Sunday, December 26, 2010

On the Christmas Epistle Reading


At Midnight Christmas Mass a passage from Titus was read (Titus 2:11-14). I found it interesting because of its mirror-like structure.

The grace of God our Savior has appeared to all man, instructing us that, denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly, and justly, and godly in this world, looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and might cleanse to himself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works. These things speak, and exhort, in Jesus Christ our Lord.

"God our Savior" mirrors "Christ Jesus our Lord." Like bookends, these two phrases state and echo the connection between God and man. These phrases communicate an essential aspect of the Judao-Christian God who, unlike the deities of other religions, has a deep love for His creation. He is not just 'God' or 'Jesus Christ'. He is 'our Savior' and 'our Lord'. God's deep love is shown in His dedication to His creation, which is shown most in the life Jesus (and the birth of Jesus is a most important moment in that life) and which is also shown in the heart of this passage.

"instructing us" mirrors "these things speak, and exhort." What Jesus has told us, we are to tell others. The Good News was fist preached to the Jews, but it is not supposed to stop there. So St. Paul tells Titus what he has learned, that Titus might tell others, and then what st. Paul wrote may edify us to communicate to still more people. Like all good things, the Good News is open and growing.

"denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly, and justly, and godly in this world" mirrors "all iniquity, and might cleanse to himself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works". The first speaks of us actively leading virtuous lives. The second speaks of us being made clean, that is, passively receiving what is being done to us. The first is in the context of obeying what Christ has instructed us and in hope of His second coming. The second is in the context of being redeemed. As the second one explains, Jesus has cleaned us of our sins that we may be acceptable to Him by pursuing good works. The first exhorts us to live up to our redemption: to do what Christ has given us the grace to do. For this purpose Christ came to earth and was born amongst us.

"looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory" mirrors "who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us". Here it is as if we are living amongst mirrors. For we are to look forward to the future, but the means by which we look to the future is nothing else than the past.

"God and our Savior Jesus Christ" calls us back to the beginning and end of this passage. And as God is the center of all the Universe, so His name lies at the center of this passage. In these few words we find a small echo of the incarnation. For first God revealed Himself as a single being, 'God' or 'Yahweh'. Then the Prophets proclaimed to the Jews the coming of a Savior. Next, the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was to have a son and name Him Jesus. Finally, Jesus' followers recognized that He was the promised one, that He was the Christ.

This passage is like concentric circles. In the heart of this passage we find God. Next outside of that we find the mission of Christ's life accomplished and our own lives in the context of His redemption. Then outside of that we see the essence of Jesus' mission and how we are to live according to all that He has done for us, actively leading lives in accord with all He has done for us. Then outside of that we discover that as Christ has taught us, so we are to teach others. The Passion does not stop with the Jews or with the first converts but extends to all peoples of all countries and all ages. And finally we find again the name of God.

We see in the first instance of God's name that 'Savior' is connected with 'God'. In the second instance, 'Lord' is connected with 'Christ Jesus'. This shows a melding of two views of God. He is not just our eternal ruler and Lord, nor is He just a Savior who turned up once long ago. Rather, both roles are of the same Almighty Creator.


Although this passage doesn't seem very appropriate for Christmas, it in fact leads us deeply into the heart of what Christmas means.
Surrounded by the name of God which reveals who He is, this passage leads us from
the proclamation of the Good News (as the angels sang to the shepherds)
to the essence of why Christ was born on Christmas day- to redeem us that we may live virtuously and reach heaven to be with Him.
We see Christmas in the context of the entire plan for the redemption of mankind.

From there this passage leads us to Calvary where Christ gave Himself to redeem us; and because of our redemption, we live in the hope of our redeemer's promised return.
Now w
e see our lives and those of all mankind in the context of our redemption.
And at the heart we again find the name of God,
as it gradually reveals more and more of who He is.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Things You Learn in College that Are Not on the Syllabus

1. Seeing a person every single second of every day does not mean they are your friend.
2. When a girl gets something drastically different done to her hair, it usually means she just broke up with her boyfriend, or something emotionally traumatic like that.
3. When a friend who is a guy punches your arm and smiles it means he's thinking about and hoping you're ok, you but he doesn't have time to talk.
4. When a girl punches a guy playfully, he might take it more seriously than she meant it to be.
5. When a girl punches a guy hard, he had better listen because she has something really serious to say and the friendship just might be over.
6. Funny accent aside, people from Wisconsin are awesome!
7. When you're sad and someone sits down and is willing to listen to you, then you know you have a friend.
8. People who always have the earbuds of their iPods in their ears tend to be odd.
9. Never over-plan your day because ridiculous things that you could never expect will always happen and throw you off schedule.
10. When a professor laughs at a student's silly remark in class, that means he has good ears and a sense of humor. It doesn't mean he'll be a easy person to please when it's time to write an essay for his class.

Hope you enjoy these. Got to go catch up on 5 bazillion pounds of homework. Bye.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Christ, Abraham, and Malchizedek: A Parallel


For Theology Class I have to read chapters 1-28 of Genesis by tomorrow (so I should be reading, not posting, actually, but anyway...). In chapter 14, verses 11-20 I found this very interesting parallel.

So basically there's all these kings (I skimmed that part with all their long unpronouncable names) and some sort of war, and kings charging through lands full of bituman pits (?). And these kings come charging through Sodom and Gomorah, plundering and looting as they go. Abraham finds out and gathers up his army of a big whopping 318 and goes and rescues the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorah since his relatives- Lot and his family- live there.

