minima maxima sunt

The Small things are the Great things; as in a grain of mustard seed.

Archive for the month “November, 2012”


Starting my first project in our new home and thought it might be fitting for a blog or for those who might like to see an easy way to add a bit of art to their home. All you need is a window like this one. Not a very large one and its in our master bathroom so it was a good first choice to add a little privacy as well.

The product I use is called “Gallery Glass” and can be found at an art supply store, though you may need to look through a few. Michael’s tends to have it in stock and its not very expensive.

When you select your window you begin by drawing your image. Using the tube of leadline, which you squeeze out like a tube of cake decoration you draw out the borders of you picture. I drew this in about twenty minutes, however when I first started I would take the time to trace out my image on paper which I would tape to the back of the window to use as a guide. Be careful not to rub into the wet leadline while tracing your image as it can get very messy, very quick. But don’t worry, it’s water soluble while still wet and cleans up easily.


When the leading has dried you can begin to add the tubes with colors to the window. Starting from the top you slowly squeeze out the stain and swirl it on to the window and work your way to the bottom of the section your filling. Again, be careful not to touch wet areas. It happens, and like the leadline, the colors are also water soluble. I try to do a color, let it dry, then add my next color or work on sections the don’t touch each other. This helps to keep things clean and if I get a glob that runs down its easier to fix if its not mixing with other wet colors.


Above you can see the bottom glass is dark. The paint is still wet surrounding the birds. Below the paint has dried and looks just like stained glass. Still need to finish the window and will add that photo when its done, but what your looking at here took about 5 hours of time over two days. Real easy and fun and most important it’s a very inexpensive way to add some stained glass to your home.


Christ the King

Christ on the Throne with Evangelical Symbols surrounding.

The Solemnity of Christ the King ends the Liturgical Year. Starting with the first Sunday in Advent which will begin next week, the liturgical year takes us from point A to B in the story of Salvation and the Gospel. It begins and ends with it’s focus on Jesus Christ as we await his incarnation, celebrate his appearing as a child at Christmas, the events of his life, walk with him to Calvary during Lent and the events of Easter week. The year comes full circle and like the disclosure of Revelation, the church celebrates Christ enthroned as king of the universe.

This continual path that the church walks every year keeps us circling around Christ who is the center of our faith. Every holiday, every Saint, every Mass, eventually points us to the One who is at the heart of everything and this very fitting final Sunday in the liturgical year leaves us at a crescendo of sorts. I can see the throne and the glory. I can envision angels and choirs. I can see the universe itself as a footstool for the King of Glory. And this is all about to come to a quick end as we leap forward to advent. The choirs will stop, the crashing of universal echoes from creation will end. The blinding light of the stars will dim as the night of winter begins and we wait his coming again. Adveniat Regnum Tuum.

This only makes the story more profound; for in this sudden clash of glory and silence, light and dark, sovereignty and infancy; the story of awesome and unconditional love demonstrated is most clearly. It is the King of the Universe who will become a child to save us all.

Heilige Elisabeth von Thüringen

The lives of saints and religious figures are often compared to other stories which we call Myths. Sometimes this is because the method of telling the story uses a mythopoeic style, which tries to convey the morality, ethic, and values of a world view into a story which will be easily assimilated by the listener. In another respect the comparison is made because the story tells of supernatural events, which is simply taken to mean the story isn’t true. For those who reject the idea of religion and faith this becomes an easy out. Reject the story and classify it as another fairy tale and be done. But what if there is something to that modern proverb that states: truth is stranger than fiction? It was the feeling of a familiar fairy tale  that struck me when reading about todays saint: Elizabeth of Hungary.

Elizabeth was born 7 July 1207, in the age when many fairy tales take place. She was born in Hungary the daughter of the King, Andrew II, and the child of royal lineage. And as was the custom, she prepared for marriage at a very young age. At 14 she was married to Louis von Wartburg (Ludwig) in Germany in what appears to have been a very good marriage. Like many a princess from a fairy tale, Elizabeth had a heart for the people. She cared for the poor and the sick, distributing food, alms and building a hospital during a time of famine and plague while her husband was at an imperial Diet. Not merely a philanthropist, she brought food to the poor and set at the bed and tended the sick and caring for the soul.

The magical part of this fairy tale known as the miracle of the roses. Elizabeth had a good marriage but it seems that she may been a sort of “stepchild” to the rest of the family. While bringing some food to the poor which was hidden under her cloak, an action that would make any wicked stepmother angry; her husband, who was with other family members asked her what she was hiding. When she pulled back her cloak there were only roses. This may not be too surprising except that this took place in the middle of winter.

