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The Manhattan Declaration

Theodore's Memorial Video

Friday, August 31, 2007

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of St. Augustine of Hippo. He is one of my favorite saints because of what he wrote in his 'Confessions.' He described the problem of knowing what is the right thing to do while not having the strength to do it. This can apply to many areas of one's life, and reminds me how much my Faith is truly a gift from God, and how much I need His graces to guide me through the obstacle course I call life.

We named one of our sons Augustine.

This is our prickly pear cactus patch. You can actually eat the prickly pears.

Today I stayed home(I was on call last night) and tutored one of the noisykids while most of the others went to the Dallas Aquarium. Wifeofdadwithnoisykids took them. She is the only person on the planet who is looking forward to morning sickness, as that is a good indicator that the pregnancy is progressing well. I recall with our previous child, she would be in the bathroom yelling for 'Roy!' and all the while thanking God for the blessing of another child. With our one miscarriage, the sudden stop of the morning sickness was an ominous sign for what was to come.

But enough about that. It has cooled down to the 80's and there is a chance of rain, and after a day of filing stuff at my desk I can see the pattern of the wood through the remaining papers. I even found some bills I had overlooked - doctor bills, of course!

How about a Haiku from 2005:

It ends abruptly

It ends abruptly
like a Saturday cartoon
and then that's all folks.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Particular Examen

They say that one's life is defined
By one's final moments on earth.
That the words and dispositions
Of the heart, that make a man,
Are played out for all to see - or at least God.

If that is so, may God have mercy on me
And may I resolve to sin no more.
For if the car hadn't swerved
I would have stood before God
Invoking a synonym for manure rather than Him.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Teach Me, O Lord

Teach me, my Lord, to be kind and gentle in all the events of life;

in disappointments,

in the thoughtlessness of others,

in the insincerity of those I trusted,

in the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied.

Let me put myself aside,

to think of the happiness of others,

to hide my pains and heartaches,

so that I may be the only one to suffer from them.

Teach me to profit by the suffering that comes across my path.

Let me so use it that it may mellow me,

not harden or embitter me;

that it may make me patient, not irritable;

that it may make me broad in my forgiveness,

not narrow, proud and overbearing.

May no one be less good for having come within my influence.

No one less pure, less true, less kind, less noble for having been

a fellow traveler in our journey toward eternal life.

As I go my rounds from one task to another,

let me say, from time to time, a word of love to You.

May my life be lived in the supernatural,

full of power for good,

and strong in its purpose of sanctity. Amen.

- from Father Hardon's Catholic Prayer Book, by Father John A. Hardon, S.J.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

St. Bartholomew, and a Novena Ending

The Beheading of St. Bartholomew

Yesterday was the Feast of St. Bartholomew, also known as Nathaniel. I tried to find a decent picture of him holding his skin - he was skinned alive and then beheaded - but most of them were too gory and I would have lost my 'G' rating for this blog.

Another name of one of the Noisykids - one of the ones taller than me!
Novena Complete
We finished a 5-day 'Novena' today, asking for a healthy baby and a safe delivery. Some of the children are praying for twins. Some are praying for quadruplets or quintuplets, and one just wants what sounds like 'twin-chocolates.'
We have been praying:

St Therese,
the Little Flower,
please pick me
a Rose from the
Heavenly Garden
and send it to me
with a Message
of Love.
Ask God
to grant me the
Favor I Thee
implore and
tell Him I
will Love
Him each
day More
and More.

SOURCE: Pieta Book of Prayers

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Baby News

I don't have to rack my brain for topics anymore.

Wifeofdadwithnoisykids will be seeing a lot of our NFP-only obstetrician, as he keeps a close eye on her various hormone levels. Tomorrow she gets more blood drawn.

When she went to the OB a few days ago, our 5-year old was disappointed that she did not walk out of his exam room with a new baby.

The 7-year old told me how the baby would 'walk out of mommy' when the time comes....

