Bloggerhood Etc. 10/7/13

Giants run through Eagles in Madden.

Image: Jon Bois/SB Nation

This week’s list begins with an unusual category, before continuing on to some more typical ones. Here we go!

Best Chance the Giants Have to Win a Game This Season.Breaking Madden: In which the Eagles get drunk and give up 2,400 yards in a single game” by Jon Bois at SB Nation.

I. WE GIVE THE GIANTS THE BEST OFFENSIVE LINE IN THE HISTORY OF FOOTBALL. I released all of the Giants’ starting offensive linemen and replaced them with seven-foot-tall monsters …

II. WE GIVE THE GIANTS THE BEST RUNNING BACK COMMITTEE IN THE HISTORY OF FOOTBALL. David Wilson and friends are gone. This is the Giants’ new running back depth chart: Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Jamaal Charles, (and) LeSean McCoy …

III. WE GET THE EAGLES DRUNK.

The result? 231 points and 2,458 rushing yards in one game! Meanwhile, in real life, the not-so-giant Giants lost to the sober Eagles 36-21.

Best Parenting Post.Two Tales Involving 350 Kids, Entitlement and Lessons in Parenting and Life” by Cornelia Seigneur at The Huffington Post.

Our children will make mistakes. They are not perfect, and we need to own up to that. Heck, we are not either, right? That is OK. It does not mean we, as parents are bad people. It just means our kids are human and like all human beings, they too need to own up to their mistakes.

One of the most important responsibilities of a parent I feel is to teach our children how to say sorry. It is amazing the healing that takes place in our lives and the lives of others, as human beings, when the words “sorry” are communicated.

Best Repost.Caregiver Beatitudes” by Robert Anthony Martin at Abnormal Anabaptist.

In the summer of 2012, my wife and I began a rather interesting journey together.  And by “interesting” I mean the same sort of “interesting” that is implied in the ancient apocryphal Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times”. You see, my wife was diagnosed in July 2012 with (to use the medical techno-geeky terminology) Type II invasive ductal carcinoma.  For those of you less involved in the whole process, this is breast cancer.

A year later, she is a breast-cancer survivor.

Best Photo Essay.A Brief History of the Computer” at Time Magazine.

ENIAC, 1946

Photo: Jerry Cooke/Corbis

Best Review of an Awful Album.We Will Rock You: Miley Cyrus’ New Record Is F**king Horrible” by Jon Hunt at l’etoile.

I keep trying to think of a metaphor for this thing, and I keep coming back to this: a clown farting. That’s an utterly witless metaphor, so let me explain. Just imagine — the guy puts on his clown suit and his big red shoes in order to entertain a crowd of engaged children. And instead of producing humor, even of the horn-honking, capering variety, he just blats away loudly. Maybe he ate some beans that day, or just some bad eggs at breakfast. Farts are occasionally funny, at the lowest possible level — we’ve all laughed at them at some point in our life — but an explosion of gas caused by stomach upset isn’t funny, it’s just loud and awful and slightly painful. Just imagine the guy, standing there in his clown suit, frown on his face, unable to stop farting. That’s this album.

Best Question. About 15% of Americans live in poverty, so why is no one talking about it?” by Daniel A. Medina in The Guardian.

In a nation where, according to the US Census Bureau’s poverty statistics released last month, 46.5 million people (roughly 15%) of the nation’s population lives in poverty, the idea that the media would not cover such a pressing human interest story because of financial troubles is misguided, if not inexcusable. It represents a failure on the part of the industry in fulfilling its role in serving the public interest.

Favorite Saint Namesake.Pope Francis’ homily during Mass in Assisi [Full text]” transcribed by Catherine Harmon in Catholic World Report (translation by Vatican Radio).

Franciscan peace is not something saccharine. Hardly! That is not the real Saint Francis! Nor is it a kind of pantheistic harmony with forces of the cosmos … The peace of Saint Francis is the peace of Christ.

Benedict may still be my favorite saint, but Francis is my favorite pope. May God bless him and grant him a long ministry.

Best Video.Johnny T’s NYC Tourist Tips” by Glove and Boots (via YouTube).

“Welcome to New York City … (now) get out of the way!”

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Praying With Your Fingers

Red hand print

Image via Google search

This is an easy way to help your kids remember their intentions as they pray.  Pope Francis used this memory aid with children while he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and it has since caught on as “Pope Francis’ Prayer.” It’s also known as the “Five-Finger Prayer.” This version was edited by Father James Martin S.J.

