Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Village

Earlier this week it was my birthday. I was in Columbia on some errands for work and suddenly remembered that I get a free video rental on my birthday from Hollywood video. I hadn't rented a video since we moved to Bethany, (there was a Mr. Video in town, but it closed shortly after we moved here). So I popped over to the video store and picked up two videos (only one was free): The Village and Master & Commander. Both had been recommended by my oldest daughter over a year ago.

Last night we watched The Village.

[Warning-spoilers ahead] This is a physcological suspense thriller. What is actually going on in the movie is unclear at first-it gradually is revealed to the viewer. Basically, this is it: A group of people (the elders) dealing with various violent tradgedies in their own lives -each of which took a loved one, decide to retreat from the world and build a community in the middle of a huge 'wildlife preserve'. This way they can preserve their children from violence and keep them innocent. They don't allow anyone to leave, and the elders control them and keep them on the preserve (their children-many of whom also now have children) by fabricating a story about a monstrous people who live in the woods surrounding the retreat. (Periodically one of the "elders" dress up as one of these monsters for a sighting to prove their existence. They have fabricated a whole way of life and rituals based on the fabricated monstrous people to make it all seem real). Of course, the retreat doesn't work as planned, violent tradgedy strikes in the heart of the community, and the elders must decide whether to continue the experiment or not, and at what cost.

This movie does promote several interesting lines of discussions. How much can one really and effectively (disregarding whether it is right or not) retreat from the world? How much can one actually (how much should one) protect the innocence of their children? Is this kind of total retreat from the world a failure to trust in God? (And a rejection of the mission to evangelize the world?) At what cost does one retreat from the world? (note in the movie the retreat had to be controlled by lies.)

I think most these questions are correctly answered by not going to extremes one way or another, (Aristotle's moderation.) Yet even here, one person's mean is another's extreme.

Maybe more on this later if we discuss some of these ideas at home. (Tonight-Master & Commander-yipee!)

Friday, April 28, 2006

Mother's Day...


By the way, Giving Up Stealing ... For Lent! makes a great Mother's Day (or Father's Day) gift. These stories will lift any mother's heart with laughter, but will help her realize that the shenanigans of her offspring will not always result in hardened criminals: kill them with love; teach them the Faith, and with God's grace (don't forget to pray) chances are they'll be at the wedding banquet in Heaven with you someday.

(BTW, Check out our blog-ad at Bettnet.com .)

Someone must have posted about this in the past....

In a recent issue of The Wanderer, I came across reference to this : (Society for a Moratorium on the Music of Marty Haugen and David Haas). I was 'singing' some of these parodies to Mrs. Curley and daughter last night as they got ready for bed. Hilarious. Here's a sample:

Here in this place, a bad song is starting,
Now will the altar turn into a stage.
All that is holy is slowly departing,
Making a way for the coming New Age.


Gather us in, though we are like captives.
But to miss Mass on Sunday, that would be wrong.
But Lord hear our plea, regarding M. Haugen:
Give him the courage to put down that bong.

and another:

Here in this church the choir is droning;
"Gather Us In" is our entrance song.
Chanted this slow, it sounds more like groaning;
I notice no one is singing along.
"Gather Us In" is sung every Sunday;
"Gather Us In" is sung every Mass.
Give us a break and sing something different,
"Gather Us In" gets old really fast.

(My punishment will be that 'Gather us in' will be played not once, but as entrance and recessional on Sunday....

Two Good ones...

... this morning on CatholicExchange: First on writing: you must read widely and deeply to be a writer. It is a good reminder as sometimes I start to read only one type of book for long periods. I also make my children take breaks from series to read other types of books so they won't get lazy in their reading.

Second is the George Weigel's review of "The Truce of 1968". This is an episode which had disasterous results for the Church in America-still being felt today. (Students of history, take note.)

Finally, I haven't posted on my other blog for some days-but break the silence today-albeit briefly....

Now back to the books...

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A few changes...

You might notice that the sidebar has changed a bit. I decided to put the RequiemPress books on the sidebar. The books themselves aren't 'clickable', but you can order them or see their description by clicking the RequiemPress link above them. Eventually I will have them all up there, but this is a start.

At the same time I have greatly reduced the number of amazon links. I will leave up those books I have posted about, plus a few others from time to time. I hope to post about at least one book I have read each week, and will post the Amazon link to it at that time.

Now I won't have to scroll down so far to get to my own links.

The Wandering Moon has an interesting post up on the need in our culture for ever and ever greater "Wows" for entertainment. It reminds me of a book I read some years ago entitled "The Cardinal". The book follows a young American priest from ordination to his first conclave as a Cardinal. In one episode, this priest has just returned to America from several years serving at the Vatican. It is in the midst of the prosperous 1920's. He is amazed at the crazniess in society. The same thing is happening as now, but perhaps then it was on a more innocent scale. People are carrying out crazier and crazier stunts to satisfy their craving to be entertained. Their leisure time (which is increased due to the prosperity) -instead of being used to deepen their relationship with family, friends and most importantly with the Lord, is used for those things which can never fully satisfy...

