Friday, August 30, 2002

This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God. The previous posts are found in the archives. This is step #70:

(70) To love the younger.

Benedict's advice to love the junior monk is a counsel that may not mean as much to us in a culture that prizes youth. There was a real danger in a culture where wisdom and age are seen as equal to see youth as foolish and of little significance.

Of course in the Gospel Jesus had told his disciples that "out of the mouths of babes" comes wisdom. The Christian realizes that there is a wisdom that comes not from years and reflection but directly from God.

The idealism of youth often carries with it a wisdom that can be lost with age. The high ideals that we both strive for and expect from others when we are young can grow into disillusion and cynicism with age. Having youth around whether at home, in the work place or in the church can greatly enhance our lives.

What is lost on modern man is this exclusion of youth from its midst. Modern people do not love "youth" meaning "others" as much as they love the idea of '"youth" for themselves.

There are many applications to this counsel for non monks. We should welcome children into our lives. We should see them as having much to offer in helping us to understand the ways of God in this life.

It should also be added that the abuse of children shows why this counsel is so important. If we see children as precious beings who must be protected and cared for, i.e. truly loved, then we will stand up and defend them whenever they come under attack from those who would use their innocence to use them sexually or damage their young souls in any way.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

The Truth About Father Mychal Judge, O.F.M.

A September 11th Hijacking: How 'Gay' Activists Smeared Father Mychal Judge

The Truth About Father Mike

The truth is that Father Mychal F. Judge, O.F.M., was a wonderful Catholic priest. Father Mike saw Christ in everyone. He ministered to everyone with a smile, a prayer and the love of Jesus Christ in his heart. Father Mike was tireless in living a life as a Priest modeled after St. Francis of Assisi. Although homosexual activists have hijacked this truth, I know that, from heaven, Father Mike would want you to know the truth about him. He would also want you to pray for those who bear false witness. Most of all, Father Mike would care not that you remember him, but that you remember and live the Prayer of St. Francis.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Today is the Feast of St. Augustine

From the Office of Readings:

O eternal Truth, true Love, and beloved Eternity, you are my God, and for you I sigh day and night. As I first began to know you, you lifted me up and showed me that, while that which I might see exists indeed, I was not yet capable of seeing it. Your rays beamed intensely on me, beating back my feeble gaze, and I trembled with love and dread. I knew myself to be far away from you in a region of unlikeness, and I seemed to hear your voice from on high: “I am the food of the mature: grow, then, and you shall eat me. You will not change me into yourself like bodily food; but you will be changed into me”.

Accordingly I looked for a way to gain the strength I needed to enjoy you, but I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who is also God, supreme over all things and blessed for ever. He called out, proclaiming I am the Way and Truth and the Life, nor had I known him as the food which, though I was not yet strong enough to eat it, he had mingled with our flesh, for the Word became flesh so that your Wisdom, through whom you created all things, might become for us the milk adapted to our infancy.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God. The previous posts are found in the archives. This is step # 69:

(69) To honor the aged.

Life that has been lived long has acquired wisdom that can not be learned in books. The idealism of youth often finds quick solutions to problems that the person with wisdom will merely smile at. They have seen it all and have grown to appreciate what is of the utmost importance and what is trivial in a way that those of us who are still learning have not.

There is nothing more valuable in a culture than those who have been around for a long time and can provide this perspective to life. I was blessed to live near my grandparents and to enjoy their wisdom as I was growing up. There is a perspective to life that they can give that younger parents can not.

Benedict's counsel encourages us to honor the gift of life that has been bestowed upon our elders; to hold them in high esteem, to seek their counsel. To learn from them when we disagree with them.

Our culture unfortunately has not followed this counsel of late. We present youth as the ideal. Older people are made to feel that their time is past. This is a tragedy and the lasting effects are yet to manifest themselves in our culture.

Honoring anyone is a sign that we recognize the value that they possess not only to us but also to all. Honor the older people you encounter today. Take time to say hello, take time to learn from them. Allow yourself to receive their blessing.

This reminds me of a Mother Teresa story

From The Sun Newspaper Online:

The sickening champagne and caviar lifestyle being enjoyed by Earth Summit delegates was exposed yesterday.

They are gorging on mountains of lobster, oysters and fillet steak at the Johannesburg conference — aimed at ending FAMINE.

