30 June 2009

Movies for the Year of the Priest

Entire list stolen from Korrectiv. Check out their blog. The following is their list of movies with priests in them to watch each week, in chronological order.

I don't watch many movies and have seen few that are on the list, so I don't know if any of these movies are suitable for all audiences or present the Faith in a positive way. That's my legal disclaimer...not responsible for accidents.

Actually, I think the only one of these movies I have seen is The Fugitive, but it was the modern version with Harrison Ford, pre-Calista. Don't think there was a priest in it. I did watch part of Becket, but stopped right about the point he becomes a priest. Don't tell me what happens.

But, in the alternative section, I did see Into Great Silence. Don't have to worry if there is anything objectionable in this one!

And, come to think of it, I did see the Mission a long time ago. Go figure Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons are priests, Jesuits at that.

1. San Francisco (1936) [view the week of 6/19/09*]
2. Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) [6/26/09]
3. Boys Town (1938) [7/3/09]
4. The Fighting 69th (1940) [7/10/09]
5. The Devil at 4 O’Clock (1941) [7/17/09]
6. The Keys of the Kingdom (1944) [7/24/09]
7. Going My Way (1944) [7/31/09]
8. The Bells of St Mary's (1945) [8/7/09]
9. The Fugitive (1947) [8/14/09]
10. Monsieur Vincent (1947) [8/21/09]
11. Fighting Father Dunne (1948) [8/28/09]
12. The Miracle of the Bells (1948) [9/4/09]
13. Diary of a Country Priest (1951) [9/11/09]
14. I Confess (1953) [9/18/09]
15. Father Brown (1954) [9/25/09]
16. On the Waterfront (1954) [10/2/09]
17. The Left Hand of God (1955) [10/9/09]
18. The Miracle of Marcelino (1955) [10/16/09]
19. The Prisoner (1955) [10/23/09]
20. Seven Cities of Gold (1955) [10/30/09]
21. Nazarin (1959) [11/6/09]
22. Hoodlum Priest (1961) [11/13/09]
23. The Cardinal (1963) [11/20/09]
24. Becket (1964) [11/27/09]
25. The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968) [12/4/09]
26. The Exorcist (1973) [12/11/09]
27. The Massacre in Rome (1973) [12/18/09]
28. Hounds of Notre Dame (1980) [12/25/09]
29. True Confessions (1981) [1/1/10]
30. The Scarlet and the Black (1983) [1/8/10]
31. Mass Appeal (1984) [1/15/10]
32. The Assisi Underground (1985) [1/22/10]
33. The Mission (1986) [1/29/10]
34. Au Revoir les Enfant (1987) [2/5/10]
35. The Fr. Clements Story (1987) [2/12/10]
36. Under Satan’s Sun (1987) [2/19/10]
37. Don Bosco (1988) [2/26/10]
38. Francesco (1989) [3/5/10]
39. Black Robe (1991) [3/12/10]
40. Zycie za Zycie (Life for Life) (1991) [3/19/10]
41. Sleepers (1996) [3/26/10]
42. Molokai: The Story of Fr. Damian (1999) [4/2/10]
43. The Third Miracle (1999) [4/9/10]
44. Keeping the Faith (2000) [4/16/10]
45. The Confessor (The Good Shepherd) (2004) [4/23/10]
46. The Ninth Day (2004) [4/30/10]
47. Saint Ralph (2004) [5/7/10]
48. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005) [5/14/10]
49. Pope John Paul II (2005) [5/21/10]
50. The Novice (aka Crossroads) (2006) [5/28/10]
51. Doubt (2008) [6/2/10]
52. Gran Torino (2008) [6/9/10]

Alternate Selections
· Francis of Assisi (1961)
· The Reluctant Saint (1962)
· A Man for All Seasons (1966)
· Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972)
· Jesus of Montreal (1989)
· Stigmata (1999)
· St. Patrick: The Irish Legend (2000)
· Papa Giovanni John XXIII (2002)
· The Order (2003)
· Twist of Faith (2004)
· Into Great Silence (2005)
· Karol: The Man Who Became Pope (2005)

Mary's House

Here's the deal. I'm on slow dial-up so I haven't really listened to this video myself. Also, my speakers are working intermittently and even if I wait nearly an hour for the video to download, I can't tell if the sound is of good quality.

I heard James Kilbane sing this on EWTN and was struck by it since we had visited Ephesus and Our Lady's house in Selcuk several years ago (BC...before children). All I remember is that Our Lady's house was so humble and so small. And, how the Muslim women had such a devotion to the Blessed Mother, much more reverent and respectful than the garish tourist group we were with.

The video also shows the final resting place of St. John, which is in the ruins of his church in Selcuk not too far from Our Lady's house.

29 June 2009

Another installment from the Book of Irreverent Revelation

1. Just learned over the weekend, since I was able to watch some shows on the History Channel at my PIL this weekend, that Nikola Tesla was eventually given the patent on radio. Marconi may have beaten him to the airwaves by sending the first transatlantic radio signal, but Marconi used about a dozen and a half of Tesla's patents to get there.

Kind of along the lines that holiness attracts, genius, at least at this level, seems to repel. Maybe it's because genius is so close to madness. I find Tesla fascinating, but also a bit scary and creepy. If you have electricity in your house, thank Tesla.

Aside from his work on electromagnetism and electromechanical engineering, Tesla has contributed in varying degrees to the establishment of robotics, remote control, radar and computer science, and to the expansion of ballistics, nuclear physics, and theoretical physics. In 1943, the Supreme Court of the United States credited him as being the inventor of the radio. Many of his achievements have been used, with some controversy, to support various pseudosciences, UFO theories, and early New Age occultism.

Tesla engaged in reading many works, memorizing complete books, supposedly having a photographic memory. Tesla related in his autobiography that he experienced detailed moments of inspiration. During his early life, Tesla was stricken with illness time and time again. He suffered a peculiar affliction in which blinding flashes of light would appear before his eyes, often accompanied by hallucinations. Much of the time the visions were linked to a word or idea he might have come across; just by hearing the name of an item, he would involuntarily envision it in realistic detail. Modern-day synesthetes report similar symptoms. Tesla would visualise an invention in his brain in precise form before moving to the construction stage; a technique sometimes known as picture thinking. Tesla also often had flashbacks to events that had happened previously in his life; this began to happen during childhood.

2. June is a bad month for celebrities. But, as my Irish family always maintained, death comes in threes, so the rest of Hollywood should be safe for awhile. Unless you consider Billy Mays, that would throw off the entire theory (since Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and MJ were the first three).

