Showing posts from 2012

The End of the Year

December 31, 2012 - the conclusion of another Year of Our Lord.  Too often we - I - tend to focus on what's going wrong day-by-day, what do I need to fix, what has to be dealt with, etc.  For a while I tried to start the habit of every evening, before I went to bed, thinking of at least a few things that could be categorized as positives for the day.  Frequently my roommate and I would get loaded down with stress and our conversation before bed was filled with complaining or venting or worrying.  It really helped the few times that we remembered to talk about something cheerful before we went to sleep.  I need to start that habit again!  At any rate, at this end of the year, before I have to start worrying about everything in the next year, I'll try and list the good things that happened to me this year, and why they were good!  Deo gratias!

These are in no particular order.

1. Got my first real jobs - McAlister's Deli as a waitress and MISO in IT Compliance.  I had good cow…

A Poem for New Year's Eve



Full knee-deep lies the winter snow,
And the winter winds are wearily sighing:
Toll ye the church-bell sad and slow,
And tread softly, and speak low,
For the Old Year lies a-dying.
    Old Year, you must not die;
    You came to us so readily,
    You lived with us so steadily,
    Old Year, you shall not die.

He lieth still: he doth not move:
He will not see the dawn of day.
He hath no other life above.
He gave me a friend, and a true, true love,
And the New Year will take'em away.
    Old Year, you must not go;
    So long as you have been with us,
    Such joy as you have seen with us,
    Old Year, you shall not go.

He frothed his bumpers to the brim;
A jollier year we shall not see.
But though his eyes are waxing dim,
And though his foes speak ill of him,
He was a friend to me.
    Old year, you shall not die;
    We did so laugh and cry with you.
    I've half a mind to die with you,
    Old Year, if you must die.

He was full of joke and jest,
But all …

Divine Intimacy: Sunday within the Octave of Christmas

"O gentle pilgrim of love, You stand at the door and wait!  How many doors in Bethlehem were closed to You: there was no room for You except in a wretched stable.  And is not my heart still more wretched, more squalid, more unworthy of you than that poor stable?  And yet, if I open it to You, You will not disdain to make it Your dwelling and the place of Your repose, as You did the stable where You were born.  O my Jesus, give me the grace to open my heart wide to You, to adhere with all the strength of my will to Your grace, to give You all my liberty, because henceforth I desire but one liberty: the liberty to love You with all my strength, to give myself wholly to You.  O Lord, how much You have loved us, and how few are those that love You!  Grant that at least these few may be truly faithful to You, and that I also may be of their number."

Prayer Requests

I know I promised to post something for each of the twelve days of Christmas.  Unfortunately, I'm too tired and drained tonight to write anything coherent or remotely inspirational.  I ask you, though, for prayers for two of my relatives.

One, an uncle, fought an infection earlier in the year and lost part of his foot - he's now battling a second infection and was taken to the hospital again this afternoon.  Pray that he recovers quickly with no serious consequences.

The second, my great-grandmother/great-aunt (yeah, my family tree resembles spaghetti sometimes) who is very elderly and seems to be nearing the end.  Prayers for her salvation (she's not Catholic) and for a peaceful death.

God's will be done.  Deus lo vult!

And just because I feel like it - VIVA CHRISTO REY!!!!  VIVA!!!

Here, have some more art...

I was having way too much fun poking around on  So here are some more paintings of the Nativity! 

[caption id="attachment_707" align="aligncenter" width="488"] Birth of Christ, Tondo - Pietro Perugino[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_708" align="aligncenter" width="338"] Birth of Christ - Albrecht Durer[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_709" align="aligncenter" width="365"] The Birth of Jesus - Cornelis de Vos[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_710" align="aligncenter" width="478"] The Adoration of the Shepherds - Hugo van der Goes[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_711" align="aligncenter" width="199"] Adoration of the Shepherds - El Greco[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_712" align="aligncenter" width="407"] Adoration of the Shepherds - Rembrandt[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_713"…

Art for Christmas

There are so many lovely paintings of the Nativity out there that it was very, very hard to choose just a few.  So, I picked some that I was familiar with, and some new ones that I just discovered.  Enjoy!

