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Showing posts from September, 2011

Renee Rewards: Reason 44

I love my wife Renee because we like to read to each other before going to bed.  So far we have finished, "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde and we have just begun Portrait of An Lady by Henry James. There is something so wonderful about engaging in this ancient pastime.  There is something so alluring about hearing the written word in motion as opposed to just watching TV.  Reading to each other is another way of communicating.   Try it out and I guarantee that you won't regret it.

An Amazing Miracle of St. Michael

Since today is the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel I thought that it would be appropriate to share this amazing miracle attributed to him.  To read the entire account click here. Here is a snippet:

"This is the true story of a Marine wounded in Korea in 1950. Writing to his mother, he told her of a fascinating encounter he experienced in the war.  Father Walter Muldy, a navy chaplain who spoke to the young Marine and his mother as well as to the outfit commander, always affirmed the veracity of this narrative. We heard it from someone who read the original letter and retell the story here in all its details and in the first person to better convey some of the impact it must have had when first told by the son to his mother."

Keep Plowing Forward

"Another said, 'I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.' Jesus said to him, 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9: 61-62) These were the words that spoke to me when I heard the gospel at mass today.  I couldn't think of more appropriate words than these to address my current struggle as an unemployed man. 

There are many moments when I wake up (particularly since I have been unemployed) and my mind is full of negative thoughts. These thoughts are so powerful, that it causes me too dread the first moments of my day.  Many times I given into these thoughts not because I believe them, rather because I am so beaten down by life that I do not want to fight anymore.   The Lord is telling me to fight but how can I when I barely can get out of bed each day?

Having no job is hell.  As a man this is a severe blow to my pride.  By evolution I am hard wired to be a hunter ga…

Cool Links 09.24.11

1) British Survey on ForeignersThe finding of this survey might have wide ranging implications for our friends across the pond.
2) The Real Face of Jesus.  After years of speculation this computerized image has constructed the real face of Jesus.
3) The Truth about Pope Pius XII.An excellent short article written about the heroism of this pope during World War II.
4) Apple says no to porn.Recently Steve Jobs announced that Apple would not allow any porn aps for its i Phone.
5) A Billboard Captures Obama's PhilosophyThis pithy billboard perfectly summarizes Obama's presidential philosophy.
6) Life Lessons from an Ad Man.An interesting, short video with an humorous take on advertising.
7) A formal apology form. Ideal for those desperate times when words fail.

Old Testament, New Testament, Same God?

"Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, says the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of any one, says the Lord GOD; so turn, and live."  (Ezekiel 18: 30-32)
It is a common misconception that there are two different types of Christian Gods.  The harsh, brutal God of the Old Testament and the benevolent, merciful God of the New Testament.  So which God is the real God? Well, both.  Because the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are the same God.  There is no difference between the two.  The key to understanding this duality is through understanding that God chose to reveal himself incrementally throughout history.   

I admit that I also fell into this dualistic mode of…

Lets Bring Back Ockam's Razor

William of Ockam was a 14th century Franciscan friar.  He is most famous for developing the philosophical principle of "lex parsimoniae" or "law of briefness." 

This principle simply states that:

"Things should not be done more times than they need to be." The guiding logic behind this is that if there are two possible explanations then the one that is the least complex is better.  Why?  Because the truer something is the simpler it should be.

Let's take these two phrases for example:

"The wind blew and caused the tree to fall on the house."

"The tree fell on the house."

Which out of the 2 do you think is utilizing, Ockam's principle?

If you answered the latter you are correct.  Because in the first phrase one can make many assumptions, such as the velocity of the wind, the time of the fall, other factors, etc.  You see based on this phrase one needs to make several assumptions in order to render this phrase true.  While in th…

Euthanasia & Organ Harvesting

Today I discovered this disturbing article about Euthanasia and Organ Harvesting in Belgium.   Here is an excerpt from the article:

"We don’t get to the Brave New World in one giant leap. Rather, the descent to depravity is reached by small steps. First, suicide is promoted as a virtue. Vulnerable people like Frances become early casualties. Then follows mercy killing of the terminally ill. From there, it’s a hop, skip, and a jump to killing people who don’t have a good “quality” of life, perhaps with the prospect of organ harvesting thrown in as a plum to society."
To read the two short articles click here and here.

