Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Feast of Saint Andrew, apostle

Today is the Feast of Saint Andrew!  Readings are here.

You may be familiar with St. Andrew's Cross.  It is a diagonal cross, like an x.  It is found on many flags.  It is named as such because St. Andrew was supposedly crucified on a cross that was an "x" instead of a normal "t."  It is also known as a saltire, which I did not realize until reading the Wikipedia article.  That article has a small selection of flags you can look at from around the world displaying this image.

But today is not about his flag, but about him!  From New Advent:

The name "Andrew" (Gr., andreia, manhood, or valour), like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews from the second or third century B.C.

St. Andrew, the Apostle, son of Jonah, or John (Matthew 16:17; John 1:42), was born in Bethsaida of Galilee (John 1:44). He was brother of Simon (Peter) (Matthew 10:2; John 1:40). Both were fishermen (Matthew 4:18; Mark 1:16), and at the beginning of Our Lord's public life occupied the same house at Capharnaum (Mark 1:21, 29).

From the fourth Gospel we learn that Andrew was a disciple of the Baptist, whose testimony first led him and John the Evangelist to follow Jesus (John 1:35-40). Andrew at once recognized Jesus as the Messias, and hastened to introduce Him to his brother, Peter, (John 1:41). Thenceforth the two brothers were disciples of Christ. On a subsequent occasion, prior to the final call to the apostolate, they were called to a closer companionship, and then they left all things to follow Jesus (Luke 5:11; Matthew 4:19-20; Mark 1:17-18).

Finally Andrew was chosen to be one of the Twelve; and in the various lists of Apostles given in the New Testament (Matthew 10:2-4); Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13) he is always numbered among the first four. The only other explicit reference to him in the Synoptists occurs in Mark 13:3, where we are told he joined with Peter, James and John in putting the question that led to Our Lord's great eschatological discourse. In addition to this scanty information, we learn from the fourth Gospel that on the occasion of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand, it was Andrew who said: "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fishes: but what are these among so many?" (John 6:8-9); and when, a few days before Our Lord's death, certain Greeks asked Philip that they might see Jesus, Philip referred the matter to Andrew as to one of greater authority, and then both told Christ (John 12:20-22). Like the majority of the Twelve, Andrew is not named in the Acts except in the list of the Apostles, where the order of the first four is Peter, John, James, Andrew; nor have the Epistles or the Apocalypse any mention of him.

From what we know of the Apostles generally, we can, of course, supplement somewhat these few details. As one of the Twelve, Andrew was admitted to the closest familiarity with Our Lord during His public life; he was present at the Last Supper; beheld the risen Lord; witnessed the Ascension; shared in the graces and gifts of the first Pentecost, and helped, amid threats and persecution, to establish the Faith in Palestine.

When the Apostles went forth to preach to the Nations, Andrew seems to have taken an important part, but unfortunately we have no certainty as to the extent or place of his labours. Eusebius (Church History III.1), relying, apparently, upon Origen, assigns Scythia as his mission field: Andras de [eilechen] ten Skythian; while St. Gregory of Nazianzus (Oration 33) mentions Epirus; St. Jerome (Ep. ad Marcell.) Achaia; and Theodoret (on Ps. cxvi) Hellas. Probably these various accounts are correct, for Nicephorus (H.E. II:39), relying upon early writers, states that Andrew preached in Cappadocia, Galatia, and Bithynia, then in the land of the anthropophagi and the Scythian deserts, afterwards in Byzantium itself, where he appointed St. Stachys as its first bishop, and finally in Thrace, Macedonia, Thessaly, and Achaia. It is generally agreed that he was crucified by order of the Roman Governor, Aegeas or Aegeates, at Patrae in Achaia, and that he was bound, not nailed, to the cross, in order to prolong his sufferings. The cross on which he suffered is commonly held to have been the decussate cross, now known as St. Andrew's, though the evidence for this view seems to be no older than the fourteenth century. His martyrdom took place during the reign of Nero, on 30 November, A.D. 60); and both the Latin and Greek Churches keep 30 November as his feast.

