February 15, 2003

What Obscure Animal Are You

What Obscure Animal Are You

I took the quiz over chez Kathy the Carmelite and couldn't get the picture to post. So I decided for myself which one I am (of my own group of things) and will anounce it here:

Obscure animal quiz:

Image from the "Deadly Beauties page"

You are a blue-ringed octopus--reclusive, shy, adaptable, and not particularly pleasant when irritated.

(Octopods and their relatives are among my very favorite animals. So much so, in fact, that I can only eat select Paella (those without the poor little octopods in them).

Posted by Steven Riddle at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

Some Interesting Music I've had

Some Interesting Music

I've had a visitor here several times who leaves a comment from time to time. Each time I visit his site and think about adding it somehow here. Today I've decided to do so. This particular gentleman produces some rather interesting arrangements of ancient music and some compositions of his own. If you are interested in things Medieval, you may want to visit Tunes by Táncos and its companion site.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)

On "The Hair" Two

On "The Hair"

Two problems: from the age of about sixteen to the age of about 25 when I was married, I have no pictures of myself, they are extremely limited even after that (I'm extremely camera shy, going far out of my way to avoid them. Most years there is exactly one picture of me, taken at the company Christmas Party with my lovely wife.). And right now I'm on Blogspot free, and I'm uncertain about the ability to upload such things, even if I had them. I'm very carefully considering moving to my own site, but that will probably have to wait until I can work out the time to really look at movable type and a couple of other blogging programs.

Sorry to disappoint you. But I'll search and see if I can find something similar if that would be amusing.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)

Especially Urgent Prayer Request I

Especially Urgent Prayer Request

I come to you hat in hand so often looking for prayer, that I am humbled to approach once again. But I have some friends who need a really special sacrifice of prayer this weekend. They have reached a crisis that seems irresolvable by mere human means, and need Divine assistance. Please pray for them as a great many other souls are touched by this difficulty, not the least of whom are their five children. Please utter a special prayer for this family in their time of trial. Thank you all for being there to ask.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2003

Taking the Low Moral Ground

Taking the Low Moral Ground

Though I've seen several people posting favorite blogs, I fear I must slink away with my tail between my legs and say, I can't do that. Why? Because, if you weren't a favorite, one upon whom I relied for daily sustenance, you wouldn't be in my side column. So I think by virtue of my list I have professed my favorites. And then if I were to try to rank them, it would change daily, because my favorite du jour is largely dependent upon what I most need in the day. So please excuse me if I profess no favorites, I'll just use my mother's old ploy, "I love you all equally in different ways." And now, may the curtain of charity descend on this embarassing performance.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 06:41 PM | Comments (0)

Addressing Disappointment

Addressing Disappointment
Thanks to everyone for the kind words in my post below about disappointment. But I really wasn't fishing for comments. I was merely reflecting on the fact that the post on the Little Flower (which was kind of a rapid knock-off to encourage those alienated from her to try to find a way to speak with her) had received several comments; whereas this much more elaborate post had received relatively few.

But then, isn't that an indication of where the Holy Spirit is speaking in a person's life? So, my disappointment isn't anyone else's problem, and perhaps it is indicative of the fact that as a new "convert" to the admiration of the Great St. Therese, I should perhaps write more about her.

As I said in the original, I do not criticize, and I do deeply sympathize with those who have some difficulty connecting with her. As some have pointed out, the prose is sometimes an obstacle, her followers can be seriously off-putting, and the aura of "magic" about her can be very disorienting.

Anyway, perhaps I should pay better attention to very obvious signals that are sent from the readership and not worry so much about whatever message I may be trying to get across. Surely these comments are in some sense an indication of where God would have me be. And wasn't that the point of the post over which I was lamenting?

So, someday soon perhaps--more of St. Therese and a lot more of St. John of the Cross (although every post concerning him seems to stun people into aphasia--possibly due to the fact that I complicate him more than explicate. But I'll work on that.)

Posted by Steven Riddle at 09:04 AM | Comments (0)

Thinking About the Seventies Mr.

Thinking About the Seventies

Mr. Disputations and Ms. Hall have declared their relief at no one being able to Google their college years. I fear if anyone had googled mine they only stood to die of boredom--you know the type-studious, not quite straight A, but curve breaker. My only real divergence is that every now and again I'd trot down to Commander Salamander's in Georgetown and get my hair spiked and done in a variety of non-natural,. but quite washable colors.

Dylan, Ms Huntley, Kathy the Carmelite, Gregg the Obscure and others have propounded lists of 70s favorites. That said, I thought I'd list a few of my favorite groups from the seventies, because I have a very difficult time with specific songs. Each of these artistes were such that I'd collected at one time every extant work, and still have a considerable number of them. I'd be interested in how many people know some of the more obscure members of this list:

Be-Bop Deluxe (loved everything from Axe Victim to Surreal Estate)
Bill Nelson
John Foxx (his electronica of Pater Noster is fascinating)
Curved Air
Darryl Way
Camel (particularly Snow Goose and "I Can See Your House from Here")
Van der Graaf Generator
Pete Hammil (Especially 'In a Black Box')
Human League
Lene Lovich
Classix Nouveau
Sex Pistols (PIL)
The Clash
The Dead Kennedys
Jethro Tull
Klaus Schultze
Reichmann "Wunderbar"
Tangerine Dream
Edgar Froese
Pink Floyd
OMD (Particularly the fantastic "Tesla Girls")
Genesis (only so long as the encompassed the then gigantic ego of Peter Gabriel--don't know what he's like now)
Kate Bush (Still a favorite)
Gentle Giant
Any Girl Group--from the GoGos on
Renaissance (particularly the adaptation of Albinoni's Adagio)
Gary Numan
David Bowie in all of his multifarious incarnations
The Residents (Probably my favorite group of all--saw them four times in Concert--advertised as "The Pre-Fab Four" Louisiana's Greatest Pop Band)
Roxy Music and even Brian Ferry ("More than This")
New York Dolls
Billy Idol (Rebel Yell and White Wedding--he could sneer with the best of 'em)
Brian Eno
Robert Fripp
King Krimson
Talking Heads and their spinoff The Tom-Tom Club
Spandau Ballet
Duran Duran (before they hit it big)
Human League (prior to major hit)
Forget the name of the group but one of their great songs "Les Soucoups Volants Verts"
Horslips (Particularly "Happy to Meet, Sorry to Part", "The Tain" and "The Book of Invasions.")

and last, but hardly least

The Tubes (who can forget "What do you want from life" and the immortal "White Punks on Dope." You shoulda seen 'em in concert--a real hoot--kind of like a less violent Plasmatics)

