The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Archive for March 18th, 2010

Fess Parker Dies

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 18, 2010

One of my great loves since grade school is the history of the American frontier, so, when a local TV station began airing re-runs of the old Daniel Boone television show (1964-1970) a few years ago, I made it a point of watching every Saturday morning.  At the time, I had no idea just how huge a sensation Fess Parker had been.    What an amazing individual: actor, astute businessman, married to the same woman for fifty years.  See Remembering Fess Parker.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

(Updated) Resources For The Feast Of St Joseph

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 18, 2010

Here is a site which contains a brief history of the celebration followed by some traditional St Joseph’s Day recipes.

Wikipedia actually has up a more extensive treatment of the history, including an overview of how the feast is celebrated in various parts of the U.S.

An article from the Chicago-Sun Times on how the Italian-American community of that city celebrates the feast.

St Joseph’s Day Homepage.  Links to several resources.

Pope John Paul II’s Homily on the Feast of St Joseph (1987).

Update: Less Darkness More Candles has up several links.

From my post last year:

St Joseph is the patron of my parish church.  I took the above picture early this morning in the convent school which was being set up for a reception after tonight’s Mass.

St Thomas Aquinas writes:  “Some Saints are privileged to extend to us their patronage in certain cases, but not in others, with peculiar efficacy; but to our holy Patron, St Joseph, it is given to assist us in all cases, in every necessity, in every undertaking.”

St Bernardine of Siena: “If you compare him to the whole Church of Christ, is he not the special and chosen being, by whom, and under whom, the Lord was introduced into the world with becoming dignity?  If all the faithful, then, are debtors to the Virgin Mother for being made worthy through her to receive the Redeemer; so, next to the Virgin Mother, do we not owe to St Joseph special honor and veneration?”

St Teresa of Avila: “Oh! that I could induce all to be devout to this glorious Saint, from the experience I have of this great power with God.  For many years past I have asked from him some favor on his feast, which he never failed to obtain for me: unless, perhaps, what I asked was not for my good.  For the love of God, I implore those who do not believe me, to make a trial of it, and they will soon find by experience how advantageous it is to have recourse to the glorious St Joseph, and become his devoted clients.  It is wonderful what favors God has granted me by means of this blessed Saint; from what dangers, both of body and soul, He has delivered me (see footnote 1).  God would seem to have given to other Saints the grace to help us in some one necessity; but from experience I have learned that St Joseph helps us in all, and therefore the Lord will have us understand that, as He was subject to St Joseph on earth, so likewise in heaven the Saint obtains whatsoever he asks.” (see footnote 2)

St Francis De Sales: “Oh! what a Saint is the glorious St Joseph!  he is not only a Patriarch, but the most distinguished among the Patriarchs.  He is not merely a confessor, but far more than a confessor; for in him are included the dignity of the bishop, the generosity of the martyr, the excellence of the other Saints.  St Joseph will obtain for us, if we put confidence in him, an increase in every kind of virtue, but particularly in those which he possessed in a pre-eminent degree: these are, a perfect purity of body and mind, humility, constancy, fortitude, and perseverance, virtues which will render us victorious over our enemies in this life, and enable us to obtain the grace of enjoying in the life to come those rewards which are prepared for the imitators of St Joseph.”


1.  Notice that “He” is capitalized in the phrase “He has delivered me.”  God delivers through the intercession of Joseph who, like the Blessed Mother and all the Saints, must approach the Father on our behalf through Jesus.

2.  Because the Saints are united in will with God, they ask only what is beneficial for us, and not everything we ask.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Notes on Matthew 26:6-14 for March 28~Palm Sunday: The Passion According To Matthew (Extraordinary Form of the Rite)

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 18, 2010

This is the second in a series of posts on the Passion According to St Matthew which will be read on Passion Sunday (March 28) in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. You can view the first post here.

Mat 26:6  And when Jesus was in Bethania, in the house of Simon the leper,
Mat 26:7  There came to him a woman having an alabaster box of precious ointment and poured it on his head as he was at table.