As a side note, is a wonderful resource for art.  Click on the pictures here and (hopefully, if I've done the hyperlinks right!) you'll get to larger pictures of the artwork and information about the artist.

[caption id="attachment_693" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Nativity with the Torch - Le Nain brothers[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_694" align="aligncenter" width="500"] The Nativity of Christ - Vladimir Borovikovsky[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_695" align="aligncenter" width="329"] The Nativity - Giorgio Vasari[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_696" align="aligncenter" width="287"] The Nativity - Arthur Hughes[/caption]


Divine Intimacy

My favorite Christmas gift of 2012 - although closely rivaled by the shiny new Leatherman tool - was a book I've been coveting for many a year.  My sisters each received a copy for graduation and both of my parents own it, so it's been on my Christmas and birthday wishlists for a long time.  Actually, my Sister's convent uses it for their daily meditation.  It is Divine Intimacy:Meditations on the Interior Life for every day of the Liturgical Year by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

Divine Intimacy is set up on the old liturgical calendar (which means I'll have to pay attention to the moveable days!) which has so much richness in its feasts and Scripture.  For each day, there are three parts.  First, a few sentences to help one put one's mind and heart in the presence of God.  This always fits with the theme or season.  Then, a "meditation" in two parts (in case you're one of those people who are better than I and do spiritual reading twice …

On the Twelve Days of Christmas

Here is part of an article written by Father Edward T. Dowling, S.J. 
I’m sure you have all heard the Christmas carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” with its haunting melody. The carol dates back to the 16th century and its precise author is unknown. It has generally been assumed to consist of twelve nonsense verses built around a pretty melody. But in a fascinating article in Our Sunday Visitor (12/20/92), Fr. Gilhooley, a chaplain at St. Mary’s College, informs us that the carol was written by the English Jesuits of the 16th century as a catechetical device and it is far from filled with nonsensical verses.
The carol is akin to the apocalyptic literature of Scripture that used obscure symbols to hide its true meaning from the enemy in time of persecution. To understand the background that gave rise to the carol, let us look briefly at the history of Catholicism in 16th century England.
When Henry VIII was rebuffed by Rome in his bid to divorce Catherine of Aragon to marry Anne Boleyn…

Christmas Ramblings

For me, Mass last night and this morning looked similar to this:

And for some, it may have looked closer to this:

But many went to church like this:

And this:

Let us remember, as through liturgy, song and prayers we give holy praise and share our sacred joy, that we are blessed even in this increasingly godless society we in America are still able to worship freely.  All of us went to Mass last night or this morning with little difficulty, although perhaps it meant waiting for a snow storm to pass or dragging along unwilling family members.  But we didn't have to prepare to go to Mass by checking our pockets for metal, by passing through streets of a city that would gladly stamp us off the earth, by walking near armed guards there to protect us against the deadly persecution of our neighbors.

Christ did not enter a world that was prepared to receive Him.  No one had planned to come to the crib; not one who approached the manger that night was dressed for the entrance of a King into the…

Poetry for Christmas

Merry Christmas!  No, I'm not blogging on Christmas Day!  This post was written and scheduled a week or so ago.  today I'm too busy singing at Mass, enjoying lunch and presents with the family, and waiting for Sister Michael Joseph to call from the convent.  I hope you have a happy and blessed Christ-Mass!  More posts to come soon.  In the mean time, enjoy some Christmas poems by a few famous poets.


There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honor and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.

A Child in a foul sta…

Home for Christmas

We're in the last days of Advent, now.  Christmas is getting so close - another Christmas, another memory of the birth of a God, and another look forward to the end of the world.  Since the feast of the great St. John the Baptist in June, the earth has been growing cold and dark, the days becoming shorter.  We feel the lack of the sun.  Christ in His mercy comes when all is most dark, bringing natural and eternal light.

Christmas and Easter are the two great holidays, but Easter is by far the greater in the role that it played in the drama of salvation history.  The Passion really is a drama, isn't it?  What a plot filled with intensity - trust, betrayal, redemption, true love, sacrifice, murder, all on a scale grand beyond conception.  The play is filled with characters of every ilk, men and women great and little.  If you try to look back and see the big picture, to step out of it and envision the drama it really is, the image is quite staggering.

