Friday, July 31, 2009

Jesus Shock

I just finished reading this little book, and would recommend it:

From St. Augustin Press:

Jesus Shock is the second in a series of short works on seminal concerns of the impact that Jesus Christ made in the world. The first work, The Philosophy of Jesus (St. Augustine’s Press, 2007), explored philosophy in light of Jesus, rather than the other way around. The present work investigates the reception Jesus received both in His lifetime and continuously to the present time, not only from His enemies, but from His friends, a reception of shock, astonishment, even disgust. Perhaps a few remarks from the book best explains it:

The point of the title: Imagine a storm has downed a telephone wire so that everyone who touches it is shocked in every cell of his body. Well, the storm of God’s crazy love has “downed” (incarnated) Jesus, and everyone who touches this “live wire” is shocked in every cell of his soul.

The question of the book: Why is “Jesus” the most non-neutral, the most controversial, the most embarrassing name in the world? Why is talking about Jesus like talking about sex?

This whole book is really about a single movie line, the greatest line in the greatest movie in history. Bet you know what it is. . . .

What was the bitterest controversy of the Protestant Reformation, both between Protestants and Catholics and between different Protestant denominations, the one that had both sides calling the other not just heretics but devils?

Answer: It was not Justification by Faith, the hallmark of the Reformation, even though that question is about nothing less momentous than how to be saved, how to get to Heaven. It was not the relation between religion and politics, even though that was a matter of life or death (literally, on battlefields and at guillotines and hangings) and not just a matter of truth or falsity, or of good or evil. It was not about the sufficiency of the Bible, or the corruption in the Church, or the relation between the Bible and the Church. It was not about the Pope, and the governance of the Church. It was not about Mary or saints or angels or Purgatory. It was not about the Incarnation or the Trinity or the Atonement.

It was about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Jesus-Shock, in addressing this controversy forcefully and faithfully, shows the reasons why to this day the name of “Jesus” stirs up controversy, even revulsion, in polite society. In the true spirit of ecumenism, it also points the way toward a true rapprochement among His modern-day disciples.

Peter Kreeft is the author of many works in philosophy and theology, among them Socratic Logic, The Philosophy of Jesus, and The Sea Within, all from St. Augustine’s Press. He teaches philosophy at Boston College.
order here

I'm currently reading The Philosophy of Jesus (OK, I'm reading the titles backwards) and came across this little gem (speaking of the Holy Trinity):

In chapter 1, section 4. The Moral Consequences of Metaphysics, Kreeft writes: "We can see faint but definite indications of this even in our faint loves, if only they are definite. the lover finds his unity, his identity, his self, his "I," more in his beloved than in himself*.
*Were I a woman, I would say "her" unity and "herself." I will not say "his or her self" or "themselves" because abusing grammer is not reparation for the sin of abusing grandmas.

Although there are particular parts that I would definitely depart from Kreeft's judgments and conclusions (ie: he has an odd notion of Anglican belief regarding the real presence and his treatment of the mystical body of Christ is ... well it isn't, that's the problem I had with the book), I found "Jesus Shock" for the most part shockingly compelling, and would recommend a read. It's worth it just to take a test and fail miserably! So I better not go back to school and mea culpa on the grammer, gramma!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

That's Major!

Bl. Margaret of Castello Chapter's Maj. Paul O'Leary O.P.L., that is...

Helping keep the flame of faith alive in Europe!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Be Prepared

This picture is one of my favorite humorous looks at life:

Its such a metaphor for how we fail to prepare properly for things in life; most important of which is our preparation for eternal life; for most of us, it isn't even this good.

The opposite is to over-prepare for the things that are not likely to happen; this can happen in our personal life, it can happen in the life of a nation. Our entire nation can devote a significant amount of its resources, even neglecting the poor and marginalized, in order to prevent an expected and threatened man-made global catastrophe of biblical proportions, thought by some to be tantamount to the end of the world as we know it; thought by others to be silly and a waste of resources. You thought I was talking about "Global Warming"? No, I was talking about the cold war and the arms race. Does sort of sound familiar, though.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

"Marriage Recovery" at next chapter meeting

Our next chapter meeting will feature Mary Meade, OPL who is a member of the Immaculate Conception Chapter in DC. Mary operates a marriage recovery nonprofit in local diocese. Her website is
The following is from her web site:

Welcome to The Marriage and Family Recovery Programs
The challenge is a simple one...

