Monday, November 20, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saints Edmund the Martyr & Humbert of Elmham, Bishop; Martyrs (died 869; A.K.A. King Edmund of the East Angles; also spelt Humbertus), martyred at the hands of the Great Heathen Army: Martyr-link Echo & Wikipedia-link Echo, Martyr-link Hotel & Wikipedia-link Hotel; Wikipedia-link Great Heathen Army.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Bernward of Hildesheim, Bishop (circa 960-1022): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Maria Fortunata Viti, Religious, O.S.B. (1827-1922, A.K.A. Anna Felicia Viti): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Book of Maccabees, chapter one, verses ten thru fifteen; forty-one, forty-two, & forty-three; fifty-four thru fifty-seven; sixty-two; & sixty-three;
Psalm One Hundred Nineteen, verses fifty-three, sixty-one, one hundred thirty-four, one hundred fifty, one hundred fifty-five, & one hundred fifty-eight;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter eighteen, verses thirty-five thru forty-three.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today in the Gospel passage we see Jesus' mercy toward the blind man as a hallmark of his ministry. Jesus comes as healer, savior, inaugurator of the kingdom. He is the embodiment of hope. Jesus wanted to connect human suffering to the very source of life and health. The energy of God pours through him to the needy.

Now I realize a question may be forming in your mind: "Well, why doesn't he simply cure everyone, then?" The answer is obviously wrapped up in the mystery of God's will, but the important point is this: Jesus is healer in many senses, but ultimately in the sense that he heals us from sin and death, not only physical maladies. What appears historically in Jesus is an eschatological anticipation, a hint and foreshadowing of what is coming in God's time and in God's way.
Video reflection by Monsignor James Vlaun (Telecare T.V.): U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"Pray, hope, & don't worry."
—St. Pio of Pietrelcina (23 September)

Yesterday's BLACK MAMBA post, for the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, has been "unsimplex-ed": Wayback Machine.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXXXI

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Battle of Cambrai, Part I
20 November 1917: On the first day of Cambrai, a British artillery bombardment utilizing the new technique of predicted fire, which did not alert the enemy with ranging shots, breached the so-called "Hindenburg Line" (the German name was Siegriedstellung, "Siegried Position"); massed tanks & infantry advanced as much as five miles; back home in Britain, church bells were rung in jubilation.





Lest we forget.

Project BLACK MAMBA: XXXIII Sunday, Ordinary Time

Simplex Edition
'Tis the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time: Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Book of Proverbs, chapter thirty-one, verses ten thru thirteen, nineteen, twenty, thirty, & thirty-one;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-eight, verses one & two, three, & four & five;
The First Letter to the Thessalonians, chapter five, verses one thru six;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses fourteen thru thirty
(or, the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses fourteen, fifteen, nineteen, twenty, & twenty-one).

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today's Gospel gives us the challenging parable of the talents. A man goes on a journey, but before leaving he entrusts his money to three of his servants. To one he gives five talents, to a second, two, and to a third, one.

The first man trades with the five talents. The second does the same, and both receive a rich return on their investment. The third man cautiously buries his talent. When the owner returns, he praises the first two servants and gives them greater responsibilities, but the third man he upbraids.

Jesus loved to use examples drawn from the world of business. And he especially liked this dynamic of investment as a model of the spiritual life. The reason is clear, and I've said it to you often. God exists in gift form. Therefore, if you want his life in you, you have to learn to give it away. Think of the talents as everything that we've received from God—life, breath, being, powers. Because they come from God, they are meant to become gifts. If you cling to them, in the manner of the third servant, they don't grow; in fact, they wither away.
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.


Mass Journal: Week 47
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
Mass is not about whom you sit next to. It's not about which priest says Mass. It is not about what you wear or who is there. Mass is not about the music. It's not even about the preaching. It [is] about gathering as a community to give thanks to God for all the blessings he fills our lives with. It is about receiving the Body & Blood of Christ, not just physically, but spiritually. Perhaps you have been receiving the Eucharist physically every Sunday for your whole life. Next Sunday, prepare yourself, be conscious of the marvel, the wonder, the mystery, & receive spiritually.

Otherwise, 19 November would be the festival of Saint Egbert of York, Bishop (died 766, also spelt Ecgbert): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Mechtilde of Helfta, Religious, O.S.B. (circa 1241-1298, A.K.A. of Hackeborn), "The Nightingale of Helfta:" Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. St. Mechtilde served as the novice mistress of, & was a profound influence on, St. Gertrude the Great (16 November).

'Twould also be the festival of Blessed Giacomo Benefatti, Bishop, O.P. (died 1332, of Mantua; Anglecized as James Benefatti): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible."
—St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church (28 January)

A Humble Contribution to the New Evangelization
The Popish Plot—Saintly Sunday: "10 Easy Steps to Become a Saint!"

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

Ellie Holcomb, "Find You Here" from Red Sea Road (The Last Angry Man)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Bonus! Song o' the Day

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

Commentary: "Millennium" samples "You Only Live Twice," composed by John Barry & performed by Nancy Sinatra for the James Bond film You Only Live Twice. I've been thinking about You Only Live Twice, & thus "You Only Live Twice," & thus "Millennium," because I'm working up a Popish Plot episode to explain the theological truth that we all, saint & sinner alike, will live twice. Every human who has ever lived will be resurrected at the Second Coming of the Lord, at the Last Judgment—the righteous resurrected for life eternal in perfect relationship with the God Who created us & the wicked resurrected for the second death of eternal separation from the God Who loves us. My intention is to call it "You Only Live Twice."

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter & Paul, Apostles: Dedication-link ūnus, Dedication-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link St. Peter's & Wikipedia-link St. Paul's outside the Walls.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the Optional Memorial of Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne, Virgin, R.S.C.J. (1769-1852, A.K.A. "Woman-Who-Prays-Always"): Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Odo of Cluny, Abbot, O.S.B. (circa 879-942), abbot of the Abbey of Cluny: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Abbey.

Today also marks the beatification of Blessed Solanus Casey, Priest, O.F.M. Cap. (1870-1957, A.K.A. Bernard Francis Casey): Blessed-link ūnus, Blessed-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Heaven permitting, if all goes to plan, at the hour this post is auto-published I will be at Ford Field, in the Archdiocese of Detroit, at the beatification Mass of Bl. Solanus.

