Is there a better way to cap off the Octave of Easter, than by remembering the great mercy the Lord has had upon us?

You must put aside, then, every trace of ill-will and deceitfulness, your affectations, the grudges you bore, and all the slanderous talk; you are children new-born, and all your craving must be for the soul’s pure milk, that will nurture you into salvation, once you have tasted, as you have surely tasted, the goodness of the Lord.

Draw near to him; he is the living antitype of that stone which men rejected, which God has chosen and prized;
you too must be built up on him, stones that live and breathe, into a spiritual fabric; you must be a holy priesthood, to offer up that spiritual sacrifice which God accepts through Jesus Christ.

So you will find in scripture the words, Behold, I am setting down in Sion a corner-stone, chosen out and precious; those who believe in him will not be disappointed.

Prized, then, by you, the believers, he is something other to those who refuse belief; the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief stone at the corner,
a stone to trip men’s feet, a boulder they stumble against. They stumble over God’s word, and refuse it belief; it is their destiny.

Not so you; you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people God means to have for himself; it is yours to proclaim the exploits of the God who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Time was when you were not a people at all, now you are God’s people; once you were unpitied, and now his pity is yours.

Beloved, I call upon you to be like strangers and exiles, to resist those natural appetites which besiege the soul.

Your life amidst the Gentiles must be beyond reproach; decried as malefactors, you must let them see, from your honorable behavior, what you are; they will praise God for you, when his time comes to have mercy on them.

For love of the Lord, then, bow to every kind of human authority; to the king, who enjoys the chief power,
and to the magistrates who hold his commission to punish criminals and encourage honest men.

To silence, by honest living, the ignorant chatter of fools; that is what God expects of you.

Free men, but the liberty you enjoy is not to be made a pretext for wrong-doing; it is to be used in God’s service.
Give all men their due; to the brethren, your love; to God, your reverence; to the king, due honor.

Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.

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St. Thomas, pray for us.

Nisi vídero in mánibus eius fixúram clavórum, et mittam dígitum meum in locum clavórum, et mittam manum meam in latus eius, non credam. Et post dies octo, íterum erant discípuli eius intus, et Thomas cum eis. Venit Iesus, iánuis clausis, et stetit in médio, et dixit: Pax vobis. Deinde dicit Thomæ: Infer dígitum tuum huc et vide manus meas, et affer manum tuam et mitte in latus meum: et noli esse incrédulus, sed fidélis. Respóndit Thomas et dixit ei: Dóminus meus et Deus meus. Dixit ei Iesus: Quia vidísti me, Thoma, credidísti: beáti, qui non vidérunt, et credidérunt. 

Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe. And after eight days, again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said: Peace be to you. The He saith to Thomas: Put in thy finger hither, and see My hands, and bring hither thy hand, and put into My side; and be not faithless, but believing. Thomas answered and said to Him: my Lord and my God. Jesus saith to him: Because thou hast seen Me, Thomas, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed.

beáti, qui non vidérunt, et credidérunt.

Quasimodo

St. Augustine wrote, of the Sunday following Easter, that it is the ‘compendium of God’s mercy’ and of the Octave of Easter itself that it is ‘the days of mercy and pardon’. Today, the Sunday after Easter is known as Divine Mercy Sunday.

An Octave is an 8 day Feast, currently associated only with Christmas and Easter, during which each day is a Feast in the same manner as the day on which it starts. (If you don’t know this already, then you just missed a week long Feast.) The 8 days of the Octave of Easter used to be called in albis, because the newly baptized were wearing white garments (albs.) The Sunday after Easter came to be known as Sunday in albis (or Domenica in albis) because it was the end of the Octave of Easter, and the day the newly Baptized took off their white baptismal garments.

The Sunday after Easter also used to be known as Quasimodo Sunday. The name comes not from the character in The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, but from the Latin words of the Entrance Antiphon for that Sunday. (Laetare Sunday in Lent, and Gaudete Sunday in Advent – during which the clergy famously don rose colored vestments – are also named from the Latin words in the Entrance Antiphon.)

The Entrance Antiphon for Divine Mercy Sunday is “Like newborn infants, you must long for the pure, spiritual milk, that in him you may grow to salvation, alleluia. “ It speaks to the great mercy the Lord has had, and continues to have, upon us. We are continually newborn, in every moment we cooperate with God’s grace, through the salvific actions of Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Trinity.
In Latin, the entrance antiphon begins, Quasi modo géniti infántes; or, “as in the mode (manner) of newly born infants.”

