Monday, July 31, 2017

Bonus! Song o' the Day

The Ramones, "I Wanna Be Sedated" from Ramones Mania (The Last Angry Man)

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day!

The Aquabats!, "Pizza Day!" from Myths, Legends, and Other Amazing Adventures, Vol. 2 (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Commentary!:
"Well, now I'm out of school and I don't have a job,
(You're a slob!)
I just sit around all sweaty and lethargic,
And I'm just thinkin' 'bout where it all went wrong,
Why I can't concentrate on anything but reruns,
I wish I had some more stability,
And I, I wish I had somebody making lunch for me,
I guess I miss the simple things in life,
The thought of pizza day,
I thought it stupid then, but I wish I had it now
I just want—

"Monday: Hot dog,
Tuesday: Taco,
Wednesday: Hamburgers and chocolate milk,
Thursday: Sloppy Joes and burritos in a bag,
Friday was pizza day,
The best day of the week,
It always came with salad and a side of pork and beans!

"Monday: Hot dog,
Tuesday: Taco,
Wednesday: Hamburgers and chocolate milk,
Thursday: Sloppy Joes and burritos in a bag,
Friday was pizza day,
The best day of the week,
It always came with salad and a side of pork and beans!
Hooray for Pizza Day!
Hooray for Pizza Day!
Hooray for Pizza Day!
I miss Pizza Day,
The best day of the week!…"

Project BLACK MAMBA: Late Edition

Late again? Mea culpa! Mea culpa! Mea máxima culpa!

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Priest, S.J. (1491-1556), founder of the Jesuits, formally the Society of Jesus: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link S.J.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. I lent my copy of St. Ignatius's Spiritual Exercises to Santa Claus some months hence (a year & a half) & fear I shan't receive it back. No worries, that must just mean he needs it more than I do.

Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He was a Spanish Basque priest & theologian, who founded the religious order called the Society of Jesus & became its first Superior General. The Jesuit order served the pope as missionaries, & they were bound by a special vow of obedience to the sovereign pontiff in regard to the missions.
The use of the past tense regarding the Jesuits strikes me as odd. "Served the pope," past tense, not the present tense "serves"? "Were bound by a special vow of obedience," not "are bound"?

Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
St. Ignatius spent his early years at court & as a soldier. Later, he was converted to God & undertook theological studies at paris where he attracted his first followers & afterwards at Rome he joined them together as the first members of the Society of Jesus. His spirituality is expressed in the Jesuit motto, ad majorem Dei gloriam—"for the greater glory of God." In his concept, obedience was to be the prominent virtue, to assure the effectiveness & mobility of his men. All activity was to be guided by a true love of the Church & unconditional obedience to the Holy Father, for which reason all professed members took a fourth vow to go wherever the pope should send them for the salvation of souls.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Neot, Religious, O.S.B. (died circa 877), the "Pygmy Saint:" Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Cecília Schelingová, Religious & Martyr, S.C.S.C. (1916-1955, A.K.A. Zdenka), martyred by the Czechoslovakian Communists in the reign of the general secretary Antonín Novotný: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Exodus, chapter thirty-two, verses fifteen thru twenty-four & thirty thru thirty-four;
Psalm One Hundred Six, verses nineteen & twenty, twenty-one & twenty-two, & twenty-three;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter thirteen, verses thirty-one thru thirty-five.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in our Gospel Jesus tells us that if we had faith the size of a mustard seed, we could uproot a mulberry tree and plant it in the sea. What is being communicated here is something simple: faith is power. When our lives are aligned to God we become the conduits of enormous power.

Attachments block us and break this flow. An attachment is anything you don't need but which you cannot live without. This idea is central to the spirituality of Ignatius of Loyola. What are the attachments that block the divine power from flowing through us? In most cases it is some form of wealth, pleasure, honor, or power.

Love what Jesus loved on the cross; and despise what he despised. This is the direction we get from St. Thomas Aquinas. Reorienting our priorities to align with Christ on the cross is the key to a spiritually successful life, and to the unleashing of divine power.
Unfortunately, Bishop Barron & the good folks at Word on Fire Ministries appear to be confused, or at the very least to have crossed their wires. Today's Gospel reading (Matthew, 13:31-35) does include a parable about a mustard seed as a simile for the kingdom of heaven (cf. Mark, 4:30-32; Luke, 13:18-19), but the parable of a mustard seed as a simile for faith & being able to command a mulberry tree is from Luke, not Matthew, found in Luke, 17:6. Disappointing, but to err is human.


Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter ten, verse thirty-one thru chapter eleven, verse one;
Psalm Thirty-four, verse two;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter fourteen, verses twenty-five thru thirty-three.

Mass Readings—Requiem for Dr. Edwin Novak, Deacon
The Book of Micah, chapter six, verses six, seven, & eight;
Psalm One Hundred Thirty-nine, verses one thru eighteen, twenty-three, & twenty-four;
The Letter to the Philippians, chapter one, verses three thru eleven;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-six, verses thirty-one thru forty.

Bible Study—Project PANDORA
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter seven (verses one thru forty).

Commentary: III. Answers to the Corinthians' Questions: A. Marriage & Virginity: Advice to the Married (7:1-16), the Life That the Lord Has Assigned (7:17-24), & Advice to Virgins & Widows (7:25-40).

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLX

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Battle of Passchendaele (Third Ypres), Part I
31 July-2 August 1917: The Battle of Pilckem Ridge—British & Imperial & French forces launched an assault against the Ypres Salient in Flanders; both the Entente advance & the German counterattack were hampered by unseasonable rains & deep mud; the blistering agent "mustard gas" (also called "Yperite," after Ypres), against which gas masks were insufficient, was first used by the Germans.





Lest we forget.

Project BLACK MAMBA: XVII Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The First Book of Kings, chapter three, verses five & seven thru twelve;
Psalm One Hundred Nineteen, verses fifty-seven, seventy-two, seventy-six & seventy-seven, one hundred twenty-seven & one hundred twenty-eight, & one hundred twenty-nine & one hundred thirty;
The Letter to the Romans, chapter eight, verses twenty-eight, twenty-nine, & thirty;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter thirteen, verses forty-four thru fifty-two
(or, the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter thirteen, verses forty-four, forty-five, & forty-six).

Commentary: Video Gospel reflection by Jeff Cavins: Encountering the Word.

Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel for today includes several of Jesus' better-known parables. I'd like to comment on this one: "Again the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls..."

What does this tell us? That there is often something interruptive about the Kingdom of God. It is a breakthrough, a radical change, a surprise.

Once we find the pearl, everything else must go. We must "sell" all of our other preoccupations and concerns, all those things and people that we once put in the center of our lives. They must go. There is something uncompromising to what Jesus is getting at.
Mass Journal: Week 31
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
Holiness brings us to life. It refines every human ability. Holiness doesn't dampen our emotions; it elevates them. Those who respond to God's call to holiness are the most joyful people in history. They have a richer, more abundant experience of life, & they love more deeply than most people can ever imagine. They enjoy life, all of life. Even in the midst of suffering they are able to maintain a peace & joy that are independent of the happenings & circumstances surrounding them. Holiness doesn't stifle us; it sets us free. The surest signs of holiness are not how often a person goes to church, how many hours he spends in prayer, what good spiritual books he has read, or even the number of good works he performs. The surest signs of holiness are an insatiable desire to become all God created us to be, an unwavering commitment to the will of God, & an unquenchable concern for unholy people. Living a holy life means letting our decisions be guided by the Holy Spirit. It means allowing each moment to be all it can be.

