Friday, June 30, 2006

It Was Love at First Sight


We managed to pull off getting the new car last night. Officially it is a "crossover" vehicle but let's all just say what we know is true ... it's a station wagon. Just what I wanted and the car companies won't make (unless you are looking way above our price range into Lexus territory) because it doesn't have the right image.

Considering that our "youngest" car until yesterday was ten years old (with the van having been 12 and Tom's Honda being 16) having a new car is very exciting. Probably the biggest noticable difference is that it has a "variable transmission" so you never feel any shifting happening. I noticed I was subconciously tensing up every now and then, waiting for the shift. But it glides like butter!

Now I will be spending my time looking for parking places with no one on either side. Which should be good for increasing my walking every day, right?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

God Bless America!

You Are 83% American

You're as American as red meat and shooting ranges. Tough and independent, you think big. You love everything about the US, wrong or right. And anyone who criticizes your home better not do it in front of you!


Via ukok who shouldn't have been surprised at her 29% result ... she is British after all!

Now Where Did I Put My Sunglasses?

You Should Spend Your Summer at the Beach

You're a free spirit who is always thinking of new ways to have fun.
And you don't just love summer... you live for it.
So, you really should blow off your responsibilities and head to the beach!


Exactly right, with a nice large umbrella, comfy chair, good book, and a margarita while the sound of crashing waves and seagulls make soothing background noises. Via Quoth the Maven who is in the chair just down the beach from me.

I Think That's Called Enabling an Addict

MARIA LECTRIX
Six days a week of public domain audiobooks — mystery, history, adventure, devotion — for people with Catholic tastes.

Maureen's audiobook recordings include Church Fathers, sci fi, mysteries, essays, novels ... and most of them I've never even heard of. Can't wait to start downloading these babies ... long may my knitting flourish while listening!

Update
I see that by following her sidebar link to RSS feed you can get to a spot where a mere click of the button gets you subscribed through iTunes. Sweet!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

What I Have Learned From Knitting One Sock

  1. Sock-knitting enablers (yes, you ... Donna and Julie) don't tell you that knitting socks is like being on crack. An obsessive high that leads to someone who can't sleep getting up at 4 a.m. to "just work on the toe a little." For shame, ladies!

  2. Someone who has never felt tempted even a little to acquire a stash (of yarn) suddenly becomes empowered by the fact that lovely, unique sock yarn is fairly inexpensive ... and I also have a long list of people that I'd like to make socks for. I had to confess to my husband that I now have yarn for three other pairs of socks heading our way.

  3. Once again ... never say "never." I remember when I began listening to podcasts that Jeff Miller commented that there are even knitting podcasts. *yawn* Could anything be more boring? I did begin listening to Cast On but could justify that under the grounds that Brenda Dayne is essentially a terrific story teller who just happens to use knitting as a springboard.

    However, when knitting last weekend in the hotel I was listening, coincidentally, to a Cast On essay about knitting socks. There was something so ... connected ... about listening to someone talk about knitting the same sort of thing that I was doing. So, I have to admit that I now have found two other "pod-worthy" knitters. One is KnitCentric by a young American wife and mother who lives in Okinawa and has many of the same idiosyncrasies that I do ... such as skipping practically every song that anyone puts into a podcast and building a stash only of sock yarn (this is where I recognized that dangerous tendency arising in myself).

    The other is CraftLit by an English teacher who recognizes that what we all really need while knitting is someone to read to us. She obliges by downloading some of Pride and Prejudice from Librivox every week (free audiobooks y'all!). Both have good, practical reviews of yarn, books, and techniques which I have found very helpful.

    I hold KnitCentric strictly to blame for 2/3 of the yarn winging its way to me now. CraftLit gets the credit for the fact that I have downloaded Treasure Island from Librivox and was distinctly frustrated this morning when it ended with a cliffhanger ... and subsequent chapters were on my computer at work.
Hannah has had her eye on "the sock" since I began. She's grooving on the colors and tried it on this morning, triumphantly waving her foot at me, "It fits!" Whew. I can see all sorts of imperfections but what the heck. No one else will (at least much). I'll begin the other sock tonight and see how that goes. I'd have posted a photo but ran out of time. Perhaps when I have the complete pair, eh?
Tags: Knitting

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Will They Know We are Christians by Our Love?

Historians talking about first century Christians always remarked on how they showed love for each other. They knew they were Christians by their love (dreadful song but an instructive saying nonetheless). Could they say as much these days? Sometimes I see the witness not of love but rather of "leave no one alive" infighting. This is not just between denominations (which is bad enough).

A recent example spilled over into my comments boxes lately. The origin was an uncharitable assumption made by someone who did not use the most diplomatic phrasing. This prompted an upset, defensive response. The cudgels quickly were taken up by others.

This is such a human thing and I have been there myself more than once. It is so easy to make an accusation rather than phrase something as a mild question. Definitely it is my knee-jerk reaction to fire back a defensive answer rather than meekly admit that perhaps I could have worded something another way. Luckily, I know my weaknesses. As I told someone asking what the difference was between my public blogging face (Julie D.) and my true self, "Julie D. is much nicer than I am."

It is so hard to swallow one's pride, back down, and be charitable and humble, not caring what others think. So very hard.

"Julie D." can do it only because I have cultivated defense mechanisms. I go to my husband, trusting that he'll stop me in time (and, God bless him, he does). I make myself wait for a period of time before answering something that upsets me. I read my answer aloud ... somehow once spoken the harshness of those unspoken words comes through in a way that does not sound so clever. And, all too often, I rush in, doing none of those things, and then am embarrassed later. Quite a good way to remember my humanity and great need for humility. (Whether I want to or not and I assure you I do not.)

The greatest and most effective tool I have is to recite this really good prayer.
"Lord have mercy on me and bless that person."
When I say it (quite often through righteously clenched teeth) I am forced to remember all the times that I have annoyed people just as greatly as I am now being annoyed. I remember that in asking God to bless that person that it is also an invitation to me to love and forgive them as St. Augustine mentions here.
That your enemies have been created is God's doing; that they hate you and wish to ruin you is their own doing. What should you say about them in your mind? "Lord be merciful to them, forgive them their sins, put the fear of God in them, change them!" You are loving in them not what they are, but what you would have them to become.
That prayer works. By the time that I have repeated it several times not only have I calmed down but I am able to practice a much truer form of charity than I would have by merely mouthing nice words while being madder than a wet hen.

If I was a better person I would only have to remember what Jesus has asked of me. I'm working on getting to that point.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
John 15:12
Maybe this is why I have such a fondness for Scripture and quotes that remind me to have a more charitable outlook. I know my need for help in this area. Here are some that have resonated with me and perhaps y'all will find them useful as well if you suffer from a similar weakness.
Since you have forsaken the world and turned wholly to God, you are symbolically dead in the eyes of men; therefore, let your heart be dead to all earthly affections and concerns, and wholly devoted to our Lord Jesus Christ. For you must be well aware that if we make an outward show of conversion to God without giving Him our hearts, it is only a shadow and pretence of virtue, and no true conversion.