Scripture o' the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Wisdom, chapter eighteen, verses fourteen, fifteen, & sixteen & chapter nineteen, verses six thru nine;
Psalm One Hundred Five, verses two & three, thirty-six & thirty-seven, & forty-two & forty-three;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter eighteen, verses one thru eight.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today's Gospel exhorts us to pray with persistence. This command is everywhere in the Bible. We see it in Abraham's steady petition on behalf of the people of Sodom. We see it in today's account of the persistent widow. We hear it in Jesus' extraordinary teaching: "Knock and the door shall be opened to you; seek and you will find; ask and it will be given to you."

One reason that we don't receive what we want through prayer is that we give up too easily. What could be behind this rule of prayer? Augustine said that God sometimes delays in giving us what we want because he wants our hearts to expand. The more ardently we desire something, the more ready we are when it comes, the more we treasure it. The very act of asking persistently is accomplishing something spiritually important. So, when the Lord seems slow to answer your prayer, never give up.
Video reflection by Father Michael Ackerman: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilicas of Ss. Peter & Paul
The Acts of the Apostles, chapter twenty-eight, verses eleven thru sixteen, thirty, & thirty-one;
Psalm Ninety-eight, verses one, two & three(a/b), three(c/d) & four, & five & six;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter fourteen, verses twenty-two thru thirty-three.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne
The Book of Hosea, chapter two, verses sixteen(b/c), seventeen(c/d), twenty-one, & twenty-two;
Psalm Forty-five, verse eleven;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter ten, verses thirty-eight thru forty-two.

Mass Readings—Beatification of Father Solanus Casey
The Book of Sirach, chapter three, verses seventeen thru twenty-four;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-one;
The Letter to the Philippians, chapter four, verses four thru nine;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter eleven, verses one thru ten.

Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"Let us begin in earnest to work out our salvation, for no one will do it for us, since even He Himself, Who made us without ourselves, will not save us without ourselves."
—St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (16 October)

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


The University of Michigan Marching Band, "Mambo!" from Hurrah for the Yellow and Blue (The Last Angry Wolverine)

Commentary: The only lyrics to "Mambo!" are the Marching Band shouting, "Mambo!" twice &, at the very end, "Go Blue!" once.

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

Reel Big Fish, "A Little Doubt Goes a Long Way" from Cheer Up! (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary:
"…Maybe it's not right (I have a girlfriend),
Made a friend tonight (Who is a girl, and),
I just wanted to talk to you,
But then I started wonderin' if she's the one, or not…

"Well, I know flirting is nothing and it should be where it ends (Where it ends),
But I know, yes, I know that I want you for more than a friend (More than a friend).

"Maybe it's not right (I have a girlfriend),
Made a friend tonight (Who is a girl, and),
I just wanted to talk to you,
But then I started wonderin'
Oh, yes, I started wonderin', if you're the one, ha ha!

"So I gotta go, gotta go,
Before I do something stupid!
I gotta go!
I gotta go, gotta go,
Before I do something lame!
So I gotta go, gotta go,
Before I do something stupid,
I gotta go!
But I know, I know it's too late."

Project BLACK MAMBA: Late Edition

Commentary: Friday's late, like clockwork.

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious, T.O.S.F. (1207-1231, A.K.A. of Thuringia): Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Niece of St. Hedwig of Silesia (16 October).

Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Elizabeth is perhaps best known for her miracle of the roses which says that whilst she was taking bread to the poor in secret, she met her husband Ludwig on a hunting party, who in order to quell suspicions of the gentry that she was stealing treasure from the castle, asked her to reveal what was hidden under her cloak. In that moment, her cloak fell open & a vision of white & red roses could be seen.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
While still a young girl she was married to Louis the Landgrave of Thuringia & gave birth to three children. She devoted herself toprayer & meditation. After her husband's death, she embraced a life of poverty, erecting a hospital in which she herself served the sick. She died at Marburg in 1231.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus, Bishop (circa 213-170, A.K.A. of Pontus, of Neocaesarea): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: "Thaumaturgus" is not St. Gregory's surname, but an epithet, meaning "wonder-worker" or "miracle-worker."

'Tis also the festival of Saint Gregory of Tours, Bishop (circa 538-594): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture o' the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Wisdom, chapter thirteen, verses one thru nine;
Psalm Nineteen, verses two & three & four & five(a/b);
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter seventeen, verses twenty-six thru thirty-seven.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel passage the Lord compares the clueless behavior of our time with that of Noah. Listen to his warning: "Jesus said to his disciples, 'The coming of the Son of Man will repeat what happened in Noah's time.'" Those aren't very reassuring words.

Then he specifies: people were eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage right up to the time of the flood. And then, when it came with shocking suddenness, they were destroyed. The end of an old world had arrived, but the inhabitants of that world were clueless. A new world was coming, but the prospective citizens of it had no idea how to prepare for it.

Our version of Noah's world-destroying flood might be the crashing of a huge comet into the earth. What if we knew that a comet was coming, but we did nothing about it, we adjusted in no way to it? This was the situation of those in Noah's time and, Jesus suggests, those in his own time. And it's our situation, too. We must prepare for the Lord's coming by patterning our lives on the Gospel.
Video reflection by Father Juan Carlos Tejada: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Hungary
The First Letter of John, chapter three, verses fourteen thru eighteen;
Psalm Thirty-four, verse two;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter six, verses twenty-seven thru thirty-eight.

Mass Readings—Requiem for Lima Kilo
The Book of Proverbs, chapter thirty-one, verses ten thru thirty-one;
Psalm Twenty-seven, verses one, four, & thirteen;
The Letter to the Philippians, chapter two, verses one thru eighteen;
The Gospel according to John, chapter fourteen, verses one thru six.

Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows."
—St. Gregory of Nyssa (10 January)
A Humble Contribution to the New Evangelization
The Popish Plot—Theology Thursday: "Devotions Aren't Magic"

The Popish Plot—Bonus Episode: "Religious Chain Mail"

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXXX

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The End of the Battles of the Isonzo, Part IX
11 November-23 December 1917: The First Battle of Monte Grappa—The Italian retreat was finally halted when the Austro-Hungarians & Germans could not conquer the fortified summit of Monte Grappa; the Central Powers' triumph at Caporetto was greater than anticipated & their logistics were overstretched; France & Britain had rushed troops to Italy, but this was entirely an Italian victory.





