Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Project BLACK MAMBA: Better Late Than Never

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Anthony, Abbot (circa 251-356; A.K.A. the Great, of the Desert, of Thebes, et al.), most renowned of the Desert Fathers, whose temptation is oft-depicted in art; also associated with the Tau Cross: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, Saint-link trēs, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Desert Fathers, Wikipedia-link Temptation, & Wikipedia-link St. Anthony's Cross.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
For his importance among the Desert fathers & to all later Christian monasticism, he is also known as the Father of All Monks. Christian ascetics previously retreated to isolated locations at the outskirts of cities. Anthony is notable for having decided to surpass this tradition & headed out into the desert proper.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
The life of Anthony will remind many people of St. Francis of Assisi [4 October]. At twenty, Anthony was so moved by the Gospel message, "Go, sell what you have, & give to the poor" (Mark, 10:21b), that he actually did just that with his large inheritance. He is different from Francis in that most of Anthony's life was spent in solitude. He saw the world completely covered with snares, & gave the Church & the world the witness of solitary asceticism, great personal mortification, & prayer. But no saint is antisocial & Anthony drew many people to himself for spiritual healing & guidance.
'Tis also the festival of Our Lady of Pontmain (apparition 17 January 1871, A.K.A. Our Lady of Hope): Madonna-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Sulpicius the Pious, Bishop (died circa 647, A.K.A. Sulpicius II of Bourges): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Roseline of Villeneuve, Religious, O.Cart. (circa 1263-1329; also spelt Rosalina, Rossolina): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Book of Samuel, chapter seventeen, verses thirty-two, thirty-three, thirty-seven, & forty thru fifty-one;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-four, verses one(b), two, & nine & ten;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter three, verses one thru six.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel shows an angry Jesus healing a man with a withered hand. Whenever the Bible speaks of the divine anger, which it does a lot, it is talking poetically about God’s passion to set things right. God doesn’t go in and out of emotional states. He doesn’t fall into snits. He longs to establish justice on the earth and stands athwart those forces opposed to his purpose. This is precisely what Jesus does toward the Pharisees in today’s Gospel.

The episode concerns the idea of justice. Now what is justice? I love Plato’s simple definition: justice is rendering to each his due. It is fairness, or, to use more biblical language, "righteousness." It means doing the right thing. To state it negatively, it is not to cheat, not to take advantage of, not to deny someone his rights.

A steady teaching of the Bible is that God stands for justice and wants us to stand for it too. Jesus says, "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness." These are words that have inspired social reformers from William Wilberforce to William Lloyd Garrison to Martin Luther King to John Paul II. Let’s reflect on them today.
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Anthony
The Letter to the Ephesians, chapter six, verses ten thru thirteen;
Psalm Sixteen, verse five;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter nineteen, verses sixteen thru twenty-six.



Bible Study—Wisdom Books
The Book of Psalms, psalm forty (verses one thru eighteen);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter seventeen (verses one thru twenty-eight);
The Book of Wisdom, chapter fifteen, verses eighteen & nineteen;
The Book of Wisdom, chapter sixteen (verses one thru twenty-nine).

Commentary: Gratitude & Prayer for Help (Psalm 40), First Collection of the Proverbs of Solomon (cont'd; Proverbs, 17:1-28), & Second Example Resumed (Wisdom, 15:18-16:15) & Third Example: A Rain of Manna for Israel instead of the Plague of Storms (16:16-29).

For those keeping score at home, the oft-interrupted & -resumed second example is: Animals Punish the Egyptians & Benefit the Israelites.


Bible Study—Pauline Letters
The Letter to the Romans, chapter fourteen (verses one thru twenty-three).

Commentary: Do Not Judge Another (Romans, 14:1-12) & Do Not Make Another Stumble (14:13-23).

Proverb o' the Day (17:3)
The crucible for silver, & the furnace for gold,
but the tester of hearts is the LORD.
Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand."
—St. Augustine of Hippo, Doctor of the Church (354-430, feast day: 28 August)
Commentary: Mine own experience testifies to the timeless wisdom of St. Augustine's words.

God's Comic
Practical (read: satirical) tips for effective ecumenical dialogue from The Babylon Bee: "How to Get Along with Christians from Other Denominations".

Operation ÖSTERREICH

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 344.4 lbs
This weigh-in: 342.6 lbs.
Difference: -1.8 lbs.

We're not yet back to where we were before the holidays, but 'tis progress all the same. Onward!

Bonus! Lied von ÖSTERREICH
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Inactive" from Mandatory Fun (The Last Angry Sloth)

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day


Sarah Blasko, "Spanish Ladies" from the A.M.C.'s Turn: Washington's Spies—Original Soundtrack, Season 1 E.P. (The Last Angry Sea Dog)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saint Priscilla of Rome, Martyr (died circa 95), martyred in the reign of the emperor Domitian, foundress & namesake of the Catacomb of Priscilla: Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Saint-link trēs; Wikipedia-link Catacomb.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Marcellus I, Pope & Martyr (died 309), thirtieth (XXX) Bishop of Rome, martyred in the reign of the emperors Maxentius & Maximinus II: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Pontiff.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Berard of Cabrio, Priest, & Companions, Martyrs, O.F.M. (died 1220), martyred personally by the caliph Yusuf II: Franciscan Protomartyrs-link, Martyr-link Bravo, Martyr-link Alpha, Martyr-link Oscar, Martyr-link Papa, & Wikipedia-link V.

Commentary: Also martyred was the lay brother St. Adjutus. Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
In 1219, with the blessing of Saint Francis [4 October], Berard left Italy with Peter, Adjuste, Accurs, Odo, & Vitalis to preach in Morocco. En route in Spain, Vitalis became sick & commanded the other friars to continue their mission without him. They tried preaching in Seville, then in Muslim hands, but made no converts. They went on to Morocco where they preached in the marketplace. The friars were immediately apprehended & ordered to leave the country; they refused. When they began preaching again, an exasperated sultan ordered them executed. After enduring sever beatings & declining various bribes to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ, the friars were beheaded by the sultan himself on 16 January 1220. These were the first Franciscan martyrs.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Joseph Vaz, Priest, C.O. (1651-1711), the "Apostle of Ceylon" (Sri Lanka): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Book of Samuel, chapter sixteen, verses one thru thirteen;
Psalm Eighty-nine, verses twenty, twenty-one & twenty-two, & twenty-seven & twenty-eight;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter two, verses twenty-three thru twenty-eight.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus calls us to recognize him as Lord. Acknowledging the Lordship of Jesus means that your life has to change. For many this is liberating good news. But for others, it is a tremendous threat. If Jesus is Lord, my ego can’t be Lord. My religion can’t be Lord. My country, my convictions, and my culture cannot be Lord.

