Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Join Mr. Hedgehog as he discusses the Encyclical on Love by Pope Benedict XVI. He will be joined by a Scorpion couple who will share their perspective on love.
Mr. Hedghog, noted expert on Love
I am honored to present this comment from the mother of the Roman Sacristan!
Read on with me:
I am so proud. A mother seldom sees miracles involving her son, so I've followed with interest the adventures of the big blue van, and for the occasion of the Sacristan saga, I have penned a poem for you:
There once was a big ol'blue van
that struck a careless Sacristan.
The results of the wreck
saved believers from heck
and established the first rolling shrine -- Amen!
I have become a daily reader of your meanderings -- er, musings and look forward to new tales of ducks, scorpions, kids, and vans, and maybe even a stray Sacristan or two.
God bless! Sacristan's mom
My heart swelled up like that of a bloated tick upon reading these words. Thank you, Roman Sacristan's Mother, for your poetry, and most especially for your son, Roman Sacristan.
On another note....
On Monday night, we went to Mass to celebrate the feast of St. Augustine. Father gave a 20-plus minute sermon on St. Augustine and St. Monica, and read the passage from the Confessions of St. Augustine which includes the line, "late have I loved You..." where St. Augustine relates the time he wasted in the past, where he did not love or serve God.
After Mass, we planned on going right home, after picking up some hamburgers to go at the local Chew and Choke Family Burger Joint(another fine product from SSD/MetaltrAch, Inc.) . Father was going to have a Holy Hour, with the Rosary and Night Prayers. As I walked out of the church, something made me turn around. I wanted to stay. I suggested to my wife that she take the little kids to pick up the hamburgers, and I would remain with some of the older children for the Holy Hour. I went in and started praying the Rosary. Over a bit of time, my oldest sons crept in, most sitting behind me. I motioned them to join me in the same pew, and to pray along with the rest of us.
I was feeling a bit of that 'late have I loved you' feeling, considering that the lack of enthusiasm showing on my sons' faces mirrored that of my own when I was a teenager. I recall that I had more important things to do than hang out with God in the Church. I was very much into being cool, and Church was a place for
'Comfort for the weak and old women dressed in black'
(a real line from a real song by a real singer named Marie Bellet)
instead of cool people like me. So how could I instill the love I have for our Lord into my children? These were my thoughts as the Holy Hour Proceeded. I started recalling all those times when I participated in activities at Church, and all of those memories were suddenly wonderful. I recall, as a nine year old, going to Mass in a Swiss town called Visp, and participating in a Eucharistic Procession afterwards. I enjoyed it, even though my German was rather poor, and I really wanted to do the 'tourist things' before going to see the Matterhorn the next day. In that same year living in Switzerland, we went to a cloister. I misunderstood what a cloister was, and thought we were going to be locked inside for the rest of our lives. I knew I had to get back to the United States - they needed me! All the times I spent serving Mass, serving for the Stations of the Cross, or the Marathon Good Friday Services, suddenly were remembered as good times. I recall as a child how I would pray fervently for the shortest Eucharistic Prayer to be said at Mass - perhaps the first time in my life I ever really prayed! All of these memories had been transformed over the years into ones to be cherished.
I began to think, not for the first time, that raising our children consists largely of 'showing up' and being a good example to them of what it means to know, love, and serve God. Truly our actions speak louder than words, and St. Francis' comment, 'Preach Always, Use Words Only When Necessary,' really applies to parenting. The time our family spends in prayer at home and at Mass is an investment in our children's souls, and will pay dividends far greater than any other work we do on earth.
Monday, August 28, 2006
"May she therefore rest in peace with her husband, before or after whom she married none; whom she obeyed, with patience bringing forth fruit unto Thee, that she might gain him also for Thee.
"And inspire, O my Lord my God, inspire Thy servants my brethren, Thy sons my masters, who with voice and heart and writings I serve, that so many of them as shall read these confessions may at Thy altar remember Monica, Thy handmaid, together with Patricius, her sometime husband, by whose flesh Thou introducedst me into this life, in what manner I know not.
"May they with pious affection be mindful of my parents in this transitory light, of my brethren that are under Thee our Father in our Catholic mother, and of my fellow-citizens in the eternal Jerusalem, which the wandering of Thy people sigheth for from their departure until their return.
