Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Explorers' Club, № DCLXX

Operation AXIOM: After the World War
23-30 January 1919: The Polish-Czechoslovak War—While the nascent Polish republic was occupied fighting the Germans in the west & the Ukrainians in the east, Czechoslovak Legions that had served the Entente in France & Italy attacked Cieszyn Silesia, crossing the River Vistula; a ceasefire was imposed by the Supreme War Council in Paris before the Czechoslovakians could conquer Skoczów.





Lest we forget.

Saints + Scripture

'Tis the Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest (1815-1888, "Don Bosco"), founder of the Salesians of Don Bosco (S.D.B.), A.K.A. the Salesian Society, formally the Society of Saint Francis de Sales; the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (F.M.A.), A.K.A. the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco; & the Association of Salesian Cooperators (A.S.C.); developer of the Salesian Preventive System; & publisher of the Salesian Bulletin: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link S.D.B., Wikipedia-link F.M.A., & Wikipedia-link A.S.C.; & Wikipedia-link System & Wikipedia-link Bulletin.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Son of Venerable Margherita Occhiena Bosco. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He was an Italian Roman Catholic priest, educator, & writer of the nineteenth century. While working in Turin, where the population suffered many of the ill-effects of industrialization & urbanization, he dedicated his life to the betterment & education of street children, juvenile delinquents, & other disadvantaged youth.
Anno domini 1888, the year St. John Bosco died, is my very favorite Roman numeral, especially when carved, as into a cornerstone or a façade: MDCCCLXXXVIII.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Marcella, Religious & Confessor (325-410): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Áedan of Ferns, Bishop (circa 550-632; also spelt Aiden, Anglicized as Hugh; Máedóc, Anglicized as Mogue; etc.): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Ludovica Albertoni, T.O.S.F. (circa 1473-1533, the "Mother of the Poor;" A.K.A. Louisa Albertoni Cetera): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary Bernini's famous funerary sculpture, Blessed Ludovica Albertoni, was carved more than a century after her death: Wikipedia-link Sculpture.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Francesco Saverio Bianchi, Priest, C.R.S.P. (1743-1815, Anglicized as Francis Xavier Bianchi): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Thursday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
The Letter to the Hebrews, chapter ten, verses nineteen thru twenty-five;
Psalm Twenty-four, verses one & two, three & four(a/b), & five & six;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter four, verses twenty-one thru twenty-five.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel shows how the light of Christ affects our lives. Well, light is wonderful in the measure that it illumines and brightens and delights. But light can also be disconcerting. Think of how bad most of us look in direct light! I discovered this while filming the CATHOLICISM series. I much prefer the indirect light that you can produce indoors. The full glare of the sun reveals every flaw, imperfection, and peculiarity of your face.

Think of what happens when you suddenly shine a light into a dark corner in your basement or down a lonely alley. The bugs and the vermin reveal themselves. Unsavory things scurry about for cover, afraid of the light.

When you invite Jesus into your life, you are inviting the light into your life. Again, this is wonderful, but it is also frightening. Jesus will shine his light in every corner of your life, in every room of your house. Things that look okay in the dark or in the indirect light will suddenly stand out in all of their unpleasantness.
Video reflection by Monsignor James C. Vlaun: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Mass Readings—Memorial of St. John Bosco
The Letter to the Philippians, chapter four, verses four thru nine;
Psalm One Hundred Three, verses one(b/c) & two, three & four, eight & nine, thirteen & fourteen, & seventeen & eighteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eighteen, verses one thru five.

Scripture Study—Exodus 90: Day 11
The Book of Exodus, chapter five, verses one thru four.

Commentary: Bricks without Straw (Exodus, 5:1-4).

The Imitation of Christ
Book I: Useful Admonitions for the Spiritual Life
Chapter 16: "On Bearing with the Defects of Others"
Chapter 17: "On the Religious Life"

Papal Quote o' the Day
"The Church is the unifying effect of the love of Christ for us. She can herself be considered a ;living sign, a Sacrament of unity & of love. To love is her mission."
—Pope St. Paul VI (1897-1978, feast day: 26 September)
Little Flower Quote o' the Day
"If heavenly grace & true charity come in, there shall be no envy or narrowness of heart, nor shall self-love keep its hold. For divine charity overcomes all, & dilates all the powers of the soul."
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"At the Vatican Council, there was the discussion about the world. I remember one of the bishops from Belgium arose & made the proper distinction between the two uses of the word 'world' in scripture. The word 'world' can mean the theater of the redemption, & in that sense it is good: 'God so loved the world.' But the world also means a spirit, an organization without God. So our Lord said, 'I have taken you out of the world. Therefore the world will hate you.' 'I pray not for the world,' He said. But there was a confusion. And the result is that today we have lost many of our faithful & our priests & our sisters, not because of Christological heresy, nor because of persecution. The Lord has been very good to us; the only test He gave us was: 'Will you become secular, will you leave?'"
—Venerable Fulton J. Sheen (1895-1979)

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Saints + Scripture

'Tis the festival of Saint Felix IV, Pope (died 530, truly Felix III), fifty-fourth (LIV) Bishop of Rome: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Pontiff.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. The numbering of the Popes Felix is a fiasco. Pope St. Felix I [30 December] reigned in the third century; Antipope Felix II pretended in the fourth, & his memory is sometimes conflated with a faithful martyr, Felix [29 July], accounting for the miscounting; Pope St. Felix III [1 March] was the truly only the second Pope Felix; & Pope St. Felix IV [30 January] was truly only the third Pope Felix. To further muddy the already murky waters, a fifteenth century antipope styled himself Felix V.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Hyacintha of Mariscotti, Virgin, T.O.R. (1585-1640 A.K.A. Clarice Mariscotti), foundress of the Oblates of Mary: Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duæ, & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Columba Marmion, Priest & Abbot, O.S.B. (1858-1923, A.K.A. Joseph Aloysius Marmion): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Abbey.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Zygmunt Pisarki, Priest & Martyr (1902-1943, also spelt Sigismondo, Segismundo), martyred in the reign of the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, one of the One Hundred Eight Blessed Polish Martyrs: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link (List, № 78); Martyrs-link CVIII & Wikipedia-link CVIII.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Wednesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
The Letter to the Hebrews, chapter ten, verses eleven thru eighteen;
Psalm One Hundred Ten, verses one, two, three, & four;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter four, verses one thru twenty.

Commentary: 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 began to teach by the sea and that a very large crowd gathered around him. This is Jesus speaking to the whole world.

He then presents the parable of the sower: A sower goes out to sow, and as he sows, some of the seed falls on the path, where the birds eat it up; some falls on rocky ground, where it is scorched in the sun; some falls among thorns, where its life is choked off; and some falls on rich soil, where it bears fruit—thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.

