Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Weather Suggestion

As is the norm for southern California in September -- and October and even, more often than not, for November -- it is hotter than the hinges of hell today.  The weather guessing thingummy on my phone tells me that it's going to be 104° today and that it is already 109° at 1:41 p.m. PDT.

So what did I receive this morning but a lovely catalogue full of advertisements for great heavy jackets, plush lined trousers, large woolly sweaters worn by rosy-cheeked models drinking  hot, steaming beverages.  I can't bear to look at that stuff on a day like this.  I got over-heated just typing that.

Suggestion for online, direct mail clothing people:  save yourself some money on catalogues and postage  and cut our zip codes out of your mailings.  You'll have much better luck in, say, December.  We don't get an "autumn" here.   We get a turbo-charged summer followed round about December by what passes for winter.  We can't think about thick, woolly sweaters now, never mind wear them.

You're welcome.


The Big Debate

Didn't watch it.  Saw the news reports this morning.

Breitbart:  Trump won by a landslide.

PMSNBC:  Trump lost by a landslide.

Somebody on my Twitter feed:  "Trump came in first;  Biden came in third."

Somebody else on my Twitter feed wanted to know: "Who was that old guy who kept interrupting the Trump/Wallace debate?"


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

In festo Ss Michaelis, Gabrielis, et Raphaelis, Archangelorum -- a.k.a. "Michaelmas"


In the traditional Roman Rite this is the feast of St Michael the Archangel only as all three archangels used to have their own separate feast days.  Hence, today was just "Michaelmas".  In the Book of Common Prayer it's St Michael and All Angels. The Novus Ordo compromised - more than St Michael but less than All: it celebrates the Feast of St Michael, St Gabriel, and St Raphael.    The Ordinariates went along with the N.O. and just name the three archangels.

Chambers Book of Days points out that

In England, it is one of the four quarterly terms, or quarter-days, on which rents are paid, and in that and other divisions of the United Kingdom, as well as perhaps in other countries, it is the day on which burgal magistracies and councils are re-elected. The only other remarkable thing connected with the day is a widely prevalent custom of marking it with a goose at dinner.

In fact, it seems that having a goose for dinner was a harbinger of good fortune for the coming year.  Chambers explains:

 This is also an ancient practice, and still generally kept up, as the appearance of the stage-coaches on their way to large towns at this season of the year amply testifies. In Blount's Tenures, it is noted in the tenth year of Edward IV, that John de la Hay was bound to pay to William Barnaby, Lord of Lastres, in the county of Hereford, for a parcel of the demesne lands, one goose fit for the lord's dinner, on the feast of St. Michael the archangel. Queen Elizabeth is said to have been eating her Michaelmas goose when she received the joyful tidings of the defeat of the Spanish Armada. The custom appears to have originated in a practice among the rural tenantry of bringing a good stubble goose at Michaelmas to the landlord, when paying their rent, with a view to making him lenient. In the poems of George Gascoigne, 1575, is the following passage:

And when the tenants come to pay their quarter's rent,

   They bring some fowl at Midsummer, a dish of fish in Lent,

At Christmas a capon, at Michaelmas a goose,

    And somewhat else at New-year's tide, for fear their lease fly loose.'

We may suppose that the selection of a goose for a present to the landlord at Michaelmas would be ruled by the bird being then at its perfection, in consequence of the benefit derived from stubble-feeding. It is easy to see how a general custom of having a goose for dinner on Michaelmas Day might arise from the multitude of these presents, as land-lords would of course, in most cases, have a few to spare for their friends. It seems at length to have become a superstition, that eating of goose at Michaelmas insured easy circumstances for the ensuing year. In the British Apollo, 1709, the following piece of dialogue occurs:

'Q: Yet my wife would persuade me (as I am a sinner)

To have a fat goose on St. Michael for dinner:

And then all the year round, I pray you would mind it,

I shall not want money—oh, grant I may find it!