The Resurrection is the clearest indication of the Lordship of Jesus. This is why the message of the Resurrection is attacked, belittled, or explained away. The author of Acts speaks of "violent abuse" hurled at Paul. I have a small taste of this on my YouTube forums. We all should expect it, especially when our proclamation is bold.

This reveals a great mystery: we are called to announce the Good News to everyone, but not everyone will listen. Once we’ve done our work, we should move on and not obsess about those who won’t listen. Why do some respond and some don’t? We don’t know, but that’s ultimately up to God.
Video reflection by Sister Peggy Gorman, R.S.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.




Bible Study—Wisdom Books
The Book of Psalms, psalm thirty-nine (verses one thru fourteen);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter sixteen (verses one thru thirty-three).

Commentary: The Vanity of Life (Psalm 39) & First Collection of the Proverbs of Solomon (cont'd; Proverbs, 16:1-33).

Bible Study—Pauline Letters
The Letter to the Romans, chapter twelve (verses one thru twenty-one);
The Letter to the Romans, chapter thirteen (verses one thru fourteen).

Commentary: New Life in Christ (Romans, 12:1-8), Marks of the True Christian (12:9-21), Being Subject to Authorities (13:1-7), & Love for One Another (13:8-14).

Proverb o' the Day (16:6)
By kindness & piety guilt is expiated,
and by the fear of the LORD man avoids evil.
Saint Quote o' the Day
"To show great love for God & our neighbor we need not do great things. It is how much we put in the doing, that makes our offering something beautiful for God."
—St. Teresa of Calcutta (A.K.A. Mother Teresa, 1910-1997; feast day: 5 September)

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

Leon Thomas III & Victoria Justice, "Countdown" from Victorious 2.0: More Music from the Hit T.V. Show (The Last Angry Man)

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Michael Jackson, "Man in the Mirror" from Bad (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"I'm starting with the man in the mirror,
I'm asking him to change his ways,
And no message could have been any clearer:
If you wanna make the world a better place,
Take a look at yourself and make a change…"

Project BLACK MAMBA: Late Edition

'Tis the festival of Saint Paul the First Hermit (circa 227-342; A.K.A. of Thebes, the Anchorite): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, Saint-link trēs, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Paul was reportedly born in Egypt, where he was orphaned at age fifteen. He was also a learned & devout young man. During the persecution of Decius in Egypt in the year 250, Paul was forced to hide in the home of a friend. Fearing a brother-in-law would betray him, he fled to a cave in the desert. His plan was to return once the persecution ended, but the sweetness of solitude & heavenly contemplation convinced him to stay. He went on to live in that cave for the next ninety years.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Maurus, Abbot, O.S.B. (512-584), founding abbot of Glanfeuil Abbey: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Abbey.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Pierre of Castelnau, Religious & Martyr, O.Cist. (died 1208, Anglicized as Peter), martyred by the Cathers (A.K.A. the Albigensians), which was the proximate cause of the Albigensian Crusade: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Crusade.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Arnold Janssen, Priest, S.V.D. (1837-1909), founder of the Society of the Divine Word, the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit, & the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters, the "Pink Sisters:" Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link S.V.D., Wikipedia-link S.Sp.S., & Wikipedia-link S.Sp.S.A.P.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Book of Samuel, chapter fifteen, verses sixteen thru twenty-three;
Psalm Fifty, verses eight & nine, sixteen(b/c) & seventeen, & twenty-one & twenty-three;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter two, verses eighteen thru twenty-two.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel people ask Jesus why he doesn’t encourage fasting among his followers. Jesus’ answer is wonderful: "How can the guests at a wedding fast while the groom is still with them?" (That’s a typically Jewish style, by the way: answering a question with another question.)

This great image of the wedding feast comes up frequently in the New Testament, most obviously in the wedding feast at Cana narrative. And it is echoed in the Tradition. Jesus is the wedding of heaven and earth, the marriage of divinity and humanity; he is the bridegroom and the Church is the bride. In him, the most intimate union is achieved between God and the world.

Could you imagine people fasting at a wedding banquet? Could you imagine going into an elegant room with your fellow guests and being served bread and water? It would be ridiculous! So says Jesus: "As long as the groom is with them, how could they fast?" The mark of the Christian dispensation is joy. Exuberance. Delight. God and the world have come together. What could be better news?
Video reflection by Msgr. James Vlaun (Telecare T.V.): United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Saint Quote o' the Day
"You have within you everything that you need to purchase the Kingdom of Heaven. Joy will be purchased by your sorrow, glory by your humiliation, & eternal life by your passing death."
—St. Augustine of Hippo, Doctor of the Church (354-430, feast day: 28 August)
A Humble Contribution to the New Evangelization
The Popish Plot—Make-It Monday: "Prayer Organization"

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Explorers' Club, № DXCIV

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Russian Civil War, Part I
9 January 1918 (Old Style: 27 December 1917): The Volunteer Army, a central formation of the "White Army," was formally announced, under the leadership of generals Mikhail Alekseyev, former chief of the imperial staff, & Lavr Kornilov (of the eponymous Affair); based in the city of Rostov-on-Don, the army from the outset strove to form a united anti-Bolshevik front with the Don Cossacks.





Lest we forget.

Commentary: "The Explorers' Club," № DLXIV—The Kornilov Affair: Wayback Machine.

Porject BLACK MAMBA: II Sunday in Ordinary Time

'Tis the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time: Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
The First Book of Samuel, chapter three, verses three(b) thru ten & nineteen;
Psalm Forty, verses two, four, seven & eight, eight & nine, & ten;
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter six, verses thirteen(c), fourteen, fifteen(a), & seventeen thru twenty;
The Gospel according to John, chapter one, verses thirty-five thru forty-two.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in our Gospel for today, we hear John the Baptist proclaim, in response to meeting Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

One of the earliest heresies that the Christian church fought was Marcionism, the conviction that Jesus should be interpreted in abstraction from the Old Testament. But the categories that the Gospel writers used to present Jesus as the Christ were, almost exclusively, drawn from the Hebrew Scriptures.

In John’s prologue, the passage before today’s reading, we read that the Word of God’s covenantal love, which was addressed to Abraham, Moses, and David, has become flesh in Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus is the covenant in person. But throughout Israel’s history, the covenant between God and humanity is always accompanied by sacrifice.

That brings us to today’s reading, where John the Baptist offers one of the most important interpretive keys of the New Testament: Jesus will play the role of the sacrificial lambs offered in the temple, and through a sacrifice, take away the sins of the world.

One reason that people today have such a difficult time appreciating Jesus is that we have become, effectively, Marcionites. To really understand the Christological language of John, we need to understand the great story of Israel.
Video reflection by Father Greg Friedman, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Video reflection by Jeff Cavins: Encountering the Word.

