Friday, December 31, 2010

Annos Diem 2011 Joy

We begin the new year with two great feast days the first is The Solemnity of the Holy Mother of God.

Mary, always a good place to start.

Then the feast of the Epiphany.

Truly I don't understand why we are called the religion on "NO" when we have so many feast days on the calendar - we are the religion of "Joy".

The Epiphany is when
" He is adored by the three wise kings who represent the whole of humanity. This is why we believe that with this feast we celebrate the manifestation of the saving grace of the Lord to the whole world."

Much has been written on the symbolism of the gifts these guys brought as
Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula sums it up:
Incense proclaims the divinity of the child Jesus, as incense is traditionally offered primarily to God. Remember how many Christians in the early Roman persecutions suffered martyrdom because they refused to offer a pinch of incense to the infamous idols that St. Augustine describes so well in The City of God. This is also reminder to us that the increasingly tyrannical world in which we live is ready to persecute us because we refuse to pander to what is politically correct. Myrrh was offered to Him signifying His human nature: it is a prophetic reminder of the mix of herbs that would be prepared to preserve the body of Christ by the women who loved Him. Gold represents the regality of Christ, as it is clearly proclaimed in the liturgy of this feast and has been taught by many Popes. It comes from the tributes that are due to earthly kings or to other civil authorities. Also it makes a reference to the obligation that Christians have to support in a material way the Church and other Christian works of charity in proportion to their economics means and the duties they have towards their families.

I look at it like this: "You don't think God would send His son to camp without any money do you?"

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Feats day of the Holy Innocents

Despair of Herod on finding children convalescing from the massacre - drawn by G.K. Chesterton

...We all know the story of how Herod, alarmed at some rumor of a mysterious rival, remembered the wild gesture of the capricious despots of Asia and ordered a massacre of suspects of the new generation of the populace. Everyone knows the story; but not everyone has perhaps noted its place in the story of the strange religions of men. Not everybody has seen the significance even of its very contrast with the Corinthian columns and Roman pavement of that conquered and superficially civilized world. Only, as the purpose in his dark spirit began to show and shine in the eyes of the Admen, a seer might perhaps have seen something like a great gray ghost that looked over his shoulder; have seen behind him filling the dome of night and hovering for the last time over history that vast and fearful face that was Moloch of the Carthaginians; awaiting his last tribute from a ruler of the races of Shem. The demons also, in that first festival of Christmas, feasted after their own fashion. ....Herod had his place, therefore, in the miracle play of Bethlehem because he is the menace to the Church Militant and shows it from the first as under persecution and fighting for its life. For those who think this a discord, it is a discord that sounds simultaneously with the Christmas bells. For those who think the idea of the Crusade is one that spoils the idea of the Cross, we can only say that for them the idea of the Cross is spoiled; the idea of the Cross is spoiled quite literally in the cradle.
G.K. Chesterton - Everlasting Man

readings for the day here

Monday, December 27, 2010

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Christmas Bells

I HEARD the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."

some history on the poem here

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Chesterton for Christmas

What do you get for a man who has all of Chesterton's main books - sometimers multiple copies of them?

How about the third Ignatius Press vollume of his collected poetry?


Much joyful reading ahead!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mortal Bread

United with parishes across the country we have a Christmas Bazaar shortly after Thanksgiving.
At our parish we have an elderly lady who makes the best Portuguese bread you ever put in your mouth.

I purchase every loaf she makes and have for years.

This year she had hurt her shoulder and could not knead the dough properly so she would not put out an inferior product. I was devastated in a fit of selfish gluttony. I and my bride user in our Advent with this lovely lady’s warm bread covered with an unhealthy amount of butter.

This past Sunday, after Mass, she waved me over to her car. She handed me 3 loafs of her bread. She asked for no money, she just touched my arm and wished me a Merry Christmas.
My heart soared. I had no idea she knew I was the one who bought her bread (I keep forgetting that there are no secrets in small towns).

By Monday evening the bread was reduced to a few crumbs at the bottom of the bread drawer.

Life is Good.

Ballade of Happy Men

We know no science and we do not find

(With thanks for the present, be it said)

Ten volumes of The Monist or of Mind

The kind of books to take with us to bed.

Unreadable Haeckel is by us unread,

Yet do not wholly pity us or spurn;

We have a secret; our souls are fed,

We shall be ready when the gods return.

Go on O wise and leave your wits behind;

Madness and space are both unlimited.

You shall bind all. But us you shall not bind

Who toiling in the mire for mortal bread

Saw a strange line along the mountain head;

Something fantastical about the fern.

We shall remember, till all leaves are shed,

We shall be ready when the gods return.

Against us all the axes that you find

Are heavy and yet weak like swords of lead;

You shall bind all, but us he shall not bind

Who saw the lily where the last saint bled,

Who toiling in the mire for mortal bread

Found the last fairy sitting on a fern;

G.K. Chesterton

This poem and “The Ballade of Amateur Mystics” are variations of each other.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Disney saves it self

When Disney came out with The Princess and the Frog I thought it was the beginning of one of their epic downward spirals. Then they just released Tangled and my fears were put aside. If you have not taken your chilens to see this movie you should. Yes, there was the evil "mom" figure but none of the natureral parents died and they had more than one emotion. Oh yea sure, you know things are going to work out (maybe) but you are not always sure how. This was one of those films that the trailers could not do justice to.

