Wednesday, August 31, 2011

For Thoughts On Being a Christian by the "Chinese Chesterton"

All wisdom is from the Lord God, and hath been always with him, and is before all time. —Sirach 1:1

I came across the following thoughts in my friend John C.H. Wu's book The Interior Carmel: The Threefold Way of Love. Author Frank Sheed called John, a Benedictine Oblate, "the Chinese Chesterton." The following selection may help you understand why.

To Help Make A Movie? Why Not!

A few weeks back was the 66th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. About a week ago, I received a note from Ian Higgins of  Major Oak Entertainment regarding a movie his studio is making about the story of Dr. Takashi Nagai, survivor of the bombing and author of The Bells of Nagasaki.  The title for the docu-drama  film is All That Remains.

Monday, August 29, 2011

10 Reasons Why I Won't Publish Your Uncharitable Comments UPDATED

Another ironic sign. 

"Dear Frank,

I wrote a comment on your blog and you didn't publish it. May I ask why? I didn't use any curse words or anything. What gives?"

Yes, An Outdoor Mass Can Be Celebrated Properly

While much of the East Coast was being rained upon by a little nuisance named Irene, there was an outdoor Mass held under crystal clear skies at my parish. And no unorthodox horrors occurred,

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Because Words Matter...

Words differently arranged have a different meaning, and meanings differently arranged have different effects. —Blaise Pascal

Yesterday, I shared a post about catechizing the world. That "c" word is one I had never heard of before I was Catholic. It's a complicated sounding word that I probably could never get right during a spelling bee. But it doesn't have to be that fancy sounding,  because all it means is "sharing the Good News" and "teaching the Faith."

Saturday, August 27, 2011

For Thoughts from the Guide for Catechists, With a Little Help From My Friends

The next time the Easter Vigil rolls around, I will have been a Catholic 4 full years. But those of you who have followed my conversion story know that I sat in the pews with my wife, and later with my children, for close to 18 years, and that I started exploring the faith in earnest in the Fall of 2006.

Eventually, around the Summer of 2007, I read The Seven Storey Mountain, Thomas Merton's conversion story that was published in 1948. It turns out that 1948 is also the year that Lou Tseng-Tsiang published his Ways of Confucius and of Christ, and his friend John C. H. Wu published his From Confucianism to Catholicism a year later in 1949. More on this synchronicity shortly.

Because Love Went to Madrid, And Its Cup Runneth Over

May it find its way through to all the corners of the world. Thanks to Marc Barnes, you can see for yourself.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Quote of the Week

No, my dear brethren, even if you could perform miracles, you will never be saved if you have not charity. Not to have charity is not to know your religion; it is to have a religion of whim, mood, and inclination. Carry on, carry on, you are only hypocrites and outcasts! Without charity, you will never see God, you will never go to heaven!

Alas, my dear brethren, the person who has no charity goes far afield for evil! If someone does him harm, you see him examining all his actions then. He judges them. He condemns them. He turns them all to evil and is always quite certain that he is right.

—St. John Baptiste Marie Vianney, the Cure' d'Ars

Thursday, August 25, 2011

For Stuff My Abba Macarius Says About Discerning True Christians

A while back, I introduced everyone to my patron, St. Macarius the Great. He has some great homilies that help to prepare Christians for the trials and tribulations that we will encounter along this narrow path. What's that? You don't need to hear anything from a desert father about the inner struggle in the life of the Christian? Don't delude yourself.

