Saturday, February 24, 2018

The R.B.D. Black History Month Song o' the 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 want the world to be a better place,
Take a look at yourself and make a change.

"I'm been a victim of
A selfish kind of love…"

Friday, February 23, 2018

The R.B.D. Black History Month Song o' the Day

The Miracles, "Love Machine, Part 1" from Motown 1's (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Another song had been chosen to be the R.B.D.S.O.T.D., but "Love Machine, Part 1" ran through my head throughout the Knights of Columbus fish fry. As ever, I defer to the muse.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Operation ÖSTERREICH | Project GLOWWORM

Weekly Wednesday Thursday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 339.6 lbs
This weigh-in: 337.4 lbs.
Difference: -2.2 lbs.

Two & one fifth pounds (2.2 lbs.); the opportunity is too good to let pass: For our international, non-American readings, in the last week I lost one kilogram (1 kg). My aim is to lose a kilogram per week. Yes, many persons have lost weight at a far more rapid rate, but I have trouble enough sustaining this pace. If I can drop weight at a consistent pace of one kilogram per week (1 kg/week), but this time next year I will weigh two hundred twenty-three pounds (223 lbs.) or one hundred one kilograms (101.2 kg), which might well be a perfectly healthy weight for a broad-shouldered man, six feet in height (6' or 72", roughly 183 cm). Onward!

I am having real problems keeping my pants up. I've punched additional holes in a couple of my belts, but the difficulty is more fundamental than that. For the first time in years, I need to buy new pants with a smaller waist, instead of with a larger waist. What about my old pants? I think I gave most of them to the poor, but I must check to see if there are any of the older sizes hiding in one or another closet.

Bonus! Lied von ÖSTERREICH
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Grapefruit Diet" from Running with Scissors (The Last Angry Chunk)

The R.B.D. Black History Month Song o' the Day

Otis Redding, "(Sittin' On) the Dock of the Bay" from Platoon: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"Looks like nothing's gonna change,
Everything still remains the same,
I can't do what ten people tell me to do,
So I guess I'll remain the same.

"Yes, sittin' here restin' my bones,
And this loneliness won't leave me alone,
This two thousand miles I roamed
Just to make this dock my home.

"Now I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay,
Watchin' the tide roll away,
Sittin' on the dock of the bay,
Wastin' time.

(whistled outro)"

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Saints + Scripture: Lent — Better Late Than Never

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Damian, Bishop & Doctor of the Church, O.S.B. (circa 988-1073): Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Saint Peter Damian was a reforming Benedictine monk & cardinal in the circle of Pope [Saint] Leo IX [19 April]. Dante placed him in one of the highest circles of Paradiso as a great predecessor of Saint Francis of Assisi [4 October] & he was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1828.
'Tis also the festival of Blessed Pepin of Landen, Confessor (circa 575-646), Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia, Duke of Brabant: Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Husband of St. Itta of Metz, O.S.B. [8 May] & father of Ss. Begga, O.S.B. [17 December]; Bavo of Ghent [1 October]; & Gertrude of Nivelles, O.S.B. [17 March]

'Tis also the festival of Saint Robert Southwell, Priest & Martyr, S.J. (circa 1561-1595), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I, one of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link XL & Wikipedia-link XL.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Noël Pinot, Priest & Martyr (1747-1794), martyred in the reign of the French National Convention for refusing an oath to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Constitution.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Lenten Weekday
The Book of Jonah, chapter three, verses one thru ten;
Psalm Fifty-one, verses three & four, twelve & thirteen, & eighteen & nineteen;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter eleven, verses twenty-nine thru thirty-two.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus tells the crowds who seek a sign that they will only receive the sign of Jonah: "Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation."

Jonah is called by God to preach to Nineveh, which is described as an enormously large city. It takes, they say, three days to walk through it. I can’t help but think of Nineveh as one of our large, modern cities, a center of all sorts of worldly activity and preoccupation.

What would its conversion look like? A turning back to God as the only enduring good. After hearing the word of Jonah, the Ninevites proclaim a fast, and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth. What is the purpose of these ascetic practices? To wean people away from an attachment to worldly pleasures.

Go beyond the mind that you have. Repent. Live as though nothing in this world finally matters. And you will be living in the kingdom of God!
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Papal Quote o' the Day
"You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance & error: let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, & forgiven by God."
—Pope Francis
Saint Quote o' the Day
"Peace is better than a fortune."
—St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church (1567-1622, feast day: 24 January)

The R.B.D. Black History Month Song o' the Day

Louis Armstrong, "What a Wonderful World" from Louis Armstrong's All-Time Greatest Hits (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"I see trees of green, red roses, too,
I see them bloom for me & you,
And I think to myself, What a wonderful world!

"I see skies of blue and clouds of white,
The bright, blessed day; the dark, sacred night,
And I think to myself, What a wonderful world!

"The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky,
Are also on the faces of people going by,
I see friends shaking hands, saying, 'How do you do?'
They're really saying, 'I love you.'

"I hear babies crying, I watch them grow,
They'll learn much more than I'll never know,
And I think to myself, What a wonderful world!
Yes, I think to myself, What a wonderful world!"

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


I really need tomorrow right now.

Saints + Scripture: Lent — Better Late Than Never

The Popish Plot
"Prayer Time Out" (Clip Show #2)

'Tis the festival of Saint Olcán, Bishop (died circa 480; also spelt Bolcan, A.K.A. of Derken): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Leo of Catania, Bishop, O.S.B. (circa 709-789, A.K.A. the Thaumaturgus ["Wonder-worker"]), an opponent of Byzantine iconoclasm: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Iconoclasm.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Wulfric of Haselbury, Priest (circa 1080-1154, also spelt Ulfrick, etc.): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saints Jacinta & Francisco Marto, Confessors (1910-1920 & 1908-1919), two of the three to whom were revealed the apparitions of Our Lady of Fátima (1917): Saints-link, Saint-link Juliett, Saint-link Foxtrot, & Wikipedia-link; Madonna-link & Wikipedia-link Madonna.

Commentary: Ss. Jacinta & Francisco, the youngest non-martyrs ever canonized, were sainted by Pope Francis on 13 May 2017, the centenary of the first Fátima apparition.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Lenten Weekday
The Book of Isaiah, chapter fifty-five, verses ten & eleven;
Psalm Thirty-four, verses four & five, six & seven, sixteen & seventeen, & eighteen & nineteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter six, verses seven thru fifteen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, the Gospel for today is of great significance, for in it the Son of God teaches us to pray. We hear from not just a guru, a spiritual teacher, or a religious genius, but from the very Son of God. This is why the Our Father, the Lord’s Prayer, is the model of all prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer is the prayer for the Christian journey which has been offered up consistently for the past two thousand years. Think for a moment how this prayer links us to all of the great figures in Christian history, from Peter and Paul to Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Francis of Assisi, John Henry Newman, G.K. Chesterton, John Paul II, and right up to the present day.