Mother Teresa was supposed to speak at such an event but upon her arrival at the convention hall she found a starving man near the entrance. She took him home and fed him. She ended up never speaking at the event.

Monday, August 26, 2002

What's a couple of hours?

Fisherman Reels In Human Head

A Fort Pierce man out fishing with his son and a friend made a gruesome discovery in the waters of the Atlantic: a human head.

Paul Trabulsy found the dismembered body part about 22 miles east of Fort Pierce Inlet.

The men used a gaff to fish the head out of the water and placed it in a garbage bag. Then they kept right on fishing.

"We didn't want to come in right away, so we just put it in a bag in a bucket. It'd been out there awhile. What's a couple of hours?" Trabulsy said.

Friday, August 23, 2002

Top Five NASCAR crashes of all time

The one that is on the news today ranks second. The worst ever according to McGee is the Craftsman Truck accident of Geoff Bodine at Daytona. | McGEE: Totally NASCAR's top five crashes
This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God. The previous steps are in the archives to the right. This is the 68th step:

(68) Not to love pride.

A direct translation of the Latin for this counsel would be to "flee" pride. Yet it would be fair to say that I think few people actually flee pride these days. There is a reason it is a vice and sadly there is nothing worst than a vice that is presented as a virtue.

"Looking out for #1" became something of a slogan starting in the 1970's and with it an explosion of the love of pride. Pride for many is no longer a sin but a sign of psychological maturity. This is sad because pride always mask a secret belief that deep down I really know that I'm not all that good and that is a tragedy!

We all can relate to a person who constantly is blowing their own horn and how tiresome this can be. But imagine for a moment that the person who is doing this is your child. I think if you asked yourself why they were doing it and tried to enter their skin you would see that sadly they really don't believe it and they are proclaiming it hoping that someone will affirm it.

Unfortunately such pride merely leads to people heaping scorn upon the individual in unsuccessful attempts to bring them back down to earth. And the sad individual becomes mired in an ever deepening pool of self-pity.

Contrast this individual with the saints. Although esteemed by others they hold themselves in low esteem. They realized their faults and they realize their gifts. Their gifts they realize are just that, presents from a God and they thank God continuously for them.

The saints are truly those who look out for #1, and they manifest this in their lives. They live in reality and know that God is number one and seek Him in the poor, in others and most of all constantly in prayer.

Today is the Feast of St. Rose of Lima

From the Office of Readings

Our Lord and Saviour lifted up his voice and said with incomparable majesty: “Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase. Let men take care not to stray and be deceived. This is the only true stairway to paradise, and without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven”.

And from my "Road Less Traveled" calendar a quote from Paul Tillich that says something very similar:

Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness...
He thought he was to be interviewed about Elvis

The Ozzy Interview He Doesn't Want You to See (

According to a source, Greta asked Ozzy only one question about Elvis; the rest of the interview was "like a therapy session for Ozzy -- he unloaded for an hour."

So expect to learn little if anything about Elvis Presley on tonight's Ozzycast. You will, however, learn that: Ozzy is a Frank Sinatra fan, Ozzy thinks that Anna Nicole Smith's reality show is no competition, Ozzy is praying for Sharon, Ozzy hasn't been doing well at Ozzfest because Sharon isn't there, Sharon sent the kids to Ozzfest to take care of Ozzy, Ozzy's not good at hearing bad news like Sharon's cancer, Ozzy's falling apart more than she is, Ozzy went back to Ozzfest after taking a week off to be with Sharon because he was driving her crazy, Ozzy cried for a week when he found out about her cancer, and, finally, that Ozzy is "a complete nervous wreck."

Didn't he notice that the questions weren't about Elvis?

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God. The previous steps are found in the archives to the right. This is step 67:

(67) Not to love strife.

Another way of translating this counsel of St. Benedict's is "not to love confrontation." There is not a counsel here to avoid it, but simply not to "love" it. There are some who literally love to pick a fight; who are entertained by creating an environment of unease.

The model must be Christ who was no stranger to confrontation or as our Lord say, "bringing the sword." His attitude is one of repairing the damage that has been inflicted or is in the process of being created by others. We should love the imitation of Christ at all times and seeking to do what Christ would do in any situation, mindful that we are in Christ.