Lest we forget.

Bonus: Austro-Hungarian mountain troops were called the Gibergstruppe. Italian mountain troops were called the Alpini. German mountain troops were called the Alpenkorps.

The Wayback Machine Tour of the Twelve Battles of the Isonzo
№ CDLIX: The First & Second Battles of the Isonzo (Part I)
№ CDLXX: The Third & Fourth Battles of the Isonzo (Part II)
№ CDLXXXVIII: The Fifth Battle of the Isonzo (Part III)
№ DX: The Sixth Battle of the Isonzo (Part IV)
№ DXVIII: The Seventh, Eighth, & Ninth Battles of the Isonzo (Part V)
№ DL: The Tenth Battle of the Isonzo (Part VI)
№ DLXV: The Eleventh Battle of the Isonzo (Part VII)
№ DLXXV: The Battle of Caporetto (Part VIII)

Commentary: The Central Powers' failure to conquer Monte Grappa strongly resembled Italy's failure to conquer Mount Saint Gabriel in the Eleventh Battle of Isonzo. So close to victory, & yet so far.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Margaret of Scotland (circa 1045-1093, A.K.A. of Wessex), Queen of Scots, "the Pearl of Scotland:" Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
St. Margaret instigated religious reform, striving to conform the worship & practices of the Church in Scotland to those of Rome.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Saint Margaret was born around 1046 in Hungary where he father was exiled. She was married to King Malcom III of Scotland & gave birth to eight children. The ideal mother & queen, St. Margaret died at Edinburgh in 1093.
'Tis also the Optional Memorial of Saint Gertrude, Virgin, O.S.B. (1256-1302; the Great, A.K.A. of Helfta): Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
St. Gertrude was a German Benedictine, mystic, & theologian.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Othmar, Priest & Abbot, O.S.B. (circa 689-759, A.K.A. Audemar), inaugural abbot of the Abbey of Saint Gall: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Abbey.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Edward Osbaldeston, Priest & Martyr (circa 1560-1594), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I, one of the Eighty-five Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link LXXXV.

Scripture o' the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Wisdom, chapter seven, verse twenty-two(b) thru chapter eight, verse one;
Psalm One Hundred Nineteen, verses eighty-nine, ninety, ninety-one, one hundred thirty, one hundred thirty-five, & one hundred seventy-five;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter seventeen, verses twenty thru twenty-five.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus warns that he, the Son of Man, will come on a day we do not expect. What’s so frightening about the coming of the Son of Man? Why isn’t it just good news?

Well, if he’s the life, that life which is opposed to him has to give way; and if he’s the truth, then false claimants to truth must cede to him; and if he’s the way, then the false ways have to be abandoned. So, as we await the Lord’s second coming, we must give our lives to him and renounce everything that opposes him.
Video reflection by Father Don Miller, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland
The Book of Isaiah, chapter fifty-eight, verses six thru eleven;
Psalm One Hundred Twelve, verse one;
The Gospel according to John, chapter fifteen, verses nine thru seventeen.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Gertrude
The Letter to the Ephesians, chapter three, verses fourteen thru nineteen;
Psalm Twenty-three, verse one;
The Gospel according to John, chapter fifteen, verses one thru eight.



Bible Study—Psalms & Proverbs
The Book of Psalms, psalm nineteen (verses one thru fifteen);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter sixteen (verses one thru thirty-three).

Commentary: God's Glory in the Heavens & in the Law (Psalm 19) & II: First Collection of the Wisdom of Solomon (cont'd; Proverbs, 16:1-33).

Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"To live is to change, & to be perfect is to have changed often."
—Bl. John Henry Newman (9 October)

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day


Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, "Paradise Has No Border" from Paradise Has No Border (The Last Angry Man)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day


Cast, "All-American Prophet" from The Book of Mormon: Original Broadway Cast Recording (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: I'm sorry if this seems mean, for I don't mean to be mean to Mormons, at least not for meanness's sake, but the straight-faced case for the Book of Mormon (the book, not the musical) is scarcely less risible than the parody presented in "All-American Prophet."
"You all know the Bible is made of Testaments, Old and New,
You're been told it's just those two parts, or only one if you're a Jew,
But what if I were to tell you there's a fresh third part out there,
Which was found by a hip, new prophet who had a little Donny Osmond flair?

"Have you heard of the all-American prophet?
The blond-haired, blue-eyed voice of God?
He didn't come from the Middle East like those other holy men,
No, God's favorite prophet was all-American!…"
And it goes on like that. Behind the mean-spirited mockery of Mormons, the fuming hatred of God, & the adolescent toilet humor, a redemptive—though not fully redeeming—aspect of
The Book of Mormon (the musical, not the book) is the story of Elder Price's struggle with his own pride & inflated sense of self-importance.
"Have you heard of the all-American prophet?
(Kevin Price!)
The next in line to be the voice of God?
(My best friend!)
He's gonna do something incredible and be Joseph Smith again,
'Cause Kevin Price the prophet is all, all, all, all-American!
(If you order now we'll also throw in a set of steak knives!)
All-American!"
I wonder if Messers. Lopez, Parker, & Stone realize they are as ludicrously prideful as Elder Price, if not more so, & that they really wrote "All-American Prophet" about themselves? Likely not. That depth of introspection is difficult, & spooky, spookier even than "Spooky Mormon Hell Dream."

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Albert the Great, Bishop & Doctor of the Church, O.P. (circa 1206-1280, of Cologne; in the Latin, Albertus Magnus), in life called the "Universal Doctor" (Doctor universalis) & "Expert Doctor" (Doctor expertus): Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He was the first German Dominican to achieve the title, "Master of Theology." He later went on to teach theology at the University of Paris, & became Chair of Theology at the College of St. James. One of his students was the famous Thomas Aquinas [January 28] who would also become a doctor of the Church & a saint.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Saint Albert was born at Lauingen along the Danube about the year 1206. Having studied at Padua 7 Paris, he entered the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans) & excelled as a teacher. One of his most famous students was St. Thomas Aquinas. Ordained bishop of Ratisbon [A.K.A. Regensberg], [Albert] strove earnestly to establish peace among people & between cities. He wrote brilliantly on a variety of subjects from the secular to the sacred. He died at Cologne in 1280.
'Tis also the festival of Blessed Mary of the Passion, Religious, F.M.M. (1839-1904, A.K.A. Hélène-Marie-Philippine de Chappotin de Neuville), foundress of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary: Blessed-link ūna, Blessed-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link F.M.M.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Raphael of Saint Joseph, Priest, O.C.D. (1835-1907, A.K.A. Józef Kalinowski): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture o' the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Wisdom, chapter six, verses one thru eleven;
Psalm Eighty-two, verses three & four & six & seven;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter seventeen, verses eleven thru nineteen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today's Gospel recounts the Lord's healing of ten lepers, only one of whom comes back to give thanks. Leprosy frightened people in ancient times, just as contagious and mysterious diseases frighten people today. 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 responsible for examining the patient in ancient Israel was the priest. The priest's job was to monitor the whole process of Israelite worship, very much including who could and couldn't participate in the Temple.

