Saturday, December 21, 2002

Psalm 131. Domine, non est.

LORD, I am not high-minded; * I have no proud looks.

2 I do not exercise myself in great matters * which are too high for me.

3 But I refrain my soul, and keep it low, like as a child that is weaned from his mother: * yea, my soul is even as a weaned child.

4 O Israel, trust in the LORD * from this time forth for evermore.
Wilfrid Stinissen
from Praying the Name of Jesus (Liguori, 1999), p.60


Note : The first half of this book is a reissuance of Lev Gillet (A Monk of the Eastern Church) 's On the Invocation of the Name of Jesus. The second half (pp. 67-132) is Wilfrid Stinissen's On Praying the Name of Jesus. The selection below is from Fr Stinissen :

In paradise man lived in his heart. He was in harmony with God and there was a complete accord between his intellect and his feelings. The result of the Fall is that the unity in man's nature was broken up and torn apart. He has lost his center and the result is that he is now drowning in superficial things. The harmony of paradise, which was given to us and for which we were created, has become lost. Thoughts, images, desires and feelings now fight against one another and it is difficult for us to turn the whole of our being toward God. Even if the soul in its depths has a painful yearning for him, the surface is teeming with smaller and larger cravings which constantly say "no." This split has its seat in the head, where thoughts and images "whirl around like snowflakes or swarms of mosquitoes in the summer" (Theofan Eremitan, 1815-1894).

I wonder if "Theofan Eremitan," as the translator has let the name stand, is actually Theophan the Recluse.
compline : eec
from 95 poems, #4


this man's heart

is true to his
earth;so
anyone's world
does

-n't interest him(by the

look
feel taste smell
& sound
of a silence who can

guess

ex-
actly
what life
will do)loves

nothing

as much as
how(first
the arri
-v-

in

-g)a snowflake twi-
sts
,on
its way to now

-here
Dante
from La Vita Nuova, sonnet found in section XIII


Tutti li miei penser parlan d'Amore;
E hanno in lor sì gran varietate,
Ch'altro mi fa voler sua potestate,
Altro folle ragiona il suo valore,
Altro sperando m'apporta dolzore,
Altro pianger mi fa spesse fiate;
E sol s'accordano in cherer pietate,
Tremando di paura che è nel core.

Ond'io non so da qual matera prenda
E vorrei dire, e non so ch'io mi dica :
Così mi trovo in amorosa erranza!
E se con tutti voi fare accordanza,
Convenemi chiamar la mia nemica,
Madonna la Pietà, che mi difenda.


:: :: :: :: ::

(trans. Mark Musa)

All my thoughts are telling me of Love;
They have in them such great diversity
That one thought makes me welcome all his power,
Another calls Love's power unreasonable,
Another makes me hope and brings delight,
Another moves me oftentimes to tears.
Only in begging pity all agree,
Which I should do trembling with fearful heart.
Now I know not from which to take my cue;
I want to speak but don't know what to say.
Thus do I wander in a maze of Love.
And if I want to harmonize these thoughts,
To do so I must call upon my foe,
By asking Lady Pity for defense.
Yes

Even though I've (am getting ready to duck under the desk) never read The Lord of the Rings (50 pp. of The Hobbit two decades ago; 30 pp. of Silmarillion one decade ago -- both readings truncated by the time-limitation on library borrowings), I am enjoying the snippets from J. R. R. Tolkien's letters that we find from time to time over at Quenta Nârwenion.

And in the Magnificat monthly (p. 60 in Jan. 2003 issue).
Re-writing the 12/18 couplet
and re-shaping it into a quatrain


Within my soul, this rift :
Dark clouds and daystar-shine.
The lux is Heaven's gift;
The tenebrae are mine.
Bishops are people, too!

And indeed they are. Hasten ye to Bettnet and read a very sagacious and instructive post on why "hierarchy" and "laity" should never be viewed as two opposing classes or camps.
Orthros Prayer
via goarch : Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America


In the morning are we filled with Your mercy, O Lord, and we rejoice and delight in all of our days. Let us delight therefore even in the days that you make us lowly and for the years that we have seen evils. And look upon Your servants and upon Your works and lead their sons aright. And let the light of the Lord our God be upon us, and the works of our hands may You guide aright. Yea, the works of our hands may You guide aright.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

You are more holy than all the Powers of Heaven, More honored than all, you are our foundation, O Theotokos, Mistress of the World. Entreat the Savior to save us from the multitude of stumbling blocks and rescue from danger those who pray to you, as you are the good one.

It is good to give praise to the Lord and to chant Your name O Exulted One. To proclaim Your mercy in the morning and Your truth in the night!
O Antiphon for December 21st

O DAWN OF THE EAST, brightness of light eternal, and Sun of Justice: Come, and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Amen.

O ORIENS, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae: veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

:: :: :: :: ::

The Advent 2002 page at praiseofglory.com, including the seven O Antiphons, and meditations by Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Hugo Rahner SJ, Peter John Cameron OP, and a poem by Jessica Powers (Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit, OCD).

Huw Raphael at Doxos meditates on the Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, sol justitiae, with a bit of Cynewulf in the old Anglo-Saxon, and a thought about the Catholic side of neo-paganism (I think I see his point, and I think I concur : Most neo-pagans are yearning for liturgy & symbolism without, shall we say, a procrustean moral theology -- the poetry of religion without a pedantical fixation on prosody or scansion).

Also, go to Doxos, to learn about the eighth O Antiphon of the Sarum Liturgy. It seems quite fitting, appropriate, meet, and just.
Psalm 104. Benedic, anima mea.

PRAISE the LORD, O my soul: * O LORD my God, thou art become exceeding glorious; thou art clothed with majesty and honour.

2 Thou deckest thyself with light as it were with a garment, * and spreadest out the heavens like a curtain.

3 Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters, * and maketh the clouds his chariot, and walketh upon the wings of the wind.

4 He maketh his angels winds, * and his ministers a flaming fire.

5 He laid the foundations of the earth, * that it never should move at any time.

6 Thou coveredst it with the deep like as with a garment; * the waters stand above the hills.

7 At thy rebuke they flee; * at the voice of thy thunder they haste away.

8 They go up as high as the hills, and down to the valleys beneath; * even unto the place which thou hast appointed for them.

9 Thou hast set them their bounds, which they shall not pass, * neither turn again to cover the earth.

10 He sendeth the springs into the rivers, * which run among the hills.

11 All beasts of the field drink thereof, * and the wild asses quench their thirst.

12 Beside them shall the fowls of the air have their habitation, * and sing among the branches.

13 He watereth the hills from above; * the earth is filled with the fruit of thy works.

14 He bringeth forth grass for the cattle, * and green herb for the service of men;

15 That he may bring food out of the earth, and wine that maketh glad the heart of man; * and oil to make him a cheerful countenance, and bread to strengthen man's heart.

