Friday, August 31, 2012

Strange Things

I think one or more of my email accounts has been hacked.  I'm getting replies to emails I didn't send, emails from myself and/or other people who, I know, didn't send me emails, etc.  This seems to center around this blog, which may mean I'll have to set up a new account, either with another provider or with a new Google account.  I'm going to ask around to some techies I know to see if that's necessary.

If I have to move this blog, or establish a replacement on Blogger, I'll post that information before shutting this one down.

It's too bad people feel the need to be so destructive, I guess they could use some prayer.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Logos Catholic Scripture Study Library

Logos software called yesterday, I've been a long time customer, and they offered a discount on the Catholic Scripture Study collection of books.  Even though I knew Jimmy Akin recommended it, I didn't really think it would add much to the books I already had.  I was not going to even think about it, but finally I gave in.  I'm posting this to say I'm glad I did and that I was wrong.   I was blown away at the difference it made in the number of books available to support studying the Bible.  I'll have to say, if you've considered trying Logos software you should really consider this (relatively) new collection.

Just want to give credit where credit is due.

A Word on Wednesday, Wednesday, August 29, 2012- Benedict XVI

(Note:  I don't often go to the same source twice in a row, but, look who I'm quoting!)

The worship of the golden calf is a self-generated cult. When Moses stays away for too long, and God himself becomes inaccessible, the people just fetch him back. Worship becomes a feast that the community gives itself, a festival of self-affirmation. Instead of being worship of God, it becomes a circle closed in on itself: eating, drinking, and making merry. 

Benedict XVI, Spirit of the Liturgy.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Give Me A Break, Monday, August 27, 2012

 Here’s a story from The Washington Post, referred to at the New Oxford Review website.

PHILADELPHIA — A finance executive who linked her $900,000 embezzlement from the Philadelphia archdiocese to the church’s sex-abuse scandal was sentenced Friday to two to seven years in prison.

Anita Guzzardi, 42, said she succumbed to gambling and shopping addictions after feeling betrayed by the church over the priest sex-abuse scandal.

Guzzardi had worked at the Roman Catholic archdiocese since she was 20, and was making $124,000 a year as chief financial officer when she was fired last year.

“She felt betrayed by the institution,” defense lawyer Louis R. Busico told a judge.

A prosecutor countered that Guzzardi “partie(d) for seven years on somebody else’s dime,” despite the fact she and her husband had combined incomes of more than $300,000 and no children.

I’m sorry, I know we’re not supposed to judge, and I guess if you are someone caught up in such a crime you have to come up with some sort of defense to offer at trial.  I guess.  I’ll have to say, as a former auditor, I’ve seen lots of excuses offered, but this one takes the cake.  Betrayed by the sex abuse scandal in the Church, but still able to party down.  Really?  Give me a break.

Read the whole story here.


Oblates and the Desert Fathers -- What's the Difference?

Coptic icon of Pachomius the Great, the founde...
Coptic icon of Pachomius the Great, the founder of Christian cenobitic monasticism. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I'm thinking of developing a class on Benedictine spirituality, especially as it applies to oblates, to offer in my parish. I've no idea if they would let me do it or not, nor if anyone would attend. One reason I'd like to do that is to see if I can't interest a few people to look into becoming oblates, at whatever monastery, so that we could support one another in the journey.

Anyway, I thought the class might go 6 weeks, starting with  2 sessions on the history of monasticism, going back to the desert fathers. So, not knowing much about the desert fathers, I started reading. The first book I pulled out of my electronic book bag was Benedicta Ward's book on the Sayings of the Desert Fathers. I was reminded of something interesting.  Here's a quote:

These men and women lived alone as hermits, or with disciples living near by, or, as training became more urgent, in larger groups in monasteries. At the beginning this was a way of life largely unstructured by theological reflection. These people were ordinary Christians who chose to live out their evangelical commitment in terms of the monastic way of life, and in doing so they transformed both Christianity and monasticism in both its details and its ideology.