Keep in mind that prayer is not designed so much to change God’s mind or to tell God something he doesn’t know. God isn’t like a big city boss or a reluctant pasha whom we have to persuade. Rather, he is the one who wants nothing other than to give us good things—though they might not always be the things we want.
Video reflection by Dennis Mahaney: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Papal Quote o' the Day
"We are called as Christians to proclaim the liberating news that forgiveness for sins committed is possible, that God is greater than our sinfulness, that he freely loves us at all times, that we were made for communion & eternal life."
—Pope Francis, The Hope of Lent
Saint Quote o' the Day
"We must fear God out of love, not love Him out of fear."
—St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church (1567-1622, feast day: 24 January)

The R.B.D. Black History Month Song o' the Day

Leon Bridges, "Better Man" from Coming Home (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: In a thousand ways on a thousand days, every man jack of us wants to be a better man—to our sweethearts, to our friends, to our children, to our parents, to our communities, to our coworkers, to strangers. If ever we followed through, what a wonderful world it would be!

Monday, February 19, 2018

The R.B.D. Black History Month Song o' the Day

Matt "Guitar" Murphy, "Blues Don't Bother Me" from Blues Brothers 2000: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"When I was a little boy,
Sittin' on my poppa's knee,
I couldn't have been no older
Than two or three,
He said, 'I am a blues man,
'You're gonna take after me,
'After me.'

"The blues is my companion,
The blues don't bother me,
They don't bother me…"

Saints + Scripture: Lent — The Long Road Back, II of II

Saturday, 17 February was the Optional Memorial of the Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order, formally the Order of Servants of Mary: Saints-link ūnus, Saints-link duo, & Wikipedia-link O.S.M.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
The Servite Order is one of the five original Catholic mendicant orders. It's objectives are the sanctification of its members, preaching the Gospel, & the propagation of devotion to the Mother of God, with special reference to her sorrows. The members of the Order use O.S.M. as their post-nominal letters.
'Twas also the festival of Saint Lommán of Trim, Bishop (died circa 450; also spelt: various, A.K.A. Lommán mac Dalláin): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twas also the festival of Saint Evermode of Ratzeburg, Bishop, O. Præm. (circa 1100-1178, also spelt Evermod): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twas also the festival of Blessed Luke Belludi, Religious, O.F.M. (circa 1200-1285): Blessed-link ūnus, Blessed-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of That Day
Mass Readings—Saturday after Ash Wednesday
The Book of Isaiah, chapter fifty-eight, verses nine(b) thru fourteen;
Psalm Eighty-six, verses one thru six;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter five, verses twenty-seven thru thirty-two.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus tells Matthew, "Follow me." The call of Jesus addresses the mind, but it is meant to move through the mind into the body, and through the body into the whole of one’s life, into the most practical of moves and decisions. "Follow me" has the sense of "apprentice to me" or "walk as I walk; think as I think; choose as I choose." Discipleship entails an entire reworking of the self according to the pattern and manner of Jesus.

Upon hearing the address of the Lord, the tax collector, we are told, "got up and followed him." The Greek word behind "got up" is
anastas, the same word used to describe the resurrection (anastasis) of Jesus from the dead. Following Jesus is indeed a kind of resurrection from the dead, since it involves the transition from a lower form of life to a higher, from a preoccupation with the temporary goods of this world to an immersion in the goodness of God.

Those who have undergone a profound conversion tend to speak of their former life as a kind of illusion, something not entirely real. Thus Paul can say, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me"; Thomas Merton can speak of the "false self" that has given way to the authentic self; and, perhaps most movingly, the father of the prodigal son can say, "This son of mine was lost and has been found; he was dead and has come back to life."
Video reflection by Harry Dudley, D.Min.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Saint Quote o' That Day
"As a manifestation of the human spirit, music performs a function that is noble, unique, & irreplaceable. When music is truly beautiful & inspired, it speaks to us more than all the other acts of goodness, virtue, & peace."
—Pope St. John Paul II (the Great; 1920-2005, feast day: 22 October)

Saints + Scripture: Lent

'Tis the festival of Saint Odran, Martyr (died circa 452), St. Patrick's charioteer, martyred by pagans attempting to murder the saintly bishop: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Boniface of Brussels, Bishop, O.Cist. (1183-1260, A.K.A. of Lausanne), who attended the First Council of Lyon (1245): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Council.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Conrad of Piacenza, Hermit, T.O.S.F. (circa 1284-1351; A.K.A. Corrado Confalonieri, of Noto): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed John Sullivan, Priest, S.J. (1861-1933): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Bl. John was declared Venerable (acknowledging a life of heroic virtue) on 7 November 2014. A miracle due to his intercession was approved in 2016 & he was beatified on 13 May 2017. My sources disagree as to whether his festival is observed on the date of his birth, 8 May, or the more traditional date of his death, 19 February; if I err in honoring him this day, I am sorry.

Scripture of This Day
Mass Readings—Lenten Weekday
The Book of Leviticus, chapter nineteen, verses one, two, & eleven thru eighteen;
Psalm Nineteen, verses eight, nine, ten, & fifteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses thirty-one thru forty-six.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in our Gospel today Jesus tells the crowd that the Son of Man will welcome the righteous into the kingdom, saying: "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me." Puzzled, the righteous will ask when they did this, and he will reply, "Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me."

This is a powerful evocation of Jesus’ teaching about the mutuality of our love for God and neighbor. The absolute love for God is not in competition with a radical commitment to love our fellow human beings, precisely because God is not one being among many, but the very ground of our existence.

Someone who operated very much in the spirit of this teaching was Saint Teresa of Calcutta. A writer was once conversing with her, searching out the sources of her spirituality and mission. At the end of their long talk, she asked him to spread his hand out on the table. Touching his fingers one by one as she spoke the words, she said, "You did it to me."
Video reflection by Msgr. James Vlaun (Telecare T.V.): United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Saint Quote o' This Day
"Charity & devotion differ no more, the one from the other, than the flame from the fire."
—St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church (1567-1622, feast day: 24 January)
Commentary: I praise God for the inspiration, unnoticed by me, that lead to this quote from St. Francis de Sales being paired with today's Gospel, the "Judgment of the Nations" from Matthew. I could not have chosen—not on my best day & not with the most strenuous effort—a Scripture than more brightly illuminated the unity 'twixt charity & devotion.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Explorers' Club, № DCI

Operation AXIOM: The World War
18 February-3 March 1918: Operation Faustschlag—Frustrated with Soviet procrastination & foot-dragging in the peace negotiations at Brest-Litovsk, the Central Powers launched a massive offensive all along the front, advancing everywhere; Latvia, Lithuania, & Estonia were conquered in the north & Kiev (2 March) in the south; Germans drew within a hundred miles of Petrograd, the Soviet capital.




