Monday, December 30, 2002

From a Reader of my latest book:

Finished your How-To book of the Mass yesterday.

I'm a revert Catholic and have become very critical of my new-age feminist Catholic grade-school/CCD upbringing and my childhood parish - especially when visiting family and attending Mass over the Holiday.

Your book is what I needed to put the Mass back in perspective and appreciate what is there and not concentrate on the abuses. Thanks for the section on how to experience a great homily every time - it worked!

I'm attending an RCIA class and will pass your book along as a recommendation for reading for all.

You're a great writer - thanks again!


Thanks!

Saturday, December 28, 2002

A Saint's Name for Your Next Child-- St Quodvultdeus

From the Office of Readings for today from a sermon by St. Quodvultdeus:

The children die for Christ, though they do not know it. The parents mourn for the death of martyrs. The child makes of those as yet unable to speak fit witnesses to himself. See the kind of kingdom that is his, coming as he did in order to be this kind of king. See how the deliverer is already working deliverance, the saviour already working salvation.

But you, Herod, do not know this and are disturbed and furious. While you vent your fury against the child, you are already paying him homage, and do not know it.

How great a gift of grace is here! To what merits of their own do the children owe this kind of victory? They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ. They cannot use their limbs to engage in battle, yet already they bear off the palm of victory.

Friday, December 27, 2002

The weather...

One of my favorite subjects. None of the weather forecasters were correct in their predictions with regard to us. Even the local television stations were predicting a mere dusting a few hours before the snow actually fell. Contrast that with a week before when they were predicting a more substantial dumping and nothing--absolutely nothing fell. With all their computer simulations, satelite imagery--the weather people are still fairly dumb as a lot. Perhaps a better indicator that something was about to happen here was the racoon who appeared in broad daylight in our backyard midafternoon on Christmas Eve either headed for Christmas dinner somewhere or preparing for an oncoming storm that would dumb close to 9 inches of snow here.

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Christmas Day...and

we have a ton of snow...lots more than the weatherman predicted.

Mass was sparsely attended...the pastor remarked that the same was true last night at midnight.

Daily reflections on the reading continue to be posted here.

Here is a reflection on the past year.

Monday, December 23, 2002

An Interesting Column about War and its Lingering Effects

National Catholic Register
A Story for Christmas

Bruderhof Communities - Brother Robber by Helene Christaller
Country life in the city

Sunday morning we awoke to find an injured bunny lying in front of our picture window. I went out and offered it some water and carrots. We then trucked off to Mass. Upon our return several hours later, Amy announced "well this will offer some diversion to your football viewing this afternoon." Walking into the living room there was the poor rabbit being picked apart by a gigantic hawk.

I scurried the hawk away and then flung the rabbit carcass into some brush (out of direct sight). The hawk flew back to the spot of the crime about an hour later looking for the rabbit. I was amazed that he had such difficulty finding it. He kept pacing around where he had left it, looking quizzically around. Sort of "who moved my rabbit?"

After about thirty minutes of persistence he finally found it and started tearing away at it's flesh again. I went back to watching football.

Friday, December 20, 2002

Here is the story

Pope to approve Mother Teresa miracle
Mother Teresa Moves Another Step Toward Sainthood

Pope John Paul II has approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Mother Teresa. Look for her to be Beatified sometime in the coming year.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Interesting Gallup Poll data

Covers both Protestant and Catholics. It is interesting to see the changes since 9/11 and for Catholics since the scandals have been in the news this year

Gallup Poll Analyses - Catholic Church Attendance Drops This Year in Midst of Scandal

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

The "O" Antiphons Begin today

The "O" antiphons are known by most people from their inclusion in the song "O Come O Come Emmanuel." They are actually the antiphons said before the Magnificat at Evening Prayer from Dec. 17-23. Today's antiphon is:

O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation.
The Image of Christ on a No Parking sign?

Alpine Observer > Image of Christ?

Violators will be towed...to Hell!
Another Christmas Story provided by the Bruderhof

Willibald's Trip to Heaven by Reimmichl

Friday, December 13, 2002

Looking for that special Christmas gift?

Try using Froogle: Search Results

Froogle is a google beta test, kind of neat!
Today's Photo of Cardinal Law and the Pope

From Yahoo! News - World Photos - AP
What next?

For those who have watched CBS news dating back to the Walter Cronkite days with his trademark "and that's the way it is", you may have picked up that Dan Rather has never quite figured out how to end his news cast. His latest attempt is a rather lame if not outright funny "what's next" after some late news story.

Anyway today's news of Cardinal Law's resignation elicited a "what's next" in my head spoken by Dan Rather. But it is not so much a surprised "what's next" but rather a serious "let's move ahead, planning our next step--what's next."

Who will the Pope name as the next Archbishop of Boston? Will the other auxiliaries soon follow suite? Will the Vatican move in and try to clean up shop in the U.S. realizing that this crisis is doing terrible damage to the faith of those on the periphery of the church?

Who knows "what's next."

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Here is a Trappist monastery dedicated to the site: Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

What does it say?

When the United States wants to make sure that other countries do not have weapons of mass destruction and in the process we threaten to use them?

U.S. strategy includes ‘all options’

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Saturday, December 07, 2002

Spirit Daily - Daily spiritual news from around the world Reports that the Pope unexpectedly was not in attendance for the beginning of the annual Advent retreat.

Friday, December 06, 2002

Some Advice for Bishops from St. Augustine

From the Office of Readings:

So the shepherds of Christ’s flock must never indulge in self-love; if they do they will be tending the sheep not as Christ’s but as their own. And of all vices this is the one that the shepherds must guard against most earnestly: seeking their own purposes instead of Christ’s, furthering their own desires by means of those persons for whom Christ shed his blood.

The love of Christ ought to reach such a spiritual pitch in his shepherds that it overcomes the natural fear of death which makes us shrink from the thought of dying even though we desire to live with Christ. However distressful death may be, the strength of love ought to master the distress. I mean the love we have for Christ who, although he is our life, consented to suffer death for our sake.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Something to Read and Reflect on:

The Carpenter's Christmas by Peter K. Rosegger

Each week the Bruderhof Community will be posting an Advent story.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

From the Office of Readingsfor today:

From the declaration of faith of St. John Damascene:

O Lord, you led me from my father’s loins and formed me in my mother’s womb. You brought me, a naked babe, into the light of day, for nature’s laws always obey your commands.

By the blessing of the Holy Spirit, you prepared my creation and my existence, not because man willed it or flesh desired it, but by your ineffable grace. The birth you prepared for me was such that it surpassed the laws of our nature. You sent me forth into the light by adopting me as your son and you enrolled me among the children of your holy and spotless Church.

You nursed me with the spiritual milk of your divine utterances. You kept me alive with the solid food of the body of Jesus Christ, your only-begotten Son and our God, and you let me drink from the chalice of his life-giving blood, poured out to save the whole world.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Monday, December 02, 2002

From the Office of Readings

From a pastoral letter by St. Charles Borromeo:

This is the season that the Church has always celebrated with special solemnity. We too should always observe it with faith and love, offering praise and thanksgiving to the Father for the mercy and love he has shown us in this mystery. In his infinite love for us, though we were sinners, he sent his only Son to free us from the tyranny of Satan, to summon us to heaven, to welcome us into its innermost recesses, to show us truth itself, to train us in right conduct, to plant within us the seeds of virtue, to enrich us with the treasures of his grace, and to make us children of God and heirs of eternal life.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Snow last night!

A modest dumping of snow last night. Most of it is gone already. But the cold air remains.
Things to do in Milwaukee while waiting for a meeting...

A visit to Gesu Church on the campus of Marquette will probably not be as dramatic as mine was this past week. After climbing the wooden steps to the top I came face to face with a dead priest lying in an open coffin. Next to the coffin was a collage of sorts saying goodbye to Father Joe, evidently the priest who was lying in the coffin. No one else was around at the time. There was no kneeler by the coffin, but I did pause to say a prayer for the deceased father.

There is a great Catholic bookstore on W. Greenfield called Catholic Book and Gift that is well worth a visit.

I could spend an entire day just gazing at the art that adorns the Basilica of St. Josaphat's.

A great place for lunch is Joey Buona's on Water St. I ordered a sandwich for a very modest price and it was delivered with a large bowl of soup and homemade chips. Very tasty and what a deal! Great service there too!

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Somewhat of a shocker

From theBoston Herald:

A Bosnian priest allegedly removed for sexual misconduct has been banned from taking part in a prayer vigil today at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception after Archdiocese of Washington officials learned of his suspension.

