{    Cnytr   }

{Thursday, June 30, 2005  }

.:{Our Favorite Topic}:.

Corpus Domini, an OP vocations website, has an excellent post on the Nine Ways of Prayer with images of each Way.

(My favorite ways are 2, 8 and 9)
posted by Lauren, 8:40 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{This is totally random and just because I'm obsessed...}:.

Cardinal Schoenborn's coat-of-arms... notice the Dominicanity
This and other cool coats-of-arms at this site

Hey! According to the Vatican Information Service, the Pope had an audience with Cardinal Schoenborn today.

This is me crossing my fingers for the unlikely event of his somehow being transferred to Rome.
posted by Lauren, 8:35 AM | link | 5 comments

.:{More congratulations}:.

Congratulations to Paul Lew of Contemplata aliis Tradere, who was accepted as a candidate for the Novitiate in the English Province of the Order of Preachers in Cambridge! Te Deum laudamus!
posted by Lauren, 8:21 AM | link | 1 comments

.:{Basic Latin prayers}:.

Penitens' other blog, Toward Contemplation, has posted the basic Latin prayers -- the Pater Noster, Ave Maria, and Gloria Patri.

I believe that every breathing human being should have these prayers memorized in both English AND Latin, and I am firmly convinced of the usefulness of praying in another language, especially one that one barely knows as it forces one to think about the words.

If your education is deficient and/or they didn't teach you these in seminary (*cough*Jerabek*cough*), I strongly advise you hie thee hence and get a load of this.

Another reason to have these memorized: there was once, I'm told, a priest in the Middle Ages whose Latin was so bad that, instead of praying "in the name of the Father (in nomine Patris) and of the son (et Filii) and of the Holy Spirit (et Spiritu Sancti), he prayed in the name of the country (patriae) and of the daughter (et filia).

No heresy meant, I'm sure.
posted by Lauren, 7:49 AM | link | 7 comments

{Wednesday, June 29, 2005  }

.:{Feast of Sts Peter and Paul}:.

Because it's late, I can only give you a snippet, albeit a cool one, from the old breviary on this feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul, the pillars of the church:

From a homily by St. Jerome:

Respondens autem Jesus, dixit ei: "Beatus es, Simon Bar-Jona." Testimonio de se Apostoli reddit vicem. Petrus dixerat: "Tu es Christus Fílius Dei vivi"; mercedem recepit vera confessio: "Beatus es, Simon Bar-Jona." Quare? "Quia non revelavit tibi caro et sanguis, sed revelavit Pater." Quod caro et sanguis revelare non potuit, Spiritus Sancti gratia revelatum est. Ergo ex confessiene sortitur vocabulum, quod revelatienem ex Spiritu Sancto habeat, cujus et filius appellandus sit. Siquidem Bar-Jona in nostra lingua sonat Filius colúmbae.

And Jesus answered and said unto him : Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona. The Apostle having testified of the Lord, the Lord in turn testifieth of the Apostle. Peter had said : Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And he received, in return for his testimony to the truth, the words : Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona. Why, blessed? For flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father. What flesh and blood could not reveal, the grace of the Holy Ghost had revealed. Meet for him therefore, because of his confession, is his name, as the name of one who hath revelation from the Holy Ghost, and therefore is called The son of the Holy Ghost. That is, Bar-jona, being interpreted, is The son-of-the-Dove.
posted by Lauren, 11:25 PM | link | 0 comments


O God, who didst hallow his day by the martyrdom of thine holy Apostles Peter and Paul, grant unto thy Church, whose foundations thou wast pleased to lay by their hands, the grace always in all things to remain faithful to their teaching.

Happy feast day to me and one of the Dominican sisters I live with! She has the name of Paul, and my confirmation name (one of three) is "Petra".

Happy anniversary to my parents, who have been married too many years to count on both my fingers and toes!

Happy anniversary to Fr. John who was ordained two years ago today.

Happy anniversary to our ordinary Cardinal McCarrick who, some number of years ago, was ordained a bishop today.

A happy day in general for the church!

O happy city Rome, the precious life-drops shed
By these two noble chiefs thy walls have hallowed,
By nought that is thine own, but by their deeds of worth,
Thy fairness far excels all beauty else on earth.

(Today also is four years to the day since I first set foot in Rome.)

Isti enim sunt viri, per quos tibi Evangelium Christi, Roma, resplenduit ; et, quae eras magistra erroris, facta es discipula veritatis.

"O Rome! these twain are the men who brought the light of the Gospel of Christ to shine upon thee! These are they by whom thou, from being the teacher of lies, wast turned into a learner of the truth."

posted by Lauren, 11:16 PM | link | 0 comments

{Tuesday, June 28, 2005  }

.:{Prayer for the intercession of Servant of God Pope John Paul II}:.

O Blessed Trinity. We thank You for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II and for allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care, the glory of the cross of Christ, and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him. Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you. Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will, the graces we implore, hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints. Amen.

(from VIS)
posted by Lauren, 9:17 AM | link | 1 comments

{Monday, June 27, 2005  }

.:{Da Vinci ain't got nothin' on me}:.

So in my copious spare time, now gone as I have just gotten a second job (this horrible reality I am facing for the first time in my life called "The Rent"), I went to the National Gallery of Art and sketched the Christ Child from the Alba Madonna. But I didn't finish.

But still ... DaVinci ain't got nothin' on me.
posted by Lauren, 9:29 PM | link | 2 comments

.:{Goodies from the Oligarch}:.

Please note the expert parenting from Zorak and the Oligarch.

This is an ideal way to raise children.

Also, if they ever want me to babysit, I know exactly what sort of bedtime stories to read to the little mantis. ;D

Furthermore the Oligarch has memeified a sad songs list and added some qualifications.

I'll add one more: a limit of 5 - 10, otherwise we'd be here all day. Even mine is kind of long. Apologies.

