Friday, November 24, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA: Friday Late Edition

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Andrew Dũng-Lạc, Priest, & Companions, Martyrs (died 1745-1862; A.K.A. the Martyrs of Vietnam, of Tonkin, of Annam, of Indochina), martyred in the reigns of the Lê, Tây Sơn, & Nguyễn dynasties: Martyr-link Alpha Delta Lima & Wikipedia-link Alpha Delta Lima; Martyrs-link ūnus, Martyrs-link duo & Wikipedia-link CXVII.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Andrew was one of one hundred seventeen people martyred in Vietnam between 1820 & 1862. Members of the companions group gave their lives for Christ in the seventeenth, eighteenth, & nineteenth centuries, & received beatification during four different occasions between 1900 & 1951.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Chrysogonus, Priest & Martyr (died circa 304), martyred in the reign of the emperors Diocletian & Maximian, a victim of the Great Persecution: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Persecution.

'Tis also the festival of Saints Flora & María of Córdoba, Martyrs (died 851), martyred in the reign of the emir Abd ar-Rahman II, two of the forty-eight Martyrs of Córdoba: Martyr-link Foxtrot, Martyr-link Mike, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link XLVIII.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Book of Maccabees, chapter four, verses thirty-six, thirty-seven, & fifty-to thru fifty-nine;
The First Book of Chronicles, chapter twenty-nine, verses ten(b/c/d), eleven(a/b/c), eleven(d) & twelve(a), & twelve(b/c/d);
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter nineteen, verses forty-five thru forty-eight.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel we see Jesus cleansing the Temple. What did it mean for a provincial prophet to come into the holy city of Jerusalem and make a ruckus in the Temple? Well, you can probably imagine. To make matters worse, as we heard yesterday, Jesus says something that is as shocking as his actions. He says, "I will destroy this temple and in three days rebuild it." No wonder that it was precisely this act that led to his crucifixion.

So what was he doing and why? First, in showing his lordship over even this most sacred symbol, he was announcing who he was. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus acts in the person of God. Secondly, he was instituting a new temple, the temple of his crucified and risen body. Jesus himself is the place where God dwells, and we, in the measure that we are grafted on to him, are temples of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is passing judgment on all of the inadequate, corrupt forms of human religion and is establishing the new and eternal covenant, the new temple, in his own person.
Video reflection by Paula Trigo-Galan: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—St. Andrew Dũng-Lạc & Companions
The Book of Sirach, chapter fifty-one, verses one thru eight;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-six, verse five;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter ten, verses twenty-eight thru thirty-three.

Saint Quote o' the Day
From Joyfully Living the Gospel Day by Day by Father John Catoir:
"Those who deem themselves to be Christian must be aware of the following obligation that is theirs. They are bound by conscience to the basic, imperative duty of bearing witness to the truth in which they believe & to the grace that has transformed their soul."
—Pope St. John XXIII (11 October)

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXXXII

Operation AXIOM: The World War
21-25 November 1917: The Kaiserliche Marine dirigible L 59 (LZ 104), nicknamed "Das Afrika-Schiff" ("The Africa Ship"), attempted a one-way flight to resupply Lettow-Vorbeck's troops in Africa—cut off for three years—to deliver cargo & then be cannibalized for matériel, but turned back when radioed the Germans had been forced to retreat from the planned flat landing zone to hazardous mountains.






Lest we forget.

Commentary: The flight of Das Afrika-Schiff, ninety-five hours airborne traversing four thousand two hundred miles, remains the longest non-stop military flight in history, a century after the feat. The L 59 still had fuel for another sixty-four hours of flight at the time she returned to her hanger in Bulgaria.

Project BLACK MAMBA: Supersized Late Edition

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Clement I, Pope & Martyr (died circa 101, of Rome), fourth Bishop of Rome, author of the non-canonical First Letter of Clement, martyred in the reign of the emperor Trajan: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link 1 Clement.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He is considered to be the first Apostolic Father of the Church. Clement is the intermediary through whom the apostles teach the Church.
Wikipedia-link Apostolic Fathers.


'Tis also the Optional Memorial of Saint Columban, Abbot (543-615, A.K.A. Columbanus), founder of the Abbeys of Luxeuil & Bobbio: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Luxeuil & Wikipedia-link Bobbio.

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Columban was an Irish missionary notable for founding a number of monasteries from around 590 in the Frankish & Lombard kingdoms.
'Tis also the Optional Memorial of Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro, Priest & Martyr, S.J. (1891-1927), martyred in the reign of the president Plutarco Elías Calles: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Miguel was a Mexican Jesuit Catholic priest executed under the presidency of Plutarco Elías Calles on charges of bombing & attempted assassination of former Mexican president Álvaro Obregón.
Bl. Miguel's was the first Christian martyrdom ever photographed (above). His last words were,
"¡Viva Cristo Rey!" ("Long live Christ the King!")

'Tis also the festival of Saint Clement of Metz, Bishop (floruit first century): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Felicitas of Rome, Martyr (circa 101-165, Anglicized as Felicity), martyred in the reign of the emperor Marcus Aurelius: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Commentary: 23 November is always a bit of a traffic jam, what with three optional memorials on this one day, but add in a couple of different options of Thanksgiving & today we're proud—Proud? Well, bemused if not slightly chagrined—to bring you six different sets of readings one might hear at the Holy Mass today here in these United States.

Mass Readings—Feria
The First Book of Maccabees, chapter two, verses fifteen thru twenty-nine;
Psalm Fifty, verses one(b) & two, five & six, & fourteen & fifteen;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter nineteen, verses forty-one thru forty-four.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Clement I
The First Letter of Peter, chapter five, verses one thru four;
Psalm Eighty-nine;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter sixteen, verses thirteen thru nineteen.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Columban
The Book of Isaiah, chapter fifty-two, verses seven thru ten;
Psalm Ninety-six, verse three;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter nine, verses fifty-seven thru sixty-two.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of Bl. Miguel Agustín Pro
The Book of Sirach, chapter fifty-one, verses one thru eight;
Psalm Thirty-one, verse six;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter ten, verses twenty-eight thru thirty-three.

