28 May 2010

Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy Zwei

Here's another one since the last one was snapped up in a NY minute. You guys are too smart.

Category: Great moments in history

Dante wrote this man into his Paradiso and called him a "Defender of the Faith" because if this man had failed, it is likely there would have been no Charlemagne, no Holy Roman Empire, no Papal States.

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 and other sneaky searches. Educated guesses are welcome and encouraged. Good luck!!

The first correct answer in the form of a question wins the highly coveted WKJ ribbon to display on your blog, cubicle or refrigerator door.

Thanks, Vincenzo, for the updated design:

Memorial Day Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy

Wishing you all a happy and blessed Memorial Day weekend. Please remember past and present military in your prayers.

Category: Great places, great faces, not in South Dakota

Throughout its long history, this site has been home to several saints, and was visited by nobles, rulers and popes. It was destroyed by the Lombards around 585, by the Saracens in 884, by the Normans in 1046, by an earthquake in 1349, by Napoleon in 1799, and destroyed by American bombs in February of 1944.

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 and other sneaky searches. Educated guesses are welcome and encouraged. Good luck!!

The first correct answer in the form of a question wins the highly coveted WKJ ribbon to display on your blog, cubicle or refrigerator door.

Thanks, Vincenzo, for the updated design:

27 May 2010

Cat head theatre

Hamlet. Shakespeare was a Catlick.

For Mr. Nelson

26 May 2010

Trinity Sunday

Was surprised to hear that Lutherans recite the Athanasian creed, also known as Quicunque Vult or Fides Catholica, during their liturgy on Trinity Sunday. St. Athanasius most likely did not compose this creed himself. I had never even heard of this creed until recently after listening to stories about St. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, on the EPIC CDs and then reading a little on the saint myself. For me, with my Irish heritage, Trinity Sunday always reminds me of St. Patrick and the clover leaf.

St. Athanasius defended the Church's doctrine on the Trinity against Arianism. "God was not always Father" was how the heresy was summed up on EPIC.

It would be nice if our friends would come home to Rome instead of borrowing creeds, the Bible, etc!

Background on the Athanasian Creed from Wiki is below. The link also contains the text of the creed:

Composed of 44 rhythmic lines, the Athanasian Creed appears to have been intended as a liturgical document - that is, the original purpose of the creed was to be spoken or sung as a part of worship. The creed itself uses the language of public worship, speaking of the worship of God rather than the language of belief ("Now this is the catholic faith: We worship one God"). Among medieval European Christian churches, this creed was recited following the Sunday sermon or at the Sunday Office of Prime. The creed was often set to music and used in the place of a Psalm.

Early Protestants inherited the late medieval devotion to the Athanasian Creed, and it was considered to be authoritative in many Protestant churches. The statements of Protestant belief (confessional documents) of various Reformers commend the Athanasian Creed to their followers, including the Augsburg Confession, the Formula of Concord, the Second Helvetic Confession, the Belgic Confession, the Bohemian Confession and the Thirty-nine Articles. Among modern Lutheran and Reformed churches adherence to the Athanasian Creed is prescribed by the earlier confessional documents, but the creed does not receive much attention outside of occasional use - especially on Trinity Sunday.

In Reformed circles, it is included (for example) in the Christian Reformed Churches of Australia's Book of Forms (publ. 1991). That said, it is rarely recited in public worship.

In the successive Books of Common Prayer of the reformed Church of England from 1549 to 1662, its recitation was provided for on 19 occasions each year, a practice which continued until the nineteenth century, when vigorous controversy regarding its statement about 'eternal damnation' saw its use gradually decline. It remains one of the three Creeds approved in the Thirty-Nine Articles, and is printed in several current Anglican prayer books (e.g. A Prayer Book for Australia (1995)). As with Roman Catholic practice, its use is now generally only on Trinity Sunday or its octave.

In Roman Catholic churches, it was traditionally said at Prime on Sundays after Epiphany and Pentecost, except when a Double feast or day within an octave occurred, and on Trinity Sunday. In the 1960 reforms, it was reduced to once a year on Trinity Sunday. It has been effectively dropped from the Catholic liturgy since Vatican II, although it is retained in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. It is however maintained in the Forma Extraordinaria, per the decree Summorum Pontificum, and also in the rite of exorcism, both in the Forma Ordinaria and the Forma Extraordinaria of the Roman Rite.

In Lutheranism, the Athanasian Creed is—along with the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds—one of the three ecumenical creeds placed at the beginning of the 1580 Book of Concord, the historic collection of authoritative doctrinal statements (confessions) of the Lutheran church. It is still used in the liturgy on Trinity Sunday.

25 May 2010

Hot fun in the summer time

and thinking about First Holy Communion prep.

