Monday, October 31, 2011

Last week tweeted about a magician making magic with an iPad. Magicians have long used technologies of all sorts. Now it's magic and the iPad.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday word, 30 Oct 2011

31SundayA (30 Oct 2011)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
To Keep New God’s Covenant

The Second Vatican Council, nearly 50 years ago, did much to dim anti-Catholic bias. I am not old enough to have memories of solid, long-lived anti-Catholic sentiment directed against me or our church. That sentiment was ebbing in my boyhood. Fewer younger Catholics have experienced it. Yet it did exist. 
In the not so distant past others lumped Catholics in the United States along with other lower classes. Signs reading “Dogs and Irish keep off the lawn” were a common in the heyday of immigration. Beginning before that and persisting too long, the Ku Klux Klan despised Catholics along with Jews and blacks. Catholics struggled against being so defined by others.
An incident near my birthplace in Detroit gave voice to that struggle. The Klan burned a cross on the lawn of the Shrine of the Little Flower, the Royal Oak, Michigan, parish where radio-priest Charles Coughlin was pastor. His response was brief: “I will build a cross you can never burn.” Fr. Coughlin built a freestanding, still standing bell-tower with the cross in relief on its four sides and crucified Jesus visible to passersby.
Grandparents and great-grandparents have told you their stories. My point is that times not long ago did not see Catholics in the positions of influence, management and authority as in the past 50 years. We defined ourselves in relationship to people and movements more dominant than us. An advantage was we Catholics knew ourselves more clearly.
We risk losing our true identity when we lose sight of responsibility which accompanies power. We also risk losing our true identity when we minimize our relationship with God and keep our ways rather than the commandments and do not live out of the beatitudes. In a phrase, we void the covenant, by which God chose us not to show partiality. 
Prophet Malachi put that starkly: we break faith with one another. But who admits that? St. Paul reminded us of three textures of practicing God’s covenant and keeping faith with others: a nursing mother cares for her children; working without ceasing to incarnate the gospel; and thanking God unceasingly.
When we don’t have to define ourselves by others more dominant than ourselves we too easily run the risk of being preoccupied with ourselves. Concern for others, gospel living and thanking God go out the window. In Jesus’ day the Pharisees stumbled on that risk. They had taken their seat on the chair of Moses by God’s design. Their position as teachers and leaders led them not to practice what they taught; to burden people excessively; to make aggressive missionary travels; and to allow tithing, ritual purity and even the honorific title of Rabbi to be more central than God. God has but one family, the human race, and one desire, the salvation of all beginning in each present moment. God’s self-donation in Jesus was how God chose to work our salvation.

Jesus was crystal clear about his identity: the self-donating God in flesh is the Messiah of God, our one master. Service characterizes our one master’s saving power. Jesus embodied everything God so patiently revealed. Other valid teachers did not: observe all things what-soever [the Pharisees] tell you, but do not follow their example. That included honorific titles and being religious to win others’ approval, which is not holy at all.
Our limitations demand order and leadership. When we are smitten by or addicted to order and rank we are not humble as our Master, Messiah Jesus. That  too easily happens when we ascend in influence and control, beginning in child-hood. Even as adults we continue to make excuses so we may grip influence and control.
How are we like our master? When we stand in relationship with each other and together stand in relationship with the poor, the outcast, those pushed to the margins. Christian identity is clearer on the margins, but we are not there any more. Temptations of all kinds blind us to God and, more, to each other. Jesus does not call us to trample sound self-esteem. He calls us to renew our covenant with him and his God and Father. That takes a healthy sense of self.
Give Jesus 15 minutes each day this week. 
  • Pause in the love by which the Trinity creates you each moment.
  • Ask St. Paul to present you to Jesus so you may converse with him.
  • In your words speak with Jesus: praise him for revealing God to you by his strong tenderness.
  • Ask Jesus for the grace to live his strong tenderness by your choices, your actions, your life.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus gave us his prayer as the key to unlock our hearts so we may live more readily and clearly as his companions and disciples.
Wiki-image by Carptrash of the Shrine of the Little Flower exterior is used according to the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. Wiki-image of Jesus conversing is in the public domain in the U.S.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blessed John XXIII

Angelo Roncalli was elected pope on 28 October 1958.

