Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Robert Frost †1963

When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s been swinging them. …3

Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
… 27
Robert Frost (*26. iii.1874, †29. i.1963) was the finest 20th century, english language, american poet. He was the only, american poet who could have been a russian poet. Slavonic people seem to have an affinity for birches, but that is co-incidental to the allure of his work. He should be studied in all schools, in the country, no other american poet has surpassed, or even equalled, him since. Truth and beauty and depth of thought need to be appreciated and be available.

I was drawn to the poem, because I climbed birches, in the backyard, when I was small. Later as an adult, I found a spoken album of Frost reciting his work. When I read the poem, I can hear his voice.

Frost began to read an original poem at the inauguration of John Kennedy. The sun was very bright, and the glare off the snow too strong, he recited another poem* from memory. Bill Clinton, in pale imitation, tried in a similar vein with Maya Angelou playing Frost's rôle, a generation later.
*The Gift Outright
Postscriptum 9 May 2011: The few people who come to this essay wonder if Frost was Catholic. He was not. Some people count Frost an atheist. He was not. Certain propagandists are always harrowing the dead and enlisting them in their tribe. It is true that certain words of Frost are critical,that is not proof. Many people who believe also utter frustration with their belief.

Frost's mother was a Scot Presbyterian, who became a Swedenborgian. Frost grew up this and left it behind, but remaining a 'mystic'. One can see he struggles. He had defined himself as an 'Old Testament Christian'. With such serious brooding and poignant, pensive melancholy in his verse many a Catholic can easily identify with Frost; but this is true to some other believers as well.

In his last letter dictated, in hospital, addressed to, an old professor and wife, friends he talks of Christ and Salvation: "...I was just saying today how Christ posed Himself the whole problem and died for it. How can we be just in a world that needs mercy and merciful in a world that needs justice. We study and study the four biographies of Him and are left still somewhat puzzled in our daily lives...."

Robert Frost was a serious thinker, who struggled in understanding of God. He was not a common customary believer, but he believed. Frost had lived in Yankee New England, if he had an atmosphere where more Catholic thought was current, one could see him fluent with Carmelite spirituality or Sr. Faustina and Divine Mercy.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Saint Thomas Aquinas

The childlike question is asked, "who's the smartest/wisest man in history?". Some think Albert Einstein, who pointed to thermonuclear bombs. Solomon, whose vast concubinage, brought the worship of new false religions into his Kingdom, which fell in two upon his death.

I am a Thomist. Aquinas brought greek philosophy and methods into christian thought most fruitfully. The foremost of all theologians, the man who in open, come all debates, on any subject, at the university of Paris, was the winner.

He was also a poet. His favorite subject was the Eucharist. His poems became hymns, Panis angelicus, O salutarius Hostia, Tantum ergo and Adoro te
devote, latens Deitas. A quatrain taken from the last, written c.1264, impressed me a long time ago.

Pie pellicane Jesu Domine,
Me immundum munda tuo sanguine,
Cujus una stilla salvum facere
Totum mundum quit ab omni scelere.

This has many translations, even in english, I found this one in a missal. I am not sure if this is the one I first read. I typed a copy and placed it in the typewriter case. Later, I could not find it, perhaps someone used the machine and tidied the case. The metaphor of Jesus as pelican strikes others too. In a mediæval art history class,
back at Ohio University, we had a discussion on christian iconography. I did not know the religious background of my comrades, but they all seem quite surprised and taken with that mental and spiritual conception. A few of them, took it as their project and made a stained glass window, which they presented to Professor Marilyn Hunt. I would have liked to have a photograph of it.

O loving Pelican, Jesus Lord,
cleanse me, unclean, in Thy Blood,
one drop of which hath power to save
the whole world from all its sin.

Christ as Pelican, the Eucharistic Succour struck me deeply.

Others reading Saint Thomas also found gems. Monsignor Ronald Knox, in 1925, found a limerick embedded in an Aquinas selection withtin the Breviary. One often thinks of a limerick as a short, funny, sometimes bawdy poem. In Thomas there is innocence.

Sit vitiorum meorum evacuatio
Concupiscentae et libidinis exterminatio,
Caritatis et patientiae,
Humilitatis et obedientiae,
Omniumque virtutum augmentatio.

Let my viciousness be emptied,
Desire and lust banished,
Charity and patience,
Humility and obedience,
And all the virtues increased.

In the Summa, Thomas in unpoetic, extremely clear, point by point, by counterpoint explains, in crystalline logic and syllogism, many of the most important concepts of thought: Quinque via (5 proofs of God), just and unjust wars, just and unjust laws and many other matters. So much genius, and so much humility.

Student's Prayer

Creator of all things, true source of Light and Wisdom, lofty source of all Being, graciously let a ray of Your Brilliance penetrate into the darkness of my understanding and take from me the double darkness in which I have been born, sin and ignorance.

Give me a sharp sense of understanding, a retentive memory, and the ability to grasp things correctly and fundamentally. Grant me the talent of being exact in my explanations, and the ability to express myself with thoroughness and charm.

Point out the beginning, direct the progress, help in the completion.

Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen. ― St. Thomas Aquinas
*noto bene. 100th post

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The lies of gwbush junior

Float in Rosenmontag parade 2004.
Bush and his gang of seven (Colin Powell, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Ari Fleisher, Scott McClellan), "waged a carefully orchestrated campaign of misinformation about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq". False Pretenses, a report by the Center for Public Integrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism, was made available 22 January. It tallied 935 lies made by "the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003". Its verdict was: "The cumulative effect of these false statements amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable din for several critical months in the run-up to war.". Now, days have passed, how much has been seen or heard in the papers and on broadcasts about this?

When one robs a gas station, it may take a minute. Local television will repeat the video and the story. If it is particularly interesting it will make it nationally. Locally the apprehension and trial and sentencing may be followed. Here a vast network of co-ordination took place and was made on the world stage. So far the aftermath, a false and unjust war and its fallout continues, but virtually nothing on this clear and invincible verdict.

