Monday, November 29, 2010

One Up, One Down

Mrs. Nod took Nub in for his follow-up appointment to the neurologist following his reported seizure. After examining him and viewing the footage taken by his teacher, the neurologist concluded that Nub was not, in fact, having seizures.

We got corroborating testimony from the eye doctor who dilated his eyes and looked at his optic nerve, and said it looked fine. Apparently, you can see damage there if there have been serious seizures. So that is a big relief. I don't blame his teacher for reacting the way that she did, even though it was incredibly stressful at the time. We had told her that Nub had taken a tumble down the stairs and to look out for anything unusual. Well, rolling your eyes up and shaking is definitely unusual. However, the way he was doing it was -- well, entertainment to him. Weird, yes; dangerous, no.

That's the good news. The bad news is that Mrs. Nod's father is in the hospital with congestive heart failure -- a little something we know about. The echocardiogram shows his aortic valve has become defective and will have to be repaired with open heart surgery.

The prognosis is good; after this he will regain the energy he's lost over the last two years and no longer suffer the severe shortness of breath he's been struggling with. Of course, he has lots of complications as you might expect (he's 70, diabetic, gouty, bad back, severe allergies, tons of medications). As with any surgery, there is risk; Mrs. Nod and her mother are understandably worried.

But God is good, and we submit all things to His divine providence. The doctors want to do the surgery soon -- within the next few days perhaps -- so any prayers would be appreciated.

Bayou Benedict

For family brunch this week I decided to try out a new dish: Eggs Benedict - bayou style. I had something similar once at a restaurant called Eggspectation and thought I'd recreate it in my own image. Ok, this isn't my picture, but it kind of tasted like it.

Plus I had some leftover turkey from Thanksgiving (who doesn't!) that I wanted to re-purpose. 

First I baked some bacon in a stoneware dish and set aside. I re-used the bacon grease to bake medallions of red potatoes in the oven. I used those as my "base" on the plate.

Then I diced up the leftover turkey and heated it up on my griddle and laid it over the potatoes. This is the unusual part: I cooked polenta on my griddle (3 minutes a side) and layered it on the plate.

Finally, I added the poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce and served with a side of toast and an orange garnish. Yum!

I've never cooked polenta before, but it's apparently made out of cornmeal. I had no idea it was so tasty, especially with a hot runny egg yolk mixed in.

Filling and pleasing and novel to boot. What's not to like?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival #85

This week on Sunday Snippets, WBN presents: Thanksgiving is a Verb.


Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is a weekly opportunity to share your best posts with the wider Catholic blogging community.

To participate, create a post highlighting posts that would be of interest to Catholics and link to the host blog at Go to the host blog and leave a comment giving a link to your post.

Friday, November 26, 2010

On Stalking

Sounds provocative, which is why it has been changed to Tracking.

Tracking is one of the original 57 Merit Badges issued by the Boy Scouts of America in 1910/1911. Tracking is one of four Historic Merit Badges to be reintroduced during 2010 for the BSA Centennial celebration.

Some additional restrictions include:
  • Scouts must start and complete all merit badge work after April 1, 2010 and before Dec. 31, 2010.
This means if you don't earn it this year, you never will.

Wynken and I have been working together to knock out this Historical Merit badge before the end of the year. We've been out in the woods several times tracking the various wildlife that lives out here. Fortunately, for us we live on the border of a preserve and a watershed.

We successfully tracked or located deer, black squirrels, gray squirrels, red-shouldered hawks, Canadian geese, green mallard ducks, bats, a fox, and several varieties of smaller birds. Wynken even discovered some bones from an unfortunate goose who failed to escape its predator.

Animal tracks are impossible to find once the leaves have fallen, even if you are staring at your quarry. We should have cast the perfect deer track we found on our second outing, but failed to do so. Wynken finally bagged his final requirement of making a plaster cast of wild animal tracks this past week from a raccoon who --ahem-- volunteered to hold very still for us.

We had a blast traipsing through the woods together. I'm very proud of the boy for persevering through these requirements; he's going to be one of the only Scouts in his Troop to have earned this badge, which won't be offered again for another 50 years.

On Celebration

If a holiday can be well celebrated by Scripture reading, dedication of the human race to God, paper crowns, a procession, honored guests, and 8 pounds of steak, then I'd say that Christ the King was well celebrated in my house this year.

It's only fitting for an end-of-year celebration (liturgical year, that is). Mrs. Nod has been wanting to celebrate this feast in high style for many years, so she finally got her wish.

