Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Memories of Paris with Mark







You may have noticed that I did not post much during December last year and not much so far this year. My husband Mark's health was failing during these past several weeks and he collapsed and died on Wednesday, January 16. His Rosary, Funeral Mass, and burial are all today. I've just posted some fun pictures of our wining and dining in Paris during our visits there--plus one of us in front of Mark's favorite place to have a croques-monsieur--I think he had one there every time we went to Paris (10 times). Last week, at my request, Mark had just cropped out a gentleman to his left who was leaving the restaurant! We'll always have Paris!


Please pray for the repose of his soul and for me and his family and friends. He is a wonderful man!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Newman's Catholic Achievements


Either Anna Mitchell or Matt Swaim and I will conclude our overview of Blessed John Henry Newman's life this morning on the Son Rise Morning Show--a little after 7:45 Eastern/6:45 Central. Listen live here The segment will also be repeated during the EWTN hour later in the week and will be loaded to the SRMS SoundCloud!

There was a time that when I thought of Newman's life as a Catholic, I focused on his struggles and failures: the Achilli trial for libel, the Catholic University of Ireland, the Rambler incident, the Oratory conflicts, the translation of the Holy Bible, and the effort to establish an Oratory in Oxford--all great projects Newman undertook to help the Catholic laity in England (and Ireland) take their recently regained status of full citizens after Catholic Emancipation in 1829--that were stymied, thwarted, or blocked.

Now I think of all that he achieved in his day and in ours.

Blessed John Henry Newman wanted to help the laity in both practical and religious ways. And in that, he succeeded, in spite of all the obstacles, and in ways he never anticipated. Just as the two miracles that have led to his beatification and will lead to his canonization have occurred in the USA, I believe that his vision for an educated, catechized Catholic laity in the USA has been achieved. Think of all the Catholic lay apologists, writers, bloggers, speakers, etc and all the laity who have been leading the pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-family causes, not to mention Catholic education, charitable causes, etc. When the Catholic laity learn their faith and live it, we fulfill Newman's idea:

What I desiderate [desire] in Catholics is the gift of bringing out what their religion is. I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it. I want an intelligent, well-instructed laity. I wish you to enlarge your knowledge, to cultivate your reason, to get an insight into the relation of truth to truth, to learn to view things as they are, to understand how faith and reason stand to each other, what are the bases and principles of Catholicism and where lies the main inconsistencies and absurdities of the Protestant theory. I have no apprehension you will be the worse Catholics for familiarity with these subjects, provided you cherish a vivid sense of God above and keep in mind that you have souls to be judged and saved. In all times the laity have been the measure of the Catholic spirit; they saved the Irish Church three centuries ago and they betrayed the Church in England. You ought to be able to bring out what you feel and what you mean, as well as to feel and mean it; to expose to the comprehension of others the fictions and fallacies of your opponents; to explain the charges brought against the Church, to the satisfaction, not, indeed, of bigots, but of men of sense, of whatever cast of opinion.

Newman certainly wanted the laity to defend the faith, as I described last year in this post for the National Catholic Register blogs, but he also defended the laity's right to give our input on practical matters affecting how we prepare to defend the faith, in schools, colleges. That was why he wrote The Rambler article "On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine" in first place, as this article from the EWTN library explains:

When 1859 began there was a debate in progress in England about elementary education. The government wanted to see more and more elementary schools established. It provided subsidies for their funding, and it appointed a commission whose representatives were to see that this money was well spent and that schooling was extended to all classes. The main providers of schools were the religious denominations. How were they to maintain their denominational integrity if they were to be subjected to public control?

A number of educated Catholic laity took the view that cooperation between the Catholic Church and the commission was not only possible, it was also advisable since the quality of education in Catholic elementary schools would be seen to be high, and the prejudice that Catholics make bad citizens would be put to flight. The commission's representatives would not be concerned with the content of religious education but with its method.

The Catholic bishops declined to cooperate in this way. Perhaps they would have cooperated if they had been guaranteed that the commission's representatives would have been Catholics. In fact, they probably could have secured that, but they were too slow at the time. Before the decision of the bishops became public, articles were already appearing in the
Rambler advancing the contrary policy. This was not intentional contradiction of the bishops, but some embarrassment was caused by it. . . .

