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Showing posts from October, 2010

Some Highlights from My Hiatus

For the past 4 days I have taken a brief hiatus from writing posts for this blog.  I did this primarily for two reasons: 1) To take a creative break and 2) To take care of other responsibilities.   1) Creative Break-I read somewhere that sometimes the best thing that a writer can do is to take a creative break. Writing although very rewarding is hard work.  There are times where I feel my brain is slow like molasses and I struggle to come up with anything that is even mildly interesting. I have a million ideas but I just can't seem to find the words to express them. I took this break to recapture my creative spark. 2) To take care of other responsibilities. As most of you well know I am in the midst of a grueling job search, going on interviews and filling numerous applications.  On top of that I had other important responsibilities that needed my full, undivided attention.I am a firm believer that writing although very important should not come at the expense of my other responsi…

Renee Rewards:"The eternal love story"

For the past month I have been transcribing the memoirs of a dear, elderly friend of ours named Frankie.  As I was transcribing the recorded conversations today I was inspired by her retelling of her parents love. ( I will be speaking more in depths about this beautiful love story in future posts)  In a heartrending scene Frankie described how when her mother died, her father stood by the coffin the entire time holding her hands; a fitting and beautiful conclusion to their "everlasting love story" As I was transcribing this moving scene I instantly thought of this great song covered by Johnny Cash called, "Love's been Good to Me"

This scene of everlasting love made me reflect on how much I love my wife.  She is God's greatest gift to me, she means everything to me, she is the calm of every storm, the comfort of all my trials, the rock of my life. I know that no matter how difficult the trials might be I will always have my dearest Renee standing right, next…

A wonderful parable...

Today as I went to mass I came across this parable by Fr. John Tauler, who was an influential Domincan priest and preacher of 14th century. I was deeply moved by its profound message of divine trust.  Read carefully and meditate upon these words,

"Going to the church door, the Master met a beggar there.  He was in a miserable plight, his feet covered with mud and all his tattered clothes not worth three pennies.  The Master said: "Good day, my friend." The beggar: "I never remember to have had a bad day my whole life long." The Master: "May God grant you prosperity." The beggar: " I never have known adversity." The Master: "Well then, may God make thee happy." The beggar : "I have never been unhappy." The Master: "At any rate, may God save you.  And I beg you to speak more plainly to me, for I do not catch your meaning." The beggar: " You did bid me good day and I answered that I have never had a bad one. …

Yes this is really New Jersey

So what's the first thing you think of when you hear about New Jersey?  Is it the hit series "The Sopranos?"  Is it the Goethals Bridge? Is it the now infamous "Jersey Shore?"  or is it the lovely stench of fumes produced by the Bayway refinery on exit 13A of the Turnpike?  Or do you view New Jersey more as a convenient refueling stop en route to Manhattan? Regardless of your views of the state, New Jersey generally does not get a good rep when compared to other states.  However, lost in these popular generalizations are the hidden gems of the lesser populated and known parts of the state.

Renee and I this past Saturday took a autumn foliage trip to the Northwestern part of the state.  (Mostly Hunterdon county)  Our journey began at the town of Hope and ended at New Hope, Pennsylvania. (This was a coincidence, we did not intend it to be that way.) Our trip also had an unconscious, dual motive as we vigorously attempted to debunk the popular, but erroneous myths…

Humility through writing

Scholar Prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas
Creator of all things, true source of light and wisdom,
origin of all being,
graciously let a ray of your light penetrate
the darkness of my understanding.
Take from me the double darkness
in which I have been born,
an obscurity of sin and ignorance.
Give me a keen understanding,
a retentive memory, and
the ability to grasp things correctly and fundamentally.
Grant me the talent of being exact
in my explanations and the ability to express myself
with thoroughness and charm.
Point out the beginning,
direct the progress,
and help in the completion.
I ask this through Christ our Lord.

About three weeks ago I came upon this profound prayer composed by St. Thomas Aquinas.   Since I began this blog over 6 months ago I have striven greatly to maintain a spiritual outlook while writing about the things that matter most to me.  Part of maintaining this spiritual outlook involves me praying before and after I write a blog.  I do this primarily to draw up…

A great scriptual video about Mary

I stumbled upon this great video as I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Conversion Diary.(I highly suggest checking this blog out.)  I believe this video does an excellent job in explaining the scriptural ties of the Blessed Mother as it pertains to salvation history.  Since I am a verbose writer I thought that it would be better allow this video to do the talking for me. Share this video with as many people as possible.  I truly believe that it is that powerful.

