Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song of 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 of 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.

Project BLACK MAMBA: XV Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Book of Isaiah, chapter fifty-five, verses ten & eleven;
Psalm Sixty-five, verses ten, eleven, twelve & thirteen, & fourteen;
The Letter to the Romans, chapter eight, verses eighteen thru twenty-three;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter thirteen, verses one thru twenty-three
(or, the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter thirteen, verses one thru nine).

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

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 Journal: Week 29
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
We are called to live holy lives & this is something we should strive for as Christians, but let me be very clear that holiness is something God does in us & not something we achieve. And yet at the same time, God is a perfect gentleman: He invites us to participate in His life, but never forces Himself upon us. He wants our consent, He wants to be invited into our hearts & lives, but much more than consent & invitation He desires our loving cooperation. God yearns for us to be coworkers with Him in this work of holiness. It is this dynamic collaboration between God & man that brings delight to God. The North Star is the only star in the sky that never moves; it remains constant & unwavering, & therefore is a true guide. In the same way, God's call to live a holy life never changes. In a world of rapid & constant change, it is what is unchanging that allows us to make sense of change. The ideas you encounter may change, your emotions may change, but God's call to live a holy life never changes.

Otherwise, 16 July would be the festival of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Our Lady-link ūna, Our Lady-link duae, & Wikipedia-link Mount Carmel; Wikipedia-link Brown Scapular.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
This title is given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late twelfth & early thirteenth centuries. There they built in the midst of their hermitages a chapel dedicated to the Blessed Mother. Since the fifteenth century, popular devotion to Our lady of Mount Carmel has centered on the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a sacramental associated with promises of Mary's special aid for the salvation of the devoted wearer.
'Twould also be the festival of Blesseds John Sugar, Priest, & Robert Grissold, Martyrs (died 1604), martyred in the reign of the king James VI & I, two of the Eighty-five Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link Juliett Sierra & Wikipedia-link Juliett Sierra, Martyr-link Romeo Golf & Wikipedia-link Romeo Golf; Martyrs-link LXXXV & Wikipedia-link LXXXV.

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

The O.C. Supertones, "The Grace Flood" from Supertones Strike Back (The Last Angry Man)

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Bonus! Girlfriend Song o' the Day

The Mr. T Experience, "New Girlfriend" from Pounded: Official Comic Book Sountrack (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"My new girlfriend is better than you,
She's got bigger breasts and a higher I.Q.,
And she always knows which fork to use,
She doesn't always have some lame excuse…

"She's better than you (better than you),
She's better than you (better than you),
She's better than you (better than you)!

"My new girlfriend is better than you,
My new girlfriend is better than you,
My new girlfriend is better than you,
She's got higher breasts and a bigger I.Q.!"

The Rebel Black Dot Girlfriend Song o' Yesterday

Reel Big Fish, "She Has a Girlfriend Now" (live) from Our Live Albums Is Better Than Your Live Album, Disc 2: Move Fastly with the Fast Music (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary: Now we really have gone quite far afield.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop & Doctor of the Church, O.F.M. (1221-1274), the "Seraphic Doctor:" Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, Doctor-link trēs, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Vladimir, Confessor (circa 956-1015, A.K.A. Grand Prince Vladimir I of Kiev, the Great): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Grandson of St. Olga of Kiev (11 July).

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Book of Genesis, chapter forty-nine, verses twenty-nine thru thirty-two & chapter fifty, verses fifteen thru twenty-six(a);
Psalm One Hundred Five, verses one & two, three & four, & six & seven;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter ten, verses twenty-four thru thirty-three.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, Jesus instructs his disciples in today's Gospel, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna."

What is the greatest fear we have? Undoubtedly, the fear of losing our own lives; we fear the death of the body. But Jesus is telling us not to worry about those paper tigers that can only affect the body and its goods.

When I am in love with God, when I am "fearing" him above all things, I am rooted in a power that transcends space and time, a power that governs the universe in its entirety, a power that is greater than life and death.

More to it, this power knows me intimately and guides me according to his purposes: "Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid." Because of this we have nothing to fear from anything or anybody here below.
Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Bonaventure
The Letter to the Ephesians, chapter three, verses fourteen thru nineteen;
Psalm One Hundred Nineteen, verse twelve;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-three, verses eight thru twelve.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' This Terrible Day

Flogging Molly, "The Worst Day Since Yesterday" from Swagger (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"Hell says hello,
Well, it's time I should go…

"It's been the worst day since yesterday,
It's been the worst day since yesterday,
It's been the worst day since yesterday."

