Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Saints + Scripture: Adventus

Better Late than Never | Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa!

'Tis the Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent: Advent-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Damasus I, Pope (circa 304-384), thirty-seventh (XXXVII) Bishop of Rome (366-384): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, Saint-link trēs, & Wikipedia-link; Pontifex-link, & Wikipedia-link Pontifex.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Pope Damasus I was Bishop of Rome from October 366 to his death in 384. He presided over the Council of Rome of 382 that determined the canon or official list of Sacred Scripture. He spoke out against major heresies in the Church & encouraged production of the Vulgate Bible with his support for St. Jerome [30 September].
Wikipedia-link Rome & Wikipedia-link Vulgate


'Tis also the festival of Saint Daniel the Stylite, Priest (circa 409-493, of Constantinople): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Stylites.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Sabinus of Piacenza, Bishop (circa 333-420), Bishop of Piacenza (circa 370-420): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Diocese-link Piacenza & Wikipedia-link Piacenza.

'Tis also the festival of Saints Peris & Cían, Hermits (sixth century): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Arthur Bell, Priest & Martyr, O.F.M. (1590-1643), martyred under the auspices of the Roundhead Parliament, one of the Eighty-five Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link England & Wales & Wikipedia-link England & Wales.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent
The Book of Isaiah, chapter forty, verses twenty-five thru thirty-one;
Psalm One Hundred Three (R/. one), verses one & two, three & four, & eight & ten;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eleven, verses twenty-eight, twenty-nine, & thirty.


Commentary: Today's Advent Gospel Reflection graphic from Word on Fire will not upload. I've tried half a dozen times. I've refreshed my browser, deleted & re-downloaded the image, shut down & relaunched my browser: nothing works. As you can see, other Word on Fire graphics will load, just not today's Advent Gospel Reflection. I have not the technical expertise to explain why.

Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus offers to free us from the burden of our pride.

What is it that makes our lives heavy and weighed down? Precisely the burden of our own egos, the weight of one’s own self. When I am puffing myself up with my own self-importance, I’m laboring under all that weight. Jesus is saying, "Become a child. Take that weight off your shoulders and put on the weight of my yoke, the yoke of my obedience to the Father."

Anthony de Mello proposed the following parable to describe us prideful souls. A group of people sit on a bus that is passing through the most glorious countryside, but they have the shades pulled down on all the windows and are bickering about who gets front seat on the bus. This is the burden of pride: preferring the narrow and stuffy confines of the bus to the beauty that is effortlessly available all around. This, of course, is why Jesus can say, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." What the Lord proposes is not a freedom from suffering but, what is much more important, a freedom from the self.

Reflect: From your own experience or desire, explain how true freedom is "easy" when yoked to Christ.
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Video reflection by Damon Owens (uCatholic): Advent Reflection.

"Advent of Hope" reflection (Array of Hope):
The "time out" is a powerful tool used by sports teams, parents and teachers. But why do they use it? Because we all need time to "step back" from a situation - whether a key moment in a game or a conflict at home or at school - and relax, refocus, and refresh. This "time out" actually helps us to make the most of the time when we go back to the game or to the game of life. It can be easy for us to get worn down and tired from all stress that we face on a daily basis, but Jesus offers us a relief, something to hope in. He promises that He will relieve our burdens and give us rest. Especially during the holiday season, it is crucial for us to take time to rest, to refresh and to refocus on what is most important in our lives.

Sometimes we forget that Jesus actually carried a heavy wooden cross, was mocked, crucified out of love for us, and yet He is still able to say that His “burden is light and yoke is easy." This is because of His intimacy with the Father, fostered through prayer. Since Jesus had a human nature, prayer was a part of His experience. He sought time to simply be with His Father, often separating himself from the crowd for long periods. In prayer, Jesus sought the will of His Father, surrendered Himself to it, and received strength to do it. If we seek time to be with the Father, we will receive the clarity, confidence, and courage we need to fulfill His plan for us. We will grow in intimacy with God and our own crosses will feel "lighter." We will find that nothing will be too difficult; nothing will be too overwhelming.

Spend time this Advent taking more time-outs. During this time of rest, allow your heart to be silent and to really reflect on God’s power in your life. Rest in the peace of knowing that when we follow Christ our “yoke is easy and our burden light.”
Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Damasus I
The Acts of the Apostles, chapter twenty, verses seventeen, eighteen(a), twenty-eight thru thirty-two, & thirty-six;
Psalm One Hundred Ten (R/. four[b]), verses one, two, three, & four;
The Gospel according to John, chapter fifteen, verses Nine thru seventeen.

Papal Quote o' the Day
"All of us are capable of expressing ourselves, of transmitting our message to the world. But at the same time, each of us must be a hearer. Our message will be more fitting the more the hearing of the Word of God is already present in our message."
—Pope St. John Paul II the Great (1920-2005, feast day: 22 October)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"When you see the storm coming, if you seek safety in that firm refuge which is Mary, there will be no danger of your wavering or going down."
—St. Josemaría Escrivá (1902-1975, feast day: 26 June)

Chesterton Quote o' the Day
"I demand for myself a proper Christmas card that is about Christmas."
—G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

Saints + Scripture: Adventus — Please Stand By

Operation ÖSTERREICH

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 340.4 lbs. (Wednesday, 27 November 2019)

Operation ÖSTERREICH will resume regular reporting after the Christmastide (25 December 2019-12 January 2020). There will be some appropriate feasting, some sinful gluttony, bounteous & yet insufficient fellowship with kith & kin, fun & frolicking, & one of the principal seasons of the faith. Prithee, take advantage of the remaining fortnight of Advent & then throw yourself into the great feast of Christmas with gusto. Christ is coming to give us life, & give it abundantly.


