{    Cnytr   }

{Thursday, December 30, 2004  }

.:{Some pictures I've been wanting to post....}:.

This, my friends, is the only reason God hasn't wiped England off the face of the earth:

(Okay that's a horrible picture of me, but notice the Magdalen College pullover, and the bookful Blackfriars bag)

What is the Eagle and Child? Shame on you! Read for yourself!

Also a terrible picture of me, behold -- just minutes before I met Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, OP -- former Master Geneneral of The Order. ;D
posted by Lauren, 1:22 PM | link | 5 comments

.:{And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me." --Is. 6:8}:.

Especially for students of the University of Dallas and the Southern areas of the Central Province --

Don't you love the Dominicans? I mean, who doesn't? ;)

The cloistered Dominican sisters of the Monastery of the Heart of Jesus in Lockport, LA are looking for women who seek to follow Christ the Beloved.

And behold he calls --

"Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon; for why should I be like one who wanders beside the flocks of your companions?"
"If you do not know, O fairest among women, follow in the tracks of the flock, and pasture your kids beside the shepherds' tents... We will make you ornaments of gold, studded with silver."

"I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys."
"As a lily among brambles, so is my love among maidens."

My beloved speaks and says to me: "Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.

My beloved is mine and I am his, he pastures his flock among the lilies.

~Song of Songs 1:7-8, 11; 2:1-2, 10-13, 16

Dominican Contemplative Sisters
Monastery of the Heart of Jesus
155 Church Street
Lockport, LA 70374
Phone: 985-532-2411
posted by Lauren, 9:35 AM | link | 4 comments

.:{The REAL reason I'm transfering to DC}:.

Baseball's return becomes official
(by SA Miller, Washington Times)

Hometown fans can enjoy America's pastime in their own back yard next spring.

With the stroke of a pen, D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams yesterday sealed the deal to end the city's 33-year baseball drought by signing legislation to build the Washington Nationals ballpark in Southeast. "This is one of my proudest days as mayor," he said.

"I will never regret what we have done here today," Mr. Williams said at a bill-signing ceremony, where he was flanked by children clad in red, white and blue baseball caps and jerseys — the Nationals colors.

The ceremony culminated three months of political wrangling that nearly lost the team for the city when D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, who did not attend yesterday's bill signing, tried to rewrite the mayor's deal to publicly finance the entire $435.2 million project.

But yesterday, amid cheers from sports fans, all was forgiven.

"We worked through our differences, and I am proud of the bill we signed today," the mayor said.

The Nationals are scheduled to play their first home game on April 14 against the Arizona Diamondbacks at RFK Stadium, the team's temporary home until the ballpark near the Anacostia River waterfront is ready in 2008.

Nearly 15,000 season tickets have been sold for the Nationals' 2005 season.

Major League Baseball (MLB) threatened to call off the relocation of the Montreal Expos to the District after Mrs. Cropp amended the stadium legislation on Dec. 14 to make construction of a ballpark contingent on private investors paying nearly $140 million of the stadium costs.

A week later, with a looming Dec. 31 deadline to finalize the deal, Mrs. Cropp relented to baseball's demand that the city unconditionally guarantee construction of the 41,000-seat ballpark. For their part, baseball officials agreed to share the insurance premiums to cover cost overruns and reduce the penalty against the District if the ballpark is not ready on time.

The city still is seeking private investors, but $500 million in stadium bonds assures that stadium construction advances with or without private money.

Mr. Williams yesterday stressed that the team and the ballpark will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits for the city, paying for health clinics, recreation centers and police cars and spurring economic development in the downtrodden waterfront area.

"That's money we don't have now and money we wouldn't have without baseball," Mr. Williams said.


Now quick ... where's Shoeless Jo from Hannibal, Mo???

This is SO cool! We have a team!!! :D
posted by Lauren, 9:20 AM | link | 0 comments

.:{A new record...}:.

...for actually getting posted on my blogroll, added to bloglines, and promoted on my site -- all within about 10 minutes, it's

Fireside Chat with the Rector.

He's like P.G. Wodehouse on Anglo-Catholicism ... hysterical!!! I want to shake his hand.
posted by Lauren, 8:57 AM | link | 0 comments

{Wednesday, December 29, 2004  }

.:{AUGH! It's bothering me ... }:.

The "how to spell fish" post --

ough = the dipthong with the most sounds in the English language
"oh" - although
"oo" - through
"uff"- rough
"off" - cough
"aw" - thought
"ow" - plough

But only together!!! Hence that's why it's a dipthong.

*whew* I can sleep so much better tonight ...
posted by Lauren, 9:17 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{This. Is. The. Best. Thing. Ever. }:.

Peter Seller's "Hard Day's Night"

Lauren: What is this!?
Zadok: A cover version, in mock Shakespearian Actor talk
Lauren: IT ROCKS!

(In case the link above is being annoying, the URL for a cut-and-paste is: http://www.aprilwinchell.com/multimedia/media/mp3/sellers_harddaysnite.mp3 )
posted by Lauren, 8:50 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{Sweet Wood}:.

I shall embrace the sweet wood as my love
and we shall become one
I shall embrace the sweet wood of my love,
my salvation
it shall bear me up
And together we travel

I shall embrace the sweet wood
my vessel
crossing the river
we shall make our journey
to new life
...or death?

This sweet wood and I
Never parted shall be.

O pray
give this sweet wood to me
Let me sleep an eternal sleep
'braced 'gainst strong arms
beaneath the living earth,
this wormwood and I.
posted by Lauren, 5:32 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{How to spell "fish"}:.

"Fish," said George Bernard Shaw. English language spelling is the
craziest in the world. How, for example (he asked), do you spell


GH, as in "enough"
O, as in "women"
TI, as in "nation"

(hat-tip Zadok)

Q: What do you call a fish with no eyes?
A: "fsh"

posted by Lauren, 1:29 AM | link | 0 comments

{Tuesday, December 28, 2004  }

.:{And then ... }:.

... we have the ever wise words of Disputations on Christmas cooking.

Furthermore, a blog I've just discovered of some adorable Dominican nuns (where are they? Can I join their convent?? Please???) mentions that today (Monday -- it's still Monday, I haven't gone to bed yet) in 1206 our Holy Father Dominic set up the first convent of Dominican nuns.

(Actually, I don't think I'm being called to a monastery or a convent at all, much as I love them ... )
posted by Lauren, 1:45 AM | link | 0 comments

.:{Your Virtual Prayerbook}:.

If only I could take the A Penitent Blogger webpage with me into church ... maybe I can, if I ever get one of those mini-palm things and download his webpage onto it, but that would be the only reason I had one... anyway...

One of my favorite books of the Bible is the Song of Songs -- actually, for whatever strange reason, it's the book that makes the most intrinsic sense to me, aside from maybe the Psalms. While St. Thomas Aquinas, I believe, said that in the one book of the Psalms was the whole of the Bible and of theology (?) contained, I rather see that in "Song of Songs" as well.

Penitens captures it well in a post of Dec. 22nd (I'm a bit behind), when he says:

[Christmas] isn’t just the birth of a baby. This isn’t just a milestone in salvation history. This is the arrival of the One whom we love and who loves us beyond our ability to express.

That is why a selection from the Song of Songs is an optional first reading today. In the context of Christmas, this ancient wedding song expresses the intense rapture that the soul feels at the coming of Christ: the One whom we love and who loves us.