After the dust clears, the king of Sodom, Abraham, and the King of Salem meet in the Valley of Shaveh. And the King of Salem is Melchizedek, the priest who offers bread and wine.

The parallel I found was that Melchizedeck and Abraham are both Christ like figures. As you probably know, Sodom and Gomorah were not the most clean and righteous of cities. But Abraham goes and rescues all the inhabitants, not just his family. That's how Christ is. He spoke especially among the Jews, but salvation is not limited to them. No, it is extended to all people, even the most sinful and wretched.
And then we have the prefigurement of the Eucharist. Malchikedek offers the sacrafice of bread and wine even with the king of perverse Sodom right there. Judas was present at the last supper, and Jesus does not confine the sacrament of the Eucharist to only a select perfect few.

And just the other day I found out that there is significance in the number 72 when Jesus sends out 72 disciples to preach. At that time it was thought that there were 72 nations, indicating that Jesus is not confining His good news to just one nation, the Jews. No, Christs wants, through His disciples, all people to come to know Him. Christ came to save all mankind.
'Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw Him they worshipd him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of hte Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."'

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A FABULOUS 24 HOURS

WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY OF LAST WEEK WERE SO FABULOUS! SO LAST NIGHT MANY TMC STUDENTS INCLUDING MYSELF WENT TO THE BOSTON AQUARIUM BECAUSE LAST NIGHT WAS THE ANNUAL FREE COLLEGE STUDENT NIGHT. I SAW ALL THESE REALLY COOL FISH! I WAS SAD ABOUT SOME SAD THINGS HAPPENING IN MY LIFE AT HTE MOMENT, AND LOOKING AT ALL THOSE AMAZING FISH I FELT LIKE JOB, WHO I JUST READ ABOUT FOR THEOLOGY CLASS. I CAN'T UNDERSTAND A FISH; WHO AM I TO QUESTION THE WAYS OF GOD?

THEN WE DECIDED TO WALK TO THIS COFFEE PLACE SINCE IT WAS A COLD RAINING NIGHT. GREAT! EXCEPT THAT THE SHOP SUGGESTED TURNED OUT TO BE ALMOST ALL THE WAY ONT HE OTHER SIDE OF BOSTON, SO WE HAD QUITE A WALK THROUGH RAINY NIGHT STREETS. BUT IT WAS FUN IN THE TOTAL RANDOMNESS SPONTINAITY OF IT ALL. IT WAS ANNOYING, I GUESS, ALL THAT WALKING, BUT I WAS DETIRMINED TO MAKE THE BEST OF IT.

AFTER GOING TO THE CAFE, WHERE I ORDERED GELATO ICE CREAM, WE WERE STANDING OUTSIDE AND THIS STREET MUSCICIAN CAME UP AND ASKED IF HE COULD PLAY FOR US. WE ALL PITCHED IN SOME MONEY AND I DECIDED TO PIPE UP AND ASK FOR A REALLY PRETTY ROMANTIC PEICE OF MUSIC THAT WAS A LITTLE SAD. SO HE PLAYED SEVERAL TUNES, I DON'T REMEMBER THE NAME OF THEM, SORRY. BUT THEY WERE LOVELY, AND THE WAY THE MUSIC ECHOED AGAINST THE BUILDING ON ON SIDE OF HIM AND WAS LOST INTO THE NIGHT ON THE OTHER SIDE OF HIM WAS QUITE FASCINATING.

THEN TODAY WAS THE FEAST OF OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY. I'M IN THE CHOIR AT TMC, AND FOR THE FEAST DAY THE CHOIR SANG THE AVE MARIS STELLA AND THE GREGORIAN CHANT AVE MARIA. IT WAS WONDERFULLY BEAUTIFUL BEINGA BLE TO SING. I PASSIONATELY LVOE MUSIC, AND IT'S ALL THE BETTER WHEN YOU CAN BE APRT OF IT, BECAUSE- HAVE YOU NITICED- MUSIC THAT IS PLAYED REALLY WELL IS ALIVE? HAVE YOU NOTICED THAT- THAT GOOD MUSIC IS ALIVE? AND THEN WHEN YOU'RE ACTUALLY PART OF THE MUSIC, PART OF YOUR OWN SOUL IS GOING INTO MAKING THAT SOUND BEAUTIFUL, AND IN ITS BEAUTY IS GROWS AND IS ALIVE.


THEN AFTER MASS I HAD NATURAL HISTORY, IN WHICH WE ARE LEARNING DIFFERENT TYPES OF TREES AND BIRDS OF NEW ENGLAND. TODAY OUR TEACHER TOOK US ON A FIELD TRIP TO THE 'GREAT MEADOW NATURAL RESCOURCE'. IT'S A LOVELY PLACE. HE SHOWED US DIFFERENT TREES AND PLANTS, AND THEN GAVE US AN ASSIGNMENT AND WE WERE FREE TO EXPLORE FOR AN HOUR. THIS PHOTO IS VERY LIKE WHAT WE FOUND:


WELL, IT'S BEEN FABULOUS, I MUST SAY. KEEP ME IN YOUR PRAYERS, AND I AM PRAYING FOR ALL OF YOU.
p.s. If you click on the pictures you can see them enitrely. None of the photoes except the religious painting were small enough to fit completely in the space Blogger gives, but if you click on them you can see the complete photo. Also click on the drawing below of Cardinal Newman that was drawn by my Dad!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Gallery II ~ My Dad

IN THIS SECOND GALLERY POST, I WOULD LIKE TO SHINE THE SPOTLIGHT ON MY DAD, IN HONOR OF HIS BIRTHDAY TO DAY (AND NAME SAINT FEAST DAY LAST THURSDAY, AS I RECALL)...

