31 December 2015
Day VII in the Octave of Christmas
Deus, qui per immaculátam Vírginis Conceptiónem dignum Fílio tuo habitáculum præparásti: quæsumus; ut qui ex morte ejusdem Fílii tui prævisa, eam ab omni labe præservásti, nos quoque mundos ejus intercessióne ad te perveníre concedas.
Per eúmdem Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus, per ómnia sǽcula sæculórum.
O God, by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, thou prepared a worthy habitation for thy Son; we beseech thee, that, as by the foreseen death of thy same Son thou preserved her from all stain of sin, so thou would grant us also, through her intercession, to come to thee with pure hearts.
Through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, Our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
"Whenever the desire to sin cometh over thee, I would that thou couldest think of the awful and overwhelming judgment-seat of Christ. There the Judge shall sit upon a throne high and lifted up. Every creature shall stand before Him, quaking because of the glory of His presence. There are we to be led up, one by one, to give account for those things which we have done in life. Presently there will be found, by the sides of those who have in life wrought much evil, dreadful and hideous angels with faces of fire, and burning breath, appointed thereto, and showing their evil will, in appearance like the night, in their despair and hatred of mankind.
Think again of the bottomless pit, the impenetrable darkness, the lightless fire, burning, but not glowing the poisonous mass of worms, preying upon the flesh, ever feeding, and never filled, causing by their gnawing unbearable agony lastly, the greatest punishment of all, shame and confusion for ever. Have a dread of these things, and let that dread correct thee, and be as a curb to thy mind to hold it in from the hankering after sin.
This fear of the Lord the Prophet hath promised to teach. But he hath not promised to teach it to all, but only to such as will hear him not to such as have fallen far away, but to such as run to him, hungry for salvation, not to such as have no part in the promises, but to such as by baptism are born children of adoption, set at peace and oneness with the Word. Come, ye children, saith he, that is to say, Draw nigh unto me by good works, all ye who by the new birth have become the worthy children of light, hearken unto me, all ye who have the ears of your heart opened, I will teach you the fear of the Lord, even the fear of that Being of Whom we have just been speaking."
"Europe is dying because Europe is not having children."Amen. I don't know what all this business about is when people are getting married and yet are only willing to have no kids or one or two kids. Now, each situation is different because some people want to have many kids yet because of some mystery they cannot. I feel for those people. However, for those who are Catholics yet are utilizing contraception.....Come On Man! Of course having kids can be a Cross. Imagine working all day and then coming home to get some sleep only to be awaken by the loud cries of two little lads!! Oh the frustration must be real. However, there is much joy in having a beautiful Cross like this.
"Uncle Jimmy was such a good man. He's smiling in heaven right now and playing golf with Uncle Thomas."Hearing things like this make you happy. You say to yourself,
"I am a good man. I go to Church on Sundays. I don't really go to Confession that often but then again I don't commit those really big sins and the sins (wait, maybe they're not even sins!) I do commit are really minor. Heaven is going to be great and after my great life here is finished, I am going to be there."My friends, I bring up these two situations because I find a theme in both of them. In both cases, we see two people who are overly confident in the reaction of their peers when it comes to a huge future event. Sadly for them, their friends/fellow Catholics are wrongly mistaken and instead of following the time tested advice of working hard, the two folks have taken the wide path.
"This is the fourth year of the double-wild-card system, and, for the losing players and fans alike, these harsh sudden endings impose a quietus upon the pleasures and recollections of a season, and cast the winning pitchers as executioners. Nothing will be done about this—the arrangement is there to disguise too many teams competing for too few slots in October—but the gimmick makes for harsh feelings not common to the pastime. I unhappily recall an undue coolness or amused hauteur in my own brief description of the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner shutting down the Pirates, 8–0, in last year’s National League wild-card event, before a silenced and horrified home crowd of Pittsburgh loyalists."Read "Gone" By Roger Angell
"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone.
Somehow, the summer seemed to slip by faster this time. Maybe it wasn't this summer, but all the summers that, in this my fortieth summer, slipped by so fast. There comes a time when every summer will have something of autumn about it. Whatever the reason, it seemed to me that I was investing more and more in baseball, making the game do more of the work that keeps time fat and slow and lazy. I was counting on the game's deep patterns, three strikes, three outs, three times three innings, and its deepest impulse, to go out and back, to leave and to return home, to set the order of the day and to organize the daylight. I wrote a few things this last summer, this summer that did not last, nothing grand but some things, and yet that work was just camouflage. The real activity was done with the radio--not the all-seeing, all-falsifying television--and was the playing of the game in the only place it will last, the enclosed green field of the mind. There, in that warm, bright place, what the old poet called Mutability does not so quickly come.