Audio reflection by Scott Hahn, Ph.D.: Breaking the Bread.




Bible Study—Pauline Letters
The Letter to the Romans, chapter eleven (verses one thru thirty-six).

Commentary: Israel's Rejection Is Not Final (Romans, 11:1-10), the Salvation of the Gentiles (11:11-24), & All Israel Will Be Saved (11:25-36).

Mass Journal: Week Three
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
Two thousand years ago, a small group of people captured the attention & intrigued the imagination of the entire Western world. At first, these people were thought to be of no consequence, the followers of a man most considered to be nothing more than an itinerant preacher. But when this man was put to death, a dozen of his followers rose up & began telling people about his life & teachings. They began telling the story of Jesus Christ. They were not the educated elite of their time, they had no political or social status, they were not wealthy, & they had no worldly authority, yet from the very beginning people were joining this quiet revolutionary group one hundred at a time. This small group of people were the first Christians. They were the original followers of Jesus of Nazareth & the first members of what we known as the Catholic Church.

Otherwise, 14 January would be the festival of Saint Macrina the Elder (died circa 340): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: St. Macrina was the mother & mother-in-law of Ss. Basil the Elder & Emmelia (30 May) & grandmother of Ss. Basil the Great (2 January), Peter of Sebaste (9 January), Gregory of Nyssa (10 January), Macrina the Younger (19 July), & Naucratius (?).

'Twould also be the festival of Blessed Odo of Novara, Priest, O.Cart. (circa 1105-1200): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also be the festival of Blessed Petrus Donders, Priest, C.Ss.R. (1807-1887; Anglicized as Peter Donders, A.K.A. Peerke Donders): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Saint Quote o' This Day
"Instead of death & sorrow, let us bring peace & joy to the world."
—St. Teresa of Calcutta (A.K.A. Mother Teresa, 1910-1997; feast day: 5 September)

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Lord's Day

Robert Kochis, "The Summons" from You Are Near (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: This Sunday's readings are all about God's call, how He calls each of us into relationship with Him & with each other—into His radical, reckless love.
"Will you come & follow Me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don't know & never be the same?
Will you let My love be shown?
Will you let My Name be known?
Will you let My life be grown in you & you in Me?…"
Maybe the Lord God is calling you to waste your life this year?
Aleteia-link.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Project BLACK MAMBA: The Long Road Back, Part II

Thursday, 11 January was the festival of Saint Hyginus, Pope (died circa 142), ninth Bishop of Rome: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Pontiff.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twas also the festival of Saint Theodosius the Cenobiarch, Hermit & Abbot (circa 429-523, A.K.A. of Cappadocia), founder of the Monastery of St. Theodosius: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Monastery.

'Twas also the festival of Saint Vitalis of Gaza, Hermit (died circa 625): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twas also the festival of Blessed William Carter, Martyr (circa 1548-1584), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I, one of the Eighty-five Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link LXXXV & Wikipedia-link LXXXV.

Scripture of That Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Book of Samuel, chapter four, verses one thru eleven;
Psalm Forty-four, verses ten & eleven, fourteen & fifteen, & twenty-four & twenty-five;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter one, verses forty thru forty-five.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel for today has to do with Jesus’ healing of a leper. Leprosy frightened people in ancient times, just as contagious and mysterious diseases frightened people up through modern times. But, more than this, leprosy rendered someone unclean and therefore incapable of engaging in the act of worship. It is not accidental that the person who should do the examining of the patient in ancient Israel should be the priest.

The man who knelt before Jesus and begged for a cure was not simply concerned about his medical condition; he was an Israelite in exile from the Temple—and hence he was a very apt symbol of the general condition of scattered, exiled, wandering Israel. In curing him, Jesus was, symbolically speaking, gathering the tribes and bringing them back to the worship of the true God.
Video reflection by Father Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Saint Quote o' That Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"God gives each one of us sufficient grace ever to know His holy will, & to do it fully."
—St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556, feast day: 31 July)

Project BLACK MAMBA: The Long Road Back, Part I

Today, 13 January is the Optional Memorial of Saint Hilary, Bishop & Doctor of the Church (circa 310-368, of Poitiers), the "Hammer of the Arians:" Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Father of St. Abra (12 December).

Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
This staunch defender of the divinity of Christ was a gentle & courteous man, devoted to writing some of the greatest theology on the Trinity, & was like his Master in being labeled a "disturber of the peace." In a very troubled period in the Church, his holiness was lived out in both scholarship & controversy.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Remigius, Bishop (circa 437-533, of Rheims; also spelt Remi, etc.), the "Apostle of the Franks," who baptized Clovis I, King of the Franks, on 25 December 496: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Son of St. Cilinia (21 October), brother of St. Principius of Soissons (25 September), & uncle of St. Lupus of Soissons (19 October).

'Tis also the festival of Saint Mungo, Bishop (circa 518-614, A.K.A. Kentigern): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Son of St. Theneva (18 July). St. Kentigern's Church, Lanark: YouTube-link & Wikipedia-link.
"Let Glasgow flourish."
'Tis also the festival of Blessed Veronica of Milan, Religious, O.S.A. (circa 1445-1497, A.K.A. of Binasco): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of This Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Book of Samuel, chapter nine, verses one thru four, seventeen, eighteen, & nineteen; & chapter ten, verse one;
Psalm Twenty-one, verses two & three, four & five, & six & seven;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter two, verses thirteen thru seventeen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel recounts Jesus’ banqueting with Matthew and his friends after he calls him to be a disciple. The very first thing that Jesus does is to invite Matthew into intimacy with him, reclining around a table for a meal with friends.

In this account, the Pharisees see Matthew’s intimacy with Jesus and they comment, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Notice that it never occurs to them that the influence might move from Jesus to the sinners rather than from the sinners to Jesus.

And then Jesus’ wonderful comment: “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” He is admitting that Matthew and his fellows are sinners. He is not in the least “soft” on sin. But he has come to bring precisely such people into intimacy with him.
Video reflection by Deacon Bernard Nojadera: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Hilary
The First Letter of John, chapter two, verses eighteen thru twenty-five;
Psalm One Hundred Ten, verse four(b);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses thirteen thru nineteen.

Saint Quote o' the Day
"May the will of God be wrought in all of us, and let Him do unto us all as seems to Him best, according to His perfect knowledge."
—St. Mungo (c. 518-614, feast day: 13 January)

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day


Robbie Williams, "Millennium" from I've Been Expecting You (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: I was looking for an image to accompany this R.B.D.S.O.T.D., using the search term "millennium." From there, 'twas just a hop, skip, & a jump to Conan O'Brien's timeless "In the Year 2000" bit.