  • Try a radically different program of Transformative Mediation to resolve your differences.
  • Postpone any pending divorce or other legal action for six months to give mediation a chance.
  • Avoid costly litigation and court battles where no one wins but the lawyers and experts.
  • Find the ways to protect any children from the discord, and to model to them solid conflict resolution skills.
  • Save your marriage and family life, or negotiate a saner solution than letting a judge decide what is best for your family.
  • Revolutionize the way in which you communicate with others and handle disputes.
  • Discover the practices which can help you transcend differences and discern your real priorities.
  • Discern the innate values and truths that can transform the chaos into stability and contentment.
  • Learn how to use conflict to transform your life and to set attainable and healthy goals.
  • Consider not only legal rights and obligations, but also the totality of who you are as a human being.
  • Determine how you can live an intentional life and how to choose wisely.
  • Join a systematic recovery program that helps you discern the meaning of your life.
  • You have nothing to lose.You have everything to gain.

    Saturday, July 25, 2009


    The following excerpt is worth reading many times:


    From Divine Intimacy by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene, O.C.D.

    If certain situations seem to us incomprehensible, if we cannot see the reason why particular circumstances and creatures make us suffer, it is because we do not see the place they occupy in the plan of divine Providence in which everything is ordered for our ultimate good. Yes, even suffering itself is ordered for our good, and God, who is infinite goodness, neither wills nor permits it except for this purpose. We believe all this in theory but we easily forget it in practice, so much so, that when we find ourselves in obscure, painful situations which upset or interfere with our plans and wishes, we are disturbed and our lips formulate the anguished question: “Why does God permit this?” However, the answer, as universal and infallible as divine Providence itself, is always the same: God permits it solely for our good. We need to be firmly convinced of this so that we may not be scandalized by the trials of life. “All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth, to them that seek after His covenant and His testimonies” (Ps 24:10); we can mistrust ourselves, our goodness and our faithfulness, but we cannot mistrust God who is infinite goodness and faithfulness.

    At our retreat Mike read from Mystici Corporis, and one item which came up for discussion was the error of "Quietism." I hadn't read about Quietism in perhaps a decace, and my understanding of it (at the time of the retreat discussion) was abbreviated, and it was clear that we all groped for that which we did not quite grasp; and not quietly!

    When I read the above meditation, it immediately touched me in how it relates to the trials we all are undergoing. If we consider for a moment, our days in school; the teacher at his whim subjects us to homework and tests. The homework we grudgingly work through, and the tests we almost universally dread! Yet, the teacher does this not to make our life miserable, but that we may grow in knowledge and wisdom (in theory, anyway). Jesus Christ, Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Wisdom of God, has also ordered things so that we have "homework" and "tests" - we haven't chosen these assignments, He has arranged them in our lives for our benefit.

    So if we look at these events as "attacks from Satan" or simply as events which we do not want, we have missed their value in our life. We are responding in an all too human understanding of events. If we look at them in "the light of heaven" and see God's hand in it, we can find a remarkable degree of peace, even as we did the one time we were confronted with a pop quiz for which we were unprepared, and accepted our failure instead of fighting what we could not change.

    The meditation also brought to mind that to focus in exclusion on the acceptance of the trials in our live, and the peace which we can attain therein, could lead us to a place where we simply failed to "work out our salvation in fear and trembling" My thought was immediately the error of Quietism, which a quick read (Catholic Encyclopedia article Quietism, at New Advent) indicated that I had this in part, although the whole is far greater than I remembered. I heartily recommend a read.

    St. Teresa of Avila, borrowing from St. Augustine, said that we should "pray as though everything depended on God, and work as though everything depended on us." this balance, so evident in the genius of Christ's institution of the Church, when tilted to one side at the exclusion of the other, takes us off the Way. this thought is captured well by the famous serenity prayer:

    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.

    Since mid-December, I have been on a special assignment which has precluded me from much posting on this blog. As of today that assignment has changed and entered a new phase which has allowed me to decamp my temporary living situation of the last seven months. God willing, may this parting of company be of mutual benefit as intended.

    Thursday, July 23, 2009

    Scandalous fraud by removed Honduran President? - Pray for Honduras II

    Fr. Powell's blog reports:

    a Catalan language newspaper in Spain is reporting that police in Honduras have seized 45 computers from Zelaya's Presidential House that contain pre-programmed referendum results. The computers were programmed to indicate that by an 80-20 percent margin, Hondurans favored calling a convention to amend their constitution to allow Zelaya a second term as President.

    here's the item:

    Several computers containing the results of the referendum Zelaya wanted to conduct are seized at the Presidential Palace

    A page out of the Chavez (leftist, in other words) Playbook
    By Alberto de la Cruz, on July 18, 2009

    The National Directors of Criminal Investigation seized various computers from the Presidential Palace that had recorded the supposed results of the referendum to reform the constitution that the deposed leader, Manuel Zelaya, was planning to conduct on July 28, the day he was removed from office.