The rapid decline of Spain

This past Thursday I came upon this discouraging article about sad state of Spain.( To read the article in its entirety click here.) The article spoke about the the powerful CGT transit union which announced that it would be holding a one day strike on Nov. 7 to protest the Pope's visit to Spain next month.  The CGT announced that it, "is calling a strike against the spending of public money during the visit of the pope."  The union proposed the strike on the grounds that the Spanish government should not fund the trip because of its great expense to the state. The CGT proposed instead that all of the money should be spent instead on helping the unemployed by granting them free, public transportation.  Lost in the shuffle in all of this is the fact that the 14 million euro estimate was greatly exaggerated by the union.  The actual cost was somewhere nearer to 600,000 Euros, with half of that money being raised already by private donations.

This event highlights th…

The Double Standard Lives On

Yesterday as I was reading the news, I stumbled upon a news story regarding New York's Archbishop Timothy Dolan. In his blog Dolan issued a scathing criticism of the New York Times for its decision to run an obviously anti catholic news story.  (To read Dolan's complete response click here)

The main premise of Dolan's argument was that he felt that The New York Times had a double standard when it came to reporting news that was offensive to Catholics as he stated,

"I’m talking about the common, casual way The New York Times offends Catholic sensitivity, something they would never think of doing — rightly so — to the Jewish, Black, Islamic, or gay communities."

Archbishop Dolan was also speaking about the radical, liberal, pro gay organization, Act Up which was debuting an art exhibit in the West Village. (To see the disturbing gallery click here.)  These are the same goons that had no problems disrupting mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, often times shouting …

Ah...the Sweet Memories of Middle School

First check out this preview:

Ah... do you remember those idyllic, middle school years?  Those wonderful days of confusion, where nothing in the world made any sense. Those same days in which your body began doing some unexplainable things. Those days where little Jenny from the summer before miraculously became Jennifer the half woman. Where Bobby the chunky, little, freckled faced dweeb, became Bob, the stud,armed with fresh, facial hair and a 6 inch growth spurt. Middle school is like limbo; a temporary, holding pen between one's elementary years and high school. Like the movie says, "it is a sort of intellectual wasteland." If you make it out alive during these years than you should be OK with the rest of your life.  If you can relate to any of these scenarios than The Diary of a Wimpy Kid is the movie for you.

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a hilarious movie chronicling the middle school exploits of Greg Heffley, and his best friend Rowley Jefferson. The Diary of a Wimp…

A Powerful Parable on Perseverence

Don't Let the Chicken...

It was a warm summer day sometime in August in Vinne, Slovakia.  My brothers and I spent that summer with our family that year. My aunt owned a house that was adjacent to the original farm in which our grandmother previously owned.  As children growing up we were regaled by tales of our grandmother's farm and how it contained nearly every type of farm animal imaginable. It it's heyday her farm had all types of chickens, cows, pigs, rabbits, ducks, geese, and even goats. For us fellow city dwellers going to our grandmother's gave us the opportunity to experience something that we could not at home.

My grandma had a tradition while she was still living that once a week she would kill a chicken for us so that on Sunday we could have fresh Chicken soup and cutlets.  My aunt continued this tradition even after our grandma died.

But this one time we had asked our Aunt if she could kill the chicken with one strange twist...We had asked our aunt that once she had beheaded the chick…

A Golden Opportunity Missed

Today while Renee and I went to mass we were witnesses to an unfortunate,sad, but all too common place reality of the typical, Catholic Sunday Mass.
The scene was a familiar one with the following exceptions:

The church was packed to capacity, there were people standing all over the place, crowding even the foyer of the church, totaling about 400  The church audience was very diverse encompassing all the different age spectrum's from young children to Senior adults.  Today's gospel reading was very applicable to the universal struggles of its parishioners.    Seemed like the ideal environment for a priest to be celebrating mass right?  Well not exactly.

Despite these overwhelmingly favorable factors the priest somehow managed to sadly botch it up and was not able to deliver today's wonderful gospel message of perseverance.  Instead what we got was a pathetic, whimpering homily about how the parish needed to add another monetary collection to the two other existing ones.  Wh…

Saint of the Week: St. Teresa of Avila

Today is the feast day of one of the greatest female saints, St.  Teresa of Avila.   To learn more about St.Teresa click here and here.  She is the author of the two spiritual masterpieces, The Way of Perfection,and  Interior CastleShe is also the patron saint of Headache Sufferers and Spanish Female writers. 

Here are some of her most memorable quotes:

Let nothing disturb thee; Let nothing dismay thee; All things pass; God never changes. Patience attains All that it strives for. He who has God Finds he lacks nothing:God alone suffices.”

(said of God):If this is the way you treat your friends, it's no wonder you have so few!”

“Pain is never permanent”

"To reach something good it is very useful to have gone astray, and thus acquire experience.”

“We can only learn to know ourselves and do what we can / namely, surrender our will and fulfill God's will in us.”

My personal encounter with St. Teresa came early in my conversion back to the faith.  I had previously heard of her…

What legacy will we leave behind?