From Wikipedia:
Christ the King is a title of Jesus based on several passages of Scripture and, in general, used by all Christians. The Anglican Church and The Roman Catholic Church together with many Protestant denominations, including , Presbyterians, Lutherans and Methodists, celebrate, in honour of Christ under this title, the Feast of Christ the King on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, before a new year begins with the First Sunday of Advent (the earliest date of which is 27 November). The Feast of Christ the King is thus on the Sunday that falls between 20 and 26 November, inclusive. Originally, the liturgical calendar had this feast on the last Sunday of October prior to All Saints Day, where it is still celebrated in the Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.
[] Pope Pius XI universally instituted The Feast of Christ the King in 1925 in his encyclical Quas Primas. Pope Pius connected the denial of Christ as king to the rise of secularism. At the time of Quas Primas, secularism was on the rise, and many Christians, even Catholics, were doubting Christ's authority, as well as the Church's, and even doubting Christ's existence. Pius XI, and the rest of the Christian world, witnessed the rise of dictatorships in Europe, and saw Catholics being taken in by these earthly leaders. Just as the Feast of Corpus Christi was instituted when devotion to the Eucharist was at a low point, the Feast of Christ the King was instituted during a time when respect for Christ and the Church was waning, when the feast was most needed. In fact, it is still needed today, as these problems have not vanished, but instead have worsened.
Pius hoped the institution of the feast would have various effects. They were:
1. That nations would see that the Church has the right to freedom, and immunity from the state (Quas Primas, 32).
2. That leaders and nations would see that they are bound to give respect to Christ (Quas Primas, 31).
3. That the faithful would gain strength and courage from the celebration of the feast, as we are reminded that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies (Quas Primas, 33).

Overheard In My House

Nod-girl asks:
We had relatives in the Civil War?
Why didn't you tell me for Veterinarian's Day?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

24:15 Thanksgiving Is A Verb

When you marry someone, in one sense, you marry the whole family. Families have a lot of traditions -- some unspoken. Mrs. Nod and I found that out over the years on both sides of the family. Some things you didn't even know you cared about until they don't happen.

Thanksgiving is like that a lot. Mostly, it's about family, being together, and giving thanks to God for all his benefits; but also, it's about food. Sometimes, it's just not the same without your favorite food.

This year, we're hosting Mrs. Nod's side of the family for Thanksgiving and there will be changes. For instance, due to allergies, there will be no broccoli and cheese dish, no frozen cranberries, and other seasonings may be "light".  I had to rescue the butternut squash from table banishment, too. If it wasn’t there, I’d miss it.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Non-Newtonian Fluid

This just speaks to my inner geek: non-Newtonian fluid. See Adam Savage "walk on water".
Note to Adam: Jesus didn't use corn starch.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival #84

This week on Sunday Snippets, WBN presents: Say what?


Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is a weekly opportunity to share your best posts with the wider Catholic blogging community.

To participate, create a post highlighting posts that would be of interest to Catholics and link to the host blog at Go to the host blog and leave a comment giving a link to your post.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Selective Hearing (Reprise): Pope and Condoms

I love reporters. Well, actually I wash my hands very carefully after dealing with anyone from the fourth estate. I know they've got newspapers to sell, headlines to titillate, and everything, but it really doesn't excuse their collective hearing problem.

If you'll remember Pope Benedict XVI's trip to Africa, he gave many speeches, blessings, teachings, and encouragement while he was there. There were also some off the cuff remarks regarding the proper way of responding to the African AIDS crisis through a "double effort [...] to renew the human person internally, to give spiritual and human strength to a way of behaving that is just towards our own body and the other person’s body."

Reporters' collective response was: "I'm sorry, did you say 'condom'?"

Here we go again. Headlines everywhere are screaming: "Pope says condom use OK sometimes".  This is disingenuous to say the least and scandalous to boot. The context of these quotes is entirely lacking. Of course, if you're the kind of Catholic who gets his theology from headlines, you've already got other, more serious problems.

Contraception is always and remains gravely evil regardless of the means. The Pope was saying that a prostitute who decides to use condoms as a way of preventing infection was taking "a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more humane way, of living sexuality" although the Church "does not regard it as a real or moral solution".

Furthermore, he said it in terms of specific cases, not as a generalization.  The full quote from Reuters:

After the pope first mentions that the use of condoms could be justified in certain limited cases, such as by prostitutes, Seewald asks: "Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?"

