Monday, December 31, 2012

Shelved: 2012


1: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria declares a state of emergency on account of the Islamist predations of the terrorist group Boko Haram.  Also: A gunman murders a park ranger at Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington State.  He will later be found dead.
2: Boko Haram issues a warning to all Christians to leave northern Nigeria within 3 days.  Also: Iran announces that its navy has successfully tested two surface-to-air missiles.
5: Gunmen attack a Protestant church in Gombe, Nigeria, killing six.
13: The cruise ship Costa Concordia runs aground, causing the deaths of 32 passengers, two of whom will not be recovered.  The captain faces charges of multiple manslaughter, failure to assist passengers in need, and abandoning ship.
18: A dog finds a severed human head near the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, California.  Severed hands and feet are discovered soon afterward.
20: Frontal assault on the First Amendment: the Department of Health and Human Services, headed by alleged Catholic Kathleen Sebilius, mandates that all health care plans, without exception, provide free contraceptives, sterilization, and chemical abortions, and that employers who object on religious grounds will have one year to comply with the mandate.
21: New guidelines are enacted in the United Kingdom that allow abortion mills to advertise on radio and television.
22: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D.-AZ), who sustained a gunshot wound to the head during a mass murder in a store parking lot, resigns from Congress in order to concentrate on her recovery.
27: A deadly cold wave brings freezing temperatures to Europe and North Africa, claiming hundreds of lives.
31: A woman in the Afghan province of Kunduz is murdered by her husband and  mother-in-law for the iniquitous crime of giving birth to three daughters and no sons.  Also: The Susan G. Komen Foundation cuts funding to Planned Parenthood.

Deaths: Stewart Fulbright (Tuskeegee Airman) Etta James (blues singer); Tony Blankley (conservative commentator); Ian Abercrombie (English actor); Robert Hegyes (Epstein in Welcome Back, Kotter); James Farentino; Joe Paterno; Richard Threlkeld; Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua; Marion Mathie (Hilda Rumpole, "She Who Must Be Obeyed").


3: After three days of hellish screeching, howling and extortionist tactics from the abortion lobby, the Susan G. Komen Foundation is bullied into restoringPlanned Parenthood to its list of donees.
5: Superbowl XLVI: the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 21-17. 
6: A magnitude 6.7 earthquake strikes the Philippines off the Negros Oriental coast, killing 105.  Also: Queen Elizabeth II marks the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne.
7: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturns California's Proposition 8, which banned gay "marriage" in that state.
13: Gay "marriage" is legalized in the state of Washington.
18: At a consistory in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI names 22 new cardinals, including Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York.  Also: Emperor Akihito of Japan undergoes a successful heart bypass surgery.
26: A Muslim suicide bomber murders three at a Protestant church in Jos, Nigeria.  Also: To the great glee of professional race hustlers, Trayvon Martin, a black teenager, is shot in a gated community by George Zimmerman, a community watch coordinator whom the media designate a "white Hispanic."  Within weeks, the boy's mother will apply for a trademark on his name.  Zimmerman, who has been subjected to a brutal media hazing, is set to stand trial on a charge of second-degree murder in June, 2013.
27: Murder spree, Chardon, Ohio: a 17-year-old shooter kills three and wounds three at Chardon High School before being apprehended.
28-29: A severe tornado outbreak in the Ohio Valley area claims 13 lives.

Deaths: Don Cornelius (creator of Soul Train); Ben Gazzara; Steve Appleton (chairman and CEO of Micron); Whitney Houston; David Kelly (Irish actor); Davy Jones (the Monkees); Jan Berenstain (co-creator of the Berenstain Bears); Peter Breck; Florence Green (last surviving veteran of World War I).


1: The state of Maryland legalizes gay "marriage."
2: The second tornado outbreak in a week strikes the midwestern and southern U.S., wiping out whole towns and claiming at least 41 lives.
4: The heart of St. Lawrence O'Toole is stolen from Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland.
8: Murder spree, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania: a shooter kills one and wounds seven at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic before being shot dead.
11: Murder spree, Panjwai, Kandahar, Afghanistan: a U.S. army soldier shoots 16 civilians, including 9 children and 3 women.  The soldier will face multiple charges, including 16 counts of premeditated murder.
11-19: A shooter claiming to be an Islamic warrior connected with Al Qaida murders three French soldiers, a rabbi and three children in Toulouse, France.  He will later commit suicide while under siege in his apartment.  For reasons passing understanding, French President Nicholas Sarkozy will announce that Islam had nothing to do with the murders.
15: Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich begins a 14-year prison sentence on corruption charges.
17: Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria, head of the Coptic Christian Church, dies at the age of 88.
23: Pope Benedict XVI arrives for his visit to Mexico.
24: Former Vice President Dick Cheney receives a heart transplant.
26: Pope Benedict arrives in Cuba for a three-day visit.  Somehow, he avoids being bored to death by Fidel Castro and his incessant rambling.
30: The Mega Millions lottery jackpot breaks all records at $640 million.

Deaths: James Q. Wilson (political scientist, author of the "broken window" theory); Andrew Breitbart; Michael Hossack (drummer, the Doobie Brothers); Peter Bergman (Firesign Theater); Luke Askew (character actor); Earl Scruggs; Adrienne Rich; Priscilla Buckley; John Demjanjuk.


2: Murder spree, Oakland, California: shooter kills 7 and wounds 3 at Oikos University, a Korean Christian college.  The shooter, an expelled former student, later surrenders to authorities.
3: An outbreak of tornadoes strikes the Dallas-Fort Worth area, causing a great deal of damage and destruction but, remarkably, no deaths.
11: George Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin.
13: North Korea tests a large rocket, ostensibly for the purpose of launching a weather satellite.  The rocket explodes 90 seconds after launch.
15: The 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.  Also: the Secret Service announces 11 agents have been put on leave pursuant to an investigation of "inappropriate conduct" (with prostitutes) at Cartagena, Colombia during the Summit of the Americas that same week.
22: Chen Guangchen, Chinese dissident and opponent of China's "family planning" policy, escapes house arrest and makes it to the U.S. Embassy.  However, Guangchen is compelled to leave the Embassy after China and the U.S. strike a "deal" over him.

