30 September 2007

Back in Mr. Anderson's class

Thank goodness I scored 100% on this or I would feel like I would have to give back my degree...or they might even hunt me down and take it from me. Just had to do this for my own edification because I feel like I have forgotten just about everything I knew just a day ago, not to mention years ago.

It's hell to get old. My eagle vision is rapidly fading, my steel-trap memory is shot and I think the ratio of grey hair to brown is leaning towards the grey side. Not to mention the increase in weight and wrinkles with a decrease in skin elasticity.

And, I haven't even started homeschooling yet! Just think what I'll have forgotten by then. My kids AND I will need a tutor!

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!

29 September 2007

Mathetes award

Karen at Gem of the Ocean has put down the gloves long enough over the debate on the gospels of Matthew and Mark to give me this award.

Thank you!

When I first saw this, not knowing who or what Mathetes was, I thought it was some sort of math related thing, like a Math Athlete. (Goofy idea, but you can see the logic in it).

Here's what Karen had on her blog:
Mathetes is the Greek word for disciple, and the role of the disciple (per the Great Commission) it to make more disciples. I'd like to take the opportunity to award five other bloggers with this award and badge for acting in the role of a disciple of Christ. These five all share the message in their own creative ways, and I admire them all for what they do.In the spirit of this award, the rules are simple. Winners of this award must pick five other "disciples" to pass it on to. As you pass it on, I just ask that you mention and provide links for (1)this post as the originator of the award (Dan King of management by God), (2) the person that awarded it to you, and then (3) name and sites of the five that you believe are fulfilling the role of a disciple of Christ. If you know of other deserving recipients of this award, and would like to start a new string, then please post a link to where you've started in in the comments to this post. I would love for many deserving bloggers to be blessed with this recognition.

Handing this award off to the other bloggers I admire, here is my list:

(Note: I did not pick five. I have always had a problem with authority, so had to add a few more just to bend the rules a little.)

My local blogging countrymen

Terry at Abbey Roads 2: I know he hates this type of thing since it's too girly-girl for him, but I think he knows I mean it sincerely and not just to suck up like he has mentioned in many of his prior posts on narcissism, etc. Even though he probably won't carry on the awards on his blog, didn't want overlook him for this reason. Informative. Controversial. Just what the doctor ordered.

Cathy of Alex: Wish I had the snap-on-tools that Cathy does. Now I always have to wonder if my crinolin is showing at Mass. If only other Catholics got their butts off the couch and started practicing their Faith like Cathy does, the Church would be a better place.

Ray of Stella Borealis: He is the go-to guy for all things happening in the Twin Cities and helped me get up and running with my blog. Keeps us all informed about everything!

Child of Mary: A self-proclaimed introvert (NOT!), she is so introverted she actively works for MCCL and teaches CCD. Her pro-life activities and involvement are a great example.

Sanctus Belle at Our Lady's Tears: Great blog. Very helpful with lots of ideas on how to incorporate spirituality into our lives. Have recommended her site to many.

Another local (at least it's in the state) blog is A View from the Catholic Trenches: A huge group blog with lots of variety and insight. Just wish they would get the rest of the "contributors" to contribute!

Out state:

AquinaSavio at Per Te Sancta Maria: Who could go wrong picking a blog of someone discerning the priesthood. You wouldn't know he's only 17. He probably already knows more about the Faith than I ever will. Beautiful blog.

Entropy at Sphere of Influence: Entropy is just a great blogger name, but she also has a great blog. As the only other mommyish blog in my selection (OK, laurathecrazymama is included in Catholic Trenches and Child of Mary and Sanctus are also moms), I appreciate the stories of childhood joys and messes that I can really relate to.

Blog on, fellow Mathetes!

Gifts of the Magi

At bible study last Thursday, my four year-old son made a chain out of craft paper. Written on a few of the links were the three gifts he would bring the baby Jesus. I think he knows what Jesus would want more than the Magi, cuz what's a baby going to do with Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.

The three items he would give Jesus are:

A hat
A toy car


A Mr. Potato Head

Sensible, practical and fun. ALways thinkin', that little one.

28 September 2007

St. Kate's - School of Health

Announcing the College of St. Catherine School of Health

The School of Health establishes a cohesive home for the College’s array of healthcare programs and extends their scope and depth. Building upon our exemplary record of innovation and market responsiveness, the School of Health engages regional and national partners to meet urgent health, healthcare and workforce challenges.

Why a new academic and community-based initiative?

Recognizing the growing weight of unmet healthcare needs in American society, leaders at the College of St. Catherine believe they have a moral imperative and unique preparation and perspective to reshape the education of healthcare professionals.

The College has 120 years of experience in healthcare education: grounded in the liberal arts, Catholic social teaching and the 150-year tradition in healthcare of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Our approach to healthcare education (interdisciplinary, relationship centered and community based) embraces emerging concepts of healthcare delivery.
With more than 40 percent of our 5,200 students studying in health-related fields, the College is a premier healthcare workforce provider in the Upper Midwest.

In following the tradition of my family, I will NOT be sending my daughter here. My mom graduated from St. Kate's in the 1950s and refused to let me attend here. No discussion, end of story. A sad commentary on a once great order (Sisters of St. Joseph) and college.

Conversion now and Zen

Yesterday, at least I think it was yesterday, I watched The Journey Home on EWTN. The guest was Francis Beckwith who spoke about how he left the Evangelical Church and became Catholic. He had been raised Catholic, but left the Church because he became more involved in and enamored with the exuberance of the evangelical movement. He is a bright man who eventually became president of the Evangelical Theological Society. In the interview, it seemed that he never really broke with the Church, but just drifted away by initially participating in a Catholic Charismatic Renewal bible study, then attending a Jesus People Church. Eventually, he was well into the Evangelical camp, but still in tune with a lot of Catholic teachings. People even asked him why he wasn't Catholic. Recently, he re-joined the Catholic Church after reading some early Church fathers on the subject of justification. Once that key was in the lock, the rest of the Church's teachings made sense to him.

My husband is a convert from Lutheranism. Nominal Lutheranism. His parents, wanting him to have some appreciation for religion, would take him to church on Sunday, drop him off at the church steps and then go do something else for an hour. This is a real head-shaker for me. Instead of the old Borg slogan of "Resistance is futile," this was more along the lines of, "Attempts at religiousizing are futile." I shouldn't be flippant, maybe these times in church were what gave him the grounding to one day become Catholic. The more I hear the conversion stories of others, the more I see that there is no clear path to look down from this end, only the trail you see in retrospect.

It's all amazing.

My husband (back then he was just a friend) went and asked the pastor of the church he attended once in a blue moon, why Lutheranism and not Catholicism. The pastor, according to my husband, had little to say. He seemed to be resigned that one of his sheep was leaving the flock. He almost acted like he, or the church he belonged to, had been seen for what it was. The emperor had no clothes. The pastor's only suggestion to the kindly barrage of questions of my husband's, was for my husband to read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values."

Odd. Even my husband thought it was odd and left his meeting with the pastor feeling very disappointed and even sorry for the man. The pastor had had no answers to my husband's questions.

After a few meetings with my father, a great apologist, discussing Catholicism, my "friend" was certain that his leanings toward the Catholic Church were correct and he was ready for RCIA.

I still ask my husband how he "came around" to Catholicism. He said he always (ALWAYS!) had something telling him the Church was correct. He had no stumbling blocks, like the Real Presence or Mary, that he needed answers to. In fact, he had always believed, as best a nominal Lutheran could, in the Real Presence. Why Lutherans don't believe in the Real Presence was the big question the pastor couldn't sufficiently answer.

The more I hear conversion stories, the more I am amazed at God's Brownian motion through mankind. Nothing is predictable. I guess it's true that God works in mysterious ways and His ways are not our ways!

27 September 2007

Gospel of St. Matthew Bible Study - Lesson 3

Father Echert had a great lecture today. I hope my notes do him and the subject, St. John the Baptist, some bit of justice. There is a lot here, sorry so long, but want to share what I learned. Things you hear during the gospel readings year after year and you don’t notice finally make sense. This lecture covers the third chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew.