During the past several days I have begun reading the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.  I was always drawn to the Franklin's unwavering dedication to being a good and moral person even in the face of his many triumphs. A great part of his success towards this noble end came from a poem that was given to him by his uncle Benjamin, when he was just a boy, the poem goes,

"Be to thy parents an obedient son; Each day let duty constantly be done; Never give way to sloth, or lust, or pride, If free you'd be from thousand ills beside;  Above all ills be sure to avoid the shelf; Man's danger lies in Satan, sin, and self. In virtue, learning, wisdom, progress make; Never shrink at suffering for thy Saviour's sake.
"Fraud and all falsehood in thy dealings flee, Religious always in thy station be; Adore the maker of thy inward part, Now's the accepted time, give him thy heart; Keep a good conscience, "tis a constant friend; Like judge and witness this thy acts attend, In h…

We are all guilty of washing our hands...

"So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this righteous man's blood; see to it yourselves...Then he released for them Barabbas and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified." Matthew 27: 24, 26

Recently I went on a job interview for a financial advisor position. The interview went fine, I did well. I connected emotionally with the recruiter and I seemed to be on cue saying all the right things. I was subsequently encouraged to move forward to the next step of the hiring process.

As I weighed my options with Renee we both determined that this opportunity was not for me. The thing that troubled us both the most was the fact that I needed to pay up front for the licensure classes and exams which would cost me well over $200.00 at the least.  I also needed to make 5 sales during a three month trial period and come up with a list of 200 p…

A family that stays together...

During these past three months Renee and I have been developing our family mission statement.   The origins of this idea came from my reading of Steven Covey's landmark work, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. In principle 2, Begin with the end in mind, Covey speaks about the importance for a person to develop a personal creed, a mission statement. Covey also wrote about how corporations, families, and church organizations should also do the same.  After several months of putting it off Renee and I finally sat down and created our own family creed.  It is our hope that our family creed would inspire other couples and families to do the same, so here it is:

Our Family Creed:
Our mission is threefold:  To grow together in holiness, to educate our children in the faith, and to bring Christ to others.
We resolve to live our entire married existence according to the following guiding principles as we: 1. Live a Christ centered life by frequent mass attendance, praying together da…

The attack of my lead, right foot: Quebec 09'

It was a cloudy, overcast day on a Tuesday morning in beautiful Beaupre, Quebec. Everything was rosy we were freshly newlywed, deeply in love, going ga ga over each other, kissing often, holding hands, probably grossing out all those that we met. But it didn't matter we were on our honeymoon, life was idyllic, life was great,  nothing could go wrong.

On that fateful Tuesday we decided to take a drive around the enchanting Ile d' Orleans which is a tiny island made up of 5 villages located right in the middle of the St. Lawrence river.  We were casually driving, taking in the sites, stopping by every chapel, making our signs of the cross-  being quietly mesmerized by the silent charm of the island.  Everything was sweet and serene until...

About midway on the island a damned School bus lodged itself in front of our car.  The speed limit was about 20 miles per hr,  but this bus was going about 10 miles, at its peak! After about 2 miles or so, (probably a half mile)  I began growi…

Jesus was not a hippie or Ned Flanders pt. II

"The world of posers is shaken by a real man,  They'll do whatever it takes to get you back in line-threaten you, bribe you, seduce you, undermine you.  They crucified Jesus, but it didn't work did it?  You must let your strength show up.  Many of us have actually been afraid to let our strength show up because the world doesn't have a place for it.  Fine. The world's screwed up.  Let people feel the weight of who you are and let them deal with it."  John Eldredge from Wild at Heart, p. 151

In my previous post on this subject Jesus was not a hippie or Ned FlandersI spoke about my personal struggles about the masculine identity of Christ.  Over these past days my struggle with the masculinity of Christ has taken on an even greater degree of severity.  As most of you know through my posts I am currently unemployed.  But beyond this great cross I have been also battling other demons.  Let me highlight some of my sufferings and trials from yesterday and this past…

Scenes from Cape Cod Pt. V (Random, Oddities)

"But this shore will never be more attractive that it is now.  Such beaches as are fashionable are here made and unmade in a day, I may almost say, by the sea shifting its sands.  Lynn and Nantasket! This bare and bended arm it is that makes the bay in which they lie so snugly.  What are springs, the waterfalls?  Here is the spring of springs, the waterfall of waterfalls.  A storm in the fall or winter is the time to visit it; a lighthouse or a fisherman's hut the true hotel.  A man my stand there and put all America behind him." Henry David Thoreau from Cape Cod, p. 318-319

Truro, The Crow's Nest.  This shot was taken from our room.  What made this shot interesting was my fascination with the lone candle on the table.  I was intrigued by the contrast of light and shade.  Also the back drop of the calm and serene ocean made this shot memorable.

Provincetown.  After passing Provincetown numerous times on our trip we stumbled upon this interesting statue.  This is one of…