For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. ---Ephesians 6:12

"The age of casual Catholicism is over; the age of heroic Catholicism has begun. We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead must be Catholics by CONVICTION." ---Fr. Terrence Henry TOR, Franciscan University of Steubenville

Saturday, January 30, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday ---Becoming Habit Forming

  1. It's been an interesting week with lots of things to cover.  First, I attended my first March For Life in Washington D. C..  You can read all about it in my post by clicking ---> HERE.  There were close to 300,000 God-fearing, pro-lifers there, all enthusiastically standing up for the unborn and in-firmed.  I took as many pictures as I could, and posted some of the best on the link above, and the rest on my Flickr page (see link on March For Life post).

  2. Last Friday's March For Life post on this blog got a lot of attention, in large part because the main stream media had little or no coverage of this mammoth event, and people were searching for pictures and stories to read about it.  But I also got linked to by some friends of mine (and a couple of strangers who became new friends) who know much more than I do about how to BLOG BIG with a million plus visitors each.  Among them are the following:  American Power, Brutally Honest, The Other McCain, The Curt Jester, The Anchoress, Chicago Ray, and JivinJehoshaphat.  There are other notables, including Athos of Chronicles of Atlantis, whom I seem to have tricked into thinking I know Latin.

  3. Two years ago my employer, a trucking company, issued an edict that pets would no longer be allowed in company vehicles as of the following April.  This was both alarming and odd to hear.  Alarming for obvious reasons, not the least of which was that for most of us truck drivers, our pets are all we have anymore.  And even if that's not the case, we have grown very attached to them having traveled over 120,000 miles each year, all over the country and parts of Canada with them.  Odd because only 3 years prior to that edict, my employer (who shall remain nameless) encouraged drivers to get pets to relieve depression and lower blood pressure.  Within 3 months of this announcement, over 500 drivers had given notice to quit, causing said employer to rescind its rule.  However they still said no pets in new trucks.  Read THIS for clarification on why that caused a problem...  A couple of days ago, I got the announcement that pets would be allowed in newer trucks which don't require idling in order for the cab to maintain a livable temperature in which to live.  I get to keep Buster, my cat, after all.   Hooray!

  4. Whenever I get some free time between load assignments or a vacation or whatever, I like to go exploring... usually within large cities or other interesting areas.  And when I do, I tend to run into familiar faces.  Not people who know me, but ones I see on TV or in movies.  The most recent was last Friday after the March For Life mentioned above, when I ran into Carl Cameron of Fox News.  Others I have written about HERE.  And still others I have chosen not to include in print, like Laura Ingraham, Mark Steyn, Michelle Malkin, and others.

  5. The week before last I was able to spend the day with Kevin and family, meeting his wife and kids for the first time, and celebrating his eldest son's birthday.  During the visit I got to attend my first ever Latin Mass, celebrated by Father Brankin of St. Odilo's in Berwyn, IL.  It wasn't quite what I expected.  It was beautiful in its own way, but not very participatory.  In fact most of it seemed to be Father Brankin with his back to us, looking up and mumbling in Latin.  But true to form, he was and is one of the best Homilists I've ever heard in any Mass.  There are a few I've posted on my left column if you're interested....

  6. A few days ago I delivered a load of toilet paper (several hundred cases of 80 rolls each) to a warehouse who rejected three of the cases.  It seems that an overly enthusiastic forklift driver accidentally stabbed those cases with one of the forklift forks, making them unacceptable, even though the product inside the cases were unharmed.  So the consignee threw the three damaged cases back on my trailer.  Upon contacting my employer about this, I was told to keep them, throw them away, or use them at my pleasure.  So now I'm driving around with 240 free rolls of toilet paper scattered about the interior of my cab, making me feel like a very rich man indeed.  I think I'll donate most of them to my church.

  7. Drove from Augusta, GA to Oak Grove, KY through snow storms on icy roads earlier today (Friday).  Still have over 1,500 miles to go to deliver in Utah.  Praying for good weather and feeling glad I have a job.  Feel free to check out other Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

JIHAD: The Political Third Rail

This looks like it could be an interesting event.

Apparently, Pam Geller and Robert Spencer have joined forces and started an organization called the Freedom Defense Initiative to defend our liberties and freedoms when under attack by those who don't share our values and beliefs.

Look for the first event on Friday, February 19, in the Virginia Room at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington D.C..

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Teenage Convert To Christianity Asks Obama About The Double Standard

It only took a full two months after the story appeared on Pam Geller's blog, Atlas Shrugs, before any major TV news source picked up on it.  Enter Fox News.  Now at last, some attention is being shown to one small part of a much larger issue that is religious persecution in the Muslim world.