Any man or woman who neglects to maintain inward vigilance, and only makes an outward show of holiness in dress, speech, and behavior, is a wretched creature. For they watch the doings of other people and criticize their faults, imagining themselves to be something when in reality they are nothing. In this way they deceive themselves. Be careful to avoid this, and devote yourself inwardly to His likeness by humility, charity, and other spiritual virtues. In this way you will be truly converted to God.
Walter Hilton
++++++++++++++++
If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.

And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.

For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.

At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.

So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians, Chapter 13, New American Bible
++++++++++++++++
Human beings are very much like icebergs -- we only see a small portion of them, and nothing of the hidden currents which drag them this way and that.

I fancy that we would not sit and judge our neighbor so frequently as we do, did we but ponder well over the small amount of data we possess. We perceive only the external act, but nothing of the motive activating it.
Father David McAstocker
++++++++++++++++
Some people change every food they absorb into a bad mood, even if the food is healthy. The fault does not lie in the food but in their temperament, which changes the food. Even so, if our soul has a bad disposition, everything harms it; it transforms even useful things into things that are harmful to it. If you throw a little bit of bitter herbs into a pot of honey, won't they change the whole pot by making all the honey bitter? That is what we do: we spread a little of our bitterness and we destroy our neighbor's good by looking at him according to our bad disposition.

Other people have a temperament that transforms everything into a good mood, even bad food. Pigs have a very good constitution. They eat pods, date seeds and garbage. But they transform that food into succulent meat. In the same way, if we have good habits and a good state of the soul, we can benefit from everything, even from what is not beneficial. The Book of Proverbs says it very well: "The one who sees with gentleness will obtain mercy." And in another place: "For the foolish person, everything is contrary."

I heard it said of a brother that if, when he went to see someone else, he found his cell in a state of neglect and in disorder, he told himself: "How happy is this brother to be completely detached from earthly things and to carry his spirit on high so well that he doesn't even have the time to tidy his cell!" If he then went to another brother and found his cell tidy, clean, and in good order, he told himself: "This brother's cell is as clean as his soul. As is the state of his soul, so is the state of his cell!" He never said of anyone: "This one is untidy," or: "That one is frivolous." Because of his excellent state, he benefited from everything. May God in his goodness also give us a good state so that we might benefit from everything and never think badly of our neighbor. If our malice inspires us to pass judgment or to be suspicious, let us quickly transform that into a good thought. For with God's help, not seeing what is bad in our neighbor brings forth kindness.
Dorotheus of Gaza (around 500 - ?),
Monk in Palestine,
via The Daily Gospel

Monday, June 26, 2006

It Sure Would Be Great to Be Driving Around Chicago Right Now

Then you'd get to see one of these banners using humor to sell My Life with the Saints. They're trying to get drivers' attention on the busy Kennedy Expressway in Chicago to take a new look at the saints in their lives. The campaign starts officially today at 3:00 p.m.

Check it out.

Being the Salt of the Earth

The first Christians were true salt of the earth, and they preserved people and institutions -- the whole of society -- from corruption. What can it be that has happened in so many nations? Why is it that Christians should now be giving the sad impression that they are unable to slow down and halt that wave of corruption that is burning in on the family, on schools, and on institutions ...? The Faith is still the same. And Christ lives among us now just as He did previously. His power is still infinite -- divine. Only the lukewarmness of so many thousands, indeed millions, of Christians, explains how we can offer to the world the spectacle of a Christianity that allows all kinds of heresies and destroys the strength and endurance of the Faith, and is the soulmate, in both a personal and a collective way, of compromise and of a spirit of comfort-seeking (P. Rodriguez, Faith and Life of Faith). It is difficult to explain many of the things that happen nowadays at a personal and at a public level, if we do not bear in mind that so many people who should be awake, watchful and attentive have allowed their Faith to fall asleep; love has been snuffed out in so many hearts. In many spheres, the "normal Christian" now generally means someone who is lukewarm and mediocre. Among the first Christians the "normal Christian" meant one who lived the heroism of every day, and when the occasion presented itself, accepted martyrdom itself: it could and did mean very often the surrender of one's very life in defense of the Faith ...

Let us fervently ask God for the strength to react. We will be the true salt of the earth if we keep up our daily conversation with God and if we go with ever-greater faith and love to receive the Holy Eucharist. Love was, and is, the moving force in the life of the saints. It is the whole raison d'etre of every life dedicated to God. Love gives us wings with which to soar over any personal barriers to our advance, or any obstacles presented to us by our surroundings. Love makes us unyielding when confronted by set-backs ... Love for God ... makes a molehill out of a mountain; it transforms the soul, gives it new lights and opens up new horizons for it; it makes the soul capable of achieving its highest desires and gives it capacities it had never as much as dreamed of possessing.

Wanted: One Good Man

Kat is using all resources at her disposal to find herself a man. I've gotta admire that initiative.
Funny, smart, orthodox , good housekeeper, lousy cook, and I love monthy python movies and sports. I am the whole package. Who wouldn't want me as their loving loyal wife?
And she's not kidding ... check it out y'all!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

St. Ignatius encourages Mass transit

What is this?

Find out Monday...

Whoop!

We're back ... not quite bleeding maroon when we're cut yet but not because the A&M Freshman Orientation didn't do their best.

A quick tour of the highlights and then I'm outta here ... probably until Monday (anyone who I responded to about links, etc. don't worry ... they will happen but next week).

