Stained glass window of Saint John the Apostle, at Saint Louis University.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Taken last night before the start of midnight Mass at Saint Francis de Sales Oratory, in Saint Louis.
A video taken at that time by Nicole Marchant Merlo, featuring Christmas carols sung by the choir of the Oratory.
Posted by Mark Abeln at 12/25/2012 11:29:00 AM
Friday, December 21, 2012
SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES ORATORY
2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
Posted by Mark Abeln at 12/21/2012 05:01:00 PM
...if you do not like what is sentimental and ceremonial, do not celebrate Christmas at all. — G.K. ChestertonThe commercial and tangential aspects of Christmas — those aspects which have nothing to do with the Incarnation of God in Bethlehem — are as criticized in our culture as they are celebrated, as we see in the well known television program A Charlie Brown Christmas, based on the characters from Charles Schultz's Peanuts comic strip, from 1965:
The animation and audio quality are rather poor, and the creative decision to use children for the voices (several of whom were too young to read the script) gives this a rather choppy quality. CBS executives thought that the Jazz soundtrack by Vince Guaraldi was unsuitable for a children's program. The executives believed that the show would be a flop; rather, it turned out to be one of the most successful television programs of all time.
The show starts with the protagonist, Charlie Brown, being depressed over the commercialism of Christmas, and even his dog Snoopy falls into this, decorating his doghouse in order to win a contest. Brown asks “What is the true meaning of Christmas?” and he is answered by his friend Linus:
‘And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.’The studio executives thought that quoting sacred scripture was unsuited for television, but Schultz fought to keep it in. As far as I can remember, this is one of the few popular mainstream Christmas programs that actually mentions Christ.
...That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Posted by Mark Abeln at 12/19/2012 03:28:00 PM
Yours truly, on the Missouri River at Saint Charles. Thanks to low water, I was able to walk out to the end of one of the wing dams on the river, which are used to narrow and deepen the channel for barge traffic. Photo taken by Tina aka Snup.
I managed to injure my knee only slightly while scrambling down the steep riverbank to pose for this photo. You can encourage me to suffer more dangers, thereby cultivating the cardinal virtue of courage, by purchasing prints at http://msabeln.zenfolio.com!
Friday, December 14, 2012
My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain!
Oh, the walls of my heart!
My heart is beating wildly;
I cannot keep silent...
Disaster follows hard on disaster,
the whole land is laid waste...
I looked on the earth, and lo, it was waste and void;
and to the heavens, and they had no light....
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Joseph Pearce, writer-in-residence at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, speaking at the Priory in Creve Coeur, Missouri. He spoke about the life of the Modernist novelist Evelyn Waugh, his conversion to Catholicism, and Waugh’s arguments for the retention of the old Latin liturgy in the church. Pearce has written numerous literary biographies of writers, including Shakespeare, J.R.R. Tolkien, and G.K. Chesterton.
The Saint Louis Priory School is a college-prep school run by the Benedictines of the Abbey of Saint Mary and Saint Louis.
Thursday, December 06, 2012
Russian icon of Saint Nicholas, at Saint Louis University.
The stories about Santa Claus are insignificant compared to the legends of his namesake, Saint Nicholas the Bishop of Myra, whose veneration as a saint throughout history is second only to the Blessed Virgin.
Santa Claus gives toys to good little girls and boys, but Saint Nicholas saved little children from lives of prostitution — and we are not told if they were good or bad, if that mattered. Saint Nicholas is a patron saint of children, but he is also the patron of thieves, murderers, pirates, and prostitutes, for even the very wicked are in need heavenly help.
The Christian life is serious business indeed, but this means that festivity is also important. The commercialization and secularization of the seasons of Advent and Christmas are well-known, but the answer is not to turn these popular observances into something personal and private. The Puritans forbade the celebration of Christmas, because they thought its celebration turned people away from Christ: but it was the Puritans who eventually turned away from Christ, not the celebrants.
Mulled wine is a traditional beverage for celebrating Saint Nicholas' Day: red wine, cloves, cinnamon, and perhaps lemon, orange. mace, apple cider, nutmeg, raisins, and sugar (or any combination of the above) are simmered together for several minutes, and the beverage is consumed while warm. The Saint Nicholas Center website has many other popular customs for celebrating the feast.
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Joseph Pearce to Visit the Oratory of Saints Gregory and Augustine in Creve Coeur, at 7:00 pm, on Sunday, December 9, 2012.
Monday, December 03, 2012
TODAY IS the feastday of Saint Francis Xavier, of the Society of Jesus, who is called the greatest missionary since the Apostles, doing work in India, Indonesia, and Japan.
Statue, at the Cathedral of Saint Raymond Nonnatus, in Joliet, Illinois. Photo taken in 2007. He is a patron saint of the city of Joliet.
Stained glass window, at the White House Retreat, in Oakville, Missouri. Photo taken in 2011.
Saint Francis Xavier Church, on the campus of Saint Louis University, photo from 2009.