Saturday 10 March 2007

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes...

This snippet from Orthometer is another priceless little gem:

I was testing the children in my Sunday school class to see if they understood the concept of getting to heaven. I asked them, "If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into Heaven?" "NO!" the children answered.

"If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me into Heaven?" Again, the answer was, "NO!" By now I was starting to smile.

Hey, this was fun! "Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children, and loved my husband, would that get me into Heaven?" I asked them again. Again, they all answered, "NO!" I was just bursting with pride for them.

"Well," I continued, "Then how can I get into Heaven?" A five-year-old boy shouted out, "YOU GOTTA BE DEAD."

Kids, gotta love 'em.

Sin And The Tablet...

No, believe it or not, the sin is not reading the awful rag... apparently, The Tablet considers denial of global warming to be akin to mortal sin...

...resulting in a different sort of warming, should one happen to die while professing such denial.

Hmmmn. Denial of global warming will send you to hell. Denial of the teachings of the Church, however, is perfectly acceptable....

Mantilla-twitch in the direction of the Hermeneutic of Continuity.

Friday 9 March 2007

Guardian Angel From Heaven So Bright

This isn't in any hymn book I have come across. It is just so beautiful: we had it at the Confirmation Mass as a second Communion hymn. I think it should be more widely known, and so, in honour of my own Guardian Angel (who is probably white-haired and popping valium under the stress and strain of looking out for me) I'm going to share!

Guardian Angel from Heaven so bright,
watching beside me to lead me aright,
fold thy wings round me, O guard me with love,
softly sing songs to me of Heav'n above.

Beautiful Angel, my guardian so mild,
tenderly guide me, for I am thy child.

Angel so holy whom God sends to me -
sinful and lowly - my guardian to be,
wilt thou not cherish the child of thy care?
Let me not perish - my trust is thy care.

Beautiful Angel...

O may I never forget thou art near;
but keep me ever, in love and in fear.
Waking and sleeping, in labour and rest,
in thy sweet keeping my life shall be blessed.

Beautiful Angel...

More About The Confirmation Mass

A comment from Augustinus indicated that he enjoyed hearing all the little details of our Confirmation Mass on Thursday night. I was a little tired, and so I had only given some edited highlights... ...and so now I shall fill in a few more details!

In addition to the three hymns already mentioned, we also sang "Come Holy Ghost, Creator come" and the choir sang it again in Latin (Veni, Creator Spiritus) during the actual Confirmations. We sang "Holy Spirit, Lord of light" and "O bread of heaven" and there were a couple more chants and motets sung by the choir.

Until the Mass, I didn't know how many verses there were to "O purest of creatures." As Augustinus said, most hymn books only have a few... I'm not sure how Fr. Tim managed to get the others... but next year we might end up singing a few more!! In the meantime, feast your eyes:

O purest of creatures! Sweet mother, sweet maid;
the one spotless womb wherein Jesus was laid.
Dark night hath come down on us, Mother, and we
look out for thy shining, sweet Star of the Sea.

Deep night hath come down on this rough-spoken world,
and the banners of darkness are boldly unfurled;
and the tempest-tossed Church - all her eyes are on thee;
they look to thy shining, sweet Star of the Sea.

He gazed on thy soul; it was spotless and fair;
for the empire of sin - it had never been there;
none ever had owned thee, dear Mother, but he,
and he blessed thy clear shining, sweet Star of the Sea.

Earth gave him one lodging; 'twas deep in thy breast,
and God found a home where the sinner finds rest;
his home and his hiding-place both were in thee;
he was won by thy shining, sweet Star of the Sea.

Oh, blissful and calm was the wonderful rest
that thou gavest thy God in thy virginal breast;
for the heaven he left he found heaven in thee
and he shone in thy shining, sweet Star of the Sea.

So worship we God in these rude latter days;
so worship we Jesus, our Love, when we praise
his wonderful grace in the gifts he gave thee,
the gift of clear shining, sweet Star of the Sea.

Deep night hath come down on us, Mother, deep night,
and we need more than ever the guide of thy light;
for the darker the night is, the brighter should be
thy beautiful shining, sweet Star of the Sea.

One For The Boys...


The Hole - video powered by Metacafe

Mantilla-twitch to Aggie Catholic

Weird & Wonderful Warnings

Truth is definitely stranger than fiction. The Age of Litigation has resulted in some really weird warnings being seen on various products...