Bonus! Lied von ÖSTERREICH
Semisonic, "Closing Time" from Feeling Strangely Fine (Mike Papa Wampa)

The Rebel Black Dot Christmas Song o' the Day


The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "This Time of Year" from Medium Rare (Rude Boy Mike Papa Whiskey)

Skammentary:
"This time of year,
It gets me and it never lets me
Act like I don't care,
This time of year
Is my favorite time of year
'Cause all of us are here together…"

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Saints + Scripture: Adventus

'Tis the Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent: Advent-link & Wikipedia-link. ~ ūnus

'Tis the festival of Our Lady of Loreto & the Translation of the Holy House (1291-1294): Madonna-link, Holy House-link, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Miltiades, Pope (died 314, A.K.A. Melchiades the African), thirty-second (XXXII) Bishop of Rome (311-314), a foe of the Donatist heresy: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Pontifex-link & Wikipedia-link Pontifex; & Heresy-link Donatism & Wikipedia-link Donatism.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Gregory III, Pope (died 741), ninetieth (XC) Bishop of Rome (731-741), a foe of the Byzantine iconoclastic heresy: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Pontifex-link & Wikipedia-link Pontifex; & Heresy-link Iconoclasm & Wikipedia-link Iconoclasm.

'Tis also the festival of Saints Edmund Gennings, Polydore Plasden, & Eustace White, Priests; & Swithun Wells, Martyrs (died 1591), martyred in the reign of the English queen Elizabeth I, four of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link Echo Golf & Wikipedia-link Echo Golf, Martyr-link Papa Papa & Wikipedia-link Papa Papa, Martyr-link Echo Whiskey & Wikipedia-link Echo Whiskey, & Martyr-link Sierra Whiskey & Wikipedia-link Sierra Whiskey; Martyrs-link England & Wales & Wikipedia-link England & Wales.

'Tis also the festival of Blesseds Sidney Hodgson, Brian Lacey, & John Mason, Martyrs (died 1591), martyred in the reign of the English queen Elizabeth I: Martyr-link Sierra Hotel & Wikipedia-link Sierra Hotel, Martyr-link Bravo Lima, Martyr-link Juliett Mike, & Wikipedia-link Trio.

'Tis also the festival of Saint John Roberts, Priest & Martyr, O.S.B. (1577-1610), martyred in the reign of the Anglo-Scottish king James VI & I, one of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales; & founder of the Benedictines that eventually founded Downside Abbey: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link England & Wales & Wikipedia-link England & Wales; Wikipedia-link Downside.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Thomas Somers, Priest & Martyr (died 1610, A.K.A. Thomas Wilson), martyred in the reign of the Anglo-Scottish king James VI & I: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent
The Book of Isaiah, chapter forty, verses one thru eleven;
Psalm Ninety-six, verses one & two, three & ten(a/c), eleven & twelve, & thirteen
(R/. the Book of Isaiah, chapter forty, verse ten[a/b]);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eighteen, verses twelve, thirteen, & fourteen.


Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus asks: "If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray?" Well, of course not! No self-respecting shepherd would ever think of doing that. If you were a shepherd, you’d cut your losses. That sheep is probably dead anyway if it wandered far enough away.

But we are to understand that God is like that foolish shepherd. God’s love throws caution to the wind to seek out the lost sheep. We might expect God to be good to those who are good, and kind to those who follow his commandments. Those who don’t, who wander away, are simply lost. God might give them a few minutes, but then they’re on their own.

No; God is like this kooky shepherd. God loves irrationally, exuberantly risking it all in order to find the one who wandered away. What good news: God does not love according to a strict justice on our terms, but loves in his own extravagant way.

Reflect: Meditate on a time when you were the one lost sheep and received the extravagant, irrational love of God.
Video reflection by Father Greg Friedman, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"Advent of Hope" reflection (Array of Hope):
It is very common for us to focus on what we do, our accomplishments and our own efforts. We lose hope sometimes because we get so frustrated with all our failures and short comings. Sometimes we feel that we have done all we can do, but that never seems to be enough. It’s so important to recognize that God is constantly searching for us with love. He is our dynamic Good Shepherd who seeks the lost and rejoices when one is found.

Think of a game of hide and seek: it is so much easier to allow yourself to be found rather than to have the responsibility to find someone else. God is doing the seeking and we must allow ourselves to be found. Do not be afraid to call out to Him. God knows us, our weaknesses, failures, sins and strengths. Surrender your heart and let yourself be wrapped up in the embrace of the Holy Spirit. How refreshing it is to know that we are being cared for! The burden of finding God is not on us! No matter how far we stray, He is actively pursuing us, loves us unconditionally and rejoices when we come to Him.

This Advent, may we allow ourselves to be found by our most loving Father!
Hide no longer! In your prayer-time today, actually call out to the Father and let yourself be found, let yourself be helped by Him. Today, surrender!
Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Loretto
The Book of Isaiah, chapter seven, verses ten thru fourteen & chapter eight, verse ten;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one (R/. forty-nine), verses forty-six & forty-seven, forty-eight & forty-nine, fifty & fifty-one, fifty-two & fifty-three, & fifty-four & fifty-five;
(or, R/. "O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father");
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verses twenty-six thru thirty-eight.

Commentary: Today's daily e-mail from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (U.S.C.C.B.) is the first time I've ever heard of the observance of Our Lady of Loretto as an Optional Memorial. None of the other resources I use make any reference to today as an Optional Memorial, not in the slightest. Further muddying the waters, the link in the U.S.C.C.B. e-mail identified Our Lady of Loretto as both a Memorial (obligatory) & an Optional Memorial. Your guess is as good as mine.

