Sunday, April 30, 2017

Feast of St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor and Virgin

St. Catherine of Siena, by Giovanni di Paolo, c. 1475AD.

Today is the traditional feast of St. Catherine of Siena; her feast being celebrated yesterday on the revised calendar.

St. Catherine of Siena (+1380), a Dominican Tertiary and Doctor of the Church, is certainly one of the greatest lady saints of the history of the Church.  She, who led a tremendous life of penance, was the individual that prevailed upon the Pope of her day, Gregory XI, to return the papacy to Rome from Avignon.  She actually received the stigmata, but, at her own urgent pleading, it was not outwardly visible.  She is a co-patroness of both Italy and of Europe.  Her feast traditionally falls on this day, 30 April, but was moved to the previous day, 29 April, in the reformed calendar.

For more on St. Catherine, you should note:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Catherine of Siena

Catholic Saints Info: St. Catherine of Siena

File:Catherine of Siena.jpg
A 19th century image of St. Catherine of Siena.

Today, the relics of St. Catherine are housed in the Roman Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, while her head is in the Church of San Dominico in her home city of Siena in Tuscany.

Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome, Italy.  St. Catherine of Siena is buried in the high altar.

Here is the website of the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome: Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva

File:San Domenico Siena Apr 2008 (20) detail.JPG
Basilica of San Domenico in Siena.  St. Catherine's head is housed here.

This is the site of the Basilica of San Domenico in Siena: Official Site of the Basilica of San Domenico

As a side note, this blogger was received into the Roman Catholic Church at a parish with the title of St. Catherine of Siena.

Live well!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Surrender at Bennett Place & Confederate Memorial Day

Bennett Place, Durham, NC.

On this day, 26 April, in the year of Our Lord 1865, the Confederate forces of CS General Joseph Johnston surrendered to US Major General William T. Sherman at Bennett Place, Durham, North Carolina.  This day had, for over a century, been marked as Confederate Memorial Day in Georgia, as it marked the end of hostilities in that state.

Left: CS Gen. Joseph Johnston; Right: US Gen. William Sherman

This momentous surrender marked the definitive end of the Confederate Army of Tennessee and formally ended the resistance of Southern troops in the the State of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.  It came a couple of weeks after the surrender of CS General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House, Virginia on 9 April 1865.  The Army of the Tennessee was the primary Confederate field army in the Western Theatre; its surrender, with that of the Army of Northern Virginia, meant that the two chief field armies of the South were defeated.

Joseph Johnston had accepted terms -- the second offered by Sherman, as his first offer had actually been rejected by Washington, DC as too generous -- that resembled those given to Lee by Grant.

This surrender would be the largest of any of Confederate forces, as nearly 90,000 men laid down their arms, not just at Durham with the Army of Tennessee itself (that was about 30,000 of the total), but all Southern forces in Johnston's Department (NC, SC, GA, FL).

For more on Bennett Place in Durham, North Carolina, you should note:
Bennett Place Historic Site office webpage

Historical Marker Database: Bennett Place

Civil War Daily Gazette: 26 April 1865

Confederate Rebel Flag.svg
Battle Flag of the Confederate Army of Tennessee.  That of the Army of Northern Virginia had the same pattern, but a square, rather than rectangular, shape.

So ended the history and campaigns of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, famous for its actions at Murfreesboro (Stone's River), Chickamauga, Chattanooga, and the Atlanta campaign, among others.

For more, you might note: Civil War Home: Confederate Army of Tennessee

So, too, was the American Civil War, and the cause of Southern Independence, near its end.

Flag of Georgia (U.S. state).svg First National flag of the Confederate States of America
Above: State flag of Georgia; Below: First National Flag of the Confederacy, the "Stars and Bars."


This anniversary has long been associated with a commemoration recalling those deceased that served the cause of their states and the Confederate States of America.  Indeed, the practice of remembering the Southern fallen ultimately helped contribute to our wider observance of a Memorial Day.

Thousands of Georgia citizens served their own state and the short-lived Confederacy with diligence and honor, even if they had initially opposed the motion to secede.  Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stephens of Georgia was once such opponent of secession that remained loyal to his own state and eventually held that high office of the South.

These men fought to oppose an invasion, and uphold a belief well expressed by Confederate General, and later Governor of Georgia, John B. Gordon:
"The South maintained with the depth of religious conviction that the Union formed under the Constitution was a Union of consent and not of force; that the original States were not the creatures but the creators of the Union; that these States had gained their independence, their freedom, and their sovereignty from the mother country, and had not surrendered these on entering the Union; that by the express terms of the Constitution all rights and powers not delegated were reserved to the States; and the South challenged the North to find one trace of authority in that Constitution for invading and coercing a sovereign State."
cf., General Gordon's Reminiscences

Men like this blogger's great-great grandfather, Thomas J. Cole, who hadn't even worn shoes prior to his service, gave limbs (my ancestor, a solider of the 3rd Georgia Reserve, lost a leg) and lives when their home state called.  In his case, he was a lad of just 16 years old that, with his father, served honorably.

