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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Third Movement

Here is the THIRD movement from Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 3. At some point, the video seems to lag behind the audio feed. Just close your eyes and listen:

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Gospel Commentary for Sunday, July 29, 2007

...but first, a little music(without hot dogs and donuts dancing about!)

Here is the second part of Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 3, the 2nd movement

Vladimir Horowitz, pianist

Start playing it and enjoy the music while reading this posting:

Sunday's Gospel was from Luke 11:1-13

St. Luke and I have more than just our profession in common: we both also like scorpions.

Once Jesus was in a certain place praying, and when he had finished one of his disciples said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples’.

He said to them, ‘Say this when you pray:
“Father, may your name be held holy,
your kingdom come;
give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive each one who is in debt to us.
And do not put us to the test.”’

He also said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him in the middle of the night to say, “My friend, lend me three loaves, because a friend of mine on his travels has just arrived at my house and I have nothing to offer him”; and the man answers from inside the house, “Do not bother me. The door is bolted now, and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up to give it you”. I tell you, if the man does not get up and give it him for friendship’s sake, persistence will be enough to make him get up and give his friend all he wants.
‘So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. What father among you would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or hand him a snake instead of a fish? Or hand him a scorpion if he asked for an egg? If you then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’


This is one of two places in the Bible where scorpions play a pivotal role in understanding the Word of the Lord. A scorpion is known to be dangerous; in some cases its sting can be lethal. By using a scorpion as an alternative to an egg, Jesus has deftly impressed on His disciples the way that God will answer our prayers. There will be no nasty surprises from God; whatever He gives us is in some way for the good of our souls. This is the case even if the answer to our prayers is one of the least-used words in the English-speaking world: NO.

The other example of scorpions that comes to mind is also from Luke: 10:19, "I have given you the power to tread upon serpents and scorpions."

Once again, the humble scorpion serves as an example of how God will provide for us. When we lived in San Antonio in a house that had been overrun with scorpions, I had an uncanny knack of knowing where a scorpion would be hiding, and I avoided multiple stings as a result. I attribute it all to Divine Providence; God has something more dramatic in mind for me, like myocardial infarction or a stroke or a horrible auto accident, when it is my time to go...but once again, as the prayer from the Chaplet of Divine Mercy says, the will of God is Love and Mercy Itself.

While I have lost the reference, I know for a fact that the egg in question was that of a duck, not that of a chicken.



Scorpion Stalking Duck.



On another note, I wrote a poem(more bad poetry!) inspired by this reading - in particular the comment about waking up a neighbor for bread. Here in North Texas this behavior is done at risk to one's life.

This is from August 1,1999:

The Neighbor's Bread

With confidence I knocked on your door.
You said you’d never ignore me.
Now I sit in your dining room,
a feast you set before me

Long ago, I asked you because
You said you always would provide.
And so now in the middle of the night
You bid me come inside

You gave me what I asked of you
And as I turned away
You said ‘just wait a moment.’
And bid me come and stay.

Within my grasp was all I wanted
And all I needed (I thought)
And yet you offered far more to me
Now in your arms I’m caught

I asked for life for my wife and children
To stay with you forever
But I never imagined what more you could give
- I’m not considered clever

For a loaf of bread I knocked on your door
To steal my life away
But now for the bread of life
I will always stay.

My good intentioned selfish plan
Was to gain a loaf of bread
But you gave me far more, the bread of life
Now I plan to stay instead

The banquet you lay before me
Is full of bitter and sweet
But all of it I must partake
For you and I to meet

Not only partake, but prepare and serve
Is what you call me to
For what you give I must pass on
To those I love so true

Here is the man who woke you up
For just a loaf of bread
Now let me stay and serve your table
And those who come for bread.


Then there's this issue. I am a girly saint?

I was St. Joan of Arc.

It got in the way of the post below.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Another Classicl Music Interlude

Complete with Stop-action animation:

Wagner was not a friend of the Church, but did write some good music....