The drawing above is of Blessed Cardinal Newman, recently beatified by Pope Benedict XVI. It was done with charcoal from a photograph of Cardinal Newman.

Below is an oil painting of St. Bernadette. Dad worked on it for years. My mom and my brothers and I would come down to Dad's studio in the basement after he had spent all night awake painting and study the painting. Sometimes it was hard to tell what he had worked on all night, but other times it quite caught our breath away. my brothers and I refer to this painting as 'Dad's masterpeice'.




My dad has gone and still goes to several art clubs where artists will get together to paint a model. This is one his best from those sessions.

And here is the link to Dad's blog where you can find photoes of some more of his work: http://http://runartist.wordpress.com/




Feel free to comment on my Dad's blog!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Curious Observation

It has rained everyday this past week, almost non-stop. The only days it did not rain were Wednesday and Saturday. Wednesday was particularly sunny.
Wednesday was the feast of the Archangels, Sts. Raphael, Michael, and Gabriel. (St. Raphael is fantastic, by the way.)
Saturday was the feast of Guardian Angels.






















Monday, September 27, 2010

Wisdom Chapter 6

You can find Wisdom Chapter 6 online here.

Keeping Wisdom's laws->Love-> desire of discipline-> Wisdom -> incorruptibly-> God

Of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, Self-control is the seventh. By self-control of the desire of discipline, we control our tendencies toward sin and keep our desire for goodness pure. As it is explained n chapters 1 ad 4, Wisdom cones to those who are good and pure. It is by love that we persevere in disciplining ourselves, for out of love of God and of what is good and of other people, we restrain ourselves from doing thoughtless and reckless things. Restraining ourselves from doing stupid things, keeping our desires pure, and acting accordingly is nothing less than living by Wisdom's laws. Living thus is living virtuously, which leads to heaven. So by desiring discipline, and keeping that desire alive and pure with love, and living according to it we receive Wisdom, the first of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. In this way we reach heaven where we will be forever united with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wisdom Chapter 5

Chapter 5 of Wisdom can be found here.

Although verses 3-15 are told from the point of view of wicked people, it is very truthful. Two things I find particularly insightful:
1) The connection between understanding and God. The minds of the wicked were clouded with sin so that they could not understand why the good were living as they were. As chapter 1 says, sin separates us from God, leaving us without wisdom, for "wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul." (1:4) This makes sense especially if the definition of wisdom is "the taste for goodness" as st. Bernard of Clairveiux said. For if one is in love with sins, one's 'tastes' are so askew that one cannot recognize goodness, and if one did 'taste' goodness, it would seem putrid. Catholic Masses always begin with the confiteor so that we may understand the wisdom spoken to us in the readings and Gospel and the living wisdom within us that is the Eucharist.
2) The lack of legacy. The good people have a legacy without going to any special effort to make a legacy. For when good things are done, they are good because they are done in God who is eternal. The wicked, however, leave no legacy, for there is no life except in God. And God draws even greater good from evil, so that everything that is wicked is eclipsed by God's goodness.
This chapter concludes with the destruction of the unwise, for not only are they unwise, but they are unwise because they are sinful and have rejected God.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Ascent and Prostrate

While hiking through the mountains as orientation for TMC last week, I thought of how all people seem to have a deep desire to ascend. We desire to strive,to go beyond limits, to soar and be unbonded. Perhaps that's why we climb mountains. It's like the mentality of the Tower of Babel wasn't just those people at that time. It is all of us always. And we are constantly building little Towers of Babel in our lives to be like ladders to carry us up. I think God has implanted this desire in us, as something curiously human, something to take us up to heaven where all that is human will be fulfilled in His magnificent glory. This desire then is a good and pure passion, and it drives us to seek purification and ascention from all that is muddied with sin and evilness. If sin is the lack of good, then sinning is lacking goodness. And if we are made to BE good, then sinning is ceasing, to some degree, to BE. Every time we sin we die a little.

Then during Mass that evening, kneeling on rock, it occured to me that it is when we lower ourselves that we become most human. It is when we cast ourselves down that we are entirely human, for it is then that everything in us in univocally in accord with what we are: lowly, helpless creatures before our awesome God. I think of when the priest prostrates himself at the Tres Ores on Good Friday- that is the true image of humanity. And every Tridentine Mass begins with the priest kneeling and begging God for forgiveness and to accept his prayers. And when we confess out sins, and when we recieve Christ in the Eucharist, we kneel.

It is when we cast ourselves down, accepting the patheticness of our fallen human state that God can elevate us. Only Christ could ascend, for He is God. Even the sinless Virgin Mary was carried into heaven- assumed. We cannot take ourselves up, but we can humble ourselves to accept God's help. So when we truly and sincerely cast ourselves down before God, kneel with all our hearts, and admit of the burden of our sins and our flaws- then God can lift our flaws and carry us up to Himself.

The next day I was really tired, and it was an even bigger mountain we were climbing, and then we had to climb all the way back down again, so my prayer was, "Lord what strength I have is in You. Carry me up, then help me back down again."

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Wisdom Chapter 4

Chapter 4 of Wisdom can be found here.

