Saturday, May 29, 2010

Blogging hiatus

....May was a fierce month at work and I operated on three to four hours of sleep per night all month long. Needless to say, I'm exhausted. School's out, so my break from teaching has begun. However, RCIA begins anew in a couple of weeks. So, bear with the silence for now. Silence allows for regeneration. I'll be tackling my reading pile and enjoying the reduced stress.

Take care. Have a lovely Memorial Weekend. Most importantly, have a wonderful Feast of the Blessed Trinity, the close of the Pentecost Octave, for those of us observing the Old Calendar.

Oh, by the by, today is Ember Saturday.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Places of Beauty

~from today's address by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI in Portugal:
Dear friends, the Church considers that her most important mission in today’s culture is to keep alive the search for truth, and consequently for God; to bring people to look beyond penultimate realities and to seek those that are ultimate. I invite you to deepen your knowledge of God as he has revealed himself in Jesus Christ for our complete fulfilment. Produce beautiful things, but above all make your lives places of beauty. May Our Lady of Belém intercede for you, she who has been venerated down through the centuries by navigators, and is venerated today by the navigators of Goodness, Truth and Beauty.

Humor Break

...from the archives. Zadok gave us this three years ago.

The Vigil of the Feast of the Ascension

Tomorrow is the Feast of the Ascension. Really. Some dioceses haven't followed the crowd. Alas, here we get to celebrate Ascension Thursday Sunday, as Fr. Z calls it. His rant is way better than anything I can come up with, so click here to read it.

At our parish, we'll get to celebrate Ascension tomorrow, in the classical rite, and then on Sunday in the Novus Ordo.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Oldest known footage of Pope

...Leo XIII from 1896. The audio of the Pope chanting Ave Maria is from 1903. Thanks to uCatholic for the post. Love the tagline, "Catholic Traditions in the Modern World."

Revising the wretched

....for the new Mass translations. I couldn't resist a bit of editing. Click on image for larger res.

I would rather use the chants ICEL provided on their website. At least those are based on Gregorian settings. But, we don't have to settle for just this one setting. The wonderful people at Musica Sacra have adapted several Mass settings from Gregorian Ordinary Mass settings. Click here. The links are now live. Previous to the recognitio, the settings were available only via e-mail awaiting the day of release from constraints.

The future is now. All things old are once again new! Be on the cutting edge. Teach your congregations what is timeless in tune. Because frankly, Mass of Creation is dull and dated. Like beehive hair. And the zoot suit.

Training for holiness

~from the Preface to the Liber Brevior.
Holy Mother the Church has received from God the charge of training the souls of the faithful in all holiness, and for this noble end has ever made a happy use of the help of the sacred Liturgy. Wherein - in order that men's minds may not be sundered by differences, but that, on the contrary, the unity which gives vigour and beauty to the mystical body of Christ might flourish unimpaired - she has been zealous to keep the traditions of our forefathers, ever trying diligently to discover and boldly to restore any which might have been forgotten in the course of the ages.

Now among those things which most nearly touch the sacred Liturgy, being as it were interwoven therein and giving it splendour and impressiveness, the first place must be assigned to the Sacred Chant. We have, indeed, all learnt from experience that it gives a certain breadth to divine worship and uplifts the mind in wondrous wise to heavenly things. Wherefore the Church has never ceased to recommend the use of the Chant, and has striven with the greatest assiduity and diligence to prevent its decline from its pristine dignity.

To this end liturgical music must possess those characteristics which make it preeminently sacred and adapted to the good of souls. It must surely emphasise above all else the dignity of divine worship, and at the same time be able to express pleasantly and truly the sentiments of the christian soul. It must also be catholic, answering to the needs of every people, country and age, and combine simplicity with artistic perfection.
So why are we stuck in the 70s and 80s with Haugen/Haas? Why haven't we outgrown the silliness of this music? Is anyone really convinced the "Mass of Creation" combines simplicity with artistic perfection?

At the Pilgrims' Mass that we assisted in at Santiago de Compostola, the celebrant said, "We are from many lands and languages, so we will sing in the language of Mother Church." So we sang the Ordinary in Latin and the Paternoster in Latin. Can you imagine how powerful that was? To be in an ancient place of pilgrimage, partaking of Holy Eucharist, chanting in the language of the Church, with fellow pilgrims from all over the world chanting in one voice, in one language.