"That so my mother's last entreaty to me may, through my confessions more than through my prayers, be more abundantly fulfilled to her through the prayers of many."
What a wonderful thing to include in one's autobiography: a request for the reader to pray for the author's mother.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Big Blue - site of a miracle?
Mr. Moose, the curator of the van ‘Big Blue,’ reports some strange developments in the week following the unfortunate Sacristan Strike.
Mr. Moose shows where he was sitting when
Roman Sacristan hit the van 'Big Blue'
“We were busy putting the new sticker on the Big Blue,” said Moose, “when one of my assistants noticed a peculiar smell coming from the front right panel of the van. That was the area where the Roman Sacristan struck the front of the van. I was sitting in my usual position, on the right front part of the dashboard, and I saw the whole thing. That had to hurt.”
“It smelled like incense, like something from out of this world,” said Duck.
When word spread through the neighborhood, folks began to make pilgrimages to see and smell the van that appears to be emanating incense. Incense is used in during various parts of the Mass, but in many parishes, it has disappeared from the church altogether. “My guess is it is some incense that had permeated the Roman Sacristan’s clothing, and rubbed off on the van”
Pilgrims line up to see the mysterious water and examine the incense-bearing van. Some appear to have been overcome by the heat.
A Sacred Spring
Friday morning dawned, with the pilgrims amazed to discover a pool of water underneath the right front corner of the van. When the van was sitting on the concrete with the engine idling, the ‘Big Blue’ began to secrete even more water, which was eagerly collected by the pilgrims.
“It tastes fresh, with a bit of a metallic aftertaste,” said Scorpion, “It eased the pain of my sciatica.”
“It is condensation from the forward air conditioner unit,” responded an indignant dadwithnoisykids, when he was asked about the miraculous spring of water that came forth from his van after striking Roman Sacristan. He pointed out that there was another air conditioning unit located in the left rear corner of the van, which also dripped condensation. “There is nothing miraculous about air conditioners dripping water.”
“And make sure you make it clear in your report that I did not hit Roman Sacristan. I was sitting still when HE struck my van!”
“Right you are, Mr. Dadwithnoisykids,” said Duck, “you can persist in your delusional unbelief.”
“For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible. That is what my grandfather always said," added Mr. Moose.
Pilgrims have started to wash in the water collected underneath the ‘Big Blue,’ and miraculous cures are inevitable, according to several visitors who agreed to talk on the condition of anonymity. One bear came here with a serious illness and went home as healthy as a newborn bear cub.
This little pilgrim bathes in the water as others look on, awaiting their turn. Note how clean the water appears.
Before taking a dip in the water, this pilgrim shows a crab that had been bothering him for years. After the bath, the crab was gone.
The Next Lourdes?
So far, the Diocese of Dallas has been silent on this apparition.
“This does not surprise me,” said dadwithnoisykids, “the Church typically spends time observing these kinds of phenomena, until enough information can be gathered. Sometimes it takes years. Usually if the apparition or a phenomenon has a message consistent with the Magisterium, the Church will gently remind the pilgrims that what they are hearing is something the Church has always taught. If the message is not in accordance with Church teaching, the faithful are counseled to avoid the site or messenger. In this case, though, there is no message; just a van dripping condensation from its forward air conditioning unit. There is an abundance of miracles present in our world, such as a God Who became Man, Who died for our salvation, and is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.” One doesn’t need to surround my van when you can go and spend time in prayer in Church, in front of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.”
“I wish people would spend more time praying for other things, such as a new bishop for the Diocese of Dallas.” Bishop Grahmann of Dallas recently tendered his resignation upon reaching the age of retirement.
For now, dadwithnoisykids has allowed pilgrims to visit and wash in the water, provided they not trample the garden or leave garbage after themselves. While the pilgrims have petitioned to make the van ‘Big Blue’ a permanent site, dadwithnoisykids has indicated that he can not afford a new van at this time.
“We are starting a fund to buy ‘Big Blue,’ and are looking for corporate sponsorship,” stated Mr. Moose. “From now on, I want to go into the church instead of sitting out in the van during Mass.”
Mr. Moose in a contemplative moment
Copyright, SSD/MetaltrAch, 2006
Morty the Moose takes a moment to contemplate the changes one day can make in a moose.
