Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXXXVII

Operation AXIOM: The World War
16 November-30 December 1917: The Battle of Jerusalem—British & Imperial forces defeated the Ottoman defenses & withstood numerous, determined counterattacks to secure a stout defensive line from Jaffa on the coast to the Judean Mountains; General Allenby entered the Old City on foot (11 December) as a gesture of respect for Jerusalem's sacredness to Jews, Christians, & Muslims alike.





Lest we forget.

Commentary: The Entente's conquest of the city marked the first time Christians had ruled the Holy City since the demise of the Crusader States in the thirteenth century. In some quarters, the response was downright hyperbolic, as in the image below comparing Allenby to Judah Maccabee.

Project BLACK MAMBA: Second Sunday of Advent

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

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—Second Sunday of Advent
The Book of Isaiah, chapter forty, verses one thru five, nine, ten, & eleven;
Psalm Eighty-five, verses nine & ten, eleven & twelve, & thirteen & fourteen;
The Second Letter to Peter, chapter three, verses eight thru fourteen;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter one, verses one thru eight.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel compels us to come to grips with the great Advent figure of John the Baptist. It’s really impossible to grasp the significance of Jesus without passing through the cleansing bath of John the Baptist. He provides a lens through which Jesus is properly interpreted.

John, we learn today, made his appearance as a preacher in the desert of Judea. Deserts are places of simplicity and poverty, places where distractions and attachments are eliminated—and hence where the voice of God can be heard. Wealth, pleasure, power, honor—and all of their avatars and priests—are shouting at us, luring us, tempting us. But what is God saying? We have to go to these silent and deserted places in order to hear.

What is the first thing that the prophet says? We read in another Gospel that he says, "Reform your lives!" In other words, "Repent!" This word cuts to the heart of every one of us, precisely because we all know that our lives are not where they are supposed to be. We have all fallen short of the glory of God; we have all fallen into patterns of self-absorption and addiction. So let us hear John’s word today: "Repent!"
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 David: New Catholic Generation.


Mass Journal: Week 50
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
If the Catholic Church is to change, grow, thrive, & fulfill its mission in this modern climate, it will be for one reason: because we became a more spiritual people. Only then will this renewed spiritual health burst forth into authentic action. It would seem to me that education & evangelization are the keys to helping the whole Church to blossom. They are the pillars of renewal. It is impossible to know God & not love Him. It is equally impossible to experience God & not want others to experience Him as a result. Those who do not evangelize simply have not had an intimate experience of God. If you went into an ice cream parlor & there was no ice cream, you'd say, "There's a problem!" If you went to a chocolate shop & there was no chocolate, you'd say, "There's a problem!" The mission of the Church is to share the Gospel, & to teach, encourage, & challenge people to become more like Jesus Christ. So how is it that we can belong to a local church community that goes year after year with almost no outreach to the unchurched & underchurched in our area, with very few people becoming markedly more Christ-like, & not think there is a problem? Let me tell you, if this describes your church community, there's a problem!

Otherwise, 10 December would be the festival of Our Lady of Loreto & the Translation of the Holy House: Madonna-link, Holy House-link, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Holy House, Batman!

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Miltiades, Pope (died 314), thirty-second Bishop of Rome: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Pontiff.

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

'Twould also be the festival of Blessed Sidney Hodgson, Martyr (died 1591), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Bl. Sidney was martyred alongside Ss. Edmund & Swithun, but is not counted one of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales. That canon was never meant to be exhaustive, merely representative of the innumerable faithful Catholics put to death by the tyrannical Tudor & Stewart dynasties & their self-worshiping Church of England.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint John Roberts, Priest & Martyr, O.S.B. (1577-1610), founder of the community that eventually settled at Downside Abbey; martyred in the reign of the king Jams VI & I, one of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Abbey; Martyrs-link XL & Wikipedia-link XL.

Saint Quote o' the Day
"Whoever really loves his partner loves not only for what he receives, but loves that partner for the partner's own sake, content to be able to enrich the other with the gift of himself."
—Pope Bl. Paul VI (26 September)

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the 2nd Sunday of Advent


Daniel Schmit & co., "High Above" from Advent: A Season of Hope (The Last Angry Man)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA: Advent

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474-1548), to whom was revealed the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Guadalupe.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
On 9 December 1531, when Juan Diego was on his way to morning Mass, the Blessed Mother appeared to him on Tepeyac Hill, the outskirts of what is now Mexico City. When he opened his mantle for the bishop, the flowers fell on the ground & there remained impressed, in place of the flowers, an image of the Blessed Mother.
Video reflection from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: St. Juan Diego-link.


'Tis also the festival of Saint Valeria of Limoges, Martyr (floruit third century, also spelt Valerie), martyred by beheading, a cephalophore: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Cephalophore.

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

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

'Tis also the festival of Saint Peter Fourier, Priest, C.R.S.A. (1565-1640), the "Good Father of Mattaincourt," founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame & the Congregation of Our Savior: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Advent Weekday
The Book of Isaiah, chapter thirty, verses nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, & twenty-three thru twenty-six;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-seven, verses one & two, three & four, & five & six;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter nine, verse thirty-five thru chapter ten, verses one, five(a), six, seven, & eight.

Commentary: Video reflection by Father Thomas Sparacino: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter one, verses twenty-six thru thirty-one;
Psalm Response: "In you, Lord, I have found my peace;"
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eleven, verses twenty-five thru thirty.

Catholicism WOW! | Bier!
Have I mentioned lately how great it is being Catholic? Beer-nedict XVI Pint-ifex Maximus-link.