But out here, on Sunday, October 2, where it rains all day, Dame Mutability never loses. She was in the crowd at Fenway yesterday, a gray day full of bluster and contradiction, when the Red Sox came up in the last of the ninth trailing Baltimore 8-5, while the Yankees, rain-delayed against Detroit, only needing to win one or have Boston lose one to win it all, sat in New York washing down cold cuts with beer and watching the Boston game. Boston had won two, the Yankees had lost two, and suddenly it seemed as if the whole season might go to the last day, or beyond, except here was Boston losing 8-5, while New York sat in its family room and put its feet up. Lynn, both ankles hurting now as they had in July, hits a single down the right-field line. The crowd stirs. It is on its feet. Hobson, third baseman, former Bear Bryant quarterback, strong, quiet, over 100 RBIs, goes for three breaking balls and is out. The goddess smiles and encourages her agent, a canny journeyman named Nelson Briles.
Now comes a pinch hitter, Bernie Carbo, onetime Rookie of the Year, erratic, quick, a shade too handsome, so laid-back he is always, in his soul, stretched out in the tall grass, one arm under his head, watching the clouds and laughing; now he looks over some low stuff unworthy of him and then, uncoiling, sends one out, straight on a rising line, over the center-field wall, no cheap Fenway shot, but all of it, the physics as elegant as the arc the ball describes.
New England is on its feet, roaring. The summer will not pass. Roaring, they recall the evening, late and cold, in 1975, the sixth game of the World Series, perhaps the greatest baseball game played in the last fifty years, when Carbo, loose and easy, had uncoiled to tie the game that Fisk would win. It is 8-7, one out, and school will never start, rain will never come, sun will warm the back of your neck forever. Now Bailey, picked up from the National League recently, big arms, heavy gut, experienced, new to the league and the club; he fouls off two and then, checking, tentative, a big man off balance, he pops a soft liner to the first baseman. It is suddenly darker and later, and the announcer doing the game coast to coast, a New Yorker who works for a New York television station, sounds relieved. His little world, well-lit, hot-combed, split-second-timed, had no capacity to absorb this much gritty, grainy, contrary reality.
Cox swings a bat, stretches his long arms, bends his back, the rookie from Pawtucket who broke in two weeks earlier with a record six straight hits, the kid drafted ahead of Fred Lynn, rangy, smooth, cool. The count runs two and two, Briles is cagey, nothing too good, and Cox swings, the ball beginning toward the mound and then, in a jaunty, wayward dance, skipping past Briles, feinting to the right, skimming the last of the grass, finding the dirt, moving now like some small, purposeful marine creature negotiating the green deep, easily avoiding the jagged rock of second base, traveling steady and straight now out into the dark, silent recesses of center field.
The aisles are jammed, the place is on its feet, the wrappers, the programs, the Coke cups and peanut shells, the doctrines of an afternoon; the anxieties, the things that have to be done tomorrow, the regrets about yesterday, the accumulation of a summer: all forgotten, while hope, the anchor, bites and takes hold where a moment before it seemed we would be swept out with the tide. Rice is up. Rice whom Aaron had said was the only one he'd seen with the ability to break his records. Rice the best clutch hitter on the club, with the best slugging percentage in the league. Rice, so quick and strong he once checked his swing halfway through and snapped the bat in two. Rice the Hammer of God sent to scourge the Yankees, the sound was overwhelming, fathers pounded their sons on the back, cars pulled off the road, households froze, New England exulted in its blessedness, and roared its thanks for all good things, for Rice and for a summer stretching halfway through October. Briles threw, Rice swung, and it was over. One pitch, a fly to center, and it stopped. Summer died in New England and like rain sliding off a roof, the crowd slipped out of Fenway, quickly, with only a steady murmur of concern for the drive ahead remaining of the roar. Mutability had turned the seasons and translated hope to memory once again. And, once again, she had used baseball, our best invention to stay change, to bring change on.
