Sunday, May 28, 2006

Saving Private Ryan and Colossians 1:24

Saving Private Ryan has been on TNT this weekend, and I would like to point out what I think is the most central message to the whole movie.

Just for some context, the movie is about a group of soldiers led by Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) in WWII who are searching for Pvt. James Ryan. Private Ryan has two brothers who have already been killed in the war, and Hanks' group is searching for him, so he can be sent home and his mother will not lose all of her sons in the war. Now to my main catechetical point from this movie.

The last thing that Cpt. Miller says to Pvt. Ryan after his long difficult journey to find and save him is, "Earn this!" The Captain's dying wish, after he and most of his troops had died to save Pvt. Ryan, is that Ryan will live a life that is worth saving. To me this is what St. Paul is saying to us in Colossians 1:24, when he asks us to fulfill "what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ."

Obviously Jesus does not need our help in saving the world. Personally, and I think Paul would agree, I think he did a pretty good job of that. Regardless of how perfect a job he did, we now have to live in a life that was worth being saved. If Pvt. Ryan left that war and wasted his life away instead of living honorably, why did such valiant men lose their lives to save him? For us, if we are simply going to waste our lives on sin, why did Jesus even bother? For me to fulfill what is lacking in Christ means that I need to live a life that is worth him dying for.

At the very end of the movie, Pvt. Ryan returns to Cpt. Miller's grave to assure him that he had lived a life that was worth saving. My only hope and prayer is that Christ will feel the same way about me when I finally get to meet him.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Prayers much appreciated.

This is kind of a big weekend for your beloved bloggers. Steve is getting married tomorrow, and my wife and I will be celebrating our very first of many wedding anniversaries. Please keep all of us in your prayers that we will be loving and holy families. Maybe send a shout out to JPII, who I think should be patron of marriage and family some day. Thanks in advance for the prayers!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Slowing things down a bit.

The posts have been few and far between lately with the end of the school year and the transition to summer. I also realize that I still haven't posted my thoughts on chastity in the married life, as I told you I would. This is still coming. The reason this has been taking so long, is because I haven't had enough time to do it justice. In case you can't tell from our blog title, sexual morality is a top topic for me (it was also the topic of my senior thesis). I am not going to post this until I have it exactly as I want it. I hope to do it soon, so please keep your eyes open for it. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Cardinal Pell on Sexual Morality

Prodigal Son over at Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam has a post and a link to a discussion of sexual morality by Cardinal George Pell of Sydney. It is worth checking out.

Monday, May 22, 2006

You go girl!

Oprah was on Dateline last night, and I happened to flip through the channels at the right time. Ann Curry was asking her about God, and here is what she said (sorry about the Oprah transcript format, this is just how I found it):

Curry: In the play, Celie feels forsaken. She says, "God is just another man." Did you feel forsaken ever by God?

Winfrey: No. No. No One of the reasons I related to the story so much on the first time reading it is because I have always prayed and spoken to God.

Curry: You talk to God still today?

Winfrey: I still-- oh, please, yeah. Uh-huh (affirms).

Curry: Once a week?

Winfrey: No. Not once a week. This is-- this is--

Curry: Daily?

Winfrey: Oh, Ann. I live in the space where God is. There is no question that that is why I am where I am, and why I have had the success that I've had, is because I allow myself to be guided by that which is greater than myself-- than my personality. That's the truth. That's the truth.

Curry: Is that the only thing that you would say is the reason for your great success?

Winfrey: Uh-huh (affirms). Uh-huh (affirms).

Curry: It is?

Winfrey: Uh-huh (affirms). Uh-huh (affirms). Uh-huh. Because, I am doing the work that my soul came to do.

Now, it isn't exactly perfect theology, but still it is a good witness to God's power. Knowing how influential Oprah is in so many people's lives, it's hard to imagine that there wasn't at least one person out there who thought, "If Oprah's success is because of God, maybe I should be open to that." There is no limit to how people can find God!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Cardinals need your help!

Maybe it isn't quite as important as picking the pope, but any good baseball fan knows he needs to vote for the All-Star game, and having a good All-Star games means picking lots of Cardinals. Here's the link. Get to voting!

(If anyone feels the need to vote for Cubs or Yankees, you are not allowed to use my link!)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

For some reason it seems that maybe this isn't part of God's plan.

