Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Spirituality of the Married Life

I am reading My Life with the Saints by Fr. James Martin, S.J. It is a great book about his devotion to the saints, and as I read about Thérèse, I could feel the desire to be a saint, to which we are all called, rise within me. This feeling got even stronger as I read the next section on Thomas Merton.

The next day someone told me that Thérèse loved the country, so whenever she traveled through it she would put her head down, so that she would not see it and could offer that sacrifice. How often do I even think of making sacrifices like that? All of the examples I was reading made me start to think of all the things I could be doing as sacrifices. I don’t need cokes, TV, music, or even things like warm water for that matter. There are so many small non-necessities that I enjoy and could give up for more than just Lent.

As I was reading about Thomas Merton though, I realized something. The book mentioned how he “lived simply,” and I remembered St. Francis sleeping on a rock. The thought that popped into my mind was, “It would be much easier to be a saint if I wasn’t married.” I would be able to do crazy saint-like things like sleep on the floor and spend hours in contemplation. But as soon as I said that, it finally hit me, “But that isn’t my vocation!”

I have been called to marriage by God! He wants me to live this life and be holy doing it! I am not honoring his plan for me by dreaming about how to be holy in another life. Sure I could start to give up things, but that won’t make me holier. Instead if I tried to live that life, I would actually be sinning. My holiness is bound with self-giving to my wife and family. If I truly want to be a saint, I must dedicate myself to giving to her; doing more, not doing without. I am called to be a saint by taking care of my wife and children and making their lives better. It is amazing how simple it is to miss God in daily life. Our holiness does not come in doing grand things, but in simply doing our duty as well as we can and with his glory as the goal.

God lets me get to heaven by loving a beautiful woman? Indeed, what a God we have!
Own a piece of history folks.

Remember all those school buses that got flooded in New Orleans? You know, the ones that maybe should have been driving people away from the city. Would you like one?

Yes folks, they are on Ebay!

The best part is the questions to the seller.
Men Men Men Men!
Crazy Cat Terrorizes Connecticut Town! News at 11!

Maybe he will calm down, once his Compendium of the Catechism has arrived.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

We love Mary more than you!

For its 95th Anniversary the Arkansas Catholic created the "95 reasons we love being Catholic in Arkansas."

#90 - We have more St. Mary churches per capita than any other diocese.
Mmmmm, Gluttony!

Who wouldn't love the world's largest buffet, ever!

Too bad it's Lent.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Happy Feast Day!

This morning I stopped into the church at the Benedictine school where I teach. While the monks were saying their morning mass, I read the story of the Annunciation. At the exact moment I read Mary's Fiat, I heard the words of consecration. No I did not time it. It was a neat experience though, that forced me to realize what we are celebrating today.

Holy Mary Mother of God - Pray for us!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I love LOST

The only TV show that I really watch is LOST on ABC. My wife and I have been watching it from the get-go, and I have been amazed at the strong catechetical points in the show. (possible religious connections to movies, etc. Is a thing of mine. Expect posts on this pretty much every time I watch a movie.)

Last night's episode was great, and it wasn't just about any old every-day topic either. The whole episode was about marriage. Two of the castaways are married. One of the first scenes showed them entering the bedroom, but unlike many such scenes on TV, they made it very clear their intention was to get pregnant. They revealed this though by having the husband ask the wife, "Did you take your temperature?" Now this is just a guess, but I bet there was more than one person watching who heard this and said to themselves, "What does temperature have to do with getting pregnant?" Hello NFP! I think it is very possible that without realizing it the writers taught some viewers something about pregnancy they didn't know before. I mean, I didn't know that until I went to NFP classes.

That was just one thing I found interesting. As the show went on, it revealed more about the struggling marriage of Sun and Jin that has been the common theme of episodes about them. Yet, just like all the others, love perseveres. Again in contrast to what we might expect from TV, a married couple sticks it out and makes marriage work even when it is tough. It is such a refreshing site. I was actually cheering and applauding as I watched. I love this show! In this episode they did show her have a chance at an affair, but she assured her husband that she had always been faithful. Some are saying she lied, but I really, really hope the writers don't blow it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Open for business.

Welcome to Sirach 40:20! This blog is only a few weeks old, and although we have done our best to get it ready for the adoring public (a.k.a. the Church Militant, party people in the place to be, etc.), there is still much left to do. Please enjoy what is here, and look for many changes in the future. Also we welcome any suggestions you may have.

