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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Father Rutler: A Fact More Fabulous Than a Fable

There are those of us who remember how as schoolboys, the clever use of rhythmic dactyls in Virgil's metrical Latin verses made unforgettable the sound of horses galloping. And one of my schoolmates gained fleeting fame when our French teacher announced that, as our classmate was recovering from an appendectomy, the first words he whispered as he came out of the anesthesia were from a line in LaFontaine's fable about the Crow and the Fox: "Maître Corbeau sur un arbre perché . . ."
Fables have always been entertaining ways to teach children to remember moral wisdom. LaFontaine in the late 17th century drew on stories of Aesop, a Greek slave in the fifth century before Christ. Many of those fables in the Aesopica were adopted along the way in Welsh (Chwedlau Odo—“Odo’s Tales”), Middle Low German, and even Middle Scots. Moral truths have no national borders or chronological barriers. Everyone in any place can learn a lesson from Aesop’s fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, in which the tortoise defies all odds and wins the race because the hare was so smug that it took a nap.
The parables of our Lord are different from fables, for they are about people, while fables make animals talk. Fables enliven moral consciences while Christ’s parables make moral points but also direct attention to eternal realities. When our Lord says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like . . .” he describes a heavenly reality, and not a fantasy.
Commissioned as an apostle of the Good News, Saint Paul wrote: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way as to take the prize. Everyone who competes in the games trains with strict discipline. They do it for a crown that is perishable, but we do it for a crown that is imperishable” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25). This race is not a fable about tortoises and hares. Those are illusions, but Paul’s race is an allusion. He is speaking of real people in Corinth, where the Isthmian Games took place before and after the Olympic Games, and whose winner received a crown of wild celery instead of the Olympic olive leaf. And celery leaves fade fast.
Lent is a microcosm of life in its entirety, with all its trials. When Saint Paul speaks of discipline, he employs a Greek word used for wrestling and any struggle for victory—agonia, from which we get agony. The Anti-Christ wants us to surrender the race and tries to persuade us that life is nothing but agony without a prize. His plot is to discourage, while Christ’s Holy Church is constantly encouraging, through the Sacraments and the heavenly cheerleaders called saints and angels. Saint John Vianney was convinced of a fact more fabulous than a fable: “Not all the saints started well, but all of them ended well.”

All I've Ever Known: Margaret Gallagher's Story

This documentary produced for the BBC in 1992 has proven to be very popular from its first broadcast, and continues to attract interest from across the world in 2018. Margaret Gallagher from Belcoo, Co Fermanagh, N. Ireland, enjoys her rural lifestyle, living without modern amenities. This was shot on 16mm film.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Gary Oldman Visits Hillsdale College

On December 15, Hillsdale College hosted a special screening of Darkest Hour for over 800 guests. The following day, Dr. Larry Arnn was joined on stage by Gary Oldman and producer Douglas Urbanski for an 80-minute panel discussion. The three men talked about Gary Oldman's preparation for the role of playing Winston Churchill, the significance of Churchill's actions in May 1940, and why a modern audience should watch this film.

Saint John Cantius: Restoring the Sacred

Today is the fifth anniversary of one of the darkest days in the history of the Church.  There have been Popes guilty of moral turpitude, but never before has there been a heretic who sought to change the immutable teachings of Christ, preserved by Popes for two millenia.  The following video is a beautiful story about the renaissance of an inner-city church in Chicago.  It is a heartening reminder that He "who makes all things new" will ultimately reclaim and restore the Church universal.  

Thy Kingdom Come!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Father Rutler: Righteous Anger vs. Sinful Anger

The tears of our Lord gazing on Jerusalem, cannot be separated from his violent whipping of the moneychangers in the Temple the next day. Both were acts of love, for he saw how the Holy City had been profaned, and he saw that profanation most glaring in the House of God itself. The word “profane” means to be “outside the holy place.” Distancing oneself from holiness is at its worst when it takes place in a sacred space: “. . . your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit . . .” 1 Corinthians 6:19. Philologists say that use of the term “profane” has declined about 80% in the last two centuries. Because Christ knew what Heaven is like, the fracturing of its reflection on earth was not a mere annoyance. It provoked him to wailing and whipping.
The violent cleansing of the Temple was an instance of righteous anger, using the strength of temper. Sinful anger, on the other hand, is a loss of that temper. Christ’s righteous anger at the Anti-Christ was far different from the crowd’s anger at Christ.
Observers of the human condition remark how our society seems so angry. Political debates degenerate into shouting matches; comedians abandon wit for coarseness; commentators on websites let loose all sorts of invectives. Unrighteous anger is anger for its own sake—rather like Homer’s Achilles who supposedly was angry at the Trojans, but in fact was angry at the world, shouting down King Agamemnon and even cursing a river when it did not flow his way.
The Ten Commandments temper passion like tempering steel. An intemperate society turns those Commandments backwards: worshiping false gods, blaspheming, killing, lusting, stealing, envying and coveting. It is no coincidence, for instance, that in the past fifty years, with their precipitous decline in moral certitudes, teen suicides have increased nearly 500%, and violent entertainments rival ancient blood lust. The anger of young men in street gangs, is not the anger of the young Christ with a whip.
Trying to correct this without God inevitably fails. When Hollywood personalities, having profited so long from intemperance, suddenly affect the mantle of righteousness, the result is hypocrisy instead of salvation, with witch hunts instead of reform. In his novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne describes the ambiguity of the Puritans: “No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.” Hawthorne’s daughter Rose, the widow of an intemperate husband, became a Dominican religious and founded a community for the care of dying cancer patients.
Sinful anger makes people into cowards, succumbing to the fads of the mob rather than the Gospel of Christ, which is why St. Gregory of Nyssa called that kind of anger a twisting of courage. It makes one a bully instead of a hero.