3. ABC is changing it's name to OBC...the Obama channel. All Obama, all the time.

4. Love is in the air. First it was my daughter and her school friend, but now my son has a little girl friend at T-ball.

5. A Swiss team has unveiled a solar plane. Neat and cool, but with current technology, at least what I understand (and that's not too much so take this with a grain of salt) is that in order to fly a plane with passengers you'd need a skyscraper's surface area worth of panels. Not really practical. However, there are other applications for this type of thing.

6. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was just that: curious. Strange thought experiment that somehow was made into a movie. Kind of a chick flick, but hubby really liked it (must've been the war scenes) while I was wishing the coin-flip on what we were going to rent would've gone to the X-Files movie.

7. Looks like Al Franken will be our next senator before the summer's out. At least Amy Klobuchar says he better be or she'll be mad, although she didn't threaten to leave for Canada in protest.

8. Researchers are looking for black matter deep under the Black Hills of South Dakota. I thought they were doing this in the Soudan mines in northern Minnesota. The mine is deeper than six Empire State buildings. Very cool, but now that I'm older the idea of going that far underground, unless there is a nuclear attack or the Three Days of Darkness arrives, makes me feel a little claustrophobic.

Scientists believe most of the dark matter in the universe contains no atoms and does not interact with ordinary matter through electromagnetic forces. They are trying to discover exactly what it is, how much exists and what effect it may have on the future of the universe.

Physicists have said that without dark matter, galaxies might never have formed. By learning more about dark matter, they hope to understand better whether the universe is expanding or contracting. My belief is it is expanding...still moving apart because of the Big Bang theory.

9. It's the Calvin Jubilee Year.

The Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC) has officially launched a website in preparation of the Calvin-Jubilee-Year 2009, celebrating 500 years since the birth of reformer John Calvin.

The interactive portal features information all around the 500th anniversary of the reformer John Calvin - and in four languages.

Calvin was born in 1509. In the year 2009, the Protestant churches worldwide will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Genevan Reformer with numerous events.

To celebrate the launching of the internet portal, calvin09 announces two competitions. The first involves finding an official anthem for the Calvin-Jubilee. Interested musicians are invited to send in their compositions.

The second is a competition to find the best and most suitable sermon for the occasion. The most exciting sermon - which must be rich in content and share a surprising perspective of the relevance of Calvin in our time - will win.

"We hope and dream that calvin09.org will be as stimulating and relevant for the 21st century as the theology of John Calvin itself!"

26 June 2009

Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy

Stay cool and have a great weekend everyone!

Category: Civics

Vatican City has this type of government.

St. Alex says, please place your answer in the form of a question in the combox, and say a few Hail Marys while you wait for the answer to be revealed. Demerits for using Google. Educated guesses are welcome and encouraged.

Part 2, since ya already got the first one.

Category: Early Church

After hundreds of years of persecution from Rome, this is the name of the document that gave freedom to the Catholic Church.

25 June 2009

Love thy neighbor most of the time

but keep your hands off my doughnuts.

Yesterday I took the kids to Lunds, a local, slightly upscale grocery store. Not my usual haunt, but I had a good store coupon that I wanted to use.

Of course, in this child-indulging culture, the kids know the treats offered by every single store in the five state area. Lunds has free suckers at the check outs, but no free cookies like the other grocery store we usual shop at. Lunds does have some great bakery items and good breads. The kids didn't even ask for the sucker, but ran to the bakery case as soon as we came in the store.

It was hard to be a stern mom and tell them they couldn't have a doughnut when I was planning to get some myself. It is sometimes possible to sneak a doughnut when hubby is around to run interference with the kids, but it's too hard and too risky when it's just me.

Both kids made an unlikely pick, a Persian. Probably chosen because they had seen me eat one awhile back. They giddily skipped the usual favorite -- a cake doughnut covered with a pile of bright sprinkles and stood in front of the case jumping up and down pointing at the Persians.

After I got them their doughnuts, it was time to score my own favorites, chocolate covered French crullers. Yummmm.

There were two left. I took them both.

"Damnit," said the man standing behind me.

I slowly turned around to see a gruff older man (think Father Corapi look-alike sans collar), obviously not happy that I nabbed both of the doughnuts he wanted.

"I've been here nearly every day for the last three weeks and every time I get here, all the crullers are gone."

Weakly I said to him, "I'll give you ONE of mine."

"No, that's OK," he dejectedly said.

Although I felt guilty, I was relieved.

Then he scoured the rest of the bakery case looking for a particular danish as his back up plan.

"They don't even have any danish left!" he bellowed.

"It's just a BAD day," I told him as I tucked my precious crullers into my cart and sped off.

I wish him luck today and will say a prayer he is successful to ease my guilty conscience.

24 June 2009

What Would Scooby Doo?

What do Batman, the Hulk, Nightcrawler, Lois Lane, Hell Boy, and Blue Devil all have in common?

Aside from being in comic books, that is?

They are all Catholics...from devout to lapsed.

Check out all your favorite super heros on the Comic Book Religion database.

Even Phil Donohue, Ted Kennedy, Frank Sinatra and Dante were on the list. Seems they all had been in a comic book at one point. In the case of the first three, that seems only fitting.

The Comic Book religion site has a breakdown by religion, by publisher, nation, occupation, character type and team (like Justice League). They list Jewish super heros, LDS super heros, and even some religions I've never even heard of! Found out that Invisible Girl is an Episcopalian.

Below is their pick for the best Catholic super hero.

Greatest Catholic Super Hero
The title of "greatest Catholic super-hero" is also a highly contested one, and there may be some disagreement with our choice. But, Kurt Wagner, the blue-skinned mutant member of the X-Men known as Nightcrawler would certainly be at the top or near the top of most everybody's list.

Nightcrawler has become one of the best-known overtly Catholic comic book characters ever. When the religious affiliation of super-heroes is discussed, Nightcrawler is usually one of the first characters mentioned. His devout Catholicism was even on display in the second X-Men movie: X2 (2003) (i.e,. "X-Men United"). In published comics, Nightcrawler spent a long time training to become a priest. Depending on how one reads the applicable tales, he actually did become a Catholic priest or only seemingly became a priest. Numerous stories show him wearing a Catholic priest's collar.

Nightcrawler was raised in Germany by a Gypsy circus family. His adoptive mother was a Roma sorceress and his biological mother was the villainous and decidedly non-religious mutant named Mystique. Nightcrawler appears to actually be a convert to Catholicism, or at least somebody raised with little connection to the church who embraced it as an adult. In any case, Nightcrawler's Catholic faith is entirely of his own choosing: it has nothing to do with his powers or family or culture. The always-likable, ever-hopeful "fuzzy elf" is famous for his many deep religious discussions with more "skeptical" characters such as his teammate, Wolverine.

