Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Thomas Grows Up, and I Got an A Woo Hoo

In another bit of shameless self promotion I am going to remind you all about this post from last August. I had just realized that even though I thought I was going to get away with not having to take a class in Thomas Merton in Gradual School, God was making sure that I was still going to have to study Merton anyway. Why? I am still wondering that myself.

Anyway, after a grueling semester reading about Tommy Boy my final assignment was to write a paper discussing aspects of Christian Maturity from the book using what I had learned in the class. I tell you, that paper had me terrified. I started it three, no four times really. I just couldn't get a handle on how to get old Tommy Boy through adolescence. So, I decided to make that my thesis.

The Long Adolescence of Thomas Merton was the title of my paper. My thesis was that his early life was so odd, that he went into adolescence with no coping skills and it took him forever to navigate and complete the tasks necessary to actually move on to adulthood.

Anyway I submitted my paper on Sunday afternoon, and begged my professor to be in a magnanimous mood when he graded it. Without patting myself on the back too much I do want to share a few lines from the email I received with my grade (a 94% Woo Hoo!)

You did a very nice job of narrowing your focus and sticking to it. Consequently, you write with some nice clarity and depth on the subject. You have clearly given your paper a lot of thought and effort. It's gratifying for me to read that you have learned a lot.

pat pat pat

okay I will stop patting myself on the back now. I did learn a lot in that class. In fact I think it was one of the best I have taken so far in Gradual School. But, I am so glad that I am done with Mr. Merton's long adolescence. Goodbye dear Thomas.


Sunday, November 27, 2005

Blessed Advertisementide

The Curt Jester is at it again.

This time he is skewering the all out advertisement blitz that advent has turned into.
I can't wait to make my own Advertisement wreath.


Birthday MEME for Mrangelmeg

Because right now I want to do just about anything but finish my paper for Gradual School

due tonight at midnight (tick tock tick tock)

Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

Mark 6:21 She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.

Luke 6:21 Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh.

John 6:21 They wanted to take him into the boat, but the boat immediately arrived at the shore to which they were heading.

So there you go mrangelmeg, where your treasure is there also will be your heart who will throw you a party where you will be satisfied and laugh and get where you are going!!

Not a bad birthday message!

I love you.

Now back to work, waaaaaah!


The Good News About the First Sunday of Advent

What I say to you, I say to all: (Watch!)
This is the message for the first Sunday of Advent, the time of the church year when we prepare the way for the coming of the Christ child at Christmas. It is also the message for the second coming of Jesus. Jesus will come in a blinding flash, the blink of an eye the next time. Not like the first time when He came in a manger in a little town far away. The next time we will all have to be ready for Jesus before He comes. There will be no time to get ready after he arrives.
Have you ever stayed up to watch a meteor shower? They always seem to happen in the middle of the night, when I am very tired. If you aren't careful you may fall asleep and miss the best ones streaking across the sky. Missing Jesus' return would be a lot worse than missing a falling star. We need to be prepared every moment of every day for the judgment that will come when Jesus returns.

Family Car Chat (for the ride home) What are some things I can do each day to make sure that I am ready for Jesus' return? How can my family (community) help me to be ready?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Shameless Self Promotion: Take 3

Hereditas Magazine has finally recovered from the terrifying hurricane season that nearly destroyed the spirits of all the wonderful Catholic writers who contribute to this amazing Literary endeavor with the never say die spirit.

If you click on the Link above you can see the online teaser for the Fall issue, which is really the recovered summer issue that was nearly swept away by Katrina and Rita.

The teaser for my particular article, a theological reflection on how the Blessed Mother's relationship with Jesus, her adult son helped me to learn to transition into an adult relationship with my own son, can be found at this link. It is called Who is My Mother? and is found second to last on the page.

If you would like to order a copy of the magazine so you can read the entire article, you can find ordering information at this link. Consider it a donation toward their rebuilding fund.

I hope you enjoy the entire magazine. I can't wait to see it when my copy gets here.