16 The trees of the LORD also are full of sap; * even the cedars of Lebanon which he hath planted;

17 Wherein the birds make their nests; * and the firtrees are a dwelling for the stork.

18 The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; * and so are the stony rocks for the conies.

19 He appointed the moon for certain seasons, * and the sun knoweth his going down.

20 Thou makest darkness that it may be night; * wherein all the beasts of the forest do move.

21 The lions, roaring after their prey, * do seek their meat from God.

22 The sun ariseth, and they get them away together, * and lay them down in their dens.

23 Man goeth forth to his work, and to his labour, * until the evening.

24 O LORD, how manifold are thy works! * in wisdom hast thou made them all; the earth is full of thy riches.

25 So is the great and wide sea also; * wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.

26 There go the ships, and there is that leviathan, * whom thou hast made to take his pastime therein.

27 These wait all upon thee, * that thou mayest give them meat in due season.

28 When thou givest it them, they gather it; * and when thou openest thy hand, they are filled with good.

29 When thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: * when thou takest away their breath, they die, and are turned again to their dust.

30 When thou lettest thy breath go forth, they shall be made; * and thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

31 The glorious majesty of the LORD shall endure for ever; * the LORD shall rejoice in his works.

32 The earth shall tremble at the look of him; * if he do but touch the hills, they shall smoke.

33 I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live; * I will praise my God while I have my being.

34 And so shall my words please him: * my joy shall be in the LORD.

35 As for sinners, they shall be consumed out of the earth, * and the ungodly shall come to an end.

36 Praise thou the LORD, O my soul. * Praise the LORD.

Friday, December 20, 2002

2002 Christmas message to the Anglican Communion

of Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, whose election has been confirmed and whose formal enthronement will occur in February.
I've recently added

the weblog Credo ut intelligam to the Places Oft Visited (lego ut intelligam linguam germanicam!).
What would the headlines read

if Darius Rucker married Kim Fields?

And (for Boston Public watchers) ...

... don't Scott Guber & Marilyn Sudor (Anthony Heald and Sharon Leal) make great dance partners?
Revisions to earlier posts

are not getting archived. And I've attempted to make significant changes to some earlier posts. (As in October.)

Blogspot : whoever's out there : get on this, please!
dylan & rust : do they never sleep?

The blogger at Rosa Mystica has had occasion to inquire of the blogger at Tenebrae et Lux : Musica Fracta :

Brother, when do you sleep?

C'est ainsi que je lui ai repondu :

On the best nights, it's a straight 10 pm to 5.30 am. But often, sleep gets disturbed, or overtakes one early and briefly, so there's a split-shift Grover Cleveland thing going on (8-midnight, 3-7 am).

I do sleep!


Psalm 90. Domine, refugium.
from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer


LORD, thou hast been our refuge, * from one generation to another.

2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever the earth and the world were made, * thou art God from everlasting, and world without end.

3 Thou turnest man to destruction; * again thou sayest, Come again, ye children of men.

4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, * and as a watch in the night.

5 As soon as thou scatterest them they are even as a sleep; * and fade away suddenly like the grass.

6 In the morning it is green, and groweth up; * but in the evening it is cut down, dried up, and withered.

7 For we consume away in thy displeasure, * and are afraid at thy wrathful indignation.

8 Thou hast set our misdeeds before thee; * and our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.

9 For when thou art angry all our days are gone: * we bring our years to an end, as it were a tale that is told.

10 The days of our age are threescore years and ten; and though men be so strong that they come to fourscore years, * yet is their strength then but labour and sorrow; so soon passeth it away, and we are gone.

11 But who regardeth the power of thy wrath? * or feareth aright thy indignation?

12 So teach us to number our days, * that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

13 Turn thee again, O LORD, at the last, * and be gracious unto thy servants.

14 O satisfy us with thy mercy, and that soon: * so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.

15 Comfort us again now after the time that thou hast plagued us; * and for the years wherein we have suffered adversity.

16 Show thy servants thy work, * and their children thy glory.

17 And the glorious majesty of the LORD our God be upon us: * prosper thou the work of our hands upon us; O prosper thou our handy-work.
Afterthoughts on the Professio

One of the salutary effects of posting the Professio was observed this morning. I was on the verge of posting a rant about an article in the Boston Herald. I didn't. The thought occurred to me, "It matters, yes, but it matters not." I don't dare claim that I've made the perfect transition between fretting & fulminating about trivia & ephemera to being a serene, monastic contemplative in constant awareness of God's love and mercy, one who has learned "to care and not to care" ... but since posting the creed, I'm a bit more aware of the benefits of sentire cum Ecclesia, and of not propagating too much that distracts oneself & others from the holy mysteries.

Unless, of course, it's a benign recapitulation of my favorite eighties pop-tunes.

There are four words that might be considered the ShrinkLit version of the Professio, if one can employ such a jarring juxtaposition. Saw it in a book of articles by John Cardinal Wright (1909-79; my high school, class of 1927). It's a four-word Latin phrase that neatly encapsulates the difference between the votive and the VOTF, and it means "but for the greater wisdom of the Church."


salvo meliori Ecclesiae sapientia

Those four words are the implicit preface to any reflection given here. (Maybe I should make it explicit, when speaking directly of the mysteries of faith, and actually type out those words, much as Archbishop Sheen and others have given JMJ as a kind of personal anamnesis.)

There are both tenebrae and lux to be found hereat. And as said before, the lux is God's, the tenebrae are mine.
And maybe we'll see the archives back in the left margin! Maybe!

Then again, maybe not.
O Antiphon for December 20th

O KEY OF DAVID, and Scepter of the House of Israel, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens: Come, and bring forth the captive from his prison, he who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death. Amen.

O CLAVIS DAVID, et sceptrum domus Israël, qui aperis, et nemo claudit, claudis, et nemo aperuit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

:: :: :: :: ::

The Advent 2002 page at praiseofglory.com, including the seven O Antiphons, and meditations by Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Hugo Rahner SJ, Peter John Cameron OP, and a poem by Jessica Powers (Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit, OCD).

Huw Raphael at Doxos meditates on the Clavis David, and illustrates his meditation with quotations from the Apocalypse, from St John Chrysostom, and with an icon. The link takes time!
Psalm 88. Domine, Deus.

O LORD God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee: * O let my prayer enter into thy presence, incline thine ear unto my calling;

2 For my soul is full of trouble, * and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.

3 I am counted as one of them that go down into the pit, * and I am even as a man that hath no strength;

4 Cast off among the dead, like unto them that are slain, and lie in the grave, * who are out of remembrance, and are cut away from thy hand.

5 Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, * in a place of darkness, and in the deep.

6 Thine indignation lieth hard upon me, * and thou hast vexed me with all thy storms.

7 Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me, * and made me to be abhorred of them.

