Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Oh dear. It came to me of a sudden that it was Friday, and I needed to find a form of protein that had not once bled warm blood. Purchasing fish was out of the question, as was buying cheese. Special items had had to be purchased this week, and food had taken the sharpest cut. It seemed I would be making due with onions and brown rice, until I opened the last cabinet door on the northern wall of the kitchen.

I love those moments in faërie tales when an ordinary mortal opens his door, looks under his bed, or enters his workshop to find a wonderful gift awaiting him. Something from an enchanted being--a gift that seems to defy Nature herself. Yet, as Tolkien pointed out, fae creatures are not supernatural, but uber-natural. My lovely present in the corner of the cupboard was just that.

I had bought the bag a long time ago. I thought I had used up its contents, but there were still plenty. I untied it and put my hand inside. They all maintained the same pristine condition as when they were purchased, multi-coloured and firm, waiting for the heat of boiling water to call them to life. The enchantress who introduced me to these precious morsels told me that they would the revive blood, ease the motions of the bowels, endow the muscles with energy, and even protect the heart. Unlike other foods that did such, these might be preserved for later and indefinite use.

Salting the water as it made to boil, I smiled. A staple of the poor and a component of my people's 'peasant meal,' this gift had finally come into its own as scientists and doctors justified the eating habits of their ancestors yet again.

Beans. I cupped a heap in my hands. The great white bean of the north, the gaily coloured lentil, the spotted pinto, the glossy, black turtle bean, and the ornately shaped garbanzo all ravished my eyes with their wondrous beauty and the promise of their wholesome endowments.

Of the three edible families of seeds, the bean is perhaps the most despised and the most cheaply purchased, while it is just as beneficial as its brothers: the nut and the grain. Yet, all three are great marvels. Grain emerges sprite-like, mixed with the grasses and reeds as if blown into being by the wind. Nuts drop wondrously from the tree though carefully hidden in their homely treasure chests. With beans, it is as though a troop of faërie were weaving their ways through the fields of man, generously gifting their purses on the stalks of green--fleshy pods housing wondrous food. And they are also more than food.

Though not of the
Leguminosae family, other branches of angiosperm drop not merely from the realm of natural spirits but from the nebulous province of the divine. One such kind is the genus of Theobroma, the 'food of the gods.' It has passed through many incarnations: the exalted and the common, the dear and the cheap. Sometimes savoured merely for the quality of its flavour, it is also prized as a substance all on its own. However, it would be difficult to find someone who did not relish it in one form or another.

Once forbidden to women and children for fear of its toxic properties, it is now prized as a method of endearment to the fair sex and to littlies. According to taste, it may be mixed with peppers, fruit, sugar, or cream. It remains a substance of great personal leverage, though its beans are no longer used as currency. Ah, who can deny the power of chocolate?
Yet, how many of us gulp it down whole rather than
wholly tasting it? Is even this exalted bean given its due?

There is another seed that some may argue exerts a stronger, even more enchanting hold. One often reaches for it on waking. When the fair leaves of
t'e fail to dispel the fog of the drowsy mind or revive man's weary flesh, one turns to kahveh as the Turks name it.

This ought not ever to become mere habit. The ritual of taking Java ought always to begin with breathing, taking in the ground bean's heady aroma, the exquisite fragrance that will serve as incense for the flesh, itself a Temple of the Holy Spirit. If one chooses to dilute the brew with cream, milk, or sugar, they may, but the first sip should be at least be taken with one's eyes closed. Blessing its comforting heat and embracing its rich bitterness ought to accompany the gratitude one feels towards coffee as he regains the possession of his rational faculties.

One thing I have observed in my psyche at least (though I have reason to suspect it is the same for others) is that glimpses, whiffs, and tastes of the higher things help one to appreciate the lower. Attending a Tridentine Mass, complete with its rich vestments, beautiful setting, and bel canto choir always bestows on me a calmer disposition for the Novus Ordo, rather than instilling me with greater impatience. Having beheld the grandeur of Half Dome in Yosemite does not lessen my pleasure at the sight of a boulder swathed with velvet moss. Gazing on tigers, peacocks, and elephants at zoos did not ruin me for spotting my first red squirrel.

Similarly, I learned to love the humble bean the day I was watching
Babette's Feast. As the beautiful chef prepared a spread of Catholic decadence for the Puritan ladies so dear to her, my family and I for once indulged ourselves in the modern practice of eating a meal while watching a film. I remember our lunch still: the delicately buttered rice, the stir-fried cabbage and onion, and the beans standing in place for the meat (it had been a Friday).

As I watched the elderly inhabitants of Jutland gingerly ease themselves into the simultaneously spiritual and sensual meal the Frenchwoman had prepared, I discovered that I was called to enjoy my own
present meal with as much gusto. Since that time I have attempted to be faithful in taking the opportunities for joy and happiness and wringing them to the last drop.

However, this does not imply a grasping of pleasures. The more I love chocolate, the less likely I am to buy it, for enjoying it properly takes so much of my strength. Two cups of coffee a day is an indulgence, and drinking more is appropriate only for a bacchanalia. To enjoy a feast requires a fast beforehand. As Miguel de Cervantes observed through the lips of Sancho: 'Hunger is the best sauce.' So between divine intervals, one ought to be content with the fae. Even as I prepare for a lunch of rice, beans, and carmelized onions, I wonder if I am possibly enjoying this too much.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Yes, I believe this is the right path...

Saturday, June 26, 2010
An old observation which was previously published on 02/02/2008 at

It is done! Our brethren in Vietnam need fear no further harm, for through their valiance and the intercession of the Vatican the apostolic nuncio of Hanoi has been restored to the Church. Deo gratias!