And here are mine:

1. Four Green Fields; a version I have (which Zadok calls "too polished", and he's probably right ... but it's pretty!) is by Rebecca Luker. The old woman in the song is Ireland, and the four green fields/jewels are the provinces of Ulster, Munster, Connaught and Leinster. I first heard this when studying the long, sad history of Ireland.

2. Judas, mercator pessimus by Tomas Luis de Victoria; fifth of the nine responsories from vespers of Maundy Thursday. A beautiful and sad song on its own, but most unfortunately, I was within the past year very much betrayed by someone I considered a dear friend. I see it in a different light now than when I used to sing it with Collegium Cantorum.

3. My Immortal by Evanescence. I've tried so hard to tell myself that you're gone/ And though you're still with me, I've been alone all along.

4. Whiskey Lullabye by Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss. Never listen to this song when you're depressed.

5. O Sacred Head Surrounded. I had this in my favorite prayerbook when I was young, opposite a picture of Christ Crowned With Thorns. I would look at that picture and hear the choir singing it on Good Friday, and it never failed (and still does) to make me weep (or at least tear up).

6. She's Leaving Home by the Beatles. Do angsty teenagers ever give a thought to what their parents have sacrificed for them? And no matter how cruel the curfew seems, do they stop to think that their parents love and care for them? Father snores as his wife gets into her dressing gown / Picks up the letter that's lying there / Standing alone at the top of the stairs / She breaks down and cries to her husband / Daddy our baby's gone / Why would she treat us so thoughtlessly? / How could she do this to me?

7. Your Daddy's Son from Ragtime. What is it like to look upon the child of a man who's left?

8. Piccolo iddio from Puccini's Madame Butterfly. I know it's done for melodrama, but still! Her child runs onto stage and she still decides to kill herself.

(Nine thumbs up to Fr Tucker's mentioning "E Lucevan Le Stelle!!)


You've Got a Friend by James Taylor and/or And So It Goes by Billy Joel. These was the songe of the aforementioned Judas and myself. But they might not be sad otherwise. Even though "You've Got A Friend" is rather melancholy.

The Kerry Recruit It doesn't sound sad. In fact, it's a happy Irish waltz. Or so it sounds. If you listen to the words, the poor fool from Kerry gets suckered into the British Army which treats him horribly; a Russian bullet takes his leg in Crimea, and the last line of the song is contented with Shiela I live on half-pay. I mean ... man!!!

However The Wind that Shakes the Barley doesn't get on there, because it's just gratuitously sad, almost eye-rollingly so. It's the Irish equivalent of one of those country songs where the guy's wife leaves him, he runs over his dog and his trailer gets repossessed.
posted by Lauren, 11:22 AM | link | 4 comments

{Friday, June 24, 2005  }

.:{Nearly missed this one ...}:.

...but I didn't! I noted in this comment on the mystery Dominican that Bld. Pope Innocnt V's feast day was on Thursday.

This pope, the first Dominican of all popes, sought to reconcile the Guelphs and Ghibellines. However, his papacy lasted less than a year, so he couldn't do a whole darn lot, other than churn out four papal documents or so.

This is what the Dominican breviary has to say about him:

Peter of Tarantaise, a place in France where he was born around the year 1224, upon reaching adolescence entered the Lugdunen (read: Lyons) convent of the Ordr of Preachers. In 1255 he was sent to study in Paris of the cloister of St. Jacob, and was made a teacher of sacred theology. In 1259 with St. Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, Florentio of Hesdin and Bonhomme of Briton, he ... got some kind of distinctive title (the Latin passage refers to some particulars of the University of Paris with which I am unfamiliar) and he did stuff, blahblahblah. At the same time he was also given some other distinction, which marked him as One Smart Dominican Cookie.

(This is me taking liberties with the Latin.)

From 1259 to 1264and from 1267 to 1269 he taught theology in the U of Paris. Called away once and then a second time, he twice he gave up the office of teaching at the direction of the Provincial of the Order. In 1272 (at the age of 42), he was made archbishop of his hometown of Lyons and at the same time, before he was actually ordained a bishop, he was (in the month of May 1273) made a cardinal-bishop of Ostia (whose modern ordinaries have included the once cardinal Ratzinger and now Cardinal and Cardinal-Bishop Sodano). He and St. Bonaventure were given large roles in the council of Lyons in 1274, which sought conjointure of the Greeks with the Latin church.

Clear in teaching but clearer still in honesty of life and in sweetness of manner, he was led forth to the chair of Peter in January of 1276, and he took the name "Innocent" (nomen sibi imposuit). In Ecclesial servitude, he especially turned to the restoration of ecumenical unity, seeking to spread the Church more than what he was given.

However he died on June 22nd. His office was approved on March 14th 1898 by Pope Leo XIII.


O God, who made Blessed Innocent pope, adorning him with the gifts of wisdom and prudence, and made him a counsillor of peace and unity, grant us by his intercession, to know the things of heaven and to seek after every good thing with zeal of heart. Though Christ our Lord, Amen.

posted by Lauren, 6:54 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{I really hate to be down on bits of the body of Christ...}:.

...but ... are you serious? No, really, you can't be serious.

Excerpt from the pastor page:

Easter is here! Christ knocks yet another time at the door of your heart saying, "Let's be friends and worship again. I am waiting!"

Today, more than ever before, God calls us to be one in every respect - in each other's arms, sharing life together.

Our words, thoughts, deeds and actions -- a handshake, a smile, an embrace or just a "Hi" ought to draw us together as a People of God, accepted as such, irrespective of origin or religious affiliation or orientation.


Come, let us all have a liturgy "celebrated and shared." The liturgy is our communication with the Creator we cannot see with human eyes but we can see in the neighbour close to us during the liturgy or in the community.

The joy of liturgy is found in what we bring to the Creator – not only what we expect to get or gain from it. It is sharing the Creator we know with others.



