Monday, October 31, 2011

Days gone by

The Railroad came to town today. I remember when these were in actual operation! It's scary, it was, of course, Halloween!

I have a few more shots to post later.
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After the Storm

I've been struggling mightily since last Thursday,  to get this one photo uploaded.  It's a not very good shot out our rear window of the scene after the most recent snow storm here in the Springs.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Early Church Fathers, Sunday, October 30, 2011, St. Irenaeus

Irenaeus compiled a list of apostolic successi...Image via Wikipedia
"As I said before, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet guarded it, as if she occupied but one house. She likewise believes these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth. For, while the languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the authority of the tradition is one and the same" (Against Heresies 1:10:2 [A.D. 189]).

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Founders Friday, Friday, October 28, 2011, John Adams

Oil painting of John Adams by John Trumbull.Image via Wikipedia

"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself."

John Adams

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Is Law only by Convention?, Thursday, October 27, 2011

There is a good column by Hadley Arkes on The Catholic Thing, here’s a quote:



“At the time of the American Founding, Alexander Hamilton thought it critical to reject the argument of Thomas Hobbes that all morality is conventional; that until laws are made, there can be no clear sense of right and wrong. What Hobbes rejected, said Hamilton, was the existence of that “superintending principle,” that God who is the source of “an eternal and immutable law, which is. . .obligatory upon all mankind, prior to any human institution whatever.” Even when governments break down, there is no “right” to rape or murder or commit any other wrongs, as though there was no right and wrong without the law.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Word On Wednesday, Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - Alexander Pope

Portrait of Alexander Pope attributed to the E...Image via Wikipedia
The Dying Christian to His Soul

Vital spark of heav'nly flame!
Quit, O quit this mortal frame:
Trembling, hoping, ling'ring, flying,
O the pain, the bliss of dying!
Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife,
And let me languish into life.

Hark! they whisper; angels say,
Sister Spirit, come away!
What is this absorbs me quite?
Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
Drowns my spirits, draws my breath?
Tell me, my soul, can this be death?

The world recedes; it disappears!
Heav'n opens on my eyes! my ears
With sounds seraphic ring!
Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
O Grave! where is thy victory?
O Death! where is thy sting?

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The “Free” Man, Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The School of Athens (detail). Fresco, Stanza ...Image via Wikipedia
This from The Republic, seems a pretty good description of much of what is going on, and admired today in this country and the West. It comes down, as shown in the Occupy Wall Street movement, which seems a rather feckless purposeless gathering only for the sake of gathering. We need better, not sure we deserve it.

“And,” I said, “he doesn’t admit true speech or let it pass into the guardhouse [of his soul], if someone says that there are some pleasures belonging to fine and good desires and some belonging to bad desires, and that the ones must be practiced and honored and the others checked and enslaved. Rather, he shakes his head at all this and says that all are alike and must be honored on an equal basis.”


“That’s exactly,” he said, “what a man in this condition does.”


“Then,” I said, “he also lives along day by day, gratifying the desire that occurs to him, at one time drinking and listening to the flute, at another downing water and reducing; now practicing gymnastic, and again idling and neglecting everything; and sometimes spending his time as though he were occupied with philosophy. Often he engages in politics and, jumping up, says and does whatever chances to come to him; and if he ever admires any soldiers, he turns in that direction; and if it’s money-makers, in that one. And there is neither order nor necessity in his life, but calling this life sweet, free, and blessed he follows it throughout.”


“You have,” he said, “described exactly the life of a man attached to the law of equality.”
Plato; Allan Bloom (1991-10-02). The Republic Of Plato: Second Edition (pp. 239-240). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Where Your Treasure Is . . .

On Monday, in the October Magnificat magazine, there was a wonderful meditation by Fr John Tauler, O.P, a 14th century Domincan, on detachment and eternal life. Here’s a quote:

“From this detachment is born kindness, and also separation from all worldly things; so that one now receives freely from God’s hands and with entire thankfulness, joy or sorrow, or whatever else, may befall him in the inner life or the outer: everything helps him to eternal happiness. Such a man has the grace to feel that whatever happens to him has been eternally foreseen by his heavenly Father, and in the very way it does happen, and, viewing all things as God does, he rests in peace of mind, no matter what occurs.”

