Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Gospel and my life.

"Let him who has ears hear the Spirit's words to the churches."
When I first returned to the Church/sacraments in the early 1970's, my confessor was a holy Capuchin named Fr. Gabriel Diefenbach whose spirituality greatly influenced my own.  He impressed me at the time as a personality similar to St. Peter of Alcantara, since he appeared to be rather recollected and presented a somewhat ascetic bearing.  My first penance from Fr. Gabriel was to read a chapter a day until I finished of the Gospel of St. Matthew.  I was delighted with the penance since from the days of my confirmation I had read the Bible regularly - that is, until I fell away in high school. 
Shortly after my return to the sacraments and daily Mass, one of my spiritual directors continued to give me books of the Old Testament to study and pray over.  Thereafter I acquired the habit of making my daily prayer over the readings of the Mass of the day or the Sunday before.  The Charismatic Renewal was active at the time, and the Scriptures were naturally an important aspect of that spirituality as well, although I seemed to gravitate towards the monastic tradition.
Over the years it seems to me that through the daily readings at Mass, this is how the 'spirit speaks daily to the churches'.  At any rate, it is how I practice my daily 'lectio' or mental prayer.  Contrary to what one expert on lectio says, I read just the passage for the day's Mass as provided by the Missal.  Rarely do I use the passages read before or after the selection for the day - unless I do so later, seeking a corresponding text that may have come to mind.  I'm not studying or memorizing, but praying and listening.  I prefer the poverty of taking only what the Church provides for the day - sort of how the early monks were with food - only enough for the day.
Anyway - why do I write these things as to how I pray, or the role the Gospel plays in my life?  First, I'm simply just explaining that I'm not a Bible banger or evangelical Bible quoter, or trying to be all holier than thou about Scripture.  Rather it truly is my daily bread, and as Paul writes, 'all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness'.   It is a way I find to correct my conscience, a means wherein I allow myself to be taught - and it is the way I have been trained in the spiritual life.
Secondly, many times it seems the Gospel comes to life for me.
For instance, last night as I was thinking of Gaddafi's death, recalling details of the gruesome video shown on television and the celebration by his executioners.  All I could think of was, "You will all come to the same end unless you repent."  And then this morning, today's Gospel repeated that for me.  There is no great sign here, no hidden mystical connection I am claiming - it just is what it is...
Yesterday I cut down my crab apple tree - it has been slowly dying off for the past few seasons - this year it more or less withered, though I had cared for it and pruned it and bound it's wounds.  Sometimes blessing it with holy water, and so on.  I finally took it down yesterday.  The ending of today's Gospel is about the unproductive fig tree and the man who instructed his gardener to take it down because it had yielded no fruit.  The gardener pleaded with his master to let him try to bring it to fruit one more time - and if it would not, he would then cut it down.
As I was cutting my tree down I was thinking of that Gospel and how providential it would be if it were to be the Gospel for the next day.  It is.
We will all come to the same end unless we repent.  God willing, I can make my confession today.

Intemperate speech...

Remorse for Intemperate Speech

William Butler Yeats

I ranted to the knave and fool,
But outgrew that school,
Would transform the part,
Fit audience found, but cannot rule
My fanatic heart.

I sought my betters: though in each
Fine manners, liberal speech,
Turn hatred into sport,
Nothing said or done can reach
My fanatic heart.

Out of Ireland have we come.
Great hatred, little room,
Maimed us at the start.
I carry from my mother's womb
A fanatic heart.

Friday, October 21, 2011

This! This is exactly what I have been trying to say...

"Scorn, bitterness, scoffing, these are no weapons. Belittling others, not seeing Christ in them -- this too is to inflict wounds -- is to do to Christ what we are doing to the least around us. This is an expression of fear -- fear of being laughed at and scorned in turn. If we scorn others we will not win them. There is no love in scorn." - August 13, 1951 - The Duty of Delight: The Diaries of Dorothy Day

I'm sorry if I've snapped at times and said unkind words while trying to convey these things. I wreck everything on my own.  I have to realize I cannot control what other people think and say and feel.
Another entry from Dorothy Day I found applicable to myself...
"I have a hard enough job to curb the anger in my own heart which I sometimes even wake up with, go to sleep with, -- a giant to strive with, an ugliness, a sorrow to me -- a mighty struggle to love. As long as there is any resentment, bitterness, lack of love in my own heart I am powerless. God must help me." -  June 16, 1951
Art:  Christ in the Breadline, Ade Bethune

Every picture tells a story...

I'm working on one... picture that is.
Love this song.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Just for Mercury.