The Diocese of Mostar-Duvno in Bosnia alerted officials on the eve of the event that the Rev. Jozo Zovko is under censure, a shrine spokesman said.


I hadn't heard anything about this. Given the popularity of Medjugordje it seems it would have made a bigger headline over here, at least in the Catholic Press.

Friday, November 15, 2002

On the eve of number 44 I'm home with a sinus infection watching it snow outside.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

The DRUDGE REPORT 2002®has a photo of Michael Jackson

that as he says is "so tragic it defies description."

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

A great piece on Warren Zevon from Rolling Stone:

"I don't remember stardom with any longing," Zevon says. "It was a brief opportunity to be rude: 'Fire that opening act. I don't like the way he looked at me.' My success was a fluke. I was a folk singer who accidentally had one big hit."

Zevon's recent sales are modest but solid: Life'll Kill Ya has sold 80,000 copies in North America, My Ride's Here about 50,000. But he has what Browne calls "the success that matters: this very loyal following of people who truly get him. There's no greater success than being loved and admired for what you really do."


If there is anything I've learned in life is that truly great artists are people who are not loved by the masses but as Jackson Browne says above by "very loyal following of people who truly get him."

Another interesting tidbit in the piece is that WZ seems to be flirting with Catholicism in his last days...

Or about what he might find on the other side. "No" -- that is Zevon's firm answer when asked if he has given any thought to his impending afterlife. "I'm too busy. I might change my mind in a week. Sometimes I go to Mass with my ex-girlfriend. Maybe I'll go to Mass with my ex on Saturday night and decide I want the priest to give me instruction, fast and furious.

Mass on Saturday night is a very Catholic thing...(of the last thirty plus years anyways).

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Why do the heathen rage?

U of Kentucky fans celebrate vic..uhm defeat...

Monday, November 11, 2002

The Catholic Shopper has my new book featured as a bestseller!

Catholic Books, Catholic Gifts, Jesus Sports Statues, Rosaries
Why warm days in November are not a good thing

From the Journal Gazette: | 11/11/2002 | Twisters slam into Van Wert, leaving 2 dead


Two people were killed Sunday when tornadoes tore through Van Wert County flattening buildings, toppling trees and plunging the agricultural community into chaos.
Two others were killed to the northeast when twisters flipped a mobile home in Putnam County.

"Unfortunately, we did lose life," Van Wert County Emergency Management Agency Director Rick McCoy said Sunday night. "We're thankful to God we didn't lose more."

One of the people killed was ejected from a car when the storm hit, said Jack Snyder, spokesman for the Van Wert County Emergency Management Agency.


Van Wert, Ohio is about 30 miles from Fort Wayne.
A Couple of Jokes from my friend Hank Morgan:


The Buffalo Theory

No one can explain this as well as Cliff Clavin did on the TV show Cheers. One day at Cheers, Cliff was explaining the Buffalo Theory
to his buddy, Norm, and here's how it went....

"The buffalo herd can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. Thus the general speed and health of the herd keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members."

"In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells, and excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cell first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine.

That's why you're always smarter after a few beers."


The Three Kick Rule

A big city California lawyer went duck hunting in rural Texas. He shot and dropped a bird, but it fell into a farmer's field on
the other side of a fence. As the lawyer climbed over the fence, an elderly farmer drove up on his tractor and asked him what he was doing.

The litigator responded, "I shot a duck and it fell in this field, and now I'm going in to retrieve it."

The old farmer replied. "This is my property, and you are not coming over here."

The indignant lawyer said, "I am one of the best trial attorneys in the U.S. and, if you don't let me get that duck, I'll sue you and take
everything you own."

The old farmer smiled and said, "Apparently, you don't know how we do things in Texas. We settle small disagreements like this with the "Texas Three Kick Rule."

The lawyer asked, "What is the Texas Three Kick Rule?"

The Farmer replied. "Well, first I kick you three times and then you kick me three times, and so on, back and forth, until someone gives up."

The attorney quickly thought about the proposed contest and decided that he could easily take the old codger. He agreed to abide by the local custom. The old farmer slowly climbed down from the tractor and walked up to the city feller. His first kick planted the toe of his heavy work boot into the lawyer's groin and dropped him to his knees. His second kick nearly ripped the man's nose off his face. The barrister was flat on his belly when the farmer's third kick to a kidney nearly caused him to give up.

The lawyer summoned every bit of his will and managed to get to his feet and said, "Okay, you old coot now it's my turn."

The old farmer smiled and said, "Naw, I give up. You can have the duck."

Thursday, November 07, 2002

A New Blog

Envoy Magazine has launced a new blog with some great contributors. Check it out!
"Brother of Jesus" bone-box a fraud?

From theIsraelinsider

Both Altman and noted paleographer Ada Yardeni have concluded that the second part of the inscription was added later. "There are two hands; two different scripts; two different social strata, two different levels of execution, two different levels of literacy, and two different carvers," Altman says.

Altman believes that the second half was actually written in the 3rd or 4th century, while Paul Flesher at the University of Wyoming, an expert on Hebraicized Aramaic dialects, dates it anywhere between the 2nd and 7th centuries.

Friday, November 01, 2002

This is actually a repost from a year ago...

The Great Christian Feast-Halloween

This is one of those thoughts that comes to you in a moment of clarity with such force that you wonder how it could be that everyone just doesn't see the truth of it.

Last night when I made one of my few trips to the door to hand out candy, it just hit me. There I was confronted with a skull painted white on the face of an African American, who was standing there holding open a bag, expecting something from me.

A home invasion?

Uh...No, but Trick or Treat!


I gladly obliged his request with a handful of candy and he turned and went on his merry way to join the other hordes of beggars that flooded our streets.

I had just fulfilled the mandate of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I had just welcomed Him in the guise of the hungry, "When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat." Matthew 25!

"When did we see you Lord?"

"Whenever you did it to the least of my brethren, you did it to me."

Is there anytime left in our year when Americans are so blatantly Christian, welcoming the strangers that come to their door? Is there anytime that we reward those who on purpose try to repulse us by their costumes?

Yet the thought that it is better to give than receive dominates this day and truly the day fulfills its purpose of being the eve of All Saints Day! For if we are ever to join the saints we must learn to make everyday Halloween!

So that today when we meet those we might otherwise demonize, we give what we have freely as though we were meeting Christ Himself in the streets (and if we believe the Gospel message we are in fact meeting him)!

I used to joke that strangers could in fact be demons, (this was when the angel rage was in full swing and I use to make the point that yes a stranger might be an angel but who is to say if it is a good one or a bad one--sort of a twist of the Glenda the Good Witch's question to Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ, "Are you a good witch or a bad witch?"), but I would ask you to reflect on Halloween a bit more with me.

If we give to the stranger, indeed we welcome them as Christ. But if we look at the stranger only as someone who has something to give and we judge them based on that we are apt to conclude that all strangers are demons!

For example if we start viewing every middle eastern looking Arab that we do not know personally as a terrorist we are forgoing an opportunity to see them as Christ (who happened to be of middle eastern descent). Abraham was visited by three strangers (one would presume of middle eastern descent) and he fed them--they turned out to be angels and they gave him a blessing! But let's suppose that we in fact do come across some terrorists in our daily activities. What if our interaction with them, seeing them as Christ and giving them whatever we have to give at that moment (even if it is only a smile of acceptance) led them to change their whole way of viewing Americans?

It is sad to think that a day that is the perfect example of what it means to be a Christian has been protested by so many Christians in this country. Do they read the Gospels?

No one is celebrating or worshipping demons on Halloween. The children who dress up in their costumes are playacting and giving the individual behind every door an opportunity to imitate Christ.

It is also sad that many miss the point in the other direction. They overdo it in the name of "everyone else is doing it" and light their houses up as though it is Christmas, rather than encountering the little masked Christs in the darkness the way it is intended to happen and does happen in daily lives. The vacuous nature of their souls demands making a show of their giving. Sadly they have already received their reward--the empty praise of their neighbors and friends.

There have been moves lately among some Catholics to have children dress up as saints-- this may be a fine thing to do on All Saints day but it totally misses the point of Halloween. We will never be saints, nor will we imitate them, until we open the door everyday and welcome the ghouls we encounter as though they are Christ.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

This is just plain stupid

They wanted to search the woman, so she showed them that she had nothing to hide. Now they want to throw the book at her? The people who tie up the justice system with this type of nonsense should all be thrown in jail themselves!
ABCNEWS.com : Woman Accused of Stripping at Airport

A Frenchwoman accused of undressing during an airport security screening could face up to three years in prison if convicted under a law passed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
A Modern Tale of Sportsmanship

From the James Walker at The Herald-Dispatch:
The story, which is destined to become legendary in Southern Ohio circles, starts in Waverly.

