Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wacky Wednesday, Wednesday, June 29, 2011, Ozzie Explains Women To Rick

It's Wednesday, we've made it half way through the week, it's time to sit back and enjoy a laugh from Ozzie and Harriet.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Miscellaneous Musings, Tuesday, June 28, 2011, Joyless Catholics?

From William Barry, God’s Passionate Desire:

I have to admit, my first impression on entering a Catholic church to attend mass was how quiet and sedate, almost joyless, it was compared to my old Presbyterian church. That’s saying something; Presbyterians pride themselves on doing everything decently and in order. On being asked, at an evangelical conference held some years ago, what the Presbyterian contribution  to evangelism had been, one famous Presbyterian minister said simply, "restraint!"
“In today's world, it does not always seem so. Take, for instance, our liturgies. To be truthful, we would have to admit that a stranger visiting most of our liturgical "celebrations" would wonder about our use of language. We do not look as though we are enjoying ourselves or celebrating anything. How many of us go regularly to the Sunday liturgy because we feel that we have to go-in other words, because we know what pleases God? If we did not "have to" go, would we? In my work as a spiritual director, I have met many people whose prayer brings them no sense of being blessed. When asked why they continue to try to pray, they answer, "Because I have to, because God wants me to."

Yet, as I began attending Mass, I began to pay attention to details. The little old lady who always sat in the back, very old, very poor, with the Rosary in her hands praying to her Mother, one of the holiest people I think I've ever seen. There were middle-aged people, on their knees, on a hard floor, silently in prayer, in preparation for the Mass soon to begin. It was striking because, in all the years I was a Presbyterian I never saw anyone pray, one on one, to God. It struck me how strange that was, how could there be any better place to pray than in God's own house? It seemed too obvious to miss, yet I had.

I concluded that while it’s true people aren’t bounding around most Catholic parishes in joyful abandon, it’s also true that there is present in most Catholic parishes a living spirit and tradition of a sacred place where any of us sinners can meet God.

No one can deny that many things in the Church have gone wrong since Vatican II. At the same time, I’m not sure we should beat ourselves up for things we have that are good, in favor of some imagined ideal. I understand what Fr. Barry is getting at, but I'm grateful for what we have, and are.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Desert Fathers, Sunday, June 26, 2011 – St. Symeon the New Theologian

Symeon the New TheologianImage via Wikipedia

When a man walks in the fear of God he knows no fear, even if he were to be surrounded by wicked men. He has the fear of God within him and wears the invincible armor of faith. This makes him strong and able to take on anything, even things which seem difficult or impossible to most people. Such a man is like a giant surrounded by monkeys, or a roaring lion among dogs and foxes. He goes forward trusting in the Lord and the constancy of his will to strike and paralyze his foes. He wields the blazing club of the Word in wisdom.

St. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Founders Friday, Friday, June 24, 2011, Charles Carroll

Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure (and) which insures to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Early Church Fathers, Sunday, June 19, 2011, Cyril of Jerusalem

Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that, for they are, according to the Master's declaration, the body and blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the body and blood of Christ. . . [Since you are] fully convinced that the apparent bread is not bread, even though it is sensible to the taste, but the body of Christ, and that the apparent wine is not wine, even though the taste would have it so. . . partake of that bread as something spiritual, and put a cheerful face on your soul ((Catechetical Lectures( 22:6,9) [A.D. 350].

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Miscellaneous Musings, Saturday, June 18, 2011, A Weiner Spectacle

Some scandals are just too miserable to deserve comment; others, in the downfall of the principle actors offer can offer valuable insight into the faults and weaknesses of society at large. The recent sorry spectacle of a U.S. Representative with the unfortunate name of Weiner is one of the latter.

For a long time, I was convinced that the affair deserved no comment, as the news coverage was sufficiently describing the sorry details. I changed my mind when then Rep Weiner announced he was seeking time off to get treatment, as if his problems were of a medical nature. I submit they’re not, the man’s problem is spiritual and moral; he is plainly a man in search of fulfillment and has looked in all the wrong places. He’s a victim of his own leftist world view that he is his own man, not accountable to anyone else, or even more, not accountable, much less dependent upon, God. He’s been shown how wrong he is, but he seems to lost, or too self-absorbed, to see the truth.

