Tuesday, October 31, 2006

All Hallows

All you'll ever need to know about the holy day itself you can find on (or linked to at) Recta Ratio. There are several useful and entertaining posts; too many to link here. Instead, go to the main page. Find the first post for October 31, 2006 and work your way down to about last Friday. Great stuff on the history and traditions of the feast.

All Hallows' Eve

In honour of the day that's in it, the Long Beach Press Telegram reports that the LBFD's Fire Station #12 is haunted. No, no, not just for Halloween. A real haunting. It's been going on since 1990.

They did a front page article you can read here.

(If you dare.)

A Knee-Slapper from The Times

The Times does its level best to promote the fantasy land view of the world necessary to maintain its status as a leader amongst the respectable major media. In the news section, the editorials, the sports, even the classifieds. Oh, yes, the classifieds indeed. There is no job on earth which might be more suitable for one sex than for the other. Were Mother Times to carry an advertisement for lavatory attendants no despicable discrimination based upon sex would be permitted. On some mornings picking up the Times is like peering into Alice's looking-glass.

Sometimes it's bad enough to be nauseating. One has only to look at the egregioiusly sentimental series running ths week gushing about the efforts of some ghastly homosexual "couple" to acquire their own baby. It runs to several full pages in each issue with many pictures. If you really want to read it, I'm sure google will assist. I'd just as soon not link to it.

And then there are the occasional bits of terribly earnest politicking that isn't meant to look like politicking. This one appeared yesterday. I laughed for 5 minutes.

Nancy Pelosi the centrist in San Francisco.


Mao and Stalin are "centrists" in San Francisco.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Triple Bob Major

Change-ringing in New York. This article is in the Boston Globe but the church in question is Trinity Church on Wall Street in New York. Trinity has a new set of 12 bells and is introducing change ringing to Trinity Church -- and possibly to New York.

For more about change ringing, Dublin's Christ Church Cathedral has a website with several recordings of their change ringing. The main page is here; the main bell page is here; most of the recordings can be found here.

And the most enjoyable way to learn a good deal about change ringing is via Dorothy Sayers' The Nine Tailors. Highly recommended.

[Thanks to Serge for setting me off on this tintinabulatory excursion.]

Christ the King

His feast day was yesterday in the traditional Roman Rite. I didn't have a chance to put anything up on the day so the day after will have to do. In His honour here is a portion of the Blessed Cardinal Schuster's commentary on the feast:

The Messianic Kingdom is essentially the universal and glorious reign established by Christ for the glory of God and the salvation of the world. The Holy Scriptures are clear on this point, and whilst they describe with great reserve the character of the "Servant of Jahve wounded for our iniquities," they are eloquent in telling us of the glories of the King whose brow is crowned with many crowns, and who bears written on his royal mantle the title of Rex regum et Dominus dominantium.

The holy Sacrifice and the divine Office form the solemn daily tribute paid by the Church to Christ, who is both High-priest and King. The very feasts of the Liturgy such as the Epiphany, Easter and the Ascension are intended to glorify those mysteries in which Christ appears to us more especially under the figure of a King.
It is as a King that on the Epiphany he is sought by the Magi from the distant Eastern lands, and that he receives the firstfruits of the adoration soon to be rendered to him by all the powers of the earth.

At Easter he bends beneath his feet all the forces which are arrayed against him : curvat imperia, and opens the Messianic reign by triumphing over death and Satan. It is as King and supreme arbiter of the earth's destiny that Christ, heeding no temporal authority, sends his apostles to preach freely in every place Evangelium Regni. Data est mihi omnis potestas in caelo et in terra. Ite ergo ; docete omnes gentes, baptizantes eos. Lastly, on Ascension Day we contemplate him seated on the throne of the Godhead at the right hand of the Father, and we say in the words of the Creed: cujus regni non erit finis.

Nevertheless, in spite of the solemn affirmations of the Kingship of Christ contained in Scripture and in Holy Liturgy, for more than fifty years [volume V of the English translation, from which this text is taken, was published in 1930], a pernicious heresy has spread throughout the civilized world which some call liberalism and others " laicisme." This error has many aspects, but con­sists chiefly in the denial of the supremacy of God and the Church over Society and the State. The latter officially declares itself to be independent of any other authority (a free Church in a free State), when it does not go further and claim divine prerogatives requiring like Moloch of old the sacrifice of every other right both of the individual and the family. The State is the supreme expression of the absolute.

