Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Bastille Day +1

I missed the actual day, which was yesterday.   But to continue with The Inn's traditional habits of (a) mentioning Bastille Day and (b) being a day late and a dollar short most of the time, herewith the late and much-missed Jerry Pournelle's annual comment on the . . . ahem . . . great day:

On July 14, 1789, the Paris mob aided by units of the National Guard stormed the Bastille Fortress which stood in what had been the Royal area of France before the Louvre and Tuilleries took over that function. The Bastille was a bit like the Tower of London, a fortress prison under direct control of the Monarchy. It was used to house unusual prisoners, all aristocrats, in rather comfortable durance. The garrison consisted of soldiers invalided out of service and some older soldiers who didn't want to retire; it was considered an honor to be posted there, and the garrison took turns acting as valets to the aristocratic prisoners kept there by Royal order (not convicted by any court).

On July 14, 1789, the prisoner population consisted of four forgers, three madmen, and another. The forgers were aristocrats and were locked away in the Bastille rather than be sentenced by the regular courts. The madmen were kept in the Bastille in preference to the asylums: they were unmanageable at home, and needed to be locked away. The servants/warders were bribed to treat them well. The Bastille was stormed; the garrison was slaughtered to a man, some being stamped to death; their heads were displayed on pikes; and the prisoners were freed. The forgers vanished into the general population. The madmen were sent to the general madhouse. The last person freed was a young man who had challenged the best swordsman in Paris to a duel, and who had been locked up at his father's insistence lest he be killed. This worthy joined the mob and took on the name of Citizen Egalite. He was active in revolutionary politics until Robespierre had him beheaded in The Terror.
Alas, I have long since lost the link to the proper page of Dr Pournelle's site.  And they've re-arranged it anyway.  I suspect a search of some kind could find it eventually.

As long as we're regretting ghastly revolutions  (you're not?  Oh, dear.  It's just me then I guess.), here is a good read in honour of the day that is, um, was in it.


Sunday, July 12, 2020

This Morning's Collect

GRANT, O Lord, we beseech thee: that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by thy governance; that thy Church may joyfully serve thee in all godly quietness; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Interesting how "our regularly scheduled" liturgical prayer is so often  -- you'll pardon the phrase -- relevant.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel

What's left of the novena anyway.  Since her feast day is on the 16th of July I should've posted this four or five days ago.

In any event, here is the text of a wonderful old set of prayers from the century before last. i.e., well before the meteor hit.  If you scroll down all nine days are there.


Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Have I Always Been This Forgetful?

Or is it my advanced state of antiquity? 

I'd answer but . . . I've forgotten.

In any event, something occurred to me this morning over my bacon and eggs that really must go in the blog.  And now this evening here I sit at my desk staring at the pc and for the life of me I can't remember what it was.  Not even the general topic.  Church and state?  Piping?  Choir?  RSCDS?  No idea.  I've drawn a complete blank.

Not even typing away almost at random as I'm doing now has helped.  It sometimes jogs the little grey cells into action.  Apparently not tonight.

Shall I press publish anyway even though this hardly counts as content?  Oh, why not.  It'll prove I'm still alive in the unlikely event anyone was wondering.  Then off for a walk with the memsahib in the evening cool.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The 21st Century in One Sentence

From the psalter for this morning's Mattins:

They know not, neither do they understand, but walk on still in darkness: * all the foundations of the earth are out of course.   -Ps 82

Or so it seems to me from the evening propaganda news.   At least what little I can tolerate of it.

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Monday, June 08, 2020

And Why Not?

Found this on my Twitter feed via Mulier Fortis:

If there isn't a marked uptick in Corona infections in about 5-7 days time as a result of all the close contact demos, then surely lockdown should be halted with immediate effect.

Precisely so.  Even if, as Mulier herself posits, we need to wait the full 14 days.

(No link as my attempts to link to Twitter posts never come out right.  You could use the search feature and the post should be at or near the top.  For the moment, anyway.)


The First Post in June

From lightning and tempest, from earthquake, fire and flood; from plague, pestilence, and famine, --Good Lord, deliver us

From all sedition, privy conspiracy, and rebellion; from violence, battle, and murder; and from dying suddenly and unprepared, -- Good Lord, deliver us.

Thus sayeth the Litany in a burst of relevance.

Since last we posted we have continued going almost nowhere.  Almost.   Not locked down precisely.  Not like those poor Chinese folk last seen on the television news having the  police weld their doors shut. But careful.  Short constitutionals in the evening and the occasional quick trip to the shops that don't deliver.

