Abstaining from Meat on Fridays

Was reading Musings this morning and came across a really well written post on why we abstain from meat on Fridays. The article is long, but well worth reading. I will re-post some of the article here:

Regardless of the available options, there are at least seven reasons to keep the traditional sixth-day penance:
  1. It is corporate. Having everyone do his own form of penance lacks the marvelous unity of almost the entire Catholic world performing the same act on the same day. This is not only spiritually constructive, it is socially edifying, building up solidarity and deepening our awareness of joint membership in the mystical Body of Christ.
  2. It is ancient. A single practice unites all the living, but when it is ancient it also unites them to their forebears. If tradition is, as Chesterton put it, the democracy of the dead, then Friday abstinence is the veritable apple pie of Catholic life. In the words of the American bishops in 1966: We show "out of love for Christ Crucified... our solidarity with the generations of believers to whom this practice frequently became, especially in times of persecution and of great poverty, no mean evidence of fidelity to Christ and His Church."
  3. It is testimonial. Friday abstinence bears powerful witness to the distinctiveness of the Church. My Protestant friend whom I mentioned earlier knew little about Catholics when he was young, but he knew they stood for something when he watched his papist peers exercise self-discipline even away from the watchful eyes of their parents.
  4. Abstinence is efficacious. Ancient authors taught that abstinence from food and drink was useful in dampening "the ardor of lust." Bodily passions are not bad per se, but left untrained they can become the occasion of sin. Trimming the body’s food intake, as modern studies have confirmed, can lower lustful proclivities.
  5. Abstinence is appropriate. The Church still teaches that every human being is required to do penance by virtue of divine law (Can. 1249), and Friday abstinence is an especially appropriate way to do this. It was on a Friday in Eden that Adam and Eve transgressed the first law of abstinence. And, of course, it was on a Friday that our Lord was crucified in order to undo the effects of that transgression. It is therefore appropriate to make abstinence our Friday penance, in sober memory of the Fall and "in prayerful remembrance of the passion of Jesus Christ."
  6. Abstinence from meat is particularly appropriate. Catholicism ingeniously teaches both through presence and through absence. Usually, the Church employs physical signs to convey invisible realities; but sometimes, she temporarily withdraws something as a way of arresting our attention and heightening our awareness of what is missing.

    Hence, the suppression of the Alleluia during Septuagesima and Lent effectively demonstrates that we are in exile from our true Home, where the angels sing Alleluia without ceasing. Veiling sacred images in church during Passiontide — when we would most expect to gaze upon a crucifix — paradoxically heightens our awe of Christ’s Passion. And prohibiting the sacrifice of the altar on Good Friday draws us in an inverted way to the sacrifice of the cross made that day.

    Similarly, when we "make meager," we withdraw from our table the flesh of an animal whose blood was shed for us on the day in which the Blood of the God-man was shed for us. The absence of the former paradoxically reminds us of the latter; not having a bloody victual backhandedly alerts us to the Bloody Victim.
  7. It is Christ-like. Jesus Christ consumed nothing on Good Friday except the gall He tasted shortly before His death. With fasting or abstinence on the day of the Crucifixion, Catholics in some small way "suffer with Christ that they may one day be glorified with Him. This is the heart of the tradition of abstinence from meat on Friday."


A gift to give...

What gifts can we present to our Lord? Christ longs for our salvation, a simple gift is our cooperation with His grace.


Quotes to ponder...

"Technology can be among the most powerful weapons in the dictator's armory. Propaganda, the suppression of the truth, particularly in democratic societies, will bring upon an age of enslavement where instead of yokes and chains, people in celebrated 'free' societies like America will be bound by the soft restraints of ignorance, incuriousness, distraction and irrationality."

"Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth. By simply not mentioning certain subjects, by lowering what Mr. Churchill calls an 'iron curtain' between the masses and such facts or arguments as the local political bosses regard as undesirable, totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have done by the most eloquent denunciation, the most compelling of logical rebuttals."

Both of these quotes are attributed to Aldous Huxley.


Today is Gaudete Sunday


Odd presidential news...

It seems that President Clinton has settled back into the White House. President Clinton joined President Obama to help endorse a new tax plan during a press conference.

Obama introduced Clinton lightly as "the other guy" and recalled how Clinton has overseen heady economic times. Obama warned that he wouldn't be staying long -- another White House Christmas party was waiting, as was his wife, Michelle.

After Obama left the conference, Clinton essentially slipped in and commanded the press conference as if he was president again.

Clinton was asked what advice he had for Obama, given the context of the times: the current president has to deal with a Republican Party that just won a convincing victory in the midterm election and will soon grab control of the House. Clinton faced the same halfway through his embattled first term in 1994, worked some major deals with the opposing party and rebounded to re-election.

"I have a general rule," Clinton said, "which is that whatever he asked me about my advice, and whatever I say should become public only if he decides to make it public." Obama didn't provide that permission, saying: "I've been keeping the First Lady waiting for about half an hour, so I'm going to take off."

Where is the leadership?

What may have been less foreseen by President Obama’s team, however, was the stark contrast in what the military calls command presence. Seeing President Clinton in front of the microphone, deftly parrying the tough questions of the White House Press Corps, I couldn’t help but wish that the former Arkansas governor was doing more than consulting in these harrowing economical times.

[EDIT:  This next part comes from an article that is satirical in nature.  This did not happen.]
All of this followed by the fact that President Clinton still has not left the White House.

But twenty-four hours after former President Bill Clinton appeared at the White House to endorse his tax plan, President Barack Obama is "still looking for the right way to ask him to leave," an aide confirmed today.

How about... "get the hell out... you had your turn!"?

Mr. Obama had assumed that once the former president wrapped things up with reporters yesterday, he would say his goodbyes and depart in a waiting car, "but that kind of didn't happen," the aide said.

"Clinton kind of went, 'Do you have a computer I can use? I just want to check my email,' and then kind of made himself at home in the Oval Office," he said. "The president was being polite and all, but you could tell he was kind of pissed."


Links of interest:
Bill's Back: Clinton commands stage at White House
The Ghost of Presidents Past – Clinton’s Unexpected Sub for Obama is Telling
[Satire]Obama "Still Looking For Right Way" to Ask Clinton to Leave White House
Has Obama jumped the shark?

Ron Paul on Wiki Leaks

Recently a commenter posted a You Tube video in response to one of our entries related to WikiLeaks. The video (about 5 minutes long) is a speech given by Ron Paul on the US House floor. Ron Paul concludes his speech with a number of the following questions to consider (emphasis mine):

Number 1: Do the America People deserve to know the truth regarding the ongoing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen?

Number 2: Could a larger question be how can an army private access so much secret information?

Number 3: Why is the hostility directed at Assange, the publisher, and not at our governments failure to protect classified information?

Number 4: Are we getting our moneys worth of the 80 Billion dollars per year spent on intelligence gathering?

Number 5: Which has resulted in the greatest number of deaths: lying us into war or Wikileaks revelations or the release of the Pentagon Papers?

Number 6: If Assange can be convicted of a crime for publishing information that he did not steal, what does this say about the future of the first amendment and the independence of the internet?

Number 7: Could it be that the real reason for the near universal attacks on Wikileaks is more about secretly maintaining a seriously flawed foreign policy of empire than it is about national security?

Number 8: Is there not a huge difference between releasing secret information to help the enemy in a time of declared war, which is treason, and the releasing of information to expose our government lies that promote secret wars, death and corruption?

Number 9: Was it not once considered patriotic to stand up to our government when it is wrong?

I would like to encourage readers to provide commentary on how they view WikiLeaks.


Vestibulo-ocular reflex

On a rare occasion we will take a break for the typical topics of interest to experience the "dancing babies" and "epic beard men" that the internet has to offer. After seeing an advertisement for Fushigi the following video representing Vestibulo-ocular reflex in chickens came to mind.

TV Christmas Specials

'Tis the season for numerous "Christmas Specials" that fill the prime time airwaves. While many of the Christmas specials have little to do with the Nativity of Christ, a number of them have a common theme. The theme consists of a group trying to celebrate (some version of) Christmas while a antagonist is trying to ruin said celebrations. The stories generally end up with the antagonist mending their "evil" ways or having a change of heart that allows them all to celebrate (some version of) Christmas.

During this Advent season the rest of the world has already started celebrating (some version of) Christmas that often has little to do with the Son of God. Every year the "secular Grinch" attempts to steal more and more of (the real) Christmas... a parallel concept to that which is addressed in the the TV specials.

Many of us watched these formulaic Christmas Specials with our children, or as we were growing up. The secular shows (often divorced from Christianity) urges its viewers to defend (some version of) Christmas and proclaim the need for conversion of those who are against the "season." Seems we should be prepared to do the same for the true reason for the season.


Christmas Music

I thought I would share a great deal that Amazon has going on right now... 99 (real) Christmas songs for $2. Having never purchased mp3s from Amazon before, the process was a bit awkward, but not difficult in the least.


Talking points for discussing the TSA full-body scanners


There is a plan afoot to market X-ray devices for use in all transportation checkpoints and eventually at football stadiums and schools until they become ubiquitous. This is being done to make money for some government insiders and must be resisted at all costs. It's dangerous and unnecessary. People are also being forced to step into these devices under threat of an onerous and invasive government frisking. The following are talking points to debate the use to abolish of these machines. And when you are at the airport, please opt-out, these machines are indeed dangerous.

  • Why did we go from spot checking to everyone getting X-rayed? What changed?
  • It's all about the marketing. They want to sell more and more of them.
  • Michael Chertoff is behind the machines. His consulting firm helped develop the marketing scheme. Do you think that's right?
  • Next thing you know they will put them in schools. Do you want your child X-rayed daily?
  • Most experts agree that X-rays at any dose are unhealthy and cause cancer.
  • X-rays cause cancer. Minimum exposure levels are just suggestions.
  • Physicists and medical experts at UCSF Medical Center say the government is wrong about the safety of these machines. Others agree.
  • These machines have not been fully tested. Just the idea has been tested, the machine themselves have not.
  • Radiologists do not run the machines. Why not?
  • The TSA workers are not allowed to wear dosimeters to check for X-ray exposure... Why? What are they hiding?
  • What happens if a machine malfunctions? What happens if you are in it?
  • These machines are not proven safe.
  • The effect of millimeter waves are still being investigated
  • Current evidence shows that millimeter waves cause DNA damage.


Avoiding the Lemming Effect...

Lemmings. Small soft furry rodents with short tails found in the North. Some species of lemmings migrate in large groups and get themselves in trouble when encountering bodies of water or other similar hazards. Many are familiar with stories about large groups of lemmings mindlessly following each other off cliffs committing mass suicide.

The lemming effect is often used to refer to group-think and those people who mindlessly follow popular opinions, newest trends, or latest fads.

When you see everyone else quickly being led a certain direction stop and look where you are headed and why you are being led there.

The titillating WikiLeaks information being unleashed on the public should not be dismissed, but it also should not be accepted with open arms. When information suggests the potential for some serious consequences, a moment of pause should be taken to examine the possible outcomes more thoroughly.

Cowards be damned

Apocalypse 21:8:
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, they shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

Please view this week's Vortex: Who Goes to Hell First?


December 6th: St. Nicholas

Recently RCTV posted a Vortex video that shows St. Nicholas punching Arius in the face. I wanted to take the opportunity to share another picture of the event.

Above is a painting of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea. Notice St. Nick on the left, Arius cowering on the right, and Constantine leisurely observing the incident from his throne.


Man up...

The etymology of the word virtue essentially is tied to the Latin word for manliness. The seven cardinal virtues are divided into two groups, Theological (Faith, Hope and Charity) and Moral (Justice, Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude). Over the past few days the Vortex has been covering the Moral Virtues. All of the videos have been insightful, but I was particularly urged to write after watching today's video on Fortitude.

[F]ortitude removes from the will those obstacles arising from the difficulties of doing what reason requires. Hence fortitude, which implies a certain moral strength and courage, is the virtue by which one meets and sustains dangers and difficulties, even death itself, and in never through fear of these deterred from the pursuit of good which reason dictates. The virtues annexed to fortitude are:
  • Patience, which disposes us to bear present evils with equanimity; for as the brave man is one who represses those fears which make him shrink from meeting dangers which reason dictates he should encounter, so also the patient man is one who endures present evils in such a way as not to be inordinately cast down by them.
  • Munificence, which disposes one to incur great expenses for the suitable doing of a great work. It differs from mere liberality, as it has reference not to ordinary expenses and donations, but to those that are great. Hence the munificent man is one who gives with royal generosity, who does things not on a cheap but magnificent scale, always, however, in accordance with right reason.
  • Magnanimity, which implies a reaching out of the soul to great things, is the virtue which regulates man with regard to honours. The magnanimous man aims at great works in every line of virtue, making it his purpose to do things worthy of great honour. Nor is magnanimity incompatible with true humility. "Magnanimity", says St. Thomas, "makes a man deem himself worthy of great honours in consideration of the Divine gifts he possesses; whilst humility makes him think little of himself in consideration of his own short-comings".
  • Perseverance, the virtue which disposes to continuance in the accomplishment of good works in spite of the difficulties attendant upon them. As a moral virtue it is not to be taken precisely for what is designated as final perseverance, that special gift of the predestined by which one is found in the state of grace at the moment of death. It is used here to designate that virtue which disposes one to continuance in any virtuous work whatsoever.

Gentlemen (and ladies) you must persevere and you must endure. "Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you."


Merry Xmas!

Yes I said Xmas. No, I am not taking Christ out of Christmas. The X is one of many monograms of Christ. Chi Rho (XP) is also one of the earliest ways that the name of Christ was abbreviated.

While it is true that many attempt to use Xmas as a way to take Christ out of Christmas... we don't have to allow that to be so. Take back the X!