Saturday, December 14, 2002

An obituary

that appeared in the Peoria, Illinois Catholic newspaper three-and-twenty years ago this week.
Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Denver

Two articles of his, chosen at sort-of-random :

10/30/2002 : Prior to the election. Note the unequivocal and clear opposition to the prenatal infanticide ethic.

11/06/02 : On the Liturgy of the Word at Mass. The unfinal ending implies a continuation which I did not find at the Denver archdiocesan website.
Am beginning to think that Bishop Bruskewitz at 67 might be a bit too annuated for the Boston see, but you never know. If I were asked to bet on who is likeliest, I'd say Gregory of Belleville or the one of the two Richards, Boston auxiliaries Lennon and Malone. With a decenable ( = "decent" + "reasonable") chance of Denver's Archbishop Chaput.

Bishop O'Malley (another Franciscan!), late of Fall River, Mass., and currently of Palm Beach, Fla. has been mentioned -- but it's been only two or three months since he arrived at his current diocese! Unlikely, methinks, that he'll be uprooted.
Holiness : not gymnastics

... although I love gymnastics!

At the Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club, this message (credit to Steven Riddle for reminding us of the club's existence) :


Heroic virtue does not mean that the saint performs a type of "gymnastics" of holiness, something that normal people do not dare to do. It means rather that in the life of a person God's presence is revealed -- something man could not do by himself and through himself. Perhaps in the final analysis we are rather dealing with a question of terminology, because the adjective "heroic" has been badly interpreted. Heroic virtue properly speaking does not mean that one has done great things by oneself, but rather that in one's life there appear realities which the person has not done himself, because he has been transparent and ready for the work of God. Or, in other words, to be a saint is nothing other than to speak with God as a friend speaks with a friend. This is holiness.

To be holy does not mean being superior to others; the saint can be very weak, with many mistakes in his life. Holiness is this profound contact with God, becoming a friend of God: it is letting the Other work, the Only One who can really make the world both good and happy.


-- From Letting God work, an article by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on the occasion of the canonization of Josemaría Escrivá. Osservatore Romano (special supplement). 06 October 2002
John Allen of the (ultra-progressive) NCR

on Cardinal Law's resignation. Noteworthy information includes :

Law’s resignation was only as archbishop of Boston. He remains a member of the college of cardinals and retains all the faculties of an ordained cleric. The 71-year-old Law would be eligible to help elect the next pope if a conclave occurs before he turns 80.
Doxos on Salvation

Mr Richardson gives us an excellent post (with input from one of his fellow-Orthodox correspondents) which is a salutary corrective to the view of God the Father as perpetually vexed off at an unregenerate human race, & cruelly punishing his Son in our stead.

I cannot recommend this post highly enough. I should comment more deeply, but perhaps later.
Cardinal Ratzinger on the arrogance of relativism

while insisting that we respect that elements of truth exist in other religions.

Also addressing a few other matters (e.g., Why We Don't Need Vatican III) in a series of dialogues found at TCRNews -- now among the "Catholic Sites" in Places Oft Visited.
At Jewish World Review, Barry Lank wonders

Is it illegal to be a nasty can(tan)kerous nut?

The tenebrous one could be in trouble!
A note to prospective users

of the comment-boxes. Not of all us here in the Hub share Cardinal Law's peculiar administrative difficulties, his apparent Jeffersonian preference for the government that governs least, his ostensible reluctance to use his powers to eject the unsavoury.

Verbum (to coin a plagiarism) sap.


:: :: ::

And speaking of comment-box eruptions

I'm developing a large-ish problem vis-à-vis the way I react to Gene Makepeace.

Gene Makepeace, is of course, a code-name for more than one personality out there whom I cannot stand to hear praised.

If someone at the Zxcvbnm Blog brings up the name of GM, I'll often append a comment to the effect that GM has wits that are as quick as a snail swimming through molasses, that he's the offspring of a horse's patootie and an Arkansas Democrat, that his breath smells like something other than teen spirit, that if he had two hearts, one would die of frostbite and the other of loneliness. That Stalin will precede him into the Kingdom of Heaven.

It is not good. Especially because I begin to suspect that Gene (or one particular Gene out there) is forty thousand times the Christian that I am, despite those qualities to which I am fiercely allergic; and that compared to Gene, I have not a farthing's worth of charity in my bodysoul.
From today's Herald : worth reading, perhaps

Marie Szaniszlo's piece entitled "Bright career tarnished in fall." A briefest excerpt :

Jack Dunn, a spokesman for Boston College, recalls attending a wake several years ago for a boy who had been killed in a gang shooting in Roxbury, and overhearing Law tell the funeral director as he left to send him the bill.

``These are the things many people don't know about,'' Dunn said. ``There's a lot of goodness in the man that will be overshadowed by his horrific fall.''

The article is marred somewhat by the clumsy and pedestrian dichotomy of liberal-left vs. conservative-right. But as I read what is quoted above, I am reminded of why I am so unsparingly critical of, and unrepentantly vehement in expressing distaste for, the witches and sons of witches who think they're striking some great blow for humanity or God or country or Church by calling Cardinal Law various & sundry names other than "Cardinal."

And when otherwise reasonable souls speak to me of the redeeming qualities of one or more of the witches and sons of witches, I confess to enduring some turnings of the stomach in the range of 250-300 revolutions per minute.
A tribute to good priests

at FarrellMedia, discovered via Andrew Sullivan -- Sullivan, who was added this day to the Places Oft Visited.

What strikes one upon reading the litany of noble and self-sacrificing attributes of the "good priest" is how many of them could apply to the priest who served as Archbishop of Boston from March 1984 to December 2002. At a first and somewhat hasty glance, I thought it was he who was being so affectionately and justly eulogized.
Psalm 6.7 : My beauty is gone for very trouble

Psalm 46.9 : He breaketh the bow, and knappeth the spear in sunder
How now, brown cowl?
The Arch Street Shrine positively shouts ALL ARE WELCOME


... with the possible exception of former Congressman Bob Dornan ...

This article, about Saint Anthony's Franciscan Shrine, comes from a recent issue of the Boston area's gay & lesbian paper, Bay Windows.

It is not, please note, a paper that I read with any degree of assiduous regularity. But a laminated reprint of this article is currently hanging in the vestibule of the Arch Street Shrine, clearly visible to any entrant who approaches the two large pools of holy water.