The phrase that really struck me was, . . .”whatever may befall him in the inner life or the outer.” That’s the hard one, the inner life. Things don’t always go my way, and I find it easier to accept the external circumstances while still arguing and rethinking those circumstances in my mind. It’s hard to let it go. Fr Tauler tells us, and I really welcomed this reminder, that to be detached we need to accept the things that befall us and, even harder, be truly grateful for it. I remind myself that, whatever happens, if it weren’t for God’s grace in my life, I wouldn’t be here to be grateful for them. No matter how much they irk me at the moment.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Word on Wednesday, Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mass at Dawn
I dropped my sail and dried my dripping seines
Where the white quay is chequered by cool planes
In whose great branches, always out of sight,
The nightingales are singing day and night.
Though all was grey beneath the moon’s grey beam,
My boat in her new paint shone like a bride,
And silver in my baskets shone the bream:
My arms were tired and I was heavy-eyed,
But when with food and drink, at morning-light,
The children met me at the water-side,
Never was wine so red or bread so white.

Roy Campbell

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Limiting our Horizons, Tuesday, October 18, 2011

After a tooth extraction and implant on Thursday last week, it’s been a rough few days.  That procedure was a bit rougher than I expected, especially the after effects.  Luckily, the procedure itself went very well to all appearances and I think I’m finally able to lay off the Vicodin in order to sleep at night.  While recovering at home on Friday afternoon, I finished reading, and began rereading Chesterton’s Orthodoxy.  I’d like to do one or two posts on my impressions, but that may be a couple of weeks down the road, at best.  I need to try to understand what’s he’s saying more completely.

Reading Chesterton is like having literary fireworks go off in your face.  His style is so very distinctive, and his ideas come so fast and furiously (to borrow a phrase that’s much in the news recently), not to mention that they are so original, that you have to stop and really think about what it is he’s saying.  It’s very easy to be blinded by the fireworks.   Here’s a mild example:

Spiritual doctrines do not actually limit the mind as do materialistic denials. Even if I believe in immortality I need not think about it. But if I disbelieve in immortality I must not think about it. In the first case the road is open and I can go as far as I like; in the second the road is shut. But the case is even stronger, and the parallel with madness is yet more strange. For it was our case against the exhaustive and logical theory of the lunatic that, right or wrong, it gradually destroyed his humanity. Now it is the charge against the main deductions of the materialist that, right or wrong, they gradually destroy his humanity; I do not mean only kindness, I mean hope, courage, poetry, initiative, all that is human.

 The materialist, rationalist view that is being so actively promoted these days as the only “reasonable” way to look at the world, with those who dare to disagree being branded mean spirited or even fascist or racist, is really a very closed way of looking at things.  It absolutely cannot tolerate dissent, all in the name of rationality and diversity.  It’s nonsense, and only the fact that it has so pervaded and weakened our educational system allows this view to go on so unchallenged.  People are, tragically, no longer educated to think these kinds of things through, much less think in a way contrary to the herd.

Anyway, back to Chesterton and my ice pack.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Early Church Fathers, Sunday, October 16, 2011, St. Cyprian

Peter speaks there, on whom the Church was to be built, teaching and showing in the name of the Church, that although a rebellious and arrogant multitude of those who will not hear or obey may depart, yet the Church does not depart from Christ; and they are the Church who are a people united to the priest, and the flock which adheres to its pastor. Whence you ought to know that the bishop is in the Church, and the Church in the bishop; and if any one be not with the bishop, that he is not in the Church, and that those flatter themselves in vain who creep in, not having peace with God’s priests, and think that they communicate secretly with some; while the Church which is Catholic and one, is not cut nor divided, but is indeed connected and bound together by the cement of priests who cohere with one another (Letters 66 [A.D. 253]).

Friday, October 14, 2011

Founders Friday, Friday, October 14, 2011

Today, not exactly a quote from the Founding Fathers, but certainly a quote following in their footsteps.

"Every step we take towards making the State our Caretaker of our lives, by that much we move toward making the State our Master."

