Saturday, December 01, 2012

Nearing the end...



It's almost finished, save for some glazing...

I did a quick scan - the panel was raised about an 1/8" from the glass, so the image may be fuzzy.  For some reason this little panel took me quite awhile to paint.  I was reluctant to take up the project because Our Lady is so difficult to paint - for me at least - I can never paint her well.  Nevertheless, as I began, I imagined I heard these words interiorly, "Don't worry, I will help you."  For me, that is remarkable since my eyesight is so bad.  I'll let the panel rest for awhile before I finesse it.

Today is First Saturday, the end of the Liturgical Year, and the eve of the First Sunday of Advent.  Thanks be to God and Our Lady.

Clowning around ...

When does Mass start?


Something for Fr. Richtsteig...
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI greeted thousands of clowns, acrobats, puppeteers and even a pair of lion cubs on Saturday as the circus came to town for an unusual papal performance.

Benedict clapped and watched amused as circus workers flipped, flopped, juggled and twisted before him in what the Vatican has called a historic audience to make street performers and other itinerant entertainers feel like they belong to the church.

Benedict, a known cat lover, paid particular attention to a pair of lion cubs that were brought up to him, stroking them and chatting with their trainers. At one point Benedict even bent down to caress one — not an easy feat given the 85-year-old pope has trouble with his knees and occasionally uses a cane.

Benedict acknowledged the sacrifices circus workers make to bring joy to young and old alike, traveling constantly and living on the margins of society. He noted they lack schools for their children or parish churches to call home. But he urged them to keep the faith. - Source
 
Kidding aside, and with all due respect, please note: The event was organized by the Vatican office that looks out for the welfare of migrants, refugees, seamen as well as prostitutes and street children — people who by force or choice live without stable homes.
 

Found in a Com-box...



Sweet.

I [...] remember a little boy (about 6 or 7) asking our teacher, a French nun, if Joan of Arc was Noah's daughter. "No," answered the good sister, "Noah's ark was made of wood and St Joan of Arc was Maid of Orléans."  - Michael PS

Terry like that.


Art:  My favorite image of St. Joan:  Detail, 1879, Jeanne d'Arc, Jules Bastien-Lepage · Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Source)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Chip Reid interviews Thomas Peters on CBS Nightly News.



The subject:  Same Sex Marriage cases before the Supreme Court.

Thomas Peters of the National Organization for Marriage says there's no right to gay marriage in the constitution.
"The federal government and our elected officials through congress have a responsibility and right to protect marriage as a union of one man and one woman," Peters said. "So, we hope the supreme court will follow that precedent and respect the decisions of their representatives in Congress." - CBS News
 
Just think, he used to be just a Catholic blogger.


 

I hate this: Starving and dehydrating babies to death.



The story from the UK:
Sick children are being discharged from NHS hospitals to die at home or in hospices on controversial ‘death pathways’.
Until now, end of life regime the Liverpool Care Pathway was thought to have involved only elderly and terminally-ill adults.
But the Mail can reveal the practice of withdrawing food and fluid by tube is being used on young patients as well as severely disabled newborn babies. - Go here for the rest of the story.
 
Why do we allow this?  Why do we kill children, babies?  Why do we bomb civilians, starve kids in China and North Korea?  Why do we tolerate abortion?  And now - why do we kill innocent babies and children, in the most atrocious, loveless, inhumane manner possible?  Without nutrition or hydration, without touch, without love?

And yet we worry so about ourselves, our happiness, our comfort, our health,  our sexuality, our finances, our recovery, our status and self-importance, our religion and our faith. 

Is there any faith left on earth?
 

Every dog has its day.





As the visions during the night continued...

That line is from the Book of Daniel and I use it facetiously as a way of noting that I couldn't sleep last night and I was thinking of many, many things...

Like Fr. Corapi.  What the hell happened there?  And where is he now?  It amazes me how quickly we recover from such stuff, move on, and frequently forget about it.  Remember all the fighting and name calling?  The detractors versus the defenders, and Corapi basking in it all, starting his own website with  over the top movie music and edge of your seat previews of his new mission?  How wonderfully messianic.  Ah!  And how easily we can be deceived.

Fr. Z has a good post up on Joan Chittister, pointing out how Catholics under 40 probably don't know who she is, nor do they seem to know, or care about such colleagues as Richard McBrien and Charles Curran.
As it turns out, younger people, younger committed Catholics, simply don’t know who these liberals are. - Fr. Z
 
Father is right of course.

Art: Return of the Sun, Odd Nerdrum


 

Nearing the end...



Tomorrow and the next day.

Tomorrow is the last day of the liturgical year, and Sunday is the first day of the new liturgical year - sort of the Alpha and Omega of spiritual life.  The Gospel for each day cautions against drunkenness. 

The Gospel for both days cautions us to be careful lest our hearts become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, urging us to be vigilant and pray that we have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent.  Imminent. 

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Art:  Deposition of St. Andrew, Anthony Visco

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Holiday Season in the United States



Attention! Attention!  Religious people of the United States!  Attention!

The Holiday Season in the United States normally begins on Thanksgiving Day. It is a commercial season in preparation for Christmas - a National holiday in the United States to this very day.  Secular Holiday Season ends New Year's Day.   

(The Holiday Season has been observed this way in the United States at least since WWII - if not before.)

That's all Poodles.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gabrielle van der Mal decorates for Christmas!

Gabby arranges the garland.


Gabby waits for her Belgian ale after
all her hard work.

 CORRECTION:

Title should read - "Decorates for the Holidays!"  (Cats don't know the difference.  They don't go to heaven, you know.)

Angus' beef...



Against 2-1/2 Men.

Angus Turner Jones has come out to condemn the filth in the sitcom he stars in.  I have always hated that show - it should have died and gone off-air way back when Charlie Sheen had his melt down.  Jones is urging people not to watch it.  I couldn't agree more.

It's just too bad Angus went public as part of his confession of faith as a Seventh Day Adventist.  It's too bad he didn't make his criticism from a non-religious point of view:  bad writing, sophomoric-locker-room humor = filth.  Most TV sitcoms are like that - and have been for some time.

Connecting Jones and everything he now says to his religious views can be, and probably will be, easily dismissed.  It is similar to what Dorothy Day meant when she said she didn't want to be so easily dismissed as a saint.  Religious views are easily dismissed by the Entertainment world.

Update:  This just in!  Angus says, "Never mind.  Just kidding."**
(CNN) -- A day after a video posted online showed him describing "Two and a Half Men" as "filth" and advising viewers to stop watching the sitcom, actor Angus T. Jones apologized to the show's cast and crew Tuesday.

"I apologize if my remarks reflect me showing indifference to and disrespect of my colleagues and a lack of appreciation of the extraordinary opportunity of which I have been blessed," Jones said in a statement released by his publicist. "I never intended that."
 
And stupid Charlie Sheen says:
"It is radically clear to me that the show (2 1/2 Men) is cursed," Sheen said in a statement released by his publicist.
 
**See what I mean about converts who shoot off their mouths too soon.
 

The Pope, the Ox, and the Ass...

Teddy-Bear-Bow-Wow Nativity.


Animals at the Nativity.

Fr. Z saves the day!
Media misquoting Holy Father's new book.
The real quote:
“No presentation of the crib is complete without the ox and the ass”
 
Kudos to Fr. Z indeed - and being slavishly accurate about translations?  It's a good thing.

If I had any money I'd send Fr. Z a donation right now. 

Being honest: My favorite profile photos...

Or, avatar:

av·a·tar

noun \ˈa-və-ˌtär\
 

Definition of AVATAR

1
: the incarnation of a Hindu deity (as Vishnu)
2
a: an incarnation in human form


b: an embodiment (as of a concept or philosophy) often in a person

3
: a variant phase or version of a continuing basic entity
4
: an electronic image that represents and is manipulated by a computer user
 
Here are the top rated:


#1 with men and women.

The one which most shows my friendliness
and wonderful affability.

The one that says:  Sincere, thoughtful,
intense...

My inner working guy.

And really funny too!
 
What?
 
 
And the music selection to accompany this post?
 
Something retro...
 
Cerrone, Give me love...
 
My best look.
 
 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Litigious gays...


Suing Conversion Therapists.

Slam-dunk case, if you ask me.  Imagine some crazy therapist telling some gay kid he can make him straight?  Conversion therapy doesn't work unless the subject is highly motivated, deeply religious and mortified and resolutely determined, and is either well insured or rich.  Therapy is expensive - which is why religious counselors probably shouldn't recommend it unless they are willing to fund it.  Otherwise only those with money, or insurance, can be healed - right?  Not always.

To be sure - nothing is impossible with God - but making a business out of changing people from gay to straight has nothing to do with God - unless you are a scam artist or born again healer/miracle worker.  Conversion is God's work, it is called grace - reparative or reversion therapy is man's work.  I think it unwise to try and convince a subject they can change, or worse - as a therapist, tell them you can change them if they do this or that.

