Saturday, February 28, 2009

Audio Prayers

I made these over at ispeech.org. I was tired of just listening to talk radio in the car on the way to work in the morning, and often when I get to work I would forget to say my morning prayers. I've been slowly adding some prayers to a kind of audio library that helps me to keep focused. Click here, or on the orange headphone image, to download a zipped file of all the prayers in mp3 format.

Prayers at the start of your day (Aka Morning Prayers)


Morning Offering:
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of your sacred heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sin, the reunion of all Christians. I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and of all the apostles of prayer, and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month.

Act of Faith:
My God, I firmly believe that You are one God in three Divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I believe that your Divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the holy Catholic Church reaches, because You have revealed them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.

Act of Hope:
O my God, relying on your infinite goodness and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, and help of your grace, and life everlasting through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.

Act of Love:
Act of Love, O my God, I love You above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because You are all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of You. I forgive all who have offended me, and I ask pardon for those I have offended.

Prayer for Generosity:
Dear Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve You as You deserve; to give and not count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not ask for reward, except that of knowing that I am doing Your will.

Prayer for Calm:
My Lord and my God, I do not know what will happen to me today, but what I do know is that nothing will happen to me today that you and I together can not handle. This thought is enough to bring me to face the day in peace. I adore you in your wisdom and love. I commend myself into your hands with complete trust.


Prayers at the End of your day (Aka Night Prayers Prayers)
There are more than this, but this is all I have at the moment.

The Examination (of Conscience) This is a link to the Mp.3 file from Pray-as-you-go.org of a lady leading an Examination. I do not recommend everything on this site, but I found this file helpful. I sometimes use it in class with my 8th graders. It allows me to pray and keep an eye on my students.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Biblioteca de la Florecita

A dear college friend of mine, Emily, became a missionary down in Comayagua, Honduras with the Missioners of Christ after graduating college last year. Recently the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal have provided her with space to start a community library. This library is geared toward the school children in the community that do not have access to the nearest public library. Here is the link to the project page for the library. More detailed info can be found there.

She and the Franciscans are to the point where they need to start filling the library with books. Sadly, purchasing mass quantities of books can be very expensive. Emily, has set up an Amazon wish list, which can be found here, for a number of books and other odd items needed in the library (like globes and such). Since the library is in Honduras, it is necessary for the books to be in a Spanish or in a Spanish/English edition. If you know of anyone who happens to have such books lying around the house and feels the urge to donate them via mail to the Missioners of Christ for the community library, which they are calling The Library of the Little Flower, Emily has put a mailing address on the project page.

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

Happy Inappropriate Card Day


The top image is the outside of the card. The bottom is the inside of the card. Nothing says 'inappropriate' like a little cannibalism.

On Marriage and Sex

"You don't get married to get sex. Getting married to get sex is like buying a 747 to get free peanuts."
-Jeff Foxworthy

I Can Heard Dat!

Train Horns

Created by Train Horns



I'm not sure what this means as I am not a teenager and people over 25 are not supposed to be able to hear the sound. Hmmm.

Coffee Shops Gone Wild

All I have to say is that your coffee must REALLY REALLY REALLY SUCK if you have to stoop this low in order to sell coffee. Then again, I guess sex sells anything. I wish this was fake news.

From the Article:
VASSALBORO, Maine—A topless coffee shop that raised the ire of many residents of a small central Maine town is open for business.

The Grand View Topless Coffee Shop, located at the site of the former Grand View Motel, opened its doors Monday on busy Route 3 in Vassalboro. A sign outside says, "Over 18 only." Another says, "No cameras, no touching, cash only."

On Tuesday, two men sipped coffee at a booth while three topless waitresses and a bare-chested waiter stood nearby. Topless waitress Susie Wiley said men, women and couples have stopped by.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Swift Kick In The Ash: What Do Those Ash Wednesday Ashes Mean?


Personally, I’m kind of tired of the same boring Ash Wednesday articles that nearly every catholic periodical publishes every year. You know, the passively written ones that don’t really give you any information that one does not already know usually written by a well-intentioned deacon.

