Listen now to: The Simpsons at Church
Thanks to Deacon Ken for thinking of me when hearing this story and getting the link! Even more so since he is not a Simpsons fan ... poor fellow.
Their website can be found here.New Catholic Group Launches Media Initiative
For far too long, Catholic artists and filmmakers have struggled to finance their projects and receive the training necessary to perfect their craft, hindering them from spreading their message of faith, hope, and love of God and His church. Today, we are happy to announce that a group of Catholics has come together to address this pressing cultural need.
The Genesis Initiative is a grassroots, non-profit organization aimed at funding worthy television and motion picture projects that promote Catholic values, teachings, and historical figures. ...
The first means is to use silence. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence. We cannot put ourselves directly in the presence of God if we do not practice internal and external silence. (Mother Teresa)This also hit a chord with me because I have found that if I do not say my two customary prayers at the very beginning, then I struggle in prayer much more. I realized this some time before Father Langford's words put it into true focus for me. First I seek God deliberately, using those prayers repeatedly if necessary to calm my mind and soul so that I may attempt to duck my head beneath the surface and begin to listen as well as to talk.
Engaging in deep prayer is much like diving for pearls. Some minimal effort is required for a pearl diver to overcome his natural buoyancy, to arrive at the depths where the treasure lies -- and to remain there for the duration. In prayer as well, there is a kind of natural buoyancy at work, drawing us back to the surface. like the diver, we need some simple, persevering effort to remain there in the depths, where all is quiet and peace in God's presence.
A storm of thoughts and distractions may go on above us, but as long as we provide that minimal inner movement that allows us to stay below. the storms of distraction cannot touch us; they do not affect or interrupt our prayer. Whenever we experience turbulence, whenever we find ourselves buffeted by thoughts, it is a sign that we have been imperceptibly returning to the surface. We need only that small effort once again to return below, like the small kick of the diver's fins, and again we are at peace in an inward Eden. What this means for prayer, and our perennial battle with distractions, is that thoughts and distractions are no longer an obstacle -- we merely stay beneath them, consistently seeking this deeper "place of the heart."
We need to create our own inner hermitage, an inner sanctum where nothing and no one but God can enter -- where God can abide alone, "face-to-face" with the soul. This is the motive behind Jesus' teaching: "When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father... in secret (Mt 6:6).
Finding the "place of the heart" builds on the practice of establishing faith-contact with God at the outset of prayer. Before engaging in prayer, we first take a brief moment to enter into conscious and deliberate contact -- not with a God hidden above the clouds, nor floating on the mind's ruminations, but with the living God abiding in the depths of our soul.
Once we have taken this first step and consciously established faith-contact with God, we simply begin to move the focus of our awareness away from the surface, towards the center of the soul. We shift our attention from the level of the head to the level of the heart. There is nothing difficult or mysterious abut this at all. Though the "heart" referred to here is not the physical heart per se, there is such an intimate, God-made connection between soul and body that by shifting our focus inward, to a level corresponding to the are of the heart, we find ourselves moving towards a deeper level of the soul as well.
At home with his wife of seven years, fireman Caleb Holt shows little of the bravery he displays on the job, and has a failing marriage as a result. Fighting over every little thing, Caleb and his wife, Catherine (Erin Bethea), are on the verge of signing divorce papers when Caleb's father and coworkers urge him to approach his marriage in the same way he fights vicious flames. When Caleb's father gives him the "Love Dare," a 40-day guide to religiously motivated marriage help, Caleb begins a difficult journey to reclaim his wife, and in the process, his faith in God.The intended audience: Christians and married couples
With several action-packed scenes, FIREPROOF uses fire metaphors in its exploration of marriage. The film offers an alternative to the common romantic comedy and, some might argue, a more multidimensional view of romance. The film examines both the ups and inevitable downs of married life, offering faith as a prescription for saving what may at first glance appear to have already failed. Likely to please its target audience, the film offers a fresh perspective on marriage and inspiring relationship tips viewers may want to try regardless of their faith.