Otherwise, 30 July would be the festival of Saint Peter Chrysologus, Bishop & Doctor of the Church (circa 406-450): Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
A man who vigorously pursues a goal may produce results far beyond his expectations & his intentions. Thus it was with Peter of the Golden Words, as he was called, who as a young man became bishop of Ravenna, the capital of the empire in the West. In additional to his zeal in the exercise of his office, Peter Chrysologus was distinguished by a fierce loyalty to the Church, not only its teaching, but in its authority as well. He looked upon learning not as a mere opportunity but as an obligation for all, both as a development of God-given faculties & as a solid support for the worship of God.
'Twould also be the festival of Blesseds Thomas Abel, Richard Featherstone, & Edward Powell, Priests & Martyrs (died 1540), martyred in the reign of the king Henry VIII: Martyr-link Tango Alpha & Wikipedia-link Tango Alpha, Martyr-link Romeo Foxtrot & Wikipedia-link Romeo Foxtrot, & Martyr-link Echo Papa & Wikipedia-link Echo Papa.

Commentary: Bls. Thomas, Richard, & Edward were hanged, drawn, & quartered for treason, for refusing to swear the Oath of Supremacy acknowledging Henry VIII as supreme head of the Church. Alongside them three Protestants—Robert Barnes, Thomas Gerrard, & William Jerome—were burned for heresy, strong evidence that the only god King Henry feared was King Henry himself.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Leopold Mandić, Priest, O.F.M. Cap. (1866-1942, of Castelnuovo): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Family bulletin (for Friday, 28 July):
A native of Croatia, Leopold joined the Capuchin Franciscans & was ordained several years later in spite of several health problems. He could not speak loudly enough to preach publicly. For many years he also suffered from severe arthritis, poor eyesight, & a stomach ailment. Leopold taught patrology, the study of the Church Fathers, to the clerics of his province for several years, but is best known for his work in the confessional, where he sometimes spend [thirteen to fifteen] hours a day. Several bishops sought out his spiritual advice.
It is clear that the Holy Family bulletin follows Franciscan Media's calendar of saints, not the General Roman Calendar. Franciscan Media honors one saint per day & because 30 July, when not a Sunday, would be the Optional Memorial of St. Peter Chrysologus, outranking the festival of St. Leopold, the article on St. Leopold was from Friday last, 28 July, a day with no competing higher-ranked feast. This is a criticism of neither Franciscan Media nor Holy Family's bulletin, merely an observation.

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

Emmylou Harris, "Prayer in Open D" from The Song Album: Music from the Motion Picture (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"There's a valley of sorrow in my soul
Where every night I hear the thunder roll
Like the sound of a distant gun
Over all the damage I have done…"

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Bonus! Song o' the Day

The Ramones, "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker" from Ramones Mania (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"But she just couldn't stay,
She had to break away…"

Project PANDORA | The Queue

Homework. Miss Mozart has given me homework, a book on relationships we're to read in parallel. This is irksome to me in so very many distinct ways. This type of self-help book is most emphatically not my cup of tea, nothing I could ever choose to read for my own edification & gratification. She really doesn't know me at all, does she? No, she doesn't appear to know the first thing about me. She cannot have listened to anything I say in our lengthy conversations, she only hears those things she wants to hear & filters what I say through the fantasy she's building up around our romance.

The book—The 5 Love Languages for Men: Tools for Making a Good Relationship Great—is explicitly for married men, by the way, not bachelors seeking a romance or boyfriends in the early stages of a romance, but married men. She knows my ambition is to attend the seminary &, heaven willing, to be ordained a priest, but at her insistence we haven't discussed this at any length; she insists we can only have such a conversation face to face, not over the phone. So, by necessity, our romance has stayed on a very superfluous level; after all, what kind of a romance can we have that excludes the single most significant thing in my life? But again, she doesn't want to know about me or my life, she just wants me to fit the boyfriend mold she's building up in her fantasies.

She says that one of the things she likes best about me is my sense of humor. Of course, most girls say they really look for a sense of humor in guys & yet most of them date & eventually marry humorless pricks. Miss Mozart & I have discussed this, my theory that most girls are lying (as much to themselves as to anyone else) when they say they want a buy with a sense of humor. So, Miss Mozart says she prizes my sense of humor, yet The 5 Love Languages for Men instructs me to resist the temptation to use humor to ease tense situations. Life is a tense situation, you platitude peddlers! Why do my friends call me "The Last Angry Man"? Because I used to be afraid all the time & was thus angry all the time. As Yoda said, "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." It's taken me a long time & a lot of work not to be afraid, to not just hold in mind the idea but to accept deep in my bones that I have innate worth, that I am precious in the eyes of the LORD Almighty. It's taken me many years to come to like me, & now I'm being told not to act like me. I'm not being told this by persons I know & trust, persons who know me well, but by a girl who apparently doesn't listen to a word I say & a pair of authors who haven't the slightest idea of who I am or what my story is.

Near the climax of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the Starfleet traitor Valeris, a protégée of Spock, states that she never meant for her relationship with Spock to be harmed by her participation in the conspiracy to assassinate the Klingon chancellor & perpetuate hostilities 'twixt the Federation & the Klingon Empire. Spock replies, "What you want is irrelevant. What you have chosen is at hand." I doubt insulting me, rousing my ire, & causing as-yet-undetermined-but-almost-certainly-irreparable damage to our romance is what Miss Mozart wanted in foisting this horrible book upon me, but what she wants is irrelevant; what she has chosen is at hand.

Recently
Pope Francis, Amoris Lætitia (The Joy of Love)
Mark Waid & Fiona Staples, Veronica Fish, Joe Eisma, et al., Archie, Volumes One, Two, & Three
Fulton Sheen, Finding True Happiness

Currently
Norman Davies, Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations
Gary Chapman with Randy Southern, The 5 Love Languages for Men: Tools for Making a Good Relationship Great

Presently
Edward Sri & Curtis Martin, The Real Story: Understanding the Big Picture of the Bible
Sherry A. Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus
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
William E. Simon Jr., Great Catholic Parishes: How Four Essential Practices Make Them Thrive
Mike Aquilina, Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers
Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
Bishop Robert Barron, Seeds of the Word: Finding God in the Culture
Scott & Kimberly Hahn, Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism
Kevin Lowry, How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming into the Catholic Church
John W. O'Malley, What Happened at Vatican II
Margaret MacMillan, Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Martha (died circa 80, of Bethany): Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Together with her siblings [Ss.] Lazarus [17 December] & Mary of Bethany [29 July also?], she is described as living in the village of Bethany near Jerusalem. She was witness to Jesus's resurrection of her brother, Lazarus.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Martha, Mary, & their brother Lazarus were evidently close friends of Jesus. He came to their home simply as a welcomed guest, rather than as one celebrating the conversion of a sinner like Zacchaeus or one unceremoniously received by a suspicious Pharisee. The sisters feel free to call on Jesus at their brother's death, even though a return to Judea at that time seems almost certain death.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Sulien, Abbot (sixth century): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Urban II, Pope, O.S.B. (circa 1042-1099), one hundred fifty-ninth Bishop of Rome: Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Exodus, chapter twenty-four, verses three thru eight;
Psalm Fifty, verses one(b) & two, five & six, & fourteen & fifteen;
The Gospel according to John, chapter eleven, verses nineteen thru twenty-seven;
or, the Gospel according to Luke, chapter ten, verses thirty-eight thru forty-two.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today's Gospel is the story of Martha and Mary. I'd like to offer a fresh take on this famous little story. One of the principal marks of Jesus' teaching and ministry is the overturning of social conventions. And one of the most striking and surprising of Jesus' moves was a radical inclusion of women.

While the typical women's work was going on, men would sit out in the main room of the residence and talk. If a prominent rabbi or Pharisee were present, the men would sit at his feet and listen to his words.

Now we can see why Mary's attitude was so offensive to Martha and probably to everyone else in the room. Martha wasn't simply mad that Mary was giving her more work to do; she was mad that Mary had the gall to assume the stance of a man, to take up her position in the men's space.

