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Sunday, November 27, 2011
The Soul of Orthodox Chant: CD Review
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I was recently given the opportunity to review "The Soul of Orthodox Chant". The CD features the recordings of some beautiful Orthodox chants.  If you are like many Roman Catholics and are not familiar with the music of the Eastern Rite Churches, you simply must begin to listen to these musical and spiritual gems.

The CD features 15 beautiful chants appropriate for this season of Advent. I highly recommend this CD to all Catholics.  You may listen to samples of the chants by clicking here.

Divna: The Soul of Orthodox Chant

The latest recording by Divna and the Melodi Choir is a selection of hymns from the festal cycle of the Nativity. This recording has the pure and intimate feeling of a small choir and is a perfect fit for Christmas. In addition to the festal hymns, the album features two carols. Divna is recognized as one of the finest female chanters alive, and one who has worked diligently to help the world rediscover the beauty of Orthodox chant.

Tracklisting
1.    Kontakion on the Nativity of Christ
2.    Sticheron
3.    God is With Us
4.    O Yulelog, O, Yulelog!
5.    Prokimenon
6.    Photagogikon
7.    Polyeleos
8.    Kontakion
9.    Prokimenon for the Epistle
10.    At the Little Entrance
11.    Troparion
12.    Kontakion
13.    Communion Hymn
14.    Sessional Hymn
15.    All ye Nations clap your hands!
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Friday, November 25, 2011
Catholic Christmas Shopping 2011
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Image Source: High altar in St. Peter's Basilica during penitential service before Christmas, December 1945.

Today is one of the most watched days in terms of spending as many major companies seek to increase profit margins. After all, many retailers make most of their money during the shopping season and no day is more profitable than today, Black Friday.

However, along with the deals come traffic congestion, pandemonium in the stores, and enough stress for the entire month of December. This year, as an alternative please consider the A Catholic Life Online Storefront!

I have created the storefront to be a one-stop shop for Catholic items, many of which are devoted to Traditional Catholicism. There is no need to surrender hundreds of dollars to secular retailers or encounter the sleep-deprived people who frequent all retailers this morning.

Browse These Categories!

Traditional Theology
Traditional Liturgy
Traditional Architecture
Bibles
Missals
Devotionals
Traditional Breviaries
CDs
Music Texts

Additionally, please browse the listing of my books and CDs for sale (click here for the listing). But, please act fast as these items are on a first-come, first-serve basis! If you would any of these items, please email acatholiclife [at] gmail.com and we can then work out a payment arrangement.

Here is a highly recommended, appropriate item from the list:



Christmas at St. Petronille
(Music from St. Petronille Catholic Church, Glen Ellyn, IL)
Price: $5.00
Excellent Condition
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Thanksgiving Day (USA)
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Happy Thanksgiving!

Let us remember to thank God today for the many blessings we have received. Remember to say a special Blessing before your Thanksgiving meal today.


Suggestions for today:
  • Invite someone to dinner who has no place to go for Thanksgiving.
  • If you have no other commitments volunteer to help serve Thanksgiving dinner at a place which is serving the poor.
Mass of Thanksgiving (1962):

Collect:

O God of Whose mercies there is no number, and of Whose goodness the treasure is infinite: we render thanks to Thy most gracious Majesty for the gifts Thou hast bestowed upon us, always beseeching Thy clemeny; that as Thou grantest the petitions of them that ask Thee, Thou wilt prepare them for the greater rewards that still await them.

Secret:

Receive as a sweet savor, O Lord, this sacrifice of thanksgiving: do Thou in the future shield from all harm those whom until now Thou hast been pleased to hear and to save: and grant that they may serve Thee better and love Thee more. Through our Lord.

Post Communion:

O God, Who sufferest not that any who hope in Thee should e over afflicted, but listenest kindly to their prayers: we thank Thee for having heard our requests and granted our desires, and devoutly entreat Thee that what we have received may make us worthy to be delivered from all adversities. Through our Lord.
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Monday, November 21, 2011
Monday November 28th - Free Shipping for Angelus Press
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I"m passing along the following email for your benefit:
Matthew,

I am writing to let you know that this upcoming Monday, November 28, Angelus Press will be offering Free Shipping on all orders to the continental United States.  I'm letting you know since I think that this is a sale of which many of your readers may want to take advantage.

