Thursday, January 31, 2002

I'm reading The Little Way: The Spirituality of Therese of Lisieux by Bernard Bro,O.P.. One of the exercises that Therese did was to act the warmest toward the people that she found the most disagreeable. One of these people asked her, "Sr. Therese of the Child Jesus, would you mind telling me what you find so attractive about me? Whenever you look at me, you smile."
The trees are covered with ice but the temperature has hovered above 32 so the roads are fine. Looks like we escaped a big mess.

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

The weather is very iffy here today. Depending on who you listen to, we are in for a massive ice storm, snowstorm, or more 40 degree weather with rain.
Since I have to access my site here today for another work related reason, I thought I'd pass it on to anyone who is interested in visiting the web sites of some Catholic Authors that I know.

Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Finally as I made my way back to Indiana, I carried with me the map that the Director had given me to help me locate the Benedictines of the Anglican sort. She made a good map. I found it right away and it was way off the beaten path. I arrived in time to attend none at 2 p.m. which was very nice. I was amazed at how "Catholic" everything was...holy water, vigil candles, reserved eucharist, side altars with statues, etc.

Here is the web site for St. Gregory's Abbey.
I then went to the Cathedral of St. Augustine in downtown Kalamazoo for the noon mass. There was a small crowd on hand and it was a peaceful celebration.
This morning I met with the Director of Cistercian Publications, located on the campus of Western Michigan University. Fans of the Florida Gators will remember that as the place where Gary Darnell, the head coach that preceeded Steve Spurrier at Florida, is now the head football coach.

We did not talk about football though, rather we talked about books, the Catholic market and monasticism. As I was leaving the Director gave me the address of a small Anglican Benedictine monastery that was just south of Kalamazoo.
Heading back to Kalamazoo, I semi got lost in Grand Rapids, MI which is a much larger city than I thought it was.
I visited Father O'Malley at his residence at the St. Lazare Retreat House in Spring Lake, Michigan. I can't find a link to post that would give you some pictures of the beautiful spot where the retreat house is located--so use your imagination a peaceful spot, at the far end of a big lake in a wooded area.
I'm back in Indiana. My drive up was a breeze, but coming back I took backroads and it took forever.

Saturday, January 26, 2002

I watched a bit of a documentary, that I've seen before, on the World Trade Center that was made about a year ago. Several of the people that speak during the presentation are among those missing and presumed dead. It puts a human face on the numbers and also captures the imensity of the destruction that was wrought on September 11th of last year. They show it on the History Channel, below is a description of the program:

One of the most massive publicly funded construction projects ever undertaken, the World Trade Center was an engineering marvel. For a time, its famous twin towers were the tallest buildings on earth, and the total complex, with seven buildings, an underground shopping concourse and a plaza modeled after Venice's St. Marks Square included over 10 million square feet of office space.

Several of the principals interviewed were involved in the planning, design and construction of the WORLD TRADE CENTER for this comprehensive look at the landmark that was destroyed on September 11, 2001. Executives at Minoru Yamasaki Associates recall how the plans were shaped, and explain how the engineering decisions they made directly affected the final appearance of the complex. Frank A. DeMartini, the construction manager, talks about the nearly three-decade-long process of realizing the ambitious plans, and Carol Willis, the Founder and Director of the Skyscraper Museum, reflects on the many innovations that made the World Trade Center among the most influential and important building complexes ever made.

Filled with extraordinary photos and footage of the construction of the twin towers, this is an in-depth look at a vanished landmark.

I just finished writing a review of America's Bishop: The Life and Times of Fulton J. Sheen by Thomas C. Reeves for the Catholic News Service. In a few weeks it should appear in Catholic newspapers across the country. I liked the book a lot and pretty much read it cover to cover as soon as I had it in my possession. If you don't have it go to the library or bookstore and pick it up!

