Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Pope prays in Turkey: Stunning photos 'never before seen' ...

beautiful photos of a papal 'first' ...

Love one another with mutual affection; 

anticipate one another in showing honor. - Romans 12

It is my wish, then, that in every place men should pray, 

lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument. - 1 Timothy 2:8

H/T Rorate Caeli for the photos.

Novena for the Immaculate Conception begins today ...*

Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising, 
fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?
Rejoice, O Virgin Mary,you alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world. - Little Office
Thou art all fair O Mary
and the original stain is not in thee,
O Mary!
O Mary, by thy holy and Immaculate Conception
make my body pure and my spirit holy.

Our Lady "is the sure means, the direct and immaculate way to Jesus, and the perfect guide to him, it is through her that souls who are to shine forth in sanctity must find him.  He who finds Mary finds life, that is, Jesus Christ." - St. Louis De Montfort

+ + +

In the Blessed Virgin there is no stain of sin, no impurity - pray to her to free you and make you worthy of the promises of Christ.  Our Lady is refuge of sinners.  By her Holy and Immaculate Conception she can make us pure and chaste, enclosing our souls within her Immaculate Heart as in a safe citadel.  She is our Maternal Refuge; Mother of divine grace, Mother most pure, Mother most chaste, Mother inviolate, Mother undefiled.  She is the original Garden Enclosed, a Tower of Ivory - defense against the assaults of the world, the flesh, and the Devil.  The Blessed Virgin is the Gate of Heaven.

O Mary, conceived without sin - pray for us who have recourse to thee!  O Mary!  Most holy and immaculate virginity!  Pray for us who have recourse to thee, and for those who do not - especially the enemies of the Church, and those recommended to thee.

Cause of our joy!

*Novena prayers available here.

Friday, November 28, 2014

So here's the deal ...

Thanksgiving - Black Friday: It's a time for family to shop and bond.

The Holiday Season is here!

Yeah but - you don't like the holidays?  You don't like how Thanksgiving is celebrated - or not celebrated?  You don't like Christmas decorations before Christmas?  During Advent?  You don't like people wishing people a Merry Christmas before Christmas?  But you want them to say Merry Christmas rather than Seasons Greetings or Happy Holidays?  You don't want people to shop on Thanksgiving?  You hate the day after shopping spree?  The Christmas ads?  The Christmas music?

It's your problem - and it just may be that you are the problem... you feel persecuted now, don't you.  (Not a question.)

Why let this stuff bother you?  Why try to tell other people how to live and celebrate or even what to celebrate?  It's a different world, it's a different U.S..

For instance, it's Hmong New Year and it's being celebrated right now in Minneapolis.  Minneapolis has a high population of Asian immigrants, as well as Somalis.  It is a completely different culture developing.  Foreigners shop too.

As I said in the combox on Mark Shea's post advising people not to shop on Thanksgiving - one comment complained about Christmas decorations going up before Advent - I responded:
I put up my tree the day before Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving isn't what it used to be, it's been dying a slow death for decades. It's the official start of the holiday gaming season - some people spend a little bit of time with family - some don't - then they are off! Thanksgiving is about sports, turkey runs - fitness clubs, football, casinos, shopping. Shopping is a sport, a recreation, organized madness - it's fun to pile in the car, go to the mall and grab the deals.  It's social.
Lighten up - this is the United States - not little house on the prairie or even Holiday Inn in Vermont.
Merry White Christmas to you and all your readers. 

See - our expectations for the holidays is what screws everyone up - ourselves included.  That's why people mope around feeling guilty and feel as if they are a bad person for not living up to our crazy holiday rubrics and etiquette.  Religious people really are the ones who make life miserable for those they are trying so hard to save.  All these rules about nothing.

Go ahead though - bang that Bible folks - go on making religion attractive and welcoming.


Here's something I hadn't really noticed before...

Revival meeting.

Seems like most Catholic bloggers/writers online are converts.

Their websites and blogs seem to be the ones which ask for support, donations, and so on.  Nothing wrong with that, but it strikes me as a 'Protestant' thing.  Not that Catholics do not look for donations and stipends - but I have usually associated Catholic fundraising with the collection plate, fundraising drives, stipends, offerings, and so on.