To be blunt, if a film purports to be a “Christian film” it supposedly is done for the glory of God. You don’t glorify God by making lousy movies.Read Scott Nehring's article Less Christian Art - More Christian Artists.
We need great movies.
Ready to learn everything you need to know about the economy in the shortest amount of time?A series of videos between 3 and 20 minutes in length. All 20 sections take 3 hours and 23 minutes to watch in full. I am just beginning to watch them.
The Crash Course is a condensed online version of Chris Martenson's "End of Money" seminar.
What is it?
The Crash Course seeks to provide you with a baseline understanding of the economy so that you can better appreciate the risks that we all face. ...
[...]I have seen just enough of the Oscar nominated movies as well as those Jeffrey mentions (or have heard Rose's pronouncements, which clearly I trust more than the Oscar committee) to know that he speaks the truth.
- How The Reader could be chosen over WALL-E (oh, right, it’s about The Holocaust!)…
- How Ron Howard could get a Best Director nomination over Andrew Stanton or Christopher Nolan…
- How The Fall could be ignored for cinematography… [...]
- How The Curious Case of Benjamin Button — a rewrite of Forrest Gump that manages to run almost three hours in spite of having a central character who is completely uninteresting (outside of his disease symptoms, anyway) — got a Best Picture nomination…
Prayer is something I am trying to grow in, and I am intrigued by the idea of a prayer journal. I am unfamiliar with the concept and I'm curious how one would use a prayer journal. What kinds of things do you write in there? Is it a prayer in the form of a dialog? Is it a place just to keep track of prayer intentions?I don't think I have ever mentioned anything specific before so that is a good question. I have heard of two sorts of prayer journals. The first is where someone journals their prayers and I believe also what answers they received along the way. I'm afraid that I'd then get so into writing things down I would forget about the praying part ... which says a good deal about my personality I fear.
Aquinas and More Sets Up CPSIA Central to Help Other RetailersI have read about this law recently and it almost seems tailor made to put small businesses out of business altogether. I realize that the overall goal is laudable but surely there is a better way than slapping down a bandaid like this.
Colorado Springs, CO (January 20, 2009) – Aquinas and More Catholic Goods is announcing a new section of its blog, CPSIA Central, to help educate others about the CPSIA. This new law will affect Aquinas and More and many other retailers in the country, and the company is very concerned about the livelihood of other retailers who may not yet be well-informed about the law.
On February 10, 2009 the new law will go into effect and threaten many independent and small businesses. This law, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), mandates that every children's product – toys, books, apparel, CDs, and much more – marketed to and used by children aged 12 and younger be tested at an approved lab for a variety of toxins, including lead. This law is devastating to many small businesses who deal with or make children's items, because it requires testing to be done and documentation available by February 10 for retailers, or the products will have to be destroyed at that time. Testing isn't cheap – it can range from a couple hundred dollars to $4000 per item. Failure to comply with this law can result in a minimum fine of $100,000, and possibly even five years in prison. Retailers, suppliers, and manufacturers are all affected and responsible.
Somehow, this law is going largely unnoticed by the media and by many who will be directly affected once the law goes into effect. Aquinas and More Catholic Goods has set up a special section on its blog, Musings From a Catholic Bookstore, to help others educate themselves about this far-reaching law. CPSIA Central can be found here . This page was set up because, while calling vendors to see what they were doing about CPSIA, Aquinas and More discovered that the majority had never even heard of this law and so are obviously unprepared. In the interest of helping as many as possible understand and prepare for this law, CPSIA Central includes important information and polls to gauge how this will affect people.
Aquinas and More has also included a list of vendors who are certified and those who have been contacted but are not yet certified. As most people have been blindsided by this law only recently, very few are compliant. Of the 27 vendors we have contacted at the time of writing this release, only two are prepared with products being tested and documentation forthcoming. 16 of those 27 are currently researching the law, and were largely unaware of it prior to our call. Aquinas and More has yet to hear back from nine of those who have been contacted. Because there has been so little information about this law in the media or anywhere else, most vendors will most likely not be prepared with the necessary testing and documentation in time for the deadline, which is now only three weeks away.