Enough--I'm just recalling that the 70s and early 80s were the last time I really was interested in what was happening in music. Been much out of the loop subsequently. I thought I didn't know much about the '70's, but then got to thinking about it and realizing, that's when I really started learning about popular music.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:11 AM | Comments (0)

A Quieter Day Today Played

A Quieter Day Today

Played out all I had to say yesterday. Today is a day for listening. As I travel about, I may find things to respond to, and stand ready for a little typing--but otherwise, it is probably wiser not to place too heavy a burden on loyal readers who had their hands full yesterday.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:36 AM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2003

Also Going along with the


Going along with the previous post "Disappointment," I have noted as well that there seems to be a rather diminished hit-list today and this week. I always wonder about numbers. It is in my nature, and nothing I have control over--so I apologize. I find statistics, parametric and otherwise fascinating. I would love to develop a technique that really gave me an insightful analysis of all these blips and changes in frequency. The probably mean little to nothing, but wouldn't it be really interesting to know?

Posted by Steven Riddle at 06:41 PM | Comments (0)

For Those on a Duct

For Those on a Duct Tape Run

Read this first (link from Minute Particulars). Just one note on the article:

Charles Murtaugh's Blog-- Slightly scarier to the casual observer, but probably less dangerous ultimately: the "dirty bomb." All the points above apply, as well as the observation that radiation is much less hazardous than most people think. The real danger here would probably be panic, as people try to flee town -- so maybe hiding in the basement is best, but eventually you'll have to emerge. If you're near the site of release, perhaps you will inhale enough hot particles to be endangered -- but I suspect that this would happen before the authorities had time to alert you to the release. This seems like a good rule of thumb for all bomb-type terror attacks: if you can hear a "bang," you're better off trying to put maximal distance between yourself and the explosion, than to hide in your basement. Basement option: toss-up between counterproductive and useless.

Given what many basements in the peidmont, valley and ridge, and even some placers in the coastal plain are sitting on, I'd say that the Radon is more likely to get you than the dirty bomb. I'd go with supremely counterproductive for the entire east coast and not much use anywhere where you have anything other than sedimentary rock underneath you. And of course, here in Florida, basements are for swimming with the Manatees.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 06:14 PM | Comments (0)

A Meaningful Life Among the

A Meaningful Life

Among the sayings of the compassionate Buddha is one that runs something like this, "Life is dukkha," (pardon the spelling). Now Katherine of Not For Sheep can correct the possibly errant impression I may give of the meaning of this phrase, but it is often taken to mean that "Life is suffering." And that is true--so long as the life lived is one of attachment to the things of the world. This is where Buddhist thinking and Christian thinking in some small ways run parallel. Buddhists have their own thoughts about what this revelation requires and the great Christian Mystics have other insights.

All life lived desiring this thing or that thing (no matter how noble the object) or caring for this possession or that possession, or searching for beauty or for almost anything other than relationship with God, is suffering because once you have these things, the hole within is not filled, you merely discover an entirely new landscape of holes.

But the meaningful life, the life that transcends suffering, is the life of sacrifice. When we truly abandon ourselves and offer all that we have and all that we are for the glory of God, when we sacrifice even the deepest things of our hearts, hopes and wishes, dreams and fantasies, when we are completely stripped of all the trappings of self that the world has imposed, we begin to find underneath the reality of self that is our gift from God. So long as we are filled even with very good intentions and attachments--I want to preach to the world, I want to make God's word known to people who have not yet heard it--we are lost. Because perhaps what God wants for us is to be the best, most loving, most Christian denizen of our home block. Maybe He desires that I become more of a compassionate and loving father. Maybe His Will for another is that they be a happy shoe salesperson. Until we fall into that place that God has made for us and get used to the life of service He wants us to lead, we will suffer.

We have to remember first and foremost, "Our hearts are restless, O Lord, until they rest in thee." There is no other contentment or meaning for the human heart. Seeking to find a meaning beyond God's is simply a path of greater suffering. The path of glory is "I must decrease so He might increase."

Posted by Steven Riddle at 05:04 PM | Comments (0)

Disappointment Now, this is not


Now, this is not a call for commiserating posts or even for identification or comment, but it is a means of trying to clarify much of my theme for the day.

I was very disappointed in the lack of response the "Spirituality of My Fair Lady" got. Now, from no response one can tell absolutely nothing. Some people may have been profoundly stirred and had no response. Some may have been puzzled. Others may have considered it a flippant knock-off of a moment. There is no data, I cannot even conjecture how it was received. And that, in some sense is fine. My disappointment is not with the audience, but rather with myself.

One of the things I really want to share is the desire to "set all afire" for the Lord. To shake people from their everyday ruts and get them thinking about God and the relationship with God in new ways. To use modern means, metaphors, and ideas to make ancient truths that are just beginning to trickle through my much ossified perceptions available much more readily to everyone. At that, I have failed, momentarily. So I must regroup, pray some more and listen more carefully to what the Holy Spirit is whispering to me. I truly believe that He has gifted me with the charism of exhortation. I define exhortation as a two-fold charism--preaching to the converted, and encouraging those who desire a closer walk but do not yet feel it.

Do not be surprised if there are more and similar posts in the near future. I will be trying to shock everyone out of their complacency and get them really thinking about where they are with God. While there are issues of moment in the world today, there is no issue of moment of greater importance in eternity. "If God be for us, who can stand against?"

So, while I'm disappointed in my inability to strike the right chord, it leads to greater inspiration to keep trying and to keep praying and listening. I can tell you that God is moving powerfully and using the prayers of the faithful to work wonders that we have not yet become aware of. Of this I am convinced--we shall see great wonders from the Lord. Perhaps it is only that each of us who turns our heart to Him will experience these wonders, that I cannot say, but the Lord is a Lord of Wonders and of love, and He has of recent date showered me with great consolations.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 04:46 PM | Comments (0)

Apologies for Anything Harsh or

Apologies for Anything Harsh or Overbearing

All of that which lies below was written in fever-pitch as fast as fingers can type and still retain some accuracy. Thus, there may be turns of phrase that are less than precise or wording that is sharper-edged than usual. If so, please accept my sincere apologies, and please accept the writings below in the spirit in which they were given me, great joy and thankfulness to the Holy Spirit, to the Loving Father, and to Jesus Christ, my dearly beloved Elder Brother and my King. God has given me so much good that I am hardpressed to even think of ways to return any small portion of it to Him. But as they occur to me, I promise, that I will return all that He gives me the strength to do.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)

One More Reminder Before Morning

One More Reminder Before Morning Sign-Off

"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."

