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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Go Green

Not because I'm a huge fan of the Battle of Thermopolae but because I still profess to be a fan. 2008 was a good year for at least the Spartans. Go green.

What Does The Prayer Really Say?»Blog Archive » 31 Dec & 1 Jan: Plenary Indulgences for the faithful

As we close out 2008, we take can take full opportunity to harness God's abundant grace. Thanks WDTPRS for providing the info below...

What Does The Prayer Really Say?»Blog Archive » 31 Dec & 1 Jan: Plenary Indulgences for the faithful:
"We Praise Thee Te Deum laudamus
We praise thee, O God; we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee, the Father everlasting.
To thee all Angels cry aloud,
the Heavens and all the Powers therein.
To thee Cherubim and Seraphim continually do cry:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth;
Heaven and earth are full of the majesty of thy glory.
The glorious company of the apostles praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the prophets praise thee.
The noble army of martyrs praise thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge
the Father, of an infinite majesty,
thine adorable, true, and only Son,
also the Holy Ghost the Comforter.
Thou art the King of glory, O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man,
thou didst humble thyself to be born of a Virgin.
When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death,
thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
We believe that thou shalt come to be our judge.
We therefore pray thee, help thy servants,
whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy saints,
in glory everlasting."

Monday, December 29, 2008

Lapsed-Disgruntled Catholic Pie

This recipe for Lapsed-Disgruntled Catholic Pie...
... brought to you by National "Catholic" Reporter:

1 cup of growing disenchantment
1/2 cup of some pronounced unease
3/4 cup of rotting historical illiteracy
1 cup of disillusioned with dogmatic bans
3 teaspoons of outgrown child childhood fantasies about the Real Presence, purgatory, and guardian angels (note: can be substituted with a 1/4 cup of ripe theological ignorance)
4 cups of stale, bitter skepticism

Mix all well in a bowl of ambiguity. Pour into a pan of uncertainly. Heat stove of 150 degrees, the preferred temperature for lukewarm spirituality. Cook for whatever length of time feels good to you. Coat with thin layer of sugary, neo-pantheistic frosting. Serve to readers of National "Catholic" Reporter while in a natural state of discomfort, chanting, "I am Catholic. I am Catholic."

Read entire recipe. My favorite line: "I know now that humans can never penetrate the idea of God; certainty is – and has always been -- an illusion." Hmmm...for someone who doesn't believe in certainty, she certainly sounds very certain about not being certain.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

O Emmanuel...

O EMMANUEL, rex et legifer noster,
expectatio gentium et salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Dominus Deus noster.

O Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:14), our king and lawgiver (Isaiah 33:22),
hope and salvation of the peoples (Genesis 49:10; John 4:42):
come to save us, O Lord our God (Isaiah 37:20).

Monday, December 22, 2008

O King of the nations...

O REX gentium et desideratus earum,
lapis angularis qui facis utraque unum:
veni et salva hominem quel de limo formasti.

O King of the nations (Jeremiah 10:7) and their desire (Haggai 2:7),
cornerstone (Isaiah 28:16), who reunite Jews and pagans into one (Ephesians 2:14):
come and save the man whom you formed from the earth (Genesis 2:7).

Sunday, December 21, 2008

O Star...

O ORIENS, splendor lucis aeternae et sol iustitiae:
veni et illumina sedentem in tenebris et umbra mortis.

O Star who rises (Zechariah 3:8; Jeremiah 23:5), splendor of the eternal light (Wisdom 7:26) and sun of justice (Malachi 3:20):
come and enlighten those who lie in darkness and the shadow of death (Isaiah 9:1; Luke 1:79).

Saturday, December 20, 2008

O Key of David...

O CLAVIS David et sceptrum domus Israel,
qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris et umbra mortis.

O Key of David (Isaiah 22:23), scepter of the house of Israel (Genesis 49:10),
who open and no one may shut; who shut and no one may open:
come, free from prison captive man, who lies in darkness and the shadow of death (Psalm 107: 10, 14).

Friday, December 19, 2008

O Root of Jesse...

O RADIX Iesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, iam noli tardare.

O Root of Jesse, who stand as a sign for the peoples (Isaiah 11:10),
the kings of the earth are silent before you (Isaiah 52:15) and the nations invoke you:
come to free us, do not delay (Habakkuk 2:3).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I never promised you a rose garden

I have survived the first 5 hours of being the most evil mom in the universe. Today I had to deliver the terrible news to my 6th grader that we were withdrawing him from his elementary school to put him in a much better charter prep school. C'mon, doesn't he know that he will receive a superior educational experience more suited to his basic academic needs while also keeping the dreams and pursuits of the socratic method of discovery firmly and foundationally in place? Answer-no. After he sobbed away to his room and before he stabbed a pencil thru the arm of the chair (he is quite like his mother), the bolt of reality hit me that the decisions that we make as parents have a delayed beneficial component. And isn't that just like the rest of life. I want peace, security, serenity NOW. I don't want to be retrofitted with that later. I want immediate feedback, no pregnant pauses, no uncertainty. I am very much like a spoiled 2 year old when it comes to matters such as these because smetimes I am very much a toddler, spiritually. Lord have mercy.

I am reminded of Saint Joseph. What amazing courage he possessed. Some may have considered him certifiably mad for believing the promise of an angel in a dream. I think he had an undeniably mature spiritual life. He trusted God and was willing to be patient and make decisions despite what made no sense to him. He had no guarantee of any future, yet he trusted. This, coming from a man, who would have been the only one in his family soiled by sin. If there were mistakes made in that home, (someone didn't put the lid back on the grain container, pounding a thumb in stead of a nail followed by an expletive), surely the finger would always point to him! I imagine his humility grew exponentially. St. Joseph is also credited with being the patron of departing souls. I find this particularly comforting knowing that God charged him with being the guardian of both the Blessed Mother and the Savior of the Universe. Talk about a tall order!

Thanks St. Joseph, for the model of parenthood you provide. Help me continue to learn to trust the Father's ability to see around the tight corners in life and calm my flagging spirit. And if you could just take care of that nagging insecurity issue, that would be great too!

O Lord...

December 18

O ADONAI, dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extenso.

O Lord (Exodus 6:2, Vulgate), leader of the house of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush (Exodus 3:2) and on Mount Sinai gave him the law (Exodus 20):
come and free us with your powerful arm (Exodus 15:12-13).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

O Wisdom...

I – December 17

O SAPIENTIA, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

O Wisdom, who come from the mouth of the Most High (Sirach 24:5),
you extend to the ends of the earth, and order all things with power and sweetness (Wisdom 8:1):
come and teach us the way of wisdom (Proverbs 9:6).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Well, what d'ya know?