I'm sorry, but if anybody tries to take me in their arms and they're not proposing marriage, they're going to get a black eye. Heck, they might get a black eye even if they ARE proposing marriage! Ew ew! Don't touch me! Ewww!

I like a good "doom and gloom" mass. Don't look at anybody during Mass, don't smile, don't breathe on my neck, don't kick the back of my pew and don't, for heaven's sake, violate my personal space. I have a six-foot bubble of personal space. Go away.

Christ is not our FRIEND.

There, does that look like your friend? No! He's here to give you the smackdown. See, everybody's crowding in around him on the right and He says "hey! Don't TOUCH me!" He's yanking his hand away from all the people who want to grab at it.

Okay, fine, Christ is not our friend but somehow a mystical spouse so that's all good, and I like visiting my mystical spouse and that makes me joyful, not the smelly person who's sitting next to me. Or the person with no sense of coordination (orange and brown with yellow trim just doesn't go together, lady). Or the infant behind me yanking at my hair. If mass were for the community only, it would be about as much fun as an airplane ride without the advantage of an airsickness bag (not only useful, they're fun to write letters on; stick them in an envelope and mail them. Unused, of course).

I personally participate in Mass because I like to hear myself sing. I think everybody in mass should stop singing so I can hear myself better. In fact I don't think they should have any organ or other instrumental accompaniment, just ME.

Grr, snarl. *curmudgeon*

But, as I often say, "it could be worse". I mean, there's no direct heresy here -- they do have the Knights of Columbus -- but it's just... stomach-churning. That will do nothing for 85% of the parish, but the 15% that it will reach will be vocal for it. :P If I were a whiny teenager (instead of a curmudgeonly and mostly misanthropic reclusive 20-year-old ... it's homeschooling's fault) and if I had no faith, that wouldn't do it for me. I'd probably run down the street to the local church of Scientology in hopes of bumping into Tom Cruise.

This is why we need the Spanish Inquisition. Because, as a commenter so kindly reminded me, nooobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

posted by Lauren, 5:29 PM | link | 7 comments

.:{When a Dominican Medievalist Thinks of the Franciscans}:.

I was in a bookstore the other day, rifling through the books (sadly passing up a thin volume on how to create one's own Celtic Medieval designs ala the Book of Kells), and I found an interesting book in the history section. I scrutinize and mostly don't go in for most modern history books one would find in a public bookstore, as most modern history writing is bogus, if entertaining (I still like David McCullough's John Adams and I'm dying for his new 1776, though some have thrown doubt on his scholarship -- the review on Adams on Amazon.com has more).

I've been told never to judge a book by its cover, but really -- what bibliophile pays attention to that? Books are so pretty! And a book on the Cathars attracted my attention for that precise reason: its cover.

(The Agitator of Languedoc, which I cannot find anywhere else on the web)

The rat!

I thought to myself "yeah, that's about right."

posted by Lauren, 5:19 PM | link | 1 comments

.:{Augustine on the Birth of John the Baptist}:.

La Vierge L'Enfant Jesus et Saint Jean Baptiste by William Bouguereau

In addition to the most holy Nativity of the Lord, we find celebrated in the Gospel the birth of only one other, namely, that of blessed John Baptist. As for all others among God's holy and chosen ones, we know that for their feast is observed the day whereon, with their work finished, and the world conquered and finally trampled down, they were born from this into a better life, even into everlasting blessedness. Thus in others is honoured the day on which their merits were completed, that is, the last day of their dying life. But in John is honoured the first day, for in him the very beginning is found hallowed. And the reason that the Nativity of John is so much made of in Scripture is, without doubt, that the Lord wished John to be an attestation to his own first coming ; for if Christ had come too suddenly and unexpectedly, men might not have recognized him. And on this wise John was a figure of the Old Testament, and shewed in his own person a typical embodiment of the Law ; for he heralded beforehand the coming of the Saviour, even as the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us to the grace of Christ.

But as touching this, that he prophesied while yet in the hidden depths of his mother's womb, and while himself lightless bore testimony to the truth, we are to understand it as a figure how that while himself wrapped round with the veil and carnal ordinances of the letter, he by the spirit preached unto the world a Redeemer, and testified that Jesus is our Lord even while for himself, working under the law, the birth of the new dispensation was still in the womb of the future, and not come to day. The Jews were estranged from the womb, that is from the Law, that womb heavy with the Christ that was to be ; they went astray from the belly, speaking lies, and therefore John came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

But as for this, that when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, this is the Law sending to the Gospel. For John here was a figure of the Law, imprisoned in ignorance, lying in the dark, and in a hidden place, and he was fettered through Jewish misunderstanding within the bonds of the letter. But of him was it said, as is written in the Blessed Evangelist, He was a burning and a shining light, that is to say, that, when the whole world was wrapt in the night of ignorance, this Saint was kindled by the fire of the Holy Ghost, to shew before men the light of salvation, and at the hour of the thickest darkness of sin, appeared like a bright morning star to herald the rising of that sun so right gloriously radiant, the Son of righteousness, Christ our Lord. And this is why John said of himself : I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.
posted by Lauren, 3:09 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{Ex utero senectutis et sterili}:.

O for thy spirit, holy John, to chasten
Lips sin-polluted, fettered tongues to loosen;
So by thy children mighty thy deeds of wonder
Meetly be chanted.

Lo, a swift herald, from the skies descending,
Bears to thy father promise of thy greatness;
How he shall name thee, what thy future story,
Duly revealing.

Scarcely believing message so transcendent,
Him for a season power of speech forsaketh,
Till, at thy birth-time, once again returneth,
Voice to the voiceless.

Witness thou barest, in the womb yet hidden,
Unto thy Monarch, shrined in his chamber;
Thus thy two parents, through their offspring's merits,
Mysteries uttered.