As in the past many liturgical feasts originated from the ardour with which the Faith of the Church opposed certain errors then in vogue, so now, too, the Apostolic See has considered that the most efficacious way of making the condemnation of "laicisme" widely known was that of instituting a solemn feast of the Messianic Kingship of Christ. This forms at once a protest and an act of reparation to atone for that idolatry of the State which has joined in a great conspiracy: reges terrae et principes . . . in unum, adversus Dominum et adversus Christum eius.

At first many different dates were proposed by liturgists: the Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany, the Ascension, the Octave of the feast of the Sacred Heart, but it seemed wiser not to join this feast to one already in existence but to give it a particular character of its own and a special place in the Missal. Finally the new festival was fixed on the Sunday preceding the feast of All Saints in order to connect it with the Office of November 1, and with the thoughts inspired by that collective feast of all the saints, the veneration of the Heavenly Jerusalem and the court of the King of Glory. It is fitting that the Liturgy, drawing near to the end of the cycle of Sundays after Pentecost, which represents the labours and struggles of earthly life, before turning her thoughts to the various choirs of the ecclesia primitivorum and the Heavenly City, should pay homage to him who is the cause and the end of that glory, and to whom the saints all offer their crowns and sing their joyful Alleluia.

This is the reason why in the Office of All Saints the first responsory of Matins describes the throne of the Omnipotent One, the hem of whose garment rests upon the holy temple in sign of sanctification. Vidi Dominum sedentem super solium excelsum et elevatum . . . et ea quae sub ipso erant replebant templum.

The Blessed Cardinal Schuster comments on most of the liturgical texts of feasts of the year. His explication of today's Gospel is especially pertinent:

The Gospel is taken from St John (xviii, 33-37) and contains the solemn declaration made by Christ before Pilate concerning the nature and origin of his kingdom. This kingdom does not depend upon the world: regnum meum non est hinc, but it comprehends the world. Jesus does not come to dethrone the sovereigns of the earth, and to take from them the domains over which they rule. He comes, rather, to give to human society the last and most perfect rule, and lays down in the Gospel the supreme laws of truth and justice to guide both rulers and subjects in the exercise of their mutual duties. God is the supernatural end of man. It is the obvious task of civilized society and of those who govern it to collaborate with the Church and to help her, always of course within the bounds of civil authority, to accomplish with grater security and ease her divine mission of enlightening, guiding, and governing souls, establishing in them the kingdom of Christ.

This supremacy of the Catholic Church and the Pope over nations and their monarchs formed part of the international law of Christan states in the Middle Ages. Therefore it happened more than once that the Popes deposed kings who were unworthy of their office and released their subjects from the oath of fidelity by which they were bound.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Our Lady Help of Mahometans?

Probably not. But it isn't Our Lady Help of Christians Church any more either. This old ethnic Polish church in Detroit has been sold to the Mahometans to become a mosque.

[ADDENDUM: A note in my inbox on 10/30 reminds me that: "It was 435 years ago, with the whole of Christendom under siege from the (Muslim) Ottoman Turks, that a Rosary Crusade was launched and Our Blessed Lady's all-powerful intercession was sought, under the title 'Help of Christians'". A symbolic reversal of Lepanto it seems.]

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Virtual Safari

Now this thing can really eat into your day. It's a webcam (wth sound!) at a watering hole at a game preserve in Africa. Lions, giraffes, zebras, and all sorts of wild life wander by. If that link doesn't work, try this one. (On my system, at least, the first one pulls up a free standing Windows Media Player and the second one is imbedded in a webpage.) Fascinating stuff.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Eye on the Universe

After being closed for almost 5 years for renovations the Griffith Observatory is opening again next week. Judging from the new website and the Times's special page it won't be the Observatory of your 7th grade field trip -- although the Foucault's Pendulum is still there. Caution: you could lose an hour on the websites alone.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Chesterton pointed out the bizarre inapplicability of some political labels a hundred years or so ago when he wrote rather sadly that all a Liberal ever wanted to liberate anyone from was his marriage vows and all a Conservative ever wanted to conserve was his bank balance. I suppose he meant the political parties of the time bearing those names. But it doesn't miss the mark by much our own American political factions.