So here is a quick rundown to try to help someone get a better understanding of Ash Wednesday:

Origin of the use of ashes:
To look at scripture it appears that the use of ashes in a variety of ways was already well established at the penning of the texts that mention the use of ashes. That is, the reader or hearer of the text already knows what is meant by the different uses and mentions of ashes. The use of ashes can be found outside the Judeao-Christian faiths. Homor mentions Odysseus sitting in ashes in the Illiad. Also, the ancient Persians had a custom of punishment where the condemned was stifled and executed in a pile of ashes until the condemned was dead. However, the origin of the different meanings of the use of ashes seems to be lost in history.

Luckily, how something is used often helps in discovering the meaning(s) of what is being used. In this case Ashes. The use of ashes in scripture are many. Here are a few uses. It is best to read the context for the full meaning of the quote.

To expresses human frailty/insignificance:
Genesis 18:27 – “Abraham answered, "Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes.”

To Express Humiliation and Repentence:
Ester 4:1 – “When Mor'decai learned all that had been done, Mor'decai rent his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, wailing with a loud and bitter cry;”

Johna 3:6 – “1. Then tidings reached the king of Nin'eveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.”

Job 42:
-- “therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes."

Ashes used as a Mode of Purification: (This one might seem odd, but it makes perfect sense. What remains after a fire is finished has been cleansed by fire and is some of the cleanest matter on earth. Likewise, there are backbackers who still use ashes and the cold coals from their fires as an abrasive to brush their teeth because the ashes are clean.)

Numbers 19:9
-- “And a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place; and they shall be kept for the congregation of the people of Israel for the water for impurity, for the removal of sin.”

Numbers 19:17 – “For the unclean they shall take some ashes of the burnt sin offering, and running water shall be added in a vessel”
(The ashes of the Red Heifer were to be placed outside of town as a perpetual statute of the removal of sins for both the Jews and travelers.)

Hebrews 8:13 – “For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh”

A sign of mourning
Job 2:8 – “And he took a potsherd with which to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes.”

Remember scripture as well as sacraments and sacramentals have a multilayered meaning. That is to say, scripture, sacraments, and sacramentals have multiple simultaneous meanings. So it is very likely that the ashes for ashes from Ash Wednesday contain all the aboving meanings and expressions: though only one might be emphasized.

Other things the Jews used ashes for that we never hear about but I am certain have some kind of theological implication are listed below. Sadly, I don’t have the time to figure out what the theological implications are at the moments as I am writing this post very quickly.
  1. On High festivals the ashes of the burnt offerings were allowed to remain as an ornament (Mishna, Tamid, 2:2)
  2. The Altar of the burnt offering was never to be completely cleaned of all the ashes. Some of the ashes were meant to remain. (probably as some kind of sign for something).
  3. Ashes from the incense were used to clean the candlestick (I’m assuimg this means the menorah.) (Mishna, Talmid3:9; 5:1; 1:4).
  4. The Ark was covered in ashes and ashes were sprinkled on the heads of persons on days of fasting. (Taamith 2,1)
  5. After the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem, the bride and bridegroom had ashes sprinkled upon them as a sign of mourning for the loss of Jerusalem and the temple during the height of their happiness.
  6. In memory of the loss of Jerusalem and the Temple the Jews also ate bread sprinkled with Ashes at the last meal before the fast-day of the Ninth of Ab (Yer. Ta'an. iv. 69c; Lam. R. to iii. 16; ShulḦan 'Aruk, OraḦ Ḥayyim, 552, 6 gloss). This one is especially interesting as scripture mentions in a number of places the consuming of ashes as food as to imply that they are eating the bread of humiliation and drink of affliction.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Chocolate Companies Face Economic Woes During Lent This Year

New Orleans, LA -- As Bourbon Street is cleared by the mounted police officers at midnight on Wednesday morning, signaling the end of the carnival season, millions of Americans will begin their Lenten fasts. Though the fast can come in many forms, it often comes in a person giving up some kind of culinary delight. Native New Orleanian and avid carnival goer, Charline Babaneaux, said without hesitation that this Lenten season she would be giving up, "chocolate."