Nightcrawler has also emerged as a leader among the mutant super-hero community, having led the British team Excalibur as well as various squads of X-Men.

Nightcrawler is not be a perfect example of Catholic faith and ethical teachings, but he is probably one of the best examples of fictional Catholics that you can find in popular fiction.

Runners-Up: There are far too many Catholic super-heroes to mention in passing here, many of which are quite well known and/or quite devout. DC's Blue Devil (who has had his own series and now stars in Shadowpact) is a particularly faithful Catholic superhero. Bonita Juarez, the Avenger and Ranger known as Firebird is also particularly devout. Batman's ally the Huntress, with her love/hate relationship to the Catholic Church could also be mentioned. Some Catholic super-heroes (such as Batman and the Hulk are considerably more famous than these, but they're very poor examples of Catholics, and their Catholic religious affiliation is less widely known.

Perhaps the top runner-up is Matt Murdock, the blind hero of Hell's Kitchen known as Daredevil. Murdock is well known, he has starred in his own series almost non-stop since the founding years of Marvel, and he has been portrayed on the big screen. It is arguable whether Daredevil is as well known as Nightcrawler has become. Although the character has been around longer, Nightcrawler has been featured as a regular character in various X-Men animated series, something that can't be said about Daredevil. And the X-Men are certainly one of the world's best-known and top-selling comic book teams. Murdock is also famously Catholic. We have seen him in confession and church. His mother even became a Catholic nun! What tips the scale in Nightcrawler's favor is his adherence to Catholic teachings. Matt Murdock may have a strong Catholic identity and Catholicism has sometimes been central to stories about him, but he's often a really bad Catholic! Daredevil is a stalwart super-hero, but Catholic teachings about sexual morality seem to have largely been lost on him. He can also be brutally violent in ways that Nightcrawler never approaches. Nightcrawler isn't portrayed as an angelic "choir boy" (we're not sure what goes on behind closed doors between him and Amanda Sefton), but he is consistently and intentionally portrayed as a devout Catholic, while Daredevil is consistently portrayed as a Catholic who is less than devout.

*Comic Book Religion site
Cross posted to Sancte Pater

23 June 2009

The playdate

My kids have had playdates before. It's nothing new. However, my daughter, who is three, is kind of shy, I think brought about because of her speech delay. She mostly hangs on the sidelines. In fact, at one kind homeschooling mom's house, my daughter stood outside the boys' bedroom while her brother was in playing instead of hanging with the girls in the family. She's kind of attached to her brother, mostly because he's familiar.

Today, however, her friend from school came over. She's the only girl in her class, so yes, her friend is a boy.

It was very sweet as the other mom and I walked to the park behind our kids, who were holding hands the whole way there, pretty much oblivious to the rest of the world. Both of them seem to really come alive when the other one is around. It's nice to see my daughter respond so well to another kid who isn't her own brother!

They played together wonderfully and had a great time. Swings, sand, slide, you name it. For a moment my daughter and her friend stood at the side of the playground looking wistfully off into the trees, her friend with his arm around my daughter.

As the other mom said, "Precious."

The innocence at this age is so tender.

May her Guardian Angel always be close and protect her.

22 June 2009

Humility, briefly

Both of my parents were Third Order Carmelites. I have a bookcase full of books on Carmelite spirituality and numerous other topics that they left me. After years, this Cradle Catholic is finding there is more to this thing of prayer than going to Mass, saying my prayers, novenas and chaplets, and receiving the sacraments.

It's funny how you get to a point where you are all "fat and happy" with yourself, your spiritual life, and God is there where you want Him. It's also funny how God doesn't let you stay in this stage with your usual comfort food, essentially boxing Him in, but prompts you to move along.

I've finally cracked open some works of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. Yes, St. John of the Cross is blunt, but coming from a long line of military folks, I can almost hear my father's voice in St. John.

I'm pretty certain that my father must be looking down at me wondering why it's taken me so long to get moving. After all, the books have been in my bookcase for nearly a decade.

Yes, I'm behind the power curve on my history and faith. So much to learn. My brother would call me a "passive learner," getting all my knowledge and information from listening to homilies, tuning in to programs on Relevant Radio and EWTN, but never endeavoring beyond.

I think I need Cliff Notes for St. Teresa's Interior Castle. I can't distinguish one room (mansion) from another very well, even though this was explained to me before I even started. Pathetic, really!

Right now, I feel like I'm in the woods well outside the castle walls, almost like Dawn of the Dead...if I can only make it to the mall.

"...self-knowledge is so important that, even if you were raised right up to the heavens, I should like you never to relax your cultivation of it; so long as we are on this earth, nothing matters more to us than humility. And so I repeat that it is a very good thing -- excellent, indeed -- to begin by entering the room where humility is acquired rather than by flying off to the other rooms. For that is the way to make progress, and, if we have a safe, level road to walk along, why should we desire wings to fly? Let us rather try to get the greatest possible profit out of walking. As I see it, we shall never succeed in knowing ourselves unless we seek to know God: let us think of His greatness and then come back to our own baseness; by looking at His purity we shall see our foulness; by meditating upon His humility, we shall see how far we are from being humble."
Interior Castle, First Mansion, Chapter 2.

19 June 2009

Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy

Category: Terminology

Catholic ecclesial jurisdictions, in most cases a specific geographic area, take their name from this leader.

St. Alex says, please place your answer in the form of a question in the combox, and say a few Our Fathers for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart while you wait for the answer to be revealed. Demerits for using Google. Educated guesses are welcome and encouraged.

16 June 2009

Faults of Beginners III

From Attaining Spiritual Maturity for Contemplation
According to St. John of the Cross
By Rev. Venard Poslusney, O. Carm.

Faults of Beginners
Completing the fourth through seventh capital sins.
When beginners are deprived of spiritual consolations they experience a sense of disappointment, vexation and complaint. These feelings are not sinful, but only imperfections, if they are not deliberately indulged. Some are so irritated by the deprivation of consolations that the smallest things upset them, and this reaches such a pass that no one can put up with them. St. John goes on to speak of another form of spiritual anger whereby beginners exercise an unholy zeal towards others, criticising them angrily in their thoughts, and at times in word, and setting themselves up as "masters of virtue." At other times, they are so impatient with themselves over their own imperfections that they would wish to see themselves become saints overnight. They resolve much, and promise a great deal, but as they are not humble and do not sufficiently distrust themselves, they fall much and accomplish little. This is so because they do no have the patience to wait for the necessary help that God will give when He so wishes.