Photo by SSD News photographer Hedgehog
Copyright SSD News - A Scorpion Stalking Duck/MetaltrAch, Inc. Company
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Here are a few pictures of the Big Blue to show you that it is all right.
Note the markings on the front left of the van:
two squirrels, one bird, one snake, and one Roman Sacristan!
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Yesterday, I was besieged by clowns. I was on my way to give a lecture when I saw a group of clowns dressed up as doctors walking down a hall toward me. There was no staircase to bolt down, so I dove into the nearest bathroom and locked myself in.
Why were there clowns in the hall? Why were there clowns dressed as doctors? Why would doctors walk around looking like doctors outside of a hospital? It made no sense. Maybe they were real doctors? Maybe they just looked funny, you know, naturally.
Within a few minutes, my heart stopped beating so fast, and my breathing didn't seem so labored. Why do clowns scare me so? Maybe it is their painted faces, hiding something sinister beneath. I shuddered. I didn't want to think about it. I couldn't hear anything in the hall, so I thought I would take a peek.
Slowly, I turned the door handle, and inched the door open. Coast was clear, so I pushed the door fully open. There they were, behind it, suddenly yelling SURPRISE! and spraying me with silly string.
Maybe the technique of suddenly exposing someone to the thing they fear really works. I don't know. Anyways, the students paid a bit more attention to me this time, seeing as I was covered with silly string.
If you think we are hard on creatures that hit our vehicles, you should consider that the life expectancy of our pets averages about 6 months.
Rachel, calling for her children....
Both of our dogs disappeared within a couple weeks of each other. We assumed that they had a run-in with a pack of coyotes, so it was quite a surprise Sunday morning to almost run over my dog Lassie as she escorted an elderly couple walking down the road.
You can only imagine what it looks like to have a grown man wearing a Hawiian shirt, fluorescent orange shorts, and flip flops screech his car to a halt, jump out, and start screaming "Lassie! Lassie! You're alive!" The couple was a bit upset.
The woman immediately started by saying that she did not steal our dog; rather, Lassie had shown up a few weeks ago and just started hanging out with her other dogs. I let her know I did not consider her a thief, and then proceeded to lead Lassie back home. She would have none of it, and so I called my noisy kids to come and take her home by force if necessary. I went off to the store.
When I came back home, I discovered that Lassie had chewed her way through the rope the noisy kids had used to secure her on our property(BEFORE YOU CALL THE ASPCA ON ME, KNOW THAT SHE WAS TIED UP IN A SHADY AREA WITH FOOD, WATER, AND AN AREA TO 'EXERCISE,' IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN).
Lassie was gone.
"If you love a dog, let it go.
If it comes back to you, it was yours all the time.
If it doesn't, some old lady wearing
a psychedelic unitard and a walkman
probably is feeding it better food than the
no-brand stuff you fed it"
- I read that on a card in a gift shop somewhere
What is one to do? Considering the autonomy of all creatures, and respecting the right of an adult dog to participate in self-determination, I feel that I must not impose my rights as the owner of an adult dog if she feels that she can not realize all of her goals as a member of the dadwithnoisykids family. I just hope the sole surviving cat will eat the 50-pound bag of generic dog food I bought for Lassie to welcome her home.
