Evil times, getting more evil. Someone who tried to actually do something. May the Lord reward his brave servant, George Neumayr.
Grant, O Lord! that we may now celebrate this the Day of thy Birth, which today’s Solemnity brings round to us. This Day is like thyself—it is the friend of mankind. It comes to us in its regular course, visiting us each year. It grows old with the old; it is young and fresh with little children. We remember when we were young, how it came and passed away; and here it is again, faithful as ever in its welcome visit. It knows that nature could not do without it; here again like to thee, it comes in search of our fallen race. The whole earth thirsts after thy Birth-Day, O Jesus! It stands, as it were, between the past and the future, commanding all ages, as Thou dost. It is one, and yet it multiplies itself, as Thou dost. And since we behold thy past Birth-Day in this present Feast, make the two resemble each other in this also—that as thy Birth-Day brought Peace between heaven and earth, when the infinitely High God descended to this low earth; so may this solemnity signify and give us Peace … And truly, if every day of the year be rich in thy gifts, how much more ought not this to overflow with them?St. Ephrem
A very merry, and a very blessed, Christmas to you all! Christ Our Savior is born!
A repost tradition, from Dan England and the Noonday Devil, by the late, great Myles Connelly. In this depraved age, yet in this still-beautiful time, while God yet offers us His Mercy, we are all travelers in the strange, cold, dead world of modernity. Followers of Him Who is all the world:
There would be tea brewing on the stove in the kitchen. The coals would show red with thin blue flames where one of the stove covers had been tilted. Then, there would be a candle, perhaps two, for there could only be candles on Christmas Eve. They would be burned down pretty low now, it being after eleven o’clock when he would reach home. About ten minutes past eleven, he always reached home. His stamping the snow off his shoes on the steps outside would be the signal for the handful of tea to be dropped into the pot. There would be candles in the next room, too, the dining room they called it. And then beyond that, another candle or two. Always candles on Christmas Eve. Not many candles. A few candles, but good candles special for the vigil. They would spear the dark with steady yellow flames, and make long, rich shadows on the walls and on the pictures on the walls. The ceiling would be lighted without shadows.
There were never shadows like these Christmas Eve candle shadows. They gave mystery to the house, and a soft strangeness that you never found on any other night.
The Boy would throw his hat and coat on the chair by the kitchen stove. Then, he would go on through the dining room, as they called it, into the other room. She would meet him, as she got up from the floor where she would be setting out the presents before the tiny crib. Her knees would be stiff, he knew, and her poor body tired, but she would get up with her white face happy in spite of its whiteness, and her always bright eyes brighter, and she would turn to him for a glance of appreciative pleasure. He knew she would look for that, though she had made the house clean, had washed and mended the old lace curtains, had scrubbed the floors–hadn’t he noticed the kitchen floor, white with the grain showing?– had swept and dusted not so much for his pleasure this night, but because God was coming. But she would look to see if he were happy. He would scowl. It was defensive, or perverse. But he would scowl, and while he scowled he would notice how white her hair showed on the side that caught the light of the candles.
“My poor boy is tired,” she would say.
Then he could hold the scowl no longer. He would say:
“Ma, the crib is beautiful.”
Then he would get down on his knees beside it. There would be a little red sanctuary lamp on the floor before it, with the white wick floating in oil. At twelve o’clock the lamp would be lighted. If you should happen into the room–the parlor they called it– in the early hours when the candles would be out, you would see only this, the red lamp with its tiny light flickering. It would cast a spell over you, this unsteady small light showing red on the floor beneath you. You would stand there and look at it, unstirring, unthinking, for minutes.
So, the Boy would get down on his knees beside the crib. It would be the same little crib they had last Christmas, and the Christmas before that. There would be the little imitation thatch shed, open in front. Outside, would be three shepherds with two sheep, kneeling. Inside, would be St. Joseph with his brown cloak and white beard and our Mother with her blue dress. In back would be the ox and the ass, the ox with his head low. And in the center, on a few wisps of hay– real hay that the peddler fed his horse–would be the tiny figure of Him who was all the world.