    The official investigation now deals with the possible crime of fraud and falsification of documents due to the fact that some of the certified voting results had been filled with the personal information of individuals that supposedly participated in the failed referendum that did not take place because of the coup.

    One of the district attorneys that participated in the operation that took place this Friday showed reporters an official voting result from the Technical Institute Luis Bogran, of Tegucigalpa, in which the specific number of people that participated in table 345, where there were 550 ballots, 450 of which were votes in favor of Zelaya's proposal and 30 were against, in addition to 20 blank ballots and 30 ballots, which were nullified.

    The seizure took place on the third floor of the building attached to the Ministry of the Presidency that had been rented to the ex-minister of the Interior, Enrique Flores Lanza. The deputy district attorney, Roberto Ramirez, declared this area as a "crime scene" and, although he did not want to provide further details, said that further evidence had been found that could be categorized as crimes of fraud, embezzlement of funds, falsification of documents, and abuse of authority.

    credit: Babalú

    So far it appears only USA Today has picked this up in the US press, but one wonders why a near world-wide news blackout on this?

    Honduras: computers seized with 'election results' pre-loaded Tegucigalpa -- The National Direction of Criminal Investigation confiscated computers in the Presidential House in which were registered the supposed results of the referendum on the reform of the Constitution that was planned by former President

    Here's more English information:

    More corruption: The ballot counts are in! (La Gringa's Blogicito)

    Computers that already collected and tallied the votes
    Photo: La Prensa, Honduras

    "You won't be surprised to learn that Zelaya's proposal won heartily with approximately 80% affirmative votes."

    BTW, there is an excellent tag run at the blog La Gringa's Blogicito, the best I've seen so far; nice work; you rock, girl! this is an excellent find:

    I enjoyed this comment on a liberal forum and asked the author to let me share it with you:

    How did defending Zelaya become an important aspect of being on the American left? None of us had ever heard of Zelaya last week. Does a couple days of defending Zelaya mean a left person must defend Zelaya forever? irregardless of the emerging evidence of his guilt? Are you guys so threatened, so fragile, so insecure, that you cannot change an opinion you just formed on Monday? Can you not be flexible as damning evidence appears? Are you that brittle? that fixated? that much in denial? Come ON! COME ON! Think like a shrewd human being, and not like a petulant child. The evidence of Zeyala’s guilt is plain to see, for those who have eyes. Come ON!

    And, for goodness sake: think, for once, of the Honduran people. Do you want the people living under the thumb of Zelaya? as the Venezuelan people live under the thumb of Chavez? Standing up for the Honduran Government is standing up for the rule of law, for human rights, for freedom and democracy for the Honduran people. Come ON! Are you more interested in pounding the American right with false charges about spin; or are you more interested in standing for what is right, and in standing for human beings in Honduras whose freedom is imperiled?

    Greg Cotharn
    The End Zone

    -Chavez marionetas-

    further links to the constitional events unfolding are here: Pray for Honduras

    "Honduras is an example for the world.
    We don't have oil nor dollars,
    but we have balls!

    Mike Lee presentations

    The following came today; looks like a great opportunity

    Dear Friends of the Mike Lee Family,

    A bonus for us this summer is that Mike Lee is back in town! He has another year of intense learning behind him, which means another year of insight to share.
    This leads up to a great opportunity at Nazareth Retreat Center to wrap up your summer!

    If you have not heard Mike speak, plan to make time to go. You will not be disappointed. Mike will present a five-week Gospel Study and you are invited to attend any or all...

    Please note that there will be two sessions each Wednesday: morning 9:00-10:30am and evening 7:00-8:30pm.

    A Study of the Gospel of John

    When: Wednesdays starting July 29th ending August 26th. Morning session 9:00-10:30am, Evening session 7:00-8:30pm.

    Where: Nazareth Retreat Center - 4450 N. Five Mile Road, Boise, ID 83713

    Who: Facilitated by Michael Lee

    What to Bring: Bible, notebook, pen

    Description: The study will look at the major themes within the Gospel of John, important Johannine images, important words and concepts in order to open up the Gospel for further study.

    Cost: no cost – donations appreciated.

    More information: Please call Mike or Deb at 253-370-1291

    Also, Mike and Debbie Lee are leading a mini day retreat at Nazareth Saturday, August 22. More details on that to come. Small faith communities might consider doing this for the next month.