During this time of year most homeschooling families are doing two things...finishing the year and preparing for the next.

It's homeschool conference time again. Unfortunately, this year the MN Catholic Homeschool Conference is this weekend, Memorial Day. I've been to the conference every year since my son was a newborn. I love the conference, love the speakers, love the enthusiastic and encouraging vibe that helps inspire me to continue.

However, I hate that the conference is this weekend since we will be out of town. Serious case of withdrawl and mild depression has hit me. How will I get through deciding which curricula to use if I can't look at it in person? All the glorious old books I'll miss and the cool things I didn't know existed.

I do have most of my decisions made for next year, just haven't ordered anything yet. Am almost in tears that RC History is not out with the third year. But, am finally going to order the lapbooks I had been looking at for the last year or so.

Lapbooks for Catholics has wonderful lapbooks/faith folders. I had planned to get the Things I see at Mass faith folder last year, but am finally getting around to ordering it. And, since my son will receive his first Holy Communion and Confession next year, I need to begin prepping him for all that entails. But, what really makes it great is that Lapbooks for Catholics is offering a 50% discount until May 31, on your next order if you mention the site on your blog or Facebook. Perfect timing!!

Wishing all my friends a wonderful time at the conference. Wish I was there too!

24 May 2010

The physics of Padre Pio

Padre Pio was amazing. He was also kind of scary. I'm not sure I would want to know someone that could see the state of my soul and all my sins, providing the grace of sincere repentence. Excruciating.

How painful this must have been for him also.

His ability to bilocate has always peaked my curiosity. I can't seem to multi-task very well, but to be present in two locations at once, carry on different conversations - it's our "darkened by sin" definition of mind-bloggling. Remarkably, that was only one of his many charisms, which included the stigmata, miraculous scents, prophecy, reading hearts, healing and interpreting languages.

I was thinking about Padre Pio's ability to do the physically impossible recently while I was reading the book, similarly titled, Physics of the Impossible, A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation and Time Travel. The book, as far as I can tell since I'm only a few chapters into it, doesn't specifically address bilocation, which some physicists argue could be possible if string theory advanced further. Kind of like Mike TeeVee on Willy Wonka, except instead of getting sent from one place to another (teleportation), is actually in two places...or another. According to what we currently know for Padre Pio to bilocate, all the atoms in his body would have to coherently move together across space and time. Unfortunately, the foundation of quantum mechanics is based on (Heisenberg) uncertainty, probability (Schrodinger), and chance (Born), which present some difficulties in allowing Padre Pio to visit pilots in their flying aircraft or visit places like the US and the Holy Land, all while still in his room at San Giovanni Rotondo.

"As to how Padre Pio with God's help accomplished such feats, the closest he ever came to an explanation of bilocation was to say that it occurred 'by an extension of his personality.'" This makes perfect sense considering what we know from St. Thomas Aquinas and others about the nature of God. Interesting how God allows these small glimpses, graces, into the spiritual world while we struggle to explain and then bottle them.

Of all things seen and unseen
Some of the things discussed in the book are fascinating for Trekkies and Sci Fi fans, other things get a little "far out," dude.

And, some things mentioned may have even made for a better story:
To make Harry Potter invisible, one would have to liquefy him, boil him to create stream, crystallize him, heat him again, and then cool him, all of which would be quite difficult to accomplish, even for a wizard.

My kids want to be invisible. Somedays, I'd like to be invisible. It's something every mom should have a golden ticket to do once a year. But the reality, or "supernaturality," are difficult to grasp on so many levels.

Pope John Paul II, speaking in his General Audience 9 July 1986, on the topic of angels and the invisible, said, "We cannot conclude our catechesis on God, Creator of the world, without devoting adequate attention to a precise item of divine revelation, "the creation of purely spiritual beings which Sacred Scripture calls "angels." This creation appears clearly in the creeds, especially in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed: "I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, of all things (that is entia or beings) seen and unseen." We know that man enjoys a unique position within the sphere of creation. By his body he belongs to the visible world, while by his spiritual soul which vivifies the body, he is as it were on the boundary between the visible and invisible creation. According to the creed which the Church professes in the light of revelation, other beings which are purely spiritual belong to the invisible creation. Therefore they are not proper to the visible world, even though present and working therein. They constitute a world apart."

If I can't be invisible or bilocate, at least, for the sake of homeschooling moms, let holodecks be possible.

Photo: Cathedral by Jacek Yerka

Lemon curd and clotted cream

I survived my first Little Flowers tea last week. It was quite nice. We had scones, finger sandwiches, dainty desserts, clotted cream, salads, etc.