In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, since we brought that subject up, the character Quasimodo is abandoned due to his monstrous deformities, and left where orphans were normally left, on the orphans bed at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.

He’s found by one of the head clergy at the Cathedral on the Sunday after Easter, Quasimodo Sunday, and is simply named after that day. Hence Quasimodo enters into the public lexicon, and a character in popular culture is born. He is, not coincidentally, found to be a character of great depth and mercy in his own right – despite the unjust actions against him.

In the newer Roman Missal of 1969 the name of the Sunday was changed to the Second Sunday after Easter. And in the year 2000 the name was brought to its current form, Divine Mercy Sunday.

While this is no doubt far more information than anyone wanted to know, we need to know our Catholic history – even older generations are unaware of some of the origins and histories of sacred practices. May the days of mercy and grace take abode your hearts, and your lives continue in divine transformation, through His divine mercy.

Psalm 149:6-9

Exaltationes Dei in gutture eorum,
et gladii ancipites in manibus eorum:
ad faciendam vindictam in nationibus,
increpationes in populis;
ad alligandos reges eorum in compedibus,
et nobiles eorum in manicis ferreis;
ut faciant in eis judicium conscriptum:
gloria hæc est omnibus sanctis ejus.
Alleluja.

Every morning we pray the Psalms, and throughout the day actually (“we” being those obliged to the Office, and those who simply pray the Psalms in the morning, and throughout the day.)  On Feasts we usually end Morning Prayer with Psalm 149, which has always given me a sense of hope.

Read through the entire Psalm in English, if you will, from the Vulgate:

Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle:
let his praise be in the church of the saints.
Let Israel rejoice in him that made him:
and let the children of Sion be joyful in their king.
Let them praise his name in choir:
let them sing to him with the timbrel and the psaltery.
For the Lord is well pleased with his people:
and he will exalt the meek unto salvation.
The saints shall rejoice in glory:
they shall be joyful in their beds.
The high praises of God shall be in their mouth:
and two-edged swords in their hands:
To execute vengeance upon the nations,
chastisements among the people:
To bind their kings with fetters,
and their nobles with manacles of iron.
To execute upon them the judgment that is written:
this glory is to all his saints.
Alleluia.

And verses 6 – 9, from the Knox:

“Ever on their lips they bear the high praise of God,
ever in their hands they carry two-edged swords,
ready to take vengeance upon the heathen,
to curb the nations, to chain the kings,
and bind princes in fetters of iron.
Long since their doom is written;
boast it is of his true servants
that doom to execute.
Alleluia.”

The praise of God is our strength. The Gospel is the two edged sword.

The time is way beyond tuning out of popular culture, and into the ways of the Lord. Seriously, do we really need 178 cable channels in HD to find fulfillment in life? Do we need to be brainwashed with un-Godly shows, music and movies to realize that we need to grow closer to the Lord, Jesus Christ?

How can we praise God if we don’t know how to go about it? Or if we don’t know who He is? How can the Gospel be our two edged sword if we don’t read it, meditate upon it, and live it?

Not to ask rhetorical questions, but in positing the meaning of life we do need to reflect on our purpose here on Earth. And after 57 years of it so far, I can say that I didn’t need most of the things in life that I thought I did.  Of course, I’m fascinated with both Sacred Scripture, and pop-culture, which is an odd mix and which always makes me think that we live in the times of Jeremiah.

Except that we’re separated from the times of Jeremiah by the Cross of Jesus Christ, which changes things magnificently.

Too, I often consider that our times are similar to the times prior to the French Revolution. We’ve abandoned Catholic culture to the ‘enlightened’, and have a generation of secularized  anti-Christian, or unwitting Christians on our hands, who seek yet more power and yet more change towards a completely heathen, fully pagan society. That’s a bit strong, but true even though most would not see it.

And our weapons are the Praise of God, and the Gospel.

And the hosts of Heaven, the armies of Angels, the cloud of Witnesses cheering us on, the great Woman who has crushed the head of the serpent – and who intercedes just as she did in Cana – the white robed martyrs, and the glorious all mighty Lord Jesus Christ Himself, who watches over us with His strong arm.

Let those against the Lord chew on that for awhile. And may their confusion be confined to themselves as the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, works to bring marvels to fruition.