The truly sad thing is that he isn’t alone in society; he also serves as a vivid example of the cancer that has been eating away at our society for a very long time. It’s one that we’re in danger of succumbing to, I fear. I find it striking that the situation was described quite clearly by Thomas Merton nearly 60 years ago in his book, Thoughts in Solitude:

No amount of technological progress will cure the hatred that eats away the vitals of materialistic society like a spiritual cancer. The only cure is, and must always be, spiritual. There is not much use talking to men about God and love it they are not able to listen. The ears with which one hears the message of the Gospel are hidden in man’s heart, and these ears do not hear anything unless they are favored with a certain interior solitude and silence.

In other words, since faith is a matter of freedom and self-determination—the free receiving of a freely given gift of grace—man cannot assent to a spiritual message as long as his mind and heart are enslaved by automatism. He will always remain so enslaved as long as he is submerged in a mass of other automatons, without individuality and without their rightful integrity as persons.

This particular political scandal shows what happens when a man loses sight of his, and others, integrity as a person. It is, indeed, a sorry spectacle, but one we shouldn’t soon forget.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Founders Friday, Friday, June 17, 2011, Gouveneur Morris

"Religion is the only solid basis of good morals; therefore education should teach the precepts of religion, and the duties of man toward God."

Gouveneur Morris

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wacky Wednesday, June 15, 2011, 10 Cutest Cat Moments

It's Wednesday, we've made it half way through the week, so it's time to kick back and enjoy a laugh.  This week, a change of pace.  Have fun.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Early Church Fathers, Sunday, June 12, 2011, St. Irenaeus

Irenaeus compiled a list of apostolic successi...Image via Wikipedia
True knowledge is the doctrine of the Apostles, and the ancient constitution of the Church throughout all the world, and the distinctive manifestation of the body of Christ according to the successions of the bishops, by which they have handed down that Church which exists in every place, and has come even unto us, being guarded and preserved, without any forging of Scriptures, by a very complete system of doctrine, and neither addition nor curtailment [in truths which she believes]; and [it consists in] reading [the Word of God] without falsification, and a lawful and diligent exposition in harmony with the Scriptures, both without danger and without blasphemy… (Against Heresies 2:9 [A.D. 189]).

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Founders Friday, Friday, June 10, 2011, Benjamin Rush

"By removing the Bible from schools we would be wasting so much time and money in punishing criminals and so little pains to prevent crime. Take the Bible out of our schools and there would be an explosion in crime."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Miscellaneous Musings, June 9, 2011

There was a good article in this week's The Weekly Standard (here) by David Gallertner on the view of the American Left towards America itself.  Here's a short excerpt:

The Obamacrats’ hatred is too well known to need cataloguing. We know that NPR’s top people see Tea Party supporters as “seriously racist, racist people.” We know the views of such old reliables as former DNC chairman Howard Dean (“I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for”) and Nina Totenberg of NPR (who once said that Jesse Helms “ought to be worried about what’s going on in the Good Lord’s mind, because if there is retributive justice, he’ll get AIDS from a transfusion, or one of his grandchildren will get it”). We know former congressman Alan Grayson’s ideas about his Republican colleagues: “If you get sick in America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly.” We know the disgusting things that have been said about Sarah Palin going back to the first days of her vice presidential candidacy. Most important, we remember the indescribably low and dirty attacks made repeatedly on President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

(Not long ago a thoughtful Obama-crat was attacking Cheney, and I asked him whether Cheney and Obama weren’t, in personal terms, much alike. He thought it over and said yes; they were both highly intelligent, low-key, thoughtful, well-read, unemotional but strongly committed to their own worldviews. Then why did the left find Cheney personally so objectionable? And wasn’t it striking that the right never talks about Obama the way the left did about Cheney? To his credit, he had no answer.)

There's also an article on the self-indulgence of Government employees at the expense of the taxpayer.  Together, these articles make interesting, if not infuriating, reading, for sure!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wacky Wednesday, Wednesday, June 8, 2011, Car 54, Where Are You?