Commentary: The fellow immediately to the left of the giant papal nutcracker is Scott Hahn, Ph.D., one of the American church's finest lay theologians. We here at Project BLACK MAMBA try to bring you Professor Hahn's audio reflections on the Sunday Mass readings each week. Among the many other virtues of this photograph (i.e., giant papal nutcracker), I thought it might be nice for you to be able to put a face to his voice.

Saint Quote o' the Day
"Among man's rights is that of being able to worship God in accordance with the right dictates of his own conscience, & to profess his religion both in private & in public."
—Pope St. John XXIII (11 October)

The Rebel Black Dot Christmas Song o' the Day


Michael Bublé, "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" from Christmas (The Last Angry Grinch)

Commentary: I had to brush a dusting of snow off the Malibu Stacy last night/this morning when I drove in for my weekly "hour" of Eucharistic adoration & again ninety minutes later when I drove back home. Barring a sudden & dramatic warming spell, I'll do so again when I drive to Holy Redeemer's second annual Christmas concert later this afternoon. Squee!

Bob is the fellow whose Eucharistic hour is after mine. Bob doesn't like the winter—not the cold, not the snow, none of it. Bob mentioned that snow had fallen while I was in the chapel. I responded, "Yea!" Bob scowled & replied, "Boo!"

Friday, December 8, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA: Immaculate Conception

'Tis the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Madonna-link ūna, Madonna-link duae, Wikipedia-link Immaculate Conception, & Wikipedia-link Feast.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
This is the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary free from original sin by virtue of the foreseen merits of her son Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church teaches that Mary was conceived by normal biological means in the womb of her mother, Saint Anne [26 July], but God acted upon her soul, keeping it "immaculate."
Video reflection from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Immaculate Conception.


Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Book of Genesis, chapter three, verses nine thru fifteen & twenty;
Psalm Ninety-eight, verses one, two & three(a/b), & three(c/d) & four;
The Letter to the Ephesians, chapter one, verses three thru six;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verses twenty-six thru thirty-eight.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The Church Fathers consistently referred to Mary as the New Eve, which is to say, the one who reversed the momentum started by the mother of the human race. The Ave of the angel was seen as the reversal of Eva. While Eve grasped at divinity, Mary said "Let it be done unto me."

Here’s the liberating paradox: passivity before objective values is precisely what makes life wonderful. Allowing oneself to be invaded and rearranged by objective value is what makes life worth living. And this applies unsurpassably to our relationship with God. The message that your life is not about you does indeed crush the false self that would bend the whole world to its purposes, but it sets free the true self.

The Immaculate Conception itself is concealed in the privacy of salvation history, but the effects of it are on clear display in this Gospel. In the presence of the supreme value, we ought to say, along with Mary, "Be it done unto me!"
Video reflection by Laura Brill: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Bonus! Song o' the Immaculate Conception
The Daughters of Mary, "Immaculate Mary" from De Profundis (The Last Angry Man)

'Tis also the festival of Saint Eutychian, Pope (died 283), twenty-seventh Bishop of Rome: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Pontiff.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Romaric, Abbot (died 653, of Remiremont), founder of the Abbey of Remiremont: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Abbey.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Noël Chabanel, Priest & Martyr, S.J. (1613-1649), who survived the Iroquois massacres only to be martyred by an apostate Huron, one of the eight North American Martyrs: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link VIII & Wikipedia-link VIII.

Saint Quote o' the Day
"One obtains from God all that one hopes from him!"
—St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church (14 December)

The Rebel Black Dot Christmas Song o' the Day


"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Christmas at Ground Zero" from Polka Party! (The Last Angry Grinch)

Commentary:
"It's Christmas at ground zero,
The button has been pressed,
The radio just let us know
That this is not a test.

"Everywhere the atom bombs are droppin',
It's the end of all humanity,
No more time for last-minute shoppin',
It's time to face your final destiny.

"Well, it's Christmas at ground zero,
There's panic in the crowd,
We can dodge debris while we trim the tree
Underneath the mushroom cloud…"

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Christmas Song o' the Day


The Puppini Sisters, "Step into Christmas" from Christmas with the Puppini Sisters (The Last Angry Grinch)

Commentary:
"Step into Christmas,
Let's join together,
We can watch the snow
For forever and ever,
Eat, drink, and be merry,
Come, come along with me,
Step into Christmas,
The admission is free…"

Project BLACK MAMBA: Advent

'Tis the festival of Memorial of Saint Ambrose, Bishop & Doctor of the Church (circa 337-397, of Milan; A.K.A. Aurelius Ambrosius): Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Traditionally, Ambrose is credited with promoting "antiphonal chant," a style of chanting in which one side of the choir responds alternately to the other, as well as with composing Veni redemptor gentium, an Advent hymn. Ambrose was one of the four original Doctors of the Church.
Wikipedia-link Veni & Wikipedia-link Doctors.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Diuma, Bishop (died circa 658): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Charles Garnier, Priest & Martyr, S.J. (1606-1649), martyred by Iroquois, specifically by Mohawks; one of the North American Martyrs: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link VIII & Wikipedia-link VIII.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Maria Giuseppa Rossello, Virgin, F.D.M. (1811-1880; Anglicizes as Mary Joseph, A.K.A. Benedetta Rossello), foundress of the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link F.D.M.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Advent Weekday
The Book of Isaiah, chapter twenty-six, verses one thru six;
Psalm One Hundred Eighteen, verses one, eight, & nine; nineteen, twenty, & twenty-one; & twenty-five, twenty-six, & twenty-seven(a);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter seven, verses twenty-one & twenty-four thru twenty-seven.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel asks how we apply the Lord’s teaching. "Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse." This is the heart of it: if you are rooted in God, then you can withstand anything, precisely because you are linked to that power which is creating the cosmos. You will be blessed at the deepest place, and nothing can finally touch you.

