March 01, 2003

Universalism and the Suspension of

Universalism and the Suspension of Reason

A discussion about universalism at Disputations has inspired some related thoughts.

I suppose it comes as no surprise that I used to be a heretic, and were I to follow my heart, I probably would be again. Something inside me urges me toward the belief that ALL WILL be saved, including the minions of Hell. Now, this has been roundly denounced by the Church, and I humbly accept her teachings, but it does not stop a kind of longing for it to be true nevertheless. I know it cannot be--but. . . "The heart has its reasons that reason cannot know."

I still hope that all will be saved, but I acknowledge that even that hope involves a certain suspension of reason and experience. I would like to believe that everyone walks into the light--but two points--some people are confoundedly proud, and I do believe that God is a wooer, not a rapist. He will not take anyone against their own will. If they choose not to face Him, that is a choice without recourse--God will not force them. My hope consists in the notion that if at the moment of death they are vouchsafed a glimpse, a moment of His radiant majesty and glorious holiness--no one could turn away. But I know that there are those who in sheer human cussedness would cover themselves with offal and say it smells like roses.

So my universalism requires that I continue to hope and I occasionally must kick my own head out the way. I can't think too long on the matter, because

"From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire. . . .

for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice." (Robert Frost, "Fire and Ice")

And so it is with all humans--fire and ice two ways to reject Glory.

Despite reason, or perhaps as Chesterton points out, because of it, I hope nevertheless that all ultimately are saved--but that is not a choice God makes, it is one that He allows.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:56 PM | Comments (0)

A Tremendous Gift from the

A Tremendous Gift from the Wesley Center

Amazing what one finds wandering through the web. Here's a Greek New Testament with Strong's numbers and word parsings and origins set up in frames. I had started to learn New Testament Greek, but this will probably help a great deal.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 04:25 PM | Comments (0)

This Is Just a Reminder

This Is Just a Reminder for Me and Anyone Else Who Cares

But I doubt that there's many in the audience who care about the difference between strict Calvinism and Arminianism. And since I'm Catholic, I suppose you wonder why I should care. And there you'll have to consult with God, because I haven't a clue, but I do find it fascinating.

The Question, "What Is an Arminian?" Answered by a Lover of Free Grace John Wesley 6. The errors charged upon these (usually termed Arminians) by their opponents, are five: (1.) That they deny original sin; (2.) That they deny justification by faith; (3.) That they deny absolute predestination; (4.) That they deny the grace of God to be irresistible; and, (5.) That they affirm, a believer may fall from grace.

With regard to the two first of these charges, they plead, Not Guilty. They are entirely false. No man that ever lived, not John Calvin himself, ever asserted either original sin, or justification by faith, in more strong, more clear and express terms, than Arminius has done. These two points, therefore, are to be set out of the question: In these both parties agree. In this respect, there is not a hair's breadth difference between Mr. Wesley and Mr. Whitefield.

7. But there is an undeniable difference between the Calvinists and Arminians, with regard to the three other questions. Here they divide; the former believe absolute, the latter only conditional, predestination. The Calvinists hold, (1.) God has absolutely decreed, from all eternity, to save such and such persons, and no others; and that Christ died for these, and none else. The Arminians hold, God has decreed, from all eternity, touching all that have the written word, "He that believeth shall be saved: He that believeth not, shall be condemned:" And in order to this, "Christ died for all, all that were dead in trespasses and sins;" that is, for every child of Adam, since "in Adam all died."

8. The Calvinists hold, Secondly, that the saving grace of God is absolutely irresistible; that no man is any more able to resist it, than to resist the stroke of lightning. The Arminians hold, that although there may be some moments wherein the grace of God acts irresistibly, yet, in general, any man may resist, and that to his eternal ruin, the grace whereby it was the will of God he should have been eternally saved.

9. The Calvinists hold, Thirdly, that a true believer in Christ cannot possibly fall from grace. The Arminians hold, that a true believer may "make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience;" that he may fall, not only foully, but finally, so as to perish for ever.

10. Indeed, the two latter points, irresistible grace and infallible perseverance, are the natural consequence of the former, of the unconditional decree. For if God has eternally and absolutely decreed to save such and such persons, it follows, both that they cannot resist his saving grace, (else they might miss of salvation,) and that they cannot finally fall from that grace which they cannot resist. So that, in effect, the three questions come into one, "Is predestination absolute or conditional?" The Arminians believe, it is conditional; the Calvinists, that it is absolute.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 04:18 PM | Comments (0)

Part III: Guess the Sermonizer

Part III: Guess the Sermonizer and the Cause

Isn't the internet wonderful?

"And when he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him, and he saluted him, and said to him, Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered: It is. If it be, give me thine hand." 2 Kings 10:15.

1. It is allowed even by those who do not pay this great debt, that love is due to all mankind, the royal law, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," carrying its own evidence to all that hear it: and that, not according to the miserable construction put upon it by the zealots of old times, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour," thy relation, acquaintance, friend, "and hate thine enemy;" not so; "I say unto you," said our Lord, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children," may appear so to all mankind, "of your Father which is in heaven; who maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

2. But it is sure, there is a peculiar love which we owe to those that love God. So David: "All my delight is upon the saints that are in the earth, and upon such as excel in virtue." And so a greater than he: "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another: as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:34, 35). This is that love on which the Apostle John so frequently and strongly insists: "This," saith he, "is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another" (1 John 3:11). "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought," if love should call us thereto, "to lay down our lives for the brethren" (verse 16). And again: "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love" (4:7, 8). "Not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another (verses 10, 11).

3. All men approve of this; but do all men practise it? Daily experience shows the contrary. Where are even the Christians who "love one another as he hath given us commandment?" how many hindrances lie in the way! The two grand, general hindrances are, first, that they cannot all think alike and, in consequence of this, secondly, they cannot all walk alike; but in several smaller points their practice must differ in proportion to the difference of their sentiments.

4. But although a difference in opinions or modes of worship may prevent an entire external union, yet need it prevent our union in affection? Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences. These remaining as they are, they may forward one another in love and in good works.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 03:56 PM | Comments (0)

Part II: Guess the Sermonizer

Part II: Guess the Sermonizer

Another interesting and delightful excerpt encountered today:

"Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" Heb. 1:14.

1. Many of the ancient Heathens had (probably from tradition) some notion of good and evil angels. They had some conception of a superior order of beings, between men and God, whom the Greeks generally termed demons, (knowing ones,) and the Romans, genii. Some of these they supposed to be kind and benevolent, delighting in doing good; others, to be malicious and cruel, delighting in doing evil. But their conceptions both of one and the other were crude, imperfect, and confused; being only fragments of truth, partly delivered down by their forefathers, and partly borrowed from the inspired writings.