...such as "Caution! May be hot!" on the outside of a coffee cup in McDonalds;

And, "Caution! Contains nuts!" on a packet of dry-roasted peanuts!

But the weirdest warning has got to be the one on Dadwithnoisykids's medication for his dizzy spells...

"May cause dizziness!"

Go and have a look if you don't believe me!

"This Is Your Well-Wicked Queen Speaking..."

If this is true, then it's priceless. I hadn't spotted it in the English news, but that's hardly surprising as I generally try to avoid the British media as I would a dose of the plague... blogs are much more fun!

Anyway, Fox News is running with it.

The Queen, in common with many older people, apparently finds modern technology a tad tricky. So, just like countless parents and grandparents, she got a couple of youngsters to sort out her voicemail message...

Princes William and Harry were happy to help their grandmother... but decided to jazz the message up a little!

"Hey, wassup!" their message said. "This is Liz. Sorry I'm away from the throne. For a hotline to Philip, press one. For Charles, press two," the recording continued. "And for the corgis, press three."

The Queen apparently saw the funny side later when she thought about which VIPs might have heard the message.

I just want to know if anyone took up the corgi option...

Twitch of the mantilla to Red Neck Woman.

Cracking The Code

Looks like the next two instalments (Part 5 and Part 6) of The Gargoyle Code are up and decoded on Fr Dwight's blog.

If you missed Parts 1-4 you can access them through my previous post.

Thursday 8 March 2007

A Quiet Day's Blogging

I haven't done much blogging today... I've been rather busy helping with our parish Confirmation Mass this evening. Unfortunately I haven't got any photos - there's a policy against photographs being taken during First Communion and Confirmation Masses... we had just under 40 candidates being confirmed, and 80 or so flashbulbs going off at various points would have spoiled the atmosphere (which was awesome!)

Bishop Pat Lynch presided. Our candidates were fantastic - they were all able to talk knowledgably about their chosen Confirmation-name saints, and the whole ceremony went off without a hitch. We had some fabulous hymns... including seven verses of "O purest of creatures" at the Offertory, the really beautiful and moving "Guardian Angel from heaven so bright" as a second Communion hymn and the rousing "Faith of our fathers" to finish... hey, if you must have hymns, then this is the sort of stuff to go for!!

...and then we finished off with the Apostolic Blessing chanted in Latin... all the youngsters responded enthusiastically, and a surprising number of the congregation joined in too. So Latin is a bar to participation, is it? I think you'll find that it's banal lyrics and tedious tunes that form the real barrier to participation... they're so teeth-achingly awful that no-one wants to join in. Singing such tosh is embarassing, frankly.

We all piled in to the Large Hall afterwards: the bar was open (shame it's Lent...*sigh*) and the UCM had done us proud with a stunning buffet. Fr Tim was busy circulating with his camera, so no doubt one or two of those photos will make an appearance on his blog. All in all, a fantastic evening.

More On Mantillas

I was emailed this blog-post on mantillas, in case I hadn't spotted it. I hadn't. It is an excellent summary of why a woman should wear a mantilla in the presence of Our Lord - pretty much what I've said before, (Mhari seems to have drawn on the same sources I did when looking into the issues surrounding the mantilla) but well-worth revisiting...

Here's a quote I've seen before. It really resonates:

When a woman veils her head she is shielding her heart to be wooed by the love of God in the Blessed Sacrament. This is a mystical ‘country’ that only the Eternal Father may enter. Her veil is like the lighted lamps of the virgins waiting for the Bridegroom, an indication that she is prepared to receive Him at a moment’s notice; an aureole of her spiritual love for the Bridegroom. Wearing the veil is an act of love of God.

It really is an outward sign: both for the wearer and for an observer. It isn't a way of attracting attention - far from it - but it does make me stop and think each time I enter a church. I can't just march straight in; I have to pause on the threshold of God's house while I put on the veil (it doesn't take long - I don't use a mirror or hairpins - just a few seconds to check it's the right way round before it covers my head) and those few seconds are a time of reflection: I enter into the presence of God and leave the world behind.

And then, in church, I can't rush around - I have to move carefully and gently, or the "flying nun" effect creeps in (or, given the absence of hairpins, my veil flies off!!)

