Sunday, April 30, 2006
Saturday, April 29, 2006
For me they seem to be gently waving.
The pictures are used to test the level of stress a person can handle. The slower the pictures move, the better your ability of handling stress. Alleged criminals that were tested see them spinning around madly; however, senior citizens and kids often see them standing still.
I don't know if I buy that or not, but it is interesting how they move.
They are of course actually perfectly still.
Friday, April 28, 2006
St. Peter Chanel - Pray for us!
Today is the feast of St. Peter Chanel. He is probably my favorite little known saint. He was a priest of the Society of Mary and the first martyr of
“The more we study the human heart, the more deeply we are convinced that there are sparks of virtue in the most depraved souls.”
“Whether they kill me or not, the Faith has been planted in the island. It will lose nothing by my death because it is not the work of man, but of God.”
From the investigation for his canonization:
“A man truly apostolic, who, saying good-bye to every joy and honor the world could offer, refusing to be held by his love for his mother, his friends or his country, devoted himself for the sake of eternal life to all that religion holds up as most sublime and most difficult. He allowed no labor to frighten, nor adversity to dishearten him. Danger, suffering, contradiction, and bodily weakness never for one moment discouraged him. He bent every energy to the gaining for Jesus Christ, by the light of the Gospel, souls seated in darkness and in the shadow of death. He worked like a good soldier and his reward did not fail him. In short, he merited the grace to seal with his blood the faith which had preached.”
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
This is rather old news, but here are two links to some Gospel of Judas nonsense.
This first one is the secular news coverage
And here's the Papal Preacher's response, pure gold.
If anyone has found a link to the actual text of this, please let us know.
I posted on this recently, and although we won't know for a while yet, what is to come of it, Catholic Ragemonkey has a good post on it. Also, since I gave you a link to a Reuters article earlier, here is a Catholic one from Catholic Online.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Who among us has watched a show like LOST or read a book like Lord of the Flies and didn't start imagining what we would have done in similar circumstances? Well, I hope that some other people do, because I do it all the time. I start imagining how I would present my brilliant survival plan, work it out, and lead the group to first survive and then thrive in our exile. (I hope no one imagines their leadership ending in failure and death...that would be pretty depressing.)
One of my favorite things about LOST is that there are people in the group who, either most of the time or on occasions, simply refuse to be led. They don't have a problem with you, or your plan, or with you being the leader - they just don't want a leader at all. This came as a real shock to me when I realized it...what do you do with people like that? For LOST at least, it seems like the answer is, well, to do nothing with them. They actually let adults make their own choices and suffer their own consequences. Those who are current with the show (those who aren't may want to skip this...) know that Michael has just returned from his search for Walt, and I really liked how they let the guy go. They did what they could, but at the end of the day it was his choice and he made it. It also appears that he is suffering for it, but we'll have to find out tomorrow.
Just letting people do what they wanted...maybe that's a luxury that a smaller group, like Anna Lucia's, wouldn't have, or one in desperate circumstances, but it certainly seems to be a better way. I see it often in myself and others who are in leadership positions that we feel like we know better in all kinds of things that really aren't our business at all. Our advice is always oh so relevant, so helpful, how could anyone not take it? At best the offended person tells us nicely to mind our own business, at worst we either cripple the person to make their own decisions if this happens often or we lose the relationship.
True authority only functions within its proper boundries, and Christians especially would do well to wish our brothers and sisters well and leave them to make their own decisions except when we're asked for counsel.
Monday, April 24, 2006
NBC Nightly News ran a story tonight that reported that the pope has asked for a study to be done regarding the effect of condoms in the fight against AIDS (although it isn't up on their site yet, which is why you get a Reuters link). They, as you would guess, make it seem that the Pope is going to change Church teaching and allow it. I, as you would also guess, find this hard to believe. It seems that this is all stemming from Cardinal Martini's recent comments on this and other life issues. His view is that contraception is the "lesser evil" compared to death through AIDS. "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?" How is earthly death a lesser evil than spiritual death? Sure, I would rather spend 80 years here and eternity in torment than 40 years here and eternity in paradise, but hey, who wouldn't?
