Quotidian (10)

15 June 2018 | Friday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

Today is the final day of the girls’ Spanish Summer Camp in Wake Forest. After dropping them off, I heard Mass at St. Catherine’s parish and then made my way back to Wake Forest Coffee Company.

Last night I had dinner at Mitch’s Tavern in Raleigh with a friend who is considering the seminary. To encourage him along, I gifted him my set of The Hours of the Divine Hours in Latin and English (1963). I’ve been using my Breviarium Monasticum (1920) and thought I shouldn’t hoard my books, as the Savior teaches: Every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old [nova et vetera] (Mt. 13.52). (See here)

From The Life and Labours of Saint Thomas of Aquin by Fr. Roger William Bede Vaughan, O.S.B., Archbishop of Sydney (d. 1883)

The reception of a child in those days was almost as solemn as a profession in our own. His parents carried him to the church; and whilst they wrapped his hand, which held the petition, in the sacred linen of the altar, they promised, in the presence of God and of His saints, stability in his name. There is no hint that the sacrifice was not considered to have been irrevocably offered, after this oblation had been made to God.

The children’s training was in keeping with the holiness of their consecration. They were confided to the care of a large-hearted and God-fearing man. The one object was, to fill their souls with God, to teach them the power of knowledge, and the force of love — to educate the intellect, and to purify the hear (16-17)

And a little later:

Nor was mental culture neglected in the midst of these spiritual influense. Thomas was taught the first elements of knowledge by the monks. The fragmentary Latin Grammar of the period, Donatus, Priscian, or Didymus would, by frequent repetitions, by fixed upon the memory. The the Psalter, and passages from the poets, were learnt by hear. Æsop’s Fables, Theodolus, and the Sentences of Cato, led into the gallery of the ancient Classics. Ovid, Horace, and Persius were favourite authors; while Seneca was treated with special reverence, as one of the most enlightened moralists of ancient times. Then Lucan, Statius, and Virgil, who were looked upon as seers in the midst of heathendom, on account of certain curiously prophetic passages in their writings, prepared the student for his course of rhetoric. Cicero, Quintilian, and the Stagyrite opened the door to the science of God, and of the saints. That S. Thomas passed through a course resembling this, to say the least, is eminently probably.

These were tranquil days for the young Aquino, days of growth —  just as nature rests in the first warm days of early spring, before it bursts into leaf and flower. To breathe at peace under the light of truth, far from the contention of tongues, and then to meditate, and resolve in the presence of one Eternal Witness,  — this has been the education of many a man of iron will, of soaring spirit, and of blameless life (20-21).

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Giovanni Paolo Pannini, “Roma Antica” (1756-57)
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Quotidian (9)

13 July 2018 | Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church

Saint Antony (OFM) was, first of all, an Augustinian monk, but he was so impressed by the martyrdom of five Franciscans who had been spreading the faith in Morocco that he became a Franciscan friar himself, so that he could preach the gospel in Africa too. Illness obliged him to leave Morocco, and a storm then drove his ship to Sicily, so that he found himself taking part in the General Chapter of the Franciscans in 1221, where he met Saint Francis of Assisi himself. His preaching career then took him to northern Italy and southern France, then a stronghold of the Albigensian heresy. Later he returned to Italy, to Padua, where he was an outstanding preacher and the first Franciscan theologian. His sermons are full of gentleness, but he reproved the wicked with fearless severity – especially backsliding clergy and the oppressors of the weak. His shrine is a centre of pilgrimage, and he is also the patron saint of the lost and found.

Back in the Wake Forest Coffee Company, reading and writing thank-you notes, while the big girls continue at Summer Spanish Camp. Also working on my post, “Praying Compline,” for my Divine Office series.