Northwest football coach Dave Frantz and Tigers’ coach Derek DeWitt shared a conversation the week leading up to the game.

But the two coaches weren’t discussing strategy, instead they were talking about a mentally-handicapped Northwest player by the name of Jake Porter.

Porter, a senior, has a disorder called "Chromosomal Fragile-X," which is the most common cause of inherited mental retardation.

Porter still shows up on time for practice every day and dresses in full gear during games, but he has yet to take an official snap in a football game.

Frantz wanted that streak to end last Friday.

"I told them (Waverly) ahead of time that he can’t take a hit or anything," Frantz said. "If the game’s not at stake on the last play, I wanted him to come in and take a knee."

Yet a week after their conversation, with Waverly leading 42-0 with five seconds remaining, coach DeWitt offered Frantz one better.

"During the timeout, he met me in the middle of the field and said ‘We’ll let him score,’" Frantz explained. "(Initially) I said ‘Nah.’ Then we talked about it with the referees, and they said ‘Hey coach, we understand."

What soon followed will forever go down in Southern Ohio football lore.

At Waverly’s 49-yard line, Porter entered the game at tailback, had his play, "84-iso," called in the huddle, and when the ball was snapped all 21 players parted ways.

Porter was somewhat surprised when he slowly walked through the huge hole. He initially turned back around to the original line of scrimmage, but everyone on the field -- including defensive players from Waverly -- pointed and guided Porter toward the Tigers’ end zone.

"When we practiced it, he was supposed to down it, so I think he was a little confused at first," Northwest tailback Zach Smith said. "But once he figured it out, he took off."

The 49-yard trek to glory took about 10-12 seconds in all, and was culminated by players from both sidelines cheering and running step-for-step with Porter to the end zone.

Tears flowed from the bleachers well into the night, and the life of one young man was changed forever.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Did the Oklahoma City Bombing have Middle Eastern ties afterall?

FromThis is London:

But what increasingly drew her attention was another Iraqi living in Oklahoma City, a restaurant worker called Hussain Hashem Al Hussaini, whose photograph was almost a perfect match to the official sketch of "John Doe 2".

Al Hussaini has a tattoo on his upper left arm, indicating he was once a member of Saddam's elite Republican Guard.

Since then, Davis has gathered hundreds of court records and the sworn testimony of two dozen witnesses. Several claimed to have seen a man fitting Al Hussaini's description drinking with McVeigh in a motel bar four days before the bombing.

Others positively identified former Iraqi soldiers in the company of McVeigh and Nichols. Two swore that they had seen Al Hussaini only a block from the Murrah building in the hours before the bombing. With the case against McVeigh and Nichols seemingly watertight, the FBI has until now consistently refused to reopen it. McVeigh went to his death in the execution chamber two years ago, insisting he alone was responsible.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

The Oldest Witness to Jesus?

The discovery of the ossiary of St. James may not be the oldest testament to the existence of Jesus but rather something that is mentioned in the Gospels themselves---The "Titulus Crucis," literrally the "cross sign or title." The placard that Pilate ordered nailed over Jesus on the cross. It exists as a relic in a church and recent studies seem to point to it's authenticity.

Monday, October 21, 2002

St. Augustine on Prayer

From the Office of Readings

Let us always desire the happy life from the Lord God and always pray for it. But for this very reason we turn our mind to the task of prayer at appointed hours, since that desire grows lukewarm, so to speak, from our involvement in other concerns and occupations. We remind ourselves through the words of prayer to focus our attention on the object of our desire; otherwise, the desire that began to grow lukewarm may grow chill altogether and may be totally extinguished unless it is repeatedly stirred into flame.

Therefore, when the Apostle says: Let your petitions become known before God, this should not be taken in the sense that they are in fact becoming known to God who certainly knew them even before they were made, but that they are becoming known to us before God through submission and not before men through boasting.
A beautiful column on praying the rosary by Peggy Noonan

Here is a sampling:

The third joyful mystery is the birth of Christ in a manger. It's not hard to imagine this. It's hard to control one's imaginings. I imagine the trek to the manger, the disheartened young husband, the sound of the eating area of the inn as they trudge on, hungry and alone. And then a car alarm goes off. And suddenly I'm wondering: Did she have a hard labor? Did God want her to know from the beginning that her joy would be ever accompanied by pain? Did she weep him into the world? Maybe it was an easy birth. God knew she was barely more than a child, with a young husband and no help, just the two of them in the cold in a hut on a hill.

When the child was born, did he cry aloud with a great wail, and did the cry enter the universe? Did it become a sound wave of significant density? Is it still out there, radiating out into the stars, and did the Voyager II bump into it? If, as an astronaut, you traveled through that sound wave in the year 2063, would it jostle your space capsule and disturb your small universe? Would you hear something? What?

Did someone unrecorded by history see a light in the hut on the hill and come to help Mary and Joseph that night? Maybe there was an old woman with moles and wens and a sharp bent nose, a woman almost comically ugly, like a witch in a child's Halloween book. Maybe she lived in isolation, never left her small hovel, but she felt called to assist, tugged by some wonder that pierced her estrangement. She helped with the birth, and hers was the first face he saw. Her outer appearance was an expression of the inner wounds he came to heal. As if she were the physical representation of the state of man's soul. Maybe it was she who wrapped him in rags; maybe she bent down, breathed him in, her face bathed in the warm mist of a brutal birth on a frosty night. Maybe when she returned home she was beautiful. But no one knew, and it all went unrecorded, because she never left the house again. And never knew she had been made lovely.


Sunday, October 20, 2002

Detroit Priests (four of them) defend Pro-choice candidate for Michigan Governor's race pro-choice position

This shows the confusion that reigns among the clergy in this country when it comes to morality.

From the Detroit Free Press:

The context in which Jennifer Granholm is required to operate is an exceptionally complex one. As governor, she would be required to uphold the laws of the state and of the country. The decision to balance conflicting claims in a widely diverse society is not a simple one. "Man's dignity demands that he act according to a knowing and free choice," Vatican II declares. "Such a choice is personally motivated and prompted from within. It does not result from blind internal impulse nor from mere external pressure." When caught in conflicting values one must choose the course of action that will maximize the positive values and minimize the disvalues.


Talk about twisting the meaning of a phrase!

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

The Vatican releases APOSTOLIC LETTER ROSARIUM VIRGINIS MARIAE

The whole document is at the Vatican website:

A proposed addition to the traditional pattern

19. Of the many mysteries of Christ's life, only a few are indicated by the Rosary in the form that has become generally established with the seal of the Church's approval. The selection was determined by the origin of the prayer, which was based on the number 150, the number of the Psalms in the Psalter.

I believe, however, that to bring out fully the Christological depth of the Rosary it would be suitable to make an addition to the traditional pattern which, while left to the freedom of individuals and communities, could broaden it to include the mysteries of Christ's public ministry between his Baptism and his Passion. In the course of those mysteries we contemplate important aspects of the person of Christ as the definitive revelation of God. Declared the beloved Son of the Father at the Baptism in the Jordan, Christ is the one who announces the coming of the Kingdom, bears witness to it in his works and proclaims its demands. It is during the years of his public ministry that the mystery of Christ is most evidently a mystery of light: “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (Jn 9:5).

Consequently, for the Rosary to become more fully a “compendium of the Gospel”, it is fitting to add, following reflection on the Incarnation and the hidden life of Christ (the joyful mysteries) and before focusing on the sufferings of his Passion (the sorrowful mysteries) and the triumph of his Resurrection (the glorious mysteries), a meditation on certain particularly significant moments in his public ministry (the mysteries of light). This addition of these new mysteries, without prejudice to any essential aspect of the prayer's traditional format, is meant to give it fresh life and to enkindle renewed interest in the Rosary's place within Christian spirituality as a true doorway to the depths of the Heart of Christ, ocean of joy and of light, of suffering and of glory.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Today is the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila

Some of her writings are available online at St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

Monday, October 14, 2002

First Prediction for Snow this year--this Friday

From weather.com
From the Blessed George Preca's online page

Spirituality

Another Marian devotion that our Founder treasured was the Holy Rosary. In order to encourage everyone to recite the rosary, he used to say: “Our Lady waits for our Rosary even up till midnight!”. For him, the Rosary was not only a vocal prayer, but also a prayer of a meditative and contemplative nature. This can be seen clearly in his writing called The Mysteries of Light. A rapid glance at these mysteries will clearly show us that they do differ a lot form the ones we are used to. The first mystery is when Our Lord was baptized at the Jordan; the second consists in meditating the events of Christ’s miracles; the third, when Jesus Christ taught the Beatitudes; The fourth about Our Lord’s transfiguration; and the fifth is about the Last Supper.
Here are the "new" meditations for the Rosary

They actually are the work of Blessed George Preca who first published them in the 1950's calling them Mysteries of "light."

