Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Midsummer Night's Dream

The first time I watched the 1935 version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with Anita Louise as Queen Tatania, Victor Jory as Oberon the King of the Faeries, Mickey Rooney plays the mischevious Puck, and a whole host of other characters, it was pure delight and enchantment. It was such a beautiful production - so dreamlike. The dialogue was musical and lovely to hear. Of course, I didn't really understand the story line, but then, I did not care. I wanted this world that was created on the screen. It took me away from the mundane and sometimes harsh world around me.

Queen Tatania (aka Anita Louise) was so beautiful. I wanted to look like her - to be her.

She was portrayed more like an angel than anything else.

“If we shadows have offended,
Know but this and all is mended.
That you have but slumbered here,
While these visions did appear,
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding, but a dream.”

Here are some excerpts:
In his multi-volume history of the Third Reich, historian Richard Evans writes that "the Nazis regarded the churches as the strongest and toughest reservoirs of ideological opposition to the principles they believed in." Once Hitler and the Nazis came to power, they launched a ruthless drive to subdue and weaken the Christian churches in Germany. Evans points out that after 1937 the policies of Hitler's government became increasingly anti-religious.

The Nazis stopped celebrating Christmas, and the Hitler Youth recited a prayer thanking the Fuhrer rather than God for their blessings. Clergy regarded as "troublemakers" were ordered not to preach, hundreds of them were imprisoned, and many were simply murdered. Churches were under constant Gestapo surveillance. The Nazis closed religious schools, forced Christian organizations to disband, dismissed civil servants who were practicing Christians, confiscated church property, and censored religious newspapers. Poor Sam Harris cannot explain how an ideology that Hitler and his associates perceived as a repudiation of Christianity can be portrayed as a "culmination" of Christianity.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Ecce Agnus Dei

There is something about saying prayers or singing in Latin that moves me deeply. I wish our parishes would continue to incorporate beautiful latin hymns, like Agnus Dei, in the mass. Instead, we are treated with "modern" music, while our hearts long for the other ancient hymns.
Here are the lyrics to Agnus Dei
Agnus Dei, qui tolas peccata mundi
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world
miserere nobis
Have Mercy on us
Agnus Dei, qui tolas peccata mundi
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world
Dona nobis pacem
Grant us peace
Listen to this beautiful ancient hymn sung during the mass -- now, this song makes you feel like you are being ushered into the presence of God.

Here is another beautiful traditional ancient hymn: O Sanctissima

and here is another one: Panis Angelicus

We would sing the Agnus Dei back in the 1990's and early 2000's at our traditional church, St. Joseph; however, once the old choir director died, the person that took over the duties had us start singing this:

Here is another example:

What's wrong with the last two examples you might ask? I personally don't find it "Holy" or edifying. These songs have a modern framework and do not usher me into the presence of God and His Holy Angels.
That's all.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The collapse of western civilization is going to be very inconvenient

I just finished reading this really great article written by Fr. Richard Simon (aka, RKIA) about the demise of western civilization. He starts out like this: "I had the privilege of teaching dead languages to comatose seminarians for many years at the seminary of Bathsheba Bible College. There I had the even greater privilege of working with Fr. Stanley, a renowned old professor. Once at lunch in the faculty dining room he sighed and said, “The collapse of western civilization is going to be very inconvenient.”

Then he goes on to give the reader a lesson in 20th century history beginning with the great wars, one and two, the Korean war, the Vietnam war, the cold war, and how all this chaos and poverty created a longing for material possessions in our culture and the longing became a goal that had to be fulfilled - suddenly, this desire replaced all other desires in our minds even to the point of forgetting our purpose on this earth we greedily reached into pandora's box and pulled out and consumed everything that would make our world better, brighter, happier, and more fulfilling. Out of this box came "the pill" that brought in the reign of sexual fulfillment. Sex without consequences. Sex for its own sake. Reach into the box again and pull out the idea of abortion and how "right" it felt to rid oneself of any impediment to the joy and gratification of consuming things - food, products, time to spend on oneself without constraint or impediment, and on and on. Reach into the box again and pull out sexual perversion in all its many forms - find justification for that in one's own mind and feel fulfilled. Only it really doesn't work that way, does it. The more we imbibe with unbridled restraint, the more we feel empty, lost, without purpose.

I think the 15th c. artist, Hieronymus Bosch, must have been a prophet for our times. We need to take heed, we need to take seriously the warning that God isn't interested in having us muck around in the mud devising every possible pleasure to enjoy. He wants us to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next. And, yes, it is that simple.

Reverend Know-it-all: RKIA on materialsim and the decline in religious observance

Monday, June 13, 2016

Divine Mercy

This is my favorite rendition of the Divine Mercy Chaplet. I think it is so lovely and haunting. Sometimes I awake at night and listen to it in my head. It always calms me down. God is good and loves us with an infinite love.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Your Immaculate Mother

'To give worthy praise to the Lord's mercy, we unite ourselves with Your Immaculate Mother, for then our hymn will be more pleasing to You, because she is chosen from among men and angels. Through her, as through a pure crystal, Your mercy was passed on to us. Through her, man became pleasing to God; through her, streams of grace flowed upon us.'

St. Faustina

I have never seen this painting of Our Blessed Mother before -- isn't it beautiful? Her eyes are so clear and looks directly at the viewer as if to compel us to love her son. The artist is Leopold Kupelwieser and the painting is entitled, "The Heart of Mary". The painting is located in Vienna, Austria in a side chapel of Peterskirche in the St. Anthony chapel.