I had a note the other day from an acquaintance who describes himself as a “progressive”. It occurred to me that we have here yet another political word that over the years has had all the meaning sucked out of it. Progressives don't really believe in progress any more. They used to believe in human perfectibility: eliminating poverty, disease, ignorance; increasingly efficient and benevolent government; a culture with ever higher values and standards; ever-increasing prosperity for all.

It's beside the point so far as this note is concerned whether any of that was ever achievable. But now even avowed progressives don't believe it. They don't like any sort of man-made development: no expanding suburbs, no nasty, smelly factories, no large farms. They hate science, except in the abstract and, of course, when it can be used as a club to beat the sorts of religion they don't like. They don't like complex, intricate or beautiful art. Anything that rises above the simplicity of a cube, a roomful of coloured balloons, a pink curtain across a ravine, or a comic book is elitist and beyond the pale.

Now, they may be right about some of that. I rather think they are. But all of that used to be called progress. And now progressives are against it.

My guess is that our contemporary progressives never really wanted to be “progressive” at all. But after some disastrous poll results the consensus became that “liberal” was an electoral non-starter. So progressive it is. At least for a while.

San Juan Capistrano, O.F.M. .

In the Pauline Rite this is the feast of St John of Capistran, the patron of the old California mission of San Juan Capistrano. He began is career as a lawyer but eventually acknowledged a religious vocation and became a Franciscan of the "Observant" reform.

The original of the illustration hangs in the basilica of the parish of San Juan Capistrano next door to the old mission. It shows St John in partial armour and a Franciscan habit of chain mail. That particular ensemble refers to his participation in a crusade against the Mahometans. The good old Catholic Encyclopædia puts it succinctly:

When the crusade was actually in operation John accompanied the famous Hunyady throughout the campaign: he was present at the battle of Belgrade, and led the left wing of the Christian army against the Turks.

The eponymous mission has a disappointing website here. Better you visit an old post of Meredith's on Basia Me. . . where you can find her own photographs of the mission. They're here.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

St Frideswide

Today is also the feast of St Frideswide on some local English calendars. She was the patroness of Oxford. There is a long relation of her legenda here and an historical analysis of it here.

The second nocturn as related in the Anglican Breviary contains a tale that makes her a sort of anti- St Valentine:

And to rid herself of her suitor's attentions, she invoked God's aide, who struck him with blindness, from which he recoverd only when he firmly resolved to leave the maiden in peace. Which story so frightened the men of England that for many years those with similar illicit passions avoided the shrine of Saint Frideswide, who died in the peace of God about the year 735, after having lived in retirement for a long time in a cell near the town of Thornburg.

The Carmelite Calendar - 19 October

Actually, he isn't in the Carmelite calendar; he's not even in the general Roman calendar any more. But the Franciscan St Peter of Alcántara was one of the first of St Teresa's supporters in the reform of Carmel. Most others saw another daft woman with unrealistic ideas. St Peter saw the inspiration of God. The old Catholic Encyclopædia gives the details of his life here. A little treatise of his on prayer can be found here.

The Carmelite Calendar - 19 October

Actually, he isn't in the Carmelite calendar; he's not even in the general Roman calendar any more. But the Franciscan St Peter of Alcántara was one of the first of St Teresa's supporters in the reform of Carmel. Most others saw another daft woman with unrealistic ideas. St Peter saw the inspiration of God. The old Catholic Encyclopædia gives the details of his life here. A little treatise of his on prayer can be found here.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Carmelite Calendar
15 October -- St Teresa of Jesus [of Avila]

Today is the feast of "the great" St Teresa, the foundress of the Discalced Carmelite Order. It is observed this year neither in the general calendar of the Roman Rite nor in the Pauline Rite being superseded by the Sunday liturgy. However, as it is the feast of the foundress and a solemnity in the Discalced Carmelite Order it is celebrated in all houses of the Order. The Austrian province of the O.C.D. provides this handy little page which summarizes her life and something of her doctrine. The good old Catholic Encyclopædia provides a "life" written by the great Carmelite historian, Fr Benedict Zimmerman which you can find here.

