Friday, March 31, 2006

A Dying Finalized

Today is the one-year anniversary of the death of Terri Schindler-Schiavo.

The website Blogs For Terri memorializes.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

An Accounting

The Holy Fool ask this question in a comment box below:
How goes the campaigne, General?
I will be honest. I didn't know what to expect. Despite having broken into the top 10,000 in the TTLB ranking system before this started, this is a very humble 'blog. There have been a few decent posts, but the efforts here have been modest. I know I have a few fans out there, but traffic has only averaged about 20 visitors a day. My amazement and surprise to the response of the 'blogosphere leaves me appropriately silent.

I know the Fool, Julie D., and the B-Team have posted on this. My trackback indicates a post from FuggerNutter, one which shows a great understanding of Lenten almsgiving. And then I found posts from two 'bloggers who I would have never guessed would have made mention.

Anyone ever heard of The Anchoress or Catholic And Enjoying It? Didn't think so.

Well, as of this posting, 41 people have donated (and someone asked me via my personal e-mail for my postal address to send a check). The net amount takes care of rent for March and April as well as the court costs mentioned in the summons, plus a very good start to May (or perhaps some luxuries like food and utilities).

I think this note, also from the comment box, sums up the thoughts and wishes of everybody:
I finished a parish mission last night and the subject of generosity was featured prominently. I have sent a few bucks via PayPal.

What makes this really satisfying for me is that I can't afford it. And that makes it all the more special. The priest conducting the mission reminded us about giving to Christ through others and the measure being measured back.

Trust me buddy, you are not alone. I lost my job almost 4 years ago. I had been trying to get some online marketing efforts off the ground but it has been a real roller coaster ride. I finally caved in and started looking for a job. I am an advertising exec by trade.

Guess what. There is not too much demand for ad execs over 50. Especially in a relatively rural region like mine.

I have a wife and 3 kids, a hefty mortgage, two cars that are each bordering on a catostrophic mechanical illness, Catholic school tuition, a revenue stream that has slowed to a trickle and a couple of opportunities that seem like million to one shots to pan out.

The interesting thing is that I have grown in my faith and in spiritual maturity more during this time than I ever thought possible. I am convinced, beyond all reason, that things will work out. I have always expected the worst and hoped for the best. Not any more. I am nervous and uncomfortable and confused and disappointed but in my heart-of-hearts I sense that somehow, someway, at some point, everything will be OK.

More than money I offer you my prayers. I pray that you will proceed patiently with confidence in God.

So from one faith-filled financially challenged individual to another, I say "God will provide."
Indeed. He has.

(UPDATE: The donor roll has increased to 59, as of a few minutes before the new day begins. The job interview that was scheduled for the past afternoon is postponed until noon tomorrow.)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Passing The Plate

This is extremely difficult for me to write. But if this becomes the moment when I shatter the myth I am self-sufficient, that I don't require help, it needs to be done.

Yes. I am asking for your help.

Happy Catholic and The Holy Fool have both posted about my most pressing concern. In the comment box at Julie's site, an idea was born. It seems it was going to happen with or without my "permission".

It was suggested to take up a donation for my plight. Julie and Rick Lugari have run with the idea, and there have been a few e-mail exchanges between the three of us today. And it would be good for me to make the first pitch.

So, here it is.

For those of you who are regulars to this "infinitesimal corner of the universe" or have come across it for the first time, I am asking if you would consider helping me. Your prayers, of course, are always welcome. It is the material side of my life, however, that needs immediate attention.

As you have read, I am on the verge of eviction. The only way to avoid it is to remit what is owed. The summons only mentions the rent for March and court costs (would someone please explain to me how piling on the attorney's fees when I didn't have the money when it was due is not a form of greed), but how many realize April 1 approaches?

Lest you think I am not doing my part, I do have an interview for a job tomorrow, plus two new leads, plus applications which need follow-up. The high school softball season starts this weekend, and I have about a dozen sub-varsity games to work in the next few weeks. I also teach soccer referee classes at this time of the year and have two sessions in my sights. Finally, I have contracted to do some shipping of packages overseas on an "at need" basis.

Getting the money for those things takes time. No advances for any of those. In terms of cash flow, the spigot is off at the moment.

