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).

Roma Antica
Giovanni Paolo Pannini, “Roma Antica” (1756-57)
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Quotidian (7)

7 June 2018 | Thursday of the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

Tomorrow is the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Sacratissimi Cordis Jesu), and begins tonight during Vespers.

Rule, O Lord, with Your sweet yoke in the midst of Your enemies.

Before transitioning to Holy Name of Jesus, the Bishop of Raleigh’s cathedra resided at Sacred Heart on Hillsborough St. in downtown Raleigh. Sacred Heart was my parish for near thirteen years (2004-2017).

Reading: Michael Dirda, “Aristotle’s lisp, why Socrates loved dancing and other tales of ancient thinkers” (The Washington Post, 6 June 2018) [link]

Sacred Heart Church in Raleigh, 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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Quotidian (1)

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.