Praise to the Father, with his Sole-begotten;
Praise to thee also, thou the mighty Spirit,
Who in one Godhead, with the Twain Co-equal
Art through all ages. Amen.

It is well that the current breviary has left in an excellent sermon by St. Augustine that is found in the older breviary (whence comes the above-posted hymn), and which will be posted next.

It is interesting to note that today is one of the few feast days celebrating the birth of a person into this world, as opposed to the day of their earthly death and birth into eternal life. The three persons whose birthdays are celebrated in the Church are Christ's (Dec 25th), Mary's (Sept. 8th), and John the Baptist's (today, June 24th). The timing is not only because of its mention in scriptures -- at the annunciation (March 25th), Gabriel tells Mary that Elizabeth is in her sixth month so that when John is born, Mary is in her third month ... all these multiples of 3 -- but also because of its historical relevance.

At today's noon mass, father mentioned this: the significance of St. John's feast day falling on (or near) the summer solstice. Not only was the summer solstice/midsummer a pagan holiday celebrating ... something (I'm not familiar with the regional pagan activities of this time, unfortunately). Like so many other things, the Church took it and "baptized" it.

The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, after which the days grow continually shorter. This is significant because St. John is famous for saying "He must increae, but I must decrease". As the earthly days grow shorter, the light of Christ grows nearer. The shortening days remind us that winter is on its way, and in the dead of winter, four days after the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year, Christ was born.

St. Augustine has more to say on the subject (and better), and so I shall leave you with some Art.

Medieval images from Petites Heures de Jean de Berry, XIVe s. (BNF, LAT 18014):
Zacheriah going to the temple where the angel appears to him telling him the name of his son (I like the 14th century thurible he's holding).
Mary (always carrying her breviary) visits Elizabeth.
The birth of St. John the Baptist (everybody clamoring at the right to know his name).
St. John in the wilderness.
The Baptism of Christ (with the literal lamb of God at John's left elbow?).
John before Herod (still with the lamb).
The dance of Salome.
The tragic beheading of John.

The Birth of St. John the Baptist:
by Tintoretto
By Weyden (Van Eyckish)
By Van Eyck
From some German manuscript

The Dance of Salome:
By Gozzoli

By Moreau --
The Dance of Salome
Salome in the prison.
The Apparition (quite dramatic)
posted by Lauren, 2:16 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{Yeah, yeah...}:.

So Zadok saw the Pope again today,with real soldiers on real horses with real swords. :P So what? Big deal. :P :P :P I'm not jealous. Shutup. :P :P :P
posted by Lauren, 2:11 PM | link | 0 comments

{Thursday, June 23, 2005  }

.:{Our Eastern Brethren}:.

Recently held in DC was the Orientale Lumen IX conference. I heard about it in its last few days and I hadn't actually signed up for any of the talks, but I was able to meet a couple of neat Eastern Catholics (and a few Orthodox), and a few sisters of the Order of Sts. Cyril and Methodius who pray for the union of East and West.

I also had the amazing opportunity of attending Greek vespers, and I managed to find a book someone had left behind as there were quite a few who, being unable to read either Greek or Slavonic, didn't even bother to try to keep up. Although I just spent the spring semester studying Patristics, my Greek after as many years as I've been studying it isn't near where it ought to be, and my knowledge of the Eastern chuch is unfortunately very minimal. However in addition to an education in ouzo, I also learned a lot about Greek/Byzantine art and architecture from my 10-day visit to Greece in the fall (about which I don't think I blogged very much). Some education as to the sometimes divergent traditions of the saints was learned in an ikon shop in Athens by the most wonderful ikon artist and delightful gentleman. (If you are going to Athens, email me and I will dig up his name for you.)

So I was amazed at the richness of what I saw in the liturgy book that I nicked -- er, found. There were three "akathistoi" (? sg: akathist) offered during the conference: one to Our Lord Jesus Christ, one to the Mother of God Theotokos, and one to the Holy Trinity. It looks like each is divided into 12 Ekos and 13 Kontakion. What that means, I don't know (though I intend to research). Here is an example, the first Ekos and the second Kontakion:

Ekos 1

Celebrant: Creator of angels and Lord of hosts, as of old You opened ear and tongue to the deaf and dumb, likewise open now my perplexed mind and tongue to the praise of Your most holy name, that I may cry to you

          Jesus, Most-wonderful, Angels' Astonishment!
          Jesus, Most-powerful, Forefathers' Deliverance!
          Jesus, Most-sweet, Patriarchs' Exaltation!
          Jesus, Most-glorious, Kings' Stronghold!

          Jesus, Most-beloved, Prophets' Fulfillment!
          Jesus, Most-marvelous, Martyrs' Strength!
          Jesus, Most-praceful, Monks' Joy!
          Jesus, Most-gracious, Presbyters' Sweetness!

          Jesus, Most-merciful, Fasters' Abstinence!
          Jesus, Most-tender, Saints' Rejoicing!
          Jesus, Most-honorable, Virgins' Chastity!
          Jesus, Everlasting, Sinners' Salvation!

(sung) Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me.

Kontakion 2

Cantor: As when seeing the widow weeping bitterly, O Lord, You were moved with pity, and raised her son from the dead as he was being carried to burial, likewise have pity on me, O Lover of mankind, and raise my soul, deadened by sins, as I cry: Alleluia!

All: (sung) Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

But most lovely of all was the phos hilaron sung/chanted at the Greek vespers (after the call of "sophia orthoi!" -- "let wisdom set us right!") While most of the psalm-tones were carried by a deacon in a lovely gold dalmatic doing impressive Eastern vocal acrobatics while three of the cantors held a single note, the phos hilaron was sung in various parts, yet it made me think it something like the equivalent of Greek polyphony.

For any who are unfamiliar with the phos hilaron, I have thrown together a small PDF including the Greek text, a transliteration, and my own translation. That may be viewed by clicking here.


posted by Lauren, 10:25 PM | link | 1 comments

.:{Random weirdness}:.