The magnitude of the lies was astronomical. One early, bald and boldface lie was Cheney's, on August 26, 2002, to the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention, "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."

The count began on Sept. 11, 2001. The lies never stopped. It was not prudent or comfortable for any resident of this country to not mouth the lies. The New York Times and the Washington Post, papers that the Republicans complain continuously about, supported and lied for bushjr.

Bush lied on the State of the Union address in 2003. Nothing was going to prevent the attack and invasion. Monday, he will give his last State of the Union address. Additional lies will follow.

Other complicit in his lies are his speechwriters, whoever they may be at any moment, for he cannot speak an unscripted sentence coherently. David J. Frum, Michael Gerson (now employed by the Washington Post), Matthew Scully, William McGurn and others who will be welcomed on the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal are minions of the father of all lies.

Pinocchio was a pleasant character for children. The lies of this creation are of a different magnitude.
Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks.

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly.

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
― from Masters Of War by Bob Dylan
*noto bene: People have complained of the lies of Bill Clinton, the last elected president. Clinton lied in order to hide his shame. Those who do this complaining, say nothing of bushjr. I put this question to you ― how is an ounce of fluff heavier than a ton of dross and dreck?

** postscriptum: Monday, Congressman Dennis Kucinich will try to begin the proper and necessary process to call for impeachment of Bush, he tried twice to introduce impeachment proceedings for Cheney.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Conversion of Saint Paul

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.
Conversion on the Way to Damascus (Conversione di San Paolo) 1601. Cerasi Chapel, Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome.

5 As the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the ancients: from whom also receiving letters to the brethren, I went to Damascus, that I might bring them bound from thence to Jerusalem to be punished.
6 And it came to pass, as I was going, and drawing nigh to Damascus at midday, that suddenly from heaven there shone round about me a great light:
7 And falling on the ground, I heard a voice saying to me: Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
8 And I answered: Who art thou, Lord? And he said to me: I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.
9 And they that were with me, saw indeed the light, but they heard not the voice of him that spoke with me.
― Acts of the Apostles xxii.

Our lives can gather from reflection upon the liturgical year, now we are in the first interlude of ordinary time. Today is celebrated the conversion of Saint Paul, no one else’s is so commemorated. Supra he describes the moment of his conversion. An event he refers and alludes to again in scripture, and scripture is a minimum of all recounting for the faith . Paul must have regaled people again and again in this illuminating and rapturous episode. This is the most dramatic moment of his life and it is one that brings him joy.

We are called to convert. If we are believers on some plane of mental acceptance, acquiescence, assent or acknowledgment, it is not enough. We need a deeper and more thorough acceptance, one with a full welcoming. A mere admiration of Christ at a distance is not enough.

The spectacular moment most probably will not come to us. Some may begin their road to Damascus as did Paul, an angry, hateful, persecuting zealot. Remember, he admits to holding the cloaks of those who martyred Stephen, and his intent, was to go to Damascus, to gather more christians to try and kill. Divine intervention altered his path. For Him and those he persecuted, he would travel, further still and continuously. Paul would be beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned and finally beheaded. The drama did not stop. This moment on the road to Damascus changed his itinerary. What of ours and others? Now, Saul of Tarsus was a fervent enemy; Paul of Damascus, several cities of Greece and Rome was a steadfast friend, even when in fear and trembling.

To those who are converted, the more likely route is a slow travel towards conversion. This event, that encounter, this visit, that word brings the destination to Jesus, his church on earth, and then in heaven.

Supra Caravaggio, in oil and pigment
, focuses our attention. The picture is not cropped, it is tight and crowded. Paul supine and outstretched with the light above him. The horse and an old man, perhaps a groom, are there ― not particularly challenged or involved. It is Paul who is changed.

As Paul came to Damascus to persecute christians, to-day christians are fleeing persecution in Iraq and they are on the road to Damascus. What shall they find?
In Cleveland, Ohio, there was a church on millionaires’ row, Euclid Avenue, called St. Paul, an Anglican church, visited by, then president, Teddy Roosevelt for the wedding of the daughter of Mark Hanna, the campaign manager and fixer for McKinley and Roosevelt. The congregation moved to the suburbs and the building sold to the catholic diocese. Three orders of Franciscans can be found there: the Capuchins, the Poor Clares and seculars. The church is now the Conversion of Saint Paul.
*itaque carissimi mei sicut semper obœdistis non ut in præsentia mei tantum sed multo magis nunc in absentia mea
cum metu et tremore vestram salutem operamini
Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more now in my absence,) with fear and trembling work out your salvation.― ii.12 Philippians
Paul does not mention a horse, of course, but a horse we all picture. The word 'falling' leads us to that picture.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The police, the citizenry and the law

There is a lot of thankless and difficult travail in the routine of a law officer, whom works the ugly streets and neighborhoods of America. This has to take much anguish and stress in body, mind, soul and social and family life. Such men often view corrupt, degraded, wretched and horrible aspects of society and the people within that society.

Still a policeman is a member of the commonwealth. He is not outside humanity, but within. He is of the same blood and sinew as the rest of men. He is not more than or less than other folk. Yet, he transgresses, quite often, without limit. I have heard in the southern idiom, "... the law", in reference to the person and his office. This may be metaphorically, and unfortunately de facto, true; it is not de jure and intrinsically true.

There are some artistic creations of american popular art and theatre that are wonderful. In the black and white era of the cathodique cinema comedy, there were three programmes with three prominent lead actors ― Jackie, Lucy and Andy. Andy Griffith portrayed Andy Taylor, Andy of Mayberry. I believe he was and is unrecognised in his ability and sly, gentle cleverness. Shakespeare had Dogberry as a gendarme buffoon. Andy was iconic. The english bobby is recognised for not carrying a gun (he is armed with club) and people who have not been to England know and expect this. No one thinks of an american cop without his prop. Andy of Mayberry is an ideal, he is not the one you will meet at a traffic stop or on the street.