APPROXIMATELY 0558 ON AUGUST 23 2006
NORTHBOUND ON JOE WILSON ROAD
WEATHER HAZY WITH VISIBILITY CEILING OF UNKNOWN MILES AND 84 DEGREES
VEHICLE 1998 FORD EXPLORER WITH V-6 ENGINE FORMERLY KNOWN AS BRAVO-76 NOW NOVEMBER VICTOR DELTA BETTER KNOWN AS THE AARDVARK
SPEED 30 MILES PER HOUR
DRIVER NOTED TOAD HOPPING IN ROAD ON COURSE PERPENDICULAR TO VEHICLE
NO EVASIVE ACTION TAKEN DUE TO ROAD CONDITIONS AND OTHER TRAFFIC IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO VEHICLE
DRIVER INDICATES THAT ARC OF TOADS TERMINAL HOP INTERSECTED WITH PATH OF RIGHT FRONT TIRE
TOAD ASSUMED TO HAVE SUSTAINED LETHAL INJURY
UNABLE TO ASSESS TOADS CONDITION DUE TO NEED FOR IMMEDIATE RIGHT TURN DUE TO PATH AND CONDITION OF ROAD
NO LOSS OF CONTROL OF VEHICLE
NO DAMAGE TO VEHICLE
DRIVER REPORTS TOAD TO A BE A ROAMIN VARIETY
THIS REPORT HAS BEEN GENERATED AS A SAFETY MESSAGE TO ALL WHO MAY BE
DRIVING SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES
THIS IS THE FIRST REPORTED TOAD STRIKE FOR THE AARDVARK
THERE WERE 0 REPORTED TOAD STRIKES WITH THE VAN BIG BLUE
THERE WERE 0 REPORTED TOAD STRIKES WITH THE VAN GREAT WHITE
VERIFICATION OF TOAD STRIKE IN VANS MAY BE LIMITED BY BLIND SPOT FORWARD OF VANS
WE WILL CONTINUE MONITORING THESE INCIDENTS
DAD WITH NOISY KIDS
Things don't do well when they hit our vehicles. First there was the bird, then the snake(sent as an e-mail in May and will be published later), then the first(sent as an e-mail in May and will be published later) and second squirrel strikes. Only the Roman Sacristan seemed to survive the collision, but he did affect the van in ways we can't explain. This will require pictures taken in daylight and may have to wait for the weekend.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
APPROXIMATELY 1120 ON AUGUST 20 2006
STANDING STILL IN THE PARKING LOT OF ST WILLIAM THE CONFESSOR CATHOLIC CHURCH IN GREENVILLE TEXAS
WEATHER CLEAR WITH VISBILITY CEILING OF 10 MILES AND 102 DEGREES
VEHICLE BIG BLUE 15 PERSON VAN WITH V-10 ENGINE
SPEED 0 MILES PER HOUR
DRIVER NOTED SACRISTAN AT 20 YARDS MANEUVERING THROUGH PARKING LOT MOVING TOWARD GAP BETWEEN VAN AND ANOTHER STATIONARY VEHICLE
NO EVASIVE ACTION TAKEN DUE TO NO FORWARD OR BACKWARD MOTION
I CAN NOT BELIEVE HE HIT US
DRIVER INDICATES THAT SACRISTAN STRUCK FRONT OF VAN ON RIGHT SIDE
SACRISTAN APPEARED TO HAVE SUSTAINED NO INJURIES
NO LOSS OF CONTROL OF VEHICLE
NO DAMAGE TO VAN
DRIVER REPORTS SACRISTAN APPEARED TO BE OF A ROMAN VARIETY
THIS REPORT HAS BEEN GENERATED AS A SAFETY MESSAGE TO ALL WHO MAY BE
THIS IS THE FIRST SACRISTAN STRIKE FOR THE BIG BLUE
THERE WERE 0 REPORTED SACRISTAN STRIKES WITH THE VAN GREAT WHITE
WE WILL CONTINUE MONITORING THESE INCIDENTS
DAD WITH NOISY KIDS
This is today’s (Sunday’s) Gospel reading:
Jesus said to the crowds:“I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,“How can this man
give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them,“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
has eternal life,and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food,
and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me
will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever.” (John 6:51-58)
If you recall, some of Jesus' disciples left Him after that, and He didn't call them back, saying
"I was JUST KIDDING! I MEANT ALL OF THAT TO BE A SYMBOL!"
It is interesting that on the same day we were visited by some folks bearing tracts from that hotbed of theology, Plano, Texas. The tract is called Is a Roman Catholic Christian an Oxymoron? Sadly, none of the folks seemed inclined to come and see Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. They were probably afraid to enter the Church, for our Faith is a gift, and some of those who come into the presence of Our Lord find there is no turning back.
After spending a couple of hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and having my wife read this tract to me on the ride home, I thought I would make a few comments about this tract. For a publication bent on relating the truth, it seems to stretch it quite a bit.
First, the words ‘Christian’ and ‘Roman Catholic’ are defined by the author. Webster is used to define oxymoron. The author defines ‘Christian’ as one who believes the Gospel, and a Roman Catholic is defined as one who believes the official teachings and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. Funny, but Webster defines ‘Christian’ as “a person who believes in Jesus as the Messiah and in the religion based on the teachings of Jesus.” No mention of the Gospel in the definition. A Roman Catholic is a person “…belonging to the Christian church that has the pope as its head.”(Bold text mine) Webster’s definitions were not good enough for this author because it is easier to disprove something if one manufactures his own terms.