Papal Quote o' the Day
"Narazeth is the school in which one can begin to understand the life of Jesus: the school of the Gospel. Here one learns to watch, to listen, to meditate, & to penetrate the most profound & mysterious meaning of this manifestation of the Son of God."
—Pope St. John XXIII (1881-1963, feast day: 11 October)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"Through her, as through a pure crystal, Your mercy was passed on to us. Through her, man became pleasing to God; through her, streams of grace flowed down upon us."
—St. Maria Faustyna of the Blessed Sacrament (1905-1938, feast day: 5 October)

Chesterton Quote o' the Day
"Christmas has become too commercial; so many of these thinkers would destroy the Christmas that has been spoiled, & preserve the commercialism that has spoiled it."
—G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

The Rebel Black Dot Christmas Song o' the Day


Leon Redbone & Zooey Deschanel, "Baby, It's Cold Outside" from Elf: Music from the Major Motion Picture (Mike Papa Whiskey)

Commentary: Requiescat in pace, Leon Redbone (1949-2019).

Monday, December 9, 2019

Saints + Scripture: Immaculate Conception of Mary

Better Late than Never | Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa!

'Tis the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (circa 16 B.C.): Madonna-link ūna, Madonna-link duæ, Madonna-link Array of Hope, Wikipedia-link Immaculate Conception, & Wikipedia-link Feast.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception celebrates the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the womb of her mother, Saint Anne [26 July]. This conception is called "immaculate" because Mary was conceived without Original Sin.
Quoth
Minute Meditations from the Popes:
Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you. Pray especially for the enemies of the Church & those most in need of your mercy.
Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Book of Genesis, chapter three, verses nine thru fifteen & twenty;
Psalm Ninety-eight (R/. one[a]), verses one, two & three(a/b), & three(c/d) & four;
The Letter to the Ephesians, chapter one, verses three thru six, eleven, & twelve;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verses twenty-six thru thirty-eight.


Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel shows how Mary became the mother of all the members of the Body of Christ.

From the cross, Jesus pronounced this word to St. John: "Son, behold your mother." He was giving Mary not only to John, but through John to the whole Church. Mary would be the mother of all the beloved disciples of Jesus up and down the centuries.

Then we recall that, at the Annunciation, the angel declared to the maiden of Nazareth: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. And therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God." The two persons required for the Incarnation were, in other words, the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Mother.

Now we can make the connection: in becoming the mother of Christ, Mary, by extension, would become mother of all of those members of Christ’s Mystical Body across space and time. Just as the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Mother were required to bring about the Incarnation in history, so those same two agents are required to bring about the birth of Christ in our souls.

Reflect: Who is Mary to you personally? What is her place in your life?
Video reflection by Monsignor James Vlaun: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"Advent of Hope" reflection (Array of Hope):
Today we celebrate the Immaculate Conception of Mary, conceived without original sin. Today’s Gospel celebrates Mary’s sinlessness. The angel's greeting, "Hail, Full of Grace" reveals two titles of Mary. She is a Queen and she is "Full of Grace," the one who is without any trace of sin, whether original or personal. She was also given the special gifts of immunity from ignorance and from concupiscence, the two gifts required for her to fulfill her vocation as the Mother of God. Since we still struggle with ignorance and concupiscence we cannot attain the holiness of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In fact, the holiness of all the saints do not equal hers. Nevertheless, we can learn from her example of holiness.

When Mary exclaims, "May it be done to me according to your word," we learn that holiness consists in a readiness to do God's will. And what is God's will for Mary? To bear Christ for the world and to be a herald of hope. As Mary proclaims in her Magnificat: "He has come to the help of His servant Israel
for He has remembered His promise of mercy." And so for us, holiness means bearing Christ for the world through our words and our life, and being messengers of hope in Jesus! The next line after today's Gospel is "Mary arose and went in haste" to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Bringing the Savior to the world and being a herald of hope is an urgent matter. We need to "make haste," for the world desperately needs the mercy and healing power of Jesus!

This Advent let us pray with Mary that we too may bear Christ in all that we do and bring hope and healing to a hurting world. Set aside time today to say the Rosary and ask for the intercession of Our Most Blessed Mother. May she be with us and guide us today and always as we continue on this journey this Advent of Hope towards her son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Otherwise, 9 December would be the festival of Saint Valeria of Limoges, Martyr (third century), martyred in the reign of a Roman emperor, a cephalophore: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Cephalophore.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Gorgonia (died circa 375): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Daughter of Ss. Gregory of Nazianzus the Elder [1 January] & Nonna [5 August] & sister of Ss. Gregory of Nazianzus the Younger, Doctor of the Church [2 January], & Caesarius of Nazianzus [25 February].

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474-1548), to whom appeared Our Lady of Guadalupe (apparitions 1531): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Madonna-link Guadalupe & Wikipedia-link Guadalupe.


'Twould also be the festival of Blessed Liborius Wagner, Priest & Martyr (1593-1631), martyred by Lutheran Protestants: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Peter Fourier, Priest, C.R.S.A. (1565-1640, the "Good Father of Mattaincourt"), founder of the extant Congregation of Notre Dame of Canonesses Regular of Saint Augustine & the extinct Congregation of Clerics Regular of Our Savior: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Canonesses & Wikipedia-link Clerics.

We would also remember Venerable Fulton Sheen, Bishop (1895-1979), sixth (VI) Bishop of Rochester (1966-1969), host of the radio series The Catholic Hour (1928-1952) & the television series Life Is Worth Living (1952-1957, & successor series, 1958-1968): Venerable-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Rochester & Wikipedia-link Life Is Worth Living.


Commentary: The miracle necessary for Ven. Fulton's beatification (declared "Blessed") has been approved by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, & his beatification was scheduled for 21 December 2019, but last week the beatification was postponed indefinitely.

