Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Christmas Song o' the Day

Weezer, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" from iTunes Holiday Sampler (The Last Angry Grinch)

Commentary: You know, I don't think I've ever eaten figgy pudding. By contrast, I have been known, on occasion, to partake of a cup of good cheer.
"We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year!

"Good tidings we bring
to you and your kin,
Good tidings for Christmas
And a happy New Year!

"O, bring us a figgy pudding,
O, bring us a figgy pudding,
O, bring us a figgy pudding,
And a cup of good cheer!

"We won't go until we get some,
We won't go until we get some,
We won't go until we get some,
So bring some out here!

"We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year!"

[brief guitar solo]

"We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year!

"We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year!"

Project BLACK MAMBA: Our Lady of Guadalupe

Advent | The Long Road Back
Tuesday, 12 December was the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (apparitions, 9-12 December 1531): Madonna-link ūna, Madonna-link duae, & Wikipedia-link.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
The Virgin of Guadalupe is considered the Patroness of Mexico & the Continental Americas; she is also venerated by Naive Americans, on the account of the devotion calling for the conversion of the Americas. Replicas of the tilma can be found in thousands of churches throughout the world, & numerous parishes bear her name. Due to a claim that her black girdle indicates pregnancy on the image, the Blessed Virgin Mary, under this title is popularly invoked as Patroness of the Unborn & a common image for the Pro-Life movement.
Video, procession for Our Lady of Guadalupe & reflection by Bishop Robert Barron: Word on Fire.

Video reflection by Matthew Leonard of Scott Hahn's St. Paul Center: Journey through Scripture.


Scripture of That Day
Mass Readings—Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The Book of Zechariah, chapter two, verses fourteen thru seventeen;
or, the Book of Revelation, chapter eleven, verse nineteen(a) & chapter twelve, verses one thru six(a) & ten(a/b);
The Book of Judith, chapter thirteen, verses eighteen(b/c/d/e) & nineteen;
or, the Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verses forty-six & forty-seven;
(Optional*) The Letter to the Galatians, chapter four, verses four thru seven;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verses twenty-six thru thirty-eight;
or, the Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verses thirty-nine thru forty-seven.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today we celebrate the great feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. What followed the apparition of Mary at Tepeyac is one of the most astounding chapters in the history of Christian evangelism.

Though Franciscan missionaries had been laboring in Mexico for twenty years, they had made little progress. But within ten years of the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe, practically the entire Mexican people, nine million strong, had converted to Christianity. La Morena had proved a more effective evangelist than St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Patrick, and St. Francis Xavier combined! And with that great national conversion, the Aztec practice of human sacrifice came to an end. She had done battle with fallen spirits and had won a culture-changing victory for the God of love.

The challenge for us who honor her today is to join the same fight. We must announce to our culture today the truth of the God of Israel, the God of Jesus Christ, the God of nonviolence and forgiving love. And we ought, like La Morena, to be bearers of Jesus to a world that needs him more than ever.
Video reflection by Deacon Miguel Santos: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

*The optional Second Reading was read at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church (Flint), from their bilingual Missalette, but is not even listed as an option in the monolingual Missalette used at Saint Matthew Catholic Church (Flint). At Our Lady of Guadalupe, the First Reading was in Spanish, the Psalm (the Magnificat) was sung in alternating Spanish & English, the Second Reading was in English, the Gospel was in Spanish, & the homily was delivered twice, first in Spanish & then in English.


'Twas also the festival of Saint Finnian of Clonard, Abbot (circa 470-552; also spelt Fionnán, etc.; Latinized as Vennianus, etc.), founder of Clonard Abbey: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Abbey & Wikipedia-link Abbots.

'Twas also the festival of Blessed Pius Bartosik, Priest & Martyr, O.F.M. Conv. (1909-1941, A.K.A. Ludwik Bartosik), martyred in the reign of the Führer Adolf Hitler, one of the One Hundred Eight Blessed Polish Martyrs: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link CVIII.

Saint Quote o' That Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"Moreover, Christians are born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God willing, the triumph: 'Have confidence; I have overcome the world' (John, 16:33)."
—Pope Leo XIII

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA: Advent, Late Edition

'Tis the Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin & Martyr (circa 283-304, of Syracuse), martyred in the reign of the emperors Diocletian & Maximian, a victim of the Great Persecution: Martyr-link ūna, Martyr-link duae, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Saint Lucy's Day & Wikipedia-link Persecution.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
A disappointed suitor accused Lucy of being Christian, & she was executed in Syracuse, Sicily. She is one of eight women who, along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, are commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.
Wikipedia-link Canon of the Mass.


'Tis also the festival of Saint Elizabeth Rose, Abbess, O.S.B. (died circa 1130), foundress of the Sainte-Marie-du-Rozoy convent: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Antonio Grassi, Priest, C.O. (1592-1671, A.K.A. Vincenzo Grassi): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Advent Weekday
The Book of Isaiah, chapter forty, verses twenty-five thru thirty-one;
Psalm One Hundred Three, verses one & two, three & four, & eight & ten;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eleven, verses twenty-eight, twenty-nine, & thirty.

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

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

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

What he is saying, therefore, is to stand next to him, just as one ox stands next to the other as they pull together. Just as Jesus is yoked to the Father, so we should be yoked to him, obeying him as he obeys the Father.
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Lucy
The Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter ten, verse eleven thru chapter eleven, verse two;
Psalm Thirty-one, verse six;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses one thru thirteen.

Saint Quote o' the Day
"It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be grounded down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly & patiently to improving yourselves & society, making the world more human & fraternal."
—Pope St. John Paul II (22 October)

The Queue

I've heard the basics of Dr. Scott Hahn's conversion story from several of his many lectures available on C.D. & other media, but it was illuminating to read his own blow-by-blow account, along with Mrs. Hahn's perspective, since they both "crossed the Tiber" from anti-Catholic Protestantism to Catholicism—from anti-scriptural schism to the one, holy, catholic, & apostolic Church founded by Christ in the foundation of the Apostles. I found the style of Rome Sweet Home more to my liking than that of Kevin Lowry's How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming into the Catholic Church, but found in both accounts parallels to my own journey from anonymous pew potato to parish council president, a man of some renown & influence in my parish—a happenstance that surprises no one more than yours truly. Still, the fact remains that my kith & kin whom I wish to draw back to Christ's Church aren't wayward evangelicals or Protestants, but agnostics & atheists ranging from indifferent to hostile. I shall have to read different books for counsel on how best to be God's instrument in their return to the Faith of their childhoods.