Here is the hymn for first vespers on her feast day. First is the Latin as it appeared in the old Roman Rite. Following is a translation by Fr Bede Edwards, O.C.D. and is used in the English version of the newer office. You'll note a different concluding verse replacing the doxology.

Regis superni nuntia,
Domum paternam deseris,
Terris, Teresa, barbaris
Christum datura aut sanguinem.

Sed te manet suavior
Mors, pœna poscit dulcior:
Divini amoris cuspide
In vulnus icta concides.

O caritatis victima!
Tu corda nostra concrema,
Tibique gentes creditas
Averni ab igne libera.

Sit laus Patri cum Filio
Et Spiritu Paraclito,
Tibique, sancta Trinitas,
Nunc, et per omne Sæculum.

Mild messenger of heaven's high King,
Forth from home's sheltering walls you set:
'Christ to the Pagan's land I'll bring
Or die a martyr!' - Ah, not yet.

A sweeter pain, a death more dear
Must win for you a wider fame;
No mortal hand's to wield the spear
That kindles your consuming flame.

Victim of God's unbounded love,
Let our hearts burn with like desire;
Lead all your retinue above
That none may taste eternal fire.

Jesu, celestial choirs adore You,
Bridgegroom of all virgins pure,
And wedding-songs unceasing pour
While endless ages shall endure.

[Te, sponse Iesu virginum,
beati, adorent ordines,
et nuptiali cantico
laudent per omne sæculum.]

A collect:

Exaudi nos, Deus, salutaris noster: ut, sicut de beatæ
Teresiæ Virgniis tuæ et Matris nostræ festivitate gaudemus;
ita cælestis eius doctrinæ pabulo nutriamur, et piæ devotionis
eerudiamur affectu. Per Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Graciously hear us, O God of our Salvation: that, like as we
do rejoice in the festival of Thy blessed Virgin and our Mother,
Saint Teresa; so we may be fed with the sustenance of her heavenly
doctrine. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

An Interview with Theodore Dalrymple

A quotation from a previous interview with Dr Dalrymple is in this blog's header. In this one he gives pertinent comments on Islam and the general decline of culture in the European west. The west's cultural immune deficiency makes it vulnerable to the Islamic virus. You'll find the interview here.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Caution: Obscene, racist, hateful, abusive speech and/or a personal attack follows

According to the Long Beach Press Telegram's com box moderator, anyway.

The other day the City Council in Long Beach resolved unanimously to support something it called "gay marriage". The Press Telegram duly reported and invited readers to comment. My friend David did so as follows:

"When will our city and state politicians stop trying to enshrine the myth of same sex marriage being a civil right (City Council supports gay marriage, Oct.11, p. A1)?

"It might only be a civil right if homosexuals could not change and therefore be unable to ever enter into a normal heterosexual marriage. Although difficult, they can will to change and do change. Hundreds have. Many of these are happily married to opposite sex spouses, and are procreating children. Even psychiatrist, Dr. Robert Spitzer, who played a pivotal role in removing homosexuality from the psychiatric manual of mental disorders because he thought homosexuality unchangeable, admits now that homosexuals can and do change their sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is shaped by psychological (family, peer, social) and perhaps biological influences at an early age, but can be changed. It is not a genetically caused condition that cannot be changed. Doubters should read the many research papers available on the website of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (www.narth.com)."

His comment didn't appear in the on-line version and he received this in return:

"Obscene language, racist comments, personal attacks, or abusive hate speech are not allowed on the comments. Violators are subject to a ban."

One was left wondering which parts had the obscene language, racist comments, personal attacks, and/or abusive hate speech.

Until this morning. They seem to have thought better of it and published an edited version. The parts edited out are shown above in italics.

One is appreciative of the need to edit for space. But it seems to me that the overall impact of the editing that was done to David's letter was to turn an informed comment into a personal opinion, in that all citations to authority were removed.