St. Andrew's relics were translated from Patrae to Constantinople, and deposited in the church of the Apostles there, about A.D. 357. When Constantinople was taken by the French, in the beginning of the thirteenth century, Cardinal Peter of Capua brought the relics to Italy and placed them in the cathedral of Amalfi, where most of them still remain. St. Andrew is honoured as their chief patron by Russia and Scotland.
MacRory, J. (1907). St. Andrew. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.Retrieved November 20, 2011 from New Advent:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sirach 1

Sir 1:22  The fear of the Lord is a crown of wisdom, filling up peace and the fruit of salvation:
Sir 1:23  And it hath seen, and numbered her: but both are the gifts of God.
Sir 1:24  Wisdom shall distribute knowledge, and understanding of prudence: and exalteth the glory of them that hold her.
Sir 1:25  The root of wisdom is to fear the Lord: and the branches thereof are long-lived.
Sir 1:26  In the treasures of wisdom is understanding, and religiousness of knowledge: but to sinners wisdom is an abomination.
Sir 1:27  The fear of the Lord driveth out sin:
Sir 1:28  For he that is without fear, cannot be justified: for the wrath of his high spirits is his ruin.
Sir 1:29  A patient man shall bear for a time, and afterwards joy shall be restored to him.
Sir 1:30  A good understanding will hide his words for a time, and the lips of many shall declare his wisdom.
Sir 1:31  In the treasures of wisdom is the signification of discipline:
Sir 1:32  But the worship of God is an abomination to a sinner.

If you're following along in an RSV or NRSV or NAB, this is different than what you have.  The why to the inevitable question is a subject for another time, but just FYI for now.

This part goes on to talk more about the fear of the Lord and wisdom, and how pride prevents us from knowing God.

Monday, November 28, 2011

We hate you. Do it again.

Still stuck on the Pharisees thing from two weeks ago.  This time, with a new twist.

Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
(Mat 12:22-28)
This time, Jesus tells them why they are wrong.  I'd probably be pretty annoyed by then if I were him, but then they get even more aggravating:

Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
(Mat 12:38)
Seriously?  SERIOUSLY?  I mean, what does it take around here?  It isn't like the man has been slacking off and failing to perform miracles.  Maybe they wanted a different type of miracle, or maybe they just wanted to confirm what they had already seen.  In any event, they just wanted to see more. 

This feeling hasn't gone away.  Many refuse to believe in God because He just hasn't done enough for them, in their estimation.  He's not as apparent as they need Him to be in order to satisfy their desires.  But then again, those of us who do believe often demand more of God than we thank Him for.  Are we ever satisfied with what God has provided for us?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

First Sunday of Advent and Psalm 42

Today is the First Sunday of Advent!  Readings are here.  Don't forget, today is the day we start using the new Mass responses.  My church had already started with the new music.

Still concerned / confused about the new word choice?  Here are some informative links.
Roman Missal.  This is at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Provides an overview and plenty of links to other material.
Roman Missal Changes.  This is a whole blog dedicated to the changes.
What Does the Prayer Really Say.  Father Z has posted lots about the new translation.  This link goes to just that tag.

We're just moving toward a more accurate translation.  There's nothing wrong with the way we've been doing it, but the new language allows us to better understand what is meant.  If you still don't know about all of this, remember one thing.  Liberals apparently hate the new language.  That alone is enough to make me a fan.

In any event, I hope your parish has been reviewing this and talking about it lots as the time has approached.   Just a few weeks ago, the couple behind me were using the old version of the Gloria.  Once they figured out we had switched, they also assumed we had switched the words, so they took out the pew card and used the new version of the Creed.  I was so thrown off!  Be prepared this weekend to use the wrong words, and have others throw you off by doing the same.