And Mr. Culbreath writes about goat's hair in his cereal, among other things....

Resolutions...

People make resolutions to change their lives, typically on the New Year, but why not on other anniversaries? Resolutions on issues regarding your marriage on your wedding anniversary? Resolutions on changing your life on your birthday? Resolutions on your relations with children (or parents) on their birthdays? Resolutions on improving your spiritual life on the anniversary of your Baptism (if known)?

Many spiritual directors may say that every time you spend time in meditation you should walk away with a resolution (even if it be small and simple and limited to that day).

From Furrow No. 167:

Make up the time you have lost resting on the laurels of your self-complacency, and thinking what a good person you are, as if it were enough to keep going, without stealing or killing.

Speed up the pace of your piety and your work: you still have such a long way to go: Live happily with everyone even those who annoy you, and make an effort to love-to serve!-those whom you despised before.

Isn't this so true? We take a step forward (or so we think) in our piety. In self-congratualtion we decide we need to rest a bit, because all that hard work (that in reality God did) makes us deserve a little rest. But as St. Augustine said, if you are not going forward, you are sliding backward.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Agriculture Report

Spent an hour or so yesterday tilling the garden and mixing compost in. Will probably spend another hour or so out there today. This week Mrs. Curley will be planting cucumbers, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, zuccinni, cantaloupe, and ...(Oh yes, green pepers).

We've been eating the spinach for a some weeks now. It is not uncommon for us to have a spinach and turnip green salad. (Spinach right from the garden tastes so different from the canned spinach or frozen spinach.) However, the spinach is about done. It doesn't like the hot weather. The lettuce is thriving and has been contributing (along with radish greens) to the salads also. We also have onions coming up. I think the herbs are coming up-but I get confused on which and what these are.

Mrs. Curley planted more flowers and rose of sharon and other things this year-really sprucing up the outside landscape.

The fruit trees (we inherited plum, peach, pear and apple trees-most are either too young to bear fruit or only bore a handfull of fruit last year. The exception, one peach tree is mature and yields some great white peaches.) are looking healthier this year. Although I can't imagine the apple trees are really going to do much here in the sandhills region of SC. But we'll see...

The rabbits: the last doe pulled out a lot of fur a few days ago, but never gave birth. Time to re-mate them. (Also about time to get some more chickens here. )

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Test worked

This is a test....

While I wrote 2 posts yesterday, neither showed up. And now my blog seems to be gone entirely. So I am just writing a test post to see what happens ....

Monday, April 24, 2006

Short Notes...

My youngest son asked me this weekend if you had to fall in love to get married. He is young (6), so while I briefly mentioned arranged marriages, especially for royalty during years past, I admitted that, yes, falling in love was the usual path. He then asked if I was still in love with Mrs. Curley. I replied that yes I was. His response? "Oh, I thought ended when you had the first kid."

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The first reading Acts in this Sunday's liturgy reminded me I haven't yet posted my thoughts on Deus Caritas Est! Maybe I will get to it this week as I am anxious to get it down on 'paper' before I lose my thoughts.

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Gas prices may quickly curtail my side career as newspaper route driver. Most weeks I do 1-2 days. Last week I did 5 days as my 'boss' had surgery. The car (which is a piece of junk on its last legs anyway) is not taking the strain too well, and with gas prices taking off, my profit decrease is directly proportional.

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Another quote from the same young son as above. As a preface, we talk much more about my work around the house and at the dinner table than we ever did when I worked in industry. Thus I assume some of this overheard conversation is the source of the quote, but who knows how these little minds connect their dots?

"Dad, do you know why Requiem Press has so many problems?"

"No, son, why?"

"Because Dad, you keep messing things up!" (He wasn't being fresh and there was no disrespect intended.)

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On that note, I have some things to "mess up" today. From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Chicken Strut Update

We set up our craft tables bright and early Saturday morning on Route 1 in Bethune, near the corner near where the parade would pass and where the Colgate Country Showdown would be held. Both Route 1 and Main Street were blocked off for about 4 blocks.

Just before the parade was to start, it started to rain. We covered our tables with a tarp and retreated to the van as the rain got harder. Finally it was coming down in buckets-but they ran the parade anyway: police cars, several fire engines, the colors, 3 or 4 floats with no one on them. It took all of 7 minutes or so, if that. Then the rain let up and the sun came out. It stayed out until about 3:30 and then started raining again.

The craft booth.... I'll post pictures when they come in. The wreaths we had out were beautiful. We many favorable comments on the walking sticks made by myself and my oldest son. (Although there were several "What are these for?" too.) But let me just say that it was a food and balloon crowd.

Number 2 son was teaching Oragami to all-comers. He had more customers than the rest of us.

However, we met and talked to many local people whom we had seen but never met before. We saw the parade zoom by, antique cars, and the highlight of the weekend, the tractor pull.

Friday, April 21, 2006

It was the first time at a carnival for all but the oldest. Only locals were there as the 'Chicken Strut' doesn't really start til today. So it wasn't crowded-we have few locals.