5 children in Michigan are now infected with a lifelong bone marrow disease, because they all have the same father. They were all conceived from the same sperm donor.

With stories like this, why is it so hard for people to understand that children deserve to be born to parents who know their spouses well enough to know if they are healthy. If we always try to cut corners, we will eventually get into trouble.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

This would be a bit shocking.
This quote is awesome!

"Perhaps an interesting side-piece to those already fanatical about the book, but ultimately a lifeless adaptation that reveals the flaws of its source. So Dark, the Con of Dan Brown."

- Joe Utichi, FILMFOCUS

Click for Full Review

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Thank you for 6 years!

Here is Bishop Peter Sartain's letter to us here in the Diocese of Little Rock, as he leaves us for Joliet.

I am very pleased to share this part of his letter with you all. Bishop Sartain has been an especially great shepherd for our diocese in promoting a proper understanding of marriage, family, and sexuality. Even here in his final letter to us, he continues to teach us:

"Could I have said "no" to the apostolic nuncio? Some years ago it dawned on me that I had already said "yes," without knowing it, when I was ordained a deacon in 1977. It was then that I promised obedience to my bishop and his successors, and that promise implicitly contained a further promise to the Holy Father. One aspect of the promise, of course, involved accepting assignments my bishop might ask me to undertake; but even that was secondary to the fact that by making a promise of obedience I was surrendering myself to God and the needs of his people, whatever and wherever they might be.

I see a direct parallel in the commitment of marriage, when wives and husbands give themselves completely to one another for life, not knowing exactly what that gift will entail through the years. They make the gift with confidence because they love one another and know that "giving themselves away" will bring them joy."

Da Vinci Flop!

Several other blogs have posted on the poor reviews that DVC has been getting so far. Rotton Tomatoes, a compilation of movie reviews from across the world, has 0, I repeat, 0 positive reviews. Hopefully it will stay that way!

By the way, Over the Hedge has a 75% positive rating.
When exactly did this happen?

I was watching an interview yesterday morning and the interviewer said this to the interviewee (it's paraphrased, but very close):

"So things are really going well for you right now. You first album comes out today, your girlfriend is pregnant..."

Is it just me or didn't "your girlfriend is pregnant" used to be something you didn't want to hear? I know this really isn't anything new, but it just stood out to me when I heard it. People have always and are always going to sin (believe it or not me included), but what makes me so inexpressibly upset is that we no longer care! It is completely okay to sin. Does this frustrate anyone else?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Da Vinci Code is Harmless.

Yeah, about as harmless as Chuck Norris with a tank! People are constantly trying to say, it is really going to be good for the Church, because it will get people thinking about their beliefs. That is true only so much as those people already understand their faith. This is the first article that I have seen that shows just exactly how far the DVC is from harmless.


Well, I guess all good things must end. We loved Bishop Sartain here in Arkansas, but I suppose that God will take care of us. Good luck Bishop Sartain, and God bless. Be thankful Joliet, you got a good one!

Here is the Vatican article in Italian. Google should be able to translate it. I would have posted the translated link, but my school blocks language tools.

Monday, May 15, 2006


Sorry for the lack of posts over the last few days. As June 27th approaches, we are becoming inundated by childbirth classes, breastfeeding classes, OB appointments, etc. Three days in a row my wife and I had to make the hour trip to Ft. Smith, AR where all of these appointments are. So as Steve graduates (probably two days ago, so congrats by the way) and gets married, and I prepare for a new bundle of joy, thank you for bearing with us through our post droughts.

Enjoy the new posts!
Why the Church?

Catholic Ragemonkey Fr. Hamilton recently posted about the difference between civil marriage and marriage in the Church. So my question to all of you out there, especially those who are married, is why did you, or will you, get married in the Church? From my experience as the wedding day approaches it is easiest just to say, "because that is what we are supposed to do." I hope that there is always more to it. What more is there?

For me I have to say it is this line from Ephesians (5:25): "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her." If the Church will help me to love my wife in this way, how can I say no to that?
Thank you Mother Dolores Hart

For Mothers' Day, CBS Sunday Morning had several segments about mothers. One Mother they included was probably not a mother that many would ever really think about as a mother. They talked about Mother Dolores Hart...

Who used to be...