Psalm 42
To the chief Musician, Maschil, for the sons of Korah. As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.
Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God? Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
(Psa 42:1-11)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sirach 1

Sir 1:11  The fear of the Lord is honour, and glory, and gladness, and a crown of joy.
Sir 1:12  The fear of the Lord shall delight the heart, and shall give joy, and gladness, and length of days.
Sir 1:13  With him that feareth the Lord, it shall go well in the latter end, and in the day of his death he shall be blessed.
Sir 1:14  The love of God is honourable wisdom.
Sir 1:15  And they to whom she shall shew herself love her by the sight, and by the knowledge of her great works.
Sir 1:16  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and was created with the faithful in the womb, it walketh with chosen women, and is known with the just and faithful.
Sir 1:17  The fear of the Lord is the religiousness of knowledge.
Sir 1:18  Religiousness shall keep and justify the heart, it shall give joy and gladness.
Sir 1:19  It shall go well with him that feareth the Lord, and in the days of his end he shall be blessed.
Sir 1:20  To fear God is the fulness of wisdom, and fulness is from the fruits thereof.
Sir 1:21  She shall fill all her house with her increase, and the storehouses with her treasures. 

Fear of the Lord is found all over the Bible, and rightly so.  We are called to fear the Lord, and it really makes a lot of sense since God created everything including us is the ultimate judge on where we end up for all eternity.  And to think, we can get nervous just talking to our bosses here on earth!

Reading this and other passages though, this fear of the Lord is not the same fear one associated with being afraid as one falls off a cliff or the same fear associated with getting shot at.  This is a healthy, respectful fear.  I've heard it said an earthly representation of this is the fear we may feel toward our fathers, if our relationship is healthy with them.  We love them and they love us, but they're not the ones we want to see if we do something stupid.

I wrote about this earlier here.  As I mention there, I love the fact that fear of the Lord is learned

Friday, November 25, 2011

Family Drama

I'm reading through Genesis again as part of the Bible in a Year plan I'm doing.  I'm in the midst of reading about the family drama that was central to the beginnings of Israel.  As I noted earlier, this is better than an episode of Jerry Springer.  The birth of the 12 tribes of Israel was more complicated and dramatic than a group of five teenage girls all in love with the starting quarterback locked in an eight by eight room watching chick flicks.  But God used it all to His glory and ultimately our salvation.

Today is a day for football, leftovers, shopping and some serious drama.  People who go shopping may be sleep deprived when they encounter other shoppers seeking the same deals and all can easily become rabid in their competitive quest to win the prized Tickle Me Elmo.  People who have to work are aggravated they have to work with all the crazy people that show up in such a frantic state.  There is an increase in domestic violence cases starting with Thanksgiving - I guess the lumpy gravy can throw some people over the edge.  And that's just the major stuff that gets reported; probably every family has known its fair share of lower level drama over the holidays when we are supposed to be merry and thankful.

Sin isn't new.  It isn't a new invention we have brought upon ourselves in the 20th century.  Suffering was not a recent development in the evolution of mankind.  Sin and suffering have been around since Adam and Eve, but we have to remember that God has the power to bring amazing, incredible, unthought of and unsought after miracles out of this chaos we call drama.

I just read this article by Peter Kreeft.  I highly recommend it and look forward to its subsequent parts.

From the moment of our birth, human nature includes two incompatible elements – the presence of pain, and the demand for its absence. We all have pain, and we all hate pain. Buddha's First Noble Truth, and Freud's pleasure principle. What is pain? It is the disproportion between desire and satisfaction. In the words of England's richest philosopher, "I can't get no satisfaction." And "You can't always get what you want."

The modern secular West tries to get the satisfaction; the ancient mystical East tries to get rid of the desires. The West tries to conquer the pain; the East tries to conquer the fear of the pain. Our common problem is that our desires are greater than our satisfactions. The West tries to change that disequation by bringing satisfactions up to the level of desires – of course, this never works – while the East seeks the same end by the opposite means of bringing desires down to or even below the level of satisfaction. And this does work, but only for the practiced Yogan or enlightened Buddhist. East and West both give us roads for escaping the problem. They're opposite roads, but they both escape the disproportion between desire and satisfaction, which is the formula for pain, or suffering.
I love how he talks about both the West and the East and how different cultures attempt to solve the pain problem in different ways.  Nothing is sufficient without God though.  God can make sense of the drama in our lives.  God can make amazing use of the world's sins and sufferings, including yours and mine.