Reading: Nigel Spivey, “They built the wall” (A review of Adrian Goldworthy’s new book on Hadrian’s Wall (The New Criterion, June 2018) [link]

Reading: Ben Kane, “Rome vs Greece: a little-known clash of empires” (The Irish Times, 11 June 2018) [link]

Podcast: “The Goddess of the Young,” i.e., Artemis (The History of Ancient Greece) [link]

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Gustave Caillebotte, “Portrait of Henri Cordier” (1883)

Quotidian (8)

11 July 2018 | The Memorial of St. Barnabas the Apostle

Saint Barnabas was born in Cyprus. He was one of the early converts in Jerusalem and vouched for St Paul when he appeared before the elders there. He accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey and later went to Cyprus with his cousin John Mark (Mark the evangelist) to preach the gospel there. He was probably martyred at Salamis in Cyprus, sometime before the year 61.

The second antiphon from Lauds: Majórem caritátem nemo habet, ut animam suam ponat quis pro amícis suis. Or Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Tomorrow, in my Benedictine Breviary (1922), continues the Octave of the Most Sacred Heart, though the feast’s Octave was suppressed in 1955.

This morning I took my older daughters to an STMA colleague’s house in Wake Forest for the first day of Spanish Camp, where the girls will spend half the day learning and having fun. MM attended last year and Va is very excited to attend with her big sister this year.

One of the advantages of Spanish Camp week is attending daily Mass (8:30 am) at beautiful St. Catherine of Siena parish (see below). The Mass was said by Rev. Chesco Garcia, the former parochial vicar for Hispanic ministry at Sacred Heart Cathedral. His microphone cut out sometime before the sacring, which was fine with me; in this, it took on a low-mass feel, and I’ve always been a proponent of microphone-less masses.

See Kevin White’s short article, “Drop the Mic” from First Things in 2012.

The Editorial Board, “The Catholic School Difference” (The Wall Street Journal, 1 June 2018) [link]

The authors found statistically meaningful evidence that students in Catholic schools exhibited less disruptive behavior than their counterparts in other schools. “According to their teachers, Catholic school children argued, fought, got angry, acted impulsively, and disturbed ongoing activities less frequently,” the authors write. Specifically, students in Catholic schools “were more likely to control their temper, respect others’ property, accept their fellow students’ ideas, and handle peer pressure.” In other words, they exhibited more self-discipline.

K. E. Colombini, “Atheists and Their Beliefs” (First Things, 7 June 2018) [link]

But a second interesting correspondence goes unremarked. The popular revival of astrology and other pseudo-sciences comes at a time when schools are throwing resources into variants of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) curricula, which have largely supplanted the humanities disciplines (art, literature, and history). We are neglecting the humanities, which offer a true understanding of the human heart, in order to develop better touchscreens and smartphone apps, so that our youth can get better horoscopes and learn new yoga poses. This state of affairs confirms Chesterton’s original quote, and shows how much work needs to be done. There is a real cure for the anxiety afflicting today’s youth, but it’s hard work and the answer is not really found in the digital cloud, but well beyond.

St. Catherine, OP
St. Catherine of Siena in Wake Forest, NC

Quotidian (4)

4 June 2018 | Monday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

In the Extraordinary Form, it is the memorial of St. Francis Caracciola, Confessor (d. 1608), who burned with such love for the Most Blessed Sacrament that he would spend almost the whole night in adoring It.

It is also the memorial of St. Clotilde (d. 545):
Clotilde was a Burgundian princess who in about 493 married Clovis, King of the Franks. Brought up a Christian, she had their children baptized, and in due course Clovis himself was baptized, somewhere between 496 and 499, marking the beginning of Christian France. When Clovis died in 511, and especially after her son Clodomir died in 524, Clotilde devoted herself to works of charity and founded many churches and religious institutions, setting a pattern that was later followed by many royal widows in Europe. She herself died by the tomb of St Martin of Tours in 545.

I’ve always enjoyed hagiographies of saints who grew up amid privilege but used their wealth and stature to grow the Church by entering religious life after their family obligations were more-or-less satisfied.

It is also, in the Order of Preachers calendar, the memorial of St. Peter of Verona, O.P., the first Dominican martyr. Icons and statues often have the saint depicted with a knife, sword, or axe cutting into his head, as at St. Catherine of Siena parish in Wake Forest, NC.