What would 437,000 folks want the rest of the world to know?
UN: 437,000 Signatures Support Life and Marriage - Catholic Online

The Romantic Allure of Total Commitment in It’s a Wonderful Life | Catholic Exchange

"Some might argue that It’s a Wonderful Life is sentimental, but unrealistically old-fashioned. “Times change” is the mantra of the postmodern. Instead of lamenting that one cannot “turn back the clock,” I would argue that if it is telling the wrong time, then that is precisely what we should do. Pull out the stem and move the hands until they align with reality, and then get it moving forward again. We owe as much to our spouses, and to our families. A good look at It’s a Wonderful Life might be an excellent place to begin this Christmas season."

Dr. Marc Newman is president of, a company dedicated to providing pastors, lay leaders, and ordinary Christians with the tools necessary to use movies as a way of reaching out to others with the Gospel of Christ.

The Romantic Allure of Total Commitment in It’s a Wonderful Life | Catholic Exchange

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Winter Party

I got this today in my email regarding my son's 6th grade Christmas, I mean uh, holiday, no, um, winter party.

Hi Parents. The winter party is among us. I am wondering if any of you have ideas for activities. The kids are older and although they would very much enjoy decorating cookies, we should probably do a bit more...

The party will be Friday 19th 12-1:30pm.

So perhaps I would suggest telling the great story of the birth of Jesus Christ, a historical figure that a vast majority of people in this counrty believe to be the Son of God most high who came to earth to save man from his deplorable, pride-ful, unhumble, sinful, destined-for-hell existence. No? Well how about we sing some Christmas, I mean holiday, well er uh winter songs that warm our hearts about this lovely time of year when the snow is falling and the...hey wait a minute; I live in Arizona where it's about 65-70 degrees this time of year. Ok, back to the drawing board. How about we talk about that festive, oversized, red-suited, jolly old elf named Santa Clause? He seems to like to have a good time and all flying around on the magic sled and woooops, not only is he one of those saint guys, but he....SMOKES. So sad. I saw some promise. Ok, how about I consult a few pagans and wiccans and really get down to this winter party idea. After all, this is "yule"season folks and everybody knows that in the northern hemi, the pags and druids all celebrate the longest night of the year...Winter...Dec 21. So between now and then I'll be collecting up all of my stones, herbs, candles, celtic dragons, and incense sticks and wait for the amazing sun to begin its long journey back to earth.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


The below is a quote I discovered from blogger Adoro te Devote. She has a beautiful way with words...

Testament to God's Mercy
"If I was ever treated as badly by another person as I treat God on a regular basis, I would never have time for that person ever again."

LifeSite Special Report - The Broken Windows in the US Catholic Church

Pope Benedict has seen that the sense of awe of God, the wonder of His majesty and the faith of the people have been gutted by theologians, pastors and bishops who have given very liberal, unintended interpretations to the documents of the Second Vatican Council. He commented on one occasion about the original intentions of the Council: "Anyone like myself, who was moved by this perception in the time of the Liturgical Movement on the eve of the Second Vatican Council, can only stand, deeply sorrowing, before the ruins of the very things they were concerned for."
Read the article from Lifesite in its entirety..
LifeSite Special Report - The Broken Windows in the US Catholic Church

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pope: Mary reflects the beauty that saves the world

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a chance to "contemplate the reflection of the Beauty who saves the world: the beauty of God that shines on the face of Christ."

Pope: Mary reflects the beauty that saves the world

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A day that will live in infamy

I visited the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor several years ago with my family. I remember the transluscent film of oil that lay on the surface of the water...apparently still seeping up from the remains below us after all these years. Also notable was the profound silence of the roughly 50 visitors at a time that came to pay their respects. If you are ever on Oahu, don't miss the opportunity to visit Pearl Harbor. A necessary reminder for us all that this side of heaven it will be necessary that we not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again (italicized portion - FDR's message to Congress on Dec 8, 1941.)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Technology - The New Front Porch

I grew up "Downriver". Riverview - or Riverdale as we gested after Archie and Jughead fame - is a small bedroom community located about 20miles south of Detroit. Like most of us boomers and post boomers, I grew up in a neighborhood that had sidewalks and porches. Our parents actually sat on our porch and watched us play in the street...imagine THAT. We flew paper kites and floated plastic army boats in the (probably contaminated) water that flowed up against the curbs as cars and neighbors traveled past. My folks "shot the breeze" with the other folks in the neighborhood. It was nice. It was neighborhoodly.

Things are a little different for neighborhoods nowadays. We don't have curbs, porches or sidewalks necessarily. Instead, we have things that blot out the front porches: HOAs, really big homes requiring hired upkeep; walking/running/jogging for fitness sake only; the plugging in & zoning out with MP3 players etc. We spend most of our time indoors behind our technology. Do you see the trend? We are losing touch with our Neighborhoodliness. The front porch is becoming obsolete.

But there is hope for us. Hugh Hewitt posts the below column about how we can save face with our community thru Twitter and other means. In fact, he makes it almost a moal imperitive that we do so lest we lost our sense of community identity.

Hugh Hewitt : Renewal in the Winter: Another Push for Twittered Conservatives -

Friday, December 5, 2008

Advent Calendar

This is cool, click on the icon to the right and you will be able to click away on advent calendar meditations for each day of advent.
Enjoy...thanks Curt Jester.

What's wrong with Catholic voters, Continued: answering readers' arguments

Nearly a month ago, immediately after the US presidential elections, Phil Lawler on Catholic Culture wrote a column lamenting the failure of Catholic voters to unite in opposition to the "culture of death." That column--What's wrong with Catholic voters? What's wrong with Catholics?"-- was met with many arguments that could be lumped into 3 generalized categories against his theory. Those criticisms along with his responses are linked below.

Catholic Culture : Commentary : Articles : What's wrong with Catholic voters, Continued: answering readers' arguments:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Saving Michigan's Econ - Part of the Deal

I like Hugh Hewitt's thinking on this one. Being from the Motor City and all, the subject hits rather close to my old home.

Forward this...or else

welcome new follower

Hi Cuz29. Glad to have you aboard. I'm guessing you are also big fan of little Labbies. Me too. Any tips on moderating their strong drive for consuming post digestive waste in the backyard would be greatly appreciated.

Rosaries For Life

Here's a little homework for us; this is a 54 day Conversion of America Novena which began yesterday. You can still catch up (story of my life) by praying 2 rosaries a day.

Rosaries For Life

One of the 5 intentions is a prayer for the President Elect...

