Tuesday, December 2, 2014

For that obscure Christmas music lover on your list

There are some nice songs on this cd, the most interesting of which is "Huron Carol" by St. Jean de Brebeuf, the Jesuit missionary and martyr.  It's Canada' s oldest carol (1642 AD), and fairly popular up there (covered by Crash Test Dummies, among others), but rarely heard down here in the lower 48.  Brebeuf composed the lyrics in Wyandot, the Huron language, which he'd worked tirelessly to master, but they are sung here in English, alas.  The English translation dates from 1926, and appears to be a bit on the fanciful side.  Google translate doesn't work on Wyandot, so this is difficult to confirm (though the use of " 'twas" is a tip off).

Here is the first verse in Wyandot:

Ehstehn yayau deh tsaun we yisus ahattonnia
O na wateh wado:kwi nonnwa 'ndasqua entai
ehnau sherskwa trivota nonnwa 'ndi yaun rashata
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia.

And in English:

'Twas in the moon of winter-time
When all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim,
And wandering hunters heard the hymn:
"Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria."

"Gitchi Manitou," the Algonquin word for God, appears in the third line of the translation, even though Huron and Algonquin are totally different languages, and St. Jean de Brebeuf didn't use the Huron word for God in his carol.

The Huron were allies of the French, and were all but wiped out by the ferocious Iroquois, the allies of the English who also martyred St. Jean de Brebeuf (martyrdom is a mild, polite term for the beastly violence inflicted upon de Brebeuf).   The Huron language has pretty much disappeared, too, though it is partly preserved in a Wyandot dictionary compiled by none other than St. Jean de Brebeuf.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

God chooses the weak to confound the strong

Brendan Kelly

Brendan Kelly had Down Syndrome and died last year at 15 of leukemia.   Yet in his short, pain-filled life, Brendan established a world-wide reputation for sanctity, counting popes and senators among his friends.   Though in his amazing life Brendan worked miracles, perhaps his greatest achievement was to demonstrate the irresistible power of sacrificial love. (h/t Creative Minority Report)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

See you again when we hit 200,000, Al!

Al was doing this a lot; not sure why

We just waved goodbye to Al Gore who, as inventor of the internet, is obliged to congratulate every blogger who reaches the 100,000 page view plateau, which we did a little while ago:

Looks like today's the day

That this blog finally reaches 100,000 page views. 

Unfortunately, no one guessed it would happen on November 9, so we will save the prize, a rosary handmade by the Sisters of Carmel, for the contest to guess when this blog will reach 200000 page views.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"This isn't Spain, you know."

Thomas More and the Duke of Norfolk, from "A Man For All Seasons"

In Tudor times England liked to flatter itself that it was an enlightened nation ruled by law, by contrast with Spain, which the English considered a benighted land of autocratic brutality.  So, in "A Man for All Seasons," when Thomas More confesses to the Duke of Norfolk that he is afraid, Norfolk replies "This isn't Spain, you know. This is England."   In fact, it would be in England where the rights of the vibrant and popular Church would be trampled, its property seized, its priests and other faithful put to death (Thomas More among them), and where crushing fines would be levied upon Catholics, and their rights restricted in other ways.  The Duke of Norfolk himself barely escaped execution. That legal formalities were often observed doesn't obscure the autocratic brutality of these acts.

America, like Tudor England, flatters itself that it's the land of the free, with a government of laws, not men.   In California, at least, this is no longer the case.  There, in August, the Department of Managed Healthcare (!) ordered all elective health plans in the state to cover elective abortion.  "All" of course includes health plans administered by religious institutions, even those with objections to elective abortions based upon their religious beliefs.  In other words, California permits a mere bureaucratic body, not even its legislature, to trample on rights guaranteed to its citizens and churches by the first amendment to the US Constitution.   Six churches have filed lawsuits.

Meanwhile, the shadows lengthen and deepen.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Where have I heard this before?

Here's roughly half of the Foreign Legion fighting ISIS

When I saw this on Instapundit

it sounded familiar, since I had proposed something similar back in August.   At that time, I had called upon the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Melinda is Catholic) to take a break from spending millions to teach Swedes and poor people how not to procreate, and instead raise a volunteer army to defend Christian populations under threat from Muslims.  I even emailed the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation directly, in case they don't follow this blog.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been maintaining a discrete silence with regard to my proposal ever since.

The man in the picture is Jordan Matson, and although he may not be a Marine, as he seems to have claimed, he is fighting ISIS because he "couldn't just sit and watch Christians being slaughtered anymore" and for this I commend him.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

100,000th page view less than a month away (probably)

Conversion of St. Hubert, Studio of the Master of the Life of the Virgin

Inigo Hicks will reach the prestigious 100,000 page view plateau soon.  The contest to guess the day this historic event will actually happen is still going on, and it's pretty wide open, since to date we have received only one guess.   As of right now, we've had 97,860 page views, and we've been getting around 2,500 page views a month.  The prize for the first person to guess the date Inigo Hicks hits 100,000 page views is a rosary custom made by the Sisters of Carmel, who make the best rosaries on the web.  Everybody gets one guess.

The rosary has black oval cocoa wood beads on a black cord, an Our Lady of Fatima centerpiece, and a St. Benedict crucifix.  It was supposed to have a St. Ignatius medal attached to the centerpiece, but I must have clicked the wrong button, because it has a St. Hubert medal instead.   For those not familiar with St. Hubert (c. 656–727 A.D) here is his story.  After his wife died in childbirth, St. Hubert spent all his time hunting in the Ardennes forest.   According to legend, one Good Friday, when everybody else was in church, Hubert was out hunting in the forest when he had a vision of a stag with a crucifix between its antlers.  Hubert also heard a voice saying "Hubert, unless thou turnest to the Lord, and leadest an holy life, thou shalt quickly go down into hell".  Hubert duly turned to the Lord, giving away his possessions, becoming a priest and eventually a bishop.  His feast day is Nov. 3.  It would be kind of interesting if that turns out to be the day this blog hits 100,000 page views.

Another interesting thing about this contest is that the prize was lost for about a month.  The Sisters of Carmel emailed me that they shipped it on the same day as another rosary I'd ordered a few weeks earlier.  The other rosary arrived, but the prize rosary didn't.  After a few days passed, and the prize rosary still hadn't arrived, I assumed the rosaries had been shipped in the same package and I'd accidentally thrown out the prize rosary along with the packaging of the rosary that was delivered.  The rosary was in a pretty big envelope with a lot of plastic peanuts so it was possible the prize rosary was in there but I didnt see it.  I didn't want to hassle the Sisters of Carmel about it, so I said a prayer to St. Anthony of Padua, the go-to saint when you need help finding a lost object, and figured I'd have to order a replacement.  After about a month, though, I got an email from the Sisters of Carmel telling me they'd found the rosary, and would ship it right away.  That was a little weird, since I never told them I didn't receive the rosary.  I've also been imagining how the discovery of the unshipped rosary might have taken place.

"Who keeps leaving their rosary on the "Rosaries to be Shipped" table?  I swear this one has been here everyday for at least a month."

"It's not mine."
"It's not mine."
"It's not mine."
"I keep my rosary in this small, holster-like device."

"Fine, then whose is it?"

"Maybe that rosary needs to be shipped to somebody.  That's probably why it's on the "Rosaries to be Shipped" table."


Anyway, the rosary finally arrived, and it's a beauty.

Please enter your guess in the comments section of this post.

St. Hubert and St. Anthony of Padua, pray for us.