    Saturday, July 18, 2009

    5th annual retreat

    For Janette, Jim, and Gwen - De Profundis

    Friday, July 17, 2009

    Infinite Justice

    From Divine Intimacy, Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene O.C.D.


    Mercy is the effusion of the sovereign Good who communicates His goodness to creatures; justice is zeal defending the rights of that sovereign Good who ought to be loved above all things. In this sense, justice intervenes when the creature tramples on God’s rights and offends Him instead of loving and honoring Him. The punishment of the sinner is the fruit of justice, but at the same time it is the fruit of mercy, for “whom the Lord loves, He chastises” (Prov 3:12). God does not punish a sinner in order to destroy him but to convert him. In this life the means used by divine justice are always directed by mercy, insofar as their purpose is always to put the sinner in such conditions as to profit by the divine mercy. Therefore, God is always merciful even when He punishes; His chastisements are not merely punishments, but they are also, and above all, remedies to cure our souls from sin, except in the case of those who refuse to be converted.

    In our spiritual life, mercy and justice are continually alternating and intertwining. God’s mercy offers us His divine friendship’ but, in justice, He cannot receive as an intimate friend anyone who retains the slightest attachment to sin and imperfection. Therefore He subjects us to purifying trials for a twofold purpose: to make us atone for our faults – which is the aim of justice – and to destroy in us the last roots of sin that we may be disposed for union with God – and this is the aim of mercy. Hence, we must accept our trials humbly, realizing that we deserve them. We must accept them with zeal and a love of justice, wishing to avenge in ourselves God’s rights, rights which we too often forget and ignore. We ought to accept them too with love, for every trial is a great mercy on the part of God, who wants to make us advance in the way of sanctity.

    Jesus, whom God the Father loves above all creation, received the greatest suffering.

    Wednesday, July 15, 2009

    Woman speaks like a junk yard dog

    From the NYT:

    The Place of Women on the Court

    (page 4)
    JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae - in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion.

    "She is a junkist not a jurist."

    Tuesday, July 14, 2009

    prayer request

    The following came by email:

    Dear Friends,

    Some of you may know Fr. Dick Tomasek, SJ; other may not (yet). But I am begging your prayers for his recovery. This dear man-of-God and very special personal friend of many of us, has spent his Jesuit life, in large measure, helping others through his spiritual direction both at the Pontifical College of the Josephinum and also at the North American College in Rome. A couple weeks ago, upon his return from Rome, he underwent a physical and was immediately sent to the hospital for open-heart surgery whereupon a tumor, larger than a golf ball, was removed and a valve replaced. Sadly, the medical reports have shown the tumor to be, in Father’s words, “a not pretty cancer” – and, though he sounds his usual peacefilled and FAITHfilled self, I am asking all of you to STORM HEAVEN and God’s mercy to heal this marvelous priest in this Year of the Priests!! Beg our Heavenly Mother and our saintly John Paul II – perhaps the Divine FATHER wishes to allow this son to be JPII’s ‘miracle’ for canonization!! In any case, we simply want Father well as we NEED him and love him. He is with his Jesuit Community in WI. Please pray and ask others to as well. Thank you….I know you will!!

    Gratefully and prayerfully in Mary, Mother of the Eucharist and, thus, Mother of Priests,
    Sister Joseph Andrew, OP

    Monday, July 13, 2009

    From Uganda

    "Truth Be Told" reader Fr. Jerome Agelu, Soroti, Uganda, sends the following pictures:

    Under this tree...

    ...this woman found...

    ...this 3 week old abandoned baby!

    The mother had run away after leaving her baby!

    Fr. Agelu gave the baby to this foster mother for care:

    And here is Father and Peter, a seminarian, with the baby and a group of women:

    And here is the mass for baptism...

    ...and here are the women with their babies, including the little foundling with his foster mother, presented for baptism this Sunday (July 12), and baptized with the name "Jerome".

    God is good!

    Sunday, July 12, 2009

    Just ordered...

    From St. Augustine's Press:

    click picture for publisher's description

    Saturday, July 11, 2009

    Sub lumine aeternitatis

    How often St. Dominic is presented under a star, or under a great light. When we live with the eyes of our heart fixed on our own will, we are torn and tossed between desires which are constantly changing, never satisfying. We are made for eternity, and when we fix our eyes on eternity, and unite our wills to the Eternal Will of God, the peace we desire but which escapes us when we live according to our own will, becomes accessible to us. We are instructed to pray like this "...thy will be done..." so let us retire with our agony to our interior Garden of Getshemane and pray "Not my will, but thine be done."