If you think kids are impressionable... Monkey see monkey do.

The way prisoners SHOULD be treated (pink? HA!).

I wouldn't let this wacko into school, either. I think we need to bring back angry nuns that slap with rulers if you don't know your Latin verb conjugations. And we need Latin back in our schools. And the Spanish Inquisition (no one will expect it!).

I need one of these. My alarm clocks fear my morning wrath.

The reason I moved away from Texas. I mean, that's gross.
posted by Lauren, 6:31 PM | link | 2 comments

.:{Look, I'm Zadok}:.

Baby Chameleons!
posted by Lauren, 5:49 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{Bld. Gundislavus of the Cudgels and Pointy Things}:.

Aside from diamonds, Zadok is a Cnytr's best friend. Except when he doesn't pay his monthly "friend" dues. However, this month I think I'll let him off the hook, as he has found for me some images of Bld. Gundislavus of Amarente, OP , better known as Bld. Gonzalo.

(from Santa Eulalia in Merida, Spain)

This is the bridge he is credited to have built. This picture tells more of his story than I know (i.e. what's with the log and the horse cart?), and I shall research him to give you more information.

Spanish colonial art of Bld. Gundislavus wearing a biretta.

Many thanks to Zadok (though next time I won't let you off the hook as easily).
posted by Lauren, 3:13 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{St. Peter Martyr vrs. Heresy -- shh!}:.

If you've been paying attention, you know this saint, of course. Sometimes unsettling, sometimes disturbing, sometimes nonchalant, sometimes seemingly unaware, and sometimes writing the word "Credo" with his own blood (would you believe I cannot find a picture of this anywhere?). But there is a particularly famous Fra Angelico image often called "Peter Martyr Enjoins Silence":

This image is painted in the Monastery of San Marco in Florence in the space between the top of the door and the top of the archway as one enters the sanctuary of the church from the cloisters. My first reaction was somewhere between "how clever" and "Aww, isn't that cute".

But St. Peter Martyr wasn't killed because he was cute or clever.

I was looking through the aforementioned Holy Cards book, and learned something interesting: Fra Angelico's depiction of St. Peter Martyr with a finger to his mouth is not unique. In fact, it used to be that St. Peter Martyr was often depicted with a finger to his mouth ... to silence heresy.

All together now: That's AWESOME!
posted by Lauren, 11:04 AM | link | 3 comments

{Tuesday, June 21, 2005  }

.:{In case you can't tell, I'm quite happy to have my blog back...}:.

A word with pulchria!
It isn't absurd,
That's quite a fine a word,
As are all the nomens I poeia!
posted by Lauren, 9:06 PM | link | 3 comments

.:{On Our Holy Father Dominic's Cheer and Love}:.

But more splendid than the miracles were [St. Dominic's] sublime character and burning zeal, which indisputably proved him a true vessel ofg honor and grace, a vessel adorned with every precious stone. His mind always retained its usual calm, unless he was stirred by compassion and mercy; and, because a joyful heart begets a cheerful face, he manifested the peaceful harmony within his soul by his cordial manner and his pleasant countenance. So steadfastly did he adhere to a decision reached before God that he seldom, if ever, changed a resolve born of due reflection. And, while the joy which shone in his features bore witness to a clear conscience, the light of his countenance was not cast down to the ground.

This cheerfulness is what enabled him so easily to win everyone's affection, for, as soon as they looked at him, they were captivated. No matter where he happened to be, whether on a journey with his companions or in the house of a stranger, or even in the presence of princes, prelates, or other dignitaries, his conversation was always edifying and abounded with allusions which would draw his hearers toward love for Christ and away from love of the world. At all times his words and his works proclaimed him a man of the Gospel. During the day, none was more affable, none more pleasant to his brethren or associates.

At night none was more instant in prayer or watching. In the evening, tears found a place with him and, in the morning, gladness. The daytime he shared with his neighbor, but the night he dedicated to God, for he knew that, in the daytime, God has commanded His mercy, and a canticle to Him in the night. He wept frequently; indeed, his tears were his bread day and night. In the day he shed tears during his Mass and, at night, during his untiring vigils.

A certain discreet and virtuous friar declared that he had observed our blessed father for seven nights to see how he spent his nightwatches. He tells us that, standing at one time, then kneeling, then prostrating himself on the ground, he continued his prayer until he felt sleepy. Then he would rouse himself and visit one altar after another. This would go on until midnight. Then, quietly, he would go where the brethren were sleeping and cover anyone requiring it. After that he returned to the church and continued praying.

From the Libellus of Bld. Jordan of Saxony
posted by Lauren, 7:46 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{The Alba Madonna}:.

This weekend I paid a visit to the National Gallery (the one in Washington and not London), and was quite surprised as to the size and variety of the collection contained therein. I spent several hours in the east wing without making it to the west wing containing the modern art. Furthermore, I seemed to have missed Van Eyck altogether. There was much to be worshipped, including Da Vinci (no secret codes *rolls eyes*), Raphael, El Greco, Fra Angelico (!), Giotto, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Rembrandt, Titian, Waterhouse and many more.

Although I found Titian's St. John on Patmos entrancing (the angle of the image sucks one in)and Fra Angelico's Adoration of the Magi entrancing (look at that peacock!), I fell unequivocally head-over-heels in love with a painting my Raphael called The Alba Madonna. This poor image can in no way do the original justice -- the colors are entrancing -- but it may give you some idea of the composition. It is, I think, the first painting (with the possible exception of Michaelangelo's Holy Family) whose composition has ever really struck me (rather forcibly). I'm not quite sure what it is about this painting, but the angle of the Madonna's head, the stance of the Christ child (who looks neither like a sumo-wrestler nor an old man, nor a miniaturized body-builder) and the eager/earnest half-sitting position of the young St. John the Baptist distinguished this painting from amongst its peers. (And the background is simple, unlike Michaelangelo's Holy Family; the random nudes in the background never seemed to me to have much point and seemed to be Mike showing off again.)