The voice of my beloved!
behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains,
skipping upon the hills.
My beloved is like a roe or a young hart:
behold, he standeth behind our wall,
he looketh forth at the windows,
shewing himself through the lattice.

My beloved spake, and said unto me,
Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtle (dove) is heard in our land;
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs,
and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.

Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock,
in the secret places of the stairs,
let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice;
for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.

Amen! Welcome, dearest Lord Jesus!

...again, today, he has just more good stuff:

In today's Gospel and throughout the Gospel according
to St. John, one of the disciples is always referred
to as "the one whom Jesus loved." This disciple has
been identified as John the Apostle.

The repetition of the phrase "the one whom Jesus
loved" in this very literary Gospel indicates a deeper
meaning than just describing a relationship between
two historical people, for each of us by our baptism
are to be disciples "whom Jesus loves" and so the
Gospel writer is in some sense placing us in the
middle of these great events he recounts.

You are there. You are the one whom Jesus loves. Live
that way.
posted by Lauren, 1:34 AM | link | 1 comments

{Monday, December 27, 2004  }

.:{Already nostalgic}:.

So I'm sitting here at my computer and sorting through my Rome pictures, putting all the Important ones in one file so that I don't bore people when I try to show them picturs from the semester by flicking through them one by one.

Then rings my cellphone -- its happy, cheery rendition of "The Army Goes Rolling Along".

"Hello?" say I.

"Hello," says the voice on the other end.

I swooned!!! What a BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL accent -- what is it??? It *reminds* me of the North Ireland accent, but it's very definitely some species of English. As I sit a moment both dissecting and enraptured by the accent at the same time, the voice continues,

"this is Austen from Edgecomb's auto," (I swear, I thought to myself, for about two seconds I would have bet my life that you were calling from either our Hotel in London, Magdalen college in Oxford, or the Irish college in Rome...) "just wanted to let you know that the Sentra is ready to be picked up!"

"...Okay," I said calmly and collectedly, when in reality I wanted to shout "AAAAHHHHH I JUST GOT BACK FROM EUROPE AND I MISS IT AND I LOVE YOUR ACCENT PLEASE READ ME THIS PHONEBOOK..."


One of these days I am going to go back to Italy: hopefully for Zadok's deaconate ordination. And I have been promising myself for YEARS that I would go back to Ireland... and since I know a bunch of priests and seminarians there, I have further obligation, especially since Fr. John M, as a B on his mother's side is a distant relation. I must not neglect the family down in Roscommon, you know. How wicked of me that I haven't been sending Christmas cards all these years. But then, they never acknowledged either of my sister's weddings or my graduation or confirmation. Hmm. I hope there's not some latent hostility there! Oh no, what could I have done to offend them??

If I thought they knew that I existed, I might be worried.

Though it was slightly disconcerting to call said Fr. John yesterday (calling family on Christmas, you know) and instead of reaching him the first time 'roud, reaching his father.

"Is Fr. John there?"

"No, he's not at the moment."

"Okay ... is there a better time I could call back?"

"Well... who is this?"

"My name is Lauren, Lauren B. I'm Fr. John's friend from America."

"Oh, yes! We've heard all about you."

Uh oh. What have they head? I hope he didn't tell them about that incident involving the Italian Polizia, my notebooks, the G-8 summit and explosives. But that was four years ago -- a safe distance from a crazy incident.

You know what's really funny? I've been a bit of an Eirephile for years (and this blog has seen a few posts from it). Then I met real Irishmen ... like real ones... like ... who speak Gaelic! And know the song "Whiskey in the Jar" (favoritest Irish song ever, aside from the more trad tune "Rollin' in the Ryegrass"). It was really funny/cool to see all the stuff I've read about is real. For some reason, it kind of turns into myth.

And for this reason, I did not believe Mormons existed until I actually met one.

And now I have to go pick up my car from the guy with the coolest accent ever. I could just kind of ... stand near him and close my eyes and pretend I'm back somewhere in Europe.

In reparation for the IRA poem complained about by the aforementioned Fr. John (who is from Co. Derry in the North of Ireland), here is my response which $5 says a lot of non-Irish people won't get:

(To the tune of "One Shot Paddy")

Wee Willie John McFadden was a loyal Ulster Prod
Who thought that Ian Paisley was one step down from God
He scorned the little children in the backstreets of Ardoyne
And he thought that history started with the Battle of the Boyne
And he thought that history started with the Battle of the Boyne

One day he took the brick in his hands and dandered up the Falls
He was singing "Up the Rangers" and hummin' "Derry's Walls"
He broke the big shop window to annoy the Pope of Rome
He took the record player and then he started home
He took the record player and then he started home

Next night they had a hooley at the local Orange Hall
Wee Willie took his player to make music for the boys
He chose a stack of records of a very loyal kind
But when the music started he nearly lost his mind
But when the music started he nearly lost his mind

This Fenian record player was a rebel to the core
It played out songs the Orange Hall had never heard before
For Golly's Brae and Derry's Walls it didn't give a fig
It speeded up "God Save the Queen" till it sounded like a jig
It speeded up "God Save the Queen" till it sounded like a jig

Well the boys were plain demented, to the ground Wee Will was thrown
They kicked his ribs in one by one to the tune of "Garryowen"
They threw him out the window to the song of "Old Sinn Fein"
They kicked him all down Sandy Row to "A Nation Once Again"
They kicked him all down Sandy Row to "A Nation Once Again"

There's a moral to this story, what it is I cannot say
Oh maybe its the ancient curse, crime it will not pay
If you ask Wee Willie McFadden, he'll say "You're kind, you know"
If you want to pinch a record player, do it up the Shankill Road
If you want to pinch a record player, do it up the Shankill Road
posted by Lauren, 1:28 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{A post as pertains to the particular focus of this blog}:.

Thank you very much to a Fr. John, who at my request, wrote this for my blog. ~L

Addiction to Pornography: How It Starts and How to End It

There can be no doubt that the widespread availability of pornography, whether it be through films, magazines or the internet, it is one of the greatest threats to the stability of families and society as a whole. Pornography warps minds by leading its viewers deeper and deeper into a fantasy world where women are treated as objects rather than as persons, and the instantaneous satisfaction of desire is guaranteed. By focusing on sexuality as a vehicle for pleasure, pornography leads people to forget about the other dimensions of human sexuality: emotional bonding between a man and a woman, and the fruit of this deep personal communion in the gift of new life through the procreation of children. The contraceptive culture and the pornographic culture go hand in hand since both deny the inseparability of the two meanings of the sexual act: unity of the spouses and procreation of children. If a young man develops a pornography addiction, he could become brainwashed into treating real or potential girlfriends as objects who will satisfy his desires cheaply without any need for commitment or responsibility, thus frustrating the possibility of ever developing a true, loving relationship with a woman. If a married man develops this problem, it will eventually introduce serious strains into his relationship with his wife, especially if he tries to act out what he has seen in films or online. Pornography is thus clearly anti-women, anti-marriage and anti-children. The website www.dads.org offers excellent insights into the relationship problems caused by pornography use.