The ferris wheel was a bit more than a ferris wheel, it was called the 'Sky Diver' and cars rotated in two directions. Two sons bravely and confidently went. They didn't undertand what they were in for....

Mrs. Curley talked to a kiddie ride operator for quite a while (in an effort to distract him from stopping the ride). This man has worked carnivals for 18 years. He is friendly but also lonely. (And he wasn't distracted much).

A man running a booth (pop a balloon with a dart and get prize) tried to get Mrs. Curley to play. I was lagging behind with 4 of the kids, Mrs. Curley had 3. He called her over and said, "3 darts for 2$-but I will give you a deal. How many kids do you have?" She replied, "7". The expression on his face changed. Mrs. Curley followed up with, "That sort of changes your deal right?". He nodded as Mrs. Curley moved on.

I noticed our local (and lone) police officer checking out the games. The basketball rims were 'non-regulation' as noted in the small print, but just big enough for the ball to slip through as Chief confirmed before moving on to the ring toss games.

I think it was a magical night for some of the kids. They each got two rides. (Somehow young Thomas Becket sneaked a third).

Now back to work....

From the Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Chicken Strut

Just got off the phone with the co-ordinator for the Bethune Chicken Strut. There will be a parade; rodeo; the Colgate Country Showdown will be here; a DJ and live band will take turns play for the dancing crownds in the streets; a carnival; a tractor pull; an antique car show; and of course arts and crafts vendors (including us).

The lady I talked to told me that she walked down to see the carnival being set up last night because it has been many years since a ferris wheel has been seen in Bethune.

If you're in the area come on down. We will be selling wooden toys, walking sticks, wreaths, and other things near a long maroon van.

Vatican II and the Culture of Dissent

At Crisis Magazine (available online from the Feb/Mar '06 issue in the archives), from Russell Shaw:

The election of Pope Benedict XVI was a serious blow to the culture of dissent. As far back as the early 1970s, Joseph Ratzinger knew that some of his theological colleagues from the Vatican II days no longer took the documents of the council as “the point of reference for Catholic theology.” Instead, they had decided that the council’s teaching had to be “surpassed” in order to bring about the changes they sought.

Neither then nor now has Benedict XVI shared that view. Speaking to the cardinals the morning after his election as pope, he declared it to be his “decided will” that the implementation of the Second Vatican Council continue. “The conciliar documents have not lost their timeliness,” he added significantly.

Take them off the shelf and see for yourself.

I confess...

I was a bit nervous for the radio interview yesterday. My tongue is not so quick. I am much better with time to think. But overall, I think it went okay. I had fun. I was able to listen to Alan Keyes who was on ahead of me. I certainly would like to see him run for President again. He is the only candidate we hear who talks about the most important issues facing this country in an articulate fashion.

I recall some years ago going to the Embassy Suites in Columbia to see the Republican candidates for President. Pat Buchanan was the first speaker. He said he was delighted to be on just ahead of Alan Keyes, instead of after him; the last time he spoke, he came on just after Alan Keyes and Mr. Keyes was so good he had "burned the paint off the wall" with his speech-a hard act to follow. I guess I was in that unenviable position last night.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Welcome Kentucky!

I really enjoyed speaking with Paul Clemons on WLCR 1040 AM this afternoon. If you heard me there and are checking out the blog, take a look below and in the archives. Topics vary from our trials and tribulations in raising chickens to more inspired subjects like the sacrament of confession.

If you take Paul Clemons advice and want to get your hands on a copy of "He Leadeth Me" (Ignatius Press), you can get it from Amazon.com at one of the sidebar links. You can read excerpts in my posts below.

And of course if you are interesed in RequiemPress , we have a link right up there on the top, to the right.

Thanks for stopping by.

Hey, I just remembered that RequiemPress is 2 years old today!

Happy Birthday!

On the Air...

It appears I will be doing radio interview for WLCR (1040 AM) out of Louisville, KY at about 5:20-6:00. (I follow Alan Keyes on the Paul Clemens show.)

What will I talk about? Maybe a little about this; or maybe a little about RequiemPress ; and maybe a little about Bethany, or maybe about blogging. We'll see.

Anyway, if you're in the area, listen in. I'll stop by here later and tell y'all how it came off.

Celebrating the seasons

Every year during Advent, the discussion comes up when to start celebrating Christmas. Our Protestant brethren start celebrating Christmas immediately after Thanksgiving. Unfortunately many Catholics have taken on this Protestant part of the American culture to one extent or another. All the Christmas parties are in Advent-seldom during Christmas.

It occurred to me this week that one way to illustrate the folly of celebrating Christmas during Advent was to look at Lent and Easter in the same way. For example:

Should we give out Easter baskets on Palm Sunday? on Ash Wednesday? When should we start greeting each other with "He is risen!"? Good Friday? Holy Thursday?

Certainly Lent is a more intense penitential season as the feast of Easter is the greater one. However, these questions do illustrate how ridiculous it is to mix up your seasons. Easter is all the more joyous went Lent is truly sacrificial. People are tired of celebrating Christmas by the time the celebration should be really starting.

