Saturday, June 06, 2009

Wings crush Pens!



I wasn't able to watch the last two games in Pitts-ville, but I watched game 5 tonight and the Wings won 5-0. It dawned on me that they won because I was watching - I know! I have a huge responsibility towards that team now.

Luis Buñuel - Simon Del Deserto

St. Simon Stylite is tempted by the devil in the form of a woman and is transported to 1964 in this cut. It is an extraordinary scene.

After I left the monastery, I arrived in Boston - to live as a sort of urban hermit. I wandered southern Europe as a pilgrim for awhile, until discouraged by my weakness, I returned to Boston hoping to return to monastic life.

One Saturday on my way to the North End, a convertible stopped at an intersection I was crossing, and "Love Hangover " by Diana Ross was playing on the radio.

That night I went out to a disco. The music was thundering and throbbing - I could actually feel the mix concocted by the DJ, and along with the lights and the smoke and the people dancing, it seemed to me I had entered into the antichamber of hell...

Someone offered me a joint, I smoked a little, got a drink, and never found my way back to the monastery, except for an occasional retreat.

12 steps, 18 steps, how many steps are there in a conversion?

Courage
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I've never been through a 12 step program, although I'm familiar with the steps and the process. In a way, the steps seem to be a sort of conversion process away from alcohol or other addictions, although it should be noted that alcoholism is no longer considered a moral issue, but a disease. Like I said - I've never gone through it, so I can't speak to that - yet I would think the will must be involved some how. I've had friends and family who have been in treatment and so the only thing I can say for sure about it is that the steps are not worked out over night, nor are they limited to a treatment program, indeed, some people work it their entire lives, which may account for their identifying themselves as recovering.
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Conversion is like that. Many of us may have had dramatic experiences wherein we realized our sinfulness and turned to the mercy of God, but normally such epiphanies were simply the catalyst which turned us away from our self-delusion towards the truth. Hence we can perhaps date the moment of our conversion, but we know from experience it was only the beginning of the process - it doesn't happen over night. "The kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by storm" or something like that. Conversion is the work of a lifetime.
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Blessed Angela of Foligno begins her Book of Consolations with the 18 steps of her conversion - the figurative 18 steps she climbed in her conversion process. It didn't happen in a short time, and she certainly did not become perfect over night. In fact her first 12 steps were constant reminders of the Holy Spirit's "convincing concerning sin" in her soul. The blessed Angela suffered many tears and painful sufferings throughout these stages of her conversion. The only relief she found was the contemplation of Jesus and him crucified, which became the one 'book' from whence she found consolation, with the love necessary to do "penance, as long and as hard as life itself" as she so often phrased it.
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I mention this today since many of us can come to expect that we, as well as others, should be converted all at once and just be happy 'praise the Lord' Catholics the rest of our life - once forgiven, we go and sin no more, as Christ said to the woman caught in adultery. However, what isn't related in that Gospel story is the sacrifice and suffering it most likely took to avoid that sin - especially if she had been a prostitute - the cash flow stopped. (Which is why the testimony of the saints is so important, they fill in the details lacking from the Gospel if you will.)
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Anyway, after we covert, confess our sins and pray our penance and do as we please, we sometimes surprise ourselves when we fall into a sin we always had a particular weakness for. Likewise, we get ourselves all verklempft if we go through those dark arid spiritual passageways that make us cranky and mean - why do bad things happen to good people? Perhaps worst of all, we freak the moment if and when we discover we can be hypocrites too. You see, we are all sinners, and we cannot begin to fathom the depth of what that means without the Holy Spirit who searches the depths of our soul, even as he searches the depths of God - deep calling unto deep.
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The conversion of Angela, like that of Margaret of Cortona and all of the other penitents was long and arduous, lasting many years. They didn't become saints over night.

