Thursday, November 27, 2014

Worth a Thousand Words: Wild Turkeys

A flock of wild tom turkeys
By U.S. Department of Agriculture (20111117-APHIS-DB-0005), via Wikimedia Commons
These fellows are safe from me. We're strictly consumers of domesticated turkeys. But I like seeing them in the wild.

In Thankfulness on This Day

Have a blessed day with your families as we enjoy the many riches God has bestowed on us. I truly have so much to be thankful for, much more than I could list here, which fall under the broad categories of God, Catholic Church, family, country, and friends (because that corny stuff is also the real stuff of life). Not the least of which is the blogging community and all the people who drop by here.

Here is something I have posted every Thanksgiving. I like seeing what Abraham Lincoln had in mind for the holiday (before I go dive into that turkey, pie, and football ... GO Cowboys !). I'll be off the computer until Monday.

So without further ado, I present to you ...
Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863
It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord.

We know that by his divine law, nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world. May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.

But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.

Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Well Said: The world approves and allows for nearly everything

The world approves and allows for nearly everything. To the squandering of time or fortune or one’s heart, and even to the most blatant acts of foolishness and guilt, it closes its eyes, smiles, or applauds. On the other hand, do not try to consecrate some of yourself or your time or money to God's cause. Such a way of living your life is not pleasing to this superficial world, which considers itself to be deprived of all you give to eternal things and to your brothers and sisters; it will not tolerate such theft. The love of God is the only eccentricity the world does not and will never accept.
Elisabeth Leseur
I never would have thought of turning one's talents or resources to God as "theft" from the world, but that is a powerful point of view. And it rather helps explain some of the vehement responses from the secular world to the religious one.

Worth a Thousand Words: Baking the Bread

Baking the Bread, Anders Zorn, 1889
See this? That's me today.

Ok, not literally. Thank goodness I've got an enclosed oven for one thing. But I'm cook, cook, cookin' the day away preparing the Thanksgiving feast.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"How I Pray" Series

 How I Pray is a new series from Thomas L. McDonald at God and the Machine blog. Each Monday he features a different Catholic who tell about their practices and experience of prayer.

It's an interesting series and it's disquieting to consider how inadequate my answers would be. In that way it definitely inspires me to shape up my own prayer life. Of course, there are also some very inspiring thoughts in the posts that go above and beyond examining my own inadequacies!

So far we've seen from McDonald himself, The Curt Jester, and now Jimmy Akin. Fingers crossed he gets Dean Koontz to contribute!

Worth a Thousand Words: Second Dream of St. Joseph

Second Dream of St. Joseph
by Daniel Mitsui
It's no secret that I really love illustrations of Biblical scenes done in Asian style. It's also no secret that I really love Daniel Mitsui's work in general. And it should also be no secret that I'm a real fan of St. Joseph.

So when I saw this new work of art I naturally wanted to share it with as many people as possible. After you have enjoyed the work at first glance, see what the artist tells us is included that you might have missed.
It depicts, in a Japanese style, the second dream of St. Joseph, in which an angel (traditionally identified as St. Gabriel) warns him to flee into Egypt with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Christ Child. In this work, I especially imitated the style of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, a late ukiyo-e master. I referenced his series of woodblock prints 100 Aspects of the Moon for many parts of my drawing.

St. Gabriel holds a fan containing a vision of the Flight into Egypt and the Miracle of the Cherry Tree. I attempted to convey a sense of otherworldly urgency by having the angel’s robes and hair blown by a strong wind that affects nothing else in the picture. St. Joseph sleeps in the stable of Bethlehem, next to the gifts of the Magi (in antique Chinese vessels). The text is from Emile Raguet’s Classical Japanese New Testament translation of 1910, and says Gabriel and Arise, and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy him.

Well Said: I have learned many things ...

I must confess that I have learned many things I never knew before ... just by writing.
St. Augustine
There's something about having to organize one's thoughts enough to write that sends them further than they'd have gone if everything just remained in one's mind. It is funny how that is. It is why keeping a journal, a blog, or writing letters (or emails) is so good for us. Like St. Augustine we learn things we never knew before.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Well Said: Try Monotasking

One thing everyone should do more of is: just drive while you’re driving. I have a custom license-plate holder. It says: “Try monotasking.”
Bill Nye, WSJ interview
Ain't that the truth? We could apply that to our regular lives also. We'd be happier and a lot of things would get done better.

Worth a Thousand Words: Nature's Creation

Nature's Creation
taken by Remo Savisaar

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Solemnity of Christ the King

A repeat which I very much enjoyed reading again. Hope you do too!

