Saturday, February 28, 2009

St Oswald

To-day is a feria, and - since the full Lenten Office begins with Vespers, the days from Ash Wednesday till now still using the usual ferial parts - is one of the only days when the Matins and Lauds hymns Summæ Parens clementiæ and Aurora jam spargit polum for ferial Saturdays are used (for otherwise Our Lady's Office takes precedence), the other occasions being Ember Saturdays.

However, a perusal of the Martyrology informed me that to-day is also the commemoration of St Oswald, Bishop and Confessor; and by coincidence, the local Anglican church is named after him (when there was for a while a Catholic church in the area, it was dedicated to Our Lady's Assumption), so I thought I'd note his yearly memory.  

While the Martyrology terms his first see Vigornia in Anglia, in English it's called Worcester (pronounced "wuster"); he was first a canon, then a monk, established many monasteries obeying the Benedictine Rule, and ended up Archbishop of York: he died, full of faith and good works, while a-washing the feet of the poor on the 29th of February, 992.

May he pray for us!

Friday, February 27, 2009


I was running late for Mass yesterday afternoon - but when I came into the side chapel at the Church of the Apostles, the candles were lit, but Father hadn't yet arrived, so I said some prayers (the end of Prime, as I recall), and waited - and waited...

In the end, no priest shewed up!  (Some parishioners went next door and knocked on the deanery door, but to no avail.)  The regulars conferred among themselves; one old fellow (the congregation of nine, including myself, was rather aged, excluding myself) read the readings, announcing the Gospel rather pathetically as "Since we have no priest to read it, the Gospel is..."; and one old lady, who's an extraordinary minister of holy communion, was prevailed upon by the others to bring forth the ciborium from the tabernacle, all kneeling - then we stood, said an "Our Father", then received the Host.  No other prayer being said, this ad hoc arrangement ended in silence as one by one the confused faithful departed.  (I had felt it would have been rude to the other people there to have got up and left when the absence of Mass was announced, so I stayed for all this.  Afterward, I stayed behind, and prayed the rest of the day Hours.)

I cannot say how depressing and desolating this liturgy of abandonment was.

(Years back, ahem, I was deputed in Melbourne to conduct a liturgy of the word with holy communion at Monash University one Thursday a week, so I am aware of the modern ritual provisions that layfolk ought follow in such a case, which I attempted to fulfil to the letter - but to be honest even then I wasn't quite happy about doing so, and now, no longer having any such authorization, and only going to the Novus Ordo for lack of a Latin Mass, I would and could hardly have attempted to improve yesterday's anomalous situation!)

Apparently the usual 8.15 am Mass this Friday at St Patrick's chapel has also been mysteriously cancelled (at least some warning has been given): I wonder if someone is sick?  (To be uncharitable, this would not have been the first time the priest has simply forgotten to turn up - I recall finding that out for certain in a case of Mass for some old religious sisters in Launceston some years back, who told me that it had happened to them several times.  So much for the priest's fidelity to daily Mass...)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

St Augustine for Ash Wednesday

Here is an extract from the first of to-day's Lessons at Matins, from St Augustine's work on the Lord's Sermon on the Mount:
Maniféstum est... omnem nostram intentiónem in interióra gáudia dírigi: ne foris quæréntes mercédem, huic sæculo conformémur, et amittámus promissiónem tanto solidióris atque firmióris, quanto interióris beatitúdinis, qua nos elégit Deus confórmes fíeri imáginis Fílii sui. is evident that our every action should be directed towards the attainment of an interior life, which alone giveth true happiness. For if contrariwise we seek our reward in outward things, we shall be conformed to the fashion of this world [Romans xii, 2], and thus forfeit God's promise of happiness, to wit, that we shall be conformed to the image of his Son [Romans viii, 29]. Such happiness, inasmuch as it concerneth inward things, is all the more certain and enduring.

Ashes or the Cup?

Driving off to work after attending the early Mass at Carmel, I saw a giant pint of beer floating in the sky - no, I hadn't had an attack of the D.T.'s; to-day is Launceston's "premier social event" (as The Examiner put it this morning), the Launceston Cup, and presumably said cunning balloon was an advertisement (how inappropriate given our local newspaper also reporting on various places of refreshment deciding to close early rather than deal with rude inebriates "partying on" after the races).  

Furthermore, this afternoon, having left work, I was breathalysed on the way home by a posse of police (and of course was let pass on my lawful way); later, once I'd bought a coffee and read a few other newspapers (I like to read the Herald-Sun and The Australian, plus occasionally The Mercury - Hobart's daily), upon leaving the café to go back to my car I saw a policewoman dealing with two young ladies, all tizzed up for the Cup, who were sitting on the asphalt looking rather the worse for wear (I trust they'll be alright).  How glad I am my place of work did not close for the half-day holiday!

What a contrast between the worthily revered solemnities of fasting begun this day with appropriate piety, that the great race be run with secure devotion by the faithful who beg God's aid (cf. Collect of Ash Wednesday), and the gaudy, even tawdry glitter of a provincial racemeeting with its associated excessive imbibing, constituting one trusts at best some innocent pastime - what a contrast between the sacred and the secular.  There were about 40-odd laity at Carmel for the 7.30am sung Mass (the carpark was overflowing); who knows what crowds were at the racetrack this afternoon?

"A vain hope for safety is the horse; despite its power, it cannot save."  (Ps 32:17)  "Some trust in chariots or horses, but we in the Name of the Lord."  (Ps 19:8) - How wise is David!  And how wise, Solomon:

Vanitas vanitatum, et omnia vanitas.
(Ecclesiastes i, 2 & xii, 8)

Perhaps it would be wise for this phrase to be in our minds as we receive the blessed penitential ashes at the liturgy this solemn day: "Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity".

I recall that Jeremy Taylor, or some such Anglican Divine, recommended the reading of Ecclesiastes (or St Gregory the Wonderworker's metaphrase thereof) for Lent, as a healthful antidote to the drugging effect of the vain pomps of our passing world: we ought wake up to what's really real, and what is but mist and shadow.

The last verses of Ecclesiastes (xii, 13-14):

Let us all hear together the conclusion of the discourse.  Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is all [i.e., the whole business and duty of] man: and all things that are done, God will bring into judgement for every error, whether it be good or evil.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shrove Tuesday and St Matthias

I've relocated what I wrote regarding St Matthias and his Collect last year... have a look.

Also, to-day being Shrove Tuesday, I've cooked and eaten the de rigueur pancakes for dessert, and look forward to getting ashed to-morrow, with fish and chips for dinner, and but a snack for lunch.

One more penance for Lent: no more chocolate till Easter Sunday!

(I'm not superhuman, though - I can't give up coffee.)

Fr Ckuj R.I.P.