This necessarily means confronting evil wherever we encounter it. But it does not mean loving that confrontation. There comes a point and it is a fine point where good people can become evil. Critics of Christianity often point out the damage done by "good" Christians. What they are highlighting is not the work of good Christians but rather the work of evil people who have allowed their love of strife to overtake their love of Christ.

The goal is never to destroy a person but rather to seek their salvation. Christ alone can save the person, not us. We can merely point out the way, most of the time painfully risking the loss of friendship from those who prefer darkness to light. This should grieve us too and move us to prayer.

Whether we live this counsel or not can be judged by our reaction to the way we deal with confrontation in our lives. Does it give us a feeling of satisfaction or sorrow? Our Lord was moved to tears when He approached Jerusalem because they did not know the time of their visitation. Is our response the same?

Clarification on the document released on Catholic-Jewish relations

U.S. Catholic Bishops - Office of Communications

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Credo folds

Metro Catholic newspaper to fold - 08/12/02

Credo, an independent Roman Catholic newspaper mailed free to 35,000 readers in western Wayne, Livingston and Washtenaw counties, will fold Oct. 7.

The conservative paper, underwritten by Tom Monaghan's Ave Maria Foundation, is ending publication because it wants to use the resources to strengthen Ave Maria Radio, which is being aired nationally.
Today is the Feast of St. Maximillian Kolbe

From a letter he wrote, from theOffice of Readings:

It is sad to see how in our times the disease called “indifferentism” is spreading in all its forms, not just among those in the world but also among the members of religious orders. But indeed, since God is worthy of infinite glory, it is our first and most pressing duty to give him such glory as we, in our weakness, can manage – even that we would never, poor exiled creatures that we are, be able to render him such glory as he truly deserves.

Friday, August 9, 2002

Why are the Gore's so cheap?


Take, for example, former Vice President Al Gore and his lovely wife, Tipper. Sources close to them and to Springsteen tell me Tipper tried to get free tickets to the Springsteen show for the entire Gore staff. That didn't work, and she was then told even paid admission would be hard to come by.

"They wound up being offered four," says a source. "But when they were asked to pay $75 apiece, they said forget it. And you know, that's why Gore isn't president, in a nutshell."

One thinks of the slum property they own, the couple of hundred dollars they donated to charity a few years back and you are left to ponder are these the cheapest people on the face of the earth? Why don't they give back some of what they have been given?

Thursday, August 8, 2002

Saying of Edel Quinn

Circumstances are the sacraments of God's will.

Edel Quinn
Check out My Daily Crumbs
Some sites actually forbid you to link to them

Don't Link to Us!
Today is the Feast of Saint Dominic

From the Office of Readings:

Frequently he made a special personal petition that God would deign to grant him a genuine charity, effective in caring for and obtaining the salvation of men. For he believed that only then would he be truly a member of Christ, when he had given himself totally for the salvation of men, just as the Lord Jesus, the Saviour of all, had offered himself completely for our salvation. So, for this work, after a lengthy period of careful and provident planning, he founded the Order of Friars Preachers.

In his conversations and letters he often urged the brothers of the Order to study constantly the Old and New Testaments. He always carried with him the gospel according to Matthew and the epistles of Paul, and so well did he study them that he almost knew them from memory.

Two or three times he was chosen bishop, but he always refused, preferring to live with his brothers in poverty. Throughout his life, he preserved the honour of his virginity. He desired to be scourged and cut to pieces, and so die for the faith of Christ. Of him Pope Gregory IX declared: “I knew him as a steadfast follower of the apostolic way of life. There is no doubt that he is in heaven, sharing in the glory of the apostles themselves”.

Wednesday, August 7, 2002

Need to go anywhere, but don't have the money?

Consider flying on September 11th this - Spirit: Fly free on September 11
And from St. Cyprian an account of the death of St. Sixtus (today's feast) and encouragement for all:

From the Office of Readings:

You should know, however, that Sixtus was martyred in the cemetery on the sixth of August, and four deacons with him. Moreover, the prefects in the City are daily pushing forward this persecution, and anyone who is presented to them is martyred and all his property confiscated by the state.

I beg you to make these things known to the rest of our colleagues, so that through their encouragement the whole brotherhood may be strengthened and made ready for the spiritual conflict – so that each one of us may think less of death and more of immortality – so that everyone, dedicated to the Lord with full faith and total courage, may rejoice in this confession and not fear it, for they know that the soldiers of God and Christ are not destroyed, but crowned.

