Monday, May 29, 2023

Memorial Day

 O LORD our God, whose Name only is excellent and thy praise above heaven and earth: we thank thee for all those who counted not their lives dear unto themselves but laid them down for their friends; grant us, we beseech thee, that having them always in remembrance we may imitate their faithfulness and sacrifice; 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.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, in whose hands are the living and the dead: We give Thee thanks for all those Thy servants who have laid down their lives in the service of our country.  Grant to them Thy mercy and the light of Thy  presence, that the good work which Thou hast begun in them may be perfected;  through Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord.  Amen.

The Twenty-Ninth of May or Oak Apple Day

The 29th of May has come 'round again and, yes, the following is a repost.  Mostly.  Except for a couple of tweaks.

Yes, it is Royal Oak Day or Oak Apple Day, on which day the Cromwellian disaster was finally swept away and King Charles II acceded to the throne.  Or close enough.   Says Chambers' Book of Days:

[The parents of King Charles II] Charles I and Henrietta Maria (daughter of Henry IV of France), who had been married in 1626, had a child named Charles James born to them in March 1629, but who did not live above a day. Their second infant, who was destined to live and to reign, saw the light on the 29th of May 1630, his birth being distinguished by the appearance, it was said, of a star at midday. 

"It was on his thirtieth birthday, the 29th of May 1660, that the distresses and vicissitudes of his early life were closed by his triumphal entry as king into London. His restoration might properly be dated from the 8th of May, when he was proclaimed as sovereign of the three kingdoms in London: but the day of his entry into the metropolis, being also his birthday, was adopted as the date of that happy event. Never had England known a day of greater happiness. Defend the Commonwealth who may—make a hero of Protector Oliver with highest eloquence and deftest literary art—the intoxicated delight of the people in getting quit of them, and all connected with them, is their sufficient condemnation. The truth is, it had all along been a government of great difficulty, and a government of difficulty must needs be tyrannical. The old monarchy, ill-conducted as it had been under Charles I, shone white by comparison. It was happiness overmuch for the nation to get back under it, with or without guarantees for its better behaviour in future. An army lately in rebellion joyfully marshalled the king along from Dover to London.

Why Oak Apple Day?   It's in honor of the oak tree in which the king took refuge from the marauding parliamentary forces.  The full, rather romantic story can be found at the link above.

If you've a mind to sing along to the tune at the top the lyrics can be found in full here.

A sample:


Why should we speak of Caesar’s acts,
or Shimei’s treacheries,
Or of the grand notorious facts
of Cromwell’s tyrannies?
But what we all might gladly sing,
and bravely chant and say,
That Charles the second did come in
the twenty ninth of May. 
Since that his royal person went
from us beyond the seas,
Much blood and treasure have been spent
but ne'er obtainéd peace:
Until the Lord with-held his hand
as we might cheerful say,
And did a healing balsam send
the twenty-ninth of May!

. . . 
Now let all people celebrate
this day which is so pure,
And to be kept by church and state
for ever to endure.
That generations all might see
the honour of the day,
Which everlasting it shall be
the twenty-ninth of May!
So God preserve our gracious king
the Duke of York also,
Defend them from the dragon’s sting
and every Christian foe.
Then let true loyal subjects sing
and bravely chant and say,
The like in England ne’er came in
the twenty ninth of May.

 And if the tune, though played pretty sprightly here, seems familiar, you might have sung it to a slightly different tempo as "All Things Bright and Beautiful".   And for what it's worth, with the tempo cranked up a bit it makes a pretty fair jig, too.


Thursday, May 18, 2023

Ascension Thursday


For those in the Ordinariate Ascension Thursday still comes on a Thursday, i.e., today.   Herewith today's collect:

Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God:  that like as we do believe Thy Only Begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens; so we may also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with Him continually dwell, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

1Peter5 has a timely piece today on Ascension Thursday and the "Forgotten Customs" thereof.  For the most part the author discusses things from the Roman liturgical treasury that our hierarchical masters have decided are surplus to requirements.  But there is much else, too.  There's even a paragraph or two on superstitions to be wary of, e.g., don't go mending a garment on this day.  Apparently a garment that has had a needle touched to it on Ascension Day is sure to be struck by lightning.  Well, I wasn't going to anyway.   (My last attempts at garment mending occurred in my under-graduate years which was a long time ago.  A very long time ago.  And they were not very successful.)  But I'll bare it in mind.