What is so important about worship? To worship is to order the whole of one's life toward the living God, and, in doing so, to become interiorly and exteriorly rightly ordered. To worship is to signal to oneself what one's life is finally about. Worship is not something that God needs, but it is very much something that we need.
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Albert the Great
The Book of Sirach, chapter fifteen, verses one thru six;
Psalm One Hundred Nineteen, verse twelve;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter thirteen, verses forty-seven thru fifty-two.



Bible Study—Psalms & Proverbs
The Book of Psalms, psalm eighteen (verses one thru fifty-one);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter fifteen (verses one thru thirty-three).

Commentary: A King's Thanksgiving for Victory (Psalm 18) & II: First Collection of the Wisdom of Solomon (cont'd; Proverbs, 15:1-33).

Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections."
—St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church (20 August)

Operation ÖSTERREICH

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 343.8 lbs
This weigh-in: 341.8 lbs.
Difference: -2.0 lbs.

I'm back to where I was a fortnight hence, still two-fifths of a pound heavier (+0.2 lbs.) than I was two fortnights hence (341.6 lbs.), the record low since the Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in resumed. Still, I've lost weight in the last seven days, which is the goal, to lose weight continually until I reach a healthy, sustainable size. Rome wasn't built in a day; this isn't a matter of one dramatic gesture, but a day-by-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute commitment to a more healthful lifestyle. If I could lose just two pounds every week, an entirely achievable rate, I'd lose one hundred four pounds in a year. Imagine what two hundred thirty-seven pounds (237 lbs.) would look like, how it would feel! Keep at it!

Bonus! Lied von ÖSTERREICH
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Theme from Rocky XIII" from "Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D (The Last Angry Blob)

Commentary: "Weird Al" is, by virtue of his keen insight into the absurdities of our collapsing society, quite an adept futurist. The plot of "Theme from Rocky XIII" is, in essence if not in specific detail, the plot of the sixth Rocky movie, Rocky Balboa.
"Fat and weak, what a disgrace!
Guess the champ got too lazy,
Ain't gonna fly now, he's just taking up space,
Sold his gloves, threw his eggs down the drain…

"Never eats while on the job,
He heard it's good to stay hungry…"
The Hollywoodland Tour of the Rocky Series
Rocky (1976)
Rocky II (1979)
Rocky III (1982)
Rocky IV (1985)
Rocky V (1990)
Rocky Balboa (2006)
Creed (2015)
(Creed II, currently in pre-production; 2018)

The Queue

I'm certain Catholics Go by the Bible is chockablock with useful information, but it wasn't holding my interest, so I wasn't picking it up very often. I fear the accessibility of the book's useful information is limited by the author's—forgive my bluntness—poor writing; Seinfeld articulated, as it so often did, something we had all previously intuited but never succinctly formulated: "People love interesting writing!" If I do not someday circle back & try Catholics Go by the Bible again, I will undoubtedly at some point use it as a reference work, for The Popish Plot or some other endeavor.

A Legacy of Spies is borrowed from the Genesee District Library, as a twenty-eight-day loan despite the "14 Day Loan" sticker formerly stuck to the spine. (I removed the sticker because it was no longer accurate. I'm worse than just a vandal, I'm a captious vandal.) I do so love espionage—books, both fiction & non-fiction, & motion pictures, too, both features & television series. I take seriously a bit of advice I heard when I lived my Cursillo weekend & subsequently as I've been on teams hosting men as they live their Cursillo weekends: "Don't just read good books. Read the best." I love reading about the faith & the Church, both high theology & earthy practicality, anything & everything to help my fellow pilgrims & me make our corporate & individual ways home, but we must always remember that the Lord God speaks to all His children, even the many who would hardly identify themselves as such. John le Carré's talent is as much a gift from God as was Venerable Fulton Sheen's. Le Carré may not use his God-given artistry as explicitly for the greater glory of God (ad maioriem Dei gloriam) as did Archbishop Sheen, but Scripture teaches us that even what men intend for evil the Lord God can turn to serve His infinitely good purpose (Genesis, 50:20). Deus vult!

Recently
Gary Chapman with Randy Southern, The 5 Love Languages for Men: Tools for Making a Good Relationship Great
Kevin Lowry, How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming into the Catholic Church
Deacon Eugene Hausmann, Catholics Go by the Bible: Biblical Sources of Catholic Theology & Liturgy ***abandoned***

Currently
John le Carré, A Legacy of Spies

Presently
Norman Davies, Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations ***paused***
Matthew Kelly, Perfectly Yourself: Discovering God's Dream for You
Sherry A. Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus
William E. Simon Jr., Great Catholic Parishes: How Four Essential Practices Make Them Thrive
Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
Bishop Robert Barron, Seeds of the Word: Finding God in the Culture
Mike Aquilina, Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers
Scott & Kimberly Hahn, Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism
Xavier Rynne, Vatican Council II
John W. O'Malley, What Happened at Vatican II
Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love)
Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis (The Sacrament of Charity)
Richard Price, Clockers
Sir Richard Francis Burton, translator, "Sinbad the Sailor" from The Arabian Nights
Sir Ernest Shackleton, South: A Memoir of the Endurance Voyage
William F. Buckley Jr., The Unmaking of a Mayor
Margaret MacMillan, Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saint Laurence O'Toole, Bishop & Abbot, O.S.A. (1128-1180, A.K.A. Lorcán Ua Tuathail), abbot of the Monastery at Glendalough before being consecrated Archbishop of Dublin: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Glendalough & Wikipedia-link Dublin.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Nikola Tavelić & Companions (Déodat of Rodez, Pierre of Narbonne, & Stefano of Cueno), Priests & Martyrs, O.F.M. (died 1391, Anglicized as Nicholas Tavelic; A.K.A. the Martyrs of the Jaffa Gate), martyred in the reign of the sultan Sayf ad-Din Barquq: Martyrs-link, Martyr-link November Tango & Wikipedia-link, Martyr-link Delta, Martyr-link Papa, & Martyr-link Sierra.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Giovanni Liccio, Priest, O.P. (1400-1511, Anglicized as John Licci): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Maria Luiza Merkert, Religious, C.S.S.E. (1817-1872), co-foundress of the Sisters of Saint Elizabeth: Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link C.S.S.E.