So, if you are able and willing to help me out financially, please click on the donation button found on the right of the 'blog, just under my profile information. Any amount will be appreciated.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Summons

It was the knock on the door to my apartment I didn't want to answer. It came about 7:00 PM.

I looked through the peephole and saw the last person I didn't want to see. It was one of the deputies of the county sheriff's office. I opened the door.

He asked for my name. I said something about not wishing to have to meet him under these circumstances, but I did answer affirmatively.

He handed me the document I have been dreading to receive. I did thank him for doing his job.

The eviction hearing is April 10 at 1:30 PM.

You don't want to have the knot in my stomach I have. You don't want to have the red eyes I have, fighting back tears. You don't want to have the feelings of helplessness and powerlessness I have, knowing you have nothing to combat this.

How do you render unto Caesar when you have nothing to render?

How do you ask for mercy when you are unworthy of it?

How do you keep your faith when you feel abandoned?

Monday, March 27, 2006

"A Voice In The Wilderness"

Fr. Frank Pavone is the National Director of Priests For Life, "a Private Association of the Faithful, recognized and approved under the Canon Law of the Catholic Church." He is one of the leading voices in the pro-life movement.

He also was there during the Terri Schiavo ordeal, including her last days.

He has an open letter addressed to Michael Schiavo, which was read yesterday during a broadcast of a religious service.

Nathan would be proud. So would John the Baptist.

Let us pray for all those involved in this. It is still a regretable incident.

(Fedora doff to Mark Shea.)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Ten Guidelines From God

I received this from an acquaintance this morning. I have no idea who originally wrote it, but I need to learn the lesson containted within it--

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY:

Please be aware that there are changes YOU need to make in YOUR life. These changes need to be completed in order that I may fulfill My promises to you to grant you peace, joy and happiness in this life. I apologize for any inconvenience, but after all that I am doing, this seems very little to ask of you. Please, follow these 10 guidelines:
1. QUIT WORRYING: Life has dealt you a blow and all you do is sit and worry. Have you forgotten that I am here to take all your burdens and carry them for you? Or do you just enjoy fretting over every little thing that comes your way?

2. PUT IT ON THE LIST: Something needs done or taken care of. Put it on the list. No, not YOUR list. Put it on MY to-do-list. Let ME be the one to take care of the problem. I can't help you until you turn it over to Me. And although My to-do-list is long, I am after all God. I can take care of anything you put into My hands. In fact, if the truth were ever really known, I take care of a lot of things for you that you never even realize.

3. TRUST ME: Once you've given your burdens to Me, quit trying to take them back. Trust in Me. Have the faith that I will take care of all your needs, your problems and your trials. Problems with the kids? Put them on My list. Problem with finances? Put it on My list. Problems with your emotional roller coaster? For My sake, put it on My list. I want to help you. All you have to do is ask.

4. LEAVE IT ALONE: Don't wake up one morning and say, "Well, I'm feeling much stronger now; I think I can handle it from here." Why do you think you are feeling stronger now? It's simple. You gave Me your burdens and I'm taking care of them. I also renew your strength and cover you in my peace. Don't you know that if I give you these problems back, you will be right back where you started? Leave them with Me and forget about them. Just let Me do My job.

5. TALK TO ME: I want you to forget a lot of things. Forget what was making you crazy. Forget the worry and the fretting because you know I'm in control. But there's one thing I pray you never forget. Please, don't forget to talk to Me -- OFTEN! I love YOU! I want to hear your voice. I want you to include Me in the things going on in your life. I want to hear you talk about your friends and family. Prayer is simply you having a conversation with Me. I want to be your dearest friend.

6. HAVE FAITH: I see a lot of things from up here that you can't see from where you are. Have faith in Me that I know what I'm doing. Trust Me; you wouldn't want the view from My eyes. I will continue to care for you, watch over you, and meet your needs. You only have to trust Me. Although I have a much bigger task than you, it seems as if you have so much trouble just doing your simple part. How hard can trust be?

7. SHARE: You were taught to share when you were only two years old. When did you forget? That rule still applies. Share with those who are less fortunate than you. Share your joy with those who need encouragement. Share your laughter with those who haven't heard any in such a long time. Share your tears with those who have forgotten how to cry. Share your faith with those who have none.