Oh, yes.  Almost forgot.  You can find the article by clicking here and you can click the picture above and make it far too large for the screen.  But it will make the detail clearer.

And speaking of pictures and almost forgetting -- again -- Fr Z has an Ascension Thursday post up today with the lovely medieval pictures of the Ascension.  You can find that here.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

St Simon Stock, O. Carm.


Plebs tibi, Domine, Virginique Matri dicata, beati Simonis, quem ei Rectorem et Patrem dedisti, solemnitate laetetur : et sicut per eum tantae protectionis signum obtinuit ; ita praedestinationis aeternae numera consequatur. Per Dominum. Amen.

Today is the feast in the Carmelite calendar of St Simon Stock, to whom Our Lady gave the Carmelite scapular with its wonderful promises.  We've mentioned him on The Inn before.  And since I don't mind repeating myself you can find as couple of those mentions here and here.

Saturday, April 08, 2023

Joy to Thee, O Queen of Heaven! Alleluia!

 . . . . He Whom thou wast meet to bear, Alleluia!

As  he promised, hath arisen!  Alleluia!

Pour for us to God thy prayer!  Alleluia!

Saturday, April 01, 2023

Things That I End Up Thinking About When I've Forgotten to Bring Something to Read

 Those "Baby on Board" signs seem to be back in vogue  They were quite the thing back in the '80s.  Have you seen them?  They're little diamond shaped stickers that mimic yellow highway signs and grace automobile rear windows and they say just that:  "Baby on Board".

I can't think what they're for.   Do the owners imagine that without the little stickers they're going to be rammed and run off the road into a ditch?  Are the sort of people who  would do that sort of thing really going to be deterred by a Baby on Board sticker?   And what about the people who have the sticker but have apparently forgotten the baby, of which there seem to be more than a few.   Is that false advertising of a sort?   All very puzzling.

Unless, of course, the sticker-bearers are merely announcing to the world that they have brought a child into the world and are proud of it.  In which case, congratulations and God bless.

I've noticed in the markets lately the checkers no longer ask me if I've found everything.  I suspect that's because they know well I haven't.  All sorts of things are out of stock and no one knows when or if they'll ever by back.   It may not all be the fault of the Biden maladministration.  But it isn't helping.

And then there are shirt manufacturers.   Dear shirt-makers:  please give a thought to sizing.  Just because my waist has expanded it does not therefore follow that my arms got any longer.  S, M, L, XL, and XXL may signify some rational standard in your dream world but out here in reality land . . . not so much.  Oh, for the days when one could choose by sleeve-length, neck size, and waist size.

When I was a barefoot boy and a beardless youth there were certain political/cultural verities that went without saying.  The conservative worshipped at the altar of big business and the liberal made novenas to big government.  And now it seems the right finds that big business needs some reining  in and many on the left are no longer entirely sure that big government is our friend.  So, will anything change?  Of course (the post immediately below this one to the contrary notwithstanding).  In what way?  In the immortal word of the late S.W., Damfino. 

Onward, ever onward.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Plus ça change Dept.

 Tocqueville on the the extraordinary uniformity of opinion he encountered in America. He wrote in Democracy in America (published 1838):

In the United States, the majority takes charge of providing individuals with a host of ready-made opinions, and thus relieves them of the obligation to form for themselves opinions that are their own. I know of no other country where, in general, there reigns less independence of mind and true freedom of discussion than in America.

Vide: practically any American university if you need proof that nothing has changed.

(Have I been having a pleasant read through my copy of Tocqueville this lovely Sunday afternoon?   Much as I'd like to have you think so, the above is actually from a review of a recent biography of Tocqueville in the latest Spectator.  You can find it here.)

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Die 25 Martii: In Annunciatione Beatæ Mariæ Virginis

Antiphon:  O Virgin Mother of God, whence the Light Eternal deigned to dawn upon us, regard we pray thee, the pleading of thy humble servants, that by thy holy intercessions we may merit to obtain the mansions eternal. 

Introit:  Drop down , ye  heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness:  let the earth open, and bring forth a Saviour.

Collect:  O God, Who didst decree that, at the angel's message, Thy Word should take flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant to us Thy suppliants that we who believe her to be indeed the Mother of God may be helped by her intercession with Thee: through the same Jesus Christ  our Lord who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

At one time today would have been New Year's Day:  the first day of Our Lord's human life on earth, the beginning of our salvation, even the beginning of spring.  Makes sense to me.  Apparently not, though to whomever it is decides these things for us.