Father started out talking about baptism. This ritual purification would’ve been very familiar to the Jews. Inside the temple was a large basin of what we would call Holy Water, or water for ritual purification, where they would purify themselves. Outside the temple were small houses for the pilgrims to use to wash themselves for ritual purity. Since it’s my understanding that Islam is an offshoot of Judaism and Catholicism, it seems this is where they must’ve gotten the notion to wash before entering the temple. An Islamic practice coming from an ancient Jewish custom. This is my opinion, not something Father said.

John the Baptist is the last prophet, the bridge between the Old and New Testaments. He is to point to the one who would fulfill the Law. There are many parallels between Jesus and John the Baptist, but I won’t go into them here (do a Google search and see what you get). Early tradition, which may be reliable, says that the parents of John the Baptist were instructed by God to place him in the wilderness early in his childhood, not at the age of 30, which is where the gospels pick up on John when he emerges from the wilderness.

This wilderness area is believed to be close to where the Essenes lived. The Essenes were a strict Jewish sect, one of three branches of Jewish philosophy (Pharisees and Sadducees are the other two). The Dead Sea Scrolls are attributed to the Essenes (connections to Kabbalah too). Father went on about how either the Essenes or followers of them later said that John the Baptist was greatly influenced by them because these Essenes were mystical, had great faith, etc., and imparted this knowledge (of Jesus, etc) to John the Baptist and that he was some sort of disciple of theirs. Father said this notion goes too far and that John may have had communication with the Essenes, but his knowledge did not come from them because John the Baptist was a true prophet (God given knowledge).

John the Baptist (JtB) dressed like a prophet and acted/spoke like a prophet. Here is the connection to Elijah and why the Jews of the time thought that JtB was Elijah. From 2 Kings 1:7-8, which is speaking about Elijah, “The king asked them, “What was the man like who came up to you and said these things to you?” “Wearing a hairy garment,” they replied, “with a leather girdle about his loins.” “It is Elijah the Tishbite!” he exclaimed.” JtB was wearing a garment of camel’s hair and a leather girdle around his waist, so no wonder the Jews thought he was Elijah, whom they had been waiting to return and had learned all about. Most Jews of the day had a very good knowledge of scripture, so this connection wasn’t lost on them.

The Jews ask JtB if he is Elijah or the Messiah and he says no to both ideas. However, Jesus affirms that JtB is Elijah (don’t have the chapter or verse on the top of my head). JtB is NOT Elijah in the strict sense (read Malachi 3), because Elijah still has to return, but John is preparing the way for Jesus when he establishes His kingdom, Elijah will still return before the end of the world, preparing the way. JtB and Elijah have similar roles, but are two distinct people. JtB is an imperfect fulfillment of this part of scripture.

The writings of Josephus give some insight into JtB and support the gospels. JtB was loved and popular with the Jews of the time. Josephus’ writings show the love the people had for JtB was very real and they were very upset with Herod for JtB’s martyrdom.

JtB has the charism of reading hearts (like St. John Vianney and Padre Pio). In Matthew 3:7, JtB encounters the Pharisees and Sadducees when he is baptizing in the Jordan River and calls them a “brood of vipers” which conjures up images from Genesis of the snake that brought about sin and wrath, since JtB is able to see them for who they really are. Great contrast between the pride of the Pharisees/Sadducees and humility of JtB. JtB was very popular but stepped aside and said to Jesus, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” (Almost along the lines of Mary’s fiat.)

JtB probably had taken the Nazarite vow, which requires that one would abstain from wine and strong drink (no wine vinegar or grape juice or grapes at all), no razor would touch their hair and they would not enter where a dead person is. JtB is quoted in Luke 1:15 as never having wine or strong drink. Also of note, is that Samson, who never cut his hair, is believed to have taken the Nazarite vow.

Back to the topic of baptism. Much could be written on this topic and is only touch lightly here. JtB is baptizing in the Jordan River and people from all over are confessing their sins. The Jordan River is the principle source of water in the region, Israel passed from Egypt through the Red Sea with Moses, but also crossed the Jordan under the leadership of Joshua (whose name is essentially the same as Jesus, meaning “one who saves.”) JtB is performing a baptism of repentance; Jesus will be the one to institute the sacrament of baptism by the Holy Spirit, which is a baptism of salvation. JtB’s baptism of repentance gives way to Jesus’ baptism of salvation.

Several OT quotes foreshadow the sacrament of baptism: Joshua 3:14-17, 2 Kings 5:1-14 and see also the Catechism 1222.

In the Old Testament, we saw the prefiguration of baptism with Noah and the ark. JtB is now surpassing the use of water for ritual purification. Because JtB is preparing the way of the Lord, we see that he is starting these baptisms of repentance for people to prepare themselves and they are also confessing their sins (Note to my Protestant friends…this is from Matthew 3:6 where it says, “…and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.”) This is only like a “ritual ablution” (as the notes from the study mention), because JtB does not have authority to forgive sin, but it certainly does prefigure the sacrament. In a symbolic sense, dying to sin and rising with Christ.

Jesus did not have to be baptized to be saved, but came to purify the waters. Notes from the study have this quote from St. Maximus of Turin, “The Lord Jesus came to baptism, and willed to have his body washed with water. Perhaps someone will say: “He who is holy, why did he wish to be baptized?” Pay attention therefore! Christ is baptized, not that he may be sanctified in the waters, but that he himself may sanctify the waters, and by his own purifications may purify those streams which he touches.” Very cool.

The Jews had an expectation that Jesus, the Messiah, would establish His kingdom here on earth. Much like a monastic king, or David, with property and wealth, the whole bit. But that isn’t what the kingdom was like, so here lies part of the problem they had in accepting Him. Father did say that just because it is a spiritual kingdom doesn’t mean it shouldn’t rule over the temporal world. It is not correct, or a right, to refuse to submit to God, who should rule over all of us. You have the free will to sin and face the consequences of that choice, but you do not have the “right” to do as you please without recourse.

Isaiah is the most quoted prophet in the New Testament.

Quotes many of the evangelists use from the Old Testament have transcendency in the New Testament (they have one meaning in the OT and a slightly different application in the NT). Some dissenters claim that in doing this, the evangelists “twisted” the OT quotes to suit their needs. Father explained that the evangelists were inspired by God to use the quotes the way they did. An example, in Isaiah 40:3 the punctuation is slightly different that that in the gospel (Matt 3:1). Matthew says, “The voice of on crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Isaiah says, “A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the Lord!” Father Echert said that the meaning in Isaiah is that someone is saying to prepare a path in the wilderness for the king, which makes sense because as a king would travel, people would go on ahead of him and clear the way. Matthew was not ignorant of the gospel and was inspired to do as he did.

Father mentioned that pride will reject all grace offered by God, including the grace of faith. He also mentions that you can’t overlook serious sin, you need to confront it. This goes back to when JtB calls the Pharisees and Sadducees vipers. They claim Abraham is their father, meaning that since they are Jews, Abraham would see to it that they were saved and snatched from hell because Abraham would never allow a Jew to be lost. JtB tell them they can’t presume their “righteousness.” And, if they were followers/sons of Abraham, they would do as Abraham had commanded them instead of acting like vipers.

Another neat thing Father mentioned is that when Jesus was baptized the entire Trinity was present, just as in the Creation story. The Holy Spirit is a dove that descends on Jesus (that only JtB and Jesus can see), Jesus is God present in the flesh, and then God the Father is heard to speak saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” In the Creation story, God spoke and it was, the Holy Spirit is hovering over the waters and you have The Word (Jesus) there too. The dove signifies where our salvation is to be found (Noah sends out the dove and it finally brings back an olive branch, the dove alights on Jesus at his baptism). Re-creation began with Noah and now with Jesus.

Also, Father mentioned that in the same verse (Matthew 3:16), where the heavens opened and the dove appeared, is much more dramatic in Mark where the heavens “schism” or are torn apart, which takes us back to when Jesus died and the same type of language is used when the curtain on the temple is torn in two.

From our discussion, the Israelites at the time understood the idea of holiness to be a separation from unclean things, from the Mosaic Law, which is like a quarantine approach to holiness. Now, they are supposed to go out and “infect” the Gentiles with the love of God.

Watch of the Angel

Have bible study today, but wanted to share this. A friend sent this to me several years ago when I was pregnant.

