View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Rocking Benedictine Abbot

Dom Notker Wolf - rock on!

Catholic (?) Worker: Obedience to Church Authority

Writer Michael Harrington tells the following story about Dorothy Day:

I arrived at the Worker shortly after Cardinal Spellman had sent (future Cardinal John) McIntyre down to read the riot act. What was apparently bugging Spellman was that the paper was called the Catholic Worker. What he was angling for, and didn't get, was for [Dorothy] to drop the word "Catholic." He believed [the name] was an attempt to indicate that this was a Catholic position, and he didn't want anybody else speaking for the church. This was the famous occasion when McIntyre said to her, "What would you do if the cardinal told you to shut down the Catholic Worker?"

She said, "If our dear, sweet cardinal, who is the vicar of Christ in New York City, told me to shut down the Catholic Worker, I would close it down immediately." She was dead serious. That's what drove me crazy. Dorothy really did go around referring to Spellman as "our dear, sweet cardinal" and "the vicar of Christ."

I also remember the story (recounted in William Miller's Dorothy Day) of her throwing out a group of Catholic Workers for living in a way that was at "variance with traditional morality, " and coming under attack for doing so. (page 484)

Miller writes on page 485, "The drink of gall that was being forced on her now in her old age in increasing amounts was the disposition of the young people around her at the Worker to single out the Church as one of the main anachronisms from past times that inhibited the free flow of their new universe toward its golden destiny. The Catholic Worker was, before it could make even one small tentative step into the world of affairs, Catholic. It was not a sign to be worn, turned this way and that to reflect whatever glancing beam of position or opinion that came from the roilings of time."

Day understood that the Worker was at its core Catholic, and that obedience to legitimate authority on moral and governance issues was part of being Catholic. If you could not live by that, then you can still do good work and still serve the social causes to which you are committed, but not under a sign proclaiming yourself "Catholic."

St. Joseph's House of Hospitality in Rochester, N.Y., one of the oldest Worker houses in the nation, abandoned that respect for authority a while back. That's one of the reasons I stopped supporting the house financially - even though one summer decades ago I had even been a "staff" member there. I send the money elsewhere (like Bethany House, a Rochester Catholic Worker House that assists women and children and remains true to the Church).

The work St. Joe's does to feed, clothe, and shelter the poor, to fight against unjust war and economic policies, to defend of the rights of various ethnic groups is all admirable and well within Catholic tradition. But they should not call themselves part of the Catholic Worker movement any more as long as they continue to support and promote individuals who are in defiance of Church authority.

I suspect if Day - whom I believe should some day be recognized officially as a saint (though she demurred at the mention of such a thing!) - were still alive she would have had a firm talk with the St. Joe's staff.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Contemporary Little Flower (from a saint)

Somewhere around 1934 or 1935, the Archbishop of Toronto, Most Reverend Neil McNeil, called me in, gave me a newspaper and said, "Here is a woman who writes as you speak." That was interesting to hear, and I realized he had given me The Catholic Worker, which was being sent to many of the bishops of Canada and America by Dorothy Day. What I read was very interesting.

The Archbishop told me that I should go see her. I replied, "Well, I haven't got any money," because in those days I didn't have two pennies to rub against one another. "Oh," he said, "I will pay your way." So he gave me some money and I took a train to New York.

I got to 16th Street where Dorothy Day was. I found a big apartment all filled with cots. On each cot, because it was evening, there was somebody sleeping, or lying around, for Dorothy was helping the poor women in those days. There was only one empty bed that she herself slept in. She said, "Catherine, you can sleep with me."

I was about to go to sleep when there was a knock on the door and a woman came in. I looked at her and it seemed to me that she had syphilis -- advanced syphilis at that.

She said to Dorothy, "Can I have a place to stay?" And Dorothy welcomed her warmly and said, "Oh, indeed, you can sleep with me." I got a little worried about it. We went into the bathroom and Dorothy said, "Catherine, you can sleep in the bathtub." I was ready to sleep in the bathtub, but, speaking as a nurse, I told Dorothy that this woman was a major health threat. If Dorothy had any open cuts or anything she might become infected herself.