Newman agreed with the laity writing and published The Rambler that they had the right to be heard on such practical matters (he apologized to the bishops when he took over the publication of that periodical for some of tone of the arguments for cooperation, but he urged them to hear the laity out).

I think he would urge our bishops and the hierarchy, including the Pope and the Curia, to do the same today in the crisis over sexual abuse and cover up among our priests and bishops.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Newman's Life Part II: The Catholic Years

On Monday, January 21, I'll continue the overview of Newman's life, focusing on the Catholic half, on the Son Rise Morning Show. Either Anna Mitchell or Matt Swaim and I will discuss the many challenges and achievements of Blessed John Henry Newman as Oratorian, educator, defender of Catholic teaching, etc, etc, a little after 7:45 a.m. Eastern/6:45 a.m. Central. Listen live here. The segment will also be repeated during the EWTN hour later in the week.

Here is an adapted chronology of events and works of Blessed John Henry Newman's Catholic life (supplemented by this resource):

1845 Received into the Catholic Church on October 9
Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine

1846 Ordained to the priesthood in May

1848 Establishes Birmingham Oratory
Loss and Gain

1849 Discourses Addressed to Mixed Congregations

1851 Becomes Rector of Catholic University of Ireland
Lectures on the Present Position of Catholics in England

Achilli Trial Begins

1852 The Idea of a University
Newman preaches “The Second Spring” for the first Synod since the Restoration of the Hierarchy in England

1853 Newman loses the Achilli trial and is fined 100 pounds

1856 Callista: A Sketch of the Third Century

1857 Sermons Preached on Various Occasions


1864 Charles Kingsley attacks Newman on his truthfulness; Newman responds with his Apologia Pro Vita Sua

1865 "The Dream of Gerontius"

1866 A letter to Pusey on occasion of his recent Eirenicon

1868 Parochial and Plain Sermons

1870 Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent

1875 Publication of A Letter to the Duke of Norfolk in answer to Gladstone’s accusation that Catholics are not loyal subjects of the State.

1877 Elected honorary fellow of Trinity College

1879 Becomes a cardinal; Motto is "Cor ad cor loquitor" ("Heart speaks to heart")

1889 Says his last Mass on Christmas Day (memorized two Masses in case he could celebrate again (his sight had failed)

1890 Dies on August 11; Epitaph reads "Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem" ("Out of shadows and pictures into truth")

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Mass at Elizabeth I's Coronation

In 1953, as England prepared to see Queen Elizabeth II crowned, A.L. Rowse wrote an article filled with details about the preparation and celebration of Queen Elizabeth I's coronation on Sunday, January 15, 1559, culminating with her anointing and receiving the ornaments (gloves, sword, sceptre, and orb):

Now she was vested for the anointing; buskins, sandals and girdle put on, and over all a tabard of white sarsnet, the vestment called the colobium sindonis. Upon her head was placed a coif to protect the holy oil from running down – the coif, we know from the accounts, was of cambric lace; there were gloves of white linen and fine cotton wool to dry up the oil after the anointing. We do not know, but, presumably, Elizabeth was anointed in the five places usual then: palms of the hands, breast, between the shoulders, on the inside of the elbows, and lastly on the head. The anointing over, the Queen was invested and made ready for the delivery of the ornaments, the symbols of power. The gloves were presented to her by the lord of the manor of Worksop, who was the Earl of Shrewsbury – subsequently keeper of Mary Stuart and husband of Bess of Hardwick. The sword was offered to the Queen and redeemed by Arundel, as Lord Steward. Last came the delivery of the sceptre and the orb. Thus equipped, she was crowned, with all the trumpets sounding; and, though our account does not mention it, no doubt all the peers and peeresses put on their coronets at that moment. After that came the homaging. The Queen had re-delivered the sword and laid it on the altar, and now returned to her chair of estate. The Bishop of Carlisle put his hand to the Queen’s hand and did homage first. Then followed the temporal peers first kneeling and then kissing the Queen; the bishops likewise. This was a reversal of the traditional order followed at Mary’s coronation: with that pious devote the Church came first; Elizabeth thought more of the temporal than of the spiritual.

