Sunday, April 29, 2007

Back By Popular Demand +

William Holman Hunt (1853–4)

All right,
not by popular demand. I just needed to see it plainly and forthrightly again.
The Light of the World is an allegorical painting by William Holman Hunt representing the figure of Jesus preparing to knock on an overgrown and long-unopened door, symbolic of the human conscience. The scriptural basis for this concept can be found in Revelation 3:19-21: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me". According to Hunt: "I painted the picture with what I thought, unworthy though I was, to be by Divine command, and not simply as a good subject." It has sometimes been remarked that the door in the painting has no handle, and can therefore only be opened from the inside.
The painting was Hunt's most famous and successful work and was toured around the world. The original is now in a side room off the large chapel at Keble College, Oxford. Hunt painted a large copy towards the end of his life, which is now in St Paul's Cathedral, London.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Religare - 'To Bind Back'

Mexico City decides to return to "that old time religion."

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us. +

Friday, April 27, 2007

Christian Faith a Pharmakos?

Drug and Poison?
In an article entitled, "Christian Background To Political Correctness?" in the online journal Global Politician, Fjordman makes a disturbing yet largely accurate observation:
Christian ethics have proved more durable than Christian beliefs.
Furthermore, he notes that while he is not a Christian, he has deep appreciation for the contributions made by the Christian faith. However, the question that distresses him in the present cultural crisis facing the West is, "precisely because Christianity has so profoundly shaped our culture, isn’t it plausible that it may also, at least indirectly, have contributed to some of the flaws that currently ail us as well?"

This nearly borders on a hat-in-hand Nietzschean position, but one can understand Fjordman's observation. The Church contains and guards the deposit of faith in Sacred Scripture and Tradition via the Magisterium. Yet the plethora of expressions of Christianity in greater or lesser degrees represents and misrepresents Catholic truth in word and action.

Fjordman notes that Christian ethics sans Christian beliefs can be deadly to a culture, as we see in the West:

One major component of Western self-loathing is the idea that we should we be punished for crimes, perceived or real, committed by our ancestors before we were even born. It could be argued that this idea has its roots in Christian thinking, in the concept of original sin, committed by Adam and Eve, but where all their descendants are subject to its effects. Christian ethics have proved more durable than Christian beliefs. Even when we have supposedly left the religion behind, we still believe we have to make atonement for the sins of our forefathers, but since we no longer believe that Christ has made that sacrifice for us and washed away our sins, we end up sacrificing ourselves instead...

Perhaps Christianity, despite its many great qualities, needs to be balanced out by other more worldly elements, such as attachment to nation states.

So, for those who still maintain the theological virtue of hope, it is not time to compromise with the state, as Fjordman suggests. It is time to evangelize the truth claims of the Gospel and the deposit of faith -- the beliefs -- vouchsafed by the Magisterium. For truly, Christian ethics, which a secular West won't even give credit to -- can, as Fjordman says, be deadly with Christian belief.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

American Idol Gives Back Celine and Elvis

Elvis and Celine Dion from Yahoo videos.

I figure that one of us Massketeers have to hold up the common fan -- though I love the beauty of classical and jazz music, I guess there are times when I just got to have my Elvis fix.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Growing Pains?

With due respect to fellow Massketeer, Porthos, and in the same vein, I might add, as "Paglia on Radio," I would like to share with our multitude of readers something borrowed from Dymphna at Gates of Vienna, namely, this video piece entitled ”The Trouble with Islam.”

Commonsensical, whimsical, mildly low on the level of discourse expected and demanded of our readership, but worthy of a look and a listen, in my humble opinion.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Farmer, Violinist, the Metro & 'Ugly as Sin'

Talk about a "slaps forehead, why didn't I think of that?" connection. The Yeoman Farmer makes a superb connection in regards to a cool article from the Washington Post Sunday Magazine, ”Pearls Before Breakfast” and Catholic Church architecture. Context matters, as if Daniel Mitsui didn't know that already. But chalk one up for Yeoman, outstanding in his field.