For President-elect Obama, and for all of the leaders of the United States of America, that they will be led personally to Jesus Christ and His truth, and that they will lead our country in a positive direction. Or in other words, as Archbishop Wuerl said, "That our nation's new leaders be guided in their decisions with wisdom and compassion and at the heart of all of their decisions may there be a deep respect for and commitment to the sanctity and dignity of all human life and support for the most vulnerable among us."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Divine Orchestra

There is a giftedness in Fulton Sheen in his ability to synthesize and distill elaborate concepts into metaphors that are easy to understand. When I read his work or listen to his brilliant oratories, I shrink but my heart seems to enlarge. Does that make sense? I thought this brief essay of might be fitting for the beginning of advent; maybe you'll see what I mean...

Music offers some explanation of what might have happened at the beginning of the human race. An orchestra director has before him his score. It was written by a great composer, and all the adequate directions have been scored for a perfect rendition. The musicians are all free; they can follow the ditrections of the conductor, or they can ignore them. They can be either reactionary and never turn a page, or they can be liberal and play, instead of the symphony, "I Got Plenty of Nothin'".

Now suppose that one of the musicians decides deliberately to hit a sour note. The conductor hears it. He may either wave his baton and order the orchestra to play it over, or hea can ignore it. It makes no difference which he does, because at a certain temperature, that note is flying out into space at the rate of 1,200 feet per second. As long as time endures, there is discord and disharmony somewhere in God's universe.

Regardless of how much one wanted to make the universe universally harmonious again, it could not be done by anyone within time because time is irreversible.

The only way that discord could be stopped would be by someone reaching out from eternity, laying hold of that wild note, and stopping it in its mad flight. But would it still be a sour note? Not necessarily. On one condition it could become a sweet note, namely, if the one who stopped it wrote a new symphony and made that one note the first note in the new melody. Then it would be a sweet note.

Something like that must have happened at the beginning of the human race. God wrote a perfect symphony. It was well scored, but mankind was free to play a discord. Discords in the symphony of life did not mean our freedom was destroyed.

At the beginning, man being free, hit a discordant note, a disobedient note. That discord went through human nature, and it infected everyone. That original discord could not be stopped by man himself, because he could not repair an offense against the infinite with his finite self. He had contracted a bigger debt than he could pay. The debt could be paid only by the Divine Master Musician coming out of His Eternity into time. But there is a world of difference between stopping a discordant note and a rebellious man. One has no freedom, the other has; and God refuses to be a totalitarian dictator in order to abolish evil by destroying human freedom. God could seize a note, but He would not seize a man. Instead of conscripting man, God willed to consult humanity again as to whether or not it wanted to be made a member of the Divine Orchestra once more. Almighty God, having given freedom to man, will not take it away again.

There was a Divine consultation with humanity, in which a Woman was asked by God if she would give Him human nature - "Will you freely give Me a new note out of humanity with which I can compose a new symphony?" In the name of all humanity, she consented: "Be it done unto me." This new man must be a man; otherwise God would not be acting in the name of humanity. But He must also be outside the current of infection to which all men are subject. Being born of a Woman, He will be a man; being born of a Virgin, He will be a sinless man.

When God took upon Himself the human nature and became Christ throught he Virgin Mother, He was the first note in the new melody. It is up to our personal will freely to incorporate ourselves into Him by faith thus adding another note and creating a new humanity. We appropriate this saving grace by a free act, repeating the words of the Woman..."Be it done unto me."

Humanity is thus divided into two groups, namely, the old humanity, which is still goverened by the flesh, and the new, regenerated humanity, which is governed by the Spirit: the humanity of goodness, love of God, love of neighbor.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

President Lincoln and Why We Love Him

Here's a little slice of history to go with that pie. This is the 1863 proclamation which set the precedent for America's national day of Thanksgiving. Make no mistake - he made a national holiday to honor and praise God. The ACLU would have been all over him for that.

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Happy Thanksgiving

Seems fitting as I am sitting here with a full belly to once again offer thanks to God for the many gifts with which He he has graciously blessed me and my family. I am sooo grateful:

To know that I am a child of God
To attend Mass with my family
To have a roof over my head
To be gainfully employed
To have the love and affection of wonderful friends
To be healthy and happy in my own skin
To enjoy a fire in the fireplace
To play Jeopardy with the kids (and beat them shamelessly)
To Watching the beginning of our Heroes Season II DVD (whoa I'm way behind)
To recognize that I am very small and my God is very huge and He indulges me most of the time.
To have the ability to laugh at myself; God knows He does.
To suffer some of the infirmities of life even tho I complain way too much.
To live in the greatest "experiment" of a country and enjoy the freedoms that others have earned for me.
To give back.
To rest.

To have 4 "followers"; may heaven help you and God bless you!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

We need to learn the new way of being pro-life - The Curt Jester

President-elect Obama has named the executive director of Emily's List -- Ellen Moran -- as White House communications director.

We need to learn the new way of being pro-life - The Curt Jester: "President-elect Obama has named the executive director of Emily's List -- Ellen Moran -- as White House communications director."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I Love You, Lord

I Love You Lord, and I lift my voice
To You, O Lord, O my soul, rejoice.
Take joy my King in what You hear,
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear.

Happy Feast of Christ the King!

Catholic Culture : Liturgical Year

Necessary Viewing

As you digest a bit of turkey this week and prod our sluggish economy along a bit on black Friday, won't you consider taking in an amazing movie?... The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. This movie is a must see. I dare you not to draw parallels between what happened to the Jews in the 1940s and what has happened over the last 35 years to millions of babies in utero. The central theme of all of this comes down to one word: VALUE. In the movie and in real life, we humans have somehow come up with a wacky way of determining who has value. Those greedy Jews...hmmm maybe not. Clingy babies that wreck our lives....nada. How about the elderly with all of their health care demands. Oh, don't forget the disabled, the paraplegics, the mentally challenged, those with low IQs, those with freckles and red hair and those with headaches.

The movie will make you cry. And then it just might make you act.

film critic and blogger Barbara Nicolosi writes this...

Church of the Masses: Shaken Awake by <em>The Boy in the Striped Pajamas</em>

Going the Distance for Life

Take the time to view; as my Pastor quoted, "we don't win by playing a good defense." We need put points on the board; here are some great ideas.
Thanks Cindy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cardinal Arinze on Liturgy (Dance, Music, Holding Hands)

Our Lady of La Salette, Pray for us.

Antebellum America 2009?

Ok, I'm tired of thinking about about why the big wigs at GM/Ford/Chrysler decided to converge upon DC in separate private jets. Perhaps you, like me, are starting to think these folks have the intelligence of garden tools. Now, on to what should be on page 1, above the fold...