So today, let's try not to cause any drama, and be in service to our King.  Let's also remember that when drama comes, God will be there too.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Knowing God versus knowing about God

Fr. John Riccardo gave a talk at a local non-denominational church (local to him, I assume) about knowing God.  Really quite good, and comforting.  He has some great audio talks on a variety of subjects here.

Now then, let's see if I can get this thing to embed...

Father John Riccardo at Kensington 5/28/11 from Kensington on Vimeo.


I am thankful for the Creator, for this world we live on and for the food we eat and the fact we exist.  I’m thankful God sent His son to die on the cross for us and for our sins so we can enter into Heaven.  I’m also thankful for Heaven, because that’ll be even better than here.  I’m thankful God is still with us via the Holy Spirit and we can communicate with God though prayer.

I am thankful for the Catholic Church, provided by God for us and our benefit to help guide us along our path here on this world.  I love my German shepherd, Pope Benedict.  I’m thankful for my bishop and priests, and not just in a general way.  I really do like them and am happy to see them at church.  I’m thankful they pray for me and for everyone else.

I’m thankful for my parents, who didn’t have to have me.  I don’t think it crossed their mind not to though, and so I’m thankful they did and they put up with me for so many years.  I’m thankful they raised me so well, and find different lessons I’m more and more thankful for every year.  I’m thankful they taught me to do the right thing without ever even considering, much less counting the cost.  I’m thankful they taught me to have integrity and respect others who have it as well.  I’m thankful they talked to me about God, because even though I wandered away for a bit, I always knew I could come back to my Heavenly Father.

My siblings were not expecting a little sister, and I was pretty annoying, and so I’m thankful they did not accidentally leave me on some road trip.  I’m thankful for their friendship, and thankful they married wonderful people who I rarely call my “in laws” because they’re just like my brother and sisters.  I’m thankful for their children, who are turning into intelligent adults who are fun to be around.  And I’ll be thankful for the lessons they teach their children, even if their children are not yet old enough to do the same quite yet.

I’m thankful for the rest of my family, from my aunt and uncle who are always calling in to check on me to my grandparents, only one of whom I really knew.  I’m thankful for my cousins, who I liked before I knew what the word cousin meant.  I’m thankful for the “aunts” and “uncles” who were never related to me officially but still had the authority to correct me and desire and ability to mentor me.

I’m thankful for my friends, who have absolutely no obligation to put up with me when I’m crazy but still do anyway.  They help me in all my activities and correct me when I stray from the right path.  They are wonderful examples and great people, and I’m thankful they are around.

I’m thankful for this country.  While I think we’ve hit a rough spot of late, this blog wouldn’t be possible without the freedom we enjoy.  The simple idea of freedom is something to be thankful for and the fact we have it is incredible.  I’m thankful for the people who have made that possible, from the patriots at the beginning of the country to the service men and women of today.  We all know the quote “Give me liberty or give me death,” but most of us are fortunate enough to not actually know what the lack of liberty really feels like.

I am thankful for my job, my house, and my dog.  Though I know I could survive without them because I have everything I need with the people mentioned above.

What are you thankful for today? 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sirach 1

I was not sure which book to hop into after Proverbs, but I've settled on the book of Sirach.
The Book of Ecclesiasticus is preceded by a prologue which professes to be the work of the Greek translator of the origional Hebrew and the genuineness of which is undoubted. In this preface to his translation, the writer describes, among other things his frame of mind in undertaking the hard task of rendering the Hebrew text into Greek. He was deeply impressed by the wisdom of the sayings contained in the book, and therefore wished, by means of a translation, to place those valuable teachings within the reach of anyone desiring to avail himself of them for living in more perfect accord with the law of God. This was a most worthy object, and there is no doubt that in setting it before himself the translator of Ecclesiasticus had well realized the general character of the contents of that sacred writing. The fundamental thought of the author of Ecclesiasticus is that of wisdom as understood and inculcated in inspired Hebrew literature; for the contents of this book, however varied they may appear in other respects, admit of being naturally grouped under the genral heading of "Wisdom". Viewed from this standpoint, which is indeed universally regarded as the author's own standpoint, the contents of Ecclesiasticus may be divided into two great parts: chs. i-xlii, 14; and xlii, 15-1, 26. The sayings which chiefly make up the first part, tend directly to inculcate the fear of God and the fulfilment of His commands, wherein consists true wisdom. This they do by pointing out, in a concrete manner, how the truly wise man shall conduct himself in the manifold relationships of practical life. 
This book is in the Catholic canon, but not in the Protestant canon.  At one time, my Bible software had a version of the KJV with the apocrypha in it, but it is no longer installed and I can't find it.  So for these posts, I'll be using the Douay–Rheims Bible (DRB), as it is also out of copyright. 