I'll try to remember to pull this out of my bag of tricks come Advent 2006.

HE IS RISEN!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Play...

I posted about the play our CCD class was performing (The Best Deed) -leading up to the performance. But I never commented on the performance itself. The students did a great job. Some of the students had been leery about the whole idea at the beginning, but after the play Mrs. Curley heard them planning the next one.

I think the theme of confession was a good one going into the Holy Week, and the theme of God's mercy was also appropriate as the Divine Mercy Sunday approaches.

It is impossible to catch up with all the news and blogs after staying away for 4 days or so like I just did. (I have at least 4 days of ZENIT dispatches sitting in my inbox amongts the spam.) There is the temptation to try to read everything you missed, but even if possible, there must be something wrong with attempting it.

I will hit a couple of high notes:

Jeff is back and gives us an update on the homestead and the rains.... (He's been busy.)

Corpus Meum is eating lettuce out of his garden. (We have had spinach and turnip greens ourselves so far.)

and... Well I will get back to this later.

Easter Vigil

This year was my first Easter Vigil ever. That might seem strange to some, but growing up in a big family made staying up so late with young ones pretty rare. The same is the case now. However, two of our CCD students, their father and another gentlemen were entering the Church, so Mrs. Curley and I went to the Easter Vigil. It was worth it. And the joy on the face of those entering the Church almost made me wish I was a convert also.

Earlier in the day the kids with some friends put on their annual Passion Play. Pictures may follow in a week or so. Then we took the older boys fishing at the creek down the street-but with the hot weather it soon turned into a swimming expedition.

Easter morning was joyful as usual. Mass at St. Catherine's followed by a big breakfast, Easter baskets, singing, etc.

He is Risen!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Okay, there is much to say about this past weekend-however it will have to wait til tomorrow. In the meantime, here's a question for y'all. Below I linked to my article on CatholicExchange this morning. I received a question about it:

I wanted to ask if you could give me your interpretation of Ephesians 5 verse 33. It seems in this chapter that husbands are called to love their wives but it does not mention that wives are to love their husbands. Instead, verse 33 says that wives are to RESPECT their husbands. In your opinion, what do you think this means?

I am no scripture scholar. Here was my reply: (What say you all?)

Sometimes I think Paul is speaking only to the weakness of either sex. In other words, he is reminding even good husbands that they need to really love-because many men think it is enough to offer the socially expected things (note these are physical things not spiritual): protection, income, meat, etc. And in return he should be served. Paul says NO!: Husbands need to give love-his whole self-(including spiritual things to his wife).

On the other hand, women tend, by nature, to love their husbands (they give of their spirit readily), so they don't need that reminder. Thus Paul reminds wives that they also should serve-without nagging, that is with respect for the husband's role. In some marriages wives find ways to get their own way-not by force, but by denial or just making life for husband unpleasant through the food, bedroom, etc.: Paul is cautioning against this-this is a lack of respect for the husband and his role in the marriage. Wives should take respect the role of their husband in the marriage and not try to manipulate him. Each take on their role: wife as the heart of the home and husband as the head.

Comments?

He is truly risen!!!!

My latest on CatholicExchange. (Can't let Mrs. Curley read this one. My failings are too obvious...)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Honoring the priesthood

Fr. Ciszek is in a slave labor camp in Siberia after spending 5 years in solitary confinement at Lubianka. As a priest he is given the lowest, demeaning, and most demanding physical labor and is subject to periodic interrogations. He spends most of his waking hours in back breaking labor and then in his 'free time' ministers to the men he shares his labor with. Even with all this burden, he has this to say:

As I worked daily in the camps, I thanked God over and over again for the awful period of purification I underwent in Lubianka so that I could serve these tortured men, and I thanked Him, too, for the mysterious workings of His providence which brought me here. But above all I thanked him for having chosen me to be a priest and for the joy he gave me now being able to function as a priest again.

We thank God for the priests who have touched our lives and all his faithful priests, especially: Fr. Lane (RIP), Fr. HilaryMahaney, Fr. John Debicki, Fr. Al, Fr. Michael Foley, Msgr. Rowland, Msgr. Hamburger (RIP), Fr. Gary Linsky, Fr. Kendall, Fr. Miles, Fr. Selzer, Fr. Tom Corcoran, Fr. John O'Holohan.

Deo Gratias!

Some mornings running the paper route I see nary a sign of life. Other mornings you have to be very careful not to run down herds of deer. The last two weeks have been the f0rmer, this morning the latter. Rabbits, raccoon, possum, and of course lots of deer.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Next few days...

From now until after Easter it will be real busy. I have (essentially-except for some puttering here and there and crisis management) closed Requiem Press for the weekend. We have the CCD play tonight (see posts somewhere below for details), paper route in the morning, Holy Thurday Mass, paper route in the morning, Good Friday services. Real local (family) Passion Play on Saturday. All that plus the usual jobs and errands in preparaton for Easter.

