Thursday, June 3, 2021

Wonder of Wonders: The Feast of Corpus Christi

 St. Jean Marie Vianney tells us that "if we truly understood the Mass, we would die of joy." 

I'm humbled and happy to be able to say I've had the grace and honor for forty-two years now of assisting exclusively at the true Mass -- that same Mass passed down to us by the Apostles and offered by St. John Marie Vianney -- St. Philip Neri -- St. John Bosco -- St. Francis of Assisi -- Pope St. Pius X -- and Pope St. Pius V -- among so many others (these are just a few of our favorites!). I've been able to attend the Tridentine Mass, in other words, since I was 14 years old, but I'm still learning about it -- and I always will be. I learned something this morning -- and of course you know I have to share it. But -- with a preface. 

You know how we have become so good at "suspending our disbelief" when we watch movies with incredible CGI-generated maneuvers and special effects -- things that a former generation would have called "magic?" I fear we've become immune to real wonder, the fantastic is so commonplace! Feats of wonder are more commonly feats of eh, because so much in our world is accomplished with "smoke and mirrors."  We know these days to doubt an awful lot of what we see with our own eyes and hear with our own ears. There is one thing in this world, though, that we don't see with our own eyes and can't hear with our own ears that we know we can believe. Far removed from the skillful machinations of computer artists, greater even than the earth's God-given works of natural wonder, like the Grand Canyon on a large scale, and the miracle of butterflies on a small scale -- more amazing and unfathomable than birth and death and feelings and thought, it is the one thing still truly deserving of our wonder: the miracle of the Holy Eucharist. ❤

Today being the feast of Corpus Christi -- literally the feast of "The Body of Christ" -- I thought it behooved me to read up on the Holy Eucharist, and being away from home and my library of books, I had the idea that I'd see what I could find online that would be instructive and inspiring. I figured I'd go on a hunt after Mass -- but I didn't have to! Snuggled into the Mass today was a beautiful little Catechism in poetry form, all about the Holy Eucharist, the Body of Christ, the Sequence for Corpus Christi, written by St. Thomas Aquinas (long, but an easy read!):

Sion, to Thy Savior sing,

To Thy Shepherd and Thy King!

Let the air with praises ring!

All though canst, proclaim with mirth,

For far higher is His worth

Than the glory words may wing.

Lo! before our eyes and living

Is the Sacred Bread life-giving

Theme of canticle and hymn.

We profess this Bread from heaven

To the Twelve by Christ was given,

For our faith rests firm in Him.

Let us form a joyful chorus,

May our lauds ascend sonorous,

Bursting from each loving breast.

For we solemnly record

How the Table of the Lord

With the Lamb's own Gift was blest.

On this altar of the King

This new Paschal Offering

Brings an end to ancient rite.

Shadows flee that truth may stay,

Oldness to the new gives way,

And night's darkness to the light.

What at Supper Christ completed

He ordain'd to be repeated,

In His memory divine.

Wherefore now, with adoration,

We, the Host of our salvation,

Consecrate from bread and wine.

Words a nature's course derange,

That in Flesh the bread may change

And the wine in Christ's own Blood.

Does it pass thy comprehending?

Faith, the law of light transcending

Leaps to things not understood.

Here beneath these signs are hidden

Priceless things, to sense forbidden'

Signs, not things are all we see.

Flesh from bread, and Blood from wine,

Yet is Christ in either sign,

All entire confessed to be.

And whoev'r of Him partakes,

Severs not, n or rends, nor breaks:

All entire, their Lord receive.

Whether one or thousand eat,

All receive the self-same meat,

Nor do less for others leave.

Both the wicked and the good

Eat of this celestial Food:

But with ends how opposite!

With this most substantial Bread,

Unto life or death they're fed,

In a difference infinite.

Nor a single doubt retain,

When they beak the Host in twain,

But that in each part remain

What was in the whole before;

For the outward sign alone

May some change have undergone,

While the Signified stays one,

And the same forevermore.

Hail! Thou Bread of Angels, broken,

For us pilgrims food, and token

Of the promise by Christ spoken,

Children's meat, to dogs denied!

Shown in Isaac's dedication,

In the Manna's preparation,

In the Paschnal immolation, 

In old types pre-signified.

Jesus, Shepherd mild and meek,

Shield the poor, support the weak,

Pity all who pardon seek,

And who place all trust in Thee,

Fill them with Thy Charity!

Source of all we have or know,

Feed and lead us here below.

Grant that with Thy Saints above,

Sitting at the feast of love

We may see Thee face to face. Amen. Alleluia.