I also just finished reading over the galleys of my book Praying in the Presence of Our Lord with Fulton J. Sheen which will be released on March 1st. You can wait until then to buy a copy.

Friday, January 25, 2002

All this traveling is made possible by unseasonably warm weather. Nearly 50 here this afternoon.
I will be heading up to Spring Lake, MI on Monday to visit author Father Vincent O'Malley who has written Saints of Africa and Ordinary Suffering of Extraordinary Saints for us. He is currently serving as the Director of a Retreat House there.

I also hope to visit Cistercian Publications at Western Michigan University on Tuesday.
I think we will have an all PA Super Bowl. Call me nuts, but I have a feeling that Philadelphia is going to beat the Rams!

Thursday, January 24, 2002

Today is the birthday of some truly fascinating people---

Neil Diamond is 61 today. Many do not know that he wrote I'm a Believer...

I thought love was only true in fairy tales

Meant for someone else but not for me

Love was out to get me

That's the way it seemed

Disappointment haunted all my dreams

Then I saw her face

Now I'm a believer

Not a trace of doubt in my mind

I'm in love

I'm a believer

I couldn't leave her if I tried

Then there is Warren Zevon who is 55 today...

Jesus Mentioned

written by Warren Zevon 1982 Zevon Music (BMI)

I'm going down to Memphis

Memphis, Tennessee

I'm going down to Graceland

Thinking about the King

Remembering him sing

About those heavenly mansions

Jesus mentioned

Can't you just imagine

Digging up the King

Begging him to sing

About those heavenly mansions

Jesus mentioned

He went walking on the water

He went walking on the water

He went walking on the water

With his pills

Can't you just imagine

Digging up the King

Begging him to sing

About those heavenly mansions

Jesus mentioned

Then there is Doug Kershaw who is 60 something, Ernest Borgnine who is 85 and John Belushi who is dead!

Speaking of the Pope, it is being reported that he wishes to visit Ground Zero in conjunction with his trip to Toronto this summer. If he does go there, I ask you to revisit the Third Secret of Fatima published last year. Recall also the cross found at Ground Zero that is to be erected there as a memorial.

After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!'. And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.
One of the invitees to the Pope's prayer service in Assisi is supposed bring back a private message from the Pope to me. She is a Jewish woman from Philadephia, born in Poland some eighty years ago and a friend of Pope John Paul II. She has also become a friend of mine.

Wednesday, January 23, 2002

I spent part of the evening last night reading about "retarded souls" in The Three Ages of the Interior Life by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP. Very interesting!

One of the indications of a dying religious order or community is when the number of fervent souls is outnumbered by the number of "retarded souls." Another name for a "retarded soul" would be a tepid soul. Basically, a person who after their initial conversion starts slipping backwards, allowing their ego to once again dominate vs. God eventually just kind of drifts off, and doesn't grow closer to God (obviously).

I found it fascinating not only for the self-application but because it is something in a world where the "world" is always spreading its version of the gospel so many make no progress in the spiritual life these days.

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

It looks like Tony Dungy will be the new head coach of the Colts. It will be interesting to see what he can do with their defense and how much he will slow down their offense.

It also looks like John Gruden will replace Dungy at Tampa Bay.

Monday, January 21, 2002

No one predicted it, but it is snowing here today.
I have agreed to be part of a team that will give the parish retreat for men in our parish.
Positively--I heard a homily that motivated me to do something yesterday. Write a book that explains how Christ does make a difference to anyone who truly places their faith in Him rather than use Him as a topic at the cookie table or cocktail party.
We saw The Royal Tenenbaums on Saturday. Joseph did not cooperate so both Amy and I saw bits and pieces of the movie--she liked the parts that she saw, I was not impressed with the parts that I saw. Again, since I was out in the hall for some parts of it, I probably didn't get the whole story.
The NFL officiating is horrible and the apologetics for the bad calls are even worst. This season has seen the worst officiating ever and when one thinks back to the begining of the season when the refs were locked out because they wanted to be paid tons more than they were getting--well, what can you say? The Raiders got ripped off several times in that game on Saturday night, but the last call (a reversal of a right call) was just ridiculous.

