Thursday, July 20, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Rebel Black Dot Autobiographical Song o' the Day

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

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


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

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

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

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

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

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

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel we see Jesus praying to his Father. We are being given a share in the inner life of God, the conversation between the first two Trinitarian persons.

And what are the "things" that have been concealed from the learned and revealed to the little ones? Nothing other than the mystery of the inner life of God.

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

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

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

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

Bonus! Song o' the Day

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

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

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

The Rebel Black Dot Autobiographical Song o' the Day

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Rebel Black Dot Autobiographical Song o' the Day

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

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

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Girlfriend Song o' the Day

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

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

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

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

Project BLACK MAMBA

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

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLVIII

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





Lest we forget.

Project BLACK MAMBA: XV Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Bonus! Girlfriend Song o' the Day

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

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

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

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

The Rebel Black Dot Girlfriend Song o' Yesterday

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

Skammentary: Now we really have gone quite far afield.

Project BLACK MAMBA

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

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' This Terrible Day

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

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

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

Friday, July 14, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA: Late Edition

Late again? Foxtrot Mike Lima.

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

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Girlfriend Song o' the Day


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

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

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

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

Project BLACK MAMBA

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

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bonus! Girlfriend Song o' the Day

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

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

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

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

Project BLACK MAMBA

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

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

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day


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

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

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bonus! Song o' the Day

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

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

Project BLACK MAMBA

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

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Rebel Black Dot Girlfriend Song o' the Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Girlfriend Song o' the Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

Project BLACK MAMBA

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

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

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLVII

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





Lest we forget.

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

Project BLACK MAMBA: XIV Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Maher, "Rise Up" from The Love In Between (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Today's R.B.D.S.O.T.D. was inspired by this week's Responsorial Psalm, specifically Psalm 145:11:
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
Mr. Maher sings:
"You've got to rise up, rise up,
When this life has got you down,
You're got to look up, look up,
When you've searched and nothing's found,
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the love that's here and now,
It's coming down,
So rise up now,
Yeah, rise up now,
Oh, rise up now…"

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Girlfriend Song o' the Day

Big D and the Kids Table, "My Girlfriend's on Drugs" from How It Goes (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary: Again, these girlfriend-themed & -titled R.B.D.S.O.T.D. are not about my new girlfriend, Miss Mozart, whose boyfriend I am somewhat reluctantly.

Project PANDORA
On that reluctance, I ran into Mrs. Nacho at the grocer's yesterday. She denied that she & Brother Nacho had ever encouraged me to date Miss Mozart, claiming that they'd only said I should take her out on a date & explain to her that, due to my ongoing discernment of a vocation to the priesthood, I wasn't presently looking for nor interested in having a girlfriend. Shenanigans! That is not even remotely what they said. I am not a theatrical mentalist, coached & skilled in guessing & deducing information based on subtle, often non-verbal cues. I could only judge their advice by what they said, not construct an elaborate alternate narrative based on extrasensory knowledge of what they'd meant to say, however contrary that was to what they'd actually said. They advised me to date her, due to the perceived uncertainty of my vocation, not to go on a date to explain to her face-to-face what I'd already explained in vain repeatedly over the telephone. Alas, we discussed the matter face-to-face, so there exists neither recording nor verifiable transcript; I cannot prove shenaniganry, but I stand by the accusation. Shenanigans, I say!

Brother & Mrs. Nacho continue to be my dear fiends & boon companions, & I remain excited to work with them on an evangelizing social-media project we're not quite ready to launch officially, but I can no longer consider them counselors in matters romantic or platonic. This is not because they advised me to date Miss Mozart against my better judgment. (Truly, I want counselors who have the courage of their convictions, not "yes men.") But of what use are counselors who later deny their own counsel? I have troubles enough without piling on friends like Job's—the aloof, unsympathetic sort who are more interested in playing "gotcha" than I rendering sincere aid. This romance is already a kerfuffle bound to end in tears, adding a layer of chicanery won't help anything.

Project BLACK MAMBA: Late Edition

Mea culpa! Mea culpa! Mea máxima culpa!