But the one who does not take Jesus’ words to heart "will be like the fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined." When the inevitable trials come, the life built on pleasure, money, power, or fame will give way.

So the question is a simple one: where do you stand? How goes it with your heart? On what, precisely, is the whole of your life built?
Video reflection by Father Don Miller, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Ambrose
The Letter to the Ephesians, chapter three, verses eight thru twelve;
Psalm Eighty-nine;
The Gospel according to John, chapter ten, verses eleven thru sixteen.

Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"I know well that the greater & more beautiful the work is, the more terrible will be the storms that rage against it."
—St. Maria Faustyna of the Blessed Sacrament (5 October)
A Humble Contribution to the New Evangelization
The Popish Plot—Theology Thursday: "Mary, Did You Know?"

Commentary: The short answer is: Yes!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXXXVI

Operation AXIOM: The World War
6 December 1917: The Halifax Explosion—The city of Halifax, Nova Scotia was devastated & over two thousand persons killed when the French steamship Mont-Blanc, laden with volatile munitions, detonated after colliding with the Norwegian steamship Imo; the collision sparked a fire that quickly led to the largest man-made explosion in history, until the invention of the atomic bomb in 1945.







Lest we forget.

Bonus!
6 December 1917: The United States Navy destroyer U.S.S. Jacob Jones DD-61 was torpedoed & sunk by the Kaiserliche Marine submarine S.M. U-53; the U-53's captain, Hans Rose, was a submarine ace, having conducted a very successful commerce raiding patrol off the U.S. East Coast in 1916, while the U.S. was still neutral, including paying a courtesy visit to Newport, Rhode Island.




Project BLACK MAMBA: Advent, Late Edition

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Nicholas, Bishop (circa 270-346, of Myra, A.K.A. the Wonder-worker): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Saint Nicholas's Day.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers, & students. His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Cristian saints, & his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus.
On that last bit: Wikipedia-link Sinterklaas & Wikipedia-link Santa Claus


'Tis also the festival of Blessed Peter Pascual, Bishop & Martyr, O. de M. (circa 1227-1300), martyred in the reign of the sultan Muhammad II al-Faqih: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed János Scheffler, Bishop & Martyr (1887-1952), martyred in the reign of the Communist dictator Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

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

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, 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 Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Nicholas
The Book of Isaiah, chapter six, verses one thru eight;
Psalm Forty, verses eight(a) & nine(a);
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter ten, verses one thru nine.



Bible Study—Wisdom Books
The Book of Psalms, psalm thirty-four (verses one thru twenty-three);
The Book of Psalms, psalm thirty-five (verses one thru twenty-eight);
The Book of Psalms, psalm thirty-six (verses one thru thirteen);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter six (verses one thru thirty-five);
The Book of Wisdom, chapter eleven, verses two thru twenty-six;
The Book of Wisdom, chapter twelve (verses one thru twenty-seven).

Commentary: Thanksgiving to God Who Delivers the Just (Psalm 34), Prayer for Help against Unjust Enemies (Psalm 35), & Human Wickedness & Divine Providence (Psalm 36); Miscellaneous Proverbs (Proverbs, 6:1-19) & Warning against Adultery (6:20-35); & III: Special Providence of God during the Exodus: Introduction (Wisdom, 11:2-5), First Example: Water Punishes the Egyptians & Benefits the Israelites (11:6-14), Second Example: Animals Punish the Egyptians & Benefit the Israelites (11:15-16), Digression on God's Mercy (11:17-12:22), & Second Example Resumed (12:23-27).

Proverb o' the Day (6:25)
Lust not in your heart after her beauty,
let her not captivate you with her glance!
Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"If you want God to hear your prayers, hear the voice of the poor. If you wish God to anticipate your wants, provide those of the needy without waiting for them to ask you. Especially anticipate the needs of those who are ashamed to beg. To make them ask for alms is to make them buy it."
—St. Thomas of Villanova (22 September)
A Humble Contribution to the New Evangelization
The Popish Plot—Wacky Wednesday: "The Feast of St. Nicholas"

The Rebel Black Dot Christmas Song o' the Day


She & Him, "Little Saint Nick" from A Very She & Him Christmas (The Last Angry Man)

Operation ÖSTERREICH

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 345.2 lbs
This weigh-in: 341.4 lbs.
Difference: -3.8 lbs.

For those keeping score at home, three hundred forty-one & two-fifths is a new low for this latest series of weigh-ins, one-fifth of a pound (0.2 lbs.) lower than the previous low of three hundred forty-one & three-fifths. That's two consecutive weekly losses; in this go-'round of ÖSTERREICH, I've not yet strung together three consecutive weekly losses. (That's the ticket, Mike, psych yourself out before you even get started.) Onward!

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

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA: Advent

'Tis the festival of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified, Priest & Abbot (439-532; also spelt Sava; A.K.A. the Great, of Mar Saba), founder of the Monastery of Mar Saba, formally the Holy Lavra of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Monastery.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Justinian, Priest & Martyr (floruit sixth century, of Ramsey Island; A.K.A. Jestin), martyred by his own diabolically-inspired servants: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Gérald of Braga, Bishop, O.S.B. (died 1109, A.K.A. of Moissac): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Niels Stenson, Bishop (1638-1686, Italicized as Nicolas Steno), the "Father of Geology," also an anatomist who first described the parotid duct (A.K.A. the Stenson duct): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Duct.

Science!

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

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today in the Gospel we hear Jesus in intimate conversation with his Father. The passage invites us into very deep mysteries. Jesus addresses his Father and thereby reveals his own deepest identity within the Holy Trinity. He says, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, you have revealed them to the little ones."