I was saddened to learn, via a correspondent, of the unexpected death of Fr Adrian Ckuj (pronounced "skwee"), aged only 40, in Rome, still only at the beginning of what he promised to achieve for Christ and His flock as a brilliant and holy priest: but God in His inscrutable providence has taken him, we pray, to Himself.  My condolences go especially to his brother, Fr Simon Ckuj (also known to me from my time in Melbourne), and his family.  

May his memory be eternal!

No Lasting City

Tolkien said that, as a Catholic, he did not regard history as anything other than the story of a long defeat; C.S. Lewis in the last of his Narnian novels depicted the same.  There shall be no lasting triumph of the Church, the lowly Bride of Christ, over her enemies, but rather the opposite, she being defamed and abused and abased, excoriated as the Whore of Babylon, to the confusion of the faithful, before at last the Lord's Return in glory to set all to right for ever - as even the Catechism of the Catholic Church confesses:
The Church's ultimate trial

675 Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. [Cf. Lk 18:8; Mt 24:12.] The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth [cf. Lk 21:12; Jn 15:19-20] will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh. [Cf. 2 Th 2:4-12; I Th 5:2-3; 2 Jn 7; I Jn 2:1 8, 22.]

676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, [cf. DS 3839] especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism. [Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris, condemning the "false mysticism" of this "counterfeit of the redemption of the lowly"; cf. GS 20-21.]

677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. [Cf. Rev 19:1-9.] The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God's victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. [Cf Rev 13:8; 20:7-10; 21:2-4.] God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world. [Cf. Rev 20:12 2 Pt 3:12-13.]
Yes, even now as in the days of St John the Evangelist, many Antichrists have already appeared, luring the faithful away, repossessing the weak and making them worse than they were at first, as dogs return to their vomit, and sows do wallow in the mud.  Yes, to-day as ever since Christ's Resurrection, men are lured away by a secular messianism, once manifest as Jewish revolts against pagan Rome, now as anti-Roman deviations from Catholicism: in both cases, as in all heresies, man glorifies himself, makes himself his god, as Satan fell like lightning from heaven.

As a commenter rightly advised, we must repent of our sins, beg the Lord for aid - as by praying Psalm 67 - and invoke the intercession of the Holy Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, she who has crushed every heresy, every strike of the ancient serpent.  She is the peerless, faultless archetype of the Church, and to her we look for succour from out this calamitous sea: God made her His masterwork of creation, and as He sent His Eternal Word to take our nature upon Him in her, that He might die to save us all, so He is pleased to attend to her supplications for us sinners, that He would spare us and, hearkening unto the Blood of His Son, grant us His peace, even though, like her, we be called to stand beneath the Cross in wordless sorrow, yet confident all the while in the Resurrection.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Salvation Anxiety

At root, by a complete confusion of the supernatural and natural orders (including a denial of original sin), and a consequent Universalism, men and women alike fondly imagine nowadays that salvation is a given for all irregardless of their faith and works (though any notion of an afterlife turns out to be distinctly hazy, giving out in a breezy denial of knowledge and a nod toward reincarnation).  

With this goes a strange Pelagianism: some believe their purely natural good works - even without real faith in God, let alone repentance for what they refuse to recognize as sin, stemming from a perverse sense of autonomy so strong as arrogantly to reject any teaching daring to dissuade them from their darling passions - are so deserving of praise as to absolve them from believing anything, from obeying anything, that is of God (but which they persist in asserting, ignorantly, to be but the benighted impositions of a false church): and which supposedly testify rather to their uncritiquable probity and righteousness, and to their superior "enlightened" status!  

Gnosticism, blindness, egotism, Satanic pride, sin!  With this goes antinomianism, and a Nietzchean "evil be thou my good" - making every peccadillo (especially sexual, such their overflowing carnality) not merely tolerable but to flaunted and lauded: "their glory is their shame".  And yet, all the while as they bag the Church, they are entirely captive to the sacred cows and mad nostrums of our age, worrying about "land rights for gay whales", as the mocking phrase has it.  Oh deceiving and deceived!

Now, such is inexcusable enough, says St Paul in Romans i, for the pagans - but one finds altogether too much of such an unchristian insanity among the baptized: witness the ongoing rebellion in South Brisbane.  There but for the grace of God - as the Apostle went on to remind his readers - go we all: who can account himself free of sin, free of blindness?  Hie we ourselves to the foot of the Cross as the penitent Magdalen, that Christ of His gratuitous goodness wash us in the sacred laver of His Blood, that we may see, and being healed may begin at last to live lives worthy of our most high calling.  

We ought have a true "salvation anxiety", for in hope we are saved, and yet must work out our salvation in fear and trembling; and we must adhere to all the guides and helps Our Saviour gives us, that is, to prayer, preaching and the sacraments, available to all in His Holy Catholic Church - flying all false doctrine and lying pseudocomforters, who would have us lounge in torpid sloth rather than seek after true sanctity.

The World is Very Evil

No, I'm not quoting a Slav in his cups, but Bernard of Morlaix, monk of Cluny, in that inestimable translation of portions of his De Contemptu Mundi made by J.M. Neale - which can be read on Google Books here.

"The world is very evil,
The times are waxing late...

"Arise, arise, good Christian,
Let right to wrong succeed; 
Let penitential sorrow
To heavenly gladness lead...

"Brief life is here our portion;
Brief sorrow, short-liv'd care; 
The life that knows no ending,
The tearless life, is there...

"And now we watch and struggle,
And now we live in hope,
And Syon, in her anguish,
With Babylon must cope...

"O sweet and blessed Country, 
Shall I ever see thy face? 
O sweet and blessed Country, 
Shall I ever win thy grace?...

"Exult, O dust and ashes!
The Lord shall be thy part: 
His only, His for ever,
Thou shalt be, and thou art!"

(This reference came to mind while dwelling on the thoughts of my last post.)

This Miserable and Naughty World

To-day we celebrate him who named himself Peter the Sinner, Petrus Peccator.  Having gone to confession (myself certainly a sinner, all too allured by the deceits of sin), I appreciate more than before his Collect, and a curious parallel in the BCP, which see further below:
Concede nos, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: beati Petri Confessoris tui atque Pontificis monita et exempla sectari; ut per terrestrium rerum contemptum æterna gaudia consequamur. Per...