When the bishop began the mass, the Queen was seated holding sceptre and orb. The epistle and gospel were read in both Latin and English, and the gospel was brought her to kiss. She then made her second offering, going to the altar, preceded by three naked swords and a sword in the scabbard. There she kissed the pax. But immediately upon the consecration of the elements beginning, it seems undoubted that the Queen withdrew to her traverse*. Let us hope that she took the opportunity to have some refreshment, before the next stage, the procession to Westminster Hall for the banquet. She certainly changed her apparel and came forth in a ‘rich mantle and surcoat of purple velvet furred with ermines’.

For the last stage, she left bishops and clergy behind her in the Abbey – they had after all performed their function and served her turn – and carrying sceptre and orb in her hands, ‘she returned very cheerfully, with a most smiling countenance for every one, giving them a thousand greetings, so that in my opinion’ – says an Italian onlooker – ‘she exceeded the bounds of gravity and decorum.’ She could well afford to be pleased with herself. She had been crowned with full Catholic ritual without committing herself to the maintenance of her sister’s Catholicism, indeed leaving herself free to follow the course she thought best for the country.

*Rowse describes the traverse earlier in the article:

Lastly, we see the disposition of St Edward’s chapel; and we learn from this that the ‘Queen’s traverse to make her ready in after the ceremonies and service done’ is placed within it on the south side of the altar. Before the altar are placed the cushions for the Queen to kneel upon ‘when she shall offer to St Edward’s shrine’. Outside the chapel, in the sanctuary on the south side are placed ‘the carpet and cushions for the Queen to kneel upon when she taketh her prayers to Almighty God before she doeth to (be) anointed and crowned. The carpet is of blue velvet and the cushions of cloth of gold.’ Straight in front of the high altar is shown ‘the carpet of cloth of gold and cushions of the same for the Queen to be anointed’. This lay-out of the space clears up one or two points that have been matter of historical dispute; for example, it makes it quite clear that the traverse to which the Queen retired at an important moment in the service was off the stage entirely: it was into St Edward’s chapel that she withdrew.

These notes are part of the debate about what happened at the Coronation when the central religious service, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, was celebrated. Only one bishop would participate in the ritual of the Coronation (placing the crown on her head and anointing her), Bishop Owen Oglethorpe of Carlisle and he had previously disobeyed Elizabeth when she demanded he not elevate the Consecrated Body and Blood of Jesus when celebrating Mass at Court and therefore he probably celebrated Mass according to the Catholic Rite at her Coronation too:

He showed some firmness when called upon to say mass before the queen in the first days of her reign. Elizabeth forbade him to elevate the Host, which, according to a Roman authority, he insisted on doing (Strype, Annals, vol. i. pt. i. p. 73). The coronation soon followed. In the vacancy of the see of Canterbury, it naturally fell to the Archbishop of York to perform the ceremony; but Heath, alarmed by ominous presages of a change in religion, refused to officiate. Tunstall of Durham was too old, and perhaps shared in Heath's objection. It devolved, therefore, on Oglethorpe, as his suffragan, to take his metropolitan's place, and on 16 Jan. 1559, the other diocesan bishops attending, with the exception of Bonner, who, however, lent him his robes for the function, he placed the crown on the head of Elizabeth, but it is asserted that he never forgave himself for an act the momentous consequences of which he hardly foresaw, and remorse for his unfaithfulness to the church is said to have hastened his end.

There has been some debate about what happened however, since some reports are that Father George Carew, Elizabeth's new Dean of the Chapel Royal, celebrated Mass as Elizabeth I wanted it celebrated. The Wikipedia article on the Coronation seems to sum up the controversy and different views and sources:

