Archive for March 2009

PASSION WEEK HAS BEGUN

March 31, 2009

abraham-looking-at-stars

It is the week of Passion Sunday.

I am still surprised at what I found on a list of Search engine results.   People who should search-screenknow better confuse Passion Sunday with Palm Sunday!   It’s running about 99% of people are combining those two Sundays together.  How can you understand the Double-Layered meaning of Palm Sunday if you don’t have a decent Passion Sunday?

In Sunday’s Gospel – the Gospel of Passion Sunday – we heard “Before Abraham was, I AM.”     These are the words of Jesus, identifying Himself with the God of Abraham.

Furthermore, to make matters worse for Himself, He also says, “Abraham longed to see my day.”    Here He is also identifying Himself with the Promise made to Abraham, that through Abraham (and his descendants) all the nations of the world would be blessed.  Blessed!   Saved from sin and made whole again!    All nations!   All humans! 

That is, through the line of Abraham the Redeemer of the World would come.  The religious leaders knew this.     They became very angry upon hearing these words of Jesus.   There could be only death for a man who made a public claim like this.

arrest-of-jesus1This is not just a “wanting” to put Him to death.   This is planning the actual deed.  (Of course, it is God’s Almighty will that is working through the religious leaders, through the emotional mobs, and through the officials of the Empire.)  But it is death for Jesus now.

And so the Church directs our meditations during these days to the impending Suffering and Death of Jesus.   The darkness is falling;  it is time to meditate on the Passion.   It is the week of Passion Sunday.

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FRIDAY Attitude Adjustment

March 27, 2009

cross-etchingSometimes the end of the week brings…just…relief.   It may be a busy week, a tiring week, a week with too many things that demanded our energy and attention;   it may be a week of  good things and difficult things, all the things that came our way.   And then we’re just exhausted.   

Exhausted is what any “fighter” feels eventually, if he has “fought the good fight.”

“Take up thy cross and follow Me….”      Our crosses are made of a lot of things that demand our energy and attention.   That’s the way of it.

Cat Ball – With Appendages

March 24, 2009

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Cat ball.

 

 

suzy-cat-ball-w-appendage

Cat ball with appendages.

 

She heard me.   I got an ear and a leg.    She might be deep into her power nap, but I’m never far from her mind.   A gentle presence is all she needed.   She’s not going to stop what she’s doing, but that’s okay.   She had a hard day, and I just wanted her to know I’m near.

God comes to us like that, a gentle Presence, just so we know He’s near.   He usually won’t break into our lives or break us just to “make” us do His will.   Isaiah 42:3 – “The bruised reed He shall not break;  the smoking flax He shall not quench.  He shall bring forth judgment according to truth.”

He’ll gently tell us what He wishes to  bring forth in our lives.   All He wants is an ear and a leg . . .

Suzy knows this.

 

 

LAETARE SUNDAY: HE FLED!

March 22, 2009

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“He came unto His own, and His own…” either received Him not, or some of His own wanted Him dead, and in today’s Gospel, some of His own wanted to “take Him by force and make Him king.”

That is, there is always that group of people who would like to “force” the Truth into their own mold and create their own version of Jesus.

And so what did He do?      He fled….”fugit iterum in montem…”    The “fugit” is to flee, to run away from, to take flight from, to shun.   It’s not just “he took himself away” or “he withdrew from” or “he departed again.”   These modern versions lose the depth of the meaning given to us by the word “fugit” because to flee means to get away from something – right quick!

What did Jesus want to get away from?    He fled from the distortion of the Truth about Himself.   He is not fleeing away for fear some harm will be done to Himself, but rather He is fleeing away before the people can do real harm to themselves and to their souls by carrying out their mistaken ideas about His reason for being there.

Perhaps some of those whom He fled from took  a step back and wondered: “We have such good ideas about this Man!   Now, why wouldn’t He be pleased that we will make Him a king?”  