And doctors' visits, to be sure.  Even some minor surgery, which made for a little change in the routine.  The wound didn't heal the way it was supposed to which provided yet more opportunities to get out and about, even if only to the doctor's office.  This was followed last Tuesday, new prescription in hand, by a search for a pharmacy that had neither been vandalized and looted nor closed just-in-case.  And a round about out of the way search at that so as to avoid a band of happy peaceful demonstrators, gleefully flinging the odd large metal object at police officers.  At least we got a drive 'round the city on a lovely sunny afternoon.

That's pretty much all the excitement lately.  At least all that I saw, although the television is full of it.  More to come, so they tell me.  Good Lord, deliver us.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

The Locked Down Dead

We made a little trip to All Souls cemetery this afternoon.   We were going to put a little flag on my mother's grave and say a few prayers.  It's Memorial Day on Monday.  You used to be able to get an indulgence for prayer and a cemetery visit but that may be just in the first week of November in these enlightened days.

In any event, we didn't.  It was closed.  The China virus, doncha know.

Whom, one wonders, do the powers that be think I was going to infect in a graveyard?  Or were they worried about us?  Do they think the dead are still blowing out virii through their coffin lids and six feet of earth?


Saturday, May 16, 2020

St Simon Stock

Today, 16 May, is the feast of St Simon Stock, one-time father general of the Carmelite Order and the one to whom  Our Lady gave the gave the Carmelite brown scapular.  The Inn has had something to say about St Simon most years and 2020 is not to be an exception.

This is a traditional look at St Simon's life as recounted by Fr Alban Butler in his classic lives of the saints.  It's been revised in recent years (and all the interesting stuff taken out, IMHO) but this is from the 1864 edition, which EWTN posted a few years ago.   I'd cite you to the page but it's either been moved -- or removed -- since The Inn first reposted it a dozen years ago  and I can't find the original posting any more. 

In any event, here's what The Inn reposted in 2008:

He was descended of a good family in Kent. From his infancy he turned all his thoughts and affections to attain to the most perfect love of God, and studied to devote all his moments to this glorious pursuit. In this earnest desire, in the twelfth year of his age, he retired into a wilderness, and chose for his dwelling a great hollow oak tree; whence the surname of Stock wee given him. While he here mortified his flesh with fasting and other severities, he nourished his soul with spiritual dainties in continual prayer. His drink was only water; and he never touched any other food but herbs, roots and wild apples. While he led this course of life, he was invited by a divine revelation to embrace the rule of certain religious men who were coming from Palestine into England. Albert, the holy patriarch of Jerusalem, having given a written rule to the Carmelite friars about the year 1205, some brothers of this order were soon after brought over from mount Carmel by John lord Vescy and Richard lord Gray of Codnor, when they returned from the Holy Land. These noblemen some time after settled them, the latter in the wood of Aylesford, near Rochester in Kent, the former in the forest of Holme, near Alnewick in Northumberland; which houses continued the two most famous convents of this order in England till their dissolution in the thirty-third year of the reign of Henry VIII. But we are assured by Bale, who before his apostacy was himself a friar of the English province of this order,1 and by Lambert2 and Weaver3 in their accurate descriptions of the Antiquities of Kent, that the first or most ancient convent of these friars in England was that at Newenden in Kent, which was founded for them by Sir Thomas Archer or Fitz-Archer, whose family flourished for many centuries upon that manor. The first arrival of these friars in England is placed in the annals of the order, quoted by F. Cosmas de Villiers,4 in 1212. Simon, who had then lived a recluse twenty years, imitating the Macariuses and Arseniuses in the most heroic practices of penance and contemplation, was much affected with the devotion of these servants of God to the blessed Virgin, their edifying deportment, and their eremitical austere institute, and joined their holy company before the end of the year 1212. After his admission he was sent to Oxford to finish his studies; and having run through his academical course he returned to his convent, where so bright was the example of his piety, that the virtue of the rest seemed to suffer an eclipse by the extraordinary lustre of his sanctity. Such was his reputation, that in 1215 Brocard, prior of mount Carmel, and general of the order, appointed him vicar-general, with full power over all the western provinces. Many clamors being raised against this institute, St. Simon repaired to Rome in 1226, and obtained from pope Honorius III. a confirmation of the rule given to this order by Albertus; and another from Gregory IX. in 1229. Some years after, St. Simon paid a visit to his brethren on mount Carmel, and remained six years in Palestine, where, in 1237, he assisted at the general chapter of the order held by Alanus the fifth general. In this assembly it was decreed, that the greatest part of the brethren should pass into Europe, their settlements in the east being continually disturbed by the persecutions, oppressions, or threats of the Saracens. In 1240 many were sent to England, and in 1244, Alanus himself, with St. Simon, having nominated Hilarion his vicar on mount Carmel, and in Palestine, followed them thither, there being already five monasteries of the order erected in this island. 