He would kneel there, before the shed that was not a foot high, and move the figures about a bit. He always liked to have the ox and ass close to the crib. Then, he would study the presents, laid out before the crib as tenderly as the Wise Men must have laid out their gifts. They would still be in their boxes. He would not touch them, not until daybreak. Then, they would all stop for a swift minute on their way out to Mass.
Afterward, after Mass and Communion, they, with their glass of water drunk but not yet with breakfast, would strew the floor with red strings and wrapping paper and boxes. How much colorful rubbish a few little things could make! For there were but a few things before the crib: a fountain pen, a tie, two books, a box of handkerchiefs… He could recognize everything from their boxes, thin square boxes for handkerchiefs, long boxes for gloves and ties. . . . But he knew, anyway. He and his mother had conspired together for the family. He had his gifts, too. But they would not be put out until he was safely in bed….
Then, she would call from the kitchen. He had better hurry. It was getting close on midnight. So he would have his cup of tea, and a slice of brown-crusted white bread that had come from the oven that afternoon. And maybe a piece of the fruit cake, the rich, dark fruit cake heavy with spice and raisins that was always in the house on Christmas Eve. She would have her cup of tea with the cream– for they would use the cream tonight– showing brown gold on top. But she would have only tea for it was the vigil of Christmas.
That would be beautiful. He would tell her all that had happened at work. How old Nelson was worried because his little girl was ill, and it was Christmas Eve. How the yardmaster who cursed constantly was quiet today, and swore only when he was mad. How Big Mike had gone down to St. Mary’s to confession with him, and how the church was crowded. Everything, everything. . . .
And then he would empty his pockets of all his money, including the gold piece the firm had given him for Christmas. That would be his supreme moment– to give over every dollar, every cent. He had been doing that so long now but it never, for some strange reason, failed to make him gulp with happiness. Hadn’t they bought the piano together, his mother and he, the upright piano with the green covering that came with it? Hadn’t thy bought the new heavy rug for the parlor, the two of them, conspiring this way? Weren’t they saving now to buy the house?– the house out of town a little distance, the house with a garden, quiet, but near the church.
How happily she would look at him. How proudly. And he would drain his teacup so that he could hold the cup high and hide his eyes, his moist eyes. . . .
That would be beautiful, beautiful.
“Pray for those poor souls who have no home on Christmas Eve,” she would say, as always she had said.
And the Boy would pray.
The Pullman porter gave a quick turn to the Young Man’s chair. The Young Man who had been dozing sat up abruptly.
“Grand Central, suh.”
The porter was holding his overcoat.
The Young Man was dazed.
Wasn’t there tea brewing, and a red fire showing where the stove corner had been tilted? And across from him. . . .
Across from him was a row of Pullman chairs. Empty, of course. Who else but a harried reporter would be traveling thus into New York at eleven o’clock on Christmas Eve?
The porter took his tip and was gone. The Young Man made his way hazily out into the station.
And there were candles, one or two that spotted the room with yellow flames and threw long shadows. . . .
“Reservation?” asked the room clerk in the hotel.
The Young Man nodded and wrote his name. A tall bald-headed man in a dinner jacket staggered across the heavily ornate hotel lobby. Two gaudy young women tittered.
Candles, a few candles. . . .
A thin, small, ageless bellboy, in blue uniform and silver braid, appeared mechanically. He took his bags and led the way to the elevator.
And she was there, rising from the crib on the floor. How white her hair showed where it caught the light of the candles. . . .
“The heat on, sir?” The bellboy was turning the valve on the radiator. The steam began to pound through the pipes.
The Young Man moved to the window. Twenty stories below him the city was stirring out of its newly laid cover of snow. Even in the dark, the roofs were white, the cornices and window ledges were white. Far, far down, the streets were white, white spotted with black, streaked with black.
“Looks like a white Christmas.”
The bellboy spoke impatiently. The Young Man gave him his tip. He banged the door as he left.
The Young Man turned back to the window.
It was the same little crib with its imitation thatch, and the few wisps of hay– real hay the peddler fed his horse. . . .