So -- after digesting the beautiful verses of the Sequences in English, while listening to the Minor Seminary Boys' Choir singing it in Latin,  I had something else I needed to research:  Sequences.  Exactly what are they and how many feasts include them? Here's what I found in the old Catholic Encyclopedia:

The Sequence (Sequentia)—or, more accurately as will be seen further on, the Prose (Prosa)—is the liturgical hymn of the Mass, in which it occurs on festivals between the Gradual and the Gospel, while the hymn, properly so called, belongs to the Breviary. The Sequence differs also in structure and melody from the hymn; for whilst all the strophes of a hymn are always constructed according to the same metre and rhythm and are sung to the same melody as the first strophe (refrain), it is the peculiarity of the Sequence, due to its origin, that (at least in those of the first epoch) each strophe or pair of strophes is constructed on a different plan. A sequence usually begins with an independent introductory sentence or an Alleluia (an intonation with its own melody); then follow several pairs of strophes, each pair with its own melody; in the earlier periods the conclusion is uniformly an independent sentence of shorter or longer form.
And this: Sequences appear in the Mass on only five occasions, though it used to be commonplace before the reforms of the great St. Pius V.  Sequences were so plentiful before his time that nearly every Mass had its own sequence and they had lost their novelty and significance. We find, therefore, that in the Missal of Pope St. Pius V from 1570, the number of sequences in the Roman Rite was reduced to only four:

Victimae paschali laudes for Easter
Veni Sancte Spiritus for Pentecost 
Lauda Sion Salvatorem for Corpus Christi 
Dies Irae for All Souls and in Masses for the Dead

In the 13th century, about 150 years after St. Pius V's revisions, the Stabat Mater for Our Lady of Sorrows was added to the list.  These are the same five which survive in the 1957 Missal that we use today in the Mass.

Note as well that, in addition to these five, certain Religious Orders retain their own Rite of Mass which use other sequences.  For instance, the Christmas sequence "Laetabundus" is found in the Dominican Missal. The Dominicans are permitted to use this sequence for the Third Mass of Christmas, the Epiphany, and Candlemas.

It's interesting for scholars and poetry critics to note that these lines of the sequences were written originally in Latin and translated into various languages -- not an easy job to transfer the exact meaning while retaining meter and rhyme! Props to the translators! I wish I were a Latin scholar, though, so I could properly appreciate the sequences in their original forms! You can find here the sequence for Corpus Christi in Latin and in an exact translation -- less pleasing to the ear, but interesting to read in contrast.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Face Time

The Old-Fashioned Way!

Uncle Louis and Aunt Cathy with their daughter Chloe (held by Cathy)
and Uncle Dominic and Aunt Monica's daughter, Clara. πŸ’•CousinsπŸ’•
* Crazy thing: three of our most recent new grandbabies are named
Claudia, Clara, and Chloe! (Everyone insists it was pure accident!)

It makes me so happy that most of our families with cousins live in the same zip code now -- or are a relatively short drive away! What a wonderful thing to experience that family link amongst friends you will grow up with and know your whole life! And best thing about our eleven cousins (so far): they are not only linked by blood, but by Faith! I never got to experience this kind of cousin bond, so maybe it's unique and extra special to me, but I have to tell you, I am so enjoying the first budding of these friendship. 😊  and I'm totally looking forward to watching these relationships unfold over the years!


Thursday, May 20, 2021

Throwback Thursday


William Then

(2009 -- about four years old)

And Now

(Or last summer, anyway) 

See how that little tenor has developed!

Specs: William (tenor), Gabe (bass), Anna then -- now Sr. Evangeline -- (alto), Sr. Antonia (soprano). Summer, 2020, at anonymous rest stop with good acoustics, somewhere in the middle of Iowa. Notice how shy these kids are about singing in public. πŸ˜‰

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Wednesday Weird and Wonderful Words

In a Queue:

1. bibliophile
noun: one who loves books and reading

Passing on the love. Margaret Mary reading The Hobbit. (upside down,
but, hey, everyone has to start somewhere. See how she's got the posture
and disposition already mimicked?πŸ˜„  )

2. discombobulate

verb: to confuse 

These two (Fr. Philip and Gabe). Whom our youngest child
(William)  discombobulates on a fairly regular basis, bless his heart.

3. halfpace

noun: that landing at the top of a flight of stairs where you have to turn to take another flight of stairs.

What we need right here at the RV door!
(Hoping Gabe will build us a small set of 
stairs  this summer with a landing so we can
 get in this door while carrying a toddler or an umbrella
 without putting everything down and having to maneuver
ourselves up and in...)

4. jentacular

adjective: having to do with breakfast

'Nuff said.

 5. kakorrhaphiohobia

noun: the fear of failure

A healthy thing in proper doses, kakorrhaphiohobia keeps us motivated -- concerning everything from saving our souls and raising good children to reading recipes carefully and not giving your husband a haircut when you're tired and cranky

Not my husband -- because I refuse to cut his hair when I'm 
tired and/or cranky.  Kakorrhaphiohobia. And just plain old mercy.


