Monday, September 18, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXVII

Operation AXIOM: The World War
8 July-29 September 1917: The First (8-13 July) & Second (28-29 September) Battles of Ramadi—The first British & Imperial assault on the Ottoman garrison suffered more casualties from the extreme heat (123° F in the shade, 160° in direct sunlight) than from Turkish gunfire; the second used elaborate misdirection by local Arab allies to disguise Entente intentions, & took the Turks by storm.





Lest we forget.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

The Proclaimers, "Heaven Right Now" from Persevere (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: I'm not now nor would I ever endorse the immoral ethic expounded in "Heaven Right Now," but however charmingly distasteful the lyrics are on this particular day the rhythm & the cadence are just to my taste.
"She's everything a married man should look for in a girl,
She's married, too, but not to you, and that's part of a the thrill,
She's the one who makes you feel alright,
Her alibi's your alibi; it's watertight.

"She's old enough to know of love and know that this is not,
But young enough to not be willin' to settle for what she's got,
She's the one who makes you feel alright,
Her alibi's your alibi; it's watertight.

"And if you get caught,
You're going to hell,
But it's heaven right now…"

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saint Hygbald, Abbot, O.S.B. (died circa 690, also spelt Hibald, etc.): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Richardis, Religious, O.S.B. (circa 840-895, of Andlau, of Swabia, of Sousabe; A.K.A. Richgard), Holy Roman Empress, foundress of the Abbey of Andlau: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Abbey.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Joseph of Cupertino, Priest, O.F.M. Conv. (1603-1663), the "Flying Friar:" Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: I've had an unfortunate habit of conflating St. Joseph of Cupertino, O.F.M. Conv. with St. John of Capistrano, O.F.M. [23 October], but I think I've got a handle on it now.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Józef Kut, Priest & Martyr (1905-1942), martyred in the reign of the Führer Adolf Hitler, one of the One Hundred Eight Martyrs of World War II: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link CVIII.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Letter to Timothy, chapter two, verses one thru eight;
Psalm Twenty-eight, verses two, seven, & eight & nine;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter seven, verses one thru ten.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus is amazed at a Roman centurion's faith: "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith." How often the Bible compels us to meditate on the meaning of faith! We might say that the Scriptures rest upon faith, remain inspired at every turn by the spirit of faith.

Faith is an attitude of trust in the presence of God. Faith is openness to what God will reveal, do, and invite. It should be obvious that in dealing with the infinite, all-powerful person who is God, we are never in control.

One of the most fundamental statements of faith is this: your life is not about you. You're not in control. This is not your project. Rather, you are part of God's great design. To believe this in your bones and act accordingly is to have faith. When we operate out of this transformed vision, amazing things can happen, for we have surrendered to "a power already at work in us that can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine." Even a tiny bit of faith makes an extraordinary difference.
Video reflection by Monsignor James Vlaun (Telecare): U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter eighteen (verses one thru twenty-four).

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA: XXIV Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Book of Sirach, chapter twenty-seven, verse thirty thru chapter twenty-eight, verse seven;
Psalm One Hundred Three, verses one & two, three & four, nine & ten, & eleven & twelve;
The Letter to the Romans, chapter fourteen, verses seven, eight, & nine;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eighteen, verses twenty-one thru thirty-five.

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

Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today's Gospel gives us the parable of the unforgiving servant. I want to say something about the reason for our inability to forgive.

In the deepest sense, we don't belong to ourselves. Everything we have and all that we are comes from God. We are meant, with all of our gifts, to serve God's purposes. Our very existence comes from God, but so does the forgiveness of our sins. If there is one thing that we can each claim of ourselves, it is that we are sinners.

How do we go on? We know that we have been forgiven. That through no merit of ours, Christ has died for our sins and offered us the divine mercy. The upshot is this: there is nothing particularly stable about the self, nothing that it can claim for its own. All that it is has been received as a gift.

Well, what is at the root of the inability to forgive but this false sense of the substantial self? I have things coming to me; Do you know who I am? Well, you have nothing coming to you. You exist because of God and in order to serve the purposes of God.
Video reflection by Father Greg Friedman, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter seventeen (verses one thru twenty-eight).

Mass Journal: Week 38
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
Yesterday, I was visiting a friend in Atlanta. He lives in a beautiful neighborhood & as we drove past these magnificent homes, one after another, I began to ask myself, "If your spiritual life were a house, what would it be like?" I would like to place the questions before you now. If your spiritual life were a house, what would it be like? What street would it be on? What part of town would it be in? What would it look like? Would it be a house or a home? Is it in need of renovations? It is peaceful, noisy, distracting, well organized, messy?

Otherwise, 17 September would be the festival of Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Abbess & Doctor of the Church, O.S.B. (1098-1179): Doctor-link ūna, Doctor-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Pedro de Arbués, Priest & Martyr, C.R.S.A. (circa 1441-1485), martyred by Marranos whilst praying in the cathedral of Zaragosa: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Robert Bellarmine, Bishop & Doctor of the Church, S.J. (1542-1621): Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

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

Student Rick, "Please Forgive Me" from Soundtrack for a Generation (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: A secular song, yes, but apropos methinks given the central place forgiveness occupies in today's Gospel reading. We have all hurt each other in so many ways that we are all in desperate need of forgiveness, both of receiving forgiveness from others we've wronged & extending that forgiveness to those who've wronged us. Unforgiveness is a prison of one's own device, a hell of one's own making.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Bonus! Song o' the Day

Sufjan Stevens, "Flint (For the Unemployed and Underpaid)" from Michigan (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Happy one hundred fifteenth anniversary to Monsignor Patrick R. Dunigan Council 695, the mother council of all Genesee County Knights, chartered 14 September 1902, one hundred fifteen years ago Thursday.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saints Cornelius, Pope, & Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs (died 253 & 258, respectively), twenty-first Bishop of Rome, martyred in the reign of the emperors Gallus & Volusianus, & Bishop of Carthage, martyred in the reign of the emperors Valerian & Gallienus: Martyr-link Charlie Oscar ūnus, Martyr-link Charlie Oscar duo, & Wikipedia-link Charlie Oscar; Martyr-link Charlie Yankee ūnus, Martyr-link Charlie Yankee duo, & Wikipedia-link Charlie Yankee.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
The greatest problem of Cornelius's two-year term as pope had to do with the Sacrament of Penance & centered on the readmission of Christians who had denied their faith during the time of persecution. Two extremes were finally both condemned. Cyprian, primate of North Africa, appealed to the pope to confirm his stand that the relapsed could be reconciled only by the decision of the bishop.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Ninian, Bishop (circa 360-432, A.K.A. Ringan, Trynnian), founder of the Candida Casa ("White House"): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Casa.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Victor III, Pope, O.S.B. (circa 1026-1087), one hundred fifty-eighth Bishop of Rome: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Letter to Timothy, chapter one, verses fifteen, sixteen, & seventeen;
Psalm One Hundred Thirteen, verses one(b) & two; three & four; & five(a), six, & seven;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter six, verses forty-three thru forty-nine.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus speaks about laying the right foundation for your life. Someone who comes to me, Jesus says, who "listens to my words and acts on them is like a person building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well-built."