Praise God. Jesus Christ (Thy Word) is the light for our way in the world. Follow His leading light and you walk assured.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:44 AM | Comments (0)

The Little Flower A commenter

The Little Flower

A commenter remarked that the saccharine devotions and songs to the Little Flower largely poisoned any possible devotion she might have for this great saint. I truly understand that. For the longest time I thought St. Thérèse was a holy wimp, and simpering doormat and a syrupy fool--her devotees seemed like a bunch of grade-school children waiting around for a shower of roses to fall on them, and I half-wished they would--thorns and all. Thank goodness God was more gentle with me than I with them.

The only remedy for the poison of misled devotees is to know the Saint for yourself. Abandon all of her followers and talk directly to her, most particularly in the ninth through eleventh chapters of her Autobiography. (Get the translation from the Institute of Carmelite studies--the only one that does justice to this magnificent work of spirituality). The earlier chapters of the Autobiography present their own difficulties, but these later chapters are a gem. If you are disinclined to this work, get Maurice and Thérèse a compelling, beautiful, and deeply moving book of the correspondence between Thérèse and a brother missionary priest.

Come to know Thérèse and you will be glad that you have done so. Her message for all of us is the reification of the Father's love as a loving father. He is not distant and He does not withhold his bountiful Love--Jesus Christ, our Salvation.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:38 AM | Comments (0)

Warriors for Christ I have

Warriors for Christ

I have always hated that terminology, that mindset, that way of looking at things. And yet it is one that is most appropriate. We must be warriors for Christ--warriors of Love, absolutely uncompromising in the message of God's love for each of His children. We must abandon our own way and follow completely and explicitly the way of the Lord. We must receive our marching orders and then we must act. We must reach out in prayer and in fact to each person who has been left along the side of the road, casualties of our society and of the War in Heaven. Each of our abandoned brothers and sisters calls to us and reaches out for us. We have no right, no time, no ability to say, "Wait, I'll get someone to help." We must be their help. Through the Holy Spirit, we must be their strength. We are God's chosen people, and by that "we" I mean every person on Earth--now, working in God's will, we must make that reality rather than mere words.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:33 AM | Comments (0)

Links Found in the Pursuit

Links Found in the Pursuit of the Last Entry

If you like lyrics and libretti:

Lyrics Heaven

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:23 AM | Comments (0)

Spiritual Lessons from My Fair

Take a moment and learn from the inimitable Eliza Doolittle

Words! Words! Words! I'm so sick of words!
I get words all day through;
First from him now from you!
Is that all you blighters can do?
Don't talk of stars, burning above;
If you're in love, show me!
Tell me no dreams filled with desire
If you're on fire, show me!
Here we are together in the middle of the night!
Don't talk of spring! Just hold me tight!
Anyone who's every been love will tell you that
This is no time for a chat!
Haven't your lips longed for my touch?
Don't say how much, show me! Show me!
Don't talk of love lasting through time.
Make me no undying vow.
Show me now!
Sing me no song! Read me no rhyme!
Don't waste my time, show me!
Don't talk of June, don't talk of fall!
Don't talk at all! Show me!
Never do I ever want to hear another word
There isn't one I haven't heard.
Here we are together in what ought to be a dream;
Say one more word and I'll scream!
Haven't your arms hungered for mine?
Please don't "expl'ine," show me! Show me!
Don't wait until rings wrinkles and lines
Pop out all over my brow,
Show me now!

This song seems the basis for a sound spirituality. Think of these as the passionate lyrics that God sings to us--I've heard every word, in every language, in every place, at every time. Stop the flood of words, and if you love me, do something about it. "Don't talk of stars burning above, if you're in love show me!"


"If you Love me, you will keep my commandments." It's time for me at least to shut up and start showing God I love Him. Believe it or not, I actually see this blog as one possible way to do that (but only one, and a small, flickering, feeble light it is). God's people need constant encouragement, a constant reminder of His abiding love. When I spend some time talking here, I am showing concern for my neighbor and expand beyond my own round of petty concerns. If I can bring encouragement to a single soul, to one person a day, or a week, if I can open the door to God for a brief second so that someone can see what lay behind, then the service done through me is incalculable. When I hold a door open, when I smile at a stranger, when I whisper the encouragement to love, when I work to bolster those who are failing, it is not me, but the Spirit within me. Let Him reign.

So, how do I show God that I love Him--I let Him reign in my life. I get out of the way and I do what He says. I follow that most despised of admonitions in my proper relationship with God, "Wives be subject to your husbands as to the Lord." For my spirit is the Bride of Christ, and in fact, He is my brother on Earth and my bridegroom in heaven. (For a man, this has to been one of the most difficult things in the world to say and internalize) But why else would John Donne say:

Holy Sonnet XIV

Batter my heart, three-personed God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurped town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but Oh, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betrothed unto your enemy:
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

So, I must submit to the Lord, my God, my head, my spiritual spouse, He who loves me and shows me both in words, in the Word, and in the actions of daily life. It is time that I offer Him more than my words, and show Him that I love Him.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:21 AM | Comments (0)

and Praying (4) Rejoice in

and Praying

(4) Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.
(5) Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand.
(6) Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanskgiving let your request be made known to God.
(7) And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4: 4-7)

And I pause to ask--what better place is there to keep our hearts and minds? We can keep them vested in the paltry passtimes and pale wonders of this world, or we can store them with Christ Jesus and show all people the Glory of the Lord through His action in us.

One further note: You may wonder why I separated the two passages so close in proximity. I did so because each provides a full day of contemplation and rejoicing. Each forms a separate and perfect unity for contemplating the extent of God's passionate, all consuming love for us. Even if you can only give a short time--fifteen or twenty minutes, there are a great many things to be derived from meditating on each of these beautiful passages separately.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:03 AM | Comments (0)

and Praying And now

and Praying

And now the Word from Our Sponsor:

(8) Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

(9) What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of preace will be with you. (Phil 4:8-9)

Posted by Steven Riddle at 06:59 AM | Comments (0)

Praying and Praying This, from

Praying and Praying

This, from Fr. Ciszek:

He Leadeth Me Walter J. Ciszek, S. J.

I had not really left myself open to the Spirit. I had, in fact, long ago decided what I expected to hear from the Spirit and when I did not hear precisely that I had felt betrayed. Whatever else the Spirit might have been telling me at that hour, I could not heat. I was so intent on hearing only one message, the message I wanted to hear, that I was not really listening at all.