Saturday, January 19, 2002

We saw Orange County yesterday and enjoyed it, even Joseph slept throughout so there was no hall duty for either of us.
There must be a curse on the Tampa Bay Bucs or this might just be a game to avoid trouble. It is almost funny, but if it is serious who can forgive the Bucs for not pursuing Steve Spurrier who would have brough offense to a team that has never had any.Parcells Jilts Bucs Again: From The Tampa Tribune
Turns out this copying of books is more widespread than one might think. Now it is Doris Kearns Goodwin who it seems didn't paraphrase all that much while borrowing from others. A Historian and Her Sources

Friday, January 18, 2002

My book is on the way to the designers today. In another week it should be at the printers and hopefully by the end of February it'll be in the bookstores. Now to get to the other book that should be written already.
It is very cold here this morning, in the 20's and the high is supposed to be in the high 20's today. No snow on the ground though.

Thursday, January 17, 2002

I spoke with Fr. Benedict Groeschel this morning and he had just finished reading my forthcoming book Praying in the Presence of Our Lord with Fulton J. Sheen (how's that for a long title?) and said that he thought it was great! Since I've been on the end of his criticism in the past, I took this as a good sign. Sales for the book are already doing well. It will be out in March.
Well it did not snow here, but I have it on good authority that it did just to the north. It has turned cold here though.

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Scripture quote of the day:

"At all times bless the Lord God, and ask him to make all your paths straight and to grant success to all your endeavors and plans, Tobit 4:19."
By strange coincidence, I drove by the Miccosukee Indian Gaming complex on the edge of the Everglades last week. They are the sponsor for Geoff Bodine's 09 Ford that he will race this year at Daytonna International Speedway.
Sad news from St. Meinrad, Brother John is dead. Most visitors to St. Meinrad remember Brother as the monk who was bent over. He served for over thirty years as the Sacristan of the Church. The legend was that he was fine until the renovated the Abbey Church in the 70's at which point they gutted the Church. Some said that the closer he got to the Church the more bent over he became, while the further away the more he returned to a normal posture. The Abbey Church has since been renovated again, restoring the building to some semblence of beauty and I don't remember him being as bent over for the last few times that I have been there.
We are expecting a return to winter today. Depending on who you listen to we could get anywhere from 3-5 inches of snow later today and tonight. Currently there is no snow on the ground.

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

Thoughts on the New Year.

Be aware that God is present at every moment. Don't allow yourself to live at the lowest levels. Know that God is with you and that everything that happens is with purpose. When you become agitated, fearful, restless--drop to your knees and acknowledge God's presence and Lordship over your life.
Thoughts on coaching changes.

Even though my initial reaction to the hiring of Ron Zook was that insanity had truly taken over at UF, with time I think it might be a good hire (depending on whether he hires Woody W. as the defensive coordinator or not). I think if Zook is a head coach and isn't calling plays that he might be able to motivate players better than Spurrier did for the big games.

I think Spurrier will do great at Washington, although I'm not all that excited about cheering for the Redskins. But they are on television alot, so who knows. Who will be the quarterback there?

It will be interesting to see who Parcells hires as offensive coordinator at Tampa Bay and who stays and who leaves among the current players.

If Tony Dungy goes to the Colts which seems likely now, I'll be stuck watching him (unless the Direct TV-Dish merger goes through). I'm sure Indy's defense will be better but it may be the end of Peyton Manning's career.
The Cross at Ground Zero is #2 on the Catholic Books Bestsellers list for February. It is second to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I know that it sold about 7,000 copies last month, so that gives you an idea of how many copies you need to sell in order to get on that list. Another book that I worked on, Priests of the Third Millenium is #8 on the hardcover list (not bad considering the book has been out for over a year and half now). Fr. Stan's U Got 2 Believe is still in the top 10 on the youth list.

