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Thursday 6 December 2012

Persecution of Christian Charity at Berkeley

It has been a bad day for Christians.....

Hawaii has gone nuts; fantastic concert cancelled owing to ideology; up to 30,000 raised for charity now gone

The Three Pickled Boys

Someone referred to The Pickled Boys miracle of St. Nicholas today on Fr. Z. May I add that I grew up on this story, as did my son. We had the books, Six O'Clock Saints and More SOS at home and this story is in the first one. Icons and stained glass of very early centuries refer to this miracle. I was six when I read these.

Kids love St. Nicholas.

There is video with no good sound quality of Britten's interpretation on youtube.

St. Nicholas, as you know, is patron of children.

And, oh, the story. A horrible inn-keeper in a famine scarred country kidnapped three boys, killed them and cut them up and put them in pickle vats, as it was before refrigeration  Well, St. Nicholas promised the mother he would find them. So, he travelled to the inn, and when the innkeeper offered him meat for dinner, he asked to go down to the cellar and bless the vats of meat. And, out popped the three boys restored to life, although needing baths.

Perfection-Being Grateful for Suffering

Abba Copres said, " blessed is he who bears affliction with thankfulness." Work on gratefulness for everything, even suffering and pain.

Pope number five in most powerful people list

Thanks to The Deacon's Bench for this head's up. The Forbes Report has this. Deacon Kandra writes this:

He’s just below Bill Gates (#4) and above Ben Bernanke (#6).

For my Asian readers

Increasingly on this blog, I am receiving readers from the Far East. I have regular readers from Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong,  India, Sri Lanka, Viet Nam, and the Philippines.  First of all, thank you for the attention. Second of all, I cannot tell you how much I admire you. I have none from China, because of the great restrictions on the Internet. God protect you all.

If you are Catholic parents and Christian parents, you cannot teach your children at home except in the Philippines  which has excellent home schooling groups. There is an estimated 4,0000 children being home schooled in that country. They are the leaders of tomorrow in the Church.  This right of every Christian parent is illegal in many of your countries. You cannot find resources as easily as we can for catechesis. If you are married or single, you may not be able to get to daily Mass. Your parishes may not have Adoration.

You live in minority status as Christians, as Catholics. You are the salt of the earth in your pockets of secularization and the increasing open persecution of Christians by other groups who do not know that Jesus is Lord and the beauty of His Mother.

I encourage you all to get together into communities or groups if you have not done so already. Encourage one another. Do not ignore each other. You will need each other even more in days to come.

I pray for you and you pray for me, please. You are the stars in a darkness which Christ Himself overcame. With Him, you are victorious.

My dance card is full and young people will not believe this

Talk about generation gaps. The construction of my society growing up is gone, gone, gone. From education to social manners, to identity as a Catholic sub-culture, we had a security in knowing who we were and where we were going.

Talking with Generation Millennials, I have realized over the past few years that what I had for coursework in 7th and 8th grade they had in high school and what I had in high school they have in college or university. What I had in college or university, they get in graduate school.

Depressing. When I was in high school, schools were divided into "terminal degree" high schools and "college preparatory schools". In the second grouping, the high schools were run on three tracks, and students were placed in this tracking according to their interests and abilities. Terminal degree high schools actually taught a skill, such as welding, accounting or business skills, and things where a student could walk out the door and get a job immediately.

In those days, we knew that people were not created the same. I do not have my high school curriculum in front of me, but it would be similar to this. This would be the top layer, or third track of the college prep school. All girls, by the way----

First year-freshman year
Civics (general and American)
World History first semester; European History second semester
Algebra I and possibly II
Latin I
English Literature-first semester general; second Shakespeare
English Grammar
Religion-Old Testament first semester; New Testament Second
General Science
Extra-Curricular Studies, such as journalism, choir, art
Sport and Gym Class

Second year-sophomore
Ethics (wow)
Latin II
American History first adn second semester; America Government in more detail second as option
English Literature-Essays-including 18th century ones; second semester Poetry including Shakespeare's sonnets and Mystical Poets
Composition first semester; speech and debate second
Biology all year
Geometry I and II
Religion-Church History, both semesters, but staring with a sacraments section
Extra-Curricular studies, such as choir, drama, art or journalism or all
Sport and Gym Class

Third Year-juniors
Advanced Math I and II; either Trig or another option independent studies; Algebra II; some in Pre-Calculus
French I
Religion- great Catholic thinkers; world religions
Contemporary History (usually from WWI to present)
Extra-curricular choices again including Drama class, choir or above
Sport and Gym Class
English Literature of the Modern Age-novels and poetry
(Optional Typing)
(Optional Driver Training)

One also took college entrance tests in junior year for applying for scholarships. We had up to four hours of homework per night. Ask my dad.

Fourth Year-seniors
Independent studies in History
Advanced Math-Calculus
Religion-marriage prep; modern issues such as Vat. II
Physics, optional
French II
English Literature-drama and world drama; debate as advanced options
Extra-curricullar again like drama or choir or aboves
Free time to take college courses for credit
Research skills
Intro to Philosophy
Sport and Gym

We had some choices for sport.

I may be forgetting something. The mathematics classes varied after Geometry. I took Algebra II and my brothers went way ahead of me in Trig, Pre-Calc and Calc. etc. We had options. I was the feature editor of the newspaper and teen editor for the local city newspaper. I did almost everything-choir, drama, etc.  Yes, we had uniforms very similar to those below except we had to wear black or brown shoes--- and no, I was not a cheerleader.