Beauty & the Quiet Mind

The Art of Painting - Jan Vermeer
c. 1666-73; Oil on canvas, 130 x 110 cm; Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Sylvia Shaw Judson gave us a slim volume entitled, The Quiet Eye, the philosophy of which being one of quieting one's inner life through art; using that which one looks upon to bring about a peace that is rare, given our usual states of conscious turmoil, hectic drivenness, and other conditions of unrest. This, of course, is the point of carving out time to spend on a retreat. But I find the paintings of Jan Vermeer to provide such opportunities of centering, reflection, contemplation (I believe fellow Massketeer Porthos does too, but I'll let him speak for himself.) Music by the Tallis Scholars is conducive to such contemplation as well.

Given the works of evil perpetrated upon students and faculty of Virginia Tech University, the alternatives -- a "mind enslaved" and a mind at rest in God's arms [Psalm 131] -- one would do well to heed the words shared by friend and mentor, Gil Bailie:
(The polymorphously perverse mind) is a mind enslaved. It desires not only to possess the other, but to consume or destroy. It wishes not only to imitate the other, nor merely to possess itself in the other, but to destroy the other as the place where the self is alienated to itself.

All the appeals to custom, to tradition, to authority, to the positive teaching of religion, to the gestures repeated since childhood are not meant to compel reason nor to supplement it, but to protect it against the vertigo of the imagination. And the only people to be scandalized are, in the words of St Augustine, ‘Those who do not know how rare and difficult a thing it is for the fleshly imagination to be subdued by the serenity of a devout mind."

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ismail Ax & the Primitive Sacred

Mark Gordon at Suicide of the West lifts up a frightening yet keen intuition about the shooter at VTU. Fatuous speculation? Not if one takes seriously René Girard's mimetic theory.

In the times when the cultural enterprise of a people are loosening mores, prohibitions, taboos that confined scandalizing behavior, Girard, Jean-Michel Oughourlian and Guy Lefort laid down the blueprint for a predictable gradient that leads nearly inexorably to complete social meltdown. Such "sacrificial preparation" mimics the founding violence that gave rise to culture in the first place. To believe with supreme naïveté that we moderns have outgrown such "primitive" behavior is worthy only of such folk as still believe in the myth of the autonomous self. You know, like the commissioners of the EU.

That a loner, bereft of the benefit of the light of the Gospel should stray toward violence that is a clear expression of what Girard calls the "primitive sacred" with dehumanization of its enemies and immunity from repercussions for violence performed upon them is only "natural" in every sense of the word. For, only the revelation of the deposit of faith vouchsafed by the Catholic Church offers freedom from this gradient of sin and death.

But regardless whether the shooter was or was not a recent convert to Islam, Nietzsche would have been proud of the lad, Cho Seung-Hu or Ismail Ax, for trying to jump start the old mechanism of the "eternal return." If we willingly relinquish Catholic truth, either in its full expression guarded by the Magisterium of Mother Church or watered-down versions of other christianities, we will see with dread and awe that the vacuum of secularity will be filled by Islam or other expressions of the primitive sacred.

That will be the doom of those who refuse to remain attached to the True Vine, Jesus Christ the only Son of the Father [Jn 15]. May the West awaken to the sounding alarm. And soon.

A Cursillo Prison Weekend for Aramis

Matthew 25:35-40
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.'

Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'

And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'

My wife and I will be away this weekend participating on a prison Cursillo weekend. Though we have done a number of 'street' weekends, this will be our first Cursillo team expereience behind bars. Our local Cursillo community has been going into prison some 12 or 13 years. The candidates in the correctional center, as well as everyone on the team, could use your prayers. May the Holy Spirit penetrate all our walls and defense mechanisms to fill our hearts with His Love. Please pray for the guards and all staff personal as well.

Assuming that I behave and they let me out I will try to let you know how it goes the first of next week.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Brit Docs Opt Out - Bravo

A growing number of British physicians are deciding to opt out of performing abortions. Dare one hope that a crack is opening and allowing the light of truth shine into the medical community? That those who have sought to redefine when human life begins are being stripped of their myths and machinations at long last?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Our Prayers Go Out +

The Three Massketeers' prayers rise up and our hearts go out to the families of the victims of the tragic shooting spree on the campus of Virginia Tech University, Blackburg, Virginia. May the victims rest in peace. May all of us know that suffering does have meaning, and we can and should offer it up for the good of all souls, especially the soul least prayed for in Purgatory.