Jesus is up  in these mountains for a while.     We hear so much about “God is close to us” and “Jesus is by our side,”  but then we have to consider that although when we call upon Him, He will draw near,  if we just “call Him over” to us,   with all our ideas about what He’ s going to do for us, then rather than approach, Jesus may “flee” from us, for our own good, until we beseech Him on bended knee, as our True King.

Laetare Sunday today!   How we should thank Him for wanting to give us the True Bread of Life, and not just “plenty of bread” in this life.

CHANGE AND LIGHT

March 21, 2009

sun-in-new-places

NEW LIGHT FOR THIS NEW SEASON

I’ve never paid much attention to how the light changes in our home from season to season, but this bright bar of light caught my attention yesterday.  It was not there before, but it is there now because of the recent time change and because of the change of season.   Those two changes brought this beautiful light into our home.

I keep working over in my mind the two concepts of light and change.

Change can bring less light, of course.   But fundamentally, for Christians,  Christ is our Light.   Every Sunday, before we leave church, the Last Gospel is read to us and we hear these words:   “In Him was life and the life was the Light of men. . .That was the True Light which enlightens every man that comes into the world….”   (John 1:4…9)

So for a Christian, to live is to live in that Light and to grow and change and become more and more spiritually conformed to the Light Who is Christ.   And, for a Christian, to die is to change from living here in semi-darkness to being welcomed into the fullness of Light.  (As we hope for our friend who died this week.)

suzy-furball-gatheringSuzy has an instinct for these things.  We’ve just spent a frustrating few days this week as she led me from room to room asking me if I’d put the sunshine back in the places where she expected it to be.  She spent an hour one day looking pathetic and abused, sitting in a tiny patch of sunlight which mostly extended at an angle under the bed.  Well, she found some here in this photo (which also illustrates where those  inevitable hairballs come from. )    Light is important to her.

Today our Faith directs us to remember and learn from St. Benedict.  It is the anniversary of his “change” into the realm of Light.   He was the servant of Christ and great mind who even the secular historians credit with laying the foundations for Western Civilization in Europe – based upon Christian principles.  Many people still read daily his prescriptions for living a life of faith and common sense and balance which will best foster our spiritual growth.  

Somewhere in his Rule 4 he tells us to “keep death daily before our eyes”  and the measure of our preparedness for death is the measure of our openness to change.  We sometimes fear change because we are really fearing our readiness for death.  There is much more wisdom there, but enough here.   His Rule is freely available on the Internet for anyone interested to learn from him.

Living is change.   Death is a change.    Just be sure to follow the Light as we change.

A SECOND LOOK AT THE TUNNEL

March 20, 2009

spruce-tunnel-long-view

I thought I’d take a second look at the Tunnel today.   Something my husband pointed out when he saw the first posted photo of the Spruce Tunnel.    Ever quick-with-the-wit, he said, “Oh, look, there’s light at the end of your tunnel!”

Well, yes, there is.   Sometimes it can get dark in there, and I like that dark, close feeling even though I know it’s a sunny day “some place.”    Soon, the pathway will be muddy in the Spring, and it will feel even darker in the middle of the Tunnel.

A lady in our Friday Bible Study died yesterday.    She had been ill, but no one seemed to expect this.   Not this time.   Not yet.   But there will be no more “next time” with her again.   She will always be a part of us, of course,  not merely in memory, but, even more  so, she and we  are part of the Communion of Saints and we can – and must – offer up prayers and intercessions for each other. 

It’s just that we, here,  are still walking through the dark part of the Spruce Tunnel….and… see that “light at the end of the Tunnel”  that my husband talked about?    She is there, on up ahead of us.

“We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face.  Now I know in part;  but then I shall know even as I am known.”    I Corinthians 13:12     St. Paul has gone on through life ahead of  all of us.   He knew we wouldn’t know everything until the end of our Tunnel.