I find it very interesting that it is in matters of chastity that the good prove their goodness and in death that the good are blessed. Humans have a spectacularly deep longing for union, given to us by God so that we will thirst for Him and seek Him. The ultimate union is between God and us in heaven. God gives us Himself to unite us to Himself on earth in the Eucharist.
And He gives union with friends, parents, sibling, and primarily with one's spouse to be like peices of heaven on earth so that we can help each other get to heaven. It is in living virtuously in these unions that we attain to the Ultimate Union, so that our passage to God - death - becomes a blessed thing. But those who distort and pervert the God-given unions with family and spouse defile themselves so that they cannot enter into the Ultimate Union with God forever in heaven. So it is very imprtant to be chaste; for as verse 11 and 12 say, perversion changes one's understanding so taht one's mind is twisted. Jesus said, "Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God." (St. Matthew 5:8)

Monday, August 23, 2010

A good bye post

For many years she has been my sister. But she still is, but she is going of to college. I will be missing her. It is kinda cool that I get her room; I won't be sleeping in the living room any more. But on the other hand I won't have some one to pick on (only for fun). Elisabeth is awesome because of her points on everything. She looks on all sides of thing and is a big help. Life for me will be a bit more boring without her because of the positive attitude (usually). The logic I must say is a little annoying, but it is cool that she is so smart. When summer break comes around again, life will feel a bit more whole, I guess. That's the best way I can put it.



christopher

Playlists galore!

OK. So I'm leaving in two days. And I have been working on compiling two more playlists. The first is the one I promised about a bazillion years ago of all the music I was dancing and writing to that I could find on playlist.com. The other is this insane conglomeration of insanity. Please don't define me by what you hear on it. Just enjoy it, laugh at me, and fast forward the songs you don't like. Neither of these two new playlists are on autostart, but the original cogito et scribo list is. So if you want to change, scroll down, turn off cogito et scribo and turn on the list you want.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Packing



This is driving me insane; I am really really busy, and as much as I love it, it's driving me nuts. But it's still kind of adventurous, I guess. I can't figure out what my emotions are, or should be, except for sadness at leaving my friends- the two dearest most wondrous people in the universe.

And my thoughts are so overwhelmed trying to comprehend what it means to be going out of state for college that sometimes I find my brain freezing up with simple questions like 'how many wash cloths did I just put in my suitcase ten seconds ago?'


It's all so crazy. I feel like maybe I should be ecstatic about this. But I'm not really...


Honestly, I can only take so much. Packing just wears me out because of all it means. I don't know. Just pray for me.

But underneath all that, I am truly very happy. I love finding the truth, and I know this is what is good for me, what God wants for me. I've prayed about this a lot. Please keep me in your prayers.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wisdom Chaper 3

Here are my thoughts on the 3rd chapter of Wisdom, which can be found here.

Picking up where the last chapter left off with speaking of the good man's martyrdom, this chapter begins by showing that death is not a miserable thing for good people. While chapter 2 begins with evil people's despair at death, chapter 3 begins with how the good need not fear death at all; in fact, for the good, death is good.

Tolkien writes of death in the Silmarillion, chapter 1:
"It is one with this gift of freedom that t he children of Men dwell only a short space int eh world alive, and are not bound to it, and depart soon [...] But the sons of Men die indeed, and leave the world [...]. Death is their fate, the gift of Iluvatar [...] But Melkor (the most evil god) has cast his shadow upon it, and confounded it with darkness, and brought forth evil out of good, and fear out of hope."

Verse 9 is very insightful of human nature and how humans react to God. There is a definite connection between understanding truth and trusting God; the more one trusts what God has revealed and trusts Him rather than questioning everything, the more one can learn and discover the answers to the questions we all naturally have about what God has revealed to us. And loyalty in love definitely leads to rest, not just in love of God but in all relationships. For the more and the longer one loves, the more that love becomes a habit and part of one's essence. Such love is stable and persevering; the loved one can rest in its certainty.

The wicked shall be punished by their own devices. For sin involves a selfish turning inward of one's focus; so the consequences of sin fall like a poorly built structure collapsing in on itself. Those who believe in abortion and contraception will probably be defeated, if by nothing else, than by there eventually being no one left alive to continue their side of the war.

The rest of the chapter states the consequences of rejecting wisdom. Basically, without wisdom, you're life will be pathetic. Wisdom, with discipline, gives happiness. It makes your hope worthwhile, your labors fruitful, and your words profitable. So with wisdom, your thoughts, words and actions have merit.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Wisdom Chapter 2

Here are my thoughts on the second chapter of Wisdom, which can be found online here.

Here is summarized the mentality of wicked people. Whether or not the righteous man really is disgusted by them, the wicked people perceive disgust. The wicked seek to avoid the truth. People who do not live in accord with the truth naturally want to avoid it and are even afraid of it because the truth necessitates reform, which means admits one's deeds are sinful and then not sinning. The righteous, as disgusted as they may act toward the wicked, are still a painful contradiction to all the wicked tell themselves is true. So the wicked wish to exterminate the righteous. As if by exterminating the ones who live by the truth they may exterminate the truth. It seems that in many complicated situations if one wants to know the truth, one has only to look to those who have been killed.













The photos are of Blessed Miguel Pro's martyrdom.

Friday, July 30, 2010

What is Wisdom?