Why is it that at diocesan liturgical events we must sing and pray in every other language in God's green earth taking an eternity to get through it all, and ignore the mother tongue of the Church? Instead, the simplicity of Agnus Dei gets overblown into a market bazaar of languages, highlighting our ethnicities, balkanizing us. But God forbid we sing it in Latin because no one understands it. Note to liturgists, I've taught our pre-Kindergarten class the Agnus Dei and the Sanctus, explained to them the meanings, made a game of it. And guess what? They know it, they sing it. At every school Mass, putting to shame the adults who would not deign to sing Latin. Or worse, leave the church for somewhere else, like a Pentecostal church (because speaking in tongues there is more desirable than Latin). Oh, and half of the kids in the pre-K class are not Catholic. And no, they haven't burst into flames for singing Latin or Gregorian chant, for that matter.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Pro-Life Video Website

Check out the new video website You can upload your pro-life videos, just like YouTube but without fear of being expunged.

Source: Jill Stanek.

I think I'll upload videos of our First Saturday Rosary Processions.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Hail, Star of the Ocean

One of my most favorite Marian hymns. I use the tune for improvisations on the organ for preludes and communion.

Ave maris stella, Dei Mater alma, atque semper Virgo, felix caeli porta.

Sumens illud Ave Gabrielis ore, funda nos in pace, mutans Hevae nomen.

Solve vincula reis, profer lumen caecis mala nostra pelle, bona cuncta posce.

Monstra te esse matrem: sumat per te preces, qui pro nobis natus, tulit esse tuus.

Virgo singularis, inter omnes mites, nos culpis solutos, mites fac et castos.

Vitam praesta puram, iter para tutum: ut videntes Iesum semper collaetemur.

Sit laus Deo Patri, summo Christo decus, Spiritui Sancto, tribus honor unus. Amen.

Thou Art Fair

Tota pulchra es Maria setting by Anton Bruckner

Tóta púlchra es, María, et mácula originális non est in te. Vestiméntum túum cándidum quasi nix, et fácies túa sicut sol. Tóta púlchra es, María, et mácula originális non est in te. Tu glória Jerúsalem, tu laetítia Israel, tu honorificéntia pópuli nóstri. Tóta púlchra es,María.

Feast of Pope Pius V the Traditional Calendar.

O God, Who when Thou wast pleased to break the teeth of them that hate thy Church, and to restore again the solemn worship of thyself, didst choose the blessed Pope Pius to work for thee in that matter, grant that he may still be a tower of strength for us grant that we also may be more than conquerors over all that make war upon our souls, and in the end may enter into perfect peace in thy presence.

Pray for us, dear Saint of God, in the struggles current in the Church against wolves within and without.

Effects of Abortion on Siblings

~by Fr. Frank Pavone. The effects of abortion aren't confined to the parents but to subsequent children, too. Children are haunted by mystery children. Please read. There are scores and scores of abortion survivors and this article differentiates the types of abortion survivors.
"A woman reported telling her nine year old son about her abortion, which had taken place years before he was born. He said, 'I knew, Mom, that there was something wrong. I always have nightmares about knives and my mother killing me. I have an imaginary brother who wants to kill me. If you had not aborted the other, would you have aborted me?'" (Abortion Survivors, p.36).

This is a story repeated more times than most people realize, and representing a societal and pastoral problem whose proportions are greater today than at any previous time in history: the phenomenon of tens of millions of abortion survivors.

It is clear that abortion's primary victim is the child who is killed. It has also become increasingly clear that to kill the child is to harm the mother and father as well. What is not always so well known, however, is that abortion makes its impact felt on those who have had a sibling aborted, and that this impact is felt in surprising and astonishing ways, which also have wider implications for the whole of society.
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Swamped work. Working stiff woes. Putting in 15-hour days, 7 days a week. Friends who returned from Italy brought me a bottle of limoncello. My friends call it "liquid gold". Ahh, little pleasures of life. Anyway, the taste transported me to Sorrento and the Amalfi coast.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

May is the month of Mary


O Flower of flowers, Our Lady of the May!
Thou gavest us the World's one Light of Light:
Under the stars, amid the snows, He lay;
While Angels, through the Galilean night
Sang glory and sang peace:
Nor doth their singing cease,
For thou their Queen and He their King sit crowned
Above the stars, above the bitter snows;
They chant to thee, the Lily, to Him the Rose,
With white Saints kneeling round.
Gone is cold night: thine now are spring and day:
O Flower of flowers, our Lady of the May!