Indie Flicks! That's Me.

The Movie Of Your Life Is An Indie Flick
You do things your own way - and it's made for colorful times.Your life hasn't turned out how anyone expected, thank goodness!
Your best movie matches: Clerks, Garden State, Napoleon Dynamite
If Your Life Was a Movie, What Genre Would It Be?

Thanks to Joel at On the Other Foot


I Stole a Tag for this MEME

With permission from Tony at Catholic Pillow Fight

Look up the Gospel references for your Birthday:

Matthew 3:17 And a voice came from the heavens, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."

Mark 3:17 James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder;

Luke 3:17 His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

A very masculine message. Oh well

By the way, That's March 17th, just in case you were thinking of getting me a birthday gift. Yes you saw that correctly March 17th, Saint Patrick's Day.

When I was born the Dr. told my mom she should call me Patrick in honor of the day. I think our family Dr. Was a bit of a lush. Mom raised herself up on her elbows and asked him (in her most polite voice, of course) if he had in fact passed basic anatomy in Med School, because, he was at the time, holding a female child.

So, I ended up with a beautiful Irish lass first name, to go with my dad's German last name. But I fixed that by marrying mrangelmeg, whose last name sounds Irish, even if it probably isn't.


Oh I almost forgot to pass along the meme, Since I stole it from Tony I guess I should just let someone steal it from me.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

I am making my very favorite thing this holiday . . .



Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Being a Parent Can Really Teach You A lot . . .

About God's Unconditional Love.

Our beloved oldest daughter came home from College for Thanksgiving with a piercing right under her lip in the middle of her chin! I looked at her with stunned awe. $5000 in orthodontia we just spent on this child and she celebrates getting her braces off by marring her beautiful face by placing another piece of steel through her skin!

All I could think of as I seethed internally, was that God loves all my sinfulness and stubbornness. I should do everything I can to love her through this rebellious phase she is going through. We have lived through the orange hair, and the shaved head and the horrid rag picker fashion victim clothing choices.

To be really honest, my other thought was, at least she didn't get her tongue pierced.

I am still totally amazed at my ability to restrain my comments. Though I did offer to help her to remove the stud, which she did tell us that she no longer likes and wishes to remove, but it is on so tight that the cannot remove it on her own. Mrangelmeg offered her a pair of needlenose pliers to help in the removal.

I can't believe that we will have to look at it all weekend. Each time I look at (it, I mean) my lovely daughter, I will try to remember that God's love is unconditional, and mine for her can be too.

Pray for me, I am going to need it.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

When God Speaks

Addenda: just yesterday I wrote this in my blog:

3) I am going to try to remember something mrangelmeg has been telling me for a while now: That is isn't always about me. I am going to try to live by this rule every day.

I really do intend to live by that rule, and it isn't always about me, but. . . sometimes it is:

I went to Mass tonight and God spoke to me in the first reading in a deeply personal way that was completely unexpected and almost brought me to tears. Especially considering all of the turmoil I have been going through in my work environment lately. The reading was from Hosea chapter 2 verses 16 and following.

* So I will allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart. From there I will give her the vineyards she had, and the valley of Achor as a door of hope. She shall respond there as in the days of her youth, when she came up from the land of Egypt.
* On that day, says the LORD, She shall call me "My husband," and never again "My baal." Then will I remove from her mouth the names of the Baals, so that they shall no longer be invoked. I will make a covenant for them on that day, with the beasts of the field, With the birds of the air, and with the things that crawl on the ground. Bow and sword and war I will destroy from the land, and I will let them take their rest in security.* I will espouse you to me forever: I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy; I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the LORD.

The really interesting thing about that is that if you look on the website for the USCCB, that isn't what was supposed to be the reading for today. It was supposed to be from Daniel. I suppose that there is some logical explanation for why at my parish this particular reading was the one that was chosen to be read on this particular day. I know why though, because God needed for me to hear these words, spoken by Him to me today when I was in distress.
God is so amazing, all the time.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Trinity Meme for the liturgical Year

I got tagged by Penni at Martha Martha on this one. What a great idea for the New Liturgical Year.

