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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Christ is Risen!!!

Let all of Christendom rejoice!!! Here are some poems from our friend Mack to help us to reflect of the impact of Holy Week as we usher in the season of Easter.....


P.S. Bless God, Wyndysascha is now a Catholic!




A Night of Fallen Nothingness


The Altar stripped, the candles dark, the Cross

Concealed behind a purple shroud, the sun

Mere slantings through an afternoon of grief

While all the world is emptied of all hope.

The dead remain, the failing light withdraws

As do the broken faithful, silently,

Into a night of fallen nothingness.





Easter Vigil, Sort Of


A vigil, no, simply quiet reflection

Minutes before midnight, with all asleep

Little Liesl-Dog perhaps dreams of squirrels,

For she has chased and barked them all the day;

The kittens are disposed with their mother

After an hour of kitty-baby-talk,

Adored by all, except by Calvin-Cat,

That venerable, cranky old orange hair-ball,

Who resents youthful intrusion upon         

His proper role as object of worship.

The household settles in for the spring night,

Anticipating Easter, early Mass,

And then the appropriately pagan

Merriments of chocolates and colored eggs

And children with baskets squealing for more

As children should, in the springtime of life.




Pontius Pilate’s Pleynt


My Caesar and my Empire have I served,

A diplomatic functionary, true

To distant duties, and never unnerved

By greedy Greek or perfidious Jew.


Outside the arca archa have I thought,

Festooned my desk and office with awards;

My Caesar’s honour only have I sought

While sparing for myself but few rewards.


I built with focused care my resume’

And filed each memorandum, note, and scrip;

I justly ruled (no matter what they say),

And seldom sent men to the cross or whip.


But, oh! That thing about an open vault –

I never got it.  And why was that my fault?




Ubi Petrus


For Inky and Jason



“Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia.”


- St. Ambrose of Milan



Where Peter was, there also was the Tomb --

Blood-sodden dreams cold-rotting in old sin,

The Chalice left unwashed, the Upper Room

A three-days’ grave for hope-forsaken men.


Where Peter is, there also should we be,

Poor pilgrims, his, a-kneel before the Throne

Of Eosian Christendom, and none but he

Is called to lead the Church to eternal Dawn.


Where Peter then will be, there is the Faith,

Transubstantiation, whipped blood, ripped flesh

A solid reality, not a wraith

Of shop-soiled heresies labeled as fresh.


Where Peter is, O Lord, there let us pray,

Poor battered wanderers along Your way.


"Where Peter is, there also should we be...."

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"Contrasts in Holy Week".........

is a poem comparing the stark differences between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, written as a Confirmation gift for a London soon-to-be-convert.......


Contrasts in Holy Week


The world is dark before the dawn,
Burning black, with ashes strewn,
Dripping red, with life-blood spilt,
Making springtime flowers wilt

The wind is cold before the light
Whistling through the deathly night,
Mingling with the owl’s cry
As swooping towards her prey she flies

Finding bliss in ignorance,
Mankind believes in nothingness;
Dismissing what they cannot find,
They think the stars have ceased to shine

A man hangs limp upon a tree,
His face twisted in agony,
Destroyed by hate, consumed with love,
His glorious path leads to the grave

To give his life for fickle beings
Who settle for such trivial things,
He let his blood run fast and free
Upon the rocks at Calvary

***

A candle lit by a glowing spark,
Pervades the space, drives out the dark,
The souls of generations past
Are freed from chafing chains at last

An empty tomb fills emptiness,
Mankind is freed from nothingness
The sting of death is passing pain,
A parched throat eased by heaven’s rain

Bright-feathered birds soar high and sing,
Sweet flowers from the moist earth spring,
And all the earth sunlight enfolds,
Painting the grey sky honey-gold

Clear water pours from a seashell,
Clear as the chimes of a silver bell;
Blest chrism forms a cross-shaped sign,
Giving sight unto the blind

New hope is like a warm embrace,
Kissed with light and sparkling grace;
Prisms shine out from the soul
As Christ claims back what Satan stole



"His glorious path leads to the grave....."

