Vespers for Monday, Dec 18

The Dominican nuns of Summit, New Jersey have made a video of vespers for tonight. Not perfect (they're very apologetic about that) but perfectly lovely, and I hope they share more of this with us. They sounded like angels to me as they sang the second of what are known as the O Antiphons, which we chant in the last week of Advent, as the antiphon just prior to the chanting of the Magnificat. These antiphons are especially beautiful. They started yesterday with the O Sapientia: “O Wisdom, O h … [Read more...]

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Weakness is sown; strength rises up.

Went to adoration yesterday - not especially because of the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01 - simply because that's my habit of a Monday afternoon. As I had planned to, I prayed the Office for the Dead, in remembrance of...well, of so many. Of my brothers and brother-in-law, of the victims of 9/11, our lost soldiers, the civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan - the families of all the war-dead. "All things are alive in the sight of their king..."One of the readings … [Read more...]

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God forbid we should feel a little bad…

Miss Kelly is distressed to find that some hymnals (including - sigh - the one in my church) features a change in the words to Amazing Grace."Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me..." Has been changed to reflect both the freedom that comes with salvation - which is very nice - and also the decree from some publishing house on high that we never, ever sing a lyric that might suggest a negative. "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved and set me free..."Never … [Read more...]

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Advent and Antiphons through the years…

On this day, last year, this is where I was at - still thinking of Advent and what it means, but under very different circumstances.It is amazing how fast time goes by, how our days pass almost in a blur unless we stop to take stock. And it's also amazing how much my mutton-chopped, exceedingly loud 16 year old has taught me. And how much my brother is teaching me, still.Some of my Evangelical friends have wondered to me, via email, what the purpose is, of the Liturgical Year - why we … [Read more...]

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Acedia and the Emperor of Ice Cream

Call the roller of big cigars, The muscular one, and bid him whip In kitchen cups concupiscent curds. Let the wenches dawdle in such dress As they are used to wear, and let the boys Bring flowers in last month's newspapers. Let be be finale of seem. The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.Take from the dresser of deal, Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet On which she embroidered fantails once And spread it so as to cover her face. If her horny feet protrude, they come To show how … [Read more...]

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Anchoress Crashes and Burns. Film at 11:00.

So, as sometimes happens in life, everything came to a head yesterday afternoon. After a so-so day at work, during which I made arrangements with my pediatrician to get a second cardiologist opinion on a situation with Buster (my brother is not long for this world, and my 15 year old is routinely clutching at his chest and turning purple - can we say stress overload?) I took a look at my schedule for the day. It included many errand-y, Christmas-themed type things, ending with the hour's drive … [Read more...]

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Slouching Toward Bethlehem

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?WB Yeats, The Second ComingPolly Toynbee’s mother died three weeks ago. Ms. Toynbee has written of it here, while in the throes of exquisite pain and some very plain anger:My mother died three weeks ago, less than a year after a diagnosis of terminal cancer. From the start she faced its inexorable course with rational calm, unafraid of dying but determined to avoid lingering beyond what she thought bearable. … [Read more...]

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