Friday, January 13, 2017

Worth a Thousand Words: It's Good Together

It's Good Together
taken by Remo Savisaar

Well Said: The prophet is a person

The prophet is not a mouthpiece, but a person; not an instrument, but a partner, an associate of God. Emotional detachment would be understandable only if there were a command which required the suppression of emotion, forbidding one to serve God "with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might." God, we are told, asks not only for "works," for action, but above all for love, awe, and fear. ... You will seeke Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13).
Abraham Heschel, The Prophets
This makes me think of the famous words of one of the most human of all prophets, Jeremiah. It is a personal experience which fully requires the participation of the prophet.
You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped;
you were too strong for me, and you triumphed. ...

I say to myself, I will not mention him,
I will speak in his name no more.
But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,
imprisoned in my bones;
I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.
(Jer. 20:7, 9)

Give 2 Hours, Once a Year, for Life

If your area has a local March for Life, please consider going.

It doesn't take much time, especially when you consider that this may be the only physical action you take against abortion all year. (Not counting kneeling in prayer, that is.)

In Dallas, if you only attend the march, it takes maybe half an hour to get to City Hall, an hour to march and listen to some speeches and (admittedly not my favorite) sing-along music.

But you will be participating in the one thing that the general public, the media, and government understand.


Your mere presence will help show that more people care about all phases of life than most people realize.

If everyone in Dallas/Fort Worth attended who really believed killing the unborn is wrong, I think the streets would be clogged for hours. The media, who generally ignores the thousands who attend here each year, would be unable to ignore those numbers.

We all have our reasons to stay home.

I understand. Every single year I battle the reasonable rationalizations that spring to mind. But those rationalizations are not really true a lot of the time. In my case, they always boil down to:
  • It's inconvenient.
  • I might get embarrassed.
  • I don't like that music (now I'm clutching at straws).
  • I'd rather be doing something else (anything else).
So, I'll just say it. I'm lazy, easily embarrassed, snobbish, and selfish. Welcome to my inner life.

But I can't get away from the truth of what Jesus tells me about how I'm being judged in the end.
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40)
Considering Mary's situation when she said, "Yes" to bearing Christ for us, I feel as if I can't ignore these littlest ones among us and their parents who are being lied to by everyone else in our society. Who need someone to stand up for them and tell the truth.

One of the things I like about the march is that this is my chance to simply "be there." Simply taking this walk lets my presence count without having to achieve another thing. There's a symbolism about that I like. A connection with the unborn whose value is in "being."

That's worth two hours, once a year.


Friday and Saturday schedule notes:

The DFW March for Life is this Saturday, January 14.

Mass is being held TONIGHT, FRIDAY, at St. Monica and San Juan Diego churches.

You can see the whole schedule here.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Well Said: Eyewitnesses to God

There are no proofs for the existence of the God of Abraham. There are only eyewitnesses. The greatness of the prophet lies not only n the ideas he expressed, but also in the moments he experienced. The prophet is a witness and his words a testimony — to His power and judgment, to His justice and mercy.
Abraham Heschel, The Prophets

Worth a Thousand Words: The Lovers

Emile Friant, Les Amoureux, 1888
via Arts Everyday Living

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Well Said: Few are guilty, but all are responsible.

Above all, the prophets remind us of the moral state of a people: Few are guilty, but all are responsible. If we admit that the individual is in some measure conditioned or affected by the spirit of society, an individual's crime discloses society's corruption. In a community not indifferent to suffering, uncompromisingly impatient with cruelty and falsehood, continually concerned for God and every man, crime would be infrequent rather than common.
Abraham Heschel, The Prophets

Worth a Thousand Words: Passing Storm

Passing Storm, Arthur Parton, Date unknown

Genesis Notes: Melchizedek

Melchizedek is only shown to us one time and yet we are reminded of him with the familiar phrase from Hebrews that Jesus is a high priest "after the order of Melchizedek." You wouldn't think there'd be a whole lot to learn from one little "walk on" part. However, as is so often the case with Scripture, there is a whole lot more to it as we can see here.

Melchizedek and Abraham. Painted Limoges enamel plaque, 1560-1570.
Most modern biblical scholarship sees in Melchizedek a pre-figuring of Christ; some scholars suggest that it was actually an appearance of Christ to Abram. He is a mysterious figure. The early tradition of the Church, which continued well up to the time of the Reformation, was influenced by the Jewish rabbinic teaching that Melchizedek was actually Shem, the firstborn son of Noah who lived a very long time. This is a compelling idea. Shem was the one on whom Noah's blessing had rested. He was destined to be a master over the Canaanites. His priesthood was domestic; that is, the one who conducted the worship of God and through whom the blessing of God was received was the head of the family. We have seen this in Noah and Abram. This role was passed from father to firstborn son.

If, in fact, Shem is Melchizedek (this name is more of a title than a name), as the Fathers taught (even Martin Luther understood and taught this), what can we make of the description of him in Hebrews 7:1-10 (please read)? In Heb. 7:3, he is described as "without father or mother or genealogy, and has neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever." In order to understand this statement, we need to know something about the Levitical priesthood in Israel, with which Melchizedek's priesthood is contrasted in the verses that follow.