Spiritual Gluttony
Most beginners are guilty of spiritual gluttony, and very few can be said to be free from this fault. In their spiritual exercises they are drawn more by desire for spiritual sweetness than for detachment and discretion. This leads them to exceed the moderation that should govern the practice of the virtues. So we see them killing themselves or shortening their lives with penances and severe fasts. They fail to act in accordance with obedience, but rather, in some cases, act contrary to obedience. They set bodily penance above the true penance of the will. But, because obedience obliges them to certain exercises of penance, some even lose the desire to perform them, so attached are they to their own will. Yes, sometimes they are convinced that what is for their pleasure and satisfaction must be the satisfaction and will of God. Thus, they use subtle and devious means to obtain what they desire from their spiritual masters.

Others, when they communicate, strive with might and main to produce sensible sweetness and pleasure, and when they fail, think that they have accomplished nothing. This reveals a low concept of God based to a great extent on the senses; they wish to feel and taste God as though "He were comprehensible by them and accessible to them." The same is true of their mental prayer which they think consists in "experiencing sensible pleasure and devotion, and they strive to obtain this by great effort, wearying and fatiguing their faculties and their heads." In the end, they fail to persevere in this most important exercise, for they practice it more from inclination and feeling, than from a desire for real progress in virtue and union with God. Such beginners, attached to consolations and sweetness as they are, are loath to practice mortification and detachment in sober earnestness. For them, St. John of the Cross has this advice, "the perfection and worth of things consist not in the multitude and the pleasantness of one's actions, but in being able to deny oneself in them." The passive trials of sense with its temptations, aridities and other crosses will eventually heal them of these imperfections.

Spiritual Envy and Sloth
As for envy, beginners experience real annoyance when they notice the spiritual progress of others and actually feel grief at being outdone in virtue. This in turn leads them to depreciate others when these latter are praised for their virtue. And when others fail to praise them, they are much disappointed because this is what they seek. With such faults as companions, it is not surprising that they also desire to be preferred above others.

Then, there is spiritual sloth which manifests itself in flight from spiritual practices which do not bring sensible pleasure and sweetness. Thus, they practice prayer with indifference, and are irregular in keeping the time set aside for it, because it frequently fails to bring them the satisfaction they seek. Consequently, they desert the road to perfection which demands that they give up their own will for the good pleasure and will of God. Such people measure God by themselves, and find it repugnant to conform their will to the will of God. Being attached to sweetness and consolation, they are lacking in the fortitude needed to bear the trials of perfection. Instead, "they run fretfully away from everything that is hard and take offense at the Cross, wherein consist the delights of the spirit."

Such is the description of the chief imperfections to be found in "the lives of those that are in this first state of beginners, so that it may be seen how greatly they need God to set them in the state of proficients." No one will deny that these faults and imperfections, described so vividly by St. John of the Cross, belong not only to religious beginning the spiritual life, but to all earnest Christians who faithfully walk on the road of perfection and undertake the serious and persevering practice of mental prayer. In fact, he must have definitely had certain lay people in mind when he, for example, speaks of beginners who like to own a great variety of sacred articles.

15 June 2009

Faults of Beginners II

From Attaining Spiritual Maturity for Contemplation
According to St. John of the Cross
By Rev. Venard Poslusney, O. Carm.

Continuing with the second and third capital sins.
Spiritual Avarice
Some beginners are discontented and very peevish when they do not find the consolation they seek in spiritual exercises. They spend all their time listening to spiritual conversations, acquiring and reading many spiritual books which treat of spiritual consolations, instead of cultivating a spirit of mortification and detachment. They become walking piety stores, loaded with pictures, medals, rosaries, chaplets, crosses, relics, these objects must be made of special materials and according to a certain style. Here it is not devotion that attracts them, but the workmanship and variety of religious articles.

On this subject the Mystical Doctor is not considering sins against purity or chastity, but imperfections, (such as "impure acts and feelings" which "arise and assert themselves in the sensual part of the soul" the imagination and body), which a person is powerless to prevent and, certainly does not desire. This occurs when a person is deeply recollected in prayer, or is receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Holy Communion. The first cause of them lies in the fact that the body also shares in the spiritual pleasures and delights of the soul, but according to its sense nature. Thus spiritual joy overflowing into the body is experienced by the body in a pleasure that may be called sensual or even sexual. This occurs not only in beginners, but also in those who have made progress. This imperfection will be checked when "the sensual part is renewed by the purgation of the dark night," or the passive trials of sense.

A second cause of these weaknesses is the devil himself, who tries by such imaginations and feelings to influence the beginner into giving up his spiritual exercises, thinking that his devout practices are the cause of these impure onslaughts. In other words, the devil endeavors by these means to panic the individual into giving up his efforts to achieve the much desired union of love with God. The third cause is the fear itself of having these feelings and images before the mind during spiritual exercises. The Saint also speaks of certain spiritual friendships which are founded more on a hidden or unadmitted sex attraction than on a real desire for spiritual betterment and love of God. When this is the case, the love of God diminishes, sensual love grows and brings remorse of conscience. In the passive trials, love of God will be strengthened and purified, and sensual love will be brought under control.

Blessed Margaret

In cleaning up my homeschool area, I nearly got to the bottom of my in-box. Not that I have a heap of things, just some things that I didn't have time for and lingered in limbo waiting for me to address them.

Years ago, a friend had given my name to the Blessed Margaret Guild. The Guild sent me a nice info packet with information on Blessed Margaret, some information on the Guild and a very short form to sign up for future mailings. It's one of those things that I never got around to, even hesitated doing.

I was reluctant because a good chunk of my mail is from Catholic organizations asking for money. Always enclosed in the mail is a beautiful Holy Card, small prayer book or a medal of some sort -- something to tug at my heart strings and send them money. Don't get me wrong, most of these organizations are wonderful and perform great works of charity and mercy. I just have a hard enough time supporting my own parish at the level I would like!

A portion of the "catholic" mail I do receive is addressed to my father, who passed away over nine years ago. Some of it is even questionable, asking for support for SSPX parishes or orders, and a bulky mailer from Father Gruner's Fatima Center.

The Blessed Margaret Guild, however, says they will send you a periodic mailing from the Shrine in Ohio and that your name will not be given, rented or shared with anyone else.

Blessed Margaret's story is incredible. Such an example of faith, forgiveness and submitting joyfully to God's will. She is also one to ask for intercession for the Pro-life cause. Below is a brief story about her from the Guild website, written by the Shrine and Guild Director, Rev. Andre-Joseph LaCasse, OP

Blessed Margaret of Castello was born of a wealthy, noble Italian family near Florence, Italy in 1287. Born a hunchback, dwarf, blind and lame, her family was ashamed of her and kept her hidden in virtual imprisonment for nine years in a tiny cell attached to a forest church. It was only through the family chaplain that Bl. Margaret came to know God. Seeking a miracle, her parents took her to a Franciscan Shrine. When she wasn’t cured, they abandoned her.

