tree_and_leaf: Francis Urquhart facing viewer, edge of face trimmed off, caption "I couldn't possibly comment" (couldn't possibly comment)
There is a pious Catholic out there who runs a blog (www.happysaints.com) dedicated to chibi-ish pictures of the saints (I think the idea is that they're for use in catechesis with children, but they're a bit too sugary for my taste).

Today's saint of the day is S. Dominic Savio, but he appears to be being played by the Eleventh Doctor...
tree_and_leaf: Spire of St Pauls Lower Manhattan surrounded by taller buildings (church in the city)
Incidentally, today is the commemoration of Thomas Aquinas, probably my favourite theologian ever, partly because he's just straightforwardly brilliant*, and was never afraid to engage with secular learning and use it in the pursuit of truth, even when it looked like a challenge to faith, but also because, as a good Dominican, his theology is always connected to the preaching of the Gospel and the service of others, and to prayer - his last prayer, on his deathbed, was "I receive Thee, ransom of my soul. For love of Thee have I studied and kept vigil, toiled, preached and taught..."

As well as being patron saint of theologians, academics, philosophers, book sellers, and pencil makers(!) he is, for some reason, invoked against lightening.

(Blessed Thomas, pray for us).


* "Tot miraculis, quot articulis" - there are as many miracles as there are articles - replied a Dominican at Thomas' canonisation trial to the Devil's Advocate's objection that Thomas had worked no miracles. While I don't agree with every conclusion Thomas came to, he is a superb reasoner and always worth engaging with.
tree_and_leaf: Cartoon of Pope Gregory and two slave children.  Caption flashes"Non Angli sed Angeli" and "Not angels but Anglicans." (Anglicans not angels)
I wish that the site I found it on had provided a bit more information on the source than "from 10th century Ireland" (like, who translated it and where), but I'm still rather taken with this poem:

I would like to have the men of Heaven
In my own house:
With vats of good cheer
laid out for them.

I would like to have the three Marys,
Their fame is so great.
I would like people
From every corner of Heaven.

I would like them to be cheerful
In their drinking.
I would like to have Jesus too
Here amongst them.

I would like a great lake of beer
For the King of Kings,
I would like to be watching Heaven’s family
Drinking it through all eternity.
tree_and_leaf: Spire of St Pauls Lower Manhattan surrounded by taller buildings (church in the city)
Feast of S. Thomas Aquinas. Which makes me very happy, because Thomas is possibly my favourite theologian ever (it's him or Eckhart, but I have to admit that Thomas is probably more of an all-rounder).

O SALUTARIS Hostia
Quae caeli pandis ostium.
Bella premunt hostilia;
Da robur, fer auxilium.
Uni trinoque Domino
Sit sempiterna gloria:
Qui vitam sine termino,
Nobis donet in patria.

Amen.

O SAVING Victim opening wide
The gate of heaven to all below.
Our foes press on from every side;
Thine aid supply, Thy strength bestow.
To Thy great name be endless praise
Immortal Godhead, One in Three;
Oh, grant us endless length of days,
In our true native land with Thee.

Amen. (tr. E Caswall)

ETA Mgr Knox suggested that Aquinas invented the limerick - at least in terms of form (and allowing for the fact that you can't scan Latin quite like English):

Sit vitiorum meorum evacuatio
Concupiscentae et libidinis exterminatio,
Caritatis et patientiae,
Humilitatis et obedientiae,
Omniumque virtutum augmentatio (used as the priestly post-communion thanksgiving in the old Breviary).

Which RJ Winkler suggested translating:

Extinguish concupiscent fires,
Eliminate lustful desires;
Give patience and love,
A plenitude of
What humble obeying requires.

I admit it's not very funny, but I've always felt Edward Lear was a bit over-rated, too....

(h/t godzdogz.op.org, the blog of the English Dominican Studentate. And yes, I see what they did there).
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
Today is the feast of Hugh of Lincoln*, who did many good things, including protecting Jewish victims of persecution and mob violence**, as well as beginning the gothic rebuilding of Lincoln Cathedral after it was damaged by an earthquake, but is probably most memorable for his pet swan.

It used to follow him about, and guard him while he slept. I don't know how or why he acquired it, but I'd have thought an attack swan would be a very effective bodyguard.



* Who is most definitely not to be confused with Little St Hugh of Lincoln, a murdered child who inspired a particularly unpleasant blood libel.

**Somewhat ironically, given the use made of the other Hugh of Lincoln by anti-semites
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
It's certainly too long so will need a bit of trimming, but: thoughts, people? )
tree_and_leaf: Portrait of John Keble in profile, looking like a charming old gentleman with a sense of humour. (anglican)
In a more cheerful Anglican-related note, I point to an excellent post on the evening hymn of Thomas Ken, whose commemoration it is (still, just about) today.