I try to speak circumspectively on this, police perform a necessary duty in society. There is much temptation in weakness of temperament and love of liberty and justice. That failure has the police act without constraint. A good and respective society does not allow this. The individual has to realise this, sometimes in advocacy and sometimes in self-protection.

The first amendment is our cloak of protection. It is not an armour of miraculous inviolability. We are legally guaranteed its domain, more so in theory than in reality. Also, law is to be reflexive, commutative, and distributive. Of course, when we open our eyes and lift our fingers to the wind, we see this is not so. We are required to mouth "liberty and justice for all", but honest and aware men know that is a fiction. It is the totalitarian party line.

There is an ancient joke, where the immigrant plaintively tells:
Yea, yea, free contree. Evryvone say free countree. I go vrk -- boss yell na me, I go na street -- polees yell na me, I go home -- vife yell na me. Yea, yea, free countree -- my a**.
The first part is the materialist, and here the capitalist system, that uses men and their labor as only means of production. The second, is my concern, the police as a demi-tsar that is used by government, and allowed by the government, to inflict its and his will on the citizenry. The policeman is also a citizen. What is for the one, must be for the other.

The written law recognises free speech and free assembly. Police, and this extends to the national guard, hired thugs, "called security", and other agents, have this wicked tendency not to so recognise. Why crossing the street can avail a dozen indictments. And beyond this, they often commit criminal acts, in their own right, having nothing to do with lawful exercise. And, further, the state, being the courts and the other two branches of government, are loathe to exercise their office to prohibit, prosecute and punish the errant officer of the law.

There are categories of falsity to persecute the citizenry: resisting arrest, interfering with a law officer, provoking a riot, unlawful assembly, failure to disperse and other creative charges. Then there are complete lies: assault and battery of an officer, and the entire canon of criminal behavior when NONE transpired. The state, without consideration, rubberstamps guilty as charged. The word of the cop is assumed as the word of God and non-assailable.

When there is a camera, permanent visual witness exists. The police and state make effective use of it. When an arrestee is shown the tape, he concedes and surrenders, far more often then not. But when the film shows the citizen wrongly used and the perpetrator wears the badge, the matter is different. When made public, the police and their defenders twist credibility beyond rationality in defense, while the common citizen had he Ciceronic tongue and Aristotelian logic still would not prevail his innocence when accused. The police are quite willing to have others under picture surveillance; they do not want pictures of themselves taken. The Rodney King and the Los Angeles Police batting instructors should be an obvious example of such. The light of justice throws the deeds of darkness to view. God's first recorded words were, "fiat lux".* People have the right to use a camera. If the camera and its user are taken, that is theft and kidnapping. People have the right to photograph and film police, buildings and everything else. The orwellian Patriot Act is non-constitutional in many of its protocols.

In travel, we often use automobiles. The police act as highwaymen. The stops are investigative expeditions. Being right is of little and, often, counterproductive defense. Prudent and preventative judgment suggests certain protective measures. Every possible light needs to be operating correctly. Again and again, the statement, whether accurate or no, is used, "Your ____light was out". Take this lead away from them. Another thing that provokes cops are bumper stickers. Tactfully, do not display your opinion, especially if it is considered "liberal" or "critical of the establishment", you have walls in your abode for that purpose, try not to make your residence a jail cell. The true proof of these stops being against legal propriety is not when one is cited or arrested, but when no action is taken, not even a warning is issued or spoken. That is an admission you were stopped, in order, to be stopped.

An allied area are sobriety checks. I have been stopped several times. Some cars are stopped and some are not. I am questioned to why I am on the road, where my travel began, where my residence is, where is my destination, have I been drinking ... You have the right to remain silent because everything can and will be used against you. Being non co-operative is perilous. There are half a dozen patrol cars, more cops, light stands, et cetera ... This is defended, applauded, sponsored and defensively justified by the government, the media, MADD and other jasagers. The whole process casts out a large net and comes up with a small catch and our civil liberties are trashed.

Another is the issuing of tickets for revenue gathering. This is another form of taxation, a taxation by extortion. There are certain municipalities that use this as a major source of income. The officers' of government livelihood are maintained by that income. People object to a bum begging a dollar, yet they are required to pay a bogus citation or a warrant for their arrest appears. The next traffic stop your license, et cetera are processed and you are arrested.

*Genesis i. 3 dixitque Deus fiat lux et facta est lux
And God said: Be light made. And light was made. — drc
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. — kjv

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

National Day of Penance

In all the dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when January 22 falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life. The Mass “For Peace and Justice” (no. 22 of the “Masses for Various Needs”) should be celebrated with violet vestments as an appropriate liturgical observance for this day. General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 373
It has been 35 years since the Supreme Court has decided the Roe versus Wade case*. A case, that turned out to have begun on a false premise, which is immaterial in this legal system, that legalized procured abortions. Norma McCorvey was the plaintiff and her original tale was fiction. In the years since, she had regretted her rôle. Her life story has been wrapped in this drama. While working for the abortion industry she became friendly with Operation Rescue. She was baptised by its national director, Flip Benham in Dallas, in 1995.
"After many months of prayer, and many worried nights, I am making the joyous announcement today that I have decided to join the Mother Church of Christianity--- by which I of course mean the Roman Catholic Church." ― Norma McCorvey, 1998.
She now runs a pro-life ministry, Crossing Over Ministry, previously called: Roe No More Ministry. How often have you read or heard, that Jane Roe is against abortion?