The merits of secession as it occurred can certainly be debated.  The respective attitudes and actions of the Cotton States (seceding before Lincoln was inaugurated) and the Tobacco States (seceding only after Lincoln demanded they contribute troops to invade the Deep South -- Virginia having earlier voted against secession) certainly present two different paths to an attempted separation from the United States.  All of these states sought, in part, to defend legal slavery as it had been protected under the United States Constitution, and all of these states sought to depart the Union through elected conventions and in an orderly and legal fashion.

It was the decision of an American President to coerce member states to remain a part of the United States that inaugurated Civil War.  The citizens of Georgia, having voted in convention to secede from the United States, sought to defend their home from the invasion that followed.  They ultimately failed.  A free union preserved through coercion, it would be, and at the cost of 600,000 lives.

Today, however, we recall, in gratitude, the sacrifices of those that responded to their state's call.

Let us pray for their peaceful repose.

Last Monday, 24 April, was a "state holiday" in the State of Georgia, and was formerly labelled as Confederate Memorial Day.  While the official name may have been expunged owing to contemporary sensibilities, "A holy and wholesome thought it is to pray for the dead, for their guilt’s undoing." (2 Mac. 12:46)

Deo vindice.

Live well.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Feast of St. Mark & Greater Litanies!

St. Mark the Evangelist by Il Pordenone

Today, 25 April, is the Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, the companion of St. Peter, first Patriarch of Alexandria, and patron saint of Venice. He died in 80AD in Alexandria, Egypt.

For more on St. Mark, you might note:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Mark

Catholic Saints Info: St. Mark


Above: A painting of the Lion of Venice, the Symbol of St. Mark.
Below: The Flag of Venice, Italy -- featuring the same Lion of St. Mark. 
The book reads: Pax tibi Marce Evangelista Mea / Peace to you, Mark my Evangelist.

The winged lion, symbolic of St. Mark's Gospel, a Gospel which begins with that voice crying in the wilderness, is also the emblem of the city of Venice, Italy. The relics of the holy Evangelist were evacuated from Alexandria in Egypt, where he had been the first patriarch and bishop, to the Most Serene Republic of Venice, where they rest today in the famous Basilica of San Marco. To this day, the winged lion of St. Mark graces the flag of Venezia!

The Basilica of St. Mark in Venice, Italy.  Painting by Canaletto.

Here is the official webpage of St. Mark's Basilica in Venice: Basilica of San Marco, Venezia

Finally, 25 April is traditionally the day of the Greater Litanies!

The Old Catholic Encyclopedia notes:
"When peace was granted to the Church after three centuries of bloody persecution, public devotions became common and processions were frequently held, with preference for days which the heathens had held sacred. These processions were called litanies, and in them pictures and other religious emblems were carried....[T]he "Litania Major", or "Romana"... was held on 25 April, on which day the heathens had celebrated the festival of Robigalia, the principal feature of which was a procession. The Christian litany which replaced it set out from the church of S. Lorenzo in Lucina, held a station at S. Valentino Outside the Walls, and then at the MilvianBridge. From thence, instead of proceeding on the Claudian Way, as the heathens had done, it turned to the left towards the Vatican, stopped at a cross, of which the site is not given, and again in the paradise oratrium of St. Peter's, and finally in the basilica itself, where the station was held (Duchesne, 288)."
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Litanies

In honor of that traditional observance, here is musical setting of the litany of the saints:

For more on the Litanies, you should check out:

Live well!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Octave of Easter: Low & Divine Mercy Sunday

File:Caravaggio - The Incredulity of Saint Thomas.jpg
The Incredulity of St. Thomas, by Carravaggio (+1610AD)

This Sunday, the Octave day of Easter, probably has more names and designations than any other day in the Church calendar: the Octave of Easter, the Second Sunday of Easter, Quasimodo Sunday (from the Introit of the day), Dominica in Albis (recalling the white vestments of the newly Baptized), Low Sunday (compared to the high of Easter!), Thomas Sunday (recalling the Gospel), and, of course, Divine Mercy Sunday.

For more on Easter, in general, you should note:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Easter

Fish Eaters: Eastertide

The Introit for today is the origin of one of these names, and here is a recording of the same:

Today's Gospel, from that of St. John, reads:
"Chapter 20:19 And now it was evening on the same day, the first day of the week; for fear of the Jews, the disciples had locked the doors of the room in which they had assembled; and Jesus came, and stood there in their midst; Peace be upon you, he said. 20 And with that, he shewed them his hands and his side. Thus the disciples saw the Lord, and were glad. 21 Once more Jesus said to them, Peace be upon you; I came upon an errand from my Father, and now I am sending you out in my turn. 22 With that, he breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit; 23 when you forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven, when you hold them bound, they are held bound.