A priest at my church gave a homily several weeks ago in which he said that someone had said wisdom was the taste for goodness. That phrase got locked in my brain and now I'm searching for the original definition and who originally said it.
What I have found is Old Testament-St. David, St. Augustine, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, and a lot of common sense wisdom from my mother. You can read the full article here. The specific words I googled are high-lighted.
St. David says in Psalm 118:66: "Teach me goodness and discipline and knowledge." After reading the book of Wisdom by David's son Solomon, I think those three things pretty much sum up what wisdom is. Wisdom, being a good thing, naturally has goodness as a part of it. Discipline, as is explained in chapter 6 of the Book of Wisdom, leads to Wisdom and it helps us to be willing to follow Wisdom's laws, which leads us to heaven, our final destination. From the beginning of recorded thought, with Socrates and Aristotle and what not, Wisdom has been seen as a step up from knowledge, thought different philosophers have defined this 'step up' differently. My mother has said that the step up is the ability to use knowledge for the good of other people. I think my mother is very close to the truth; her idea combines all three elements stated by David: knowledge- a thing of our intellects, put into our action- that would entail discipline, for the good of others.
St. Augustine and St. Bernard of Clairvaux give some sensory language to their understanding of what wisdom is. The version of the Bible which St. Augustine used had the word 'sweetness' instead of 'goodness' in Psalm 118:66. So St. Augustine read 'Teach me sweetness...' From this he realized the necessity of experiencing the sweetness of Christ before being able to handle the hardships of following Christ. My mother often compared the spiritual adventure to God handing us a bowl of candy. Day by day He removes more of the candy till there is an empty bowl; that is when He asks us to follow Him for His sake, that our love be purely centered on Him and not on anything else. St. Bernard of Clairvaux adds to this concept when he says, "where there is love there is found not labor but flavor." St. Bernard sees wisdom as that which makes the journey sweet and makes the soul able to taste what it is meant to taste. "When wisdom enters it renders dull the carnal sense, purifies the intellect, heals and restores the palate of the heart. So that now, having a healthy palate, it has a taste for the good." This makes a tone of sense when considered in the light of how Christ compared heaven to a feast and in the light of the Eucharist.

"To taste and see that the Lord is sweet- that is wisdom." So wrote St. Bernard. So wisdom then is a taste for what is good (for the Lord is the ultimate good) (When Plato wrote of The Good, he had a beginning grip of the concept of one, benevolent God.) Let us complete this view of wisdom, which looks on wisdom in terms of taste, by seeing how knowledge and discipline fit in.
Knowledge fits in if it is the right kind of knowledge. The right kind would be that which leads us to the Lord and so helps us to reach that for which we hunger and thirst. In the Litany of the Holy Spirit, one line is "Holy Spirit, grant us the only necessary knowledge." (Wisdom, btw, is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.) St. Bernard wrote:
"[The milk of contemplative prayer is better] than the wine of worldly knowledge which, to be sure, is inebriating, but with curiosity, not with charity. It fills us up but does not nourish; it puffs up but does not edify, it replenishes but gives no strength."
Discipline fits in because it is through discipline that we persevere and trust in our spiritual adventure. Discipline gives us the strength to keep going and to realize, beyond our pain, that it is sweet to seek for the Lord. Discipline gives us the ability to not question but to trust the Lord to lead us to Himself. If we can discipline our rebellion and our impatience and our curiosity to know about everything now, then we can persevere till death.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wisdom Chapter 1

My spiritual director suggested I read from the Bible every morning. So I have been, kind of. Anyway, after I read I write my thoughts, and I thought I might share them.
So here is the link to chapter 1, Douay-Rheims translation.
And here are my thoughts on Wisdom Chapter 1:

There is discord between what is good, simple, and alive and what is evil, complex, and seeking death. The first part of this chapter speaks of how people who are good and simple are aided by God. Simplicity is often considered a sign of foolishness, yet in the context of serving God (and not one's self) it is good. It makes on e open to Him and willing to accept Him and admit we need Him.
The second part is all about the corruption of the unjust and how God does not help them. God is almost too polite, the way He lets us push Him away. But that's how love is - it accepts and knows when it is unaccepted.
Finally, this chapter speaks of destruction versus how God made us to exist. It often takes incredible strength to be OK with existing, and again simplicity helps. Sometimes the answers to life's questions seem too simple or short, and it feels like one must keep looking for more, but that only adds unwanted complications. It takes resignation to be simple, because it means being more reliant on God. But as the first part of the chapter says, it is with simplicity that we find God and in simplicity that He aids us.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Joys of Having a Best Friend

A while back I did a really sarcastic post called the joys of college. But this is a for real post:

The Joys of Having a Best Friend

Dedicated to 'Ardhoniel' on her return from camp

When there's no one to talk to, there is your best friend.
When you're wishing someone would remember you and do something to show they care,
when you least expect it, your best friend does something incredibly sweet.
When you wish you weren't so alone, your best friend calls.
When no one seems to care to listen, your best friend does;
even if she doesn't give a darn about what you're saying,
she listens because she is your best friend.
When you want desperately to be able to have someone to love,
to dedicate all your life and energy to, there is your best friend.
When you desire a companion, and when you desire to be a companion,
through thick and thin, she is there.
When your life seems hollow and meaningless, she is there to give to.
When there are words to write, but no one to write them for, she is there.
When there are posts to type, but no one to type for, she is there.
When there are prayers to be prayed, but no one to pray for, she is there.
When there are tears to shed, but no one to shed them for, she is there.
When there is laughter, but no one one to laugh for, she is there.
When you want a reason to run and there's no one to run for, she is there; and even though it's really hot out and you're going down a highway you can run because she is finally home from camp and she's so contagiously happy!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ethos and Eros

I have 20 minutes before my apointment for internet is over; I'm at the library since the internet at home crashed. ok, 19 minutes now. Here's what I have to share with you:

Ethos and Eros are two types of love. Love, as I've said before, is wanting the best for someone and being willing to sacrifice to give that person the best.