I am sure to-day, that, there will be a march in the District of Columbia concerning abortion. Will it be reported? Where the people are is not what, often, concerns corporate media, national or local. We have the right to speak and assemble.†
Doe vs. Bolton
† recognised and guaranteed, not created, by the first amendment of the Constitution

The Ole Huck and Mitt campaign

Michael Huckabee will make a lot of great press. He is not the establishment candidate and it is not the non-Democratic party's manner to nominate someone not in the establishment. It would be extremely fun watching Ole Huck being the candidate. The man actually believes in somethings and he can speak fine english without an affected accent, unlike the wretch who was that party's candidate the last two go rounds.
  • "You don't like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do with your flag. ... If somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we'd tell them what to do with the pole. That's what we'd do," ― campaign rally in Myrtle Beach, Carolina del Sur, Thursday, 1 17 08.
  • "I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family." What is he alluding to? and how many times?
  • "I'm pretty sure there will be duck-hunting in heaven and I can't wait!", spoken to the NRA .
The Council of Conservative Citizens had a conference in 1993, in Memphis, Tennessee. Lt. Governor Mike Huckabee was to speak, but since the then governor was out of state, law obliged Ole Huck to remain in Arkansas. Huckabee sent a videotape speech. The next year the conference was in Little Rock, but another speaker, that year, would have made it politically unwise for Ole Huck to be there. This was a successor organ of the White Citizens Councils, which were the civic representatives of the klan.

Ole Huck is going for the vote that Tom Watson of Georgia used to get, the populism of the klan against the moneyed interests of the establishment. The confederate flag, the NRA, visiting John Hagee, the anti-Brownback secret campaign in Iowa, ties together the redneck, white sheet constituency of the Republican party.

At the photo opportunity, or "the media availability", in lieu of press coverage, 1 17 08, at a national chain, office supply store in Columbia, South Carolina, a little drama occurred :
Romney: "... I don't have lobbyists running my campaign. I don't have lobbyists that are tied to my --"

Glen Johnson (Associated Press): "That's not true governor. That is not true. Ron Kaufman's a lobbyist. How can you say that you don't have lobbyists?"

Romney: "Did you hear what I said? Did you hear what I said Glen?"

Glen Johnson: "That you don't have lobbyists running your campaign."

Romney: "I said I don't have lobbyists running my campaign and he's not running my campaign."

Glen Johnson: "He's one of your senior advisers." ...

... Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom: "Don't be argumentative with the candidate".
The reporter spoke in an upset and almost whiny tone, but asked a real question and an unwanted interview broke out, that had no place in the programme. Romney fully aware, the camera was rolling, continued to smile while holding in a pique of anger, and he wanted to win the point. He was not expecting to be called on a statement, "Did you hear what I said? Did you hear what I said Glen?" The body language and the words together sternly conveyed outrage on being contradicted and exposed. Later Fehrnstrom reminded the reporter his proper place. This might, very well, be an emblematic foretaste, of things yet to be, if Romney were to gain the throne.

Fred Thompson may go back to work as a television actor soon. Ron Paul won't get much more in votes or press. Paul has a belief in the Bill of Rights, that the current regime cannot stomach. There is some more play with Rudy "9/11", but he has too many skeletons and dresses in the closet. He may have a rosary in some old dresser drawer too, and that is not acceptable for his party's core, even an embarrassing, non -observant Catholic is too much. The only acceptable Catholic is a non-Catholic. Hunter is gone and few noticed he was there. So there is John McCain, the Republican that non-Republicans like. McCain is against torture, he doesn't hate chicanos, he has spoken to Teddy Kennedy. McCain is not even fascist friendly, he is no "chicken hawk." He has some gravitas, but Ole Huck has a better sense of humor.

The Democracy has a blonde woman who was married to the last elected president, a tall bi-racial man with a spirit and an enthusiasm that people associated with Jack and Bobby Kennedy. They also have a handsome candidate in John Edwards, who the moneyed interests hate as much as they do the marginalized and minimalized Dennis Kucinich.

The anti-Democrats ought to be disqualified for the miserable rule they, have illegitimately, foisted upon the country and the unsuspecting world. But the US does not discredit powerful scoundrels and the country loves circuses.

Monday, January 21, 2008

And the revolution works itself out ...

On this day, in 1793, the king of France, Louis XVI, the citizen Louis Capet met the guillotine. The Terror was on. Throughout France people were accused, tried and executed as enemies of the revolution. The terrorists were the government. Those who represented the old order, or not enthusiastic about the new, were targets.

Studying history
comparatively, there is much that can be paralleled between the French and Russian revolutions. On this day, in 1924, Vladimir Ilič Uljvanov, Lenin died. Immediately Stalin began in the successful, ruthless, machiavellian, machinations to gain all control of the state.

Now, Lenin and Stalin were noms de querre. Stalin before being a revolutionary, was a street criminal and used many, many aliases. People often do not realize how few of the bolsheviks were russians. Stalin spoke with a caucasian accent, russians knew this immediately by ear. There is an anecdote, that partly suggests this to us, though it is more to his cold alienation:

"Apparently, father was a Georgian when he was younger." ― Vasilij Josifovič to Svetlana Josifovna
Stalin was the murderer of finite, but incalculable millions. Easily the statement, "one death is a tragedy; a million deaths is just a statistic", or variants thereof, was attached to him. This was probably redirected from Erich Maria Remarque's novel, "Der schwarze Obelisk, (The black obelisk)", of 1956.
"Aber das ist wohl so, weil ein einzelner immer der Tod ist — und zwei Millionen immer nur eine Statistik." "Of course this is certainly so, since one death is always isolated — and two million are always only a statistic."
Stalin is russian for made of steel, his real name was Josif Vissarionnovič Džugašvili. This steel was the image he cultivated; he was a paranoid, brutal, vengeful, and cunning monster, showing no ruth, no compassion. He was an operator and had a cold understanding of how the world worked.
  • Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs. quoted in Vospominanija Bjvshego Sekretarja Stalina (1992), Memoirs of Boris Bažanov, Stalin's former secretary.
  • The Pope! How many divisions has he got?to Pierre Laval (13 May 1935) as quoted by Winston Churchill, in response of a request to tolerate catholicism.
  • Hitlers come and go, but Germany and the German people remain. "The Order #55 of the National Commissar for the Defense" (23 February 1942).
  • So the bastard's dead! Too bad we didn't capture him alive! quoted in The Memoirs of Georgij Konstantinovič Žukov referring to the death of Hitler.
  • In the Soviet Army, it takes more courage to retreat than advance.to Averrell Harriman, american ambassador.
  • Tsar Alexander reached Paris. to an american who remarked about Russian troops in Berlin, mentioned in Kissinger's, "Diplomacy".
Some of these observations are philosophical, some refer to specific historical events, others are directly applicable to the american political situation today, especially the last eight years. Comrade Stalin has eager appartchniks, some are busheviks.
  • Cadres decide everything! Address to the Graduates from the Red Army Academies. (4 May 1935).
  • Those who cast the votes, they decide nothing. Those who count the votes, they decide everything.quoted in The Memoirs of Boris Bažanov.
  • Beat, beat and beat again! Nikita Sergejevič Khruščjev's Secret Speech "On the Personality Cult and its Consequences" (25 February 1956), on how to get information from political prisoners.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Anton Vovk *1900, †1963

