Monthly Archives: November 2010

I can’t keep “Christ” in “Christmas” yet

Because I’m still trying to keep the “vent” in “Advent.”

G. K. Chesterton on women.

The same women who are ready to defend their men through thick and thin are (in their personal intercourse with the man) almost morbidly lucid about the thinness of his excuses or the thickness of his head. A man’s friend likes him but leaves him as he is: his wife loves him and is always trying to turn him into somebody else. Women who are utter mystics in their creed are utter cynics in their criticism.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Orthodoxy, Ch. 5., emphasis added

My Column:

I haven’t posted about it yet, but, in October, I started writing a column for a new news and information site called Loving Catholics. I’m not sure if they’ve got all the kinks worked out yet, but they’re trying to distribute the content through several venues.
Here’s a direct link to my latest column on our groups’ Facebook page.

G. K. Chesterton on supernatural versus natural love

We say there must be a primal loyalty to life: the only question is, shall it be a natural or a supernatural loyalty? If you like to put it so, shall it be a reasonable or an unreasonable loyalty? Now, the extraordinary thing is that the bad optimism (the whitewashing, the weak defence of everything) comes in with the reasonable optimism. Rational optimism leads to stagnation: it is irrational optimism that leads to reform. Let me explain by using once more the parallel of patriotism. The man who is most likely to ruin the place he loves is exactly the man who loves it with a reason. The man who will improve the place is the man who loves it without a reason. If a man loves some feature of Pimlico (which seems unlikely), he may find himself defending that feature against Pimlico itself. But if he simply loves Pimlico itself, he may lay it waste and turn it into the New Jerusalem. I do not deny that reform may be excessive; I only say that it is the mystic patriot who reforms. Mere jingo self-contentment is commonest among those who have some pedantic reason for their patriotism. The worst jingoes do not love England, but a theory of England. If we love England for being an empire, we may overrate the success with which we rule the Hindoos. But if we love it only for being a nation, we can face all events: for it would be a nation even if the Hindoos ruled us. Thus also only those will permit their patriotism to falsify history whose patriotism depends on history. A man who loves England for being English will not mind how she arose. But a man who loves England for being Anglo-Saxon may go against all facts for his fancy. He may end (like Carlyle and Freeman) by maintaining that the Norman Conquest was a Saxon Conquest. He may end in utter unreason — because he has a reason. A man who loves France for being military will palliate the army of 1870. But a man who loves France for being France will improve the army of 1870. This is exactly what the French have done, and France is a good instance of the working paradox. Nowhere else is patriotism more purely abstract and arbitrary; and nowhere else is reform more drastic and sweeping. The more transcendental is your patriotism, the more practical are your politics.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Orthodoxy, Ch. 5.

Couple taking Internet Vote on whether they should have an abortion!!

PLEASE VOTE!!
And pray for these poor people’s souls.
http://www.birthornot.com/

Ray Bradbury on Political Correctness

Near the end of Part 1 of Ray Bradbury’s _Fahrenheit 451_, Capt. Beatty begins his history of how censorship happened by talking about the rise of technology as the means to entertainment. Then he talks about the need to not offend minorities:

Now let’s take up the minorities in our civilization, shall we? Bigger the population, the more minorities. Don’t step on teh toes of the dog lovers, the cat lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico. The people in this book, this play, this TV serial are not meant to represent any actual painters, cartographers, mechanics anywhere. The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy, remember that! All the minor minor minorities with their navels to be kept clean. Authors, full of evil thoughts, lock up your typewriters. They did.

G. K. Chesterton on how all law derives from religion.

The eighteenth-century theories of the social contract have been exposed to much clumsy criticism in our time; in so far as they meant that there is at the back of all historic government an idea of content and co-operation, they were demonstrably right. But they really were wrong in so far as they suggested that men had ever aimed at order or ethics directly by a conscious exchange of interests. Morality did not begin by one man saying to another, “I will not hit you if you do not hit me”; there is no trace of such a transaction. There is a trace of both men having said, “We must not hit each other in the holy place.” They gained their morality by guarding their religion. They did not cultivate courage. They fought for the shrine, and found they had become courageous. They did not cultivate cleanliness. They purified themselves for the altar, and found that they were clean. The history of the Jews is the only early document known to most Englishmen, and the facts can be judged sufficiently from that. The Ten Commandments which have been found substantially common to mankind were merely military commands; a code of regimental orders, issued to protect a certain ark across a certain desert. Anarchy was evil because it endangered the sanctity. And only when they made a holy day for God did they find they had made a holiday for men.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Orthodoxy, Ch. 5.