So today we now have the first case of gays suing therapists for promising to make them straight.  I think they have a case.
(CNN) -- Before Sheldon Bruck told his orthodox Jewish parents he was gay, the teenager looked for a way out of homosexuality.

His search led him to JONAH -- Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing -- which claimed on its website to help people "struggling with unwanted same-sex sexual attractions."
 
JONAH co-director Arthur Goldberg promised Bruck, then 17, that "JONAH could help him change his orientation from gay to straight," according to a consumer fraud lawsuit filed Tuesday against JONAH, Goldberg and a JONAH counselor. - Gays sue...
 
Of course, if the clients were like St. Augustine, "Oh God give me chastity, but not just yet!"  Aspects of the therapy might not have been as traumatic as they claim.  It might even have been ...
The conversion therapy techniques included having them strip naked in group sessions, cuddling and intimate holding of others of the same-sex, violently beating an effigy of their mothers with a tennis racket, visiting bath houses "in order to be nude with father figures," and being "subjected to ridicule as 'faggots' and 'homos' in mock locker room scenarios," the suit said. - CNN
 
What?

Seriously, thank God Catholics do not buy into that crap.  Remember, the Church does not require SSA persons to become straight, rather they are called to chastity and holiness.  The Church does not even require you to go to Courage meetings. 

Most people can stop 'acting out' but many can't change their sexual attraction.  If they want to try, God bless them - but they don't have to.  Anything is possible however.  If you go for it, chances are it will be a long and painful process as well.  Give alms instead.

A New Trial for Fr. Wenthe



A Catholic priest who had served time for having a sexual relationship with a woman...

A criminal offence?

I wrote about Fr. Wenthe before - without checking back on what I wrote, I think I was sad, mad, and self-righteous to some degree.  I was disappointed in the failings of another priest.  I assessed matters on what was reported in the news as well as what was reported to me by those who 'knew' him.  I said I knew him, but only as a priest, not a friend or a colleague.  That said, Wenthe is slated for a new trial on grounds his constitutional rights were violated.  It is good news.  Why?  Because the punishment doesn't fit the crime - if in fact, a crime was committed at all.

Both parties appear to be consenting adults.  No one was raped.  I know of similar stories of women, spiritual directees, who had sex with their priest.  Unethical, immoral, sinful, to be sure, but in the few cases I know about, the women consented - although they could possibly be considered vulnerable adults, having issues with depression and so on, thus seeking direction and counsel from the priest.  Like a doctor or psychiatrist, the priest is considered to possess 'enormous power and influence' over the victim.  The law in Minnesota was designed to protect victims from such influence.  I understand all of that.  But... 

I'm very happy Wenthe has another chance.  The story here:
A Catholic priest who had served time for having a sexual relationship with a woman, allegedly while he was meeting with her for spiritual counseling, will get a new trial because his constitutional rights were violated, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled on Monday.
Christopher Thomas Wenthe, 46, was convicted last year of one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct during a religious-advice meeting. He maintained that it was a consensual relationship and that no crime was committed. 
Monday, the appellate court ordered a new trial for Wenthe in Ramsey County. - Finish reading here.
We'll see what the court says.  I think 'consenting adults' may be the key - we are not talking minors here.  As Fr. Benedict Groeschel once said: "on their first offense, they should not go to jail because their intention was not committing a crime."  Naive as that statement may be, and though he was mistaken as regards minors, it just might be applicable in Fr. Wenthe's case.

The Miraculous Medal



The reason the Medal of the Immaculate Conception is called the Miraculous Medal is because of the numerous miracles attributed to it.  Just as I was going offline this morning, a reader asked me what are some of the miracles?   I suggested he Google the story of Alphonse Ratisbonne, or simply Google miracles of the Miraculous Medal.  I did so and came across a wonderful story from Fr. Hardon.
Each morning I received a list of all the patients admitted into the hospital that day. There were so many Catholics admitted that I could not visit them all as soon as they came.

Among the patients admitted was a boy about nine years old. He had been sled-riding down hill, lost control of the sled and ran into a tree head-on. He fractured his skull and X-rays showed he had suffered severe brain damage.

When I finally got to visit his room at the hospital, he had been in a coma for ten days, no speech, no voluntary movements of the body. His condition was such that the only question was whether he would live. There was no question of recovering from what was diagnosed as permanent and inoperble brain damage.

After blessing the boy and consoling his parents, I was about to leave his hospital room. But then a thought came to me. "That Vincentian priest. He said, 'The Miraculous Medal works.' Now this will be a test of its alleged miraculous powers!"