'Tis the festival of Saints Priscilla & Aquila, Martyrs (first century, A.K.A. Prisca): Martyr-link Papa, Martyr-link Alpha, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Friends & co-workers of St. Paul (25 January, 29 June), both in ministry & in the tent-making business, Aquila & Prisca (Priscilla is a diminutive) are mentioned several times in the Acts of the Apostles & in St. Paul's Letters to the Romans, the Corinthians, & St. Timothy (26 January).

'Tis the festival of Saint Adrian III, Pope (died 885), one hundred ninth Bishop of Rome: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Book of Genesis, chapter twenty-seven, verses one thru five & fifteen thru twenty-nine;
Psalm One Hundred Thirty-five, verses one(b) & two, three & four, & five & six;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter nine, verses fourteen thru seventeen.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel, people ask Jesus why he and his disciples do not fast when John and his disciples do. Jesus' answer is wonderful: "How can the guests at a wedding fast while the groom is still with them?" Could you imagine people fasting at a wedding banquet? It would be ridiculous!

Jesus also says, "No one pours new wine into old wineskins…." The new wine is the Gospel. The receptacle for this wine must be conformed to it, not the other way around.

To take in the Good News, we can't be living in the cramped space of our sinful souls. We can't have an "expect the worst" attitude. Instead, we repent, or change the minds that we have. Another way to get at this is to say that like is known by like. If God is love, then only a soul that is on fire with love will properly take him in.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Girlfriend Song o' the Day

Reel Big Fish, "I Want Your Girlfriend to Be My Girlfriend Too" (live) from Our Live Album Is Better Than Your Live Album, Disc 1: More Shtick Than You Can Shake a Stick At (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary:
"There's a little girl I know,
You might know her, too,
She looks so good,
She looks so cute,
Standing next to you,
And I don't know what to do.

"I want your girlfriend to be my—
I want your girlfriend to be my—
I want your girlfriend to be my girlfriend, too!

"She's so fucking cute,
I wish that she was mine,
She's so gosh darn pretty,
I'm gonna lose my mind, baby!…"

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saint Prosper of Aquitaine, Confessor (circa 390-455): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Boswell, Abbot (died circa 663, of Melrose; A.K.A. Boisil): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Book of Genesis, chapter twenty-three, verses one thru four & nineteen & chapter twenty-four, verses one thru eight & sixty-two thru sixty-seven;
Psalm One Hundred Six, verses one(b) & two, three & four(a), & four(b) & five;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter nine, verses nine thru thirteen.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Our Gospel for today is the simple but magnificent story of the conversion of Matthew. I urge you to read it and meditate upon it this week, for it’s about you. The Bible says that Jesus told Matthew, “Follow me.” The call of Jesus is meant to get into your mind, and then past your mind into your body, and then through your body into your life into your most practical decisions.

And then we hear that “Matthew got up and followed him.” The verb used here in the Greek is the same verb used to describe the resurrection of Jesus from the dead: Matthew rose. Conversion means a transition into a higher life, arising from a preoccupation with the goods of the world and a reorientation to the things of God.

Then we hear what happened after Matthew’s conversion: “And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples.” This deeply annoys the Pharisees, who ask of Jesus’ disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” The answer is that Jesus loves sinners, and he doesn’t require perfection before he approaches them.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Maria Goretti, Virgin & Martyr (1890-1902), martyred by her attempted rapist, Alessandro Serenelli: Martyr-link ūna, Martyr-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
St. Maria was born to a poor family at Corinaldi, Italy, in 1890. Near Nettuno she spent a difficult childhood assisting her mother in domestic duties. She was of a pious nature & often at prayer. In 1902 Alessandro Serenelli tried to seduce her but she refused. He became so angry that he stabbed her fourteen times. She died in the hospital after forgiving her attacker. On her deathbed Maria not only pardoned Alessandro, but she said, "I hope he too will join me in Paradise." in 1910, during his eighth year in prison, Alessandro was converted after a dream in which Maria presented him with a bouquet of lilies. He was released from prison in 1928 & after asking forgiveness from maria's mother, he received Communion with her at Christmas Mass. Both Alessandro & St. Maria Goretti's mother were present at her canonization in 1950.
'Tis also the festival of Blessed Thomas Aufield, Priest & Martyr (1552-1585, also spelt Alfield), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Book of Genesis, chapter twenty-two, verses one(b) thru nineteen;
Psalm One Hundred Fifteen, verses one & two, three & four, five & six, & eight & nine;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter nine, verses one thru eight.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in our Gospel today Jesus heals a paralytic but not before first forgiving his sins: "And … people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.'" Jesus read the hearts of Scribes who had decided he was blaspheming, and so he replied, "Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk?'" When no reply came, Jesus sent the man off home carrying his stretcher.