I'm not going to begin any new books 'til Advent has given way to the Christmastide. The rest of Advent is going to be so busy I'll barely have time to breathe, let alone read. It will be all I can manage to keep up with Beautiful Hope, if even that.

Recently
Kevin Lowry, How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming into the Catholic Church
Deacon Eugene Hausmann, Catholics Go by the Bible: Biblical Sources of Catholic Theology & Liturgy ***abandoned***
Scott & Kimberly Hahn, Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism

Currently
Matthew Kelly & Co., Beautiful Hope: Finding Hope Every Day in a Broken World

Presently
Norman Davies, Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations ***paused***
Matthew Kelly, Perfectly Yourself: Discovering God's Dream for You
Sherry A. Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus
William E. Simon Jr., Great Catholic Parishes: How Four Essential Practices Make Them Thrive
Bishop Robert Barron, Seeds of the Word: Finding God in the Culture
Mike Aquilina, Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers
Xavier Rynne, Vatican Council II
John W. O'Malley, What Happened at Vatican II
Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love)
Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis (The Sacrament of Charity)
Richard Price, Clockers
Sir Richard Francis Burton, translator, "Sinbad the Sailor" from The Arabian Nights
Sir Ernest Shackleton, South: A Memoir of the Endurance Voyage
William F. Buckley Jr., The Unmaking of a Mayor
Margaret MacMillan, Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World
John le Carré, A Legacy of Spies

Bonus! Song o' the Day


The Puppini Sisters, "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" from Christmas with the Puppini Sisters (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: The snow appears to have stopped, but all through the afternoon the wind blew & the snow fell & fell & fell, the first blizzard of the winter making the roads genuinely perilous.

The Rebel Black Dot Christmas Song o' the Day


Gene Autry, "Frosty the Snowman" from Toys for Tots: 25 All-Time Christmas Favorites (The Last Angry Grinch)

Operation ÖSTERREICH

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 341.4.0 lbs
This weigh-in: 340.0 lbs.
Difference: -1.4 lbs.

Two records have been set this week: This is a third consecutive weekly weight drop, the first triple occurrence of the current series of weign-ins, & this week's weight marks a new low. Woo hoo!

I do not expect this laudable trend to continue over the next several weeks, as the holidays shift into high gear, but expectations have already been defied up to this point; so, it is not with any confidence that I predict what will happen next. Onward!

Bonus! Lied von ÖSTERREICH
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "The White Stuff" from Off the Deep End (The Last Angry Cookie Monster)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Christmas Song o' the Day


Barenaked Ladies, "Carol of the Bells" from Barenaked for the Holidays (The Last Angry Grinch)

Project BLACK MAMBA: Advent

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Damasus I, Pope (circa 305-384), thirty-seventh Bishop of Rome: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Pontiff.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
He presided over the Council of Rome of 382 that determined the canon, or official list, of Sacred Scripture. He spoke out against major heresies in the church & encouraged production of the Vulgate Bible with his support for St. Jerome [30 September].
Wikipedia-link Council of Rome & Wikipedia-link Vulgate.


'Tis also the festival of Saint Daniel the Stylite, Hermit (circa 409-493): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Stylite.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Arthur Bell, Priest & Martyr, O.F.M. (1590-1643), martyred under the auspices of the Roundhead Parliament, one of the Eighty-five Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link LXXXV.

Commentary: The Parliamentarian ("Roundhead") side of the English Civil War (1642-1651) was composed of a broad coalition of factions, with political views ranging from constitutional monarchism to proto-anarchism & religious views ranging from Anglicanism to Presbyterianism to Puritanism. Puritans formed the core of the New Model Army & thus imposed their congregationalist view of church governance on the whole country after Parliament's victory & the execution of King Charles I. Interesting to note that their belief in individual conscience before the Lord God did not extend to Catholics; the martyr Bl. Arthur was put to death for no crime other than simply being a priest.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Advent Weekday
The Book of Isaiah, chapter thirty-five, verses one thru ten;
Psalm Eighty-five, verses nine(a/b) & ten, eleven & twelve, & thirteen & fourteen;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter five, verses seventeen thru twenty-six.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, our Gospel for today tells that wonderful story of the healing of the paralytic. People gather by the dozens to hear Jesus, crowding around the doorway of the house. They bring him a paralyzed man, and because there is no way to get him through the door, they climb up on the roof and open a space to lower him down.

Can I suggest a connection between this wonderful narrative and our present evangelical situation? There are an awful lot of Catholics who are paralyzed, unable to move, frozen in regard to Christ and the Church. This might be from doubt, from fear, from anger, from old resentment, from ignorance, or from self-reproach. Some of these reasons might be good; some might be bad.

Your job, as a believer, is to bring them to Christ. How? A word of encouragement, a challenge, an explanation, a word of forgiveness, a note, a phone call. We notice the wonderful urgency of these people as they bring the sick man to Jesus. Do we feel the same urgency within his mystical body today?
Video reflection by Monsignor James Vlaun (Telecare T.V.): U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Damasus I
The Acts of the Apostles, chapter twenty, verses seventeen, eighteen(a), twenty-eight thru thirty-two, & thirty-six;
Psalm One Hundred Ten, verse four(b);
The Gospel according to John, chapter fifteen, verses nine thru seventeen.

Saint Quote o' the Day
"If we keep our eyes fixed on the Lord, then our hearts are filled with hope, our minds are washed in the light of truth, & we come to know the fullness of the Gospel with all its promise & life."
—Pope St. John Paul II (22 October)
A Humble Contribution to the New Evangelization
The Popish Plot—Marian Monday: "Our Lady of Guadalupe"

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXXXVII

Operation AXIOM: The World War
16 November-30 December 1917: The Battle of Jerusalem—British & Imperial forces defeated the Ottoman defenses & withstood numerous, determined counterattacks to secure a stout defensive line from Jaffa on the coast to the Judean Mountains; General Allenby entered the Old City on foot (11 December) as a gesture of respect for Jerusalem's sacredness to Jews, Christians, & Muslims alike.





Lest we forget.

Commentary: The Entente's conquest of the city marked the first time Christians had ruled the Holy City since the demise of the Crusader States in the thirteenth century. In some quarters, the response was downright hyperbolic, as in the image below comparing Allenby to Judah Maccabee.