Slightly jumping track, Mark Twain has a few words for us on the subject of Michaelangelo:

I used to worship the mighty genius of Michael Angelo -- that man who was great in poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture -- great in everything he undertook. But I do not want Michael Angelo for breakfast -- for luncheon -- for dinner -- for tea-- for supper -- for between meals. I like a change, occasionally. In Genoa, he designed everything; in Milan he or his pupils designed everything; he designed the Lake of Como; in Padua, Verona, Venice, Bologna, who did we ever hear of, from guides, but Michael Angelo? In Florence, he painted everyt hing, designed every thing, nearly, and what he did not design he used to sit on a favorite stone and look at, and they showed us the stone. In Pisa he designed everything but the old shot-tower, and they would have attribute that to him if it had not been so awfully out of the perpendicular. He designed the piers of Leghorn and the custom-house regulations of the Civita Vecchia. But, here -- here it is frightful. He designed St. Peter's; he designed the Pope; he designed the Pantheon, the uniform of the Pope's soldiers, the Tiber, the Vatican, the Coliseum, the Capitol, the Tarpeian Rock, the Barberini Palace, St. John Lateran, the Campagna, the Appian Way, the Seven Hills, the Baths of Caracalla, the Claudian Aqueduct, the Cloaca Maxima -- the eternal bore designed the Eternal City, and unless all men and books do lie, he painted everything in it! Dan said the other day to the guide, "Enough, enough, enough! Say no more! Lump the whole thing! say the Creator made Italy from designs by Michael Angelo!"

I never felt so fervently thankful, so soothed, so tranquil, so filled with a blessed peace, as I did yesterday when I learned that Michael Angelo was dead.

~Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad ch. XXVII

Updated some: Next time I'm using spellcheck.
posted by Lauren, 7:19 PM | link | 1 comments

.:{St. Dominic image?}:.

If the information I have is accurate there seems to be a rather unusual image of St. Dominic enthroned in glory. The website whence it came is usually trustworthy, and it attributes it directly to Bartolome Bermejo and says it's hanging in the Prado in Madrid. (It's hard to credibly invent or mistakenly give that sort of information)

My giving it the benefit of the doubt:

I notice the allegorical figures of the cardinal virtues in the niches of the painted alter tryptich (Dominicans begin at the virtues and not at the 10 commandments as Fr. Cameron OP pointed out at the Dominican congress). I believe it is the Church (or Faith) likewise in allegorical figure who holds the cross and the chalice (though I'm not 100% certain), and I do not recognize the figure on her right. Wisdom (/Mary/Charity) is standing above him. Of course he has the obligatory book.

Were it not for the fact that WGA can nail down an artist and the museum in which it presently hangs, upon looking at the painting I would wonder who the bishop-saint is (why a mitre and crozier? St. Dominic was never a bishop). His face doesn't look to me like St. Dominic, and while the black and white habit is present, the cope (and dalmatic-looking chasuble???) mostly covers it.

This is definitely a Dominican, but I am still left with some doubt as to whether or not it is indeed our Holy Father Dominic. I would be interested to hear others' opinions on this matter.

Update: Thanks to all who commented -- mystery solved, it is not SPN Dominicus but an earlier Dominic (an OSB). But still a cool image nonetheless.
posted by Lauren, 7:18 PM | link | 9 comments

.:{The Dominican of Cudgels and Pointy Things Strikes (ha) Again}:.

The obscure Dominican blessed, Gundislavus of Amarente, was mentioned in a post several months ago when he was the Obscure Dominican Saint of the Day featured on this blog. I thought that that would be the last I would hear of Bld. G OP, as even Catholic Forum doesn't list him on their page of Dominicans (they are rather lacking here, I admit, but usually one can rely upon it for other Really Obscure saints).

However, today I was looking at a book that is sold in the place of my employment called Holy Cards and who should I see on a holy card highlighted in the book but our own Bld. Gundislavus. For the life of me I cannot find an image of him anywhere online. I may try to sketch him if I get the time -- I would photoshop an image of him ala this post if it weren't for some complicated background elements). The image depicted him standing in a road with a bridge he is credited to have built in Portugal in the background. And quasi-Byzantine image of Christ crucified upon the six-winged seraph (as in this image of St. Francis' stigmata) but with the broken halo around him (as in this ikon of the Resurrection); this because Bld. Gundislavus had a great devotion to the Passion of our Lord (hence, his desire of traveling to and then long-lingering in the Holy Land). Also, he was shown holding a staff (further signifying his pilgrim status) and in his right hand he held two crossed fish. The book identified this as a general symbol of Christ and Christians/Christianity, but really... fish? Crossed?

The book is a little simplistic in places, but generally does a good job on highlighting obscure Holy Cards (many Dominican saints!) and elucidating the meaning of the visual symbols. If I ever have money ever again in my life (unlikely), I'd buy it. Therefore you may take that as my recommendation.
posted by Lauren, 5:41 PM | link | 0 comments

{Monday, June 20, 2005  }

.:{I don't know to whom this is the more embarrassing}:.

From a conversation held in the very long and very boring return drive from TX to VA

Mom: Why were they called the Crimean wars? Was there a country called Crimea?
Lauren: A river -- Crimea River.
posted by Lauren, 11:31 AM | link | 4 comments

.:{Who is this that comes forth like the midafternoon, terrible as a Cnytr in battle array?}:.


Behold, the Cnytr returneth, and all bloggians shall tremble in fear.
Yea though I walk in the shadow of the blog, I shall fear no liberal.
For the Cnytr hath led thee out of Jesuitity and hath shone her Dominicanity upon thee.
Praise be unto the Cnytr, and La Lorenza shall sing her praise. Alleluia.

Hic non dicitur Gloria Patri, neque Amen.

(I now have DSL and can check my email and post on my regular basis. Thank you for your patience and for all the free money and books you sent me. And if you didn't send me free money or books, you can still do that. I also take food: Pizza, PastaCard and American Egg-spress.)
posted by Lauren, 12:25 AM | link | 6 comments

{Tuesday, June 14, 2005  }

.:{Dear Cnytr, do you like techno, and if so what kind.}:.

Well, its not really my style, but I heard a techno song one time that went like...

dum dum dum dum dum dum ...

And then this other part came in, and it was like...

doodle-a-dum, doodle-a-dum, doodle-a-dum, doodle-a-dum...

And then there's always some kinda high pitched noise, y'know? Or like a siren that's like...

doo-doo-da-doo-doo, doo-doo-da-doo-doo, doo-doo-da-doo-doo...

And of course they have to put in the obligatory quote from some papal election. It's like...

Habemus papam! Habemus papam! Habemus papam!

If, like me, you stay awake at night, staring at the cieling, wondering what it would sound like to set the annuntio vobis to techno, your insomnia is solved, and now you can celebrate to Papal Techno.

Hat tip: Berenike
posted by Lauren, 9:14 AM | link | 2 comments

{Monday, June 13, 2005  }

.:{Blogging Book Group?}:.

Europhobia suggests, via the book meme, a blogging book-group, wherein someone (this time, Europhobia) will suggest a book and set a date, whereupon we, the bloggers, return and dissect the thing.

Usually I don't go in for this sort of schtick because people pick boring books (read: Oprah Winfrey). However, E's pick is Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco, the same author who wrote The Name of the Rose (recommended by Cnytr for fun FICTIONAL [veryvery fictional] and flawed but nonetheless entertaining reading), How to Travel with a Salmon and Other Essays (one day I am going to write a book like this) and Semiotics and the Philosophy of Language. Umberto Eco is/was a professor at the University of Bologna (where several well-known Dominicans have taugh. Like St. Raymond of Penyafort. Not to put Eco on the same level of St. Raymond). I think I can say that I really enjoy Umberto Eco.

And behold, the description of F's P:

To give you a basic idea without ruining the plot, it's basically The Da Vinci Code if it had been written by someone literate, intelligent, with a superb grasp of character and plot, and who had actually bothered to do some original research. It is also a fantastic read - perhaps Eco's best.

Huzzah! I'm up for that!

I encourage anyone reading this to join in as well. You can secure the book through the Amazon.com marketplace for somewhere around $2.

Disclaimer: I haven't actually read this book yet... if it's awful, I'll blame the fact that the Spanish Inquisition no longer exists.

(Hat tip: Siris)
posted by Lauren, 8:12 AM | link | 12 comments

{Sunday, June 12, 2005  }


Congratulations to the as-of-Saturday newly ordained Dominicans!

Thank you to all who helped to organize and execute the Third Order Dominican "Duc in Altum!" congress (no more puns, Tom, pleaaaaase).
And it was lovely to meet all my brothers and sisters in Christ and St. Dominic.

Congratulations, also, is due to ME! ... and to my sister. For the small task of bringing new life into the world. But really to me, because without any effort whatsoever, I have a new and super-cute nephew, Zachary. He is a miracle baby -- my sister's pregnancy was very, very difficult for a while (and this is her first child), and she was put on complete bedrest and 50 million different kinds of medication and hospitalized etc etc etc and we were all very worried for mother and child.
However after a month or so, she ended up getting along so well that the doctors said she could forego bedrest and, up until a few days before Zachary was born (by c-section), she was driving (though she wasn't really supposed to :P), walking all around, going up and down stairs, etc. And Zach, at 5lbs 8(?) oz, is doing wonderfully, especially seeing his actual due date is in a month!

Thanks, everybody, for your prayers!
posted by Lauren, 10:08 AM | link | 9 comments

{Thursday, June 09, 2005  }

.:{Third Order Congress This Weekend}:.

I'll see the Third Orders of the Province of St. Joseph at the Third Order Congress this weekend! $5 says I'll be the only 20-year-old there. If you don't spot me at the ordinations on Friday wearing the Third Order Cross on a huge black-and-white ribbon (seeing as, being only a novice, I don't have a nifty long scapular to wear yet), then you'll spot me elsewhere because wild horses will not tear me away from this thing.

Duc in altum!
posted by Lauren, 12:13 AM | link | 2 comments

.:{I know it's been done before, but here is myself...}:.

Out of boredom and curiosity, I have undertaken the Herculean task of reading a book.

*shock* Did a little Dominican just say that? A "Herculean task"? When is reading a book a Herculean task? I'll tell you: reading a book is a Herculean task when it's The Da Vinci Code.

You will recall that Hercules, a demi-god of Greek mythology, the son of Zeus who died at the hand of his wife, undertook seven tasks (note the symbolic number), including Dreaming the Impossible Dream, Burping the Alphabet in Three Seconds and Getting His Car To Stop Making That Sound.

And thence such impossibly large tasks are called "Herculean", which you will note is similar to the word hurrrrggghhhh, which is the sound you make when lifting something really heavy.

And I read this book, and it was hard because I wanted to put it down because it was so terrible. But nevertheless, I persisted. I kept on. I continued reading. I persevered. I decided to remain reading the book because it was so popular. But it was really hard because I was bored. Nevertheless, I kept reading. Like Hercules trying again and again until he finally was able to Drink An Entire Gallon of Milk Without Dying or Vomiting.

Think my prose idiotic? That's exactly the way Dan Brown likes to beat his audience over the head again and again with glaringly false entymology, stupid and half-false myths and origins of things. He also seems to think that the more he repeats things, the more his audience will believe or understand him. In actuality, we figured out the whole book in the first two chapters minus some minor details. We solve the puzzles faster than the paper-thin characters of Robert and Sophie and for someone whose name actually means "Wisdom", she's pretty rock-dumb. She has maybe two minutes of shining glory where she earned my respect -- at the point where we first met her -- but her character soon fizzled and died, becoming less than an "ignotus" in a dialogue.

