See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I know.

I took the post down.

What?


Envying the dead.


Watching the news late last night I felt almost numb to the earthquake footage, as if it wasn't real, or I was watching  a documentary from long ago - maybe even old footage from Katrina, or something out of Rwanda.  It must be a coping mechanism, that sense of indifference, perhaps like the emotional detachment expected of a surgeon or an emergency room nurse - only different, because I can't do much more than watch, and pray of course.  Those of us at home can pray and contribute what we can to relief efforts - and suffer our helplessness along with the afflicted.
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I imagine that many of the injured might well envy the dead by now.
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Donate Now: Catholic Relief Services

Bill Donohue explains why the Catholic League is sharply critical of Celebrity Cruises.



This story inspired another post of mine from yesterday. It is a real issue however, don't you agree? But is it really so difficult to solve? I don't think so. If the company will not change it's policy, just don't go on a cruise, and if you must, simply choose a cruise line that provides a Catholic chaplain. 
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The original story from the Catholic League:
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Ten days before Christmas, we learned that Celebrity Cruises had just announced that beginning in 2010, it would no longer have priests on board to celebrate daily and Sunday Masses. We immediately followed up by questioning the cruise line about its new policy. Just this week we received a reply that said, “Out of respect for our guests of all religious faiths, Celebrity has chosen to align the religious services provided for Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Interdenominational faiths effective January 4, 2010.” It added that religious services would be provided for “the major High Holy Holidays of each respective faith.”

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What this statement failed to note is the reason for the new policy. The following is an excerpt from the letter it sent to Catholic priests affected by the change in policy: “While we do meet the needs of many guests onboard by supplying a priest, we have recently encountered a great deal of negative feedback pertaining to the ‘selective’ support of one particular religion/faith. After many internal discussions, external research, and marketing investigations, Celebrity Cruises will only place Roman Catholic Priests on sailings that take place over the Easter and Christmas holiday.”
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In other words, because some anti-Catholics objected to daily Mass onboard the ship, Celebrity Cruises threw the priests—and the lay Catholic men and women with them—overboard. Instead of standing on principle and telling those generating the “negative feedback” that no one is forced to go to Mass, and that tolerance demands respect for religious freedom, officials at Celebrity Cruises decided to yield to the bigots.
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The Catholic League advises all Catholics to shop around the next time they plan to take a cruise, but not to waste their time checking out Celebrity Cruises. - Source
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Friday, January 15, 2010

Ask yourself this...

Who, what to blame for the Haitian earthquake?



The earth just moved. 
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Tectonic plates and all of that you know.
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Nevertheless I just read where Danny Glover is blaming Global Warming - kind of, sort of.  I think what he was really saying is the earth is angry and getting back at humanity.  That's pretty Gaia isn't it - neo-pagan I mean.
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Of course we know Pat Robertson's take on this, joined as he is by a few Catholic fundamentalists who appear to agree with him.  One mystic is saying she's not sure if this event was mentioned in her revelations, but her voices had told her such things will take place.  Many of these same people claimed hurricane Katrina was also a punishment - New Orleans is often associated with the occult as well.
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A month ago an even stronger quake hit Turkmenistan registering a healthy 8 on the Richter.  Loss of life and damage seems to have been kept to a minimum - and therefore it was hardly noticed by the world.  That was a big quake however.  Who was responsible for it?  Turkmenistan devils?  Or tectonic plates?
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The point is, the human race made a pact with the devil a long time ago, and these things have been happening ever since.  But do not forget, Christ redeemed the human race.  When the tower fell in Siloam and killed several people, Our Lord pointed out to those who were playing the blame game, "Do you think they were more guilty than anyone else?  Certainly not!  But I tell you, you will all come to the same end unless you reform."
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We are all going to die.  The important thing is that we be prepared to do so, and to act with charity towards those who suffer and die before we do.
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Fr. Longenecker reflects on this subject as well, and points to an account in London's Daily Telegraph which includes that bit of history Pat Robertson made reference to - it helps explain the  abject poverty of the nation perhaps, but that is about it.
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I think the best thing to do is keep your mouth shut and just pray if you can't help in any other way.

Breaking News: Weight Watchers floor collapses...


The floor of a Weight Watchers clinic in Sweden collapsed beneath a group of 20 members of the weight loss programme who were gathered for a meeting. - Story
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What?
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[No one was hurt.]

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Menace to society...