In this short article, I want to look at how the addiction arises and what a person can do to recover from it. Lauren B. has queried on this blog whether pornography is a real addiction, or just a bad habit. It is both. Viewing pornography leaves a chemical imprint on the brain, just as a pleasurable drug does. Clinical research shows that pornographic images create chemically encoded messages on the brain that can remain through adulthood. Human memory is formed in part by the release of the chemical epinephrine which, upon emotional arousal, leaves behind an imprint on the brain. However, like any addiction, it can be beaten through a combination of therapy, prayer, self-discipline, the cultivation of good habits (i.e. virtues), and the loving yet honest support of friends.

As a priest (albeit a young and rather inexperienced one), I firmly believe that the sacrament of confession will be the primary and indispensable means of recovery. The Twelve Steps approach to tackling addiction focus on searing self-honesty and a willingness to make amends as being essential for recovery from addiction, and these steps find a true home in a healthy approach to sacramental confession. (See http://www.recovery.org/aa/misc/12steps.html for list of the 12 Steps as developed by Alcoholics Anonymous).

If you are addicted to porn, it is essential that you find a priest who accepts the teaching of the Church that this is a grave manner. Unfortunately, some priests dismiss problems like pornography and masturbation as minor matters or symptoms of immaturity which the penitent will ‘get over’ eventually. No! They are addictive and dangerous and the sooner they are rooted out the better. Your confessor should not only be orthodox but compassionate. A judging and impatient confessor will only increase your guilt and anxiety and this may make you afraid to seek further help with your problem. Also, you may be using porn as an escape mechanism from emotional problems in your life, problems you may not even be consciously aware of, i.e. you may be using it as an unhealthy means of releasing tension. Were you to adopt a confessor who made you feel more guilty, you would merely be reinforcing a guilt-compulsion cycle where you would feel more guilty about your habit, feel compelled to stop it, create more mental pressure on yourself and so end up accessing porn etc. again in order to ease your mental and emotional strain. Anyone who thinks that he can be bullied into moral health or thinks that he can cure himself by sheer willpower alone is a prime candidate for an ulcer or a neurosis!

Lauren has recommended that you should confess as often as you fall, even more than once a week if needs be. For the reasons I have given about developing a guilt-compulsion cycle, I believe that you and your confessor should decide this matter very prudently. If you do not fall frequently, you have a level of control over the problem and should seek confession as soon as possible. If you are falling every week or more often, then your habit is deeply ingrained and confession after every fall could reinforce your guilt-compulsion cycle. Also, if you’re falling so often you are addicted and so are not submitting to the sin with complete consent and therefore may not be formally guilty of mortal sin. In this situation you should come to your confessor as often as he recommends.

Lauren B has commented that she does not understand how this problem starts. That is a very complicated question. I want to look at three possible causes of addiction to pornography and suggest how the person can be helped in each of them.

1. Curiosity: Some people fall into the trap of pornography simply because they are curious about what sex is like. This is especially true of adolescents. Since pornography can be addictive, however, one glance can be enough to get a person hooked. Indeed, curiosity leads the person to explore deeper levels of sexual imagery, so that someone who started out looking at ‘soft’ porn can soon progress to ‘hard’ porn and even beyond that to imagery which is illegal. The huge presence of porn on the Internet and unwanted pop-up adverts are diabolical attempts to destroy purity and innocence. There is therefore a serious responsibility on parents and teachers in Catholic schools to provide proper education in sexuality to those in their care so that their curiosity will not lead them into harm’s way. Proper sex education must be informative, yet it will always present the facts within the context of the values and virtues which are necessary if the great gift of sexuality is to be truly treasured.

If you feel curious about pornography, the simple answer is “live with your curiosity”. There are many things that we might be curious about, but we don’t try to find them out. I might wonder what heroin feels like, yet I won’t sample it because I know that I’ll become addicted with the first shot. I might wonder how much my neighbour earns, yet I won’t sneak into his house and read his bank statements. Likewise, with porn, I have no right to satisfy my curiosity about sex by viewing the actions of others.

Curiosity may lead a person into addiction, but God can lead them out! It will be important to develop a regular prayer routine since a bad habit cannot be driven out but only replaced by a good one. A habit of placing oneself in the loving presence of God every day can and does lessen the desire to look at pornography. One word of caution: many addicts pray to God simply as some sort of fairy godmother who will cure their problem. Their prayer is simply one of begging to be cured. This does not work simply because it causes the person to fixate more and more on their problem, thereby increasing their compulsive behaviour. A more fruitful approach to prayer is to place oneself unconditionally in the presence of our loving God and experience his love for us. Contemplative prayer, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, lectio divina and the Rosary would be suitable methods of prayer because they take us out of ourselves and lead us to focus on Christ, his life, death and resurrection, and the depth of the Father’s love revealed in Christ. If porn causes the person to focus on their own needs and desires, the type of prayer that cures the addiction should do the opposite.

Another beneficial discipline is that of imposing a fine or penalty upon yourself if you give in to temptation. It is a way of reminding yourself that porn does harm to other people, not to computer screens!! Giving a gift of money to the poor is a way of saying that you take responsibility for the harm that your viewing does to the wider human family, and it is also a way of breaking out of selfishness and relating to real people in need. Anything that is contrary to selfishness and social isolation is a good weapon in the battle against pornography. Other disciplines that could be useful are voluntary charitable work and fasting, especially fasting from television, newspapers or Internet use. While temptations against purity can rage up within anyone’s soul, these are internal temptations whereas pornography is external to the person and has to be actively pursued if it is to be achieved.

If you are tempted to access pornography, you need to change your walk to the television or computer to a walk elsewhere: to phone or visit a friend or someone in need, to the bookshelf to read a good book, to the church to pray. Any little victory in this area is a cause for celebration, and a good confessor will praise and emphasise these sacrifices and triumphs much more than he will condemn any falls.

2. Loneliness: Many people fall into the trap of pornography simply because they lack a fulfilling sexual relationship. If the person is married and feels distant from his or her spouse, they should seriously investigate the possibility of counselling or marriage guidance to see what the underlying problems are. Unmarried people need to develop healthy, chaste friendships with members of the opposite sex. Indeed, due to our nature as sexual beings such friendships are essential for maturity and happiness. All human beings relate sexually, but this does not mean relating at the genital level! It means truly loving the other as a person to be valued and not as an object to be used.

Friendship is prayer’s primary partner in the battle against pornography. One cannot overcome this addiction by willpower alone, but only through God’s grace working through prayer and through the love of family, friends and fellow Christians. A person addicted to pornography can only be loved out of their addiction. A friend’s love gives added motivation to fight the good fight, because the addicted person can say “Well, if I can’t do it for me, I’ll do it for them because I love them and want to give them the precious gift of my sexual sobriety.” A good friend can also be a role model for the addict by teaching virtue by their example. Friends are thus the living sign of hope that chastity is not unreasonable but is possible and attainable. They can also help to hold the addict responsible for his / her actions and so guide him / her towards maturity, for example, by using internet accountability programs such as those offered free on www.dads.org/strugglewithporn.asp.

3. Desire for beauty: The human person is the crowning of God’s creation. The body is truly beautiful and so is the sexual act, when considered in the proper context as an act of deep love and participation in God’s ongoing work of creation. The body may hold a fascination for some people, and they could end up viewing improper erotic imagery. Sex is beautiful, but displaying it publicly is like taking the Mona Lisa out of the Louvre museum and hanging it from a streetlight to be damaged by wind and rain, vulnerable to vandalism and mockery by passing louts.

