World Cup update

We’ve gotten to the quarter-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, there are eight teams left 2 from CONMEBOL (South America) and six from UEFA (Europe). Half of the teams have made it and won the World Cup at some point in history. The biggest favorite currently is Brazil to win a sixth title. There have been some surprising teams notably Russia which is 70 in the FIFA rankings as the beginning of the tournament. Some are hoping for an England-Brazil final but it could be the top two remaining teams Brazil (2) and Belgium (3). Belgium hasn’t won much in their history but could this be their year. The Quarter-finals are 6 and 7 July this will leave 4 teams before the semi-finals on 10 and 11 July leaving two teams who will meet in the final match on 15 July.

Lady Chapels or Mary in the Anglican Church

In the Anglican Church the Lady chapel is a chapel which is to the east of the main altar in Cathedrals or the side altar in smaller church which is dedicated to Mary. Mary plays a unique role in the Anglican Church.  Since England was a stronghold of Marian devotion before the reformation. It is here where the feast of the Assumption was first celebrated in 1060. The Carmelite Simon Stock is said to have received the brown scapular from Mary at Cambridge, England also is home to Richard of Chichester, Edmund of Canterbury, Thomas Becket as well as the great Anselm of Canterbury who all were devotees of Mary. Anselm wrote books and prayers about “the spotless Ever-Virgin Mother of Christ.” England itself since the middle ages, roughly 1350 or so, has been called Mary’s Dowry and even Pope Leo XIII noted this while he was addressing a group of pilgrims in 1893.

At the time of the English Reformation, devotion to Mary was still big although Mary was no longer a mediatrix with Jesus and overt devotion to Mary ended. However there were still five Marian feast (Conception of Mary, Nativity of Mary, Annunciation, Visitation, Purification/Presentation) on the calendar of the Church of England. In the 16th century the Magnificat was apart of Evening Prayer and lady chapels started appearing. As the 17th century came the writers took a look at the Catholic and Orthodox devotion of Mary and this sort of inspired the Oxford Movement, which saw the Anglican Church as a branch of the Catholic church with the other branches being the Roman Church and the Greek. One of the leaders of this movement was John Henry Newman.  This movement lead to the revival of interest into pre-Reformation ideas like that of Our Lady of Walsingham, which has become quite the pilgrimage site for Anglicans, Catholics and Orthodox faithful. Currently, Mary holds a new prominent place as she is now name in the liturgy and even August 15 has become a feast day for Mary herself. Even some Marian devotions have crept back like the Rosary, Angelus and Regina Coeli.

The Apparition

Since Halloween is in a couple of days I’ve decided to share one of the great poem beside The Raven that are great during this time of year. This one is a poem by John Donne, the metaphysical poet best known for “Death be not proud” or Holy Sonnet X.

The Apparition

When by thy scorn, O murd’ress, I am dead
And that thou think’st thee free
From all solicitation from me,
Then shall my ghost come to thy bed,
And thee, feign’d vestal, in worse arms shall see;
Then thy sick taper will begin to wink,
And he, whose thou art then, being tir’d before,
Will, if thou stir, or pinch to wake him, think
Thou call’st for more,
And in false sleep will from thee shrink;
And then, poor aspen wretch, neglected thou
Bath’d in a cold quicksilver sweat wilt lie
A verier ghost than I.
What I will say, I will not tell thee now,
Lest that preserve thee; and since my love is spent,
I’had rather thou shouldst painfully repent,
Than by my threat’nings rest still innocent.

On the Grasshopper and Cricket

It is officially summer so here is a poem by John Keats about the season.

The Poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper’s—he takes the lead
In summer luxury,—he has never done
With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
The Grasshopper’s among some grassy hills.

Spectre (2015)

James Bond is at it again in the newest installment of the “rebooted” series. Daniel Craig’s first film Casino Royale was a reboot of the series but doesn’t precede or follow any of the other films. Spoilers to follow.