From today's Office of Readings

Read these passages that reflect God's vegeance against a sinful nation and try to reconcile this image with the puffy spirituality of the day. God loves us, yes, but He is also to be feared if we reject His love:

AMOS 9:1-15;

I saw the Lord standing by the altar, and he said:

"Strike the tops of the pillars

so that the thresholds shake.

Bring them down on the heads of all the people;

those who are left I will kill with the sword.

Not one will get away,

none will escape.

Though they dig down to the depths of the grave,

from there my hand will take them.

Though they climb up to the heavens,

from there I will bring them down.

Though they hide themselves on the top of Carmel,

there I will hunt them down and seize them.

Though they hide from me at the bottom of the sea,

there I will command the serpent to bite them.

Though they are driven into exile by their enemies,

there I will command the sword to slay them.

I will fix my eyes upon them

for evil and not for good."

I can't help but be struck by how the first verse makes me think of the horror of the destruction of the World Trade Center towers.
Another side of Father Doc Ortman

This is in reference to a post on Amy's blog and when you read this piece I think you'll conclude that Father may be a bit confused because he seems to be very pro-life but incapable of dealing with a candidate (Amy's page) who is pro choice. The problem isn't really the priest but the overall leadership of the Church in this country which does not take the radical step of excommunicating those who are responsible for making and keeping the killing of innocent life in this country legal. Father is probably a good and loyal priest trying to help his parishioners make sense of this but having to say some really stupid things to do so

Credo November 19, 2001 Crosses illustrate fact, draw controversy in Plymouth

When the Christian Service Committee at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Plymouth Township erected a large anti-abortion display of white crosses on church property at Beck and North Territorial roads, they hoped it would make passersby think about the thousands of babies killed by abortion in the U.S. every day.

If controversy is a barometer, their goal was accomplished. Fr. Doc Ortman, associate pastor at OLGC, said they received some 50 calls about the display.

“Most of the calls were the ‘how dare you’ calls,” he said. “My response was: ‘How dare we not.’ We are talking about life here. We are talking about respect for life in all stages.

“It was unbelievable the response,” he continued. “I was shocked, but what we were really shocked about was that a number of calls were from our own parishioners.”

The 2,200 small white crosses are part of a traveling display that churches and organizations can obtain from Right to Life - Lifespan of Metro Detroit and set up for one or two weeks. A banner explains that each cross represents two babies killed by abortion, bringing the daily total to about 4,400 lives lost.

Tuesday, August 6, 2002

Good Latin quote: amor intrat ubi intellectus stat ad ostium

which means:

Love can enter where the intellect must stand at the door.
The New LA Cathedral

Welcome to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

Fairly ugly building from the outside, hard to tell what it looks like on the inside from the various art shown here.
Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration

From theOffice of Readings

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practise cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians

Monday, August 5, 2002

More evidence of faithless preaching

Amy reports on Rod Dreher's homiletic experience this past weekend, and wonders where the interpretation of the loaves and fishes as a sharing event comes from, oddly perhaps the one who has spread this false interpretation the most is the otherwise excellent commentator on Scripture, William Barclay:

Even William Barclay, whose background material for the word of God is fantastic, weakens a little bit when confronted with some of the signs that Jesus did, and injects for optional consideration some of the screwball ideas which have been bandied around by theologians whose faith is as weak as their explanations.

A good illustration is the case of the feeding of the five thousand with one hamburger bun for each thousand and a couple of sardines. It is asked if it is logical to believe that people like this would set out without taking food, and it is suggested they all had a pretty ample lunch stashed away in their haversacks. But they were selfish and did not want to get it out lest they might have to share with the others. However, when Jesus began to pass around the meager supply of food which he had cadged from a little kid on the fringe of the crowd, everyone got ashamed and hauled out his provisions, and it turned out they all had more than enough to eat after all.

As Barclay points out, if this explanation is accepted it "was not the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fishes; it was the miracle of the changing of selfish people into generous people at the touch of Christ. It was the miracle of the birth of love in grudging hearts." This sounds very beautiful and I am all for changing selfish people, but I do not think for a minute it is what happened here. If it was I doubt that all four of the gospel writers would have recorded it.