2. Of the former, the benevolent kind, seems to have been the celebrated demon of Socrates; concerning which so many and so various conjectures have been made in succeeding ages. "This gives me notice," said he, "every morning, of any evil which will befall me that day." A late writer, indeed, (I suppose one that hardly believes the existence of either angel or spirit,) has published a dissertation, wherein he labours to prove, that the demon of Socrates was only his reason. But it was not the manner of Socrates to speak in such obscure and ambiguous terms. If he had meant his reason, he would doubtless have said so. But this could not be his meaning: For it was impossible his reason should give him notice, every morning, of every evil which would befall him in that day. It does not lie within the province of reason, to give such notice of future contingencies. Neither does this odd interpretation in anywise agree with the inference which he himself draws from it. "My demon," says he, "did not give me notice this morning of any evil that was to befall me to-day. Therefore I cannot regard as any evil my being condemned to die." Undoubtedly it was some spiritual being: Probably one of these ministering spirits.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 03:52 PM | Comments (0)

Can You Guess the Sermonizer?

Can You Guess the Sermonizer?

EPHESIANS iv. 23, 24.
Be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and put ye on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

This text is exceedingly valuable to us for it tells us the end and aim of all religion. It tells us why we are to pray, whether at home or in church; why we are to read our Bibles and good books; why we are to be what is commonly called religious.

It tells us, I say, the end and aim of all religion; namely, that we may put on 'the new man, which after God'—according to the likeness of God—'is created in righteousness and true holiness.' So says St. Paul in another place: 'Be ye therefore followers'—literally, copiers, imitators—'of God, as dear children.'

Now this is not what you will be told from too many pulpits, and in too many books, now-a-days, is the end of religion. You will be told that the end of religion is to save your soul, and go to heaven.

But experience shows, my friends, in all religions and in all ages, that those who make it their first object in life to save their souls, are but too likely to lose them; as our Lord says, He that saveth his soul, or life—for the words are the same in Scripture—shall lose it.

And experience shows that in all religions, and in all ages, those who make it their first object in life to get to heaven, are but too likely never to get there: because in their haste, they forget what heaven is, and what is the only way of arriving at it.

Good works, as they call the likeness of God and the Divine life, are in too many persons' eyes only fruits of faith, or proofs of faith, and not the very end of faith, and of religion—ay, of their very existence here on earth; and therefore they naturally begin to ask,— How few good works will be enough to prove their faith? And when a man has once set that question before himself, he is sure to find a comfortable answer, and to discover that very few good works indeed,— a very little sanctification (as it is called), a very little righteousness, and a very little holiness,—will be enough to save his soul, as far at least as he wishes his soul to be saved.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 03:36 PM | Comments (0)

After the Carmelite Meeting--Detachment Detachment.

After the Carmelite Meeting--Detachment

Detachment. Detachment. Detachment.

You hear so much about detachment, you begin to think that detachment is the point of Carmelite Spirituality.

Detachment is a railway car,
a skateboard,
a surfboard, motorcycle, autobus.
Detachment is the airplane,
the skis, the toboggan, the sled,
the snowcat.
Detachment is the boat pulling the water skier,
it is the water-slide, the conveyor belt.

Detachment is not an end in itself. If it has become an end it is useless. Detachment is the means to an end--the means,in fact, to the only end that matters. Detachment is the vehicle that helps to convey us to God. But as with all the instruments above, they must be used and they must be used properly to advance toward God. One doesn't strap on skis to go rock clilmbing, neither does one fly an airplane to get to the next-door neighbors. We match the conveyance to the length and type of the journey. So with detachment. It is a conveyance--a means to an end. Union with God is the goal, if we become attached to detachment, we remain at a distance from the God of Holiness and Might--the God who can change our lives right down to the core.

Detachment is not pleasant, but "Todo lo puedo en Christo. . ." (Sometimes have to convey some of these things to our Latino community. Speaking of that--what a tremendous blessing--their obvious love of the Lord and Our Lady and their lack of fear about showing it. We could all do with a bit more Latino in us.)

Posted by Steven Riddle at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

February 28, 2003

Prayers Requested For a struggling

Prayers Requested

For a struggling mother of five who is having some considerable difficulties.

For me as I begin to assume the duties of regional formation coordinator. (I know I'm qualified for the job because I feel woefully inadequate. Any other feeling would indicate that I don't have a clue as to what's required. (Which, mysteriously, is also true, but at least feeling woefully inadequate, I'm more likely to follow the Lord.))

Posted by Steven Riddle at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)

From the Immortal Robert Southwell

From the Immortal Robert Southwell S.J.--Martyr

A wonderful poem.

Look home Robert Southwell

Retirëd thoughts enjoy their own delights,
As beauty doth in self-beholding eye ;
Man's mind a mirror is of heavenly sights,
A brief wherein all marvels summëd lie,
Of fairest forms and sweetest shapes the store,
Most graceful all, yet thought may grace them more.

The mind a creature is, yet can create,
To nature's patterns adding higher skill ;
Of finest works with better could the state
If force of wit had equal power of will.
Device of man in working hath no end,
What thought can think, another thought can mend.

Man's soul of endless beauty image is,
Drawn by the work of endless skill and might ;
This skillful might gave many sparks of bliss
And, to discern this bliss, a native light ;
To frame God's image as his worths required
His might, his skill, his word and will conspired.

All that he had his image should present,
All that it should present it could afford,
To that he could afford his will was bent,
His will was followed with performing word.
Let this suffice, by this conceive the rest,—
He should, he could, he would, he did, the best.

The syntax is rather convoluted, but the line "Man's soul of endless beauty image is," is spectacular--a reminder of our divine "heritage" and in whose image and likeness we are made, even if some days we feel it somewhat less than others.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:43 AM | Comments (0)

Okay, so the Ultimate Link

Okay, so the Ultimate Link

To the Sacred Texts site--Christianity. There is a small selection of texts, but some that I have seen nowhere else. This site is a treasure trove of the sacred traditions of a great many faiths.

If you always wanted the "inside scoop" on what happened in Paradise, take a gander at The Book of the Bee translated by one of my all-time favorites from my early youth E. A. Wallis Budge, whose books I used to learn to read hieroglyphics when I was fourteeen.

There is much to enjoy on this site, so visit, and enjoy. Be aware, however, that the texts lean heavily on the side of gnosticism, universalism (aforementioned Book of the Bee) and other interesting side-roads in Christianity.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:08 AM | Comments (0)

Another Short, Powerful Jewish Text

A quotation from Sayings of the Jewish Fathers, another wonderful selection from the Midrash and the Talmud.

"3. Antigonus of Soko received from Shime'on ha-Çaddiq. He used to say, Be not as slaves that minister to the lord with a view to receive recompense; but be as slaves that minister to the lord without a view to receives recompense; and let the fear of Heaven be upon you."

