26 September 2009

"Hey, prof! You get my global warming homework?"

OK...this sort of thing really gets me in touch with my Inner-Conspiracy Theorist:

"The Dog Ate Global Warming," Patrick J. Michaels

Imagine if there were no reliable records of global surface temperature. Raucous policy debates such as cap-and-trade would have no scientific basis, Al Gore would at this point be little more than a historical footnote, and President Obama would not be spending this U.N. session talking up a (likely unattainable) international climate deal in Copenhagen in December.

Steel yourself for the new reality, because the data needed to verify the gloom-and-doom warming forecasts have disappeared.

Or so it seems. Apparently, they were either lost or purged from some discarded computer. Only a very few people know what really happened, and they aren’t talking much. And what little they are saying makes no sense.

Read the whole thing at NRO.

Coffe Cup Browsing (Website Edition)

Religion Clause: news and analysis about legal cases involving the Establish Clause of the 1st Amendment

The Center for Theology and Natural Science
: great resource for those interested in the intersection of science and theology

Powerline: conservative political commentary

What's Wrong with the World
: philosophy, politics, theology, etc.

Stand Firm: chronicling the sad decline of Anglicanism into neo-pagan irrelevance

: no, this is not one of my blogs. . .Q&A for inquiring Catholics

Preces Latinae: lots of Latin prayers

thisibelieve: a project of PBS--some good, some bad, some just dumb

Logical Paradoxes: the fastest route to a headache on the internet

SurLaLune FairyTales: traditional tales with annotations

Project Gutenberg
: over 30,000 e-books

American Museum of Natural History
: frogs, trees, bears, etc.

Book-a-Minute: "Some woman puts Dante through Hell." (Inferno)

25 September 2009

Lagoon Creature Talking Smack

That Papist Sasquatch of Seattle gloats:

"236 Followers! Ha! Take that, Fr. Philip! Five new mumbling ciphers in a single day! Five new playthings for me to, to... *do* things to! Mine is the superior pointless and idle tyranny!"

Can we let him get away with talking such outrageous blogsphere smack?

I think NOT!

Go to the right side bar and FOLLOW HANCAQUAM! -------------->

Let's teach that Shambling He-Cow a thing or two about who's the Bigger Dog. . .

Chessy Grin

The WISH LIST was updated this morning!

Coffee Cup Browsing (Bizarro Edition)

The Gashlycrumb Tinies: "N is for NEVILLE who died of ennui"

Google search suggestions: "I like to. . ."

Bizarro law-suits. . .can you say "tort reform"?

Can you watch this for one minute and not go crazy?

How to create Russian Haired Sausage

Nashville! Here they come!

Pimp my bug. . .

Extraordinary, weird, and just plain ugly churches

Memorable (and weird) weddings

Ice Cream flavors not even I would eat!

23 September 2009

Singing for Dear Leader (UPDATED)

Oh, no. . .no Cult of Personality here. . .move along, move along:

And here's the pop quiz that makes sure the kiddies were properly indoctrinated.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has dug up the back-story on this creepy piece of propaganda.

Coffee Cup Browsing

Globalist hypocrites gather to preach to the Unwashed Masses about "climate change"

You aren't disappointed if you never thought he was the Messiah

The Catholic Medical Association speaks out on B.O. Care.

Big trouble for Mahony in L.A. Former vicar for clergy is telling tales at trial.

Continuing toil and trouble over New Age oogie-boogie nonsense in Catholic hospitals

A feline with too much time on his hands. . .er. . .paws

Unicorns of the Apocalypse! (they look scared)

A lot of VERY cool photographs

How you are going to die
. . .or, the chances that you will be consumed by a fleshing-eating bacteria during a domestic terrorist attack; that is if cancer and heart disease don't get you first

No amount of money would get me in this thing. . .very large doses of Xanax might

25th Sunday OT 2005: Redux

[from 25th Sunday OT 2005. . .by way of comparison]

25th Sunday OT: Is 55.6-9; Phil 1.20-24, 27; Matt 20.1-16
Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP
Church of the Incarnation, Irving, TX