In a general chapter held at Aylesford in 1245, Alanus resigning his dignity, St. Simon was chosen the sixth general, and in the same year procured a new confirmation of the rule by pope Innocent IV., who at the saint's request received this order under the special protection of the Holy See, in 1251. St. Simon established houses in most parts of Europe; but this institute flourished nowhere with so great splendor and edification as in England, and continued so to do for several ages, as the annals of the order take notice. St. Simon, soon after he was promoted to the dignity of general, instituted the confraternity of the Scapular, to unite the devout clients of the Blessed Virgin in certain regular exercises of religion and piety. Several Carmelite writers assure us that he was admonished by the Mother of God in a vision, with which he was favored on the 16th of July, to establish this devotion." This confraternity has been approved, and favored with many privileges by several popes.5 The rules prescribe, without any obligation or precept, that the members wear a little scapular, at least secretly, as the symbol of the order, and that they recite every day the office of our Lady, or the office of the church; or, if they cannot read, seven times the Pater, Ave, and Gloria Patri, in lieu of the seven canonical hours; and lastly, that they abstain from flesh-meat on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays; or if this cannot be done, that they double for each of these days the seven Paters, &c. St. Simon cured several sick persons by giving them the scapular; the reputation of which miracles moved Edward I., king of England, St. Louis of France, and many others, to enrol their names in this confraternity. 

St. Simon governed the order with great sanctity and prudence during twenty years, and propagated it exceedingly from England over all Europe being himself famous for his eminent virtue, and a great gift of miracles and prophecy. He wrote several hymns and decrees for his order, and several other useful things for its service, says Leland. At length, in the hundredth year of his age, having a call to France, he sailed to Bordeaux, where God put an end to his labors some months after his arrival, in 1265, on the 16th of July. He was buried in the cathedral of that city, and was honored among the saints soon after his death. Pope Nicholas III. granted an office to be celebrated in his honor at Bordeaux on the 16th of May, which Paul V. extended to the whole order. See his authentic life, written soon after his death, also Stevens's Monast. Angelic. t. 2, pp. 159, 160; Leland, de Script. Brit. t. 2, c. 277, p. 294; Papebroke, t. 3, Maij, p. 653; Newcourt's Repertorium, (on the Carmelite friars,) vol. 1, p. 566; Weaver, p. 139; Fuller, b. 6, p. 271; Dugdale's Warwickshire, p. 186, ed. 1730; F. Cosmas de Villiers a S. Philippo, Bibl. Carmel. t. 2, p. 750. 
1 Bale, Cent. xii. 20
2 P.139.
3 P.139.
4 Bibliotheca Carmelitana, ed. Anno 1752, t. 2, p. 750.
5 See the bulls of Pius V., Clement VIII., Paul V., Clement X., &c. 

(Taken from Vol. V of "The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints" by the Rev. Alban Butler, the 1864 edition published by D. & J. Sadlier, & Company)

St Simon Stock is credited with the composition of the beautiful Flos Carmeli.   Here is an English version from a Calced Carmelite source:

Flower of Carmel, tall vine blosson laden;
Splendour of heaven. Child bearing, yet maiden.
None equals thee. 
Mother so tender, whom no man didst know.
On Carmel's children. Thy favours bestow.
Star of the Sea. 
Strong stem of Jesse. Who bore one bright flower.
Be ever near us. And guard us each hour:
Who serve thee here. 
Purest of lilies, that flowers among thorns.
Bring help to true hearts that in weakness turn:
And trust in thee. 
Strongest of armour, we trust in thy might.
Under thy mantle, hard pressed in the fight.
We call to thee. 
Our way, uncertain, surrounded by foes.
Unfailing counsel thou givest to those -
Who turn to thee. 
O gentle Mother, who in Carmel reigns.
Share with thy servants. That gladness you gainedst.
And now enjoy. 
Hail, gate of heaven, with glory now crowned.
Bring us to safety, where thy Son is found.
True joy to see.

Thursday, May 07, 2020

An Anthem for the Lockéd Down

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Joy to Thee, O Queen of Heaven!

Our Lady's Easter antiphon, prayed until Trinity Sunday.  Sung here at All Saints, Margaret Street in London.