My six-year old took a look at the video and said, "What's the point of it?"

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ex Armariolo Impiliorum (was Ex Sock Insum)

I think that means 'from the sock drawer,' which is where these creatures have been living lately. If my poor translation has offended, let me know.


Life has been very busy this Summer, with work taking up most of the days. Today I got home in time to work on the lawn, and it rained as soon as I arrived.

Speaking of land....I apparently own another 0.3 acres. I am not sure where it is - I have to check that out - but it must be real because I got billed for three years back taxes. I owe $1.85!! I love land with an agricultural exemption.

I have been reading The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. In the course of the book, Mr. Toad is offered a plate of 'bubble and squeak.' The odor of cabbage revives Toad's spirits. So I had to look it up at work today. One of my partners was looking over my shoulder as I did this before work began, and he suggested I look up 'bangers and mash' and 'haggis.' Next we looked up 'chorizo' and 'scrapple.'

I have memories, not really fond ones, of my parents getting scrapple from Philadelphia. Apparently scrapple is big in Philadelphia, where both my parents grew up.

Perhaps the Philly Steak and Cheese Sandwich was invented to make reparation for scrapple.

My mother would start with a block of raw scrapple in a frying pan, and in about an hour the scrapple would be shrunken down to the size of a matchbox, floating in a pond of grease. Yum.

Blogging has been at a minimum for two reasons: one is that I am busy. The other is that for 15 days in June I conducted an experiment in blogging. Without telling anyone at first, I made a commitment to STOP BLOGGING whenever my wife or children wanted my attention. I noticed my blogging dropped to an all time low, but I was more involved with my family. I like that.

So my blogging is less than it was before. I am reminded of some lines in the play A Man for All Seasons, by Robert Bolt. St. Thomas More advises Rich to become a teacher. He mentions that he might be a great teacher. Rich replies:
"And if I was who would know?"
More responds with words I take to heart:
"You, your pupils, your friends, God. Not a bad public, that...."
There won't be as many blog entries, and you will not read as much about the Noisykids as you have in the past. But the sun and moon doesn't revolve around us anyways.
It does revolve around me.
Check this out:

I like Rachmaninoff. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

St. Charbel Makhlouf

Happy Feast of St. Charbel Makhlouf!

Summer time is really busy for me, with a lecture to present tomorrow.

Perhaps another post this weekend?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

While I was working....

While I worked today, the blog passed a milestone.

Visit 10,000!

Time of Visit: Jul 18 2007 9:20:12 am
Visit Length: 0 seconds
Page Views: 1

This is normal for my blog. Most people don't stay for long, and a lot of people use my links as a jumping off point....

Time Zone: UTC+0:00

Visitor's Time: Jul 18 2007 3:20:12 pm
Visit Number: 10,000

Thank you all for visiting this blog. This picture, which was the inspiration for all this nonsense, has come a long way from the day I snapped it in San Antonio.

I am very proud of my little blog, because I have tried to make each and every one of these postings an original work. I especially am proud of the poetry which I have written here, especially the poems dedicated to my beautiful wife.

I suspect that it will take longer than twelve and a half months to reach the 20,000 mark. Work and the responsibilities of husband and father to the Noisykids have put a limit to my free time for blogging.

Monday, July 16, 2007

So Who Are the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne?

Martyred July 17, 1794

I found this information HERE!

