Wednesday, May 31, 2006

blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb!

Today is a wonderful feast of our Lady: the Visitation.

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."

And mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever."

And mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.

Luke 1.39-56

In this passage from Luke, we can see that the exaltation of Mary, her blessedness, and her special estate among humanity is godly and Biblical. We see that Elizabeth's cry is a result of her being "filled with the Holy Spirit": "Blessed are you among women!" In other words, the Holy Spirit himself testifies, through Elizabeth, to the blessedness of Mary.

We also see in this passage why it is that those who fear God call our Lady the "Blessed Virgin Mary." Because "from henceforth all generations will call me blessed." And why? Because God has done great things for Mary, "and holy is his name" and because "His mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation."

In short: those on whom is the mercy of God, in every generation, will call Mary blessed. Because the Almighty, whose name is holy, has done great things for Mary; because God saw the lowliness, the humility of Mary his handmaiden, and He exalted her. And his mercy extends to us, in our generation, in our recognition of that blessing and exaltation that he bestowed on her.

What a wonderful mystery! That God chose from among all women the Ever Blessed Virgin Mary to bear in her womb his only and eternal Son. The greatest thing in the history of the cosmos, the Incarnation of the Son of God, in virtue of which we have been delivered from death and hell, took place for nine months in the womb of Mary, the Exalted and Ever Blessed Virgin Mother of God!

Thanks be to God!

PS: The Latin, by the way, in the Illumination of the Visitation (in the picture) above, is Deus in adiutorium meum intende / Domine ad adiuvandum me festina, "O God hold out your favor to me / O God hurry to help me." How appropriate, given that God held out his favor to us through the Blessed Virgin, by sending his Son to be born to us through her. He hurried to help us when we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, and in his mercy, he sent us help and assistance: his only and eternal Son, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to him, the God and Father of all. His help, his assistance, his Son, he sent to us through the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Latin phrase (Deus in adiutorium... Domine ad...) is the beginning of the Office of Compline. You can pray Compline by going here.

pope benedict does it again

"...every Christian is bound to confront his own convictions continually
with the teachings of the Gospel and of the Church's Tradition in the
effort to remain faithful to the word of Christ, even when it is
demanding and, humanly speaking, hard to understand.

"We must
not yield to the temptation of relativism or of a subjectivist and
selective interpretation of Sacred Scripture. Only the whole truth can
open us to adherence to Christ, Who died and rose for our salvation."

Read the whole thing here.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

good heavens!

I really do kind of look like Charles Spurgeon!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

da vinci code

Went to see it last night. It was pretty insufferably tedious. I fell asleep toward the end. They tried to ameliorate the offensiveness of it by having the Tom Hanks character talk about how its okay to pray to Jesus even though he was just a man.

Which brings up my main question about the Da Vinci Code: if Jesus was just a man, albeit a special one, then what's so special about his bloodline? How are his female descendents ("Sophia" in the book / movie) supposed to be the repository of the divine feminine?

Yet another weird anomaly of the book / movie is the central claim that the Church suppressed devotion to Mary Magdalene. But of course the Church did not. In fact, outside the Catholic Church, there was no devotion to Mary Magdalene at all. And within the Church there was plenty.

Lastly, there was a moment in the movie (which I don't remember in the book) where the Ian McKellen character says something about how the Church wants to supress the truth that sex is really the vehicle through which humans come to God. Apart from being a baseless, appetitive fantasy, this kind of suggestion belies the liberal accusation that conservatives are obsessed with sex. One hears this all the time from liberals (at least I have): "you conservatives are just obsessed with sex! Its all you can think about!" The truth is, I can't tell you how many "Sex Weeks" and condom give-aways, and what not I've witnessed being organized by the same people who accuse me and my party of being obsessed with sex.

Oh, well. The book was a lot better than the movie. Though both will just serve to confuse people and further erode an already eroded confidence in the Church's teachings in the West.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

congratulations to us!

MM and I graduated this weekend. At long last! Here are a couple of pictures. There are some of us together, but they are on another camera, to the memory card of which I do not have access at the moment. In time.... In time....

Friday, May 19, 2006


, and hello from The Mountain, where peace is wisdom's guest. Or so they say. Peace used to be wisdom's guest. Now its the guest of an ad hoc group of insane people, eager to prove that they are just as unenlightened as their misguided and fascistical counterparts everywhere else.

Noting that only one of this group is a Sewanee alumnus, here's my question: why can't they start their own college? Then they can ruin it however they want. But then, that's basically my question to the pundits of the new religion passing under the name "Episcopalianism" too.

Their answer, I reckon, is the same as that of thieves everywhere. For example: why work and save to buy a car when you can just steal someone elses? Its not very difficult, and you can get a really nice car.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Just when you think that maybe you and your orthodox buddies are getting just a tad shrill or unfair with your comments about May Poles and fertility rites in the ECUSA, something like this comes to light. Amazing. Just amazing.

