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 November, 2009

Advent Music #2: And The Glory Of The Lord

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 30, 2009

This is the second part of Handel’s Messiah.  I posted the opening overture a few days ago.

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Turkey Wasn’t The Only Thing Getting Stuffed Last Week

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 29, 2009

Recall that Thanksgiving Eve the Obama News Networks were giddy with the good news that jobless claims had “plunged,” “dived,” “plummeted.”  The Anointed One’s stimulus was working!  Well, not quite.

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Advent Meditation #1, An Invitation To Meditate

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 29, 2009

I am come to cast fire on the earth; and what will I but that it be kindled~Lk 12:49

The Jews solemnized a day called by them the day of fire, in memory of the fire with which Nehemiah consumde the sacrifice, upon his return with his countrymen from the captivity of Babylon.  Even so, and indeed with more reason, should Christmas Day be called the day of fire, on which a God came as a little child to cast the fire of love into the hearts of men.

I came to cast fire on the earth: so spoke Jesus Christ; and truly so it was.  Before the coming of the Messiah, who loved God upon the earth?  Hardly was he known in a nook of the world, that is, Judea; and even there how very few loved him when he came!  As to the rest of the world, some worshiped the sun, some the brutes, some the very stones, and others again even viler creatures still.  But after the coming of Jesus Christ, the name of God became everywhere known, and was loved by many.  After the Redeemer was born, God was more loved by men in a few years than he had before been…

It is a custom with many Christians to anticipate the arrival of Christmas a considerable time beforehand by fitting up in their homes a crib to represent the birth of Jesus Christ; but few there are who think of preparing their hearts, in order that the Infant Jesus may be born in them, and there find his repose.  Among these few, however, we would be reckoned, in order that we too may be made worthy to burn with that happy flame which gives contentment to souls on this earth, and bliss in heaven.

This Advent season let us consider how the Eternal Word had no other end in becoming man than to inflame us with his divine love.~St Alphonsus de Ligouri

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The GDP Fraud

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 29, 2009

The following is reprinted from The Ludwig von Mises Institute website, according to rights granted under the site’s Creative Commons License.  I’ve deleted the photos which accompanied the original post since I am uncertain as to their copyright status.

Should We Believe the GDP?

Mises Daily: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 by

Third quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures were announced recently with that index rebounding to reflect that the US economy is growing again at a 3.5 percent rate. The financial talking heads rejoiced and investors continue to power the stock markets higher. Fed Chair Ben Bernanke even predicted that the recession was over when he told the Brookings Institute in mid-September, “From a technical perspective, the recession is very likely over at this point.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist and cofounder of Moody’s told the Joint Economic Committee, “The Great Recession has finally come to an end, in large part because of unprecedented policy efforts by the Federal Reserve and fiscal policymakers.”

Never mind that the third-quarter numbers included Cash For Clunkers and other direct government intervention that skewed the numbers; what’s the value of GDP numbers anyway? Just because the Department of Commerce crunched their numbers and the result comes out positive that means we are all better off? None of the 15.7 million officially unemployed Americans is thinking the recession (Great or otherwise) is over; especially if you are one of the over five million people who have been out of work for more than six months.

Megan McArdle takes GDP worship to task in the November issue of the Atlantic, in a piece entitled “Misleading Indicator.” McArdle writes that Simon Kuznets made a “titanic achievement” when he created a system of national accounts, but GDP “counts the dollar value of our output, but not the actual improvement in our lives, or even in our economic condition.”

McArdle uses the example of a new home built during the boom to make the point that all of that homebuilding pumped up the GDP numbers during the boom, but now the “house sits empty while bankers, borrowers, and regulators squabble. One of the 2.4 million excess homes on the market, its only function right now is to bankrupt its owner.”

Likely without knowing it, the Atlantic‘s business and economic editor states a point made obvious by Austrians: “GDP does not, and cannot, reflect the waste of enormous effort, and precious natural resources, that went into building something that suddenly no one wants.” Yes, all of the malinvestment made GDP soar, but ultimately just wasted capital. As Frank Shostak explains, “The GDP framework cannot tell us whether final goods and services that were produced during a particular period of time are a reflection of real wealth expansion, or a reflection of capital consumption.”