All Dressed Up

Here at St. Jane we’re undergoing some renovations, which got started – entirely through my own fault – a bit before I had thought they might get started. So while things were a bit undone for Easter, things also dressed up nicely for the greatest Feast of the year. St. Jane de Chantal is closely associated with the Sacred Heart of Jesus – it makes sense to have the Sacred Heart enthroned in the Sanctuary; as it originally was.

The Clarion Herald called yesterday and wanted to come take photos of our renovations today.

Not yet!

Back to Easter Vigil, when our youth director Matthew asked if he could take pictures, with a simple little Canon cam that outshines my 1DX photos times a million, we said “Certainly. How good it is to have professional photos of our spiritual life here at St. Jane!”

But seriously. What is up with this?

My hands are facing out, and I’m doing the Vulcan salute with my right hand. Do I do this in the Latin Mass, too? I’ll be leading everyone in song with a banjo at this rate.

St. Jane de Chantal, pray for us. St. Joseph, Patron Saint of Church Renovations, pray for us.

St. John Vianney, pray for me.

Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit vere!

The Easter Greeting

Ah, the Easter greeting. So many different versions of it (at least two,) so little time.

We hear this one: Christus Resurrectus Est! Vere Resurrectus Est!

And this one: Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit vere!

Does it really matter>?

Well.
No.

The Lord is risen! He is truly risen!

That’s what matters.

What does Miss O’Connor have to say?

If you haven’t read Flannery O’Connor’s writings, then you should stop now and go read her entire collection of stories, novels and letters. Writing entirely from within her Catholic identity, her themes get down to the realities of life in it’s beauty, it’s cruelty, in its reality.

Here is a bit she wrote regarding the Resurrection, and the resurrection of the body. It’s taken from her correspondence with Better Hester, an office clerk in Atlanta with whom Miss O’Connor corresponded after an impromptu letter from Mrs. Hester. She wanted to know who it was that understood her stories, and so began a correspondence that asked the last five years of her life.

I wonder if she’ll be declared a saint one day? Worth considering.

“To see Christ as God and man is probably no more difficult today than it has always been, even if today there seem to be more reasons to doubt. For you it may be a matter of not being able to accept what you call a suspension of the laws of the flesh and the physical, but for my part I think that when I know what the laws of the flesh and the physical really are, then I will know what God is. We know them as we see them, not as God sees them. For me it is the virgin birth, the Incarnation, the resurrection which are the true laws of the flesh and the physical. Death, decay, destruction are the suspension of these laws. I am always astonished at the emphasis the Church puts on the body. It is not the soul she says that will rise but the body, glorified. I have always thought that purity was the most mysterious of the virtues, but it occurs to me that it would never have entered the human
consciousness to conceive of purity if we were not to look forward to a resurrection of the body, which will be flesh and spirit united in peace, in the way they were in Christ. The resurrection of Christ seems the high point in the law of nature…”

Church Research, Holy Thursday and Blogging

A note on my poor blog – Hazel is a great theme, it just takes forever to load. So, I changed the theme once again, to the tried and true Thesis theme I know so well. And it wouldn’t work properly. So I changed it back again after much irritation, which caused me to change the name of the blog again and wonder about life in general. But – it doesn’t matter. One day it will be trim and sleek, and that day is not today.

Looking high and low for facts about the history of St. Jane Church I realized one major thing.

Prayer helps.

Now this should be obvious to me, a Priest, and I have been praying about it. The entire project is also entrusted to St. Joseph. So, what could go wrong?

A few facts, because I love lists:

  • St. Jane de Chantal was the first brick church built on the northshore. (So I’ve read – this may be disproven after more reading.)
  • St. Jane Church, and every building in the historic district of Abita Springs, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Some of the renovations at St. Joseph Abbey qualified for a 20% grant if they were done as historic renovations/restorations. It doesn’t have to be exact – everything’s not a museum. So it’s vaguely possible St. Jane Church might qualify for something like that.
  • Learning about that led to researching the Architect of the Church, from the cornerstone. The architect was Theodore Brune.
  • Theodore Brune built a number of Churches in the Archdiocese (including Mater Dolorosa, which is gorgeous). He also built St. Joseph Abbey.
  • About an hour of googling revealed that the plans for St. Jane are held in the Southeast Architectural Archive at Tulane University.
  • I photographed all of the blueprints. They’re fascinating, but not very helpful for the interior.
  • A new search yesterday revealed the postcard above, which is of Our Lady of the Lake, in Mandeville, back when the Church was wooden, and before it burned down.
  • Theodore Brune built the new Church at Our Lady of the Lake in the early 50’s.
  • Our Lady of the Lake, like St. Jane de Chantal, was staffed and managed by the Benedictines at St. Joseph Abbey in Covington. So it would make sense that they would get the furnishings from the same place, as they were furnished (St. Jane and the old OLL church) around the same time period (early 20’s.)
  • The photo above reveals that the altar and statuary, which look almost exactly the same as the old altar and statuary at St. Jane, were made by the Daprato Co., in Chicago. They still exist.
  • I emailed to see if they might have made our altar.
  • They emailed right back asking for a picture.
  • I sent them a picture.
  • They said “Yep.”
  • And the rest is future.

