Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Purity of God's Word

From the Holy Father's message at Vespers to young seminarians and religious at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris (Friday, Sept. 12th, 2008):
In a particular way, men and women religious and all consecrated persons draw life from the Wisdom of God expressed in his word. The profession of the evangelical counsels has configured you, dear consecrated persons, to Christ, who for our sakes became poor, obedient and chaste. Your only treasure – which, to tell the truth, will alone survive the passage of time and the curtain of death – is the word of the Lord. It is he who said: “Heaven and earth will pass away; my words will not pass away” (Mt 24:35). Your obedience is, etymologically, a “hearing”, for the word obey comes from the Latin obaudire, meaning to turn one’s ear to someone or something. In obeying, you turn your soul towards the one who is the Way, and the Truth and the Life (cf. Jn 14:6), and who says to you, as Saint Benedict taught his monks: “Hear, my child, the teaching of the Master, and hearken to it with all your heart” (Prologue to the Rule of Saint Benedict). Finally, let yourselves be purified daily by him who said: “Every branch that bears fruit my Father prunes, to make it bear more fruit” (Jn 15:2). The purity of God’s word is the model for your own chastity, ensuring its spiritual fruitfulness.
Lehman's Non-Electric Catalog

Lehman's is known for its non-electric items, both vintage as well as modern. In light of recent events, their catalog might be a good thing to own if you are looking to get through a power outage, camping trip, or anything else. Coffee maker, goat cart, grass scythe, hoof trimmer, man-powered lawn mower. It's all there. Their catalog even has a special chapter, "How to Live without Electricity - And Like It."
Irish Dominicans

The Dominican History blog presents the reception of the Dominican habit in Limerick, Ireland, 2008.
Civil War Schooner uncovered by Hurricane Ike?

The AP reports:
When the waves from Hurricane Ike receded, they left behind a mystery: a ragged shipwreck that archeologists say could be a two-masted Civil War schooner that ran aground in 1862 or another ship from 70 years later.

The wreck, about 6 miles from Fort Morgan, had been partially uncovered when Hurricane Camille cleared away sand in 1969.

Researchers at the time identified it as the Monticello, a battleship that partially burned when it crashed trying to get past the U.S. Navy and into Mobile Bay during the Civil War.

After examining photos of the wreck post-Ike, Museum of Mobile marine archaeologist Shea McLean agreed that it is probably the Monticello, which ran aground in 1862 after sailing from Havana, Cuba, according to Navy records.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Our Lady and the Jewish Author

So the pope was recently in Lourdes, France, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Marian apparitions at Lourdes and the message delivered through St. Bernadette Soubirous. I thought I would recall the "personal preface" to the best-selling historical novel, The Song of Bernadette, written by Jewish author Franz Werfel:
In the last days of June 1940, in flight from our mortal enemies after the collapse of France, we reached the city of Lourdes. The two of us, my wife and I, had hoped to be able to elude them in time to cross the Spanish frontier to Portugal. But since the consuls unanimously refused the requisite visas, we had no alternative but to flee back with great difficulty to the interior of France on the very night on which the National Socialist troops occupied the border town of Hendaye. The Pyrenean départements had turned into a phantasmagoria -- a very camp of chaos. The millions of this strange migration of peoples wandered about on the roads and obstructed the towns and villages: Frenchmen, Belgians, Dutchmen, Poles, Czechs, Austrians, exiled Germans, and, mingled with these, soldiers of the defeated armies. There was barely food enough to still the extreme pangs of hunger. There was no shelter to be had at all. Anyone who had obtained possession of an upholstered chair for his night's rest was an object of envy. In endless lines stood the cars of the fugitives, piled mountain-high with household gear, with mattresses and beds; there was no gasoline to be had. In Pau a family settled there told us that Lourdes was the one place where, if luck were kind, one might still find a roof. Since the famous city was but thirty kilometres distant, we were advised to make the attempt and knock at its gates. We followed this advice and were sheltered at last.