It's Wednesday, we've made it half way through the week, it's time to kick back and enjoy a laugh from Car 54 Where are You!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Miscellaneous Musings, Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chesterton, in On Gargoyles,

That, I fancy, is the only true origin of Realism. Realism is simply Romanticism that has lost its reason. This is so not merely in the sense of insanity but of suicide. It has lost its reason; that is its reason for existing. The old Greeks summoned godlike things to worship their god. The medieval Christians summoned all things to worship theirs, dwarfs and pelicans, monkeys and madmen. The modern realists summon all these million creatures to worship their god; and then have no god for them to worship. Paganism was in art a pure beauty; that was the dawn. Christianity was a beauty created by controlling a million monsters of ugliness; and that in my belief was the zenith and the noon. Modern art and science practically mean having the million monsters and being unable to control them; and I will venture to call that the disruption and the decay.

It always amazes me to read Christian writers, in this case, Chesterton, who lived a hundred or more years ago and see how well they were able to diagnose the ills of modernism overtaking society.  They saw the problems arising yet seemed powerless to stop them.  As a result, we find ourselves living today in a world where the monsters have taken over, our fears, in truth, have become all controlling.  We seem no longer to have the courage, or virtue, to withstand the worst of our all too human tendencies.  To point this out is deemed intolerance.

I take comfort from the fact that our Lord warned us to expect this sort of thing.  It may be that where our ancestors in the faith failed to stem the tide of decay, we can still succeed.  I’ve thought for some time that what needs to be done is not some mass media campaign, not even a successful political campaign.  The real answer must lie in conversion, our own first, then our neighbor.  But it starts with ourselves, with prayer, faith and then a living out the rest of the virtues, hope, charity, prudence, justice, temperance, and most of all fortitude.  The best we can do is, I think, is try to be live and exemplify the Christian life; we won’t be perfect, but we can give it our best shot. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Early Church Fathers, Sunday, June 5, 2011, Ignatius of Antioch

Ignatius of AntiochieImage via Wikipedia"Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes."

(Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2-7:1 [A.D. 110]).

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Founders Friday, Friday, June 3, 2011 John Hancock

Mezzotint engraving of John Hancock, first pub...Image via Wikipedia
"In circumstances dark as these, it becomes us, as Men and Christians, to reflect that, whilst every prudent Measure should be taken to ward off the impending Judgements....All confidence must be withheld from the Means we use; and reposed only on that GOD who rules in the Armies of Heaven, and without whose Blessing the best human Counsels are but Foolishness--and all created Power Vanity;

"It is the Happiness of his Church that, when the Powers of Earth and Hell combine against it...that the Throne of Grace is of the easiest access--and its Appeal thither is graciously invited by the Father of Mercies, who has assured it, that when his Children ask Bread he will not give them a Stone....

"RESOLVED, That it be, and hereby is recommended to the good People of this Colony of all Denominations, that THURSDAY the Eleventh Day of May next be set apart as a Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and confess the implore the Forgiveness of all our Transgression...and a blessing on the Husbandry, Manufactures, and other lawful Employments of this People; and especially that the union of the American Colonies in Defense of their Rights (for hitherto we desire to thank Almighty GOD) may be preserved and confirmed....And that AMERICA may soon behold a gracious Interposition of Heaven."

John Hancock

-= April 15, 1775 =-

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Miscellaneous Musings, Thursday, June 2, 2011, Pope Leo XIII

Pope Leo XIIIImage via Wikipedia
Pope Leo XIII is often credited as being the father of the so-called “social justice” movement within the Church as a result of his encyclical, Rerum Novarum (New Things). I sometimes wonder if anyone making such a claim has ever actually read the encyclical? Below is one brief quotation, see what you think?

But in the present letter, the responsibility of the apostolic office urges Us to treat the question of set purpose and in detail, in order that no misapprehension may exist as to the principles which truth and justice dictate for its settlement. The discussion is not easy, nor is it void of danger. It is no easy matter to define the relative rights and mutual duties of the rich and of the poor, of capital and of labor. And the danger lies in this, that crafty agitators are intent on making use of these differences of opinion to pervert men’s judgments and to stir up the people to revolt.
I think Holy Father Leo was being unusually prescient when he wrote this; there seems to be an over-abundance of crafty agitators running around today.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wacky Wednesday, Wednesday, June 1, 2011, Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton

It's Wednesday, we've made it half way through the week, it's time to kick back and enjoy a laugh from the Honeymooners.