In fact, that's what The Da Vinci Code is. It's rather like Galileo's publicizing his findings in a vulgar/popular format rather than a scholarly format, and making the target audience (the Church or, more specifically, Pope Urban VIII) the Stupid character. And not just the nesciens, the "how right you are!" guy who's always hanging around in Plato's dialogues, but the wide, doe-eyed, naive kid who practically screams out "oh! teach me! tell me your wisdom! And then sleep with me."

Except, of course, for the obvious fact that Galileo was right (and the Church was big enough to own up to it) and Dan Brown is just stupid

(A minor pick on Sophie's character -- she's described to be wearing black leggings and a knee-length Irish sweater, apparently with pockets. I ask you 1) who wears that? 2) could anything be more unattractive?)

Another thing about Brown's writing is the fact that EVERYTHING.





Approximately the first 300 pages of the book occur in the space of one night. As characters are sitting there and explaining (the same thing. Over and over and over again.), one is mentally looking at one's watching, wondering when someone is going to come in and shoot them or something more exciting.

The strikes against Dan Brown are as follows:

1) Bad Plot
2) Bad style
3) No Sense of Timing
4) Flimsy, Floppy, See-Through Characters Who Aren't Really Characters At All
5) Bad Dialogue
6) Bad Transitioning (ugh, what a movie this is going to make)

Ignoring the blatantly nonexistant scholarship, baseless claims, fictional theology and all the other things that have been torn apart again and again so much that I think the above errors are so obvious they have no need of being pointed out to anyone with a pulse.

I mean, everybody *knows* it's the Jesuits who are behind the conspiracy, not Opus Dei or the invented-in-1950-by-a-mad-Parisian "Priory of Sion".

But as I say, I ignored these blatant errors to see if there was anything good in the style or writing of the book itself -- I had heard it described as a good work of fiction, at least, and a page-turner. If I weren't so stubborn I would have stopped reading it at chapter four (and Dan Brown's chapters are four pages long at best. Does this guy have no sense of organization, either?).

In my informed, classical, literary, reading-under-the-covers-since-I-was-6 opinion, this book is no different from so much rot that passes as airport reading nowadays. From the culture that brought us "Troy" and "Jingle All the Way", behold The Da Vinci Code in all its mind-numbing idiocy. If you desire to feel intellectually superior, read the book to see how dumb you COULD be if you a) wrote like Brown, or b) were as slow and moronic as the characters he creates.

If Dan Brown can get this published (I see a Book-Oscar for "Most Transparent and Flimsy Plot With Lots of Gaping Holes Larger than The Mediocracy of The Artist Formerly Known As Prince"), storm the presses, my friends! We'll be millionaires and best-selling authors inside a week!

As to the danger of the text, I say this is "Harry Potter" for adults. What do you do with kids who ought to be old enough to know that Harry Potter isn't real? Give 'em a broom and tell 'em to fly. They'll notice they can't. There is so much dead-end "scholarship" and "theology" in this book that the second anyone tries to take it seriously and let it fly past anyone with half a brain, they will or ought to be laughed into next Tuesday.

If there's one thing I can't stand it's idiocy, and this book is rife with it.
posted by Lauren, 12:12 AM | link | 12 comments

{Saturday, June 04, 2005  }

.:{But before I go ...}:.

...I shall leave you with this poem I found in my outbox.

Percivale's Last Song by Charles Williams from the second book in his Arthurian Torso, The Advent of Galahad.

The high prince stood in the chapel
when all was come to pass,
and Love went up to the altar
to sing his mother's Mass.

He sang a Mass of our Lady,
and the universe began;
and thrice in the shaping Canon
he called on the soul of man.

The soul of man went softly
and swiftly as he bade;
there passed forth from between us
the high prince Galahad;

champion who sat in the Perilous Sell
where many came to wreck,
physicians who healed the Wounded King
in the Castle of Carbonek.

But the end of all adventures
was come on him at last;
he commended himself to Sir Lancelot,
and suddenly he passed.

For ever the high prince bore himself
loving to serf and peer,
but ever he held Sir Lancelot
most kindred and most dear:

and the love of Love remembers
the love from whence it came,
whether that be one or many, blackened or bright in fame.

There was no sound or motion
but suddenly he was gone,
and in us and around us
a triple wonder shone.

Christ and the Grail and Galahad
a single name thereof: --
Love met with Love in glory,
and Love cried out in Love.

The soul of man went speeding,
whom heaven rushed down to hail;
O all a single glory;
the union of the Grail.

O crimson transmutation
when the prince was made the Grail!
yea, even we bear witness,
even Bors and Percivale.

Wherefore the riding hasten
to the world's Perilous Sell;
because Love still is one with Love,
even now all things are well.

For the soul of man hath journeyed
to the end of Christendom
where Love hath found Love's glory
and seen his kingdom come.

Doctrine and veil and image
that grew at Love's behest
themselves become their mystery
in the closing of the Quest.

Again is Camelot builded
which far-off battles rend --
but a little while, a little,
ere the ritual drew to end;

wherein shall Bors to Logres
for Arthur's passing ride,
but I in contemplation
by Sarrass shall abide.

A little while, a little,
ere all things come to pass,
and in the perfect union,
Love close his mother's Mass.
posted by Lauren, 6:01 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{Blogging break}:.


Having relocated, I will be offline for a while until I can get an internet hookup and/or a phone line. I don't know how long this will take.

If anyone will be at the Dominican Third Order Congress this upcoming weekend (and the ordinations on Friday), look for me and say hello.

posted by Lauren, 5:31 PM | link | 0 comments