Friday, July 6, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday #5

1. New Publication - as some of you might know (if you've clicked on the link to my other blog, The Cimmerian Journal) I have a kindle book called "Tales From Cimmeria," a collection of my short weird and unusual stories, most of which touch on issues of faith and hope in some strange fashion.

2. Well, now I am working on a collection of my poetry. It will be called "Love and other Tragedies." I haven't decided whether it will be a Kindle book, or a real book or both, but I hope to have it ready in a month or so.

3. Speaking of poetry, my pastor, every now and then, likes to give me odd penances in confession. Twice, I think, he asked me to write Haiku as a penance, something like 50 Haiku on a parrticular spiritual topic. Which I did. I'll have to look for them and post a sample.

4. Speaking of spiritual topics, my 9-year old daughter occasionally writes little poems and prayers. My wife posted a prayer on her blog the other day. Check it out, it's pretty good. It mysteriously appeared on the printer the other day because after setting up our printer on the network for my wife to use, I printed the prayer to test the printer's link.

5. I discovered an odd thing, a form of "art" called Piccinini animal-human hybrids. I am not going to provide a link because it is disturbing. (You are warned.) But apparently, they are photos created by the Artist, a woman named Piccinini, depicting imaginary hybrids of animals and humans. The little that I saw on Google image previews is enough to determine that there is something fairly sick about this. I'm sure it won't be long (if it isn't already happening) when scientists will do this for real, perhaps to produce organs for transplant into humans. It just goes to show that "art," when divorced from a sense of beauty related to the Creator and source of all beauty, can become quite grotesque. I don't know what the artist's point is, but I'm not sure I want to know.

6. This "art" made me think of a film that I thought was by David Lynch, but I couldn't find any information that seemed to be about the film I was thinking of. It was about a woman who "conceived" children on various parts of her body, but the conception, if I understood correctly, was a manifestation of her negative emotions, anger, hatred. You can imagine where that went. I like some of David Lynch's work, but some of it is a little too much.

6. Does anyone else find it troubling that we just cannot celebrate a holiday on the day it falls anymore? We are so fixed on getting a 3 day weekend, that even when a Holiday like July 4th falls in the middle of the week, we have to celebrate it (in this case with fireworks) on the weekend. I yearn for the days of my childhood when we celebrated Lincon's Birthday, and Washington's birthday on the day on which they happened to fall, before we started the more recent practice of celebrating President's day on the nearest Monday. I'm not fond of this.

7. Speaking of July 4th, we will be celebrating it tomorrow (?) with a party/picnic of parishoners, capped off by the local (to that family's home) fireworks. So, while I'd rather this happen on July Fourth, it's nice to have many members of the parish get together like this. Have a good weekend, and don't forget to check Jennifer's and Branfordgirls 7 Quick Takes!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Virtue and Fruit

From the New Advent Catholic encyclopedia:

The fruits of the Holy Ghost are not habits, permanent qualities, but acts. They cannot, therefore, be confounded with the virtues and the gifts, from which they are distinguished as the effect is from its cause, or the stream from its source.

The charity, patience, mildness, etc., of which the Apostle speaks in this passage, are not then the virtues themselves, but rather their acts or operations; for, however perfect the virtues may be, they cannot be considered as the ultimate effects of grace, being themselves intended, inasmuch as they are active principles, to produce something else, i.e. their acts.

Further, in order that these acts may fully justify their metaphorical name of fruits, they must belong to that class which are performed with ease and pleasure; in other words, the difficulty involved in performing them must disappear in presence of the delight and satisfaction resulting from the good accomplished.

So, this is interesting. If one is patient and mild, for instance, and it is easy to be so, and one finds delight and satisfaction in that patience and mildness, then one has these fruits of the Holy Spirit. I guess that would mean that the virtues are therefore perfected.

In other words, when one practices, acts according to, the virtue of patience with ease and pleasure, one has the fruit of that virtue.

I guess then, when it is still difficult, one does not have a perfect or fully-formed habit of virtue.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

New Old Translations

So, authority has issued the English texts to be used by Anglicans who have returned to full communion with the Catholic Church. Below are two samples from the Rite of Marriage:

During the exchange of consent in the Order for the Celebration of Holy Matrimony, the man says:

I, N, take thee, N, to my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse: for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's holy law; and thereto I plight thee my troth.

