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 (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]

cropped-cropped-cropped-caillebotte-22portrait-of-henry-cordier22-188311.jpg
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