They are:

1. Jesus' Baptism.

2. Jesus reveals himself at the Wedding feast of Cana.

3. Jesus' announcement of the Kingdom of God.

4. The Transfiguration.

5. The Last Supper.
Pope changing the rosary?

I doubt this is the case. My guess is that the Pope is going to suggest other meditations, not change anything. But we'll see...

From Reuters:

According to Vatican sources, the Pope Wednesday will issue a document proposing that Catholics meditate on five more events in Christ's life in the new rosary, adding a further layer of spirituality to the age-old prayer.

A wildly popular site these days...

FireRonZook.com
A terrible football weekend...

From the OrlandoSentinel.com and Mike Bianchi:

The day Steve Spurrier resigned at Florida, he called me from his waterfront home on Crescent Beach and said, "It's time to let somebody else captain this big ol' battleship that is Gator football."

Little did he know the Gators would begin playing like Gilligan was at the wheel.

Just sit right back, and you'll hear a tale . . .

What in the name of Gerry Faust has Ron Zook done to Spurrier's program? In eight weeks, the Mona Lisa has been transformed into Dogs Playing Poker. Rex Grossman has turned into Gross Rexman. The revved-up Swamp is a dried-up ditch. And the Florida Gators might as well be Fort Valley State.

There is no excuse for what is going on in Gainesville, no explanation. It's unbelievable and unacceptable. It's an absolute embarrassment what this program has become in half a season. Zook must be held accountable. Athletic Director Jeremy Foley must be held accountable.

Hoops season starts soon, and Foley always said he wanted to turn Florida into a basketball school. Well, he may have done it with two key hires: Billy Donovan . . . and Ron Zook.

It's not good when guys such as me use your name and your school for a punch line, but that's what's beginning to happen with Zook and UF. It's become so ugly in the aftermath of Saturday's 36-7 home loss to LSU that the Web site FireRonZook.com actually shut down from too many hits. The poor Web master must sound like Captain Kirk demanding more power: "Scottie, I need warp speed in three minutes, or we're all dead!"

And speaking of warp speed, that's how fast UF has gone from one of the nation's top five programs to "others receiving votes." That's how fast Grossman has gone from being the best quarterback in the country to being a collegiate Jon Kitna. That's how fast Florida has gone from a program that aspired to playing for a national title to one that now aspires to a winning record and is checking the holiday forecast for Shreveport.

The Gators have done the impossible: They somehow have managed to make Florida State fans feel good about having two losses.

It took Spurrier 12 years to build it, and it's come crumbling down in two months. Spurrier coached 129 games at UF before losing to an unranked team. Zook did it in Game 6. It took Spurrier 10 years to lose two home games in a season. Zook has managed to do it in five weeks by a combined score of 77-23.

The Gators have seven points in the past six quarters. They've been outscored 86-29 in the third quarter this season. So much for halftime adjustments.

And if Tennessee could execute a quarterback-center exchange and Kentucky had managed to score one more special teams touchdown, the Gators might be winless in the Southeastern Conference.

During UF games, the TV camera often pans to Zook, who stands on the sideline, jotting reminders to himself on a little notepad. You wonder what notations he made Saturday night:

1. See whether Ed Zaunbrecher really is in the press box, or is he calling plays from the Purple Porpoise?

2. Tell Jeremy Foley how young he looks for a 50-year-old man.

3. Buy sword and fall on it.

If this ineptitude continues, Zook will go down as the worst personnel move since Shemp replaced Curly in The Three Stooges. When Foley hired Zook, UF fans were willing to believe there was a method to the madness, but so far, all they've seen is the madness -- and the badness.

The scary thing is, it could get worse before it gets better. There are no gimmes left on UF's schedule (not even Vandy), and the Gators are looking at five losses, maybe six. And next year, because of departing talent, it might be even uglier.

Zook desperately needed to have a good first season -- at least a decent season -- to prove to UF fans, UF critics and, most important, UF recruits that he isn't in over his head. There seems to be this misconception that because Zook is a hard worker and a tireless recruiter that he automatically will lure better talent than Spurrier. That's inane. Spurrier didn't have to recruit the top players; they often recruited him. Do you think Grossman would have come knocking at Zook's office door, as he did Spurrier's three years ago when he was looking for a place to play quarterback?

Foley, who has hired and fired many employees over the past few years, has a philosophy when dealing with coaching changes. He often says, "What should be done eventually must be done immediately." In other words, if it becomes obvious things aren't going in the right direction, it's best to fire the coach now rather than wait.

Even though it's apparent things are going in the absolute wrong direction at the moment, it would be unfair to ask Foley to fire Zook after seven games. It's not unfair to ask this: Why did Foley hire Zook in the first place?

There were no glowing credentials, no real reason to believe Zook was ready for one of the top coaching jobs in football. I said it then, and I'll say it now: Foley should have at least put in a phone call to proven coaches such as Jon Gruden or Oregon's Mike Bellotti before making such a crucial hire.

Foley made the miscalculation that so many ADs at big-time universities make: They believe the program can carry the coach. They think money, resources and facilities are the keys to success.

They assume any hard-working Joe put in the position of coach at a program such as UF can be successful.

There was another established SEC powerhouse a few years ago that thought it could replace a legend with some young, hard-working guy who never had been a head coach but had the reputation for being a dogged recruiter. That school was Georgia, and the coach's name was Ray Goff.

Let us not forget that Florida football did not make Steve Spurrier; Steve Spurrier made Florida football. And then Foley handed the wheel of the ol' battleship to Ron Zook.

Unfortunately, it has taken but seven games for Captain Zook to reach this perilous point.

Friday, October 11, 2002

Another Gas Station shooting...

FromMSNBC:

Police on Friday were investigating a fatal shooting at a gas station near Fredericksburg, Va. — a crime that bears similarities to several others attributed to the sniper terrorizing the Washington, D.C., area. Traffic on nearby freeways slowed to a crawl as authorities questioned occupants of white vans and trucks resembling a vehicle that witnesses said was seen leaving the shooting scene.
Homeopathic birth control?

Is it unnatural to use natural means?

Scientist discovers lemon could halt the spread of AIDS
Interesting site

Here they take the October 7th Bush speech to task:Institute for Public Accuracy
Montana Republican quits Senate race

Why, at this point, you ask?

From the billingsgazette.com:

State Sen. Mike Taylor, Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, will withdraw from the race this afternoon, saying a Montana Democratic Party television ad has destroyed his campaign.

Taylor said at a press conference in Helena that the ad, which he said insinuated that he was a gay hairdresser, had pushed his poll numbers through the floor.


I wonder what big name Republican in Montana he will be replaced with on the ballot?

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Is Sponge Bob Square Pants gay?

From the Raiders News:

He lives in a pineapple under the sea, in a town called Bikini Bottom. His best friend is an exuberant pink starfish named Patrick. His name is SpongeBob SquarePants, the absorbent yellow star of the most highly rated kids show on TV.

SpongeBob, which first appeared in July 1999 and currently runs several times daily on Inc.'s Nickelodeon cable TV channel, is also the biggest childrens' phenomenon to capture the imagination of gay men since the purple Teletubby named Tinky Winky started carrying a purse.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Leave it to the Japanese...

From the NY Times Japanese Masters Get Closer to the Toilet Nirvana

...engineers from a rival company, Inax, counterattacked in April with a toilet that glows in the dark and whirs up its lid after an infrared sensor detects a human being. When in use, the toilet plays any of six soundtracks, including chirping birds, rushing water, tinkling wind chimes, or the strumming of a traditional Japanese harp.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Dreaded Words

Posted on the Drive-Theater marquee are the dreaded words that I will face each day just before arriving at work--Closed for the Season. Temperature this morning is 37 degrees.