Murray Rothbard always made the point in his class lectures that GDP figures were suspect because government outputs are included. Of course, government doesn’t produce anything that consumers will pay for willingly, thus it must take from the productive economy to provide these services. So there is at least double counting of the outputs.

“GDP can record how much money we spend on health care or education; it cannot tell us whether the services we are buying are any good,” writes McArdle. With the House passing a bill calling for the government takeover of healthcare as it has education, the result will be the same: GDP numbers will grow, but the quality of healthcare will go down while the cost goes up.

But while McArdle criticizes Kuznet’s creation, it is only because she believes that another econometrician can create a “better statistical yardstick.” She believes that man is Enrico Giovannini, who has been working on “more-reliable metrics for measuring change in our health, education, the environment — the many ways that human beings make themselves better or worse off.”

But of course putting numbers and measurements to these subjective values is nonsense. As Ludwig von Mises wrote, “The attempts to determine in money the wealth of a nation or of the whole of mankind are as childish as the mystic efforts to solve the riddles of the universe by worrying about the dimensions of the pyramid of Cheops.”

Kuznets himself even questioned the usefulness of these numbers:

The statistician who supposes that he can make a purely objective estimate of national income, not influenced by preconceptions concerning the “facts,” is deluding himself; for whenever he includes one item or excludes another he is implicitly accepting some standard of judgement, his own or that of the compiler of the data. There is no escaping this subjective element. (Kuznets, National Income and its Composition, 1919–1938, NBER, 1941.)

But McArdle is a believer. She’s disappointed that Giovannini has left the OECD (and the new index project) to head Italy’s statistics authority. However, she believes when “our grandchildren face their financial Waterloo, they may have Giovannini’s brainchildren to help guide them through it.”

But for now we have Kuznets’s creation, which provided, as Sean Corrigan points out, “Roosevelt’s statist Brain Trusters with a template on which to realize their Mussolinian fantasies of how the nation’s affairs should be ordered.”

If all this number crunching were relegated to parlor games, no harm would be done. Unfortunately, central bankers and central planners believe these statistics have relevance, justifying their interference with businesses and making us all poorer in the process — no matter what the numbers are.

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Resources For Sunday Mass, First Sunday Of Advent

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 28, 2009

The following contains resources for both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite, along with some general Advent “stuff” for meditation.

Ordinary Form:


Word On Fire: An audio homily from well known theologian Father Robert Barron

Sunday Gospel Scripture Study.  Audio/video, about 60 minutes.  A consistently excellent resource.

Word Sunday:

Sunday Scripture Study.  Brief notes and some questions on the Gospel Reading.  Catechism references.

Navarre Bible:

Extraordinary Form Please note that Scripture Readings differ from the Ordinary form.

Homily On The Epistle.  Contains Epistle reading and Homily.  Use zoom feature to increase text size.

Homily On The Gospel.  Contains Gospel reading and Homily.  Use zoom feature to increase text size.

Fear: The Heavenly Guardian Of Divine Love.  Homily from online book.  Use zoom feature to increase text size.

Preparing For Christmas. Homily from online book.  Use zoom feature to increase text size.

The Last Judgment.  Homily from an online book.

Aquinas’ Sermon Notes On The Epistle.  Recently posted on site.

Aquinas’ Sermon Notes On Gospel.  recently posted on site.  Please note that the Gospel reading in Aquinas’ day differs from the reading in the Extraordinary Form currently in use.  His points he makes in these notes can provide excellent starters for meditation.

Posted in Audio/Video Lectures, Bible, Books, Catechetical Resources, Christ, Devotional Resources, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Meditations, SERMONS, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Aquinas’ Sermon Notes On The Gospel (First Sunday of Advent)

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 28, 2009

I posted his notes on the Epistle yesterday.  These notes provide excellent points for meditation.  The Gospel Reading for the first Sunday of Advent in St Thomas’ day was Matt 21:1-11

The Coming Of The King

Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek and riding on an ass…Mt. 21:1-11

This is a prophecy of the Advent of Our Lord Jesus Christ, about which there are three signs.