In his response to Martha's complaint, Jesus signals more than a preference for listening over acting; he invites a woman into full participation in the life of discipleship. "Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."
Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Martha
The First Letter of John, chapter four, verses seven thru sixteen;
Psalm Thirty-four, verse two;
or, Psalm Thirty-four, verse nine;
The Gospel according to John, chapter eleven, verses nineteen thru twenty-seven;
or, the Gospel according to Luke, chapter ten, verses thirty-eight thru forty-two.

Bible Study—Individual Initiative
The First Book of Kings, chapter ten, verses fourteen thru twenty-nine;
The First Book of Kings, chapter eleven (verses one thru forty-three).

Commentary: Sunday's first reading is also from 1 Kings, the young Solomon's prayer for wisdom with which to lead God's people Israel. Call me a cynic, but I find it impossible to ponder Solomon's promising beginnings without also recalling his scandalous & idolatrous end, detailed in these readings: Solomon's Wealth (10:14-29) & the Sins of Solomon (11:1-43).

Bible Study—The Bible Timeline: Conquest & Judges, Part 2 of 2
Introduction to the Book of Judges;
The Book of Judges, chapter one (verses one thru thirty-six);
The Book of Judges, chapter two (verses one thru twenty-three);
The Book of Judges, chapter three, verses one thru six;
The Book of Judges, chapter six (verses one thru forty);
The Book of Judges, chapter seven (verses one thru twenty-five).

Commentary: I. Palestine after the Death of Joshua: Pagan Survivors in Palestine (1:1-36) & Infidelities of the Israelites (2:1-3:6), II. Stories of the Judges: The Call of Gideon (6:1-40) & Defeat of Midian (7:1-25).

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day!


The Aquabats!, "Pool Party!" from Myths, Legends, and Other Amazing Adventures, Vol. 2 (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Commentary!: At Wednesday's rock extravaganza, Alphaman! was bemused that The Aquabats! played multiple songs from Myth, Legends…, which is ostensibly a B-sides album to The Aquabats! vs. The Floating Eye of Death: Myths, Legends, and Other Amazing Adventures, Vol. 1, from which no songs were played. The manner of trivia is typical concert-going behavior from Alphaman! It is genuinely nice to know that some things never change.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Bonus! Song o' the Day

The Ramones, "Blitzkrieg Bop" from Ramones Mania (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"They're forming in a straight line,
They're going through a tight wind,
The kids are losing their minds,
The Blitzkrieg Bop!…"

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saint Victor I, Pope & Martyr (died circa 199), fourteenth Bishop of Rome, martyred in the reign of the emperor Septimius Severus: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Samson of Dol, Bishop & Abbot (circa 485-565, A.K.A. of York; also spelt Sampson, Samsun): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Venerable Stanley Rother, Priest & Martyr (1935-1981), martyred by a Guatemalan death squad: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Ven. Stanley is scheduled to be beatified on 23 September 2017.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Exodus, chapter twenty-four, verses three thru eight;
Psalm Nineteen, verses eight, nine, ten, & eleven;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter thirteen, verses eighteen thru twenty-three.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus explains the parable of the sower. Let's study each part of his explanation.

The seed sown on the path is "the one who hears the word without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown." This means we might end up blocked from God because we lack education in the ways of the Spirit.

The seed sown on rocky ground is "the one who receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time." When difficulties and persecutions arrive, he loses confidence.

"The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit." Some people hear the word, but then they are unable to maintain their focus and sense of prioritization.

So from these sad cases we can construe the nature of good soil. When we understand the faith, when we take the time to read theology, to study the Scripture; when we persevere, discipline ourselves, and practice the faith; when we have our priorities straight, then the seed will take root in us. And it will bear fruit thirty, sixty, or a hundredfold.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day!

The Aquabats!, "Look at Me, I'm a Winner!" from Charge!! (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Commentary!:
"Four radios blasting classic rock,
And they're pointing at you,
With your fist raised high and a hitch in your step you've got it all,
I got no reason to lie.

"Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! I'm a winner!
(You're a winner!)
It's just as simple as that!
Don't you agree? Don't you agree? Don't you agree that I'm a winner?
(You're a winner!)
You just can't argue with that!…"

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Bonus! Song o' the Day

The Ramones, "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes to Bitburg)" from Ramones Mania (The Last Angry Man)

Project BLACK MAMBA: Backlog Edition

Wednesday, 26 July was the Memorial of Saints Joachim & Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary (first century B.C.): Saints-link, Saint-link Juliett & Wikipedia-link Juliett, & Saint-link Alpha & Wikipedia-link Alpha.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. St. Anne is a patroness of Canada; in that country, her festival holds the rank of a Feast.

Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Our Lady made this known about her parents Anne & Joachim: they were chaste & just people, they were very religious & studied the Holy Scriptures, they both prayed fervently for the coming of the Messiah.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
By tradition Joachim & Anne are considered to be the names of the parents of Mary, the Mother of God. We have no historical evidence, however, of any elements of their lives, including their names. Any stories about Mary's father & mother come to us through tradition. Devotion to St. Anne grew in Europe through a popular French tradition. The French believed that [Ss.] Mary Magdalene [22 July], Lazarus [17 December], Martha [29 July], & other friends of Jesus crossed the Mediterranean Sea & landed at the southern French city of Marseilles (then, ) where they spread the news about Jesus's death & resurrection. According to this tradition, Mary Magdalene's group brought with them the remains of St. Anne.
'Twas also the festival of Blessed William Ward, Priest & Martyr (circa 1560-1641, A.K.A. William Webster), martyred in the reign of the king Charles I, one of the approximately one hundred sixty Martyrs of Douai: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link CLX & Wikipedia-link CLX.

We also remembered Servant of God Jacques Hamel, Priest & Martyr (1930-2016), martyred by Muslim jihadists loyal to Daesh (I.S.I.L., the "Islamic State"): Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: His Holiness Pope Francis has informally referred to Father Hamel, who was brutally murdered while celebrating Mass just last summer, as a martyr & waived the normal five-year waiting period before the cause for his canonization could proceed.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Exodus, chapter sixteen, verses one thru five & nine thru fifteen;
Psalm Seventy-eight, verses eighteen & nineteen, twenty-three & twenty-four, twenty-five & twenty-six, & twenty-seven & twenty-eight;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter thirteen, verses one thru nine.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel for today is the parable of the sower and the seed. It has to do with the growth and development of the kingdom of God. We hear that Jesus "went out of the house and sat down by the sea" and that large crowds gathered around him. This is Jesus speaking to the whole world.

Sitting down, he is, again, in the attitude of the ancient teacher and judge, and he speaks the parable of the sower. The sower sows far and wide, some of the seed landing on the path, where the birds eat it up; some falling on rocky ground, where it was scorched in the sun; some sown among thorns, where the life is choked off; and some sown on rich soil, where it bears thirty, sixty, or a hundred fold.

Keep in mind that Jesus himself, in person, is the seed sown. Jesus is the logos that wants to take root in us. This seed is sown far and wide, through all sorts of means, but in you, let the seed be sown deep, where it can't be stolen, scorched, or choked.
Mass Readings—Memorial of Ss. Joachim & Anne
The Book of Sirach, chapter forty-four, verses one & ten thru fifteen;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verse thirty-two;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter thirteen, verses sixteen & seventeen.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saint Panteleon, Martyr (circa 275-305), martyred in the reign of the emperor Diocletian, one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link XIV.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Today we remember a few of the innumerable Christians martyred across the first two two millennia of the Church by paganism, Islam, & Protestantism.