Watch of the Angel
by Susan Claire Potts

There was no sound in the hospital
Save the din of machines:
The respirators and stomach pumps
And other medical things;

The patients lay tethered to monitors
Tubes in the arms or throats;
The nurses sat with coffee cups
Writing their copious notes.

In a cold grey room of the ICU,
A woman suffered alone,
Abandoned by her friends who had
Brought candy and gone home.

Unseen by man, the angel stood
Clothed in resplendent light;
He gazed at her who lay so still,
She who would die that night.

Awake, dear child, he said to her,
(For she was not old to him)
Contemplate the truth I speak
Before thy faculties dim:

I was sent by Almighty God
To guide thee here below
In what thou must believe and do
For the salvation of they soul;

Throughout they life I've been with thee
And never left they side;
Yet over all these seventy years
I could not pierce thy pride.

God has granted thee long life;
But this hour is the last
For thee to embrace His Sacred Heart,
Beg pardon for thy past;

That though shouldst gain Eternal Life,
St. Peter's Barque waits nigh,
Our Lord invites thee, Enter now;
He calls thee from on high.

The angel spoke, the woman groaned,
She raised her weary head,
Why do you say such things to me?
I'm going to heaven, she said--

All paths lead to God, you know,
No one road is true,
Salvation takes many forms;
You do what's right for you.

The woman turned, she closed her eyes,
She had no wish to speak,
Nor would she condescend to hear
The truth she did not seek.

The angel sighed, he bowed his head,
He cried to Heaven above:
O, Jesus Christ, O Holy God,
Save this one I love!

By Thy Most Sacred Wounds, O Lord,
Touch this stubborn heart,
Give her true hope and Catholic Faith
Before her soul departs;

Lest she perish evermore,
Lost in Gehenna's flame,
Grant her humble penitence
And the grace to call Thy Name.

The doctor telephoned her son:
There's nothing we can do;
But soft and low, the angel heard
One sweet sound: Jesu

The woman struggled then to pray,
Tears filled her eyes:
Forgive me, Lord, I caused those Wounds;
I never realized...

A moment more, her soul had flown
To meet the Crucified,
She left the room, the town, the earth
The angel at her side.

26 September 2007

Chesterton on St. Thomas

My time at the University of St.Thomas, which was merely a college back then, taught me to appreciate St. Thomas Aquinas, who the college is named after. I was required to take three theology and two philosophy classes. Courses I took covered the early church fathers, like Origin and Eusebius; greats like Plato and Aristotle; and scripture studies. Sadly, most of it I have no recollection of. I have reread notes that I scribbled into old texts that I can’t even understand or remember writing. Back then, I was just putting in my time, taking my required classes and trying hard to not have college studies interfere with my social life.

The one thing I have always retained a faint memory of is studying the Summa Theologica. I spent one entire semester drowning in it. My kindly, orthodox and wonderful Jesuit professor gently patted my wounded intellect when I came to him for help. I really tried to understand St. Thomas down to the core of what he wrote. Sometimes, the best approach is a superficial understanding, an overview, on your initial reading and then try a second time to get more out of it. But the Summa was already consuming most of my studies and one reading was all I had time for. The rest of the class was sprinkled with stories of Sparky the Wonder Dog, a tool the professor used to help us understand various topics.

Finally, I have gotten to reading G. K. Chesterton’s book on St. Thomas. For some reason, it is a much easier read than other Chestertonian books. I had started Everlasting Man and abandoned it for St. Thomas. Chesterton, writing over 70 years ago, provides a compelling background story as to why the University of St. Thomas should never have changed the name of Albertus Magnus Hall and renamed it John Roach Center. I doubt the Board of Directors consulted the Theology or History departments about the name change. Aquinas Hall and Albertus Magnus Hall were two buildings on campus named for great men, giants really, of Church history. These two buildings stood “holding hands” across the arches for decades until new science and engineering buildings were built and the old science building, Albertus Magnus Hall, became obsolete. Funny how progress changes and erases so much.

Here’s a quote, not necessarily the best quote from the book, but one I find interesting. Chesterton draws parallels and distinctions between St. Francis and St. Thomas and then compares St. Thomas to a variety of other historical figures, one being St. Augustine. With everything St. Thomas and St. Augustine wrote, especially St. Augustine on humility, it is interesting how the following quote demonstrates a surprising lack of humility.

We must be just to those huge human figures, who are in fact the hinges of history. However strong, and rightly strong, be our own controversial conviction, it must never mislead us into thinking that something trivial has transformed the world. So it is with that great Augustinian monk, who avenged all the ascetic Augustinians of the Middle Ages; and whose broad and burly figure has been big enough to block out for four centuries the distant human mountain of Aquinas. It is not, as the moderns delight to say, a question of theology. The Protestant theology of Martin Luther was a thing that no modern Protestant would be seen dead in a field with; or if the phrase be too flippant, would be specially anxious to touch with a barge-pole. That Protestantism was pessimism; it was nothing but bare insistence on the hopelessness of all human virtue, as an attempt to escape hell. That Lutheranism is now quite unreal; more modern phases of Lutheranism are rather more unreal; but Luther was not unreal. He was one of those great elemental barbarians, to whom it is indeed given to change the world. To compare those two figures hulking so big in history, in any philosophical sense, would of course be futile and even unfair. On a great map like the mind of Aquinas, the mind of Luther would be almost invisible. But it is not altogether untrue to say, as so many journalists have said without caring whether it was true or untrue, that Luther opened an epoch; and began the modern world.

He was the first man who ever consciously used his consciousness or what was later called his Personality. He had as a fact a rather strong personality. Aquinas had an even stronger personality; he had a massive and magnetic presence; he had an intellect that could act like a huge system of artillery spread over the whole world; he had that instantaneous presence of mind in debate, which alone really deserves the name of wit. But it never occurred to him to use anything except his wits, in defence of a truth distinct from himself. It never occurred to Aquinas to use Aquinas as a weapon. There is not a trace of his ever using his personal advantages, of birth or body or brain or breeding, in debate with anybody. In short, he belonged to an age of intellectual unconsciousness, to an age of intellectual innocence, which was very intellectual. Now Luther did begin the modern mood of depending on things not merely intellectual. It is not a question of praise or blame; it matters little whether we say that he was a strong personality, or that he was a bit of a big bully. When he quoted a Scripture text, inserting a word that is not in Scripture, he was content to shout back at all hecklers: "Tell them that Dr. Martin Luther will have it so!" That is what we now call Personality. A little later it was called Psychology. After that it was called Advertisement or Salesmanship. But we are not arguing about advantages or disadvantages. It is due to this great Augustinian pessimist to say, not only that he did triumph at last over the Angel of the Schools, but that he did in a very real sense make the modern world. He destroyed Reason; and substituted Suggestion.

It is said that the great Reformer publicly burned the Summa Theologica and the works of Aquinas; and with the bonfire of such books this book may well come to an end. They say it is very difficult to burn a book; and it must have been exceedingly difficult to burn such a mountain of books as the Dominican had contributed to the controversies of Christendom. Anyhow, there is something lurid and apocalyptic about the idea of such destruction, when we consider the compact complexity of all that encyclopaedic survey of social and moral and theoretical things. All the close-packed definitions that excluded so many errors and extremes; all the broad and balanced judgments upon the clash of loyalties or the choice of evils; all the liberal speculations upon the limits of government or the proper conditions of justice; all the distinctions between the use and abuse of private property; all the rules and exceptions about the great evil of war; all the allowances for human weakness and all the provisions for human health; all this mass of medieval humanism shrivelled and curled up in smoke before the eyes of its enemy; and that great passionate peasant rejoiced darkly, because the day of the Intellect was over. Sentence by sentence it burned, and syllogism by syllogism; and the golden maxims turned to golden flames in that last and dying glory of all that had once been the great wisdom of the Greeks. The great central Synthesis of history, that was to have linked the ancient with the modern world, went up in smoke and, for half the world, was forgotten like a vapour.

The entire book can be viewed here.

Almost enough to buy a few cups of coffee

With the price of real estate going down, blogs might be a good investment. I ran the numbers again after yesterday's post that mentioned a bunch of presidents and other political folks and the price of my blog increased. I'm trying to stay under the radar with Technorati, but think once they find you, their bot always comes by your site.