This is very troubling. (Honestly a part of me is not surprised since this is the same country that produced Jean Claude Van Damme.) To put things into historical context the Nazi's promoted similar euthanasia programs.   First the sick were targeted, then the mentally ill, until finally an entire race. Belgium might not be a Nazi Germany, but if it be…

Kool Aid Drinkin' Bishops

I read this excerpt from the USCCB (United States Catholic Conference of Bishops) document titled: The Report on the Debt Ceiling Debate:

"There is still too little attention, discussion, or priority on how these decisions affect "the least among us." Bishop Ramírez also said at the White House, "In Washington, it often seems like Matthew 25 is 'whatsoever you do for the forgotten middle class you do unto me.'" This is not a dismissal of the needs of the middle class but simply points out that they have many champions, and those who are poor have very few.  We hope that the President and others will continue to speak more directly to these often overlooked priorities." WOW...Really?? I was outraged when I read this.  Middle class champions? Where are these so called middle class champions? The middle class are the forgotten class.  What flavor Kool Aid is Bishop Ramirez drinking? Trust me- in this highly politicized culture the poor and the …

The Dangers of Friedrich Nietzsche

This past week I finished watching an engrossing documentary titled,  "Nietzsche and The Nazi's"    I had heard previously of Friedrich Nietzsche from my past readings, but this documentary explained in full detail some of his most well known philosophies within the context of his influence on the Nazi regime.  Before I get into the details of Nietzsche's influence upon me I will give a brief background first.

Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher of the 19th century.   Some of his most famous works were, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, A Gay Science, and posthumously, The Will to Power.  One of his most famous statements was that, "God was dead."  He also developed the notion of the Übermenschwhich can be loosely translated as the "Superman." He was virulently opposed to Christianity, and Judaism.  He is an important philosopher and has shaped the opinions of many influential intellectuals in the 20th century.

I had two primary reasons for watchi…

St. Thomas More & Free Speech

Here is an excerpt from an excellent article written by Andrew Haines of First Thingsabout St. Thomas More and free speech: (To read the entire article click here.)

"While it was traditional for a Speaker to urge the King toward clemency in the event that some opinion aired should prove unpleasing to His Majesty, More went a step further. Rather than pleading merely for future pardon, he made the bold suggestion that freedom to speak one’s mind was, in fact, an essential principle of honest and profitable debate."

Be Led then Lead

"Give in? Be just commonplace? You, a sheep like follower?  You were born to be a leader! Among us there is no place for the lukewarm.  Humble yourself and Christ will kindle in you again the fire of love." St. Josemaria Escrivafrom The Way. (16) I love the urgency of this passage: the call to conquer lukewarmness, and become leaders.

Particularly, in the New Testament I am inspired by the transformation of the disciples from cowardly, ignorant, backwoods followers, to bold, inspiring, and courageous leaders, spreading the gospel throughout the ancient world.  I can totally relate to the struggles of the disciples. So many times I have chosen the path of least resistance, the peace at all costs mentality, which buries the gospel underneath a bushel. So many times I have been lukewarm and have not proclaimed the liberating, good news of Jesus.  I want to be more like the disciples after Pentecost.

I am consoled by St. Paul when he says in his second letter to the Corinthians…

Academic Writing Can Be Marxist

I discovered this interesting article about the perils of academic writing.  It is written by Gene Fant of First Things.  Here is a snippet from the article.

"I personally had one of these experiences.  One of my professors met with me about a seminar paper and he gave me what I thought was going to be a compliment.  He complimented my writing and then told me to stop writing so well.  He said something like this:
 “Gene, your writing style is very clear and concise.  Very muscular.  But it is not academic writing.  It is popular writing.  If you persist in writing clear prose, you will never get far in academic writing.  Academic writing must be turgid and convoluted.  You must force your reader to read your sentences four and five times before she can understand what you are trying to say.  You must obscure the concepts that just anyone can understand.  You must, as literally as possible, grab your reader by the throat and pull her face into the text, holding her cap…

To Love Is To Suffer

"But rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed." (1 Peter 4: 13)
Today marks the feast day of, Our Lady of Sorrows. This feast day commemorates Mary's unique role in the suffering of Jesus.