Auxillary Bishop Anton Vovk, on 20 January 1952, in his duty to preside over the sacrament of confirmation was set upon, at the train station, in Novo Mesto Slovenija, Jugoslavija. A group of young communists poured gasoline on him and made a torch of him. He had been warned not to go there, he insisted to exercise the duties of his office

A ten day, suspended sentence was meted out by the court since the attack was "acted under a justified impulsion of revolt against the reactionary clergy, enemy of the people." Tito's Jugoslavija persecuted the Catholic population in socialist partisan zeal. At the end of the war many were martyred, the terror was not yet ended.

Vovk survived, never to be well again. He was later to attend the Second Vatican Council, where the West could see what communist occupation of a territory meant.

in odium fidei, uti fertur
priest for 40 years, bishop for 16, first archbishop of Ljubljana (1961-63)
born: 19 May 1900 in Vrba, Gorenjska - Slovenija (Austrian empire)
protocol number: 2247
nulla osta: 23 January 1999
actor: Nadškofijski Ordinariat, Ciril-Metodov trg 4, 1001 Ljubljana, Slovenija

Saints Fabian and Sebastian

One of the rewards, of the papacy during the first three centuries, anno Domini, was martyrdom. After the forty days of Anterus's episcopacy, Fabian became the new bishop of Rome, pope. His reign was fourteen years and began in 236. Both the initial and final moments of that span were notably dramatic.
Fabianus, who was wonderfully designated Bishop of Rome by God.

1. Gordianus succeeded Maximinus as Roman emperor; and Pontianus, who had been bishop of the church at Rome for six years, was succeeded by Anteros. After he had held the office for a month, Fabianus succeeded him.
2. They say that Fabianus having come, after the death of Anteros, with others from the country, was staying at Rome, and that while there he was chosen to the office through a most wonderful manifestation of divine and heavenly grace.
3. For when all the brethren had assembled to select by vote him who should succeed to the episcopate of the church, several renowned and honorable men were in the minds of many, but Fabianus, although present, was in the mind of none. But they relate that suddenly a dove flying down lighted on his head, resembling the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Saviour in the form of a dove.
4. Thereupon all the people, as if moved by one Divine Spirit, with all eagerness and unanimity cried out that he was worthy, and without delay they took him and placed him upon the episcopal seat. — from Book vi. chapter 29 Eusebius,
Ecclesiastical History
The soldier emperor, Philip the Arab (Marcus Julius Philippus) was cæsar, a.D. 244-9 . During that time Rome celebrated its millennial year. Philip and his son were baptised by Fabian. Decius came from the gothic front to take Rome. Philip and his son were slain and Decius began the first empire wide persecution of the church. He began the martyring with Fabian. Decius struck at the head first. Many were martyred, many renounced the faith to avoid martyrdom.

A generation later, the Milanese, Sebastian became a captain of the Praetorian Guard during the rule of Diocletian and Maximian. This was not discovered, for a time, until he had encouraged imprisoned christians and made converts of others. Upon impeachment, Diocletian had him bound to a stake and executed by archers. Saint Irene came to gather his body, he was alive. Later, as the emperor passed by, he berated and declaimed the astonished Diocletian, whom had him executed by cudgels and his body thrown into the sewer on the 20th of January 287.

Sebastian's corpse was buried in the catacombs, and a church came to be built above his grave. In 862 his remains were translated, along with some of the relics of Gregory the Great to St. Medard's, at Soissons. In 1564, the protestants attacked that church and threw the bones of the three saints into a ditch, which later were recovered. Pagans and protestants shared the same contempt for the saints. Sebastian was twice martyred and twice dispatched
into a waste channel.

Gerrit van Honthorst c. 1623; a tenebræist depiction of the martyrdom. London.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Saint Anthony and his pig

Antony was an egyptian, a copt. As a young man he went far into the Nitra desert, beyond the outskirts, to become an anchorite, a hermitic monk. He engaged in heroic aestheticism for many years and became known to pilgrims, whom came to see him. Much of his story comes to us from a biography penned by the patriarch of Alexandria, Saint Athanasius, whom met the aged Antony after his fame was well established, and employed him against the arians and their heresy.

He practiced self denial as would an athlete exercise, a strenuous training reg
imen to steel the spirit. He suffered torment, trial and temptation. He underwent attack by the devil. Hieronymus Bosch painted vivid and allegorical presentations, and Gustave Flaubert novelized the struggle. These presentations are a dark psychological pondering. Some may speculate on whether supernatural relation or psychic drama predominates, from either view, the conflict is evocative.

He survived into long, aged life *251, †356. At one time, since he lived in the age of persecution, he went to Alexandria to confront martyrdom at the end of that age before legalised toleration of christianity began, the time passed and he returned to the desert. Constantine, the new cæsar, wrote to Antony to pray for him, a new era for the church began. Others continued out to the desert and a monastic community of cenobites (semi-hermits) developed. There comes to us many tales and words of these Desert Fathers, the Abbas. Antony is sometimes called Antony of Egypt, Antony (Anthony) the Abbot to distinguish his stature as a founder of monasticism.