I'm not accustomed to Catholic laity earning their living from proselytism or evangelizing - or spiritual direction as a business.   (Generalization alert.)  I think that is definitely more common among Protestants - since several sects have neither priests, liturgy or sacraments - other than Baptism and some form of Eucharist - laity take on teaching and preaching roles.  Catholics were more accustomed to those roles being filled by clergy and religious, who lived consecrated lives, vowed to poverty, and so on.  Catholic laity witnessed more quietly by fidelity to their faith and the duties of their state in life, 'earning their living quietly' as the Apostle counseled.

My dad's mother was married to a tent preacher once, and according to my mother, they traveled around the mid-west to conduct their own revival meetings.  Grandma played the tambourine and passed the collection plate... I was told they made a pretty good living.  Seriously.

It seems to me Catholics are more accustomed 
to donate to the poor and needy.

How the Pope celebrated Thanksgiving

He went to Turkey - instead of eating it.

Prayers for his safety.

Gay no mo: We don’t just preach condemnation, we preach reconciliation...

Editor's note:  This story is posted unedited from the news source - beware offensive language.

Pastor Carter, who works at a church in Missouri, claimed this week that his anti-gay sermons are like “chemotherapy” for homosexuals.

“I don’t hate gays, I’m just like the doctor who hates disease, I fight the disease,” Pastor Carter told Facebook user Hammresha Jones on Tuesday. “My gospel is like chemotherapy. We try to get to the disease. And the police fighting crime, what are we fighting? Or are we making concessions for these sins?”

“You’re turning out these boys in the bathrooms and everywhere and schools,” added Pastor Carter. “I’m going to tell you how I feel about Obama, how I feel about Oprah, how I feel about anybody that supports the Democratic Party. Sometimes they immoral. They just don’t have any morals at all.”

Pastor Carter lamented how they allow a “man to have his penis in the butt of another man where the dung come out.”

“[God] give you the butt so you can get rid of waste and bacteria. So, you sticking your penis in a cesspool,” stated Pastor Carter. - Source

Song for this post here.

I hope the rest of the brothas are listening closely - as many basketball players know, anal sex is no longer just for gays. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

You know what makes me sad?

Foreigners do not celebrate Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving is not celebrated the world over.  Few people in the United States even know that foreigners do not celebrate Thanksgiving with us.  That's just sad.

I bet the Pope didn't even have a message for Thanksgiving Day.  Typical.  Although in the past week he took the time to travel to another foreign capital to address a gathering of more foreigners about how useless infertile grandmothers are.  Grandmothers play a huge role in Thanksgiving BTW - the Pope's remarks are a typical patriarchal slur.  The Pope also snubbed all the Catholics in Strasbourg when he was there.

Oh well.

Don't worry about me though.  I'll be joining the family at the Indian Casino this afternoon - what better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than sharing it with family and friends you never met before at Mystic Lake?  Anglo-Americans sharing buffet-style, all-you-can-eat dinner with Native American servers - that is exactly how the Pilgrims did it.  Then they shopped for beads and got some really good land deals.

Song for this post here

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

'Tis the Season to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless ...

And it was the day before Thanksgiving and we told them, 'go away - you weren't invited!'

Jay Forge't lifts up his dog Mini after eating Thanksgiving dinner 
at Union Gospel Mission winter shelter.

Not in my house...

Let them eat cake in the shelters or the bars.

Especially if they are alcoholics, still screwed-up recovering addicts, annoying mental cases, cohabiting sleaze-balls, or gay perverts.  DO NOT SUPPORT THEIR LIFESTYLE by showing them hospitality!

That's why we have Missions, shelters, soup kitchens, gay bars, casinos, and so on - they can deal with them.  We can donate - even volunteer - but don't you dare come to my house and get me and my guests all upset.  We're not the dysfunctional ones and we will not allow you to disrupt our warm and fuzzy holiday festivities.  Go to the shelters - that's what they are for.

Just a thought.

Holidays are over-rated anyway.


Song for this post here.  What?

This is so interesting ...

The way cats sit.

Haven't you always wondered what it looks like from underneath?

Me too!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Prolonging one's prayer

As long as Moses kept his hands raised up,

Israel had the better of the fight,
but when he let his hands rest,
Amalek had the better of the fight.
Exodus 17

Prayer ought to be short and pure, unless it be prolonged by the inspiration of Divine grace. -Saint Benedict

Monsignor Pope Has another insightful post on the wiles of Satan which can ensnare the pious.

I always appreciate Monsignor's insights and spiritual counsels.  His latest post is very good, as are the comments - especially as regards devotion to Our Lady of Fatima.

