November 02, 2012

Quotes and Random Thoughts

Twas a treat to see a new place, New Mexico. I think sometimes about how odd it is that travelers to Columbus are often times impressed but any time you're seeing something new, something for the first time, that contains the seeds of its own reward.

I think there's no better place to people watch than at an airport. I love going to the different gates and seeing how well the people match the destination. Hispanics going to San Antonio? Makes sense. Tall Danish-looking people to Minnesota? Check.

In the Dallas airport saw a man with a Stetson hat and expensive looking boots talking to a lady with a ginormous diamond ring, if in fact it was diamond and not cubic zirconium. It was on her ring finger and was gaudy as the day is long. Pure Texas.

There's just such a striking variety of people despite the fact that you'd think it would be less so, seeing how the expense of flight would self-select to a certain extent. Perhaps the self-selection happens in first class versus coach.

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The trick to life, it seems, is to view ourselves, other people, and our things as God-owned. To see beauty as emanating from Him, not from an impersonal force. I used to think it trite that someone would attribute the beauty of a sunset to God, but that seems to be the secret! As well as to see Him in the simple. Archbishop Sheen said we look for God in power, not seeing him in simplicity, in the Eucharist.

Beautiful reading the other day from Ephesians 3. It's no wonder bible-loving Protestants love St. Paul so much - they've naturally gravitated to the most consoling part of the bible. It's inconceivable to think of the NT without the writings of Paul, and there's an vibrant sense of hope in most of Paul's work. I get goosebumps sometimes, especially when I read different translations. The fresh words, though conveying essentially the same meaning, really ring out. So glad I got the Knox version since it offers yet another beautiful voice. It feels almost magical to have the NABRE and New Jerusalem versions both on my smartphone and being able to conjure up those life-altering words at a moment's notice.

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I am far, of course, from denying that every article of the Christian Creed, whether as held by Catholics or by Protestants, is beset with intellectual difficulties; and it is simple fact, that, for myself, I cannot answer those difficulties. Many persons are very sensitive of the difficulties of religion; I am as sensitive as any one; but I have never been able to see a connexion between apprehending those difficulties, however keenly, and multiplying them to any extent, and doubting the doctrines to which they are attached. Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt, as I understand the subject; difficulty and doubt are incommensurate. There of course may be difficulties in the evidence; but I am speaking of difficulties intrinsic to the doctrines, or to their compatibility with each other.... - Blessed John Henry Newman

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Lino Rulli gave us a "trick" instead of a "treat" on Halloween. Turns out he's dialing back his radio show from 4-7pm to 5-7pm. Surprisingly I guess it takes quite a toll on him since he said this change will make him mentally, spiritually and physically healthier. I suppose it's the mark of someone good at their work that they make it look effortless even when it's not.

Lino always humorously dances perilously close to the line of propriety. Very juvenile, he. Something about Fr. Rob not getting to "whip it out" much since he's a celibate. He's big on double entendres for sure. Whenever Fr. Rob says a word that ends in the syllable "er" Lino will repeat the word and attach, "I don't even know her!"

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The day was discombobulated by the latest sign that "business-as-usual" is something of an oxymoron: we got our asses re-org'd. Yes our division has been rent: we lost a host of good folks and took on a motley crew of hard-looking strangers from another area. Instant marriage, just add shotgun. The guy at the top of the ladder apparently loves to shake things up, and we're the recipients of this latest social experiment. A big believer in change is he, and so I suppose I can't be surprised that change eventually filtered down to my level. Leaders are too smart to be fooled indefinitely by witch-quackery: they read "Dilbert" too, although admittedly the engagement surveys are a joke. But in general they seem to have become more pragmatic and less airy and ethereal, much to my disappointment.

So I'm in mourning because the people I felt most comfortable around, especially in the social gatherings our boss adores, like Marvin the bibliophile and Nancy, my likable compatriot for the past 7-8 years, are both being exodused to another area.

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In brighter news, my crisp, old-fashioned copy of Ronald Knox's Bible arrived today! Baronius Press has a winner with that - exploiting a market niche that had gone unexploited. Giddily I read a few chapters from Ephesians - it's said that Knox is best at the oft-confusing letters of St. Paul and he really does nail it. A fine introduction by Scott Hahn that gave me some good food for thought in just a page and a half. I don't like the overly formal language and the unfamiliar names of the OT books, based on the Vulgate as it is, but I'm certainly glad to have it in my quiver. As a bonus Baronius includes a small booklet by Knox on how he wrote it called, "On Englishing the Bible". Well-played Baronius.

My favorite quotes from Hahn's intro are: "On the barque of Peter, those with queasy stomachs should keep clear of the engine room" which perfectly encapsulates how I feel about my friend Ron's constant attention to the seamy underside of the Church.

The other quote is from Frank Sheed,
"The Biblical attack on Catholic dogmas did not (after the shock of the attack) destroy Catholic attachment to the dogmas; but it sensibly weakened Catholic attachment to the Bible. A man can never feel quite the same about even the nicest book if he has just been beaten round the head with it...

This Scriptural insufficiency of Catholics is the last heritage of the Reformation still to be liquidated. Liquidated it must be. How necessary Scripture is to the life of Catholics, St. Jerome indicated long ago with his phrase, 'Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.'"

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