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)

Learn from Tradition--The Midrash A

Learn from Tradition--The Midrash

A midrash is kind of a predecessor to the Catena Aurea recording as it does the statements of various commentators and the stories of wise rabbis related to selected passages of scripture. The Midrashim and the Talmud provide for us a kind of window into the view of scriptures of the ancient Hebrew people. Here is a selection from the Midrash on Lamentations:

from Tales and Maxims from the Midrash--Midrash Lamentations God in his love and mercy provides the remedy even before the disease visits us. He sent the sweet balm of comfort through one prophet before another of his prophets uttered his lamentations over the woes and sorrows which had overtaken Jerusalem and its people. In the first chapter of the Book of Lamentations Jeremiah pours out his bitter heart in twenty-two verses, alphabetically arranged; but before Jeremiah thus uttered his sorrows the prophet Isaiah anticipated each of his colleague's woes with words of comfort suitable to the complaint.

Beautiful--speaking to the unity of the message of the scriptures.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:03 AM | Comments (0)

Okay, I Have Resisted. .

Okay, I Have Resisted. . .

But I'm afraid that I've decided that I'm charmed. . .Mommentary. Have you noticed I like, I mean really like, domestic blogs? They give a sense of normalcy and comfort--what's more they give me ideas and approaches. Great stuff.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:54 AM | Comments (0)

Vanity of Vanities Mr Moffat

Vanity of Vanities

Mr Moffat laments, or at least notices that "there is nothing new under the sun." And he's right. Most of what we do is putting new tinsel on very old trees--but that's okay, because most people are of the mind that the only purpose for aged wood is to build a bonfire. Check out what Mr. Moffat has to say in the matter.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:29 AM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2003

New Index, More Coming

I just indexed the three extant parts of the Study Guide. I intend to add to the index commentary on St. John of the Cross as it has occurred at the blog. (This is one reason I'm convinced that Movable Type would probably be a smart move for me--the indexing alone is worth a fortune to those of us with Librarian Minds.) To the Left-Hand Column grows by leaps and bounds. Please pardon our dust.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:10 PM | Comments (0)

Ascent of Mount Carmel Study Guide Part III

I have my doubts about the display on this one because of the table, but I think it will mostly make sense.

Anyone who would like a relatively readable copy, please e-mail me and I will send a worddoc.

St. John of the Cross
The Ascent of Mt. Carmel

Read pages 132-141, starting at section 5 of Chapter 6 on page 132. St. John of the Cross is describes how appetites produce certain effects in the soul. “For the appetites weary, torment, darken, defile, and weaken it [the soul]. The following passages deals with one or more of these effects. Use the chart to summarize information about the effects, symptoms (if any), how God treats it, and suggestions St. John of the Cross may have.

Effect Symptoms (or Signs)---- God’s Response---- St. John’s Advice
Weary Ch. 6--5-7
Torment-Ch 7--1-4
Darken(Blind) Ch 8--1-7
Defile Ch 9--1-7
Weaken Ch 10--1-4

Posted by Steven Riddle at 06:57 PM | Comments (0)

Okay, Despite What I Said

Okay, Despite What I Said this Morning, I'm Back on Haloscan

I know that I won't stay with Enetation, and so every day with them is the loss of more comments. As it is I've lost six or seven important ones, but better that than dozens. I suppose I need to remember this next time I'm flip-flopping and then just not do it.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 03:56 PM | Comments (0)

It's FACE, not FAAC See

It's FACE, not FAAC

See the comments at The Mighty Barrister for corrections. My thanks to him for the correction. The entry below has been corrected in accordance with this information, but I wanted to be sure to thank Mr. Barrister for his good deed.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 11:03 AM | Comments (0)

Haloscan Appears to Be up

Haloscan Appears to Be up Again

But they have some sort of mysterious, unidentifiable problem that may or may not result in them getting the whole thing working again. I think I'll wait a day or two before I comment out Enetation and put back Haloscan.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:45 AM | Comments (0)

Another Personality Test--Medieval Personality Again

Another Personality Test--Medieval Personality
Again a test, no more accurate than any of the others, but interesting in its conduct. Go to Gospel Minefield for the Link. (Kathy got it from the blogmaster at Not for Sheep.)

And for those dying to know, here is my Medieval Personality:

Your distinct personality, The Dreamer-Minstrel might be found in most of the thriving kingdoms of the time. You can always see the "Silver Lining" to every dark and dreary cloud. Look at the bright side is your motto and understanding why everything happens for the best is your goal. You are the positive optimist of the world who provides the hope for all humankind. There is nothing so terrible that you can not find some good within it. On the positive side, you are spontaneous, charismatic, idealistic and empathic. On the negative side, you may be a sentimental dreamer who is emotionally impractical. Interestingly, your preference is just as applicable in today's corporate kingdoms.

I know there are some among you who just roll your eyes and say--"Boy, if that isn't the truth!" See--now you know why.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:17 AM | Comments (0)

The Church is Still One

The Church is Still One

Have I said that I love project Canterbury? If not, I do. And the following passage from a set of three talks titled "Catholicism and Roman Catholicism" is one of the reasons.

Meanwhile, while we must be true to our distinctive responsibilities in the place where God has put us, we must, by all means, constantly remember that the divisions within the Church, though they are sadly deep, do not go near the root. In the unseen world where Christ is and the blessed dead, and in the Holy Spirit who works in every heart and every sacramental ordinance, the Church is still one. Let us live in the sense of that deep and high unity, subsisting at the heart of our wearisome divisions; and let us ask that the prayers of all the saints, reunited now even though they were separated on earth, may be with us to encourage us to faithfulness; to faithfulness alike in our struggle to become better Christians, in our struggle to reform our own part of the Church on the original Catholic pattern, and in our struggle to knit together again the sadly divided communions of the one Church of Christ.

So too with this translation of Lancelot Andrewes Doctoral Dissertation on Tithes. (Note the link connects to a PDF document--you'll need Adobe reader to look at it.)

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)

A Note From Project Canterbury

A Note From Project Canterbury

This was received yesterday. I think we're at Greenwich -5, so the time indicated in the passage below for the Enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury would be 9:40 am, for those interested.

The celebration day tomorrow of our Father among the Saints, George Herbert, has been chosen by the new Archbishop of Canterbury for his enthronement (I recall from 1975, the new Archbishop Donald Coggan, of blessed memory, spoke of the typing slip that had spelled the word `enthornment'!). So a good day for an update of new materials added to the Project Canterbury website, and what better than to begin with an account of the sufferings and martyrdom of an Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud. By the way, the service begins at 14.40 hours GMT and it is being carried on the BBC website here.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:58 AM | Comments (0)

Justice: Human and Divine Some

Justice: Human and Divine

Some have commented on mercy and justice and on God's justice. I will not presume to say that they are wrong in their contention that "an all-merciful God is not a just God." Of this, I can say little or nothing. However, I think Jesus has some guidelines for our thinking about justice in the form of a parable.

from Matthew 20:1-16 1 "The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 Going out about nine o'clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and he said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.' 5 So they went off. (And) he went out again around noon, and around three o'clock, and did likewise. 6 Going out about five o'clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, 'Why do you stand here idle all day?' 7 They answered, 'Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard.' 8 When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.' 9 When those who had started about five o'clock came, each received the usual daily wage. 10 So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, 12 saying, 'These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day's burden and the heat.' 13 He said to one of them in reply, 'My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 14 Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? 15 (Or) am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?' 16 Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last."