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.
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Scripture Study—Exodus 90: Day 10
The Book of Exodus, chapter four, verses eighteen thru thirty-one.

Commentary: Moses Returns to Egypt (Exodus, 4:18-31).

The Imitation of Christ
Book I: Useful Admonitions for the Spiritual Life
Chapter 14: "On Avoiding Hasty Judgments"
Chapter 15: "On Works Done from the Motive of Charity"

Papal Quote o' the Day
"Christ desires to be newly present to this contemporary world with all the explosive force of His Mystery of love. He wishes to meet the people of today through teachers who are true educators, drawn by Christ."
—Pope St. John Paul II the Great (1920-2005, feast day: 22 October)
Little Flower Quote o' the Day
"God has given me the grace to understand the mysterious depths of charity."
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"We must speak with our hands before we try to speak with our lips."
—St. Peter Claver (1580-1654, feast day: 9 September)

Operation ÖSTERREICH: Exodus 90, Day 10

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 340.4 lbs
This weigh-in: 331.2 lbs.
Difference: -9.2 lbs.

"Boy, that escalated quickly…"

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Saints + Scripture

The Popish Plot
G. K. Chesterton's The Defendant: "China Shepherdesses"

'Tis the festival of Saint Sulpitius Severus, Priest (circa 363-425): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Sulpitius the Severe, Bishop (died 591, A.K.A. Sulpitius I of Bourges), who attended the Synod of Mâcon (585): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Synod.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Dallán Forgaill, Martyr (circa 530-598), martyred by pirates during a raid on the Inishkeel monastery, author of the hymn "Rop tú mo Baile" ("Be Thou My Vision") & the elegy "Amra Coluim Chille" ("Elegy of Saint Columba"): Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Inishkeel, Wikipedia-link Hymn, & Wikipedia-link Elegy.

We also remember Servant of God Juniper, Religious, O.F.M. (died 1258, the "renowned jester of the Lord"): Servant-link ūnus, Servant-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Francis Taylor, Martyr (circa 1550-1621, A.K.A. Proinnsias Táiliúr), Lord Mayor of Dublin, martyred in the reign of the Anglo-Scottish king James VI & I, one of the Irish Martyrs: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link Irish & Wikipedia-link Irish.

Commentary: Grandson-in-law of the martyr Bl. Margaret Ball [20 June].

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Tuesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
The Letter to the Hebrews, chapter ten, verses one thru ten;
Psalm Forty, verses two & four(a/b), seven & eight(a), ten, & eleven;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter three, verses thirty-one thru thirty-five.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus identifies us as his disciples. So what do we discover about ourselves? First, that we are a chosen race. As I’ve said many times, our culture puts a huge premium on choice, our choice, personal choice. We care, above all, about freedom, self-direction, and autonomy.

But the Bible is eminently clear that what matters above all is not our choice but God’s choice. We Christians, we followers of Jesus, have been chosen by God for God’s purposes. And this choice is not a matter of reward, as though we are being singled out because of our gifts. Just the contrary.

Your life is not about you. Your will nestles in an infinitely higher will. Your mind is an ingredient in an infinitely more capacious mind. And so the primary question of your life is not, "What do I want?" but rather, "What does God want?"
Video reflection by Father David Baker: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Scripture Study—Exodus 90: Day 9
The Book of Exodus, chapter four, verses ten thru seventeen.

Commentary: God Gives Moses Help for His Mission (cont'd; Exodus, 4:10-17).

The Imitation of Christ
Book I: Useful Admonitions for the Spiritual Life
Chapter 13: "On Resisting Temptation"

Papal Quote o' the Day
"Abortion isn't a lesser evil, it's a crime. Taking one life to save another, that's what the Mafia does. It's a crime. It's an absolute evil."
—Pope Francis (born 1936, reigning since 2013)
Little Flower Quote o' the Day
"Do not imagine that love can be found without suffering, for we carry with us our human nature; & yet, what a source of merit it is!"
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"It must be borne in mind that to proceed gradually is the law of life in all its expressions. Therefore, in human institutions, too, it is not possible to renovate for the better except by working from within them, gradually."
—Pope St. John XXIII (1881-1963, feast day: 11 October)

Monday, January 28, 2019

Saints + Scripture

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest & Doctor of the Church, O.P. (1225-1247, the "Dumb Ox" & the "Great Synthesizer"), author of the Summa contra Gentiles & the Summa Theologiae, et al.: Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Doctors-link & Wikipedia-link Doctors; Wikipedia-link Summa contra Gentiles & Wikipedia-link Summa Theologiae.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He was an Italian Dominican friar, Catholic priest, & Doctor of the Church. He was an immensely influential philosopher, theologian, & jurist in the tradition of scholasticism, with which is is also known as the Doctor Angelicus ["Angelic Doctor"] & the Doctor Communis ["Common Doctor"—read: "Universal"].
Quoth Minute Meditations from the Popes:
God of wisdom, instruct me in Your ways. Help me dedicate myself to learning more about the Faith, so that like St. Thomas Aquinas my mind & heart may be united in Your love.
Wikipedia-link Scholasticism


'Tis also the festival of Blessed Charlemagne (742-814), King of the Franks, founder of the Carolingian Empire, formally the Empire of the Romans & Franks, as the inaugural Holy Roman Emperor; his reign spurred the Carolingian Renaissance: Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Empire, Wikipedia-link Emperor, & Wikipedia-link Renaissance.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Julian of Cuenca, Bishop (circa 1127-1208): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Joseph Freinademetz, Priest, S.V.D. (1852-1908): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Olympia Bida, Religious & Martyr (1903-1952, A.K.A. Olga Bida, Ohla Bida), martyred in the reign of the Communist dictator Joseph Stalin, one of the Martyrs Killed under Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link (List); Martyrs-link Eastern Europe.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Monday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
The Letter to the Hebrews, chapter nine, verses fifteen & twenty-four thru twenty-eight;
Psalm Ninety-eight, verses one, two & three(a/b), three(c/d) & four, & five & six;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter three, verses twenty-two thru thirty.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus is accused of being in league with Satan. Some of the witnesses said, "By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons."

Jesus’ response is wonderful in its logic and laconicism: "If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand."

The demonic power is always one of scattering. It breaks up communion. But Jesus, as always, is the voice of
communio, of one bringing things back together.

Think back to Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand. Facing a large, hungry crowd, his disciples beg him to "dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves." But Jesus answers, "There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves."