Friday, July 14, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA: Late Edition

Late again? Foxtrot Mike Lima.

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin (1656-1680), the "Lily of the Mohawks:" Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Francisco Solano, Priest, O.F.M. (1549-1610, Anglicized as Francis Solanus): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Book of Genesis, chapter forty-six, verses one thru seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine, & thirty;
Psalm Thirty-seven, verses three & four, eighteen & nineteen, twenty-seven & twenty-eight, & thirty-nine & forty;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter ten, verses sixteen thru twenty-three.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in our Gospel today Jesus assures us that the Holy Spirit will help us when we face persecution. Speaking to his disciples the night before he dies, Jesus says that he and his Father will send another Parakletos (Advocate). That word, stemming from kaleo (to call) and para (for, or on behalf of), designates something like a lawyer, someone who would plead on behalf of another, who would support, advocate, encourage.

Jesus is saying that while he will depart physically from the scene, he and his Father will send their spirit as a friend. This is the the advocate who will inspire Christians up and down the ages.

When the martyrs went to their deaths, it was with the help of the Holy Spirit; when the missionaries went to proclaim the faith in hostile lands, it was the Holy Spirit who pleaded on their behalf; when Edith Stein went with her Gestapo captors to Auschwitz, she went too with the Holy Spirit. And that same Spirit is with you today, right now.
Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Kateri Tekakwitha
The Book of Hosea, chapter two, verses sixteen(b,c), seventeen(c,d), twenty-one, & twenty-two;
Psalm Forty-five, verse eleven;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses one thru thirteen.

Bible Study—The Bible Timeline: Desert Wanderings
The Book of Numbers, chapter twenty (verses one thru twenty-nine);
The Book of Numbers, chapter twenty-one, verses one thru nine;
The Book of Numbers, chapter twenty-two (verses one thru forty);
The Book of Numbers, chapter twenty-three (verses one thru thirty);
The Book of Numbers, chapter twenty-four (verses one thru twenty-five);
The Book of Numbers, chapter twenty-five (verses one thru eighteen);
The Book of Deuteronomy, chapter eight (verses one thru twenty);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter four, verses one thru four.

Commentary: Death of Miriam (Numbers, 20:1), Water Famine at Kadesh (20:2-6a), Sin of Moses 7 Aaron (20:6b-13), Edom's Refusal (20:14-21), Death of Aaron (20:22-29), Victory over Arad (21:1-3), & the Bronze Serpent (21:4-9); III. On the Plains of Moab: Balaam Summoned (22:2-14), Second Appeal to Balaam (22:15-21), the Talking Ass (22:22-40), the First Oracle (22:41-23:12), the Second Oracle (23:13-26), the Third Oracle (23:27-24:13), the Fourth Oracle (24:14-25), Worship of Baal at Peor (25:1-5), Zeal of Phinehas (25:6-15), & Vengeance on the Midianites (25:16-18); God's Care (Deuteronomy, 8:1-5) & Danger of Prosperity (8:6-20); & excerpt from the Temptation of Jesus (Matthew, 4:1-4).

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Girlfriend Song o' the Day


Barenaked Ladies, "Alternative Girlfriend" from Maybe You Should Drive (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: The above photograph is of Fox News's resident Millennial, Katherine "Kat" Timpf, costumed as a stereotypical member of Generation X, appropriate to the era in which B.N.L. wrote & released "Alternative Girlfriend." I wish I didn't know enough about any twenty-four-hour cable news channel to know who Miss Timpf is, but C'est la vie!
"You're in an all-girl band,
Your futon's second-hand,
Your parents understand but you don't care…

"Old at being young,
Young at being old,
Everything's been sold to others' revolutions.

"Your my alternative girlfriend,
I love you, now you cannot pretend,
There's nothing left that won't cross over…"

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Henry, Obl.S.B. (circa 973-1024, A.K.A. Holy Roman Emperor Henry II; in German, Heinrich II; in Italian, Enrico II): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Thomas Tunstall, Priest & Martyr, O.S.B. (died 1616, A.K.A. Thomas Helmes), martyred in the reign of the king James VI & I: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Book of Genesis, chapter forty-four, verses eighteen thru twenty-one & twenty-three(b) thru twenty-nine, & chapter forty-five, verses one thru five;
Psalm One Hundred Five, verses sixteen & seventeen, eighteen & nineteen, & twenty & twenty-one;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter ten, verses seven thru fifteen.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in our Gospel today, Jesus sends the apostles on a mission of evangelization, a mission which we continue today.