FRIDAYS, FOR THIS

March 20, 2009

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We sang this hymn last Sunday.  After all the prayers were said, after the final blessing, when we were all subdued and sweetly filled with the Communion we had just had with Our Dear Lord, and no one really wanted to get up and leave, then the organ began to quietly lead us into this old hymn:  “O Sacred Head Surrounded…”    Words of the third stanza, good for a Friday:

In this Thy bitter Passion,  

Good Shepherd think of me.                                            

With Thy most sweet compassion,

Unworthy though I be.      

 Beneath Thy Cross abiding

Forever would I rest.                                                

In Thy dear love confiding

And with Thy Presence blest.

JOSEPH, NOBLE PRINCE

March 19, 2009

dream_of_st_joseph

To my Viking ancestors, whom I promised I would address in this blog,  what did it feel like to turn from a life of fierce independence and loyalty to your chieftan who in turn was submissive to no king,  to a life of submission to Jesus, King of Kings,  Who-Alone gives true freedom and dignity to each human person, equally?

Did the example of St. Joseph help you make that transition?

In accepting the role of Prince of the Home in Nazareth, Joseph chooses a life of obedience to the will of God. 

With a little supernatural help (see Rembrandt, above) , St. Joseph chooses to be responsible for the welfare and protection of the Holy Family, of which he becomes a part.  In obedience and submission and in humility and purity of heart, he becomes Prince of this Holy Family, loving, guarding, guiding.

There is an old saying that “a man’s home is his castle.”      That makes him “king.”   That is too much to ask of  every man.

I think a better model for a Christian home would be St. Joseph, true prince in his home,  but humble and submissive before his King.

We need to re-discover the lessons his life has for us.    All of us – obedient, humble, and noble.     Then maybe we too can make the transition to a true Christian Culture.

HURRAH FOR THE PROTESTERS!

March 18, 2009

shamrock

Hurrah for the Protesters, I say!

I think if we are not fearful of challenges, but rather are prepared to meet whatever may come our way, then our minds will be free to see more of what’s in front of us – the Good, the Bad, and the Funny!

Today I heard a brief segment of news which reported a tiny, tiny group of people who are protesting the use of the name St. Patrick’s Day for yesterday’s celebrations. Too religious, they say! We who are offended by religion suggest that we call March 17 by another name: Shamrock Day!!!!!

Well, I say wonderful! It takes a bit of effort to learn enough of the man whom we call St. Patrick so that we know why he is held in such high esteem.

On the other hand, no effort at all is required to learn to associate the shamrock with our Living Triune God – One God in Three Persons. The shamrock, a common three-leaf clover, is a simple yet profound illustration of what a “triune being” is. Even a child can learn the association.

Apparently these protesters don’t realize that St. Patrick isn’t remembered for the green vegetation of Ireland, but he is remembered for choosing the shamrock to teach one of the basic doctrines of the Faith.

Let them elevate March 17 to Shamrock Day!

Maybe people will start to wonder: “Why a shamrock?”

And then we can step forward, being well prepared. (I Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asks you a reason for that hope which is in you. )

 

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HAPPY ST. PATRICK

March 17, 2009

suzy-st-pat-searchg

In search of more greenery,  Suzy wears a green shamrock necklace in honor of St. Patrick, who found his own “spruce tunnel” of solitude among the misty skies and green rolling hills of  the Emerald Isle.

St. Patrick did not go in search of these green hills.   In fact, as a young man of 16 years he was captured and thrust rather abruptly  into Ireland.   Coming from a fairly well-off life of  the young heir of a noble and Christian family of Britain,  he was enslaved by pagan Irish warriors and sent to tend the flocks of his new master in County Antrim (today), Ireland.

With no companionship, little food, little shelter, little comfort, he spent years by himself tending  the sheep.     Six years alone.

And yet – not alone.   Here are his own words, written after this experience:  “. . .the love of God and of His fear increased in me more and more, and the spirit was aroused, so that in a single day I have said as many as a hundred prayers, and in the night nearly the same, so that whilst in the woods or on the mountain, even before the dawn, I was roused to prayer and felt no hurt from it, whether there was snow or ice or rain;  nor was there any slothfulness in me as I see now, because the spirit was then fervent in me.”