Monday, October 07, 2002

St. Josemaria Escriva

Check out the official Opus Dei - U. S. A. page: Finding God in Work and Daily Life
When you are bored, try this

Google Fight : Make a fight with Googlefight
Today is the Feast of the Holy Rosary

The feast commemorates the victory of the Christians over the Moslem's in the Battle of Lepanto. Interestingly, it is also the anniversary (1st) of the beginning of America's retaliation for the 9/11 terror attacks.

From the CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Feast of the Holy Rosary

More particularly, the naval victory of Lepanto gained by Don John of Austria over the Turkish fleet on the first Sunday of October in 1571 responded wonderfully to the processions made at Rome on that same day by the members of the Rosary confraternity.

Friday, October 04, 2002

World's funniest Joke

From World's funniest joke no laughing matter!

Here it is:

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator says: "Calm down, I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: "OK, now what?"
To Visit my Bishop Sheen site click here: Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
The Vatican Approves Opening of Archbishop Sheen Sainthood Cause

From CNS NEWS BRIEFS Oct-3-2002

The Vatican's Congregation for Saints' Causes has approved a petition from the Diocese of Peoria to open the canonization cause of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. The diocesan chancery received a letter Sept. 23 granting approval from Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect of the congregation. It came just two weeks after Peoria Bishop Daniel R. Jenky announced the diocese's promotion of the sainthood cause. The letter was dated Sept. 14, the same week the diocese's petition was presented in Rome by Msgr. Richard Soseman, diocesan judicial vicar and vice postulator of Archbishop Sheen's sainthood cause. The quick response is a "good indication" that the Vatican is favorable to the cause, Msgr. Soseman told The Catholic Post, Peoria's diocesan newspaper. Archbishop Sheen, who gained fame in the 1950s as the host of the popular television program "Life Is Worth Living," died in 1979 in New York.
Today is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

From the Office of Readings

The Father willed that his blessed and glorious Son, whom he gave to us and who was born for us, should through his own blood offer himself as a sacrificial victim on the altar of the cross. This was to be done not for himself through whom all things were made, but for our sins. It was intended to leave us an example of how to follow in his footsteps. And he desires all of us to be saved through him, and to receive him with pure heart and chaste body.

O how happy and blessed are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord himself said in the gospel: You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul; and your neighbour as yourself. Therefore, let us love God and adore him with pure heart and mind. This is his particular desire when he says: True worshipers adore the Father in spirit and truth. For all who adore him must do so in the spirit of truth. Let us also direct to him our praises and prayers saying: Our Father, who art in heaven, since we must always pray and never grow slack.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Happy Birthday to my mother today!

She is a faithful reader of this blog.
"Yipee!" Finally...

This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Communion with God. The previous postings are found in the archives to the right. This is the 73rd Step:

(73) And never to despair of God's mercy.

We fall, time and again after numerous resolutions that we won't ever sin again. In a matter of seconds we are passing judgment on someone or even worst--once again falling into sin.

The tool that we most overlook in this great toolbox that we have been given to grow in communion with God is trust. Most of our acts of conversion are feeble attempts when we turn to God and ask Him to trust in us, but this is not what the spiritual life is about. Rather it is about knowing that we cannot be trusted but that God can be.

Turning to God is what the spiritual life is all about. It begins and ends with an act of trust in God's love and His mercy. There is nothing more tragic than when someone ceases to believe that God could ever love them or when they feel that they have done something that God could never forgive. Despair and closing ourselves off from God's mercy is the only act that can keep us from receiving it.

The devotion to the Divine Mercy that swept the Catholic world in the late 1900's and continues to thrive today is a great way to keep our focus on God's love and mercy by daily at 3:00 P.M. calling to mind God's mercy. The revelation to St. Faustina by Our Lord was that His death on the cross was for our sins, nothing new here, but He lamented that people were not availing themselves to His mercy and that she would become His Apostle of Mercy. "Jesus, I trust in you" is a powerful antidote to the many other voices that seek to destroy our lives. Focusing on the crucifix and meditating on the Passion of Christ as the supreme sign of God's love and mercy is powerful way to remind ourselves of how much God loves us.

Through the many counsels that we have looked at this is the most important--to remember God's mercy. God is our savior. Jesus we trust in you!

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Thanks to Spirit Daily for once again featuring my Novena book today!

Spirit Daily - Daily spiritual news from around the world
Today is the Feast of the Guardian Angels

From the Office of Readings (by St. Bernard):

He has given his angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways. Let them thank the Lord for his mercy; his wonderful works are for the children of men. Let them give thanks and say among the nations, the Lord has done great things for them. O Lord, what is man that you have made yourself known to him, or why do you incline your heart to him? And you do incline your heart to him; you show him your care and your concern. Finally, you send your only Son and the grace of your Spirit, and promise him a vision of your countenance. And so, that nothing in heaven should be wanting in your concern for us, you send those blessed spirits to serve us, assigning them as our guardians and our teachers.

He has given his angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways. These words should fill you with respect, inspire devotion and instil confidence; respect for the presence of angels, devotion because of their loving service, and confidence because of their protection. And so the angels are here; they are at your side, they are with you, present on your behalf. They are here to protect you and to serve you. But even if it is God who has given them this charge, we must nonetheless be grateful to them for the great love with which they obey and come to help us in our great need.

So let us be devoted and grateful to such great protectors; let us return their love and honour them as much as we can and should. Yet all our love and honour must go to him, for it is from him that they receive all that makes them worthy of our love and respect.

We should then, my brothers, show our affection for the angels, for one day they will be our co-heirs just as here below they are our guardians and trustees appointed and set over us by the Father. We are God’s children although it does not seem so, because we are still but small children under guardians and trustees, and for the present little better than slaves.

Even though we are children and have a long, a very long and dangerous way to go, with such protectors what have we to fear? They who keep us in all our ways cannot be overpowered or led astray, much less lead us astray. They are loyal, prudent, powerful. Why then are we afraid? We have only to follow them, stay close to them, and we shall dwell under the protection of God’s heaven.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Today is the Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus

From theOffice of Readings

When I had looked upon the mystical body of the Church, I recognised myself in none of the members which St. Paul described, and what is more, I desired to distinguish myself more favourably within the whole body. Love appeared to me to be the hinge for my vocation. Indeed I knew that the Church had a body composed of various members, but in this body the necessary and more noble member was not lacking; I knew that the Church had a heart and that such a heart appeared to be aflame with love. I knew that one love drove the members of the Church to action, that if this love were extinguished, the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer, the martyrs would have shed their blood no more. I saw and realised that love sets off the bounds of all vocations, that love is everything, that this same love embraces every time and every place. In one word, that love is everlasting.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

From the Boston Herald

Osama plotted bigger attacks: Report: U.S. Taliban revealed details to FBI

American Taliban John Walker Lindh has told FBI interrogators that Osama bin Laden had planned a three-phase attack on America and its allies and dispatched 50 al-Qaeda members on suicide missions the summer before the Sept. 11 attacks, it was reported yesterday.

The attacks on New York and Washington in which airliners were flown into buildings was only the first phase, The Sunday Times of London reported.
Lindh asserted that a senior al-Qaeda commander told him the second phase would be even worse and would make the U.S. ``forget about the first attack,'' and the third would ``finish America.''

Monday, September 23, 2002

This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Communion with God. The previous postings are found in the archives to the right. This is the 72nd Step:

(72) To make peace with an adversary before the setting of the sun.

We should always strive to remain at peace with everyone. One wonders how different life would be if everyone were to embrace this counsel and practice it in their daily life. Would there ever be another war? Would anyone have reason to live in fear anymore?

But such is not the case and I cannot live with my focus on what others are or are not doing. I can only put this counsel into practice myself. Do I allow the sun to set without making peace with those who I'm either angry with or those who are angry with me.

I have worked with people who practice this counsel and it can be rather tiresome when they come up to you to make peace and you weren't even aware that you were at "war" with them. But in the long run it is much better to have these summits of peace than to have people around you stewing about some slight that you have committed against them.

And what of us?

Are we aware of the control that others have over us by their actions and words?

Really this is a counsel to make sure that any time God is Lord over you. When we make someone an enemy we are in danger of making them an idol that we worship and serve. They and the actions that they commit against us are not all-powerful and do not deserve the time and emotion that we often waste on them. Making peace with our adversaries means making peace with God first, asking God to empower us to forgive and acknowledging that God is the judge over all. We let go and let God be God in our lives.
The Shroud of Turin has been Restored

From Zenit News:

The figure of the crucified man imprinted on the Shroud of Turin can now be more clearly seen, following its restoration by experts.