She gave a great witness to faith and the religious life on a national television show. She described the decision to enter the monastery as "like falling in love." They asked her, if she ever questioned her decision to leave Hollywood behind and she said every day for the first seven years. I thought this was great, because it shows that this life takes dedication and love, not insanity and ill-logic like most probably think it is. They also asked why she has remained a member of Hollywood actors guilds, and she explained that if she didn't keep in touch and know their problems, how could she pray for them. I think we all know they need prayers.

Anyway, it was simply a refreshing story compared to the other women's empowerment stories that they were running.
Why do we go to church?

One of my college catechetics professors said that the reason Catholics youth groups, etc. are not as well attended as those of Protestants lies in our respective reasons for going to church. Most Catholics, he said, go to church on Sundays out of obligation, and I tend to agree with him. We go because we have always gone, and we feel like we should. On the other hand, it seems (notice I said seems) that many non-Catholics go because they "enjoy" it. The same obligation is not there. If they stopped enjoying it, I think many would stop going. They don't feel that they have to go to church on Sunday to be a good Christian.

I have seen, or rather heard, confirmation of this a couple times lately. If I ever listen to the actual radio, I listen to Air 1 Christian radio. I love this station. It is not at all preachy like most that I have heard, and says nothing to show favor to one denomination over another. However, from these people who claim to be (and are) strong Christians, I have heard a few things that show this lack of obligation to Sunday church.

The DJ one Monday was explaining how the day before he had been driving to church and realized that he smelled like onions. He didn't want to bother those around him, so he didn't go to church that day. Recently one of the sound clips they have been playing is a listener saying that sometimes it is hard to him to get to church so listening to them is his "church away from church."

To me following the 3rd Commandment necessarily includes going to mass on Sunday. So what do you think? Am I completely off in saying that Catholics have stronger sense of obligation for Sunday mass than others? Hopefully we enjoy it too, but I still think this is true.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

2 More Weeks!

I have to admit that we here at Sirach 40:20 have been lying to you just a bit. Since I set up this blog not knowing when it would really take off, I wrote this in our description:

"Sirach 40:20 is a weblog by two young newly married (not to each other) Catholic men..."

Technically, only one of us (me) can enjoy the blessings of conjugal love. However, as of today, Mr. Steve is exactly two weeks away from joining the greatest club in all the land. So to everyone out there, I am sure they could use the prayers. Let's storm the gates with our prayers that they can be a wonderful example of married love to all they meet. (Pray especially for Meta, so that she can bear the thought of being Mrs. Steve. )

"Wine and music please the soul, but better than either, conjugal love." - Sirach 40:20

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

St. Pio for President!

I think I would have to move to Italy!
Really?! Who would have guessed?

Here is a report from my local news that is definitely nice to hear, but the real question is, why are any these things even allowed to be open in the first place?

"Adult World" shut down for "
violations of a sexual manner."

The liturgical calendar that I have in my room says today's feast is Saint Damien of Moloka'i, but I don't remember him ever being canonized. Another calendar I checked does say Blessed Damien. On top of that, I couldn't even find him on either Catholic Online or the Patron Saints Index.

I think he is still Bl. Damien, but can any of our faithful readers shed some light on this?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Poverty in the Married Life

I do not claim to share the extreme poverty that is a constant plague on so many in the world. In fact, it is almost a shame to use the same word for these two aspects of it. When monastic communities mention their poverty, it is most likely not this type of poverty either. Most of the monks at the Benedictine monastery here would be the last to admit that they are suffering from malnutrition and the like due to their vow of poverty. They eat well and sleep in well. Their vow of poverty is the lack of personal property. Everything that they earn is dedicated to the welfare of the community. Marriage requires this same sacrifice.

Next year, my wife will be staying home with our baby, and so the three of us will be living off of my salary. There is a significant difference between splitting a salary one way and splitting it three ways. Everything that I make for the rest of my life will go to the welfare of the community. I of course, would have it no other way, but regardless it is a sacrifice. If I could use all of my money for me, I might be heading off to Europe this summer instead of heading to the world of manual labor to make some extra money to pay insurance.

Now, I do not intend this to sound like a horror story. No, not by a long shot. This is another way that God has provided for me to make my way down the narrow path. The life of sacrifice of myself for others is my ticket to heaven. “Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Thank you Lord for this beautiful cross. Help all married couples to embrace whatever financial struggles they face as a way to trust in your goodness.

