Saturday, October 25, 2008

Religion and Voting

Leaving aside who I'm voting for, nationally and locally, I was unaware that the Catholic church requires that you vote. I knew that, if you voted, you had to be informed, and use the guide of the church in some areas (abortion).

Anyway. One of the things that Vic mentioned when talking about voting was that we should vote 'yes' on Amendment 2, here in Florida. Which is a constitutional amendment dealing with the marriage issues, one man, one woman, etc. However, they neglected to mention that this amendment would harm heterosexual couples who are living together but not married. And whether I agree with them living together like that or not, I do understand that sometimes, especially for the elderly, it's for financial reasons that they haven't gotten married. Also, there's the problem I have where the constitution isn't meant for this sort of thing. We have a law on the books against homosexual marriage. That's where it should stay.

I have to admit that I have problems with the Church's stance on homosexuality. I understand it, and I know, in my head, that if the Church is right on everything else, which I believe that it is, that it must be right on this too. I just haven't managed to *believe* that yet. I'm afraid it's going to have to be one of those areas where I simply obey until I believe.

RCIA Day Seven - Tour of the Church

We were supposed to do the tour back when we went over the layout, but the weather was horrendous, so it got put off until later.

The tour was interesting, we got to see a lot of places in the church that we'll never see again.

But here's the important thing:

I go to Mass every Sunday, but, of course, I stay in the pew, because I cannot receive communion yet. We don't have Eucharistic Adoration at my church. Last Tuesday, in the tour, we went into the chapel of the church, which is where the tabernacle is kept. We all genuflected, and then the Dec. G opened the tabernacle to show us how the host was reposed in ciboriums.

When he opened the tabernacle, I felt the air pressure in the room change. It suddenly felt very, very heavy in there, sort of crowded, as though the room were full of people. When the deacon closed the tabernacle the sensation went away. I believe, and am thankful to God for the experience, that God allowed me to *feel* His Presence in the eucharist. It was such a subtle experience, but wonderful. I believe in the Real Presence, but now I've felt it. It was amazing.

RCIA Day Six - The Covenants

Took a *long* break there. Not on purpose, I've been getting ready for my vacation. Yay vacation! Which always makes me busier than I'd be if I just kept going to work. But the vacation is here now. This was the RCIA lesson from two weeks ago.

The People of God - The Covenants

The lesson was that the Jewish nation has always been, and will continue to be, the Chosen of God. Christians are a new graft into this vine.

But here's the part that I found interesting. The covenants. Vic gave us a listing of them, and we discussed. But here's the thing: the covenants started out very, very simple. Adam & Eve - don't eat of the tree of knowledge. They progressively got more and more detailed, culminating in the Mosaic laws, which are very complex and detailed. But then the New and Everlasing Covenant - love God, love others as yourself. Back to simple again. Oh, sure, there's more to it, as I'm certain that there was to the original covenant with Adam and Eve, shades of implication and detail. But the *letter* of the covenant. Simple. Why is that?

I'm thinking it has to do with God walking with man. In the beginning, God walked with Adam & Eve. They were without sin, and the closest to God anyone has ever gotten. Sin separated us from God. We could no longer get that close, so the covenants got more detailed, to reign in our newly sinful natures. But then God walked with us again. Only this time, He came to us, because we could not go to Him.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Crimes Against God - Where Does It End?

This is something I've been thinking about all day, so here's hoping it comes out in some sort of coherent fashion.

I used to, among other things, be pro-abortion. I fully and whole heartedly believed that a woman could do whatever she liked with her body, and if she screwed up and the birth control and/or condom didn't prevent pregnancy, then she should be able to end it. In the semi-famous words of a politician, I didn't think that she should be 'punished with a baby' for a mistake. Especially if she had been raped, or the child had a severe birth defect, or it was a pregnancy that threatened her life. I even, God forgive me, stated that if I ever became pregnant and discovered that the child had Down's Syndrome or something along those lines, that I would have an abortion. For the good of the child, you see, because I didn't want to have the child and have him suffer. Yes, that was my reasoning. You can see that it was just a cover for my own selfishness. I didn't want to be burdened with anything less than a perfect specimen of humanity.