For more information about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, check CPSIA Central frequently, as it will continue to be updated with the latest information. If you are a Christian vendor or retailer, please send Aquinas and More any updated information you might have so they can keep the information current on CPSIA Central.
Loyal opposition is the concept that one can be opposed to the actions of the government or ruling party of the day without being opposed to the constitution of the political system.When I read Steven Riddle's comments about this change in administration, what he said echoed my feelings. He used the term "loyal opposition" and it seems good to me.
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.A commenter mentioned:Howard Thurman
True...but unhelpful to some of us. The thing that makes me come alive won't support my family...I would like to gently encourage us to look past the immediacy of jobs. Remember, he didn't say ... earn a living by coming alive, did he? Let us take me as an example ...
Do remember reading a panic-mongering news story a while back about genetically engineered “Frankengrass” “escaping” from the golf course where it had been planted? That news story was foreshadowed decades previously in the form of prophetic fiction wherein a pushy salesman, a cash-strapped scientist, and a clump of crabgrass accidentally merge forces with apocalyptic consequences. A triple-genre combo of science fiction, horror, and satire, Greener Than You Think is a forgotten classic that resonates beautifully with modern times. This is a faithful reading of a 1947 first edition text.
Regardless of how many years have passed since the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court Decision and regardless of how prevalent and routine abortion has become in this country, the simple truth remains, it is an act of extreme violence to the pre-born child and to the distressed mother. Thus, if anyone says, "I love God" and still favors abortion, he is, to quote St. John, a liar. May we all live out faithfully what it means to love God.He says much else, all of it good, as does The Curt Jester where I saw the bishop's letter.
We got there right at 8:00 and went to the abortion clinic. ... You'd have loved the clinic scene this year. My guess is that there were about 4x the number of people this year as last. They were on both sides of the street and on the next block as well. There were also only 5 "clinic support" people there instead of a dozen. It was enough to warm the heart (while freezing the hind quarters).Unfortunately their household is falling prey to the flu and his daughter began getting feverish before Mass so they had to go home. Hope everyone pulls out of it fast, Mark!
A representative born in each year since 1973 comes forward and places a red rose in a basket before the altar. Each person and each rose represents about 1.2 million people whose lives were violated and destroyed before they were even born.As they place the rose in the basket deep bell is rung once. It makes it a very solemn occasion. The last person, representing the current year, is a pregnant woman. Just looking at all those people, thinking of all the baby boys and girls who have been murdered in that time was sobering. It made it more tangible somehow.
Out of everything I’ve seen him in, I like to imagine Armando was the character most like Ricardo Montalbán in real life. You see, I took a small interest in Mr. Montalbán’s off-screen doings when in 2002, just after my return to The Church, he received the first annual Spirit of Angelus Award, an honor given “for a body of film work of surpassing quality complemented by a faith lived with integrity and generosity.” At his acceptance speech, he noted that his Catholic faith was the most important thing in his life, followed closely by his marriage. It wasn’t just talk. He remained happily married to actress Georgiana Young for 63 years (63 YEARS!) until her passing in late 2007. On the Church side, in 1998, he was recommended by his Bishop for membership as a Knight in the Order of St. Gregory the Great, an award given by the Vatican to acknowledge an individual's particular meritorious service to the Church.Read it all over at The B-Movie Catechism.
From the beginning, the Torah was accompanied by an oral tradition, which was necessary for its complete understanding. Although it was thought to be blasphemous to write the oral tradition down, the necessity for doing so eventually became apparent, leading to the creation of the Mishna. Later, as rabbis discussed and debated these two texts, the Talmud was written in order to compile their arguments.The Intellectual Devotional
... At some point, I started getting nudges that God loved me.That is so perfect because it makes the immediateness of God in our lives so real, so tangible. (Except God leaves me Butterfingers or halvah.) Go read the entire post ... you may want to first read the excerpt linked above because she tells you to do that anyway ... and then go on to read her further meditations upon how we define and limit God. This is just where the book goes and I will be providing some further excerpts for that as well later on.