Strong language from the Vatican catches up to us again, 2nd time in one week. Are we at the proverbial fork in the road?

The Coming "War" Between the Obama Administration and the Catholic Church

The Dash

Last Wednesday was a sad day for my friend, Laura. She said goodbye to her husband of 17 years due to a massive stroke that he suffered as he was driving home from an evening meeting. Jack touched literally hundreds of lives by his witness to service to the poor in spirit. He will be missed.

Thanks, Char, for sending over "The Dash" which was read at his funeral last night. Many of us have heard this in one fashion or another, but it does bear repeating and is a beautiful message about what falls in the middle of those two bookends of birth and death.

Jack...thanks for your fine example. Rest in peace.

The Dash
copyright 1996 Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
from the the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on earth...
and now only those who loved her
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own;
the cars....the house...the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard...
are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
that can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
to consider what's true and real,
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we've never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
and more often wear a smile...
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read
with your life's actions to rehash...
would you be proud of the things they
say about how you spend your dash?

Christmas Cards for Troops

Remember the troops on your Christmas Card list this year...

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue,NW
Washington,D.C. 20307-5001

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Victory Through Defeat

"No fighter is more divine than the one who can achieve victory through defeat. In the instant when he receives the deadly wound, his opponent falls to the ground, himself struck with a final blow. For he strikes Love and is thus himself struck by love. And by letting itself be struck, love proves what had to be proven: that it is love indeed."
Fr. Hans Urs Von Balthasar

Boston College's "Secret"

I wonder if he regretted this as soon as he said this...

“We thought it was a tasteful line of clothing that college students wear,” he said, denying that the college had any knowledge of the “short shorts” bearing the name and image of the college’s mascot, the Eagles.

“We never authorized undergarments,” he said, adding that the university does not disclose how much it makes from sales of licensed apparel.

Ok, so we are to assume either they are totally ignorant or that they think we are totally stupid.

link to full article....

Boston College denies knowledge of licensed lingerie deal: "“We"

Friday, November 14, 2008

In the Days of Noah...

So did you happen to catch today's Gospel? I found it to be ironic that I received this interesting little story (thank you Cindy) from the Netherlands on a day when we are reading Luke 17: 26-37: "In the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man...eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark..." I won't spoil the rest; go and read.

Do you think the Dutch were as rough on Mr. Huibers as they were on Mr. Noah? I guess time will tell.

SeaWayBLOG: The man who built Noah's Ark in Holland

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Helmet of Salvation

You're doin it wrong.

ADF Fights for You

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

Prayer points for ADF

The Alliance Defense Fund depends on the prayerful support of men and women throughout the country. God's grace truly accomplishes the miraculous when we submit to His leading in our ministry.

Please join us by praying for success in the fight for religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and traditional family values.

In addition, we ask that you remember ADF in prayer for the following:
Wisdom in the many legal battles ahead
Support and encouragement for our many allies and participants in the Blackstone Legal Fellowship and the National Litigation Academy
Funding for the work God has called us to do
Alan Sears and the executive leadership of ADF

Ron and I consider Alan and Paula dear friends and true warriors for the faith. Please join us in praying for them and for all those whose constitutional rights are threatened.

Visit them on the web...

The Pharisees Show up in CA

Bible Students:
Remember when we were studying Luke Ch 6 and the little part about Jesus healing the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath? Reading their corrupt hearts, Jesus asks the Pharisees if it is lawful to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it. His point was not so much in revealing the the correct answer, though that is what we get from the exchange. What seems bigger here is that Jesus revealed the malice of their hearts. The pharisees were acting, um...a bit intolerant, wouldn't you say? After all, the law was meant to be followed - is it not? How can we have this healing stuff going on when we're supposed to be resting. How dare the Lord of glory emancipate people from their bondage when we're supposed to be in mandatory NAPTIME. The Pharisees got so ticked off at Jesus' intolerance of their behavior, that they were infuriated and plotted to put an end to Him.

Fast forward to yesterday...Heard on the radio that some Californians were real ticked off at the bigoted Christians for having their way with the Marriage prop. So much so they were infuriated and stomped all over a nice lady's cross. How audacious of her to show up at their rally with that inconvenient symbol of healing and emancipation. How....intolerant.

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Marriage Wins in California

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Join Me in Being an Envoy

A few evenings ago, my husband and I had the pleasure of catching up with Patrick Madrid, a best-selling Catholic author and publisher of Envoy Magazine. He is the director of the Envoy Institute of Belmont Abbey College and is developing a cadre of collaborators to be fellows of the Institute and contribute actively to the Institute's programs, publications, conferences, and online activities. Their Institute's Board of Advisors provides a sounding board and strategic direction on an ongoing basis.

I strongly encourage all readers out there to link to Patrick's website below and subscribe to Envoy Magazine. You can even give it a test drive if you want to just have a look-see. Simply stated, Envoy's mission is to prepare us to "be always ready to give a reason for the HOPE that is you" emphasis mine, (1 Peter 3:15). With nearly 70 million Catholics in America, the astounding majority of us do not practice our faith. That is truly a shame. If you're part of the majority or know someone who is, I'd like to offer you some hope through a challenge: consider a gift subscription to Envoy. You won't be disappointed.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Cosmic Liturgy!

The Liturgy is where It's at!

A great article from a blog that I follow...

Benedict XVI said it clearly in the homily that he delivered on June 29, 2008, on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul: his vocation is to "to serve as liturgist of Jesus Christ for the nations." The striking expression is from Paul, in chapter 15 of the Letter to the Romans. And the pope has made it his own. He has identified his mission as successor of the Apostles precisely in being the celebrant of a "cosmic liturgy." Because "when the world in all its parts has become a liturgy of God, when, in its reality, it has become adoration, then it will have reached its goal and will be safe and sound."


The New Liturgical Movement: The Liturgical Year Narrated by Benedict XVI

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What happened to our heads?

New addition to the Book of Blessings - for Children in the Womb; couldn't have come at a more appropriate time. Especially when the crosshairs are now focused directly upon the womb.

And this just in...we Catholics are not off the hook...we need Catholic leaders committed to telling us the truth no matter what. Catholic leaders who wear the Roman collar AND "Joe Catholic" (ugh) sitting in the pew. It's a both/and blame game and I believe it is time to accept the consequences and the new challenges now confronting us.

"Faithful Citizenship" stated that, under certain circumstances, a Catholic could in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports abortion rights for "other grave reasons" as long as they do not intend to support that position (34-35).

It's a strange argument that allows Catholics to send a politician with an undeniably extreme abortion record into the Oval Office and yet somehow bear no responsibility for what happens to unborn children as a result. One can only wonder what "grave reasons" the bishops could have had in mind that would outweigh the 4,000 unborn children who are aborted each day.

Read the whole article. - With Catholic Help...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The face that launched a thousand ships

And apparently kept them sailing.

Love is a Verb

an excerpt from a very good article on the Command to Love...

Are we fools? Probably not entirely. But we are often foolish, often believing and behaving in ways that give lie to Paul’s declaration, “Love never fails.” God never fails, but we often do. When we make the creature the Creator, giving thanks and praise to the bounty of our own wisdom, we reach down for the higher things and convince ourselves that we have grasped truth. We do this when we believe that it is not only sometimes necessary but also good to murder the innocent; when we believe that it is right to murder the inconveniently expensive, those whom the Nazis called “useless eaters,” the sick, the elderly, the disabled. We reach down for higher truths when we create markets for housing in order to exploit for profit the homelessness of the poor. We are foolish when we raise impregnable borders around the gifts we have been given , gifts given to us so that we might witness freely to God’s abundance. We do foolish things because we believe we are God, and so, we must be commanded by Love Himself to love. But surely this is no hardship. Difficult, yes. But not impossible. With Love all things are possible.

Read in entirety...

Domine, da mihi hanc aquam...: Reaching down for higher things

One Small Step for Baby...

Some Federal Judges can actually do good things for mankind.

Federal judge rules sixth grader can wear pro-life t-shirts to school

Saturday, October 25, 2008

O Say, Can You See?

At Mass tonight, I had the privilege of watching a newly baptized, uniform-clad marine receive his first Holy Communion. I kept wondering how he'd remember this moment as he serves out his tour in Afghanistan; one he leaves for in a few short days. He was obviously motivated to receive the sacraments now, rather than wait. He is wise.

This marine made choices based upon a real world and real issues that must be confronted. Vital in every way is our own call to be faithful citizens as is articulated yet again in another brilliant piece written by Cardinal Rigali ...

Throughout our history, Catholics have earned their right to call themselves patriotic Americans. Faithful citizenship not only includes dying for one’s country or working towards its prosperity, it also includes being faithful to a law which is higher than the expediency of the moment with the same generosity of body and heart, and the same courage that is given on the battlefield and in the workplace. We remind ourselves of this as we continue to be called to faithful citizenship and respect for life in the “earthly city” without forgetting that we are ultimately called to live as citizens of heaven forever.

Read the article in entirety,

The Catholic Standard & Times

Why Dogs Hate Halloween

Scripture Synod Concludes

Here's a little synopsis of the close of the Scripture synod that's been taking place over the last few weeks with the Pope and Synod Bishops in Vatican City. I found the following quote to be noteworthy given the exponential growth of technology and the way we receive our news...

“The Word of God must travel the roads of the world, which today also include those of electronic, televisual and virtual communication. The Bible must enter into families ... schools and all cultural environments. ... Its symbolic, poetic and narrative richness makes it a sign of beauty, both for the faith and for culture itself, in a world often disfigured by ugliness and brutality.”

Read the full article here...

Bishops close Synod with poetic message on the Word of God

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Psalm 92

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,

to sing praises to Thy Name, O Most High;

to declare Thy steadfast love in the morning,

and Thy faithfulness by night,

to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre.

For thou, O Lord, hast made me glad by Thy work;

At the works of Thy hands, I sing for joy. Ps 92: 1-4

This Music Is Made in Heaven

A funny thing happened to me as I was prepping some funeral music. Now, don't get me wrong, I love Gregorian Chant and I listen to it with rapt attention and awe at its eloquence and spiritual clarity. Nonetheless, it is one thing to listen to chant and it is quite another to learn it. Not only is latin a foreign language to me, but the notes do not follow a standard rhythmic meter that we are used to in the likes of all other post 1974 liturgical works. This took some getting used to. After a rough go thru with my Music Director, I packed it up for homework. As I muddled through later on it I noticed that even though it did not make much original rhythmic sense, it started to make a profound poetic sense. The phrases are long and glorious. The breathing requires labor - it is quite aerobic! The text is rich and complex. The beauty of the melody is evident because it literally makes your heart soar. I noticed that anytime God or Christ is mentioned, the notes travel upwards. It is hard to articulate this very well because it is "sensate". There is an emotional quality in this type of music that draws you in and elevates you to the supernatural realm. A man who did articulate it well is noted in the below link which you should read. The last thing I'll say about this tonight is that this entire subject needs deeper drilling and therefore I will apply some effort in the subsequent posts about our "sensational" liturgy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oct 22, 1949

October 22, 1949 was the day that Jack Iles married Gwendolyn Phillips in Columbiaville, Michigan. My parents would have celebrated their 59th Wedding Anniversary. As it stands, Dad went on to his eternal reward on my Mom's Birthday in March of 2007. Suffice it to say, he was out of gift ideas? (Oh that was bad...but he would have loved it.) My parents are wonderful people. In mom's later trials with Altzheimer's, Dad completely took over as her caretaker. This was a complete role-reversal since it was always Mom who handled all of the domestic activity for our family. For a man who never diapered a baby, he more than made up for any lost time in helping his wife. [There is balance in the universe!] They took care of each other. I am so grateful for my folks; for giving me life and for sticking it out. What great examples you have been to me.

I love you both.

Let There Be Light

Church work makes for interesting a newly minted Liturgist, (not to mention a pretty "green" Catholic) I get to learn many things in my capacities working at our parish. Not the least of them are the things that demand a great deal of attention in a very short expanse of time.

I've learned that it's usually not good news that your pastor is going to deliver when he greets you at your car door at 7am. The last time it happened, the baptismal font had been overflowing for several hours causing a deluge the likes of which Noah would have been familiar. I figure God was up to something by blessing the church proper, not to mention the courtyard, with holy water. It took several weeks for Father to come round on that way of thinking.

This Sunday, the power was out. Father rightfully declared that the Mass must go on and that we would celebrate in 15th century style which was actually kind of cool. All of us that normally use microphones have big mouths anyways, so this presented no challenge. As a liturgist, I also have learned that simple is good. Less is more. After all, Mass will happen in spite of our best efforts to destroy it. We began the liturgy as scheduled and as I was comfy-ing into our candlelit prayer, Father wisecracked about how many Catholics it took to screw in a lightbulb (answer, none...Catholics use candles). We completed the Opening prayer and belted out the Gloria. Then, as the final note resonated, guess what? Power returned. Alleliuia! What amazing timing! Just like the Easter Vigil. Thanks God. Oh but wait, there's more. The prayer directly following goes something like this: "Lord, source of power and inspiration..." Needless to say, the church erupted with laughter and after most composure was regained, we carried on without incodent (except for that very unmistakeable part where Father says the words of consecration and the bread and wine become the body and blood of our Lord!)

We needed the little miracle? Maybe. We needed a laugh? Perhaps. We needed a reminder of What and Who God is? Absolutely. He IS the source of all power and inspiration. Nothing is possible without His power. We are creatures who are completely dependent upon His grace at every moment. And if that grace were withdrawn for one fraction of an instant, we would be snuffed out of existence quicker than you can say 'Bob's your uncle'.

There was also a subtext to the power restoration and this is my take on it: Sometimes we need to experience a bit of woe, to truly appreciate a blessing. We don't appreciate light so much, if we've never been in the dark (see prodigal son). We can't know the joy of finding something lost unless it's gone missing in the first place (see Mary and Joseph finding Jesus in the temple). We can't be grateful penitents unless we've been soul sick (see "he who is forgiven much, loves much" St. Mary Magdalene).

And not three minutes ago, my teenager reported that his long lost retainer had been found (yet again!) on the dirt road 200 yards from our driveway. The expensive little thing is thankfully like a bad penny.

Tony Tony please come 'round. Something's lost that must be found. (thanks-I owe you, big time).

God writes straight with crooked lines. I am grateful for all the little miracles He allows me to see even when I need to take a U-turn to see them.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A theory on why we are stupid

What it took to get an 8th grade education in 1895...Remember when grandparents and great-grandparents stated that they only had an 8th grade education? Well, check this out. Could any of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895? This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina , Kansas , USA . It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina , and reprinted by the Salina Journal. 8th Grade Final Exam: Salina , KS - 1895
Grammar (Time, one hour)
1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of 'lie,''play,' and 'run.'
5. Define case; illustrate each case.
6 What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time,1 hour 15 minutes)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?3. If a load of wheat weighs 3,942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1,050 lbs. for tare?
4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find the cost of 6,720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per metre?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)

1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas .
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton , Bell , Lincoln , Penn, and Howe?8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865.

Orthography (Time, one hour) [Do we even know what this is??]

1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.' (HUH?)
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis-mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9 Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane , vain, vein, raze,! raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacrit ical marks and by syllabication.
Geography (Time, one hour)
1 What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas ?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia , Odessa , Denver , Manitoba , Hecla , Yukon , St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco ..
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Gi ve the incl ination of the earth.
Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete.

All you discalced out there...

Happy Feast Day!
We celebrate our dear Saint and Friend in heaven...St. Teresa of Avila. I have great admiration for this true reformer:
A. She was feisty, tenacious & had an extraordinary sense of humor.
B. She didn't shy away from a good fight
C. She had her own share of trial and tribulation and rose to the occasion. Her virtue was heroic.
D. She was 'burdened' with good looks and had to weather the scandal of personal suitors even while in the convent
E. She would have fit in rather nicely here in 2008; ergo, her lessons bear a timeless quality that we can still learn from.
F. She loved the Lord with heart, mind and soul.

"If you want me to rest,
I desire it for love;
If to labor,
I will die working:
. . . Calvary or Tabor give me,
Desert of fruitful land;
As Job in suffering
Or John at Your breast;
Barren or fruited vine,
Whatever be Your will:
What do you want of me?"

And one for the road...

Everything obtains.
Who possesses God
Nothing wants.
God alone suffices."

St. Teresa, pray for us.

The point of all this...

If a society endeavors to kill off certain of its members because they are inconvenient...

What is the point of healthcare?
What is the point of renewable energy sources?
What is the point of lower taxes?
What is the point of education?
What is the point of gun control?
What is the point of understanding climate change?
What is the point of a bank bailout?
What is the point of bigger or smaller government?
What is the point of any of the amendments to the Constitution?
What is the point of litmus-testing justices
What is the point of clean elections, voting or even dangling chads?

If a society endeavors to kill any of its members - especially its most vulnerable...


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Voices lifted...

Prayer of the day...

I love you God, my strength. Glory to You, O Christ, my life, my consistency, origin of my friendship with all those you have me meet along the way.

And then there is this...

In times of happiness, enjoy faith;
In times of trial, exercise faith.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Scripture Synod for the Bible Student

Thank you Jeff Cavins for creating, a site dedicated to providing the latest news and information on the upcoming Synod: “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.”

Synod of Bishops October 2008

The XII Ordinary General Assembly, THE WORD OF GOD IN THE LIFE AND MISSION OF THE CHURCH was convoked by Pope Benedict XVI on October 6, 2006. The synod will convene October 2008.
The Synod proposes to:

1. Reverently contemplate this mystery of the Word, God’s greatest gift, to render thanks for it, to meditate upon it and to proclaim it to all members of the Church and all people of good will.
2. Spread and strengthen encounters with the Word of God by thoroughly examining its doctrinal underpinnings and allowing them to show the manner in which this is to be done
3. Help the faithful understand what the Bible is, why it is there, how beneficial it is to the faith and how to use it properly and apply it to everyday life
4. Renew listening to the Word of God, in the liturgy and catechesis, specifically through lectio divina, duly adapted to various circumstances; and to offer a Word of consolation and hope to the poor of the world.
5. Set forth the intrinsic connection between the Eucharist and the Word of God, since the Church must receive nourishment from the one “bread of life from the table of both God's word and Christ's body.”

This is the Synod’s underlying purpose and primary goal, namely, to fully encounter the Word of God in Jesus the Lord, present in the Sacred Scriptures and the Eucharist. ~Lineamenta

What is a Synod?
A "synod" is a ecclesiastical gatherings under hierarchical authority of the clergy, with or without the laity, for the discussion and decision of matters relating to faith, morals, or discipline.Canon Law acknowledges two types of synods: the Synod of Bishops and the Diocesan Synod. Ecumenical and particular councils, although not called by the name, are also synods.

Who will attend this Synod of Bishops?
The Synod will be attended by:
Pope Benedict XVI
Over 250 Bishops chosen from different regions of the world
Those Bishops From the United States:
Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, President of the U.S. Episcopal Conference
Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona, Vice President of the Conference
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston, Texas
Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C..
Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia and Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, Washington, were named alternate delegates.
Auditors: Those men and women considered guests in addition to the bishops.

When will the synod take place?
October 5-26, 2008

What is the official language of the synod?
Latin is the official language of the Synod, but only a few talks are given in that language. The language used more frequently, however, is English. Yet since the not all of the bishops speak English, there will be many translators present and translating all the talks in the Synod simultaneously.