As I was saying, Easter is th…

Catechism of the Catholic Church: Jesus' Infancy and Hidden Life

II. The Mysteries of Jesus’ Infancy and Hidden Life
The preparations
522      The coming of God’s Son to earth is an event of such immensity that God willed to prepare for it over centuries. He makes everything converge on Christ: all the rituals and sacrifices, figures and symbols of the “First Covenant.”195 He announces him through the mouths of the prophets who succeeded one another in Israel. Moreover, he awakens in the hearts of the pagans a dim expectation of this coming. (711, 762)
523St. John the Baptist is the Lord’s immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way.196 “Prophet of the Most High,” John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last.197 He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the bridegroom,” whom he points out as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”198 Going before Jesus “in the spirit and power of Elijah,” John bears witness to Christ in his pre…

December 19 - O Radix Jesse

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, iam noli tardare.

O Root of Jesse, that stands for an ensign of the people, before whom the kings keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: come, to deliver us, and tarry not.

"Ensign of the people" refers to Isaiah 11:10.  According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, an ensign is "1.  a flag that is flown (as by a ship) as the symbol of nationality and that may also be flown with a distinctive badge added to its design; 2. a: a badge of office, rank, or power, b: emblem, sign."  The Savior Who comes to Israel is of the lineage of Jesse, the father of David - He will be of the royal house, a King among kings who will recognize His superior glory.  More than this, he will be raised above the people as the emblem of His own kingdom; the Cross, high above the multitude of the Jews, will be the badge of office, the s…


I just read a news report here about a little premature baby, born at 23 weeks.  The doctors were debating about whether or not to save her; apparently the decision rested on whether or not she would be "viable".  The deciding factor on her "viability" would be weight: if on a scale she registered 1 pound, the doctors considered it worthwhile to try and save her.

Now, get this.  One pound would denote that this infant was worth spending effort to save, because only at one pound would she survive.  The little girl, when weighed, was just barely at 1 pound.  She survived, now weighs 5 1/2 pounds, and is discharged from the hospital because she is doing so well.

Later, the doctors discovered that in reality, the infant had only weighed .84 pounds or 13 ounces.  A pair of scissors had accidentally been left on the scale, adding that .16 pounds that made the difference between a fight to save a life or a passive death.

Since when does an arbitrary assessment of weight give…

December 18 - O Adonai

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.
O Lord and Ruler the house of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: come, and redeem us with outstretched arms.

With outstretched arms - for how else would He redeem us, but by stretching out His arms on the Cross?  This is the same God of the Old Testament, the "I Am" who spoke to Moses from the bush that burned but did not turn to ash - the God Who would be crucified but return from the dead.  The Jews never spoke the sacred name of God, but frequently called Him Adonai, Lord.  Emmanuel Who is coming to redeem us as a small child with arms outstretched to hold the whole world in love from His manger - this is Adonai.  It is hard to see the ruler of Israel and the King of the World in this fragile infant, yet this is Adonai!

Fr. Z's commentary here and here.
O come, O come, t…

December 17 - O Sapientia

Today's antiphon follows in Latin and English:
O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodidisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviter disponensque omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae. 
O Wisdom, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come, and teach us the way of prudence.
One of the things I learned about in Old Testament this semester, from my professor who is such a genius with Scriptural exegesis, was the understanding throughout the OT of the doctrine of the Trinity.  This "Wisdom", here presented coming from the mouth of the Most High, is developed throughout the wisdom literature as being another person; in Proverbs, we see Wisdom descending to earth and dwelling among men, preaching judgment and salvation (Prov. 1), and being the first act of God and creator with God (Prov. 8, 22-31).

The virtue of prudence, which we ask for in this antiphon, is the fundamental virtue; it is …

O Antiphons

Today begins the last countdown to Christmas!  Over the next seven days, the Church presents us with a brief prayer for the coming of the Messiah, each prayer dwelling on a different attribute or aspect of Christ.  The following is from a web page by Fr. Z  and gives the best general explanation of these prayers.  Come, Lord Jesus!!