In Christ the King,

--
Mark Riddle
Director of Marketing and Sales
Angelus Press
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Saturday, November 19, 2011
SSPX Religious Communities Grow in Arville and in Kenya
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As published on the SSPX website, the following two recent stories give hope that Catholic Tradition will continue to spread and that the Catholic Faith, which is under such great assault in the past half a century, will not all to the attacks of satan.

Firstly, Bishop Tissier de Mallerais conferred the order of subdeacon to three of the clerical friars at the Dominican monastery in Avrille, France, a first for the community.  Included amongst the three holy friars is an American from Pennsylvania.  Please join me in praying for Br. Hyacinth-Marie Okuniewski (Poland), Br. Reginald Brocard (France), and Br. Terence Boyle (USA). 


Secondly, on October 3rd at Our Lady of Angels Novitiate in Nairobi, Kenya, three new novices joined the community.  Fr. Philippe Pazat was the celebrant of the High Mass at the ceremony.  The Society of St. Pius X continue to need our prayers for growth in Africa as it resists the paganism of the past and the Novus Ordo which in African practice is nothing more than a blend of paganism witth some Christian elements. 

Source: SSPX.ORG
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Thursday, November 17, 2011
2012 Angelus Press Catholic Calendar - Highly Recommended
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For the year 2011, I posted a review of the Saints Calendar and Daily Planner and a few months afterwords I posted a link to some free online 2011 liturgical calendar.

This year, though, I decided to try a different calendar in order to review it and see if there were even better options on the marketplace. My search led me to Angelus Press' Calendar for 2012 which features an overall theme on the 15 mysteries of the Rosary.  Images from the calendar are featured above.

When I received my calendar in the mail I was astonished by its quality. The images on each page are not only beautiful but they are extraordinary images that by and large I have not seen before. From a blogger and a professional catechist, it can be hard to find new images of these central moments in salvation history but this calendar delivered just that - beautiful and inspiring new images that raise the heart and mind to God.

The calendar itself is beautifully typeset and features symbols to denote which dates are days of mandatory fasting, mandatory abstinence, traditional fasting, traditional abstinence, or combinations thereof. I have hung this calendar next to my home altar and eagerly look forward to next month when I can start using it.

My overall recommendation is an A+ for Angelus Press' liturgical year calendar. In fact, they might have just found a life-long calendar customer in me.
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Help Bankrupt Pro-Abortion Organizations One Stamp at a Time
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As taught by the Angelic doctor in Secunda Secundae Partis, Q. 79, omission on the part of an individual is a sin.

As St. Thomas explains, "To the sin of transgression there correspond both the pain of loss on account of the aversion from God, and the pain of sense, on account of the inordinate conversion to a mutable good. On like manner omission deserves not only the pain of loss, but also the pain of sense, according to Matthew 7:19, "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire"; and this on account of the root from which it grows, although it does not necessarily imply conversion to any mutable good."

It is clear to the readers of this blog that our world - American society and the world by and large - is a bastion of sin and vice, which in our modern world is at times not only allowed but is even praised! How many people praise the evil of legalized abortion, contraception, divorce, and sexually-themed motion pictures to name only a handful!

Yet, it would seem that failure to act against such realities through clear, decisive, and regular actions is a sin of omission. While we cannot be held responsibility for legalized abortion and the murder of children since we are not actualizing the crime, we do act as accessories if we knowing and willingly vote for politicians that campaign on pro-death platforms.

But this post is not about politicians who support a culture of death. Rather, I argue that all Cathoilcs who fail to take concrete steps to fight injustices fail in their duty of state and sin by omission. How often do you fight abortion by protesting it, by funding pro-life and anti-abortion organizations, by praying for an end of it, or by other means?

Your concrete actions are needed to stop abortion. The actions of all Catholics against these crimes that cry to Heaven for vengeance are needed in this war against satan and his soldiers. Were you not baptized and confirmed as a soldier of Christ? Were you not given the Rosary, the weapon against evil, yet why do you not wield your weapon against the foes which press on from every side? Your omission is not innocent - it is as if you were a soldier whose duty was to guard a city and you willingly stepped aside as invaders pressed onward to burn the city. Your sin of omission is most grievous to the Church of God, even if it be a sin of omission and not a sin of transgression.