Archival video has been unearthed showing in two parts his election and some activities in his first days as pope.
[The subtitles are literal translations, but they do the job.]

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Young Universities and a Long Council

In the West the university is a relatively recent phenomenon. In Europe universities began to emerge in the 13th Century. Early they had faculties of theology, which trained a new, professional class—theologians. Jesuit John W. O’Malley noted in an America Magazine podcast that the first professional differed from their
earlier counterparts, who trained themselves. In the 13th Century the distinction was between training and office, usually ordination.

The Council of Trent was held in the mid-16th Century. Fr. OMalley suggests in the podcast that the relationship between theologians and pastors then carries a lesson for the Church today.
Wiki-image of a session of the Council of Trent is in the public domain.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Presidential Dilemma

While it is good news for people of the United States, especially military families, President Obama’s earlier announcement that U.S. troops serving in Iraq “will be home for Christmas”
was not the result of a simple decision. Max Fisher, an associate editor at The Atlantic, noted that the president weighed “long-term diplomatic interests [and] short-term security interests.”
The sub-headline of the article is revealing: “The U.S. decision to honor Iraq’s barely functional political process, even when it doesn’t make the smartest choice, might be the best thing for both countries.” Read Mr. Fisher’s insightful—the U.S. has made a concerted effort to treat Iraq as an ally rather than as a subservient client state”—clear and balanced appraisal.
Wiki-image of Armed Forces in Iraq is in the public domain.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Graphemes in Disneyland

With one of its doodles Google paid homage to Mary Blair, one of Walt Disney's visual artists. CSM correspondent Eoin O'Carroll recalled that Ms. Blair's "style wasn't limited to one sense; her colors also sang." Was her creativity shared by many synesthetes?

Learn about their condition, called synesthesia, and enjoy a video of a clip from a the 1944 animated film "The Three Caballeros," supervised by Ms. Blair, in the CSM Innovation post.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Noon, Rome Time

At Noon in Rome a new document debuted, a note addressing global financial reform.

The note echoes a foundational principle which appeared in a 1963 encyclical of Pope John XXIII. In Pacem in Terris Blessed Pope John noted how public structures already took on global shape. That global shape called for a commensurate authority.
137. Today the universal common good presents us with problems which are world-wide in their dimensions; problems, therefore, which cannot be solved except by a public authority with power, organization and means co-extensive with these problems, and with a world-wide sphere of activity. Consequently the moral order itself demands the establishment of some such general form of public authority.
The Vatican note released today addresses finances, their global context and the way they ought to serve the good of all people "in the context of global public authority."

Coming Year of Faith

C News Service suggests the Pope Benedict recently announced a Year of Faith to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and to help all Catholics enjoy a renewed appreciation of the basics of the faith.

Watch the 3-minute video and learn more.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday word, 23 Oct 2011

30th Sunday of the Year A (23 Oct 2011)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
More Sensitive and More Versatile

Today’s three scripture selections focus us on serv[ing] the living and true God. What does serv[ing] the living and true God include? Let me offer four ways which that service includes. 
It involves, first, initial conversion, experiencing God in a way, which moves me to arrange my life with God as singularly
important. St. Paul, we heard, described that with the words, turn[ing] to God from idols. The pastors of the early generations of the church echoed him. The Occupy Together movement of our time is reminding people the world over that greed for wealth is one such idol.
Idols are not necessarily exotic or antique. We exalt many things too highly. We often do not realize when we arrange our lives around power, prestige, possessions or performance, to name a few. When we make such things the center of our universes, we bow before our idols.
Second, serv[ing] the living and true God is part of daily living. Severing serving from daily living is spiritualistic. We serve the living and true God in and by Jesus’ Spirit. To live according to Jesus’ Spirit means the shape of my living imitates Jesus and his living: loving God as completely as I can; and loving others with respect and care, the respect and care I desire.