Joy to Thee, O Queen of Heaven! Alleluia
He Whom Thou was meet to bear, Alleluia
As He promised  hath arisen!  Alleluia
Pour for us to God Thy prayer!  Alleluia

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter Day

Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus! Exultemus et lætemur in ea!

A little more difficult to do this year than most:  no Mass, no Holy Communion, no Easter confession, no Easter water, no singing with the choir.

Watching the Triduum and Easter Mass on the computer has its pluses and its minuses.  There is at least a vicarious participation and for a little while one is almost there.  Almost.  And then one is brought up short.  That's not the Blessed Sacrament; it's an electronic representation of an event going on elsewhere, and you, my friend, are not going to be receiving Holy Communion for the . . . what? . . . 4th or 5th Sunday in a row?

At the risk of appearing a bit p.o.d., I am not only missing Mass, I am very much missing Mass.

Ian Paisley is very far from being my favourite politician but I read that he had a little sign on his desk which is very suitable to the circumstances:  

"Hallelujah, anyway."

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Holy Saturday Liturgy

For anyone who may be roving the internet this evening at 7:07 pm PDT looking for an Easter Vigil Service you might be pleased with that being live-streamed at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham here.

To be sure,  you've missed a good bit already.   And this will be a pointless post in a couple of hours but FWIW, the link is above.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Come Pray the Rosary

My favourite rosary site has finally come up with a new version and is now viewable in all or most browsers.  For a while there as more and more browsers refused to show sites relying on Flash I could only access it on Mickey$oft's Edge.  And now the new Edge version doesn't display Flash sites either.  Fortunately, the Rosary site now sports a new Flashless version.

Take it for a test run.  It's here

(At least once the old site popped up.  Clicking the refresh button cured that.)

Salvator Mundi

From the Daily Office all during Holy Week:

Salvator Mundi.
Antiphon: O SAVIOUR of the world who by thy Cross and precious Blood hast redeemed us : * save us and help us we humbly beseech thee O Lord.
Thou didst save thy disciples when ready to perish : * hear us and save us we humbly beseech thee.
Let the pitifulness of thy great mercy : * loose us from our sins we humbly beseech thee.
Make it appear that thou art our Saviour and mighty Deliverer : * O save us that we may praise thee we humbly beseech thee.
Draw near according to thy promise from the throne of thy glory : * look down and hear our crying we humbly beseech thee.
Come again and dwell with us, O Lord Christ Jesus : * abide with us for ever we humbly beseech thee.
And when thou shalt appear with pow'r and great glory : * may we be made like unto thee, in thy glorious Kingdom.
Antiphon: O SAVIOUR of the world who by thy Cross and precious Blood hast redeemed us : * save us and help us we humbly beseech thee O Lord.

It seemed more than usually appropriate this year.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

A Tune for the Middle of Holy Week

. . . which doesn't actually have anything to do with Holy Week, per se.  But perhaps it will provide a little cheer for this Spy Wednesday.  At least hereabouts we have a bit of sun at the moment, although the cheerful weather lady on channel 9 advises that rain is in the offing.

Anyway.   Herewith Gary West on Scottish smallpipes playing "Scarce of Tatties" (in spite of that being one of the things the markets don't appear to be scarce of at the moment) and "The Famous Baravan" (which I had never heard of before, the tune title to the contrary notwithstanding).

Thursday, April 02, 2020

The Case of the Missing Chinese Research Paper

The  paper, it seems, explained where the covid-19 virus really came from.  It wasn't the local market.

Read all about it here.

(Fascinating to note how both the ChiComs and the Vatican share this serene and utterly unwarranted confidence in their ability to make things vanish from the internet.)

Talk About a Remnant

Palm Sunday (April 5): Online Masses - 9AM w/Fr. Baaten; 12PM w/Fr. Bartus; 2PM w/Fr. Alan. At Holy Martyrs in Murrieta at 3PM - "Drive Thru" Distribution of Palms & Confessions and/or Holy Communion.

That is what our pastor is planning for Palm Sunday.  So far as I am aware that is the sum total of the public celebrations of Catholicism available in southern California on Palm Sunday.  According to their websites even the FSSP parish and Fr Perez's lovely little chapel are closed for the duration.

(If you were wondering, no I'm not in Murrieta.  That's two dioceses away.  But our priest is founding three parishes in SoCal and one of them is in Murrieta.  And since he hasn't mastered bi-location yet, Murrieta wins the gold ring.)

"When Our Churches Open Again. . ."

