19 November 2011

Coffee Bowl Browsing

I don't believe in unicorns or elves, therefore, I don't spend a dime of my money or a second of my time talking, writing, protesting, and whining about them.

AP rewriting history to erase Dem support for Occupy Whiners?  

Girl Scouts embrace the Culture of Death, causing some problems for Catholics. 

Hee-lar-ree-us:  ". . .a postmortem on utopia, which died in infancy but lived long enough to evolve a familiar proto-hierarchy."  Pigs.  Equal.  More.  Others.  And all that.

Purgatory in scripture. . .yup, it's there.

I love this guy.  So few in the E.U. have his guts.

Crystal Cathedral goes to the Diocese of Orange. . .let's hope the Vatican puts a stop to this $58 million lame duck grasp for a legacy.

Yet another excellent reason to get out of Italy. . .drug-resistant bacteria spreading.

Oops!  Documents appear to show John Kerry doing a little illegal inside trading.

Feminist "war on rape" conflates actual rape with boorish behavior.  Of course, if students would remain chaste and celibate 'til marriage none of this would matter.

European civilization is on the brink of collapse and the E.U. Nannies issue this vitally important regulation:  bottled water makers cannot claim that water hydrates

Hear, hear! 

If you're gonna get sprayed with a hose. . .

We all need a little now and then. . .WalMart is here to help.

Some days you just have to wear a shark on your head.

Ah, a pic of me at Thanksgiving circa 1965.

Follow HancAquam & Check out my Wish List --------->

16 November 2011

Coffee Bowl Browsing

MSM media types are becoming a little unhinged at the thought of Newt G. being the GOP nominee

The Hunger Games:  just finished reading this novel.  The movie looks excellent!

I don't care if you're a Traddie, a Spirit of Vatican Two Peace Bonger, a recent convert, a Christmas/Easter pew warmer, or a rubber-necking agnostic/atheist:  you need to get in on this fight!  Why?  First, they came for the Jews. . .

MSM abandons OWS to its own folly:  "Funny how the left’s assertion that this was a grand political awakening has now gone down the memory hole."  Sorry.  But this is surprising how?

The natural escalation of a tantrum:  "non-violent" OWS Whiner threatens Macy's with a Molotov cocktail

Hope and Change become Despair and More-of-the-Same:  students abandoning B.O.  Smart kids.

What happens when a loved-one disappears from a cruise ship?  A whole lotta nothing.

Obviously, the problem here is that she didn't minor in Lower-East Asian Disability Studies.

Redneck Earthquake Early Warning System. . .not always accurate.

No, no, no. . .Jabba would never be seen in public with his curlers.

The birth of a Philosopher!

Well, this just means that no one wants to leave the Magnolia State

Follow HancAquam & Check out my Wish List --------->

14 November 2011

Pray for religious liberty

On Sept. 29, 2011, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, current president of the USCCB, sent his fellow bishops a letter announcing the establishment of a committee to address B.O.'s attack on religious liberty in the U.S.

His letter reads in part:

As we returned to our dioceses from the June plenary session of our Episcopal Conference, we left with a palpable sense of unity and commitment among us regarding the urgent need we face to safeguard religious liberty inherent in the dignity of the human person. We recognized our need to protect this foundational principle of our country, one that has been enshrined in the United States Constitution, further enumerated in the First Amendment, and explicitly extended to all U.S. citizens. The Framers of the Constitution themselves understood this ―First Freedom‖ to be based on the norms inherent in Natural Law – namely, ―that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

This basic right, in its many and varied applications for Christians and people of faith, is now increasingly and in unprecedented ways under assault in America. This is most particularly so in an increasing number of federal government programs or policies that would infringe upon the right of conscience of people of faith or otherwise harm the foundational principle of religious liberty. As shepherds of over 70 million U.S. citizens we share a common and compelling responsibility to proclaim the truth of religious freedom for all, and so to protect our people from this assault which now appears to grow at an ever accelerating pace in ways most of us could never have imagined.

[. . .]

Please pray for the members of this committee as they begin the arduous task of defending our liberties as Americans and Catholics.

Episcopal members:

Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Chair
Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown, Pennsylvania
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap. of Philadelphia
Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta
Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul-Minneapolis
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix
Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois
Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile, Alabama
Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle
Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington.

Lay Consultants include:

Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight, Knights of Columbus
Kevin Baine, attorney, Williams & Connolly
Father Raymond J. de Souza, a priest of the Archdiocese of Kingston, Ontario (Canada)
Richard Garnett, assoc. dean/prof of law and poli-science, University of Notre Dame Law School John Garvey, President, The Catholic University of America
Mary Ann Glendon, professor, Harvard Law School
Philip Lacovara, attorney
Judge Michael McConnell, professor, Stanford University Law School
L. Martin Nussbaum, attorney, Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons
Mary Ellen Russell, executive director, Maryland Catholic Conference.

Bishop Lori's testimony before Congress on the assault on religious liberty can be found here.

Follow HancAquam & Check out my Wish List --------->

13 November 2011

Hunting for a Good Spiritual Director

A repost from 2009:

When looking for a good spiritual director, it is standard practice to interview the potential S.D. first. The idea is not to weed out those who are going to challenge you or disagree with you. The idea is find one who holds and practice the Catholic faith as taught by the Church and is able to actually help you grow in holiness.

Ask the following questions politely. There is no need to be offensive or defensive. You are not an Inquisitor. You are not hunting heresy. If it turns out that the potential S.D. is some kind of New Age kook, you are obligated to keep that assessment to yourself. The obligation to confidentiality binds both the director and the directee.