Bl. Margaret’s faith and courage inspired others in the community to take pity on her and to help her survive. Eventually she became a member of the Dominican Third Order of Castello, where she lived an exemplary life of prayer, penance, and charity. Despite her miseries, Margaret was serene, cheerful and courageous. She never became bitter, never complained, never reproached others or lost heart. Discouragement was a word she did not know. She found strength in prayer, in daily Mass, in Holy Communion and sought help from Jesus, Mary, Joseph and St. Dominic. Margaret was courageous because she looked at the suffering with the eyes of faith. She did not know why God permitted her to have so many afflictions. She did know that He was an infinitely loving and kind Father, who never permits one single misfortune without good reason, who always turns evil into good for His children. She wondered why people pitied her. Was it not a privilege to suffer with Christ? Suffering for her was a way to heaven. Pain made Margaret sympathetic and understanding towards others. She visited prisoners, helped the sick and comforted the dying. Since her death, at age thirty-three, she has kept on helping those who pray to her. Many cures have been attributed to her intercession.

Bl. Margaret of Castello was declared Blessed by the Catholic Church on Oct. 19, 1600. Bl. Margaret is an inspiration to those who are discouraged and tempted to self-pity. Her intercession is most powerful to those who suffer from eye and muscular diseases, and has become an inspiration for the Pro-Life Movement. She is a help for those who are unwanted and abandoned. Her incorrupt body lies under the main altar in St. Dominic Church, Castello, Italy. Many visit her Shrine to seek her powerful intercession.

Blessed Margaret of Castello, ora pro nobis.

* A link from Priests for Life, mentioning the National Shrine in PA

* Link from the shrine in KY

* Shrine in Idaho

14 June 2009

Faults of Beginners

From Attaining Spiritual Maturity for Contemplation
According to St. John of the Cross
By Rev. Venard Poslusney, O. Carm.

Because the beginner is untried and not strong in virtue, he is weak and imperfect in many ways. John of the Cross proves this, by describing with great psychological insight, the many and varied manifestations of beginners' faults, according to the seven capital sins. In the Dark Night, Chapters Two to Seven, St. John of the Cross presents his case with devastating clearness. The picture he draws matches those faults that spiritual directors invariably notice in all beginners, whether religious or lay people. Here we shall present a short summary of them.

Spiritual Pride
Many beginners are self-satisfied with their works and with themselves. They condemn others in their thoughts when they notice that others do not have the kind of devotion they themselves desire. Some reach such a degree of pride that they would have no one appear good but themselves; they even condemn others in deed and word, and slander them, thus seeing the mote in their brother's eye, and overlooking the beam in their own. They blame their superior or confessor when these do not approve of their behavior or attitude, and consequently change confessors to suit their taste. Wishing to be esteemed as very spiritual and devout, they plan circumstances that are calculated to show themselves off to best advantage, such as assuming certain postures, ways of speaking, sighs, well-timed "ecstasies!" In order to impress their confessor, they do not make a frank and humble confession of their sins and faults with all their attendant motives, usually so petty and mean and uncharitable. Some beginners overlook faults they should be very quick to notice; at other times, they are over-depressed by their faults since they think themselves already worthy of the halo. As a result, they become angry and impatient with themselves. And how they love to be praised by others! Sometimes they even seek such praise. On the other hand, they have a real dislike for praising others.

Ouch! And I've just listed one of the capital sins the book addresses. I feel like a drill sergeant just ran me through my paces or Padre Pio chased me out of the confessional.

12 June 2009

Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy

This should be a softball question. At least most people can think of a country!

Category: Saints

This country is known as "the birthplace of saints."

St. Alex says, please place your answer in the form of a question in the combox, and say a few Our Fathers while you wait for the answer to be revealed. Demerits for using Google. Educated guesses are welcome and encouraged.

11 June 2009

Mouths of babes

The other night when we were saying prayers before bed with the kids, we got to the portion where we ask for intercession for others and our intentions. We have a pretty good litany of saints we implore for their help. Since my son is getting a little older, I like to allow him to lead the prayers and to try to remember, or at least contribute, some saints to ask for their intercession.

One of us will mention a saint's name, and the rest of us respond with, "Pray for us."

After I had rattled off a few saints, I paused and waited for a second to prompt my son to list a few saints. After seconds of awkward silence, I said, "Anyone else?"

"Pray for us," was his reponse.

Yes, dear St. Anyone Else, please pray for us.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is my cousin, a fallen away Catholic. I mentioned to her that I would be out in her area today since I was giving a Carmelite nun a ride from this end of town to fairly close to where my cousin lives. I needed to find something to do for a couple hours while this nun visited the local hermitage until it was time to drive her back to this side of town. My cousin has been inviting me over for some time, so this seemed like a good opportunity.

This cousin is now quite involved in Evangelical Protestantism.

My cousin was curious about this nun. What did cloister mean anyhow? I very briefly explained to her the austere and contemplative life of the Carmelite nuns.

"Oh, I just think that is WRONG!!! Don't you?" said my cousin.

"No. I think it is incredibly beautiful. We need more of these types of people praying for the rest of us." I said earnestly.

I was stunned to find out that my cousin, who went to Catholic grade school, had the notion that these women were locked away behind bars and gates like they were prisoners. Further, believing their prayer life is a burden and that they are naive young women who had impulsively made a decision that they obviously must regret. How could anyone live a life like that?

"It's a special vocation. A call from God, who has given these ladies the gift and grace to live this incredible life," I said sincerely. "They're not there against their will. This is the life they desire and have chosen. They go through a novitiate period where they discern if this life is what they are called to. It's not a rash decision where they one day decide they'd like to be a nun and the next day they are locked behind metal bars with a shackle around their ankle."

My cousin's perspective was quite an eye opener for me. I was sad she had this opinion of religious, especially the cloistered life. Little does she know of how much these nuns and monks study each and every day. If she ever got a chance to talk to a Carmelite, she would be amazed at the breath and depth of their knowledge. Not to mention, those who have found their true calling in this life are joy-filled. As I am happy being married and a mom, although it is not without its ups and downs, they are happy and content with their lives too.

10 June 2009

Religious literacy

Somehow I stumbled on a great website yesterday that is full of Catholic articles and resources. Maybe you've already seen it and this is old news, but I've kind of been out of the loop lately.