Update on the Ebay Air Force

Steve posted this recently about a man who bought a fighter jet on Ebay. It seems that all didn't go so well.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Spirituality of the Married Life

I have written before on what I learned about being a married Catholic as I read My Life with the Saints by Fr. James Martin, S.J. One other aspect of the married life that struck me is the way that we are far from exempt from the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience. If anyone was hoping that getting married would get him (or her) out of these sometimes trying aspects of life, he’s got another thing coming. We automatically and obviously associate these with the religious life, but over the course of a few upcoming posts I would like to share my take on the evangelical counsels in the married life.

Coming soon…poverty!

"You will be my witnesses..."

Here are the locations of the last 100 viewers of this blog. We are slowly spreading and growing, and carrying the Gospel to the ends of the earth, just as we were told.

So far we have invaded, ahem, reached the Philippines, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Singapore, Lithuania, India, Brazil, New Zealand, Switzerland, Ireland, Austria, Great Britain, France, Hungary, Australia, Ireland, and Italy.

Please keep reading and please keep telling your friends to come join all the party people in the place to be.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Welcome to Sirach 40:20!

I would like to thank Fr. Stephen Hamilton again for his link. I also want to welcome any newcomers to the site.

This blog is still fairly new, 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. Our email address is sirach4020(at)gmail(dot)com.

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!
Chuck Norris doesn't sleep...he waits.

This is a truely incredible website, one of the modern marvels of our time. It takes a few seconds to load,'s so beautiful.

Friday, May 05, 2006

New Appreciation for Pregnancy.

Today I have been trying to catch up on a few missed days of posting that I missed due to sickness. On Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, I got really sick and spent the next two days on the couch. All day Wednesday I had a constant feeling of needing to vomit to coincide with an entire body worth of pain, especially my knees and legs for some reason. As I felt this, I looked at my wife who is now 8 months pregnant, and realized, "I sure am glad I'm not pregnant!" She (and all of you beautiful mothers out there) gets to feel these wonderful feelings I was having everyday. I think it would be hard not to lose my mind if I had to deal with that for more than a couple days!

So thank you to all of you wonderful women out there who take care of us wimps! Thank you for being strong.
Defenders of the Faith

If anyone needs some good southern style defenders of the faith for the premiere of the Da Vinci Code, here are your gals.

Shout out to Br. Isaac Youker, OSB for the picture.
Not a bad day at the office.

I am not an Angels fan, but I am definitely a baseball fan, so this is worth posting. Mike Napoli of the Angels became the 92nd player in history to hit a home run in his first career at-bat. Of course that doesn't necessarily mean he'll have a great career, but still, not bad.
What we won't do for those we love.

I have to say I probably would have done the same thing if it was me and my wife's rings. Not to mention, I probably would have been the reason it happened, and the trash seems more comfortable than the couch. (Just kidding about the couch!)
All I can say is "WOW"!

My wife is going to be soooo excited to hear about this!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Change of heart.

A couple weeks ago I posted what I called positive Catholic news about Nicole Kidman completing the annulment process, so that she could get remarried in the Church. I have been thinking about this lately, and decided I would like to print a retraction.

I am always happy when anyone makes extra effort to show their love for the Church, but when I think about some of Kidman's characters, I wonder how truly Catholic she is. Only God can judge her heart, but when I compare this example of her devotion to Catholicism with the characters she played in Cold Mountain (Rated R for violence and sexuality) or even worse Eyes Wide Shut (Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language) I wonder what message is she really trying to send?

What do you think? Does what an actor does in the real world overshadow what she does in the fake screen world?

Another example would be Jessica Simpson's public dedication to saving her virginity for marriage, because of her Christian faith, compared to the way she carries herself in her "work."
First Lady visits a local Catholic school today.

5th and 6th graders at St. Boniface school in Ft. Smith, Arkansas (about an hour from me) have been doing community service lately by helping the elderly of the community complete forms for the new Medicare programs. Mrs. Bush decided that this was worthy of recognition, and so is giving these school kids a neat opportunity I think. Any positive Catholic news is always good.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Only the best for me!

The winner of the contest to end all contests is... Wendell's Restaurant Restroom!
Toothpick Art

This weekend I saw another art medium that I think is worth taking a look at. I saw this on CBS Sunday Morning. This guy's art is on display right now at the Empire State Building for its 75th anniversary.
The Next Step in Evolution.