(Grant us, we beg, almighty God, to follow the admonitions and example of blessed Peter Thy Confessor and Pontiff, that by contempt of earthly things we may obtain eternal joys.  Through...)
Do recall, the Imitation notes that some persons are so wretched that they would, if they could, live ever on earth - even as vile beggars - and never long for heaven; and that the punishment of hell is everlasting precisely because unrepentant sinners would rather sin forever than give up sin and turn to the Lord or desire to come nigh unto Him, even though willy nilly they will at death face Him: and, God avert, if unrepentant themselves turn away into eternal perdition.  Anyone who has struggled with sin - that is, the entire human race - knows the enslaving effect and attraction of evil, of choosing an apparent or disordered good over or in contradiction to the Supreme Good, God.  Hence, we must mortify ourselves, subdue our unruly passions which would else drag us to destruction, and indeed have contempt for transient and terrene things, all which shall pass, and which in the last analysis are unworthy of and unable fully or eternally to satisfy us, who have immortal souls, whose very bodies shall one day rise to life forever - or ever to abide in eternal death.  No, we must not hate our bodies (as the world claims Christian fools do), but rather so treasure them that we preserve them from being one day consumed forever in hell, that they will instead be perfected and deified in Christ with Him in the heaven where the Trinity reigns world without end.

Hence my reference above to the second-last prayer in the 1662 B.C.P.'s Visitation of the Sick, which, interestingly enough - and I believe it's by Jeremy Taylor - would make an excellent prayer for the dead, even alluding to purgatorial purifications, if offered after the final falling asleep of a Christian:
A commendatory Prayer for a sick person at the point of departure.
ALMIGHTY God, with whom do live the spirits of just men made perfect, after they are delivered from their earthly prisons*: We humbly commend the soul of this thy servant, our dear brother, into thy hands, as into the hands of a faithful Creator, and most merciful Saviour; most humbly beseeching thee, that it may be precious in thy sight. Wash it, we pray thee, in the blood of that immaculate Lamb, that was slain to take away the sins of the world; that whatsoever defilements it may have contracted in the midst of this miserable and naughty world, through the lusts of the flesh, or the wiles of Satan, being purged and done away, it may be presented pure and without spot before thee. And teach us who survive, in this and other like daily spectacles of mortality, to see how frail and uncertain our own condition is; and so to number our days, that we may seriously apply our hearts to that holy and heavenly wisdom, whilst we live here, which may in the end bring us to life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ thine only Son our Lord. Amen.
[* Cf. the same phrase, carnis ergastulo, in one of the O.P. hymns for the feast of St Dominic their Patriarch - it's not a denial nor devaluation of the flesh, but shews how in this fallen world it must be accorded only a relative and not an absolute worth, in line with Our Lord's own words that it is better to save the soul even if the body perish.]

Yes, Lord, "teach us... how frail and uncertain our own condition is; and so to number our days, that we may seriously apply our hearts to that holy and heavenly wisdom, whilst we live... which may in the end bring us to life everlasting".  For this, we need a right and well-ordered contempt of worldly things - lest they fascinate, entrap us, and draw us away from the high road to heaven, through, with and in Him Who is our only Way, Truth and Life.

Papal Monarchy

Warning: I'm riled up and this won't be one of my usual pious reflections.

There was a rather obviously propagandistic article in The Australian to-day, describing His Holiness Pope Benedict as cut off from the world, making unpopular decisions, and acting as if he were a monarch... to which last I say, well, he is!  (Indeed, in the Vatican City he is indeed a monarch, just as he was King of the Papal States until they were stolen from him in 1870.)  Viva il Papa Re!

Strange to say - how offensive and risible in the eyes of the scoffing world - the Catholic Church is not (thank Christ) a democracy: if it were, it would be like the Anglicans who, in the latest chapter of the history of Protestant variations (as Bossuet put it long ago), now decide questions of faith and morality by majority vote.  No; under Christ, as the Church confesses (to those who do not so confess, anathema sit, as Vatican I declared), the Successor of St Peter is Supreme Pontiff, judging all, and to be judged by none: for he (all unworthy) is the Lord's Vicar until He come again.  In other words - how offensive to "progressive" types - the Pope is in fact still what he has always been: a monarch, the single leader (monon archon) of the Church.

This to many modern Catholics would seem a monstrously outdated thing to say, but in point of fact a cursory look at what a monarchy is shews it to be true.  Now, the Pope is obviously not an absolute ruler like Louis XIV or some modern dictator (whatever the fantasies of supposed liberals, who in my experience tyrannize over anyone they can while loudly proclaiming their victimhood, like some latterday Uriah Heep), but he is like an early mediæval "unconstitutional" monarch, such as a French King or Holy Roman Emperor, certainly the Sovereign but by no means in control of his "loyal" feudatories, having only very limited and partial governance of his state in any modern sense: any modern Government levies far more taxes, makes far more and far more rigidly applied laws, and has far more control over each one of its citizens than any mediæval ruler did or had.  The Pope is monarch of the Church in this sense.

Should not the Pope act in all meekness and charity, in consort with the College of Bishops, as the Servant of the Servants of God?  Of course - but is he to sit in the Vatican inactive, passive, smilingly presiding over the complete and abject falling away of the Church from adhesion to Christ?  No, of course not!  He must act, reading the signs of the times: which means, not giving into the Zeitgeist (which is not the Holy Ghost, but a far different unholy spirit), and to the contrary most unpopularly acting in opposition to it.  And his consequent unpopularity, inside as well as outside the Church, is the mark of his true teaching in loyalty to Christ: his unpopularity, inside as well as outside the Church, is the mark of his detractors' love of falsehood in disloyalty to the Lord (for they may imagine themselves better Christians, while being lovers of expediency and moral turpitude, but I fear He shall say to them as to all who refuse to follow the Narrow Way, "Amen, I say unto you, I never knew you").  Faith is a free choice, an act of the will consequent upon knowledge: the Pope is to strengthen his brethren by giving reasoned grounds for our constant belief against all foes: if so many fall away, this does not disprove the Deposit of Faith one whit, but rather demonstrates how misbelief is attractive to fallen minds and wills.

A sign of Catholic Faith is one's clear-eyed discernment of the big issues, and these days one is that to be a believer one must follow the leadership given by the Supreme Pastor of the faithful, even against what direction the madding crowd of baptized Catholics suggests, even against (I say in sorrow) what winking infidelity so many priests and prelates purvey.  Now, what proportion of the Church is loyal to its earthly leader - not to him personally (though he appears affable enough), but to him in his office?  It appalls me that the generality, dare I say, of bishops and priests are dumb dogs, if not intractable curs: they don't support and explain the directions given by the Pope, but all too often treat him as strange and alien - so much for the schismatic mindset.  All too many are loyal only to their own curious image of Vatican II (in other words, they are a strange sort of Conciliarists, which used to be called a heresy), rather than loyal to the Pope in his true role as enunciated by both Vatican Councils.   Ever since 1968 and before, too many have no love of the Vatican, but plenty of pretended loyalty to their convenient false interpretation of the Council - which permits them to believe and do whatsoever their passions demand.