And now, alas only after further persecution and tribulation, the Holy See will at last appoint a permanent representative in Hanoi!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Ye Jacobites by Name
by Robert Burns
Ye Jacobites by name,
give an ear, give an ear,

Ye Jacobites by name,
give an ear,

Ye Jacobites by name,

Your fautes I will proclaim,

Your doctrines I maun blame,
you shall hear.

What is Right, and What is Wrang,
by the law, by the law?

What is Right and what is Wrang by the law?

What is Right, and what is Wrang?

A short sword, and a lang,
A weak arm and a strang, for to draw.

What makes heroic strife,
famed afar, famed afar?

What makes heroic strife famed afar?
What makes heroic strife?
To whet th' assassin's knife,
Or hunt a Parent's life, wi' bluidy war?

Then let your schemes alone,
in the state, in the state,

Then let your schemes alone in the state.
Then let your schemes alone,

Adore the rising sun,

And leave a man undone, to his fate.

If you are not scratching your head by the end of those verses, then you are either unacquainted with the sentiments of Robert Burns or bemused by some of the Scotch vocabulary. It also implies that perhaps your musical taste does not incline towards Scottish folk music. If you are a bona fide Scotophile though, then perhaps this song has always been a little bit bewildering and contradictory to you; it certainly has been for me!

Now, it is a requirement generally acknowledged that every true romantic who surveys Scottish history, or is of Scottish blood, that he be a Jacobite. Being of a Welsh, Irish, Northern English mix, I likely fall into the former camp, but that is enough for me and many of my ilk. On the other hand, Robert Burns was a Scotsman, a romantic, and therefore naturally sympathetic to the Jacobite cause. He even wrote a blistering poem about the Whig party's betrayal of Britain that leaves one no doubts as to where he stands politically (Awa' whigs awa').

But read the song above! It is scolding the Jacobites for engaging in warfare for the rightful king of the United Kingdom! One should be even more surprised that Scottish folkbands who embody the spirit of Scottish patriotism actually sing this song. Even one who doesn't speak braid Scotch knows the song is not exactly a Jacobite marching tune, so why do the sons and daughters of the Jacobite spirit adulate it?

Yet, resolving Robert Burns's conflict is not as difficult as it seem
s. One need only read the original Ye Jacobites by Name to understand that the poet was actually toning down the extreme anti-Jacobite, anti-Catholic, and anti-Highlander persuasion previously expressed. Whereas that song calumniates the cause by proclaiming it Satanic and ends with expressing the desire to see the Pope hanged (even though the Pope did not support the cause), Burns's version is simply an anti-war song. Whether the cause is just or not, the strife and grief of battle is not worth it. Adore the rising sun--live only for today and its simple pleasures, and leave a man undone, to his fate--the king was treated unjustly, but what can one do? Abandon him to his doom and get on with your life.

So Robert Burns is innocent of Whiggish leanings, but this still does not explain why a group of patriotic folk artists would call themselves 'Jacobites by Name.' Why do the ardent believers in the lost, just cause, na Fir Dileas,
express a liking for this ditty? Historical and biographical facts cannot explain this, but irony can.

Far more subtle than sarcasm, irony can only be understood in context, as it is more an observation than a statement spotaneously created for amusement or mockery. E.g., if a fictional mouse were to say to another fictional mouse, 'You don't know how to live like I do,' as one does in the children's book, Poppy, one would not know how ironic that statement was unless one knew that he was killed by an owl in the very next sentence.

Knowing of Burns's true sentiments, and knowing the ignominious content of the original song, leads one to believe that there must be irony in his poem. He accuses Jacobites of scheming? Was it not the group that later became the Williamites who schemingly separated James II from his daughter to raise her a Protestant? Who plotted to suplant their lawful king with the foreign William of Orange? Who were the real traitors here?

Burns also implies that if men would only relinquish their cause, they could have happy fruitful lives. Really? Was that the case for the Irish after James was deposed? The Catholic King's accession to the throne had brought relief to the suffering inhabitants of Ireland. It was not simply the Scottish Highlands that stood by the king.

Not only then was his cause a source of unity throughout the United Kingdom, it was also ecumenical. The Williamites were venomously anti-Catholic, whereas one need not be a papist, just a patriot, to support Jacobus Rex. After all, the greatest of the Jacobite generals, John Graham of Claverhouse, was an Episcopalian.

Therefore, the insults penned against the Jacobites in this song are completely laughable and since Burns was not an imbecile, they must have been meant to be taken this way. Even his pragmatic advice at the end of the song cannot be taken seriously, as it was not practicable. A man cannot enjoy the beauty of the sun or the simple things in life if he is starving to death. Rack-renting led to such conditions as these as did the recusant taxes inflicted on Catholics who refused to attend Protestant services.

I do not know how many have sat down to analyze the song in order to discover its irony, but the fact is that parsing is not necessary. Poets and Authors are not scientists who must be read with a formula and always in a straightforward fashion. They can of course adopt that mode if they wish, and they often do.

Yet, as if by the magic that inspired him, the author can also inspire and bewitch the reader, drawing him into the same mind that the poet was drawn into when he was inspired. Socrates likened the poet to an iron ring magnetized by a loadstone, who in turn magnetized his interpreters and his audience in the same manner. In such a moment of possession, it is possible to understand a man and his intent, even without hearing the tone of his voice or beholding the expressive visage of his countenance.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Though it is the first day of summer, the Polish temperature has been marvellously clement. The air is sweet and breezy, and the sky a glorious, marble dome of swirling greys, blues, and creams. I feel a bit guilty enjoying this sort of weather as it threatens rain, and Poland has suffered enough from flooding. So I pray that the sky gives way to sunshine, and that the Polish election places a patriot at the helm of her courageous, fragile barque.

