Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday is the Day Before Friday!

And this Friday is the last day of school before we take off next week for Holy Week and Spring break.
So we are all a little giddy.
We have had a lot going on this week actually...
Lets see,
Monday night our Bible Study watched the first video in the "Catholicism" series. It was just excellent.
Tim is hoping to get to some of the evenings, so he will have to watch it to catch up. There is going to be a good bit of study in between!
Tuesday was fun! We had our "Fallacy Detective" group, and so for a change, we all went over to the Fallston Library to see a gentleman impersonate Benjamin Franklin. It was really quite good, I thought, but the kids got a little squirrely in the back. It was packed and all the good seats in front were taken.
I enjoyed it though! Tuesday was also a very productive school day!
Yesterday was a busy day with school, and John had Shakespeare in the afternoon. I got together with some friends and we had a little chat.
I am helping teach our Parish Confirmation class. I think it is coming along very well. The kids seem to be enthusiastic about learning about the Faith, and they seem to be progressing every week.
I am encouraged.
Today was Maggie's day at the groomer. She went in a rather stinky puppy, and came out just beautiful!
She always seems to be very happy with the end result, even if she doesn't really enjoy the process.
I am going to have to vacuum everything again though, because she always sheds twice as bad for a couple of days after she gets back.
Well, it's getting late and I must get to sleep! Tomorrow is Shakespeare, and the boys are mostly done with school for the day already!
Very nice indeed. I have to do all the correcting, but that's fine!
I will have a nice day for another reason which I won't share at this time....
May have some new Spring pictures this weekend!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mary In The Stars...Happy Feast of the Annunciation!

Does Mary Appear in the Night Sky this Feast of the Annunciation?

All the following is from my good friend and classmate Br. Joshua at Holy Apostles College & Seminary:

On March 25, 2012, millions of Christians (Catholic and Orthodox) will celebrate the “Annunciation” – which commemorates the conception of Jesus. This March 25, there will be a neat astronomical arrangement in the sky, that seems to mesh nicely. See the description below:
The sky will be spectacular in the west after sunset on March 25, 2012, with the waxing crescent moon and the planet Jupiter very close to each other in the evening twilight sky. Plus Venus is nearby – the sky’s brightest planet. You’ll see Jupiter and the moon below Venus in the west after sunset. The famous Pleiades star cluster is above Venus. 
For centuries Mary has been referred to as the “Morning Star”, the popular name of the Planet Venus. In this configuration, the Morning Star appears with the moon at her feet. The Pleiades (from “peleiades” the Greek word for doves) overshadows the Morning Star. Jupiter, the “King Planet” approaches the configuration.  The symbolism is striking. This is a interesting arrangement for the mystery of the Annunciation which heralds Christ’s coming through Mary.
The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35).
“A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman- clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Revelation 12:1)
Image

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ah...

School went very well today. Everyone seems to be getting everything with a minimum of pain and suffering today. That has not been the case lately.
Good job Guys!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Brilliant...