How amusing that the greatest criticism of the Pope is for his lifting the excommunication of the four SSPX bishops - not so much, as has been gifted to all critics of this act, for the ostensible objection that one of them has gratuitously offensive views, but for the real underlying reason that Vatican II, or rather its "spirit" (call it forth, and ask its name!), is thereby being stript away from its supposed central place.  Myself, I believe in all 21 Ecumenical Councils; but confess that some, such as Lateran V and Vatican II, have been rather less successful than others - these I cite were not successful, respectively, in averting the Reformation and the secularist fallaway from the Church dating from the 1960's: "by their fruits ye shall know them".  Why do so many then express their ardent commitment to the Council over the Pope (that nasty old German)?  Not because it has been overall successful, but because their own spin on it has been markedly successful for them and their cohorts.

No, of what dreadful blunders is Benedict XVI accused?  Of not listening to the Fourth Estate: in amazed horror, The Australian reports that he's not even brought a daily press summary - to which I say, I'm glad.  Instead, he spends much of his day cloistered, reading and writing theology: they implicitly deprecate this, but for God's sake, literally, isn't that precisely what a Pope should do?  He's a churchman, and I should say a Church Father, not a modern politico surfing the opinion polls, bending in the wind, and spinning all stories to inflate his ego and our adulation of him.  Would that the clergy fulfil their teaching ministry by correctly informing the faithful and the unfaithful - preaching to the converted and the unconverted, rebuking, entreating, exhorting, in season and out of season, so disseminating the Word that saves by being ingrafted into the soul.  Yes, an eye to the press is useful - but to a preacher, above all to see what ought be said to propagate the Faith: and I think that the fault lies not with Pope Benedict but with his fellow bishops and their clergy, who seem to devote their energies not to seconding him in ways appropriate in their several stations, but to detracting from him and giving succour to enemies.

The same article I'm fisking rehashes the Regensburg Address, which any fool can see proved exactly the Pope's point - which of course at all costs much be denied, in this age when Islam and Judaism must be uncriticised, while Christianity ruthlessly mocked and attacked (these contradictions all undertaken in the name of free speech!) - that Islam is fundamentally nominalistic and unreasonable, all morality being a fiat of Allah, and furthermore it has an innate propensity to violence (hence the ensuing riots).  Bizarre, really, that endlessly Christianity is rejected for its Crusades, whereas the many bloodthirsty conquests of Islam are swept under the carpet.

Interestingly, the mainstream media (such as The Oz) unblushingly trumpets its favour toward the pack of rebels at St Mary's, South Brisbane (weep, O Holy Virgin, and beg God sway their hearts) - these are so free, so good, so brimming over with every secular virtue, loving "gays" and every fashionable minority group real or imagined: and absolutely defiant of their Archbishop, who received a bomb threat from obscure elements.  In my opinion, these squatters should be excommunicated, forcibly evicted, and charged with trespass.  "Because it is like the sin of witchcraft, to rebel: and like the crime of idolatry, to refuse to obey. " (I Kings xv, 23)  Oh what a pity the police in Queensland have lost their former (rather bad and deserved) reputation for dealing all too harshly with hippies, leftists, and commies!

I expect some bleeding heart will be all too predictably aghast at my last comment, over and above the rest of this little post: but did not Our Blessed Lord in righteous anger drive out those profaning His Father's House? and how did He not weep over cursed Jerusalem, doomed to destruction, yet rejecting the Holy One who came to save?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Quinquagesima / 7th Sunday per annum

Well, in the Church's Year of Salvation it's Quinquagesima; and in the Novus Ordo, the 7th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B.  Sigh.

Fr Kene (yay!) was again our celebrant for the Sunday Mass at Carmel; unlike the other priests, he seems to enjoy coming to say Mass for the sisters, likes the Gregorian chant they sing, even having us use the Confiteor so the sisters can chant the Kyrie as well as the Gloria (plus the Sanctus and Agnus Dei further on), and even tries singing the Collect and Preface (as to-day) so as to fit in with the generally more sacral style of Mass at Carmel.  Again, though, what a sad comment on the Novus Ordo that one has to go to the monastery for Mass done without banal mediocrity much in evidence!

Given the readings for this Sunday (the Gospel from St Matthew v, 38-48 being that of the healing of the paralytic), he preached on how the Lord will extend to us His healing hand if we but pray; and how He so prizes our souls, that He wills to grant spiritual healing even over the physical healing extended to the bodies of the sick: we should therefore supplicate Him to heal our aversion to prayer and to liturgy (yes, he actually said that!), and all other wounds of our souls.  Furthermore, Fr Kene observed that too often "the crowd" impedes our approach to Christ, setting up obstacles and distracting us from our highest good, which is to come nigh unto the Lord, the Divine Physician.

The sisters had evidently prepared short, sharp and arresting petitions for the Prayer of the Faithful: for the ministers of the sacrament of Penance; for those enduring atheistic tyranny; for devotion to Our Lady the Refuge of Sinners; for the bushfires and for preservation therefrom; for all the dead.  That's what such petitions ought be, not longwinded mini-sermons more about propagandizing the congregation than begging God for mercy.

As usual, the ICEL paraphrases of the orations at Mass were hardly even that: but years past I obtained (largely from Fr Z's WDTPRS) literal renderings thereof, which, together with the Latin originals, I printed out onto small inserts put into my modern missal; while I only took my Breviary to Mass this morning, I did take the relevant insert with me inside its front cover, and was struck by how bad and misleading those stupid ICEL prayers are - look to just the Collect (originally that of the 6th after Epiphany) and Prayer after Communion (that of the 5th after Epiphany, with two words different):
Præsta, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, ut, semper rationabilia meditantes, quæ tibi sunt placita, et dictis exsequamur et factis.  Per...

(Grant, we beg, Almighty God, that we, meditating always on rational things, may fulfil those things which are pleasing to you by both words and deeds.  Through...)

ICEL: Father [no, "Almighty God" - how hilarious that late-1960's committee members rendered the address to the Deity by a term that the feminists would have already hated!], keep before us the wisdom and love you have revealed in your Son [they have taken semper rationabilia meditantes, and changed it into a reference to God's revelation in Christ - which is good, but in no way a translation].  Help us [so much for "grant, we beg"!] to be like him in word and deed [yes, to do what pleases God is to live as Christ did on earth, but that's not at all what the original actually said], for he lives and reigns... [having so rewritten the collect, they now conclude it with Qui tecum vivit... not Per Dominum...]

Præsta, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, ut illius capiamus effectum, cujus per hæc mysteria pignus accepimus.  Per...

(Grant, we implore you, Almighty God, that we may obtain the effect of that of which we have received a pledge by means of these [sacramental] mysteries.  Through...)

