Friday, November 29, 2013

Please Pray For Lily

This post is not about beards.

My daughter, Lily, was born on Saturday by an emergency c-section with no heartbeat and very little blood. They revived her, but she is now in NICU and has suffered damage to her brain through lack of oxygen. I would ask you to please pray for my daughter and encourage others to do so as well. We desperately need a miracle! I have created a blog to keep everyone updated on her progress. It can be found here: http://prayforlily.blogspot.com/

Please share the blog with others and get the word out! Thank you and God Bless you!

Friday, November 15, 2013

10 Papal Beard Facts

I plan to do a post on 10 Awesome Papal Beards (and yes, I know that "Awesome Beards" is a tautology), but first let us note some Papal Beard Facts.

PAPAL BEARD FACT #1:
There have been a total of 266 Vicars of Christ. Out of these, 188 have had beards. That means 70% of the popes have had beards!

PAPAL BEARD FACT #2:
Out of the 188 bearded popes, 82 are saints and 2 are blesseds. 43% of bearded popes are saints.
Out of the 78 beardless popes, only 4 are saints and 5 are blesseds. Only 5% of beardless popes are saints.

PAPAL BEARD FACT #3:
There have been 86 total popes who are saints. 82 of these had beards. That is 95% of the papal saints!

PAPAL BEARD FACT #4:
For the first 643 years of the Church, Papal Beards reigned from 33AD with St. Peter to 676AD with Pope Adeodatus II.

PAPAL BEARD FACT #5:
The first pope sans beard, Pope Donus, is not a saint. Coincidence? I think not.


My face is cold.

PAPAL BEARD FACT #6
The next pope after Donus was Agatho. He had a long and marvelous beard. Oh, and he's a saint.
Doesn't this halo look good with my beard?
PAPAL BEARD FACT #7
After, Pope St. Agatho, beards reigned until 827AD with the election of Pope Valentine.

Also not a saint.
 PAPAL BEARD FACT #8
After Pope Valentine, there was a dispersion of beardless popes mixed with the bearded. The next stretch of bearded glory (with goatees towards the end) reigned from 1523AD to 1700AD, with the end of Pope Innocent XII's papacy.



Had Innocent XII known that he would be the last pope with facial hair, he surely would have grown a bushy beard like his namesake, Pope St. Innocent I!

His beard is a relic.
PAPAL BEARD FACT #9
There have been 9 popes named Stephen. All of them had beards.
Here is a picture of Pope Stephen IX:

I was rocking this beard style way before Lincoln!
 PAPAL BEARD FACT #10
This guy would make a great Stephen X!

Ahem! My eyes are up here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Beardmata

A common objection to the idea that Catholic men should have beards is that one of (if not the) greatest theologians and saints of the Church, the Universal Doctor of the Church St. Thomas Aquinas, did not himself have a beard.

Of course, those who argue in such a way obviously have never heard of the miraculous phenomenon known as the beardmata. Because salvation consists in conforming as much as possible to Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who had a Beard, and because some men, through no fault of their own, lack the ability to grow a beard in imitatio Christi, God saw fit to bless certain beardless saints with the beardmata.

The first known instance of the beardmata occurred in AD 847, upon the ascendancy of the papacy by Pope St. Leo IV, who was the first non-bearded pope to become a saint.

My beardmata doesn't even itch!

While Thomas Aquinas indeed did not have a visible beard throughout his life, due to being granted the grace of meritoriously suffering the shame of not having a beard in reparation for all the men who shave, he was granted the special grace of receiving the beardmata towards the end of his life.

On December 6 1273, after Matins, Dominic of Caserta saw St. Thomas tearfully praying before an icon of the crucified Christ. Christ said to him, "You have written well of me, Thomas. What reward would you have for your labor?" Thomas responded, "Nothing but you Lord and a beard." Our Lord promised Thomas that while he could not have a visible beard, he could receive the beardmata, which Thomas humbly accepted.

Reginald of Piperno, Aquinas’s assistant, reports that from then on he often saw St. Thomas kneeling in front of the tabernacle stroking his invisible beard in deep contemplation of some mystery of the faith. Reginald also reports that earlier in his life Thomas wrote a treatise on the beardmata, which unfortunately has been lost.

Now, many depictions of the Angelic Doctor show him beardless. However, there is one painting in existence that shows Aquinas with a beard in commemoration of the time St. Thomas lay dying in the Cistercian Fossanova Abbey, where while commenting on the Song of Songs, in the midst of extolling Solomon’s beard as a type of the Beard of Christ, he was caught up in ecstasy and his beardmata was revealed to the Cistercian monks who surround his bed. 

"Priests should not shave their beards, i.e., set aside the perfection of wisdom."
-STh I-II Q. 102 a. 6 ad. 11

It is also said that the great Thomist of the 20th century, Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, also was blessed with the beardmata throughout his life.

Thomism: Because sometimes, you're always right.




Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Pro-Beard Movement

The pro-beard movement has been around a lot longer than Red Sox spring training. From the earliest days of Christianity and before, beards have flourished on the faces of men.

Being pro-beard accords with nature since hair, unless in some way hindered, naturally grows on a man's face. From the earliest days of a man's life, his face is already beginning to grow protective follicles. This is evidenced by the significant amount of fuzz on my one year old son's upper lip. As a man progresses to puberty, his face is ready for the full emanation of his whiskers. These should be allowed to grow freely for the duration of a man's life and not suffer a horrible fate by means of the keen edge of a razor. We should be pro-beard from womb to tomb!

There has been much talk about a "man's right to choose". As you might have guessed, I am of the position that the euphemism of being "pro-choice" should be abandoned. Everyone knows that "pro-shavers" are hiding behind the "pro-choice" label in order to make their atrocious stance more palatable to the general public. Why, you ask, is the shaving lobby pushing beardlessness as a "men's rights" issue? Money. It always comes down to money. The shaving lobby makes millions of dollars each year on shaving supplies, from razors, aftershave gel, and shaving cream to carrying cases for your razor, gel, and shaving cream, to everything in between. They pour thousands into advertisements that claim that women love men with faces of boys, when everyone knows that a bearded face is scientifically more attractive to women.

Why are we willing to expose men to the nicks and cuts of this outrageous practice of shaving? Hasn't anyone ever heard of Sweeney Todd?

I want shaving to be safe, legal, and rare.
Yes, Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. How can you doubt the Satanic influence of shaving with people around such as the Demon Barber?! It is said that Satan once had a beard, but shaved it off in rebellion after seeing that Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, had a marvelous beard.


While we are in the midst of what the culture calls "No-shave November", which we who have "grow[n] out the beard of truth" (Ephesians 6:17) just simply call "November", let us reaffirm our commitment to being pro-beard.

"No-shave November"? That's cute.

The strength and morality of a culture can be determined by the amount of facial hair prevalent in society at any given time. The Romans were known for their shaven faces and their empire fell. Coincidence? Hardly. Let us be boldly pro-beard, affirming a culture of beards while praying that we don't end up like the Romans.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal Don't Shave in November...

...or any other month for that matter. Why not? One reason is so that they may imitate their founder, St. Francis, who was imitating Christ. For more about the beards of the CFRs with a bonus reference to the Bearded Champs (otherwise known as the World Series Champions the Boston Red Sox), see the video below.