Tuesday of the First Week of Advent
This guidance from Church Year:

3. Why does my church use the color blue during Advent?
Good question. We have heard many reasons why blue is now a popular Advent liturgical color. One is that blue symbolizes the pre-dawn light. Another reason is that blue is the color of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the use of blue for Advent may come from this. A third reason is that many churches are trying to distance themselves from the penitential nature of past Advent celebrations, and blue is as close as you can get to violet without being violet. Also, in many places the purple dye used to make Advent vestments and linens was closer to a blue-violet hue than straight violet. Possibly, this eventually led churches in many regions to adopt blue as an Advent color. The last possibility is that blue is a pretty color and offers more variety of color to the limited number of liturgical colors. Regardless, in the Catholic Church, blue is not an approved liturgical color, for Advent or any other season, and it should not be the primary color in any Catholic liturgical celebration.

None of the reasons cited above are valid of course. It is not for us to re-invent the litugry of our own accord. GIRM 346 specifies the following colors for vestments: white, red, green, violet, black (as an option for funeral services and Masses for the Dead), rose (Gaudete and Lætare Sundays), and gold/silver (as an alternative for solemn days).

I’m not sure if the GIRM says anything about Advent wreaths, but the Book of Blessings for the US, ¶1510, mentions only violet, white and rose. We’ve got blue candles, and I could not talk anyone out of them. Why is it so hard for some people to do things right?

The next time this happens, I will say, “If you’re going to go all Protestant on me, I may as well go back to the Baptists where I came from.”


Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin

Being President is like being a jackass in a hailstorm. There’s nothing to do but stand there and take it. —LBJ

Let’s pray that the President-Elect learns how to take it. The US does not have lèse majesté laws and Americans are very vocal. Having the VP make fun of your critics or siccing the state troopers on them is not very Presidential.

If, as the co-chair (what is that, exactly?) of his transition team said, Obama is ready, “… to begin to rule Day One”, then the first thing he must learn is that he will not be ruling. We are citizens, not subjects, and he is not the king. For that matter, he isn’t even President, yet.

As Christians we have a King who is above any earthly ruler, and this Sunday is an opportunity to remember that. May our leaders remember that as well.

33rd Thursday in Ordinary Time

The always fun-to-read John Zmirak gives us this groaner:

[T]he Virgin Mary — who, ever since the early Church, had been famous for ending her time on earth by rising up to heaven, body and soul. … Would that have happened to everyone, absent the Fall? That’s a pretty big assumption.

While I’m at it, here’s what you didn’t know about Cardinal Sin.

33rd Thursday in Ordinary Time

In the better late than never category, this excerpt from a Litany to St Charles Borromeo:

Saint Charles Borromeo, Pray for us.
St. Charles, imitator of Christ, Pray for us.
St. Charles, faithful follower of Christ and Him Crucified, Pray for us.
St. Charles, replenished with the spirit of the Apostles, Pray for us.
St. Charles, consumed with zeal for the glory of God, Pray for us.
St. Charles, indefatigable in thy labors, Pray for us.
St. Charles, reassembling the Council of Trent, Pray for us.
St. Charles, first great prelate of the counter-reformation, Pray for us.
St. Charles, father and guide of the clergy, Pray for us.
St. Charles, the light and support of the Church, Pray for us.
St. Charles, tireless in bettering conditions in thy vast diocese of Milan, Pray for us.
St. Charles, true reformer of both clergy and people, Pray for us.
St. Charles, alert to the proper carrying out of the sacred Liturgy, Pray for us.
St. Charles, founder of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine for instructing children, the first Sunday-schools, Pray for us.
St. Charles, founder of the Oblates of Saint Ambrose, most desirous of the salvation of souls, Pray for us.
St. Charles, most zealous for the teaching of youth, Pray for us. St. Charles, a model of humility and penance, Pray for us.
St. Charles, whose selflessness during the great plague won the hearts even of thy foes, Pray for us.

From Catholic Culture

32nd Friday in Ordinary Time

One of my favorite songs is Jan Bart’s “Freg ba gott kein kashes nit” in which a desperate father pleads with his son to stop asking so many questions.

Yes, I’m a Yiddish buff, a humble disciple of Leo Rosten. One time I found myself in a queue with my son when I told him to “stop kvetching”. A lady standing behind us beamed, “I haven’t heard that word in decades.”

As it goes, kvetch is a pretty light word. Rabbi Joshua Neely of Beth Israel in Owings Mills, wrote in this month’s Jewish Community Center newsletter:

Colorful language is a familiar part of Jewish culture and many of the Yiddish words that still survive are best left unprinted.

I know whereof he speaks. The real translations of shmuck and dreck, for example, are distinctly anatomical and scatological, respectively. But let’s go on.

When Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai lamented that he wished G-d had created us with two mouths so one could busy itself with Torah while the other looked after our worldly affairs, he was rebuffed by his colleagues: A second mouth would be just as likely to slip up.

Swearing in stereo? I know a few Catholics who are quite accomplished in that. I don’t do so bad myself, either. On Father’s Day, I received a card that read, “Dad: the leading cause of second-hand swearing.”

Apart from Yiddish, the most distinctive treasury of swear words undoubtedly belongs to the citizens of Montreal. Not content with the anatomical and scatological, the denizens of Upper Canada have aggressively repurposed the vocabulary of the sacristan. When an altar server up north says câlice he isn’t talking about something he forgot to set out on the credenza.

So ingrained is this habit in the subconscious of the Montrealais that most have no idea what a câlice or a ciboire actually are. In 2006, the Archdiocese ran an ad campaign to remind them.

Tabernac! If I don’t watch myself in the sacristy this Sunday, I’ll be throwing a loonie in the swear jar.

St Frances Xavier Cabrini

Better late than never.

  1. If I was eligible, did I vote.
  2. Did I vote on local races and referenda in addition to the Presidential race?
  3. Did I encourage others to vote?
  4. Did I vote even though I was not eligible?
  5. Did I participate in any other way in election fraud, or condone or excuse election fraud?
  6. Did I evaluate the candidates fairly, on the basis of their experience, character and stated positions, and without regard to race, gender or accusations of the opposition?
  7. Did I give due weight to the non-negotiable life issues: abortion, euthanasia, fetal stem cell research, human cloning and same-sex marriage?
  8. Did I give due weight to questions of prudential judgement in domestic and foreign policy?
  9. Did I evaluate platforms and proposals in the light of what is known in economics, science, American and world history?
  10. Did I allow myself to be swayed by vague platitudes or nice-sounding slogans?
  11. Did I vote from selfish motives, hoping to benefit from a promised entitlement, tax break or earmark?
  12. Did I bear false witness against any candidate? Did I delight in or help to propagate unfounded rumors and scandal against a candidate or his or her family?
  13. Did I lie about, or uncritically accept lies about a candidate’s policies.
  14. Did I mock a candidate’s race, gender or disability?
  15. Have I accepted the victory or defeat of my favored candidates in the spirit of humility and Christian charity?
  16. Do I pledge to continue living the Faith in public life?
  17. Did I go to Starbucks for my free coffee?

For what it’s worth, I’m glad the Bishops are meeting in Baltimore this year, and not just because it’s my home town. Baltimore is, after all, the Mother Diocese and deserves that pride of place. I’m sure it’s cheaper than Washington, too, and at a safe remove from the civil capital. I sometimes feel that having the USCCB headquarters in D.C. is an uncomfortable accommodation to Mammon.