They are:

1. Anne-Marie-Madeleine Thouret

2. Anne Petras

3. Marie-Geneviève Meunier

4. Rose-Chrétien de la Neuville

5. Euphrasia of the Immaculate Conception; aka Marie Claude Cyprienne Brard, or Catherine Charlotte Brard; born 1736 at Bourth, and professed in 1757

6. Madeleine-Claudine Ledoine (Mother Teresa of Saint Augustine), prioress, born in Paris, 22 Sept., 1752, professed 16 or 17 May, 1775

7. Marie-Anne Brideau

8. Marie-Anne Piedcourt (Sister of Jesus Crucified), choir-nun, b. 1715, professed 1737; on mounting the scaffold she said "I forgive you as heartily as I wish God to forgive me"

9. Marie-Antoniette or Anne Hanisset (Sister Teresa of the Holy Heart of Mary), b. at Rheims in 1740 or 1742, professed in 1764

10. Marie-Françoise Gabrielle de Croissy (Mother Henriette of Jesus), b. in Paris, 18 June, 1745, professed 22 Feb., 1764, prioress from 1779 to 1785

11. Marie-Gabrielle Trézel (Sister Teresa of Saint Ignatius), choir-nun, b. at Compiègne, 4 April, 1743, professed 12 Dec., 1771

There were also three lay sisters:

12. Angélique Roussel (Sister Mary of the Holy Ghost), lay sister, b. at Fresnes, 4 August, 1742, professed 14 May, 1769

13. Julie or Juliette Vérolot (Sister Saint Francis Xavier), lay sister, b. at Laignes or Lignières, 11 Jan., 1764, professed 12 Jan., 1789

14. Marie Dufour (Sister Saint Martha), lay sister, b. at Beaune, 1 or 2 Oct., 1742, entered the community in 1772

Two 'tourières,' who were not Carmelites at all but servants at the nunnery:

15. Catherine Soiron, born 2 February 1742 at Compiègne

16. Teresa Soiron, born 23 January 1748 at Compiègne both of whom had been in the service of the community since 1772.

Since they had not eaten for a while before their execution, they obtained some chocolate - hot chocolate? - to drink before going to the guillotine. The prioress did not want any of them fainting from hunger.

So, tomorrow I shall have some CHOCOLATE in honor of these women who offered their lives to God to end the Reign of Terror in France.

Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel!

"It is possible while sitting in your workshop stitching leather to
consecrate your heart of God. It is possible...for the person standing over
a pot cooking to make fervent and frequent prayer though it is not possible
to enter a church. For God takes no thought of place. This alone He
requires of us: a mind and soul that loves the things of God."

St. John Chrysostom


This sounds like a lot of St. Josemaria Escriva's writings. It indicates
that one of the recurrent themes of Opus Dei - sanctification through
whatever work one has - is not a new theme in the Church. Instead St.
Josemaria Escriva is repeating a worthwhile lesson to a world that
desperately needs to hear it.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Another Look at the Terror

Book Review:

To Quell the Terror: The Mystery of the Vocation of the Sixteen Carmelites of Compiègne, Guillotined July 17, 1794, by William Bush

Previously reviewed HERE.

July 17, 2007 marks the 213th anniversary of the execution of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Compiègne during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror.

I have to agree with a friend's thought, that most saints who wear the martyr's crown did not receive it accidentally. Instead, martyrdom came as the culmination, or completion, of a life committed to the practice of 'death to self.' Saint Maximilian Kolbe is one saint who comes to mind. His volunteering to take the place of a married man who was to be starved to death was characteristic of a priest who had spent his life praying and working for the greater glory of God. The crowns of purity and martyrdom that he chose as a child were well-worn by the time he accompanied his fellow inmates into the cell where they were to be starved to death.

The Carmelite Nuns of Compiègne are a group of martyrs who also practiced 'death to self' as they went about a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The French Revolution and its subsequent Reign of Terror, combined with a prophetic dream of a nun more than a hundred years before, inspired them to make their deaths an offering, or holocaust, to end the Reign of Terror.

William Bush has written a thorough and inspiring book about the Carmelite Nuns. He describes the lives of the nuns at Compiègne (including a short biography of each) as well as describing the events which were taking place outside of the convent. These two stories connect the day that the nuns were ‘liberated’ from their cloister.