Sir 1:1  All wisdom is from the Lord God, and hath been always with him, and is before all time.
Sir 1:2  Who hath numbered the sand of the sea, and the drops of rain, and the days of the world? Who hath measured the height of heaven, and the breadth of the earth, and the depth of the abyss?
Sir 1:3  Who hath searched out the wisdom of God that goeth before all things?
Sir 1:4  Wisdom hath been created before all things, and the understanding of prudence from everlasting.
Sir 1:5  The word of God on high is the fountain of wisdom, and her ways are everlasting commandments.
Sir 1:6  To whom hath the root of wisdom been revealed, and who hath known her wise counsels?
Sir 1:7  To whom hath the discipline of wisdom been revealed and made manifest? and who hath understood the multiplicity of her steps?
Sir 1:8  There is one most high Creator Almighty, and a powerful king, and greatly to be feared, who sitteth upon his throne, and is the God of dominion.
Sir 1:9  He created her in the Holy Ghost, and saw her, and numbered her, and measured her.
Sir 1:10  And he poured her out upon all his works, and upon all flesh according to his gift, and hath given her to them that love him. 

The first verse reminds me of what I wrote about yesterday.  We do not create wisdom, nor do we have it apart from or without God.  Even if one doesn't believe in God, gifts of wisdom and logic and reason are still from God.  The following verses go on to show that.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

That's just speedy

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
(Pro 3:5-8)
In other news, scientists think they may have broken the speed of light.  Again, since they thought they did it before.  That's important because science is all about consistency.  If true, they also managed to break Einstein's theory of relativity.  Or at least part of it.  I'm not sure, because that's such high end physics I don't understand it.  But to be clear, this is a BIG DEAL. Things aren't supposed to be able to travel faster than the speed of light.  That isn't supposed to be possible.  And yet now we think it might be.

Let me preface the following thoughts with the statement that I like science.  I am an engineer, after all.  Things that work in predictable manners and logic and reason and all those good things make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.  While some women want a shampoo that makes their hair shiny, I want to know what is in the shampoo that makes hair shiny.  I make decisions based on logic, and have previously earned the nickname, "M, the evil queen of numbers."  I am a geek.

That said, I do truly believe we place too much trust in our scientists to tell us how the world works.  The scientists say it, so it must be true.  This is an oddly illogical decision to make by itself anyway, as scientists have been wrong and continue to be wrong every day.  We treat and teach what we know of science as the final authority when, right at this very moment, scientists are wondering if they got this majorly important thing with huge implications wrong.

Again, I love science.  I just do posts like this to remind people that science is not the end all of explaining the world or our role in it.

Memorial of Saint Cecilia, virgin and martyr

Readings are here.

I did not know anything of Saint Cecilia until putting together this little blog note regarding today.  Check out the Wikipedia entry here!

For any non-Catholics reading, the Catholic Church has different days and seasons we celebrate different things.  They aren't better or worse days than the rest of the days.  They're just like birthdays or anniversaries when we choose to do something special or different in honor of someone or something.  We can see this most notably with Advent and Lent for seasons and Christmas and Easter for days.  Those are obviously big days because what we're celebrating was a big deal!  Last Sunday, we celebrated the Feast of Christ the King.  Many other days, such as this one, are designated to remember specific people of the past.