The tendency to set acceptable conditions upon God, to seek unconsciously to make his will for us coincide with our desires, is a very human trait. And the more important the situation is, the more totally committed to it or the more completely our future depends upon it, then the easier it becomes for us to blind ourselves into thinking that what we want is surely what God must also want. (p.68-69)

All those guilty, raise your hands. Mine will be highest. I ALWAYS pray for God's will--so long as it is done in my way at my convenience. Praying God's will may be one of the hardest things in the world when you are praying for a sick loved one, for patience in dealing with your children, for people in broken relationships, for desires that hit very close to the heart. And yet, it is the most efficacious prayer. Abandoning yourself to God's will opens up channels of grace that make the fuss of the moment vanish. Emersing yourself in Divine Love and Wisdom make all things of Earth pale in comparison. When Jesus told us that we would not be tried beyond our strength to endure, He wasn't talking about our own will--we are constantly tried beyond our own strength. He was talking about our wills united to that of God. We cannot be tried beyond our ability to endure if God is our strength, and God can only be our strength if we unite our own wills to God's will. God is not a well we dip into--He is where we live, and move, and have our being. He is not frosting on the cake, He is the oxygen we breathe. We do nothing of ourselves save deny Him.

So, next time I trot out the laundry list of all the things I have on my heart, I plan to trot it out in His will. He knows what I want and knows far better than I do what is good for me, thus I will give Him all in all. But I will do so by His will. Don't ask how it will happen--I don't know. But I know, infant that I am, that if I take that first tottering step, His hand will be there to encourage me to walk, and I will finally learn how to walk.

Praise God!

Posted by Steven Riddle at 06:55 AM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2003

Maxims for the Day The

Maxims for the Day

The joy of the Lord is my strength.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I love you Lord, my strength.

The all-gracious King has seen fit to allow the world another day--"This is the day the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice."

"Light shone in the darkness and darkness comprehended it not."

Posted by Steven Riddle at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

More Favorite Saints Yes, more

More Favorite Saints

Yes, more favorite saints. As I said in the comment box below, my favorites are constantly shifting depending upon my focus and the needs of the moment. So I thought of some more favorites:

St. Columba--who rebuked the Loch Ness Monster.

One who slipped off my radar initially, but who really is a top favorite is the Blessed Niels Stensen--Founding father of crystallography, the law of superposition, and the law of original horizontality (both laws relating to the interpretation of geological strata) also within his Prodromus were some of the foundational principles and ideas of palaeontology. Thus, a true saint for a scientist and particularly for a geologist.

Maximilian Kolbe comes to mind as another Saint whom I would like to have the courage to emulate.

St. Paul, St. James, and St. John, each exemplary.

For non-saints, but great influences, people I can think of include Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, Julian of Norwich, Walter Hilton, Hugh of St. Victor, Richard Rolle and Jean-Pierre de Caussade--both great writers on wonderful spiritual matters.

Blessed [corrected from St.--see comment] Henry Suso, and St. Jan van Ruysbroeck also leap to mind as appealing in a great many ways.

St. Claude de la Colombiere and St. Louis de Montfort also leap to mind as highly praiseworthy. St. Philip Neri and St John Bosco fit the bill for "Dear Lord save me from sour-faced saints."

St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, St. Seraphim of Sarov, St. John Cassian. . . And on and on and on.

What do we learn from this little exercise? The bounty and generosity of God in our human models is inexhaustible. We have an array of saints for every situation, for every mood, for every moment in life. We have guides at all times and for all time who, each and every one, point the way to sanctity and blessedness. God cannot be outdone in all that he does for us.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:58 AM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2003

Darkness and Light Praise God!

Darkness and Light

Praise God!

Perhaps it is my innate stubbornness, perhaps naivete, perhaps sheer bull-headed stupidity, but whereas all around me see much of darkness and terror, it seems to me that God is pulling aside the cloak that shields His grace and everything about me glows with the light of His favor, His love, and His glory. I wrote just this evening to a friend and said that sometimes God's love is hard, but God grants us the strength to bear all trials and all hardships, and nothing is sent to us merely to crush us to the ground. In all that comes, there is the grace of the moment, the grace of what God is giving for that exact time and that exact place. His Spirit is moving through the world even as we read and speak. His glory streams out, unstoppable. His grace, a neverending stream of such purity and loveliness that no water on earth can begin to capture its beauty. His voice is the voice of the brook, the roar of many waters, the whisper of the wind, the patter of the rain. But His voice says all that needs to be said, and those who take shelter in Him can come to no permanent harm.

If you look with the eyes of the world, darkness seems poised like the Fenris wolf to devour all. But all that the darkness can devour is dust--everything that is important lies beyond the reach of darkness or any worldly care. Our salvation and our hope is in God's holy will, and His will is always, ultimately done, even if it must be done awkwardly. Let us pray instead, that His will may be done perfectly.

Praise God!

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:37 PM | Comments (0)

Five Favorite Male Saints

Five Favorite Male Saints

Enetation apparently consumed my post Chez Kathy, so for those who were burning with curiousity as to my favorite saints--the list follows:

1. St. John of the Cross (shocker)
2. Blessed Titus Brandsma
3. St. Raphael Kalinowski
4. St. Elijah/St. Samuel
5. St. Albert of Jerusalem

Now, were we to set aside ALL carmelite Saints this would be my list of favorite non-carmelite Saints

1. St. Francis Xavier
2. St. Paul Miki and Companions
3. St. Augustine (although I'm far too much like him to like him)
4. St. Thomas Aquinas/St. Patrick
5. St Cuthbert (for reasons you cannot even begin to imagine)

And sitting in another Category entirely--favorites that are a constant recourse
1. St. Thomas More
2. St. John Fisher
3. St. Edmund Campion
4. St. Robert Southwell
5. St. Isaac Jogues and Companions/ Jesuit Martyrs of North America (St. Jean de Brebeuf)

Is it any wonder that I find little place in my heart for Dylan's favorite, and admittedly very fine translation of the Psalms?