Deaths: George Murdock (character actor); Benzion Netanyahu (father of Benjamin Netanyahu); Chuck Colson; Levon Helm (The Band); Dick Clark; Mike Wallace; Thomas Kinkaide.


5: Super moon: the moon makes its closest approach to the earth all year. 
6: Socialst François Hollande is elected President of France.
8: The state of North Carolina bans same-sex "marriage."
9: Barack Obama openly declares his support for same-sex "marriage," using the Sacrifice of Calvary to back up his position.
15: Murder spree, Port St. John, Florida: a woman shoots and kills her own four children, then turns the gun on herself.
19: Chinese pro-life activist Chen Guangcheng arrives in Newark, New Jersey with his wife and children.
20: Northern Italy is stricken by a 6.0 magnitude earthquake.  Also: Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie Bomber, dies 3 years after his compassionate release from prison on the grounds that he was on the point of death.
21: Near the end of climbing season on Mount Everest, four climbers die descending from the summit.  Also: an annular solar eclipse is seen, among other places, in the western United States.
25: Houla, Syria: Syrian forces massacre 108 civilians, including women and children.  Also: The Dragon spacecraft, carrying a cargo of supplies, becomes the first commercial spacecraft to dock at the International Space Station.

Deaths:  Janet Carroll (actress); Robin Gibb; Donna Summer; Donald "Duck" Dunn (bassist, The Blues Brothers); Vidal Sassoon; Maurice Sendak; George Lindsey ("Goober" on The Andy Griffith Show); Adam Yauch (the Beastie Boys); Junior Seau (New England Patriots).


1: Venezuela outlaws the sale of guns and ammunition.
2: Murder spree, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: gunman shoots five, killing two, and later surrenders to police.
3: Peak of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
5: Governor Scott Walker wins a recall election instigated by union thugs in the state of Wisconsin.  Also: the rarest eclipse of all: for the last time during the lifetimes of anyone now living, Venus transits the Sun.
10: Murder spree, Auburn, Alabama: three are killed and three more are wounded in a shooting at a party near Auburn University.  The shooter later turned himself in to federal agents.
12: The parents of Azaria Chamberlain, a baby who died in Australia in 1980, are formally cleared of her murder when a coroner confirms that the baby was indeed snatched by a dingo.  Azaria's mother, Lindy, had spent three years in prison over the baby's death.
13: Corruption charges against former Sen. John Edwards are dismissed following a mistrial.
15: The Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross is erected in Australia.
16: Nik Wallenda walks a tightrope across Niagara Falls.
22: Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State coach, is found guilty of 45 counts of sex abuse of children.  He will be sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment.
24: Mohammad Morsi, a member of the extremist Muslim Brotherhood, becomes President of Egypt.
25: The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down most of Arizona's immigration law, and rules that minors cannot be sentenced to life without parole.
26: The city of Stockton, California declares bankruptcy.
28: The U.S. Supreme court upholds Obamacare.  Also: The House of Representatives holds Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for refusing to cooperate with an investigation into Operation Fast and Furious.
29: A series of furious storms kill one person in Virginia and knock out power to 4 million people in D.C. and the mid-Atlantic states, in some cases for several days.  Also: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes announce they are getting a divorce.

Deaths: Herb Reed (the Platters); Ray Bradbury; Bob Welch (Fleetwood Mac); Ann Rutherford (Gone with the Wind); Rodney King; Richard Lynch (actor); James Grout (Judge "Ollie" Oliphant in Rumpole of the Bailey); Yitzak Shamir.


4: Scientists announce the tentative observation of a Higgs boson particle.
7: The Los Angeles County Coroner's office reclassifies the 1981 drowning death of Natalie Wood as "undetermined."
10: San Bernardino, California files for bankruptcy.
11: The discovery of Pluto's fifth moon -- the unimaginatively named S/2012 P 1 -- is announced.
13: More than 1,000 counties are declared a disaster area due to a drought that has affected most of the continental United States.
20: Murder spree, Aurora, Colorado: a shooter sets off teargas grenades and opens fire inside a crowded movie theatre, killing 12 and wounding 59.  He is taken into custody immediately afterward.
22: Penn State announces that its statue of football coach Joe Paterno will be taken down on account of his role in the university's sex abuse scandal.
23: Sverdlovsk region, Russia: villagers discover four barrels containing 248 human fetuses in formaldehyde dumped in a forest.
25: The government of Scotland announces plans to legalize same-sex "marriage."
27: Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of the Diocese of Oakland, California, is raised to the Archbishopric of San Francisco.
30-31: The biggest power outage in history strikes India, leaving over 620 million people without power.
31: Somali journalist and comedian Abdi Jeylani Malaq Marshale, known for making fun of militant Islamists, is shot dead in Mogadishu.

Deaths: Sally Ride; Simon Ward (British actor); Tom Davis (Al Franken's former comedy partner); William Raspberry; Steven Covey (author, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People); Kitty Wells; Celeste Holm (All About Eve); Sage Stallone (son of Sylvester Stalone); Richard D. Zanuck (film producer, son of Darryl F. Zanuck); Ernest Borgnine; Andy Griffith; Geoffrey Hughes (Onslow in Keeping Up Appearances); Mary Tamm (Romana I in Dr. Who); Sherman Hemsley (George Jefferson); R. G. Armstrong (character actor); Gore Vidal.


