Friday, January 27, 2012

Fraternity Tonight!

Due to Christmas and bad weather, my fraternity hasn't met since early December. We meet tonight.

I've missed being with my fellow Franciscans, for the community, and for the prayers and study that we do. I've been professed for six months now, and it still seems so fresh and exciting.

Honeymoon? I hope it never ends.

Pax et bonum

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A change in the Secular Franciscans

I just got word that along with recent changes in the Mass to conform with the Latin original, the same thing is happening with the acronym for the Secular Franciscan Order. Going back to the official Latin name of the order - Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis, we should use the acronym OFS after our names, not the SFO we had been using.

Here's the official statment:


1. The official name of the Order is Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis.

2. Translations of the name of the Order

2.1. The translation of the name of the Order is already made in the four official languages, and these are the ones to be used in these languages, namely in Italian, in English, in Spanish and in French.

2.2. The name can be translated into local languages only when the literal translation from Latin is easily understandable even by the civil society and does not change its meaning or substance.

2.3. When the translation into the national language distorts the meaning of the name, or is linguistically impossible to transfer the genuine meaning, Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis must always be used, which can be followed by expressions to clarify and make more understandable the nature of the Secular Franciscan Order to everyone in the local language.

3. The acronym

The acronym which refers to the name Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis is OFS and is always to be used regardless of the language. For example, when Secular Franciscans use the acronym after their name, they must use “OFS”.

Encarnación del Pozo, OFS
General Minister

(Good thing I didn't order those new checks yet!)

Pax et bonum

Sunday, January 22, 2012

at Planned Parenthood

at Planned Parenthood
a sign for people they strive
to eliminate

While praying outside Planned Parenthood yesterday, I witnessed somthing happen twice that got me thinking.

A woman drove into the small parking lot and pulled into a spot reserved for those with some handicap or disability. She immediately backed out of the spot and went to another, more distant parking area that serves the building housing Planned Parenthood. She then walked into Planned Parenthood's office.

A few moments later, the exact same thing happened again.

It occurred to me that those two women - I don't know if they were staff, volunteers, or victims of Planned Parenthood - were so scrupulous about heeding the parking laws when it comes to those with disabilities and handicaps, yet they were going into the office of an organization that supports the right of women to abort babies who show any indications they might have some handicap or disability.

I've read recently, for example, of the sudden decrease in the number of children with Down Syndrome being born. When genetic testing indicates the babies have this condition, they are being aborted. For how many other conditions is this happening?

There will always be people who because of age or accident will require such reserved parking spots. But many other people who could make use of them will simply not be allowed to be born.

And how long before Planned Parenthood begins to support the elimination of even those other individuals for the good and purity of society?

Pax et bonum

Monday, January 16, 2012

With Chesterton You Get Egg Rolls?

Chesterton and Chinese buffets may seem to have no connections, but one occurred to me this morning.

I was reading a recently published collection of the best Chesterton essays when the food at a local Chinese restaurant popped into my head.

It's not that I was suddenly hungry for some Chinese food.

Nor was I thinking about Chesterton's dining habits. I have doubts that Chesterton ever ate what we think of as Chinese food - though I don't know that for certain. Maybe he did enjoy an egg roll or some chow mein at some point.

The restaurant in question seems to do most of its business through its buffet. It has four rows of various Chinese and non-Chinese foods - unless the Chinese invented pizza - with heated pans and heat lights. Most diners just grab plates and wander up and down the rows taking a little bit of this and a little bit of that, though there are always some individuals who grab a lot of this and a lot of that until their plates are piled so high one wonders how much of the food will actually make it to their tables.

Being a habitual observer, during one visit to the restaurant I began to reflect on differing styles of enjoying a buffet of this sort. I saw some people who would go to one row, fill their plates from that row only, and then head back to their seats to eat. When they finished their first plate they would then go back and load up from the second row, and so on, in order until they had visited each row. Did some of them methodically take a little bit of everything? Perhaps.

Then there are those who circulated among the rows, taking this from this row and that from that row. When they went back, they continued the pattern. Perhaps they had favorites and only ate those foods. Perhaps they were afraid to try new things. Or perhaps they were like me, vegetarians who avoid meat dishes.

Recalling this restaurant got me to musing about reading styles when approaching collections of any sort.