Seeking respite from the disappointments of the Republican-primary season, I have been in Australia — where, upon every TV or radio appearance, I get asked about the Republican-primary season. News does not travel well; it gets winnowed to its essence. Rick Santorum is a crazed, stern-faced theocrat who wishes to impose a Christian version of sharia law on America and round up gays and single mothers. "That's certainly why I'm supporting him," I say.
If there's a follow-up question, it tends to be about why he's demonizing Satan, so to speak. "Well, there's a lot of things said in the heat of a primary campaign," I say. "I'm sure by the time of the convention he and Satan will have patched up their differences. Wouldn't rule out Rick offering the prince of darkness the vice-presidential slot in the interests of unity. Dream ticket, and all that."
Even to those Aussies of a conservative bent, the weirdness of Santorum is a given. I've spent maybe 15 minutes in his company, at a GOP county dinner in southern New Hampshire, where we talked mostly about the Habsburg Empire — his grandfather was a bit of imperial cannon fodder on the Russian front who managed to survive the Great War and get on the boat to Pennsylvania. Santorum didn't seem weird to me — or at any rate no weirder than the normal weirdness quotient required of those who decide to run for president of the United States.
On that night in the Granite State, I said something like, "Wow! Two generations from immigrant to presidential candidate," and Rick said something like, "Only in America." But the old cliches don't exert quite the same pull. After all, we live in fast-moving times: In the course of two generations, what doesn't change? The Habsburg Empire for which Grandpa Santorum fought is dust, and, according to the Vienna Institute of Demography, by mid-century a majority of Austrians under the age of 15 will be Muslim. As I wrote here last year: Salzburg, 1938 — singing nuns, Julie Andrews, "How do you solve a problem like Maria?" Salzburg 2038 — How do you solve a problem like sharia?
Old settled societies appear like a frozen river in my part of New Hampshire: On the surface, all is still. Underneath, the icy water is fast-moving. That's where all the business that really engages Santorum is — and he's not wrong on most of it. As Congressman Mike Pence said a year or two back, "To those who say we should simply focus on fiscal issues, I say you would not be able to print enough money in a thousand years to pay for the government you would need if the traditional family collapses."
But Pence's doomsday scenario is already here: What "traditional" family? Seventy percent of black children are born out of wedlock, as are 70 percent of the offspring of poor white women, as are a majority of Hispanic babies. Forty percent of American children are born outside marriage; among women under 30, a majority of children are. Well, so what? It's the same in Scandinavia, isn't it? Well, not quite. Our progeny are fatter, sicker, riddled with childhood diabetes. Dennis Prager wrote a couple of years ago that Obama saw the United States as a large Sweden. A large Sweden is a contradiction in terms, and out there in the Dependistans of America we're better at being large than being Swedish.
Well, okay, say the Santorum detractors, but you guys are supposed to be the small-government crowd. Why is this any business of the state? A fair point, but one that cuts both ways. Single women are the most enthusiastic constituency for big government: A kiss on the hand may be quite continental, but statism is a girl's best friend. One can argue about whether the death of marriage leads to big government or vice versa, but simply raising the topic shouldn't put one beyond the pale, should it?
Let's take it as read that Rick Santorum is weird. After all, he believes in the sanctity of life, the primacy of the family, the traditional socio-religious understanding of a transcendent purpose to human existence. Once upon a time, back in the mists of, ooh, the mid–20th century, all these things were, if not entirely universal, sufficiently mainstream as to be barely worthy of discussion. Now they're not. Isn't the fact that conventional morality is now "weird" itself deeply weird? The instant weirdification of ideas taken for granted for millennia is surely mega-weird — unless you think that our generation is possessed of wisdom unique to human history. In which case, why are we broke?
Look, I get the problem with a Santorum candidacy. And I get why he seems weird to Swedes and Aussies, and even Americans. If you're surfing a news bulletin en route from Glee to Modern Family, Santorum must seem off-the-charts weird, like a monochrome episode that's been implausibly colorized from a show too old even for TV Land reruns. It would be healthier to thrash these questions out in the culture, in the movies and novels and pop songs. But Hollywood has taken sides, and the Right has mostly retreated from the field. And somebody has to talk about these things somewhere or other. Our fiscal crisis is not some unfortunate bookkeeping accident that a bit of recalibration by a savvy technocrat can fix. In the United States as in Greece, it is a reflection of the character of a people. The problem isn't that Rick Santorum's weird, but that a government of record-breaking brokeness already busting through its newest debt-ceiling increase even as it announces bazillions in new spending is entirely normal.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Best Season...

Spring is definitely my favorite season and we are getting a bonus week!
It is still officially winter, but it is 75 degrees, and the trees and flowers have been lulled into a false sense of security and are blooming all over the place.
I went out and got a few shots around the yard....

The buds on the Flowering Pear Tree

Weeping Cherry starting to blossom




Pinking up!

Lemar's Magnolia in full bloom!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This Is Really Cute...

The Most Precious...


 

This image was painted by the daughter of a friend of ours in our parish.
She wanted to paint a message of comfort for those who have lost children in any way, through miscarriage, still birth, or abortion.

 "But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." ~Luke 18:16

Read the story of this work here....

Monday, March 12, 2012

We Did It All Over Again!

Yesterday, at St Agnes in Rising Sun, Tim and I attended a very special marriage event.
We had a wonderful marriage workshop, kind of a mini-retreat, and we spent the afternoon listening to our friends Celeste and Rick guide us through a "check-up" of where we are, and we talked about where God is taking us. Then we went up to the Church to renew our vows in a very special ceremony with the other couples. Fr Jay officiated. He gave a beautiful homily and the vows were every bit as touching and as special as when we made them the first time. It was so good to look at each other, in front of God, and say those words again. What an amazing Sacrament!
God is so good....all the time!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

It's a Beautiful Morning...

