March 31, 2005

Prayers Offered for the Holy Father

Father in Heaven,

Thy will be done. Your faithful servant has served the faithful long and well. Thank you for the gift of him. If it be your will, let us keep him with us a while longer. Nevertheless Father, I'm certain that he is longing for home. Thy will be done to thy greater glory.


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March 30, 2005

Blogging May Be Light

I'm off shortly to Dallas for a convention. In addition to the routine dozen and a half vendor meetings and meet and greet with all and sundry, my days will be considerable lightened by a lunch meeting on Saturday in which I will meet two of the three Summa Mamas (I hope) and Julie Davis of Happy Catholic. I can't begin to say how thrilled I am that this can happen.

And yes, TSO, eventually I will make it back to Columbus and we'll have to have a gathering of the Columbus bloggers. (It may even be this year--who knows?)

I'll keep you all informed as to my future jaunts. I'm always looking to meet the people from St. Blogs.

But I'm especially pleased about this trip because I get to meet three ladies from Texas--and as we all know, Texas practically defines what it means to be a lady!

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March 29, 2005

What Do We Learn from Ms. Schiavo?

I have searched and searched for God's hand in this affair. Why doesn't He intervene? Why does He allow this to continue? Of course, there are no answers to questions about purpose because His purpose is beyond what we can know.

On a lesser plane though, we each receive the instruction we are inclined by the Holy Spirit to receive, and I thought I would share what I have learned through this whole terrible ordeal.

On Good Friday the words "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do," resonated throughout the day and throughout the weekend. We still do not know what we do. We are still ignorant, and we are still crucifying the innocent. The thin veneer of civility that we call civilization can be scratched off with a fingernail. Our risible attempts to prove that we are somehow more "advanced," more "civilized," more "compassionate" than the rabble that had Jesus crucified are belied by all of the events surrounding this innocent woman.

What God said to me is abandon your pretensions of culture, civility, kindness, humanity, all of your pretensions. This is what you are and what you ever have been and without My grace what you ever shall be. Humanity is humanity, fallen away from God, dependent upon human abilities to come to decisions and make judgments.

I am deeply saddened, though truth to tell not shocked, at having the curtain drawn back once again from this illusion. The police guarding Terri Schiavo have stated that they would have fought with agents sent by the Governor rather than allow her to live--what more evidence do we need of Roman Centurions? We could go on making analogies, but to what purpose? The point has been made. We think we are socially, ethically, morally, philosophically, and intellectually advanced. In fact, we are nothing more than we were in the time of Jesus, and perhaps a little less.

The real sorrow of this is that it is such a paltry lesson to learn at the price of a life. And yet, if we are to advance in grace, we must learn and relearn and relearn and relearn.

If something does not change soon, Ms. Schiavo will be with God and we will be diminished both for her loss and for its cause. It is our duty as Christians to remind the whole world of this innocent woman's wrongful death and to seek its remedy both legally and by changing the hard and misshapen hearts of those who make our laws.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:27 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 28, 2005

The Art of Singing

by Luisa Tetrazzini and Enrico Caruso--the former having a most formidable bosum, and undoubtedly capable of prolonged, protracted, perhaps even painful musical exhalations.

Find it here

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The Purpose Driven Life

First--Alleluia, He is Risen! Easter Greetings to all.

A number of people are responding to an upsurge in interest over the Rev Rick Warren's religious self-help book and this link will take you to my original response to it.

My tone may have mellowed as the book has slipped completely out of my thoughts, but time has not changed my mind. As with many books from the Evangelical Self-Help shelves the glow passes almost before you get it out of the shop. If you're really interested in improving any aspect of your religious life and you want something out of the Catholic fold, I would recommend almost anything by Dallas Willard (you can read some samples of his writing). In particular, I found The Divine Conspiracy insightful and helpful.

Richard J Foster, a modern Quaker writes some extremely helpful books. My favorite among them because it enters into its subject with such great depth and delicacy is The Freedom of Simplicity. In this work Foster rediscovers and refurbishes the truths of the faith known since Gospel times.

And on the Philosophical side the entire Plantinga Family: Cornelius (Neil) with the magnificent Not the Way It's Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin , Alvin, and Harry, who runs the magnificent e-text site Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

It is wise, however, to remember that the Catholic Church has all of this ground covered and more. We do not need to stray outside the fold to learn about how to love and serve others--Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta and St. Katherine Drexel teach us in both short writings and their lives. And so with all the other aspects of The Purpose Driven Life--such purpose is easily found by those who steep themselves in the richness of Catholic tradition.

There are many places from which to take substantive nourishment, do not be lured by the heightened popularity of a single source. Like The Prayer of Jabez, you may experience a momentary heightened emotional sensation, but when it passes, you will find nothing memorable--at least, if you've been a Christian for more than a few years. Perhaps Warren's attraction is more for those new to the faith and learning. But think about Warren's book as a tent-rivival between hard covers. That will give you a sense of what goes on in the text. There is nothing evil here, simply shallow, vacuous, and ultimately unsatisfying.

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