Posted by Steven Riddle at 06:38 PM | Comments (0)

Theology I admit it. I


I admit it. I am a theological nitwit and dunderhead. The vast majority of Theology flies right past me and makes no more impression on me than the phases of Venus. But this man, and this post in particular, make theology nearly as interesting as fractals (in my estimation, that's really going some). I greatly regret that I cannot take a course with him. I truly believe that it would be a great blessing, and those who are privileged to do so should every day count their blessings. Thank you, Mr. Miller, both for your blog and the service you do for us all as you educate young people.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 06:15 PM | Comments (0)

Invitation Because my brain is


Because my brain is too feeble to manage to remember just a first Wednesday, I shall be fasting each Wednesday. Along with fasting, we must also have prayer--I will offer the intentions of all who wish to contact me and leave a message (e-mail or comments) at Mass tomorrow. Thank you all ahead of time for the opportunity to serve.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 05:37 PM | Comments (0)

Prayers Needed Please remember Senator

Prayers Needed

Please remember Senator John Kerry as he undergoes surgery tomorrow. May God guide the surgeon's hands to effect a cure. And also the host of lesser known, but no less loved men and fathers who suffer from the same disease--may God cure them all, ease their suffering, and aid their families in the course of this terrible disease.

Please also remember Katherine in your prayers. Lift her high up and let her bathe in the beautiful warmth of the merciful, loving, and utterly devoted Father.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 05:35 PM | Comments (0)

The Most Wildly Inaccurate Quiz

The Most Wildly Inaccurate Quiz Yet

From Disordered Affections--go to her site, my results are the same. (I did post the results, but it made the column width for all entries uncomfortably wide, so for readability, I deleted it.)

I can tell you now that true, card-carrying far left liberals form a large cordone around me (I think 50 fity) and stay assiduously on their own side of it.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

Sharing My Lectio from Last

Sharing My Lectio from Last Night

1 Corinthians 1:18

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

What I hear here, in direct contradiction of much of what I had been taught in the Baptist Church is that we "are being saved." Now Baptists and other fundamentalists seem to believe "once saved, always saved." In contrast, Paul's words seem to imply that salvation is an on-going process. Even if his statement is applied to a corporate entity, the implication is that we all together are being saved, but the process is, as yet, incomplete.

What does it mean for me, for us all? I think of Gerard Manley Hopkins--"the world is charged with the grandeur of God." Grace is available to us all. As Portia says, in The Merchant of Venice, speaking of the quality of mercy :it droppeth from the heavens as the gentle rain." Grace is abundant and never ending, like a gentle rain that thoroughly soaks into parched ground. I am that desperately thirsty ground, I am the parched earth. I can reach out for life-giving grace with a simple prayer. If only I would open my eyes I would see the saving grace, like a golden net protecting me even from myself. The whole world is charged with it invisibly and mightily--it is the thought that holds all that is together. It is the ever shifting gentle silken ties that draw me to Him all unknown. Grace abounding to this chief of sinners, grace unto bodily and spiritual salvation, but it is not accomplished, until we with Jesus on the cross say, "It is accomplished," the final, joyous complete stepping into His Kingdom and His Way.

Lord, give me your grace. Let me sacrifice everything for you. Let me offer all that I am and all that you have given me in complete accordance with your will and grace. Give me the opportunity to sacrifice so that I will learn better to love thee, seek thy face, and follow the path of grace that leads like a cataract to salvation. Through the sacrifices you allow me, may I learn to truly love souls and drag them with me into the undeniable vortex of grace.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)

A Prayer "Experiment"

I read about "prayer experiments" in Richard Foster's book on Simplicity. And I thought to myself, just recently, why don't we act on this. Below is a brief sharing of some of the results. It took a while for me to decide to share this, and again it is personal, so if such details bother you, please don't read further.

Even though St. John of the Cross admonishes us not to seek and cling to consolations, he also tells us that such consolations are offered to beginners as encouragement along the way. And so I share this consolation, praising His Holy Name. Last week, perhaps Monday, maybe Tuesday, I was suffering some minor back pain, although, as with all back pain, it seemed anything other than minor. It was the kind of pain that probably could have been eased by taking an ibuprofen or an aspirin. My wife had been suffering with our beautiful son’s behavior. I decided to engage in a prayer experiment. I offered this minor pain for her suffering. Amazingly, not only was that day better for her, but many after.

Last Wednesday, I engaged in a first Wednesday fast for her. I failed at the complete fast, finally having to eat dinner because food was totally occupying my mind. Even so, God rewarded the attempt. When my wife got home from work she was upset about something and came into the house in quite a mood. I was able to absorb the mood without any hurt, and thus was able to help her. (My normal response would have been to lash out in return.) Our little sacrifices, tiny though they are really work to the good of the entire world around us. If our vocation is marriage and family, the good starts there and ripples outward.

I have determined to offer at least a daylight fast every Wednesday for the intentions of my own family and all the families out there. God honors even the smallest baby steps made in His direction.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:55 AM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2003

Early Church Fathers--Additional Texts Found

Early Church Fathers--Additional Texts

Found this while looking for some other texts on CCEL. These are texts that are not part of the famous 39 volume translation of the Church Fathers. The editor asks that we make these more widely available. Those who are interested, please go and harvest.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 06:28 PM | Comments (0)

So What Exactly Is the

So What Exactly Is the Point of that Previous Entry?

Realizing that the purpose could be mistaken, one rushes to make clear intent. I did not intend to present myself as exemplar, but to point out that in our dealings in the world, we have very few opportunities like those afforded by blogging. Think about it--too often we blurt out whatever idiotic words come to the mouth while in conversation--whatever hateful, hurtful, bilious and revolting notions that crop up in our heads often spill out through our mouths. So contrary to many who say that blogdom affords the opportunity for a great many slip-ups, I simply aver that careful consideration before punching the post button can alleviate worlds of problems. That you needn't rush to comment--the post will probably be there a while, think carefully how you might best address whatever ugly phantoms have been forced out of hiding, and then do so, charitably. That's the point of the previous post--we can choose not to say things that simply inflate our own sense of self at the cost of others.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 05:42 PM | Comments (0)

Sometimes You Just Need to

Sometimes You Just Need to Know When to Keep Your Mouth Shut

Or, in this case, your hands off the keyboard. Three times today I have typed long responses in various comment boxes around the web, and before I hit the fatal "post" button, I thought, "Why are you writing this? Hasn't it already been said? The author was not asking for a majority opinion, your input has not been solicited, courtesy and charity do not demand it--why intrude? All three times, I have stayed my wicked hand, and the comment has gone unposted. And you know what? I don't feel demeaned, diminished, impoverished, or otherwise detracted from. In fact, I rejoice in the fact that I have said little (let's not go so far as to say nothing) that I regret.

Praise God for the little reminders that make of community life so much better an experience. Who knows how many hurt feelings I have not caused today? Who knows who I have not offended who otherwise might have gone off quite put out? Some things simply don't need to be said. I don't really need to get them off my chest, you don't really need to hear them. By not saying them, we benefit the blogging community enormously with the opportunity for good will. It's amazing the way God works through the very small things for our greater good.