Also, a look back at the last time "Millennium" was the R.B.D.S.O.T.D., late last year: Wayback Machine "Millennium" & Wayback Machine "You Only Live Twice".


Friday, January 12, 2018

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

Robbie Williams, "Snowblind" from Swings Both Ways (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Maybe I'm all alone here, but I really go enjoy Robbie Williams's music.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saint Tatiana of Rome, Virgin & Martyr (died circa 226), martyred in the reign of the emperor Alexander Severus: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Benedict Biscop, Abbot, O.S.B. (circa 628-690, A.K.A. Biscop Baducing), abbot of Saint Augustine's Abbey & founder & inaugural abbot of Monkwearmouth-Jarrow Abbey: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link St. Augustine's & Wikipedia-link Monkwearmouth-Jarrow.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, Religious, C.N.D. (1620-1700), foundress of the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal: Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link C.N.D.

Commentary: In the Canadas, St. Marguerite's festival is an obligatory Memorial.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Book of Samuel, chapter eight, verses four thru seven & ten thru twenty-two(a);
Psalm Eighty-nine, verses sixteen & seventeen & eighteen & nineteen;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter two, verses one thru twelve.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel focuses on the faith of the four men who brought the paralytic to Jesus for healing. How often the Bible compels us to meditate on the meaning of faith! We might say that the Scriptures rest upon faith and remain inspired at every turn by the spirit of faith.

Faith is an attitude of trust in the presence of God. Faith is openness to what God will reveal, do, and invite. It should be obvious that in dealing with the infinite, all-powerful person who is God, we are never in control.

One of the most fundamental statements of faith is this: your life is not about you. You’re not in control. This is not your project. Rather, you are part of God’s great design. To believe this in your bones and to act accordingly is to have faith. When we operate out of this transformed vision, amazing things can happen, for we have surrendered to "a power already at work in us that can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine." Even a tiny bit of faith makes an extraordinary difference.
Video reflection by Paula Trigo-Galan: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"We are to love God for Himself, because of a twofold reason: nothing is more reasonable, nothing more profitable."
—St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church (1090-1153, feast day: 20 August)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Explorers' Club, № DXCIII

The Stars My Destination
John W. Young, U.S.N. (1930-2018), ninth man to walk on the Moon—A six-time astronaut during a forty-two-year career with N.A.S.A., a member of Astronaut Group 2 (the "New Nine"), Young flew the first manned Gemini mission, Gemini 3; twice flew to the Moon (Command Module pilot of Apollo 10 & Commander of Apollo 16); & was the first man to pilot the Space Shuttle (Commander of S.T.S.-1).





Commentary: During Gemini 3, Young also became the first man to smuggle a corned beef sandwich into space.

Requiescat in pace.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day


Sufjan Stevens, "Flint (For the Unemployed and Underpaid)" from Michigan (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"…Even if I die alone,
Even if I die alone,
Even if I die alone,
Even if I die alone,
Even if I die."

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saint Gregory of Nyssa, Bishop (circa 333-398), the "Father of the Fathers," one of the three Cappadocian Fathers, who attended the First Council of Constantinople (381) which amended & reaffirmed the Nicene Creed: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Cappadocian Fathers; & Wikipedia-link Council & Wikipedia-link Creed.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. St. Gregory was the son of Ss. Basil the Elder & Emmelia (30 May), grandson of St. Macrina the Elder (14 January), & brother of Ss. Macrina the Younger (19 July), Naucratius (?), Basil the Great (2 January), & Peter of Sebaste (9 January).

'Tis also the festival of Saint Agatho, Pope (died 681), seventy-ninth Bishop of Rome, who assented to the Third Council of Constantinople (680-681): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Pontiff; & Wikipedia-link Council.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Gregory X, Pope (circa 1210-1276, A.K.A. Teobaldo Visconti), one hundred eighty-fourth Bishop of Rome, who convoked the Second Council of Lyon (1274): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Pontiff; & Wikipedia-link Council.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Book of Samuel, chapter three, verses one thru ten, nineteen, & twenty;
Psalm Forty, verses two & five, seven & eight(a), eight(b) & nine, & ten;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter one, verses twenty-nine thru thirty-nine.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in the Gospel of Mark today, we see Jesus in action. We are reading from the section of Mark’s first chapter that gives us a sort of "day in the life" of Jesus. And it is quite a day! Our Gospel opens just after the dramatic expulsion of a demon in the Capernaum synagogue. After entering the house of Simon, Jesus cures Peter’s mother-in-law.

Notice that he takes her by the hand and brings her to her feet so that she can be of service. What does sickness do to us? It draws us in around ourselves. Once she is cured, Simon’s mother-in-law commences to serve, to be for the other. Then the entire town comes to his door. He spends the whole evening curing presumably hundreds who were variously afflicted.

Mark presents Jesus as a healer,
soter, which just means "the bearer of the salus" or health. In him, divinity and humanity have come together; in him, the divine life and divine power are breaking through. God’s deepest intentions appear—what God plans for us in the kingdom to come is now historically anticipated.
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.



Bible Study—Pauline Letters
The Letter to the Romans, chapter nine (verses one thru thirty-three);
The Letter to the Romans, chapter ten (verses one thru twenty-one).

Commentary: God's Election of Israel (Romans, 9:1-18), God's Wrath & Mercy (9:19-29), Israel's Unbelief (9:30-10:4), & Salvation Is for All (10:5-21).

Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"Be kind to all & severe to thyself."
—St. Teresa of Ávila, Doctor of the Church (1515-1582, feast day: 15 October)
A Humble Contribution to the New Evangelization
The Popish Plot—Wordy Wednesday: "Rebuilt, or Making Inviting Parishes"

Operation ÖSTERREICH: Post-Christmas Edition

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 340.0 lbs. (13 December 2017)
This weigh-in: 344.4 lbs.
Difference: +4.4 lbs.

Given all the Christmas cookies devouring & rich feasting of the last four weeks, especially the copious amounts of candy received as a family stocking tradition, & the pop I drank to soothe my throat while battling a mild but tenacious bout of the post-Xanadu dreadful sick, I'm somewhat pleasantly surprised to have only gained four & two-fifths pounds. That's not good, but it could easily have been much, much worse.

I don't hold with New Year's resolutions, which is why the Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in resumed in October '17. That said, with the holidays now past & the dreadful sick sloughed off, it's time to get back to work—just as soon as I finish these Reese's Pieces I'm eating.

Bonus! Lied von ÖSTERREICH
The Klezmonauts, "Santa Gey Gezunderheit" from Oy to the World: A Klezmer Christmas (The Last Angry Elf)

Commentary: "Gey Gezunderheit" is Yiddish for "go in good health," cf. the German "gesundheit."