Sounding very much like Mary saying YES to the Lord’s angel at the Annunciation, Paul proclaims without pride: “Christ will be magnified in my body…” Christ will be made larger, brighter, sharper, denser, louder, and more skilled in Paul’s body. Paul adds without fear, “…whether by life or by death.” Christ will be magnified in his body, whether by life or by death. Like Mary at the feet of the angel, Paul turns his life and his death over the Lord—and the work of the Lord—and confesses to his brothers and sisters that his life as a worker for the Lord will be larger, brighter, sharper, and more skilled precisely b/c the work he does will be done for the greater glory of the Lord. And this is just the work of his life! Death is no obstacle for Paul b/c “life is Christ, and death is gain.” So choose! Live in Christ and magnify His work on earth. Die in Christ, be with Him eternally, and still magnify His work in His presence. Now that’s commitment.

But here’s what I want you to notice: Paul does not donate his time, talent, and treasure out of his excess. He doesn’t give over to the work of the Lord the overflow of his riches. The leftovers. Paul does not say “Christ will be magnified in my checkbook.” “Christ will be magnified in my volunteer hours.” “Christ will be magnified in my talent.” He says that Christ will be magnified in his BODY. His very flesh. And whether he lives or dies the work he does for the Lord will bear abundant fruit for others. Paul does not parcel his life (or his death!) into neat packages addressed to different and equally worthy recipients: his family, his career, his friends, and, oh, one for the Lord too here on the bottom somewhere. Paul’s whole life—the first fruits, the abundant works, the failures and misgivings, and, finally, his last breath—all, his whole life is given to Christ for the enlargement of Christ.

What does it mean for Christ to be magnified in the body? The idea, I think, is to pull us out of the very human habit of abstraction, the very human temptation to loft our religious obligations to one another into the heavens where we can keep them safe from our duty to perform them on earth. So long as the obligation to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, visit the imprisoned remain abstracted moral imperatives far, far away, we are tempted to honor them in the abstract, neglect to perform them, and remain confident that the work of the Lord is getting done. Paul’s insistence that Christ will be magnified in his body is the clearest indication we have that the work of the Lord is to be DONE. Not just thought about. Not just written about. Not just preached about. And certainly not abstracted and lofted onto some kind of spiritualized “to do” list. The work is to be done. And done first for God’s greater glory.

Now. I know what you’re thinking! “Wow, Father is wound up tonight. He must think we’re all lazy bums laying around thinking about the good works of mercy, but watching Wheel of Fortune instead!” Not quite. I’ve seen the generosity of this community, and I know what motivates this community to be tools of the Lord in the world. There is a hunger here for others to see and hear what the Lord has done in your lives. There is an eagerness here, a tangible need to draw others to the Lord and to witness to them the power of Christ’s mercy—to forgive, to heal, to bless. I’m not wagging my finger at you tonight, but merely reminding you where you came from, where you are, and where you are going. You came from Christ. You are with Christ. And you will be with Christ.

But there is a temptation waiting for us. An eager little devil waiting to pounce on our witness to the Lord. It is an opportunity for us to sin and delight the Liar. What is this temptation? It is the temptation to believe that we work for the Lord out of our own generosity, out of our own time, out of our own resources, and we are therefore entitled to a greater reward when we outwork our neighbors.

This is exactly the parable of the whiny workers from Matthew, a parable about our salvation and our sanctification.

The whiny workers begrudge the landowner’s generosity in paying full wages to the latecomer laborers. Why? For some reason they feel that their own labor and their own wages are diminished by the largess of the vineyard owner. Somehow their day’s labor is dirtied. Their dollar is devalued. They worked harder and longer under the fiery sun, so they deserve more than those who sauntered in at the last hour and barely broke a sweat!

These guys are upset b/c they are working out of a very human notion of justice, a temptation, I think, to believe that compensation is earned; to get what is owed you, what you deserve. But remember, this is a parable about salvation and holiness not a lesson on capitalist economics.