Stand Firm
did some helpful research on the author. She seems quite accomplished:
Moorey is a pagan all right, and very active in the field. She is the author of Paganism: A Beginner's Guide, Witchcraft: A Complete Guide, and Spellbound: The Teenage Witch's Wiccan Handbook.
And amusingly, it looks like 815 learned their lesson about how the internet never forgets. Stand Firm also notes:

The Episcopal Bookstore's web site contains an HTML "tag" instructing "robots" (web indexing programs such Google and Yahoo) to keep out. This means there is no Google cache of the page to which we can link, in case 815 pulls the page. Here's a screen capture of the page.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

'da vinci code' misses the mark for critics

[Associated Press] CANNES, France - "The Da Vinci Code" drew lukewarm praise, shrugs of indifference, some jeering laughter and a few derisive jabs Tuesday from arguably the world's toughest movie crowd: critics at the Cannes Film Festival.

. . . .

One especially melodramatic line uttered by Hanks drew prolonged
laughter and some catcalls, and the audience continued to titter for
much of the film's remainder.

. . . .

When the credits rolled, there were a few whistles and hisses, and
there was none of the scattered applause even bad movies sometimes
receive at Cannes.

Read the whole thing here. About what one would expect, I suppose; though I suppose its not really anything to rejoice over, as a movie's being terrible doesn't usually seem to stop people loving it. [Or, I bet, believing it.]

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

i don't think i could tell you why exactly...

... but the new format of the NY Times online really annoys me.  I think I am going to make the Drudge Report my primary news site.  Something about the way journalism mixes with sensationalism and vaguely libidinous nonsense seems to me more appropriate for a news medium anyway.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

an update on my doings

Dear Internet Friends,

I've been on a blog sabbatical for the past little while. It has been unintended. The fact is, I've been very busy. First, I finished my thesis ("Ancilla Theologiae: The Theological Adjournment of Philosophy"), and then the rest of my course work (three essays: one on Derrida, one on Gregory of Nyssa, and one on the Cloud of Unknowing). Then I commenced looking for and finding a job. More on that in due course. Then flying to Dallas for church business. Then this weekend to NYC for a bachelor party. Don't panic. Nothing lurid. Quite the contrary actually: A terrific black-tie dinner and soiree, with plenty of toasting and roasting, at the University Club.

I hope to be returning to more regular blogging soon. But the running-to-and-fro has not ended yet. I'm officiating at a wedding in Sewanee this weekend. Then I've got to graduate. Then MM and I have got to find a place to live. Then we've got to move all our stuff across the country, etc. etc. etc. Not to mention that I seem to have come down with some kind of nasty flu. Yuck. I've been drinking Gatorade and watching 24 all day.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

st. thomas on which is worse: heresy or schism

On the contrary, That which results from an addition to something
else surpasses that thing either in good or in evil. Now heresy results
from something being added to schism, for it adds corrupt doctrine, as
Jerome declares in the passage quoted above (1, ad 3). Therefore schism
is a less grievous sin than unbelief.

I answer that, The gravity of a sin can be considered in two ways:
first, according to the species of that sin, secondly, according to its
circumstances. And since particular circumstances are infinite in
number, so too they can be varied in an infinite number of ways:
wherefore if one were to ask in general which of two sins is the
graver, the question must be understood to refer to the gravity derived
from the sin’s genus. Now the genus or species of a sin is taken from
its object, as shown above (I-II, 72, 1; I-II, 73, 3). Wherefore the
sin which is opposed to the greater good is, in respect of its genus,
more grievous, for instance a sin committed against God is graver than
a sin committed against one’s neighbor.

Now it is evident that unbelief is a sin committed against God
Himself, according as He is Himself the First Truth, on which faith is
founded; whereas schism is opposed to ecclesiastical unity, which is a
participated good, and a lesser good than God Himself. Wherefore it is
manifest that the sin of unbelief is generically more grievous than the
sin of schism, although it may happen that a particular schismatic sins
more grievously than a particular unbeliever, either because his
contempt is greater, or because his sin is a source of greater danger,
or for some similar reason.

Read the whole thing here.  First at T19.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

funny.... also: sad but true (to form)

"In the beginning was an affirming Word." (John 1:1)

"For whoever is ashamed of my and my words is to be commended for his tolerance and sensitivity to others." (Luke 9:26)

"Because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, you have attained reason, and can engage in dialogue." (Revelation 3:16)

'What is Truth'? Pilate asked. What do you think it is?'" Jesus asked. (John 18:38)

"I am a way to master many truths about your life." (John 14:6)

go and make disciples of all nations, affirming them in the name of the
Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer." (Matthew 28:19)

"On hearing this,
the disciples said: 'this is a hard saying- who can accept it?' Aware
that His disciples were troubled, Jesus said "I sense that this has
offended your sensibilities.' So He apologized and took it all back."
(John 6:60-61)

Read the whole thing here.