Project BLACK MAMBA: Second Sunday of Advent

'Tis the Second Sunday of Advent: Advent-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—Second Sunday of Advent
The Book of Isaiah, chapter forty, verses one thru five, nine, ten, & eleven;
Psalm Eighty-five, verses nine & ten, eleven & twelve, & thirteen & fourteen;
The Second Letter to Peter, chapter three, verses eight thru fourteen;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter one, verses one thru eight.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel compels us to come to grips with the great Advent figure of John the Baptist. It’s really impossible to grasp the significance of Jesus without passing through the cleansing bath of John the Baptist. He provides a lens through which Jesus is properly interpreted.

John, we learn today, made his appearance as a preacher in the desert of Judea. Deserts are places of simplicity and poverty, places where distractions and attachments are eliminated—and hence where the voice of God can be heard. Wealth, pleasure, power, honor—and all of their avatars and priests—are shouting at us, luring us, tempting us. But what is God saying? We have to go to these silent and deserted places in order to hear.

What is the first thing that the prophet says? We read in another Gospel that he says, "Reform your lives!" In other words, "Repent!" This word cuts to the heart of every one of us, precisely because we all know that our lives are not where they are supposed to be. We have all fallen short of the glory of God; we have all fallen into patterns of self-absorption and addiction. So let us hear John’s word today: "Repent!"
Video reflection by Father Greg Friedman, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Video reflection by Jeff Cavins: Encountering the Word.

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

Video reflection by David: New Catholic Generation.


Mass Journal: Week 50
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
If the Catholic Church is to change, grow, thrive, & fulfill its mission in this modern climate, it will be for one reason: because we became a more spiritual people. Only then will this renewed spiritual health burst forth into authentic action. It would seem to me that education & evangelization are the keys to helping the whole Church to blossom. They are the pillars of renewal. It is impossible to know God & not love Him. It is equally impossible to experience God & not want others to experience Him as a result. Those who do not evangelize simply have not had an intimate experience of God. If you went into an ice cream parlor & there was no ice cream, you'd say, "There's a problem!" If you went to a chocolate shop & there was no chocolate, you'd say, "There's a problem!" The mission of the Church is to share the Gospel, & to teach, encourage, & challenge people to become more like Jesus Christ. So how is it that we can belong to a local church community that goes year after year with almost no outreach to the unchurched & underchurched in our area, with very few people becoming markedly more Christ-like, & not think there is a problem? Let me tell you, if this describes your church community, there's a problem!

Otherwise, 10 December would be the festival of Our Lady of Loreto & the Translation of the Holy House: Madonna-link, Holy House-link, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Holy House, Batman!

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Miltiades, Pope (died 314), thirty-second Bishop of Rome: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Pontiff.

'Twould also be the festival of Saints Edmund Gennings, Polydore Plasden, & Eustace White, Priests; & Swithun Wells, Martyrs (died 1591), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I, four of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link Echo Golf & Wikipedia-link Echo Golf; Martyr-link Papa Papa & Wikipedia-link Papa Papa; Martyr-link Echo Whiskey & Wikipedia-link Echo Whiskey; Martyr-link Sierra Whiskey & Wikipedia-link Sierra Whiskey; Martyrs-link XL & Wikipedia-link XL.

'Twould also be the festival of Blessed Sidney Hodgson, Martyr (died 1591), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Bl. Sidney was martyred alongside Ss. Edmund & Swithun, but is not counted one of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales. That canon was never meant to be exhaustive, merely representative of the innumerable faithful Catholics put to death by the tyrannical Tudor & Stewart dynasties & their self-worshiping Church of England.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint John Roberts, Priest & Martyr, O.S.B. (1577-1610), founder of the community that eventually settled at Downside Abbey; martyred in the reign of the king Jams VI & I, one of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Abbey; Martyrs-link XL & Wikipedia-link XL.

Saint Quote o' the Day
"Whoever really loves his partner loves not only for what he receives, but loves that partner for the partner's own sake, content to be able to enrich the other with the gift of himself."
—Pope Bl. Paul VI (26 September)

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the 2nd Sunday of Advent


Daniel Schmit & co., "High Above" from Advent: A Season of Hope (The Last Angry Man)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA: Advent

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474-1548), to whom was revealed the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Guadalupe.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
On 9 December 1531, when Juan Diego was on his way to morning Mass, the Blessed Mother appeared to him on Tepeyac Hill, the outskirts of what is now Mexico City. When he opened his mantle for the bishop, the flowers fell on the ground & there remained impressed, in place of the flowers, an image of the Blessed Mother.
Video reflection from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: St. Juan Diego-link.


'Tis also the festival of Saint Valeria of Limoges, Martyr (floruit third century, also spelt Valerie), martyred by beheading, a cephalophore: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Cephalophore.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Gorgonia (died circa 375): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Daughter of Ss. Gregory of Nazianzus the Elder [1 January] & Nonna [5 August] & sister of Ss. Gregory of Nazianzus the Younger, Doctor of the Church [2 January], & Caesarius of Nazianzus [25 February].

'Tis also the festival of Saint Peter Fourier, Priest, C.R.S.A. (1565-1640), the "Good Father of Mattaincourt," founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame & the Congregation of Our Savior: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Advent Weekday
The Book of Isaiah, chapter thirty, verses nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, & twenty-three thru twenty-six;
Psalm One Hundred Forty-seven, verses one & two, three & four, & five & six;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter nine, verse thirty-five thru chapter ten, verses one, five(a), six, seven, & eight.

Commentary: Video reflection by Father Thomas Sparacino: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter one, verses twenty-six thru thirty-one;
Psalm Response: "In you, Lord, I have found my peace;"
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eleven, verses twenty-five thru thirty.

Catholicism WOW! | Bier!
Have I mentioned lately how great it is being Catholic? Beer-nedict XVI Pint-ifex Maximus-link.


Commentary: The fellow immediately to the left of the giant papal nutcracker is Scott Hahn, Ph.D., one of the American church's finest lay theologians. We here at Project BLACK MAMBA try to bring you Professor Hahn's audio reflections on the Sunday Mass readings each week. Among the many other virtues of this photograph (i.e., giant papal nutcracker), I thought it might be nice for you to be able to put a face to his voice.