Papal Quote o' the Day
"Mary Immaculate, she who has been redeemed in a privileged manner, is the sign of the beginning of God's project to mark all things new. It is she who unveils, with her singular grace, the new life introduced by God the Father into the most intimate depths of the human person."
—Pope St. John Paul II the Great (1920-2005, feast day: 22 October)
Church Father Quote o' the Day
"This virgin mother of the Only-begotten of God is called Mary, Worthy of God, Immaculate of the Immaculate, one of the One."
—Origen of Alexandria, Father of the Church (184-253)

Chesterton Quote o' the Day
"The Christ-child stood on Mary's knee,
His hair was like a crown,
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
And all the stars looked down."
—G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

Saints + Scripture: Adventus — Please Stand By

The Rebel Black Dot Christmas Song o' the Day


Barenaked Ladies, "Green Christmas" from Barenaked for the Holidays (Mike Papa Whiskey)

Commentary, eh: We are yet in Advent, during which the prevailing color is purple, but when the red & green of Christmas come, I pray you, dear reader, do not let the green stand for envy & the red stand for fury. Peace on Earth & goodwill to men, yeah?

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Saints + Scripture: II Sunday of Advent

The Popish Plot
"Enter In"

'Tis the Second Sunday of Advent: Advent-link & Wikipedia-link Advent.

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—Second Sunday of Advent
The Book of Isaiah, chapter eleven, verses one thru ten;
Psalm Seventy-two (R/. cf. seven), verses one & two, seven & eight, twelve & thirteen, & seventeen;
The Letter to the Romans, chapter fifteen, verses four thru nine;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter three, verses one thru twelve.


Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel presents John the Baptist as a revolutionary.

Advent is best understood as a preparation for a revolution. The liturgical readings for this time of the year—focusing on Isaiah, John the Baptist, Mary, and Jesus—positively crackle with energy and electricity. When we seek to understand them on their own terms and in the context of the time in which they were written, we discover their revolutionary power.

Around the year 30, an alarming figure appeared in the Judean desert, wearing animal skins and eating locusts and wild honey; and his theme hearkened back to the prophet Isaiah: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths." John the Baptist was telling his listeners to make ready for the arrival of the God of Israel as a conquering King who would, once again, overthrow the oppressors of his people.

And the revolution arrived in the person of a young Galilean rabbi, whose message was simple and unambiguous: "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand." Jesus was saying that the new King has arrived and he’s begun his work; so change your lives and come under his lordship.

Reflect: How can truly living the Gospel today be as countercultural as John the Baptist was in his time?
Video reflection by Father Greg Friedman, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Reflection by Father Joseph Mary Wolfe, M.F.V.A. (Eternal Word television Network):
John the Baptist figures prominently in this year’s Advent gospels from St. Matthew, as the “burning and shining lamp” described in the Gospel of John (Jn. 5:35). The Baptist’s message was an invitation to repentance―of returning to the ways of the Lord. The simple people of his time, the “poor and lowly ones” who longed for goodness, lined up to receive the waters of the Jordan River from John’s hands as they humbly confessed their sins.

On the other hand, John had no patience for hypocrites. He likened them to poisonous snakes who think they have no need of repentance. Today’s Gospel and Psalm remind us of God’s mercy―He “delivers the needy” and “has pity on the weak”. They also warn us of God’s justice. As St. John the Baptist notes, “…the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

What a joy and relief to know that God loves and forgives us as we cleanse our hearts in preparation for the gift of His Son. How blessed we are to have this time of Advent preparation, to contemplate both God’s mercy and His justice! What can you do this week to turn back to Our Lord and to share with family and friends your own experience of Advent?
Video reflection by Stacey Sumereau (Array of Hope): Advent of Hope.

Video reflection by Deanna Miller (uCatholic): Advent Reflection, "Prepare the Way."

Audio reflection by Scott Hahn, Ph.D. (St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology): Breaking the Bread.




Otherwise, 8 December would be the festival of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Madonna-link ūna, Madonna-link duæ, Madonna-link Array of Hope, Wikipedia-link Immaculate Conception, & Wikipedia-link Feast.


Commentary: Wayback Machine.

Papal Quote o' the Day
"In Advent, the Church arouses in us the consciousness of our sins. She also urges us, by restraining our desires & practicing voluntary mortification of the body, to recollect ourselves in meditation & experience a longing desire to return to God."
—Pope Ven. Pius XII (1876-1958)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"God certainly did not create us this way. We are fallen. All the facts support this view. There is a voice inside our moral conscience that tells us that our immoral & unmoral acts are abnormal. They ought not to be there. There's something wrong in us, something dislocated. God did not make us one way. Or rather, He did make us one way. And we have made ourselves, in virtue of our freedom, in other ways. He wrote the drama: we changed the plot. We are not just animals that failed to evolve into humans. We are humans who have rebelled against the divine. If we are riddles to ourselves, we are not to put the blame on God or on evolution. But we are to put the blame on ourselves. We are not just a mass of corruption, but we bear within ourselves the image of God. We are very much like a man who has fallen into a well. We ought not to be there, & yet we cannot get out. We are sick; we need healing; we need deliverance; we need liberation, & we know very well that we cannot give this liberation & this freedom to ourselves. We are like a fish on top of the Empire State Building. Somehow or other we are outside of our environment. We cannot swim back into the stream. Someone has to put us back."
—Ven. Fulton Sheen (1895-1979)
Chesterton Quote o' the Day
"A word came forth in Galilee, a word like to a star;
It climbed and rang and blessed and burnt wherever brave hearts are."
—G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

The R.B.D. Song o' the Lord's Day: II Adventus


Matt Maher, "Hope for Everyone" from The Advent of Christmas (St. Mike Papa Whiskey)

Saturday, December 7, 2019

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day: Go Badgers!


The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Green Bay, Wisconsin" from While We're at It (Rude Boy Mike Papa Wolverine)

Commentary: My two favorite teams are Michigan & whomever plays The (previously known as Ohio State). Tonight, that means the pesky Badgers of Wisconsin, who this season walloped the valiant Wolverines (@ Wisconsin's Camp Randall Stadium) but were in turn walloped by the hated Buckeyes (@ The's "Horseshoe," Ohio Stadium). On Wisconsin!