The Young Man looked down. Everywhere there were lights, ragged lights, pointed lights, clustered lights, solitary lights, white, red, yellow lights. But the Young Man did not see. He drew the shade and turned from the window.
And there was St. Joseph in his brown cloak and our Lady in her blue dress and the tiny figure of Him who was all the world. . . .
The Young Man still had on his overcoat. Under the mirror of the dresser was a collar button of a former guest which the maid, in her cleaning, had missed. He fixed his eyes on it but did not see. He was without heart and his mind whirred. Where, he was asking himself dazedly, where in this world’s maze of people and places, where in this wilderness of stars and philosophies, where is Home?
Hadn’t they bought the piano together, and the rug….
The Young Man threw himself on the bed.
“Dear Jesus! Dear Mother of God!”
His sobbing filled his cell in the mountain of earth and steel, glass and stone.
“Dear Mother of God!”
And she would say, “Pray for those poor souls who have no home on Christmas Eve…”
“Dear Jesus!” He sobbed.
The while midnight came, and with it Christmas.
One of our smaller celebrations as two children are away and other family have other plans. Heck, we had a bigger feast during the plandemic.
But, as always, and despite King Lincoln’s role in the creation of the occasion generally, we are very thankful to Our Lord for all His blessings to us. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.
Blessed All Souls Day to you dear readers, and to your families, living or dead. Every year at this time the Church offers very easy ways to earn plenary indulgences for the faithful departed by way of suffrage. I encourage you to try to obtain as many indulgences for the poor souls as possible, but at least one attempt would seem a minimal effort. There are many places to find the details but I just so happened to lift this from the SSPX website:
How to Gain Indulgences?
A brief outline on how to obtain a Plenary Indulgence and the particular acts to perform to gain an indulgence for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
Six General rules for obtaining a Plenary Indulgence:
State of grace at least when performing the indulgenced act
Complete detachment from sin, even venial sin
Confession (20 days before or after the indulgenced act)
Communion (20 days before or after the indulgenced act)
Prayers for the Supreme Pontiff (20 days before or after the indulgenced act)
Indulgenced act: a special good work with special conditions of place and time
Indulgenced acts to be performed for obtaining a Plenary Indulgence for the Poor Souls of Purgatory:
From November 1 to 8: visit of a cemetery with mental prayer for the poor souls.
On November 2: visit of a church or an oratory with one Our Father and one Creed being recited.
On these days, a partial indulgence can be obtained any time by visiting a cemetery and praying for the Poor Souls.
The following prayer is especially recommended:
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace. Amen. Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.
Now the following is old school, and I am not here to discuss the canonical question of the old formulation of indulgences. But as I remembered that in the past there was a concept of indulgences for the dead during this time that superseded the usual rule that only one plenary indulgence can be gained in any day, I add the following lines. This was called the Toties Quoties Indulgence, because this plenary indulgence for the poor soulds could be earned as many times during the period as one could do the indulgenced act. I remember Evelyn Waugh described one of his characters earning several Toties Quoties indulgences–I don’t remember if it were in Brideshead Revisited or, more likely, Sword of Honour. Read both by all means, many times. Anyway, I lifted the description below from a sede site, so I won’t link it. It has all the marks of old school formulation– don’t let it make you scrupulous, but more prayers for the dead equals more better, as they say.
TOTIES QUOTIES INDULGENCE:
October 27, 2018
Beginning on, November 1 st , at noon and continuing to Midnight, November 2 nd , the Catholic faithful, as often as they visit a church to pray for the dead, reciting 6 times during the visit the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be for the intentions of Holy Mother Church, may gain: A plenary indulgence applicable only to the souls in Purgatory. This indulgence may also be gained from noon of the following Saturday until Sunday Midnight, but only by those who did not gain the indulgence on All Souls’ Day (Raccolta #590).
The faithful who during the period of eight days from the commemoration of All Souls inclusive, visit a cemetery in a spirit of piety and devotion and pray, even mentally for the dead, may gain: A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions on each day of the octave, applicable only to the faithful departed. Those souls who make such a visit, and pray for the Holy Souls, on any day in the year, may gain: An indulgence of 7 years, applicable only to the departed (Raccolta #592).