This is the heart of it: if you are rooted in God, then you can withstand anything, precisely because you are linked to that power that is creating the cosmos. You will be blessed at that deepest place, and nothing can finally touch you.

But the one who does not take Jesus' words to heart, "is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river bursts against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed."

When the inevitable trials come, the life built on pleasure, money, power, or fame will give way. So the question is a simple one: Where do you stand? How goes it with your heart? On what, precisely, is the whole of your life built?

Video reflection by Father Nicholas Vaskov: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of Ss. Cornelius & Cyprian
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter four, verses seven thru fifteen;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-six, verses five;
The Gospel according to John, chapter seventeen, verses eleven(b) thru nineteen.

Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter sixteen (verses one thru thirty-three).

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


The University of Michigan Marching Band, "The Star-Spangled Banner" from Hurrah for the Yellow and Blue (The Last Angry Wolverine)

Commentary: I'm not entirely comfortable rooting against any of the service academies (Army, Navy, & Air Force), but since they take the field like all the other clubs, competing like all the other clubs, then for the purposes of the game I suppose I should regard them as I do all the other clubs.

Beat Air Force! Go Blue!

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Sorrowful Song o' the Day

John Hartford, "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow (Instrumental)" from O Brother, Where Art Thou?: Music from a Film by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: I wept this morning whilst praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. 'Tis by no means a bad day—an unfortunate or regrettable day—just a sorrowful day. Sorrow is a natural, even healthy part of this earthly exile. My sorrow is tinged with awe & wonder, & with gratitude.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows: Madonna-link ūna, Madonna-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Madonna-link Seven Sorrows.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
The Seven Sorrows of Mary are a popular Roman Catholic devotion. In common religious Catholic imagery, the Virgin Mary is portrayed in a sorrowful & lacrimating* affect, with seven long knives or daggers piercing her heart, often bleeding. Devotional prayers that consist of meditation began to elaborate on her Seven Sorrows based on the prophecy of Simeon.

*Lacrimation, n: secretion of tears


'Tis also the festival of Blessed Anton Maria Schwartz, Priest (1852-1929), founder of the Congregation of the Christian Workers of St. Joseph Calasanz: Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Workers.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Paolo Manna, Priest, P.I.M.E. (1872-1952), founder of the Pontifical Missionary Union: Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link P.M.U.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Letter to Timothy, chapter one, verses one, two, twelve, thirteen, & fourteen;
Psalm Sixteen, verses one(b), two(a), & five; seven & eight; & eleven;
The Gospel according to John, chapter nineteen, verses twenty-five, twenty-six, & twenty-seven
or, the Gospel according to Luke, chapter two, verses thirty-three, thirty-four, & thirty-five.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today we celebrate the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. In our Gospel Jesus entrusts care of his mother to St. John. We can see some background for this profound action in The Passion of the Christ, the most provocative and popular religious movie in decades. What I would like to do is simply highlight a theme from the movie that especially struck me when I saw it.

The theme that I would like to emphasize is that of Mary, the mother of Jesus. We are compelled to see the scenes through her eyes. Early in Luke's Gospel, we are told that Mary "contemplated these things, reflecting on them in her heart." She is the theologian par excellence, the one who understands. When she sees Jesus being led away, she weeps and then she says "Amen."

In scene after scene, we watch her spiritual comprehension. The wonderful scene where she is marked with the Blood of her Son is especially evocative. And then the
Pietà depiction at the very end, where we see Mary's role: to present the sacrifice of her Son to us and for us.
Video reflection by Matthew DeLeon: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Mass Readings—Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
The Letter to the Hebrews, chapter five, verses seven, eight, & nine;
Psalm Thirty-one, verse seventeen;
The Gospel according to John, chapter nineteen, verses twenty-five, twenty-six, & twenty-seven
or, the Gospel according to Luke, chapter two, verses thirty-three, thirty-four, & thirty-five.

Commentary: I enjoy the phrasing, "The Gospel for this memorial is proper."

Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter fifteen (verses one thru thirty-three).

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Bonus! Song o' the Day

"Weird Al" Yankovic, "First World Problems" from Mandatory Fun (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Today, during the lunchtime Mass at St. Matthew, Father James spoke eloquently on the "First World crosses" many of us bear, blind to the fantastical riches by which we are surrounded, & not just by Christian standards, but by any objective historical or even demographic measure. Anyone able to read these words on a desktop, a laptop, &/or a smartphone is the beneficiary of a material wealth unknown at any other time in human history, & in our own age unknown to the great teeming mass of mankind. We are abundantly blessed, every one of us, & yet we live like spiritual beggars, slaves to mammon & vanity just like the narrator of "First World Problems."

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross: Holy Cross-link ūnus, Holy Cross-link duo, Wikipedia-link Cross, & Wikipedia-link Feast.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
The Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross, celebrated every year on September 14, recalls three historical events: the finding of the True Cross by Saint Helena [18 August], the mother of the emperor Constantine; the dedication of churches built by Constantine on the site of the Holy Sepulchre & Mount Calvary; & the resurrection of the True Cross to Jerusalem by the emperor Heraclius II. But in a deeper sense, the feast also celebrates the Holy Cross as the instrument of our salvation.
Quoth St. John Chrysostom, Bishop & Doctor of the Church [13 September]:
"Kings removing their diadems take up the cross, the symbol of their Savior's death; on the purple, the cross; in their prayers, the cross; on their armor, the cross; on the holy table, the cross; throughout the universe, the cross. The cross shines brighter than the sun."
'Tis also the festival of Saint Notburga (circa 1265-1313, of Rattenberg, of Eben, of Tyrol): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Louis Gabriel Taurin Dufresse, Bishop & Martyr, M.E.P. (1750-1815), martyred in the reign of the Jiaqing Emperor, one of the One Hundred Twenty Martyr Saints of China: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link CXX.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross
The Book of Numbers, chapter twenty-one, verses four(b) thru nine;
Psalm Seventy-eight, verses one(b,c) & two, thirty-four & thirty-five, thirty-six & thirty-seven, & thirty-eight;
The Letter to Philippians, chapter two, verses six thru eleven;
The Gospel according to John, chapter three, verses thirteen thru seventeen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today we celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. How strange this feast would have sounded to someone in the ancient world! The triumph of the cross! It would have been analogous to someone speaking today of the triumph of the electric chair or the exaltation of the noose.

The cross terrified people in Greco-Roman times, and that was the point. The cross was state-sponsored terrorism, a form of capital punishment reserved for those who had in the most egregious ways undermined the authority of the Roman state.

So why in the heck are we celebrating the cross's triumph? There is only one possible explanation, and that is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. All the attempts to soft-pedal and explain away the resurrection are ruled out by this feast. If Jesus was a victim of that terrible cross
tout court, then we should all go home.