M thoughts dominated by these concerns, I strolled down Nowy Swiat today towards the Presidential Palace. There was the wooden cross, now decorated with rosaries, erected in memory of the dead in Smolensk. There was the mass of votives burning before it. Only not all were burning. The brief drizzle of mist that had wetted the ground had put out the flames uncovered by the little brass steeple housing the other candles. There were thirty extinguished candles laid out in the form of a cross.

I knelt down, and spotting the fragments of some matches, attempted to light them myself, whispering a few prayers for the election's results. I succeeded only in getting ash under my fingernails while the candles I lit quickly went out in the breeze, and the matches were reduced to hot charcoal.

A minute or two into this sisyphean task, I glanced to the left and saw a soldier's boot. I felt a brief rush of adrenaline--the sort one experiences when his passport seems to be lost or a large dog lunges at him from behind a wire-linked fence. It dissipated quickly, especially as the guard only smilingly said: 'Pani swoje spódnicy będzie brudna jeśli klęczeć na chodniku.' I smiled back at the handsome young man and indicated in my poor Polish that it didn't matter if my skirt got dirty, as it was grey and nothing would show. Still I gave up my task of lighting the candles and left, feeling a little silly at how much fear tends to well up in me at the sight of a soldier or an officer.

All day, I have been analyzing that ridiculous, but habitual reaction, and my thinking returns again and again to one fact. These uniformed men are tools of the State, and my life is worth something to the State
per accidens, not per se.

For those who have not had the pleasure of Porphyry or Aristotle, let me explain.
Per accidens relates to properties inherent in a thing because of what it is, but they do not make the thing to be what it is. Example: a crow is black. All crows are black, but that is not what defines the nature of 'crowness.' Man is featherless and is made to walk on two legs, but the quality of having no feathers and requiring a pair of feet is hardly an apt description of man's nature.

Per se
properties are those that separate things according to the qualities that define their nature. Frogs are separated from fish not because of their four limbs, but because of their amphibious nature. Man is classified as different from other animals not thanks to his upright stature or his nakedness, but because he is rational. It is therefore extremely disconcerting that some accidental property one possesses for a temporary amount of time is all that keeps one from being branded an burden to the State. It is a deadlier condition than being a criminal; after all, how many criminals are executed?

On March 22, 1984 circa 20:00, I became a legal member of the human community. I now had a right to life, and the State had an obligation to protect me. Yet, up until that moment my life was in the hands of two individuals. If my mother and father had decided they wanted a little more time after getting married to start having children, if they had not been natural parents that welcomed life and were willing to sacrifice for it, if there had been no love in their hearts, then I could have been dead before that spring day in March.

The Supreme Court of the United States would have left my fate entirely up to my mother. My mother however is a woman that has long campaigned against that abominable allowance of the law, and my father is a man who reveres all human life as sacred. I live at their behest; one from the generation of survivors.

Yet, I am not safe yet. As Terry Schiavo's murder has shown the world, one must retain full possession of one's faculties to have recourse to 'justice.' Should I lapse into a vegetative state, I can expect to be treated like a vegetable.

Assuming I escape the privation of my faculties of mobility and speech, decades from now, I may find myself aging in a world that has come to the logical conclusion of its principles. Where abortion abounds, euthanasia must follow. The men in uniform who are charged to protect me now may very well be overseeing my death one day.

I don't know. One really can't be sure, but perhaps that little, irrational start at the sight of an officer is the intuitive feeling that given the right circumstances, I can't trust him with my life. I can't trust the State.
Years ago, a Communist playwright penned a work portraying a hero of WWII as a Nazi stooge and an ignoble coward.

The unenlightened global community, chiefly Leftist Catholics, have been singing to that tune ever since. Perhaps now, that unholy calumnious ditty will cease...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Episode III

Horatius left Katrina per usual with his palate satiated and his mind pleasantly cushioned in the exquisite femininity of her company. ‘All that is best of pert and sweetness! How could I prefer another for marriage?’ Though e'en now, he did not see her as his last love.

How he could he ever wait for a last? One's mind may be filled enough with text or the stomach with eating, but Horatio knew all too well that the desire for hunger itself would come to wake him, and he then must need find succour again.

He found no flaw or deficiency in Katrina's company, indeed in mind she was alert. In taste, original without trite notoriety or servile attentiveness to fashion's whims. Her heart was passionate and virtuous, and this must be a woman's quality, if she is to have any. And her ear, ever attentive to holy vespers, provoked the sweet reminiscence of childhood. Horatius slapped his thigh heartily. Aye! He was ready to bid adieu to Ráichéal.

Riding with increasing speed down the slowly dwindling paths of town, as swift as his stomach would permit, Horatius was soon beyond the hamlet. He cast a glance behind to make certain that his poor valet could not have pursued his course. With a smile, the hard master entered the overhung bosheen.

All was black within the wood, the moon waned dull and her starry handmaidens were entangled in the serpentine branches. Yet, Horatius's horse plodded its well known course, hardened to the routes branching away from any road of man and deaf to the distant howls of wolves and suspicious murmurings of wind and water. The cawing of a raven wed with the cooing of doves hailed Horatius as he finally entered the glen.

A great stone crowned with laurel trees and moss overhung the diminutive cottage, what little of it that stood above the earth. An opening in the canopy of trees revealed the moon shining beauteously upon the hollow. Not regarding the knocker, Horatius imperiously entered the rounded, green door of the ivy choked dwelling.

Lavender, rose, and musk encircled the cavalier as he footed the earthen floor of the dim abode. Lights of emerald, magenta, violet, and cobalt danced along the floor from some occult source, and Horatius waited until they alighted on the basement's trapdoor.