At the official presentation of the restored shroud Saturday, Cardinal Severino Poletto, archbishop of Turin, explained that the purpose of the work was to guarantee the conservation of the cloth. The work involved the removal of patches sewn on the shroud 470 years ago.

The cardinal, who is the relic's pontifical custodian, said that the restoration was carried out with the permission of the Holy See (which owns the shroud), and in keeping with the advice of technical experts.

The restoration of the shroud, in which according to tradition the body of Christ was wrapped after the crucifixion, was carried out last June and July in the sacristy of the Turin cathedral. Work was done by a team headed by Swiss expert Mechtild Flury-Lemberg, former director of the Abegg Museum in Berne.

Thirty triangular patches, sewn by nuns of Chambery, France, in 1534, after a fire damaged the relic in 1532, were removed from the shroud.

Also removed was the "Holland cloth" sewn on the reverse of the shroud 450 years ago to preserve it. The work also enabled the removal of dust and debris that had accumulated on the cloth over the centuries. All the material removed has been catalogued and placed in safekeeping.

Friday, September 20, 2002

Good News

Saint's Dried Blood Liquefies in 'Miracle'

If it liquefies that's good. Happened yesterday. It's Januarius' blood, feast day was yesterday.
The solution to the Florida ballot problems

Chortler -- Fisher-Price Wins Florida Ballot Design Contract

The Florida Elections Commission has awarded Fisher-Price a contract to develop a less confusing balloting system for the state in the run-up to November's midterm elections.

Satire

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Who should be baptized?

Over on the HMS blog my wife and Greg Popcak have gotten into a debate over how tough it should be to be allowed to be a member of the Church. It all stems from a thesis that the popularity of a group is enhanced by how hard it is to be a member. Making membership too easy leads to a drop in membership.

Nice theory and it would explain the popularity of some cults, but they come and go. It hardly explains the Christian faith at any era of its existence. One of the faults of thinking about the early church as fitting this model is the thinking that everyone was a martyr. Of course this isn't the case although the lapsi who survived the persecutions built nice churches in their honor.

One of the hot topics is should a child be baptized if the parents do not seem fit Catholics. The problem with this question up front is that it is all about what everyone else should be doing and very little about what I should be doing and reflects very little of a Christian attitude. Are Christians supposed to be watchdogs? Didn't Jesus command us not to judge but to love? Didn't he condemn those who would try to keep the "little ones" from entering the kingdom of God?

Re: Canon Law....

"The law exist to bring people to Christ" as the former president of the Canon Law Society of America has said, and any interpretation that turns people away from Christ is faulty. The poorest translator is the person who can translate it from Latin to English (which unfortunately is the only value some exhibit). It is clear that there are Catholics whose one goal is to turn people away, to make it hard to come to Christ. "Suffer the children to come to me" Jesus scolded his disciples when they tried to keep them from bothering the Lord.

I know people who were baptized as infants never went to church but still identify themselves as Catholic and come back years later because they have been marked with an indelible sign when they weren't even conscious of it (or were they?). It isn't magic--it is real. Like the Lord's healing touch to the woman with the hemorrhage, the sacrament's have an effect.

Grandparents bringing infants to be baptized is not a bad thing, but a good thing. It is largely reported that in Russia during the reign of Communism that it was the grandparents that kept the faith alive. If grandparents are going to take an active role in the faith formation of children why not allow them to? In traditional society grandparents have often played this role and to make light of it is to have a very narrow view of "family."

Ultimately the question isn't who should be baptized but what am I doing with the gift of my baptism? Sitting in judgment of others like the Pharisee who prayed up front "Lord, I thank you that I am not like other men" or the Publican "Lord, be merciful to me a sinner." Anyone who thinks they are the first is deluded. We all are sinners.

Interesting

State is home to diverse faiths

Indiana ranks 7th with more than 100 denominations, census of religious life finds.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Communion with God. The previous steps are found in the archives. This is step 71:

71) To pray for one's enemies in the love of Christ.

"Father, forgive for they know not what they do," are the words that come to mind when we reflect on this counsel to "pray for one's enemies in the love of Christ." Jesus not only preached this counsel of Benedict's but He also left us an example of how to do it. Yet it is pretty tough to do when we start putting faces to the word enemy.

We could start by those who personally affront us and pray for them. Do we believe that they really didn't know what they were doing when they hurt us? I'll be that if you share the incident with an objective person they would offer you some insight into the ignorance that probably was at work on the other end. Perhaps our enemies are insane, misled or plain stupid and this is the evil that we live with in the world that things are not quite what they could be or should be at any given time.

Even those who are moved by greed and dispense with poisons that injure and kill thousands daily (many of whom are quite respected in our communities) should be prayed for because could anyone really know what they are doing--and still do it if it had such horrible results. One can easily look at the insanity of a Hitler or Stalin but what of those who market items that kill (feel free to fill in the blanks with all known cancer and disease causing products that one can still buy at the local convenience store).

We are to pray for these people--those who hurt us and threaten us personally and the same for those who we fear in a more global way. In doing so we also are made aware of our own ignorance and how we too are responsible for the pain and hurt we cause others.

In praying for our enemies we change them into our brothers and sisters. We recognize their frailty. We bring them back down to earth where we are. We destroy our idols (albeit idols that we fear). In the process God almighty is restored to His rightful place in our lives as the Supreme Being who should be our one concern.
My Choice for the Next Pope is dead

But will be canonized someday in the future.
Cardinal Francois Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan Dies

Monday, September 16, 2002

Some Thoughts

Catholic Writer's Conference in Steubenville

I would judge that the Catholic Writer's Conference in Steubenville was a great success. It was great to meet people that I had only "read" and to touch base with others who I 've known for awhile. My talk was well attended (by close to 90 people) and a lot of writers presented me with some great ideas.

Hopefully this will become a yearly event.


Sopranos' first episode.

Best line of the night about 9/11 that was said by Bobby to Tony. It went something like this, "you know Quasi Mode predicted all of this."
Tony says, "huh--no you mean Nostradamus."
"Oh yeah, Notre Dame-us"
"No Nostradamus."
"Do you ever think about the similarities between the hunchback of Notre Dame and the halfback and quarterback for Notre Dame."
Tony says, "no."
The writers of the Sopranos have captured the way people talk in this country in a way that no other program before has been able to do.


Wednesday, September 11, 2002

The Cross still at Ground Zero

NYPOST.COM 9/11 Those We Lost: THIS IS A DAY TO REMEMBER By NEIL GRAVES and MAGGIE HABERMAN
Create a memorial tile in honor of 9/11

Yahoo! Living Tribute
9/11

From theOffice of Readings:

The heavens will proclaim your wonders, O Lord,
the assembly of your holy ones will proclaim your faithfulness.
For who in the sky can be compared to the Lord?
Who could resemble the Lord among all the sons of God?
God is to be feared in the council of his holy ones,
great and terrible above all who surround him.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

The Frontline episode the other night was entitledfaith and doubt at ground zero | PBS

It was interesting. I found the Orthodox rabbi interesting but he was way to hip to be an "orthodox" rabbi and his ideas were way out there. Father George Ruttler and Monsignor Albacete were the Catholic spokesmen. Strange that they wouldn't have interviewed Benedict Groeschel who has the absolute bestseller that deals with this issue--The Cross at Ground Zero.

One issue that was avoided was any sense that this act of violence was part of a war that is being fought which I found a rather interesting omission.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

A series of photos of the dedication of the new LA Cathedral

Photos - Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral

Friday, August 30, 2002

This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God. The previous posts are found in the archives. This is step #70:

(70) To love the younger.

Benedict's advice to love the junior monk is a counsel that may not mean as much to us in a culture that prizes youth. There was a real danger in a culture where wisdom and age are seen as equal to see youth as foolish and of little significance.

Of course in the Gospel Jesus had told his disciples that "out of the mouths of babes" comes wisdom. The Christian realizes that there is a wisdom that comes not from years and reflection but directly from God.

The idealism of youth often carries with it a wisdom that can be lost with age. The high ideals that we both strive for and expect from others when we are young can grow into disillusion and cynicism with age. Having youth around whether at home, in the work place or in the church can greatly enhance our lives.

What is lost on modern man is this exclusion of youth from its midst. Modern people do not love "youth" meaning "others" as much as they love the idea of '"youth" for themselves.

There are many applications to this counsel for non monks. We should welcome children into our lives. We should see them as having much to offer in helping us to understand the ways of God in this life.

