My travels have brought me to a point where I have many things to say but no common theme to connect them. I sort of long for a fast-paced news cycle wherein I could write out of necessity because there would be so much to discuss. But alas, you’re stuck with my ramblings for another day. And so…
First up, I’d like you all to consider signing up for a course. I am a huge fan of Miss Ann Barnhardt’s work. Through her I first heard Dr. Ed Mazza. Dr. Mazza is a scholar and a gentleman (and pretty funny to boot). I must state that although I do not know him personally, I have corresponded with him several times and he has always been scholarly, gentlemanly, and, yes, funny in our exchanges. Last year I took one of his online courses called Advent and the Antipopes. It was well worth the cost. Dr. Mazza is about to run another course. This one is called Romans, Christians, Barbarians! It is a seven week mini-course. Follow this link to sign up and you will not regret it.
Next up, I’d like to share a song with you. On our last driving day (Tuesday, where I drove the family from Greenville, SC to Northern Virginia), there came a moment when my wife brought up a very happy memory. There was a lull in the conversation and the music I was listening to had stopped. My wife asked our now-13 year-old daughter if she remembered the song Liza Jane. Liza Jane is an old American folk tune. I first heard it in 2014 during a production of a play about the history of Texas and was captivated by the melody enough to download the first version I found. That version happened to be a recording of jazz legend Nina Simone from the Newport Jazz Festival. At the time our daughter was 5 years-old. From the back seat she, having memorized the song quickly (amazing how kids do that), would belt out the lyrics with all the soul of an old black woman. I played the song the other night. It all came back to her. And it was priceless. Ah, when music was good… I’ll embed it below.
The Canons Regular
Finally, I will share with you the amazing blessing of my life on the road and my commitment to the daily Latin Mass. Most of you know by now that finding a Latin Mass even in whatever hometown you might be in is hard enough. I am truly blessed that the largest TLM parish in the world is in my backyard. Our priests are good and holy men (we have four of them full time) and the Mass and sacraments schedule is seemingly round-the-clock. So when we travel, it is a cause of concern to me. At the end of the day, if I knew I couldn’t get to one, I’d forego the trip. But the Blessed Mother has been good to me. I asked her to help me and she has. She has seen fit to bring me to her Son every day. I really do believe that sometimes you just have to ask and to mean it. Trust me, I’m the worst of the worst sinners. She’s not doing it on my account, but because I asked her to bring me to Him Whom she bore. So far, every single day on my trip I have been to Mass in the ancient rite. Going to Mass on the feast of St. Rita and knowing that it was the Mass she herself worshipped at was something else. Anyway, where I am right no (and for the next few days, Northern Virginia) is a challenge. The bishop has instructed the priests of the diocese not to publicize Mass times for the TLM on their websites. Keep in mind that the number of locations for the TLM has been reduced down to almost nothing. There is an SSPX chapel nearby and I would gladly go there but I do not believe they have weekday Masses. Perhaps someone in the readership can email me and tell me I’m wrong.
Regardless, there is a Mass on weekdays about 25 minutes from here at 7:15 AM. Yesterday morning, on exactly four hours of sleep, I awoke at 5:59 and hit whatever passes for a snooze button on my iPhone. I went back to bed for what felt like an hour. I woke up again and proceeded to go to the kitchen for my coffee, thinking the whole time that I had missed Mass. I was a bit crestfallen. While pouring the water into the coffee pot I heard my alarm go off again. “That’s odd,” I thought. “Why’s it going off again?” I went back to the bedroom to discover that the additional hour of sleep I had gained was, in reality, only an additional two minutes and my 6:01 alarm was now going off. Needless to say I did a little happy dance; but not too happy – wouldn’t want to break any toes and I was barefooted. It’s happened before, especially without my morning java. Anyway, I got to Mass. Yay!
But this morning was different. I asked my guardian angel to pull the covers off, figuratively speaking, at the right time and to nudge me out of bed so I could get to Mass again. Unfortunately, I didn’t open my eyes until 9:00. Now I really was sad. But just then, almost as if he was whispering it in my ear, I remembered something from a year or two ago and another trip where I passed through these parts. There is a small church in Charles Town, West Virginia – about an hour away from where I am – staffed by the Canons Regular of New Jerusalem. I’ve studied the Catholic faith my entire life and I still couldn’t adequately tell you what a canon regular is. What I know is that I looked at the clock and realized that today, I would be taking a drive into the eastern panhandle of the Mountain State.
And that’s what I did. The scenery was beautiful driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains. I had ample time to pray for 15 decades, all my novena, and even to reflect on the love of the Blessed Mother for her children on earth. So the next time your plans seemingly go awry, reach out to her in prayers and ask if there isn’t some other way. I’m pretty sure that she who can obtain pretty much anything she wants from her Son would be only too happy to help you find Him in the sacrifice of the altar. Perhaps she will even help you find Him in the other areas of your life. As for me, I’ve got several more weeks of travel ahead of me and I have no doubt that she will help me keep my pledge to Him. And for that I am most humbly grateful.
Our Lady, Mother of the Church, pray for us!