The person who has been seduced by the false beauty of pornography will need the aids to recovery I have outlined above, especially prayer and friendship. However, since the golden rule in treating sexual sins such as pornography or masturbation is that a bad habit can only be replaced by a good one, we need to find an alternative habit to porn, it’s pure ‘mirror image’ habit. I believe that this good habit could possibly be viewing tasteful religious art, especially images of Jesus and Our Lady. Remember that the eyes which now look at porn are the eyes which will look upon Christ when the body is raised from death on the last day! As Job reminds us:

“But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives, and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust; and from my flesh I shall see God; my inmost being is consumed with longing. Whom I myself shall see: my own eyes, not another's, shall behold him.” (Job 19:25-27, New American Bible translation).

Christ is true beauty. It is only by gazing upon him that all our desires for beauty, wisdom and love will be satisfied.

I hope that these reflections are of some help. The human person is truly wonderful and the gift of life and sexuality are to be treasured. We can really share in the words of Psalm 138: “I thank you for the wonder of my being, for the wonders of all your creation.” On the other hand, however, the human person is amazingly complex, vulnerable to sexual and emotional problems that are not easily understood or solved. We remain dependent on the grace of God who can work marvels of healing for us. If I may make one final recommendation, it is that all Christians should develop a strong, loving devotion to Our Lady and St Joseph. Mary is our loving mother who knows our hearts even better than our own mothers, and as Refuge of Sinners, she is always ready to help us in our weakness. St Joseph is the perfect role model for men as a worker, father and spouse. His purity and devoted love for Jesus and Mary extends to us too, and devotion to him is a sure path to growing in his virtues. I’ll conclude with this ancient and powerful prayer to St Joseph:

“O St Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O St Joseph do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers. O St Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while he reposes near your heart. Press him in my name and kiss his fine head for me and ask him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for me.
posted by Lauren, 11:32 AM | link | 3 comments

.:{Random Stuff}:.

Things to do when I get back (a repeat of My Favorite Things):
(No particular order!)

1. Watch a Fred Astaire movie of some sort
2. Watch "White Christmas"
3. Listen to our family's uber-traditional Christmas music, like Amy Grant
4. Bake lots of cookies, LOTS of them. Gingerbread cathedral/church;
5. Cook
6. Call people
7. Go driving
8. Go to the movies
9. Go to Starbucks -- PEPPERMINT MOCHA
10. Go to the movies again
11. Go to houses of sisters and play with kids and the dog
12. Drink tea with grandma
13. Reaad my favorite books
14. Lock self in the UVA library with Charles Williams books
15. Go to the movies again
16. Go back to Starbucks -- VANILLA CHAI TEA LATTE
17. Visit Eleanor/Alice/Jon
18. Hug mom and dad
19. Tease Fr. Thomas and say goodbye :( (he's being transferred up to Providence)
20. Go to mass/adoration at St. Francis; talk to Fr. Abe
21. Polish army boots
22. Watch more movies -- Humphrey Bogart
23. Go to the movies again
24. Go to Starbucks again -- bring people
25. Go driving
26. Write reflections on European travel
27. Read some British Books -- Jeeves and Wooster!
28. Watch some British Movies -- Jeeves and Wooster!!!
29. Bake some more cookies
30. Wrap Christmas presents
31. Curl up by the fire with favorite blanket, teddy bear, slippers, and a massive mug of Apple Cider, or hot chocolate
32. Go shopping, just for fun, since I'll have no money.
35. PLAY CHRISTMAS MUSIC ... like onetwothreeCHRISTMAS!!!!
36. Go out driving with dad
37. Eat American chocolate
38. Go back to sisters' houses. Play with kids and dog.
39. Annoy Steph
40. Annoy Steph some more
41. Annoy Steph a lot
42. Annoy Steph really a lot
43. Annoy Steph more
44. Go through Steph's closet; annoy Steph more
45. Get kicked out of Steph's house; repeat steps 39-45 with Colleen, and then mom.
46. Watch some War Movies. PATTON!
47. Visit the following places: Kohr Bros., Wal-Mart, the Army/Navy Surplice store -- I mean surplus, St. Thomas Aquinas, UVA, Mall -- B. Moss, the Donlons, my computer room -- ack! It's not there anymore. Okay, my bed. Curl up in it. Ahhh.
48. Get my birds back from Jon! Oh crud, I'll only have to give them back again.
49. Memorize TS Eliot's The Waste Land and Hamlet, in their respective entireties.
50. Learn Arabic.

Furthermore, the books I have checked out from the library now:

Of the imitation of Christ
Thomas, à Kempis, 1380-1471.
BV4821 .A1 1908

(that's the one I've had checked out for years)

The woman in white : a novel
Collins, Wilkie, 1824-1889.
PR4494 .W6 1900

(because we saw the play and it was Interesting)

The man who was Thursday : a nightmare
Chesterton, G. K. (Gilbert Keith), 1874-1936.
PR4453 .C4 M3 1986

(because Reeves will not Shut Up about this Book)

Prose and poetry
Newman, John Henry, 1801-1890
PR5106 .T5 1957

(it has both Loss and Gain and The Dream of Gerontius in it)

Callista; a tale of the third century
Newman, John Henry, 1801-1890.
PR5107 .C3 1893

Young men in spats
Wodehouse, P. G. (Pelham Grenville), 1881-1975
PR6045.O53 Y6 1936b

(It looked funny)

The theology of romantic love; a study in the writings of Charles Williams
Shideler, Mary McDermott.
PR6045.I5 Z88 1962

(Because this is a book I've never seen in the CW section before)

Williams, Charles, 1886-1945.
PR6045.I5 D5 1920

(What does he have to say about it as opposed to CS Lewis?)

Selected writings
Williams, Charles, 1886-1945.
PR6045.I5 A6 1961

(I think this is the one that had The Cross, The Way Of Exchange, and some cool poems in it I wanted to read again)

Seed of Adam, and other plays. With an introd. by Anne Ridler
Williams, Charles, 1886-1945.
PR6045.I5 S4

(Because every Christmas I have to read Seed of Adam)

Taliessin through Logres
Williams, Charles, 1886-1945.
PR6045.I5 T3

(this had some cool poem about the Pope)

Critical essays on John Henry Newman
Block, Ed.
PR 5109 .C75 1992

(Just to get my critical mind working as well -- different perspectives. However, if you go out and get a book of critical essays on CW, I'll kill you, because I have to tell you exactly what to think...)
posted by Lauren, 11:25 AM | link | 1 comments

{Saturday, December 25, 2004  }

.:{Buon Natale}:.

Nativity by Beato Fra Angelico from the Musei San Marco in Firenze, Italia

A Very Merry Dominican Christmas to All!

The Mystical Marriage of St. Catherine of Siena to the Christ Child from a fresco in the Basilica San Lorenzo in Viterbo, Italy

From the Office of Readings for the Solemnity of Christmas:

Psalm 44(45):10-17

Listen, my daughter, and understand;
turn your ears to what I have to say.
Forget your people, forget your father’s house,
and the king will desire you for your beauty.
He is your lord, so worship him.
The daughters of Tyre will bring you gifts;
the richest of your subjects will beg you to look on them.

How great is the king’s daughter, within the palace!
She is clothed in woven gold.
She will be taken to the king in coloured garments,
her maidens will escort her to your presence.
In gladness and rejoicing they are brought
and led to the house of the king.

