"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

PSA


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Good night Poodle!

St. Hildegard of Bingen



Speaking of the medieval German mystic and her gifts, Pope Benedict noted:
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This is, dear friends, the seal of an authentic experience of the Holy Spirit, source of every charism: The receiver of supernatural gifts never boasts, does not exhibit them and, above all, shows total obedience to ecclesial authority. Every gift distributed by the Holy Spirit, in fact, is destined for the edification of the Church, and the Church, through her pastors, recognises their authenticity. - Idle Speculations has the full text.
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Trivia:
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At one time, St. Hildegard was especially loved by New Age spiritual types.  I've always thought she could be a special patroness of binge drinkers - due to her title, von Bingen.  Did you know many medieval ascetics fasted on beer and bread?  And some think that a specific mold growing on the stale bread could have induced LSD type hallucinations, which might have been mistaken for mystical experiences.  (Or was it the beer?) 
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Oh!  To have lived back then.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Trappist simplicity.


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Architect John Pawson designed the abbey church shown in this video.   

The main difference between a mendicant friar and a monk.


Stability.
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Friars or mendicants professed poverty and did not possess property.  Later on the orders did own property communally.  Nevertheless, the friars were free to move about outside cloister and evangelize or teach or work in an apostolate.  Though they were assigned to different friaries or convents, they did not promise stability to a particular place.  Originally mendicants lived on alms and the generosity of the faithful. 
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Monks and hermits on the other hand are characterized by their stability in one monastery, abbey, priory, or hermitage.  The particular congregation or community usually maintains ownership of their property and are generally self-governing and self-sufficient.
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I think that's about it - if I missed anything, feel free to add to it.
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Oh!  Oh!  BTW - If you are a young man and thinking about monastic life, try entering a monastery in Europe where they make beer...  It may be more comforting than coffee during dark nights.  ;)

Of the world’s 171 Trappist monasteries seven produce beer (six in Belgium and one in The Netherlands).
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Teresa of Avila on Poor Monasteries


Our arms are holy poverty, which was so greatly esteemed and so strictly observed by our holy Fathers at the beginning of the foundation of our Order. - Teresa of Avila

"It seems very wrong, my daughters, that great houses should be built with the money of the poor; may God forbid that this should be done; let our houses be small and poor in every way. Let us to some extent resemble our King, Who had no house save the porch in Bethlehem where He was born and the Cross on which He died. These were houses where little comfort could be found.
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Those who erect large houses will no doubt have good reasons for doing so. I do not utterly condemn them: they are moved by various holy intentions. But any corner is sufficient for thirteen poor women. If grounds should be thought necessary on account of the strictness of the enclosure, and also as an aid to prayer and devotion, and because our miserable nature needs such things, well and good; and let there be a few hermitages in them in which the sisters may go to pray. But as for a large ornate convent, with a lot of buildings -- God preserve us from that! Always remember that these things will all fall down on the Day of Judgment, and who knows how soon that will be?" - Way of Perfection

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Our Lady of Hermits

Art credit.

The age of consent.



Britain's leading gay activist calls for lowering of the age of consent.
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How convenient.  The age of consent is there to protect young people from sexual predators, not to restrict young people's freedoms.  However, "Peter Tatchell, founder of the group OutRage!, wrote on the website Big Think, 'Whether we like it or not, many teenagers have their first sexual experience around the ages of 14 or 15.  If we want to protect young people, and I do, the best way to do this is not by threatening them with arrest, but by giving them frank, high quality sex and relationship education from an early age.'"
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Huh?  Have there been mass arrests of teens in the UK for engaging in sex?  Are British jails teeming with horny teenagers?  I don't think so.  What a screwed up argument Tatchell presents here.  Like I said - age of consent laws are there to protect kids from predators and sex-ploitation by adults - it's the adults who get arrested in sex with a minor cases.
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This is one more piece of evidence from a homosexual activist that gay men, homosexual men, sometimes prefer chicken.  And yet they like to claim sexual abuse of children is always a pedophilia problem - and never homosexual...  and that the Catholic Church is an institutional predator unwilling to protect children.
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How freaking queer.
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Tatchell's OutRage! has long lobbied for the lowering of the age of consent in Britain, which was already lowered for homosexual acts from age 21 in 1994 and again in 2000 to 16, after heavy lobbying by homosexualist activists. - LifesiteNews
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H/T Tancred at Eponymous
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Photo: Boys Beware, 1961.  Film released through Sid Davis Productions. It deals with a perceived danger to young boys: that of predatory homosexuals.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Painting.