Mass Readings—Thanksgiving
Commentary: Quoth the missalette:
Today's readings & psalm may be chosen from the Proper texts "In Thanksgiving to God (Lectionary 943-947) or from the weekday Mass for Thursday of the thirty-third week in Ordinary Time (Lectionary 500, page 153). The following are suggested from among the many options.
The Book of Sirach, chapter fifty, verses twenty-two, twenty-three, & twenty-four;
Psalm One Hundred Thirteen, verses one & two, three & four, five & six, & seven & eight;
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter one, verses three thru nine;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter seventeen, verses eleven thru nineteen;

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today's Gospel recounts the Lord's healing of ten lepers, only one of whom comes back to give thanks. Leprosy frightened people in ancient times, just as contagious and mysterious diseases frighten people today. But, more than this, leprosy rendered someone unclean and therefore incapable of engaging in the act of worship. It is not accidental that the person responsible for examining the patient in ancient Israel was the priest. The priest's job was to monitor the whole process of Israelite worship, very much including who could and couldn't participate in the Temple.

What is so important about worship? To worship is to order the whole of one's life toward the living God, and, in doing so, to become interiorly and exteriorly rightly ordered. To worship is to signal to oneself what one's life is finally about. Worship is not something that God needs, but it is very much something that we need.
Video reflection by Father Don Miller, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


or,
The First Book of Kings, chapter eight, verses fifty-five thru sixty-one;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-five, verses two & three, four & five, six & seven, eight & nine, & ten & eleven;
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter one, verses three thru nine;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verses thirty-nine thru fifty-five.



Bible Study—Wisdom Books
The Book of Psalms, psalm twenty-three (verses one thru six);
The Book of Psalms, psalm twenty-four (verses one thru ten);
The Book of Psalms, psalm twenty-five (verses one thru twenty-two);
The Book of Wisdom, chapter one, verse sixteen;
The Book of Wisdom, chapter two (verses one thru twenty-four);
The Book of Wisdom, chapter three (verses one thru nineteen);
The Book of Wisdom, chapter four, verse one thru nineteen.

Commentary: The Lord, Shepherd & Host (Psalm 23), the Glory of God in Procession to Zion (Psalm 24), & Confident Prayer for Forgiveness & Guidance (Psalm 25);

I: The Reward of Justice (cont'd): The Wicked Reject Immortality & Justice Alike (Wisdom, 1:16-2:24) & the Hidden Counsels of God: A. On Suffering (3:1-12), B. On Childlessness (3:13-4:6), & C. On Early Death (4:7-19).


Saint Quote o' the Day
"Whoever sees God has obtained all the goods of which he can conceive."
—St. Gregory of Nyssa (10 January)

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' Thanksgiving


The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "A Reason to Toast" from Medium Rare (The Last Thankful Man)

Commentary: A R.B.D.S.O.T.D. Thanksgiving tradition, for in its fourth year (replete with a Wayback Machine rabbit hole down which to disappear): Wayback Machine.
"I'd like to open up by making a suggestion,
One that I suggest you're open to,
And then I'll open up the floor and take a question,
After that it's time to tilt a few (you and you and you).

"A reason to toast,
A reason to cheer,
A reason to celebrate:
It's nice being here!

"You might be wondering just why I called this meeting
And let another moment pass,
Before we move on, please, let's rearrange the seating,
After that it's time to raise a glass.

"I'll raise my glass up high to all the friendly faces,
Here and wherever they may be,
I don't know why I never thought 'til now to say this,
But you mean the world to me.

"A reason to toast,
A reason to cheer,
A reason to celebrate:
It's nice being here!

"Let's raise a glass up high because we're here together,
What better reason could exist?
Hey, lads, let's raise a glass, what could be better than this?
If you're without a glass, then let's see your fist!
(Get 'em up there, boys!)

"A reason to toast,
A reason to cheer,
A reason to celebrate:
It's nice being here!…"

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Cecilia, Virgin & Martyr (died circa 180-230), martyred in the reign of either the emperor Marcus Aurelius or the emperor Alexander Severus: Martyr-link ūna, Martyr-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
She is the patroness of musicians. It is written that as the musicians played at her wedding she "sang in her heart to the Lord." She is one of seven women, excluding the Blessed Virgin, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.
'Tis also the festival of Saints Philemon & Apphia, Martyrs (died circa 68), martyred in the reign of the emperor Nero, recipients of the Letter to Philemon: Martyr-link Papa, Martyr-link Alpha, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Epistle.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Tommaso Reggio, Bishop (1818-1901): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Second Book of Maccabees, chapter seven, verses one & twenty-one thru thirty;
Psalm Seventeen, verses one(b/c/d), five & six, & eight(b) & fifteen;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter nineteen, verses eleven thru twenty-eight.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus uses images drawn from the world of business to instruct us in Christian living. And he especially liked the dynamic of investment, risk, and return as a model of the spiritual life. The reason is clear. God exists in gift form. Therefore, if you want his life in you, you have to learn to give it away.

Think of the coins we read about today as everything that we've received from God—life, breath, being, powers, and so on. Because they come from God, they are meant to become gifts. If you cling to them, in the manner of the third servant, they don't grow; in fact, they wither away.

Notice that the first two servants doubled their wealth precisely in the measure that they risked it. This means that the one who truly has the divine life knows how to make it a gift, and that in turn will make the original gift increase. And the opposite holds true: "From the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away." This means that if you try to cling to the divine life, you will, in short order, lose it.
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Cecilia
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—Festival of Ss. Philemon & Apphia
The Letter to Philemon (verses one thru twenty-five).

Commentary: Address & Greeting (1-3), Thanksgiving (4-6), Plea for Onesimus (7-22), & Final Greetings (23-35).

Bible Study—Wisdom Books
The Book of Psalms, psalm twenty-two (verses one thru thirty-two);
The Book of Wisdom, chapter one, verses one thru fifteen.

Commentary: The Prayer of an Innocent Person (Psalm 22) & I: The Reward of Justice: Exhortation to Justice, the Key to Life (Wisdom, 1:1-15).

Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"To love God is something greater than to know him."
—St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church (28 January)

Operation ÖSTERREICH

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 341.8 lbs
This weigh-in: 346.0 lbs.
Difference: +4.2 lbs.

One step forward, two steps back.