Instead of your fathers you will have sons:
you will make them rulers over all the world.
I will remember your name
from generation to generation.
And so your people will do you honour
for ever and for ever.

Dearly beloved, today our Saviour is born; let us rejoice. Sadness should have no place on the birthday of life. The fear of death has been swallowed up; life brings us joy with the promise of eternal happiness.
No one is shut out from this joy; all share the same reason for rejoicing. Our Lord, victor over sin and death, finding no man free from sin, came to free us all. Let the saint rejoice as he sees the palm of victory at hand. Let the sinner be glad as he receives the offer of forgiveness. Let the pagan take courage as he is summoned to life.
In the fullness of time, chosen in the unfathomable depths of God’s wisdom, the Son of God took for himself our common humanity in order to reconcile it with its creator. He came to overthrow the devil, the origin of death, in that very nature by which he had overthrown mankind.
And so at the birth of our Lord the angels sing in joy: Glory to God in the highest, and they proclaim peace to men of good will as they see the heavenly Jerusalem being built from all the nations of the world. When the angels on high are so exultant at this marvellous work of God’s goodness, what joy should it not bring to the lowly hearts of men?
Beloved, let us give thanks to God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit, because in his great love for us he took pity on us, and when we were dead in our sins he brought us to life with Christ, so that in him we might be a new creation. Let us throw off our old nature and all its ways and, as we have come to birth in Christ, let us renounce the works of the flesh.
Christian, remember your dignity, and now that you share in God’s own nature, do not return by sin to your former base condition. Bear in mind who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Do not forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of God’s kingdom.
Through the sacrament of baptism you have become a temple of the Holy Spirit. Do not drive away so great a guest by evil conduct and become again a slave to the devil, for your liberty was bought by the blood of Christ.

~Pope St. Leo the Great
posted by Lauren, 11:46 AM | link | 0 comments

{Friday, December 24, 2004  }

.:{Let's all go to confession... separately, of course}:.

"You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" or "The Pre-Christmas Soul Sans Confession"

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch.
You really are a heel.
You're as cuddly as a cactus,
You're as charming as an eel.
Mr. Grinch.

You're a bad banana
With a greasy black peel.

You're a monster, Mr. Grinch,
Your heart's an empty hole.
Your brain is full of spiders,
You've got garlic in your soul
Mr. Grinch.

I wouldn't touch you
with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole.

You're a vile one, Mr. Grinch:
You have termites in your smile,
You have all the tender sweetness
Of a seasick crocodile.
Mr. Grinch.

Given the choice between the two of you
I'd take the seasick crocodile.

You're a foul one, Mr. Grinch.
You're a nasty, wasty skunk --
Your heart is full of unwashed socks
Your soul is full of gunk
Mr. Grinch.

The three words that best describe you,
are, and I quote: "Stink. Stank. Stunk."

You're a rotter, Mr. Grinch.
You're the king of sinful sots.
Your heart's a dead tomato
Splotched with moldy purple spots,
Mr. Grinch.

Your soul is an apalling dump heap, overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable rubbish imaginable,
Mangled up in tangled up knots.

You nauseate me, Mr. Grinch
With a nauseaus super-naus;
You're a crooked jerky jockey
And you drive a crooked horse
Mr. Grinch.

You're a three decker saurkraut and toadstool sandwich
With arsenic sauce.
posted by Lauren, 10:40 AM | link | 0 comments

{Thursday, December 23, 2004  }

.:{Brain Break}:.

One friend has suggested a holiday brain break, and another friend has graciously provided this for it.

Potter Potter Potter Potter Potter ... *giggle*

Stay tuned for: a piece written by a friend of mine as pertains to the particular focus of this blog, and some extracts and comments from a Newman novel.
posted by Lauren, 6:20 PM | link | 0 comments

{Tuesday, December 21, 2004  }

.:{From the Comment Box}:.

I thought it important for people to read these, so to call attention to them I am C&Ping them in their own separate post. ~L

The LYSISTRATA of Aristophanes, it seems, has been the source of some controversy on the University of Dallas' Rome campus this semester.

This is not surprising; Aristophanes intended his work to be controversial, and no doubt he would approve of the reactions of some to his play.

Father objects to this play being performed at a Catholic school largely because it fails 1) to lead us to virtue and 2) to present a Catholic view of sexuality. In particular, he mentions John Paul II's "theology of the body".

I wonder how Sophocles' OEDIPUS REX leads us either to virtue or a Catholic view of sexuality. Or, perhaps, Euripides' HIPPOLYTUS. Perhaps we should ban performances of Sophocles' AJAX, because of its sympathetic view on suicide (it fails to meet the standards of EVANGELIUM VITAE, that's for sure), or certainly Euripides' MEDEA, where a child killer laughs and gets away with her wicked murders. For that matter, the end of Seneca's MEDEA actually mocks the idea that God exists.

Perhaps Father should recall John Paul's comments about war being an "adventure with no return". That, after all, IS the central message of the LYSISTRATA. The play uses sex as a metaphor: just as men dominate women in their homes, so they dominate each other on the battlefield. By reversing roles, women effect an end to the war.

In the current climate of Iraq, some would say LYSISTRATA is very timely. John Paul certainly didn't approve of George Bush's war. This is not the time or the place for a debate on said war, but certainly it seems a little less than wondrous that Bush swaggered onto an aircraft carrier and said "Mission Accomplished"....1000 dead ago.

But, for some, sex raises red flags, and soldiers being blown up every other day in a war that was, at the very least, extremely poorly planned (mind you, I supported the war, but I have loathed the inept prosecution of it by Bush's neocon advisors), is not worthy of mention or complaint.

I propose we ban Plato's SYMPOSIUM and all other works that allude to or do not condemn ancient Greece's homosexual unions. I propose we ban the tragic corpus - it teaches us that killers can go free and that revenge is sometimes good. And, yes, I propose we ban LYSISTRATA - after all, it might make a few people think that John Paul was right after all, and that war is an adventure with no return.

Aristophanes knew that in fifth century B.C. Athens. As I said, I am sure he would be laughing hysterically if he saw that his 2500 year old play was still rousing such controversy.

My Intermediate Greek class, incidentally, will be reading this play this spring. I had intended to do BIRDS, but this whole controversy has roused me to revisit Aristophanes' masterpiece.

- Dr. Lee Fratantuono
University of Dallas


I must say that I'm surprised at Dr.Fratantuono's comments - for one who seems to be casting himself in the role of defender of openmindedness, he seems to be displaying a singular lack of vision. Firstly, however, let me be clear about something: I think the Pope's theology of the body is a red herring and I don't think we should be so naieve to expect Aristophanes to be presenting a treatise on Catholic social or moral teaching.

However, I do think that the decision to produce this particular play was mistaken and I think that Dr Fratantuono seems to be missing the point.

Why? I think that he has missed out on two issues, firstly the fact that in the arts the medium is not value neutral and secondly judgement in these matters is heavily context dependent.

The Medium: Let's be frank; the play is downright smutty. This may be attractive to some. Indeed, much modern visual and performance art seems to be preoccupied with pushing the envelope as regards what may or may not be portrayed. In some circles the word 'artistic' is more or less a synonym for 'pornographic'.
A healthy Catholic incarnational spirituality is informed by the fact that not everything protrayed on stage is going to be 'U'-rated. We should not be puritans in these matters. However, neither should we adopt the angelic or spiritual approach of Dr Fratantuono which seems to give priority to the message behind the work of art and invites us to ignore the defects of the medium. A positive message does not redeem all. On this basis, I would suggest that Lysistrata is a troublesome work - not that it should be censored, but rather that we should not be blind to its defects.

