Archive for January, 2016

Photo by Click, 2005,

Photo by Click, 2005,

God gave us life, and also the free will to live it our way.

So, on earth, our earthly lives are authored by us, by you and me. Our lives are as individual as a dance, a book, a poem, or a song.

But a dancer, a novelist, a poet, or a songwriter, does not always create excellence. Sometimes he or she creates, well…garbage.

So how do we create something worthy from our lives? How do we become a better person? And why should we?

Number One: We must admit that we’re far from perfect. We will understand this when we notice the tears we’ve caused others to shed.  Amazingly,  some people don’t notice the hurts they cause because in their mind the most important person is ME. These are people who use others as step ladders, or whipping posts, or as personal servants without reward or even acknowledgement. If this is the sort of person you have become, stop right there and notice. Decide to change.

Number Two: Look at the people you live and work with, and think: what do they need from me, rather than what can I get from them? When we take ourselves out of the equation only for a moment, we see someone before us who is very different from who we assumed them to be. We see their vulnerability. We attach to them as fellow human beings. Yes, we see them in a higher way. We see them as human as we are.

Number Three: Step back and consider that we are human, transcendent creatures made in the image of God. We are meant to have eternal life purchased for us at great cost by Jesus Christ. But, whether the eternal life will be with, or without God, depends on us. Never forget God’s mercy, but never forget that He is also just. So our attempt to change our life in order to become a better person is–at the very least–a good use of our free will.

Star Wars and God….

Posted: January 28, 2016 in World On The Edge
Photo by Kakisky, 2015,

Photo by Kakisky, 2015,

This is an interesting explanation of the Star Wars movie themes from Wikipedia.

In the fictional universe of the Star Wars franchise created by George Lucas, The Force is a binding, metaphysical, and ubiquitous power Introduced in the original Star Wars film (1977), it is wielded by the Jedi and Sith monastic orders and is a part of all subsequent Star Wars works, including the Star Wars Legends collection of comic books, novels, and video games. The line “May the Force be with you”, spoken in each of the Star Wars films, has become part of the pop culture vernacular and is iconic of the series. The Force is a binding, metaphysical, and ubiquitous power in the fictional universe of the Star Wars franchise created by George Lucas. Introduced in the original Star Wars film (1977), it is wielded by the Jedi and Sith monastic orders and is a part of all subsequent Star Wars works, including the Star Wars Legends collection of comic books, novels, and video games. The line “May the Force be with you”, spoken in each of the Star Wars films, has become part of the pop culture vernacular and is iconic of the series.–Wikipedia

Asked whether the Force is God in the Star Wars universe, George Lucas replied:

“I put the Force into the movies in order to try to awaken a certain kind of spirituality in young people. More a belief in God than a belief in any particular religious system. The real question is to ask the question; because if you have enough interest in the mysteries of life to ask the questions “Is there a God?” or “Is there not a God?” that’s for me is the worst thing that can happen. If you asked a young person “Is there a God?” and they said “I don’t know” I think you should have an opinion about that. I think there is a God, no question. What that God is or what we know about that God, I am not sure. The one thing I know about life and the nature of the human race is that the human race has always believed it’s known everything. Even the cavemen thought they had it all figured out and they knew everything there was to know about everything because that’s where mythology came from. It’s constructing some kind of context for the unknown. I would say that cavemen on a scale understood about one. Now we’ve made it up to about five. The only thing is that most people don’t realize is that the scale goes to a million.”


Photo by jclk8888, 2014, MorgueFile.Com

Photo by jclk8888, 2014, MorgueFile.Com

When I was a young child, the Catholic Mass was celebrated only in Latin. The language of the church.

Few knew the literal meaning of each word in the prayers unless they followed along in their missal with Latin on one page and English on the opposite page. But it didn’t matter, at least to me. There was something in the Latin Mass that spoke to my soul in the same way as beautiful music without words. I loved the Latin Mass.

Music itself, has been called the language of the soul. There is no question that it connects us, not only by lyrics sung but by the intangible yearning, joy, and even the pain that we hear in a melody.

These emotions were absorbed by many upon hearing the Traditional Latin Mass, the essentials of which had remained constant since the time of Pope St. Gregory the Great (590-604). Today, it is still around and commonly known as the Tridentine Mass.