I gessoed over the canvas I was working on - I hated it - so I painted it out with black gesso.  It is like a Rothko now.  I get him.
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Art: Mark Rothko, No. 6(?), 1964 [Black-Form Paintings]

Larry

"Expect things that are sudden."



I think I'm like Michael Brown.
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The headline from Spirit Daily, "Expect things that are sudden" attracted me today.  I had the exact same thoughts lately - "Golly Dr. Thorndyke, it's sure been quiet around the asylum lately, huh?"  Nothing big has happened - no big cataclysm - nothing - YET!  Da-ta-DAHHHHHHHHHHH!
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I know I disparage apparition claims and seers who have gardens popping out of their bosoms for no explicable reason, yet I like to read about such things - guilty pleasures, I suppose.  Some of these revelations may be true after all.  Nevertheless, "expect things that are sudden" sounds more like a general horoscope reading than anything more than a hunch.  I expect things that are sudden all of the time, and nothing happens.
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Nevertheless, I'm with Michael - something is going to happen - suddenly.  Just watch.  (You think I'm kidding - but I'm not.  BTW - I have no special knowledge about this.  I just feel it.)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More "I told you so!" Stuff.




Facebook feeds narcissism!
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 I knew it!  I knew it!  I knew it!
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For the average narcissist, Facebook "offers a gateway for hundreds of shallow relationships and emotionally detached communication." More importantly for this study, social networking in general allows the user a great deal of control over how he or she is presented to and perceived by peers and other users. - News story
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What have I been saying all along you freaks!  An apostolate - my ass.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Stuck-up.

"What are we going to do now, honey?"

Has Atlas Shrugged?


"I want to be known as the greatest champion of reason and the greatest enemy of religion." - Ayn Rand
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It seems to me Ayn Rand's vision has fast become our reality.
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I'm no political scientist or economist to be sure, but the following article from ChristianityToday seems to pinpoint where we are at as a nation in these days of the Great Recession.  Some excerpts:

  • "Ayn Rand, like Karl Marx, was one more self-proclaimed prophet who denied the existence of a loving God."

  • A senior editor said he had never understood his family until reading this. It made him realize that they had mixed Rand's strongly anti-government, unquestioningly pro-business, and individualistic worldview with biblical Christianity. Theologians call this "syncretism"—which George Barna calls America's favorite religion. It's a religion too many Christians have bent the knee to.

  • Rand still has influential financial disciples like junk-bond king Michael Milken, Chris Cox, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission for the Bush administration leading up to the crash, as well as cultural influencers like Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, media mogul Ted Turner, and pundits John Stossel, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck, who recently advised Christians to leave any church that speaks of social justice.

  • Though dead for nearly three decades, Rand's philosophy is still deeply embedded in large sectors of the American economy, as well as among some Christian financial advisers and religious leaders. So we are wise to discern what tune Rand is singing for future generations.

  • The Economist's Good Guru Guide says, "Ayn Rand—the heroine of America's libertarian right—described her philosophy as 'the concept of man as a noble being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.'" - Ayn Rand: Goddess of the Great Recession
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A couple of popular Randian buzz words currently in use stood out for me in the article:
  • self-actualizing
  • syncretism 
Reminds me of Oprah.
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Link:  Wikipedia synopsis of Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand's philosophy.
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H/T SpiritDaily

Sunday, August 29, 2010

America In Crisis...


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What to expect after Obama.

Stuff like that... kind of a meme.