'Tis also the festival of Saints Aurelius & Natalia, Felix & Liliosa, & George, Deacon; Martyrs (died 852), martyred in the reign of the emir Abd ar-Rahman II, five of the forty-eight Martyrs of Córdoba: Martyr-link Alpha & Martyr-link November, Martyr-link Foxtrot & Martyr-link Lima, Martyr-link Golf, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link XLVIII.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Robert Sutton, Priest & Martyr (circa 1544-1587), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I, one of the Eighty-five Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link LXXXV.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Exodus, chapter nineteen, verses one, two, nine, ten, eleven, & sixteen thru twenty(b);
The Book of Daniel, chapter three, verses fifty-two thru fifty-six;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter thirteen, verses ten thru seventeen.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today in our Gospel the disciples ask Jesus why he speaks to the crowds in parables.

Jesus is explaining the Kingdom of God in these provocative and puzzling stories and images that seemed to be his preferred way of preaching. And he replies to his disciples, "This is why I speak to them in parables, because 'they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.'" In other words, because the crowds refused to believe in him and what he has to say.

Many parables are strange and initially off-putting and puzzling. Of course, that is the point of parables: to bother us, throw us off base, confuse us a bit. How characteristic this was of Jesus' preaching! He rarely lays things out in doctrinal form: he prefers to tell these puzzling, funny stories. Why? Because in many cases stories reveal truth that arguments can't quite capture.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day!

The Aquabats!, "Awesome Forces!" from Charge!! (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Commentary!:
"Well, have you seen us?
We summon awesome forces,
We are the one the myths and legends talk about,
We're so far beyond your definitions,
We cannot die, we will not be broken…

"We are your average, ordinary,
Superhuman,
Punishers-of-evil,
Rock and roll band,
And we've been designated
To save this crazy world,
We cannot die,
For this is our destiny!

"Go on, now!

"Here we are, five lone men
Standing on the edge of disaster,
Holding the sword of justice,
And watch the hammer fall
On all those who would oppose us,
For we are they and they are we,
The Aquabats!…"

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day!

The Aquabats!, "The Shark Fighter!" from Hi-Five Soup! (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Commentary!: The perfect R.B.D.S.O.T.D. due to two factors: This week is "Shark Week" on the Discovery Channel & I have a ticket to see The Aquabats! live in concert tonight at Saint Andrew's Hall in Detroit.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Feast of Saint James, Apostle (died 44; A.K.A. the son of Zebedee, the Greater, a "Son of Thunder"), martyred in the reign of the emperor Claudius by his client king Herod Agrippa: Apostle-link ūnus, Apostle-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
James, son of Zebedee was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, & traditionally considered the first apostle to be martyred.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
This James is the brother of [St.] John the Evangelist [27 December]. The two were called by Jesus as they worked with their father in a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had already called another pair of brothers from a similar occupation: [Ss.] Peter [22 February, 29 June] & Andrew [30 November]. "He walked along a little farther & saw James, the son of Zebedee, & his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then He called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men & followed Him" (Mark, 1:19-20). James was apparently the first of the apostles to be martyred. "About that time King Herod laid hands upon some members of the Church to harm them. He had Jams, the brother of John, killed by the sword, & when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews he proceeded to arrest Peter also" (Acts, 12:1-3a).
'Tis also the festival of Saint Christopher, Martyr (died circa 251), martyred in the reign of the emperor Decius, one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link XIV.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Glodesind of Metz, Abbess (died circa 608): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feast of Saint James
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter four, verses seven thru fifteen;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-six, verses one(b,c) & two(a,b), two(c,d) & three, four & five, & six;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty, verses twenty thru twenty-eight.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today in our Gospel the mother of James and John asks Jesus on their behalf for high places of authority in his kingdom. Ah, there is the voice of ambition. Some people don't care at all about money or power or pleasure—but they care passionately about honor. A lot of people can identify with James and John. They want to go places, they want to be movers and shakers in society. Perhaps a number of people reading this reflection are filled with these emotions.

But Jesus turns the tables on them: "You do not know what you are asking." He is indeed a King and he will indeed rule Israel, but his crown will be made of thorns and his throne will be a Roman instrument of torture.

And so he tries to clarify: "Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" The key to honor in the Kingdom of God is to drink the cup of suffering, the willingness to suffer out of love, to give one's life away as a gift. Look at the lives of the saints. It is not about aggrandizing the ego, but emptying it out.

The Rebel Black Dot Autobiographical Song o' the Day

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Simmer Down" from the Ska-core, the Devil, and More E.P. (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary: Written by Bob Marley, "Simmer Down" was the first hit for the Wailers, way back in '64. The Bosstones covered the song nearly a quarter century ago, in '93. I've long wanted to walk out on stage to "Simmer Down," in a late-night talk show-type format; I don't particularly want to be interviewed on late-night talk show, I just want my introduction to be accompanied by "Simmer Down."
"Simmer down, control my temper,
Simmer down, the battle will be hotter,
Simmer down, it's hard 'cause it hurts,
Simmer down, kick me off…"

Monday, July 24, 2017

What's Eating The Last Angry Man?

A good & holy priest, the Reverend Gary McInnis, recently perished. One of my fellow Knights, who shall remain nameless as I do not wish to shame him, sent out texts messages misspelling Father McInnis's name as "McGinnis." I gently corrected him, via text message. This morning, at church, in front of several other persons, he loudly told me I was wrong, the name is McGinnis, because he "grew up on the same street with the family." What in the high holy heck does that have to do with anything? Am I the world's leading expert on the spelling of my neighbors' names simply because they are my neighbors? I know the proper spelling of McInnis from the late Father McInnis himself. But more to the point, I had corrected this fellow in private, via text message. He incorrectly corrected me in public, besmirching my good name in front of others! Even now, I want to protect his identity & thus his dignity. He afforded me no such courtesy, upbraiding me in public like that. No, he was not being deliberately cruel, he was just being rude, utterly thoughtless. He's a grown man, not a surly teenager; he has no excuse for such beastly manners.

I am sick & tired of know-nothing know-it-alls who don't know their arse from a hole in the ground, & make this known loudly & rudely. I am even more sick & tired of thoughtlessness as an excuse for uncouth behavior. You just didn't think? What kind of weak-sauce excuse is that! But, no, that's not what's eating The Last Angry Man, not really.

No, what's really eating The Last Angry Man is that I let this nonsense upset me. Why should the vainglorious—& factually incorrect—boasting of a simpleton bother me? I was right. I knew I was right; so, why did it irk me to be publicly scolded about supposedly being wrong? He made a fool of himself; in time, he had to eat crow & apologized for her haughty idiocy. No, he didn't really learn his lesson & he'll surely do it again, but why should that annoy me? I'm ticked at myself that I have made so little progress as a Christian, that I have so thoroughly failed to imitate the Divine Master in my interpersonal relationships. I should be better than this. The world is the place of woe & sorrow it is because I'm not better than this. I failed yet another test. That's what's eating The Last Angry Man.

The Rebel Black Dot Autobiographical Song o' the Day

Billy Joel, "We Didn't Start the Fire" via iTunes (from Storm Front) (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: I thoroughly enjoy learning new things, just for learning's sake. I like knowing things, just to know them. It is, for reasons I've never plumbed in any depth, important to me to be competent, & to be known to be competent. Not knowledgeable, but competent.

"We Didn't Start the Fire" is an early inspiration for the jones that eventually fueled the chartering of the Explorers' Club. Even as a ten-year-old at the time of the song's release (Wikipedia-link), I could identify several of the many events & personages mentioned, but I was irked not to know them all & curious to learn what they were all about. Yes, I love Trivial Pursuit, pub quizzes, & History Quiz Night, but above & beyond the thrill of competition (& victory) is for me the joy of simply knowing.

