Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Friday, 27 June 2014

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Bit of a kerfuffle at Mass, perhaps the first time that this priest has had this holy day in this cycle from this book with this translation.

I'm not sure I will ever be sold on the multiplicity of cycles, (our sacristan can't remember that weekdays have 2 but Solemnities and Sundays mostly have three, except when they don't and if a visiting priest.... well, I do not envy the man.)

On the other hand I do love the occasional, ooh, never noticed that bit of comfort before, which a single year cycle of readings would not afford:
It was not because you are the largest of all nations
that the Lord set his heart on you and chose you,
for you are really the smallest of all nations.

It was because the Lord loved you
and because of his fidelity
 Do not fret, do not be afraid if the Mystical Body of Chrsit seems to be leaner sometimes.

And Magnificat never fails to call some gem of devotion to your attention. From a homily of Pope Benedict's, Even our shortcomings, our limitations and our weaknesses ought to bring us back to the heart of Jesus.

Isn't that wonderful to know? that our virtues, successes, and strengths may give us the desire that draws us into union with Jesus' Sacred Heart, but lacking those, the absence of those traits give us the NEED that draws us into union.

As always, He can draw straight with crooked line.

Quite a craftsman, God -- he can make do with whatever He's got in each of us. (Lucky for me!)

Thursday, 26 June 2014

“Sacrifice is the language of love”

Wow, sometimes you find something exactly when you need to, (or when the people who have to put up with you need you to....)

I don't think I read anything about the pastoral letter of Bishop James Conley, Diocese of Lincoln when it came out a few months back. The text can be found here (pdf, sorry.)

Important stuff, and an important reminder that I've got to stay out of the bear pits of blogdom a bit more, and make more time to search out reading that might actually, I dunno, improve me? And it's odd, because the apparent subject, the matter most people would probably focus on is irrelevant to me, at this stage o my life. But the principles are not.
Love—real love—is about sacrifice, and redemption, and hope. Real love is at the heart of a rich, full life. We are made for real love. And all that we do—in our lives, our careers, and our families, especially—should be rooted in our capacity for real, difficult, unfailing love.

Instrumentum Laboris for Synod on the Family Announced

The Synod in October will have three concerns, communicating the Gospel, dealing pastorally with the family in light of current realities, and helping parents with their responsibilities in the bringing up children in the Faith.
[Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops] announced that due to its importance, a day of prayer for the synod will be held Sunday, Sept. 28, and daily Mass is to be celebrated each day during the work of the Synod in the Salus Populi Romanii Chapel in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.
Think it's important?
Yeah, it is...

 “Jesus Christ reveals the mystery and vocation of the family”

Learning How To Raise Funds

When I was a kid, I remember hearing that a middle-aged woman, someone for whose kids I babysat was returning to school to take a single course in college -- "grant writing."
I thought that sounded absurd! I mean, I fill out forms all the time, look at applying to college in the first place, ya mean you need a class to teach you how to apply for a grant?

So dumb, so naive....

Via Zenit, St Meinrad's (WONDERFUL place,) is hosting "Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy's Lake Institute on Faith & Giving's..... pilot program [offering an] Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising (ECRF) September 8-11, 2014."

I think there is a great need for something like that -- so many good people and good organizations are as naive as I was, and need to know how to make certain their good work can last, can remain viable economically

Topics include, Shaping a Theology of Money, Fundraising as Ministry and Nurturing Generous Congregations.

My old diocese had a new program every couple of years with the word "stewardship" in the title, requiring the parish purchase a whole bunch of new books, forms, leaflets, charts and posters.

Very thrifty....

Some People LIKE The Music Issue

Success Kid - I Myself Am the Brat of Life

Tip of the hat, (no wag of the finger,) to Mr. C!

Redemptive Suffering

Gots to do me some reading.

A "commercial" for redemptive suffering came on EWTN, (I guess you could call it a bumper,) and Himself, a convert said, I don't get it.

Well  I certainly do, I thought, and launched into what I thought was a pretty clear explanation.

But he still didn't get it, which means I can't explain it well enough, which means I must not UNDERSTAND it well enough.

To the CCC, Robin!