The Pope who loves cats.
For sure this one is not photoshopped.

Papal Cat.

I wasn't sure if the Holy Father had his cat with him - but obviously he does.  Like all cats, he has the job of supervising the paper work being performed, and most likely leaves an occasional whisker or a few cat hairs on every official Papal document.


Bad words.

Bad man.
Once I referred to a commenter on this blog as a dildo and a reader called me to task for using such a vulgar term. I've used similar terms at other times, most recently Tea Baggers when referring to Tea Party people - without any intention whatsoever of suggesting the Tea Party people engage in immoral sexual behavior.  More and more I am convinced I have gone through life afflicted with ADD and/or dyslexia with a bit of literary Tourette Syndrome thrown in.  I often use terms without premeditation or any intent to sexual innuendo.  Creepy sinner though I am, I've always been rather naive, if not just plain inappropriate.  Truth be told, I'm actually offended by the big 'F' word, as well as the other one used for flatulence. 
So anyway, my apologies if I've offended anyone - it wasn't my intent. 

I got this in an email from a friend...

I don't do chain letters or even know if this is legitamate - but read it and see what you think:

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best
quotes about the debt ceiling:

"I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law
that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all
sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election. The 26th
amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months
& 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in
1971...before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to
the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the
land...all because of public pressure.

Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of
twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do
In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the
message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.

*Congressional Reform Act of 2011*

1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office
and receives no pay when they are out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All
funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security
system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system,
and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for
any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay
will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the
same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective
The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen
made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor,
not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours
should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take
three days for most people (in the U.S.) to receive the message. Maybe it is

THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!! If you agree with the above, pass it on.
If not, just delete.

Works for me - I'm not sending this on however...  BTW - if we really wanted to overturn Rowe V. Wade, or better yet - outlaw abortion all together - why haven't we done so?  It has been 40 years that abortion on demand has been legal in this country - with millions spent to campaign against it.  What up with that Padre?
What do I know?  Absolutely nothing.  Wake me when it's over.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Jews! The Jews!

Bishop Williamson and good old fashioned Catholic antisemitism.
It lives on even amongst so-called 'Novus Ordo' Catholics - so it's not just an SSPX thing.  A few years ago while I was visiting a priest-friend, now deceased - although still alive in his rectory at the time.  He was looking out the window as we talked and beckoned me to move closer to see two Hassidic Jews walking down the street, scoffing:  "J---- C-----!  Look at those two ____, dressed like that!  Sheesh"  (They were dressed in black, black hats, black coat, with the tallit strings hanging, and wore long beards and side-burn curls.)  
I have a couple of other examples as well, but I've probably already written about them on this blog in the past:  Like the nun who said the Jews brought the holocaust on themselves, and another priest - a historian no less, agreed.  It is ingrained in some Catholics heritage, just like the racism between blacks and whites.  People struggle with their prejudices.  Although Bishop Williamson doesn't seem to struggle at all - since he appears to believe he has all the answers, being more Catholic than the Church and all...
The Lefebvrist Bishop, Richard Williamson, tries again. On the eve of the Interrelligious meeting convened in Assisi by Pope Benedict XVI - where the participation of the chief rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, is already in doubt - and while the congregation to which he belongs, the Society of Saint Pius X, discusses whether to accept the conciliation proposal from the Vatican, the traditionalist bishop makes himself heard once again, and takes aim at one of his perennial targets: the Jews.

They are guilty of "deicide" and "continue to act collectively as enemies of the true Messiah," he writes in the latest edition of his weekly newsletter, the Eleison Comments. "How can the Pope to abandon these truths that are so ancient?", asks the Lefebvrist Bishop.

Bishop Williamson – a former British Anglican who converted to Catholicism and was ordained a bishop by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, along with three other brothers in 1988, a schismatic act sanctioned by Pope John Paul II with excommunication - made headlines in January 2009, when the Swedish television SVT aired an interview in which, among other things, he denied the existence of gas chambers and the death of six million Jews during the Holocaust.

His words took on global notoriety because in those days Pope Benedict XVI, moved by the desire to heal the schism of Archbishop Lefebvre, had decided to lift the excommunication imposed on four traditionalist bishops, including Bishop Williamson. This created a global diplomatic crisis and a wound in relations with those whom the last two popes have called the "elder brothers" of Christians, that has yet to heal completely.

