Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Position Sought

This came as a surprise when I read it. And the timing couldn't have been any worse.

As I am still in the middle of my own job search in what still seems to be a tight job market, the challenge before Dom, while not unfamiliar to him, is going to be there. But, he has talent, a proven track record, and a lot of faith in God and himself that will carry him through. This man will be a tremendous benefit to whoever places him on their payroll.

Say a prayer. Send a lead, if you have one.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Soldier's Prayer

Teach us, good Lord,
To serve Thee as Thou deservest:
To give, and not to count the cost;
To fight, and not to heed the wounds;
To toil, and not to seek for rest;
To labor, and not to ask for any reward,
Save that of knowing that we do Thy will.

St. Ignatius of Loyola

The Soldier

Yes. Why do we all, seeing of a soldier, bless him? bless
Our redcoats, our tars? Both these being, the greater part,
But frail clay, nay but foul clay. Here it is: the heart,
Since, proud, it calls the calling manly, gives a guess
That, hopes that, makesbelieve, the men must be no less;
It fancies, feigns, deems, dears the artist after his art;
And fain will find as sterling all as all is smart,
And scarlet wear the spirit of war there express.

Mark Christ our King. He knows war, served this soldiering through;
He of all can handle a rope best. There he bides in bliss
Now, and seeing somewhere some man do all that man can do,
For love he leans forth, needs his neck must fall on, kiss,
And cry 'O Christ-done deed! So God-made-flesh does too:
Were I come o'er again' cries Christ 'it should be this'.

Fr. Gerard Manly Hopkins, SJ

Memorial Day Thought

Surfing the 'net, I found this short, unattributed remark about who has brought us what this country hold most precious--Freedom:

*********

I want you to close your eyes and picture in your mind the soldier at Valley Forge, as he holds his musket in his bloody hands.

He stands barefoot in the snow, starved from lack of food, wounded from months of battle and emotionally scarred from the eternity away from his family surrounded by nothing but death and the carnage of war.

He stands tough, with fire in his eyes and victory on his breath. He looks at us now in anger and disgust and tells us this:
I gave you a birthright of freedom born in the Constitution and now your children graduate too illiterate to read it.

I fought in the snow barefoot to give you the freedom to vote and you stay at home because it rains.

I left my family destitute to give you the freedom of speech and you remain silent on critical issues, because it might be bad for business.

I orphaned my children to give you a government to serve you and it has stolen democracy from the people.

It's the soldier not the reporter who gives you the freedom of the press.

It's the soldier not the poet who gives you the freedom of speech.

It's the soldier not the campus organizer who allows you to demonstrate.

It's the soldier who salutes the flag, serves the flag, whose coffin is draped with the flag that allows the protester to burn the flag!!!
"Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen."

"Have You Forgotten?"

This is what the day is about.

Happy Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

"Whatever You Ask"

It is said truth is stranger than fiction. The counter argument is that there are no coincidences. From my e-mailbox, another story of inspiration. This story was written by a doctor who worked in Central Africa (with slight editing):

++++++++++
Before they call, I will answer.

Isaiah 65:24
One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but, in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny premature baby and a crying two year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive, as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator). We also had no special feeding facilities.

Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates). "And it is our last hot water bottle!" she exclaimed.

As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk; so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees and there are no drugstores down forest pathways. "All right," I said, "put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your job is to keep the baby warm."

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During prayer time, one ten year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. "Please, God," she prayed, "send us a water bottle. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead; so, please send it this afternoon."

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, "And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?"

As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say, "Amen"? I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from my homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home the car had gone; but there on the veranda was a large twenty-two pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children.

Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas - that would make a batch of buns for the weekend. Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the ... could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out - yes, a brand-new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could. Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, "If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly too!"

Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she asked, "Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?"

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months. Packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child - five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten year-old to bring it "that afternoon."

Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you're not willing to move your feet.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A Little More Bonding

I read this and I went, "Aww."

A moment a parent should experience more often.

Celebrations

The Happy Catholic celebrates a birthday today! (29, correct Julie?)

Dr. Thursday's first post at GKC Favourites was a year ago today. He regails us with a story on this one-year anniversary.

And, last, but not least, it's also the Feast of the Ascension.

Whoops. Wait a minute. Not anymore. It's been transfered to the Seventh Sunday of Easter.

Why?