But the pig, yes the pig, many of us remember. Antony encountered a sick pig and healed the animal. The pig would not leave him and followed closely at his footfalls. In the pictorial po
etry of iconography Antony has his pig. Tantony's pig is the term we have for the favorite piglet of the litter and can metaphorically be used otherwheres. And there were children, through the ages, who were named Antony, Anton, Tony, Anthony ... who were teased on account of the pig. Pigs can be viewed humorously, and children are children. I heard of one local plumber, who was named Peter Ignatius and was called, even, in his adulthood "Piggy".
Following upon nothing, this chinese year ending was the year of the golden pig, about Cleveland there was displayed decorated pig statues. One still in place, outside a bank:

There were others: better and worse to the eye. The upcoming year is the one of the rat. There might be a joke, or more, in that succession. I cannot wax poetic on rattus rattus.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hilary term begins now

[Relief depicting
St. Hilary of Poitiers
blessing St. Triaise c. 1150]

The ordination of St. Hilary of Poitiers form a 14th century illustrated manuscript.

I had a professor at Ohio University, A. Compton Reeves, who would, on his syllabus sheet for the winter quarter, refer to Hilary term. His special field of study was late Mediæval England, he also taught classes on christian civilisation and on english law. Oxford University and the english legal year used that designation for winter, Pascal term (spring), Trinity (summer) and Michaelmas (autumn). Hilary term began in January after all the Christmas season was ended. On the new calendar it was on the 14th, it had been on the 13th. This Monday, the 14th, the church begins ordinary time in the calendar.

St. Hilary of Poitiers (Pictavium in Gaul) may have died on the 13th, maybe, 367, maybe. His exact chronology has been lost in time. He was born at the end of the age when christianity was illegal. He became a christian during the time of legalisation.

What is known about him is of some importance. He was a married man when he was chosen bishop, a rarity then, an impossibility now. His reputation for erudition and virtue was qualification enough. He was the pre-eminent theologian in the latin west before the age of Augustine, Ambrose and Jerome and after the Council of Nicæa. As did Athanasius, he hammered away at the Arian heretics, even unto exile. Since the Arians wrote hymns to espouse their doctrine, he wrote Catholic hymns and is considered the most important hymnist before Ambrose. Much of his œuvre has not survived. In 1851 he was publicly declared a Doctor of the Church.

In Poitiers his renown attracted Martin. As did Martin have his tomb and remains defiled by heretics in the 16th century, so did Hilary. The church in France has been always under attack by the foremost errorists and terrorists of its age

The name Hilary is also the name Hilarius, derived from cheerful in latin. It is name similar in spirit to Felix (happy) and Fortunatus (lucky). To-day, we think of other people with the name Hil(l)ary. Recently, the explorer and hero extraordinaire, Edmund Hillary died on the 11th of January. This intrepid and staminous New Zealander and the Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first trod the tippy top of Everest in 1953. He was celebrated as Lindbergh and Armstrong and Bannister as the first to break a barrier. His accomplishment should be remembered for the history books yet to be written.

The other Hillary we recognize is Mrs. Clinton, who has not been described, at all, as cheerful. Her recent show of sad emotion, may have been, the impetus behind her winning the New Hampshire primary. A Hillary term would set off the anger of many opponents of the Democracy.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Göring, call me Meier, was not always wrong

Hermann Wilhelm Göring, *12 January 1893, succeeded Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron, as commander of the flying circus in the Great War. An aerial hero, he had downed 22 confirmed enemy aircraft. As the only blonde nazi, he was a natural to command the Luftwaffe. He was a strutting sensualist, who delighted in the uniform and splendor.

He was also the second man on the nazi totem pole. He was the Reichstag's President from 1932 to 1933. Göring was involved in the Gleichschaltung, where for example, all Catholic newspapers he banned in 1933.

Immediately the nazi program began Gleichschaltung*¹, equivalent replacement, the process of nazification and co-opting and abolition of individuals and organizations. Dachau was opened as a bullpen for those not deemed agreeable to change, the irredeemable, bad and troublesome citizens. Everything was to be reformed, ancient and contrary freedom was eliminated, no more kulturkampf.

Göring liked to boast, and on 9 August 1939, Göring said, "The Ruhr will not be subjected to a single bomb. If an enemy bomber reaches the Ruhr, my name is not Hermann Göring: you can call me Meier!" He used common, idiomatic cliches, as, "If x happens, then ― you can call me Meier." Black sarcasm had Berlin's air raid sirens called "Meier's trumpets" and "Meier's hunting horns" by the end of the war. He was correct, in seeing that war against Russia would be a disaster.

After the war ended, the surviving, prominent nazis were put on trial in Nuremberg (Nürnberg). Dr. Gustave Gilbert was an american born german fluent jew. Gilbert had access to speak to these men. 18 April 1946 Gilbert talked to Göring in his cell and records in his book, Nuremberg Diary, on pages 278-9:
[Hermann Göring] "Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."

[Gustave Gilbert] "There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."

[Hermann Göring] "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
*¹ "forcible coordination" is a phrase some academics employ.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The 8th of January

The United States tried to take advantage, of a Britain engaged with Napoleon, to expand militarily. With mostly failed endeavors: Canada repulsed an invasion and the District of Columbia was attacked and the Executive Mansion burned, the man who commanded that campaign, Admiral George Cockburn, would later be Napoleon's jailer at St. Helena.

After the peace treaty was signed, but a month before the news reached the field, Andrew Jackson, a man without military training, commanded a great victory over a superior force at New Orleans on the 8th of January 1815. A fiddle tune, which came to be called, Jackson's Victory, and later, The 8th of January, was played.