The Tridentine Mass is a name often applied to the Mass promulgated by Pope St. Pius V, on July 14, 1570, through the apostolic constitution Quo Primum, which standardized the traditional Latin Rite Mass. Then in 1969, it was replaced by the Mass of Pope Paul VI in 1969, called the Novus Ordo.

The Novus Ordo is the new Mass that Pope Paul VI introduced in 1969 after Vatican II, but it was already being revised before and during Vatican II. The desire of both the Council Fathers and Paul VI was to simplify the liturgy in order to make it more accessible to the average layman. While the Novus Ordo retains the basic structure of the Traditional Latin Mass, it removes a number of repetitions and simplifies the language of the liturgy.

This simplification is, of course, very good, but sometimes we appreciate more the ‘not so simple’ things. Those things we have to put additional effort into, those things we have to really think about and meditate upon to understand the awesome mystery in them.

For it is within the quiet depth of our hearts that we come to know the greatest of mysteries –God’s love for us, shown by the sacrifice of His son.
All there for us in the gift of The Mass.

mf734Some say that a religious perspective shapes one’s creativity to such an extent that it corrupts art for its purposes. But does a non-religious perspective act in the same way? Does a non-religious perspective also corrupt art for its purposes?

A myriad of perspectives abound in our world: how do we see the world around us, how do we choose to live in it? A writer’s beliefs, whether religious, political, or social, will affect his or her creation. It is a matter of degree whether the creation becomes art, or whether it is turned into propaganda, which is not art.

Religion does not compromise art, and is not an impediment to the fiction writer. On the contrary, it aids in creativity, providing a component that pushes life and human reason to a higher, non-material level than simple, day to day dogmatisms. It is a lens through which an author translates a very human world, without moralizing propaganda, but rather with an empathy for all that makes us human, both spiritual (invisible) and physical (visible) components.

A common experience to humanity is one of depravity. The Christian author’s lens is the grace of God offered to humanity in spite of its depravity, but the reader shouldn’t have to be a believer to appreciate the author’s story.

Some Christian authors write a story that is slavishly and artificially constructed to argue his point. The story is not nearly as important as the moral of the story. This may, at first, sound logical. But this is definitely not the right approach to writing fiction—for Catholics or anyone.

Here is Flannery O’Connor’s Catholic orientation: from the sign to the thing signified, from the visible to the invisible, from the sacrament to the mystery. The more real fiction is, the more the story confronts the reader with concrete details in the language rather than abstract ideas, the greater and more forceful the metaphysical persuasiveness and power. Readers of “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” for example, do not have to be subjected to a Catholic lecture on human sinfulness; rather, “The Misfit” as a character is so concretely and vividly and authentically presented to our senses that we know him intimately, and the wickedness in his heart and life—and ours?—is a reality that cannot be denied without great effort.

Flannery O’Connor, as a Catholic Southern writer, understood that fiction is not firstly and ultimately about an idea, but about incarnation. It is about the concrete. It is about matter. It is about life. And this is the Art of Christian Fiction.

Based on Flannery O’Connor’s Religion and Literature:Dogma and its Implications for Art, by Tami England Flaum

Which Road–High or Low??

Posted: January 25, 2016 in World On The Edge


Living is full of simple aggravations and complaints. Oddly the smaller things that bug us sometimes bother us more than much more serious situations we ought to be dealing with.

Time to take out the spectacles of definition.

What is most important? What is least important?  Are hearts involved? Which things are we actually responsible for, and which are another’s responsibility?

Human beings were made to be good, yet there is a lot of corruption, evil, and violence in our world–all the work of a less noble chamber of the human heart. But we have a very noble chamber, too, and a loveable one. We only have to allow it to work that way,  to act out the love within us–love that God put there.

Love is like a fire; it begins with a spark unique to each of us.

Genuine love for ourselves and others comes from our particular character traits, our likes and dislikes, and a whole lot about what we are willing to do to get where we want to be.

What is the spark that will ignite the love in you and me? What will cause us to take the high road toward love, or the low one toward indifference or even evil?

Got a Situation Gone Bad???

Posted: January 22, 2016 in World On The Edge
Photo by kakisky, 2011,

Photo by kakisky, 2011,

One definition of the word, situation is the way in which something is placed in relation to its surroundings. But often, when people talk about being in a situation, they usually mean that something important has gone bad in some way.

We all have those sorts of experiences. Some are social situations in which we don’t have enough confidence in ourselves. Maybe we are shy about conversing with others, afraid someone might be too critical of us.

Maybe our situation is that we’ve had a financial fall-out, and don’t know how to fix it.

Or it could be that we’re lonely, or sick, or even dying.

Maybe there’s a person we love, who doesn’t seem to love us. Or maybe we have an addiction, such as drugs or alcohol.

For many, there’s the situation of betrayal by a friend, or spouse.

In our life we will confront so many situations! Some are self-imposed, because all of us have choices, and often we choose wrongly. Some are thrust upon us through no fault of our own.

So how do we handle a harmful situation? Can we do it on our own?

Well, the answer to that is that we don’t have to do it on our own. Not if we have God as our partner in life. Not if we turn to him in all those situations listed above, even if they are situations we caused ourselves. God will help us through, if only we ask him.

Will our problem always be solved the way we want it to be solved? The answer is No.

But if God is involved, if we give our situation to Him, if we let Him carry us, we can have peace, trusting that good will come from it in a way we may not anticipate.

 Photo by cheriedurbin, 2014

Photo by cheriedurbin, 2014

To disconnect is to sever the connection of or between two entities
To detach
To dissociate, as to disconnect from meaningful relationships
To be out of touch with

Have you ever listened to someone in charge talk intensely about something and scratched your head at how he could actually believe his own lies. Your first thought might be: This person is completely out of touch with reality!

To know what someone wants or needs from us, we must care enough to stay connected. We must be close enough to their daily ins and outs to understand them. If we have disconnected from someone, for example a child estranged from his/her parent, or vice versa, then we no longer have a true idea of what the other is presently thinking, even what danger he/she may be in. We must stay in close proximity to a person for any sort of real relationship.

This is also true in a religious sense. Today, many have disconnected from the source of our very life. God.

But just as no light will display from a lamp without the power source of an electrical socket,  if we are not plugged into God we will not know Him. And if we do not know Him, we cannot, display the true light of our humanity which is in His image.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1:27

Our humanity is a gift, a magnanimous value God has given only to us over all other creation. Why? Because we matter to God. He loves us. He is never disconnected from us. He is always in touch with us. However, we can disconnect from Him. Yet even if that should happen, the power source of God is still available, but we must plug into it.

childIs this statement True or False? Childish behavior is the opposite of adult behavior.

Well … do we ever fully let go of our childhood experiences—joyful or sorrowful? Either we expose them for all to see and hear, or we hide hide them so no one sees or hears about them. Regardless, our personal childhood experiences color nearly everything we do as adults.

The older I become, the more I’m assured of this—that our childhood years have created a blueprint for the rest of our lives. Sometimes a good blueprint, sometimes not so good.

This is precisely why childhood itself is so important—how and where we spend it, who was there, and most especially, what were the attitudes of our parents? More than likely–unless there’s a conscious effort— we express those same attitudes with our own children.

We not only look like our parents, but we also tend to think like them—unless something causes us to rebel—and many do rebel, swearing not to be a clone of either of their parents..

Still, we may later find ourselves like them. We may corner the sheets on bed just like our mother used to do. Or we may have interest in a particular sports team as our father did. Interiorly, we may have learned to solve problems the same as one or the other of our parents.

Because of our parents, we learned empathy for others, or not. We learned selfishness, or not. We put great emphasis on money, or not. We give of ourselves, or not.

As we grow into adults, we often try to forget any sorrows we may have had as children involving our parents, and our peers as well. We may even put aside the joys, too; intending to be ourselves, our own man or woman. Some who have been badly parented have success in consciously doing the opposite with their own children. But it’s not often any of us get away from the old tapes in our heads as our childhood re-plays. For better or worse, they are there.

The realization that your parents were human, and therefore, imperfect, can be tough to accept. We have a natural tendency to want to protect our parents. We even unconsciously identify with their critical attitudes toward us and often take on their disparaging points of view as our own. This internalized parent is what we refer to as one’s “critical inner voice.” It can feel threatening to separate from the people who we once relied on for care and safety.–Lisa Firestone, Ph.D, Psychology Today

Not all of us have/had mature, loving parents — and no parent is perfect. But even if our earthly parents fail, our heavenly Father never fails. Isaiah assures us, “Can a mother forget her infant, or be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” (Isaiah 49:15)

The love of God, Our Father, is constant and unlimited. In the parable of the prodigal son, the father loves his children beyond anything they have earned–the same way He loves us.

So when the blueprint of our earthly parents fail us, and our critical inner voice is heavy to bear, we can turn to the very personal and perfect love of God to become who we were truly born to be.

More Than What We See…..

Posted: January 19, 2016 in World On The Edge

file0001888333711What does a runner look like when he finally spies the finish line of a 5K race? Isn’t he or she perspiring profusely, panting out breaths, his heart pounding, muscles aching. He’s so close to the finish line, he knows he won’t quit. A little bit more, and then—it’s done. He’s over! He’s put in the work. He suffered through the race. Soon, his breathing quiets, his perspiration dries, his heart stops pounding, his muscles loosen. There is more than just a smile reflected upon his face.

What does a painting look like when the artist begins? Only a line, more lines, colors washing every which way. He doesn’t like it. He wipes it off. He begins again. Lines and color come together until–finally, he has what he wants. He’s created beauty. And he smiles, too.

What does a woman giving birth look like when she’s in labor? An oversized body groaning, crying, pushing, shouting. And then–finally, it’s over. A new human life is laid on her breast. Her child. And she smiles, too.

The point is there is more to be seen in each of these particular events than the suffering or hard work or frustration. In time, we see personal accomplishment, the creation of something beautiful, and most miraculous, the emergence of human life–be it brand new, or only renewed.

There’s more to be seen in the struggles of our individual lives as well. Maybe we’re concentrating on the hard work, frustration, or suffering, and there’s the chance of giving up. But if we hang in there, if we give it our best–in time, we’ll see that our life is emerging too–into something better.

Have Faith in that.
“While other worldviews lead us to sit in the midst of life’s joys, foreseeing the coming sorrows, Christianity empowers its people to sit in the midst of this world’s sorrows, tasting the coming joy.”
–Tim Keller, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering.

By lauramusikanski, 2015,

By lauramusikanski, 2015,

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite. Or waiting around for Friday night or waiting perhaps for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil or a better break or a string of pearls or a pair of pants or a wig with curls or another chance. Everyone is just waiting.– Dr. Seuss

Do you want change? How long will you wait for it to happen without you? For anything to happen there must first be a personal action.

I’m a great procrastinator at times. I know what I want to happen. I know what it will take to make it happen. Yet I wait. Why?

It’s been said that one person can make a difference, and if you want to change the world, change yourself first. While that may rely a little too much on the Pollyanna principle, it makes sense. A personal change for the better is certainly a good thing and can spread to others.

But sometimes we wait, or put things off, because we’re lazy, or overwhelmed by the task, or fearful we won’t succeed. What does it take to get ourselves going? Because nothing will happen unless we do.

The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing–Proverbs 20:4.

Yes, happening things take time. No one builds a house in a day. A business doesn’t start off amazingly successful in its first week. An education can take twelve plus years. But each of these require a first step, a starting point–an action. Otherwise they are only wishes blown in the air.

We must take that action, whatever it is.

Here are ten things to get us moving, presented by Marcia Eckerd, Ph.D. on Psychology Today. They’re not instant, she says, but at least helpful:

1. Create a deadline you must meet. I set up a meeting that requires me to finish a report and use panic to get me going.
2. It’s common knowledge, but it works – go on your diet or exercise routine with a friend.
3. Break the task into smaller pieces and reward yourself when you actually finish a piece. (Snickers is my reward of choice.) It helps to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
4. Work somewhere outside of home so the usual distractions aren’t there. Or make your work area as distraction-free as possible.
5. Get started even if it’s a gesture. Often, that’s the hump that’s hardest to hurdle.
6. Actually look at your to-do list. Take off anything non-essential, and set a time to start on one thing. The size of the list may scare you away.
7. Talk to yourself, although not out loud if you’re somewhere public. Repeat to yourself: “I have set a priority.” If you feel pulled to do errands or check e-mail, you have set a priority.
8. Organize the bills/papers/supplies you need to do your task. You’re less likely to wander away if you have everything together.
9. Set a time when you must sit down, and don’t allow yourself to do anything else for at least a half hour. You might start out of boredom.
10. Figure out a time to do what you need to do and stick to it. As crazy as it sounds, I lift weights before I go to bed. It’s the only consistent time I can manage.”

It’s very possible those ten things will be helpful, but what must happen first is a deeply felt, deliberate, and personal step by you and I to make a difference in what we see as wrong for us individually,  as Americans, and as Children Created by God.