In the past decade or so there has been a wave of converts to Christianity in the Middle East and South Central Asia (India, Pakistan, etc...) resulting in "persecutions, assassinations, and widespread church bombings."  I posted on a recent wave of these last week, as they appear to be happening more frequently and with more ferocity.  But you won't hear about these on the news.  You won't read about them in the newspapers, either.  No one in the MSM (main stream media) wants to sound the alarm or deal with them in any way in order to avoid the appearance of xenophobia.  Christians, Hindus, Jewish people, and others are paying a high price for such political correctness, as the Muslims lay waste to peaceful houses of worship of faiths different than their own.  Funny the MSM doesn't accuse THEM of xenophobia.  Perhaps this has more to do with fear of reprisal than political correctness....

Friday, January 22, 2010

My First MARCH FOR LIFE in Washington D. C.

Today, in spite of the weather, I drove to Washington D.C. to partake in the 37th annual March For Life and had an experience like no other.  I saw an enthusiastic crowd in very large numbers totally devoted to the life cause, consisting largely of young, fresh faced people chanting, praying, laughing, and enjoying life to its fullest as they marched for their firmly held beliefs.

They came from Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and even from as far west as Kansas City, MO.  They all came for the same reason, to convince our lawmakers and Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe vs. Wade, and make abortion a thing of the past.  There were priests, bishops, lots of students, women who have had abortions and regretted them, Knights of Columbus, bloggers like myself, politicians, teachers, nurses, several nuns, and people from all walks of life, all who agree that abortion will go down in history along side American slavery and lynching of African-Americans as stains and blights on our nation.

There were some who disagreed, waiting for us on the other side of the Capitol Building, their numbers very few and kind of pathetic.  They were treated civilly, but dealt with in short order.  Their message was blocked by superior numbers, banners, logic, and reasoning.

After the March I headed over to the Senate office buildings to find Senators Specter and Casey.  Senator Spector was not in today (no surprise being he is pro-abortion) to receive the many visitors who stopped by.  I signed his guest book and left a not-so-friendly message, "Act like a man," in response to his treatment of Michelle Bachmann the other day.

When I stopped by Senator Casey's office I found he was not there either.  But there was a sign saying he was available to meet with pro-life people from 2:00 to 2:30pm today.  I found that amusing since the March started at 2pm and was in no way finished by 2:30.  What a clown!  I hope he isn't counting on being more than a one-term-wonder.  My message for him wasn't much nicer, as I was both tired and foot-sore.

As I was searching for the exit I heard a familiar voice from around the corner.  When I investigated I found Fox News' own Carl Cameron with his cameraman and equipment working on a news piece about Senator Mitch McConnell and campaign finance laws.  I waited until they were done and then tried to sneak a picture of him.  He noticed and said "hold on," as he set down his can of Red Bull, walked over to me and offered to have his cameraman take a picture of the two of us with my Sony.  "We do this all the time," Cameron said reassuringly.  And then several pictures were taken (See last photo below).  What a generous guy.  I rank him along side Ernie Banks and Bishop Rhoades when it comes to celebrity encounters.

All things considered, it was a very positive and productive day. I have the rest of the 159 pictures available now.  Click on this---> Flickr.

All of the pictures above and below were taken by me and my Sony DSC-F828.  And as usual, you can make each one larger by clicking on it.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Brown Upsets Coakley 52-47 For Massachusetts PEOPLE'S Senate Seat

Could it be?  Is this really happening?  Have the Democrats lost their 60-seat majority?  Was it just desserts after Frankin stole the MN election from Coleman?  Is it the start of a new wave of public revolt against Democrat elitism?

Do you think the fickle public has finally gotten fed up with silly Democrat man-teens, and wishes to return the grown-ups to power?  Will the Tea Party continue to push its influence on both old and new Republicans to keep them honest and fiscally responsible?

Massachusetts is the bluest of the blue states, and it has just elected a Republican for Senator.  Okay maybe not such a big deal considering they recently had Mitt Romney as governor; but the fact that President Obama tried to work his magic to save Coakley, but instead had an "Olympic moment" resulting in failure restores my faith in the American people (whom I thought had truly lost their minds upon electing Obama).

As far as the Health Care Bill goes,.... the Dems are already working on turning Voinovich against the Republicans.  It's still going to be a bumpy road ahead...