Memorandum to His Holiness : Bruskewitz

Or anyone else who can fearlessly articulate, without ambiguity, that the individual believer, whatever his inclinations or struggles or special circumstances, does not have line-item veto power over the inconvenient clauses of the Catechism.

It is described as humility, in some circles, to say, "I don't have all the answers, and neither does the Vatican, so I, in my greater than infinite wisdom, can ignore any soi-disant moral precept that cramps my style."

In these same circles, it is described as arrogance and self-righteousness to bow one's head in submission to Christ and his Vicar, and to preface one's thoughts and words with an implicit or explicit salvo meliori Ecclesiae sapientia.

As Estlin Cummings observed in a letter to a friend, Kel woild.
If the ninth Catholic prelate of Boston

come not from within the archdiocese, these choices seem most attractive :

Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville, Illinois
Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap of Denver, Colorado
Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska


One of these choices would most efficaciously send Noise of the Fretful into convulsions.
Morrissey in Boston?

Not Morrissey Boulevard, and not Archdiocesan spokeswoman Donna Morrissey.

But (Steven Patrick) Morrissey, who uses only his surname, the mordantly mopey Mancunian who rose to prominence in the 1980s as frontman & songwriter for the Smiths. I was wide awake a morn or two ago in the wee sleekit hours of the morn, and diverted myself by trying to imagine what it would be like if Morrissey wrote songs about Boston, incorporating the names of MBTA subway stations into the titles (perhaps recalling the Smiths lyric: "If you ever need self-validation, just meet me in the alley by the railway station").

I came up with :

Cacophonous Copley
Malicious Maverick
The Harvard Harpies
Forest Hills Makes Me Ill
The Jackson Square Fellow
Heath Street Pastoral
Roxbury Crossing Renegade
Sweet Sickening South Station
Boylston Boy
Charles MGH, Don't You Ever Crave
Downtown Crossing is a Drag
The Queen of Back Bay / South End
Tie Me Up, Chinatown
Orient Heights Odium
Dirty Look at Stony Brook


I'm afraid a little Brendan Behan slipped into two of the titles. And I couldn't resist some facile rhyme & alliteration.

My favorite is Heath Street Pastoral. (Imagine Wordsworth writing about wandering lonely as a cloud that floats on high o'er vales and hills ... of, oh, the South Bronx.)
Doctrinaire extraordinaire!

Weigel : "Blaming the crisis on celibacy is like blaming treason on the Pledge of Allegiance."

Or (saith tenebrosus) like blaming drunk driving on the fact that we have laws against it.

Read this and every other splendid post dated December 13th at this excellently energetic collaborative weblog. (Main page.)
Psalm 25 . Ad te, Domine, levavi.

UNTO thee, O LORD, will I lift up my soul; my God, I have put my trust in thee: * O let me not be confounded, neither let mine enemies triumph over me.

2 For all they that hope in thee shall not be ashamed; * but such as transgress without a cause shall be put to confusion.

3 Show me thy ways, O LORD, * and teach me thy paths.

4 Lead me forth in thy truth, and learn me: * for thou art the God of my salvation; in thee hath been my hope all the day long.

5 Call to remembrance, O LORD, thy tender mercies, * and thy loving-kindnesses, which have been ever of old.

6 O remember not the sins and offences of my youth; * but according to thy mercy think thou upon me, O LORD, for thy goodness.

7 Gracious and righteous is the LORD; * therefore, will he teach sinners in the way.

8 Them that are meek shall he guide in judgment; * and such as are gentle, them shall he learn his way.

9 All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth, * unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.

10 For thy Name's sake, O LORD, * be merciful unto my sin; for it is great.

11 What man is he that feareth the LORD? * him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.

12 His soul shall dwell at ease, * and his seed shall inherit the land.

13 The secret of the LORD is among them that fear him; * and he will show them his covenant.

14 Mine eyes are ever looking unto the LORD; * for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.

15 Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; * for I am desolate, and in misery.

16 The sorrows of my heart are enlarged: * O bring thou me out of my troubles.

17 Look upon my adversity and misery, * and forgive me all my sin.

18 Consider mine enemies, how many they are; * and they bear a tyrannous hate against me.

19 O keep my soul, and deliver me: * let me not be confounded, for I have put my trust in thee.

20 Let perfectness and righteous dealing wait upon me; * for my hope hath been in thee.

21 Deliver Israel, O God, * out of all his troubles.

Friday, December 13, 2002

The antidote
to all things unwholesome in the field of journalism


is Peggy Noonan. Her latest, "Counsel for Trent" (ha!).

Lengthy quotation is needful :

A lot of liberals harp on the subject of race, and they do it in a way that gives more attention to hatred for racists than love for equality. They can't make or buy enough movies with names like "Ghosts of Mississippi," which illustrate how terrible white people are, were and probably will be again if we don't pass more laws. (White Southerners are and historically have been particularly demonized by liberals.)

The liberals' sin is a mindless race obsession that keeps them from seeing clearly. But conservatives have a sin too. A lot of them become deaf when the subject is race. All their lives they've heard the long 40-year rap about how wicked America is, how hateful, and along the way they just stopped listening. Which left them unable to hear nuance, and slow, if you will, to hear the music of a great movement.

All this is part of the kabuki that happens when you take a great moral movement like civil rights and turn it, as it is inevitably turned, into a political movement. Sides get hardened and sides get stupid. It's a little like the debate the past few years about obscene art. In that particular kabuki liberals get off on their faux courage, making believe it takes guts to create a painting of the Madonna smeared with feces. In the world we live in that takes no courage, and they know it. If they had guts they'd do a beautiful painting of the Madonna and accept the price: marginalization and dismissal by the art establishment. At the same time, conservatives in these battles get off on faux outrage. They stand up, shake their fists and say they're outraged that someone would desecrate the Madonna. And some are. But some in their hearts know it's all nonsense that means nothing, and what they really feel is delight that the left has once again done something ugly and stupid, and in public.



I have to resume reading. I was so magnetized by the passage above that I had to link, copy, etc., right away. I haven't even finished the article yet.

:: :: :: :: ::

All right. I've finished.

Sigh.

Maybe Peggy's next column will be about the need for Boston to change the name of Malcolm X Boulevard back to New Dudley Street. Or maybe to Cardinal Law Avenue?

