Saturday, October 07, 2017

Lepanto

Battle of Lepanto (c. 1572), 
by Paolo Veronese (1528-1588)

Today's feast commemorates this battle.

Dr. Thursday's favorite poet published this work in 1911.

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White founts falling in the courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run,
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard,
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips,
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross,
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.
Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
That once went singing southward when all the world was young,
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war,
Stiff flags straining in night-blasts cold
In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold.
Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world.
Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Love-light of Spain - hurrah!
Death-light of Africa!
Don John of Austria
Is riding to the sea.
Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri's knees,
His turban that is woven of the sunset and the seas.
He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees,
And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Giants and the Genii,
Multiplex of wing and eye,
Whose strong obedience broke the sky
When Solomon was king.
They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn,
From temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn;
They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea
Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be;
On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl,
Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl;
They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground,-
They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound.
And he saith, 'Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide,
And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide,
And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest,
For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun,
Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done.
But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
The voice that shook our palaces - four hundred years ago:
It is he that saith not 'Kismet'; it is he that knows not Fate;
It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey at the gate!
It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth.'
For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
Sudden and still - hurrah!
Bolt from Iberia!
Don John of Austria
Is gone by Alcalar.
St Michael's on his Mountain in the sea-roads of the north
(Don John of Austria is girt and going forth.)
Where the grey seas glitter and the sharp tides shift
And the sea-folk labour and the red sails lift.
He shakes his lance of iron and he claps his wings of stone;
The noise is gone through Normandy; the noise is gone alone;
The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes,
And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,
But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea.
Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse
Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips,
Trumpet that sayeth ha!
Domino gloria!
Don John of Austria
Is shouting to the ships.
King Philip's in his closet with the Fleece about his neck
(Don John of Austria is armed upon the deck.)
The walls are hung with velvet that is black and soft as sin,
And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in.
He holds a crystal phial that has colours like the moon,
He touches, and it tingles, and he trembles very soon,
And his face is as a fungus of a leprous white and grey
Like plants in the high houses that are shuttered from the day,
And death is in the phial, and the end of noble work,
But Don John of Austria has fired upon the Turk.
Don John's hunting, and his hounds have bayed -
Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid.
Gun upon gun, ha! ha!
Gun upon gun, hurrah!
Don John of Austria
Has loosed the cannonade.
The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
(Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
The hidden room in man's house where God sits all the year,
The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
They veil the plum├Ęd lions on the galleys of St Mark;
And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
Christian captives, sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
They are lost like slaves that swat, and in the skies of morning hung
The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
Before the high Kings' horses in the granite of Babylon.
And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign -
(But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate's sloop,
Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.
Vivat Hispania! Domino Gloria!
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!
Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
(Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.)
And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
Up which a lean and foolish knight forever rides in vain,
And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade...
(But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.)
G.K Chesterton


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Originally posted 10/7/2006.
Re-posted 10/7/2010.
Re-posted 10/7/2011.
Re-posted 10/7/2012.
Re-posted 10/7/2013.
Re-posted 10/7/2014.
Re-posted 10/7/2015.
Re-posted 10/7/2016.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

About St. Francis of Assisi


New Advent, Catholic Online, and EWTN provide great articles about the very first Franciscan.

And two of his most famous prayers:

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O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light, and
Where there is sorrow, joy.
Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not
so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand; to be loved
as to love; for it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

++++++++++

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing. To you, alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which you give your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you; through those who endure sickness and trial. Happy those who endure in peace, for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whose embrace no living person can escape. 

Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those she finds doing your most holy will. The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks, and serve him with great humility.
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(UPDATE: 10/4/2013): Here is an article stating the first prayer may not be attributed to him.

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Originally posted 10/4/2006.
Re-posted 10/4/2011.
Re-posted 10/3/2012.
Re-posted 10/4/2013.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Angels Amoungst Us


Yes, it is a children's prayer. But didn't He mention something about being child-like? On this Feast of the Guardian Angels, take time to say "thank you" to yours.

Angele Dei, qui custos es mei,
Me tibi commissum pietate superna;
Hodie, Hac nocte illumina,
custodi, rege, et guberna. Amen.

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Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom His love commits me here,
ever this night be at my side,
to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.

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What is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man that you should care for him? You have made him little less than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor.

Psalm 8:5-6

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Originally posted 10/2/2006.
Re-posted 10/2/2010.
Re-posted 10/2/2012.
Re-posted 10/2/2015.

October 2017 Morning Offering Prayer Intention

Here is the intention for this month when reciting the Morning Offering:
Workers and the Unemployed: That all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good.
A reflection for this intention is found here.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Choir (Of Angels) Members


Today marks the feast of the Archangels St. Michael (Who is like God?), St. Gabriel (God is my strength), and St. Raphael (God has healed).

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf at What Does The Prayer Really Say gives a brief synopsis of the origins of today (and from where I found the photo--fedora doff to the good priest).

At the 'blog of Ignatius Press is a re-post (see, I am not the only one who does this) from an excerpt of a book by Dr. Peter Kreeft, a professor of philosophy at Boston College.

Speaking of priests, Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP, who has his own 'blog (Domine, da nihi hanc aquam!shares his homily.

Finally, there is my post from 2006 which links to a post from the Happy Catholic.