A&M ... Gig 'Em!
  • Texas A&M has a great campus and everyone was so friendly that I began to liken it to Hannah's high school mentally ... that good culture being aggressively cultivated so it actually works. I can't count how many times I was surprised to be just passing people on the sidewalk and have them look over, smile, and say "Howdy." (The official Aggie greeting and one which Hannah may eventually say naturally but I never will.)
  • The weight of tradition is heavy there. It is almost Catholic in their number of devotions, probably multiplied by having the Corp of Cadets there. However, like Catholicism it seems that one can pick and choose favorite devotions and they all contribute well to making you an Aggie (although that "12th Man" thing about standing through an entire football game? That's just nuts...).
  • Hannah spent most of the time wanting to go home, except when she was choosing classes ... her philosophy teacher will be ecstatic to get Hannah's email about her planned minor in philosophy. Zoology and philosophy from a traditional Catholic ... now that's gonna be an interesting mix. We likened her lack of enthusiasm to that first huge plunge into the cold pool. A big dose of "really leaving home" reality. Rose told me, "Mom, you've been too nice to us and made it too cushy." New resolve: begin cruelty measures to make her want to leave. (ha!)
  • However, on the way home, Hannah became more cheerful as we talked about all the things to do to make a dorm room more homey ("I saw a 'Hello Kitty' body pillow when I was working the remodel at Target," she said.), the high school friends that are also going there, and her excitement over getting to take rock climbing for PE.
Traveling Notes
  • A sock is indeed the perfect "road" knitting project (even for a total newbie like me) except don't rush off so fast that you leave all your instructions and any extra yarn. You then stall after finishing the ribbing and heel flap, remaining frustrated until you can begin turning the heel.
Auto Notes
  • Note to self: when both you and your husband are having niggling "maybe we should check the oil" thoughts, especially for no apparent reason ... just go ahead and check the damned oil! That way you might not wind up stranded in Waxahachie with the motor frozen up because the (again damned) oil light didn't light up until after the oil was all gone.
  • The good news is that we made it to a gas station, coasting in as the motor seized ... thanks for those prayers answered, guardian angel mine!
  • More good news is that when no one was home who we called for a ride, there was a wrecking service very close by with a tow truck ready for the next assignment with no waiting.
  • Extra good news was that he had a double cab and could give us all a ride home (we were about 30 miles out of Dallas). He was one of those good, old country boys who are my favorites ... laconic but smart and with a wry sense of humor that deliver low key punchlines and watch with a twinkle to see if you get it. We did and had a great trip home.
  • Of course, the bad news ... the van is 10 years old and according to our mechanic it is a toss-up as to whether it is worth spending $3,500 on a new engine. So now we have to begin trying to decide what to do.
  • Luckily, the immediate solution to such an adventure after being gone is to order a large pizza and watch last week's taped Hell's Kitchen and a few of the Ghost Hunter episodes (1st season DVD lent by a friend). While grabbing sock instructions and turning the heel, y'all!
UPDATE
Yesterday morning we discovered that Tom's car won't start either. Good thing we have the car formerly known as "Hannah's car" ... now known as OUR ONLY car.

The Demands of Christ and Joy of Heart

This is worth keeping in mind for every time one encounters the reasoning that Jesus wouldn't hold us to particular standards because he was so loving.
Dear Youth, you tell me that you often think the Church is an institution that does nothing but promulgate rules and laws... And you conclude that there is a deep discrepancy between the joy that issues from the word of Christ and the feeling of oppression that the Church's rigidity gives you.. But the Gospel shows us a very demanding Christ who invites to a radical conversion of the heart, to detachment from the goods of the earth, to forgiveness of offenses, to love of the enemy, to patient acceptance of persecutions and even to the sacrifice of one's own life out of love for our neighbor. Where the particular area of sexuality is concerned, we know the firm position he took in defending the indissolubility of marriage and his condemnation even as regards the simple adultery committed in the heart. And could anyone not be impressed when faced with the precept to "tear out one's eye" or to "cut off one's hand" when these members are an occasion of "scandal"? ...

Moral licentiousness does not make people happy. Similarly, the consumer society does not bring joy of heart. The human being only fulfills himself to the extent to which he is able to accept the demands which flow from his dignity as a being created "in the image and likeness of God" (Gen 1:27). That is why, if the Church today says things that are not pleasing, it is because it feels obliged to do so. It does so out of a duty to fidelity...

So is it not true that the gospel message is a message of joy? On the contrary! It is absolutely true. And how is that possible? The answer can be found in one word, one single word, one short word, but its contents are as vast as the sea. And that word is love. It is perfectly possible to reconcile the stringency of the precept and joy of heart. The person who loves does not fear sacrifice. And he even seeks in sacrifice the most convincing proof of the authenticity of his love.
John Paul II
Discourse to young people in the Netherlands, May 14, 1985
Via The Daily Gospel

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Strength, Security, and the Beatitudes

For all our technological advances, people haven't really changed much since the time of Jesus. Nowhere is this more evident than in the way most people view the Beatitudes. Then as now, they represent what the world would consider weakness and softness. After all, who wants to be poor, meek, and persecuted? ...

But when we look at Jesus, we realize that he is the both the perfect example of the Beatitudes lived out and also the strongest and most secure person who walked the earth. Jesus was nobody's fool and he was certainly no shrinking violet. At the same time, he was constantly mourning over those who didn't know God. In silent strength -- meekness -- he taught his disciples by example, by parable, by reaching out to everyone who would accept him.

Perhaps if we thought more about Jesus, or tried to place ourselves among the crowds who heard him teach and saw him minister, we would change our point of view... We might see that living the Beatitudes requires a good amount of strength and decisiveness.
Word Among Us

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Set Your Drinks Down ...

... and go visit Upper Canada Catholic for these two gems:

2,996

2,996 is a tribute to the victims of 9/11.

On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers will join together for a tribute to the victims of 9/11. Each person will pay tribute to a single victim.

We will honor them by remembering their lives, and not by remembering their murderers.

... the tributes should celebrate the lives of these people–kind of like a wake. Over the last 5 years we’ve heard the names of the killers, and all about the victim’s deaths. This is a chance to learn about and celebrate those who died. Forget the murderers, they don’t deserve to be remembered. But some people who died that day deserve to be remembered–2,996 people.
Sign up here. Via My Domestic Church.

How to be a Good [and Happy] Blogger

I have been hanging onto this link to My Domestic Church until I could get a few minutes to jot some thoughts down. She has eight basic guidelines for effective blogging.

As opposed to the blogging tips that you usually read that are designed to get you the most page hits (as if we're getting paid for each hit or something), Elena has really hit the nail on the head. Her reward? I'm shamelessly stealing them and then going to adapt them. Sorry girl! But thanks for the idea!

  1. If you have comment sections - MANAGE THEM!
    Don't let commenters beat each other up, and don't let the majority opinion beat up on a dissenter. If someone is being inappropriate and rude, delete their entries, edit them or and ban them. Have a comments guideline and stick to it.

  2. If you don't have a comments section ... for Pete's sake make your email easy to find.
    Or make it clear that you're incommunicado with no email at all. When I think of the time I've wasted looking for email addresses ... usually to simply ask a question or give a compliment. And if you have a separate email address for your blog, CHECK IT often. Don't make correspondents wait for weeks until you remember that other address.

  3. Don't keep changing your URL.
    It's fine to do it every two years or so if you absolutely have to, but other than that it's a pain to keep changing the dead links and keeping up with you!

  4. Have a sense of humor.
    There's a reason Jeff Miller has 92 blogline subscribers. He takes the news and finds the humor to it. Remember it's just a blog...

  5. Share a bit from your life.
    I'm always fascinated when The Anchoress gives us the scoop on Buster. Everyone in St. Blog's was able to watch with pleasure while Dom Bettinelli got engaged, married, and became a new father. Mike Aquilina recently broke away from the Church Fathers to talk about his own father. It doesn't have to be a lot but that is what gives dimension to the blogger behind the posts.