8. BE PATIENT: I managed to fix it so in just one lifetime you could have so many diverse experiences. You grow from a child to an adult, have children, change jobs many times, learn many trades, travel to so many places, meet thousands of people, and experience so much. How can you be so impatient then when it takes Me a little longer than you expect to handle something on My to-do-list? Trust in My timing, for My timing is perfect. Just because I created the entire universe in only six days, everyone thinks I should always rush, rush, rush.

9. BE KIND: Be kind to others, for I love them just as much as I love you. They may not dress like you, or talk like you, or live the same way you do, but I still love you all. Please try to get along, for My sake. I created each of you different in some way. It would be too boring if you were all identical. Please, know I love each of your differences.

10. LOVE YOURSELF: As much as I love you, how can you not love yourself? You were created by me for one reason only -- to be loved, and to love in return. I am a God of Love. Love Me. Love your neighbors. But also love yourself. It makes My heart ache when I see you so angry with yourself when things go wrong. You are very precious to me. Don't ever forget.
Touch someone with your love. Rather than focus upon the thorns of life, smell the roses and count your blessings!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

You Are What You Eat

An acquaintance of mine sent this to me a couple of weeks ago. I have done some editing, as this is one of those fun "chain e-mails".

Just for fun! When sitting down to eat your dessert, think about your favorite.

No cheating. If all of the desserts listed below were sitting in front of you, which would you choose? (My choice is in red.) Pick your dessert, then look to see what psychiatrists think about you! Sorry you can only pick one dessert:
1. Angel Food Cake
2. Brownies
3. Lemon Meringue Pie
4. Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Icing
5. Strawberry Short Cake
6. Chocolate Icing on Chocolate Cake
7. Ice Cream
8. Carrot Cake
No changing your mind once you decide, so think carefully what your choice will be.

Now that you've made your choice, this is what psychiatric research says about you:
ANGEL FOOD CAKE--Sweet, loving, cuddly. You love all warm and fuzzy items. A little nutty at times. Sometimes you need an ice cream cone at the end of the day. Others perceive you as being childlike and immature at times.

BROWNIES--You are adventurous, love new ideas, are a champion of underdogs and a slayer of dragons. When tempers flare up, you whip out your saber. You are always the oddball with a unique sense of humor and direction. You tend to be very loyal.

LEMON MERINGUE--Smooth, sexy, artistic, and articulate with your hands, you are an excellent listener and a good teacher. You can appear to have a cold exterior but are very warm on the inside. Sometimes a dreamer but very grounded in real life.

VANILLA CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE ICING--Fun loving, sassy, humorous. Not very grounded in life; very indecisive and lack motivation. Everyone enjoys being around you. You are a practical joker. Others should be cautious in making you mad. However, you are a friend for life.

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE--Romantic, warm, loving. You care about other people and can be counted on in a pinch. You also tend to melt. You can be overly emotional at times. And sometimes you can be annoying.

CHOCOLATE ON CHOCOLATE--Sexy; always ready to give and receive. Very adventurous, ambitious, and passionate. A bit of a diva at times, but you have many good friends. Not afraid to take chances. Will not settle for anything average in life. Love to laugh.

ICE CREAM--You like sports, whether it be baseball, football, basketball, or soccer. If you could, you would like to participate, but you enjoy watching sports. You don't like to give up the remote control. You tend to be self centered and high maintenance.

CARROT CAKE--You are a very fun loving person who likes to laugh. You are fun to be with. People like to hang out with you. You are a very warm hearted person and a little quirky at times. You have many loyal friends.
Let me know who you are; leave a reply in the comment box.

Color Me ?

I found this quiz via the website of Kim Komando, "America's Digital Goddess" as she likes to bill herself via her weekly columns in USAToday, three-hour radio show, and one minute "Computer Minute" radio segments. She found it to be rather accurate in its description of her; likewise, for me as well.



ColorQuiz.comRonald took the free ColorQuiz.com personality test!

"Considers the existing circumstances disagreeable ..."


Click here to read the rest of the results.



Some of the descriptions, I hope, are situational. Some of them are things I am working to overcome.