The first argument is that the Church has authority over Scripture: The Catechism of the Catholic Church is quoted:
“The manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgment of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God"(119).
The actual sentence reads:
“For, of course, all that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgement of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God."(119)
It changes the meaning a bit. However, the process of looking up this one paragraph sent me looking for the documents of the Second Vatican Council, which sent me off again to the writings of the likes of St. Augustine, whose quote is worth repeating:
“But I would not believe in the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me.”(also part of 119)
Next, Baptism is discussed, in a carefully truncated piece of Paragraph 694:
”The water of baptism truly signifies our birth into the divine life.”(694)
This paragraph, first of a series discussing the Symbols of the Holy Spirit, actually says:
"Water. The symbolism of water signifies the Holy Spirit's action in Baptism, since after the invocation of the Holy Spirit it becomes the efficacious sacramental sign of new birth: just as the gestation of our first birth took place in water, so the water of Baptism truly signifies that our birth into the divine life is given to us in the Holy Spirit. As "by one Spirit we were all baptized," so we are also "made to drink of one Spirit." Thus the Spirit is also personally the living water welling up from Christ crucified as its source and welling up in us to eternal life."(694)
To read about Baptism, I would direct the author to paragraphs 1213-1284, with just a brief quote from paragraph 1213:
"Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word."
I would love to go on through this tract, perhaps another time, but it is getting late. I would have to say that this exercise has been refreshing, but I would predict that in every instance the author has chopped up the Catechism of the Catholic Church to fit his arguments, much in the same manner that he made up his own definitions to support his views.
I would also add that by opening up the Catechism of the Catholic Church and reading parts of it, my love for the Church and desire to bring more people into the Church, specifically the author of this tract, has increased.
I am sure time in front of the Blessed Sacrament had a lot to do with this.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
She walked around and started conversations with children in the hall. She changed her voice to a high pitch whenever she spoke for the muppet. I was at the far end of the hall, and could tell she was making her way toward me. I broke into a sweat. I searched for a door to disappear into. How long could I hide in the bathroom before she would be gone? Too risky.
A quick look showed me a door to a stairwell by my left hand, so I opened it and went down two flights of stairs. Before entering the new floor, I stopped and listened. I could still hear her squeaky voice faintly up the stairwell. I am outta here, I thought. The door opened with a little resistance, and I fell out into the hot Texas sun. I was around the back of the hospital, and the fire door closed firmly behind me.
By the time I walked around the hospital to the front entrance, I was a bit hot and sweaty. Temperatures have been in the triple digits lately, so I felt a little parched. I made my way the cafeteria, where I treated myself to what I used to call 'bug juice' in college: a lot of ice, water, sugar, and food coloring. As I collected my change from the cashier, I turned and there she was again. The lady with the muppet. I would swear that muppet was watching me, even though the lady was looking away from me. The perspiration covering me suddenly turned ice cold, and I could feel fear in the pit of my stomach. All thoughts of thirst and heat were superseded by the desire to flee. I felt faint, nauseated; but those feelings were nothing compared to the thought that if I fainted right now, I might wake up to see that muppet standing over me.
I stumbled backwards, pushing my way through the people in the line, and left the cafeteria by way of the entrance. I knew I was late for my meeting with the volunteer department, where we would be studying new techniques in distraction therapy for children who are hospital patients.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
....a business associate recently returned from Rome(I think he was taking the Da Vinci Code Guided Tour). He brought two Rosaries home for us, and today I had them blessed. I was showing them to a friend when she commented on the sweet odor of roses that suddenly was present. I told her it was not the odor of sanctity that sometimes emanates from my body, but actually the beads of the Rosary that are impregnated with the smell of rose petals.
It is a common mistake that people think pleasant smells around me are my odor of sanctity. Sometimes I emanate the odor of humility, too, but not often.
Twenty Three Altar Boys at Mass today...hopefully some of them have a vocation to the priesthood.