I've often heard it remarked that in a romance, a man faces a fundamental choice: He can choose to be happy or he can choose to be right, but he can't be both happy & right. I'm not presently equipped to be in such a romance, because I'd much rather be right than be happy. This is at least in part because it is a false choice, an unfair deal. How could I be happy being wrong all the time, or at least told I'm wrong & accepting this without protest?

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Sharbel Makhlūf, Priest, O.L.M. (1828-1898, also spelt Charbel Makhlouf): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He was a Maronite monk & priest from Lebanon. During his life he obtained a wide reputation for holiness & intercessory power.
A monk who is also a priest is called a
hieromonk, in Eastern Christianity.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Kinga of Poland, Abbess, O.S.C. (1224-1292, A.K.A. Cunegunda, Kunigunde, et al.): Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Great-niece of St. Hedwig of Silesia [16 October], niece of Ss. Elizabeth of Hungary [17 November] & Agnes of Prague [2 March], & sister of St. Margaret of Hungary [18 January] & Bl. Yolanda of Poland [11 June].

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Louise of Savoy, Religious, O.S.C. (1461-1503): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Daughter of Bl. Amadeus of Savoy (Duke Amadeus IX the Happy) [30 March].

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Exodus, chapter fourteen, verses five thru eighteen;
The Book of Exodus, chapter fifteen, verses one(b,c) & two, three & four, & five & six;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twelve, verses thirty-eight thru forty-two.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today in our Gospel some Pharisees ask Jesus for a sign. And Jesus replies, "An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet," who was in the belly of the whale for three days and nights.

Jonah was called by God to preach conversion to Nineveh, which is described as an enormously large city. It took, they said, 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 "proclaimed 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!
Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Sharbel Makhlūf
The Book of Sirach, chapter three, verses seventeen thru twenty-four;
Psalm Fifteen, verse one;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter nineteen, verses twenty-seven, twenty-eight, & twenty-nine.

Project MERCATOR
Speaking of Maronites, the week before last I had the chance finally to attend the annual Mid-East Festival at Our Lady of Lebanon, metropolitan Flint's own Maronite Catholic church. Holy smokes! The food was exquisite (when is shawarma anything but?) & the dancing, both by ringers & by the community, was not only a beautiful expression of culture, but as awe-inspired expression of such pure joy! If there is one thing we square, ethnically heterogeneous Euro-American Catholics don't do properly or often enough, it is dance.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLIX

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Russian Revolution, Part III
16-20 July 1917: The July Days—Soldiers & workers in Petrograd demanded "All Power to the Soviets," splitting the Provisional Government: the Bolsheviks & Anarchists in support, the Socialist Revolutionaries (S.R.) & Mensheviks in opposition; troops recalled from the front restored order; an S.R., Kerensky, became Prime Minister; Trotsky, et al. were arrested, but Lenin escaped to Finland.





Lest we forget.

The Queue

The Venerable Archbishop Sheen's (1985-1979) writing is as incisive as his groundbreaking & award-winning television series, Life Is Worth Living. I shall have to make an effort to read more of his work, especially the books from which the content of Finding True Happiness was drawn: Walk with God, Way to Happiness, Way to Inner Peace, & You. The sixteen & final chapter, "The Will: The Secret of Sanctity," which I read today, stands as an interesting counterpoint to this morning's discouraging & infuriating homily, which exhorted the congregation not to strive for personal holiness. Good & gracious God, grant us more churchmen like Your good & faith servant Fulton J. Sheen!

It is a delight to once again find myself reading Vanished Kingdoms, a deeply-researched yet lively reminder that those things which we fleeting mortals think permanent, as fixed as the stars, are indeed passing away as the Good Book says. Empires rise & fall, great men enter & exit the stage. "Remember, O man, that thou art dust & unto dust thou shalt return!"

I doubt I'll finish Vanished Kingdoms without taking another, I hope more brief, sabbatical. The Real Story looks to compliment nicely the Bible study I'm currently facilitating, The Bible Timeline: The Story of salvation; so, I'll likely read it before or immediately after that study is scheduled to conclude in Advent.

Recently
Pope Francis, Amoris Lætitia (The Joy of Love)
Mark Waid & Fiona Staples, Veronica Fish, Joe Eisma, et al., Archie, Volumes One, Two, & Three
Fulton Sheen, Finding True Happiness

Currently
Norman Davies, Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations

Presently
Edward Sri & Curtis Martin, The Real Story: Understanding the Big Picture of the Bible
Sherry A. Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus
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
William E. Simon Jr., Great Catholic Parishes: How Four Essential Practices Make Them Thrive
Mike Aquilina, Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers
Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
Bishop Robert Barron, Seeds of the Word: Finding God in the Culture
Scott & Kimberly Hahn, Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism
Kevin Lowry, How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming into the Catholic Church
John W. O'Malley, What Happened at Vatican II
Margaret MacMillan, Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World

Project BLACK MAMBA: XVI Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Book of Wisdom, chapter twelve, verses thirteen & sixteen thru nineteen;
Psalm Eighty-six, verses five & six, nine & ten, & fifteen & sixteen;
The Letter to the Romans, chapter eight, verses twenty-six & twenty-seven;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter thirteen, verses twenty-four thru forty-three
(or, the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter thirteen, verses twenty-four thru thirty).

Commentary: Video Gospel reflection by Jeff Cavins: Encountering the Word.

Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel today is the parable of the weeds among the wheat. God's word creates the Church, the community of those who strive to build up the Kingdom. But this Church is never absolutely pure and untrammeled, for God's ways are opposed by a spiritual power, an enemy. His task is to sow weeds among the wheat—clandestinely, quietly, unobtrusively.

This sort of coming-together of good and evil is to be expected. The Church will always be a place of saints and sinners, and the sinners will often look like saints. The enemy of the Church, who never rests, ensures it.

When we discover evil, it is always very tempting to go after it with both fists, to take it out. But the warning of the Master here is extremely important. Sometimes, our zeal can lead to far greater problems, precisely because of the way evil is related to the good.

So what should we do? Let them grow side-by-side for the time being. At the end, at harvest time, the Master will separate them out.
Bible Study—The Bible Timeline: Conquest & Judges, Part 1 of 2
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter ten, verses three & four;
The Letter to the Ephesians, chapter six, verses eleven thru eighteen;
The First Letter to Timothy, chapter six, verses eleven & twelve;
The Letter to the Hebrews, chapter eleven, verse thirty-one;
The Letter of James, chapter two, verses twenty-four, twenty-five, & twenty-six;
The First Letter of Peter, chapter two, verses eleven & twelve.

Commentary: Excerpt from Accusation of Weakness (2 Cor., 10:3-4), excerpts from Battle against Evil & Constant Prayer (Ephesians, 6:11-18), excerpt from Exhortations to Timothy (1 Tim., 6:11-12), excerpt from Faith of the Ancients (Hebrews, 11:31), excerpt from Faith & Works (James, 2:24-26), & Christian Examples (1 Peter, 2:11-12).

Penance—Assigned by Father Tango Foxtrot
The Gospel according to John, chapter twenty-one (verses one thru twenty-five).

Commentary: IV. Epilogue—The Resurrection Appearance in Galilee: The Appearance to the Seven Disciples (21:1-14), Jesus & Peter (21:15-19), the Beloved Disciple (21:20-23), & Conclusion (21:24-25).


Mass Journal: Week 30
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
Holiness & renewal are inseparably linked. Where there is holiness the Church has always thrived. If the Church is not thriving there is one primary reason for that… & when you & I begin to take God's call to live holy lives seriously, the Church will begin to thrive in new & exciting ways. Holiness is compatible with every state of life. Married [persons] are called to live holy lives just as much as monks & nuns. Sexual intimacy is a profound gift from God & an instrument of holiness. The riches of this world have value only inasmuch as they help us fulfill our essential purpose. If we own them, they can be powerful tools that help us live holy lives. If they own us, they will prevent us from becoming the-best-version-of-ourselves (sic). The rich are called to live holy lives by using their wealth in productive ways that foster their own growth & the growth of others. Materials possessions, marriage & sexual intimacy, work, money, & positions of authority are just some of the opportunities life presents to live holy lives.
Commentary: Unless of course you belong to my parish, where this Sunday our pastor, Father Sierra Alpha, ridiculed the idea of living a holy life & told us not even to try to grow in holiness.