At the origin of Bishop Williamson's new attack is something written by Pope Benedict XVI in his book "Light of the world": that the Jews can not be held responsible for 'deicide', or the death of Jesus on the cross. Words that the Lefebvrist bishop coupled with those of the U.S. Conference of Bishops, whose responsible for ecumenical dialogue, Father James Massa, last May 17 reminded the faithful that anyone who makes this accusation against the Jews, at any time in history, automatically put himself outside the Catholic Church.

For Williamson, first of all, the death of Jesus on the cross was really "deicide", because Jesus was killed, "the second person of God," and therefore, "God was killed."

Then, even if Jesus died on the cross to save all humanity, "only the Jews (the people and leaders) were the primary agents of the deicide because it is clear from the Gospels that the Gentile who was most involved, Pontius Pilate, would never have condemned Jesus" if the Jews had not asked for "blood".

Finally, according to the Lefebvrist bishop, at least one modern pope, Leo XIII affirmed the "solidarity" between the Jews "who clamored for the killing of Jesus" and Jews of today, in the act of consecrating the world to the sacred heart of Jesus, with the Encyclical Annum Sacrum of 1899.
Although Williamson's positions are extreme even within the traditionalist world, they are certainly not isolated even within the Lefebvrist community itself. Just a month ago, the superior of the French province of the Society of St. Pius X, abbot Regis de Cacqueray, repeated the charge of 'deicide' against the Jews in a document condemning the next inter-faith meeting in Assisi. "How can one imagine that God is pleased with the prayers of the Jews, who are faithful to their fathers who crucified his son and deny the Trinitarian God?", wrote the Lefebrist superior.
Vatican Insider

I wonder what Susan Sarandon would say?  (No I don't.) 

See! Gov. Christie thinks Occupy Wall Street protestors are just the flip side of the same Tea Party coin.

Wow!  I do too.
"Chris Christie weighed in on the Occupy Wall Street protesters yesterday asserting that they "come from the same perspective" but have "different solutions."

"What they are saying is, that 'Government is not working for me anymore, government is not being fair and government is not helping me the way it should,'" he added.

Christie said that he didn't agree with the solutions of the Occupy Wall Street protesters, but said, "I understand why they are angry."

This is a bit of a disappointment for conservatives, who look to Christie for angry "YouTube moments" deriding liberals.

Christie's attempt to equate the two movements will draw a lot of fire from conservatives, who bristle at any comparison of Occupy Wall Street to the Tea Party." - Source
Tea Party supporters spit on Congressmen and women.  I know!
Art: Voluptuous Man Similar To Gov. Christie, Fernando Botero

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"... Stay foolish."

OWS kids...

I blame the parents.


Good News! Especially for those who want to get rid of Boomers...

Coming to America.
It pretty much all started in Europe anyway - specifically the Netherlands, if I remember correctly.  At any rate - it's been legal there for quite some time.  What is?  Euthanasia.  Who is eligible?  The list is expanding...
The Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) now seeks to expand the meaning of “unbearable suffering” to permit even more patients, in the already very liberal Dutch euthanasia system, to qualify to for medical killing. From the Dutch Radio Worldwide story:
Until now, factors such as income or a patient’s social life played almost no role when physicians were considering a euthanasia request. However, the new guidelines will certainly change that. After almost a year of discussions, the KNMG has published a paper which says a combination of social factors and diseases and ailments that are not terminal may also qualify as unbearable and lasting suffering under the Euthanasia Act.
How can anyone say there is no slippery slope? One of those factors includes loneliness!
As people age, many suffer from a complex array of gradually worsening problems, which can include poor eyesight, deafness, fatigue, difficulty in walking and incontinence as well as loss of dignity, status, financial resources, an ever-shrinking social network and loss of social skills. Although this accumulation of ailments and diseases is not life-threatening as such, it does have a negative impact on the quality of life and make the elderly vulnerable or fragile. Vulnerability also affects the ability to recover from illnesses and can lead to unbearable and lasting suffering. Under the Euthanasia Act, a request for euthanasia may be honoured only if a patient is undergoing unbearable and lasting suffering. The KNMG now says that, if non-medical factors such as income or loneliness are to be taken into consideration, other specialists must be consulted when a patient has requested euthanasia.
Since 1973, when euthanasia was quasi decriminalized, Dutch doctors have gone from euthanizing the terminally ill who ask for it, to the chronically ill who ask for it, to people with disabilities who ask for it, to the mentally anguished who ask for it–and all legal because the “guidelines” proved so elastic they had not snap back at all. And now, they want to target vulnerable and marginalized elderly people.
Even that isn’t enough. If patients don’t qualify legally for euthanasia, the KNMG says it is perfectly fine for doctors to provide their patients with how-to-commit-suicide information–known as “auto euthanasia.” And while we are on the subject, we musn’t forget the technically illegal euthanasia killings–infanticide and “termination without request or consent”–which generally go unpunished, and indeed, in the case of infanticide, is openly and respectfully discussed in medical journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, with the publication of the ”Groningen Protocol.” - First Things, Wesley J. Smith
I know of some bloggers who just might secretly see this as a good thing, err, part of the biological solution if you will, to getting rid of all the 'geezers' and boomers that have wrecked their world.  Nah.  Catholics don't think like that. 
I should have kept smoking.