Cracking up...
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I will never forget an interview Robert Downey Jr. did several years ago where he spoke about his problems with drugs at a time after he had faced some sort of criminal conviction or something - obviously I can't recall the details, I just recall his response to the interviewer.  Trying to hold back laughter he said something like, "Yeah... the court said... I... was... a menace to society..."  And he just cracked up laughing really hard.  This took place at a time when his entire career appeared to be on the line, and when he seemed hopelessly addicted to drugs and beyond redemption, as it were.  Now I supposed we'd say he's straightened himself out and is living quite successfully today, his life obviously in order.  Or he is just managing to cope with success - whatever the case - he's all acceptable now.

Nevertheless, I liked him when he was in deep trouble and cracked up over the idea people imagined him to be a menace to society.  People have all sorts of screwed up ideas about one another, don't they.
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Epiphany moments.
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I know! Sounds like Oprah doesn't it? But when stuff happens - like what is going on in Haiti, the death of a loved one, a diagnosis of terminal cancer, the loss of a job - you know - big stuff - a lot of stupid stuff falls into place. I'm not feeling especially articulate right now but what I suppose I'm trying to say is that I don't care about a lot of stuff other people think is important.
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I've looked at a lot of news sources today, a lot of blogs too - everything seems like crap. The blogs are the worst. But before I go any further I want you to know that many of the blogs I frequent have acted like a mirror for me this morning - because what I see and criticize in them is exactly what I recognize and criticize in myself - on a good day, that is. It has to be like that - why else would I link to or read other blogs if not for the fact that they speak to something in me? Like it or not - we hold something in common - that is why we read one another. Not always, but most times.
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So what's this post about?
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Nothing.  Nothing much.  I was just going to mention that Pat Robertson is another funny guy, isn't he.  A lot of people online are just like him.  They know absolutely everything... 
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Yeah.  I'm laughing really hard now.
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Menace to society.  LOL!

Michelle, my belle...




She is looking beautiful.  New hairdo and nicely dressed too.
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No one asked me, but I'm happy with the way the President has responded thus far to the disaster in Haiti.

Please just pray for Haiti!


Contribute what you can, but fast and pray.  Do not get caught up in any wrath of God blame game thing, faulty construction debates, corrupt government analysis, or political name calling - just pray. 
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O Mother of Perpetual Help, Patroness of Haiti, with the greatest confidence we kneel before you to present ourselves before you in our many afflictions. We implore your help for us and for our neighbors suffering from the devastating earthquake and its aftermath, especially as we struggle to provide aid and support for the survivors. Trials and sorrows often depress us; misfortunes and privations bring misery into our lives, especially now when the poorest of the poor are afflicted so terribly; everywhere we meet the cross. Comforter of the Afflicted, beg your Son Jesus to strengthen us as we bear one another's burdens and to free us from our sufferings. Or if it be the will of God that we should suffer still longer, help us endure all with love and patience. May we follow the example of your Son, and through him, with him and in him commend ourselves to the care of our heavenly Father. Jesus and Mary I love you, save souls! Amen.  (This prayer was adapted from the regular novena prayer to OL of Perpetual Help, Patroness of Haiti.) 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Among the dead in Haiti.

"According to the Vatican's Fides news agency, Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti, Archbishop Bernardito Auza was reported as saying:
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Port-au-Prince is totally devastated. The cathedral, the Archbishop's Office, all of the big churches, all of the seminaries have been reduced to rubble. The same luck for the Ministry buildings, the Presidential Palace, the schools. The Parish Priest of the Cathedral, who was spared, told me that the archbishop of Port-au-Prince would have died under the rubble, together with hundreds of seminarians and priests that are under the ruins." - CNA 



O Mother of Perpetual Help, Patroness of Haiti, with the greatest confidence we kneel before you to present ourselves before you in our many afflictions. We implore your help for us and for our neighbors suffering from the devastating earthquake and its aftermath, especially as we struggle to provide aid and support for the survivors. Trials and sorrows often depress us; misfortunes and privations bring misery into our lives, especially now when the poorest of the poor are afflicted so terribly; everywhere we meet the cross. Comforter of the Afflicted, beg your Son Jesus to strengthen us as we bear one another's burdens and to free us from our sufferings. Or if it be the will of God that we should suffer still longer, help us endure all with love and patience. May we follow the example of your Son, and through him, with him and in him commend ourselves to the care of our heavenly Father.  Jesus and Mary I love you, save souls!  Amen.