Once they had taken in the experience of the resurrection, the first Christians turned with rapt attention to the cross, convinced that in it they would find something decisive. Somehow, in the strange providence of God, that cross was ingredient in the very process by which God would save the world.
Tout court means, "with no addition or qualification; simply," elsewhere, "quite short; & nothing else; simply; period." I mention this because I did not know; I had to look it up.

Video reflection by Father Don Miller, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Bible Study—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter fourteen (verses one thru thirty-five).

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, "Paradise Has No Border" from Paradise Has No Border (The Last Angry Man)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Perilous Song o' the Day!


The Aquabats!, "Attacked by Snakes!" from The Fury of the Aquabats! (Captain Thumbs Up!)

Skammentary: Perilous peril! After mowing & weed-whacking this evening, I also pulled up weeds from around the oak tree in the front yard & along the interior (house) side of the new privacy fence behind the garage. In doing so, I disturbed an angry swarm of insects, whether wasps or bees I'm just not sure, though due to the lack of buzzing I'd lean toward wasps. Wait, aren't I confusing my animals here? The R.B.D.S.O.T.D. is "Attacked by Snakes!" & the accompanying image is from the "Killer Bees" sketch from the inaugural season of Saturday Night Live; snakes & bees, not wasps. Don't miss the forest for the trees, what we're after here is the perilous, swarming nature of my assailants. The only "wasp" song in my library, Sufjan Stevens's "The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us!," despite the title, doesn't capture that sentiment nearly so well as "Attacked by Snakes!" & the predatory predilections of the Killer Bees.
"…The Devil must have opened Hell's gate
And called up millions of snakes
To take me from this place.

"Big ones, little ones,
Fat one, skinny ones,
Protect me from their venomous drug
That springs from needles of fangs,
Attacked by snakes!
By snakes!

"So many snakes you could fill the Great Lakes with snakes,
Ha ha ha! Run! I try to hide,
But snakebites on my faces testify
I've been attacked by snakes!
By snakes!

"So many snakes it would take thousand crates
To contain the snakes after me,
I'd rather be burned at the stake
Than be attacked by snakes!…"
Bonus! Perilous Song o' the Day
Sufjan Stevens, "The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us!" from Illinois (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: It's predatory! It's a wasp! It's out to get us! Perilous peril!

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop & Doctor of the Church (circa 347-407): Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. The annual reminder: "Chrysostom" is an epithet, neither St. John's given nor family name. Meaning "golden-mouthed" to describe the eloquence & authority of his preaching, it also explains why St. John Chrysostom is the patron saint of preachers.

Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Archbishop of Constantinople, & was an important early Church Father. He is known for his preaching & public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by ecclesiastical & political leaders.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Venerius the Hermit, Abbot (circa 560-630, of Tino): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Gertrude Prosperi, Virgin & Abbess (1799-1847, A.K.A. Maria Luisa Angelica): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Letter to the Colossians, chapter three, verses one thru eleven;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-five, verses two & three, ten & eleven, & twelve & thirteen(a,b);
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter six, verses twenty thru twenty-six.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel for today is St. Luke's version of the beatitudes, less well-known than Matthew's but actually punchier, more to the point. It all hinges on detachment, that decisively important spiritual attitude. Apatheia in the Greek fathers; indifferencia in Ignatius of Loyola. Spiritual detachment means that I am unattached to worldly values that become a substitute for the ultimate good of God.

How bluntly Luke's account puts things! Look at Luke's first beatitude, a model for the rest: "Blessed are you poor; the reign of God is yours." What if we translated this as "how lucky you are if you are not addicted to material things." When we place material things in the center of our concerns, we find ourselves caught in an addictive pattern.

Because material goods don't satisfy the hunger in my soul, I convince myself that I need more of them to gain contentment. So I strive and work to get more nice things—cars, homes, T.V's., clothes—and then I find that those don't satisfy me. So I strive and strive, and the rhythm continues.

Therefore, how lucky I would be if I were poor, unattached to material goods, finally indifferent to them.
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Mass Readings—Memorial of St. John Chrysostom
The Letter to the Ephesians, chapter four, verses one thru seven, eleven, twelve, & thirteen;
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—Proverbs in a Month
The Book of Proverbs, chapter thirteen (verses one thru twenty-five).

Bible Study—The Bible Timeline: Divided Kingdom, Part 2 of 2
The Book of Isaiah, chapter five (verses one thru thirty);
The Book of Isaiah, chapter six (verses one thru thirteen);
The Book of Isaiah, chapter twenty-two, verses fifteen thru twenty-five;
The Book of Micah, chapter six (verses one thru sixteen).

Commentary: The Vinyard Song (Isaiah, 5:1-7), Doom of the Unjust (5:8-25), Invasion (5:26-30), II. Immanuel Prophecies: Call of Isaiah (6:1-13), & Shebna & Eliakim (22:15-25); & III. Admonition: Accusation & Answer (Micah, 6:1-16).

Operation ÖSTERREICH

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 349.8 lbs
This weigh-in: 351.0 lbs.
Difference: +1.2 lbs.

So far, so bad. Since the resumption of the Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in, I've gained an average of one point three pounds per week (1.3 lbs./week). What's done is done, I cannot "un-eat" what I've eaten. There's naught to do but to remember this failure each & every time I'm tempted to open the fridge looking for something to eat out of boredom rather than a need for sustenance. In the words of Luke Cage, "Never backward, always forward. Forward, always."

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' Yesterday

Montag, 11. September
Mustard Plug, "Live Is Too Short" from In Black and White (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary:
"Take a step, a small step back,
A small step back before you step to me,
Don't get too hot, too hot to see,
Too hot to see it's time to cool down…"

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' Today

The Daughters of Mary, "Mother Dearest, Mother Fairest" from De Profundis (The Last Angry Man)

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary: Madonna-link ūna, Madonna-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
This feast is a counterpart to the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus (January 3). Its object is to commemorate all the privileges bestowed upon Mary by God & all the graces received through her intercession & mediation. The entry in the Roman Martyrology about the feast speaks of it in the follow terms: "The Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a day on which the inexpressible love of the Mother of God for her Holy Child is recalled, & the eyes of the faithful are directed to the figure of the Mother of the Redeemer, for them to invoke with devotion."
'Tis also the festival of Saint Ailbe, Bishop (died circa 528, of Emly; A.K.A. Elvis): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Guy of Anderlecht, Confessor (circa 950-1012, also spelt Guido, A.K.A. Wye of Láken), the "Poor Man of Anderlecht:" Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Letter to the Colossians, chapter two, verses six thru fifteen;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-five, verses one(b) & two, eight & nine, & ten & eleven;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter six, verses twelve thru nineteen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, after Jesus names his twelve apostles in today’s Gospel, he heals a multitude of people. And that multitude represents us, for we all stand in need of the Savior’s healing touch.

We are made for love and connection and justice and nonviolence, but at every turn and in every way we are twisted in the direction of hatred, separation, injustice, and violence. We are, as St. Augustine put it, wandering in the land of dissimilitude and in the grip of the
libido dominandi. The contemporary philosopher Rene Girard has reminded us that all of our social arrangements are marked by scapegoating and oppression.