Since I started to wear the mantilla, I have only forgotten it twice: once I got to the church porch, and felt that I was missing something, so went back to collect it from the car. The second time I was visiting a priest friend and hadn't expected to go straight into the church from the presbytery (the mantilla was again in the car, but going out to get it would have been awkward) - I felt intensely uncomfortable, almost "undressed," even though I was just being shown around the church.

Mhari says that she feels single women should wear white veils rather than black... for me, I think black is better: for a start, I nearly always wear black clothes, so sticking a white veil on top would really draw attention to me... but really, the important thing is to feel comfortable. If you are toying with the idea of trying a mantilla, I would heartily recommend it.

Wednesday 7 March 2007

Irish Times Online Poll

This is the link for registering your vote and a comment in the Irish Times poll on gay adoption.

Mantilla-twitch to Joee Blogs, who pointed out that, on Tuesday evening, the poll was running at 81 per cent in favour of gay adoption, and 19 per cent against.

Wednesday evening the tide had turned: 31% yes to 69% against.

Blog POWER !

Penance on Fridays

Don't panic, Captain Mainwaring... it's still only Wednesday. But I came across the following rueful post by Fr. Jay of Young Fogeys, and it was just too good to leave until Friday...

It would appear that the traditional Friday Penance (at least in the season of Lent) is taken far more seriously in the USA than it is over here in the UK. Not eating meat on Fridays has all but died out... and, predictably, the emphasis on an "alternative" Friday penance has likewise died a death.

It just goes to show that the outward signs and symbols of our glorious faith really do matter...

Another Back-Of-The-Head Shot

Heheheheh... I think I'm going to start a series of posts on photos taken from behind!

First there was mine:

Followed by the eminent Northern Cleric:

And now, the Holy Father wants to get in on the act:

Liturgy Watch

I missed the ground-breaking institution of the Pontifical Office of Liturgical Police some time in December. However, Paul Cat reports that they have a new parish-based initiative - Liturgy Watch.

One example of the materials to be made available for use in participating parishes:

The "WATCH" sign will be displayed in the parking lots and foyers of all churches participating in the program. It is assumed that the priests in these initial parishes are already celebrating a proper liturgy, so the sign will be more for visiting priests who get the urge to "make it up as they go along."

Mantilla-twitch in the Curt Jester's direction.

More On Sophia

Little Sophia, the seven-year old child I've been posting about is having a really tough time of it. It seems that the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in one of her ventricles has become blocked, causing it to become enlarged. She therefore will probably need another operation.

There is some glimmer of good news - Sophia is sleeping better, she's eating and is able to go for little walks (and seems to have some vision, Deo gratias!)

Thanks to Dominican Idaho for keeping us all updated. He passes messages on to the family, so do pay a visit to the blog and say hello.

Tuesday 6 March 2007

Gargoyle Code News Alert

The Gargoyle Code is being decoded at an ever-increasing rate of knots. It seems that Screwtape's colleague is a devil by the name of Slubgrip, and he is sending advice of a diabolical nature to his junior, who bears the name Hogwart.

Methinks Fr. Dwight is planning to collate all these intercepted transmissions and wangle a book out of it. I shall look forward to its appearance... the meantime, for those of you who may have missed them, you can read the decoded cellphone transmission intercepts one, two, three and four by clicking on the links.

More On Shopping

At the risk of this turning into a really "girly" blog, I just thought I'd put in a bit more about my shopping trip this evening...

In my last post, I mentioned that I had experimented with various products (of a cosmetic nature, I hasten to add!!) over the years. Usually my favourite items are discontinued or "improved" and I have to switch. I was delighted to come across an old favourite...'s the only nail-hardener I've ever found that actually works. I discovered the brand many, many years ago in a small chemist's shop. It was exorbitantly expensive (or so I thought at the time) but the bottle lasted me several years, as it is only supposed to be applied sparingly. Alas, my bottle had run out some time ago, and I was convinced it was no more. So I was really pleased when I found it this evening.

It still comes in tiny bottles, to emphasise the fact that it is to be used sparingly. The photo shows the bottle next to a couple of yale keys, just to give you an idea of how small it is.

Checking the ingredients reveals the secret behind the product's success... formaldehyde ! Yep, I guess that'd do it.