Saint Quote o' the Day
"Among man's rights is that of being able to worship God in accordance with the right dictates of his own conscience, & to profess his religion both in private & in public."
—Pope St. John XXIII (11 October)

The Rebel Black Dot Christmas Song o' the Day


Michael Bublé, "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" from Christmas (The Last Angry Grinch)

Commentary: I had to brush a dusting of snow off the Malibu Stacy last night/this morning when I drove in for my weekly "hour" of Eucharistic adoration & again ninety minutes later when I drove back home. Barring a sudden & dramatic warming spell, I'll do so again when I drive to Holy Redeemer's second annual Christmas concert later this afternoon. Squee!

Bob is the fellow whose Eucharistic hour is after mine. Bob doesn't like the winter—not the cold, not the snow, none of it. Bob mentioned that snow had fallen while I was in the chapel. I responded, "Yea!" Bob scowled & replied, "Boo!"

Friday, December 8, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA: Immaculate Conception

Advent
'Tis the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Madonna-link ūna, Madonna-link duae, Wikipedia-link Immaculate Conception, & Wikipedia-link Feast.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
This is the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary free from original sin by virtue of the foreseen merits of her son Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church teaches that Mary was conceived by normal biological means in the womb of her mother, Saint Anne [26 July], but God acted upon her soul, keeping it "immaculate."
Video reflection from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Immaculate Conception.


Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Book of Genesis, chapter three, verses nine thru fifteen & twenty;
Psalm Ninety-eight, verses one, two & three(a/b), & three(c/d) & four;
The Letter to the Ephesians, chapter one, verses three thru six;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verses twenty-six thru thirty-eight.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The Church Fathers consistently referred to Mary as the New Eve, which is to say, the one who reversed the momentum started by the mother of the human race. The Ave of the angel was seen as the reversal of Eva. While Eve grasped at divinity, Mary said "Let it be done unto me."

Here’s the liberating paradox: passivity before objective values is precisely what makes life wonderful. Allowing oneself to be invaded and rearranged by objective value is what makes life worth living. And this applies unsurpassably to our relationship with God. The message that your life is not about you does indeed crush the false self that would bend the whole world to its purposes, but it sets free the true self.

The Immaculate Conception itself is concealed in the privacy of salvation history, but the effects of it are on clear display in this Gospel. In the presence of the supreme value, we ought to say, along with Mary, "Be it done unto me!"
Video reflection by Laura Brill: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Bonus! Song o' the Immaculate Conception
The Daughters of Mary, "Immaculate Mary" from De Profundis (The Last Angry Man)

'Tis also the festival of Saint Eutychian, Pope (died 283), twenty-seventh Bishop of Rome: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Pontiff.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Romaric, Abbot (died 653, of Remiremont), founder of the Abbey of Remiremont: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Abbey.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Noël Chabanel, Priest & Martyr, S.J. (1613-1649), who survived the Iroquois massacres only to be martyred by an apostate Huron, one of the eight North American Martyrs: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link VIII & Wikipedia-link VIII.

Saint Quote o' the Day
"One obtains from God all that one hopes from him!"
—St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church (14 December)

The Rebel Black Dot Christmas Song o' the Day


"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Christmas at Ground Zero" from Polka Party! (The Last Angry Grinch)

Commentary:
"It's Christmas at ground zero,
The button has been pressed,
The radio just let us know
That this is not a test.

"Everywhere the atom bombs are droppin',
It's the end of all humanity,
No more time for last-minute shoppin',
It's time to face your final destiny.

"Well, it's Christmas at ground zero,
There's panic in the crowd,
We can dodge debris while we trim the tree
Underneath the mushroom cloud…"

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Christmas Song o' the Day


The Puppini Sisters, "Step into Christmas" from Christmas with the Puppini Sisters (The Last Angry Grinch)

Commentary:
"Step into Christmas,
Let's join together,
We can watch the snow
For forever and ever,
Eat, drink, and be merry,
Come, come along with me,
Step into Christmas,
The admission is free…"

Project BLACK MAMBA: Advent

'Tis the festival of Memorial of Saint Ambrose, Bishop & Doctor of the Church (circa 337-397, of Milan; A.K.A. Aurelius Ambrosius): Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Traditionally, Ambrose is credited with promoting "antiphonal chant," a style of chanting in which one side of the choir responds alternately to the other, as well as with composing Veni redemptor gentium, an Advent hymn. Ambrose was one of the four original Doctors of the Church.
Wikipedia-link Veni & Wikipedia-link Doctors.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Diuma, Bishop (died circa 658): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Charles Garnier, Priest & Martyr, S.J. (1606-1649), martyred by Iroquois, specifically by Mohawks; one of the North American Martyrs: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link VIII & Wikipedia-link VIII.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Maria Giuseppa Rossello, Virgin, F.D.M. (1811-1880; Anglicizes as Mary Joseph, A.K.A. Benedetta Rossello), foundress of the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link F.D.M.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Advent Weekday
The Book of Isaiah, chapter twenty-six, verses one thru six;
Psalm One Hundred Eighteen, verses one, eight, & nine; nineteen, twenty, & twenty-one; & twenty-five, twenty-six, & twenty-seven(a);
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter seven, verses twenty-one & twenty-four thru twenty-seven.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel asks how we apply the Lord’s teaching. "Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse." This is the heart of it: if you are rooted in God, then you can withstand anything, precisely because you are linked to that power which is creating the cosmos. You will be blessed at the deepest place, and nothing can finally touch you.

But the one who does not take Jesus’ words to heart "will be like the fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined." When the inevitable trials come, the life built on pleasure, money, power, or fame will give way.

So the question is a simple one: where do you stand? How goes it with your heart? On what, precisely, is the whole of your life built?
Video reflection by Father Don Miller, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Memorial of St. Ambrose
The Letter to the Ephesians, chapter three, verses eight thru twelve;
Psalm Eighty-nine;
The Gospel according to John, chapter ten, verses eleven thru sixteen.

Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"I know well that the greater & more beautiful the work is, the more terrible will be the storms that rage against it."
—St. Maria Faustyna of the Blessed Sacrament (5 October)
A Humble Contribution to the New Evangelization
The Popish Plot—Theology Thursday: "Mary, Did You Know?"

Commentary: The short answer is: Yes!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXXXVI

Operation AXIOM: The World War
6 December 1917: The Halifax Explosion—The city of Halifax, Nova Scotia was devastated & over two thousand persons killed when the French steamship Mont-Blanc, laden with volatile munitions, detonated after colliding with the Norwegian steamship Imo; the collision sparked a fire that quickly led to the largest man-made explosion in history, until the invention of the atomic bomb in 1945.