The classic fairy tale isn’t always a story that ends “happily ever after” and life can often have strange twists of events. Ludwig was soon called to the crusades and was lost. The devastated Elizabeth found herself without her prince and soon after left out of the royal court in Marburg.

Elizabeth took this as a sign to pursue the contemplative life taking vows of celibacy under Konrad of Marburg who had been her confessor for several years. A fairy god “brother” of sorts. Elizabeth entered the Third Order of Franciscans. She continued in charity and used the dowry from her marriage to build a hospital where she tended the sick. At the very young age of 24, on the 17th day of November 1231, Elizabeth died.

Miracles of healing at her gravesite, located in the church of the hospital she built, soon brought attention to this young saint and at the urging of Konrad the process of canonization began.

The beauty of this historical fairy tale is not so much about the details. One doesn’t need to believe in miracles to find the moral of this story. Whether you believe in healing or miraculous roses really has nothing to do with the presentation of a princess who serves the poor. Another modern proverb states that “with great power comes great responsibility”, and in the life of Elizabeth, as short as it was, we see a lifetime of responsibility and service. It is such action, and not the miracles that, in the end, make the saint.


Several months ago I posted a blog on Geocentrism and planned to follow it with a “part 2” on Heliocentrism. It has taken almost a full revolution around the sun for me to get to this, almost forgotten second post, but alas! Here it is.

Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of hype about Galileo; a great man and scientist by all means, but often very misunderstood or held out of context in consideration of bias and agenda. Indeed several times I even heard people claim that he was beheaded by the Church or put to death by those who wouldn’t listen to his claim about the solar system. These of course are the extremes and probably formed from the dregs of some conspiracy theory which has found a foothold among those who hold no regard for the catholic church. In a broader sense, where it is at least known that Galileo was not a ‘martyr for science’, he is still treated as one. The truth is the Galileo did get into trouble with the church and was in conflict with other scientists of his day. His theory about heliocentrism was at the center of this conflict and is often held as proof of a conflict between science and religion. The Story of Galileo will have to wait for another day, but for now I bring him up because the truth is that Galileo was really a latecomer in the belief about heliocentrism. The concept can be traced as far back as the Greeks, it was considered in Islam, and theorized by a catholic priest by the name of Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543) years before Galileo.

Copernicus’ book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres) was first published in 1543, the year of his death; but his interest in the subject can be traced several decades earlier to a manuscript in which he first outlined his theory. This early paper was called “Commentariolus”. The Theory was taken seriously and found interest as high as the seat of pastor of the church; Pope Clement VII, but because of a lack of firm evidence, which was also Galileo’s problem, the theory could only remain a theory.

Some of the points which Copernicus set were:

  • Celestial bodies do not all revolve around a single point
  • The centre of Earth is the centre of the lunar sphere—the orbit of the moon around the Earth
  • All the spheres rotate around the Sun, which is near the centre of the Universe
  • The distance between the Earth and the Sun is an insignificant fraction of the distance from the Earth and Sun to the stars, so parallax is not observed in the stars
  • The stars are immovable; their apparent daily motion is caused by the daily rotation of the Earth
  • Earth is moved in a sphere around the Sun, causing the apparent annual migration of the Sun; the Earth has more than one motion
  • Earth’s orbital motion around the Sun causes the seeming reverse in direction of the motions of the planets.

You can see that some of the points which Copernicus made are also inaccurate, because like the Geocentric model, it still relied on observable evidence. The Sun is not the center of the universe any more than the Earth was in the Geocentric model; Stars are also not immovable but are also in motion.

In many ways it was probably a hard sell of a theory mainly because observation was not as advanced as it is today. This only makes it even more interesting that the theory was even proposed! Just think about this. Without a telescope, a space shuttle, aircraft, satellites, and the many other tools we have the benefit of using to work out such problems; what would we conclude about the world today? Looking at the sky can we tell what circles what? Could we explain a distance between the Sun, Earth and Stars? Could we point out how to prove planets like Venus or Mercury were closer to the sun than the earth. But it then becomes even more amazing that the alternate theory should arise in the first place. This among many other advances in science during the middle ages certainly demonstrates that religion didn’t have a negative effect on science or inquiry as some claim. In fact it may have been because of religion, specifically the religions that taught of a Creator, that men began to study and learn about the natural system of universe they were born into.