I return to this post to express my lament.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

On The Road Again

Another out-of-town interview.

A Catholic church in DeKalb, IL seeks a Liturgical Music Director.

Interview at 4:00 PM.

Trip starts at 7:00 AM.

See you later.

Wish me well.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Angels In Disguise

Another one of those stories that finds its way around the internet via e-mail. This was written by a physician from Hospice of Metro Denver, CO (with very minor editing).

++++++++++

Friends are God's way of taking care of us.
Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee. He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Psalm 55:22
I just had one of the most amazing experiences of my life and wanted to share it with my family and dearest friends:

I was driving home from a meeting this evening about 5, stuck in traffic on Colorado Boulevard, and the car started to choke and splutter and die. I barely managed to coast, cursing, into a gas station, glad only that I would not be blocking traffic and would have a somewhat warm spot to wait for the tow truck. It wouldn't even turn over. Before I could make the call, I saw a woman walking out of the "quickie mart" building. It looked like she slipped on some ice and fell into a gas pump, so I got out to see if she was okay.

When I got there, it looked more like she had been overcome by sobs than that she had fallen; she was a young woman who looked really haggard, with dark circles under her eyes. She dropped something as I helped her up and I picked it up to give it to her. It was a nickel.

At that moment, everything came into focus for me: the crying woman, the ancient Suburban crammed full of stuff with three kids in the back (one in a car seat), and the gas pump reading $4.95.

I asked her if she was okay and if she needed help, and she just kept saying, "I don't want my kids to see me crying," so we stood on the other side of the pump from her car. She said she was driving to California and that things were very hard for her right now. So I asked, "And you were praying?" That made her back away from me a little, but I assured her I was not a crazy person and said, "He heard you and He sent me."

I took out my card and swiped it through the card reader on the pump so she could fill up her car completely and, while it was fueling, walked to the next door McDonald's and bought two big bags of food, some gift certificates for more, and a big cup of coffee. She gave the food to the kids in the car, who attacked it like wolves, and we stood by the pump eating fries and talking a little.

She told me her name and that she lived in Kansas City. Her boyfriend left two months ago and she had not been able to make ends meet. She knew she wouldn't have money to pay rent January 1 and finally, in desperation, had finally called her parents, with whom she had not spoken in about five years. They lived in California and said she could come live with them and try to get on her feet there.

So she packed up everything she owned in the car. She told the kids they were going to California for Christmas, but not that they were going to live there.

I gave her my gloves, a little hug, and said a quick prayer with her for safety on the road. As I was walking over to my car, she said, "So, are you like an angel or something?"

This definitely made me cry. I said, "Sweetie, at this time of year angels are really busy, so sometimes God uses regular people."

It was so incredible to be a part of someone else's miracle. And, of course, you guessed it; when I got in my car it started right away and got me home with no problem. I'll put it in the shop tomorrow to check, but I suspect the mechanic won't find anything wrong.

Sometimes the angels fly close enough to you that you can hear the flutter of their wings.

Toward Sweet Surrender

Many of you have heard the saying, "Be careful for what you wish; you may get it."

The Anchoress throws cold water on it:
But is it, really? In fact, it sums up the whole idea of "not my will, but thine be done..." it is precisely what Jesus taught us, but we forget that. We're so into "feel good" Christianity and "Expect a Miracle" thinking (and there is much to feel good about, in Christianity, and many miracles to expect) that we forget the hard truth - that beneath all of that we're supposed to be disposed toward surrender, we're supposed to be getting out of the Creator's way (and our own) so that He may increase as we decrease.
The rest of this post is here.

Wisdom speaks.

(Fedora Doff to Julie D.)

Friday, May 19, 2006

This Post Sponsored By The Letter "R"

I found this at Therapy Failed. I thought I would play along.

The rules of this game:
1. Comment on this entry and I will give you a letter.
2. Write ten words beginning with that letter in your journal, including an explanation of what the word means to you and why.
3. Pass out letters to those who want to play along.
Krush gave me the letter "R". Gee, I wonder why. (I have more "O"s and "L"s in my formal name than "R"s.)