Spectre reintroduces the criminal organization Spectre, formerly stylized as SPECTRE and its leader Ernst Blofeld. It turns out that Blofeld is the real person behind Quantum as he tells James “You interfered in my world, I destroyed yours. Or did you think it was coincidence that all the women in your life ended up dead?” It was a fun James Bond film but it was just too long, and the whole first quarter of the film in Mexico nothing really happens. Also it was disappointing that so many people thought that the reappearance of Blofeld was that big of a surprise I mean the movie was named Spectre and Blofeld is the head of Spectre. All in all if you are a James Bond fan it is a decent addition and has some nice connective elements to the previous Craig films. Will Daniel Craig make another Bond film or will he be replaced before the next film. We only know for sure that James Bond will return.

Brideshead Revisited

I have been working on reading this book for awhile now. It is Evelyn Waugh’s masterpiece which is considered by many to be one of the greatest book in the world. Waugh himself at one time called this his magnum opus, but after re-reading it he reconsidered and  Waugh was appalled with what he wrote. In the revised edition of the book in the preface he explains how he came to write the book.

Brideshead Revisited, The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder is the written in three parts. We begin with a prologue in the 40s with Charles Ryder telling us how he is in the army and has just arrived at a new camp which he used to know Brideshead Castle. The story then moves back in time as Charles reminisces about how he once knew the people who lived here notably Sebastian Flyte. Charles met Sebastian back in 1923 while he was at Hertford College and Sebastian was at Christ Church both at Oxford. Charles lived on the first floor of his dormitory and one evening Sebastian was wandering around drunk and staggering around and  threw up  into Charles’s room. After this Charles and Sebastian became fast friends, eventually Sebastian brings Charles to his house Brideshead Castle, while none of his family is there. From here Charles eventually meets the rest of the Flyte family, Lord and Lady Marchmain, Bridey, Julia and Cordelia. They are a deeply Catholic family who are flawed individuals and Charles is agnostic.

In the second book Sebastian has become a all out drunk, Julia has found a beau in Rex Mottram and there is talk about how to marry Julia he needs to become Catholic but things don’t go as expected. Charles has all but blocked out the Marchmain’s as he lives in France and only reunites with them as he learns that Lady Marchmain is dying and goes to find Sebastian. The third book skips a decade so it’s about 1936, Charles has married (Celia) and has had two children but it rather unhappy with his life saying that the last time he was truly happy was back when Sebastian and the Marchmain’s were in his life. He has been out of the country over in Latin America trying to rekindle his spark for architecture art it seems to as critics are all clamoring for Charles saying that these are amazing. Charles runs into Julia and as it turns out they are both in loveless marriages (Celia and Rex).  There is a cool bit with King Lear too. Lord Marchmain remarries and is reinvigorated in the faith, Celia and Charles as well as Julia and Rex get divorced. There is the will they won’t they between Julia and Charles but it end with Julia realizing that it would be a sinful marriage since they both are already married, just like Rex was earlier on.  In the end we go back to the framing story with Charles in the army at Brideshead. Charles is “homeless, childless, middle-aged and loveless” but he goes and visits the chapel at Brideshead, a place he hadn’t gone before, it is here that he comes to the realization that everything is there for a purpose. There is a glimmer of hope for everyone no matter how far we fall, look at Sebastian who ends up at a monastery where he lives in and out of the world with people who care about him, God is there offering us a hand. It was a nice book to finish during Lent.

News Roundup

Hamilton: This is some cool news as Hamilton the musical will be performing at the Grammy Awards. This marks the eighth time a musical has been featured on the Grammys. Hamilton is the front runner to take home the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. If you need an excuse to watch the Grammy Awards this seems like a good reason.

Henry VIII: Here is an interesting story researchers have been studying Henry VIII and have claimed that it is suggested that King Henry VIII might have suffered from CTE (Chronic traumatic encephalopathy) this is that thing that American Football players are getting. With the repeated head traumas that the players are taking over decades of playing it is no wonder why so many are being  diagnosed with CTE, most recently Ken Stabler.