Then again there is Yogi :

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Drive Safe

From the Didn’t See This One Coming bureau: Medical doctors and particle physicists have both issued warnings this week on the imminent danger of Santa Claus’ driving habits.

In a startling new report – out of Paris, for some reason – researchers are warning that Santa Claus annual round-the-world sleigh ride represents a public menace. Owing to presumed alcohol consumption and sleep deprivation, doctors say Santa’s piloting cannot be trusted. One-upping the medical guys, a group of physicists further argues that Santa would have to travel an alarming 650 miles per second to make all his deliveries and would need to deploy ion-shield deflectors to avoid instant vaporization, (hey those elves are clever enough to make one).

The report appears to be tongue-in-cheek, related to a new book on sleep deprivation, but it still underlines the general creepiness of the whole Santa Claus thing. Dealing with drunk, dangerous hippies in your living room at 2 a.m. – wasn’t that supposed to end in college?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Growing a Beard

Orson Welles once said “I have the terrible feeling that, because I am wearing a white beard and am sitting at the back of the theatre, you expect me to tell you the truth about something. These are the cheap seats, not Mount Sinai”

And we all know uncle Gilbert's: “You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion.”

My winter beard is doing well, (just a note for those of you that are fretting about it). This is just something I do as a coping mechanism for the frigid climes in which I live. It's personal, yet some take growing a beard in a competitive vain.
The growing a beard anthem is by Ben Vaughn

Monday, December 13, 2010

Just when I begin to think some things are impossible I came upon this video online. I hesitate to hype it, especially at the holidays when everything seems to get hyped. But after seeing it, heck, I'm hyped! So, if you have any history of working around power tools, you gotta see this heartwarming video.

Mel Michaud of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, is a blind woodworker. Think about that a minute. When asked about how he does woodworking, Mel, who makes truck-shaped toy boxes for Santa Anonymous, says: "Like I say, you've got two eyes; I've got 10. You go by feel, you know?"

Sunday, December 12, 2010

SHOP NOW before it is too Late

As Lazarus said in his first letter to the Fallopians:
"When the rapture comeith the righteous shall riseith unto heaven but not before getting some unfeakingbelievable deals".

no really it is true

Thursday, December 09, 2010

No new celluloid this year

This most amazing quote from this article is this, “Studios don't usually take sides in culture-wars debates.”

Um? What?! Of course they do and do it all the time.

They hold up abortion as a secular sacrament. Movies like Bella, Juno, Waitress, and Knocked Up were exceptions and were lambasted by the critics because of their message not the quality of the film.

Homosexuality is held up as good and here it is impossible to find one film that says and/or gives a stance that same sex cohabitation is a bad, (OK except for comic or “stupid” characters).

The idea in films about Marriage for life is used as a joke. Even with Disney the family is not intact-quickly name one Disney film where either the mother is not dead or not evil.

The problem is not that the people do not want Christmas movies but that the “A list” movie makers lack the understanding and sensitivity to make one without having their tongue firmly planted in their cheek.

Mark Shea did a very good write up of this attitude here.

Where’s the Frank Capra of this generation? I know he is out there but he can’t get the funding.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

All Aboard

Full Scale replica of Noah’s Ark will indeed big be a big draw at the $150 million biblically inspired theme park, scheduled to open 2014 in Northern Kentuky. Wonder if they will use the same plans from Evan Almighty?

No mention was made if there will be animals in the ark nor if visitors must pass through 2 by 2.
I also wonder if they post this poem by the entrance:

Wine and Water
by G.K.Chesterton

Old Noah he had an ostrich farm and fowls on the largest scale,
He ate his egg with a ladle in a egg-cup big as a pail,
And the soup he took was Elephant Soup and fish he took was Whale,
But they all were small to the cellar he took when he set out to sail,
And Noah he often said to his wife when he sat down to dine,
"I don't care where the water goes if it doesn't get into the wine."
The cataract of the cliff of heaven fell blinding off the brink
As if it would wash the stars away as suds go down a sink,
The seven heavens came roaring down for the throats of hell to drink,
And Noah he cocked his eye and said, "It looks like rain, I think,
The water has drowned the Matterhorn as deep as a Mendip mine,
But I don't care where the water goes if it doesn't get into the wine."
But Noah he sinned, and we have sinned; on tipsy feet we trod,
Till a great big black teetotaller was sent to us for a rod,
And you can't get wine at a P.S.A., or chapel, or Eisteddfod,
For the Curse of Water has come again because of the wrath of God,
And water is on the Bishop's board and the Higher Thinker's shrine,
But I don't care where the water goes if it doesn't get into the wine.

Interesting side note: In nearby Lexington KY., “Evolution World” is also in the works. Although it’s a small novelty vending machine right now, it is expected to develop into a fully functioning theme park in approximately 2 million years.