From Phil Lawler some interesting questions for our most reverend fathers in God:

Why did you forbid the administration of the sacraments? For reasons of public health— and in many cases, because of emergency government regulations— you were forced to curtail public ceremonies. But were you forced to issue a blanket prohibition? Weren’t there ways to allow some acts of public worship, with appropriate safeguards? Did you explore those possibilities thoroughly?

Many more interesting questions here. 

Monday, March 30, 2020

Found in my mail this afternoon

"The depths of our soul are for God alone; they must not become a den of thieves that steal praise and adoration from Him.  Prayer is an audience He gives us and we should be mindful of His immense majesty. . .Life is a daily encounter with God's will and everything is a sacrament hiding His will and revealing it to those who have eyes to see.. . . May it make us the friends of God and the sharers of His infinite riches; may it be the channel of His grace to others and the way that will lead us to the things the eye has never see and the ear never heard. . . ."  --- Prayer, by Fr Killian Lynch, O.Carm.

Via Fr Michael Driscoll, O. Carm.

Friday, March 27, 2020

And Speakng of Surprises . . .

I finally got one of those home grocery delivery services to work and we got our stuff this evening.  It's like Christmas.  Now I don't have to go out.  At least not just yet.

Next time I shall have to be more focused on making the list.   I have been trying every service that exists and often enough going off the top of my head on what to order.  But there are a few dishes that aren't going to work without a few extra ingredients I didn't think of.

Still, delighted not to have to go a-marketing any more often than necessary.

Laus sit Deo!

Much to our own surprise . . .

. . . Mary and I remembered the Urbi et Orbi blessing this morning and attended, if that's the right word for a television broadcast.  I know some of the brethren are none too fond of His Holiness.  I understand and sympathize -- even share those sentiments betimes.  (Oh, all right.  All the time.) But I'm in no position to be turning down any plenary indulgences that might be coming my way.

It was rather moving with the rain, the solitary pontiff, and the empty square.  And he seemed to be having a hard time of it.  Added  a bit of pathos.   I'm told the sermon was good but I had trouble following it.   At least in our home the volume of the Pope's Italian version was about equal to the volume of the English translation.  I heard "Why are you afraid?  Have you no faith?" quite a lot.  But what he made of it, I couldn't tell you.  I understand the text is online somewhere; I may give it a look.

It was good to pray with, I suppose, a good part of the Catholic world for an end to the plague.  The old Roman Ritual has a rite for that. A shame it wasn't used.  But prayer nonetheless.

HEAR my prayer, O Lord, * and let my crying come unto thee.
2  Hide not thy face from me in the time of my trouble; * incline thine ear unto me when I call; O hear me, and that right soon.  -- from Ps 102 
O most mighty and merciful God, in this time of grievous sickness, we flee unto Thee for succour.  Deliver us, we beseech Thee, from our peril; give strength and skill to all those who minister to the sick; prosper the means made use of for their cure; and grant that, perceiving how frail and uncertain our life is, we may apply our hearts unto that heavenly wisdom which leadeth to eternal life; through Jesus Christ or Lord. Amen. 

My Pastor

From his FB page this afternoon:

Following the leadership of Bp. Strickland of Tyler and Pope Francis earlier today, Deacon Frank Mercardante and I brought Our Lord to the heights and blessed the Temecula Valley around 3pm on this Friday in the Fourth Week in Lent, asking for God’s mercy to spare Murrieta and Temecula and the wider area from coronavirus. Lord, have mercy upon us.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Of Papal Interest

This arrived in this morning's twitter feed.

The original is on in Spanish (link to the original below) and this is via Google Translate, which has done a remarkably readable job for a computer programme:

An Italian monsignor who works in the Secretary of State and has lived for a long time in Santa Marta, the papal residence, has been hospitalized diagnosed as infected by Covid-19, Marco Tosatti reported yesterday in Stilum Curiae. 
There are already five "official" infections in the Vatican, a State so tiny that it fits within a city, and with what is probably the oldest average population on the planet, the main risk group in this pandemic. 
The latter case is more serious, and not only because he has needed hospitalization (in an Italian hospital: the Vatican does not have adequate sanitary facilities), but because the affected person lives in the same house as the Pope, the Casa Santa Marta residence, and the pontiff, at 83 years old and whom we have seen shaking hands and receiving people until very recently, runs a considerable risk of contagion. 
The now undeniable entry of viruses into the papal residence should have immediate and visible consequences. Being a hotel, following the health recommendations that apply in 'neighboring' Italy and in much of the world, the building should be closed immediately. But how is that done when one of the ‘guests’ is the Vicar of Christ, father of Catholics around the world?

