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For the last week or so, I’ve been seeing references to Reformation Day, which is apparently today.  I’m not sure exactly what there is to celebrate about the Reformation, but whatever.

Needless to say, I will be celebrating by going to Confession, praying to Saints, seeking indulgences for the poor souls in Purgatory, and drinking to the Holy Father’s good health and long life.

In short, it’s going to be a pretty typical Saturday.

Except that I turn 33 tomorrow!  :D

Happy All Hallows Eve!

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The first week of November is dedicated in a special way to remembering the dead, and especially the poor souls in Purgatory.  There are plenty of opportunities to seek plenary indulgences especially for the poor souls.  We should take special advantage of this time, perchance to bring eternal peace and joy to suffering souls.

Catholics can do more than simply say, “Rest in peace.”  We can take action.  And to do so is a noble act of charity and mercy.

From the Enchiridion of Indulgences:

1-8 Nov.:  Visit a cemetery

An indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed.

The indulgence is plenary each day from the 1st to the 8th of November; on other days of the year it is partial.

2 Nov.:  Visit a church or oratory

A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who on the day dedicated to the Commemoration of all the faithful departed, piously visit a church, a public oratory or — for those entitled to use it — a semipublic oratory.


In visiting the church or oratory, it is required, according to Norm 16 of the same Apostolic Constitution, that “one Our Father and the Creed be recited.”

5 Nov.:  First Thursday during the Year for Priests.  See this post for more information.

And for more information on indulgences in general, see this post!  Recall that there are special conditions to receive a plenary indulgence (if these are not fulfilled, the indulgence will be partial).  Also, it is possible to obtain only one plenary indulgence per day, but if we all unite our efforts, we can make a huge difference!

It’s been a beautiful autumn day, sunny and bright, but very cool!  The leaf-turning (such as it is in these parts) has begun.  The colors are rather sparse, but when you do see them, they are quite lovely!  We have some maples, which are always glorious!

I am feeling much refreshed and recharged.  I think my medication is working nicely; I have greater energy and emotional stability, I think.  Thank God.

Prayer has been coming more easily as well.  I went to church this evening after work to pray the Rosary.  It is always a sublimely beautiful and peaceful place.  A holy place.  Today, though, it was even more so.  Perhaps it was the low, autumn evening light… what a sweet and enchanting atmosphere, so redolent of this season.  I looked at the Crucifix.  It is life-size and dominates the entire space.  And the Lord’s body looked so alive.  Less like carved and painted wood, and more like living flesh.  As I prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries, I felt like I was there on that first Good Friday.  It made me tremble.  I felt such a surge of love and gratitude.  It’s all too easy to look there and see just a decoration.  This evening was much different.  It was profound.

I’ve also felt a surge of creativity.  I’m trying to drag myself away from Aubrey & Maturin (I’m almost through the 3rd book now!) so that I can work on my own writing.  Of course, that includes the blog, for all love!  :)

I honestly haven’t been up to writing on religion.  So here is a fun excerpt from Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian! Captain Jack Aubrey has come to fetch Dr. Stephen Maturin for a fancy soirée at the commandant’s place.

“Must I put on silk stockings?”

“Certainly you must put on silk stockings. And do show a leg, my dear chap: we shall be late without you spread a little more canvas.”

“You are always in such hurry,” said Stephen peevishly, groping among his possessions. A Montpellier snake glided out with a dry rustling sound and traversed the room in a series of extraordinarily elegant curves, its head held up some eighteen inches above the ground.

“Oh, oh, oh,” cried Jack, leaping on to a chair. “A snake!”

“Will these do?” Asked Stephen. “They have a hole in them.”

“Is it poisonous?”

“Extremely so. I dare say it will attack you, directly. I have very little doubt of it. Was I to put the silk stockings over my worsted stockings, sure the hole would not show: but then, I should stifle with heat. Do not you find it uncommonly hot?”

“Oh, it must be two fathoms long. Tell me, is it really poisonous? On your oath now?”

“If you thrust your hand down its throat as far as its back teeth you may meet a little venom; but not otherwise. Malpolon monspessulanus is a very innocent serpent. I think of carrying a dozen aboard, for the rats–ah, if only I had more time, and if it were not for this foolish, illiberal persecution of reptiles… What a pitiful figure you do cut upon that chair, to be sure. Barney, Barney, buck or doe, Has kept me out of Channel Row,” he sang to the serpent; and, deaf as an adder though it was, it looked happily into his face while he carried it away.

Oh, Dr. Maturin! He is not a person I would want to make peevish! He does like to torment Capt. Aubrey at times. But he’s got a softer side. As we see, he loves animals… and they love him. (I just love the image of the snake looking happily into his face!) And he does have a true fondness for, and patience with Aubrey, even when Aubrey sticks his foot in his mouth, does something stupid, or gets into trouble… which happens pretty frequently.

As I’m learning from the 2nd book in the series, Post Captain, Maturin has a surprisingly soft side for ladies too! He makes efforts to spruce up his appearance and everything! Unfortunately, so far, the ladies often regard him much as Aubrey does: as a good friend and a trustworthy confidant. Poor Maturin!

Can you tell who my favorite character is?

I do love Aubrey too. He can be rather a clueless ass at times… but he knows, and regrets, that he can be a clueless ass. And well, it’s hard not to love Aubrey. He can be dead serious… and he can also crack you up. He’s a very open, honest person, nearly incapable of lying or being intentionally mean to anybody.

The characters are definitely one of the greatest things about this series.

It’s time for a literary/fun post.