It was then I certainly got my first lesson in charity. Dorothy, usually mild, gentle and kind, suddenly arose, and in a spirited voice said, "Catherine, you don't understand. This is Christ who has come to ask for a place to sleep. He will take care of me. I am sleeping with Christ and nothing can happen to me. You have to have faith!"

- from an account by Catherine de Hueck Doherty, founder of the Madonna House Lay Apostolate in 1947, now based in Combermere, Ontario, Canada.

From the Little Flowers of St. Francis



The first companion of St Francis was Brother Bernard of Assisi, who was converted in the following way: St Francis had not yet taken the religious habit, though he had renounced the world, and had so given himself to penance and mortification that many looked upon him as one out of his mind. He was scoffed at as a madman, was rejected and despised by his relations and by strangers, who threw stones and mud at him when he passed; yet he went on his way, accepting these insults as patiently as if he had been deaf and dumb. Then Bernard of Assisi, one of the richest and most learned nobles of the city, began to consider deeply the conduct of St Francis; how utterly he despised the world, how patiently he suffered injuries, and how his faith remained firm, though he had been for two years an object of contempt and rejected by all. He began to think and say within himself, "It is evident that this brother must have received great graces from God"; and so resolved to invite him to sup and to sleep in his house. St Francis having accepted the invitation, Bernard, who was resolved to contemplate the sanctity of his guest, ordered a bed to be prepared for him in his own room, where a lamp burned all night. Now St Francis, in order to conceal his sanctity, so soon as he entered the room, threw himself upon the bed, pretending to fall asleep. Bernard likewise soon after went to bed, and began to snore as if sleeping soundly. On this, St Francis, thinking that Bernard was really fast asleep, got up and began to pray. Raising his hands and eyes to heaven, he exclaimed with great devotion and fervour, "My God! my God!" at the same time weeping bitterly; and thus he remained on his knees all night, repeating with great love and fervour the words, "My God! my God!" and none others.

And this he did because, being enlightened by the Holy Spirit, he contemplated and admired the divine majesty of God, who deigned to take pity on the perishing world, and to save not only the soul of Francis, his poor little one, but those of many others also through his means. For, being enlightened by the Holy Ghost, he foresaw the great things which God would deign to accomplish through him and through his Order; and considering his insufficiency and unworthiness, he prayed and called upon the Lord, through his power and wisdom, to supply, help and accomplish that which of himself he could not do.

Then Bernard, seeing by the light of the lamp the devout actions of St Francis and the expression of his countenance, and devoutly considering the words he uttered, was touched by the Holy Spirit, and resolved to change his life. Next morning, therefore, he called St Francis, and thus addressed him: "Brother Francis, I am disposed in heart wholly to leave the world, and to obey thee in all things as thou shalt command me." At these words, St Francis rejoiced in spirit and said, "Bernard, a resolution such as thou speakest of is so difficult and so great an act, that we must take counsel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and pray to him that he may be pleased to show us what is his will, and may teach us to follow it. Let us then go together to the Bishop's palace, where we shall find a good priest who will say Mass for us. We will then remain in prayer till the third hour, imploring the Lord to point out to us the way he wishes us to select, and to this intent we will open the Missal three times." And when Bernard answered that he was well pleased with this proposal, they set out together, heard Mass, and after they had remained in prayer till the time fixed, the priest, at the request of St Francis, took up Missal, then, having made the sign of the holy cross, he opened it three times, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The first place which he lit upon was at the answer of Christ to the young man who asked of him the way to perfection: If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell all that thou hast and give to the poor, and come, follow me. The second time he opened at the words which the Saviour addressed to the Apostles when he sent them forth to preach the Word of Truth: Take nothing with you for your journey: neither staff, nor scrip, nor bread, nor money; wishing to teach them thereby to commit the care of their lives to him, and give all their thoughts to the preaching of the Holy Gospel. When the Missal was opened a third time they came upon these words: If any one will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Then St Francis, turning to Bernard, said: "This is the advice that the Lord has given us; go and do as thou hast heard; and blessed be the Lord Jesus Christ who has pointed out to thee the way of his angelic life." Upon this, Bernard went and sold all that he had. Now he was very rich, and with great joy he distributed his wealth to widows, to orphans, to prisoners, to monasteries, to hospitals, and to pilgrims, in all which St Francis assisted him with prudence and fidelity.