Barclay writes that if there was an actual multiplication of loaves and fishes it would be hard to understand. He is correct, but I think that the outstanding expositor overlooks one thing. The miracles of Jesus were happenings. They were matters of fact, and can only be interpreted in the light of evidence or testimony of eyewitnesses. Facts need not be understood in order to accept the testimony. We are not called upon to explain them but to weigh the evidence. It is correctly said that "Facts are stubborn things." A fact does not depend for its validity upon whether or not anyone can explain it, or whether or not anyone believes it. Belief of a fact may change a man, but disbelief of a man does not change a fact.

The interesting thing about the "miracle" of sharing is that it would only be a miracle in our culture. People in Jesus' time shared quite openly.

Bad boy Tony Stewart doesn't like to lose

From Yahoo! Sports: NASCAR - Stewart punches photographer following race

As Stewart hurriedly walked off, he swatted his hand in the air when approached from behind by a man. Gary Mook, a free-lance photographer for The Indianapolis Star, was following and Stewart broke into a trot to get away.

Mook ran alongside him, and Stewart turned to him and threw several punches -- connecting to Mook's chest and stomach -- before he was pulled away.

``He struck me in the chest,'' Mook told The Star in a story printed Monday. ``I ran, I got in front of him to take a picture and I got off one frame. He came toward me and struck me in the chest to get me out of the way. I didn't pursue him.''

Sunday, August 4, 2002

Big sports day yesterday for me

First I went to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and watched qualifying for the Brickyard 400, followed by the final IROC (International Race of Champions) race of the year.

Then I raced over to Indianapolis Raceway Park for Busch qualifying, followed by the race.

Then I raced home to Fort Wayne to watch the second half of the Redskins game. Whew!

Friday, August 2, 2002

There raising the roof of our local coliseum here in Fort Wayne

Here is a live shot:

Coliseum RoofTop WebCam Page
From the Chicago Tribune | Catholics build a `parish' without walls on Net:

Amy Welborn, the Ft. Wayne, Ind.-based author of the "In Between Naps" blog, is known for posting baby pictures and photos from family trips--but also for news bulletins. She recently used her site to point out discrepancies in headlines about the pope's health.
Miami #1?

The new USA/ESPN College football poll is out and Miami is the preseason number one. Here is my prediction, Miami will lose to each of the three teams it is playing that are in the top ten--Florida State, Tennessee, and Florida. But what is more they will also lose at least one game in the Big East.

Thursday, August 1, 2002

This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God. The previous postings are available in the archives to the right. This the 66th step:

(66) Not to be jealous; not to entertain envy.

Perhaps the saddest of sins both of these arise from a failure to acknowledge and give thanks for tall the ways in which God has blessed us. Our focus is not on our own giftedness but rather on someone else. God has blessed us, and we are blessed right now. Looking at someone else as more blessed or focusing on their gifts as something that we want for ourselves is a waste of time.

This is especially true in the quest for sanctity. We do not become holy by becoming someone else. We become holy by being fully who God created us to be. Saints are as varied in their gifts as are people.

Knowing ourselves is not always self-evident. Many times everyone around us seems to know who we are better than we know ourselves. And often we know others better too and are able to admire the gifts that others possess more than the ones that we do ourselves. This is the crux of the problem.

Jealousy and envy should be treated in the same way we would treat a rash on our body--as an indication of a problem. The answer to jealousy and envy is to thank God also for the gifts that He has given to others. We need to look upon others not as a threat but as a blessing.

We need to thank God for the gifts that he has given us. Like the steward who took the gifts left with him by the master and multiplied them a hundredfold we need to focus on what God has given us and how it might benefit others. Our one goal should be that we use our gifts in accordance with His will.

Today is the Memorial of St. Alphonsus Ligouri

From the Office of Readings:

Since God knew that man is enticed by favours, he wished to bind him to his love by means of his gifts: “I want to catch men with the snares, those chains of love in which they allow themselves to be entrapped, so that they will love me”. And all the gifts which he bestowed on man were given to this end. He gave him a soul, made in his likeness, and endowed with memory, intellect and will; he gave him a body equipped with the senses; it was for him that he created heaven and earth and such an abundance of things. He made all these things out of love for man, so that all creation might serve man, and man in turn might love God out of gratitude for so many gifts.