A Meme in Honor of the Blessed Trinity

Three things I am thankful to God for in the last year.

1) That I was able to be patient enough to listen to His call to me to change my major, and move into an entirely new course of study.

2) That our son's SSI benefits came through on appeal without having to resort to a lawyer and litigation, he is on his way to independence from us as an adult in this world.

3) That mrangelmeg got to get to know what my school environment is like, and that he got to hear me play my flute and sing at Mass at school.

Three ways I want to improve my relationship with God in the new year:

1) I am doing the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius with an internet group, and it has been very powerful

2) I have been waking up a short time before the alarm clock every morning, and I intend to begin reading morning prayer and the office of reading again each morning.

3) I am going to try to remember something mrangelmeg has been telling me for a while now: That is isn't always about me. I am going to try to live by this rule every day.

Three Friends I want to pass this on to:

Kevin, Suzanne , and Gashwin: Happy meme-ing

Peaceful Changes Ahead

It looks as though changing my major at Gradual School isn't the only change ahead for me. I won't be staying at my present parish after my contract year ends. There are some reorganizations going on, and I am uncomfortable with how things are looking in terms of the duties and the level of work that is going to be expected, as well as the work environment that I am finding since the pastoral change.

Since my retreat (Jesuit of course ) I have been holding it all lightly, whether I stayed at the parish or not, and when I was informed that my current contract would not be renewed, but I was more than welcomed to apply for the new position whatever it might be, I was pretty certain that it wasn't for me. After discussing it with mrangelmeg we both agree that it is time for me to move on.

There is such a sense of peace about my leaving there. Peace that comes from knowing that I am leaving not because of a decision I made, or the parish made, but because God decided that I should go at this time, in this way. I will complete this program year, and leave at the end of June.

Kevin at Romecoming, has been a great inspiration to me in this, though his transition is a bit more dramatic than mine, but as I have been discerning I have kept his courage in mind.

Who knows where I will end up, perhaps at another parish, perhaps I will be substitute teaching for a year or two until I complete my studies? It reminds me of the Merton prayer: Lord, I don't know where I am going . . . but oh the journey will be so amazing, so long as I know I am trying to do your will (well actually that last part was all mine.)

Keep me in your prayers.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Good News About the Thirty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Click here for the Readings for Sunday November 20, 2005.

'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,and not minister to your needs?

This week's Gospel story is the parable Jesus tells that challenges his followers to see Him in everyone they meet. If they do not (or choose not to) treat each person that they meet is if they are meeting Christ, and ministering to Christ, then; He tells them they are not doing His will.

Blessed Mother Teresa used to say that we must treat everyone we meet, even the most wretched beggar in the streets of Calcutta India, as if he were Christ. Are you willing to do this in your life? Are you willing to look into the face of the person in your week who causes you the most grief and irritation as if he or she is Christ? Are you willing to see the person who needs your time, when you don't have that time to give, as Christ needing your time?

Only when we are willing to forego our own needs and wants in order to do what others need, as if we are doing these things for Christ; only then can we truly begin to understand what God's unconditional love feels like.

Family Car Chat (for the ride home from church) Who is the most difficult person in my week for me to see as the face of Christ? How can my family help me to become more accepting, and helpful to that person, so that I can begin to see the face of Christ when I look at them?

It's Hip to be Square

a quote from Barb Nicolosi in this article about whether Christian dollars will save Hollywood gave me my laugh for the day:

Recently the entertainment TV show Inside Edition invited Nicolosi to be a guest. “When I first came [to Hollywood], I never thought I’d be on Inside Edition,” she confessed to the host before the show. “Didn’t you know?” he replied. “‘Christian’ is the new ‘gay.’”

Well it's nice to know we are good for something.