My blog is worth $8,468.10.
How much is your blog worth?

25 September 2007

Behind every man is his wife

President Clinton once made a visit to the Boeing Company. It was a big event. The news channels covered his visit and the company went all out for the visit the short time he was actually there. Metal detectors were installed inside the factory for those who got the chance to hear the President speak. I was one of the lucky ones that received a golden ticket for the event. The group I worked in was all men and all considerably older than myself. They selected me to be the one person in the group allowed to go hear the President, partly because several men in the group wouldn't have cared to hear President Clinton speak even if we all had been given tickets.

The Clinton administration started off a bit rocky, with Bill Clinton remarking that the country would get "two for the price of one." Hillary would create a "new kind of first lady" and take a prominent role in the White House. Bill and Hillary were two peas in a pod and both championed liberal politics.

With the presidential election starting to heat up, it reminded me of my bible study from last year where we learned about Solomon. I started wondering what impact wives had on the decisions their husbands made, even as president.

Solomon was greatly influenced by his wife, Pharoah's daughter, and subsequently all of his wives. They led him away from the worship of God to the worship of idols.

1 Kings 11:1-10
“Now king Solomon loved many foreign women, besides the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; of the nations concerning which The Lord said unto the children of Israel: 'Ye shall not go among them, neither shall they come among you; for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods'; Solomon did cleave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not whole with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the detestation of the Ammonites. And Solomon did that which was evil in the sight of The Lord, and went not fully after The Lord, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build a high place for Chemosh the detestation of Moab, in the mount that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestation of the children of Ammon. And so did he for all his foreign wives, who offered and sacrificed unto their gods. And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he kept not that which the Lord commanded.”

The roles of some First Ladies

Rosalynn Carter

Quoted as being personally opposed to abortion, but not in a position to decided for others, she supported abortion rights. Her husband, Jimmy Carter, also echoed this fence-sitting sentiment, citing the separation of church and state, and supports the Supreme Court decision. She frequently sat in on cabinet meetings and took the role as advisor. Rosalynn is currently a "global human rights activist," supports mental health issues, and works with her husband on Habitat for Humanity and at the Carter Center.

Nancy Reagan
By all accounts, she had a close relationship with her husband. Was against abortion, but after the death of President Reagan has urged President George W. Bush to support embryonic stem-cell research hoping it would lead to a cure for Alzheimer's disease. Also supported the Foster Grandparent Program, veterans causes, and Just Say No to drugs. Although Ronald Reagan was against abortion, he appointed two quasi-conservatives to the bench, Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy.

Barbara Bush
With Barbara an abortion supporter, George H.W. Bush has supported abortion (prior to hitching his horse to the Reagan presidency) and then came out as anti-abortion while in the White House, even vetoing several abortion bills. Appointed a mixed bag to the bench, David Souter and Clarence Thomas. Barbara called for the Republican party to drop its pro-life position during the 2000 elections.

Laura Bush
While her husband, George W. Bush, has stated that he opposes abortion except in the cases of rape or incest, or if the life of the mother is at risk, Laura Bush is a supporter of abortion rights. However, this presidency saw abortion restrictions as well as full funding for abstinence-only education and blocked distribution for the morning-after pill, along with appointing two Catholics to the bench, Chief Justice John Roberts and Samuel Alito.

Looking ahead to 2008
I have never understood politicians. They want to be the leader of our country, but at the same time, they are not leaders in the strict sense of the word. They are political animals. Opportunists. Tilting to whichever way the wind blows instead of having a position and sticking to it. Listening to the advice and counsel of others has its place, but so few politicians have a plan of action and seek to carry it out. How many candidates have flip-flopped on issues for politically expedient reasons? How many sit on the fence and don't answer questions directly?

I hope our next president has a spouse who champions life and is able to get the ear of the president.

24 September 2007

Duck season! Rabbit season!

It's duck hunting season in Wisconsin. I'm right with everyone in supporting the right to bear arms, but being in the middle of the playing field is a bit unnerving!! We were at the cabin over the weekend and could tell it was the season opener because you could hear guns going off in the not-too-distant distance. Fortunately, our cabin is fairly removed from the action, but you can still hear the shooting.

Hard to feel comfortable having the kids outside. Ya just don't get this in the city!

It seems that EVERYONE in the area was out hunting. My father-in-law used to be a big hunter and my sister-in-law and her husband are also big hunter/fisher people. For all the shooting I did as a kid, I never went hunting. Just wasn't for me.

I just wish someone could get the Canadian Geese that pooped all over our yard this summer!!

It's good to be home ;}


ELMER: (Tiptoeing through the forest) Shhhhhh! Be vewy, vewy quiet . . . I'm hunting wabbits, heh-heh-heh.
ELMER: Oh boy!! Wabbit twacks!!
DAFFY: Oh, Buggsy . . . Buggsy pal! There's a friend here to see you!!
DAFFY: Thurvival of the fittest! . . . and besides . . . it's fun!!
BUGS: Did someone knock?
BUGS: (slightly perturbed) Eh . . . what's up, Doc?
ELMER: Now I got you . . . you wabbit!! Heh-heh-heh . . .
BUGS: (Bites . . . crunch, crunch, crunch) (Mouth full) Say, Doc (chew, chew), are you tryin' to get yourself in trouble with the law? This ain't wabbit-huntin' season . . .
ELMER: It's not!?!
BUGS: No! It's duck-huntin' season!!
DAFFY: That, sir, is an inmitigated frabication!! It's wabbit season!!
BUGS: Duck Season!
DAFFY: Wabbit season!!
BUGS: Duck season!!
DAFFY: Wabbit season!!
BUGS: Duck season!!
DAFFY: Wabbit season!!
BUGS: Wabbit season!!
DAFFY: Duck season!!
BUGS: Wabbit season!!
DAFFY: I say it's duck season and I say Fire!! (Elmer fires. Daffy's bill is blown askew.)
DAFFY: Hmmmmm . . .
DAFFY: Let's try that again!!
BUGS: Okay . . .
DAFFY: I'll start it this time!
BUGS: R-right.
DAFFY: Wabbit season!
BUGS: Duck season.
DAFFY: Wabbit season!
BUGS: Wabbit season.
DAFFY: Duck season. Fire!!! (Elmer again fires, displacing Daffy's bill)
DAFFY: (Grimly) Okay . . . This time you start it!
BUGS: Whatever you say . . .
BUGS: W . . . abbit.
DAFFY: Duck! Fire!! (This time Daffy's head and bill are upside down)
DAFFY: Whatha matter . . . Everythingth upside down . . .
DAFFY: Can't make headth or tailth of thingth . . .
ELMER: Hey, you!! Come back here!!! (Tries gun only a click)
ELMER: Well, whaddaya know ... no more buwwets!

21 September 2007

All I can muster

The month of September has been extraordinarily busy. I don't know why I thought it would be a slower-paced month and that we would ease into fall.

For those of you keeping tabs, my husband talked to his mother again last night about our weekend plans (yes, we are going up to the cabin and I won't be back until MONDAY) and I asked him to see if she had had a chance to look again for the relics. Oh, she thinks Aunt has them. I had my husband call Aunt (because if I had gotten on the phone and made the calls, my temper might've gotten away from me), who said my MIL had them. Hubby said that his mom said that Aunt had them. Oh, she'll look again. She'll ask her son if he knows where they may be.

I'm angry. I'm angry that I'm getting the run around and that these folks either don't give a rat's tail about the relics or are deliberately being evasive about them. These people don't even know what they are, other than me telling them they are relics. It's one of three things: they honestly don't know where they are, they know where they are and are not about to let us have them, or they sold them. My new slogan is: WWSD? Which is, "What would the saints do?"

My genealogy interests are starting to heat up too. Recently, my cousin, the nun, was visiting and we got together to go over some genealogy. Now I have a bunch of stuff I need to send her and a handful of great photos she shared that I need to get copied. A distant, distant cousin on my mother's Swiss branch, who lives in Australia, is trying to solve some questions I had about the family initially being from Canton Graubunden or Canton Uri. This is way back in the 1500s. He just sent me a long e-mail with a bunch of questions, so will have to dig out my stuff and answer him. Then, I owe a cousin of my husband's a bunch of genealogy information and another cousin of hubby's a letter in response to his questions. Usually, I'm the one initiating contact with these people, trying to pick their brains for information. Now that I've been so busy and stepped back from actively researching things, everyone else is coming out of the wood work and asking questions. It just keeps pulling me back in!