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

Big D and the Kids Table, "(We All Have to) Burn Something" from How It Goes (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary: "(We All Have to) Burn Something" is similar to Real Can of Yams's "Christmas Should be Lasting All Year Long," in that the title is different from a phrase oft repeated in the lyrics. The refrain in "Christmas Should be Lasting All Year Long" is
"Christmas should last all year long,"
while
"Christmas should be lasting all year long,"
is only sung once, at the very end. In the same fashion, the words so often repeated in "(We All Have to) Burn Something" are
"We all gotta burn something."
The words
"We all have to burn something"
are never actually sung.
"Well, she had a boyfriend, so I'm told,
Played a dumb sport, did the drama show,
Her parents screamed, 'On your knees!'
Trapped to bond every day like never,
I know, I know things should get better,
Ah, nah, not another bad week!
But boy, boyfriend, yeah, he cheated,
Something about her being mistreated,
In her eyes she was only twenty percent there,
And little by little by little,
She lost her interest little by little,
At an age, young age, she had to burn something!

"Aw, we all gotta burn something.
Yeah, we all gotta burn something.
See, we're all, we're all just burning something.
Yeah, we all gotta burn something!…"

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Victors | Project OSPREY: Team 102, Games 1-17

It's been over a year since the last basketball post was published on The Secret Base, just before Team 101 began B1G play. That paucity of commentary is my fault & I am indeed sorry, especially since those 2016-2017 valiant Wolverines won the B1G Tournament in most dramatic fashion after an aeroplane crash (!) & advanced as far as the Sweet Sixteen in the N.C.A.A. Tournament.


The above image is from Michigan Basketball's twitter feed, the towels & "Big Heads" being distributed to the first X number of fans who arrived at the Crisler Center for last Saturday's (6 December) noontime game against the feisty Fighting Illini of Illinois, a 79-69 victory. I covet!

Below are all the games that the 2017-2018 squad of valiant Wolverines, Team 102, have played. I wasn't able to watch all the games, but I did see the majority. In particular, I missed the first two B1G games, played in early December, part of an asinine new scheme whereby every club in the league played two games (one home, one away) weeks earlier than normal, so that league play can end a week early, so that the B1G Tournament can be held at New York City's Madison Square Garden. Last year's B1G Tourney was held in Washington, D.C., even though there aren't any B1G schools in the District of Columbia & this year's B1G Tourney is being held in New York City, even though there aren't any B1G schools in New York State. Just for the record, I hate this. If the B1G continues to turn its back on its Midwestern roots, it is only a matter of time before the taxpayers & fans of the Midwest turn their backs on the B1G. Even beyond the paramount matter of Midwestern loyalty (or lack thereof), there are serious sporting considerations to the conference's slavish devotion to the East Coast: With over a week's layoff between the end of the B1G Tourney & the commencement of the N.C.A.A. Tourney, will the rusty B1G clubs be picked off by clubs from other conferences who have not suffered the same period of enforces idleness? Is the conference kneecapping its own members' ability to be competitive at the most crucial time of year? Of course, in this, as in so many other boneheaded &/or otherwise misbegotten decisions, no one at the B1G asked my opinion.

Friday, 3 November 2017 @ Crisler Center
Exhibition
Michigan 82-50 Grand Valley State
0-0, B1G 0-0

Saturday, 11 November 2017 @ Crisler Center
Maui Invitational—Maui on the Mainland
Michigan 86-66 North Florida
1-0, B1G 0-0

Monday, 13 November 2017 @ Crisler Center
Michigan 72-65 Central Michigan
2-0, B1G 0-0

Thursday, 16 November 2017 @ Crisler Center
Michigan 61-47 Southern Mississippi
3-0, B1G 0-0

Monday, 20 November 2017 @ Lahaina Civic Center [a neutral site]
Maui Invitational
L.S.U. 77-75 Michigan
3-1, B1G 0-0

Tuesday, 21 November 2017 @ Lahaina Civic Center [a neutral site]
Maui Invitational
Michigan 102-64 Chaminade
4-1, B1G 0-0

Wednesday, 22 November 2017 @ Lahaina Civic Center [a neutral site]
Maui Invitational
Michigan 68-60 V.C.U.
5-1, B1G 0-0

Sunday, 26 November 2017 @ Crisler Center
Michigan 87-42 U.C. Riverside
6-1, B1G 0-0

Wednesday, 29 November @ Dean E. Smith Student Activities Center
A.C.C./B1G Challenge
(№ 13) North Carolina 86-71 Michigan
6-2, B1G 0-0

Saturday, 2 December @ Crisler Center
Michigan 69-55 Indiana
7-2, B1G 1-0

Monday, 4 December 2017 @ (Sponsor) Arena
Ohio State 71-62 Michigan
7-3, B1G 1-1

Saturday, 9 December 2017 @ Crisler Center
Michigan 78-69 U.C.L.A. (O.T.)
8-3, B1G 1-1

Tuesday, 12 December 2017 @ Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center
Michigan 59-52 Texas
9-3, B1G 1-1

Saturday, 16 December 2017 @ (Sponsor) Arena [a neutral site]
Michigan 90-58 Detroit Mercy
10-3, B1G 1-1

Thursday, 21 December @ Crisler Center
Michigan 97-47 Alabama A. & M.
11-3, B1G 1-1

Saturday, 30 December @ Crisler Center
Michigan 76-51 Jacksonville
12-3, B1G 1-1

Tuesday, 2 January 2018 @ Carver-Hawkeye Arena
Michigan 75-68 Iowa
13-3, B1G 2-1

Saturday, 6 January 2018 @ Crisler Center
Michigan 79-69 Illinois
14-3, B1G 3-1

Next: (№ 5) Purdue @ Crisler Center.

This is a potentially murderous week, with the valiant Wolverines playing the undisputed two best clubs in the conference: the well-engineered Boilermakers within the friendly confines of the Crisler Center on Tuesday, 9 January, & then on the road against the (№ 4) dastardly Spartans of Michigan Agricultural on Saturday, 13 December.

Go Blue!

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

Mustard Plug, "Skank by Numbers" (live) from Skapocalypse Now! (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary:
"Next song is a new song. We're not even finished with it & I—I—I don't know the words, it's—it's so incredibly new. Don't know the words…

"One! Get off your seat,
Two! Stomp your boots to be beat,
Three! Wave your knees in the air,
Four! You better beware!…

"Skanking by numbers every day,
Skanking by numbers is the only way,
Just take off your shoes and take a chance,
Skanking by numbers is the only way to dance!…

"One! Get off your seat,
Two! Stomp your boots to be beat,
Three! Wave your knees in the way,
Four! You don't have a care!…

"One! Get off your seat,
Two! Stomp your boots to be beat,
Three! You better beware,
Four! Get out of your chair!