Nevertheless Monsignor's first precaution caught me off guard - I think I know what he meant when he wrote:
[Satan] can discourage you with prayer by saying, “If only you would pray a little longer, God will give you what you seek.” But the deception is that if we can pray a little longer, then we can never have prayed enough. Thus though we pray, we only feel guilty and inadequate. And since we can never have prayed “enough,” prayer increasingly turns into a burdensome task; God becomes a cruel taskmaster demanding longer and more precise prayers. Or prayer becomes a superstitious endeavor whose outcome we somehow control by the length and type of our prayers. Jesus counsels us that the Father knows what we need and that we should not think that merely multiple words and pious actions are necessary. We may need to persevere in prayer over time, but God is not a cruel tyrant demanding endless incantations. - Monsignor Pope

Like I said, I think I know what he meant, but it seems to me that sometimes it is very good to prolong one's prayer.  Our Lord gave examples of this in the Gospel teaching on perseverance in prayer, the story of the neighbor asking his friend in the night for something, the widow pestering the dishonest judge, the blind man calling out repeatedly, and more dramatically, Our Lord himself in his agony in the garden before his arrest.

The saints have done likewise - keeping vigils, going on pilgrimage, and so on.  Teresa of Avila remained in prayer at the foot of the statue of the Scourged Christ, telling him she would not move until he granted her the grace of conversion she needed.
Sometimes as soon as you start to pray, you pray well; at other times, in spite of great exertion, you do not reach your goal. This is to make you exert yourself still more, so that, having gained the gift of prayer, you keep it safe. - Evagrius Ponticus
I've experienced prolonging my prayer as a good, especially in my thanksgiving after Communion.  It seemed to me a necessary means to properly thank Our Lord for the grace that he should come to dwell in me - since in Holy Communion we actually receive the entire Christ within our soul.  It is also  an excellent way to learn, to acquire and practice, the prayer of recollection.  Likewise, after the rosary, or lectio it seems to me that to remain quietly in the presence of God is a way to enter more deeply into this prayer of recollection.  Many times the effect of prolonging one's prayer is to return to one's daily activities in a more recollected manner - that is, we can go about our duties more conscious of the presence of God.
Do not be distressed if you do not at once receive from God what you ask. He wishes to give you something better - to make you persevere in your prayer. For what is better than to enjoy the love of God and to be in communion with Him? - Evagrius Ponticus
Scripture tells us to pray unceasingly, and this prayer of recollection seems to me to be the ordinary means to accomplish that without self-love, self-interest or spiritual pride.  In the Eastern Church they use the Jesus Prayer, in our tradition we can use the same means to practice the prayer of recollection - although it is not necessary.  It is very simple to accustom ourselves to the prayer of recollection - a habit which prepares us for the habitual prayer of recollection.

“For this is not a supernatural state, but depends upon our own action and by God’s favor, we can enter it of our own accord” -Way of Perfection

I'm not contradicting Monsignor and I'm not at all pretending to instruct anyone on how to pray, but it has been my experience that prolonging one's prayer is good to do from time to time.  Especially since contemporary life militates against prayer and recollection - even in churches, before, during and after Mass.  Yet I have found, even in the noisiest churches that one can recollect oneself and remain quietly in the presence of God.

Do not rouse, do not disturb love until it is ready ...
- Song of songs

"Al Sharpton on his way"

Now that made me laugh.

[Seasons Greetings photo and Sharpton story taken from Drudge coverage.]

Here come the judge.

Monday, November 24, 2014

James Joyce ...

A look we like ...

James Joyce was blind - how come I never knew that?

Well he wasn't exactly blind - but he had cataracts and glaucoma and wore an eye patch - he was just nearly blind.

Actually, I seem to remember knowing all about Joyce but I forgot.

I think I'll do that - wear an eye patch, that is.

Cool photo of JJ, huh?

Contrary to popular opinion, he remained Catholic as well.  He also drank heavily.  So many writers drank heavily.  I think Joyce was depressed too.  Undoubtedly.

Anyway.  I can't wait for eye surgery.

I wonder if I'll become a better painter?

Christ the King ...

I didn't reflect much here on yesterday's feast because that's what homilies are for - and I'm not a priest or deacon.  However, today I was able to consider the mystery more quietly, more intimately.