Orbis terrarum typus de integroin plurimis emendatus auctus et icunculis illustratus c. 1660

The Heliocentric model was slow to gain a footing but that doesn’t mean it was without consideration. In fact the opposing models both made their way on to a world map nearly a century later. And several other Illuminations from the period demonstrate the contrasts between the geocentric and heliocentric universe. This Orbis Terrarum from 1660 was made by Nicolaus Visscher. The two circles on the top and bottom of the map show the Geo and Helio centered models.

All in all I would have to argue that while the heliocentric model ended up being more accurate it still wasn’t as fun and interesting as the geocentric universe. There are still times when looking at the sky at night, I can envision the beauty of the geocentric universe, with its order and ascending architecture, but then I come back to my senses and get a little sad that its just dead cold space. Either way its hard not to see the heavens as something full of wonder and beauty.

Omnium Fidelium Defunctorum

Purgatory from Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry

The Feast of All Souls follows All Saints day and like All Saints it speak about the mystery of the Church; that it is something bigger than what we understand. The Communion of Saints is a consideration of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic church, and places us face to face with the reality that even the universe is too small a place for the church.

In Catholic teaching the church is made up of the those who are in heaven, those who are on earth and also those who are in a state of purification which in the west we have termed as Purgatory. The Church triumphant, militant and suffering, all make up what is known as the Mystical Body of Christ.

As such the Feast of All Souls is about the church suffering. The Feast is also called the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed. On this day we remember all who have left us and offer prayers for those who are in Purgatory. Further it sets the tone for the rest of the month as November is a month devoted to praying for those in Purgatory. On All Souls day a person can obtain two plenary indulgences; one for visiting a church and one for visiting a cemetery which benefit those in purgatory. Along with these, prayers can be offered, candles lit in remembrance, and sometimes cemeteries will be open and provide candles for honoring the dear departed.

Day of the Dead celebration

In some countries the feast is a much larger affair than in the U.S. For instance, in Mexico the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) is a national holiday. Held on All Saints and All Souls, there are parades and celebrations, people wear masks of the dead which are brilliantly decorated and will make altars with pictures, and candles to remember a lost loved one.

Other traditions are the making and distributing of Soul Cakes, which originated in Brittain in the Middle Ages. The Cakes, or Cookies were given to children, and would represent prayers for the dead or souls being freed from purgatory.

The 60’s folk group Peter Paul and Mary recorded a song based on an old rhyme for soul cakes, called “A’ Soalin”

Soul, soul, a soul cake!
I pray thee, good missus, a soul cake!
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for Him what made us all!
Soul cake, soul cake, please good missus, a soul cake.
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry, any good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul, and three for Him who made us all.

Gravesites decorated on All Souls Day

This may help to explain a little of the origins of modern Halloween with it’s masquerade and treat giving. But the bigger picture in all of this is an idea about the church and it’s completeness. The Mystical Body of Christ as an organism, a single body which prays beyond the boundaries of life and death. It speaks of the privilege and responsibility to intercede not only for the welfare of the living but also of the dead, and also explains that heaven will not just be a matter of clouds and harps, but that even the Saint in Heaven will continue to participate in the Body of Christ through prayer.

Festum Omnium Sanctorum

The First of November the Solemnity of All Saints is celebrated in the Catholic church. One of the most ancient Feasts, it draws on very early practice within the church of remembering martyrs on the anniversary of their death. As time passed and more Saints were added to the lists a day was set aside to remember them all, and All Saints includes the many unknown and unrecognized Saints as well as those who have become well known to the church. The Feast is also known as All Hallow’s, which is where we get All Hallow’s Eve or Halloween.

The feast was originally celebrated on the 13th of May. It is celebrated in Eastern churches a week after Pentecost. In the west it was moved to November 1st in the 8th century, primarily to Christianize a pagan holiday called Samhain. The comparison of harvest and reaping may have tied in heavily to this change of dates.

The importance of this feast places it among several which are elevated to the status of a Solemnity. Solemnity comes from the Latin words Sollus and Annus, which translates as whole year. As mentioned, the early martyrs were honored on their anniversaries. Soon Martyrologies were formed which listed the many who were known, some of which have found their place in the Eucharistic prayers during Mass. But there were many martyrs, and many people of faith who were unknown. All Saints is a recognition of those known and unknown souls who have attained the beatific vision in heaven, throughout the world and ages. This forms a part of the Catholic concept of the Communion of Saints which holds that the church is one church, a mystical body of Christ which is not separated by time, or place. The Saints in heaven are still a part of the Church that we are part of on Earth, which is why we ask them to continue to pray for us.