In the Mercy. +

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Divine Mercy Sunday +

The Incredulity of St Thomas [1634] -- Rembrandt
Magnificat today gives a meditation from the writings of Father Hans Urs Von Balthasar. Before Mass started, I was nearly in tears reading these words. And in the homily, the good padre told his flock (I was a guest, returning from a weekend retreat) that in a day when God's name is routinely invoked to smite and destroy enemies, it is vital that we witness to the divine mercy of God, vindicated in the crucifixion and resurrection of Our Lord.

He told us in a succinct, magnificent homily the we should be "pioneers, like the pioneers who settled the old West. Only we should pioneer the good news of God's divine mercy through our mercy, our forgiveness, our compassion." With that, Von Balthasar:
So you, too, come up, Thomas. Come forth from your cave of sorrows. Put your finger here and see my hands. Extend your hand and place it in my side. And do not think that your blind suffering is more clairvoyant than my grace …

But since you are so wounded and the open torment of your heart has opened up to the abyss of your very self, put out your hand to me and, with it, feel the pulse of another Heart: through this new experience your soul will surrender and heave up the dark gall which it has long collected. I must overpower you. I cannot spare exacting from you your melancholy – your most-loved possession. Give it to me, even if it costs you your soul and your inner self thinks it must die. Give me this idol, this cold stony clot in your breast, and in its place I will give you a new heart of flesh that will beat to the pulse of my own Heart.

Give me this self of yours, which lives on its not being able to live, which is sick because it cannot die. Let it perish, and you will finally begin to live. You are enamored of the sad puzzle of your incomprehensible ego. But you have already been seen through and comprehended, for look: if your heart accuses you, I am nevertheless greater than this your heart, and I know everything. Dare to make the leap into the Light! Do not take the world to be more profound than God! Do not think that I cannot make short work of you! Your city is besieged, your provisions are exhausted: you must capitulate. What could be simpler and sweeter than opening the door to love? What could be easier than falling to one’s knee and saying: “My Lord and my God?”

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Myths about the Third World and Global Development

Hans Rosling presents data in a new way. Extremely informative.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

H/T Pajamas Media

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Real Life Imitating Art

In The Dionysus Mandate, a young Downs Syndrome boy is recruited as a sacrificial victim:
“How is the pharmakos for my ritual at Caesarea Philippi, sir?”
“You read my mind, Lucent! We are on our way to visit him right now. Then we need to return to the airport.”
They walked down an alleyway filled with the open shade of a bright Friday afternoon in the Middle East. Praetorius opened a gate leading to the small courtyard of a rundown house. He proceeded to the open front door.
“Hello!” he called. “Hello?”
A Palestinian woman appeared and hid her smile behind a white shawl. She carried an infant in the crook of one arm. Herr Praetorius made polite inquiries and the woman invited him in as a trusted acquaintance. Neesam waited in the courtyard. Soon, the old man reappeared leading a small boy by the hand. Perhaps ten years old, his face bore the signs of Downs Syndrome. The old man knelt down slowly and introduced the boy to his companion.
“Lucent, I want you to meet Áchmed. We met here in Jericho some time ago in his father’s shop.
Aly Lambert, the heroine of the story, later hears the fate of young Áchmed on her car radio:
A report on BBC World News snapped her suddenly back into the present:
“Turning to the Middle East, tourists in Israel made a disturbing discovery this morning in the vicinity of Caesarea Philippi. The mutilated body of young Palestinean boy was found at the entrance to the cave known as Pan’s Grotto."
“Authorities speculate that an obscure occultist group may be responsible.”
It was probably Neesam’s turn this time,” Aly muttered.
All well and good. For fiction in a dystopian future wherein a willful return to human sacrifice is de rigueur among the powers that be.

But now a report has brought this occurrence in Dionysus Mandate into high relief:
BAGHDAD, 10 April 2007 (IRIN) - BAGHDAD, 10 April 2007 (IRIN) - The dreams 13-year-old Barak Muhammad (not his real name) had of leading a normal teenage life were dashed when his father sold him to al-Qaeda militants. Being mentally handicapped, he said he was considered a burden by his family and was told he would be better off sacrificing his life for his country.
"I don't have a mother and never went to school. I was dreaming of a day that I would go to school like my other brothers, but I was considered different. My father was always telling me that I was a mistake in his life, a boy that was just bringing expenses and problems," Barak said.