"I personally apologize. It'll be better next time."

Project BLACK MAMBA: I Week in Ordinary Time

Commentary: Welcome to Ordinary Time! "Ordinary" doesn't mean blah/boring/whatever, it means counting by numbers. What are we counting? The weeks in the brief sprint 'twixt from the Christmastide to Lent, & then again from the end of the Eastertide to Advent. Let the countdown (actually a "countup") begin!

'Tis the festival of Saint Peter of Sebaste, Bishop & Abbot (circa 340-391), who attended the First Council of Constantinople (381) which amended & reaffirmed the Nicene Creed: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Council & Wikipedia-link Creed.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. St. Peter was the son of Ss. Basil the Elder & Emmelia (30 May), grandson of St. Macrina the Elder (14 January), & brother of Ss. Macrina the Younger (19 July), Naucratius (?), Basil the Great (2 January), & Gregory of Nyssa (10 January).

'Tis also the festival of Saint Adrian of Canterbury, Abbot, O.S.B. (circa 635-710, also spelt Hadrian), abbot of Saint Augustine's Abbey: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Abbey.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Berhtwald of Canterbury, Bishop & Abbot, O.S.B. (died 731; also spelt Brithwald, etc.), abbot of the monastery that became Saint Mary's Church before receiving the pallium as archbishop: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Monastery & Wikipedia-link Pallium.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Józef Pawłowski, Priest & Martyr (1890-1942), martyred in the reign of the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, one of the One Hundred Eight Blessed Polish Martyrs: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link (list, № 40); Martyrs-link CVIII & Wikipedia-link CVIII.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Book of Samuel, chapter one, verses nine thru twenty;
The First Book of Samuel, chapter two, verses one, four & five, six & seven, & eight(a/b/c/d);
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter one, verses twenty-one thru twenty-eight.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel finds Jesus encountering a man with an unclean spirit in the synagogue at Capernaum. Isn’t it interesting that the first unclean spirit that Jesus confronts is in the holy place, the place of worship? And what marks this man? Though he is a single person, an individual, he speaks in the plural: "What do you have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?"

The diabolic is, literally, a scattering power:
diabalein. Sin separates us from one another—Sunde, related to sundering—but it also divides us interiorly, setting one part of the self against another. We’ve all experienced this: our minds are divided, our wills are split, and our emotions militate against our deepest convictions.

The authoritative voice of Jesus brings the man back to himself. And friends, this is precisely the effect that Jesus’ voice has had up and down the ages. When you allow his word to reach deep down within you, you get knitted back together. When Jesus becomes the clear center of your life, then your mind, your will, your emotions, your private life, your public life—all of it—finds its harmonious place around that center.
Video reflection by Father Joseph Rogliano: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.



Bible Study—Wisdom Books
The Book of Psalms, psalm thirty-eight (verses one thru twenty-three);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter nine (verses one thru eighteen);
The Book of Wisdom, chapter thirteen, verses eleven thru nineteen;
The Book of Wisdom, chapter fourteen (verses one thru thirty-one);
The Book of Wisdom, chapter fifteen, verses one thru seventeen.

Commentary: Prayer of an Afflicted Sinner (Psalm 38); the Two Banquets (Proverbs, 9:1-18); the Carpenter & Wooden Idols (Wisdom, 13:11-14:11), the Origin & Evils of Idolatry (14:12-15:6), & the Potter's Clay Idols (15:7-17).

Bible Study—Pauline Letters
The Letter to the Romans, chapter eight (verses one thru thirty-nine).

Commentary: Life in the Spirit (Romans, 8:1-17), Future Glory (8:18-30), & God's Love in Christ Jesus (8:31-39).

Proverb o' the Day (9:10)
The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the LORD,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"Dost thou hold wisdom to be anything other than truth, wherein we behold & embrace the supreme good?"
—St. Augustine of Hippo, Doctor of the Church (354-430, feast day: 28 August)
A Humble Contribution to the New Evangelization
The Popish Plot—Taco Tuesday: "Grow + Go"

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Baptism

Daniel Schmit, Melanie Rea, & Co., "Come to the Water" from Mercy (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: The Christ was without sin; why was He baptized? So that we, who are sinful might be cleansed of our sins, that our sins might be drowned & we might be born to new life in the Spirit.

Project BLACK MAMBA: The Baptism of the Lord

'Tis the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord: Wikipedia-link Baptism & Wikipedia-link Feast.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
The Baptism of the Christ is the feast day commemorating the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by [St.] John the Baptist [24 June, 29 August].
Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
The Book of Isaiah, chapter forty-two, verses one thru four, six, & seven;
or, the Book of Isaiah, chapter fifty-five, verses one thru eleven;
or, the Acts of the Apostles, chapter ten, verses thirty-four thru thirty-eight;
or, the First Letter of John, chapter five, verses one thru nine;
Psalm Twenty-nine, verses one & two, three & four, & nine & ten;
or, the Book of Isaiah, chapter twelve, verses two & three, four(b/c/d), & five & six;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter one, verses seven thru eleven.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, on this feast of the Baptism of the Lord, let us meditate on John the Baptist. Young John, the son of the priest Zechariah, grew up in and around the Temple, acquainted with its rituals. And he sensed that the true Messiah was on the horizon. And so he went away from the old Temple, but he continued to act as a priest of a new Temple.

He was baptizing people. Why this ritual? Well, in the Jerusalem Temple, a pilgrim would cleanse himself in a
mikvah, a ritual bath, before he entered to make sacrifice. John was acting as a priest, and the River Jordan was his mikvah. But what—or, better, who—was the new Temple? Jesus who came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John. The heavens were torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descended on him.

This is Temple talk. When the high priest entered into the holy of holies, he was entering into the heavenly realm. The holy of holies was the place where the "heavens were torn open" and a humble human being could enter. So the point is that Jesus is himself the new holy of holies.
Video reflection by Msgr. James Vlaun (Telecare T.V.): United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.



Bible Study—Pauline Letters
The Letter to the Romans, chapter five (verses one thru twenty-one);
The Letter to the Romans, chapter six (verses one thru twenty-three);
The Letter to the Romans, chapter seven (verses one thru twenty-five).

Commentary: Results of Justification (Romans, 5:1-11), Adam & Christ (5:12-21), Dying & Rising with Christ (6:1-14), Slaves of Righteousness (6:15-23), an Analogy from Marriage (7:1-6), the Law & Sin (7:7-12), & the Inner Conflict (7:13-25).

Otherwise, 8 January would be the festival of Saint Apollinaris Claudius, Bishop (died circa 177; A.K.A. of Hierapolis, the Apologist): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Severinus of Noricum, Abbot (circa 410-482): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Lorenzo Giustiniani, Bishop, C.R.S.A. (1381-1455, Anglicized as Lawrence Giustiniani), first Patriarch of Venice: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Patriarch.

