Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Prayer (continued)

This is SOOOOOOO cool! I had to sit down and write as soon as I could! Following yesterdays post, I took Father Rodericks advice, and after saying my morning rosary, and stating my intentions, I pulled my car off the side of the road, turned off the engine and sat in silence.A relatively easy task for me, considering I work in a rural area, pretty much devoid of a lot of distractions in the early morn.
I sat with my eyes closed, head bowed, and felt as if I was just getting "centered" when "BINGBINGBINGBINGBINGBINGBING" , the alarm for my lights being on went off. After making sure the lights were off and that nothing further would disturb me, I again tried to "quiet myself' to hear Gods voice.
Now before this, I had been thinking of all the stuff going on in my life, both good and bad, and I thanked the Lord for all of it, even the bad stuff, and despite that fact that I am worried about a few things, i conceded that I have a pretty great life. as I looked up from quieting myself, I saw the woods in front of me; deep, dark, very gloomy. not quite the woods of fairy tales, but still pretty nefarious. Now down in the south side and northeast of Charlotte, it was snowing. In front of me it was raining, but where i was,the sun came out in a blaze of glory (no, im not kidding about this, not one little bit), and lit up the woods, just enough to see thru to the cow pasture behind them.
It was like a metaphor; the woods were all the obstacles we have to overcome, all the little things that muddle your path as you work your way thru life, and there is God, lighting up the darkwoods to guide us thru to the green pastures. it was really a great way to start off the morning, which I needed, as I broke one of my little toes last night at home!
Anyway, I just felt that I had to share that.
Pax et bonum! Vivat Jesus!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Prayer.....

Agony in the Garden by Rembrandt van Rijn

So I was listening to the "Daily Breakfast" podcast with Father Roderick this morning (if you haven't done podcast yet, I recommend him highly), and he is talking about praying; How do you pray? Do you keep it simple, or is it a long, all morning event? I usually do a small prayer when I wake up, and then the rosary on my way to work. Sadly, I don't do the rosary on weekends, unless I'm in the car by myself, because (as I'm sure alot of you can testify to) it is really hard top pray with a car full of kids!
Aside from these, and prayers at meals, my prayerful life falls short. But how do you make the time during the day? I try to make room for more prayer, I read Magnificat during the day when I have the chance, but sometimes my job is so demanding, that I just don't have the time. I used to take soooo long to say the rosary; I'd say every one of my intentions, and that got to the point where it took almost as long as the rosary did! So I started writing my intentions down ina little book I called my prayer book, and even that got to be bothersome, so now I just simply tell the Lord that I'd like to pray for all the intentions in my heart that have gone unspoken on my lips, and I save the spoken intentions for really important matters....but is it necesarry to say them out loud?

Father Roderick went on to say that prayer is actually and act of Faith, and faith starts with listening, so in turn, so does prayer. Prayer is not so much us talking to god he says, but us listening to (and for) God. he said that even the most devout and Orthodox of religions start off prayer with listening to what God says; "Listen Israel, the Lord is your God", so maybe I'm on the right track.
I don't always feel like my prayers are heard, and again, perhaps it is because were not supposed to be looking for answers, but just listening...

"The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays."

~Kierkegaard~

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Introspection.....


It is a cold, dreary, late winter morning; The rain seems to soak thru your clothes, flesh and bones, settling into your very marrow. It's the kind of cold, grey day that makes you think of the flu. This is the type of winter days I like, because the dreary feeling also comes across as being terribly introspective. It is with this thought in mind that I come to you with this particular post. I think I have been fooling myself...


How, you might ask, have I been doing that? Well, Ive been misleading myself with the notion that I might become more active in the Knights of Columbus any time soon, and that I might actually have the time to devote to the Secular Franciscan endeavours I have started. I'm not giving up on either objective, but I have -for the foreseeable future- put them both on the back burner.

