All Souls-All Saints October 31, 2009Posted by lizp4 in Uncategorized.
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Rev. 7:9-10 RSV)
All Hallows Eve. This is not a time for black cats, witche’s hats, and carved pumpkins. It is a time to remember all the faithful believers who have gone before us. Their witness, very frequently in blood and life, have assured them a place in Heaven. May we all be humbled by the sacrifices they made for the sake of their faith — and for ours.
Tomorrow, All Saints Day, we will celebrate all those we are more certain have made it into the realms of Heavenly blessing.
“Saints are sinners who kept on trying.” I was in seventh grade when I first saw this little epigram. +Sister Mary John Berchmans, FSPA, God rest her soul, had stuck the letters up on the concrete block wall of our classroom with rubber cement. I’m pretty sure Sister made it to Heaven. She was a missionary in China when the Japanese invaded there, and was interned for years in abject misery and privation. She regaled and revolted us with the stories of the rats, bugs, and mice they ate in the prison camp to survive. She called me her “Little Pill.” Coming from her, it was the ultimate compliment.
Saints are our role models. They are not lesser gods and goddesses. When we pray for a saint to intercede on our behalf, we are asking a friend or teacher to take our petitions to the Throne. So, for this feast of all the Holy Ones of God, canonized and uncanonized alike, I will be praying that we all discover the legacy of faith and fidelity so beautifully handed down by those now in God’s presence.
May your festal weekend be blessed and joyful.
Whistling Past The Graveyard October 29, 2009Posted by lizp4 in Uncategorized.
It looks like the atheists in the media just can’t stand it a moment longer. Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens just can’t stand to go unnoticed for very long. Every time the world hears about the good of Christianity or Catholicism, it has to hear from these men and their ilk.
Dawkins is upset because the Catholic Church has made it much easier for traditional Episcopalians to rejoin the Roman communion, welcoming married priests and bishops. He believes this is just more proof that “the Church is one of the biggest forces for evil on the planet.” He sounds worried to me.
From my lofty perch as Little Miss Know-It-All, I can say that it sounds to me like these guys are running scared. They are getting OLD. Getting old means that one must eventually pass on to one’s reward (or punishment). For an old atheist, this little gate swings both ways. Either he is right, and nothing will happen, just as he predicted/hoped. He will close his eyes one last time and that will be the end: Instant Soylent Green. Or, he is wrong, in which case, he is going to have to have his life scrutinized by Someone he hates, and even though he will be allowed to witness the scrutiny, no excuse will change his fate. This could go quite badly for such a person, in terms of eternal existence.
Perhaps these old atheists are beginning to wonder just what it is that has made millions of people down through the ages gladly embrace torture and death for the sake of their belief in the Reward — The Reward that was promised them by the same God these guys have hated since they were children. The God who will be the scrutinizer of their souls.
Methinks, to paraphrase the Immortal Bard, these gentlemen protest too much. Whistling past the graveyard, as my mother used to call it.
Here’s an old post I wrote several years ago related to the topic, as well as a link above to another old post similarly related.
BRIGHT AND GAY, REVISITED
October 1, 2003
The atheists of the world are in need of a new name, they say.
Daniel Dennett, one of the leading lights of this group of believers in the negative says just that: The term “atheist” is too negative, and should be replaced by something more positive–something along the lines of the term “gay,” the word which has been co-opted by the homosexuals in the West to describe their destructive, negative, and unattractive lifestyle. The term Dennett thinks will describe his fellow unbelievers and himself is “bright.” “Bright,” he presumably hopes, as in “intelligent.” That’s a good idea. But is it really descriptive of people who not only refuse to believe in a Creator, but refuse to look at any evidence that might lead to belief in such a Creator? Who believe “Ancient Aliens” is real history, and who believe humans can actually cause global warming, but refuse to believe in a creating God?
“Those of us who subscribe to no religion; those of us who rejoice in the real and scorn the false comfort of the unreal, we need a word of our own, a word like ‘gay’,” says Richard Dawkins, another “bright” light of atheism.