Now it happened that a man of the name of Silvester, seeing how St Francis gave so much money to the poor, being urged on by avarice, went to him and said: "Thou didst not pay me enough for the stones I sold thee to repair the church; now that thou hast money, pay me what thou owest." St Francis, much surprised at such a demand, but, according to the precepts of the Scriptures, not wishing to dispute with him, gave it to Silvester, saying that, if he wanted more, he would give it to him. Silvester, being satisfied, returned home; but in the evening of the same day he reflected on his avarice, and on the holiness and the fervour of St Francis. That night also he saw St Francis in a vision, and it seemed to him as if a golden cross came out of his mouth, which reached up to heaven and extended to the extreme east and west. After this vision he gave all he possessed to the poor, for the love of God, and made himself a Brother Minor. He became so holy, and was favoured with such special graces, that he spake with the Lord as a friend speaks with a friend, of which St Francis was often a witness, as we shall see further on. Bernard likewise received from God many graces - he was ravished in contemplation, and St Francis said he was worthy of all reverence, and that he had founded the Order, because he was the first who had abandoned the world, giving all he possessed to the poor of Christ, keeping back nothing for himself; and practising evangelical poverty, placing himself naked in the arms of the Crucified, whom may we all bless eternally. Amen.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Food fight

I'm not a gourmet. I don't have an educated palate. My taste is not refined. When I hear people talk of "haute cuisine" I instinctively think "haughty." I don't care about presentation. I don't mind if the wine is not vintage. I don't eat on fine china. (Heck, I've been known to eat directly out of the pan!) I don't need finely brewed cappuccino or premium blends: Instant coffee will do.

I just like food. My waist is a dead giveaway of that fact.

I like good, solid, reasonably well-prepared food and drinks.

I like pasta, green salads, steamed vegetables, raw apples, bread, raisins, cheese, eggs, seafood, figs, potatoes in general, chili peppers, beans, oatmeal, pickled vegetables, rice, popcorn, etc.

But it has to be food with some taste and bark.

You see, I like food that fights back. I put chili powder on popcorn. I add hot peppers, onions, and garlic to macaroni and cheese. I put horseradish on cheese or veggie burger sandwiches. I dash hot sauce on potatoes (baked, french fries, home fries, etc.). I lace my rice with curry. I sprinkle Cajun mix on my eggs.

You may have noticed the lack of meat in what I've written so far. I am a vegetarian - though not a perfect one. I don't eat mammals or birds, but, in a nod to inconsistency, I do eat eggs and seafood. And if hard pressed, say on a desert island, I would eat animal flesh. My diet choice is based on ethical concerns and health, not on a deep-seated belief that it's wrong to eat a cow or a chicken. However, if the day should come when I have to eat meat, I would, in accord with Franciscan (and Native American) spirituality, thank Brother Pig or Sister Turkey for his or her gift.

As for what I do eat now, if the food lacks something ... Give me spices. Shake, sprinkle, dash, pour them on. Get my eyes watering. Set my tongue on fire.

I'll cool and cleanse my palate with water.

Tap water.

Or maybe leftover instant coffee.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Communion on the tongue while kneeling recommended

Spanish Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, the prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, recently recommended that Catholics receive Communion on the tongue, while kneeling.

“It is to simply know that we are before God himself and that He came to us and that we are undeserving,” he said in an interview with CNA during his visit to Lima, Peru.