24 There was one of the twelve, Thomas, who is also called Didymus, who was not with them when Jesus came. 25 And when the other disciples told him, We have seen the Lord, he said to them, Until I have seen the mark of the nails on his hands, until I have put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, you will never make me believe. 26 So, eight days afterwards, once more the disciples were within, and Thomas was with them; and the doors were locked. Jesus came and stood there in their midst; Peace be upon you, he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, Let me have thy finger; see, here are my hands. Let me have thy hand; put it into my side. Cease thy doubting, and believe. 28 Thomas answered, Thou art my Lord and my God. 29 And Jesus said to him, Thou hast learned to believe, Thomas, because thou hast seen me. Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have learned to believe.

30 There are many other miracles Jesus did in the presence of his disciples, which are not written down in this book; 31 so much has been written down, that you may learn to believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and so believing find life through his name."

Hence, this day recalls the roll of St. Thomas -- the Apostle that doubted.  I prefer to recall St. Thomas having earlier noted in the Gospel of St. John: "11:16 Thereupon Thomas, who is also called Didymus, said to his fellow-disciples, Let us go too, and be killed along with him," and interpret his incredulity in this light: his love for Christ was such that it would not admit to allowing a hope that was not well-founded.  All the same, it is he that proclaims: "Thou art my Lord and my God."

Today is also, more recently, known as Divine Mercy Sunday.  This was a particular devotion and focus on the mercy of Almighty God made popular by the Polish Saint, St. Faustina, and approved by Pope Blessed John Paul II.

The Vatican promulgated a decree regarding the wonderful Indulgence available, under the usual conditions, on Divine Mercy Sunday:
Vatican Decree on Indulgence attached to devotion to Divine Mercy

For more on the devotion to the Divine Mercy, you should note:
EWTN: Divine Mercy Novena

Today, perhaps, we might review the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy promulgated by Pope Francis for this year of Mercy.  You can find the full text here:

Happy Easter!

Surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia, et apparuit Simoni, alleluia!

Live well!

Feast of St. George, Martyr & Patron of England

Saint George - Carlo Crivelli.jpg
St. George by Carlo Crivelli

Today, 23 April, is the Feast of St. George, martyr.  Since it is pre-empted by the observance of Sunday, I shall speak of this great saint today in his own post!  My Sunday post to follow...

St. George was a soldier in the Roman army who, during the persecution of Diocletian, shed his blood for Christ around 303AD.

[Saint George]
This day is the patronal feast day of England, Our Lady's dowry.  St. George is also the patron of a host of other places, quite a few groups, including soldiers and scouts, and is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.

A Church in Rome bearing his name, San Giorgio in Velabro, is the location of some significant relics of his.

For more on St. George, you might note:

Catholic Saints Info: Saint George

Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. George

The traditional collect for his feast is worthy of note:
"O God, who dost gladden us by the merits and intercession of blessed George, Thy Martyr, mercifully grant that we, who ask for Thy blessings through him, may obtain them by the gift of Thy grace."

The flag of England, but also of the Republic of Genoa, and, in part, of the Republic of Georgia, is "St. George's Cross," a white background with the red cross -- below is that flag as associated with England:

The Golden Legend of Blessed Jacobus of Voragine, a medieval compilation of lives of the saints dating to around 1260AD, has this entry for St. George:
"S. George was a knight and born in Cappadocia. On a time he came in to the province of Libya, to a city which is said Silene. And by this city was a stagne or a pond like a sea, wherein was a dragon which envenomed all the country. And on a time the people were assembled for to slay him, and when they saw him they fled. And when he came nigh the city he venomed the people with his breath, and therefore the people of the city gave to him every day two sheep for to feed him, because he should do no harm to the people, and when the sheep failed there was taken a man and a sheep. Then was an ordinance made in the town that there should be taken the children and young people of them of the town by lot, and every each one as it fell, were he gentle or poor, should be delivered when the lot fell on him or her. So it happed that many of them of the town were then delivered, insomuch that the lot fell upon the king's daughter, whereof the king was sorry, and said unto the people: For the love of the gods take gold and silver and all that I have, and let me have my daughter. They said: How sir! ye have made and ordained the law, and our children be now dead, and ye would do the contrary. Your daughter shall be given, or else we shall burn you and your house.

When the king saw he might no more do, he began to weep, and said to his daughter: Now shall I never see thine espousals. Then returned he to the people and demanded eight days' respite, and they granted it to him. And when the eight days were passed they came to him and said: Thou seest that the city perisheth: Then did the king do array his daughter like as she should be wedded, and embraced her, kissed her and gave her hls benediction, and after, led her to the place where the dragon was.

