Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Grand Game

I am writing a comparison between two writers of detective stories.  While researching, I came across Monsignor Ronald Knox's satire/bad joke/ semi-serious comparison of the Bible with Sherlock Holmes.  It seems that the clever monsignor started a phenomenon  that is continued to this day.

It all begin when Ronald Knox had to prepare a talk for two different groups.  They were completely different groups.  Think theological versus a general subject for college students.  Let me preface the story by explaining that Ronald Knox was a stickler for orthodoxy and it bothered him, more than a bit, that nit-pickers were arguing over whether authors of certain books of the Bible were the one person the book was attributed to, or his disciples.  Knox, ingeniously, pointed out in his paper, Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmes, inconsistencies in the detective stories. He offered the Sherlock Holmes stories as a Bible.  He proposed a theory that Sherlock Holmes was not written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but by Watson.  (Yes, the very same Dr. Watson, in the stories.)  He contrasted and compared the disputed authorship of the books in the Bible to a disputed authorship of Sherlock Holmes stories.  And he did this with a straight face.

Much to Knox's surprise, the theologians swallowed the fish tale, hook-line-sinker.  It was meant to be a spoof.  And it took awhile for Knox's trick to catch on.  Well, it wasn't really meant to trick anybody; it was obvious to Knox that he was presenting a tongue in cheek comparison.

Even more surprising, is that Knox's spoof was copied by others.  Some others expanded on the biography of Holmes, giving him a birthdate and schools he graduated from, and more.  Dr. Watson is humanized, also.  It became a game that is carried on to this day.

 I think it sounds like fun.

*My source:

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Food is Good

Yesterday, the Office of Reading spurred a sharp rebuke aimed at St. Paul's letter to Timothy.  Today, again, the Office has inspired a post.  I may not be advancing spiritually, but I am paying attention.  In 1 Tim 4: 1-5, Paul warns us of following teachers of error.  I'm specifically looking at demons who teach people to turn away from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by believers.  Everything God created is good; nothing is to be rejected when it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by God's word and by prayer.

That's T.O.P.S.' philosophy.  Everything in moderation.  Do not deprive yourself to the extent that you are starving.  We eat mindfully.  We practice portion control.  We eat all the food groups and do not eliminate carbohydrates, or dairy, or red meat, or meat at all.

 TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is the short name for TOPS Club, Inc., the original nonprofit, noncommercial network of weight-loss support groups and wellness education organization. TOPS offers tools and programs for healthy living and weight management, with exceptional group fellowship and recognition. Established in 1948 to champion weight-loss support and success, we've helped millions of people live healthier lives.

Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Letter to Paul

My dear brother,

I am sorry it has taken me so long to respond, but life has a habit of getting in the way, so to speak.  Please forgive me.  However, some sort of response is necessary because of the inappropriate and misinterpreted manner in which  your teachings are currently being used.  I wish you were here, yourself, to set everyone straight, but that obviously cannot be.  So be it.

It is your closing remarks to Timothy, in your first letter, that I wish to address.  You advise women to dress modestly and quietly and not wear fancy hairstyles, or jewelry.

Then how do women show the glory of God's perfected creation?  Should not an image of God be glorified?  After all, God created man, and then perfected that creation with a second try.  Think about it.  Man was made from dirt.  Woman was made from a human being.

While the subject is self-adornment, why do you not address the blatant and blaring bodily adornments of men?  Men exercise and buff up their muscles and puff out their chests while parading around showing off their well-toned bodies.  They even shave off their manly hair to further delineate their musculature.  They also wear gold ornaments and costly clothing as if they were the kept pets of royalty.

Should not both men and women who profess to adhere to their religious principles adorn themselves with their good deeds and not cheap trinkets?

Please explain to me why a woman must be silent and submissive to an abusive lout?  That is not right.  Surely, you did not think your words to Timothy through.  It is not common sense that anyone be silent when sin is committed.

Finally, let me set the record straight.  Naive Eve was tempted by a higher intelligence.  Adam was tempted by himself; he didn't want Eve to be above himself.  It really was no contest between an angel and woman--higher intelligence v. naivete.  Besides, Adam was in charge; he was there, (Genesis 3: 6) standing right beside Eve when the serpent tricked her; why didn't he speak up.  If anyone is to blame, it would be the man in charge--Adam.  All he had to do was shout, "No!"  What kind of man would allow his woman to fall into sin when he was right beside her?

Excuse my bluntness, Paul, but I think you have a lot of chutzpah to lay the blame of original sin upon the more vulnerable of the pair.  It is clear that the man exhibited cowardly and self-serving behavior.  The woman wanted to be like God and she even shared that desire.  What was Adam's motivation?  Where was his leadership?

I am sorry to say, Paul, that I perceive your advice to be crass, ignorant, misogynistic and an embarrassment to the Body of Christ. In my humble opinion, since Adam was created first, he was in charge of the woman and should have been in charge of the situation in the great temptation.  Since he was not, he should be sentenced to working for his family, for the rest of his life.  He should stay yoked to the mother of his children and work to support his family.  He should play a major role in the upbringing of his children, in order to see to their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.  Man will be saved thus, provided he continues in faith and love and holiness--his faithfulness in chastity, of course, being taken for granted.