  6. Write about what you want to and damn the hits counters.
    I see people agonizing over their status in the Ecosystem or worrying about hits on the site meters. Again, people, it's not as if we're getting paid for these things. If you love the blogging then it doesn't matter if you have 1 regular visitor or 100. It is not a popularity contest and although some people seem to be keeping score I find that they tend to be the less happy bloggers out there.

  7. Have a point.
    I can't believe Nehring had to mention this one but he's absolutely right. Whether your passion is movies, your family, geeky gadgets, or .... hmmm, let's see ... your faith, you need a focus. You can veer away or come back to it but your interest or passion for your subject is what will make your blog interesting and worthwhile for you to spend time on (and for others who drop by to read it). Oftentimes in watching people find their "blog voice" aka the focus of their blogs, you will also be watching them realize what adds zest to their lives. It's interesting that way...

  8. Have fun!
    If you're not enjoying blogging then quit or change what you're doing. But don't sit around complaining about it. Your blog is entirely in your control and life is too short to let it control you.
I'm sure I'll be adapting these myself somewhat but that's a start...

Hot on the Trail of Malachi 1:11

For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting, my name is great among the nations; And everywhere they bring sacrifice to my name, and a pure offering; For great is my name among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.
NAB, Malachi 1:11
Who knew that Malachi 1:11 was so popular? Not me, considering I never heard of it until I went to see where one of the new pieces of the liturgical translation might originate.

However, I inadvertently hit upon a favorite of the early Church Fathers and that leads us to ... Way of the Fathers, where else?

You'd think it would end there with Mike Aquilina's interesting observations, but no. He, in turn, influenced biblicalia who is now busy translating Malachi.

I'm almost afraid to see if the trail goes anywhere else ... eventually I'm not going to be able to keep up with all this high-level thinking! Do go check those blogs out though.

Monday, June 19, 2006

We're on a First Name Basis 'Round Here

Specifically, Cathy Ward is asking do know your guardian angel's name?

Why yes. Yes, I do. Though I don't think I'll be broadcasting his name.

In fact, I believe may even have met him once.

Go give Cathy the scoop on angel names.

Like sands through the hourglass ... so are the Days of Our Lives

PHASE ONE
    Joey: Look, there's nothing I can do for him right now, he's still in his sweat pants, that's still Phase One. Y'know? I'll be back for Phase Two, I would never miss Phase Two.
    Monica: What's Phase Two?
    Joey: Gettin' drunk and going to a strip club.
Without delving into painful details let it just suffice to say that Hannah was thrust into Phase One about a week ago. Seeking to provide distraction, the rest of us were struck by the realization that it is quite difficult to find a movie that doesn't contain some sort of love story. They do exist but they are few and far between. For our own convenience we made a list of "safe" movies in the house:
  • Hunt for Red October
  • Ghostbusters*
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Men in Black*
  • School of Rock
  • Aliens
  • Indiana Jones (Rose was quite annoyed that Hannah and Boyfriend had just watched the first movie a couple of days before the break-up ... "now we can't even watch The Last Crusade," she lamented.)
  • Galaxy Quest*
  • Toy Story*
  • Monsters Inc.*
  • Apollo 13
  • The Incredibles
  • Iron Giant
  • * The token romance was deemed comic enough not to count.
I know there are others but the staggering amount of stories with love at the center really surprised me (yes, I'm slow). Even when the romance is so slight it is hardly worth noting (just take a gander at all those asterisks in the list) it is still included. Talk about evidence that we are programmed to find the ultimate love (and yes for me it always comes back to God ... so sue me).

PHASE TWO
God gives us a heart, a human heart like Christ's. I don't have one heart for loving God and another for loving people. I love Christ and the Father and the Holy Spirit and Our Lady with the same heart with which I love my parents and my friends. I shall never tire of repeating this. We must be very human, for otherwise we cannot be divine.

Human love, the love we experience on earth when it is really genuine, helps us to savor divine love. That is how we grasp the love by which we rejoice in God and which we will share in heaven when the Lord is "everything to everyone." If we begin to understand God's love, we will feel impelled to become increasingly more compassionate, more generous, more dedicated.

We must give what we receive, we must teach what we learn. Very simply, without any kind of conceit, we must help others to share in the knowledge of God's love.
St. Josemaria Escriva
I saw this vividly displayed in Hannah's friends' generous behavior. These kids have got heart y'all! They rallied round to distract her, support her, and keep her too busy to dwell on her problems too often. Just when she'd be sinking very low, one of them would be on the phone or at the door with another plan of action ... a movie, a cd made just for her, swing dancing lessons, going shopping, whatever it took. I was so grateful that she had such good friends who obviously cared so much. (Because, let's face it, nothing her family could do was going to have the same effect.)

SECOND VERSE SAME AS THE FIRST...
We're back where we started before Phase I thanks to Boyfriend seeing what a fool he'd been and contritely coming back. Smart boy that he is he seems rather afraid of us right now but he needn't worry. We knew he wasn't malicious, just clueless.

However, the mark has been left on our family because we're still asking that question as we watch movies, "Is it safe?"

Mind's Eye Moment: Transformation from Geography to Time

From age to age you gather a people to yourself, so that from east to west a perfect offering may be made to the glory of your name...
Becomes in the new translation:
…you never cease to gather a people to yourself, so that from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure oblation may be offered to your name”
In Mass this week I noticed a few of spots that will be changed when the new liturgical translation is used. One was the above quoted "east to west" line.

I suddenly thought of "from the rising of the sun to its setting." In my mind's eye I could suddenly see the Earth as a globe, slowly turning with continents coming under the sun's glow and fading away as they went into night. It turned that prayer for a moment into the eternal Church, praising God around the globe without ceasing.

It was a beautiful image and one that I hope will be merely the first of many when we actually begin using the new translation.
For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting, my name is great among the nations; And everywhere they bring sacrifice to my name, and a pure offering; For great is my name among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.
NAB, Malachi 1:11

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father's Day Movie List

On Father's Day, let Dad have a movie he can really enjoy. Nehring the Edge has a nice little selection to choose from. What will the dad in your household choose? The Great Escape or The Magnificent Seven? The Shining or The Fugitive? Dirty Harry or The Dirty Dozen?

I have a feeling at our house it will be a choice between two that I don't see on that list but that are among Tom's favorites ... Apollo 13 or Hunt for Red October.