The calendar of saints is a traditional Christian method of organizing a liturgical year by associating each day with one or more saints and referring to the feast day of said saint. The system arose from the early Christian custom of annual commemoration of martyrs on the dates of their deaths, or birth into heaven, and is thus referred to in Latin as dies natalis ("day of birth"). Wikipedia.
I will sometimes identify them on the blog, as they are fascinating to study and to good examples to remember.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Don't worry, we still hate you

Pride, just doesn't work out for us, as I mentioned here.  Continuing on my Bible in a Year journey, I found another example just a few short chapters from there.
And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. (Mat 12:9-14)
Oh good.  Heal a guy, have your countrymen want to find a way to destroy you.  Thank goodness we're not like the Pharisees!  Our competitive, ego-centric, self-centered natures would never lead us to do such things. /sarcasm

Haven't we all known someone who was aggravating us with their awesomeness?  Maybe that's just me.  I've grown quite a bit, but I still can do that sometimes.  Hopefully for not very long.  And I've yet sought to destroy anyone over it.  But don't we sometimes try to assume someone is doing something for some other motive than good?  Can't we sometimes slip into thinking they must get or expect something out of their goodness?  Do we sometimes think ill of those doing good things?

If only we would instead seek the good in others and what they do and focus first on God and what God wants.  Perhaps God doesn't want us to be the one to do the task they just did in an awesome fashion.  Perhaps God wants us to follow their lead and do better.  Perhaps God just wants us to encourage them on their journey and in their work.  In any event, God doesn't want us to be hung up by our own pride and fail to serve Him.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


You can find more previews from my last post here.

I was going to post them all here, but it appears to be having some difficulties with the youtube embedding.  Head on over there to watch the previews!

Amazed and Afraid

I've been looking at the Catholicism DVD Box Set. It is new, and highly rated.  My sister and I just talked about maybe going in on it together, but we're a bit concerned because the last time we did that it was for Father Corapi's Catechism set and then he went off the deep end and left the Church (very sad about that still, by the way).  I'd hate to have the same effect on poor Father Baron...

Here is a clip from the first series about Jesus, and how he wasn't just some wonderful spiritual guide.  The Gospels portray those around him as amazed and afraid, just as one would be with God.

The top comment on this video clip, from TheAdrian260: "This really focuses the whole question very clearly. A restatement of CS Lewis that He was either a liar, a lunatic or who He said He was. Of course, it is a matter of history that almost all of the earliest and closest followers of Jesus were killed for their beliefs, after completely dedicating themselves to spreading His message. People never give up their lives for liars or lunatics"

Regarding the DVD set as a whole, it currently has a 4.5 rating on Amazon.  I've heard nothing but good things about it.  Here is the product description:
Journey Around the World and Deep into the Faith For the first time, in breathtaking, high-definition cinematography, the beauty, goodness and truth of the Catholic Faith are illustrated in a rich, multimedia experience. Journey with acclaimed author, speaker and theologian Fr. Robert Barron to more than 50 locations throughout 15 countries. Be illuminated by the spiritual and artistic treasures of this global culture that claims more than one billion of the earth's people. From the sacred lands of Israel to the beating heart of Uganda...from the glorious shrines of Italy, France, and Spain, to the streets of Mexico, Kolkata, and New York City, the fullness of CATHOLICISM is revealed. Journey deep into the Faith as you watch each episode. Mike Leonard, a veteran NBC Today Show correspondent and acclaimed filmmaker, is the Executive Producer of this groundbreaking series. The box set includes five DVDs, each containing two episodes. Each episode runs 50-60 minutes.

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ The King and Psalm 41

Today is the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ The King.  Readings are here. I just typed that and wonder why it is we have a more special day to celebrate something we should be celebrating every day, but before I continue with my research I guess I have to think we do that with Christmas, Easter, and even our own birthdays.

The readings today are all about Jesus' kingship.  This is also the last Sunday of Ordinary Time, right before we head into the season of Advent.  Advent, by the way, is not all about Jesus' babyship, but rather His coming. "Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used in reference to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent serves as a reminder both of the original waiting that was done by the Hebrews for the birth of their Messiah as well as the waiting of Christians for Christ's return."  Wikipedia.  Seems appropriate we'd celebrate our King then this week, the week before Advent.

I pulled up last year's entry at Father Z's blog here.  Two particularly relevant quotes:  "Today’s Solemnity is an anticipation of the season of Advent, which focuses on the different ways in which the Lord comes to us, especially in the Second Coming."  "The Solemnity of Christ the King brings to our attention the fact that the Lord is coming precisely as King and Judge not merely as friend or savior or role-model."

