Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Different Christmas Story

A Christmas tradition from my wife's family, we let the kids open one present each on Christmas eve. I would select something, usually small, from the pile for each child, and they would open it before bedtime.

This year, my 7 year-old son unwrapped his early gift to find a, ummm, surprise: A statuette of Jesus, from Sr. Faustina's vision of the Divine Mercy.

I held my breath a moment.

"How am I supposed to play with this, his arms don't even move" Sam said, getting simultaneously teary and agitated. Merry Christmas, from my parents, I thought to myself."Look, Sam, He's got red and blue lasers coming from His Heart," I said,"like one of those big, Japanese monsters." I tried to comfort him, but he fumed and raved for quite a while, wondering what grandma and pépère were thinking.

Eventually, I thought I'd shuffle everyone off to bed. "Alright, Sam, let me put this up on the shelf to keep it from getting broken," I said, taking the much-maligned gift." Wait, no," Sam said,"I want Him up in my bunk, where He'll be close to me." So, Sam made a small shrine up in his bunk, and set up the statuette of Jesus near his pillow.

I guess that it's something to think about, next time God gives us something that we're not asking for at the time.

Heck, I wanted a new set of golf clubs for Christmas, and instead, I got a lesson about faith and expectations.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lucky Sevens meme

Paul, at Thoughts of a Regular Guy, tagged me with this meme. And So, to disprove rumors of my untimely demise, I'll gladly cooperate. Here are some of the rules:

1) Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.

2) Share 7 facts about yourself that you think most people don't know.

3) Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.

4) Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

Facts about me that most people don't know:

My 8 year-old Mac G4 is running OS X 10.4, and I CAN print in landscape mode (sorry for you, Paul ;-p )

Despite being pro-life and socially conservative, I'm not really a happy Republican.

I'm entirely too fond of Pepsi.

I've used rolls of pennies to pay for gasoline.

Just over 10 years ago, I was homeless, though I preferred to view myself as a mendicant postulant of the Friars Minor.

It's bad enough having ADD, but when my kids are conscious, I don't get 2 minutes to think without an interruption.

I'm not going to try to lose weight in the new year.

Ok, as far as tagging others to do this, I'd just suggest: Those with a compulsive need for disclosure can do this meme.

For the rest of you, Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 07, 2007

When Bad Things Happen

As most people are aware now, an angry young man stole a gun from a family member, and spread his agony by killing eight people and injuring others. My prayers have gone up for the dead, their families, and the rest of us witnessing this tragedy.

Some will condemn the young many as a monster, others will paint him as a victim.

Some will blame the gun, some will blame the State, and some will blame the parents. I wonder how many will blame the video games he played and other entertainment choices?

One of the first details about the shooter is how he was a nice kid who liked to drink alcohol, smoke pot, and play video games. I'm not a psychologist, but I have first-hand experience with ADD, depression, self-medication, and substance abuse. Here's my theory, and one that will likely never be seriously entertained: The shooter drank, smoked, and played video games to self-medicate his condition. When put through the tremendous upheaval of a romance and job, he needed to escalate the intensity of his self-medication. A mood swing that, in the past, was treated with a few hours of Halo or Splinter Cell, now required a live shooting rampage to deal with.

Despite years of tax-payer funded mental health treatment, it seems this young man was still completely unequipped to deal with his frustrations. I've always had a sneaking suspicion that mental health professionals are just fronts for the big pharmaceutical companies, pushing pills and feel-good platitudes about self-actualization(gratification). But I'll stop there.

Another thing, which screams out from this episode: If you are not ready to meet your maker right now, get ready today, as you may not get another chance. Whatever preparations your faith demands, get them done, be it reconciliation, confession, prayer, repentance, or any other act of contrition and penitence. Do it today!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Two Years

Wow, I've been blogging for two years, time sure flies when you're wasting time. Here are some of my favorite posts from the last two years:

The Invincible Poor
Discernment in Progress...
I've gone after the public utterances of certain "catholic" theologians.
My idea of what to do with disordered priests.
A reminder to myself and other Catholic Bloggers.
I've used Monty Python sketchs to illustrate points about Women's Ordination and Gay Identity.
And I've done more than a couple posts about the plight of christians in China, and how our consumerism enables the Maoist government to repress the people.

And my favorite visual statement:

Not really food

Not really marriage


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Spe Salvi

Just in time for Advent, Pope Benedict XVI releases an encyclical on hope.

Here too we see as a distinguishing mark of Christians the fact that they have a future: it is not that they know the details of what awaits them, but they know in general terms that their life will not end in emptiness. Only when the future is certain as a positive reality does it become possible to live the present as well.

Speaking of certain futures, there's Microsoft's continuing disaster called 'Vista':