First, as I’ve mentioned before, my friend Julie has been reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin on her podcast, Forgotten Classics.  She has completed the novel, and you can find every episode here.  I talked before about how human, how moving, and how engrossing the story is.  I am nearing the end of it, and I’ve only become more engrossed in it.  We’re now at Simon LeGree’s plantation, which is hell on earth.  We’re witnessing what happens to human beings when they are pushed to the farthest brinks of despair, steeped in evil and injustice, seemingly forsaken even by God.  In particular, we will see what happens to Uncle Tom, whose powerful faith has been relentless and seen him through so much loss and tragedy already.  What will happen to him now?  Will his soul too be crushed and his faith be in vain?  It is not looking good at all.

Anyway, I highly, highly, highly recommend that you listen in over at Forgotten Classics.  Or read the book.  It remains a very important and relevant book today.  For my part, it is inspiring me to make a greater stand against what I consider today’s greatest injustice–and a legal one, as we know: abortion.  I wish Harriet Beecher Stowe could tell us what she thinks about that.  I also wish I could write half as compellingly and as boldly as she did against the injustices of society.

For my fun reading (whenever I get a chance), I have at long last taken the many, many recommendations and exhortations I have received to begin Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series, beginning with Master and Commander.  I resisted for a long time.  I thought, “Really, now, how entertaining can a nautical story be?”  And, as I found out from page 1, the answer is: “Pretty darn entertaining!”

I am almost finished with M&C, and I have to say that I still don’t get a lot of the nautical stuff–although seeing the excellent film version did help bring the setting to life.  Even so, the characters, the dialogue, and O’Brian’s masterful command of the English language have been more than enough to keep me turning those pages!  Central, of course, is the unlikely friendship between Capt. Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin.  These guys are about as different as can be, save their mutual love of listening to and playing music.  But as I’ve found out in my own life, such unlikely friendships can often be the strongest and truest.

Somebody on YouTube called “swisskun” made some cute little cartoons that provide a loose summary of the novel.  Emphasis on “loose.”  I think they do a pretty good job of capturing the “spirit” of the story, particularly the characters and the humor.  Here are the first two parts.  The first is a bit fuzzy, but you get the point.  The second uses some of the great music from the film.

Part 1: 

Part 2:

There is a third part, as well as some miscellaneous little “Jack and Stephen” vignettes, which you can find here.

7 October, one of the most significant days in history.

On this day in 1571, near the Greek town of Lepanto, a joint navy of Christian states dealt a crushing defeat to the Turkish navy, preventing an invasion of Europe.  The defeat was so crushing that it was considered miraculous.

The victory was attributed to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, Pope St. Pius V having urged all the Catholics in Europe to pray the Rosary for victory.  Pope St. Pius V was a Dominican, and the Dominicans had long been the special custodians and propagators of the Rosary.  Tradition says that the Rosary was given to St. Dominic by the Blessed Virgin herself, as a special weapon against heresy and other dangers.  The victory at Lepanto reaffirmed the Rosary’s power.  This feast day has also been known as the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary.

Pope St. Pius V also gave Mary the title, Our Lady of Victory, and this is one of the titles under which she is Patroness of the United States, my beloved patria!

So, as a Catholic, as a Dominican, and as an American, this feast day is very special to me!

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

After a few really rough weeks, things are finally looking up.  Thanks for your prayers and support.  They surely came through for me!

I took today off work to re-charge and take care of some personal business.  It’s already borne some good fruit.  I was able to go to Confession this morning and receive the Sacrament’s superabundant graces.  And I think I will finally get my long-awaited medication today.  Thank God on both counts.

Now I need to catch up on some class-related work and correspondence… and the ever-present house chores!

Please sign this petition to the United Nations to protect the right to life and the preservation of marriage and family, in accordance with the U.N.’s own Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It is sponsored by the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM).  Their goal is 1,000,000 signatures by 10 December 2009.

Please sign and ask everybody you know to sign.

It may be a small and simple thing to do, but small gestures can add up!

The wonderful feast days keep coming!  Today we honor our most special companions and helpers, the guardian angels!

Red angel glassThere’s a special child-like quality to believing in, knowing, and praying to our holy guardians.  Child-like, but not childish.  Acknowledging our guardian angels reminds us that in God’s eyes we are children, and He loves us enough to give us mighty angels to help us safely home to Him.  Among all the wonderful gifts He has given us, the guardian angels are one of the best!

So, let us not imagine ourselves to be above thanking and praying to our guardian angels.  Let us embrace the simple, beautiful prayers that have been passed down to us:

Dear Angel, in his goodness God gave you to me to guide, protect and enlighten me, and to being me back to the right way when I go astray. Encourage me when I am disheartened, and instruct me when I err in my judgment. Help me to become more Christlike, and so some day to be accepted into the company of Angels and Saints in heaven. Amen.

Or:

Guardian Angel from heaven so bright,
Watching beside me to lead me aright,
Fold your wings ’round me,
and guard me with love,
Softly sing songs to me
of heaven above.
Amen.

Or the one my dad taught me when I was a child, which I still pray:

Angel of God,
my Guardian dear,
to whom His love
commits me here,
ever this day
be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide.
Amen.

Let us strive to be ever closer and more devoted to our holy guardians!

(photo by Lawrence, OP)

Angel of God,
my Guardian dear,
to whom His love
commits me here,
ever this day
be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide.
Amen.


I just woke from a nap and saw this out my window:

Approaching storm

And about 5 minutes later:

Approaching storm

Approaching storm

It’s starting to rain and thunder now!

This blog is brought to you by a Lay Dominican

St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us!
(Image from a painting at St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Metairie, Louisiana)

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