Bonus! Lied von ÖSTERREICH
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Spam" from U.H.F.: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (The Last Angry Fatso)

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

The University of Michigan Marching Band, "Grieg Medley" from Hurrah for the Yellow and Blue (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: Courtesy of the muse. This is not the only Grieg in my music library (I possess a pair of complete pieces, "In the Hall of the Mountain King" & "Wedding Day at Troldhaugen"), but what she wanted was the brassy medley.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' Today

Barenaked Ladies & Sarah McLachlan, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings" from Barenaked for the Holidays (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: I'm not trying to skip both Thanksgiving & Advent in order to proceed directly to Christmas, but longtime readers know well that "We Three Kings of Orient Are" is quite possibly my favorite Christmas carol & it has been on my mind since Sunday, when Brother & Mrs. Envy & I were joined by Santa Claus (no, seriously) to film four St. Nicholas- &/or Christmas-themed episodes of The Popish Plot. Coming soon-ish (6, 24, 25, & 31 December) to the YouTubes near you.

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' Yesterday


Montag, 20. November
Nancy Sinatra, "You Only Live Twice" from Best of Bond… James Bond 50th Anniversary Collection (The Last Angry Man)

CORRECTION: Robbie Williams's "Millennium" does not, in fact sample "You Only Live Twice" as I erroneously wrote on Saturday, 18 November. Instead, the songwriters & producers of "Millennium" wrote their own legally distinct pastiche of "You Only Live Twice," so as not to have to pay the royalty fees associated with sampling another musician's work. Let it never be said that we here at The Secret Base are not willing to raise our hand & admit our mistakes.

Commentary: I cannot defend my love for the 007 franchise—both the long-running movie series & the original source novels—which in so many ways, sex & violence prominent among them, runs absolutely counter to my faith, human dignity, & the holiness to which every one of us is called. Yet, & please do not misunderstand me, I am not claiming my feelings as incontrovertible facts, I've never felt my heart convicted to forswear Bond, as I've felt myself called to renounce so many others things. I'm still figuring out how the Lord wants me to square that circle. Maybe when my heart is properly disposed He'll show me how He wants me to redeem 007? Anything is possible.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Madonna-link ūna, Madonna-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
According to the apocryphal "Infancy Narrative of James" text, Mary's parents, [Ss.] Joachim & Ann [26 July], who had been childless, received a heavenly message that they wold have a child. In thanksgiving for the gift of their daughter, they brought her, when still a child, to the Temple in Jerusalem to consecrate her to God.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Gelasius I, Pope (died 496), forty-ninth Bishop of Rome: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Gelasius Ó Cuileanáin, Priest & Martyr, O.Cist. (died 1580, Anglicized as O'Cullenan), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I, one of the Irish Martyrs: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link Irish & Wikipedia-link Irish.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Second Book of Maccabees, chapter six, verses eighteen thru thirty-one;
Psalm Three, verses two & three, four & five, & six & seven;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter nineteen, verses one thru ten

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today's Gospel declares in the story of Zacchaeus how quickly God responds to any sign of faith. Zacchaeus' climbing the sycamore tree shows he had more than a passing interest in seeing Jesus. He had a deep hunger of the spirit. His principal virtue was his willingness to go to great extremes. But this is what we do when we know that something of great moment is at stake. When our health is endangered, we move, we act; when our job is threatened, we go to almost any extreme to keep it.

When Jesus spotted him he said, "Zacchaeus, hurry down. I mean to stay at your house today." Christians, God responds to us readily when we show the least interest in him. He doesn't play hard to get; he is not coy with us. When we seek him, he responds, because loving us is his entire game.

Notice how Jesus tells Zacchaeus to hurry. Don't wait, don't hesitate. Seize the moment of conversion when it comes.
Video reflection by Sister Johnice Rzadkiewicz, C.S.S.F.: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Book of Zechariah, chapter two, verses fourteen thru seventeen;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verse forty-nine;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twelve, verses forty-six thru fifty.



Bible Study—Wisdom Books
The Book of Psalms, psalm twenty (verses one thru ten);
The Book of Psalms, psalm twenty-one (verses one thru fourteen).

Commentary: Prayer for the King in Time of War (Psalm 20) & Thanksgiving & Assurances for the King (Psalm 21).

Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"Love to be real, it must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self."
—St. Teresa of Calcutta (5 September)

Monday, November 20, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saints Edmund the Martyr & Humbert of Elmham, Bishop; Martyrs (died 869; A.K.A. King Edmund of the East Angles; also spelt Humbertus), martyred at the hands of the Great Heathen Army: Martyr-link Echo & Wikipedia-link Echo, Martyr-link Hotel & Wikipedia-link Hotel; Wikipedia-link Great Heathen Army.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Bernward of Hildesheim, Bishop (circa 960-1022): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Maria Fortunata Viti, Religious, O.S.B. (1827-1922, A.K.A. Anna Felicia Viti): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The First Book of Maccabees, chapter one, verses ten thru fifteen; forty-one, forty-two, & forty-three; fifty-four thru fifty-seven; sixty-two; & sixty-three;
Psalm One Hundred Nineteen, verses fifty-three, sixty-one, one hundred thirty-four, one hundred fifty, one hundred fifty-five, & one hundred fifty-eight;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter eighteen, verses thirty-five thru forty-three.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today in the Gospel passage we see Jesus' mercy toward the blind man as a hallmark of his ministry. Jesus comes as healer, savior, inaugurator of the kingdom. He is the embodiment of hope. Jesus wanted to connect human suffering to the very source of life and health. The energy of God pours through him to the needy.

Now I realize a question may be forming in your mind: "Well, why doesn't he simply cure everyone, then?" The answer is obviously wrapped up in the mystery of God's will, but the important point is this: Jesus is healer in many senses, but ultimately in the sense that he heals us from sin and death, not only physical maladies. What appears historically in Jesus is an eschatological anticipation, a hint and foreshadowing of what is coming in God's time and in God's way.
Video reflection by Monsignor James Vlaun (Telecare T.V.): U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"Pray, hope, & don't worry."
—St. Pio of Pietrelcina (23 September)

Yesterday's BLACK MAMBA post, for the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, has been "unsimplex-ed": Wayback Machine.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXXXI

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Battle of Cambrai, Part I
20 November 1917: On the first day of Cambrai, a British artillery bombardment utilizing the new technique of predicted fire, which did not alert the enemy with ranging shots, breached the so-called "Hindenburg Line" (the German name was Siegriedstellung, "Siegried Position"); massed tanks & infantry advanced as much as five miles; back home in Britain, church bells were rung in jubilation.





Lest we forget.

Project BLACK MAMBA: XXXIII Sunday, Ordinary Time

Simplex Edition
'Tis the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time: Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Book of Proverbs, chapter thirty-one, verses ten thru thirteen, nineteen, twenty, thirty, & thirty-one;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-eight, verses one & two, three, & four & five;
The First Letter to the Thessalonians, chapter five, verses one thru six;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses fourteen thru thirty
(or, the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses fourteen, fifteen, nineteen, twenty, & twenty-one).

