Tag: Advent

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Advent 1: Preparing for the Inevitable

 

Our family tradition on Black Friday is for my brother to take my six children out for lunch and shopping. They all look forward to it each year, and Papa Toad and I get a break. As our children are getting older, that break becomes less important, but this year we both had a couple of yard projects we hadn’t been able to finish and we looked forward to the consecutive hours that would be ours. Several weeks ago, Papa Toad felled three 70-80 foot spruces that still needed some cleanup, and I had some garden work I’d been neglecting, cutting back my raspberry canes and pulling the last of the carrots and the like, that I wanted to get done before the big snowstorm expected Sunday into Monday.

I’m glad I got them out before the snow began to fly this morning. Papa Toad was able to finish his work as well. The photo to the right is the garden right now.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Ave Maria: Venerating the Brave Virgin, and her Consent

 

Warning: Including some crass humor in the description of a Great Christian Mystery is intended to drive home just how extraordinary a woman Mary must have been, as well as the extraordinary — indeed quite odd — nature of the mystery involved.

Ave Maria, gratia plena… Hail Mary, full of grace… These words, whether set to the sumptuous music of Biebl’s much-beloved one-hit wonder, sung to another tune, or simply spoken, will ring out through many a church today, the last Sunday of Advent, the last caravanserai parishioners pause at before reaching Bethlehem itself, and the Word Made Flesh.

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I am no longer astounded or dumbfounded or shocked or surprised by the things Pope Francis says, but this one is a real gem. In an address today, Pope Francis said this (trigger warning: gobbledygook ahead): More

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Fly Me to the Moon is Made of American Cheese – For Now

 

“What Sort of All Hallows’ Eve Trollop Art Thou?” PIT Seventeen asks. I’m not sure. I’m fairly sure what sort of trollop I’m not — I’m not the sort to consider glitter and body paint an acceptably modest substitute for undies. At least not on me. Nonetheless, The Sun alleges the black, bespangled, and quite bare bat bum is this Halloween’s fashion trend (any “trend” involving bums, of course, being of great interest to The Sun).

I stumbled on this so-called trend while perusing The Sun‘s investigation into snake handling, the ritual wherein Christian oppressors manhandle (“personhandle” would be more gender-neutral, but “manhandle” properly names and shames the unjust kyriarchy) innocent serpents, possibly without the serpents’ consent, purportedly for God’s glory. These oppressors — typically poor Appalachian whites — are themselves oppressed, of course, themselves victims of the same kyriarchy which enables their cross-species molestation. As one of Ricochet’s resident reptilians (I only self-identify as human online), I ought to have been outraged by the speciesist presumption that conscripts nonhuman species into human worship without even asking permission. Instead, I got distracted by sparkly bums.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Music for Light in Darkness

 

A little over three months ago, I shared “Beautiful Dark Things,” a piece of music along with an essay on drawing creative inspiration from nature. Sometime in September, I realized that the rhythm of that music fit well to the first half of Isaiah 60:1, “Arise, shine, Jerusalem; for thy light is come,” or in Latin, “Jerusalem surge illuminare, quia venit lumen tuum.” Cannibalizing a secular (or, as I often sense, just not overtly sacred) piece for use in sacred music is a venerable tradition. As Luther said, why should the devil have all the best tunes?

Not only did many Christmas hymns start out as secular carols, but even oratorios get in on the game. Handel repurposed several secular love duets for his Messiah. If you’re familiar with choruses from Handel’s Messiah such as, “For unto us a child is born,” “And he shall purify,” “His yoke is easy,” and “All we like sheep,” you’ll recognize them here. So, I’m in good company.

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For those not aware, the first Sunday of Advent this year is December 3. For those that are looking for a quick, easy prayer to help prepare for Christmas, might I suggest the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena. The novena starts on November 30 – The Feast of Saint Andrew and continues through Christmas Eve. The […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Thoughts on Berlin

 
Kaiser-Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche
Kaiser-Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche

I had intended for today’s post in our 2016 Advent Calendar to focus on the tasty seasonal treats we enjoy as Christmas draws nearer. One I had in mind was marzipan, the almond paste used in so many European treats and particularly popular at Christmastime. Marzipan is one of those things that people either love or really do not like. I love it.

Another subject would be Stollen, the thick, somewhat dry cake with fruit, nuts, and often a marzipan center. Coated in butter and rolled in sugar, it’s incredibly delicious. The history of Stollen is intertwined with the dietary restrictions of Advent, a fasting season which precluded use of butter. Bakers could not create such masterpieces without butter, and after ardent appeals to several popes, Pope Innocent VIII finally relented in the famous “Butter Letter” of 1490. The most celebrated Stollen still comes from Dresden and bears the name Striezel, reflected in the unusual name given to Dresden’s 582-year old Christmas market: Striezelmarkt.

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I love reading this every year during Advent. Arise, hasten, open. We too are waiting, O Lady. Second reading More

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Advent Gratitude: The Liturgical Year Begins as Darkness Grows

 

shutterstock_251257738“the glory is fallen out of / the sky the last immortal / leaf / is // dead and the gold / year / a formal spasm / in the // dust / this is the passing of all shining things” … into the night so dark no night could be darker than, the cold so cold, no cold could be colder than; the journey through “The mile still left when all have reached / Their tether’s end: that mile / Where the Child lies hid.”

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overmaster it. But neither has light overmastered the darkness: lights do not shine in darkness unless darkness predominates; when there’s mostly light, we see the darkness as residual shadows, not as the ambient state.

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The new Liturgical Year began today. We Catholics have moved to the ‘A’ readings of the lectionary. We are in a time of waiting for the Nativity of our Lord. Advent is a time of penance, reflection, and anticipation. In order to not be completely overcome by commercialization, I will be reading Rediscover Advent and Advent with […]

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Here’s a quiz the smallest child can take. What are the most important colors of the season right now? (Choose as many as you wish.) More

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You see them in gift shops and bookstores. Some are in cardboard frames with pieces of chocolate behind each colorful door. Others are flannel or quilted, with little pockets holding puffy decorations. A “calendar” might even be splashed across the whole side of a building. Whether rectangular, shaped like a Christmas tree, or die-cut as […]

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