He points out that there is a lack of respect while receiving Communion. He acknowledges that there are other ways than kneeling to show respect - bowing or genuflecting, for example - but people too often fail to do even those.

On the tongue? Okay - but I think it can still be done reverently in the hand.

I don't think kneeling should be mandatory. There are many people who have a hard time kneeling - I see them at daily Mass. Even if they were told they could stand, if a rule about kneeling was put in place many would try to kneel, or would feel they are falling short. At daily Mass at least I do see respect: Many people do bow before receiving Communion. Some genuflect.

I agree, though, that people at Sunday Masses could and should show more respect. We need to hear more preached from the pulpit about this.

He was just responding to a question, so this is not an official ruling. Who knows what might be coming down the road, though.

Spanish cardinal recommends that Catholics receive Communion on the tongue :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

America - Lonely People (RIP Dan Peek)

Dan Peek set out on the Highway in the Sky July 24. God be with him.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Planned Parenthood Clinic Haiku

clinic night
Planned Parenthood discharges
unmothered mothers

Labels: ,

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Underage sex, dealing drugs - with government advice?

Two men pose as Russian drug dealers and find help from government officials in Ohio with concealing their alleged drug activities, underage sex, and abortions. Our tax dollars at work.

I love the advice given for the supposedly pregnant underage girls (in other words, victims of rape): Go to Planned Parenthood to get abortions, apparently with no worries about being asked questions or the rapes being reported.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Chesterton on Catholicism

"The Catholic Church is the only thing which saves a man
from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age." - G. K. Chesterton

G. K. Chesterton: Convert to Catholicism

"We do not really want a religion that is right where we are right. What we want is a religion that is right where we are wrong." - G.K. Chesterton "The Exception Proves the Rule" The Catholic Church and Conversion

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Franciscan Art: St. Lawrence

"God's word is so rich that it is a treasury of every good. From it flow faith, hope, love, and all the virtues, the many gifts of the Spirit." - St. Lawrence of Brindisi (a Franciscan and Doctor of the Church whose feast day is today).

NRL: The Truth About Planned Parenthood

Cut Planned Parenthood's tax-payer supported government funding. Now.

Pax et bonum

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Good Night, Knights!

A challenge to the Knights. I wonder how - or if - they will respond.

Pax et bonum

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Thoughts on The Sorrowful Mysteries

This morning as I said the Rosary I tried to meditate upon the Sorrowful Mysteries (truth be told, with more mind wandering than actual meditating, as is usual with me).

I found myself not only thinking about what Jesus experienced, but also relating the Mysteries to the Christian life.

The First Mystery, the Agony in the Garden, it occurred to me, could be equated to what the individual goes through in trying to live as a Christian. The suffering is internal caused by all the guilt, all the remorse, all the painful memories. We must deal with those as part of our spiritual journey.

The Scourging at the Pillar could be equated to the suffering caused by others - the mockery, the insults, the pressure to conform to the ways of the world, the various kinds of martyrdom the Christian might face, including even jail, torture, and death.

The third Mystery, Crowning with Thorns, can be likened to being crowned with the Crown of Faith. Yes, we have a Heavenly Crown, but while we are here is can be a Crown that leads to pain and suffering. It does not rest easily on our worldly heads.

The Carrying of the Cross is something we all have to do. We have our burdens, our weaknesses, our sinful natures, that we must carry with us. Faith does not simply wipe them away so that life is peaceful and easy. And like Jesus,k we must carry them willingly, without complaining and blaming, and with a willingness to still reach out to others.

Finally, the Crucifixion. We are called as Christians to sacrifice ourselves willingly - even if it means death.

I know: Not particularly profound or original. But I have a long way to go and grow.

Summer Reading (3)

Being hired at my new school - plus finding out what I'm actually teaching - has led to a shift in reading.

But first, finishing some books I'd started.

I concluded Praying Constantly: Bringing Your Faith to Life by Father Benedict Groeschel, C.F.F. It's an excellent book about deepening one's prayer life. It's a book for people who've moved beyond basic introductions to prayer. Father's style is not difficult - very down-to-earth.