Noted later: Make that four--I just deleted another tartly worded post elsewhere in blogdom, in a place known not for being a comfortable place.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)

Available Online A study of

Available Online

A study of The Forgotten Hermitage of Skellig Michael for all you Celtiphiles and other followers of the monastic/ascetic tradition. University of California press--so who knows what the agenda may be, but worth a look.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 01:35 PM | Comments (0)

A Site Too Cool for

A Site Too Cool for Words

Yep. This is it! The Pleisiosaur site, filled with info and old texts regarding these swimming reptiles (note: NOT dinosaurs--rule of thumb--if it obligatively swims or soars it is NOT a dinosaur). You must see this wonderful compendium of all the old info, and much new.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

A Notion I'm Toying With

A Notion I'm Toying With

I'm thinking about starting another blog that is simply an ongoing commentary and explanation of The Ascent of Mount Carmel and other works by Carmelite writers as I begin to understand them myself. Understanding them is, of course, more than a matter of mind, it is a matter of heart and of living the Carmelite vocation.

In this way, I would be able to post all manner of notes and notions and guides and lists without unduly interfering with the flow here. I'll be thinking about it for a bit longer, but if it seems like a good idea to you, drop me a line and let me know. No point in starting a blog in which there would be little to no interest.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 01:12 PM | Comments (0)

Slow Day at St. Blog's

Slow Day at St. Blog's

Seems a very slow day--fewer hits and fewer posts than usual. Is the weather everywhere as glum and sullen as it is here? (We need a few glum and sullens--just as with people, relentlessly bright and cheery becomes a bit de trop.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

Please Pardon the Mess Please

Please Pardon the Mess

Please Pardon the double list of links. Right now I'm starting to use blogroller, and I wanted to be certain everyone was on it before I deleted the hardcode. Also note: those who have blogs that begin with the definite or indefinite article, I am deleting said article because they have yet to invent a reasonable alphabetizer that does not use Articles for order. (Another of my many annoyances. I get the impression I would probably make a reasonably good Poirot or Nero Wolfe.)

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:44 AM | Comments (0)

Mr. Miller Has Returned to

Mr. Miller Has Returned to Us

After a short haitus, I suppose much like Sauron out of Mirkwood (hardly a flattering comparison, I know, but this is one shadow of light you can't keep down). So please visit The Curt Jester.

Also, please remember Mr. Miller's mother in your prayers. She died just yesterday.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:52 AM | Comments (0)

From the Document on the

From the Document on the New Age

PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR CULTURE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE JESUS CHRIST THE BEARER OF THE WATER OF LIFE A Christian reflection on the “New Age” It should be recognized that the attraction that New Age religiosity has for some Christians may be due in part to the lack of serious attention in their own communities for themes which are actually part of the Catholic synthesis such as the importance of man' spiritual dimension and its integration with the whole of life, the search for life's meaning, the link between human beings and the rest of creation, the desire for personal and social transformation, and the rejection of a rationalistic and materialistic view of humanity.

The present publication calls attention to the need to know and understand New Age as a cultural current, as well as the need for Catholics to have an understanding of authentic Catholic doctrine and spirituality in order to properly assess New Age themes.

The remainder of the document is as interesting as this brief excerpt, and for those once involved in the movement, or those who know people who still are involved, it seems essential reading.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:46 AM | Comments (0)

February 09, 2003

So is this true? And

So is this true?

And what do these things taste like anyway. Particularly odd quiz to take as I don't like alcohol at all (see there's come of the Baptist left over in me). Also odd since I chose fajitas and guacamole--however, Thai food will do in a pinch. (Actually more than do--anything with lemongrass has got to be good.) Gin smells like bad perfume to me, so the combo of perfume and lime juice seems iffy. (Nice picture--goes well with the whole concept of space-age-bachelor-pad music--see below.)

You're a Gimlet!  That's gin and lime juice.  You're generally pretty traditional but you do like a bit of Thai food.  You're most likely to be found in the corner of your local pub%2
""Which cocktail are you?""

brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by Steven Riddle at 05:54 PM | Comments (0)

Thanks to Father Keyes and

Thanks to Father Keyes and Father Jim

All Chant, all the time, 24/7, here.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 05:44 PM | Comments (0)

The Ever Informative, Ever Delightful

The Ever Informative, Ever Delightful Project Canterbury

Offers us this wonderful piece. I particularly relish the passage highlighted.

Oh, and note the date. Any other such wonderful pieces that should have been written even so much as a year later are lost to the web for upwards of twenty years thanks to the strangulating piece of idiotic copyright law foisted on the public by the protectors of Mickey Mouse. (Yes, I'll keep mentioning it, as it irritates me beyond all reason that this perversion of obvious intent is permitted--and it is damaging.

The Eucharist as the Center of Unity By Ralph Adams Cram

A paper read at an Eucharistic Conference in All Saints,' Ashmont, Oct. 12, 1923.

American Church Quarterly volume 14, 1923
pp 265-276

AMIDST the manifold terrors and portents of a dissolving social system, now in the vortex of signs and wonders that declare the unhonoured ending of the era of peculiar civilizations we ourselves have known, that another of unknown character and quantity may take its place, there are indeed many signs of hope, forecasts of a better future than perhaps we deserve, and amongst them none is more heartening than the consciousness that arrives at last that the disunion of Christendom is an evil thing, evilly engendered; that it lies close at the root of current (calamities, and that--humanly speaking--only through speedy reunion may anything of value be saved from the wreck and the world enticed into paths that may lead, not to final calamity and a new era of Dark Ages, but to vital regeneration and a true renaissance. By force of events the truth is fast being borne in upon us that, so great is the need, so monstrous the courses we have boastfully followed for so many generations, nothing can be allowed to stand in the way of Catholic reunion; neither inherited prejudice nor personal predilection, neither pride however justified, nor self-interest however poignant and commanding. It is not for us to say "the fault lies elsewhere, let another take the first step." We cannot hold back on some technical point of dogma, some detail of discipline, crying ''non possumus" when in our souls we mean "non placet." Schism is so grave a sin, continued disunion so acute a peril, that we are bound in honour to waive anything, everything, except the final and solemn monitions of conscience, and even here, when conscience seems to call most clearly, I conceive it to be our duty very scrupulously to search within ourselves that we may test the call and be positively assured that it is not conditioned by undertones of pride, stubbornness and self-interest. The time that, is left us is not very great; there is weakening and failure of organic religion all along the line, hidden from common sight by the dazzle of conferences and congresses and the sporadic fires of local activities. These indeed are, and we thank God for them, but meanwhile sixty-five per cent of the people of these United States ignore religion altogether, while in government, in industry and commerce, in education, in social life, religion. bulks less and less and degeneration steadily continues. We have tried sectarianism and manifold isolations; we have rejected the one, visible, organic Church of Catholicity for the vision of a mystical Church Invisible of Protestant theory, and the results are pressing upon us, the fruits ripe for the fall. What shall stand in the way of repentance and amendment? Is there any sacrifice one would not make, is there any humiliation one would not endure, if so we could make an end, and bring fulfilment to the prayer ''that they all may be one?''