Whatever drives the Church apart is an echo of this "dismiss the crowds" impulse, and a reminder of the demonic tendency to divide. In times of trial and threat, this is a very common instinct. We blame, attack, break up, and disperse. But Jesus is right: "There is no need for them to go away."
Video reflection by Monsignor James Vlaun: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas
The Book of Wisdom, chapter seven, verses seven thru ten, fifteen, & sixteen;
Psalm One Hundred Nineteen, verse twelve;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-three, verses eight thru twelve.

Scripture Study—Exodus 90: Day X
The Book of Exodus, chapter four, verses one thru nine.

Commentary: God Gives Moses Help for His Mission (Exodus, 4:1-9).

The Imitation of Christ
Book I: Useful Admonitions for the Spiritual Life
Chapter 11: "On How to Acquire Peace & on the Desire to Improve"
Chapter 12: "On the Advantage of Not Having Everything Our Own Way"

Papal Quote o' the Day
"The way to the heart very often passes through the mind. Today, throughout the length & breadth of the Church there is need for a new effort of evangelization & catechesis directed to the mind."
—Pope St. John Paul II the Great (1920-2005, feast day: 22 October)
Little Flower Quote o' the Day
"My soul is at peace, for long ago I ceased to belong to myself!"
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"Non nisi te Domine." ("Nothing but You, Lord.")
—St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church (1225-1274, feast day: 28 January)

Operation AXIOM | The Stars My Destination


Thirty-three years ago to the day, 28 January 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger (OV-099) exploded during launch, killing her crew of seven: Commander Francis R. "Dick" Scobee, Pilot Michael Smith, Mission Specialist Ellison Onizuka, Mission Specialist Judith Resnik, Mission Specialist Ronald McNair, Payload Specialist Gregory Jarvis, & Payload Specialist Christa McAuliffe. Scobee, Onizuka, Resnik, & McNair had previously flown on the Space Shuttle; Smith, Jarvis, & McAuliffe were on their maiden spaceflights.

The disaster was caused by the failure of an O-ring on one of the Challenger's two Solid Rocket Boosters. The O-ring contractor had warned N.A.S.A. against launching in the unusually cold temperatures on the morning of 28 January, but N.A.S.A. overruled the contractor, whose senior management then relented, against their own engineers' concerns. The disaster was not only foreseeable, but foreseen. N.A.S.A. violated numerous of its own procedures in going ahead with the doomed launch.


The Challenger's mission, STS-51-L, which was to deploy a communications satellite & conduct observations of Halley's Comet, was more high profile than most Space Shuttle missions as 'twas the first flight of the Teacher in Space Project, with public schoolteacher Mrs. McAuliffe having been selected as an astronaut specifically for the ambitious educational outreach. She was to teach remotely from space via closed-circuit television. Your humble narrator was among the many schoolchildren around the country watching the launch live on television when the unthinkable happened. The Challenger disaster made a considerable impression on popular culture & was commemorated with an on-screen tribute at the beginning of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, released later in '86. Colonel Onizuka, the first Asian-American astronaut, had a shuttlecraft used in several episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation as a namesake.


The Space Shuttle Challenger exploded seventy-three seconds after liftoff, killing all seven of her crew, 28 January 1986, thirty-three years ago today.

The Wayback Machine Tour of the Challenger Disaster
Wayback Machine '18
Wayback Machine '17
Wayback Machine '16

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Explorers' Club, № DCLXIX

Operation AXIOM: After the World War
10 January 1919: The Free State of Bottleneck (Freistaat Flaschenhals) was proclaimed—After the Armistice, the Entente occupied Germany west of the Rhine & occupied circular bridgeheads east of the Rhine, isolating a sliver of the Wisper valley without road or rail links to the rest of the Weimar Republic; the micro-state issued currency, stamps, & passports, & persisted 'til 23 February 1923.





Lest we forget.

Operation AXIOM | The Stars My Destination


Fifty-two years ago to the day, 27 January 1967, the crew of the first manned Apollo mission, Apollo 1—Command Pilot Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, the second American to fly in space; Senior Pilot Edward H. "Ed" White II, the first American to conduct an Extravehicular Activity (E.V.A.) "spacewalk;" & Pilot Roger B. Chaffee, preparing for his first spaceflight—perished in a fire within their Command Module capsule, atop its Saturn IB rocket at Cape Kennedy's (as Cape Canaveral was then known) Launch Complex 34 for a launch rehearsal test. The fire, electrical in nature, was exacerbated by the many highly-flammable materials within the Command Module, as well as the Module's high-pressure, pure-oxygen atmosphere. The high atmospheric pressure also prevented the astronauts from evacuating their swiftly immolating craft, a fatal design flaw that was subsequently corrected on all subsequent Apollo Command Modules.


Grissom was one of the original "Mercury Seven" astronauts; his two successful spaceflights were Mercury-Redstone 4 (the Liberty Bell 7, which sank during recovery) & Gemini 3 (commanding the Molly Brown, the only named Gemini capsule—so named as a response to the sinking of the Liberty Bell 7). White, a University of Michigan alumnus, was among the "New Nine," Astronaut Group 2, & had previously flown aboard Gemini 4, spacewalking. Chaffee, a native Michigander, was selected in Astronaut Group 3, four of whom walked on the Moon.


The crew of Apollo 1 died in a catastrophic fire during a ground test that had not been considered hazardous, 27 January 1967, fifty-two years ago today.

The Wayback Machine Tour of the Apollo 1 Disaster
Wayback Machine '18
Wayback Machine '17
"The Explorers' Club," No. XXXV (2007)

Saints + Scripture: III Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Book of Nehemiah, chapter eight, verses two, three, four(a), five, six, eight, nine, & ten;
Psalm Nineteen, verses eight, nine, ten, & fifteen;
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter twelve, verses twelve thru thirty
(or, the First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter twelve, verses twelve, thirteen, fourteen, & twenty-seven);
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verses one thru four & chapter four, verses fourteen thru twenty-one.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel recounts Jesus’ inaugural address in his hometown synagogue. Jesus reads words from the prophet Isaiah that he felt best summed up who he was and what his mission was. Therefore it behooves us to listen carefully.

Jesus first says, "The spirit of the Lord is upon me." The
Ruach Yahweh, the breath of God, the spirit that hovered over the surface of the waters at the beginning of time, the life energy of God—this is what has seized and animated Jesus.

Animated by the
Ruach Yahweh, what does Jesus do? He brings "glad tidings to the poor," "liberty to captives," and "recovery of sight to the blind." In other words, he brings God’s love to those who are marginalized by injustice, freedom to those who are imprisoned in sin, and healing to those whose very self has been broken.

After the Paschal Mystery and Resurrection, he breathed on his disciples, communicating to them something of this spirit—and drawing them into this mission.
Video reflection by Father Greg Friedman, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Video reflection by Father Claude Burns (uCatholic): Weekend Reflection with Father Pontifex.