I consulted Kevin Danaher's wonderful The Year in IrelandIrish Calendar Customs expecting to hand on many "Lady Day" gems of custom and tradition.  But no.  This was it, in toto:

25 March, the feast of the Annunciation, was a Holiday (sic) of Obligation on which the Lenten fast was relaxed although there was in Ireland no extensive merry-making as on St Patrick's Day.  It had some legal significance for, until Britain belatedly accepted Pope Gregory's calendar in 1752, the year began officially on 25 March, which was thus of importance as regards contracts, leases, rents and so on.    
Apart, however, from its religious and legal significance, it had little effect on popular tradition.  High winds were expected on this day, and if it coincided with Easter Sunday people feared that the following harvest would be poor, with consequent scarcity of food.

Disappointing, wasn't it.  I expected  more of our ancestors.  Maybe they were worn out from the fasting and abstaining one had to do in those days.

Finally, something from the late and greatly missed -- her column alone was worth the cost of an overseas subscription to The Spectator -- Alice Thomas Ellis:

[She] once took part in an earnest feminist questionnaire that asked her to name the most important event in women's history. "The Annunciation" she replied.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Fr Daniel johnson, R.I.P.

 It was six years ago today -- 18 March -- that our beloved Fr Daniel Johnson died.  Fr Hugh, who spoke at Fr Johnson's funeral Mass, gave this lovely image:   Father Johnson died on the 18th of March. St Patrick, whose feast was Father Johnson's last full day on earth, took his left hand, and St Joseph, whose feast was Father's first full day in eternity, took his right hand and they led him to the judgement seat of the Merciful Judge.

Linked below are a few of the things I was thinking at the time.   Some of my grumpy whinges are no longer . . . hmm, what shall I say?  "Valid" isn't quite the word.  They certainly still apply to the circumstances of the time. Up-to-date,  is I suppose, more appropriate.   For a start, circumstances have changed.  There is a new bishop of the Diocese of Orange.  And the authentic rite of the Roman Mass is back at St Mary's.  

In any event, herewith the said links:

Fr Johnson's Funeral Mass

The Last Usus Authenticus Mass at St Mary's (but only for a while, as it turned out).

 A Miracle?   Maybe, maybe not.  Nice co-incidence, though.  And Custodes Traditionis,  or whatever it's called,  to the contrary notwithstanding, the Old Mass continues at St Mary's.

I would actually get no thanks from Fr Johnson for that last linked post.  He wanted prayers for his soul, not do-it-yourself canonisations.   So I shall comply with his wishes now.  You can too, if you've got a minute or two.

Friday, March 17, 2023

March 17 -- St Patrick's Day

A collect for the day that's in it:

 O ALMIGHTY God, who in thy providence didst choose thy servant Patrick to be an apostle to the people of Ireland, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of thee: grant us, by his intercession, so to walk in that light; that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen


I'll be off shortly to play some pipes with the Sheriff's band and serenade assorted revelers. I expect it to be good fun.  Nevertheless, a short prayer that your aged and decrepit servant can hold up his end of the tunes until the final set would not go amiss. 

(As always, clicking on the image above will make it larger -- occasionally too large -- so you can read the inscription.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Friday the 13th Came on a Monday this Month

 Boy,  howdy, did it ever.  All sorts of things went cleverly wrong that day.  It was topped off by being an hour late to band practice due to the county fiddling around with the road I take and turning three lanes into one for several miles.   Several miles, I may add, during which, traveling through the Naval base as we do, there is no place to even turn off and try for a different route.

Things in general have not been chugging along quite as smoothly the rest of this week as we might have hoped.  But you're not interested in that.   Still, we have been carrying on as best we can in our advanced state of decrepitude.  Not much of a post, I agree.  But than it hasn't been much of a week.

And you're right:  "cleverly" isn't quite right.  And not really the word I was looking for in any case.  But Roget's hasn't helped find that perfect word hiding out in the back of my mind.   So, I've just left "cleverly" in place.  At first glance it does look like it might mean something deep.    At first glance.