But not in that intellectual, “God loves me, all is good” kind of way, but rather, “I would run through fire to be with you. I wait by the phone hoping you’ll call. When the mail comes, I’m disappointed if there isn’t a letter from you. I stalk your Twitter account to see what you’ve been up to. When I’m at the grocery store, I see the Ritter Sport marzipans in the candy aisle and I buy a package to leave on your desk so you’ll find them in the morning.”
... ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert -- in anything. In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again. Ten thousand hours is the equivalent to roughly three hours per day, or twenty hours per week, of practice over ten years. Of course, this doesn't address why some people don't seem to get anywhere when they practice, and why some people get more out of their practice sessions than others. But no one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery.My husband came across this concept when reading Your Brain on Music and it resonated. This is because we are at that age of life when we have put in 10,000 hours and more during our careers. It is also because he was trying to pinpoint how best to get across the "practice, practice, practice" concept to a new employee. This did it in a nutshell. Once we knew about the 10,000 hours it seemed as if we saw it everywhere. Often it was not communicated using that exact phrase which has been picked up by pop-sociologist Malcolm Gladwell and now is relatively common. However, the concept always was there. It is one that mankind knew for most of our history, that to be very good, a master of something, one must continually strive to be better. In other words: practice.Dr. Daniel Levitin, Your Brain on Music
"My secret is simple...I pray."In other words, quit thinking and talking about prayer and take the time to go do it. Repeatedly. Faithfully in faith.
She knew that everything stands or falls depending on the depth of one's prayer. Our transformation depends entirely on God and, therefore, on our conscious contact with him -- and so, "What can be more important than prayer?"
If prayer unlocks the door to our encounter, then the key that unlocks the door to prayer is faith -- the sum of our freely chosen, actively applied convictions about god. But faith is more than the sum content of belief -- it is above all the act of belief. It is the act of clinging in the night to an unseen sun, and by that simple act bringing the fullness of that sun within us; as St. Paul writes, "[May] Christ ... dwell in your hearts by faith" (Eph 3:17). Faith is a virtue; it is that God-driven, beyond-human power ("virtue," from the Latin virtus, meaning "power") to place ourselves, with or without feeling, in direct and intimate contact with the very God in whom we believe:Prayer is the fruit of faith. If we have faith, we will want to pray.[...]
Faith determines the boundaries and the horizon of our entire spiritual life. We do not need more information about our faith, as much as we need more actual faith -- more conscious faith-contact in our daily prayer-encounters with God. The dimensions of our faith become the exact dimensions, large or small, through which God and his love must pass in order to reach us. God's gifts are not a reward for our faith; they are instead the direct consequence of our faith, the result of opening with the faith-portal between our soul and the Almighty.
We cannot change ourselves, no matter how long or hard we try. Love along changes us. We can only be loved into a new life -- and most powerfully, by the One who is love. The source of all love, source of all the goodness we saw in Mother Teresa, abides within each one of us. Were we able to interrupt our hurried lives and take the time to go within, we would gradually find ourselves caught up in this tide of divinizing, transforming love. But this process can only be started through prayer. It is only in prayer that we access god's unlimited love, and unleash its transforming effects in our lives.
This transformative process begins in the innermost recesses of the soul and moves outward -- to embrace thoughts, emotions, activities, and the whole of one's being. That Mother Teresa's transformation came about through prayer was confirmed in her own words: "My secret is simple -- I pray." ...
There is a simple key to fruitful prayer. It is to first take the time to touch God in faith before we engage in prayer, to be in a state of contact with him before "saying" prayers. Simply put, it is to "pray before you pray."
This simple practice can change our experience of prayer. This may seem like a small adjustment, but it opens us onto a reality as large and powerful as God himself. Without conscious faith, our prayer is not true contact, not prayer at all, but simply cogitation. Transformation is God's free gift, but it is only our free act of contact in faith that makes that gift possible. We will still encounter struggles and distractions -- but we will at least be touching the hem of his robe, however briefly, every day of our lives.
[...]Love to pray, feel often during the day the need for prayer and take the trouble to pray. If you want to pray better, you must pray more. Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God's gift of Himself. Ask and seek and your heart will grow big enough to receive Him and keep Him as your own.