I didn't have a Miraculous Medal of my own. And everyone I asked at the hospital also did not have one. But I persisted, and finally one of the nursing sisters on night duty found a Miraculous Medal.

What I found out was that you don't just bless the medal, you have to put it around a person's neck on a chain or ribbon. So the sister-nurse found a blue ribbon for the medal, which made me feel silly. What was I doing with medals and blue ribbons.

However, I blessed the medal and had the father hold the leaflet for investing a person in the Confraternity of the Miraculous Medal. I proceeded to recite the words of investiture. No sooner did I finish the prayer of enrolling the boy in the Confraternity than he opened his eyes for the first time in two weeks. He saw his mother and said, "Ma, I want some ice cream." He had been given only intravenous feeding. - Finish reading here.
 

The story of the conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne here. 

The Medal of the Immaculate Conception


November 27 marks the feast of the Miraculous Medal, otherwise known as the medal of the Immaculate Conception. Though the feast honors the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the memorial commemorates the anniversary of the apparition of the Mother of God to St. Catherine Laboure in Paris in 1830, wherein Our Lady showed the nun the medal she wished to be made for those to wear seeking her aid and protection. The Blessed Virgin spoke to Catherine: “Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around the neck.” Countless miracles followed, hence the name, the Miraculous Medal. The story here.
.
"O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."
.
In 12 days the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.
 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Finding fault.



This was odd...

A reader sent me an email telling me to "Be honest and give Shakespeare credit."  The writer was referring to my use of Shakespeare's Sonnet 29 for my "About Me" in the sidebar of the blog.  I had to laugh because I was not at all pretending it to be my work, so famous is Shakespeare, I assumed my adding Sonnet 29 would be enough attribution.

It is strange how we can annoy others unintentionally, isn't it?  Stranger still, how we can impute guilt to one another based on rash judgement.

I've been thinking about some of the bloggers I don't like, considering that they most likely feel the same way about me.  The critical spirit I am often tempted to entertain in their regard could very well be exactly what they and others think of me.

"Of my hidden sins, acquit me Lord." - Ps. 19:12  (No, I did not not write that.)

Apologia... Apology...



Writing to clear my name, as it were, is an apologia.

Writing to express my regret, remorse, and sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged another, is an apology.

That's it. That's why I blog. 

It took six years to figure that out.

Saints in hell...




Once upon a time, I tried writing a novel entitled "St. Sebastian in Hell" - I actually finished the first draft and read it out loud in my writing class at The Loft in Minneapolis.  The title was inspired by Sting, the narrative by Warhol's 'Trash" - I know!  I burned it the winter after I wrote it.  Too much evidence. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I wasn't able to be married....




Years ago Fr. Anthony asked me... "This song is about some one for you, isn't it?"

I smiled but never answered.

Yes.  This one is about Linda.

 

People have asked...




They have so wanted to know...

"Terry.  Who is the friend you always post this song for?"

"Ah, none other than my dear - dearest friend... Roberto C.  ...

I owe him so much.

Dear friend... my most sincere apologies.

                            Love,
                                  Terry

Christ the Crucified King



I woke up thinking of Blessed Angela of Foligno this morning, and something she said about Christ Crucified as the one book necessary to her.  I once wrote about it someplace else:  "The blessed Angela suffered many tears and painful sufferings throughout the stages of her conversion. The only relief she found was the contemplation of Jesus and him crucified, which became the one 'book' necessary to her for instruction as well as consolation, and more importantly, the love necessary to do "penance, as long and as hard as life itself" as she so often phrased it."

It is what I meant in saying that the icon of Christ in the Sanctum Sanctorum is better than any homily on Christ as King.

There is so much written, so much studied, so many books...

Christ crucified.
“Set me as a seal on your heart,
as a seal on your arm;
For stern as death is love, relentless as the nether world is devotion;
its flames are a blazing fire.
Deep waters cannot quench love nor floods sweep it away.” - Song of Songs, 8: 6-7

Good advice.



"When you come across flatterers, men or women, who tell you: 'Brother, your words have converted me to penance," do not pay any attention to them but rather turn to the Creator and thank him for this blessing. There are many preachers of falsehoods whose preaching is full of greed, and out of greed they preach for honors, money, and fame.'" - Blessed Angela of Foligno

Ugliest Christmas stamp in history...

The worst.

No wonder people don't send cards any more.
 

Feast of Christ the King

Acheiropita icon of the Most Holy Saviour,
Sanctum Sanctorum,
Oratory of Saint Laurence
near the Lateran Basilica.


Sometimes an icon speaks more eloquently than any homily.


'Let all mortal flesh keep silence...'