Scripture o' the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Wisdom, chapter two, verse twenty-three thru chapter three, verse nine;
Psalm Eighty-two, verses two & three, sixteen & seventeen, & eighteen & nineteen;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter seventeen, verses seven thru ten.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, as is often the case with Jesus' more difficult parables, we have to pay careful attention to today's Gospel story. It's all about justice, which is rendering to each what is due—a good and noble thing. When justice is your primary consideration, you are basically in charge, morally speaking. But what Jesus is doing today in this striking and annoying story is to shake us out of that understanding of our relationship to God.

The point is this: God owes us precisely nothing. Everything we have, including our very existence, is a sheer gift. We are in absolutely no position ever to demand anything of God. To move into this space is to move out of the stance of faith. And so no matter what God asks, the proper response is, "I am an unprofitable servant; I have done what I was obliged to do."
Video reflection by Father Greg Dobson: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Bible Study—Psalms & Proverbs
The Book of Psalms, psalm seventeen (verses one thru fifteen);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter fourteen (verses one thru thirty-five).

Commentary: Prayer for Rescue from Persecutors (Psalm 17); II: First Collection of the Wisdom of Solomon (cont'd; Proverbs, 14:1-35).

Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!"
—St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church (29 April)

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

London Symphony Orchestra & Walter Sisskind, "Appalachian Spring: Concert Suite…" from London Symphony Orchestra Plays Classical Favourites (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: The full title given in iTunes is nearly as long as the Aaron Copland-composed suite's twenty-three minute running time: "Appalachain Spring: Concert Suite - Very Slowly - Allegro - Moderato: The Bride and Her Intended - Fast: The Revivalist and His Flock - Allegro: Solo Dances of the Bride - meno Mosso - Doppio Movemento: Variations On a Shaker Hymn - Moderato - Coda."

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

Cast, "I Believe" from The Book of Mormon: Original Broadway Cast Recording (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: "I Believe" is The Book of Mormon in microcosm: unfair to the Mormons specifically & people of faith generally, but also pretty danged amusing.

Project BLACK MAMBA: The Long Road Back

Saturday, 11 November was the Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop (circa 316-397), founder of the Abbey of Ligugé & the Abbey of Marmoutier: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Ligugé & Wikipedia-link Marmoutier.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He is best known for the account of his using his military sword to cut his cloak in two, to give half to a beggar clad only in rags in the depth of winter. Conscripted as a soldier into the Roman army, he found the duty incompatible with the Christian faith he adopted & became an early conscientious objector.
'Twas also the festival of Saint Turibius of Liébana, Bishop & Abbot, O.S.B. (floruit 533, A.K.A. of Palencia, the Monk), founder of the Monastery of Liébana: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Monastery.

'Twas also the festival of Blessed Alicja Maria Jadwiga Kotowska, Religious & Martyr, C.R. (1899-1939), martyred in the reign of the Führer Adolf Hitler, in the Massacres in Piaśnica; one of the One Hundred Eight Blessed Polish Martyrs: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Piaśnica & Wikipedia-link CVIII.

'Twas also the festival of Blesseds Eugene Bossilkov, Bishop (C.P.); Josaphat Chichkov, Pavel Djidjov, & Kamen Vitchev, Priests (A.A.); Martyrs (died 1952), martyred in the reign of the Communist dictator Vâlko Chervenkov: Martyr-link Echo Bravo & Wikipedia-link Echo Bravo, Martyr-link Juliett Charlie & Wikipedia-link Juliett Charlie, Martyr-link Papa Delta & Wikipedia-link Papa Delta, & Martyr-link Kilo Victor & Wikipedia-link Kilo Victor.

Scripture of That Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Letter to the Romans, chapter sixteen, verses three thru nine, sixteen, & twenty-two thru twenty-seven;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-five, verses two & three, four & five, & ten & eleven;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter sixteen, verses nine thru fifteen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel focuses on prudence. In the Middle Ages, prudence was called “the queen of the virtues” because it was the virtue that enabled one to do the right thing in a particular situation. Prudence is a feel for the moral situation, something like the feel a quarterback has for the playing field, or a politician for the voters in his district.

Courage, justice, and temperance are wonderful virtues, but without prudence they are blind and, finally, useless. For a person can be as courageous as possible, but if he doesn’t know when, where, and how to play out his courage, that virtue is useless.
Video reflection by Sister Annie Bremmer: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Martin of Tours
The Book of Isaiah, chapter sixty-one, verses one, two, & three (a/b/c/d);
Confer Psalm Eighty-nine, verse two(a);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses thirty-one thru forty.



Bible Study—Psalms & Proverbs
The Book of Proverbs, chapter ten (verses one thru thirty-two);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter eleven (verses one thru thirty-one).

Commentary: II: First Collection of the Wisdom of Solomon (10:1-11:31).

What's Eating The Last Angry Man?
All fall, I've groused that this is the year "church hates football." That's an unfair characterization, because I've also taken two out-of-town trips to visit family at Xanadu & squandered an entire Saturday at an out-of-town wedding as the plus-one of an acquaintance (never forget that no good deed goes unpunished), but even when I've been in town one or another church activity had cropped up, commanding a disproportionate percentage of my Saturdays, making it difficult to watch most of the valiant Wolverines' games in anything even approximately real time. Add in the four Formula One grands prix held in October—two pair of back-to-back race weekends (I've always disliked back-to-back race weekends for the excessive burden they place on my schedule; the monopolization of time irks me, sometimes above & beyond the joy derived from the weekend's racing), with only a solitary weekend's respite—& I'm constantly playing catch-up. Amidst this additional demands on my time, Saturdays' BLACK MAMBA posts in particular have been drawing the short straw in the competition for my time & attention, which irks me, only making matters worse.