It was in this manner that Providence brought me to Lourdes, of the miraculous history of which I had hitherto had but the most superficial knowledge. We hid for several weeks in the Pyrenean city. It was a time of great dread. The British radio announced that I had been murdered by the National Socialists. Nor did I doubt that such would be my fate were I to fall into the hands of the enemy. An article of the Armistice provided that France turn over certain civilians to the National Socialists. Who could these civilians be but those who had fought the modern pestilence in the days of its modest beginnings? In my friends' eyes I read the same conviction, although their words sought to calm me. A few of the initiated pretended to know the number of those who were to be turned over and the very order of their documented names. At such moments the boundary between rumour and fact is obliterated. The most sublime stubborn reports predicted again and again the conqueror's occupation of the Pyrenees on the following day. Each morning when I woke up it was in ignorance as to whether I was still a free man or a prisoner condemned to death.

It was, I repeat, a time of great dread. But it was also a time of great significance for me, for I became acquainted with the wondrous history of the girl Bernadette Soubirous and also with the wondrous facts concerning the healings of Lourdes. One day in my great distress I made a vow. I vowed that if I escaped from this desperate situation and reached the saving shores of America, I would put off all other tasks and sing, as best I could, the song of Bernadette.

This book is the fulfilment of my vow...

I have dared to sing the song of Bernadette, although I am not a Catholic but a Jew; and I drew courage from this undertaking from a far older and far more unconscious vow of mine. Even in the days when I wrote my first verses I vowed that I would evermore and everywhere in all I wrote magnify the divine mystery and the holiness of man -- careless of a period which has turned away with scorn and rage and indifference from these ultimate values of our mortal lot.

Franz Werfel, Los Angeles, May 1941
Anne Rice: Called Out of Darkness

Anne Rice discusses her recently written memoirs, particularly pointing out the elements of her childhood that not only influenced her writing, but also aided her in her return home:

Baptism's Indelible Mark

We profess that baptism permanently configures one to Christ and to His priesthood. CCC 1272:
Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ. Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation. Given once for all, Baptism cannot be repeated.
The indelible seal is also spoken of with respect to confirmation, which is intrinsically linked to baptism, and Holy Orders, which configures one to the priesthood of Christ in a particular way. CCC 1121:
The three sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders confer, in addition to grace, a sacramental character or "seal" by which the Christian shares in Christ's priesthood and is made a member of the Church according to different states and functions. This configuration to Christ and to the Church, brought about by the Spirit, is indelible, it remains for ever in the Christian as a positive disposition for grace, a promise and guarantee of divine protection, and as a vocation to divine worship and to the service of the Church. Therefore these sacraments can never be repeated.
Does this indelible mark overrule the will or necessarily eliminate one's proclivity toward sin? No.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cardinal DiNardo on Hurricane Ike

From the Archdiocesan website:
Last weekend Southeast Texas experienced a very strong storm. Hurricane Ike has affected us all and has caused massive damage to our coastal communities, especially to the city of Galveston and the Bolivar peninsula. Many people have lost everything; many others have been seriously affected. The lack of power and fuel has been of real concern. These realities are very hard on families, some who have evacuated others who remain here and are pressed for food and water.

We put our trust in the Lord and make significant efforts to help one another. Our Catholic Charities and Societies of St. Vincent de Paul were already operating on the Sunday after the storm in various ways. We cooperate with the civil authorities. In all things patience is the operative virtue. Our hearts go out to all the people in Galveston and to the severe disruption this storm has caused. Our prayers and our support will be with all the faithful in Galveston and Bolivar.

As far as the celebration of weekend Masses, the decision to open a given parish is that of the Pastor after he has reviewed the damage and the ease of access to the buildings. Where the celebration of Mass cannot happen the faithful are excused from their Sunday obligation...

My conviction and hope are that our Catholic community will rise to the occasion with genuine care for the other. Volunteers are needed throughout the area; Catholic Charities is particularly in need of volunteers. Be attentive to neighbors, especially the elderly. Share your goods. Let us be an example of good witness under the fire of some adversity.
Also, an interview with the Sioux City Journal:
HOUSTON — Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo said people are in high spirits while dealing with the loss of power and other devastation Hurricane Ike has dealt to the gulf region.

DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, who was the former bishop of the Diocese of Sioux City for five years, said even though the hurricane is a category two, the destruction has taken its toll on the people of Houston and Galveston.

“This was a hurricane, category two,” DiNardo said. “But, it was so big and when you have a big thing like that I don’t care what category it is. It’s rough and the winds were pretty consistent. If you have eight to 10 hours in Galveston of 105 mile per hour winds that’s heavy stuff.”

He said shock is the best way to describe people’s reaction in Galveston and residents in Houston are used to bad weather but this situation is trying their patience.
More from the archdiocese on what we can do to help. And did I mention giving blood?

Of course, things like this are easy to overlook if you're determined to overlook them.
In case you haven't figured out...

The Internet has now been restored in my neck of the woods... but it's relatively minor compared to the thousands who are still without power, including families just north of us across the Brazos River.
The gates of hell shall not prevail...

Jeff Culbreath posts this recent video showing a group of young adult Catholics in Argentina praying the rosary and defending their Cathedral from a rabid gathering of folks from the pro-abortion Encuentro Nacional de Mujeres in Neuquén.

Strange Maps

Matthew over at Holy Whapping pointed out one of the best blogs ever: The Strange Maps blog.

The world as seen from Paris:

Country Music's Favorite States:


Poor Florida :(
The Catholic Computer Scientist

Computer Scientist Dr. Thursday says it better than I can, and from a Chestertonian point of view:
You, courageous reader, must often wonder why a computer scientist deals with Chesterton, DNA, fiction, astronomy, Catholicism, Latin and Greek, children's stories, and all the other odd things I mention from time to time. Speaking strictly from the professional, rather than from the personal, view, it is simple to explain. Computer science might be (in a broad sense) called "applied mathematics", or perhaps the Engineering branch of the Mathematical Science... it is applied, you see, to anything and everything which may need or benefit from its assistance. Clearly I do not use software to make my coffee, or my brownies, or to select the colours for my artwork, or to assist me when I go to Holy Mass, or to write poetry. But computing is a Chestertonian discipline, indeed a catholic discipline, unlike most other branches of engineering. It has come to serve, and so it has the Chestertonian perspective of things. (Of course it is possible I am merely trying to explain how my Catholicism has "leavened" my profession, but such things are beyond analysis.)
This is why I love the Catholic faith :) The computer scientist in me flavors everything I do; even so, my Catholic Christianity makes me a better computer scientist.
Help for Hurricane Ike Aftermath

There are plenty of organizations that are doing great things to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston points out some things folks can do to donate to recovery efforts. You can also give blood.

I work with folks who still don't have power or water. Some areas won't get power restored for weeks.
Why did Ike get so large?

Dr. Jeff Masters analyzes this question.
Hurricane Ike grew unusually large, eventually filling up the entire Gulf of Mexico and becoming larger than Katrina. How did it get so big? Well, one theory is that the storm's passage over Cuba helped it to grow in size. During the day and half the eye of Ike traversed Cuba, the thunderstorm activity near the center was suppressed by land. However, a large portion of the storm was over the exceptionally warm waters of the Loop Current on either side of Cuba. Since the storm couldn't put any energy into intensifying and maintaining its core, the energy pulled out of the Loop Current went into expanding and intensifying the outer portions of the storm that were over water. When Ike finally emerged into the Gulf of Mexico, its scale had been reset to this new larger size, and the storm was able to maintain the new scale. A similar transition to a new larger scale also occurred to Hurricanes Katrina and Andrew after they passed over South Florida.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Aftermath: Hurricane Ike

We survived the hurricane with relatively little damage; our yard was littered with broken tree limbs, leaves, and moss. No damage to our house that we can tell. We lost power by 10pm Friday night, and it was restored to us by 3pm on Saturday. We were incredibly fortunate, as many thousands around the Houston area are still without power and will be even for the next couple of weeks. Lots of downed trees around our neighborhood. By 4am Saturday morning, the wind seemed to be at its highest intensity around our house. The radio confirmed at that time that the eye was passing over downtown Houston, 30 minutes northeast of us.


Related Posts with Thumbnails