Oh, yes, and even though it's no longer Friday-the-13th-on-Monday,  it's still good advice: don't break any ladders or walk  under any black cats and don't be superstitious.  It's bad luck to be superstitious.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023


 Something from a letter I received today.   A few sentences from Pope Benedict XVI's second encyclical;

.“Hope is practiced through the virtue of patience, which continues to do good even in the face of apparent failure, and through the virtue of humility, which accepts God's mystery and trusts Him even at times of darkness.  Faith . . . gives us the victorious certainty that it is really true:  God is love!  It thus transforms our impatience and our doubts into the sure hope that God holds the world in His hands, and that, as the dramatic imagery of the end of the Book of Revelation points out, in spite of all darkness He ultimately triumphs in glory.”

That very much spoke to the heart this cloudy afternoon.


Thursday, February 02, 2023

The Sidebar! It's liturgically on time! (for a change)

 And not only on time for Candlemas Day, but three days early for Septugesima Sunday which isn't for another three days.

I'm so proud of myself


Candlemas Day

One last look as the Christmas tree. It came down -- as is the custom; tradition,  doncha know -- yesterday, Candlemas Eve.

"The Christmas Season" in a nutshell  --  swiped from from the latest Universalis monthly letter:

How long is Christmas?

When you go into a church on the first day of February and see a crib still there long after we have all got rid of our trees, the question presents itself in concrete form.

Christmas is Christmas Day – of course.

Christmas is the Twelve Days of Christmas, from the birth of Jesus and his appearing to the shepherds up to the Epiphany, the coming of the Wise Men and the first appearance of the incarnate God to the Gentiles.

Christmas is more than that. The celebration of the Incarnation is not complete until Jesus is sent out on his mission on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

Christmas and the Epiphany and the Baptism are three facets of the same event, and it resonates throughout the liturgy of the period. But there is more to come.

Before Christmas there is a seven-day countdown, marked by the ancient ‘O Antiphons’ – and that is part of the bigger almost-four-week warm-up which starts on Advent Sunday. Cribs often start then. I remember seeing one in Hildesheim in Germany which was 20 feet long and told the whole story of salvation history, beginning with a Garden of Eden with giraffes in it.

After the triple Christmas-Epiphany-Baptism celebration, it still isn’t all over. The afterglow of Christmas still carries on. The Marian anthem at Compline is the Alma redemptoris mater, and the Crib is still to be seen in churches. This is because Jewish tradition does not bring the season of “a child has been born” to a close until forty days have passed. Forty days bring us to today, so today is final, definitive closure of the Christmas season as a whole: the feast of the Presentation in the Temple, with all its candles.

And that is that. Now we are back to normal. Or rather, we aren’t, because nothing is normal. The entire ten-week celebration has taken us once again through the transition from BC to AD, and it reminds us that we are in a ‘new normal’ which is not normal at all, because the Child has been born.

God is with us, and can never not be.

And that's why the Christmas tree stayed up until Candlemas Eve. 

(If you're liturgically a Novus Ordo adherent Universalis provides pretty much all you need.  You can find the site here.  If you're not -- and I'm (mostly*) not -- they still publish some excellent stuff.)

*The thing is, if you want to attend daily Mass in this area your choices are Novus Ordo or not attending daily Mass.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Opera News

 The February number of Opera News came today.  (What?  You thought I was limited to The American  Conservative, The Remnant  and talk radio?  I'm disappointed in you.  The Metropolitan Opera Saturday matinees have been on the radio since, I think, the '40s and on my radio since I was in high school. . . which was, indeed, a very, very long time ago but, ahem, later than the '40s.)

Where was I?   Oh, yes, the Opera News.  The February number came today and there on page 10 was this delightful bit about the late Chief Justice Rehnquist:

Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia were famous opera fans, but William Rehnquist had his tastes, too.  In 1995, the chief justice added four gold stripes to his robes, which he infamously wore at Bill Clinton's impeachment trial.. "he [was] lampooned by Jay Leno, derided by cartoonists and ridiculed across continents" for them, the Washington Post reported.  He'd added them as "a whimsical emulation of the Lord Chancellor" in Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe.   USA Today explains.  "Asked years later to assess his role during the impeachment trial . . . Rehnquist quoted from that opera: 'I did nothing in particular, and I did it very well.'"


Thursday, January 19, 2023


This is a first:  I've never used the blogger app on my phone before.  Seems to be working.  .  . but there is still the one-finger-typing issue. Hate that. 

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Da nobis, quæsumus Domine, pluviam salutarem . . .