In my long (to my mind at least) journey to where I am now, I eventually understood that, flaws and all, a child was a child from the moment they were conceived. I can't really point out a specific point where I realized this, but the 'moment of conception' realization came when I was trolling around a Catholic apologetics board. I can't remember the specifics, but one of the poster's was relating an anecdote where a professor/scientist? was lecturing to a class. He was a guest speaker, and the discussion was on proving where life began. The hosting teacher drew a line on the board, with different points along it, starting a conception and moving on down. After the lecture, the visiting lecturer continued the line, adding later in life possibilities. Graduating high school, college, marriage, getting a tenure as a professor. Those sort of things. And the point he made was that aside from the moment of conception, all of those points, all of those moments where you could point and say 'life begins here' were arbitrary. And that clicked for me.

And, thinking about it, I myself am only here because my mother chose to have me. Why? I don't know, she doesn't talk about my father, and I don't ask, because I know that it's a rough subject. I just know that she was eighteen, barely out of high school, and pregnant. I know that her parents supported her, and helped her, and for that, for my life, I am grateful. My best friend, a woman that I love as my sister, is only here because her mother chose to disregard the advice of her doctor. She was old when she got pregnant, and her doctor recommended an abortion, as a pregnancy at her age could be complicated. She didn't, and I have Eve.

So I'm thinking of these things, and I read this post over at Ave Maria, a blog that I adore. She's so clear, so concise, and right:

Ave Maria Gratia Plena...: You're walking down the street one day with five friends and you see a woman being raped...

Because these are the arguments that you hear to support abortion, and what's to stop them from flowing over into other crimes? And people will say, well, that can't happen, because those are crimes, and an abortion is legal. But abortion is a crime, whether the secular law sees it or not. It was a crime for a lot longer than it's been legal.

And I flow from the legalizing of killing our babies before they're born, later and later in their little lives, to the mothers who kill their children after they've been born. We just now had a grand jury return an indictment on a mother accused of killing her three year old daughter.

Arrest in Caylee Anthony Case

How can a mother do that? And I can't help but think that it comes from us cheapening life. Pregnant? Doesn't fit into your schedule? Abort. It's not really a child, not really even human yet. It has nothing to offer society. How much of a stretch is it for a person, selfish and clearly damaged in some fundamental way, to reach the conclusion that her child is in her way? That the baby, toddler, preteen, teenager cramps her lifestyle? She wants to go out and party, but no, there's the kid to worry about. Well, what does a three year old offer to the world? Nothing. So it's okay to kill her, because then we can get back to doing whatever we like, when we like. I'm not saying that this is this woman's process, but I think it's something to do with it. We've told generations of people that their babies aren't really human, and that just devalues all life.

And where does this end? I'm afraid somewhere around here:

Ave Maria Gratia Plena...: And the evil keeps rolling in like a suffocating fog...

All life is either sacred and defensible, or it's not. And I'm afraid that this is where we're heading, more and more. I read this, and I remember by grandfather, who did so much to raise me. He died about ten years ago, from cancer, and toward the end, he was helpless. He was delusional from the pain, and the medicine, and he could do nothing for himself. But we took care of him. We had hospice in, and my mother and my grandmother and I all did what we could, which wasn't much. My uncles had the chance to come and see him, and when he died, he died at home, with my grandmother, with the woman that he loved. And it kills me to imagine someone saying to him that he was a burden! A drain on our family! He gave everything that he had for his family, for strangers, he was filled with so much love and kindness that I can't even begin to explain it. The least that we could do was honor him in his last days, keep him comfortable. He was worth more than any measure, from the beginning of his life to the very end.

And so must everyone else be, from beginning to end. And only God knows when that end should come. Not us.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My 'Babies' and Me

Given my reaction to the latest medical issue with my big dog, Baby, should I ever have children I will be the terror of every pediatrician within a hundred mile radius of my home.

My dog has had problems with ear infections. We treated them, and the vet said to keep cleaning his ears out once a week, which I have done. This morning, his ears were clearly bothering him, even though I'd cleaned his ears on Saturday. So I grabbed the cleaning stuff and proceeded to clean them again. Leaving aside the part where his one ear canal was so irritated and swollen that the top of the q-tip got stuck (I did get it out, after much screaming and gnashing of teeth on my part), his ear was still bothering him so much that he managed, in about ten minutes, to scratch himself bloody.

I hung around the house until the vet opened and called, got an appointment, and Baby's got antibiotics and ear treatments, etc. And we'll see the vet again after the culture gets back.

Not the point of the post though. The point is this. I deal with problems with my babies in one way. I fix/clean up what I can, and call the appropriate doctor, getting an appointment as quickly as possible. And then, because I can't stand to see them hurting when I can't just, you know, pull out the thorn, my irritation level with the rest of the world continues to grow exponentially. I actually went to work and warned everyone, up front, that the first person to tick me off was liable to get their head smacked.

So, not sure that this is a good reaction, but there you go. I deal with the problem, but everyone else had better not irritate me while it's still unresolved.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Rosary & Me

The Rosary was one of the first things I picked up, when I made the decision to convert. I realized that I needed to learn how to pray. I am, unfortunately, one of those people whose mind goes off in a million directions at once, holding entire conversations and arguments in my head, revolving around various subjects. All while doing my job or whatever I happen to be engaged in at the moment.
This, clearly, is not conducive to contemplation. I did not, in essence, know how to simply sit and be. So I decided to learn the rosary as a way to teach myself to sit and be quiet. Now, I pray it daily, at least once a day. I'm still working on the rest of the prayer life, actually "speaking" with God, but I say the rosary to get me into that headspace, where I can think, quietly, meditate on God. Does that mean I don't get distracted in the middle of it sometimes? Of course not. I interrupt myself with odd thoughts occasionally. And I just start that particular prayer again, pushing the thought to the side.

Our Lady of the Rosary

October 7, 2008
Our Lady of the Rosary

Pope St. Pius V established this feast in 1573. The purpose was to thank God for the victory of Christians over the Turks at Lepanto—a victory attributed to the praying of the rosary. Clement XI extended the feast to the universal Church in 1716.

The development of the rosary has a long history. First, a practice developed of praying 150 Our Fathers in imitation of the 150 Psalms. Then there was a parallel practice of praying 150 Hail Marys. Soon a mystery of Jesus' life was attached to each Hail Mary. Though Mary's giving the rosary to St. Dominic is recognized as unhistorical, the development of this prayer form owes much to the followers of St. Dominic. One of them, Alan de la Roche, was known as "the apostle of the rosary." He founded the first Confraternity of the Rosary in the 15th century. In the 16th century the rosary was developed to its present form—with the 15 mysteries (joyful, sorrowful and glorious). In 2002, Pope John Paul II added the Mysteries of Light to this devotion.


The purpose of the rosary is to help us meditate on the great mysteries of our salvation. Pius XII called it a compendium of the gospel. The main focus is on Jesus—his birth, life, death and resurrection. The Our Fathers remind us that Jesus' Father is the initiator of salvation. The Hail Marys remind us to join with Mary in contemplating these mysteries. They also make us aware that Mary was and is intimately joined with her Son in all the mysteries of his earthly and heavenly existence. The Glorys remind us that the purpose of all life is the glory of the Trinity.
The rosary appeals to many. It is simple. The constant repetition of words helps create an atmosphere in which to contemplate the mysteries of God. We sense that Jesus and Mary are with us in the joys and sorrows of life. We grow in hope that God will bring us to share in the glory of Jesus and Mary forever.


“[The rosary] sets forth the mystery of Christ in the very way in which it is seen by St. Paul in the celebrated ‘hymn’ of the Epistle to the Philippians—kenosis [self-emptying], death and exaltation (2:6-11).... By its nature the recitation of the rosary calls for a quiet rhythm and a lingering pace, helping the individual to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord’s life as grasped by the heart of her who was closer to the Lord than all others” (Paul VI, Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, 45, 47).

Monday, October 6, 2008

RCIA Day Five

Lesson One:

Who's Who in the Church

Christ is the head of the Church. He appointed Peter to be the first Pope. All the other disciples were also bishops, but Peter was the leader, first among equals. From there there is an unbroken line of succession to the current pope, Benedict XVI. Beneath the pope are the bishops, beneath them, the priests and the deacons.

Catholics and Prayer

Reasons for prayer: thanksgiving, meditation, praise, supplication, etc.

Some prayers: The Our Father, crossing yourself, Hail Mary, doxology (Glory Be, Gloria, etc), Apostles' Creed.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

And now...we have bats.

In our ceiling at work, I mean. They're doing some wiring in our ceiling, and they've currently gone to lunch and left panels out all over the place.
So we're sitting here, working away, and all of a sudden there's this darting, flying shape moving through the newsroom. Some shouts, 'It's a bird!', we all turn, and it gets close enough I can see it's a bat, so I shout, 'It's a bat!' and the bat then flies over to the copy desk, and then to the other side of the building, ad production.
Copy desk just happens to have a fishing net on a pole, please don't ask, and one of the guys grabs it and we follow the bat. It buzzes all of the display people and then flies into the large conference room. Fishing pole guy follows and we close the door, trapping the bat. He catches the bat, and frees him outside.
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