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.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

PM: Special Edition--Feast Of The Transfiguration

When I did my meditations on the Propers in 2016, I omitted some of the feast days as they did not fall on a Sunday. Since this one does this year, it would be a good time to "catch up" on the "neglected" ones.
Of you my heart has spoken:  Seek his face. It is your face, O Lord, that I seek; hide not your face from me.
V. The Lord is my light and my Salvation; whom shall I fear?
Ps. 26:8, 9; V. 1
One of the two Introits for the Second Sunday of Lent as well (as the Gospel Reading that day is the same). While it is our sins that cause us to hide our face, God still calls us from hiding.
Your beauty surpasses that of all the children of me; grace is poured out upon your lips.
V. My heart overflows with a goodly theme; I address my works to the King; my tongue is like the pen of an agile scribe.
Ps. 44:3; V. 2
Rarely heard, this Graduale is from the Second Sunday after Christmas (as the Solemnity of the Epiphany instead is celebrated in parts of the world). When we seek and find the face of the Lord, where truth, beauty, and goodness come together, our lips proclaim what our heart speaks.
He is the splendor of eternal light, an unspotted mirror and the image of His goodness.
Wisdom 7:26
This obviously speaks of the Son. And as Jesus said, He can only reflect what He sees the Father doing.
You have crowned him with glory and honor, and you have placed him over the work of your hands, O Lord.
Ps. 8:6,7
This originally refers to humanity. It finds its true fulfillment in Jesus after His Death and Resurrection, where His Divinity and Humanity are one.
As for the vision you have seen, tell no one until the Son of Man has risen form the dead.
Matt. 17:9
He is Risen indeed! And we should proclaim the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets in Him.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

August 2017 Morning Offering Prayer Intention

Here is the intention for this month when reciting the Morning Offering:
Artists.  That artists of our times, through their ingenuity, may help everyone discover the beauty of creation.
A reflection for this intention is found here.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Life At The Speed Limit

It's that time of the year again.

It's that time of my life again.

Another candle on the cake. (No jokes about if I need a fire extinguisher. Inquire when I reach 100.)

And while the status quo is still status quo, there are some things that have changed.

Some not so good. The slight bulge in my disc between the 4th. and 5th. lumbar vertebrae, causing the back problems that will be with me for the rest of my life. Between that and my tendonitis in my right elbow, my limited ability to do manual labor, and to do it for any length of time. The anxiety that is causing regarding my working career, as I still seek a full-time position that will utilize my talents without stressing those joints. The worry about the meager income I do earn, knowing it's not close to meeting my financial needs. (And, no, I am not asking for monetary help. I had that already. And to this day, it is still appreciated.)

In a word, I am a little more than a little scared.

But then, there are some things that not changed.

Those are good. I am still fighting to earn my place in the working world with the right job. I still have belief in my abilities. I still have hope my patience and perseverance will be rewarded. I still have plans and dreams and goals and schemes. Although it is being tried and tested, I still have faith I will come through this.

In a word, I am not letting this beat me.

"With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world." It is. I am grateful to still be among the living, enjoying the gift of life which God has bestowed. While there are times my negative emotions betray the stoic in me, I still hold true to the phrase of St. Irenaeus. And while I may cloud that glory with pessimism and fear, it may be the end of the poem "Footprints" is right now more a reality than even I realize.

Over the past few months I have developed a new catch phrase. While the first part of it is always of grateful praise, the second half could be left open to interpretation, based on apprehension or anticipation. I use it to mark the end of a significant part of my life, no matter how small.

Today, I use it to mean I am ready (willing and able are different matters) to "Go Forward".

"Thank you, God. What's next?"

Let's see "what's next" in the next twelve months.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Happy Birthday To US



God Bless the United States of America!

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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.

Patriotic Serenade

The tune is a German adaptation of the national anthem of the United Kingdom. Samuel Francis Smith created the original lyrics in 1831. True patriot's love expressed (with apologies to Canada).

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My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From ev'ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom's song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our fathers' God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom's holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.
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Originally 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.