Saturday, December 31, 2005
Go here instead, please. You might get edified. If you don't like it there, check out the sidebar they've got. Please. Do something to improve yourself. Don't waste another second in this place.
Seven Swans A-swimming
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11)
Friday, December 30, 2005
"Congratulations! You are most like Bertie Wooster.
I consider this to be a compliment because
Bertie is the sweetest guy out there. He is
the type to help those in need, no matter what
the problem is. The only unfortunate part is
that he doesnt do a good job by himself. Thats
where your pal Jeeves comes in (or a friend who
is a lot like Jeeves)."
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (Dec. 20, 2005) -- Most children grow up playing with trucks and tanks, but few of them have the chance to ever experience riding the “Iron Horse.”Thanks to the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Marines of 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, that experience came alive for six-year-old Brandon Rasnick of Lehigh Acres, Fla.
Brandon, who was promoted to the rank of sergeant by his fellow Marines, has cystic fibrosis, a genetic lung disorder. Since his one wish was train with Marines and to “save the world,” the Marines of 2nd Tanks arranged a tank display and ride for Brandon.Sgt. Ricardo Fernandez Jr., a tank commander with C Company, instructed Brandon on the M-1A1 Abrams Battle Tank and took him on the ride of his life.“It was great doing something like that for him,” said the San Antonio native. “For us, riding in a tank is not that big of a deal, but seeing the excitement and amazement in his eyes made me realize how important and special it is to some people.”
Before taking off on the ride, Brandon got the opportunity to look around the inside and outside of the tank. He learned about where the rounds go to fire the main gun. He was able to look through the sights of the mounted guns, and he learned the basic functions of the tank.“It was so awesome teaching him about the tank,” said Fernandez, a 2002 John Jay High School graduate.
“Seeing the look on his face when I told him certain things about the tank was great.”The 22-year-old father of two explained what it was like for him driving Brandon around the base.“He was a little cold, but he was so excited to be riding in a tank,” he said. “When we were crossing the road, he said to me, ‘All clear tank commander!’ I could tell he was having an awesome time.”
Spending the morning with Brandon and giving him the experience of the “Iron Horse” put a different light on life for Fernandez.“Just seeing this six-year-old fighting through this sickness was amazing,” he said. “It’s tougher than anything we’ll have to do. He’s definitely a warrior and for me it put a different perspective on life. It makes you appreciate everything you take for granted.”This morning was one that Brandon or his fellow Marines will not soon forget.“I’m glad I got a chance to be a part of this,” Fernandez said. “This experience made me feel special, and I will never forget this.” Semper fi.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
However, many have questioned the historical accuracy of this origin of the song The Twelve Days of Christmas. It seems that some have made an issue out of trying to debunk this as an "urban myth," some in the name of historical accuracy and some out of personal agendas. There is little "hard" evidence available either way. Some church historians affirm this account as basically accurate, while others point out apparent historical discrepancies. However, the "evidence" on both sides is mostly in logical deduction and probabilities. One internet site devoted to debunking hoaxes and legends says that, "there is no substantive evidence to demonstrate that the song 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' was created or used as a secret means of preserving tenets of the Catholic faith, or that this claim is anything but a fanciful modern day speculation. . .." What is omitted is that there is no "substantive evidence" that will disprove it either.
It is certainly possible that this view of the song is legendary or anecdotal. Without corroboration and in the absence of "substantive evidence," we probably should not take rigid positions on either side and turn the song into a crusade for personal opinions. That would do more to violate the spirit of Christmas than the song is worth. So, for the sake of historical accuracy, we need to acknowledge this uncertainty.
