Friday, January 30, 2015

Br. Guy Consolmagno, Vatican Astronomer, comes to A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast

Special Guest Br. Guy Consolmagno, Vatican Astronomer, joins Julie and Scott to discuss a book of his choosing: Among Others by Jo Walton. Join us for Episode 100.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Floridian Adventures in Health

Mom's happy home time lasted three days before the exact chain of events happened that sent her to the hospital last time.

This time I was with her all day and had the dubious pleasure of calling 911 (my poor sis did it the first time). There are few things as surreal as standing in a darkened bedroom, groping for health details of your mother, while six large men are running heart monitors, barking code to each other, and (in turn) all asking very similar questions.

I did ride in the front seat of the ambulance to the hospital with a very calendar-worthy young EMT who was also very polite and conversational.

We've had various other experiences in the hospital, including discovering the world's worst doctor, and delving into the depths of the health care system to find out how to fire one's doctor when the system says you have to keep him until you go home. 

God bless patient care advocates is all I can say!

Needless to say I have extended my stay for another week.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Gone to Florida - UPDATED

I'm off to visit Mom in the hospital and give some relief to my sister who's been bearing the brunt of keeping an eye on things.

I'll check in when I can ... and I ask for your prayers.

Thank you!

Huzzah! Mom is home! She has health problems that will need vigilance but nothing that can't be managed with a regular lifestyle, so we are very blessed.

Thank you so much for all your prayers!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Litany: To Jesus in the Womb of Mary

This litany seems a good one to remind us that all life, whether or not we can see it in front of our eyes at the moment, is precious.

Today is the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal. Let's take a few moments to reflect on Jesus in the womb of Mary. It is a reality of the Incarnation that we don't often consider, but he was the unborn baby of a single mother.
Jesus, knit so wonderfully in the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, uniquely human from the moment of conception in the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, present at creation, created in the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, word made flesh, taking on a human body in the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, subject to human development in the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, whose Precious Blood first flowed through tiny arteries and veins in the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, hidden nine months in the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, begotten by God, nourished by the substance and blood of His Most Holy Mother in the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, leaping from eternity into time, in the womb of Mary
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, revealing with His Father and the Holy Spirit all wisdom and knowledge to His Most Holy Mother, in the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, aware of His role as Redeemer in the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, Sanctifier of His Precursor from the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, Eternal Word, Divine Child, embraced by the Father, in the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, raising His Mother to the heights of sanctification, in the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, everlasting delight of heaven, in the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, manifesting His Incarnation to His Holy Mother, in the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, adored and contemplated by His Mother in the sanctuary of her womb Jesus,
before whom the angels prostrated themselves, in the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, in whom the very angels beheld the humanity of the Infant God and the union of the two natures of the Word in the virginal womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, whose Holy Limbs first budded in the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, whose Godhead the world cannot contain, weighing only a few grams in the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, Divine Immensity, once meaning only tenths of an inch in the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, Sacrificial Lamb, Docile Infant in the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, who was to suffer the agony and passion of death, accepting the human capacity for pain ad grief, in the womb of Mary,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, Lamb of God in the womb of Mary Spare us, O Lord.
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, Holy Innocent in the womb of Mary Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, Son of God and Messiah in the womb of Mary Have mercy on us, O Lord.
Have mercy on us.


God, our creator, You formed us as women and men,
equal partners in the stewardship of Your world:
joined forever as sisters and brothers,
yet within each of us lives a rich diversity of different gifts,
different hopes and different limitations.
In Jesus, Your word born fully in our flesh,
You have seen and loved in us all that You have made us to be.
Though graced, we are limited and often weak.
But our weaknesses themselves are no obstacle to Your passion for us.
Teach us to see in ourselves what you have seen in each of us from birth.
Teach us to know our gifts and limits.
Keep us confidently on the path of self-knowledge,
fullness of wisdom, and joy in being Your children.
We ask this through Christ and the Holy Spirit, with You,
One God, forever and ever.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Ancient Path by John Michael Talbot and Mike Aquilina

The Ancient Path: Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life TodayThe Ancient Path: Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life Today by John Michael Talbot and Mike Aquilina

John Michael Talbot tells the story of how the Church Fathers deeply influenced his spiritual, professional and personal life. Coming to the Christian faith as a young man during the turbulent 1960s, he soon grew a fond of the Church Fathers, including St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine and Gregory the Great and found guidance, reassurance and wisdom on his path to Jesus.

