Friday Five – Volume 57 (two days early)

Friday Five_notepad

I haven’t posted a Friday Five yet in 2013 but have had a few requests to do so. I’m a little rusty but here goes…

(Admin: obviously I’m rusty as I hit the “Publish” button two days early instead of the “Preview” button. Ugh.)

— 1 — 

A quote from the Terrence Malick film The Thin Red Line that seemed especially appropriate this week:

“This great evil. Where does it come from? How’d it steal into the world? What seed, what root did it grow from? Who’s doin’ this? Who’s killin’ us? Robbing us of life and light. Mockin’ us with the sight of what we might’ve known. Does our ruin benefit the earth? Does it help the grass to grow, the sun to shine? Is this darkness in you, too? Have you passed through this night?”

— 2 —

After their album Advent at Ephesus spent six weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Classical Music chart in 2012, The Benedictines of Mary are recording once again and will be releasing Angels and Saints at Ephesus on May 7, 2013.

From an Editorial Review on 

Angels and Saints at Ephesus features 17 English and Latin pieces sung a cappella on the feasts of the holy Saints and angels throughout the year at their Priory in the heart of America. In the pure fusion of their now well established bell-like choir sound, the Sisters once again radiate peace with their hymns of Praise of God in the company of all of His angels and Saints.

Here’s a preview:

I own Advent at Ephesus and very much enjoyed it during Advent. And I enjoyed it during Christmas and into Easter.

H/T: The Chant Café 

— 3 —

grantdesmeA little over a year ago I read the story of Grant Desme, a former second-round draft choice of the Oakland A’s. At the age of 23 and on the verge of realizing his dream to play in the major leagues the star center fielder and 2009 Arizona Fall League MVP announced his retirement from the game. He didn’t leave baseball due to injury. There was no drug abuse scandal or otherwise. So why did he give up baseball and all the worldly goods that accompany the status of a major leaguer?

For the answer to that you have to read the interview in the National Catholic Register with Brother Matthew Desme of St. Michael’s Abbey in Silverado, California. I was struck by a number of things that Brother Desme spoke about in the interview, but this part in particular stood out to me:

I was living out every young man’s dream. I was playing well enough to be a Major League Baseball player. I had a big, shiny SUV and even bigger bank account. That’s what most people would think of as being at the pinnacle of manhood. You’ve got all these things that display how strong and capable you are: You become better known, people want to be around you, and everything looks great.

That’s a very superficial form of masculinity, though. It’s based on externals and trying to put yourself before others. I’ve since learned an authentic masculinity based on self-sacrificing love. Being a man is not about stepping on others, but lifting others up. It’s about using the God-given strength you have to protect others and guide them to eternal life.

Some people have the idea — which I shared at one time — that Christianity is kind of a soft religion, not worth giving much attention to. What I’ve come to know, however, is that if you truly attempt to live it out, Christianity is anything but soft. A sincere attempt to be a follower of Jesus requires nothing less than a complete dedication of your entire being.

You’ll want to read it all.

— 4 —

In early April I came across this story on The History Blog about Notre Dame de Paris receiving a set of new bells for her 850th birthday. The article contains an excellent history of the bells, much of which I didn’t know, and links to various articles and videos on YouTube of the dedication ceremony. One of the links to Turkish Weekly describes the reaction to those hearing all ten bells peal together on Palm Sunday for the first time in over two hundred years.

The heart of Paris went suddenly silent as, for the first time in more than two centuries, 10 bells pealed out from Notre Dame Cathedral to thousands gathered to hear them on a sunny afternoon.

Some, like San Francisco tourist Faith Fuller, were moved to tears.

“They made me cry…this is 850 years of history of a fantastic cathedral. And I’m here in an historic moment…hearing the bells ring for the first time. So it’s emotional for me, and beautiful.”

I grew up in small towns on the Great Plains of America where one would hear church bells ring not only on Sunday mornings, but also to mark certain points of each day. One of my early memories as a first and second grader was when me and the other small children of Fedora, South Dakota, would ask our minister to be the ones allowed to pull on the big rope just inside the doors of our small church to ring the bells before and after Sunday services.


This photo is taken years before I rung the church bells from 1976-77, but it hadn’t changed all that much when I attended.

It is not just a sense of childhood nostalgia that makes me feel that we have lost something by eradicating the neighborhood or community bells. It’s not as if the sound of the bells is causing people to lose sleep or disturb their quiet Sundays. From spring to fall my neighborhood Sunday mornings are instead disturbed by the buzzing of weed trimmers or the roaring of lawn mowers. As bell maker Paul Bergamo said “I think that people rediscover [their humanity] when you do a project of bells, it’s like evangelization. Because it’s a project where you federate people. It’s not only a project of bells, it’s a human project. And I think people, believers or not, need these kinds of projects just to go ahead, to progress.”

To read more about the nine new bells to go with one of the originals, Emmanuel, as well as seeing the fascinating process used in the manufacturing of large bells, go here. The nine new bells were christened as Marie, Gabriel, Anne-Genevieve, Denis, Marcel, Stephen, Benedict Joseph, Maurice and Jean-Marie.

This is the video of the bell ringing event held outside the cathedral after Palm Sunday mass. It’s very long, so if you’d like to cut to chase, 12:15 – 21:50 is the ten tower bells rung in groups from largest to smallest, 43:20 – 45:18 is all ten tower bells rung with three from the spire for additional flavor, and at 58:12 is the “Grand Solemnity,” kicked off by Emmanuel followed by Marie and then the eight smaller ones.


Fedora Church photo courtesy of Penny Postcards from South Dakota

— 5 —

It was twenty years ago this past Easter that I became a Catholic during the Easter Vigil Mass at what is today still my home parish. I was taking baby steps towards becoming Catholic for a few years prior to meeting my future wife, herself a Catholic, and having the process sped along. What Archbishop Sheen said below was along my same line of thought prior to my conversion. He just said it a heck of a lot more eloquently than I could.

“If I Were Not A Catholic…”
by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (web source)

“If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world; in other words, I would look for the Church which the world hated. My reason for doing this would be, that if Christ is in any one of the churches of the world today, He must still be hated as He was when He was on earth in the flesh. If you would find Christ today, then find the Church that does not get along with the world. Look for the Church that is hated by the world as Christ was hated by the world. Look for the Church that is accused of being behind the times, as our Lord was accused of being ignorant and never having learned. Look for the Church which men sneer at as socially inferior, as they sneered at Our Lord because He came from Nazareth. Look for the Church which is accused of having a devil, as Our Lord was accused of being possessed by Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils. Look for the Church which, in seasons of bigotry, men say must be destroyed in the name of God as men crucified Christ and thought they had done a service to God. Look for the Church which the world rejects because it claims it is infallible, as Pilate rejected Christ because He called Himself the Truth. Look for the Church which is rejected by the world as Our Lord was rejected by men. Look for the Church which amid the confusions of conflicting opinions, its members love as they love Christ, and respect its Voice as the very voice of its Founder, and the suspicion will grow, that if the Church is unpopular with the spirit of the world, then it is unworldly, and if it is unworldly it is other worldly. Since it is other-worldly, it is infinitely loved and infinitely hated as was Christ Himself. But only that which is Divine can be infinitely hated and infinitely loved. Therefore the Church is Divine.”


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