Fallen humans can have only the most general sense of justice--the justice of concupiscence, of greed, of pride.

In thinking about the attributes of God, I find it better to focus on the continual images we are given of Father, sometimes even of mother (Psalm 131), and of Him who against all justice stretched out his arms on the cross and died. In that action, justice was redefined--if we had ever had a sense of it--that sense must have changed. And today I know that "I see now through a glass darkly."

It is better to leave to God what He can and cannot do and to confine myself to praying, fasting, hoping, and adoring. My hope is not in justice but in mercy, I certainly do not wish to get what I deserve.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:48 AM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2003

RICO and FACE Warning Will


Warning Will Robinson! Warning!

There is much right and proper rejoicing about the Supreme court rescinding an earlier ruling that subjects political speech to prosecution by RICO. HOWEVER, keep in mind that FACE (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) passed 8 years after the case that was just overturned, grants the same penalties, the same criminal record, and the same onus as RICO. Only FACE is focused entirely on Abortion Clinics and protesters--no need to prove injury, no need to prove anything. Step inside the magic circle and you're in violation. I don't know if FACE has been tested in court , but I doubt that it would be overturned on a first amendment ruling. So, while RICO is a triumph for first amendment rights of political speech, it is not the tremendous pro-life victory so many think it is. We are still muzzled, and more than muzzled, I believe FACE sets something like a 150 foot "clearance zone" around a clinic entrance.

So those who were thinking about getting out the pickets, rein in your enthusiasm. We haven't won yet.

Note: Entry Corrected thanks to comments at The Mighty Barrister--thanks Barrister

Posted by Steven Riddle at 06:40 PM | Comments (0)

Desperation! I must be able


I must be able to hear a voice. I feel as though my fingers have gone deaf! Thus enetation and complicated commented out blogger code. This rubber band and paper-slip fix should implode of its own weight in a matter of hours. But while I am awake. . .

Posted by Steven Riddle at 06:31 PM | Comments (0)

While Looking for St. Francis

While Looking for St. Francis Borgia

I stumbled upon this. Also written by a Jesuit, Fr. John Baptist Scaramelli, S.J., I found it worthwhile and interesting. This link is largely so I can look at this again tonight when I have more time.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 01:22 PM | Comments (0)

We had a Chirp Now

We had a Chirp

Now if you'll look in the left-hand column, there's also a Honk

I also added A Father's Life, because despite the age-difference in ourselves and our children, "A Father's Life" Blogmaster and I are otherwise quite similar. I need to hear from more Dads. It's one of the things that makes me regret the loss of bloggers like GoodForm. I hear too little from those fathers out there with small children (Mr. White, Mr. Kairos--please take note).

Posted by Steven Riddle at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

An Appalling Oversight I never

An Appalling Oversight

I never fail to be amazed at the range, the clarity, and the depth of thinking I find at A Religion of Sanity yet I know it has been a long time since last I brought it to anyone's attention. There is sane, carefully considered thought--most often on things not controversial, that perhaps ought to be. Please go and enjoy--wonderful food for thought and prayer.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

Oh How I Long for

Oh How I Long for a Stable Commenting System

That's all I wanted to say. People can't talk to me. I am sad.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

Libertarians for Life I'd like

Libertarians for Life

I'd like to give credit to this for someone--it might have been Chris Burgwald of Veritas, but I'm afraid my surfing is a blur. However, this link leads to a most interesting collection of articles by libertarians, theist and atheist, who draw upon a remarkable array of backgrounds to give good evidence as to why abortion is evil. See this article, "A Libertarian Atheist Answers Pro-Choice Catholics (the original reference) in particular. Wonderful! Truncate the URL to go to the main page--really interesting stuff.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 11:07 AM | Comments (0)

A Prayer, Strangely Appropriate A

A Prayer, Strangely Appropriate

A prayer from St. Thérèse that seems strangely appropriate for the time.

Prière inspirée par une image représentant la Vénérable Jeanne d'Arc St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Seigneur, Dieu des armées qui nous avez dit dans votre Évangile : "Je ne suis pas venu apporter la paix mais le glaive " armez-moi pour la lutte, je brûle de combattre pour votre gloire, mais je vous en supplie, fortifiez mon courage.... Alors avec le Saint roi David je pourrai m'écrier : " C'est Vous seul qui êtes mon bouclier, c'est Vous, Seigneur, qui dressez mes mains à la guerre... "

Ô mon Bien-Aimé ! je comprends à quel combat vous me destinez, ce n'est point sur les champs de bataille que je lutterai........
Je suis prisonnière de votre Amour, j'ai librement rivé la chaîne qui m'unit à Vous et me sépare à jamais du monde que vous avez maudit.... Mon glaive n'est autre que l'Amour, avec lui je chasserai l'étranger du royaume. Je vous ferai proclamer Roi dans les âmes qui refusent de se soumettre à votre Divine Puissance.

Sans doute, Seigneur, un aussi faible instrument que moi ne vous est pas nécessaire, mais Jeanne votre virginale et valeureuse épouse l'a dit : " Il faut batailler pour que Dieu donne victoire. " Ô mon Jésus, je bataillerai donc pour votre Amour jusqu'au soir de ma vie. Puisque vous n'avez pas voulu goûter de repos sur la terre, je veux suivre votre exemple et j'espère ainsi que cette promesse sortie de vos lèvres Divines se réalisera pour moi : " Si quelqu'un me suit, en quelque lieu que je sois il y sera aussi, et mon Père l'élèvera en honneur. "

Être avec vous, être en vous, voilà mon unique désir.... cette assurance que vous me donnez de sa réalisation me fait supporter l'exil en attendant le radieux jour du Face à Face éternel !...

I particularly love the last line. (Please pardon the very rough translation) "To be with you, to be in you, this is my sole desire, the assurance that you give of its realization helps support me in exile, awaiting the radiant day [when we will be] Face to Face eternally."

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:33 AM | Comments (0)

Bonjour Tristesse/ A demain, Tristesse

Wiping a small tear from my eye, I say, "Yesterday, I had the most hits ever in one day at this site. And yet... and yet...most of them were looking for Galileo."

Then a thought occurs. Perhaps one or two of the hundred or so that visited, maybe only one, but perhaps someone saw something in their search that might serve as a proper instrument to bring them to the Lord. Hallelujah and cheers. A demain, Tristesse, open the door to joy!

The Pope has hailed the internet as a great tool of evangelization, which is why it is so critical to make a comfortable, welcoming presence on the web. I hope that in the course of their travels yesterday one or two found such a home and will stop in at more places in St. Blog's. May the Lord use our words to bring Souls to Him.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:19 AM | Comments (0)

An Offering of Poetry

The Big Drop (a fragment)
Steven Riddle

I Paddling Out
Paddling out shows you that you have
placed yourself in the hand of God.
Mountains shift around you, moving past
as you cut through the aquamarine frame.
Did you know that this blueness, this clarity
this water as sharp as glass means no life
flourishes here? And yet you set youself,
a fleshly jewel amid the adamantine, sapphire rolls,
and your entire world ascends until the slope
you ride embraces the cloud weary sky,
and desends to where the kraken's eyes
are the sole source of light.
And they stare through you.

