Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday Night - Rise and Come with Me

IN THE MYSTICAL INTERPRETATION of the (Canticle of Canticles), the voice of the beloved is understood of Christ speaking to the faithful soul ...

Arise (he says), make haste and come. Come away from the blind pursuit of creatures, from all the plans your busy brain evolves for your present and future pleasures, from the frivolous distractions it clings to. Come away from the pettiness and the meanness of your everyday life, from the grudges, the jealousies, the unhealed enmities that set your imagination throbbing. Come away from the cares and solicitudes about the morrow that seem so urgent, your heavy anxieties about the world's future and your own, so short either of them and so uncertain. Come away into the wilderness of prayer, where my love will follow you and my hand hold you; leave to live, with the innermost part of your soul, with all your secret aspirations, with all the centre of your hopes and cares, in that supernatural world which can be yours now, which must be yours hereafter.

- Ronald A. Knox

Friday, August 27, 2010

Apocrphyal Tolkien

Just a reminder: for those who have the luxury of leisure and can loll in front of their computers awhile, don't forget to watch both Born of Hope and The Hunt for Gollum. Both productions, while borrowing the northern air and gestalt of Peter Jackson's films, are done as acts of love and on extremely low budgets. They are apocryphal to J. R. R. Tolkien (some can argue Jackson's films are equally apocryphal), but "fill in the gaps," so to speak, of events that the producers, directors, and casts deem important enough to devote their time and energies. Enjoy.

St Monica

Saint Monica - Ary Schefer

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tolkien - BBC

For all who love J. R. R. Tolkien, this link has been making the rounds: an interview with Tollers from 1968 re-issued by the BBC. (Well I remember the bizarre kind of sound tracks chosen unnecessarily by the BBC to accompany the piece. Try your best to ignore such absurdity and wade through to the interview that begins just past three minutes.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Accolade of Christian Knighthood

IF YOU READ THROUGH THE LONG list of St Paul's mortifications (2 Cor 11), or "infirmities", as he calls them, by which he vindicates his title to apostleship, you will find that whereas some of them are due to persecution from without, many of them refer merely to the incidental discomforts - cold, sleeplessness, shipwreck, and so on - which were incidental to a busy life like his ... "Whom the Lord loves, he chastises," he tells us and again, "If you are without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are you no true sons." In a word, suffering of some kind is the badge of the Christian profession, the accolade of the Christian knighthood (emphasis added). Suffering, to be sure, is the common lot of mortality, but Christians - I mean good Christians - will suffer more than their neighbours, because they are less indulgent to themselves, less sparing of their personal comfort, more sensitive to the needs of others. And they have, too, a warfare to fight against spiritual enemies, all the more painful because they are really in earnest about it, because they really care.

As chastised, and not killed, Servants of Christ, we must embrace, with sublime confidence, his assurance that not one hair of our heads can fall to the ground without the will of our heavenly Father (Mtt 19,30). The providence that watched over our Lord in his helpless infancy, the providence which he trusted so utterly amidst the dangers which surrounded him, has watched over his Church all through the ages, will watch over us when all hope seems lost and all prayers unanswered. The eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

- Ronald A. Knox

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Chivalrous Work of Prayer

Chesterton reminds us that the age-old principle of chivalry demands the knight fight not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him. I repeatedly invite persons who love our Lord's holy Catholic Church, who pray for the renewal of Christendom, for our Holy Father, Benedict XVI - the 265th pontiff since St. Peter - and for the restoration of families, to join the chivalric order known as Corpus Christianum.

Yet unlike the ancient monastic practicing a balance of ora et labora, of these two - praying and fighting - I would say that the proportion in chivalry is undoubtedly 99.99% of the former and 0.01% of the latter.** Indeed, of the two, the practice of prayer is the absolute requisite for any kind of warfare, spiritual or otherwise.

Many do not know that Don John of Austria went to the Battle of Lepanto with a likeness of Our Lady of Guadalupe affixed to the wall of his quarters. That is a good practice for all of a knightly bent.

If you do decide to pursue membership in Corpus Christianum, I strongly suggest you begin a sustained practice of what is called Acta Militum, which is found at the website under Frequently Asked Questions. It will steer a course of constant prayer through out your month.

**That is, of course, unless you consider the inalterable fact that most our battles are fought in our own heart and soul; then the ratio becomes again 50:50.

Rome Before the Brits - Chesterton

BRITAIN WAS DIRECTLY ROMAN for fully four hundred years; longer than she has been Protestant, and very much longer than she has been industrial ... Britons were not originally proud of being Britons; but they were proud of being Romans ... Rome itself obviously could not rule the world, any more than Rutland. I mean it could not rule the other races as the Spartans ruled the Helots ... A machine so huge had to be human; it had to have a handle that fitted any man's hand. The Roman Empire necessarily became less Roman as it became more of an Empire; until not very long after Rome gave conquerors to Britain, Britain was giving emperors to Rome. Out of Britain, as the Britons boasted, came at length the great Empress Helena, who was the mother of Constantine. And it was Constantine, as all men know, who first nailed up that proclamation which all after generations have in truth been struggling either to protect or to tear down.

- G. K. Chesterton, A Short History of England