Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Only 7 Pony-Eating Days Until Lent! [Photo Update]

Only 7 Days Until Lent!

My, the time flies on the liturgical calendar! As usual, the Bear is way behind the calendar curve and must scramble to prepare himself for Lent by eating as many ponies as possible.

First, thanks for all the great comments. It is nice to know the woodland creatures did not abandon the place while the Bear was off on Official Bear Business.

Second, it is the Bear's intention to offer something special for the 40 days of Lent. Things are crazy right now, but he'll do his best.

Third, don't overlook the featured article on the right sidebar, "Acedia," which is an important and misunderstood topic, especially going into Lent.

Question on Liturgy of the Hours  

Finally, let the Bear make a recommendation about the Liturgy of the Hours, or Opus Dei, as it is called in the Benedictine tradition. The official LOTH you will find entitled "Christian Prayer" (one volume) or the complete multi-volume set, or the "Shorter Christian Prayer" (four-week psalter) have all been bowdlerized by removing the most Bearish parts, such as shattering heads, and piling up bodies.


The advantage of Christian Prayer or the LOTH is that it follows the calendar. You've got saints, and propers, and seasons, oh my! Poor old Bear does not remember what all. It is quite complicated, and the instructions for chanting aren't very clear. But, by investing only slightly more time than it takes to learn to fly a 737, you can master all of it. The Bear did.

But, again, pfft.

Liturgy of the Hours for Benedictine Oblates

Incomplete example of tones. It is very handy. If we go on a day trip, the Bear brings it along. It has 415 pages, and is an inch thick. It is nowhere near as big as Christian Prayer or LOTH. You can see how well broken in this copy is. (You can't see the coffee spills.)

Here's a psalm (old numbering) that throws a six-line stanza at you, then continues with ordinary four-line stanzas. Oh, it has three ribbons, too, which is plenty for a four-week psalter.

Let the Bear make a pitch for this little gem from St. Meinrad Archabbey. It is a four-week psalter using the Grail translation, and those nice, hospitable Benedictines don't shy away from the tasty bits. It is made especially for their oblates, is very clear, and provides a beautiful prayerful experience. It is absolutely meant to be sung. There are eight tones you have to learn. And eight more variants for the occasional five or six stanza psalms.

You don't have to be an oblate!

Yes, it is a bit of an investment of time. You'll have to practice. The Bear ran off a copy of the tones and would practice them in the car,  at the dentist (very difficult) or at the racetrack. Red Death and he would play "name that tone" (no joke). The Bear found an app called iChant which was very helpful.

The tones occupy two pages at the back, and sometimes the Bear must still flip back for a reminder while praying. It's okay. There are also the beautiful Latin Salve Regina, Ave Maria Caelorum (Lent), Regina Caeli Laetare (Easter) and Alma Redemptoris Mater (Advent and Christmas) that are sung after Compline. (And after Compline, oblates don't speak, which can produce some fun games of charades.)

If a Bear can do it, you can! Lauds in the morning, Midday, Vespers toward evening and Compline. Talk about sanctifying your whole day!

It is a beautiful experience, the best way to pray (according to the Benedictines, anyway) and, according to Old Famous Catholic Guy Bear Can't Remember, singing psalms is good treatment for melancholy. The Bear posted  a recording of him singing Lauds in its entirety a while back. (An exercise in humility, since Bears are not very good singers.)

The Bear begs you to chant the hours! And your best bet is the four-week psalter from St. Meinrad Archabbey. St. Benedict would put up with a lot from his monks, but skipping the Opus Dei was not tolerated. There is a story of a good enough monk that would nonetheless always find a reason to be someplace else when the community gathered for Opus Dei. St. Benedict immediately saw what the problem was. A demon in the form of a small, black boy had him by the sleeve and was leading him away!

By the way, if you should ever have the experience of visiting St. Meinrad (in southern Indiana) you will be able to sing right along with the monks. At home, you are singing just like the real monks.

And the Bear will let you in on a little secret. Even with an organ, they're not pitch perfect, either.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Same God as Islam, Again

Today, assembled Catholics were informed by their priest in the Bear's parish that we worship the same God as Islam.

This is stupefyingly ill-informed. In fact, one could not reach this conclusion in good will. It could only be preached by someone who has abandoned Christ and the Church and the Holy Trinity and replaced it with the idol of interfaith.

How does a Catholic priest get to this point? In this particular case, the priest is a big shot in ecumenism and interfaith. He travels the world for one conference after another. At some point, his identity, whether by pride, or ignorance, or wickedness, or - giving him the benefit of the doubt - error, creeped over the line that separates Catholics from everybody else.

Oh, by the way, there is such a line, and don't let anybody tell you any different. If you find yourself the last Catholic in the world, then be that.

There is a line between Catholics and everybody else. It is a line, not a wall. It is easy to cross, apparently. Priests cross it. Cardinals cross it. Even Popes cross it.

The Bear believes it is more important than ever for Catholics to live in their bubble.

And, if anyone needs to be reminded, Catholics do not worship the same God as Islam. You could not have the vaguest grasp of both religions and think otherwise. Whenever the Bear hears the phrase "three great Abrahamic religions" he reaches for his revolver.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Judging Angels the Movie!

In 120 seconds. It is designed to compel you to purchase the Bear's dubious novel. It features a pretty redhead and a gun. And some other stuff  you might expect a Bear would probably throw in. Enjoy! And linking this once wouldn't kill ya, would it?

Sort of like the opening credits of To Kill a Mockingbird plus the shower scene from Psycho. It actually has more cuts per minute than Hitchcock's famous scene. Math doesn't lie, people.

Bear Sighting

Sorry the Bear has not been around much. Sadly, he has a close family member with cancer. We just got back from a visit in his hospital, in Ohio.

In his spare time, the Bear has been hard at work on a project he expects to unveil in the next day or two. It's a little something special he hopes you'll enjoy, so you might want to check back. If you follow Twitter, you can always get your dose of misfirings of the 450 gram ursine brain that way.

Other than that, there's plinking away at the sequel, working title "Departed for a Season," and actually trying to halfway live up to his Benedictine oblate obligations, at least by sometimes singing his LOTH. The Bear is living proof that you can be a lousy Catholic and still be a Catholic ephemerist.

Judging Angels is about bad Catholics who just don't get much help from the Church, and no longer expect to. They're spiritually on empty, and coasting along on whatever momentum they still have. Some try more than others, but none enough.

The Bear cannot imagine what is left to say about this pope, indeed, if that what the man is. His mission is to set the Catholic Church on Easy Mode, and everything is mercy, and Catholics are only held accountable on liberal social issues, and only some Catholics at that. Mostly evil northerners who used their magical powers to turn South America into an entire continent afloat on a sea of corruption and self-pity.

But what can you expect of a continent that has only one breed of Bear, and a pretty miserable specimen at that?

If the Bear offended anyone with his broad brush stereotyping of South America, well, you shouldn't have given us one Jorge Bergoglio. The Bear holds you ultimately responsible, South America. And your weakling Spectacled Bears who did not handle matters when they had the chance.

Just give the Bear a few days to get back into the groove. He is feeling a nostalgia for the early days of his ephemeris, back when he had five readers and spent a whole day on a piece. The Bear doubts we'll see more long, well-researched articles like on the Bath Township School Massacre. And, frankly, there are more knowledgeable people writing on Pope Francis. The Bear's always been more the color commentary guy, anyway.

He's just sick of Francis. And he assumes you are, too.

But George Martin is five books up on the Bear. Bear must write quickly. It's a race to see who drops dead from an over-eating related disease last.