Audio reflection by Scott Hahn, Ph.D. (St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology): Breaking the Bread.


Scripture Study—Exodus 90: Day 7
The Book of Exodus, chapter three, verses seven thru twenty-two.

Commentary: Moses & the Burning Bush (cont'd; Exodus, 3:7-22).

Mass Journal: Week Nine
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
I believe God wants us to be happy. I believe God gave us this yearning for happiness that constantly preoccupies our hearts. It seems He has placed this yearning within each human heart as a spiritual navigational instrument designed to lead us to our destiny. God himself is the author of our desire for happiness. The philosophy of Christ is the ultimate philosophy of human happiness. It isn't just a way of life; it is the way of life. At the same time, the philosophy of Christ is one of self-donation. This is the great paradox of God's teaching. In our misguided adventures, we may catch glimpses of happiness as we live outside of the philosophy of Christ. You may even taste happiness for a moment living a life contrary to the philosophy of Christ, but these are stolen moments. They may seem real, but they are just shadows of something infinitely greater.


Otherwise, 27 January would be the festival of Saint Julian of Le Mans, Bishop (floruit third century), the relic of whose head is kept at the Cathedral of Saint Julian of Le Mans: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Cathedral.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Devota, Martyr (died circa 303), martyred in the reign of the Roman emperors Diocletian & Maximian, a victim of the Great Persecution: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Persecution.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Natalis of Ulster, Abbot (died 564, A.K.A. Naal, Naile): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Vitalian, Pope (died 672), seventy-sixth (LXXVI) Bishop of Rome: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Pontiff.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Angela Merici, Virgin, C.S.U. (1474-1540), foundress of the Angelines, formally the Secular Institute of Saint Angela Merici (historically, the Company of Saint Ursula [C.S.U.]), out of which grew the Ursulines, formally the Order of Saint Ursula (O.S.U.): Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duæ, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link C.S.U. & Wikipedia-link O.S.U.


'Twould also be the festival of Blessed Paul Joseph Nardini, Priest, T.O.S.F. (1821-1862), founder of the Nardini Sisters (A.K.A. the Mallersdorfer Sisters), formally the Poor Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Family: Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Sisters.

Papal Quote o' the Day
"As people, we are meant to have human joys: the joy of living, the joy of love & friendship, the joy of work well done. As Christians, we have cause for further joy: like Jesus, we know that we are loved by God our Father."
—Pope St. John Paul II the Great (1920-2005, feast day: 22 October)
Little Flower Quote o' the Day
"We can lean on nothing but Our Lord, for He alone is immutable."
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"Another reason for praying the holy hour is that we need power. Power is born of silence & presence. As the Psalmist put it: 'Be still and know that I am God.' In Prayer we shrug off the burdens of the world. We come in & spend an hour with the Lord & talk to Him & listen & develop our senses of hearing & seeing & touching. Hearing: not doing all the talking, 'Speak, Lord thy servant heareth.' Not listen, Lord, thy servant speaketh. And the Lord does talk to us.

"Seeing: 'The things that are temporal are seen,' says Paul. We have a different vision before the Blessed Sacrament. Remember the priest & the Levite that passed by the wounded man on the road to Jerusalem. They did not want to see him because seeing created responsibility. There will be a shrinking from the Blessed Sacrament whenever there is not a good spiritual attitude in the soul. But when we heighten our spiritual vision, then we're doing something that the apostles had to do. They had to see beyond the veil of the flesh of our Lord in order to comprehend His Divinity. And we have to see behind the veil of the species of bread to see His Divinity as well. When we are used to seeing His Divinity through the species of bread, then we will be better at seeing the image of God in people.

"And finally, touch: touch is the mark of intimacy. Touch is communion. After many hours there begins to be a presence before the Eucharistic Lord, a deep sense of oneness with Christ. We are even reluctant at the end of many an hour to leave the Lord. Like the disciples of Emmaus we say, 'Stay with us Lord, the day is far spent."
—Venerable Fulton J. Sheen (1895-1979)

The R.B.D. Song o' the Lord's Day: III in Ordinary Time


Audrey Assad, "Good to Me" from Fortunate Fall (The Last Angry Saint)

Bonus! Song o' the Lord's Day

Matt Maher, "Gabriel's Message" from The Advent of Christmas (The Last Angry Saint)

Commentary: I awoke this morning with "Gabriel's Message" dancing through my head, especially the line "Most highly favored lady…;" so, I woke up happy as a beloved son of the Blessed Mother.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Saints + Scripture

'Tis the Memorial of Saints Timothy & Titus, Bishops (circa 17-97 & died circa 96), eponymous receipts of three epistles from Saint Paul the Apostle: Saints-link ūnus & Saints-link duo, Saint-link Timothy & Wikipedia-link Timothy, & Saint-link Titus & Wikipedia-link Titus; Wikipedia-link First Timothy, Wikipedia-link Second Timothy, & Wikipedia-link Titus.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth Minute Meditations from the Popes:
O Lord, Sts. Timothy & Titus taught the early Churches about the sanctity of family life. May they intercede for the members of my family to make them holy & filled with your peace.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Paula, Abbess (347-404, of Rome; A.K.A. the Widow), one of the Desert Mothers: Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duæ, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Mothers.

Commentary: Mother of Ss. Eustochium [28 September] & Blaesilla [22 January].

'Tis also the festival of Saint Alberic of Cîteaux, Abbot, O.Cist. (died 1109, A.K.A. Aubrey), prior of the Abbey of Molesme & the Abbey of Cîteaux, one of the founders of the Order of Cistercians (O.Cist.): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Molesme & Wikipedia-link Cîteaux; & Order-link O.Cist. & Wikipedia-link O.Cist.

'Tis also the festival of Saint José Gabriel del Rosario Brochero, Priest, T.O.S.D. (1840-1914, the "Gaucho Priest"): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Michał Kozal, Bishop & Martyr (1893-1943, also spelt Michaël), martyred in the reign of the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: This is not an accusation, merely a statement of my own puzzlement: I am at a loss to explain why Bl. Michał is not counted among the One Hundred Eight Blessed Polish Martyrs.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Saturday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
The Second Letter to Timothy, chapter one, verses one thru eight;
or, the Letter to Titus, chapter one, verses one thru five;
Psalm Ninety-six, verses one & two(a), two(b) & three, seven & eight(a), & ten;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter three, verses twenty & twenty-one.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel, relatives of Jesus claim that he is mad. You know, in cases like this, the basic problem is always the fearful ego. Ego-addicts know that sometimes the best defense is a good offense. If you want to protect the ego and its prerogatives, you must oppress and demoralize those around you.