Because Mammon Hates The Idea of the Jubilee, and Hopes You've Forgotten It

Who's the fairest of the all? Mammon! 
Have you been getting tired of all the Debt Crises du jour stories? Back in April, I did a little tongue-in-cheek post about Mammon, and how even if we actually worshipped him, we would do so in a manner that would put us at risk. And in terms of debt forgiveness, Mammon, would prefer we bring back debtor prisons, rather than ever forgive debt.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

To Find Peacefulness of Soul, Be Confident in the Mercy of the Lord

What follows are a few thoughts on Christian peace of the soul by my friend John C.H. Wu. They are from the chapter in his book "The Interior Carmel" that reflect upon the beatitude "blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God." How soon we forget this calling of ours! Not only our vocation as peacemakers, but our destiny to become the adopted children of God.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Grosse Point Blank Sound Track (Music For Mondays)

John Cusack is Martin Blank 
My wife has a theory: the sound track makes the movie. I'm not saying I agree with her 100% on this, but her point is well taken. Some folks know how to adapt music to films, but most don't. This is the first in a series of posts where I can firmly say, "They got the music right on this one!"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Postcards from WYD: Hey...I Know That "Kid!"

Remember I told you that Marc Barnes, aka "the Kid" , and blogger at BadCatholic, was in Madrid for World Youth Day? The proof is above. That photograph is one of 106 that Life Teen International has posted over on their Facebook page. Here's another with Marc and his buddies,

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Quote of the Week

The real trouble with this world of ours is not that it is an unreasonable world, nor even that it is a reasonable one. The commonest kind of trouble is that it is nearly reasonable, but not quite. Life is not an illogicality; yet it is a trap for logicians. It looks just a little more mathematical and regular than it is; its exactitude is obvious, but its inexactitude is hidden; its wildness lies in wait. —G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, Chapter V.

Want to Fight Truthiness? Come to the YIMCatholic Bookshelf. Please.

Sheesh! I wonder if the video below was done before or after the allegations of problems with the staff of Real Catholic TV came to light. It is so far off the deep end, as you'll see. Anyone with access to books can refute this asserted notion in under two minutes.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Because of a Marine in Charge of Justice and Peace

Originally published on February 10, 2010.

Before I was a Catholic, yet seriously considering  the idea of becoming one, my wife made a suggestion to me.  My daughter was preparing for her First Communion and while the children were being prepared, there was someone speaking to the parents in the parish hall in the interim.  My wife said he was a very good speaker and that I might enjoy what this person had to say. I was dubious, to say the least.

I Hear Guitars...And Lot's of Reverence.

The English version of the World Youth Day theme song...sing along!

Thoughts on the Economy, Catholic and Not

Ok, class. Today's lesson is on a little thing called "regression to the mean." That's a fancy way of saying that when something gets out of whack, you know, like when one thing shoots for the stars while everything else is holding steady, see, well, it will move back to where it belongs. And usually suddenly. Like a bursting bubble, which by now everyone with a pulse and a 401k is familiar with. Right?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thoughts on the Vicissitudes of Michael Voris & Co. UPDATED

Actually, I have none. Really. I mean stuff like this happens all the time to me. I'm a father of three children and they are all the time doing stuff that a) I don't know about; b) I don't approve of; and c) that I didn't teach them to do. Guess what? I love them anyway.

For the Earth and Its Fullness...UPDATED!

I have no idea what kind of bird this is, where it is from, or who shot the photograph. I'd love to give credit for all three. But I do know Who created the bird. What a magnificent Artist!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Rainbow (A Few Words For Wednesday)

A wiser man than I once said,

When, indeed, the artist desires to teach us a great spiritual truth, he invariably expresses it under the form of an allegory or symbol. For the soul dreams 'neath the star-sown sky of symbol. It is spiritually its lisping language—the divine form of its expression.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

For Letters to Sons Like These by St. Stephen, King of Hungary

"My boy, at present you have the fun and I do the work; but your labors are on the way."

Now, that sounds like something I would say. Today is the Feast of St. Stephen of Hungary, who wrote the words you see above. What follows are a few excerpts from letters he wrote to his son Emeric (who also was canonized on the same day in 1083). St. Stephen is known as the first Christian king of Hungary, and his life is celebrated there with due pomp and pageantry yearly on August 20th.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Coming Soon to a PBS Channel Near You

Catholicism. And you thought Ken Burns' documentaries are good? This is going to be best series shown on PBS ever!

