nearest his feast day.  This year that's the same thing. [Or it was 2 years ago.] And it's not really a novena which is supposed to last nine days.

But it's a beautiful prayer tradition for the season.  The prayer is this:

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.
The tradition is to pray it 15 times a day until Christmas.  There are many mentions of it on the web but no site goes very deeply, or indeed at all,  into its history.  Mrs Vidal says as much as anyone here. There's another mention here. [Or there was 2 years ago.] It seems that's as much as we're going to learn about it. My grandmother knew it and so as a good traditionalist, I've adopted it.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

21 November


Today is the feast of the Presentation of Our Lady in the temple.  The old Carmelite Liturgy of the Holy Sepulchre had a proper collect for the feast:

Beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis tribue nos, Domine, supplicantione tueri : ut, cuius venerabilem Præsentationem celebramus obsequiis, eius intercessionibus et meritis commendemur. Per Dominum nostrum. Amen. 
Grant us, O Lord, to be protected by the prayers of blessed Mary ever Virgin, that as we celebrate her venerable Presentation with humility we may be commended to Thee through her merits and prayers : through our Lord. Amen.

And yesterday, by the way, was Stir Up Sunday:   Excita, quæsumus, Domine, tuorum fidelium voluntates begins the Roman collect. . .or as the Prayer Book hath it: "Stir up, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the wills of Thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by Thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen". A suitable liturgical reminder on this, the Sunday next before Advent, to stir up the fruits that have been quietly fermenting and get cracking with those Christmas cakes.



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Friday, November 11, 2016

Veteran's Day - Armistice Day - Remembrance Day



I missed putting something up yesterday for the Marines' birthday on the 10th. So here's a little something for Veteran's Day today and a belated best-wishes to the Corps. 

This was a year or two ago at the Costa Mesa Highland Games (these days called Scots Fest  or Scottish Fest).  The pipes are the L.A. Scots playing with the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing Band.


For Armistice Day:

11 November 1918.
... the grim business of war itself went on as usual, right up to 11 a.m., and, at one or two points along the line, even beyond. Thus a captain commanding an English cavalry squadron which took the Belgian village of Erquelinnes wrote that morning:
"At 11.15 it was found necessary to end the days of a Hun machine-gunner on our front who would keep on shooting. The armistice was already in force, but there was no alternative. Perhaps his watch was wrong but he was probably the last German killed in the war—a most unlucky individual!" 
Elsewhere on the British front an officer commanding a battery of six-inch howitzers was killed at one minute past eleven—at which his second-in-command ordered the entire battery to go on firing for another hour against the silent German lines. 
But generally, any firing still going on ended on the last second of the tenth hour, sometimes with droll little ceremonies—as on the British front near Mons, where another and more fortunate German machine-gunner blazed off his last belt of ammunition during the last minute of the war and then, as the hour struck, stood up on his parapet, removed his steel helmet, bowed politely to what was now the ex-enemy opposite, and disappeared. 
The British division on whose front that little incident took place had lost, during that one final week of the war, two officers killed and twenty-six wounded, and among the other ranks one hundred and seventeen killed, six hundred and ninety-three wounded and sixty-one missing. Small wonder that its historian recorded 'no cheering and very little outward excitement' as peace came.
--Gordon Brook-Shepherd, from The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Te Deum Laudamus



It's not Hillary, thanks be to God.  Perhaps the arrival of the coming persecution can be delayed a bit.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Celtic Cross in the Forest

A one man project.  One can only imagine the work and planning involved in this cross in the forest which can only be seen from an airplane.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

St Ethelburga

October 11 is also the feast of St Ethelburga in our Ordinariate calendar.  The Matins reading is taken from the Venerable Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People.  The Clerk  of Oxford gives an extended version of the same reading here.

A sample:

When Ethelburga, the devout Mother of this God-fearing community, was herself about to be taken out of this world, one of the sisters whose name was Tortgyth saw a wonderful vision. This nun had lived for many years in the convent, humbly and sincerely striving to serve God, and had helped the Mother to maintain the regular observances by instructing and correcting the younger sisters. In order that her strength might be 'made perfect in weakness' as the Apostle says, she was suddenly attacked by a serious disease.  Under the good providence of our Redeemer, this caused her great distress for nine years, in order that any traces of sin that remained among her virtues through ignorance or neglect might be burned away in the fires of prolonged suffering. Leaving her cell one night at first light of dawn, this sister saw distinctly what appeared to be a human body wrapped in a shroud and shining more brightly than the sun. This was raised up and carried out of the house where the sisters used to sleep. She observed closely to see how this appearance of a shining body was being raised, and saw what appeared to be cords brighter than gold which drew it upwards until it entered the open heavens and she could see it no longer. When she thought about this vision, there remained no doubt in her mind that some member of the Community was shortly to die, and that her soul would be drawn up to heaven by her good deeds as though by golden cords. And so it proved not many days later, when God's beloved Ethelburga, the Mother of the Community, was set free from her bodily prison.  And none who knew her holy life can doubt that when she departed this life the gates of our heavenly home opened at her coming. 