8 I am so fast in prison * that I cannot get forth.

9 My sight faileth for very trouble; * LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched forth my hands unto thee.

10 Dost thou show wonders among the dead? * or shall the dead rise up again, and praise thee?

11 Shall thy loving-kindness be showed in the grave? * or thy faithfulness in destruction?

12 Shall thy wondrous works be known in the dark? * and thy righteousness in the land where all things are forgotten?

13 Unto thee have I cried, O LORD; * and early shall my prayer come before thee.

14 LORD, why abhorrest thou my soul, * and hidest thou thy face from me?

15 I am in misery, and like unto him that is at the point to die; * even from my youth up, thy terrors have I suffered with a troubled mind.

16 Thy wrathful displeasure goeth over me, * and the fear of thee hath undone me.

17 They came round about me daily like water, * and compassed me together on every side.

18 My lovers and friends hast thou put away from me, * and hid mine acquaintance out of my sight.
The integritous Peggy Noonan

Just doing my best to propagate and to popularize a not un-nifty neologism, found in Peggy's latest. A column in which she reminds us, touching on the Oh, No! Lott Again! matter, and the comparisons some (not excl. yours truly) have made to other fatuous, offensive, insensitive, ill-thought, ill-tempered or even malicious words spoken by partisans opposite :

... there's no reason the standards of conservatives should be as elastic as those of the left.

Point well taken.
All righty then

Something funky with the archive mechanism. Blogspot is not showing them on the main page. And of course, one can type 2002_10_06 and the rest of it, and find the archives ... but with a much-earlier version of the left margin (and even though all archives have republished of late, it's still showing "Tenebrae : A Broken Music" as the title.

But it's happening to others, and I suppose this happens periodically. Startling, a tad, when it does.

Was reading a little Anne Lamott earlier : her book on writing, Bird by Bird. Seems to be a book primarily about how to write fiction, which is something I wish I could do but have not the interest or the initiative, the imagination or the energy to do. I'll write here, about various & sundry things. And I'll write poetry. But I don't write fiction. Or even read it much anymore.

But back to Lamott. The style is glib, the prose is that of your basic American middle-aged progressive hipper-than-thou smart-ass. So generic in the effort to be eye-catching. Jokes about Tricia Nixon, for heaven's sake.

But I'll continue reading it, because there are moments when the afore-described posture mutes itself, and where I might be actually learning something. If ever the fictive impulse strikes.

But of course, all my efforts at fiction have been bald transcriptions of "reality," i.e., autobiography with the names changed.

That's my favorite part. Not storytelling, because I can't do it. But changing the names of the real people. Thinking up fitting pseudonyms for the unwritten roman-à-clef. Cynthia's last name keeps changing.

Why don't I continue with the miscellany-post by mentioning (yet again!) how glad I am I got the Musa translation of La Vita Nuova, with the poems in both English and Italian? I now must set to memorizing many of these poems, or parts of them. Expect to see the sonnet from section XIII appearing in this space shortly ... in both languages.

Perhaps to bed. God bless you all. Tomorrow, yet another BCP psalm, & the Clavis antiphon ...

And maybe we'll see the archives back in the left margin! Maybe!

No. Can't stop yet. Must mention that my friend Deb -- whom I hadn't seen in nine years, until this very week -- is logical, good-humored, & sweet. And a sharpish observer of all things, from the momentous to the trivial. A shared trove of pop-culture references : a must. And enough dissimilarity so that conversation is not blandified. And though I'm generally opposed to tattoos as being a bit, well, too conspicuous and unsubtle an attempt at improvement, I am so totally in favor of Dante wristwatch tattoos, with little blue stars.

Would Anne Lamott daydream of using the word "blandified"? Would any of you dream of glimpsing the words "Dante wristwatch tattoo" in a felicitously cheerful concatenation? (See, those are things that no Strunk & White can learn you.)

Something else you won't find in instruction manuals. Wallace Stevens. "Spring vanishes the scraps of winter." Vanishes meaning causes to vanish. You see a line like that for the first time, and you stare at the page in blank and holy wonder.

Of course, you see certain faces (and not merely the faces called flowers that float out of the ground), and there's that same blank and holy wonder. It's like : "Excuse me, could you stop being beautiful, for two seconds, please? It's too bloody distracting, and for another thing, you're abashing us average folk. Your effortless God-created marvellous glorious splendor does make one feel woefully inadequate. So, perhaps you could diminish the splendor somewhat, with a rheostatic knob, or a dimmer."

Do I need to go to sleep, or is the writing just now getting interesting?

Interesting or no, it's waking me up a little.

Am upset to have missed the VH-1 specials on the early 1980s. Tonight was 1986 and 87. And, boy, was popular culture one big glamorously pullulating suppurating ultrahomogenized pretergenericized wasteland during that period! At least as presented by VH-1. Top Gun, hair bands, Tiffany ... hrrrmph. I went alternative at just the right time. The 1986-88 period was owned by the Smiths, Morrissey solo, the Cure, Tracy Chapman, and maybe REM for "It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)." The Waterboys. The Proclaimers. The Cocteau Twins. All things collegiate and poetic and intelligent and wistful-tristful ... but you had some folks in the second half of the eighties who made Simon LeBon look like Alessandro Scarlatti.

Early eighties ruled, and still do. Remember ABC? "Who broke my heart? You did, you did. Cut through the target, playing Cupid, Cupid. You think you're smart -- stupid, stupid."

One cool pop-ish song from 1987 (that late? not the year before?) : Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over."

Changing directions yet again :

O'Reilly tonight had a Newark City Councillor on, attempting to excuse the existence (or the poet laureateship in the Garden State) for Amiri Baraka. Well. Defense of that fellow is something of a stiff task. It degenerated to shouting. I minded less the shouter I agreed with (Bill).

Now, when I do go to bed, do I read myself to sleep with Lamott or the bishop or Dante? Or something else? The '28 BCP, for instance?

Yes. That sounds good. Good morrow unto all who wake, and a blessed rest to all who sleep, and who therefore are not reading this as I'm writing it, or not immediately after it appears. See why I can't write fiction? Too fretful about the small stuff, can't tell a story.

I wish I was a fisherman, tumbling on the seas, far away from the dry land and its bitter memories ...

See? Even the Waterboys can tell a story. I can't.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

E * quindi * uscimmo * a * riveder * le * stelle

un tatuaggio intorno al polso di un' amica mia

tatuaggio come polsino, con stelline azzurre fra le parole

ultimo verso dell' ultimo canto dell' Inferno di Dante Alighieri

way cool

a tattoo around a friend's wrist

rather like a wristwatch, with little blue stars between the words

the last verse of the last canto of Dante's Inferno


and * thence * we * came * forth * to * see * again * the * stars
Russian Cathedral
by Claude McKay (1890-1948)


Bow down my soul in worship very low
And in the holy silences be lost.
Bow down before the marble man of woe,
Bow down before the singing angel host.
What jewelled glory fills my spirit's eye,
What golden grandeur moves the depths of me!
The soaring arches lift me up on high
Taking my breath with their rare symmetry.

