Oración al Ajo Macho

30 04 2009


Above: a candle to el Ajo Macho

According to the Tejana Pundit:

I’ve always known that older family members have carried a clove of garlic in their purse or pant pocket. Now that dad is in hospice and we spend alot of time talking, he passed on the meaning of this thing called Ajo Macho (garlic). According to dad, Ajo Macho is believed to be the garlic that was planted on Mount Calvary after the crucifixtion. Thereafter, it became known as “holy garlic”. For generations, many take a piece of the garlic, dip it in holy water, let it dry and wrap in tape or back then a small white piece of cloth and place it in each corner of a room, thereby protecting the dwellers from evil.

It has also been known to be carried in your coin purse or wallet to help with business and finances. Below is the prayer that is to be said when blessing the garlic. I researched this prayer I found in my father’s bible to see if there was an english version, but no dice.

Milagroso ajo, que fuiste puesto en el Monte Calvario donde Jesús murió para darte eterna luz y librarnos de todo mal. Líbrame de cárceles y demonios, cuando mis enemigos intenten matarme o herirme; que sus ojos no me vean, que sus pies no me alcancen, que sus manos no me agarren, que las armas de fuego no disparen, que los cuchillos se desvíen y que el mal no me persiga. Milagroso Ajo de la bondad, retírame envidias, apártame de los enemigos, ayúdame en mi trabajo o negocio, asegúrame del cariño de los que me rodean, así sea, así sea, así será, Amen.

Well, here is the my translation:

Miraculous Garlic put on Mount Calvary where Jesus died to give you eternal light and free us from all evil. Free me from prisons and demons, when my enemies seek to kill or hurt me, may their eyes not see me, may their feet not overtake me, may their hands not grab me, may their guns not fire at me, may their knives miss me and may evil not pursue me. Miraculous Garlic of goodness, take away envies, keep away my enemies, help me at work or in my business. Shield me with the care of those who surround me. So be it, and may it always be.

A Ghazal by Ghalib

29 04 2009

Sung with English translation

On inefficient church governance and other thoughts

28 04 2009


I have not commented on “churchy” stuff in a while, and since I know people like to comment on that kind of thing, I will write a some lines on it.

Via Fr. Chadwick’s page, I found this George Weigel essay on how Pope Benedict’s theological brilliance is being eclipsed by the foibles of the “old boy” network of the Vatican Curia. An interesting read all around. I do have to disagree with his characterization of the Lefebvrists: their problems are far from just being political, though it is hard to separate that aspect of it from their legitimate critiques, as I well know from personal experience. My real underlying thought, one that many of you can already predict, is a big “so what?” Maybe the Gospel isn’t being preached because of the old school methods of some Italian ecclesiastics. But to think having a well-oiled bureaucratic machine will lead to a better church is something that I find highly unlikely. Like Gideon on the battlefield, perhaps God is counting on our human weakness to show that only He can save the Church.
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New World Jihad

28 04 2009

You learn somthing new everyday (and somewhat related to yesterday’s post)…

I stumbled across various references to the Revolta dos Malês, an 1835 slave rebellion in Bahia, Brazil, of Muslim slaves. Led by a Luisa Mahin, a snack vendor who could read and write Arabic, it sought to overthrow slavery in Brazil, enslave all non-Muslims, and create a kingdom governed by Islamic law. Mahin was also responsible for spreading the words of the Prophet Mohammed amongst the slaves. The revolt arose at the end of January and was suppressed within two days. The end of its leader Mahin is unknown to history, though she is known to be the mother of the Brazilian abolitionist, Luis Gama.

Related to this, it is said that santeros (priests of an Afro-Cuban religion) often greet each other with a phrase astoundingly close to the Arabic As-Salamu Alaykum, which has been passed on to them from their African rituals.

The Eyes of Escrava Anastacia

26 04 2009


Race, Gender, and Religion in Brazil

For American students of Latin America, the idea of a “racial democracy” in Brazil has long been an intoxicating prospect, especially when compared to our own very polarized racial history. Indeed, it is a myth that the Brazilian intellegentsia has itself been pushing for over sixty years. The myth is basically that since there was far more miscegenation in Brazil than there was in the United States, there is far less racism. The fact that the racial hierarchy is more complex is seen as being indicative of a society where class and not race is important. It was only about twenty years ago that such ideas were challenged by black intellectuals. The reality on the ground turns out to be as ugly, if not uglier, than the American situation.
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Requite Me Not