Hour of Mercy: Psalm 143 (New American Bible)

1
A psalm of David. LORD, hear my prayer; in your faithfulness listen to my pleading; answer me in your justice.
2
Do not enter into judgment with your servant; before you no living being can be just.
3
 The enemy has pursued me; they have crushed my life to the ground. They have left me in darkness like those long dead.
4
My spirit is faint within me; my heart is dismayed.
5
I remember the days of old; I ponder all your deeds; the works of your hands I recall.
6
I stretch out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land. Selah
7
Hasten to answer me, LORD; for my spirit fails me. Do not hide your face from me, lest I become like those descending to the pit.
8
At dawn let me hear of your kindness, for in you I trust. Show me the path I should walk, for to you I entrust my life.
9
Rescue me, LORD, from my foes, for in you I hope.
10
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your kind spirit guide me on ground that is level.
11
For your name’s sake, LORD, give me life; in your justice lead me out of distress.
12
In your kindness put an end to my foes; destroy all who attack me, for I am your servant. Psalm

Hour of Mercy: Psalm 130 (New American Bible)

1
A song of ascents. Out of the depths I call to you, LORD;
2
Lord, hear my cry! May your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
3
If you, LORD, mark our sins, Lord, who can stand?
4
But with you is forgiveness and so you are revered.
5
I wait with longing for the LORD, my soul waits for his word.
6
My soul looks for the Lord more than sentinels for daybreak. More than sentinels for daybreak,
7
let Israel look for the LORD, For with the LORD is kindness, with him is full redemption,
8
And God will redeem Israel from all their sins.

Hour of Mercy: Psalm 102 (New American Bible)

1
 The prayer of one afflicted and wasting away whose anguish is poured out before the LORD.
2
LORD, hear my prayer; let my cry come to you.
3
Do not hide your face from me now that I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly.
4
For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn away as in a furnace.
5
I am withered, dried up like grass, too wasted to eat my food.
6
From my loud groaning I become just skin and bones.
7
I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins.
8
I lie awake and moan, like a lone sparrow on the roof.
9
All day long my enemies taunt me; in their rage, they make my name a curse.
10
I eat ashes like bread, mingle my drink with tears.
11
Because of your furious wrath, you lifted me up just to cast me down.
12
My days are like a lengthening shadow; I wither like the grass.
13
But you, LORD, are enthroned forever; your renown is for all generations.
14
You will again show mercy to Zion; now is the time for pity; the appointed time has come.
15
Its stones are dear to your servants; its dust moves them to pity.
16
The nations shall revere your name, LORD, all the kings of the earth, your glory,
17
Once the LORD has rebuilt Zion and appeared in glory,
18
Heeding the plea of the lowly, not scorning their prayer.
19
Let this be written for the next generation, for a people not yet born, that they may praise the LORD:
20
“The LORD looked down from the holy heights, viewed the earth from heaven,
21
To attend to the groaning of the prisoners, to release those doomed to die.”
22
Then the LORD’S name will be declared on Zion, the praise of God in Jerusalem,
23
When all peoples and kingdoms gather to worship the LORD.
24
God has shattered my strength in mid-course, has cut short my days.
25
I plead, O my God, do not take me in the midst of my days. Your years last through all generations.
26
Of old you laid the earth’s foundations; the heavens are the work of your hands.
27
They perish, but you remain; they all wear out like a garment; Like clothing you change them and they are changed,
28
but you are the same, your years have no end.
29
May the children of your servants live on; may their descendants live in your presence.

What’s the big deal?

So, apparently people are stunned by the way Wheel of Fortune contestant Caitlin Burke solved a 27-letter, 7 word puzzle with just one letter, but it’s actually quite simple.

Now, her accomplishment is laudable, but it’s really just a matter of logic.

I haven’t even watched the video. I only had to see the following picture to solve it myself:


Here’s what she had on the board:
_’__ ___ _ ____ ___L___ _____ ____
The “L” is not important because of where it appears but because of where it *doesn’t” appear.
The contraction at the beginning *has* to start with “I”.
So it’s either “I’ll” or “I’ve.”
Since the “L” is used, it has to be “I’ve”.
So, three letter word after “I’ve.” Obviously, “got.” Then the next is obviously “a”
“I’ve got a” what?
Four letter word then three-L-three
This is where what she did was really impressive, getting it under pressure, since it’s the kind of thing people have a hard time doing all the time in the final round:
FEELING
She could have stumbled around “feeling” for some time, but it is the only word that logically fits.
Then “good” before it is logical, and “about” and “this” follow suit by the mere number of letters.