Still, I suppose it's better than being banned as obscene. Or is it citations to authority that are considered obscene at the PT?

Citations to authority = obscene at the PT
Extensive favourable coverage of the gay pride parade = not obscene at the PT

Editorial decisions at the PT remain one of the mysteries of the universe.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Lepanto -- 435 years and 3 days ago

A friend of mine sent me this over the weekend and I am only getting to it now. The Inn is not a great fan of Michael Novak so I probably wouldn't have seen this had Danny not sent it along. Recommended.

Vivat Hispania!
Domino Gloria!
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!

Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
(Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.)
And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
Up which a lean and foolish knight for ever rides in vain,
And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade....
(But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.)

The LaSorda Commercials

MLB has posted them on its website here. Even my wife who isn't a baseball fan at all enjoys them. They play well on Mickey$oft's Internet Exploder but Opera and Firefox require plug-ins that I haven't got time to hunt for.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Speaking of collapsing churches. . . .

The Franciscans of Marytown have something in common with the Archbishop of Canterbury: a collapsing church. According to the Chicago Tribune the ceiling of the ornate chapel at Marytown came down just before vespers the other day injuring four. The Marytown is one of the better religious houses in the contemporary church; anyone who has made the total consecration to Our Lady has probably used some of their materials. They really didn't need this; the ordinary maintenance of their facility has always been something of a strain. No wonder St Francis didn't want to own any property.

They have a website here.

Three Fewer Pipe Bands in the Army

"Brian Boru VIII, mascot of the Royal Irish Regiment"

The three home-service battalions of the RIR are being disbanded next year and so their pipe bands will be gone with them. The parade to mark the disbandment was held yesterday. The battalions in question are the lineal descendants of the old Ulster Defence Regiment so the grief here at The Inn will be perhaps something less than overwhelming. But still. A pipe band is a pipe band.

Crumbling Canterbury

According to the Daily Telegraph Canterbury Cathedral is literally falling apart. As the headline points out parts of it are held together with duct tape. I trust they can find the wealthy benefactors they're looking for. Surely saving the see church of St Theodore, St Edmund, St Anselm, and Cardinal Pole would be a good thing. (But what an analogy for the poor old Anglican Communion! "Held together with duct tape".)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

St Francis of Assisi

October 4th is the feast of St Francis in the traditional Roman calendar and in the Pauline calendar. The illustration above commemorates St Francis' missionary journey to the Sultan of Egypt. He preached the faith to the Sultan Melek-el-Kamil at risk of his life but the sultan was impressed with his visitor and listened to him with interest. It wasn't a successful "preaching" as we count those things but success in the eyes of God may be something quite different.

A Franciscan poem by John Banister Tabb, Confederate soldier, Anglican convert, and priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore:

Brother Ass and Saint Francis

It came to pass
That "Brother Ass"
(As he his Body named)
Unto the Saint
Thus made complaint:
"I am unjustly blamed.

"Whate'er I do,
Like Balaam you
Requite me with a blow.
As for offense
to recompense
An ignominious foe.

"God made us one,
And I have done
No wickedness alone:
Nor can I do
Apart, as you,
An evil all my own.

"If Passion stir,
'Tis you that spur
My frenzy to the goal;
Then be the blame
Where sits the shame,
Upon the goading soul.

"Should one or both
Be blind or loath
Our brotherhood to see,
Remember this,
You needs must miss
Or enter heaven through me."

To this complaint
The lowly Saint
In tears replied, "Alas,
If so it be,
God punish me
And bless thee, Brother Ass."

"Violent Islam; Cowardly Europe: from the Cartoons to Regensburg"

That's the name of this essay by Samir Khalil Samir, S.J. The title gives you the jist of it. A sermon to Europe from a non-European.

The Playoffs

The Angels didn't make it. Although, unaccountably the haphazardly stuck together Dodgers did. The frankenteam. (And who, at the time of writing, are leading the Mets 1-0.) This is a post season with lots of personal interest. The Cards have Eckstein at short and Bengie Molina behind the plate. One can almost squint and pretend the Angels made it after all. And the Padres have Mike Piazza catching, he who played so well for the Dodgers before their Babylonian captivity. And the Yankees. Well. It's just as interesting for the anti-fans as for the fans.

