Why you should prepare for Advent now

Do you spend Advent rushing to buy Christmas presents, searching for tree ornaments, writing Christmas cards, running from one Christmas party to another, only to come back home utterly drained and too exhausted to pray and meditate? It’s a shame.

Advent is the season of preparation for the birth of Our Lord, and it was always meant to be spent in prayer, contemplation and penance, not in a state of anxiety, checking off a long to-do list with the accompanying guilt at having only accomplished half of the tasks. Make time for prayer, spiritual reading, meditation, and story-telling with your children.

There are many things you can do now, so that you don’t have to do them during Advent.

Here is a video from Heather on the YouTube channel, A Catholic Mom’s Life, with excellent tips on getting organised before Advent. I’m not a mom, but I love her channel. One thing you can do right now: finish writing Christmas cards so that when December comes along, all you have to do is to post them. Another excellent tip: create your Christmas gift list and buy Christmas gifts now (or during the Black Friday sales). Don’t be Martha during Advent, be Mary instead.

Must-read of the day: Reclaiming Halloween

With the autumn equinox behind us, I find myself looking forward to my favourite season of the year. There’s a slight chill in the air, and the trees look ready to take their annual repose. The early morning light seems different, too – mellower, more golden, softer.

One’s thoughts wander to Halloween. How can they not? Everywhere I look, in shop windows, in bakeries, patisseries and cafes, I see Halloween decorations. Traditional Catholic parents who have children are rightly concerned about the occult aspects of Halloween. Does celebrating Halloween promote satanic worship? Is it against the teachings of the Catholic Church?

Here’s a better approach: make Halloween Catholic again.

Read this post entitled Reclaiming Halloween which includes a discussion of the origins of Halloween celebrations, and more importantly, useful advice on how to celebrate Halloween in a truly Catholic way. 

If you want to add a bit of Halloween fun to your desktop, check out the desktop calendars and wallpaper at Smashing Magazine.



Back from summer holiday even more energised about the Catholic faith

I am back from my summer holiday, full of energy, looking forward to my favourite season of all – autumn!

I have managed to ignore the nonsense coming out of the cult of Vatican II, despite having had access to the Twitter feeds of those who scream about the outrageous statements coming out of the mouths of the cult leaders. I chuckled to myself often, as I sipped red wine gazing out into the sunset. After all, what can I do? I can’t call a new conclave, beat the bishops and cardinals on the head and tell them to dump Vatican II or appoint a new pope. All I can do is to pray . . . and pray I did.

Here’s what my summer looked like.

(1) Greece and Turkey: chilling out along the water at sunset with a bottle of red wine and delicious Mediterranean food


Traveling from island to island, enjoying the sun and the sea


Visiting old churches such as the one in the photo below – the church of Agioi Apostoloi (Holy Apostles) on the island of Chios built in the 13th century.


Ephesus (below): Library of Celsus and Terraced Houses (well-preserved Roman houses with tiled floors)



(2) Alto Adige (Dolomites), Italy: hiking

Hiking in the Dolomites, one sees many roadside shrines and even stations of the cross that involve walking up hundreds of meters! Next time you complain about having to do the stations of the cross inside a church, ask yourself how people in the Dolomites could walk up 300 to 400 meters doing their stations of the cross.




Ah, the mountains!


Below is the church of Sts. Peter and Paul in Castelrotto


Interior of the church of Sts. Peter and Paul whose altar is obstructed by the ugly white Cranmer table



Taking a summer break plus summer reading list 2019

Dear readers, I am enjoying a summer break in the Mediterranean. That means swimming, swimming and more swimming. Daily sustenance: salads, grilled fish and vegetables, and wine (for lunch and/or dinner).

I may not post until September. Here is my summer reading list:

The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer, translated my Neville Coghill

The Spiritual Life and Prayer by Cecile de Bruyere

The Inimitable Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

The Summer of the Danes (Cadfael series) by Ellis Peters

Medieval Europe by Chris Wickham

Enjoy your summer! Don’t let the b*****ds grind you down. You know who I mean.

Hilarious Japanese TV commercial: 3 second shrimp tempura

Who says we trads can’t have a good laugh every now and then?

Behold, I present to you a TV commercial for NTT Docomo’s supposedly super-fast LTE network. NTT Docomo is a Japanese mobile operator and when they launched their LTE service in Japan, this was one of the commercials that they created.

The ad starts innocently enough: a boring housewives’ cooking demonstration on how to make shrimp tempura. But then it becomes . . . I’ll let you watch.

Ember Friday fun: 70s Dinner Party photos

Don’t pull a long face when you fast, Our Lord says. But your stomach is grumbling and you are in a foul mood. It’s Ember Friday. Tomorrow is Ember Saturday, more fasting and abstinence. You can’t bear it anymore.

What to do? Look at these photos from the hysterically funny Twitter account 70s Dinner Party, and you’ll conclude that the Novus Ordo Mass of Paul VI isn’t the only abomination to come out of that nasty decade, the 1970s. You won’t be hungry again after gazing at these masterpieces from the disco era.

70s dinner party

Some ideas for fish Fridays . . .

fish for lent

unhappy fish

friday abstinence

I’d rather be fasting, thank you!

reasons to fast

dubia cardinals



Ghost stories at Christmas

The British have traditionally told ghost stories at Christmas. That is why Charles Dickens wrote his famous story, “A Christmas Carol”. However, the most famous and best ghost stories were written by Montague Rhodes James, better known as M.R. James, a medievalist and provost of King’s College, Cambridge.

His stories were filmed by the BBC in the 1970s. You can find some of them on YouTube.

You can download M.R. James’s short stories for free here. They are best read aloud in a small cozy room, preferably with a fire going, glasses of port or sherry or wine at hand, and candlelight, on a cold, snowy night. Each person in the room should take a turn reading the stories.