ICEL: Almighty God [they got this bit right for a change], help us to live the example of love [this seems to be their kindergarten version of pignus, a pledge or foretoken] we celebrate [no, what "we have received"] in this eucharist [what a dumbing down from "mysteries"], that we may come to its fulfilment [an elucidation of "effect"] in your presence [a fair enough expansion and explicitation, though not in the original].  We ask this... [again, a rubbish paraphrase: "through Christ" implies both that we ask and that God grants all through the One Mediator, Jesus our Lord]
I think my fisk of these poor attempts at prayer shews just what a crock ICEL sold us; to think that such crap has been inflicted on Roman Catholics these forty years.


The Breviary has a commemoration at Lauds of the Chair of St Peter (and of his fellow Prince of the Apostles, St Paul, under one conclusion - for these are the Christian Romulus and Remus): I recall with thanksgiving and prayer that this day, the 22nd of February, eight years ago, I was in Lismore for the episcopal ordination of my former parish priest, Geoffrey Jarrett - ad multos annos!

Oremus pro Antistite Lismorensis Godefrido:

Stet et pascat in fortitudine tua, Domine, in sublimitate nominis tui.  [Cf. Micheas v, 4]

(Let us pray for Geoffrey, Bishop of Lismore*:

(May he stand and shepherd in Thy strength, Lord, in the sublimity of Thy Name.)

[* Literally, "Lismorensine High-Priest"!]

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Quinquagesima Eve

Don't forget the beautiful Anglican Use prayer for Quinquagesima...

Preparation for Lent: the Lenten Office

Investigating the upcoming Lenten Office in the Breviary (recalling that the Lenten Office begins with first Vespers of the first Sunday - Ash Wednesday and following days sticking to the ordinary of Septuagesimatide - and that Passiontide, the last two weeks of Lent, has its own propers), I was first of all struck by the fact that all the versicles and short responsories for Matins, Lauds, Terce, Sext, None and Vespers are taken from Psalm 90.  This is surely no coincidence: they are appointed for precisely the same reason this glorious psalm of God's guard over us is used extensively in the Mass for the First Sunday of Lent, most especially as the longest Tract of the year - because in Lent we enter most openly into the spiritual combat with the forces of darkness, or, to be plain, into the lists against Satan and his devils: and so we need to supplicate the Lord to "save us lest we perish".

It is in this watchful spirit that the Byzantine Rite prays at the end of the Liturgy of the Presanctified during Great Lent: "O Master Almighty... Who by Thine ineffable forethought and great goodness hast led us into these hallowed days, for cleansing of souls and bodies, for subduing of passions, and for the hope of resurrection... grant also unto us, O Merciful Lord, to fight the good fight, to finish the course of the Fast, to keep the Faith undivided, to shatter the heads of unseen dragons, to show ourselves victorious over sin, and to come, without condemnation, blamelessly to worship Thy Holy Resurrection."

The little chapters for use at the Hours during Lent are drawn from the prophets Joel and Isaias; they are pertinent extracts from the passages of these seers read for the Epistle on Ash Wednesday (yielding Joel ii, 12-13 and 17), Friday after Ash Wednesday (providing Isaias lviii, 1 and 7), and Tuesday in the first week of Lent (supplying Isaias lv, 6 and 7).  Likewise, the antiphons for the Little Hours in Lent are derived thus: Vivo ego (for Prime) comes from Ezechiel xxxiii, 11; while Commendemus and Per arma (for Sext and None) both stem from II Corinthians vi, 4-5 and 7 (that is, from the Epistle of the first Sunday of Lent).

Unfortunately, whilst it sounds Scriptural, I can't locate the source of Advenerunt nobis, the Lenten antiphon for Terce -

Advenerunt nobis dies pœnitentiœ, ad redimenda peccata, ad salvandas animas.

Any ideas?

(It must be noted that on the Sundays of Lent, the little chapters of the Day Hours and antiphons for the Little Hours are proper, usually drawn from the Epistle and Gospel of the day respectively, just as they are for Septuagesima, Sexagesima and Quinquagesima Sundays.)

The Invitatory anthem for Lent is a reworking of Psalm 126:2 plus phrases redolent of various New Testament passages while not reproducing any: "May it not be vain for you to rise in the morning before the light: For the Lord hath promised a crown to the vigilant."  In other words, don't delay arising for Matins - as the Mohammedan muezzin cries, Prayer is better than sleep.

As to the Office hymns appointed, at Matins for Lent the hymn Ex more docti mystico is by St Gregory the Great; at Lauds, O sol salutis intimis (10th century?); and at Vespers, Audi benigne conditor, again by St Gregory.

Each day of Lent having its own proper Mass, at Matins the lessons are homilies on the Gospel of each day - however, on the Sundays, the first two lessons are from Scripture.

A final peculiarity: the Collect used at the Hours is of course that of the Mass of the day, with the important exception that the Collect of weekday Vespers is instead that of the Prayer over the People read at the end of Mass on that day in Lent, after the Postcommunion.  It is said that this stems from the old custom that all fasted until after None on Lenten ferias, whereupon Mass was sung followed by Vespers, and only then did the faithful take food.  During the middle ages, Mass - and Vespers - began to be said earlier and earlier on fast days, that the faithful could get stuck into their vittles sooner: with the result that the rubrics came to specify that Vespers had to be said before noon during Lent, a rule that endured down to the twentieth century!

Lent Approaches

To-day, Our Lady is last commemorated in the Breviary with her Saturday Office before the spiritual austerities of Lent begin.  Throughout this solemn season, the saints are solely commemorated at Lauds (and Low Mass) with but three exceptions, all first-class feasts with first Vespers: on Tuesday the 17th of March occurs that of St Patrick (in Australia and elsewhere, as originally in Ireland); on Thursday the 19th, of St Joseph; on Wednesday the 25th, of the Annunciation.

What to do for Lent?  Pray; fast; give alms.

I am forming the serious resolution to resume daily attendance* at Mass for Lent: if I get up earlier, I can attend the 7.30am Mass at Carmel before work on Mondays, Tuesdays, probably Wednesdays (or Mass at 5pm at St Vincent's Hospital chapel†), Fridays and Sundays - on Thursdays and Saturdays, Mass in the side chapel at Church of the Apostles (at 5pm and 9am respectively) will suit my work and life schedule better.

[* While in Hobart and Melbourne I've been to Mass on weekdays,
this year I've only heard a weekday Mass in Launceston for Candlemas...]

[† This is the "lazy Mass" I once blogged on!]

Fasting will prove difficult - at least, I've always found it so.  The obvious thing is to abstain from meat when I can (those I live with won't), and to be more sparing.

As for almsgiving, I know the bushfire appeal will be something continue to keep in mind, seeing as so many have lost everything; and Mass at Carmel gives me a chance to pop something into the sister's "Offerings" box...