Truth be told, I need to spend more time being a Dad and a Husband. This, in and of itself, is a convenient scapegoat for me, and one of the reasons I'm "giving up" for the interim. I want no excuses, no reasons whatsoever to do anything but face those things which are so important to me.....Does this make sense to you? If I don't have these things hanging around that "almost happen", I have no excuse to less than I ought to be doing.....Trust me, it doesn't sound so good in this format, but in my head? its a sound and constructive theory.

I think part of the reason I never do either thing is because I'm not supposed to at this time. "You have time later on" is something I hear from people alot. I guess I just felt like after so many years of being a terrible person, that I need to make up for it, you know? I pretty much spent the greater part of twenty years doing nothing but hanging out in industrial nightclubs drinking obscene amounts of vodka and having really meaningless, empty sex with lots of really screwed up girls (I never said I was a choir boy before I got married and became Catholic). So I get the feeling now, that I'm supposed to be making up for this hedonistic lifestyle I used to have.
NOW does it make sense?

So, here I am, typing this in at 3:13 AM after writing it early yesterday morning. I'm up waiting on my wife to get back from the hospital with out 6 year old, who had a really bad congestion problem a few hours ago, and so here I am, watching over his little brother as he sleeps soundly........Like I said, I think Ive got somewhere else to be.....

Sunday, February 10, 2008

First Sunday of Lent

I think I might have found a "Secondary Lenten Mission"; I sometimes hate to admit it, but I have a Myspace account, and for some strange reason, have become quite accustomed to it. I had a friend who talked me into getting on Myspace a very long time ago, and I've kind of kept it up. As time progresses, I've noticed a strong Catholic presence amidst all the nasty stuff; Lino Rulli host of "The Catholic Guy" on Sirius Satellite Radio has a site there, and alot of people have made it a point to build sites for the Saints. St. Francis, St. Anthony and Mother Theresa (to name a few), all have their own profiles, explaining what they did and how they lived.

And so with this in mind, I thought I might chuck this out there for people on Myspace, in hopes that it may do some good. It's not much to begin with, but at least I'm sharing something with those who might not know without the Love of God. Anyway, heres what i wrote. The passages and reflections were taken from the EWTN site.


For those of you who know me from way back when, this will probably be a little bit laughable to you at first, but I assure you, I take it very seriously, and I expect the same respect from you that I give you when it comes to all things wiccan, etc. That being said, these are my beliefs, and as part of my lenten obligations, I will be posting this as much as possible. If it makes you angry, I'm sorry for that. if you have a question, ask me and I'll give you a straight answer.


First Sunday of Lent
"I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth." (Genesis 9:13)


Reflection.
“The whole life of Christ was a cross and a martyrdom, and dost thou seek rest and joy? If thou carry the cross unwillingly, thou makest it a burden to thee. If thou fling away one cross, without doubt thou shalt find another, perhaps a heavier”
...." (Thomas de Kempis -- Imitation of Christ).


Lenten Question
Q: Why are Sundays excluded from the reckoning of the forty days?
A: Because Sunday is the day on which Christ arose, making it an inappropriate day to fast and mourn our sins. On Sunday we must celebrate Christ's resurrection for our salvation. It is Friday on which we commemorate his death for our sins. The Sundays of the year are days of celebration and the Fridays of the year are days of penance.

Lenten Action.
Phone a long lost friend and relive old memories. Visit a sick person. Feed the birds.

Prayer
O Jesus, I withdraw in spirit with You into the desert; teach me how to fight the triple concupiscence of the flesh, pride, and avarice.

Pax et Bonum! Vivat Jesus!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


It felt good to be in Mass this morning, to know that I didn't have to be anywhere later, that I could just relax and let it all sink in. It was a nice switch from speeding down from work to make noonday mass and speeding back to avoid being late. I think I'm going to take this week off every year! I had wanted for the family to go to Baton Rouge, but the timing was all off for us. too many things going on, so I went to Mass by myself, absorbed as much of it as I could.