I did not know this...

Capitalism glorifies God?
That's what she said...
"I contend that if you profess to believe in God, you must also embrace capitalism.
Lately, many religious shepherds are abandoning reason in favor of sentiment. Catholic nuns are joining Occupy Wall Street revelers, like zombies witnessing to rapturous fans. Meanwhile, Jewish activist and commentator Jack Goodman is hailing the Manhattan demonstration (which includes numerous blatantly anti-Semitic protesters) as a group of people “philanthropizing with their feet.”
Even within the same religion, emotional progressives are clashing with rational believers. Dominican Sister Pat Daly of New Jersey told Catholic News Service, “I’m thrilled to see this momentum as more and more people are taking to the streets.”
Conversely, Father Robert Sirico of Michigan told CNS, “The ethos of this all is the rage against wealth for wealth’s sake. … You don’t alleviate poverty by redistributing wealth, you alleviate poverty by creating wealth.”
If you believe that God created the universe, then you must assume that he wanted man to live differently from animals. Otherwise, man would not have reason. Upon realizing that reason both defines and differentiates man, wouldn’t you set logic—not sensation—as the moral compass for human activity? Or would you “shepherd the flock” by encouraging young people to bully job creators, embrace sloth, strut topless in Manhattan and openly mate in parks?
Squirrels scamper about and get frisky in public parks. Squirrels are also feral; they will never cultivate the land, own property, develop iPhones or create a monetary system. I think humans who reject reason by acting like squirrels have no business preaching about God.
I find that atheists admit the metaphysical more than progressives who claim to believe in God. For, atheists revere reason while progressive “believers” adore emotion: They shop around until they find a church that washes them mindless with foolishly sentimental and entertaining services. They make themselves feel charitable by marching two-by-two past wealthy residences in midtown Manhattan with signs like “No Billionaire Left Behind.” They interpret the eighth commandment that God gave to Moses as: "Thou shalt share."
Capitalism also allows for rational generosity whereas wealth redistribution fosters poverty. Reason says that you should be able to freely share your wheat with a person whom you know to be in genuine need or whom you wish to employ—not the able-bodied bum whom the government deems worthy of assistance.
Rational men glorify God just as glowing candles glorify a candlestick maker; men must behave rationally in order to completely function and prosper—just as candles must hold a flame in order to fulfill their purpose of brightening a room. Said differently, a man that acts like an animal must be as disappointing to his maker as a candle that cannot hold a flame.
I believe in one God, the creator of the universe. I believe that renouncing capitalism is irrational and that to deny reason is to deny the existence of God." - Katie Kieffer
Who the hell is Katie Kieffer you ask?  I have no idea. 


"If you are not rich, it's your own fault." - Cain, obviously not his brother's keeper.

Monday, October 17, 2011

St. Ignatius of Antioch

How providential...
We celebrate the feast of this early Bishop-martyr as the indictment of a sitting Catholic Bishop is front page news; and then we hear the Gospel warning against greed in all of its forms as it is read at Mass in Catholic churches today, when headlines across the globe focus upon the economy and protests against greed; while some blame the poor for not being rich, and scorn the under-employed for not having a better job. 
The parable in today's Gospel tells of the man who had such a bountiful harvest that he could retire on the income it provided.  He relied upon his savings and investments, yet a crash came and he lost everything... God was angered that he relied on his wealth rather than Him and said, "'You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you, and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?'  Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God." - Luke 12: 13-21
"I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the limits of the earth.  He who died in our place is the object of my quest." - St. Ignatius of Antioch
Icon:  Ignatius of Antioch.  "I am God's wheat and shall be ground by the teeth of wild beasts so that I may become Christ's pure bread."

Bottom feeders?