It should also be added that the abuse of children shows why this counsel is so important. If we see children as precious beings who must be protected and cared for, i.e. truly loved, then we will stand up and defend them whenever they come under attack from those who would use their innocence to use them sexually or damage their young souls in any way.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

The Truth About Father Mychal Judge, O.F.M.

A September 11th Hijacking: How 'Gay' Activists Smeared Father Mychal Judge

The Truth About Father Mike
The truth is that Father Mychal F. Judge, O.F.M., was a wonderful Catholic priest. Father Mike saw Christ in everyone. He ministered to everyone with a smile, a prayer and the love of Jesus Christ in his heart. Father Mike was tireless in living a life as a Priest modeled after St. Francis of Assisi. Although homosexual activists have hijacked this truth, I know that, from heaven, Father Mike would want you to know the truth about him. He would also want you to pray for those who bear false witness. Most of all, Father Mike would care not that you remember him, but that you remember and live the Prayer of St. Francis.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Today is the Feast of St. Augustine

From the Office of Readings:

O eternal Truth, true Love, and beloved Eternity, you are my God, and for you I sigh day and night. As I first began to know you, you lifted me up and showed me that, while that which I might see exists indeed, I was not yet capable of seeing it. Your rays beamed intensely on me, beating back my feeble gaze, and I trembled with love and dread. I knew myself to be far away from you in a region of unlikeness, and I seemed to hear your voice from on high: “I am the food of the mature: grow, then, and you shall eat me. You will not change me into yourself like bodily food; but you will be changed into me”.

Accordingly I looked for a way to gain the strength I needed to enjoy you, but I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who is also God, supreme over all things and blessed for ever. He called out, proclaiming I am the Way and Truth and the Life, nor had I known him as the food which, though I was not yet strong enough to eat it, he had mingled with our flesh, for the Word became flesh so that your Wisdom, through whom you created all things, might become for us the milk adapted to our infancy.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God. The previous posts are found in the archives. This is step # 69:

(69) To honor the aged.


Life that has been lived long has acquired wisdom that can not be learned in books. The idealism of youth often finds quick solutions to problems that the person with wisdom will merely smile at. They have seen it all and have grown to appreciate what is of the utmost importance and what is trivial in a way that those of us who are still learning have not.

There is nothing more valuable in a culture than those who have been around for a long time and can provide this perspective to life. I was blessed to live near my grandparents and to enjoy their wisdom as I was growing up. There is a perspective to life that they can give that younger parents can not.

Benedict's counsel encourages us to honor the gift of life that has been bestowed upon our elders; to hold them in high esteem, to seek their counsel. To learn from them when we disagree with them.

Our culture unfortunately has not followed this counsel of late. We present youth as the ideal. Older people are made to feel that their time is past. This is a tragedy and the lasting effects are yet to manifest themselves in our culture.

Honoring anyone is a sign that we recognize the value that they possess not only to us but also to all. Honor the older people you encounter today. Take time to say hello, take time to learn from them. Allow yourself to receive their blessing.
This reminds me of a Mother Teresa story

From The Sun Newspaper Online:

The sickening champagne and caviar lifestyle being enjoyed by Earth Summit delegates was exposed yesterday.

They are gorging on mountains of lobster, oysters and fillet steak at the Johannesburg conference — aimed at ending FAMINE.


Mother Teresa was supposed to speak at such an event but upon her arrival at the convention hall she found a starving man near the entrance. She took him home and fed him. She ended up never speaking at the event.

Monday, August 26, 2002

What's a couple of hours?

Fisherman Reels In Human Head

A Fort Pierce man out fishing with his son and a friend made a gruesome discovery in the waters of the Atlantic: a human head.
Paul Trabulsy found the dismembered body part about 22 miles east of Fort Pierce Inlet.

The men used a gaff to fish the head out of the water and placed it in a garbage bag. Then they kept right on fishing.

"We didn't want to come in right away, so we just put it in a bag in a bucket. It'd been out there awhile. What's a couple of hours?" Trabulsy said.

Friday, August 23, 2002

Top Five NASCAR crashes of all time

The one that is on the news today ranks second. The worst ever according to McGee is the Craftsman Truck accident of Geoff Bodine at Daytona.

FOXSports.com | McGEE: Totally NASCAR's top five crashes

73 Steps - by Michael Dubruiel. 68

This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel. The previous steps are in the archives to the right. This is the 68th step:

(68) Not to love pride.

A direct translation of the Latin for this counsel would be to "flee" pride. Yet it would be fair to say that I think few people actually flee pride these days. There is a reason it is a vice and sadly there is nothing worst than a vice that is presented as a virtue.

"Looking out for #1" became something of a slogan starting in the 1970's and with it an explosion of the love of pride. Pride for many is no longer a sin but a sign of psychological maturity. This is sad because pride always mask a secret belief that deep down I really know that I'm not all that good and that is a tragedy!

We all can relate to a person who constantly is blowing their own horn and how tiresome this can be. But imagine for a moment that the person who is doing this is your child. I think if you asked yourself why they were doing it and tried to enter their skin you would see that sadly they really don't believe it and they are proclaiming it hoping that someone will affirm it.

Unfortunately such pride merely leads to people heaping scorn upon the individual in unsuccessful attempts to bring them back down to earth. And the sad individual becomes mired in an ever deepening pool of self-pity.

Contrast this individual with the saints. Although esteemed by others they hold themselves in low esteem. They realized their faults and they realize their gifts. Their gifts they realize are just that, presents from a God and they thank God continuously for them.

The saints are truly those who look out for #1, and they manifest this in their lives. They live in reality and know that God is number one and seek Him in the poor, in others and most of all constantly in prayer.
Today is the Feast of St. Rose of Lima

From the Office of Readings

Our Lord and Saviour lifted up his voice and said with incomparable majesty: “Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase. Let men take care not to stray and be deceived. This is the only true stairway to paradise, and without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven”.

And from my "Road Less Traveled" calendar a quote from Paul Tillich that says something very similar:

Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness...
He thought he was to be interviewed about Elvis

The Ozzy Interview He Doesn't Want You to See (washingtonpost.com)


According to a source, Greta asked Ozzy only one question about Elvis; the rest of the interview was "like a therapy session for Ozzy -- he unloaded for an hour."

So expect to learn little if anything about Elvis Presley on tonight's Ozzycast. You will, however, learn that: Ozzy is a Frank Sinatra fan, Ozzy thinks that Anna Nicole Smith's reality show is no competition, Ozzy is praying for Sharon, Ozzy hasn't been doing well at Ozzfest because Sharon isn't there, Sharon sent the kids to Ozzfest to take care of Ozzy, Ozzy's not good at hearing bad news like Sharon's cancer, Ozzy's falling apart more than she is, Ozzy went back to Ozzfest after taking a week off to be with Sharon because he was driving her crazy, Ozzy cried for a week when he found out about her cancer, and, finally, that Ozzy is "a complete nervous wreck."

Didn't he notice that the questions weren't about Elvis?

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Fear that terrorist may next target the Pope I should add again...

Yahoo! News - Postcards Prompted Italian Alert

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God. The previous steps are found in the archives to the right. This is step 67:

(67) Not to love strife.

Another way of translating this counsel of St. Benedict's is "not to love confrontation." There is not a counsel here to avoid it, but simply not to "love" it. There are some who literally love to pick a fight; who are entertained by creating an environment of unease.

The model must be Christ who was no stranger to confrontation or as our Lord say, "bringing the sword." His attitude is one of repairing the damage that has been inflicted or is in the process of being created by others. We should love the imitation of Christ at all times and seeking to do what Christ would do in any situation, mindful that we are in Christ.

This necessarily means confronting evil wherever we encounter it. But it does not mean loving that confrontation. There comes a point and it is a fine point where good people can become evil. Critics of Christianity often point out the damage done by "good" Christians. What they are highlighting is not the work of good Christians but rather the work of evil people who have allowed their love of strife to overtake their love of Christ.

The goal is never to destroy a person but rather to seek their salvation. Christ alone can save the person, not us. We can merely point out the way, most of the time painfully risking the loss of friendship from those who prefer darkness to light. This should grieve us too and move us to prayer.

