Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Thursday, 31 March 2011

An Enormous "Thank You"...

... to a person whose very existence I had never contemplated.
But of course, Catholic Hierarchy, the superbly useful and user-friendly website is a labor of love by one individual who chose to make a difference.
Gratitude and admiration, (and prayers,) are owed David Cheney.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The Annunciation of the Lord

What shall you be doing for Annunciation?
(I've been p***ed off about my hometown parish's Faith Formation and general sloppiness in everything [except music] ever since I learned, as an adult, that this was one of two days when we are to genuflect during the Creed when we confess our belief in the Incarnation. Of course, how widespread is the honoring of the rubric to bow profoundly the rest of the year...) (Bitter much, G? Snap out of it.)

Doesn't this sound delightful? (I hope it doesn't make me out as too much of an aesthete to be drawn to the idea of a "harp orchestra" without any knowledge whatever of the parish's liturgical or theological rigor? (Where is Sherman Oaks, CA, I wonder...) (Oh, and does that peg my sensibilities as quaint or worse to have a soft spot for Gounod?)

And I admit that if I were in New York, I might look for a simple Catholic Mass and then attend Matins, and the organ recital and even "Mass" in the evening as executed by these good people, (Durufle? it almost hurts when I think that IF there's any music to add solemnity the the Solemnity at the local parish, it'd be Hail Mary Gentle Woman...)

St John Cantius is only having a low Mass, but that presumably is so that it is ended in time and dovetails with Stations of the Cross, a Lenten sermon, Compline and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament, so it might be churlish to want more...splendor? But it IS a solemnity after all.

Also in the Chicago area, there is this which sounds wonderful, (bring a sweater, if you go... is there a draftier church? But Msgr Wach is a fine preacher, and the music promises to be wonderful.)

Anyone have any place else to recommend?

Oh, and just so' ya know, (a la Canon 1251,):
Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. {emphasis supplied] Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

St Joseph's Day

A holy day very close to my heart.

The wonderful and eloquent Fr Kirby of Vultus Christi give us a poem and this, a prayer of his own devising:
O glorious Saint Joseph,
who, on the word of the angel
speaking to you in the night,
put fear aside to take your Virgin Bride into your home,
show yourself today the advocate and protector of priests.
Protector of the Infant Christ,
defend them against every attack of the enemy,
preserve them from the dangers that surround them
on every side.
Remember Herod's threats against the Child,
the anguish of the flight into Egypt by night,
and the hardships of your exile.
Stand by the accused;
stretch out your hand to those who have fallen;
comfort the fearful;
forsake not the weak;
and visit the lonely.
Let all priests know that in you
God has given them a model
of faith in the night, obedience in adversity,
chastity in tenderness, and hope in uncertainty.
You are the terror of demons
and the healer of those wounded in spiritual combat.
Come to the defence of every priest in need;
overcome evil with good.
Where there are curses, put blessings,
where harm has been done, do good.
Let there be joy for the priests of the Church,
and peace for all under your gracious protection.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Joyful Solemnity

I may have posted of this before, but a blog of Fr Z's recalled it to my mind, and it is a topic that bears repeating.
In his "Preface to Paradise Lost", C.S.Lewis discourses on that most useful Middle English word, solempne:
From its early association with the heroic court, there comes into Epic Poetry a quality ... which moderns find difficult to understand. It has been split up [now] so that we now have to represent it by piecing together what seem to us quite unconnected ideas, but are really fragments of that old unity.

This quality will be understood by anyone who really understands the meaning of the Middle English word solempne. This means something different, but not quite different, from modern English solemn. Like solemn it implies the opposite of what is familiar, free and easy, or ordinary. But unlike solemn it does not suggest gloom, oppression, or austerity.

The Solempne is the festal which is also the stately and the ceremonial, the proper occasion for pomp — and the very fact that pompous is now used only in a bad sense measures the degree to which we have lost the old idea of “solemnity.” To recover it you must think of a court ball, or a coronation, or a victory march, as these things appear to people who enjoy them; in an age when every one puts on his oldest clothes to be happy in, you must re-awake the simpler state of mind in which people put on
gold and scarlet to be happy in.

Above all, you must be rid of the hideous idea, fruit of a widespread inferiority complex, that pomp, on the proper occasions, has any connexion with vanity or self-conceit. A celebrant approaching the altar, a princess led out by a king to dance a minuet, a general officer on a ceremonial parade, a major-domo preceding the boar’s head at a Christmas feast — all these wear unusual clothes and move with calculated dignity. This does not mean that they are vain, but that they are obedient; they are obeying the hoc age [lit. “do this”] which presides over every solemnity. The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is no proof of humility; rather, it proves the offender’s inability to forget himself in the rite, and his readiness to spoil for every one else the proper pleasure of ritual.
Today, Fr Z, in deconstructing a collect*, has this to say:
Sollemniter is a very cool word. It is an adverb from sollemnis. Sollemnis has to do with the sun, sol. Thus, sollemnis points to an annual event, something appointed to take place, such as a festival or sacrifice or games in honor of the gods. Thus it also signifies usual or customary religious ceremonies. Sollemniter has a deep religious overtone to it in which one needs to hear an echo of the earth whirling around the sun.
Didn't know that connection with "sun." As he says, cool.

Oh, and in case you were confused, Awesome God? Not solempne.... and I hope I shan't have to suffer its annual hearing this year, (ah, the joys of unemployment!)

*Da, quaesumus, Domine, fidelibus tuis
observationi paschali convenienter aptari,
ut suscepta sollemniter castigatio corporalis
cunctis ad fructum proficiat animarum.

“The Bridegroom is coming!”

Prayers are asked for the soul of the beloved Sister "Ginger"

I could not imagine a more merry saint.

James MacMillan on EWTN

Just saw that there is an interview withthe always interesting and provocative James MacMillan on EWTN this afternoon.

One of the perks of couch potatohood...

(It may be a rerun, but since I have had no access to EWTN for nigh on half a year, it'll be new to me at any rate.)

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Did someone say "Gregorian chant"?

Giving half an ear to Letterman last night, I heard something like this:

Catholics dress up for Mass,
And listen to Gregorian chants,
While atheists just take a pass,
Watch football in their underpants.

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers (?) sang a brilliant bit of white gospel, "atheists ain't got no songs."