Otherwise, 23 July would be the festival of Saint Phocas the Gardener, Martyr (died circa 303), martyred in the reign of the emperor Diocletian: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint John Cassian, Deacon (circa 360-435, A.K.A. the Ascetic, the Roman): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Bridget of Sweden, Religious, O.Ss.S. (circa 1303-1373, A.K.A. Birgitta, of Vadstena), foundress of the Brigettines, formally the Order of the Most Holy Savior: Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link O.Ss.S.

Commentary: Kinswoman of St. Ingrid of Skänninge [2 September] & mother of St. Catherine of Sweden [24 March].

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Lord's Day

Matt Maher, "Lord, I Need You" via iTunes (from All the People Said Amen) (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Sung Saturday morning in the adoration chapel, your humble narrator alone with Our Beloved Savior, the narrator's guardian angel, & whatever other angels & saints cared to drop by.
"Where sin runs deep, Your grace is more,
Where grace is found is where You are,
Where You are, Lord, I am free,
Holiness is Christ in me.

"Lord, I need you! O, I need you!
Every hour I need you!
My one defense, my righteousness,
O God, how I need you!

"So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way,
When I cannot stand I'll fall on you,
Jesus, You're my hope and stay…"

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene (died circa 63), the "Apostle to the Apostles:" Magdalene-link ūna, Magdalene-link duae, Magdalene-link trēs, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
She was Jewish woman who, according to texts included in the New testament, traveled with Jesus as one of His followers. She is said to have witnessed Jesus's crucifixion & resurrection.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Mary Magdalene was one of Christ's disciples & was present when He died. Early on the morning of Christ's resurrection, she was the first to see the Risen Lord (according to the Gospel of Mark). By the twelfth century, devotion to Saint Mary Magdalene was widespread in the western Church.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Joseph of Palestine, Confessor (circa 285-356, A.K.A. of Tiberias): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Benno of Osnabrück, Bishop, O.S.B. (circa 1020-1088, Benno II, A.K.A. Bernard): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saints Philip Evans, S.J., & John Lloyd, Priests & Martyrs (died 1679), martyred in the reign of the king Charles II, indirect victims of the perjurer Titus Oates's "Popish Plot" hoax; two of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link Papa Echo, Martyr-link Juliett Lima, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link XL.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feast of St. Mary Magdalene
The Song of Songs, chapter three, verses one thru four(b);
or, the Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter five, verses fourteen thru seventeen;
Psalm Sixty-three, verses two, three & four, five & six, & eight & nine;
The Gospel according to John, chapter twenty, verses one, two, & eleven thru eighteen.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today we celebrate the feast of St. Mary Magdalene. Our Gospel says Mary came to the Lord's tomb early in the morning on the first day of the week.

Let's place ourselves there: it is still dark—just the way it was at the beginning of time before God said, "Let there be light." But a light is about to shine, and a new creation is about to appear.

The stone had been rolled away. The stone blocking entrance to the tomb of Jesus stands for the finality of death. When someone that we love dies, it is as though a great stone is rolled across them, permanently blocking our access to them. And this is why we weep at death—not just in grief but in a kind of existential frustration.

Undoubtedly, Mary Magdalene thought that a grave robber had been at work. The wonderful Johannine irony is that the greatest of grave robbers had indeed been at work.

In the book of the prophet Ezekiel, we hear this, "I will open your graves and have you rise from them." What was dreamed about, what endured as a hope against hope, has become a reality. God has opened the grave of his Son.

The Rebel Black Dot Autobiographical Song o' the Day

Jim Gaffigan, "Lazy" from King Baby (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Alas, this Saturday isn't as lazy a day as one would infer from the R.B.D.S.O.T.D.
"'Cause I am a lazy man. I love doing nothing, which is not good when you're busy. You ever have so much to do so you just decide to take a nap? Maybe some elves will come in here and do this crap. I think I saw that once in a movie.

"I struggle with my laziness. I'm like, Should I sit down and do nothing? Or, Should I lie down and do nothing?…"

Friday, July 21, 2017

Bonus! Song o' the Day

Fountains of Wayne, "The Hotel Majestic" from Traffic and Weather (The Last Angry Man)

Project BLACK MAMBA: Late Edition

Mea culpa! Mea culpa! Mea máxima culpa!

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest & Doctor of the Church, O.F.M. Cap. (1559-1619): Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. My personal opinion is that every Doctor of the Church deserves at least an obligatory Memorial, not that anybody in the hierarchy requested my opinion.

Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He was a Roman Catholic priest & a theologian as well as a member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
He entered the Capuchin friars, taught theology to his fellow religious, & was chosen to fill positions of leadership in his order. St. Lawrence was decalred a Doctor of the Church because he was a great scholar & preacher, gifted in languages, & was a humble & holy administrator with great wisdom, but one of the greatest accomplishments attributed to this saint was the repulsion of the Turks during the Battle of Stuhlweissenburg (1601, A.K.A. Székesfehérvár).
'Tis also the festival of Saint Praxedes, Virgin & Martyr (died circa 165), martyred in the reign of the emperor Marcus Aurelius: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Daughters of Ss. Pudens [19 May] & Claudia [7 August] & sister of Ss. Prudentia [19 May], Novatus [20 June], & Timotheus [?].

'Tis also the festival of Saint Arbogast, Bishop (died circa 678, of Strasbourg): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Exodus, chapter eleven, verse ten thru chapter twelve, verse fourteen;
Psalm One Hundred Sixteen, verses twelve & thirteen, fifteen & sixteen(b,c), & seventeen & eighteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twelve, verses one thru eight.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Again and again in the Gospels, Jesus is portrayed as violating the sacred command to rest on the seventh day. For example, he often cures on the Sabbath, much to the dismay of the protectors of Jewish law.

And then in today's Gospel, after his disciples pick grain on the Sabbath, Jesus declares himself "Lord of the Sabbath." It's hard to express how breathtaking this claim would be for a first-century Jew to make. Yahweh alone could be assigned the title, "Lord of the Sabbath," so what is Jesus implying?

In short, he is claiming that he is above their rituals, even perhaps the defining practice of pious Jews, because he is the Lord. Thus the rules must be placed in subordination to the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom that the Lord Jesus is ushering in even here and now.
Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Lawrence of Brindisi
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter four, verses one, two, five, six, & seven;
Psalm Forty, verses eight(a) & nine(a);
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter four, verses one thru ten & thirteen thru twenty
(or, the Gospel according to Mark, chapter four, verses one thru nine).

Bible Study—The Bible Timeline: Conquest & Judges, Part 1 of 2
The Book of Joshua, chapter twenty-two (verses one thru thirty-four);
The Book of Joshua, chapter twenty-three (verses one thru sixteen);
The Book of Joshua, chapter twenty-four (of twenty-four; verses one thru thirty-three);
The Book of Leviticus, chapter eighteen (verses one thru thirty);
The Book of Genesis, chapter fifteen, verses fourteen, fifteen, & sixteen;
The Book of Ezekiel, chapter eighteen, verse thirty-two & chapter thirty-three, verse eleven.