Wouldn't it be amazing to live in a world that strives for no evil rather than lesser evil?
Steve and I have both posted on this before (read it here and here). There is a trend in America and the world that those who choose not to be Pro-life are not reproducing enough to keep their ideologies popular. What this means is that eventually their few children will politically be up against hordes of children from Pro-life familes. The Comics section of yesterday's paper revealed that the other side is starting to notice this trend too. Check out yesterday's Doonesbury strip.
(And no, I am definitely not promoting the cartoon or its message, this is just food for thought.)
I just wanted to point out something you may have noticed. I do most of my posting during the week. This is because I have high-speed at work, but not at home, so expect more from me during the week.
Thanks again to all of our readers, though there aren't many of you yet. Please keep reading, please comment so we know you are still out there, and tell your friends. Rome wasn't built in a day, and obviously if two nobodies start writing on the internet everybody should read it.
Friday, April 21, 2006
This is the commentary that God’s Word Today printed on Good Friday. I really wanted to share this with everyone, because this was such an important part of my realization of what marriage truly is. A true understanding of “love is a choice” is something that every married person must understand in order to have a truly happy marriage. If we try to love our spouses on emotion alone, we will be very empty very quickly. Enjoy.
1 Corinthians 13:13
“So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Some commentators have suggested that chapter 13 of First Corinthians is a digression in Paul’s argument. It is, in fact, its center. This hymn to love is the foundation of Paul’s’ major theme: the unity of the community. If the church is the Body of Christ, love is its blood, its breath, its life.
It should be clear that love is not a feeling for Paul. It is a choice to live in a particular way. It is a choice to be patient, kind, not envious, not rude – in short to be all the qualities which Paul describes (13:4-7). Why are such choices necessary? It is only when we make them, when we choose to place the needs of others above our own, that we can live in union with each other. When we live centered only on ourselves, we cannot be one.
This passage reveals the inevitable logic of Paul’s vision. Unless we love, there will be divisions among us. If there are divisions, we cannot be Christ’s body. If we are not Christ’s body, we have no union with him and no part in his coming triumph over evil. Separated from Christ, there is no good news in which we can share. This is why we are nothing without love.
Although this passage is often used at marriage celebrations to express the passionate attraction between bride and groom, its import extends far beyond romantic love. True love is the decision to give first priority to what will bind us together and thereby build the kingdom of God. The love of which Paul speaks is not about being swept off our feet but rather laying down our lives.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
This is a question that we have all asked ourselves once or twice in a lifetime. We usually ask ourselves this when there is something we really want to do, but we know that it really probably will hurt. In my short time of being married, and now with a child coming soon, I have begun to realize that I am asking the wrong question. I should not be asking “what” but “who can it hurt?”
“When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child.” Up to this point in my life it would not have been as big a deal to ask “what can it hurt,” but that is childish reasoning. If I am truly to “put aside childish things” I must realize that there are more people than just me who are depending on me each day.
I see my wife being pregnant, and I realize that there is no way for her to not realize that someone else is depending on her. This truly is a special gift that God has given to women, and we can never fully appreciate. But he has given us men a similar gift. I pray that God will always help me to find the strength and courage to support those who lean on me in this world. They are who it can hurt, and I hope to support them as our Father supports us each day.
I guess they weren't liquid assets!
Pornography is so accepted as normal that it is refreshing to see people standing up against it. One student does make an interesting point at the bottom. Would male students be punished for possessing pornography of Baylor females? If the school really does want to make a stand, I hope they go all out.
The internet is the best place to find all kinds of cool, good, and awesome videos. Here are some of the best. If you haven't seen them, watch them, because it's worth it (except #5). If you have seen them, watch them again, because they really don't get old.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
This is almost as bad as when the Razorbacks played in the NCAA basketball final four on Holy Saturday!