And I am going to go out in a bit and embrace God's world.
I have been in a funk, the last few days, over the twisted road that we are on here in America.
I feel like we have all fallen down the rabbit hole and what used to seem like a sensible approach to
the issues of the day is now being turned around and inside out.
Apparently it is considered bad form to have a discussion or write an opinion that doesn't match the "brave new morality" that the enlightened in our society have embraced.
The truth is that this road we are going down is actually a very old and well traveled path.
Many civilizations have been here before us. Most of them are gone.

So, I am off to enjoy this beautiful day, the sunshine, the birds, and the very real fact that God is in control, whether people believe, or not.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Revelation...Revealed!

Well today I finished reading and studying Revelation for our Bible study.
Wow...
Next week we will watch the last video, and hear what Jeff Cavins has to say about the last two chapters.
This has been an amazing study. I have learned so much.
There is so much to understand, and so much misunderstanding about this last book of the Bible.
It was wonderful to spend those weeks in the mystery of Revelation with my dear Bible study friends.
Next up..."Catholicism"!


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Good, Not So Good, Very Good

Well, today was a day of getting things done, and bringing things to light. All of which should make me feel good at the end of the day, but, well, there's a bit of a cloud over it.
I did get my errands done early on.
Took a salad and pumpkin bread up to the church for a funeral and then went to Bel Air to shop for a baptism gift, which is always fun.
I came home and went over my little talk that I was going to give at Mass, about "40 Days for Life", and got it pared down to two minutes or so. That was also good.
Then I headed up to the Church for the 4:00 Mass, and sat down with the bulletin, to see if the inserts that we had gotten had been put in. They had. Good.
I perused the Respect Life section, because I was curious about whether the information that I had sent had made it in. It had, but it didn't look at all like I had imagined it would, and there were some bits missing....not good, not good at all. This particular bit of information pertains to the negative health effects of hormonal contraception. When I wrote it and reviewed it, it looked good, it looked like just what women need to make informed choices about their health. When I saw it in the bulletin, it just looked snide and harsh. The introduction that I had written wasn't there, and neither were the citations.
UGH. I don't want people to feel preached to. That doesn't help people understand the point.
So, not good.
I gave my little talk, and it went fine, and I was able to get a couple of people to commit to praying at Planned Parenthood later this month.
Tim and I went out to dinner, which was very good.
All in all, a good day.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Good Thing...or Two

Tonight it is pouring outside, but it it warm inside and the house smells of fresh baked Pumpkin Bread.

A Beautiful Day in God's Neighborhood...



One of the things that I treasure most about the Catholic Faith, is that there are so many different traditions, and so many rich and wonderful textures within one Holy Church.

As we have been making our First Friday excursions, we have found that there is a place where each person fits, and, as everyone in the Church has a very special temperament, there are a wealth of choices in which to fulfill one's vocation.

One of these special places is the Carmelite Monastery in Towson, MD. It is the oldest community of sisters in the U.S.
We were blest to be given a chance to visit there this morning, and the sister that spent an hour or so with us was just a treat! What a special lady.
The Carmel is nestled in the trees on 27 acres right outside the beltway. Hard to believe that such peace can be found that close to the city.
The sisters live in community and share a life of Prayer, work, and devotion to God that is part of a very special and specific calling within the Church.
The Carmelites are a very old order and the rule is very strict, but it is also very beautiful.


 We all got up and out the door early this morning to get to Mass at a Church nearby. We are almost finished with our nine First Fridays!

 This is an image of Elijah on Mount Carmel, in the Holy Land. His image is surrounded by saints and people who have played a large role in the development of the order.


 This is the chapel where Mass is celebrated. The sisters are here throughout the day for prayers and singing. The garden outside the windows is a beautifully kept place to go and pray.




 This is an image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It was painted by an artist who is now a member of the order. She also painted the image of Elijah.


 The gardens that surround the Monastery are lovely even in the winter
We are so grateful for this opportunity!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

One Good Thing....

...About today was that we were all able to say that we finished it healthy, which was not a sure bet. Some of us had a rough go in the middle, with some unsettled stomachs, but it turned out to be a very short-lived
thing, with no lasting effects. Praise the Lord! Many of our friends are down with various illnesses, and we are keeping them in our prayers.

Excellent Commentary By Father Barron