Yes, she's right. Lott should not be Majority Leader. But still, we're making Alps out of anthills ... and worse, we're being dreadfully imperceptive if we think Trent's table-talk is the most polarizing phenomenon in our national dialogue today.
Bought yesterday for 50 cents

Mark Musa's 1957 translation of Dante's La Vita Nuova. It looks quite good. The poems are rendered in unrhymed pentameter, and the original Italian (of the poems only) is also given !!

Huzzah!
John Donne (1572-1631)

A Nocturnall upon S. Lucies Day
being the shortest day


TIS the yeares midnight, and it is the dayes,
Lucies, who scarce seaven houres herself unmaskes,
    The Sunne is spent, and now his flasks
    Send forth light squibs, no constant rayes;
        The worlds whole sap is sunke:
The generall balme th'hydroptique earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the beds-feet, life is shrunke,
Dead and enterr'd; yet all these seeme to laugh,
Compar'd with mee, who am their Epitaph.

Study me then, you who shall lovers bee
At the next world, that is, at the next Spring:
    For I am every dead thing,
    In whom love wrought new Alchimie.
        For his art did expresse
A quintessence even from nothingnesse,
From dull privations, and leane emptinesse:
He ruin'd mee, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darknesse, death; things which are not.

All others, from all things, draw all that's good,
Life, soule, forme, spirit, whence they beeing have;
    I, by loves limbecke, am the grave
    Of all, that's nothing. Oft a flood
        Have wee two wept, and so
Drownd the whole world, us two; oft did we grow
To be two Chaosses, when we did show
Care to ought else; and often absences
Withdrew our soules, and made us carcasses.

But I am by her death, (which word wrongs her)
Of the first nothing, the Elixer grown;
    Were I a man, that I were one,
    I needs must know; I should preferre,
        If I were any beast,
Some ends, some means; Yea plants, yea stones detest,
And love; All, all some properties invest;
If I an ordinary nothing were,
As shadow, a light, and body must be here.

But I am None; nor will my Sunne renew.
You lovers, for whose sake, the lesser Sunne
    At this time to the Goat is runne
    To fetch new lust, and give it you,
        Enjoy your summer all;
Since shee enjoyes her long nights festivall,
Let mee prepare towards her, and let mee call
This houre her Vigill, and her Eve, since this
Both the yeares, and the dayes deep midnight is.
As I should have noted sooner

I have recently added Mr Bettinelli's web-log to the Places Oft Visited. Consistently sagacious, unabrasively forthright, uncommonly sensible. On Gerard Serafin's list, the site's name is given as "Betternet," and that might not be an error!
Sentire cum ecclesia

I posted this comment but a few moments ago at Mr Serafin's consistently heartwarming soulcheering hopestrengthening web-log :

A lesson today in ecclesiology, or in canon law, came via the Eucharistic prayer of the 12.05 Mass at my favorite chapel:

Make us grow in love
together with John Paul our pope,
Bernard our bishop, and all the clergy ...


If I understand aright : although Cardinal Law has ceased to govern the Archdiocese of Boston, he remains Archbishop, canonically, until someone is installed in his stead.

It fascinates, how the Church's ways are not the world's ways, nor her reasons the world's reasons.

Please pray for the Archdiocese of Boston, for Bernard our cardinal archbishop, for Bishop Richard Gerard Lennon who administers in his stead; for all bishops, priests, deacons, religious, and the entire people of God in our part of the world!


Also at the Blog for Lovers

do read this splendidly magnanimous tribute to Cardinal Law penned by Harvard professor and Memorial Chapel minister Peter J. Gomes ...
Psalm 23. Dominus regit me.

THE LORD is my shepherd; * therefore can I lack nothing.

2 He shall feed me in a green pasture, * and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort.

3 He shall convert my soul, * and bring me forth in the paths of righteousness for his Name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; * for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me.

5 Thou shalt prepare a table before me in the presence of them that trouble me; * thou hast anointed my head with oil, and my cup shall be full.

6 Surely thy loving-kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; * and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Magnificat mirth, &c.

This morning in the bean was gray and wet and chilly.

I turn to the morning readings for 12/12 in Magnificat, and what do I there find?


See, the winter is past! The rains are over and gone!

All in all a splendid day, with many small weird pleasant surprises. We shall not enumerate those surprises, for fear that something of the grace will be lost in the narration. But a really good day. Something of a rarity.

And the opportunity to attend daily Mass, and a supremely beautiful homily, scarcely longer than 2 minutes, given in a voice just a whisker louder than a whisper by a tall slender reed of a man (I'm guessing 6-ft-5, and 160 or 170 lbs), confirming my recent praise of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary ...

Cold, gray, glorious day.

A day in which I was aware of my utter bankruptcy of virtue, morality, redeeming qualities -- but this awareness didn't lead either to presumption or discouragement. I offered God my own nullity, and the 30 minutes I spent at Mass, and as Dylan Thomas said about his leisurely ramble down a riverbank in August, it was all right.

And my book that I ordered three weeks ago arrived at the bookstore! Theology of Wonder, by Bishop Seraphim Sigrist. Another of those weird coincidences : Open book at random. First thing I see : the name of Austin Farrer, the great noble orthodox poetic cheerful solemn joyous C of E theologian I praised here not a dozen hours ago.

Tomorrow evening, dinner with smart awesome weird fascinating relatives! Huzzah!
Spiritual Reading : 27 Recommendations

In this list, it is assumed that the Sacred Scriptures (in some readable version, containing the Apocrypha) are being read. Perhaps some prayerbook or booklet, like Magnificat or the Book of Common Prayer, either "old" or "new." Not mentioned are the great hymns which can be considered immortal literature (Cardinal Langton's Veni, Sancte Spiritus; J. F. Wade's Adeste, fideles to name two), but some poets are included.

Where a name is given without a book-title, assume that any and all (or close to all) books by this author are suitable, or on some level rewarding.

This list is being offered in response to a request by Mr Riddle at his web-log; it includes writing from the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox traditions. It is not, by any stretch, a complete list, nor is it a "top 3 x 3 x 3" -- merely some recommendations that have popped into one's noggin.

Another note is needful : Some of these books are out of print, and vexingly hard to find, unless you benefit from big-city libraries or stores like Boston's Matthew F. Sheehan's, with tens of thousands of second-hand religious books in stock.