Lesser known…

Crispin and Crispinian (circa Third Century)
Most of us have heard of Saint Crispin, there’s that famous speech from Shakespeare, but who exactly is Crispin. They, Crispin and Crispinian, are twin brothers who were born to a noble Roman family. They fled to Soissons to get away from persecution. In France they preached to the Gauls and made shoes at night. From their shoes they earned enough to live comfortably and aid the poor. The governor heard of them and had them tortured and thrown into a river with millstones around their necks. They both survived but were eventually beheaded by Diocletian. Or Crispin and Crispinian could have been from Kent somewhere near Canterbury, but after their father died for displeasing the Roman Emperor their mother persuaded that they flee to London. The brothers made their way but stumbled upon a shoemaker’s workshop in Faversham and decided to stay there.  The English version of the story has no information about how they were martyred.

Pope Evaristus (died c. 107)
Evaristus was the Fifth bishop of Rome. Evaristus was originally a Hellenistic Jew on his father’s side from Bethlehem.  He divided Rome up into titles, or parishes these have grown to the Titular Church that Cardinals are given when they become Cardinals. Evaristus also appointed priest to these Churches and appointed seven deacons for the city.

Chiara Badano (29 October 1971 – 7 October 1990)
Chiara is a member of Generation X and is proof that regular people can still become saints. I felt compelled to mention Chiara Luce, her nickname given by Chiara Lubich,  even though she is only a blessed since a couple weeks ago I read about her and felt that her words are something that we need to hear in the world today. Chiara was born in a small village in Italy and her parents had waited and prayed for her to come for eleven years. Chiara got involved in the Focolare Movement in Italy at nine. The Focolare Movement was started by Chiara Lubich in 1943. In 1988 her life was changed dramatically as Chiara felt a twinge in her shoulder while playing tennis and it turned out to be osteogenic sarcoma, a rare and painful bone cancer.  When Chiara heard this she simply declared, “It’s for you, Jesus; if you want it, I want it, too.” This is remarkable as all that Chiara wanted was to be married to Jesus, and at her funeral she got her wish. Before Chiara died she told her mother “the young people…young people…they are the future. You see, I can’t run anymore, but how I would like to pass on to them the torch, like in the Olympics! Young people have only one life and it’s worthwhile to spend it well.” I hope that many young people take up the torch of Chiara and live always with a light that radiated from within from a heart full of the love of God.

Lesser known..

This week there is a cacophony of events on the 25th. Geek Pride Day is a simplification of the event as it honors the original release of Star Wars, is Towel Day,  as well as the Glorious 25th of May. Towel Day is the day when fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy carry around towels as they are of utmost importance in the world. It is also the Glorious revolution in the Discworld book by Pratchett. It is a unique day as it seems like everyone is in some sort of geek fandom. It’s a catch all day to honor all of “geek culture” although in recent years it seems that has basically turned into mainstream culture. As if you’ve seen a movie recently it most likely was based on a comic book.

There are two interesting Saints this week was well.

Augustine of Canterbury (first third of the 6th century – probably 26 May 604)
Augustine is the guy who brought Christianity to England. Augustine was a Benedictine prior in Rome who was chosen by Pope Gregory the Great for a mission to make King Aethelberht of Kent who had just married a Christian princess a Christian. Augustine’s mission was successful and Aethelberht converted many others were baptized en mass on Christmas in 597. In Canterbury, Aethelberht donated some land for a monastery and eventually a cathedral was built. This is why the Archbishop of Canterbury is the head of the Church of England, it was the first place established. Augustine would start two more diocese in England in London and Rochester all of these would eventually become a part of the Church of England. The Catholic Church main cathedral of England is in the Archdiocese of Westminster, roughly the same thing as the Diocese of London.

Quadratus of Athens (d. 129)
Quadratus is from Greece, the Eastern Church count him as one of the 70 apostles and is perhaps the first Apologists at least according to Eusebuis. That’s about all that we known.