Bow down my soul and let the wondrous light
Of beauty bathe thee from her lofty throne,
Bow down before the wonder of man's might.
Bow down in worship, humble and alone;
Bow lowly down before the sacred sight
Of man's divinity alive in stone.


:: :: :: :: ::

This poem, alluded to, in passing, at Seraphim's LiveJournal.
Informal inquiry

Is anyone else out there a fan of the Two Fat Ladies cooking show?

The recipes are a bit beyond my customary sphere of gourmandic experience, but the personalities of the two -- that's why this show is a must. Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson. Aired on the BBC and on America's cable television Food Network from 1996-99 (Jennifer died in August 1999). In re-runs since, but they keep changing the time, and it disappeared altogether for a while.

They sometimes went to convents and abbeys to do their cooking. Jennifer was a devout Brompton Oratory Catholic, who smoked, and who drank, and who blackened her hair, and who wore round eyeglasses, and who spoke through her nose, and who had an endearingly tart sense of humor.

Thought of them just now, reading another blog, and seeing the word "perseverance," and remembering my struggles in adolescence to get the spelling right. Per - SER - ver - ance seemed, to me, to be a reasonable orthography.

But Clarissa, the big blonde barrister in the pairing, once recited a little rhyme :

Patience and perSEVERance
Made a Bishop of His Reverence.


(Jennifer : "Oh, I never heard that one before. Where did you hear it?"

Clarissa : "Oh, everywhere. Since childhood.")
Entre le boeuf et l'âne gris

1) Entre le boeuf et l'âne gris,
Dort, dort, dort le petit fils;
Mille anges divins, milles séraphins,
Volent à l'entour de ce grand Dieu d'amour.


2) Entre les deux bras de Marie,
Dort, dort, dort le fruit de vie;
Mille anges divins, milles séraphins
Volent à l'entour de ce grand Dieu d'amour.


3) Entre les roses et les lys,
Dort, dort, dort le petit fils;
Mille anges divins, milles séraphins
Volent à l'entour de ce grand Dieu d'amour.


4) Entre les pastoureaux jolis,
Dort, dort, dort le petit fils;
Mille anges divins, milles séraphins
Volent à l`entour de ce grand Dieu d'amour.


5) En ce beau jour si solennel,
Dort, dort, dort l'Emmanuel;
Mille anges divins, milles séraphins
Volent à l'entour de ce grand Dieu d'amour.


The emendation seems fitting. Thanks to Mr Riddle and to this webpage of comptines, chansons, et poésies du temps de Noël.
Foreshadowing!
Ha! You can't say you weren't warned!


This, from the comment-box attached to one of my 10/15 posts :

This web-log is due for a name-change: I was thinking Lux et Tenebrae or Lux in Tenebris, but either of those would compel you to wrench me out of your (Steven's) place in the alphabetical list ... so, maybe Tenebrae et Lux ???
He knappeth the spear in sunder
Psalm 46, verse 9, old-school Book of Common Prayer


Posted at From the Anchor Hold : the entirety of an allocution by His Holiness Pope John Paul II on the upcoming World Day of Peace 2003.

I've skimmed it twice, will go back to read more carefully a bit later. A ringing endorsement of his blessed precedessor's Pacem in Terris. An insistence that concrete steps be taken to insure international amity without "writing the constitution of a global superstate." (I don't see anything about the international court.)
O Antiphon for December 19th

O ROOT OF JESSE, that stands for an ensign of the people, before whom the kings keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: Come, to deliver us, and tarry not. Amen.

O RADIX JESSE, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.

:: :: :: :: ::

The Advent 2002 page at praiseofglory.com, with the seven O Antiphons, and reflections including a meditation by Catherine de Hueck Doherty and a poem by Jessica Powers.

Mr Richardson at Doxos meditates on Radix Jesse. Link may take time. Notable here : cats in a Hoboken closet, the Scandal of Particularity, and some sharpish questions to ask ourselves, e. g., "When do I turn up all the music and keep Jesus jammed behind a locked door so that I can play well with others?"
from Psalm 69. Salvum me fac.

SAVE me, O God; * for the waters are come in, even unto my soul.

2 I stick fast in the deep mire, where no ground is; * I am come into deep waters, so that the floods run over me.

3 I am weary of crying; my throat is dry; * my sight faileth me for waiting so long upon my God.

4 They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; * they that are mine enemies, and would destroy me guiltless, are mighty.

[...]

7 And why? for thy sake have I suffered reproof; * shame hath covered my face.

8 I am become a stranger unto my brethren, * even an alien unto my mother's children.

9 For the zeal of thine house hath even eaten me; * and the rebukes of them that rebuked thee are fallen upon me.

10 I wept, and chastened myself with fasting, * and that was turned to my reproof.

11 I put on sackcloth also, * and they jested upon me.

12 They that sit in the gate speak against me, * and the drunkards make songs upon me.

13 But, LORD, I make my prayer unto thee * in an acceptable time.

14 Hear me, O God, in the multitude of thy mercy, * even in the truth of thy salvation.

15 Take me out of the mire, that I sink not; * O let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.

16 Let not the water-flood drown me, neither let the deep swallow me up; * and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.

17 Hear me, O LORD, for thy loving-kindness is comfortable; * turn thee unto me according to the multitude of thy mercies.

18 And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: * O haste thee, and hear me.

19 Draw nigh unto my soul, and save it; * O deliver me, because of mine enemies.


:: :: :: :: ::

"Comfortable" (line 17) = "strengthening."
Exspectans exspectavi

John Cahill has indeed heard of the Feast of the Expectation of Mary, and has recorded some of its history at his web-log. Go see.

Mention is also made of Dorothy Sayers & her mystery novels (anniversary of Sayers' passing was yesterday). I've read Busman's Honeymoon and found it delightful, but for a slow first 30 pages. Have struggled to get into Have His Carcase. Should try, once again, to read Mind of the Maker ... began reading it, but the library's allotted 3 weeks expired before I could make much progress.

A snippet of Busman's Honeymoon was included by Terry Waite in his more-splendid-than-splendor-itself commonplace book Footfalls in Memory, a smallish anthology of his favorite reading -- fictional, poetical, spiritual.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

The Expectation of Mary

I remember once having heard on the Eternal Word Television Network that today, December 18th, one week before Natale, was known in pre-conciliar days as the Expectation of Mary.