4: Iran announces that it has successfully tested a surface-to-surface missile.
5: Murder spree, Oak Creek, Wisconsin: gunman murders 6 and wounds 4 at a Sikh temple, including one police officer responding to the scene, before being shot by police and then turning the gun on himself.
7: Mass murderer Jared Lee Loughner, who murdered six, including a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl, and wounded 14, including congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, at a political event in Tuscon, Arizona in January of 2011, pleads guilty to 19 counts arising from the shooting.  
11: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney names Rep. Paul Ryan (R.-Wisc.) as his vice-presidential running mate.
16: Murder spree, LaPlace, Louisiana: in separate incidents, shooters murder two sheriff's deputies and wound two more, before being wounded themselves and/or taken into custody.
17: Rimsha Masih, an 11-year-old girl with Down Syndrome, is arrested in Pakistan for blasphemy against Islam.
19: British film director Tony Scott commits suicide by jumping off a bridge in Los Angeles.
20: In an attempt to address the evil of abortion in cases of rape, Rep. Todd Akin (R.-Mo.) makes a clumsy statement that has both sides of the aisle screaming for his blood.
23: After having provided hundreds of clean UAs, Lance Armstrong announces that he will not contest "Anti-Doping Agency" charges of using performance-enhancing drugs.
24: A Norwegian court sentences Oslo bomber/shooter Anders Breivik to 21 years in prison -- approximately 3 months for each of his 77 dead victims.  Also: a disgruntled former employee shoots and kills a coworker at the Empire State Building, and is in turn gunned down by police.  Nine other people are wounded in the incident, all by police bullets.
27: Mars rover Curiosity beams the first recording of a human voice ever to be sent from another planet.
31: Murder spree, Old Bridge, New Jersey: an employee at a Pathmark grocery store opens fire, killing two and then turning the gun on himself. 

Deaths: Nellie Gray (founder of March for Life); Helen Gurley Brown; Gregory Ulas Powell (the Onion Field killer); Marvin Hamlisch; Phyllis Diller; Scott McKenzie ("San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)"); William Windom (actor); Biff Elliott (actor); Ron Palillo (Horshack on Welcome Back, Kotter!); Neil Armstrong; Jeffrey Stone (voice of Prince Charming in Disney's Cinderella).


2: A pilot crashes and is killed at the Quad City Air Show in Davenport, Iowa.
5: A British family and a French citizen are shot to death near Lake Annecy, France in what appears to be a hit.  There are two survivors, including a four-year-old girl who lay hidden under her dead mother's legs in the car for eight hours until forensic investigators found her.
10: Teachers in Chicago go on what will turn out to be an eight-day strike.
12: Terrorists attack the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, murdering the United States ambassador and three others.  There will also be assaults on American embassies in Egypt, Yemen and Kuwait.  The Obama regime's response is shameful and ineffectual.
14: Amid violence and unrest in the Middle East, Pope Benedict XVI sticks to his plans to visit Lebanon.

Deaths: Andy Williams; Lance LeGault (Magnum P.I., The A-Team); Michael Clarke Duncan (John Coffey in The Green Mile); Sun Myung Moon; Hal David (lyricist, "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head").


1: California purports to outlaw therapy to treat homosexual tendencies.
3: Britain's ITV network airs a documentary alleging that the late radio and television personality and philanthropist Sir Jimmy Savile was a serial abuser of underage girls.  The  documentary gives rise to further allegations, including coverups by the BBC and abuse taking place on BBC premises.  The scandal will reach into the government of the United Kingdom.   
6: Pope Benedict XVI's former butler, Paolo Gabriele, is found guilty of theft for stealing and leaking confidential documents, and is sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment.
7: Pope Benedict declares Sts. John of Avila and Hildegard of Bingen Doctors of the Church.
9: Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old Pakistani campaigner for women's education, is shot in the head by the Taliban.  She is recovering from her injuries.
10: Pope Benedict adds Arabic to the list of languages in which he addresses pilgrims each week.
12: The Nobel Peace Prize, long a joke and travesty, is awarded to the European Union.
14: Felix Baumgartner breaks the sound barrier during his dive from the Red Bull Stratos balloon capsule 24 miles above the surface of the earth.
20: Severe flooding at the Marian shrine at Lourdes, France, leads to the evacuation of hundreds of pilgrims.
21: Pope Benedict XVI canonizes seven new saints, including two Americans: St. Kateri Tekakwitha of the Mohawk Tribe, and St. Marianne Cope of Molokai.  Also: Murder spree, Brookfield, Wisconsin: a shooter kills three at a spa and then commits suicide.
24: Murder spree, Downey, California: three people are killed and two wounded at a business and a residence two blocks apart.
25: Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior of the Society of St. Pius X, expells Bishop Richard Williamson, a man notorious for Holocaust denial, among other things.
29: Hurricane Sandy, the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, makes landfall in New Jersey.  More than 200 people in several countries perished in the superstorm.
30: Murder spree, Chicago, Illinois: a woman murders her own seven-year-old son and a five-year-old girl she was babysitting, ostensibly out of rage that her husband left her to do menial work she considered beneath her.

Deaths: John Rovick (host of Sheriff John from 1952 to 1970); Arlen Specter; Gary Collins; Alex Karras; Russell Means; George McGovern; Paul Kurtz (father of secular humanism); King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia.