My mother used to sing me to sleep with it. In retrospect, this probably explains a lot.
tree_and_leaf: Purple tinted black and white photo of moody man, caption Church Paramilitant (image from "Ultraviolet") (Church Paramilitant)
People have to make up their minds and cannot keep waiting for ever for a sign from heaven, for a solution to the difficulty to fall into their laps... Postponed or belated decisions can be more sinful than wrong decisions made in faith and love... To believe means to decide.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in 1934, on the ecumenical movement, but it is more generally true, I think (it might also be taken as an epitaph on a number of basically decent contemporaries of Bonhoeffer, for instance).
tree_and_leaf: Modern icon of Julian of Norwich with grey and white cat. (Julian of Norwich)
On another date entirely, today is the commemoration of Julian of Norwich. I am too tired to write anything in depth on the subject, alas, but there was a nice article on her in the Times, by Geoffrey Rowell, the Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe.
tree_and_leaf: David Tennant in Edwardian suit, Oxford MA gown and mortar board. (academic doctor)
I urge you to drop whatever you're doing, and read [personal profile] lareinenoire's Tenth Doctor and Martha fic, The Kynges Game; also available at AO3. In which the Doctor asks himself, why are there zombies wandering about London in 1529, and what has it got to do with the Royal Divorce? Featuring Anne Boleyn, Wolsey, and Thomas More being awesome.

Erudite and witty - highly recommended.
tree_and_leaf: Head shot of a weasel in evening light. (Our Lady of the Weasels)
It's the Feast of the Annunciation (Lady Day).* I was going to write something contemplative about the Incarnation, but instead I am trying to work out what to teach the confirmation class about the Eucharist - or, more to the point, how to teach the confirmation class about the Eucharist. it possibly doesn't help that Youth Canon is obsessed with using talking about Passover as a way into it, and while the Eucharist as a sort of re-invented Passover is certainly important aspect of the sacrament (yay typology), I don't think it's a good place to start.

In which I try to work out what I feel about Christian use of the Passover )
On another note entirely, Bishop Alan had a good post about Oscar Romero. Morbid types like me tend to think that, never mind dying peacefully in your sleep, that really is the best way to go... But it's good to be reminded that the church gets things right at times, and Romero is one of the people who really did get it right. I wish they'd canonise him.


* And, not at all coincidentally, the date Tolkien chose for the destruction of the Ring and the liberation of Middle Earth. Typology, you can haz it.
tree_and_leaf: Harriet and Peter at a party: caption "Frivoling" (frivoling)
I've been doing a last bit of reference checking, having discovered that I was missing a reference to some Dominican hagiography. This has resulted in me spending the afternoon reading the Vitas Fratrum, a collection of anecdotes about the early days of the Dominican Order. There are a surprisingly large number of stories about Dominic changing water into wine, and an awful lot of ones about people being impressed by his cheerfulness in difficult circumstances (this is unusual in mediaeval hagiography, where there is a general tendency to think that smiling is vaguely dodgy). There is also a vaguely hilarious story about how he would make the rounds of the house at night, and tuck the brothers in if he thought they looked cold. (This, again, is an unusual motif).

More conventionally, we are told, he spent much time in prayer at night. I'm not sure why the following amuses me - apart from the wonderfully pragmatic Dominican attitude to rules - but it does:

"It was his custom to keep nightly watch in the church, and once while praying after the brothers had retired to rest, the devil showed himself under the guise of a friar praying before one of the altars. The blessed Dominic wondered at seeing him remain behind after the signal had been given, so he motioned with his hand for the brother to retire to rest, and the man bowed in return and withdrew. When matins was over he cautioned the brothers not to remain in the church once the signal had been given for retiring; nevertheless the pretended friar did the same thing a second and even a third night. On the third night St Dominic went up to him and rebuked him sharply... At this the devil cried out with great glee: "At last I have made you break your silence!" But the servant of God, seeing how he had been tricked, boldly replied, "Save your mirth for some better occasion, wretch, when it can perhaps profit you; and learn moreover that I am the master of this silence and can speak when I think fit to. You cannot hoodwink me on this score." Then the devil slunk away abashed...."
Vitas Fratrum, 2.15, trans Placid Conway.
tree_and_leaf: Harriet and Peter at a party: caption "Frivoling" (frivoling)
I'm awfully behind the curve on this, but you were supposed to list 15 OTPs amd draw conclusions from them. Or were you supposed to let your flist do so? IDK.

Anyway, my conclusions are (i) I have a great tendency just to follow canon (though the fact that a pairing is canonical doesn't mean I'll necessarily be interested in it)
(ii) I like my romantic heroes, by and large, to be intellectual, but also to know one end of a sword from each other (metaphorically speaking)
(iii) I may also have a thing about older men and younger women (though this is not reflected in my own romantic history, such as it is). Although to an extent this may just reflect that in older fiction the men are always older than the women.
(iv) there are friendships which I find fascinating but that I don't see as sexual, so I made a separate heading for them.