God as Logos; Allah as Will

Zenit has a pertinent piece today, an interview with Fr James Schall, S.J., philosopher, political scientist, professor, Chestertonian, and prolific essayist.

The Holy Father posed the fundamental question that lies behind all the discussion about war and terror. If God is Logos, it means that a norm of reason follows from what God is. Things are, because they have natures and are intended to be the way they are because God is what he is: He has his own inner order.

If God is not Logos but "Will," as most Muslim thinkers hold Allah to be, it means that, for them, Logos places a "limit" on Allah. He cannot do everything because he cannot do both evil and good. He cannot do contradictories.

Thus, if we want to "worship" Allah, it means we must be able to make what is evil good or what is good evil. That is, we can do whatever is said to be the "will" of Allah, even if it means doing violence as if it were "reasonable."

Otherwise, we would "limit" the "power" of Allah. This is what the Pope meant about making violence "reasonable." This different conception of the Godhead constitutes the essential difference between Christianity and Islam, both in their concept of worship and of science.

Read the rest here.

"Embarrassing, maudlin, and sentimental dirges"

You've already read the article since Hilary, Karen and a few others have cited it recently. But in a fit of me-tooism which I cannot resist, here it is again. It's this ubiquitous musical rubbish that keeps me away from some otherwise reasonably sane Catholic parishes. One is in no fit state to receive Holy Communion when all one can think about is throttling the nice lady with the jackhammer vibrato. Or the honky-tonk piano player.

TRONA - 15 Mi

-a legendary highway signpost near Trona, California

Trona made the front page of the Times this morning. I've never been there (good thing, too, judging from the article) but I won't forget it soon. Many years ago the Times used to run a contest based on California place names. You could win lebenty-leben gillion dollars, more or less. I did very well one year but near the end it was "Trona" that flummoxed me.

You can read all about Trona here. If they ever run the contest again, you'll be a step ahead of everyone else. "You've heard of 'the middle of nowhere'? Well, this is the middle of that."

It Does Work

Now that I have proved to myself that I can post here from my pda, I can't think of a single reason to actually do so. I am a very fast touch-typist and sustained use of the type-with-your-thumbs method would drive me completely round the twist.

But it's nice to know it can be done. Maybe some day when I'm on assignment in "the field". . . .

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Will it work?

This is a test. . . .can I post from a pda? The miniature software doesn't allow me to use html enhancements like boldface but otherwise it looks as though it will work.

St Therese Again

It's St Therese's feast day again today if you follow the traditional calendar. I think she would have preferred to be honoured on the third rather than the first. French patriot that she was, I can't see her wanting to eclipse St Remigius, the Apostle of the Gauls, who baptized Clovis and inaugurated the French Catholic monarchy.

There is a mountain of information on St Therese on the web. There are several editions of her autobiography for sale; the original English version of the French edited by her sister, can be found for free here. ICS has a translation of her original text without the helpful emendations her sister made to preserve the family's privacy. TAN has several works by and about her. And there is much on the web about her life.

The Inn will settle for a few pictures:

Therese's father, Louis Martin

Therese's mother, Zelie Guerin Martin

Les Buissonet, Therese's home in Lisieux

Her dog, "Tom", her "faithful walking companion"

Therese at 15, with her hair up so as to appear older to the bishop who might then give her permission to enter Carmel

Sr Therese in Carmel

Who Knew that Islam would be in the News for Years on End at the Beginning of the 21st Century?

Well, Hilaire Belloc for a start. But not I nor anyone else that I knew or read 20 years ago. And yet here we are. All the "Timeses" have much on it today as, it seems they do every day now.

A sampling:

This morning's New York Times comments here on the volatile situation in officially secular but realistically thoroughly Islamic Turkey as it awaits the Pope's visit.

The Times of London reports here on a plane hijacking protesting the Holy Father's visit to Turkey.