Catholic

John Paul II
Caryll Houselander
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Carlo Carretto
Benedict J. Groeschel, CFR, Healing the Original Wound
Catherine de Hueck Doherty, I Live on an Island
François Mauriac, Anguish and Joy of the Christian Life
Richard John Neuhaus, Death on a Friday Afternoon
Hubert van Zeller, OSB, Letters to a Soul
Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ
Dante Alighieri

Anglican

C. S. Lewis, any of his books, but esp. Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer
Austin Farrer, The Essential Sermons
Reginald Cant, Heart in Pilgrimage
E. L. Mascall, The Christian Universe
Eric Milner-White, My God, My Glory
Archbishop Michael Ramsey, Be Still and Know
William Law
Thomas Traherne
George Herbert
John Donne

Orthodox

Bishop Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way
Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World : Sacraments and Orthodoxy
Olivier Clément, Three Prayers
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh (Anthony Bloom)
A Manual of Eastern Orthodox Prayers

Ecumenical

(Anglican Bishop) George Appleton, ed., The Oxford Book of Prayer
Henry Cabot was Lodge

... but he didn't contain multitudes.
Come on & rock me, psalm o' Deus!
On the surpassingly great virtues of the 1928 BCP Psalter


The version of the Psalms found in the 1928 edition (and earlier editions) of the Book of Common Prayer has to be my all-time favorite. It is ceaselessly enticing and ever more magnetizing. It is an act of unculpable poetic hedonism to scan the pages of the Tremendous '28.

As perhaps the foremost example of how language as old as Shakespeare can be as new as Cummings, allow us to take a look at one-half of one verse, the beginning of the sixth verse of Psalm 9.


O thou enemy, thy destructions are come to a perpetual end

What a marvellous paradox in the final words of this micro-excerpt! An "end" is something finite and sudden; it is a moment, a punctuation mark, a period, a full stop -- an end has no duration; it is, rather, the moment at which duration ceases. But this "end" is perpetual! The enemies of God are perpetually planning malfeasance, malevolence, mischief, and mayhem -- but the conclusion of all this (futility, frustration) is foreknown and foreordained. The plottings of the runagates must "wither, fail, and cease" to quote a (youknowwho) 20th century American poet for the forty-millionth time.

In the 1979 BCP, this verse speaks of "perpetual ruin." I like "perpetual end."

Other memorable single verses stand out from the old-school BCP Psalter :


Psalm 27.16 : O tarry thou the Lord's leisure

25.8 : Them that are meek shall he guide in judgment; and such as are gentle, them shall he learn his way

69.2 : I stick fast in the deep mire, where no ground is

137.3 : For they that led us away captive, required of us then a song, and melody in our heaviness

139.1 : Thou knowest my down-sitting, and mine uprising


There's a memorability of rhythm and an ineffaceability of phrasing; the idiom rarely exasperates. Occasionally, we'd wish for a different choice of words (the "wine of astonishment" in the King James Version of Psalm 60 is "deadly wine" in the BCP; and Psalm 23 in the Prayerbook lacks the awesome fortitude of the version we all know so well).

Nonetheless, despite a cavil here and a quibble there, this is the version for me. Am recalling an ex-Anglican ex-monk (dos equis?) who confessed to a distaste for renderings of the Psalter that seem to be skating on thin ICEL. "Fortunately, I have the Psalms of the Book of Common Prayer memorized." He meant the Tremendous '28. I believe him. And he is fortunate.

I probably shouldn't say this, but even if the prime translator of the Psalms in this version was a rabid anti-papist who felt that Catholics were only good for kindling, it matters not -- not to me, from a vantage point so safely removed in time. God writes straight, we are told, on the crookedest of crooked lines -- and a Coverdale or a Cranmer of any age can give us language that is supremely felicitous and preternaturally graced.
T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)
from "Ash-Wednesday," section II


[ ... ] The Lady is withdrawn
In a white gown, to contemplation, in a white gown.
Let the whiteness of bones atone to forgetfulness.
There is no life in them. As I am forgotten
And would be forgotten, so I would forget
Thus devoted, concentrated in purpose. And God said
Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only
The wind will listen. And the bones sang chirping
With the burden of the grasshopper, saying

Lady of silences
Calm and distressed
Torn and most whole
Rose of memory
Rose of forgetfulness
Exhausted and life-giving
Worried reposeful
The single Rose
Is now the Garden
Where all loves end
Terminate torment
Of love unsatisfied
The greater torment
Of love satisfied
End of the endless
Journey to no end
Conclusion of all that
Is inconclusible
Speech without word and
Word of no speech
Grace to the Mother
For the Garden
Where all love ends
this is the hour
a tenebrous poem of a decade ago


this is the hour of fences
the moment of obliquities and excuses
this is the hour when winter makes a comeback
this is the hour when pigeons sleep
this is the hour of elected reclusion
the lamp shines away from the page
and spills its luster into dusty corners of the room
this is the hour of tight-fisted solitude
and of the nightmares of the miser
this is the hour of minims and drams
of pennies and of degrees
this is the hour of ice and of rust
this is the hour of elegy



1992

Whose Gesture Summons

always for her, in fear & joy for her
whose gesture summons ever when I grieve
me back and is my mage and minister

John Berryman, from "Canto Amor"


Schooled, instructed,
Awed and purified
By the burning mercy
Of true love's voice :
Vanquished and judged
By the ineffable
Justice of her countenance :

We dare not speak. We know not how.

A season of ice-storms it has been :
Love-pangs, anger, dark infernal rages,
Strong drink and tears that will not come.

But heaven's wisdom walks
In the bleak December night
Past the black nerves of trees
Under the cold and speechless stars.

Her eyes give life to him who loves,
Who sings her praises endlessly.

Lady of light, teach us to honor thee,
Forsaking all rebellion,
All base desires, brash chatter,
All ignoble thought.
James Taranto

Mr Taranto at opinionjournal : on Trent Lott (oust him as leader), on Nigerians who haven't read the eighth chapter of St John's Gospel, on weird headlines around the world. Via Andrew Sullivan.

Andrew Sullivan

Speaking of Mr S, he's expanding his repertoire. Not only is he frothing about Trent, he's cheering for the Jesuits. As you might expect?