Last week (Quotidians 1, 2, and 3), much of the family was under the weather in some capacity, but we weathered the storm, so to speak, and had a nice weekend. We went to a birthday party at Adventure Landing (formerly Putt-Putt Golf and Games), complete with ticket-dispensing games, putt-putt miniature golf, and laser tag, which all the children, including my older daughters, greatly enjoyed; the youngest seemed entertained by the flashing light.

Later that Saturday, we attended the parish family picnic at Sacred Heart, which had hamburgers, hot dogs, tacos, nachos, and all sorts of fair foods. The picnic, which was hosted by the Knights of Columbus, was also a fundraiser and raffle to benefit the parish youth ministry’s summer mission trip. Yesterday our parish, Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, celebrated Corpus Christi. Fr. Justin, a Passionist and the rector of the Cathedral, will soon be leaving, and Sunday’s sermon — on his life as a priest and his devotion to the Mass and the Blessed Sacrament — may have been on of the last times my family hear him preach.

Today begins the final week of my eldest daughter’s first year of Pre-K at Thales Academy. She will have five weeks off before she begins Kindergarten. In all, MM has largely enjoyed her time at Thales and we as parents are quite pleased. There is someplace inside of me that thinks that five-years-old is too young for proper schooling and her time should be devoted to playing with her sisters, exploring the creek behind our house, attending daily mass, learning to clean her room and do simple chores around the house, and listening to stories from her parents and grandparents, memorizing prayers and poems, and growing an actual kinder-garden, which we’re doing at the top of our driveway around the mailbox (and needs to be thinned out after a few days of rain).

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30 May 2018 | Wednesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
In the traditional Roman Calendar, we remember St. Felix, pope and martyr. Also, in France St. Joan of Arc, who is at the moment my oldest daughter’s patron, is celebrated.

Last night and into the early AM, I kept a vigil alight for my middle daughter. Her temperature has continued above 100, waking up in the wee hours, coughing and sweating. I’ve always enjoyed the late/early hours for reading and for prayer; I just wish my daughters and wife weren’t sick.

My wife went to her Physician’s Assistant and found out she may have Pharyngitis, which sounds, both in the word itself and the way my wife’s voice intones, like Laryngitis. For this reason, she needs more time for rest and less hands-on time with the girls. Deo gratias, it’s summer recess for me, though this is eerily like Christmas Holiday when I came home to a house of Norovirus.

I have had a few minutes of the Divine Office and to begin reading Fr. Guy Bedeouelle, O.P.’s Saint Dominic: The Grace of the Word. The biography, originally penned in French and published in 1982, attempts to sketch the life of the saint in light of his evangelical preaching and apostolic life. In fact, it’s one part biography, one part exhortation to live and preach like the great father of the Order of Preachers.

Tomorrow in the Extraordinary Form is the Feast of Corpus Christi, traditionally celebrated on the Thursday following the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, which was last Sunday. In the Ordinary Form, Corpus Christi will be celebrated this Sunday (3 June). What’s more, the E.F. celebration of Corpus Christi replaces Pope St. Pius XII’s Immaculate Heart of Mary, which has been transferred to June 9 in order to fall the day after the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, my old parish’s titular feast day.

But, in the current calendar, May 31st is the now the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, when the Virgin visited her cousin Elizabeth, the Forerunner leaped for joy at the presence of the Savior in the Virgin’s womb. In the old calendar, this feast was celebrated in early July, but “is now transferred to the last day of May, between the solemnities of the Annunciation of the Lord and the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, which agrees more aptly with the Gospel narrative.”*

* Calendarium Romanum (1969), p. 93: Transfertur nunc in ultimam diem mensis maii, inter solemnitates Annuntiationis Domini et Nativitatis S. Ioannis Baptistae, quo aptius consentiat narrationi evangelicae. 

St. Dominic
Fra Angelico, “The Mocking of Christ”

 

 

 

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29 May 2018 | Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
In the traditional Roman Calendar, we remember St. Maria Magdelene di’ Pazzi, an Italian Carmelite mystic.