Tonight we celebrated our good news by breaking out a bunch of sparkling cider at dinner. We had kept bottles of the stuff around for such an occasion. The last time we had this specific reason to rejoice we were eating rice and beans, but tonight we had chicken and pasta - the preferred food of our Noisykids.

We are still flying from the positive pregnancy test we got on Tuesday. It appears as if God has chosen us once again to participate in the creation of another soul. This is something we have been praying for ever since we held our youngest child. I even wrote some bad poetry about it. This gift, our children, is the ONLY thing we can take with us to Heaven, and we are already praying for our newest addition.

In the future, I will try to put up any interesting ultrasounds that we get.

I feel like breaking into a song.

If only I could find a version of this song by the Showbiz Pizza Refugees:

I think I still have a shirt like that....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Blessed News

My wife called me at work today. She said she was shaking all over.

Then she sent me this picture:

No, not the teddy bear on the floor!

It appears that God has answered our prayers with a 'YES!'

Praise God for all His goodness!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Whose library is bigger?

The parent's library:

I dug this out of my desk while cleaning it. My wife likes this quote.

Fr. Edmund Sylvia said that a wise editor said this:

"The modern world remains a fallen world.
Our present history is a time of struggle but
through the cross of Christ we have already died
to the world and been reborn in a new Creation.

"The evils which afflict us will continue to try our souls.
But in this New Creation they need no longer drive to
despair. In fact not only can we survive evil,
but we can actually thrive in its midst."

The chidren's library:

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Birthday! ..and other more serious news

Tomorrow, the 19th of August, we celebrate the birth of our 10th child!


He was our first child born after I got out of the Air Force; his recollection of Air Force life would only be in utero.

We named him after Pope Saint Cornelius, who was Pope for two years(251-253) before dying in exile. He recommended mercy for penitents who had renounced the Faith during an earlier persecution. He worked with St. Cyprian - so closely that I figured our next son would have to be named Cyprian!

Here is a black and white picture of him. They hadn't developed color pictures yet, I guess...

Of course, most people thought we named him after THIS HOLY MAN:

Perhaps it had something to do with what he said right after being delivered, while our obstetrician was still holding him:

"Get your hands off of me, you darn dirty O.B.!!"


A friend of ours died today. He had been ill for just a short while before dying. He received the Sacrament of the Sick, and has been in many people's prayers. Please join us in praying for the repose of the soul of Thomas.

Also kinda Serious....

The recessional hymn at last week's ordination struck me as familiar, and I figured it out this last week. The song, O God Beyond All Praising, is based on a work by Gustav Holst called The Planets(Opus 32). The melody is lifted from the 4th movement known as Jupiter: The Bringer of Jollity. It all seemed kinda funny to me in a serious way to have music about bringing jollity for the conclusion of an ordination.


Here is the site from Semper Fi Catholic about a young man joining the Franciscans. I could not load it a few days ago - too busy looking for animatronic bears singing songs by Oasis.

I found out he is joining the Franciscans of the Immaculate - St. Maximilian Kolbe's order. They have some good books, such as this one about St. Maximilian's spirituality:

A great little book about St.Maximilian Kolbe - showing that his offer to take the place of a man in the death chamber at Auschwitz was a natural progression of his life.

Discovered! Showbiz Pizza Characters in Las Vegas!

Or maybe Chuck E. Cheese characters?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Random Comments for August 16th

I got my boots back. Two pair, the ones to the rear, needed to be resoled.
We are so blessed to have an easier way to heal our souls than to drop them off at the shoe repair store and wait for them to come back in a week or two. Confession is available anytime for those who look for it, and is a lot cheaper than getting one's boots re-soled. All it costs is our humility.
But the soul free from sin is a wonderful thing, freed from the weight and guilt of sin; once again walking in friendship with God.
Elvis Presley died 30 years ago today. Please pray for the repose of his soul. I can't forget the day he died because on August 15, 1977, the Feast of the Assumption, the day before Elvis died, one of my brothers was the victim of a truly random act of violence which nearly killed him. He continues to suffer physically from what happened that day, and I am sure he suffers in other ways as well.
God can make good come from everything. This incident shook my family tremendously, but it was also the event that started me thinking about a medical career, and probably was the seed of a vocation to the priesthood for another brother. In a way, this was God's wake up call to our family - a brutally personal reminder that we are mortal creatures that are destined for Eternity - provided we start knowing, loving, and serving God.
Speaking of vocations...
Aaron, one of the 'Adopt a Seminarian/Religious' folks, has gone to join the Franciscans. See pictures HERE - OOPS LINK NOT WORKING...I WILL TRY ADDING THIS LINK LATER. Please keep him and his order in your prayers.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