The story affirms that Jesus offers us forgiveness and healing. Even though we are sinners, even though we are hopeless in our hatred and stupidity, even though we had gone (and would still go today) to the limits of killing God's own son, God still loves us; God still forgives us. We know that nothing can possibly separate us from the love of God because we hear in the greeting of the risen Jesus that every and any sin can be forgiven.
Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Maria Goretti
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter six, verses thirteen(c) thru fifteen(a) & seventeen thru twenty;
Psalm Thirty-one, verse six;
The Gospel according to John, chapter twelve, verses twenty-four, twenty-five, & twenty-six.

Bible Study—The Bible Timeline: Egypt & Exodus, Part 2
The Book of Exodus, chapter twenty-five (verses one thru forty);
The Book of Exodus, chapter twenty-six (verses one thru thirty-seven);
The Book of Exodus, chapter twenty-seven (verses one thru twenty-one);
The Book of Exodus, chapter twenty-eight (verses one thru forty-three);
The Book of Exodus, chapter twenty-nine (verses one thru forty-six).

Commentary: IV. The Dwelling & Its Furnishings: Collection of Materials (25:1-9), Plan of the Ark (25:10-22), the Table (25:23-30), the Lampstand (25:31-40), the Tent Cloth (26:1-14), the Wooden Walls (26:15-30), the Veils (26:31-37), the Altar of Holocausts (27:1-8), Court of the Dwelling (27:9-19), Oil for the Lamps (27:20-21), the Priestly Vestments (28:1-5), the Ephod & the Breastpiece (28:6-30), Other Vestments (28:31-43), Consecration of the Priests (29:1-9), & Ordination Sacrifices (29:10-46).

It is a constant struggle to remind myself that even these obtuse lists of minutia are the inspired Word of God & are of great value even to the Christian living in the twenty-first century, even though the Ark of the Commandments was long ago lost due to Israel's well-deserved punishment for disobedience & profanity & the LORD no longer dwells amidst His people in the Dwelling, but rather the Holy Spirit dwells within our very hearts, the soul of our souls. This is a struggle I don't always win.

The Rebel Black Dot Girlfriend Song o' the Day

Five Iron Frenzy, "Pre-Ex-Girlfriend" from Five Iron Frenzy 2: Electric Boogaloo (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary: "Pre-Ex-Girlfriend" was one of this year's Anti-Valentine's Songs of the Day: Wayback Machine. Oh, yeah, I should totally have a girlfriend, because I'm not jaded or anything.
"She's so cool it's always eerie,
She's so fine I lost all hope…

"She said she hated Kenny G.,
That girl is way too good for me,
We'll break up before it starts,
She'll only tear my world apart…

"You might say she's everything
Just before everything goes wrong,
She's sunshine and lightning,
She pulls at my heartstrings,
She's stunning and then she's gone!

"The intellect that girl has,
She said, 'Death to false jazz!'
Like Kryptonite to Superman,
She's here to break my heart again…

"Watch her on the floor tonight,
Feel the crush she will incite,
Sparkable, she will ignite,
A beautiful sight!
Softer than the lightest snows,
Watch her as the moment slows,
In my face a door will close,
And there she goes!…"

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Antonio Zaccaria, Priest, C.R.S.P. (1502-1539), founder of the Barnabites, formally the Clerics Regular of St. Paul, & the Angelic Sisters of St. Paul: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link C.R.S.P.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
St. Anthony was born at Cremona in Lombardy in 1502. He studied medicine at Padua. After his ordination to the priesthood, he founded the Society of Clarics of St. Paul, also known as the Barnabites. The Society did much to reform the morals of the faithful. He died in 1539.
'Tis also the Optional Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Portugal, T.O.S.F. (1271-1336, A.K.A. of Aragon, Isabella), Queen of Portugal: Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
St. Elizabeth was born of the Aragonese royal family in 1271. As a young maiden she was given in marriage to the king of Portugal & bore him two children. She bravely endured afflictions & troubles through prayer & works of charity. When her husband died she distributed her property to the poor & received the habit of the Third Order of St. Francis. After ending a serious dispute between her son & (his) son-in-law, she died in 1336.
In the Canadas, as in most of the world, St. Elizabeth is remembered on 4 July, the date of her death. In the U.S.A., her memorial has been transferred to avoid conflicting with Independence Day.


