Belated Happy Birthday To Blaise Pascal, Unofficial Saint and Mystic

By Français : anonyme; une copie d’une peinture de François II Quesnel gravée par Gérard Edelinck en 1691. English: unknown; a copy of the painture of François II Quesnel, which was made for Gérard Edelinck en 1691. Polski: nieznany; kopia obrazu Françoisa II Quesnela wykonanego dla Gérarda Edelincka w 1691. (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Blaise Pascal, from the collection at the Palace of Versailles; a copy of the painture of François II Quesnel, which was made for Gérard Edelinck in 1691.   CC BY 3.0  via Wikimedia Commons.

Over at Aleteia, they’re remembering the birthday of a friend of mine. He’s one of the fellows who helped bring me into the Church.

My buddy Blaise Pascal is a lot like me. That is, excepting the obvious fact that he was a mathematical genius, inventor of a calculator, etc., and though I enjoy mathematics, I am a mere admirer of genius in this and many other departments. No, I mean that just like me, he needed something to constantly remind him of why he remains a Christian.

Something that he could turn to for strengthening his resolve to leave his earlier life and pursuits, and recall why he decided to give his all to Christ and His Church. Something he could turn to that would remind him of his calling when he was in “the world” but away from his Bible, his breviary, or his rosary.

You see, Blaise had a mystical vision.

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Joe Six-Pack, USMC, With A Few Post-Terrorist Attack Thoughts…

Our Lady of the Rosary

It’s been close to 40 hours since we learned of the horrific slaughter that took place in an Orlando night club. Shortly after learning about it, I offered up prayers for the victims, and for their families. The amount of grieving going on in Orlando, as well as the positive responses of the community rallying to aide their fellows, is incredible.

In no way am I qualified to try and unpack the events that occurred early on a Sunday morning. Like you, I just want to mourn this loss. My inner anti-terrorist has a few things to say, though, and I can’t bottle them up. [Read more…]

On the HHS Mandate, We’re Approaching the Line of Departure REVISITED

Crossing the LD, the old fashioned way…

I didn’t know it at the time this was originally written, but the Little Sisters of the Poor were our other secret weapon, aside from prayer. Their stand against the Administration was the ultimate “soft tactic” in a hard war.  In a nutshell, see,  of all of the groups that filed suit against the HHS Mandate, they were the target that could fell the giant.

Here’s the post published on June 4, 2012 in which I described the way that we could win the day against the HHS Mandate. As I recall, it wasn’t very popular among the armchair Catholic warrior types. C’est le guerre.

Here’s the original post. It’s long, so you might want to linger over it with your favorite adult beverage…

Currently, the bulk of our forces are  still in the Assembly Area, marshalling troops, building logistics trains, and communication networks, etc.  The dozen lawsuits that were launched a few weeks ago? Probes, really, looking for areas of strength and weakness. They crossed the line of departure a few weeks back as a reconnaissance-in-force.

Over at NRO Online, Mark L. Rienzi gives a recap of what we know so far. Basically, it’s the tale of a media blackout, which we are all familiar with, [Read more…]

President Obama Embraces the Fait Accompli He Wasn’t Looking For UPDATED

"I don't know what I was thinking, Your Holiness..."

“I don’t know what I was thinking, Your Holiness…” Photograph paid for with our tax dollars.

What a difference 4 and 1/2 years makes. Wait. It’s been 5 1/2 years? Has it really only been that long since I wrote the post saying that the HHS Mandate struck at the heart of religious freedom?

Has it really been that long since I climbed into a cockpit, strapped on a White House Petition, and rocketed toward the very edge of the atmosphere, hoping to send a message to the POTUS to let religious liberty be what it always has been?

Has it really been that long since, in his hubris, President Obama had his Press Secretary (poor Jay Carney) proclaim that the HHS Mandate would be a fait accompli? He had his HHS Secretary (poor Kathleen Sebelius) working for months, and months, on an accommodation that would have financially destroyed all those “not quite churchy enough” religious non-profits who refused to bow to Caesar? [Read more…]

For the Pause That Refreshes: Thoughts of the Desert Fathers on Living In Harmony

 

Athanasius Kircher’s Diagram of the names of God.

A while back, I shared some brief thoughts on God by St. Augustine and a lesser know Dominican named Luis de Granada. Short passages they may have been, but they were formulated from swimming in deep waters. The same can be said of the thoughts of the hermits who fled to the deserts of Egypt around the time the Church ceased to be persecuted. [Read more…]

For The Prayers Of St. Gregory Of Narek (A Few Words For Wednesday) UPDATED

Grigor Narekatsi, Ms. 1568 (1173), Matenadaran, Yerevan, Armenia. Public Domain.

Grigor Narekatsi, Ms. 1568 (1173), Matenadaran, Yerevan, Armenia. Public Domain.

A few days ago, Pope Francis declared St. Gregory of Narek our newest Doctor of the Church. It appears that Grigor Narekatsi is a man of many talents. The hastily compiled list of his accomplishments on Wikipedia includes,

“monk, poet, mystical philosopher, theologian and saint of the Armenian Apostolic Church, born into a family of writers.”

From what I gather, he composed some very beautiful prayers that I look forward to pondering as a part of the Lenten triumvirate of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. [Read more…]

To Break My Fast From Being Merciful

Peter Chrysologus, master of the succinct homily.

I came across some wise words of a Doctor of the Church I had never heard of the other day. The subject? The importance of being merciful.

For the longest time, and long before I became a Catholic, I thought being merciless was the correct tack. After all, that is the way of the world. So I was, in an upside down way, fasting from being merciful. [Read more…]

To Become Fully Human (A Work In Progress)

 

Vitruvian Man, by Leonardo DaVinci.

Vitruvian Man, by Leonardo DaVinci.

A few thoughts as we endure a day of penance in remembrance of the lives of the unborn sacrificed on the altar of convenience. Thoughts that inevitably revolve around commemorating Jesus’s triumph over death, and His becoming what we are to become if we truly follow him.

A friend of mine asked me once, “If you could be any animal, what animal would you choose to be?” I didn’t think about my answer very long.

In the past, before I was a Catholic, I would probably have just lept to the first thing that popped into my head. An eagle, or a tiger, or some other fearsome predator, you know, one that is lethal and smart, such as these. [Read more…]

Because Thomas Merton Gave Lectures Like This On Love

Of the theological virtues Faith, Hope, and Love, St. Paul writes that the greatest of these is Love. Our Lord also said so when He was being questioned by the scholar of the law and gave us the Two Greatest Commandments, both of which are based on love; the love of God and the love of neighbor.

It sounds pretty easy, and in theory it is. But in practice? [Read more…]

For Evelyn Waugh’s Prayer of a Convert

helena-waugh-cover

Psst…I finished reading Evelyn Waugh’s novel Helena . I think it is fantastic and I enjoyed it immensely. Reading it makes we want to head with my family to the Holy Land on pilgrimage, bankrupting us in the process (oops, too late!). St. Helena, as the empress dowager, never faced that particular financial aspect of her own journey to Palestine.

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