1. Running--My favorite exercise. Consistently inconsistent in doing it, but still like the freedom and the symbolism.

2. Roses--My favorite flower to give and occasionally receive.

3. Rosary--My favorite devotion. Again, consistently inconsistent in reciting it.

4. Reading--Something I do enjoy, but don't make enough time. Ready to be digested are the CCC--Version 2.o; "Called To Holiness," by Ralph Martin; and at least a dozen titles penned by G.K. Chesterton, given as a gift by someone who wants me to get hooked on him. Plus I was given a $100 credit at Amazon.com by the people who run CatholicSingles.com, as a reward for my role as a Chatroom Monitor.

5. Rituals--As I have mentioned before, I like formality, order, and ceremony.

6. Ruby--My birthstone.

7. Referee--My "other" job. Post coming about it shortly.

8. Relatives--I have many in the area. Generally speaking, if you use the Iowa-Minnesota border as a reference, my mother's side is north of that line while my father's side is south.

9. Remembering--"Memory indeed is a sad privilege." It's not photographic, but it is the base of my intelligence.

10. Romance--When given the opportunity to practice it, it is second nature to me.

Volunteers?

"A Child Is Born"

Congratulations to Domenico and Melanie Bettinelli! The two 'bloggers (Melanie's is titled The Wine Dark Sea) welcomed into the world yesterday their first child. Father, mother, and child are doing well, despite a concern with the delivery.

Go say "Aww."

(UPDATE) Dom gives more details.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

To Be Reconciled

I have read a few conversion and reversion stories on the 'net. As a "cradle" Catholic, they are an inspiration to me to be more fervent in my own practice of the Faith. They have found "the pearl of great price" and are not going to relinquish it.
I've been thinking a lot lately about how I came to be where I am in my life.
I've had fallen-away Catholics on the brain almost constantly.
The thing is, I have great sympathy for Catholics who have 'left the faith'. (Not that one can ever truly 'leave'.)
This is because I, like most of the on-fire adult Catholics I know, was once one of them.
Via the Happy Catholic (Fedora Doff to Julie D.), here is the rest of the story of the 'blogmistress of WardWideWeb (along with her husband, who was welcomed to the Faith this past Easter) who "came home" after a long absence.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sentiment Of The Day

To all the moms beyond this "infinitesimal corner of the universe":

For being the first person to teach us how to say, "I love you."
For being the first example of what those words mean.
For being the biggest cheerleader in our lives.
For being a reflection of part of the image of God.
For being Christ-like in your vocation as parent.
For bringing us into being and helping us become.

THANK YOU!

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

"A Lady Dressed All In White..."

"...more brilliant than the sun, shedding a light that was clearer and more intense than that of a crystal goblet filled with crystalline water and struck by the rays of the most brilliant sun."

89 years ago today, three children from Fatima, Portugal began to experience apparitions from the Blessed Virgin Mary. The summer before, in 1916, these children were visited three times by an angel, who exhorted them to prayer, seemingly in preparation for what was to come. The children, Lucia de Jesus dos Santos and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, would eventually see the Mother of God every 13th. of the month for the next six months.

These two website provide excellent insights into the message of Our Lady of Fatima at that time, as well as other information about this Marian devotion:

The Fatima Network
The Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima

"Behold thy Mother."

Friday, May 12, 2006

Line Drawing

Steve Dillard, the lead 'blogger at Southern Appeal, posts on the ever continuing battle on where the lines should be drawn between the Culture of Life and the Culture of Death:
What Publius is really saying is that in some cases the law should not recognize life as being worthy of legal protection, i.e., that some lives are more meaningful than others. Indeed, this is what Publius means when he says, "I believe as strongly as I believe anything that a microscopic embryo is not 'life,' and certainly not the moral or legal equivalent of a human."

But here's the question, Publius: Why do you believe that? And more importantly, what if you're wrong? Then you have supported a practice that has resulted in countless innocent deaths....
Read the rest of it.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Raising Mind And Heart

The Happy Catholic has posted a great prayer she recently discovered.

Rings a little bit like this one.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

My Quilt

Via my parish bulletin from this weekend, with some minor editing, is another story to encourage you as you walk with Christ.

++++++++++

As I faced my Maker at the Last Judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with other souls. Before each of us in many piles laid our lives like the squares of a quilt. An angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry which is our life.

But as my angel took each piece of cloth of the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares were. They were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I faced in everyday life. I saw the hardships I endured had the largest holes of all.

I glanced around me and no one else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened. My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air.

Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth. The others rose, each in turn, holding up their tapestries, so filled their lives had been. My angel looked upon me and nodded for me to rise.