Corpus Christi

corpusprocession

Last year's Corpus Christi procession in Rome. From The Commonplace Book of Zadok the Roman

SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST

This Solemnity goes back to the thirteenth century. It was first established in the diocese of Liége, and Pope Urban IV instituted it in 1264 for the whole Church. The meaning of this feast is the consideration of and devotion to the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The center of the feast was to be, as Pope Urban IV described it, a popular devotion reflected in hymns and joy. In the same year Saint Thomas Aquinas, at the Pope's request, composed for this day two Offices which have nourished the piety of many Christians throughout the centuries. In many different places the procession with the Monstrance through specially bedecked streets gives testimony of the Christian people's faith and love for Christ, who once again passes through our cities and towns. The procession began in the same way as the feast itself.

In places where the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood is not observed as a holy day of obligation, it is kept on the Sunday after the Most Holy Trinity as its proper day.


For many years God fed manna to the people of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness. This was an image and symbol of the pilgrim church and of each individual who journeys towards his or her definitive homeland -- Heaven. That food given in the desert of Sinai is a figure of the true food, the Holy Eucharist. This is the sacrament of the human pilgrimage ... Precisely because of this, the annual feast of the Eucharist that the Church celebrates today contains within its liturgy so many references to the pilgrimage of the people of the Covenant in their wanderings through the wilderness (John Paul II)....

Today is a day of thanksgiving and of joy because God has wanted to remain with us in order to feed us and to strengthen us, so that we many never feel alone. The Holy Eucharist is the viaticum, the food for the long journey of our days on Earth towards the goal of true Life. Jesus accompanies us and strengthens us here in this world, where our life is like a shadow compared to the reality that awaits us. Earthly food is a pale image of the food we receive in Holy Communion. The Holy Eucharist opens up our hearts to a completely new reality.
In Conversation With God Vol 6
Daily Meditations, Special Feasts: January - June

Some excellent historical information can be found at The Way of the Father about this feast and about the reality for the Church from the beginning.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

I'm Finally Ready to Tackle Those Socks!


I have my yarn. Yes, it's for striped socks because I'm nothing if not foolhardy in taking up a challenging activity.


I have my new double pointed knitting needles.


And I have my wonderful step-by-step Knitting Socks Online Class all printed out and ready to follow.

Much thanks to Julie for sending me the link. Not only am I using this but I'm posting it specifically for two ladies in the yarn store who want to get started on socks too ... ladies, if you don't like the lessons go tell Julie all about it!

Now, here's my next question. I also want to knit an afghan for Hannah to have when she begins A&M (if I knit at my usual pace she'll have it just in time to graduate). However, no one has any maroon yarn. Lots of purples, lots of reds, but no maroons. Any tips? Of course, I may just wind up making one for Rose. Bishop Lynch colors are always in stock ... black and white.

Happy Birthday Ma Beck!


Go wish Cathy a happy birthday!

Back to Basics: Justice

Continuing that examination of the cardinal virtues.
Justice is the virtue that seeks to promote fair play. It's the desire and resolve to give each person his due. It demands that you reward goodness and punish evil. Justice can be one of three different types: commutative. Distributive, and social.

Commutative justice concerns the relationship between equals -- between two people, such as a customer and a merchant. [This involves fair prices and honesty about merchandise, not cheating the merchant, and restitution in case of theft of damage to property.]

Distributive justice involves the relationship between one and many -- between an individual and a group. This kind of justice is most obvious in the relationship between a citizen and his or her government [such as charging fair taxes or knowing where one's taxes go].

Social justice concerns the relationship of both individuals and groups between one another and everyone. The bottom line is the common good -- the public welfare of all. Social justice is concerned with the environment, the economy, private property, civil rights and church-state relations.
Catholicism For Dummies by John Trigilio
Recommended reading: Back to Virtue by Peter Kreeft. He examines the virtues in depth and also looks specific virtues and Beatitudes as antidotes to each of the seven deadly sins. Not a new concept but one that he writes about superbly (as always).

Next up: Temperance.

UPDATE
Once again Father Stephanos has words of wisdom that round out our contemplation of this subject.
Sometimes people set up a false dichotomy between justice and charity. Read the following.

----
Catechism of the Catholic Church
1807 Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the "virtue of religion." Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. "You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor." "Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven."
----

Justice makes charity a duty, not an option. Charity serves the glory of God and the authentic good (not necessarily convenience) of my neighbor. Justice is, in the words of the CCC above, "the constant and firm WILL to give" glory to God and to do what is authentically good for my neighbor. It is justice that receives charity as an OBLIGATION. As Jesus put it:
"I give you a new COMMANDMENT-- love another as I have loved you."

When we behave without justice, charity is already dead.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Back to Basics: Prudence

Examining the cardinal virtues a little more in-depth.
Prudence is basically practical common sense. It's saying or doing the proper thing, at the proper time, and in the appropriate manner. It's also the ability to know and judge whether to say something or do nothing at all...

Prudence takes time and practice, In the olden days, when good manners were more important than income, portfolio, or net worth, noblemen and peasants alike strove to show respect for their fellow man through the practice of prudent speech. Today, manners come in two extremes: The politically correct fear of offending anyone and saying nothing controversial -- even when someone is in danger, and alternatively, the shock-jocks who bluntly bludgeon you over the head with the raw, unadulterated truth, hoping to hurt your feelings and get a violent reaction rather than help you. Prudence, on the other hand, is in the middle of the two extremes. Prudent people speak the truth when needed and appropriate and in a way that doesn't offend, but they never lose their force and conviction.

Acting prudently requires mature deliberation [thinking carefully before acting or not acting], wise choice [determining which option is feasible and appropriate], and the right execution [swiftly and thoroughly follow through without procrastination and haste].
Catholicism For Dummies by John Trigilio
Recommended reading: Back to Virtue by Peter Kreeft. He examines the virtues in depth and also looks specific virtues and Beatitudes as antidotes to each of the seven deadly sins. Not a new concept but one that he writes about superbly (as always).

Father Stephanos
adds:
Of those for "hinge" or "pivotal" virtues, the one that is the "coordinator" of all other virtues is the virtue of prudence.

Prudence even governs our exercise of charity.

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH:
1806 Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it; "the prudent man looks where he is going." "Keep sane and sober for your prayers." Prudence is "right reason in action," writes St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle. It is not to be confused with timidity or fear, nor with duplicity or dissimulation. It is called "auriga virtutum" (the charioteer of the virtues); it guides the other virtues by setting rule and measure. It is prudence that immediately guides the judgment of conscience. The prudent man determines and directs his conduct in accordance with this judgment. With the help of this virtue we apply moral principles to particular cases without error and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid.
Good stuff, eh?

Next up: Justice.

Start Spreading the Word ...

The buzz is all over St. Blog's but for those who actually come here for their Catholic news (which would be my husband) ...

The new translation of the Mass has been approved with an overwhelming vote of 173-29! Woohoo!

