Charlottesville

As I am sure you have all heard several descriptions about the Unite the Right rally that happened a couple of Saturdays ago in Charlottesville, VA where the neo-Nazis, white supremacists,  the alt-right and other fascists were all up in arms about the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. Riots occurred accompanied by violence and the like.  Then the President took several days to say that Nazis and the KKK are bad and then sort of backed down from that the next day. It’s pretty stupid that it took so long but racism is still going strong in the US. Sure there are several Confederate statues throughout the US and several of them are being taken down following these event. However does taking down all the statues really solve anything racism is still rampant in the United States and nothing really has been down about it. The Civil Rights Act did do a little to fix it but nothing has really happened since 1968. Barack Obama did win two terms as President but that didn’t solve race relations in the US. It’s a lot better than it was but just look at the Black Lives Matter movement and we can see that it hasn’t gotten that far. As Sam Cooke puts it it’s been a long time coming but I know a change is going to come.

Now the statue problem to me it seems just like the Native American team name/mascot controversy are they honoring the individual or meant to demean. Sure both the monuments and team names/mascots aren’t the greatest things that we have in the US but they exist because of the vast history and our reluctance to remember it. Like how whenever there is a mass shooting we go never again but it seems like it happens about once a year anyhow. According to Wikipedia there are at least 1500 memorials and monuments to the Confederacy in the US from Maine to California. Ten Army bases are named after Confederates and but they, at least in 2015 according to Brig. Gen. Malcolm B. Frost, won’t be renamed as they are named for soldiers who holds a place in our military history. Of the monuments on Monument Ave in Richmond five are of Confederates and there has been talk of adding more statues and/or removing them all together however one in particular that of Matthew Maury who was the first real scientist and oceanographer in the US Navy, who most Americans have never heard of needs to stay. Sure the Civil War ended 150 years ago but it doesn’t seem like it really is over with the vitriol between the political parties and the ongoing antagonism from our President about any little thing that he doesn’t like. We, in the US, need to learn our history better for as the old saying goes we are bound to repeat it. There are problems in our great nation and I am not sure we have any idea how to fix them, term limits might help as well as by getting more people involved in the political process.

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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.

Scapulars

In the past I think I’ve mentioned Scapulars, the brown one is the most common. The scapular comes from the monastic scapular which started as like an apron and is mentioned in the Rule of Benedict, as time has progressed the scapular has become a part of the habit of many monks and nuns. It is typically the outer most layer and goes from shoulder to shoulder and often covers the front and back. This is often described as the yoke of Christ and shows obedience. In the Middle Ages this was made smaller and the oblates (monks and nuns in society wore them), this lead to the development of the third orders where lay faithful would follow the Rule of the order and support them. These individuals would sometimes wear a tertiary habit like a scapular and overtime it became a high honor and great privilege to be granted a small cloth attached by bands which one wore over the torso. This is the basic devotional article which we have today.

The most common of the scapulars is the Brown one of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, it is worn by the Carmelites and by a great many of people around the world. The Vatican recognizes many different color scapulars, Brown, White, Blue, Red, Black and there are even some scapulars that combine the other scapulars together into one. As Our Lady of Fatima told the Children “The Rosary and the Scapular are inseparable.” This is why it is important, if you don’t wear a scapular it isn’t that bad it is just another devotional aid that people use. If it is at all possible make an effort to try to lead a more spirit filled life, by adding praying the Rosary or wearing a scapular.

Ineffabilis Deus

Ineffabilis Deus is an Apostolic Constitution from Pope Pius IX. It is one of the two times the Pope ever has spoken ex catherda and officially enshrined dogma in Church history. This is a Papal Bull about Mary the Virgin Mother of Jesus and her own birth, although many people think that this feast day is about Jesus. In the Papal bull, Pope Pius says “We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and therefore should firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful.”