Today as I went to mass father spoke about the nature of true love.   He elaborated that to truly love another person is to suffer. He said that love does not run away from suffering, but rather true love embraces suffering, just as Mary did during Jesus' crucifixion. 

Father then spoke about a husband who stood by his wife's side while she was suffering.  He stood by her side, each and every day until she eventually died. He never left her, he suffered with her. Naturally I recoiled when I heard this.  I, like most people find suffering dreadful. But once I was able to get over my discomfort the beautiful poetic truth about suffering began to take form.

I began to ask the inevitable, What would I …

Time: What is productive time?

Over the past couple of weeks I have been thinking much about the nature of time.  As most of you know by now I have completed my internship (I still have more loose ends to tie up in order to get the diploma - it seems never ending, but its on the path to closure)  Now that the euphoria of this achievement has worn down I am faced with the difficult concept of time management.

The great challenge during these past couple of weeks has been how to use my time in the most beneficial way possible.  I know what I should be doing,  searching for a job,  launching a small business, building my relationship with the Lord. etc...

Recently as I was reading one of my favorite blogs, The Conversion DiaryI came across the daily schedule of Mother Theresa's Missionaries of Charity.  I think its surprising.

Daily Schedule for the Missionaries of Charity
4:30-5:00 Rise and get cleaned up
5:00-6:30 Prayers and Mass
6:30-8:00 Breakfast and cleanup
8:00-12:30 Work for the poor
12:30-2:30 Lunch and r…

The Gospel according to Montecristo

This past Saturday several guys got together to celebrate the 30th birthday of my brother in law.  Since it was a "guys only" event we decided to meet at JR's Cigar lounge in Whippany, New Jersey.  This is the ultimate man cave complete with a huge selection of aged port wine, a cherry oak bar, an expansive wine and champagne list, multiple lounges, a gigantic Cigar warehouse and a gift shop  that would even make James Bond proud.  Another added perk was that you get a free cigar with each meal. (This would be important later on) This is my definition of "manadise".

The evening passed by smoothly as we reminisced over grub, cigars, pipes, wine, and whisky. The highlight of the evening was my brother in law's honoring.  An honoring is a time set out usually at an event where each person has a chance to say something about the honoree. It's sort of like Christian roasting.  The great thing about this was that for a solid 20 minutes or so each person seem…

Reflections from The Way

As I mentioned in my post yesterday I have been reading St. Josemaria Escriva's, The Way.   Since I am pressed for time today I thought that it would be appropriate to post one of my favorite reflections. I would highly suggest reading this reflection several times throughout the day and letting the words sink in.

"Don't let you life be sterile.  Be useful.  Blaze a trail. Shine forth with the light of your faith and of your love.  With your apostolic life wipe out the slimy and filthy mark left by the impure sowers of hatred.  And light up all the ways of the earth with the fire of Christ that you carry in your heart." (1)
It is my prayer that we all choose to "blaze a trail."

I'm Back: Personal Updates

After a crazy 11 days I am sort of back to normalcy. These past days have been a whirlwind, so much has happened during these days.  Here are the highlights;

As all of you well know on Aug 28th, Hurricane Irene hit New Jersey.   Through the grace of God our condo was spared.  Absolutely no water damage!   We didn't have power for 6 days, but we didn't mind.  Our home was OK.Caught up in all of this Hurricane Irene drama was my brother;s marriage.  My brother was supposed to get married on Aug, 28th.  Despite postponing his reception they both decided to have the mass on that day. More than 125 people braved the storm drenched streets of Elizabeth to attend the nuptial mass.  It was a powerful and beautiful witness that so many people were there.  The pastor even remarked that there were more people there on that day then on a regular Sunday mass.  After the mass we all organized an impromptu party to commemorate their marriage.  The party was perfect in its imperfection. It was…