It is important to keep in mind that this is not simply a good and holy man addressing God, but rather the very Son of God addressing his Father. We are being given a share in the inner life of God, the conversation between the first two Trinitarian persons.

And what are the "things" that have been concealed from the learned and revealed to the little ones? Nothing other than the mystery of Jesus’ relationship to his Father, the love that obtains between Father and Son, the inner life of God. From the beginning, this is what God wanted to give us.
Video reflection by Father Michael LaMarca: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"Fortitude is the disposition of soul which enables us to despise all inconveniences & the loss of things not in our power."
—St. Augustine of Hippo, Doctor of the Church (28 August)

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

They Might Be Giants, "The Edison Museum" from No! (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"The Edison Museum,
Not open to the public,
It's haunted towers rise
Into the clouds above it,
Folks drive in from out of town
To gaze in amazement when they see it…

"The Edison Museum,
Once a bustling factory
Today is but a dark and cobweb-
Covered hive of industry,
The tallest, widest, and most famous
Haunted mansion in New Jersey…

"A wondrous place it is,
There can be no doubt,
But no one ever goes in
And no one ever goes out.

"So when your children quarrel
And nothing seems to quell them,
Just tell them you'll take them
To the Edison Museum,
The largest independently-owned
And -operated mausoleum."

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

They Might Be Giants, "Violin" from No! (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: I try to clean the house on a regular basis, but I don't clean the house specifically because company is coming over, believing the practice to be essentially dishonest. Not everyone agrees with that judgment.
"Mop,
Mop,
Mop, mop,
Mop, mop,
Mop, mop, mop,
Mop, mop, mop, mop,
Mop.

"Speck of dust, dust, dust,
Speck of dust, dust, dust,
Speck of dust, dust, dust,
Uuuuuuuuuh.
Speck of dust, dust, dust,
Speck of dust, dust, dust,
Speck of dust, dust, dust,
Uuuuuuuuuh…"

Project BLACK MAMBA: Advent

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint John Damascene, Priest & Doctor of the Church (circa 676-749, A.K.A. John Chrysorrhoas), who fought against the heresy of Byzantine iconoclasm: Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Iconoclasm.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Author of three Apostolic Treatises against Those Decrying the Holy Images. These treatises were among his earliest expositions in response to the edict by the Byzantine emperor Leo III, banning the veneration or exhibition of holy images.
"Damascene" is not St. John's surname but a toponym, meaning "of Damascus." (In the Canadas, this optional memorial is of St. John Damascus, not "Damascene" nor even "of Damascus," but simply "Damascus.") "Chrysorrhoas" is likewise not a surname, but an epithet, meaning "golden-stream," referring to his eloquent words, which flowed from his pen like a golden stream.

St. John was born in Damascus after the Muslim conquest of that ancient Christian city. Islam forbids all religious icons of any sort; ironically, it was this Muslim reign that shielded St. John from the iconoclastic heresies rampant in the Christian Byzantine Empire, & afforded him the protection necessary to write his treatises defending the proper veneration of images in the true religion.


'Tis also the festival of Saint Barbara, Virgin & Martyr (died circa 235), martyred in the reign of the emperor Maximinus Thrax, one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link XIV.

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

Commentary: I've amended the First Sunday of Advent's (yesterday's) BLACK MAMBA post to include those saints who would normally be honored on 3 December: Wayback Machine.

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

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel passage acclaims a centurion’s trust in the Lord Jesus. To trust is to have hope, to turn one’s heart to God. It means to root one’s life, to ground and center one’s concerns in God. And, oppositely, to trust and to turn one’s heart to human beings means to root the whole of one’s life, to ground and center one’s concerns, in the things of this world, in wealth, fame, power, honor, or pleasure.

What is the center of gravity of your life? What is your "ultimate concern’"? The Bible consistently lays this out as an either/or. Think of the passage in the book of Joshua, when Joshua lays it on the line for the people of Israel: "Do you serve the Lord or some other gods?"

Jesus tells his followers, "Either you are with me or you are against me." Today’s Gospel reminds us that we each have to answer this question with great honesty and clarity.
Video reflection by Monsignor James Vlaun (Telecare T.V.): U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. John Damascene
The Second Letter to Timothy, chapter one, verses thirteen & four & chapter two, verses one, two, & three;
Psalm Nineteen, verse ten;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses fourteen thru thirty
(or, the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses fourteen thru twenty-three).

Saint Quote o' the Day
"The Good News is that God still loves the world through you. You are God's Good News. You are God's love in action. Each time anyone comes in contact with us, they must become different and better people because of having met us. We must radiate God's love."
—St. Teresa of Calcutta (5 September)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXXXV

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Battle of Cambrai, Part II
21 November-7 December 1917: After the British successes on the first day, the Germans launched a counterattack, their largest offensive in the West since 1914, exploiting the mechanical unreliability of the Mark IV tank & proving the effectiveness of the infiltration (or "stormtrooper") tactics developed in the East; the British held some of their gains in the north, but cumulatively lost ground in the south.






Lest we forget.

Project BLACK MAMBA: First Sunday of Advent

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

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
This is the first day of the liturgical year & the start of the season of Advent.
Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—First Sunday of Advent
The Book of Isaiah, chapter sixty-three, verses sixteen(b), seventeen, & nineteen(b), & chapter sixty-four, verses two thru seven;
Psalm Eighty, verses two & three, fifteen & sixteen, & eighteen & nineteen;
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter one, verses three thru nine;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter thirteen, verses thirty-three thru thirty-seven.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel urges us to stay alert as we await the coming of the Lord. Advent is the season of waiting. We place ourselves in the position of those who, over the centuries, waited for the coming of the Messiah. With them, we cry out, "How long, O Lord?"