I also polished off God's Doorkeepers: Padre Pio, Solanus Casey & Andre Bessette by Joel Schorn. It's a good introduction to these three holy men. Pio and Andre have been declared saints, and Venerable Solanus is on the path. The book gives a overview of their lives and what they had in common. It also examines what makes these men holy. A good read: not a tough one at all, but informative, especially if you don't know much about them.

Finally, I reread The Spring of My Life and Selected Haiku by Kobayashi Issa, one of my favorite haiku poets, for sheer pleasure. The story of the death of his daughter is particularly touching.

This world of dew
is only the world of dew -
and yet ... oh and yet ...

And now ...

I'm researching some essays and poems that I'll be using in the writing class (still in progress).

I'm also reading a book provided by my department head, With Rigor for All: Teaching the Classics to Contemporary Students by Carol Jago. This will help me to get back ready for the more demanding academic environment of my new school, and to get some insight into my department head's thinking. The book is giving me plenty to think about in my approach to teaching.

As part of my reading, I'm also enjoying Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I've seen the movie many times, it's time to read the book, which is on the students' summer reading list.

Finally, just for pleasure, I'm reading G.K. Chesterton's Manalive.

I do need to find a spiritual book. Hmm.


Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Staples (from the Mercy High School Summer Reading list).

Red, Green, or Murder by Steven F. Havill (He's a former high school teacher of mine who has now published 23 novels. Bit of coincidence: The protagonist relaxes toward the end of the book by reading Trulock's In The Hands of Providence, a book about Civil War hero Joshua Chamberlain, and a book that my wife is currently reading!)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Archbishop Chaput to Philadelphia?

There are a number reports that tomorrow Pope Benedict will appoint Archbishop Chaput of Denver as the new Archbishop of Philadelphia.

Not only is he a highly respected orthodox cleric, he's a Franciscan!

I wonder if when Bishop Clark submits his resignation next year we might get a Franciscan? That would be wonderful -and the maybe Franciscan priests could return to the diocese, perhaps even take over a parish or two.

Ah, one can only dream (and pray).

Pope will appoint Archbishop Chaput to lead Philadelphia archdiocese :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Pax et bonum

Sunday, July 17, 2011

St. Francis of Assisi (Franciscan art)

By Ribera.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cleaning out some spiritual dirt

I used to read horror fiction.

Not just good honest fantasy and horror.

Dark horror.

The world is a violent, dangerous place so let's wallow in blood, gore, death, and destruction horror.

Distort your view of the world horror.

With a dash of dangerous, destructive sex horror.

Yeah, in the end, in so many of the works, good somehow triumphs - but only after a lot of nasty wallowing. And often with a little twist in the end that suggests maybe the horror is just waiting to jump out again when you're not looking.

I'm not talking about straight ahead fantasy or science fiction - even though they can can contain some horror elements. Out of the Silent Planet, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings and others remain on my shelves!

Just the dark stuff.

I always felt a little uneasy as I read such dark works, so as I began trying to grow spiritually I found that I could no longer read such tales. Maybe some rare people can read such writings without it soiling their souls - but I am not one of them.

I find that what you chose to read does affect the way that you think and view others and the world.

I got rid of my dark horror book years ago.

The other day while cleaning, I rediscovered my collection of horror magazines. (I am a pack rat!)

Yes, they contain some stories that are not dark - but they are full of dark tales as well.

Our local library accepts donations of magazines. These will not be donated. I don't want the darkness to affect others' souls.

Today our recycling box welcomed years' worth of Weird Tales (which once even published one of my poems - but never paid for it!), Cemetery Dance, and more.

They were cluttering our house, and tempting me to read them again.

I have a enough temptations to deal with.

Let Your Little One Live

We need more songs promoting life.

Life is the Only Choice (by David MacDonald

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Vacation's Over (sort of)

Another new hire and I had a meeting with the head of the English department at the school where I'll be teaching this fall.

