The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Early Morning Thoughts


So far our trip to Massachusetts has been wonderful. We've already visited our elder daughter and younger son and their families and are now spending time with our elder son and his wife and daughter. Tomorrow we begin the final leg of our trip and head for N. Andover, Massachusetts to visit our younger daughter and her family. Our children have certainly been a blessing, but these nine grandchildren are God's special gift, living reminders that our lives have been truly fruitful. 

At the moment, though, I sit here in our hotel room in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, sipping a nice, hot cup of coffee and trying to be quiet. Dear Diane, you see, is still asleep. I, on the other hand, have been awake since 5 a.m. I've read the morning paper, a disappointing fish-wrapper called The Providence Journal, prayed Morning Prayer, checked out the "breaking news" online, and now sit in the dark basking in the glow of my iPad screen. And so I might as well share a few early morning thoughts with my steadily tiny audience.

The Second Amendment. I'll probably catch some flak for this one: a post by a deacon in support of the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution. Yep, I'm all for it. 

One of the few things that stands in the way of a government becoming totalitarian is an armed citizenry. This is why one should always mistrust the motives of politicians who want to disarm the people. 

George Orwell, a socialist who could never be accused of being a right-wing conservative, once wrote:

"That rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or labourer's cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there."

Our Founding Fathers recognized this as well when they included the 2nd Amendment in the Bill of Rights:

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

There seems to be a lot of infringing going on these days, just as there are far too many politicians and others who aren't all that enamored of a truly free state.

You'll notice there's nothing in that brief constitutional statement about hunting or target practice. No, the Founders had just lived through a struggle for freedom, a War of Independence, in which an armed citizenry was one of the keys to victory. They knew full well that without that rifle over every fireplace the United States would never have been born.

The Danger of Elites. Have you noticed how those who seek power these days always claim that their overriding goal is to fix things they believe to be broken? In all humility they are determined to right the wrongs that the people umknowingly inflict upon themselves. Only they can accomplish this selfless task because they are so much smarter than the rest of us. Accordingly, their ideas and their decisions should be accepted without question. Although they'll never admit it publicly, they really do not like the idea of representative government. To represent the people is such a passive act, one that puts the people in charge, and we can't have that, can we? The elites, then, those an uninformed and lazy people inflict upon themselves, feel the need to impose their order on the rest of us. And we go along with it. We the people have rejected our sovereignty and become mere enablers of those who seek power. As Lord Acton astutely remarked, "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." This is borne out by today's elitists who believe themselves to be like little gods possessed of the right to oppress all who resist their efforts to right the perceived wrongs of the world.


And so we end up with elitists like Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York who doesn't trust the people to make even the most trivial decisions. He, the all-knowing all-wise super parent, tells us what we should drink and how much. He instructs mothers on how best to nurse their newborns. Nothing escapes his attention. And he doesn't simply tell us; no, he enforces his beliefs through regulation and law. We must obey because it's for our own good. And if we don't obey, we shall be punished. We see the same arrogance displayed at the national level by the administration's use of the IRS to punish those who simply do not share its statist ideology.


Ahhh. Dear Diane awakens, and it will soon be time for breakfast. Today we plan to visit a farm so our little granddaughter can enjoy the animals. Should be fun.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

God and Babies

Dear Diane and I have four children, now all grown up, either past forty or pushing It. We've been blessed as well with nine grandchildren and, although all four families live in Massachusetts and we live in Florida, we manage to spend time with them fairly frequently. Of course we wish their parents would just pack up and move to one of the southern states, but that's unlikely to happen anytime soon. And so we're spending the month of May here, making the rounds, hugging and kissing and blessing and spoiling as much as possible. 

This week we're with Alana Claire, the newest of our grandchildren. Just seven weeks old, she's reached the age at which a baby comes to realize that everyone else has just one purpose: to please her. At this point Alana has limited needs, perhaps a half-dozen or so, but only one way of expressing them: she cries. And then her parents and grandparents struggle mightily trying to identify which of these needs has just taken priority over all the others. As you might expect, her mom excels at this. Eventually the need is satisfied, the crying stops, and our efforts are rewarded with coos and smiles and other expressions of contentment. And make no mistake, the reward far outweighs the inconvenience or worry or panic that preceded it. It's just one more of God's gifts to us; for He wants us to love and cherish and care for these little ones that He has loved into being. The Father wants us to be like Him, to love as He loves. He wants us to love with His perfect love. What a lesson this is for our world, a world so self-absorbed that it would destroy babies by the millions rather than suffer a moment's inconvenience.

Another of God's gifts that accompanies the arrival of a new baby is a lesson in humility. This is especially true of first-time parents. Quite suddenly this new little person becomes the centerpiece of the household, pushing all other considerations aside. The new parent -- and I believe this applies particularly to fathers -- is quickly cured of any pretence of self-importance and discovers that his family's well-being takes precedence over everything else. For the unprepared father, this revelation can be a humbling and unexpected shock. I really believe it's more shocking and more humbling today because many couples marry and have children later in life. Dear Diane had her fourth child on her thirty-first birthday, but none of our children had even their first child before the age of thirty. Times have certainly changed.

The weather here on Nantucket is a bit dreary this morning, but the professional weather-guessers promise us a sunny afternoon with temperatures in the almost tolerable mid-sixties. We have decided, therefore, to take little Alana on an outing for which I must now prepare.

God's peace...

 


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Few Brief Thoughts

I haven't posted anything for some time now, and can offer no excuse other than busyness. And for the past few weeks Dear Diane and I have been away from home visiting children and grandchildren. Our trip north has been a joy. We witnessed grandson Carlos' First Communion which took place last Sunday during the Latin Mass celebrated at his family's parish, St. Francis Xavier Church in Hyannis, Massachusetts. (Photos are forthcoming, once I transfer them from camera to iPad.) We spent most of last week catching up with Carlos, his four siblings, and their parents.

After our week on Cape Cod we took the ferry to Nantucket to visit with our newest grandchild, seven-week-old Alana Claire, and her doting parents. We will remain on this beautiful island for the rest of the week basking in the sunny aura that surrounds the lovely Alana. Alana and her father (our youngest, Brendan) can be seen below.

After leaving Nantucket we'll go on to visit our two other children and their families before returning home.

Despite the sunniness of our family's world, the rest of the world seems bent on continuing its spiral into darkness. But there have been some bright spots. I was saddened to read that Jesuit-run Boston College had selected Irish Prime Minister Edna Kenny as the 2013 commencement speaker. Kenny has been an outspoken supporter of abortion and would not, one would think, be selected to speak at a Catholic university and receive an honorary doctorate. But BC ceased being a true Catholic university some time ago. The good news is that Boston's archbishop, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, chose not to attend the commencement ceremonies because of Kenny's involvement. Kudos to Cardinal Sean. Here's a link.

Another bright spot is the conviction of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell of three counts of first degree murder for the brutal killing of babies that survived abortions Gosnell performed. Kudos to the jury that convicted him and sentenced him to life imprisonment rather than the death penalty. Truly a pro-life jury. Here's a link. Ironically, the "doctor's" attorneys blame the media for his conviction -- the same media that virtually ignored the arrest and trial. Go figure.

Alana, her parents, and Dear Diane are calling me for breakfast, so I will, I hope, continue this soon. Blessings...and take a moment today to tell your children and grandchildren and parents how much you love them.