Saturday, December 31, 2022

Comes The Change; Comes The Song

I think there was much more to celebrate than to bemoan this year. I hope you mark this annual rite of the passage of time appropriately. With these words of the Scottish poet Robert Burns echoing in the background, let us recollect and rejoice:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu'd the gowans fine;
But we've wandered mony a weary fit
Sin' auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidled i' the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin' auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne, 
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

May more of God's blessings befall you in 2023. May you graciously receive the favors he bestows. May you experience more of His joy, peace, hope, and love.

Happy New Year, Everybody!

Loose Ends To Tie

It is almost the end of the day. It is almost the end of the week. It is almost the end of the month. It is almost the end of the year.

Which means tomorrow brings a lot of firsts. And with those firsts, it also brings the promise of continuity and new beginnings. The chance to start and re-start (start again, not start over).

2022 saw some going forward and being bold for me. The boldness was exhibited in taking on a supervisory position at the amusement park where I work. While at times it had its challenges and I had my doubts, my sense of duty and commitment carried me through the season. There was plenty of room for improvement; I will have that opportunity to grow starting in February. And, yes, I still am escorting elementary school children across a street twice a day during the school year.

The forward motion was again economically. With the extra hours and higher wage at the park and a small pay increase as a crossing guard, I had an income gain of 29.6% over last year. A significant victory for me; a new status quo for the pocketbook.

My interior life has also maintained it status quo. It is where I am, but is it where God wants me to be with Him? Obviously not; the call to a more perfect union is always there. The questions are whether I hear His voice clearly and how I will respond to that infusion of grace that come with it. I don't think I have as restless a soul as St. Augustine, but it does yearn for Him.

Other than that, nothing else has changed. Perhaps it is a sign of stability. Perhaps it is a sturdier platform upon which to leap to greater heights. Hopefully is is not going to be a point of departure for regressing.

The new year begins soon.

The mantra remains the same:  Go Forward; Be Bold.

And this infinitesimal corner of the universe will still have a place for you.

"...In The Hand Of God..."

It is a day the whole Church Militant knew was coming but still did not wish to see.

The 265th. Vicar of Christ, the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church for almost eight years until his surprise and nearly unprecedented resignation, the Servant of the Servants of God, His Holiness Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger) is now of happy memory.

The Vatican reports the story. (UPDATE) They also published his official biography.

The tributes (as well at the criticisms) will be forthcoming.

With a breath and depth of writings on a variety of subjects, the suggestion of naming him a Doctor of the Church has been made. In order for that to occur, he will have to be canonized. It will not happen subito, but perhaps in my lifetime.

"Well done, good and faithful servant...."

Requiem in pace.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

2022 Christmas Card

May your celebration of the Nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be filled with joy. May you find room at the inn of your soul for the Infant Jesus, so He may grant you peace. May the love of the Christ Child bring you abundant graces and blessings.

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

2022 Christmas Eve Reflection

The Gospel Reading from the Nativity of the Lord--Mass at Dawn:
When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another,  “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.

Luke 2:15-20
As the late radio personality Paul Harvey would say, "And now, the rest of the story."

The angels have finished singing the first Christmas carol, its echo we proclaim in the "Gloria". Now, like the shepherds, we must travel to the House of Bread. We must find that original makeshift church and actually participate in that inaugural Eucharistic Adoration, where the monstrance is not made of precious metals and rare gems but of rough wood and coarse straw.

As we re-present this first Christian pilgrimage, we recall how God has made known to us this thing which has happened. He announced it immediately after the Fall. He repeated it time and again throughout the Old Testament. Now, at last, "the Word was made flesh and dwelled amongst us." We need not ask, "What Child is this?" He is our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He is Emmanuel--God is with us.

And so we enter His presence. For those of you fortunate enough to visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, you know the entrance to the cave is so small one has to stoop to gain access. Does our soul do that when we enter our local church, no matter how plain or grandiose the architecture of the place? Symbolically, are we like Moses and Elijah, who covered their faces as a sign of humility? If able, do we genuflect before the tabernacle, acknowledging the fact we are in the Real Presence of the King of kings and Lord of lords? He is here. He is Emmanuel--God is with us. 

The shepherds knew. When they came, they encountered a magnum mysterium et admirabile sacramentum. Did their awe foreshadow St. Peter's at the Transfiguration? Should we not have that same reaction? And from that, should we not act accordingly? He is here. He is Emmanuel--God is with us.