 . . . and He has been.  And is doing so again today.  "Thou, O God, sentest a gracious rain upon thine in heritance, and refreshedst it when it was weary." -Psalm 68, ix

There is supposed to be a video showing the rain off our front  porch right about 


for your information and delectation. But for reasons known only to the Blogspot software, it only shows up on the input page and not on the actual blog.  Not much of a loss to posterity but still annoying to me.

In any event, we are fortunately at the tail end of the various storms that have come through the west coast and haven't had the flooding and isolation that other areas have had.   Just a lovely rainy day here, good for large  pots of tea and biscuits.*


*"biscuits" = "cookies" in this house.  Mary is occasionally annoyed when someone tells her that she's losing her accent.  I usually point out that it isn't lost.  I have it.   Which isn't, strictly speaking, true.  What I have is not so much the accent as the turns of phrase that were common in the Ireland of her youth.  Which is why biscuits and cookies are used interchangeably hereabouts.

Sunday, January 08, 2023

Epiphany Observed at St John Henry Newman


Our chapel this morning, taken after the last Mass.  I'm not entirely comfortable taking pictures during Mass.  Lèse majesté may be a bit strong.  Perhaps just not sufficiently reverent?

Any way, very happy to be back home at St John's this Sunday.

That 2d picture is not our church but it was our recessional this morning.   I love that hymn.

1. As with gladness men of old

Did the guiding star behold,

As with joy they hailed its light,

Leading onward, beaming bright;

So, most gracious Lord, may we

Evermore be led to Thee.

2. As with joyful steps they sped

To that lowly manger bed,

There to bend the knee before

Him whom heaven and earth adore;

So may we, with willing feet,

Ever seek the mercy seat.

3. As they offered gifts most rare

At that manger rude and bare;

So may we with holy joy,

Pure and free from sin’s alloy,

All our costliest treasures bring,

Christ! to Thee, our heavenly King.

4. Holy Jesus! every day

Keep us in the narrow way;

And, when earthly things are past,

Bring our ransomed souls at last

Where they need no star to guide,

Where no clouds Thy glory hide.

5. In the heavenly country bright,

Need they no created light;

Thou its light, its joy, its crown,

Thou its sun which goes not down:

There for ever may we sing

Alleluias to our King.  Amen.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

29 December -- St Thomas Becket


O GOD, for whose Church the glorious Bishop Thomas Becket fell by the swords of wicked men: grant, we beseech thee; that all who call upon him for succour may be profited by the obtaining of all that they desire; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Fr Z this morning has a very interesting post about the finding of the  prayer book -- psalter, actually -- that St Thomas was holding when he was murdered.  You can find it here.   Clicke, lege as we used to say in the early days of Catholic blogdom.  It's a fascinating read. 

Monday, December 26, 2022

St Stephen's Day a.k.a. Boxing Day

A couple versions of The Wren song, traditional for St Stephen's Day:

 The above not churchy enough for the holy martyr's feast day?  Try here for something perhaps more to your liking.

Some Random Thoughts on the Day after Christmas


Didn't quite make the Anglican Use Mass on Christmas Day.  (Yes, I know I'm not supposed to call it that any more; I fail in that as in other particulars.)  It was earlier than usual and, alas, too many unpleasant infirmities make mornings a difficult proposition.  But I did make the noon-time traditional Roman/Gregorian Mass at St Mary by-the-Sea so all was not lost.

And we had a proper Christmas dinner, prominently featuring turkey which I had never attempted before.  Yes, you read correctly:  I attempted it.  And apparently succeeded.   It was tasty and the both of us are still alive and in good health.  Or at least  no worse off than we were pre-prandial.

As I think I mentioned before in this space, the Christmas pudding was not home-made.  But the store boughten one was quite good.   If you too have lost your pudding pan, the Mileeven product is quite good indeed.  In fact, I had some for breakfast this a.m.  Fried up a slice with the bacon.   Yum.  (And for those who worry about that sort of thing, other than buying their products, no, I have no connection with Mileeven, financial or otherwise.)

The google/blogspot feature that keeps its eye on The Inn and tells me if anyone dropped by, tells me that, indeed, a few do still find their way here.  And to you few is owed my annual apology for not posting  more regularly.  In fact,  last week I did have rather more to say than usual but the time available was nibbled to death by small but time-consuming bits and pieces . . . . provoking most justly thy wrath and  indignation against me?  Well, I hope not.  But in any event . . . as usual . . . I shall try to do better.