We were allowed to seek excellence.

Ah, social skills. For our first dances, we had little booklets on which to write who was dancing which dance with us. They had little ribbons so that we could wear them around our wrist and there is a photo of a young girl with one. We called them dance cards. In my Grandmothers' days, these were silver and gold. 

This custom is where the phrases, "pencil me in" comes from....and "my dance card is full."

We had formal and informal dances. We had teas. We had picnics which were planned. We did not have much fast-food. Pizza Hut opened in my home town when I was 16. That was where I went on my first date, with the neighbour boy and his friend who tagged along. I remember exactly what I wore-a white top with large black polka dots and a black skirt;  and the date: January 1, 1965. I turned 16 two days later. My parents had known the parents of that boy since before I was born, and we played together even as toddlers. Still, permission had to be sought and granted. That was how the culture was disciplined and set. It was all very comforting. There was no stress as most people in those stratifications has so much in common to make such socializing relaxed. And, we had no idea about sex. We could just be ourselves, and learn to use our manners, and wait.

Manners helped us, as well as the truly Christian character of the culture at the time. 

The list, taken from the website below, is what we learned naturally in all of these events. We even learned sports etiquette. We went roller skating and ice skating. We played foursomes in tennis. We did not go shopping for fun. That was not done then. One shopped with one's mom. Two of my girls friends had to go shopping with their dad, as he had to approve their clothes. He was an Italian dad. My dad would not be caught dead in a ladies' shop. Good thing, too.

  • First impressions
  • Introductions
  • Greeting and shaking hands
  • Paying and receiving compliments
  • Correspondence
  • Telephone manners
  • Family dining
  • Table manners
  • Polite conversation
  • When to rise
  • Doors and coats
  • Sports etiquette
  • Formal dining
  • Party courtesies
  • Hosting a party
  • Receiving lines
  • Eating unusual foods
  • Instructional dinners

  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Promise keeping
  • Fidelity
  • Caring
  • Respect
  • Citizenship
  • Excellence
  • Accountability
  • Handling peer pressure

All the dances had adults present: the nuns and our parents were chaperones. Sometimes the priests came for a short while. All the parents knew all the other parents in your track, mostly. Dating was strictly controlled by parents. Boys were very polite. My dad reminds me of the Friday night I had one young man at the front day, one at the back door, and one on the phone. I was not that popular. I had a pink Princess phone and a turquoise blue transistor radio with a matching leather case--trendy.  We had plays, concerts, football, basketball, track, wrestling, and all kinds of things. We had cotillions to go to and strict rules on dating regarding times and frequency. We did things in groups. We sang when we went out in groups. We dated in order to find a mate. Mom and Dad were part of the process of dating.

We were also in clubs, such as journalism club, debate club, speech club, YCS, sacristy club, volunteer clubs, tennis clubs, dance clubs, (NOT clubbing), and so on.

We learned how to organize groups and share information. We learned how to become adults. We wanted to grow up.

We had fun. But, things were to change quickly. This was an age of transition. However, the manners lasted well into the eighties in the Mid-West and in England.

I have found an organization on line for teaching children social manners and some character building. Why don't Catholic parents do something similar?

Feast of St. Nicholas

This feast is a major one on both sides of my family. Being from ancestors who are both Moravian, Bohemian, and Luxembourgians, my family and I celebrated this in grand style.

It was so wonderful. As we all sat down for dinner on December 6th, there would be a knock at the front door. Mom and Dad and all the children were with us, so who could it be but St. Nicholas.

We would rush to the door and there, on the front porch, in the snow, usually, were sacks of fruit, chocolates, other candies, and some toys. Of course, we always received gold coins, the symbol of St. Nicholas, who provided dowries for three poor girls.

No footprints, no disturbance in the snow.

It was not until years late that my mom told me that the Lutheran gentleman next door would wear his snowshoes, which barely leave a mark in snow. and deliver what mom had given him earlier in the day.

I think that counts as ecumenism.

It is a family name. My day has that name as his Confirmation name and I have cousins and second cousins and third cousins who are Nick, Nicky and Nicholas. Really, but we do not cook lamb in the front yard. But, we do have Panettone on St. Nicholas Day.

I love St. Nicholas and the two main readings in the EF struck me particularly this year.

From the Epistle to the Hebrews 13: 7-17 is this section verses 13 and 14:

Let us go forth therefore to him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have not here a lasting city, but we seek one that is to come 

Two important points: one, we are on the outside and we should be. We should be a mark of distinction in the world, not conforming to it, but changing it by our example; and two, this is not our permanent home. 

If the world hates us, that most likely means we are living out our baptismal vows.

St. Nicholas is our example.

The other reading which impressed me today is the Gospel, Matthew 25: 14-23. The talents are not necessarily our gifts, as some of the great writers of mediation state, but graces.

We may be given only two graces; use them. We may be given only four graces; use those.

We cannot measure grace, of course, but use the grace of the sacraments daily. Do not squander the gifts. And a selection from my favourite musical tribute to St. Nicholas. 

Benjamin Britten, "Saint Nicholas": Nicholas comes to Myra and is chosen as Bishop. .Please listen to it, as even as a selection from the entire Cantata, it is sublime.

Thank you, dear St. Nicholas, for being my family's patron. Intercede for us in these hard times to be as courageous as we possibly can be. Thank you, St. Nicholas, for your example and grace.