The great saint saw “slothfulness” in himself while he worked so hard in his later years as missionary, combating the errors of Pelagius in England with his great intellect and converting the Druids to Christianity, writing, organizing, civiliizing , educating the Irish chieftans and their people?

suzy-st-pat-warming

Here is Suzy being “slothful.”   Or maybe just warming herself over the heat vent, contemplating peacefully.   This is an activity that produced the fervency of spirit that St. Patick wrote of, that strengthened his faith and prepared him for his coming fruitful life.

I think it is a necessary activity for everyone who claims to have faith in God and to know Him.    It is only in silence, rest, and contemplation that we can allow God to teach us the sense of our lives and to prepare us for what He has planned for us in the time He will yet give us.

Thanks, Suze, for your reminder; this is what formed the faith and joy of St. Patrick too.  Happy was St. Patrick!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

(Information about St. Patrick from his “Confessio”  as quoted in the Catholic encyclopedia, volume 11, 1913)

GOOD FOR NOTHING

March 17, 2009

spruce-looking-up

This is the time of the year that is good for nothing.
The snow is gone, not much hope of skiing anymore. It’s not winter enough for winter sports and walks in the winter beauty. It’s not time for all the busy summer activities.

It’s just nothing right now.

So it’s a good time to go out into the Spruce Tunnel and see what’s there.

No snow. Not much color. No change in the trees or the brown underbrush yet.

No place to look…..but up.  Up through the silent trees, into the endless sky.   Nothing, nothing, nothing else.

We are told that this time of year, this season of Lent, is a good time to eat less, to indulge ourselves less, to do less.   A good time to retreat inwardly, examine ourselves, see what needs to be brought to God for cleansing and healing and renewal. To do this, we can retreat to our own individual Spruce Tunnels, and where there is nothing else going on, we can look up into the silence where we can meet the God who is with us.

Even Pope Benedict has said to use this time to have more silence. “During this Lenten time, I urge you all to find prolonged moments of silence….in order to review your lives in the light of the loving plan of our Heavenly Father.”

It really is a good time for “nothing.”

 

 

100 MILE MARKER

March 15, 2009

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I play a game on my way back from church. If I fill up my tank with gas on Saturday night, set the odometer to zero, drive home, drive to church on Sunday afternoon, then, when I’m returning home I pass the 100 mile marker on the Interstate just as my odometer is changing over to 100.

Silly game. Takes the sting out of having to make about a 110 mile round trip to go to church each week.

I just wrote a post about being “in the right park” and then you can meet the choices and challenges with confidence. I’m very sure that I’m driving to the “right park” each Sunday, and it’s very much worth it.

There could be some closer, but I find there are fewer and fewer places that retain what it is St. Paul was getting at in 2 Thessalonians 2:14 – Itaque, fratres, state; et tenete traditiones, quas didicistis, sive per sermonem, sive per epistolam nostram.

If you don’t have the language of the Church yet, it’s the verse that starts out: Therefore, brethren, STAND FAST! HOLD ON TO THE TRADITIONS, whether oral (tradition) or written (tradition; i.e., epistles, some of which became canon).

Sorry to shout in those caps, but STAND FAST and HOLD ON — We were given the Deposit of Faith. What if some “modern” generation of, say, a thousand years ago decided to tinker with the traditions a little; update them a little. Make our teachings more in line with….their experiences. We wouldn’t have the same Christian Faith anymore.

And if we do it in the 20th century or the 21st century, the next generation won’t have the Christian Faith exactly right either.

STAND FAST! HOLD ON! Even if you have to drive 110 miles, I guess.

 

ONE WAY OR THE OTHER

March 13, 2009

signage-bigger

You CAN get there from here!      See the arrows?   This sign always makes me smile.

Two-way skis required? No. Just two ways to where I’m going, but I will experience different things according to how I choose.

Once I’m in the right park and I know that the true “White Spruce Tunnel” is at the center, then all is well. There is a lot of room in here and a lot of choices that I am free to make; and all the helpful aids and signs that I would need along the way — with astonishingly delightful surprises!