This is an interesting document as this idea had been around Christianity since the early days with Augustine and Irenaeus talking about it back in the day. In the Middle Ages this idea that Mary was free of sin was disputed by Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure as how could Mary be free from sin and be redeemed by Jesus. It wasn’t until Franciscan Friar John Duns Scotus who leaning on the Early Church Father brought the idea back out into the light, Mary needed redemption like all human being but through the merits of the Crucifixion given early she was conceived without the stain of Original sin,  however the Dominicans didn’t really like the reasoning following the Aquinas logic. This went on for some time and although the idea was taught in school it never was made doctrine of the Church.

Today is the Patronal Feast Day for the United States, Spain, Ireland, Brazil, Korea, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Portugal. So it is a Holy Day of Obligation, if you have some time get to Mass or if you can’t make it perhaps say a Rosary today.

The Nicene Creed

Since it is the Feast of Saint Nicholas it seems only right to remember him for something he did during the First Council of Nicaea. This is the Council where the Nicene Creed was adopted. Now at this Council there is a rather famous moment where punches were thrown. Nicholas of Myrna couldn’t take any more of what Arius was saying about the natures and relationship of Jesus to the Father. Arius and his supporters argued that Jesus was the first and perfect creation but not God. However after hearing this for several hours according to legend Nicholas of Myrna got up and slapped Arius in the face. After doing this Nicholas was stripped of the office and thrown in jail. While in jail Nicholas prayed for forgiveness and at some point during the night Jesus and Mary appeared to him (according to different accounts Mary and Jesus appeared to the other bishops or the Emperor Constantine)   Jesus and Mary gave Nicholas a book of the Gospels and an Omophorion (a sign of the office of Bishop). In the morning Nicholas was released from jail and his office of Bishop restored to him. The council agreed with Nicholas and rejected the idea of Arius, this was written in to the Nicene Creed.

This Creed is sort of the one that we can say during Sunday Mass, however the original from 325 was a bit different from what we say. The version from 325 is as follows:

We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten from the Father, only-begotten, that is, from the substance of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father, through Whom all things came into being, things in heaven and things on earth, Who because of us men and because of our salvation came down, and became incarnate and became man, and suffered, and rose again on the third day, and ascended to the heavens, and will come to judge the living and dead. And in the Holy Spirit. But as for those who say, There was when He was not, and, Before being born He was not,and that He came into existence out of nothing, or who assert that the Son of God is of a different hypostasis or substance, or created, or is subject to alteration or change – these the Catholic and apostolic Church anathematizes.

This Creed was revised at the First Council of Constantinople in 381 and is similar to what we say at Mass.
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.  We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten from the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of the same substance as the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father (and the Son). With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come..

Please note that italicized “and the Son” in the part after the Holy Spirit this is the filioque debate. In the Eastern Church this is not a part of the Creed however in the West it is said. In 1995, the Vatican said that the “And the Son” doesn’t work in the Greek text and therefore when the creed is said in Greek it is not included. Yet in Latin it works and so that is why the Roman Church says this and the Greek Church doesn’t. This is one of the reasons behind the Great Schism. However when the Pope is with one of the Ecumenical Patriarchs they say the Creed in Greek, perhaps a small step toward a reunion.

Andrei Rublev (1966)

Andrei Rublev is an autobiographical film from Andrei Tarkovsky, it tells the story of the famous 15th century Russian icon painter. I watched this movie because it is often on the list of top ten movie of all time and even the Vatican has it on their list of great films to celebrate the centennial of film back in 1995. Tarkovsky main goal was to make a realistic portrayal of medieval Russia as well as making Andrei a world-historic figure and places Christianity as an axiom of Russia’s historical identity. This is surprising to see from Communist Russia. Spoiler to follow.

Andrei Rublev tells a story loosely based on the life of the famed monk. The film is a collection of eight vignettes with a prologue and epilogue which seem unconnected to the narrative of the film. The film begins with a hot air balloon flight for some reason. The story actually begins after we see the first title card The Jester where we meet three monks Andrei, Daniil, and Kirill who are traveling looking for work as artists. It starts to rain and they take shelter. We learn that Kirill is jealous of the talent that Andrei has since Kirill isn’t that talented as an artist compared to Andrei. The film is an interesting look at Russia, the middle ages are a time period that we don’t see many movies that aren’t about knights. Here we have the Tartar conflict being depicted. The film is in black and white and doesn’t show any art until the epilogue which is in color. This make a nice reflection on the whole concept of art and what it is. The whole film we hear characters talk about it but it isn’t until the end where we see it.