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today's Gospel gives us the challenging parable of the talents. A man goes on a journey, but before leaving he entrusts his money to three of his servants. To one he gives five talents, to a second, two, and to a third, one.

The first man trades with the five talents. The second does the same, and both receive a rich return on their investment. The third man cautiously buries his talent. When the owner returns, he praises the first two servants and gives them greater responsibilities, but the third man he upbraids.

Jesus loved to use examples drawn from the world of business. And he especially liked this dynamic of investment as a model of the spiritual life. The reason is clear, and I've said it to you often. God exists in gift form. Therefore, if you want his life in you, you have to learn to give it away. Think of the talents as everything that we've received from God—life, breath, being, powers. Because they come from God, they are meant to become gifts. If you cling to them, in the manner of the third servant, they don't grow; in fact, they wither away.
Video reflection by Father Greg Friedman, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Video reflection by Jeff Cavins: Encountering the Word.

Audio reflection by Scott Hahn, Ph.D.: Breaking the Bread.


Mass Journal: Week 47
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
Mass is not about whom you sit next to. It's not about which priest says Mass. It is not about what you wear or who is there. Mass is not about the music. It's not even about the preaching. It [is] about gathering as a community to give thanks to God for all the blessings he fills our lives with. It is about receiving the Body & Blood of Christ, not just physically, but spiritually. Perhaps you have been receiving the Eucharist physically every Sunday for your whole life. Next Sunday, prepare yourself, be conscious of the marvel, the wonder, the mystery, & receive spiritually.

Otherwise, 19 November would be the festival of Saint Egbert of York, Bishop (died 766, also spelt Ecgbert): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Mechtilde of Helfta, Religious, O.S.B. (circa 1241-1298, A.K.A. of Hackeborn), "The Nightingale of Helfta:" Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. St. Mechtilde served as the novice mistress of, & was a profound influence on, St. Gertrude the Great (16 November).

'Twould also be the festival of Blessed Giacomo Benefatti, Bishop, O.P. (died 1332, of Mantua; Anglecized as James Benefatti): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible."
—St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church (28 January)

A Humble Contribution to the New Evangelization
The Popish Plot—Saintly Sunday: "10 Easy Steps to Become a Saint!"

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

Ellie Holcomb, "Find You Here" from Red Sea Road (The Last Angry Man)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Bonus! Song o' the Day

Robbie Williams, "Millennium" from I've Been Expecting You (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: "Millennium" samples "You Only Live Twice," composed by John Barry & performed by Nancy Sinatra for the James Bond film You Only Live Twice. I've been thinking about You Only Live Twice, & thus "You Only Live Twice," & thus "Millennium," because I'm working up a Popish Plot episode to explain the theological truth that we all, saint & sinner alike, will live twice. Every human who has ever lived will be resurrected at the Second Coming of the Lord, at the Last Judgment—the righteous resurrected for life eternal in perfect relationship with the God Who created us & the wicked resurrected for the second death of eternal separation from the God Who loves us. My intention is to call it "You Only Live Twice."

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter & Paul, Apostles: Dedication-link ūnus, Dedication-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link St. Peter's & Wikipedia-link St. Paul's outside the Walls.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the Optional Memorial of Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne, Virgin, R.S.C.J. (1769-1852, A.K.A. "Woman-Who-Prays-Always"): Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Odo of Cluny, Abbot, O.S.B. (circa 879-942), abbot of the Abbey of Cluny: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Abbey.

Today also marks the beatification of Blessed Solanus Casey, Priest, O.F.M. Cap. (1870-1957, A.K.A. Bernard Francis Casey): Blessed-link ūnus, Blessed-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Heaven permitting, if all goes to plan, at the hour this post is auto-published I will be at Ford Field, in the Archdiocese of Detroit, at the beatification Mass of Bl. Solanus.

Scripture o' the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Wisdom, chapter eighteen, verses fourteen, fifteen, & sixteen & chapter nineteen, verses six thru nine;
Psalm One Hundred Five, verses two & three, thirty-six & thirty-seven, & forty-two & forty-three;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter eighteen, verses one thru eight.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today's Gospel exhorts us to pray with persistence. This command is everywhere in the Bible. We see it in Abraham's steady petition on behalf of the people of Sodom. We see it in today's account of the persistent widow. We hear it in Jesus' extraordinary teaching: "Knock and the door shall be opened to you; seek and you will find; ask and it will be given to you."

One reason that we don't receive what we want through prayer is that we give up too easily. What could be behind this rule of prayer? Augustine said that God sometimes delays in giving us what we want because he wants our hearts to expand. The more ardently we desire something, the more ready we are when it comes, the more we treasure it. The very act of asking persistently is accomplishing something spiritually important. So, when the Lord seems slow to answer your prayer, never give up.
Video reflection by Father Michael Ackerman: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilicas of Ss. Peter & Paul
The Acts of the Apostles, chapter twenty-eight, verses eleven thru sixteen, thirty, & thirty-one;
Psalm Ninety-eight, verses one, two & three(a/b), three(c/d) & four, & five & six;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter fourteen, verses twenty-two thru thirty-three.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne
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 Luke, chapter ten, verses thirty-eight thru forty-two.

Mass Readings—Beatification of Father Solanus Casey
The Book of Sirach, chapter three, verses seventeen thru twenty-four;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-one;
The Letter to the Philippians, chapter four, verses four thru nine;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter eleven, verses one thru ten.

Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"Let us begin in earnest to work out our salvation, for no one will do it for us, since even He Himself, Who made us without ourselves, will not save us without ourselves."
—St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (16 October)

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


The University of Michigan Marching Band, "Mambo!" from Hurrah for the Yellow and Blue (The Last Angry Wolverine)

Commentary: The only lyrics to "Mambo!" are the Marching Band shouting, "Mambo!" twice &, at the very end, "Go Blue!" once.

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

Reel Big Fish, "A Little Doubt Goes a Long Way" from Cheer Up! (The Last Angry Man)

Skammentary:
"…Maybe it's not right (I have a girlfriend),
Made a friend tonight (Who is a girl, and),
I just wanted to talk to you,
But then I started wonderin' if she's the one, or not…

"Well, I know flirting is nothing and it should be where it ends (Where it ends),
But I know, yes, I know that I want you for more than a friend (More than a friend).

