Recent Posts

Sunday 21 July 2013

Thoughts on Martha and Mary

I don't think it's a contradiction to say that marriage is a vocation in
the same terms as a religious vocation AND to say that the grace of a
married vocation is a substantively different grace.

I know it's not a popular thing to say in the culture-of-life era, but I think it's
important if we are to understand the fundamental differences between
marriage and holy orders, why most receive the former, and why few
receive both.

On the other hand, I do admit that there is something of this styling
of the married vocation found in the secular clergy, as in teaching,
in active religious orders, or indeed, missionary work. Not all
vocations to the priesthood and religious life are contemplative
vocations. Christ's words to Martha and Mary were a sign of the grace
of that moment, not necessarily a command about their lives or their
fundamental nature. I don't think Christ in this passage is giving a
"calling". The analogy to vocation is just that; an analogy pointing
to a species of grace which requires a life condition in order to live
it to the full.

I am reminded of a discussion I had with another friend once; he was
critiquing the lifestyle of priests and pointing out that the model of
priesthood, John Vianney, lived as an ascetic and essentially worked
himself to death. I suggested that this was indeed *a* model of
priesthood but not necessarily an ideal. 

Our path to sainthood lies in our vocation but also in our character,
our environment, and our free will. 

I think it would be an unfair generalization to say that all
priests should be like John Vianney, in the same token that all laymen should be
like Thomas More, etc. That's precisely why there is such a beautiful
panoply of religious orders, rules, and charisms.

I do think, however, that when finding one's vocation one needs to
simplify rather than complicate - especially in the present age in the
West where we are flooded with "career paths" and "options". 

That's why I think traditional understanding of vocation and the "grace of a
calling" need to be rediscovered. Sometimes we see fundamental truth
only in the most basic and childlike interpretations.

This applies to some attitudes in the States right and think

Thanks to New Sister for the links. Thinking of making heroes out of the anti-heroes....

If you cannot make the connections, think a bit more...There are two more on this subject on YouTube.

England Won Again, And How!

Australia's biggest Test defeats: by 675 runs (v Eng, Brisbane, 1928) by 408 runs (v WI, Adelaide, 1980) by 347 runs (v Eng today)

How not to express yourselves

I like to twitter and read blogs, but one thing I have noticed in the past few weeks are the number of Catholic and Christian under 40s who think nothing of using all the four letter words.

They seem not to be shocked by the use of s..t, f.., d..n, bl...y, and many other words.

How did this happen? Because I am an ex-teacher of youth, I have thought about this phenomenon and have come up with several answers to the question of why the decay of expression-and this is a phenomenon in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland, and America.

One, the decline of education, the dumbing down of standards has led to a lack of understanding of language, literature, and poetry.

Two, the decline/dumbing down has meant that vocabulary is no longer taught in the schools, which is sad.

Three, few love the English language and see the beauty of such a large vocabulary.

Four, laziness.

Five, spoiled brat syndrome-Mum or Dad never corrected mouthy kids. No discipline.

Six, a false idea of tolerance.

Seven, parents not teaching children manners or appropriate behaviour. No character formation.

Eight, the loss of the idea that coarseness is actually a sin-yes, a sin against charity.

Nine, spoiled brat syndrome reason two-no one can tell me how to talk.

Ten, the effect of entertainment on the culture.

Eleven, wanting to be IN.

Twelve, obvious disrespect for authority, elders, hierarchies.

I am so tired of blocking spoiled brats on twitter. Language does not seem to matter to them-so why tweet?

Using four letter words is also a sign of idiocy, not sophistication.

Blocking away....

Excellent Sermon and Excellent Ladies

The sermon this morning give at the TLM at St. Kevin's encouraged all of us. Father William Richardson used both the Old and New Testament readings in his movement from sorrow to encouragement.

Father noted that we are living in dark times, and that things will get worse. He expects ssm to be passed in Ireland as well (see my blog on the EU meeting on this two years ago). Reminding us that it is easy to be a Christian when the entire society is Christian, that God is calling all of us Catholics to be lights in the darkness, and hold fast to our faith despite the culture. The priest said loud and clear that things will get worse now that Ireland is an arm of the EU. Nice to hear truth...

Father pointed out that Christ wept over Jerusalem because the leaders of the Jews and the people would not listen, would not recognize Him. But, Christ did not stay weeping over Jerusalem, and despite His real sorrow, He moved on, preaching the Gospel and doing the works of God.

This is what we must do. With our eyes open, and without, as Father said, the support of the establishment, we continue in faith.

After Mass, I have coffee with four lively ladies my age, who told me horrific stories of the Church here-liturgical abuses, bad catechesis, bad priests, bad bishops, the same old stories as in England and America.

What I did not know was that the government penalizes home schoolers by not giving those families the child credit given to every family in Ireland.

This is persecution of orthodox Catholics. Also, I did not know that women who worked were openly praised by this government, while women who stayed at home are ignored. Shades of Marxist Russia...

The ladies, however, represent the dying breed of Catholics who were raised in an orthodox manner. However, two said that in the 1970s, the bishops instructed, and the nuns complied, that parents were to be discouraged in teaching religion in the home. WOW! Out and out undermining of the family...communism in the Church.

The enemies are within the gates...

Hold fast, be perfect, even as your Heavenly Father is perfect. We encouraged each other to pray and hold fast.

Repeat post on manner and character formation

Thursday, 6 December 2012

My dance card is full and young people will not believe this

Talk about generation gaps. The construction of my society growing up is gone, gone, gone. From education to social manners, to identity as a Catholic sub-culture, we had a security in knowing who we were and where we were going.