The above is this year's Christmas creche.  Yes, it does look remarkably like all the previous year's creches.  It's called tradition, doncha know.   And, as is often the case, in many browsers you can click on the picture and make it far too large.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Last Year's Poinsettia

 It's not a poinsettia longevity record.  If memory serves 5 years is the record for a Christmas poinsettia here at the ancestral manse.  But this one - the one in the picture - probably looks the healthiest for a one year old.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Cancel Culture

 It seems cancel culture isn't all that new.  In the martyrology for 15 December we find Genseric of the Vandals having a go at it:

In the same country, [north Africa] the holy bishop Valerian, who, being upwards of eighty years old,  in the persecution of the Vandals, under the Arian King Genseric, was asked to deliver the vessels of the church, and as he constantly refused, an order was issued to drive him all alone out of the city, and all were forbidden to allow him to stay either in their houses or on their land. For a long time he remained lying on the public road, in the open air, and thus, in the confession and defense of the Catholic verity, closed his blessed life.

No doubt if St Valerian  had had a credit card or a web page those would have been done away with also.  So it seems our current masters have a patron non-saint in Genseric.   And how appropriate that he should have been a Vandal, too, a word that has come down to us with all sorts of appropriate linguistic baggage.


Saturday, December 10, 2022

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas . . . .

Boy, howdy, it sure is.  My evening stroll through the neighborhood revealed decorations up or in the process, um,  "everywhere you go."  Yessiree, nothing says "Christmas" like giant, ten-foot tall inflatable cartoon characters.  That's what I always say.

The Third Sunday of Advent, i.e., Gaudete Sunday

 Something from the wonderful Bl Ildephonse Cardinal Schuster, O.S.B. -- first appearing in The Inn 17 years ago and re-posted occasionally thereafter.

Another of the Blessed Cardinal Schuster's historical briefs on the liturgical day. He goes into great detail on this, the third Sunday of Advent, and never explicitly calls it "Gaudete Sunday".

The Third Sunday of Advent
Station at St Peter's

Seeing that in Rome on the fourth Sunday of Advent there was no station – because of the great ordinations of priests and deacons mense decembri which took place on the preceding night – this third station preparatory to Christmas was celebrated at St Peter's, with unwonted splendour of rites and processions, as if it were the mind of the church to introduce us at this moment to the holy joys which belong to the season of our Lord's birth.

This, in fact, is the week of the great scrutinies and of the solemn fasts preceding the ordinations; hence the faithful also on this day assemble at the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles, in order to obtain for themselves his heavenly protection, and to share with the Pastor Ecclesiæ the joy which fills the hearts of the flock at the glad news of the approaching parousia: Prope est jam Dominus. . . .

Formerly the Pope used to repair to the Vatican Basilica at sunset on the Saturday, and, being present at Vespers, intoned the first and last antiphons which were indicated to him by one of the canons. The Ordines Romani tell us that in reward for this service the Pontiff was accustomed to place a gold coin in the mouth of the worthy ecclesiastic.

It was the duty of the Vatican Chapter to provide the Pope and the cardinals with supper and sleeping accommodation for the first part of the night; this latter, however, was not required for long, since the Office of the Vigil began shortly after midnight. The Pope, preceded by acolytes with candles and torches, went first to incense the altars of St Leo I, St Gregory the Great, St Sebastian, St Tiburtius, the Apostles SS Simon and Jude, the Holy Face, the Blessed Virgin and lastly that of St Pastor. This being done, he went down into the crypt of the Confession of St Peter, and after he had offered incense at the tomb of the Apostle the first Offices of the Vigil began. Three psalms and three scriptural lessons were chanted by the clergy, then the primicerius intoned the Te Deum, the Pope recited the collect, and so ended the first part of the night psalmody ad corpus.

The procession then returned to the basilica above in the same order in which it had come down, and after the altar under which the body of St Peter rested had been incensed, began the Office of Matins, properly so called. This pro­ceeded without there being anything special to be noted. The Vatican canons chanted the lessons of the first nocturn; in the second, the first two lections — extracts from the letter of St Leo I to the Patriarch Flavian — fell to the bishops; the third lection and the first of the third nocturn to two of the cardinals; the last but one to the senior canon of the Vatican Chapter; and the last one of all to the Pope. The Office of Dawn followed, in which the Pontiff intoned the antiphon preceding the Canticle of Zachary, and last of all recited the final collect.