We wanted to go to the Easter vigil as we have both friends students entering the Church, but we also have family duties at the Easter Sunday Mass, so I don't know if one of us will go to the vigil. (Strangely enough, I have never been to an Easter vigil my whole life.)

I may have some time to post here and there, but if not, may you all have a prayful Holy Week!

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

more...He Leadeth Me

On his way to Siberia, new fears about food, violence as he mixes for the first time with the criminal classes:

I realized almost immediately that I was asking the questions, raising the doubts, that I had promised not to ask in abandoning my self to the will of God. And I realized, too, that it is one thing to give up such doubts and questions in a moment of grace and inspiration and spritual insight, but another thing to prevent them from arising spontaneously when the harsh and rough circumstances of a moment of daily life drives from the mind everything but the here and now....

Every day to me should be more than an obstacle to be gotten over, a span of time to be endured, a sequence of hours to be survived. For me, each day came forth from the hand of God newly created and alive with opportunities to do His will. For me each day was a series of moments and incidents to be offered back to God, to be consecrated and returned in total dedication to His will. That was what my priesthood demanded of me, as it is demanded of every Christian.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Camping out

As I related in this post we have enjoyed quite a bit of camping in the past. We haven't done much in the last year or so. But yesterday afternoon I asked the boys to gather some of the limbs from the trees we cut down this past year to make a bonfire. Before you knew it, we decided to sleep outdoors-in tents, not under the stars. The three oldest boys set up all the tents (3) and made the fire. We didn't cook outside, but did eat outside. After eating, we sang a couple songs and said the rosary around the fire. Then off to bed.

Possibly not your typical activity to start Holy Week, but maybe it wasn't so off base. Consider last night the temperature was in the mid-40's and the ground (especially for those older bodies) is pretty hard. Consider also that as the end of the week approaches, we will spend much time running around-either trying to get to Church on time on Holy Thursday and Good Friday and/or preparing for Easter itself. Last night's family get-together in a relaxed atmosphere, including prayer may help smooth over some of the irritations which always accompany preparations for big Holy Days.

UPDATE: Mrs. Curley claims it got down to the high 30's last night. It certainly felt like it-at least until I let one of the dogs into my tent. She slept beside me and kept me warm.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Weekend

We had our dress rehearsal for the CCD play on Saturday. It went well. It was also our first rehearsal using all the props-so the scene changes added some challenges too. The kids requested another dress rehearsal before the actual performance on Wednesday. Happy to oblige. We have a great group here.

Celebrated Mrs. Curley's birthday on Sunday. It was actually earlier in the month, but we celebrate birthdays during Lent on Sundays. However our kids took every opportunity to sing 'Happy Birthday' to Mom in public places during the week.

Our birthdays go something like this:

1. We always wrap the presents the day of the party (never before).

2. While I wrap presents and help the kids wrap theirs, Mrs. Curley (or in this case one of the kids) work on the birthday cake.

3. By 2 o'clock we are usually ready to begin. We bring the presents in and sing "Happy Birthday".

4. Then-just to torture the birthday boy or girl-we play at least 3 games before the presents get opened. Yesterday was "Toss-Across" (tic tac toe with bean bags), musical chairs, and the frog and the fly. Other favorites are bingo (we have several versions) and 'Pin the Flag on the Mailbox".

5. Finally, the presents get opened. (Presents are usually modest for birthdays, and homemade crafts and cards are usually part of the mix.)

6. After eating the dinner of choice for the birthday boy or girl (last night it was home-made pizza) we have ice cream and cake. Invariably, since the dinner is a favorite, there isn't much room for ice cream and cake. During Lent, this poses a problem as we won't eat the leftover cake unless it is a Sunday. So we freeze it and eat it next Sunday or after Lent is over. Thankfully only 2 birthdays fall during Lent here. Otherwise our freezer would be fully of cake.

7. And really finally, the birthday boy or girl gets to stay up late with Mom and Dad to watch a movie or play a game, or something.

The Citadel and the Riverdogs

Amy Welborn commenting on her recent trip to SC and in particular Charleston:

Michael made the excellent discovery that the Charleston Riverdogs stadium was very near the Citadel, so after he dropped me off at the talk, he and the boys went to the game, which I trust he will eventually blog about...

This reminds me of my only visit to this stadium. It is shared with the Citadel baseball team-who I went to see. It must be 4 years ago or more now. The stadium is fairly new (or was at that time) and built such that there is no bad seat. I promised myself at the time I would bring the family down someday to enjoy a game there...promise unkept so far.

Had to lift these two gems from The Curt Jester. The first is another classic quote from Cardinal Arinze:

"Suppose a priest comes at the beginning of Mass and says: 'Good morning, everybody, did your team win last night?' That's not a liturgical greeting. If you can find it in any liturgical book, I'll give you a turkey"

Now, on a more serious note, a point to ponder as we enter Holy Week. This from the pontifical household Lenten meditation by Fr. Cantalamessa:

Christians, the papal preacher said, tend to place restrictions on what they think God can require of them. He outlined a typical Christian's commitment:

Prayer, yes; but not to the point of losing sleep or rest… Obedience, yes; but not to the detriment of our own convenience. Chastity, yes; but not to the point of depriving ourselves of some entertaining spectacle… Such a collection of "half-measures," Father Cantalamessa said, is evidence of a superficial faith. A deeper faith, he said, acknowledges the reality of Christ's suffering and one's own role in causing it.