How will the public be informed about the synod?
The Vatican publishes daily bulletins in five languages (English, French, German, Italian and Spanish) which summarize all the talks of the Synod. There are also regular "Briefings" in all five languages which follow plenary meetings. Along with those areas of communication, different members of the Synod will conduct a press conference once a week.

What happens after a synod?
Following the Synod, Pope Benedict will be given a set of “propositions” which arose from all the talks in the Synod. The Pope will then write an Apostolic Letter with respect to all that which was discussed. It is typical to see that Apostolic Letter published a year after the conclusion of the Synod.


"Lord help me know what to do, then give me the courage to do it. "

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Many years ago, Indian youths would go away in solitude to prepare for manhood. One such youth hiked into a beautiful valley, green with trees, bright with flowers. There he fasted. But on the third day, as he looked up at the surrounding mountains, he noticed one tall, rugged peak, capped with dazzling snow.

I will test myself against that mountain, he thought. He put on his buffalo-hide shirt, threw his blanket over his shoulders, and set off to climb the peak.

When he reached the top he stood on the rim of the world. He could see forever, and his heart swelled with pride. Then he heard a rustle at his feet, and looking down, he saw a snake. Before he could move, the snake spoke:

"I am about to die,' said the snake. 'It is too cold for me up here and I am freezing. There is no food and I am starving. Put me under your shirt and take me down the valley."

"No,' said the youth. 'If I pick you up, you will bite, and your bite will kill me."

"Not so,' said the snake. I will treat your differently. If you do this for me, you will be special. I will not harm you."

The youth rested awhile, but this was a very persuasive snake with beautiful markings. At last the youth tucked it under his shirt and carried it down to the valley. There he laid it gently on the grass, when suddenly the snake coiled, rattled, and leapt, biting him on the leg.

"But what about your promise?!", said the youth.

"You knew what I was when you picked me up," said the snake as it slithered away.

The legend above was conveyed to Norman Vincent Peale by old Iron Eyes Cody. You might remember Iron Eyes as the lone indian paddling a canoe down a polluted metropolitan river as part of the "Keep America Beautiful" campaign of the mid 1970s.

This story is a timeless illustration from an old indian legend. How often do I take the time to really explore my own conscience and if I do, what might I find there? Do I have one of those snakes with beautiful markings tucked away taking comfort in my pity, my seeming good nature, my addiction, or my laziness? Am I able to recognize the snake in the grass when I see it? And no, it probably will not go away if I ignore it.

Conscience, completely under-valued in our society, is a friend who is present not to rob us of our freedom, but to preserve it. Conscience is a clear reminder that snakes are snakes and if we pick them up and try to befriend them, they will bite us. True of our personal lives and truer still in the larger scheme of things in our nation. The polluted river may not be the only thing needing examination.

"You knew what I was when you picked me up..."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Biden Lies

In case you missed the Biden/Palin debate last night, here are the Biden lies:

Clarity is a good thing.

Dennis Prager : If There Is No God

Dennis Prager: Good for my soul.

Dennis Prager is one of America's most respected radio talk show hosts. He has been broadcasting on radio in Los Angeles since 1982. You can listen to him here on KKNT from 9-noon every day.

Dennis has engaged in interfaith dialogue with Catholics at the Vatican, Muslims in the Persian Gulf, Hindus in India, and Protestants at Christian seminaries throughout America. For ten years, he conducted a weekly interfaith dialogue on radio with representatives of virtually every religion in the world. New York's Jewish Week described Dennis Prager as "one of the three most interesting minds in American Jewish Life."

(Oh, he conducts symphonies too.) Here's a writing sample.

Dennis Prager :: :: If There Is No God

Tune in, you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Barn's burnt down...

If you work in the mortgage banking industry or are dealing with the toxic mortgage fallout in any way...I am sorry; my heart aches for you. It was a rough day on Wall Street yesterday. Pickup any newspaper, anywhere today and you will see the face of misery.

That is one response.

The other is this; summarized in a great line from the late Gilda Radner: "Barn's burn down, now I can see the moon." Sometimes it takes calamity for us to finally get a broad view.
Ask any alcoholic.

I heard someone recount a great true story yesterday. Goes like this. There was a woman who had hit virtual bottom in her drinking career. One evening, drunk (and driving), she pulled into a church parking lot and shut off the engine. It was the only place she could think of where she might find some solace. She stumbled to the front doors of the church only to find that they were locked. Pounding with both fists she screamed out to God, "Please, help me!!" Silence. Despairing, she returned to her car unsure of where to go or what to do. A few short minutes later, a figure appeared in her line of vision. A woman who had arrived an hour earlier in order to set up and make coffee for a women's AA meeting noticed her. The helpful woman approached the car and spoke to our friend in distress: "I heard someone pounding - do you need some help?"

I don't know if this woman managed to stay sober, but I do know this: God hears our pounding. He is well acquainted with our pain and misery. He died to save us and He longs to help us. We may have to experience set backs, distractions, hateful people, and the few catastrophes that will (yes, will) come our way.

Perhaps a good way to begin today is with a pound or two:

Our Father...

Monday, September 29, 2008

I must decrease

This beautiful litany came across my desk again. I've read it before with the usual enthusiastic expression..."hmmm, this is really good. I should add it to my daily routine." Well, here I go again.

The Litany of Humility
Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930),Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus...

From the desire of being loved...
From the desire of being extolled ...
From the desire of being honored ...
From the desire of being praised ...
From the desire of being preferred to others...
From the desire of being consulted ...
From the desire of being approved ...
From the fear of being humiliated ...
From the fear of being despised...
From the fear of suffering rebukes ...
From the fear of being calumniated ...
From the fear of being forgotten ...
From the fear of being ridiculed ...
From the fear of being wronged ...
From the fear of being suspected ...

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I ...
That, in the opinion of the world,others may increase and I may decrease ...
That others may be chosen and I set aside ...
That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...
That others may be preferred to me in everything...
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Hokey Pokey...

I heard a good joke a night or so ago at the BDF fundraiser for a couple of lawyer-friends of mine...