"Maybe it's not right (I have a girlfriend),
Made a friend tonight (Who is a girl, and),
I just wanted to talk to you,
But then I started wonderin'
Oh, yes, I started wonderin', if you're the one, ha ha!

"So I gotta go, gotta go,
Before I do something stupid!
I gotta go!
I gotta go, gotta go,
Before I do something lame!
So I gotta go, gotta go,
Before I do something stupid,
I gotta go!
But I know, I know it's too late."

Project BLACK MAMBA: Late Edition

Commentary: Friday's late, like clockwork.

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious, T.O.S.F. (1207-1231, A.K.A. of Thuringia): Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Niece of St. Hedwig of Silesia (16 October).

Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Elizabeth is perhaps best known for her miracle of the roses which says that whilst she was taking bread to the poor in secret, she met her husband Ludwig on a hunting party, who in order to quell suspicions of the gentry that she was stealing treasure from the castle, asked her to reveal what was hidden under her cloak. In that moment, her cloak fell open & a vision of white & red roses could be seen.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
While still a young girl she was married to Louis the Landgrave of Thuringia & gave birth to three children. She devoted herself toprayer & meditation. After her husband's death, she embraced a life of poverty, erecting a hospital in which she herself served the sick. She died at Marburg in 1231.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus, Bishop (circa 213-170, A.K.A. of Pontus, of Neocaesarea): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: "Thaumaturgus" is not St. Gregory's surname, but an epithet, meaning "wonder-worker" or "miracle-worker."

'Tis also the festival of Saint Gregory of Tours, Bishop (circa 538-594): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture o' the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Wisdom, chapter thirteen, verses one thru nine;
Psalm Nineteen, verses two & three & four & five(a/b);
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter seventeen, verses twenty-six thru thirty-seven.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel passage the Lord compares the clueless behavior of our time with that of Noah. Listen to his warning: "Jesus said to his disciples, 'The coming of the Son of Man will repeat what happened in Noah's time.'" Those aren't very reassuring words.

Then he specifies: people were eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage right up to the time of the flood. And then, when it came with shocking suddenness, they were destroyed. The end of an old world had arrived, but the inhabitants of that world were clueless. A new world was coming, but the prospective citizens of it had no idea how to prepare for it.

Our version of Noah's world-destroying flood might be the crashing of a huge comet into the earth. What if we knew that a comet was coming, but we did nothing about it, we adjusted in no way to it? This was the situation of those in Noah's time and, Jesus suggests, those in his own time. And it's our situation, too. We must prepare for the Lord's coming by patterning our lives on the Gospel.
Video reflection by Father Juan Carlos Tejada: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Hungary
The First Letter of John, chapter three, verses fourteen thru eighteen;
Psalm Thirty-four, verse two;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter six, verses twenty-seven thru thirty-eight.

Mass Readings—Requiem for Lima Kilo
The Book of Proverbs, chapter thirty-one, verses ten thru thirty-one;
Psalm Twenty-seven, verses one, four, & thirteen;
The Letter to the Philippians, chapter two, verses one thru eighteen;
The Gospel according to John, chapter fourteen, verses one thru six.

Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows."
—St. Gregory of Nyssa (10 January)
A Humble Contribution to the New Evangelization
The Popish Plot—Theology Thursday: "Devotions Aren't Magic"

The Popish Plot—Bonus Episode: "Religious Chain Mail"

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXXX

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The End of the Battles of the Isonzo, Part IX
11 November-23 December 1917: The First Battle of Monte Grappa—The Italian retreat was finally halted when the Austro-Hungarians & Germans could not conquer the fortified summit of Monte Grappa; the Central Powers' triumph at Caporetto was greater than anticipated & their logistics were overstretched; France & Britain had rushed troops to Italy, but this was entirely an Italian victory.





Lest we forget.

Bonus: Austro-Hungarian mountain troops were called the Gibergstruppe. Italian mountain troops were called the Alpini. German mountain troops were called the Alpenkorps.

The Wayback Machine Tour of the Twelve Battles of the Isonzo
№ CDLIX: The First & Second Battles of the Isonzo (Part I)
№ CDLXX: The Third & Fourth Battles of the Isonzo (Part II)
№ CDLXXXVIII: The Fifth Battle of the Isonzo (Part III)
№ DX: The Sixth Battle of the Isonzo (Part IV)
№ DXVIII: The Seventh, Eighth, & Ninth Battles of the Isonzo (Part V)
№ DL: The Tenth Battle of the Isonzo (Part VI)
№ DLXV: The Eleventh Battle of the Isonzo (Part VII)
№ DLXXV: The Battle of Caporetto (Part VIII)

Commentary: The Central Powers' failure to conquer Monte Grappa strongly resembled Italy's failure to conquer Mount Saint Gabriel in the Eleventh Battle of Isonzo. So close to victory, & yet so far.

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Margaret of Scotland (circa 1045-1093, A.K.A. of Wessex), Queen of Scots, "the Pearl of Scotland:" Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
St. Margaret instigated religious reform, striving to conform the worship & practices of the Church in Scotland to those of Rome.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Saint Margaret was born around 1046 in Hungary where he father was exiled. She was married to King Malcom III of Scotland & gave birth to eight children. The ideal mother & queen, St. Margaret died at Edinburgh in 1093.
'Tis also the Optional Memorial of Saint Gertrude, Virgin, O.S.B. (1256-1302; the Great, A.K.A. of Helfta): Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
St. Gertrude was a German Benedictine, mystic, & theologian.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Othmar, Priest & Abbot, O.S.B. (circa 689-759, A.K.A. Audemar), inaugural abbot of the Abbey of Saint Gall: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Abbey.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Edward Osbaldeston, Priest & Martyr (circa 1560-1594), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I, one of the Eighty-five Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link LXXXV.

Scripture o' the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Wisdom, chapter seven, verse twenty-two(b) thru chapter eight, verse one;
Psalm One Hundred Nineteen, verses eighty-nine, ninety, ninety-one, one hundred thirty, one hundred thirty-five, & one hundred seventy-five;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter seventeen, verses twenty thru twenty-five.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus warns that he, the Son of Man, will come on a day we do not expect. What’s so frightening about the coming of the Son of Man? Why isn’t it just good news?