Friday, June 05, 2009

St. Paul, Minnesota

I went to the Cathedral for confession and Mass tonight.
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I drove down Summit Ave on my way.
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Then I crossed over to Dayton Ave.
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I actually lived on Dayton in my 20's, in the exact same building my dad had lived in when he was in his 20's!
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I remember I was preparing for monastic life at the time and a former seminarian friend came by and we went to the Commodore Hotel for a drink - in the same bar F. Scott Fitzgerald frequented - when he was in his 20's. Wow. (Actually that never impressed me, nor did F. Scott.)
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My friend and I got really, really drunk! I know - me so holy and all! (I really did think I was.)
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I told my friend he was way too drunk to drive, so I drove - I did not have a license, nor did I know how to drive. I know!
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We returned to my apartment at high speed - I thought if I drove fast I could avoid the cops. My apartment was small and unfurnished because I embraced poverty and was an urban hermit. I slept on the floor beneath a big Charlie De Foucauld Caritas and heart I had drawn on the wall above my blankets. We both pretty much passed out I think.
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I went to confession the next day.
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I was kind of depressed on the way home thinking about all of that stuff. When you are young it is easy to go off and do stupid things, single life doesn't feel so lonely that way.

Don't listen to me.



I'm often mistaken... a few reflections...
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Another reason I published yesterday's reflection on mystical phenomena is because I was looking for a connection between diabolic influence and perversion, but I got sidetracked on to mystical phenomena instead. After thinking about it, even though gay hostility towards Catholic teaching can get to be extremely hateful and vindictive, filled with obscenities and contemptuous slander, it seems to me that fallen human nature is quite capable of atrocities on it's own, even without diabolic influence. So I put that question to rest for now, although a part of me suspects the devil in the details.
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However, pondering the phenomena associated with Rose Ferron and similar mystics kind of gives me the creeps as well, which may explain why I am more attracted to the spirituality of St. Therese and John of the Cross. Thankfully, when I first returned to the Church I had as a confessor, a holy Capuchin, Fr. Gabriel Diefenbach; a very straight forward no nonsense kind of guy whose counsel based upon his book, Common Mystic Prayer helped me avoid a lot of frivolous detours in the spiritual life. (Fr. Gabriel was very traditional and also the favorite of the Carmelite nuns.)
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Within that particular Carmel resided a nun who considered herself a mystic, she received locutions and stuff like that. I think she really did, but as we know, one can be deceived by one's own revelations - I'm not saying that she was however. Anyway, she is no longer a member of the community, having left to continue the reform begun by St. Teresa of Avila. (I know!) Since then, she has moved about the country founding hermitages - although they do not seem to survive.
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I contrast that nun with my spiritual sister, Mother Paula, who died last year. While the mystic made herself available to all comers for spiritual direction and an occasional deliverance prayer in the parlor, M. Paula was much more simple, and hidden. (I'm sure I've written about this before.) The mystic seemed absorbed by mystical phenomena. She lived on a steady diet of mystical writing and private revelations - nothing essentially wrong with that of course, but it may have left her vulnerable to delusion as well as leading her to place too much reliance upon her own inspiration and messages, if you know what I mean. Towards the end of her monastic life I suspect she wanted to be a director of souls, an apostolate Carmelite enclosure would ultimately restrict. Indeed she knew all the great mystical writers, Garrigou-Lagrange, Tanquerey, Eugene Marie of the Child Jesus, and so on. But she had to be in charge.
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On the other hand, M. Paula found her soul's nourishment in the Scriptures and liturgy - especially the Eucharist, while her spiritual reading mostly consisted of the spirituality of St. John and Teresa, and most especially the little way of St. Therese. Her soul was simple and uncomplicated, but very wise.

Robinson the apostate.

" You can't imagine something that is simply impossible..."
(At least he admits same sex marriage is impossible. )
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"There are a lot of people standing here who, when we grew up, could not have imagined this," Anglican bishop V. Gene Robinson said in response to the New Hampshire legislation permitting same sex marriage.
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Talk about an understatement.
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Gene Robinson, once married to woman and a father, now a bishop in the American Episcopal church and married to a man, rejoices in his apostasy, encouraging widespread apostasy amongst faithful Christians as well, when he preaches:
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"What we have to work against is countless centuries of tradition which has judged homosexual people to be an abomination before God," said Robinson, the Episcopal church's only openly gay bishop.
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"There are a lot of people standing here who, when we grew up, could not have imagined this," Robinson said. "You can't imagine something that is simply impossible. It's happened, in our lifetimes."
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"The law says that every church gets to choose what it will do," he said, meaning they can currently refuse to perform gay marriages.
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"We need to be working in our religious institutions to come to this new place about what is God's will about this," Robinson said. "I think a close look at that will reveal God loves all of God's children, not just certain ones, and that's the harder work."
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"Religion in general still presents the greatest obstacles we face in full equality," he said. "Ninety-five percent of the oppression that we know in our lives comes from the religious community." - Source
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These statements coming from a so-called Christian bishop. In truth God loves all of His children, which is why he set boundaries and limitations creatures may not pass.
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Photo: A portrait of Vicki Gene and Mark. (Vicki Gene is really his name.)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Extraordinary mystical phenomena.