The Context: What is the context here? The issue at question is whether Lysistrata was a suitable dramatic project for the students of the UD Rome programme. Trying to bring Plato's Symposium and the like into the question is simply a distraction. I would expect better than a substandard straw man argument from the holder of a PhD. No one is suggesting that the works of Aristophanes be set alight. Rather, the issue is the fact that a dramatic work is always performed in a particular context and sometimes the context makes the work in question unsuitable. To take an extreme example, no responsible adult would bring a young child to a horror film.

So, what is the context here? The play in question was chosen as the communal project of these 19/20 year old students of a Catholic University. One would presume that amongst the aims of this exercise is the fostering of community spirit and morale as well as the entertainment of the audience. Such an event is also, necessarily, a reflection of the image and values of the univerisity - it is a manifestation of the university's 'public face'. The text may be of value as a classroom text, and I won't go so far as to suggest that it should never be staged, however, I think that in its particular context it failed miserably.

How does the performance of this smutty work serve the dignity of the dignity of the students as sons and daughters of God? As a formative influence, art tends to teach us where to find entertainment and joy. Should we try and find it in smut?

From Fr Michael's letter it seems that it wasn't uncritically acclaimed by the audience either.Did it reflect well on the university?

It certainly did not help in the building-up of the campus community.
Given the context, this was the wrong play. Dr Fratantuono may argue that it was good that the play be provocative. However, I suspect that the controversy is very remote from the central message of the play (as proposed by the good doctor). Indeed, the flaws in the medium probably so obscure the central message that it was totally lost. Is that good art?

I wish Dr Fratantuono and his students well with their studies. I'm sure that it makes a great class-room text and I'm sure that much will be learned. However, the dramatic arts operate in a broader sphere than the classroom and Dr Fratantuono seems to have lost sight of this. Academics may be touchy about issues of censorship and so on, but they should also be aware that there are issues of responablity and propriety to be considered too.
posted by Lauren, 11:54 AM | link | 0 comments

.:{I have returned}:.

Bloggians --

Thank you all for your well-wishes in terms of travel. I have returned safe and sound and am seeing the grand ol' US of A with completely new eyes. As I had never before been away from home for as long as I had before (4 months), this whole trip was a Big Change and a Big Deal, and once again returning home is a Weird Thing. It's all surreal.

I will be posting more pictures and stories -- I know, I know, I keep promising -- fairly soon. Really. I mean, aside from the 100 things I wanted to do when I get home (which mostly involve bookstores, libraries, driving around VA and visits to Starbucks) I don't have a ton to do. Yet.

In the meantime, I will be posting two things from other people. The first is a comment and response to my old Latin teacher Dr. Fratantuono in re: the Lysistrata, and the other is something written by a priest friend of mine as pertains to the sometime focus of this blog. These shall be in separate posts for linking purposes.

Take care all. Thank you for your prayers, and God bless.


posted by Lauren, 11:45 AM | link | 1 comments

{Friday, December 10, 2004  }

.:{Another 10 days... }:.


School is over, exams are over, convocation is over -- thank you very much for all your prayers! -- but I'm not going home quite yet. I have another 10 days to travel around and pay homage at the haunt of the great Inklings, and therefore will not be updating again for 10 days at least. I'm expecting a mob of admierers who haven't seen me in months and a heckuva lot of jetlag, so I may be preoccupied with those as well before I am able to sleep. Not to mention wrapping the droves of Christmas present's I'm lugging around in these gargantuan wheeled suitcases. Then singing at Christmas eve mass. Then Christmas itself.

Yes, 10 days at least, if not more.

I return to the states on the 20th. Please pray for safe travels for myself and my mom!

Thank you all!



posted by Lauren, 11:55 PM | link | 3 comments

{Wednesday, December 08, 2004  }

.:{More on the Lysistrata}:.

Given the reaction of our English teacher in class, he had basically the same opinions of the play that I myself formed. I feel vindicated. I don't remember if I said this or not.

The play was recieved and treated as predicted.

On the chaplain's board right now is the following letter from one of the priests at the North American College who comes every now and then to look after us:

November 18th, 2004

Dear Fr. Mark,

Thank you for the opportunity to offer Mass for the students and faculty member last Wednesday. The Deacons and I decided to remain on campus after the Mass in order to attend the theatre production Lysistrata later that evening. I would like to comment on that production, in order to contribute to the discussion revolving around it.

After the play, when allow as said and done I was left with one main question – “Why?” From the numberless plays that could have been selected, why this particular one> There are plays with much more merit that could have been produced. My hope is that this letter may challenge us to consider whether this experience of theatre was in keeping with the Catholic identity of the University; whether it bolstered or rather diminished that identity.

Art is an important human expression. It has been encouraged by the Church from its earliest beginnings two thousand years ago. But the Church does not praise art in and of itself, but rather art that aids the human person in living his or her vocation. This vocation is to serve God in all we do, in imitation of Christ: in our work, study, leisure and rest. Did this play help us to do so?

“Like any other human activity, art is not an absolute end in itself, but is ordered to and ennobled by the ultimate end of man” [Catechism 295]. This statement challenges us. Our “ultimate end” is union with God; beginning on earth and culminating in heaven. Did the play, when considered as a whole, lead us closer to that end? This is not to say that the play had no redeeming value. For instance, it was well acted by the students. But as Catholics our evaluation of art does not simply consider its technical quality or whether or not it has anything to teach us, but rather whether or not it leads us closer to god. This is the question we must pose before all of our action.

Does this mean that all art must be explicitly religious in nature, directly leading our thoughts to God, like much of the sacred art that surrounds us in Rome? No. All art, however, should help to form us, to help us grow in human virtue. It should edify us, motivating us to become better human persons. I, for one, was not edified by the Lysistrata; and based on conversation with others that evening, I was not the only one.

And so we ask ourselves, did the play help us grow in human virtue? For instance, did the play’s treatment of human sexuality increase our appreciation for its beauty and sacredness? Did it help us to understand sexual intercourse as a part of the vocation of marriage? Did it help us better understand our Holy Father’s teachings regarding sexuality and the theology of the body? Or rather, did it merely reinforce the prevalent, contemporary, diminished view of sexuality as being something casual, something that can be used to manipulate people and something that is the subject matter for bawdy jokes? It is not only the Pope who has the responsibility to teach the world about sexuality; we have that same responsibility. We in a Catholic university can encourage one another to develop a healthy view of sexuality, and we can assist one another in growing in the beautiful virtue of chastity. I believe that the play in question had the opposite effect upon us.

At the very least, the presentation of a play should have been an opportunity to further unify the student body. It could have presented a welcome break from studies, a welcome opportunity for everyone to gather together and enjoy one another’s company, while also enjoying the talents of those classmates who were acting, producing, and managing a work of art. Instead, as I see it, this play had a disunifying effect on the students and faculty. For instance, many felt compelled by their consciences not to attend.