“I want the series to go out beyond the walls of the Church,” he said in an Aug. 10 interview. “That's why we're so happy it's going to be on public television.”

Songs I've Never Heard (Music for Mondays)

Happy Monday! How much music have I never heard? A number that is very large, and pretty close to being represented by this symbol:  ∞ . So I'm probably in the same boat as you are, right? So I did a little exploring, looking for songs that I haven't heard but that I just might like. That is a number considerably smaller than infinity.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Because God Became Human To Save Us All

The title of this post says it all. Why bother becoming a Christian unless you believe this? "God became human to save us all." And if you do believe it, why not practice the ancient faith of the earliest Christians? The one that, despite criticisms attempting to prove the opposite, has developed since Christ ascended to heaven, and yet has not done so at the expense of Biblical truth.

Because the Case for Marian Devotion is Iron-Clad

On the cusp of the Feast of the Assumption, it's a good time for a little Mariology. What follows are thoughts of John C.H. Wu on Our Lady and the Catholic Church. This is from the epilogue of his book Beyond East and West. To me this is one of the best answers to the question "Why do Catholics venerate Mary and why is this important?" Think of that as an essay question on a final exam that you must answer in 700 words (or less) and see if you can top my friend John. I personally don't think you can (I know I can't!).

Saturday, August 13, 2011

An Appeal For the Horn of Africa, In Free Verse (Updated)

For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in.

I hear that you lost a few coins yesterday in the maelstrom.
I am sorry for your loss.
Perhaps you follow the financial markets too closely.
Or the latest budget crisis.
Or political football contests.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Recognizing Grace in a Manual Transmission

This past week, I've been on vacation. Actually, it's been a "stay-cation," with me working on little projects around the house. The repairs to our home after the hail damage (from the storms back in April) needed to be managed as well. And then there was my car.

Thoughts On New Media And Evangelization

I'm not a "new media" expert.
But to me,
"New Media" is old media
without editors,
without barriers,
without bosses.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Suffering Church: Scandal

This is the final part of a three part series. Some folks thought I was skating on thin ice by mentioning heresy yesterday. What now? Surely, Frank, you didn't join the Catholic Church because of scandal? No. But at the same time, it didn't deter me much either. You know the old line, right? Hate the sin, but love the sinner. Well the Church is chock full of sinners, and it couldn't be otherwise.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Persecution of the Church from Within: Heresy

This is part II of a three part series of sermons by Fr. Cornelius Joseph O'Connell on the ever-persecuted Church. Today, the good priest turns his attention to persecution inflicted by members of the Church. That is, until they break away and leave the barque of St. Peter. Remember that line by the character "Chef" in the movie Apocalypse Now? "Never get off the boat!"

"The Kid" Goes to Madrid!

This past Saturday, I shared a little e-mail I received from someone who was converted and called to a vocation while attending World Youth Day back in 2005. Nobody read that post, which means it must have been a pretty important one. No one ever reads posts like those.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Welcome to the Ever Persecuted Church!

Of the many reasons that my (former) partners and I have written of answering the title of this blog, this is one that I've never mentioned but I do so now. Persecution. You would have to have your head solidly buried in the sand to miss the fact that of all the great religions the world over, only Christianity, and her members, is constantly bashed, battered, and attacked.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Food for Thought (Music for Mondays)

In the wee early hours today, a post built around thoughts of a "ghetto Church" was launched. Those thoughts of Karl Rahner, SJ, prompted me to build this little selection of tracks. I call it "food for thought." Your mileage may vary.

For "Ghetto Catholicism?" Not Hardly.

