Some various notes.
Today I received the PDF of a booklet made for Sacred Heart parish in Grand Rapids, MI (the city in which you find the HQ of ACTON INSTITUTE). This is what one parish is doing to respond to and to combat spiritually The Present Crisis. It is a Parish Booklet of Reparation to be used over the next 9 months. After I looked it over, I asked if I could make it more widely available. It is a model for parishes on how to address today’s sin-infested chaos. HERE There are explanations, prayers, suggestions for penitential practices. There are events scheduled at the parish for the whole of the nine months, including a “town hall” style meeting, during which serious issues were addressed. I’m told that the meeting was… plain spoken. Moreover, during the whole time, except for Christmas and Easter, they will drape the doors of the church in black. These folks are doing what they can, and what they can is great. Quantum potes, tantum aude. It is a concrete program that could serve as a model for parishes and, indeed, dioceses.
Next, speaking of Acton, those of you in or near or able to get to Chicago in December, you will want to “save the date” for a Gala Dinner celebrating the Reclaiming of Western Civilization initiative of Acton Institute. P.J. O’Rourke will speak at what looks to be an amazing event on 7 December at the Peninsula. Visit www.acton.org/chicago or contact Nick Porter at (616) 454-3080. This isn’t going to be a “walk in” event, I think. One of the organizers tells me that they are aiming at “black tie” (I will have to make sure my ferraiuolo is in good shape). There may even be… may.. be skating at the top of the Peninsula. There are different levels of sponsorship and participation. This looks exactly like the sort of thing that, right now, Chicago really needs to combat the… you know.
As Hurricane Michael barrels down on the Florida panhandle, I channel my inner Casandra to remind you that disasters always strike other people… until it’s your turn. Two things about this. Some disasters are pesky, some are lethal. In view of a lethal crisis, GO TO CONFESSION. Nothing scares me more than the thought of a “sudden and unprovided death”. This is precisely the sort of death that we Catholics prayed about… when Catholics still prayed serious prayers instead of fumbling around with a lot “walking together” and vain “discernment”. In the great Litany we pray to God to save us from a “sudden and unprovided death”, unprovided in the sense that we don’t have the chance to receive the last sacraments or even to make an Act of Contrition. Think about that. RIGHT NOW, think about that. It does happen to real people. But it’s always someone else, right? So, GO TO CONFESSION.
Together with the spiritual issues of facing disaster, some of you would perhaps like to live through disasters and some of you have the obligation to shepherd your families through to survival. On this note, there are all sorts of preparations you can make. The usefulness of “preparation” is found in that “pre”… before hand. Waiting until something is coming is probably too late. You have to have plans and prepositioned tools and goods. We know about this. However, there is another element of preparation that must be part of your work now. In last month’s issue of Concealed Carry (August/September) there is an article about how fast things breakdown during a crisis. It focuses on the “burbs”. The writer makes the point that part of your preparation must include getting to know your neighbors, networking with them and even reconciling with them if there has been friction. He cites how, in one place where supplies and groceries and power was lacking, people were stealing from each other within 48 hours. They hadn’t even experienced true hardship, and yet things were already breaking down.
Next, since the Devil hates Latin, as do libs, it seems good to pray in Latin as often as possible. A friend of mine who has a really high pressure job in the highest pressure of environments imaginable, asked me for some help with the pronunciation of the Angelus in Latin. I cobbled up a quick recording, wherein I say the prayers slowly, according to the Roman fashion which includes the 3 Gloria and the prayers for the dead at the end.
In Rome and other places – such as here at the Cupboard Under The Stairs – you can hear the Angelus rung. Ideally we ring it at 0600 – 1200 – 1800. The pattern of the bells can vary. Sometimes there will be three sets of three (or an ascending number) strikes followed by peeling. Many parish churches still have an “Angelus bell” in their towers, though it may not be used for that purpose any longer. What a shame. Only people with bad consciences are bothered by the sound of bells.
On a related note. Besides the Angelus in Rome, once upon a time you could hear the ringing of the “Ave Maria” bell, especially around the Roman Curia.
This is a relic of time calculation from when accurate clocks were not simply everywhere.
The Ave Maria sounded a single bell struck 3 times, then 4 times, 5 times, and then 1 time. The Ave Maria indicates the change of the religious day from day to night.
The Ave Maria is rung half an hour after sunset. If the Ave Maria is rung at 1800, as it is from 4-13 October, therefore today, then 1700 starts the 23rd hour of the day and 1900 is the 1st hour of the next day. (From 13-22 Oct, it’s at 17:45)
When there were large religious communities in Roman churches and chapters of canons, Vespers would be sung an hour before the Ave Maria Bell. Today, for example, they would be sung at 1700. However, in the Roman Curia, Cardinals and other officials would still receive people in audience for the hour after the Ave Maria Bell rang. An hour after the Ave Maria, a single bell would toll, thus ending all business for the day, since it was the first hour of night.
Thus, the Roman Ave Maria Bell.
There may be some parallels with the naval watches. I have a ship’s bell that merrily chimes the nautical hours in their pairs of little tones. It would be fun to have a clock set to ring the ecclesial hours. It could be programmed also to toll at 3 PM on Friday and, on Saturday evening, to ring for a while to remind us of the coming Sunday. Nice to think about.
Tempus autem fugit.
GO TO CONFESSION!