APPROXIMATELY 1848 ON AUGUST 13 2006
WESTBOUND ON WATER STREET IN OVILLA TEXAS
WEATHER PARTLY CLOUDY WITH VISBILITY CEILING OF 8 MILES AND 101 DEGREES
VEHICLE BIG BLUE 15 PERSON VAN WITH V-10 ENGINE
SPEED APPROXIMATELY 30 MILES PER HOUR
DRIVER NOTED SQUIRREL IN PATH AT APPROXIMATELY 5 YARDS OUT FROM TARGET
NO EVASIVE ACTION TAKEN DUE TO ROAD SIZE
DRIVER INDICATES THAT SQUIRREL RAN IN FRONT OF VAN FROM SIDE OF ROAD AT CLOSE PROXIMITY TO VAN
SQUIRREL APPEARED TO HAVE SUSTAINED LETHAL INJURIES AS OBSERVED IN REAR VIEW MIRROR
NO LOSS OF CONTROL OF VEHICLE
NO DAMAGE TO VAN
THIS REPORT HAS BEEN GENERATED AS A SAFETY MESSAGE TO ALL WHO MAY BE
THIS IS THE SECOND SQUIRREL STRIKE FOR THE BIG BLUE
THERE WERE 0 REPORTED BIRD STRIKES WITH THE VAN GREAT WHITE
WE WILL CONTINUE MONITORING THESE INCIDENTS
DAD WITH NOISY KIDS
Saturday, August 12, 2006
There are some highlights that I think of immediately, like the trip down to San Antonio and how the Air Force billeting people set aside two rooms for our whole family to use - on separate sides of the building.
The addition of enough noisykids so that we have as many Texas Children as Michigan Children. The sad loss of one little Rose in San Antonio, and the prayer that God will bless us with more Texans.
The blessing of our hearts growing together over the years, and the realization that my beloved wife is more precious to me every day.
The hard decision to move to the Dallas area, and the tremendous blessings for our family that resulted from the move.
The prayers that I not be separated from my family for a long deployment while on active duty; something I credit in part to the intervention of now-Blessed Charles de Foucauld.
I could go on and on, but the hour is late. In the future I will review a book about Charles de Foucauld, who was recently beatified.
God has been so generous to us. We all give thanks to God for His love and mercy.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Duck and Scorpion take a break from studying
1. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say may become part of a future blog entry on the Blog Scorpion Stalking Duck. Criticisms of dadwithnoisykids, which indicate that you have a dry sense of humor, are especially prone to publication. Your best bet is to smile, avoid eye contact with dadwithnoisykids, and back away slowly and quietly.
2. Anything you make and can be photographed may be featured on the Blog Scorpion Stalking Duck. Items such as stuffed animals, especially scorpions or ducks, are preferred for publication. American Girl Dolls will not be featured, but their furniture may appear on Blogs. Lego-type creations may be photographed and renamed by dadwithnoisykids.
Nutritious Play-Doh Gnocchi, made by the noisykids, goes great with Marinara Sauce!
3. While your words may be published, and your creations may be photographed, pictures of the noisykids will not be published.
4. Noisykids will be allowed to publish articles on this blog after paying dadwithnoisykids a 'user's fee' and surrendering all rights to any royalties received by the publishing of such article on the Blog Scorpion Stalking Duck.
5. Publication of items on this blog will not replace dadwithnoisykids' tendency to exaggerate and contrive stories of his life as a circus performer, big game hunter, pilot, scientist, three-time winner of the Nobel Prize, and singer/musician/composer.
All-powerful Father, bless these peanut butter crackers,
and make of them good food for Your humble sons.
Let the inability of these crackers to fill one remind
us of the insufficiency of earthly pleasures to slake
our thirst for joy. Let the salty-to-the-point-of-pain
flavor of these crackers remind us of the inevitable sorrow
mixed into our earthly life. Let the similarity of these
crackers to the rocks Satan mentioned in the temptation
not break our teeth. We ask this through Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with You in the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
I will publish more from the noisykids in the future.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Today, during the Hour of Mercy, we got some much needed rain in Texas.
I was standing in line, waiting to go to confession, and could hear the rain beating softly on the roof of the church. Afterward, I stepped out and took a picture of the statues that are on the parish grounds. This is a picture of my favorite statue.
I also started thinking how nature abhors a vacuum; this was reflected in the line of people for confession. About thirty people were in line for confession after Sunday Mass; half that many went to confession between Masses. I think that the more time a priest makes for confession, the more people will avail themselves of the sacrament. Certainly one to two hours on Saturday afternoon can not cover the size of most parishes.