Monday, January 14, 2002

I did everything that I said that I was going to do in the below posts. One of the interesting things that I did, that I had never done before was to drive through the Everglades on US 41 from Everglade City to Miami. It was interesting to see Indian villages in the middle of the swamp here and there. I had read about this before, but didn't realize that it still existed.

Even though Florida is very populated along the coasts, it is still possible to drive for miles without seeing a soul in the interior. In the case of the Everglades it is possible to drive for a while without seeing an alligator.

Now to the pile of work which I left behind...

Sunday, January 13, 2002

Monday, January 7, 2002

Since I have been fretting all season as to what team Steve Spurrier was going to coach in the NFL, Friday's announcement did not surprise me in the least. In fact it has been such a given that it has been the content of my frequent conversations with my other Gator fan friends. I have hoped that he would coach the Jacksonville Jaguars or Tampa Bay, but we'll see. Obviously if he coached the Colts it would be great for me.

I have also felt that Bob Stoops would be the replacement coach for the Gators since the beginning of the season. If this comes to pass I believe he will have even greater success that Spurrier did. Contrary to what some sports reporters are saying, I believe that Spurrier is more suited to the NFL than college and I also believe that Stoops is more suited to the college game. Anyway as long as Spurrier ends up with a team that I can either watch or attend and Stoops get's the Gator job, I will be very happy.
I'll be on the road this week and I'm unsure if I'll have the chance to update this while away (although I'll try).

Tomorrow, (Tuesday), I fly to Florida. I'll have dinner with my parents before heading to Tampa.

On Wednesday, I'll be a guest on Moments of Truth Live, broadcast nationally on EWTN radio at 11:00 A.M. EST. In the afternoon I'll be visiting my friend Brian at St. Leo's University, then in the evening speaking to a prayer group at St. Anthony's Catholic Bookstore in Tampa. Later than night I'll drive to Ft. Myers.

On Thursday, I'll be in Miami at the Catholic Marketing Network Winter Trade Show. In general spying on what other people are doing, meeting with a few authors and perhaps a few former students of mine.

On Friday, in the afternoon, I'll start working my way up the east coast meeting with a former colleague who now is the rector of the seminary I used to teach at, then its a night in Jupiter before heading back to Indiana the next day.

Sunday, January 6, 2002

Snowing here this morning. It looks like about an inch fell overnight.

I seem to be feeling better, not a 100 percent yet, but definitely feel like the energy that was absent has returned.

Friday, January 4, 2002

Still sick, although I think it is getting better.

Thursday, January 3, 2002

As enjoyable as the Florida victory was last night over Maryland, I hardly was able to enjoy it. As soon as the game was over I started getting the chills and after about two hours of this...the sweats. Evidently I have had the flu (I received a flu shot at the beginning of the flu season), and the fever finally broke last night. After sleeping till noon today, now I am just plain weak.

Wednesday, January 2, 2002

Back to work today, vacation seemed way to short and fast.
I read Wisdom of the Sadhu: Teachings of Sundar Singh yesterday. It was a very interesting compilation of Singh's thought, much of it presented in a question and answer format. Singh was a convert to Christianity from the Sikh religion but seems to have dabbled as a young man in many of India's religions. His take on Christianity is interesting because he sees it as uniquely different than the religions of the East. His conversion came about as the result of a vision of Jesu and for the rest of his life he became a devout follower of The Master, while never formally attaching himself to any particular church. So essentially it is Christianity without the Church but it is an execellent read for anyone who needs to refocus on what the meaning of a relationship with Christ is all about.

Here is another short work by him that is online.

Tuesday, January 1, 2002

We saw Vanila Sky yesterday and well it was a bit confusing. But after reading a number of reviews (after we saw the movie) I guess everyone else who saw it or has seen it is confused as well.