The pope answers: "She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more humane way, of living sexuality."
Anyone who knows anything about moral theology knows that things get murky quickly. Although there are objective standards of right and wrong, a person's intention can mitigate some of the culpability of an otherwise sinful action.  But can we expect our press to actually deliver accurately on such nuance and fine distinction?

Reporters: "I'm sorry, did you say 'condom'?"

Dragonhead Stout

When you think Viking brew the first thing that leaps to mind is mead, a sweet wine fermented from honey. On the opposite side of the Viking drinking spectrum is black stout. I'll admit I'm a sucker for beer that is "5000 years in the making".

The Orkney Brewery, Quoyloo are the artisans behind Dragonhead Stout. Described as "an exceptionally smooth stout with a full malt flavour", it is hand crafted in small batches. It pours out dark and smooth and forms a creamy, oatmeal textured head.

Dragonhead is a legendary stout: dark, intense and fully-flavoured, it is our tribute to the Vikings and their cultural legacy in Orkney.

On the nose, this black stout has a smooth roasted malt aroma giving bitter chocolate, dark roasted coffee and Smokey notes balanced by hints of spicy Goldings hop.
On the palate, the dark roasted malts combine to give a rich, rounded palate with chocolate, toast and nut flavours, with a satisfying spicy hop finish.


A black stout, with a deep copper-brown tint, displaying a tight, smooth, tan-coloured head

Bitter chocolate, roast coffee, smokey flavours, moderated by spicy dark fruits

Dark roast malt flavours with hints of chocolate, coffee and toast; a big, rich, sweet, round mouthfeel balanced by a lasting hop bitterness

Key Ingredients
Roast barley, chocolate malt and wheat give this beer its smooth, full-bodied roasted character; Goldings hops combine with the malt flavours to deliver the lasting almost smokey bitterness

It comes in a generous 500 ml (1pt 0.9oz) bottle that is the same near black color as the beer itself. The taste of bitter chocolate, coffee, and toast predominate but with enough richness to enjoy all the way down. It's full flavor lingers long in the mouth, giving plenty of time to savor. At only 4% ABV, Dragonhead delivers an intense rich flavor that will make you want to put up your feet and just contemplate.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Know What It Is But ...

For some reason I looked at this and thought: Cool. The Pope has a light saber.

24:15 Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

Kids thrive on ritual. Repeated, predictable, routine. It gives them a sense of security and well being, of being grounded and safe. It also dovetails with the way their brains are developing; repeating the pattern makes sure the brain gets wired up correctly. One of our most cherished rituals is the litany of bedtime prayers.  This is the crowning act of the day; a time to settle body, mind, and spirit in preparation for sleep; a time to reflect on the day’s events and offer thanksgiving and contrition to God, who is the Author of Life.

We have a long sequence of prayers that we say nearly every night. We settle the kids in their beds and turn out all but the night lights. I stand in the hallway between the boys and the girls rooms and lead them in prayer. When the first Nodlings were very little we used to read Little Prayer Series: Bedtime Prayers by Tommy Nelson, which is a cute little board book in the shape of praying hands. After a while I had the whole book memorized and just recited a dozen of the prayers from off the top of my head.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Baby Abandoned At Church

This is a local story that is generating a lot of buzz.
[WaPo] A newborn girl was left in the parking lot of a Springfield Catholic church just before Mass on Sunday, and police were trying to find the mother.

The baby was found about 6:30 a.m. when a patron of St. Raymond of Penafort Roman Catholic Church, at 8750 Pohick Rd., noticed a [duffel] bag in the parking lot. The infant, thought to have been just hours old, was inside. The patron called for help, and the baby was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital. 

It was unclear whether the mother would face criminal charges. Broderick said the baby was left outside and unattended, rather than in the church or another safe location. Virginia law allows parents to leave a child who is less than 14 days old at a hospital or rescue squad as long as the baby is left "in a manner reasonably calculated to ensure the child's safety." 
There are a lot of things that could be said about this story. As a parent I find it shocking and outrageous that any parent anywhere would abandon his or her child. It makes my blood boil that anyone would intentionally endanger a child. Do you really think that putting a newborn baby in a duffel bag and ditching it in a parking lot is "a manner reasonably calculated to ensure the child's safety"?!!

After taking a few deep breaths, I realize that it is a compassionate thing to have sanctuary laws that allow children to be cared for when their parents don't want them. I don't understand the reasoning that would lead a parent to actually do such a thing, but I do understand the need for such a law. People can and do get into some pretty messed up situations. Plus, the alternatives are worse: abuse, abortion, dumpsters, soylent green (yes, get angry about this one!).