If you're not familiar, Little Flowers is a Catholic girls group, "based on learning Catholic virtues through the lives of Catholic saints, Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church...the Club strives to bring the Catholic faith alive and inspire the girls to become authentic Catholic women."

I did try the clotted cream, so did my daughter. She thought it was her beloved whipped cream and took a whole mouthful. I only wish I had a camera for the horrified look on her face.

And, there were a slew of etiquette rules to observe during the tea. Rule 12 should be amended to say:
"Have a clean handkerchief or tissue in your pocket in case you need to very slightly blow your nose OR SPIT OUT THE CURSED CLOTTED CREAM."

Aside from learning the virtues, we really need to work on our etiquette.

21 May 2010

Today's garage sale find

Fitting in with the Medieval period we are learning about:

Lionheart is a simple wargame that is like chess but with dice rolls that determine the success or failure of a capture move. There are seven different units: King, Knight, Archer, Heavy Infantry, Infantry, Mercenary, and Peasant. Each turn players can perform any 2 actions: move, turn, or attack. Foot units move one square forward per action. Mounted units move as many unblocked squares in front of them as they like. Units attack the square they are facing (archers attack an area of squares in front of them). Attacks are resolved by rolling the combat dice. Each appropriate symbol rolled (axes or arrows) counts as a "hit". Scoring more hits than the target has hit points removes some of the units (miniatures) from the target army. The winner is the player who eliminates his opponent's King or eliminates every other warrior in his opponent's army leaving the King standing alone on the field of battle.

Rejuvenated Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy

After a long hiatus, WKJ has returned. If you haven't played before, just imagine yourself standing along side Sean Connery; you can do this!

Category: Countries

Known as Mary's Dowry, Pope Leo XIII recalled, "the 'wonderful filial love which burnt within the hearts of your forefathers towards the get Mother of God...to whose service they consecrated themselves with such abundant proofs of devotion, that the [country] itself acquired the singular title of Mary's Dowry."

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 and other sneaky searches. Educated guesses are welcome and encouraged. Good luck!!

The first correct answer in the form of a question wins the highly coveted WKJ ribbon to display on your blog, cubicle or refrigerator door.

20 May 2010

My Dear Wormwood

If only the sound on my computer worked...John Cleese reading C.S Lewis', The Screwtape Letters.

Or try here.

Putting aside childish ways

Don't the things your kids do just tug at your heart? My son is riding his bike without training wheels. The big event should've happened last summer, but hubby didn't want to take the trainers off since my son was a bit apprehensive. This spring my son got on the bike and took off sans training wheels.

He also started reading. I mean really reading. He went from hating studying phonics each day to reading chapter books, all in a few short months. As a child, I never read books like that. He's reading all day...without me suggesting and certainly without me asking. Hoping this phase lasts longer than a week.

He's learning piano and has now asked to learn guitar. First he needs to practice the piano more than five minutes before each lesson.

It's amazing how we are wired to learn.

"I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like"
~ Queen, Bicycle Race

19 May 2010

Alphabet soup

I'm growing weary reviewing Protestant resources for use in my homeschool. I try to use Catholic sources, but my favorite Catholic history author hasn't come out with her third book in the series...yet. I've used the first two books, but without the third currently available, it's on to Plan B.

The very popular, Story of the World, has been used by homeschoolers of all different faiths for many years. I, myself, own the SotW CDs for the second series for children, but they have a definite Protestant bent and I haven't even played some of the chapters for my kids (ages 4 and 6) since my little ones need a better background in history, including Church history, to understand the full and complex context of the period. The British defeat of the Spanish Armada was not a good thing from a Catholic Perspective. The adjectives used for Martin Luther are not those I would've picked. Good Queen Bess?

But, it wasn't until I started reading the adult-version, The History of the Medieval World, by the same author, that I really bristled. My education in history was quite poor. I'm not a historian, but am trying to make up for lost time and stay ahead of the game to properly instruct my kids. The author and I do share that in common - we're not historians.

Leo did not depend only on this letter to establish his authority. He appealed to the throne, and in 445, Valentinian III (still dominated politically by his magister militum Aetius) agreed to make a formal official decree that recognized the bishop of Rome as the official head of the entire Christian church. Leo the Great, the bishop of Rome, had become the first pope.

The History of the Medieval World, p. 110

Guess many of the writings from the Church Fathers, like St. Clement, St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Polycarp, etc., are considered historically apocryphal and have been removed from the canon of time.

It continues along these lines.

Dioscorus was just as suspicious of Leo the Great, and he tried to flex some theological muscle in return. Although both men were monophysites ("one nature" supporters), Dioscorus's version of monophysitism was more extreme than Leo's; he insisted that "the two natures of Christ became a single divine nature at the incarnation," an interpretation that almost veered back over into heresy again, since it tended to remove Christ's humanity from view.