Commentary: III. Return of the Transjordan Tribes & Joshua's Farewell: The Eastern Tribes Dismissed (Joshua, 22:1-9), the Altar beside the Jordan (22:10-12), Accusation of the Western Tribes (22:13-20, Reply of the Eastern Tribes (22:21-34), Joshua's Final Plea (23:1-16), Reminder of Divine Goodness (24:1-15), Renewal of the Covenant (24:16-28), & Death of Joshua (24:29-33); the Sanctity of Sex (Leviticus, 18:1-30); excerpt from the Covenant with Abram (Genesis, 15:14-16); & excerpts from Personal Responsibility (Ezekiel, 18:32) & Individual Retribution (33:11).

What's Eating The Last Angry Man?

On Wednesday night, I spied in the on-screen television listings a showing of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, a film that I never seen, not in its entirety. I merrily set the D.V.R. to record the film, eager to watch it at the earliest opportunity. Last night, I attempted to watch Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. The D.V.R. had recorded it faithfully & there were no technological hurdles to my watching the film. The insurmountable obstacle was the film itself. I sat through sixteen interminable minutes of The Crimson Permanent Assurance, annoyed by the persistent lack of any entertainment value in the not-nearly-short-enough short feature. Then I sat through the irksome & utterly not entertaining opening credits sequence. The film proper then belatedly began, offering just as little entertainment as the opening proceedings & no end in sight; so, perhaps five minutes into the "feature presentation," I cursed & cut off the whole misbegotten adventure. My fondness for Monty Python has taken a serious hit, from which I'm all but certain it shall never recover.

Life is too full of meaning to waste on nihilistic dreck like Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, yet I shall never receive any recompense for the precious minutes I squandered on that selfsame dreck. That's what eating The Last Angry Man.

The Rebel Black Dot Autobiographical Song o' the Day

Real Can of Yams, "What's Eating The Last Angry Man?" (live) courtesy K. Steeze (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Recorded live on stage at the Metropolis, then the temporary home of the Flint Local 432, on 30 December 2004. R.B.D.S.O.T.D. can't get much more autobiographical than this.
Lead singer: "Alright, this song's called 'Our Best Song Ever.' Oh, wait, no, no, it's not! Because, uh, I forgot. This is the special time in our show, it's titled: What's Eating The Last Angry Man? That's The Last Angry Man, my beloved older brother. Now the thing about The Last Angry Man is that no matter what or where you are, he's always got a problem with something. There's always something that just pisses him off. This is completely unrehearsed, this is not pre-planned. Last Angry Man, what's eating you?"

Saxophone player: "So, I'm trying to enjoy the rock show. It's fun! It's fun for us. It's fun for you. And I got somebody over here talking smack about ramen noodles. They're cheap! They taste like cardboard! What more do you want?!"

Lead singer: "The Last Angry Man! Yes! That was better than I could have imagined."

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Apollinaris, Bishop & Martyr (died circa 79, of Ravenna), martyred in the reign of the emperor Vespasian: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He is a Syrian saint, whom the Roman Martyrology describes as "a bishop who, according to tradition, while spreading among the nations the unsearchable riches of Christ, led his flock as a good shepherd & honored the Church at Classis near Ravenna by a glorious martyrdom."
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
According to tradition, St. Peter sent Appolinaris to Ravenna, Italy, as its first bishop. He preaching of the Good News was so successful that the pagans there beat him & drove him from the city. He returned, however, & was exiled a second time. After preaching in the area surrounding Ravenna, he entered the city again. After being cruelly tortured, he was put on a ship heading to Greece. Pagans there caused him to be expelled to Italy, where he went to Ravenna for a fourth time. He died from wounds received during a savage beating at Classis, a suburb of Ravenna.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Joseph Barsabbas, Bishop & Martyr (died circa 69, A.K.A. Justus, of Eleutheropolis), martyred in the reign of the emperor Vespasian: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: In Acts (1:23-26), "Joseph called Barsabbas, who is also known as Justus" is one of two candidates put forth to assume the office of Apostle vacated by the traitor Judas Iscariot. "The lot fell upon Matthias" [14 May] "& he was counted with the eleven Apostles."

'Tis also the festival of Saint Margaret of Antioch, Virgin & Martyr (circa 289-304, A.K.A. Marina the Great Martyr), martyred in the reign of the emperor Diocletian, one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link XIV.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Exodus, chapter three, verses thirteen thru twenty;
Psalm One Hundred Five, verses one & five, eight & nine, twenty-four & twenty-five, & twenty-six & twenty-seven;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eleven, verses twenty-eight, twenty-nine, & thirty.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus is not offering us one more philosophy of God. He is offering us the view from the inside of the Trinity. And that is why we should respond to his compelling invitation: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”

What everyone wants is rest, but not in the sense of relaxation. Rest here means achievement of joy. The great illusion is that joy will come from filling up the ego with goods. In fact, it will come from emptying out, from turning one’s life over to the direction of God.

We also find in today’s Gospel those extraordinary words: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” Jesus himself is bearing the yoke that he speaks of since he is yoked to the Father, doing only what he sees the Father doing. Jesus is, in his ownmost nature, the one who listens and obeys.

What he is saying, therefore, is to stand next to him, just as one ox stands next to the other as they pull together. Just as Jesus is yoked to the Father, so we should be yoked to him, obeying him as he obeys the Father.
Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Apollinaris
The Book of Ezekiel, chapter thirty-four, verses eleven thru sixteen;
Psalm Twenty-three, verse one;
The Gospel according to John, chapter ten, verses eleven thru sixteen.

Bible Study—The Bible Timeline: Conquest & Judges, Part 1 of 2
The Book of Joshua, chapter five (verses one thru fifteen);
The Book of Joshua, chapter six (verses one thru twenty-seven);
The Book of Joshua, chapter seven (verses one thru twenty-six);
The Book of Joshua, chapter eight (verses one thru thirty-five);
The Book of Joshua, chapter nine (verses one thru twenty-seven).

Commentary: Rites at Gilgal (5:1-12), Siege at Jericho (5:13-6:19), the Fall of Jericho (6:20-27), Defeat at Ai (7:1-15), Achan's Guilt & Punishment (7:16-26), Capture of Ai (8:1-29), Altar on Mount Ebal (8:30-35), Confederacy against Israel (9:1-2), the Gibeonite Deception (9:3-15), & Gibeonites Made Vassals (9:16-27).

The Rebel Black Dot Autobiographical Song o' the Day

William Shatner & Henry Rollins, "I Can't Get Behind That" from Has Been (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: I've put a lot of prayer & meditation into understanding & disciplining the seemingly fathomless well of anger that leads my friends to call me The Last Angry Man. There is much in the world about which to be angry, righteously angry, without giving in to the sin of wrath. My aim has not been to become incapable of anger, God forbid we should overlook the lesson of the Christ's angrily driving the money-changers from the Temple, but to be the master of my anger, rather than letting it be the master of me, as was the case for so many years.

So let "I Can't Get Behind That" reassure you: I'm still angry & I still can't get behind that.
Rollins: "Yeah? Bill, can you turn around and do one more?"
Shatner: "Always can do one more."
Rollins: "Let's hit it!"

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

"The future starts today, not tomorrow." — Pope Saint John Paul II the Great


'Tis the festival of Saint Macrina the Younger, Religious (circa 327-379): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Granddaughter of St. Macrina the Edler [14 January]; daughter of Ss. Basil the Elder & Emmelia [30 May]; & sister of Ss. Basil the Great [2 January], Gregory of Nyssa [10 January], & Peter of Sebaste [9 January].

'Tis also the festival of Saint Symmachus, Pope (died 514), fifty-first Bishop of Rome: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint John Plessington, Priest & Martyr (circa 1637-1679, A.K.A. William Scarisbrick), martyred in the reign of the king Charles II, one of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link XL.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Exodus, chapter three, verses one thru six & nine thru twelve;
Psalm One Hundred Three, verses one(b) & two, three & four, & six & seven;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eleven, verses twenty-five, twenty-six, & twenty-seven;

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel we see Jesus praying to 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 the inner life of God.