Atheists, by their own choice, are believers in a negative. Atheism could even qualify as a religion if the guidelines were strictly applied. Dennett is a professor of philosophy at Tufts University. Dawkins is a scientist and a Don at Oxford. They are both condescending and scornful of anything that smacks of religious faith. Both are fervent “evangelists” for their beliefs, but, of course, they believe in nothing beyond what they see. Whatever pleasure they might take in their stance is derived from mockery and smug self-satisfaction.
When I was growing up, the word “gay” meant “happy,” “joyful,” and so on. So far, I haven’t been able to apply it to the homosexual lifestyle with any real conviction since the poofters stole it from the normal vocabulary of English. To me, those of the “gay” persuasion will always be lost, pathetic, self-destructive, and insecure. Just applying a happy word to such negative behavior isn’t necessarily going to produce that quality in the people who try so desperately to make it describe their chosen lifestyle.
The atheists I’ve known always struck me as a joyless and ill-humored bunch. Life can’t hold much happiness for people who refuse to accept the possiblity that life might have been a gift from a Giver of infinite Love, at best, or a simple outcome from a process put into place by a Prime Mover, at worst. They have to be cranky and out of sorts all the time, as if they are required to be irked and disappointed by the fact that they can’t bring themselves to acknowledge a cheerful “Bless you!” when they sneeze without a sour expression and a grumpy, “No, thanks!”
Perhaps the joyless aspect of their demeanor is what has prompted this need to be thought of in happier terms. They get old and wrinkly and realize they don’t want to die without ever having experienced real joy. They know that whatever they mistook for that condition was nothing but a sham, and they feel their sad lives slipping away without having known what it feels like to experience real inner peace. Whatever it is, I don’t think the term “bright” is going to stick to these grouches. They need a shot of real joy.
I’m going to claim the term “bright” for myself. “Bright” means “clever, intelligent, cheerful” just for starters, and I’ve always been a bright person. But, I can’t see it applying to soreheads like Dawkins and Dennett, so I don’t think I’ll let them drag it down into the same muck that the queers have used to sully the word “gay.” Gay and bright people are uniquely joyful, and a real pleasure to be around. Co-opting the terms doesn’t make them any less bright and gay, any more than applying the terms to people of negative and self-destructive mien works any changes on people so named.
They could easily be bright and gay if they would simply acknowledge what the rest of us have taken for granted since mankind first looked at the stars and had the intellect to wonder how they got up there: That life is a joy, in spite of tears and sorrow and the rest of the travails that make real joy and peace such a precious condition, and believing in a loving God who created us out of love, and whom we can thank for all that beauty makes sense.
I, and people like me who believe in something more, will at least have covered all our bases. But atheists of whatever sexual persuasion are going to be singularly unprepared for any judgment that might come to them upon their deaths. If I am wrong about what I believe, there will simply be “nothing,” of course. If there’s nothing there, nothing will happen. But if Dennett and Dawkins are wrong…
As far as I’m concerned, life will be “gay” in spite of the chosen manner of intercourse of homosexual men, and it will be “bright” with hope and joy in spite of the attempt by a few crabby atheists to co-opt the word to themselves.
I noticed something in my long years of people-watching. That something is this: People who choose a lifestyle or belief system that attempts to negate the established norm of historical morals are self-absorbed, and they take themselves far too seriously. They need to brighten up and get really gay about life.
More Proof… October 27, 2009Posted by lizp4 in Uncategorized.
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…that print newspapers are having a hard time struggling up out of the remainder bins. You have to scroll down quite a ways to find the bottom of the graph. Enjoy! And, keep getting the news YOU WANT off the internet.
Or, Fox News… LOL!
Okay, One More Time October 27, 2009Posted by lizp4 in Uncategorized.
