“The Cross and the Switchblade” author, David Wilkerson, R.I.P.

April 30, 2011 by  
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The Protestant minister, perhaps most famous for his best-selling book, The Cross and the Switchblade, died in a head-on car crash on Wednesday. May he rest in peace. One news report says,

Wilkerson was driving east on U.S. 175 in Texas Wednesday afternoon, and moved into the opposite lane where a tractor trailer was driving westbound. The truck driver saw the car and tried to move out of the way, but still collided with the pastor’s car head on, according to Public Safety Trooper Eric Long. It’s unclear what caused Wilkerson to veer into the other lane. His wife Gwen was also involved in the crash and rushed to the hospital, along with the truck driver.

I read his book in the early 70s and enjoyed its dramatic depiction of how a committed Christian confronted violent gang members with the message of Christ. I didn’t hear much about Wilkerson over the years until just recently, when I read a “prophecy” he gave regarding the destruction of New York City which, thus far, as not come to pass.

Look at the little bunny rabbit who graced our family this Easter

April 25, 2011 by  
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Say hello to my 10th grandchild, the lovely Veronica Elizabeth-Marie, who was born last Wednesday to my daughter Bridget and her husband Al. She’s happy and healthy and just doing her job, 24/7, being a splendid little burrito of joy for la Familia Madrid. Nancy and I will meet her for the very first time on Friday, when Bridget and Al and their (now) three kiddos visit for the occasion of our daughter Hillary’s wedding this weekend. Can’t wait! Good times.

Jason Scheff Sings “Peg”

April 24, 2011 by  
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One of my all-time favorite bass player-vocalists, Jason Scheff, who helps front the legendary band Chicago, nails this Steely Dan song that was part of the soundtrack of my senior year in high school. Enjoy . . .

Oh Lord, when I look at Thy heavens . . .

April 23, 2011 by  
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“When I look at thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast established; what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou dost care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4).

“Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel” (Exodus 24:17).

(Courtesy of New Advent)

St. Cyril of Jerusalem’s message to those entering the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil

April 23, 2011 by  
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The prologue of St. Cyril of Jerusalem’s magnificent 4th-century Catechetical Lectures to catechumens (i.e., the elect) under his care  concludes with this proviso:

“These [lectures] are for those who are to be enlightened. You may lend [them] to candidates for baptism and to believers who are already baptized, to read, but give not at all , neither to catechumens, nor to any others who are not Christians, as you shall answer to the Lord. And if you make a copy, write this in the beginning, as in the sight of the Lord.”

Even though the Catholic Church has long since permitted the publication of the great saint’s pre-baptismal catechesis, I add St. Cyril’s stipulation here in recognition of the earnest seriousness with which he took the Lord’s command in Matthew 7:6.  The splendor of the Holy Mysteries of baptism, chrismation, and Holy Eucharist, which Cyril discoursed upon so eloquently to those who were preparing to enter the Catholic Church on those long-ago Easter vigils, were not intended to be disclosed to scoffers and those of profane mind.

Here are several relevant sections of the prologue. I post them here for those, prayerfully in mind, who, all around the world, will be entering the Catholic Church tonight at the Easter vigil Mass. Welcome, welcome, welcome to the Body of Christ, the Church He established as the ark of our salvation!

Already there is an odour of blessedness upon you, O you who are soon to be enlightened: already you are gathering the spiritual flowers, to weave heavenly crowns: already the fragrance of the Holy Spirit has breathed upon you: already you have gathered round the vestibule of the King’s palace ; may you be led in also by the King! For blossoms now have appeared upon the trees ; may the fruit also be found perfect!

Thus far, there has been an inscription of your names , and a call to service, and torches of the bridal train, and a longing for heavenly citizenship, and a good purpose, and hope attendant thereon. For he lies not who said, that to them that love God all things work together for good. God is lavish in beneficence, yet He waits for each man’s genuine will: therefore the Apostle added and said, to them that are called according to a purpose. The honesty of purpose makes you called: for if your body be here but not your mind, it profits you nothing. . . .

See, I pray you, how great a dignity Jesus bestows on you. You were called a catechumen, while the word echoed round you from without; hearing of hope, and knowing it not; hearing mysteries, and not understanding them; hearing Scriptures, and not knowing their depth. The echo is no longer around you, but within you; for the indwelling Spirit henceforth makes your mind a house of God.

When you shall have heard what is written concerning the mysteries, then will you understand things which thou knew not. And think not that you receive a small thing: though a miserable man, you receive one of God’s titles. Hear St. Paul saying, God is faithful.

Hear another Scripture saying, God is faithful and just. Foreseeing this, the Psalmist, because men are to receive a title of God, spoke thus in the person of God: I said, You are Gods, and are all sons of the Most High. But beware lest thou have the title of faithful, but the will of the faithless.