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Please Pass the Geritol

Assorted folk on the media have asked us to look out for the elderly and the disabled.  Make sure they have the supplies they need and so forth.  We don't really have any in our neighborhood.  Mary's aunt uses a wheelchair and lives not too far away but her daughter lives with her and they have regular care-givers.   I could help if needed but otherwise not an issue around here.  I thought.

A couple of days ago the penny dropped.  During the last week three separate neighbors came by to check on us and see if there was anything we needed.   As Pogo might have put it, "We have met the elderly and he is us."

It was really rather pleasant to know that people were thinking kindly of us and willing to risk the market for us.  Of course, that's due to Mary not me; when they were handing out social skills I was probably off in a corner somewhere with a book.  But I didn't take any of them up on it.  I'm still upright and mobile and able to get the groceries, even if begloved and as skittish as the proverbial long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.  You can't ask someone to risk The Virus when you're perfectly capable of getting the groceries yourself now can you.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Just a thought . . . .

In my opinion it would reduce the current daily irritation if the helpful people giving suggestions for enduring the current pandemic would stop recommending the use of services that are no longer available in order to buy products that cannot be had anywhere for love nor money.

Home delivery of hand-sanitizer?  Uh-huh.  Yeah.  Right.

Sunday, March 22, 2020


Interesting the way things that have been around for a while and were always true suddenly become relevant.  E.g., the collect in this Sunday's daily office:

Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God: that  we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of Thy grace, may mercifully be relieved, through Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God,world without end.  Amen.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Satiety Yet?

Any predictions as to when the plague-of-locusts community is going to decide they have enough and stay home to enjoy their lifetime supply of toilet paper and dairy products?   Is it when they've maxed out their credit cards?  Or when the garage can no longer hold another box of Cheerios?  Soon one hopes. The non-insane community would like to get some milk for the tea and perhaps a piece of meat for the dinner.

It's interesting to note what the plague-of-locusts community apparently has no use for:  fresh fruits and vegetables.  The stores I've been in seem to have relatively untouched produce sections.  Yet surely all that milk they've been buying is going to sour long before the apples and oranges go bad?  Is a puzzlement.

I feel rather sorry for the woman with the over-flowing shopping cart who is being looked at as a hoarder when in fact she's got 5 children, a husband, and an elderly parent at home.  An over-flowing shopping cart is what her normal weekly shopping cart always looks like.  And now with her children home from school, and school lunches no longer provided,  it probably won't even last the week.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Lavabo inter innocentes manus meas . . .

Well, I don't know how innocentes anyone is but I'm certainly lavabo-ing manus meas at every opportunity.  And it is not encouraging to be told not to worry as I won't die of the Wuhan virus as it's only old people who are shuffling off this mortal coil and joining the choirs invisible.  I've been entitled to The Discount at our local cafe for, ahem, several years now.  So, not to put too fine a point upon it, I'm already in the departure lounge. . . .

But I'm unaccountably not all that worried about my mortality.  Except.  Presumably if one is in quarantine one will not get the sacraments.  Now that's worrying.

In the meantime, a collect or two:

In Time of Great Sickness and Mortality 
O most mighty and merciful God, in this time of grievous sickness, we flee unto Thee for succour.  Deliver us, we beseech Thee, from our peril; give strength and skill to all those who minister to the sick; prosper the means made use of for their cure; and grant that, perceiving how frail and uncertain our life is, we may apply our hearts unto that heavenly wisdom which leadeth to eternal life; through Jesus Christ or Lord. Amen. 
For Those in Hazardous Occupations 
Protect and prosper, O Lord, all those who labour at tasks of danger and difficulty, especially those tending the sick and risking contagion, that they may be preserved in safety and health; and grant that, knowing the dangers which beset them, they may ever take thought one for another, and be sustained by a sure trust in Thee; through Christ our Lord.  Amen .
From the Litany:
From lightning and tempest; from earthquake, fire, and flood; from plague, pestilence, and famine:  Good Lord, deliver us.

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Corona Virus Etiquette

Proper reaction to the plague du jour, courtesy of Mary Killen via The Spectator:

. . . don’t forget we won’t necessarily die — only 2 per cent of us, mainly oldies[e.g., me], will. Meanwhile, with the plausible prospect of life as we knew it grinding to a halt, we will reassess the amazingly luxurious long and healthy lives (compared to any other time in history) that all of us have been enjoying over recent decades and be grateful for, instead of begrudging of, the tyranny of choices we have had about which holiday to go on and how to stop ourselves drinking and eating too much and how to stop swiping and instead settle for one partner. 
Business will grind to a halt for those hook-up apps which effectively promote barnyard sex, and this can only be good for human dignity. Carbon emissions will fall as we take fewer planes. Fear will drive us, if not back to church, at least to consider our moral positions. Pangolins have a chance of not becoming extinct. These are among the blessings coronavirus could bestow.