The stational Mass for this day, as it immediately precedes the Christmas season, had originally a strikingly festive character. We know that novenas and triduums in preparation for the greater feasts are of later origin, and in the golden age of the Liturgy these weeks before Easter and Christmas, with their vigiliary Masses and stational synaxes at the most famous basilicas of the Eternal City, were intended to prepare the souls of the faithful and to obtain for them from heaven the grace to profit by the various solemnities of the liturgical cycle.

At the Mass the Pope intoned the Angelic Hymn, which was then taken up by all the clergy. After the Collect, the singers, led by the cardinal deacons, the apostolic sub-deacons and the notaries, recited the Acclamations or Laudes, in honour of the Pontiff, the clergy and the Roman people, a custom still observed at the coronation ceremony of the Sovereign Pontiffs. At the termination of the holy sacrifice the deacons replaced the tiara on the head of the Pope, and, having mounted their horses, the whole cavalcade proceeded with all due solemnity to the Lateran, where the banquet took place.

To-day's ceremonial has preserved very little indeed of all this brilliant ritual setting; joy is, indeed, by no means the dominant note of modern society. At the Mass, it is true, the sacred ministers are clothed in rose-coloured vestments in place of the customary ones of violet, and the organ once again fills the aisles with its strains. The divine Office itself has not undergone any change; it preserves intact its primitive spirit of festivity and eagerness aroused by the nearness of the coming of the Saviour.

The Introit is derived from St Paul's Epistle to the Philippians (iv, 4), and is well adapted to the occasion. The Lord is now very close at hand, and at this announcement the heart overflows with joy. Yet this joy is in complete contrast to that to which the world gives itself up, for it is the fruit of that inward peace which the Holy Ghost communicates to the soul when it remains faithful to God's holy will. Such fidelity — the careful fulfilling, that is, of the duties belonging to one's state, is here called by St Paul modestia; the exact measure and form, as it were, of all the virtues. Interior peace might well find an obstacle in the sorrows and anxieties of the outward life; but St Paul would have us banish from our hearts all excessive solicitude, having recourse in humble confidence to God in prayer, and laying all our needs trustingly before him whom he calls the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation. Psalm Ixxxiv, which forms the concluding portion of the Introit, is in a special manner the canticle of the Redemption.

So that's what modestia means: "the careful fulfilling,. . . ,of the duties belonging to one's state". It always seemed somewhat oxymoronic for St Paul to advise us to let our "modesty" be known to all men. "Modesty" then, isn't quite proper for a 21st century translation. I wonder: was it proper for 16th century English? Used "modesty" to be more like Schuster's definition of "modestia"?

Friday, December 09, 2022

It's another one of those days . . . .

One of those days, that is, when something from the morning psalms speaks to the heart, hits all the right notes:

But now,  O Lord,  thou art far off, and puttest us to confusion, * and goest not forth with our armies.  Thou makest us to turn our backs upon our enemies, * so that they which hate us spoil our goods.  Thou lettest us be eaten up like sheep, * and hast scattered us among the heathen. . . . . Up, Lord, why sleepest thou? * awake, and be not absent from us for ever.  Wherefore hidest thou thy face, * and forgettest our misery and trouble?   For our soul is brought low, even unto the dust; * our belly cleaveth unto the ground.  Arise, and help us, * and deliver us, for thy mercy's sake.

The daily Office usually seems to know when I shouldn't have spent so much time with the morning news. 

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Saint Nicholas Day

 And not for the first time, herewith the collect for St Nicholas, the most succinct and to the point in the calendar:

O God, who didst adorn Thy blessed Bishop Saint Nicholas with power to work many and great miracles: grant, we beseech Thee: that by his prayers and merits, we may be delivered from the fires of Hell.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.



And while we're on the subject of collects, two more short prayers  -- O.K., not  exactly collects --  that are increasingly appropriate to the present time, if not the day in particular.  From the Aid to the Church in Need charity, a prayer to our Lady:

Mother, now that the need is at its greatest and the powers of darkness seem to have free rein, we come to you with childlike trust and implore your powerful aid.  We consecrate ourselves to you. Preserve us in the love of your Son, protect us from the evil of this world and lead us safe to the heart of God.  Amen.