Well, if he’s the life, that life which is opposed to him has to give way; and if he’s the truth, then false claimants to truth must cede to him; and if he’s the way, then the false ways have to be abandoned. So, as we await the Lord’s second coming, we must give our lives to him and renounce everything that opposes him.
Video reflection by Father Don Miller, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland
The Book of Isaiah, chapter fifty-eight, verses six thru eleven;
Psalm One Hundred Twelve, verse one;
The Gospel according to John, chapter fifteen, verses nine thru seventeen.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Gertrude
The Letter to the Ephesians, chapter three, verses fourteen thru nineteen;
Psalm Twenty-three, verse one;
The Gospel according to John, chapter fifteen, verses one thru eight.



Bible Study—Psalms & Proverbs
The Book of Psalms, psalm nineteen (verses one thru fifteen);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter sixteen (verses one thru thirty-three).

Commentary: God's Glory in the Heavens & in the Law (Psalm 19) & II: First Collection of the Wisdom of Solomon (cont'd; Proverbs, 16:1-33).

Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"To live is to change, & to be perfect is to have changed often."
—Bl. John Henry Newman (9 October)

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, November 15, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day


Cast, "All-American Prophet" from The Book of Mormon: Original Broadway Cast Recording (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: I'm sorry if this seems mean, for I don't mean to be mean to Mormons, at least not for meanness's sake, but the straight-faced case for the Book of Mormon (the book, not the musical) is scarcely less risible than the parody presented in "All-American Prophet."
"You all know the Bible is made of Testaments, Old and New,
You're been told it's just those two parts, or only one if you're a Jew,
But what if I were to tell you there's a fresh third part out there,
Which was found by a hip, new prophet who had a little Donny Osmond flair?

"Have you heard of the all-American prophet?
The blond-haired, blue-eyed voice of God?
He didn't come from the Middle East like those other holy men,
No, God's favorite prophet was all-American!…"
And it goes on like that. Behind the mean-spirited mockery of Mormons, the fuming hatred of God, & the adolescent toilet humor, a redemptive—though not fully redeeming—aspect of
The Book of Mormon (the musical, not the book) is the story of Elder Price's struggle with his own pride & inflated sense of self-importance.
"Have you heard of the all-American prophet?
(Kevin Price!)
The next in line to be the voice of God?
(My best friend!)
He's gonna do something incredible and be Joseph Smith again,
'Cause Kevin Price the prophet is all, all, all, all-American!
(If you order now we'll also throw in a set of steak knives!)
All-American!"
I wonder if Messers. Lopez, Parker, & Stone realize they are as ludicrously prideful as Elder Price, if not more so, & that they really wrote "All-American Prophet" about themselves? Likely not. That depth of introspection is difficult, & spooky, spookier even than "Spooky Mormon Hell Dream."

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Albert the Great, Bishop & Doctor of the Church, O.P. (circa 1206-1280, of Cologne; in the Latin, Albertus Magnus), in life called the "Universal Doctor" (Doctor universalis) & "Expert Doctor" (Doctor expertus): Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He was the first German Dominican to achieve the title, "Master of Theology." He later went on to teach theology at the University of Paris, & became Chair of Theology at the College of St. James. One of his students was the famous Thomas Aquinas [January 28] who would also become a doctor of the Church & a saint.
Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
Saint Albert was born at Lauingen along the Danube about the year 1206. Having studied at Padua 7 Paris, he entered the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans) & excelled as a teacher. One of his most famous students was St. Thomas Aquinas. Ordained bishop of Ratisbon [A.K.A. Regensberg], [Albert] strove earnestly to establish peace among people & between cities. He wrote brilliantly on a variety of subjects from the secular to the sacred. He died at Cologne in 1280.
'Tis also the festival of Blessed Mary of the Passion, Religious, F.M.M. (1839-1904, A.K.A. Hélène-Marie-Philippine de Chappotin de Neuville), foundress of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary: Blessed-link ūna, Blessed-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link F.M.M.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Raphael of Saint Joseph, Priest, O.C.D. (1835-1907, A.K.A. Józef Kalinowski): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture o' the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Wisdom, chapter six, verses one thru eleven;
Psalm Eighty-two, verses three & four & six & seven;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter seventeen, verses eleven thru nineteen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today's Gospel recounts the Lord's healing of ten lepers, only one of whom comes back to give thanks. Leprosy frightened people in ancient times, just as contagious and mysterious diseases frighten people today. But, more than this, leprosy rendered someone unclean and therefore incapable of engaging in the act of worship. It is not accidental that the person responsible for examining the patient in ancient Israel was the priest. The priest's job was to monitor the whole process of Israelite worship, very much including who could and couldn't participate in the Temple.

What is so important about worship? To worship is to order the whole of one's life toward the living God, and, in doing so, to become interiorly and exteriorly rightly ordered. To worship is to signal to oneself what one's life is finally about. Worship is not something that God needs, but it is very much something that we need.
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Albert the Great
The Book of Sirach, chapter fifteen, verses one thru six;
Psalm One Hundred Nineteen, verse twelve;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter thirteen, verses forty-seven thru fifty-two.



Bible Study—Psalms & Proverbs
The Book of Psalms, psalm eighteen (verses one thru fifty-one);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter fifteen (verses one thru thirty-three).

Commentary: A King's Thanksgiving for Victory (Psalm 18) & II: First Collection of the Wisdom of Solomon (cont'd; Proverbs, 15:1-33).

Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections."
—St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church (20 August)

Operation ÖSTERREICH

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 343.8 lbs
This weigh-in: 341.8 lbs.
Difference: -2.0 lbs.

I'm back to where I was a fortnight hence, still two-fifths of a pound heavier (+0.2 lbs.) than I was two fortnights hence (341.6 lbs.), the record low since the Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in resumed. Still, I've lost weight in the last seven days, which is the goal, to lose weight continually until I reach a healthy, sustainable size. Rome wasn't built in a day; this isn't a matter of one dramatic gesture, but a day-by-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute commitment to a more healthful lifestyle. If I could lose just two pounds every week, an entirely achievable rate, I'd lose one hundred four pounds in a year. Imagine what two hundred thirty-seven pounds (237 lbs.) would look like, how it would feel! Keep at it!