Yes, I agree, this would be a ripe moment to play "Weird Al's" "First World Problems." My life is abundantly blessed & God forgive me if I ever portray it as otherwise. I've been whiny & ungrateful, & acted put-upon, that's what's eating The Last Angry Man.

Bonus! Song o' What's Eating The Last Angry Man?
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "First World Problems" from Mandatory Fun (The Last Angry Man)

Project BLACK MAMBA: The Long Road Back, Prelude

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin, M.S.C. (1850-1917, A.K.A. Mother Cabrini), foundress of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link M.S.C..

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Also called Mother Cabrini, she was an Italian-American religious sister, who founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was a major support to the Italian immigrants to the United States. She was the first naturalized citizen of the United States to be canonized.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Brice of Tours, Bishop (circa 370-444): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Nicholas I, Pope (circa 800-867, the Great), one hundred fifth Bishop of Rome: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Didacus of Alcalá, Religious, O.F.M. (circa 1400-1463, A.K.A. Diego de San Nicolás), namesake of the Mission San Diego de Alcalá around which grew the city of San Diego: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Mission & Wikipedia-link City.

Scripture of This Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Wisdom, chapter one, verses one thru seven;
Psalm One Hundred Thirty-nine, verses one(b), two, & three; four, five, & six; seven & eight; & nine & ten;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter seventeen, verses one thru six.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel we hear Jesus speak about faith. Faith is powerful, for it is a link to the reality of God, the power that made and sustains the cosmos. Sometimes, the power of faith is manifested in spectacular and immediately obvious ways. For example, there is a long tradition of faith healing, stretching back to Jesus himself and through many of the saints. There is also the power of prayer. When some people ask in a spirit of trust, really believing that what they are asking for will happen, it happens.

But, more often than not, the power of faith manifests itself in the courage to face trauma, sickness, even the terror of death. It is the confidence that we are being guided and cared for, even when that guidance and care are not immediately apparent.
Video reflection by Monsignor James Vlaun (Telecare T.V.): U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
The Book of Hosea, chapter two, verses sixteen(b/c), seventeen(c/d), twenty-one, & twenty-two;
Psalm Forty-five, verse eleven;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter ten, verses thirty-eight thru forty-two.



Bible Study—Psalms & Proverbs
The Book of Psalms, psalm fourteen (verses one thru seven);
The Book of Psalms, psalm fifteen (verses one thru five);
The Book of Psalms, psalm sixteen (verses one thru eleven);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter twelve (verses one thru twenty-eight);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter thirteen (verses one thru twenty-five).

Commentary: A Lament over Widespread Corruption (Psalm 14), the Righteous Israelite (Psalm 15), & God the Supreme Good (Psalm 16); II: First Collection of the Wisdom of Solomon (cont'd; Proverbs, 12:1-13:25).

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXXIX

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Battle of Passchendaele (Third Ypres), Part VI
26 October-10 November 1917: The Second Battle of Passchendaele—Entente forces spearheaded by the Canadian Corps, in a thoroughly methodical assault, seized the Passchendaele Ridge: drier ground for the coming winter; men & matériel were then diverted away from the Ypres Salient to stem the Central Powers' breakthrough at Caporetto & for the Entente's forthcoming attack at Cambrai.






Lest we forget.

The Wayback Machine Tour of the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele)
№ DLX: The Battle of Pilckem Ridge (Part I)
№ DLXII: The Battle of Langemarck (Part II)
№ DLXVIII: The Battle of Polygon Wood (Part III)
№ DLXX: The Battle of Broodseinde (Part IV)
№ DLXXI: The First Battle of Passchendaele (Part V)

Project BLACK MAMBA: XXXII Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Book of Wisdom, chapter six, verses twelve thru sixteen;
Psalm Sixty-three, verses two, three & four, five & six, & seven & eight;
The First Letter to the Thessalonians, chapter four, verses thirteen thru eighteen
(or, the First Letter to the Thessalonians, chapter four, verses thirteen & fourteen);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses one thru thirteen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel today is the parable that compares the kingdom of heaven with “ten virgins who with their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom.” This is an image borrowed from the customs of the time. The bridesmaids would wait for the groom and, upon his appearance, would accompany him.

Well, this is the Christian community, waiting for Christ the groom to arrive. Did Jesus tell this parable because he knew that his Church would be in for a long period of waiting?

We are wise in our waiting if we pray on a regular basis, if we educate ourselves in the faith, if we participate in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, if we perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, if we become people of love. We are foolish in our waiting if we neglect these things.

And here is one of the hardest truths of this parable: the divine life, so cultivated, cannot simply be shared with another at the last minute. The wise virgins are not being difficult and self-absorbed when they tell their friends that they can’t help them. A saint can’t simply infuse his life into another; it just doesn’t work that way.
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.


Mass Journal: Week 46
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
Prayer is central to the Christian experience. A Christian life is not sustainable without it, because growth in the Christian life is simply not possible without prayer. Growing in charity & virtue, learning to hear the voice of God in our lives & walking where he calls us—all require the discipline of prayer. And it is not enough simply to pray when we feel like it. Prayer requires a daily commitment. Get to know the Shepherd. Stop trying to put together a master plan for your life & for your happiness. Instead, seek out the Master's plan for your life & for your happiness. Allow him to lead you, guide you, to be your companion, your coach, & your mentor. He will lead you to green pastures. He will restore your soul. And your cup will overflow.

Otherwise, 12 November would be the festival of Saint Machar of Aberdeen, Bishop (died circa 540), the "Apostle to the Picts:" Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Cuimín Fada, Abbot (died 662, of Kilcummin; also spelt Cumméne, Cummian), founder of a monastery around which grew the village of Kilcummin: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Kilcummin.

Commentary: Kilcummin is an Anglicization of the Irish Cill Chuimín, which means "church of Cuimín."

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Cunibert, Bishop (circa 600-663, of Cologne, of Trier; also spelt Cunipert, A.K.A. Honoberht): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Josaphat Kuntsevych, Bishop & Martyr, O.S.B.M. (circa 1580-1623, of Polotsk), martyred by a mob incited by the Orthodox hierarchy for supporting the Union of Brest: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Union.

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Family Bulletin:
Josaphat was born John Kuncevic in the Ukraine around 1580. He worked as a merchant until 1604, when he became a monk of the Ukrainian Order of Saint Basil & took the name Josaphat. Five years later he was ordained a priest of the Byzantine Church. People came to him for spiritual advice. They were moved by his preaching & by his life, for he fasted often & was faithful to the prayers & customs of the people. In his thirties, he was made bishop of Vitebsk & then archbishop of Polotsk.

Bonus! Song o' Yesterday: Go Blue!


Samstag, 11. November 2017
The University of Michigan Marching Band, "El Toro Caliente" from Hurrah for the Yellow and Blue (The Last Angry Wolverine)

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

Flogging Molly, "Rebels of the Sacred Heart" from Drunken Lullabies (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: A bad Catholic's anthem, which struck me as apropos for a day when the gospel reading is about the five wise virgins & the five foolish virgins. If you give up waiting for the Bridegroom before He comes, then of course you won't be welcome at the wedding banquet. No one is lost this side o' the grave except he who has ceased to try, who has given up hope.
"Now I'm aiming for heaven, but probably wind up down in hell,
Where upon this altar I will hang my guilt-ridden head,
But it's time I'll take before I begin,
Three sheets to the wind, three sheets to the wind,
Yeah, it's time I'll take before I begin,
Three sheets to the wind, three sheets to the wind.

"Rebels are we though heavy our hearts shall always be,
And no ball or chain, no prison shall keep,
We're the rebels of the Sacred Heart!
I said, no ball or chain, no prison shall keep,
We're the rebels of the Sacred Heart!…

"Now, ah, bless me, father, for I have sinned,
But it's the same old story again and again and again.
Ah well, such is the bread or an every day life,
From morning to noon to the shadowless night,
Ah well, such is the bread or an every day life,
From morning to noon to the shadowless night…"

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Armistice Day

"Armistice Day has become Veterans' Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans' Day is not."
—Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Breakfast of Champions


Ninety-nine years ago to the day, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns fell silent on the Western Front, signally the end of the World War (der Weltkrieg), the Great War, the War to End All Wars. Tens of millions had perished—from bullets, from shells, from bombs, from poison gas, from drowning, from starvation, from thirst, from disease, from fire—since war broke out in August 1914, following the assassination in Sarajevo of the heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian crowns by a Serbian nationalist terrorist. The war was fought on land, on the sea, & in the air; in Europe, Africa, & Asia; off the coasts of South America, Australia, & North America; in the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean; the Mediterrarean Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Black sea, the North Sea, Lake Tanganyika, & all the seven seas. The war was fought on the ground & under the ground with vast defensive shelters & offensive mines; on the sea & under the sea, with submarines sinking both military & civilian ships indiscriminately; in the air, with the new aeroplane used first as a scout & artillery spotter, then as a fighter, ground attacker, & long-range bomber; Zeppelins & other dirigibles hung in the air like great whales, raining death on the people below. It was the "chemist's war," with the full weight of man's ingenuity & technological prowess brought to bear, all but perfecting the process of rapidly killing large numbers of heavily-armed men who desperately wish to stay alive. The scale of the disaster staggers the mind.

I think upon the Great War every week, researching & preparing episodes of "The Explorers' Club." I've lived with it now as if it is the now, not the distant then, for three years. This is not to say that I know at all what it was like—the fear, the thrill, the discomfort, the pain. But I do know how afraid I am of forgetting, how deeply I am convinced that we of the West are lost because we have forgotten our story, have forgotten our history. They paid too high a price for us not to learn the lessons of the 1914-1919, of all the destruction & death that stalked the earth from the July Crisis to the Armistice & beyond to the Paris Peace Conference. Lest we forget, the Armistice took effect on 11 November 1918, ninety-nine years ago today.

"Suicide in the Trenches"
by Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye,
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you'll never know,
The hell where youth and laughter go.


"The Unconquered Dead"
by John McCrae (1872-1918)

Not we the conquered! Not to us the blame
Of them that flee, of them that basely yield;
Nor ours the shout of victory, the fame
Of them that vanquish in a stricken field.

That day of battle in the dusty heat
We lay and heard the bullets swish and sing
Like scythes amid the over-ripened wheat,
And we the harvest of their garnering.

Some yielded, No, not we! Not we, we swear
By these our wounds; this trench upon the hill
Where all the shell-strewn earth is seamed and bare,
Was ours to keep; and lo! we have it still.

We might have yielded, even we, but death
Came for our helper; like a sudden flood
The crashing darkness fell; our painful breath
We drew with gasps amid the choking blood.

The roar fell faint and farther off, and soon
Sank to a foolish humming in our ears,
Like crickets in the long, hot afternoon
Among the wheat fields of the olden years.

Before our eyes a boundless wall of red
Shot through by sudden streaks of jagged pain!
Then a slow-gathering darkness overhead
And rest came on us like a quiet rain.

Not we the conquered! Not to us the shame,
Who hold our earthen ramparts, nor shall cease
To hold them ever; victors we, who came
In that fierce moment to our honoured peace.


The Wayback Machine Tour of Armistice Day: Lest We Forget
Armistice Day '16 + Armistice Day '15 + Armistice Day '14

Armistice Day '13 + Armistice Day '12 + Armistice Day '11

Armistice Day '10 + Armistice Day '09 + Armistice Day '08

Armistice Day '07 + Armistice Day '06 + Armistice Day '05

Armistice Day '04 + Armistice Day '03 + Armistice Day '02

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' Armistice Day
Enrico Caruso, "Over There!" from Over There! Songs of the American Expeditionary Force 1917-1918 (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: By November 1917, America had declared war on Germany, but had yet to engage in ground combat on the Western Front, as the American Expeditionary Force was still being drafted, trained, & equipped. "Over There!" was written by the great George M. Cohan in 1917 & debuted that fall at a Red Cross fundraiser in New York City.
"Over there! Over there!
Send the word, send the word over there
That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming,
The drums rum-tumming everywhere!
So prepare, say a prayer,
Send the word, send the word to beware!
We'll be over, we're coming over,
And we won't come back till it's over, over there!…"
God help us, lest we forget.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Edmund Fitzgerald

Gordon Lightfoot, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" from Summertime Dream (The Last Angry Man)


Operation AXIOM
Forty-two years ago to the day, 10 November 1975, twenty-nine souls were lost when the lake freighter S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald sank amidst a severe storm on Lake Superior. The captain's last radio message, transmitted while the Edmund Fitzgerald battled against thirty-five-foot waves, was, "We are holding our own." In here seventeen-year career, the Edmund Fitzgerald set six seasonal haul records & was a legend in her town time, yet her doomed crew & tragic wreck would be all but forgotten today if not for the popular 1976 song, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" by Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot, to whom our collective memory owes a great debt. Twenty-nine men perished when the Edmund Fitzgerald sank on 10 November 1975, forty-two years ago today.