Lest we forget.

Bonus!
6 December 1917: The United States Navy destroyer U.S.S. Jacob Jones DD-61 was torpedoed & sunk by the Kaiserliche Marine submarine S.M. U-53; the U-53's captain, Hans Rose, was a submarine ace, having conducted a very successful commerce raiding patrol off the U.S. East Coast in 1916, while the U.S. was still neutral, including paying a courtesy visit to Newport, Rhode Island.




Project BLACK MAMBA: Advent, Late Edition

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Nicholas, Bishop (circa 270-346, of Myra, A.K.A. the Wonder-worker): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Saint Nicholas's Day.


Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers, & students. His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Cristian saints, & his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus.
On that last bit: Wikipedia-link Sinterklaas & Wikipedia-link Santa Claus


'Tis also the festival of Blessed Peter Pascual, Bishop & Martyr, O. de M. (circa 1227-1300), martyred in the reign of the sultan Muhammad II al-Faqih: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed János Scheffler, Bishop & Martyr (1887-1952), martyred in the reign of the Communist dictator Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

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

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel tells of Jesus feeding the four thousand with seven loaves and a few fish.

An awful lot of contemporary theologians and Bible commentators have tried to explain away the miracles of Jesus as spiritual symbols. Perhaps most notoriously, many preachers tried to explain the multiplication of the loaves and fishes as a "miracle" of charity, with everyone sharing the little that he had.

But I think it’s hard to deny that the first Christians were intensely interested in the miracles of Jesus, and that they didn’t see them as mere literary symbols! They saw them for what they really were: actions of God, breaking into our world.
Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Nicholas
The Book of Isaiah, chapter six, verses one thru eight;
Psalm Forty, verses eight(a) & nine(a);
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter ten, verses one thru nine.



Bible Study—Wisdom Books
The Book of Psalms, psalm thirty-four (verses one thru twenty-three);
The Book of Psalms, psalm thirty-five (verses one thru twenty-eight);
The Book of Psalms, psalm thirty-six (verses one thru thirteen);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter six (verses one thru thirty-five);
The Book of Wisdom, chapter eleven, verses two thru twenty-six;
The Book of Wisdom, chapter twelve (verses one thru twenty-seven).

Commentary: Thanksgiving to God Who Delivers the Just (Psalm 34), Prayer for Help against Unjust Enemies (Psalm 35), & Human Wickedness & Divine Providence (Psalm 36); Miscellaneous Proverbs (Proverbs, 6:1-19) & Warning against Adultery (6:20-35); & III: Special Providence of God during the Exodus: Introduction (Wisdom, 11:2-5), First Example: Water Punishes the Egyptians & Benefits the Israelites (11:6-14), Second Example: Animals Punish the Egyptians & Benefit the Israelites (11:15-16), Digression on God's Mercy (11:17-12:22), & Second Example Resumed (12:23-27).

Proverb o' the Day (6:25)
Lust not in your heart after her beauty,
let her not captivate you with her glance!
Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"If you want God to hear your prayers, hear the voice of the poor. If you wish God to anticipate your wants, provide those of the needy without waiting for them to ask you. Especially anticipate the needs of those who are ashamed to beg. To make them ask for alms is to make them buy it."
—St. Thomas of Villanova (22 September)
A Humble Contribution to the New Evangelization
The Popish Plot—Wacky Wednesday: "The Feast of St. Nicholas"

The Rebel Black Dot Christmas Song o' the Day


She & Him, "Little Saint Nick" from A Very She & Him Christmas (The Last Angry Man)

Operation ÖSTERREICH

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in
Last weigh-in: 345.2 lbs
This weigh-in: 341.4 lbs.
Difference: -3.8 lbs.

For those keeping score at home, three hundred forty-one & two-fifths is a new low for this latest series of weigh-ins, one-fifth of a pound (0.2 lbs.) lower than the previous low of three hundred forty-one & three-fifths. That's two consecutive weekly losses; in this go-'round of ÖSTERREICH, I've not yet strung together three consecutive weekly losses. (That's the ticket, Mike, psych yourself out before you even get started.) Onward!

Bonus! Lied von ÖSTERREICH
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Lasagna" from Even Worse (The Last Angry Fatso)

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Project BLACK MAMBA: Advent

'Tis the festival of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified, Priest & Abbot (439-532; also spelt Sava; A.K.A. the Great, of Mar Saba), founder of the Monastery of Mar Saba, formally the Holy Lavra of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Monastery.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Justinian, Priest & Martyr (floruit sixth century, of Ramsey Island; A.K.A. Jestin), martyred by his own diabolically-inspired servants: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Gérald of Braga, Bishop, O.S.B. (died 1109, A.K.A. of Moissac): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Niels Stenson, Bishop (1638-1686, Italicized as Nicolas Steno), the "Father of Geology," also an anatomist who first described the parotid duct (A.K.A. the Stenson duct): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Duct.

Science!

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Advent Weekday
The Book of Isaiah, chapter eleven, verses one thru ten;
Psalm Seventy-two, verses one & two, seven & eight, twelve & thirteen, & seventeen;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter ten, verses twenty-one thru twenty-four.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today in the Gospel we hear Jesus in intimate conversation with his Father. The passage invites us into very deep mysteries. Jesus addresses his Father and thereby reveals his own deepest identity within the Holy Trinity. He says, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, you have revealed them to the little ones."

It is important to keep in mind that this is not simply a good and holy man addressing God, but rather the very Son of God addressing his Father. We are being given a share in the inner life of God, the conversation between the first two Trinitarian persons.

And what are the "things" that have been concealed from the learned and revealed to the little ones? Nothing other than the mystery of Jesus’ relationship to his Father, the love that obtains between Father and Son, the inner life of God. From the beginning, this is what God wanted to give us.
Video reflection by Father Michael LaMarca: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Saint Quote o' the Day
From "Heroes' Words" in 54-Day Basic Training in Holiness by Father Richard Heilman:
"Fortitude is the disposition of soul which enables us to despise all inconveniences & the loss of things not in our power."
—St. Augustine of Hippo, Doctor of the Church (28 August)

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

They Might Be Giants, "The Edison Museum" from No! (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"The Edison Museum,
Not open to the public,
It's haunted towers rise
Into the clouds above it,
Folks drive in from out of town
To gaze in amazement when they see it…

"The Edison Museum,
Once a bustling factory
Today is but a dark and cobweb-
Covered hive of industry,
The tallest, widest, and most famous
Haunted mansion in New Jersey…

"A wondrous place it is,
There can be no doubt,
But no one ever goes in
And no one ever goes out.