On the Feast of the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary

From the encyclical Lux Veritatis  of Pope Pius XI:

From this it comes that we are all drawn to her in a powerful attraction, that we may confidently entrust to her all things that are ours --  namely  our joys, if we are gladdened; our troubles, if we are in anguish; our hopes, if we are striving to reach at length to better things.  From this it comes that if more difficult times fall upon the Church;  if faith fail because charity has grown cold; if private and public morals take a turn for the worse; if any danger be hanging over the Catholic body and civil society, we all take refuge with her imploring heavenly aid.  From this it comes lastly that in the supreme crisis of death, when no other hope is given, no other help, we lift up to  her  our tearful eyes and  our trembling hands praying  through her for pardon from her Son, and for eternal happiness in heaven.
Taken from the reading for Matins on this day in the En Calcat Abbey edition of the Office of Our Lady.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Simili modo . . .

And something else, related, but not the same:

I actually don’t think we’re at the end of the world (please forgive me, Jesus, if you’re coming tonight) but I honestly believe we’re at the end of an era.  Something is different this year, different than ever before. And it’s not just “God’s special club of weirdos” who sense this distant storm.  Anyone praying—moms, dads, priests, nuns—all have an ear to the rail of the future. But what awaits? What is coming? 
This was by Fr David Nix on the 1Peter5 site.  

And having read both pieces I found both mentioned on Dr Joseph Shaw's page here.

And that article is well-worth the read in its own right for courage in the days to come and an antidote against despair:

The work we can do in the Vineyard of the Lord is, for each of us, of negligible overall effect, in relation to the huge trends which I been noting. I rather think this is even true for Bishops, perhaps even for the Pope. A good Pope with good ideas applied with vigour would, of course, do good, but he won't necessarily change the course of history. I think of Pope Leo XIII, for example, or Pius IX, or St Pius X. These weren't just good Popes, they were men of great intelligence and education, acutely attuned to the problems of their day, who furthermore wielded considerable power with great energy, for a long term of office. One can hardly say that they lived in vain, but nor did they turn the tide. It is given to few human beings to do such a thing.

But:

 To avoid despair, I want to make two distinctions. The first is between our duty as Catholics and worldly success. Our duty as Catholics is to live in accordance with God's (and the Church's) law, and give witness to the Gospel according to our abilities and opportunities. It is not to convert X number of heathens, or be part of an expanding parish, or even to knock on a certain number of doors like the Jehovah's Witnesses. It can be very hard work doing what we are obliged to do, and it is made harder by all kinds of trends and developments, but it is not something which will ever become impossible. The task we have been given to do--to cooperate in our own salvation--is not only not impossible, but we are actually guaranteed the necessary graces, and told that this burden is light, this yoke easy, in the sense that with that grace we will be able to do it without regrets, with joy, knowing that life in God's friendship is preferable to life without God's friendship, regardless of the possible worldly disadvantages of the former over the latter. We aim make a success of our particular projects, but that success, at least by any tangible measure, is not necessary to the success of our lives as Catholics. 
The other distinction is between trends in the world and developments in the Church. It is possible that the governments of the world will adopt the most pernicious principles and remain wedded to them for centuries to come. That is not possible in the Church. Catholics and their allies can be comprehensively defeated in the political arena--and this has indeed often happened--but it is not possible that Christ will allow his bride to be taken from him.

Read on.

Rad Trads: Carrying On

A nice one from Patrick Archbold and The Remnant:

As most of us know, “Rad Trad” is meant as an insult, a way of separating Catholics and, let’s be honest, smearing a group of good Catholics who attempt to practice their faith in a way similar to how Catholics have always practiced it. They label them as judgmental, holier-than-thou, Pelagian, Promethean, haters of mercy and all the proof required is some comment by some guy in some com box somewhere that was over-the-top and rude. So, you are just like that guy. Just ‘cause. 
But I have seen something else, something else entirely. In my relatively short time in the traditionalist camp, I have seen the face of the most truly radical traditionalism, and it is something to behold. 
The rest is here.  Including one paragraph that pierces the heart.  Mine, anyway:

  And they mostly do it alone. That may be the most amazing part of this genuinely radical Catholicism. They know they are alone and that nobody is coming to rescue them. But they still do it. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

An Informal English Session



Several musicians gather round after the Morris dancing to play - melodeons, concertinas, fiddles, banjo and guitar. Great fun!! Filmed on an iPhone so not great video quality but you'll get the idea.

So says the description on the video's youtube page.  And it does,  indeed, look like great fun.  I love that sort of thing.  And so few opportunities hereabout.


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Monday, September 12, 2016

The All-Conquering Infantile

"In the past fifty years the average American teenager has usurped the roles traditionally assigned to the philosopher, sage, and priest.  Today we measure the good life by the standards of the infantile fantasies of the American adolescent.  More, we employ all the resources  of culture (advertising, of course; but politics and education as well) to ensure that no one escapes this mode of evaluation."
I harvested the above this morning from the all-knowing internet but forgot the attribution.  I believe it's from Roger Scruton, but maybe not.  If it's yours, let me know and you shall be credited properly.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

August 21 -- Our Lady of Knock

It was on this day in 1879 that Our Lady, St Joseph, and St John the Apostle appeared in the little village of Knock in County Mayo.  There's a good history of the apparitions here.  Alas, the article is 18 years old and the author's view of contemporary Irish Catholicism is no longer quite so accurate.

Here's what we said about Knock in years past:  2011 and 2015.  I tested a couple of the links therein and, mirabile dictu, they still worked.


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