Prying up the haven's barricade, he descended with intrepid haste, though he was taken aback on the last step as a brief, flaming haze of ochre sprouted at his feet and burned up through his nostrils while venomously stinging his eyes.

‘What's this?’ he hacked, ‘Am I greeted with the colour of a coward?’

‘Yellow ’tis the colour of a liar as well,’ a low, soft voice answered within. Horatius blinked once more, before he beheld Ráichéal’s form bent over her porphyry table. Her dark, green eyes were bent intensely upon a scroll, whereon she was illuminating her alchemical runes.

‘I hath never lied to thee,’ the libertine answered indignantly. ‘'Twill be not hard to bid adieu to this sullenness.’ He added in his mind.

‘There are more falsehoods than those of the tongue,’ she answered, finally standing aright, ‘And I don’t suppose thou hast come to contemplate the Mysteries or dissertate on philosophy.’ She folded her arms beneath the long drape of her scarlet, velvet sleeves, looking as stern as an elongated statue atop a cathedral’s portal.

‘Garbed in red?’ Horatius teased, seeking to avoid her gauntlet, ‘The liturgy's colour is green, and thou hath always dressed to match the altar’s cloth.’

‘Perhaps this is the day of a martyr? The one for whom I was named perhaps, since it is the day of mine own birth as well? Perhaps thy attendance at the hermit's Mass would have afforded thee this knowledge, if it had so concerned thee.’

‘Ráichéal– ’

‘I am not interested,’ she shrieked at last, ‘Indeed, I know already why the Basilica has long claimed thy fickle attendance. Well, art thou come to me thyself of thy wedlock plans?’

‘For sooth, I didst not think that thou stirred far enough from thy woods and glen to know such matters,’ Horatius found himself sneering in spite of his intention to be magnanimous. His scorn did kindle the wrath welling up through her eyes, orifice, and every window into Ráichéal’s being. There was a cry more horrible than her ravens, and she leapt like a tigress for the man’s throat, claws outstretched.

The warrior easily disarmed his attacker by clamping her wrists together and wrenching her aside so that she came off her feet.

‘Such an unseemly fit ill suits thee, woman.’ he coldly spake. She struggled a while more, all dishevelling her long, dark hair in her rancour. A few moments more, and he felt the tension slacken in her hands, and so released her.

‘So go then,’ she suddenly said in broken abandonment and pulled herself to her feet as feebly as a maimed bird. Horatius watched for another outburst, but she only glided away. She would go back to her scrolls or elements, then. But all his predictions she thwarted and instead turned aside to her inner sanctum. Falling onto her couch stuffed with heather, she fell to weeping as easily as a sweet dairy maid and as silently as a high noblewoman.

So frustrated in his musings, Horatius could but stand dumb and still. Did he truly know the woman within? He thought he had learned well of her bardic lore and craft in alchemy, of her angry passions and mental discipline. But this weeping he had not seen, and he was nearly unnerved. What had she been hiding? Was there some other secret this soul still held for him?

The scent of lavender teased him into deeper thought, and the jewelled hues of this cool place were reborn with their former charms. He followed her to her mournful couch.

‘Ah, Ráichéal, weep not! And send me not from thy sight, for thy tears have won me back, and I would fain not depart from thy company!’

A long groan escaped the distraught woman, as she raised herself on one arm. ‘I destroyed myself in loving thee. All that is left of my heart is thine, even if thou doth choose to partake of another's.’

‘Ráichéal, thou must know that my heart—’

‘Dost thou have one?’ she asked with a curious twist of a dark, arched brow, her eyes settling on the left of Horatio's breast. ‘A soul thou doth have, with reason and passion complete and a body for sooth, but dost thou have an organ called “heart”, or doth the surplus of passion and spirit rush thy blood about?’

‘Ráichéal,’ Horatius groaned, unable to meet her eyes, ‘Take me back, I beg this of thee.’

She caressed a leaf of ivy dangling from her wall. ‘Did I not already say that I must?’

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Joyce Kilmer

Darwin did have a point when he spoke of a greater Artisan than Man who formed the shape of life in this world, but one wonders, did he really create a viable atheist alternative by calling that Artisan 'Nature' rather than God?
Thursday, June 10, 2010

Episode II

And now again to the present--he impetuous Horatius did not wait to be shown into his intended’s room. He mused to himself that after only three years since his resolution in the wild, he was hurrying after wedlock. On many a morn he woke to ask himself if he was merely enjoying the challenge of winning a wife, but the answer was nay.

The calling of an ardent lover had begun to bore him, and all at once he longed for the grand majesty of fatherhood. He would not beget as a lover, for only in by the bands could he be certain of his patronage. He scrupled not concerning the woman’s happiness, for did feminine creatures not long for marriage at any cost? and were children often enough comfort for them? She would not be downcast merely because he did not change his ways. Ruminating thusly, Horatius gaily knocked on the door to lady’s rooms, merely to show he was coming, for he entered immediately.

A burst of sun came from the western horizon, colouring the chamber with a beauteous hue, and there the lady sat unsurprised on a chaise, her sketchbook before her as she was rigorously engaged. The watercolours, painted china, tapestries, and rugs lying and hanging about testified to her accomplishments, but Horatius was not drawn by superficial achievements devoid of true skill.

Art was in her and something else, too. Wealth he could not have been more indifferent to, though it gratified his mind that the welfare of the family he so felicitously looked forward to was absolutely certain.

She had not looked up yet, but as her curled, ash blonde tresses were gathered as like a rosette on the nape of her neck, her unencumbered periphery must have revealed him to her. ‘Horatius,’ she said sweetly, ‘thou hast come late this even.’

‘Ah, ‘twas but to behold thee in the purple glow of dusk, my little amaranth,’ he said, approaching only at her beck.