The human race is best characterized as a dysfunctional spiritual family, all of us having been marked from birth by the effects of sin. Sin has found its way into every aspect of human life, personally and institutionally. We would be hopelessly naïve to think otherwise.

And so we need, not just a philosopher or social theorist or political activist or military hero, but a Savior, someone who can break into our dysfunction from the outside and heal us.
Video reflection by Sister Johnice Rzadkiewicz, C.S.S.F.: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary
The Letter to the Galatians, chapter four, verses four thru seven;
or, the Letter to the Ephesians, chapter one, verses three thru six, eleven, & twelve;
R/. "O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the Eternal Father;"
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verses thirty-nine thru forty-seven.

Bible Study—Parish Mission
The Letter to the Romans, chapter eight (verses one thru thirty-nine).

Commentary: The Flesh & the Spirit (Romans, 8:1-13), Children of God through Adoption (8:14-17), Destiny of Glory (8:18-27), & God's Indomitable Love in Christ (8:28-39).

Monday, September 11, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA: Late Edition

'Tis the festival of Saints Protus & Hyacinth, Martyrs (died circa 257): Martyr-link Papa, Martyr-link Hotel, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Paphnutius of Thebes, Bishop (floruit third century): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blesseds John Bathe, S.J. & Thomas Bathe, Priests & Martyrs (died 1649), martyred by "Roundheads" (Parliamentarians) during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, two of the Irish Martyrs: Martyr-link Juliett Bravo, Martyr-link Tango Bravo, & Wikipedia-link; Martyr-links & Wikipedia-link Irish.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Jean-Gabriel Perboyre, Priest & Martyr, C.M. (1802-1840), martyred in the reign of the Daoguang Emperor: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: The Prayer of St. Jean-Gabriel Perboyre (Wikipedia-link Prayer):
O my Divine Saviour,
Transform me into Yourself.
May my hands be the hands of Jesus.
Grant that every faculty of my body
May serve only to glorify You.

Above all,
Transform my soul and all its powers
So that my memory, will and affection
May be the memory, will and affections
Of Jesus.

I pray You
To destroy in me
All that is not of You.
Grant that I may live
But in You, by You and for You,
So that I may truly say,
With St. Paul,
"I live - now not I -
But Christ lives in me".

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Letter to the Colossians, chapter one, verse twenty-four thru chapter two, verse three;
Psalm Sixty-two, verses six & seven, & nine;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter six, verses six thru eleven.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in our Gospel today Jesus heals a man with a withered hand. As I've said many times before, we tend to domesticate Christ, reducing him to a guru or a teacher, one spiritual guide among many. But this is to do violence to the Gospel, which presents him not simply as teacher but as savior.

I realize that the culture militates against Christianity at this point, for it steadily teaches the ideology of self-esteem and self-assertion. "I'm okay and you're okay. Who are you to tell me how to behave?"

But this sort of thing—whatever value it might have politically or psychologically—is simply inimical to a Biblical Christianity. The Biblical view is that we have, through the abuse of our freedom, gotten ourselves into an impossible bind. Sin has wrecked us in such a fundamental way that we have become dysfunctional. Until we truly feel what it means to be lost and helpless, we will not appreciate who Jesus is and what he means.

Jesus is someone who has rescued us, saved us, done something that we could never, even in principle, do for ourselves.
Video reflection by Monsignor James Vlaun: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Operation AXIOM: 9/11

Sixteen years ago to the day, 11 September 2001, the greatest mass-casualty act of terrorism in American history was perpetrated by nineteen agents of the Salafi jihadist terrorist organization al-Qaeda ("the Base"). Four civilian airliners were hijacked & deliberately crashed into three civilian & military buildings, one into each of the "Twin Towers" of the World Trade Center in New York, New York & a third into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the armed forces of the United States in Arlington, Virginia; the fourth hijacked airliner—the intended target of which has never been positively identified but which is suspected to have been the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.—crashed in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania amidst a revolt of the passengers against their hijackers. Nearly three thousand persons died in the four pincers of the attack, including all nineteen terrorists; thousands of others were wounded or psychologically traumatized.


The "War on Terror," the war against non-state Salafi jihadist organizations, started before 9/11, but took on an entirely different character in the aftermath, with the United States engaging in the largest-scale sustained military operations since the Vietnam War over a quarter-century earlier. The war against the Taliban (the "Students") stills rages in Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda had been based 'til 2001 from where it launched the 9/11 attack. The Iraq War raged from 2003-2011, when the United States unilaterally withdrew, leaving a power vacuum into which stepped the Islamic State of Iraq & the Levant (I.S.I.L., A.K.A. I.S.I.S.; or just the Islamic State, A.K.A. Daesh, the Arabic pronunciation of the initials I.S.), which exploited the Syrian Civil War that sprung from the Arab Spring to seize significant portions of both Iraq & Syria & itself declare a caliphate. The United States has recommitted blood & treasure to reclaim the Daesh-ruled territories in Iraq, territories the United States had unilaterally abandoned in 2011. Around the world, the fight continues against al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist cells & Daesh-inspired "lone wolf" terrorists, with no end in sight. But never forget that this is not a war of choice; whatever mistakes the United States has made in conducting the War on Terror, the necessity of conducting this war was forced upon our great republic by that "day of fire."


9/11 occurred sixteen years ago. For scale, 2017 is as distant from 2001 (though it doesn't seem very distant at all) as 2001 was from 1985, an interval that encompassed much of my childhood & thus seemed like a far greater span of time. Three thousand persons died & untold mental anguish & economic loss was inflicted in the worst act of terrorism in our nation's history, a day we dare never to forget, 11 September 2001, sixteen years ago today.

The Wayback Machine Tour of 9/11 (partial)
I have been dreadfully negligent in observing the National Day of Service & Remembrance, Patriot Day, seemingly only doing so approximately every other year. This is an odd numbered year, which fits the pattern of commemoration.

Patriot Day '15
Patriot Day '13
Patriot Day '11

Bonus! Song o' Patriot Day
Aaron Tippin, "Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly" from Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly (The Last Angry Man)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXVI

Operation AXIOM: The World War
28 August-12 September 1917: The Étaples Mutiny—British & Imperial combat troops, both veterans returning from wounds & raw replacements, were subjected to harsh drills & forced marches in the "Bull Ring" by trainers who would never see the front; tensions boiled over when a "Red Cap" shot & killed a soldier, sparking angry mobs until the mutineers were threatened by the Machine Gun Corps.





Lest we forget.

Project BLACK MAMBA: Backlog Edition

Saturday, 9 September was the Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, Priest, S.J. (1580-1654): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He was a Spanish Jesuit priest & missionary who, due to his life & work, became the patron saint of slaves, the Republic of Colombia, & ministry to African-Americans. During the forty years of his ministry in Colombia it is estimated he personally baptized around [three hundred thousand persons]. He is also patron saint for seafarers. He is considered a heroic example of what should be the Christian praxis of love & of the exercise of human rights.
'Twas also the festival of Saint Omer, Bishop, O.S.B. (circa 595-670, A.K.A. Audomar), who ordered the founding of the Abbey of Saint Bertin: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Abbey.