The thoughts I share with you now were originally published in 1961, and in English in 1963. Yet today, to this humble reader at least, they seem prophetic. Taken from the first chapter of the first volume of the title you see below, Fr. Karl Rahner, SJ, explains why in the Post Christian world of today, opting for the ghettoization of the Church is a non-starter.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Around the World in 3 Minutes: Move, Learn, Eat

One of my favorite lines from scripture concerns "the earth and its fullness." As a Catholic Christian, you should know that this broad, nay, "catholic" expression describing the world and its wonders is to be lived and experienced with joy by us all.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Because World Youth Day is a Fertile Field for Vocations

A fortnight ago, I wrote a post about the coolest blog to add YIMCatholic to their blog roll. The blog is written by TingTing Tse, whose photograph you see here. Her blog is written in Chinese, though search me if it is in Cantonese or Mandarin. After I posted about her blog, which appeared to be coming out of Emmaus in the Holy Land, she wrote me a note.

Dear Frank,

Friday, August 5, 2011

Because of the Protestant Reformers Beliefs On Mary

Another Marian post as we are ten days from the Feast of the Assumption. This one was first published back in December of last year.

Back when I first joined YIMCatholic, I was going to write posts about my conversion. I hammered out seven posts in pretty rapid succession and then, I stopped writing them until recently.

Many of my posts now are simply my observations of the world which are colored through the lens of a convert to Catholicism. It would be difficult for them not to be. Other posts I've written are of the "look what I just found!" variety, and the "I want to share this with you" type. Call them the discovery posts if you will.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What Figures Are On This Celtic Cross?

A reader writes,
Hi there my name is Mindy and I am trying to figure out the meaning of a particular Celtic Catholic cross that was my father-in-laws throughout his whole life. When he passed away it was handed down to my husband.

Remember that Confession Video by "the Kid?"

Great news...Marc Barnes, aka "the Kid,"from BadCatholic was awarded a $1000 scholarship from the i-Confess contest.  The contest was put on by the Diocese of Brooklyn in conjunction with both the Archdiocese of New York and Diocese of Rockville Centre. Great job Marc! Here are the Top Ten results,

Check Out This Balloon Ride (Because Catholics Can Dig Science)

My wife knows my interests. She sent me this little clip this morning and I just had to share it with you. Suppose you were given the opportunity to help test the atmosphere for radiation drifting our way from the melted down nuclear reactor in Fukushima, Japan. Suppose you mounted some cameras on that balloon. What would you see?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Because Yes, Baseball and Faith Are Compatible

H/T to Our Sunday Visitor for catching this ground ball and throwing it to me on second base. I first learned of Florida Marlins manager Jack MeKeon's piety while watching  the video Champions of Faith with my children a few years back.

A Convert's Lament To Mary (A Few Words for Wednesday)

Our Eastern brethren have been observing the Dormition Fast since the first of August. It continues until August 15th this year and concludes on the Feast of the Dormition, which Western Catholics celebrate as the Feast of the Assumption. In honor of this tradition, I will be sharing some of our Marian posts. This one is from October of last year...

Edward Caswall was another Anglican priest who converted to Catholicism in the mid 1800's. He also joined the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, like his friends Blessed John Henry Newman and Frederick William Farber.  And, like them again, he was a prolific poet and hymnist.

Below is one of Caswall's fine poems included in his book of verse entitled The Masque of Mary. This particular  poem really resonates with me.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

From the Treasure Chest: A Primer on Natural Law

My friend John C.H. Wu was a highly regarded jurist and professor of law. He had a close friendship with Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes of the U.S. Supreme Court. It turns out that one of the reasons he converted to the Catholic Faith was that the Church embraces what is know as the Natural Law. The same goes for his friend Dom Lou Tseng-Tsiang.

A Gifted Guitarist You Might Have Missed (Music for Mondays)

Goes by the name of Prince. Oh you've heard of him, you just forgot how good a guitarist he is. This guy is a genius. Don't believe me? That's ok. Do you think he is still a pretender prancing around in frilly outfits? Let me tell you, and this is just my humble opinion, Michael Jackson is the pretender next to this guy. Have a look at these four selections for the proof.