The most controversial element of the ceremony was the Coronation Mass and Elizabeth's participation in it, since the three surviving eye-witness reports are either obscure or contradictory. There is no clear consensus amongst modern historians as to what actually occurred. It is evident that the Epistle and the Gospel were read in both Latin and English, a departure from the Catholic custom. At some point during the mass, Elizabeth withdrew to the "traverse", a curtained off area behind the high altar and next to St Edward's shrine, a private space in which the monarch could make the several changes of dress required for the ceremonial. David Starkey asserts that the mass was sung by Bishop Oglethorpe who elevated the host, prompting Elizabeth's early withdrawal.[31] John Guy[32] and Lisa Hilton both state that the royal chaplain, George Carew, sang the mass without elevation and administered Holy Communion to the queen inside the traverse.[33] A. L. Rowse states that Oglethorpe sang the mass and that Elizabeth withdrew before the consecration.[5] Roy Strong writes that Carew sang the mass without elevation, but that Elizabeth did not receive Communion, citing her reported conversation with the French ambassador in 1571 that 'she had been crowned and anointed according to the ceremonies of the Catholic church, and by Catholic bishops without, however, attending mass'.[34]

Here's another discussion. This is why history is always so fascinating: what really happened? what is the significance of what really happened?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Surprise! Hemingway, Greene--and Mann?


I was surprised when I got in the mail the other day because there was a copy of the St. Austin Review in the mailbox. Then my surprise turned to delight because my name was on the cover.

In a collection of essays about Catholicism, conversion, Ernest Hemingway, and Graham Greene, Joseph Pearce had included my analysis of the 1955 film adaptation of The End of the Affair, starring (no pun intended) Deborah Kerr, Van Johnson, and Peter Cushing (in a non vampire hunting role). It's titled "Shabby Second Best": Conversion in 1955's The End of the Affair".

I wrote and submitted this piece years ago and I don't even have a saved .doc anymore!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Catholic Composers in Exile


Stile Antico has a new CD coming out tomorrow, focusing on the Catholic composers who fled in England and composed sacred and secular works on the Continent:

The regime of Queen Elizabeth I dealt harshly with supporters of the old Catholic religion. Torn between obedience and conscience, some of England’s most talented musicians – Philips, Dering and Dowland – chose a life of exile abroad. Others chose to remain in spiritual isolation in England, comparing themselves to the exiled Israelites in Babylon. Amongst them were Robert White, whose five-part Lamentations are one of the glories of English music of any age, and William Byrd, whose anguished Catholic music is referenced in Shakespeare’s enigmatic poem The Phoenix and the Turtle, vividly set by Huw Watkins especially for Stile Antico, and receiving its first recording here.

The works on the CD are:

John Dowland [1562/1563-1626] Flow, my tears  
William Byrd [1543-1623] Tristitia et anxietas  
Richard Dering [-] Factum est silentium 
John Dowland [1562/1563-1626] In this trembling shadow 
Peter Philips [1560-1628] Gaude Maria virgo 
Philippe de Monte [1521-1603] Super flumina Babylonis 
William Byrd [1543-1623] Quomodo cantabimus  
Peter Philips [1560-1628] Regina cæli lætare  
Huw Watkins [01/01/1976-] The Phoenix and the Turtle  
Robert White [1538-1574] Lamentations 

Other CDs have matched Philippe de Monte and William Byrd's settings of portions of Psalm 136. The inclusion of John Dowland is interesting, because his music was very popular at Elizabeth's Court and even as he travelled in exile--he had converted to Catholicism in Paris while in the service of two English ambassadors in the early 1580's--he wanted a Court position. He wrote to Sir Robert Cecil in 1595 that he had reverted to Anglicanism, according to Peter Warlock's chronology.

I'm not familiar with the work of Huw Watkins, but you can hear an excerpt from his setting of Shakespeare's poem, which some suggest refers to St. Anne Line and her exiled husband Roger Line. Including a new work reflecting on that era reminds me of the ORA project, which started with a commissioned work by Alexander L'Estrange, "Show me, deare Christ", contrasting John Donne, St. Edmund Campion, and St. Robert Southwell.

It makes sense that artists appreciate the struggle of artists against any censorship or oppression, but in the field of English Recusant History, as I've noted before, sympathy for Catholic composers during the English Reformation and after has been clear in the many CD releases.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Newman's Life: Part One

My discussions with Anna Mitchell and Matt Swaim on the Son Rise Morning Show begin this morning a little after 7:45 a.m. Eastern time. We begin with a sketch of John Henry Newman's life up to his conversion to Catholicism in 1845, when he was 44 years old.