Saint Quote o' the Day
"Occupy your mind with good thoughts, or the enemy will fill [it] with bad ones."
—St. Thomas More (1478-1535, feast day: 22 June)

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Explorers' Club, № DXCII

Operation AXIOM: The World War
8 January 1918: The Fourteen Points—In a speech before the United States Congress, President Woodrow Wilson laid out the U.S.'s war aims, based on research conducted by "the Inquiry," a study group led by Wilson confidant Edward M. House; the enumerated points were widely disseminated as Entente propaganda, even dropped as leaflets behind Central Powers lines to encourage surrender.





Lest we forget.

Project BLACK MAMBA: The Epiphany of the Lord

'Tis the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord: Pontiff-link, Epiphany-link, Wikipedia-link Epiphany, & Wikipedia-link Wise Men.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
This feast commemorates principally (but not solely) the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child, & thus Jesus's physical manifestation to the Gentiles.
Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
The Book of Isaiah, chapter sixty, verses one thru six;
Psalm Seventy-two, verses one & two, seven & eight, ten & eleven, & twelve & thirteen;
The Letter to the Ephesians, chapter three, verses two, three(a), five, & six;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter two, verses one thru twelve.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, the Gospel for the feast of the Epiphany contains some elemental theological themes. One of them has to do with the relation between Christianity and the nations.

We hear something extraordinary. Magi from the East left their home country in search of a newborn king whose star they had observed at its rising. Why, precisely, would people leave their own country in order to worship a foreign king at his birth?

So this odd story should get our attention. Magi—kings, astrologers—seek out a foreign king who somehow, nevertheless, belongs to them. We’re actually coming close to the heart of the Biblical revelation. Of all the nations of the world, God chose to make of Israel a beacon to the world, so that through Israel all might be gathered.

Yes, a king would be born for the Jews, but he wouldn’t be for the Jews alone. This Messiah would be the King of kings, a light to all the nations. The Messiah, therefore, would represent the overcoming of the nations, the transcendence of the disputes between peoples and cultures that had so tragically marked human history, and the opening up of a new possibility.
Video reflection by Father Greg Friedman, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Video reflection by Jeff Cavins: Encountering the Word.

Audio reflection by Scott Hahn, Ph.D.: Breaking the Bread.




Bible Study—Pauline Letters
The Letter to the Romans, chapter three (verses one thru thirty-one);
The Letter to the Romans, chapter four (verses one thru twenty-five);
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter four, verses sixteen thru eighteen;
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter five, verses one thru ten.

Commentary: The Jews & the Law (cont'd; Romans, 3:1-8), None Is Righteous (3:9-20), Righteousness through Faith (3:21-31), the Example of Abraham (4:1-12), & God's Promise Realized through Faith (4:13-25); & Living by Faith (2 Corinthians, 4:16-5:10).

Mass Journal: Week Two
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
There is genius in Catholicism, if we will just take the time & make the effort to humbly explore it. If you & i are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem. If sixty-seven million Catholics in the United States stepped it up a notch, something incredible would happen. So let's decide, here & now, today, to begin to explore the genius of our faith, to be part of the solution, & to step it up a notch.

Otherwise, 7 January would be the festival of Saint Lucian of Antioch, Priest & Martyr (circa 240-312), martyred in the reign of the emperors Maximinus II & Licinius, a victim of the Great Persecution: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Persecution.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Kentigerna, Hermit (died circa 734, also spelt Caintigern, etc.): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Sister of St. Comgan [27 February] & mother of St. Filian of Munster [20 June].

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Knud Lavard, Martyr (circa 1096-1131, Anglicized as Canute Lavard), Duke of Jutland/Schleswig; marytred by his cousin, Magnus the Strong, in the reign of his uncle, the king Niels of Denmark: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Raymond of Peñafort, Priest, O.P. (circa 1175-1275, Anglicized as Penyafort), co-founder, though he was a Dominican, of the Mercedarians, formally the Royal, Celestial, & Military Order of Our Lady of Mercy & the Redemption of the Captives: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, Saint-link trēs, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link O. de M..

Saint Quote o' the Day
"Find at least one good point in the other person & build from there. An understanding love—a love that sees the good in others—will be your goal."
—St. Teresa of Calcutta (A.K.A. Mother Teresa, 1910-1997; feast day: 5 September)

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Epiphany


Toby Keith, "We Three Kings" from iTunes Holiday Sampler (The Last Wise Man)

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Project BLACK MAMBA: Christmastide

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint André Bessette, Religious, C.S.C. (1845-1937; A.K.A. of Montreal, Alfred Bessette, "Brother André"), who initiated construction of Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Oratory.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He was a lay brother of the Congregation of [the] Holy Cross & a significant figure of the Roman Catholic Church among French-Canadians, credited with thousands of reported miraculous oil healings associated within his pious devotion to Saint Joseph [19 March, 1 May].
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
At twenty-five, André applied for entrance intot he Congregation of the Holy Cross. After a year's novitiate, he was not admitted because of his weak health. But with an extension & the urging of Bishop Bourget, he was finally received. He was given the humble job of doorkeeper at Notre Dame College in Montreal, with additional duties as sacristan, laundry worker, & messenger. "When I joined this community, the superiors showed me the door, & I remained forty years," he said.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Felix of Nantes, Bishop (circa 515-584): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Peter of Canterbury, Abbot, O.S.B. (died circa 614), inaugural abbot of Saint Augustine's Abbey: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Abbey.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Carlo of Sezze, Religious, O.F.M. (1613-1670; Anglicized as Charles of Sezze, A.K.A. Giancarlo Marchioni): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, Saint-link trēs, & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Christmas Weekday
The First Letter of John, chapter Y, verses Z;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-seven, verses twelve & thirteen, fourteen & fifteen, & nineteen & twenty;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter one, verses seven thru eleven;
or, the Gospel according to Luke, chapter three, verses twenty-three thru thirty-eight
(or, the Gospel according to Luke, chapter three, verses twenty-three, thirty-one thru thirty-four, thirty-six, & thirty-eight).

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today's Gospel tells the story of the baptism of Jesus. The first thing we must keep in mind about the baptism of Jesus was that it was embarrassing. Here is the one that the first Christians maintained was the Son of God, the sinless lamb who takes away the sins of the world, the Word made flesh. So why is he seeking a baptism of repentance?

There is no way around it: John was working in the country north of Jerusalem, along the banks of the Jordan river. And his theme was unambiguous: repent. Those who came to him were coming to have their sins dealt with; they were admitting their guilt.