Ethos. Jesus tells us to love our enemies. But who the heck wants to sacrifice for an enemy? This is when we need God. He loves all of His creatures, and we can only love those who are hard to love when we love with His love. God's love for us and our love of God is called agape. When we let agape spill out of us and share it with our fellow-humans, that is ethos. Ethos should be at the foundation of every relationship, from spouse to annoying naighbor (but don't look to me as an example of it).

Eros. This is the love between lovers and spouses. With this love the two aspire to God. I think it is like when you touch the one you love you are both reaching out together and touching God. Eros can get pretty darn perverted when it does not have agape as its example and ethos as its foundation,so it must be fused with agape. (Again, don't look to me as an example.)

So I am posting this to encourage myself and all of you to find love in God and so love others with the love of God. I pray we all are in heaven together someday where all the labours of loving our neighbors and (as of now future) spouses will be fulfilled in the satisfying overwhelming love of God. For ethos and eros are both like stairs to climb. Their foundation is agape and they reach to agape.

For more on this, read Deus Caritas Est by Pope Benedict XVI and The Love that Satisfies by Christopher West.
Hope you liked this post!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Truth 2- Post in progress

1 Two types of truth and their relation to each other:
In a post I did back on December 2, 2009, I talked about how truth is the correspondence of reason and reality. There 2 types of truth: truths of reason and truths of faith. Both are reasonable. The difference is that the first WE can figure out with our reasons, the second we can't figure out with our reasons, so we have to take them by faith. They follow God's reasoning. Also, one helps the other. The Catechism talks about the relationship between these types of truth in paragraph #158:

"Faith seeks understanding":33 it is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put his faith, and to understand better what He has revealed; a more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love. The grace of faith opens "the eyes of your hearts"34 to a lively understanding of the contents of Revelation: that is, of the totality of God's plan and the mysteries of faith, of their connection with each other and with Christ, the center of the revealed mystery. "The same Holy Spirit constantly perfects faith by his gifts, so that Revelation may be more and more profoundly understood."35 In the words of St. Augustine, "I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe."36


33 St. Anselm, Prosl. prooem.:PL 153,225A.
34 Eph 1:18.
35 DV 5.
36 St. Augustine, Sermo 43,7,9:PL 38,257-258.


So reason helps faith and faith helps reason.
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2 Difficulty of Finding Truths of Reason
(This is from Humanis Generis by Pope Pius x11 which is quoted in the Catechism here.)
Truths of Reason
are not easy to discover. The Truths of reason that have to do with God and His relationship to us are particularly hard for three main reasons, as Pope Pius XII says in his encyclical Humani Generis:
"Though human reason is, strictly speaking, truly capable by its own natural power and light of attaining to a true and certain knowledge of the one personal God, who watches over and controls the world by his providence, and of the natural law written in our hearts by the Creator; yet there are many obstacles which prevent reason from the effective and fruitful use of this inborn faculty. For the truths that concern the relations between God and man wholly transcend the visible order of things."


1. These truths cannot be sensed. Jesus was present on earth about 2000 years ago, and the Eucharist is present with us now, but none of this makes any sense (no pun intended) if you do not even believe in a God. And the existence of God and His relationship to us is not something we can sense.

"If they [these truths of reason about God and His relation to us] are translated into human action and influence it, they call for self-surrender and abnegation."


2. They demand self-surrender and self-sacrifice. Having a God means having someone you have to bow to. And many if not all people do not like, in fact, detest, bowing to anyone (Example #1: me).

"The human mind, in its turn, is hampered in the attaining of such truths, not only by the impact of the senses and the imagination, but also by disordered appetites which are the consequences of original sin."


3. Senses, imagination, and evil passions have a tendency to get in the way of the reason. An example of how the senses get in the way is the man in Letter 1 of Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. On the verge of a spiritual discovery, the man is driven by 'his demon' and hunger out of where he thinking into the street, where he sets aside his thoughts as silly compared to what he senses, which he calls "real life". An example of imagination getting in the way is me during Speech class last semester. An example of evil passions getting in the way is how sins against purity especially cloud the mind. "Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God." ~St. Matthew 5:8 (Douay-Rheims Bible)

"So it happens that men in such matters easily persuade themselves that what they would not like to be true is false or at least doubtful."



3 Truth and Truthfulness

Truth, in the strict sense, is a concept in our intellects. We can't see it or hear it or taste truth (We can see and hear things which are true, for example, reading the Bible or catechism, and we can taste something that is true, for example, the Eucharist, but we can not see, hear, or taste truth, just things that are true.). Rather than sensing truth, we understand truth with our intellects via reason and faith.
'God is the Truth' refers to truth's utter source Who IS the very things of which He is the source. For example, "My words are true."
Truthfulness is the quality of being true
. It is when one's actions, especially one's words, line up with what is true. For example, "I am being truthful."
"To be truthful is to act and think in agreement with what is reasonable and real, especially by not misrepresenting reality in our words."~ From the essay I wrote- 'Rediscovering Love' for TMC's Faith and Reason Essay Scholarship.
Our understanding of truth has meaning and fulfillment when our lives are truthful.
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4 Relationship of Truth and Intellect
While part 1 classified 2 types of truth by their source, there are three ways to classify truth by its relationship to the intellect.
The intellect is the reason. It is the faculty of the mind which thinks; it is the part I am using now, even though it is 12:30 am. So, the three types of truth according to relationship to intellect (quotes from Pocket Catholic Dictionary by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., definition of Truth):

Logical Truth:

"In logical truth, the mind is conformed or in agreement with things outside of the mind, either in assenting to what is or in denying what is not. Its opposite is error."
When the mind is in tune with what is outside of it. When we know what is and know what isn't and accept that as true. The opposite is error, when a person is mistaken about what is or isn't. For Example, it is logically true that you are reading this. It is an error that you are not on a computer.