Revelations contrary to faith and morals must be absolutely rejected. God cannot contradict Himself, nor can He reveal things opposed to what He teaches through His Church.
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A day or two ago a friend emailed me with a link to Rose Ferron, an early 20th century mystic from Rhode Island. I had been aware of Little Rose, a stigmatic for several years. She is from a class known as ecstatics - many such souls are believed to have lived for several years in a nearly constant state of ecstasy, subsisting on the Holy Eucharist alone, and some bore the stigmata and suffered the Passion regularly. Many claimed to have received revelations they recounted to others, some foretold future events, the need for penance, and so on. Such souls were considered to be voluntary victims of Divine Justice. I mentioned to my friend that this type of soul seems to be out of 'fashion' as it were, since we hear of so few, while in the 17th, 18th and early 20th centuries there seemed to be a profusion of victim souls.
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Some of these persons have been recognized by the Church, although none have been canonized for the mystical phenomena they experienced. A relative few of those canonized received messages which found approval by the Church: The message of Divine Mercy, revelations of the Miraculous Medal, Lourdes, and Fatima are examples. The cult surrounding Rose Ferron was at one time forbidden, although now I believe private devotion is permitted. I know oddball groups have formed around her - one such claiming Ukrainian Orthodox affiliation. As such, this group canonized Rose. Morbid fascination can lead one into error and away from the Church, which is why the Church has rules governing discernment of private revelations, in order to guard the faithful from error.
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"Since the devil apes divine works, diabolical phenomena are known to occur at times among the mystics." (All quotations from Tanquerey.) "A revelation may be true in the main and yet contain some incidental errors." Thus, in private revelations the errors of the times as regards physical or historical science may get included in the interpretation of the revelations. So too the prejudices and training of the spiritual directors of the seers can affect the message. Details involving historical errors may also be introduced, sometimes arising from the seer's meditation or intelligence, often contradicting historical documents or revelations of the saints.
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Private revelations may not only be wrongly interpreted, they "may be unwittingly altered by the seer himself as he attempts to explain, transcribe, record, or dictate the experiences to another. St. Brigid realized herself that at times she retouched her revelations, the better to explain them; such added explanations are not always free from errors. It is acknowledged today that the scribes who wrote the revelations of Mary of Agreda and Catherine Emmerich modified them to an extent difficult to determine." (Spiritual Life, Tanquerey, Book III, Chapter III.)



True

“The hostility of the perverse sounds like praise for our life because it shows that we are an annoyance to those who do not love God; no one can be pleasing to God and to God’s enemies at the same time. He who seeks to please those who oppose God is no friend of God; and he who submits himself to the truth will fight against those who strive against the truth.” Pope St. Gregory the Great, In Ezechielem homiliae, 9. - Source

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Shah of America.

Barrack Hussein Obama.
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Obama's inner Muslim is emerging, which may explain why he bows to the Saudi king and tells the Muslim world, Americans "do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation". (said in Turkey) A statement he kinda sorta contradicts when he tells Muslims, "one of the points I want to make is, is that if you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we'd be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world." Source (That isn't true of course, but it may impress Muslims.)
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Anyone, no matter who you are - ask the President anything - he will always be on your side.
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Looks as if his inner gay is coming out as well. Our Muslim president also declared June LGBT month. I wonder if he is aware of Muslim teaching on homosexuality? I think he would do well to study that issue a bit closer, especially considering this statement, "I think that the United States and the West generally, we have to educate ourselves more effectively on Islam... there's got to be a better dialogue and a better understanding between the two peoples."
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Now get a load of this:
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"Last Friday, the Baghdad Embassy employee association hosted a Gay Pride Theme Party at an employee pub. A flyer for the event, reposted on the Washington Post's website, encouraged attendees to “dress in drag or as a gay icon.”
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A State Department source told the Washington Times that the party “throws gasoline on the fire” of Islamic insurgency and strengthens the perception that America is promoting decadence."
- Source
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I guess Obama is right, "we have to educate ourselves more effectively on Islam..."

