Nov 18, 2006

Dishwashing Lessons

My husband and I just finished washing and drying dishes together. This teamwork reminded me of when my siblings and I shared dishwashing and drying duties back in the 50's. That was a great lesson in learning to work together with contesting peers!

My younger sister and I were usually at odds over who would dry and who would wash. Mother would have to choose, and she quickly figured out that it was best to make assignments for an entire week. Even then we had arguments over whose turn it was to wash.

The person who washed the dishes had the worst job. He had to start first, scour out grimy pots and pans, and clean the cabinet top and sink at the end. The person who dried dishes would usually have the upper hand. She could come late (making the dishwasher angry because the rinse sink was now overflowing with dishes), or throw dirty spoons back into the wash water--with a "You forgot to clean this!"

In those days, Mother cooked daily meals from scratch using non-Teflon pans. The only thing that made the skillet easier to clean was the gravy which during cooking had released the stuck browned meat and flour. An electric clock hung above the sinks of wash water and rinse water. Looking at the clock's second hand, we held regular contests on who could hold their breath the longest.

The issue that led to the most fights was who got to sing. Naturally we did not like to sing together. We finally agreed that whoever started singing first could continue without interruption. Yes, dishwashing days are over in most families. A pity, because I can't think of a better way to practice getting along with your neighbors.

Praying with the Horse.... (in mind)

A very long time ago, a good Catholic nun told me this story in grade school. The nun first explained that we must concentrate on the meaning of the prayers we say, and not be distracted. She admitted it would be difficult. To show the difficulty, she told this story.

A woodsman was cutting trees in the forest when a stranger on a horse appeared. Dismounting, he asked the woodsman for a drink for himself and his fine horse. The woodsman took the well-dressed stranger to a nearby well and the two men sat down and talked as the horse finished drinking from the water bucket and began grazing.

In those days, it wasn't too long before the mens' conversation changed from a discussion of the weather, crops, and livestock to a discussion of religion. Soon the two men began to tell how they prayed while working. The stranger said he could not retire to a room and pray quietly, so he sang his prayers as he rode. The woodsman explained he prayed the rosary while meditating on the mysteries while he worked to chop down and debark trees.

The stranger sadly remarked he had problems in concentrating on his prayers, even though singing them helped The woodsman answered that he had learned to pray attentively when very young and could keep his attention focused on his prayers. The stranger vigorously objected that total attention was impossible but the woodsman vigorously disagreed.

Soon the argument flared into a bet. The stranger said he was so sure that it was not possible to totally focus on a prayer to the exclusion of everything else, that he would bet his horse that the woodsman could not say the Our Father without losing concentration. The woodsman accepted the bet and began to pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
They will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
... By the way, does the saddle come with the horse?
The nun proceeded to explain that if we lose attention during a prayer that we should not go back and repeat it, but should ask God to forgive us and continue with succeeding prayers. I've found that to be a good recommendation.

Local Archbishop in Boston Newspaper

The Boston Globe reports that Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas made an important statement at the Catholic Bishops' Meeting in Baltimore this past week. I think the Archbishop deserves a pat on the back and our continuing prayers.
"As teachers, we have an obligation to teach, not just about the things people agree with, but the difficult things as well. . . . We have a responsibility to try and help our people understand things that, because of the culture being hostile, aren't easily accessible to them."

Glorified Body on the Road to Emmaus

Catharina Senensis of The Cornell Society for a Good Time has initiated a great discussion on the sex of the resurrected body. A couple of persons have noted that Catharina has proposed "a fine question... one fit for Thomas' Summa." I'd like to add a few points for further consideration.

One of the stories in the Gospels that I've pondered a lot over the years is the story of Jesus' appearance on the road to Emmaus, as told in Luke 24:13-32. Two of Jesus' disciples were walking away from Jerusalem the day after His Resurrection from the dead. The Bible says Jesus Himself drew near and walked with them. The disciples talked with Him as a stranger about the happenings in Jerusalem and Scripture, apparently for some time, and finally asked Him to abide with them for the evening. They ate together, but did not recognize Jesus until the breaking of the bread.

How was it that they did not recognize Jesus? I speculate that Jesus, in his glorified body after His Resurrection from the dead, had the appearance of a young man, even as the boy He was when His Mother, Mary, and His foster-father, St. Joseph, found Him in the Temple.

Personally, I like the idea of having a young glorified body when we are free of sexual concerns, yet we still retain our identity as male and female. Was Jesus implying this when He said that we must be as children to enter heaven?

Nov 17, 2006

New Family Planning Doctor

Carol McKinley says this appointment is HUGE! I tend to agree with her.

Bishop Bruskewitz at the Bishops' Conference

EWTN's weekly news, The World Over, is hosted by Raymond Arroyo. This evening Arroyo focused on proceedings of the U.S. Bishops' Conference that is meeting this week in Baltimore. You really need to see the reruns of tonight's program that will be replayed early Saturday morning, November 18, 1 am EST and at several other times in the next couple of days.

Raymond Arroyo shows various clips of U.S. Bishops at the Baltimore meeting, including Bishop Bruskewitz quoting from Pope Benedict who has said a Bishops' Conference is not worth its weight in butterfly wings! (no, he really didn't say quite that--but you get the message). Even if you don't like some of EWTN programming--you should listen to this week's news of the Bishops' Conference as reported by Raymond Arroyo.

Nov 12, 2006

Chinese One Dog Policy

The Chinese policy limiting Beijing families to only one child has created an environment similar to the U.S. where people substitute dogs for missing children. Now Beijing authorities are setting a limit on dogs. Only one small dog is allowed per family.

The BBC and others report at least 200 people protested against restrictions on pet dog ownership. The police detained 18 demonstrators, but released them after organizers agreed to disperse the rally.

Benedict XVI in Turkey

The itinerary of Pope Benedict XVI has now been announced for his visit to Turkey on November 28-December 1. I am most intrigued by the statement that "On Thursday morning, Nov. 30, Benedict XVI will take part in the Divine Liturgy in the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul. He will deliver an address and sign a joint declaration."

The Pope is expected to encounter a chilly welcome from this 99% Muslim country. The Turkish Daily News implies the Pope could be assassinated, as described in a book written by Yucel Kaya, Plot Against the Pope (which Zenit says is one of the best selling novels in Turkey). The story was noted by Reuters back in September.

The cover of the Kaya book, sub-titled "Who will kill the pope in Istanbul?" features Benedict XVI with a cross engulfed in flames behind him, and a bearded man aiming a gun at the pontiff. The Vatican representative in Turkey is quite concerned because attacks on priests have become somewhat routine recently.

Mehmet Ali Ağca, the Turk who attempted to kill the late Pope John Paul II in 1981, stated from prison that the Pope should not travel to Turkey because he would be unsafe. Moreover, a 26-year-old Muslim has fired four shots into the air in front of the Italian Consulate in Istanbul to protest the Pope's visit to Turkey.

Gerald Augustinus of The Cafeteria is Closed and many others have expressed concern about the Pope in Turkey. The Vatican's secretary of state, Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, has asked Christians to pray for the Pope's pilgrimage.