Saturday, September 15, 2018

Holiday PSA

There are only 99 shopping days until Christmas.

(Just a friendly reminder, for all you looking to beat the rush.)

UPDATE 9/15/2015:  That was back when there wasn't the glut of stores being open on Thanksgiving Day. Now it seems that day must be counted as well.

Anyway, there are only 100 shopping days until Christmas.

Avoid that last-minute rush.


Originally posted 9/15/2008.
Updated and re-posted 9/15/2015.

"...You Yourself Shall Be Pierced With A Sword..."

The Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows follows the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Once again, like the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the liturgical calendar shows us that we, like Mary, should be close to Jesus. We also must be ready to share the sorrows of both.

Many of you sing the following during the Stations of the Cross. A 13th. Century hymn, it was suppressed as a sequence by the Council of Trent, only to be restored by Benedict XIII in 1727. Its use in the Ordinary Form of the Mass is optional. The English translation is by Edward Caswall.

Stabat mater dolorosa
juxta Crucem lacrimosa,
dum pendebat Filius.

Cuyus animam gementem,
contristatam et dolentem,
pertransivit gladius.

O quam tristis et afflicta
fuit illa benedicta
Mater Unigeniti.

Quae moerebat et dolebat,
Pia Mater cum videbat
Nati poenas incliti.

Quis est homo qui non fleret,
Matrem Christi si videret
in tanto supplicio?

Quis non posset contristari,
Christi Matrem contemplari
dolentem cum Filio?

Pro peccatis suae gentis
vidit Jesum in tormentis
et flagellis subditum.

Vidit suum dulcem natum
moriendo desolatum,
dum emisit spiritum.

Eia Mater, fons amoris,
me sentire vim doloris
fac, ut tecum lugeam.

Fac ut ardeat cor meum
in amando Christum Deum,
ut sibi complaceam.

Sancta mater, istud agas,
crucifixi fige plagas
cordi meo valide.

Tui nati vulnerati,
tam dignati pro me pati,
poenas mecum divide.

Fac me tecum pie flere,
crucifixo condolere,
donec ego vixero.

Iuxta crucem tecum stare,
et me tibi sociare
in planctu desidero.

Virgo virginum praeclara,
mihi iam non sis amara:
fac me tecum plangere.

Fac ut portem Christi mortem,
passionis fac consortem,
et plagas recolere.

Fac me plagis vulnerari,
fac me cruce inebriari,
et cruore Filii.

Flammis ne urar succensus
per te Virgo, sim defensus
in die judicii

Christe, cum sit hinc exire,
da per matrem me venire
ad palmam victoriae.

Quando corpus morietur,
fac ut animae donetur
Paradisi gloria.



At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
All His bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword had pass'd.

Oh, how sad and sore distress'd
Was that Mother highly blest
Of the sole-begotten One!

Christ above in torment hangs;
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep,
Whelm'd in miseries so deep
Christ's dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother's pain untold?

Bruis'd, derided, curs'd, defil'd,
She beheld her tender child
All with bloody scourges rent.

For the sins of His own nation,
Saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.

O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above;
Make my heart with thine accord.

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ our Lord.

Holy Mother! pierce me through;
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Saviour crucified.

Let me share with thee His pain,
Who for all my sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with thee,
Mourning Him who mourn'd for me,
All the days that I may live.

By the cross with thee to stay,
There with thee to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of thee to give.

Virgin of all virgins best,
Listen to my fond request
Let me share thy grief divine.

Let me, to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of that dying Son of thine.

Wounded with His every wound,
Steep my soul till it hath swoon'd
In His very blood away.

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
Lest in flames I burn and die,
In His awful Judgment day.

Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
Be Thy Mother my defence,
Be Thy cross my victory.

While my body here decays,
May my soul Thy goodness praise,
Safe in Paradise with Thee.



Originally published 3/21/2008 (Good Friday).

Friday, September 14, 2018

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.


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.


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.


Originally posted 9/14/2006.
Re-posted 9/14/2017.

A Stumbling Block

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.


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


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


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


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.


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.
Re-posted 9/14/2017.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

An Adolescent 'Blog

A not-so long time ago in a 'blogosphere very close to here a first post appeared.

It was a very modest beginning. The author, with all the enthusiasm of any rookie 'blogger, announced his presence with a short and sweet blast upon the internet. He knew he wanted to get involved, but was going to be thoughtful about topic and tone. He even managed to create a somewhat memorable catch phrase in his opening words.

It seems like he met with a modicum of success his first two years, then life started handing him lemons and stalled the momentum of his writing. Posting became sporadic and repetitive, with lots or rehashing of old material, with a rare occurrence of something fresh, with mostly long stretches of silence. A star that was seemingly becoming brighter started flickering like a dying nova. Now one has to peer hard to see if it still exists.

Well, a baker's dozen years later, it does. Deo gracias.