6. kerfuffle 

noun: loud and boisterous behaviour

My favorite kind of kerfuffle -- though more loud than boisterous --
 in the basement of the Church after Sr. Evangeline's acceptance as
a Novice (CMD) in March. So noisy you can't
hear a word anyone says -- but it's OK. Ya lipread. Or
just enjoy the bliss of seeing all their smiling faces.

7. lackadaisical 
 adjective: unmotivated

8. lollygag - verb: to be idle or lazy

Dawsey. Lollygagging after a long weekend of being constantly loved up
(house guests and parties with Monica's family after Fries family graduations Sunday)
--  too lackadaisical now to even protect the house from the mailman. 

9. quire

 noun: a pack of paper, usually around 25 pieces; less than a ream.

It's a fascinating thing, what people tend to hoard during hard times. Last year I think we were all drawn up short (snort) by the run on toilet paper at the beginning of the China Virus Plandemic. A different kind of paper than that which is bought in quires, but a vital thing is toilet paper, no denying it. He who controls the TP controls the world. (Charmin: "Muwahaha!") Fast Forward to May 2021: at the very mention of possible gasoline shortages, everyone runs and fills up their gas tanks. (We did!) Fuel is vital; a two mile line is worth the wait! But, my Dad, who lived through the Depression, always stayed stocked up on paper -- writing paper -- quires and quires of writing paper (and bins of Ivory soap) stored under our house -- probably to this day. I'm guessing these were things he especially valued and missed in his childhood. Tells you a lot about my Dad, huh? Does anyone buy loose leaf paper any more or is that a relic of a bygone era?

(For the record... We also have bins of paper and notebooks and journals and school supplies. And books.  And soap. And toilet paper. And gasoline. And ammo.)

10. ulotrichous

adjective: having curly hair

Or nowadays in all the rain and humidity here in Iowa, what is more generally frizzy hair -- in a pony tail. 

Out of ten children, we have only three who are actually ulotrichous besides me: Paul, Sr. A., and Sr. E. -- and Sr. A might be considered more wavy than curly; she's right on the border. We have  only two with wavy hair: Fr. Philip and Michelle (though you'll never see Fr. P's hair long enough to know it's wavy). Out of the grandchildren so far, I'd say there's only one who's a true curly-top: Margaret Mary (Dominic's older daughter)! I have to get a picture of her Shirly Temple curls to share! But Lilly's hair (Paul's youngest) is very wavy, just this side of curly and Daria and Claudia (Michelle's #1 and #3) have some nice wave, too. Jury's out on the babies (Sophia, Quinn, Clara, and Chloe); they needa grow some more hair before we can tell! All our grandchildren are gorgeous, though, of courseπŸ’–, no matter how ulotrichous they are or are not!

* Anyone who wonders: I have both Sr. Antonia's and Sr. Evangeline's ponytails (that the bishop cut off at their entrance ceremonies) in little velvet bags in a glass cabinet where we safeguard our saints' relics. I also have one of Sr. E's little dangly bangs curls in my jewelry box (because I asked for one especially and Sr. Johanna was sweetly understanding, of course). Do I mind that I'll probably never see their curls again? Not a bit! Their heavenly Spouse sees them and keeps them for His own. How could I ever complain about that?

11. xertz 

verb: the act of gulping something down with haste.

I'm invariably half finished with my meal before Dan gets
this far. (Not much exaggerating.) I admit it; I am a xertzer.
Especially when I'm really hungry -- and the food smells so good!

* Photo taken at Boxer BBQ in downtown Council 
Bluffs, IA. Great barbecue, great atmosphere,
great service -- No masks to be seen anywhere!
Highly recommended!

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Wednesday Walkabout

Documenting HOME

May 12, 2021

The baby ivy geraniums that will be planted in the "window" boxes you can see in the background.
We found the "diamond-pane" fencing in the brush at the edge of the property. They are very heavy and
sturdy -- and exactly long enough to stretch across the patio, as if they were made to be there. 😊 We
think they might have come from the abandoned trestle bridge that spans Pigeon Creek, but who knows? One way or another, they contribute beautifully to the Bavarian Biergarten theme we're trying
to achieve out here. The trailing geraniums, if we can make them grow as beautifully as the Bavarians,
will be the crowning touch! (That and beer, I guess. πŸ˜‰)


And as a signal that Mommom is
happy to have grandbaby time (flag down) --
or is in the middle of a project (flag up).

The purpose of this mailbox:
to store seeds, gloves, and trowels --

Just a shot of the RV patio -- a work zone. The baby geraniums that need to be hardened off before planting; the hoe leaning against the RV that needs to be employed in some more weeding behind
the RV; the hummingbird feeder that needs to be cleaned, filled, and hung; the bbq just waiting for
something to cook for dinner.