More here.

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Lenten Penance . . . again

Apparently, someone still stops by The Inn every once in a while.  In re: the first "Lenten Penance" post below I have been cited here "as it might be relevant".

And so it is.   Herewith a bit from an editorial in The Magnficat quoting Msgr Ronald Knox:

The effect of this, he observed, is the experience we are familiar with and which we have come to take as a sine qua non of the season of Lent: a “gratifying sense of irritation.” We’re supposed to give something up, we’re supposed to feel the pinch. “Such is our human make-up that a deliberate abstention, though it be only from sweets or the cinema, pricks like a hairshirt. Which is why the forty days of Lent seem to pass so slowly; will it never be Easter Day? And no doubt it is good for us.”

But it was Monsignor’s next point that really stuck with me: “in a curious way, this impression Lent makes on us is the exact opposite of what the Church intends. Lent ought to pass like a flash, with a sense of desperate hurry. ‘Good heavens! The second Sunday already, and still so little to show for it!’ Lent is the sacramental expression of the brief life we spend here, a life of probation, without a moment in it we can afford to waste. That is why it begins with Saint Paul’s metaphor of an ambassador delivering an ultimatum; we have only a few ‘days of grace’ to make our peace with God. Ash Wednesday recalls our ignominious, earthy origins, Easter looks forward to our eternity. The space between is not, if we look at it properly, a sluggish declension; it is a mill-race…. If only we could cheat ourselves into the feeling that these forty days were our last, how quickly they would run their course!”

More here.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Found While Looking for Something Else

Dame Joan Sutherland and Pavarotti . . . had to give it a listen.

You'll never hear better.

(Isola Jones and Leo Nucci are the mezzo and the baritone.)

Lenten Penances

I am such a wimp.  We're only 3 1/2 days into Lent and I'm already wishing I had chosen something easier.  Well, not easier exactly.  This is pretty darn easy.  (See remark re: "wimp" above.)  It's just . . . what?  Annoying?  Whatever the word is that describes something that's now on my mind, say, 10 hours a day.

36 1/2 days to go.  Warn me if The Inn gets a bit grumpy.  I mean, inordinately grumpy.   More than usually grumpy.

Leap Year

Someone said "Happy Leap Day" to me this morning.  Seems a little odd, but I'll take it.

Apropos of which, this appeared in my e-mailbox this morning;

There are only 97 leap years in every 400 year interval (not 100 as one would expect) because every century year that can’t be evenly divisible by 400 is skipped in order to keep the calendar on track. For instance, 2000 was a leap year, but 1900 was not.

Who knew?

Thursday, February 27, 2020

From this morning's psalmody

From  psalm 37

FRET not thyself because of the ungodly; * neither be thou envious against the evil doers.
2  For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, * and be withered even as the green herb.
3  Put thou thy trust in the Lord, and be doing good; * dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
. . . . .
8  Leave off from wrath, and let go displeasure: * fret not thyself, else shalt thou be moved to do evil.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Mass Prohibited in Italy

Yup.  No Mass in the exposed-to-coronavirus areas.

But, say. . . . how 'bout a nice football game?

More here.

Election Day

Or Election Week-and-a-Half as it is here on the far left coast.  Yes, indeed.  Instead of one day we have a full eleven (11) days to cast our ballot for the Democrat of our master's choice.   Oh, there are a few non-Democrats here and there on the ballot.  Not many in this little corner of the county, though.  A combination of gerrymandering, biased election laws, crooked officials, and insufficient non-Democrat sacrificial lambs volunteers and here we are.

Still, this may help. 

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom:  guide and direct, we humbly beseech Thee, the minds of all those who are called at this time to elect fit persons to serve in the government of this nation.  Grant that in the exercise of their choice they may promote Thy glory, and the welfare of our Nation, State, and City.  And this we beg for the sake of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Couldn't hurt.