The most interesting part of Bush’s book is where he relates a mysterious vision experienced by a nun who lived at Compiègne approximately 100 years before the French Revolution. In the nun’s description of her vision, she told of a group of sisters she had never seen before who were called to ‘follow the Lamb.’ In this case the Lamb is presumably the Lamb of God, or Jesus Christ, and the nuns were to be martyred. This vision influenced the prioress to initiate the cloister’s offering up their lives to end the suffering of the people of France during the Revolution’s Reign of Terror.

William Bush wrote this book to correct the historical inaccuracies that have crept into the story of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne. In particular, Gertrude le Fort’s book The Song at the Scaffold modified a lot of the events that took place during the Reign of Terror. George Bernanos, who wrote The Dialogue of the Carmelites, also romanticized some of the details of the story. The play by Poulenc, Dialogues of the Carmelites also changed the story in order to make a more dramatic opera. All three of these works presented the French Revolution in a romantic, sympathetic light, and that was one of the key things that Bush wanted to correct. The revolution was not a wonderful and liberating change in the history of Man. The people of France suffered tremendously under the new government which wanted to eliminate the influence of the Church in France. Many people – not just religious – lost their lives during the Terror.

This book is not just a history book. Mr. Bush makes some rather pointed comments about Divine Mercy, and how the nuns considered their martyrdom to be an offering accepted by God:

“Their final song at the scaffold…was Psalm 117, Laudate Dominum omnes gentes, which proclaims the mystic truth couched at the heart of the Christian experience of salvation: God’s mercy is at the center of all things, even of being guillotined.

Oh praise the Lord all ye nations!
Praise him all ye people!
And the truth of the Lord remaineth forever!
Praise the Lord!"

Pages 14-15.

This aspect of the book is what touched me the most, and makes this book one which I recommend without reservation. As a latecomer to praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, I was always struck by the last line of the final prayer, which refers to the Will of God as ‘Love and Mercy Itself.’ This prayer, and the final song of the Carmelites, remind me that whatever suffering comes my way should be looked upon as a gift from God – a cross to be accepted as necessary for my salvation.

This quote - and the final prayer of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy - have been a rich source of consolation for me during this past year.

As an aside, the cover of this book shows the opening scene from Poulenc’s opera Dialogues of the Carmelites. It always reminds me of the ordinations I have been to, where the candidates for priesthood start by lying prone on the altar – certainly symbolic of their death to self.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

My strongest prescription

For best results, take at least once a day!

Sunday Night Delayed Flight Thoughts

Band of Brothers

I spent the weekend at my brother the priest's parish.

Some thoughts were generated....

One is that weekends are very busy for priests. Father brotherofdadwithnoisykids was in meetings with the Legion of Mary, hearing confessions, and of course celebrating the holy sacrifice of the Mass. On top of this, he had to deal with Mr. High Maintenance Himself, dadwithnoisykids.

His assistant pastor was just as busy, and the seminarian assigned to the parish was assisting both priests.

An other observation is that despite what appeared to be a busy schedule - during ORDINARY TIME - both priests were obviously happy serving Our Lord and His people. There was no complaint about a schedule which stretched longer than mine. These priests, and the seminarian, also maintained a good sense of humor about the events that fill their days. That was the best part of the weekend: hearing these 'alter Christuses' talk about what makes their jobs so fun.

We compared the practice of medicine with that of the priest. Imagine a priest stopping a confession in order to call the other priests - plus any seminarian - so they could take a listen:

Penitent: "Anyway, Father -"
Priest: "Hold that thought.(opening door) HEY FRED! COME AND LISTEN TO THIS!"

Of course it didn't happen.

Visiting my brother fills me with hope for the Church. The example these priests give of men loving Our Lord and serving His flock is tremendous.

Now I have to catch a flight. Motu proprio to you.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

July 4th Thoughts

Happy 4th of July.

Today we celebrate our independence.

What are you going to do about it?

First, get rid of your TV. I blogged on this a year ago. Today we celebrate the 12 anniversary of getting rid of ours.

I only wish I had destroyed it rather than given it away.

Another deeper thought:

On July 2, 1999, we lost our first child, whom we named Anastasia Innocent. The icon above is that of St. Anastasia.

Wifeofdadwithnoisykids was about 8 weeks along when she stopped having those nausea-filled days that indicate that another Noisykid is developing normally. An ultrasound confirmed what we feared.

We had a follow-up ultrasound later that week which showed the absence of the 'sac' which had been present a few days earlier. This sac is usually the first sign of a baby growing, and along with some blood tests, everything indicated that we had lost one of our little ones.

Because of constant bleeding, our obstetrician suggested a D & C. We were convinced, based on the ultrasound and the lab results, that our unborn child was dead, so we agreed to go ahead with the procedure.

Knowing our Faith - I had given him a copy of Humanae Vitae and both of us had explained the Church's teaching about abortion and contraception to him - he offered to have a priest present to 'do whatever could be done for us.'

I assumed he meant baptize the baby. We had already blessed my wife's belly, and earlier that day we conditionally baptized what turned out to be just a blood clot. I told him that no, it is obvious our baby is already dead, and so nothing more could be done for her.

Maybe it is wishful thinking, but we already thought of this child as a girl.

It was then that it hit me that I could not do anything more for this child. Unlike all my other children, this one had slipped away, unable to be held or caressed, or protected. This painful realization and the sorrow that accompanied it were too much to bear, and I recall crying like a baby.

Somehow I pulled myself together, and while my wife was in the operating room I went down to the hospital chapel. This was at the military hospital I was stationed at, and the chapel had a separate room for reservation of the Blessed Sacrament. I spent some time in prayer, then went to the gift shop and bought my wife a single yellow rose. I went to my office and waited.

My partner who anesthetized Wifeofdadwithnoisykids came to get me. He said very gently, "I think [she] needs you now." In the midst of her tears, my wife thanked my partner, and told him that she had offered up her suffering for him and his wife, since they were trying to have a baby at that time.

We have not forgotten our little lost Noisykid. We still have parts of that yellow rose, pressed into a picture frame along with her name. She is remembered at the Church of the Holy Innocents. We mention her name during Night Prayers when we ask God to bless each member of our family by name.

I think about her whenever I hear the song 'San Antonio Rose:'

"Moon in all your splendor,
know only my heart.
Call back my Rose,
Rose of San Antone."

But for us there is no calling her back.

For us this was a firm reminder that God truly is the Author of Life, and that even a couple who have had 8 healthy children are not guaranteed that children will just keep coming. We have tried to not take this gift God has given us for granted.

Three years later, we had another scare which landed us in the emergency room. This time, the ultrasound not only showed a little sac, but when color was added to the picture, we saw the beating heart of another little Noisykid. That Noisykid is the one who went on to inspire me to take the pseudonym 'dadwithnoisykids.'

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Today, We Celebrate God's Blessing

On July 1, 1989, 'Herself' and 'Annoying' were joined in Holy Matrimony in front of friends, family, and the Roman Catholic Church.

The blessings that God has showered upon us are sometimes overwhelming when we stop and think about all that we have received.

The greatest gift we have received from God are the 12 living - and one deceased - children we have been given for this short time on earth. We pray that they become Saints, knowing, loving, and serving God in whatever vocation they are called to.

Another tremendous blessing for me is the friendship of such a wonderful woman, one who strives to love God more each day. I believe it is because of her love for God that she finds the grace and strength to love me and to live with me.

After changing out of their wedding clothes, and honeymooning in Northern Michigan - here they are by a lighthouse - the happy couple lived in Michigan for 7 years before gettting to Texas as fast as they could.

While I never stopped being 'Annoying,' the name Dadwithnoisykids is the name I prefer to use, as it reminds me of my vocation. 'Herself' became Wifeofdadwithnoisykids for the same reason.

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
Now restored with the help of some cement!

Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Mary my mother, take my hand today, and all days.
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."

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