Shopping Spree

In my misguided youth, I indulged in a passion for make-up. The more garish, the better. I painted my nails in different colours (I did show a little restraint... I limited myself to five colours at a time, so that my hands would match), and went through the ghastly coloured mascara phase... if I fluttered my eyelashes, it looked like a flock of budgies taking flight! No make-up counter could be passed without some little item catching my fancy.

Over the years, this experimentation has allowed me to home in on the items which are most useful, and which brands suit me best. My taste in make-up has been refined: I now tend to buy rather expensive brands, but they are of better quality, and last longer. It also helps that I try to look as natural as possible! Unfortunately, the people who are in the business of selling cosmetics need to keep experimenting so that they can shout about how they have the latest "new" product, which is supposedly better than anything they have ever produced before, and definitely superior to whatever the rival companies are producing.

This is an awful pain in the neck for me... I have very, very pale skin (helped by an almost permanent state of anaemia) and time and time again I find that the formulation of foundation or face powder is tweaked by the manufacturers... and then it is too dark for my skin tone! And then I have to experiment again until I find the right shade... only now a mistake can be rather an expensive one! So I am willing to invest plenty of time sitting in front of make-up consultants discussing the merits of this or that formulation. If I can't test it properly, I won't buy it.

This evening I discovered that my favourite shade of face powder has been discontinued. After around half an hour of opening little pots and rubbing powder into my skin, the consultant and I managed to identify a suitable replacement. The palest powder they now have appears to be a Number 08. Number 01 was my original. Number 03 looks like some sort of bronzing powder. I am a little confused, but that's hardly a new state of affairs...

I did say that I have expensive tastes... my single purchase qualified me for a £5 money-off next purchase voucher. As I turned to leave the shop, it suddenly occurred to me that my mascara was nearly dried out, and I could do with another eye-liner pencil... so I turned round and went to the relevant section...

...alas, the purchase of those two small items was expensive enough to qualify me for another £5 money-off voucher... and a free gift...

...the free gift was, naturally enough, a make-up bag... containing an eye-liner pencil and a mascara...


Sylvester Strikes Again !

Okee dokey, I haven't had a cat post so far this week... I decided that I want at least one each week, so if you don't like cats, too bad. Last night Sylvester was making a general nuisance of himself, no doubt recognising that his picture was missing from my blog, so here he is, demanding attention by sitting on the mouse...

What Makes My Readers Tick?

SiteMeter reveals all sorts of fascinating little details. For example, it would seem that just over 8% of my visitors arrive via a search engine, the most popular one being Google (from lots of different countries too!)

A little glance through the search terms used is also entertaining: the most popular phrase is "mulier fortis" (no surprises there - though I apologise if the visitors were actually looking for the phrase in the Bible... it is Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 26:2 A virtuous woman rejoiceth her husband, and shall fulfil the years of his life in peace.)

I also get a lot of searches for mantillas (the wearing of them, what they are, and so on) which is rather encouraging... maybe they're going to make a come-back! I hope so - it is a wonderful sign of respect in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

But the funniest searches which bring visitors to this blog have got to be those which are looking up various hymn lyrics...

...I do feel for the poor souls who are searching for "I saw the sunrise" or "Colours of day" who fetch up here. I mean, I'm not exactly reticent about calling them heretical trash...

So, if you made your way here by accident, expecting to find the words to your favourite hymn, I offer my sincere sympathy. But feel free to explore - you never know, you might come to realise the error of your ways!

Time To Kick Some Catholic Butt

...Or rather, to kick the "Catholic, but..." as in, "I am a Catholic, but I don't let it interfere with my voting intentions / job / life" (or whatever !)

The Catholic Mom of 10 has an excellent post giving the text of an article from a previous Continuity Journal - by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, Arizona.

Just in case you thought you could be a Cafeteria Catholic...

Monday 5 March 2007

The Times They Are A-Changing...

Or rather, the Hermeneutic of Continuity is undergoing a face-lift. Watch this space for developments...

...I still remember the panic which ensued when I first changed my template over, and nothing looked right... and then the panic when I flirted with the idea of changing my comments to Haloscan and the whole of Blogger went down... so I extend my heartfelt commiserations to Fr. Tim...

Crunch Time

Tempus fugit and all that... or, "Isn't time fun when you're having flies?" as one frog said to the other!