However, on another level, this uncertainty should not prevent us from using the song in celebration of Christmas. Many of the symbols of Christianity were not originally religious, including even the present date of Christmas, but were appropriated from contemporary culture by the Christian Faith as vehicles of worship and proclamation. Perhaps, when all is said and done, historical accuracy is not really the point. Perhaps more important is that Christians can celebrate their rich heritage, and God's grace, through one more avenue this Christmas. Now, when they hear what they once thought was a secular "nonsense song," they will be reminded in one more way of the grace of God working in transforming ways in their lives and in our world. After all, is that not the meaning of Christmas anyway?"
courtesy of http://www.cresourcei.org/cy12days.html
Five Gold Rings
The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch: 1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity's sinful failure and God's response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Monday, December 26, 2005
One of the first deacons and the first Christian martyr; feast on 26 December. In the Acts of the Apostles the name of St. Stephen occurs for the first time on the occasion of the appointment of the first deacons (Acts 6:5). Dissatisfaction concerning the distribution of alms from the community's fund having arisen in the Church, seven men were selected and specially ordained by the Apostles to take care of the temporal relief of the poorer members. Of these seven, Stephen, is the first mentioned and the best known.
Stephen's life previous to this appointment remains for us almost entirely in the dark. His name is Greek and suggests he was a Hellenist, i.e., one of those Jews who had been born in some foreign land and whose native tongue was Greek; however, according to a fifth century tradition, the name Stephanos was only a Greek equivalent for the Aramaic Kelil (Syr. kelila, crown), which may be the protomartyr's original name and was inscribed on a slab found in his tomb. It seems that Stephen was not a proselyte, for the fact that Nicolas is the only one of the seven designated as such makes it almost certain that the others were Jews by birth. That Stephen was a pupil of Gamaliel is sometimes inferred from his able defence before the Sanhedrin; but this has not been proved. Neither do we know when and in what circumstances he became a Christian; it is doubtful whether the statement of St. Epiphanius (Haer., xx, 4) numbering Stephen among the seventy disciples is deserving of any credence.
His ministry as deacon appears to have been mostly among the Hellenist converts with whom the Apostles were at first less familiar; and the fact that the opposition he met with sprang up in the synagogues of the "Libertines" (probably the children of Jews taken captive to Rome by Pompey in 63 B. C. and freed hence the name Libertini), and "of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of them that were of Cilicia and Asia" shows that he usually preached among the Hellenist Jews. That he was pre eminently fitted for that work, his abilities and character, which the author of the Acts dwells upon so fervently, are the best indication. The Church had, by selecting him for a deacon, publicly acknowledged him as a man "of good reputation, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom" (Acts 6:3). He was "a man full of faith, and of the Holy Ghost" (vi, 5), "full of grace and fortitude" (vi, 8); his uncommon oratorical powers and unimpeachable logic no one was able to resist, so much so that to his arguments replete with the Divine energy of the Scriptural authorities God added the weight of "great wonders and signs" (vi, 8).
Great as was the efficacy of "the wisdom and the spirit that spoke" (vi, 10), still it could not bend the minds of the unwilling; to these the forceful preacher was fatally soon to become an enemy.
The conflict broke out when the cavillers of the synagogues "of the Libertines, and of the Cyreneans, and of the Alexandrians, and of them that were of Cilicia and Asia", who had challenged Stephen to a dispute, came out completely discomfited (vi, 9 10); wounded pride so inflamed their hatred that they suborned false witnesses to testify that "they had heard him speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God" (vi, 11).
No charge could be more apt to rouse the mob; the anger of the ancients and the scribes had been already kindled from the first reports of the preaching of the Apostles. Stephen was arrested, not without some violence it seems (the Greek word synerpasan implies so much), and dragged before the Sanhedrin, where he was accused of saying that "Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place [the temple], and shall change the traditions which Moses delivered unto us" (vi, 12 14). No doubt Stephen had by his language given some grounds for the accusation; his accusers apparently twisted into the offensive utterance attributed to him a declaration that "the most High dwelleth not in houses made by hands" (vii, 48), some mention of Jesus foretelling the destruction of the Temple and some inveighing against the burthensome traditions fencing about the Law, or rather the asseveration so often repeated by the Apostles that "there is no salvation in any other" (cf. iv, 12) the Law not excluded but Jesus. However this may be, the accusation left him unperturbed and "all that sat in the council...saw his face as if it had been the face of an angel" (vi, 15).