We Catholics cannot avoid the demand of evangelization, of proclaiming the faith. Vatican II couldn't be clearer on this score, seeing the Church itself as nothing but a vehicle for evangelization. According to Vatican II, it's not so much the case that the Church has a mission, but rather that a mission has the Church. Bringing people to Christ is not one work among many; rather it is the central work of the Church, that around which everything else that we do revolves.

Do we need evangelization? The statistics couldn't be clearer. Did you know that there are nearly as many ex-Catholics as Catholics in this country? Did you know that by some estimates, between 50 and 80% of those who attend the Protestant mega-church of Willow Creek are former Catholics? Did you know that the fastest-growing category in those polls of religious affiliation is "none?" Did you know that a recent survey shows that among young religious people, those with the worst sense of their own tradition are Jews, but that the second to last are Catholics?

We need evangelization more than ever before. Will you answer the call?
Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Henry
The Book of Micah, chapter six, verses six, seven, & eight;
Psalm Forty, verse five(a);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter seven, verses twenty-one thru twenty-seven.

Bible Study—The Bible Timeline: Desert Wanderings
The Book of Numbers, chapter eleven (verses one thru thirty-five);
The Book of Numbers, chapter twelve (verses one thru sixteen);
The Book of Numbers, chapter thirteen (verses one thru thirty-three);
The Book of Numbers, chapter fourteen (verses one thru forty-five);
The Book of Numbers, chapter fifteen, verses thirty-two thru forty-one;
The Book of Numbers, chapter sixteen (verses one thru thirty-five);
The Book of Numbers, chapter seventeen (verses one thru twenty-seven);
The Book of Numbers, chapter eighteen, verses one thru seven.

Commentary: Discontent of the People (11:1-15), the Seventy Elders (11:16-23), the Spirit on the Elders (11:24-30), the Quail (11:31-35), Jealousy of Aaron & Miriam (12:1-8), Miriam's Leprosy (12:9-16), the Twelve Scouts (13:1-24), Their Return (13:25-33), Threats of Revolt (14:1-10a), the Lord's Sentence (14:10b-38), Unsuccessful Invasion (14:39-45), the Sabbath-breaker (15:32-35), Tassels on the Cloak (15:37-41), Rebellion of Korah (16:1-11), Rebellion of Dathan & Abiram (16:12-15), Korah (16:16-24), Punishment of Dathan & Abiram (16:25-34), Punishment of Korah (16:35-17:15), Aaron's Staff (17:16-26), & Charge of Sacred Things (17:27-18:7).

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bonus! Girlfriend Song o' the Day

Smoking Popes, "Not That Kind of Girlfriend" from Plea for Peace (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Plea for Peace is an Asian Man Records compilation album, not a Smoking Popes album.
"I can see my life stretching out before me,
And it isn't really mine…
I don't wanna be held down,
I don't want to think about you when you're not around,
Listen to the crazy new sound,
The beat of a heart that is bigger than you know!

"Not that kind of girlfriend,
Not that kind of girlfriend,
Not that kind of girlfriend,
Not that kind of girlfriend.

"I can feel your arms tightening around me,
And I can't breathe.
Don't know who I am, what I believe in,
You're not helping.
I don't wanna wear your ring,
I just want to meet people I find interesting…"

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saint Giovanni Gualberto, Abbot, O.S.B. Vall. (circa 985-1073, Anglicized as John Gualbert), founder of the Vallumbrosan Order, a Benedictine congregation: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link O.S.B. Vall.

'Tis also the festival of Saint John Jones, Priest & Martyr, O.F.M. (circa 1530-1598, A.K.A. Godfrey Maurice), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I, one of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link, Martyrs-link, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link XL.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint John Wall, Priest & Martyr, O.F.M. (1620-1679, A.K.A. Joachim of Saint Anne), martyred in the reign of the king Charles II, one of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link, Martyrs-link, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link XL.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Book of Genesis, chapter forty-one, verses fifty-five, fifty-six, & fifty-seven & chapter forty-two, verses five, six, seven(a), & seventeen thru twenty-four(a);
Psalm Thirty-three, verses two & three, ten & eleven, & eighteen & nineteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter ten, verses one thru seven.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel, Jesus names and commissions the twelve apostles. Perhaps we can see here a fulfillment of his prophetic invitation to the first disciples: "Come after me and I will make you fishers of men."