Though Jesus fulfilled the expectations of his people, nevertheless we still wait. The liturgy states it very clearly: "as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ." In one of the Eucharistic prayers, we find, "as we await his coming in glory…" The Creed says, "He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead." And the very last words of the New Testament are "
Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus."

What do we make of all of this? Do we really think that he is going to come again and walk on the earth? We stay awake 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.
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 Joe ("The Catholic Apologist"): New Catholic Generation.


Mass Journal: Week 49
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
There is genius in Catholicism. The human heart yearns for happiness, & God wants us to be happy. But we only experience this happiness, & the fulfillment that accompanies it, when we are changing, growing, becoming more like Jesus Christ & through him becoming the-best-version-of-ourselves. Catholicism is the dynamic lifestyle & learning system divinely designed to assist us in this transformation. I love the Church. To me, Catholicism is a gift that can never be fully appreciated, described, or understood. But in order to even begin to appreciate Catholicism in all its beauty we must experience it. My travels have affirmed that people love the Church. The press may attack the Church, fallen-away Catholics may ridicule it, & even practicing Catholics may criticize it, but I firmly believe these are curious expressions of love. At the very least, they are expressions of a desire for the Church to be the beacon of light it should be in the world. Sometimes love goes sour, as it has for many modern Catholics in their relationship with the Church. When love goes sour, it is usually for one of four reasons: misunderstanding, indifference, selfishness, or the pride that makes a person unwilling to apologize or forgive. Sometimes it is a combination, & usually both parties are at fault to some extent.

Otherwise, 3 December would be the festival of Saint Abbo of Auxerre, Bishop & Abbot, O.S.B. (died circa 860): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

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

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Mother of Bl. Meinwerk, bishop of Paderborn (5 June).

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest, S.J. (1506-1552), the "Apostle to the Far East," a charter member of the Jesuits, formally the Society of Jesus: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link S.J..

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

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

Saint Quote o' the Day
From Faith Magazine:
"When you seek truth, you seek God whether you know it or not."
—St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (9 August)
A Humble Contribution to the New Evangelization
The Popish Plot—Bonus Episode: "Happy New Year!"

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the 1st Sunday of Advent


Daniel Schmit & co., "Even So Come" from Advent: A Season of Hope (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"…Even so come, Lord Jesus, come!

"So we wait, we wait for You,
God, we wait, You're coming soon,
So we wait, we wait for You,
God, we wait, You're coming soon…"

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Queue

Twice I've borrowed A Legacy of Spies from the library & twice it has sat unread on my nightstand. Mayhap the third time will be the charm, some time in the Year of Our Lord 2018, when Ordinary Time commences after the Epiphany closes the Christmastide.

I've actually been reading Rome Sweet Home for a week now. Last week, I picked up a copy during my weekly stint in the Perpetual Adoration Chapel & was immediately gripped by the Hahns' engaging writing styles & complementary perspectives; so, once I returned home I bumped my own copy up to the top of the queue. Unlike A Legacy of Spies, Rome Sweet Home has not sat unread on my nightstand.

Beautiful Hope is at the core of this year's "Best Advent Ever" e-mail devotional from the Dynamic Catholic Institute. I believe Perfectly Yourself is this book to be given away at Christmas as part of this year's Book Program, thereafter to be at the core of next year's "Best Lent Ever" e-mail devotional; so, I may well promote it ahead of the oft-delayed Vanished Kingdoms after the holidays.

Also, I've removed Thomas à Kempis's The Imitation of Christ from the queue because I aim to start reading it a chapter a day, as a devotional rather than as a book, if that distinction makes sense.

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
Scott & Kimberly Hahn, Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism
Matthew Kelly & Co., Beautiful Hope: Finding Hope Every Day in a Broken World

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
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)
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

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saint Bibiana, Virgin & Martyr (died circa 361), martyred in the reign of the emperor Julian the Apostate; over her grave was built the Church of Santa Bibiana: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Church.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Silverius, Pope (circa 480-537), fifty-eighth Bishop of Rome: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Supreme Pontiff.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Son of Pope St. Hormisdas (6 August).

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

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

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Daniel, chapter seven, verses fifteen thru twenty-seven;
The Book of Daniel, chapter three, verses eighty-two, eighty-three, eighty-four, eighty-five, eighty-six, & eighty-seven;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-one, verses thirty-four, thirty-five, & thirty-six.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus urges us to watch and pray as we await his coming again. In one sense, Christianity is a religion of fulfillment (the Lord has come), but in another sense, it is a religion of waiting, for we expect the second coming of Jesus in the fullness of his power.

We wait and watch and keep vigil. And this is difficult. But what we all know is that great things take time. For example, when a woman becomes pregnant, she has to wait nine long months before the baby is ready.

"How long does this analysis take?" a woman once asked Carl Jung. "Just as long as it takes," came the answer. Gestation, growth, healing—during any of these processes, the very worst thing one can do is to pick at it, to force it, to make it operate according to our private timetables.

That’s why Jesus calls us to "be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength…to stand before the Son of Man."
Video reflection by Linda Ritzer: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.




Bible Study—Wisdom Books
The Book of Psalms, psalm thirty-two (verses one thru eleven);
The Book of Psalms, psalm thirty-three (verses one thru twenty-two);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter two (verses one thru twenty-two);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter thirty-one (verses one thru thirty-one);
The Book of Wisdom, chapter nine (verses one thru eighteen);
The Book of Wisdom, chapter ten (verses one thru twenty-one);
The Book of Wisdom, chapter eleven, verse one.