“The First Epistle of Saint Peter,” writes Talbot, “tells us that we are ‘a spiritual temple built of living stones.’ The early Church Fathers represent the first rows built upon the foundation of the Apostles. And that sacred building project continues throughout history to our time today. But it rests on the Fathers. It depends on them.”
C.S. Lewis famously wrote that “A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.” John Michael Talbot could testify to the truth of that statement. He wasn't atheist but reading the Church Fathers pushed him from a Protestant path into one that he never could have predicted. The Ancient Path tells how Talbot's life and work were shaped by his encounters with those ancient writings.

It is a story with an unusual trajectory that you'll either find fascinating or odd. In this it echoes that of the Church Fathers themselves who have often earned those same adjectives because they were following an internal logic, God's logic, that was difficult to see from the outside. You get a good dose of Talbot's life as he founds a monastic community, marries, becomes a musician, etc. You get an even bigger dose of the Church Fathers and their influence on his internal growth. This means it also spills over into topics like prayer, liturgy, community life, environmentalism and more. As we read about Talbot's life we also are led to consider those topics in our own lives.

It's a good mixture and a good way to remind us how applicable the Church Fathers' lessons are to modern life, to our lives, wherever we are and whatever we do.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Well Said: A vision above material things

Projects undreamed of by past generations will absorb our immediate descendants; forces terrific and devastating will be in their hands; comforts, activities, amenities, pleasures will crowd upon them, but their hearts will ache, their lives will be barren, if they have not a vision above material things.
Winston Churchill

Worth a Thousand Words: Bust of Louis XIV

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Bust of Louis XIV of France, 1665
Bernini was a true genius and this bust seems to encompass so much of what made him great. That marble is fluttering. Isn't it?

The Drop Box - mark your calendars, reserve your tickets now

The Drop Box

South Korean Pastor Lee Jong-rak's uses a drop box – built like a depository – to accept unwanted babies who would otherwise be abandoned to die.
I just saw a screening of this documentary last night. It is powerful and moving.

It is also showing only during March 3-5 at selected theaters.

I'm bursting to tell you more but I can't publish a review until the last week of February

I can, however, give you a heads up so you can buy your tickets now. Don't miss this one.

See the trailer and buy tickets here.

Read an interview with the director here, where perhaps the most powerful statement about the film is that it changed his own life.
I actually became a Christian while making the film so my hope and prayer would be that first and foremost, moviegoers would be able to experience God’s adopting love as a Father because that’s what changed my life. Additionally, I think people will be impacted by the film’s emphasis on the value and importance of all human life.

UPDATED: Prayers Please for My Mother

She had to go to the hospital yesterday and they're waiting for her system to settle down from dehydration, etc. so they can analyze her health and what caused this current crisis.

Any prayers would be much appreciated.

Thank you so much for the prayers. It turns out that Mom had a heart attack.

I'm heading to Florida, hopefully to keep her company during a quick recovery.

Your prayers are very much appreciated!

Side note: I noticed that once I got the news and knew I'd be leaving town I had three priorities: 1) What books to take; 2) What movies to take; 3) What audiobooks to take?

Clothes, luggage, flight reservations ... I eventually get around to them. After the serious packing.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Worth a Thousand Words: Waxwing

taken by Remo Savisaar
I just love Waxwings. Their clear gray contrasts so perfectly with the bright red accents, and all of it goes well with the bright red berries they love to eat. There is nothing so fascinating as seeing a large flock descend on a bush and denude it of fruit within 10 minutes.

We always called these Cedar Waxwings. I looked them up and saw that they are much more colorful than this bird which was labeled as a Bohemian Waxwing.

Well Said: Satan and Scars

Satan may appear in many disguises, and at the end of the world will appear as a benefactor and philanthropist — but Satan never has and never will appear with scars.
Fulton Sheen, Life of Christ
The Resurrected Christ keeps his scars. He shows his hands and side to Thomas to feel. I've thought about that before but never in relation to what Sheen says above. It resonates in my life because of how often I try to avoid giving of myself that might inconvenience me, or in other words ... leave a scar.

90 fun-filled minutes of inadequate and unworthy discussion about the patron of our podcast ...

... Flannery O'Connor. Julie and Scott discuss Everything That Rises Must Converge. Eventually. It's episode 99!

(While asking ourselves "What on earth would Karl Urban do?" Not out loud, of course. We're not barbarians.)