Plus, I have to work on my bible study questions and get to the bottom of the points that Karen has brought up.

So, once again, here's some frivolity for Friday.

From Tara, at Loved Sinner...Which composer are you?

You scored as J.S. Bach, You are dedicated and intelligent. People who know you don't understand how you get it all done, and you never give up on life.

J.S. Bach






Hector Berlioz




















Which classical composer are you?
created with QuizFarm.com


And, from Paramedic Girl at Salve Regina...How much is your blog worth? (I'm surprised it's worth more than a cup of coffee!)

My blog is worth $7,339.02.
How much is your blog worth?

20 September 2007

TC Catholic Chorale's book on Monsignor Schuler

View Behind the Painting
Memories of Monsignor Richard J. Schuler

This 80-page book containing fond memories of Monsignor Richard J. Schuler was written by present and former members of the Chorale and members of the Orchestra. It contains many photos of Monsignor Schuler from the archives of the Church of St. Agnes. It is published by the Chorale to honor Monsignor Schuler, Founding Director of the Twin Cities Catholic Chorale and pastor of the Church of St. Agnes in St. Paul, MN.

The volume is available in print or bound in either of two formats:
Color covers with black and white interior for $15 a copy
Covers and interior in color for $55 a copy

The document can also be viewed and printed at the website of the Church of St. Agnes

Gospel of St. Matthew Bible Study - Lesson 2

Again, here is a summary of what we learned in bible study today, covering Chapter 2 of the Gospel of Matthew.

I didn't get nearly as much out of the study this week as it seemed we went over things that most people know. However, Father Echert did mention again, the first thing he said, was that Matthew's gospel is the earliest gospel written and said that Church Tradition supports this and internal evidence within Matthew points to this also. Period. That's all he said, so the debate from the last lesson is still unresolved as to whether Mark or Matthew is the earliest. If anyone has any insight, please leave your comments, no matter how long or involved, in the combox. I would love to hear what you have to say.

But, having Father mention this, which is a point Karen of Gem of the Ocean, and I had discussed from the last lesson and then also mention the Charismatic Renewal, made me wonder if Father Echert had been reading my blog. I would wager a box of diapers that this isn't true, but Father, if you're out there, please clear up the matter of Mark and Matthew for us!

As an aside, a comment Father made on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in relation to the Charismatic Renewal is, "[The Gifts of the Holy Spirit] are an independent activity of the Holy Spirit, not dependent of sanctifying grace." He was referring to Balaam's curse of the Israelites in Numbers 23, where Balak wants Balaam to curse the Israelites but he can only ever utter a blessing, showing that God can bestow gifts on a corrupt man and work through him. Interesting.

The magi, the word being the origin of the term "magic," were not magicians, but scientists, along the lines of astronomers/astrologers. That's why they understood about the star. I had never heard they were magicians, but some people in my discussion group said they have known people who thought that. Hmmm.

The gifts of the magi, as you probably know, signify Christ's kingship (gold), priesthood and divinity (francincense) and humanity (myrrh). They were the first Gentiles to recognize Christ.

Father Echert did go into the history of Herod (the Great) a bit, which was interesting. If you haven't read into the history of Herod, click on the link to get a mere overview of how evil he was. Killed his own sons and a wife just to ensure his own political power. Was responsible for the slaughter of the Holy Innocents.

Seems Herod was one paranoid dude, and rightly so, since he was partly Jewish (although descended from Esau and an Edomite) and knew of the prophecy that came from the very attempted curse that became a blessing of Balaam - "I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh: a star shall come forth out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab, and break down all the sons of Sheth. Edom shall be dispossessed, Seir also, his enemies, shall be dispossess, while Irael does valiantly. By Jacob shall dominion be exercised, and the survivors of cities be destroyed." (Numbers 24:17-19). Herod knew the writing was on the wall and tried to avoid it by slaughtering the Holy Innocents.

Caesar Augustus knew Herod was a bad dude and commented, "In such a situation, it would be better to be Herod's swine than Herod's subject." Meaning that Herod wouldn't think twice to do away with anyone who got in his way and it would be safer to be a pig in Herod's kingdom, because at least Herod would leave you alone.

Herod left a will about how he wanted his sons to rule over his kingdom upon his death, but Caesar Augustus wasn't too keen on the whole deal and had Herod's son, Archelaus, removed after six years and during the ensuing upheaval and removal of the rest of Herod's house, more Romans were appointed to rule the area, including Pontius Pilate.

Lastly, a comment about Joseph and Moses. Moses wandered in the desert for 40 years because the Israelites were unfaithful, but Joseph was able to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt and back in far less time because they were faithful. I took this as an analogy as to not being able to clearly see things because of original sin.

19 September 2007

For boys of all ages

Since many folks were listing their summer reads, I thought I would plug a book we bought my son. If you are nostalgic and think being a he-man-woman-hater is cool, this is the book for you. It covers everything from tying knots to historical events. Like a boy scout book on steroids.

A link to the author's website:
The Dangerous Book for Boys

A review by Amazon:
Equal parts droll and gorgeous nostalgia book and heartfelt plea for a renewed sense of adventure in the lives of boys and men, Conn and Hal Iggulden's The Dangerous Book for Boys became a mammoth bestseller in the United Kingdom in 2006. Adapted, in moderation, for American customs in this edition (cricket is gone, rugby remains; conkers are out, Navajo Code Talkers in), The Dangerous Book is a guide book for dads as well as their sons, as a reminder of lore and technique that have not yet been completely lost to the digital age. Recall the adventures of Scott of the Antarctic and the Battle of the Somme, relearn how to palm a coin, tan a skin, and, most charmingly, wrap a package in brown paper and string. The book's ambitions are both modest and winningly optimistic: you get the sense that by learning how to place a splint or write in invisible ink, a boy might be prepared for anything, even girls (which warrant a small but wise chapter of their own).

There is also a book for girls now, too. I haven't looked at this one, however.

Here's what Amazon has to say about it:
THE DARING BOOK FOR GIRLS is the manual for everything that girls need to know –– and that doesn't mean sewing buttonholes! Whether it's female heroes in history, secret note–passing skills, science projects, friendship bracelets, double dutch, cats cradle, the perfect cartwheel or the eternal mystery of what boys are thinking, this book has it all. But it's not just a guide to giggling at sleepovers –– although that's included, of course! Whether readers consider themselves tomboys, girly–girls, or a little bit of both, this book is every girl's invitation to adventure.

18 September 2007

Thawing out some thoughts

After my post yesterday on the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR), I thought I should check into it a bit on the internet, something I hadn't previously done. I had asked priests about the CCR, but have never hopped online to see what's out there.

Eye opening, reaffirming and a bit shocking to say the least. I was going to write more on this topic, but found some articles that say it better than I ever could. The articles are mostly from a conservative point of view, so keep that in mind for objectivity's sake, but just because they are more traditional in their view point doesn't diminish much of what they say.

I never found the Charismatics to be as extreme as the articles point out, but maybe I was too far on the periphery to be in the know and see any agenda. I didn't ever find the message of the CCR to be one of replacement or attempting to supercede the doctrines or beliefs of Catholicism, but then again, participation did nothing to further my faith. Even more importantly, participation did NOT teach me my faith but, IMHO, presented me something parallel, and even as I said in my prior post, tangential to the Faith I had been raised with. Many things in the articles rang true.

First article, here's a quote that supported my thoughts of early yesterday morning. However, it is from the Remnant, and does personally bash and criticize some well-known folks which I find a bit uncharitable. Cum grano salis.

When the disciples asked Our Lord how to pray, He taught them the Our Father. Simple. Not an emotional, energy-packed experience. Not a “gift” which some receive, while others do not, but a simple prayer which any man, woman or child can say.