Psalm 41
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.

I said, LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee. Mine enemies speak evil of me, When shall he die, and his name perish? And if he come to see me, he speaketh vanity: his heart gathereth iniquity to itself; when he goeth abroad, he telleth it. All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt. An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more. Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
But thou, O LORD, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them. By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever. Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.
(Psa 41:1-13)
Probably not being sung today (probability speaking), but one of the guys at RCIA brought up this song the other week.  We tried to get it on my phone and it just didn't work out.  But I do like the song, and here it is from You Tube just for you!

I also want you to know writing this post did not consume as much time as attempting to find a You Tube version I liked.  I was not successful.  I did discover there are several versions of the lyrics.  Same idea though.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Proverbs 31

Pro 31:10  Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
Pro 31:11  The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
Pro 31:12  She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
Pro 31:13  She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
Pro 31:14  She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
Pro 31:15  She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
Pro 31:16  She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
Pro 31:17  She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
Pro 31:18  She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
Pro 31:19  She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
Pro 31:20  She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
Pro 31:21  She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
Pro 31:22  She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
Pro 31:23  Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
Pro 31:24  She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
Pro 31:25  Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
Pro 31:26  She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
Pro 31:27  She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Pro 31:28  Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Pro 31:29  Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Pro 31:30  Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
Pro 31:31  Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

The word “virtuous” in verse 10 is the word translated 51 other times as “army,” 37 times as “valour,” and 28 times as “host” (as in an army).  It is also translated as  valiant, forces, strength, riches, wealth, power, substance, and might among others.  This woman in Proverbs 31 literally is an Army of One.

I love the rest  of it, but I loved learning that tidbit too.  This is not some weakling but a strong woman capable of managing the house.   

What a great way to wrap up Proverbs, talking about what an awesome wife looks like.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Reader Error

In Google Reader, my posts appear like several words don't have spaces in them.  In my browser when I go to the blog, it looks fine.  Very odd!  So if you see typos, check and make sure they're really there.  But then please tell me about them!  :)

You're so awesome, I hate you

As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.
(Mat 9:32-34)
I’m sure this has never happened to you.  You’re cruising along as the best in the class or at the job or whatever, and then some annoying upstart comes and does a better job.  Really tempting to try to shove that one back where he or she belongs isn’t it? 

Here we see Jesus healing a man possessed by a devil.  This is like stuff out of exorcism movies; not some warm and fuzzy tale about a guy who was just down on his luck.  Possession, not depression.   He’s not suffering from the hiccups or a relentless sneezing fit or insomnia or anything “normal.”  Everybody apparently knew it (multitudes) so he’d been like that, and in a pretty obvious way, for awhile. 

And so Jesus heals him and the rulers in charge are so happy this man is cured of his problem they… blame Jesus.  Yes, that’s right.  They tell everyone it is because Jesus is friends with the devil that he can do that.  Awkward.  That’s a bit like saying Eisenhower was successful in WWII because he had a secret phone line to Hitler, who shared all his troop positions with him.  Only bigger, since we’re talking about devils who are fallen angels and scary as hell (literally).  No wonder the Lord wasn’t a big fan of them.

This pride thing has not worked out well for us, historically speaking.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Wow, it is cold!  We just got a cold snap, and today I wore gloves to work.  I'm not a huge fan of the cold because, well, I get cold.  I think I get cold more easily than most of the people I know.

I'm sitting in front of a space heater (even though my house is already at 70 degrees), blogging.  Here are some links I've been collecting to share with you:

How to Win the Culture War.  I love this.  LOVE THIS.  Peter Kreeft is amazing.

Deliver Us From Evil Kind of Thing.  This is from Simcha Fisher, who is hilarious so even if you disagree with her it is funny.  It is about the importance of the liturgy changing in December.

Spectacular Shots Above and Below the Sea.  Just some great pictures of water.  I don't even like large bodies of water, and this is cool.

When My Needs are Worship.  A friend sent me to this blog, and I found this entry.  I'd never thought about it like this before!