Has anyone else heard of this particular observance? Today's Gospel seems apt for it.
Saint Wivina
Virgin and Religious (c. 1100-1170)

Wivina was the beautiful daughter of a noble family of Flanders in Belgium. She found in the biblical patriarch Abraham a model for her own life. Just as Abraham had left his native land to obey the call of God, so Wivina willed to leave her family's home in order to serve God in solitude. There was, however, a young man named Richard who so longed to win her hand in marriage that, upon her refusing him, he fell desperately ill. Feeling responsible for what had happened, Wivina obtained Richard's recovery by her ardent prayers and fasting. Richard thereupon resolved to imitate Wivina's holiness and chastity, and became a hermit. At the age of twenty-three, Wivina retired to a forest near Brussels, taking only her psalter with her. There she and a like-minded woman built a hermitage for themselves, which subsequently became a convent, that of Grand-Bigard, with Wivina as abbess. On one occasion, the devil extinguished all the candles in the convent during the night office. Thereupon Wivina obtained by her prayers the miraculous rekindling of one candle, from which all the others were then relighted.

:: :: :: :: ::

Saint Athanasius I
Pope (+401)

Anastasius, a native Roman, became Pope in 399. He had as friends three Church Fathers : Saints Jerome, Augustine, and Paulinus of Nola. Jerome described Anastasius as a pontiff of blameless life and apostolic vigilance. In a letter to the bishop of Jerusalem, Pope Anastasius condemns those who would prefer to disseminate their own heretical opinions rather than to profess the teachings of the Catholic Church.

-- via Magnificat, December 2002, pp. 271, 294
TEAHEPBCACPMW Lane Core has hinted that he might re-dub this blog Flux Eternal with all its recent name-changes.

Might I suggest instead 'Ternally in Flux?

And shall I move the URL to http://the-weblog-formerly-known-as-tenebraeabrokenmusic-but-currently-known-as-tenebraeetlux.blogspot.com ??

(The acronym above stands for The Estimable And Highly Esteemed Poet, Blogger, Catholic Apologist, Clairvoyant, Prophet & Mordant Wit. In case you were wondering.)
A note on the post below

I do like Magnificat. But the Grail Psalter should be replaced, at once.

I'll take the RSV version, for both breviaries and lectionaries, for the sake of uniformity.

For private reading, for now, I guess I'll have to continue to skim the Grail Psalms in Magnificat, to take note of the number, and then cleanse the mental palate with the Psalter of the BCP, 1928 version.
The Gray-ill Psalter
Psalm 127. This morning's reading in Minificat.


Unless the Mighty One
buttresses a given edifice,
unless he gets it up and keeps it up,
its masons did all that work
in point of fact, for diddly.

And if the Lord
fails to keep his sights focussed
on the metropolitan area,
neither armed guards nor any police force
can properly protect it.

It doesn't matter
if you get out of bed early or late
or eat bread very carefully
when God's blessings are spilled out by God
on God's holy ones who dream on.

Truly children
are our sovereign's gift to us,
and are, you might say, apples of the belly.
And young male offspring, particularly,
are akin to missiles aimed at targets.

O the happiness of him
whose stockpile is bursting
at the seams with such as these!
He won't speak shyly or be abashed
at the entry-way where truces are discussed.


:: :: :: :: ::

And "discussed" is a good word to end on ("disgust").

The Textual Abuse Scandal continues in the Catholic Church.

We need to STAMP it out : Stop the Textual Abuse of Modernizing Psalms !!

STORM the gates !! Spare us the Terrific Obscenity of Revision And Modernization !!

We've only just begun.

And here you can find Psalm 127 in slightly more readable versions : 1928 BCP : KJV : RSV .
1990s sitcom quote of note
Mad About You : Paul to Jamie


"Sweety? Paramecium! Big paramecium! All over the place."
A beautifully phrased e-mail policy

We've heard of the Welborn Protocol (everything is publishable), the Core Compact (everything is publishable, but name omitted unless you request to be named), the Riddle Rule (nothing is publishable unles you give the OK) ... I tried for the dylan directive at my quondam crib, which is still the rule here. But for the name of e-mail policies, and for an immortal articulation of said policy, how about (from a recently resigned blogger) Lordmage's Law :

My email submission policy is simple: If you don't want every Jack, Jill, and Jane (Jill's "special friend") to read your email, just inform me; if you do, same. The rebuttable presumption is that you'd rather have Al Gore narrate his adventures in The Congo than have your email to me published.
Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia
Orthodox monk and bishop, a convert from Anglicanism, born Timothy Ware in 1934




Words from the beginning of his audiocassette on prayer Discovering the Inner Kingdom : The Prayer of the Heart (Oakwood Publications, 1997) :

Friends, let us begin our reflections with a thought from the seventh-century spiritual writer St Isaac the Syrian :

Be at peace with your own soul, and heaven and earth will be at peace with you.
Republicans : the party of civil rights
Against racism then. Against racism now.


In a Weekly Standard article dated summer 1999, Alvin S. Felzenberg reminds readers of the contributions/advancements to the causes of civil rights made by Republicans from William Lloyd Garrison to Ulysses Grant to Benjamin Harrison to Harding to Coolidge to Dirksen to (on the state level) Barry Goldwater.

He might have mentioned Chester Alan Arthur, and the case of Lizzie Jennings.

From America and Its Presidents, by Earl Schenck Miers (Grosset & Dunlap, 1970), a book intended for schoolchildren in the middle grades. The terminology is dated, but well :

One year as a schoolmaster had been enough for Arthur, and he had come to New York City to establish himself as a lawyer. There in 1855 he became interested in Lizzie [Jennings], a Negro Sunday School superintendent who one Sabbath was put off a trolley-car. At that time the city's streetcar companies made a practice of excluding Negroes from their vehicles and provided no separate system of transportation for them.

Arthur, who inherited a strong dislike for slavery from his clergyman-father, now took the next step by fighting for equal civil rights for the Negro race. He sued the streetcar company on behalf of [Jennings], won a judgment, and for years the Colored People's Legal Rights Association celebrated the anniversary of his victory in court.

His clergyman father? Ah, these religious Republicans. Always trying to use faith to shape politics. Trying to legislate morality. Thank Heaven.

(A further note on Arthur : The World Almanac and Book of Facts tells us, "In 1853 he argued in a fugitive slave case that slaves transported through New York state were thereby freed.")

Felzenberg's article cites percentages of the black vote given to Republicans in recent decades. Sice Nixon's 32% in 1960, the candidate who fared best with Bush Elder in '88 with 18%, then Ford in '76 with 15%. The one who fared worst : Goldwater in 1964 with 6%. As the article was written in 1999, it does not include George W. Bush in 2000 with 9%.

But these small percentages in recent years, Felzenberg opines, is largely due to a revisionism of Democratic legacies on the part of progressive historians, misunderstandings about Goldwater's opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act (he had libertarian concerns about some of the language -- unlike Ervin, Byrd, Fulbright, and Gore Senior, whose motives might not have been, shall we say, so pure), and of course a successful propaganda campaign demonizing the GOP and hagiographizing the Dems.

