Thursday, September 29, 2005
Today is the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels--a favorite of many. These hosts of heaven are ordered in what we commonly call the “nine choirs of angels.” These are divided into three triads (groups of three).
The first angelic triad continually worships God in his immediate presence. These spirits consist of the exalted love of the fiery seraphim, the complete intuition of the cherubim, and the perfect power of the thrones. The primary function of their being is the perpetual adoration and praise of the divine substance.
The second triad extends this divine praise and love to the creation. The spiritual dominions, princedoms, and powers execute the love, knowledge, and power of God relative to the general structure, order, and governance of the cosmos.
The last triad serves the divine love towards humans when the virtues, the ruling archangels, and the angels come to serve and care for people on earth. Angels then truly become “messengers” of divine favor. It was the Archangel Gabriel who gave the message of the Incarnation to the blessed Virgin Mary .Two other archangels are mentioned in Scripture. As the prince of the Seraphim, St. Michael led the heavenly host in the battle against the rebelling spirits. And St. Raphael the Archangel delivered Tobias’ wife from demonic obsession. Raphael is also commonly associated with the angelic trembling of the waters in the pool of Bethesda (Jn 5:2-4).
O holy Angels, watch over us at all times during this perilous life;
O holy Archangels, be our guides on the way to heaven;
O heavenly choir of Principalities, govern us in body and soul;
O mighty Powers, preserve us against the wiles of the demons;
O celestial Virtues, give us strength and courage in the battle of life;
O powerful Dominions, obtain for us dominion over the rebellion of our flesh;
O sacred Thrones, grant us peace with God and man;
O brilliant cherubim, illumine our minds with heavenly knowledge;
O burning Seraphim, enkindle our hearts with the fire of charity.
Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust down to hell Satan and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.
O prince most glorious, Michael the Archangel, keep us in remembrance: here and everywhere, always, entreat the Son of God for us.
Monday, September 26, 2005
Friday, September 23, 2005
By the grace of God, I was ordained to the priesthood of the Catholic Church by Bishop Jack L. Iker at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, Texas on 23 September 2002. In these three years of priestly minstry, there have been many constants and many variables. I feel myself part of a heritage that is new every morning and yet as timeless as ever. I am still looking up. It is such a joy to simply be a humble worker in the Lord's vineyard. I'm sure it will take me many more years to unpack most of the meaning.
I still go back to St. Paul's words to St. Timothy:
"Let no man despise thy youth: but be thou an example of the faithful in word, in coversation, in charity, in faith, in chastity. Till I come, attend unto reading, to exhortation, and to doctrine. Neglect not the grace that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the imposition of the hands of the priesthood. Meditate upon these things, be wholly in these things: that thy profiting may be manifest to all." (1 Timothy 4:12-15, Rheims New Testament)
Saturday, September 17, 2005
On Friday, Melisa and I went on a daytrip to the Dallas World Aquarium. To our delight, there was more there to look at than just fish. It is a marvelously designed complex. An observer really feels like a part of the environment, and there are an incredible amount of vantage points. Recommended for anyone paying a visit to Dallas.
Here are some pictures we took.
Here are some pictures we took.
Recently, Melisa and I watched once of my favorite movies again--Howard Hughes' 1930 WWI spectacular Hell's Angels. I love the dialogue and period acting, the brotherhood of Roy and Monte Rutledge, the unrelquited love for Helen (Jean Harlow), and Melisa especially noted the the noble spirit of sacrifice for integrity in the RAF.
The movie was so big it had to be shot twice--once as a silent picture, then as a talkie for its final release. It cost an unparralelled $3.8 million to make, and 249 feet of film were shot for every foot used in the final cut. There are numerous beautiful tinted scenes in the film, but also an eight minute two-strip Technicolor sequence. Top Gun has nothing on the arial combat scenes of this movie. Three stunt pilots died during the filming of Hell's Angels and a forth died in a crash while delivering a plane to the set. Hughes himself crashed one plane for the sake of getting the perfect shot.
The night battle scene with the Zeppelin is my favorite in the movie. The Germans did use some dirigibles for bombing runs during the Great War. Hughes' fictionalized version could not have turned out better. Those scenes of "lightening the load" still give me chills.
In reality, there were twenty-three airship raids in over Britain in 1916 in which 125 tons of ordnance were dropped, killing 293 people and injuring 691. Anti-aircraft defenses were becoming tougher and new Zeppelins were introduced which were able to fly at twice the altitude, increasing the operating altitude from 1,800 m to 3,750 m. To avoid searchlights these craft flew above the cloud layer whenever possible, lowering an observer through the clouds to direct the bombing. The improved safety was counteracted by the extra strain on the airship crews and the British introduction in mid-1916 of forward-firing fighters. The first night-fighter victory came on September 2, 1916 when W. Leefe-Robinson shot down one of a sixteen-strong raiding force over London.
After the war, the dirigibles had a renaissance of sorts, becoming vessels of peace. In the early 1930s, the Graf Zeppelin was making regular non-stop transatlantic flights from Munich to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in a matter of days rather than the weeks it took by ocean liner. The zenith of the rigid airships was to come with the LZ-129 (Hindenburg) and her sister-ship, the LZ-130 (Graf Zeppelin II). Each could carry up to 78 passengers and 61 crew. The size of these rigid airships was enormous. The Hindenburg was 804 feet long (that's a mere 78 feet short of a floating Titanic!). The modern Goodyear blimp is lest than a tenth of that length.