Nine-year-old Saleh Ahmed (not his real name) said he was forced to help insurgents after they forced their way into his home and threatened to kill his mother and sisters if his father did not hand him over.
"They told me to say that I'm happy working with them but it's not true. I want to go back home and stay with my mother," Saleh told IRIN in privacy. When his trainer, Abu Ahmed, returned to the room, Saleh changed his tune and said he was happy to fight US forces and would die to save his country.
I would love to say that this clearly delineates between the foes of the West and our Christ enlightened culture, but you, gentle reader, would see through the farce's façade, when abortion, euthanasia, and nixing of the "invalid" run rampant through the culture of death in Old Christendom and the New World.

Pray for the witness of Catholic truth, the Church, and our Holy Father. Pray for all innocents who are taken advantage of by evil. And read The Dionysus Mandate. Not for its art, but for its truth.

Noli Me Tangere

Noli Me Tangere - Fra Angelica
1440-41; Fresco, Convent of San Marco, Florence

From the ridiculous (below) to the sublime. Florentine painter, a Dominican friar, Fra Angelico lived from 1400-1455. Although in popular tradition he has been seen as `not an artist properly so-called but an inspired saint' (Ruskin), Angelico was in fact a highly professional artist, who was in touch with the most advanced developments in contemporary Florentine art and in later life travelled extensively for prestigious commissions. He probably began his career as a manuscript illuminator, and his early paintings are strongly influenced by International Gothic. But even in the most lavishly decorative of them all-- the Annunciation in the Diocesan Museum in Cortona-- Masaccio's incluence is evident in the insistent perspective of the architecture.

For most of his career Angelico was based in S. Domenico in Fiesole (he became Prior there in 1450), but his most famous works were painted at S. Marco in Florence (now an Angelico museum), a Sylvestrine monastry which was taken over by his Order in 1436.

Angelico died in Rome and was buried in the church of S. Maria sopra Minerva, where his tombstone still exists. Vasari, who referred to Fra Giovanni as `a simple and most holy man', popularized the use of the name Angelico for him, but he says it is the name by which he was always known, and it was certainly used as early as 1469. The painter has long been called `Beato Angelico' (the Blessed Angelico), but his beatification was not made official by the Vatican until 1984. [Web Museum]

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hunters Nix René Girard

Children, Easter eggs, and Dick Cheney.

[Humor: Tip - M. Shea]

Monday, April 09, 2007

Sunday, April 08, 2007


The Morning of the Resurrection - Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Watermelon in Easter Hay

OK, well, look, transcendence does pop up in unusual places, like in some of Frank's arrangements and guitar work.

The Harrowing of Hell

The Harrowing of Hell
"This is the Old English and Middle English term for the triumphant descent of Christ into hell (or Hades) between the time of His Crucifixion and His Resurrection, when, according to Christian belief, He brought salvation to the souls held captive there since the beginning of the world. According to the "New English Dictionary" the word Harrowing in the above connection first occurs in Aelfric's homilies, about A.D. 1000; but, long before this, the descent into hell had been related in the Old English poems connected with the name of Caedmon and Cynewulf.

"Writers of Old English prose homilies and lives of saints continually employ the subject, but it is in medieval English literature that it is most fully found, both in prose and verse, and particularly in the drama. Art and literature all through Europe had from early times embodied in many forms the Descent into Hell, and specimens plays upon this theme in various European literatures still exist, but it is in Middle English dramatic literature that we find the fullest and most dramatic development of the subject.

"The earliest specimen extant of the English religious drama is upon the Harrowing of Hell, and the four great cycles of English mystery plays each devote to it a separate scene. It is found also in the ancient Cornish plays. These medieval versions of the story, while ultimately based upon the New Testament and the Fathers, have yet, in their details, been found to proceed from the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, the literary form of a part of which is said to date back to the second of third century. In its Latin form this "gospel" was known in England from a very early time; Bede and other Old English writers are said to show intimate acquaintance with it. English translations were made of it in the Middle Ages, and in the long Middle English poem known as "Cursor Mundi" a paraphrase of it is found."
-- From the online Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent.
One may also consult or this.
And, finally, Dr. Will Willimon preached this sermon at Duke Chapel a few years ago.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday +

Christ on the Cross - Albrecht Altdorfer, c.1520; Budapest, Hungar

Triduum +

Death Shall Have No Dominion

In the annals of human love, there will always be those whose stories by which we will find ourselves feeling moved: Peter Abelard and Héloïse, Dante and Beatrix, perhaps even one's grandparent's -- particularly if you are wearing your grandmother's wedding band with the date of their wedding [1916] and they drove off to homestead in Montana on an Indian motorcycle with a sidecar. What makes one story more significant than that of another? What makes such a story rich not only with the love of man for woman, woman for man, but with the theologically hoped for but never proven element of eternity?