On Monday, some homeschool moms and I were talking about the requirements for First Communion. It would be nice if the Archbishop would make all the parishes in the diocese have the same requirements, but with cradle Catholics like myself not having been educated in the faith very well, if at all, I can see why some parishes require some classes in faith formation because many kids aren't getting instructed at home sufficiently, if at all!

A friend from the parish I attend gave me the list of things that her son had to know and would be quizzed on by the pastor in preparation for his First Communion. I was thrilled to see that my son knew a great deal of the topics already. His First Communion won't be for two more years, thank goodness, still time to cram.

It was alarming that I didn't know the two stories of Creation which were on the list, especially since a previous priest at our parish had given me, numerous times as a penance, reading the first five chapters of Genesis. I hope this doesn't invalidate my absolution! If only ignorance was a satisfactory defense!

Obviously, time for a refresher course for mom.

The following is from an article, "What’s Your Score On The S.A.T. (Salvation Aptitude Test)?" by Noel J. Augustyn that he recommends you test on any Catholic students who have gotten through eighth grade. He was alarmed at the lack of religious literacy.

1. One of the prayers at Mass refers to this man as "our father in faith." Both Jews and Arabs regard him as their ancestor. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all consider him to be their spiritual father. Name this patriarch.

2. This patriarch and his wife, Sarah, had a son in their old age. God tested the father by asking him to sacrifice this son but stopped him from doing so at the last minute. Name the son.

3. Years later, this son and his wife, Rebekah, had a son who was to be the father of what became the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Who was he? (Hint: "Israel" was the name later given to him by God. He had a brother named Esau.)

4. We all know that Moses led the Hebrews (Israelites) out of Egypt in what is called the Exodus. How did the Hebrews come to live in Egypt hundreds of years earlier?

5. When we think of Moses we think, too, of Aaron and Joshua. Identify either Aaron or Joshua.

6. Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. List the Ten Commandments.

7. Pick one of the Ten Commandments and tell why you believe it is especially important.

8. Apart from the Ten Commandments, there are the Two Great Commandments. State them.

9. What is the connection between the Two Great Commandments and the Ten Commandments?

10. State the "Golden Rule."

11. Saul was the first king of Israel. Who was the second? (Hint: He is considered the most important of the Jewish kings, and as a boy he was a shepherd.)

12. The second king of Israel had a son named Solomon. Write something you know about Solomon.

13. After the first reading at Mass we recite or sing prayers and hymns, some of which are very old, so old they are said to have been written by Solomon's father. What do we call these prayers and hymns?

14. There are three books in the Old Testament named after women. Name one of them.

15. Who is Job?

16. In speaking of the Old Testament, we hear the phrase "the Law and the Prophets." Name one of the Old Testament prophets.

17. Write something brief about one of the following: "the Babylonian Captivity" or "the Maccabees."

18. The first four books of the New Testament are the Gospels; their authors are called the Evangelists. Name the four Evangelists.

19. What is meant by the term "the Annunciation"?

20. What is meant by the term "the Visitation"?

21. We all know what we celebrate on the feast of the Nativity (which is also called Christmas), but what do we celebrate on the feast of the Epiphany (which is also called the 12th day of Christmas)?

22. Three places of importance in the childhood of Jesus are Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Nazareth. Pick one and tell why it was important in the early life of Jesus.

23. Who is John the Baptist?

24. Lent has forty days, just as a particular episode in the life of Jesus had forty days, before He began His public ministry. What was this episode?

25. We know that Jesus often taught in parables. Name your favorite parable and tell why it is your favorite.

26. Fill in the blank: One of the most famous of Jesus' teachings is called the Sermon on the ________.

27. Jesus is often called "the Divine Physician" because He cured people of various illnesses. Write something about your favorite miracle or sign where Jesus cured a sick person or sick people.

28. Jesus taught us to pray what we often call the "Our Father." There is a more formal name for this prayer. What is it?

29. What is "the Transfiguration"?

30. There are two kings named Herod in the Gospels. Pick one of them and tell something about him.

31. Bethany is the name of a village near Jerusalem. (There is another Bethany "across the Jordan," where John the Baptist was baptizing.) Martha and Mary, who were friends of Jesus, lived in Bethany with their brother. Name their brother and tell why he is important.

32. What is "Palm Sunday" all about?

33. Why is "the Passion," from the Gospels, read at Mass on Palm Sunday?

34. Whenever we recite the Creed at Mass, or say the Apostles' Creed, we mention Pontius Pilate. Who was he?

35. Name the person who was forced to help Jesus carry His cross. (Hint: He is remembered in one of the Stations of the Cross.)

36. Pick one of these two terms and tell something about it: "the Upper Room" or "the Garden of Gethsemane."

37. Golgotha is the Hebrew name for the hill near Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified. This place is also known by another name. What is that name?

38. According to the Gospels, Jesus spoke seven times in His three hours on the cross. Choose one of these seven sayings (also called "the Seven Last Words") and quote it, or paraphrase it (that means, put it in your own words).

39. Tell how one of these men is connected to the Crucifixion: Nicodemus; Joseph of Arimathea.

40. Jesus' first appearance after His Resurrection was to a woman. Name her.

41. There is a phrase in common usage — even today — that contains the name of one of the Apostles. Fill in the blank: "Doubting ________." What did this Apostle doubt?

42. Who is called "the Prince of the Apostles"?

43. The last appearance of Jesus to His Apostles after His Resurrection is commemorated annually by a Holy Day of Obligation 40 days after Easter (or on the seventh Sunday of Easter). It is called "the Solemnity of the __________.

44. Fifty days after the Passover, Jews celebrate God's giving the Ten Commandments to Moses; fifty days after Easter, Christians celebrate God's giving the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and Mary. What is the name of this Christian feast?

45. Before he became a great missionary, St. Paul was a great persecutor of the early Church. He guarded the cloaks of the men who stoned to death the man we call the first martyr. Name this first martyr.

46. St. Paul wrote many letters (the Greek word for letters is Epistles) to early Christians and their communities in the Mediterranean world. In a letter to those at Corinth, a city in Greece, he described what we call "the Three Theological Virtues." The third of these, which is "charity" or "love," Paul called "the greatest." What are the other two?

47. St. Paul and St. Peter were martyred during the reign of the emperor Nero about thirty years after the Crucifixion. They were martyred in the capital city of the empire over which Nero ruled. Name this city.

48. For much of the first three centuries of her history, the Church suffered persecution. Many Christians were martyred and often Christians couldn't worship in public. Then, in the early part of the fourth century, an emperor ended the persecutions. Name him. (Hint: He named the eastern capital of the empire after himself, it was formerly called Byzantium and is called Istanbul today.)

