Saturday, November 10, 2007

On Blog Names...

When I created this blog back in 2003, I left it open so that I could change its name freely if ever I so desired. Funny thing is, the more I blog, the more I find deeper meaning in the title I chose.

Now, I'm told that I am a fairly consistent person, not prone to acting on impulse or making rash decisions about important things. Thus, I never struggled much with finding a consistent voice, or with constantly reinventing my blog identity. And my blog has never been particularly controversial (as in, I am neither an angry Catholic nor an angry Protestant), and so naturally I don't have throngs of angry readers or nasty comments.

In the course of these years, I have unpacked the depth of my blog title in the various (and all encompassing) subjects of my various posts. Ultimately, I believe this has reflected something important, not just concerning my personality, but also concerning my spiritual life.

Ad Altare Dei is taken from the the fuller verse, Introibo ad altare dei (English: I will go to the altar of God), which is taken from Psalm 43:
Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
against an ungodly people;
from deceitful and unjust men
deliver me!

For thou art the God in whom I take refuge;
why hast thou cast me off?
Why go I mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?

Oh send out thy light and thy truth;
let them lead me,
let them bring me to thy holy hill
and to thy dwelling!

Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy;
and I will praise thee with the lyre,
O God, my God.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.
Of course, this particular part of Psalm 43 is recalled during the start of the Traditional Latin Mass during the prayers at the foot of the Altar.

I chose the title originally because it stuck out as something meaningful, many Catholics were familiar with it, and it was in Latin. Pretty shallow. Of course, a few people (wrongfully) assumed that my choosing this particular title meant that I despised the "Novus Ordo" missae, which was and is most certainly not the case.

I began to find Ad Altare Dei, and indeed the whole of Psalm 43, increasingly meaningful and applicable to the growth of my spiritual life. I began to see it as something that reflected my whole journey as a follower of Christ, including my participation in the sacramental life of the Catholic Church. My life is thus a continual turning toward Christ, who stands as both High Priest and as Victim, to Christ who offers and is offered at God's holy altar. It is also therefore a turning away from sin. This is what conversion means. I am also strengthened by that grace that springs forth from that most sacred place.

So then, just as a priest quotes Psalm 43, Introibo ad altare Dei, when standing at the foot of the Altar, so this prayer has become not only the prayer of my blog, but the prayer of my life. And my understanding of my life, my mission, and my apostolate continues to unfold before me.
Only One Left

LONDON - Barbara West Dainton, believed to be one of the last two survivors from the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, has died in England at age 96.

Dainton died Oct. 16 at a nursing home in Camborne, England, according to Peter Visick, a distant relative. Her funeral was held Monday at Truro Cathedral, Visick said Thursday.

Elizabeth Gladys "Millvina" Dean of Southampton, England, who was 2 months old at the time of the Titanic sinking, is now the disaster's only remaining survivor, according to the Titanic Historical Society.

The last American survivor, Lillian Gertrud Asplund, died in Massachusetts last year at age 99.

Dainton, born in Bournemouth in southern England in 1911, was too young to remember the night when the huge liner hit an iceberg and sank in the Atlantic in April 1912, killing 1,500 people, including her father, Edwy Arthur West.

He waved farewell as the lifeboat carrying Barbara; her mother, Ada; and her sister, Constance, was lowered into the ocean, according to Karen Kamuda of the Titanic Historical Society in Indian Orchard, Mass. His body was never identified.
Tri-cornered hat tip to Modern Commentaries.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Comet 17P/Holmes

Has anyone been able to get a good look at Comet 17P/Holmes?

Here's a photo taken from Westmont's Carroll Observatory, using the observatory's Keck Telescope:

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Interesting things...

Seeing odd things around town. I have been seeing a real, honest-to-goodness DeLorean cruising around town. I saw it for the first time a few weeks ago. I was on my way home from a bible study at my parish, and I ended up right behind it, not far from the old Sugar mill... I saw it again just last week on my way to the parish... it cruised right past me. Maybe it's not so odd -- just that I've never seen a time machine up close before! ;) Give me a break, I'm a child of the 80s.

A few weeks ago, I was eating lunch at a local Indian restaurant with some co-workers. As we got up to leave, at least 20 old ladies dressed in purple dresses and hats walked in for lunch. It was a Mayberry meets Twilight Zone moment...
Parish attacked before Mass in Palmdale

From California Catholic Daily:
A pistol-wielding man screaming “there’s going to be a killing” stormed into St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Palmdale before a Sunday afternoon Mass on Nov. 4, kicking the pastor and knocking him to the ground, according to press reports.

“As I walked in, he had gotten to the choir area and became very aggressive," Msgr. Stephen Downes, St. Mary’s pastor, told the Los Angeles Daily News. "He hit a male choir member on the side of the head, then a maintenance man tackled him to the ground. Other choir members held him down."

A sheriff’s deputy told the Daily News that when law enforcement agents arrived at the church and subdued the suspect, they found a pistol hidden in his waistband. “It was cocked and ready to go,” Deputy Daryl Bonsall told the newspaper.

"He (the suspect) punched the pastor, knocked him down and kicked him,” Lt. Cory Kennedy told the Antelope Valley Press. “I think my deputies arriving and these people stopped a bad situation from happening. I think he had some real bad intentions.”

According to news accounts, the man repeatedly cursed, shouted that there is no God and made unspecified “anti-Catholic” statements.

Deputies arrested Claude Sricchia, 65, of Acton. He was charged with assault, making terrorist threats, and carrying a concealed weapon.

Following the incident, a shaken Msgr. Downes celebrated the 5:30 p.m. Mass a little later than scheduled. The Antelope Valley Press said about 400 parishioners were in attendance when the melee occurred.

Sricchia, who allegedly had been drinking, is not a member of the parish, and had to be identified by fingerprints since he refused to identify himself, sheriff’s officials told the press.
I remember Msgr. Stephen Downes fairly well. He served as pastor of my parish in Santa Barbara for several years before moving on.


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