St. John Vianney, and the late Pope John Paul II when he was assigned as a parish priest, spent many hours in the confessional. I think JP II used to refer to it as being a 'prisoner of the confessional.' St. John Vianney used to talk about the 'big fish' that would occasionally show up for confession after years away from the sacrament. Why did he not refer to the prodigal as the 'BIG DUCK?' Was he biased against ducks for some reason? This was never discussed in his biography.
For a middle aged sinner like me, it is wonderful to have the Sacrament of Confession available for frequent use. With frequent confession, one can work on eliminating bad habits that lead to sin, and take steps to develop a deeper spiritual life. What a wonderful thing, for a priest to have the opportunity to bring a sinner back into the state of sanctifying grace. And how many priests will find that mercy is bestowed on them because they saved sinners from damnation?
Pray for priests and for more vocations for the priesthood!
On a different note, the noisykids made these sculptures. I think they look like ducks, but they insist they are robots. Even the noisykids discriminate against ducks.
"But why you have a 'Scorpion Stalking Duck Blog' in the first place I'll never understand"
- Eldest daughter, second eldest of the noisykids
"A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country and in his own house and among his own kindred"
- Mark 6:4
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Apparently, St. Jerome is the Patron Saint of Bloggers. If you look closely, you can see a small scorpion on the rock, in a stance of protection, facing St. Jerome. The duck is on the screen.
Friday, August 04, 2006
The best biography we have for him is by Trochu and is available at TAN Books. It is a thick book and covers his whole life.
Some other books on the saint are
Sermons of the Cure of Ars
The Cure D'Ars Today, by Fr. George William Rutler
The Cure of Ars, by Fr. Bartholomew O'Brien - a slim book which I read first, and only increased my interest and devotion to St. John Vianney.
A favorite quote of mine from St. John Vianney:
"Sir, it is greatly to be wished that your soul were as beautiful as your dog."
This was said to a man going hunting with his dog. He went on to reform his life and enter a monastary.
And this, said to a priest who wanted to join a monastary. St. John counseled against the change:
"...the good God at times inspires us with desires of which He will never ask the fulfillment in this world."
St. John Vianney knew that love for the Blessed Sacrament was the most powerful means for renewing the heart of a parish( - from Fr. O'Brien's book).
I pray that more priests take him as their role model.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
"Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end. The sun pours down on the earth, on the lovely land that man cannot enjoy. He knows only the fear of his heart."
I have a personal goal I want to share with you. I hope to raise my children so that they never end up featured in an article in the magazine Texas Monthly. Sure, Texas Monthly will occasionally have good articles, but the majority of them are about the sleazy side of Texas. When they honored Sarah Weddington on the cover, I knew it was time to drop the subscription. I strive every day for something better for my children. For a similar reason, I hope my children never play out the lives of the children in Cry, the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton.
Cry, the Beloved Country was published in 1948. I read it in college in 1983 for a literature class, and then bought it and read it in 1996 while waiting to catch an overnight flight flight from San Francisco to Dallas. The thirteen years between readings had changed me a bit; I was now the father of six children. What struck me was that what took place in the book could happen in my own family. Suddenly the thought that my children could one day go wrong in a serious way was terrifyingly real. It had such an impact on me that I wrote a little note in the back of the book. It said,
“I feel as if Stephen Kumalo could be me;
I pray and will work that it will not be so.”
13 October 1996
Recent tragedies in 2006 drew me back to the book. The agony of a parent losing a child is something that I dread, and I know of several fathers who are suffering the loss of a child. Sometimes the possibility of a child losing their immortal soul is present, and it makes the loss even more painful. All of these things have weighed heavily on my mind, and I have spent a bit of time in soul searching. By reading Paton’s book again, I have the opportunity to consider how well I have done in keeping my words that I wrote nearly ten years ago.
The book recounts the life of two men in South Africa, played out on the field of Apartheid. Briefly, apartheid means ‘apartness,’ and refers to the segregation of non-whites from whites in South Africa. This policy adversely affected the economic and social situation for the native people of South Africa, and the disparity is seen poignantly in the two main characters, Stephen Kumalo, and James Jarvis.
Stephen Kumalo is a native, a minister in the fictional village of Ndotsheni. He and his congregation live in a drought-ridden valley where poverty and hunger are the norm. Most of the young people have left the valley to find work in Johannesburg or the mines of South Africa. As it says in the book, people who go to Johannesburg tend to disappear. Stephen’s younger sister Gertrude recently left the valley to find her husband in Johannesburg. Stephen’s only son, Absalom, followed her shortly after when all letters to Gertrude were returned unopened, and he is lost to the big city. Stephen goes to Johannesburg to bring back his sister and son, but he finds his son too late. Absalom was arrested for the murder of a white man, a man who had been a vocal opponent to apartheid. The victim also happened to be the only son of James Jarvis.
James Jarvis lives on a ranch overlooking Ndotsheni, and enjoys all the benefits of a wealthy landowner. At one time, he hoped that his only son, Arthur, would take over the ranch and keep it in the family. However, Arthur went to Johannesburg as well, and became a successful engineer. He became active in the anti-apartheid movement, and was fearless in his support for the native people. He was in the middle of writing an essay on the ‘Truth about Native Crime’ when an intruder killed him. The elder Jarvis, who disagreed with his son on the subject of apartheid, began reading his speeches and papers as he closed out Arthur’s affairs. He begins to reconsider his thoughts about apartheid.
Stephen Kumalo and James Jarvis meet while they are in Johannesburg; first by chance at a house where they both have business, and later at the trial of Absalom. Absalom Kumalo is found guilty of the murder of Arthur Jarvis and is sentenced to death.
As the story ends, a change occurs in the valley. Jarvis begins contributing money and resources to improve the living conditions in Ndotsheni. His motivation is not clear; I could not tell if he is doing this in response to his son's death or because he has come out against apartheid. Stephen Kumalo goes back to his congregation, caring for his wife, nephew, and Absalom’s wife. The final scene of the story is that of Stephen praying for his son as the sun rises on the morning of his execution.
This story does not have a happy conclusion. There is a lot of sorrow and disappointment as Stephen Kumalo searches not only for his son, but also for others who have left their homes to find work in Johannesburg. Too late he finds Absalom; too late to rescue him from the life he has taken up which will now destroy him. Absalom repents for his crime, but the government will grant no clemency. James Jarvis loses his only son, a victim of a man whose cause he made his own. The loss of virtue, innocence and life found in Cry, the Beloved Country is why I refer to this book as ‘any father’s nightmare.’
So what can one do to avoid raising a child who becomes the next Absalom Kumalo? One solution is to raise children to practice the virtues and work on formation of their consciences. Another is to provide them with an environment for learning a trade or profession that will support their vocation (whatever that may be).
But the most important thing to do is to PRAY for your children. God will grant us whatever we ask for in Jesus’ name, so why not shoot for the moon? Why not ask for the graces for our children to grow in grace and service to the Lord, and for us parents to have the graces to raise our children properly? I take the example of my spiritual father, St. Patrick. According to legend, St. Patrick asked that Ireland be spared destruction at the end of the world. Apparently, God has granted his wish. If St. Patrick can pray for his descendents in this way, I should be able to ask for my children and my children’s children to become saints. It behooves me to spend my time now praying for my children, instead of praying for them on the local mountain as they face the executioner:
“Then he gave himself over to deep and earnest prayer,
and after each petition he raised his eyes and looked to
the east. And the east lightened and lightened, till he
knew that the time was not far off. And when he expected
it, he rose to his feet and took off his hat and laid it down
on the earth, and clasped his hands before him. And
while he stood there the sun rose in the east.”
I recommend this book without reservation. There are several notes written by the author for each of the publications of this book (Alan Paton died in South Africa in 1992), as well as an introduction that gives a bit more detailed explanation of apartheid. A list of words at the back, including a pronunciation guide, help for some of the words which are Afrikaans.
Character development is excellent, especially for the Stephen Kumalo, the main character. While the author treats him very sympathetically, we still see that he has his own failings that complicate his search in Johannesburg. His humility shines through, as he has to deal with his own sins and the effects of them on those around him.
A movie of this book was made in the 1990’s with James Earl Jones playing the part of Stephen Kumalo. I cannot recommend any movie because I believe my mental image of a character would be ruined by seeing an actor portraying that person.
Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."