When she was there S. George passed by, and when he saw the lady he demanded the lady what she made there and she said: Go ye your way fair young man, that ye perish not also. Then said he: Tell to me what have ye and why weep ye, and doubt ye of nothing. When she saw that he would know, she said to him how she was delivered to the dragon. Then said S. George: Fair daughter, doubt ye no thing hereof for I shall help thee in the name of Jesu Christ. She said: For God's sake, good knight, go your way, and abide not with me, for ye may not deliver me. Thus as they spake together the dragon appeared and came running to them, and S. George was upon his horse, and drew out his sword and garnished him with the sign of the cross, and rode hardily against the dragon which came towards him, and smote him with his spear and hurt him sore and threw him to the ground. And after said to the maid: Deliver to me your girdle, and bind it about the neck of the dragon and be not afeard. When she had done so the dragon followed her as it had been a meek beast and debonair. Then she led him into the city, and the people fled by mountains and valleys, and said: Alas! alas! we shall be all dead. Then S. George said to them: Ne doubt ye no thing, without more, believe ye in God, Jesu Christ, and do ye to be baptized and I shall slay the dragon. Then the king was baptized and all his people, and S. George slew the dragon and smote off his head, and commanded that he should be thrown in the fields, and they took four carts with oxen that drew him out of the city.

Then were there well fifteen thousand men baptized, without women and children, and the king did do make a church there of our Lady and of S. George, in the which yet sourdeth a fountain of living water, which healeth sick people that drink thereof. After this the king offered to S. George as much money as there might be numbered, but he refused all and commanded that it should be given to poor people for God's sake; and enjoined the king four things, that is, that he should have charge of the churches, and that he should honour the priests and hear their service diligently, and that he should have pity on the poor people, and after, kissed the king and departed.

Now it happed that in the time of Diocletian and Maximian, which were emperors, was so great persecution of christian men that within a month were martyred well twenty-two thousand, and therefore they had so great dread that some renied and forsook God and did sacrifice to the idols. When S. George saw this, he left the habit of a knight and sold all that he had, and gave it to the poor, and took the habit of a christian man, and went into the middle of the paynims and began to cry: All the gods of the paynims and gentiles be devils, my God made the heavens and is very God. Then said the provost to him: Of what presumption cometh this to thee, that thou sayest that our gods be devils? And say to us what thou art and what is thy name. He answered anon and said: I am named George, I am a gentleman, a knight of Cappadocia, and have left all for to serve the God of heaven. Then the provost enforced himself to draw him unto his faith by fair words, and when he might not bring him thereto he did do raise him on a gibbet; and so much beat him with great staves and broches of iron, that his body was all tobroken in pieces. And after he did do take brands of iron and join them to his sides, and his bowels which then appeared he did do frot with salt, and so sent him into prison, but our Lord appeared to him the of same night with great light and comforted him much sweetly. And by this great consolation he took to him so good heart that he doubted no torment that they might make him suffer. Then, when Dacian the provost saw that he might not surmount him, he called his enchanter and said to him: I see that these christian people doubt not our torments. The enchanter bound himself, upon his head to be smitten off, if he overcame not his crafts. Then he did take strong venom and meddled it with wine, and made invocation of the names of his false gods, and gave it to S. George to drink. S. George took it and made the sign of the cross on it, and anon drank it without grieving him any thing. Then the enchanter made it more stronger than it was tofore of venom, and gave it him to drink, and it grieved him nothing. When the enchanter saw that, he kneeled down at the feet of S. George and prayed him that he would make him christian. And when Dacian knew that he was become christian he made to smite off his head. And after, on the morn, he made S. George to be set between two wheels, which were full of swords, sharp and cutting on both sides, but anon the wheels were broken and S. George escaped without hurt. And then commanded Dacian that they should put him in a caldron full of molten lead, and when S. George entered therein, by the virtue of our Lord it seemed that he was in a bath well at ease. Then Dacian seeing this began to assuage his ire, and to flatter him by fair words, and said to him: George, the patience of our gods is over great unto thee which hast blasphemed them, and done to them great despite, then fair, and right sweet son, I pray thee that thou return to our law and make sacrifice to the idols, and leave thy folly, and I shall enhance thee to great honour and worship. Then began S. George to smile, and said to him: Wherefore saidst thou not to me thus at the beginning? I am ready to do as thou sayest. Then was Dacian glad and made to cry over all the town that all the people should assemble for to see George make sacrifice which so much had striven there against. Then was the city arrayed and feast kept throughout all the town, and all came to the temple for to see him.