Honestly, that is an exact metaphor for why I am in the Church.

Only one “park” has the “Center” I’m looking for.

 

CACOPHONY

March 12, 2009

  

No photo this time. I’m writing about invisible sounds and feelings.

A cacophony is a disordered confusion of sounds coming from many sources, each self-referencing and insistent and discordant. It is annoying, unsettling, intrusive, and usually loud.

The etymology is two Greek words: bad ( evil) + voice.   Not a good thing.

In class this week we were studying the Dedication of Solomon’s Temple.

I wanted to bring out for the class the sense of fearful awe as the Glory of God filled the Temple and became visible in the form of a cloud of Light and powerful glowing holiness. So strong was this awesome Glory of God that the priests had to flee the Temple and could not perform duties there.

People prostrated themselves and worshiped in profound silence and wonderment. Keen attention was focused onto the emanations of Glory coming out from the Temple.

After a bit, King Solomon, glorious and righteous in his own right, then put words to what everyone was experiencing as he led the people in praise and adoration, exalting God-Most-High and humbly offering the Temple and all the people and all their sacrifices in a mighty act of consecration. III Kings, chapter 8

Someone in class then remarked that with the people singing and shouting praises accompanied by musical instruments of all kinds, string, percussion, and even “120 trumpets” blown by priests, it must have sounded like….chaos!

And it’s true! Tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of voices and instruments raised in triumphant praise to God! It could have been deafening, and oh, so exhilarating to be among them!

But what a contrast with the initial experience of God’s close Presence.    “But the Lord is in His holy Temple; let the whole earth keep silence before him!” Habacuc 2:20

And one more contrast. And even more glorious King than Solomon walked in the courts of the Temple ten centuries later. And what did He see and hear?

Not the hushed silence of thousands of souls in the presence of their God.      Not the sounds of praise and worship from thousands of voices all directed to the same Purpose.

When Jesus entered the Temple at the beginning of His last week on Earth,  He heard thousands of voices crying out with no particular focus, each voice referencing its own needs and intentions, people criss-crossing the Temple courts, coming and going, losing and seeking, buying and selling.

They were a noisy people who were busy, distracted, purposeless, driven by daily physical needs and the appointments on their calendars.   The powerful holy presence of Almighty God nearby no longer captured the attention of God’s own people. (with a few exceptions, of course)

So many thousands of people at the Temple. It must have sounded like a cacophony to the Lord’s ears.

The Word of God listening to the words of His people.

SUZY THE REGULATOR

March 10, 2009

suzy-in-am-back-off

This is the first thing I see on most mornings.

If you can’t make it out, I have a hard time making it out in the morning too, but it is the beautiful profile of Suzy the Regulator. Oh, yes, it’s her duty to keep us well-regulated, neat and orderly, and above all, on schedule.

It takes me a while to call her “beautiful” in the morning.

I have never been a Morning Person. I know that can be a lame excuse; it can be. But after a quite a few decades of experience, I know beyond a doubt that it is physiological.

After years of “practice” getting up early for all the years of schooling and after getting up early for all the years of teaching and of “jobs outside of the family” — you never “get used to it.”     There is “discipline” but there is not change.    Assisting at Prime is about as disciplined as I can get.

I know I’m far more productive the way I am. I don’t have a mid-morning slump. I never have the need for a mid-afternoon nap. I never have an early evening winding down. A graph of my daily activity looks like a slow, gentle climb upwards – all day long and far into the night, where I lie down because it’s the decent thing to do at one or two in the morning.

Which brings us quickly to the above photo. At the first lying down in the early morning hours, there is a gentle massaging of my collar bone, neck, chin, ears…whatever is ticklish and sensitive. Kitty love. A few hours later, the process is repeated, I think, with claws included this time. And wet spots on the chin, ears, neck, and cheekbones. That’s my impression anyway; I’m not quite awake.