The department head has ideas for revamping the department and the writing program at the school. She provided us with plenty of reading material and recommendations of some on-line research to do. Then I got to pick up some of my books, and found out that I'm teaching a writing class that I can basically design.

It's going to be a lot of work - though I'm looking forward to it. But that work begins now: I'll have to spend several hours each day just to do that reading and research, and to start my class preps.

So I'm sort of on half vacation from now on!

One thing I also have to think about, though, is whether I can continue this blog. The students at my new school are all computer users, and some of the things I put on this blog might be controversial. I'm certain that they will eventually find this blog. I'll pray about that one.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Recovering a list of poems

When my computer died earlier this year, I had fortunately saved most of my poems/plays/stories/ and even the novel I've been working on in fits and starts.

One of the things I did lose was a list of poems published, including where and when they were published.

Digging through the piles of magazines and notes I have, I've been able to recreate part of the list of poems published since I graduated from college.

I'll add more as I find them.

“The Widow’s Walk,” Democrat and Chronicle, 10/13/80
“Duke,” Logos, Winter 1982, and City Newspaper, 12/11/1986
“On Listening to Allen Ginsberg,” The Quill, May 1984
“summer funeral,” A Harvest of Haiku, 1995
“my old cat sleeps,” A Harvest of Haiku, 1995
“a late summer rain,” A Harvest of Haiku, 1995
“thrushes gather grapes,” A Harvest of Haiku, 1995
“a lone hawk circles,” A Harvest of Haiku, 1995
“in the window seat,” A Harvest of Haiku, 1995
“cat prints in the snow,” A Harvest of Haiku, 1995
“Una One, Una Two,” Hazmat Review (2004?)
“Demanding, driven, sure to vex,” Washington Post, June 11, 2004
“April morning –,” bottle rockets, Volume 7 Number 2, 2006
“leaving the vet’s,” bottle rockets, Volume 7 Number 2, 2006
“animal carcass,” bottle rockets, Volume 7 Number 2, 2006
“your coffee cup," bottle rockets, Volume 8 Number 1, 2006
“Creative Solution,” Weird Tales, August/September 2006
“August sun,” Haiku and Other Short Poems (Rochester Area Haiku Group), 2006
“foggy morning,” Haiku and Other Short Poems (Rochester Area Haiku Group), 2006
“in a magazine,” Haiku and Other Short Poems (Rochester Area Haiku Group), 2006
“a break in the clouds,” Haiku and Other Short Poems (Rochester Area Haiku Group), 2006
“When talking with Socrates,” Gilbert Magazine, January/February 2007
“Herman Melville,” Gilbert Magazine, April/May 2007
“I don’t know if Rudyard Kipling,” Gilbert Magazine, April/May 2007
“Jean Paul Sartre,” Gilbert Magazine, April/May 2007
“Fidel Castro,” Gilbert Magazine, April/May 2007
“TV’s Dr. House,” Gilbert Magazine, April/May 2007
“St. Francis of Assisi,” Gilbert Magazine, April/May 2007
“Condoleeza Rice,” Gilbert Magazine, June/July 2007
“In those woods, Robert Frost” Gilbert Magazine, April/May 2009.
“When Siddhartha Gautama,” Gilbert Magazine, July/August 2009
“Albert Einstein,” Gilbert Magazine, September 2009
“Lot's wife,” Gilbert Magazine, March/April 2011
“In his early life Thomas Merton,” Gilbert Magazine, March/April 2011
“Vladimir Kosma Zworykin,” Gilbert Magazine, March/April 2011
“e (cummings) e,” Gilbert Magazine, March/April 2011
“Anne Rice,” Gilbert Magazine, March/April 2011
“Prolific Stephen King,” Gilbert Magazine, March/April 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kill the boys: It was legal

"The king of Egypt told the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was called Shiphrah and the other Puah, 'When you act as midwives for the Hebrew women and see them giving birth, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she may live.' ... Pharaoh then commanded all his subjects, 'Throw into the river every boy that is born to the Hebrews, but you may let all the girls live.'" - Exodus 1 6-7

I listened as this was read at Mass this morning. It struck me: This action was legal. It was ordered by the king. It was the law of the land.