A great deal of ink has been spilled over the question of when the anointing of Jesus took place, and if the Evangelists are all recording the same event (see Mk 14:3-9; Lk 7:36-50; Jn 12:1-8).  It is important to keep in mind that none of the Evangelists ever claimed to be writing a chronological history, and the fact that they treat the material they hold in common with a free hand suggests that they are more concerned with giving us a theological or moral meaning to the historical events they record.  We will leave the technical questions for the experts.

Both Mark and Matthew insert this story into the narrative concerning the plot against Jesus; a literary device known as an intercalation.  By interrupting one story with another they want the two stories to be seen together.

“The position of this account looks as if they (Mk & Mt) inserted it there for a definite reason; they wished to reveal the immediate external reason for Judas’ action, and also to prove that Jesus had full knowledge of the sufferings in store for Him, and looked forward to it with perfect composure” Franz Xaver Peolzl).

The idea that the context and literary structure was intended to intimate a reason for Judas’ betrayal was common place until modern times; thus the gloss Aquinas quotes in his Catena: “Having set before us the counsels of the chief of the Jews concerning the death of Christ, the Evangelist would proceed to follow out their execution, and to relate the bargain of Judas with the Jews to deliver Him up, but be first shews the cause of this betrayal. He was grieved that the ointment which the woman poured upon Christ’s head had not been sold that he might have carried off something out of the price it brought, and to make up this loss he was willing to betray his Master.”

Father Anthony Maas: “Saints Matthew and Mark…introduce it here…because the anointing of our Redeemer, and the profusion and expense incurred, served as the occasion of suggesting to the avaricious Judas, the idea of betraying him for money.”

Bethania (Bethany).  The village was located a short distance east of Jerusalem, just over the crest of the Mount of Olives.  It appears that It was our Lord’s common practice to spend time there when the demands of Jewish piety dictated that he attend the pilgrim feasts.  “The little town that He loved so well.  No other town in all the land had ever given Him so gracious a welcome as Bethania; we cannot wonder that He gave it in return both His greatest miracle (the raising of Lazarus) and so much of His own company”  (Bishop Alban Goodier).

Simon the Leper.  Franz Xaver Poelzl: The synoptic writers tell us that the feast was given by a certain Simon, known as “the leper,” because he had once suffered from leprosy, and in all probability had been cured by Christ.  There is no reason at all for thinking that “the leper” was a family name (pace Jansenius and others).

Cornelius a Lapide: “Some of the Fathers are of opinion that Simon had really been a leper, and had been healed by Christ. Others think that Leper was a patronymic of the family of Simon, either because he was descended from a leper, or because of some connection with lepers. Thus there were at Rome the families of the Claudii (the Lame), and the Balbi (the Sutterers), although there were many members of those families who were neither lame nor stutterers.”

Mat 26:7  There came to him a woman having an alabaster box of precious ointment and poured it on his head as he was at table.

Maldonatus:  “Many say that alabaster boxes were made from a stone (alabaster), in which ointments were kept, because the material preserved the odor for a long time.  They cite Pliny (XIII, 2; XXIV. 8).  The account of St Mark (14:3) is opposed to this.  For how could the box have been so easily broken if made of this material?

“Some say that she poured out the ointment first, and then broke the vessel when there was no more ointment left in it.  This hardly seems probably, for St Mark signifies, not obscurely, that she first broke the vessel and then poured out the ointment, breaking it to do this more effectually.

“Again, reason itself teaches us that she broke the vessel to pour out the ointment more freely, so that none of if should remain in the vessel.  In this manner the holy woman showed abundant love, that in anointing Christ she set so little store by the ointment that she even broke the vessel lest it should retain the least portion of it.  For if she had poured out all the ointment, why should she have broken the vessel?  She would rather have preserved it, to put fresh ointment into it.

“It appears more probable that the vessel was made of some other fragile material called alabaster, either because vessels that held ointment ere made of alabaster, or, if of some other material, they bore that name; or they may have been made without handles, such as dealers in ointments and drugs use; for this is the meaning of the word alabaster, as Suidas tells us.”