When I noted that his life is neatly divided into an Anglican half and a Catholic half, I didn't mean to indicate that there's some clean break between those periods. As Newman demonstrated in his Apologia pro Vita Sua, he continued to address and explore the same themes throughout his life before and after his conversion: religion, education, truth, friendship, prayer, doctrine, conscience, the Holy Bible, the Church, the life of Christ, the community of believers, the communion of saints, literature, etc.

As radical a change--in nineteenth century England especially--as Newman's conversion was, there was great deal of continuity in his life.

Here's a brief chronology of Blessed John Henry Newman's life up to 1843, two years before he became a Catholic:

1801 Born on February 21

1816 Enters Trinity College, Oxford

1820 Receives B.A. degree

1822 Elected Fellow of Oriel College

1824 Ordained to the diaconate on June 13
Becomes curate of St. Clement's, Oxford the same day

1825 Ordained to the priesthood on May 29

1826 Becomes tutor of Oriel

1828 Succeeds Edward Hawkins as vicar of St. Mary's

1833 "Lead, Kindly Light"
The Arians of the Fourth Century
Publication of Tracts for the Times begins in September

1838 Becomes editor of The British Critic
Lectures on Justification


1839 Doubts about via media begin

1841 "Tract 90" published on February 27

1842 Moves to Littlemore

1843 Retracts anti-Catholic statements in February
Resigns from St. Mary's in September
Sermons, Bearing on Subjects of the Day
Sermons Before the University of Oxford

Friday, January 4, 2019

Prepping for Newman's Canonization

Anna Mitchell, Matt Swaim, and I will help listeners of the Son Rise Morning Show prepare for the canonization of Blessed John Henry Newman, presumably around Easter this year. According to The Catholic Herald last November:

Fr Ignatius Harrison, the Postulator of the Cause, confirmed to the Catholic Herald that there were now just “two more hoops” for the Cause to jump through before Newman is canonised – approval from a commission of bishops, and a declaration by Pope Francis.

“I am praying for next year, but there’s no way of knowing,” he said.

Another source with knowledge of the Cause told the Herald that panels of both the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints had judged the healing of a woman to be miraculous. The canonisation is likely to take place after Easter 2019.

The Archdiocese of Chicago had investigated the inexplicable healing of a woman who prayed for Newman’s intercession after suffering with with a “life-threatening pregnancy”. Doctors who treated her reported that they had no explanation for her sudden recovery.

So the second miracle received from God through the intercession of John Henry Cardinal Newman (his soul in Heaven praying for the mother and her baby because family and friends asked him too) came from the USA, just like the first.

We've planned eight bi-weekly episodes, starting on Monday, January 7 at 7:45 a.m. Eastern/6:45 a.m. Central. The first two will be dedicated to sketches of his life: first, the Anglican period, then the Catholic period--his life is conveniently divided in half that way since he became a Catholic when he was 44 years old and died almost 45 years later! 

Then we will look at themes in Newman's sermons, the Parochial and Plain Sermons of his Anglican service as Rector of the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Oxford and the discourses and sermons of his priesthood as a Oratorian in Birmingham. More about those episodes later.

Listen live here. The Son Rise Morning Show will also repeat the interviews during the earlier EWTN hour.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Scarisbrick on What Might Have Been

In The Catholic Herald, Henry VIII biographer J.J. Scarisbrick writes about a plot to depose Henry VIII and restore Catholicism to England; the plot involved Pope Paul III, Francis I of France, Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire, and some people in Calais, including Father Gregory Botolph:

With the support of several like-minded colleagues (including perhaps even the governor of Calais himself, Arthur Lord Lisle, illegitimate son of Edward IV and no friend of the upstart Tudors)**, Botolph rode out and put a proposal to the papal legates.

Botolph’s plan was this: if the pope provided a taskforce of mercenaries, Botolph and his friends would open the gates of Calais to them and help them capture the port.

From there, they could commandeer ships and sail to nearby England, seek out the by-then excommunicated king and capture or kill him if he resisted arrest, as he surely would. They could also rescue Pole’s mother.

