The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Archive for October, 2009

Washington Has Taught Me Fiscal Responsibility

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 30, 2009

I would like to take this opportunity to thank President Barack Hussein Obama (mmm, mmm, mmm) and both Houses of Congress for their profound lessons concerning responsible fiscal planning and enactment.  I must say it has borne some juicy fruits.

Readers of this blog will be pleased to learn that I have just placed a bid on a small Caribbean island which, I am told, is located about 20 miles south-east of Martinique.  Sadly, due to my high priced public school education I am unable to locate either island on a map, but none the less I am full of hope for a change in location.

For legal and business reasons I cannot give you the exact amount of my bid, I will merely say it consists of a whole freakin’ lot of money.  Do I have a whole freakin’ lot of money?  No, which is where the lessons I’ve learned from the Prez and Congress come in.

The way I have it figured, if I cut back on my spending for non-essential items like personal health and hygiene products; and if I tax my mother for the privilege of entering and leaving her own home,  I should have enough income to purchase the winning ticket in every powerball lottery this country has to offer between now and early 2013 when the purchase payment comes due.

I hear ya: “When have you ever won a powerball lottery, Dim?”

I never have.  But I now have hope in change, and this will see me through, if only the damned Republicans will stay the hell out of the ticket line at the liquor store.

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Congress Studying How To Aovid Its Constituents

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 29, 2009

This past summer Congress, along with their media lapdogs heaped a lot of criticism on the internet, now they are using taxpayer dollars to fund a study on how they can use the internet to avoid people who want to question them.  How?  By employing online townhall meetings which will allow them to screen what is asked of them.

Surprise!  The study showed that these manipulated townhall meetings increased the constituents’ approval of Congress members.  I guess holding townhall meetings in childrens’ hospitals to dodge questioning by angry constituents just wasn’t as effective or deceitful  as they had hoped.  See story.

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Today is the Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 28, 2009

Below is Pope Benedict’s catechesis on these two saints.  You can find links to most of his Wednesday audience talks on my Pope Benedict’s Catechesis Page in the link field below this blog’s title, or click HERE.  I hope to bring the page up to date later today.

BENEDICT XVI

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Saint Peter’s Square
Wednesday, 11 October 2006

 

Simon and Jude

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today, let us examine two of the Twelve Apostles: Simon the Cananaean and Jude Thaddaeus (not to be confused with Judas Iscariot). Let us look at them together, not only because they are always placed next to each other in the lists of the Twelve (cf. Mt 10: 3, 4; Mk 3: 18; Lk 6: 15; Acts 1: 13), but also because there is very little information about them, apart from the fact that the New Testament Canon preserves one Letter attributed to Jude Thaddaeus.

Simon is given a nickname that varies in the four lists: while Matthew and Mark describe him as a “Cananaean”, Luke instead describes him as a “Zealot”.

In fact, the two descriptions are equivalent because they mean the same thing: indeed, in Hebrew the verb qanà’ means “to be jealous, ardent” and can be said both of God, since he is jealous with regard to his Chosen People (cf. Ex 20: 5), and of men who burn with zeal in serving the one God with unreserved devotion, such as Elijah (cf. I Kgs 19: 10).

Thus, it is highly likely that even if this Simon was not exactly a member of the nationalist movement of Zealots, he was at least marked by passionate attachment to his Jewish identity, hence, for God, his People and divine Law.

If this was the case, Simon was worlds apart from Matthew, who, on the contrary, had an activity behind him as a tax collector that was frowned upon as entirely impure. This shows that Jesus called his disciples and collaborators, without exception, from the most varied social and religious backgrounds.

It was people who interested him, not social classes or labels! And the best thing is that in the group of his followers, despite their differences, they all lived side by side, overcoming imaginable difficulties: indeed, what bound them together was Jesus himself, in whom they all found themselves united with one another.

This is clearly a lesson for us who are often inclined to accentuate differences and even contrasts, forgetting that in Jesus Christ we are given the strength to get the better of our continual conflicts.

Let us also bear in mind that the group of the Twelve is the prefiguration of the Church, where there must be room for all charisms, peoples and races, all human qualities that find their composition and unity in communion with Jesus.

Then with regard to Jude Thaddaeus, this is what tradition has called him, combining two different names: in fact, whereas Matthew and Mark call him simply “Thaddaeus” (Mt 10: 3; Mk 3: 18), Luke calls him “Judas, the son of James” (Lk 6: 16; Acts 1: 13).

The nickname “Thaddaeus” is of uncertain origin and is explained either as coming from the Aramaic, taddà’, which means “breast” and would therefore suggest “magnanimous”, or as an abbreviation of a Greek name, such as “Teodòro, Teòdoto”.

Very little about him has come down to us. John alone mentions a question he addressed to Jesus at the Last Supper: Thaddaeus says to the Lord: “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us and not to the world?”.

This is a very timely question which we also address to the Lord: why did not the Risen One reveal himself to his enemies in his full glory in order to show that it is God who is victorious? Why did he only manifest himself to his disciples? Jesus’ answer is mysterious and profound. The Lord says: “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (Jn 14: 22-23).

This means that the Risen One must be seen, must be perceived also by the heart, in a way so that God may take up his abode within us. The Lord does not appear as a thing. He desires to enter our lives, and therefore his manifestation is a manifestation that implies and presupposes an open heart. Only in this way do we see the Risen One.

The paternity of one of those New Testament Letters known as “catholic”, since they are not addressed to a specific local Church but intended for a far wider circle, has been attributed to Jude Thaddaeus. Actually, it is addressed “to those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ” (v. 1).

A major concern of this writing is to put Christians on guard against those who make a pretext of God’s grace to excuse their own licentiousness and corrupt their brethren with unacceptable teachings, introducing division within the Church “in their dreamings” (v. 8).

This is how Jude defines their doctrine and particular ideas. He even compares them to fallen angels and, mincing no words, says that “they walk in the way of Cain” (v. 11).

Furthermore, he brands them mercilessly as “waterless clouds, carried along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars for whom the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved for ever” (vv. 12-13).

Today, perhaps, we are no longer accustomed to using language that is so polemic, yet that tells us something important. In the midst of all the temptations that exist, with all the currents of modern life, we must preserve our faith’s identity. Of course, the way of indulgence and dialogue, on which the Second Vatican Counsel happily set out, should certainly be followed firmly and consistently.

But this path of dialogue, while so necessary, must not make us forget our duty to rethink and to highlight just as forcefully the main and indispensable aspects of our Christian identity. Moreover, it is essential to keep clearly in mind that our identity requires strength, clarity and courage in light of the contradictions of the world in which we live.

Thus, the text of the Letter continues: “But you, beloved” – he is speaking to all of us -, “build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And convince some, who doubt…” (vv. 20-22).

The Letter ends with these most beautiful words: “To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God, our Saviour through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen” (vv. 24-25).

It is easy to see that the author of these lines lived to the full his own faith, to which realities as great as moral integrity and joy, trust and lastly praise belong, since it is all motivated solely by the goodness of our one God and the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, may both Simon the Cananaean and Jude Thaddeus help us to rediscover the beauty of the Christian faith ever anew and to live it without tiring, knowing how to bear a strong and at the same time peaceful witness to it.

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Rendezvous With Destiny:Reagan’s Famous Speech Turns 45

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 28, 2009

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.
We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness
.  A video of the speech appears below.

The text can be read HERE (Scroll below the video and shaded area)

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Maybe It’s The Teachers

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 28, 2009

Police are investigating the gang rape of a 15 year old girl outside a California High School during a homecoming dance.  They say as many as ten people we involved in the actual assault and as many as twenty witnessed it without calling 911(see story here).

Perhaps it’s the culture of the school system:

The American Medical Association found in 1986 that one in four girls, and one in eight boys, are sexually abused in or out of school before the age of 18.  Two years later, a study included in The Handbook on Sexual Abuse of Children, reported that one in four girls, and one in six boys, is sexually abused by age 18.[xxix] It was reported in 1991 that 17.7 percent of males who graduated from high school, and 82.2 percent of females, reported sexual harassment by faculty or staff during their years in school.  Fully 13.5 percent said they had sexual intercourse with their teacher.[xxx]

In New York City alone, at least one child is sexually abused by a school employee every day.  One study concluded that more than 60 percent of employees accused of sexual abuse in the New York City schools were transferred to desk jobs at district offices located inside the schools.  Most of these teachers are tenured and 40 percent of those transferred are repeat offenders.  They call it “passing the garbage” in the schools.  One reason why this exists is due to efforts by the United Federation of Teachers to protect teachers at the expense of children.[xxxi] Another is the fact that teachers accused of sexual misconduct cannot be fired under New York State law.[xxxii]

One of the nation’s foremost authorities on the subject of the sexual abuse of minors in public schools is Hofstra University professor Charol Shakeshaft.  In 1994, Shakeshaft and Audrey Cohan did a study of 225 cases of educator sexual abuse in New York City.  Their findings are astounding.

All of the accused admitted sexual abuse of a student, but none of the abusers was reported to the authorities, and only 1 percent lost their license to teach.  Only 35 percent suffered negative consequences of any kind, and 39 percent chose to leave their school district, most with positive recommendations.  Some were even given an early retirement package.[xxxiii]

Moving molesting teachers from school district to school district is a common phenomenon.  And in only 1 percent of the cases do superintendents notify the new school district.[xxxiv] According to Diana Jean Schemo, the term “passing the trash” is the preferred jargon among educators.[xxxv]

Shakeshaft has also determined that 15 percent of all students have experienced some kind of sexual misconduct by a teacher between kindergarten and 12th grade; the behaviors range from touching to forced penetration.[xxxvi] She and Cohan also found that up to 5 percent of teachers sexually abuse children.[xxxvii] Shakeshaft will soon be ready to release the findings of a vast study undertaken for the Planning and Evaluation Service Office of the Undersecretary, U.S. Department of Education, titled, “Educator Sexual Misconduct with Students: A Synthesis of Existing Literature on Prevalence in Connection with the Design of a National Analysis.”[xxxviii]
Source.

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Tuesday, Oct 27: Latest Addition To The Index Of Forbidden Kooks

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 27, 2009

“Cheney, by the way, looks very ruddy; I couldn’t get over that like he must have feasted on a Jewish baby, or a Muslim baby; he must have sent his people out to get one and bring it back so he could drink its blood, because that’s what somebody like Cheney does to get that ruddy look.”~Mike Malloy, radio talk show host.  That wasn’t the worst of it! I guess you can say anything you want when you don’t have much of an audience, and the audience you do have “thinks for itself.”

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Latest Addition To The Index Of Forbidden Kooks

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 26, 2009

“They are reporters, not trivia experts.  And the buzzer is complicated .  It’s not activated until Alex [Trebek] finishes the last syllable of the question.  If you hit the button too soon, nothing happens.”~From an unnamed CNN insider defending two of the network’s on air personalities for their poor showing on charity editions of the game show Jeopardy.  Wolf Blitzer finished with a score of minus $4,600, losing to comedian Andy Richter and Desperate Housewives star Dana Delaney.  Soledad O’Brien also finished third in her appearance, though her score of plus $6,200 was far more respectable than Blitzer’s.  She lost to comedian Michael McKean (Lenny on the Laverne and Shirley Show), and Basketball legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

A well trained chimp could wait until Alex was done talking before hitting the buzzer, but as the President recently reminded us, his followers think for themselves.  We now see the tragic consequences of that.

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White House “Trash ‘Em” Strategy A Failure

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 26, 2009

They trashed Joe Wilson and his campaign chest swelled.

They trashed Fox News and its ratings and revenue soared,

They trashed the Chamber of Commerce and its fund raising effort has become a juggernaut.

They trashed the dollar and its still trash.

I guess Obama’s unique Midas Touch isn’t 100 percent reliable.

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Two For One: Latest Addition(s) To The Index Of Forbidden Kooks

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 26, 2009

1. Bob Schieffer, host of CBS’s Face The Nation: “Michelle Obama took it to another level as she set records as the first First Lady to run barefoot across the White House Lawn.  She also became the first to jump rope there.”

There was even a build up to such inanity.

2. Steven Shannon, a Democrat who is running for Attorney General in Virginia.  When Republican challenger Ken Cuccinelli asked him in a debate if he could name each division of the AG office and explain what it does, Shannon evaded answering by talking about several other things.  Worse still, as the last couple of minutes of the video below shows, some people (his staffers or supporters?) tried to block the camera with placards and flashbulbs (Yes, flashbulbs) as a reporter questioned him on the subject after the debate.

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Notes on 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, by Father Charles Callan

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 25, 2009

Greeting, And Thanksgiving For The State Of The Church At Thessalonica, 1:1-10

1-10.  With the briefest salutation found in all his Epistles St Paul, in company with Silvanus and Timothy, greets the Thessalonians Church according to his usual manner.  He then stresses his  continued interest in them, recalling their faith and love, the circumstances of their conversion, their exemplary conduct, and their well known and widespread reputation as outstanding Christians.

1. Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians, in God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The form of address which St Paul adapted in this, the earliest of his letters, was afterwards observed in all his Epistles, though he later enlarged and varied it according to conditions and circumstances.

Paul. In the two Epistles to the Thessalonians, as in the letters to the Philippians and Philemon, St Paul omits his title of ‘apostle,’ because there was no reason to assert his authority in messages so friendly and personal.  He also omits here ‘servant of Jesus Christ,’ out of reverence for Silas or Silvanus who after the Council of Jerusalem, was called one of the chief brthren.

Silvanus, always so called by St Paul, but spoken of in Acts as ‘Silas’ (Acts 15-18).  He joined St Paul at Antioch (Acts 15:22-23), accompanied him on his second missionary journey, and helped in the foundation fo the Church at Thessalonica (Acts 15:22 ff., 16:19, 29 ff., 17:1-10)

Timothy.  See Introduction to 1 Tim., No. I.  Of St Paul’s many faithful disciples Timothy seems to have been the one dearest to his heart and most according to his own mind.  He wrote of him to the Philippians as follows: “I have noe man so of the same mind, who with sincere affection is solicitous for you.  For all seek the things that are their own, not the things that are Jesus Christ’s (Phil 2:20-21).  Timothy was born Lystra in Lycaonia of a Greek father and a Jewish mother, named Unice (Acts 16:1; 2 Tim 1:5).  It seems that his father died young, and the child was reared and carefully trained in the Old Testament Scriptures by his devout mother and grandmother.  It would appear also that these three embraced Christianity when St Paul preached at Lystra on his first missionary journey (Acts 14:6 ff.).  Timothy was about sixteen or seventeen years old at this time, and, when Paul revisited Lystra on his second journey, he chose the youthful and devoted convert as a special companion and helper in the work of the Gospel, having first circumcised him to facilitate his work among the Jews, and ordained him by the laying on of hands (Acts 16: 1-3; 1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6-7).  Thereafter, from the frequent mention of his name in the Acts and in the Epistles, we see that he was almost constantly with the Apostle.  Whether or not he was with his master during the latter’s imprisonment at Caesarea and one the voyage thence to Rome, we do not know; but it is certain that he was in the Eternal City while St Paul was imprisoned there the first time, becuase his name appears in the opening verses of the Captivity Epistles-Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.  He was also with the Apostle during the interval between the two Roman imprisonments; for it was at this time that St Paul appointed him Bishop of Ephesus (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., III, iv, 6; Apost. Constit., vii, 46), and left him in charge of that important see.  When the Apostle was nearing his end during his second captivity in Rome, he wrote to Timothy to make haste to come to him before winter (2 Tim 1:4; 4:8, 21).  After this we know no more about him, save from tradition, according to which he was martyred at Ephesus in his old age for interferring with the celebration of a licentious heathen feast.  St Jerome tells us that his body was brought to Constantinople and buried there.  His feast, as that of a Martyred Bishop, is celebrated in the Latin Church on January 24.  He has been declared a Saint also by the Greek, Armenian, Coptic, and Maronite Churches.

we may get an idea of St Timothy’s character from what is said of him in the Acts and especially in the Epistles, from the duties entrusted to him and the labors performed by him, and from the great love St Paul bore him.  He was intelligent, innocent, gentle, timid, and yet sufficiently strong, courageous, and fearless when virtue and religion were at stake.  He could not so well brave the rough world and wicked opponents as did St Paul, and yet by the grace of God, thought trembling and naturally fearful, he could go when necessary into the thick of the battle.  Paul could always depend upon him to do his best, in spite of his shrinking disposition and delicate health.  He was ever the Apostle’s ‘beloved son,’ tried and true, full of faith and hope and love.  He had found the more excellent way, and by the grace of God he walked in it throughout his days.

The Church of the Thessalonians. Concerning the city of Thessalonica see here.

In God the Father, etc.  The single preposition ‘in’ here shows that to Paul’s mind there was perfect equality in divine nature between the Father and our Lord.

2.  Grace be to you and peace.  We give thanks to God always for you all; making a remembrance of you in our prayers without ceasing.

Grace…peace.  This is Paul’s usual salutation.  Grace, God’s special help and favor, is the root and source of our supernatural union with Him and with Christ, and peace is the blessed fruit of that same union.

We give thanks, etc.  This is a frequent phrase with St Paul, especially at the beginning of his Epistles, and Egyptian papyri show that similar phrases were used in epistolary greetings in pre-Christian times; with St Paul, however, such words have a spiritual meaning.  The Apostle continually thanks God for the spiritual benefits conferred on the saints, and he prays that these blessings may be continued and extended.

Without ceasing, i.e., continually.  Some connect this phrase with the following, but it makes better sense to join it to what goes before, as in our version.

3.  Being mindful of the work of your faith, and labor, and charity, and of the enduring of the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ before God and our Father:

The Apostle now tells why he ‘gives thanks to God’ for the Thessalonians, namely, because of the practical manifestations of their faith, love, and hope-the three theological virtues which constitute the essence of the Christian life (cf. 1 Cor 13:13).  Here in his first Epistle St Paul teaches what he teaches always elsewhere, that faith must be conjoined with works, it must be active: “Faith without good works is dead” (James 2:17).  The faith of the Thessalonians was manifested in labors of love and in endurance of temporal losses in view of eternal rewards for which they hoped.

4.  Knowing, brethren, beloved of God, your election:

The call of the Thessalonians to the faith and to membership in the Church of Christ is another reason why St Paul gives thanks to God.  These great spiritual benefits are a sure proof that they are ‘beloved of God,’ i.e., specially favored by God in being selected from among others for faith in Christ.  With St Paul call or vocation and election really mean the same thing, namely, admission to the faith and privileges of the Gospel, but call regards rather the terminus ad quem, and election the terminus a quo; the faithful were elected by God to be called to the faith.  In St Paul, therefore, both terms have reference to a supernatural gift of God; and in the present text the word ‘election’ has to do with membership in the Church.  The question of final salvation is, then, only indirectly touched upon in this place, inasmuch as one who is elected and called is on the way to final salvation.

5.  For our gospel hath not been unto you in word only, but in power also, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance, as you know what manner of men we have been among you for your sakes.

St Paul here gives a reason for his conviction that the Thessalonians have been admitted to the privilege of faith and grace in the Church of Christ, recalling the circumstances of their conversion; for he and his companions preached the Gospel to them with a ‘power’ and efficacy which only the Holy Ghost could supply, and with an ‘assurance’ that was characteristic of the Apostolic preaching everywhere.  This his readers know.

6.  And you became followers of us, and of the Lord; receiving the word in much tribulation, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

The election of the Thessalonians was also made manifest in the generous way they received the preaching of the Apostles, in the persecutions they steadfastly endured for the Gospel, and in the holy joy they exhibited amid their trials.

7.  So that you were made a pattern to all that believe in Macedonia and in Achaia.

The result of the whole-hearted response of the Thessalonians to the preaching of the Gospel was that they became an example and a model in faith to all the other Greeks.

Macedonia and Achaia were the two provinces into which the Romans had divided Greece.

8.  For from you was spread abroad the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia, and in Achaia, but also in every place your faith which is towards God is gone forth, so that we need not to speak anything.

For from you, etc., i.e., from you city.  The international character of Thessalonica made it easy for the faith of the Christians there to become widely known; and this is what Paul means by the somewhat hyperbolical expressions, ‘in every place’ and ‘so that we need not to speak anything.’

9.  For they themselves relate to us, what manner of entering in we had unto you; and how you turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God.

For they themselves, etc., i.e., those Christians from ‘every place’ are full of the report of the preaching of Paul and his companions among the Thessalonians, and of the consequent success of the preaching.

How you turned, etc., from the service of pagan gods to that of the true God.

10.  And to wait for his Son from heaven (whom he raised up from the dead), Jesus, who hath delivered us from the wrath to come.

The purpose of the conversion of the Thessalonians, like that of all others, was that they might be in readiness for the coming of Christ, our Redeemer and Judge, whether at the hour of death or at the end of the world.

Who hat delivered.  Better, ‘who delivereth.’  The present tense indicates that the work of salvation is continuous.

The wrath to come, i.e., God’s chastisement for sin.

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