Friday, February 20, 2009

In Remembrance of the Bushfires

A friend drew my attention to this passage from the prophet Joel (i, 19 - ii, 10), which is rather appropriate when thinking on the recent bushfires, coming in the heat and drought, with terrifying flames and billowing blackness of ash and smoke - pray for the dead, and the survivors; pray and give thanks for the firefighters, and the relief workers:
To thee, O Lord, will I cry: because fire hath devoured the beautiful places of the wilderness, and the flame hath burnt all the trees of the country.
Yea and the beasts of the field have looked up to thee, as a garden bed that thirsteth after rain, for the springs of waters are dried up, and fire hath devoured the beautiful places of the wilderness.
Blow ye the trumpet in Sion, sound an alarm in my holy mountain, let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: because the day of the Lord cometh, because it is nigh at hand,
A day of darkness, and of gloominess, a day of clouds and whirlwinds: a numerous and strong people as the morning spread upon the mountains: the like to it hath not been from the beginning, nor shall be after it even to the years of generation and generation. 
Before the face thereof a devouring fire, and behind it a burning flame: the land is like a garden of pleasure before it, and behind it a desolate wilderness, neither is there any one that can escape it.
The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses, and they shall run like horsemen.
They shall leap like the noise of chariots upon the tops of mountains, like the noise of a flame of fire devouring the stubble, as a strong people prepared to battle.
At their presence the people shall be in grievous pains: all faces shall be made like a kettle.
They shall run like valiant men: like men of war they shall scale the wall: the men shall march every one on his way, and they shall not turn aside from their ranks.
No one shall press upon his brother: they shall walk every one in his path: yea, and they shall fall through the windows, and shall take no harm.
They shall enter into the city: they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up the houses, they shall come in at the windows as a thief.
At their presence the earth hath trembled, the heavens are moved: the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars have withdrawn their shining.
 I hesitate – though it completes the passage – to add Joel ii, 11:
And the Lord hath uttered his voice before the face of his army: for his armies are exceeding great, for they are strong and execute his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible: and who can stand it?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Noachic Covenant

I mentioned Daniélou in my last post; I recall only vaguely, I'm afraid, his thesis - in line, I should hasten to say as he would have done, with the Fathers - about the righteous pagans of the Old Testament, and the "cosmic religion" that consisted in the knowledge of God through Creation prior to His more particular and more extensive successive revelations that culminated in the Incarnation.  However, I have discovered again what intriguing things the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about these, and about God's covenant with Noë and with all flesh:
The Covenant with Noah

56 After the unity of the human race was shattered by sin God at once sought to save humanity part by part. The covenant with Noah after the flood gives expression to the principle of the divine economy toward the "nations", in other words, towards men grouped "in their lands, each with [its] own language, by their families, in their nations". [Gen 10:5; cf. 9:9-10, 16; 10:20-31.]

57 This state of division into many nations is at once cosmic, social and religious. It is intended to limit the pride of fallen humanity [Cf. Acts 17:26-27] united only in its perverse ambition to forge its own unity as at Babel. [Cf. Wis 10:5; Gen 11:4-6.] But, because of sin, both polytheism and the idolatry of the nation and of its rulers constantly threaten this provisional economy with the perversion of paganism. [Cf. Rom 1:18-25.]

58 The covenant with Noah remains in force during the times of the Gentiles, until the universal proclamation of the Gospel. [Cf. Gen 9:16; Lk 21:24; Dei Verbum 3.] The Bible venerates several great figures among the Gentiles: Abel the just, the king-priest Melchisedek - a figure of Christ - and the upright "Noah, Daniel, and Job". [Cf. Gen 14:18; Heb 7:3; Ezek 14:14.] Scripture thus expresses the heights of sanctity that can be reached by those who live according to the covenant of Noah, waiting for Christ to "gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad". [Jn 11:52.]

71 God made an everlasting covenant with Noah and with all living beings (cf. Gen 9:16). It will remain in force as long as the world lasts.


Creation - source of prayer

2569 Prayer is lived in the first place beginning with the realities of creation. The first nine chapters of Genesis describe this relationship with God as an offering of the first-born of Abel's flock, as the invocation of the divine name at the time of Enosh, and as "walking with God". [Cf. Gen 4:4, 26; Gen 5:24.] Noah's offering is pleasing to God, who blesses him and through him all creation, because his heart was upright and undivided; Noah, like Enoch before him, "walks with God." [Gen 6:9; 8:20-9:17.] This kind of prayer is lived by many righteous people in all religions.

In his indefectible covenant with every living creature [Gen 9:8-16], God has always called people to prayer. But it is above all beginning with our father Abraham that prayer is revealed in the Old Testament.
* As I wrote in the margin of my copy of the Catechism, Remarkable!

More about Noë

Thinking about the Church's setting before her children Noë, I recalled that in the traditional Easter Vigil the second of the twelve Prophecies read was of Noë, the Ark, and the Deluge (Genesis v, 31; vi; vii, 6. 11-14. 18-22. 23-24; viii, 1-3. 6-12. 14-21), which in my old St Andrew's Missal has this explanatory heading: "Noe, who was at the head of humanity sacred [sic; lege saved] by God, is a figure of Christ, and Noe's ark is a figure of the Church which saves us from the condemnation of the world after sin."

The Collect following this prophecy shews its interpretation, by referring to the Church - it's a marvellous prayer, one well worth praying when in the slough of despond:
Deus, incommutabilis virtus, et lumen æternum: respice propitius ad totius Ecclesiæ tuæ mirabile sacramentum, et opus salutis humanæ, perpetuæ dispositionis effectu tranquillius operare; totusque mundus experiatur et videat, dejecta erigi, inveterata renovari, et per ipsum redire omnia in integrum, a quo sumpsere principium: Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum: Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. R/. Amen.

(O God of unchangeable power and eternal light, look favourably on thy whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; and by the tranquil operation of thy perpetual providence carry out the work of man's salvation, and let the whole world feel and see that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and all things are returning to perfection through him from whom they took their origin, even Jesus Christ our Lord. Who with thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R/. Amen.)
Unfortunately, while this Collect is still included in the Novus Ordo for use at the Paschal Vigil, the reading about Noe and the Flood is not.  (Noë appears in the modern Lectionary for Mass on the first Sunday of Lent in Year B - as this year - and in the 6th week of Ordinary Time in Year I - again, this year: in fact, yesterday, to-day and to-morrow, a coincidence of which I was unaware! - on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: the relevant references are to Genesis ix, 8-15 and to Genesis vi, 5-8 & vii, 1-5. 10; viii, 6-13. 20-22; ix, 1-13.)  However, in The Book of Divine Worship for the Anglican Use of the Catholic Church (approved for use in the United States under the Pastoral Provision there), the Great Vigil of Easter includes this a version of this lesson (Genesis vii, 1-5. 11-18; viii, 6-18; ix, 8-13), with Psalm 45(46) - Deus noster refugium - suggested to be used after it, and then the following Collect:
Almighty God, you have placed in the skies the sign of your covenant with all living things: Grant that we, who are saved through water and the Spirit, may worthily offer to you our praise and thanksgiving; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
What the praise of Noë in Holy Writ? Let us hear what the Spirit says to the churches (cf. Apoc. ii & iii): "Noe found grace before the Lord... Noe was a just and perfect man in his generations, he walked with God" (Genesis vi, 8. 9); "And Noe did all things which God/the Lord commanded him." (Genesis vi, 22; vii,5) "Noe was found perfect, just, and in the time of wrath he was made a reconciliation. Therefore was there a remnant left to the earth, when the flood came. The covenants of the world were made with him, that all flesh should no more be destroyed with the flood." (Ecclesiasticus xliv, 17-19) "By faith Noe, having received an answer concerning those things which as yet were not seen, moved with fear, framed the ark for the saving of his house, by the which he condemned the world; and was instituted heir of the justice which is by faith." (Hebrews xi, 7) 

