“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church… must take up.” Karol Cardinal Wotyla (Sept. 1976)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My Return Love Affair with Music

On a brutal 32-hour trip back from Southeast Asia, I rediscovered my love for listening to music in headphones. Here are some of my favorites that got me through the trip, that you may never have heard:

Coinleach Glas an Fhómhair - Clannad Shows you how beautiful the Gaelic language can be. You won't understand a word, but be compelled by the beauty of this love song.

Book of Love - Peter Gabriel PG was kind enough to release a new album just before my trip to help my travel along. This is a cover that he did of The Magnetic Fields' song. This rendition keeps running through my head.

Easter - Marillion This is my favorite all-time song. It is based on a poem written by W.B. Yeats that he wrote after Ireland's Easter Day rebellion in 1916. The poem asks the rhetorical question to the grieving... what can you do after a tragedy in your life, "make a stone of your heart?"; with the implication you can't stop feeling or loving. One of the best guitar solo's ever.

I Was Brought to My Senses - Sting A great song to listen in head phones. Sounds in the beginning like an old seafarer's song, then breaks into beautiful layers of instruments.

Song for Ireland - Mary Black One of the best female vocals I have heard. Mary Black's voice is crystal. She is just accompanied by a piano, but it sounds like so much more because of the power of her voice.

Sky Blue - Peter Gabriel One of the best 30,000 ft. plane reflections songs, for weary travelers who just want to get home. The Blind Boys of Alabama frame the song with their rhythmic background vocals.

A lot of Irish influence as I was traveling over St. Patrick's Day. You can see I also went melodic in my old age. These songs are worth a listen when on typing your computer. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Best of VCR: My Favorite St. Patrick's Day Joke

Here is my favorite St. Patrick's Day joke. It is chock full of all the personality and humor that you would come to expect from a supreme race of story tellers!

A backpacker traveling on foot through Europe, stops in the Eternal City of Rome, and finds himself tagging along on a tour of the Vatican. While on the tour, he spots a gold-plated phone guarded by a lone Swiss Guard with a sign over it that says, “Converse with the Almighty - $10,000 a minute.” Being intrigued by the sight, he confirms with the Swiss Guard that it was indeed a hotline to Heaven, and he could surely talk to the God if he could afford the fee. Being penniless, he laments at his loss opportunity and continues on his way.

Several months later he finds himself hiking through the rolling, green hills of the Irish countryside and ducks into a small Irish pub to dodge an intensifying rain storm.

After shaking the raindrops off his cap, he sees to his disbelief what appears to be the same gold-plated phone that he saw at the Vatican months prior, positioned behind the bar. This one; however, has an accompanying sign that reads, “Converse with the Almighty - $.25 a minute”.

Being in a state of stark confusion, and after confirming with the bartender that the phones were indeed identical, the backpacker inquires how can the Vatican - with all of its rich treasures - be charging $10,000 a minute, and this small pub - with many leaks in the ceiling- be charging only $.25 a minute.

The bartender breaking a half grin and instantaneously coming to life with sparkling eyes as if he had been waiting for this question for centuries leans towards the backpacker. With an overflowing pride that he can not fully contain and all the assurance and conviction that can be found in and framed by a strong Irish brogue, the bartender whispers his secret, “My dear traveler, the answer is obvious, here it is a local call!”

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Best of VCR: The Temperaments of God

Originally posted 06/05/2008:

I often noted, and very much over the years tried to reconcile, the difference in temperaments between the God in the Old Testament (Yaweh), and the same God in the New Testament (God the Father).

Yaweh was a very stern God who would strike down your enemies down and let you wander 40 years in the desert if you made a mistake. The kind God in the New Testament - - who was the same exact God -- was a loving Father, and through his Son told us to love our enemies. He was a God who allowed what was most dear to Him to be sacraficed for our mistakes.

I once had a college professor try to offer an explanation. He said that in the Old Testament we were in our infancy stage with God and he treated us as such, like toddlers. Don’t touch the outlet, don’t go in the street, you will be severely punished and have to sit on the couch if you do what you are thinking. He said by the time the New Testament came along, we had grown up and our relationship with God advanced lovingly to where our parent became more of a trusted friend and confidant.

This made somewhat sense to me, but once again the words of St. Jean Vianney brought me closer to what was the true answer. He directed me to the exact beginning of the New Testament for the time when God’s temperament changed.

He said God’s anger was "hanging over our heads like a sword ready to strike us down, [but] as soon as the Holy Virgin appeared upon this earth, his anger was appeased." He saw the level of perfection that his creation could achieve, a creature than would never disobey, betray or disappoint Him; there the Virgin Mother stood in front of Him. Once again, His anger was "appeased." His temperament was changed.

Vianney tells of the special relationship that the Trinity has with this perfect human creation:

God views the Blessed Mother as the masterpiece of his creation that He made with his own hands. He takes great pride in her because it is His work done to absolute perfection.

The Son takes pleasure in the heart of Mary, from which He drew his mortal blood (the Blessed Mother provided the mortal makeup to Christ). He used this blood He received from her to "ransom" it for us so that we might be reconciled to the Father.

And The Holy Spirit considers the Blessed Mother His temple, a place of His dwelling, because He conceived with in her.

These beautiful insights from St. Jean Vianney really reinforces why we venerate the Blessed Mother, and why she will never be refuse any request she makes on our behalf in the presence of God.

So the next time you are watching The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston and see Yaweh striking down Israel’s enemies in the Red Sea, venerate Our Blessed Mother. Because of her we were not next.