I wish to recommend the following small way to help in the fight to bankrupt pro-death organizations. I was inspired by reading a post regarding sending mass marketers their junk mail back in postage paid envelopes.

In short, go out and contact various pro-death organizations and ask them for donation envelopes. They will very willingly send them to you. Then, when you get them, simply find a box, fill it with any junk that you don't want, and affix the postage paid label to the top. These organizations pay around 20 cents an ounce so even sending them a few old, virtually worthless books will quickly add up in shipping expenses that they will pay 100%.

If you're interested, these organizations would be a good place to start:
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Hemlock Society
  • Call to Action
  • Call to Action Nebraska
  • Catholics for a Free Choice
Above all, if the organization is sending more and more on handling customer emails and on shipping expenses, they will have less to spend on aiding Satan.
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Sunday, November 13, 2011
Our Lady, Mother of God: 18 Chants to Celebrate the Virgin Mary
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I was recently given the opportunity to review "Our Lady, Mother of God: 18 Chants to Celebrate the Virgin Mary". The CD features the recordings of various religious communities including the Choir of Monks of the Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos and the Choir of Nuns of the Monastery of Saint Elizabeth of Minsk.

The CD features 18 beautifully Catholic titles including Ave Mater, O Virgin Pure, Stabat Mater, Paradisi Portae, O Holy Virgin Rejoice, and more! I highly recommend this CD to all Catholics.  You may listen to samples of the chants by clicking here.  I plan on playing some of these chants during my prayers of the Divine Office.
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Thursday, November 10, 2011
Excerpts Worth Repeating from "The Restoration of Christian Culture"
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These are taken from the fantastic book: "The Restoration of Christian Culture" by John Senior.

"Catholic parents and teachers must read and re-read Cardinal Newman's long, balanced, incomparable essay on the whole subject, 'Catholic Literature in the English Tongue,' in his book, 'Idea of a University'" (27).

"The seminal ideas of Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, [and] St. Thomas, only properly grow in an imaginative ground saturated with fables, fairy tales, stories, rhymes, romances, adventures - the thousand good books of Grimm, Andersen, Stevenson, Dickens, Scott, Dumas, and the rest. Western tradition, taking all that was the best of the Greco-Roman world into itself, has given us a culture in which the Faith properly grows; and since the conversion of Constantine that culture has become Christian. It is the seedbed of intelligence and will, the ground for all studies in the arts and sciences, including theology, without which they are inhumane and destructive" (25).

"Our Lord explains in the Parable of the Sower that the seed of His love will only grow in a certain soil - and that is the soil of Christian Culture, which is the work of music in the wide sense, including as well as tunes that are sung, art, literature, games, architecture - all so many instruments in the orchestra which plays day and night the music of lovers; and if it is disordered, then the love of Christ will not grow. It is an obvious fact that here in the United States now, the Devil has seized these instruments to play a danse macabre, a dance of death, especially through what we call the "media," the film, television, radio, record, book, magazine and newspaper industries. The restoration of culture, spiritually, morally, physically, demands the cultivation of the soil in which the love of Christ can grow, and that means we must, as they say, rethink priorities" (21).

"We must inscribe this first law of Christian economics on our hearts: the purpose of work is not profit but prayer, and the first law of Christian ethics: that we live for Him and not for ourselves" (17).

"The immediate purpose is simply to do the job to be done - for the butcher to cut the meat, for the baker to bake the bread, for the teacher to teach the multiplication tables. The proximate purpose is from Latin proximus, meaning "neighbour," exactly as in the phrase, love thy neighbour - diliges proximum tuum. The proximate end, perhaps surprisingly, is chiefly accomplished in prayer. And the final, or ultimate, purpose, the reason why we work and pray, is to know and love God as He is in Himself, so far as that is possible, in imitating His earthly life in Christ, the chief act of which was sacrifice. The immediate promixate, and final purposes of all our operations can be summed up in three words: work, prayer, sacrifice. These are the items on the Catholic Agenda." (54).

"Charity is not a human but a divine work accomplished through human work, with us as its voluntary instruments" (55).
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