The Levitical priesthood was instituted in Israel at the time of a great apostasy, a grave turning away from the covenant God had made with His people (see Exodus 32:25-29). Before that time, the priesthood had been a domestic one, as we have seen in Genesis thus far, passed from father to firstborn son. Due to the circumstances of its institution, the Levitical priesthood must be seen as inferior to the earlier one. The writer of Hebrews makes this clear. Additionally, by the time of the writing of Hebrews, the Levitical priesthood featured certain restrictions. A man could not become a priest until he was 30 and had to retire when he was 50. He also had to prove his Levitical (of the tribe of Levi) genealogy through both his father and his mother (this had become important when Israel returned to its land after foreign exile, in about 500 B.C.; there was careful attention to lineage in order to prevent any foreign corruption in the priesthood).

The priesthood of Melchizedek was not that way. There was no need for the Levitical attention to parental lineage ("He is without father or mother or genealogy..."). There was no start and end of his service ("neither beginning of days nor end of life"). It would be this kind of royal priesthood that Jesus would have (prophesied of the Messiah long before by King David in Psalm 110:4). His was the superior priesthood of the firstborn son, not the Levitical one. God's own Son became High Priest. Melchizedek was a type of the One Who was to come.]
All quotes from Genesis, Part II: God and His Family. This series first ran in 2004 and 2005. I'm refreshing it as I go. For links to the whole study, go to the Genesis Index. For more about the resources used, go here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

What We're Watching: Sneaky Pete

A con man (Giovanni Ribisi) on the run from a vicious gangster (Bryan Cranston) takes cover from his past by assuming the identity of his prison cellmate, Pete, "reuniting" with Pete's estranged family, a colorful, dysfunctional group that threatens to drag him into a world just as dangerous as the one he's trying to escape - and, just maybe, give him a taste of the loving family he's never had.
We saw an ad for this last weekend while watching Green Bay pound the Giants and were intrigued.

We were even more intrigued when we saw that Graham Yost from Justified was running it. Along with Bryan Cranston whose involvement sealed the deal. We were impressed that not only is he involved in producing it but he is not the star. Talented and willing to let someone else star. (Is there anyone who doesn't love that guy?).

The pilot was entertaining, smart, and hit the right notes. We're really looking forward to the series which will begin this week.

The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy

The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy

Never has a tale of post-apocalyptic America been so gently told. It was surprising and unusual and I'm surprised I never heard of Pat Murphy before my mother urged me to try this book.

After The Plague decimates the country, the cities are all cut off from each other. San Francisco is populated largely by artists whose whims are transforming the city into something otherworldly. When they get word that they are the next target for a military cult, they decide they will fight the war their way — with art.

This had a dreamy, fantastic quality that I really liked. I especially liked Murphy's imaginings of how artists would shape the raw material of an abandoned city to show their vision. And it is an unusual book which made me delight in the way the war was fought. Some of the attacks which repelled the conventional soldiers actually made me laugh out loud. Creative and diabolical, while still somehow remaining essentially peaceful.

Worth a Thousand Words: Colts for a Cowman

Via Pulp Covers
Colts for a Cowman, sure ... but I see he needs help from the gutsy dame in the saloon.

And Now, A Word From Our Sponsor: Delighted

The Lord became my protector.
He brought me out to a place of freedom;
he saved me because he delighted in me.
Psalm 18:19-20
There was never a sweeter surprise for my morning than flipping open my prayer journal and seeing this message awaiting me. "He delighted in me." You just kind of hug those words to yourself.

Dare we dream - an all Texas Super Bowl?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Worth a Thousand Words: Four Footed Lovers

Via Bumble Button

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. The Baptism of Christ. 1844-45
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord. This brings to an end the season of Christmas. The Church recalls Our Lord's second manifestation or epiphany which occurred on the occasion of His baptism in the Jordan. Jesus descended into the River to sanctify its waters and to give them the power to beget sons of God. The event takes on the importance of a second creation in which the entire Trinity intervenes.

Surprise again! This feast is usually on the Sunday after January 6. In the United States, when Epiphany falls on the same Sunday, the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated on the following day (Monday). So here we are, with a major feast day on a Monday.

Read more about this feast day at Catholic Culture.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Solemnity of Epiphany

Giotto, Adoration of the Magi
via Wikipedia
We are perhaps in danger of not realizing fully how close Our Lord is to our lives because God presents himself to us under the insignificant appearance of a piece of bread, because he does not reveal himself in his glory, because he does not impose himself irresistibly, because he slips into our life like a shadow, instead of making his power resound at the summit of all things ... How many souls are troubled because God does not show himself in the way they expected! (J. Leclerq, A Year with the Liturgy)

In Conversation with God: Advent and Christmastide
The Solemnity of the Epiphany is celebrated either on January 6 or, according to the decision of the episcopal conference, on the Sunday between January 2 and January 8. Epiphany celebrates the visit of the three kings or wise men to the Christ Child, signifying salvation for the Gentiles. Read more at Catholic Culture.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Well Said: A good question

Our obstetrician, a squat, gruff, no-nonsense Italian American woman, responded to the [natural childbirth] fad sarcastically. "Since when did nature become our friend?" she asked. It was a good question.
Andrew Klavan, The Great Good Thing

Worth a Thousand Words: The Journal Readers

The Journal Readers (c.1660-1670). Jan Steen (Dutch, c.1625-1679).
via Books and Art