Notre-Dame du Perpétuel Secours, patronne de Haïti


Haiti is consecrated to Our Mother of Perpetual Help.  Nothing else matters now but to pray and fast for the people of Haiti in the aftermath of Tuesday's earthquake.
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"Haiti has many devotees of the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, the country itself is actually consecrated to Our Lady under this title. In 1881 Haiti was afflicted with a horrible epidemic of smallpox, particularly in the capital of Port-au-Prince. The doctors saw no solution other than intense storms to cleanse the atmosphere. But that time of the year was known as the "dry season." One woman had brought a copy of the icon from france and offered it to the rector of the Cathedral of Port-au-Prince, hoping that invoking the Holy Virgin would alleviate the plague. On February 5, 1882, a solemn procession was held during which the image was carried to a small chapel overlooking the city. The Novena began. Five days later, contrary to all weather predictions, several cloudbursts occurred. From that moment the epidemic began to diminish and no new cases were reported. The people of Haiti had no doubt that it was Our Lady's intercession that had saved them. Since then she has been called "The Virgin of the Miracle." The picture of her is found in almost every home. Even the civil government officially place the nation under her protection." - Source
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Let us all pray for Haiti.
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Mother of Perpetual Help, come quickly to the aid of our brothers and sisters, who amidst such poverty are suffering even more severely due to the devastating earthquake which has struck Haiti.  Amen.
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One blogger from the area, The Haitian Blogger wrote:
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  • General Hospital in Port-au-Prince is down, Palace is damaged.
  •  No one knows how many dead or injured. The aftershock is reverberating. People can only see dust,
  •  Obama is sending in military troops.
  •  Phone lines that are working are: Haiti-tel and Voila.
  •  All windows are shattered in houses in la plaine
  •  Houses are falling down everywhere.
  •  All the poor on the mountains, whose houses were build on the mountains, all tumbled down, one on top another…
  •  A terrible situation! Devastating. There's NEVER been an earthquake of this magnitude in Haiti. Major aftershocks happening…
  •  The quake was quickly followed by two nearby, strong aftershocks of initial magnitude of 5.9 and 5.5, the aftershocks were major earthquakes in and [of] themselves.
  •  This is catastrophic. Changes everything. - Source
"Changes everything."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mums and dadums.

LOL!

Seeking your self...



Do you ever Google yourself? 
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A friend suggested I try.  I discovered I come up a few ways - as Terry Nelson, everything to do with Abbey comes up, with my full name, some of my art work comes up.  That's interesting.  Did you know there is another Terry Nelson associated with the real Abbey Road in the UK?  [Did you know I immediately have a special fondness for anyone who shares my name or my birthday?] 
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Anyway, I came across a comment on some forum regarding me;  "Who is Terry Nelson anyway?"  Then I came across a very odd comment on a British blog - it must be the laguage barrier, but I honestly do not know what the fellow was getting at.  I know he doesn't believe my profile photo is a recent photo of me - and he is right of course - it isn't me at all, it is an actor.  (Couldn't that be a spring-board into some literary gem about how all of us are actors on the world's stage or something?  It's been done.)
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I didn't come up with much more stuff however.  Now days I rather like negative comments or the fact people discover what I am.  It shatters the false self I've presented to the world - and  to myself.  I frequently recall what I was like while living an immoral life, how I wanted to be accepted and tried to justify myself, all the while thinking I was so much more 'advanced' than 'normal people'.
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After repentance and beginning upon the way of conversion, my desire to be accepted didn't go away.  I recall religious people keeping me at arms length when it came to any involvement with church activities, suspecting my motives, my sincerity.  "I've changed," my inner voice would cry out, "I'm not like that anymore!" I would think to myself, 'I pray, I know the scriptures, I've studied, I read the Fathers, I was a monk!'  ...all the while thinking I was so much more 'advanced' than 'normal people'.
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It took many, many years to get over that stuff.  And no, I'm not really completely over it now either - although it seems to me, like any temptation, it is no longer the great stumbling block to authenticity it once was.  Yet that thought too is a temptation and a trap, isn't it.
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In all of this...
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I have come to realize of course that there is a special sensitivity one must maintain towards others on the Internet.  Not a few people have personality difficulties, mental illness, and any number of other issues we (and sometimes they) are not aware of.  Some folks are simply coarse and vindictive by nature.  Many times I think they are funny, sometimes I just don't get it, occasionally I get angry.
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Until I examine myself that is...
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"Remember especially that you cannot be the judge of anyone.  For there can be no judge of a criminal upon earth until the judge knows that he too is a criminal, exactly the same as the one who stands before him, and that he is perhaps most guilty of all for the crime of the one standing before him..." - The Brothers Karamazov
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Yes, I am the criminal.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Some very important thoughts on indiscreet zeal...