'Tis also the festival of Blesseds Patrick Cavanagh, Edward Cheevers, Matthew Lambert, Robert Myler & Companions, Martyrs (died 1581, A.K.A. the Wexford Martyrs), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I, six of the Irish Martyrs: Martyr-link Papa Charlie, Martyr-link Echo Charlie, Martyr-link Mike Lima, Martyr-link Romeo Mike, & Wikipedia-link Wexford; Martyrs-link & Wikipedia-link Irish.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Book of Genesis, chapter twenty-one, verses five & eight thru twenty(a);
Psalm Thirty-four, verses seven & eight, ten & eleven, & twelve & thirteen;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eight, verses twenty-eight thru thirty-four.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel we see Jesus, the miracle worker, healing two demoniacs. I think it's hard to deny that the first Christians were intensely interested in the miracles of Jesus and that they didn't see them as mere literary symbols. Anglican theologian N.T. Wright argues that it's hard to explain the enormous popularity of Jesus apart from this fascination with his wonder-working.

Though God typically lets the universe run according to its natural rhythms and patterns, what is to prevent God from shaping it or influencing it occasionally in remarkable ways in order to signal his purpose and his presence?

For evidence of this, I would like to draw your attention to an extraordinary book. It bears the simple title Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts, and it is written by the Protestant scholar Craig Keener. It is a truly exhaustive study of the theology and phenomenology of miracles, but the most surprising and exciting section of the book—at least for me—was his rehearsal of some of the literally millions of reports of miracles that come, even today, from every corner of the world. If you doubt God still works in the world today, pick up that book and think again.
Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Anthony Zaccaria
The Second Letter to Timothy, chapter one, verses thirteen & fourteen & chapter two, verses one, two, & three;
Psalm Forty, verse five(a);
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter ten, verses thirteen thru sixteen.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Portugal
The First Letter of John, chapter three, verses fourteen thru eighteen;
Psalm One Hundred Twelve, verse one;
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).

The Rebel Black Dot Girlfriend Song o' the Day

Reel Big Fish, "Please Don't Tell Her I Have a Girlfriend" from Monkeys for Nothin' and the Chimps for Free (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary: None of these pretty cynical "girlfriend" R.B.D.S.O.T.D. are meant to lampoon Miss Mozart or my status as her boyfriend. But regular readers of The Secret Base & partakers in SKApril know that romance rarely works out in third-wave ska songs so when I rather unexpectedly acquire a girlfriend my mind immediately goes to all the ways our romance could go horribly, horribly awry. A variation on the question asked in the motion picture High Fidelity: Am I cynical about romance because I listen to ska-punk or do I listen to ska-punk because I'm cynical about romance?
"Well, I know that actions speak louder than words
And thinking is bad, but doing's much worse,
Oh, oh, but I'm so perverse.

"Please don't tell her I have a girlfriend,
Please don't tell her I have a girlfriend,
'Cause it's so hard, can't even pretend
That I only want to be her friend.

"Well, I know I can keep a secret,
I know I can keep a secret,
Can you keep my secret?…"

Project PANDORA

I'm as surprised as you are to find us back here, loyal reader. I well & truly thought PANDORA was part of The Secret Base's past, not its future: Wayback Machine.

The long & short of it is that PANDORA is not just back but back with a vengeance, having achieved greater success while in mothballs than the project ever did when it was in full swing back in '12-'14. Allow me to introduce you to my girlfriend, Miss Mozart. Yes, my girlfriend. (That is a point of considerable insistence in our discussions.) How on earth did this happen? If we're to figure out where we're going, we should probably remember where we've already been.