Commentary: Remission of Sin (Psalm 32) & Praise of God's Power & Providence (Psalm 33); I: Introduction: The Value of Wisdom (cont'd): The Blessings of Wisdom (Proverbs, 2:1-22), VIII: The Words of Lemuel (31:1-9), & IX: The Ideal Wife (31:10-31); & II: Praise of Wisdom by Solomon (cont'd): Solomon's Prayer (Wisdom, 9:1-18) & Wisdom Preserves Her Followers (10:1-11:1).

Bible Study—Prophetic Books
The Book of Hosea, chapter twelve (verses one thru fifteen);
The Book of Hosea, chapter thirteen (verses one thru fifteen);
The Book of Hosea, chapter fourteen (verses one thru ten).

Commentary: Infidelity of Israel (Hosea, 12:1-13:1), Punishment for Ingratitude (13:2-14:1), & Sincere Conversion (14:2-10).

Proverb o' the Day (2:21-22)
For the upright will dwell in the land,
the honest will remain in it;
But the wicked will be cut off from the land,
the faithless will be rooted out of it.
Saint Quote o' the Day
"Holy Communion is the shortest & safest way to Heaven."
—Pope St. Pius X (21 August)

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


The University of Michigan Marching Band, "The Yellow and Blue" from A Saturday Tradition (The Last Angry Wolverine)

Commentary: For the seventh consecutive year, the valiant Wolverines are not playing in the B1G football championship game. The valiant Wolverines have in fact never played in the B1G championship game. I believe in Coach Harbaugh. I believe he will restore Michigan football to what it is supposed to be. I believe it took us a long time to get into this mess & that it will take us a number of years to get out of this mess. All that said, having watched the valiant Wolverines snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against the hated Buckeyes for the second consecutive year, it's growing awfully hard to be as patient as is necessary.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' Being a Better Man


Hans Zimmer, "As Good As It Gets" from As Good As It Gets: Music from the Motion Picture (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: This week's series of R.B.D.S.O.T.D. was inspired by a line from James L. Brooks's underappreciated & heartfelt 1997 romantic comedy feature film, As Good As It Gets. The misanthropic & obsessive-compulsive novelist Melvin Udell (played by Jack Nicholson) says to his beloved, the single mother & waitress Carol Connelly (played by Helen Hunt):
"You make me want to be a better man."
Ask yourself what in your life makes you want to be a better man (in the gender-neutral sense of the word). Whatever that is, strive every day to be the better man you want to be. Work to overcome or go around whatever stands between you & being that better man. Be not afraid, be not discouraged. Be a better man.

Project BLACK MAMBA: Friday Late Edition

'Tis the festival of Blessed John Beche, Abbot & Martyr, O.S.B. (died 1539, A.K.A. Thomas Marshall), martyred in the reign of the king Henry VIII, during the Dissolution of the Monasteries; last abbot of St. John's Abbey: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Dissolution & Wikipedia-link Abbey.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saints Alexander Briant, S.J.; Edmund Campion, S.J.; & Ralph Sherwin; Priests & Martyrs (died 1581), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I, three of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link Alpha Bravo & Wikipedia-link Alpha Bravo, Martyr-link Echo Charlie & Wikipedia-link Echo Charlie, Martyr-link Romeo Sierra & Wikipedia-link Romeo Sierra, & Martyrs-link XL & Wikipedia-link XL.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Richard Langley, Martyr (died 1586), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Charles de Foucald, Priest & Martyr, O.S.C.O. (1858-1916, A.K.A. Marie-Alberic), martyred by Senussi Muslims: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Daniel, chapter seven, verses two thru fourteen;
The Book of Daniel, chapter three, verses seventy-five, seventy-six, seventy-seven, seventy-eight, seventy-nine, eighty, & eighty-one;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-one, verses twenty-nine thru thirty-three.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel passage Jesus speaks of the time when the plan of God will be fulfilled. Some philosophies defend a circular or cyclical understanding of time. They hold that time just continually circles back on itself, repeating like the cycles of the seasons. The modern philosopher Nietzsche spoke of the "eternal return of the same." That’s a mythic consciousness, and it can be found all over the world.

But the Jews had a very different sense of time, what we might call "linear." They felt that time was moving somewhere, that it had, under God’s direction, a purpose. The past was not simply there to be repeated endlessly; rather, the past was a preparation for a definitive future. It was an anticipation of what God would do, what God was going to accomplish.
Video reflection by Anastacio Hinojosa: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Requiem for Whiskey Romeo
The Book of Ecclesiastes, chapter three, verses one thru fourteen;
Psalm Twenty-three;
The First Letter to the Thessalonians, chapter four, verses thirteen thru eighteen;
The Gospel according to John, chapter fourteen, verses one thru six.



Bible Study—Wisdom Books
The Book of Psalms, psalm thirty-one (verses one thru twenty-five);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter one (verses one thru thirty-three);
The Book of Wisdom, chapter eight, verses two thru twenty-one.

Commentary: Prayer in Distress & Thanksgiving for Escape (Psalm 31); I: Introduction: The Value of Wisdom: Purpose of the Proverbs of Solomon (Proverbs, 1:1-7), the Path of the Wicked: Greed & Violence (1:8-19), & Wisdom in Person Gives Warning (1:20-33); & II: Praise of Wisdom by Solomon (cont'd): Solomon Sought Wisdom, the Source of Blessings (Wisdom, 8:2-8), Solomon Sought Wisdom as His Counselor & Comfort (8:9-16), & Solomon Realizes That Wisdom Is a Gift of God (8:17-22).