The lives of the Saints clearly reinforce this truth. Their methods of prayer did not resemble sporadic outbreaks in unknown, unintelligible utterances. They became Saints on the traditional prayers of the Church: the Creed, the Our Father, the Glory Be, the Acts of Faith, Hope and Charity; the Act of Contrition, prayers based on the Psalms and, of course, the lifting of their minds and hearts in true religious sentiment in gratitude to God.

Further...all I can say about the below is that the CCR was never presented to me in this extreme. However, just because it wasn't spelled out or written on a hand-out doesn't mean this wasn't what was happening. This is exactly what I was talking about when I pondered the questions about group dynamics. What the he** is going on here?

What does this mean? It means the overcoming of all psycho-social inhibitions and barriers which protect the individual from unacceptable social and immoral behavior. Charismatics maintain that spirit empowerment results in the elimination of rigidity and inhibitions that can stifle spiritual energies. Consequently, the line of defense against our deep inner impulses to act out is weakened. The liberation of physic resources from within the unconscious into the consciousness of the individual is not well-known and can have traumatic effects on the person’s psyche, on his personality and on interpersonal group dynamics which are operable in Charismatic prayer meetings.

Built-in psycho-social inhibitions are healthy and necessary, and by preventing an individual from acting out, it helps him not to sin. The normal person discerns the line beyond which actions become morally unacceptable, either internally or externally. To the degree that psychological restraints are weakened, to that degree are the passions excited. Before enslaving men, Satan first frees them from their psychological complexes and then liberates them from all psychological restraints to bring them under his yoke. Liberation and empowerment open the door for Satan to enter. It is known that at Charismatic prayer meetings there have been occurrences of diabolic manifestations which have alarmed both leaders and participants.

Liberation and empowerment, of which the Charismatic man boasts, are contrary to the virtue of humility, because they foster a sense of self-reliance and pride. On the contrary, liberation and empowerment do not strengthen faith; rather we see it as a sort of psychic drug that eventually will cause the degradation of the faith and the mental well-being of individuals.

Furthermore, the so-called Baptism of the Spirit and the empowerment that accompanies it place the individual at a spiritual and psychological risk, because he then becomes vulnerable to both internal and external suggestions. His sense of judgment is impaired, and consequently he is rendered unable to distinguish wheat from chaff, light from heat, and the authentic from the counterfeit.

Second article is from the SSPX, so forewarned here, folks. I found this to be a well written article, despite its pedigree.

Thus, to the Charismatic, one does not truly "know" God until one has experienced Him consciously, i.e., until one has had a sensory experience (usually emotional, sometimes overtly physical as in the case of the glossolalia —or speaking in tongues) of "His Spirit" at work in one. Indeed, spiritual experience over-rules public revelation and the 2000-year teaching of the magisterium in matters such as, to name only one example, ecumenism (see below).

To the Charismatics, the very presence today of phenomena supposedly identical to the true charismata present in the early Church proves their divine origin. The experience is what matters, not the intellect’s legitimate questions, such as "Why the 2000-year lapse? Is this experience really the same as the phenomena described in Scripture? Is ‘the Spirit’ leading us toward a more fully Catholic life or toward apostasy?" The failure of Charismatics to "try the spirits" [I Jn. 4:1] is possibly their most dangerous blunder since the Devil can produce prodigies which mimic truly supernatural phenomena from God.

And now for something completely different

I have talked about my past employer, Boeing, a few times on this blog, but I haven't mentioned Intel. I worked in process engineering in the (tungsten) chemical vapor deposition area out in Aloha, OR. Not my cup of tea in many respects. Making chips and the technology (which is fairly cutting edge) are not things that greatly interest me and the corporate culture was not something I cared for. Plus, the whole clean room stuff and wearing bunny suits did not thrill me, not to mention working with non-life affirming chemicals/gases wasn't my idea of fun.

Since I had a sick kid last night, don't have much to say today, but heard Intel was building a new facility in the Evil Empire, so thought I'd include a brief bit on that.

From the EE Times:
Intel Corp. on Saturday (Sept. 8) broke ground on its first 300-mm wafer fabrication facility in Asia. The new plant, named Fab 68, is located in the northern China city of Dalian, in the Liaoning Province.
Intel's China fab was originally announced in March. The $2.5 billion project is set to be operational in 2010. It will produce chipsets, based on a 90-nm process. Fab 68 will cover 163,000-square-meters of factory space and host a 15,000-square-meter clean room.

Intel investment in Fab 68 sets its total investment in China to close to $4 billion. Intel has established two assembly and test plants in Shanghai and Chengdu, along with R&D centers and labs in Beijing, Shanghai and elsewhere in China.

"Fab 68 will have world-class infrastructure and be an integral part of our global manufacturing network while bringing us closer to our customers and partners in China," said Craig Barrett, chairman of Intel, in a statement. "Intel's investment in Fab 68 comes at a time when Dalian's information technology industry is aiming to compete globally and become one of the top three IT clusters in China," said Dalian Mayor Xia Deren, in the same statement. "Fab 68 is not just bringing advanced chipset manufacturing to Dalian," he said. "Intel's presence will attract investment from virtually every segment of the IC industry, which in turn will have tremendous effect on the region's economy and industries."

Picture of a silicon ingot that is grown and then cut into wafers

A brief overview of how silicon is turned into the material that chips are made from.

If you have any interest, here is a Wiki link on Chemical Vapor Deposition
and another, more in depth link.


Wearing a bunny suit, from the Intel website (what I had to do every day just to get out in the fab):

"Cleanrooms are 10,000 times cleaner than a hospital operating room. It takes an incredible amount of technology to achieve and maintain such cleanliness. Huge air filtration systems completely change the air in cleanrooms about 10 times per minute, reducing the chance that there are airborne particles that might harm the chips.

Keeping the environment clean, however, is only half of the story. What about the people who work in the cleanrooms? The thousands of people who work in Intel cleanrooms all wear special uniforms called "bunny suits" to protect the chips from human particles such as skin flakes or hairs. A bunny suit is made from a unique non-linting, anti-static fabric and is worn over street clothes.

At the Intel Museum, you can see what our BunnyPeopleT look like. Bunny suits come in a range of colors, as long as you like white.

Suiting up is a rather involved process, not to mention that every time you enter and leave a cleanroom you have to repeat the steps below:

(They forgot to mention you have to go through an air shower and walk across fly-paper before the following steps)

1. Store personal items.
2, Discard any gum, candy, etc.
3. Remove any makeup with cleanroom soap and water.
4. Take a drink of water to wash away throat particles.
5. Cover any facial hair with a surgical mask or beard/mustache lint-free cover.
6. Put on a lint-free head cover.
7. Clean shoes with shoe cleaners (think they are referring to the fly-paper here)
8. Put shoe cover on over shoes.
9. Clean any small, pre-approved items to be taken inside.
10. Pick up booties.
11. Sit on "dirty" side of bench.
12. Put on one bootie (over plastic shoe cover).
13. Swing bootied foot to "clean" side of bench.
14. Put on other bootie on "dirty" side.
15. Swing bootied foot to "clean" side.
16. Enter main gowning room.
17. Set aside badge, pager, and any other items to be taken inside.
18. Put on nylon gowning gloves.
19. Obtain bunny suit and belt from hanger.
20. Put on bunny suit without letting it touch the floor.
21. Put on belt.
22. Tuck bunny suit pant legs into booties.
23. Fasten snaps at top of booties.
24. Attach filter unit to belt.
25. Attach battery pack to belt.
26. Plug filter unit into battery pack.
27. Obtain helmet, safety glasses, and ID badge from rack.
28. Put on helmet.
29. Tuck helmet skirt into bunny suit.
30. Zip up bunny suit at shoulders.
31. Attach helmet hose to filter unit.
32. Tighten knob at back of helmet.
33. Put on ID badge.
34. Put on pager.
35. Put on safety glasses.
36. Obtain disposable scope shield.
37. Remove protective covering from both sides of scope shield.
38. Undo front helmet snaps.
39. Attach face shield to helmet.
40. Re-snap front helmet snaps.
41. Examine attire in mirror.
42. Put on latex gloves.
43. Enter the cleanroom.

If you've never done it before, putting on a bunny suit can take 30 to 40 minutes. The Intel pros can do it in five."