The History of the Medieval World, pps. 110-111

Really? Pope St. Leo the Great was a monophysite? Maybe a brief look at just one of Pope St. Leo's writings would've helped.

Time for Plan C.

17 May 2010

Vincenzo's family photos

For those of you wondering what Vincenzo really looks like.

To see more of the family go to: Monkeys Are Great Posers – An Outstanding Photography by Jill Greenberg

Ease on down the road

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

With Pentecost coming this weekend, the First Reading always reminds me of my time as a Charismatic. It was my mother and father that took me to my first Catholic Charismatic prayer meeting, but I continued on with the group long after my parents made the unlikely transition to Third Order Carmelites. Every year, as I'm sharply reminded of the gymnasium prayer meetings, I struggle to understand exactly what I was involved in.

Apparently, even though the term "slain in the Spirit" post-dated my time in the movement, these experiences happened without the formal definition, along with speaking in tongues, intercessory prayer, laying on of hands, interpretation of tongues, etc. While I certainly believe the Holy Spirit can give His gifts to whomever He chooses, I still question why more people aren't slain at Mass or why the Charismatics seem to be the only ones speaking/praying in tongues?

Over the years, I've asked a few priests about the things I experienced while I was a Charismatic and have yet to receive a good answer. One priest did tell me something along the lines of the addage, "holiness attracts." In this case, things that are holy shouldn't confuse or make one feel uneasy. Considering the confusion and discomfort I have about these events so many years later, does that imply they were brought about by group dynamics, my own zeal, desire to be part of the group or something else? It's not usual advice from a priest to suggest you "trust your gut."

Back then, trusting my gut told me that I was part of a group who "got it." We had special insight. We were alive in the Spirit, especially compared to more traditional Catholics. But, just because it had a Catholic label didn't mean it was a good place to be. Several close friends, members of the "youth group" to which I belonged, became pregnant while in high school. Adult leaders dated youth members. We got together to watch "left behind" style movies that clashed with Church teaching. Few kids held on to their faith.

It was during this time that my father asked me if I wanted to attend one of the Charismatic group functions because of my desire "to be with Jesus" or to be with my friends. I didn't lie; I told him to be with friends. There's no doubt in my mind that my friends were there for the same reason. As my kids get older, I think I will be cautious about them getting involved in similar Catholic social groups. While I want my kids to incorporate religion into all aspects of their lives and to share it with their friends, my experience is that some of these groups tend to be heavy on the social and very light, superficial, or even plain wrong, on Catholic teaching.

I left the Charismatics, just as my parents had done, for the Carmelites. If it is at all possible that Catholicism can be thought of as linear, I moved from one end of the spectrum to the other. Something about being quiet and still made more sense to me. Ironically, I learned I really didn't know much about my faith, God or myself. However, I still haven't figured out if my time as a Charismatic was part of the path or a tangent.

Coffee lovers...

here's some SUGAR. Boeing's Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research aircraft.

Beauty of Future Airplanes is More than Skin Deep

An 18-month NASA research effort to visualize the passenger airplanes of the future has produced some ideas that at first glance may appear to be old fashioned. Instead of exotic new designs seemingly borrowed from science fiction, familiar shapes dominate the pages of advanced concept studies which four industry teams completed for NASA's Fundamental Aeronautics Program in April 2010.

Look more closely at these concepts for airplanes that may enter service 20 to 25 years from now and you'll see things that are quite different from the aircraft of today.

Just beneath the skin of these concepts lie breakthrough airframe and propulsion technologies designed to help the commercial aircraft of tomorrow fly significantly quieter, cleaner, and more fuel-efficiently, with more passenger comfort, and to more of America's airports.

You may see ultramodern shape memory alloys, ceramic or fiber composites, carbon nanotube or fiber optic cabling, self-healing skin, hybrid electric engines, folding wings, double fuselages and virtual reality windows.


16 May 2010

Free online grammar check

Moments prior to my receiving Communion from a jock in shorts and flip-flops, the Liturgical Director led us in singing the Agnus Dei:

Lamb of God, you take away sins of the world,
have mercies on us,
Lamb of God, you take away sins of the world,
have mercies on us,
Lamb of God, you take away sins of the world,
grant us peace.

I argue that the last word, befittingly, should be the plural "pieces."

Not my usual parish.

Thank you

It really is a Sally Field moment. Thank you, my street-fighter friends in Chicago, for your voting prowess.

In my defense, blogging lost out to watching Dancing with the Stars and homeschooling my kids (sometimes simultaneously). And, the other fact that I am fickle and never stick with most things. I will try to do better.

On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.