She smiled. ‘Dost thou persist in teasing my height! Impertinent man!’ She secretly delighted in his manner, not simpering or effete as she had seen so many men in court.

‘And why should thy height not be dear to me? Art thou my mistress, yet, that I should be ordered not to like something I see? Give me thy hand, and then I will descry thy petite frame from the tower of the church, if thou shouldst please, my Katrina!’ His grandiose affectation rewarded him with a silvery peal of laughter, and she turned to put away her sketches.

‘Nay, but let me look,’ he protested, ‘Ah! Yes, this one is too good. One might think thou didst strive to excel beyond decorative. Foul indeed! At least, thou dost not cast off thy fair raiment for trousers and shirts, but the fineness of this picture doth worry me!’

Katrina pouted and sat on her feet atop the chaise. A cloud of soft grey purple settled round her from her gathered skirt, matched beautifully with her pearl embroidered bodice. This and the delicate ribbons streaming from her capped sleeves showed her in no danger of donning a man’s shirt, as her suitor well knew, and she sat silent as he in turn praised or criticized her work. Immersing herself in a wrap of olive green velvet, she waited as the sun further declined, and the dimming light forced Horatius to surrender the sketches.

‘And wilt thou not say aye to a nuptial date? Your guardian is game for any time, as thou knowest well,’ he said, a touch of impatience clipping his polite words with flattering diction.

‘Alas, but I promised my dear nurse, now gone, to wait a year before saying aye to any man, however swayed my heart may be in his favour.’

‘Well, then let us be wed the day after we have known one another a year! I can tell thee it now; our anniversary is fixed in my mind.’

Katrina laughed, ‘Thou sophist! I must know thee a year before saying if I shalt marry thee.’

‘How like the feminine to so demure!’ he said getting up and pacing with leonine majesty, his hand on the hilt of his rapier to prevent any awkward clicking. He turned to her again. ‘I suppose my impatience doth me little credit.’

Katrina smiled with the sweetness at which a coquette contrives, but only the natural may attain. ‘What is a year to the rest of our lives, Horatio? Though, I refrain from putting my promise in words, thou must surely know the inclination of my heart’--a bell rang--'Hark, the supper bell! Thou shalt surely stay this even? I prepared thy favourites to be served in the marble room, marking how well thou admired the sea and its air from that abode's open walls.’

Horatius smiled at this gentle consideration, for he did love the sea never so well as from that room and in her presence. ‘I will be glad to sup with thee, my heart, for I hunger from not dining, and all day my soul has been on the doldrums.’

‘Let us hope then," she teased, "that there are waves on the ocean.’

I take God and all the world to witness that I have been to you a true, humble and obedient wife.
- Catherine of Aragon

Once in the fifteenth century, there was a troubled, young, English prince born to a morally bankrupt father and second in line to a brother who was equal to their father in personal laxity. Though devoted to the Faith and to study, this younger royal would likely have been distracted, sometime in his thirteenth or fourteenth year, by the many whisperings in court of the desperate struggle of the English to outpace the King of Scotland by securing a Spanish princess as bride for the heir to the English throne.

The turn of the tide in Spain--effected by Isabella's succession of her ineffectual half-brother, united with the efforts of her husband--had restored order in the now bonded realms of Aragon and Castille. So impressed were the British lords that they had taken arms to assist in the
Reconquista, and wrought the beginning of what might have been a strong alliance betwixt Spain and England.

When the beautiful, sprightly, Spanish princess, Catherine, arrived at last on Britain's shore, Henry VII gloated. His son, Arthur, leered, and the young Henry VIII fell in love. So much so, that when he came of age he took no heed of his deceased father's connivance after a more profitable marriage for the new heir to the throne (Arthur having died from syphilis). After all, England now had the royal, Spanish widow--and cheaply too, as she was nearly starving in the damp castle where Arthur so quickly met his end. However, Henry immediately wed the still beautiful woman, though she was seven years his senior.

She became bone of his bone in everyway. His confidante, his aid, his co-ruler. She was willing to ride out with the troops to cheer them or to act as regent while he was abroad. In the early stages of her misfortunes in child-bearing, the 'Defender of the Faith' at first consoled her, bearing the pain with his wife as a true husband.
But then, for some horrific reason, Henry VIII lost the Faith, or rather, he did his best to lose it.

Popular culture for once has it quite right when it either sternly or jokingly states that only the poison of lust can truly account for the king's defection. The argument of requiring a male heir or the scruples over the possibility of incest are as feeble as claims that Cardinal Wolsey was papist or that St. Thomas More was a pettifogger.
Did Henry want a son? Undoubtedly. Did he need one? Come now! This was not the world that the Left would make it out to be.

Catherine was the daughter of the woman who had had the naked sword of sovereignty borne before her in the procession of her coronation--the woman and the
one who had taken her nation's destiny back. When her husband, Ferdinand, felt a tinge of macho resentment at his wife's independence, she gently reminded him that as they only had daughters at that point in their marriage, even the feminine right to rule must be recognized. Ferdinand conceded this argument, and it is unlikely that Henry VIII was less reasonable.

Turning aside a moment--it is bitterly ironic that Henry's son would perish from the disease Henry contracted in attempting to beget him. The rotund monarch's daughters would be his only successors, and yes, they remained on the throne until their deaths.

Did Henry truly have scruples over taking his brother's wife? What! after receiving a dispensation allowing the marriage from the Vicar of Christ in whose authority he believed? In fact, it was a dispensation that was only necessary in form, as Arthur's health did not permit him to consummate his brief marriage to Catherine. It is true that we have only the queen's word for this, but also no reason to distrust it. Her devotion to the truth and the physical condition of her bridegroom support her word.