Jesus People - Episode 1

This is soooooooooo funny.
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A friend sent me the link. A person from Barb Nicolosi's Act-Up - or is it Act- I ?... LOL! Something like that. Anyway, he created the sit-com, obviously inspired by The Office and maybe even Christopher Guest's work. The episodes are comic views of Christian situations. Since they are created by Christians, it really is a case of Christians making fun of themselves...... Just remember, it's comedy.

My friend included this in her email: "when you've lived in Steubenville for any length of time, you'll find them very funny."

I have never lived in Steubenville - I visited - but the video is funny without the Steubenville exxperience.

St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, The 22 Martyrs of Uganda. Martyred 1886-1887

If they had opted for dialogue, would they have won the martyr's crown?
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One of the twenty two Ugandan martyrs who converted from paganism, Charles was the chief of the royal pages in the king's court, as such he also was a moral force amongst his companions and became their leader even in death. He was the best athlete in the kings court and considered "the most handsome man of the Kingdom of Uganda." He instructed his compatriots in the Catholic faith and personally baptised the younger pages. Charles encouraged the boys and young men to live chastely and resist the homosexual advances of the perverted king Mwanga.
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A superstitious pagan, Mwanga at first tolerated Christianity. Katikiro, a deputy in the court convinced the king that the Christians were dangerous, persuading him that if they refused to offer sacrifice, partake in the the activities the king desired, and if they would not massacre or make war, they would be no good for the kingdom, and if the kingdom became Catholic, it would destroy the country. Charles was sentenced to death and accepted his sentence with great joy and peace. He was executed by being burnt to death, after first arranging his own pyre and laying down upon it. Never crying out in pain he simply twisted and moaned, "Kotanda! (O my God!)." He died June 3, 1886.
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Pope Paul VI canonized Charles Lwanga and his companions on June 22,1964. His feast day is June 3.
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The stories of his companion martyrs are just as gruesome and terrible as those related in the early Roman martyrology. St Charles and companions suffered for the faith and for their refusal to commit mortal sin with the king through homosexual acts. Today, many writers usually just say: "They were put to death because they would not accede to the king's unreasonable demands."

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Gardening.

I'm kind of busy in the yard so blogging will be light.
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LOL! I have about 6 posts up today. But I have to get to work.
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Did you know Mrs. Rabitowicz lounges in the yard while I work? She doesn't run away unless I use something electrical, such as a hedge trimmer. I've been putting that off since some of the birds still have chicks in their nests, which they built in my hedge - it is wild and hairy looking now - the hedge. I have a Gold Finch who lives in the South hedge, so I didn't want to scare him off. The Gold Finch used to be our State bird before the Loon. My brother shot one once with his BB gun back when I was in the 3rd grade. I cried and got really mad at him. Later I consoled myself with an elaborate funeral for the little bird down by the pond in back. I was roundly mocked by all for doing so. C'est dommage.
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Anyway, last evening after potting some vegetables, I asked Mrs. R. if the moth ball smell annoyed her. (The neighbors place moth balls in their garden as a repellent - they are toxic to animals and humans.)
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"Not so much dear," she said yawning and stretching out on the lawn, "we feed in the evening and the smell is not so bad then - it is the sun that seems to accelerate the off-gassing. I see it keeps you away more than it does us. To tell the truth, your watering creates more of a disturbance for us than anything."
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"I'm sorry, it is so dry this year, I'm going to have to water regularly I'm afraid."
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While washing herself, Mrs. R. replied, "I don't mind so much really, and I suppose the kids have to learn to get used to it - it's our second litter this year you know!" She added proudly.
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"Congratulations!" I said with a laugh, as I went into the garage to get the hedge trimmers, "You'll be off now, I have to get to work and you won't like the noise."
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Returning from the garage with my tools, I noticed she was gone, although her imprint was left behind in the long grass. I'm maintaining the lawn at a better height this year due to the drought.
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I wasn't going to say anything, but I couldn't help but notice that Mrs. R. looked a bit sad. I also thought I noticed a slight wound on her thigh, as if she had been in a fight or caught herself on a piece of wire or something. I wondered if perhaps she was a victim of some sort of domestic abuse? Mr. R. always seemed a bit unfriendly, if not mean whenever I've encountered him. I never said anything about it because I thought it was just his way, but it could account for the Mrs. not always taking time to talk or hopping away unexpectedly when she sees me.
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Rabbits are a mysterious bunch - just when you think you understand them, you realize you don't at all.

