Friday, June 26, 2009

"Love Sacrifice, Love the Cross, Love Pain"

As today is the feast of St. Josemaria Escriva (the founder of Opus Dei), I've been looking for quotes from him to post on Facebook throughout the day as a way of exposing more people to his great writings (and ultimately, one hopes, to help bring them to a deeper relationship with Our Lord and His Church).

Here is one counsel of his I came across today for the first time:

Love sacrifice; it is a fountain of interior life. Love the Cross, which is an altar of sacrifice. Love pain, until you drink, as Christ did, the very dregs of the chalice.

This is one of those pieces of advice that illustrates with absolutely clarity why, in the midst of our world, really and truly following Our Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate alternative lifestyle—and, yea, the only one worth living.

As shocking as it sounds, we are indeed called to love pain, for in doing so we unite ourselves to Jesus.

Jesus loved; so too must we love if we want to be like Him. Jesus served; so too must we serve if we want to be like Him. Jesus suffered pain and humiliation; so too must we suffer pain and humiliation if we want to be like Him.

These words of St. Josemaria particularly struck me because I just recently finished reading The Soul of the Apostolate (which, btw, I highly recommend). Therein, the author, Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard, lists nine "levels" of the interior life, ranging from "hardened in sin" to "complete sanctity". The latter, he says, have an "ardent thirst for sufferings and humiliations".

At this point in my life, I cannot say I have an ardent thirst for sufferings and humiliations. But, please God, some day I will.

And, please God, some day we all will.

[Cross-posted at Catholic Dads]

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Not Real"?

Someone once said that if you let a man commit murder, it could lead to brutality, then to drunkeness, shoplifting, and finally to cheating at cards and even fibbing.

Webinar Wrap-Up

I did my “Making the Case for Life” webinar last night, and I’m really happy with how it went!

Even if you weren’t ableto participate live, it was recorded, it's available here.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lowry Avenue Bridge, We Hardly Knew Ye

I wish I'd been there to see this:

This ex-bridge
spanned the Mississippi River and connected North and Northeast Minneapolis (the latter being my old stomping grounds). In fact, the first place our family lived when we moved to Northeast in 1979 (at 235 26th Ave.) was just a stone's throw from there.

[HT: Dahli at Science Class for Ghosts]

My Friend Michelle Has a Blog, E-I-E-I-O

'Tis called "made for JOY".

Check thou it out!

Monday, June 22, 2009

R.I.P., Father Tim Vakoc

Father Timothy Vakoc, a Minnesota Army chaplain who was seriously injured in Iraq in 2004, died Saturday at age 49.

Father Vakoc had lost an eye and sustained brain damage when a roadside bomb exploded near his Humvee on May 29, 2004, as he was returning to his barracks after celebrating Mass for U.S. soldiers.

When I was a Boy Scout working on getting my Ad Altare Dei emblem in 1992-1993, I met Fr. Vakoc a few times, as he was stationed at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in St. Anthony, MN, where I had been in Cub Scouts and where the AAD classes were held. Himself an Eagle Scout and earner of the AAD award, he helped out with the classes, especially those focusing on the sacrament of Holy Orders.

I can't say I knew him well, but from the interactions I had with him, it was clear he had a great love for Jesus Christ and His Church and his priestly vocation.

Requiem æternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei.

Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

You're Invited to a Free Pro-Life Webinar!

A few months ago, I traveled to Lansing, MI and gave my "Making the Case for Life" presentation for the Homeschoolers 4 Life club.

The club's moderator, Maureen Wittmann, told me afterward that both the kids and the adults really liked it, and she asked if I'd be interested in doing it again as an online seminar (webinar).

I was thrilled by the offer!

I'm happy to announce that I'll be doing it Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 8:30 PM Eastern time (7:30 PM Central time), and I'd like to invite you to attend.

If you've never been part of a webinar before, I encourage you to give it a try. You'll be able to hear and see me live as well as my talk, and you'll also be able to communicate with me and other attendees via an organized chat. (It's a lot like attending a live presentation, only you'll be in your own house.)

What will I be talking about? Here's the brief description listed on the information page:

Have you ever been in a conversation about abortion and found yourself struggling to defend your pro-life beliefs?

"Making the Case for Life" looks at the most common arguments used by abortion advocates and explains how to respond from a pro-life point of view.

This presentation is geared toward teenagers and adults.

This will be my first ever webinar, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Join thou me! You can register here.

If You Believe That, I Have a Senate Seat I'd Like to Sell You

The Chicago 2016 bid team thinks we're uber-stupid:

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Faced with losing the 2016 Summer Games to competing cities offering full government guarantees, Mayor Richard Daley made an about-face Wednesday and said the City of Chicago would sign a contract agreeing to take full financial responsibility for the Games. ...

But Wednesday's decision ups the ante considerably. If something goes terribly wrong with the Olympic plans and the city exhausts its package of limited government guarantees and private insurance, "any shortcomings will fall on the shoulders of taxpayers, and that's the end of the story," said Olympic historian Kevin Wamsley, of the University of Western Ontario.

The Chicago 2016 bid team says this is unlikely to happen.

Cue the laugh track.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mr. H. Has a Blog, E-I-E-I-O

My friend and fellow St. John Cantius parishioner Mr. H. (not to be confused with Mr. T, mind you) has a new blog, All Hands on Deck.

Check thou it out.