Precious ointment. Lapide: “Precious; Gr. βαζυτίμου, of great price; lit. heavy, because money was formerly estimated according to weight, as by the ounce, the pound…Ointment. I have shown on Eccles. ix. 8 that the Jews followed the custom of the Arabians, Persians, Syrians, and other Eastern nations in making use of unguents at their feasts for purposes of refreshment, and as a hindrance to drunkenness. Moreover, those ointments were not unfrequently not thick, such as those which doctors make use of for blows and wounds, but in a liquid state. They were confections of odoriferous herbs, which refreshed and delighted the brain and the other parts of the body. This particular ointment was fluid spikenard, as we learn from S. John. Spikenard has a very sweet smell, and abounds in Syria. Whence Tibullus, “His temples lately moist with Tyrian (or better, Syrian) nard.” It is certain that spikenard compounded with oil formed a very precious ointment, which the ancients made use of for anointing the head. (See Plin. lib. xiii. caps. 1 and 2.).”

Maldonatus:  The word (precious) probably applies not only to the quality of the ointment, but also to the quantity, meaning that not only was the ointment so good that a little of it was worth a great deal, but also that it was poured out so copiously that the value of it was great, as Judas (really, the disciples) said: ‘This might have been sold for much and given to the poor.”

Maldonatus cont.: “What nard (ointment) is we learn from the philosophers and physicians.  Pliny and Dioscorides inform us about it.  We also learn from Holy Scripture that it is a shrub of wondrous fragrance (Song of Songs 1:11; 4:13-14).”

Tropological interpretations:

Lapide summarizing the interpretation of Origen: “(He) says that oil or ointment is the work of virtue, especially of mercy. If this be shown out of natural compassion, as it is by infidels, not for God’s sake, God accepts it indeed, but not unto life eternal. But if it be done from love to God, it is an excellent ointment of a sweet-smelliing savour. Again, if a good work be done to relieve the wants of the poor, it is an anointing of the feet of the Lord. For the poor in the Church are the mystical feet of the Lord. But if the work be done for the glory of God, as in the way of zeal for chastity, fasting, or prayer, it is an anointing of the Lord’s head, a precious ointment, with whose odour the whole Church is filled; and this is the proper work of the perfect.”

From a gloss quoted by Lapide: “This woman who anointed the head and feet of Christ signifies the faith of the Church, which, when it preaches and invokes the Godhead of Christ, anoints His head: when it preaches His humanity, His feet.”

Mat 26:8  And the disciples seeing it had indignation, saying: To what purpose is this waste?
Mat 26:9  For this might have been sold for much and given to the poor.

Franz Xaver Poelzl: (The woman’s) “loving action, far from meeting from the disciples with the approval it deserved, actually aroused their indignation…The disciples regarded the anointing as wasteful, because the oil, if sold, would have brought more than $50 in our money, and this sum might have been devoted to the support of the poor.  With regard to Judas, St John remarks that his anxiety for the poor was hypocritical, and that his real motive was avarice, in which he had indulged by unjust inroads upon the money bestowed in alms for the support of the disciples, and that he, as purse-bearer, was entitled to spend.”

Father Anthony Maas: The disciples seeing it.  St Mark (14:4) has, “some” of them, which is perfectly reconciable with St Matthew; St John 12:4 says, “one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, which may be easily explained, by a figure quite common in Sacred Scripture, which employs the plural for the singular; thus, it is said, the thieves on the cross blasphemed Him, while only one did so (the technical word for this is “syllepsis”).  Or, it may be more probable, as St Augustine explains it , that Judas, having first expressed his indignation, the other Apostles, who knew our Redeemer’s austere manner of life, and His unbounded charity to the poor, then joined in expressing feelings of indignation, but from different motives-Judas from avarice (Jn 12:6); they, from charity.

St John Chrysostom: “The disciples then thought thus, but Jesus, who saw the thoughts of the woman, suffered it. For her piety was great, and her ardour unspeakable, wherefore He condescended to suffer her to pour the ointment on His head. As the Father admitted the smoke and odour of the slain victim, so also Christ admitted this votive anointing of His head, though the disciples, who saw not her heart, murmured.”

Mat 26:10  And Jesus knowing it, said to them: Why do you trouble this woman? For she hath wrought a good work upon me.
Mat 26:11  For the poor you have always with you: but me you have not always.