With love and prayers,
your sister (respectfully submissive) in Christ,
Faith (the One True Faith)

P.S.  Excuse the rant.  (PMS)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Bible Roulette

Picture by MEK

Have you ever played Bible roulette?  Here's how it works:  you have three chances to find one verse in the Bible that will apply to you.  I'll play it for you.

I'm using King James Version for absolutely no other reason than this is the one closest to me, on the book self.  I flip the pages.  Near the beginning I stop.  It's Judges.  I pick Chapter 12.  I close my eyes and my finger rests on 12.  So my first chance is Judges 12:12.  It says:

And E'-lon the Zeb'-u-lon-ite died, and was buried in Ai'-ja-lon in the country of Zeb'-u-lun.

Yikes, am I going to die soon?  Someone I love?  I don't like this game.

Quick, I'm choosing another verse, near the end of the Bible.  It's Hebrews.  I pick chapter 5.  I close my eyes and my finger rest on Hebrews 5: 6:

As he saith also in another place, THOU ART A PRIEST FOR EVER AFTER THE ORDER OF MEL-CHIS'-E-DEC.

At first I thought "well, that doesn't apply to me."  Then I remembered that a priest that I think of fondly, has just left the priesthood and has applied to be laicized.  And yes, he is a priest forever.

One more chance!  I'll pick something in the middle, this time.  It's II Chronicles.  I pick chapter 29.  I'll pick verse one.

HEZ-E-KI'-AH began to reign when he was five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem.

This verse has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with my life.

I don't like this game--Bible Roulette.  I don't think these verse have anything to do with me.  Maybe number two does, but not directly to my life.

Bible Roulette is a silly game.  Don't waste your time on it.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Catholic Vocabulary

Catholics have a short-cut way of referring to Catholic devotional subjects.  Not only do we not realize the understanding of what our words mean, but we defend them without trying to think how they are perceived.


Take a phrase like, "Pray to St. Anthony."

A non-Catholic would say, "No, pray only to God."  We Catholics do pray to God but we ask St. Anthony to intercede for us by continuing our prayers.   It's quick to say, "Pray to Saint Anthony."  It would take too much time to say, "Since I believe in the communion of saints, which is ...... hence I'm appealing to saint ....... to intercede for me to God, since I can't always dedicate a lot of time constantly praying."

This short-cut Catholic terminology caused a stir on FaceBook, the other day.  Some non-Catholic said that Catholics don't use the Bible.  In the backlash, a Catholic quipped, "Catholics wrote the Bible."  Well!  Now the discussion picked up!

Now Catholics know God inspired the Bible, but the Catholic Church was responsible for the formulation, preservation, and integrity of the Sacred Scriptures.  The Catholic church saved the Bible from destruction and extinction from marauders.  The Catholic Church translated the Bible into many languages.  Until the invention of the printing press, the Catholic Church painstakingly copied the Sacred scriptures.  With the printing press, the average person now had access to the Bible.  Some people have tried to manipulate and corrupt the Sacred Scriptures, but the Catholic Church has preserved the version that everyone accepts today.  Christians of all denominations around the world owe a debt to the Catholic Church for "writing the Bible."

Isn't it just quicker to say "Catholics wrote the Bible?"

Friday, October 2, 2015

Another Flowers for Mary Story

How do you define a miracle?  Read this story.  My friend Marie's birthday is December 8.  A few years ago, her husband bought her a bouquet of roses for her birthday.  December 8th is also a religious feast day--the Immaculate Conception.  This day we honor the fact that Mary, the Mother of Jesus was born without Original Sin.

Anyway, Marie was overjoyed to receive this bouquet and felt very blessed.  She felt moved to thank God by attending the daily Mass in her parish.  She also thought of pleasing Jesus by honoring His Mother by giving her one of her roses.  So on her way into Mass, Marie placed a rose at the foot of the statue of Mary.

After Mass, Marie prayed a rosary. Upon leaving the church, Marie saw her parish priest looking at her rose.  As she approached, he spoke to her.  "Look at that rose.  Every Feast of the Immaculate Conception a rose appears at the foot of this statue."

Marie didn't tell the priest that she was the one who left it.  She, like the priest, was too much in awe.  That was her first and only time of giving a rose to Mary.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Flowers for Mary

The first thing the pope did when he returned home to Rome, from the United States was not crash into bed.  He brought flowers to the statue of Mary in a church in Rome.  This must be his favorite statue and favorite church.  It reminded me of Han.  Han is a Vietnamese/American.  She has a story.

Han is one of the Vietnamese boat people.  These people were prey to pirates.  Many of them were robbed and killed, if not just starved to death because no one would pick them up.  Father Anthony Le tells us that if a boat picked you up, then they were responsible for you.  So many boats passed them by.  Father Le was picked up by a Norwegian boat.  Han's story focuses on divine intervention.

Han's grandmother told her to keep praying to Mary, ask her to protect you.  On Han's boat, every single female was raped, except Han.  And Han was a teenager.  It was like she was invisible.

Ever since then, Han constantly thanks our Blessed Mother, particularly in the image of Our Lady of Hope, a/k/a  Our Lady of Pontmain.  This image was prevalent in Vietnam.  There is a traveling statue of Our Lady of Pontmain, which Han manages to procure every once in awhile.  This picture is the statue with Han (on left).

Also, Han brings Our Lady a bouquet of fresh flowers every single week--just like the pope.