I hope that is an accurate assessment of the style and substance of this still "small, quiet voice". It has been and still is an enjoyable part of my life, one which is not ready to be retired, despite the times I have entertained that thought. If I had any place of prominence in the 'blogging world, it's long gone.

Yet my ego is the last thing that needs to be placated. While there have been times the subject has been my life, I have never wanted the 'blog to be about me. The very few times I have had something meaningful to write, when the focus has been about and on God, that is when this star has shined the brightest. And that has brought me enough satisfaction.

I will be the first to admit this infinitesimal corner of the universe does need to be refurbished, just to keep in step with the technology. But I have more immediate and pressing concerns. While not as active, I still keep on eye on events. When I comment, I want my words to have an impact, however small it is. I will continue to bide my time, as long as I still have it here on earth.

While the status quo is status quo, I still have hope for the best, both in this 'blog and in my life. As I said thirteen years ago, "I have some ideas, though." The fertile ground is there, I just need to prepare it.

May God grant me the grace to do it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

"...Going On 17"


Here we are again.

It is starting to become familiar to us as individuals and a country--the ceremonies, the tributes, the memorializing. In the places where it happened--New York, NY; Washington, DC; Shanksville, PA--there is more poignancy to the rituals. It is as if we are still returning to "normal" while we are still grieving.

It seems history's most memorable moments are written in blood. So it is with the terrorist attack that claimed 2,996 lives seventeen years ago this day. We have sworn as a nation to "Never Forget" what happened; to this day, we have lived up to our vow.

The images we saw that day and for the next few are still indelible in the country's psyche. Secular icons, yet with an ennobled meaning.

The attacks were a challenge to the core beliefs of the nation. The honor of being the flag bearer for freedom and liberty was insulted. Once again, in my very humble opinion, we defended that honor and those core beliefs against this act of aggression, as we have before. As it is said, "Freedom is not free." In our own way, we pay the price for it and count the cost as nothing.

So once again, as we have in our very recent past, let us remember this day. If there is a tribute in your area, think about attending. This post will be one of many on the 'blogosphere; as always, I encourage you to seek those whose eloquence will far surpass this very humble offering.

Keep in mind the prayer intentions I suggested in 2007 (and updated in 2013). Pray for--
1. The souls of all who died.
2. Those who still mourn.
3. Those who seek a just solution.  (While this may have been accomplished May 1, 2011, have we really solved the problem?)
4. Forgiveness toward our enemies.
5. Our enemies (didn't Someone command us to do this?).
6. The courage to continue the fight.
7. Peace.
It is a time to pause, to reflect, and to mourn. It is a time to come together as a nation and remember E pluribus unum. It is a time to firm our resolve to be a beacon of light for the world.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

September 2018 Morning Offering Prayer Intention

Here is the intention for this month when reciting the Morning Offering:
Universal: Young People in Africa. That young people in Africa may have access to education and work in their own countries.
A reflection for this intention is found here.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

August 2018 Morning Offering Prayer Intention

Here is the intention for this month when reciting the Morning Offering:
Universal:  The Treasure of Families. That any far-reaching decisions of economist and politicians may protect the family as one of the treasures of humanity.
A reflection for this intention is found here.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

A Death-Defying Age

Today is a rather important day in my life.

That's right--I had to get my driver's license renewed.

Besides that task, nothing else matters. Because without this day, nothing could matter.

(Besides having a fraternal twin brother, I also share today's good wishes with another pair of twins, fraternal male cousins who are identical, and a gentleman whom I've met through our association with the Church Music Association of America.)

But this particular birthday holds a significant milestone. As you may recall, my father only lived 56 years and 256 days. The count down now truly begins to see if I "outlive" him. If my calculations are correct, that 257th. day will be March 19, 2019, the feast day of St. Joseph, the patron of a happy death. It would be five days short of what would have been his 84th. birthday. (Thank you, Emily Dickinson.)

(And, yes, I still miss him. Requiescat in pace.)

Every expereince is an opportunity to seek and find God in all things.  Every breath is a moment to be in communion with He Who Is, Who Was, and Who Is To Come. Every heart beat is a way to be in unison with the One Who created, redeemed, and sanctified me. Every day is a chance to "Go Forward". So for the next twelve months, I will continue to learn in earnest to count my blessings, especially the one of just existing.

Each day should be a gift.

After all, isn't is why it's call the present?

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Happy Birthday To US

God Bless the United States of America!


Originally posted as "Happy 230th. Birthday" 7/4/2006.
Part of post "Independence Day Reprints" 7/4/2007.
Re-posted 7/4/2008.
Re-posted 7/4/2009.
Re-posted 7/4/2010.
Re-posted 7/4/2011.
Re-posted 7/4/2012.
Re-posted 7/4/2013.
Re-posted 7/4/2014.
Re-posted 7/4/2015.
Re-posted 7/4/2016.
Re-posted 7/4/2017.