Franz Xaver Poelzl: “Our Lord defended the woman’s action, and termed it a good work, the outcome of her faith, love, and gratitude.  The apostles could always, he said, display their love and care of the poor, because they would continually have needy persons in their midst.  He teaches us that expenditure incurred for the honor and glory of God should not be called in question under the plea that the poor require money…Those who lavishly are spending of their wealth in honor of Christ and for the purpose of adding dignity to the worship of God, and unlikely to forget the poor, for they know the words: “Amen, I say to you, so long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.”

Remigius: “He clearly shews that the Apostles had uttered something harsh against her, when He says, “Why trouble ye the woman?” And beautifully He adds, “She hath wrought a good work in me;” as much as to say, It is not a waste of ointment, as ye say, but a good work, that is, a service of piety and devotion.”

St John Chrysostom again:” And He says not merely, “She hath wrought a good work,” but says first, “Why trouble ye the woman?” to teach us that every good act that is wrought by any, even though it lack somewhat of exact propriety, yet we ought to receive, cherish, and cultivate it, and not to require strict correctness in a beginner. If He had been asked before this was done by the woman, He would not have directed its doing; but when it was done, the rebuke of the disciples had no longer any place, and He Himself to guard the woman from importunate attacks speaks these things for her comfort.”

Mat 26:12  For she in pouring this ointment on my body hath done it for my burial.
Mat 26:13  Amen I say to you, wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world,

Maldonatus: The Jews used to anoint the bodies of the dead, before burial, with ointments and spices, as we find in Gen 50:2-26; Mk 16:1; Lk 23:56; Jn 19:40.  Christ, therefore, signifies that His death was so near that the woman, as if divining it, anointed Him for it.  Not that she thought, perhaps, on the subject, but that she anointed Him thus opportunely that she may appear to have done it to this end.  The meaning, perhaps, is that she anointed Him now because after His death she woul not be able to do so; as St Mark signified: “What she could she hath done; she is come aforehand to anoint My body for the burial” (14:8).  St John should be received in this or some similar sense: “Let her alone, that she may keep it against the day of My burial” (12:7), as meaning: At my burial they would have no ointment; for they brought spices afterwards; suffer her now to keep this ointment for that time; for she keeps it by anointing Me now, as she was about to do.  The Greek expresses it more clearly: “she has kept it”; that is, she has so placed it out by anointing Me that she cannot lose it; as we say of one who has bought an estate that he cannot lose his money, as he might do if he carried it on his person, or shut it up in a box; by spending it he preserves it.  Christ desired to excuse the act of the woman, which otherwise might have appeared unnecessary, by the use and custom of anointing the dead, and by her piety to Himself; and at the same time to set her above Judas the murmurer, when he thought of himself in selling, and she though of Him (Christ) in anointing, and, in some way burying Him.  Not, perhaps, that she understood what she did, but that she was moved by some silent impulse of the Holy Spirit; so that her act was not to be blamed, for it was pious in itself, and necessary for the dead, and it proceeded from the promptings of the Holy Spirit.”

Rabanus:  Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which she hath done shall be told for a memory of her. “That is, To whatsoever place throughout the whole world the Church shall be propagated, there this also that she hath done shall be told. That also that is added signifies, that as Judas by his reproof of her has earned evil character of treachery, so has she also earned the glory of pious devotedness.

St John Chrysostom: “Behold the accomplishment of this saying; to whatsoever part of the world you go, you will find this woman famous, and this has been wrought by the power of Him who spake this word. How many victories of kings and captains have passed into oblivion; how many who built cities and enslaved many nations are now known neither by report nor by name; but the deed of this woman pouring forth ointment in the house of a leper in the presence of twelve men, this resounds throughout the world, and though so much time has elapsed, the memory of that which was done is not effaced.”

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on Matthew, Notes on the Passion of Matthew, Quotes, St John Chrysostom, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Anybody Know What Language This Is?

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 18, 2010

Someone translated this post of mine on google but I don’t recognize the script.  I get a good bit of foreign traffic, especially from Italy, Spain and Portugal.  I’ve also had people translate posts into Farsi.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

%d bloggers like this: