Monthly Archives: December 2022

His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI: Updated

My wife just woke me with the news. He has died.

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.

*update 1: Today is the feast of Pope St. Sylvester I. Sylvester was pope during the initial freedom enjoyed by the Church under Constantine. His pontificate saw the dedication of the Lateran Basilica as well as St. Peter’s.

*update 2: This morning I attended a baptism in the same church that saw the funeral for the late Fr. Malachi Martin. Martin more or less foretold much of what is going on today.

Martin’s earthly remains rested here.

Over at St. Louis Catholic’s blog, the same realization I (and probably others) had this morning. This is the feast of St. Sylvester, pope and martyr. Sylvester was the regnal name of the last pope in Robert Hugh Benson’s Lord of the World. Read it.

Musings on Endings

Today is the Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas. At the oratory where I attended Mass this morning the priest announced prior to Mass that he would be saying the Mass for Sunday within the Octave as it is a feria and that Mass (Sunday) will not be said in deference to the Mass of the Circumcision of the Lord this year. That rustling sound you just heard was Harvey hurriedly flipping the ribbons in his missal.

Pray for Pope Benedict XVI Ratzinger. In the past few days I have begun to realize that the term “sedevacantist” might soon apply to me – not in the perjorative way foisted upon me and others who recognize, as I do, the total invalidity of the events of February and March of 2013, but in the actual sense. As in, there might soon be no pope. As there have been periods of sedevacant before, I am not worried. Our Lord is in control.

As I left Mass, thinking these thoughts, I noticed that the servers were setting up for a funeral. Death comes to us all. Are you prepared? Am I? Stay confessed, but more importantly, live your life at the foot of the cross! this way it won’t come as a shock when you find yourself there being judged by the One hanging from its magnificent wood.

I received a beautiful email from a reader today. A young child for whom I had been praying for a miracle in my St. Rita novena went home from the hospital today. Praised be Jesus Christ! Please continue to send me any intentions. I am nothing in this chain but a poor sinner who has received far more than I deserve. I promised to make known the favor of God’s saint and His miracles and this is what I try to do.

Later in the day I went to see my twin sister’s grave. This cemetery is a beautiful place. My sister and I drove around a bit, stopping to check out older sections of the place. It is located on a ridge overlooking Manhattan. This same sister, so many years ago, chose the site of our family plot at a time when we needed to purchase a grave immediately. No one plans for the deaths of small children. She selected the site because from the top of the hill, one could see the Twin Towers. My mother is a native Manhattanite. There was also a beautiful shade tree growing over the back of the grave. Beyond the city, one could look out toward the east, toward Ireland and Scotland and England, where our people had come from. In 2001, the cemetery workers cut down the tree and the Towers, well, we know what happened to them.

I mention the Trade Center because one of the sections we stopped at was filled with 9-11 dead. Yes, we are that close. There’s a memorial (I think it’s tacky but that’s just me – see below) and then rows of headstones. There are police officers and firemen buried here who died that morning.

Here is one example. I have not blacked out the name because I think prayers for his soul are important. RIP, Mr. Finnerty. I presume the last line refers to his body, like so many others that day, never having been recovered.

Also in this cemetery are some examples of truly beautiful works of art in the form of headstones and monuments from an era when the faith was alive and symbolized in design.

The Holy Family
The Sacred and Immaculate Hearts

On this next-to-last day of the year, when the pope may be dying, when a baby was healed, when the specter of death looms large but reminders of God’s love and mercy are still to be found; I found myself meditating on the words “You know not the day nor the hour.”

9-11 Memorial in the cemetery.

But anything can happen.

Pray, fast, stay confessed.

Queen of Heaven, pray for us!

Fifth Day in the Octave: Tammy Wynette?

For this fifth day of Christmas, following on my travel day, I decided finally to rest.

And then someone turned on a four-part series about George Jones and Tammy Wynette. Apart from Jones truly resembling a possum, we are told to believe this is a true story. And if it is true…

These people are the worst people I have ever encountered. What a bunch of amoral narcissist whores! Stand by your man? In one early scene, Tammy and George grab Tammy’s kids in front of Tammy’s husband and hit the road because, you know, happiness or something. I walked away for a while and just returned to find Tammy committing insurance fraud to score opioids.

What a shock when they divorced. Not.

In fact, it appears their life resembles every bad cliche of country music itself.

Dear Lord, now she’s singing about how she’ll just keep on “falling in love until she gets it right”. She should probably master rounding her vowel sounds first.

But I got to see my newest great-nephew today who is all of six days old; so the day hasn’t been a total loss. He’s beautiful.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little diversion from the Ratzinger deathwatch.

Merry Christmas!

Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us!

The Holy Innocents and a Flyover

Tonight, dear friends, I traveled to the Fatherland – Nova Caesaria.