Playing Mass.

Or why I think pretending to have Mass while sitting kool-aid style on the sidewalk is dumb.
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Dissident groups and individuals love to play Mass, imagining themselves to be returning to a more primitive and therefore more inclusive and authentic worship of God. In effect all they are doing is mimicking the Catholic Mass, while inventing novelties and committing sacrilege. Pope Pius XII warned against such things in Mediator Dei, his encyclical on the Liturgy.
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39. The Church is a society, and as such requires an authority and hierarchy of her own. Though it is true that all the members of the Mystical Body partake of the same blessings and pursue the same objective, they do not all enjoy the same powers, nor are they all qualified to perform the same acts. The divine Redeemer has willed, as a matter of fact, that His Kingdom should be built and solidly supported, as it were, on a holy order, which resembles in some sort the heavenly hierarchy.
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59. The Church is without question a living organism, and as an organism, in respect of the sacred liturgy also, she grows, matures, develops, adapts and accommodates herself to temporal needs and circumstances, provided only that the integrity of her doctrine be safeguarded. This notwithstanding, the temerity and daring of those who introduce novel liturgical practices, or call for the revival of obsolete rites out of harmony with prevailing laws and rubrics, deserve severe reproof.
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The liturgy of the early ages is most certainly worthy of all veneration. But ancient usage must not be esteemed more suitable and proper, either in its own right or in its significance for later times and new situations, on the simple ground that it carries the savor and aroma of antiquity. [61]
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63. Clearly no sincere Catholic can refuse to accept the formulation of Christian doctrine more recently elaborated and proclaimed as dogmas by the Church, under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit with abundant fruit for souls, because it pleases him to hark back to the old formulas. No more can any Catholic in his right senses repudiate existing legislation of the Church to revert to prescriptions based on the earliest sources of canon law. Just as obviously unwise and mistaken is the zeal of one who in matters liturgical would go back to the rites and usage of antiquity, discarding the new patterns introduced by disposition of divine Providence to meet the changes of circumstances and situation. - Source
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One would do well to read the entire encyclical - it is quite profound.

Bird droppings.

That could be a good name for a blog I think.
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In today's first reading at Mass from the Book of Tobit, we hear how Tobit sleeps outside and bird droppings settle in his eyes, causing cataracts. The doctors fail to heal him and their remedies cause complete blindness. He gets angry at his wife for bringing home a goat he fears could be stolen, and orders her to return it to its owners. The wife gets pissed and accuses Tobit of hypocrisy, scolding him thus, "Where are your charitable deeds now? Where are your virtuous acts? See! Your true character is finally showing itself!" The wife's insults and calumnies afflict the poor man, inspiring in him a profound prayer of repentance as well as a prayer for death. (We learn this in tomorrows reading.)
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Insult, calumny, debate and hypocrisy.
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These tactics are revealed in today's Gospel when the Jews were sent to Jesus to entrap him in his speech, they were testing him to find a way to ensnare him. Coming in peace, they flattered and praised him first, and then posed a clever question to trip him up.
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The more things change, the more they remain the same.
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"Happy the man who fears the Lord,
An evil report he shall not fear;
his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord." - Ps. 112
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I very much appreciate this statement from our Archbishop Nienstedt:
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"If you do not believe, then there cannot be dialogue, but only debate. The truths of our faith are not open to debate." - Source
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Prayer.
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"In you I trust; let me not be put to shame,
let not my enemies exult over me...
Your ways make known to me O Lord,
teach me your paths,
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
Good and upright is the Lord;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way." - Ps. 25

Cute remarks.