Limerick, Ireland's population could be about 20,000 fewer people than expected when a census is taken this Sunday. Why you might ask? The census is on the same day as a championship rugby match in Dublin.
Monday, April 17, 2006
So the first two hours of the reality show/documentary about four guys discerning priesthood aired last night on A&E. It was good, as the reviews have told us. It really is a great witness to many things. It does not cloud the reality that this decision is counter cultural. It also had a great witness to saving sex for marriage, which is a topic that I love to see discussed. So after the first session this is what I think:
Joe has a lot of soul searching to do. He really needs to figure out himself, before he can make a decision for seminary or not. He should also stop listening to his brother.
Steve will go to seminary.
Mike, in his uncertainty, should take the teaching job he was offered. I think he fits better with Aly than with seminary.
Dan should keep discerning. I think he seems to be on the right path where he is now, and doesn't need to be at the same crossroads that Mike and Steve are.
Happy Easter to all! I hope everyone thoroughly enjoyed their Triduum liturgies, and oh yeah, by the way did you know that Our Lord is Risen? Yeah, that was something pretty cool that happened this weekend too!
Something I also realized this weekend was how much I miss my alma mater. This was my first year away from Franciscan University's Easter liturgies, and it is hard to describe how much I missed the Easter Vigil there. Now, if any of you know much about Steubenville, it is a common thing to find people who went to school there and think that anything less than what we do ceases to be liturgy. I am not one of those people! Jesus is just as risen here in Arkansas, or in D.C., or in Baghdad, as he is in Steubenville. However, the Easter Vigil there really is something special. This year I went to the Vigil at the monastery church where I teach. The mass had more incense, flowers, candles than you could shake a stick at, the abbot's "tricked-out"* crosier, and yes the Risen Lord present in the Eucharist! Despite all this, I missed Steubenville.
I find it hard to believe that it is possible to celebrate Easter more grandly than it is celebrated there. Before I went to Steubenville, Easter was just Easter. In Steubenville I could not, not cry at the Easter Vigil, and it was wonderful to feel that way. Pure joy is the only way I can think of to describe the feeling that engulfs the entire campus. Now of course I realize that if I spent my whole life going to those masses, I would lose this interest, but I do miss it now regardless. I guess the main point of this post is to inform you all of the beauty of Easter there. If you were to ever have the opportunity to visit Franciscan for the Easter liturgies, jump at the chance. I don't think you will be disappointed!
Happy Easter to all! The Lord is truly Risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!
*This is my students' description. Tricked-out = ornate.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Since Jason decided to call me out on the mat for my extreme sloth, I have been shamed into posting my second article here on Sirach 40:20. Well, whatever it takes I guess.
I just came off an incredible men's retreat with my household, the Brothers of the Eternal Song (I guess we're going to have to explain that whole household thing sometime...yikes), on which there was a tremendous outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Now, this could lead into an interesting discussion on the spiritual gifts or charismatic vs. traditional prayer, but what struck me last night was something else. I find it so strange that the Catholics that I know, which, I suppose, would be almost exclusively American Catholics, are so ready to supplant tradition and church teachings with their own experience. Why do I feel so entitled to say that my experience is so unique, so deserving of special considerations? Particularly after experiencing the spiritual gifts (tongues, wisdom, discernment, resting in the Spirit, etc), I am tempted to believe that this somehow makes me particularly blest, that my revelation takes precedent over God's revelation to millions and billions before me. We can see this in any range of issues, from catholics supporting abortion and euthanasia to women priests and beach weddings. I believe that is starts very small with these habits, and maybe even the initial experiences were rational or even holy. But somewhere along the way we decide that we don't really need to check ourselves against the Christ or His Church; that our revelation is ours and no one is going to tell us we're wrong. It's a slippery slope from there to where we are now.