And one from the shrine of Our Lady of Victory.  Fortunately, it's expressed in the plural for I have several in mind:

O Victorious Lady!  You who have ever such owerful influence with your Divine Son in conquering the hardest of hearts, intercede for those for whom we pray that their hearts, being softened by the rays of the  Divine Grace, they may return to the unitiy of the true faith.  Through Christ, our Lord.  Amen.  (By the Venerable Nelson Baker.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

St Andrew's Day -- 30 November

 The St Andrew's Christmas Novena begins today.

Although it's not to St Andrew and it's not really a novena since it lasts for 25 or 26 days, depending upon whether you continue it on the 25 of December.

It goes like this:

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

Say it 15 times a day until Christmas.  But not all at once, so they tell me.  Unless, say, um, you forgot and had to get them all in at 11:50 p.m. some day.  Not that I would forget.  Just a f'rinstance, you understand.  Best practice is 5 in the morning, 5 in the afternoon, and 5 at night as Michael Matt recommends here.

So why St Andrew?  Because it begins today and today is his feast day.

A history of the vigil of his feast.

St Andrew in the east.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Brìghde Chaimbeul live at Cafe OTO

One of the commenters in the Youtube page remarked that everything Brighde Chaimbeul plays is magic.   Yup.  That about says it.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Friday the 13th . . . .

 . . . . comes on a Sunday this month.

So remember:  don't break any ladders or walk under any black cats.   And whatever you do, don't be superstitious.   It's bad luck to be superstitious.

Next Sunday would have been Stir-Up Sunday if Bishop Bugnini and his merry band of elves hadn't moved the feast of Christ the King from its proper place and pushed the good old Sunday collect off it's Sunday perch.  So you'll get no timely liturgical reminder to start your Christmas puddings as in days of yore.  This blog post will have to do.  Although, The Inn does have the advantage of being a week early so you'll have time to gather all the requisite ingredients.

When I was a boy we used to have Christmas pudding every other year.  There was a proper pudding bowl and a detailed recipe that went with it and only it.  (From my great grandmother, I think.  Alas,  the younger me was more interested in eating the pudding than in recording its history.)  One  year my mother would make the pudding and then mail the bowl back to my aunt in New York who would make the pudding that year for the east coast contingent.  Then she would  mail it back here for the next year.  Somewhere along the line the bowl went missing.  Nothing else like it could be found.   (No google searches in those days.)   The Recipe never quite worked right with anything else.   Thereafter, we made do with store-boughten.  (Yes, it is too a word.  An old one but a good 'un.)

I have been told by people who claimed to know that that story is preposterous.  No pudding could depend upon a particular bowl like that.  To which I respond:  Beats me.  Maybe.  But that's the family story and I'm sticking with it.

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Væ nobis, quoniam vastati sumus!

The above was found on the web this morning -- Dr Turley's morning youtube video as it happens -- and it pretty much sums up what I've been thinking.  (And, as usual, you can click the above and make it legible.)

Although nationwide it's worth remembering that the GOP did in fact have a win.  The hope was for a rout hence the depressed looks.   But a win is better than a loss even if only a narrow win.

And here in the People's Republic of California?

Don't ask.


Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Votin' Day


No doubt you already knew it was election day in these United States.  You could hardly avoid knowing it.

We dutifully participated in  our civic religion and cast our highly futile ballots.  We can vote for a Republican in theory hereabouts.  Alas,  for most local offices in this area the Republicans don't even bother to put up a sacrificial lamb.  The choice here is usually between a left-wing Democrat and an extreme left-wing Democrat.  This year rhere is a Republican congressional candidate on the ballot for a change.  But nothing else locally to bother about..

We read about election fraud elsewhere but it doesn't happen here.   It doesn't have to.  When you've got a lock on the vast majority of the constituency, why bother?  But in the event the Democrats don't have a solid lock in your area and something untoward might be happening, Fr Z has a suggestion here.  It's worth a try.

Otherwise, from the Occasional Prayers section of my office book:

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

While we're on the topic of respectable voting for responsible people and whatnot, I don't get this one:

I mean isn't the minimum age now, what, around 12? Surely, they can't all be that young.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Hurricanes Ian and Fiona

 Excellent suggestions from Fr Z here and here.

"From lightning and tempest; from earthquake, fire, and flood; from plague, pestilence, and famine,

   Good Lord, deliver us!"   [DW: The Litany]

Friday, September 09, 2022

Elizabeth II: Requiescat in Pace