I lived in Sioux City, Iowa before I moved to where I am now. On one of the facades of the city's auditorium was a statement I think would ring true with St. Paul as much as it did with me.

"There is no greater conquest than that of self."

Monday, March 20, 2006

"A Just Man"

He is part of my baptismal name.

I have much to uphold. And what a role model I have.

Fortunately, somebody has give me a prayer to help:
Glorious St. Joseph, model of all who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work in the spirit of penance in expiation of my many sins; to work conscientiously by placing love of duty above my inclinations; to gratefully and joyously deem it an honor to employ and to develop by labor the gifts I have received from God, to work methodically, peacefully, and in moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from it through weariness or difficulty to work; above all, with purity of intention and unselfishness, having unceasingly before my eyes death and the account I have to render of time lost, talents unused, good not done, and vain complacency in success, so baneful to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all to imitate thee, O patriarch St. Joseph! This shall be my motto for life and eternity.
Pope St. Pius X

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Least Of These

Another Sunday, another one of those anonymous e-mail stories which seemingly get circulated:

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the school's students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question. "Everything God does is done with perfection. Yet, my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is God's plan in reflected in my son?" The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. "I believe," the father answered, "that when God brings a child like Shay into the world, an opportunity to realize the Divine Plan presents itself. And it comes in the way people treat that child." Then, he told the following story:

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they will let me play?" Shay's father knew that most boys would not want him on their team. But the father understood that if his son were allowed to play it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance from his teammates. Getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said, "We are losing by six runs, and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him up to bat in the ninth inning."

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. At the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the outfield. Although no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base. Shay was scheduled to be the next at-bat. Would the team actually let Shay bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.

The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly toward Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball to the pitcher. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could easily have thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have ended the game. Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it on a high arc to right field, far beyond reach of the first baseman.

Everyone started yelling, "Shay, run to first. Run to first." Never in his life had Shay ever made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!"

By the time Shay was rounding first base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman for a tag. But the right fielder understood what the pitcher's intentions had been, so he threw the ball high and far over the third baseman's head.

Shay ran towards second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases towards home. As Shay reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third!" As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams were screaming, "Shay! Run home!" Shay ran home, stepped on home plate and was cheered as the hero, for hitting a "grand slam" and winning the game for his team.

"That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of the Divine Plan into this world."

We all have thousands of opportunities a day to help realize God's plan. So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice. Do we pass along a spark of the Divine? Or do we pass up that opportunity and leave the world a bit colder in the process?

Capital Petitions

An acquaitance of mine sent me this a couple of years ago. Lent being a time to focus on our sinfulness, these simply implorings are a reminder to act like the tax collector and not the Pharasee.

Prayer To Be Free Of The Seven Deadly Sins
O meek Savior and Prince of Peace, implant in me the virtues of gentleness and patience. Let me curb the fury of anger and restrain all resentment and impatience, so as to overcome evil with good, attain your peace, and rejoice in your love.

O Model of humility, divest me of all pride and arrogance. Let me acknowledge my weakness and sinfulness, so that I may bear mockery and contempt for your sake and esteem myself as lowly in your sight.

O Teacher of abstinence, help me to serve you rather than our appetites. Keep me from gluttony - the inordinate love of food and drink - and let me hunger and thirst for your justice…

O Lover of purity, remove all lust from my heart, so that I may serve you with a pure mind and a chaste body.

O Father of the poor, help me to avoid all covetousness for earthly goods and give me a love for heavenly things. Inspire me to give to the needy, just as you gave your life that I might inherit eternal treasures.

O Exemplar of love, keep me from all envy and ill-will. Let the grace of your love dwell in me that I may rejoice in the happiness of others and bewail their adversities.

O zealous Lover of souls, keep me from all sloth of mind or body. Inspire me with zeal for your glory, so that I may do all things for you and in you.
"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Remembering A Dying

The nightmare started a year ago today.

For thirteen days, the world watched.

Those who wanted to help were powerless.

