28 August 2010

Updates, news

Cooking burgers and fries for the brothers tonight!  Also, a low-calorie, fat-free bread pudding (BAWAHAHAHAHA!!!!).  Seriously, my bread pudding starts with a stick of butter. . .to grease the pan.  (Update:  the burgers were good. . .the pudding was OK. . .baking with ingredients you're not used to can be tricky)

My pants. . .errrrr. . .trousers came in the mail yesterday.  Surprisingly, they fit. . .at least they do now.

I've been on another insomnia jag these last two nights.  Up at 2.30am.  Good time to do laundry, I guess.

Studying French. . .from afar.  It's really kinda pretty from this distance.

Please pray for the friars meeting in Rome for the Elective Chapter.  They will elect a new Master of the Order.  I'm rooting for an American. . .but betting on an European.

I've added a few new poetry books to the WISH LIST.  Philosophy/theology all the time makes Friar Philip a very dull preacher. (NB.  I've added the poetry books from Book Depository, so there is no shipping charge.)

When I ordered the meat for tonight's burgers over the phone, I had to repeat myself a few times.  The priory's Scottish cook laughed at me and said, "Speak English!"

I gave fra. Lawrence Lew a chuckle in the sacristy yesterday.  We wear these cumbersome albs overs our habits to con-celebrate Mass.  When I pulled the thing down over my head the back of the hood was facing forward.  So, there I was with the my face covered and getting a little peeved.  
All is well here in Oxford. . .sunny days with 66 degree temps.  Lovely.

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27 August 2010

On Liturgy: priestcraft is also soulcraft

One word best describes this piece on the new Missal: BAM!

An excerpt:

Publicly owned corporations are more accountable to their shareholders than tenured bureaucracies, which may explain why it took the Ford Motor Company only two years to cancel its Edsel, and not much longer for Coca Cola to restore its “classic” brand, while the Catholic Church has taken more than a generation of unstopped attrition to try to correct the mistakes of overheated liturgists. The dawning of the Age of Aquarius is now in its sunset repose and the bright young things who seem to be cropping up now all over the place with new information from Fortescue and Ratzinger, may either be the professional mourners for a lost civilization, or the sparks of a looming golden age.

One thing is certain to a pastor: the only parishioners fighting the old battles are old themselves, their felt banners frayed and their guitar strings broken, while a young battalion is rising, with no animus against the atrophied adolescence of their parents, and only eager to engage a real spiritual combat in a culture of death. They usually are ignorant, but bright, for ignorance is not stupidity.

Go read the whole thing and give thanks to God!

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Tea Mug Browsing

U.D. students will be happy to know this:  Odysseus was real!

If you live in the U.K., make sure your doctor is a believer. . .that is, if Nanny allows you to choose your doctor.

How expansive court interpretations of the Commerce Clause are destroying the republic.

CCHD is under some pretty close scrutiny. . .might be time to contact your bishop and let him know that your donations to the Church should not be going to support radical leftist political organizations.

How to [Effectively] Repeal the First Amendment. . .hint:  use "codes of professional ethics" to push for "diversity" and "equality" and then punish anyone who disagrees with your definition of these two vague terms.

Once again:  B.O. is NOT a Muslim.  Why does this question persist?  Obvious answer:  his political opponents see it as a way to smear him.  Less obvious:  B.O.'s political base is mostly anti-Christian/anti-religious, so he doesn't play up the fact that he is a Christian.

Religious joke from Emo Phillips.

Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener in less than ten seconds.

The Seven Deadly Sins graph. . .as if you really need these charted, right?

Bury her in Israel?!  Why take the chance. . .?

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23 August 2010

Coffee Mug Browsing

Twenty-something's and the "failure to launch"--why can't they grow up? 

Global hubs and megacities threaten the supremacy of the state when it comes to who rules the roost.

Memory lane & double standards:  how did the lefty MSM treat G.W.B.'s religious beliefs? 

FINALLY!  The new English translation of the Roman Missal will be launched First Sunday of Advent 2011.  No more "May this Eucharist have an effect in our lives". . .shudder.

Should we tolerate intolerance?  On tolerating Islam. . .until it has the power to merely tolerate us.

If you can look at this pic w/o laughing, you should see a doctor.

Very, very sexist pic with caption.  Don't blame me. . .

Ah, THIS should wake you up. 

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22 August 2010

Among the freaks and lunatics (need feedback!)

HELP!  Immediate feedback needed on this one.  Does it make sense?  Where does it go wrong?   

UPDATE:  Just goes to show ya. . .not only do I not like this homily, I think it is incoherent. Despite my dislike, I couldn't revise it, couldn't think of anything else to say.  Nothing.  After Mass tonight, a young couple approached me and told me that they were returning to the Church after years of being away.  They said that they had heard that the preaching at Blackfriars was intelligent and worth a listen.   They said that the homily had touched them right where they needed it and that they were deeply appreciative.  Go figure.  One day I'll learn. . .maybe.