O Flower of flowers, our Lady of the May!
Thou gavest us the blessed Christmas mirth:
And now, not snows, but blossoms, light thy way;
We give thee the fresh flower-time of the earth.
These early flowers we bring,
Are angels of the spring,
Spirits of gracious rain and light and dew.
Nothing so like to thee the whole earth yields,
As these pure children of her vales and fields,
Bright beneath skies of blue.
Hail Holy Queen! Their fragrant breathings say:
O Flower of flowers, our Lady of the May!
O Flower of flowers, our Lady of the May!
Breathe from God's garden of eternal flowers
Blessing, when we thy little children pray:
Let thy soul's grace steal gently over ours.
Send on us dew and rain,
That we may bloom again,
Nor wither in the dry and parching dust.
Lift up our hearts, till with adoring eyes,
O Morning Star! We hail thee in the skies,
Star of our hope and trust!
Sweet Star, sweet Flower, there bid thy beauty stay:
O Flower of flowers, our Lady of the May!

O Flower of flowers, Our Lady of the May!
Thou leftest lilies rising from thy tomb:
They shone in stately and serene array,
Immaculate amid death's house of gloom.
Ah, let thy graces be
Sown in our dark hearts! We
Would make our hearts gardens for thy dear care:
Watered from wells of Paradise, and sweet
With balm winds flowing from the Mercy Seat,
And full of heavenly air:
While music ever in thy praise should play,
O Flower of flowers, our Lady of the May!

O Flower of flowers, our Lady of the May!
Not only for ourselves we plead, God's Flower!
Look on thy blinded children, who still stray,
Lost in this pleasant land, thy chosen Dower!
Send us a perfect spring:
Let faith arise and sing,
And England from her long, cold winter wake.
Mother of Mercy! Turn upon her need
Thine eyes of mercy: be there spring indeed:
So shall thine Angels make
A starrier music, than our hearts can say,
O Flower of flowers, our Lady of the May!

~Lionel Johnson

Vestments of Prelates in the Catholic Church

Found this lovely little book which explains the different items proper to the dignity of prelates in the Catholic Church.

I think perhaps that one of the reasons we so dislike ceremony is that we must recollect ourselves. To remember the dignity of others, including ourselves, in solemn events. It's so much easier to dare others to despise our slouchiness, "Despise me, if you dare" than to take care of our manners of dress and addressing others.

Anyway, I had fun reading through this book.

The Beauty of Thy House

There's a discussion going on at WDTPRS sparked by a question buried within a not-very-good criticism of last Saturday's Solemn Pontifical High Mass.

The question is "how did Saturday’s "solemn high pontifical Mass in the extraordinary form" bear witness to the kingdom of God Jesus announced"?

How sad that the Psalmist statement has been forgotten, "I have loved, O Lord, the beauty of Thy house, and the place where Thy glory dwelleth." (Ps. 25:8)

How beautifully the Psalmist reminds us that God's house is where we encounter the glory of God. We have forgotten this in our minimalist liturgies, our relaxed dress and manners at Mass. We are so very proud of the lean-ness, the stripped-down nature of our liturgies as though this is our offering of humility to the Lord.

Indeed, God desires a humble heart. But at worship, our eyes are lifted from our navels to the glory of God. Instead, we are moved by deep joy to offer our very best for His glory. And for a brief moment in time, what St. Gregory the Great said about consecration, "...the heavens are opened...things below are joined to things on high..." We are caught up in the Divine action for our salvation that is revealed to us in the liturgy of the Mass. It's more than just a meal. It is Divine Wedding Banquet.

In the book Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI, in the chapter on the Lord's Prayer, he talked about how we try to bring heaven down to earth instead of earth being lifted up heavenward. Gerard Manley Hopkins, in the poem "The Grandeur of God", refers to all being "bleared, smeared with toil." The line above speaks to "generations have trod, have trod, have trod", an emphatic understanding of the way we are trapped in the misery and sterility of work.

Is it not right, then, that when we enter the Lord's rest in His House to give him glory, we put aside the "trade" and revel in God's glory. In it we are given refreshment, we are given strength to go on in the toil of our crosses, our daily grind. The scandal of our sins and failures recede when confronted by the ceremony and rituals of the liturgy, we are mesmerized by the glory of God, and we live into the joy of the Lord's salvation.

*Photo of the apse at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, taken during one of my many pilgrimages there.*