  1. The thumb: The thumb is the closest finger to you. So start praying for those who are closest to you. They are the persons easiest to remember—your family and your friends. To pray for the people we love is a “sweet obligation.”
  2. The next finger is the index finger. Pray for those who teach you, instruct you and heal you. They need the support and wisdom to show direction to others. Always keep them in your prayers.
  3. The following finger is the tallest. It reminds us of our leaders: the presidents, kings, governors, mayors, and all those who have authority. They need God’s guidance.
  4. The fourth finger is the ring finger. Even though it may surprise you, this is the weakest of all your fingers. It should remind us to pray for the weakest, the sick, the poor, or those who face many problems. They need your prayers.
  5. Finally you have your smallest finger—the smallest of them all. Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. When you are finished praying for the other four groups, you will be able to see your own needs, but in the right perspective, and also you will be able to pray for your own needs in a better way.

Amen.

Laminated prayer card available via Paraclete Press.

Bloggerhood Etc. 9/23/13

Pope Francis

CNS Photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters.

Best Interview.A Big Heart Open to God,” the exclusive interview with Pope Francis by Antonio Spadero, S.J. in America. An in-depth profile of a beloved man of God, and a huge coup for our country’s oldest Jesuit publication.

Best Counter Argument Based Solely on Facts.Have the People Spoken?” by Rick Reilly at ESPN.com. If you listened only to a handful of vocal sports writers, politicians, and Native American activists, you would think the Redskins name-change debate was settled. But knowing the history of the word, how the team got the name, and the opinion of the vast majority of Native Americans, you would be wrong. This is a far more complicated issue than you’ve been led to believe.

Best (and Most Depressing) Infographic.Watch the growth of U.S. income inequality with this animated map” by John Voorheis at The Washington Post’s Wonkblog (via Keep Oregon Working). Not sure how civil society can survive this trajectory if we keep going the way we’re going.

Most Heartbreaking.Whistling Vivaldi Won’t Save You” by Tressie McMillan Cottom in Slate.

Last week, Jonathan Ferrell, a former Florida A&M football player who recently moved to the Charlotte, N.C., area to be with his fiancée, had a horrible car crash. The 24-year-old broke out the back window to escape and walked, injured, to knock on the nearest door for help. Now, Ferrell is dead. The neighbor he asked for aid called 911 (“He is trying to kick down my door,” she cried on the phone), and one of the responding police officers shot the unarmed Ferrell 10 times.

Ferrell, who was African-American, may have been too hurt, too in shock, to remember to whistle Vivaldi to signal he was a victim and not a threat.

So much for “post-racial America.”

Best Commentary.Shattering Myths About Homelessness” by Herb Johnson in The San Diego Union Tribune. They aren’t who you think they are.

Best Question.Why Do We Always Specify the Gender of a Stay-at-Home Parent?” by Kathleen Hogan at The Huffington Post. And will the time come when we won’t anymore? I hope so.

Biggest Contradiction.Hating the Poor but Loving Jesus?” by Craig M. Watts at Red Letter Christians. “Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.” (Matthew 25:45) Jesus’ words, not mine.

And after a short hiatus, the Internet’s favorite puppets are back!

Funniest Video. “Product Testing” by Glove and Boots (via YouTube).

“They might not be crap, but today we find out if they are!”

They are.

Quote

The Gate is Never Closed

Pope francis

Photo: News.va

“(Jesus) is the gate. He is the gateway to salvation. He leads us to the Father. And the gate that is Jesus is never closed, this gate is never closed, it is always open and open to everyone, without distinction, without exclusions, without privileges. Because, you know, Jesus does not exclude anyone. Some of you might say to me, ‘But Father, surely I am excluded, because I am a great sinner. I have done so many things in my life.’ No, you are not excluded! Precisely for that reason you are preferred, because Jesus prefers the sinner, always, in order to pardon him, to love him. Jesus is waiting for you, to embrace you, to pardon you. Don’t be afraid: He’s waiting for you. Be lively, have the courage to enter through His gate. All are invited to pass through this gate, to pass through the gate of faith, to enter into His life, and to allow Him to enter into our life, because He transforms it, renews it, the gifts of full and lasting joy.”

—Pope Francis. Sunday Angelus (Aug. 25 2013)

Balance (one word 2013)
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A Continuing Quest for Balance

Pope Francis, in his Sunday Angelus message, eloquently describes the “balance” that has been my elusive goal this year.

The reading of the 10th chapter of the evangelist Luke continues this Sunday too. Today’s passage is the one about Martha and Mary. Who are these two women? Martha and Mary, sisters of Lazarus, are relatives and faithful disciples of the Lord, who lived in Bethany. St. Luke described them in this way: Mary, at Jesus’ feet, “listened to his word,” while Martha was busy with a lot serving (cf. Luke 10:39-40). Both offer welcome to the Lord as he is traveling, but in different ways. Mary sits at Jesus’ feet, listening. But Martha lets herself be absorbed by the things that need to be prepared and in so busy that she turns to Jesus saying: “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me” (7:40). And Jesus responds rebuking her with sweetness. “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her” (10:41).