St. Maximilian Kolbe

Today we celebrated St. Maximilian Kolbe's Feast Day. We named one of our sons after him. St. Maximilian was apparently the original 'Mad Max' long before Mel Gibson came along. He was called that by other priests who thought he was a bit too intense.

Look what intensity for Jesus gets you: SAINTHOOD!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Book Reviews, Rantings, and Bad Poetry

I have read two books which I found to be OF QUESTIONABLE WORTH.

One book begets another, it seems. I read one book, and all the time it reminded me of the second book. As soon as I finished the first, I found a copy of the second. I found the second one to be lacking as well, for a different reason.

Suppose that civilization as we know it has been destroyed, with the exception of a small group of monks who dedicate themselves to preserving the knowledge of the past.

This is the general idea of both books, although one is a work of science fiction, and the other a history book.

A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller, Jr. takes place after a nuclear war has destroyed nearly all of the world. The survivors blame the 'Flame Deluge' on technology, and proceed to retaliate against any remnant of science, literature - any sort of knowledge. A man, a convert from Judaism, starts an order whose mission is to preserve the writings of those who were before the nuclear war. Thanks to the Order of St. Leibowitz, whose suffix is AOL(!!!), technology eventually returns, along with the same problems that led to the nuclear war.

All I could think of while reading Miller's book was this book:

Thomas Cahill's How The Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe presents the argument that the Irish preserved most of ancient civilization's writings while Europe and the Roman Empire were being overrun by various savage tribes. For a man of 100% Irish blood, nothing fills my heart with more pride. Unfortunately, Mr. Cahill fills the book with far, FAR too many tales of bawdiness and impropriety done by various Irish men and women. I got the impression that he lost sight of the purpose of his book.

Instead of reading about great things done by mine own people, I found myself disgusted by some of the stories I found in this book.

Mr. Cahill did have a great comment attributed to Sigmund Freud, to the effect that the Irish were the only people who could not be helped by psychoanalysis.

I wish this Catholic writer had written something to inspire the Irish Catholics everywhere to become modern-day St. Patricks. This thought came to me as we celebrated the ordination of ONE MAN for the Diocese of Dallas last Saturday. Perhaps our Irish Bishop Kevin Farrell, with his accent reminded me that I wrote a poem about Ireland and its lack of vocations HERE.

...and here as well:

The Island Is Sinking

Perhaps in some strange and far-off land

where my children's children live

they once again will take a stand

to preach, teach, and forgive.

For now my emerald isle home

once honored and renowned

is seemingly barren of the Faith,

the island is sinking down.

God promised that it would not see

the four horsemen's final call

rather it would founder, vanishing

not suffering at all.

The four green fields would slowly yield

and sink beneath the waves.

Where once my children's blood ran thick

the sea covers their graves.

Not long ago my children left

to spread the Faith worldwide.

Convents, seminaries fit to burst

were such a source of pride.

Today they are all empty,

none studying in their halls.

The barren womb has left no room

for a heart to heed His call.

So I look for where my children went

o'er centuries now past,

scattered over every land

and there my net is cast.

To every son and daughter

of Ireland, hear my pleading:

We lack for holy priests and nuns

it's saints that we are needing.

To all you men and women

who have God in their hearts,

add actions to affections

and strive to do your part.

I know someday my beloved isle

Will sink beneath the sea.

But I never thought my land

Would turn its back on Thee.