Dwight D. Eisenhower




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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Word on Wednesday, Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gilbert Keith Chesterton, (b. 29 May 1874 – d....Image via Wikipedia
This is from Orthodoxy, by G. K. Chesterton.  It seems appropos in light of the so-called "Wall Street" protests going on across the country.  While the protests are not specifically against the Church, I'd think it a pretty safe bet that most of those involved are not great supporters.  It seems to me the point of their protest is simply to break down society in whatever way they can, not to replace it with something better, but to leave it broken down.  Not a good thing.

Men who begin to fight the Church for the sake of freedom and humanity end by flinging away freedom and humanity if only they may fight the Church. This is no exaggeration; I could fill a book with the instances of it.  I have known people who protested against religious education with arguments against any education, saying that the child's mind must grow freely or that the old must not teach the young. I have known people who showed that there could be no divine judgment by showing that there can be no human judgment, even for practical purposes. They burned their own corn to set fire to the church; they smashed their own tools to smash it; any stick was good enough to beat it with, though it were the last stick of their own dismembered furniture. We do not admire, we hardly excuse, the fanatic who wrecks this world for love of the other. But what are we to say of the fanatic who wrecks this world out of hatred of the other? He sacrifices the very existence of humanity to the non-existence of God. He offers his victims not to the altar, but merely to assert the idleness of the altar and the emptiness of the throne. He is ready to ruin even that primary ethic by which all things live, for his strange and eternal vengeance upon some one who never lived at all. 

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Too Much Technology?

St. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274), the eponym ...Image via Wikipedia
Bevil Bramwell, OMI, has a very interesting column that appeared Sunday on the Catholic Thing web site. Here’s an excerpt:

Thomas Aquinas makes a striking comment about imagination: “because a man seeks to occupy a higher grade as to accidentals, which can increase without the destruction of the subject, he can also seek a higher grade of nature.” Here is the heart of the problem: for all its usefulness technology is accidental, peripheral.
Yes, I too appreciate twenty-first century medicine and the car and other technological gains. But that is not the real business of becoming more human. It’s telling how many people show an odd identification with Steve Jobs. The BBC calls it a cult. Some people built their lives around Apple technology. This is not like a locomotive driver whose life depends on the locomotive. The driver still produces useful services for society. But those in a cult? Not so much. The focus of the Jobs cult seems not the great spiritual struggle, but simply a fashionable way to fill time, to connect with people who are not here (perhaps while not connecting with people who are here), to get caught in the flow of facts and not to achieve real knowledge.
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It ties in to something I’ve felt for a long time, that technology has become for many people a means of escape from real life.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Listening to Tradition, Sunday, October 9, 2011 – Isaac of Stella

Incited by something external
Is like a small lamp
Whose flame is fed with oil,
Or like a stream fed by rains,
Where flows stop when the rains cease.
But love whose object is God is like
A fountain gushing forth
From the earth.
Its flow never ceases,
For He Himself is the source of this love
And also its food,
Which never grows scarce.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

An Early October Morning

This was the scene just outside my backdoor around 9:00 AM.  It was supposed to snow overnight, actually a "rain/snow" mix was called for, at 8:00AM it was still snowing, and I took this picture an hour later.  It shows little sign of letting up for the moment.  Ah, just another day in Colorado!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Founders Friday, Friday, October 7, 2011

John JayImage by cliff1066™ via Flickr
Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian Nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.
  
                                            John Jay
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Word on Wednesday, Wednesday, October 5, 2011

portrait de Paul de la croixImage via Wikipedia
'Why should we be attached to this world, where we can breathe only air poisoned by so many crimes?'


St. Paul of the Cross

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Listening to Tradition, Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Song

Lord, when the sense of thy sweet grace
Sends up my soul to seek thy face.
Thy blessed eyes breed such desire,
I dy in love's delicious Fire.
     O love, I am thy Sacrifice.
Be still triumphant, blessed eyes.
Still shine on me, fair suns! that I
Still may behold, though still I dy.

     Though still I dy, I live again;
Still longing so to be still slain,
So gainfull is such losse of breath.
I dy even in desire of death.
     Still live in me this loving strife
Of living Death and dying Life.
For while thou sweetly slayest me
Dead to my selfe, I live in Thee.

Richard Crashaw