Saints + Scripture: Adventus — Please Stand By

The Rebel Black Dot Christmas Song o' Today


Samstag, 7. Dezember
Susan Egan, "Cold Enough to Snow" from Winter Tracks (Mike Papa Whiskey)

Commentary:
"Where did summer go?
How'd I miss the change of season?
All at once the wind's blown up,
It's cold enough to snow…"

The Rebel Black Dot Christmas Song o' Yesterday


Freitag, 6. Dezember
Catherine O'Hara, Danny Elfman, & Paul Reubens, "Kidnap the Sandy Claws" from The Nightmare Before Christmas: Special Edition (Mike Papa Whiskey)

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The Explorers' Club, № DCCXXII

The brigantine Mary Celeste departed New York on 7 November 1872 with a complement of ten; she was discovered derelict by the brigantine Dei Gratia on 4 December 1872, the last log entry made on 25 November; the crew & her lifeboat were gone, but the ship was only lightly damaged; the salvage hearings at Gibraltar implied foul play, but the crew's fate has never been definitively explained.




The Rebel Black Dot The Aquabats! Song o' the Day!


The Aquabats!, "Sequence Erase!" from The Aquabats! vs. the Floating Eye of Death and Other Amazing Adventures, Vol. 1 (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Commentary:
"When time scrambles and it's gone away,
Can you stop to start again?
No time.

"No one will laugh when it strikes,
This diabolic plan to break up all order.
And who holds the key to stop the countdown
Of the global secret combination?

"These heroes changing,
Recognize we've been so undermined,
Danger, waking blind,
But the hands on the clock
Give no room, no thought,
No words! (No words!)
No mind! (No mind!)
No hate! (No hate!)
Sequence Erase—no time!

"Prolong the wait with hopeless information,
Time and space erase, no indication.
Knife in the back, I stagger to the phone,
Who can I call? I'm now complete alone.

"These heroes changing,
Recognize we've been so undermined,
Danger, waking blind,
But the hands on the clock
Give no room, no thought,
No words! (No words!)
No mind! (No mind!)
No hate! (No hate!)
Sequence Erase—no time!
(No time!)"

Saints + Scripture: Adventus

'Tis the Wednesday of the First Week of Advent: Advent-link, Wikipedia-link, & YouTube-link "What Is an Advent Wreath?"

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint John Damascene, Priest & Doctor of the Church (circa 675-749, A.K.A. John Chrysorrhoas), the last of the Fathers of the Church, a foe of the Byzantine iconoclastic heresy: Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Doctors-link & Wikipedia-link Doctors, Fathers-link & Wikipedia-link Fathers, & Heresy-link Iconoclasm & Wikipedia-link Iconoclasm.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Damascene is a toponym, "of Damascus;" Chrysorrhoas is an epithet, "streaming with gold," i.e., "the golden speaker." Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Saint John Damascene has the double honor of being the last but one of the fathers of the Eastern Church, & the greatest of her poets.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Barbara, Virgin & Martyr (died 235), martyred in the reign of the Roman emperor Maximinus Thrax, one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Holy Helpers-link & Wikipedia-link Holy Helpers.


'Tis also the festival of Saint Anno of Cologne, Bishop (circa 1010-1075), Archbishop of Cologne (1056-1075), founder of Michaelsberg Abbey, et al.: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Diocese-link Cologne & Wikipedia-link Cologne, Abbey-link Michaelsberg & Wikipedia-link Michaelsberg.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Osmund of Salisbury Bishop (died 1099), second (II) Bishop of Salisbury (1078-1099, Old Sarum), who initiated the Sarum Rite (or Use of Sarum) & helped compile the Domesday Book (1086): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Salisbury, Rite-link Sarum & Wikipedia-link Sarum, & Wikipedia-link Domesday Book.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Adolph Kolping, Priest (1813-1865, the "Father of All Apprentices" & "Apostle of the Working Man"), founder of the International Kolping Society: Blessed-link ūnus, Blessed-link duo, Blessed-link trēs, & Wikipedia-link; Kolping International-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Wednesday of the First Week of Advent
The Book of Isaiah, chapter twenty-five, verses six thru ten(a);
Psalm Twenty-three (R/. six[c/d]), verses one, two, & three(a); three(b) & four; five; & six;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter fifteen, verses twenty-nine thru thirty-seven.


Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus multiplies the loaves and the fishes. There is no better exemplification in the Scriptures of what I have called the loop of grace. God offers, as a sheer grace, the gift of being, but if we try to cling to that gift and make it our own, we lose it.

The constant command of the Bible is this: what you have received as a gift, give as a gift—and you will find the original gift multiplied and enhanced. One realizes this truth when one enters willingly into the loop of grace, giving away that which one is receiving.

The hungry people who gather around Jesus in this scene are symbolic of the hungry human race, starving, from the time of Adam and Eve, for what will satisfy. We have tried to fill up the emptiness with wealth, pleasure, power, honor, the sheer love of domination—but none of it works, precisely because we have all been wired for God and God is nothing but love.

Reflect: What gift have you received that you will give away this week?
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Advent of Hope (from Array of Hope):
In today’s reading, we hear about the Heavenly feast that God has prepared for those who love Him. All are welcome to the feast because our God is a God of mercy and compassion. He comes to remove the stain of sin and selfishness from our lives, to wipe away our sorrows, to heal our wounds, to destroy death and to give us eternal life.

We are filled with joy in knowing that we have a Savior who cares for us so deeply. A God who is greater than any sin, any struggle, or any circumstance we find ourselves in. This gives us confidence that no matter what we are dealing with, or what we may be struggling with, God is forever faithful. All things of this world will wash away, and only God will remain. Our worldly circumstances are fleeting, but God’s love for us is everlasting.