Posted by Steven Riddle at 05:30 PM | Comments (0)

On Mandelbrot and Fractals The

On Mandelbrot and Fractals

The pictures that you might see around the web of the Mandelbrot set are a kind of haze on a very precise, very interesting mathematical entity. Fractals images are generated around complex numbers--that is a number with a real root and an imaginary root. (recall that the basic definition of an imaginary number i is the square root of negative one--or that number which, when multiplied by itself will yield negative one.)

A number in the complex plane is tested to see if it belongs to the Mandelbrot set. The test is to plug the number into the equation

Z= Z^2+C.

The number you are testing is C. Z starts at zero. You calculate the value using the value of C. Once you arrive at a value, you use the new value to plug back into the equation. Say for example you start with 2i. The answer the first time around to the equation is 2i. The next time you figure your result, you will need to calculate

Z=2i^2+ 2i, or -4+2i

For a point to be part of the Mandelbrot set (the dark area of any Mandelbrot diagram) the magnitude of the value of Z (the absolute value) must never exceed 2. Thus, with our example, 2i is not a point on the Mandelbrot set, nor is it likely even to be in an interesting area around the set.

Now, some points will never exceed 2; for example, 0i will never exceed 2, because the result will always be 0. If results do exceed 2, they will rapidly increase to infinity. You assign colors to points based on how rapidly the value of Z increases in that region. Thus you get the highly colored, multi-textured diagrams of the Mandelbrot set. Of course, the Mandelbrot set is only the most famous body of fractals. There are all sorts of ways to generate fractals, including such things as julia sets, cantor dusts, sierpinski gaskets and triangles, koch curves, and newtonian basins of atrraction. Each yields a unique and beautiful pattern. Anyway, I hope that this brief introduction has sufficiently impressed you that you feel free to go forth and explore this amazing mathematical world.

Click here for an image of a fractal from a private page. Click here to see the page and get perhaps a clearer explanation for what is happening.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 04:46 PM | Comments (0)

A Quiz of a

A Quiz of a Different Sort

Pick the one from each list below who does not belong, and then state why:

1. Poincare, Cantor, Mandelbrot, Peitgen, Sierpinski
2. Mattise, Derain, de Vlamick, Rousseau
3. Gaugin, Stevenson, Somerset Maugham, Toulouse-Lautrec
4. Albert Michelson, Roman Polanski, Joseph Conrad, Karol Wotyla, Arvo Part
5. Bronson Alcott, Louisa May Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne
6. Matthew Lewis, Ann Radcliffe, Horace Walpole, Jane Austen, Thomas Peckett Prest, Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Okay, that will do for now. I expect, that 1, 2, and 4 may be more difficult than the others.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 04:39 PM | Comments (0)

Answers etc. Many of you

Answers etc.

Many of you were able to get many of these--congrats. Perhaps the next ones should be a trifle more difficult.

(1)When and What is "Bloomsday?" June 16th, the day on which the whole of Ulysses takes place. Each year in Dublin, I'm told there is a Bloomsday tour that allows you to visit all the pubs Leopold Bloom and Stephen Daedalus did.
(2)What is the Literary significance of October 6 [modified note originally incorrectly:10]? Mad Hatter's Day, or Happy UnBirthday, A Lewis Carroll celebration in the U.S. based on the price tag in the Mad Hatters hat (congrats to Ms. vanHuben on this one--only one correct response)
(3)(an easy one) Who were Acton, Currer, and Ellis Bell and what is their claim to fame?(The Bronte Sisters pen-name for poetry)
(4)What is an "Appointment in Samarra?" (A meeting with death.)
(5)How are Shakesperean and Petrarchean sonnets different?(Congrats to Dylan the only one to get this one--there are actually two reasonable answers other than language--Rhyme Scheme--Pet. abba,abba,cde,cde (although the sestet can have only two rimes or the rime order can vary cde,ced; cde, edc, etc.) Shakespeare: abab cdcd efef gg. The other reasonable answer is that most of Petrarchs Sonnets (if we're going back to the progenitors are addressed to Laura, many of Shakespeare's to the "Dark Lady," never given a name or clearly defined.)
(6)What claim to fame had Virginia Woolf's Father? Leslie Stephens--Editor, partial writer, and redactor of the Dictionary of National Biography, a kind of Victorian Era, "Who's Who"
(7)Jonathan Swift's wife was related to what other famous literary figure? "Stella" was related to Robert Herrick.
(8)Author of "Absalom and Achitophel" this poet became catholic late in life. Who was it? John Dryden

Many people knew a great many of these answers, congratulations to all who attempted the quiz. Perhaps something trickier later.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

A Few of My Favorite

A Few of My Favorite Things--Annotated
Below are my annotations to my list. If there is something I should have described further and did not, please leave a note in the comment box and I'll be happy to amplify.