24 04 2009

Oración a María Piedra de Imán

23 04 2009


María Piedra de Imán, encantadora y mineral que con la Samaritanas anduvisteis, hermosura y nombre le diste, suerte y fortuna me traerás, imán, viniste imán, será para resguardo, conmigo estás, te pido oro para mi tesoro, plata para mi casa, y cobre para yo darle a los pobres y como foco de alumbrera que fuiste de la Santísima Virgen María, quiero que seas de la choza mía centinela de mi hogar y de mi personalidad; yo quiero que mi casa sea próspera y feliz y que la buena estrella me guíe y alumbre mi camino, préstame tu magia bienhechora, quiero que me prestes tu talismán, quiero tener poder y dominio para vencer a mis enemigos, quiero que la buena estrella me guíe y alumbre mi camino en recompensa de lo que tú me das; yo te daré la cuenta ámbar, la cuenta de azabache, unos granitos de limadura de acero para que todo me sobre y aumente mi rico sendero, te daré trigo para vencer a mis enemigos, incienso y mirra por el aguinaldo que le dieron los tres Reyes a Jesús amado, y daré a las tres potencias por la virtud de la piedra de Imán Tres Credos y por segunda siete Salves, y por tercera cinco Padre Nuestros y cinco Ave Marías alabando al Señor en este Santo día y diciendo gloria a Dios en las alturas y en la tierra paz a todos los seres de buena voluntad, pan bendito de Dios sagrado que satisface mi alma y limpia mis pecados. Carbón bendito, luz de mi hogar, esto le doy a la bendita Piedra Imán.

Haga su petición, persígnese.

Mary of the Lodestone, enchanter and mineral who dwelled with the Samaritans, beauty and name you gave it, and you will bring me luck and fortune, lodestone, you came a lodestone, it will be for protection, you will be with me, I ask you for gold for my treasure, silver for my house, and copper to give to the poor, and a bright bulb that you were for the Holy Virgin Mary, I want you to be for my resting place a light for my home and my personality; I want my house to be prosperous and happy, and may the good star guide me and light up my path, lend me your good magic, lend me your talisman, I want power and dominion to conquer my enemies, I want the good star to light up my path as a recompense for all that you give me; I will give you some amber, a count of jet black stone, some little grains of steel filings so that all can be surplus and add to my rich path, I will give you wheat in order to conquer my enemies, incense and myrrh that the Three Wise Men gave to beloved Jesus, and I will give to the three powers by the power of the Magnet three Credos, and secondly seven Salves, and thirdly five Pater Nosters and five Ave Marias praising the Lord on this Holy Day, and saying glory to God in the highest and peace unto men of good will, blessed bread of Sacred God that satisfies my soul and cleanses my sins. Blessed coal, light of my home, this I give to the Holy Lodestone.

Make your petition, then the Sign of the Cross.

“I Am Nobody to Break a Vow Made to God”

22 04 2009


By Bob McPhail

Three young men in their early teens are walking toward a bus stop in downtown Tijuana. Despite the mid-afternoon sun, each of them is dressed in a monk’s habit fashioned from heavy, brown cloth. But they are too young to be monks, and their demeanor is that of school kids on their way home.

“Oh,” says a priest when asked about what these boys might be up to, “they are probably doing a manda.” Las Mandas are a tradition of Mexican piety dating back to the Spanish Conquest, according to Father Jorge Echegoyen, a diocesan priest in Tijuana. “Mandas are a traditional belief in Mexico that are a mixture between faith and superstition. People in Mexico, especially in the south, have rituals and rites that are both pagan and Christian. Among these are mandas. They come from a view of the world that we are always sinners and we need to sacrifice. We need to be reminded how far away we are from the holy.”
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Russian Prison Tattoos

22 04 2009

Recently, I watched the documentary film, The Mark of Cain, on the tattoos and life in Russia’s harshest prisons. It was interesting to see how symbols of Orthodox Christianity were used by criminals to symbolize their biography of crime. Cupolas on a church, for example, symbolize how many crimes they have committed in their criminal history. A Golgotha scene represents murder, while thieves have their own symbols, and so forth. I highly recommend this documentary, but it is not for the faint of heart.

It reminded me quite a bit of the phenomena in Mexico of criminals tattooing Santa Muerte on themselves as a promise to her, though the tattoos of the Russian inmates seemed to be far less significant in terms of their religious interpretation.

Nature – Supernature – State

21 04 2009


Fr. Peter Bernardi, S.J. on Maurice Blondel, Charles Maurras, and the Future of the Past in Catholic Europe

Fr. Peter Bernardi, S.J. gave a talk on his book, Maurice Blondel, Social Catholicism, and Action Française: The Clash over the Church’s Role in Society During the Modernist Era at Loyola University in New Orleans last night. The talk did not just address the evolution of Catholic political movements in France in the early twentieth century, but also focused on the main theological problem that the Church struggled with in the 20th century: the divide between nature and supernature, the state of man in his “normal condition” and man under the influence of grace. According to Bernardi, Blondel and the pro-Action Française Jesuit Pedro Descoqs represented polar opposite approaches in addressing the role of supernature in the natural political order. While the Jesuit defended in the name of neo-scholastic extrinsicism the French theorist Charles Maurras’ theory of the union of Church and State , Blondel advocated “social Catholic” collaboration with the liberal state in the hope of being a Christian influence that could reverse the trend of an increasingly secularized society. For Bernardi, Blondel’s liberalism resulted from his philosophical principles in which nature was never sufficient unto itself and needed to be transformed by evangelical ideas of justice and love.
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