"Come after me." This is a Hebraicism that indicates discipleship. Jesus is not offering a doctrine, a theology, or a set of beliefs. He is offering himself. He's saying, "Walk in my path; enter into the world that I have opened up."

"And I will make you fishers of men." This is one of the best lines in Scripture. Notice the first part of the phrase: "I will make you..." God is the one who makes us from nothing. To live in sin is to live outside of the creative power of God, to pretend that we can make ourselves. How wonderful that he tells us that he will make us!

And what he makes us is always a reflection of himself: a fisher of men. God wants to draw all things and all people into a community around him, in him. He is a fisher of people—and so wants us to be.
Bible Study—The Bible Timelines: Desert Wanderings
The Book of Numbers, chapter one (verses one thru fifty-four);
The Book of Numbers, chapter two (verses one thru thirty-four);
The Book of Numbers, chapter ten (verses one thru thirty-six).

Commentary: I. Preparation for the Departure from Sinai: The Census (1:1-3), Moses's Assistants (1:4-19a), Count of the Twelve (1:19b-46), Levites Omitted from the Census (1:47-54), Arrangement of the Tribes (2:1-34), & the Silver Trumpets (10:1-10); II. From Sinai to the Plains of Moab: Departure from Sinai (10:11-28a), Hobab as Guide (10:28b-32), & Into the Desert (10:33-36).

God's Comic
Eye of the Tiber yet again proves funniest when it strikes a little too close to home for comfort, as in this headline, "Catholic Mom Confident Nice, Pretty Girl Who Sits Behind Her at Mass Would Be Perfect for Her Deadbeat Son": Tiber-link.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day


London Symphony Orchestra & Alberto Lazzio, "Festival Overture in E-Flat Major, 'The Year 1812,' Opus 49" from London Symphony Orchestra Plays Classical Favourites (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Napoleon Bonaparte was a monster, a tyrant bent on world conquest & imposing his own vision of a just society no matter how many persons need to killed in order to stamp out all opposition. "Just" in that his whim was law, despite the farcically inflated reputation of the Napoleonic Code; his brothers were set up as despots, puppet monarchs over cowed & conquered peoples, proving that the lofty ideals of the Napoleonic Code were secondary or even tertiary compared to the self-proclaimed emperor's iron will. So, let us be grateful for the emperor's colossal blunder of invading the Russian Empire in 1812, & also for Tchaikovsky's musical celebration of same, which debuted in 1882.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bonus! Song o' the Day

Dance Hall Crashers, "Beverly Kills" from Purr (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: As my fellows & I work to achieve social-media stardom, I warn you, dear readers, as I warn myself: Beware the siren song of celebrity, that most ephemeral & destructive of all highs.
"And if you get out of there alive,
Try to find a place to go run and hide,
Where your heart won't turn black,
Just bring your soul back…"

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Benedict, Abbot, O.S.B. (circa 480-547, of Nursia): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Rule & Wikipedia-link ora et labora.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Pius I, Pope (died circa 155), tenth Bishop of Rome: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Olga of Kiev (circa 890-969, A.K.A. Helena), Queen of Kievan Rus', Isapóstolos ("equal-to-the-apostles") in Eastern Christianity: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

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

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel, Jesus directs his disciples to "ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest," to pray for evangelists to rescue the lost. But what precisely does it mean to evangelize?

Euangelion (glad tidings) was a familiar word in the culture of the New Testament authors. When the emperor or one of his generals won a battle, he would send evangelists ahead to announce the glad tidings.

The first Christians were being edgy when they adapted the word to their purposes. They were saying that the definitive battle had indeed been won, but that it had nothing to do with Caesar and his armies. It had to do with the victory that God had won in Christ over sin and death.

Jesus went into the belly of the beast, into the heart of our dysfunction, to the limits of godforsakenness, and he defeated the dark powers. He demonstrated that the divine love is greater than our greatest enemies.

This evangelical message entails, too, that there is a new king, a new emperor. Christ, the victor over sin and death, must be the center of your life.
Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Benedict
The Book of Proverbs, chapter two, verses one thru nine;
Psalm Thirty-four, verse two;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter nineteen, verses twenty-seven, twenty-eight, & twenty-nine.