17 September 2007

From Moses to Vatican II

Aside from the kids being about as obnoxious as they could in church, Sunday was a good day. Over the summer, we spent nearly every weekend at our cabin and attended Mass at the small, quirky nearby Catholic churches. The few times that we were in the city, we attended the very close and convenient Nativity of Our Lord instead of St. Agnes, which has been the parish I have belonged to since 1986 (not including the 10 years I lived in Seattle ;} ). It was so nice to be back.

Although St. Agnes has gone through many changes in the past few years, it is still the parish I feel most comfortable in. When I was pregnant with my son, I attended a "Natural Labor and Delivery" class where they tell you to envision a place that brings you joy, peace, comfort, etc., that you can focus on during the rough patches of labor. I always envisioned myself kneeling in a pew praying near the front of the church during Benediction and Exposition. It caught me off-guard when the instructor of the class asked us what our "relaxation" place was and I said it was on an inner-tube in the middle of a lake in the warm sun. Also a comfy place, but there was something so intrusive about her question that I wasn't going to ruin it by telling people. St. Agnes is home.

Father Ubel's homily touched on Moses. With the kids downstairs in the social hall with dad, I was able to listen to what Father had to say. It's too bad that so many of the Old Testament saints are left out of our liturgical calendar and out of the Church's recent memory. What I mean is, Moses was an incredible intercessor for his people. He was flawed, he was weak, but when the chips were down, Moses was a leader, protector and champion of his people. Moses also chastised his flock. When God was going to allow His wrath to blaze down on the people and destroy them, Moses stood up to God, told Him to wait a minute, reminded God of His promises and saved his people.

Moses is certainly someone I want in my corner...along with the litany of saints I ask for intercession. If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you will probably see, like many other Catholics, I'm a strong proponent of intercessory prayer. I am shameless in asking just about everyone in the Communion of Saints for their prayers and intercession. Like Moses, but far more gently, I remind those saints that members of my family had a special fidelity to, just how faithful and persevering those family members were. I try to build on their religious capital, I grab their coat tails and become a squeaky wheel. Now that I'm a mother, I'm almost as bad as the mother of James and John in asking for help for my family.

Back in my youth, I was a member of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. A snippet from Wikipedia describes the movement as:
The Second Vatican Council stated in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium:"It is not only through the sacraments and the ministrations of the Church that the Holy Spirit makes holy the people, leads them and enriches them with his virtues.... He also distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank. By these gifts he makes them fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church."

I spent several years pretty deeply involved in the Charismatic Movement. It was at a Catholic church, but many of the people I knew weren't Catholic. The weekly meetings were lively and dynamic, and we always spent a great deal of time, as a collective, praying for the intentions of the members. We sat in a great big circle of concentric rings, people spoke in tongues, and folks witnessed about their faith. The evening was always capped off by everyone standing and placing their hands on the shoulders of the people in front of them and/or beside them and praying. Praying out loud. Speaking in tongues. Praying.

However, looking back as I have often done, I can't see that my involvement brought me any growth in my faith. In fact, it was the beginning of my Catholic-in-name-only (CINO) period. My experience may be much different than others. I was young, in junior high and high school, with friends and boys becoming an increasingly important part of my life. The youth group I belonged to that was part of this organization was a poor example of living your faith. Several girls in the group became pregnant, kids dropped out of school, others left the church. Just not your wholesome group of kids when you looked beneath the surface.

For a long time, I have had questions about the group dynamics of an organization like this. Are the gifts of the Holy Spirit really happening or are they some manifestation of a very heightened group experience? Why do so many Charismatics get the Gift of Tongues, for example, when many saints and other contemplatives don't mention these things at all? Is it just "different strokes for different folks," or is the Charismatic Renewal movement a tangent instead of part of the path.

In fairness to the Charismatics, it has been a long time since I have been a part of anything like this and I only ever attended the meetings of one group. I do know that I experienced many profound things through my participation in this group, but instead of it being something that comforts me and steels my faith, it has left me wondering what really happened. I have asked several very orthodox priests and a contemplative priest about my experiences and am still left wondering. Was it all group dynamics?

And, in returning back to Moses and intercessory prayer, I prefer my silent and solitary prayer to having a group "lay hands on me." For me, there is a closer connection I feel to the saints and Poor Souls when I am in prayer, than I ever felt at the Charismatic Renewal meetings, despite the physicality and hugely evangelical and overtly friendly tone of the group.

In my mind, it is not likely that the quiet solitude of kneeling in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament at St. Agnes, asking for intercession for all my intentions, will ever be replaced by anything else.

16 September 2007

When your alma doesn't matter

It was a bad day for football. At least in my world. Not that I'm a big fan...I'm not even a fair weather fan.

Hockey has always been my favorite. And, I like basketball. Football is way back in the dust on my radar.

Here are the scores of the games I did keep tabs on over the weekend.

Alma mater Numero Uno:
University of St. Thomas (Tommies) vs. Gustavus Adolphus (Gusties) Lost 30-14
They are now 0-3 for the season

Alma mater Numero Dos:
University of Washington (Huskies) vs. #10 Ohio State (Buckeyes) Lost 33-14
They are now 2-1 for the season

Alma mater of hubby, brother and father:
University of Minnesota (Gophers) vs. Florida Atlantic Lost 42-39

We were at the UST game on Saturday and the weather was great. Kids only lasted to the half, so we took them home for naps. Had coupons to get in free, and free pop and popcorn, but still spent almost $15 just on some food (kids were starving). Too bad UST couldn't manage to complete a play. I don't know much about football, but even I could tell they stunk.

15 September 2007

White sheep, back sheep, no busker sheep

Hey, folks, my first attempt with a You Tube video! Personally, I don't really watch them from other blogs, not because I don't want to, but because of my cro-magnon, knuckle-dragging dial-up that keeps me in the stone age.

Please let me know if this doesn't work. Thanks!

You may have heard about the immigration problems they are having in Switzerland. The current political party is "ultra" conservative and some factions within Switzerland have been riling things up. The lastest ads where the white sheep kick the black sheep out of their country certainly isn't helping matters. The US isn't the only country with immigration problems.

But, long before this became front page news, the Mariachis were causing quite a stir.

Way back in 2006, I believe, the scandal of the "No Mariachis on the Tram" began. Unlike in the US, the red circle around something in Switzerland is the equivalent of a red circle with a slash through it, as in most other countries. The above tram signs were deemed to be in poor taste and were removed, after the Mexican Consultate, having received many angry calls about the signs, investigated and complained to the city of Zurich. The Zurich Public Transport (VBZ), replaced the stereotyping signs with a non-descript guitar player, which cost them around 20,000 Swiss Francs, with a Swiss Franc being kind of equivalent to the Canadian dollar.

But, the VBZ just couldn't let sleeping dogs lie and came up with the commercial in the You Tube video, which is basically reiterating their point of no Mariachis on the tram, but without the non-descript guitar player.

I can't even imagine this airing in the US.

I didn't know Mariachis were a problem. The only way I ever got around in most of Europe when I have been there is by subway, tram, train, etc. I have never had the pleasure of seeing a Mariachi band play outside of a Mexican restaurant in the US. Supposedly, the Italians are welcoming to the Mariachis. Maybe they should try their luck there instead...I think the food is better anyway.

(I found this video and story on a blog I visit awhile back. Don't really understand the point of the video (other than it offends folks), since the Mariachis play and then the commerical essentially says, "Only 300 meters to the next stop" and then "Sorry, (dear) street musicians." Which must be the Swiss way of saying the Mariachis are not welcome on the tram. Huh?)

Who are the people in your neighborhood

I spent a good amount of time last night trying to get a You Tube video on my blog. It seems I'm doing things correctly, but my slow dial-up, and possibly my accelerator, are causing some problems getting the video to appear on my blog. I think I place "embed" code on my clipboard and then click on the "add video" icon on my blog creator/editor, paste in the embedded code and things should go swimmingly. But, my computer just spins. If anyone has any insight on how to place video on my blog, please leave it in the combox.

So, since I couldn't get the video I wanted, here are some bumper stickers I saw last night (we went to the Mall of America for dinner because we hadn't been there in ages). Some of the bumper stickers are offensive and you wonder just what possesses people to go to the trouble of putting these things on their car.

Not just arrogent and in poor taste, but poor grammar.