Talking with Generation Millennials, I have realized over the past few years that what I had for coursework in 7th and 8th grade they had in high school and what I had in high school they have in college or university. What I had in college or university, they get in graduate school.

Depressing. When I was in high school, schools were divided into "terminal degree" high schools and "college preparatory schools". In the second grouping, the high schools were run on three tracks, and students were placed in this tracking according to their interests and abilities. Terminal degree high schools actually taught a skill, such as welding, accounting or business skills, and things where a student could walk out the door and get a job immediately.

In those days, we knew that people were not created the same. I do not have my high school curriculum in front of me, but it would be similar to this. This would be the top layer, or third track of the college prep school. All girls, by the way----

First year-freshman year
Civics (general and American)
World History first semester; European History second semester
Algebra I and possibly II
Latin I
English Literature-first semester general; second Shakespeare
English Grammar
Religion-Old Testament first semester; New Testament Second
General Science
Extra-Curricular Studies, such as journalism, choir, art
Sport and Gym Class

Second year-sophomore
Ethics (wow)
Latin II
American History first adn second semester; America Government in more detail second as option
English Literature-Essays-including 18th century ones; second semester Poetry including Shakespeare's sonnets and Mystical Poets
Composition first semester; speech and debate second
Biology all year
Geometry I and II
Religion-Church History, both semesters, but staring with a sacraments section
Extra-Curricular studies, such as choir, drama, art or journalism or all
Sport and Gym Class

Third Year-juniors
Advanced Math I and II; either Trig or another option independent studies; Algebra II; some in Pre-Calculus
French I
Religion- great Catholic thinkers; world religions
Contemporary History (usually from WWI to present)
Extra-curricular choices again including Drama class, choir or above
Sport and Gym Class
English Literature of the Modern Age-novels and poetry
(Optional Typing)
(Optional Driver Training)

One also took college entrance tests in junior year for applying for scholarships. We had up to four hours of homework per night. Ask my dad.

Fourth Year-seniors
Independent studies in History
Advanced Math-Calculus
Religion-marriage prep; modern issues such as Vat. II
Physics, optional
French II
English Literature-drama and world drama; debate as advanced options
Extra-curricullar again like drama or choir or aboves
Free time to take college courses for credit
Research skills
Intro to Philosophy
Sport and Gym

We had some choices for sport.

I may be forgetting something. The mathematics classes varied after Geometry. I took Algebra II and my brothers went way ahead of me in Trig, Pre-Calc and Calc. etc. We had options. I was the feature editor of the newspaper and teen editor for the local city newspaper. I did almost everything-choir, drama, etc.  Yes, we had uniforms very similar to those below except we had to wear black or brown shoes--- and no, I was not a cheerleader.

We were allowed to seek excellence.

Ah, social skills. For our first dances, we had little booklets on which to write who was dancing which dance with us. They had little ribbons so that we could wear them around our wrist and there is a photo of a young girl with one. We called them dance cards. In my Grandmothers' days, these were silver and gold. 

This custom is where the phrases, "pencil me in" comes from....and "my dance card is full."

We had formal and informal dances. We had teas. We had picnics which were planned. We did not have much fast-food. Pizza Hut opened in my home town when I was 16. That was where I went on my first date, with the neighbour boy and his friend who tagged along. I remember exactly what I wore-a white top with large black polka dots and a black skirt;  and the date: January 1, 1965. I turned 16 two days later. My parents had known the parents of that boy since before I was born, and we played together even as toddlers. Still, permission had to be sought and granted. That was how the culture was disciplined and set. It was all very comforting. There was no stress as most people in those stratifications has so much in common to make such socializing relaxed. And, we had no idea about sex. We could just be ourselves, and learn to use our manners, and wait.

Manners helped us, as well as the truly Christian character of the culture at the time. 

The list, taken from the website below, is what we learned naturally in all of these events. We even learned sports etiquette. We went roller skating and ice skating. We played foursomes in tennis. We did not go shopping for fun. That was not done then. One shopped with one's mom. Two of my girls friends had to go shopping with their dad, as he had to approve their clothes. He was an Italian dad. My dad would not be caught dead in a ladies' shop. Good thing, too.

  • First impressions
  • Introductions
  • Greeting and shaking hands
  • Paying and receiving compliments
  • Correspondence
  • Telephone manners
  • Family dining
  • Table manners
  • Polite conversation
  • When to rise
  • Doors and coats
  • Sports etiquette
  • Formal dining
  • Party courtesies
  • Hosting a party
  • Receiving lines
  • Eating unusual foods
  • Instructional dinners

  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Promise keeping
  • Fidelity
  • Caring
  • Respect
  • Citizenship
  • Excellence
  • Accountability
  • Handling peer pressure

All the dances had adults present: the nuns and our parents were chaperones. Sometimes the priests came for a short while. All the parents knew all the other parents in your track, mostly. Dating was strictly controlled by parents. Boys were very polite. My dad reminds me of the Friday night I had one young man at the front day, one at the back door, and one on the phone. I was not that popular. I had a pink Princess phone and a turquoise blue transistor radio with a matching leather case--trendy.  We had plays, concerts, football, basketball, track, wrestling, and all kinds of things. We had cotillions to go to and strict rules on dating regarding times and frequency. We did things in groups. We sang when we went out in groups. We dated in order to find a mate. Mom and Dad were part of the process of dating.

Very interesting post on guilds

thanks to