Enough Preaching to the Choir

Sometimes, hanging out in areas of the internet that specialize in a special facet of a speciality -- you know what I mean, you end up saying and reading things that everyone who hangs out there already knows.
Such is often the case with Catholic sacred music and liturgy -- liturgical musicians talk about things we wish desperately Catholic NON-liturgical musicians knew, (oddly non-CATHOLIC musicians often are already aware of these things.)

I remember practically dancing a jig a number of years ago when Amy Welborn had a post about "the propers" a term and a concept previously nearly unknown to her.

Well Jimmy Akins, (whose expertise is essentially apologetics, I believe,) has a 'Secret Info' email list, it's interesting, easily digestible things about the Faith, often, it seems so far, culled from the works of future Doctor of the Church Pope Benedict XVI, so, as you'd imagine, it really appeals to me.

The one sitting in my inbox today is, 7 Liturgical Terms You Need to Know.

It will be great, from my point of view, if his readership all know what Antiphon, Ordinary, Proper and Rubrics mean (I admit, I'm near to giving up on Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, and I don't know how the average PIP's spiritual life will be affected by knowing that what used to be called a prayer is a Collect, or what Epiclesis means. )

Anyway, y'all go read this, and sign up for his stuff.
I've even gotten past the fact that he's a man with red hair.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Now THAT'S a Sense of Occasion

How do you mark your festivities?
I should remember this for my next birthday.
A quip by the late Fr Edward Holloway, founder of the Faith Movement, when he was celebrating his 50th: "I feel that on these occasions, rather than celebrating so wildly, one should make a good act of contrition."
Fr Finnegan's post from which I drew the charming quip was remembering his own ordination, and also featured this beautiful sentiment, accompanying a snap of his large family:
Missing from the photo but not from the liturgy (which includes the Church militant, the Church suffering and the Church triumphant) is my brother Gerry who died in 1979.
I know what he means, exactly. It is a great comfort, to be certain of that. I have sometimes, several times, had the most overpowering sense of the presence of my dear Father, after he had been gone for decades -- and always in Church, and usually in Mass.
There is no doubt in my mind, and as I say, it is a great comfort.

"Act of Contrition" remind me - at dinner once, while some tow-headed niece or nephew was preparing for a sacrament, there were maybe six of the dozen siblings, all of us but one having gone through the same "Faith Formation," in the same parish, and never with a break of more than two years from another. We knew, we had been taught -- SIX DIFFERENT VERSIONS of the Act of Contrition.

That's okay, I think we all learned differrent "versions" of everything the Church teaches.

The Splendor of Confusion....


No criticism at all, but sometimes I think I've stumbled on to The Onion when I'm reading the Vatican Information Service.

Speaking of the Ordinariate -

 -- an embarrassment of riches, and a tough choice.
(Well, not really, no question at all of what we'd choose.)

Heading for Indianpolis this weekend, Himself had a suburban parish he thought quite lovely last time he was vistied and wanted to show me the Sunday before the CMAA Colloquium starts.

Then, we discovered there's an Anglican Use parish in Indianapolis.
Yes, please! (He, like I, have been eager to partake...)

THEN we learn it's not a parish, it's a society, which is part of a parish and the Anglican Use Mass is pretty early in the morning, which can be problematic for traveling, (not sure how far we will have gotten driving the day before.)

Oh, wait, the same parish, besides preserving the Anglican patrimony, offers both EF and OF, which is pretty much an iron-clad guarantee of a carefully and reverently and beautifully celebrated Lituy whenever you attend. (Don't wish to offend, but it must be admitted that some EF groups have a bunker mentality which does not further the aims of achieving a sacred, beautiful and universal experience.)

And it gets better!
Archbishop Joseph Tobin, Archbishop of Indianapolis, will be celebrating a Pontifical High Mass at the Throne in the Extraordinary Form at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Indianapolis on Sunday, June 29 at 11:30, for the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.
But then, we learned that if we really haul, we can get to our former parish, where I worked for a number of years, which on that very day and no other is celebrating a Mass of Thanksgiving and farewell for our pastor who is retiring.

He is a lovely man and a fine priest, and a Father who is like a Father to me.

So really, is there any doubt where we will hear Mass this Sunday?

How fortunate we are to be able to say good-by, one more time.

Out of the Know

Fascinating and frustrating blog by the estimable Fr Hunwicke, of Liturgical Notes, about highly place  men of the Church, (of E,) who seemed ready to come Rome home, and actually worked toward it and now are acting as if nothing happened, step along then, nothing to see here....