They also had one that said "I'm pagan and I vote."

No comment

And, one I just found on the internet that I thought was cute...for all my science geeky friends.

14 September 2007

About town this weekend

This weekend is the Nativity County Fair. Bishop-elect Christensen is being ordained TODAY and will celebrate his last (open-air) Mass with the parish on Sunday. We have always gone to the fair in the past, but this year they needed to move the fair to what used to be St. Gregory's, now Nova Classical Academy, because the church is undergoing a pretty extensive addition. Not close enough to walk this year and they aren't having any fair activities Friday night.

Last year my son managed to get himself lost. OK, we considered him lost, but he knew full well where he was. The little whipper snapper really wanted to go in the inflated bouncy castle-thing and once mom and dad weren't looking, that's where he went. This year, we probably won't attend, not because we fear a repeat of last year, but because we just might attend a UST (University of St. Thomas) football game.

I have some coupons for free admission, free popcorn and pop, so that is a strong motivator for this family!!! I haven't been to a Tommie football game in, well, at least 20 years. Oh my goodness! I can't believe I can even say 10 years, much less 20. My son and husband want to go, so we may bundle up the kiddies and take them.

Oh, and if Relevant Radio doesn't cease and desist with their incessant and IRRITATING promotion of Johnny football, I might stop supporting them altogether!! Support the home team, guys, you're a Twin City affiliate. I doubt any radio station in Collegeville is promoting Tommie football. Goodness!

From the Tommie Sports website:

--GAME 3: St. Thomas (0-2) makes its home-field debut Saturday and starts its MIAC season when it plays host to the Golden Gusties of Gustavus Adolphus College (1-0). Kickoff is 1 p.m. on Palmer Field in O'Shaughnessy Stadium... It's also Neighborhood Day and locals can take advantage of some food and admissions discounts with an ad in this week's Highland Villager... The Tommies' 1956 MIAC champion football team will be honored at halftime... St. Thomas has lost three games in a row dating back to last season, while Gustavus has won five in a row since October 2006.

--LISTEN: The game will be webcast by St. Thomas through its new partnership with Minnesota Sports Broadcasting Network (MSBN) and can be heard via your computer through the following link on Saturday: www.mnsportsnetwork.com

"Um, because they don't have maps."

(FYI - I have removed the links to the quizzes because there is a problem with them pointing to some very questionable sites. Not what I want to do. I apologize for any confusion and cursing.)
I finally sat down and did this quiz as seen on Entropy's site, but then I saw the geography quiz and had to do that one too. Sorry Miss Teen America, some of us do have maps and know how to use them.

Just some frivolity for Friday.
The State Locator Challenge Test
Your Score: Geography Master
You scored 100% Accuracy!
All bow before the geography genius. Will you be our master? Will you lead us, all powerful geography master?

You definitely know your stuff. Colorado and Wyoming didn't get you confused, and you can find the North East states in your sleep. You were probably always wrecking the curve in school. Even if you cheated by using a map(NO, I didn't cheat, honest), this is still a decent score.

This state naming skill of yours will definitely get your far in life. There are myriads of times where it is important to know the shape of the states. Ok, I lied, it doesn't really matter. But it does show that you know your stuff. And knowing stuff is good

Now for the Sesame Street Character Quiz. Results are a wee bit disappointing.

Your Score: Bert

You scored 75% Organization, 50% abstract, and 62% extroverted!

This test measured 3 variables.

First, this test measured how organized you are. Some muppets like Cookie Monster make big messes, while others like Bert are quite anal about things being clean.

Second, this test measured if you prefer a concrete or an abstract viewpoint. For the purposes of this test, concrete people are considered to gravitate more to mathematical and logical approaches, whereas abstract people are more the dreamers and artistic type.

Third, this test measured if you are more of an introvert or an extrovert. By definition, an introvert concentrates more on herself and an extrovert focuses more on others. In this test an introvert was somebody that either tends to spend more time alone or thinks more about herself.

You are very organized, both concrete and abstract, and both introverted and extroverted.

Here is why are you Bert.

You are both very organized. You almost always know where your belongings are and you prefer things neat. You may even enjoy cleaning and find it therapeutic. Bert is a big neat freak and gets quite annoyed when Ernie makes a big mess.

You both are sometimes concrete and sometimes abstract thinkers. Bert is probably a bit more concrete in his bottlecap collecting addiction and his love of the weather. He does show his abstract side when he sings and performs his "Doin' The Pidgeon" song. You have a good balance in your life. You know when to be logical at times, but you also aren't afraid to explore your dreams and desires... within limits of course.

You are both somewhat introverted. Bert is probably more introverted, because he spends most of his time either with Ernie or alone. Still he has no problem being around other people in his role as chairman of "The National Association of 'W' Lovers." Like Bert, you probably like to have some time to yourself, but you do appreciate spending time with your friends, and you aren't scared of social situations.

13 September 2007

Gospel of St. Matthew Bible Study - Lesson 1

We had our first live lecture with Father Echert today. Very nice. Since it was the first official "lecture," the leader introduced him. I had no idea all of the things this priest is involved in!! Wow, Father, I'm impressed on so many levels.

The study is on the Gospel of St. Matthew, from Catholic Scripture Studies, written by Scott Hahn and Mark Shea. Lectures by Father Echert.

Just wanted to share a few items I got out of the study today. You might already know some of this, but there are a few things I had never really thought about. Here are the highlights:

When you open up the Gospel of St. Matthew and begin reading, the first chapter is a genealogy of Jesus' line up to Abraham. It doesn't seem too interesting to read a bunch of names (even for someone like me who is very interested in genealogy) and you want to skip over it since it seems kind of irrelevant. But, there are reasons it is included.

The only other genealogy is in the Gospel of St. Luke. Matthew takes his genealogy of Jesus back to Abraham, whereas Luke goes all the way back to Adam. Reason for this is that Matthew is writing to Jews or Jewish Christians and Luke is focusing more on the Gentiles. The Jewish people would've been interested in Jesus' connection to Abraham and David, while the Gentiles would rather go all the way back to Adam, father of all the human race. Matthew stays true to his roots and writes his gospel in Hebrew or Aramaic, cites the OT a great deal since it is his background and also because he is trying to show the Jews that Jesus is the fulfillment of the OT.

The genealogy shows that Jesus had Gentile blood lines.

Four women are mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba. These women, as Father Echert said, are preparing the way for the reader to accept Mary, who is of very humble beginnings. Part of the reason the Jews failed to accept Jesus is they were expecting a great King, like David or Solomon, and didn't expect a humble son of a lowly carpenter to be the Messiah. Mentioning the women, outcasts and sinners, tries to temper the resistance Matthew anticipates about the Jews accepting Mary as the Mother of God. All of the women became part of the royal line of Jesus. And, typically, the noted lineage was through the man's line since women were pretty much chattel back then and had no rights of inheritance, etc. To mention a woman in a lineage is a huge departure from the norm.

Joseph wanted to quietly divorce Mary, as Father said, not because of Joseph's belief that she had done anything wrong or been unfaithful, but because he realized the enormity of what was being asked of him and how he was unworthy to stand in the presence of God (Jesus). It wasn't until the angel appeared to him in a dream, that Joseph learned that God had called him to be the step-father of Jesus and wanted him to care for Mary and Jesus. (Providing an example of how we are to come before Jesus in the sacraments!).

And, finally, the point I wish Father had more time to discuss since it wasn't until recently that I realized this is why some Protestants believe Jesus had brothers, etc., is that in Matthew 1:25 it uses the word "until," creating some misunderstanding. Joseph "knew her not until she had borne a son." As we learned, the word "until" doesn't imply a change in condition. It doesn't mean that once Mary gave birth to Jesus, she and Joseph had normal marital relations. "Until" doesn't imply anything afterwards and can mean "eternity" or "forever." As in 1 Corinthians 15:25, "Christ must reign until God has put all enemies under his feet." We all know "until" in this case doesn't change anything because Jesus reigns now and forever. "Until" doesn't speak to a particular time or event. Father gave an even better example in class, but I can't remember it. Darn!

That's a summary of our first lecture. Funny how 25 verses of boring genealogy could contain so much behind the scenes.

Stay tuned for next week...