Monday, December 29, 2008

29 December -- St Thomas of Canterbury

I wanted to say something about St Thomas on his feast day but I'm out of sources: I have nothing new that hasn't already been put up on The Inn in prior years.

So, re-runs it is.

I found this year's post rather interesting.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

It would be worth at least a ham sandwich and a cup of cofffee to me.

If he could do it.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Quem vidistis? Pastores, dicite; annuntiate nobis. Natum vidimus et choros angelorum collaudantes Dominum, alleluia

It's this year's Christmas piper. He's a little hard to find at this resolution, though. You can click on the picture to enlarge it. He's in the lower right corner of the largest scene, playing a drone-less pipe and gawking at the sky, the blowstem dropped from his mouth. The dancers he was probably playing for appear to have stopped in mid promenade at the sight of the angel.

Christmas Day

Christmas Mass for me today was High Mass at Santa Teresita Chapel in Duarte. This is the chapel for the hospital run by the Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart. The picture shows the creche after Mass, after most of the people had gone and the main lights were turned off. I hadn't planned on taking pictures so this was just done with the phone; it was a lovelier setting than the phone camera shows.

Alas, this was also our last traditional Mass at Santa Teresita. Apparently the sisters' Mass schedule has changed and in view of the other options for the ancient Gregorian Mass in the area, today's High Mass will be the last for this venue.

If you're in this Archdiocese, the Los Angeles Una Voce website does an excellent job of keeping us up to date on the various locations where the traditional rite is celebrated. You can always find the link on the blogroll to the left under the "Traditional Roman Rite" rubric or you can click here.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Thought from Our OCDS Community's Chaplain. . .

. . .a.k.a., "Spiritual Assistant" as the constitutions call him:

"Humility isn't thinking less of yourself. It's thinking of yourself less."

Where's Amnesty International When You Really Need Them?


Hmm. Possibly.

Now that I think about it, I haven't actually heard Mr Cartwright play.

36 Pipers Piping!!

Is SFU that big yet?

The 4th Week of Advent: "Now All is Fulfilled"

No new avenues remain to be explored in our preparation for Christmas during this fourth week of Advent, for the Church already has unfolded her entire Advent message. She has led us to the threshold of Christmas with the joyous cry, "Rejoice, for the Lord is near!", and more especially by the Ember Day observance. The liturgy has defined the picture of Christ the Savior as clearly as it can for the time. On this last Sunday, therefore, all the themes of Advent are re-echoed in one harmonious strain by our three Advent preachers. (This last week is usually cut short by the occurrence of Christmas and its succession of feasts.)

The Sunday Office begins with Vespers on Saturday. The antiphons convey our expectancy and intense desire for the Redeemer. The watchman in his tower gives the signal for the King's arrival: "Blow the trumpet in Sion, for the day of the Lord is near! Behold, He comes to save us, alleluia, alleluia." Eagerly we inquire, who is this King ? "Behold, He is coming whom all nations desire; and the house of the Lord will be filled with glory, alleluia." What will happen when He comes ? "The crooked will be made straight, and the rough places even. Come, Lord, and delay no longer, alleluia."

Already the procession which is to meet Him is forming: "The Lord is coming! Go out to meet Him and say: Now we have the great beginning, and Your kingdom will never end. You are the mighty God, the Ruler, the Prince of Peace, alleluia, alleluia." So far the direct object of our expectancy was the Redeemer's coming; now we lift our eyes to heaven and say: "Your almighty Word, Lord, will leap down out of your royal throne, alleluia." The Chapter with its concern over priestly duties recalls the ordinations of Ember Saturday.

From The Church's Year of Grace: Advent to Candlemas, -Fr Dr Pius Parsch
(The text is based upon the traditional liturgy.)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Tree Lights

Each year between 34-36 million Christmas trees are produced to cope with the holiday demand.

Electric tree lights were first used just 3 years after Thomas Edison had his first mass public demonstration of electric lights back in 1879. Thomas Edison's assistant, Edward Johnson, came up with the idea of electric lights for Christmas trees in 1882. His lights were a huge hit. It took quite a few years, however, before they would be made available to the general public.

In 1895 Ralph Morris, an American telephonist, invented the string of electric Christmas lights similar to the ones we use today. The actual strings of lights had already been manufactured for use in telephone switchboards. Morris looked at the tiny bulbs and had the idea of using them on his tree.

From "The Reporter" of Long Beach, the 19 December 2008 number. They don't appear to have a website so you're going to have to take this one on faith.

Jean Arthur TV-Movie Alert Service Bulletin

TCM: "You Can't Take it with You" -- TONIGHT! Saturday 20 December 2008, 5:00 p.m. PST (8:00 p.m. EST) Sorry for the short notice. The JATVMAS is humbly apologetic. Set the TiVo now before you forget.

The O Antiphons

We are in the final days of Advent and the "O" antiphons are being sung for the Magnificat at Vespers each evening until Christmas. In years past I have posted the texts and the chants (the dots, anyway) for the antiphons and a few comments. This year Recta Ratio and Fr Zuhlsdorf have outdone anything The Inn ever put up. Tom Fitzpatrick has posted not only the texts and some commentaries but a recording of the chants for each day. Go to here to Recta Ratio and scroll down to the 17 December post to begin. (The direct link to the beginning is here. But it only shows the one post so you'll have to go back to the top and scroll down anyway. Such are the vagaries of Blogspot.)

Fr Zuhlsdorf provides some additional useful commentary. Once again, it's probably easiest to go to the top of his page here and scroll down to the 17 December entry to begin. Or you could go here for the direct links to those posted so far.

The Quest Continues. . . .

For the Holy Grail, of course. It may be in Valencia. Or in a small chapel in Wales. Or. . . .

But the symposium that Zenit reports on here is inclined toward this one in the Cathedral in Valencia:

The congress was held Nov. 7-9 at the Catholic University of Valencia and was organized by the Archdiocese of Valencia, the cathedral’s metropolitan chapter, the Catholic University of Valencia, the Spanish Center for Sindonology, the Royal Brotherhood, and the Holy Chalice Confraternity.

Experts from several countries attended the congress. They gave presentations on the ways in which this relic has marked history and literature since its move from Rome to Spain by Lawrence the Martyr in the year 258, as held by tradition.

The body of existing data points to the Valencia grail as the most probable authentic chalice of Christ.

More here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

French Royalty

And in the Wall Street Journal. I should have thought they were more the republican type, with or without the capital R.

The front page article.

There's a short and moderately interesting video on the putative French king on the linked page. It's theoretically embeddable but Blogspot won't accept the tag so you'll have to go clicking away after it yourself.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More Papal Pipers

Eloise sent me a better picture of some papal zampognari from yesterday's papal audience. Herewith:

The sound does take some getting used to. Or maybe it's just the tunes. Perhaps they need to try "Miss Alice Robertson's Reel" or "The 10th H.L.I. Crossing the Rhine". That might be just the thing.

Paul Weyrich, R.I.P.

Politico reports that Paul Weyrich died this morning. The story doesn't mention it - surely some of the stories to come will - but Paul Weyrich practically invented the direct mail appeals that were the foundation of the early conservative political movement.

He was also an ordained deacon in the Melkite Byzantine Catholic Church. Eternal Memory.


From this morning's meditation book:

Our Lord is coming to us and we must await his arrival with a vigilant spirit. We should not be fearful, like people caught doing wrong. We should not be distracted like those who have placed their heart entirely in earthly goods. . . .

. . .This meeting with Our Lord will not come unexpectedly for the Christian who has been on watch. For him He will not come like a thief in the night. There will be no surprises, because there will already have been many meetings with Him each day; meetings in the Sacraments and in ordinary happenings of the day which have been full of love and friendship.

In Conversation with God, vol I, -Francis Fernandez

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Pipes

I have been reminded twice this week that this is the season for Italy's Christmas pipes. At Christmas time the zampognari come down from the hills - the Alps according to this morning's news broadcast from Vatican Radio - and play for the Romans.

And just a few days ago my e-friend Eloise sent me this shot of the zampognari at the Holy Father's weekly audience:

A little rooting around revealed several videos giving a sample of their playing. Here's one:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Net Neutrality

Net neutrality is buzzing about all over the web. Probably started the other day by this piece in the Wall Street Journal.

If Mickey$oft and friends manage to kill net neutrality, I can guarantee there isn't enough money in the sporran to give The Inn any sort of priority. The Inn will be at the bottom of every ISP's list of sites to send across the ether. Now that I think about it, it's a wonder this enterprise is allowed out on the net even with NN: Traditional Catholic, pro-life, Ron Paul fan, voter for prop 8. . . .and still not convinced that the designated hitter rule is good for baseball.

16 December -- Blessed Mary of the Angels, O.C.D.

Blessed Mary was a 17th century Discalced Carmelite nun.

From the 2d nocturn in the old Carmelite breviary:

Mary of the Angels was born in Turin of parents who were equally remarkable for their piety and for their noble blood. she was well grounded in the teachings of a Christian education, and from her earliest youth she gave promise of great and extraordinary things. Turning away from childish games, she used to hide herself in retired chambers, that she might give herself up more completely to prayer; and by constantly reading the deeds of holy men, she was so inflamed with the desire of a more austere life, that she even laid a plan with her brother to run away from their father's house and to betake themselves to a desert place. Even in her early years she drew such a love of suffering from meditating on the torments of Christ the Lord, that she set about making her body suffer by fastings, watchings, and every discomfort. When she was only six years old her strongest desire was to nourish herself with the Sacred Body of Christ; and as soon as she had gained her wish, the flames of divine love burst forth in her heart with greater violence than ever. She speedily saw the dangers to which innocence is exposed, and she determined to with draw under the shadow of the cloister, that she might keep the flower of chastity free from every stain. Her desire was granted, and she hastened promptly and joyfully to Saint Christina's monastery of barefooted Carmelite nuns, in Turin, where she received the holy habit.

When she had made her solemn vows to the Lord, she applied herself wholly to fulfilling them with the utmost fervor of which she was capable. She was rigid in the practice of poverty; she was a wonder of obedience; her chastity was so remarkable that her very conversation, as it seems to me, communicated the fragrance of this virtue in a wonderful way to those about her. Soon afterwards, however, her virtue underwent a long and severe trial, for by God's will she was deprived for six years of all the heavenly joy and light with which the minds of pious persons are usually filled and refreshed. Added to this, she was attached and harassed by many different temptations of the infernal enemy, thus enduring a life more bitter than any kind of physical pain. This great tempest of the mind was stilled at length by the divine mercy, and she was consoled so abundantly with heavenly joys that she seemed to be lifted out of herself as often as she thought of spoke of God. When, in spite of her reluctance, she was called upon again and again to rule over the monastery, she so discharged the duties of her office as to be the teacher and leader of all; of those who were entering on the path of religious perfection, as well as of those who were drawing near to its end. She was conspicuous for her matchless humility, for her singular love of God, for her never-failing practice of prayer, for her exact observance of every rule, and for the unwearied ardor with which she chastised herself. In this she seemed to recall Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, who was closely related to her on the mother's side, for he added the practice of extraordinary penance to the admirable innocence of his life.

In her zeal for the spread of the divine glory, she overcame every difficulty in order to found a monastery of her order at Montcalier. Although she was absent from them, she inspired the holy virgins who dwelt there with the esteem of every virtue, and fostered these virtues by her encouragement. Her charity for her neighbor made her grieve bitterly that there should be so many sinful men in danger of eternal death; and by constant prayer, together with voluntary sufferings, she strove to obtain from the divine mercy that they might return to the path of salvation, with the help of divine grace. She practiced a like charity towards the souls that are undergoing punishment in the cleansing fire, for by prayer and bodily sufferings she labored to shorten the time of suffering allotted to them, and to hasten their entrance into the happiness of Heaven. She showed a singular devotion towards the Blessed Virgn, Mother of God, and towards Saint Joseph, the spouse of the Blessed Virgin, and it was, in fact, through her prayers to them that her country was freed from the attacks and inroads of the enemy. Laden with divine favors, she became celebrated for the gift of prophecy, for the discernment of spirits, the reading of hearts, and even for miracles. She was at length seized with a mortal illness, during which she gave a noble example of Christian patience. Then, yearning for her heavenly espousals, she peacefully sank to rest in the sweet love of the Lord, on the sixteenth day of December, in the year one thousand seven hundred and seventeen. The belief in her holiness, which had gone on increasing, was greatly strengthened, after her holy death, by the frame of the miracles which God performed at her intercession, and which were noised abroad. These miracles were proved in due form, and the Supreme Pontiff [Blessed] Pius IX admitted her to the ranks of holy Virgins.

The text is taken from "Saints of Carmel", a volume first printed in 1896 and translated by "a devoted friend of Carmel". He or she also translated Bl Mary's collect:

O God! who hast made the Blessed Mary, Thy Virgin, to lead a life like unto that of the angels, grant to us, Thy servants; that following in her footsteps, we may overcome the desires of the flesh, and that we may be worthy to enjoy the companionship of the angels. Through our Lord. Amen.

Rem, facias, rem. . . .

Are there any courtrooms left in which he would get away with a quotation from Horace? I'm pretty sure it's verboten in this state. I remember someone being held in contempt a few years ago for using some simple "legal Latin" in court. I wonder if Bishop Trautman were ever a judge?

In any event, the gist of the bit above is that if you can acquire wealth ("stuff") honestly, all well and good. If not, get it any way you can. Not a very nice assumption to make about the character of the witness.

And, no, I am, alas, not an expert on Horace. Or even very adept at translating him. My own copies of his books are in English. That just happens to be one of the very few things I recognize from the original.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Friday the 13th. . . .

. . . .comes on a Saturday this month.

Don't walk under any black cats.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Our Lady of Loreto

According to the old Roman Martyrology, the Holy House of Loreto is commemorated today, i.e., "the translation of the holy house of Mary, the Mother of God, in which the Word was made flesh." The picture shows the shrine altar.

There's a nice little history of it here. There's one in the old Catholic Encyclopædia, too. But you'll have to look that one up yourself as it's another of grumpy old Herbert Thurston's jaundiced reviews.

The Other Indian Massacre. . . .

. . . .continues. And it has nothing to do with Islam.

Orissa: Hindu-Christian Conflict

Terror in Orissa

A dossier on the persecution from AsiaNews

A collection (through mid-September) of stories on the persecution of Christians

Another one

A Bailout to Support

The Parmigiano Crisis

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Happy Face Over L.A.

Venus, Jupiter, and the waxing moon seem to smile on Los Angeles. Heaven knows why.

You can go here and click on the picture for a larger view. This is almost, but not quite, the view from the Hollywood sign.

A New Carmelite Community

Brand new. So new, in fact that The Carmelite Sisters of the Transfiguration don't quite exist yet. But every community had to start somewhere.

Oremus pro devoto femineo sexu Ordinis Carmelitarum.

Monday, December 01, 2008


Note the elegant Advent Wreath in the left-hand column. Many thanks to The Curt Jester for the pre-Christmas gift.

Catching Up

The Inn missed marking St Andrew's Day this year. We were rather busy this Thanksgiving Day/Weekend. Thursday was, of course, The Day itself and for the first time in a very long time we had company for The Dinner. Very pleasant it was, too. Except for the gravy. As you may recall, I am the gravy chef. I tried a new method this year which required using the food processor. The brand new food processor. This was not entirely successful for reasons that reflect rather badly on the intelligence of your servant. But good company smoothed over even the gravy misfortune.

Friday was SWMBO's birthday. It was devoted, in a nutshell, to doing whatever she wanted. Saturday - the synaxis of the birthday, if you will - was spent reconnoitering the Los Angeles Jewelry Mart. The LAJM is not one store but a few square blocks full of jewelry stores, from little booths of 30 square feet or so to proper shops of a couple thousand square feet. Imagine a sort of Disneyland for adult women. Including the requisite dickering and bargaining, a complete investigation is an all-day project.

Saturday was also the feast of the Carmelite martyrs Blesseds Dionysius and Redemptus who were beheaded for the faith by Mohammedans. And C.S. Lewis and Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre shared a birthday on that date, too.

And yesterday was not only St Andrew's Day but the First Sunday of Advent. It's another excita, quæsumus collect day and we might have had another "stir up" Sunday to remind the procrastinators to get busy with their puddings:

Excita, quæsumus, Domine potentiam tuam et veni: ut ab imminentibus peccatorum nostrorum periculis, te mereamur protegente eripi, te liberante salvari: Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre in unitate Spiritu Sancti Deus, per ominia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

But it was not to be. The traditional rite is in Latin, and the pun doesn't work in Latin, does it. Although the Novus Ordo is indeed in English, Archbishop Bugnini thought he could do better than 2,000 years of Christian tradition and wrote his own collect which rabbits on about strengthening the will to do good. No possible way to elicit a pudding pun from that. And the old BCP won't help us this Sunday either. Archbishop Cranmer was of a similar mind to Archbishop Bugnini and tried to improve on the old Sarum rite's collects. He's all "casting away the works of darkness". A good idea, to be sure, but no help in scheduling puddings.