Now I have given it a whole lot of thought, and I know what I'm doing for Lent.
But I'm aprehensive to talk about it. In years past, I've posted my intentions here, and every year, I become more concious about it, and to be honest, I think it cheapens the whole experience, trivializes it somehow. Isn't one of the objectives to be more humble? Then why do we feel the need to share these promises we make to God? Isn't it sort of a prideful thing to do, exclaim to the whole blogoshpere; "Heres what Im giving up for Lent!!!"???

So, I will share prayers, and things I think are along the lines of what Lent is all about, but my promises to the Lord are mine and mine alone.

Pax et bonum!! Vivat jesus!!

Ash Wednesday on SpanishTown Road


Jewelled skeletons dance

Swaying

cool February morning

The scent of rum and redemption

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

You Enter Germany





By a fluke, I found this movie today. Im not sure exactly how to get a copy of it, but it is something I really want for my "collection". The more I can find out about what my Uncle went thru,the more I feel I can honor him and keep his memory alive. Why is it that the rest of my family cant understand that? Dont worry, that question was more rhetorical than anything.(cross posted from my other blog, "Ostenfeld".

Laissez le bon temps roulez!!

(I have borrowed vigorously from Wikipedia, because I'm on a time table today)
Here we are, Fat Tuesday, 2008, better known to the world outside the Gulf coast area as Mardi Gras. It's also known as "Shrove Tuesday" or "Pancake Day".It really begins 12 days after Christmas, or Twelfth Night, on January 6 and ends on Mardi Gras, which always falls exactly 47 days before Easter. Perhaps the cities most famous for their Mardi Gras celebrations include New Orleans, Louisiana; Venice, Italy; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Many other places have important Mardi Gras celebrations as well. Carnival is an important celebration in most of Europe, except in
the United Kingdom where pancakes are the tradition, and also in many parts of Latin America and the Caribbean. While celebrated by various and sundry folk, it mostly ( and for my purposes here) is a French Catholic celebration, a way to have one last hurrah before we begin the serious reflection and work ahead of us for Lent.

Now, I say "work" with the upmost respect, and love. I love Lent, I think its one of the greatest celebrations of our Catholocity, and I am looking forward to it with great anticipation this year. No run-of-the-mill promises this year, I am truly going to make a worthy offering and sacrifice.



But I digress; the purpose of this is to wish everyone a Happy Mardi Gras day, and to help you celebrate, I thought I'd pass on a few links of interest. Since some of us cant be down in the midst of the party, I thought I'd throw a few proverbial beads your way;


First off, you've got to have the right music!! For our intent and purposes, I strongly suggest that you tune into:
WWOZ -- New Orleans' Jazz and Heritage Station. Not only is it a great radio station24/7, they are probably the best source for authentic Mardi Gras music on the internet you will find for free. They actually stayed on the air after Katrina, broadcasting from the 2nd story of a coffee shop until their actual house was repaired.

There is also KBON 101.1 FM Radio :: Louisiana Proud, but I think you have to pay for them now. Want to see whats going on down on Canal street?? Well, then you need to go to the Times Picayune website, NOLA.COM . They have a plethorah of webcams set up so you can watch the festivities from the comfort of your own house! How cool is that? No walking around for blocks trying to find a public bathroom! If I may offer up a tip; if you happen to be awake around midnight (1:00 AM EST), check out the Bourbon cam and see how truly serious the people of new Orleans take Ash Wednesday. At the stroke of midnight, all the bars shut down, the police chase everyone off the streets, and the Prisoners from the jail help clear the streets of all traces of Mardi Gras. Its truly amazing! If you have young-uns, dont worry about questionable material showing up. this is strictly G-rated material, as is most of Mardi Gras. Oh yeah, insofar as the whole girls going topless thing is concerned? Well, the only yay-hoos who bare themselves are tourists. In Baton Rouge, the parades are mostly family oriented. I took my oldest to the Krewe of Jupiter parade in 2005, and he had a blast!! He got soooo many beads, he couldnt stand up straight!! I dont think there was anything but families where we were standing.