I believe in an unborn woman’s right to choose

Hour of Mercy: Psalm 51 (New American Bible)

1
or the leader. A psalm of David,
2
when Nathan the prophet came to him after his affair with Bathsheba.
3
Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; in your abundant compassion blot out my offense.
4
Wash away all my guilt; from my sin cleanse me.
5
For I know my offense; my sin is always before me.
6
Against you alone have I sinned; I have done such evil in your sight That you are just in your sentence, blameless when you condemn.
7
True, I was born guilty, a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.
8
Still, you insist on sincerity of heart; in my inmost being teach me wisdom.
9
Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, make me whiter than snow.
10
Let me hear sounds of joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
11
Turn away your face from my sins; blot out all my guilt.
12
A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit.
13
Do not drive me from your presence, nor take from me your holy spirit.
14
Restore my joy in your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit.
15
I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you.
16
Rescue me from death, God, my saving God, that my tongue may praise your healing power.
17
Lord, open my lips; my mouth will proclaim your praise.
18
For you do not desire sacrifice; a burnt offering you would not accept.
19
My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart.
20
Make Zion prosper in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
21
Then you will be pleased with proper sacrifice, burnt offerings and holocausts; then bullocks will be offered on your altar.

It’s in the Psalms

Hour of Mercy: Psalm 38 (New American Bible)

1
A psalm of David. For remembrance.
2
LORD, punish me no more in your anger; in your wrath do not chastise me!
3
Your arrows have sunk deep in me; your hand has come down upon me.
4
My flesh is afflicted because of your anger; my frame aches because of my sin.
5
My iniquities overwhelm me, a burden beyond my strength.
6
Foul and festering are my sores because of my folly.
7
I am stooped and deeply bowed; all day I go about mourning.
8
My loins burn with fever; my flesh is afflicted.
9
I am numb and utterly crushed; I wail with anguish of heart.
10
My Lord, my deepest yearning is before you; my groaning is not hidden from you.
11
My heart shudders, my strength forsakes me; the very light of my eyes has failed.
12
Friends and companions shun my pain; my neighbors stand far off.
13
Those who seek my life lay snares for me; they seek my misfortune, they speak of ruin; they plot treachery all the day.
14
But I am like the deaf, hearing nothing, like the dumb, saying nothing,
15
Like someone who does not hear, who has no answer ready.
16
LORD, I wait for you; O Lord, my God, answer me.
17
For I fear they will gloat, exult over me if I stumble.
18
I am very near to falling; my pain is with me always.
19
I acknowledge my guilt and grieve over my sin.
20
But many are my foes without cause, a multitude of enemies without reason,
21
Repaying me evil for good, harassing me for pursuing good.
22
Forsake me not, O LORD; my God, be not far from me!
23
Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my salvation!

Your Mom Chose Life! Why don’t you?

Hour of Mercy: Psalm 32 (New American Bible)

1
Of David. A maskil.  Happy the sinner whose fault is removed, whose sin is forgiven.
2
Happy those to whom the LORD imputes no guilt, in whose spirit is no deceit.
3
As long as I kept silent, my bones wasted away; I groaned all the day.
4
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength withered as in dry summer heat. Selah
5
Then I declared my sin to you; my guilt I did not hide. I said, “I confess my faults to the LORD,” and you took away the guilt of my sin. Selah
6
Thus should all your faithful pray in time of distress. Though flood waters threaten, they will never reach them.
7
You are my shelter; from distress you keep me; with safety you ring me round. Selah
8
I will instruct you and show you the way you should walk, give you counsel and watch over you.
9
Do not be senseless like horses or mules; with bit and bridle their temper is curbed, else they will not come to you.
10
Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but love surrounds those who trust in the LORD.
11
Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you just; exult, all you upright of heart.

It’s a personal decision


Like Francis Cardinal Arinze says in his special way: “What if I said, ‘I’m pro-choice on killing politicians. I personally think killing politicians is a bad thing, and I’d never do it myself, but whom I to say it’s wrong for someone else to do?'”

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kv3MRyKfEHA]

Hour of Mercy: Psalm 6 (New American Bible)

1
For the leader; with stringed instruments, “upon the eighth.” A psalm of David.
2
Do not reprove me in your anger, LORD, nor punish me in your wrath.
3
Have pity on me, LORD, for I am weak; heal me, LORD, for my bones are trembling.
4
In utter terror is my soul– and you, LORD, how long…?
5
Turn, LORD, save my life; in your mercy rescue me.
6
For who among the dead remembers you? Who praises you in Sheol?
7
I am wearied with sighing; all night long tears drench my bed; my couch is soaked with weeping.
8
My eyes are dimmed with sorrow, worn out because of all my foes.
9
Away from me, all who do evil! The LORD has heard my weeping.
10
The LORD has heard my prayer; the LORD takes up my plea.
11
My foes will be terrified and disgraced; all will fall back in sudden shame.