Kill the boy babies.

I immediately thought of abortion.

It's legal. It's the law of the land.

In biblical Egypt, it was done after birth.

We haven't gotten to that point - yet.

Just because something is legal does not mean it's right or moral.

Dear Lord, forgive us for what our laws allow.

The Rosary can change your Life

Join the chorus of praise!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

At the Abbey of the Genesee

At the Abbey of the Genesee
between hours
the chapel was mostly dark
and quiet
and empty
except for one monk
engaged in some devotions
our Lord in the tabernacle
and us
praying silently.

But outside
the rustling leaves
the singing birds
the chirping insects
chanted their own
to the Creator.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Santa Would Boycott Pepsi

Pepsi is running a series of ads with Santa Claus drinking Pepsi while on vacation - instead of the other cola with which he has been associated (due to another advertising campaign) for many years.

I have some ties to the big fella, and I can safely predict that due to his having been a bishop and his love for ALL children, he would join the pro-life boycott of Pepsi products.

Santa Claus is pro-life.

Pepsi allegedly is not.

Pro-life groups have called for a boycott of PepsiCo because it is in a partnership with Senomyx, a biotech company that uses aborted fetal cells in the research and development of artificial flavor enhancers.

Pro-life groups report that Pepsi is funding the research and development, and paying royalties to Senomyx, which uses HEK-293 (human embryonic kidney cells) to produce flavor enhancers for Pepsi beverages.

That's right: Pepsi is allegedly using dead babies to help flavor its drinks.

That puts the company on Santa's very naughty list.

I've already begun asking in restaurants what cola they serve, and if it's Pepsi, I stick with water.

And I know that "Santa" would too.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Arthritis? (A Mr. Potter Future?)

I'd enjoyed the acting of Lionel Barrymore in a number of movies - particularly one of my favorite films, It's a Wonderful Life.

He often seemed to be hobbled when he walked (You Can't Take it With You) or in wheelchairs (as in Life). I wondered if maybe he had some illness.

I also noticed his hands. They often seemed misshapened, and he held them in odd ways or sometimes awkwardly gripped things. Later, I discovered the poor fellow suffered from severe arthritis for the last 17 years of his life. He kept acting, but had to do so with crutches, and eventually from a wheelchair.

I thought of him the other day because of my own hands and knees. Increasingly my joints hurt. It's sometimes painful to walk. Some of my finger joints hurt pretty constantly. And I've noticed my fingers are curling slightly awkwardly.

Given that arthritis runs in my family, I would not be surprised if I am developing it.

I have a physical coming up: I'll bring it up then.

The finger part bothers me. I type a lot. I also play guitar (and ukulele). Sometimes it's uncomfortable to play. Not bad - and I have a high pain threshold! But will there come a day when I can't play anymore? I don't know. Like Barrymore, I suspect I'll just make the necessary adjustments and keep going. And maybe God will use that to open up new ways to serve Him and others.

Hey, maybe I can play Potter in a production of It's a Wonderful Life. I'm good at crotchety!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

An Odd Thought (with Tiny Tim)

Why do I get the uneasy feeling I'm looking at my future.

American Spectator on AUL's Planned Parenthood Report

The report raises serious questions - and certainly in any reasonable world would lead to an investigation of Planned Parenthood.

AUL in the News: American Spectator on Planned Parenthood Report

Andrew Klavan: The Hilarious World of Abortion

The power of satire!

More than a million expected for WYD Mass

"The director of activities for World Youth Day Madrid is expecting more than one million people to attend the event's closing Mass on Aug. 21. ..."

That's how the Catholic News Agency article begins. More than a million people - many of them young people. I think after a couple of lost generations (including mine) more and more young people are discovering the truth and beauty of the faith and the firm foundation that it provides - a firm foundation that stands in marked contrast to the shaky one forced on us by secular society and our all-too-often secularized churches.