Lest we forget.

Saints + Scripture: Lent — The Long Road Back, I of II

Friday, 16 February was the festival of Saint Juliana of Nicomedia, Martyr (circa 286-305, A.K.A. of Cumæ), martyred in the reign of the emperors Diocletian & Maximian, a victim of the Great Persecution: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Persecution.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twas also the festival of Blessed Philippa Mareri, Abbess, O.S.C. (circa 1195-1236): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twas also the festival of Blessed Nicola Paglia, Priest, O.P. (1197-1256): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twas also the festival of Blessed Bernardo Scammacca, Religious, O.P. (1430-1487): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of That Day
Mass Readings—Friday after Ash Wednesday
The Book of Isaiah, chapter fifty-eight, verses one thru nine(a);
Psalm Fifty-one, verses three & four, five & six(a/b), & eighteen & nineteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter nine, verses fourteen & fifteen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel, people ask Jesus why he and his disciples do not fast when John and his disciples do. Jesus’ answer is wonderful: "How can the guests at a wedding fast while the groom is still with them?" Could you imagine people fasting at a wedding banquet? It would be ridiculous!

Jesus later says, "No one pours new wine into old wineskins...." The new wine is the Gospel. The receptacle for this wine must be conformed to it, not the other way around.

To take in the Good News, we can’t be living in the cramped space of our sinful souls. We can’t have an "expect the worst" attitude. Instead we repent, or change the minds that we have. Another way to get at this is to say that like is known by like. If God is love, then only a soul that is on fire with love will properly take him in.
Video reflection by Father Jonathan W. Felux: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Saint Quote o' That Day
"Genuine happiness in the home is based on love that gives itself & sacrifices itself, simply & perseveringly. This love can be sustained only with the food of faith, & faith is a gift of God that is nourished in prayer & the Sacraments."
—Pope St. John Paul II (the Great; 1920-2005, feast day: 22 October)

Saints + Scripture: I Sunday of Lent

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

Commentary: The English word "Lent" is of Germanic origin, from the Old English (A.K.A. Anglo-Saxon) lencten & related etymologically to the Dutch lente & the German lenz, both meaning "spring" (the season, not the water source or the metal curly-cue). The Latin name, Quadragesima, means "fortieth," referring to the penitential season's length.

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—First Sunday of Lent
The Book of Genesis, chapter nine, verses eight thru fifteen;
Psalm Twenty-five, verses four & five, six & seven, & eight & nine;
The First Letter of Peter, chapter three, verses eighteen thru twenty-two;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter one, verses twelve thru fifteen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, we have come to the great and holy season of Lent. Lent is, by its nature, a desert time, a time of simplicity, purification, and asceticism. We notice today in Mark’s account of the temptation that the Spirit himself led Jesus into the desert.

In so many of the great figures of salvation history—Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, David—a period of testing is required before they can commence their work. We see the same thing in the initiation rituals of tribal peoples as well—and you can see it in Luke Skywalker’s initiation in
Star Wars.

The desert represents a stripping away so as to make the fundamental things appear. In the desert, there are no distractions or diversions or secondary matters. Everything is basic, necessary, simple. One survives or one doesn’t.

One discovers in the desert strengths and weaknesses he didn’t know he had. It is like the purifying of a metal in fire. Now, Jesus didn’t have sin to deal with, but in his humanity, he knew temptation. Before we’re ready to resume our work, we have to go with him into the wilderness.
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.

Video reflection by Father Thomas Rosica, C.S.B.: Salt + Light


Mass Journal: Week Eight
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
The human heart is on a quest for happiness. Every person yearns for happiness like the desert years for rain. You have a desire for happiness; I have a desire for happiness. This desire is universal, common to every member of the human family. We simply desire to be happy, & we act from this desire. We often do things that we think will make us happy, only to discover that they end up making us miserable. This is often because we confuse pleasure with happiness. And sometimes long-term misery comes disguised as short-term pleasure.


Otherwise, 18 February would be the festival of Saint Simon, Bishop & Martyr (died 106, also spelt Simeon), martyred in the reign of the emperor Trajan: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the festival of Blessed John of Fiesole, Religious, O.P. (circa 1387-1455, "Fra Angelico" [the "Angelic friar"]; A.K.A. Guido di Pietro): Blessed-link ūnus, Blessed-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also be the festival of Blessed John Pibush, Priest & Martyr (died 1601), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I, of the one hundred sixty Martyrs of Douai: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link CLX & Wikipedia-link CLX.

Saint Quote o' the Day
"Insofar as divine love beautifies our souls & makes us pleasing to His divine Majesty, it is called grace; insofar as it gives us strength to do good, it is called charity; but when it reaches such a degree of perfection, that it makes us not only do the good, but do so carefully, frequently, & readily, then it is called devotion."
—St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church (1561-1622, feast day: 24 January)

The R.B.D. Black History Month Song o' the Lord's Day


James Brown, "The Old Landmark" from The Blues Brothers: Original Soundtrack Recording (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: In point of fact, each & every one of us is on a mission from God.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Queue

The good news is that I finished Heaven Starts Now. The bad news is that I've fallen behind on the daily reading of Perfectly Yourself, which is just as well, since I'm also behind on Best Lent Ever. Busy days, but good busy, days spent in the service of the Lord & His flock, the Church.

Recently
Matthew Kelly & Co., Beautiful Hope: Finding Hope Every Day in a Broken World
Matthew Warner, Messy & Foolish: How to Make a Mess, Be a Fool, and Evangelize the World
Father John Riccardo, Heaven Starts Now: Becoming a Saint Day by Day

Currently
Matthew Kelly, Perfectly Yourself: Discovering God's Dream for You

Presently
Norman Davies, Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations ***oft delayed***
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
Bishop Robert Barron, Seeds of the Word: Finding God in the Culture
Mike Aquilina, Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers
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)
Scott Hahn, A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God's Covenant Love in Scripture
Rosario Carello, Pope Francis Takes the Bus and Other Unexpected Stories
Father Mathias D. Thelen, Biblical Foundations for the Role of Healing in Evangelization
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
John le Carré, A Legacy of Spies

The R.B.D. Black History Month Song o' the Day

Lee Dorsey, "Working In a Coal Mine" via iTunes (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"'Course I make a little money,
Haulin' coal by the ton,
But when Saturday rolls around,
I'm too tired for havin' fun…"

Friday, February 16, 2018

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Explorers' Club, № DC

Operation AXIOM: The World War
15-16 February 1918: The Battle of Rarańcza—The Polish Legions, originally part of the Austro-Hungarian Army to advance the cause of Polish statehood against Imperial Russia, angered by the territorial concessions made to Ukraine at Brest-Litvosk, which they saw as detrimental to Polish ambitions, switched sides to ally with the Polish I Corps, formerly in Russian service, & mutinied.