It's difficult for me to understand monarchy.  I love how Fr. Barron understands this and I appreciate what he said in a short essay for yesterdays solemnity.  He says if we have difficulty understanding the concept of kingship, we need to consider the type of King Christ is...
"He reigns not from a pompous throne, but from and instrument of torture; he wears not a gaudy crown of gold, but a bloody crown of thorns; he issues not peremptory commands, but words of promise. but words of promise: "This day you will be with me in paradise."  Don't be afraid utterly to submit every aspect of your life to this King, for his power empowers you and his command liberates you." - Fr. Barron for Magnificat
Some may think the image of the Infant Jesus (shown at top) is gaudy and pompous, but little kids don't think so - besides, they know he changes his clothes and appearance, and often disguises himself just to be with us - God with us.  He delights to be with the children of men, to play, to serve, to console, to encourage ... to search out and save what was lost.  He embraces us just as we are, and gently restores us in his image.

In fact, he is quite like his sweet Vicar on earth ...

Today ends the novena to the Infant Jesus, the last monthly novena before the solemn Christmas novena.  The Infant Jesus has so much to teach, and surprisingly, he gently takes his time to do this.  Many years ago he could have revealed to me all my sins - my most hidden sins, those I wasn't even aware of; my lack of charity and kindness, my judging others according to the rules, while I made exception for my own personal weakness - when I was often too blinded by my own brilliance to see how disfigured my 'personal' piety was.  Every month the Infant Jesus helps me to grow in wisdom and self knowledge - and how much I hope - in charity, for charity covers a multitude of sins.  I hope those whom I have hurt will forgive me.

In a month it will be Christmas Eve

So I thought I'd do a post showing off my language skills with memorable personal quotes, while emulating a few of the more intellectual blogs I read on a regular basis, in homage to their weekly posts they hope might attract weekend readers who would otherwise ignore them.

All quotes are original to me - but are copyright free.

Friday Quote of the Day - for Monday:

"A que tuente per la savauge en coup, mal de li testa." - TN

Fanatic Friday - for Monday:

"La qui chasmo de la tuat, una cochliamo en implante. Que sera, sera." - TN

Ex voto.

Fine Art Friday - for Monday

"Va cac en Napoli e va funiculara funiculia, la face la mam'." - TN


I hate this blog! 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Duchess of Alba has died.

The Duchess of Alba frequently hosted Jackie Kennedy
and Audrey Hepburn when they visited Spain.


Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord. And let the perpetual light shine upon her. And may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

María del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart y de Silva, 18th Duchess of Alba de Tormes, Grandee of Spain, head of the House of Alba and the third woman to carry the title in her own right, died at the age of 88, November 20, 2014.

I did not hear of her death until I read Elena's obituary on her blog, Tea At Trianon.

In the past I, have posted photos of the Duchess as she aged and attempted to retain her youthful beauty - unfortunately she was not well served by her surgeons, but she evidently did not let that stop her enjoyment of life.  From what I understand, she was very much loved by the people of Seville.

The Duchess and Mrs. Kennedy, 1966.

Vogue photo shoot?  Date?  
The Duchess is seated.

I went to the Ethiopian Mass today.

I went to Mass at my parish first.

I didn't understand a thing at Ethiopian Liturgy.  I couldn't see very well since I stood in the vestibule praying my rosary.  Some 'penitents' were there too - praying faces to the wall.  The people take off their shoes, wear white shrouds to cover street clothes - women cover their head.  Men sit on one side - women on the others.  They dance and chant and clap and the women ululate in praise.  There is a lot of activity - yet great reverence and devotion.

I left after a short time and an Ethiopian man was coming up the stairs and was surprised to see me - he asked, "This is the Ethiopian church, right?"  I laughed and assured him it was.  I was the only white person there, the rest were all Ethiopian of course.

I love them so much - I have to study more about their Liturgy if I'm to go back.

I find it interesting that most Ethiopians, in fact, most Africans do not experience nor identify themselves as 'Black' the way African Americans do.  They identify by their nation of origin and do not think of themselves as 'black'.

The Altar Server: A Tutorial.

Video and commentary from Garrett Johnson at Catholic Link:
As a reflexion, I would like to propose the idea that the liturgy, and above all the Mass, is indeed a School of Christian Living. There, in addition to receiving the sacraments, we learn keys, attitudes, and habits that need to be applied and irradiated in our daily lives. - Garrett Johnson 
This is so needed today, every parish should see this.