It gives me hope. But then, God always sends us what we need to right the ship (as He did, for example, with St. Francis).

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Poverty, Joy and Love: The Franciscan Tradition


Abortion Supporter Bloodies Peaceful Pro-Lifer

Abortion Supporter Bloodies Peaceful Pro-Life Activist in Violent Beating

The violence continues.

Casey Anthony, Abortion, and the Culture of Death

I don't know the truth about the Casey Anthony case. I don't know whether she did or did not kill her daughter, Caylee.

I'm not "outraged" at the verdict - for as far as I can tell, the prosecution did not make a convincing case.

I do feel sad for her.

Here we have a woman who has lost a daughter. If she didn't do it, the loss will likely haunt her - as the loss of a child haunts so many parents who lost a child due to miscarriage. And if she did do it, then that will likely gnaw at it, as such a loss does women who have aborted their children.

Indeed, the verdict made me think of abortion.

Some of the arguments made by the prosecution for why Anthony may have done it sound a lot like arguments forwarded for getting an abortion. Caylee interfered with her mother's lifestyle. She was holding Casey back.

And there are some pro-choice extremists who have argue that killing a child even after birth is sometimes acceptable - up to a couple of years old (Caylee was only 2).

Abortion is just one manifestation of the Culture of Death. Abortion has helped to devalue life. It has helped to elevate the cult of self. It has helped to make other forms of killing thinkable.

For example, we have states that are beginning to support euthanasia. And as has been shown in nations where euthanasia has been allowed, the "humane" killing will eventually move from just those who have are in danger of immanent, painful death, to those who have chronic illness, dementia, or are just old. I will not be surprised if it moves on to inconvenient young children.

We may get to the point where what Casey Anthony may have done will be somehow twisted into something that's legal, and just a private parenting decision.

I can imagine Planned Parenthood finding some way to profit from it.

I hope we never get to that point.

I pray that we never get to that point.

But 100 years ago, many methods of birth control were illegal.

50 years ago, abortion on demand was illegal.

25 years ago, euthanasia was illegal.

For now, I think we need to pray for Casey Anthony and all those involved in the case (especially her parents) that they might find some sort of peace and healing.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

SOLT Releases Fr. Corapi Information

SOLT News: Press Release Concerning Fr John Corapi from SOLT ...: "July 5, 2011 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE From: Rev. Gerard Sheehan, SOLT Regional Priest Servant Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Ro..."

This report is sad - for Father Corapi, for all those involved, and for all of his many fans. He and they need our prayers.

Monday, July 04, 2011

A thought for the Fourth of July

A confused ideology of freedom leads to dogmatism, which is showing itself increasingly hostile to freedom. - Pope Benedict XVI

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Thaddeus McCotter for President?

Hey, if we can't have bass-playing Huckabee for President, why not guitar-playing McCotter? Congressman McCotter just announced he's running!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

The Face of Jesus

I went to Confession today as part of my preparation for profession as a Secular Franciscan next week.

I've been dealing with my usual sins - the weaknesses that Satan uses to disturb my soul and to pry me away from the Lord.

One of those failings is being critical of others. I'm not talking about legitimately (and respectfully) pointing out errors for the purpose of helping others and advancing the Kingdom. I'm talking about all the pettiness and negativity to which I am prone.

Father had a suggestion: Think of these people I'm criticising as Jesus. See Jesus in them.

I thought of some of the people I'm inclined to criticize. Jesus?

Yes, He is indeed in each of these persons, and so when I mock, tear down, gossip about these others, I am doing it to Jesus.

Sorry Lord. Please, help me to be open to Your Saving Grace as I face these temptations. Help me to be aware that I am not alone.

Help me always to be aware that each person I meet is You.

Next Saturday: Profession. Alleluia!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Ave Maria - Ukulele - Phil Disera

Pax et bonum