Reason Can Convince You of Stuff that is Stupid and Wrong.  Jennifer Fulwiler of Conversion Diary is also funny and so true here. 
And so when we sat down to talk, I brought my intellectual A-game. I did not appeal to emotion once. I did not make a single statement that was not backed up by concrete evidence. When my husband offered counterpoints to make the case that life was actually pretty great, I always had a solid, fact-based comeback. I calmly crafted a careful step-by-step analysis of the terribleness of my life, including perfectly logical extrapolations about how said terribleness would only increase in the future. It was reasonable. It was evidence-based. It was linear. And it was completely wrong.

What the Devil Fears.  I just linked to this because of a quote from Bl. Ildephonso Schuster, OSB, the Archbishop of Milan who died in 1954.  In his final message to his seminarians, he said,   "Do not forget that the devil is not afraid of our [parish] sports fields and of our movie halls: he is afraid, on the other hand, of our holiness."

In Praise of Imperfect Reverence.  I may have linked to this before, but it is great.  Jennifer Fulwiler also writes at the National Catholic Register.

Ambitious Goals Make You Happier.  Being a slacker does not make us happier.  I realize this to be true, yet sometimes when I'm napping on the sofa I can convince myself the data is wrong.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Proverbs 31

Pro 31:1  The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
Pro 31:2  What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?
Pro 31:3  Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
Pro 31:4  It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
Pro 31:5  Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
Pro 31:6  Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
Pro 31:7  Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
Pro 31:8  Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
Pro 31:9  Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

We’re almost done with Proverbs!  Proverbs 31 is the last chapter in that book, and is primarily about an awesome wife.  Here we have some advice from a mother to her son, a king.  She doesn’t want him to drink too much lest he be unable to make good decisions as a ruler.  If we look at the book of Esther, we see the king there making all sorts of bad calls while drunk.  If we think we can do stupid things under the influence of alcohol, just imagine what a ruler with no rules can do!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Centurion

And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.
(Mat 8:5-13)

I have always really liked this story, though initially because it had a soldier and soldiers are cool.  Fortunately, I can think a bit bigger now that I’m an adult.  Catholics will notice the line we use prior to the Eucharist about not being worthy.  That’s changing in a few weeks with the first part of Advent to be more in line with this story, which is very good.

This guy, who isn’t even Jewish, knows that God need not actually travel to his house to heal his servant.  He knows the Jews don’t want to hang out with the Gentiles anyway, due to the whole unclean issue and tells Jesus he knows Jesus can do this without bothering to stop by.  Jesus has that authority, and can do whatever He wants from wherever He wants.  Jesus notes that thinking isn’t even found in Israel by those who have seen the work of God over and over in a most literal way.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Wow.  Writing a blog is hard when participating in Nanowrimo.  Never heard of Nanowrimo?  It is National Novel Writing Month.  The goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel between November 1 and November 30.  This is 1,667 words per day, if you were wondering.  I’m having a hard time keeping up, but that’s mostly due to my crazy schedule I have anyway.  Add this blog on, and it gets even crazier.

So November’s posts may be a bit sporadic.  I am still keeping up with my Bible in a Year reading plan, and am ahead of schedule.  There are three parts per day; the first from the Old Testament historical books or prophets, the second from the wisdom writings, and then the third from the New Testament.   So far, in Genesis, Abraham has had Isaac.  I’m well on my way in the Psalms.  And Jesus is starting to aggravate people in Matthew.

If you have never read the Bible (or even if you have), this is a great way to get going on it.  We’re talking 5-10 minutes per day.  It is totally not overwhelming in the least.  Sometimes we wonder if God is paying attention or if He is talking to us or what is going on, but we have this right at our fingertips.  This is the Word of God, why not read it?

Don’t worry it won’t make sense.  Even for my engineering non poetic brain, almost all of it is pretty easy to read and get the basic meaning.  The prophets are hard for me, but the historical stories are pretty easy and simple to understand.  Sure it can get more complex when you look for connections with other parts or deeper meanings, but the storyline itself is pretty understandable.  If you’re Catholic (or go to a church that reads a lot of it out loud anyway), you’ve probably already heard a lot of it.  Very not scary.