Please help support this blog. (Plus, some Advent music!)
O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
before you kings will shut their mouths,
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.
For bringing a dead stick back to life…
Good news from Mike: things are turning around. Maybe in ways it’s hard to spot, but it’s definitely real. One huge piece of evidence for this is that Cardinal Sarah, far from being cowed by this pope’s outrageous attacks on the Faith and on him personally, has decided to come to the Chartres Pilgrimage (of all things!!) and celebrate a Pontifical High Mass in what is arguably the most famous Catholic cathedral in the world.
Mike and I have been talking about this for a few years now. Apart from experiencing the same horror as anyone while watching the slow motion trainwreck of this pontificate, we have both found the “silver lining” that this is now so blatantly anti-Catholic and so obviously connected to the fallout of Vatican II, that it is starting to wake up nearly everyone who still wants to be Catholic.
Things are changing… “I remember. You NEVER heard a cardinal or bishop suggest there was something wrong. You needed to find the ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ in all this…Why are they saying that? Because they know this is the spirit of a council has taken the Church in a direction no one recognizes anymore and they’re trying to put it back together…”
Also, MOAR ADVENT MUSIC!!
I missed yesterday’s O Antiphon because for complicated Italian reasons my internet was unavailable for 24 hours. But after a nice long and sunny country bike ride to the nearest internet store we’re back on. So here ya go, a bit late, but you can play it while you put the coffee on and remember.
Now, about business things – you guys continue to be the best readers evhar!
Thank you to … oh… I was just putting up names (first only) but it occurred to me that there may be security issues. I think one has to be a bit more careful these days. But please, everyone, consider yourselves personally thanked. One of the things you’all have made possible is for me to go up to Norcia for the Christmas weekend, (I’m going to buy a tree too!) so I’m going to write all your names down on a piece of paper and keep them in my Office book.
We’re not in this alone. Even if we live in the official middle of nowhere.
It’s that time, the inevitable time, when I have to screw up my courage and ask for donations from readers. I’ve thought a long time about it and waffled back and forth a lot. To put it as briefly as I can; I write for a living, and this is writing, which means it’s work.
I stopped blogging this summer because there were too many other things going on and it was taking up time and precious mental reserves that I needed for paid work. It’s been a weird year, and more exhausting than usual. I found I just didn’t have the juice to get the other stuff done while keeping on here. And, yes, of course I was thinking of quitting entirely. I think about it all the time. But I came back because it felt as though I just couldn’t leave alone the subjects we talk about here. Maybe I ought to, I don’t know, but at the moment it seems important to keep on watching and reporting… And cracking the occasional joke.
I think I re-started because, for whatever reason – issues of confidence, probably – I just find it easier to write in this format. Ideas just sort of pour out and end up here. Some short, some long and complicated, but in the end, quite a lot of my writing ends up on this site. After leaving LifeSite I started it for much the same reason Steve Skojec – my long-time partner in internet crime – did One Peter Five. Things were happening in ways that neither of us had seen happen before.
I recently told someone that when I started 1P5, it was a calling. It became a labor of love. And now, it’s just…labor. More and more I find myself sitting in front of my screen, typing and deleting sentences until I finally throw up my hands. I am a professional. I don’t get writer’s block except when I have nothing to say. And the thing I keep coming back to is that I don’t know what to say that’s new. That’s helpful. That’s hopeful. The mess we’re in is deeper than anything I’ve seen in my 40 years on this planet. It’s worse than anything I’ve read about in history.
And nobody is coming to the rescue.
I came back because I had finally got sufficient breathing space to finish the big paid job and had unpacked sufficient boxes to call myself moved in to the new place… but also because frankly I’m with you all; this stuff is bizarre! And its getting weirder and more awful all the time. Losing track of it seems to me like losing track of the Asteroid coming roaring towards us out of the sky. I took a few weeks off, and when I looked up again, it was ten times the size and flameyness! It’s constant. There is something going on all the time, and it was getting difficult to keep up with it just by tweeting.
Living out here in the country, away from Norcia and from Rome, it’s easy to start to feel isolated. One fights this, of course, by keeping busy, and there’s no shortage of things to do. But the other thing about blogging is that it helps me feel connected. You guys reading and paying attention really does help me. It reminds me I’m not sitting here in the middle of a field in Umbria by myself. I hear from people quite a lot who tell me they read the blog and that it has helped them, and in a similar way.
We all feel like we could get overwhelmed. Steve writes often both privately and in public that the sheer outrageousness of everything makes him feel swamped. I hear this privately from a lot of other people too. I think we can all sympathise. And I think the value of these blogs for everyone, writers and readers, is to not allow it to actually overwhelm us. If we stick together I hope we can help each other, maybe even pick our way through this incredible minefield, encourage each other in living the Catholic life in whatever circumstances we are in.
This is work, but it isn’t my only job. One of the things I was doing in the weeks away from here was putting together three small freelance gigs that will help keep things a lot steadier from now on. And they’re not all about the disaster so it’s a nice break to research and write about other things now and then.
But the blog still takes quite a bit of time and for a freelancer, time is money. There’s only so much writing one can do in a day. So, I’ve been thinking about it and I’ve got a plan. I’ve decided to try to organise my time better, to maybe control the time on the internet a bit both to keep it down to a reasonable level and make better use of it. It’ll be a two-sided approach; rationing the time spent blogging to make sure it doesn’t soak up the space for other work, and to start doing the fundraiser thing four times a year. (Which is a deal, considering guys like Skodge have to do it every month… And he puts those annoying pop-up things on the site…I hate those things. So no pop-ups and only asked every three months… That’s not bad, right?)
I’ve also decided to turn the comments off. Moderating takes up quite a lot of time and attention and I think comment boxes somehow create a kind of atmosphere of negativity. I’ll be happy to communicate with readers, but through email: hjm white 66 at yahoo dot ca. We’ll try that for a while and see how it goes. (Also, I’ll be off the internet entirely from Saturday, Dec. 23rd to Tuesday, St. Stephen’s Day.)
So, if you’ve found some of this valuable or useful, please consider using the Paypal button and leaving a small donation. We still have quite a lot of people coming in here pretty regularly so if, say, half of everyone who reads the blog gives under $50 (US or Canadian) I’ll consider it time well invested and be able to justify keeping going in the new year. The donate to hilary button is on the main page of the site, top right…
I also particularly wanted to remember to thank the kind readers who sent donations through that little dry spell, and who have continued to do so; Thank you, and bless you.
And now that I’m through all that, I am happy to wish all my readers a happy end-of-Advent and a long and blessed Christmas. (It only starts on December 25th, remember.) I’m going to try to post a bunch of happy Advent music for the rest of the week, and offer my prayers for you all and your families, as well as my heartfelt thanks for all your help in the past and for sticking it out, no matter what. We can’t give up.
This is today’s O Antiphon.
O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.
O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.
I think we are able to help each other keep our chins up, even stay cheerful. We can remind each other that the war we’re in has already been won, that we’re not just helpless pawns and we’re not trapped in our sins, but precious in the sight of God, so much so that He gave His only begotten Son so our sins would be taken away, as far as the east is from the west, and we could have eternal life with Him in heaven.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Christ is coming. He has already defeated sin and death. We’ll stick together, and we’ll stick with Him.