Friday, August 31, 2007

Hungry in Spirit

An excellent conjunction of books has happened in my head such that I have a deeper understanding of being "poor in spirit" than I ever had before.

I am currently reading "The Thrill of the Chaste" (book review forthcoming) and Dawn Eden quotes a Psalm about the Lord making a dwelling for those who are hungry. As a daily prayer, I am reading from a Padre Pio devotional. In today's letter, one of St. Pio's spiritual children receives advice that to constantly feel a lack of love for God is a wonderful blessing. The Lord is not only how showing her much she needs Him, but providing motivation to continually find ways to love Him more deeply. The third book in this conjunction is "Transformation in Christ" which is the best book on how to follow Christ I have ever read (I hope to finish it soon). In it, Dietrich von Hildebrand points out many of the character flaws which stand in the way of following Jesus and what their roots are. One of the flaws is a feeling of sufficiency or completeness. To follow Christ is to always search for how you can more deeply invite Him into your life, therefore you must constantly be lacking a "full" conversion to Him on this side of Heaven so that you are prepared for a complete union with Him in Heaven.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

In "Local" News

I have been trying to get this blog to relate more to the local Phily beat, so of course I have this great article about Virginia (with a Philly connection). I feel much less animus towards the local news as they strain credulity to find a local connection in a big story. I now do it too.

It seems that a priest who served in Philly during the 80s has now become Bishop of Richmond and he has a committee re-evaluating their marriage prep programs. The article seems a bit inconclusive as to what the final product will be, but the committee is going in all the right directions. I would be ecstatic to see Christopher West's program used throughout the U.S. We have an early edition of his pre-Cana materials from when he spoke at the PNFPN's conference in 2006 and it is great stuff. He understands and presents the Theology of the Body better than anyone I know.

All that being said, I'm still torn over requiring NFP classes. It is hard enough to find volunteers to teach, and to teach classes well to interested and motivated students. I can't imagine the strain on the teachers, trying to handle a room full of dozens of hostile couples. However, requiring the class does let people know that the Church is serious and contraception is wrong so it will be important work for all teachers willing to do it.

The Diocese of Richmond and all teachers of NFP are in my prayers.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Time to Talk Harry

I haven't commented on the eternal debate over Harry Potter. I have read all the books and agree with the parents' decision for any child. Kind and attentive parents can allow the child to read the book and explain that it is fiction. Other kind and attentive parents may ban the reading of the book as a means of preventing all possible negative influences which it contains.

However, I have never seen an article which discusses the meaning of the Biblical word "sorcery" as well as this article does. It is simply the most concise explanation of the Biblical condemnation of contraception (Greek: pharmakeia, often translated as "sorcery") that I know to be in existence. It covers the Catholic Church, the Church Fathers, Protestant Reformers, and secular historians in a few paragraphs, tying them together with Harry Potter (Spoiler alert!).

Please read it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Greatest eBay item ever

Everyone should read this. I hope to have my 15 minutes of blog fame one day. Until then, I am enjoying sharing in her fame.

I love the fact that she is asked if all six children belong to her at three different times during one shopping trip. People ask the most amazingly stupid questions.

Monday, August 20, 2007 review

Well, being a gigantic fan of The Simpsons, I was thrilled when the movie finally hit the screen. I passed into near apoplexy when my non-wife best friend (henceforth, NWBF) volunteered to treat me to the tickets and dinner. While she didn't directly get me hooked on The Simpsons, her and I have shared many hours quoting, discussing, and alluding to it.

Since this outing was occurring a few short weeks before my NWBF's upcoming wedding, we spent dinner time and cocktail hour waxing reminiscent over our long years of friendship and looking forward to the future. In many ways, our friendship has followed the same pattern of The Simpsons TV series. Tentative at first, we were still discovering ourselves during the Season 1 and 2 of our friendship, fifth and sixth grade. The next two years of our friendship were as spectacular as Seasons 3-5. Then came the dark period of Seasons 6-7 as we started high school. Emerging from this trial of friendship during junior and senior year of high school, Seasons 8 and 9 demonstrated the glory of things to come. College and life now conspire to make our friendship hit and miss due to the difficulties of distance and family, much like Season 10 and onward are hit and miss on quality and I must patiently await for DVD so that I can see them.

By this chronology The Simpsons Movie is an exact metaphor for my NWBF's recent wedding, aside from the numerous allusions to The Simpsons which they both contained. Joyous and happy, with a brand new shine over years of history, many of the older classic moments are celebrated again. Many of the characters act in predictable ways, providing comfort over the void of years since their introduction. Dramatic trials were experienced by the lead characters and the newly added characters ran around and made everyone love life just a bit more. L'chaim!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

An E5 Man

Via Play the Dad, no Be the Dad, comes this post on Ephesians 5. I like how he grapples with the always difficult "Wives submit to your husbands." verse. I have often struggled with this verse since I know it doesn't mean that I can dominate my wife, but I have been so indoctrinated by the media and social pressure that I have difficulty understanding any interpretation. I particularly like the etymology of submission and how that affected his understanding.

I would paraphrase my understanding of this verse as, "A wife should obey her husband as long as he is working on his God-given mission. Otherwise, she should fulfill her God-given mission of working for her husband's salvation by correcting him." Not all of that is in this post, I am just trying to get a handle on my understanding.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Expensive Milestones

There have been a variety of milestones around the house. I just reached the point where college kids look young, not younger, but young as in a completely different age classification than me. I have chosen not to contemplate my own age classification.

I began preparations for the party to celebrate my lovely wife's age-related milestone. This will probably be the second most expensive of all the milestones, if I can get my way.

Maria realized last week that money can be used to purchase items that Daddy and Mommy won't get for you. I forget what the item in question was, but I told her she couldn't have it. She didn't fuss or complain; she merely said that she could go ask the neighbor for money. (Our neighbor once gave Maria a few coins to put in our Lenten rice bowl.) This will probably be the most expensive of all the milestones, since Maria now enjoys shopping for shoes at the Mall.

And Amelia's milestones come so rapidly, that it is hard to distinguish them all. According to my perceptions, she grew about three inches last week. She also tripled her vocal sounds and learned how to do a high-five. These milestones cost nothing and yield a huge return in smiles.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

In case you are wondering...

whatever happened to, you can read the exploits of my lovely wife at Lap of Luxury. I think my wife does an excellent job of being unbiased and reporting only the facts of her experience.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Founders

An interesting article on founders of non-profits.

A good sign, or not

I was just perusing my Sitemeter stats and found an interesting referral. Someone found me through a Google Search on the words, "i hate natural family planning." I hope this blog was a positive experience for whoever that poor soul was. Since I passed quickly from ignorance to amazement of NFP, in the first hour of my first class, I have never had the experience of hating it.

The beautiful design of human sexuality amazes me so much, that I feel sorrow for those who pass through hatred of any part of it. Searcher, you are in my prayers.

Monday, August 6, 2007

He who shall not be named?

Via Creative Minority Report comes this sad Philly story. Now, I'm not an advertising expert but I am attentive. It seems to me that the most likely market segment to attend a Catholic School, that isn't already in attendance, is local Christians who are fed up with irreligious public school. An ad for this market would be easy to spin off if you were familiar with the jargon.

"Here are Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility, our students talk to Jesus every day."

"If you want your children to learn the beauty of God's creation, have them join us at St. John's school."

Friday, August 3, 2007

Natural Family Scandal

Via Play the Dad, Be the Dad comes this post on living the Christian life and avoiding scandal. I had never thought about our practice of breatfeeding/NFP actually leading people away from these practices. I guess it just seems natural to me, just like it seems natural to my wife to find a quiet corner and cover up to breastfeed. I can't really imagine choosing something else when such a beautiful option exists.

Salt in the Wound

Via The Dawn Patrol comes this story, telling of parents' pain so deep that I can not begin to imagine. As a father, I can vaguely come to grips with the pain involved in out-living your children. I never really understood it before fatherhood but as Maria gets older, I can grasp at a sense of the sadness I would experience if she were taken from me by the Big Guy Upstairs. I can not grasp the horror that would be involved if she were violently taken from me, by a terrorist, while she was eating pizza. I know God would care for me and I think only an infinite being could comfort such a wound.

I can only stare in wide-eyed disbelief at the grief that would be involved in seeing the face of my daughter's killer splashed about the TV screen as an ad for a documentary on terrorist life. I would not be able to handle such a "salt in the wound" with the grace that these parents do.

May God's grace fall on them. And may he teach me how to forgive such heinous sins.