Saturday, March 23, 2013

"Shallot Revisited"......

is a retelling of the tragic story of Elaine, who loved Sir Lancelot unto death, even though he spurned her for another. This variation is in first person from Elaine's perspective, and it plays with modern language and concepts, experimenting with the situation placed in a present-day setting. However, it does seem to slip back into the Middle Ages by the end!


Shallot Revisited


I once met a fine young man,
Handsome in his manners, honest in his speech,
With ideals that defied the world,
So broad in their scope, believing in the unseen,
Clinging to faith, and when that wavered, to hope,
And when that wavered, to love, supreme among virtues

(Could he not have shared that love with me instead of another?)

We spoke of golden times and tales,
Bright as illuminated script, revealing our souls,
And we saw ourselves as “knight” and “lady”,
Bound by a common purpose, and pure desire,
To bring out the best in one another
In a fast-fading summer of youthful fancies

(Could that summer not have lasted and grown through all seasons?)

We talked of lost treasures,
Sparkling beneath the sky, yet guarded by dragons,
Things worth living and dying to win;
Armed with the sword of passion and the shield of humility,
I knew he would fight for them and gain them
And I hoped his lance might bear my silk scarf of azure

(Did another scarf have to be tied atop that weapon?)

I hear his voice on the wind,
Simple in its delivery, yet enchanting in its melody,
And I feel a magic carried on the breeze
Because it brushed against his shoulder, as it brushed mine,
Connecting us though we are far apart,
And though he finds comfort in the company of another

(Could he not find as much comfort in my own presence?)

If I should die while he is away
Fighting for the honor of his own chosen lady,
Send him my heart in a casket of silver,
Tied by a satin hair ribbon, redder than blood;
Cast it in his path on the field where he will fight,
Like the blessing I gave him when my eyes were dimming

(Could I not have used my final breath to kiss him instead?)

  


"Could he not find as much comfort in my own presnece...?"

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Habemus Papam!!!!

    Let the Catholic world rejoice! We have a new pope! The first Latin American, the first "Francis", and the first Jesuit, for that matter. For devotees of St. Edmund Campion like me, having a Jesuit in the Chair of Peter is a source of pride and pleasure. The order has certainly come a long way, from far-flung missionary activities, to brutal persecutions, to official disbandment, to liberal infiltration, and now......the Papal Apartments!


     Despite all the excitement, I still haven't stopped missing Papa Benedetto and am still trying to adapt to the idea that he has "retired" for good. Nobody can really "take his place" in a factory-like way. This has been a very sudden transition, and a very unusual one at that. After all, we haven't had a pope resign in 600 years! This modern-day repeat of history will take some time to get used to.

     Nor can we completely forget the pre-Conclave days that unearthed painful revelations. For British Catholics (and many Catholics and Christians in general), the scandal involving Cardinal Keith O'Brien was a bitter pill to swallow. It effectively prevented the UK from being represented at the Conclave to elect a new pope, and it brought a gnawing sense of disillusionment. There was already a feeling of unsteadiness settling in when Pope Benedict, the first pope to make an official visit to the UK, retired. But the cardinal's tragic downfall just made things worse.

    Nonetheless, we now have great cause to have hope for the future and give thanks to the Lord. I can tell from listening to "EWTN" and "The Catholic Channel" that this historic happening in Church history is bringing a sense of freshness and vigor to the faithful. I believe the Latin American Community the world over will positively effected. (Here's to the upcoming World Youth Day in Rio de Jeneiro!) Pope Francis seems to be a very humble man, and his actions are those of a servant of the people. He is known for having a deep sense of compassion towards the poor. Also, he seems to be orthodox in his beliefs, and has a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin. I believe these are some very good intro notes on the character of the man who is now Christ's Vicar on Earth.

    To commemorate this great event and affirm our loyalty to and affection for our new Papa Francesco, the prolific Mack of Texas has written this touching tribute in honor of God's providential calling of great men.

    
Is This Seat Saved?


As Abraham was called to leave his home,
To serve one God in haunted emptiness
Where errant spirits misguided pilgrims’ steps
Into those thickets that entangled lost souls

And

As Brother Francis, barefoot in the wild,
With rock and prayer rebuilt long-fallen shrines
When they had crumbled into weed-choked ruins
Where wolves gnawed on the bones of civilization

Now

An old man riding in a city bus,
Wearing spectacles and a cheap wristwatch,
Has come to see us through the wilderness,
And enkindle for us the Easter fire.


P.S. On another happy note, one of our readers from London, Wyndysascha, is converting to Catholicism this Easter! Please keep him, and all those coming into the Church this year, in your special prayers.



"Francesco! Francesco!"

"La Fheile Padraig Shona!"

And a very happy St. Patrick's Day to all my readers, whether you have a blood connection with the Emerald Isle or you are parading under false pretences by wearing a "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" tee-shirt for the occasion!

    Once again, "Open Unionism" let me put up a little saint post for this festive day. Here's the link:

http://www.openunionism.com/la-fheile-padraig-shona/


Besides St. Paddy himself, there are a few notes on Bishop Richard Creagh, Sir Guy Carleton, and Macha the Horse Goddess for good  measure.....I hope you enjoy them!



O Glorious St. Patrick.....

Saturday, March 9, 2013

"A Wish".......

is a poem written by our loyal friend and loving reader, Katherine, and it expresses the true essence of  reason for being "A Ringer" ( a term which, by the way, should be applicable to both lovers of the films and the books!). It is the poem which inspired me to write "My Daydream", and taps into the reason why all human beings wish and dream, whether it be about history or fantasy!



"A Wish"




O let me walk in the Elven-lands, where the stars are clear and white,

And let me hear the Elven-songs, and see their dark eyes bright.

O let me wander in the lands that are beyond my reach,

And let me learn to know a word or two of Elven-speech.

 O let me hear the Halflings sing of hearth and home and day;

O let me come to Middle-earth! – it can’t be far away.



O let me find old Strider in the corner at the inn,

And let me see him wield the sword that has been made again.

And let me in the hobbit-hole to hear the hobbits laugh,

And let me see the wise old man who leans upon a staff.

And let me see his fireworks! Let me meet Pilgrim Grey!

O let me come to Middle-earth! O let me find a way.



Let me join the Conspiracy that Merry planned – so kind!

And let me meet the loyal friends who would not stay behind.

And let me come to Rivendell, and see the beauty there,

And let me climb a mallorn-tree, and breathe the Elven-air.

And let me sing with Elves and Hobbits all along the way;

O let me come to Middle-earth! if only for a day.



Show me the stars from Weathertop; let me feel the cold, black sky,

And sit with hobbits round a fire, and see the shining eyes

Of Strider; let me hear his chanting voice deep, as he tells

An ancient tale of Middle-earth; and hear sweet Nimrodel;

And Entish, Frodo’s fiddle-song, and fair Luthien’s Lay;

O let me come to Middle-earth! for there must be a way.



O let me join the Fellowship; pray make their number ten!

And let me see the Company forge friendship without end.

And let me hear the mighty horn of Gondor make its cry,

And let me see the eagle as he soars across the sky.

And let me share their friendship, if but for a little way;

O let me come to Middle-earth! if only for a day.



And let me come to Moria, though there I will find pain;

For sometimes sorrow must be, if one shall rejoice again.

Then let me see the White Rider in all his glory bright,

And let me follow Frodo as he stumbles through the night.

And let me share adventures, songs, and stories on the way,

Please let me come to Middle-earth! O let me find a way.



O let me taste of lembas, pray, or take an Entish draught;

And let me see the Ents – I’m sure they’re quite beyond my thought.