Clearly the mother of the child needs help and I hope she gets it. Looking at this from a slightly different angle and a more positive one, I find a note of hope that the baby was abandoned at a Catholic church. Why? Because there is still the understanding that Catholics, especially church-going Catholics, are defenders of the "least of these" and will actually do something to help.

Real Catholics don't kill babies and for all the Church's personal and institutional mistakes of late, her doctrine and basic respect for all human persons isn't one of them. We still have the guardian of the deposit of the Faith and Jesus himself -- and therefore real Hope. "So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love".

Adventures In Neighborhoods

I hate to think badly of anyone, and I'll usually go out of my way to make excuses for others, but I've got to admit my neighbor runs a very ... unorthodox household.  The more I  try not to think about it, the weirder things she does, and the more the creeping suspicion grows that something Just Doesn't Add Up.

Here we are in a down economy, and she's actually expanding her house. During the housing and economic boom, this was completely unremarkable in our neighborhood. Now, it's a cause for pause.
She doesn't have a job and is currently taking school classes for something-or-other. So just where is the money for all this coming from?

She rents out her house, which she also lives in, on a month to month basis. She got a maximum 3 or 4 renters and I doubt she's getting top dollar, but who really knows? When she initially moved into the neighborhood, I was first on the Welcome Wagon. She is supposedly married, but her husband doesn't live here, and I've never laid eyes on him. When I confronted her about this, she waved her hands and gave a vague "it's better to just let him go do whatever" kind of answer.

Who buys a house with a wife that you don't intend to live with? From what I've pieced together her "husband" owns a construction company and lives with his girlfriend. Yet, there has been continual interior construction going on from Day 1. The implication is he's doing it -- but why? She is neither young nor beautiful, and she is not native born USA.

I smell green card fraud and a money making scheme. I can't figure out the angle though. We've had ICE staking out the house during the Troubles. It's gotten lots quieter since then, but no less weird.

Incidentally, this picture shows the whole "house on stilts" effect that comes from turning your deck into an enclosed room that I hate. I refused to do this to my house, although I have a split level. I spent the few extra bucks and dug out the basement for future expansion. 

Can you imagine someone walking under your house and knocking on the floor?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival #83

This week on Sunday Snippets, WBN presents: According to the Book.

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is a weekly opportunity to share your best posts with the wider Catholic blogging community.

To participate, create a post highlighting posts that would be of interest to Catholics and link to the host blog at Go to the host blog and leave a comment giving a link to your post.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

24:15 What's In A Name?

In a few months Mrs. Nod and I will have to name our sixth Nodling. This is difficult for a number of reasons, not the least of which it will be the 12th name we will have to agree on, if you count first and middle names.

Naming is hard, but it is more than just a label to call someone by. Names are signs and symbols that point to a greater reality. Names have power; names have meaning; names point to essence. Names are, in fact, fantastically important.

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Nonsense Rhymes

I love a good nonsense rhyme. Here are some I remember from my childhood. I think everybody knows a variant of these.

Ladles and Jellyspoons
Ladles and Jellyspoons, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes and bow-legged ants,
I come before you to stand behind you,
To tell you something I know nothing about.
Next Thursday, which is Good Friday,
There will be a Mother’s Day meeting for fathers only;
Admission is free, so pay at the door,
Pull up a seat and sit on the floor.
It makes no difference where you sit,
the boy in the gallery’s sure to spit.

One Fine Day
One fine day in the middle of the night,
Two dead men got up to fight, 
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other,
One was blind and the other couldn’t, see
So they chose a dummy for a referee.
A blind man went to see fair play,
A dumb man went to shout “hooray!”
A paralysed donkey passing by,
Kicked the blind man in the eye,
Knocked him through a nine inch wall,
Into a dry ditch and drowned them all,
A deaf policeman heard the noise,
And came to arrest the two dead boys,
If you don’t believe this story’s true,
Ask the blind man he saw it too!

And of course ... Flea Fly Flo - Vista!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ah Ha Moment

Our parochial vicar has a blunt way about him, which is something I can appreciate; there's no guessing involved.  But sometimes he can also take the obvious and carry it through to a conclusion that is profound.

That's when you smack yourself in the head and think, "I should have thought of that!".

Our priest was talking about the woman in the Gospel who married seven brothers who all died without producing children. At the resurrection, whose wife will she be?  The answer of course, is nobody's since there is no marriage in heaven. But why?

