Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Two posts for the price of one.

First the not so good news. The Texas Board of Professional Engineers denied my application to take the PE exam, reason given that sunk it was that my work in and around Boston is considered technician work and not engineering. Am I upset about it? Your damn right I am, but there does not appear to be any appeals to be had. I'm pretty much caught in a legal problem between what one state says is acceptable and what another doesn't say is acceptable.
So, I am trying my hardest to not crack open my nice bottle of JD and finish it (it's unopened right now). So I've just done the only thing one can do in this situation, I've been praying, for calmness and understanding. This happened for a reason, so it's time to be patient and find out why. No one said life is fair, but I'm not going to worry about it. I'm reminded of the recent movie Rocky Balboa, I being the Rocky freak that I am would like to share a quote from that film that gives me a little inspiration, for I've been through rougher times than this.

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done. Now, if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain't you. You're better than that!
-Rocky Balboa
Ok second thing, less depressing. I found a copy of "The Jeweler's Shop" the other day in the local bookstore. It is a three act play written by a Polish man named, Karol Wojtyla. I've gotten through Act I, it is very much filled with many ideas that would later be expanded on when he became Pope John Paul the Great. If you get a chance, give it a read. I say this being only 1/3 of the way through, so it's good stuff.
Till next time, keep that right up and lead with the jab.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Something to Make You Think

Often I am asked or come to ponder some of the differences between Catholics and nonCatholics. One of the more interesting aspects is the traditional Protestant denial of having crosses of any kind or more recently a bare cross versus the Corpus Christi displayed in Catholic Churches. The protestant will contend that the Corpus Christi on the cross is gloomy and that it should not be there. The contention of no cross or a bare cross is focused upon the resurrection and Christ enthroned now in heaven. The Catholic would point out that the crucifix is an important symbol and fixture of the paschal mystery.

However, the key idea there is "now". For what is "now" to God, the divine now as it were? Though Christ died on the cross, His divine nature, being eternal did not. Given the divine nature, would not every moment be the now for the divine? The crucifixtion is as much now to the divine at our current moment than it was 2,000 or so years ago. Same goes for the resurrection. So there really shouldn't be a problem between Catholics and traditional protestants over the crucifix or the bare cross (or no cross), all are part of the divine now, just viewed from a dfferent aspect of the human concept of time.

It is also this divine now that brings together the whole Catholic understanding of the sacrament of communion. It is how Christ can proclaim the bread and wine as His body and blood even though He has not, in human time, been put to death. It is a divine happening and at the moment of the Last Supper and the consecration, the sacrifice of the cross and the resurrection and even His whole life are as much a part of the moment as what is occurring and visible to the human's at the table. It is also that divine now that allows that sacrifice to re-presented in communion today as validly as it was then. It is not a re-crucifixition of Christ, because to the divine nature it is still then, now.

So when will then be now? Soon. Because we're at now, now. Hmmm, the Theology of Spaceballs...might be a good selling book?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

As tonight has proven hopeless at being able to study for the P.E. exam, for a few different reasons of life getting in the way. I want to take the few minutes I have before I head off to bed to ponder the need for a little gardening as it where, it may evolve into a few parts, but I'll just start with these thoughts.

I have a good number of friends who would call themselves Calvinists, which on the surface is a very logical approach to theology. One question that arises frequently is whether or not Calvinist soteriology actually says that God has created some people only to send them to hell. This is a clear teaching of Calvin and the only logical conclusion of reformed thought on predestination. In other words, there is no room for any other belief that God created some folks for heaven and others for hell.

Think about, if God is totally soveriegn, then it is safe to say He knew those whom He did not choose, because afterall He did create them and by not choosing them He made a choice concerning them. After all, from the reformed mindset, God could have saved them had He so chosen.

Yet, God did not so choose. Though we all dserve damnation since the Fall, the Fall itself did not take God by surprise. Man in a state of grace was either capable of rejecting grace or God predestined man's fall. The calvinist can not have it both ways, for if the fall was presdestined, God condemns to hell His own will by creating souls He will not save.

As is the case with most heresy, Scripture refutes this concept. How can man, made in the image and likeness of God, possesing intrinsic goodness be destined for hell from the moment God creates him/her (Gen1:26-31)?

