Catherine of Cleves Has a Case of the Mondays


From the Morgan Library & Museum comes this page from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, Monday Matins “Office of the Dead.” Even in the 15th century, Mondays had a grim association.

The Morgan describes it thus:

As a man dies, his wife offers him a candle, a doctor examines his urine, and his son conspires against him. This mercenary heir is shown again, raiding his father’s coffers in the bottom border. On the right is purgatory, the place to which the dying man hopes to go. There his soul, like those depicted, will be cleansed of sin in expiating, if painful, fire.

The Office of the Dead was said for souls in purgatory (on the first Mondays of Advent and Lent, and on All Souls, among other days), even though this looks more like hell:

More on the Hours of Catherine of Cleves. 

 

Pope Francis: In the Mass We Enter the Mystery of God

In the pope’s comments on today’s readings, he spoke about mass as a theophany: an encounter with God. There have been many posts in the past weeks about teaching the faith (Joanne McPortland rounds them up), but teaching the faith is a relatively simple matter for those who practice the faith. Sure, they can use a deepening of their understanding to make people disciples rather than just practitioners, and that’s why we’re working on adult formation programs.

But when teaching children, the biggest problem is that people simply don’t practice their faith. The religious education programs are sacrament mills used by many non-mass-attending families to get their kids through Communion, Reconciliation, and Confirmation. (About 20-30% of the families in our programs attend mass each week, although my wife has had some success recently in getting that percentage up to 50% for her kids in sacrament prep.) It’s not possible to teach a faith that is not practiced.

Thus, we need to draw those families back. They need to understand mass as something more than an hour of drudgery a week done out of habit, but as a true encounter with the living God. We can worry all we want about the Church’s moral and social teachings, but unless people encounter God, none of that really matters. And the place to encounter God is in the mass. Practice is medicinal. It’s not everything, but it’s the beginning, and nothing else will take hold without it.

This is what Francis spoke about today: the mass as a place where we encounter a God who is “closer, without mediation, near. It is His presence.” It is “not a social act, a good social act; it is not a gathering of the faithful to pray together. It is something else. In the liturgy, God is present… The presence of the Lord is real, truly real.”

Francis continues:

When we celebrate the Mass, we don’t accomplish a representation of the Last Supper: no, it is not a representation. It is something else: it is the Last Supper itself. It is to really live once more the Passion and the redeeming Death of the Lord. It is a theophany: the Lord is made present on the altar to be offered to the Father for the salvation of the world. We hear or we say, ‘But, I can’t now, I have to go to Mass, I have to go to hear Mass.’ The Mass is not ‘heard’, it is participated in, and it is a participation in this theophany, in this mystery of the presence of the Lord among us.

The Vatican Press Office has not made the whole transcript available yet, but offers this summary with additional quotes:

Nativity scenes, the Way of the Cross… these are representations. The Mass, on the other hand, “is a real commemoration, that is, it is a theophany: God approaches and is with us, and we participate in the mystery of the Redemption.” Unfortunately, too often we look at the clock during Mass, “counting the minute.” This, the Pope said, is not the attitude the liturgy requires of us: “the liturgy is God’s time, God’s space, and we must place ourselves there, in God’s time, in God’s space, and not look at the clock.

“The liturgy is to really enter into the mystery of God, to allow ourselves to be brought to the mystery and to be in the mystery. For example, I am sure that all of you have come here to enter into the mystery; however, someone might say: ‘Ah, I have to go to Mass at Santa Marta, because on the sight-seeing tour of Rome, each morning there is a chance to visit the Pope at Santa Marta: it’s a tourist stop, right?’ All of you here, we are gathered her to enter into the mystery: this is the liturgy. It is God’s time, it is God’s space, it is the cloud of God that surrounds all of us.”

The pope recalled that, as a child, during the preparation for First Communion, there was a song that spoke about how the altar was guarded by angels to give “a sense of the glory of God, of God’s space, of God’s time.” And when, during the practice, they brought the hosts, they told the children: “Look, these are not the ones you will receive: these count for nothing,” because they have to be consecrated. So, the Pope concluded, “to celebrate the liturgy is to have this availability to enter into the mystery of God,” to enter into His space, His time, to entrust ourselves to this mystery:

“We would do well today to ask the Lord to give to each of us this ‘sense of the sacred,’ this sense that makes us understand that it is one thing to pray at home, to pray in Church, to pray the Rosary, to pray so many beautiful prayers, to make the Way of the Cross, so many beautiful things, to read the Bible… The Eucharistic celebration is something else. In the celebration we enter into the mystery of God, into that street that we cannot control: only He is the unique One, the glory, the power… He is everything. Let us ask for this grace: that the Lord would teach us to enter into the mystery of God.

DuckTales Remastered [App o the Mornin’]

I’m too old to have any nostalgic memories of the classic DuckTales game, originally released in 1989 as a tie-in to a popular TV show. My children and I are, however, huge fans and collectors of Disney comics in general, and Duck comics in particular. The Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck books from artists/writers Carl Barks and Don Rosa are some of the best comics ever published, and the DuckTales show and game both used a lot of that material to great effect.

The original DuckTales game has become something of a legend. It may have started life as just another TV tie-in product, but once Capcom got involved with the actual production, it became something more. The Mega Man team took over, and created one of the most beloved and fondly remembered platform games on the NES.

Now Capcom has revisited their classic in DuckTales Remastered (PC/Xbox/PS3/WiiU: $15), a completely faithful update of the original. The five levels from 1989 have been recreated, and two new levels added. These levels are expanded, however, with more areas, more secrets, and different patterns in the way enemies (particularly) boss appear.

The biggest change is in the production. The old 8-bit visuals have been updated to lush, colorful, handpainted graphics that really do the game and its multiple worlds justice. It uses 2D sprites on 3D backgrounds to add depth to each environment. For those who want some of that old retro feel, there’s a toggle to switch back and forth between the new and the old visuals. New cut scenes have been added with full voice support, including the great Alan Young (now 93 years old and best remembered as Wilbur on Mr. Ed), the only man to ever voice Scrooge McDuck.

The gameplay is top-notch. It would be easiest to just say it’s a straight platformer, with lots of jumping and fighting and careful timing, but it’s more than that. Scrooge’s cane can be either a weapon for bashing enemies or a pogo stick for reaching high places. Using your cane to bouncing across the heads of a series of Beagle Boys, knocking them out without ever touching the ground, it just one of those classic game moments resurrected by DuckTales Remastered. It’s a bit sure, but loads of fun.

Content: Rated E for Everyone. Lots of bouncing on enemies and other genial low-level cartoon violence.