Stephen's answer (Acts 7) was a long recital of the mercies of God towards Israel during its long history and of the ungratefulness by which, throughout, Israel repaid these mercies. This discourse contained many things unpleasant to Jewish ears; but the concluding indictment for having betrayed and murdered the Just One whose coming the Prophets had foretold, provoked the rage of an audience made up not of judges, but of foes. When Stephen "looking up steadfastly to heaven, saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God", and said: "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God" (vii, 55), they ran violently upon him (vii, 56) and cast him out of the city to stone him to death. Stephen's stoning does not appear in the narrative of the Acts as a deed of mob violence; it must have been looked upon by those who took part in it as the carrying out of the law. According to law (Leviticus 24:14), or at least its usual interpretation, Stephen had been taken out of the city; custom required that the person to be stoned be placed on an elevation from whence with his hands bound he was to be thrown down.
It was most likely while these preparations were going on that, "falling on his knees, he cried with a loud voice, saying: "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge" (vii, 59). Meanwhile the witnesses, whose hands must be first on the person condemned by their testimony (Deuteronomy 17:7), were laying down their garments at the feet of Saul, that they might be more ready for the task devolved upon them (vii, 57). The praying martyr was thrown down; and while the witnesses were thrusting upon him "a stone as much as two men could carry", he was heard to utter this supreme prayer: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" (vii, 58). Little did all the people present, casting stones upon him, realize that the blood they shed was the first seed of a harvest that was to cover the world.
The bodies of men stoned to death were to be buried in a place appointed by the Sanhedrin.
Whether in this instance the Sanhedrin insisted on its right cannot be affirmed; at any rate, "devout men" -- whether Christians or Jews, we are not told -- "took order for Stephen's funeral, and made great mourning over him" (vii, 2). For centuries the location of St. Stephen's tomb was lost sight of, until (415) a certain priest named Lucian learned by revelation that the sacred body was in Caphar Gamala, some distance to the north of Jerusalem. The relics were then exhumed and carried first to the church of Mount Sion, then, in 460, to the basilica erected by Eudocia outside the Damascus Gate, on the spot where, according to tradition, the stoning had taken place (the opinion that the scene of St. Stephen's martyrdom was east of Jerusalem, near the Gate called since St. Stephen's Gate, is unheard of until the twelfth century). The site of the Eudocian basilica was identified some twenty years ago, and a new edifice has been erected on the old foundations by the Dominican Fathers.
The only first hand source of information on the life and death of St. Stephen is the Acts of the Apostles (vi, i viii, 2).
Notice: a cool new blog on the sidebar. Go find it yourself ---->
How do you say "pecan": Peh-cahn.... or pea-can?
A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . ." (Luke 13:34)
(I know, I know--this was yesterday's bird. But I couldn't very well blog on Christmas, now, could I?)
Friday, December 23, 2005
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
a lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light.
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?"
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
HARRISBURG, Pa. - In one of the biggest courtroom clashes between faith and evolution since the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, a federal judge barred a Pennsylvania public school district Tuesday from teaching "intelligent design" in biology class, saying the concept is creationism in disguise.
U.S. District Judge John E. Jones delivered a stinging attack on the Dover Area School Board, saying its first-in-the-nation decision in October 2004 to insert intelligent design into the science curriculum violates the constitutional separation of church and state.
The ruling was a major setback to the intelligent design movement, which is also waging battles in Georgia and Kansas. Intelligent design holds that living organisms are so complex that they must have been created by some kind of higher force.
Jones decried the "breathtaking inanity" of the Dover policy and accused several board members of lying to conceal their true motive, which he said was to promote religion.