Friday, August 10, 2007

Prayer to Our Lady

This is a prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation, featured in a blog entry way back when. Read about it HERE.

My confessor told me about how Mexican men always kissed the hand or hands of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It suddenly occurred to him one day that they were showing respect to Our Lady and asking her to take them by the hand.

My confessor recommended that I pray to Our Lady at the beginning of each day, asking her to lead me, to do what she has for me on her 'honey-do' list. This statue is conveniently located outside our front door, so I have started praying this prayer that I wrote below.

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."

Noisykid Kitchen Returns!

Real Men Cook With Fire. Even saints.

Today is the Feast of St. Lawrence, who was grilled to death under the Emperor Valerian. Legend has it that he joked that he was 'done' on one side and could be turned over.

The other story about St. Lawrence is that he brought together all the riches of the Church to show to the Romans. The riches that he showed them were the poor and needy that were helped by the Church.

So, in honor of St. Lawrence, we grilled tonight. Since it was Friday, we had fish.

Friday night dinner

Cooks: 12-year old boy Noisykid, and 10-year old girl Noisykid

Grilled Mahi Mahi
Marinara Sauce
Green Beans
Garlic Toast

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A Man For All Seasons

Book Review: A Man For All Seasons, by Robert Bolt

Legend has it that when the late Bo Schembechler coached football at the University of Michigan, he would have the team watch the movie “Patton” before the Michigan-Ohio State Game. General George Patton, played by George C. Scott, apparently inspired the team to defeat Ohio State. Then Michigan would go out to the Rose Bowl and play on New Years Day.

Inevitably, Michigan would get squashed like a bug by some West Coast team.

Still, the movie is stirring….

In a similar way, I always think of Fred Zinnemann’s movie A Man For All Seasons as a spiritual version of Patton. For a Catholic looking for some inspiration to follow Our Lord and not the world, the story of St. Thomas More’s battle of wills with King Henry VIII is worth watching. St. Thomas More exemplifies Our Lord’s words that we need to be “as wise as serpents, and as gentle as doves.”(Matt. 10:6) as he works his way around the various legal traps set for him.

This is rather odd when you consider that Robert Bolt, who wrote the original play, was an agnostic. He was more interested in St. Thomas More as an example of one man standing alone against the crowd. Bolt used this theme in several plays he wrote. This idea or concept is summed up in this dialogue with the Duke of Norfolk from the play:

"What matters is not that it's true, but that I believe it; or no, not that I believe it, but that I believe it."

St. Thomas More’s faith was not as important; for all we know, Bolt may have been writing about a late-term abortionist.

I bought a copy of the play because there were several quotes in the movie that really stood out as worth remembering. One of my favorites is More’s discussion with Richard Rich. Rich wants a position at Court, and More advises against it. He recommends that he take a teaching position. Let’s listen in:

More: “…Why not be a teacher? You’d be a fine teacher. Perhaps, a great one.”

Rich: “And if I was who would know it?”

More: “You, your pupils, your friends, God. Not a bad public, that….”

Another great quote from the play is when St. Thomas More hears of an Oath, a Bill which he may have to swear to. More reminds his daughter Meg and her husband Will Roper that he may be able to take the oath. He speaks of Man’s purpose:

“God made the angels to show him splendor – as he made the animals

for innocence and plants for their simplicity. But Man he made to serve

him wittily, in the tangle of his mind! If he suffers us to fall to such a case

that there is no escaping, then we may stand to our tackle as best we can,

and yes, Will, then we may clamour like champions…if we have the spittle

for it. And no doubt it delights God to see splendour where he only looked

for complexity. But it’s God’s part, not our own, to bring ourselves to that

extremity! Our natural business lies in escaping….”

I have recalled this quote many times, especially when I don’t know what to do for my family and it looks as if there is no way out of our predicament. Something always comes up – either my wife or I figure something out, or else God provides.

Even better than Bolt's play are some quotes from the man himself, like this prayer:

Give Me Thy Grace, good Lord, to set the world at naught, to set my mind fast upon Thee,

and not to hang upon the blast of men's mouths.