Take FDR (please)! About the pre-presidential Roosevelt, Felzenberg reminds us :

In 1924, Franklin Roosevelt advised Democrats to raise only issues of importance to the entire nation -- which meant that they should stay away from the question of integration.

By contrast :

Presidents Grant, Harrison, Harding, and Coolidge tried to outlaw lynching, protect voting rights, and increase tolerance--but all receive "failing" or "below average" grades from historians who disapprove of their economic policies.

As for the 1960s, were Republicans in large numbers warming up to the rhetoric of folks like George Wallace? Hell no, Felzenberg tells us :

In a 1968 straw poll, even the "country-club" Republican Nelson Rockefeller out-polled Wallace among conservatives, 43 percent to 23 percent. (Given a choice only between two big-spending liberals, they chose the one who did not apply racial tests--proving conservatives of the time were neither racist nor stupid.)

The article is (oh, weak phrase!) worth reading in its entirety. There is much about William Lloyd Garrison -- I can't discern whether the article is part of a book about Garrison, or a review of a book about Garrison -- but this reader values the piece as an antidote to some current misconceptions about the history of our two political parties.

Litur-geist, as in Polter-geist

Jeff Miller gives us a list of warning signs that your church may be possessed by something other than the Heilige Geist.
A reader wonders

... why not Tenebrae Luxque?


Two reasons :

(1) You've all changed the name of this blog in your templates often enough these last 72 hours!

(2) The Beatles beat me to it.

Yep, the Beatles :


Picture yourself
In a blog outta Boston
With tenebrous thoughts
And lucid surprise


Somebody reads you
And leaves you a comment
The girl with philosopher's eyes


Haloscan birdies appear in the trees
Stars in the firmament high
Link to the page because she's linked to yours
And behold (thump, thump, thump)


Luxque in the Sky with Diamonds
Luxque in the Sky with Diamonds
Luxque in the Sky with Diamonds
Aaaaaaahhh . . . . .
Psalm 63. Deus, Deus meus.

O GOD, thou art my God; * early will I seek thee.

2 My soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh also longeth after thee, * in a barren and dry land where no water is.

3 Thus have I looked for thee in the sanctuary, * that I might behold thy power and glory.

4 For thy loving-kindness is better than the life itself: * my lips shall praise thee.

5 As long as I live will I magnify thee in this manner, * and lift up my hands in thy Name.

6 My soul shall be satisfied, even as it were with marrow and fatness, * when my mouth praiseth thee with joyful lips.

7 Have I not remembered thee in my bed, * and thought upon thee when I was waking?

8 Because thou hast been my helper; * therefore under the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.

9 My soul hangeth upon thee; * thy right hand hath upholden me.

10 These also that seek the hurt of my soul, * they shall go under the earth.

11 Let them fall upon the edge of the sword, * that they may be a portion for foxes.

12 But the King shall rejoice in God; all they also that swear by him shall be commended; * for the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.
O Antiphon for December 18th

O LORD AND RULER of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come, and redeem us with outstretched arms. Amen.

O ADONAI, et dux domus Israël, qui Moyse in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento. Amen.

:: :: :: :: ::

The Advent 2002 page at praiseofglory.com, with the seven O Antiphons, and reflections including a meditation by Catherine de Hueck Doherty and a poem by Jessica Powers.

Mr Richardson at Doxos meditates on Adonai. Link may take time. Notable here : We are told that Adonai means not merely the Lord but my Lord, and that by "giving Christ lordship ... we become living flames for those to see who may."

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Domenico Bettinelli

shares a poignant memory, demonstrative of the charity and pastoral sensitivity of the recently resigned Archbishop of Boston. And hundreds, if not thousands, of stories like this must exist.

"A good man, with flaws" is Mr Bettinelli's assessment of Bernard Cardinal Law. We dare not quarrel with that.

And we repeat our own assessment : Good priest, exemplary man of prayer ... bad administrator.
What Trent Lott never said

"Hey, you know what! Strom being here reminds me. He ran for President in '48. He's a good man nowadays, but hey, he was even better back then. He stood for segregation! And you know what? Segregation is awesome! It's way cool! I wish we had it back!"

What Trent Lott did say

"I want to say this about my state. When Strom Thurmond ran for president we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."
The ultimate apology?

The estimable & highly esteemed poet, blogger, Catholic apologist, clairoyant, prophet and mordant wit Lane Core relates sad news about the tragic end of one Kareem Ali Mfume (b. October 9, 1941, d. December 17, 2012).
Concurring with the aesthetics of attempted murder?
Blackwell's shooting "a suitable reminder"?


See this wonderfully soul-cheering post and the comments appended thereunto ...

Christ shouldn't have healed Malchus's ear. Should've let ol' Petey hack away.

Christ should have listened to the Brothers Boanerges and rained fire upon those who wouldn't listen to him. Nothing like a scorched integument as a suitable reminder of your sins, eh?

The adulteress in John 8 should have had, oh, a few good sized rocks hurled at her noggin, you know, just as a warning.

The first verse of Acts chapter 8 tells us that Saul of Tarsus "appreciated the aesthetics" of the martyrdom of Saint Stephen. In so many words.

Here we must stop. Such words have a way of disturbing our peace almost irremediably.

Song
late 20th century

I have tried to hold you in my heart;
You will not accept this grasp and clutch.
Days turn into years : shall I forget
Her whose face and voice I loved so much?
Splendid, gentle, proud, defiant one,
Dwell within me like an inner sun :
Warm the places lacking love and light.

Speak to me of peace, O sainted soul :
Mercy must be born again in me.
Come, beloved, teach a prattling fool
Ways of hope and faith and charity.
Smile upon my sorrow; banish fear;
Cleanse me from the sins of yesteryear :
Live within my life and make me whole.
O Antiphon for December 17th

O WISDOM, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: Come, and teach us the way of prudence. Amen.

O SAPIENTIA, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter, suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

:: :: :: :: ::

The Advent 2002 page at praiseofglory.com, with the seven O Antiphons, and reflections including a meditation by Catherine de Hueck Doherty and a poem by Jessica Powers.

Mr Richardson at Doxos meditates on Sapientia. Link may take time. (Notable here : the image is offered of the Holy Spirit as Southern gentleman!)
Psalm 61. Exaudi, Deus.

HEAR my crying, O God, * give ear unto my prayer.

2 From the ends of the earth will I call upon thee, * when my heart is in heaviness.

3 O set me up upon the rock that is higher than I; * for thou hast been my hope, and a strong tower for me against the enemy.