Thanks to Mark Shea for the link.


This Generation's Better Living Through Chemistry

This Article in the New York Times (You may have to register to view it, but the registration is free) is a bit frightening. The new generation knows exactly what it wants, paxil, prozac, no wait a minute, today I need a ritalin or two.

I guess what really scares me about this isn't the self medication, it is their sense of entitlement. Perhaps Huxley wasn't so far off in Brave New World, when his characters took pills to cure all their ills.

These young execs trade prescription drugs like they are sweaters they don't need anymore, and they seem to feel as though they know more than the medical community. I wonder if they realize that some drug dosages are based upon weight, so the pill that was the proper dose for a 210 lb man might be an overdose for a 115 lb woman? I wonder even if they care?

It also occurs to me that they probably don't care since the article says that they lie to their Dr's to get medications that they think they need. I am sure that their medical insurance is picking up the tab for the prescriptions as well. And we wonder why we are all paying so much for our prescription drugs.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Fun With Hamlet and Ophelia

Thanks to the Peeping Thomists I was linked to this wonderful rendition of Shakespeare's Hamlet for the early elementary set.

Just in case we are worried that their reading material at that age level isn't stimulating enough. After all, why should they wait until high school to have all that fun reading about murder and intrigue in the royal household?

What a total hoot!


Monday, November 14, 2005

The Good News About the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sorry this is late, but I was sick last week and it was on my work computer and I didn't get back to the office till today. This week I will post it on Wednesday.

Link to the readings

"To everyone who has, more will be given to him and he will grow rich."
This Gospel of the talents is about using wisely the gifts we are given. If we simply bury our gifts and offer back to God only what He has given to us, what does that say about what they mean to us? God expects us to use the gifts He offers us to further His kingdom here on earth. The servant who buried his talents for fear of losing them thought he was being prudent. God asks us to step out in faith, and risk for the kingdom. If God gives us the talent to do something, and we keep that talent to ourselves, not sharing it to further His kingdom, then we are saying that that talent doesn't mean much to us. If on the other hand, we offer our gift to the world in service to the kingdom, then it will return to us and in some way we will be rewarded. If you have a lovely singing voice, but only sing at home, how can that voice ever praise God? If you sing in the church choir, your voice can praise God and other people will be inspired to praise God as well, and your gift will bring others closer to God. Knowing that you are bringing others closer to God will bless you richly.

Family Car Chat (for the ride home) what gift do I have that I am hording? How can I share my gift for the kingdom of God?

God's Gifts are So Simple

I was at Gradual School last weekend. Friday night I had a horrible dream. I woke up feeling terrible Saturday morning; still feeling the effects of the flu, and shaken from the dream. I decided that I probably needed to go to Mass more than I needed breakfast before class.

I don't usually go to Mass, because it gets out just about the time class starts, but we are lucky this semester because our professor is one of the Monks. As he told us the first weekend; "The Rule of St Benedict says to prefer nothing to Liturgy, so I don't prefer you." As a consequence, he shows up late for class on both Saturday and Sunday mornings in preference to his monastic liturgy schedule.

Anyway, I went to Mass on Saturday morning and got the most amazing gift from God; my friend David, a fellow student in my Gradual School program who graduated last May, has taken a place in the stall with the monks in the monastery! He told us this summer that he had discerned that he was ready to take this step some time this fall, but I had heard that the monastery had taken two postulants earlier and he wasn't one of them so I thought perhaps there had been a hitch.

I was so happy to see him there, a man (dressed in street clothes yet) among the monks. He looks like he is growing comfortable already. I can't wait to see him next month when I go back, because by then he will be wearing the habit of a postulant, and he will look even more as though he belongs in the stalls.

We are joking in our class that we need to get to work and come up with his monastic name, because he will submit three to the Abbot. We think it is our duty as his previous community to share in this transition by helping him to come up with is name. Some of the men in our program have been suggesting names like Thor and Flash . Well, you get the idea, we love David, and we want him to have the proper kind of name as he begins his monastic life.