The O Antiphons developed during the Church's very first centuries. The writer Boethius (+525) mentions them. By the 8th century they were in use in Rome. There are seven of these special antiphons, and their texts spring from the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures, the Prophetic and Wisdom Books. They are found in the Liturgy of the Hours or older Roman Breviary, which clerics, religious, consecrated virgins, and others use for daily prayer.
The O Antiphons are short prayers sung before and after the Magnificat, the great prayer of Mary in Luke 1:46-55 when coming visit to Elizabeth her cousin the Virgin praised God for His favor wondrous deeds. The Magnif…

Christmas Novena

My mother found this novena years ago - and trust me, it works.  Maybe because it keeps you focused on your intention and spending more time praying.  At any rate, "while a novena is normally a nine-day prayer, the term is sometimes used for any prayer that is repeated over a series of days. The Saint Andrew Christmas Novena is often called simply the "Christmas Novena" or the "Christmas Anticipation Prayer," because it is prayed 15 times every day from the Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle (November 30) until Christmas."

Yes, 15 times a day - it's a short prayer, but a beautiful one, one of my favorite prayers ever.  I usuall try to divide it into 3 sets of 5 because otherwise, I lose my focus with the repetitions.  Here it is!

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, throu…

The Music of the Spheres

According to my mother, this is a slightly odd website, but this article is absolutely brilliant.  I'll quote some parts here but the full article itself deserves a read.  

The seminal idea of western music is that music reflects the harmonies and moral order of the universe and, therefore, has a divine origin. This idea came to the Greeks in the eighth century AD, endured through the centuries, stimulated a vast musical repertoire, and sputtered out during the decadent twentieth century.
The implication of the traditional idea of music is that music can embody objective realities and manifest intrinsic values, and is not just about subjective personal taste or the passing fads of a culture. Furthermore, music formulated according a higher order suggests to the listener that the heavens, the earth, and nature are really there, embody orderly forms, and manifest a divine beauty and harmony that reflects the Creator. The fact that man can listen to and participate in the sublime harmo…

Catechism of the Catholic Church: The Holy Spirit

II. The Name, Titles, and Symbols of the Holy Spirit
The proper name of the Holy Spirit
691   “Holy Spirit” is the proper name of the one whom we adore and glorify with the Father and the Son. The Church has received this name from the Lord and professes it in the Baptism of her new children.16
The term “Spirit” translates the Hebrew word ruah, which, in its primary sense, means breath, air, wind. Jesus indeed uses the sensory image of the wind to suggest to Nicodemus the transcendent newness of him who is personally God’s breath, the divine Spirit.17 On the other hand, “Spirit” and “Holy” are divine attributes common to the three divine persons. By joining the two terms, Scripture, liturgy, and theological language designate the inexpressible person of the Holy Spirit, without any possible equivocation with other uses of the terms “spirit” and “holy.”

Titles of the Holy Spirit
692   When he proclaims and promises the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus calls him the “Paraclete,” literally, “…

Poem of the Month: October

Well, I realized that it was high time for me to post a poem for this month of October.  I decided that perhaps I should poke around and find a new poem, one I hadn't read before, and utilize the skills I've gained both from my mother's teaching and what I've learned at school to understand something without having to be taught the meaning of it directly.  In this process, I came across several fun poems for the month of October and the season of Autumn!  The first was the favorite of those I found, the others interesting ones I thought were good enough not to pass up.  I've also included a couple that I knew of already, but rediscovered.


by Hilaire Belloc

Look, how those steep woods on the mountain's face
Burn, burn against the sunset; now the cold
Invades our very noon: the year's grown old,
Mornings are dark, and evenings come apace.
The vines below have lost their purple grace,
And in Forreze the white wrack backward rolled,
Hangs to the hills tempestuo…

Post-Procrastination Post!

Well, I will be the first to admit that I have neglected posting for weeks and weeks and weeks...mostly because Sophomore year is when the professors decide to throw as much homework at you as possible!  It's been one heck of a semester.  For some reason, not just has the reading/work load been more intense, but the entire semester has been rather a strain.  I think God decided to see how much I could handle.  Hopefully I've proved myself.