Ten ships, and five friendships )
tree_and_leaf: Francis Urquhart facing viewer, edge of face trimmed off, caption "I couldn't possibly comment" (couldn't possibly comment)
Hurrah for the Ven(omous) Bede, whose feast falls today. He's a significant figure in many ways, not least as a historian and the populariser of the BC/ AD system of dating (it's slightly more complicated than that, but only slightly). One of Northumbria's most notable sons.

I'm afraid at the moment my mind is incurably trivia-ridden: so - Bede is the only British Doctor of the Church, and the only Englishman mentioned in the Paradiso (the only Scot is Richard of St Victor).

Nevertheless, I'm boggling at the quote from Bede's Seven Catholic Epistles I just found on Wikipedia: Prayers are hindered by the conjugal duty because as often as I perform what is due to my wife I am not able to pray.

Well, one would have to hope so, really.
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
Which is a cue for me to post one of my favourite hymns/ prayers, even if Patrick probably didn't write it himself. "S. Patrick's Breastplate" is, nevertheless, awesome. I love its vivid focus on the Incarnation and the fantastic evocation of the beauty and terror of the natural world (and, I must admit, I am very fond of the verse abut wizardry and heresy, even if you're unlikely to sing that in church much these days. I can't help feeling that's a mistake).

The stable earth, the deep salt sea Around the old eternal rocks. )
tree_and_leaf: Portrait of John Keble in profile, looking like a charming old gentleman with a sense of humour. (anglican)
I know, I know, I have just been moaning about how much I have to do and should not be faffing about on LJ, but I have to share my delight in the fact that today George Herbert (Priest, poet, 1633, lesser festival) is commemorated in the Anglican calendar, with a particularly fine collect. So have it, and also one of my favourite Herbert poems:


PRAYER. (I)

PRAYER the Churches banquet, Angels age,
Gods breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav’n and earth ;

Engine against th’ Almightie, sinner's towre,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six daies world-transposing in an houre,
A kinde of tune, which all things heare and fear ;

Softnesse, and peace, and joy, and love, and blisse,
Exalted Manna, gladnesse of the best,
Heaven in ordinarie, man well drest,
The milkie way, the bird of Paradise,

Church-bels beyond the stars heard, the souls bloud,
The land of spices, something understood.


King of glory, king of peace,
who called your servant George Herbert
from the pursuit of worldly honours
to be a priest in the temple of his God and king:
grant us also the grace to offer ourselves
with singleness of heart in humble obedience to your service;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Amen.
tree_and_leaf: Peter Davison in Five's cricket gear, leaning on wall with nose in book, looking a bit like Peter Wimsey. (Books)
I feel that I ought to point out to [livejournal.com profile] mina_de_malfois, and all her admirers, that today is the feast of the patron saint of her college, St Scholastica. Which out to be an excuse for a martini, or something...

On another note entirely, I have been having unregenerate fun with the create your own Harlequin romance plot!

Peter, adventurer and captain of the infamous ship Calypso and a renowned seducer of women, has just walked into the one tavern in all of the unknown reaches of Mars he should have avoided. For Harriet, his sworn enemy, is the brainy owner—and she has vengeance on her mind.

But before she can take her feisty revenge, she is captured by this rogue's kiss. Her only chance for retribution is to put her career as an award-winning writer on hold and stow away on his ship for a passionate adventure that will either kill them—or bring them together once and for all!


Or how about: )
tree_and_leaf: Text icon: "and I'll say again, only slightly louder... HOW?" (I'll say again - how?)
From an older chapter of my thesis: I had forgotten this - in fact, I think I'd suppressed it.

Cut for cruelty to hedgehogs )
tree_and_leaf: Text icon: "It doesn't take a degree in applied bollocks!" (applied bollocks)
*is hit by intellectual oncoming train*

You can view the Christian concept of sanctity as a meme or memeplex (in the Dawkins sense, not the internet); not just the evolution of the complex, but the functions which holiness and the saints perform in affecting the beliefs and behaviour of believers (saints are at least partly there to create more saints, to put it crudely). What's more, I think it can even be made to work in a theologically satisfying way which doesn't sacrifice the importance of grace, because at times grace can work like the concepts with in a meme/ memeplex.

Why the devil didn't I think of that before? Especially as it's rather late to replan the thesis on that basis now... (and why am I struck by this while trying to throw something together for supervisor, who will probably think I'm thinking too theologically again?)

Of course, I may be fundamentally misunderstanding Dawkins' idea, but I must chase this up (and start with Drout's book on memes and tradition, since I'm not a biologist.) But I think there may be something to go at there.

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