To be content to be solitary.

Not to long for worldly company.

Little and little utterly to cast off the world, and rid my mind of all the business thereof.

Not to long to hear of any worldly things, but that the hearing of worldly fantasies may

be to me displeasing.

Gladly to be thinking of God.

Piteously to call for His help.

To lean unto the comfort of God.

Busily to labor to love Him.

To know my own vility and wretchedness.

To humble and meeken myself under the mighty hand of God.

To bewail my sins passed.

For the purging of them, patiently to suffer adversity.

Gladly to bear my purgatory here.

To be joyful of tribulations.

To walk the narrow way that leadeth to life.

To bear the cross with Christ.

To have the last thing in remembrance.

To have ever afore mine eye my death that is ever at hand.

To make death no stranger to me.

To foresee and consider the everlasting fire of hell.

To pray for pardon before the judge to come.

To have continually in mind the Passion that Christ suffered for me.

For His benefits incessantly to give Him thanks.

To buy the time again that I before have lost.

To abstain from the vain confabulations.

To eschew light, foolish mirth and gladness.

Recreations not necessary to cut off.

Of worldly substance, friends, liberty, life, and all, to set the loss at right naught

for the winning of Christ.

To think my worst enemies my best friends.

For the brethren of Joseph could never have done him so much good with their

love and favor as they did him with their malice and hatred.

These minds are more to be desired of every man, than all the treasures

of all the princes and kings, Christian and heathen, were it gathered and

laid together all upon one heap.

St. Thomas More

I recommend the play and (gasp!) the movie without reservation, but realize that the far better thing would be to read St. Thomas More's own writings.

I am rather upset that my picture was used for the cover of the book above. I thought those were 'practice' shots.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Why I Love Jesus Meme

But first a little music. This piece of music was composed by Bedřich Smetana, a Czech composer. This piece is known as Vltava(more commonly known as The Moldau), part of a larger work entitled Ma vlast("My Country"):

It ends abruptly. Incomplete.

I just discovered Iwas tagged by the Roman Sacristan:

Those tagged will share 5 things they love about Jesus and must tag 5 other bloggers.

Those tagged must provide a link in the comments box here with their name so that others can read them.

Here goes:

1. Jesus died for us, opening Heaven to us.

2. Jesus gave us the perfect example of what He wanted us to do. Look at a Crucifix.

3. He gave us His precious Body and Blood for us to eat - to nourish our souls.

4. He called men so unworthy to head His Church on Earth. His first choice for Pope had gone so far as to betray Him, but Jesus forgave Peter and strengthened Him to lead the early Church. I share many of Peter's failings, so it is a source of consolation to me knowing that Jesus put so much trust in him.

5. Jesus must have had a sense of humor. Think of the time He ordered one of the Apostles to catch a fish to pay the temple tax. In the mouth of the fish he would find a coin. I can't help but think that Jesus was doing it for fun, nudging the closest Apostle, saying, 'Watch this!'

Now comes the hard part:

I tag

1. EEGAHINC at the B-Movie Catechism. Memes are not part of his format, but think of this as a plug for his blog.

2. Our friend Bridget at Our Magnum Opus.

3. Histor the Wise, my son, at Est Puzzlementum.

4. Raulito at Disciple of the Dumb Ox. I know he is busy, but his opinions are worth reading.

5. Antonia, who is exploring North America.

I was planning on publishing a review of this play and movie, but it will have to wait for some other day:

Sunday, August 05, 2007

St. Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney

A day late, but here is a picture of the Cure of Ars. He appears to be smirking. Most pictures and sculptures are of him with a very serene look on his face.

He is another hero saint of mine. He like boiled potatoes.

Happy Feast Day! Pray for all priests.

Since I have been showing pieces of music from Rachmaninoff, check out his version of Ave Maria. Not the best I have heard, but far far better than anything I could do. Enjoy:

Looking North toward Dallas, June 20, 2007.

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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