Metaphysical Truth:

In metaphysical or ontological truth, things conform with the mind. This in primary conformity, when something corresponds to the idea of its maker, and it is secondary conformity when something in intelligible and therefore true to anyone who knows it.
Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that deals with first causes and sources. So metaphysical truth has to to do with things according tot heir source. When the things outside of the mind conform to the mind. This happens on two levels: 1) When something matches up to the idea of its maker (its maker is its source). 2) When something is understandable, so it is true to anyone who knows it. When the reality of what is made makes sense to someone's reason: a correspondence of reality and reason. For Example, this post is metaphysically true because it is turning out according to my plan. It is metaphysically true to you if you can understand it.

Moral Truth:

In moral truth, what is said conforms with what is on one's mind. This is truthfulness and its opposite is falsehood.
When what we say matches what we are thinking. This is truthfulness. the opposite is falsehood, when you tell a lie. For Example, this post is morally true because it aligns with what I believe.

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5 Two Properties/Qualities of Truth:

(I think 'properties' is the right word).
Truth is Universal. That means that no matter where you are, from on the computer reading this post to on the 10,056th planet, what's true is true.
Truth is Eternal. That means that no matter when you lived, from today to the year 10,056, what's true is true.
These properties are a big help when it comes to sharing the truth. The truth is the easiest thing to communicate because while things like status and historical era and culture are different for people, the truth is not different and it does not change.
These properties of universal and eternal are evident in this quote:
"Truth, by enabling men and women to let go of their subjective opinions and impressions, allows them to move beyond cultural and historical limitations to come together in the assessment of the value and substance of things. Truth opens and unites our minds in the 'logos' of love: this is the Christian proclamation and testimony of charity." ~Introduction to 'Caritas in Veritate' by Pope Benedict XVI

Truth allows us to move beyond cultural and historical limitations. Because Truth is beyond those limitations. Because truth is not a human invention. It is divine. God is the Truth.
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6 Truth's Universality and Eternity as shown by the Intellect
In other words, the relationship between the two properties of truth and the strict sense of truth as a concept in the intellect (which we know via faith and reason).

So the concept of truth is in our intellects, and with that in mind we can see that if there seems to be change in truth, it is not in the truth itself, but in the intellect.
St. Thomas Aquinas wrote in the Summa Theologica, in answer to the question



7 Relativity and Truth
Now, there is a screwy idea out there that truth is when two people agree on something. That is watering truth down so that it is the slave of perception. Say two color- blind people looked at my blog and thought the themes were pink or green, but the truth would be that it's mostly brown. Or consider back when people thought the world was flat. Plenty of people agreed that it was flat, but that didn't make it true that it was flat. The world is round is round is round. Truth doesn't change just because we don't know what is true.
Truth doesn't change? Really? Well, what about the truth that I'm typing right now. In half an hour that will change to I am eating dinner. But it is still and will always be true for all people in all ages that at 7:37pm on April 26 2010 the person known as philosopher was typing a brainstorm post about truth on her blog, 'Cogito et Scribo'.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Arf

Hi again; I'm sorry I haven't been blogging lately. I just can't get anything of the things I want to blog about into sentences. But anyway, I do have one thing to share.
See, I work at the library, and while I was straightening up the library for closing I found this scrap of paper which some kid had scribbled on. Maybe I'm kind of weird, but I thought the cartoon was really cute (I hate that word, but that's the best word to describe it), so I took it home and photographed it and here it is:


Monday, April 12, 2010

Bit of Poetic Prose


Speaking of how a poet and philosopher are alike, here is a bit of poetic prose written by 'philosopher', yours truly, for my friend, about seeing the ocean last month:

The ocean was just how I had imagined it. It was grey-green, and everywhere slivers of land were running down and slipping away into it. It rippled and lapped like a music from a memory, as peaceful as if it were always like that and would be like that for ever and ever. Cold rain dripped down everywhere, and a chill wind shivered in the air, but the ocean remained calm,
melodious.















Photos are by my brother; is he good with a camera or what?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thomas More College


Well, guess who got accepted to Thomas More College last month? And whose essay for T.M. C.'s Faith and Reason essay contest won them quite a large piece of their tuition covered?







Those who want to can spend two weeks in Oxford...











All Full Time students spend one semester of their sophomore year in Rome...




























Here is the link to Thomas More College's website, where I got these photos.

Please pray for me that everything continues to work out as well as it has so far.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Why the Catholic Church Has No Women Priests

That is the name of a speech I wrote for the speech class I am taking. I think it came out well, and since it is such an often asked question, I thought I'd type here the answer I gave in my speech:

A question about the Catholic Church that has come up in recent times is why the Catholic Church does not ordain women priests. The Church is often considered sexist for this. I researched the writing of Pope John Paul II, who was Pope from 1978 to 2005. His Address to General Audiences on July 27, 1994 and his Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis especially discuss this question.

I think this question needs to be addressed because just as we need to know what is going on politically, we should also know what is happening when it comes to religion. Whether we belong to one religion or another, or even believe in a God at all, we all come in contact with people of many beliefs everyday. By knowing what is going on religiously, especially in such a big and often controversial religion as the Catholic Church, we can know what beliefs are effecting people we come in contact with, and so we can better understand how their beliefs will effect us. So, in this speech -blog post-, I will explain the Catholic Church's reasons for not ordaining women priests and then I will explain why this is not sexist.