The faithful who recite prayers or perform other devout exercises in supplication for the faithful departed during the month of November, may gain: An indulgence of 3 years once each day; a plenary indulgence on the usual conditions at the end of their 7 or 9 days of prayer (Raccolta #589).
Those who, during the aforesaid month, take part in public services held in a church or public oratory in intercession for the faithful departed may gain: An indulgence of 7 years on each day of the month; A plenary indulgence, if they attend these exercises on at least fifteen days, and in
addition go to confession, receive Holy Communion and pray for the intentions of Holy Mother Church (Raccolta # 589).
The faithful who devoutly offer prayers at any season of the year in intercession for the souls of the faithful departed, with the intention of so continuing for seven or nine successive days, may obtain: An indulgence of 3 years once each day; A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions at the end of their seven or nine days of prayer (Raccolta #588).
All Masses that are celebrated at any altar by any priest within the period of eight days from the commemoration of All Souls inclusive, enjoy the same privilege as if they were offered on a irivileged altar, but only in favor of the soul for whom they are applied (Raccolta #591).
CONDITIONS FOR GAINING AN INDULGENCE
To gain any indulgence, one must:
Be in the state of grace.
Have the intention to gain the indulgence.
Perform the work required .
In addition, if it is a question of a Plenary indulgence, one must:
Have true sorrow for all one’s sins.
Go to confession and receive Holy Communion
Pray one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be for the intentions of Holy Mother the Church.
Make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament
REMEMBER: You must move your lips during your prayers.
That last sentence calls to mind many conversations with the legendary Canon Lawyer X.
Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. Amen. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.
Have a great day!
Hello everyone, it’s your friendly absentee blogger checking in again. I’m just in time for belated-yet-timely Pentecost greetings. Belated, because the feast was yesterday. Timely, because it has an Octave (in the real calendar) and we’re in early days.
Personally, I have struggled just a bit during Lent and Easter. Nothing dramatic– I’m not Skojec-ing here. I don’t know about you, but the absolute slow-walking destruction of Western Civilization and the institutional Church causes me some spiritual difficulties. Not that I am losing my faith in the Church– far from it. Thanks be to God, it has not waivered. As I’ve written about before, Unam Sanctam is still in effect, and outside of the Church there is no salvation. No, I love the Church and am grateful for my blessings. Seeing her passion should make every Catholic angry, and at the same time filled with contrition for the personal sins we have committed that assist the Church’s enemies in a mystical way at the very least. We cannot say that as a Church, a country or a child of God we do not deserve punishment, whether by horrible pope or antipope or other means.
No, for me the struggle is a kind of spiritual lethargy, which many feel. There is only one thing to do about it. Fight on. Never give up. Every day is a spiritual battle, and no matter whether we win the day or lose it, tomorrow will be yet another battle. I am reminded of the exchange between Gabriel Syme and Sunday in The Man Who Was Thursday:
You are the new recruit? All right, you are engaged.”
“I really have no experience…”
“No one has any experience of the battle of Armageddon.”
“But I’m really unfit…”
“You are willing, that is enough.”
“Now, really, I know of no occupation for which mere willingness is the final test.”
“I do. Martyrs. I am sending you to your death. Good day.”
Lots of truth in that. And so we press on. I am just back from a very beneficial retreat, during which His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke gave a talk. During question time, he laid out a very helpful, true and effective plan of action: Be ready to suffer. Offer up your suffering. Unite it with the Sacrifice of Christ. Love the Church. Suffer for the Church.
That I can do. To help you suffer, I will, among other things, try to reengage in this space. Let’s fight on. If all I have is a slingshot, I’ll use it.
I pray we live and suffer with Christian charity and joy.
Today is the feast of the great patron saint of lawyers, St. Ives (Rendered also as Yves, Ivo). My son is graduated from law school today, fittingly enough, so here comes one more lawyer upon the world. Just what we need— assuming he follows the pattern of his patron.
Sanctus Yvo, erat Brito, Advocatus et non latro, Res miranda populo.
St. Ives, pray for us!
May Our Blessed Mother bless you all