Our friend and mentor, Gil Bailie, founder and president of the Cornerstone Forum, describes in his reverie on Holy Thursday what this element is. In his usual diction that packs the punch of a poet who selects words like rocks from a riverbed, Gil builds a monument of living stones to human love of husband and wife valorized and vouchsafed by the sole source of human hope, our Eucharistic Lord. An apt meditation for the beginning of the Holy Triduum.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

René Girard for Holy Week

First it was Mark Gordon lifting up praise for Girard and now we have FIRST THINGS article René Girard for Holy Week by Edward T. Oakes, S.J.

Here is an excerpt:
Again, if you want to know why contemporary art keeps preening itself on its “daring transgressions,” you’ll find the answer in Girard. Also, if you’re a puzzled secularist, wondering why religion is making such a comeback in the headlines, you need only go to Girard for the answer. As Kirwin rightly notes: “Girard has explicitly distanced himself from Marcel Gauchet’s claim that Christianity has brought about the end of religion in the world. Rather, he suggests our current humanism will be perceived as merely a short interval between two forms of religion.” (I don’t think Girard has been at all taken off-guard by the resurgence of militant Islam.)

Of course, that still leaves open the question of what that “second form” of religion will look like in the future, to which Girard has only this quintessentially Christian answer to give: “What makes our hearts turn to stone is the discovery that, in one sense or another, we are all butchers pretending to be sacrificers. . . . One thing alone can put an end to this infernal ordeal, the certainty of being forgiven.”

What a great Holy Week meditation - reading the anthropological study of mimesis through the lens of René Girard. In fact anytime is a great time for this.

British Pluck

The Brussels Journal reports that British schoolteachers are dropping mention of the Crusades and the Holocaust. Any ideas why?

Without recourse to the "truth that will set you free" -- cf. below, "The Chaplet of Divine Mercy," -- one cannot hold one's ground, and one falls under the dread of the primitive sacred. In this case, symbolized by the scimitar.

Bernard Lewis in a recent speech, mentioned the two moments in European history when Islam was turned back successfully.
He had mentioned the two Muslim assaults on Europe: the Arab one that ended in the West, near Poitiers with the victory of Charles Martel in 732. And the one that started in the East, with the Turks, which was marked by the two assaults on Vienna, the second one in 1683, the high-water mark of Ottoman power in Europe.
And so, just toward the end, was this unremarked but remarkable sentence:

"Third time lucky?"
We will see.

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Today’s grace: Rene Girard & Gil Bailie

Today Mark Gordon at his blog, Suicide of the West, has a nice reflection on Rene Girard and Gil Bailie and the Anthropology of the Cross.
He concludes with the following comment: I believe this discovery is the key to reintroducing Christianity to postmodern Western civilization. Best of all, I have found that on a personal level the further one drills into the implications of Girardian theory, the deeper one’s appreciation grows for the truth of the orthodox Christian faith. As you begin this journey, “Be not afraid!” The work of Girard-Bailie is a profound escort into the anthropological heart of the Gospel, the bosom of the Church and the Mystery of Jesus Christ.

We 3 Massketeers proudly raise are pens high and heartily agree with Mark and salute Rene Girard and Gil Bailie.

Monday, April 02, 2007

April 2, 2005

Easter 2005 was celebrated on March 27.

On April 2nd of that year, my wife and I took a trip to Holy Name Cathedral, formally the Cathedral of the Holy Name in downtown Chicago. We had never been there and, as we had just completed the RCIA program in our local parish, we couldn't get enough of anything that was Roman Catholic, and that is still true today.

Oh what beauty we found ourselves in. Once inside we made our way to one of the front pews and noticed a group of people over to the left of the altar. A baptism service was just about to begin. It was for a young Mexican-American little boy named Sebastian. The priest was fluent in both Spanish and English, and he had a gift for making everyone feel a part of this special moment. He went around the family and asked each their name and gave a short history and meaning of each name, some of this was in Spanish and some in English. We learned that Sebastian meant venerated or majestic.

