Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Hail, Mary

Feast Day

The Immaculate Conception (1680)
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, one of the most important dates on the liturgical calendar for Catholics. It is a celebration of Mary's being born free of Original Sin, so that the eventual mother of Jesus Christ would be pure.

It is Holy Day of Obligation, one of only six such days observed by Catholics in the United States.

In addition to attending Mass, Catholics are also asked to avoid working, if possible, on this feast day. For that reason, I am eschewing my usual weekday political/social commentary.

"Gracious! How will your fans make it through a day without your guidance?"

Nothing in canon law says I can't tie your snout in a knot...

Things That Make Me Happy: Hot Stove League Edition

I'm happy to report that my beloved Kansas City Royals, the 2015 World Series Champions, have signed pitcher Chris Young to a new contract.

Chris pitched very well for the Royals last season (11-6, 3.06 ERA, 2.87 ERA in 15 postseason innings), and I'm delighted that he'll be back in 2016.

The Royals are also bringing back reliever Joakim Soria, who saved 160 games for the team from 2007-2011 and made two All-Star Game appearances as a Royal. After missing the 2012 season with an elbow injury, Joakim pitched for the Rangers, Tigers, and Pirates. He's expected to be used primarily as the 8th inning set-up man for All-Star Wade Davis, who vacates that spot in order to assume closer duties next season as Greg Holland recovers from arm surgery.

Oddly, I Don't Feel Any Safer

From the pen of Mike Ramirez, whose editorial cartoons you should read often, as I do.

Until Next Time...

The Blessed Virgin Mary has been the inspiration for much sacred music, of course. Composers have been putting the "Hail Mary" prayer ("Ave Maria" in Latin) to music for centuries. It has been the basis for innumerable Gregorian chants, and compositions by J.S. Bach/Charles Gounod, Johannes Brahms, and Franz Schubert are among the most popular works in the classical repertoire. More recently, compositions by Franz Biebl and Anton Bruckner have also gained great popularity with choral groups.

Today's send-off is gorgeous rendition of Bruckner's "Ave Maria" by the Norwegian chamber choir Schola Cantorum, recorded live in 2011. Enjoy...

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