1: A 15-year-old girl in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, is murdered by her parents, who beat her up and poured acid on her because she was seen talking to a boy.
6: Barack Obama, the most anti-Catholic, pro-abortion, socialistic and anti-American politician ever to occupy the White House, is elected for a second term by a country bent on self-destruction.  Also: Voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington approve same-sex "marriage"; a measure in Minnesota to protect the traditional (and only legitimate) definition of marriage goes down to defeat.  Also: Murder spree, Fresno, California: an employee at a chicken-processing plant shoots four of his co-workers execution-style, killing two, before turning the gun on himself.
8: Jared Lee Loughner, shooter in the 2011 Arizona murder spree that left Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords severely wounded,  receives seven consecutive life sentences.
9: CIA director David Petraeus resigns, ostensibly due to an extramarital affair.
10: A massive explosion occurs in an Indiannapolis house, killing two, wounding seven and destroying five other houses; law enforcement authorities will later announce the explosion appears to have been intentional.
12: Maria Santos Gorrostieta, mayor of Tiquicheo, Michoacan, scarred and wounded as the result of two assassination attempts by Mexican drug gangs, is kidnapped in front of her daughter, going quietly with her abductors in order to save the child.  Her burned, beaten and stabbed body will be found eight days later.
13: Scott Routley, a 39-year-old Canadian man in a "persistent vegetative state" communicates to doctors that he is not in any pain.  Also: A total solar eclipse occurs in parts of Australia and the South Pacific.
14: Beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense, in which Israel takes action against rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.  Also: The death of Savita Halappanavar of septicemia in an Irish hospital is blamed on the failure of doctors to honor her family's purported request for an abortion, and exploited in a bid to legalize abortion in Ireland.  The reporter who broke the story later admitted there may have been no request for an abortion.
15: A parade float carrying wounded veterans in Midland, Texas is struck by a train, killing four and injuring 17.
16: Hostess announces it will go out of business, thanks to a bakery union strike.
20: Hamas summarily executes six men accused of spying for Israel; pictures of one of the men being dragged behind a motorcycle are beamed all over the world.  Also: Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo on Sesame Street, resigns amid sex abuse allegations.  Also: The Anglican Church narrowly rejects the raising of women to the episcopacy.
23: Egyptian president and Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamad Morsi passes a decree giving himself dictatorial powers, touching off violent protests all over the country.
25: Two car bombs attack a Protestant church in Jaji, Nigeria, killing 11 and wounding 30.
30: Murder spree, Casper, Wyoming: a killer using something on the order of a bow and arrow murders his father's girlfriend, then goes to Casper College and murders his father, then kills himself.

Deaths: Herbert Carter (Tuskegee Airmen); Martin Fay (the Chieftains); Art Ginsburg (Mr. Food); Eugene Smith (Tuskegee Airmen); Lawrence Guyot; Larry Hagman; Hector Camacho.


1: Jovan Belcher, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker, murders his live-in girlfriend in front of his mother, then goes to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City and commits suicide in front of his coach and several others.
3: Typhoon Bopha, a Category 5 supertyphoon, makes landfall on the Philippine island of Mindanao.  It will kill hundreds.  Also: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announce that they are expecting their first child, who will be third in line for the throne of the United Kingdom.
6: Possession of marijuana for personal use becomes legal in the state of Washington.
7: Jacintha Saldanha, nurse at a London hospital who took a crank call from some radio idiots about the Duchess of Cambridge, is found dead and suspected of having committed suicide.
8: Josh Brent of the Dallas Cowboys is arrested for driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter in the death of his teammate, Jerry Brown.
11: Murder spree, Happy Valley, Oregon: shooter opens fire inside the Clackamas Town Center mall, killing two and wounding one before committing suicide.  Also: Michigan becomes a right-to-work state, amid howling displays of union thuggery.
12: Pope Benedict sends out his first tweet.
13: "The Tallow Candle," a previously unknown story by Hans Christian Anderson, is discovered.
14: Murder spree, Newtown, Connecticut: a gunman murders his mother, then murders 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School before turning the gun on himself.  Also: a man knifes 22 children and an elderly woman at a school in Chengping, Henan, China.
17: The Midwest is struck by an immense blizzard that lasts for several days, knocking out power and disrupting travel and communications.  Also: Gerard Depardieu decides to surrender his French citizenship and move to Belgium in order to avoid high taxes.
18: Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, executed in Kansas in 1965 for the 1959 murder of the Clutter family (subject of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood), are exhumed in the hopes of solving the murder of another family in Florida that took place a month after the Clutter killings.
21: Murder spree, Frankstown Township, Pennsylvania: shooter murders four and wounds three on Route 22, before dying in a shootout with police.  Also: Notwithstanding the alleged Mayan calendar prediction, the world does not end.
22: Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict's former butler who was recently convicted of stealing confidential documents, receives a papal pardon.
24: Murder spree, Webster, New York: shooter ambushes firemen responding to a house fire that he started, killing two and wounding two more before turning the gun on himself.
28: Contraceptives become legal in the Philippines.

Deaths: Oscar Niemeyer (architect who designed the city of Brasilia, including its breathtakingly hideous cathedral); Dave Brubeck; Ravi Shankar; Sir Patrick Moore (British astronomer, The Sky at Night); Norman Joseph Woodland (co-inventor of the bar code); Judge Robert Bork; Sen. Daniel Inouye; Jack Klugman; Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf; Fontella Bass (blues singer, "Rescue Me"); Charles Durning; Harry Carey, Jr.

May 2013 be an improvement over its predecessor.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

December 25th: Christmas

Though coming in the form of man, yet not in every thing is He subject to the laws of man's nature; for while His being born of a woman tells of human nature; virginity becoming capable of childbirth betokens something above man.  Of Him then His mother's burden was light, the birth immaculate, the delivery without pain, the nativity without defilement, neither beginning from wanton desire, nor brought to pass with sorrow.  For as she who by her guilt engrafted death into our nature, was condemned to bring forth in trouble, it was meet that she who brought life into the world should accomplish her delivery with joy.  But through a virgin's purity He makes His passage into mortal life at a time in which the darkness was beginning to fail, and the vast expanse of night to fade away before the exceeding brightness of the light.  For the death of sin had brought an end of wickedness which from henceforth tends to nothing by reason of the presence of the true light which has illuminated the whole world with the rays of the Gospel.

St. Gregory of Nyssa

Benedicta et venerabilis es, Virgo Maria: Quae sine tactu pudoris inventa es mater Salvatoris.  virgo Dei Genitrix, quem totus non capit orbis, in tua se clausit viscera factus homo.
Alleluia, alleluia.  Post partum Virgo inviolata permansisti: Dei Genitrix, intercede pro nobis.  Alleluia.

Blessed and venerable art thou, O Virgin Mary: who without loss of purity wert found to be the Mother of our Savior.  Virgin Mother of God, He whom the whole world cannot hold enclosed Himself in thy womb, and became man.
Alleluia, alleluia.  After His birth a Virgin entire thou didst remain: O Mother of God, intercede for us. Alleluia.