Then at one point early in the proceeding, around 1:45pm CST, the priest made THE announcement; that as we are here in The Holy Name Cathedral in downtown Chicago celebrating this very special baptism, a true blessing of the Church, on the other side of the planet, Pope John Paul II had just past away. With that he paused ever so slightly and then continued on with the ceremony.

The news was not surprising to us, we knew that Pope JPII was in failing health, and so we sat there in silence, rosary in hand and tears rolling down our cheeks. Some time after the baptism we got up to leave, only to be stunned to see a near packed cathedral, as people, in reverence and silence, had filled the pews. When we got outside there were TV trucks and camera crews looking to capture a sound-byte from anyone on their reaction to the news of the Pope’s death (not of course little Sebastian's baptism). We slipped past all that and ducked into a small sidewalk café before heading back home. While we were in the café a TV was on and we watched the news - and there in this small café in downtown Chicago we learned so much more about our faith and our Church, that before this time, we hadn’t a clue.

As I said, April 2nd that year was a week after Easter. I know this because I had just completed the RCIA program and was still unable to participate in full communion that Easter due to the delay that my dioceses had in sending my Privilege of Faith paperwork to Rome. The death of JPII was now going to delay my entry into the Church even more.

Well, my paperwork finally came through and on a glorious evening in November 2005, I was confirmed and my wife and I celebrated a renewal of our wedding vows in the Catholic Church; all this on her birthday. What a blessing.

By the way, today, April 2nd is my birthday and I wonder about little Sebastian and how he and his family are doing. I pray that they are well.

Monday of Holy Week +

Torrents of Peace

On this Monday of Holy Week, a quotation from Aldous Huxley from Gil Bailie's tape series on Dante's masterpiece, The Inferno:
“Who will ever believe or imagine that there can be torrents of peace which sweep away the dikes, which breach the levies, and shatter the sea wall? And yet this is what actually happens. God’s peace is like a river whose course is in one country and has been diverted into another by the breaking of a dike. This invading peace does things which do not seem proper to the nature of peace. For it comes with a rush, it comes with impetuosity. It comes like an element of another life, with the sound of celestial harmony and such swiftness that the soul is utterly overthrown, not because she has made any resistance to the blessing, but because of its very abundance. This abundance does no violence except to the obstacles in the way of its benediction. And all the animals that are not peaceable take flight before the onset of this peace.”

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Passion Sunday +

The Deposition - Caravaggio
1604; Pinacoteca Vaticana

Having heard the Passion Narrative at Vigil Mass, I'm struck by the way that the "old, old story" is what C. S. Lewis called "the myth become fact" and forever new. More recently, René Girard has seen that myths in fact veil actual murders, act as justification for them, and work alongside two other elements of human culture, ritual and prohibitions.

Now (in the Church's wisdom) as we look upon the end note of a sad tale replayed "since the foundation of the world," a prolepsis for what will take place this Holy Week, we have the opportunity to realize our culpability, our collusion, our aptness for falling into victimizing. We can pray along with the publican in Jesus' parable [Mtt 18:10ff], "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner."


Your People seized your son, Mary, they flogged him.

There struck him the green reed and fists across ruddy cheeks.

It was a hideous deed that was done to him;

that his very mother-kin should crucify the man who had come to save them.

A crown of thorns was placed about his beautiful head;

nails were driven through his feet,

others through his hands.

When they thought thus that Jesus could be approached,

Longinus then came to slay him with the spear.

The King of the seven holy heavens,

when his heart was pierced,

wine was spilled upon the pathways,

the blood of Christ flowing through his gleaming sides.

The flowing blood from the body of the dear Lord baptized the head of Adam,

for the shaft of the cross of Christ had aimed at his mouth.

By the same blood (it was a fair occasion!) quickly did he cure the fully blind man,

who openly with his two hands, was plying the lance.

Blathmac, who was a Culdee (part of the Celtic reform movement in the 8th century), composed this lament, asking the Blessed Virgin to come to him and keen for the dead Son of God.

Jeff Cavins on TV

Jeff Cavins, on our blogroll, is doing a walkabout series in the Holy Land with Raymond Arroyo, titled Path of the Messiah. Check it out.
EWTN schedule.