Lest we forget.

The R.B.D. Black History Month Song o' the Day

Anti-Valentine's '18
Sam & Dave, "I Can't Stand Up" from the Rhino Hi-Five: Sam & Dave E.P. (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: The song is normally titled "I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down" & I have no idea why it is titled "I Can't Stand Up" on the Rhino Hi-Five, other than, you know, "reasons."

Also, just because Valentine's Day is past, doesn't mean romantic love is any less harmful.
"I'm the living result
Of a man who's been hurt a little too much,
Now I tasted, uh huh, the bitterness of my own tears,
Sadness, listen to this, is all my lonely heart can feel.

"I can't stand up for falling down,
I can't stand up for falling down…"

Saints + Scripture: Lent

'Tis the festival of Saint Onesimus, Bishop (died circa 90): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: St. Onesimus, then a runaway slave, is the principal subject of St. Paul's [25 January, 29 June] Letter to Philemon: Wikipedia-link Epistle.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Berach of Cluain Coirpthe, Abbot (died 595; A.K.A. of Termonbarry, of Kilbarry): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saints Sunaman, Deacon; Unaman, Priest; & Winaman, Subdeacon; Martyrs, O.S.B. (died circa 1040), martyred by pagan Swedes in the reign of the good king Anund Jakob: Martyr-link Sierra, Martyr-link Uniform, & Martyr-link Whiskey & Wikipedia-link Whiskey.

Commentary: Nephews of & missionaries with St. Sigfrid.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Sigfrid of Sweden, Bishop, O.S.B. (died circa 1045, the "Apostle of Sweden;" also spelt Siegfried, Sigurd, et al.): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Claude de la Colombière, Priest, S.J. (1641-1682), promoter of devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus; imprisoned (ruinous to his health) & banished from England, a victim of the perjurer Titus Oates' "Popish Plot" hoax: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Sacred Heart & Wikipedia-link Popish Plot.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Thursday after Ash Wednesday
The Book of Deuteronomy, chapter thirty, verses fifteen thru twenty;
Psalm One, verses one & two, three, & four & six;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter nine, verses twenty-two thru twenty-five.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel today from Luke lays out Jesus’ conditions for discipleship: "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it."

How do we overcome pain? How do we attain joy? Not from a Stoic resignation, nor from a Buddhist negation of the self, nor from a Platonic contemplation of the eternal forms, but rather from the sacrifice of the self in love. Jesus is going to Jerusalem in order to give himself away, to sacrifice himself in love for the other—and in this, he will become a source of life to others.

Ronald Knox talked about the sign of the cross this way: the first two gestures form the letter "I" and the next two cross it out. That’s what the cross of Jesus meant and means. The path of discipleship is the path of self-sacrificing love—and that means the path of suffering.
Video reflection by Fr. Roger Lopez, O.F.M. (Franciscan Media): U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Saint Quote o' the Day
"The Eucharist is the privileged summit of the meeting of Christ's love for us; a love that is made available for each of us, a love that is made to be sacrificial lamb & food for our hunger for life. As the Apostle says, 'He loved me & gave Himself up for me.'"
—Pope Bl. Paul VI (1897-1978, feast day: 26 September)

Operation ÖSTERREICH

Weekly Wednesday Thursday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 342.4 lbs
This weigh-in: 339.6 lbs.
Difference: -2.8 lbs.

There's good news & there's bad news. The good news is that I've achieved a new low weight for this latest iteration of ÖSTERREICH. Hooray! The bad news is the same news, just viewed from a different perspective, because now I've set myself a metaphorically higher bar. Scheiße!

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

The Queue

I did not succeed in my goal of finishing Heaven Starts Now before Ash Wednesday, to clear the board for Perfectly Yourself, which is a part of this year's Best Lent Ever from Dynamic Catholic. Heaven Starts Now is a wee little thing, only a hundred thirty-odd pages, so it's not as if I've been slogging through it; for most of January, it simply sat untouched on my nightstand. I hope to make quick work of the remaining two chapters, but shall not do so at the expense of falling behind on the daily Perfectly Yourself reading, & the farcical three different Bible studies I'm participating in this Lent—The Bible and the Virgin Mary, presented by Dr. Scott Hahn; The Bible and the Sacraments, presented by Matthew Leonard; & Follow Me: Meeting Jesus In the Gospel of John, presented by Dr. Edward Sri. (In addition to leading the non-Bible study Epic: A Journey through Church History, presented by Steve Weidenkopf.)

The busier I am, the more productive I am.

Recently
Scott & Kimberly Hahn, Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism
Matthew Kelly & Co., Beautiful Hope: Finding Hope Every Day in a Broken World
Matthew Warner, Messy & Foolish: How to Make a Mess, Be a Fool, and Evangelize the World

Currently
Matthew Kelly, Perfectly Yourself: Discovering God's Dream for You
Father John Riccardo, Heaven Starts Now: Becoming a Saint Day by Day

Presently
Norman Davies, Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations ***oft delayed***
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
Bishop Robert Barron, Seeds of the Word: Finding God in the Culture
Mike Aquilina, Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers
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)
Scott Hahn, A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God's Covenant Love in Scripture
Rosario Carello, Pope Francis Takes the Bus and Other Unexpected Stories
Father Mathias D. Thelen, Biblical Foundations for the Role of Healing in Evangelization
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
John le Carré, A Legacy of Spies

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Bonus! Song o' Ash Wednesday

Aloe Blacc, "Here Today" from Lift Your Spirit (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris (Remember, O man, that thou art dust, & to dust thou shalt return).
"'Cause we're here today (Hey!) & gone tomorrow,
We're here today (Hey!) & gone tomorrow,
Lead the way (Hey!), never follow,
Here today (Hey!) & gone tomorrow…"

Saints + Scripture: Ash Wednesday

The Popish Plot
Wacky Wednesday: "Ash Wednesday"

'Tis Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent: Wikipedia-link Ash Wednesday & Wikipedia-link Lent.


Commentary: Wayback Machine.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Ash Wednesday
The Book of Joel, chapter two, verses twelve thru eighteen;
Psalm Fifty-one, verses three & four, five & six(a/b), twelve & thirteen, & fourteen & seventeen;
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter five, verse twenty thru chapter six, verse two;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter six, verses one thru six, sixteen, seventeen, & eighteen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel prescribes the disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. I want to speak about the Biblical principle behind almsgiving. I know I’ve quoted to you before some of the breathtaking remarks of saints and popes. For example, Pope Leo XIII said, "Once the demands of necessity and propriety have been met, the rest of your money belongs to the poor." St. John Chrysostom [13 September] said—and St. Ambrose [7 December] echoed him—"For the man who has two shirts in his closet, one belongs to him; the other belongs to the man who has no shirt." These ideas are, of course, rooted in the biblical prophets, who continually rail against those who are indifferent to the poor.