21st Sunday OT
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
Sisters of Notre Dame/Blackfriars, Oxford

Some see it as a door. Others see it as a path. Jesus says it's a gate, a narrow gate.  Flannery O'Connor's creation, that paragon of 1950's white rural middle-class Protestant respectability, Mrs. Turpin, saw it as a bridge. She stands at the fence of her hog pen, the pigs have gathered themselves around an old sow: “A red glow suffused them. They appeared to pant with a secret life.” She watches them 'til sunset, “her gaze bent to them as if she were absorbing some abysmal life-giving knowledge.” Finally, ready for the revelation, Mrs. Turpin raises her hands and “a visionary light settles in her eyes.” A purple-crimson dusk streaks the sky, connecting the fields with the highway: “She saw the streak as a vast swinging bridge extending upward from the earth through a field of living fire. Upon it a vast horde of souls were rumbling toward heaven.” Mrs. Turpin is surprised to see not only poor white trash on that bridge but black folks too. And among the “battalions of freaks and lunatics,” she sees her own tribe of scrubbed-clean, property-owning, church-going people—singing on key, orderly marching, being responsible as they always have been. We might imagine that it was a distant relative of Mrs Turpin who asked Jesus that day, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” 

Some say it is a door or a path. Some think of it as a key or a tabernacle. Jesus says that it is a Narrow Gate, a gate so narrow that most won't have the strength to push themselves through. There will be some on this side of the gate and some on the other side. Most of us imagine that we will be on the right side of the gate when the master of the house comes to lock the door. We will be on the inside listening to those on the outside plea for mercy, shout out their faithfulness, and cry for just one more chance. We will be on the inside when the master shouts at those on the outside, “I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!” When we hear this brutal rebuke, do we flinch? Do we beg mercy for those left outside? Do we try to rejoin them in a show of solidarity? 

These questions matter only if we have gathered the strength necessary to squeeze ourselves through the gate. If we are weak, exhausted, apathetic, or if we really are evildoers, then staying on this side of the gate, away from the table of the kingdom, probably seems more attractive, easier to accomplish, not so much sweat and tears. Do we really want to be part of a banquet that excludes so many? Do we want to lend our support to a homeowner who crafts a narrow gate for his front door, knowing that most will not be able to enter? We may be lazy or stupid or just plain evil, but we would rather suffer righteously with sinners than party self-righteously with the saints! 

Mrs. Turpin's distant cousin is insistent, however: “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” Jesus never answers the question. Rather than giving a straightforward yes, no, or about one-third, he moves the question away from the number of those to be saved toward the method by which they will be saved. Those who are saved are saved b/c they have used their strength to push through the Narrow Gate just before the Master locks the door. How many are saved? Don't know. Who are these people? Don't know that either. What happens to those who didn't make it through? Wailing, grinding teeth, and being cast out. Despite all their pleas, they are cast out. 

Is there anything for us to do now in order to build up our strength for that final push through the Narrow Gate? Anything for us to do to fortify ourselves for that last surge, that last run at the battlement's gate? We read in the letter to the Hebrews: “. . .strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed.” This is a call to righteousness, not just the sort of uprightness that comes from following the rules, but the righteousness that comes from calling on God to correct our infirmities—our drooping hands and weak knees—so that what is lame is healed and not made worse by time and trial, not left to become disjointed. Our rush through the Narrow Gate is not a test of physical strength, nor is it a marathon of virtue. The narrowness of the gate is a test of our determination, a trial against a tepid heart and irresolute mind. The narrowness of the gate challenges the sharpness of our focus on being among the blessed who will be called upon to sacrifice everything for Christ's sake, everything for the love of just one friend. It is not enough that we have been to dinner with the Lord; that we have shouted his name from a crowd; that we have witnessed his miracles, praised his preaching, memorized his teaching, or invited ourselves to recline at his table. It is not enough that we are respectable, well-educated, middle-class, religious, worthy citizens of a civilized nation. We might manage to squeeze our respectability, our diplomas, our tax forms and churches and passports through that Narrow Gate, but none of these will assist in the squeezing. Yes, we will likely end up on Mrs Turpin's bridge, heading into the clouds with all the other freaks and lunatics, but we will end up there b/c we have placed ourselves at the mercy of God to forgive us the sins that impede us, that slow us down, and all but guarantee that we do not make the gate in time. 

Mrs Turpin sees her own people on that bridge. Somewhat bewildered by the strange company of white trash and black folks, her tribe of middle-class church-goers nonetheless sing on key: “Yet she could see by their shocked and altered faces that even their virtues were being burned away.” Perhaps what will get us through that Narrow Gate is the willingness to have everything that seems so vital, so necessary, so absolutely true. . .to have all of it burned away.

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