Futhermore--concerning the king's conscience again--the same reasoning that would have nursed uneasiness in Henry's conscience would also have clearly forbidden him to have wed Anne Boleyn. Was she not the sister of Henry's former mistress? Where did those fastidious reservations fly? For whatever vile, sensual working in his mind, Henry was bent on union with a temperamental shrew, and likely for a reason as petty as this: Catherine's bloom was fading. As Hilaire Belloc said, the mind of a Tudor was acute, but not large.

What stood in this Tudor's way was the Church to whom he had always been devoted. He had hated the Protestant Revolution--both its doctrines and its habits from the beginning, but when Holy Mother Church would not let him have his way, he broke off all ties with Rome. Again, he was likely acting through his passions only, not seeing the ruin in store for the world of Christendom.

Henry then cruelly separated his wife from their daughter and left his spouse to die in the rotten hole from which he had previously rescued her. For the next 59 years (interrupted by the five year reign of Mary Tudor I), Henry VIII and Elizabeth I would spend their reigns stamping out vibrant English Catholicism via looting, persecution, and mass murder. A secular historian, who was documenting this era, spoke thus while touring a former home of Catholic nobility:

'What happened to Catholicism which had been so strong in England?' he opened a trapdoor, familiar to well taught schoolchildren as a priest's 'hidey hole,' and said curtly, 'It disappeared down here.'

What was left behind after this persecution? What was this new 'Anglican' Church? It looked like the Church of Rome ('tainted' with the 'gross shadow of popery' according to the Puritan and Pilgrim, William Bradford). But it was very much as if a man had murdered the woman he loved, constructed a machine, and did his best to fashion it after her image and being. Did this sect Henry fashioned to soothe his anti-Reformation sensibilities have any substance to it?

Cardinal Newman observed in the Development of Christian Doctrine that Protestantism, having rebelled against any religious authority, ritual, or devotion, often fades into agnosticism or atheism when it introduces logical speculation into its doctrine.

England's religious revolution was truly engineered by the powerful rich, the erstwhile 'reformers,' and the deluded Henry VIII. Of these three parties, that errant monarch died. The men who sought to revive 'primitive Christianity' quickly became irrelevant. Albania was left with a puppet of the opportunist aristocrats and the merchants who lived on generation after generation.

Their puppet of a church undoubtedly lost any right to the name 'creed' some time ago.

'I believed in the Church I joined, but it has been revealed to have
no doctrine of its own. I personally think it has gone past the point of no return.' _Bishop Broadhurst [emphasis mine]

The disillusionment of orthodox Anglican bishops brought droves of converts into the Catholic Church last year. Now the American Episcopalians have been removed from the Anglican Communion's ecumenical dialogues. The African Anglican Church is wedged further and further apart from the modernist errors of the Anglican community. Some Anglican converts are even speaking of regaining the churches stolen from Rome long ago. One may at last be seeing the return of Mary's Dowry, at least as far as believers are concerned. The majority of England is unabashedly secular.

It's strange that it has taken so many centuries for the cleavage in England to show signs of healing. What would have been a slight tug of war between monarch and pope in any previous age, was a complete severance due both to England's economic circumstances and Europe's revolutionary climate. Henry VIII managed to destroy everything he cared for: Catherine, the Church's place in England, and within a century and two years, the monarchy.

I have heard it said that there is no such thing as private sin. Every time we look up to the Heaven and shake our fist, every time we say 'no' to Reality, we can be sure that we will not be able to keep what we have done to ourselves. Failing in our duties, failing those we love the most, and failing God are crimes too great to be contained in our personal lives. They will spill out into the world, and we will have made ourselves part of what's wrong with this life.
Monday, June 7, 2010

'Chodźcie z nami!' It was the same cry that the valiant members of Poland's Solidarity movement would send out to their countrymen that, fearing Communist retaliation, would stand on the sidelines of the freedom marches. Now it rose up from a triumphant procession bearing one of their champion's relics. 'Come with us!' they cried. One could imagine Father Jerzy's voice still amongst them.

'Shall we join them?' Dorota suggested, standing beside me on the bridge in Wilanów. She, her husband, my friend
Michał, and I had skipped nine of the fourteen kilometres of the march from Plac Piłsudskiego to the Basilica of God's Providence by taking the metro. Andrzej, being a photographer, wished to capture the crowd as it approached beneath the bridge (alas, I lost all of my photos due to an act of complete absent-mindedness). Dorota was twelve weeks pregnant, while I was wearing shoes appropriate for Mass, but not for trekking (we had not even known about the procession). Michał had braved the blazing sun for a better view of the Mass and was a little spent (more than a little pink) from those hours standing in the open. We did not feel too guilty for the shortcut and quite happily accepted the invitation to rejoin the procession.

Watching the crowd pass by--hundreds of thousands, a sea of humanity--I recognized many groups I had seen during Mass. Even in the square, I had not had a proper grasp of their numbers, though the three thousand priests serving the faithful had been administering Holy Communion long after the Mass's dismissal and some time after the bishops had left with Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko's (Yer-zeh Pop-ee-eh-wushko) relics. I wondered then how we would even find our way to a ciborium, until I looked up and saw the tall, circular signs, painted with the chalice and the Host, the grapes and the wheat. They resembled Hosts themselves--hovering over the heads of the people, and so we found our way the the side of a priest and dropped to our knees on the pavement to receive Our Lord.