Want to know what that means? Here are some links.
  • The language lover's speech that swayed the naysayers among the bishops.
  • Dom Bettinelli's commentary on the changes as well as his excellent cautionary example of what happens when self-appointed experts jump to conclusions.
  • An interview with Bishop Trautman, chairman of the conference's Committee on Liturgy.
    It will take time for the Vatican to evaluate and, presumably, approve the text. Because translations of other prayers are still under way, it will be at least two years before parishioners experience these changes, he said.
    Via Whispers in the Loggia.
  • American Papist (my linky-soul mate) has plenty of other links to reactions and commentary.
  • On the lighter side, Ironic Catholic shows the results of following the new liturgy literally. Too, too funny!

The vote was 184-8 for the adaptations for use in the United States. I'll be curious to see that list when it is released.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

For Language Lovers Everywhere

Here is a link to the full text of the address to the bishops made by Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, chairman of the Vatican group which composed the Mass translation that will be voted on later.

His discussion of language, the varieties of English heard round the world and round our country, as well as examples of the liturgical richness and fullness that would made available through this new translation literally thrilled me. It goes hand in hand with some of the richness and depth that we are being exposed to in the weekly Bible study taught by our priest. Seeing the connections between Old and New Testament effected simply by use of language and imagery is a new way to understand Scripture. This example by Bishop Roche spoke to me particularly.
Another example is found in the Fourth Eucharistic Prayer in the phrase the fruit of the vine in the Institution Narrative. Currently we say he took the cup filled with wine, as you know, and some argue that the fruit of the vine means the same as the single word wine, and that the simpler expression should be preferred. But we hear the words the fruit of the vine on the lips of the Lord himself in all three synoptic Gospels – which I would consider as being more than enough reason to respect their form. Moreover, though the two expressions refer to the same substance, they do so in an entirely different way. The difference between the single word and the richer phrase is the difference between reading the label on the bottle and actually enjoying a glass-full of the wine itself. Furthermore this phrase has a powerful salvific resonance because of the symbolic value accorded to the vine plant and the vineyard in scripture, as recalled by Jesus’ elaboration in John 15 of the image of Himself as the true vine, His Father as the vinedresser, and ourselves as the branches. This picks up on an even earlier usage in Isaiah 5 – the famous “Song of the Vineyard” - and the Lord’s lament at the degeneracy of his once choice vine in Jeremiah 2. Of course, the word wine connects with this scriptural patrimony, but it does so less evidently, less directly than does the phrase fruit of the vine which, upon each hearing, encourages us in our imaginations to see the particular Eucharistic event as part of the unfolding of God’s universal plan within history to rescue us from the destruction and chaos occasioned by our sinfulness and bring us into communion with Himself and with each other in Christ.
Do read the entire thing. Via Whispers in the Loggia.

It's That Time Again ... American Bishops Meet

The Spring Meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops began this morning.

It is of special interest this year for liturgical reasons this year. The bishops will be voting on a new translation that has been in the works for some time and should bring the order of the Mass back to mirroring the Roman missal. You can read more about those revisions here.

For those who want up-to-the-minute reports, Rocco at Whispers in the Loggia is all over this. Other than the liturgical revisions decision I am fairly disinterested in this meeting, however, as I see things coming up I'll direct you to them.

A Double Shot: Media Bias


Here's an interesting contrast ... media bias shown quite clearly as practiced two very different ways in two very different cultures:

SAUDI ARABIA
Very old-syle with scissors, black markers and the works.

AMERICAN NEWS MEDIA
Bias by careful word selection as prescribed in the AP style manual.

It seems pretty obvious that the way the news media does it is by far worse than that described in Saudi Arabia. It is much easier to fight what you can see especially when the clumsy tools used are in themselves reminders of what is being censored. Subtle rewording, as demonstrated in the AP example, can be virtually invisible and do far greater damage.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Gettin' Jiggy With It

We just happened to be watching The Tonight Show when Jay Leno mentioned that the pope has an iPod and then went on to show the newest "ad." Too, too funny...who knew B-16 had that kinda footwork?

You can check it out on YouTube now . Via Jimmy Akin.

The Evil One: A Double Shot


GOP Soccer Mom gives a good summary of a talk about the tactics and snares of the devil. Because recognizing the enemy is half the battle in the fight. She recounts some very good examples so do go and read.

Chase that down with this practical advice which I posted some time ago but was called to mind by the above linked article.
Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, 66, the archbishop of Genoa, dedicated his Lenten letter [2001] to combating the fascination of a devil who is charming, shrewd and very real. Those who follow his 10-step program are promised the ability to rebuff offers of forbidden fruit, unlike Adam and Eve or dissenters.

Ten Practical Rules to Resist Satan

Rule one: "Do not forget that the devil exists."

Rule two: "Do not forget that the devil is a tempter."

Rule three: "Do not forget that the devil is very intelligent and astute."

Rule four: "Be (always) vigilant in the eyes and the heart."

Rule five: "Be strong in spirit and virtue."

Rule six: "Tireless prayer."

Rule seven: "Adoring God."

Rule eight: "Listening to God's Words."

Rule nine: "Remembering Christ's victory over temptation. Remembering man's sharing in that victory."

Rule ten: "Be humble and love mortification."

Preparing for the After-Life

When I am about to die, I take leave of all from which I must part. I take leave of Holy Church. I thank God I was called to be a Christian and have found real Christian belief. If I were to remain longer here, I would try to help Holy Church, which has many sins.

I take leave of all poor souls now in purgatory. If I were to remain here longer, I would gladly help expiate their sins. I thank God they will find mercy.

I take leave of all those in hell and thank God that he exercises his righteousness on them. If I were to remain here longer, I would wish them well.

I take leave of all penitents working out their penance. I thank God I am one of them. If I were to remain here longer, I would always love them.

I take leave of all my enemies. I thank God that they have not conquered me. If I were to remain here longer, I would lay myself under their feet.

I take leave of all earthly things. I am sorrowful before God that I never used them according to his holy ordinances.

I take leave of all my dear friends. I thank God and them that they have been my help in need. If I were to remain here longer, I should always be ashamed of the lack of virtue they must have seen in me.

I take leave of all my wickedness. I am sorrowful before God that I have so greatly spoiled his holy gift to my soul, so that no sin is ever so small that it could be hidden in heaven. Even though the sin was paid for, the stain remains. I am sorrowful for you, Lord Jesus, for you bear the shame of my sin.

I take leave of my suffering body. I thank God he has preserved me in many things from many sins. Even if I were to remain here longer, the sins of the body are so numerous that I could never be free of them.

Mechthild of Madgeburg, d. 1282
(She was a Beguine and later a nun in Helfta, Germany)
Magnificat June 2006
Just reading this is humbling. I'd like to have it read at my funeral but will have to do much personal improving to live up to it first.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

There Once Was a Man From Nantucket

The winners are up from Ironic Cathoic's haiku contest (so sue me, I like limericks better). Also, don't miss his "I just like them" winners (so much better than saying "runners up" isn't it?).