My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn't had all the earthly fortunes. I had love and laughter in my life. But there had also been trials of illness, death, and false accusations that took my world as I knew it from me. I had to start over many times and often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up in ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me.

Now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was. I had to accept it for what it was

I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares on my life to the light. A gasp of awe filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes.

Then I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image: the face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He said, "Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you."

Morale: May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The "Game" Is Over

Dr. Thursday at GKC's Favourite linked to "Numbers Game" at his 'blog. At the end of his post was this statement:
Please note: if you were reading this posting and hoped to find an explanation of Ron's puzzle, I will do that next time.
I made this comment in his comment box:
And I will link to it.
He has. And I did. Great, simple explanation.

And welcome to my 'blog roll, Doc. I enjoy your combination of computer science and Chesterton. I hope my readers will as well.

New Addition

Another 'blog which I frequent has been added to the list.

Catholic Light is a group 'blog commenting on subjects related to Catholicism which interest them. One of the contributors is a canon lawyer who I have mentioned in a previous post, Peter Vere, who had more than a passing interest in the Terri Schiavo ordeal.

There will be more additions to my 'blog roll, as well as some minor changes coming in the near future.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Study Guide

(Again, to be filed under the "better late than never" category. But three weeks late is not good.)

I have completely read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1st. Edition) twice, and the 2nd. Edition as well as the Compedium are on my wish list. Since my last year formally studying the tenets of our Faith was when I was a high school senior in CCD, when CCC version 1.0 was to be published, I realized I didn't know things well enough and needed more than a "refresher course." Hearing some of the horror stories about the current state of catechism and the confusion being promoted, I wanted to be armed as best as able with accurate information.

Last Easter Sunday, a great new 'blog debuted. "A group blog for devotional & practical dialogue with sacred Scripture and sacred Tradition via the Catechism of the Catholic Church to the glory of God, for unity with the mystical body of Christ, for personal growth and the new evangelization," the goal of Catholic Catechism Dialogue Blog is to study the CCC version 2.0 in a more thorough manner in a one-year time span. A great variety of 'bloggers contribute to this outstanding site, including Julie D. of Happy Catholic and the Holy Fool.

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen once said, "There are not one hundred people in this world who dislike Catholicism, but there are millions who dislike what they mistakenly believe Catholicism to be." Unfortunately, this also include those who have been poorly taught, especially since Vatican II. Here is a golden opportunity to learn more about this "pearl of great price." The link is provided.

"This is our faith. This is the faith of the Church. We are proud to profess it, in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Monday, May 01, 2006

Feast Day Home

Today is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker.

It also happens to be the name of the parish in which I am registered.

Because of the shortage of priests in the Diocese of Winona (MN), we are clustered with Holy Family Parish in Lake Crystal, a small town about 15 miles south of Mankato. How appropriate the Foster Father is protecting his family.

The parishes have a website.

The Five-Finger Prayer

Found this in my parish bulletin, presented with minor editing. Prayer petitions as close as the end of your arm.

++++++++++

1. Your thumb is nearest to you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones is, as C.S. Lewis once said, a "sweet duty."

2. The next finger is your pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct, and heal. This includes clergy, teachers, and doctors. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers.

3. The next finger is the tallest finger on your hand. It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God's guidance.

4. The fourth finger is the ring finger. Surprising to many is the fact this is our weakest finger, as any piano teacher will testify. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble, or in pain. They need your prayers day and night. You cannot pray too much for them.

5. Finally is our little finger, the smallest finger of all, which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. As the Bible says, "The least shall be the greatest among you." Your "pinkie" should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.

50 Word Bible

Julie D. at Happy Catholic has a post on thumbnail summaries of classic books, inspired by the 'blog WardWideWeb. Joining in the spirit of the muse, I just got this in my e-mail from an acquaintance. No need to read the entire Bible; it has been summarized for you:

God made.
Adam bit.
Noah arked.
Abraham split.
Joseph ruled.
Jacob fooled.
Bush talked.
Moses balked.
Pharaoh plagued.
People walked.
Sea divided.
Tablets guided.
Promise landed.
Saul freaked.
David peeked.
Prophets warned.

Jesus born.
God walked.
Love talked.
Anger crucified.
Hope died.
Love rose.
Spirit flamed.
Word spread.
God remained.