I tried to get a pretty thorough blogroll, but if I missed you just let me know.

For an explanation of the name Sirach 40:20, see our first post.

I would like to send a shout out to Fr. Stephen Hamilton at Catholic Ragemonkey for his guidance with the mission of our blog.

And if the Spirit moves you to add us to your blogroll, please do not get in his way!

Happy Feast of St. Benedict!

Yes, I know St. Benedict is on the Roman calendar for July 11, but today is the feast of his death, which is typically a saint's feast day. I teach at a Benedictine school, so this is a high feast here. (On a less Lent-worthy note we actually didn't have school today, and we got a great lunch!). I asked the Abbot why Benedict is on the calendar in July instead of on the day he died. The reason he gave is since it does fall in Lent, it was moved because the Church wanted to be able to celebrate it like only Catholics know how. Just for kicks, we celebrate today too! I love being Catholic!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Seeing how Jason set me up so well with his previous post, I thought it might be a good time to start my contributions with this article I published in a student magizine, Lumen Vincens, back in August. This is assuredly one of the great issues of our time, and will grow in greater and greater importance as the years go by. I have reprinted the article below with no alterations in the hope that our wide and learned readership might post some comments to help me refine it. The population data are mostly my own calculations from the CIA Factbook and US Census data.

Please, let me know what you think!

Procreate and Dominate

Many commentators on American, Western, and global conditions in the last twenty-five years have issued sharp pronouncements on the decline in culture, values, and morality visible everyday to concerned citizens and particularly to conscientious Catholics. Several of these have gone on to expose the lies of the current status quo as embodying an ideology which runs against the intrinsic nature of humanity, and have rightly declared it to be the Culture of Death. This philosophy of living, or, more accurately, not living, seeks to amputate man from his constituent parts: his body, his intellect, his soul, and his community. Contraceptive mentalities urge lovers to forsake the proper ends of union to seek selfish and divisive pleasure, employing the body as a subordinated instrument for that important but decidedly secondary end. This same action intends to place the mind or animus of an individual at the pinnacle of existence, while homosexual “unions” and cohabitation, besides other effects, both blatantly ignore the very real community-oriented aspects of marriage. Prophets of the age, embodied best in Pope John Paul II, have countered by illuminating the glories of the Culture of Life, and to their chorused voices let us add a harmony. If we are truly pursuing this ideal, then it’s time to take off the gloves and get in the game. In order to have a Culture of Live we need to have lives, and have them in bunches. Procreate and Dominate.

Now, this advice may seem simplistic or even crass, but take a look at the numbers. The outlook for the survival of the “Christian” West has been looking bleak for years, and never worse than now. Fertility rates in Europe and the West have plummeted in the last thirty years, and there is no longer a single country in Europe where citizens are having enough children to replace themselves when they die. The fertility rate (the total bundles of joy per woman) in France is 1.85, Greece 1.33, the United Kingdom 1.66, the European Union averages 1.47, well below the replacement rate of 2.1. Italy, with a rate of 1.28, the lowest ever recorded, has become the first country in history where people over 60 outnumber those under 20. By 2050, the home of the Eternal City will be one where 60% of its citizens will have no brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles or cousins. Even Poland, the homeland of JPII and a land where nine out of every ten people are Roman Catholic, produces only 1.39 stork sightings per female. The epidemic does not stop at the Pillars or the Dardanelles either, as Japan has fallen to 1.39, China to 1.72, and the United States at 2.08 is the highest of any wealthy nation.

These figures are staggering. Depressing, frankly. Projected out to 2100, these trends would reduce the population of Europe by 88 million persons, or 23% of the 2000 population. This decline, the outcome of countless factors and holding implications for countless more, cannot be ignored. Just look at the impact on Social Security in the US, forecast to be deficit spending in a dozen years, or the state of the welfare economies of Europe. I leave the economics to people more qualified, but if you have no workers you can’t pay pensions. More concerning, and yet strangely still hopeful, is the underlying cause of this trend that is denuding the human family of its future doctors, lawyers, painters, plumbers, priests and quarterbacks – the Culture of Death. Hopeful? How can it be hopeful? Because every plan conceived by the Enemy carries the very seeds of its destruction.

What does the Culture of Death fear more then all other things? Children. Families. The Love and the Joy shared between a man and a woman properly participating in the awesome creative act of the Creator Himself. This is our best weapon, a weapon we should wield as often as possible. We aren’t here to play nice. We aren’t here to be afraid. We aren’t here to go quietly in the night. We are here to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth and to fill it to overflowing with citizens. Overpopulation concerns? Developed land usage in the United States averages only 7.61% across the fifty states - there is plenty of room for all of us. Family planning decisions are to be made by families, not governments. Besides, those poor souls lost in the contraceptive mentality are, more then likely, not going to replace themselves anyway, so Lifers need to be ready to replace not only themselves but their unenlightened neighbors as well. Hello pro-life majority. Hello Social Security solvency. Hello Hope. We out produce them, we keep those we produce, we win.

During His time here on Earth, Christ spoke of the “coming of the Kingdom,” and implied that the faithful would have both the ability and the responsibility to make it happen. In my humble opinion, His message is clear: World domination. What is left to the faithful then, is to find the way most suited to the accomplishment of that goal within Divine Providence. Need we look further then Genesis? The very first book of the bible in its first chapter tells man to “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.” Translation: have a whole bunch of fruits and conquer the world. I do not ask you to take a pledge or sign a petition, but rather to understand that you are a necessary soldier in a conflict for the soul of a civilization and a tradition that are fading, and there are all kinds of one, two, three, and four year old ways you can help the cause. If you’re not picketing, you better be producing.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Oh yes, one day we will take over the world!

It's amazing how this works! If you don't have kids, your way of life will die out. Here are a few highlights from this article:

The greatly expanded childless segment of contemporary society, whose members are drawn disproportionately from the feminist and countercultural movements of the 1960s and '70s, will leave no genetic legacy. Nor will their emotional or psychological influence on the next generation compare with that of people who did raise children.

This dynamic helps explain the gradual drift of American culture toward religious fundamentalism and social conservatism. Among states that voted for President Bush in 2004, the average fertility rate is more than 11% higher than the rate of states for Sen. John Kerry'

To be sure, some members of the rising generation may reject their parents' values, as often happens. But when they look for fellow secularists with whom to make common cause, they will find that most of their would-be fellow travelers were quite literally never born.

Shout out to Shrine of the Holy Whapping for posting on this first.
I sure wish our society could find new words when sacred concepts are destroyed.

This is not monogamy. I personally feel very disrespected in my marriage when people claim this lifestyle is the same as the one my wife and I live. I actually feel the same way when married sex and umarried sex get nonchalantly grouped together as the same thing.

This article just shows how our world has accepted not excelling. The mentality is, living up to the highest standards is too hard, so let's lower the standards. Oh, how could I possibly bear the effort needed to make myself a better person!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Reason #1 why I like Arkansas.

I was born and raised in Arkansas, though unlike most of my high school friends I actually left for a time. Now that I am back here and a few years older, I realize how much I do like it here. A recurring theme for posts of mine will be reasons why I like Arkansas.

Reason #1: we have the only open-to-the-public diamond mine in the world.
Another chapter in "What is our world coming to?"

This would be a terrible destruction of many things we hold dear. I certainly hope it doesn't get passed, but if it did it would be furious. Although it wouldn't really affect Catholic schools, this same line of thought could damage our understanding of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as well as Mary our Mother and Holy Mother Church. This pressure to be politically correct is actually a problem that was warned against in 2001 by the USCCB committee to oversee the use of the Catechism. Pray against this please! Now I would right more, but I need to go call my parental unit.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Friday, March 10, 2006

La mujer no es un objeto!
This could be a step in the right direction.

If this does eventually become a big issue, society would of course have to address another aspect of it: What if the mother wants an abortion, but the father does not? If he can decide to not help the baby when the mother does want to help, then should he not be able to help the baby when the mother does not?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Willkommen, to the most "soul pleasing" blog on the web!

Welcome to Sirach 40:20! I would like to use this first post to explain a little bit about this blog. I’m sure the first question you have is, “Why Sirach 40:20?”

“Wine and music please the soul, but better than either, conjugal love.” – Sirach 40:20

We will make it a point to post on the experiences of young married Catholics living the faith in the modern world. In contrast to the distortion of marriage and sexuality in our world, this verse opens to us the overwhelming beauty of marriage in God’s eyes.

We hope that you will enjoy anything you get from this blog now and in the future.