Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sts. Peter and Paul Novena June 29-July 7

For today's feast, another sample from the Saga - the episode called The Psephy in the Dome.

Yes, you really can begin a novena today - Sts. Peter and Paul - for your special intentions.

--Dr. Thursday.

[very late on June 28, Mark's room on the top floor of the Weaver home]

"Die to self," Mark murmured as he got ready for bed. Then he heard a knock and the voice of his sister Mary, and he pulled on his robe.
"Come in."
"You OK? You were so quiet for so long – I thought maybe you had fallen asleep with the light on."
"No... I was... uh... kinda lost in another world."
"Oh, I understand," she smiled, and he stared at her curiously. "I wanted to talk..."
He sat on his bed, his arms around his knees."Sure. Have a chair."
She sat, her eyes downcast. "Mark, I'm still struggling... you think I'd have worked all this out long ago. But it's getting hard."
"What do you mean? The idea of going into Carmel?"
"Yes – well – no. The idea of saying good-bye to so many good things. Mom and Dad. You and your brothers. This house. The store. The town. The bay." She chuckled, but with an odd tone in it. "Even that horrible siren on the roof." Then she shook her head, her eyes beginning to well with tears. "Thy will be done, O Lord... It's rough, being attacked like this, with just three weeks to go!"

Mark stared, wondering. Could she know? Was the College behind all this? But he did what he had to do, even though he began to hear his own words being applied to himself: "Mary! Didn't you tell us – isn't it in the gospels, about seeking God's will and gaining a hundred times more what you give up? Are you in love? Is Ted? Aren't Mike and Joan, and Matt and Catherine, in love?"
"Yes. I am in love, Mark. I want to do this. But this part of the world – this little town, our family and our home and our store – is lovely."
"Sure it is. That doesn't stop when you go into Carmel. You add to it, not lose it!"
"I know that," she sniffed, pulling out a handkerchief and blowing her nose.
"Look, Mary – I understand what you're going through. I'm trying to make a decision about something too – something about the rest of my life."
She looked up, her eyes wide. "What do you mean?"
"I don't want to say just now, all right? It's kinda hard to – well, kinda unconventional, perhaps. But orthodox."
"Really?" Her whole face had changed, as the sky changes as the storm departs. "I'd love to hear more."
"Not just now. But here's an idea. Let's do a novena – I'll do mine for you, you do yours for me."
"For what?"
"That we'll know what we're to do. That we'll be given a sign."
"A sign? It's a faithless and evil generation that seeks a sign," she quoted. [see Mt 12:39]
"We're only asking for it, Mary, not seeking one. God can grant it or not; it's up yo Him. But in such a critical matter we ought to ask, in order to be sure that we are not making a mistake."
"That's a good point, Mark. All right. We'll start tomorrow, it's saints Peter and Paul."
"Thanks, Mark. Good night."
"Good night – and thanks."

[nine days later...]

"You see this shirt?" He pointed to the one he was wearing, the blue one with the logo he had worn at Weaver's.
They nodded. He handed them something soft. "Now that you're twelve, you have to begin wearing it..."
"All the time?" asked Bernie.
"No. Just on the Nones of July."
"What's that mean?"
"It means the seventh of July. Today."
"Can't tell you that now. But I will, maybe soon...."

Dr. Grosjean stood and stared in amazement at the coat of arms on his shirt. "Sable, a mullet radiated argent within a double tressure flory-counter-fleury Or," he recited. "Motto, ouk eimi monos, from St. John 16:32: 'I am not alone'. I just can't believe it! The arms of the Order... and this is the Nones of July!"

[From The Three Relics, copyright © 2007-2009 by Dr. Thursday. Ask for it at any Quayment bookstore!]

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Sample from The Tree of Virtues

One of the more cool bits, I think. I am sorry I don't have the artwork completed, but at least you can look at the music. It's not very good music, but then I mustn't give away the story...

--Dr. Thursday

Steve's eyebrows went up when he saw the contents. It was something very strange, but also very beautiful: it was a piece of parchment, inscribed with a Latin phrase and Gregorian chant notation. In the upper left was a huge and gorgeously colored capital letter O which began the verse:
Omnis vallis implebitur
Et omnis mons et collis humiliabitur

It was exquisite - but the other side was blank, and it gave the impression of having been excerpted from some larger work. Steve could read the Latin, and recognized it as coming from St. Luke's gospel, speaking about St. John the Baptist's work:
Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be brought low. [Lk 3:5, see Is 40:4]
But what it meant, why he had been sent such a thing, he did not know. He'd ask Chuck about it - besides it was time for lunch.

Chuck looked at it. "This is an amazing piece of art, Stever. Beautiful - sharp - cleanly and elegantly done. Except for one thing. Or two."
"I don't think this music is a real setting. I mean," he shrugged, cleared his throat, and softly sung the verse. "There's something not right about it."
"Sure - even I can see that," Malcolm said. "I'm not familiar with Gregorian chant, but I've seen it before. And they use lots of other symbols than this does. These are all the same."
"Yeah," Chuck agreed. "That's one thing. Then, take a good look at that artwork for the capital O."
Malcolm held it close. "Hold on a second, guys! You know what this is? It's the circuit diagram for the filter in a power supply! Look..."
"Well, maybe," Steve said as he looked again. "Or just some fancy ornamentation. But those guys carrying the baskets..." He broke off. "Whoa. Baskets!" He tapped his fingers on the table as he counted: yeah, there were twelve baskets... "And that guy looks like a civil engineer at a transit - you can even see he's wearing a plumb bob on his belt. It's like a modern take on the prophecy."
"The painting itself looks new," Tony said. "That's real parchment, you can tell from the feel - but it looks like it was done with acrylic paint!"
Chuck shook his head. "I dunno, Chem Kid. We may have to take back your title, 'cause that sure looks like real gold leaf to me! But I know what you mean, it's way too clean. Damn good rendering, I'd say. It's probably by one of those modern artists like Alderman, done in the 'spirit' of the Middle Ages. If you don't want it, Stever, I'd love to have it for my room."
"Sorry Chuck - but if I find out where to get 'em, I'll order you a copy."