Anyway, Lent is marching relentlessly on, and so the time of the annual Chrism Mass demo approaches... Before I get roasted in the combox by anyone unfamiliar with my blog, I hasten to point out that the "demo" to which I refer is actually a group of women who stand outside St. George's Cathedral, Southwark, saying "thank you" to our hard-working and faithful priests. We also hand out little cards...

...and I'm having trouble deciding on the picture for this year's offering. So, shall I use this one:

Or what about this one?

Preferences (or other suggestions) in the combox please.

UPDATE: Stephen Wikner suggested the following as an alternative...

Urghhh !

Ouch... I am suffering from toothache. It is not excruciating enough (yet) to warrant a visit to the dentist, but it is bad enough to make me hit the ibuprofen and prop a hot-water bottle on my shoulder...

I think my Lenten chocolate-substitute (toffee) is going to have to be ditched (I suspect that's what triggered the episode in the first place!)

Hmmmn. Ever feel that your Guardian Angel is trying to tell you something?

The Gargoyle Code Unravels Further

Another snippet of the Gargoyle Code has been un-encrypted... an entertaining and salutary warning on the possible spiritual pitfalls associated with Lenten fasting!

At least I am unlikely to fall foul of this one (I succumbed to the idea of taking Sundays "off"!!)


Sophia is making slow but steady progress - she is back out of Intensive Care. She sounds like the sweetest little girl - I was especially touched to read that, when her feeding tube was removed and she had her first proper food, she stopped to say grace (something I often forget!)

Keep the prayers coming, and check up on her progress HERE.

Sunday 4 March 2007

And Just Before I Call It A Night...

...I see that a certain blogging cleric has been awarded "Priest of the Week" for March 4th !

The "Priest of the Week" Site is run by the noisyparishawards team to put the spotlight on our hardworking, devout and faithful Priests at work in the vineyard.

Mantilla-twitch to Ebomania.

How About A Caption Competition?

The following photo made Orthfully Catholic feel a little queasy... I can understand his reaction, but let's have a little fun with it!

(If you look carefully, you can see that the little boy in the middle has his hands firmly together in the traditional gesture of prayer. His facial expression suggests his disdain for what is going on with the weird sister... a Trad in the making, perhaps?)


Captions in the Comments Box please...

Have We Missed Something Here?

Fr. Zuhlsdorf was very tired last night. That might explain why the following snippet on the long-awaited Motu Proprio was posted in such an understated form...

Lastly, Msgr. Perl promised to us soon liturgical peace in the diocese of Rheims! Let’s re-examine this last point to announce a great item of news to you! THE MOTU PROPRIO LIBERALIZING THE MASS KNOWN AS THAT OF ST. PIUS V, SO MUCH AWAITED, WILL BE PUBLISHED BEFORE EASTER SUNDAY.

Our Holy Father is holding fast to this [decision].

Admittedly, we seem to have been here before, but hope springs eternal!! The full text of the letter (in French) can be found HERE.

Sunday: A Day Of Rejoicing

Heheheh... I found the following over at Scotwise (a humourous wee site I stumbled across earlier...) and mindful that Sundays should be days when we spread sweetness and light, I thought I'd share...

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. I immediately ran over and said "Stop! Don't do it!"
"Why shouldn't I?" he said. I said, "Well, there's so much to live for!"
"Like what?"
"Well ... are you religious or atheist?"
"Me too! Are you Christian or Jewish?"
"Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?"
"Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?"
"Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?"
"Baptist Church of God."
"What a coincidence... Me too! Are you Original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?"
"Reformed Baptist Church of God."
"Oh, boy... Me too! And are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?"
He answered, "Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915!"
To which I said, "Die, heretic scum!" and pushed him off.

Screwtape's Other Nephew..?

It would seem that Fr Longenecker has identified another associate of our old friend Screwtape... possibly related to Wormwood.

Anyway, the correspondence ("The Gargoyle Code") is regrettably brief, but rather illuminating, so I recommend a visit HERE.

Tugging The Heartstrings

Here's a sweet little vignette courtesy of Scorpion Stalking Duck:

A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years. They shared everything. They talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.

For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover. In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife's bedside.

She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000.

He asked her about the contents. "When we were to be married," she said, "my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll."

The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness.

"Honey," he said, "that explains the doll, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?"

"Oh," she said, "that's the money I made from selling the dolls."

Well, come on... I did warn you that I got it from the Scorpion, so there had to be a sting in the tail!!
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