Catholic imitation is not aping. That’s important because Scripture sounded the call often to imitate divine love, Jesus, the saints and holy people who follow their example. One learned how to be in the world by learning from and following models. Two fruits of ancient imitation were sensitivity and versatility.1 Recalling their own enslavement helped the people of Israel to treat those on the margins with compassion. Being compassionate to widows and orphans—the phrase included all people at risk—was no option: you shall not molest or oppress...or wrong them. Sensitive people seek to exercise compassion in situations for which no positive command existed. Our Catholic faith can adapt to different situations without betraying itself. 
Third, we do not exercise compassion on our own nor do we take the initiative to meet God in our first conversion. We are powerless to do either of those on our own. God empowers us. We made ours the words of the Psalmist, who sang, I love you, Lord, my strength! Relying on God’s strength to help us shape our Christian identities, is crucial whoever we are, wherever we are and in all we do.

Last, keeping alive and fresh our initial conversion in daily living and cooperating with God’s grace gives our Christian living a particular purpose: to expect [God’s] Son from heaven, Jesus whom he raised from the dead
The texture of expecting Jesus’ return is not fearfully watching over our shoulders. Witness is its texture! The ways we exercise Christian compassion as well as the ways we receive it are the most powerful ways all of us evangelize. Your witness, my witness to the living Risen Lord Jesus is key. As Pope Paul VI a group of lay people, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses."2
What Jesus revealed by fulfilling God’s desire, enshrined in the commandments, the prophets and God’s relationship with humans is that the vocation of us all is to witness to gospel values above all others. Jesus is our model. From him we learn greater sensitivity. Plus, we enjoy many sainted people, who show us how to live the gospel daily with greater versatility, both to awaken people to their first encounters with God and to deepen our ongoing conversion to God in Jesus by their Spirit. 
In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Allow yourself to rest in the love by which the Trinity creates you at each moment.
  • Ask St. Paul to present you to Jesus.
  • Speak with Jesus about how your life gives witness to him and to his gospel.
  • Ask Jesus for his strong grace to grow more sensitive to others and more willing to respond to them.
  • Close your time with Jesus by saying slowly the prayer he taught us. The Lord’s Prayer is our key to fulfilling his twin commandments by which we honor God in our Catholic concern for all people.

  1. “The genius of Roman rhetoric resides in the use of imitation throughout the school course to create sensitivity to language and versatility in its use.” Donovan J. Ochs, “Roman Rhetoric,” in Encyclopedia of Rhetoric and Composition: Communication from Ancient Times to the Information Age, Ed., Theresa Enos, p. 643. The way people communicated extended to the whole of life.
  2. Pope Paul VI, Address to the Members of the Consilium de Laicis (2 October 1974), He incorporated his words in his Apostolic Exhortation, Proclamation of the Gospel, 41. The occasion was the 10th anniversary of the closing of Second Vatican Council.
Wiki-image of Moses speaking to the Israelites is in the public domain. Wiki-image of stained-glass window of the Teaching Christ is in the public domain in the U.S.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Begun in Canada

The Occupy movement began in Canada "with a suggestion by the editors of the Vancouver
magazine AdBusters." Michael Swan of The Catholic Register reported that in an article posted Friday. The article was entitled: Occupy movement is 'very biblical.'

Wiki-image by William Youngman of Occupy Together logo is used according to the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Friday, October 21, 2011

"Downtown Manhattan and Athens"

In light of the largest demonstration to date in Athens midweek, Heather Horn of The Atlantic reported that more than money drives the anger.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

BRICS and Playing Field

In the last century the order of power was arrayed between West and East, between the United States and its allies the Soviet Union and its allies. When the Soviet Union shattered and especially when the Berlin Wall fell, the phrase often heard was, the United States was the lone superpower.

Today the United States is struggling in many ways, and other nations are exerting political,
economic and industrial leverage. The emerging players are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, collectively, the BRICS. The BRICS and the United States and its European friends are causing a "a new geopolitical balance" to form, wrote CSM Staff Writer, Robert Marquand.

Marquand's assessment puts in context the players in this balance. He indicated that the Western appraisal of the BRICS is more nationalistic and "less interested in shared ideas of a multilateral world." To illustrate he offers a clash: the U.N. resolution on Syria earlier in the month.

Read Marquand's article, which also includes a 3-minute video on the future of the Arab Spring.

With Qaddafi's killing today and how it may further destabilize Libya and its future, Marquand offers regular citizens a chance to have more informed understanding of events' rapid pace.
Wiki-image of map of the BRICS is in the public domain.