Now I'll have to get him to join the Catholic Dads blog too.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sartorial Splendor

Behold what is quite possibly the Coolest. Onesie. Ever.

'Twas a baptismal gift to A.J. by The Dutchman and his family (his son Pod-Man did the design of Don Bosco).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Uh Oh

This is not good:

Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics moved to first place in a new online ranking of the four candidate cities released Monday. At the same time, a former top Olympic executive, who usually speaks cautiously about the city’s chances of landing the games, thinks Chicago now has the advantage in the race for the 2016 Olympics.

“You are the leader,” said Peter Ueberroth about Chicago’s bid in an exclusive interview with WBBM.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Worst Person in the World

Our friend Jill Stanek was proud to be named "Worst Person in the World" by Keith Olbermann last week.

Since he referred to her readers as "crazy", she wonders if that means she'll have to share her award.

As for me, I'd be happy to settle for a T-shirt that says, "Keith Olbermann named Jill Stanek 'Worst Person in the World' and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Doug Kmiec, Jill Stanek, Barack Obama, Infanticide, and "Common Ground"

In response to Doug Kmiec's June 1 National Catholic Reporter column, in which he writes:

I don't see how keeping the outrageous claim alive today that President Obama’s contrary view somehow supports “infanticide” leads toward common ground.

...our friend Jill Stanek writes today on her blog: "I can now irrefutably state Doug Kmiec is a disingenuous person."

It is indeed not a little troubling that Kmiec continues to obdurately deny that Barack Obama voted to support legalized infanticide.

Kmiec also writes in his column:

A good beginning would be to heed President Obama’s call to reduce the need for abortion, through education, contraception, improved adoption services, and support for a woman to carry her pregnancy to term. [emphasis added]

One of these things — guess which one — is not like the others.

It's scandalous that Kmiec would expect his fellow Catholics to even consider for a second that the Bullwinkle Approach might be a good idea.

Aside from being, um, seriously wrong, it also doesn't work.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Christopher West

I first heard about Christopher West's appearance on Nightline a few weeks ago, but it wasn't until last week that I (a) saw the actual segment for myself, and (b) learned that many in the Catholic blogosphere have subsequently released the hounds on him.

Here's the segment in question:

Contrast that with this:

West has been getting pilloried by many fellow Catholics — treatment which is, in my opinion, grossly unfair.

If ABC's portrayal of West and his understanding of Catholic theology and sexuality were accurate, and if none of his statements had been taken out of context, it would be justified to give him Hail Columbia.

But it's not, and many of them were; and thus it isn't.

Recently Professor David Schindler offered a strong critique of West here, to which Professor Janet Smith (for whom I personally have tremendous respect as a Catholic moral theologian) and Professor Michael Waldstein offered their respective responses in defense of West's work here and here.

The best critique I've come across is from Jimmy Akin, who rightly cuts West a lot of slack:

Christopher West has a difficult job. As a chastity speaker, he's got to juggle several things at once:

1) He's got a very sensitive subject
2) On which different audiences have different sensibilities
3) The audience that most needs his message is very hard to reach
4) Part of the reason why they're so hard to reach is that they have a pre-existing stereotype of Christian sexual morality that they think gives them a license to tune out anything a Christian says on the subject
5) To reach this group you have to effectively batter your way past this anti-Christian prejudice and get them to take you seriously while simultaneously
6) Not offending the sensibilities of those who already take Christian sexual morality seriously
7) Some of whom have rigorist views on the topic

Through my job, I occasionally give chastity talks to junior high and high school teenagers, and thus I found myself nodding my head repeatedly as I read through this list.

Communicating the message of chastity takes a lot of thought and preparation — not to mention prayer — and figuring out the best way to do so is something I'm continually revisiting. (It's for this reason that when I do give chastity talks, I prefer that kids' parents be present also. Aside from the fact that parents are their children's primary educators — especially when it comes to such a crucial subject matter as sex — it also gives me a chance to hear feedback from moms and dads, which greatly helps me assess the degree to which I was able to "juggle" the various things on the aforesaid list.)

While I think it could be said that there are some "issues" with some aspects of Christopher West's speaking style — referring to Song of Songs as the "centerfold" of the Bible, for example, which Jimmy Akin addresses in his critique — in the end I agree with him that "West is a man on the side of the angels, and he's an effective speaker who has done a great deal of good."

The Internet: Providing Credulous People Ever More Opportunities to Waste Their Time

In the first scientific experiment to be conducted via the social messaging service, experts will investigate "remote viewing" - the psychic ability to identify distant locations.

Members of the public will be asked to "tweet" their impressions of a randomly chosen spot in the UK visited by one of the researchers.

Then they will vote for which of five photographs on a website shows where the visitor was standing.

The trial will be repeated with visually different locations four times.

HT: Mark Shea

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tiller's Murder

As we were leaving Mass at St. John Cantius yesterday, I ran into Matt Abbott, who told me that George Tiller had been shot and killed.

My heart sank.

As we loaded the kids into the van, I said to Jocelyn that this is going to make our work a lot harder.

A couple of my co-workers have been interviewed for stories on the shooting in various media outlets. Our press release condemning Tiller's murder is here, and there's a story on our website here.

Of the many reactions I've read thus far, the best one is by Christina Dunigan.

She also has another excellent post here that I suspect sums up what many of us are feeling right now.