Whether we live this counsel or not can be judged by our reaction to the way we deal with confrontation in our lives. Does it give us a feeling of satisfaction or sorrow? Our Lord was moved to tears when He approached Jerusalem because they did not know the time of their visitation. Is our response the same?
Clarification on the document released on Catholic-Jewish relations

U.S. Catholic Bishops - Office of Communications

Monday, August 19, 2002

I'll be online chatting tomorrow between 7 and 8 EDT here Author Chat
News you probably missed

Yahoo! News - Elvis Bust 'Weeps' in Dutch Town

Friday, August 16, 2002

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Credo folds
Metro Catholic newspaper to fold - 08/12/02

Credo, an independent Roman Catholic newspaper mailed free to 35,000 readers in western Wayne, Livingston and Washtenaw counties, will fold Oct. 7.

The conservative paper, underwritten by Tom Monaghan's Ave Maria Foundation, is ending publication because it wants to use the resources to strengthen Ave Maria Radio, which is being aired nationally.
Today is the Feast of St. Maximillian Kolbe

From a letter he wrote, from theOffice of Readings:

It is sad to see how in our times the disease called “indifferentism” is spreading in all its forms, not just among those in the world but also among the members of religious orders. But indeed, since God is worthy of infinite glory, it is our first and most pressing duty to give him such glory as we, in our weakness, can manage – even that we would never, poor exiled creatures that we are, be able to render him such glory as he truly deserves.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Friday, August 09, 2002

Why are the Gore's so cheap?

From FOXNews.com:

Take, for example, former Vice President Al Gore and his lovely wife, Tipper. Sources close to them and to Springsteen tell me Tipper tried to get free tickets to the Springsteen show for the entire Gore staff. That didn't work, and she was then told even paid admission would be hard to come by.
"They wound up being offered four," says a source. "But when they were asked to pay $75 apiece, they said forget it. And you know, that's why Gore isn't president, in a nutshell."


One thinks of the slum property they own, the couple of hundred dollars they donated to charity a few years back and you are left to ponder are these the cheapest people on the face of the earth? Why don't they give back some of what they have been given?

Thursday, August 08, 2002

Saying of Edel Quinn

Circumstances are the sacraments of God's will.

Edel Quinn
Check out My Daily Crumbs
Some sites actually forbid you to link to them

Don't Link to Us!
Today is the Feast of Saint Dominic

From the Office of Readings:

Frequently he made a special personal petition that God would deign to grant him a genuine charity, effective in caring for and obtaining the salvation of men. For he believed that only then would he be truly a member of Christ, when he had given himself totally for the salvation of men, just as the Lord Jesus, the Saviour of all, had offered himself completely for our salvation. So, for this work, after a lengthy period of careful and provident planning, he founded the Order of Friars Preachers.

In his conversations and letters he often urged the brothers of the Order to study constantly the Old and New Testaments. He always carried with him the gospel according to Matthew and the epistles of Paul, and so well did he study them that he almost knew them from memory.

Two or three times he was chosen bishop, but he always refused, preferring to live with his brothers in poverty. Throughout his life, he preserved the honour of his virginity. He desired to be scourged and cut to pieces, and so die for the faith of Christ. Of him Pope Gregory IX declared: “I knew him as a steadfast follower of the apostolic way of life. There is no doubt that he is in heaven, sharing in the glory of the apostles themselves”.

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Need to go anywhere, but don't have the money?

Consider flying on September 11th this year--CNN.com - Spirit: Fly free on September 11
And from St. Cyprian an account of the death of St. Sixtus (today's feast) and encouragement for all:

From the Office of Readings:

You should know, however, that Sixtus was martyred in the cemetery on the sixth of August, and four deacons with him. Moreover, the prefects in the City are daily pushing forward this persecution, and anyone who is presented to them is martyred and all his property confiscated by the state.

I beg you to make these things known to the rest of our colleagues, so that through their encouragement the whole brotherhood may be strengthened and made ready for the spiritual conflict – so that each one of us may think less of death and more of immortality – so that everyone, dedicated to the Lord with full faith and total courage, may rejoice in this confession and not fear it, for they know that the soldiers of God and Christ are not destroyed, but crowned.
From today's Office of Readings

Read these passages that reflect God's vegeance against a sinful nation and try to reconcile this image with the puffy spirituality of the day. God loves us, yes, but He is also to be feared if we reject His love:

AMOS 9:1-15;

I saw the Lord standing by the altar, and he said:
"Strike the tops of the pillars
so that the thresholds shake.
Bring them down on the heads of all the people;
those who are left I will kill with the sword.
Not one will get away,
none will escape.
Though they dig down to the depths of the grave,
from there my hand will take them.
Though they climb up to the heavens,
from there I will bring them down.
Though they hide themselves on the top of Carmel,
there I will hunt them down and seize them.
Though they hide from me at the bottom of the sea,
there I will command the serpent to bite them.
Though they are driven into exile by their enemies,
there I will command the sword to slay them.
I will fix my eyes upon them
for evil and not for good."


I can't help but be struck by how the first verse makes me think of the horror of the destruction of the World Trade Center towers.
Another side of Father Doc Ortman

This is in reference to a post on Amy's blog and when you read this piece I think you'll conclude that Father may be a bit confused because he seems to be very pro-life but incapable of dealing with a candidate (Amy's page) who is pro choice. The problem isn't really the priest but the overall leadership of the Church in this country which does not take the radical step of excommunicating those who are responsible for making and keeping the killing of innocent life in this country legal. Father is probably a good and loyal priest trying to help his parishioners make sense of this but having to say some really stupid things to do so

Credo November 19, 2001 Crosses illustrate fact, draw controversy in Plymouth

When the Christian Service Committee at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Plymouth Township erected a large anti-abortion display of white crosses on church property at Beck and North Territorial roads, they hoped it would make passersby think about the thousands of babies killed by abortion in the U.S. every day.

If controversy is a barometer, their goal was accomplished. Fr. Doc Ortman, associate pastor at OLGC, said they received some 50 calls about the display.

“Most of the calls were the ‘how dare you’ calls,” he said. “My response was: ‘How dare we not.’ We are talking about life here. We are talking about respect for life in all stages.

“It was unbelievable the response,” he continued. “I was shocked, but what we were really shocked about was that a number of calls were from our own parishioners.”

The 2,200 small white crosses are part of a traveling display that churches and organizations can obtain from Right to Life - Lifespan of Metro Detroit and set up for one or two weeks. A banner explains that each cross represents two babies killed by abortion, bringing the daily total to about 4,400 lives lost.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Good Latin quote: amor intrat ubi intellectus stat ad ostium

which means:

Love can enter where the intellect must stand at the door.
The New LA Cathedral

Welcome to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

Fairly ugly building from the outside, hard to tell what it looks like on the inside from the various art shown here.
Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration

From theOffice of Readings

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practise cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.


St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians

Monday, August 05, 2002

More evidence of faithless preaching

Amy reports on Rod Dreher's homiletic experience this past weekend, and wonders where the interpretation of the loaves and fishes as a sharing event comes from, oddly perhaps the one who has spread this false interpretation the most is the otherwise excellent commentator on Scripture, William Barclay:



Even William Barclay, whose background material for the word of God is fantastic, weakens a little bit when confronted with some of the signs that Jesus did, and injects for optional consideration some of the screwball ideas which have been bandied around by theologians whose faith is as weak as their explanations.

A good illustration is the case of the feeding of the five thousand with one hamburger bun for each thousand and a couple of sardines. It is asked if it is logical to believe that people like this would set out without taking food, and it is suggested they all had a pretty ample lunch stashed away in their haversacks. But they were selfish and did not want to get it out lest they might have to share with the others. However, when Jesus began to pass around the meager supply of food which he had cadged from a little kid on the fringe of the crowd, everyone got ashamed and hauled out his provisions, and it turned out they all had more than enough to eat after all.

As Barclay points out, if this explanation is accepted it "was not the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fishes; it was the miracle of the changing of selfish people into generous people at the touch of Christ. It was the miracle of the birth of love in grudging hearts." This sounds very beautiful and I am all for changing selfish people, but I do not think for a minute it is what happened here. If it was I doubt that all four of the gospel writers would have recorded it.

Barclay writes that if there was an actual multiplication of loaves and fishes it would be hard to understand. He is correct, but I think that the outstanding expositor overlooks one thing. The miracles of Jesus were happenings. They were matters of fact, and can only be interpreted in the light of evidence or testimony of eyewitnesses. Facts need not be understood in order to accept the testimony. We are not called upon to explain them but to weigh the evidence. It is correctly said that "Facts are stubborn things." A fact does not depend for its validity upon whether or not anyone can explain it, or whether or not anyone believes it. Belief of a fact may change a man, but disbelief of a man does not change a fact.


The interesting thing about the "miracle" of sharing is that it would only be a miracle in our culture. People in Jesus' time shared quite openly.