Friday Five (Vol. 4)

— 1 —

It’s bad enough that the Red Sox were mercifully eliminated so we didn’t have to prolong the collapse through the playoffs. But I’m not happy with the fact that it cost a good man his job. I’d rather have kept Tito and seen several of the prima donnas ushered out the clubhouse door through retirement or trades than to see the end of Terry Francona’s very successful run as manager. He only guided them to two World Championships in seven years for Pete’s sake. (sigh)

Aaaaaaand the Huskers laid a giant egg in Madison. Not altogether surprising, but annoyingly familiar nonetheless. Here’s hoping for a nice rebound against a weaker-than-usual-but-still-dangerous Ohio State team in Lincoln on Saturday.

— 2 —

Last night I sat down with my two youngest children to watch Rikki Tikki Tavi on DVD. I’d picked it up years ago in the $5 bin somewhere and couldn’t pass it up. This 1975 Chuck Jones cartoon aired annually when I was a child and into my teenage years. A short story in The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling and narrated by Orson Welles, it tells of the adventures of a valiant young mongoose in 19th century India. The dangerous king cobras, Nag and Nagaina, were menacing to me then and I’m happy to say they still are. I still find Darzee the singing tailorbird mildly annoying though when he goes from mourning to elation in no time flat. You played with my emotions when I was seven Darzee. Now it’s just annoying. Heh.

Anyhow, the wee ones enjoyed it and so did I. It was a nice break from that yellow sponge.

Rikki is on YouTube! Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. Enjoy!

— 3 —

Quote of the Week: “We may be sure that the characteristic blindness of the twentieth century—the blindness about which posterity will ask, “But how could they have thought that? . . . None of us can fully escape this blindness, but we shall certainly increase it, and weaken our guard against it, if we read only modern books. Where they are true they will give us truths which we half knew already. Where they are false they will aggravate the error with which we are already dangerously ill. The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books.” ~ C. S. Lewis

I’d started a post that used this quote as a launching point into a discussion about the classics of literature and their importance. I still plan to. I just ran out of time this week but still wanted to share it because there’s a lot of truth to be mined from Clive Staples’ quote.

— 4 —

This morning my wife and I attended the daily Mass at our 2nd grader’s school. Second grade is a big year for him as two of the sacraments will be received for the first time this year: Confession and Holy Communion. I was there today to witness the conferring of another sign upon him and his classmates: today they received their scapulars. Our children receive the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It is a much smaller scapular than those worn in the monastic orders or other religious persons, and is meant as a sign. The Church uses many such signs (the Sacraments and sacramentals) to help us focus on Christ. That is their purpose. As pointed out on the brown scapular’s website, and reiterated by our priest this morning to the children:

The Carmelite Scapular is not:

  • a magical charm to protect you
  • an automatic guarantee of salvation
  • an excuse for not living up to the demands of the Christian life

It is a sign:

  • which has been approved by the Church for over seven centuries;
  • which stands for the decision to
    • follow Jesus like Mary:
    • be open to God and to his will
    • be guided by faith, hope, and love
    • to pray at all times
    • to discover God present in all that happens around us.

This is one of the things I love so much about the Catholic Church. It’s use of symbols and signs. Let’s face it, you don’t have to be Catholic to be looking for signs. There are people looking to their horoscopes, astrology, Tarot cards, etc. What sports fan hasn’t worn the exact same shirt (or socks, etc.) and sat in the same spot while watching his favorite team play, too afraid to get up to go to the bathroom or move so he doesn’t break the karma of his team? Ok, maybe that’s just me. But the point is that we all look for or see signs of whatever it is that’s important to us (as a recent example just look at all the hubbub that surrounded a mediocre novel and movie: The DaVinci Code). Everything in the Church…all of it’s signs, symbols, feast days, and liturgy, are meant to point us towards the source and summit of our faith: Jesus Christ. It’s when we take our eyes off of that fact or look elsewhere that we tend to get off into the weeds. I speak from much experience here.

Finally, I love to pray the Divine Office when I can because that’s precisely what it is as well. A uniting of religious and laypersons around the globe to pray the ancient prayers of the Church that center around seven hours in each day, all of them keeping our eyes focused on Christ. I found the following poem last week, and it uses language that will be unfamiliar to many, but within its lines are the seven hours/prayers and how they take us back to that Good Friday that occured so that Easter would follow. I boldfaced the seven hours.

At matins bound, at Prime reviled
Condemned to death at Terce,
Nailed to the Cross at Sext.
At None His blessed Side they pierced,
They take Him down at Vesper-Tide,
In the grave at Compline lay,
Who henceforth bids His Church observe
These sevenfold hours always.

via The Love of Magdalene

  • Matins (known today as the Office of Readings): vigil at dawn
  • Prime: Early Morning Prayer (First Hour = approximately 6 a.m.)
  • Terce: Mid-Morning Prayer (Third Hour = approximately 9 a.m.)
  • Sext: Midday Prayer (Sixth Hour = approximately 12 noon)
  • None: Mid-Afternoon Prayer (Ninth Hour = approximately 3 p.m.)
  • Vespers: Evening Prayer (“at the lighting of the lamps”, generally at 6 p.m.)
  • Compline: Night Prayer (before retiring, generally at 9 p.m.)

I’m giving all of the above too short an explanation. They are all of them deep and very rich in their worth and I should explore and explain them further in the future, perhaps in a series.

— 5 —

The Piano Guys have quickly become one of my favorites. They’ve released some very creative and beautiful videos. Below is their latest. You can find them on Facebook here.

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