I hadn't minded waiting. The longer one has before receiving the Host, the more time one has to prepare himself. Of course, I am never ready to receive the most wondrous Mystery in Creation Immemorial, but Blessed Jerzy had helped me to prepare myself at his own Mass, the Mass celebrating his
elevation to the altar and to the ranks of the holy martyrs of the Church's veneration.
One does not have the Beatific Vision on this Earth. We are also not yet fit for it, though we do hunger to behold Sum Qui Sum forever. To make ourselves fit, we have to learn to enjoy gazing on Him here and now, but how can we do that if we do not deign to look into the mirrors His glory here on Earth?
Suppose I had seen a beautiful woman and wished to describe her to someone. Would I give them an impression of her loveliness by articulating her features directly? No, I would say, 'She looked like Olivia Hussey.' If I wanted to describe a man's regality of manner? 'He was even more polished than Paul Henreid.' A remarkable beer? 'Do you remember that Trappist ale we had at the
Flying Saucer in Nashville? Well, this one was even better!'

Yesterday, I felt goosebumps all up and down my limbs as the Creed concluded and the Liturgy of the Eucharist began. I had read the Scriptures for the Mass via the Internet--all of them about widows losing sons, so poignant for anyone beholding the face of Bl. Jerzy's mother. I had caught only a few words here and there of the homily, and I knew the Liturgy of the Saints said at the beginning of Mass well enough, but the words of Transubstantiation were carved on my heart. In spite of that, the miraculous moment usually still caught me off guard. Today, however, I had a special assistant.

As I imagined Christ at the Last Supper, I tried to also picture His arrest and torture. Suddenly, I could see the face of Bl. Jerzy now, his poor flesh being subjected to the most animalistic of beatings, to abuses that would take his life. His agony, so clear and present to me, knitted me closer to that of Our Lord's. His bloodied, blackened visage was one with the Face of the Shroud.

...whereof I Paul am made a minister. Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for His Body, which is the Church. (Colossians I:23-24)

Christ's Divine Passion is complete, but the Body of Christ, composed of so many fallible, imperfect members,
still has much to accomplish. One sees it too clearly on this Earth through which 'Russia has spread her errors.' The poison of secularism, anti-familial sentiment, anti-patriotism, and anti-Christ ideology have contaminated every First World nation at least on this planet.

Even members of the only, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church shrug their shoulders at the reign of secularism and sneer at the social kingship of Jesus Christ. As St. Paul said, we have much to strive for.

Work, especially hard work, shapes love and social justice. It happens only when work is ruled by the proper moral order. If there is no moral order at work, in place of justice creeps hurt, and in place of love - hate. That is why those who in recent decades have destroyed and are still destroying the moral order do such harm to the working people and the whole society. When they want to replace Christian morality, rooted in a thousand years of tradition, against the will of all with so-called secular morality, in a Christian country there will always be a purulent wound. (Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko, Homily of 4 December, 1983)

Poland is still bleeding from this wound, and the other nations of the world do not even know how injured they are. The Faithful who do see the errors of Mammon and Moloch do not find in themselves either the courage to flout conventions or the vision to see the Natural Law beyond the present customs of man.

We swallow modernist 'history' and bend to the 'official' interpretation. We stand in awe of empirical science, as if it were even sure of its own principles, and concede its right to pronounce moral dictums on us. We cringe in the shadows of sacred cows and say 'aye' to Leftists for fear of being branded 'sexist' (for saying men and women are different), 'racist' (for saying that people of all races are capable of providing for themselves), or 'homophobic' (no 'fear' actually being required, you need only think the reproductive organs are primarily for reproduction). We may not love this world, but we also do not seek to change it.

Blessed Jerzy died a victim of Communism and all the secular evils it had propogated. The hubris of this system's fathers has brought its gavel of judgement crashing down again and again, but never on the greedy heads whom it claims to despise, but those of the innocents it promised to liberate. Poland and many other nations of the world have suffered as the modernist judge's sound block for nearly a century, and in 1984, Father Jerzy's pummelled body provided us with a vivid, unquestionable image of his nation's travail.
Friday, June 4, 2010
This world thinks it knows what we are. It is satisfied with the remnants of biased propaganda for history and media prejudice for current facts, and we allow these assumptions to go unchallenged. We are losing ground. It's time to reach out to people of good will, to stop responding to erroneous allegations as if they were legitimate, and to recall our mission in life: to perform works of mercy, both for man's body and for his soul. From the womb to the tomb, pax vobiscum.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lauda, Sion Salvatorem Sion, lift thy voice and sing:
Lauda ducem et pastorem
Praise thy Saviour and thy King
In hymnis et canticis.
Praise with hymns thy Shepherd true.

Quantum potes, tantum aude;
All thou canst, do thou endeavour,
Quia major omni laude,
Yet thy praise can equal never
Nec laudare sufficis.
Such as merits thy great King.

Laudis thema specialis,
See today before us laid
Panis vivus et vitalis
The living and life-giving Bread!
Hodie proponitur.
Theme for praise and joy profound!

Quem in sacrae mensa coenae,
The same which at the sacred board
Turbae fratrum duodenae
Was, by our incarnate Lord,
Datum non ambigitur.
Giv'n to His Apostles round.

Sit laus plena, sit sonora,
Let the praise be loud and high;
Sit jucunda, sit decora
Sweet and tranquil be the joy
Mentis jubilatio.
Felt today in every breast.

Dies enim solemnis agitur,
On this festival divine
In qua mensae prima recolitur
Which records the origin
Hujus institutio.
Of the glorious Eucharist.

In hac mena novi Regis,
On this table of the King,
Novum Pascha novae legis,
Our new Paschal offering
Phase vetus terminat.
Brings to end the olden rite.

Vetustatem novitas,
Here, for empty shadows fled,
Umbram fugat veritas,
Is reality instead;
Noctem lux eliminat.
Here, instead of darkness, light.

Quod in coena Christus gessit,
His own act, at supper seated,
Faciendum hoc expressit:
Christ ordain'd to be repeated,
In sui memoriam.
In His memory divine:

Docti sacris institutis,
Wherefore now, with adoration,
Panem, vinum in salutis
We, the Host of our salvation
Consecramus hostiam.
Consecrate from bread and wine.