The post reads a bit like a blind item on a gossip page to out-of-the-know me, American, RC, and with just the barest knowledge of the complicated goings-on in Anglicanism -- who are these people? would they be instantly and easily identified by Fr H's British readers? or Episcopalians, for that matter...

Whoever he's talking about, I find his crusty kindness very admirable.
Most of us are now in the Ordinariate; but others, including some of those who seemed most enthusiastic and vocal about the 'Roman Option', are still with the remnants in the Church of England, [including] a secret group of Anglican bishops (seven diocesans and at least a couple of others) who made secret dead-of-night visits with secret overtures to Rome but who drew their secret and trembling toes back up out of the water when Benedict XVI made public his offer of an Ordinariate.... inexplicably, have been nowhere to be seen since the publication of Anglicanorum coetibus.

Of one thing I am sure. When their time comes, it must be made easy for them (and indeed also for those ex-diocesan bishops, if only they can be man enough and humble enough). There must be no unpleasant nonsense about how they missed the opportunity when the 'terms' were easy. Men who have spent 50 years in the Sacred Priesthood, who are priests to their fingertips, must not be told that they are "too old" for the presbyterate of the Ordinariate; that never again can they expect to stand at an altar holding in their hands the Adorable Sacrifice, that vocation which in the Mind of the Eternal was theirs before the ages began. There must be no subtle (or unsubtle!) systems of discouragement. The spirit of Benedict's gracious intentions must be honoured to the full. The doors must be widely and generously and permanently open. These are good and able men, fine priests, who are called by God to give service in His Vineyard.
Dear Lord, I need want an Ordinariate parish near us, so badly.

"Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus"?

The Holy Father said that
In the Church there is no such thing as a “do-it-yourself” attitude there is no such thing as a free agent”. How often did Pope Benedict describe the Church as an ecclesial “we”! Sometimes we hear people say: “I believe in God, I believe in Jesus, but I’m not interested in the Church…” Some believe they can have a personal, direct and immediate relationship with Jesus Christ, outside communion with the Church and without the Church’s mediation. This will not do. These are dangerous and harmful temptations. They are absurd dichotomies as Paul VI used to say. It is true that walking together takes effort and may sometimes be tough: there may be brothers and sisters who cause us problems or scandal… But the Lord has entrusted his message of salvation to humans, to all of us, to witnesses; and it is through our brothers and sisters with their gifts and their faults that he approaches us and reveals himself to us. This is what it means to belong to the Church.” Essentially, you cannot love God without loving your brothers and sisters; you cannot love God outside the Church; you cannot be in communion with God without being in communion with the Church and we cannot be good Christians if not together with all those who seek to follow the Lord Jesus, as one people, as one body.

Oh my.
Sounds like something one of those former popes, the mean ones would have said, can  this be our Francis?
Extra, Extra, Breaking News (broken record?)! The pope is Catholic.

Now before you have the vapors, and clutch your beads, remember this -- the "Church" is God's people on earth.
Got that? God's people.
Salieri in Amadeus and Iago in Otello aside, who among us, of any or even no religion, sets himself outside of "God's people"?
It would be a remarkable, spiritually suicidal course to follow.
Who says the good God exists and I don't wish to be on His team?
No one.
Even an atheist and theophobe does not, because one does not choose to step outside of what one does not perceive to exist.

All things considered, I'd rather be in Phildelphia....

No, no, I am not disparaging Philthy-delphia Philadelphia, just quoting Caustic Boresavage.

Rather than mention the name of a particular hamlet and then explain where and what it is, as we prepare to head north, Himself has simply said, "going to Chicago."

Well, little did he know that amongst the denizens of the nursing home/assisted living facility where he ministers, and where he said this more than once, "gone to Chicago" is the residents' euphemism for having died.

Kind of like the witches who left for Bloksbjerg yesterday.

Me, I would rather be in Bloksbjerg, or Philadelphia, or Chicago, or just about anywhere, the solstice came and it was as if the weather gnomes flipped a switch. I may hibernate...

Florida seems to be filled with old people, but I'm beginning to think that is not, as commonly believed, because people retire to here when they are old.

Florida MAKES them old.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

"Please, call me....."

... anything but late for dinner?