When S. George was on his knees, and they supposed that he would have worshipped the idols, he prayed our Lord God of heaven that he would destroy the temple and the idol in the honour of his name, for to make the people to be converted. And anon the fire descended from heaven and burnt the temple, and the idols, and their priests, and sith the earth opened and swallowed all the cinders and ashes that were left. Then Dacian made him to be brought tofore him, and said to him: What be the evil deeds that thou hast done and also great untruth? Then said to him S. George: Ah, sir, believe it not, but come with me and see how I shall sacrifice. Then said Dacian to him: I see well thy fraud and thy barat, thou wilt make the earth to swallow me, like as thou hast the temple and my gods. Then said S. George: O caitiff, tell me how may thy gods help thee when they may not help themselves! Then was Dacian so angry that he said to his wife: I shall die for anger if I may not surmount and overcome this man. Then said she to him: Evil and cruel tyrant! ne seest thou not the great virtue of the christian people? I said to thee well that thou shouldst not do to them any harm, for their God fighteth for them, and know thou well that I will become christian. Then was Dacian much abashed and said to her: Wilt thou be christian? Then he took her by the hair, and did do beat her cruelly. Then demanded she of S. George: What may I become because I am not christened? Then answered the blessed George: Doubt thee nothing, fair daughter, for thou shalt be baptized in thy blood. Then began she to worship our Lord Jesu Christ, and so she died and went to heaven. On the morn Dacian gave his sentence that S. George should be drawn through all the city, and after, his head should be smitten off. Then made he his prayer to our Lord that all they that desired any boon might get it of our Lord God in his name, and a voice came from heaven which said that it which he had desired was granted; and after he had made his orison his head was smitten off, about the year of our Lord two hundred and eighty-seven. When Dacian went homeward from the place where he was beheaded towards his palace, fire fell down from heaven upon him and burnt him and all his servants.
Gregory of Tours telleth that there were some that bare certain relics of S. George, and came into a certain oratory in a hospital, and on the morning when they should depart they could not move the door till they had left there part of their relics. It is also found in the history of Antioch, that when the christian men went over sea to conquer Jerusalem, that one, a right fair young man, appeared to a priest of the host and counselled him that he should bear with him a little of the relics of S. George. for he was conductor of the battle, and so he did so much that he had some. And when it was so that they had assieged Jerusalem and durst not mount ne go up on the walls for the quarrels and defence of the Saracens, they saw appertly S. George which had white arms with a red cross, that went up tofore them on the walls, and they followed him, and so was Jerusalem taken by his help. And between Jerusalem and port Jaffa, by a town called Ramys, is a chapel of S. George which is now desolate and uncovered, and therein dwell christian Greeks. And in the said chapel lieth the body of S. George, but not the head. And there lie his father and mother and his uncle, not in the chapel but under the wall of the chapel; and the keepers will not suffer pilgrims to come therein, but if they pay two ducats, and therefore come but few therein, but offer without the chapel at an altar. And there is seven years and seven lents of pardon; and the body of S. George lieth in the middle of the quire or choir of the said chapel, and in his tomb is an hole that a man may put in his hand. And when a Saracen, being mad, is brought thither, and if he put his head in the hole he shall anon be made perfectly whole, and have his wit again.

This blessed and holy martyr S. George is patron of this realm of England and the cry of men of war. In the worship of whom is founded the noble order of the garter, and also a noble college in the castle of Windsor by kings of England, in which college is the heart of S. George, which Sigismund, the emperor of Almayne, brought and gave for a great and a precious relique to King Harry the fifth. And also the said Sigismund was a brother of the said garter, and also there is a piece of his head, which college is nobly endowed to the honour and worship of Almighty God and his blessed martyr S. George. Then let us pray unto him that he be special protector and defender of this realm.

St. George, Martyr and Patron of England, pray for us!

Live well!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Easter Saturday & the Regina Caeli

File:Diego Velázquez 012.jpg
The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin by Diego Velazquez, ca. 1645AD.

Happy Easter!  We have now reached the 7th day of the Octave of Easter: Easter Saturday!  As our celebration of the Resurrection of Christ continues on this high feast, you might note these general details of this highest holy day in Christianity:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Easter

Fish Eaters: Eastertide

Today being Saturday, it seems fitting to note something of the Marian Antiphon for the Easter season: the Regina Caeli.

For the history of this antiphon, you might note:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia; Regina Caeli

The Latin text reads:

Regina cæli, lætare, alleluia:
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia,
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia,
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

V. Gaude et lætare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.
R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

In English, that is rendered:
Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
For He whom you deserved to bear in your womb, alleluia.
Has risen, as He promised, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.

V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
R. For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.
Here is the traditional plainchant setting of the Regina Caeli:

This is a setting by Tomas Luis de Victoria (+1611AD):

Finally, a setting by the rather famous Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (+1791AD):

Surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia, et apparuit Simoni, alleluia!

Live well!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Feast of St. Anselm

statue of Saint Anselm of Canterbury, Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, England; artist unknown; photograph on 31 May 2010 by Ealdgyth; swiped off Wikipedia

While pre-empted this year by the observance of Easter Friday, today, 21 April, is the Feast of St. Anselm of Canterbury, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (+1109AD).

St. Anselm was Archbishop of Canterbury in England from 1093 to 1109AD, but was born in Aosta, Italy around 1033, and joined a Benedictine monastery in Normandy, France in 1060.

St. Anselm was famous for his role in making the monastery of Bec a center of learning, and then for his tremendous theological work and disputes with the English crown over the rights of the Church.  Those disputes would drive him into exile twice -- making St. Anselm a kind of forerunner to St. Thomas Becket of the late 12th century.

As a Doctor of the Church, proclaimed in 1720 by Pope Clement XI, St. Anselm is a notable theological writer.  His motto: "fides quaerens intellectum."