Through my apostolic work with the students last year and my contacts with them this year I have become impressed by their maturity and their love for the Catholic Faith; indeed many are much further along in the spiritual life than I was while in college. As a result, I have formed a very favorable impression of the University and its programs. This impression, however, was shaken by the Lysistrata, which seemed so out of character for the University. Though it is unfortunate that such a divisive and off-color play was chosen and approved, we can learn from the experience. May our decisions and choices in the future be ever more guided by our Faith in Christ and in the Church that He founded.


Fr. Michael D.
Archdiocese of Baltimore
posted by Lauren, 4:49 PM | link | 2 comments

.:{Imagine there's no aliens...}:.

John Lennon and his little golden eggs the aliens gave him.

I always thought he was weird. Paul was my favorite. ::heart Paul McCartney::

Weird hat-tip to Zadok.

Same hat-tip, different story:

'Warrior-monk' Sees His Calling on Front.

Huzzah -- Catholic and military!!!

"I trust in God and keep the faith," Ramos said. "If God is with me, who can be against me, right? Be not afraid, that's what I say."
posted by Lauren, 2:53 PM | link | 0 comments

{Tuesday, December 07, 2004  }


Given a green light from CatholicCulture.org, I have found this website from Adoremus about which translation of scipture/Liturgy of the Hours is good. It's short, and I want to know the reason why the Harper-Collins, Glasgow publication of Liturgia Horarum did not get approved by the U.S. Bishops.
posted by Lauren, 3:13 PM | link | 1 comments

{Monday, December 06, 2004  }

.:{Chesterton's Spatula}:.

Harping still on Murgen the Mermaid, Matt posts:

My friend Steve has a theorem that runs something like this: Life is interesting, and therefore any explanation of it which is not as interesting or even dull is therefore false. Sort of like the anti-Occam's razor (Chesterton's spatula?) While I rather like this maxim, this less romantic explanation of St. Murgen's peculiar legend is nonetheless a little easier to handle for those among us who dislike zoomorphic saints. And it of course has the advantage of not having to rewrite established biology...

I like it.
posted by Lauren, 3:15 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{Two things}:.

Oratio ad S. Thomam Aquintem ante studium

From Liturgia Horarum: Proprium Officiorum Ordinis Praedicatorum

Doctor angelice sancte Thoma, theologorum princeps et philosophorum norma, praeclarum christiani orbis decus et Ecclesiae lumen, scholarum omnium catholicarum caelestis patrone: qui sapienteiam sine fictione didicisti et sine invidia communicas, ipsam Sapientiam Filium Dei deprecare pro nobis, ut, veniente spiciamus, et quae docuisti intellectu conspiciamus, et quae egisti imitatione compleamus; doctrinae et virtutis, quibus in terris solis instar semper eluxisti, participes efficiamur; ac tendem earum suavissimis fructibus perenniter tecum delectemur in caelis, divinam spaientiam collaudantes per infinita saecula saeculorum. Amen

Please pray for me and my fellow students as we have exams this week!


Pontifical Household Preacher Begins Advent Meditations

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 3, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Far from verging on quietism, Eucharistic contemplation enables the grace received in the sacraments "to assimilate the thoughts and feelings of Christ," says the Pontifical Household preacher.

In response to John Paul II's convocation of the Year of the Eucharist, and reflecting on the Eucharist hymn "Adoro Te Devote," Father Raniero Cantalamessa proposed in his first sermon of Advent to the Pope and the Roman Curia a reflection on the depth of contemplation of the Blessed Sacrament.

Already in the first stanza of the hymn "Adoro te devote, latens Deitas" -- O Godhead hid, devoutly I adore Thee" -- "the theological truth evoked refers to the manner of the presence of Christ in the Eucharistic species," the Capuchin priest said. "It means: You are hidden, but you truly are," and "it also means: You really are, but hidden."

"To the affirmation of the real presence, even if hidden, of Christ in the bread and wine, the one praying responds, melting literally in devout adoration and bringing with him in the same movement, the innumerable souls that for more than half a millennium have prayed with these words," he said. He delivered his sermon in the Mater Redemptoris chapel of the Apostolic Palace.

"Adoro," the "word with which the hymn opens is on its own a profession of faith in the identity between the Eucharistic body and the historical body of Christ," Father Cantalamessa said.

Thanks to this "identity, in fact, and to the hypostatic union in Christ between his humanity and divinity, … we can be in adoration before the consecrated Host without committing the sin of idolatry," he noted.

"But, in what exactly does adoration consist of and how is it manifested?" Father Cantalamessa asked.

It "may be prepared by long reflection, but it ends with an intuition," he said. It "is like a flash of light in the night," "the light of reality"; it "is the perception of the grandeur, majesty and beauty of God, together with his goodness and presence which takes one's breath away. It is a sort of sinking in the shoreless and fathomless ocean of God's majesty."

"An expression of adoration, more effective than any word, is silence," the papal preacher added.

In the hymn, "the meaning of adoration is reinforced ... by that of devotion -- 'adoro te devote'" -- a term which in the Middle Ages did not signify "exterior practices but the profound dispositions of the heart." For St. Thomas Aquinas "it consists of the readiness and disposition of the will to offer itself to God which is expressed in a service without reservations and full of fervor," in a word, "total and loving readiness to do the will of God," Father Cantalamessa said.

"Contemplating you, everything fails," the hymn continues. In addition to theological reasons, the facts and testimonies express the importance of Eucharistic contemplation: "innumerable souls attained holiness by practicing it and the decisive contribution it has given to the mystical experience is demonstrated," recalled the papal preacher.

"In fact, contemplation is altogether other than indulging in quietism," he stressed. Because, "remaining long and with faith, not necessarily with sensible fervor, before the Most Holy Sacrament, we assimilate the thoughts and feelings of Christ, not in a discursive but in an intuitive way."

The one contemplated is "Christ, really present in the Host," but it is not "a static and inert presence," rather, it indicates "the whole mystery of Christ, the person and his work," the preacher emphasized.

Contemplation, therefore, "is a listening silently to the Gospel again or to a phrase in the presence of the author himself of the Gospel who gives to the word a particular force and immediacy."

"To engage in Eucharistic contemplation means then, concretely, to establish a heart to heart contact with Jesus really present in the Host and, through him, to be raised to the Father in the Holy Spirit"; it is "to look at one who is looking at me," he said.

Just as "in meditation the search for truth prevails, in contemplation," instead, it is the "enjoyment of Truth."

This phase of contemplation is described in the "Adoro Te Devote" when it states: "Te contemplans totum deficit," in contemplating the Lord "everything fails." "What fails?" the preacher asked. "Not only the external world, people, things, but also the internal world of thoughts, images, worries."

"It occurs as in the process of photosynthesis of plants. In the spring, green leaves appear on the branches; they absorb from the atmosphere certain elements that, under the action of solar light, are 'fixed' and transformed into the plant's nutriment," Father Cantalamessa said.

"We must be like those green leaves!" the preacher suggested to the Pope and his aides. "They are a symbol of Eucharistic souls that, contemplating the 'sun of justice,' who is Christ, are 'fixed' to the nutriment, which is the Holy Spirit himself, for the benefit of the whole great tree that is the Church."

(I have recently discovered Zenit and I'm loving it!)
posted by Lauren, 3:11 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{Happy Feast Day!}:.

Happy feast of St. Nicholas -- one of my patron saints, not only by means of his being one of my namesakes, but also by being the patron saint of unmarried women. ;)

Applications are now being accepted. If you're in your mid-early 20's, Catholic, lay, single and with a particular tendency towards Dominican spirituality and Charles Williams and like to say the liturgy of the hours, apply right away though you'll hear results of the processing after an interview session, and after I've finished college.