Want your kids to stay Catholic? Put it into practice

Many reading this post may know that, during our last 2 years in Columbia, I was committed to a Holy Hour every Thursday night at Our Lady of the Hills Catholic Church. During the last year or so, Allie had been accompanying me. Indeed, while she didn’t always stay awake, Adoration became one of the highlights of her week. As soon as she found out it was Thursday, she’d start asking, “Is it time yet?” “Who’s taking me this week? Mommy or Daddy?”

She’s also been going to Carmelite meetings with me from time to time, since her first communion, because I’ve been hoping to get her inducted into the Brown Scapular Confraternity (not to be confused with vestment in the formal Brown Scapular of the Order).

For a while, we’ve considered moving to either Augusta (a long time target on our list of places we’d like to live in an ideal situation) or Greenville, because of the fantastic parishes both towns have. This past Monday, we visited Greenville, and got to see the famous St. Mary’s Church for All Saints and hear the famous Fr. Jay Scott Newman. I even got to meet Fr. Newman for a few minutes after Mass.

However, we’ve also recently moved to the Augusta area. While we’re actually on the South Carolina side, since that’s the reason we moved here, we’re joining Most Holy Trinity parish and splitting our time between there and St. Ignatios of Antioch, which is a combination Byzantine/former Anglican parish that is sort of a mission of Holy Trinity. This is truly an amazing area for Catholicism. In addition to those great parishes, there are three parishes in a half hour radius with perpetual adoration (Our Lady of Peace, our geographic parish; St. Mary on the Hill in Augusta; and St. Mary in Aiken).

There are tons of daily masses within minutes of our new home, and tons of devotions. Given my attraction to the Eastern liturgies, I’ve been attending 5:30 Vespers at St. Ignatios whenever possible, and I”ve been bringing the kids along, and the people there are super nice.

At first, the kids felt it was rather strange, but they quickly grew to like it. It amazes me how, when Father is present and censes the congregation, the kids seem to settle down as soon as they’ve been blessed with the incense.

This evening, I had planned to run some errands, including dropping off our rent check, on the way to Vespers.

I’d had to take two trips back to Columbia with the other kids, and Gianna’s been home the past couple days with Mary.

So I asked her if she wanted to go with me, partly so she could get a treat. As it turned out, our landlord was coming by to pick up some of his stuff he left behind, so he said he’d just get the check here. That altered my plans.

Gianna said, “Daddy, I have a problem. I’d kind of like to go to church with you. And I’d like of like a treat. But, I’d also like to stay home, because we’ve been doing so many trips and stuff, and I’ve been eating Halloween candy all week, so I really don’t need a treat. And the noodles Mommy made are really good, and I’d rather just have those. But I’m afraid you’ll be sad that I don’t want to have a treat with you, and I’m afraid God will be sad if I don’t go to church.”
I said, “Would you like to stay home and have noodles and then go to church with me?”
“Sure!”

[As it happened, I took the minivan so I didn’t “waste gas,” but I forgot to bring the GPS, couldn’t find St. Ignatios, got totally on the wrong track, so we went to one of the perpetual Adoration chapels instead].

How many six year olds understand going to church not as a boring obligation but as something you do because it would hurt God’s feelings if you don’t???

A friend of mine who’s a homeschooling, homesteading mom and whose kids know more about canon law and liturgical norms than the average priest was saying to me on Facebook recently how, now that her eldest are adults and married and starting their own families, her friends who used to criticize her for being such a “strict” and “repressive” parent are saying, “What did you do right and we did wrong, that our kids are all falling away from the Church and yours aren’t?”

I don’t even think it takes being strict so much as building a spiritual life in one’s kids, and not just limiting it to “Did you go to Mass on Sunday.”

This all ties in with another grace of the Spirit. Everyone knows I’m no fan of Bishop J. Kevin Boland of Savannah, but he deserves a lot of praise for officially implementing the Catholics Come Home program in this diocese!

They had an information session at Holy Trinity’s adult religious ed program yesterday, and there was a lot of talk about how “overly strict” parents supposedly drive their kids away from the Church, and how to get adult offspring to stay Catholic or return to the Church without being “judgemental” or whatever.

Of course, the latter part is poppycock–the strictest Catholic parents I know are the ones who have the most stable adult offspring. It’s not strictness that drives kids away from their parents’ faiths; it’s hypocrisy. It’s not the “Don’t do this” that makes kids leave the Church. It’s the “Don’t do this, but I’ll do it” or “Don’t do this, but if you do, I’ll look the other way.”

While I bit my tongue on that one, I *did* contribute that the most important way to help people, particularly our family members, is to encourage them to practice devotions and develop their spirituality (I cited St. Teresa of Avila and St. Louis de Montfort in this regard).

Anyway, it was a very interesting conversation with Gianna, especially in the light of that meeting.