A six-week trial over the issue yielded "overwhelming evidence" establishing that intelligent design "is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory," said Jones, a Republican and a churchgoer appointed to the federal bench three years ago.
The school system said it will probably not appeal the ruling, because the members who backed intelligent design were ousted in November's elections and replaced with a new slate opposed to the policy.
During the trial, the board argued that it was trying improve science education by exposing students to alternatives to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and natural selection.
The policy required students to hear a statement about intelligent design before ninth-grade lessons on evolution. The statement said Darwin's theory is "not a fact" and has inexplicable "gaps." It referred students to an intelligent-design textbook, "Of Pandas and People."
But the judge said: "We find that the secular purposes claimed by the board amount to a pretext for the board's real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom."
In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states cannot require public schools to balance evolution lessons by teaching creationism.
(courtesy of the Associated Press, December 20)
Monday, December 19, 2005
WASHINGTON, D.C., DEC. 18, 2005 (ZENIT.org).- Benedict XVI has appointed Archbishop Pietro Sambi, up to now apostolic nuncio to Israel, as apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Archbishop Sambi, 67, succeeds Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, 75, who has held the post since 1998 and who stated age as the motive for his retirement. The Vatican press office announced the appointment Saturday.
Pietro Sambi was born in Sogliano sul Rubicone, Italy. He was incardinated in the Diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro and ordained a priest in March 1964. He has a doctorate in sacred theology and in canon law.
He started his service in the Diplomatic Corps of the Holy See in April 1969, in Cameroon.
He was transferred to the apostolic nunciature in Jerusalem in July 1971, and subsequently to the apostolic nunciatures in Cuba in 1974, in Algeria in 1978, in Nicaragua in 1979, in Belgium in 1981, and then in India in 1984, with the rank of counselor.
He was ordained as bishop in November 1985.
He was named pro-apostolic nuncio in Burundi in October 1985; pro-apostolic nuncio in Indonesia in November 1991; and apostolic nuncio in Israel and Cyprus, and apostolic delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine in June 1998.
Archbishop Sambi speaks Italian, English, French and Spanish.
A nuncio represents the Holy Father to both the hierarchy and Church of a particular nation and to that nation's civil government.
Bishop William Skylstad, president of the U.S. bishops' conference, issued a welcoming statement.
"The bishops of the United States," it said, "are pleased that the Holy Father has honored the Church in our country with the appointment of a nuncio with an extraordinary life of service to the Church in many areas of the world.
"Archbishop Sambi is very well known to the presidents and to many members of our episcopal conference because of our strong engagement with and support of the Church in the Holy Land over the years. We look forward to working with Archbishop Sambi and we are most grateful to Archbishop Montalvo for the great contributions he has made to the Church during the past seven years."
Sunday, December 18, 2005
When the Latin Church ceased to observe the ancient custom regarding feasts in Lent, the Annunciation came to be celebrated twice in Spain, viz. 25 March and 18 December, in the calendars of both the Mozarabic and the Roman Rite (Missale Gothicum, ed. Migne, pp. 170, 734). The feast of 18 December was commonly called, even in the liturgical books, "S. Maria de la O", because on that day the clerics in the choir after Vespers used to utter a loud and protracted "O", to express the longing of the universe for the coming of the Redeemer (Tamayo, Mart. Hisp., VI, 485). The Roman "O" antiphons have nothing to do with this term, because they are unknown in the Mozarabic Rite.
This feast and its octave were very popular in Spain, where the people still call it "Nuestra Señora de la O". It is not known at what time the term Expectatio Partus first appeared; it is not found in the Mozarabic liturgical books. St. Ildephonsus cannot, therefore, have invented it, as some have maintained. The feast was always kept in Spain and was approved for Toledo in 1573 by Gregory XIII as a double major, without an octave. The church of Toledo has the privilege (approved 29 April 1634) of celebrating this feast even when it occurs on the fourth Sunday of Advent. The "Expectatio Partus" spread from Spain to other countries; in 1695 it was granted to Venice and Toulouse, in 1702 to the Cistercians, in 1713 to Tuscany, in 1725 to the Papal States.