(You might want to know why St. Nick is the patron of unmarried women. Well. I'll tell you. There was a family of three daughters, whose father was so poor that they were on the point of selling themselves into prostitution to keep their family from starving. St. Nicholas provided them with money for doweries so they could get married.)

posted by Lauren, 11:17 AM | link | 0 comments

.:{Prayer of Vassalage}:.

My Lord Christ, only-begotten Son of the Father, with trembling reverence and most comely love do I submit my life, my breath, my body and will to thy most merciful-just mystery; under thyself verily do I prostrate me as thine own servant in bonds of vassalage, for thou has ransomed my life with thine own, hast breathed thine own Wind into a body dead with the scarlet of my sin. From the depths I have with my father Adam cried out to thee, and from the depth of four thousand winters has risen the Dawn from On High, whence the sleeping King has quickened the Tree of Death with newness of life. And so, raised from the vileness of my unbonded state I lovingly embrace the bonds of unceasing devotion and service; I extol thee, my Master -- seven times I praise thee, and nightly my heart is ordered to your praise. Sleepless in love, tireless in devotion and service -- behold, My Lord, your servant, your servant am I. O my Life, O my breath, O thou dost sustain me to live in thy most sweet service. O most sweetest, most dearest Lord, it is my duty, beatification and joy to worship and extol thee in the courts of thy Holy Temple, and to place prostrate at thy feet that selfsame Holy Temple. Worthy am I not, O Lord, that thou shouldst enter beneath my roof, yet with thy saving Word shall my soul be healed. Even in the midst of life I am close to death -- Lord, save the lowly servant who hopes in thee. Amen.
posted by Lauren, 11:05 AM | link | 2 comments

{Thursday, December 02, 2004  }

.:{No, it's not Monty Python. }:.

Ala Zenit, there seems to be a Really Cool Book out there. About my Patron Saint. And the Holy Grail.

St. Laurence and the Holy Grail ... love that spelling, don't you?

A sixth-century manuscript written in Latin by St. Donato, an Augustinian monk who founded a monastery in the area of Valencia, provides never-before-published details about Laurence, born in Valencia but destined for Italy, where he became treasurer and deacon of the Catholic Church under Pope Sixtus II. It explicitly mentions the details surrounding the transfer of the Holy Cup of the Last Supper to Spain.

Janice Bennett acquaints the reader with the enthralling story of the Holy Chalice, the renowned relic that embarked from the Last Supper on an amazing pilgrimage that providentially ended in the Cathedral of Valencia... It is a fascinating and captivating account that will dispel forever the erroneous notion that the famous relic was ever lost. The mythical Quest for the Holy Grail is now over.

Weeelllll, not really. You see the Holy Grail and you Die. The Holy Grail is so much more than a chalice, or a cup, it's ... a sacrament (not one of The Seven, mind you, but the whole of the Church can be said to be a sacrament), it's a metaphysical and spiritual reality. Ahhh, magister JohnE would chide me for using such pedestrian terms...

Maybe for even trying to describe it at all... similar to the way it is impossible to predicate anything of God.

(More on this later)

But anyway... that from Zenit. A very cool read.

And some more Interesting stuff from Zenit (I am only recently discovering Zenit for myself... previously it was something mom subscribed to and therefore since it was a mom-thing, it was not a Lauren-thing. Bad logic, I realize in my old age...)

Use of the Organ During Lent

And instead of moving to Scotland and marrying a Scot as I had previously purported to do, I think I'll marry a Frenchman instead.

Also, one of my (Dominican) parish priests, Fr. Thomas Blau, got interviewed by Zenit. Four years ago. This article gets quoted on the Official Journal of the Knights of Da Gama, "a brotherhood of Catholic men in South Africa."

(Random note: not paying attention in class, yet my head snaps up when I hear the word "Dominican", not really even realizing why. I look on the board and our history teacher writes "Dominicans" on the board (talking about stuff in the High Middle Ages.) Holy Father Dominic, intercede for us...)
posted by Lauren, 6:01 AM | link | 1 comments

.:{Christmas ... }:.

Hey, Homestar messenger bags are on sale!!! Support this blog -- buy Cnytr a Homestar messenger bag! (I'd say Charles Williams books, but I'm jealous and suspicious and if I post the links on the internet someone ELSE might buy them inSTEAD of me...! Which ... actually ... might be a greater good if no one has ever read Charles Williams before but ... but ... NO! MINE!)

posted by Lauren, 5:39 AM | link | 0 comments

{Wednesday, December 01, 2004  }

.:{I have a drug problem ... }:.

In my generation I think I am the only lucky one.

I had a drug problem when was young, but I turned out all right.

I was drug to church on Sunday morning.

I was drug to church for weddings and funerals.

I was drug to family reunions no matter the weather.

I was drug to the bus stop to go to school every weekday (well, sort of).

I was drug by my ears when I was disrespectful to adults and teachers.

I was also drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents.

Those drugs are still in my veins; and they affect my behavior in everything I do, say, and think.

They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin, and if other members of my generation had the same drug problem, the world might be a better place.

(Shamelessly stolen from Michael Donlon from Arcadia)
posted by Lauren, 7:09 AM | link | 0 comments


In addition to the Poughkeepsie NY area, Spielberg is going to be filming his upcoming "War of the Worlds" movie starring Tom Cruise in my area. This is where I go to church every week when I'm home. I wonder if they need extras... ;)

Dante. *Lauren goes into raptures of delight* (I approve)

A Penitent Blogger. I was going to link just one thing, but then I thought no, you have to read it. ALL of it. Just... go. Now. Read.

Dominicans (The Nashville Dominicans) put together some quotes by the Holy Father on vocations. Okay I stole this off Penitens, but still. Dominicans. The Pope. Vocations. Does it get better?

Ahhh I've missed too many of my favorite blogs while I was gone... Tom, and his and his short thoughts, are more things legendum est. And any thoughts he ever has on St. Catherine of Siena.

Domine, Non Sum Dignus is a blog I haven't read yet, but Cacciaguida says he's good, and is Catholic-military. I'm all about that, hooah. ;)

Coming after my own little whatsit on my patron saints, Fr. Tucker has a post about names as well.

I won't have a problem ... I'm going to name my kids Thomas Aquinas. All of them, even the girls.


(Either that or the poor things will have really obscure Dominican names -- i.e. Zdislava -- or names from the Roman canon ... I think Xyxtus is a really cool name.)

Also, Fr. Tucker's blog is another thing that just needs to be read all over. Catholic priest and classicist... hooah.

And last but certainly not least, Matt over at The Shrine of the Holy Whapping has a bunch of interesting posts about St. Murgen the mermaid. (Pay no attention to the heathens behind the curtain. ;)) Also, Matt's fascination with the subdeaconate, Andrew's cool whatsitses on his own patron saint and short post on non-embryonic stem-cells, and Emily's paralell between football and the call to the crusades make the blog another Must Read. [Go Army Beat Navy this weekend in PHILLY!])

That's about all the hero-worship I have time for right now ...

Pray for me - I have a philosophy test today! (Nietzsche and Descartes, ugh)
posted by Lauren, 2:42 AM | link | 2 comments