This morning I went to Mass for the Fourth Day in the Christmas Octave and the Feast of the Holy Innocents. These were the baby boys slaughtered ruthlessly by Herod out of blind rage and jealousy. They are called Martyrs by the Church. We sang the Coventry Carol after the Leonine prayers. Rachel weeps…

In my travels, I glanced out the window and from about 700 feet I noticed, in the dark, a most familiar sight as we were landing. It is the cemetery wherein my twin sister is buried along with two brothers who died at the same time, as children. There are others in the plot. Two other brothers who died as adults, and my dad. But there are also a niece and a great-nephew (practically babies). There’s also a rando in there. Don’t ask.

That dark polygon is the cemetery at night.

The death of a child certainly teaches one many lessons about the faith. Perhaps one day I will share some of those lessons. But for now, on this fourth day of Christmas, I was happy that God saw fit to fly me over the twin’s grave. I waved from the air. Tomorrow I shall go lay flowers and wish her a Merry Christmas in person.

Mother of Sorrows, pray for us!

Christmas Continues: St. John and the Third Day in the Octave

Boy this week keeps getting better! In the blurb in my missal this morning I read the following:

“St. John is the virgin Apostle, crowned with the halo of those who know how to conquer their flesh; for this reason, he became ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved.’ Thanks to his angelic purity, he imbibed that wholesome wisdom of which the Epistle of the Mass speaks and which has given to him the halo of the Doctors. Finally he received the crown of the Martyrs, since he barely escaped a violent death…”

There you have it, folks. He knew how to conquer the flesh and Jesus loved him.

I suspect not a few of us in this movement still need to work on this. We need to work on it as if our lives depended upon it because they actually do. Our whole life must be about subjugating the appetites to the will of God, starting with the appetites of the flesh – be they food, drink, or anger, or lust. Learn from St. John.

Fr. Dave Nix had a piece last week wherein he offered the advice of St. Alphonsus Liguori that frequently making the sign of the cross is an invaluable aid. I began incorporating this practice in my daily life, especially when passing the crucifixes hanging in my house, and noticed an immediate difference. One cannot help but be drawn to pause for a moment and dwell on the mystery of the Trinity and the power of the Cross.

I leave you with a meme. Completely unrelated, I know, but a friend sent this along to me and I just love it. With a nod to Miss B. who faithfully shares all the best memes every week. What would we do without her?

Bring it.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

St. John the Beloved, pray for us!

The French Connection

I have always found these days after Christmas to be among the most peaceful of the year. I heard it described once as the week where we lose all track of time. I like to continue the celebration of Christmas Day throughout the week. I also like to catch up on some much needed sleep. Unfortunately for me, that rarely happens.

On Christmas Eve, I began my day at 6AM as I do most days with the first recitation of the Angelus. Some mornings I go back to bed for a while but most mornings I putz around, drinking my coffee, saying my prayers, and catching up on the news of the day before beginning any real work. On this day, I didn’t get a chance to be lazy. First it was off to Mass for the Vigil of Christmas, then breakfast, a trip to the cemetery, and some last minute shopping. In fact I wrote about these plans two nights ago. It’s all in the post.

That day ended on the highest of notes. We got to the church at 10 to get a seat for the midnight Mass. We need a new church but in the current climate, the Argentine’s wily ways seem to be putting a damper on those plans. Nonetheless, four hours and fifteen minutes later, we headed home and this dog got to lie down and sleep until…

6:30 Christmas morning: my teenage daughter, who should know better, bounded into my bedroom excitedly saying something about opening presents and blah blah blah. She could have at least brought me some coffee. The fun of the morning and the presents over, my wife and I spent the day doing something we do best and which has always bonded us together. We entertained. We prepared a sit-down dinner for 30. I’d go over the menu but it’s really not important. OK, it was beef tenderloin, crab cakes, mushroom and sherry bisque. Simple fare.

My point in all this is that I did not get to bed that night until 1:30. I need sleep. And I got some, not all, but some of the slumber I desired. I said once long ago that God knows what we want and occasionally, if we let Him, He denies us those things to help us shorten our Purgatory. For me it’s sleep. I really enjoy a good snooze. Since becoming a dad lo these many years ago now I have gotten less and less of it. I understand there’s plenty of time to sleep when I’m dead. As long as I still have coffee, I can win this battle.

This morning – the feast of St. Stephen, Second Day in the Octave of Christmas, I slept a little extra. Praised be Jesus Christ!

And where’s that French connection of which I spoke?

Ah yes! I went to confession this morning at a church I do not usually attend. On my way out I stopped to look at the Stations of the Cross and noticed they were in the lingua Franca. Seems the church was originally staffed by Vincentian Fathers.

Here are some of the pictures I took. Let’s see what fun things the rest of the week brings and until next time, I pray the peace of the Newborn King be with you.

Merry Christmas!

To all who read this blog, I wish you and your families the merriest of Christmases!