What does Jesus wish to say? What is this one thing that we need? Above all it is important to understand that it is not a matter of contrasting two attitudes: listening to the Lord’s word, contemplation, and concrete service to our neighbor. They are not two opposed attitudes but, on the contrary, they are two aspects that are both essential for our Christian life; aspects that must never be separated but lived in profound unity and harmony. So why does Martha receive the rebuke even if it is done with sweetness? Because she took only what she was doing to be essential, she was too absorbed and worried about things to “do.” For a Christian, the works of service and charity are never detached from the principle source of our action: that is, listening to the Word of the Lord, sitting – like Mary – at Jesus’ feet in the attitude of a disciple. And for this reason (Martha) is rebuked.

In our Christian life too prayer and action are always profoundly united. Prayer that does not lead to concrete action toward a brother who is poor, sick, in need of help, the brother in difficulty, is a sterile and incomplete prayer. But, in the same way, when in ecclesial service we are only concerned with doing, we give greater weight to things, functions, structures, and we forget the centrality of Christ; we do not set aside time for dialogue with him in prayer, we are in risk of serving ourselves and not God present in our needy brother. St. Benedict took up the way of life that he summed up for his monks in two words: “ora et labora,” pray and work. It is from contemplation, from a strong relationship of friendship with the Lord that there is borne in us the capacity to live and bear God’s love, his mercy, his tenderness to others. It is also our work with our needy brother, our labor of charity in works of mercy, that brings us to the Lord because we see the Lord in our needy brother and sister.

(Unofficial translation: Joseph Trabbic of the ZENIT News Service, via  Thomas Rosica of Salt & Light TV and Father James Martin, SJ.)

Each day, I will get up and try again. And each day I will fail a little bit less until I finally succeed. At least for one day. And then I’ll try for two.

Video via the Vatican’s YouTube Channel.

Bloggerhood Etc. 7/8/13

Silhouette on a hilltop

Photo: Pixabay

Here are my favorite posts from last week, in no particular order.

Best Guest Post. “I Won’t Die on that Mountain: A Love Letter to the LGBTQ Community” by Natalie Trust at The Registered Runaway.

Most Insightful. “The ‘Online’ vs. ‘Real Life’ Myth” by Bethany Suckrow on She Writes & Rights.

Best Open Letter. “An Open Letter to the Worst Wax Museum in America” by Jamie Lee Curtis Taete on Vice.

Best Essay. “There Are Things of Which I May Not Speak” by Anne Helen Petersen on The Toast.

Best Admission by an Atheist. “It’s Time to Admit: Pope Francis is Kind of Awesome” by Stephen Marche in Esquire.

Best Epiphany. “Exalting the moment of conversion over the way of conversion {and why BOTH are needed}” by Elizabeth Esther.

Funniest Post. “Activision Reports Sluggish Sales For Sousaphone Hero in The Onion.

And a special bonus for today . . .

Most Bewildering Google Doodle. “Roswell” at Google.com. I couldn’t figure it out without help.

Check out the comments for other solutions.

Halfway to Christmas

Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Jacopo Pontormo, The Nativity of St. John the Baptist (1526)

A post by Fr. Scott Hurd on the approximate midpoint between Christmases, the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist celebrated yesterday in churches around the world.

Today we celebrate the birthday of St. John the Baptist. We don’t decorate trees, send cards, or exchange presents as we do on Christmas. But I don’t think that John the Baptist minds that his birthday is celebrated with less fanfare than that of our Lord. You’ll recall that he once said about Jesus: “He must increase, but I must decrease” . . .

John the Baptist knew that his mission was to prepare the way for Jesus. He lived his life, not to promote himself, but to promote the Lord. In this, John the Baptist is an important witness for us and challenges our society’s preoccupation with self-promotion. He reminds us that Christians shouldn’t aspire to be a celebrity, but should strive to be a servant. We should live lives that shout not “Look at me!” but “Look to Jesus.”

With Christmas still six months away, it may seem strange that the Church calendar reminds us now of its approach, but I’m glad for it. The decorations, sales, and incessant commercialization of this day is still months away, and maybe now is a good time to reflect upon its original meaning. I wrote about this last year on December 23, as the frantic “Holiday Season” was nearing its thankful close.

Emmanuel: God with us. This is the meaning of Christmas. In a cave—which is what the “stable” in Bethlehem really was—born to a poor teenaged girl: a powerless child of a powerless mother in the shadow of the most powerful empire the world had ever known.

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