Now several there are that believe this is true,

Yet the reason of this is desired from you.

A: We think you're so far from the having of more,

That the price of the goose you have less than before:

The custom came up from the tenants presenting

Their landlords with geese, to incline their relenting . . . 

You can find the whole article here  


Thursday, September 17, 2020

17 September -- St Albert the Lawgiver

In  the brand new (as of last July) calendar of the Discalced Carmelite Order, today is the feast of St Albert, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem who wrote the original Rule of the Carmelite Order.  He  was stabbed to death on September 14, 1214 during a liturgical procession in Acre by the Master of the Hospital of the Holy Spirit whom he had dismissed for his licentious life. The old Catholic Encyclopædia tells his life here.

 The good old Catholic Encyclopædia ends with this "curious anomaly":

The Bollandists call attention to this curious anomaly, that not at Vercelli, where he was Patriarch, not among the Canons Regular, to whom he properly belonged, but in the Order of the Carmelites, of which he was not a member, does he receive the honour of a saint. "That holy Order could not and ought not to lose the memory of him by whom it was ranked among the Orders approved by the Roman Church; in saying which", adds the writer, "I in no way wish to impugn the Carmelite claim of descent from Elias." At Vercelli Albert does not even figure as Blessed, and the Canons Regular honour him as a saint, but pay him no public cult.

The old collect, translation taken from "Saints of Carmel, Proper Offices of the Saints Granted to the Barefooted Carmelites", (1896):

O Lord! let the fullness of  Thy blessing come down upon us in abundant showers; and mayest Thou be ever appeased by the prayers of St Albert, Thy confessor and Pontiff.  Through our Lord.  Amen.

The modern one has some beautiful thoughts but, as so often in hoc sæculo, strains to present them in the most pedestrian fashion possible:

Lord God, through St Albert of Jerusalem You have given us a Rule of Life according to Your Gospel, to help us attain perfect love.  Through his prayers may we always live in allegiance to Jesus Christ and serve faithfully until death Him Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Feast of the Seven Dolours of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Come, darkness, spread o'er heaven thy pall,
And hide, O sun, thy face;
While we that bitter death recall,
With all its dire disgrace.

And thou with tearful cheek was there;
But with a heart of steel,
Mary, thou didst his moanings hear,
And all his torments feel.

He hung before thee crucified;
His flesh with scourges rent;
His bloody gashes gaping wide;
His strength and spirit spent.

Thou his dishonour'd countenance
And racking thirst didst see;
By turns the gall, the sponge, the lance
Were agony to thee.

Yet still erect in majesty,
Thou didst the sight sustain;
Oh, more than Martyr! not to die
Amid such cruel pain.

Praise to the blessed Three in One;
And be that courage mine,
Which, sorrowing o'er her only Son,
Did in the Virgin shine.

--This evening's Vespers hymn from the old Stanbrook Abbey edition of The Roman Breviary, in, I think, Fr Caswall's translation.



Monday, September 07, 2020

Sunday Mass has been available for a few weeks now.   And I attended again yesterday.  Hardly worth mentioning.  Except that it was 107° --  that's 41 point something for those of you fluent in celsius.  Which also wouldn't be worth a blogpost as our chapel is air-conditioned.  Except that we can't use the chapel.  The Virus, donncha know.  We were outdoors on the patio.  The unshaded patio.  Well, unshaded for most of us.  Happily someone provided one of those folding tent thingummies for Father.

None of us in the greatly diminished congregation got heat stroke.  But the video equipment that provides the live stream for the house-bound surely did.  It died the death shortly after the sermon.

And the point of all this is?

Well, to let you know how life is progressing for your servant here on the lower-left corner of the Republic.

Oh, all right.  Of course, it's another excuse to post Noel Coward's "Mad Dogs and Englishmen Go Out in the Midday Sun".   (I suppose if Mr Coward is right, attending Church out of doors in 107° heat made us all honorary English for that hour and a half or so.)