Last night the United States Men’s National Team defeated Bolivia 3-0. The World Cup, which will be hosted in Russia, begins in a less than three weeks. The US team will not be completed; neither will the Scots nor the Italians. Two of the three’s omission is more surprising than that third, and it’s funny that I’ve never cared for the Italian National nor do I watch Serie A, and yet I’m saddened that Azzurri will not be in Russia. And, of course, Scotland hasn’t qualified for the World Cup since France in ’98.

Part of this Italian sadness is due to a footie podcast I’ve been listening to. James Richardson (A.C. Jimbo), who used to panel the Guardian Football podcast jumped ship with Ian McIntosh to develop The Totally Football Show empire, including Golazzo, a show dedicated to the Italian game. N.B., if you want an excellent show to try on, the episode on the 1970s Lazio team is worth your time.

Today, after I dropped my oldest daughter off at school this morning, I went into the STMA for my last official workday of the 2017-2018 school year. It was quite low-key: I shared a biscuit with my headmaster, responded to some emails from both current and former students, and began thinking about Latin Honors for the coming year. The morning was accented by few shorter conversations with colleagues and moving some books around. But my wife. who had been without her purse for a few days, needed a few errands run, and today’s workday was optional, so I cut out early for lunch and reading with the girls.

Tonight, as my second child has now come down with a fever, I tried to comfort her with good cheer as I cooked fish for dinner. My father had brought home a small haul of dolphin (read mahi-mahi) and Virginia mullet. These went over well with my wife and the girls, and bedtime has come quickly for the lot.

Lastly, I said Compline, or Night Prayer, this evening after running to the store for more ibuprofen for Laura. Alongside my prayers (“Fratres, sobrii estote et vigilate..,” “”Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine,” etc.) the Friars of the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., have a lovely album of chant for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. I commend the entire album to you, especially their Salve Regina, which I attempted to pray along with them. Thank you, friars.

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John Opie, “Confession”

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28 May 2018 | Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
In the traditional Roman Calendar, we remember St. Augustine of Canterbury.
It is Memorial Day in the United States of America.

On Saturday, St. Thomas More Academy, the small Catholic prep school where I teach, held its sixteenth commencement exercises for the graduating Class of 2018. It was a memorable event, complete with a visit and apostolic blessing from His Excellency Luis Rafael Zarama,  our newly installed Bishop of Raleigh, and a commencement address by Dr. Paul J. Griffiths, who was my advisor at Duke Divinity and the Warren Chair of Catholic Theology. Other guests including Monsignor Jeffrey Ingham, pastor of St. Joseph’s and our unofficial chaplain at STMA, and Father Phil Tighe, former pastor at St. Catherine’s in Wake Forest and current Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Raleigh. Lastly, seated right behind the bishop were two STMA alumni seminarians.

STMA students had attended His Excellency’s August Installation Mass, the March Chrism Mass, and in April a priest’s funeral at which Bishop Zamara was its principal celebrant, but this was our first event in which he was able to offer us his words and blessing. The Bishop’s remarks were generous and encouraging: directed to the students, he urged them to stay close to Jesus and the Sacraments and to allow the Savior to serve ‘as the control tower as these graduates take off into the airspace’ of their adult lives; he also urged parents to stay in touch with their children as they head off to school, notably to call, not to text.

I had not connected with Paul much since leaving Duke, but it was good to see him and to hear his words to our graduates. He spoke about work: sweat-work, beauty-work, and leisure, and how in a good life these three are braided together in service to the Lord and His Church. He’s recently written a work on Christian anthropology, entitled Christian Flesh, something that has been in the works for a few years and due out in September. He will retire from Duke this summer without seeking another academic post. He says he will continue writing. His recent piece for the May 2018 First Things is “A Letter To An Aspiring Intellectual.”

This morning my wife was under the weather, so the girls — all three of them — and I went to Mass  at Sacred Heart, which has been downgraded to a church but is not (yet) a parish, though the Passionists, Fr. Justin and Fr. Justin, have continued to offer daily masses Monday through Saturday for many of the downtown faithful.

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MM and Va visit the grotto at Sacred Heart.