Then after a few “huffs” of disgust and when all is still and quiet again, I awaken to a gentle weight, roughly distributed between clavicle and sternum, about the weight of a bag of flour. Not too bad really. Breathing is possible.

And when I finally open my eyes, the above photo is what I see – on one of these gentle mornings.   I am gifted with friendship, and the morning isn’t quite so bad anymore.

Deo gratias.

 

GIFT TO AN INFANT DAUGHTER

March 8, 2009

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There will be a blog for the Bible studies soon. Just have to check with a few people on that first. The Bible study blog will be for times like this, when I have one of those “brilliant” ideas — and then I fail to follow through with the point I was trying to make.

In Tuesday’s class we are “building Solomon’s Temple.” But there are many things they knew and understood in ancient Israel that we, in this century, no longer have experience with.

What Solomon’s Temple was for and so therefore what it was trying to present is found in places like Isaiah 6:1-7; and Apocalypse (Revelation) chapter 4; in Exodus, chapters 25-27, and in the entire book of Wisdom.   The significance for us today is, of course, in Hebrews 8.

The materials that were used for the Temple, as well as the size and proportions and the furnishings and structures inside, their orientations to each other and to the Earth, the objects and utensils and garments — all this was the best we humans could do to imitate what was glimpsed in those Bible passages above.

Gold was used everywhere, silver, brass, precious gemstones, pearls, threads of every color, the finest stone, and the finest wood. Each of these precious materials have a luster of their own that they can then reflect outwards into the Temple. All this material was freely contributed by both Jew and Gentile to the Kingdom of Israel for this beautiful and Holy Temple that God deigned to call His House.

I am not a person of much gold and jewels or costly anything.

However, just after I was born, my parents gave to me a lovely infant’s pearl necklace. It wasn’t a big part of my life as I grew up, but when I became an adult I was glad to receive it into my own keeping. It was a token of my parents’ love and their esteem for me as a daughter. I didn’t quite realize it then; I feel the truth of it now. They honored me because I was their baby daughter.

This is all so rare, I think. But these “real pearls” and the giving of the pearls and the receiving of the pearls help me begin to understand what was going on in the giving of all those precious “real” items — the “genuine article” as we say today — to God-Most-High in the days of Solomon.

GUARDRAILS

March 7, 2009

spruce-guardrails

Here is a photo that is replete with lessons; but I’m not going to write any of them.
Just before you enter the Spruce Tunnel you are on a curved pathway which looks out over a wooded floodplain which is about 15 or 20 feet lower than the path. This is quite a nice view because the forest opens up and allows your eyes to see further and take in a larger world. As a matter of fact, the panoramic view commands your attention, and if you’re coming round the curve on skis – and having a great time – I can see why…well, you might need some guardrails.

The first time I saw this “fence” I thought, good grief, they think skiers and hikers need guardrails to keep them safe! Why do we live in such a society which sees danger (and lawsuits) around every corner? (Do we really need our boundaries so well delineated that we don’t “fall” out of where we’re supposed to be?)

The second time around the “Spruce Tunnel Road” it struck me as absolutely amusing, and I was smiling to myself at all the funny scenes I could imagine as a skier confronted the drop-off. Cartoon-like scenes.

The third time around I thought as long as I have to deal with the reality of the guardrails, and as long as I’m probably not going to be flying off into the air (you don’t get hurt in cartoon-scenes), I might as well stop for a moment and observe what’s actually out there that I ought not to go skiing in.

It’s not all bad out there. Deer trails; an amazing variety of trees and bushes; graceful curving drifts of snow contrasting with the dark points and angles of winter brush sticking up at all angles; the experience of monotone – Nature in winter is sometimes shades of all one color, unlike other seasons of the year. There was also evidence of actual floods: broken and damaged bits and pieces of trees swept away by the currents they have to endure sometimes. Sometimes even the biggest trees endure the flood currents – unsuccessfully. There was a very large tree on its side. I tried to estimate its length and got to maybe 75 to 100 feet long on just its trunk. Its roots could have made a small forest cabin for someone.