      It’s an exciting discovery, though we’re not quite sure what to do with it. They’re emailing an estimate over to redo the parts of the altar which were removed.

      And with that, it’s Holy Thursday. Prayer, preparations, fasting. +

Somewhere in Time

    1. I’ve been waking up early to make more time for prayer.
    2. Yesterday I finally saw the original blueprints for St. Jane de Chantal Church. I’d put a picture here, but one isn’t supposed to reproduce them in any way. (The archives, by the way, at the Southeast Architectural Archives, held at Tulane University, are amazing.)
    3. Prior to that, we attended the Chrism Mass, re: the above photo. It’s an annual Mass held for the blessing of the oils which are used throughout the year.I was looking at the picture and noticed myself (orange circle.) Then I noticed that one of my former spiritual directors (green circle,) was turning around looking at me. It caught my eye when it happened. But people turn around and look at me all the time. I guess at 6’6″ I stick out in a crowd? I sing like a chorister? My holiness draws people in? When I walk into rooms people scream or look startled. If people walk around a corner and bump into me they scream or look startled. Being tall isn’t for the feint of heart my friends. That and one rarely really sees tall old people.

      Which is concerning. Now is the time to seek our salvation; now is the time to atone for ours sins

      Especially when you’re six foot six and have been on this earth for quite awhile as it is.


  1. Visiting the archives occasioned parking uptown – which is also not for the feint of heart. So I parked in Audubon park off of Magazine St.and took a leisurely stroll over, remembering the many joyous times I used to go jogging there while in seminary.

    I’d ride my bike over and jog. I’d drive my car over and jog, up to 14 miles at one point. I’d cycle over and due the par-fitness circuit.I’m a very slow jogger. I would be jogging and notice some moms out with baby buggies, keeping up with me while they were walking. It definitely helped improve my pace.

    Anyway after strolling through the park, the campus and back it dawned on me I’d walked about 6.5 miles. #winningThis is a step in the right direction people!

    The world may be falling apart and I may have paperwork up to my ears, but by God I am sticking with prayer and walking. A man has to hold on to something in life.

  2. And, it’s off into the day. Easter approaches and there’s much to do. Clean clothing, proper grooming, time for reflection and prayer, preparations in the Church, long strolls, gardening, fasting, cleaning all of the scotch off the front doors of the Church which is also an annual Holy Week tradition, and well – etc.

    Jesus is drawing all things to Himself, so it’s prayer and work for me. And thee.


  3. By the way – what is this? A steam vent steaming away as I drank a double espresso and considered my overly caffeinated life. As I was considering that, PJ’s emailed me a receipt and I found myself wondering how on earth they came to have my e-mail address.
  4. If the Lord has mercy on those who fear Him down to the thousandth generation – does that mean we have another 40,000 years or so before the Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ?

    May as well make the most of things; never know what’s going to happen in a day.

  5. Well. 8Am. Almost time for lunch.

Well This Is Interesting

It finally dawned on me – realizing that I’m a horrible blogger is completely freeing. There’s not enough time in the day to do it all, as it is. Let alone compose a beautiful and thoughtful blog post. And people rarely head over here to this neck of the woods (which is actually a poor expression to use as someone evidently did threaten to strangle me, according to the Sheriff’s Office which has contacted me twice about the matter, and I do live in a neck of the woods which many seldom visit, and I’ll stop writing about necks now,) as it is.

What I really want to write is a novel; a roman a clef filled with backstabbing intrigue and drama.

What I actually write are letters, 99% of which are dry business letters. I write Bulletin Columns also, which are variously compilations of teachings, reflections, updates on Parish news, etc.