Compassion is key to Christian ethics, learning to suffer with and feel with the other. We’re not dealing with an abstract Aristotelian moral philosophy, but rather with something more visceral.

This is precisely why the two great commandments are so tightly linked: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart…and love your neighbor as yourself." In loving God, you feel the feelings of God, and God is compassionate to the poor and oppressed. That’s all the argument that a biblical person needs.
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.



Otherwise, 14 February would be the festival of Saint Valentine of Rome, Bishop & Martyr (died circa 269), martyred in the reign of the emperor Claudius Gothicus: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Abraham of Harran, Bishop & Hermit (died circa 422; also spelt Abraames; A.K.A. of Charres, of Cyrrhus): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Auxentius of Bithynia, Hermit (circa 400-473), who attended the Council of Chalcedon (451): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Council.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Antoninus of Sorrento, Abbot, O.S.B. (circa 555-625, A.K.A. of Campagna): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the festival of Saints Cyril, Monk, & Methodius, Bishop (circa 827-869, A.K.A. Constantine; & circa 815-885, A.K.A. Michael): Saints-link, Saint-link Charlie, Saint-link Mike, & Wikipedia-link.

Saint Quote o' the Day
"Someone would have a poor idea of human & marital love by thinking that affection & joy vanish when difficulties come. This is when we really see what motivates people. Here also is where gift & tenderness are consolidated, because true love does not think about itself, but about how to increase the good of the beloved."
—Pope St. John Paul II (the Great; 1920-2005, feast day: 22 October)

The R.B.D. Black History Month Song o' the Day

Against Valentine's Day
Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, "The Tracks of My Tears" from The Ultimate Collection: Smokey Robinson & the Miracles (The Last Angry Man)


Commentary: Romantic love will leave ye weeping & lonely, broke & brokenhearted. Don't say ye were never warned.
"So, take a good look at my face,
You'll see my smile looks out of place,
If you look closer, it's easy to trace
The tracks of my tears…"

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Saints + Scripture

The Popish Plot
Taco Tuesday: "Fat Tuesday"

'Tis the festival of Saint Fulcran, Bishop (died 1006, of Lodève): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Jordan of Saxony, Religious, O.P. (circa 1190-1237, A.K.A. Jordan de Alamania): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Archangela Girlani, Religious, O.Carm (1460-1495, A.K.A. Eleanora Girlani): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine '16 & Wayback Machine '17.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Letter of James, chapter one, verses twelve thru eighteen;
Psalm Ninety-four, verses twelve & thirteen(a), fourteen & fifteen, & eighteen & nineteen;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter eight, verses fourteen thru twenty-one.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, a few days ago, we read about Jesus’ multiplication of the loaves and fishes. Then in today’s Gospel, which takes place just a few verses later, the disciples ask again about bread. But Jesus turns their attention elsewhere.

He warns them about "the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." What does he mean by this? He’s referring to the contagious and dangerous "food" offered by these leaders. For example, the Pharisees knew the Law of God but used it to oppress people rather than liberate them. They could point out, with great accuracy and articulation, the wicked things that people were doing, in order to bring those people down, to humiliate them.

Beware of that sort of food, Jesus suggests. Instead, seek the true bread of heaven, which multiplies grace upon grace.
Video reflection by Father James Vacco, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Saint Quote o' the Day
"Since baptism is a true entry into the holiness of God through incorporation into Christ & the indwelling of His Spirit, it would be a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethic & a shallow religiosity."
—Pope St. John Paul II (the Great; 1920-2005, feast day: 22 October)

The R.B.D. Black History Month Song o' the Day

Anti-Valentine's '18
The Marvelettes, "Please Mr. Postman" from Motown 1's (The Last Angry Man)

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Explorers' Club, № DXCIX

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Russian Civil War, Part II
9 February 1918: Amidst protracted negotiations at Brest-Litovsk, the Central Powers recognized the Ukraine as a protectorate, independent of Soviet Russia, exchanging military aid for food stuffs (Brotfrieden, "bread for peace"); the Ukrainians had been pushed toward the Vierbund by Bolshevik aggression & sabotage, especially the armed uprising at the Kiev Arsenal (29 January-4 February).





Lest we forget.

Saints + Scripture

'Tis the festival of Saint Sedulius, Priest (floruit fifth century, A.K.A. Siadhel): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Æthelwold of Lindisfarne, Bishop (died circa 740; also spelt Ethelwald, etc.): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Benedict of Aniane, Abbot, O.S.B. (circa 747-821, the "Second Benedict;" A.K.A. Witiza): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Antony Kauleas, Bishop & Abbot (circa 829-901, A.K.A. Anthony II of Constantinople): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Julian the Hospitaller, Confessor (possibly legendary, A.K.A. Julian the Poor): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Letter of James, chapter one, verses one thru eleven;
Psalm One Hundred Nineteen, verses sixty-seven, sixty-eight, seventy-one, seventy-two, seventy-five, & seventy-six;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter eight, verses eleven, twelve, & thirteen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel, the Pharisees demand Jesus give them a sign in order to prove his authority, perhaps a miracle. But I’d like to draw your attention to the final line in the passage: "He left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore."

Whose boat was this? Well, the previous verses confirm it belonged to his disciples. Jesus entering the boat calls to mind his first encounter with Peter. One day, Peter was going about his ordinary business, washing his nets and preparing for a catch. Then without warning, without asking permission, Jesus got into his boat. Now the boat was everything for Peter; it was his livelihood, his security. But Jesus just got in and began giving orders.

So it goes in the order of grace. The true God cannot be manipulated, determined by us, or controlled through our efforts. We can’t act like the Pharisees in today’s Gospel, demanding that God behave for us. Rather, he comes into our lives—often unbidden and unexpected—and determines us, controls us. His presence is pure grace.

Don’t demand signs from God. Instead, do what the disciples did and let him enter your boat.
Video reflection by Msgr. James Vlaun (Telecare T.V.): United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Saint Quote o' the Day
"All the Christian faithful… are called to the fullness of the Christian life & to the perfection of charity."
—Pope St. John Paul II (the Great; 1920-2005, feast day: 22 October)

The R.B.D. Black History Month Song o' the Day

Anti-Valentine's '18
Sam Cooke, "Sad Mood" from Portrait of a Legend, 1951-1964 (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Does it really seem wise to predicate one's happiness on the capricious whims & moods of a paramour?
"I'm in a sad mood tonight,
Oh, I'm in a sad mood!
I'm in a sad mood tonight,
Oh, my baby done gone away and left me,
My baby done gone, yeah,
My baby done gone away and left me,
My baby done gone.