This is no surprise to Daniel Smith, Coordinator of Survey for the Lenten Survey Group, who recently surveyed 10,000 people of various faiths, nationalities, gender, sex, races, elasticities, colors, colds, and provinces and discovered that 75% of those surveyed said they would be giving up chocolate this Lenten season. "It is no surprise," said Daniel Smith. "Chocolate is a wondrous food. At one time in history it was thought to have been a gift from the gods. With the flavinoids, caffeine boost, and sensual tastes, what greater culinary delicacy and delight can one possibly fast from during Lent? I can think of none."

However, the recent finding by the Lenten Survey Group have chocolate makers frowning all over the nation. With the economy in decline and no mention of bailout for chocolate companies in the recent stimulus package, chocolate companies are having to find other ways to stay afloat this Lenten season. A spokesperson for the Big and Rich Chocolate Company had the following to say: "Since we the chocolate industry of America are not privy to any of the stimulus money from President Obama, we are deriving clever and creative ways to keep the chocolate industry of America moving forward. Our first idea was to push Carob this Lenten season. However, on further examination of the issue, it was deemed that Carob was not in keeping with the spirit of Lent for those whom fast from Chocolate. Our second thought is to turn the chocolate bean into a high grade bio fuel. Another idea is to promote an underground vice campaign where we suggest that people give up real vices as opposed to things that they only think are vices: addiction, gluttony, pride, sloth, greed and the utilitarian use of others to name a few vices worthy of fasting from this season. Perhaps a person can give up watching TV during Lent or maybe fasting from beer can be an option for some. Then again, maybe a person can give up being lazy and start exercising. The last one posts many benefits to not only one's own health the also provides the opportunity and ability for one to consume more chocolate without all the guilt associated with it."

Whatever the outcome of Lent, the economic downturns, and chocolate companies one thing is for certain, come the end of Lent there is always a sweet treat in someone's basket.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Catholic Q & A: Ask a Question and Get a Catholic Response

From a student in class:

Q: How do you know if you can live with someone "forever" without testing it out? Shouldn't you at least try on the shoe before you buy it?
A: For the first question. That is partly what dating is for. Dating is the process we use to test, and I do mean test, another person to determine if the other person has the qualities one looks for in a spouse. What is necessary during the dating process and also when once marriage occurs is greater open communication. By having those open lines of communication during the dating process it gives both the guy and girl a better idea if they would want to live "forever" with the person they are dating. Sadly too many of us are afraid to be ourselves during the dating process. Hence, if you can't be yourself in front of the person you are dating, then it is probably a good sign you should not spend "forever" with that person. Another sure sign depends on whether or not the person you are dating is building you up or is slowing tearing you down. Is he or she helping you overcome those bad habits or is she driving you further into them? In other words, if he or she is tearing you down, then that is a tell tale sign that you probably should not spend "forever" with that person. Also, ask any married person and they will tell you that you never do fully know your spouse. That is, every person, no matter how close you come to them or how long you live with them, is always and will always be an ineffable mystery.

As for the second question. You must remember that whether dating or hanging out or just friends or even married, you are not dealing with an inanimate object like a shoe or cane. Dating and marriage is about a reciprocal relationship. You cannot have a reciprocal relationship with a shoe. People aren't things you try on or try out. What I'm saying here is to view a dating relationship as something you try on or try out is only opening the door for one person to use and then loose the other person. That is, this utilitarian view of dating only sets up one party, if not both, to be hurt. People have feelings and emotions. When was the last time your shoes cried themselves to sleep because you decided to get a new pair?

Lastly, one must always remember that love is an act of the will. It can certainly be prompted by feeling and emotions -- and often it is -- though relationships are not to be built solely on feelings and emotions. There is no feeling or emotion of commitment, a necessary element for love of any kind.

Hope

I was going to make this myself from the ground up, but I found a website that did a decent job on it with out me having to go through all the trouble of fooling with Photoshop and Illustrator. The site is Obamicon.me.

Thanks to Marc D. For the idea and showing me the website.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pro-Lifers Need Not Apply

Interesting News. From Article:
TORONTO, February 11, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - 12-year-old "Lia" of Toronto has become a star at her school and on Youtube with her five-minute pro-life speech, crafted for a school competition. Despite discouragement and outright opposition, Lia's presentation was so well done that she reportedly won the contest she was told she would be disqualified from, due to the "controversial" message of her speech. . . .

While the family espouses pro-life Christian values, "it's not like we're out every weekend picketing," she said. "It was just something really deep in her heart, and she just felt really passionate about it." She added: "I kind of snicker when I see people on the Youtube video [comment box] saying 'Oh, her mother forced her to do this' - I'm like, 'No, I'm on the other end, trying to make her pick another topic!'

"But she was just really passionate about it, and she has her research on it," said the mother. "I really believe it's just something that God put in her heart."
Apparently the comments got really nasty and one of the YouTube.com moderators closed the comment section on the video. The moderator wrote:
We apologize for turning off the commenting functionality. This was not to stop genuine discussion or debate on the issue but was, rather, a response to the cowardly who used it as an opportunity to throw insults and threats at a young girl that they hated without reason. Thank-you to everyone who, whether in agreement or not, has responded in a respectful manner.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Student's Blog and Free Speach

This is very interesting. From the Article:
CONNECTICUT— A U.S. District Court judge ruled Thursday that a student had not clearly established her First Amendment right to criticize her principal in an off-campus blog that used coarse language, denying the student a trial on her claim.

"Off-campus speech can become on-campus speech with the click of a mouse," wrote Judge Mark Kravitz, defending school officials who could not reasonably be expected "to predict where the line between on- and off-campus speech will be drawn in this new digital era."

What I find interesting about this case is that as an educator it is assumed that I will be teaching students not only facts and information but also how to be respectful of others. Yet, people object, especially parents because their kid is always the angel, when you hold the student responsible for their actions. What is really sad is that hardly no one knows what freedom is anymore. Granted the student might have the power to say what she wants about her principal, but she must claim responsibility for those actions and words she wrote about her principal (as part of freedom means claiming responsibility for one's actions). I am not a lawyer, but I'm am pretty certain that slander is not protected by the first amendment without first proving that it is true. In other words , when she called her principal a "douche bag" she must first prove that is a hygienic implement used by women on a certain unmentioned private body part.

Personally, I think I would have had the student rewrite her blog post in a way that was more specific and to the point that explained what she meant by the term "douche bag." For instance, when one of my students says that an assignment is "gay", which is a very common occurrence, I like to question them: "What do you mean by that? How is the assignment gay? Do you mean happy? Is the assignment happy? Or does it make you happy? Do you mean to say that the assignment is homosexual? Have you seen the assignment engaging in sexual relations with another assignment of the same sex or gender?" Often the student just sheepishly replies, "No. It's just dumb. I don't understand it." Which I usually reply, "Then say what you mean and stop using such vague terms."


Saturday, February 14, 2009

What the News Never Tells Us: 4 Other Economic Woes that America Came out of Without Stimulus Help

From the Article:

1. The Panic of 1873: America Stops Horsing Around

During the late 19th century, the American economy relied on horses the way it depends on gas today. Horses unloaded cargo from ports, transported goods from city to city, worked the farms, supported the army, and served as the emergency vehicles of choice. Without them, the American workforce would have ground to a halt.

And that’s exactly what happened in 1872, when an estimated 99 percent of all horses in America contracted equine influenza. . . . At the height of the panic, as many as 20,000 businesses failed, a third of all railroads went bankrupt, and unemployment spiked to almost 15 percent.

Why Go to Church?

From the Email Bag:

A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. "I've gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them. So, I think I'm wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all."

This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:


"I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this.. They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!" When you are DOWN to nothing... God is UP to something! Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible! Thank God for our physical AND our spiritual nourishment!

10 Lessons You Will NOT See in My Classroom

1. Molding your soul out of clay.
2. Jesus was only a nice man.
3. Jesus doesn't want you to change. He loves you just as you are.
4. It's all about feeling good on the inside.
5. The goddess.
6. FELT BANNERS ROCK!
7. Evil and Sin: Those psychological maladies.
8. Sharing is Caring and also a miracle.
9. Love means never having to say you are sorry.
10. Paper mache masks are the windows to your soul.

Monday, February 09, 2009

I Entered a Saintly Limerick Contest and All I Got Was This Lousy Blog Post.

No Hard Feelings. I just thought this was clever.

Brigid was a lady no one went near
Irish true, but some still had fear.
If she should pray
One would hear her say,
“For my King a lake of great beer.”
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