Is it a human notion of justice you want applied to your eternal life? Do you want forever what you deserve? What you’ve earned in this life? Do you want the Father to give you a just compensation for your life’s work? The whole point of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ is that we won’t be given what we deserve; we won’t receive from the Father what is owed to us. As I have said to you many times: we don’t want God’s justice! We want His mercy! And Christ has bought that mercy for us.

Our Final Wage was offered on the Altar of the Cross once for all. Unearned. Free. Whether you came to your salvation as an infant sixty years ago or as a teenager ten years ago or as an adult three hours ago, your Final Wage comes from the bottomless cache of the Father’s generosity. Salvation is free. Holiness—the living out of that salvation morning, afternoon, and night—is work. But even that labor is graced by a loving God Who would see us with Him for eternity. That grace is sufficient to help us magnify the Lord.

Make Christ larger, brighter, louder, sharper, sweeter, stronger, kinder, truer, better, more beautiful, more loving, more faithful, more humble, more generous, and make Christ bigger, and bigger, and bigger in your life. Magnify the Lord til your knees buckle. Magnify the Lord til your back hurts. Magnify the Lord in your body til there is no room for sin. And when the Lord asks, “Are you envious b/c I am generous?” Be able to say, “No, Lord! I am grateful in life and death, and I live and die to magnify you.”

"gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring"

[Another "take what you can" homily. . .can't finish it.]

25th Sunday OT
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
Holy Rosary Priory, Houston, TX

Along the way to Capernaum through Galilee, the disciples were arguing among themselves. In their ignorance and fear, they were wrangling with one another, jockeying for position and prestige within the troupe. What were they arguing about? What could disrupt their peace? Jesus started the trip by telling them what was going to happen to him once they got to Jerusalem: “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.” We might imagine that this revelation would provoke astonished questions, some howls of dismay or at least a few protests. But the disciples did not understand what Jesus had revealed to them. They were fearful of asking him what he meant. Rather than risk showing their ignorance and fear, they choose instead to argue about who was first among the twelve of them, who was the greatest of Jesus' disciples. When Jesus asks them what they were discussing, they remain silent. Given the absurd nature of their conversation, this was likely their best response. No answer at all. Confronted with the prospect of a bleak future as Christ's disciples—certain persecution and death—the Twelve turn inward and wrestle over insignificant questions of precedence and power. Unwilling to relieve their ignorance by asking questions or assuage their fears by faith, they choose to distract themselves with internal political games. Simeon Weil* once wisely observed, “Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring.” Faced with the barren boredom of real evil, how often do we open our hearts and minds to the romance of imaginary evil, hoping for something more enticing, more entertaining than what we have been promised as Christ's faithful disciples?

It might seem a bit much to accuse the Twelve of opening themselves to the games of imaginary evil. Don't we usually reserve the adjective “evil” for the most heinous, most obscene acts of desecration? When asked to think of Evil, don't we usually conjure images of Adolf Hitler, Nazi concentration camps, whole cities laid waste by carpet bombing? Or perhaps the medical rituals of abortion, the horrors perpetrated by serial murderers? We do think of these and rightly so. But this is Weil's point. “Real evil,” she writes, “is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring.” Concentration camps were models of modernist efficiency. Carpet bombing was made possible by technology and precision-mapping. Abortions are done in sterile, clinical settings by professionally trained physicians. Serial killers are psychotically methodical, obsessively exacting. True evil is sterile, precise, methodical, and efficient. True evil is also irrational, primitive, and wholly devoted to destruction. The disciples are not toying with real evil; in their ignorance and fear, they are gaming with the romance of political intrigue, the kinds of wars we fight on chess boards. Though they are not playing with the Real Deal, they are tempting it by allowing humility to weaken and fade. James warns: “Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.”

Seeing jealous ambition among his disciples, and knowing that they do not understand his fate or theirs, and knowing what selfishness and ignorance can breed, Jesus smacks them with this sobering truth: “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” If you will be the greatest, you must be the least. If you will be first, you must be last. If you will be the master, you must serve. This truth is of no use to an ambitious soul. No truly political animal can hunt successfully with this truth as a weapon. Jesus not only smacks their jealous ambition with an order to serve, he tosses all their pettiness, all their planning, all their machinations and plotting right into the fire of humility. Jesus knows that no true spiritual adventure can begin in ignorance or fear. It is wisdom and faith that kick us into gear! And only humility can be a wise and trusting guide.