Proverb o' the Day (1:7)
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
wisdom & instruction fools despise.
Saint Quote o' the Day
"I was born poor, I have lived poor, & I wish to die poor."
—Pope St. Pius X (21 August)

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXXXIV

Operation AXIOM: The World War
25 November 1917: The Battle of Ngomano—After a pyrrhic victory at the Battle of Mahiwa (15-18 October) & the airship L 59's resupply mission was aborted, Lettow-Vorbeck's Germans & askaris, short on ammunition & everything else, invaded Portuguese East Africa (África Oriental); routed the Portuguese defenders; & rearmed, reequipped, & replenished themselves with Entente matériel.




Lest we forget.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle (died circa 60): Apostle-link ūnus, Apostle-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Saint Andrew's Day.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Andrew the Apostle, also known as Saint Andrew & called in the Orthodox tradition "the First-Called," was a Christian Apostle & the brother of Saint Peter [22 Feb., 29 June].
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Andrew was Saint Peter’s brother, and was called with him. “As [Jesus] was walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is now called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him” (Matthew, 4:18-20).

John the Evangelist presents Andrew as a disciple of [St.] John the Baptist [24 June, 29 August]. When Jesus walked by one day, John said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” Andrew and another disciple followed Jesus. “Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come, and you will see.’ So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day” (John, 1:38-39a).

'Tis also the festival of Blessed John of Vercelli, Priest, O.P. (circa 1205-1283, A.K.A. Giovanni Garbella), sixth Master of the Order of Preachers: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Master.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Cuthbert Mayne, Priest & Martyr (circa 1544-1577), 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.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feast of St. Andrew
The Letter to the Romans, chapter ten, verses nine thru eighteen;
Psalm Nineteen, verses eight, nine, ten, & eleven;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter four, verses eighteen thru twenty-two.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel reports the Lord’s calling of his first disciples. What is it about this scene that is so peaceful and right? Somehow it gets at the very heart of Jesus’ life and work, revealing what he is about. He comes into the world as the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, a representative from the community which is God—and thus his basic purpose is to draw the world into community around him.

"He said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’" There is so much packed into that simple line. Notice the way that God acts. He is direct, in your face; he does the choosing. Jesus is not offering a doctrine, a theology, or a set of beliefs. He is offering himself: become my disciple, apprentice to me.

"And I will make you fishers of men." This is one of the best one-liners in Scripture. God is the Creator, the one who makes us from nothing. And what he makes us is always a reflection of himself: a fisher of men.
Video reflection by Father Don Miller, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.




Bible Study—Wisdom Books
The Book of Psalms, psalm thirty (verses one thru thirteen);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter thirty (verses one thru thirty-three);
The Book of Wisdom, chapter six verses twenty-two thru twenty-five;
The Book of Wisdom, chapter seven (verses one thru thirty);
The Book of Wisdom, chapter eight, verse one.

Commentary: Thanksgiving for Deliverance (Psalm 30); VI: The Words of Agur (Proverbs, 30:1-6) & VII: Numerical Proverbs (30:7-33); & II: Praise of Wisdom by Solomon: Introduction (Wisdom, 6:22-25), Solomon Is Like All Other Men (7:1-6), Solomon Prayed & Wisdom & Riches Came to Him (7:7-12), Solomon Prays for Help to Speak of Wisdom (7:13-22a), & Nature & Incomparable Dignity of Wisdom (7:22b-8:1).

Proverb o' the Day (30:5-6)
Every word of God is tested;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Add nothing to his words,
lest he reprove you, & you be exposed as a deceiver.
Commentary: This is an uncharitable thought, but: *cough* Martin Luther! *cough*

Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"Sanctify yourself & you will sanctify society."
—St. Francis of Assisi (4 October)

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' Being a Better Man

The Littlest Man Band, "Better Man" from Better Book Ends (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"I'm not the sharpest shard of glass
From this broken window,
But there's a few things that I've learned
That you might want to know:
That misery is a talent you can hone
And sorrow is a product we all can't wait to own.

"But I'm just trying to be
A better man.

"Flesh and blood cover the statues on the street,
They'll treat you like a friend,
But they'll stare at you like fresh meat,
And the porcelain teeth
That smile in your face
Can't wait for you to fall so they can take your place.

"But I'm just trying to be
A better man,
Yeah, I'm just trying to be
A better man.

"Lie and cheat your friends
While you still have time,
And downplay the drama
While you figure out a clever rhyme,
And smile with a semi-sympathetic tone,
Can't appreciated good friends until you find you're all alone.

"But I'm just trying to be
A better man,
Yeah, I'm just trying to be
A better man."

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Our Lady of Baeuraing (apparitions November 1932-January 1933, A.K.A. the Virgin of the Golden Heart): Madonna-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Brendan of Birr, Abbot (died circa 572, A.K.A. the Elder), one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link XII.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Edward Burden, Priest & Martyr (circa 1540-1588), 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.

'Tis also the festival of Blesseds Denis of the Nativity, Priest, & Redemptorus of the Cross, Religious; Martyrs, O.C.D. (died 1638, A.K.A. Pierre Berthelot & Tomás Rodrigues da Cunha), martyred in the reign of the sultan Iskandar Thani at the instigation of the Dutch East India Company: Martyr-link Delta & Wikipedia-link Delta; Martyr-link Romeo & Wikipedia-link Romeo.


Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Daniel, chapter five, verses one thru six, thirteen, fourteen, sixteen, seventeen, & twenty-three thru twenty-eight;
The Book of Daniel, chapter three, verses sixty-two, sixty-three, sixty-four, sixty-five, sixty-six, & sixty-seven;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-one, verses twelve thru nineteen.

Commentary: The First Reading is the famous story of the writing on the wall & the Prophet Daniel's interpretation of this auspicious miracle to the king of Babylon (pictured above).

Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel passage describes the persecution Christians face before the end of the world. When will the Church stop being persecuted? When the Lord returns, but not before.