USCatholic's Katherine Attanasi wants to know, is it all right to call God "Mother"?

I gotta ask, did He ever TELL ya to, Katherine?

Because, ya know, He, that is, God, told us, yeah, actually told us, IN SO MANY WORDS, we could call God a form of "Father," but He's never told me I should call Him "Mother", or "Ma", or "Mums", or "Mommy", or even "Mater".

Why, He's told you something different?

So I'd say, short answer to you question? "no".

Long answer? noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

Maybe I'm too much of a stickler, but when I've just been introduced to someone as "Edward" I don't take it upon myself to christen someone to Ted, or Ed, or Eddie baby.

I wouldn't do that, Katherine. (Kitty? Kate? Cathy? Kat? Katrinka? Skippy? Katt-Att? Princess? NO, see?)

Better Coffee

Am I the last one to learn this?
I you have a cup, (or pot,) of not very good coffee, (a more and more frequent occurrence, it seems, as the supply gets worse and more expensive,) adding a few grains of table salt helps the taste immeasurably.

Accident in the Kitchen

They used to, (perhaps still do?) market a gadget for people who knew they were drunks, (or whose governors knew...) that was somehow tied in with the ignition of a car so that if the subject's blood alcohol level were too high for him to be driving, the car simply would not start.

I ought to have a device that prevents me from accessing  -- well, touching anything with moving parts, until I have sufficient caffeine in my system.

Most people who have assisted in the toilet training of a boy person... oh, I just realized, intorducing that topic into a post with that title is misleading, BE NOT AFRAID.

There was no accident of that nature in the kitchen....most people who have assisted in the toilet training of a boy person know that little ones, and John Belushi  in Animal House are easily distracted, and have to be reminded to either stay facing in one direction or learn to turn their heads while keeping their bodies and male equipment immovable.

So the female, or at least kitchen equivalent of that is using a hand held mixer on batter, and thoughtless taking a few steps to retrieve another ingredient without either turning the mixer of or putting it down.

Because otherwise what happens is, um... well, it's obvious.

It's been my month for such accidents.
I DID turn off the mixer a few days ago, (my pastry chef houseguest has inspired me,) and set it down on end (as is proper,) on the counter while rummaging around for the cardomom, and it became unbalcanced, fell to the floor, landed on its switch, and turned itself on.

Kind of a Jackson Pollocky thing, ribbons of well beaten egg and sugar festooning the room....

Monday, 23 June 2014

The Trouble With News Via Sound Bite

Skimming along the surface of information, we, all of us, needing to depend on second hand information as it were, read or hear a few words, a single word, and don't know what to think, what to believe.
A headline, a tweet, a crawl across the bottom of the screen on a "news" station?

Communication by such limited means is useless -- how many times has someone demanded your opinion on something, X should do Y, right?.... I mean, right? or probably in reality, tried to sound you out in hopes you affirm his own stance, when it is clear that he knows no more about the subject at hand than can be contained in 140 characters.

Well, [my favorite singer] says so, so right?
The sports "hero" I follow says that....

And to some extent, this is the way human society has to work - no one can be everywhere and witness everything and be aware of all human knowledge and look into each event that interests or effects him, we have to take most of what we "know" on trust.
People often seem perturbed when I say that "All I know about [whatever] is what I just heard on [name the tv channel] so I really couldn't say."

And I have certainly been upset with myself when I have had a knee-jerk reaction to a story, formed an "opinion" only to find out that it was presented in a completely false way. Heck,  headlines are often flat out contradicted by the details in a story.

So your call really has to be, whom do you trust?
Matt Drudge? Diane Sawyer? Lady Gaga?
What organization, the New York Times? Comedy Central? Pravda?
What governing body, the UN? the Obama administration? the government of Kim Jong Un? the Republican Caucus?

And the way news is delivered, blurring into infotainment, and relying on constant sizzle even when there's no steak to lure consumers, (and that is what we are, "consumers" of information,) compounds the difficulty.

The shallowness and lack of detail that results from the purveyors' dread of the consumers' short attention span leads to a reliance on buzzwords and bullet points that gives an even more skewed picture of what is being presented.