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Any time is a good time to remind folks that we USED to have a REAL Commander-in-Chief who really cared about his troops. Folks, he might have disappointed us more than once on some issues, but HE WAS A LEADER. His troops would have followed him anywhere. God bless you, Mr. President. Thank you for your service.
The Luckiest Little Penguin In Antarctica October 26, 2009Posted by lizp4 in Uncategorized.
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Hello…? Flipflops?? In Antarctica?? And, the penguin wasn’t the only lucky one. Just because Shamu hasn’t eaten anybody lately doesn’t mean his wild cousins won’t. Talk about luck…
Calls October 25, 2009Posted by lizp4 in Uncategorized.
” 46 And they came to Jericho; and as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great multitude, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; rise, he is calling you.” 50 And throwing off his mantle he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Master, let me receive my sight.” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way. ”
This was the Gospel reading for this morning in the Latin Rite. It’s hard to know where to begin when we read something so meaty for us. If we were listening with our whole hearts when we heard this passage read, we will probaly meditate off and on throughout the day on the deeper and deeper meanings of it. We can ponder how it is that Mark was able to write something so powerfully and profoundly touching. But we will eventually simply have to admit that it is impossible to come to the end of the meaning that this short passage can have for us in our walk with the Lord.
In the story, Jesus is surrounded by a great multitude. Have you ever been in a “multitude?” You know that there is a characteristic sound made by large groups of people that drowns out anything that might be specific, except to someone in the immediate vicinity.
Bartimaeus earned what little income he could through his blindness and the charity of passersby. A blind man was of no use in the field, in the shop, or in the pastures, for one had to be able to see one’s surroundings in order to ply any worthwhile trade. So Bartimaeus did what he could with what he had, and begged. He was not part of the multitude, but was sitting by the roadside, hoping to beg something more than usual from the sizeable crowd that was going past his place. He knew, perhaps because someone had told him who the personage was who was passing, that it was Jesus of Nazareth. But, how did he know that Jesus was “Son of David?” This was a specific title given to the Messiah. To call out to the “Son of David” was to call to the One Who Was To Come foretold by the Prophets. This was why those people around him were trying to silence him. Being good Jews of the day, they would believe that for any man to be called “Son of David” was a blasphemy, and wished to spare the blind beggar a trial and execution before the Sanhedrin.
But Jesus stopped when he heard the call of Bartimaeus. He knew who called. “Call him,” he said. “Tell him to come.” The call was made, but it was made through the believers. Bartimaeus was called because he called out. He had prayed to Jesus as He Who Was To Come, the Messiah, the Son of God. Had he kept silent, would Jesus have known of his needs? Of course, but silent prayer is not the teachable kernel of this passage. Jesus knew that Bartimaeus was the perfect illustration of what he wished to teach upon.
The people standing near Bartimaeus, now impressed that Jesus had heard Bartimaeus’ call from afar, are moved to tell the blind man, “Take heart. He is calling you.” This was exciting for them, like having someone standing next to you in a crowd win the big doorprize. Bartimaeus already knew. He didn’t have to be told. He knew in his heart that Jesus had heard his prayer. He knew who Jesus was, and he knew that he wanted what Jesus had to offer him, so he threw off his mantle, jumped up, and ran after Jesus. This is the phrase that is the core of the teaching of this reading. His mantle was all Bartimaeus had. It was his protection from the elements, his cover in the night. It was the rug upon which he sat to ply his lowly trade. It was his only possession, his entire treasure. Yet, it meant nothing to him in the face of Jesus’ specific call. He ran to Jesus. He didn’t walk, or have to be dragged or carried. Blind as he was, he ran. He could have kept silent, kept his blindness, and been content to beg for the rest of his life. But he preferred a life of service to a life of slavery to his affliction. It was his joyous pleasure to hurry to do the Master’s will, and in his mind, he already saw. His blindness made him the perfect servant; humble, willing, and joyful. Jesus could ask for nothing more.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus’ question is a mere formality. He is the reader of hearts, and knew who Bartimaeus was, what he was, and what he would ask for. But he also knew that it was necessary for Bartimaeus to express his request aloud so that the crowd could witness the power of Jesus’ response.