There is a very unsubtle version of this method: you attack, put down, insult, and undermine those around you. This is the method of the bully. But the religious version is much subtler and thus more insidious and dangerous. It takes the law itself—especially the moral law—and uses it to accuse and oppress. “I know what’s right and wrong; I know what the Church expects of us; and I know that you are not living up to it.”

And so I accuse you; I gossip about you; I remind you of your inadequacy. Mind you, this is not to condemn the legitimate exercise of fraternal correction or the office of preaching. But it’s a reminder to not be sucked into the slavery of ego addiction. We must stay alert to this and avoid it at all costs.
Video reflection by Father Juan Molina, O.SS.T.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of Ss. Timothy & Titus
The Second Letter to Timothy, chapter one, verses one thru eight;
or, the Letter to Titus, chapter one, verses one thru five;
Psalm Ninety-six, verses one & two(a), two(b) & three, seven & eight(a), & ten;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter ten, verses one thru nine.

Scripture Study—Exodus 90: Day 6
The Book of Exodus, chapter three, verses one thru six.

Commentary: Moses & the Burning Bush (Exodus, 3:1-6).

The Imitation of Christ
Book I: Useful Admonitions for the Spiritual Life
Chapter 8: "On Avoiding Too Much Familiarity"
Chapter 9: "On Being Obedient & Submissive"
Chapter 10: "On Avoiding Superfluous Words"

Papal Quote o' the Day
"Marriage is a communion of life. It is the home. It is work. It is concern for the children. It is also joy & leisure in common."
—Pope St. John Paul II the Great (1920-2005, feast day: 22 October)
Little Flower Quote o' the Day
"I know that love strengthens every vocation, that love is everything, that it embraces all times & all places, because it is eternal."
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"The great battle the Church has to fight today is the affirmation of self. This stands in the way of God using us as an instrument. Look at the way the prophet Elisha handled a good woman who was suffering from considerable poverty. The wife of a member of the company of prophets appealed to Elisha:'My husband, your servant has died, & you know what a man he was. He feared the Lord, but a creditor has come to take my two boys as slaves.' Elisha said to her, 'How can I help you? Tell me what you have in the house.' 'Nothing at all,' she said, 'except a flask of oil.' 'Go out then,' he said, '& borrow vessels & pots from all your neighbors. Get as many empty ones as you can & when you come home, shut yourself in with your sons & pour from the flask into these vessels, & as they are filled, set them aside.' She left him & shut herself in with her sons, & they brought her the pots. She filled them, & when they were all full she said to one of her sons, 'Bring me another pot.' 'There is not one left,' he said. And the flow of the oil ceased. Why is it that some of us have more of Christ than others? Is it because Christ cannot get in? The more empty of self we are, the more he can fill us."
—Venerable Fulton J. Sheen (1895-1979)

Operation AXIOM: Yes, M!ch!gan!

Si Quæris Peninsulam Amœnam Circumspice
("If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you")
One hundred eighty-two years ago to the day, 26 January 1837, Michigan was admitted into the Union as the twenty-sixth state of these United States of America. Under the protocols of the Missouri Compromise of 1820, Michigan's admission as a free state balanced Arkansas's 1836 admission as the slave state. The Michigan Territory's state constitution was approved by a convention in 1835, but Congressional approval was delayed until after the resolution of a border dispute with the State of Ohio (admitted 1803), which saw the "Toledo Strip" awarded to Ohio & what is now called the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) given to Michigan as compensation.


Michigan is unique among the several states in being composed of two peninsulas (thus, the state motto at the top of this post). In addition to Michigan being surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes, there are almost sixty-five thousand lakes & ponds within these pleasant peninsulas. The name Michigan originates in an Ojibwe language word, mishigamaa, usually translated as "large water," & within the state one is never more than six miles from a natural water source (a lake, pond, or spring) nor more than eighty-five miles from a Great Lake.


Michigan was admitted to the Union, 26 January 1837, one hundred eighty-two years ago today.
Tuebor
("I will defend")
The Rebel Black Dot Song of Michigan
Jeff Daniels, "Michigan, My Michigan" from Live and Unplugged to Benefit the Purple Rose Theatre (The Last Angry Michigander)

The Wayback Machine Tour of Michigan's Statehood
181 Years—2018
180 Years—2017

Friday, January 25, 2019

Saints + Scripture: Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul

The Popish Plot
G. K. Chesterton's The Defendant: "Planets"

'Tis the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle (circa 36): Apostle-link ūnus, Apostle-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
One sentence determines Paul's theology: "I Am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting" (Acts, 9:5b). Jesus was mysteriously identified with people—the loving group of people Saul had been running down like criminals. Jesus, he saw, was the mysterious fulfillment of all he had been blindly pursuing.
Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle
The Acts of the Apostles, chapter twenty-two, verses three thru sixteen;
or, the Acts of the Apostles, chapter nine, verses one thru twenty-two;
Psalm One Hundred Seventeen, verses one(b/c) & two;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter sixteen, verses fifteen thru eighteen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today we reflect on the significance of the conversion of St. Paul. Paul’s encounter on the road to Damascus was an answer to this question: When would God gather the nations and through Israel bring his rule to the whole world? When Paul met Jesus he realized that the promises of God had been fulfilled, that the expectations of the prophets had been met—but in a most unexpected and extraordinary way.

He knew from his tradition that God, through Israel, would deliver the world from sin, gather the nations, and establish peace and justice everywhere. That was the hope. The usual version of that hope was something like an avenging military and political ruler like Solomon or David, or a great lawgiver and leader like Moses.

What Paul saw in Jesus was someone greater than Moses, Solomon, or David—and someone wholly unexpected. God is establishing his justice, his right order, his way, through a crucified and risen criminal, and now returned from the dead? Forgiveness, compassion, nonviolence, having no truck with the ways of death? This is God’s justice, and it judges all of the fallen powers and kingdoms of the world.
Video reflection by Monsignor John Halloran: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Scripture Study—Exodus 90: Day 5
The Book of Exodus, chapter two, verses eleven thru twenty-five.

Commentary: Moses Flees to Midian (Exodus, 2:11-25).

The Imitation of Christ
Book I: Useful Admonitions for the Spiritual Life
Chapter 6: "Concerning Inordinate Affections"
Chapter 7: "On False Confidence & Arrogance"

'Tis also the festival of Saint Ananias of Damascus, Martyr (floruit circa 36), whose house persists into these latter days: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link House.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Dwynwen, Hermit (died circa 460; also spelt Dwyn, Donwen, etc.), atop whose hermitage was later build Saint Dwynwen's Church (Welsh: Eglwys Santes Dwynwen); her feast, Dydd Santes Dwynwen, is now celebrated as a Welsh Valentine's Day: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Church & Wikipedia-link Love.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Poppo of Stavelot, Abbot, O.S.B. (circa 977-1048, A.K.A. of Deinze; also spelt Popon, Poppone), the "second founder" of the Imperial Abbey of Stavelot-Malmedy & later also abbot of the Imperial Abbey of Saint Maximin: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Stavelot-Malmedy & Wikipedia-link Saint Maximin's.