II-Catching the Wave
Catching the wave, you weigh the world of water
that passes just beneath you. A breath of wind
a hint of the passing swell, and liver, heart, or brain,
you know this is not the one, it waits
and you smell it, hear it, taste it,
it weighs in your stomach a finely balanced stone
that shifts and shifts until it tilts and you are
up, standing at the edge of the abyss,
and you caught it.

III-The Big Drop
From shifting mountains as blue as God's eye,
the white water crest chases you down the wall,
A continuing and relentless all-embracing fall.
This is it, the big drop, that leaves your stomach
at the top, fine-balanced stone and all.
You ride your breath down the massive waterwall

© 2003 Steven Riddle

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:11 AM | Comments (0)

Tribute to the Fallen I'm

Tribute to the Fallen

I'm sure that everyone who reads this also reads Ms. Hall's Blog; however, she is doing a wonderful thing publishing day by day a tribute to those who died on September 11. There is no way to say an appropriate thank you for this service, so this link must serve the cause. Thank you Ms. Hall.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:49 AM | Comments (0)

Wednesday Intentions This is a

Wednesday Intentions

This is a fast day, please e-mail me your intentions, I will take the with me to Mass today, or barring that add the to evening prayer. If you've contacted me before with an ongoing concern, rest assured, I will be praying for it.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:29 AM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2003

Exorcists or Christ? Ms. Hall

Exorcists or Christ?

Ms. Hall writes:

Having spent an insane amount of time studying possession and exorcism (for the book that I wrote, and because I find it fascinating in general), I believe that someone like Osama Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein or Adolf Hitler is "perfectly possessed", meaning they are the embodiment of evil. Any exorcist worth his salt will tell you there is no amount of praying that will help that person. I've had two different exorcists say to me, "You just have to hope someone will lock them up before they kill too many people."

(This quote is one of the reasons I really like Ms. Hall's blog--she's straightforward and says exactly what she thinks. That is truly admirable, and at times, truly provocative in a good sense--stimulating thought and discussion.)

And I rather abruptly commented in her blog that I didn't believe these exorcists. (I apologize if I seemed rude--it was the haste in writing and not intentional) And I do not. However I believe a statement of that sort should probably be better explained than I offered on the blog.

I take for my example the parable of the importunate widow. The message we are to draw from that is to never cease in prayer for whatever cause. The parable doesn't say, "Pray until you decide it's useless, or until someone tells you that it isn't worthwhile," but pray always, continually. By constantly imploring God, we will achieve the ends of our prayer if they are within His Will.

I wonder where we would be if St. Isaac Jogues, St. Paul Miki, St. Charles Lwanga and, who knows how many others had determined that Satan had too strong a hold so resistance via prayer was futile, that some people perhaps some nations were beyond the reach of God's grace.

No, God's arm is not too short. There is no one living who passes beyond the reach of His redemption. To believe that someone is irredeemable and utterly beyond the help of prayer is to believe that God is not capable of fully effecting His Will. I cannot believe that anyone passes beyond that veil while living. However, I do believe that some may die without having been redeemed--that is certainly possible. I like to think it unlikely--but I won't debate that point. Suffice to say that I'm in the von Balthasar, Neuhaus camp on this issue.

I'm afraid that here I'm inclined to believe our Lord and Savior and the magisterium of the Church--neither tell us to give up hope or to abandon prayer even for the most depraved of souls.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:11 PM | Comments (0)

The Ingoldsby Legends Stories in

The Ingoldsby Legends

Stories in verse,
amusing and wry,
a whole lot of people
just up and die.

A rage down the ages,
now out of print
cause publishers say
they won't spend one cent

to bring to the public
the lays they once sang,
they need all their money
to pay Stephen King.

So visit this site
and see for yourself,
pull The Ingoldsby legends
off the e-shelf.

A sample:


Act 1.
Walter Tyrrel, the son of a Norman Papa,
Has, somehow or other, a Saxon Mama:
Though humble, yet far above mere vulgar loons,
He's a sort of a sub in the Rufus dragoons;
Has travelled, but comes home abruptly, the rather
That some unknown rascal has murder'd his Father;
And scarce has he pick'd out, and stuck in his quiver,
The arrow that pierced the old gentleman's liver,
When he finds, as misfortunes come rarely alone,
That his sweetheart has bolted,-- with whom is not known.
But, as murder will out, he at last finds the lady
At court with her character grown rather shady:
This gives him the 'blues,' and impairs the delight
He'd have otherwise felt, when they dub him a Knight.
For giving a runaway stallion a check,
And preventing his breaking King Rufus's neck.

Act 2.
Sir Walter has dress'd himself up like a Ghost,
And frightens a soldier away from his post;
Then, discarding his helmet, he pulls his cloak higher,
Draws it over his ears and pretends he's a Friar.
This gains him access to his sweetheart, Miss Faucit;
But, the King coming in, he hides up in her closet;
Where oddly enough, among some of her things,
He discovers some arrows he's sure are the King's,
Of the very same pattern with that which he found
Sticking into his father when dead on the ground!
Forgetting his funk, he bursts open the door,
Bounces into the Drawing-room, stamps on the floor,
With an oath on his tongue, and revenge in his eye,
And blows up King William the Second, sky-high;
Swears, storms, shakes his fist, and exhibits such airs,
That his Majesty bids his men kick him down stairs.

Act 3.
King Rufus is cross when he comes to reflect,
That as King, he's been treated with gross disrespect;
So he pens a short note to a holy physician,
And gives him a rather unholy commission,
Viz, to mix up some arsenic and ale in a cup,
Which the chances are Tyrrel may find and drink up.
Sure enough, on the very next morning, Sir Walter
Perceives in his walks, this same cup on the altar.
As he feels rather thirsty, he's just about drinking,
When Miss Faucit in tears, comes in running like winking;
He pauses of course, and, as she's thirsty too,
Says, very politely, 'Miss, I after you!'
The young lady curtsies, and being so dry,
Raises somehow her fair little finger so high,
That there's not a drop left him to 'wet t'other eye;'
While the dose is so strong, to his grief and surprise,
She merely says, 'Thankee, Sir Walter,' and dies.
At that moment the King, who is riding to cover,
Pops in en passant on the desperate lover,
Who has vow'd, not five minutes before, to transfix him,
-- So he does,-- he just pulls out his arrow and sticks him.
From the strength of his arm, and the force of his blows,
The Red-bearded Rover falls flat on his nose;
And Sir Walter, thus having concluded his quarrel,
Walks down to the foot-lights, and draws this fine moral.
'Ladies and Gentlemen,
Lead sober lives;--
Don't meddle with other folks' Sweethearts or Wives!--
When you go out a sporting, take care of your gun,
And -- never shoot elderly people in fun!'

