January 21, 2009

Spanning the Globe to Bring You the Constant Variety of Posts

I have now read Neuhaus's As I Lay Dying. It seems a lot more helpful than Faulkner's book of the same title. In addition to a quick recitation of what he remembers about his close encounter with death and dying, and some necessary philosophy and other real things, he also, in his no-nonsense honest way, also looks at other books and poems that have something to say about these matters, and then compares and contrasts them to his own experiences; and finally, without embarrassment, he talks about his "near-death" experience; actually he calls it a "near-life" experience... The outcome was not at all clear for several weeks. Finally he was promoted out of intensive care, soon after which he suddenly one night became aware of two "presences," who made it clear that he had a choice. And they clearly spoke: they said that "Everything is ready now." Not a command or an invitation, but definitely up to him. He thought that if he said Yes he would go on to die. - Ken of "Muellerstuff"

I asked him his secret for being so prodigious a reader and writer. His response I took initially as a non-sequitur, until I had a chance to reflect on it more and put it into practice. His secret, he told me, was to make sure he did his morning prayer before he began to read the newspaper. Once he had put God first and received his help for the day, he could then get to the work God was asking him to do with greater concentration. God seemed to multiply his efforts. One of our mutual friends, who was with him to the end, told me that as his mental capacities were beginning to shut down, the one thing he continued to do lucidly was to pray his breviary. - Fr. Roger Landry on Neuhaus

Unlike no man I have ever met, he was utterly at ease discussing the most serious things; not so much this or that influential book, but struggles in the life of virtue, mysteries in theology, the great questions of my life and his: What does the Lord want of me? That his preferred method of doing so was after evening prayers had been said, with a drink in one hand and a cigar in the other, was the practical affirmation of his theological conviction that to rejoice in the Lord's gifts was an obligation of gratitude. - Fr. Raymond de Souza on Fr. Neuhaus

I was talking with a friend over the weekend and we had both come to the conclusion that we really didn't give a toss about one of our main topics of conversation: politics. Why would that be I wonder. Perhaps the last year or more of non-stop political reportage over loaded the circuits in that portion of the brain devoted to the public polity. Or maybe a touch of despair over the prospect of the most anti-life federal government in our history (more so even than Bill'n'Hillary!) coming into power in a few days. And when the rigging in our fantasyland democratic system, always something of an institutionalized con game, becomes so much more obvious, well, it doesn't help. You don't have to be in Illinois to see it; a good look at the California legislature will do just as well. There are so many more interesting things in life that continue on quite well without the gummint. Dr Johnson had it right 250 years ago: "How small of all that human hearts endure / That part which laws or kings can cause or cure." - John at "The Inn at the End of the World"

I’ve always said Catholicism is the easiest or most difficult religion around. You can be a peasant lady who attends says the (entire, all 15-decades) Rosary daily, who has never heard of “transubstantiation v. consubstantiation,” and assumes the U.S. Constitution was written in Latin. She’s probably very wise, but very simple. If you don’t want to be that happy and content peasant lady (and what good red-blooded American does?) and prefer to think on your own, regardless of your innate limitations, then you better be ready to buckle down. And if you want to buckle down, this volume is a good piece of exercise. Benedict Groeschel repeatedly praises this volume. I’ve struggled a bit (I bought it six months ago), but I will get through it. - Eric of "The Daily Eudemon" on Pope Benedict's "Jesus of Nazareth"

Christianity began in the Near East. And for a long time, its main development continued there. Then it spread in Asia, much more than what we think today after the changes brought about by Islam. Precisely for this reason its axis moved noticeably toward the West and Europe. Europe -- we're proud and pleased to say so -- further developed Christianity in its broader intellectual and cultural dimensions....Europe definitely became the center of Christianity and its missionary movement. Today, other continents and other cultures play with equal importance in the concert of world history. In this way the number of voices in the Church grows, and this is a good thing. - Pope Benedict XVI

People have enough sense not to step in front of a moving bus because they recognize the principle of cause and effect in conjunction with simple physics and tradition, but for some bizarre reason when it comes to the religion they start abandoning all previous knowledge and reason is search of making themselves as ignorant as possible mistaking ignorance for some kind of sophisticated brilliance. - commenter "Love the Girls"

One thing you won't see on the Left: grace. - Mike Barnicle on "Morning Joe" discussing the crowds at the Inaugural who booed President Bush.

Intelligent children often go through a phase in which they rage against the stupidity of humanity. Barring some mutation in conscience, they abandon this pose by late adolescence. By adulthood, they should realize it is not the innately dull-witted who deserve criticism and even contempt; rather, those most dangerous to the world are they who pride themselves on their own overestimated intelligence. - Kevin Jones of Philokalia

As a Communion meditation hymn, the choir (as is their wont) performed “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” in a very soulful and improper way. (There was scattered applause when they finished, which should have so horrified them that they’ll never do that song in a liturgy again, but probably didn’t.)...Our pastor began the homily by talking about cell phones, and said something about how he was sure we had all turned ours off..I still heard two cell phones go off during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, one at the moment of elevation of the Host. - Tom of Disputations on Amy's blog

"The priest no longer stood with his back to us, he turned around to face the congregation." This was presented as a triumph of civility and sanity. Yesterday it occurred to me that there are no (or at least few) creatures in nature wherein the head faces the body. Generally the head and the body face the same direction. It would be evolutionarily counterproductive to always be looking at where you've been. So, how is it a triumph to have the head suddenly face the body--the priest face the congregation? If he is leading us, shouldn't he be focusing our attention in the appropriate direction rather than facing the other way? How do we form one body of Christ with our head turned around and gazing back on us? - Steven of Flos Carmeli


Roz said...

Now that you have done your claque the enormous favor of enabling comments, may I humbly request an additional technological advance for the edification of the brethren?

Please include hyperlinks in your "Spanning the Globe" excerpts so we can trace your footsteps and continue reading.

Thank you. Over and out.

TS said...

Roz, you bring up a good suggestion; I'll get with the STG board and knock heads. In fact, I'll fire whoever is responsible for the hyperlink shortage.

In the meantime, if you or anyone else ever desires more info on a source please let me know and I'll try to track it down!

Richard said...

Regarding the last entry: I see how this analogy is helpful for a body in search of food or something else that is outside of itself. However, I think primitive biology might take us only so far. Communion is not a one-way quest, but rather a meeting, a coming together. Perhaps the image of "our head turned around and gazing back on us" is one of reflection. Reflection of the divine within us-- one body that nourishes us all.