Even though we may face difficulties here on earth, there is something much greater awaiting us in Heaven. Nothing can compare to the glory of eternity. This fills us with great hope and anticipation in waiting for God just as we wait in this season of Advent for the Messiah to be born on Christmas. Today, offer up something in your life that you are struggling with. Ask God to come to your aid and heal you of your suffering. Rejoice and be glad that He has saved us, and remember that endless joy awaits us in eternity.
Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. John Damascene
The Second Letter to Timothy, chapter one, verses thirteen & fourteen & chapter two, verses one, two, & three;
Psalm Nineteen (R/. ten), verses eight, nine, ten, & eleven,
(or, R/. the Gospel according to John, chapter six, verse sixty-three);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses fourteen thru thirty
(or, the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses fourteen thru twenty-three).

Papal Quote o' the Day
"At this point, the drama is either 'Yes' or 'No' for the modern generation that has shown that it has understood the possibility & happiness of an encounter with Christ. Christ is speaking from His crib, 'Blest are they who hear the Word of God & keep it' (Luke, 11:28)."
—Pope St. Paul VI (1897-1978, feast day: 29 May)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"Show me the icons that you venerate, that I may be able to understand your faith."
—St. John Damascene, Doctor of the Church (675-749, feast day: 4 December)
Chesterton Quote o' the Day
"Christmas is utterly unsuited to the modern world. It presupposed the possibility of families being united, or reunited, & even of the men & women who chose each other being on speaking terms. Thus thousands of young adventurous spirits, ready to fly to the ends of the earth & tolerate every alien or accidental quality in cannibals or devil-worshipers, are cruelly forced to face an hour, nay sometimes even two hours, in the society of Uncle George; or some aunt from Cheltenham whom they do not particularly like. Such abominable tortures cannot be tolerated in a time like ours."
—G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Here We Are" from While We're at It (Rude Boy Mike Papa Whiskey)

Skammentary:
"Wrath like you've never imagined,
Beyond our wildest dreams,
No explanation, God's green creation
Is coming apart at the seams.
Seems we might have done it this time,
This time might be the one,
We can't reverse or even worse,
This time, this time what have we done?…

"A path we should never set foot on,
A road that nobody takes,
Incompetent leaders, liars and cheaters,
Catastrophic and costly mistakes.
We're hoping to come to our senses
And sensing that won't be the case,
Hope's running low, there's no place to go,
How did we get to this place?…

"Did we ask for this to happen
And not know where it would go?…"

Saints + Scripture: Adventus

'Tis the Tuesday of the First Week of Advent: Advent-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest, S.J. (1506-1552, the "Apostle to the Far East," A.K.A. Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta), co-founder of the Jesuits (S.J.), formally the Society of Jesus: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Order-link S.J., & Wikipedia-link S.J.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Francis Xavier, S.J., was a Navarrese Catholic missionary who was a co-founder of the Society of Jesus. He was a companion of Saint Ignatius of Loyola [31 July] & one of the first seven Jesuits who took vows of poverty & chastity at Montmartre, Paris.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Cassian of Tangier, Martyr (died 298), martyred in the reign of the Roman emperors Diocletian & Maximian: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Birinus of Dorchester, Bishop (circa 600-650, the "Apostle of Wessex"), inaugural Bishop of Dorchester (634-650): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Dorchester.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Abbo of Auxerre, Bishop & Abbot, O.S.B. (died circa 860), Bishop of Auxerre (857-859), abbot of the Abbey of Saint-Germain d'Auxerre: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Diocese-link Auxerre & Wikipedia-link Auxerre, & Wikipedia-link Saint-Germain d'Auxerre.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Emma of Lesum (circa 975-1038; A.K.A. of Bremen, of Stiepel; also spelt Hemma, Imma): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Sister of the bishop Bl. Meinwerk of Paderborn [5 June].

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Edward Colman, Martyr (1636-1678, also spelt Coleman), martyred in the reign of the Anglo-Scottish king Charles II, a victim of the perjurer Titus Oates's "Popish Plot" hoax: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Popish Plot-link & Wikipedia-link Popish Plot.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Johann Nepomuk von Tschiderer zu Gleifheim, Bishop (1777-1860), Bishop of Trent (1834-1860): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Trent.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Tuesday of the First Week of Advent
The Book of Isaiah, chapter eleven, verses one thru ten;
Psalm Seventy-two (R/. see seven), verses one & two, seven & eight, twelve & thirteen, & seventeen;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter ten, verses twenty-one thru twenty-four.


Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus places a high value on childlikeness. What is it about "the childlike" that Jesus prizes? Jesus himself is the child, the Son who has received everything from his Father. He lives in an attitude of receptivity, taking in all that the Father has given him. His is a life of obedience. He is not in command of his life, but he receives it as a gift.

This is what it means to be a little child: to have an attitude of receptivity that allows you to be moved by God and by God’s ways. The problem with "the wise and the learned" is not that they’re educated, but that they are trying to govern and run their own lives on their own terms rather than living in obedience to God. The truly wise are those who are like Christ: little children in relation to God.

Reflect: How do you need to be more like a child and look to God to receive all that he wants to give you?
Video reflection by Father Greg Friedman, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Advent of Hope Reflection (Array of Hope):
Our faith is a gift from God. Jesus wants to be known in our hearts and in our lives. He rejoices in our faithfulness and invites us to be in full union with Him, and reminds us to have a pure heart and childlike faith.

Children yearn to be loved by their Father. Whether they receive that love, or grew up with a lack of it, it shapes the person they become. As children of God, we too long to be known and cherished. This yearning can only be satiated by God, our loving Father in Heaven. Our God, who protects us and loves us in a special and unique way that no one else can.