Indeed, before the face of hardened, unbelieving sinners, God constituted Noë "the preacher of justice" (II Peter ii, 5), so that, if they had not grieved the Spirit and resisted the call of grace, they would have been saved, had they not "been disobedient when the patience of God waited in the days of Noe while the ark was a-building" (I Peter iii, 20), for all of a hundred and twenty years, that is, for a very long while, according to one interpretation of Genesis vi, 3; alas, thus shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man (cf. St Matthew xxiv, 37f & St Luke xvii, 26f) - when he comes, shall He find faith on the earth, that is, in the hearts of carnal men?  That old revival hymn "Out of the Ark" well sums up what is at stake...

And Noah built an altar unto the Lord: and... offered holocausts... (Genesis viii, 20)

Therefore, seeing as Nöe is accounted an ancestor (cf. St Luke iii, 36) and a type or figure of Christ (as through him alone was mankind saved from the Deluge in the Ark, so through Christ alone is mankind saved in the Church from eternal death) - his name signifying comfort and rest (Genesis v, 29; cf. Hebrews iii, 7 - iv,11), being graced, just and perfect, walking with the Lord, fulfilling all commands, by faith believing in holy fear, rejecting the sinful world going down to its doom, preaching justice in season and out of season, being an heir of justice through faith, acting as a reconciliation, worshipping God by a pleasing sacrifice (Genesis viii, 20ff), receiving a blessing and a covenant (Genesis ix, 1ff) - he is a fine model of all virtue and religion for Christians. "He who has an ear, let him hear"!  (Cf. Apoc. ii & iii.)

Over at Pastor Weedon's blog, I found that the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod observes the commemoration of Noah on the 29th of November (the Orthodox, by the way, commemorate him along with all the ancestors of Christ on one of the Sundays before Christmas; and, in some manner, on the 8th of August); and from Luther's "Flood Prayer" for use at Baptism the Lutheran Treasury of Daily Prayer draws this nice collect for keeping the memory of Noah, succinctly linking up believing Noah, the Ark and the Church believing in the Lord, as against the unbelieving world condemned through the Flood:
"Almighty and eternal God, according to Your strict judgment You condemned the unbelieving world through the flood, yet according to Your great mercy You preserved believing Noah and his family, eight souls in all. Grant that we be kept safe and secure in the holy ark of the Christian Church, so that with all believers in Your promise, we would be declared worthy of eternal life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord." (TDP, p. 966)

While I don't have them to hand, I recall from years back that Jean Cardinal Daniélou commented on the figure of Noë in several of his books; these would be well worth consulting...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

And they all went marching into the ark to get out of the rain...

This week of Sexagesima, being nearly wholly ferial (but for commemoration of St Simeon, Bishop & Martyr, at Lauds to-day, and the Saturday Office of Our Lady still to come), is a good chance to prepare oneself for the sombre penance of Lent by drinking from the spiritual font of the Breviary Hours.  (As a private devotion, while out walking in the evening I've used the former preces and so forth to get myself into a bit more prayer.)

All week, we place ourselves under St Paul's protection, we who trust not in our own works (as the Collect of Sexagesima declares); and this week, at Matins (covering Genesis v to xi), the account of Noë, his Ark, and the Flood is read, to instruct us that the only escape from the deluge of God's punishment of sin - for all flesh has gone astray, "had corrupted its way" (Gen. vi, 12) - is to hie oneself to the Church, the Ark of Salvation borne upon the cleansing flood (an image of baptism, slaying the old man): extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. As was sung at first Vespers of Sexagesima, at the Magnificat:
Dixit Dóminus ad Noë: Finis univérsæ carnis venit coram me: fac tibi arcam de lignis lævigátis, ut salvétur univérsum semen in ea.

(The Lord said unto Noah: The end of all flesh is come before me: make thee an ark of wood, that thereby the seed of all flesh may be saved.)
Then, "In that ark a few, that is, eight souls were saved through water.  Its counterpart, Baptism, now saves you also..." (I Peter iii, 20f).  I've been humming that old children's song, as I half-remember it, "The animals went in two by two, hurrah, hurrah... And they all went marching into the ark to get out of the rain."  Quite symbolic!  (I recall those silly jokes about the unicorns and dinosaurs refusing to go aboard... absurd: everyone knows mediæval knights and damsels ran into unicorns and dragons!)

On Friday, the Tower of Babel is put before us, as an image of the sundering of man from man to be healed only at Pentecost when the one Gospel is proclaimed in all tongues to unite all men in the one Church; and on Saturday, Noë's descendants down to Abram are given, shewing how the history of salvation advances toward's God's next dealing with His people after the Noachic Covenant.

Here are the stirring historiæ, that is, the Matins responsories for this week - the first five detail the Flood, the last five, the Covenant God makes with Noë that He not destroy the world with water (no, it shall perish by fire):
R. Dixit Dóminus ad Noë: Finis univérsæ carnis venit coram me: repléta est terra iniquitáte eórum, * Et ego dispérdam eos cum terra.
V. Fac tibi arcam de lignis lævigátis mansiúnculas in ea fácies. * Et ego dispérdam eos cum terra.

(R. The Lord said unto Noah: The end of all flesh is come before me: for all the earth is filled with violence and wickedness: * And behold I will destroy mankind with the earth.
V. Make thee an ark of wood; rooms shalt thou make in it. * And behold I will destroy mankind with the earth.)  [Genesis vi, 13f]

R. Noë, vir justus atque perféctus, cum Deo ambulávit: * Et fecit ómnia quæcúmque præcépit ei Deus.
V. Fecit sibi arcam, ut salvarétur univérsum semen. * Et fecit ómnia quæcúmque præcépit ei Deus.

(R. Noah was a just man and perfect, and Noah walked with God: * According to all that God commanded him, so did he.
V. And Noah made him an ark of wood, that a seed of every sort might be saved alive. *  According to all that God commanded him, so did he.)  [Genesis vi, 9. 22 etc.]