The Gradual of the Mass: Salve, Sancta Parens, from the Common of Feasts of the Blessed Virgin in the 1962 Missal

Friday, December 21, 2012

We Are Still Here, And So Is Winter

Today was (a) the most anti-climactic apocalypse in the history of cataclysmic events, and (b) the winter solstice.  The winter solstice is the point when the sun, which has been gradually descending in the sky, appears to reach its lowest point, stand still and reverse course.  It is the day of the year when we have the shortest period of daylight and the longest period of darkness.

And, of course, as I hope I may never tire of pointing out, the solstices -- and indeed, the equinoxes -- are full of spiritual significance.  The winter solstice coincides with Christmas, when the Light of the World enters the world and the days begin to lengthen.  The summer solstice, when the days begin to shorten, coincides with the Nativity of John the Baptist, who said that he must decrease while the Savior increased.  The vernal equinox coincides with the Feast of the Annunciation,  the beginning of the end of the winter of Satan's reign.  It also coincides with Easter, which marks the decisive defeat of Hell, and takes place on the first Sunday on or after the first full moon on or after the equinox (say that one five times fast).  There are no huge feasts that coincide with the autumnal equinox; my own theory on that (and it's only my opinion) is that, since it coincides with the time for harvest, it stands for the harvest of souls at the End of Time.

Which, notwithstanding the Mayans, was apparently not scheduled for today.  But it is scheduled, and every day we draw closer to it.  That is part of the real significance of Christmas: the foreshadowing of Christ's Second Coming.  Are we ready for it?  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

We Cannot Tame the Spirit of Murder

As steady readers of this blog know, on the last day of every year, I publish a review of the year's events.  The first time I did this, I didn't actually come up with the idea until New Year's Eve; but since then, I have kept a running draft all year, updating it every few weeks until it's time for it to go up.

Since I have been doing these Year in Review posts, I have noticed one or two societal trends in America.  A particularly disturbing one is the large number of murder sprees that take place in this country every year.  Consider the ones we have seen during the calendar year 2012:

1. February 27th, Chardon, Ohio: a 17-year-old shooter kills three and wounds three at Chardon High School before being apprehended.

2. March 8th, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania: a shooter kills one and wounds seven at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic before being shot dead.

3. April 2nd, Oakland, California: an expelled former student kills 7 and wounds 3 at Oikos University, a Korean Christian college, and later surrenders to authorities.

4. May 15th, Port St. John, Florida: a woman shoots and kills her own four children, then turns the gun on herself.

5. June 10th, Auburn, Alabama: a shooter who later turns himself in to federal agents kills three and wounds three more at a party near Auburn University.

6. July 20th, Aurora, Colorado: a shooter sets off teargas grenades and opens fire inside a crowded movie theatre, killing 12 and wounding 59 before being apprehended.

7. August 5th, Oak Creek, Wisconsin: gunman murders 6 and wounds 4 at a Sikh temple, including one police officer responding to the scene, before being shot by police and then turning the gun on himself.

8. August 16th, LaPlace, Louisiana: in separate incidents, shooters murder two sheriff's deputies and wound two more, before being wounded themselves and/or taken into custody.

9. August 31st, Old Bridge, New Jersey: an employee at a Pathmark grocery store opens fire, killing two before turning the gun on himself. 

10. October 24th, Downey, California: three people are killed and two wounded at a business and a residence two blocks apart.

11. October 30th, Chicago, Illinois: a woman murders her own seven-year-old son and a five-year-old girl she was babysitting, ostensibly out of rage that her husband left her to do menial work she considered beneath her.

12. November 6th, Fresno, California: an employee at a chicken-processing plant shoots four of his co-workers execution-style, killing two, before turning the gun on himself.

13. November 30th, Casper, Wyoming: a killer using something on the order of a bow and arrow murders his father's girlfriend, then goes to Casper College and murders his father, then kills himself.

14. December 1, Kansas City, Missouri: Jovan Belcher, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker, murders his live-in girlfriend in front of his mother, then goes to Arrowhead Stadium and commits suicide in front of his coach and several others.

15. December 11, Happy Valley, Oregon: a shooter opens fire inside the Clackamas Town Center mall, killing two and wounding one before committing suicide.

16. December 14, Newtown, Connecticut: the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

Consider that the nation recoiled in horror at the 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago, when seven thugs were murdered by some other thugs in a gang war between Al Capone and Bugs Moran.  Such was the public outrage over this butchery that the Massacre marked the beginning of the end for Capone.  Now, in addition to the criminal-on-criminal home invasions and drive-by shootings among gang-bangers in cities, we have a massacre nearly every month, sometimes more than one in a month, all over the country, and frequently at random.

We may well ask why.  But the better question is: why not?  In a country where the murder of babies in their mothers' wombs is enshrined as a constitutional right, where embryos are created and frozen and experimented on and mingled with the genes of animals, and where euthanasia is legal in several states, an explosion of violence was inevitable.  Did we really think we could make the spirit of murder our servant, drawing curtains and closing doors on it, imprisoning it inside clinics and laboratories and bending it to our will?  We were deluding ourselves.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ours Is the God of Victories

Having an old post of mine about prayers against enemies got me to thinking about -- well, prayers against enemies.  We in the Church have really gotten wimpy in the face of our enemies over the last several decades, and now we can't figure out why they have the upper hand.  We need to remember that the enemies of the Church are the enemies of God, and that behind them is the primordial enemy, the devil himself.  We should pray for the conversion of the humans under the devil's sway, but we should also do what we can to thwart them: this includes praying for their defeat.  

Such prayers are not only permissible, but laudable, and perfectly in line with Scripture and Tradition.  Running my finger down the table of contents of my trusty 1962 Missal, I find votive Masses against the persecutors of the Church, and against persecutors and evildoers.  Consider the Collect of the Mass against Persecutors and Evildoers:
Hostium nostrorum, quaesumus, domine, elide superbiam: et eorum contumaciam dexterae tuae virtute prosterne.
O Lord, we beseech Thee, crush the pride of our enemies and humble their insolence by the might of Thy hand.
What ever possessed us to stop offering this Mass, and praying this prayer?