When a child needs something, he cries out to his parents and trusts that he will be comforted and that his needs will be granted. This is the faith we need. When we are struggling or in need, we cry out to the Lord and trust that He will be there as He promised and He will take care of us. Comfort someone today. Be there for a family member or friend in need. Let the love of Our Father in Heaven shine through you and outward onto others.
Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Francis Xavier
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter nine, verses sixteen thru nineteen, twenty-two, & twenty-three;
Psalm One Hundred Seventeen, verses one(b/c), two
(R/. the Gospel according to Mark, chapter sixteen, verses fifteen);
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter sixteen, verses fifteen thru twenty.

Papal Quote o' the Day
"The call to prayer must precede the call to action, but the call to action must truly accompany the call to prayer. In prayer we discover the needs of our brothers & sisters & make them our own, because in prayer we discover that their needs are the needs of Christ."
—Pope St. John Paul II the Great (1920-2005, feast day: 22 October)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"Whenever you begin any good work you should first of all make a most pressing appeal to Christ our Lord to bring it to perfection."
—St. Benedict of Nursia (480-547, feast day: 11 July)
Chesterton Quote o' the Day
"Step softly, under snow or rain,
To find the place where men can pray;
The way is all so very plain
That we may lose the way."
—G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

Monday, December 2, 2019

The Explorers' Club, № DCCXXI

Operation AXIOM: After the World War—The Paris Peace Conference, Part VIII
27 November 1919: The Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine was signed—Terms were imposed upon Bulgaria rather than negotiated: it lost direct access to the Aegean Sea, agreed to reparations, &, despite lofty Wilsonian rhetoric about national self-determination, ceded Bulgarian-majority towns to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, & Slovenes; but along among the erstwhile Central Powers, its monarchy survived.






Lest we forget.

The Rebel Black Dot The Aquabats! Song o' the Day!


The Aquabats!, "Feel My Steel!" from The Aquabats! Super Show! Television Soundtrack: Volume One (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Saints + Scripture: Adventus

'Tis the Monday of the First Week of Advent: Advent-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Avitanus of Rouen, Bishop (died 325, also spelt Avitus), third (III) Bishop of Rouen (311-325): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Diocese-link Rouen & Wikipedia-link Rouen.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Bibiana, Virgin & Martyr (died circa 361, also spelt Viviana), martyred in the reign of the Roman emperor Julian the Apostate, namesake of Rome's Church of Santa Bibiana, which houses a Bernini statue of the saint: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Santa Bibiana & Wikipedia-link Saint Bibiana.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Daughter of Ss. Flavian [22 December] & Daffosa [4 January], sister of St. Demetria [21 June].

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Jan of Ruusbroec, Priest, C.R.S.A. (circa 1293-1381; Anglicized as John; town also spelt Ruysbroeck, Ruisbroek): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Rafał Chyliński, Priest, O.F.M. Conv. (1694-1741, A.K.A. Melchor Chyliński): Blessed-link ūnus, Blessed-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Ivan Slezyuk, Bishop & Martyr (1896-1973), martyred in the reign of the Communist dictator Leonid Brezhnev, one of the Martyrs Killed under Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link Eastern Europe.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Monday of the First Week of Advent
The Book of Isaiah, chapter four, verses two thru six;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-two, verses one & two, three & four(b), four(c/d) & five, six & seven, & eight & nine;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eight, verses five thru eleven.


Commentary: Advent Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in our Gospel today a Roman centurion comes to Jesus and says, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully… I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.”

Any objective observer would say, “Well, this is ridiculous! What this man is asking is impossible.” He is not only asking that his servant might be cured; he is asking that he be cured at a distance, with simply a word. He’s at the limit of what he could possibly know or control or measure. And yet he trusts; he has faith.

Søren Kierkegaard defined faith as “a passion for the impossible.” Is God opposed to reason? Absolutely not; God gave us the gift of reason. Does God want us to be unrealistic? No; he wants us to use all of our powers of imagination and analysis. But faith goes beyond reason; it is a passion for what reason can’t see.

That centurion had a passion for the impossible. And that’s why Jesus says to him, in some of the highest praise you’ll find in the Gospel: “In no one in Israel have I found such faith.”

Reflect: What would you like Jesus to “only say the word” for and it will be done? Have you asked him with the faith of the centurion?
Advent of Hope Reflection (Array of Hope):
Such faith the centurion had! This is true hope lived out in the Gospel. This is what Jesus does for each one of us when we ask Him. So often we are afraid to ask for help or think we are unworthy, but Jesus is not interested in our shortcomings, He is always waiting with open arms for us to call upon Him with faith.

“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed.”

We know these words and say them before receiving the Eucharist during mass. Jesus’ true presence in the Eucharist serves as a tremendous act of love and strengthens us in our faith. This Advent, receive the Eucharist as much as possible and allow the grace of God to work in your life.

Today, cast your anxieties aside and don’t be afraid to call upon the Lord. No matter what you may be experiencing, hold onto the hope of knowing that He will come to your aid and strengthen you without fail!
Video reflection by Monsignor James Vlaun: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Scripture Study—Exodus 90: Day 91: Relativism Ridge, Day 28 (of 28)
The Book of Judges, chapter twenty, verses twelve, twenty, thirty-five, forty-seven, & forty-eight;
The Book of Judges, chapter twenty-one, verse twenty-five.

Commentary: The Tribes of Israel Attack the Benjaminites (Judges, 20:12, 20, 35, 47-48) & the Benjaminites Saved from Extinction (Judges, 21:25).