From the earliest days until the present, the community of Jesus Christ has been the focus of the world’s violence. The old principle of "killing the messenger" applies here. The Church will announce, until the end of time, that the old world is passing away, that a new world of love, non-violence, and life is emerging. This announcement always infuriates the world of sin, which explains why the twentieth century was the bloodiest on record—and the one with the most martyrs.

What do we do in the meantime? We maintain a detachment from the world that is passing away, our eyes fixed on the world that will never end. And we speak confidently, boldly, provocatively the message of the Gospel, the dying and rising of the Lord.
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.




Bible Study—Wisdom Books
The Book of Psalms, psalm twenty-seven (verses one thru fourteen);
The Book of Psalms, psalm twenty-eight (verses one thru nine);
The Book of Psalms, psalm twenty-nine (verses one thru eleven);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter twenty-nine (verses one thru twenty-seven);
The Book of Ecclesiastes, chapter three, verses one thru eight;
The Book of Wisdom, chapter four, verse twenty;
The Book of Wisdom, chapter five (verses one thru twenty-three);
The Book of Wisdom, chapter six, verses one thru twenty-one.

Commentary: Trust in God (Psalm 27), Petition & Thanksgiving (Psalm 28), & the Lord of Majesty Acclaimed as King of the World (Psalm 29); V: Second Collection of the Proverbs of Solomon (concl'd; Proverbs, 29:1-27); Man Cannot Hit on the Right Time to Act (Ecclesiastes, 3:1-8); & I: The Reward of Justice (cont'd): The Final Judgment of the Wicked (Wisdom, 4:20-5:23) & Exhortation to Seek Wisdom (6:1-22).

Proverb o' the Day (29:11)
The fool gives vent to his anger;
but by bidding his time, the wise man calms it.
Saint Quote o' the Day
"When we pray, we speak to God; when we read Scripture, God speaks to us."
—St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church (28 August)

A Humble Contribution to the New Evangelization
The Popish Plot—Wordy Wednesday: "Don't Be a Lazy Catholic"

Operation ÖSTERREICH

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 346.0 lbs
This weigh-in: 345.2 lbs.
Difference: -O.8 lbs.

All the Thanksgiving feasting & I lost four-fifths of a pound (0.8 lbs.)? I'll take it.

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

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' Being a Better Man

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

Commentary:
"I don't want much,
I just wanna be a better man
To my baby…

"What can I do? What can I do
To get back to your heart?
I'd swim the Mississippi River,
If you would give me another start, girl…"

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' Being a Better Man

Gregory Porter, "Real Good Hands" courtesy iTunes, Free Single of the Week (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"Mama, don't you worry 'bout your daughter,
'Cause you're leaving her in real good hands,
I'm a real good man,
Now the picture of this man is slowly coming into view.

"Papa, don't you fret and don't forget
That one day you was in my shoes,
Somehow you paid your dues,
Now you're the picture of a man that I someday wanna be.

"I know it's hard, watching the changes in our lives,
But I wanna make your daughter my wife…

"…Now you're the picture of the man that I someday wanna be,
And the picture of this man is surely coming into view,
And the picture of my wife is slowly coming into view,
And the picture of this love is surely coming into view,
Yeah, the picture of this love is surely coming into view…"

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saint Sosthenes, Bishop & Martyr (floruit first century, of Corinth, of Colophon), martyred in the reign of the emperor Nero: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Gregory III, Pope (died 741), ninetieth Bishop of Rome, who fought against the heresy of Byzantine iconoclasm: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Iconoclasm.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint James of the Marches, Priest, O.F.M. (circa 1391-1476; in the Italian: Giacomo della Marca, A.K.A. Dominic Gangala): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed James Thompson, Priest & Martyr (died 1582, A.K.A. James Hudson), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Catherine Labouré, Virgin, D.C. (1806-1876, A.K.A. Zoë Labouré), to whom Our Lady revealed the Miraculous Medal: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Medal.

Commentary: "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!"

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Daniel, chapter two, verses thirty-one thru forty-five;
The Book of Daniel, chapter three, verses fifty-seven, fifty-eight, fifty-nine, sixty, & sixty-one;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-one, verses five thru eleven.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus responds to questions about the end of the world. When will it come? What will happen?

Why were the first Christians interested in these questions? The simplest and deepest answer is that they had experienced the end of the world—precisely in the dying and rising of Jesus.

Jesus came preaching the kingdom of God, and the nations conspired against him. The old world seemed to conquer this new world that Jesus embodied. But then, in the Resurrection, they saw that the old world—the world predicated upon death and the world that had done Jesus in—was now defeated.

So awed were they by the Resurrection—and you can sense it in every book and letter of the New Testament—that they awaited the imminent arrival of the new state of affairs, the return of Jesus and the establishment of God’s kingdom. Though Jesus did not immediately return, the old world was over, broken, compromised, its destruction now just a matter of time.
Video reflection by Father Robert Agbo: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"The source of justice is not vengeance but charity."
—St. Bridget of Sweden (23 July)

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The editor of Holy Family's parish bulletin following Franciscan Media's calendar of saints. We here at The Secret Base also regularly utilize Franciscan Media as a resource, but in the full knowledge that the good folks at Franciscan Media space out the saint's festivals, to avoid honoring more than one saint on the same day as much as possible. Holy Family's bulletin editor either does not known this or is not concerned. Last week, there were no hagiographies in the Holy Family bulletin. This week, two saints whose festivals are observed on 23 November are honored on 26 November & 29 November, precisely according to Franciscan Media's calendar. I have subsequently amended the BLACK MAMBA post for 23 November with the belated Holy Family hagiographies: Wayback Machine.