THE JESUITS TAKE A STAND: The current issue of America, the American Jesuit magazine, is devoted in large part to a defense of gays in the priesthood. Alas, the essays require subscription. But this wouldn't be happening if the Society of Jesus wasn't deeply worried about the forthcoming directives from Rome. What it suggests to me is that if Rome decides to purge celibate and faithful gay priests and seminarians, then the American church will not take that decision as binding. Many in the clerical hierarchy and many more among the laity and religious orders will simply disobey, leading to crisis and/or a real danger of schism. This may, of course, be what some at the Vatican want, and in the absence of a functioning pontiff, they might get away with it. But not without a struggle. And not without fierce resistance in America.

Now what gets me about Sullivan, the Jesuits, and the Episcopal bishops of Massachusetts is that they fail to see that the Holy See is saying nothing about homosexuality that hasn't been said everywhere, by virtually every Christian church, community, and denomination for two millennia. Or rather say, for the 194 decades from the Resurrection until circa 1970.

There is the question of the ordination of strongly celibate, unswervingly orthodox priests of a predominantly homosexual orientation, and of course few would cavil at that. But the larger problem is of priests and prospective priests self-identifying as "gay" and promoting as Church teaching documents such as Always Our Children, a document at subtle but unmistakable variance with the Magisterium, and with millennia of tradition and revelation.

Ah, yes, but we're smarter than those fellows from oh, so long ago! Aren't we?

In some ways, yes; in some ways, no. A cursory glance at the moral state of our nation since the 1960s doesn't lead this observer to believe that our age is the beneficiary of any especial intellectual enlightment or spiritual grace or moral splendor. But at least we're (reputed to be) more tolerant, which is a good thing. In moderation.
Psalm 22. Deus, Deus meus.

MY God, my God, look upon me; why hast thou forsaken me? * and art so far from my health, and from the words of my complaint?

2 O my God, I cry in the day-time, but thou hearest not; * and in the night season also I take no rest.

3 And thou continuest holy, * O thou Worship of Israel.

4 Our fathers hoped in thee; * they trusted in thee, and thou didst deliver them.

5 They called upon thee, and were holpen; * they put their trust in thee, and were not confounded.

6 But as for me, I am a worm, and no man; * a very scorn of men, and the outcast of the people.

7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn; * they shoot out their lips, and shake their heads, saying,

8 He trusted in the LORD, that he would deliver him; * let him deliver him, if he will have him.

9 But thou art he that took me out of my mother's womb; * thou wast my hope, when I hanged yet upon my mother's breasts.

10 I have been left unto thee ever since I was born; * thou art my God even from my mother's womb.

11 O go not from me; for trouble is hard at hand, * and there is none to help me.

12 Many oxen are come about me; * fat bulls of Bashan close me in on every side.

13 They gape upon me with their mouths, * as it were a ramping and a roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; * my heart also in the midst of my body is even like melting wax.

15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaveth to my gums, * and thou bringest me into the dust of death.

16 For many dogs are come about me, * and the council of the wicked layeth siege against me.

17 They pierced my hands and my feet: I may tell all my bones: * they stand staring and looking upon me.

18 They part my garments among them, * and cast lots upon my vesture.

19 But be not thou far from me, O LORD; * thou art my succour, haste thee to help me.

20 Deliver my soul from the sword, * my darling from the power of the dog.

21 Save me from the lion's mouth; * thou hast heard me also from among the horns of the unicorns.

22 I will declare thy Name unto my brethren; * in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.

23 O praise the LORD, ye that fear him: * magnify him, all ye of the seed of Jacob; and fear him, all ye seed of Israel.

24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the low estate of the poor; * he hath not hid his face from him; but when he called unto him he heard him.

25 My praise is of thee in the great congregation; * my vows will I perform in the sight of them that fear him.

26 The poor shall eat, and be satisfied; they that seek after the LORD shall praise him: * your heart shall live for ever.

27 All the ends of the world shall remember themselves, and be turned unto the LORD; * and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him.

28 For the kingdom is the LORD'S, * and he is the Governor among the nations.

29 All such as be fat upon earth * have eaten, and worshipped.

30 All they that go down into the dust shall kneel before him; * and no man hath quickened his own soul.

31 My seed shall serve him: * they shall be counted unto the Lord for a generation.

32 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness * unto a people that shall be born, whom the Lord hath made.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

a dylanpoem from 1991
in which the author successfully channels zac beaulac


Springtime in December?

:: :: :: :: ::

Seasonal

Summer's prelude :
trees going green
in the Public Garden
refreshingly soon.

Days of sun and
silver river-sparkle :
is it possible now to
think of the world and
smile, nostalgic for all those
tomorrows?

***

The promised fruit
(James Thomson writes)

lies yet a little embryo
this 22nd spring.


© 1991, 2002 by dylan_tm618
a possible Banned Parenthood slogan
or is it too late? and if not, where do I send it?


Abortion. It's the price they pay for your freedom.
On the other hand

here's someone who'd have precious little problem, methinks, winning a national election. Steely determination, con dolcezza.

Except she does seem shy of scrutiny, and a race for the White House turns any candidate into a crumb of freshly baked bread thrown to the pigeons and sparrows. But she should consider running, if only to give the Jacksonites apoplexy.

We can hear, even now, the rhymed inanity of protest : To be qualified, you must be on our side, not with the Right allied, etc.

Be patient with the pop-ups & the time the article takes to download.

And note her clear, unequivocal views on the high-chair that is "affirmative" passivity (my phrasing, not hers).
Emily Dickinson
poem #1587 in the edition before me


He ate and drank the precious Words --
His Spirit grew robust --
He knew no more that he was poor,
Nor that his frame was Dust --

He danced along the dingy Days
And this Bequest of Wings
Was but a Book -- What Liberty
A loosened spirit brings --


A day late. Happy birthday, Emily !! (172 yesterday ... )
Random jottings on a Mead writing tablet
this morn 'twixt 1.51 and 2.11 : twenty minutes well or ill spent?


:: :: :: :: ::

The Windows rattle, and the Hinges creak

[...]

An icy Gale, that, in its mid-Career
Arrests the bickering Stream.

-- James Thomson, Winter

*

How'd I get
so damn old
at 78 months
shy of forty?

*

On day of yest
I overdrest

so morn of this
I wore much less.

*

The ballads of a former age
were pleasant, & they smiled.
And were (to my mind) much too mild.
Lacking essential rage.

*

Versing in the mute small hours
in a warm room, at home.
A quiet prayer of gratitude
for this small, this great, boon.