There are some people who seem to enjoy by sampling pieces in various sections of a collection. Perhaps they seek out particular topics or writers, or maybe they just trust to luck and read whatever they come to that captures their interest.

There are some collections that lend themselves to this sort of sampling.

Then there are those people who methodically work their way through the collection from preface to index.

There are some collections that lend themselves to this approach.

Both methods have their pluses and minuses.

The sampling method ensures that one will enjoy what one reads for such readers tend to gravitate toward those things for which they already have an interest.

But in doing so, such readers might miss out on gems that just didn't happen to catch their attention.

The methodical readers take in everything the collection contains, good and bad, and thus might have a complete understanding of the organizing principle behind the collection, and along the way perhaps discover unknown treasures and nuggets of information they might otherwise never have encountered.

On the other hand, they might also run into a patch of less interesting pieces that might lead them to stop reading.

When it comes to Chesterton, either approach is acceptable. You can just plunge in and sample as the spirit moves you. Or you can work your way through from beginning to end, knowing that because it is Chesterton there won't be any less interesting pieces to get you questioning whether or not to go on.

When it comes to the restaurant - and many collections - I tend to be a sampler.

With this collection of Chesterton, I'm going the cover-to-cover route.

Either way works well when accompanied by a nice cup of tea.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Reading - Hopkins and Dickens

Amid all the school work - and the sickness that now has me on antibiotics - I did manage to squeeze in some good reading.

First up was Exiles, by Ron Hansen, and interesting account of Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins and the five nuns that became the inspiration for his poem, "The Wreck of the Deutschland." I've always enjoyed historical "fiction," and this gave me some insights into his life. Good read.

I also just finished (while sitting in the doctor's waiting room) The Man Who Invented Christmas, by Les Standiford. It's an account of Dickens' writing A Christmas Carol, and the effects it had on his career and how the book helped to revive the celebration of Christmas. Also a good read - especially for fans of Dickens and Christmas (like me).

Two thumbs up.

Now, more Chesterton essays.

Pax et bonum

Dueling Bagpipes! (Wait for it...)

Pax et bonum


I've got one of those colds that descended into the lungs. Cough. Cough. Gurgle. Hmm. Maybe a visit to the doctor is in order.

I regretfully decided that going to Planned Parenthood in today's snow and cold is not wise. I'll say a rosary at home instead.

Plus, Rock of Faith is providing the music for Mass tomorrow - so that means set-up tonight. And playing tomorrow.

Oh, and I have to finish grading two sets of papers and preparing two midterm exams.

Then there are those student journals sitting on my desk at school, and the school newspaper waiting a final proofread before going to the printer.

Not a good time to get sick!

Pax et bonum

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Justice and Peace

Today is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. It is also the World Day of Justice and Peace.

In his message for this day, Pope Benedict speaks directly to young people and to the need for justice. Indeed, justice is needed to produce true peace. But, he onbserves, our world too often fails to understand justice.

"In this world of ours, "Pope Benedict write, "in which, despite the profession of good intentions, the value of the person, of human dignity and human rights is seriously threatened by the widespread tendency to have recourse exclusively to the criteria of utility, profit and material possessions, it is important not to detach the concept of justice from its transcendent roots. Justice, indeed, is not simply a human convention, since what is just is ultimately determined not by positive law, but by the profound identity of the human being. It is the integral vision of man that saves us from falling into a contractual conception of justice and enables us to locate justice within the horizon of solidarity and love.

"We cannot ignore the fact that some currents of modern culture, built upon rationalist and individualist economic principles, have cut off the concept of justice from its transcendent roots, detaching it from charity and solidarity: "The ‘earthly city’ is promoted not merely by relationships of rights and duties, but to an even greater and more fundamental extent by relationships of gratuitousness, mercy and communion. Charity always manifests God’s love in human relationships as well, it gives theological and salvific value to all commitment for justice in the world."

"Peace, however, is not merely a gift to be received: it is also a task to be undertaken," he observes. "In order to be true peacemakers, we must educate ourselves in compassion, solidarity, working together, fraternity, in being active within the community and concerned to raise awareness about national and international issues and the importance of seeking adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth, the promotion of growth, cooperation for development and conflict resolution."


There's much more. Got to Zenit for the full text.

Pax et bonum