So on this third time around I saw a lot of things out there that were very unlike the path I should be going down. Those guardrails were a dividing line.

 

 

WHAT’S A FRIDAY FOR?

March 6, 2009

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For a day of penance, quiet meditation, and introspection a Friday can sure be a busy day, if we’re not careful! How so? Because Fridays are not just left up to us to acknowledge the day Christ died for us and to have good intentions to reform our lives. There are things to do!

Why keep thinking of Good Friday week after week?

St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians that when he came to them, he was determined to preach nothing but Christ crucified. When he wrote to the Galatians, he reminded them that he held up the image of Christ crucified before their eyes.

The only work of our atonement comes through Christ crucified.

Our only hope of salvation and peace with God comes through Christ crucified.

It’s a big subject. Big and wide and very deep. In a sense we must keep this always on our minds, every day. We can think about it, meditate on it. To help us articulate our thoughts, our daily prayers include psalms and a formal expression of our Fault, and a plea for mercy for our sins, and then a formal Act of Contrition. Every day we can practice our casual, personal thoughts all the way up to the best models of human thinking on Our Dear Lord’s death.

 But Fridays in particular are to be used — especially carefully — to unite ourselves to Christ in His Passion. It is for us Christians a day of penance. To make a day of penance become real to us, it is not left up to our own good feelings and intentions about it. It is a day for abstinence and of special extra devotions that will help us to unite ourselves to Christ and a day for any of the special devotions that will help us do this.

Fridays are a day of disciplined devotion for us. When we look up at the Cross, if He is Lord to us, we just know we can’t be self-directed in all the things we do. Others have gone before us who can teach us so much.

Fridays are days of penance…..As we have been taught.

SMART BIRD

March 5, 2009

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 We saw this little guy out our back window.   He’s back!   And he’s waiting for Spring to arrive.

How nice to live in an orderly, objectively knowable world.

Planting, Growing, Harvesting, Rest

Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter

Can you say that was deliberately designed —  an ecology that works perfectly to sustain the living things on this beautiful planet?       I mean, the very molecules that make up the plant life are the same ones that humans and all the animal life needs to keep  strong and healthy.

As they say,  a thousand monkeys set at typewriters with 14 billion years or so to produce an encyclopedia?    Objectively speaking, according to  statistics, 14 trillion years wouldn’t be enough for that to happen.

I wouldn’t want to live in a world that has jumbled-up letters for an  encyclopedic guide for living. 

Nice to have discoverable principles of natural law in this world we live in.

This little cardinal knows them in his heart.

 

 
 

 

ALL THESE

March 3, 2009

earth-globe-300

Our beautiful Earth.   The planet we live on.   It’s so precious to us.  It contains all the things in this life that we hold dear.   And it contains the “world” that we live in.

What is our portion of it?  If we look down on that blue planet, we would be a tiny microscopic shining speck of life.   Our  own share of the everyday world we live in wouldn’t extend too much further out from us.

And yet we find ALL THESE things of our world so precious!   We don’t want to die, we don’t want to leave it all behind, and often we want even more of this.

In the Gospel Reading appointed for the First Sunday of Lent Jesus was offered the world and its glories and kingdoms  and riches.   He was offered ALL THESE.    “All these I will give you,” the tempter says, ” if you will fall down and worship me.”     (Matthew 4:9)

No argument from Jesus!     The tempter, the god of this world, could have given to Him “all these things.”    So who owns this present world?

And what was he going to trade it for?   One soul, he thought.   Just one microscopic shining speck on this planet.   And that’s how little the tempter values our whole planet.   He doesn’t care about this planet and all the good things that we see in this world.

 One soul was the thing he wanted.  All our souls, actually, one at a time.

Because, you see, he knows that if he can get one soul to desire the world or anything in it, then he’s got that soul;  he’s ruined that soul; and that soul isn’t going to have anything at all except its own ruin and destruction.

Then the tempter can move on to someone else with the same offer:  I can give you  ALL THESE  if you turn your back on Jesus and fall down and worship me.

No.