I am so happy for David. It really makes me feel good that he is there, praying and working and living out God's call to him. And now even though he has graduated I will still get to see him when I go to Gradual school; if I get up and go to morning prayer that is.


Friday, November 11, 2005

Birth Control by Sperm Wrangling?

The Curt Jester has an astute article here about a new form of birth control from Serbia in which the sperm are shocked into submission, thus making them unmotile (is that a word) for up to ten days.

I would have hated to be the guys who had to be the testers, to see just how much shock it took to get the right effect. Don't expect to see the at home kit available in this country any time soon. Hey at least this is one the guy can take for the team.

There are just too many jokes here to choose from.

Maureen, Any thoughts?


Update on Results of CAT Scan

No contrary to popular rumor, they did not find a hair ball on my CAT Scan. What they did find was an ovarian cyst, praise God, which should resolve itself in just a short while and I should be back to my old cranky self.

Thanks to all of you who were praying for me as I waited for word on this. I am still having some pain, but it is subsiding, so perhaps the cyst is what is causing the pain.

Unfortunately just as I was finding out about that I came down with a bad case of the flu. right before my last weekend of class for the semeseter. So I am off to Gradual school feeling just horrible, but I have all my little medicines lined up and nice warm clothes to wear and I plan to take really good care of myself and not overdo it in the partying department (we tend to stay up late and drink a bit -- I heard that laugh -- when we get together).

So, while one malady is being resloved another is coming on. And so it goes.


Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Good News About The Thirty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
In today's Gospel Jesus tells another parable about the importance of being prepared all the time, because we do not know the day or the hour of His second coming. The important message of the story isn't knowing, but being known. If someone were to look at your life, would they be able to tell that you are a Christian? Everything you do or say should be an example to others that you are a follower of Christ. You should live your life like the wise virgins in the story, prepared for the coming of the bridegroom. The most important person who must be able to recognize what your life is showing is Christ. When he does return will he look at you and say "I do not know you"?

Family Car Chat (for the ride home) what can I do to be a better example of a Christian in my life to those who see me? How can I show I am a Christian to those who don't know me very well?

A Note of Explanation

Since the Summer of 2003 I have written a weekly reflection for the bulletin at the parish where I work. It is called The Good News About . . . and is a short piece for Whole Community Catechesis that has a question or two after it for families to discuss on the way home to extend the gospel into their week.

I was informed that there will no longer be room for my reflections in the bulletins beginning this Sunday. As I have found these to be such a great help to my own spiritual development and preparation for Sunday liturgy I am planning to continue to write them and from now on I will be posting them here, so that all two of my loyal readers can benefit from them as well.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Well That's Good to Know

You made a clean getaway.No one toys with you...& you won't deal with it.
Everything's still in tact & you don't even
have a scratch. WELL DONE! I'm impressed...

Will you survive a HORROR MOVIE??
brought to you by

Unbelievable, but True!

Proof that no good deed goes unpunished, Katelyn Sills, the young woman who's mother reported that a Drama teacher at Katelyn's Catholic High School was working as an escort for planned parenthood in her "free time" which subsequently led to the firing of said teacher, has been expelled from the school!

Can you believe the irony of this? Katelyn is a subversive force in a Catholic High School for standing up for Catholic beliefs with every breath in her body and every ounce of moral fiber she possesses. I really question how the administration of the school handled this entire episode, as noted on Rick Lugari's Blog, sending letters like this to all the students seems very mean spirited and vindictive.

My only thought is; perhaps it is time for the Bishop to take a long hard look that this "catholic" high school and decide whether or not they can continue to call themselves a Catholic School. If this is how they resolve a simple issue like this, obviously they don't understand what it means to be Catholic.

As for Katelyn, perhaps she needs to find a more Catholic high school community in which to thrive. She is certainly my hero. I wish I could send her a big hug, because I know that this must really hurt.