"I don't know why she left me,
I don't know where she's gone,
But all I know is I'll never be happy
Until my baby comes back home…"

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Bonus! Song o' the Snow


John Williams, "The Battle In the Snow" from Star Wars: Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back (The Last Angry Shovel Jockey)

Commentary: In reply to the jolly photograph above, I absolutely will not stop praying for snow, for sacred Michigan to continue feeling the full force of winter's fury. Today is the fifth out of the last eight days on which I've shoveled Wilson Field, my parents' driveway. At this point, the snow is piled up so high that storage is becoming a problem. Yes, there is lots of yard that has no more snow piled upon than has fallen from the skies, but around the perimeter of Wilson Field, things are getting dire. I'm having to expend extra time & effort to disperse the snow farther afield, an effort that is not at all aided by the indiscriminate "help" of the municipal snowplows. (I do not deny that plowing aids motoring, but I also refuse to deny that it imposes additional work on homeowners.) The mailbox is almost buried & the snow is piled up high behind it. On the opposite side of the concrete, the pile is high that the mailbox is tall. It's wonderful—if only it doesn't all melt within the next few days, which I would find extraordinarily irksome.

Saints + Scripture: VI Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Book of Leviticus, chapter thirteen, verses one, two, forty-four, forty-five, & forty-six;
Psalm Thirty-two, verses one & two, five, & eleven;
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter ten, verse thirty-one thru chapter eleven, verse one;
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 a leper. There aren’t that many lepers around today, but there are plenty of people that we treat as outsiders or pariahs. Like Jesus, we should be welcoming to them. Now I have nothing particularly against that way of reading the situation, but I suspect that we’ve all heard it a thousand times.

Let me propose a symbolic reading a little different from the customary one. I propose that the leper here stands, not so much for the socially ostracized, but for the one who has wandered away from right worship, the one who is no longer able or willing to worship the true God. That’s why Jesus tells the man to "go show yourself to the priest." In other words, go back to the Temple from which you’ve been away for so long.

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. It’s nothing that God needs, but it is very much something that we need.
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 Seven
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
Now is a time when we all need to rediscover Catholicism. I try to rediscover it every day, & when I seek in earnest to do so I am never disappointed. When I am able to set my ego & personal agenda aside, more often than not I am left in awe. Catholicism is old. But let me ask you a question. If you had an ancient treasure map, would you throw it away just because it was old? No. The age of the map doesn't matter. What matters is whether or not it leads to treasure. Catholicism is a treasure map: It may be old, but it still leads to treasure. Let's rediscover it together, & help others to do the same.

Otherwise, 11 February would be the festival of Our Lady of Lourdes (apparitions 1858): Madonna-link ūna, Madonna-link duae, Wikipedia-link Madonna, & Wikipedia-link Apparitions.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Gregory II, Pope (669-731), eighty-ninth (LXXXIX) Bishop of Rome, an opponent of Byzantine iconoclasm: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Pontiff & Wikipedia-link Iconclasm.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Paschal I, Pope (circa 775-824, A.K.A. Pascale Massimi), ninety-eighth (XCVIII) Bishop of Rome, an opponent of Byzantine iconoclasm: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Pontiff & Wikipedia-link Iconclasm.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Pedro de Jesús Maldonado Lucero, Priest & Martyr (1892-1937), martyred in the reign of the president Lázaro Cárdenas, a victim of Mexican revolutionary anti-clericalism: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link Mexico.

Saint Quote o' the Day
"Of all human activities, man's listening to God is the supreme act of his reasoning & will."
—Pope Bl. Paul VI (1897-1978, feast day: 26 September)

The R.B.D. Black History Month Song o' the Lord's Day


Sam Cooke, "Jesus Gave Me Water" from Portrait of a Legend, 1951-1964 (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"Well, there was a woman from Samaria
Who came to the well to get some water,
There she met a stranger who did her story tell,
That woman dropped her pitcher,
She drank and was a made richer,
From the water He gave her,
And it was not in the well.

"Yes, He gave her water.
Jesus gave her water,
Jesus gave her water,
I want to let His praises swell!
Jesus gave her water,
He gave that women water,
He gave her living, loving, lasting water,
And it was not in the well!…"

The R.B.D. Black History Month Song o' Yesterday

Samstag, 10. Februar
Anti-Valentine's '18
The Supremes, "Where Did Our Love Go" from (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"Baby, Baby, Baby, don't leave me,
Please don't leave me all by myself.
I've got this burning, burning yearning
Feeling inside me, ooo, deep inside me,
And it hurts so bad…"

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Saints + Scripture

The Popish Plot
Scriptural Saturday: "False Gods"

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Scholastica, Virgin, O.S.B. (circa 480-543): Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
According to a ninth century tradition, she was the twin sister of [St.] Benedict of Nursia [11 July]. The most common story told about her is that she would, once a year, go & visit her brother at a place near his abbey, & they would spend the day worshiping together & discussing sacred texts & issues. Scholastica is the foundress of the women's branch of the Benedictine monasticism.
'Tis also the festival of Saint William of Maleval, Hermit (died 1157, A.K.A. the Great), founder of the Williamites, formally the Hermits of Saint William: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Hermits.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Clare of Rimini, Religious, O.S.C. (circa 1282-1346, A.K.A. Chiara Agolanti): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Aloysius Stepinac, Bishop & Martyr (1898-1960, also spelt Alojzije Stepinac), martyred in the reign of the Communist dictator Josip Broz Tito: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Book of Kings, chapter twelve, verses twenty-six thru thirty-two & chapter thirteen, verses thirty-three & thirty-four;
Psalm One Hundred Six, verses six & seven(a/b), nineteen & twenty, & twenty-one & twenty-two;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter eight, verses one thru ten.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel tells of Jesus feeding the four thousand with seven loaves and a few fish.

An awful lot of contemporary theologians and Bible commentators have tried to explain away the miracles of Jesus as spiritual symbols. Perhaps most notoriously, many preachers tried to explain the multiplication of the loaves and fishes as a "miracle" of charity, with everyone sharing the little that he had.

But I think it’s hard to deny that the first Christians were intensely interested in the miracles of Jesus, and that they didn’t see them as mere literary symbols! They saw them for what they really were: actions of God, breaking into our world.
Video reflection by Deacon Bernard Nojadera: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Scholastica
The Song of Songs, chapter eight, verses six & seven;
Confer Psalm One Hundred Forty-eight, verses twelve(a) & thirteen(a);
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter ten, verses thirty-eight thru forty-two.