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Originally posted 9/29/2012.
Re-posted 9/29/2015.
Re-posted 9/29/2016.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

In Hoc Signo Crucis Vinces



Let us not then be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Be the Cross our seal made with boldness by our fingers on our brow and in everything; over the bread we eat, and the cups we drink; in our comings in, and goings out; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we awake; when we are in the way and when we are still. Great is that preservative; it is without price, for the poor's sake; without toil, for the sick, since also its grace is from God. It is the Sign of the faithful, and the dread of evils; for He has triumphed over them in it, having made a shew of them openly; for when they see the Cross, they are reminded of the Crucified; they are afraid of Him, Who hath bruised the heads of the dragon. Despise not the Seal, because of the freeness of the Gift; but for this rather honor thy Benefactor.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem, A.D. 315 - 386

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee;
R. Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

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En ego, O bone et dulcissime Iesu, ante conspectum tuum genibus me provolvo, ac maximo animi ardore te oro atque obtestor, ut meum in cor vividos fidei, spei et caritatis sensus, atque veram peccatorum meorum poenitentiam, eaque emendandi firmissimam voluntatem velis imprimere; dum magno animi affectu et dolore tua quinque vulnera mecum ipse considero ac mente contemplor, illud prae oculis habens, quod iam in ore ponebat tuo David propheta de te, o bone Iesu: Foderunt manus meas et pedes meos: dinumeraverunt omnia ossa mea. Amen.

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Behold, O good and most sweet Jesus, I fall upon my knees before Thee, and with most fervent desire beg and beseech Thee that Thou wouldst impress upon my heart a lively sense of faith, hope and charity, true repentance for my sins, and a firm resolve to make amends. And with deep affection and grief, I reflect upon Thy five wounds, having before my eyes that which Thy prophet David spoke about Thee, o good Jesus: "They have pierced my hands and feet, they have counted all my bones." Amen.

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Originally posted 9/14/2006.

A Stumbling Block


Refrain:
Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim,
Till all the world adore His sacred Name.

Led on their way by this triumphant sign,
The hosts of God in conquering ranks combine.

(Refrain)

Each newborn servant of the Crucified
Bears on the brow the seal of Him Who died.

(Refrain)

O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree,
As Thou hast promised, draw the world to Thee.

(Refrain)

So shall our song of triumph ever be:
Praise to the Crucified for victory.

(Refrain)

But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14)

I include my post from 2006 as well.

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Originally posted 9/14/2007.
Re-posted 9/14/2011.
Re-posted 9/14/2012.
Re-posted 9/14/2014.
Re-posted 9/14/2015.
Re-posted 9/14/2016.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A 'Blogger's Dozen

I can't believe it's been twelve years since this first appeared on the internet.

Then again, I can't believe this 'blog has continued for this long. I started this shortly after the crest of 'blogging began and have been riding that wave until now. There have been times I have wondered out loud if I should hang it up and reduce the cacophony of chatter that has only increased since then.

It has been a small, quiet voice. My Faith has been my guide. My leanings toward things liturgical and musical in the Catholic Church have been my Polaris. My personal story has been a detour. The peaks and valleys of posts have seemingly correlated with my own waning and waxing of living my life.

At times, it's been a chore. (But ask any professional writer if this is not the case.) But, for the most part, this is still a labor of love. While I have "required" times where I have to move the muse into action, I still maintain a level of spontaneity about posting. My philosophy is to (hopefully) make meaningful comments. I tend not to get in over my head, but perhaps more venturing into the deep end is what's needed to keep what very little relativity I have. Less re-posting (although I have traditions to maintain); more new material.

I do cherish my history.

The "here and now" is still my place.

The future still awaits.

My twelve-year old invitation is still open:

"Welcome to my infinitesimal corner of the universe!"

Monday, September 11, 2017

Bitter Sixteen


When General Lord Charles Cornwallis formally surrendered to General George Washington at Yorktown, VA on October 19, 1781, legend has it the British army band played a tune called "When The King Enjoys His Own Again". The lyrics associated with it at the time was an English ballad titled "The World Turned Upside Down". While this story has been historically refuted, the last line in each of the song's five verses seemed very appropriate:
Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down.
History does seem to repeat itself on occasion. For sixteen years ago today, the world again was turned upside down. Someone could make the argument it hasn't been righted since.

Once again we mark the anniversary of the largest terrorist attack on this country's soil. Four commercial airliners were turned into suicide bombs. Two struck each of the "Twin Towers" in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. One slammed into the Pentagon in Washington, DC. The last one was headed to the Capitol Building, but was diverted into a field near Shanksville, PA.

The damage to the Pentagon was repaired. The "Freedom Tower" now stands near where those two buildings at the World Trade Center were destroyed. The crash site of the fourth plane is now a National Memorial.

But nothing could ever replace the loss of life.

The death toll:  2,996.

To paraphrase Gordon Lightfoot, "And all that remains are the faces and the names of the spouses, the sons, and the daughters." (Living memorials, indeed.)

Plenty of ink and pixels have been used since then in an attempt to answer the simplest yet most complex question humans can ask:  "Why?"

I don't have nor will I ever have an answer. Who other than God understands evil? How from the depth of the heart and soul comes this kind of darkness? We will never fully know while we are here.

Perhaps we can take some comfort in these words from St. Paul:
We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose....What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?...What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?...No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:28, 31, 35, 37-39
The world was turned upside down because of sin. We lament what it has done to creation and ourselves. Yet, we can find not only contentment, but joy in the love God has shown us in the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. By His stripes we are healed. By His brokenness we are made whole. We only need to cooperate with His Grace by which we are made perfect. By His Passion the world was righted.

The scars of that day will remain will us. Today is a somber and solemn occasion, a time to recollect and grieve a little more. There will be plenty of commentary other than my own; seek and reflect upon those words. There will be ceremonies commemorating these event; avail yourself to one if possible.

Never Forget.

Friday, September 01, 2017

September 2016 Morning Offering Prayer Intention

Here is the intention for this month when reciting the Morning Offering:
Parishes: That our parishes, animated by a missionary spirit, may be places where faith is communicated and charity is seen.
A reflection for this intention is found here.