49. Name the Seven Sacraments.

50. Which sacrament does every Christian receive?

51. Name the Corporal Works of Mercy (there are seven).

52. Pick one of the Six Precepts of the Church and tell why you think it is especially important.

53. "Pride" is often' called the worst of the Seven Deadly Sins. Pick another one of the seven and tell why you think it is especially "deadly."

54. A prayer that has been popular since the Middle Ages is called "the Rosary." It now traditionally consists of 15 "decades" where we think about certain "mysteries" in the lives of Our Lord and Our Lady. These mysteries are in three groups of five: the Joyful; the Sorrowful; and the Glorious. Take one of these groups and name the five mysteries in that group. (If you can't think of a mystery's title, then describe what event is remembered in that mystery.)

55. Over her history of nearly 2,000 years, the Church has been divided many times. Some of these divisions have never been completely healed. For example, the year 1054 is when "the Great Schism" between East and West occurred. The year 1517 is often cited as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Say something about either one of these two historical events that have seriously affected Christian unity.

56. Name your patron saint and write something about him or her.

57. Name a favorite saint besides your patron saint, and write something about him or her.

58. Name your favorite Holy Day of Obligation (besides Christmas).

59. In what continent is the Holy Land? A. Europe, B. Asia, C. Africa, D. Australia.

60. Ecumenical Councils are meetings when bishops from all over the world come together. Some Councils have been held in places like Nicaea and Ephesus, in what is now Turkey, or in places like Trent, Italy. The most recent Council was held from 1962 to 1965. What name or title is given to this Council?

61. Since Old Testament times, God's people have practiced "fasting." In Lent, for example, adult Catholics "fast" on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. (And during Lent all Catholics abstain from eating meat on Fridays.) We also "fast" for at least an hour before receiving the Eucharist. What do we mean by "fast" and why do you think we do it?

62. What is the Christian virtue of chastity, and why is it important?

63. The Church has four signs or "marks." The Church is (fill in the blanks): One, _________, Catholic, and ________.

64. Why did God make you?

Read the entire article here.
Answers are here.

I haven't done the entire quiz yet. Will have to find a moment and try it.

09 June 2009

The matter with antimatter

Holy bosons, Batman!

The Catholic Church isn't the only entity portrayed inaccurately in Angels and Demons. Seems CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, was compelled to create a website and an exhibition to address the author's factually challenged work.

From CERN'S website:
In the intense heat of the Big Bang, particles of matter were forged out of pure energy. But for every particle of matter created, a 'twin' was also born - an 'antiparticle' identical in mass but with opposite electric charge.

For the first few instants of its existence the Universe was balanced, with matter and antimatter created in equal abundance. Then just one second after the Big Bang, the antimatter had all but disappeared, together with almost all the matter, leaving a minute amount of matter alone to form everything that we see around us – from the stars and galaxies, to the Earth and all life that it supports.

In Angels & Demons, a canister is stolen from a secret laboratory at CERN. It contains one gram of antimatter and is to be used as a devastating weapon. But what is antimatter? Is it real? Is it dangerous? In this section you can discover the science of antimatter for yourself.

Check out Mark Shea's electronic book on the inaccuracies related to the Catholic Church (requires registration to download.)

Indulgences for the Year of the Priest

Crossposted on Sancte Pater. Please keep him in your prayers.
As has been announced, the Holy Father Benedict XVI has decided to establish a special Year for Priests on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the death of St John Mary Vianney, the holy Curé d'Ars, a shining model of a Pastor totally dedicated to the service of the people of God.

During the Year for Priests which will begin on 19 June 2009 and will end on 19 June 2010, the gift of special Indulgences is granted as described in the Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary, published on 12 May.

Shortly the day will come on which will be commemorated the 150th anniversary of the pious departure to Heaven of St John Mary Vianney, the Curé d'Ars. This Saint was a wonderful model here on earth of a true Pastor at the service of Christ's flock.

Since his example is used to encourage the faithful, and especially priests, to imitate his virtues, the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI has established that for this occasion a special Year for Priests will be celebrated, from 19 June 2009 to 19 June 2010, in which all priests may be increasingly strengthened in fidelity to Christ with devout meditation, spiritual exercises and other appropriate actions.

This holy period will begin with the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a day of priestly sanctification on which the Supreme Pontiff will celebrate Vespers in the presence of the holy relics of St John Mary Vianney, brought to Rome by the Bishop of Belley-Ars, France.

The Most Holy Father will likewise preside at the conclusion of the Year for Priests in St Peter's Square, in the presence of priests from across the world who will renew their fidelity to Christ and the bond of brotherhood.

May priests commit themselves, with prayer and good works, to obtaining from Christ the Eternal High Priest, the grace to shine with Faith, Hope, Charity and the other virtues, and show by their way of life, but also with their external conduct, that they are dedicated without reserve to the spiritual good of the people something that the Church has always had at heart.

The gift of Sacred Indulgences which the Apostolic Penitentiary, with this Decree issued in conformity with the wishes of the August Pontiff, graciously grants during the Year for Priests will be of great help in achieving the desired purpose in the best possible way.

A. Truly repentant priests who, on any day, devoutly recite at least morning Lauds or Vespers before the Blessed Sacrament, exposed for public adoration or replaced in the tabernacle, and who, after the example of St John Mary Vianney, offer themselves with a ready and generous heart for the celebration of the sacraments, especially Confession, are mercifully granted in God the Plenary Indulgence which they may also apply to their deceased brethren in suffrage, if, in conformity with the current norms, they receive sacramental confession and the Eucharistic banquet and pray for the Supreme Pontiff's intentions.

Furthermore the Partial Indulgence is granted to priests who may apply it to their deceased confreres every time that they devoutly recite the prayers duly approved to lead a holy life and to carry out in a holy manner the offices entrusted to them.

B. The Plenary Indulgence is granted to all the faithful who are truly repentant who, in church or in chapel, devoutly attend the divine Sacrifice of Mass and offer prayers to Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest, for the priests of the Church, and any other good work which they have done on that day, so that he may sanctify them and form them in accordance with His Heart, as long as they have made expiation for their sins through sacramental confession and prayed in accordance with the Supreme Pontiff's intentions: on the days in which the Year for Priests begins and ends, on the day of the 150th anniversary of the pious passing of St John Mary Vianney, on the first Thursday of the month or on any other day established by the local Ordinaries for the benefit of the faithful.

It will be most appropriate, in cathedral and parish churches, for the same priests who are in charge of pastoral care to publicly direct these exercises of devotion, to celebrate Holy Mass and to hear the confession of the faithful.