(pic from Getty Images)

Catholic Church Set Ablaze By Nigerian Muslims ---Latest In Anti-Christian Wave of Violence

It has been some time since I've posted on the Islamofascist threat spreading around the globe, as I've been otherwise diverted toward spiritual (Catholic) and/or domestic issues.  But a story that appeared in the New York Times (which I never read) that was brought to my attention by the very esteemed Robert Spencer, who got it from Loganswarning, looked like something on which I should shed some light.  Here it is:

Published: January 18, 2010

Angry Muslim youths set fire to a church filled with worshipers, starting a riot that killed at least 27 people and wounded more than 300 in Jos, in northern Nigeria, officials said Monday. Sani Mudi, a spokesman for the local imam, said 22 people died in fighting between Christians and Muslims after rioters set fire to a Catholic church on Sunday. Five others died Monday from their wounds. More than 300 people were killed in inter-religious violence in Jos in 2008.

I hope, dear reader, that you noticed that the Catholic church in Jos, Nigeria was set ablaze during Mass, and it was done by members of the so-called "religion of peace" that is Islam.  Loganswarning has also reported on other recent church attacks by Islamofascists in Egypt, 3 in Malaysia,  and Algeria (Protestant church).  It's really not that big a deal to Muslims to commit these crimes.  They are comfortable with them and feel justified; in fact, the Koran tells them it's okay.

And don't expect much of a statement from the Pope.  Every time he addresses such issues it causes riots by Muslims in which nuns are set on fire.  Neither the Vatican, nor the rest of the world has the stomach to deal with this increasingly powerful threat to humanity.

Just in case you have forgotten how crazy violent these fanatics can be...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The 13th Day on DVD

The 13th Day has made it to DVD, so anyone can watch it without searching in vein for a movie theater bold enough to run it.

You can order it online from Aquinas & More by clicking on the ad link below (see picture), or by utilizing the links on the left column of the blog.  Why do I recommend Aquinas & More?  Several reasons:

  1. None of their goods are made in China.  A&M is sensitive about the use of slave labor, forced abortions, and unfair trade practices and refuses to sell goods made there.  How refreshing.
  2. Aquinas & More offers free standard shipping in some circumstances (depends on the dollar amount you order).
  3. Aquinas & More has a "good faith guarantee" and sticks to it.  I have never been dissatisfied with their service.
  4. Aquinas & More is NOT a corporate sponsor of Planned Parenthood, unlike some other large online retail outlets that sell books and DVD's.  Why would you shop at a place knowing that some of your spent money goes to pay for abortions? Wouldn't you avoid that if if meant paying a couple of dollars more?
  5. I have never included a "tip jar" on my blog as I think they are tacky.  But entering Aquinas & More through the links on my blog and then making purchases does help me financially.  And you  do not pay extra for it!
  6. Aquinas & More is the largest seller of Catholic Goods online. 
Aquinas and More Catholic Goods - For all your Catholic needs

The 13th Day

13th Day

Friday, January 8, 2010

"7 Quick Takes On A Friday" Finds Its Way Here Again...

  1. As you might remember from the first time I did this, the 7 Quick Takes thing comes from Conversion Diary in which a bunch of bloggers with Catholicism in common write 7 things of interest about themselves or something in their lives.  But then I don't really know if you have to be Catholic to do this.  Probably not.  You simply have to be one of Jennifer's readers, I guess.

  2. Work has been slow.  Very slow.  I drive a semi for a living, and back in the days of prosperity (when Republicans earned their congressional chairmanships by being fiscally responsible) I would be assigned a load with lots of miles and barely enough time to deliver.  Then within a few minutes of emptying the trailer, I would have to dash off to my re-load.  But things are different now.  My current load which was assigned to me at noon today isn't scheduled to pick up until 10pm tonight.  It's 542 miles long and delivers on Monday at 5am.  It was actually ready at 1pm so I went in early.  That's and average of 217 miles per day on this one, as opposed to my former average of 450 miles per day in the good ol' days.  Things do not seem to be improving much, except that I no longer have to wait 2 days from my delivery to my re-load assignment.  And in case you haven't guessed, I get paid by the mile.  *Ouch*

  3. My cat does not like this weather at all.  It isn't the cold so much, as it is the lack of humidity.  With his fur all clumped up and everything made of paper or thread sticking to him, he looks kind of comical.  But the static electric shock he gets when I pet him does not help his feline disposition.  So each time I reach to pet him I have to lick my hand first to spare him the painful spark.  And I can only do that once, lest I get a tongue full of litter box dust.

