May 30, 2013

Sundry & Various

The State of the Weather: The weather is intercontinentally incandescent. Eighty and sunny with a cooling breeze. The patio bricks absorb the heat and pleasantly give a massage-like warmth to your bare soles. Picture-perfect, summer equinoxy, with sun glancing here, there and everywhere, bouncing off trees, bush and flower. Lighting up grass paths and dimpling the pines. It's like entering a superb work of art.  Nature is putting on this spring techno-thriller, this resurrection of sorts, and most of us are in offices missing it.

It's never really summer until…
the tomatoes are planted (done)
the hammock is out (done)
the first hummingbird is sighted (yes)
the first fuzz from the cottonwood sighted (yes)
the first lightning bug (not yet!)

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Read a few nourishing lines from the new Scott Hahn book called Consuming the Word this morn. Seems neither too introductory nor too scholarly (like his Chronicles volume was), which is where I think I am. Since I donate to Scott Hahn's organization, it seems a waste not to buy his book and simply subtract that from my next donation! Of course he probably only gets a small percentage of any book sales, so my logic fails.

He had me from the opening lines, telling of how St. Romanus desired to glorify God in Eastern hymns despite his poor singing voice and was eventually miraculously given the gift to write them. One sees the “sweat equity” of the saints, how St. Romanus's prayer was long in being answered and yet he persevered, suffering with a burning hunger and desire. Remarkable on two fronts: one that he was so concerned about the glory of God and two that he was persistent in the seemingly unanswered prayer. 

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Had a meeting with a co-worker that went well enough, if one extraneous and boring, but I dare not let that show after she said she tried to train someone else on it and they fell asleep right in front of her! Wow. That takes some cahoonies in a one-on-one.

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Waylaid by a burning desire for The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, so I visited it at the local library at lunch. Found the zwei gigantic volumes (5th edition) which may've shrunk a bit in the 6th. To say these bad boys were unwieldy is to put it mildly. And I found, obviously, not nearly the delightful variety and etymological goodness of the 20-volume OED. So I'm relieved not to have spent the cash nd ordered it, although I sense the temptation will return. Having some version of the Oxford English Dictionary is sort of like marathon running: I'd like to be able to say I ran a marathon but not actually run one or train for one. Similarly, I'd like to have at least the Shorter Oxford English on hand, but not pay for it or use it. Because really, when would I use it? It's so cumbersome that it would have to be anchored to the place I most likely read, but I read outside four or five months a year. 

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I understand Pope Benedict's final planned encyclical, on faith, was controversial enough not to find immediate clearance with all the folks who have to sign off on encyclicals, and thus he didn't wait for it to be promulgated before leaving the papacy. Of course I'm dying to know what it was he wanted to say and why it was considered troublesome. Will likely never know.

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Bill O'Reilly recommended a celeb interview, very rare for him, with Billy Joel in the New Yoric Times. I found it rather ho-hum.  I assume part of O'Reilly's interest is that they both grew up on Long Island and are about the same age and have had their share of love troubles (i.e. divorces).
Watching makes me predictably upset. It's too irritating of late and it's likely best I don't watch the news. The Benghazi, the IRS scandal and the Nixonian tactics with the press all irritate me profoundly. It's not self-flattering that I seem to be more upset over the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS and the obfuscation surrounding Benghazi than I do the far more damaging and serious case of Obama's enthusiasm for abortion. I remind myself we have to be the voice of the voiceless and unlike conservatives and the diplomatic corp the unborn don't have voices. Frankly I can't stand this administration or its arrogant head. It gets worse over time; I can understand now the growing distaste for Bush by the lefties. There's a cumulative effect to bad presidential policies and hubris. I'm certainly grateful for the amendment limiting presidents to 
two terms. 
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My mother had some wise words about my surprise over 8th grade graduation parties, which apparently require out of towners to attend: i.e. that that's the way they do things these days. Celebrate everything, and in an over-the-top way, like the way they go to the Washington D.C. trips for 8th grade instead of the Ohio capitol, as in my 8th grade, or the way a recent 2nd grade party involved a visit to the Cincinnati Bengals' stadium. It's kind of funny that Mom, a generation older than me, is telling me in effect that I'm way out of date, an “old fogey” as it were. Certainly the wonders of generosity of parental love seemingly knows no bounds: to paraphrase the Scriptures: “No greater love has this: to lay down one's Saturday and spend from 8am till 8pm watching your thirteen-year old play volleyball games.” Makes my 4 hour round-trip drive look puny by comparison.

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This New York City memoir I'm reading is narcotically entertaining. The author mentions a “superrational, unforgiving Aristotelianism” acquired by a friend at the University of Chicago, and I couldn't help thinking immediately of St. Thomas Aquinas, who “baptized” Aristotle so to speak.
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Is Catholicism is inherently more “romantic” than Protestantism, because it is much more appreciative of dates, anniversaries, and symbolism?

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Today's Catechism reading mentioned the male priesthood as having been instituted by Christ (and followed by the apostles, so apparently you have both Christ and the apostles not being particularly supportive of a female priesthood). But what occurred to me is how the Church seems to come by this teaching so honestly, specifically in comparison with the bread and wine offered at Mass. If the Church somehow singled out women with “prejudice” she might be lax on the matter of the proper matter for sacraments, allowing - for example - grape juice, beer and Wheat Thins as objects of consecration. So if the Church takes so seriously what Jesus constituted as the matter of the sacrament, then how much more she might take the human matter, i.e. the priest, who acts in the person of Christ!

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The Word Among Us has an interesting take on fear and dread of The Lord (Sirach 4:17):
“This isn't a fear of God's wrath. It's a fear that we may disappoint a Heavenly Father who loves us so deeply. It's the same kind of fear that a young man leaving home has to make his own way in the world. The last thing he wants to do is let down his father, who has supported him, and taught him, and helped him so much.”
Yes I get that analogy. I had no fear of my Dad's “wrath” if I didn't find work after college or ended up in a menial job. But I had a real deep fear of letting him down, embarrassing him. I wanted him to be able to tell his very successful brothers that I had a good job. Dad and I joked about “boomerang kids” who come back to live with their parents but it was really unthinkable to me. It certainly proves that one can be strongly motivated by a fear other than a fear of a father's wrath. 

5 comments:

William Luse said...

Several items:

1. Didn't know O'Reilly had been divorced. Since he's a Catholic, and that Church don't give divorces, I wonder how that works.
2. Frankly I can't stand this administration or its arrogant head. It gets worse over time; Uh-huh.
3. When I graduated from the 8th grade, my parents didn't even notice.
4. Good thoughts on the male priesthood.
5. Judging from the post above, your wife really knows how to grow flowers.
6. Regarding the post below, I was going to say 'you are such a bum,' then realized it would be only a display of envy.

TS said...

Thanks Bill, except for the (too true!) bum line. Looks like O'Reilly's wife left him for a local police officer. As long as he doesn't remarry I assume he's still in good standing w the Church as far as reception of sacraments.

Got to post pic on this blog of my handsome bookcase w my favorite Luse painting...

William Luse said...

Ah, since the wife left him, I almost feel sorry for him. Maybe what they say about women's attraction to men in uniform has something to it. How long was he married? Can you imagine being his wife? (We don't have anything better to do so let's gossip.)

TS said...

Ha, yeah his wife probably never won an argument. "I'll give you the last word" and then proceeds to take the last word. They were married pretty long for show biz types...I think maybe early or late '90s. I think a marriage where one or both spouses is famous makes it even tougher.

TS said...

But I do feel sorry for him. That's pretty rough,