Fr. John Powell, SJ, writes in his book "The Christian Vision: The Truth That Set Us Free":
...I would like to define what I mean by "the world." As I am using the term here, the world embraces all created reality, except persons....The biblical imperative is quite clear: We must love persons and use things. Jesus warns us that wherever our treasures are, there will also be our hearts. As I hear him, the Lord is saying, "Save your heart for love, and give your love only to persons: to the persons of yourself, your neighbor, and your God. Don't ever give your heart away to a thing....[I]f you give your heart away to a thing, you will soon begin the great inversion of priorities. When you begin to love things, you start to use persons to get those things, to get more and more of those things...."
That is a very good and short summary of the philosophy of utilitarianism.

It is a linchpin in the philosophy of the Culture of Death.

So, somebody answer these questions for me:

When did Terri Schiavo stop being a person?

And who are you to make that determination?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Kudos

I wish to give credit where credit is due.

Rick Lugari, Julie D., and the Holy Fool all have mentioned my plight in posts on their respective 'blogs.

Not the kind of attention I am really seeking, but your concern is greatly appreciated.

Thank you. May God bless you twice as much as He will bless me.

PS--If there are others who have posted about this please let me know. You deserve the same recognition. And I will be more than happy to give it.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Team Player

I have seen this posted on other 'blogs (The Curt Jester, The Anchoress, Happy Catholic, et. al.). It was the inviation to join "The B-Team". Last night, after clicking on the link and seeing this 'blog, I decided to submit my application:
Dear Mr. Lugari:

Please accept my humble application as an Amateur Catholic.

I am an amateur because of my non-existant training in liturgy, theology, cathechism, apologetics, and the other disciplines which set the Professional Catholic apart from us.

I am an amateur because I am not a good writer.

I am an amateur because I still am a "practicing" Catholic. I need all the practice I can get.

I am an amateur because I have not learned the Two Great Commandments well enough.

I am an amateur, in the truest sense of the world. For the love of God.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to your reply.
I was pleasantly surprised to see who was behind this. (Rick, return to De Civitate Deo, subito!) I found the reply in my e-mail box this morning:
It's up, pal. (There was also a brief note of encouragement enclosed.)
So, I now am officially an "Amateur Catholic".

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Memo

TO: Me
FR: Myself
CC: I

Just a couple of reminders about your current trials--

1. There are other people in the world who are in MORE DIRE STRAITS than you. Self-pity doesn't help. Sincere prayers will.

2. "This, too, shall pass."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Lenten Levity

I know I haven't been a bundle of joy lately. I now interupt your Lenten disciplines to bring you this message:
At her father's wake, a woman told her priest ever since she was a child, she and her father had discussed life after death. They had agreed that whoever went first would contact the other. They had discussed this again just two weeks before his death.

He died in her home. A few days after the wake, the smoke alarm in her garage sounded. She had lived there 28 years and it had never gone off before. She couldn't turn it off, so she called the security company that installed it.

The next morning the smoke alarm sounded again; and the reason finally dawned on her. She said aloud, "OK, Dad, I missed the signal yesterday; but, I get it now! Thanks for letting me know you are safe on the other side. Now, turn the thing off so I don't have to call the security company again." And it turned off.

She immediately called her priest to tell him the good news. His response was, "Dear lady, when your father sends you a message, he sets off the smoke alarm. From where do you think he's calling?"

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Adding It Up

This was in my parish bulletin. Cleverly done. Make one think, does it not?

++++++++++

Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%?

Let's do the math!

Let A=1, B=2,...Z=26.

Then, based upon those numbers:

KNOWLEDGE (11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5)=96%

HARD WORK (8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11)=98%

ATTITUDE (1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5)=100%

Now, look how far this can take you:

LOVE OF GOD (12+15+22+5+15+6+7+15+4)=101%

Therefore, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that while KNOWLEDGE and HARD WORK will get you close and ATTITUDE will get you there, the LOVE OF GOD will put you over the top.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Praying Purposes

Jimmy Akin answers one of his reader's questions on some of the purposes of prayer.

The Rope

Lent is a time where a focus upon drawing closer to God is emphasized. Learning to trust is a part of that relationship. An acquaintance sent me this link relating how hard it can be to "let go and let God".

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Lenten Prayer

Oh, Lord, and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk; but give, rather, the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servants. Yea, Oh Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother. For Holy art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen.
St. Ephraim