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Stuff you may have never thought to ask me about.
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Recently I was tagged by a couple of people for a couple of memes, and I forgot to answer them - just like my emails - I often neglect to answer them right away and then I forget about them.  I bet you never knew that, huh?  So here is my way of answering the emails and memes.  (I tag anyone who has ignored my tags in the past - you know who you are bitc... oops!  Sorry Jer-bear.)
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The Stuff Like That meme:
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I've never been a big devotee of St. Augustine or his mother.  Have you ever known a priest with a very influential mother?  Yes, I have too.  That's all.
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I love Mother Teresa, but I don't like the cult so much.  I never cared if they lit up the Empire State building for her or not.  I don't care if she just turned 100 - she's dead.  With saints it's usually the 100 years from their death marker that is celebrated - it's a different anniversary all together.  Or maybe not - I don't care.
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Did you know Raymundo Arroyo pronounces 'centenery' as 'centeenery'?  And he says, 'agane' instead of 'again'?  How affected is that.  No, that wasn't a question.  But it's okay to be affected.
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SNL is no longer even amusing.  It is the worst excuse for a comedy show on television.
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I listen to music and watch music videos on YouTube and I like really weird stuff.  This is exactly how I became a fan of Justin Timberlake - whose dancing is kinda femme BTW.  He seems nice though.
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Larry D. and I frequently post at exactly the same time - our published work is often just minutes apart.  Isn't that something.
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I haven't painted for weeks.  I entered a painting in a juried show and it was rejected - I wasn't going to say anything.  I was very discouraged.  And then I talked to my sister on the phone and I'm still not over that either.  Please don't say anything about this in the com box because I could become violent and I might send out nasty emails.  Oh yeah.
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One of my cats was dying - the Dr. said she had terminal heart disease and she's on heart meds.  Her name is Celine - so I prayed to St. Therese's sister Celine and now the cat is doing really well - she almost acts like a young cat again.  That's good, right?  I was seriously saddened however - I have a very soft spot for kids and animals and people with mental illness.
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I want to sell off some of my art and antiques - maybe online - but I don't know how to do it.  The financial depression is hitting me quite hard these days, as I am sure it is hitting others as well.  Some people not so much - they still travel and dine out and buy stuff - so maybe someone will want to buy my stuff.
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I've been offline because I'm busy in the yard.  Belinda thought I was sick - I don't get sick anymore.
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School starts next week.  I'm not interested.
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The Quincy Jones video on this post is my absolute favorite rendition of Stuff Like That - even better than the original, I must say.
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Oh!  And Pat Sajak is a very decent fellow, I might add.
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I guess that's about it.
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Oh!  Oh!  Be sure and put Jackie Parkes blog in your links.
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That's all.

Water quenches a flaming fire.


Tears of repentance, loving tears born of love.
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Today's first reading on humility from the Book of Sirach read at Mass today, concludes with the verse, "Water quenches a flaming fire, and alms atone for sins." - Sirach 3:29  I can't recall where I read it, but I think the desert fathers may have interpreted "water quenches a flaming fire" as tears of repentance or compunction which in turn extinguish the flames of our passions.  And since the solitary is "too poor to help the poor" with material alms, I think charity expressed through prayer becomes his alms - thus atoning for sins by that means.  As the last monk in the video on my former post stated, "nothing can purify one more than prayer" - although I think suffering does so just as well, if not better for some of us.  "Prayer is good, but suffering is better" as Mother Mary Electa of Christ, OCD once said.
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"I had prayer of the heart, but I lost it."
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At the end of the video, the holy father told the interviewer he had once attained prayer of the heart but lost it, "due to my unworthiness."  The monk would of course tell us that this prayer, like all the contemplative stages of prayer we in the West identify as infused prayer, is sheer grace - it is a gift from God.  As we hear in today's Gospel, it would seem all are invited, but not all are given the ultimate or highest stage of prayer - whether one defines it as prayer of the heart or the prayer of union.  Like the monk in the video, some have tasted or experienced this prayer, but for some reason or another - often through self exultation and pride or even serious sin - end up losing it.  In that case, but for the grace of God we can once again find ourselves back in the lowest place - like the unfortunate fellow in the Gospel.
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All is not lost of course, since it is good to be humbled, to be found amongst the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind and those "too little to make their own living", as St. Therese would say;  "because everyone who humbles himself will be exalted."  - Luke: 14: 7-14
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There is great consolation in religion, provided one is content with a sufficiency.

Saints


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The soul cannot know peace unless he prays for his enemies. The soul that has learned of God's grace to pray, feels love and compassion for every created thing, and in particular for mankind, for whom the Lord suffered on the Cross, and His soul was heavy for every one of us.