Sunday, February 23, 2020


The Blessed Ildefonse Cardinal Schuster gives a little Septuagesima history in volume II of his Liber Sacramentorum.  Herewith:

The Eastern usage regarded Saturday and Sunday as festival days, and therefore as exempt from the Lenten fast; so, in order to complete the forty days of Lent, the Greeks anticipated the penitential season by some weeks, and from this Sunday onward abstained from the use of meat. In the following week they abstained also from milk 'and similar foods, and finally on the Monday of Quinquagesima they commenced the rigid fast in preparation for Easter.  
Among the Latins the custom varied at different times.   By beginning the Lenten cycle with the First Sunday in Lent, there remain indeed, as St .Gregory remarks, forty days of preparation for Easter, but of these only thirty-six are devoted to fasting. In order to supply the four missing days, pious persons and ecclesiastics began, in quite early times, to abstain from meat on the Monday after Quinquagesima (In carnis privio or in carne levario = Carnival); but it is not until the time of St Gregory that we find in the antiphonary the liturgical consecration of the caput jejunii on the Wednesday of Quinquagesima.   
The piety of the more devout, however, was not satisfied by these four supplementary days. The Greeks began earlier, and, living as they did beside them in Rome during the Byzantine period, the Latins could do no less. St Gregory therefore instituted, or at least gave definite form to, a cycle of three weeks' preparation for Lent, with three solemn stations at the patriarchal Basilicas of St Lawrence, St Paul, and St Peter, as though to begin the Easter fast under the auspices of the three great patrons of the Eternal City. 
The order of the stational cycle has been reversed, and begins on this day with the station at St Lawrence, which holds the fourth place only among the papal basilicas, the reason for this change being that it was not considered advisable to remove the first Lenten station from the Lateran, where ever since the fourth century the Popes had been in the habit of offering the sacrificium quadragesimalis initii, as the Sacramentary calls it. 
It would seem that the three Masses of Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima date from the time of St Gregory, since they reflect the terror and grief that filled the minds of the Romans in those years during which war, pestilence, and earthquake threatened the utter destruction of the former mistress of the world.   
The Introit is taken from Psalm xvii: "The groans of death surrounded me, the sorrows of hell encompassed me: and in my affliction, I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice from his holy temple."  
From this Sunday until Maundy Thursday the Gloria in Excelsis is omitted in Masses de tempore.  Originally it was sung only at Christmas and Easter, but later it came to be used on all Sundays, except those in Lent, and also on the feasts of martyrs, but only by special privilege. The collect, which immediately follows the litany on days of fasting and penance, truly represents, therefore, the ordinary and normal form of the litany as used in the ancient liturgy of the Mass and of the divine office.   
The collect betrays the deep affliction which weighed on the soul of St Gregory at the sight of the desolation of Rome and of all Italy during his pontificate.  "O Lord, we beseech thee, graciously hear the prayers of thy people; that we who are justly afflicted for our sins may for the glory of thy name be mercifully delivered."

 The Blessed Cardinal goes on to give some of the proper texts of the Mass and a bit of explanation of them.  Most of that can be found in your missal.  But there are a final couple of paragraphs on "the uncertainty of eternal salvation".  These are worth posting, too:

How great is the uncertainty of eternal salvation! Cum metu et tremore vestram salutem operamini, as the Apostle says (Phil. ii I2); this is the fruit of to-day's meditation on the Epistle of St Paul and on the parable of the vineyard.   
How many and how striking were the miracles worked by almighty God during the forty years that Israel wandered in the desert!  The heavenly food, the miraculous water, the cloud and the column of fire, the Red Sea and the Jordan parting before them; and yet out of the many thousands for whom these wonders were worked, the greater number fell away, and only two reached the final goal.  
Thus, it isn't enough for us to have been baptized, to have been called by God to a holy state, to the dignity  of the priesthood, to have become the object of his special predilection by the frequent opportunities he has given us of receiving the holy sacraments and of hearing his gracious word.  It is necessary to labour diligently -- operamini -- to follow the narrow way that leads to life eternal; it is necessary to imitate the chosen few -- that is the saints -- in order to be saved together with them.  Never can we apprehend these divine truths with greater clearness than when we meditate upon them, as in today's station, beside the tombs of the martyrs, who, in order to gain their heavenly reward, were ready to sacrifice wealth,  youth, and even life itself.


Monday, December 30, 2019

Not, I Think, What the Founders Intended . . .

. . . but here we are now.

For most  modern European philosophers, especially German philosophers, the phrase "The State" has always meant the absolute supreme authority above all society.
The word "Federation", coming from the Latin word for "treaty",  generally means a free and rather loose agreement   between these supreme states.  But when the future Historian (poor brute) turns to the great topic of America, he will find just the opposite.  He will find the word "Federal" meaning the supreme authority that centralizes and overrules everything.  He will find the word "State" used for the subordinate thing; the sub-unit like the county or the city.

from GK Chesterton's A Hint About History from the New York American, March 12 1932 via the November/December 2019 number of Gilbert!.