The reasoning was fairly straightforward. The primary purpose of marriage is the procreation of children. In heaven there is no more death, therefore the need to continue perpetuating the human race no longer applies. Thus, there is no more marriage.

Similarly, the other major purpose of marriage is the unitive aspect. In heaven we will all be perfectly and radically united to Christ, therefore we will have no need to be united to someone else in marriage.

Ah-ha. I should have thought of that.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Overheard In My House

Students of covenant theology know well that a covenant is much more than a contract. A contract is an exchange of goods; a covenant is an exchange of persons.

Marriage is one such covenant that God has ordained from the beginning. Spouses give themselves to each other completely and holding nothing back. Therefore the marital embrace is rightly called "renewing the covenant".

This week, Nod-girl was studying the Ten Commandments for an upcoming quiz. I asked her what the 9th Commandment was.

She proudly declared, "You shall not covenant your neighbor's wife."

How right you are, girl.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Best Football Play -- Evah!

Watch these middle schoolers fake the other team out of their shorts!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival #82

This week on Sunday Snippets, WBN presents: The Real Thing.


Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is a weekly opportunity to share your best posts with the wider Catholic blogging community.

To participate, create a post highlighting posts that would be of interest to Catholics and link to the host blog at Go to the host blog and leave a comment giving a link to your post.


This is where bloggers gather on the first Saturday of each month to share their latest and greatest blog posts. This weekend we are sharing our favorite post from October 2010!

Friday, November 5, 2010

It Never Fails

Kids are amazing. They are the most fun you'll ever have while tearing your hair out. They don't always do what you want them to, but some things you can guarantee they'll always do with amazing regularity.

1. If you are a Dad and you lay on the floor, some kid will jump on you within 60 seconds.
2. As soon as you announce it's time for bed, some kid develops an incredible thirst/hunger/pain.
3. It can be dead quiet in the house, but if you pick up the phone to make a call all heck will break loose.
4. Requests to clean this pig sty of a room will be met with claims of "I don't see anything".
5. Repeated calls to come for dinner can't be heard, but whispers of "Ice Cream" mean the patter of many feet.
6. Switching into a foreign language in mid-lecture will miraculously be translated as "You want me to clean my room?"
7. Asking who did something will always be answered with "Not me."
8. Asking 'what are you doing' will always be answered with "Nothing."
9. Kids who are too full to eat any more vegetables will be hungry for a snack 20 minutes after dinner.
10. Any kid who is "not tired" after a long day will be asleep two minutes after holding still.

Feel free to add to the list below!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Intro to CateQUIZ'em from Outside da Box. CateQUIZ'em! is an interactive DVD-based video curriculum for middle and high school catechesis. The content of each annual volume is put into the context of the four pillars of the Church - Creed, Sacraments, Morality, and Prayer. Users interact with the content through the DVD's five sections: Learn It!, Play It!, Live It!, Pray It!, and Lead It!

Volume One - Holy Spirit: Lord & Giver of Life is great for Confirmation prep!

for more information visit:

My comments: looked interesting.

Total Beer Tasting

For my father's birthday I thought it would be cool to take him to a beer tasting class that was being offered by our local Total Beverage store, a place where they have a little bit of every kind of beer, wine, and more.

I never know what to call this place because the name has changed 9 times in the last 10 years. I think it's now called Total Wine & More, but it's been Total Beverage, Total Wine and Beer, Total Beer, Wine, and More, and so on. The only thing that has remained the same has been the word Total.

So while they are primarily focused on wine, they also have the single best craft beer aisle anywhere I've ever seen. I have quite a wide range of taste in beers (Ales rule!) and this allows me to experiment and buy single bottles of things I'd like to try. I know it seems like I drink a lot of beer, but in reality, I just like to sample and talk about them. It's a hobby.

Anywho, I saw this advertisement for an actual beer class where they were comparing Old World style beers (European) with New World Style beers (American). My sibs and I are into it, so we thought Dad would like a night out with his kids doing something different with dinner to follow.

It was a lot of fun, actually. They have a classroom built right into the store and at least 50 people showed up. We learned a lot of history of beer making, styles, ingredients and the like. We sampled 12 different styles (samples, not full glasses!) and made notes on things like color, aroma, flavor, carbonation, clarity, and so on.

They had a great spread of hors d'oeurves and palate cleansers like chocolate, cheese and crackers, shrimp, etc. I thought I would completely go for exclusively Old World beers, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was about 50-50 Old vs New.