The Rebel Black Dot Girlfriend Song o' the Day

Avril Lavigne, "Girlfriend" from The Best Damn Thing (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: My intention with this "girlfriend" series of R.B.D.S.O.T.D. is neither malicious nor directed at/against Miss Mozart, not even passive-aggressively, but I will concede that even so it makes me perhaps the world's worst boyfriend.
"She's like, so whatever,
And you could do so much better,
I think we should get together now,
And that's what everyone's talking about.

"Hey! Hey! You! You!
I don't like your girlfriend,
No way! No way!
I think you need a new one,
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I could be your girlfriend!

"Hey! Hey! You! You!
I know that you like me,
No way! No way!
You know it's not a secret,
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I want to be your girlfriend!…"

Bonus! Song o' Staying Up Too Late Writing an E-Mail

Fountains of Wayne, "Michael and Heather at the Baggage Claim" from Traffic and Weather (The Last Angry Man)

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Girlfriend Song o' the Day

No Doubt, "Ex-Girlfriend" from Return of Saturn (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"Why'd you have to go and pick me
When you knew that we were different, completely?…

"I find myself trying to change you,
If you were meant to be my lover, I wouldn't have to…

"And I know that when see you I'm going to die,
I know I'm gonna want you and you know why,
It's going to kill me to see you with the next girl
'Cause I'm the most gorgeously jealous kind of ex-girl,
But I should have thought of that before we kissed.

"I kinda always knew I'd end up your ex-girlfriend,
I kinda always knew I'd end up your ex-girlfriend,
I hope I hold a special place with the rest of them,
I kinda always knew I'd end up your ex-girlfriend.

"I'm another ex-girlfriend on your list,
But I should have thought of that before we kissed,
I'm another ex-girlfriend on your list,
But I should have thought of that before we kissed."

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saints Victoria, Anatolia, & Audax, Martyrs (died circa 250), martyred in the reign of the emperor Decius: Martyr-link Victor, Martyr-link Alpha-November, Martyr-link Alpha-Uniform, & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Canute, Martyr (circa 1043-1086, A.K.A. King Canute IV of Denmark, the Holy; also spelt Knut), martyred by mutinous Vikings: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Book of Genesis, chapter twenty-eight, verses ten thru twenty-two(a);
Psalm Ninety-one, verses one & two, three & four, & fourteen & fifteen(a,b);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter nine, verses eighteen thru twenty-six.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, the centerpiece of our Gospel today is the story of the hemorrhaging woman. To get at the power of the Gospel, we have to re-acquaint ourselves with the Jewish attitudes regarding the clean and the unclean. In the book of Leviticus we find carefully laid out prescriptions, dealing with animals, plants, foods, and situations that are unclean. These prescriptions were meant to identify the Jewish people as a people. But they had a rather severe downside, since they placed certain people in extremely difficult situations.

Having a flow of blood for twelve years meant that for that entire period the woman in our Gospel was a virtual pariah. Anyone with whom she came in contact would be considered unclean. She couldn't participate in the ordinary life of her society.

She touches Jesus and should have rendered him unclean. But so great is her faith, that her touch, instead, renders her clean. Jesus effectively restores her to full participation in her community.

The most important outcome is this: Jesus implicitly puts an end to the ritual code of Leviticus. The identity of the new Israel, the Church, would not be through ritual behaviors but through imitation of him.
Bible Study—The Bible Timeline: Egypt & Exodus, Part 2
The Book of Exodus, chapter thirty-two (verses one thru thirty-five);
The Book of Exodus, chapter thirty-three (verses one thru twenty-three);
The Book of Exodus, chapter thirty-four (verses one thru thirty-five);
The Book of Exodus, chapter forty (of forty; verses one thru thirty-eight);
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twelve, verses sixteen thru thirty-four;
The Letter to the Hebrews, chapter nine, verses three, four, & five;
The Book of Revelation, chapter eleven, verse nineteen & chapter twelve, verses one thru nine.