You have entered into a contest, toil on through the race: another such opportunity you cannot have. Were it your wedding day before you, would you not have disregarded all else, and set about the preparation for the feast? And on the eve of consecrating your soul to the heavenly Bridegroom, will you not cease from carnal things, that you may win spiritual? . . .

Great is the baptism that lies before you: a ransom to captives; a remission of offenses; a death of sin; a new-birth of the soul; a garment of light; a holy indissoluble seal; a chariot to heaven; the delight of paradise; a welcome into the kingdom; the gift of adoption!

But there is a serpent by the wayside watching those who pass by: beware lest he bite you with unbelief. He sees so many receiving salvation, and is seeking whom he may devour. You are coming in unto the Father of Spirits, but you are going past that serpent.

How then may you pass him? Have your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; that even if he bite, he may not hurt you. Have faith in-dwelling, stedfast hope, a strong sandal, that you may pass the enemy, and enter the presence of your Lord. Prepare your own heart for reception of doctrine, for fellowship in holy mysteries. Pray more frequently, that God may make you worthy of the heavenly and immortal mysteries.

Cease not day nor night: but when sleep is banished from your eyes, then let your mind be free for prayer. And if you find any shameful thought rise up in your mind, turn to meditation upon Judgment to remind you of Salvation. Give your mind wholly to study, that it may forget base things. If you find any one saying to you, Are you then going in, to descend into the water? Has the city just now no baths?

Take notice that it is the dragon of the sea who is laying these plots against you. Attend not to the lips of the talker, but to God who works in you. Guard your own soul, that thou be not ensnared, to the end that abiding in hope you may become an heir of everlasting salvation. . . . (continue reading)

The Statue of Liability: A modern metaphor

April 20, 2011 by  
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Given the lengthy series of unfortunate events that have occurred in the United States over the past 10 years, in particular those of the last 2 years, I see a political metaphor in this video. Most likely unintended. But it’s there. Can you see it?

Visualize World Peas

April 20, 2011 by  
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All we are saying is give peas a chance.

New documentary about the 2011 Japan quake & tsunami

April 19, 2011 by  
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Let’s not forget to pray for Japan.

Yes, it is true that life goes on, but lest we forget too quickly about the catastrophe in Japan last month and the 25,000 or more men, women, and children who lost their lives in the tsunami, I am posting a newly released documentary of what happened that is essentially a chilling montage of video footage for the hardest hit areas.

The thing that really made an impression on me is that because Japan is quite hilly and mountainous, there were high places the people could go to escape the towering wall of water that slammed relentlessly inland for miles (assuming that they left soon enough and got there fast enough — as we know, many did not). But try to imagine what would happen in a low-lying coastal area, such as, say, Florida, whose average elevation above sea level is just 100 feet. With no high ground available (no significantly high hills, much less mountains), where could people flee to escape an incoming tsunami? And what if, in such a nightmare scenario, an earthquake-triggered tsunami came rolling in from the Atlantic that was significantly higher than the one which recently hit Japan? Is it possible that the entire State of Florida could be completely inundated in a matter of minutes?

The origin of CTRL-ALT-DELETE

April 17, 2011 by  
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“You may not have ever thought about it, but the far-too-often-used keyboard combination of Control + Alt + Delete had to have been brought into existence by some random coder at some point in technological history. But wait, it wasn’t just a random coder. The keystroke combo is attributed to [David Bradley]. He was one of the original designers of the IBM Personal Computer. You can even hear his own recount of the story in the video after the break”. . . (continue reading)

Don’t be discouraged. Hold your head up high. This is a great time to be Catholic.

April 14, 2011 by  
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You’ve heard the famous saying: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” If ever there were a time when this truth was plainly evident, I believe it is right now.

Let’s take stock of the situation we’re in. Planet earth and its inhabitants are going through some pretty rough times. Our problems range from famine, religious persecutions, war, rampant illegal drug use, broken families, the murder of millions of unborn children each year, strife, pornography, drunkenness, cloning, racial hatred, terrorism, godlessness, blasphemies, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other weather-related catastrophes, widespread sexual immorality, despair, suicide, a spirit of revenge, and the looming threat of nuclear annihilation (did I miss anything?). And amidst all this social upheaval, we see the rise of popular, charismatic politicians who charm the masses with bland, sugar-coated platitudes even as they ardently promote abortion, euthanasia, cloning, and other wickedness. Our world is spinning ever more out of control into the abyss of sin and alienation from the God Who loves us. That’s the bad news.

The Good News is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to redeem and save us. He established the Catholic Church as the visible means of grace and healing for those who will accept His grace. The really interesting part is that you have been called by Christ to bring the Good News of His grace and forgiveness to a seriously hurting world. Are you up for it? . . . (continue reading)

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