Such mercenaries were readily available. Since Pope Paul’s grandfather had made the family’s fortune as a condottiero, that is, a captain of professional soldiers for hire, he knew all about them. They would have been armed with muskets – weaponry as yet little known in England – capable of piercing almost any armour at several hundred yards. With only a few swords and perhaps pikes to defend him, Henry would not have stood a chance.

Botolph found his way to the papal legates and put his proposal to them. Farnese thought he was mad and perhaps even a spy. But Cervini believed him and immediately gave him money, horses and a guide to take him to Rome.

He reached the city quickly and sought out Cardinal Pole, who promptly took him to see the pope – whom he convinced of his plan. Indeed, Botolph later boasted that he had so impressed Pope Paul that, during his short stay in Rome, he was able to come and go in the papal apartments as he pleased. Not for nothing did he have the nickname “Sweet Lips”.

Paul, Pole and Botolph agreed the following: Cervini would go ahead with his proposed mission to England under the aegis of the king of France. Once Henry had, as was expected, turned down the generous offer, he would be excommunicated and deposed. In September that year, a papal contingent of some 300 musketeers would carry out its mission and in the inevitable shoot-out probably kill Henry.


**Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle was Henry VIII's official representative in Calais. He was Henry VIII's (illegitimate) uncle. Arthur was close to Henry VIII, serving as Privy Councilor, Vice-Admiral of England, and attending The Field of the Cloth of Gold. As Deputy of Calais he represented his majesty's interests and served his nephew. I'm not sure how that makes him "no friend of the upstart Tudors". It may have made things a little awkward, but Viscount Lisle served his monarch loyally (according to the standards of the time).

Of course, we know things did not turn out as planned, because Botolph talked too much and agents of Henry heard something about what he was saying.

The result was that Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle, was imprisoned in the Tower of London, and two of his retinue were executed, along with Giles Heron, husband of St. Thomas More's daughter Cecily, a Carmelite, a Carthusian, a Benedictine, and others on August 4, 1540. 

Botolph's fate is unknown, but he cost several men their lives--as well as alerting the authorities so that the plot could not proceed--because he talked when he shouldn't have.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Christina Rossetti, RIP


The Anglo-Catholic, Tractarian, Pre-Raphaelite poet Christina Rossetti died on December 29, 1894. The Poetry Foundation describes her religious and poetic inspirations:

Caught up in the Tractarian or Oxford Movement when it reached London in the 1840s, the Rossettis shifted from an Evangelical to an Anglo-Catholic orientation, and this outlook influenced virtually all of Christina Rossetti’s poetry. She was also influenced by the poetics of the Oxford Movement, as is documented in the annotations and illustrations she added to her copy of John Keble’s The Christian Year (1827) and in her reading of poetry by Isaac Williams and John Henry Newman. For more than twenty years, beginning in 1843, she worshiped at Christ Church, Albany Street, where services were influenced by the innovations emanating from Oxford. The Reverend William Dodsworth, the priest there until his conversion to Catholicism in 1850, assumed a leading role as the Oxford Movement spread to London. In addition to coming under the religious influence of prominent Tractarians such as Dodsworth, W. J. E. Bennett, Henry W. Burrows, and E. B. Pusey, Rossetti had close personal ties with Burrows and Richard Frederick Littledale, a High Church theologian who became her spiritual adviser. The importance of Rossetti’s faith for her life and art can hardly be overstated. More than half of her poetic output is devotional, and the works of her later years in both poetry and prose are almost exclusively so. The inconstancy of human love, the vanity of earthly pleasures, renunciation, individual unworthiness, and the perfection of divine love are recurring themes in her poetry.

As this site shows, she wrote several poems for Advent and Christmastide, through to Candlemas, the traditional end of the 40 days of Christmas. One of the most familiar is called "A Christmas Carol" but we know it as "In the Bleak Midwinter":

In the bleak mid-winter
  Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
  Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
  Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
  Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
  Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
  When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
  A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty
  Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him whom cherubim
  Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
  And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him whom angels
  Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
  Which adore.


  May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
  Throng'd the air,
But only His mother
  In her maiden bliss
Worshipped her Beloved
  With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
  Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
  I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
  I would do my part,--
Yet what I can I give Him,
  Give my heart.

Remember that today is also the feast of St. Thomas a Becket, and of Blessed William Howard, martyrs.