Li Po and Tu Fu and the fact that I still use Wade-Giles rather than the cumbersome and no more accurate Pinyin
Robert Herrick and the entire metaphysical crew
Christina Rossetti
Claude Debussy
Ralph Vaughn-Williams
Les Sept (Les Six--the most famous of whom were Arthur Honneger, Darius Milhaud, and Francoise Poulenc, plus Ravel)
Rene Magritte and Yves Tanguy ( I assume all know Magritte, a Belgian surrealiste whose work has been often enough ripped off [a while back Ceci n'est pas un pipe became the inspiration for ads on St. Blog's] that it is familiar. Yves Tanguy is a french counterpart with a wierd kind of infinite plane, biosculptural surrealism that was popular on the covers of science fiction books in the 1970's. My copy of Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle has a Tanguyesque cover, as do many works published at the same time. [The cover is not in any way indicative of what is in the book.] See here, for the very few images available online.)
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Unrivaled German Expressionist film filmed in 1919. Check here for stills and history. The only thing that comes close is the eerie and indicipherable "Un Chien Andalou" by Luis Bunuel and Salvidor Dali.
tropical temperatures, sights, and foods
salsa, rhumba, conga, meringue, and cubano-latino jazz
Bachianas Brasilieras (particularly # 5, which, with its wonderful vocalise I always think of as Rima's theme)(Composition by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Number 5 is among the most famous of the pieces, particularly with it's Aria, originally arranged for soprano and guitar--the vocalise is among the most lovely ever composed. To find out more about Villa Lobos, look here. A midi file of the piece may be found here.
Yma Sumac (The Incan Princess, vocalist with a four octave range, exotic, mysterious, and beautiful, look here for more.
(Since I mentioned these two I should add Green Mansions)( A novel by W. H. Hudson, among his more famous works. Notably features Rima, the Bird Lady).
Lounge Music--Most particularly Les Baxter (a.k.a. Space Age Bachelor Pad music--a quirky kind of jazz pop fusion that has various other "genres" (Tiki music, etc.) Revived in popularity in the 90's giving rise to the retro Brian Setzer phenomenon as well as the inimitable Combustible Edison. Click here to hear some Bob Thompson--try "Starfire." Click here to go Amazon and pick up a 30 second play of Les Baxter. Hard to believe that these guys gave way to the 101 strings and Montovani. )
The Stray Cats and sucessors
Thorne Smith (especially Night Life of the Gods and I Married a Witch
P.G. Wodehouse
All of H. Rider Haggard (this should be a guilty pleasure, but I can't muster up much in the way of feeling bad about it--unlike my sneaking enjoyment of much of Ken Russell's oeuvre--apropos of nothing)

Okay, already, I can see that it is an example of TMI.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 04:12 PM | Comments (0)

Later Today-- Complete answers, perhaps

Later Today--

Complete answers, perhaps a discussion of the Mandelbrot set, for those who desire to know it's beauties, and perhaps an annotation of some of my favorite things. Ms. Hall did so, and it didn't even occur to me that some of those objects might be both obscure and of interest to some. (I expected some to be obscure, but none to be of interest).

Posted by Steven Riddle at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

Already from Kathy's Blog, a

Already from Kathy's Blog, a Treasure

YES! Without any manipulation of the answers at all, I am. . .

I am the sonnet, never quickly thrilled;
Not prone to overstated gushing praise
Nor yet to seething rants and anger, filled
With overstretched opinions to rephrase;
But on the other hand, not fond of fools,
And thus, not fond of people, on the whole;
And holding to the sound and useful rules,
Not those that seek unjustified control.
I'm balanced, measured, sensible (at least,
I think I am, and usually I'm right);
And when more ostentatious types have ceased,
I'm still around, and doing, still, alright.
In short, I'm calm and rational and stable -
Or, well, I am, as much as I am able.
What Poetry Form Are You?

Posted by Steven Riddle at 12:03 PM | Comments (1)

We Are Delighted to Announce.

We Are Delighted to Announce. . ."

That she-who-must-have-a-blog (Kathy the Carmelite) indeed does now have one. Please visit The Gospel Minefield and give Kathy a friendly welcome to St. Blog's.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

English v. Latin Dipping a

English v. Latin

Dipping a toe, carefully into the raging waters of Latin v. English, I have this to offer from this morning's Mass:

The Mass itself was transcendently beautiful. Spoken and sung in English, entirely, it was done in accordance with the rubrics of the Novus Ordo, and was truly inspiring. English can be a perfectly acceptable language for conveying the majesty and the beauty of the Mass and what is going on. Latin is no better suited, and for those of us not raised Catholic, or without Latin in our backgrounds, it could prove obstructive.

But I think in looking at this issue, I have discovered, at least in part what the partisans of the Mass in Latin object to. First, there are some things that would greatly improve even the beautiful Mass I attended. To have the Priest presiding at the altar rather than performing for the congregation would enhance the entire liturgy. Second, OCP should probably be disbanded, disincorporated and their hymnals specifically prohibited from use in the Church. Our recessional hymn was "We are the Light of the World," and while that is indirectly true, I find the hymn troubling in the way many find other hymns just a little aslant from a true worship song. It tends to sound as though we were in the Church of Walt Whitman--"Myself I sing." "Celebration of the Self."

Perhaps it is the music experience that could be enhanced. Even choirs that are supposedly "ministering" have a tendency to perform rather than to lead. They choose works that not everyone can participate in and then choose arrangements that make it impossible for any who wish to follow to do so. I do not particularly like being shut out of the Gloria because the music minister has chosen some arrangement that one has to be able to sing "Der Holle Rache" in order to start to sing. Now, those who are cradle Catholics, this may simply seem de rigeur having been the way it was always done, I don't know. But being a recent add-on to the church, I rather like singing/reciting the Gloria and the other parts of mass that we are to participate in.

My suggestion would be for those creative minds that do so much in liturgical music to figure out who to adapt chant modes or plainsong or other monody or polyphony to English texts. (Admittedly one needs GOOD English texts to do so, but nevertheless. . .) Such an enhancement to the modern Mass would profoundly change the entire tenor of the experience. We would still understand completely what we were saying and doing, and yet it would be done together and in a way that hearkens back to the long history of music and liturgy from which the Church draws her liturgies. We should be expanding liturgical music in a liturgical way, not in a broadway/showtunes way. Trash the modern hymnals and return to those hymns that speak the truth and do not cater to our own egos.

Perhaps this would help everyone. The only reason Latin seems more magnificent and wonderful is that modern liturgists can't wrest it from the trappings of the past to tinker with it. This advantage I grant to the Latin Mass and its trappings. I also grant that it can be a truly magnificent Mass. But so too can the English, properly done, and rather than focusing energies on a return to the past, I would suggest that we are better focused by bringing the best elements of that past to the modern Liturgy and reforming the liturgy with respect for the wealth of tradition and beauty that the Church has as her treasury and heritage.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 11:56 AM | Comments (0)

Ongoing Prayer Requests Please remember

Ongoing Prayer Requests

Please remember Franklin as he travels from his interview to home. Pray for discernment and light.

Please remember Gordon and all of those who are seeking employment.

Please remember Kairos Guy and his wife--St. Gerard Majella and Our Lady of Guadalupe are two good intecessors for their needs.

Please remember to pray for God's will in the resolution of the crisis in Iraq.

Please remember among all of these prayers to pray for yourself--that each of you is moved to seek a closer, more intimate union with God.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)

An Unexpectedly Productive Workday Sorry

An Unexpectedly Productive Workday

Sorry about the haitus yesterday--had a workday and had two or three poems, one of which I may present for comments here shortly.

Expect the answers to the questions later today--after mass and whatever is the day's activity with boy.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)