James Corbett Morris was born in Mountain View, Arkansas. Nicknamed Driftwood as an infant [remember we are talking Arkansas here] grew up within a lively musical culture. His father was a local folk singer, and his grandfather gifted him a carved fiddle by his own hand. Jimmy graduated Arkansas Teachers College and taught history to the disinterested. He came to write the song, Battle of New Orleans, to teach his high schoolers history in 1941. The tune he used was The 8th of January. This was before Summerhill and inquiry, discovery and other John Dewey folderal. He blended his talents with historical accuracy and poetic creativity. After a time he came to notice in Nashville and his first album, Newly Discovered Early American Folk Songs, came out in 1958. Johnny Horton heard Driftwood's song, on the radio in 1959, and went on to cover it and reached number one with his version. Jimmy Driftwood went on to a successful musical career.

Battle of New Orleans

Well, in eighteen and fourteen we took a little trip
along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans,
And we caught the bloody* British near the town of New Orleans.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well, I see'd Mars Jackson walkin down the street
talkin' to a pirate by the name of Jean Lafitte
He gave Jean a drink that he brung from Tennessee
and the pirate said he'd help us drive the British in the sea.

The French said Andrew, you'd better run,
for Packingham's a comin' with a bullet in his gun.
Old Hickory said he didn't give a damn,
he's gonna whip the britches off of Colonel Packingham.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well, we looked down the river and we see'd the British come,
and there must have been a hundred of 'em beatin' on the drum.
They stepped so high and they made their bugles ring
while we stood by our cotton bales and didn't say a thing.

Old Hickory said we could take 'em by surprise
if we didn't fire a musket til we looked 'em in the eyes.
We held our fire til we see'd their faces well,
then we opened up with squirrel guns and really gave hell.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well, we fired our cannon til the barrel melted down,
so we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round.
We filled his head with cannon balls and powdered his behind,
and when they tetched the powder off, the gator lost his mind.

We'll march back home but we'll never be content
till we make Old Hickory the people's President.
And every time we think about the bacon and the beans,
we'll think about the fun we had way down in New Orleans.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin,
But there wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well, they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go.
They ran so fast the hounds couldn't catch 'em
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
But there wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.
* words in bold sometimes censored

Monday, January 7, 2008

Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund (H.R. 1921)

Recently the gentleman, who queried me on an earlier question, has given me another: whether I have an opinion on the following matter John Lewis has reintroduced the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill (H.R. 1921) in the 110th Congress. To quote from a press release:
This legislation establishes a governmental trust fund into which designated conscientious objectors will pay their full federal income taxes.


(b) Military Purpose- For purposes of this Act, the term `military purpose' means any activity or program which any agency of the Government conducts, administers, or sponsors and which effects an augmentation of military forces or of defensive and offensive intelligence activities, or enhances the capability of any person or nation to wage war, including the appropriation of funds by the United States for--


(b) Use of Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund- Monies deposited in the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund shall be allocated annually to any appropriation not for a military purpose.
At first, I saw under 4b that money would NOT be used; then I reread slowly and saw his point under 3b. So, it comes down to grammatical interpretation of one word, at first glance ― augmentation, but no! and. Mathematical logic suggests, that 'and' means: satisfies BOTH conditions. Language is logical, but mathematical logic is not its programme. The appropriate principle would be of congruent agreement. Here 'and' means: ALSO.

I could see someone, especially of the weaselly and malicious sort, that we have now to try to play trickster. The sponsors of the said bill are against this war, such was not their intent.

Being lazy, instead of cracking a good dictionary, I used a search engine for the word 'augmentation' and got a page of references for breast surgery. Computer algorithms do not use language logic either. So I cracked the book, put it under the lamp, found a pair of spectacles and augment(ation) does only suggest increase.

But, even though Quentin Quaker's denarii won't enrich the merchants of death, it will be for something else in addition to death and violence, so that others will outfit and armour the red steed that carries War, none-the-less. In this regard, it is a sham. The dogs of war will not be chained and Mars will not atrophy. There will be more money in the coffers to spend. It will function as an additional publican to gather tribute from the conscientious tax resister.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

+ 20 + G + M + B + 08 +

Today by happy circumstance Epiphany Sunday and the feast of the Three Kings (Magi), Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar, share the 6th of January. Traditionally, since the Magi came to see the Christ manifested and help announce him to the world, today the announcement of the date of Easter and the other movable holidays were proclaimed. Easter comes early this year, on the 23rd of March. Western Lent is the 6th of February, meaning the last possible date to be within the Christmas season is February 5th. The colors of gold, purple and green of the gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh, are the colors for Mardi Gras.

Isaias lx.6
The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Madian and Epha: all they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense: and shewing forth praise to the Lord.

Psalms lxxi.10-15
The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents: the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts:
And all kings of the earth shall adore him: all nations shall serve him.
For he shall deliver the poor from the mighty: and the needy that had no helper.
He shall spare the poor and needy: and he shall save the souls of the poor.
He shall redeem their souls from usuries and iniquity: and their names shall be honourable in his sight.
And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Arabia, for him they shall always adore: they shall bless him all the day.

Matthew ii.11
And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him; and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

the continuing electoral process

Of those seeking the nomination from the party rival to the Democracy, Ron Paul is a true democrat. He actually believes in the Constitution, including both the first and fourth amendments. For this alone he stands apart and above his field. And because of that, he will not be permitted the nomination or airtime, and he will be scurrilously attacked. If Mr. Paul does well, he will still be ignored. The corporate press is selective in presentation and in framing questions. The motto of the Murdoch, propaganda, television network is so telling in a freudian manner. The New York Times motto is, also, self-promoting flim-flam. All of this is contrary to, the historian, Leopold von Ranke's manner: "wie es eigentlich gewesen war".* He said that history should be written as it actually had happened without directing commentary.