R. In artículo diéi illíus ingréssus est Noë in arcam et fílii ejus, * Uxor illíus et uxóres filiórum ejus.
V. Deléta sunt univérsa de terra, remánsit autem solus Noë, et qui cum eo erant in arca. * Uxor illíus et uxóres filiórum ejus.

(R. In the selfsame day entered Noah into the ark, * His sons, and his wife, and the wives of his sons.
V. All flesh died that moved upon the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. * His sons, and his wife, and the wives of his sons.)  [Genesis vii, 13. 21. 23]

R. Recordátus Dóminus Noë, addúxit spíritum super terram, et imminútæ sunt aquæ: * Et prohíbitæ sunt plúviæ de cælis.
V. Reversæque sunt aquæ de terra eúntes et redeúntes, et cœpérunt mínui post centum quinquagínta dies. * Et prohíbitæ sunt plúviæ de cælis.

(R. And God remembered Noah, and made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged: * And the rain from heaven was restrained.
V. The waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. * And the rain from heaven was restrained.)  [Genesis viii, 1. 2. 3]

R. Quadragínta dies et noctes apérti sunt cæli, et ex omni carne habénte spíritum vitæ ingréssa sunt in arcam: * Et clausit a foris óstium Dóminus.
V. In artículo diéi illíus ingréssus est Noë in arcam et fílii ejus, et uxor illíus et uxóres filiórum ejus. * Et clausit a foris óstium Dóminus.
Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto. * Et clausit a foris óstium Dóminus.

(R. Forty days and forty nights were the heavens opened; and two of all flesh went in unto Noah into the ark: * And the Lord shut them in.
V. In the selfsame day entered Noah into the ark, his sons, and his wife, and the wives of his sons. * And the Lord shut them in.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. * And the Lord shut them in.)  [Genesis vii, 12. 13. 15. 16]

R. Ædificávit Noë altáre Dómino, ófferens super illud holocáustum: odoratúsque est Dóminus odórem suavitátis, et benedíxit ei, dicens: * Créscite, et multiplicámini, et repléte terram.
V. Ecce ego státuam pactum meum vobíscum, et cum sémine vestro post vos. * Créscite, et multiplicámini, et repléte terram.

(R. Noah builded an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings thereon: and the Lord smelled a sweet savour, and blessed him, saying: * Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth.
V. Behold, I establish my Covenant with you, and with your seed after you. * Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth.)  [Genesis viii, 20. 21; ix, 1. 7. 9]

R. Ponam arcum meum in núbibus cæli, dixit Dóminus ad Noë: * Et recordábor fœderis mei, quod pépigi tecum.
V. Cumque obdúxero núbibus cælum, apparébit arcus meus in núbibus. * Et recordábor fœderis mei, quod pépigi tecum.

(R. The Lord said unto Noah: I do set my bow in the clouds of heaven, * And I will remember the Covenant betwixt God and man.
V. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the heaven, that my bow shall be seen in the cloud. * And I will remember the Covenant betwixt God and man.)  [Genesis ix, 13f]

R. Per memetípsum jurávi, dicit Dóminus, non adjíciam ultra aquas dilúvii super terram: pacti mei recordábor * Ut non perdam aquis dilúvii omnem carnem.
V. Arcum meum ponam in núbibus, et erit signum fœderis inter me et inter terram. *  Ut non perdam aquis dilúvii omnem carnem.
Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto. * Ut non perdam aquis dilúvii omnem carnem.

(R. By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, that I will not again bring the flood of destruction upon the whole earth; for I will remember my Covenant: * And the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
V. I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a Covenant betwixt me and the earth. * And the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. * And the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.)  [Genesis ix, 15. 13 etc.]

R. Benedíxit Deus Noë, et fíliis ejus, et dixit ad eos: * Créscite, et multiplicámini, et repléte terram.
V. Ecce ego státuam pactum meum vobíscum, et cum sémine vestro post vos. * Créscite, et multiplicámini, et repléte terram.

(R. God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them: * Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth.
V. Behold I establish my Covenant with you, and with your seed after you. * Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth.)  [Genesis ix, 1. 9]

R. Ecce ego státuam pactum meum vobíscum, et cum sémine vestro post vos: * Neque erit deínceps dilúvium díssipans terram.
V. Arcum meum ponam in núbibus, et erit signum fœderis inter me et inter terram. * Neque erit deínceps dilúvium díssipans terram.

(R. Behold I establish my Covenant with you, and with your seed after you : * Neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
V. I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a Covenant betwixt me and the earth. *  Neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.)  [Genesis ix, 9. 11. 13]
[I trust my pinching of these translations from The Roman Breviary website's Lessons at Matins in Septuagesimatide will be acceptable!]

Relatively Good News

It appears that the death toll from the recent Victorian bushfires will not much exceed two hundred - the numbers of those feared dead at Marysville being sharply reduced, some misidentified remains being determined to be animal not human, it being realized that some remains were counted twice, and some listed as missing feared dead being found alive and well after all.  It is still a dreadful tragedy, and the numbers who perished at Strathewen and Kinglake now surpass those at Marysville, marking the Kinglake fire (which merged with the one that swept through Marysville) as the most costly to human life.  

At least there were not many more victims - the five police who persuaded 200 at Marysville to flee before the impending holocaust are acclaimed as heroes, since if they had not got them out those people would most probably have died there also.

UPDATE:  The final death toll was 173.

Still Alive and Kicking

I haven't really had anything to post over the last few days - sorry to any readers disappointed.  Perhaps this can be a little break.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Joy to the World

There's nothing quite like megalomania... hear ye, hear ye, I'll be in Melbourne in early March!

Seriously, I know various friends and acquaintances read this blog, so I may as well announce I'm flying over to visit the Glorious See of Melbourne at lunchtime on Saturday the 7th of March, and will return to Tasmania mid-afternoon on Monday the 9th - so all interested parties can start planning what they'll do to entertain me.

Perhaps I'll even visit Bendigo...


Also, putting first things last, I'm going to go down to Hobart not next weekend, but the next, for the State's monthly Traditional Latin Mass on the first Sunday of the month... so I'll keep the First Sunday of Lent at St Canice, Sandy Bay.

Collect of Sexagesima

The Epistle for Sexagesima Sunday details the labours and sufferings of St Paul; the Collect reflects this focus by supplicating God to grant us the aid of this great Apostle - very appropriate in this the Year of St Paul:
Deus, qui conspicis, quia ex nulla nostra actione confidimus: concede propitius; ut contra adversa omnia, Doctoris gentium protectione muniamur.  Per...

(God, Who seest that we trust in no act of our own: propitiously concede: that against all adverse things, by the protection of the Doctor of the Gentiles we may be defended.  Through...)