Sunday, February 17, 2013


It is a fascinating thing that the introit, gradual, tract, offertory, and communion verse for this* First Sunday are the psalm sifted by the Devil at the second temptation in today's Gospel text; indeed the tract has almost the whole thing (which some tell us used to be the norm). Jerome's translation, which is not quite the ancient text of the Missal (just think of that!) has
1 Qui habitat in abscondito Excelsi in umbraculo Domini commorabitur
2 dicens Domino spes mea et fortitudo mea Deus meus confidam in eum
3 quia ipse liberabit te de laqueo venantium de morte insidiarum
4 in scapulis suis obumbrabit tibi et sub alis eius sperabis
5 scutum et protectio veritas eius non timebis a timore nocturno
6 a sagitta volante per diem a peste in tenebris ambulante a morsu insanientis meridie
7 cadent a latere tuo mille et decem milia a dextris tuis ad te autem non adpropinquabit
8 [verumtamen oculis tuis videbis et ultionem impiorum cernes
9 tu enim es Domine spes mea Excelsum posuisti habitaculum tuum
10 non accedet ad te malum et lepra non adpropinquabit tabernaculo tuo]

11 quia angelis suis mandabit de te ut custodiant te in omnibus viis tuis
12 in manibus portabunt te ne forte offendat ad lapidem pes tuus

13 super aspidem et basiliscum calcabis conculcabis leonem et draconem
14 quoniam mihi adhesit et liberabo eum exaltabo eum quoniam cognovit nomen meum
15 invocabit me et exaudiam eum cum ipso ero in tribulatione eruam eum et glorificabo
16 longitudine dierum implebo illum et ostendam ei salutare meum
From the Vulgate
For comparison,
Qui hábitat in adjutório Altíssimi, in protectióne Dei cæli commorábitur.
℣. Dicet Dómino: Suscéptor meus es tu et refúgium meum: Deus meus, sperábo in eum.
℣. Quóniam ipse liberávit me de láqueo venántium, et a verbo áspero.
℣. Scápulis suit obumbrábit tibi, et sub pennis ejus sperábis.
℣. Scuto circúmdabit te véritas ejus: non timébis a timóre noctúrno.
℣. A sagítta volánte per diem, a negótio perambulánte in ténebris, a ruína et dæmónio meridiáno.
℣. Cadent a látere tuo mille, et decem míllia a dextris tuis: tibi autem non appropinquábit.
℣. Quóniam Angelis suis mandávit de te, ut custódiant te in ómnibus viis tuis.
℣. In mánibus portábunt te, ne umquam offéndas ad lápidem pedem tuum.

℣. Super áspidem et basilíscum ambulábis, et conculcábis leónem et dracónem.
℣. Quóniam in me sperávit, liberábo eum: prótegam eum, quóniam cognóvit nomen meum.
℣. Invocábit me, et ego exáudiam eum: cum ipso sum in tribulatióne.
℣. Erípiam eum et glorificábo eum: longitúdine diérum adimplébo eum, et osténdam illi salutáre meum.
Mass Propers, extracted from the Una Voce of Orange County pdf
I'm sure that Holy Mother Church has something quite urgent in mind in giving us these consoling words to contemplate so frequently on this day when She remembers a great slander and calumny against them, and The Word's triumph over these slanders. Rather than suggest what specifically that might be, I will simply echo the thought that you should contemplate them, too.

I do have one little textual theme to clamor on—not greatly important, but it caught my mind, so you see that rehersing the chant the day before has great advantages—and that is in the sixth versicle, "A sagitta volante..."; Jerome's translation from the Septuagint (... I think?) speaks of "peste in tenebris", while the Missal has "negotio ambulante in tenebris". This "negotio" is remembered in the English word "negotiate", which describes a process between two or more persons suggesting various things to eachother, as long as the other says "no, no, no", or in Latin, "nego, nego". The "negotio" itself is translated by the Douay-Rheims/Challoner as "business", but whatever may be so pestilential about shady business that it fits in this Psalm... on the other hand, a temptation by the Devil who would have God deny God to worship his darkness, that sounds like a negotio indeed. An offer that must be refused; but forget not that to refuse evil is properly to affirm The Good.

*... which may well be yesterday...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

the Merry Quarantine to Come

What ought to make us sorrowful, of course (and which really does, though for specks and planks we often cannot see it) the state of sin. Beatitude is met through the narrow path that connects these leading lights: the knowledge (a good thing) of sorrow's nature (also, from Creation, good) as the warning about sin. Follow that narrow path to safe harbour! "Rend your hearts, not your garments", and if I do, then the divine surgeon can make a new heart in me. Goodness knows, I need it. If doing these things also makes us happy, then rejoice! (For, of course, you already are!) I write this becase:

That Dame Who Would Be Saturday warns us against Brian Brother Blessed.

Actually, no, the Public Service Announcement warns us that Ash Wednesday is Coming. Like, this week. Or, as the web-log-writer known only as sibi (self-publishing under the tautological "me", and who would appear to appear (don't forget yours truly) cat-like) put it, Happy Quinquagesima!

OK, most everyone in the world will read this not before the feria primum thereof (it already is, here), but all the same […]. Or, perhaps, even more so! In any case, such is the furthest extent of announcements in the public service legible in Miss Hebdomada's note, after which she proceeds to luxuriate in heresies the good scriptrix has previously written against. Obviously, it is all in good fun. As is all of this!

But, really, who ever said that Lent should make one gloomy? (Come to that, who needs Lent before they are gloomy?) That sounds like entertaining sloth, which obviously is willing to wrong, which is itself wrong. So! Remember:
$$ \frac{\vdash \mathrm{Prosecco}}{\vdash \diamond (\mbox{God loves us and wants us to be happy})} $$
with, of course, Uncle Gil's caveat that the prosecco is for when you're already happy.

Since the Season of Lent is a gift of God through the Church, it is clearly a means to our happiness, and any suspicion of duplicity in the shape of anticipated happiness before any good act is done is a diabolical distraction from which you should now distract yourself, say, with some Shrove Tuesday festivity.

Strange Isoperimetry

Here we see a triangle constructed with all three sides tangent to an external circle. Because the solid and dotted blue segments have a common point and are bounded by tangencies to a common circle, they are the same length; similarly, the solid and dotted red lines have the same length; therefore the perimeter of the triangle is equal to the sum of the segments between the apex (of cyan and magenta) and the external tangencies --- which two segments are also equal; in particular, the perimeter is determined by the apex angle and the circle radius.

By way of a converse, the envelope of triangles within fixed rays (as the cyan and the magenta, continued away from the apex) and having a fixed perimeter is a circle arc tangent to those fixed rays at a distance of half the fixed perimeter from their intersection.

Friday, February 8, 2013

From beginning to end, but never mind the middle

Dear Ludwig...

Something that seems to have made an impression on me (it was some years ago now), I stepped into the family van to ride from Grandma's to Our House, and via radio caught the finale of what was, for me, a frustrating symphony to listen to, though I'd never heard it before. It sounded like a young, energetic composer whose only knowledge of orchestral music was late Beethoven symphonies. There were simply too many ideas, and they all sounded too familiar --- this motif, that's definitely the 5th, and there goes 3rd of Chorale, and now back to Pastorale we go...

Dramatic finish, just like the end of... oh, now I can't remember which. The kindly announcer lets us know.

It was Beethoven, of course. No, not a patchwork, but original Beethoven; the First symphony. Young, energetic, and easily too many ideas. But, it seems, he went on to work out a great many of them properly!

... the Audience