Stunning Choral Music for the Season of Lent

0:00:00 | Gibbons - Drop, drop, slow tears  
0:01:21 | Pange lingua (Plainsong) 
0:04:36 | Allegri - Miserere mei, Deus 
0:15:51 | Lotti - Crucifixus 
0:19:12 | Psalm 130 (Out of the deep, Purcell) 
0:21:41 | Byrd - Ave verum  
0:26:12 | Walton - A litany  
0:29:34 | JC Bach - Es ist nun aus mit meinem Leben 
0:36:23 | Byrd - Ne irascaris Domine  
0:40:03 | Byrd - Civitas sancti tui  
0:44:12 | Tallis - In manus tuas 
0:46:22 | Weelkes - Hosanna To The Son Of David 
0:48:06 | Pergolesi - Stabat Mater Tippett - Five Spirituals 
0:51:57 | 1. Steal away  
0:54:43 | 3. Go down, Moses 
0:57:25 | 5. Deep river  
1:00:49 | Byrd - Mass for Four Voices (Agnus Dei) 
1:05:33 | Tavener - Song for Athene 
1:11:26 | Purcell - Thou knowest, Lord 
1:13:48 | Tallis - In Ieiunio Et Fletu  
1:18:47 | Gjeilo - Ubi caritas 
1:22:48 | Victoria - Jesu Dulcis Memoria Bruckner - Motets  
1:24:39 | Christus factus est 
1:30:15 | Pange lingua  
1:34:40 | Vexilla Regis 
1:38:58 | Pärt - The Woman with the Alabaster Box  
1:44:45 | Ešenvalds - O salutaris Hostia  
1:47:57 | Tallis - O sacrum convivium 
1:51:52 | Messiaen - O sacrum convivium  
1:56:13 | Durufle - Ubi Caritas  
1:58:41 | Sanders - The Reproaches  
2:07:54 | Attwood - Turn thy face from my sins 
2:11:23 | Tallis - Salvator mundi  
2:13:57 | Farrant - Call to remembrance  
2:15:49 | Hilton - Lord, for thy tender mercy’s sake 
2:17:59 | Purcell - Hear my prayer, O Lord  
2:20:17 | Wesley - Cast me not away  
2:25:24 | Wesley - Wash me throughly 
2:30:19 | Leighton - Drop, drop, slow tears 
2:33:15 | Ouseley - O Saviour of the world  
2:35:59 | Tallis - Lamentations  
2:43:27 | Purcell - Remember not, Lord 
2:46:16 | Ireland - Greater love  
2:51:26 | Tallis - If ye love me 
2:53:33 | Britten - Corpus Christi Carol  
2:56:32 | Nystedt - Immortal Bach 
3:01:51 | Tchaikovsky arr Lubbock - The Crown of Roses (Legend)  
3:04:33 | Wood - Oculi omnium 
3:06:06 | Gesualdo - Gesualdo - O vos omnes 
3:09:57 | Mealor - Drop, drop, slow tears 
3:13:30 | Macmillan - Domine non secundum peccata  
3:22:32 | Macmillan - Miserere 

Artists: Westminster Abbey Tenebrae Trinity College, Cambridge Byrd Ensemble Monteverdi Choir Genesis Sixteen St Martin's-In-The-Fields WMU Choirs Ensemble Vocal Aedes Truro Cathedral Ely Cathedral Magdalen College, Oxford The Evans Choir Ensemble ZENE St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh Queen's Six Temple Church King's Singers Apollo5 Antioch Chamber Ensemble Sofia Vokalensemble 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

A message from The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, for Commonwealth Day 2018

Her Majesty The Queen, as Head of the Commonweath, has sent the following message ahead of Commonwealth Day on Monday 12th March.

"We all have reason to give thanks for the numerous ways in which our lives are enriched when we learn from others.

“Through exchanging ideas, and seeing life from other perspectives, we grow in understanding and work more collaboratively towards a common future.

“There is a very special value in the insights we gain through the Commonwealth connection; shared inheritances help us overcome difference so that diversity is a cause for celebration rather than division.

“We shall see this in action at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which takes place in the United Kingdom next month, bringing together young people, business and civil society from across the Commonwealth.

“These gatherings are themselves fine examples of how consensus and commitment can help to create a future that is fairer, more secure, more prosperous and sustainable.

“Having enjoyed the warm hospitality of so many Commonwealth countries over the years, I look forward to the pleasure of welcoming the leaders of our family of 53 nations to my homes in London and Windsor.

“Sport also contributes to building peace and development. The excitement and positive potential of friendly rivalry will be on display next month as we enjoy the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia.

“Contributing to the success of the Games, alongside athletes and officials, will be thousands of volunteers.

“Voluntary effort, by people working as individuals, in groups or through larger
associations, is so often what shapes the Commonwealth and all our communities.

“By pledging to serve the common good in new ways, we can ensure that the Commonwealth continues to grow in scope and stature, to have an even greater impact on people's lives, today, and for future generations.”