Papal Quote o' the Day
"Paul's conversion reminds us that a sincere change of heart is essential for the spiritual progress of individual Christians as well as for full unity among them. Only by a change of attitude & behavior toward one another can Christ's disciples remove the obstacles to such unity."
—Pope St. John Paul II the Great (1920-2005, feast day: 22 October)
Little Flower Quote o' the Day
"I wish to give all to Jesus, since He has shown me that He alone is perfect happiness."
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"There was a priest who had a high office in one diocese. He was removed from office principally because of alcoholism. He went to another diocese but continued to give scandal. He happened to come into a retreat when I was talking about the holy hour, & he made the holy hour from that time on. He died in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament a month or two later. He had been battling drunkenness for years. But he overcame it in the end because of the expulsive power of the new affection. He fell in love with the Lord. Why do we not have zeal? Simply because we're not in love. Once we're on fire we'll do anything. When we love the Lord, we want to be with Him. That is love's first effect."
—Venerable Fulton J. Sheen (1895-1979)

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Saints + Scripture

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop & Doctor of the Church, C.O., O.M., O.F.M. Cap. (1567-1622, the "Gentleman Saint"), author of the classic, Introduction to the Devout Life; co-founder of the Visitation Sisters, formally the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary (V.H.M.): Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, Doctor-link trēs, & Wikipedia-link; Doctors-link & Wikipedia-link Doctors; & Wikipedia-link Introduction, Order-link V.H.M., & Wikipedia-link V.H.M.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He became noted for his deep faith & his gentle approach to the religious divisions in his land resulting from the Protestant "Reformation." He is known also for his writings on the topic of spiritual direction & spiritual formation.
Quoth
Minute Meditations from the Popes:
O Lord, St. Francis de Sales spoke about how people can encounter You in the ordinary circumstances of their life. May his life & teachings call me to a greater commitment to spiritual growth.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Felician of Foligno, Bishop & Martyr (circa 158-250), martyred in the reign of the Roman emperor Decius, a victim of the Decian Persecution; first bishop to receive the pallium: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Persecution, Pallium-link, & Wikipedia-link Pallium.

'Tis also the festival of Blesseds William Ireland, Priest (S.J.) & John Grove, Martyrs (died 1679, A.K.A. William Ironmonger), martyred in the reign of the Anglo-Scottish king Charles II, victims of the perjurer Titus Oates's "Popish Plot" hoax: Martyr-link Whiskey India, Martyr-link Juliett Golf, & Wikipedia-link; Popish Plot-link & Wikipedia-link Popish Plot.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Marie Poussepin, Religious, T.O.S.D. (1653-1744), foundress of the Dominican Sisters of Charity of the Presentation: Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link; Order-link.

'Tis also the festival of the Martyrs of Pratulin (died 1874, A.K.A. the Martyrs of Podlasie), martyred in the reign of the Russian emperor Alexander II: Martyrs-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
The Letter to the Hebrews, chapter seven, verse twenty-five thru chapter eight, verse six;
Psalm Forty, verses seven & eight(a), eight(b) & nine, ten, & seventeen;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter three, verses seven thru twelve.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel we read about crowds coming to Jesus for healing and deliverance. We hear that people brought the sick from all over the region, as well as those troubled by unclean spirits.

Now, I realize that we today might be a bit skeptical of such miraculous healings. But it’s hard to deny that Jesus was known as a healer and a miracle worker. And there is abundant evidence that the performance of miracles was a major reason why the first preachers were taken seriously.

Have there been miracle workers and miraculous places up and down the centuries? Yes indeed. But the Church has customarily done this work through its hospitals and clinics, through figures such as John of God, Catherine of Siena, and Teresa of Calcutta. But the Church also serves through its sacraments, which heal sin-sick souls.

This is the apostolic dimension of the Church’s life, and without it, it would no longer be the Church. Parishes, parish priests, missionaries, servants of the poor and sick—the whole apostolic life of the Church is represented here.
Video reflection by Monsignor James C. Vlaun: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Francis de Sales
The Letter to the Ephesians, chapter three, verses eight thru twelve;
Psalm Thirty-seven, verse thirty(a);
The Gospel according to John, chapter fifteen, verses nine thru seventeen.

Scripture Study—Exodus 90: Day 4
The Book of Exodus, chapter two, verses one thru ten.

Commentary: Birth & Youth of Moses (Exodus, 2:1-10).

The Imitation of Christ
Book I: Useful Admonitions for the Spiritual Life
Chapter 4: "On Being Prudent in What We Accept & Do"
Chapter 5: "On the Reading of Holy Scripture"

Papal Quote o' the Day
"If you nourish your life with personal & liturgical prayer, if you are supported by the advise of a spiritual guide, you will not be afraid to face the world. On the contrary, you will face it with a calm, positive, & open mind."
—Pope St. John Paul II the Great (1920-2005, feast day: 22 October)
Little Flower Quote o' the Day
"I cherish the hope that one day Thou wilt swoop down upon me & carry me up until I am lost, a willing victim, in the fiery heart of the furnace of Love."
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"Have patience with all things—but first with yourself. Never confuse your mistakes with your value as a human being."
—St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church (1567-1622, feast day: 24 January)

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Saints + Scripture

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Vincent, Deacon & Martyr (died circa 304; of Saragossa, of Huesca), martyred in the reign of the Roman emperors Diocletian & Maximian, a victim of the Great Persecution: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Persecution.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
The Protomartyr of Spain, was a deacon of the Church of Saragossa. He is the patron saint of Lisbon & Valencia. He was born at Huesca & martyred under the Emperor Diocletian.
Wikipedia-link Archdiocese of Zaragoza


'Tis also the Optional Memorial of Saint Marianne Cope, Virgin, T.O.S.F. (1838-1918, of Moloka'i; baptized Maria Anna Barbara Koob, Anglicized as Cope upon immigration): Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duæ, & Wikipedia-link.


Commentary: Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Known also for her charitable works, in 1883 she relocated with six other sisters to Hawai'i to care for persons suffering [from] Hansen's Disease on the island of Moloka'i.
Wikipedia-link Moloka'i


'Tis also the festival of Saint Messalina of Foligno, Virgin & Martyr (died circa 251), martyred in the reign of the Roman emperor Decius, a victim of the Decian Persecution: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Persecution.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Ormond of Mairé, Abbot (floruit 587, also spelt Armand): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Ildephonsus of Toledo, Bishop & Abbot (circa 607-667; also spelt Hildefuns, Dexius), who participated in the Eighth Council of Toledo (653) & the Ninth Council of Toledo (655): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Council VIII & Wikipedia-link Council IX.

Commentary: The observance of the festival of the martyr Blessed Nikolaus Groß has been moved to 15 January. Groß was executed by the Nazi regime on 23 January 1945, but his festival observes the date he was sentenced to death, 15 January 1945: Wayback Machine — 15 January.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Wednesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
The Letter to the Hebrews, chapter seven, verses one, two, three, fifteen, sixteen, & seventeen;
Psalm One Hundred Ten, verses one, two, three, & four;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter three, verses one thru six.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel shows an angry Jesus healing a man with a withered hand. Whenever the Bible speaks of the divine anger, which it does a lot, it is talking poetically about God’s passion to set things right. God doesn’t go in and out of emotional states. He doesn’t fall into snits. He longs to establish justice on the earth and stands athwart those forces opposed to his purpose. This is precisely what Jesus does toward the Pharisees in today’s Gospel.

The episode concerns the idea of justice. Now, what is justice? I love Plato’s simple definition: justice is rendering to each his due. It is fairness, or, to use more biblical language, “righteousness.” It means doing the right thing. To state it negatively, it is not to cheat, not to take advantage of, not to deny someone his rights.

A steady teaching of the Bible is that God stands for justice and wants us to stand for it too. Jesus says, “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” These are words that have inspired social reformers from William Wilberforce to William Lloyd Garrison to Martin Luther King to John Paul II. Let’s reflect on them today.
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Vincent
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter four, verses seven thru fifteen;
Psalm Thirty-four, verses two & three, four & five, six & seven, & eight & nine;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter ten, verses seventeen thru twenty-two.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Marianne Cope
The Book of Tobit, chapter twelve, verses six thru fourteen(a);
Psalm Thirty-four, verse two;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses thirty-one thru forty-six
(or, the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses thirty-one thru forty).

Scripture Study—Exodus 90: Day 3
The Book of Exodus, chapter one, verses fifteen thru twenty-two.

Commentary: The Israelites Are Oppressed by the Egyptians (cont'd; Exodus, 1:15-22).

The Imitation of Christ
Book I: Useful Admonitions for the Spiritual Life
Chapter 3: "On the Teaching of Truth"

Papal Quote o' the Day
"Sorrow is an isolated thing in the natural world. For Jesus, however, it is part of an encounter. Thus, those of you who are sick, who are unfortunate, who are dying may lack all things, but not Jesus on the Cross. He is with you. He is indeed with you."
—Pope St. John Paul II the Great (1920-2005, feast day: 22 October)
Little Flower Quote o' the Day
"In the heart of the Church, my vocation is love."
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"This mystery [the Assumption of Mary] is given to us so that… a divine light might be shed on our death."
—Servant of God Romano Guardini (1885-1968)

Operation ÖSTERREICH: Exodus 90, Day 3

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 334.6 lbs. (Wednesday, 19 December 2018)
This weigh-in: 340.4 lbs.
Difference: +5.8 lbs.

First came the feast, now comes the fast. Under the Exodus 90 protocols, both Wednesdays & Fridays are fast days, & between-meal snacking is prohibited throughout the ninety-day exercise. "Regular, intense [physical] exercise" is also one of the Exodus 90 disciplines; this has long been the single most neglected part of the overall ÖSTERREICH picture.


The lowest documented weight during this iteration of Operation ÖSTERREICH was achieved on 26 September 2018, seventeen weeks hence: three hundred twenty-five & three-fifths pounds (325.6 lbs.), just shy of fifteen pounds lighter than today's three hundred forty & two-fifths pounds (340.4 lbs.). Fifteen pounds gained (+14.8 lbs.) in seventeen weeks, when the ostensible aim was to drop thirty-four pounds (-34 lbs.). For the sake of the Kingdom—& I pray, not for the sake of vanity—I must learn to enjoy, rather than dread, rumblings of emptiness from my stomach.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Saints + Scripture: Complex Editions

I've retroactively complicated the several "Simplex Editions" of the daily "Saints + Scripture" post from earlier this month. I thank ye for your patience & loyalty as an audience.

Wayback Machine — 11 January, Friday after Epiphany

Wayback Machine — 12 January, Saturday after Epiphany

Wayback Machine — 13 January, Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Wayback Machine — 17 January, Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Saints + Scripture: Legal Protection of Unborn Children

The Popish Plot
Our Patrons: "Quack Quack Honk, Thanks!!"
&
G. K. Chesterton's The Defendant: "NoNSeNSe

'Tis the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children: U.S.C.C.B.-link & 9 Days for Life-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
The over fifty-six million (56,000,000) abortions since the 1973 decisions of Roe v. Wade & Doe v. Bolton reflect with heartbreaking magnitude what Pope Francis means by a "throwaway culture." However, we have great trust in God's providence. We believe that our prayers are heard.
Quoth the missalette:
The Bishops of the United States have designated today as a day of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life & of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion.

9 Days for Life Novena
Day One: May a culture of life grow ever stronger in our communities.

Day Two: May all people embrace the truth that every life is a good & perfect gift & is worth living.

Day Three: May all who have experienced sexual abuse receive justice, healing, & God’s peace.

Day Four: May God’s peace fill the hearts of all who travel upon the path of adoption.

Day Five: May each person suffering from the loss of a child through abortion find hope & healing in Christ.

Day Six: May all victims & survivors of human trafficking find freedom, refuge, & healing.

Day Seven: May those who long to welcome a child into their family be filled with trust in God’s loving plan.

Day Eight: May those nearing life’s end receive medical care that respects their dignity & protects their lives.

Day Nine: May the tragic practice of abortion come to an end.


'Tis also the festival of Saint Bertwald of Ramsbury, Bishop, O.S.B. (died 1045; also spelt Brithwald, etc.; A.K.A. of Glastonbury, of Sarum): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed William Patenson, Priest & Martyr (died 1592), martyred in the reign of the English queen Elizabeth I, one of the Martyrs of Douai: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link Douai & Wikipedia-link Douai.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Guillaume-Joseph Chaminade, Priest, S.M. (1761-1850, Anglicized as William Joseph Chaminade), founder of the Marianists, formally the Society of Mary: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link S.M.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
The Letter to the Hebrews, chapter six, verses ten thru twenty;
Psalm One Hundred Eleven, verses one & two, four & five, & nine & ten(c);
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter two, verses twenty-three thru twenty-eight.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus calls us to recognize him as Lord. Acknowledging the Lordship of Jesus means that your life has to change. For many this is liberating good news. But for others, it is a tremendous threat. If Jesus is Lord, my ego can’t be Lord. My religion can’t be Lord. My country, my convictions, and my culture cannot be Lord.