“Master, let me receive my sight.” In some translations this is expressed as, “Lord, that I may see.” Bartimaeus knew as sure as he was standing there that regaining his sight would mean that he would have to go to work for a living. He would not be able to beg any more, and the crowd would be witness to his healing, so that would mean they would not tolerate him continuing to beg for a living when they would all know he had received his sight. But to be able to follow the Messiah would be worth losing all he had and all he had ever known. He was willing to work and serve for the sake of being healed by the Messiah.
No sooner does Jesus finish speaking than Bartimaeus sees the face of his Saviour, and from that moment, follows, bringing the story full circle. The rich young man mentioned earlier clings to his treasure and goes away sad, while Bartimaeus gives up everything and joyfully follows after Jesus. The contrast can’t be more stark.
There are layers of meaning in this passage that invite us more and more deeply into the Scriptures and the real meaning of Christ’s ministry on earth, but suffice it to say that the Call is felt by all of us. Some of us don’t know Who is calling, we just know that we must search until we find the source of the call. Some know, but are reluctant to follow because it will mean, as it did to the rich young man, we have much treasure that we are unable to release. Some of us will be groupies. We will flit around the margins of discipleship, but will never really make the final choice to be all for Jesus. Some will never recognize the call or the Caller, and will continue in their blindness.
Bartimaeus had a “heart for Jesus” before he ever knew him, and was willing to give up everything, including his blindness, and receive the “sight” of knowledge of Jesus as Truth and Salvation. He wanted to SEE JESUS.
We are called. And we no longer have to be satisfied to sit in our blindness beside the road begging for a pittance from our neighbors. We can ask of Jesus that our sight be of him, and with the eyes of faith and trust, we will really get to SEE JESUS.
But it’s up to us to answer the Call.
Some Links About Oil October 24, 2009Posted by lizp4 in Uncategorized.
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It’s there, and it’s waiting for us to find our gonads and stand up to OPEC and the green fascists, who whine continually about being “energy independent,” but INSIST it has to be solar or bio-fueled. How did we let ourselves get so stupid??
The OTHER Important Stuff October 20, 2009Posted by lizp4 in Uncategorized.
The longer I am in this world, the more of it I find I have to tune out. You can accuse me of being out of touch, out of the loop, poorly informed, old-fashioned, a fuddyduddy, or any other combination of words that might indicate I’m not paying attention to what passes for news and entertainment these days. If what’s on is not downright asinine, inane, insults my intelligence, or is politically correct, it is screaming/whining that WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE! Apparently, to the administration’s propaganda wing at PMSNBC new media, I’m considered to be a candidate for that short line at the exit to the Soylent Green factory.
With the rise of the internet as people’s choice for news, information, and opinion, the old media are suffering from their self-imposed state of irrelevancy. It’s hard to accept the fact that nobody is interested in your print paper when they can get all the stuff they would care to read online without having to buy ten pounds of newspaper and printer’s ink. (And, also not have to try to recycle it into string-tied bundles in the blue tubs on alternate Wednesdays.) It’s agonizing for the so-called “news magazines” to watch their physical heft shrink to the proportions of a doctor’s office pamphlet. No ads, no articles, no pages, just thinly-disguised opinion pieces by has-beens and apparatchik hacks. The White House news arm at PMSNBC, always mindful of “the important stuff,” is busily accusing FOXNews of not being a “real” news outlet. This one needs no further elaboration. Most television news is banal, dumbed-down twitspeak used for plumping up administrations and castigating opposing opinion, calling itself “important,” and taking itself waaaay too seriously.
In the olden, golden days of television programming, instead of Dancing With The Stars or American Idol, we took all these exhibitionistic people, put them on the same stage one after another, and called it “Variety,” on shows like Ed Sullivan, or Jackie Gleason, etc. And, most of us haven’t been to a movie at the theater since LOTR.
