Monday, March 19, 2018

Well Said: Unconsciously bearing testimony to God

I maintain that whatever either our lawgivers of philosophers uttered well, they elaborated by finding and contemplating some part of the Word. But since they did not know the whole of the Word, which is Christ, they often contradicted themselves … For all these writers were able to see realities darkly through the sowing of the implanted word that was in them … it was the work of Divine Providence on your behalf, that they, though often unconsciously, bore testimony to what the prophets said regarding one God … It is not, mind you, that we Christians hold the same opinions as your poets, but that all speak in imitation of ours.
St. Justin
More proof that Catholics have long relished looking for God's fingerprints in everything. Love it!

Worth a Thousand Words: A Street in Venice

John Singer Sargent, A Street in Venice

Solemnity of St. Joseph

Good news! NO FASTING on a solemnity. So enjoy a break from your Lenten fasting while giving thanks for St. Joseph. May he help us to all be so self-giving and faithful.

Giuseppe Maria Lo Spagnolo Crespi - Death of Saint Joseph [c.1712]
Via Gandalf's Gallery
The season of Lent is interrupted by the Solemnity of Joseph, Husband of Mary. With the exception of Our Lady, there is no greater saint in Heaven than Saint Joseph. This feast originated in the fifteenth century and was then extended to the whole church in 1621. In 1847 Pope Pius IX named Saint Joseph Patron of the Universal Church. Pope John XXIII had Saint Joseph's name included in the Roman Canon.

Here was an ordinary man to whom God granted extraordinary graces. Joseph was to fulfill a most singular mission in the salvific design of God. He experienced indescribable joys along with the trials of doubt and suffering. We recall his perplexity at the mystery of Mary's conception, at the extreme of material poverty in Bethlehem, at the prophecies of Simeon in the Temple, at the hurried flight into Egypt, at the difficulties of having to live in a foreign land, at the return from Egypt and the threat posed by Archelaus. Joseph proved himself always faithful to the will of God. He showed himself always ready to set aside his own human plans and considerations.

The explanation for this remarkable fidelity is that Jesus and Mary were at the centre of Joseph's life. Joseph's self-giving is an interweaving of faithful love, loving faith and confident hope. His feast is thus a good opportunity for us to renew our commitment to the Christian calling God has given each of us. (St. J. Escrivá, Christ is passing by)

In Conversation with God, Vol. 6: Special Feasts: January to June

Sunday, March 18, 2018

7th Sunday of St. Joseph

Coronation of Joseph, Valdés Leal, c, 1670

The Fatherly Intercession of St. Joseph

The fatherly intercession of Saint Joseph in the Church is a prolongation of the authority he exercised over Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, and Mary, Mother of the Church. This is the reason why Saint Joseph has been declared Patron of the Universal Church. That home in Nazareth contained all the elements of the nascent Church. It is fitting that Joseph care for the Church in the same holy manner in which he watched over the Holy Family  in Nazareth. (Pope Leo XIII) ...

Saint Joseph's mission extends to the end of time. His fatherhood applies to each one of us. Saint Teresa of Avila has written: Would that I could persuade all men to have devotion to this glorious Saint; for I know by long experience what blessings he can obtain for us from God. I have never known any one who was really devoted to him, and who honored him by particular services, who did not visibly grow more and more in virtue; for he helps in a special way those souls who commend themselves to him. It is now some years since I have always on his feast asked him for something and I have always received it. If the petition be in any way amiss, he directs it aright for my greater good.
In Conversation with God: Volume Six: Special Feasts: January - June

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Weekend Joke: Didn't Get the Job

There are plenty more where that came from — at Savage Chickens.

Top o' the Mornin' to Ya: Happy St. Patrick's Day

A Joke
from Miss Cellania some time ago, but which I continually find amusing.
Mrs. O'Connor wants a Divorce

"Well, Mrs. O'Connor, so you want a divorce?" the solicitor questioned his client. "Tell me about it. Do you have a grudge?"

"Oh, no," replied Mrs. O'Connor. "Shure now, we have a carport."

The solicitor tried again. "Well, does the man beat you up?"

"No, no," said Mrs. O'Connor, looking puzzled. "Oi'm always first out of bed."

Still hopeful, the solicitor tried once again. "Well, does he go in for unnatural connubial practices?"

"Shure now, he plays the flute, but I don't think he knows anything about the connubial."

Now desperate, the solicitor pushed on. "What I'm trying to find out are what grounds you have."

"Bless ye, sor. We live in a flat -- not even a window box, let alone grounds."

"Mrs. O'Connor," the solicitor said in considerable exasperation, "you need a reason that the court can consider. What is the reason for you seeking this divorce?"

"Ah, well now," said the lady, "Shure it's because the man can't hold an intelligent conversation."
"It is my design to die in the brew-house; let ale be placed to my mouth when I am expiring so that when the choir of angels come they may say: 'Be God propitious to this drinker.'"So said St. Columbanus who is just one of those written about at Patron saints of beer.