Bonus! Lied von ÖSTERREICH
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Theme from Rocky XIII" from "Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D (The Last Angry Blob)

Commentary: "Weird Al" is, by virtue of his keen insight into the absurdities of our collapsing society, quite an adept futurist. The plot of "Theme from Rocky XIII" is, in essence if not in specific detail, the plot of the sixth Rocky movie, Rocky Balboa.
"Fat and weak, what a disgrace!
Guess the champ got too lazy,
Ain't gonna fly now, he's just taking up space,
Sold his gloves, threw his eggs down the drain…

"Never eats while on the job,
He heard it's good to stay hungry…"
The Hollywoodland Tour of the Rocky Series
Rocky (1976)
Rocky II (1979)
Rocky III (1982)
Rocky IV (1985)
Rocky V (1990)
Rocky Balboa (2006)
Creed (2015)
(Creed II, currently in pre-production; 2018)

The Queue

I'm certain Catholics Go by the Bible is chockablock with useful information, but it wasn't holding my interest, so I wasn't picking it up very often. I fear the accessibility of the book's useful information is limited by the author's—forgive my bluntness—poor writing; Seinfeld articulated, as it so often did, something we had all previously intuited but never succinctly formulated: "People love interesting writing!" If I do not someday circle back & try Catholics Go by the Bible again, I will undoubtedly at some point use it as a reference work, for The Popish Plot or some other endeavor.

A Legacy of Spies is borrowed from the Genesee District Library, as a twenty-eight-day loan despite the "14 Day Loan" sticker formerly stuck to the spine. (I removed the sticker because it was no longer accurate. I'm worse than just a vandal, I'm a captious vandal.) I do so love espionage—books, both fiction & non-fiction, & motion pictures, too, both features & television series. I take seriously a bit of advice I heard when I lived my Cursillo weekend & subsequently as I've been on teams hosting men as they live their Cursillo weekends: "Don't just read good books. Read the best." I love reading about the faith & the Church, both high theology & earthy practicality, anything & everything to help my fellow pilgrims & me make our corporate & individual ways home, but we must always remember that the Lord God speaks to all His children, even the many who would hardly identify themselves as such. John le Carré's talent is as much a gift from God as was Venerable Fulton Sheen's. Le Carré may not use his God-given artistry as explicitly for the greater glory of God (ad maioriem Dei gloriam) as did Archbishop Sheen, but Scripture teaches us that even what men intend for evil the Lord God can turn to serve His infinitely good purpose (Genesis, 50:20). Deus vult!

Recently
Gary Chapman with Randy Southern, The 5 Love Languages for Men: Tools for Making a Good Relationship Great
Kevin Lowry, How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming into the Catholic Church
Deacon Eugene Hausmann, Catholics Go by the Bible: Biblical Sources of Catholic Theology & Liturgy ***abandoned***

Currently
John le Carré, A Legacy of Spies

Presently
Norman Davies, Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations ***paused***
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
Xavier Rynne, Vatican Council II
John W. O'Malley, What Happened at Vatican II
Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love)
Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis (The Sacrament of Charity)
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

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saint Laurence O'Toole, Bishop & Abbot, O.S.A. (1128-1180, A.K.A. Lorcán Ua Tuathail), abbot of the Monastery at Glendalough before being consecrated Archbishop of Dublin: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Glendalough & Wikipedia-link Dublin.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Nikola Tavelić & Companions (Déodat of Rodez, Pierre of Narbonne, & Stefano of Cueno), Priests & Martyrs, O.F.M. (died 1391, Anglicized as Nicholas Tavelic; A.K.A. the Martyrs of the Jaffa Gate), martyred in the reign of the sultan Sayf ad-Din Barquq: Martyrs-link, Martyr-link November Tango & Wikipedia-link, Martyr-link Delta, Martyr-link Papa, & Martyr-link Sierra.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Giovanni Liccio, Priest, O.P. (1400-1511, Anglicized as John Licci): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Maria Luiza Merkert, Religious, C.S.S.E. (1817-1872), co-foundress of the Sisters of Saint Elizabeth: Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link C.S.S.E.

Scripture o' the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Wisdom, chapter two, verse twenty-three thru chapter three, verse nine;
Psalm Eighty-two, verses two & three, sixteen & seventeen, & eighteen & nineteen;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter seventeen, verses seven thru ten.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, as is often the case with Jesus' more difficult parables, we have to pay careful attention to today's Gospel story. It's all about justice, which is rendering to each what is due—a good and noble thing. When justice is your primary consideration, you are basically in charge, morally speaking. But what Jesus is doing today in this striking and annoying story is to shake us out of that understanding of our relationship to God.

The point is this: God owes us precisely nothing. Everything we have, including our very existence, is a sheer gift. We are in absolutely no position ever to demand anything of God. To move into this space is to move out of the stance of faith. And so no matter what God asks, the proper response is, "I am an unprofitable servant; I have done what I was obliged to do."
Video reflection by Father Greg Dobson: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Bible Study—Psalms & Proverbs
The Book of Psalms, psalm seventeen (verses one thru fifteen);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter fourteen (verses one thru thirty-five).

Commentary: Prayer for Rescue from Persecutors (Psalm 17); II: First Collection of the Wisdom of Solomon (cont'd; Proverbs, 14:1-35).

Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!"
—St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church (29 April)

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

London Symphony Orchestra & Walter Sisskind, "Appalachian Spring: Concert Suite…" from London Symphony Orchestra Plays Classical Favourites (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: The full title given in iTunes is nearly as long as the Aaron Copland-composed suite's twenty-three minute running time: "Appalachain Spring: Concert Suite - Very Slowly - Allegro - Moderato: The Bride and Her Intended - Fast: The Revivalist and His Flock - Allegro: Solo Dances of the Bride - meno Mosso - Doppio Movemento: Variations On a Shaker Hymn - Moderato - Coda."

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

Cast, "I Believe" from The Book of Mormon: Original Broadway Cast Recording (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: "I Believe" is The Book of Mormon in microcosm: unfair to the Mormons specifically & people of faith generally, but also pretty danged amusing.

Project BLACK MAMBA: The Long Road Back

Saturday, 11 November was the Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop (circa 316-397), founder of the Abbey of Ligugé & the Abbey of Marmoutier: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Ligugé & Wikipedia-link Marmoutier.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He is best known for the account of his using his military sword to cut his cloak in two, to give half to a beggar clad only in rags in the depth of winter. Conscripted as a soldier into the Roman army, he found the duty incompatible with the Christian faith he adopted & became an early conscientious objector.
'Twas also the festival of Saint Turibius of Liébana, Bishop & Abbot, O.S.B. (floruit 533, A.K.A. of Palencia, the Monk), founder of the Monastery of Liébana: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Monastery.