Posted by Steven Riddle at 05:39 PM | Comments (0)

A Film about St. Thérèse

A Film about St. Thérèse

I thought about posting this last when, when I first got it. But I figured the entire blogworld had received notice. It's largely an advertisement, but a very attractive, nicely arrayed advertisement for a film which, if as good as the design of the site, will be very good indeed. So go if you wish to see a preview of a film titled Thérèse There are clips of the film, soundtrack files, and other multimedia and html-delivered information. The credited director is Leonardo Defilippis.

The soundtrack, written by a Carmelite Nun, seems to be very good if a trifle too sweet in some places. I'd like to be able to hear the whole thing to determine overll effect.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 01:41 PM | Comments (0)

Recently Added to Sacred-Texts Sacred

Recently Added to Sacred-Texts

Sacred Texts is a site dedicated to sacred texts of the world. And today I stumbled across a small gem--Tales and Maxims from the Midrash. The text has a few problems because there are a number of hebrew words that do no show in txt or html. However, take a look at the Midrash Song of Songs. I particularly liked:

From Tales and Maxims from the Midrash [this is presented out of order because I liked it best, and if I am to keep your attention for only a moment, let it be with the excerpt immediately following] Rabbi Simeon b. Jochuah made it a point to cement affection between man and wife. A man came to him once from Sidon and asked him to grant him a divorce from his wife, as his ten years of conjugal bliss had brought him no offspring. The wise Rabbi, who read impulsiveness in the man's character, told him to go home and make a sort of a feast in commemoration of the coming event. 'I see no reason,' he said, 'why, a divorce should not be celebrated in some way, similar to the tying of the marriage knot.' The man, in expectation of his approaching freedom, was right glad of the opportunity of making merry, and gave a banquet; and being in good spirits be said to his wife: 'See, I am prepared to give you the most valuable thing in my house to take with you if you offer no obstacle to our divorce, and will return to your father's house.' When, after the banquet, he fell into a deep slumber, she got her servants to carry him to her father's house, whither she went herself. On awakening and finding himself in the house of the man with whom he was about to sever his relationship he asked his wife who was by his side the meaning of all this. 'I have done nothing against your expressed wish,' said his spouse it was only last evening that you offered me the most precious thing in your house.' The man was very much touched by this manifestation of true affection on the part of his wife, and when they appeared again before the Rabbi the following day, the sly sage could not conceal a smile as he asked the man what he could do for him. 'My wife and I have come to ask your prayers on our behalf, so that the Lord may grant us an heir or heirs.' The good man prayed to God to grant their desire, if in his wisdom it seemed good for them, and the couple did not remain childless for very many days.--Mid. Songs 1.

Moses, Aaron and Miriam died by having their souls drawn out by God's kiss. 1--Mid. Songs 1.

What wisdom considers to be her very crown, meekness looks upon as her mere sandal.--Mid. Songs 1.

Do not look upon a parable or simile lightly, for some difficult passages of Scripture may be explained through them; just as one may find anything lost in a dark place by the aid of a candle.--Mid. Songs 1.

The Torah has been compared to wine, water, oil, and honey and milk. Just as we find water all over the earth's surface, so do we find the Torah; water will never cease from this globe, neither will God's laws cease. Water comes from the heavens, and the Torah came from heaven. There is a noise when water descends, and the Torah descended amidst thunders. Water quickens the thirsty soul; so does the Torah quicken him who is thirsty for knowledge. Water cleanses impurities, and God's laws do the same. Water coming down by drops can form a river; so if a man acquires Torah bit by bit he may eventually become a great scholar. Water, unless one is thirsty, cannot be drunk with any degree of pleasure; in the same way, unless one has a craving for the Torah, its study, if enforced, will become a burden. Water runs from high places and seeks the lower portions of the earth; so the Torah will not remain with the haughty man, but rather seeks out the lowly. Water is not kept in golden or silver vessels, but is best kept in earthenware; so the Torah will not be retained except by him who is meek of spirit. A man of distinction will not think it beneath his dignity to ask for water from the meanest individual, neither is any one too great to despise instruction from the most insignificant person. One may drown in water if one cannot swim; so, unless one possesses a thorough knowledge of the Torah and all its meanings, one may be drowned in it. But it may be said that water gets stale if kept for a time in a vessel, and that the same should apply to the Torah. Remember therefore that it is also likened to wine, which improves with age. Again, water leaves no trace on him who tastes it, and the same, it might be said, must be the case with the Torah. But here again we must remember the comparison of the Torah to wine. just as wine has a visible effect on one who drinks it, so the studious man is at once known when one looks at him. Water does not rejoice the heart, and it might be concluded that the same is true of the Torah; hence it is likened to wine, since each rejoices the heart. Yet wine is sometimes injurious; not so the Torah, which is compared with oil. As oil is capable of anointing any part of the human body, so is the Torah an anointment to its possessor. But oil again has a bitter taste before it is purified; is this, then, equally true of the Torah? No; for the Torah is compared to milk and honey, each of which has an agreeable taste, while when blended they have healing properties as well as sweetness.--Mid. Songs 1.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:38 AM | Comments (0)

From Last Night's Reading I

From Last Night's Reading

I love Alexander Pope. I may be his one living fan. Study of Pope has all but vanished from the University. Indeed, I got but a small smattering in my undergraduate work when I took a course in eighteenth century writing. And yet Pope has such a wry wit and a quick line. He does not hesitate to smash preconceived notions and he is not kind to those who revel in their own foolishness. And so the excerpt below shows:

from Essay on Criticism Alexander Pope

               Avoid extremes; and shun the fault of such,
          Who still are pleas'd too little or too much.
          At ev'ry trifle scorn to take offence,
          That always shows great pride, or little sense;
          Those heads, as stomachs, are not sure the best,
          Which nauseate all, and nothing can digest.
          Yet let not each gay turn thy rapture move,
          For fools admire, but men of sense approve;
          As things seem large which we through mists descry,
          Dulness is ever apt to magnify.

I really like the advice for modern society--"At every trifle scorn to take offense." How often have we seen people in the blogworld become riled over a miswording or a difference of opinion that has no substance? We forget that it is not only permissable, but wonderful, that different people view things in different ways. Some become offended if all do not agree with them. On the other hand, isn't disagreement a source of error correction? Isn't it the way we learn when we have gone astray?

But better than the advice is the wonderful zinger--"That always shows great pride or little sense." Or, in some notable cases (I think of my own when I fly off the handle) both. In fact, I believe that little sense must walk hand in hand with great pride, because pride shoves out everything except an overweening sense of self--and if all of sense is occupied with self, there is little else that can wedge itself in.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:20 AM | Comments (0)

A Cautionary Note from St.

A Cautionary Note from St. Ephraim the Syrian

from The Pearl, Hymn 7 St. Ephraim the Syrian

As in a race saw I the disputers,
The children of strife,
To taste fire,
To see the air,
To handle the light:
They were troubled at the gleaming,
And struggled to make divisions.