I am not the poetry writing sort but in honor of the occasion I will now post for your enjoyment one of my favorite evocative haikus by my favorite living poet, Monkey.
folding tiny crane
papercuts can cause much pain
i must take more care.

Worshiping Idols

The ancient pagans, men who were highly civilized for the age in which they lived, invented idols for themselves and found different ways of adoring them. Many civilized men of our day -- new pagans -- raise up idols which are still better constructed and more sophisticated. In our day there seems to be real adoration and idolatry for everything that makes its appearance in the name of progress or that provides yet more material well-being, pleasure or comfort ... It seems that man also completely forgets the fact that he is a spiritual being destined for eternal life. Those words of Saint Paul ... are all too topical. Their God is the belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things (Phil 3:19). It is the modern idolatry that tempts Christians who no longer give any thought to the immense treasure of their faith or the great richness of the love of God.

We break the first commandment of the decalogue when we put other things, even good things, before God, because then we love them in a disorderly way. When he does this man distorts the right order of created things and uses them for an end opposed to, or different from, that for which they were created. When the divine order taught by the decalogue is broken, man no longer finds God in creation: he then fabricates his own God, and radically hides himself within his own selfishness and pride ... Because of this very real temptation, each man, each woman, needs to often ask themselves ... whether God is truly the first thing in their lives, the most important, the Highest Good, who guides the way they behave and make decisions.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Monty Python, King Arthur, Indiana Jones, and the Da Vinci Code

What is the common element?

An obsession with the Holy Grail. Honestly I never would have made that connection or realized how ingrained the whole concept of the grail is in our culture if I wasn't reading Grail Code.

The subject seems daunting. Who really wants to read an entire book about the Holy Grail? Not me. How about a book looking for King Arthur? Hmmm, that's a bit more interesting but still no sale. At least, that is, until I was shown that we really are not merely talking about the grail or King Arthur but a much bigger story, something divine really.
If there was a real Holy Grail -- a cup venerated by the early Christians as the cup used at the Last Supper -- then it would eventually have become so encrusted with jewels and precious metals from the far corners of the earth that the original object would be hard to recognize. The cup would have been unchanged in essence but surrounded by a superstructure of ornamentation designed to draw attention to the beauty of its holiness.

All this is simply speculation. In spite of the strong claims about some relics in various parts of Europe, we really have no idea what became of the cup that Jesus used. Whether or not the object still exists, the veneration and ornamentation that might have happened to the Holy Grail is exactly what did happen to the story of the Holy Grail. One generation after another added jewels from all kinds of unlikely sources until the thing seemed to have a completely different shape. But the essence -- the original meaning of the Eucharist -- was unchanged. The added layers of ornament only expressed centuries of veneration for the truth of the Eucharist...
Interesting concept isn't it? Certainly it is one that never occurred to me but is fascinating in the implications. Just to make sure I don't lose the trail, the authors then go onto King Arthur and work the same magic ... making connections I didn't know existed.
It's a lot of fun to chase bits of historical evidence hither and yon, and to pounce on them when they seem to support our favorite theory. But to us, the historical truth about King Arthur is almost irrelevant. What's much more important is what people have believed about King Arthur for most of the last millennium and a half.

The story of King Arthur is the story of the creation of a terrestrial paradise -- a paradise that was destroyed by sin. It is also a story of longed-for redemption, the hope that some miracle could restore the perfect world that sin destroyed.
Wow! I'm just at the beginning of this book but can assure you that it is neither boring nor difficult to read. I'm sure more excerpts will follow as I follow the interesting historical trail the authors have laid out for us in this book.

For a sample of the authors' writing, check out their blogs.

Mike Aquilina shows how the Church fathers mean something to us today at Way of the Fathers as he writes about archaeological findings, how the Church fathers dealt with teenagers, whether Church fathers used Mac or PC (duh, gotta be Mac, right?), and more.

Christopher Bailey writes at Grail Code about the search for King Arthur, Merlin, and (most interestingly to me and to anyone who has had to argue against the "facts" in Da Vinci Code), shows exactly how easy it is to create verifiable but false "historical facts".

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Solemnity of The Blessed Trinity

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Blessed Trinity. This, the ineffable mystery of God's intimate life, is the central truth of our faith an dthe source of all gifts and graces. The liturgy of the Mass invites us to loving union with each of the Three Divine Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This feast was established for the Latin Church by Pope John XXII, to be celebrated on the Sunday after the coming of the Holy Spirit, which is the last of the mysteries of our salvation. Today we can say many times, savouring it, the prayer: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit...

[St. Teresa] writes: Once when I was reciting the "Quicumque vult," I was shown so clearly how it was possible for there to be one God alone and three Persons that it caused me both amazement and much comfort. It was of the greatest help to me in teaching me to know more of the greatness of God and of his marvels. When I think of the most Holy Trinity, or hear it spoken of, I seem to understand how there can be such a mystery, and it is a great joy to me.

The whole of a Christian's supernatural life is directed towards this knowledge of and intimate conversation with the Trinity, who become eventually the fruit and the end of our whole life (St. Thomas). It is for this end that we have been created and raised to the supernatural order: to know, to talk to and to love God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, who dwell in the soul in grace.
In Conversation With God Vol 6
Special Feasts: January - June

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Animation Versus Animator


Don't miss this ... too, too clever!
Click "watch this movie" next to this symbol on the right side of the page
(please note that the site has some ads that may offend some people ... just click fast and you can move on).


Thanks to Tom for passing this on.

I'm Not So Interested in Cars ...

... though we definitely will be checking out the movie. Tom's been waiting for a year for it. However, I am interested in Paris, fine food, restaurants, and Brad Bird's brilliant humor. This is the Pixar movie I'm waiting for.

Scientific Concept of Beauty, Part III

Continued from yesterday.
Brilliance is the third element in science's view of the beautiful. Augros and Stanciu explain that "a theory with this quality has great clarity in itself and sheds light on many other things, suggesting new experiments. Newton, for example, astounded the world by explaining falling bodies, the tides and the motions of the planets and the comets with three simple laws." George Thomason adds that "in physics, as in mathematics, it is a great beauty if a theory can bring together apparently different phenomena and show that they are closely connected; or even different aspects of the same thing." This is exactly what Einstein did with his theory of general relativity, and it helps to explain his religious attitude toward the universe, and why he marveled at its comprehensibility, namely, that the human intellects can make sense of it and understand it.
Tags: , Christianity

Friday, June 9, 2006

Forecast: Sunny

You Are Storm

Exotic and powerful, Storm descended from a line of African priestesses.
Emotions can effect your powers, but you are generally serene.