"The children of this world, surely, were wiser than the children of light."
"How would I survive among them? For them nothing existed beyond this material world and this moment.  They survived because they learned how to survive.  They were masters at the art of survival.  Outside the bounds of civilized behaviour or conscience, they preyed upon anyone weaker than themselves and revenged themselves upon society by crimes of violence and theft.  In their view, society owed them something.  So they took it.  Simple as that.
As I lived with men like these during the long years in the prison camps, I slowly learned that such initial impressions were not altogether accurate.  Little by little, I came to understand that underneath their violent exterior and twisted moral code these criminals were men, too; men driven by fear, perhaps more so than other men, but still men nonetheless.  [...]  Understanding all of this in later years never led me to accept or condone their actions in any way, but I did learn to pity them as human beings even as I feared them for what they were and what they might do...
The children of this world were dedicated to surviving this life by whatever method possible.  I too must be totally dedicated, but with an added dimension.  I must not seek to avoid hardships or to soften their impact.  I must see in them the will of God and through them work out my salvation." - Fr. Walter Ciszek, He Leadeth Me, In Transit
"The greatest grace God can give a man is to send him a trial he cannot bear with his own powers - and then sustain him with his grace so he may endure to the end and be saved." - Fr. Ciszek
Art: Nikolai Getman

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mass chat: Archbishop Nienstedt leads the battle for the pro-marriage vote.

It was in yesterday's paper:  Minnesota's Bishops say amendment that would ban gay marriage is a top issue in 2012 election.
Archbishop Nienstedt is in the forefront of this struggle and is wasting no time:
Minnesota's Roman Catholic bishops are taking the unusual step of urging parish priests across the state to form committees to help get the proposed marriage amendment passed by voters in 2012.
"It is imperative that we marshal our resources to educate the faithful about the church's teachings on these matters, and to vigorously organize and support a grass-roots effort to get out the vote to support the passage of this amendment," Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt wrote in a letter to his priests dated Oct. 4.
The letter asks parish priests to "appoint a captain or co-chairs to lead a special parish ad hoc committee to spearhead this effort."
Coming more than one year ahead of the November election, the move is the latest sign of the early intensity surrounding the amendment to change the state's Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the Catholic Church in Minnesota, said the state's other bishops are expected to send out similar letters, "if they haven't already done so."
"We believe it [marriage] is a vital social institution, and it's under attack in the courts, the Legislature and the culture," Adkins said. "And it would have profound consequences if marriage is in fact redefined. That's why we're putting extraordinary resources toward making sure this marriage amendment gets passed." - StarTribune
 So far no calls have come for a committee or chairperson to spearhead a grass roots group in my parish, although my pastor, who is very much on board with the Bishops on this issue, has been writing about Church teaching and the definition of marriage in the weekly bulletins.  Therefore, I expect some form of committee will indeed be organized sooner or later.
I applaud the courage and leadership of the Archbishop in leading this battle, while providing such excellent catechesis and direction in the process, amidst such opposition.  My prayers for the bishops and the priests and lay faithful who support Church teaching and labor to safeguard traditional marriage and family life.

Haven't you people ever witnessed civil unrest or public protests before?

Talk about over reacting...
Looks like yesterday's Global Day of Revolution sure got people's attention/excited/panicked.  Fr. Z took note and so did his readers:
There are massive and now violent protests going on in Rome at the moment. A journalist friend there says 6 police officers have been injured. Two massive groups, “gli indignati” including high school aged kids, and the “black bloc”, many wearing helmets, are aligned against each other, perhaps 500k at the piazza in front of St. John Lateran. The “indignants” are/were fairly benign, as I understand it, and were peacefully protesting big business, banks, government, blah blah blah. The “black bloc” are essentially leftist-anarchists out to pick fights and hurt people. Think Genova in 1998. - Fr. Z
And This:
Young Canadian RC Male says:
This is getting frightening. I may be in Canada, but should we be all acquiring the means to defend ourselves somehow? At least deadlier martial arts like MMA, Krav Maga, Jeet Kune Do, and Brazilian Ju-Jitzu (Gracie Family form)? or even worse?
And this:
carolg says:
Horrifying. Who will protect our churches? Do we now need armed guards lest we fall like the churches of Russia and Europe? Will we be forced underground?
Our Lady of Fatima, ora pro nobis.
Our Lady of Lourdes, ora pro nobis.

I know!  Obviously these people weren't around in the late '60's and '70's - and/or completely self absorbed throughout the decades since then.  Hell - what was Rwanda?  Just a movie?  Or the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina?  People had to walk through sniper fire just to go to the market. Talk about violent civil unrest and threats to civilization.
The anarchists have been hard at it protesting at national conventions, global economic summits, and so on for years now.  It has been a build up of activity - and the economically secure have dismissed the riff raff as idiots - just as Fr. Z continues to do in his post.  Money - and the threat of losing it - talks.  And scares the hell out of people.