The Son,
Who is too subtle for the mind,
Did they seek to feel:
And the Holy Ghost
Who cannot be explored,
They sought to explore with their questionings.
The Father,
Who never at any time was searched out,
Have they explained and disputed of.

The sound form of our faith is from Abraham,
And our repentance is from Nineveh and the house of Rahab,
And ours are the expectations of the Prophets,
Ours of the Apostles.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)

Pleased but Surprised I was

I was very pleased, but quite surprised at the reception of St. Josemaria Escriva's "Seventeen Evidences." I have added it to my permalinks--although you can always find it again at the "Writings" site in the left hand column. Since I first discovered the list some three or four years ago, I have kept a copy of it tacked up on my cubicle wall right next to the icon-card of St. John of the Cross. Each day I do a little challenge--see if I can lower my number from the day before. What usually ends up happening is not that I lower the number but that I switch the infractions I incur. I know that with time and grace this will change and the Lord will lead me out of myself and into useful service. Until then, the checklist is an assist--a reminder of my imperfections, my arrogance, and my lack of charity. The saints are truly wonderful lights.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:51 AM | Comments (0)

Another Strangeness Never have I

Another Strangeness

Never have I had visitors in such numbers before coming from one search. However, today, eleven of twenty visitors came to find the answer to the question: What 17th Century scientist dared to suggest that God's sun had spots? I think poor sitemeter has gone a bit batty. Either that, or there is some sort of contest out there for this answer. One of the answers, is of course, Galileo, who published a work in 1613. However, might I suggest that other search strategies would be more effective? For example, taking merely the key parts of the phrase "sunspots" and "seventeenth century" might produce better results. Welcome to my site, sorry those who visited early did not find what they were looking for.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:30 AM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2003

Marching Orders from Our Holy

Marching Orders from Our Holy Father

Thanks to Katherine who sent me the alert.

A Zenit News Release

March 5 to Be Set Aside Especially for the Middle East

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 23, 2003 ( John Paul II called for a day of prayer and fasting for peace, especially in the Middle East,
to be observed on Ash Wednesday, March 5.

"For months the international community has been living in great apprehension because of the danger of a war that might disturb the
whole of the Middle East region and exacerbate the tensions that, unfortunately, are already present at the beginning of the millennium," the Pope said today, explaining the reasons for his decision.

The Holy Father made this announcement before praying the midday Angelus with the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square.
"It is a duty of believers, regardless of the religion to which they belong, to proclaim that we will never be able to be happy if we are against one another; the future of humanity will never be able to be assured by terrorism and the logic of war," the Pope continued.

"We Christians, in particular, are called to be like guardians of peace in the places where we live and work," he explained. "We are asked, that is, to be alert, so that consciences will not yield to the temptation to egoism, falsehood and violence."

Because of this, the Pontiff invited "all Catholics to dedicate with special intensity next March 5, Ash Wednesday, to prayer and fasting for the cause of peace, especially in the Middle East."

"Above all, let us implore God for the conversion of hearts and a generous view in just decisions to resolve with adequate and peaceful means the contests that hamper the pilgrimage of humanity in our time," he said.

"In every Marian shrine an ardent prayer for peace will be raised to heaven with the praying of the holy rosary," the Pope added. "I trust that also in parishes and families the rosary will be prayed for this great cause on which the good of all depends."

"This common invocation will be accompanied by fasting, expression of penance for the hatred and violence that contaminate human relations," John Paul II noted.

"Christians share the ancient practice of fasting with many brothers and sisters of other religions, who in this way want to be despoiled of all pride and dispose themselves to receive from God the greatest and most necessary gifts, among which, in particular, is that of peace," the Holy Father stressed.

This is not the whole story, access the rest from whatever newsfeed one finds Zenit at.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)

Call for Prayers Ms. Hall

Call for Prayers

Ms. Hall asks for prayers for her Brother, an Air Force Chaplain who will be reassigned to the Middle East. Let us all pray for him and all of the brave men and women of the American Armed forces who do so much for us even as they wait. Remember especially Ms. Hall's brother and Eric Johnson of Catholic Light

Please pray for two sets of friends who have upcoming interviews for job positions--several interviews throughout the week. Times are very difficult and between the two of them these men have responsibility for supporting 10 souls.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 01:16 PM | Comments (0)

By Request--Seventeen Evidences of

By Request--Seventeen Evidences of a Lack of Humility

from The Furrow (273)
St. Josemaria Escriva


Allow me to remind you that among other evident signs of a lack of humility are:

—Thinking that what you do or say is better than what others do or say;

—Always wanting to get your own way;

—Arguing when you are not right or — when you are — insisting stubbornly or with bad manners;

—Giving your opinion without being asked for it, when charity does not demand you to do so;

—Despising the point of view of others;

—Not being aware that all the gifts and qualities you have are on loan;

—Not acknowledging that you are unworthy of all honour or esteem, even the ground you are treading on or the things you own;

—Mentioning yourself as an example in conversation;

—Speaking badly about yourself, so that they may form a good opinion of you, or contradict you;

—Making excuses when rebuked;

—Hiding some humiliating faults from your director, so that he may not lose the good opinion he has of you;

—Hearing praise with satisfaction, or being glad that others have spoken well of you;

—Being hurt that others are held in greater esteem than you;

—Refusing to carry out menial tasks;

—Seeking or wanting to be singled out;

—Letting drop words of self-praise in conversation, or words that might show your honesty, your wit or skill, your professional prestige ... ;

—Being ashamed of not having certain possessions

Posted by Steven Riddle at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)

Blogger Bizzaritie Blogger is alternating

Blogger Bizzaritie

Blogger is alternating between showing the full site and a site truncated at last Thursday in several locations, including my own. I noticed this on Kathy the Carmelite's site and my own so far. Has anyone else seen it? I know that some are getting through to the full display because I've gotten a comment or two today, but here's another server anomaly.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)

Annoyed Is Not Quite the Right Word

I just saw a posting over the copier at work that reflects a sentiment with which I agree. Something from Abraham Lincoln who points out that "There is no honorable way to kill, and there is no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war, except its ending." Now, I concur with the sentiment, and particularly from a man who nevertheless led a nation through a national nightmare. However, no matter how much I may agree, I must conclude, as obviously Lincoln did, that sometimes war may be necessary to prevent an even greater evil and to right incredible wrongs.

But what I more disturbed at, is the necessity of others to foist upon me their viewpoints. Why is this posted? Why is it allowed to be? Whether I'm inclined to the sentiment or not, it strikes me as at best discourteous and detrimental to the conduct of a business to allow the posting of such divisive sentiments. What if I were not sympathetic to the meaning of this quotation now being used as a screed?

I recall Josemaria Escriva's list of the seventeen evidences of a lack of humility--number 4--"to give your opinion when it has not been requested or when charity does not demand it." (Admittedly most of us bloggers trip over that one on a daily basis). But whatever I may believe, it is certainly not appropriate for me to make of it a "command performance."