Saint Quote o' the Day
"Love is sufficient of itself; it gives pleasure by itself & because of itself. It is its own merit, its own reward. Love looks for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself. Its profit lies in the practice. Of all the movements, sensations, & feelings of the soul, love is the only one in which the creature can respond to the Creator and make some sort of similar return however unequal though it be. For when God loves, all He desires is to be loved in return. The sole purpose of His love is to be loved, in the knowledge that those who love Him are made happy by their love of Him."
—St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church (1090-1153, feast day: 20 August)

Friday, February 9, 2018

Saints + Scripture

'Tis the festival of Saint Apollonia, Virgin & Martyr (died circa 249, of Alexandria), martyred by an anti-Christian mob in the reign of the emperors Philip the Arab & Philip the Younger: Martyr-link ūna, Martyr-link duae & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Marianus Scotus of Regensburg, Abbot, O.S.B. (died circa 1088; A.K.A. Muiredach mac Robartaig, Muiredach McGroarty): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, Virgin, C.R.S.A. (1774-1824), stigmatic: Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Stigmata.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Miguel Febres Cordero, Religious, F.S.C. (1854-1910, "Brother Miguel" A.K.A. Francisco Luis Febres-Cordero y Muñoz): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Book of Kings, chapter eleven, verses twenty-nine thru thirty-two & chapter twelve, verse nineteen;
Psalm Eighty-one, verses ten & eleven(a/b), twelve & thirteen, & fourteen & fifteen;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter seven, verses thirty-one thru thirty-seven.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel for today has to do with Jesus’ healing of a deaf man with a speech impediment. As always, we have to look at the surface and at the depth. Jesus is performing a physical miracle. But every one of his actions should also be read symbolically, so as to uncover a deeper spiritual meaning.

So what does Jesus do? He “put his finger in the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue.” Jesus establishes, as it were, an electrical current, running from God the Father, through him, to this man. He—almost literally—plugs him into the divine current, compelling him to hear the Word. He says “Ephphatha,” be opened. When he does, his speech impediment is immediately overcome. Now he is able to speak the Word of God clearly.

So this deaf man stands for all of us who do not hear the word of God, who have grown oblivious to it. And what is the result of this deafness? A speech impediment. At the spiritual level, if you don’t hear the Word of God clearly, then your capacity to speak it is also severely compromised.
Video reflection by Gloria Zapiain: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Saint Quote o' the Day
"In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, you shall reach the goal."
—St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church (1090-1153, feast day: 20 August)

The R.B.D. Black History Month Song o' the Day

Anti-Valentine's '18
The Temptations, "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" from Motown 1's (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Oh, yeah, this is clearly a healthy romance.
"I know you want to leave me,
But I refuse to let you go…"

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Saints + Scripture: Better Late Than Never

The Popish Plot
Theology Thursday: "Amazing Grace"

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Jerome Emiliani, C.R.S. (1486-1537, A.K.A. Hiëronymus Emiliani), founder of the Somaschi Fathers, formally the Order of Clerics Regulars of Somasca: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link C.R.S.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. My sources disagree as to whether St. Jerome was a priest or not; the Church settles the issue, because his festival is listed as the "Optional Memorial of Saint Jerome Emiliani," compared to, for example, 31 January's "Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest."

Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Jerome devoted his life to helping others, especially children, & therefore is known as the patron saint of abandoned children & orphans.
'Tis also the Optional Memorial of Saint Josephine Bakhita, Virgin, F.D.C.C. (circa 1869-1947): Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
For many years, Josephine Bakhita was a slave & resold many times. Eventually, she was able to enter a convent. "Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him. What a great grace it is to know God!"
St. Josephine's feast is also, & not coincidentally, the International Day of Prayer & Awareness against Human Trafficking: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops-link.


'Tis also the festival of Saint Meingold, Confessor (died 892; also spelt Mengold, Meingaud), Count of Huy: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Giuseppina Gabriella of Jesus, Religious (1843-1906, A.K.A. Giuseppina Gabriella Bonino), foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Savigliano: Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Book of Kings, chapter eleven, verses four thru thirteen;
Psalm One Hundred Six, verses three & four, thirty-five & thirty-six, & thirty-seven & forty;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter seven, verses twenty-four thru thirty.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel for today, the story of Jesus’ conversation with the Syro-Phoenician woman, is one of those famously problematic passages in the New Testament. This poor woman, a Canaanite, a foreigner, comes forward and tells Jesus of her daughter who is troubled by a demon, and the Lord just ignores her. When she persists, Jesus says, "I have come only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." When she prostrates herself at his feet, Jesus says, "It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs."

Of course, the woman responds with one of the best one-liners in the Scriptures, almost all of which otherwise belong to Jesus himself: "Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters." At this point, Jesus praises her for her faith and cures her daughter.

What’s going on here is really interesting and provocative. The Syro-Phoenician woman is being invited into a life of discipleship, into the following of Jesus. She is resisted, not because Jesus is having a bad day, but because he wants the strength of her faith to show itself.
Video reflection by Fr. Roger Lopez, O.F.M. (Franciscan Media): U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Jerome Emiliani
The Book of Tobit, chapter twelve, verses six thru thirteen;
Psalm Thirty-four, verse two;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter ten, verses seventeen thru thirty
(or, the Gospel according to Mark, chapter ten, verses seventeen thru twenty-seven).

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Josephine Bakhita
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter seven, verses twenty-five thru thirty-five;
Psalm Forty-five, verse eleven;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses one thru thirteen.

Saint Quote o' the Day
"For I have learnt for a fact that nothing so effectively obtains, retains, & regains grace, as that we should always be found not high-minded before God, but filled with holy fear."
—St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church (1090-1153, feast day: 20 August)
Bonus! Song o' the Day
Dropkick Murphys, "Amazing Grace" from The Gang's All Here (The Last Angry Man)

Operation ÖSTERREICH

Weekly Wednesday Thursday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 345.0 lbs
This weigh-in: 342.4 lbs.
Difference: -2.6 lbs.

This is not a pep talk, this are just reality: Experience has shown how entirely feasible it is to lose two pounds, even two & a half pounds in a week. This is not a pie-in-the-sky goal, this is real. Even such modest progress, over the course of a year, would change my whole body, requiring me to buy all new pants. Let's buy all new pants!

Today is Fat Thursday (Fat Thursday-link), which is not an observed custom in these United States—but, by thunder, it should be! Soon, the great fast of Lent begins. Ahead of that great fast, 'tis Catholic tradition ("small t" tradition, as opposed to "capital T" Tradition) to feast: Carnival (Carnival-link) culminating in Fat Tuesday, as known by the French Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday-link). The great fast of Lent, the penitential season to prepare for the central event in history, the Passion, Death, & Resurrection of Christ, is nigh; feast—party!—while the ye still can.