A few cautions up front:

1). Do not be impressed with S.D.'s who have credentials in spiritual direction. Most spiritual direction programs in the U.S. teach their students amateur forms of guru-ism and occult gibberish.

2). Do not be impressed by titles like "Father," "Sister," "Brother," or "Doctor." Anyone holding any of these titles can be dodgy.

3). Do not be impressed by celebrity or ecclesial status. Abbot Father Dr. Alred Boniface Schultz of the St. Labyrinth Benedominican Monastery, author of 46 books on meditation and a national speaker, can be as big a moonbat as anyone.

4). Do not be impressed by the potential S.D.'s personal piety, orthodox theology, solid publishing record with the best Catholic houses, or his/her reputation for brilliant spiritual direction. Every director/directee relationship is different. What works for you, might not work for me. And being a good S.D. takes more than unwavering allegiance to the magisterium.

5). Do not be impressed by a potential S.D.'s willingness, even eagerness, to take you on as a directee. In fact, I would interpret any sort of "salemanship" on the part of the S.D. as creepy and immediately disqualify him/her.

Questions (with the qualification that he/she may say, "'Nunya."):

--Tell me about your spiritual life, your daily spiritual routine, your prayer life.

--What are your strengths as a S.D.? Weaknesses?

--Tell me about your experience as a S.D. How many years? What sorts of directees?

--How would you describe your relationship to the Church? The local bishop? The Holy Father?

--What do you think of commonly used spiritual direction tools like the Ennegram, labrynith?

--What do you think of personal devotions like the rosary, novenas, etc.?

--What authors/books do you regularly read and recommend?

--Have you had any spiritual direction training? Where and what kind?

--What's your understanding of the sacraments, esp. Mass, confession, marriage?

--How do you understand the relationship btw God and creation?

--How do you understand holiness, goodness, morality, sin, etc.?

--Do you use fasting or other sorts of penance in your direction?

--My biggest spititual difficulty is X. How would begin to approach this problem?

--My greatest spiritual gift is X. How would you direct me to use this gift?

--Generally speaking, from what sources do you pull from for inspiration as a S.D.?

Keep in mind that you are being interviewed as well. I have turned down potential directees b/c I didn't have the particular gifts to deal with their challenges. I have also been "fired" as a S.D. for being too theologically orthodox and for being "too hard."

Do you want someone who will "kick butt and take names"?
Or someone who will be more of a gentle listener, a guide?
Or someone who will function as a teacher, a model?
Or someone who will sympathize but challenge nonetheless?
Or someone who maintains an emotional distance and directs you?
Or someone who will "get in there with you" and fight?
Or someone versatile enough to shift among these as needed?

You really have to know yourself before choosing a S.D. But you also have to be open to change and growth. I find it very difficult to get a good S.D. because I need a "kick butt and take names" kinda director. I need someone who can look me in the eye and tell me how full of crap I am. Not many of those around these days. . .sigh. . .

Follow HancAquam & Check out my Wish List --------->

Is spiritual reading enough?

Question from a faithful HancAquam reader:  "Do you really need a spiritual director or does reading the writings of the saints suffice for most of us?

There are at least three ways to think about spiritual direction (SD):

1). A visit to the E.R.
2). A checkup with your dentist
3). A trip to the gym

Depending on what shape you're in spiritually, you will need emergency treatment, routine maintenance, or some body-building.  (How's that for mixed metaphors?!)

The idea here is that whether or not your need spiritual direction (and how often if you do) depends almost entirely how where you are in your relationship with God.  If things are going well, then keeping up with your spiritual reading is probably just about right, though it never hurts to get a check up or hit the gym on occasion.  If things are starting to look dodgy, it's a good idea to check in with some SD and see if there's anything seriously wrong that can be prevented or treated.  If, however, there's an obvious and overwhelming collapse in your pursuit of holiness, then a trip to the emergency room is required.  Follow up is mandatory. 

More often than not, a collapse in your spiritual life is due to some serious sin and making a good confession will start the ball to recovery rolling.  Of course, confession is not SD, but making a good confession is an excellent way to instill some sincerity into your repentance.  

Being a Dominican, I'm a champion of reading the saints and doctors of the Church.  One caution:  be sure that you aren't reading above or below your spiritual level.  I mean, if you're a recent convert, you might want to hold off on reading the Latin homilies of Meister Eckhart and think more along the lines of studying the Catechism.  If you're a Catholic Pro, then limiting yourself to the Catechism isn't going to challenge you.  A spiritual director can help you find your level.

Also, don't limit yourself to just one genre of spiritual reading.  I find contemporary poetry to be insightful and challenging.  A lot of Catholics read well-written sci-fi/fantasy novels as spiritual reading.  God reveals Himself using all sorts of imperfect methods!

Follow HancAquam & Check out my Wish List --------->

Coffee Bowl Browsing

What do typewriters, rotary phones, record changers, and coffee percolators have in common?

GOP Rep. caught doing a little insider-trading?  

How did Hitler lose WWII?  Remember the children's rhyme:  bean, beans the magical fruit. . .?

Obedience cures stupidity.  ("Obedience" properly understood, of course.)

Biblical proof that Zombies are real!

Portland Occupiers abandon their righteous cause in order to save their $400 tents.  Ah, dedication.

Anti-American propaganda posters from N. Korea.  Hmmm. . .maybe the OWS Whiners could use some of these.

Notice how "The REV. Dr. Martin Luther King" has lost the "Rev."?

A morphing map of the London Underground.  And yes, the modern map does distort one's
understanding of London's geography.

What's inside Fort Knox and how is it protected?

How do rednecks protect their Nascar commemorative beer can collections?

Follow HancAquam & Check out my Wish List --------->