Commentary: The Golden Calf (Exodus, 32:1-29), the Atonement (32:30-33:6), Moses's Intimacy with God (33:7-23), Renewal of the Tablets (34:1-9), Religious Laws (34:10-26), Radiance of Moses's Face (34:27-35), Erection of the Dwelling (40:1-33), & God's Presence in the Dwelling (40:34-38); Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke, 12:16-21) & Dependence on God (12:22-34); excerpt from the Worship of the First Covenant (Hebrews, 9:3-5); & excerpts from the Seventh Trumpet (Revelation, 11:19) & the Woman & the Dragon (12:1-9).

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLVII

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Arab Revolt, Part II
6 July 1917: The Battle of Aqaba—With Emir Faisal's Hashemite Arab forces unable to seize Medina, still fiercely defended by the Ottomans, Lawrence convinced the Arabs to assault Aqaba, the Turks' last port on the Red Sea, both relieving a threat to the flank of the Desert Column besieging Gaza & allowing the British to supply & equip the Arabs as the latter advanced northward toward Damascus.





Lest we forget.

Commentary: Like so much else in the acclaimed film Lawrence of Arabia, the depiction of the assault on Aqaba is essentially inaccurate, though undeniably entertaining.

Project BLACK MAMBA: XIV Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Book of Zechariah, chapter nine, verses nine & ten;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-five, verses one & two, eight & nine, ten & eleven, & thirteen & fourteen;
The Letter to the Romans, chapter eight, verses nine, eleven, twelve, & thirteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eleven, verses twenty-five thru thirty.

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

Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
In our Gospel today, the king says, "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest." He is identifying every person who feels put upon by the world: economic worries, physical suffering, deep injustice, the death of a husband or wife, or the fear of your own death. You surely know what he's referring to—we all do.

What is the answer? The answer is submitting to his kingship. "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me." We are meant to imagine ourselves as pack animals. It seems rather demeaning, but this is what submission to Christ's lordship looks like: we serve his purposes and go where he wants us to go.

Is Christ commanding your life in every detail? Is he the Lord of your family life? Of your recreational life? Of your professional life? Of your sexuality? Of your friendships? Are you totally given over to him, under his lordship?

I know that this is starting to sound oppressive, but remember, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." When we surrender to the path of love which he has laid out for us, our lives become infinitely lighter, easier, more joyful, for we are moving with the divine purpose.
Mass Journal: Week 28
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
A man's work may be to collect the trash, but if he does it well, & hour by hour turns to God in his heart & says, Father, I offer You this hour of work as a prayer for my neighbor Karen, who is struggling with cancer… or in thanksgiving for my wife & children, then he has truly discovered & is living the words "pray constantly" (1 Thessalonians, 5:17). He has transformed an hour of work into an hour of prayer. Through his work he has grown in intimacy with God & neighbor, & he has become a better-version-of-himself (sic). The attitude with which we approach our work is crucial. The transformation of ordinary activities into prayer is the very essence of the inner life. Every activity of our day can lead us to experience God. Learn to foster the interior life in this way & will you will a life uncommon in the midst of common circumstances.

Otherwise, 9 July would be the festival of Saint Nicolaas Pieck, Priest (O.F.M.), & Companions, Martyrs (died 1572), A.K.A. the 19 Martyrs of Gorkum, martyred by Calvinist heretics, specifically the Watergeuzen pirates: Martyr-link November Papa & Wikipedia-link November Papa; Martyrs-link XIX & Wikipedia-link XIX.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Augustine Zhao Rong, Priest, & Companions, Martyrs (died 1648-1930), A.K.A. the 120 Martyrs of China, including Saint Gregorio Grassi, Bishop & Martyr, O.F.M.; martyred in the reign of the imperial Qing dynasty, during the Boxer Rebellion, & in the reign of the Kuomintang "Nationalists:" Martyr-link Alpha Zulu Romeo; Martyrs-link CXX ūnus, Martyrs-link CXX duo, & Wikipedia-link CXX; & Martyr-link Golf Golf ūnus, Martyr-link Golf Golf duo, & Wikipedia-link Golf Golf.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Many more Christians than these one hundred twenty were martyred in China, especially during the convulsion of the Boxer Rebellion. A number of Protestants of all denominations (the precise number known only to God) are remembered as the China Martyrs of 1900: Wikipedia-link 1900. Our Orthodox brethren also recognize 222 Holy Chinese Martyrs from 1900, exemplified by the priest & martyr Metrophanes (A.K.A. Chi Sung): Wikipedia-link CCXXII.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Veronica Giuliani, Abbess, O.S.C. Cap. (1660-1727), stigmatist: Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.