Bonus! Lied von ÖSTERREICH
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Lasagna" from Even Worse (The Last Angry Bovine)

The R.B.D. Black History Month Song o' the Day

Anti-Valentine's '18
The Supremes, "Stop! In the Name of Love" from Motown 1's (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: The R.B.D.S.O.T.D.'s first celebration of Black History Month almost forestalled the bitterest week of the R.B.D.S.O.T.D.'s whole year, the week of anti-Valentine's Day songs, songs of love gone wrong & hearts broken, but then I realized how seamlessly these two projects fit together. Romantic love makes fools & casualties of us all, regardless of ethnicity or cultural background.
"Baby, Baby, I'm aware of where you go
Each time you leave my door,
I watch you walk down the street,
Knowing your other love you'll meet.

"But this time, before you run to her,
Leaving me alone alone & hurt…"

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Saints + Scripture

'Tis the festival of Saint Richard the Pilgrim, Confessor (died circa 722, also spelt Ricarius; A.K.A. the Saxon, of Swabia, et al.): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Brother-in-law of St. Boniface [5 June] & father of Ss. Willibald [7 June], Winebald [18 December], & Walpurga [25 February].

'Tis also the festival of Saint Colette, Virgin, P.C.C. (1381-1447, of Corbie), foundress of the Colettine Poor Clares: Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link P.C.C.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Thomas Sherwood, Martyr (circa 1551-1579), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Egidio Maria of San Giuseppe, Religious, O.F.M. (1729-1812, the "Consoler of Naples;" Anglicized as Giles Mary of Saint Joseph, A.K.A. Francesco Postillo): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Pius IX, Pope (1792-1878, A.K.A. Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti), two hundred fifty-fifth (CCLV) Bishop of Rome, who convened the First Vatican Council & became the original "Prisoner in the Vatican": Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Pontiff, Wikipedia-link Council, & Wikipedia-link Prisoner.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Book of Kings, chapter ten, verses one thru ten;
Psalm Thirty-seven, verses five & six, thirty & thirty-one, & thirty-nine & forty;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter seven, verses fourteen thru twenty-three.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus explains that sinful behavior flows from within our hearts. How often the Bible speaks of the "heart." By that it means the core of the self, the deepest center of who we are, that place from which our thoughts and actions arise. God wants to penetrate that heart, so that he is the center of our souls.

But there is something terribly black in the human heart. We are made in the image and likeness of God, but that image can be so distorted by sin as to be barely recognizable. Our faith clearly teaches the awful truth of the fall, and we see the evidence of it in the mystery of sin, which is not to be ignored, not to be trifled with, not to be rationalized away. We are all capable of dark and evil acts. I’m not okay and neither are you.

Have our hearts become hardened, so that God cannot get in? Is there a deep resistance in us to grace?
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Saint Quote o' the Day
"There are some who desire knowledge merely for its own sake; & that is shameful curiosity. And there are others who desire to know, in order that they may themselves be known; & that is vanity, disgraceful too. Others again, desire knowledge in order to acquire money or preferment by it; that too is a discreditable quest. But there are also some who desire knowledge, that they may build up the souls of others with it & that is charity. Others again, desire it that they may themselves be built up thereby; & that is prudence. Of all these types, only the last two put knowledge to the right use. "
—St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church (1090-1153, feast day: 20 August)

The R.B.D. Black History Month Song o' the Day

Anti-Valentine's '18
Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, "Tears of a Clown" from Motown 1's (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"Now if there's a smile on my face
It's only there trying to fool the public,
But when it comes down to fooling you,
Now, Honey, that's quite a different subject.

"But don't let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression.

"Really, I'm sad,
Sadder than sad,
You're gone and I'm hurting so bad,
Like a clown I pretend to be glad,
Now there's some sad things known to Man,
But ain't too much sadder than
The tears of a clown,
When there's no one around…"

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Saints + Scripture: The Long Road Back

Saturday, 3 February was the Optional Memorial of Saint Blaise, Bishop & Martyr (died circa 316, also spelt Blase), martyred in the reign of the emperor Licinius; one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, known especially for the Blessing of the Throats: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Helpers-link XIV, Wikipedia-link XIV, & Wikipedia-link Throats.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Blaise was a physician & bishop of Sebastea in historical Armenia (modern Sivas, Turkey), popularly known as the saint who protects from ailments of the throat. According to the Acta Sanctorum, he was martyred by being beaten, attacked with iron combs, & beheaded.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
We know more about the devotion to Saint Blaise by Christians around the world than we know about the saint himself. His feast is observed as a holy day in some Eastern Churches. In 1222, the Council of Oxford prohibited servile labor in England on Blaise's feast day. The Germans & Slavs hold him in special honor & for decades many United States Catholics have sought the annual Saint Blaise blessing for the throats. Bishop Blaise was martyred in his episcopal city of Sebastea, Armenia, in 316.

Saint Blaise was a bishop & a martyr in the fourth century. He was arrested & while in prison he performed a wonderful cure of a boy who had a fishbone in his throat & who was in danger of choking to death. From the eighth century the sick have asked for his intercession, especially those with illnesses of the throat.
'Twas also the Optional Memorial of Saint Ansgar, Bishop, O.S.B. (801-865, also spelt Anskar, Anschar): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Ansgar was an archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen, a northern part of the Kingdom of the East Franks. The See of Hamburg was designated a mission to bring Christianity to Northern Europe, & Ansgar became known as the "Apostle of the North."
'Twas also the festival of Saint Berlinda of Meerbeke, Religious, O.S.B. (died circa 702; also spelt Berlindis, Berelenda; A.K.A. Bellaude): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Niece of St. Amand of Maastricht (6 February).

'Twas also the festival of Saint Margaret of England, Religious, O.Cist. (died 1192): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twas also the festival of Blessed Maria Virgo, Religious, S.Sp.S. (1852-1900, A.K.A. Helena Stollenwerk), co-foundress of the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters & the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters: Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link S.Sp.S. & Wikipedia-link S.Sp.S.A.P..

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Book of Kings, chapter three, verses four thru thirteen;
Psalm One Hundred Nineteen, verses nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, & fourteen;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter six, verses thirty thru thirty-four.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel shows Jesus’ compassion for the multitude in the desert. "When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things."

There is the motif of the people Israel in the desert after their escape from Egypt. Isolated, alone, afraid, and without food, they clamored for something from Moses. Here we see people who are dying to be fed, and a prophet who is under threat of death. This crowd around the threatened Jesus is a metaphor for the Church. We have come to him because we are hungry, and we stay even when things look bleak.
Video reflection by Harry Dudley, D.Min.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Blaise
The Letter to the Romans, chapter five, verses one thru five;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter sixteen, verse fifteen;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter sixteen, verses fifteen thru twenty.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Ansgar
The Book of Isaiah, chapter fifty-two, verses seven thru ten;
Psalm Ninety-six, verse three;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter one, verses fourteen thru twenty.

Saint Quote o' the Day
"Faith does not quench desire, but inflames it."
—St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church (1225-1274, feast day: 28 January)