Thursday, November 30, 2006


Today Jacques Barzun celebrates his 99th birthday.

See also Happy Birthday.

Had lunch at Mezzo with several current and former coworkers, one of whom, David Hodgdon, afterwords gave me a copy of his beautiful book, The Double Escape.

While we were ordering at Mezzo, KC walked in. She turns out to be a painter during the week, and a nurse only on weekends.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Truth as a Power

Truth is a power especially when we require of it no immediate effect, but have patience and figure on a long wait. Still better, truth is a power when we do not think in general about its effects but seek to present it for its own sake, for its holy, divine greatness. . . . As already said, we must have patience. Here months may mean nothing and also years. Further, we must have no speciific aims. Lack of an agenda somehow sets free the greatest power. Sometimes, especially in recent years, I had the sense that truth was standing as a reality in the room.
— Romano Guardini (1945), in Robert A. Krieg, ed. and trans., Romano Guardini: Spiritual Writings, Orbis, 2005

In your patience possess ye your souls.
— Luke 21:19


P-R S: For you music seems important, even fundamental…

C D: Well at the risk of telling a lie, I would say yes. Because I can’t manage what is called reality without music and literature. Music is an ideal world, as is also literature, and I am just not able to deal with reality all day long. It isn’t reality, I don’t know what it is – all the papers, the Internet, I have no interest in all that. Human beings are impossible. Let’s have an ideal world in our pockets so that we can run away from all this rubbish. I know it sounds very feeble psychology, but I think you are exactly the same, I am quite sure, and if you took music away from me I would be lost, because it is a lifeline, I understand life from the music.

P-R S: Music in other words is a form of spirituality, or religion…

C D: Well, you can’t use those words any more. Of course it is. You are perfectly correct. They are trying to destroy us as human beings, there is no such thing as spirit, nothing there except pipes, and water, and God knows what. And now no young people are taught to admire the great men any more, they do not read any literature, they are given this deplorable music all day long, they have not got a thought into their heads. It’s small wonder they behave like idiots, you can say that! But fortunately I’m old enough to have been brought up to admire the greatest brains, the greatest spirits, let’s say.

P-R S: Faced with the catastrophic world which is awaiting us, perhaps in the very near future, Berlioz’s music and his personality must constitute a refuge…

C D: Of course, and so is the music of Mozart and Beethoven, and so is Fidelio. And Falstaff is a wonderful protest against the idiocy of people. But if people don’t listen to them and don’t appreciate them they will be cut off, it seems to me, from this fantastic legacy which Europe has left us. And if you cut yourself off from that, what have you got? You haven’t got anything. Given such a fantastic treasure how can people turn their backs on it? I don’t understand. Neither do you.

Interview with Sir Colin Davis, Paris, 22 Oct 2006


Saturday, November 25, 2006


Attended at Saint Catherine of Siena a day of reflection on this topic, directed by Father Glenn Sudano of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. Father Sudano brought with him four young sisters, one of whom, Sister Catherine, was formerly Kirsten Holum, who finished sixth in the 3000 m at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano and whose mother Diane Holum won a gold, two silvers, and a bronze over two Olympics and later coached Eric Heiden.

Father Sudano told this funny story: Back in the days of Ancient Rome, a group of Christians were brought into the Coliseum to be eaten by lions. The Christians prayed for God to help them. Several lions came out, roaring. The Christians continued to pray. Then the lions stopped and put their front paws together as if to pray too. The Christians rejoiced that God had come to their aid. The lions prayed, “Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts . . .”

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Den of Thieves

It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.
— Luke 19:46

We are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The Father and the Son would abide in us. What have we made of this house?

Thursday, November 23, 2006


If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
— Matthew 7:11

14 12 6A 51 17 71 1F 15 01 59 75 4E 37 77 3F 44
65 40 4C 4D 60 1E 18 28 2B 0B 4C 17 7F 3C 01 7B
27 79 6D 01 1C 69 56 39 57 15 19 22 53 29 0E 78
6F 33 50 1E 33 6D 7E 1E 6A 18 62 1B 07

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Baltimore Basilica, Restored

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Cross of Crosses


Friday, November 10, 2006

Common-Sense Christianity

There are too many common sense Christians, afraid to spend themselves on anyone from whom they do not get visible results. They are ready with hard work for reform, they pour out good advice, they are proud to be realists who repudiate everything that seems to them impractical, including the poetry of Christ, but they have no use for those baffling human creatures who won’t — or can’t — play the game by their rules. These “realists” refuse to see that there are problems that can’t be solved, griefs that cannot be healed, conditions which cannot be cured.
— Caryll Houselander


Giving Up

“Did you ever imagine,” said Donna Rosario softly, “that you could ever willingly practice Christ’s humility, and not be humilitated?”

Timothy was silent for some minutes, and then he said: “No. You are right. But what should I do now? It has come to a crisis in my soul. Ought I to go back to the loneliness of my life as a Catholic, as it was before I knew that set? Should I make a real break and be quite alone? Ought I to give Cosma up? Of course she does not care for me and she never will.”

“I think,” Donna Rosario answered, “that it depends on whether you can be yourself with her, and in her environment. If you can’t then you are in a hopeless position anyway, for how can you really love, or be loved, if you cease to be yourself? To love you must possess yourself; God, Who is love, possesses Himself wholly, and give Himself to all that is. You possess yourself in so far as you are true to His plan of you, which is your own likeness of Christ. But I do not think that any drastic decision will be left to you. I am afraid that the war will sweep us all apart.”

— Caryll Houselander, The Dry Wood



O my Father, in Jesus’ name, on my name day, please bless Mary and Olivia, our families, and all our loved ones.

For those who came here for the Memorare prayer:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection,
implored your help or sought your intercession,
was left unaided.

Inspired with this confidence,
I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother;
to you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful.

O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in your mercy hear and answer me.



Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hidden Jesus 2

Everything that happens to us is not only His will, but Himself. . . .

— Caryll Houselander

Hidden Jesus

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

“This Sea of Christ”

Now I do feel we’ve just got to shut our eyes and dive into this sea of Christ, dive with the trust of people who can’t swim and yet go straight into the dark water.
— Caryll Houselander, 26 August 1939


Monday, November 06, 2006

Poor in Spirit

Poor in spirit means, not: be poor, but: prefer the poor.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

“Beyond Reproach”

It’s unethical, it’s disgusting and it is beyond reproach.

— from Congressman John Sweeney campaign aide Maureen Donovan’s statement denying the authenticity of a document regarding a telephone call Rep. Sweeney’s wife may have made to the police to complain about his “knocking her around the house.” Albany Times Union, November 1, 2006.