Saturday, September 24, 2005

Life imitates art



I have this beautiful holy card that a former professor gave to me, and I don't know the name of the artist who created it - any ideas, ye good men and women?

Useful Numbers

Talking to strangers, my my.

Whenever people get miffy about Pope John Paul II and the Church's stance against condoms (specifically, that the Church has caused untold deaths due to promoting abstinence programs), whip out this handy little news article and gently correct your neighbor - and of course, be ready to back it up with actual research when people say "na uh! That's just Church propoganda you poor brainwashed child."

Does this remind anyone else of the 10,000 deaths that "happened" per year before abortion was made legal?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

On taking the name of the Lord in Vain (ramble)

The Lord's name can be taken in vain by either using It as a swear word or associating It with something that detracts from Its glory. But can't It also be taken in vain when used out of habit (not loving habit) or glory not piled atop it as a reasonable person could give? To begin: "God will provide." "Yep, God is sure good!" "Our God is an awesome God." "God loves us all." "Lord be praised." etc. etc.

Nothing is wrong with such phrases, but using "God" everywhere in speech seems take on the aspect of a habit rather than pious utterances. Such habits can have piety behind it - nuns, priests, laity - all use them without impunity. Yet when a member of the laity becomes uncomfortable when conversation takes a more modern turn, or starts like a Jansenist when you mention you've read Tom Jones, then there is cause for concern.

It's almost as if some people are afraid to talk about anything that does not directly pertain to God lest they be found too secular, too worldly, too something, and the outcome is they use "God" everywhere. That limits God, though. He is omnipresent, omnipotent, but omniabsent from anything outside the direct bubble of Catholic writers, thinkers, or ideas. 'tis a tragedy, for whatever you find that can add to God's glory, surely you should - because it allows for a deeper understanding and devotion. When human darlinks find some holy person, they exclaim at the depths of the wells of goodness and plunge deeper and deeper, seeking the source from which springs the abundance. Likewise, with each new good that is turned like some glittering item in the hands of the faithful, and assigned its proper order in creation - in relation to God.

So don't listen to Tertullian when he exclaims "What...has Athens to do with Jerusalem?" Athens is all about Jerusalem. Everything good comes from God, and should be returned to Him.

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And as an addendum: no, I am not saying that knowledge of God is more important than love of God, but that the former should naturally spring from the latter.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sunday, September 18, 2005

On Mu-z-a-k



But we must not omit to explain the reason why words of this kind should not merely be said, but rendered with melody and song; for there are actually some simple folk among us who, though they believe the words to be inspired, yet think the reason for singing them is just to make them more pleasing to the ear! This is by no means so; Holy Scripture is not designed to tickle the aesthetic palate, and it is rather for the soul's own profit that the Psalms are sung. This is chiefly for two reasons. In the first place, it is fitting that the sacred writings should praise God in poetry as well as prose, because the freer, less restricted form of verse, in which the Psalms, together with the Canticles and Odes, are cast, ensures that by them men should express their love to God with all the strength and power they possess. And, secondly, the reason lies in the unifying effect which chanting the Psalms has upon the singer. For to sing the Psalms demands such concentration of a man's whole being on them that, in doing it, his usual disharmony of mind and corresponding bodily confusion is resolved, just as the notes of several flutes are brought by harmony to one effect; and he is thus no longer to be found thinking good and doing evil, as Pilate did...

~St. Athanasius, Letter to Marcellinus in the Interpretation of the Psalms