A bit of St. Patrick's Confession which you may read it its entirety here.
1. I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many, had for father the deacon Calpurnius, son of the late Potitus, a priest, of the settlement [vicus] of Bannavem Taburniae; he had a small villa nearby where I was taken captive. I was at that time about sixteen years of age. I did not, indeed, know the true God; and I was taken into captivity in Ireland with many thousands of people, according to our deserts, for quite drawn away from God, we did not keep his precepts, nor were we obedient to our priests who used to remind us of our salvation. And the Lord brought down on us the fury of his being and scattered us among many nations, even to the ends of the earth, where I, in my smallness, am now to be found among foreigners.

2. And there the Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief, in order that, even so late, I might remember my transgressions and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my insignificance and pitied my youth and ignorance. And he watched over me before I knew him, and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil, and he protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son.

3. Therefore, indeed, I cannot keep silent, nor would it be proper, so many favours and graces has the Lord deigned to bestow on me in the land of my captivity. For after chastisement from God, and recognizing him, our way to repay him is to exalt him and confess his wonders before every nation under heaven. ...
St. Patrick's Breastplate ... the confession above is exactly the sort of thing you'd expect to have led to the glory that is this prayer.
I arise today, through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the threeness, through confession of the oneness, of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today, through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism, through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial, through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension, through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today, through the strength of the love of the Cherubim, in obedience of angels, in the service of archangels, in the hope of the resurrection to meet with reward, in the prayers of patriarchs, in prediction of prophets, in preaching of apostles, in faith of confessors, in innocence of holy virgins, in deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through the strength of heaven; light of sun, radiance of moon, splendor of fire, speed of lightning, swiftness of wind, depth of sea, stability of earth, firmness of rock.

I arise today, through God's strength to pilot me: God's might to uphold me, God's wisdom to guide me, God's eye to look before me, God's ear to hear me, God's word to speak to me, God's hand to guard me, God's way to lie before me, God's shield to protect me, God's host to save me, from the snares of devils, from temptations of vices, from every one who shall wish me ill, afar and anear, alone and in a multitude.

I summon today, all these powers between me and those evils, against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul, against incantations of false prophets, against black laws of pagandom, against false laws of heretics, against craft of idolatry, against spells of women and smiths and wizards, against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.

Christ to shield me today, against poisoning, against burning, against drowning, against wounding, so there come to me abundance of reward. Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks of me, Christ in the eye of every one that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today, through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the threeness, through confession of the oneness, of the Creator of Creation.

(The full text of what has come to be known as St. Patrick's Breast Plate. While it's not known for sure, ancient tradition has ascribed the prayer to Patrick himself. This is an older translation.)

For Celebrating:
  • Make some Irish Soda Bread. (For other Irish recipes, check here ... I'm not into corned beef at all, but lamb? Oh yeah ...)
  • I love the idea of  Irish dancing. See, that's how you use up all that alcohol in the Guiness (you are drinking Guiness today aren't you?) ... leaping and twirling?

    We foot it all the night,
    Weaving olden dances,
    Mingling hands and mingling glances
    Till the moon has taken flight;
    To and fro we leap
    And chase the frothy bubbles,
    While the world is full of troubles

    WB Yeats, The Stolen Child
Irish Heritage: I have been asked if I am Irish and yes I am. I believe it was my great-great-grandfather who was named Reeves. That then lead to some thought that the surname was actually an occupation as well, which I hadn't thought of. And so it was, according to Wikipedia at any rate.
Reeve may refer to:
  • High-reeve, a title taken by some English magnates during the 10th and 11th centuries
  • Reeve (England), an official elected annually by the serfs to supervise lands for a lord
  • Reeve (Canada), an elected chief executive in counties
  • Shire reeve, an office position that originated the term Sheriff
So I come from a proud line of middle managers. Ah, tradition ...

Friday, March 16, 2018

Lagniappe: The White Meats

By the middle of Henry VIII's reign, the white meats — that is, dairy products — were considered common fare and people from all classes would eat meat whenever they could get it.
Clarissa Dickson Wright,
A History of English Food (The Tudor Kitchen)
Now that is really the "other" white meat! That makes perfect sense. Nutritious dairy put on the same playing ground as meat. They may not have had the chemistry but they didn't need it in this case.

Worth a Thousand Words: Melting

Melting, Laszlo Mednyanszky

Litany of St. Joseph

This is timely both for our Lenten litany and for the upcoming solemnity of St. Joseph.

This litany reminds me of how St. Joseph models not only fatherhood for us, but also life as a faithful believer. It was approved by Pope St. Pius X (1903-14).
Litany of Saint Joseph
In Honor of the Foster Father of Jesus
Lord, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary,
Pray for us.
Holy Joseph,
Pray for us.
Noble Son of the House of David,
Pray for us.
Light of the Patriarchs,
Pray for us.
Husband of the Mother of God,
Pray for us.
Chaste Guardian of the Virgin,
Pray for us.
Foster-father of the Son of God,
Pray for us.
Sedulous Defender of Christ,
Pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family,
Pray for us.
Joseph most just,
Pray for us.
Joseph most chaste,
Pray for us.
Joseph most prudent,
Pray for us.
Joseph most valiant,
Pray for us.
Joseph most obedient,
Pray for us.
Joseph most faithful,
Pray for us.
Mirror of patience,
Pray for us.
Lover of poverty,
Pray for us.
Model of all who labor,
Pray for us.
Glory of family life,
Pray for us.
Protector of Virgins,
Pray for us.
Pillar of families,
Pray for us.
Consolation of the afflicted,
Pray for us.
Hope of the sick,
Pray for us.
Patron of the dying,
Pray for us.
Terror of the demons,
Pray for us.
Protector of the holy Church,
Pray for us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.
He made him master of his house,
and ruler of all his possessions.

O God, You were pleased to choose Saint Joseph as the husband of Mary and the guardian of your Son. Grant that, as we venerate him as our protector on earth, we may deserve to have him as our intercessor in heaven. We ask this through Christ our Lord.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Lagniappe: The gentleman's smile and the shine on his boots

And if the observer chanced to be ill-natured, as well as acute and susceptible, he would probably suspect that the smile on the gentleman's face was a good deal akin to the shine on his boots, and that each must have cost him and his boot-black, respectively, a good deal of hard labor to bring out and preserve them.

Nathaniel Hawthorne,
The House of the Seven Gables
We all know what to think of Judge Pyncheon now ... watch out! That sentence was so perfect I just had to share it.

Worth a Thousand Words: The Perfect Fisher

The Master Fisher, Remo Savisaar

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Lagniappe: Overeating as the English Vice

Wolsey and Henry VIII, it has to be said, were not exceptional in their love of the table. The English of Tudor times had a reputation throughout Europe for gluttony. Indeed, overeating was regarded as the English vice in the same way that lust was the French one and drunkenness that of the Germans (although looking at the amount of alcohol consumed in England, I expect the English probably ran a close second to the Germans).
Clarissa Dickson Wright,
A History of English Food (The Tudor Kitchen)
Oho, so perhaps our English heritage is showing these days!

Worth a Thousand Words: Mantel Clock

Mantel Clock, about 1789, Clock case attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire,
clock movement by Charles-Guillaume Manière. The J. Paul Getty Museum

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Worth a Thousand Words: Jupiter's Great Red Spot

Jupiter's Great Red Spot, NASA
(March 1, 1979) As Voyager 1 flew by Jupiter, it captured this photo of the Great Red Spot. The Great Red Spot is an anti-cyclonic (high- pressure) storm on Jupiter that can be likened to the worst hurricanes on Earth. An ancient storm, it is so large that three Earths could fit inside it. This photo, and others of Jupiter, allowed scientists to see different colors in clouds around the Great Red Spot which imply that the clouds swirl around the spot (going counter-clockwise) at varying altitudes. The Great Red Spot had been observed from Earth for hundreds of years, yet never before with this clarity and closeness (objects as small as six hundred kilometers can be seen).

Lagniappe: Climbing 8,000 Feet

The most disheartening thing about climbing 8,000+ feet in the Alps is finding a bunch of cows already there. It just feels like less of an achievement with a cow next to you.
Patrick Hunt

Life Everlasting by Gary Jansen

This book is about Catholic devotions—prayers, meditations, and small actions you can take right now that will assist you in directing your life toward the greater good, helping you to find solace, healing and direction when all seems lost....

Devotions function as a tap on the shoulder, a way of reorienting our soul's journey to the divine. They not only help us know God better, but they help us know god's beloved son, Jesus, better and in different ways.
Everyone knows that praying the rosary is a very Catholic thing to do. But it is just one of the many options the Catholic church offers to help people find their way to God both in prayer and in living everyday life. This was really a revelation to me after my conversion. I loved trying out different devotions as I came across them, seeing which fit my life and which didn't, incorporating them into my journey with God.

Gary Jansen takes us along on his personal journey of discovery in this book of prayer and devotions. It includes insights, general guidelines to help prayer, insights, and examples from the lives of the saints. The devotions range from basic Catholic touchstones like the rosary and Stations of the Cross, to lesser known devotions such as the Divine Mercy Chaplet, the Jesus Prayer, and the Miraculous Medal. It also includes something which can be hard to find, a lengthy appendix of prayers for every need.

I enjoyed Jansen's way of leading us into each devotion by coupling the history with his own personal experience. Although these devotions are often rooted far back in time, he shows us that they can be vital in our own lives today. Jansen also casts a wide enough net to surprise those of us who feel we already know all about devotions. For example, I have long had a devotion to my guardian angel but it never occurred to me to ask him to pray with me. Here's a person you never have to feel shy about praying with. I was especially touched by the prayer in step 3 of the explanation.
Guardian angel, pray with me. Lead me closer to God. Protect me and give me direction throughout the day.
The prayer not only covers all the bases but leads us to a new intimacy with someone who has known us since the day we were born.

I had several such moments when reading this very enjoyable and inspirational book. This would be a great gift for people entering the church but it will also be a good refresher for those who, like me, thought they knew all about devotionals.