Case in point, a couple months ago the received wisdom was that Brendan Eich was a "homophobe" because a few years ago he gave a donation to a political campaign in support of the, apparently shockingly new to some citizens, opinion that “Only marriage between a man and a woman [should be] valid or recognized in California.”
Frankly, I only became aware because first, some sites I regularly  go to online would not allow me access via Mozilla Firefox, my usual browser, and then after Eich was fired stepped down, other sites wouldn't let me on with Firefox.

The firing resignation bothered me, because the logical outcome, if those responsible for Eich's ouster get their way, seemed to me to be that since at least 2 out of 5 Americans feel the same way, (and why is that "homophobic"? wouldn't it be just as logical to claim it was "polygamiphobic"? I digress,) the nation should be headed for an unemployment rate of 40%.

That doesn't seem like a good plan.

I read a bit about a brouhaha over a Georgian operatic soprano, cut loose from an Australian production because of "homophobic" comments.

Oh, great, here we go again.... but not really.
Because the sheer ugliness of what this woman said, the inhumanity of her applauding actual violence visited upon people is clearly "homophobia" -- but to apply the same word to someone acting in a civil manner in a civil society exercising his right to work for the recognition of a truth an article of belief that had been until very recently universally accepted is stupid.
Stupid and unfair.
And it devalues the word.

(Which, by the way, is, I believe, pretty close to one of the points a columnist with whom I seldom agree about ANYTHING was trying to make, [or should have been trying to make,]  in an otherwise pretty lame opinion piece --  applying the term "sexual assault" to a "micro-aggression" belittles genuine victims of rape and assault.)

But of course, to get back to my original point - how do I know the facts in the Tamar Iveri case as presented by Limelight are accurate?


Sunday, 22 June 2014

Stefan Kocán

Okay, I don't usually crush on basses, more specifically, the bass sound, (okay, there was Jim Morris when I was a kid, but not usually,) but Stefan Kocán as Khan in Prince Igor which is on Great Performances on PBS just now, knocked me out with that aria, (which in this Met Production is part of a fever dream Igor has in a poppy field. )
That sound!

Boy howdy.
(Apparently, he's a Verdi specialist, so a Youtube search is in order.)

But seriously, how does a field of poppies cost $169,000? 
That report cannot have been true.

The Seven Prayers of St John Fisher

Sometimes called the Seven Sentences, they were part of a devotional St John wrote for his sister while in prison awaiting his martyrdom at the hands of Henry VIII and his headsman.
There's a good article about them, and a meditation on them, here.
I was thinking that put into simpler, no that's wrong they are beautifully simple, put into more contemporary language I might use them for religious ed this year.

O blessed Jesu, make me to love Thee entirely.

O blessed Jesu, I would fain, but without Thy help I cannot.

O blessed Jesu, let me deeply consider the greatness of Thy love towards me.

O blessed Jesu, give unto me grace heartily to thank Thee for Thy benefits.

O blessed Jesu, give me good will to serve Thee and to suffer.

O sweet Jesu, give me a natural remembrance of Thy Passion.

O sweet Jesu, possess my heart, hold and keep it only to Thee.

Words of Wisdom for the Kitchen

"There is hardly a recipe or food that cannot be improved by the addition of bacon, cinnamon, chocolate, cream sherry, or grated parmesan -- or some combination thereof."

I should have read more carefully....

The passage from St Faustina in the little devotional essay that I cited actually made the opposite of the point I thought it had -- that the Blessed Sacrament is not only the remedy for the sickness of sin....

I really do appreciate the "extras" in Magnificat, the analysis of sacred artworks, the little bits of devotional reading, conversion sotires, the "Saints who were XXX" features.
Probably more than the orders for liturgy, truth be told, since what I thought were Liturgy of the Hours are fabricated, and theorders for Mass are sometimes whimsically at odds with the Missal.

"Ecce Panis Angelorum!"

Behold, the Bread of Angels!

What a delightful surprise, a priest notable for taking the shortest option the rubrics allow, (and sometimes ones they actually don't....) had us do the optional sequence this morning.

Spoken, not sung, but even so.... and the entire poem, not the short version.

Two weeks ago we omitted Veni Sancte Spiritus, (required!) and I assumed as pastor that was his choice, but it seems it may have been the visiting celebrant.

And a wonderful homily.

(I think the chant for the verse that begins "Ecce..." is one of the most haunting of the entire Gregorian repertoire. Who know, maybe one day we'll chant it here?)