*

Exercise the body,
exorcise the mind.

(But remember : If you don't pay your exorcist, you'll get repossessed.)

*

Public images
public image is
public imagist

carefully
constructed
carapace

-- constricting?

*

Having a go
at a different mode.
The rhythms occur
in spite of ourselves.

In spite of ourselves,
the measures we hear
are clear and include
the old and the new.
am ashamed to admit

that I missed Emily Dickinson's 172nd birthday yesterday! Will try to compensate a tad later.

But for now, I think I might send all readers running for the hills by posting either (a) a poem of mine from 1991 in which I successfully "channel" Zac Beaulac, an old friend who was master of the wry, the understated, the austere, with occasionally the faintest glimmer of joy ... but mutedly so. Or (b) some of the silly things I was writing on a Mead writing tablet between 1.51 and 2.11 of this morning.
Psalm 19. Caeli enarrant.

THE heavens declare the glory of God; * and the firmament showeth his handy-work.

2 One day telleth another; * and one night certifieth another.

3 There is neither speech nor language; * but their voices are heard among them.

4 Their sound is gone out into all lands; * and their words into the ends of the world.

5 In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun; * which cometh forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a giant to run his course.

6 It goeth forth from the uttermost part of the heaven, and runneth about unto the end of it again; * and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

7 The law of the LORD is an undefiled law, converting the soul; * the testimony of the LORD is sure, and giveth wisdom unto the simple.

8 The statutes of the LORD are right, and rejoice the heart; * the commandment of the LORD is pure, and giveth light unto the eyes.

9 The fear of the LORD is clean, and endureth for ever; * the judgments of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.

10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; * sweeter also than honey, and the honeycomb.

11 Moreover, by them is thy servant taught; * and in keeping of them there is great reward.

12 Who can tell how oft he offendeth? * O cleanse thou me from my secret faults.

13 Keep thy servant also from presumptuous sins, lest they get the dominion over me; * so shall I be undefiled, and innocent from the great offence.

14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be alway acceptable in thy sight, * O LORD, my strength and my redeemer.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

The wonderfully reasonable (and reasonably wonderful!) Cardinal Ratzinger

speaks here about the non-necessity of a Third Vatican Council, among other things.
William Law
from Daily Readings with William Law, ed. Robt. Llewelyn & Edw. Moss (Templegate, 1986)


p. 43 : You have the height and depth of eternity in you

O man! consider yourself. Here you stand in the earnest, perpetual strife of good and evil. All nature is continually at work to bring about the great redemption. The whole creation is travailing in pain and laborious working to be delivered from the vanity of time. And will you be asleep?

Everything you hear or see says nothing, shows nothing to you but what either eternal light or eternal darkness has brought forth; for as day and night divide the whole of our time, so heaven and hell divide the whole of our thoughts, words and actions. Stir which way you will, you must be an agent with the one or the other.

You cannot stand still because you live in the perpetual workings of temporal and eternal nature; if you work not with the good, the evil that is in nature carries you along with it. You have the height and depth of eternity in you, and therefore, be doing what you will, in either the closet, the field, the shop or the church, you are sowing that which grows and must be reaped in eternity.

:: :: :: :: ::

p. 45 : Fire from a flint

Salvation is a birth of life, but reason can no more bring forth this birth that it can kindle life in a plant or animal. You might as well write the word flame upon the outside of a flint, and then expect that its imprisoned fire should be kindled by it, as to imagine that any images or ideal speculations of reason painted in your brain should raise your soul out of its state of death and kindle the divine life in it.

No! Would you have fire from a flint, its house of death must be shaken and its chains of darkness broken off by the strokes of a steel upon it. This must of all necessity be done to your soul; its imprisoned fire must be awakened by the sharp strokes of a steel, or no true light of life can arise from it.

A PRAYER

O heavenly Father, touch and penetrate and shake and awaken the inmost depth and centre of my soul, that all that is within me may cry and call to you. Strike the flinty rock of my heart that the water of eternal life may spring up in it. Oh break open the gates of the great deep in my soul, that your light may shine in upon me, that I may enter into your Kingdom of light and love, and in your light see light.

:: :: :: :: ::

p. 46 : The spirit of prayer alone avails

God, the only good of all intelligent natures, is not an absent or distant God, but is more present in and to our own souls than our own bodies.

And we are strangers to heaven and without God in this world for this only reason, because we are void of that spirit of prayer which alone can and never fails to unite us with the one only Good, and to open heaven and the Kingdom within us.

A root set in the finest soil, in the best climate, and blessed with all that sun and rain and air can do for it, is not in so sure a state of its growth to perfection as every man may be whose spirit aspires after all that which God is ready and infinitely desirous to give him.

For the sun meets not the springing bud that stretches toward him with half that certainty as God, the source of all good, communicates himself to the soul that longs to partake of him.
Merton
in this month's Magnificat, meditation for Dec. 16th


But the fact remains that our task is to seek and find Christ in our world as it is, and not as it might be. The fact that the world is other than it might be does not alter the truth that Christ is present in it and that his plan has been neither frustrated nor changed : indeed, all will be done according to his will. Our Advent is the celebration of this hope. What is uncertain is not the "coming" of Christ but our own reception of him, our own response to him, our own readiness and capacity to "go forth and meet him." We must be willing to see him and acclaim him, as John did, even at the very moment when our whole life's work and all its meaning seem to collapse.
Trent and Strom

Briefly mentioned here a bit earlier today. I think Mr Lott was attempting to render one of those routine chivalries to a retiring colleague, and just went a wee bit overboard. Puzzling, and certainly not the sort of tribute that I would have paid, but hardly the national crisis that some would make it out to be.

Strom was only the second worst candidate for President in 1948. There was also Henry Agard Wallace, FDR's second-to-last vice president, running on the Progressive ticket, with a platform of being Neville Chamberlain to the Communists in Russia. Clare Boothe Luce -- wife of Time magazine founder Henry Luce, Republican congresswoman, noted Catholic, witty dramatist, benefactress of Mepkin Abbey -- referred to Henry Wallace as "Joseph Stalin's Mortimer Snerd," a judgment that history vindicates.
More PC lunacy

I understand that Bush's Treasury pick has been bullied into forsaking his membership in the Augusta Country Club, where chicks ain't allowed. (Memorandum to the inflexibly progressive : Add "theckthythm" to the charge of "waythythm.")