So, go ahead and call me ill-informed, opinionated, stuck in the mud, or whatever passes for such conditions these days. I read my Important Stuff on the internet, I research the science that intrigues me, and I bypass the dumbed-down fads and ghastly vogues that seem to stimulate the population these days.
At my age, life is too darned short to waste it absorbing the thinly veiled propaganda on the big–or the small–screens or on the newspaper shelf. Funny, I don’t FEEL deprived. And my sense of humor, my ability to join any contemporary conversation and hold my own regardless of the topic doesn’t seem to have suffered from my lack of propaganda intake. (Research and knowing the enemy is a whole different topic.)
As a small aside, has it recently struck you as odd that the leftist media, they of the “tolerance” and “politically correct/mustn’t offend anybody” attitudes and demands, are still so full of irrational hatred against the Right? They got their candidate into the oval office, they have all the news stations but one, 80% of the print media, and they are STILL mad at us?? Now, Bill Maher is wishing for Rush Limbaugh to explode “like a big bag of meat,” after the NFL types trapped him into trying to buy into a failing team in order to accuse him of racism by using trumped-up “quotes,” something like Dan Rather’s bogus Texas Air National Guard document claiming George W. didn’t show up for duty.
(Really IMPORTANT NOTE to White House: Never pick a fight with a guy with over 20,000,000 people in his audience, or with people who get their news off the internet, just for starters…)
Obsolete October 18, 2009Posted by lizp4 in Uncategorized.
Not many things make me feel older than seeing those valuable and important things from the past that have become obsolete to the point of quaint, antique uselessness. Remember all those things we couldn’t live without in the good old days? Department stores (remember those?) that wrapped purchases in paper tied with string. Wrapping paper and string were useful items that had considerable importance after the packages were unwrapped at home, so they were carefully collected and put away for later use. (Talk about recycling!) How about laundry starch? Or things taught in school with the admonition that we wouldn’t be able to get through life without them, like sentence diagramming, multiplication of fractions, mechanical drawing, or Home Economics.
Nowadays, we see a lot of things we had to learn then that have no application to modern life in the Computer Age. But some of the things that were essential then seem to be even more so now, and even though they are necessary, their absence has made a noticeable impact on our world.
I remember an old saying about how it’s probably better not to watch how sausages or laws are made, because it neither such observation was a pretty sight. We can still do without seeing the sausage-making, especially if we have an inkling of what goes into those tasty morsels. But life in this country has become so complex and dangerous that if we don’t watch our politicians at every moment, we are going to be sorry we weren’t more vigilant. The idea that we not watch our legislators in action has become as obsolete as the sentence diagram.
One of the things that has become obvious in recent years is that most politicians in Washington today with malicious deliberation, ignore the wishes of their constituencies. The apparent idea is that if they don’t go along with the powers that desire the downfall of America, they won’t get re-elected. This presumes a couple of things, not to mention the possibility that they are siding with the enemy; mostly that somebody thinks that the electorate doesn’t do the electing. If this is the case, then the politicians don’t need to bother to come back to their districts and campaign, since their fix is in. Another thing that comes to mind is that whoever is making those threats has too much power, or is waaaay too corrupt.
But it crossed my mind the other day as I contemplated the mess we have gotten ourselves into was the apparent total absence of conscience among the Washington politicians. Somehow, in some dark and nefarious transaction, these people have removed their decency and discarded it for the sake of political expediency. It no longer bothers them that they don’t vote in the best interests of their constituents, because they’ve lost any sensitivity to those interests and care only for passing bills and propositions that will enrich them financially or give them more status before the upper elites.
These politicians have lost any semblance of conscience or morals. They do what will enhance their position in Washington, and to Hell with whatever might enhance their positions at home. Somewhere between the time these people first run for public office and the time they return home to seek re-election, some kind of spiritual amputation has taken place; some boundary crossed. They have excised that part of them that is no longer necessary.
Their souls have become obsolete.