Powers: controlling weather, creating winds that lift you into flight, generating lightning

Via Discernment Dilemma.

Mad Scientists, Diet Coke, and Mentos

Boys will be boys after all and it don't get much better than this!

Via Steven Riddle, who knows what I love to see!

Scientific Concept of Beauty, Part II

Continued from yesterday.
The second scientific element is harmony. Albert Einstein went so far as to assert that "without belief in the inner harmony of the world there could be no science." This harmony is a satisfying accordance and combination or differing elements making up a whole or found in a whole. There will likewise by symmetry as a solid scientific theory "will harmonize many previously unrelated facts." Werner Heisenberg adds that "the symmetry properties always constitute the most essential features of a theory." We obviously have here what philosophers have through the centuries called proportion: in actuality the two ways of speaking are identical. Science, like metaphysics, sees the universe saturated with beauty.
Tags: , Christianity

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Novena of Confidence to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

O Lord Jesus Christ, to your most Sacred Heart I confide this intention. Only look upon me, then do what your love inspires. Let your Sacred Heart decide. I count on you. I trust in you. I throw myself on your mercy. Lord Jesus, you will not fail me.

(Mention your request)

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in you.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I believe in your love for me.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, your kingdom come.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I have asked you for many favors, but I earnestly implore this one. Take it, place it in your open heart. When the Eternal Father looks upon it, he will see it covered with your Precious Blood. It will no longer be my prayer, but yours, Jesus. Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you. Let me not be disappointed. Amen.
This is my very favorite novena. There is something about this especially, "When the Eternal Father looks upon it, he will see it covered with your Precious Blood. It will no longer be my prayer, but yours, Jesus" that is such a beautiful thought to me. I began it tonight for a special intention for a friend.

Blogger Status

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

This morning, a hardware problem we had been struggling with over the past several days suddenly worsened. As a result, and to stave off future downtime, we have had to take Blogger down for an extended period of time as we address the problem. We will continue to update this blog and the homepage with more information.

Update: We've brought up new hardware which has allowed us to restore the site. We try hard to avoid downtimes of this length and apologize for the inconvenience.
I've got news for them ... inconvenient isn't the word and it ain't over yet. Let's see if this gets posted or disappears into the ether.

Memorial: Our Lord Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest

This feast day is shown in my book as being held on the Thursday after Pentecost. However, I can't find it on any other liturgical/feast day calendars. Nonetheless I like this and am going to share it.
The whole Church participates in the mission of Christ the Priest. Through the sacraments of Christian initiation the lay faithful participate in Christ's priesthood and are rendered capable of sanctifying the world through secular affairs. Priests, in a way that is different in essence and not just in degree, also participate in Christ's priesthood and are constituted as mediators between God and man, especially through the Sacrifice of the Mass, which they realize in persona Christi. Today is a day when we ought to pray for all priests in a special way...

One thing we can ask God for today is that his priests be always available and open to everybody, and detached from themselves, because the priest does not belong to himself, as he does not belong to his relatives and friends, nor even to a particular country: the charity he has to breathe must be universal. His very thoughts, his desires, his sentiments, are not his own: they belong to Christ, who is his life (Pius XII, quoted by John XXIII).

Scientific Concept of Beauty, Part I

... So we ask: What, according to our best scientific minds, are the traits of this omnipresent splendor in our universe? The most concise and clear answer to this question that I have seen occurs in the study by Robert Augros and George Stanciu, The New Story of Science. We can do no better than to summarize their thought and add a few of our own reflections.

For contemporary science the first trait of beauty is an elegant simplicity. In this context simplicity refers to an essential purity, a freedom from superfluities, useless accretions, and needless complications. Einstein's theory of gravitation possess this grace and proprietary, whereas competing theories do not, and thus "none of them are taken seriously." Astronomer Roger Penrose commented that "no rival theory comes close to general relativity in elegance or simplicity of assumption." For the scientist simplicity implies both completeness and economy: "It must take into account all the facts and must include only what is necessary. Nothing lacking, nothing superfluous." Notable in the field of mathematical physics, Henri Poincare commented that "it is because simplicity and vastness are both beautiful that we seek by preference simple facts and vast facts." We notice in this requirement for valid scientific discoveries, namely that they be elegantly simple and yet vast, the classical philosophical traits of the beautiful: unity and wholeness.
I came to this book with a great deal of trepidation, knowing Dubay's reputation for high level theological thinking. I was surprised and pleased to find that I had inadvertently prepared myself, at least in part, to follow his train of thought by reading two very different books.

The first was Aristotle for Everybody by Mortimer J. Adler. Although presented in their own beautiful simplicity in mentally "bite-sized" chapters this book was a challenge for me. However, I retained enough that when Dubay began talking about various philosophical concepts, especially that of "form," I was able to follow with relative ease.

The second was The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel which I reviewed for Spero News. Whether one agrees or not with the beliefs of the scientists interviewed for that book, one can't help but come away with a certain understanding of how they see and define beauty within the discipline of science. Again, I didn't realize that I had absorbed something of that understanding until I encountered it in the pages of this book but it did smooth the way for me somewhat.

I am still working my way through this and may hit the really difficult concepts later on. Also, I don't wish to give the impression that you must have a lot of preparation to even begin reading this book. It is merely interesting to me that I recognized these concepts as building blocks learned from previous reading.

You can go on to Part II here.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Having Christ as Our Cornerstone

A Christian, who will have built his life upon the cornerstone who is Christ, has his own personality, his own way of seeing the world and its happenings. He has a scale of values very different from that of the pagan, who does not live by faith and who has a purely worldly conception of things. A weak and lukewarm Christian faith, however, which exerts very little influence on ordinary life, can provoke in some people that kind of inferiority complex which manifests itself in an immoderate desire to "humanize" Christianity, to "popularize" the Church, to make it somehow seem to conform to the value-judgments prevalent in the world at a given time (J. Orlandis).

That is why, as well as being immersed in our secular activities, as Christians we need to be immersed in God, through prayer, the sacraments and the sanctification of our daily work. We need to be faithful disciples of Jesus in the middle of the world, in our ordinary everyday life, with all the constant effort and hard decisions this entails. In this way we will be able to put into practice the advice Saint Paul gave to the first Christians in Rome when he alerted them to the risks of accommodating themselves to the pagan customs of the day: Do not be conformed to this world (Rom 12:2). Sometimes this refusal to conform will lead us to row against the current and run the risk of being misunderstood by many of our contemporaries. The Christian must not forget that he is leaven (Matt 13:33) hidden in the lump of dough that has to be fermented by him...

Jesus of Nazareth continues to be the cornerstone of every man's life. Any building constructed without Christ is raised in vain. Let us think as we finish our prayer, whether the Faith we profess is coming to bear more and more influence on our existence, on the way we view the world and mankind, and on the way we behave.
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