The Plenary Indulgence will likewise be granted to the elderly, the sick and all those who for any legitimate reason are confined to their homes who, with a mind detached from any sin and with the intention of fulfilling as soon as possible the three usual conditions, at home or wherever their impediment detains them, provided that on the above-mentioned days they recite prayers for the sanctification of priests and confidently offer the illnesses and hardships of their lives to God through Mary Queen of Apostles.

Lastly, the Partial Indulgence is granted to all the faithful every time they devoutly recite five Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glorias, or another expressly approved prayer, in honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to obtain that priests be preserved in purity and holiness of life.

This Decree is valid for the entire duration of the Year for Priests. Anything to the contrary notwithstanding.

Given in Rome, at the Offices of the Apostolic Penitentiary on 25 April, the Feast of St Mark the Evangelist, in the year of the Incarnation of our Lord 2009.

Cardinal James Francis Stafford
Major Penitentiary

+ Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M. Conv.
Titular Bishop of Meta, Regent

08 June 2009


Back when I was studying chemical engineering, my friends and I used to keep track of how many times a certain professor would say the word "basically" during a 50-minute lecture. I believe he topped out around 114 times. In doing the math, that's over two times a minute.

Basically, that's a lot, and it's basically very distracting.

But, basically, I digress.

The recent departmental newsletter I just received praises this professor for receiving a grant from the Gates Foundation to research vaccines.

Prestigious. Controversial.

The professor's work is titled, "Vaccinating Adjuvant Core Antigen Shell Nanoparticles," with the thrust of his research to "develop a simple, inexpensive way to engineer nanoparticles that boost the body's immune system by targeting dendritic cells in lymph nodes. Those cells play a key role in initiating responses to infectious diseases."

"Dendritic cells are like tiny UN Peacekeepers. They constantly check their surroundings for bad guys, like viruses and pathogenic bacteria. When they find them, they either ingest them or nibble out a piece of the offender and present pieces of the bad guys on their surface."

I was vaccinated as a child, but have concerns today, mostly about who controls these life-saving medicines and how safe they are. The idea that vaccines will harm a given percentage of the population, and that for the welfare of all, these souls are expendable, is a little callous for me.

I'm not saying this is the professor's mindset. I wish him success in his research. It's once these things get out in the corporate world that morality and altruism meet up against profit and expediency.

This article briefly touches on many of the issues.

But I can hear the complaints already. What if they actually make my kid sick? How dare you demand I give more medicine to my kids! Etc. etc. etc. (Oh, and this one is recommended for very small infants, starting as small as two months.)

To return to our favorite subject of this week, the retiring Mr. Gates, this fight may make the battles at Microsoft look like child’s play. The Gates Foundation is a big backer of the GAVI Alliance, which is working to extend the western standard of childhood immunization worldwide. The Gates Foundation is also a big backer of the search for new vaccines.

As we have seen with the HPV vaccine controversy, these arguments go far beyond science, into morality and politics, into emotion and issues of control. If we can prevent a dread disease in childhood, should we, even at some risk to all children? And who decides whether that risk will be taken? Bill Gates? If a vaccine is used universally a disease might disappear. But that may mean forcing people against their will, or the dictates of their religion, into doing something.

Their protection may keep a disease alive. Or it may prevent another outcome, such as autism.

This is what Bill Gates is stepping into, with his eyes wide open. Being called a Borg may be nothing next to being called Big Brother. No wonder he’s planning on spending one day a week back at the office. He needs the rest.


05 June 2009

Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy Deux

Since Joe of St. Thérèse got the previous Jeopardy question right, here's another one. Please let me get to the cabin at least before someone gets this!

Category: Rulers and their realm

This leader was baptized on his death bed by the heretical Eusebius of Nicomedia, a proponent of Arianism.

St. Alex says, please place your answer in the form of a question in the combox, and say a few Hail Marys while you wait for the answer to be revealed. Demerits for using Google. Educated guesses are welcome and encouraged.

04 June 2009

Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy

Posting this a bit early since we are heading to the cabin. Hopefully, this will be a middle of the road question. Cathy commented that the questions are too hard, but last week's was pretty easy. Don't think that I know this stuff myself. It's usually things I have recently stumbled on...history is a weak subject for me! I just happened to have learned this one from having recently listened to EPIC. This shouldn't be too hard for Church history buffs, but for your average post Vatican II Catholic like myself, it took some learnin'.

Category: The Early Church

This man could go by all the following titles: priest/bishop, writer, anti-pope, martyr, saint.

St. Alex says, please place your answer in the form of a question in the combox, and say a Hail Mary while you wait for the answer to be revealed. Demerits for using Google. Educated guesses are welcome and encouraged.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Some days...

it seems like a good idea to be a hermit monk.

Although I would prefer a cave as opposed to a pole.

One wonders what non-Catholics think of these ancient stylite monks. I hate to say it, but since one of my aunts has a booth at the state fair, they look like Monks-on-a-stick.

Don't tell me you didn't think that too.

St. Simeon Stylites lived on top of his pole for 37 years. That's almost my entire life. Not an easy form of asceticism or an easy one to relate to, except some days when this type of thing seems like a blessed vacation.

03 June 2009

For everything, turn...

...turn, turn. And a time for getting cooties.

My daughter attends a program in the school district for children with speech delays. She's the only girl in her class. Earlier in the year she had been talking about her friend, we'll call him Jonah (not his real name, but he has a good Old Testament name). Many days she'd come home and I'd ask how school was and I'd get the reply, "I played with Jonah."

But, it seems Jonah has been kicked to the curb and now my daughter has a new friend (this friend has another OT name...go figure, this is the PUBLIC school system) that she is always talking about.

Let's call this friend Aaron. Last night we attended an ice cream social at the school and got to meet Aaron and his family. My daughter and Aaron were so cute together -- chasing each other around the gym and really enjoying each other's company (of course, Aaron was the one doing the chasing). Turns out Aaron's family was eager to meet us too, because, well, Aaron talks about my daughter all the time.

He's an older man, being all of four. My daughter is three.

Right now, it's all cute and sweet. But, I'm wondering when the "Boys have cooties" stage will hit, with the whole eye-roll thing and "the look" that mom just isn't cool.

I'm not sure if I want the cootie stage to be soon or down the road, because coming right after this stage will be the serious boyfriend stage.

Now might be a good time to start praying more earnestly for my children. Good thing St. Philomena is our family's patron. Not only is she a miracle worker, she's the patron of youth (chastity and virtue). Score!

If this school year is any indication (since my daughter will probably attend this program next year too), I think we will be keeping St. Philomena busy!