Y'all hungry??? Well, what would Mardi Gras be without King Cake?? I suggest Randazzo's Camellia City Bakery. they've got the best King Cake, and they will Fed-ex it to you lickety split!
Of course, if you want to make it yourself, heres a great
King Cake recipe from my buddy Chuck's website. He also has the absolute best recipe for Cafe Au Lait, just like they serve at Cafe Du Monde in the French Market. If you ever are in New Orleans, you have to, HAVE TO go to Cafe Du Monde and have some of their Cafe Au lait and Beignets. It will probably be the most memorable "coffee and donuts" experience of your life. you will fall in Love with New Orleans after that!

Want something more substantial? then might I suggest Tony's Live Seafood & Deli of Baton Rouge? Ive eaten their wares before, and you'll find none finer in the U.S. Might I suggest the Seafood Tray? Try it, you wont be sorry!!
"Throw me sumpthin Mistah!!!"
Finally, If you're gonna do Mardi Gras right, you absolutely have to learn this key phrase! This is the way to get float riders to toss you their wares, and nothing in Mardi Gras is more important than the beads man!! they come in all shapes and sizes; from the run of the mill small strands, to the huge. in 2005 we had someone throw some to us that actually left a welt on my forehead for a few hours! So you have to be on your toes and watch for incoming!! If you want to impress your friends with a really great Mardi Gras party, face it, you're gonna need beads. My last suggestionfor your Fat Tuesday festivities would be the folks at Mardi Gras Outlet. They've got all the beads, hats, costumes, p;arty favors and music you will need.

Well, I have alot to do today, and so I will leave you for now. I hope you all have a great Mardi Gras, and as always, pray for the people of the Gulf Coast, because even though Katrina was 3 years ago, they still need massive help in the smaller towns.Pax et Bonum, Vivat Jesus!!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Am I???

misanthrope
Main Entry:
mis·an·thrope Listen to the pronunciation of misanthrope
Pronunciation:
\ˈmi-sən-ˌthrōp\
Function:
noun
Etymology:
Greek misanthrōpos hating humankind, from misein to hate + anthrōpos human being
Date:1683: a person who hates or distrusts humankind
I have been battling this for a long, long time. It's not something I am proud of, and it's not something I want to carry, but I -in the past- have honestly been of the opinion that a large percentage of humanity is either too stupid or too narcisstic to survive. I see things on TV; commercials for chat lines, TV shows like "Hollywood housewives", "Project runway", and "My Super Sweet 16". I see the news dogs clamoring for shots of Britney crying, and Heath Ledgers corpse, and I have to wonder if we wouldn't all be a little better off without all these "distractions" around. I mean, here we are, waiting for the next tidbit about Britney, and meanwhile Haitians are actually eating cookies made of mud. we bitch about the price of gas and how the Arabs are screwing us, yet Exxon makes $404.55 billion this year, slightly larger than the 2006 gross domestic product of Turkey, the world's 17th largest economy!!! Are we so blind to what a fat, gluttonous hog we -America- have become, that we cant see other peoples suffering? I'm appalled, floored by it if you want to know the truth. I'm thankful to be an American, but I am ashamed and I am outraged that we pay these types of people such homage. Shouldn't we be helping the people of Haiti? Darfur and the plethora of other less known places where misery, corruption, starvation and genocide are are the rule?

I know I said I wasn't going to turn political with this blog, and I'm really not, but I don't think I can stand silently by and be part of all this..........crap! So, I think that for Lent this year, I am going to have a few different things to work towards. As soon as I can think it out, I'll post them here.
Pax et Bonum, Vivat Jesus!!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Blue Heron



He Stares, Eye Burning

Like Odin on his throne

Back straight, stiff neck

Fishing,

on cold glass.

My latest "contribution" (if you can truly call it that) to Winter Haiku