'Twas also the festival of Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813-1853, A.K.A. Antoine-Frédéric), co-founder of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul: Blessed-link ūnus, Blessed-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link S.S.V.P.

Scripture of That Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Letter to the Colossians, chapter one, verses twenty-one, twenty-two, & twenty-three;
Psalm Fifty-four, verses three & four & six & eight;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter six, verses one thru five.

Commentary: 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.
Video reflection by Angela Gaughan: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Peter Claver
The Book of Isaiah, chapter fifty-two, verses seven thru ten;
confer Psalm Sixteen, verse five;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-eight, verses sixteen thru twenty.

Mass Readings—Blue Mass @ St. Pius X Catholic Church
The Book of Numbers, chapter six, verses twenty-two thru twenty-seven;
Psalm Twenty-seven, verse one;
The Letter to the Ephesians, chapter four, verse thirty thru chapter five, verse two;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses one thru nine.

Project BLACK MAMBA: XXIII Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

Scripture of This Week
Mass Readings—Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Book of Ezekiel, chapter thirty-three, verses seven, eight, & nine;
Psalm Ninety-five, verses one & two, six & seven, & eight & nine;
The Letter to the Romans, chapter thirteen, verses eight, nine, & ten;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eighteen, verses fifteen thru twenty.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus tells us to speak directly to a person who has offended us. I know it is exceptionally difficult, but going to the person directly is both productive and spiritually up-lifting. It has at least a fighting chance of accomplishing something, and it confirms you in love.

Suppose the person blows you off, even lashes out at you. You are then encouraged to bring "one or two others" into the conversation. Perhaps the person will see the point and get over his defensiveness.

Now suppose he doesn't listen even to this group? Then tell your church. Today, we might say the pastor and his team or perhaps some of the leading families in the parish. Suppose he doesn't listen even to the church? Then the Lord recommends ongoing compassion and prayer: "treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector." But remember how Jesus relates in love to Gentiles and tax collectors. Finally, the wonderful word on prayer: "wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them." Pray together with one or two others for the conversion of a sinner.
Video reflection by Father Greg Friedman, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Journal: Week 37
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
Catholicism is not a lifeless set of rules & regulations; it is a lifestyle. Catholicism is a dynamic way of life designed by God to help you explore your incredible potential.

Otherwise, 10 September would be the festival of Saint Aelia Pulcheria, Virgin (circa 398-453, A.K.A. Empress Pulcheria of the Eastern Roman Empire): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Finnian of Movilla, Bishop & Abbot (circa 495-589, A.K.A. Finbarr): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the festival of Two Hundred Five Martyrs of Japan (died 1598-1632), martyred in the reigns of the shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu, Tokugawa Hidetada, & Tokugawa Iemitsu: Martyrs-link & Wikipedia-link CCV.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Ambrose Barlow, Priest & Martyr, O.S.B. (1585-1641), martyred in the reign of the king Charles I, one of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link XL.

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

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

Commentary: This morning, having yesterday attended the vigil Mass at Holy Redeemer, my home parish, I attended Sunday Mass at Christ the King, Flint's historically-but-by-no-means-exclusively black Catholic parish. The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior (1929-1968) once said, "It is appalling that the most segregated hour in Christian America is eleven o'clock Sunday morning." I, a ruddy-complected Anglo-Scotch-Irishman from Grand Blanc (which means "Big White" in the French), was welcomed warmly at Christ the King, lavishly & almost overwhelmingly so. My soul soared & my hands clapped as the choir belted out the Gospel music. There is hope for us yet if only we remember that Christ prayed that all His followers be one, as He & the Father are One.
"Let us all (all go back)
To the old (old landmark),
Let us all (all go back)
To the old (old landmark),
Let us all (all go back)
To the old (old landmark),
And we stay in the service of the Lord!…"

Saturday, September 9, 2017

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


The University of Michigan Marching Band, "Entry Cadence" from A Saturday Tradition (The Last Angry Wolverine)

Commentary: The "Entry Cadence" is a wee wisp of song, thirty-six seconds long, & only that because 'tis bookended by faux in-stadium announcements, yet even with all that methinks this still an apropos choice for Team 138's first game within the friendly confines of Michigan Stadium.

Go Blue!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (circa 15 B.C.): Madonna-link ūna, Madonna-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
There are only three [persons] whose birthdays have traditionally been celebrated by Christians: Jesus Christ, at Christmas [25 December]; Saint John the Baptist [24 June]; & the Blessed Virgin Mary. And we celebrate all three birthdays for the same reason: All three were born without Original Sin. Christ, because He was conceived by the Holy Spirit; Mary, because she was kept free from the stain of Original Sin by the action of God in His foreknowledge that she would agree to be the mother of Christ; & Saint John, because he was blessed in the womb by the presence of his Savior when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, came to aid her cousin [St.] Elizabeth [5 November] in the final months of Elizabeth's pregnancy (an event we celebrate in the Feast of the Visitation [31 May]).
'Tis also the festival of Saint Sergius I, Pope (circa 650-701), eighty-fourth Bishop of Rome: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Adam Bargielski, Priest & Martyr (1903-1942), martyred in the reign of the Führer Adolf Hitler, one of the One Hundred Eight Martyrs of World War II: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link CVIII.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Book of Micah, chapter five, verses one thru four(a);
or, the Letter to the Romans, chapter eight, verses twenty-eight, twenty-nine, & thirty;
Psalm Thirteen, verse six(a,b) & six(c);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter one, verses one thru sixteen & eighteen thru twenty-three
(or, the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter one, verses eighteen thru twenty-three).

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today as we celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary the Church gives us the very beginning of St. Matthew's Gospel. It is desperately important for Matthew to show that Jesus doesn't just appear out of the blue. Rather, he comes out of a rich, densely-textured history. St. Irenaeus tells us that the Incarnation had been taking place over a long period of time, God gradually accustoming himself to the human race.

Look at this long line of characters: saints, sinners, cheats, murderers, poets, kings, insiders and outsiders—all leading to the Christ. Of course King David is mentioned. He is, without doubt, a great figure, the king who unites the nation, defeats its enemies and establishes the first Israelite empire. But he is also, we know, an adulterer and a murderer, the one who abuses his power in order to eliminate Uriah the Hittite.

And finally the climactic entry that notes the virgin whose birthday we celebrate today: "Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah."
Video reflection by Father Jonathan W. Felux: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Bible Study—The Bible Timeline: Divided Kingdom, Part 2 of 2
The Book of Deuteronomy, chapter thirty, verses fifteen thru twenty;
The Second Book of Chronicles, chapter eleven (verses one thru twenty-three);
The Second Book of Chronicles, chapter twelve (verses one thru sixteen);
The Book of Jeremiah, chapter twenty-five, verses one thru fourteen;
The Book of Jeremiah, chapter twenty-nine, verses ten thru fourteen;
The Book of Jeremiah, chapter thirty-one, verses thirty-one thru thirty-four.