The reason, essentially, is that Jesus did not chose any women to be Apostles. The apostles were the twelve followers which Christ specifically chose. At the Last Supper Jesus gave the Apostles the power of celebrating the Eucharist in His name. After His resurrection He gave them the power of forgiving sins. Jesus also gave His Apostles the mission of evangelization. Celebrating the Eucharist, forgiving sins, and evangelization are the essence of the priesthood. So Jesus gave the powers of priesthood to the Apostles, who were all men, and to no one else.

The Church has no power to change what Jesus did. Rather, the Church has the mission of continuing and spreading what Christ did. So since Jesus only gave the priesthood to men, then the Church does likewise, preserving what Jesus did. The priest continues what Christ did by representing Christ to the people. As Christ is a man, so must the priest be.

Jesus was not sexist in choosing only men, nor was He forced to choose only men because of the mentality toward women at His time. I found out from a Jewish friend that there was at Christ's time a group of men call the 'Essenes' who lived in the dessert and thought that it was impure to associate with women. Jesus went against this and any such view of women by allowing and welcoming women to follow Him. He talked openly with women, and even stood up for an adulteress against the people who would have killed her for adultery. God also chose to honor a woman above all His creation by giving this woman, Mary, the distinction of being the Mother of Christ and caring for Jesus as He grew up. Mothers have this added honor of being like Mary, hte Mother of God. So Jesus did not deny women anything, but gave them a differnt role.

That is why hte Catholic Church has no women priests. Ina nutshell, Jesus chose only men to give the priesthood to. Because of how Jesus was against distorted views of women, we know He made this choice freely. And the Church continues what Jesus did.

Friday, February 19, 2010

ART IV ~ The Problem of the Artist

So far I have stupidly left out a huge piece of art: the artist. So, I shall discuss the artist, using the Catechism of the Catholic Church as my guide. So, once again, let's read CCC 2501:
Created "in the image of God," man also expresses the truth of his relationship with God the Creator by the beauty of his artistic works. Indeed, art is a distinctively human form of expression; beyond the search for the necessities of life which is common to all living creatures, art is a freely given superabundance of the human being's inner riches. Arising from talent given by the Creator and from man's own effort, art is a form of practical wisdom, uniting knowledge and skill, to give form to the truth of reality in a language accessible to sight or hearing. To the extent that it is inspired by truth and love of beings, art bears a certain likeness to God's activity in what he has created. Like any other human activity, art is not an absolute end in itself, but is ordered to and ennobled by the ultimate end of man.
Let's analyze this, breaking it down sentence by sentence...
1. Man is created in God's image; he expresses that in the beauty of art.
2. Art is specifically a human endeavor; it is a generous expression of the riches in a human.
3. Art arises from talent and effort, and it unites knowledge and skill in a form of practical wisdom for the purpose of giving form to the truth of reality in languages that we can see and hear.
4. As it is inspired by truth and love of beings, it is like God's creating.
5. Like anything else human, it is not an end, but it has order and nobleness from the end of man.

As you can see, there are some very important connections being formed here. First let's consider the one stated in sentences One and Four: 1. That man's making art is like God's creating man 2. because both are inspired by truth and love of beings, and 3. that this relationship is expressed in the beauty of art.

Adam in the Garden of Eden

1. Man's making art is like God's creating man- we are created in God's image, and the art that we make somehow reflects us. An effect always is similar to its source, or cause, because it has nothing of its own but what came from the cause. Even when an artist says a painting took on a life of its own, the painting is still coming form the artist, just in very unexpected and surprising ways.

Painting by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the
Sistine Chapel, showing God creating Adam


2. Both God's creating and man's making art are inspired by truth and love of beings- Love naturally spreads to include more and more people, which is evident in how a family begins as man and wife and spreads to include children. God did not need to create anything, but being love, He wanted to extend love to more beings. as the Catechism says in paragraph 1, "God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life." God's love for us, and the truth of His love, and the Truth which God gives us because He loves us continues and will continue for all time; that is "God's activity in what He has created." Art comes, more or less, from the artist's observation of truth within or outside of himself, and for love of some being. This calls to mind two quotes from the Introduction of Caritas in Veritate by Pope Benedict XVI: 1. "love and truth never abandon them (all people) completely, because these are the vocation planned by God in the heart and mind of every human person." 2. "Truth should be loved and demonstrated."

Painting by Jack Hayes of Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel

3. This relation is expressed by the beauty of art- As we said in 'ART III~ The Problem of Beauty', the more a things is beautiful, whether in a sensual or intellectual way, the more a thing is like God, who is the most beautiful. So it is in the beautifulness of art that the viewer, or audience, can grasp the profound relationship he, the artist, and all people have with God. It is through beauty that lies one of the clearest ways of leading our thoughts to God. God directly manifests Himself in the beauty of creation (also discussed in 'The Problem of Beauty'). People directly and indirectly, intentionally and unintentionally, manifest their Creator and their relationship to Him in art.
Then it seems that when art does not reflect this relationship in a good way, but rather distorts it and mocks it, it is a great sin. For the relationship between man and God is sacred.
Lucifer by Jackson Pollock
Further posts concerning sentences 2, 3, and 5 are on the way!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Gallery I ~Ikons


I'm not just going to talk to you about art; I am going to show you some art. So here is the first Gallery post; subject matter: Ikons.