Now why, precisely, is this knowledge concealed from the learned and disclosed to children? The clue is in the next statement: "All things have been handed over to me by my Father." What is the essence of the divine life? It is a play of giving and receiving.

The Father, forgetting himself, gives rise to the Son, and the Son, refusing to cling to himself, receives from the Father. The Holy Spirit is this mutual sharing of the Father and the Son. God's ownmost life is a looking toward the other in love.

From Adam and Eve to today the fundamental human problem is that we seek something other than God. We seek to fill up the ego with stuff, such as sex, pleasure, power, honor. But this will never work, because we've been wired for God, and God is love.
Bible Study—The Bible Timeline: Conquest & Judges, Part 1 of 2
Introduction to the Book of Joshua;
The Book of Joshua, chapter one (verses one thru eighteen);
The Book of Joshua, chapter two (verses one thru twenty-four);
The Book of Joshua, chapter three (verses one thru seventeen);
The Book of Joshua, chapter four (verses one thru twenty-four).

Commentary: I. Conquest of Canaan: Divine Promise of Assistance (1:1-11), the Transjordan Tribes (1:12-18), Spies Saved by Rahab (2:1-24), Preparations for Crossing the Jordan (3:1-13), the Crossing Begins (3:14-17), & Memorial Stones (4:1-24).

Bonus! Song o' the Day

They Might Be Giants, "Dr. Worm" from Severe Tire Damage (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"They call me Dr. Worm,
Good morning, how are you? I'm Dr. Worm,
I'm interested in things,
I'm not a real doctor,
But I am a real worm,
I am an actual worm,
I live like a worm…

"Someday, somebody else besides me
Will call me by my stage name,
They will call me Dr. Worm…"

The Rebel Black Dot Autobiographical Song o' the Day

Paul Simon, "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" via iTunes (from Still Crazy After All These Years) (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Enough of this girlfriend malarkey! I hate being leashed to my mobile phone, I miss being single, & when—not if—I break her heart into a thousand shattered pieces to be free, well, she was fairly warned; she'll have no one to blame but herself. If I'm the villain in all this, so be it.
"'The problem is all inside your head,' she said to me,
'The answer is easy if you take it logically,
I'd like to help you in your struggle to be free,
There must be fifty ways to leave your lover.'

"She said, 'It's really not my habit to intrude,
Furthermore I hope my meaning won't be lost or misconstrued,
But I'll repeat myself, at the risk of being crude:
There must be fifty ways to leave your lover'…"

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Camillus de Lellis, Priest, M.I. (1550-1614), founder of the Camillians, formally the Clerics Regular, Ministers to the Sick: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link M.I.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Because the squeaky wheel gets the grease [!], quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He was a Roman Catholic priest from Italy who founded a religious order dedicated to the care of the sick.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
At seventeen, he was afflicted with a disease of his leg that remained with him for life. In Rome, he entered the San Giacomo Hospital for Incurables as both patient & servant, but was dismissed for quarrelsomeness after nine months. He served in the Ventian army for three years. Then in the winter of 1574, when he was twenty-four, he gambled away everything he had—savings, weapons, literally down to his shirt. He accepted work at the Capuchin friary at Manfredonia, & was one day so moved by a sermon of the superior that he began a conversion that changed his whole life. He devoted the rest of his life to the care of the sick, & has been named, along with St. John of God [8 March], patron of hospitals, nurses, & the sick. With the advice of his friend St. Philip Neri [26 May], he studied for the priesthood & was ordained at the age of thirty-four.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Pambo, Hermit (died circa 375): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Exodus, chapter two, verses one thru fifteen(a);
Psalm Sixty-nine, verses three, fourteen, thirty & thirty-one, & thirty-three & thirty-four;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eleven, verses twenty thru twenty-four.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today Jesus declares judgment on the towns of Galilee that did not believe in him and repent. He stands at the end of the long line of prophets God sent in order to reconcile his people to himself. Like the prophets before him, Jesus is ignored, mocked, and rejected.

What happens as a result of man's refusal of God? Not nothing. God's judgment falls on the unfaithful nation. What is the instrument of God's justice? One of the heathen nations, the Chaldeans, come and destroy the city of Jerusalem, burn the temple, carry off its most sacred objects, and force the Israelites into exile. And then the Romans follow suit in the first century.

Is this bad luck? Just the typical give and take of geopolitical forces? No! The Bible insists that this should be read as God's action, more specifically, as God's judgment and punishment. Mind you, this is not an arbitrary punishment, something cruel and vindictive; rather it is God allowing the fallen nation to feel the effects of its sin.

So what's the lesson? Sin has consequences, and we rarely have to wait for the next world to experience them.
Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis
The First Letter of John, chapter three, verses fourteen thru eighteen;
Psalm One Hundred Twelve, verse one;
The Gospel according to John, chapter fifteen, verses nine thru seventeen.

The Rebel Black Dot Autobiographical Song o' the Day

Dance Hall Crashers, "D.H.C." from The Old Record: 1989-1992 (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary: I miss the halcyon days of yore, when opportunities to skank in public were aplenty. Alas, no, I never had the chance to see the Dance Hall Crashers live on stage.
"Out on the dance floor,
Everything's gonna be all right,
Out on the dance floor,
Dance Hall, Dance Hall Crashers tonight!…"

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Girlfriend Song o' the Day

Elvis Costello, "Spooky Girlfriend" from When I Was Cruel (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: I did not intend to include "Spooky Girlfriend" in the "girlfriend" series of R.B.D.S.O.T.D., which I thought concluded on Saturday with The Mr. T Experience's "New Girlfriend," but I woke up this morning with "Spooky Girlfriend" running through my head; so, here we are.
"I want a girl who has no past,
She's made up now, but that won't last,
'Cause when she sits on my knee
And then she whispers to me:

"'Can't you see,
Could be, could be,
Your spooky girlfriend,
I could be, I could be,
Your spooky girlfriend'…

"I want to paint you with glitter and with dirt,
Picture you with innocence and hurt,
The shutter closes, exposes the shot,
She says, 'Are you looking up my skirt?'
When you say, 'No,' she says, 'Why not?'…"

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of the Scillitan Martyrs (died 180), martyred in the reign of the emperor Commodus: Martyrs-link XII & Wikipedia-link XII.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Alexius of Rome, Confessor (fifth century), the "Man of God:" Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Hedwig of Poland (circa 1374-1399, A.K.A. Queen Jadwiga, of Anjou): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Book of Exodus, chapter one, verses eight thru fourteen & twenty-two;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-four, verses one(b), two, & three; four, five, & six; & seven & eight;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter ten, verse thirty-four thru chapter eleven, verses one.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel, Jesus lays down the conditions for discipleship: "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

There is [a] line from the illuminator of the St. John's Bible which states: "We have to love our way out of this." There is nothing wimpy or namby-pamby or blind about this conviction. When we love extravagantly, we are not purposely blinding ourselves to moral realities—just the contrary. Love is not a sentiment, but "a harsh and dreadful thing," as Dostoevsky said.

This is just what Jesus shows on his terrible cross. And this is just what we, his followers, must imitate. Taking up the cross means not just being willing to suffer, but being willing to suffer as he did, absorbing violence and hatred through our forgiveness and nonviolence.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLVIII

Operation AXIOM: The World War
17 July 1917: George V (1865-1936, reigned 1910-1936), king of the United Kingdom & the British Dominions & emperor of India, restyled the name of his royal house from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor, in part due to the notoriety of the Gotha bombers then raining death & destruction on London; George V was a first cousin of the Prussian king & German emperor, Kaiser Wilhlem II.





Lest we forget.