Commentary: The Choice before Israel (Deuteronomy, 30:15-20); II. The Monarchy before Hezekiah: Division of the Kingdom (2 Chronicles, 11:1-4), Rehoboam's Works (11:5-12), Refugees from the North (11:13-17), Rehoboam's Family (11:18-23), & His Apostasy (12:1-16); & Seventy Years of Exile (Jeremiah, 25:1-14), Letter to the Exiles in Babylon (29:10-14), & the New Covenant (31:31-34).

The Rebel Black Dot Ex-Girlfriend Song o' the Day

22-20s, "Latest Heartbreak" via iTunes, Free Single of the Week (from Shake/Shiver/Moan) (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: I warned Miss Mozart that heartbreak was inevitable, that my heart wasn't up for a romance & that she'd get hurt. I warned her repeatedly—I tried desperately to make her understand—but she insisted on braving the risk, breaking into tears every time I pleaded with her that we remain friends instead of chancing all on an-almost-certainly-doomed romance.
"Back in the dark room, he's waiting for you,
Back in the dark room, he's waiting for you,
Nursing a pain he designed and created for you,
Back in the dark room, he's waiting for you.

"Here comes the latest heartbreak line,
Straight for the weakness he goes,
The latest heartbreak line,
Well, this one was meant for you.

The latest heartbreak line,
The latest heartbreak line,
The latest heartbreak line,
Well, this one was meant for you."

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saint Anastasius the Fuller, Martyr (died circa 304), martyred in the reign of the emperors Diocletian & Maximian: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Great Persecution.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Tilbeorht, Bishop (died 789, of Hexham; modernized as Tilbert): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Giovanni of Lodi, Bishop, O.S.B. Cam. (1025-1106, Anglicized as John): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saints Melchior Grodziecki, S.J.; Marko Križevčanin; & István Pongrácz, S.J., Priests & Martyrs (died 1619, A.K.A. Grodecký, A.K.A. Marek Križin, A.K.A. Štefan Pongrác), martyred by the Calvinist prince György Rákóczi: Martyr-link Mike Golf & Wikipedia-link Mike Golf, Martyr-link Mike Kilo & Wikipedia-link Mike Kilo, & Martyr-link India Papa & Wikipedia-link India Papa.

'Tis also the festival of Blesseds Ralph Corbie, S.J., & John Duckett, Priests & Martyrs (died 1644), martyred by "Roundheads" (Parliamentarians) during the English Civil War: Martyr-link Romeo Charlie & Wikipedia-link Romeo Charlie, Martyr-link Juliett Delta & Wikipedia-link Juliett Delta.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Letter to the Colossians, chapter one, verses nine thru fourteen;
Psalm Ninety-eight, verses two & three(a,b), three(c,d) & four, & five & six;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter five, verses one thru eleven.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today's Gospel gives us the story of the miraculous draught of fishes. In many ways, the whole of the spiritual life can be read off of this piece.

Without being invited, Jesus simply gets into the fisherman's boat. This is to insinuate himself in the most direct way into Simon's life. And without further ado, he begins to give orders, first asking Simon to put out from the shore and then to go out into the deep. This represents the invasion of grace. The single most important decision that you will ever make is this: Will you cooperate with Jesus once he decides to get into your boat?

In many ways, everything else in your life is secondary, is commentary. When the Lord Jesus Christ gets into your boat, he will always lead you to the depths.
Duc in altum, as St. John Paul II loved to quote. More dangerous? Yes. More exciting? Yes.

Now mind you, the depths we're talking about here are spiritual depths. The excitement we're talking about is the true excitement that comes from spiritual transformation. The depths have nothing to do with what the world considers important or exciting.
Duc in altum means, "put out into the deep." As He said to St. Peter, so He says to us.

Video reflection by Father Don Miller, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Bible Study—The Bible Timeline: Divided Kingdom, Part 2 of 2
The Second Book of Kings, chapter eighteen (verses one thru thirty-seven)
The Second Book of Kings, chapter nineteen (verses one thru thirty-seven);
The Second Book of Kings, chapter twenty (verses one thru twenty-one);
The Second Book of Kings, chapter twenty-one (verses one thru twenty-six);
The Second Book of Kings, chapter twenty-two (verses one thru twenty);
The Second Book of Kings, chapter twenty-three (verses one thru thirty-seven);
The Second Book of Kings, chapter twenty-four (verses one thru twenty);
The Second Book of Kings, chapter twenty-five (of twenty-five, verses one thru thirty).

Commentary: V. The Kingdom of Judah after 721 B.C.: Hezekiah (18:1-12), Invasion of Sennacherib (18:13-37), Hezekiah & Isaiah (19:1-19), Punishment of Sennacherib (19:20-37), Hezekiah's Illness (20:1-21), Reign of Manasseh (21:1-18), Reign of Amon (21:19-26), Reign of Josiah (22:1-7), the Book of the Law (22:8-23:30), Reign of Jehoahaz (23:31-35), Reign of Jehoiakim (23:36-24:7), Reign of Jehoiachin (24:8-17), Reign of Zedekiah (24:18-25:21), Governorship of Gedaliah (25:22-26), & Release of Jehoiachin (25:27-30).

The Rebel Black Dot Ex-Girlfriend Song o' the Day

Barenaked Ladies, "Break Your Heart" from Born On a Pirate Ship (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: After my scathing critique of the book she gave me for us to read together, The 5 Love Languages for Men, & her motivation for giving it to me (Wayback Machine), Miss Mozart rang my mobile in a fury, very much echoing the distaff voice in "Break Your Heart" (the bridge, the third stanza below). She cried every time I talked about my desire to be a priest. She cried every time I expressed any misgivings about our romance. She cried last night. Forgive my arrogance in perceiving the consistent waterworks as weakness. How else was I supposed to understand those tears? I'm at a total loss here, which probably supports my contention that I'm just not suited to be in a romance.
"The bravest thing I've ever done
Was to run away and hide,
But not this time, not this time,
And the weakest thing I've ever done
Was to stay right by your side,
Just like this time and every time.
I couldn't tell you I was happy you were gone,
So I lied and said that missed you when we were apart.
I couldn't tell you, so I had to lead you on,
But I didn't mean to break your heart.

"And if I always seem distracted
Like my mind is somewhere else,
That's because it's true; yes, it's true.
It's this stupid pride that makes me feel
Like I have to follow through,
Even half-assedly, loving you,
Why must I always speak in terms of cowardice?
But I guess I should have come out and told you right from the start.
Oh, why must I always tell you all I want is this?
I guess 'cause I didn't want to break your heart.

"You said,
'What'd you think that I was gonna do,
Curl up and die just because of you?
I'm not that weak, you know.
What'd you think that I was gonna do,
Try to make you love me as much as I loved you?
How could you be so low?
You arrogant man!
What do you think that I am?
My heart will be fine,
Just stop wasting my time.'

"And now I know that you will be O.K.
And that I got what I want,
And that's rid of you,
Good-bye.
And it's not 'cause I'll be missing you
That makes me fall apart,
It's just that I didn't mean to break,
No, I didn't mean to break,
No, I didn't mean to break
Your heart."