During the exchange of rings, the man says:

With this ring I thee wed; with my body I thee worship; and all my worldly goods with thee I share: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

THIS is something to think about.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Discernment of God's Will

Branfordgirl recently wrote that God honors sincere attempts to discern his will, even if we don't exactly hit upon it. I would add that when we do something other than his will through specious, self-centered, misguided reasoning or impatience, then our own choice may end up becoming a means God uses to correct, heal, punish, prepare, redirect, whatever. In some fashion, God can use our bad will (choice) as a corrective measure in whatever way we need it: to point out faults, to illustrate weaknesses, to encourage virtues, as a means to do penance or make reparation.

So, even if we end up, by our own fault (in some fashion) doing something other than God's will, we can still do God's will be accepting with patience the circumstances in which we have found ourselves, with the trials and blessings, that are the consequences of our choice.

It gives a little hope even in the midst of the consequences of our mistakes.

Winning Is Everything...

Unless I'm really unusual, I think most of us have often gotten into arguments or disagreements or perhaps little competitions with a spouse, a friend, a co-worker, a relative, that begin with small things, minor issues, semantics, phrasing, whatever, which end up consuming a lot of time and effort, and perhaps even turn into full-blown fights that are very destructive to the relationship, whatever it is.

We often don't (allow ourselves to) see these disagreements for what they are. We tell ourselves that we must make our point, that it is important, even essential, crucial. Next thing we know, hours, days even have passed, the disagreement has escalated, someone might even be crying, and often we can barely remember the original point we were fighting for. Damage has been done. Sometimes, irreversible damge.

I recently saw a billboard that read: "Wisdom is the foresight to see the consequences."

We need wisdom to ask ourselves: is winning this little point really important enough to risk the harm, or at least the time lost, that will likely be the consequence of this contest? Sometimes, the pride behind the need to win a point is really stupid, and the humility to give it up is the real wisdom.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The "Complexity" of Following Christ

The Gospel for Mass today was about people asking to follow Jesus, and his short, almost dismissive responses.

The priest-celebrant gave a short homily in which he emphasized that basically we sometimes, some of us, choose how we are going to follow Jesus, often doing good things (like certain devotions or emphases) but that the essential thing is to Follow Jesus, which often may mean something we're not doing, something that we don't really "get," something that is way outside of our comfort zone, or "zone of predictability."

For instance (and this is my example) a fairly wealthy 18 year old, contrary to her parents' wishes, goes to Uganda, and ends up adopting six destitute orphans, and has pretty much settled herself down to live there for the rest of her life. She is convinced that God called her to this, and that she has no other choice, in love, but to do it. This was way out of her comfort zone and her zone of predictability, as it would be for most of us. But, there she is, and very happy.

So, my point is this. There are a gazillion devotions to follow. There are trillions of different prayer-forms to use. There are loads of vocations to choose from and live out. There are umpteen bazillion prayer books one can buy, and 42 versions of each to choose from. There are n to the 40th translations of the bible, and yet, none of it matters a whole heck of a lot if we are not following Jesus.

But what does following Jesus really mean? Well, a clue is in the beatitudes. But the real thing is in what Jesus said about his own purpose.

"I came to do the Father's will."

We, like Jesus, need to carefully, honestly, sincerely discern the Father's will, and just do it. Like Katie Davis did - is.

It seems easier said than done, though. (There is a lot of room to screw up or miss the boat.)


Amiable and Amiability are words that one used to see often in literature, such as the works of Jane Austen, but not as often in modern literature any more.

At any rate, the dictionary has this about amiable:

1 archaic : pleasing, admirable
2 a : generally agreeable
b : being friendly, sociable, and congenial

And there is a "Code of Amiability" written by Blessed Teresita Gonzalez-Quevedo...

The virtue of amiability results from the fusion of several strong virtues. It is the all things to all men that grows out of charity: the knowledge of self that humility teaches; the pure detachment found in mortification; the meekness born of patience; and the undaunted courage won of perseverance....The Code of Amiability obliges one:

1. To smile until a kindly smile forms readily on one's lips.
2. To repress a sign of impatience at the very start.
3. To add a word of benevolence when giving orders.
4. To reply positively when asked to do a favor.
5. To lend a helping hand to the unfortunate.
6. To please those toward whom one feels repugnance.
7. To study and satisfy the tastes of those with whom one lives.
8. To respect everyone.
9. To avoid complaining.
10. To correct, if one must, with kindness.

Something I'll be thinking about.