Then of course there are the maledictory Psalms, such as Psalm 68; the St. Michael prayer, that is said after every Low Mass; and, one of my favorites, the Litany of Saints sung in procession on Rogation Days, in which we pray, among other things, that God would deign to humiliate the enemies of His Church.  What good has come of our having largely abandoned these prayers?

We need to remember that our God is not the God of Mediocrity or the God of Level Playing Fields, but the God of Victories.  We must remember that those who pit themselves against Him should be given no quarter.  We must both strive and pray for their absolute, crushing, decisive and humiliating defeat, even if we do not hope to witness such a defeat with our own eyes.

Of Onions, Liars and Hypocrites

Did the White House press room smell of onions yesterday, during the lachrymose presidential speech about the events in Connecticut?

Barack Obama supports infanticide.  When he was an Illinois state senator, he voted against the Born Alive Protection Act that would have protected infants that survived abortion procedures.

On Day Three of his administration, Barack Obama repealed the Mexico City Policy, making abortion groups eligible for U.S. foreign aid money.

Under the Obama Administration, Planned Parenthood got nearly half a billion taxpayer dollars in the year 2010.

Meanwhile, the number of abortions in the United States since Roe v. Wade came down in 1973 rivals the total number of people who perished in World War II.

Barack Obama made a show of weeping yesterday for the twenty children who were gunned down in Newtown, Connecticut.  But if an abortionist had destroyed those same children in their mothers' wombs, he'd have been perfectly fine with that.  

Barack Obama is a liar and a hypocrite.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Mystery of Iniquity

The heart is perverse above all things, and unsearchable, who can know it? 
Jeremiah 17:9

God rest the souls of all those who perished today at the hands of the shooter in Newtown, Connecticut.  This post is written at the end of a day filled with speculation and conflicting reports.  At this point, we do not know very much about exactly what happened; we know even less about what motivated the shooter, who apparently ended his rampage by turning the gun on himself.  God alone is that man's judge.

I do not want to add to the speculation and theorizing about what happened.  The focus here, rather, is on what this outrage reveals about our level of spiritual awareness.  Conversations I have had with people about what happened confirms me in my conviction that many of us are suffering from a deadly lack of realism about fallen human nature.  Our society has for many years cultivated spiritual blindness under the guise of enlightened thinking, and it is killing us -- both in this life, and in the life to come.

It is a curious fact that many in the West emerged from the bloody, cruel, murderous, war-torn, irreligious 20th century unable to face up to the fact that there are such things in the world as evil people.  Even in the face of something as horrific as the massacre of 20 little kids and six adults, it is assumed that the shooter must have been insane -- because no sane person could do such a thing.  

Nor does this thinking necessarily represent the concern for the murderer's immortal soul that might move one to hope for mitigating factors.  There are, of course, the pure materialists, who think that individuals are nothing more than the sum total of their hormones, and that crime is solely attributable to chemical imbalances in the brain.  But what about those who do not fall into this extreme category, but nevertheless instinctively chalk up atrocities like today's to insanity?  Is it possible that this is just a way of thinking ourselves better than we really are?  After all, the reasoning goes, one must be insane to do something so horrible; I am not insane; therefore, I am incapable of doing something that horrible.  Is this thinking, then, a way of blotting out the reality that every one of us is capable of unspeakable evil -- that there, but for the grace of God, go we?

I do not know whether the shooter in Connecticut will turn out to have been insane.  We may never know.  But what we need to face up to is the fact of original sin, which inclines us to evil and makes it harder to practice virtue.  Only one Man and one woman in history were ever completely free from the taint of original sin, and we are not either of them.  Sin darkens the intellect, and leads to more sin.  We should not be surprised if we find that people who commit terrible crimes are enslaved to some vice, even if the vice seems wholly unrelated to the crime.  It is not unrelated.  Where will our vices lead us, if we do not strive to extricate ourselves from them?

The other thing we need to face up to is that, despite the powerful allure of sin, we human beings who have the use of reason have free will.  That makes us both capable of choosing evil and responsible for having done so.  To hold any other position is to dehumanize criminals and deny their inherent dignity.  It also blinds us to the need to pray for grace to avoid falling into evil ourselves.

Let us pray for the souls of those who died today; for consolation for the families of the dead; and for mercy for him who murdered them.  And let us pray for ourselves, that we may avoid sin, have frequent recourse to the Sacraments, and strive to remain in the state of grace.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I like the last triply repetitive date of our lifetime is a feast of Our Lady.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

December 9th: St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (Re-post)

Originally posted December 9, 2009.

In 1474, Cuauhtlatoatzin ("Talking Eagle") was born a member of the Chichimeca people and a subject of the Aztecs in what is now part of Mexico City, during an epoch that was destined very soon to end. When he was 18, Christopher Columbus landed in the New World. By the time he was 47, Spain had conquered the advanced yet blood-soaked Aztec Empire. However, within a decade, the Indians were laboring under crushing oppression at the hands of corrupt Spanish officials. The first Bishop of Mexico, the Franciscan Juan de Zumárraga, struggled vainly to defend his new spiritual charges, who were close to rebellion. The harried bishop begged the Blessed Mother for her aid.

It was in this turbulent time, less than five years after the conquest of the Aztecs, that the Talking Eagle encountered the religion of the Spaniards. Even as a pagan, he appears to have led a life of penance and contemplation that no doubt laid the groundwork for what was to come to him in later life. The Talking Eagle became one of the earliest indigenous converts to the Catholic faith, accepting Baptism together with his wife and taking the name of Juan Diego in about 1524. Every Saturday and Sunday, a barefoot Juan Diego walked 14 miles to Tenochtitlan to attend Mass and receive religious instruction. After the death of his wife in 1529, Juan Diego moved in with an uncle, Juan Bernardino, which left him with only nine miles to travel to pursue his faith.

It was during one of these journeys in 1531 that the veil between heaven and earth was drawn aside for the humble farmer and mat-weaver. The 16th-century native scholar Antonio Valeriano describes what happened on that day in the Nahuatl-language Nican Mopohua (1556), the oldest and most authoritative account of the Guadalupe apparitions:
On a Saturday just before dawn, he was on his way to pursue divine worship and to engage in his own errands. As he reached the base of the hill known as Tepeyac, came the break of day, and he heard singing atop the hill, resembling singing of varied beautiful birds.

Occasionally the voices of the songsters would cease, and it appeared as if the mount responded. The song, very mellow and delightful, excelled that of the coyoltototl and the tzinizcan and of other pretty singing birds. Juan Diego stopped to look and said to himself: “By fortune, am I worthy of what I hear? Maybe I dream? Am I awakening? Where am I? Perhaps I am now in the terrestrial paradise which our elders had told us about? Perhaps I am now in heaven?” He was looking toward the east, on top of the mound, from whence came the precious celestial chant; and then it suddenly ceased and there was silence. He then heard a voice from above the mount saying to him: “Juanito, Juan Dieguito.” Then he ventured and went to where he was called. He was not frightened in the least; on the contrary, overjoyed.

Then he climbed the hill, to see from were he was being called. When he reached the summit, he saw a Lady, who was standing there and told him to come hither. Approaching her presence, he marveled greatly at her superhuman grandeur; her garments were shining like the sun; the cliff where she rested her feet, pierced with glitter, resembling an anklet of precious stones, and the earth sparkled like the rainbow. The mezquites, nopales, and other different weeds, which grow there, appeared like emeralds, their foliage like turquoise, and their branches and thorns glistened like gold. He bowed before her and herd her word, tender and courteous, like someone who charms and steems you highly.

She said: “Juanito, the most humble of my sons, where are you going?” He replied: “My Lady and Child, I have to reach your church in Mexico, Tlatilolco, to pursue things divine, taught and given to us by our priests, delegates of Our Lord.” She then spoke to him: “Know and understand well, you the most humble of my sons, that I am the ever virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the True God for whom we live, of the Creator of all things, Lord of heaven and the earth. I wish that a temple be erected here quickly, so I may therein exhibit and give all my love, compassion, help, and protection, because I am your merciful mother, to you, and to all the inhabitants on this land and all the rest who love me, invoke and confide in me; listen there to their lamentations, and remedy all their miseries, afflictions and sorrows. And to accomplish what my clemency pretends, go to the palace of the bishop of Mexico, and you will say to him that I manifest my great desire, that here on this plain a temple be built to me; you will accurately relate all you have seen and admired, and what you have heard. Be assured that I will be most grateful and will reward you, because I will make you happy and worthy of recompense for the effort and fatigue in what you will obtain of what I have entrusted. Behold, you have heard my mandate, my humble son; go and put forth all your effort.”

At this point he bowed before her and said: “My Lady, I am going to comply with your mandate; now I must part from you, I, your humble servant.” Then he descended to go to comply with the errand, and went by the avenue which runs directly into Mexico City.
To Juan Diego's great disappointment, Bishop Zumárraga, who had kept him waiting a very long time before granting him an audience, would not believe him. Dejected, he went back to the Lady on Tepeyac Hill and told her how he had been rebuffed. "For which I exceedingly beg, Lady and my Child," he said,
that you entrust the delivery of your message to someone of importance, well known, respected, and esteemed, so that they may believe in him; because I am a nobody, I am a small rope, a tiny ladder, the tail end, a leaf, and you, my Child, the least of my children, my Lady, you send me to a place where I never visit nor repose. Please excuse the great unpleasantness and let not fretfulness befall, my Lady and my All.
However, the Lady insisted that this important mission was for Juan Diego alone, and ordered him to go back and try again. He obeyed, and this time the bishop questioned him closely regarding what he had seen and heard, and told him to ask the Lady for a sign. When he returned to Tepeyac Hill after this second interview, the Lady told him to come back the next day, and then he would receive the sign that would convince the bishop to comply with her request.

But in the meantime, Juan Diego's uncle, Bernardino, became so ill that his life was despaired of, and Bernardino sent his nephew to fetch a priest. Knowing that the Lady would be waiting for him on Tepeyac Hill, Juan Diego avoided the place so that he would not be diverted from his urgent errand. But the Lady accosted him and asked him where he was going. When he told her, she said:
Hear me and understand well, my son the least, that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who am your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my embrace? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything. Do not be afflicted by the illness of your uncle, who will not die now of it. Be assured that he is now cured.
She then told Juan Diego to climb to the top of the hill, where he found a variety of choice Castillian roses growing out of season and on a barren patch of land. He gathered them and brought them back to the Lady, who arranged them herself in his frail cactus-fiber tilma and told him to present them to the bishop. When, after yet another long wait, he finally saw the bishop, he unfolded the tilma, and the roses fell out; and as the roses scattered on the floor, the image of Our Lady as Juan Diego had seen her on Tepeyac Hill appeared on the tilma. This put an end to Bishop Zumárraga's doubts and convinced him that this was Our Lady's answer to his prayers.

In obedience to the Blessed Mother's request, a shrine was built at the foot of Tepeyac Hill, and the miraculous tilma was housed in the chapel. Juan Diego gave everything he owned to his uncle -- who had indeed been cured and had also seen the Lady at the very moment she told his nephew about his cure -- and moved into a small dwelling at the shrine, devoting himself to prayer, virtue, and the care of the shrine and the pilgrims who came to visit it. He received the then-extraordinary privilege of receiving Holy Communion three times a week, and died in the odor of sanctity on May 30, 1548 at the age of 74. Meanwhile, by means of the miraculous image -- not to mention the humility and obedience of her servant, Juan Diego -- the Blessed Mother won millions of souls for the Church, and averted the bloody rebellion that had loomed on the horizon in Mexico.

A footnote. Servant of God (now Venerable) Fulton J. Sheen was a great devotee of the Blessed Mother, and remarked that he prayed for the following intentions regarding his death: (1) that he "drop dead" at the age of 80; (2) that he die on a Saturday in honor of Our Lady, or (3) that he die on one of her feast days. In fact, he died in 1979 at the age of 84; on a Sunday; and not on a feast of Our Lady. He was disappointed on every count.

Or was he? The date of Fulton Sheen's death -- December 9th -- was the anniversary of the first apparition on Tepeyac Hill, and is now the feast of St. Juan Diego, whom Pope John Paul II canonized at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 2002.

Another footnote upon re-posting.  Notice the timing of the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  It was precisely at the moment that millions in Europe were falling into schism and apostasy under the influence of Lutheranism that Our Lady won millions of souls in the New World for the True Church.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.  St. Juan Diego, pray for us.

Friday, December 07, 2012

December 8th: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

From Supertradmum.
Elsewhere in this space, we have looked at the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, officially defined by Pope Piux IX in 1854.  We have looked at why the Immaculate Conception must be true, and we have looked at a popular Christmas song that Catholics should avoid because it denies the Immaculate Conception.  We also looked at the fact that Mary identified herself to St. Bernadette Soubirous as the Immaculate Conception at Lourdes, in 1858 -- just four years after the dogma was defined -- and that at the time, St. Bernadette did not understand what she meant.  This was a sign that Mary really did appear at the grotto, and that heaven approved the definition.

Now, in a world that grows uglier by the day under the sway of atheism, materialism and licentiousness, let us take the time to stop and consider the beauty of this dogma.  The Old Testament abounds with clues to Mary's surpassing purity, from the promise in Genesis of the woman who would crush the serpent's head to the Burning Bush of Exodus, to the Mother of Fair Love in Ecclesiasticus, to the all-fair woman in whom is no blemish and the lily among thorns in the Song of Solomon, to the virgin of Isaiah who would conceive and bear a son.  Each and every privilege of Mary, including her great sufferings, flows from the fact that God preserved her free from the dominion of Satan from the first instant of her existence.  In The Glories of Mary, St. Alphonsus Liguori says that Mary possessed the use of reason from the moment of her conception, so that she might love God and acquire merit even in her mother's womb; quoting St. Vincent Ferrer, he says that even before her birth, the sanctity of Mary surpassed that of all the saints and angels put together.  It is more than we can comprehend; and Mary is a creature, and not divine!  How much greater must the God be Who made her what she is.

The Gradual of the Mass: Salve, Sancta Parens, from the Common of Feasts of the Blessed Virgin in the 1962 Missal:

Benedicta et venerabilis es, Virgo Maria: Quae sine tactu pudoris inventa es mater Salvatoris.  virgo Dei Genitrix, quem totus non capit orbis, in tua se clausit viscera factus homo.
Alleluia, alleluia.  Post partum Virgo inviolata permansisti: Dei Genitrix, intercede pro nobis.  Alleluia.

Blessed and venerable art thou, O Virgin Mary: who without loss of purity wert found to be the Mother of our Savior.  Virgin Mother of God, He whom the whole world cannot hold enclosed Himself in thy womb, and became man.
Alleluia, alleluia.  After His birth a Virgin entire thou didst remain: O Mother of God, intercede for us. Alleluia.

Who could not love the woman, about whom such lines are written?  Who could not love the woman who inspired this beautiful hymn:

Inviolata, integra et casta est, Maria, quae es effecta fulgida coeli porta.  O Mater alma Christi carissima, suschipe pia laudum praeconia: nostra ut pura pectora sint et corpora, te nunc flagitant devota corda et ora.  Tua per precata dulcisona, nobis concedas veniam per saecula.  O benigna, O Regina, O Maria, quae sola inviolata permansisti.

Inviolate, immaculate, and chaste art thou, O Mary, who hast become the glowing gate of heaven.  O Mother of Christ, so kind and most dear, receive our devoted hymns of praise: that our minds and bodies may be always chaste, with fervent heart and tongue we now implore thee.  Obtain for us, through thy sweetly sounding prayer, pardon for ever.  O Mary, O thou tender Queen, who alone inviolate didst stay.

Queen conceived without original sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Oh, and by the way: 


Even if you are dispensed from the obligation in your diocese...go anyway.  It won't kill us to attend Mass two days in a row.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

December 6th: St. Nicholas of Myra

In these evil days, when the United States and Europe have allowed themselves to be seduced by socialism and hedonism, we should invoke St. Nicholas of Myra.  We face hard times, and we shall not make it through them without help from heaven.  This was what Nicholas brought even during his life on earth; how much more powerful he must be from heaven.

Nicholas was a great worker of miracles: calming storms on the sea; curing the sick; relieving famines.  He saved innocents from being executed.  He not only converted many sinners; he rescued people from circumstances that would have led them to sin.  On one occasion, he provided dowries for three girls whose father, stricken with poverty, was about to sell them into prostitution.  We should pray for his help in these hard economic times, and ask him to obtain for us the means of providing for our needs and the needs of the poor.  We should also ask him to obtain the grace we need to avoid sinning in the name of economic necessity.

St. Nicholas even raised the dead.  The picture above shows the miracle of the three pickled boys.  An evil shopkeeper murdered, chopped up and pickled three boys; hearing of this disgusting deed, Nicholas brought the boys back to life, safe and whole, by his prayers.  Today, millions upon millions of babies are chopped up in their mothers' wombs.  We should invoke Nicholas, the patron of children, particularly for the protection of the unborn, and for the eradication of abortion and contraception from the face of the earth.  We should also invoke him for the resurrection of all who are dead in sin, and the grace for them to amend their lives permanently.

St. Nicholas, gentle and generous with children and sinners, was ruthless in the fight against false religion.  He personally destroyed sites dedicated to the worship of pagan gods.  He is famous for having punched the arch-heretic Arius at the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea.  Arius denied that Jesus was God, and spawned a heretical movement that all but destroyed the Church, so he deserved a lot more than just a sock in the kisser.  We should invoke St. Nicholas for the crushing defeat of all heresies and all the deadly ideologies that have cost the lives of millions over the last century.

St. Nicholas of Myra, Archbishop, was not merely Santa Claus.  He was indeed a great giver of gifts, but these gifts, whether spiritual or temporal, were always directed toward salvation.  We should ask him to obtain for us all those gifts that we need, especially those we don't know we need.  St. Nicholas of Myra, pray for us.