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

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

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Cagnoald, Bishop (died 633, of Laon; A.K.A. Cagnou): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Brother of St. Faro [28 October], also a bishop, & St. Burgundofara [3 April], an abbess.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Magnus of Füssen, Priest & Abbot, O.S.B. (died circa 666, A.K.A. Mang), founder of Saint Mang's Abbey: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Abbey.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Gondulphus of Metz, Bishop (died 823, A.K.A. Gondon): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

The Pilgrim Church on Earth
Last Friday, after the 8:00 A.M. Mass, a Holy Family parishioner whose name I don't know complimented my voice & thanked me for using it during Mass, & gave me this note, "Thank you!" written on one side & the following on the other:
Pharisee—Perfect

David—Not Perfect
but LOVED! GOD
sang, danced, Poetry

Like a Child
unreserably

We are a body
with many Parts!
I suppose my imperfection was blatantly obvious to her & she felt I could use some consolation over my state of imperfection. Her very kind note was penned on the blank side of a photocopy of two facing pages out of the July/August edition of The Word among Us, a devotional magazine.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Letter to the Colossians, chapter one, verses one thru eight;
Psalm Fifty-two, verses ten & eleven;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter four, verses thirty-eight thru forty-four.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in our Gospel we see Jesus in action. He is always hurrying from place to place, on the go. Today Luke gives us a sort of "day in the life" of Jesus. And it is quite a day! Our Gospel opens just after the dramatic expulsion of a demon in the Capernaum synagogue. And after entering the house of Simon, Jesus cures Peter's mother-in-law and then the entire town comes to his door. He spends the whole evening curing presumably hundreds who were variously afflicted.

In the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, in an attempt to make Jesus more palatable to rationalists and "realists," theologians put great stress on Jesus' preaching, especially his ethical teaching.

But this is not the Jesus that Luke presents. Rather, he is a healer.
Soter, rendered in Latin as Salvator, which just means "the bearer of the salus" or health. Jesus is portrayed as a healer, a savior. In him, divinity and humanity have come together; in him, the divine life and divine power are breaking through. God's deepest intentions for his beloved creatures appears—what God plans for us in the Kingdom to come is now historically anticipated.
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Bible Study—The Bible Timeline: Divided Kingdom, Part 2 of 2
The Second Book of Kings, chapter thirteen (verses one thru twenty-five)
The Second Book of Kings, chapter fourteen (verses one thru twenty-nine);
The Second Book of Kings, chapter fifteen (verses one thru thirty-eight);
The Second Book of Kings, chapter sixteen (verses one thru twenty);
The Second Book of Kings, chapter seventeen (verses one thru forty-one).

Commentary: IV. The Kingdoms of Israel & Judah [concluded]: Reign of Jehoahaz of Israel (13:1-9), Reign of Joash of Israel (13:10-25), Reign of Amaziah of Judah (14:1-22), Jeroboam II of Israel (14:23-29), Azariah of Judah (15:1-7), Zechariah of Israel (15:8-12), Shallum of Israel (15:13-16), Menahem of Israel (15:17-22), Pekahiah of Israel (15:23-26), Pekah of Israel (15:27-31), Jotham of Judah (15:32-38), Ahaz of Judah (16:1-20), & Hoshea of Israel (17:1-41).

Operation ÖSTERREICH

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 348.4 lbs (baseline)
This weigh-in: 349.8
Difference: +1.4 lbs.

Conducting the Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in after a long holiday weekend, & especially the night after a Knights meeting at which I was encouraged to overeat as a help to the cook & the clean-up crew, probably isn't the best idea. But the point of this isn't to make myself look good, it's to be a better steward of the temple of the Holy Spirit that is my body. If ÖSTERREICH is ever about vanity, or ever falls prey to puffery, than it will all have been in vain.

We pick ourselves up, we learn the lessons of recent experience, & we strive to do better going forward.

The Rebel Black Dot Ex-Girlfriend Song o' the Day

New Found Glory, "It Ain't Me Babe" from From the Screen to Your Stereo, Part II (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: The title should read "It Ain't Me, Babe," bless (or curse, your choice) my captious soul.

I tried desperately to explain to Miss Mozart that my heart just wasn't in a romance, that she'd only get hurt in the end, but in the end I agree to give her what she wanted, despite my own misgivings. I should have trusted myself, even as both she & those whose counsel I sought (& never again shall seek) urged me to "give it a shot."
"I'm not the one you want, babe,
I'm not the one you need.
You say you're lookin' for someone
Who's never weak but always strong,
To protect you and defend you
Whether you are right or wrong,
Someone to open each and every door,
But it ain't me, babe,
No, no, no, it ain't me, babe,
It ain't me you're looking for, babe…

"I'm not the one you want, babe,
I'll only let you down.
You say you're lookin' for someone
Who'll promise never to part,
Someone to close his eyes to you,
Someone to close his heart,
Someone to die for you and more,
But it ain't me, babe,
No, no, no, it ain't me, babe,
It ain't me you're looking for, babe.

"You say you're lookin' for someone
To pick you up each time you fall,
To gather flowers constantly,
And to come each time you call,
And to love you for your life and nothing more,
But it ain't me, babe,
No, no, no, it ain't me, babe,
It ain't me you're looking for, babe!"

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Queue

The Real Story dovetails perfectly with the Bible study I'm currently facilitating, The Bible Timeline: The Story of Salvation. (Mock me if you like, but I dislike saying or writing about "leading" a Bible study, since I'm discovering most of these texts for the first time myself & I'm just following the Study Set provided by Jeff Cavins & the good people at Ascension Press. "Facilitating" is the term with which I'm comfortable, chickenshit or not.) Now I just need to acquire the resources (or convince some benefactor to commit the extant resources) to get The Real Story into the hands of everyone in the parish, & then to get those who read it into a serious Bible study.

I was delighted to find, as I finished the book of the feast day of St. Teresa of Calcutta, a quote from her on the last page:
Now you are being invited into this story. You are called to play a part in God's plan of salvation & to help extend His Kingdom on earth. In the words of Mother Teresa, you are called to make your life "something beautiful for God." How will you play your part in the story?
I've added a number of books to the queue, including a pair by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI. I'm presently up-to-date on Pope Francis's encyclical letters & apostolic exhortations; so, the next step is to start ticking off those of his immediate predecessors, Benedict XVI & St. John Paul the Great. For the nonce, that massive pile is intimidating enough; so, I am limiting this subset of the queue to those popes of my earthly lifetime. I will read the encyclicals of previous popes (especially epochal tomes like Humanae vitae by Bl. Paul VI, Rerum novarum by Leo XIII, or Quadragesimo anno by Pius XI) as the occasion warrants or my desired future seminary studies require.

I'm going to finish The 5 Love Languages for Men, even though I've already broken Miss Mozart's heart, because I'll learn a thing or two, either from the book itself or from disagreeing vigorously with its contentions & assertions (which are often contradictory). My hope is that I'll learn something that could someday help someone else or some other, less doomed couple. I doubt it, but I hope.

Also, I am in the queue at the Genesee District Library for the new John le Carré novel, A Legacy of Spies, currently sitting fourteenth out of seventeen.

Recently
Mark Waid & Fiona Staples, Veronica Fish, Joe Eisma, et al., Archie, Volumes One, Two, & Three
Fulton Sheen, Finding True Happiness
Edward Sri & Curtis Martin, The Real Story: Understanding the Big Picture of the Bible

Currently
Gary Chapman with Randy Southern, The 5 Love Languages for Men: Tools for Making a Good Relationship Great

Presently
Norman Davies, Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations ***paused***
Eugene Hausmann, Catholics Go by the Bible: Biblical Sources of Catholic Theology & Liturgy
Matthew Kelly, Perfectly Yourself: Discovering God's Dream for You
Sherry A. Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus
William E. Simon Jr., Great Catholic Parishes: How Four Essential Practices Make Them Thrive
Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
Bishop Robert Barron, Seeds of the Word: Finding God in the Culture
Mike Aquilina, Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers
Scott & Kimberly Hahn, Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism
Kevin Lowry, How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming into the Catholic Church
Xavier Rynne, Vatican Council II
John W. O'Malley, What Happened at Vatican II
Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love) [encyclical letter]
Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis (The Sacrament of Charity) [apostolic exhortation]
Richard Price, Clockers
Sir Richard Francis Burton, translator, "Sinbad the Sailor" from The Arabian Nights
Sir Ernest Shackleton, South: A Memoir of the Endurance Voyage
William F. Buckley Jr., The Unmaking of a Mayor
Margaret MacMillan, Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World
John le Carré, A Legacy of Spies

Project BLACK MAMBA: Late Edition

'Tis the festival of Saint Genebald, Bishop (died circa 555, of Laon): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Anseric, Bishop (died circa 652, of Soissons; also spelt Ansery, Anscher): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link (list).

'Tis also the festival of Saint Bertin the Great, Abbot, O.S.B. (circa 615-709), founder of the Abbey of Saint Bertin: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Abbey.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Teresa of Calcutta, Religious, M.C. (1910-1997, A.K.A. Mother Teresa), foundress of the Missionaries of Charity: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link M.C.

Commentary: St. Teresa was canonized on 4 September 2016.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Letter to the Thessalonians, chapter five, verses one thru six, nine, ten, & eleven;
Psalm Twenty-seven, verses one, four, & thirteen & fourteen;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter four, verses thirty-one thru thirty-seven.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus teaches in the synagogue at Capernaum. One of the things that he comes to do is to teach, for at the root of our troubles and our suffering is a powerful clouding of the mind. What is it like to be in the same room with Jesus? "The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes."

"Astonished" is a pretty strong word. But we have to understand the tenor of the time. When a Jewish rabbi would speak, he would reference his teacher—another rabbi—who in turn had learned from another rabbi and he by another and so on. Finally, appeal would be made, implicitly or otherwise, to Moses, who had received the word and commandments of God on Mt. Sinai.

What makes Jesus' teaching so striking—apart from the content, which is striking enough—is his manner of teaching. He doesn't appeal to Rabbi "so and so" and finally back to Moses. He teaches on his own authority. The Greek word here is instructive (
exousia), meaning "from his own being". He moves through his public life, Chesterton said, like a lightning bolt.
Video reflection by Sister Peggy Gorman, R.S.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Rebel Black Dot Ex-Girlfriend Song o' the Day

Reel Big Fish, "The Bad Guy" from We're Not Happy 'til You're Not Happy (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary:
"This is not a song about the one that got away,
This is not a song about the girl who didn't love me,
Once again I have made somebody cry,
Once again, once again, I am the bad guy,
I am the bad guy…"

Monday, September 4, 2017

Project PANDORA: The End of the Affair

I feared that Miss Mozart would get hurt. I never wanted to hurt her, but in the end I chose to hurt her. I could say I chose to break her heart now to avoid inflicting worse pain later, but that's no defense. What I feared, wanted, or never wanted is irrelevant. The cold, hard fact is that I chose to hurt her.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' Labor Day


Tennessee Ernie Ford, "Sixteen Tons" via iTunes (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Our hope here at The Secret Base is that one & all have taken a well-earned rest from their labors, have relaxed & been refreshed.
"I was born one morning when the sun didn't shine,
I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine,
I loaded sixteen tons of number nine coal,
And the straw boss said, 'Well, bless my soul!'

"You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt,
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go,
I owe my soul to the company store…"

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saint Hermione, Martyr (died circa 117, of Ephesus), martyred in the reign of the emperor Trajan: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Daughter of St. Philip the Deacon [11 October].

'Tis also the festival of Saint Boniface I, Pope (circa 350-422), forty-second Bishop of Rome: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Rosalia, Virgin (circa 1130-1160), nicknamed "La Santuzza" (the "Little Saint": Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Rose of Viterbo, Virgin, T.O.S.F. (circa 1234-1252), venerated annually by the procession of the magnificent Macchina di Santa Rosa through Viterbo: Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Machine.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Letter to the Thessalonians, chapter four, verses thirteen thru eighteen;
Psalm Ninety-six, verses one & three, four & five, eleven & twelve, & thirteen;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter four, verses sixteen thru thirty.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in our Gospel for today Jesus reads from Isaiah a prophecy dealing with the Messianic transformation of the world. And then he declares it fulfilled, precisely in him. The audience initially is positive. And then we see why they are so favorable: "They also asked, 'Isn't this the son of Joseph?'" Undoubtedly, they are thinking: well, if this man is the Messiah, and he's a local boy, we will benefit enormously! As Tip O'Neill said, "all politics is local."

But Jesus commences to throw them for a loop. He invokes two uneasy stories from the Old Testament tradition, the first dealing with Elijah. During a drought Elijah is sent, not to an Israelite, but to a widow from Sidon, a foreigner. And the second deals with Elisha, who cleanses from leprosy, not an Israelite, but Naaman the Syrian.

At these key moments in its history, God attends to the needs of the other nations and not the needs of Israel. He is reminding them that Israel existed for the sake of the other nations.
Video reflection by Monsignor James Vlaun: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Labor Day
The Book of Genesis, chapter one, verse twenty-six thru chapter two, verse three;
confer Psalm One Hundred Twenty-seven, verse one;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter six, verses thirty-one thru thirty-four.

Commentary: Quoth the missalette:
The readings, psalm, & Gospel acclamation may be taken from the Masses for Various Needs & Occasions: For the Blessings of Human Labor. The [above] are suggested from among the many options.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXV

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Endless Battles of the Isonzo, Part VII
18 August-12 September 1917: The Eleventh Battle of the Isonzo—The Italians jumped the river at several bridgeheads & advanced across the Banjšice Plateau, but could not crack the impregnable fortress of Mount Saint Gabriel, capturing & then losing the summit nine times; the Austro-Hungarians were spent, but the Italians could not muster the men & matériel to strike one last, decisive blow.






Lest we forget.