  4. Hard times means high anxiety.  And that usually leads to a recurring frequency of sin.  It's very hard to get to Mass on Sundays when you're driving long haul in a big rig.  But in spite of my priest's dispensation I make an attempt each week to get there, no matter where my load takes me.  But even harder than that is to get to Confession, as every church does it at unique times.  And most don't do it on Sundays just before Mass, though sometimes on Saturdays before Vigil.  These days it has been very difficult to do both since most Catholic churches don't have truck parking for semis.  I'll be going through Chicago tomorrow and staying until Sunday where a friend of mine will pick me up and take me to Mass.  I am unsure if Reconciliation will be offered.

  5. In spite of rave reviews, 13th Day has already made it to DVD.  I'll have details on how to acquire a copy in my next blog post.

  6. Last time I did the 7 Takes thing I mentioned my blood pressure issues and how hard it was to eat properly on the road, and that I found a great salsa that isn't too unhealthy.  I want to add Wholly Guacamole to the list of things in which I can indulge.  It comes in small packets and only has 150mgs of sodium per serving.  One packet is considered a serving, though I use half of one in a sandwich wrap so only 75mgs sodium, really.  And it has only 8 grams of fat (1g sat. fat) per packet (4g per wrap for me).  Not bad considering 2,000mgs of sodium and 60g fat are considered the healthy limit for daily intake.

  7. Since I don't have cable TV in the truck (or at home), my Mother likes to introduce me to TV shows I've never seen by sending me DVD's of them for Christmas and birthdays.  Years ago she got me hooked on Cadfael and then later, The Closer.  Now she seems bent on getting me interested in Nero Wolfe.  And I like it okay.  It's a bit more of a circus than a simple mystery, and looks to be more about Timothy Hutton's character than the title suggests.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

The year 2009 was a lousy year economically for many, including myself.  And although I didn't lose my job (thank God!), the size of my wallet has shrunk considerably due to the overall economic slowdown in all major facets of the marketplace.  However, in spite of that and the increase in vulnerability of our nation to its foes,... it has been the best year of my life, spiritually speaking.

At Easter Vigil this past year I joined the Catholic Church and had true Communion with God for the first time in my life.  At Pentecost I was Confirmed by my Bishop and sealed in my faith.  It was a true gift for which I feel grateful each day, and look forward to the coming years and the spiritual blessings they may bring.  Read about my passage into the faith HERE, HERE, and HERE (if you haven't already).

It was a long road that included encounters with many different people who influenced the final decision.  One I have failed to mention in much detail was an amusing little incident at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan with a very old and tiny nun.

In one of my infrequent visits to New York City in 2006, out of curiosity, I stopped at the Cathedral on 5th Avenue just to see what it looked like on the inside.  I was still nondenominational, but Christian, and not without an interest in the path I refused to take as a child, that of the Catholic faith.  So I entered on a Friday afternoon and was knocked over by the beauty of the interior of this great church.  And while I sat and stared at the pillars, statues and paintings, the museum ropes were undone and a seemingly spontaneous Mass started.

I decided to stay in my seat and sit through it, and then figured on taking Communion with the rest of them, thinking that since I had already taken it in Episcopal, Baptist, and Methodist churches it might be okay.  And if I wasn't sure I could always ask, right?  But in order not to break the solemnity of the occasion I made sure I was last in line so as not to disrupt the order of things with my questions.

A priest and two nuns were giving out the Eucharist that day.  I approached the one that looked the easiest-- a tiny old nun with glasses and a large head.  When I got to her she picked up the Blessed Host  in the species of a bread disc with her swollen, arthritic hand  and raised it as high as she could  (I am  6'5", she was about 4'6"), as I explained my situation and asked her if it was okay for me to take Communion.

She leaned toward me and answered, "WHAT?"

I repeated my question, but half way through she interrupted me with "Never had first?.....NO" and shook her head as she looked down and returned the Eucharist to its chalice.  Being slightly OCD, I bent down toward her to finish my question, thinking she might change her mind if she heard me out.  But while still looking down, she raised up her hand as I bent down and accidentally, loudly smacked her fist against my forehead, stunning us both.

Then she gazed up at me with a huge smile and laughed as she gently patted my forehead and said "God bless you!"  I thanked her and returned to my seat, glowing from the blessing.  She could have reacted in so many different ways much less pleasant, but didn't.  The nun had Grace and it showed, but more importantly, she also had a strong devotion to the sanctity of the rules of her faith.  And the impression this encounter made on me was remembered when I finally decided to sign up for RCIA classes to join the church.

I think of her and the other nuns on this day, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and the strong roles that women play in the Catholic Church, and feel gratitude for them all.

And by the way, have yourselves a very happy and blessed new year!