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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

Eleventeen

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...
http://www.bdfund.org/breastcancer.asp

Vote Your Conscience

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

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Spikenard

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.