Lots of interesting things happening this semester.  Learning to lead Morning Prayer, Vespers and Compline; getting used to new professors and awesome but challenging classes; meeting the pope's personal theologian (another picture of that below!); discovering how awesome my roommate is and how much like my sister; hosting seniors for homecoming weekend; going through some of the worst and best days of my little life so far; getting to know new friends, adjusting to the loss of some old; helping another friend with managing her depression…

35 Years!

Here's just a quick update on life at college!

This weekend is the 35th Anniversary celebration here at Christendom.  Last night we were blessed to hear a talk given by the Theologian of the Pontifical Household, Father Wojciech Giertych, a Polish Dominican friar.  Father Giertych preached at Mass yesterday and today...a wonderful speaker.  I was able to receive a blessing from him after the talk at the cocktail reception.  He's a very kind, cheerful man, at first imposing but then inspiring.  Fireworks show last night was awesome, as well as some reminiscing from one of the original professors about the first days of the college.  We've got a dance this evening, and probably more festivities tomorrow.  Fr. Giertych will be the main celebrant at Sunday Mass - I do wish I could record his sermon!  

Yesterday was the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, one of my favorite feasts because St. Helena, who found that great relic, is my patroness.  Was able to venerate the re…

Catechism of the Catholic Church: The Christian Name

III. The Christian Name

2156 The sacrament of Baptism is conferred “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  In Baptism, the Lord’s name sanctifies man, and the Christian receives his name in the Church. This can be the name of a saint, that is, of a disciple who has lived a life of exemplary fidelity to the Lord. The patron saint provides a model of charity; we are assured of his intercession. The “baptismal name” can also express a Christian mystery or Christian virtue. “Parents, sponsors, and the pastor are to see that a name is not given which is foreign to Christian sentiment.”  (232, 1267)
2157 The Christian begins his day, his prayers, and his activities with the Sign of the Cross: “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” The baptized person dedicates the day to the glory of God and calls on the Savior’s grace which lets him act in the Spirit as a child of the Father. The sign of the cross strengthens us in temptations and…

Poem of the Month: September

A gem that someone showed me - a new favorite poem of mine.

by George Herbert
Having been tenant long to a rich Lord,
Not thriving, I resolved to be bold,
And make a suit unto him, to afford
A new small-rented lease, and cancell th’ old.

In heaven at his manour I him sought :
They told me there, that he was lately gone
About some land, which he had dearly bought
Long since on earth, to take possession.

I straight return’d, and knowing his great birth,
Sought him accordingly in great resorts ;
In cities, theatres, gardens, parks, and courts :
At length I heard a ragged noise and mirth

Of theeves and murderers : there I him espied,
Who straight, Your suit is granted, said, and died.

Poem of the Month: August

There's just barely time to get a poem in for this month, since I neglected to post one earlier.


Sing hey!  For the bath at the close of the day

that washes the weary mud away

A loon is he that will not sing

O!  Water Hot is a noble thing!

O!  Sweet is the sound of the falling rain,

And the brook that leaps from hill to plain;

but better than rain or rippling streams

is Water Hot that smokes and steams.

O!  Water cold we may pour at need

down a thirsty throat and be glad indeed

but better is beer if drink we lack,

And Water Hot poured down the back.

O!  Water is fair that leaps on high

in a fountain white beneath the sky;

But never did fountain smell so sweet

as splashing Hot Water with my feet!

~J.R.R. Tolkien

Another Year Begun!

I have been woefully remiss about writing here over this past week or two.  However, I do have a good explanation – I arrived back at Christendom College and have just completed my first week of classes.  Because my brain is so exhausted after a long summer of little mental stimulus and now sudden bombardments of complicated philosophical reasoning, I have no ability to concoct an intelligent article or essay.

On the first day of class, when we get our syllabi, each professor generally provides a course goal, description, objectives, etc.  These serve as a thesis statement, essentially, for the rest of the semester.  Therefore, I thought that it might be amusing for you, my readers, to see what I will (hopefully!) be learning over the next few months.  Also, I have included the texts that we are using for each class.

Philosophy 201: Ethics

Required TextsBasic Works of Aristotle

Course Goal: To gain a better understanding of the end of human life and of what is involved in human moral b…