Prayers or praying to Saints, contrary to how some may view it is not an act of worshipping a creature, and it certainly isn’t placing such a person in the place of God. Rather the idea of praying draws from an older meaning of the word which simply means to ask. We pray to saints, asking for their prayers. We ask those in heaven to intercede and pray for us.

The Litany of Saints:

Lord, have mercy on
us. (Lord have mercy on us.)
Christ, have mercy on us. (Christ
have mercy on us.)

Lord, have mercy on us. (Lord, have mercy on us.)

Christ, hear us. (Christ, hear us.)
Christ, graciously hear us. (Christ, graciously hear us.)

God the Father of heaven,
(have mercy on us.)
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, (have
mercy on us.)

God the Holy Ghost, (have mercy on us.)
Trinity, one God, (have mercy on us.)

Holy Mary, (pray for us)
Mother of God, (pray for us)
Holy Virgin of virgins, (pray for us)

St. Michael, (pray for us)
St. Gabriel, (pray for us)

St. Raphael, (pray for us)
All ye holy Angels and Archangels, (pray for us)
All ye holy orders
of blessed Spirits, (pray for us)

St. John the Baptist, (pray for us)
St. Joseph, (pray for us)
All ye
holy Patriarchs and Prophets, (pray for us)

St. Peter, (pray for us)
St. Paul, (pray for us)
St. Andrew, (pray for us)

St. James, (pray for us)
St. John, (pray for us)
St. Thomas, (pray for us)
St. James, (pray for us)
St. Philip, (pray for us)

St. Bartholomew, (pray for us)
St. Matthew, (pray for us)
St. Simon, (pray for us)
St. Thaddeus, (pray for us)
Matthias, (pray for us)
St. Barnabas, (pray for us)
St. Luke, (pray for us)
St. Mark, (pray for us)
All ye holy Apostles
and Evangelists, (pray for us)
All ye holy Disciples of the Lord, (pray for us)

All ye holy (pray for us)
Innocents, (pray for us)
St. Stephen, (pray for us)
St. Lawrence, (pray for us)
St. Vincent, (pray for us)
SS. Fabian
and Sebastian, (pray for us)
SS. John and Paul, (pray for us)
SS. Cosmas and Damian, (pray for us)
SS. Gervase and Protase, (pray for us)
All ye holy Martyrs, (pray for us)

St. Sylvester,(pray for us)
St. Gregory, (pray for us)

St. Ambrose, (pray for us)
St. Augustine, (pray for us)
St. Jerome, (pray for us)
St. Martin, (pray for us)
St. Nicholas, (pray for us)
All ye holy Bishops and Confessors, (pray for us)
All ye holy Doctors, (pray for us)

St. Anthony, (pray for us)
St. Benedict, (pray for us)
St. Bernard, (pray for us)
St. Dominic, (pray for us)
St. Francis, (pray for us)
All ye holy Priests and Levites, (pray for us)
All ye holy Monks and Hermits, (pray for us)

St. Mary Magdalen, (pray for us)
St. Agatha, (pray for us)
St. Lucy, (pray for us)
St. Agnes, (pray for us)
St. Cecilia, (pray for us)
St. Catherine, (pray for us)
St. Anastasia, (pray for us)
All ye holy Virgins and
Widows,(pray for us)

All ye holy Saints of
God, (Make intercession for us.)
Be merciful, (Spare us, O Lord.)

Be merciful, (Graciously hear us, O Lord.)

From all evil, O
Lord (deliver us)
From all sin, (deliver us)
From Thy wrath, (deliver us)
From sudden and unlooked for death, (deliver us)
From the snares of the devil, (deliver us)
From anger, and hatred, and every evil will, (deliver us)
From the spirit of fornication, (deliver us)
From lightning and tempest, (deliver us)

From the scourge of earthquakes, (deliver us)
From plague, famine and war, (deliver us)
From everlasting death, (deliver us)
Through the mystery of Thy holy Incarnation, (deliver us)
Through Thy Coming, (deliver us)
Through Thy Birth, (deliver us)
Through Thy Baptism and holy Fasting, (deliver us)