The Wayback Machine Tour of the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
We here at The Secret Base have not always been as faithful as we ought to have been in observing the anniversary of this greatest maritime disaster in the history of the Great Lakes, but we are determined to make amends as best as we are able.

Edmund Fitzgerald '16 | Edmund Fitzgerald '15 | Edmund Fitzgerald '14 | Edmund Fitzgerald '11
Edmund Fitzgerald '10

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Leo the Great, Pope & Doctor of the Church (circa 400-461, A.K.A. Leo I), Nth Bishop of Rome, who wrote the Tome of Leo that helped the Council of Chalcedon adopt the Chalcedonian Definition on the nature of Christ: Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Tome, Wikipedia-link Council, & Wikipedia-link Definition.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He was a Roman aristocrat, & was the first pope to have been called "the Great." He is perhaps best known for having met Attila the Hun in 452 & persuading him to turn back from his invasion of Italy. He galvanized charitable works in a Rome beset by famines, an influx of refugees, & poverty. He further associated the practice of fasting with charity & almsgiving particularly on the occasion of the Quattro tempora.
"Quattro tempora," you ask? Yeah, me, too: Latin for "four seasons," it refers to the ember days. "Ember days," you ask? Yeah, me, too: Wikipedia-link Ember.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Grellan, Bishop (floruit fifth century): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Baudolino, Hermit (circa 700-740): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Andrea Avellino, Priest, C.R. (1521-1608, Anglicized as Andrew): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Letter to the Romans, chapter fifteen, verses fourteen thru twenty-one;
Psalm Ninety-eight, verses one, two & three(a/b), & three(c/d) & four;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter sixteen, verses one thru eight.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, like the steward in today's Gospel, we must regularly take a hard took at ourselves. What are our strengths and our weaknesses? Where do we need improvement? Where are we not in particularly good shape? Is our prayer life strong? Do we frequent the sacraments? Do we participate in the Mass? Are our lives focused around the corporal and spiritual works of mercy? Do we speak out against injustices and moral evils?

And, like the steward, we must act with cleverness, firmness of purpose, and boldness. Enough wishy-washiness in the spiritual life! The time for action is now. Today, commit to making Jesus Christ and his demands the undisputed center of your life.
Video reflection by Father Daniel Villarreal: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Leo the Great
The Book of Sirach, chapter thirty-nine, verses six thru ten;
Psalm Thirty-seven, verse thirty(a);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter sixteen, verses thirteen thru nineteen.



Bible Study—Psalms & Proverbs
The Book of Psalms, psalm eleven (verses one thru seven);
The Book of Psalms, psalm twelve (verses one thru nine);
The Book of Psalms, psalm thirteen (verses one thru six);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter nine (verses one thru eighteen).

Commentary: Confidence in the Presence of God (Psalm 11), Prayer against Evil Tongues (Psalm 12), & Prayer in Time of Illness (Psalm 13); the Two Banquets (Proverbs, 9:1-18).

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXXVIII

Operation AXIOM: The World War
9 November 1917: The Balfour Declaration—In a carefully worded letter from Arthur Balfour, British Foreign Secretary, to influential Zionist leader Walter Rothschild, the Entente Powers came out in favor of "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people;" the Sharif of Mecca regarded it as a betrayal of promises made in the 1915-1916 McMahan-Hussein correspondence.





Lest we forget.

Commentary: The letter from Balfour to Rothschild was dated 2 November 1917, but published in the press on this date, 9 November, one hundred years ago.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica (consecrated 324): Lateran-link ūnus, Lateran-link duo, Wikipedia-link Archbasilica, & Wikipedia-link Feast.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
It is the oldest & highest ranking of the four major basilicas in Rome. The Basilica of St. John Lateran is the cathedral of the diocese of Rome, the official eccesiastical seat of the Holy Father, the Bishop of Rome, not St. Peter's Basilica as so many mistakenly believe.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Ursinus of Bourges, Bishop (floruit third century, also spelt Ursin): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Benignus of Armagh, Bishop (died 467, also spelt Benen), "Saint Patrick's psalm-singer:" Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Pabo, Religious (died circa 510, A.K.A. Pabo Post Prydain, "the Pillar of Britain"), founder of the monastery that became St. Pabo's Church: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed George Napper, Priest & Martyr (1550-1610, also spelt Napier), martyred in the reign of the king James VI & I: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
The Book of Ezekiel, chapter forty-seven, verses one, two, eight, nine, & twelve;
Psalm Forty-six, verses two & three, five & six, & eight & nine;
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter three, verses nine(c), ten, eleven, sixteen, & seventeen;
The Gospel according to John, chapter two, verses thirteen thru twenty-two.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, when reading today's Gospel passage, we shouldn't be surprised that Jesus, at the climax of his life, came into the Temple and made a ruckus. He was not just being a rabble-rouser. He was rectifying the Temple so as to rectify the people Israel.

When pressed for a sign, he said that he would tear the Temple down and rebuild it in three days. He was talking, as John tells us, of the temple of his body. He was saying that this old Temple, which had served its purpose relatively well, would now give way to a new and definitive Temple. His own body, his own person, would be the place where divinity and humanity meet, and hence the place of right praise.
Video reflection by Father Don Miller, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Bible Study—Psalms & Proverbs: The Long Road Back
The Book of Psalms, psalm nine (verses one thru twenty-one);
The Book of Psalms, psalm ten (verses one thru eighteen);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter seven (verses one thru twenty-seven);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter eight (verses one thru thirty-six).

Commentary: Thanksgiving for Victory & Prayer for Justice (Psalms 9-10); Warning against Adultery (cont'd; Proverbs, 7:1-27) & the Discourse of Wisdom (8:1-36).

A Humble Contribution to the New Evangelization
The Popish Plot—Theology Thursday: "Ask a Stupid Question on Purgatory"

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day


Cast, "Hello!" from The Book of Mormon: Original Broadway Cast Recording (The Last Angry Man)