4 I will dwell in thy tabernacle for ever, * and my trust shall be under the covering of thy wings.

5 For thou, O Lord, hast heard my desires, * and hast given an heritage unto those that fear thy Name.

6 Thou shalt grant the King a long life, * that his years may endure throughout all generations.

7 He shall dwell before God for ever: * O prepare thy loving mercy and faithfulness, that they may preserve him.

8 So will I alway sing praise unto thy Name, * that I may daily perform my vows.

Monday, December 16, 2002

compline : lectio estlinaris
the 87th in the book 95 poems


joyful your complete fearless and pure love
with one least ignorance may comprehend
more than shall ever provingly disprove
eithering vastnesses of orish mind

--nothing believable inhabits here:
overs of known descend through depths of guess,
shadows are substances and wings are birds;
unders of dream adventure truths of skies--

darling of darlings!by that miracle
which is the coming of pure joyful your
fearless and complete love,all safely small
big wickedly worlds of world disappear

all and(like any these my)words of words
turn to a silence who's the voice of voice
My daily complaining
another felicity from the old-school BCP


... and a great name for a blog ... hmm ...

Psalm 32.3 : my bones consumed away through my daily complaining.
this post

has been deleted
Cardinal Law's first public statement
since his resignation on Friday


delivered today at a few minutes after 4 pm. Text of statement via WCVB-TV channel 5, Boston's ABC affiliate.
a poll at darkoctober618

Which title is preferred ....

Lux et Tenebrae

or :

Tenebrae : A Broken Music ??

:: :: :: :: ::

Please don't hurl the Ed Ames tomahawk in my direction, but I'm thinking of reverting to the lightless dark, in spite of the German poet Novalis (1772-1801) who sang in joyful anticipation of the time ...

Wenn dann sich wieder Licht und Schatten
Zu echter Klarheit werden gatten


(When once more shade and once more light
In wedded radiance unite)


I think that Tenebrae : A Broken Music is quirky, even unwieldy, but it works ... Much like error503 -- La vita nuova. Not concise, but memorable enough, and expressive of the personality of the blogger, in its divers facets.

So. I put it to a vote. Vote early, vote late, vote often. Give reasons, or even suggest a tertium quid !!

I'm hearing the words of Lord Falkland : If it be not necessary to change, then it is necessary not to change. American version : If the bee-roken music ain't broke ...


French version : If the music is baroque ... the musician is out of Monet ...
alighieri
trans. dylan tenebrosus


from La Vita Nuova, sonnet found in section XXVI

So gentle and so virtuous appears
My lady when she renders salutation
That every tongue trembles, each voice is mute,
And eyes that yearn to look at her do not dare.

She hears herself being praised, and yet she goes
Benignly vested in humility :
It is as if she might be something come
From heaven to earth to show forth miracles.

So cherishable is she, most admired,
Whose eyes instill such sweetness in the heart
That none who do not feel it can imagine

And it seems that from her lips there emanates
A soothing breath, a Spirit full of Love,
Always which speaks to the soul and bids it sigh.


:: :: :: :: ::

Tanto gentile e tanto onesta pare
la donna mia quand’ella altrui saluta,
ch’ogne lingua deven tremando muta,
e li occhi no l’ardiscon di guardare.

Ella si va, sentendosi laudare,
benignamente d’umiltà vestuta;
e par che sia una cosa venuta
da cielo in terra a miracol mostrare.

Mostrasi sì piacente a chi la mira,
che dà per li occhi una dolcezza al core,
che ‘ntender no la può chi no la prova;

e par che de la sua labbia si mova
un spirito soave pien d’amore,
che va dicendo a l’anima: Sospira.
Art is long and Paul is short

... Paulus est paulus?


I knew a man whose brains were small,
He couldn't think of nothing at all.
He's not the same as you and me.
He doesn't dig poetry.
He's so un-hep
When you say Dylan,
He thinks you're talking about Dylan Thomas,
Whoever he was.
The man ain't got no culture ...


from "A Simple Desultory Philippic" by Simon & Garfunkel
Mini-rant on Mass lingo
(as in "mass consumption"? "mass media"?)

Vespers is now Evening Prayer. Double-plus ungood.


This little flurry of exasperation was posted at Oblique House ...

[self-interruption : Last night Ron Gollobin, a veteran news-reporter with Boston's ABC affiliate, and a reporter who should know better, made the word "obliquely" rhyme with "likely" ... O tempora!! O mores!!]

... posted as a comment at Oblike House after Mrs von H used the happy phrase Gaudete Sunday.

Oh, God bless you, Mrs von H., for using the phrase "Gaudete Sunday."

[Warning : This comment is the genesis of a prospective rant on the eviller-than-evil dumbing-down of liturgical language.]

Even Boston's current administrating bishop used the phrase "Rejoice Sunday." Which is good -- an acknowledgment of the special character of the 3rd Sunday. But not nearly as splendid as Gaudete.

In the Magnificat prayer booklet, we see Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer & Night Prayer (not lauds & vespers & compline), Canticles of Zechariah, Mary and Simeon (not Benedictus, Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis).

I'm tired of liturgists (and others in the broader culture) telling people they're too dumb to learn big or foreign or unfamiliar words. There are plenty of French words known to non-speakers of French (rendezvous, debacle, rapprochement) : Why do ecclesial types assume that we can't learn a little Latin?

He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water


photo via Boston Herald

:: :: :: :: ::

Transcript of Bishop Lennon's homily. Text via the Boston Globe.

The St Augustine quotation in the fourth-to-last paragraph should include, I believe, the words after the premature closing of the quotation marks, up to the end of the paragraph.
Psalm 51. Miserere mei, Deus.

HAVE mercy upon me, O God, after thy great goodness; * according to the multitude of thy mercies do away mine offences.

2 Wash me throughly from my wickedness, * and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I acknowledge my faults, * and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight; * that thou mightest be justified in thy saying, and clear when thou shalt judge.

5 Behold, I was shapen in wickedness, * and in sin hath my mother conceived me.

6 But lo, thou requirest truth in the inward parts, * and shalt make me to understand wisdom secretly.

7 Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; * thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8 Thou shalt make me hear of joy and gladness, * that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

9 Turn thy face from my sins, * and put out all my misdeeds.

10 Make me a clean heart, O God, * and renew a right spirit within me.

11 Cast me not away from thy presence, * and take not thy holy Spirit from me.

12 O give me the comfort of thy help again, * and stablish me with thy free Spirit.

13 Then shall I teach thy ways unto the wicked, * and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

14 Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou that art the God of my health; * and my tongue shall sing of thy righteousness.

15 Thou shalt open my lips, O Lord, * and my mouth shall show thy praise.

16 For thou desirest no sacrifice, else would I give it thee; * but thou delightest not in burnt-offerings.

17 The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit: * a broken and contrite heart, O God, shalt thou not despise.

18 O be favourable and gracious unto Sion; * build thou the walls of Jerusalem.

19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifice of righteousness, with the burnt-offerings and oblations; * then shall they offer young bullocks upon thine altar.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

La Vita Nuova
from section XIX (trans. Mark Musa)


My lady is desired in highest heaven;
And now I want to tell you of her power :
A lady who aspires to graciousness
Should travel with my lady. When she walks,
Love drives a killing frost into vile hearts
That freezes and destroys their every thought;
And dare a thought remain to look at her
It has to change to good or else must die;
And if she finds one worthy to behold her,
He feels her power, for her least salutation
Bestows salvation on this favored one
And humbles him till he forgets all wrongs.
This too has God Almighty graced her with :
Whoever speaks with her shall speak with Him.


:: :: :: :: ::

Madonna è disiata in sommo cielo :
Or voi di sua virtù farvi savere.
Dico, qual vuol gentil donna parere
Vada con lei, che quando va per via,
Gitta nei cor villani Amore un gelo,
Per che onne lor pensero agghiaccia e pere;
E qual soffrisse di starla a vedere
Diverria nobil cosa, o si morria.
E quando trova alcun che degno sia
Di veder lei, quei prova sua vertute,
Chè li avvien, ciò che li dona, in salute,
E sì l'umilia, ch' ogni offesa oblia.
Ancor l'ha Dio per maggior grazia dato
Che non pò mal finir chi l'ha parlato.
Thanks to Mr Luse
of Apologia


for a link about ...

John Frederick Nims (1913–1999) was the author of eight collections of poetry, including The Six-Cornered Snowflake, Zany in Denim, and Knowledge of the Evening. He also translated several books of verse, most recently The Complete Poems of Michelangelo, and wrote the highly acclaimed Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry. Long affiliated with the magazine Poetry, he was its editor from 1978 to 1984, and he taught at many distinguished universities and workshops in America and abroad. Among the numerous honors he received for his work are the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, the Aiken-Taylor Award, the O. B. Hardison Award, and the Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize.
Archbishop Chaput

on homilies at Mass (note : to be given only by the ordained, either priests or deacons). Thanks to Gregg the Obscure who gave us the link.
John Frederick Nims

The estimable and highly esteemed poet, blogger & Catholic apologist Lane Core has recently proffered a translation of St John of the Cross made by the American poet who, if he still lives, must be well into his ninth decade.

Here I shall quote a small poem by Mr Nims, and dedicate the offering of the quatrain to Noise Of The Fretful, to Howie Carr, and to anyone else who thinks that bullhorns, wrecking-balls, hand-grenades, and dynamite will accomplish more than prayer, faith, hope, love, and simple Christian decency.

It is offered, too, in solidarity with another blogger's recent quotation of Thomas Merton, expressing rare & cherishable skepticism about the aims of many "progressed" Catholics ...


:: :: :: :: ::

Avant-Garde
by John Frederick Nims


"A dead tradition! Hollow shell!
Outworn, outmoded -- time it fell.
Let's make it new. Rebel! Rebel!"
Said cancer-cell to cancer-cell.


:: :: :: :: ::

J. F. Nims, "Avant-Garde," from the poet's Selected Poems (Univ. of Chicago, 1982), p. 147
this post has been deleted
Will do, Your Eminence, will do

Front page article from today's Boston Globe; it carries the headline 'I have no hatred,' Law says.

Which, to my mind, is nearly incredible. Nutcases outside the Cathedral every Sunday with signs saying "Bernie the Pimp"; cancer-cells on the Mystical Body yelling through a bullhorn "This is a house of rape"?

Wonder how these souls, so ostentatiously solicitous in their rhetoric about the welfare of children, feel about voting for candidates who support partial-birth infanticide. Bullhorns in front of Senator Kennedy's office? Protests on the streets in Hyannis near the compound?

But I'm not one-tenth of a percent of the Christian that Cardinal Law is. Not a twentieth part of a tithe. I maintain, in the face of those whose articulacy is in inverse proportion to the number of words they expend, that in some ways, Cardinal Law is an exemplary Christian.

Bad administrator, granted.

The article, by Charles M. Sennott, concludes :


''I'd ask you to keep me in your prayers,'' Law said yesterday as his journey back to the United States was ending. ''Please do that.''
Is it coming to this?

The White Male Blue-eyed Left-handed Overweight Gemini Republican Alcoholic Bookworm Symphony Orchestra will be performing at Boston Symphony Hall (a few years hence, we imagine) with the Schola Cantorum Diversorum Ambiguorum, formerly known as the Multi-racial Chorus of Celibate Switch-Hitters.



The notice above is my comment appended to a deeee-lightfully cheerful, blithe and bonny post at Oblique House, in which Mrs von Huben wonders about the Return of the Sexuals. In all their finery and festive apparel.
part of an article
written months ago by the tenebrous one


April 28, 2002. In the churches, shrines, basilicas, and chapels of the Archdiocese of Boston, Masses are still being celebrated. The Paschal candle is illumined by priest or acolyte: a quiet, dignified symbol of the faith that "Christ is risen; He is risen indeed" (Eastern Liturgy). During the Eucharistic prayer, we proclaim the mystery of faith: "Dying you destroyed our death; rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory." Layfolk of every station and stratum, every age and occupation, still converge "to kneel / Where prayer has been valid" (T. S. Eliot). Confessions are still being heard, rosaries still being recited, antiphons and hymns still being sung, and the Mystical Body still expanding through geography and history. In a time of scandal, the Church survives.

The church would survive even if only two or three persons per hundred thousand were participating in its liturgies, because it is God who engenders its energies, and He can do marvelous things with even a mustard-seed. But by the grace of that same God, the numbers are greater, even at weekday Masses during the lunch hour or the evening rush.

We have a Scriptural guarantee that the gates of hell will not prevail against God's church. And we have historical evidence: the Church has outlasted the Roman Empire, the Arians, the Albigensians; it has survived the schism of East and West, and the various zeals and differing aims of the many-branched Reformation. Catholicism now thrives in England where once it was bitterly persecuted. In other parts of Europe, neither of the past century's diabolical socialisms, German or Russian, could utterly extinguish the light and life of Resurrection faith. A vigorous and undiluted Catholicism thrives in Africa and Asia at the dawn of the third millennium.

The Church in the United States and in Boston will survive.


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But from the looks of things, it ain't gonna be pretty. Not in coming months, not in coming years.
Psalm 43. Judica me, Deus.

GIVE sentence with me, O God, and defend my cause against the ungodly people; * O deliver me from the deceitful and wicked man.

2 For thou art the God of my strength; why hast thou put me from thee? * and why go I so heavily, while the enemy oppresseth me?

3 O send out thy light and thy truth, that they may lead me, * and bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy dwelling;

4 And that I may go unto the altar of God, even unto the God of my joy and gladness; * and upon the harp will I give thanks unto thee, O God, my God.

5 Why art thou so heavy, O my soul? * and why art thou so disquieted within me?

6 O put thy trust in God; * for I will yet give him thanks, which is the help of my countenance, and my God.