Though there is much mystery involved in the relationship between God's gift of salvation and man's free will, the mystery is more prefectly understood when considered in the light of God as Love. Love, despite what modern culture tells us, is the willing to sacrifice self for the betterment of others. You know, "for God so loved the world..." and "greater love has no man than this", love is more than the twinge in the groinal region...that is nothing more than lust. I digress, I made my point. Love though always leaves the one loved free to accept or reject the love offered. The acceptance or rejection does not alter the love itself, but it does change the one loved. God can not alter His nature and thus can not create a human soul to which He can not offer His love. The Greek verb we translate in the notion the "God is love" actually means to be wholly and fully be. God being infinite must be infinite love. Thus when confronted with our questions of salvation, our reply should be simple and focused on God Himself, who is Love and calls all to love.
Today begins an Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity. For ninety-nine years, an octave has been set apart for the precise purpose of prayer in the seeking of unity that was prayed by Jesus Christ himself.

Father Paul over at AtonementOnline has published some traditional prayers on his blog.
It's a nice little blog that I found through Kacy's blog, so a biretta tip to her. I'll copy and paste it here, but feel free to go take a look at his blog and also take a stop at Kacy's, who has her own link over there on the left handside of the page.

ANTIPHON: That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.

V. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;
R. And upon this rock I will build my Church.[Here is brought to mind the intention for the day's prayer.]

January 18: For the return of the "other sheep" to the One Fold of our Lord Jesus Christ.
January 19: For the return of the Eastern Orthodox Christians to communion with the Apostolic See.
January 20: For the return of the Anglicans to the authority of the Vicar of Christ.
January 21: For the return of all Protestants throughout the world to the unity of the Catholic Church.
January 22: That Christians in America may be one, in union with the Chair of Saint Peter.
January 23: That lapsed Catholics will return to the Sacraments of the Church.
January 24: That the Jewish people will be converted to the Catholic Faith.
January 25: That missionary zeal will conquer the world for Christ.

Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine Apostles: Peace I leave you, My peace I give to you; regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which are agreeable to Thy Will; Who livest and reignest ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

When Catholics speak of unity, it is not an invisible unity but a visible unity. Part of the Church Militant (Ecclesia Militans) here on Earth, united with the Church Triumphant (Ecclesia Triumphans) in heaven, and the Church Suffering (Ecclesia Penitens). Now some of you are wondering what I am rambling on about...well though we are separated by death, the Apostolic teaching of the Catholic Church is that we are still united to one another in one Church, and support each other in prayer. This is summed up nicely as believing in the Communion of Saints.

So does this mean I don't respect other Christian sects? Of course not, they are brothers and sisters in Christ, but I will hold that the fullness of faith is found in the teachings of the Catholic Church. That does not mean that I contain it for I know many of Protestant brothers and siters who have a better understanding of some aspects of the faith that I do not. I also know that I probably have a better understanding in some areas that they don't. It washes out there, but according to the creed the Church is to be one. It can not be one if it is splintered. The concept of invisible and visible that some hold to, holds some weight, but even they must be one as I wrote of above. One Church, One Faith.


Monday, January 15, 2007

People who change their way of life and begin to think about spiritual progress also begin to suffer from the tongues of detractors. Whoever has not yet suffered this trial has not yet made progress, and whoever is not ready to suffer it does not even endeavor to progress.
– St. Augustine

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Welcome to 2007 dear readers. I don't really know where this entry is going to go, I'm almost hesitant to go with it because it's so intensely personal, yet I think I can vague it enough to protect the innocent.

You ever have a dream that seemed to be more than a dream, that seemed to be a glimpse into something greater or something in the future? I have them from time to time. My whole life as far as I can remember I have had dreams that would actually happen a few weeks or months later and it's not until event's occurred down the road that the memory is triggered, it's very much a deja vu type deal. It's happened from everything from being on job sites and events playing out, to school, to sports, to social events. It's very strange. Some are pretty routine and others are very powerful. I had one last year about this time that only ne other person knows about and I'll probably take it to the grave with only a select few folks ever hearing of it.

Then there was last night. It was very Dickensesque and probably one of the most real and vivid dreams I'd ever had. It was absolutely amazing, I don't want to give details in a public forum, bit just trust me on this one. It was a glimpse at something in the future that I didn't ever forsee or think about, but being the outside observer, it sure made a lot of sense, though it was confusing. It was though very strange, very peaceful. It seemed too real to be dream, but a dream it was, but it fits the pattern of some past ones. Maybe this will be another case of deja vu, maybe I just had some bad food before bed. We'll see and I'll hope.