Where did I get this crazy idea? It's obviously nothing new, or particularly American (see the vast number of Protestant Churches around the world), but I wonder if we have a bent to it that other nations don't struggle so much with. Has this sort of problem exploded since the "Right to Privacy" and "Sexual Revolution" (just for the record, I find that term offensive...as if they weren't just rehearsing what others have said throughout history in terms of sexual license. The only sexual revolution in the last hundred years has been done by JPII in Theology of the Body) fiascos? Or have we always had to be more wary of our individualistic tendencies? It has to have been fed by the loss of fathers and the explosion of divorce in recent years in society at large, but was it there before all that? Does anyone, particularly a non-American, have some light to shed on this issue? You help is much appreciated.
Monday, April 10, 2006
For everyone who may have been asking "Who is this Stephen loser who never posts?" I want to give you a quick answer. Steve claims to be too busy to post these days. It's something about graduating college, getting ready for law school, planning a wedding, and moving to a new state or some such nonsense. Anyway, I promise he will be great once he gets time to actually post. In the meantime, enjoy his lone post, because it really is worth reading.
This could be interesting, but surprisingly it sounds like it might actually turn out okay. Personally I think that taking people out of the world and putting them into a true monastic setting could have positive effects. Though that would depend a lot on the monastery that they are in. Hopefully it could have the same effect as Into Great Silence has been having.
The other one could also be good, because that is a truly serious decision. However the quote that not choosing celibate priesthood means you are entering "the world of sin and lust" and "giving over to your body" is extremely frustrating. It just shows how far people are from understanding the truth of God's great gift of sexuality. Sex and lust are not the same!
Regardless of positives, my hopes are far from high.
Saturday, April 08, 2006
We have had great response to our site over the past few days, and I would just like to thank everyone who has visted, posted comments, and emailed. We hope we can continue to give you suffiecient reason to waste your time with us (although I hope it is never a waste!).
In the illustrious words of Apu Nahasapeemapetilan, "Thank you, come again!"
I watched Seabiscuit last night. It is an excellent movie, one of my favorites actually, but while watching it I realized one of my pet peeves. One character hands the jockey a St. Christopher medal and tells him it's "for luck." I hate it when Hollywood mistakes luck for intercession. I guess it is just the catechist in me that gets frustrated when someone misses a chance for evangelization.
Thursday, April 06, 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!
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
A government official was arrested for pedophilia. The whole government must be corrupt. We need to weed them all out, because if one did it, they must all. If only the government would let its officials get married we wouldn't have this problem!
(Not to make light of a serious problem in our world. We all must pray for the victims, and for an end.)
This professor from the Texas Academy of Science is doing some serious promotion of the culture of death. The only consolation is that I think he is just crazy enough that not too many people will listen to him. However from the standing ovation he got, that feeling gets a little shaken. Here are a couple excerpts from this article:
"A neighbor asked him what good the lizards are that he studies. He answered, 'What good are you?' Pianka hammered his point home by exclaiming, 'We're no better than bacteria!'"
"I watched in amazement as a few hundred members of the Texas Academy of Science rose to their feet and gave a standing ovation to a speech that enthusiastically advocated the elimination of 90 percent of Earth's population by airborne Ebola."
Monday, April 03, 2006
Dateline NBC ran a long segment last night about how one of the authors of "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" thinks Jesus didn't actually die on the Cross. The devil is the only reason I have ever been able to see for the way the media makes a view like this seem just as accepted as what billions of Christians believe.
Happy Feast Day, John Paul the Great!
I didn't post on this yesterday, because I didn't have this picture with me. This is me and my parents when I was 14. This was such an amazing day, as I am sure you can imagine. Afterwards we all just broke down in the arms of our bishop. I was still a student in Steubenville last year when he died, and it was just amazing seeing how the whole campus was affected by this. You could just feel the presence of mourning in having to let go of our Papa. His canonization will be glorious!
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Finally it's here!
My brother, who is a priest, has a shirt that reads, "God is life, the rest is baseball." That about sums up life around our home as we grew up, so I can barely explain how much I enjoy baseball's opening day which is today. All I have to say is "Root, root, root for the Cardinals, if they don't win it's 'cause the umps cheated!"