Monasticism has always been a lay movement that sprang from within the Church. It was driven by ordinary people living their daily lives who wanted to be better prepared for the day, which they expected to come in a short time, very possibly within their lifetime, in which Christ would come. Monasteries were made up of people who wanted nothing but Christ.

What a difference it would make if this were true of more Christians, especially more Catholics. We could truly be the leaven, the light of the world shining before men. I know it would make a difference if I could slow down and be conscious of the goal of living like this would make in my own life. It occurred to be that oblates are, in a sense, trying to recapture that very early monastic spirituality.

Encouraging that could be a very good objective for my course, if I ever do it.

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Desert Fathers, Sunday, August 26, 2012, Macarius

Saint Macarius of Egypt and the Cherub. Venera...

Macarius said to Zacharias, ‘Tell me, what makes a monk?’ He said, ‘Isn’t it wrong for you to be asking me?’ Macarius said to him, ‘I am sure I should ask you, Zacharias my son. There is something that urges me to ask you.’ Zacharias said to him, ‘As far as I can tell, abba, I think anyone who controls himself and makes himself content with just what he needs and no more, is indeed a monk.'


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Friday, August 24, 2012

End of the Race, Second Try

This video is of the leaders, not eventual winner, and the rest of the pack on the final turn to the finish. Considering they had just ridden 117 miles, they were moving pretty good! Better than I would have, for sure.

YouTube Video

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

End of the race

Here's some video of the leaders turning on the final lap toward the finish line. It's over, maybe things can start returning to normal around here.

YouTube Video

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Waiting for the race

A couple of shots of the festivities outside my office window. The crowd is waiting, with about 2.5 hours to go, for the finish of Stage 5 of the USA Pro Challenge race. The racers in the picture below aren't in the actual race, rather they're in a preliminary event for the "Not so Pro" Challenge. I think the race will conclude following this route though.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Bike Race

Getting set up for the big bike race today. Downtown will be a zoo by this afternoon. The finish line is just a block from here. They were moving pretty fast after 117 miles.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Colorado Springs

Friday Florilegia, Friday, August 24, 2012

This weeks reading is from next Sunday's Gospel

Gospel Mk 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
--For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds. --
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
"Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?"
He responded,
"Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:
This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.
You disregard God's commandment but cling to human tradition."

He summoned the crowd again and said to them,
"Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile.

"From within people, from their hearts,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile."


Thursday, August 23, 2012

A New Way to Post

This is probably not a good thing. I just discovered this iPad app, BlogPress, to use for posting to Blogger. Now I can really run off at the (written) mouth, something I've been doing a lot lately in various ways. Too often my misspent youth on the streets of Detroit shows through. I'll let this post be a reminder of the beauty of silence

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Word on Wednesday, Wednesday, August 22, 2012, Benedict XVI

Mere possession of your own land and state does not give you freedom; in fact, it can be the grossest kind of slavery. And when the loss of law becomes total, it ends in the loss even of the land. The “service of God”, the freedom to give right worship to God, appears, in the encounter with Pharaoh, to be the sole purpose of the Exodus, indeed, its very essence. This fact is evident throughout the Pentateuch. – The Spirit of the Liturgy

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Some Good, Some Bad

"Jesus and Mary — and we aren’t them! This should give us great hope that, despite our moodiness, sins, good days and bad days, God is still calling us to be His saints. It is HE who makes us holy, not us who make ourselves holy." Fr Larry Richards, Surrender

I have to keep reminding myself of this truth, seems I have a lot more bad days than good.  I also have to keep reminding myself what St Ignatius said, to the effect that discouragement isn't from God.  So, suck it up and keep going. (He didn't say that last bit).

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Desert Fathers, Sunday, August 19, 2012, St Anthony of the Desert

St Anthony the Great

Truthfully, my children, I tell you that everyone who delights in his own will and is subdued to his own thoughts, and takes up the things sown in his own heart, and rejoices in them, and supposes in his heart that these are some great chosen mystery, and justifies himself in what he does – the soul of such a man is the breath of evil spirits.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Florilegia, Friday, August 17, 2012

This is, obviously, the second reading from the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, next week.