Simeon Weil says that real evil is boring and barren. She adds, “Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.” So, real evil and imaginary good are both tedious and sterile. If we understand the spiritual and emotional dangers of real evil, can we say that we understand the traps laid for us by the imaginary good? If truly good things are “new, marvelous, intoxicating,” then the imaginary good must be familiar, dull, and sobering. If the truly good offers fresh, miraculous, and uplifting insight and possibility, then working with the imaginary good must leave us numb with sedate routine, sluggish habit. The trap of the imaginary good is insidious, perhaps more so than the perils of real evil. Take the disciples as an example. Confronted by the possibilities of Jesus' revelation, they fall back into a familiar pattern of squabbling over precedence. Hearing what lies ahead, as promised, they revert to what they know: infighting over insignificant questions of authority and power. Rather than end the maneuvering by appointing a lieutenant, Jesus shows them the power of a real good—a new, marvelous, and intoxicating possibility: leadership as humble service.

Rather than paint an improbable vista of wealth and prestige for those charged to lead, Jesus takes a child on his lap and says, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.” Receiving Christ is not about building monuments or temples or palaces; it is not about filling charitable trust funds or establishing new religious orders. Tossing all worldly expectations and priorities into the furnace of humble service, Christ says that we receive him and the One Who sent him when we receive one child in his name. Just one. Not a whole orphanage. Not even a pair of siblings. Just one child. A tiny act of compassion, a small mercy shown to someone who cannot repay your kindness, cannot owe you a favor, someone who will not boast of your generosity or brag about knowing you. In the eyes of the world, an act of love that wastes an opportunity to move ahead. Exactly. Just so.

In their idle arguments about priority, the disciples play at a game that matters a great deal in the world, that part of creation ruled by unrestrained passion and power. They play a game called “The Wisdom of Men.” To be better, then the best in the world, a man's heart and mind must be impure, conflicted, abrasive, controlling, ruthless, negotiable, and insincere. Nothing like the heart and mind of a child. But James reminds us that “the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity.” A heart and mind that welcomes divine wisdom exudes quiet confidence, serenity of purpose, eagerness to serve, and a depth of sincerity. Having reached the child-like heights of Christ's peace, anything and everything imagined and done by such a soul is new, marvelous, and intoxicating—truly Good and Beautiful.

Earlier I raised the question: Faced with the barren boredom of real evil, how often do we open our hearts and minds to the romance of imaginary evil, hoping for something more enticing, more entertaining than what we have been promised as Christ's faithful disciples? Very few of us will embrace real evil as a way of life. Some of us will toy with imaginary evil as a naughty diversion from what we imagine to be our rutted, routine lives. Most of us believe ourselves to be practitioners of the real good. But are we really just playing with the imaginary good, the lukewarm forms of goodness? Are we just good enough to be comfortable with the spiritual boredom that slowly wets the Spirit's fire within us? Do the wicked say of us: “Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions of the law. . .”? If the practitioners of real evil do not see us as a threat to their ambitions, then how are we helping them? What are we doing or thinking or saying that gives that world—the world where real evil thrives—more power, more prestige, more wealth?

* Gravity and Grace

22 September 2009

Coffee Cup Browsing

Atheists going the way of the doo-doo bird? Yes. And so are the prog dissenters in the Church. Not only are they not reproducing biologically, they aren't reproducing intellectually either.

, revolutionary, oppositional, "Speaking Truth to Power": National Endowment for the Arts under a GOP administration. . .under B.O and the Dems: not so much.

Apparently, he can't do math or read.

Got LOTS of email yesterday about this liturgical oddity: priest's dog attends Mass. Is this abuse? Maybe. Hard to tell from the vid. If the dog wandered in on its own and this is not something that happens regularly--well, no foul. Things happen at Mass all the time that no one plans or expects. However, if this is a regular, intended feature at Mass. Big problem.