    Friday, July 10, 2009

    Truth Be Told issue #5 - Newsletter of the Laity of the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

    The fifth issue of "Truth Be Told," the newsletter of the Laity of the Province of the Holy Name of Jesus has been posted to the web.

    The theme of this issue is Social Justice, which was selected before the public announcement of the release of the Holy Father’s new encyclical, Caritas in veritate. Integrated development of the human person, through the integration of Truth and Charity in the exercise of justice; certainly an opportune time for renewal within the Order which lays special claim to the word “Veritas.”

    The newsletter has been sent to the updated provincial web page here:

    If it is not available there yet, it can be found here as well:

    Monday, July 06, 2009

    Pray for Honduras

    From Mike Turner:

    As forces of evil descend upon the nation of Honduras, let us join Honduran Catholics in our prayer to the Virgin of Suyapa:

    Our Lady of Suyapa, bring the peace of your Son upon your land.


    Last Friday evening, Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, read the message signed by all eleven Honduran Bishops on the current situation. Excerpts:
    To the Organization of American States we ask that it pay attention to all that had been taking place outside the law in Honduras, and not only to what occurred after the past June 28 [date of the removal of the president by the military, following a court order].

    The Honduran people wonders why the warmongering threats against our country [by Venezuela and other nations] were not condemned.
    If the Inter-American system limits itself to protecting democracy in the ballot boxes, but does follow this by [the observance of] good governance, the prevention of political, economic, and social crises, reacting belatedly to them will serve to nothing.
    To the international community, we express the right that we have to define our own destiny, without unilateral pressures of any kind, searching for solutions which promote the welfare of all.
    Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, Lord Jesus tells us. Not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let there be in you no anguish, nor fear.

    Tegucigalpa, MDC, July 3, 2009.

    [Signed by Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga and the other ten Bishops of Honduras]
    After reading the full message on Honduran television, the Cardinal added the following personal message:

    "An appeal to my friend, José Manuel Zelaya [the deposed President:] on the day on which you took office, you mentioned three commandments of the holy law of God: not lying, not stealing, not killing.

    "Let us consider if a precipitate act, a return to the country, at this moment, could initiate a bloodbath.

    "I know that you love life, I know that you respect life; up to this day [July 3], there has not been a single death of a single Honduran; please, ponder [this], because afterwards it could be too late."

    As Zelaya announces his return, news agencies report tonight [July 3] two deaths near the Tegucigalpa airport as Leftist groups clash with police forces.

    The following links are articles which should clarify why the US should not be standing with the dictators to the south, but with the constitional government of Honduras:

    Honduras Defends Its Democracy, Fidel Castro and Hillary Clinton object. (June 29, Wall Street Journal)

    A 'coup' in Honduras? Nonsense.
    Don't believe the myth. The arrest of President Zelaya represents the triumph of the rule of law. (July 2, Christian Science Monitor)

    Honduras' non-coup (July 10, LA Times)

    Why Honduras Sent Zelaya Away The former president threatened to use force against the Congress and other institutions.(July 13, Wall Street Journal)

    The Honduran coup that wasn't (July 18, LA Times)

    It appears to me that the reports of a "coup" are incorrect, and that what happened is in reality the prevention of an attempted coup. I am willing to examine evidence to the contrary.

    Wednesday, July 01, 2009

    Pulled up short

    Periodically Tom at Disputations reminds me of my overwhelming shortcoming in the area of philosophy. His latest, No Middle Ground:

    It should be pointed out that, as the Philosopher says, knowledge of complex things is different than knowledge of simple things. For something can be known about complex things in such a way that something else about them remains unknown; thus there can be false knowledge about them. For example, if someone has true knowledge of an animal as to its substance, he might be in error touching the knowledge of one of its accidents, such as whether it is black or white; or of a difference, such as whether it has wings or is four-footed.

    But there cannot be false knowledge of simple things: because they are either perfectly known inasmuch as their quiddity is known; or they are not known at all, if one cannot attain to a knowledge of them.

    Therefore, since God is absolutely simple, there cannot be false knowledge of Him in the sense that something might be known about Him and something remain unknown, but only in the sense that knowledge of Him is not attained.

    Accordingly, anyone who believes that God is something that He is not, for example, a body, or something like that, does not adore God but something else, because he does not know Him, but something else.

    Here is the link to the full lecture on the Gospel of John from St. Thomas (in English)

    When I became a Catholic it was clear as day to me that I had never worshiped God at all, but something else, per Thomas. Only in faith do I cling to the hope that now I do.