Posted by Steven Riddle at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)

Another Agonizingly Slow Day at

Another Agonizingly Slow Day at St. Blog's

The check on the old Site Meter shows that numbers are down about fifty percent for this time on a Monday. So expect light traffic and relatively few comments (those concerned about such things). Now, I'd like to know why the decline--not that I'm concerned, just incredibly interested in predictors of internet behavior.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 09:29 AM | Comments (0)

Christian Quote of the Day--so Apropos

Christian Quote of the Day--so Apropos

For this reason the apostle Paul said of Christ, "In him are hidden all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God." The soul cannot enter into these treasures, nor attain them, unless it first crosses into and enters the thicket of suffering, enduring interior and exterior labors, and unless it first receives from God very many blessings in the intellect and in the senses, and has undergone long spiritual training.

The gate that gives entry into these riches of his wisdom is the cross; because it is a narrow gate, while many seek the joys that can be gained through it, it is given to few to desire to pass through it.

... from a spiritual canticle by John of the Cross (1542-1591)

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:23 AM | Comments (0)

Cooperating with Grace: a Personal Perspective

In recent days I have found the most extraordinary words coming out of my mouth and thoughts coming out of my head--things that in my wildest imagination, I could never envisage myself saying or thinking. And sometimes these words and thoughts have led to actions that, once again, have surprised me beyond all bounds.

For example, I had heard, and I honestly believed that people could offer up their difficulties for the benefit of others. I knew this was true, but I suppose there was a subconscious codicil to this overall principle--such action was for the saintly, for the cloistered nun, for the priest, for "professionals." If offering things up were televised, it would bear the big legal warning: "What you are seeing is done by trained professionals. Do not try this at home."

Gradually God worked on my hard heart and head. I came to realized that for what it was worth, I could do this also. I have only started doing so recently, in the past few months, and I have heard all around me extraordinary stories of grace. These are perhaps the little consolations that St. John of the Cross tells us are offered early on to beginners in prayer to encourage them to continue in the way of grace and prayer. And they are encouraging--they tell me that prayer and sacrifice works--often beyond our own wildest expectations.

I have always been pacifist in tendency--but a few years ago militantly so. I was a person who felt that those who did not hold my pacifist convictions either did not understand them or was in league with the devil. I never said as much aloud, but I'm sure my attitude must have conveyed something of my contempt for such people. Today, I remain committed to the cause of peace by conscience--I don't know if that COULD change (although I leave all to God), but I also am committed to the cause of individual liberty of conscience. It is not for me to dictate to another where they should stand on an issue that is so bound up in how God created them and the relationship between God and that person. More than that, it is incumbent upon me to support them in their convictions through my prayer and small sacrifices. My prayer must always be for the ever increasing strength of the bond between a soul and God.

Also recently I discovered that I do care about souls. I care about souls and their approach to God in a way that never entered my conscious life before. I am astounded by how much I care and by how much I want to pull others along with me into the Divine Ballroom--first to waltz, and then to tango with God. Strange metaphor, but I see before me St. Teresa and her sisters, tambourines and dancing. I see David who danced before the Lord. I am called to the intimate embrace and the magnificent openness of a dance with God.

I continue to be careless, lazy, self-serving, self-indulgent, and sometimes arrogant. God doesn't change your personality in one fell swoop--but I am more aware of the times these things surge to the forefront, and I am committed to letting God have His way with them. I still have vices and little attachments that I really want to give up, but have not yet the strength to abandon (Lord, let me observe silence, but not yet. Lord, let me pray continuously, so long as I can continue to read my Science Fiction books. . . you all know the drill). These are places where He will work if I will listen, observe, and obey.

There are many other transformations that have taken place in recent days as well. I have done none of these things myself. I'm not even certain that I ever prayed for these things. Had I known they were likely to happen, I might have prayed against them. One thing I am fairly certain of is that St. John of the Cross intercedes for me daily, hourly. I feel like a favorite child, so strong is the impression of his presence in my life. Who could be more powerfully configured to appeal to me? One of the world's great poets who also knew God intimately, almost a perfect match for my exact interests. His prayers are part of the changes in my life of recent date. But there is more than that. I have honestly prayed that God's will be done--that is the extent of my cooperation with grace. I haven't really acted all that much on it. When I try to do it on my own steam, I fail miserably. But when I do pray, I pray for God's will and the strength to see it through. And slowly God seems to be leading me out of myself and into the image of His son. I am very, very far from my goal. But it seems that I begin to understand what Jesus says more. I don't always act on it, but the words begin to make sense--puzzle pieces are falling into place. I am often led to say and write things that I could not possibly have done even last year. I have grown in love with my precious wife and son, and I have become utterly committed to making their lives better regardless of the personal cost. This is a place where I can be entirely self-sacrificing and not make a radical display of it. No one needs to know the hundreds or thousands of little things that take place that are gradual mastery of self and immolation in God.

Cooperating with grace is actually quite easy--surprisingly easy (My yoke is easy, my burden light.). It is a matter of praying the Lord's prayer and meaning it--of hearing the words "thy will be one on Earth as it is in heaven," and willing that I might be the instrument of that will. It is a matter of growing in love with God and relying upon the Holy Spirit and the sacraments to support me when I might otherwise fail. And I do fail, often, daily. Then it is a matter of recalling with Brother Lawrence as I look up to heaven, "It is ever thus when I abandon your grace.," and recommitting to the right direction.

Cooperating with grace is nothing that can be done by oneself. Even cooperating with grace requires grace, but one must make the act of will and one must take steps, even though they are small steps, when prompted. One must seize the myriad opportunities that are all around and humbly, gratefully approach Incarnate Love and show Him how much one loves. Only in this way can God's ultimately effective grace take root and begin to flower in one's life. Meaningful prayer and meaningful small steps toward God are our first, stumbling infant's steps--arms outstretched ready to fall. . . and to be picked back up, dusted off and set on our feet again by an all-loving Father.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2003

A Most Excellent Link I'm

A Most Excellent Link

I'm so glad there are so many bloggers who are able to find such worthwhile site. From One Pilgrim's Walk (scroll to the second entry) a wonderful site about Takashi Nagai

Posted by Steven Riddle at 06:02 PM | Comments (0)

Adoption Day Heralded by slogging

Adoption Day

Heralded by slogging around the Magic Kingdom for eight hours. Pirates first and foremost for the "boneman." Spiders in the Haunted Mansion, the Carousel, Snow White, and Let's not forget Astro Orbiter and that all-time favorite Buzz Lightyear. The joys of having a four-year. Thank you God for this magnificent gift. This evening Spy Kids 2 (probably) and early to bed for everyone.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 05:10 PM | Comments (0)

Finally a Relevant and Meaningful

Finally a Relevant and Meaningful Quiz

From Kathy the Carmelite, I got this quiz. Relevant and meaningful. And it would be more so, if only the quiz constructor had chosen not to write over the supercool wave.

What Natural Disaster are you? Take the quiz!

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:42 AM | Comments (0)