And our beloved Mother Times* of Los Angeles reports here that villages and towns all over Spain are toning down their annual liberation celebrations. The "liberation" in question was from the yoke of the M-h-mm-d-ns and Somebody might be offended.

*ADDENDUM: "Mother Times"? What does he mean by that? I hear you ask. Simply explained: Very old private joke now revealed to the public for the first time. Many, many years ago a friend and I (which friend, like your servant, was also in danger of falling off the right edge of the earth) happened by chance to notice a remakable, but no doubt co-incidental, convergence of topics and treatments in that day's Los Angeles Times' stories and those in the old socialist magazine Mother Jones. For a few of us, the daily rag has been "Mother Times" ever since. No corporate or other connection that I know of, but my they do (still!) think the same thoughts. MJ has a website now. It's here. It still reads like The Times to me.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Carmelite Calendar -- 1 October

A fresco at Sta Teresita Chapel where the Indult Mass is celebrated in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on the 2d Sunday of the month.

Today is the feast of St Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face in the Pauline Rite. (Or it would be if it weren't Sunday.) A nice internal site at EWTN dedicated to St Therese can be found here. And now I'm off to Mass. If it's the first Sunday, it must be San Pedro.


from "St Therese of Lisieux By Those Who Knew Her" by Christopher O'Mahony. Testimonies from the process for her beatification.

A few excerpts from the testimony of Sr Teresa of St Augustine:

I knew the Servant of God from the time she entered in 1888 till her death in 1897. During that time I lived close to her, and enjoyed a certain amount of intimacy with her. . . .

. . . .Her greatest pleasure was Holy Communion. She was prepared to suffer a lot rather than be deprived of it. All the sisters who lived with her knew that during the last years of her life, when her health was already broken, she used to get up for morning Mass after sleepless nights in pain, even during the worst cold of winter. It pained her deeply to be deprived of daily Communion, which was not customary in our convent at the time. . . .

. . . .Her trust in Providence was unwavering. People used to talk about the persecution of religion, and the consequences this could have for our convent, exile even. "What do you think about it?" I asked her. "I am prepared to go to the other end of the world in order to continue my religous life." she said, "but I'm like a baby: I just let things happen; I will go wherever God wants me to." And during her last illness: "How unhappy I would be now if I were not wholly in God's hands! One day the doctor says I'm finished, the next I'm better. This continual change could be wearisome, but it does not affect my peace of soul; I just take things as they come." When I told her I was worried about how much she was suffering: "Oh! Don't worry about that; God will not give me more than I can bear.". . . .

. . . .She once told me something in confidence, which rather mystified me. "If you only knew what darkness I am plunged into!" she said. "I don't believe in eternal life; I think that after this life there is nothing. Everything has disappeared on me, and I am left with love alone." She spoke of this state of soul as a temptation; yet she seemed always so calm and serene.

Virtue seemed to come so naturally to her that people thought she was inundated with consolations. I heard one sister say: "Sister Therese gets no merit for practising virute; she has never had to struggle for it." I wanted to know from herself if there was any truth in this, so , availing of my intimacy with her, I asked her if she had had to struggle during her religious life. This was two months before she died. "Oh!" she replied, "but didn't I though! I didn't have an easy temperament. It might not have looked like that, but I felt it. I can assure you that not a day has passed without its quota of suffering, not one!" It was above all during her last illness that we were able to admire her courage in the face of suffering. Fearing that her pain would get even worse, I told her that I would ask God to give her some relief. "No, no," she exclaimed, "He must be allowed to do as He pleases." . . . .

. . . .I have never heard that Sister Therese experienced any extraordinary phenomena during her lifetime. . . .

. . . .I have heard different opinions expressed about the Servant of God in this convent during her lifetime. The nuns who knew her best, especially her novices, admired her for her outstanding virtue. She passed unnoticed as far as others were concerned; chiefly I think because of her simplicity. There were some who viewed her unfavourably. Some of these accused her of being cold and proud. As far as I can judge, that was because she did not speak much, and remained recollected and reserved. It may be, too, that the presence of four sisters in the same community aroused some sparks of opposition and jealousy. But I can assure that that since her death, those of her critics who are still alive have completely changed their opinion of her.