I hope he's confirmed, and reapplies immediately after confirmation. Enough of this silly pathetic progressive nonsense.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but we see that the iconic Eldrick Woods retains his membership.
estlinarianism
from the cummings poem "nothing false and possible is love"


must's a schoolroom in the month of may:
life's the deathboard where all now turns when
(love's a universe beyond obey
or command,reality or un-)


:: :: :: :: ::

dylan's comment:

Must is progressivism. And progress is a comfortable disease, as estlin tells us elsewhere.

Must is mandatory tolerance and compulsory goodvibes. Must is the seething resentment under the veneer of enforced civility.

Must is musty. And "must" has nothing whatsoever to do with love.

Must is categories. Must is the death of the individual, the perpetual impossibility of two individuals discovering that "it's two are halves of one."

Must is policies. Must is political action. Must is a slogan. Must is an assassin.

Must is not half as lovely as English mist and it is more than twice as ugly as German Mist.

Must is equality at the point of a bayonet. Must is "think like me, because I am enlightened, or else."

Must is not freedom. Must is propaganda, and a plenary obeisance thereunto.

God is not "must," oddly enough. God is love.

The must against which estlin the luminous and dylan the tenebrous so vehemently rail is the "must" of lesser authorities, of human beings who fancy that their velleities, prejudices, and mendacities epitomize everything good&noble&true.

Must is the lecture hall where astronomers anatomize the heavens. But love is the star that one sees in the eyes of the beloved.

Must is the superstate of subhumans. Must is amn't.

Love is, to coin a plagiarism, la vita nuova ... for ever and a day it is nuova; it knows no state, no party, no philosophy, no platform, no five-year plan, no committee, no council, no association for the advancement of Self or of those like-minded.

Love is terribly impractical and almost tragically unrealistic. Love does not "bargain for the right to squirm" -- as serpents do.

Must makes the trains run on time (and reduces a theological virtue to a small town in Arkansas).

Must cannot praise or sing or swim or dance or write poetry or smile or do anything except hiss menacingly as it coils itself to spring upon the unsuspecting prey that is estlin's lowercase foolishwise proudhumble "i."

Love is a virgin martyr singing in the flames.
By any means necessary ??

Mr Rothwell wonders if Adrian Walker's phrasing about the need to get rid of Cardinal Law, BAMN, should be taken at face value.

Well, yes, in that "any" means "any" -- and the man who turned the sentence-fragment into a rallying cry or slogan (slogan, from two Gaelic words meaning "battle" and "shout") certainly intended it to be understood in that fashion.
December 10, 1960



Kenneth Branagh is born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Happy 42nd, Ken!
Thomas Merton

December 10, 1941 : Thomas Merton enters the Trappist abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky.

December 10, 1968 : After giving a lecture to Benedictines and Cistercians entitled "Monasticism and Marxist Perspectives," Merton dies in Bangkok, Thailand, of accidental electrocution.

December 10, 1972 : The poet Mark Van Doren, Merton's Columbia mentor and lifelong friend, dies.
Psalm 8. Domine, Dominus noster.

O LORD our Governor, how excellent is thy Name in all the world; * thou that hast set thy glory above the heavens!

2 Out of the mouth of very babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength, because of thine enemies, * that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

3 When I consider thy heavens, even the work of thy fingers; * the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained;

4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? * and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

5 Thou madest him lower than the angels, * to crown him with glory and worship.

6 Thou makest him to have dominion of the works of thy hands; * and thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet :

7 All sheep and oxen; * yea, and the beasts of the field;

8 The fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea; * and whatsoever walketh through the paths of the seas.

9 O LORD our Governor, * how excellent is thy Name in all the world!

Monday, December 09, 2002

Whitney Houston

The sound of her voice, combined with the sight of her when young in videos or in films of yore, causes the tears to spring quite sudden and unrestrainable, to the eyes. 'Tis true.

And, incidentally, The Preacher's Wife (a 1996 remake of the 1947 film The Bishop's Wife starring David Niven, Loretta Young, Cary Grant) is, to my mind, a charming film that gives the original a run for its money. I don't generally swoon in ecstasies of admiration over Mr Washington, in large part because he is Our National Homework (we must admire him, we must, we must, and I like not must) -- but he was truly charming as the impish angel Dudley. Whitney still had something of a glow and, my God, the voice. Loretta Devine, with a smallish part, is perhaps one of America's foremost character actresses -- and Courtney Vance's performance as the beleaguered minister leads us to believe he is sorely underrated in the general esteem.
And palatability is, after all, What Really Matters

''I believe in what he's doing,'' said Roberta Pavia, 49, who has worshiped at Our Lady's for 15 years. ''He is making it at least more palatable to be a Catholic.''

Describing Cuenin as a plainspoken, principled figure, parishioners said they had long admired his message of tolerance of gays and of other religions. His leadership during the sex abuse crisis, they said, has been characteristically controversial.

More good press via El Globo for Barney the Dinosaur That Brave Pastor In Newton. Full article hereat.

addendum tenebrosum

In case you missed it : Unless you agree with That Brave Pastor on Everything Under The Sun, you're not Tolerant Of Gays And Of Other Religions. The implication is clear. Dominus Iesus = "intolerance." Courage & SSAML = "intolerance." Repeating the pale pastel bromides of a hoary and moribund progressivism = "new, exciting ideas."

Ecumenism is taken to mean, put all denominations & creeds in the blender, and press liquefy. The universal insult of insouciance. Insouciance about essential differences.

Tolerance of gays, in this context, should be taken to mean that the ethic of HH JP2, and of believing Catholics, and of Orthodox, and of traditionalist Christians of every ilk, stripe, and fellowship should be blasted out of existence with the most potent dynamite and replaced with the oh-so-salutary ethic of Angels in America, of Jesus Has Two Mommies, of Commonweal, of the Jesuit Urban Center, of John Shelby Spong.