'Twas also the festival of Blessed Alicja Maria Jadwiga Kotowska, Religious & Martyr, C.R. (1899-1939), martyred in the reign of the Führer Adolf Hitler, in the Massacres in Piaśnica; one of the One Hundred Eight Blessed Polish Martyrs: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Piaśnica & Wikipedia-link CVIII.

'Twas also the festival of Blesseds Eugene Bossilkov, Bishop (C.P.); Josaphat Chichkov, Pavel Djidjov, & Kamen Vitchev, Priests (A.A.); Martyrs (died 1952), martyred in the reign of the Communist dictator Vâlko Chervenkov: Martyr-link Echo Bravo & Wikipedia-link Echo Bravo, Martyr-link Juliett Charlie & Wikipedia-link Juliett Charlie, Martyr-link Papa Delta & Wikipedia-link Papa Delta, & Martyr-link Kilo Victor & Wikipedia-link Kilo Victor.

Scripture of That Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Letter to the Romans, chapter sixteen, verses three thru nine, sixteen, & twenty-two thru twenty-seven;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-five, verses two & three, four & five, & ten & eleven;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter sixteen, verses nine thru fifteen.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel focuses on prudence. In the Middle Ages, prudence was called “the queen of the virtues” because it was the virtue that enabled one to do the right thing in a particular situation. Prudence is a feel for the moral situation, something like the feel a quarterback has for the playing field, or a politician for the voters in his district.

Courage, justice, and temperance are wonderful virtues, but without prudence they are blind and, finally, useless. For a person can be as courageous as possible, but if he doesn’t know when, where, and how to play out his courage, that virtue is useless.
Video reflection by Sister Annie Bremmer: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Martin of Tours
The Book of Isaiah, chapter sixty-one, verses one, two, & three (a/b/c/d);
Confer Psalm Eighty-nine, verse two(a);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses thirty-one thru forty.



Bible Study—Psalms & Proverbs
The Book of Proverbs, chapter ten (verses one thru thirty-two);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter eleven (verses one thru thirty-one).

Commentary: II: First Collection of the Wisdom of Solomon (10:1-11:31).

What's Eating The Last Angry Man?
All fall, I've groused that this is the year "church hates football." That's an unfair characterization, because I've also taken two out-of-town trips to visit family at Xanadu & squandered an entire Saturday at an out-of-town wedding as the plus-one of an acquaintance (never forget that no good deed goes unpunished), but even when I've been in town one or another church activity had cropped up, commanding a disproportionate percentage of my Saturdays, making it difficult to watch most of the valiant Wolverines' games in anything even approximately real time. Add in the four Formula One grands prix held in October—two pair of back-to-back race weekends (I've always disliked back-to-back race weekends for the excessive burden they place on my schedule; the monopolization of time irks me, sometimes above & beyond the joy derived from the weekend's racing), with only a solitary weekend's respite—& I'm constantly playing catch-up. Amidst this additional demands on my time, Saturdays' BLACK MAMBA posts in particular have been drawing the short straw in the competition for my time & attention, which irks me, only making matters worse.

Yes, I agree, this would be a ripe moment to play "Weird Al's" "First World Problems." My life is abundantly blessed & God forgive me if I ever portray it as otherwise. I've been whiny & ungrateful, & acted put-upon, that's what's eating The Last Angry Man.

Bonus! Song o' What's Eating The Last Angry Man?
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "First World Problems" from Mandatory Fun (The Last Angry Man)

Project BLACK MAMBA: The Long Road Back, Prelude

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin, M.S.C. (1850-1917, A.K.A. Mother Cabrini), foundress of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: Saint-link ūna, Saint-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link M.S.C..

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Also called Mother Cabrini, she was an Italian-American religious sister, who founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was a major support to the Italian immigrants to the United States. She was the first naturalized citizen of the United States to be canonized.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Brice of Tours, Bishop (circa 370-444): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Nicholas I, Pope (circa 800-867, the Great), one hundred fifth Bishop of Rome: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Didacus of Alcalá, Religious, O.F.M. (circa 1400-1463, A.K.A. Diego de San Nicolás), namesake of the Mission San Diego de Alcalá around which grew the city of San Diego: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Mission & Wikipedia-link City.

Scripture of This Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Wisdom, chapter one, verses one thru seven;
Psalm One Hundred Thirty-nine, verses one(b), two, & three; four, five, & six; seven & eight; & nine & ten;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter seventeen, verses one thru six.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today's Gospel we hear Jesus speak about faith. Faith is powerful, for it is a link to the reality of God, the power that made and sustains the cosmos. Sometimes, the power of faith is manifested in spectacular and immediately obvious ways. For example, there is a long tradition of faith healing, stretching back to Jesus himself and through many of the saints. There is also the power of prayer. When some people ask in a spirit of trust, really believing that what they are asking for will happen, it happens.

But, more often than not, the power of faith manifests itself in the courage to face trauma, sickness, even the terror of death. It is the confidence that we are being guided and cared for, even when that guidance and care are not immediately apparent.
Video reflection by Monsignor James Vlaun (Telecare T.V.): U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
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 Luke, chapter ten, verses thirty-eight thru forty-two.



Bible Study—Psalms & Proverbs
The Book of Psalms, psalm fourteen (verses one thru seven);
The Book of Psalms, psalm fifteen (verses one thru five);
The Book of Psalms, psalm sixteen (verses one thru eleven);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter twelve (verses one thru twenty-eight);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter thirteen (verses one thru twenty-five).

Commentary: A Lament over Widespread Corruption (Psalm 14), the Righteous Israelite (Psalm 15), & God the Supreme Good (Psalm 16); II: First Collection of the Wisdom of Solomon (cont'd; Proverbs, 12:1-13:25).

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXXIX

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Battle of Passchendaele (Third Ypres), Part VI
26 October-10 November 1917: The Second Battle of Passchendaele—Entente forces spearheaded by the Canadian Corps, in a thoroughly methodical assault, seized the Passchendaele Ridge: drier ground for the coming winter; men & matériel were then diverted away from the Ypres Salient to stem the Central Powers' breakthrough at Caporetto & for the Entente's forthcoming attack at Cambrai.






Lest we forget.

The Wayback Machine Tour of the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele)
№ DLX: The Battle of Pilckem Ridge (Part I)
№ DLXII: The Battle of Langemarck (Part II)
№ DLXVIII: The Battle of Polygon Wood (Part III)
№ DLXX: The Battle of Broodseinde (Part IV)
№ DLXXI: The First Battle of Passchendaele (Part V)