The Wayback Machine Tour of Miss Mozart
Online Dating: 5 September 2012
A Bad Date: 9 September 2012
After the Date: 13 September 2012
Hints Not Taken: 30 September 2012
Still Be Friends: 5 October 2012
Reconnecting: Summer 2016

After reconnecting last summer shortly before Miss Mozart moved to the Bay Area for a job in the tech industry, we stayed in sporadic touch. Over the last few months, Miss Mozart & I have been exchanging e-mails & telephone calls, our e-mails mostly centered on helping her better understand the Catholic Faith & our 'phone calls light banter with my humor on prominent display. Somewhere along the line, Miss Mozart fell in love with me. I do not mean to be a braggart, but what I thought was just friendship was revealed on the other end of the conversation to be something else entirely.

I tried to tell Miss Mozart that I wasn't available, but she wouldn't have any of it. I told her about my discernment of the priesthood, of lifelong clerical celibacy, & she cried, devastated at the seeming rejection, & professed her belief that we are supposed to be together. I sought the counsel of Brother & Mrs. Nacho, my closest church friends: Wouldn't it be unfair of me to date Miss Mozart while at the same time planning to reapply with the diocese to study for the priesthood next spring? Wouldn't that be essentially dishonest, to embark upon a romance while always having one foot out the door? They agreed with Miss Mozart, that because I have not yet been admitted to the seminary, I shouldn't limit my options. I was staggered by this response. I thought the logic of my position was self-evident. If we date, if we foster an even deeper attachment, & I still end up attending the seminary & being ordained to the priesthood according to the order of Melchizedek in the fullness of God's Own time, won't she be all the more devastated? In prayer, to be best of my ability to discern His will, the LORD is telling me to be a priest. Miss Mozart says that in prayer she asks the LORD to show me that she & I are supposed to be together.

So, in essence we've decided to play with fire. Yes, I genuinely like Miss Mozart, but I am also afraid for her, afraid that her heart will be burned badly if—when I enter the seminary. But, you know what? She's a big girl. She can make her own decisions & she'll have to live with the consequences of those decisions. I've told her that I still want to enter the seminary, but she wants to proceed anyway. So, here we are. I have a girlfriend, a girlfriend I'm lucky to have, a girlfriend who lives in California, though she hopes to move back to Michigan in the late summer/early fall. (Yes, my girlfriend lives in the Golden State while I live in the Wolverine State. It would almost be more plausible if I claimed to have the proverbial Canadian girlfriend, especially since the majority of the population of the Great White North lives closer to sacred Michigan than does Miss Mozart.)

There we have it. Project PANDORA is back in full effect. No one is more surprised by that fact than yours truly.

Let us recall the timeless meditations of Bruce Campbell on experience: Old Spice-link.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Bonus! Song o' Independence Day


Dance Hall Crashers, "American Girl" (live) from The Live Record: Witless Banter and 25 Mildly Antagonistic Songs of Love (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Betty Cooper or Veronica Lodge? That's a matter of personal preference. But both are quintessential American girls.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' Independence Day


Matt Maher, "Woke Up In America" from The Love In Between (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"I woke up in America for the love of God,
I woke up in America for something bigger than myself,
More than fireworks and fanfare,
More than a star-spangled banner,
You're still beautiful, America…

"You're still beautiful, America,
You're beautiful, America,
You're beautiful, America."
As I heard Mr. Maher joke about himself last night on television, as he performed at a Catholic leadership conference in Florida, as he urged the audience to dance, "I'm the whitest guy in the room. I'm from Canada!" So, I thought the inscription from Belle Isle's Peace Monument appropriate to this 4th of July R.B.D.S.O.T.D.


Project BLACK MAMBA: Late Edition

Mea culpa! Mea culpa! Mea máxima culpa!

'Tis the festival of Saint Oda of Canterbury, Bishop, O.S.B. (circa 870-959; A.K.A. the Good, the Severe; also spelt Odo): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frasseti, Confessor, T.O.S.D. (1901-1925, A.K.A. Girolamo), the "Man of the Eight Beatitudes:" Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Weekday
The Book of Genesis, chapter nineteen, verses fifteen thru twenty-nine;
Psalm Twenty-six, verses two & three, nine & ten, & eleven & twelve;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eight, verses twenty-three thru twenty-seven.

Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, what we hear in the Gospel for today is a de profundis prayer. Do you know the de profundis prayer? It comes from Psalm 130: "Out of the depths, I have cried to you, O Lord. O Lord, be attentive to the voice of my pleading." It is the prayer offered at the darkest times of life, when we feel utterly incapable of helping ourselves.

During the storm, Jesus' disciples cried out to the Lord in desperation: "O Lord, we are drowning; don't you care?" Perhaps there are some people reading this right now who feel themselves in this precise situation. Perhaps you're reading these words from your hospital bed where you are recovering painfully from surgery, or where you've just received some devastating news. Perhaps you find yourself caught in a terrible, unrelenting depression. Maybe you've just lost a loved one, and you're awash in a sea of grief.

If that's you, then pray as the disciples did. Awaken someone who can help. Jesus sleeping in the midst of the storm is a very powerful symbol of God's sovereignty over even the darkest and most difficult trials that life throws at us.
Mass Readings—Independence Day
The Book of Numbers, chapter six, verses twenty-two thru twenty-seven;
Psalm Eighty-five, verse nine(b);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verses one thru twelve(a).

Commentary: Quoth the missalette:
The readings, psalm, & Gospel acclamation may also be taken from the Masses for Various Needs & Occasions: For the Nation, For Peace & Justice (Lectionary 882-886, 887-891). The following (the above) are suggested from among the many options.
Bible Study
Psalm Twenty-two (verses one thru thirty-two);
The Book of Lamentations, chapter three, verses twenty-two & twenty-three.

Commentary: The Prayer of an Innocent Person (Psalm 22) & excerpt from Sufferings of the Prophet & His People (Lamentations, 3:22-23).

Bible Study—The Bible Timeline: Egypt & Exodus, Parts 1 & 2
The Book of Exodus, chapter eighteen (verses one thru twenty-seven);
The Book of Exodus, chapter nineteen (verses one thru twenty-five);
The Book of Exodus, chapter twenty (verses one thru twenty-six);
The Book of Exodus, chapter twenty-one (verses one thru thirty-seven);
The Book of Exodus, chapter twenty-two (verses one thru thirty);
The Book of Exodus, chapter twenty-three (verses one thru thirty-three);
The Book of Exodus, chapter twenty-four (verses one thru eighteen).

Commentary: Meeting with Jethro (18:1-12), Appointment of Minor Judges (18:13-27), III. The Covenant at Mount Sinai: Arrival at Sinai (19:1-15), the Great Theophany (19:16-25), the Ten Commandments (20:1-17), the Fear of God (20:18-26), Laws Regarding Slaves (21:1-11), Personal Injury (21:12-32), Property Damage (21:33-22:5), Trusts & Loans (22:6-14), Social Laws (22:15-23:9), Religious Laws (23:10-19), Reward of Fidelity (23:20-33), Ratification of the Covenant (24:1-11), & Moses on the Mountain (24:12-18).

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Girlfriend Song o' the Day

Suburban Legends, "Girlfriend's Pretty" from Day Job (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary: Pray forgive the crudeness of "Girlfriend's Pretty" & it's lewd lyrics. I'm not defending this objectifying view of the daughters of men, simply acknowledging that amidst this hyper-sexualized culture & our own fallen natures, from time to time (or more frequently, for too many of us) we all adopt such a reductive view of one another—essentially, viewing others not as precious sons & daughters of God Most High, possessed of intrinsic dignity far beyond price or measure, but as mere sexual appliances for one's own base pleasure. On the plus side, "Girlfriend's Pretty" is pretty funny.
"Your girlfriend's pretty, right?
You know she's outta sight,
Her skirt was super tight,
The one she wore last night.
She's wonderful, she's magic,
Baby got back and it's fantastic,
And I do believe
She dropped the bomb.

"Please forgive my dirty mind,
'Cause I think of her naked all the time…

"Your girlfriend's pretty, right?
You know she's outta sight,
Her skirt was super tight,
The one she wore last night.
She's wonderful, she's magic,
Her rack is so fantastic,
And I do believe
She's wearing a thong…"