That is why it breaks my heart, that game--not because in New York they could win because Boston lost; in that, there is a rough justice, and a reminder to the Yankees of how slight and fragile are the circumstances that exalt one group of human beings over another. It breaks my heart because it was meant to, because it was meant to foster in me again the illusion that there was something abiding, some pattern and some impulse that could come together to make a reality that would resist the corrosion; and because, after it had fostered again that most hungered-for illusion, the game was meant to stop, and betray precisely what it promised."The Green Fields of the Mind"
Of course, there are those who learn after the first few times. They grow out of sports. And there are others who were born with the wisdom to know that nothing lasts. These are the truly tough among us, the ones who can live without illusion, or without even the hope of illusion. I am not that grown-up or up-to-date. I am a simpler creature, tied to more primitive patterns and cycles. I need to think something lasts forever, and it might as well be that state of being that is a game; it might as well be that, in a green field, in the sun."
"That We make no delay in this matter is rendered necessary especially by the fact that the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church's open enemies; they lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in her very bosom and heart, and are the more mischievous, the less conspicuously they appear. We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong to the Catholic laity, nay, and this is far more lamentable, to the ranks of the priesthood itself, who, feigning a love for the Church, lacking the firm protection of philosophy and theology, nay more, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, vaunt themselves as reformers of the Church; and, forming more boldly into line of attack, assail all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the person of the Divine Redeemer, whom, with sacrilegious daring, they reduce to a simple, mere man."
Driving down a street near the Vatican about two hours ago, late Monday afternoon, as the shadows had just begun to lengthen, I saw someone I recognized, standing by a light, waiting to walk across the street.
I knew him. We had spoken together on occasion in the past.
“I’ll get out and go up to him,” I said to myself. “Maybe he’ll talk to me.”
May the over 700 people who died today in Makkah have eternal rest and may God be merciful to them.
"I went to a baseball game in Oakland last night. This wouldn’t have any bearing on this article if not for this: I drove to the game, and in that 30-minute drive to the stadium, the Washington Nationals went from clawing their way back into some sort of contention in the NL East by beating the Mets to looking up October beachfront condo rentals. When I got in the car, there was the prospect of an interesting September division race. When I got out of the car, poof — that was all but gone. One inning, three pitchers, six walks, and six runs after the start of the top of the seventh, the score of the game was tied at 7-7, and all it took was a home run off the bat of Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the eighth to finally sink the Nationals.
If you follow either or both of these teams, yesterday’s seventh inning was an encapsulation of how the season has unfolded. The Mets have been one of the best stories in baseball; the Nats have been 2015’s poster child for the biggest gap between performance and preseason expectations. One of the most alluring things about baseball is how large season trends can play out in the microcosm of a single inning, and so the seventh inning saw a shift in win expectancy inline with the arc of the Nationals’ season, from spring training to today:"
"What a delusional man. He must be a sinner. This is what happens when you live a slothful life."Reality: The 52 year man has been homeless for over a year. He had spent twenty years with the US Army and had everything that he could ever want. A nice car, a nice house, a beautiful wife, I mean everything. However, two years ago, he started suffering from a severe case of PTSD. As a result of this, his wife found him unbearable and kicked him out of his house. His children are ashamed of him and were glad when he was gone. The oscillation you see in his mood is a result of his mental health issues. The man has not committed a mortal sin in years.
I love chips.
He loves beer.
She loves Tottenham.
I love cats.
He loves Spain.
I love my brother.
He loves his wife.
I love cake.
"I love my girlfriend! She makes me really happy. The sex is great and I honestly love her so darn much!"
Two weeks later....
"I hate her! She is a jerk! Too needy, was she! However, do not worry, I met a new girl named Lauren and she is great."
"Soon you'll be ashes or bones. A mere name at most—and even that is just a sound, an echo. The things we want in life are empty, stale, trivial."
-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
“We do not change the boundaries marked out by our Fathers. We keep the Tradition we have received. If we begin to lay down the Law of the Church even in the smallest things, the whole edifice will fall to the ground in no short time.”
-St. John of Damascus
"Because that, when they knew God, they have not glorified Him as God, or given thanks; but became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened. For professing themselves to be wise, they became fools And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man, and of birds, and of fourfooted beasts, and of creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness, to dishonour their own bodies among themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error. And as they liked not to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all iniquity, malice, fornication, avarice, wickedness, full of envy, murder, contention, deceit, malignity, whisperers, Detractors, hateful to God, contumelious, proud, haughty, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Foolish, dissolute, without affection, without fidelity, without mercy. Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they who do such things, are worthy of death; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them."