"So when your children quarrel
And nothing seems to quell them,
Just tell them you'll take them
To the Edison Museum,
The largest independently-owned
And -operated mausoleum."

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the Day

They Might Be Giants, "Violin" from No! (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: I try to clean the house on a regular basis, but I don't clean the house specifically because company is coming over, believing the practice to be essentially dishonest. Not everyone agrees with that judgment.
"Mop,
Mop,
Mop, mop,
Mop, mop,
Mop, mop, mop,
Mop, mop, mop, mop,
Mop.

"Speck of dust, dust, dust,
Speck of dust, dust, dust,
Speck of dust, dust, dust,
Uuuuuuuuuh.
Speck of dust, dust, dust,
Speck of dust, dust, dust,
Speck of dust, dust, dust,
Uuuuuuuuuh…"

Project BLACK MAMBA: Advent

'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint John Damascene, Priest & Doctor of the Church (circa 676-749, A.K.A. John Chrysorrhoas), who fought against the heresy of Byzantine iconoclasm: Doctor-link ūnus, Doctor-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Iconoclasm.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Author of three Apostolic Treatises against Those Decrying the Holy Images. These treatises were among his earliest expositions in response to the edict by the Byzantine emperor Leo III, banning the veneration or exhibition of holy images.
"Damascene" is not St. John's surname but a toponym, meaning "of Damascus." (In the Canadas, this optional memorial is of St. John Damascus, not "Damascene" nor even "of Damascus," but simply "Damascus.") "Chrysorrhoas" is likewise not a surname, but an epithet, meaning "golden-stream," referring to his eloquent words, which flowed from his pen like a golden stream.

St. John was born in Damascus after the Muslim conquest of that ancient Christian city. Islam forbids all religious icons of any sort; ironically, it was this Muslim reign that shielded St. John from the iconoclastic heresies rampant in the Christian Byzantine Empire, & afforded him the protection necessary to write his treatises defending the proper veneration of images in the true religion.


'Tis also the festival of Saint Barbara, Virgin & Martyr (died circa 235), martyred in the reign of the emperor Maximinus Thrax, one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link XIV.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Adolph Kolping, Priest (1813-1865), the "Father of All Apprentices" & "Apostle of the Working Man," founder of the International Kolping Society: Blessed-link ūnus, Blessed-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Kolping-link.

Commentary: I've amended the First Sunday of Advent's (yesterday's) BLACK MAMBA post to include those saints who would normally be honored on 3 December: Wayback Machine.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Advent Weekday
The Book of Isaiah, chapter two, verses one thru five;
Psalm One Hundred Twenty-two, verses one & two, three & four(b), four(c/d) & five, six & seven, & eight & nine;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eight, verses five thru eleven.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel passage acclaims a centurion’s trust in the Lord Jesus. To trust is to have hope, to turn one’s heart to God. It means to root one’s life, to ground and center one’s concerns in God. And, oppositely, to trust and to turn one’s heart to human beings means to root the whole of one’s life, to ground and center one’s concerns, in the things of this world, in wealth, fame, power, honor, or pleasure.

What is the center of gravity of your life? What is your "ultimate concern’"? The Bible consistently lays this out as an either/or. Think of the passage in the book of Joshua, when Joshua lays it on the line for the people of Israel: "Do you serve the Lord or some other gods?"

Jesus tells his followers, "Either you are with me or you are against me." Today’s Gospel reminds us that we each have to answer this question with great honesty and clarity.
Video reflection by Monsignor James Vlaun (Telecare T.V.): U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. John Damascene
The Second Letter to Timothy, chapter one, verses thirteen & four & chapter two, verses one, two, & three;
Psalm Nineteen, verse ten;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses fourteen thru thirty
(or, the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses fourteen thru twenty-three).

Saint Quote o' the Day
"The Good News is that God still loves the world through you. You are God's Good News. You are God's love in action. Each time anyone comes in contact with us, they must become different and better people because of having met us. We must radiate God's love."
—St. Teresa of Calcutta (5 September)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Explorers' Club, № DLXXXV

Operation AXIOM: The World War—The Battle of Cambrai, Part II
21 November-7 December 1917: After the British successes on the first day, the Germans launched a counterattack, their largest offensive in the West since 1914, exploiting the mechanical unreliability of the Mark IV tank & proving the effectiveness of the infiltration (or "stormtrooper") tactics developed in the East; the British held some of their gains in the north, but cumulatively lost ground in the south.






Lest we forget.

Project BLACK MAMBA: First Sunday of Advent

'Tis the First Sunday of Advent: Advent-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
This is the first day of the liturgical year & the start of the season of Advent.
Scripture of the Week
Mass Readings—First Sunday of Advent
The Book of Isaiah, chapter sixty-three, verses sixteen(b), seventeen, & nineteen(b), & chapter sixty-four, verses two thru seven;
Psalm Eighty, verses two & three, fifteen & sixteen, & eighteen & nineteen;
The First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter one, verses three thru nine;
The Gospel according to Mark, chapter thirteen, verses thirty-three thru thirty-seven.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel urges us to stay alert as we await the coming of the Lord. Advent is the season of waiting. We place ourselves in the position of those who, over the centuries, waited for the coming of the Messiah. With them, we cry out, "How long, O Lord?"

Though Jesus fulfilled the expectations of his people, nevertheless we still wait. The liturgy states it very clearly: "as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ." In one of the Eucharistic prayers, we find, "as we await his coming in glory…" The Creed says, "He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead." And the very last words of the New Testament are "
Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus."

What do we make of all of this? Do we really think that he is going to come again and walk on the earth? We stay awake in our waiting if we pray on a regular basis; if we educate ourselves in the faith; if we participate in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist; if we perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; if we become people of love.
Video reflection by Father Greg Friedman, O.F.M.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Video reflection by Jeff Cavins: Encountering the Word.

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

Video reflection by Joe ("The Catholic Apologist"): New Catholic Generation.