"I am Judas who betrayed Him, Peter who renounced Him, the crowd that cried out against Him," the preacher said. "Each time I have preferred my satisfaction, my comfort, my honor to that of Christ, that is what has happened."

I will continue to post this week at least through Wednesday. After that all bets are off.

He Leadeth Me...

This book is a gem-it is a lesson about trust in God and total abandonment to Him. Every time you think the author has learned this lesson himself and passed it on to you, he goes deeper-which calls the reader to go deeper also. Try this:

He was asking a complete gift of self, nothing held back. It demanded absolute faith: faith in God's existence, in His providence, in His concern for the minutest detail, in His power to sustain me, and in His love protecting me. It meant losing the last hidden doubt, the ultimate fear that God will not be there to bear you up. It was something like that awful eternity between anxiety and belief when a child first leans back and lets go of all support whatever-only to find that the water truly holds him up and he can float motionless, totally relaxed.

Once understood, it seemed so simple. I was amazed it had taken me so long in terms of time and suffering to learn this truth. Of course we believe we depend on God, that His will sustains us in every moment of our life. But we are afraid to put it to the test. There remains deep down in each of us a little nagging doubt, a little knot of fear which we refuse to face or admit even to ourselves, that says, "Suppose it isn't so." We are afraid to abandon ourselves totally into God's hands for fear He will not catch us as we fall. It is the ultimate criterion, the final test of all faith and all belief, and it is present in each of us, lurking unvoiced in the closet of our mind we are afraid to open. It is not really a question of trust in God at all, for we want very much to trust Him; it is really a question of our ultimiate belief in His existence and His providence, and it demands the purest act of faith.

It is as simple as our Baptisimal promises: do I really believe in God? We don't think of it in those terms. And so seldom is our belief truly tested. We always hedge our bet-having reliance on self ready to pull out of our back pocket. And then when our own scheme fails and our belief in God's providence is wavoring, then we either despair or accept God grace...

Friday, April 07, 2006

I love a good joke and a good mystery

Some may say I don''t laugh alot, but I do chuckle alot. That is not to say I can't laugh heartily, I can and will when the great laugh is called for. I am just a bit reserved-or let us say, selective.

But I do like clever jokes-even ones gone bad.

For example several years ago Mrs. Curley received, for Christmas one of those "... for Dummies" books. (I can't recall which one.) It was supposed to be a joke, and it was supposed to look like it came from me! [The present didn't come in the mail, but came in a box with other presents from family. It was supposed I would open the box and spread the presents out before Christmas morning-thus the origin of this particular one would point to me and not to some other family member.] It backfired because we didn't open the box for several days after Christmas and thus it was clear the present originated elsewhere.

In subsequent years Mrs. Curley received several other "Dummies" books-originating from different locations around the USA. We never found out exactly who was behind them. I have learned a couple of siblings who assisted-but their lips are sealed. This Christmas, I received "Catholicism for Dummies" - the joke revived after a few years of sleeping.

Recently Mrs. Curley and I have been the recipient of another prank or joke of a sort of similar nature. I won't reveal its particulars at this time, but just to say, it is cute and clever and appreciated. I tip my hat to the mastermind(s).

Where does time go?

Well, we are all clean-the whole family went to confession last night. Mrs. Curley proposed that we try to go as a family as often as possible, so we all can start together with a clean slate. Before we moved to Bethune, we did this often. Occasionally, we even went to confession together on a Saturday afternoon and then for ice cream to celebrate.

These days though, we have tended to go to confession at separate times. Our pastor has confessions on Saturday afternoons, but often has been know to say, "I'm available for confession anytime you see me and I'm still walking around." We have taken advantage of this.

But there is something to be said for Mrs. Curley's suggestion. Especially during the close of Lent (or Advent), it is well that the whole family is preparing together with their sorrow for sins.

(And what's with the title of this post? I was going to write about something else, but this came out. So I will leave the title anyway...)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Sorry...

for the lack of posts today. Internet has been down here since last night and just came back. It's a busy day after closing the office yesterday for a funeral (see posts below). Penance service tonight at St. Catherine's, so don't know if I'll be back before tomorrow or not. Pray for us!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I guess the colder weather last night was too much-we lost the whole litter of rabbits. We try again...

One last reminder?


Our latest release is available for shipment to your home today-maybe an Easter present for your spouse...

Buy it here !!

CMQ


Got this month's issue of Catholic Men's Quarterly. It is the new expanded version (48 pages) and is the best yet. There is a great article on Malta-makes me want to visit or even live there for a bit.

But best so far (I haven't finished the issue yet) is a piece by Charles A. Coulombe called Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion. Here's just a tiny snippet of it, on Romanism:

"Paul Blanshard warned that American Catholics put the teachings of their Church over the laws of their country...Blanshard sounded the alarm against traditional Catholic oppostion to divorce, birth control, untrammeled media, and separation of Church and State. Give the Papists a chance, he declared, and they would make this a Catholic country!

"Groups like... the National Catholic Welfare Council angrily retorted that America's Catholics had no such plans. They were just as committed, so the Catholic leadership maintained, to the American status quo as anyone, and had proved their devotion to things as they were by the oceans of Catholic blood shed in this country's wars. Alas, they were right, and Blanshard was wrong."

You have to buy the magazine to read the rest. (Great picture on the cover too.)

Catching up...

Forgot to mention that we had the first fruits (that is vegetables) from our garden the other night: spinach. I guess you have to grow it early here because it does not like the heat. Mrs. Curley's spinach is looking very good and tasting good also. I believe some of the radishes are ready to pick also.

There is something very unique in the air this time of year in our area: manure. Everywhere where farmers are planting you can smell the manure in the air. Since we are surrounded on two sides by corn fields, it is very noticeable and a sure sign that Spring is here in full force.

Our planting is only beginning. The garden should be more productive this year. Last year went well (some things worked, others not so well...), but our plants weren't as full and bountiful as others. We will be adding our own compost this year and we have rabbit manure. And a portion of the garden was fertilzied and turned by the chickens in our 'chicken tractor'. We will see how this turns out. I am looking forward the summer crop.

Fortunate after all...

Last night on our return from Columbia, we were passing through Camden at about 7:30. So we decided to see if Amy Welborn was still there signing books. Indeed she was, along with her husband Michael Dubruiel and two youngest children. We had a wonderful conversation about Da Vinci code things and then publishing in general. Very gracious folks. We wish them well for the rest of their stay in God's country.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Unfortunate...

A-Team blogger Amy Welborn will be in Camden, SC tonight signing books at a local coffee shop. Camden is only 1/2 hour from Bethany and BethuneCatholic. Unfortunately we will be at a wake (actually called a visitation down here) in Columbia this evening. Maybe we'll get back in time to stop in; it is on the way home. She is speaking at USC tomorrow night and then Thursday night at my alma mater The Citadel.

Bishop Lennon ... Cleveland

Reading around the blogs (I saw it a Openbook) Bishop Lennon, auxilary of Boston, was named the new Bishop of Cleveland.

Two connections for me here-however tenuous-I lived in Cleveland for 2 years of graduate school at John Carroll University. (There's a job for Bishop Lennon, getting the Jesuits to make JCU a Catholic college again.)

Bishop Lennon, used to be the spiritual director for the Daughters of St. Paul, whose USA motherhouse is in Boston. My sister is a Daughter and my mother used to do some work with them. When my Dad died, Bishop Lennon (I think he had just been named a bishop) con-celebrated my Dad's funeral Mass.

I don't know Bishop Lennon personally, but appreciated the time he took when my Dad died. I wish him well in Cleveland and we will pray for him there.

Shameless plug

Just a reminder that RequiemPress' latest releases Cuthbert Mayne: protomartyr of the priests from the seminary at Douay and Giving Up Stealing for Lent! (and other family stories) are up on the website for order. Cuthbert Mayne is released and ready to ship now. Giving Up Stealing ships starting tomorrow. I have have blogged about both of these releases here and here and here. I'm sure I've posted about these on my other blog too.

More on the Rabbits

So we have 7 baby rabbits in a nesting box with Ma Rabbit. She decides to make a new nest outside of the nesting box and transfer baby rabbits out. (Of course this is starts happening at 8:30 PM). All the best sources claim that Ma Rabbit will NOT move her babies (guess I have a special Ma Rabbit). Sources do say that sometimes Ma Rabbit will try to make next outside of the nesting box, but this is usually BEFORE the bunnies are born.

So Ma Rabbit and I dueled for the ensuing hours. She would pull more fur and set it outside the box. If I went to put it inside the box, she would grab it in her mouth and hop to the corner. I remove fur from mouth and place in nesting box. Ma Rabbit lies still til I leave. Then she begins again.

I remember years ago visiting friends who were raising a horse. Some comment was made about bottle-feeding the colt at 2:00 AM. I remember laughing to myself that I would never do that....(Reminder to self: don't laugh at others to self). I never dreamed I would be dueling with Ma Rabbit at midnight.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

Eternal Rest ...

From The State this morning:

Clifford Ray Eckstrom

IRMO — Clifford Ray Eckstrom went to be with his Lord Sunday, April 2, 2006. Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, April 5, 2006, at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, with interment to follow in Bush River Memorial Gardens. Pallbearers will be his sons, Richard A. Eckstrom, James R. Eckstrom, Daniel R. Eckstrom, John P. Eckstrom, Nathan T. Eckstrom, and son-in-law, L. Jeff Gardner. The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, 2006, at Caughman-Harman Funeral Home, Irmo/St. Andrews Chapel, at Bush River Memorial Gardens. Memorials may be made to Gospel for Asia, 1800 Golden Trail Court, Carrollton, TX, 75010.


Mr. Eckstrom was born in Crosby, MN, November 12, 1916. He attended St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. He served on mission tours to six continents and volunteered in prison ministry for over 50 years. He was a member of Gideon’s International. He was a WWII combat veteran, where he served in the Southwest Pacific as a U.S. Navy officer in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. He taught at the University of Maine, Columbia Bible College (now CIU), Voorhees College and the University of South Carolina.


Mr. Eckstrom was predeceased by his son, David C. Eckstrom. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Virginia B. Eckstrom; daughter-in-law, Mrs. David C. Eckstrom (Alba); sons, Richard A. Eckstrom, James R. Eckstrom, Daniel R. Eckstrom, John P. Eckstrom, Nathan T. Eckstrom; daughters, Margaret Ann Eckstrom, Mary E. Gardner and 19 grandchildren.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Wind is really picking up. We just secured (we hope) the holding. Tornado watches are in effect til 8:00 PM. It looks beautiful (a few fluffy clouds, the sun is shining, but the wind is really blowing.

I hope it doesn't get too bad. Cold and wet little rabbits won't survive.

Housekeeping...

I have finally put the comment-spam protection on here. In the past the comment-spam was occasional, but only a nuisance-not offensive. That changed over the weekend. Thus the code-thing in the comment-box has been enabled. Hopefully you won't have a problem with it.

One problem with comment spam is that it is not always entered on your latest posts. (I get an email with every comment, however they don't tell you where it was posted.) It could be anywhere in your archives. Unfortunately, I don't know how to search and destroy this easily. As a result, I believe there are one or more offensive comments lurking in the archives. If anyone comes across one, let me know and I will delete it.

Bunny Rabbits!

Sometime during the night two of our does gave birth to their first litters. One doe had 5, the other had one (although quite possibly it had more-keep reading.) Neither pulled fur out ahead of time-thus I did not have a nesting box ready. Frankly although I knew it was the due or past, I had pretty much given up hope. Thus we were not ready.

The doe that had one may have had more, but they may have sqirmed out of the cage. We have cats which wouldn't let a free meal go uneaten.

I think we have it all under control now. But we do have one more doe (I didn't mark the calendar when we tried mating her last, so....).

By the way, the one bunny we put in with the litter of 5, first smearing her with the scent of her 'new' mother. (Often bunnies won't last if they are alone in their litter.).

The new adventure begins....

Fast for Iraq

From Zenit:

Benedict XVI encouraged believers worldwide to fast and pray Monday and Tuesday for peace in Iraq and the world.

After reciting the midday Angelus today from the window of his study, the Pope echoed the initiative announced in a message signed by Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly of Babylon and Iraqi bishops.

"We are estranged from God with our deeds," wrote the patriarch in his message, "we do not fulfill his will, and we have abandoned piety, virtue and forgiveness and, because of this, the blood of so many brothers has been shed and so many children have been left orphans.

"We must return, repentant, to the house of the Father to do the will of our sovereign God; to attain this sublime objective, we invite all Iraqis, in and outside of Iraq, and all believers and men of good will, to prayer and fasting on next Monday the 3rd and Tuesday the 4th, so that the Lord will restore peace, tranquility and security to Iraq, country of beloved Abraham."

Benedict XVI invited "all to join this initiative of our brothers of that tormented country, commending this intention to the intercession of Mary Most Holy, Queen of Peace."

Cliff Eckstrom-Rest in Peace


A good man passed from this life to the next last evening. Husband and father of eight children, Cliff Eckstrom was a God-fearing and prayful man.

He was our neighbor when we lived in Columbia. Many the Saturday I would break from my yard chores to talk with Cliff over our fence. He also loved our kids and loved seeing them play in the back yard.

One day shortly after the birth of one our children he came over and knocked at the door. He just wanted to say congratulations and make sure Mrs. Curley and baby were well. As he turned, he looked back and said with such sincerity and knowledge, "It's a great feeling isn't it?". Only a man who has cherished his manhood and fatherhood could have said that line like he did.

When Cliff was about 82 or so (a few years ago) he undertook with a Christian group to bring Christianity to (if I recall correctly) Afghanistan. I believe they were turned away at the border, but what an effort!

Cliff's family are very close and good people. He lost a son several years ago to a brain tumor. My Dad had died maybe a year or so before that. Several times then we talked of life and death. Cliff loved life. Before he loved to listen to the birds and see the flowers bloom. In later years he was almost completely deaf and blind-so he savored the fresh air as if it was the most beautiful and sweetest rose blooming. He loved life and was greatful for every moment, but he was also ready for the day God would call him.

Since we moved to the country, I had only seen Cliff 2-3 times, the last being some 9 or 10 months ago.

Please take a moment today to say a prayer for Cliff's family who are mourning and for the soul of wonderful husband, father, and neighbor.

Eternal grant to him O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen