Month: September 2015

Hymn: Christ, the Fair Glory of the Holy Angels
In honor of today’s Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels (Michaelmas).

Photo: Public Domain image of St. Michael, by unknown Spanish painter, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

Relevent Verse: “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” Psalm 91:11.




Christ, the fair glory of the holy angels
thou who hast made us, thou who o’er us rulest,
grant of thy mercy unto us thy servants
steps up to heaven.

Send thine archangel Michael to our succor;
peacemaker blessèd, may he banish from us
striving and hatred, so that for the peaceful
all things may prosper.

Send thine archangel Gabriel, the mighty;
herald of heaven, may he, from us mortals,
spurn the old serpent, watching o’er the temples
where thou art worshiped.

Send thine archangel Raphael, the restorer
of the misguided ways of men who wander,
who at thy bidding strengthens soul and body
with thine anointing.

May the blest mother of our God and Savior, may the assembly of the saints in glory, may the celestial companies of angels ever assist us.
Father Almighty, Son, and Holy Spirit,
God ever blessèd, be thou our preserver;
thine is the glory which the angels worship,
veiling their faces.

(Words: Latin, ninth century; trans. Athelstan Riley, 1906)

About the hymn

The text was written in the 9th century by Rabanus Marus Magnentius, also known as Hrabanus or Rhabanus, born around 780. He was a Frankish Benedictine monk, the archbishop of Mainz in Germany and a theologian. He was the author of the encyclopaedia De rerum naturis.

The text is commonly set to the tune Caelite plaudens, a French melody from the 1728 Rouen antiphoner, which was subsequently harmonized by the great English composer Ralph Vaughn Williams. It appeared in the English Hymnal of 1906.

For more Information:
Note: The audio file is a public domain recording, available at Internet Archive. It is listed as “St Michael’s Conference Hymn”; No further information is available about the venue, organ, or performers.


The text is Ephesians 6:10-17, the famous “armor of God” passage, from the World English Bible.

10Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might.
11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
13Therefore put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand.
14Stand therefore, having the utility belt of truth buckled around your waist, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
15and having fitted your feet with the preparation of the Good News of peace;
16above all, taking up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one.
17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

I should make one note about the text here; the World English Bible renders a portion of verse 12 as follows: “…against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age”. I omitted the word “world’s” because the text reader stumbled over it and the meaning of the text isn’t significantly changed by its omission. This is also identical to the wording of some versions, such as the New King James Bible.

The music is by Franz Liszt, from his Elegy, no. 2, op. 131bis, for piano and violin, performed by Mauro Tortorelli. We have used it under the terms of the Creative Commons 3.0 license, available here. You can listen to the entire work at MusOpen.

“Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.”
(Yogi Berra, 1925-2015)

Here is a source of some other “Yogi-isms”:
“50 Greates Yogi Berra Quotes” at
USA Today.

Actor Dean Jones, often remembered for his roles in Disney movies such as “Herbie the Love Bug”, has just departed from the scene.

His story of conversion to Christianity from a Hollywood lifestyle he found to be spiritually empty has been recounted before.

Yet, after a drunk-driving accident and what the Chicago Sun-Times called “an entertainer’s tour” of Vietnam during the Vietnam War, Jones’s outlook changed in the early 1970s. He said he had a “divine visitation” that gave him “a peace I had never before had but which I had longed for.”

“I knew that if there didn’t come something that changed my life, that I would probably end up a pretty mess at some point or another,” he said in 1997. “And the night that I said ‘yes’ to the lord, it changed instantly. The peace of Christ rolled over me like an ocean wave and I’ve never been the same.”

Read more at The Washington Post.

Here is another entry for our disheartening survey of human malfeasance called “reflections of the fall”:

In 2013, The New York Post broke this story:

Some wealthy Manhattan moms have figured out a way to cut the long lines at Disney World — by hiring disabled people to pose as family members so they and their kids can jump to the front, The Post has learned.

The “black-market Disney guides” run $130 an hour, or $1,040 for an eight-hour day.
“My daughter waited one minute to get on ‘It’s a Small World’ — the other kids had to wait 2 1/2 hours,” crowed one mom, who hired a disabled guide through Dream Tours Florida.
“You can’t go to Disney without a tour concierge,’’ she sniffed. “This is how the 1 percent does Disney.”

Follow up stories included an NBC undercover investigation. In response, Disney shut down the program.

Full thanks and credit to Kendall Harmon, canon theologian of the now independent Diocese of South Carolina, whose blog brought this article to my attention:

Jamie Mitchell’s gaunt frame swayed behind a glass window at the Charleston County jail as she explained why, after years of being busted and serving time, she still chooses to work as a prostitute in North Charleston.

It turns out it wasn’t always a choice
The 29-year-old said others forced her to sell sex for money from age 10 until 17, while she was in the foster care system. She recounted beatings, starvation, forced cocaine and heroin use and seeing the disappearance of other girls who stepped out of line with their traffickers.

The experience left her hooked on crack cocaine and dependent on turning tricks to feed her habit. Yet she still refers to herself as “one of the lucky ones.”

Read it all (a long and fascinating look at this problem) at Post and Courier.

This is disturbing:

According to a report from The Daily Beast, more than 50 intelligence analysts at Centcom have formally complained that reports on the Islamic State and the Nusra Front — Al Qaeda’s Syria branch — have been repeatedly altered by senior intelligence officials to fit with the Obama administration’s insistence that the US is winning the war against the two militant groups.

Read more:

Also, the New York Times has an article:

WASHINGTON — A group of intelligence analysts have provided investigators with documents they say show that senior military officers manipulated the conclusions of reports on the war against the Islamic State, according to several government officials, as lawmakers from both parties voiced growing anger that they may have received a distorted picture about the military campaign’s progress.

Anglican leader Justin Welby, as well as Christian persecution watchdog groups, have warned that U.K. government policies on granting asylum are discriminating against Christians who are avoiding entering formal refugee camps populated by Sunni Muslims amid fears of attacks by Islamic radicals.

“As countries like the U.K. debate how to deal with the refugee crisis, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said that their policy will discriminate against Christians. The policy takes those who are in camps, but many Christians fearing discriminant, violence, and intimidation have not been willing to enter formal camps that are largely populated by Sunni Muslims,” International Christian Concern said in a statement shared with The Christian Post.

Read more here

Separately, Lord George Carey, a retired Archbishop of Canterbury, issued a similar statement:
But the frustration for those of us who have been calling for compassion for Syrian victims for many months is that the Christian community is yet again left at the bottom of the heap.

According to the Barnabas Fund, a charity which recently resettled some 50 Syrian Christian families in Poland, Mr Cameron’s policy inadvertently discriminates against the very Christian communities most victimised by the inhuman butchers of the so-called Islamic State. Christians are not to be found in the UN camps, because they have been attacked and targeted by Islamists and driven from them. They are seeking refuge in private homes, church buildings and with neighbours and family.

From The Telegraph.

The University of Tennessee has asked its teachers and students to start using gender neutral pronouns in a bid to create “inclusivity” within the campus.

Among the so-called gender neutral singular pronouns are: “ze,” “hir,” “hirs,” “xe,” “xem,” and “xyr.” The said pronouns are encouraged for use within the campus, while gender binary pronouns such as “he” and “she” are discouraged.

Read more at Christian Post

I should note that the proposal was withdrawn after public ridicule and protests from the state legislature, such as this:
A letter written by state Rep. Susan Lynn, R–Mt. Juliet, has 31 co-authors, including the speaker pro tempore of the House, and it condemns the policy as political indoctrination. (The Lebanon Democrat


This occurred a few weeks ago, in late August:

Islamic State said it bulldozed a fifth-century Assyrian Christian monastery in the southeastern Syrian town of Qaryatain as the jihadist group pressed on with efforts to wipe out traces of what it considers un-Islamic archaeological and cultural treasures.”

Islamic State’s media office distributed photographs on social media sites of what it said was the destruction on Thursday of the Mar Elian monastery. A headline on the photographs reads, “Mar Elian monastery, worshiped without God.”

A number of Christians were captured. Their fate is unknown.

Read more: Wall Street Journal

The photo is from Catholic Herald