Dominic and Monica's newest garden area. When we first moved here, this was the site of the hen house. It was falling down, though, so we removed it a couple years ago -- and this became the compost corner. I don't need to tell you I bet that this is extremely fertile soil, right? The perfect spot for a special little flower garden! First of all, the arch you see, will be planted with something vining. (I'm not sure what.) You can see that Dominic and Monica have marked out a twirly yellow-brick-road-shaped path that they'll be filling in with mulch -- and not yellow bricks. You can't see it, but the far corner is marked out just for Margaret's very own poppies. The rest of the area between the bricks will be filled in with an abundance of flowers, from dahlias to hollyhocks. This was an inspired spot as it's a focal point as you come up the driveway -- and it's right outside the bedroom window of the RV!   πŸ’– 

Here we are -- b etween the RV and the "Hobbit Hill." The portable firepit we inherited from Fr. McGuire. We have  yet to use it, though. Maybe this weekend. We've never used this corner of
the property as much as we do now that the RV is parked right here. And that hill back there that Dominic has been working so hard to eradicate of stinging nettle and get grass seed to sprout...? Eventually we want to put a faux Hobbit door -- and copy the outside of Bag End. Maybe this will be the summer?

A needs-work corner. The seed spreader. It's dead, Jim. Also the trampoline
is missing a couple bolts. (Imagine. That  thing has been heavily used these
last five years or so!) And this corner is the last to get mowed because so much
stuff has to be moved out of the way...

The vegetable patch -- just started. There are four tomato plants started --
and I think a few seeds (squash?) so far. The path (with the weed barrier weighted
down with old tiling) is waiting for a truckload of mulch to be delivered.
I'll revisit this spot in about a month. It'll look completely different!

Raspberries. πŸ’—

Need to freshen up the paint on our Bookworms Directions signs.

The  western inside edge of the sunken garden.
We have roses planted all the way around -- but
can't decide what to plant here. I'm thinking some
kind of perennial would be pretty -- one that blooms
all summer -- but I can't decide what. Any ideas?
The southeast corner of the "sunken garden."
I want Gabe to build steps here -- if and when
lumber prices come down. 

Because I have to document a found spoon -- for my friend, Anne. See the 
paper plate out there in the grass that went with it? Some youngin. Last weekend.

'Squatch. Looking a little ragged. But, then, I think maybe he's supposed to.

The big firepit. Many marshmallows have been roasted here, many songs sung!

A peek at the house from between the hedge bushes. (As I walked across after
throwing that paper plate in the burn pile in the fire pit.)

Looking up toward the Mary garden through the chives -- Margaret-level. Those are strawberries
on the other side of the step -- and cilantro.

Across the front of the Mary garden -- which is still early season. It'll come
to life as the weather warms up. But -- check out Gerome posing there. πŸ’™

The deck steps that lead to the chiefly-used entrance to the big house. I'm not
sure why it is we seem to have a flying pig theme here. May have some deep
meaning -- but probably not. St. Francis there, too. More meaning for sure.

Where all the cats -- and Gerome -- come for water, even though we provide them
with a bowl. (What's with that, anyway?)

Some of the iris. It's all over the property, thanks to the previous owner!

This little tableau -- just because it cracks me up. In the grandchildren's
"Gnome Garden."

Highly recommended spot to come with a book. Or a husband.

View from the hammock.

The peonies! Still a couple weeks from blooming probably. I can't wait!

The messages on the front porch. All true: 1) "Welcome" 2) "Doorbell broken; yell dingdong really loudly!" 3) "This property patrolled by package eating Pyrennes; please do not leave packages on porch!"


I'll update later in the summer!

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Mass

 Folks wonder a lot these days how we got to this point, what's happened to our world -- it is so *messed up!* This is the answer -- too few true Masses are being offered, too few people gaining the grace from them to the perfection of their own souls -- and therefore the salvation of the world they live in, too. It's not just disintegration of the family that accounts for the downward spiral we all see. That's been an important factor -- but it's an effect of the greater foundational problem. The bedrock of a healthy soul, healthy family, healthy society: the life of Christ within us -- is the holy sacrifice of the Mass. The only way to fix this world is through the Mass and the sacraments and a return to the basic understanding that the fuel to the engine of the human race is grace. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Prayer of Mothers

                                            Prayer of Mothers

Father in heaven, grant me the grace to appreciate the dignity which you have conferred on me.  Let me realize that not even the Angels have been blessed with such a privilege— to share in your creative miracle and bring new Saints to heaven. Make me a good mother to all my children after the example of Mary, the Mother of your Son. Through the intercession of Jesus and Mary I ask your continued blessings on my family. Let us all be dedicated to your service on earth and attain the eternal happiness of your kingdom in heaven. Amen.