"Church is about forgiveness." - Source
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Yeah - but first comes repentance and conversion Cutie.

Peace and love and all that crap...


Peace.
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Ever notice how people use that signature after a disagreement expressed in an email, comment box, or blog post?
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Maybe you haven't.

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Tiller Shooter

Absolutely everyone is posting on this mess, the shooting of Dr. Tiller, so I have little to add - who needs more commentary on what happened anyway - it was evil all around.
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But the shooter's background should come as no surprise whatsoever - he appears to have been a member of a group Homeland Security most likely identifies as right-wing extremists. Obviously some of these people can be dangerous. And people close to him must have known that.
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"I know that he (Scott P. Roeder) believed in justifiable homicide," said Regina Dinwiddie, a Kansas City abortion opponent who made headlines in 1995 when she was ordered by a federal judge to stop using a bullhorn within 500 feet of any abortion clinic. "I know he very strongly believed that abortion was murder and that you ought to defend the little ones, both born and unborn." - Source
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Sadly, all of us who are pro-life and anti-abortion, are going to stand accused along with this guy. I've worked with people like Roeder - but these unstable types do not represent the Roman Catholic Church or the pro-life movement, no matter how sincere their convictions.
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All I have to say is, we shouldn't worry too much about the backlash, of all people, Christians should remain calm and at peace. "Do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring in your midst. It is a test for you but it should not catch you off guard. Happy are you when you are insulted for the sake of Christ, for then God's Spirit in its glory has come to rest on you. See to it that none of you suffers for being a murderer, a thief, a malefactor, or a destroyer of another's rights. If anyone suffers for being a Christian however, he ought not to be ashamed. He should rather glorify God in virtue of that name." - 1 Peter 4: 12-19

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The assasination of George Tiller.

"Wichita police say that abortion provider Dr. George Tiller has been shot and killed at his Wichita church.
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The Wichita Eagle was reporting on its Web site, Kansas.com, that Tiller, 67, was shot just after 10 a.m. at Reformation Lutheran Church, where he was a member of the congregation.
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Tiller has been among the few U.S. physicians performing late-term abortion. His clinic has repeatedly been the site of protests for about two decades." - Source
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Pray for the mercy of God upon Dr. Tiller's soul and for his murderer to be caught and brought to justice.
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"The season of judgment has begun, and begun with God's own household." 1 Peter 4: 12-19

Baptism

I just found out I was baptized on Ascension Day. The date was May 26, 10 days after my birthday.

The Holy Spirit, giver of Life.

John Paul's encyclical, On the Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church and the World.
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Amazingly, the Holy Father's 1986 letter focuses a great deal of attention upon sin, the original sin and the Holy Spirit's convincing concerning sin. Perhaps that is why one rarely hears the encyclical referenced - at least I don't. Nevertheless, it is a little book I refer to often and meditate frequently, and not just during Easter season.
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JPII referred to Genesis frequently in his writings, a fact not isolated to his development of his theology of the body, the study of which necessitates the guidance of the Holy Spirit and His mission to "convince the world concerning sin".
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Anyway, as long as we are on the subject of TOB, Dawn Eden hosts a guest blogger, Fr. Angelo Mary Geiger, expressing his point of view regarding the debate and content of Christopher West's teachings on the subject. The ensuing discussion in the com-box is also compelling. Read it here.
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(Yes, I like Dawn Eden now.)

The Holy Spirit

"The Spirit therefore, who 'searches everything, even the depths of God', knows from the beginning the 'secrets of man'. For this reason He alone can fully 'convince concerning the sin' that happened at the beginning, that sin which is at the root of all other sins and the sources of man's sinfulness on earth, a source which never ceases to be active. The Spirit of truth knows the original reality of the sin caused in the will of man by the 'father of lies', he who already 'has been judged'.
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According to the Book of Genesis, 'the tree of the knowledge of good and evil' was to express and constantly remind man of the 'limit' impassable for a created being." - Pope John Paul II, On the Holy Spirit