Dogma datur Christianis,
Hear what Holy Church maintaineth,
Quod in carnem tranist panis,
That the bread its substance changeth
Et vinum in sanguinem.
Into Flesh, the wine to Blood.

Quod non capis, quod non vides,
Doth it pass thy comprehending?
Animosa firmat fides,
Faith, the law of sight transcending
Praeter rerum ordinem.
Leaps to things not understood.

Sub diversis speciebus,
Here beneath these signs are hidden
Signis tantum, et non rebus,
Priceless things, to sense forbidden;
Latent res eximae.
Signs, not things, are all we see.

Caro cibus, sanguis potus:
Flesh from bread, and Blood from wine,
Manet tamen Christus totus,
Yet is Christ in either sign
Sub utraque specie.
All entire, confessed to be.

A sumente non concisus,
They, who of Him here partake,
Non confractus, non divisus:
Sever not, nor rend, nor break:
Integer accipitur.
But, entire, their Lord receive.

Sumit unus, sumunt mille:
Whether one or thousands eat,
Quantum isti, tantum ille:
All receive the self-same meat,
Nec sumptus consumitur.
Nor the less for others leave.

Sumunt boni, sumunt mali:
Both the wicked and the good
Sorte tamen inaequali,
Eat of this celestial Food:
Vitae vel interitus.
But with ends how opposite!

Mors est malis, vita bonis:
Here 'tis life: and there 'tis death:
Vide paris sumptionis
The same, yet issuing to each
Quam sit dispar exitus.
In a difference infinite.

Fracto demum sacramento,
Nor a single doubt retain,
Ne vailles, sed memento,
When they break the Host in twain,
Tantum esse sub fragmento,
But that in each part remains
Quantum toto tegitur.
What was in the whole before.

Nulla rei fit scissura:
Since the simple sign alone
Signi tantum fit fractura:
Suffers change in state or form,
qua nec status, nec statura
The signified remaining one
Signati minuitur.
And the same for evermore.

Ecce panis angelorum,
Lo! upon the altar lies,
Factus cibus viatorum:
Hidden deep from human eyes,
Vere panis filiorum,
Bread of Angels from the skies,
Non mittendus canibus.
Made the food of mortal man;

In figuris praesignatur,
Children's meat to dogs denied.
Cum Isaac immolatur:
In old types presignified:
Agnus Paschae deputatur:
In the manna heaven-supplied,
Datur mann patribus.
In Isaac, and the Paschal lamb.

Bone Pastor, panis vere,
Jesu! Shepherd of the sheep!
Jesu, nostri miserere:
Thou Thy flock in safety keep.
Tu nos peasce, nos tuere:
Living Bread! Thy life supply:
Tu nos bona fac videre
Strengthen us, or else we die:
In terra viventium.
Fill us with celestial grace!

Tu qui cuncta scis et vales:
Thou, who feedest us below!
Qui nos pascis his mortales:
Source of all we have or know!
Tuos ibi commensales,
Grant that with Thy Saints above,
Cohaeredes et sodales fac
Sitting at the feast of love,
sanctorum civium. Amen.
We may see Thee face to face. Amen.

This past, sweet Thursday, the whole of Poland slowed. Gently, she lifted herself from the whirlpool of refuse and confusion and fell into orbit around the true Sun, signified in the golden monstrance upheld by a priest's veiled hands. How the heart within me was revived as my neighbours and I processed through streets devoid of machinery-gazing at the monstrance, the banners, the statues, the priests sumptuously robed according to their office, young boys dressed to serve the altar, and little girls in their white, Communion dresses. The only sounds were those of birds, of wind, and of the human voice. The only words spoken were those of charity and wisdom, plainly felt, as well as said, by the many walking beneath the searing, noonday sun.

It is generally considered that the modern nation, in order to defeat hatred, must also outlaw the expression of love. The Church must receive no favour from the State, even though the constituents of the State are one and the same with her, these constituents ought not to unveil the dearest loves seated within their hearts. In a day where every man is 'entitled to his opinion', provided that he does not think himself right, (and Heaven forbid he act on what he thinks right), it has been a blessing to live in a land where that disease has not spread.

Politics is a science meant to keep the commonwealth functioning. Science is an art that is employed for invention and natural curiosity. History is the study of man's past either for pleasure or to benefit the other studies. Art is for entertainment. Mathematics is that pure science which governs the mechanical arts and first forms how man receives information through his senses. Language is the means of communication. It is only Philosophy and Theology that can dare to tell men how to act, because contemplation of the Good is their proper sphere alone!

And if the purpose of the State is more than simply making it easier to survive, though Hobbes and Locke dismissed it as simply that, but the right and natural organ of the social and rational animal, as Aristotle and Plato insisted, then is it not the State's duty to promote the Good? To make happiness possible for man? While it cannot encroach on man's individual conscience (for to deprive man of his volition is to make him an animal), it should cultivate the environment that natural law demands for its citizens to act uprightly.

Rather, has not the State turned all the passionate Rites of beauty, truth, and holiness into something dirty and to be kept out of the public eye for fear the impressionable would fall in love with it? Whether the individual agrees or not, he bows his head to the dictum 'Separation of Church and State' with more unquestioning obedience than I prayed the Creed as a child. Man has lost his freedom to the monolithic structure of modern law, which is only the dictum of other men. The mechanic has left off operating the mill to worship the wheel, not paying any heed to the water that turns it. Few and blessed are the peoples that stoop at the edge to quench their thirst.

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Boze Cialo by Rachel Rudd is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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Domine, spero quia mundum vicisti. Lord, I trust that Thou hast overcome the world. Panie, ufam, żeś pokonał świat.
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