Perhaps today is the day to read the "proof" for the existence of God that he outlines in the Prosolgion.  The heart of the argument, from chapter III:

"Quare si id quo maius nequit cogitari, potest cogitari non esse: id ipsum quo maius cogitari nequit, non est id quo maius cogitari nequit; quod convenire non potest. Sic ergo vere est aliquid quo maius cogitari non potest, ut nec cogitari possit non esse.
Et hoc es tu, Domine Deus noster."

"Hence, if that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, can be conceived not to exist, it is not that, than which nothing greater can be conceived. But this is an irreconcilable contradiction. There is, then, so truly a being than which nothing greater can be conceived to exist, that it cannot even be conceived not to exist;. and this being you are, O Lord, our God."
Proslogion of St. Anselm Latin Text
Proslogium of St. Anselm, English Text

St. Anselm's other works include the Monologion and Cur Deus Homo (the work held in the statue pictured above).  Certainly, St. Anselm stands as an intellectual giant of the 12th century and a key figure in the development of scholasticism!

For more information, you might note:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Anselm

Catholic Saints: St. Anselm of Canterbury

Romulus by Jean Auguste Dominiques Ingres.

Today is also the traditional anniversary of the founding of the City of Rome on the Palatine Hill on 21 April 753BC by Romulus.  That date is enshrined in the Roman calendar as the date "ab urbe condita" and year 1.  That makes this year 2770 AUC, I believe.

Live well!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Easter Wednesday & the Victimae Sequence

File:Resurrection of Christ and Women at the Tomb by Fra Angelico (San Marco cell 8).jpg
The Resurrection by Fra Angelico, 15th century.

Happy Easter, on this Easter Wednesday!  The great and glorious Octave of Easter continues.

Here is the introit for Mass on the day:

For more on the Feast of Easter in general, you might note:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Easter

Fish Eaters: Eastertide

Today I wanted to stop and note something of the sublime Sequence that is said of chanted during the 1st class Octave of Easter: the Victimae Paschali laudes.  This sequence, thought to be from the 11th century, was one of the few retained by the reforms of the Council of Trent.

The text reads thus in Latin:
Victimae paschali laudes
immolent Christiani.

Agnus redemit oves:
Christus innocens Patri
reconciliavit peccatores.

Mors et vita duello
conflixere mirando:
dux vitae mortuus,
regnat vivus.

Dic nobis Maria,
quid vidisti in via?

Sepulcrum Christi viventis,
et gloriam vidi resurgentis:

Angelicos testes,
sudarium, et vestes.

Surrexit Christus spes mea:
praecedet vos in Galilaeam.

Scimus Christum surrexisse
a mortuis vere:
tu nobis, victor Rex, miserere.
Amen. Alleluia.

Which, in English is:
Let Christians immolate
praises to the passover victim.

The lamb has redeemed the sheep:
Innocent Christ has reconciled
the sinners to the Father.

Death and life contended
in a miraculous battle:
the Prince of life, who died,
reigns alive.

Tell us, Mary, what did
you see on the road?

"I saw the tomb of the living Christ
and the glory of his rising,

The angelic witnesses, the
clothes and the shroud."

"Christ my hope is arisen;
into Galilee, he will go before his own."

We know Christ is truly risen from the dead!
To us, victorious King, have mercy!
Amen. Alleluia.

Here is the Chant for this great Sequence:

The great Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina has his own setting, too:

Finally, for more, you might note this article:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Victimae Paschali

Surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia, et apparuit Simoni, alleluia!

Live well!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter Tuesday & Resurrection Accounts

The Resurrection by Piero della Francesca, 15th century.

The Octave of Easter continues today, Easter Tuesday.  Each day this week is, of course, a solemnity or 1st Class Feast, as we continue to bask in the glory of the Resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.  For more on this wonderful feast, you might note:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Easter

Fish Eaters: Eastertide

Here is a recording of the Alleluia verse for Easter Tuesday:

Today, I wished to take a look at the Resurrection account according to the various Gospels.  On Easter Sunday, I highlighted the account of St. Matthew.  Below are those of the other three Gospels:

St. Mark recounts, in chapter 16:
"Chapter 16:1 And when the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome had bought spices, to come and anoint Jesus. 2 So they came to the tomb very early on the day after the sabbath, at sunrise.  3 And they began to question among themselves, Who is to roll the stone away for us from the door of the tomb? 4 Then they looked up, and saw that the stone, great as it was, had been rolled away already. 5 And they went into the tomb, and saw there, on the right, a young man seated, wearing a white robe; and they were dismayed.  6 But he said to them, No need to be dismayed; you have come to look for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified; he has risen again, he is not here. Here is the place where they laid him. 7 Go and tell Peter and the rest of his disciples that he is going before you into Galilee. There you shall have sight of him, as he promised you. 8 So they came out and ran away from the tomb, trembling and awe-struck, and said nothing to anyone, out of fear.  9 But he had risen again, at dawn on the first day of the week, and shewed himself first of all to Mary Magdalen, the woman out of whom he had cast seven devils. 10 She went and gave the news to those who had been of his company, where they mourned and wept; 11 and they, when they were told that he was alive and that she had seen him, could not believe it.  12 After that, he appeared in the form of a stranger to two of them as they were walking together, going out into the country;  13 these went back and gave the news to the rest, but they did not believe them either."

Here is that of St. Luke:
"Chapter 24:1 And at very early dawn on the first day of the week they came to the tomb, bringing the spices they had prepared: 2 and found the stone already rolled away from the door of the tomb. 3 They went into it, and could not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 They were still puzzling over this, when two men came and stood by them, in shining garments. 5 These said to them, as they bowed their faces to the earth in fear, Why are you seeking one who is alive, here among the dead? 6 He is not here, he has risen again; remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 The Son of Man is to be given up into the hands of sinners, and to be crucified, and to rise again the third day. 8 Then they remembered what he had said, 9 and returned from the tomb bringing news of all this to the eleven apostles and to all the rest.  10 It was Mary Magdalen, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, who told the apostles this; 11 but to their minds the story seemed madness, and they could not believe it. 12 Only Peter rose up and ran to the tomb, where he looked in, and saw the grave-clothes lying by themselves, and went away full of surmise over what had befallen."

Finally, that of St. John:
"Chapter 20:1 Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalen went to the tomb, and found the stone moved away from the tomb door.  2 So she came running to Simon Peter, and that other disciple, whom Jesus loved; They have carried the Lord away from the tomb, she said to them, and we cannot tell where they have taken him. 3 Upon this, Peter and the other disciple both set out, and made their way to the tomb; 4 they began running side by side, but the other disciple outran Peter, and reached the tomb first. 5 He looked in and saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Simon Peter, coming up after him, went into the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and also the veil which had been put over Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths, but still wrapped round and round in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and saw this, and learned to believe. 9 They had not yet mastered what was written of him, that he was to rise from the dead. 10 The disciples went back home; 11 but Mary stood without before the tomb, weeping. And she bent down, still weeping, and looked into the tomb; 12 and saw two angels clothed in white sitting there, one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 They said to her, Woman, why art thou weeping? Because they have carried away my Lord, she said, and I cannot tell where they have taken him.14 Saying this, she turned round, and saw Jesus standing there, without knowing that it was Jesus.  15 Woman, Jesus said to her, why art thou weeping? For whom art thou searching? She supposed that it must be the gardener, and said to him, If it is thou, Sir, that hast carried him off, tell me where thou hast put him, and I will take him away. 16 Jesus said to her, Mary. And she turned and said to him, Rabboni (which is the Hebrew for Master). 17 Then Jesus said, Do not cling to me thus; I have not yet gone up to my Father’s side. Return to my brethren, and tell them this; I am going up to him who is my Father and your Father, who is my God and your God.

18 So Mary Magdalen brought news to the disciples, of how she had seen the Lord, and he had spoken thus to her. 19 And now it was evening on the same day, the first day of the week; for fear of the Jews, the disciples had locked the doors of the room in which they had assembled; and Jesus came, and stood there in their midst; Peace be upon you, he said. 20 And with that, he shewed them his hands and his side. Thus the disciples saw the Lord, and were glad. 21 Once more Jesus said to them, Peace be upon you; I came upon an errand from my Father, and now I am sending you out in my turn. 22 With that, he breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit; 23 when you forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven, when you hold them bound, they are held bound."

Surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia, et apparuit Simoni, alleluia!

Live well!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Monday & the Octave

File:Rafael - ressureicaocristo01.jpg
Resurrection of Christ, by Raphael, ca. 1500AD.

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, was really on the first day of Easter -- as this highest of Feasts has a 1st Class Octave -- eight days, all of which are 1st Class Feasts, or Solemnities.  This is the holiest and most celebratory week of the year -- each of these days is like another Easter!  As such, this blog will continue with the Easter day theme throughout the week.  Of course, the full Easter Season lasts fifty days, until Pentecost.

Here is the Alleluia verse from Easter Monday:

For more on Easter and Eastertide, you might consult:

Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Easter

Fish Eaters: Eastertide

It is worth noting something, too, of the idea of an Octave:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Octave

Check back later this week, as I continue to present various aspects of this glorious feast!

Surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia, et apparuit Simoni, alleluia!

Live well!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday: Triduum III

Noli me tangere by Giotto

Surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia!  Et apparuit Simoni, alleluia!

It is Easter!  Christ has triumphed over death!

Here is the Alleluia for the Easter Vigil Mass:

The Exultet, of course, is the unique and preeminent announcement of this great Easter joy:
Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,exult, let Angel ministers of God exult,let the trumpet of salvation sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph! Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her,ablaze with light from her eternal King,let all corners of the earth be glad,knowing an end to gloom and darkness.Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice,arrayed with the lightning of his glory,let this holy building shake with joy,filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.

(Therefore, dearest friends, standing in the awesome glory of this holy light, invoke with me, I ask you, the mercy of God almighty, that he, who has been pleased to number me, though unworthy, among the Levites, may pour into me his light unshadowed, that I may sing this candle’s perfect praises).(V. The Lord be with you.R. And with your spirit.)V. Lift up your hearts.R. We lift them up to the Lord.V. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.R. It is right and just.

It is truly right and just, with ardent love of mind and heartand with devoted service of our voice,to acclaim our God invisible, the almighty Father, and Jesus Christ, our Lord, his Son, his Only Begotten.Who for our sake paid Adam’s debt to the eternal Father, and, pouring out his own dear Blood, wiped clean the record of our ancient sinfulness.These, then, are the feasts of Passover, in which is slain the Lamb, the one true Lamb, whose Blood anoints the doorposts of believers.This is the night, when once you led our forebears, Israel’s children, from slavery in Egypt and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea.This is the night that with a pillar of fire banished the darkness of sin.

This is the night that even now, throughout the world, sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices and from the gloom of sin, leading them to grace and joining them to his holy ones.

This is the night, when Christ broke the prison-bars of death and rose victorious from the underworld. Our birth would have been no gain, had we not been redeemed.O wonder of your humble care for us!O love, O charity beyond all telling, to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!O truly necessary sin of Adam, destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!O happy fault that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!O truly blessed night, worthy alone to know the time and hour when Christ rose from the underworld!

This is the night of which it is written: The night shall be as bright as day, dazzling is the night for me, and full of gladness.

The sanctifying power of this night dispels wickedness, washes faults away, restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners, drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.On this, your night of grace, O holy Father, accept this candle, a solemn offering, the work of bees and of your servants’ hands, an evening sacrifice of praise, this gift from your most holy Church.But now we know the praises of this pillar, which glowing fire ignites for God’s honor, a fire into many flames divided, yet never dimmed by sharing of its light, for it is fed by melting wax, drawn out by mother bees to build a torch so precious.O truly blessed night, when things of heaven are wed to those of earth, and divine to the human.

Therefore, O Lord,we pray you that this candle, hallowed to the honor of your name, may persevere undimmed, to overcome the darkness of this night.Receive it as a pleasing fragrance, and let it mingle with the lights of heaven.May this flame be found still burning by the Morning Star: the one Morning Star who never sets, Christ your Son, who, coming back from death’s domain, has shed his peaceful light on humanity, and lives and reigns for ever and ever.  R. Amen.

The history of that prayer: Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Exultet

The Introit of the Easter Sunday Mass sums up the joy of this day!

St. Matthew describes the moments of the Resurrection thus, in chapter 28:
"Chapter 28:1 On the night after the sabbath, at the hour when dawn broke on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalen and the other Mary came near to contemplate the tomb.  2 And suddenly there was a great trembling of the earth, because an angel of the Lord came to the place, descending from heaven, and rolled away the stone and sat over it; 3 his face shone like lightning, and his garments were white as snow; 4 so that the guards trembled for fear of him, and were like dead men. 5 But the angel said openly to the women, You need not be afraid; I know well that you have come to look for Jesus of Nazareth, the man who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, as he told you. Come and see the place where the Lord was buried.7 You must go in haste, and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead; and now he is going on before you into Galilee, where you shall have sight of him. That is my message to you. 8 Whereupon they left the tomb, in fear and in great rejoicing, and ran to tell the news to his disciples.  9 And while they were on their way, all at once Jesus met them and said, All hail. With that, they came near to him, and clung to his feet, and worshipped him.  10 Then Jesus said to them, Do not be afraid; go and give word to my brethren to remove into Galilee; they shall see me there.

11 They had not finished their journey, when some of the guards reached the city, and told the chief priests of all that befell. 12 These gathered with the elders to take counsel, and offered a rich bribe to the soldiers;13 Let this, they said, be your tale, His disciples came by night and stole him away, while we were asleep.14 If this should come to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy him, and see that no harm comes to you.15 The soldiers took the bribe, and did as they were instructed; and this is the tale which has gone abroad among the Jews, to this day. "

For more history and customs of this most glorious day of the Church year, visit these links:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Easter

Fish Eaters: Easter

There is so much more to say and ponder on this high feast -- so we shall do that over the Octave!  Easter only begins today!

Live well so as to rise with Him on the last day!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Sorrow & Anticipation: Holy Saturday

The Entombment of Christ by Beato Fra Angelico.

The silence of the tomb.  The piercing sorrow of loss.

Yet, the expectation and knowledge of triumph.  The fasts and disciplines of Lent are nearly at their end.

On this day, Christ descended to the Limbo of the Fathers: Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Limbo

Holy Saturday is a peculiar mix -- grief of the events from the day prior, yet a real anticipation of the joy of Easter Sunday that permits liturgies of the Resurrection creep into this calendar day.

Some history of the day, a day that saw those liturgies move earlier and earlier, until the Latin Church restored them to the evening in the 20th century: Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Holy Saturday

Some customs of the day: Fish Eaters: Holy Saturday

Now, we wait for the great triumph of the Resurrection.

Silence.  Anticipation.

Live well, so as to die well!