While we are in His presence, how are we like the Blessed Virgin Mary? How are we to be still and know He is Emmanuel--God is with us? Yes, time in prayer and with Sacred Scripture are sure foundations. But we also have to "remember what peace there may be in silence". And there is no "may" about it. "Amid the noise and the haste" of this world, there is something to be said about being quiet. The world continues to muffle the voice of God; the Word is sometimes barely a whisper, even more so an echo. But it is in only the soul can we encounter Him as He is. There in contemplation can we keep all these thing and reflect upon them, allowing His life to grow within us.

Because and after this encounter with the Christ Child, the shepherds left as the first evangelists. They heard Ite, Missa est long before we even established those words in our liturgy. So, how do we make this message known? It certainly has to start with the ongoing metanoia of our own lives. That starts with "naming and claiming" we are sinners in need of a Saviour. The follow up is a sincere examination of conscience, grounded in the truth of the Faith (something that seems to be ignored in the "primacy of conscience" arguments I hear), Finally, the use of Sacrament of Reconciliation is required, with all the sincerely of repentance one can muster. Repeat as necessary, which is to say as long as you live, move, and have being. (Lately, I have started to speculate why the lines at Communion are longer than those at Confession. I wonder if it is because people are thinking the Penitential Rite during Mass is a form of general absolution. Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi?)

Only then can we preach the Gospel always and use word if necessary, paraphrasing an attributed quote from St. Francis of Assisi, the man who created the first Nativity scene. Only then can we amaze all those who hear what we are saying. Only then can we return, glorifying and praising God for all we have heard and seen, just as it has been told to us.

The rest of this story will occur as it has been foretold. But what of our role in it? How will you keep the salvation given to us by our God? We must see things with the eyes of Faith. Our churches are not only Calvary but also Bethlehem. The tabernacle is not only a tomb but also a manger. We will seek and find Him in these places to start. We will continue to believe, adore, trust, and love Him.

Hodie Christus natus est.

Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.

Infinite Cost; Infinite Price

Here is an Advent hymn you won't find in today's mainstream hymnals.The words were written in 1664 by Johannes Olearius . It was set to the tune Darmstadt in 1699.


Come, Thou precious ransom, come,
Only hope for sinful mortals!
Come, O Saviour of the world!
Open are to Thee all portals.
Come, Thy beauty let us see;
Anxiously we wait for Thee.

Enter now my waiting heart,
Glorious King and Lord most holy.
Dwell in me and ne'er depart,
Though I am but poor and lowly.
Ah, what riches will be mine
When Thou art my guest divine!

My hosannas and my palms
Graciously receive, I pray Thee;
Evermore, as best I can,
Saviour, I will homage pay Thee,
And in faith I will embrace,
Lord, Thy merit through Thy grace.

Hail, hosanna, David's Son!
Help, Lord, hear our supplication!
Let Thy kingdom, scepter, crown,
Bring us blessing and salvation,
That forever we may sing:
"Hail, hosanna!" to our King.


Do they not truly express our longing of body, mind, heart, and soul?

Ero cras.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Advent's Magnificent Seven

They are most familiar to those who make the Divine Office/Liturgy of the Hours a regular part of their prayer life.

They are very familiar to us at this time of the liturgical year as a hymn heard frequently throughout Advent.

They are rather familiar to you who visit this infinitesimal corner of the universe and seek them for whatever inspiration they may provide.

As is this 'blog's tradition, I once again present my series of meditations on the "O" Antiphons. These are the seven antiphons recited or chanted before the Magnificat during Vespers/Evening Prayer starting tonight. Each one focuses on a title given to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Each one begs for His coming into the world, not only as the Babe in the manger but also the Judge at the end of time.

It is my desire to take from my store these offerings of a simple pilgrim and share them once more.

It is my hope as we still await the blessed hope my meager musings are still "ever ancient, ever new".

It is my invitation to come and see, again.

Later today.

Friday, December 02, 2022

December 2022 Morning Offering Prayer Intention

Here is the intention for this month when prayer the Morning Offering:

For volunteer not-for-profit organizations. We pray that volunteer non-profit organizations committed to human development find people dedicated to the common good and ceaselessly seek out new paths to international cooperation.

A reflection for this intention is found here.