The Resurrection is the clearest indication of the Lordship of Jesus. This is why the message of the Resurrection is attacked, belittled, or explained away. The author of Acts speaks of "violent abuse" hurled at Paul. I have a small taste of this on my YouTube forums. We all should expect it, especially when our proclamation is bold.

This reveals a great mystery: we are called to announce the Good News to everyone, but not everyone will listen. Once we’ve done our work, we should move on and not obsess about those who won’t listen. Why do some respond and some don’t? We don’t know, but that’s ultimately up to God.
Video reflection by Sister Peggy Gorman, R.S.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Commentary: Quoth the missalette:
The following readings are suggested from among the many options.
Mass Readings—Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children
The Book of Isaiah, chapter thirty-two, verses fifteen thru eighteen;
Confer Psalm Seventy-two, verse seven;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses one thru twelve(a).

Scripture Study—Exodus 90: Day 2
The Book of Exodus, chapter one, verses eight thru fourteen.

Commentary: The Israelites Are Oppressed by the Egyptians (Exodus, 1:8-14).

The Imitation of Christ
Book I: Useful Admonitions for the Spiritual Life
Chapter 2: "On Having a Humble Opinion of Oneself"

Papal Quote o' the Day
"You must understand that faithful service to Christ & His Church will not always earn you the world's praise. On the contrary, you will sometimes receive the same treatment as the Lord: rejection, contempt, & even persecution."
—Pope St. John Paul II the Great (1920-2005, feast day: 22 October)
Little Flower Quote o' the Day
"Jesus, it seems to me you could not have overwhelmed a soul with more love than you have poured out on mine."
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death, & I shall help you then more effectively than during my life."
—St. Dominic (1170-1221, feast day: 8 August)

Monday, January 21, 2019

Saints + Scripture

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Agnes, Virgin & Martyr (circa 291-304, of Rome, A.K.A. Ines), martyred in the reign of the Roman emperors Diocletian & Maximian, a victim of the Great Persecution; martyred at the site of the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone & buried in the Catacombs of Saint Agnes, atop which sits the basilica of Sant'Agnese fuori le mura: Martyr-link ūna, Martyr-link duæ, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Persecution; & Wikipedia-link in Agone, Wikipedia-link Catacombs, & Wikipedia-link Outside the Walls.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
When the Diocletian[ic] Persecution was at its height, & when priests as well as laymen were apostatizing from the faith, Agnes, a girl of twelve, freely chose to die for Christ. When she was commanded to offer incense to false gods, she raised her hand to Christ & made the Sign of the Cross.
Wikipedia-link Sign of the Cross


'Tis also the festival of Saint Publius of Malta, Bishop & Martyr (circa 20-112, A.K.A. of Athens), martyred in the reign of the Roman emperor Trajan: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Bríga of Kilbride, Abbess (floruit sixth century; also spelt Brigid, A.K.A. of Killbrige), foundress of the monastery at Oughter Ard: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Monastery.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Meinrad of Einsiedeln, Priest & Martyr, O.S.B. (circa 797-861, the "Martyr of Hospitality;" A.K.A. of Reichenau) martyred by brigands who beat him to death once they discovered he possessed nothing worth stealing: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Edward Stransham, Priest & Martyr (circa 1557-1586), martyred in the reign of the English queen Elizabeth I, one of the Martyrs of Douai: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyr-link Douai & Wikipedia-link Douai.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Alban Roe, Priest & Martyr, O.S.B. (1583-1642), martyred in the reign of the Anglo-Scottish king Charles I, one of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyr-link XL & Wikipedia-link XL.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
The Letter to the Hebrews, chapter five, verses one thru ten;
Psalm One Hundred Ten, verses one, two, three, & four;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter two, verses eighteen thru twenty-two.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel people ask Jesus why he doesn’t encourage fasting among his followers. Jesus’ answer is wonderful: “How can the guests at a wedding fast while the groom is still with them?” (That’s a typically Jewish style, by the way: answering a question with another question.)

This great image of the wedding feast comes up frequently in the New Testament, most obviously in the wedding feast at Cana narrative. And it is echoed in the Tradition. Jesus is the wedding of heaven and earth, the marriage of divinity and humanity; he is the bridegroom and the Church is the bride. In him, the most intimate union is achieved between God and the world.

Could you imagine people fasting at a wedding banquet? Could you imagine going into an elegant room with your fellow guests and being served bread and water? It would be ridiculous! So says Jesus: “As long as the groom is with them, how could they fast?” The mark of the Christian dispensation is joy. Exuberance. Delight. God and the world have come together. What could be better news?
Video reflection by Monsignor James Vlaun: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Agnes
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter one, verses twenty-six thru thirty-one;
Psalm Twenty-three, verses one(b), two, & three(a), four; five; & six;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter thirteen, verses forty-four, forty-five, & forty-six.

Scripture Study—Exodus 90: Day 1
The Book of Exodus, chapter one, verses one thru seven.

Commentary: The Sons of Israel (Exodus, 1:1-7).

The Imitation of Christ
Book I: Useful Admonitions for the Spiritual Life
Chapter 1: "On Following Christ Our Model"

Papal Quote o' the Day
"Despite her youth, St. Agnes experienced the victorious strength of the love of Christ. Sustained by that inner force, she was able to 'conquer overwhelmingly.' May she be your model of courage & generosity in every event of your life."
—Pope St. John Paul II the Great (1920-2005, feast day: 22 October)
Little Flower Quote o' the Day
"Lord, I suffer willingly for Thee whatsoever Thou art pleased should befall me."
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church (1873-1897, feast day: 1 October)
Saint Quote o' the Day
"When I stand up to talk, people listen to me; they will follow what I have to say. Is it any power of mine? Of course not. St. Paul says: 'What have you that you have not received & you who have received, why do you glory as if you had not?' But the secret of my power is that I have never in fifty-five years missed spending an hour in the presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. That's where the power comes from. That's where sermons are born. That's where every good thought is conceived. I don't mean to say that these hours have always been good. I've had to walk up and down the church to stay awake. I once went into St. Roch's Church in Paris to pray an hour, when I only had two hours in Paris between trains on my way to Lourdes. There were only about five days a year that I can sleep in the daytime, & this was one. I sat down at two o'clock, & I slept perfectly until three. When I awoke I said to the good Lord, 'Did I make a holy hour?' And my angel said, 'Yes that's the way the apostles prayed the first one."
—Ven. Fulton Sheen (1895-1979)