As is usually the case with the Bible, there is an irony in the fire. Before ever a word passes Jesus’ lips, he is teaching, in fact communicating the heart of the faith, by this stunning reversal. In this gesture, God lays aside his glory and humbly joins us in our sinfulness, standing with us, assuming our burden.
Video reflection by Deacon Bernard Nojadera: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. André Bessette
The First Book of Kings, chapter nineteen, verses four thru nine(a) & eleven thru fifteen(a);
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-eight;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter nine, verses fifty-seven thru sixty-two.

Saint Quote o' the Day
"More & more, make your homes places of love & peace."
—St. Teresa of Calcutta (A.K.A. Mother Teresa, 1910-1997; feast day: 5 September)

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the 13th Day o' Christmas


Sufjan Stevens, "I Saw Three Ships" from Songs for Christmas (The Last Jolly Man)

Commentary: The thirteenth day? That's right, bonus Christmas!
"I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day,
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day in the morning.

"And what was in those ships, all three,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day?
And what was in those ships, all three,
On Christmas Day in the morning?

"The Virgin Mary and Christ were there,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day,
The Virgin Mary and Christ were there,
On Christmas Day in the morning."

Friday, January 5, 2018

Project BLACK MAMBA: Christmastide

'Tis the Memorial of Saint John Neumann, Bishop, C.Ss.R. (1811-1860, A.K.A. Jan Nepomucký Neumann): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Shrine.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He is the first United States bishop (& to date the only male citizen) to be canonized. While Bishop of Philadelphia, Neumann founded the first Catholic diocesan school system in the United States.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
John Neumann was born in what is now the Czech Republic. After studying in Prague, he came to New York at twenty-five & was ordained a priest. He did missionary work in New York until he was twenty-nine, when he joined the Redemptorists & became its first member to profess vows in the United States. At forty-one, as bishop of Philadelphia, he organized the parochial school system into a diocesan one, increasing the number of pupils almost twentyfold within a short time. Well known for his holiness & learning, spiritual writing & preaching, on 13 October 1963, John Neumann became the first American bishop to be beatified.
And subsequently canonized in 1977. St. John Neumann should not to be confused with his English contemporary, Bl. John Henry Newman (1801-1890, feast day: 9 October).

Video reflection by Father Praveen Lakkisetti: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


'Tis also the festival of Saint Telesphorus, Pope & Martyr (died circa 138), eighth Bishop of Rome, martyred in the reign of the emperor Hadrian or the emperor Antoninus Pius: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Pontiff.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Simeon Stylites the Elder, Hermit (circa 390-459): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Cera of Kilkeary, Abbess (died 679; numerous variant spellings, A.K.A. of Ireland): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Christmas Weekday
The First Letter of John, chapter three, verses eleven thru twenty-one;
Psalm One Hundred, verses one(b) & two, three, four, & five;
The Gospel according to John, chapter one, verses forty-three thru fifty-one.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel, Nathaniel recognizes Jesus as the Son of God and King of Israel. Like Nathaniel, once we make the decision for Jesus, once we determine that he is the supreme good, then every other claimant to supremacy must fall away. As I’ve argued many times before, every one of us has something or some set of values that we consider greatest. There is some center of gravity around which everything else turns.

Perhaps it is money and material things. Perhaps it is power and position. Perhaps it is the esteem of others. Perhaps it is your country or your political party or your ethnic identity. Perhaps it is your family, your kids, your wife, your husband.

None of this is false; and none of these things are bad. However, when you place any of them in the absolute center of gravity, things go awry. When you make any of them your ultimate or final good, your spiritual life goes haywire. When you attach yourself to any of them with an absolute tenacity, you will fall apart.
Mass Readings—Memorial of St. John Neumann
The Book of Isaiah, chapter six, verses one thru eight;
Psalm Eighty-nine, verse two;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-eight, verses sixteen thru twenty.

Saint Quote o' the Day
"Everything depends on how we love one another."
—St. Teresa of Calcutta (A.K.A. Mother Teresa, 1910-1997; feast day: 5 September)

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the 12th Day o' Christmas


Mexicani Marimba Band, "Twelve Days of Christmas" from iTunes, Holiday Sampler (The Last Jolly Man)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Project BLACK MAMBA: Christmastide

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious, S.C. (1774-1821, A.K.A. Mother Seton), foundress of the Sisters of Charity & Saint Joseph's Academy & Free School: Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link S.C. & Wikipedia-link Academy.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
She was the first native-born citizen of the United States to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. She established the first Catholic girls' school in the nation in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where she also founded the first American congregation of religious sisters, the Sisters of Charity.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Mother Seton is one of the keystones of the American Catholic Church. She founded the first American religious community for women, the Sisters of Charity. She opened the first American parish school & established the first American Catholic orphanage. All this she did in the span of forty-six years while raising her five children. She died January 4, 1821, & became the first American-born citizen to be beatified (1963) & then canonized (1975). She is buried in Emmitburg, Maryland.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Áedh of Kildare, Bishop & Abbot (died circa 639; also spelt Aidus, Áed Dub mac Colmáin), King of Leinster: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Rigobert of Rheims, Bishop & Abbot, O.S.B. (died circa 743): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Angela of Foligno, Religious, T.O.S.F. (1248-1309), the "Mistress of Theologians:" Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Christmas Weekday
The First Letter of John, chapter three, verses seven thru ten;
Psalm Ninety-eight, verses one, seven & eight, & nine;
The Gospel according to John, chapter one, verses thirty-five thru forty-two.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus invites his first disciples to come and stay with him. I think that this command of Jesus is a bit like an initiation ritual. In order to prepare themselves for a lifetime of discipleship, his followers must first pass through an intensive period of spiritual formation, much like a novitiate in a monastery or training camp in football or boot camp in the army. During this concentrated time, they were to learn, in their bones, the essentials of this new way of life. So the disciples learn a new way of radical dependency upon God.

Now what does all of this have to do with us? You say, "I’m a 50-year-old man with a wife and kids and job and responsibility; I can’t very well go drifting off in a boat, trusting in the providence of God."

True enough, but you can, for instance, go on a retreat every year. Spend a week once a year at a monastery or a retreat center, living the spiritual life intensely; live Lent more severely and more radically this year, perhaps undertaking a difficult fast or giving alms until it hurts. These are things that any of us can do.
Video reflection by Father Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
The Book of Deuteronomy, chapter ten, verses eight & nine;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-eight;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eleven, verses twenty-five thru thirty.

Bible Study—Wisdom Books
The Book of Psalms, psalm twenty-three (verses one thru six).

Commentary: The Lord, Shepherd & Host (Psalm 23).

Saint Quote o' the Day
"Be faithful in little things, for in them lies our strength."
—St. Teresa of Calcutta (A.K.A. Mother Teresa, 1910-1997; feast day: 5 September)