Over the last five years, I have posted many times on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). Not withstanding their good work: the bishops need to cut ties. The CCHD has given millions to ACORN and other lefty anti-Catholic groups. Time to close them down.

Excellent article on baptism by the Freakish Grandpoopah of Lucy the Cuteness (i.e. Mark Shea).

Another post by my Arch-nemesis. The title and pic alone are worth a sustained snicker. Check out the linked article as well for more info on contemporary paganism.

The Curt Jester reviews a new book on happened to Catholic education at Notre Dame.

Dinosaur dissenter spews more dessication from his Jurassic theological wind-bags.

Go to confession! For your eco-sins. Who says that the Church of Global Warming isn't a religion?

Crying "wolf" over racism. . .nobody's running to help anymore.

The internet, coffee, nicotine, gambling. . .Now. . .abortion. Yes, abortion addiction.

God is dead. Re-visiting the historic article from TIME.

We must always be charitable. But does charity require civility?

Tough Love: "Like most parents, I don't want anything to thwart my children's happiness. . .Before I became a mom, I rolled my eyes at doting, smothering parents and resolved to be more of a no-pain-no-gain hardliner when I had kids. . .What doesn't kill kids makes them stronger. My how things change."

Great new website: American Issues Project

Geologians dissenting from infallible dogma of the Church of Global Warming

Making the Left look ridiculous by letting them talk freely and openly.

21 September 2009

Dominican sisters arrive in Austin, TX

I received the following request from my novitiate classmate, Fr. Gerald Mendoza, OP, concerning the much anticipated arrival in Austin, TX of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist:

Dear Fr. Philip Neri:

They’re here in Austin! Please see if you can give them some press on your blog and at your vast network and please ask people to pray for their community, mission and ministry and to support them financially. I have been in contact with them and they need all the support they can get. Their website is here. They are booming vocations and are faithful sisters in fidelity to the Church. I hope to visit their community soon and have extended an invitation to ours.

Pax e Bene, Fr. Gerald

Please visit the sisters' site and offer any help--material, spiritual, financial--that you can! I can testify that having OP Sisters praying for you is mighty powerful stuff. . .

Detailed news article about the sisters' arrival here.

Radio interview Monday morning

Brian Patrick, the host of the SonRise Morning Show out of Cincinnati, will be interviewing me about Treasures Old and New live this morning at 7.20 EST (6.20 CST).

From the SonRise website: "Fans of the Son Rise Morning Show say they’ve gotten “hooked” on our fast-paced, faithful, and friendly approach to mornings, and many comment on their surprise at how much they’ve learned about their faith. To share their enthusiasm, we invite you to tune in to the Son Rise Morning Show, weekday mornings from 6-9am on 740AM Sacred Heart Radio in Cincinnati, and 7am Eastern on the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network.”

Check it out!

20 September 2009

Comments on Treasures Old & New?

I've received a deadline from my editor at Liguori for additions and revisions to Treasures Holy and Mystical. So, now I really have to get to work. . .but I need your help.

If you have purchased a copy of Treasures Old and New, please let me know what you think!

What works?

What doesn't?

What would you like to see in the second volume?

The whole point of these books is to be useful to Catholics who want to improve their prayer lives. I can't promise to make any suggested changes, but I can sure try!

Let me hear from you. . .

(P.S. Today's homily is coming. . .I'm stuck on the last page. Grrrrrr.)

Cultivate some peace!

In the post directly below this one, I ask why the Church in the U.S. is so divided right now. My answer is too esoteric, too. . .vague, I guess.

In today's Mass readings, James gives us an inspired answer:

Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members? You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war. You do not possess because you do not ask. You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

When James says that we do not possess because we do not ask, I take him to mean that we do not have what we need to have peace among us because we do not pray ("ask") to possess peace among us. If we manage to pray for peace, we do not receive it as the gift it is. And if we manage to receive it as the gift that it is, we spend it fruitlessly in passionate excess.

The solution to this difficult problem? James writes, ". . .the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace."