Friday, December 30, 2011

A Prophecy on Prophets

From time to time, as we all know, a sect appears in our midst announcing that the world will very soon come to an end. Generally, by some slight confusion or miscalculation, it is the sect that comes to an end.
-GK Chesterton, via the G. K. Chesterton twitter feed at @G_K_Chesterton

It's Supposed to be a Novena. . . .

. . . .but, as usual, I'm a bit late posting it here at The Inn. So we're reduced to praying a triduum.

But if you click here you'll find a prayer in honour of St Thomas Becket, a.k.a., St Thomas of Canterbury, that God will provide for the new Catholic Anglican Ordinariate in America.

Mayans in Georgia

I knew about the Vikings who may or may not have toured Wisconsin a thousand years or so ago. But Mayans in Georgia: that's brand new.

Mrs Vidal has the jist of the story here with links. Apparently, this one involves reputable archæologists.

I wonder: did the Georgian Mayans bring their calendar with them?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

For Ziggy

Enjoy the day. . . .

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Barbarian

We sit by and watch the Barbarian, we tolerate him; in the long stretches of peace we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence, his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creeds refreshes us; we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond: and on these faces there is no smile.
-Short Talks with the Dead, Hilaire Belloc (1926)

Catholic men who live upon wine -- can get it blessed today.

Today is wine blessing day.

The particulars.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

In the Bleak Midwinter. . . .

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But only His mother, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

Says the YouTube :
"The choir of Kings College Chapel, Cambridge sing the lovely Christmas carol, In The Bleak Midwinter. The wonderful words of Christina Georgina Rossetti are sung to a beautiful setting by Gustav Holst.".

H/t to The Pittsford Perennialist.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Christmas Truce

From the film Joyeux Noel the World War I Christmas truce of 1914.

Some Piping for the Weekend

The Duncan MacCall Pipe Band

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve

Well, we don't really have a church of our own to decorate as these folks are doing. Some day. Soon we hope; I'm not getting any younger. But we have made our Christmas confession and are ready to travel. So this year it will probably be the traditional Mass at St Mary by the Sea in the OC or maybe St Therese in Alhambra, with much better music but rather too late in the afternoon. (If you're looking for a traditional Mass somewhere in the southern California area, here is most of what's available. For some reason it doesn't mention the Orange Diocese's early Mass at the Polish Center. You can find that information here.)

Here at the ancestral manse things are pretty much as decorated as they're going to get. We are still (still!) waiting for the final work on the floors to be done. So not much has been put up, as we don't know when we'll have to take it all down again. Otherwise, the turkey is in the fridge, along with the traditional fixin's, a few bottles of beer, a couple of wine, and one of sherry, which wasn't quite what I was looking for but it's all they had and I was in a hurry. After some searching, there is also a mince pie for dessert.

A very Merry Christmas tide to all who have visited The Inn this year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hot Off The Press. . . .

Well, not hot, precisely. It is a monthly after all and it has been out for a couple of weeks now. But. . .

Our little clutch of Catholic Anglicans has made the Orange County Catholic, the monthly newspaper of the diocese of Orange, California. A nice half page article appears on page 14 of the December issue. If your copy has been delayed in the Christmas rush, you can find the article on-line here in pdf format.

A couple of minor inaccuracies, but we're pretty pleased.

An Advent Hymn and a little about St Marianus Scotus, the Chronicler

The hymn is a translation of Veni Redemptor Gentium, which Pope Paul's Liturgia Horarum, prescribes as the proper hymn for the Officium Lectionum of the last nine days of Advent.