If you are interested in checking out a good art film this is for you. Sure it’s in Russian and is pretty long but we are offered a unique spiritual experience by watching this film and we learn a bit about Andrei Rublev and 15th century Russia. It is a different film, and wasn’t what I expected it to be.

World Series 2016

History has happened after a very long time we finally have a Championship title for the Chicago Cubs it has been 108 years. Raise the White Flag. It was a well played game on both sides who would have thought we’d get a tied game in the ninth, a rain delay and extra innings baseball. It was fitting for the gravity of this game. Come April 3(10), 2017 the Anno Catulorum “In the Year of the Cubs” will read AC000000 for the first time ever. It was a tremendous game and a wonderful game for all involved it looked like the Cubs had it wrapped up early but Cleveland put up a fight and evened it up.  The game was a nail biter for sure and it seemed like it might not end this way or even go longer as in the bottom of the tenth, after the Cubs went up two runs in the top, Cleveland had the winning run up at bat but grounded out to end the game. This result is the opposite of what happened in the NBA Championship where Cleveland came back from a 3-1 deficit. The best part of this is that both team seems to have a young core that if they stay healthy can be dominate for years to come. Already, the Cubs are favorites to win the series in 2017. Opening day is only in a short five months away can I am sure that fans can’t wait for baseball to start again.

Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon

This is one of the few Zelda games I haven’t played, sure it’s widely considered one of the worst games ever made but thanks to the Game Grumps they are playing through the game so I can finally see it in action. It takes a unique idea as it features Zelda as the adventurer looking for Link and her father, so that is the one positive about the game but by far it is the most ridiculous Zelda game ever made, however I’ve never seen The Faces of Evil so perhaps that’s worse. Sure this is one of those CD-i game and isn’t considered canon but it is pretty crazy to watch them struggle to play this game. I struggled to play through Zelda II in college but I enjoyed the game and all sure it was different but it’s a fun game to play. So here we have a game in the similar style and it should be an interesting game but unfortunately, The Wand of Gamelon and it seem likely The Faces of Evil are just bad games. Sure they are not canon games but they came about because of a cancelled CD addition to the SNES, Nintendo agreed with Phillips to make it but Nintendo cancelled the project so Phillips were given the right to some of Nintendo’s characters from Zelda and Mario. Phillips made four games with these Nintendo characters these two as well as Zelda’s Adventure and Hotel Mario.

News Roundup

Musicals: Washington DC has become a hot bed for new musicals as of late with runs of Dear Evan Hansen at Arena Stage before it made it’s way to Broadway, and Freaky Friday which just opened at the Signature Theatre. Now there is news that Mean Girls the musical based on the Tina Fey movie from 2004 will be coming to DC in fall of 2017. There hasn’t been confirmation about where it will be but Arena Stage, Signature Theatre and Ford’s Theatre have all denied involvement, however it could just be too early for an announcement or something?

Disney movies: It has been announced that Disney is making another one of their animated film into a live action movie. This time around it is Mulan that is joining the ranks of the live action remakes like Pete’s Dragon, The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King and The Little Mermaid. Mulan is a  wonderful story and is based on the legendary woman warrior Hua Mulan. The Ballad of Mulan recounts her tale. It is a wonderful story and according to the article it will combine aspect of the ’98 film and the Ballad along with perhaps other stories of Mulan from the ages to make the best adaptation of the story. Disney is in the process of finding some Chinese actress to play the legendary character.

In similar news there is work going on for a film based on Deborah Sampson one of the women who fought in the American Revolutionary War. This seems like a story that would be great at a time like this in the United States. I hope that it gets made, and that they include the stories of other female fighters as well.