Perhaps we are getting a mite rhetorical. But it would be silly not to at least ponder the possible dangers of That Brave Pastor's New And Exciting Ideas.
Austin Farrer redux
From The Essential Sermons, #36, "The Bells of Heaven" (pp. 144-5)


When I was a boy, my father, wishing to encourage me at once in Greek and in handicraft, and to edify himself at the same time, caused me to carve him a little wooden plaque, with the words ERCHETAI NUX, night cometh; the night, that is, in which no man can work. And this he put under the clock in his study, to discourage him from idleness, a warning, it seems to me, he of all men least needed; and yet, when he came to the end of his life, he would lament how little he had made of it. And so we are likely to feel. Time accuses us, time, and those awful words, 'We have left undone what we ought to have done' -- for God knows what that is. And when we are most triumphant in the sense of having overtaken time, and imposed our achievement on the day, we may have most cause to rue, in our supposed success, the failure to have done the only thing that would have been truly worth while.

If we have to suppose that any souls are condemned to everlasting misery, surely a striking clock will not be left out of the equipment of their prison : the sound of time relentlessly passing, and never occupied to the hearer's content. A life on earth continually overtaken by time, and by remorse, is a pattern of damnation; but if we suffer such a hell on earth, it is only for lack of taking hold upon the redemption so freely offered to us. The Light, which darkness overtaketh not, has shined on our heads : he who commits his soul to Christ is one with the will which made both night and day. He puts himself into the hands of Christ, to live in his will. He will not be perfect, and so he will have many repentances for time misspent; but he will be humble and believing, therefore he will feel no remorse. He will say : I missed this or that from a fellow-being, I followed my pride, or my pleasure, I did not do as you, my Lord, would have done. But you have let me fall into these errors to show me my heart, and you, in your mercy, will use them for my discipline, and turn them to account in the designs of your loving kindness. You have undertaken my life, and you will bring it to good. While we are yours, we shall never be overtaken by darkness; work out in us the purpose of your perfect will and bring us to that day, which will marry us to joy, and ring every peal in all the city of heaven.
the petty blogoisie?

There will likely be scant opportunity for blogging today. But mayhap there will be a bit more of Austin Farrer, and a bit more of Peggy, on the way.

Will try to begin each day for the next fortnight with a psalm taken from the 1928 BCP.
Psalm 1. Beatus vir qui non abiit.

BLESSED is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, * and hath not sat in the seat of the scornful.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; * and in his law will he exercise himself day and night.

3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the water-side, * that will bring forth his fruit in due season.

4 His leaf also shall not wither; * and look, whatsoever he doeth, it shall prosper.

5 As for the ungodly, it is not so with them; * but they are like the chaff, which the wind scattereth away from the face of the earth.

6 Therefore the ungodly shall not be able to stand in the judgment, * neither the sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

7 But the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous; * and the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Austin Farrer (1904-1968)
Late Warden of Keble College. From The Essential Sermons (Cowley Publications, 1991).


From Sermon 22, "Double Thinking," p. 87. Note the variation on "through a glass darkly" in the penultimate sentence.

When the logicians say that there is a certain inevitable division between spiritual thinking and natural thinking, they are in a certain sense right. We can't reconcile the spiritual picture of things and the everyday picture of things completely on the intellectual level. If we claimed to be able to do it, we should claim to comprehend the ways of God as well as we comprehend the ways of this world, and that would be an exaggerated claim. We see God in pictures, in images only, reflected in a glass and riddlingly says St Paul : and we cannot fuse our picture of God perfectly with our picture of the natural world. There always remains a certain discontinuity, a certain incoherence on the intellectual level.
Anniversaries

December 8, 1980 : John Lennon is slain by gunman Mark David Chapman outside his apartment building in New York City; the former Beatle was 40.

December 9, 1979 : Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen -- legendary Catholic apologist, author, and television personality -- longtime Bishop of Rochester, NY -- dies at 84.


In his autobiography, Treasure In Clay, Archbishop Sheen tells how he often prayed to die on a day dedicated to our Lady, such as a Saturday, or a significant Marian feast. But then he tells how a friend told him he should be ready whenever the good Lord calls him.

The day before Archbishop Sheen's death was both a Saturday and the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

He died the next day, on the dies Domini, Sunday -- which in many languages is called Resurrection.

And this year, December 9 is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception! So, the venerable archbishop did, after a fashion, get his wish!
'Tonight a great light has gone on in the world'

Landslide Landrieu's exuberant exclamation as she sweeps to victory, trounces Terrell with monumental mandate (51.60694% of the vote).
the Book of Psalms is irreplaceable
words of Pope John Paul II in Crossing the Threshold of Hope


The dispuational John da F. speaks, in a recent post, about the benefit of memorizing certain Psalms. He proposes a list, and mentions that Psalms 51 and 130 are specifically mentioned in the Enchiridion of Indulgences.

I'd add Psalm 8 to the list he proposes, and perhaps portions of 19 and 25.

The first few verses, at least, of Psalm 69.

A question about translation has been raised. Which translations do y'all prefer?

(Did I just say y'all ??)

I've grown quite fond of the Psalter in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer (where Psalm 8 begins, "O Lord our Governor"). This Psalter dates back to the days of Miles Coverdale and Thomas Cranmer. There's a felicity of idiom there that you don't find even in the King James, or its RC counterpart of rhyming title, the Douay-Rheims.

Magnificat, the monthly prayer booklet, is intent on foisting the flat cadences of the Grail Psalter upon its readership.

Fr Neuhaus of First Things stands up for the RSV, and for the NIV, widely favored among evangelicals.

Then, of course, there's the good old NAB.

And thenner, of courser, there's the gooder (immeasurably) and older (significantly) Psalter of the Vulgate.

Which do you prefer?
from Psalm 37. Noli aemulari.

FRET not thyself because of the ungodly; * neither be thou envious against the evil doers.

2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, * and be withered even as the green herb.

3 Put thou thy trust in the LORD, and be doing good; * dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

4 Delight thou in the LORD, * and he shall give thee thy heart's desire.

5 Commit thy way unto the LORD, and put thy trust in him, * and he shall bring it to pass.

6 He shall make thy righteousness as clear as the light, * and thy just dealing as the noon-day.

7 Hold thee still in the LORD, and abide patiently upon him: * but grieve not thyself at him whose way doth prosper, against the man that doeth after evil counsels.

8 Leave off from wrath, and let go displeasure: * fret not thyself, else shalt thou be moved to do evil.

9 Wicked doers shall be rooted out; * and they that patiently abide the LORD, those shall inherit the land.

10 Yet a little while, and the ungodly shall be clean gone: * thou shalt look after his place, and he shall be away.

11 But the meek-spirited shall possess the earth, * and shall be refreshed in the multitude of peace.