Monday, December 06, 2010

It's beginning to eel a lot like Christmas

The Kamakura Aquarium outside Tokyo has rigged its Christmas display to be powered by a single electric eel. The display is intended to highlight concepts of eco-friendly alternative energy sources. Not everyone is convinced, however.

“It’s humiliating, frankly,” the eel told reporters. “One day I’m swimming around, next thing I’m lighting a frickin’ Christmas tree for Japanese fifth-graders. I can't even tell my parents. They think I’m hunting ribbon worms in the Amazon basin. Hey, Kid! Quit Banging on the glass!”

Its Monday - Let's Play

Today's Game: Love, by Contrebasse.

Click here to play

The last time I took love advice from a video game I spent like two lives defeating a dragon only to find out the princess was in another castle.

But this game, Love, is different. You're a square, and you gain happiness by getting close to other squares. Get too close, and you die, (not very catholic or maybe it is)
When you die, the game gives you advice on how to play better, but in a way that makes you feel like maybe it's not talking about the game at all:

"Don't stay with the same others out of habit. If it's obvious you'd be happier elsewhere, move on right away instead of hoping for a change that won't happen."

All in all, a nice playing experience.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Tis the Season....

The tiresome atheists are at it again, pretending to be radical and brave while they are really just whining. Again (deep sigh).

as Gail F said, "This time they're getting a lot of publicity for a billboard in New Jersey. It uses a piece of Christmas clip art featuring the Three Wise Men and the Holy Family, and says, “"You KNOW it's a Myth. This Season, Celebrate REASON!"

Blah, blah, blah.

Personally, I'm all for reason, ( John Paul the Great said "Faith and reason are two wings on the same bird".) although I draw the line at holidays celebrating it – that didn't go so well during the French Revolution.

But this sort of priggish, “I'm annoying you for your own good” mentality doesn't say much for the atheists, does it? After all, reason should tell them that spending $20,000 to put up a billboard like this and then claiming it's not anti-Christian is more than a little disingenuous. They say the billboard is actually for other atheists who dishonestly celebrate Christmas (imagine that – giving each other presents! decorating their houses! eating cookies and hams!). Well, should that be true I wish them luck. Reason parties don't sound like they'd be much fun.

What they really want to do is taunt Christians with the same old message that they are so much smarter and more enlightened and less needy than everyone else. The whole “Nyah nyah nyah, I'm more mature than you are” thing would be more convincing if they tried it on anyone who wasn't taught by their mythical God to forgive people who wrong them.

Here's my proposal. Atheists, I'll take you seriously if you do the following: Rent an equally prominent billboard for all of Ramadan, use clip art of Islamic calligraphy instead of a manger, and say “You KNOW it's a myth: This Ramadan, Celebrate REASON!” or use a picture of Buda and say "You Know it's a myth: This Visakah Puj, Celebrate REASON!"

Come on. Show how committed you are to your vaunted principles. Or maybe you've already shown that."
Or maybe we should just put a neighboring billboard that says, “If there were no God, there would be no Atheists.”

I'll fly if you buy.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A Small Victory

Well, well, well. We here at Chesterton and Friends can’t take complete credit for the Smithsonian pulling part of their exhibit but we were part of the solution or maybe not. But they pulled it non-the-less.

Here is the release from the Catholic League.

"The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery has pulled the video, "A Fire in My Belly," that the Catholic League objected to earlier today; it shows large ants eating away at Jesus on a crucifix. Commenting on this development is Catholic League president Bill Donohue:

Our immediate concerns have been relieved, though it is a sad commentary on the judgment exercised by Smithsonian officials that it took a pressure group like the Catholic League to send them a wake-up call. Quite frankly, had common decency prevailed from the beginning, they would never have insulted Christians with this vile display.

The larger issue is still on the table: why should the federal government underwrite an institution that uses money to bash Christians, when it is unconstitutional for the federal government to underwrite the promotion of it? That is why the letter I sent today to the members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees stands—they need to reconsider the propriety of funding the Smithsonian Institution.

One more thing. To say that it was the artist's intention to show the suffering of AIDS victims—and not to offend Christians—is unpersuasive. Let them next invite an artist to put their bugs on an image of Muhammad and then explain to Muslims that they never meant to offend them."

The video in question can be seen here. Setting aside the "message" of this piece (if any) it must be mentioned that this is an awful work. It is Sophomoric at best and definitely self indulgent. Truly I have worked with 15 and 16 year old students that have done better work in technique, content and dramatic presentation. This piece could have fit into any movie that was spoofing modern art and we would have laughed but this artist was serious. It amazed me that this piece of dog squeeze made it to any gallery. It says more of the loss of the truth, beauty, and the sacredness of man of the gallery owners than of the artists. They are after all the gatekeepers.

It also tells us what can happen when any government throws money at artists and says, "Go ahead make something - doesn't matter what - we just need to use all our budget".

Just one more reason why I no longer visit galleries. Depression often comes uninvited why should I call it in and invite it to tea.