Through Thy Cross and Passion, (deliver us)
Through Thy Death and Burial, (deliver us)
Through Thy holy Resurrection, (deliver us)
Through Thine admirable Ascension, (deliver us)
Through the coming of the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete. (deliver us)
In the day of judgment. (deliver us)

We sinners, (we beseach Thee hear us)

That Thou wouldst spare us,(we beseach Thee hear us)

That Thou wouldst pardon us, (we beseach Thee hear us)

That Thou wouldst bring us to true penance, (we beseach Thee hear us)

That Thou wouldst
vouchsafe to govern and preserve Thy holy Church, (we beseach Thee hear us)

That Thou wouldst
vouchsafe to preserve our Apostolic Prelate, and all orders of the Church in
holy religion, (we beseach Thee hear us)

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to humble the enemies of holy
Church, (we beseach Thee hear us)

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to give peace and true concord to
Christian kings and princes, (we beseach Thee hear us)

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant peace
and unity to the whole Christian world, (we beseach Thee hear us)

That Thou wouldst call back to
the unity of the Church all who have strayed from her fold, and to guide all
unbelievers into the light of the Gospel (we beseach Thee hear us)

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to
confirm and preserve us in Thy holy service, (we beseach Thee hear us)

That Thou wouldst lift up
our minds to heavenly desires, (we beseach Thee hear us)

That Thou wouldst render eternal
blessings to all our benefactors, (we beseach Thee hear us)

That Thou wouldst deliver our souls,
and the souls of our brethren, relations, and benefactors, from eternal
damnation, (we beseach Thee hear us)

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to give and preserve the fruits
of the earth, (we beseach Thee hear us)

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant eternal rest to all
the faithful departed, (we beseach Thee hear us)

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe graciously to hear
us, (we beseach Thee hear us)
Son of God,(we beseach Thee hear us)

Lamb of God, who take
away the sins of the world, (spare us, O Lord.)
Lamb of God, who take
away the sins of the world, (graciously hear us, O Lord.)
Lamb of God,
who take away the sins of the world, (have mercy on us.)

(hear us.)
Christ, (graciously hear us.)
Lord, have mercy,
(Lord, have mercy.)
Christ, have mercy, (Christ, have

Lord, have mercy, (Lord, have mercy.)

[Our Father
inaudibly] And lead us not into temptation (but deliver us from


November from the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

The eleventh month of the year in our calendar is November and like the last two months it’s name comes from Roman numbering. Novem is the Roman word for nine which gives this month it’s name because in the original Roman calender there were only 10 months, November being the 9th.

November is a month that is most associated with harvest. Winter is approaching and Autumn is fully under way, and because of this we see the idea of harvest in several of this months holidays. The feasts of All Hallows and All Souls, as well as the American holiday; Thanksgiving. It should be easy to see the relation of harvest to Thanksgiving, but a little less to for the feasts of Hallowmas. In fact, the feast was a christianised version a pagan feast called Samhain, which was a harvest celebration.

In the Liturgical year November is the last month. Advent, which prepares for the Nativity, begins four weeks before the Christ mass, and will fall between November 28th and December 3rd. Many may remember, when they were young, how lights would begin to appear, lamp posts would begin to be decorated with bells, angels, and candy canes right after Thanksgiving.

Keeping with the idea of harvest, this months scene from the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry shows a beautiful Autumn scene, with pigs harvesting acorns. The Acorn Harvest, provides plenty of nuts from the oak trees which the pigs love to eat. The effect of this is to make a very delicious pork, called Mast-Finished Pork or in keeping with the traditional scene here, Acorn-Finished Pork. This ancient tradition is regaining popularity today, and the price of pork which has been Acorn or Mast (acorns, hickory nuts, other nuts) Finished, can sport a lofty price.
The feasts on the General Roman Calendar celebrated during the month of November are:

1. All Saints, Solemnity
2. All Souls, Feast
3. Martin de Porres, Opt. Mem.
4. Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sunday
9. Lateran Basilica, Feast
10. Leo the Great, Memorial
11. Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sunday
12. Josaphat, Memorial
13. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Memorial
15. Albert the Great, Opt. Mem.
16. Margaret of Scotland; Gertrude, Opt. Mem.
17. Elizabeth of Hungary, Memorial
18. Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sunday
21. Presentation of Mary, Memorial
22. Cecilia, Memorial
23. Clement I; Columban; Bl. Miguel Agustín Pro (USA), Opt. Mem.
24. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions, Memorial
25. Christ the King, Solemnity
30. Andrew, Feast

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