And let me meet, in Lórien, the Elven Lady fair,

And let me hear the stout dwarf ask for a strand of her hair.

And let me see the setting sun upon the narrow way –

O let me come to Middle-earth; if only for a day!



Let me look in the Mirrormere; and in the Entwash wade;

I want to be there when the Elves reforge Andúril’s blade.

Let me try on an Elven-cloak; hear Legolas’ bow sing;

Let me find Mithrandir and know the joy that hope can bring.

Let me follow the White Rider! Let me come, if I may,

O let me come to Middle-earth! O let me find a way!



And let me look on Orthanc, and watch Théoden find his power,

And let me see how men are who they are in darkest hour.

And let me learn how who they are reflects upon myself,

I want to see the friendship grow between the Dwarf and Elf.

And let me look for Oliphaunts among the shadows grey;

O let me come to Middle-earth! if only for a day.



O let me hear the beating hooves of the Rohirrim strong,

Take me to Sam, in the Tower, and let me hear his song.

Show me the hobbit and woman who defeat the bane of men,

And let me see the loving friends who bring them back again.

And let me see the Hunters Three whose feat is beyond praise;

O let me come to Middle-earth! For I shall try always.



O let me see the shaft of light that brings Sam hope anew,

And let me hear Frodo resolve to do what he must do.

And let me hear Pippin’s bath song; and Bilbo’s song of Strider;

And show me noble Shadowfax carrying the White Rider.

And let me see their final charge, to Mount Doom or Black Gate;

And let me see how love at last shall triumph over hate.

O let me hear victory ring upon the break of day!

O let me come to Middle-earth! O let me come and stay.



O let me see the faces of so many of my friends;

And let me share their journey, though I must go back again.

They leap from dusty pages and take shape within my mind –

How is it that, within their world, my own soul I can find?

I shan’t forget their voices, if I never hear them ring!

How is it that I read of them, and yet can hear them sing?

O let me hear those voices! as they greet the light of day!

O let me come to Middle-earth! There has to be a way!



I don’t belong in this world here – where shadow reigns, it seems.

I cannot love what this world loves – I’m tired of its schemes!

Then let me visit Middle-earth, where the Free Folk are yet true,

And where they know what courage means, and see their duty through.

I want to go where, however the dark keeps biting more,

They know there’s good beyond despair – and it’s worth fighting for!

Let me go where they hold to hope and always do what’s right,

And, if I must come back, their faith will shine throughout my night.

Let me go for a visit, then, although I cannot stay:

O let me come to Middle-earth! for there must be a way.



Then let me come to Middle-earth, and leave this world behind:

O let me wander in the woods and see what I might find.

O let me wander in fair lands so far beyond my reach;

O let me meet my friends and know the lessons that they teach.

If you but let me visit there, this I can promise well:

I shall return a better person in this world to dwell.

If I can only journey there – when I return, I’ll see –

I know I’ll find a better self than what I used to be.

Then let me hear the voices of the Fellowship, and say:

O lead me on to Middle-earth! For I shall find a way!



O let me go on with my friends, when death seems near at hand,

And let me share their sufferings when they make their last stand.

And let me share their faith – that at last Providence holds sway –

I know that it will strengthen me when I return someday.

O let me come to Middle-earth: it can’t be far away!

Yes, I shall come to Middle-earth! – I know there is a way.


"O Let Me Come to Middle Earth....."

Friday, March 1, 2013

"Dyth Gwyl Dewi Hapus!"

     Today March 1st, the Feast of St. David of Wales! This year, "Open Unionism" kindly let me do another guest post about the holy man of Cymru! Check it out here:

http://www.openunionism.com/dyth-gwyl-dewi-hapus/


     Finally, I think it's safe to say that this excursion on OU will not cause the least bit of consternation among "those people"......unless of course the Welsh Free Army goes on the march because I didn't give Owain Glyndwr a mention in my selection of "fascinating facts"....??? ;-)



Dewi Sant