Papal Quote o' the Day
"Our evangelizing zeal must spring from true holiness of life. In addition, as the Second Vatican Council suggests, preaching must in its turn make the preacher grow in holiness, which is nourished by prayer & by love for the Eucharist."
—Pope St. Paul VI (1897-1978, feast day: 29 May)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"Every woman promises a man a love that only God can give. And every man promises a woman a love that only God can give. A finite creature cannot bear its yearning of the infinite love any more than a statue of bronze can rest upon the stem of a flower. Men & women are all looking for another kind of love. Today this causes the breakdown of the marriage covenant. When people leave on marriage & seek another, it is like the addition of zeroes, which never, never brings happiness."
—Ven. Fulton Sheen (1895-1979)
Chesterton Quote o' the Day
"True contentment is a thing as active as agriculture. It is the power of getting out of any situation all that there is in it. It is arduous & it is rare."
—G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Saints + Scripture: I Sunday of Advent

Better Late than Never | Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa!

The Popish Plot
"The Story of the Gregorian Calendar"

'Tis the First Sunday of Advent: Advent-link, Wikipedia-link Advent, & Wikipedia-link First Sunday.

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—First Sunday of Advent
The Book of Isaiah, chapter two, verses one thru five;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-two, verses one & two, three & four, four & five, six & seven, & eight & nine;
The Letter to the Romans, chapter thirteen, verses eleven thru fourteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-four, verses thirty-seven thru forty-four.


Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel reminds us to be prepared as we await the Lord’s coming again.

I don’t think it is the least bit accidental that when Paul wrote back to the community at Thessalonika (the earliest Christian document we have), his major motif was the end of the world as we know it and the longing for Christ to come to remake the cosmos.

When Paul speaks in that text of Christ arriving on the clouds and the Christians going up to meet him in the air, he is not predicting a great escape from the world of matter; rather, he is envisioning a welcome committee of believers moving out to escort into the world its new King.

The entire Bible ends on a note not so much of triumph and completion as longing and expectation: "Come, Lord Jesus." From the very beginning of the Christian dispensation, followers of the risen Jesus have been waiting. Paul, Augustine, Chrysostom, Agnes, Thomas Aquinas, Clare, Francis, John Henry Newman, and Simone Weil have all waited for the second coming and have hence all been Advent people.

During this season, let us join them, turning our eyes and hearts upward and praying, "Come, Lord Jesus."

Reflect: Would you describe yourself as an "Advent person"? Why or why not?
Video reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire): "God's Holy Mountain."

Video reflection by Father Greg Friedman, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Video reflection by Sister Tonia Borsellino (uCatholic): Advent Reflection.

Audio reflection by Scott Hahn, Ph.D. (St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology): Breaking the Bread.

Video reflection by Lauren Costabile (Array of Hope): Advent of Hope

Reflection by Father Joseph Mary Wolfe, M.F.V.A. (Eternal Word Television Network):
There is tremendous hope in today’s readings that God Himself can teach us His ways―ways that lead to peace among people and nations, if we would only go to the Father’s house and learn. In today’s second reading, St. Paul encourages us to wake up and “cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” The good news is that we can choose to do just that. Our Catholic Faith gives us many opportunities through the Sacraments, the Scriptures and the traditions of our Church for a fresh start as we anticipate the birth of Christ.

Our Lord wants us to prepare our hearts to welcome the gift of His Son with joy. He gives us all the graces necessary for our conversion of heart. If you have not received the healing and grace of a good Confession in awhile, this Advent I invite you to experience the forgiveness and peace God gives us through this Sacrament.

Otherwise, 1 December would be the festival of Blessed John Beche, Abbot & Martyr, O.S.B. (died 1539, A.K.A. Thomas Marshall), last abbot of Saint John's Abbey (1530-1539, A.K.A. Colchester Abbey) & twenty-sixth (XXVI) abbot of Saint Wesburgh's Abbey (1515-1530, now Chester Cathedral), martyred in the reign of the English king Henry VIII, during the Dissolution of the Monasteries (1536-1541): Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Saint John's, Wikipedia-link Saint Wesburgh's, & Wikipedia-link Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also be the festival of Saints Alexander Briant, S.J.; Edmund Campion, S.J.; & Ralph Sherwin; Priests & Martyrs (died 1581), martyred in the reign of the English queen Elizabeth I, three of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales; author of Campion's Brag (A.K.A. the Challenge to the Privy Council): Martyr-link Alpha Bravo & Wikipedia-link Alpha Bravo; Martyr-link Echo Charlie, Wikipedia-link Echo Charlie, & Campion's Brag-link; & Martyr-link Romeo Sierra & Wikipedia-link Romeo Sierra; Martyrs-link England & Wales & Wikipedia-link England & Wales.

'Twould also be the festival of Blessed Richard Langley, Martyr (died 1581), martyred in the reign of the English queen Elizabeth I: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the festival of Blessed Charles de Foucald, Priest & Martyr, O.S.C.O. (1858-1916, A.K.A. Brother Marie-Alberic), founder of the Union of Brothers & Sisters of the Sacred Heart, martyred by Senussi Muslims: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the festival of Blessed Kazimierz Tomasz Sykulski, Priest & Martyr (1882-1942), martyred in the reign of the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, one of the One Hundred Eight Blessed Polish Martyrs: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link (List, № 46); Martyrs-link Polska & Wikipedia-link Polska.

'Twould also be the festival of Blessed Marie-Clémentine Nengapeta, Religious & Martyr (circa 1939-1964, A.K.A. Alphonsine Anuarite Nengapeta), martyred by her would-be rapist Pierre Olombe during the Communist Simba uprising: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Papal Quote o' the Day
"By this devotion [the Sacred Heart of Jesus] is renewed symbolically the memory of the divine Love by which the only Son of God, endowed with human nature & obedient until death, said that He gave an example of being meek & humble of heart."
—Pope Clement XIII (1693-1769)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"Mark the season of Advent by loving & serving others with God's love."
—St. Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997, feast day: 5 September)

Chesterton Quote o' the Day
"The old Trinity was of father & mother & child & is called the human family. The new is of child & mother & father & is called the Holy Family. It is in no way altered except in being entirely reversed; just as the world which is transformed was not in the least different, except in being turned upside-down."
—G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)