The Office in the Mozarabic Breviary is exceedingly beautiful; it assigns special antiphons for every day of the octave. At Milan the feast of the Annunciation is, even to the present, kept on the last Sunday before Christmas. The Mozarabic Liturgy also celebrates a feast called the Expectation (or Advent) of St. John the Baptist on the Sunday preceding 24 June.
courtesy of NewAdvent.com
Saturday, December 17, 2005
We will never have genuine joy if we do not really try to imitate Jesus. Like him we must be humble. I repeat: do you see where God's greatness is hidden? In a manger, in swaddling clothes, in a stable. The redemptive power of our lives can only work through humility. We must stop thinking about ourselves and feel the responsibility to help others.It can sometimes happen that even well-intentioned people create personal problems really serious worries which have no objective basis whatsoever. These problems arise in persons whose lack of self-knowledge leads to pride and a desire to be the center of attention, to be favoured by everyone. They want to appear always in a good light, to be personally secure. They are not content simply to do good and disappear.
And so, many who could enjoy a wonderful peace of soul and great happiness become, through pride and presumption, unhappy and unfruitful. Christ was humble of heart. Throughout his life he looked for no special consideration or privilege. He began by spending nine months in his Mother's womb, like the rest of men, following the natural course of events. He knew that mankind needed him greatly. He was longing to come into the world to save all souls, but he took his time. He came in due course, just as every other child is born. From conception to birth, no one except our Lady, St. Joseph and St. Elizabeth realized the marvellous truth that God was coming to live among men.
There is a great simplicity also about his birth. Our Lord comes without any fanfare. No one knows about him. On earth only Mary and Joseph share in the divine adventure. And then the shepherds who received the message from the angels. And later on, the wise men from the East. They were the only witnesses of this transcendental event which unites heaven and earth, God and man.
How can our hearts be so hard that we can get used to these scenes? God humbled himself to allow us to get near him, so that we could give our love in exchange for his, so that our freedom might bow, not only at the sight of his power, but also before the wonder of his humility.The greatness of this Child who is God! His Father is the God who has made heaven and earth and there he is, in a manger, "because there was no room at the inn" there was nowhere else for the Lord of all creation.
( by St. Josemaria Escriva)
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
You are Gonzo the Great.You love everyone, and still you get shot out of a
cannon on a regular basis. Oh, and you are
completely insane and have a strange
fascination for chickens.
ALSO KNOWN AS:The Great Gonzo, Gonzo the Great, Just Plain WeirdSPECIES:Whatever
HOBBIES:Tapdancing blindfolded on tapioca while balancing a
piano on his nose, backwards, five times fast.
FAVORITE MOVIE:"From Here to Eternity...with no brakes."
FAVORITE TV SHOW:"Touched By An Anvil"
QUOTE:"No parachute? Wow! This is so cool!"
Monday, December 12, 2005
|You scored as Marines. Semper Fi. You are a true Marine. You are the nation's most devastating fighting force, barring Special Forces. But your place was not easy to get. You endured the harshest basic training of any Armed Force to get where you are, and your reward is the respect and admiration of everyone else (except maybe the Air Force, who may view you as just a dumb grunt. Perhaps it's true, but you just want to fight).|
Which branch of the Military are you?
created with QuizFarm.com
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
|You Belong in London|
A little traditional, and a little bit punk rock.
A unique woman like you needs a city that offers everything.
No wonder you and London will get along so well.
Oh well. This is me blogging through finals. Thanks to Donna, Elizabeth, and a lack of O'Herron notes in my possession, which prevents me from studying them. At the moment...
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Comments are still welcome, and the odd manic post may appear as stress levels rise. Keep us all in your prayers until the 16th!