Huckabee won Iowa to the great dismay of his party. There is a professor, who has an excellent site: http://electoral-vote.com/. He writes the following today:
It's the Republican establishment that hates Huckabee. The reason is clear but the media are scared to talk about it. The truth is what the current administration really cares about is tax cuts, expecially big ones for the rich. What was the first thing George Bush after Jan. 20, 2001? Tax cuts, including lowering the top marginal rate from 39.6% to 35%. If you are making $10 million a year, that's $460,000 extra in your pocket. After Bush's 2004 victory, he said that the election gave him political capital and he intended to spend it. So what did he do? He spent two months traveling around the country trying to sell a plan to privatize (read: phase out) social security. He didn't spend two months trying to get a constitutional amendment banning abortions or forbidding same-sex marriages. He could have, but didn't want to spend his political capital that way. Even when pleasing the Base was cheap he didn't do it. Remember that his long-time friend, Harriet Miers, was his first Supreme Court nominee, and he asked her to withdraw only after the Base protested loudy. The Republican party's dirty little secret is that upper management really doesn't care much about the social issues; they care about taxes. They trot out the social issues just before each election to whip the Base up into a frenzy and conveniently forget about them after winning. Huckabee is a real threat because he sincerely believes in the Bible. He's not just making it up to get votes. He's become their Frankenstein monster and must be eliminated.
I do not have the tradition, where I shout, "Amen", in agreement to propositions and arguments, as some religious believers do, but, "Amen", "Amen", "Amen", "Amen", "Amen", and "Amen". I still would not vote for Huckabee, but he is far better than the "approved" candidates of the Republicans. The worst currently available is Romney. He is the Stepford candidate. He is a panderer, a dissembler, oh, he is a politician, I am being redundant. He has been publicly maneuvering for the presidency since his involvement with the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. He has a feeling of entitlement to the position.

The capturing of the governorship of Massachusetts was a brilliant stroke: a mormon being the governor of a state that is vilified for electing liberal Democrats for two generations, a state with a catholic population. The boy is from Michigan and the press does not seem to know, they don't realize that the Bushes are from Connecticut and Maine. They are recognized by territories they conquered.
*in the 1824 preface of Geschichten der Romanischen und Germanischen Volker von 1492 bis 1535
postscriptum: On ABC television Saturday night on this day, 5 January, Romney, and also Giuliani attacked Paul on so called ― foreign security matters; showing that Paul is rational and the other two are fearmongers and hairy chest beaters, Romney being especially repellent and wrong.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Parade the Constitution

At the end of the Rose Bowl parade in Pasadena, California there appeared citizen marchers: the White Rose Coalition.* These people marched with a banner of the Constitution. In many parades, people freely join the march at the end of the "official" line up. I remember doing this as a child at the end of a St. Anthony of Padua parade.

This is more patriotic than carrying flags. It is a grand gesture and a great idea. This should be done all over the land. It would be most appropriate in Independence Day parades. We know they had a more specific reason than general patriotism, but what american could object. The 4h of July announced the Declaration of Independence, it is even more à-propos and germane for that day and parade, naturally, the Declaration should be front and center, and with the Declaration, the Constitution. These banners should be permanent, national, parade elements. To object to this, would be akin to objecting the presence of the bible in church.

To-day is the Iowa Caucuses. The press with both obsessiveness and narrow focus has covered this. It was accident that I found out about the action and photo of the above. The corporate national press restricts and dismisses news―effectively censors.

Opposition to the war and impeachment of bushcheney have been hidden from the public and has not been covered or shown. Some issues are manufactured and displayed; others are suppressed. Report after report says there is a virtual three way tie at the top of the Democracy's list: Hillary and Obama. I am for the seldom mentioned third ― Edwards.

Hillary is the the most Republican of the group, and she shows it. She has that air of presumption and entitlement that is so inherent among the anti-democratic party, and are we not experiencing the down side disaster of nepotism? She was president of her college's Young Republican club. I remember these people from university, so smug, so confident, so ignorant. Mrs. Clinton is reluctant to be seen "soft on defense" and is most welcomed by the moneyed powers and yet, republican voters say they like her the least. Win or lose she is the favorite candidate of the Republicans [as the candidate for the Democracy].

Huckabee crossed the picket line to appear on a talk show last night, broadcasting what he thinks of collective bargaining and unionism. There are worse in his party: Romney, Thompson, Giuliani, Hunter and some congressmen that have departed the hunt and chase. We are fortunate, that the worst fell on his own petard, georgeallenjr. Senator Webb protected the nation from that travesty and idiocy as he is now doing in keeping the Senate open against the machinations of the other buffoon george.
*in reference to a group of christian german students at the University of Munich, executed by the government for criticizing the government for its shameful behavior.
"We will not be silent. We are your bad conscience. The White Rose will not leave you in peace!"― motto of the White Rose resistance

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Saint Seraphim of Sarov

Today the Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen are commemmorated. Lesser known in the western church is St. Seraphim *1759 †1833. As a monk he lived as a hermit in the woods. Once a nun came to see him and she spied a scene similar to the illustration above.

Dostojevskij's character, the Starets Zosima, in The Brothers Karamazov alludes to Seraphim:
...Yonder," said I, "in the forest wanders the bear, fierce and menacing, and yet innocent."
And I told him how once a bear came to a great saint who had taken refuge in a tiny cell in the woods. And the great saint pitied him, went to him without fear and gave him a piece of bread. "Go along," said he, "Christ be with you." And the savage beast walked away meekly and obediently, doing no harm....

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Theotokos, Mother of God

Theotokos Fresco at Visoki Dečani Monastery. Kosovo, Srbija.

Θεοτόκος , Богородица, Dei genetrix, God-bearer

"I am amazed that there are some who are entirely in doubt as to whether the holy Virgin should be called Theotokos or not. For if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, how is the holy Virgin who gave birth [to Him], not [Theotokos]?" ― Cyril of Alexandria †444

“If one does not acknowledge Mary as Theotokos, he is estranged from God.”— St. Gregory of Nazianzus 382 in an epistle to Cledonius

alternate translation: If anyone does not believe that Holy Mary is the Mother of God, he is severed from the Godhead.

Proclaimed to all the faithful at the Third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431. An article of faith, that, logically, necessarily follows the propositions that Jesus is truly God and was born of Mary. Mary is the Mother of God. To-day, in this solemnity, it is observed.