Reading 2 Eph 5:21-32

Brothers and sisters:
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.
For the husband is head of his wife
just as Christ is head of the church,
he himself the savior of the body.
As the church is subordinate to Christ,
so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ loved the church
and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,
cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the church in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.
So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh
but rather nourishes and cherishes it,
even as Christ does the church,
because we are members of his body.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
This is a great mystery,
but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Word on Wednesday, Wednesday, August 15, 2012, St Ambrose -- The Assumption

Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Rubens)
"Let, then, the life of Mary be as it were virginity itself, set forth in a likeness, from which, as from a mirror, the appearance of chastity and the form of virtue is reflected.... Nor would I hesitate to admit you to the altars of God, whose souls I would without hesitation call altars, on which Christ is daily offered for the redemption of the body. For if the virgin's body be a temple of God, what is her soul, which, the ashes, as it were, of the body being shaken off, once more uncovered by the hand of the Eternal Priest, exhales the vapour of the divine fire. Blessed virgins, who emit a fragrance through divine grace as gardens do through flowers, temples through religion, altars through the priest." Ambrose, On Virginity

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Early Church Fathers, Sunday, August 12, 2012 Tertullian

Tertullian (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Early Church Fathers, Sunday, August 12, 2012 Tertullian

t is necessary to obey those who are the presbyters in the Church, those who, as we have shown, have succession from the Apostles; those who have received, with the succession of the episcopate, the sure charism of truth according to the good pleasure of the Father. But the rest, who have no part in the primitive succession and assemble wheresoever they will, must be held in suspicion.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but . . .

What is truth? Deutsch: Was ist Wahrheit? Fran...
What is truth? Deutsch: Was ist Wahrheit? Français : "Qu'est-ce que la vérité ?" Le Christ et Pilate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


ecent developments in this year’s presidential campaign with, at best, deceptive ads accusing Mitt Romney of causing death and destruction as a  direct result of his greedy, capitalist, bourgeois activities as the head of Bain Capital, make it clear that truth is no longer regarded as something to be desired.  Most people seem to simply shrug, accepting it as part of the new world we're living in.  This apathy is a mistake which inevitably leads to disastrous consequences, not just for society but also for each of us individually.
First, as Peggy Noonan points out in Friday's Wall Street Journal, the continual lies are making us a nation of cynics -- we don't believe anything anyone says.  We're being lied to with increasing wantonness by our leaders, to the point that we can't accept anything they say.  This is amazing to someone who grew up in the 1950's, when national leaders were expected to be truthful, most of the time anyway.  Yes, an occasional porky was expected, but generally our leaders spoke the truth, they could be relied upon and respected as decent men.  Not so now.  It's a distressing situation because not only does it make impossible full, responsible participation in the political process, it’s degrading to all of us as human beings.  We become desensitized, even brutalized, as human persons because all around are brutalized. 

 There's a spiritual cost being exacted that we’re possibly no longer able to even recognize.  Thomas Merton wrote in No Man Is An Island:

We make ourselves real by telling the truth. Man can hardly forget that he needs to know the truth, for the instinct to know is too strong in us to be destroyed. But he can forget how badly he also needs to tell the truth. We cannot know truth unless we ourselves are conformed to it. We must be true inside, true to ourselves, before we can know a truth that is outside us. But we make ourselves true inside by manifesting the truth as we see it.

Not knowing the truth, we lose touch with reality and, therefore our ability to conform our lives to it; we live a fantasy.  We need the truth; it’s not just something nice to have for those who can afford it.  Without it, we lose touch with our deepest selves, becoming lost to God in the process. 

I can't think of anything scarier, not even working for a company taken over by Bain Capital.