"If exactitude be praiseworthy, severity is blamable."
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"Remember that God, to punish those who have practised [this] indiscreet zeal, and to correct them, has often allowed them to fall into much graver faults than those which has scandalised them in others.
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[Therefore] I command you never to speak of God, or of anything good, unless in a spirit of humility and meekness, in an amiable and gracious manner, with moderation and encouragement, and never with bitterness and severity, or in a way to wound and repel those who hear you, because, although you may only say what is in the Gospel and in the best books, I believe that in your present state of mind you might say it very badly and in such a way as only to do harm. Did not Satan make use of the words of Holy Scripture to tempt our Lord?
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Truth is the proper relation of things. It is changed when pushed to extremes, or wrongly applied. Your peevish temper is like a smoked glass, which, if you do not take care will prevent you seeing things in their true light, or showing them to others. Keep always on your guard against this fatal influence, and feed your mind on thoughts and feelings that are contrary to those inspired by temper. Entertain yourself and others with conversations on the infinite goodness of God, and on the confidence we ought to have in Him.
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Compel yourself to offer an example in your whole conduct, of a virtue that has no bounds, and which imposes no restraint on others. If you have nothing kind to say keep silent, and leave the care of deciding to others. They can avoid better than you too much laxness, and will be exact without being severe. If exactitude be praiseworthy, severity is blamable, it does nothing but revolt people instead of convincing them, and embitter their souls instead of gaining them. As much as true meekness, with the help of God, has power to repel evil and to win to good, so much has an excessive harshness power to make goodness difficult and evil incurable. The first is edifying, the latter, destructive." - Letter XI, Intemperate Zeal, De Cassaude, Letters

Pray Tell


What?!  A new liturgical blog?  Called Pray Tell?  Worship, wit, and wisdom from Liturgical Press?
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Sample:
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Must there be organic continuity in liturgical reform?  Yes, one hears with great emphasis. There can be no disruption in the liturgical life of the church, no “before” and “after” the Council. Liturgies and rituals evolve slowly, like living organisms. Liturgy can’t be “engineered” de novo by experts sitting at their workdesks. “Hermeneutic of continuity” is the slogan of the day.  "Says who?" - Source
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Zeeeeezzzzzzzzzzzzz! 
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I know!
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H/T Vox Nova

All art is derivative.


El Greco: The Modena Triptych.
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If you look closely, this exceptionally small work by El Greco seems to have inspired Spanish artists - and others - who came after El Greco.  One such painter who comes to mind is Dali.  We know El Greco began as an iconographer, but I wonder if he was influenced at all by Bosh? 
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Thanks to the ever popular Kat for introducing me to this El Greco.  She offers the full frontal view here.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"As iron sharpens iron...


So man sharpens his fellow man." - Proverbs 27: 17
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Spiritual writers tell us that is what community life is often all about, which may help explain why so few today seem interested in religious life; yet as the proverb informs us, even in secular life "man sharpens his fellow man."  Imagine St. John of the Cross writing the following for lay people seeking perfection...
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"You should try and remind yourself constantly that you are in the world so that all may fashion you and try you.  Thus, to free yourself from the imperfections and annoyances that can be engendered by the mannerisms and attitudes of the people you live amongst and draw profit from every occurrence, you should think that all of those you 'rub shoulders' with are artisans - as indeed they are - since they are present in your daily life in order to prove you;  some will fashion you with words - an insult or a negative comment on your blog maybe, others by deeds - something as simple as a 'dirty' look perhaps, and others with thoughts against you - or possibly just ignoring you; and that in all of this you must be submissive as is the statue to the craftsman who molds it, to the artist who paints it, and to the gilder who embellishes it." - Accommodated from The Precautions: Against the Flesh, First precaution; 15 - St. John, Minor Works.
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I know - it's a bit extreme - but if I would had been even the least bit attentive to such a precaution...  oh never mind.
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Photo:  Knife throwing mother.  See video here.  Thanks Belinda.
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Monastic vigils.


As I post this, it is -2 degrees below zero.  It has been below zero for the past few nights - down to -15 some nights.  Imagine how in the old days monks and nuns broke their sleep, rising during the night to fill unheated churches to chant the night office - vigils.  Monks and nuns still do that of course, although these days they usually have the modern convenience of heat and electricity - in this country at least.