Not only is it Thursday in the 4th week of Advent, but it's the feast day of the 11th century Irish saint, Marianus Scotus, the Chronicler. Marianus took that name in Germany. His name in Irish was Maelbrigte, meaning the One devoted to St Brigid. The good old Catholic Encyclopædia gives his intellectual history here. His title "The Chronicler" comes from his principal remaining work, which is a history of the world, year-by-year, from creation down to the present. The present, in this instance, being anno domini 1082. Mrs D'Arcy's The Saints of Ireland spends more time on his religious history, which like so many of the Irish saints of the time involved wandering far from home and extraordinary penances. St Marianus's journey included entering the monastery at Fulda in Germany and being ordained at Würzburg near the tomb of that other great Irish missionary to Germany, St Killian.

"Marianus's habitation at Fulda", says Mrs D'Arcy, "was a little cell, twelve by twelve, his schedule a life of prayer, penance, study and writing, walled off from the world but with access to his books. Every day for ten years he offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass over the tomb of his countryman, Anmchadh from Iniscaltra."

When his abbot, Sigfried, was made Archbishop of Mainz, he took Marianus with him and it was in Mainz that his Chronicle was written. St Marianus died in 1082.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Advent - the Fourth Week

This version of “O Come O Come Emmanuel” was set by Fr. James J. Moore, O.P. of the Western Dominican Province and sung by the Schola Cantorum of the Dominican House of Studies.

Discovered this afternoon here, at the bog of The Dominican Province of St Joseph.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Hymn

O God of earth and altar,
Bow down and hear our cry,
Our earthly rulers falter,
Our people drift and die;
The walls of gold entomb us,
The swords of scorn divide,
Take not thy thunder from us,
But take away our pride.

From all that terror teaches,
From lies of tongue and pen,
From all the easy speeches
That comfort cruel men,
For sale and profanation
Of honour and the sword,
From sleep and from damnation,
Deliver us, good Lord.

Tie in a living tether
The prince and priest and thrall,
Bind all our lives together,
Smite us and save us all;
In ire and exultation
Aflame with faith, and free,
Lift up a living nation,
A single sword to thee.

-GK Chesterton (1907)

Some Piping for the Weekend

We're off to our last SCD class for the year in a little while. This will be the Christmas party and I'll bring along the smallpipes, the playing of which will only resemble Allan MacDonald's aspirationally. We will both be in tune; after that. . . . .

Yes, the clip does cut off before the tune ends. Very annoying, but well worth the listen up to that point.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Magnificat during Solemn Vespers

I was rooting around YouTube looking for something Advent-ish, maybe even from Gaudete Sunday, which was last Sunday and which I missed mentioning altogether. I ran into this instead. It's been posted here and there on several sites that I visit regularly so you've probably seen it before,too. But it's lovely and worth a re-post.

Here's what the original poster had to say about it:

Fr. Lang and Dr. Laurence Hemming assist in the Incensation of the Altar at the Magnificat in the Solemn Vespers of the Exultation of the Cross. Merton College Chapel, Oxford University. CIEL 2006 Conference.

It brings back good memories of solemn vespers each Sunday when I was at school.

As for Advent and Gaudete Sunday there are all sorts of good things. But I rather liked this one, just called Gaudete but which isn't really about Gaudete Sunday. I first heard it on a recording Steeleye Span did waaaay back in the last century. They had a wonderful, strong bass line. . .even I could find the note to sing along. I still have that recording around here somewhere. The video below is a more refined version and still a joy to listen to.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

St Fingar

There is also a 5th century Irish saint commemorated today, although his commmemoration seems to be limited to Cornwall and Brittany.

Herewith Mrs D'Arcy's summary of his life:

Fingar, a prince of Connaught and one of Patrick's converts, is described as a pilgrim saint who went first to Armorica (northwestern France) where he is commemorated at Vannes in Brittany. Soon after landing at the mouth of the Hayle in Cornwall, he and his sister Piala and a number of companions were put to death. They are named in the British Martyrology.

St John of the Cross

Today is the feast of St John of the Cross - Patris nostri, confessoris, atque Ecclesiæ Doctoris - in the Carmelite Order. He is considered one of the co-founders of the Discalced Carmelite Order.