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday Florilegia, Friday, August 10, 2012

This is the first reading for the 20 Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 119

Reading 1 Prv 9:1-6

Wisdom has built her house,
she has set up her seven columns;
she has dressed her meat, mixed her wine,
yes, she has spread her table.
She has sent out her maidens; she calls
from the heights out over the city:
"Let whoever is simple turn in here;
To the one who lacks understanding, she says,
Come, eat of my food,
and drink of the wine I have mixed!
Forsake foolishness that you may live;
advance in the way of understanding."

I would like, contrary to custom, to add a word to these regular postings that has to do with why I chose to do this.  Our culture, not just our country, is a critical juncture in history, civilization is declining at an alarming rate, I sometimes think that within 50 years it may disappear altogether -- we may end up living in caves, or some comparable condition.  Things are becoming more brutalized every day. 

The only answer I can see to this is prayer.  I've tried some political action and, other than voting, I don't think it's going to change things at all; I have doubts about voting, but it's vital that if you are legally eligible to vote, you do so in November.  But prayer is the only thing I see that has any real chance of reversing the course we are on.  So, I post these to encourage you to pray; with lectio if you choose, but in any way that you are able if lectio is not for you. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Just Can't Do It

It has now become clear that I can't do two blogs at one time, just can't do it.  An Oblate Journal will fade away into the sunset, at least until retirement when I might be able to pick it up again.  Posts that I might have done for that blog will appear here.

Actually, the general idea of A Colorado Catholic's Musings is one I can work with fairly well since it offers some flexibility in what I can write about, I like that.

On a slightly different topic I'm going to offer a shameless plea for the occasional comment.  If there's something here you find that you enjoy, I certainly don't mind hearing about it.  If there's something you really don't like, it would be worth hearing about that too.  If what you find here is just plain boring, I wouldn't even mind hearing about that. 

When you have enough ego to write on your own blog on the Internet, it’s nice, occasionally, to get a little feedback; there's been very little of that here since I started.  I'd enjoy having some back and forth with anyone who might stumble across this place, to make the whole thing a bit more conversational in nature.  – and so I know there really is someone out there.

‘Course, if it’s just too boring to mess with, I can understand.

Peace to all.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Silence, Part I of Who Knows How Many

I could write endless posts about silence and never get to the heart of why it seems so vital for me as part of being human. I wonder, though, if the effort would, itself, be a violation of silence, my own and anyone who happened to read my scribbling’s.

I think it's a Camaldolese ideal that one shouldn't break the silence unless you can offer something better than the silence. That's hard to do, if you think about it. How many of us have anything to say that is that important or would be that gratifying to those around us (or to blog readers, for that matter)? Not many.

I say this because I think I should use that guidance for posting here, I really hope over the next year I can do that. I think there is way too much on the Internet that is just noise, much of it uncharitable noise, and that it would be better had it never seen the light of day. To try my best to avoid that probably means doing fewer posts here, trying to write and post only what is truly sincere and heartfelt, and trying to, in all cases write charitably. I'm not always very good at that latter point.

A Word on Wednesday, Wednesday, August 8, 2012, St Augustine

Late have I love you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I love you!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Early Church Fathers, Sunday, August 5, 2012 St Irenaeus

Irenaeus compiled a list of apostolic successi...
He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own blood) from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own body, from which he gives increase unto our bodies. When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receive the Word of God and become the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported) how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life — flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord and is in fact a member of him? (Against Heresies 5:2 [A.D. 189]).
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Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Florilegia, Friday, August 3, 2012

From next Sunday's Gospel, the 19th week in Ordinary Time

Gospel Jn 6:41-51

The Jews murmured about Jesus because he said,
"I am the bread that came down from heaven,"
and they said,
"Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph?
Do we not know his father and mother?
Then how can he say,
'I have come down from heaven?'"
Jesus answered and said to them,
"Stop murmuring among yourselves.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets:
They shall all be taught by God.
Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father
except the one who is from God;
he has seen the Father.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."