Q: What do you throw a drowning lawyer

A: His Partners

I am blessed to know a lot of really cool people. I figure God must know how much help I need, so he keeps putting folks on my little path to keep me inspired and motivated. I met several more a few nights ago at the BDF Fundraiser. One of them was Leo Severino who is the co-producer of the movie "Bella" which came out in theaters about a year or so ago. In his "Fire Speech" I realized how much I am not doing for the kingdom. You should see the laundry list of things that he's up to in Hollywood and elsewhere, fighting the good fight for life and standing on the convictions that got people killed a few centuries back. Leo basically put his promising law career and the lure of easy money aside in order to bring the message of the Gospels to the screen. The convicting moment for me came when he told of a conversation he was having that reinforced our Good vs. Evil fight at the end of time when, at the end of the story, we win; Satan is vanquished to the bowels of hell and God and his people will reign victorious forever. At the sound of the last trumpet Michael pounces on the devil and Christ restores the garden. I believe this will happen. But, and here's the clincher, what about right now. What are we doing to fight the battle right now. What am I doing to make sure that it doesn't get much worse for my grandchildren than it appears to be getting right now? His answer came plainly. We win (now) when we become Christ in the world. When we stop sitting on our hands and thinking that other people will clean up our messes; When we work on our own side of the street; When we start doing the next right thing, whatever that is.

Here's a great illustration. Remember the Hokey Pokey? Admittedly, sometimes I'm putting my arm in, shaking it around a little and then pulling it back out. Maybe it's a leg... Give it a shake or two...right back out again. You get the picture.

Here's a guy doing the full Hokey. Whole self in and shaking it all about. Does he care what people think about him? Doubtful. Does he care? Absolutely. About his soul, about your soul and about my soul.

We need more Leos. And we need more Dorindas and Niks out there. What makes them different? I think I know. They decreased and God increased....the full Hokey Pokey. They became less self and more Other. They stepped outside of their own flesh and began to live "on the edge"; some may say "of insanity"! To be certain, to live for others may be insane to the world's standards, but to those of our Lord?

That's what it's all about.

Extra Credit

Ancient reference commonly thought to come from St. Augustine:

"When you sing you pray twice."

And my take on it?

When you harmonize you pray thrice!

Feast of the Archangels

Tomorrow is the Feast of the Archangels: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Tradition tells us that there are more than 3 angels that share the title of "archangel" however the 3 occupy a special place in the mind of the church. Since tomorrow we remember them, I thought I would give you some background...

It is on the day of the dedication of a basilica in honor of Saint Michael in the northeastern part of Rome, during the fifith century, that we celebrate the feast of the Holy Angels. "Their splendor shows us your greatness, which surpasses in goodness the whole of creation." (Preface)
Scripture mentions but briefly the archangels Michael and Gabriel and speaks of Raphael only in the Book of Tobit. In the New Testament, Gabriel is the messenger who announces the birth of John the Baptist and that of Jesus, while Michael appears at the head of the heavenly hosts, the conqueror of Satan in the great battle of the endtime (First Reading from Revelation). From the paradise of Genesis to that or Revelation, however, the angels fill the entire span of the history of salvation with their invisible presence. They are the Lord's "angels" or messengers (Entrance Antiphon), revealing his designs and carrying out his commands. Above all, they sing his praises (Communion Antiphon), an immense host of adorers seen by Daniel and John around the throne of the living God: "Thousands upon thousands were ministering to him, and myriads upon myriads attended him" (First Reading from Daniel). Earth's liturgy joins us to that of the angels in heaven. Not only do we "make their hymn of praise our own" (Preface), proclaiming that the Lord is holy, but in offering the sacrifice we ask God "that your angel may take this sacrifice to your altar in heaven...
That part gets me. It is fun to imagine the enigmatic scene during the liturgy...a striking being of light alights at the foot of the altar to take the offering to God's throne in heaven. Then as we proclaim the hymn "Holy Holy Holy"....just picture the roof of the church blown completely off and here we are kneeling in the company of the heavenly host: The Holy Trinity, Our Lady, the Saints, Angels and all the holy ones; moms, dads, children, friends long past...all of us present in the eternal NOW. Time and Space no longer obstacles to our vision. There's a whole lot more going on in the unseen world than we could possibly fathom. The three archangels played a pivotal role in human history, bringing this vision, this message, near to us. I believe that angels do attend us during our earthly pilgrimmage and will accompany us to our destination beyond the grave. We remember the archangels and join with them in praise and worship of the One who made us all.
Ye watchers and ye holy ones,
bright seraphs, cherubim and thrones,
Raise the glad strain, Alleluia!
Cry out, dominions, princedoms, powers,
Virtues, archangels, angels' choirs,
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
O friends, in gladness let us sing
Supernal anthems echoing,
To God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit, Three in One.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I have two sons. One is sixteen, the other is eleventeen. Pray for me. My sixteen year old is sprouting up into a fine young man with many wild visions not too different from his mom's retired wild visions though he would be hard-pressed to admit to THAT. Isn't that exactly how it is? Everything old is new again. There is nothing new under the sun. (Thanks King Solomon). I am remembering a day or so ago when I went to the post office to pick up Season 4 of "The Office" that had just arrived. The "muzak" that was playing over the din of all of us 40 somethings was Billy Idol's More, More, More. Remember THAT? BI was one of the first concert's I ever attended. (You did not hear that mom). Despite it's apparent sexual overtones and fist pumping imagery, I could not help but wonder what will my sixteen and eleventeen year olds will be listening to in their post offices of the 21st century? Will it be "I kissed a girl". O heavens. Not THAT.

Friends for Life

I'd like you to meet a friend of mine. I've known Nik and Melinda for just shy of 10 years. Our families met while attending St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Scottsdale, AZ where we formed what some of you may recall as a "Small Church Community". Before you know it, we had a wonderful little clan going of like-minded individuals talking politics and religion...just the kind of stuff barroom brawls and family dysfunction are made of! Long story short, Nik is someone you should know. I'm going to a little party for him tomorrow. If you're in town, you can come too...

BDF President Nikolas T. Nikas invites you and your guest to a fun and inspiring event to learn about Bioethics Defense Fund's pro-life legal work, visit with other friends for life, and hear a unique address by film producer Leo Severino entitled:
"Eroding Roe through the Power of Film:
The Inside Story of Bella"

Friday, September 26, 2008 6:30 p.m.
The Scottsdale Plaza Resort
7200 N Scottsdale RoadScottsdale, AZ 85253
Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres
Resort Casual

Here's a little more spif on Nik & his law partner, Dorinda Bordlee and what they do...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pink Ribbons?

Don't be fooled by all the little pink ribbons:

Know the Facts about the Komen-Planned Parenthood Connection October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Citizens who are interested in fighting this deadly disease should be aware that one breast cancer organization, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, has given 55 grants to Planned Parenthood abortion facilities between 2000-2005. Learn the facts and view our list of life-affirming breast cancer groups.

full text...

Vote Your Conscience

No matter what your political affiliation might be; I think you'll find this video worth a look.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Question: What is Spikenard?
Answer: See Luke 7:36-50

There, that's my first post. My near-terminal case of perfectionism will be "dealt with" as I continue to opine. Meantime, this is dedicated to my dad. Keep my seat warm.