There is a short collection of essays and articles here on St John that has much of interest. Did you know that he was apprenticed as a carpenter and stone-mason? He kept in practice throughout his monastic career and "spent more time building monasteries for the friars, and helping the nuns set up a wall here or a room there, than he did writing books. He spent more hours serving the poor souls who came to him than he did in the library."

The old Catholic Encyclopædia, as usual, has a fine life of St John here.

The old Matins hymn for his feast:

O John, rejoice this hallowed day
The triumpoh of the Cross to hail,
Whereon with Christ 'twas thine to stay,
Transfixed with pang of spear and nail!

Nor insults, scorn, nor cruel scourge,
Bondage, nor hunger can restrain
The love thy panting soul doth urge
To taste the bitter draught of pain.

Thine only joy, thy sole reward,
The boon for which thy spirit sighed,
To mirror here thy suffering Lord,
Like Him in anguish crucified.

While thou dost search the mystic night,
Through darkness gleams a radiant star,
And Carmel's camp is all alight,
With flame that leads to heights afar.

Let them that dwell in bliss above
Praise Thee, O Christ, with joyful lay,
Let them that run to Thee in love
Pursue, like John, the thorn-strewn way.
[-from Saints of Carmel: Proper Offices of the Saints Granted to the Barefooted Carmelites, Boston, 1896]

And the collect for his feast:

Deus, qui sanctum Ioannem Confessorem tuum atque Doctorem, Patrem nostrum, perfectæ sui abnegationis, et crucis amatorem eximium effecisti: concede; ut, eius imitationi iugiter inhærentes, gloriam assequamur æternam. Per Dominum nostrum. Amen.

O God, who didst give to blessed John, thy Confessor and Doctor, grace to shew forth a singular love of perfect self-denial and of bearing thy Cross: grant, we beseech thee; that we, cleaving stedfastly to his pattern, may attain to everlasting glory. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Note to Pipers

Nobody seems to mention it when lists are being made of Christmas tunes that fit the pipe scale, but "God Rest Ye Merry" fits a treat on the pipes -- no re-arranging needed. Play it in B and see what you think.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Some Piping for the Weekend

Three friends on the Northumbrian small pipes play a few tunes after dinner. Don't know the tunes and YouTube doesn't say either.

Duly Chastised

I have been remonstrated with this very afternoon for neglecting The Inn. And so I have been.

We are still in house-renewal mode. I tried my best to convince Herself how wonderful bare wood flooring is. And in particular the distressed wood look: think 18th century Irish country house. I overshot the mark. She used to live in an 18th century Irish country house and was freezing cold most of the time. So we've had people in to choose rugs and area carpeting which will be "warmer". (Yes, I know this is southern California. But we still apparently want "warmer".) Some of the wood will, indeed, show so we've also had people in to sand and clean and varnish the bits that will be on display. Which bits will actually be on display have changed since the first exercize in wood prep, so more people will soon be in to sand and clean and varnish again. Then more people to actually intall the rugs and carpets.

To fill in the time between people coming in to mess about with the floors, we've been trying to put things back where they belong in the places where they won't have to be moved again. This takes longer - a lot longer - than dumping them in boxes and hauling them out to the garage and the patio, which we did oh, so very long ago. (Was it only last summer? It seems longer.)

And for the first time in almost four decades I am again in a choir. SATB this time and not TTBB so I can't rest comfortably in my gentleman's baritone range. I'm happier pretending to be a bass even though I can't reach as far down into the cellar as is ideal but once in a while I get to pretend to be a tenor, and it's a pretty squeaky tenor without much in the way of harmonics. But it's been great fun and we've been practicing quite a lot for Christmas and the lessons and carols.

So that's where the time's gone. (I probably should also have been practicing the pipes. That, alas, didn't happen. And now I have some Christmas stuff to play for and the Christmas carols are, ahem, not quite as smooth as I would like. And speaking of Christmas, I have to get ready for the RSCDS-OC's Christmas ball in one hour and five minutes.)