As the visions during the night continued,
I saw One like a son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven;
When he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him,
He received dominion, glory, and kingship;
nations and peoples of every language serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away,
his kingship shall not be destroyed.
Daniel 7:13-14
Pope Pius XI instituted The Feast of Christ the King in 1925 for the universal church in his encyclical Quas Primas. He connected the denial of Christ as king to the rise of secularism. At the time of Quas Primas, secularism was rising, and many Christians (including Catholics) began to doubt Christ's authority and existence, as well as the Church's power to continue Christ's authority. Pius XI, and the rest of the Christian world, witnessed the rise of dictatorships in Europe, and saw Catholics being taken in by these earthly leaders. Just as the Feast of Corpus Christi was instituted when devotion to the Eucharist was at a low point, the Feast of Christ the King was instituted during a time when respect for Christ and the Church was waning, when the feast was most needed. In fact, it is still needed today, as these problems have not vanished, but instead have worsened.
I was surprised when I looked through my archives and didn't see any comments about the Solemnity of Christ the King. Perhaps that is because I haven't really appreciated it much until over the past year. That is partly because one can only absorb so much at a time and although I converted in 2000, that is not really such a long time ago.

It also signals an internal conversion, which we all undergo in one way or another for our entire lives. I recently caught myself saying, "His majesty" and meaning God. That made me happy for two reasons, the first of which was because I never understood how St. Teresa of Avila could be somewhat sassy to God and still call him "His majesty" ... and now I did understand that much more.

The second because I feel much more that I am a daughter of the king. That would anyone happy, wouldn't it? To discover that they come from royalty, albeit a royalty that reigns in order to render humble service. Certainly I feel I have a bit better understanding of my place in the scheme of things overall and my gradually deepening relationship with my king who rules through love.

The above image of Christ the King comes from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. I was captivated when I discovered it. The strength and confidence of this image of Christ fills me with joy. For a discussion of the symbolism included, read Msgr. Charles Pope's piece Awesome or Awful? Here's a sample:
... let’s look a little closer at Christ’s face (at Left). Look closely at his eyes. Notice that the one on the right (from our perspective) is more rounded and serene than the one on the left that is narrower and piercing. Notice also that the right eyebrow is more arched and peaceful and the one on the left angled and downward in a severe look. Now take your hand and cover the left side of the face and see that he is more serene and then cover the right side of the face and see that he is severe. This is very common in Eastern Iconography which likes to present both the Justice and Mercy of God on the face of Christ. It is subtle but it is meant to be otherwise we’d have a weird looking face. On the Day of Judgement there will be mercy seen by those who have shown mercy and severe justice to those who have been severe (Mat 5:7; Mat 7:2; James 2:13) for Justice and mercy are alike with him (cf Sirach 5:7). Looking into his eyes I am reminded of the stunning text from Hebrews which says of Christ: No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account. (Heb 4:13)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thanksgiving Jokes

Which side of the turkey has the most feathers?
The outside

Why did the turkey cross the road?
It was the chicken's day off

What are the feathers on a turkey's wings called?
Turkey feathers

What's the best dance to do on Thanksgiving?
The turkey trot

Can a turkey jump higher than the Empire State Building?
Yes - a building can't jump at all

What do you get when you cross a turkey with an octopus?
Enough drumsticks for Thanksgiving

How can you make a turkey float?
You need 2 scoops of ice cream, some root beer, and a turkey

Friday, November 21, 2014

Julie and Scott make it to within ten paces of the Emperor.

Will they take action? Which way will the candles blow?

Episode 96 of A Good Story is Hard to Find is our discussion of Hero, a 2002 movie directed by Yimou Zhang. Come and listen!

Well Said: Our battle-flag

The battle-flag is always placed among warriors, as a sign to which they look during the hardest fighting of the battle. We are continuously at war with the princes of darkness ... If anyone is troubled, vanquished, and overcome, let him look to the Lord hanging on the gibbet of the cross.
St. Thomas of Villanova

Worth a Thousand Words: Aladdin and Princess Badoura

Aladdin and Princess Badoura. Detail.
By Himmapaan
I foresee that my wish list is going to expand to include anything including Himmapaan's illustrations. Simply superb.

Emmaus Road's 20% - 50% Off Thanksgiving Sale

From Emmaus Road Catholic publisher comes this notice:
Save 20% to 50%

A Special Thanksgiving Offer

We have created a special page for our friends to enjoy great savings on a choice selection of Books, ebooks and Gift items. The sale prices are in effect now through December 5th.