At the end they had a "bonus round" pairing. The first was Banana Nut Bread Ale which smelled exactly, and I mean exactly like banana nut bread. However, the taste was not, and it was a disappointment. The other half of the pairing was the Dogfish Head World Wide Stout. There was a startled chain of exclamations as each person tasted this one: Wow!  Dark, sweet, and delicious. It's billed as "A very dark beer, brewed with a ridiculous amount of barley." It costs an arm and a leg ($10/bottle), but it's very worth it; it has 18% ABV and 70 IBU. "Dark, rich, roasty and complex, World Wide Stout has more in common with a fine port than a can of cheap, mass-marketed beer."

We followed up our exciting class with dinner at the Dogfish Head restaurant and a few more choice malted selections (try Sah'tea -- tastes like spiced chai beer), and watched the hockey game on the pub TV. Fine food, fine drink, good company.

All in all we had a fine! time. And slept well.

24:15 Rhythm Of The Year

Dark becomes light; spring turns into summer, summer into autumn, autumn to winter and back again to spring. The weeks and months have a rhythm that mark the days of our lives, giving them structure and meaning, and act as signposts along the way. The seasons are comfortable returning friends, always the same yet somehow different as they gather experiences, memories, and deepening understanding. We mark special days, anniversaries, feasts, and ordinary days on our calendars as reminders.

The Church also has her own calendar, her own feasts, holy days, special celebrations, ordinary time -- her own rhythm. We need to be attuned to her seasons, her rising and falling tides in order to be grounded in our Faith and to make sense of it all.

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The Real Thing

I am sporadic when it comes to watching television or movies. I can go a long time without watching anything and then I go on little binges and samplers.

Mrs. Nod happened to be watching a TV series called Legend of the Seeker which is your usual fantasy knock-off story. I watched for a little while, then got an overwhelming urge to see Lord of the Rings again in the middle of the show.  Tolkien's world is a deep, complex, fully realized, and ultimately Catholic thing. When you read the novels or watch the movies you come away with a deeply satisfying feeling like after a sumptuous meal.  You know that there is something there.  This other fantasy tripe - not so much.

Similarly, going to adoration or receiving Jesus in the Eucharist produces the same sensation. You know it's Real. I pass a half dozen generic Christian churches on my way to Mass. I often wonder what it would be like to go their services. This one would have great music, that one would have an inspiring preacher, and yet another might have great fellowship. It might be novel for a bit, but it would ultimately pale because they wouldn't have the Real Presence. I liken it to the feeling of walking into the Church on Good Friday and seeing the tabernacle open and empty - there is an almost physical ache of loss.

I wonder what it would be like if all those other churches I pass on Sundays were Catholic. (I'd be walking to Mass for one thing.) Then I shrug and move on.

Ain't nothing like the Real Thing.

Monday, November 1, 2010

VOTE: Prayer Before An Election

Tuesday America goes to the polls; tonight I spent a couple of hours with members of my men's group and my parish at Eucharistic adoration before the election.

The time actually flew by - it has been too long since I've been in adoration. It's so good to see Him! I wasn't praying for a particular outcome, but for the holy will of God to be done. That's where I'm lacking right now. I don't need to want things, although there is much that I do want in life. What I need is to want the things He wants for me. Then I will be both happy and holy, and my family as well.

I asked, "How can my love grow?" He said, "It comes through suffering." Sigh. I was afraid He'd say that. Be patient with me, Lord.

The USCCB encourages us to say this prayer for this election cycle:
Lord God,
as the election approaches,
we seek to better understand the issues and concerns that confront our city, state, and country,
and how the Gospel compels us to respond as faithful citizens in our community.

We ask for eyes that are free from blindness
so that we might see each other as brothers and sisters,
one and equal in dignity,
especially those who are victims of abuse and violence, deceit and poverty.

We ask for ears that will hear the cries of children unborn and those abandoned,
men and women oppressed because of race or creed, religion or gender.
We ask for minds and hearts that are open to hearing the voice of leaders who will bring us closer to your Kingdom.

We pray for discernment
so that we may choose leaders who hear your Word,
live your love,
and keep in the ways of your truth
as they follow in the steps of Jesus and his Apostles
and guide us to your Kingdom of justice and peace.

We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit.


Happy All Saints Day

All you holy men and women, pray for us!

[NewAdvent] [All Saints is a] Solemnity celebrated on the first of November. It is instituted to honour all the saints, known and unknown, and, according to Urban IV, to supply any deficiencies in the faithful's celebration of saints' feasts during the year.

Talk about covering all your bases. You don't want to leave out anybody who can "help a brother out".


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