Mass Journal: Week 49
Reflection by Matthew Kelly, founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
There is genius in Catholicism. The human heart yearns for happiness, & God wants us to be happy. But we only experience this happiness, & the fulfillment that accompanies it, when we are changing, growing, becoming more like Jesus Christ & through him becoming the-best-version-of-ourselves. Catholicism is the dynamic lifestyle & learning system divinely designed to assist us in this transformation. I love the Church. To me, Catholicism is a gift that can never be fully appreciated, described, or understood. But in order to even begin to appreciate Catholicism in all its beauty we must experience it. My travels have affirmed that people love the Church. The press may attack the Church, fallen-away Catholics may ridicule it, & even practicing Catholics may criticize it, but I firmly believe these are curious expressions of love. At the very least, they are expressions of a desire for the Church to be the beacon of light it should be in the world. Sometimes love goes sour, as it has for many modern Catholics in their relationship with the Church. When love goes sour, it is usually for one of four reasons: misunderstanding, indifference, selfishness, or the pride that makes a person unwilling to apologize or forgive. Sometimes it is a combination, & usually both parties are at fault to some extent.

Otherwise, 3 December would be the festival of Saint Abbo of Auxerre, Bishop & Abbot, O.S.B. (died circa 860): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Emma of Lesum (circa 975-1038; also spelt Hemma, Imma; A.K.A. of Bremen, of Stiepel): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Mother of Bl. Meinwerk, bishop of Paderborn (5 June).

'Twould also be the festival of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest, S.J. (1506-1552), the "Apostle to the Far East," a charter member of the Jesuits, formally the Society of Jesus: Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link S.J..

'Twould also be the festival of Blessed Edward Colman, Martyr (1636-1678, oft misspelt Coleman), martyred in the reign of the king Charles II, a victim of the perjurer Titus Oates's Popish Plot hoax: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Popish Plot.

'Twould also be the festival of Blessed Johann Nepomuk von Tschiderer zu Gleifheim, Bishop (1777-1860): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

Saint Quote o' the Day
From Faith Magazine:
"When you seek truth, you seek God whether you know it or not."
—St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (9 August)
A Humble Contribution to the New Evangelization
The Popish Plot—Bonus Episode: "Happy New Year!"

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' the 1st Sunday of Advent


Daniel Schmit & co., "Even So Come" from Advent: A Season of Hope (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary:
"…Even so come, Lord Jesus, come!

"So we wait, we wait for You,
God, we wait, You're coming soon,
So we wait, we wait for You,
God, we wait, You're coming soon…"

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Queue

Twice I've borrowed A Legacy of Spies from the library & twice it has sat unread on my nightstand. Mayhap the third time will be the charm, some time in the Year of Our Lord 2018, when Ordinary Time commences after the Epiphany closes the Christmastide.

I've actually been reading Rome Sweet Home for a week now. Last week, I picked up a copy during my weekly stint in the Perpetual Adoration Chapel & was immediately gripped by the Hahns' engaging writing styles & complementary perspectives; so, once I returned home I bumped my own copy up to the top of the queue. Unlike A Legacy of Spies, Rome Sweet Home has not sat unread on my nightstand.

Beautiful Hope is at the core of this year's "Best Advent Ever" e-mail devotional from the Dynamic Catholic Institute. I believe Perfectly Yourself is this book to be given away at Christmas as part of this year's Book Program, thereafter to be at the core of next year's "Best Lent Ever" e-mail devotional; so, I may well promote it ahead of the oft-delayed Vanished Kingdoms after the holidays.

Also, I've removed Thomas à Kempis's The Imitation of Christ from the queue because I aim to start reading it a chapter a day, as a devotional rather than as a book, if that distinction makes sense.

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

Currently
Scott & Kimberly Hahn, Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism
Matthew Kelly & Co., Beautiful Hope: Finding Hope Every Day in a Broken World

Presently
Norman Davies, Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations ***paused***
Matthew Kelly, Perfectly Yourself: Discovering God's Dream for You
Sherry A. Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus
William E. Simon Jr., Great Catholic Parishes: How Four Essential Practices Make Them Thrive
Bishop Robert Barron, Seeds of the Word: Finding God in the Culture
Mike Aquilina, Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers
Xavier Rynne, Vatican Council II
John W. O'Malley, What Happened at Vatican II
Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love)
Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis (The Sacrament of Charity)
Richard Price, Clockers
Sir Richard Francis Burton, translator, "Sinbad the Sailor" from The Arabian Nights
Sir Ernest Shackleton, South: A Memoir of the Endurance Voyage
William F. Buckley Jr., The Unmaking of a Mayor
Margaret MacMillan, Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World
John le Carré, A Legacy of Spies

Project BLACK MAMBA

'Tis the festival of Saint Bibiana, Virgin & Martyr (died circa 361), martyred in the reign of the emperor Julian the Apostate; over her grave was built the Church of Santa Bibiana: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Church.

'Tis also the festival of Saint Silverius, Pope (circa 480-537), fifty-eighth Bishop of Rome: Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Supreme Pontiff.

Commentary: Wayback Machine. Son of Pope St. Hormisdas (6 August).

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Jan of Ruusbroec, Priest (circa 1293-1381; Anglicized as John; town also spelt Ruysbroeck, Ruisbroek): Blessed-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Rafał Chyliński, Priest, O.F.M. Conv. (1694-1741, A.K.A. Melchor Chyliński): Blessed-link ūnus, Blessed-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Daniel, chapter seven, verses fifteen thru twenty-seven;
The Book of Daniel, chapter three, verses eighty-two, eighty-three, eighty-four, eighty-five, eighty-six, & eighty-seven;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-one, verses thirty-four, thirty-five, & thirty-six.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus urges us to watch and pray as we await his coming again. In one sense, Christianity is a religion of fulfillment (the Lord has come), but in another sense, it is a religion of waiting, for we expect the second coming of Jesus in the fullness of his power.

We wait and watch and keep vigil. And this is difficult. But what we all know is that great things take time. For example, when a woman becomes pregnant, she has to wait nine long months before the baby is ready.

"How long does this analysis take?" a woman once asked Carl Jung. "Just as long as it takes," came the answer. Gestation, growth, healing—during any of these processes, the very worst thing one can do is to pick at it, to force it, to make it operate according to our private timetables.

That’s why Jesus calls us to "be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength…to stand before the Son of Man."
Video reflection by Linda Ritzer: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.




Bible Study—Wisdom Books
The Book of Psalms, psalm thirty-two (verses one thru eleven);
The Book of Psalms, psalm thirty-three (verses one thru twenty-two);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter two (verses one thru twenty-two);
The Book of Proverbs, chapter thirty-one (verses one thru thirty-one);
The Book of Wisdom, chapter nine (verses one thru eighteen);
The Book of Wisdom, chapter ten (verses one thru twenty-one);
The Book of Wisdom, chapter eleven, verse one.

Commentary: Remission of Sin (Psalm 32) & Praise of God's Power & Providence (Psalm 33); I: Introduction: The Value of Wisdom (cont'd): The Blessings of Wisdom (Proverbs, 2:1-22), VIII: The Words of Lemuel (31:1-9), & IX: The Ideal Wife (31:10-31); & II: Praise of Wisdom by Solomon (cont'd): Solomon's Prayer (Wisdom, 9:1-18) & Wisdom Preserves Her Followers (10:1-11:1).

Bible Study—Prophetic Books
The Book of Hosea, chapter twelve (verses one thru fifteen);
The Book of Hosea, chapter thirteen (verses one thru fifteen);
The Book of Hosea, chapter fourteen (verses one thru ten).

Commentary: Infidelity of Israel (Hosea, 12:1-13:1), Punishment for Ingratitude (13:2-14:1), & Sincere Conversion (14:2-10).

Proverb o' the Day (2:21-22)
For the upright will dwell in the land,
the honest will remain in it;
But the wicked will be cut off from the land,
the faithless will be rooted out of it.
Saint Quote o' the Day
"Holy Communion is the shortest & safest way to Heaven."
—Pope St. Pius X (21 August)

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


The University of Michigan Marching Band, "The Yellow and Blue" from A Saturday Tradition (The Last Angry Wolverine)

Commentary: For the seventh consecutive year, the valiant Wolverines are not playing in the B1G football championship game. The valiant Wolverines have in fact never played in the B1G championship game. I believe in Coach Harbaugh. I believe he will restore Michigan football to what it is supposed to be. I believe it took us a long time to get into this mess & that it will take us a number of years to get out of this mess. All that said, having watched the valiant Wolverines snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against the hated Buckeyes for the second consecutive year, it's growing awfully hard to be as patient as is necessary.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Rebel Black Dot Song o' Being a Better Man


Hans Zimmer, "As Good As It Gets" from As Good As It Gets: Music from the Motion Picture (The Last Angry Man)

Commentary: This week's series of R.B.D.S.O.T.D. was inspired by a line from James L. Brooks's underappreciated & heartfelt 1997 romantic comedy feature film, As Good As It Gets. The misanthropic & obsessive-compulsive novelist Melvin Udell (played by Jack Nicholson) says to his beloved, the single mother & waitress Carol Connelly (played by Helen Hunt):
"You make me want to be a better man."
Ask yourself what in your life makes you want to be a better man (in the gender-neutral sense of the word). Whatever that is, strive every day to be the better man you want to be. Work to overcome or go around whatever stands between you & being that better man. Be not afraid, be not discouraged. Be a better man.

Project BLACK MAMBA: Friday Late Edition

'Tis the festival of Blessed John Beche, Abbot & Martyr, O.S.B. (died 1539, A.K.A. Thomas Marshall), martyred in the reign of the king Henry VIII, during the Dissolution of the Monasteries; last abbot of St. John's Abbey: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Dissolution & Wikipedia-link Abbey.

Commentary: Wayback Machine.

'Tis also the festival of Saints Alexander Briant, S.J.; Edmund Campion, S.J.; & Ralph Sherwin; Priests & Martyrs (died 1581), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I, three of the Forty Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link Alpha Bravo & Wikipedia-link Alpha Bravo, Martyr-link Echo Charlie & Wikipedia-link Echo Charlie, Martyr-link Romeo Sierra & Wikipedia-link Romeo Sierra, & Martyrs-link XL & Wikipedia-link XL.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Richard Langley, Martyr (died 1586), martyred in the reign of the queen Elizabeth I: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link.

'Tis also the festival of Blessed Charles de Foucald, Priest & Martyr, O.S.C.O. (1858-1916, A.K.A. Marie-Alberic), martyred by Senussi Muslims: Martyr-link ūnus, Martyr-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.

Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Feria
The Book of Daniel, chapter seven, verses two thru fourteen;
The Book of Daniel, chapter three, verses seventy-five, seventy-six, seventy-seven, seventy-eight, seventy-nine, eighty, & eighty-one;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter twenty-one, verses twenty-nine thru thirty-three.

Commentary: Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel passage Jesus speaks of the time when the plan of God will be fulfilled. Some philosophies defend a circular or cyclical understanding of time. They hold that time just continually circles back on itself, repeating like the cycles of the seasons. The modern philosopher Nietzsche spoke of the "eternal return of the same." That’s a mythic consciousness, and it can be found all over the world.

But the Jews had a very different sense of time, what we might call "linear." They felt that time was moving somewhere, that it had, under God’s direction, a purpose. The past was not simply there to be repeated endlessly; rather, the past was a preparation for a definitive future. It was an anticipation of what God would do, what God was going to accomplish.
Video reflection by Anastacio Hinojosa: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Mass Readings—Requiem for Whiskey Romeo
The Book of Ecclesiastes, chapter three, verses one thru fourteen;
Psalm Twenty-three;
The First Letter to the Thessalonians, chapter four, verses thirteen thru eighteen;
The Gospel according to John, chapter fourteen, verses one thru six.



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

Commentary: Prayer in Distress & Thanksgiving for Escape (Psalm 31); I: Introduction: The Value of Wisdom: Purpose of the Proverbs of Solomon (Proverbs, 1:1-7), the Path of the Wicked: Greed & Violence (1:8-19), & Wisdom in Person Gives Warning (1:20-33); & II: Praise of Wisdom by Solomon (cont'd): Solomon Sought Wisdom, the Source of Blessings (Wisdom, 8:2-8), Solomon Sought Wisdom as His Counselor & Comfort (8:9-16), & Solomon Realizes That Wisdom Is a Gift of God (8:17-22).

Proverb o' the Day (1:7)
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
wisdom & instruction fools despise.
Saint Quote o' the Day
"I was born poor, I have lived poor, & I wish to die poor."
—Pope St. Pius X (21 August)