Meanwhile, the photography bug has died down within my spirit. It’s still there, but I can only do so much with my time, even waking up at the crack of dawn to fit it all in. Because of all the papers.

Paperwork has become my bane. It wasn’t always this way – and it’s certainly not going to remain this way. For now, it is what it is. And it’s a lot of papers.

I’l leave you with this compelling scene from Menotti’s The Consul. My friend Karie sang it with Menotti conducting back in the day when we were all that. She’s one of my favorite people actually, though I’m “conservative” and she’s “liberal”, so we really never talk much. (In fact, the same can be said for a lot of my music friends.) Life happens, and I was never really all that. This isn’t Karie in video; YouTube didn’t exist back then.

Papers! Papers!

Holy Week

Curious about the history of Holy Week, and having no library at hand, I ran a quick search and decided to check the references over on the Wikipedia page.  One would never want to write an academic paper using Wikipedia as a source – one would actually want to create an account and correct articles as necessary – but it can be a jumping point when checked for accuracy.

The first paragraph of the History section contains a paragraph from the Apostolic Constitutions:

Holy Week in the Christian year is the week immediately before Easter. The earliest allusion to the custom of marking this week as a whole with special observances is to be found in the Apostolical Constitutions (v. 18, 19), dating from the latter half of the 3rd century and 4th century. In this text, abstinence from flesh is commanded for all the days, while for the Friday and Saturday an absolute fast is commanded. Dionysius Alexandrinus in his canonical epistle (AD 260), refers to the 91 fasting days implying that the observance of them had already become an established usage in his time.[3]

v. austere, n’est-ce-pas?

(For a robust article on the Apostolic Constitutions, see the entry from the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia.)

Reading the Apostolic Constitutions is a fruitful endeavor, if not long and ponderous, giving insights into early Christianity.  However, because sometimes I’m all about spiritual growth and processing things and sorting out everything in life at the moment, what jumped out at me immediately was the phrase, “You shall not be as a wanderer“,  Book I, p.IV.

We have to remain steadfast and true during these times of great change. And you can feel it, can’t you?  Momentous change is coming, happening even now.

I’m not one to wander.  While my focus used to be music, my duties in life have changed as I’ve grown in the knowledge and love of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and have sought to do his will.  I fail miserably at times and no doubt cause him great pain, but it’s through grace alone that I’m able to remain steadfast in his ways. Late have I come to love thee, O Lord.

What is one to do in life, if not to come to know the Lord?  To discern and do his will?  To walk in his ways?  To live a life of pleasing witness to him? To love him beyond all measure and to love our neighbor as ourself?

We all have a state in life:  single, married, consecrated, ordained. We all have duties according to our state in life. We all have a spirit and once Baptized, the indwelling of the Holy Trinity – a precious gift which must be nurtured, dwelt upon in thoughtful prayer,  and allowed to have rule in our lives.

So, getting back to Holy Week.  Now is the time to live life to the fullest.

Does that mean taking a mountain trek in the Alps, or hitting the highlife?  Absolutely not.  That full paragraph about being a wonderer, by the way, reads as follows:

IV. You shall not be as a wanderer and drifter abroad, rambling about the streets, without just cause, to spy out such as live wickedly. But by minding your own trade and employment, endeavour to do what is acceptable to God. And keeping in mind the oracles of Christ, meditate in the same continually. For so the Scripture says to you: You shall meditate in His law day and night; when you walk in the field, and when you sit in your house, and when you lie down, and when you rise up, that you may have understanding in all things. Joshua 1:8;Deuteronomy 6:7 Nay, although you are rich, and so do not want a trade for your maintenance, be not one that wanders about, and walks abroad at random; but either go to some that are believers, and of the same religion, and confer and discourse with them about the lively oracles of God: —

And, what are we to do with our time, according to the author of the Apostolic Constitutions?

“V. Or if you stay at home, read the books of the Law, of the Kings, with the Prophets; sing the hymns of David; and peruse diligently the Gospel, which is the completion of the other.”

We do have to ‘work out our salvation.’

  • What type of prayer will you do today?
  • When will you pray
  • What time will you go to Mass on Easter Sunday?
  • What will you wear?
  • What time will you go to Confession beforehand, if you haven’t already done so?
  • What Scriptures are you currently reading?

All well worth pondering and acting upon.

And as usual, I’m off to practice what I preach. It’s one of the main tasks of my life aside from catching up on paperwork.

Pax Christi,
out.