Friday, August 29, 2014

The Passion of St. John

Herod by James Tissot

The House of Herod was an astonishingly sick one even by the standards of the day. Herod the Great, was a monstrous individual and the first of a long line of anti-Christs. A Roman contemporary famously quipped that it was better to be Herod's pig than his son and that was true. Herod did not eat pork--in public anyway but his paranoia drove him to kill not only his wife, her mother and her still teen-aged brother but two of his sons as well.When Herod wasn't killing his family, he was killing enemies, real and imagined and making his subjects miserable. His viciousness was such that his courtiers probably weren't shocked when he ordered the Slaughter of the Innocents.

Herodias  who was a key figure in the Passion of St. John, was the granddaughter of Herod the Great by one of his murdered sons. She was married to her half uncle, Herod II, (also called Herod Phillip) a son by King Herod's third wife.  At some point she dumped  her husband and taking her daughter, Salome went off to Gallilee  in order to be with his half brother Herod Antipas, another son of Herod the Great by his fourth wife.  Her new husband, Herod Antipas was both her brother-in-law and her uncle.

St. John the Baptist, the last of the prophets, of whom Our Lord said there was none greater born of woman, looked at the adulterous, incestuous couple and saw that they were crooked people sprung from a crooked house. Most people would've turned away, repulsed and given the situation up as hopeless  but John did not. The Gospels tell us the rest of the story. His passion is commemorated on August 29.

St. John the Baptist by Mattia Pretti

St. John, precursor of the Lamb of God, pray for us. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Thank you Monsignor Ricci

Monsignor Giullio Ricci was Vatican archivist and sindonologist in the 60s. He created this painting based on his observations of the Holy Shroud which shows a Man who wore a cap of thorns rather than the circlet we are all used to seeing in art. There is a crucifix in St. Peter Church in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia that is modeled after one created by the monsignor. The first time I saw it I dropped to my knees and cried.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

My thorn crowned Captain

"Woe to me if I should prove to be a half hearted soldier in the service of my thorn crowed Captain"

St. Fidelis pray for us

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Random thoughts on a Saturday afternoon

  • The Assumption Mass at St. Rita's was awesome, not in the teenage sense of the word but awe inspiring. The line for confession was so long that Fr. wasn't able to leave the confessional until Mass was almost over and the crowd was large and young. 
  • 1964 Blog very interesting and useful for statistics.
  • One Peter Five is a newly launched project of Steve Skojec and so far it's excellent. Except for Hilary White at Orwell's picnic, I don't think any Catholic media outlet or blogger has mentioned it at all.
  • I've  been reading Regina Magazine and just noticed that they have a blog 
  • I really had no intention of writing anything about Robin Williams but the tweet from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is really disturbing. The genie isn't free. He's dead and it was not a gauzy movie death like Gary Cooper in  Beau Geste or Bette Davis in Dark Victory. This was slow and painful and ugly. My mother was a housekeeping supervisor for nearly 30 years. She's told me the story of how a guest hung herself one night back in the 70s. The maid and the houseman who found her were horrified and the houseman just moaned and fell back out of the room when he saw her. I don't know who cleaned up the bodily fluids and solids but someone had to in order for the room to be usable again. Unlike that woman who hung herself from a closet door and jumped, Robin Williams's death  was probably slow and painful. The Academy sugar coated poison and I hope no person suffering from depression decides that killing themselves will set them "free". 

  • Have you noticed that the cries of support for the Iraqi Christians from American Christian (I'm including Catholics in this)  leaders have been pretty weak? Have you ever noticed how  Protestants seem to find the Catholics and Orthodox of the Holy Land particularly embarrassing and never mention them when they talk about Israel? A young Protestant blogger wrote something that I could dismiss as the folly of youth except for the fact that it tracks perfectly with the thought of Evangelicals that I have known. She thinks the Christians of Iraq aren't really Christian because they are Catholic. I doubt that she even knows these people's ancestors were practicing the Faith 1000 years before her sect was even invented.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

First Communion memory

My first Communion dress was not white. It was navy blue with Swiss dots and a crinoline. My mother was way too thrifty to buy a new dress when I already had four perfectly nice ones, none of which was white. No matter, it was my favorite dress and I have to admit it gave me a secret thrill to stand out from the other girls. Looking at the expression on the face of the girl on the left brought that memory back to me.