  1. First, the dignity of Him Who is coming-He is a King.
  2. Secondly, the utility of His Advent-It is unto us that he came.
  3. Thirdly, the manner in which He came-meek and riding on an ass.

Concerning the first sign, the kingly dignity of Him Who is coming,

  • 1 He is a merciful King; and an eternal King.  A merciful King in sparing:  “And in mercy shall the throne be established” (Isa 16:5).
  • 2 He is a just King in judging:  “And behold, a King shall reign in justice” (Isa 34); “And He shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David: (Isa 16:5).
  • 3 He is a good King in rewarding: “Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are clean of heart” (Ps 73:1).
  • 4 He is a wise King in governing: “I will raise unto David a righteous branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute justice and judgment in the earth” (Jer 23:5).
  • 5 He is an Omnipotent King in defending the good:  “O Lord, Lord, the King Almighty, for the whole world is in Thy power” (Esth 13:9)
  • 6 He is a severe King in punishing evil: “As a severe King, Thou didst condemn and punish” (Wis 11:10).
  • 7 He is an  eternal King in ruling eternally, and in bestowing immortality: “But the Lord is the true God, He is the living God and an everlasting King” (Jer 10:10).  “And of His Kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:33).  Of the seven, collectively, “O Lord, Lord, God, Creator of all things, Who art fearful, and strong, and righteous, and merciful, and the only gracious King” (2 Macc 1:24).  Wisdom in the Creator, Mercy in the pitiful, goodness in the good, justice in the just, severity in the terrible, power in the powerful, eternity in the eternal.  This is the King Who cometh to thee for thy profit.

Concerning the second sign, the utility of his Advent unto us. It was sevenfold as applied to the present time:-

  • First, for the illumination of the world:  “I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (Jn 8:12); “That was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (Jn 1:9).
  • Second, for the spoliation of Hades: “O death, I will be thy plague; O grave, I will be thy destruction” (Hos 13:14); “As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant, I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water” (Zech 9:11).
  • Third, for the reparation of Heaven:   “That in the dispensations of the fulness of times might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are in earth, even in Him” (Eph 1:10).
  • Fourth, for the destruction of sin:  “That He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb 2:14-15).
  • Fifth, for the vanquishment of the devil: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Rom 6:6).
  • Sixth, for the reconciliation of man with God: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Rom 5:10).
  • Seventh, for the beatification of man: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn 3:16).

It was because the holy Fathers saw these good things which were about to happen at His Advent that they were calling with so great desire, “O that Thou wouldst rend the heavens and come down” (Isa 63:19).

   Concerning these seven things the prophet spake, The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord…” (Isa 61:1).  He hath “anointed Me to preach good tidings.”  Behold, the illumination of the world, for by preaching He hath enlightened the world for us; “to bind up the brokenhearted,” in destroying sin; and sin being destroyed, makes the broken heart to be healed.  “To proclaim liberty to the captives:” behold the spoliation of Hades, for by spoiling Hades He led captivity captive (see Eph 4:8).  “The opening of the prison:” Behold the restoration of Heaven, which is the opening of Heaven.  “To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord:” Behold the reconciliation of man with God.  “The day of vengeance of our God” is the day of the destruction of the devil: for so He visited with vengeance for all the injuries which the devil had done to the saints.  “To comfort all that mourn:” behold the beatification of men.

Concerning the third sign, the manner of His coming:   In meekness Our Lord Jesus Christ wished to come; and He wished to come meekly for four reasons, each of which commends meekness to us. 

  • In the first place, That He might the more easily correct the wicked: “For mildness is come upon us; and we shall be corrected” (Ps 89:10, Vulgate reading).  Meekness delivers us from evil. It delivers from evil, because judicious meekness belongs to him who feels with no bitterness of mind.
  • In the second place, that He might show to all His lowliness: “My Son, do Thy work in meekness, and Thou shalt be beloved above the glory of men” (Eccles 3:19). Here we see that meekness perfects grace: “He giveth grace unto the lowly” (Prov 3:34)
  • In the third place, that He might draw sheep to himself, and that He might multiply to Himself a people: “And Thy gentleness has made me great” (2 Sam 22:36).  St Bernard says, “We wholly run after Thee, O good Jesus, on account of Thy meekness.” Thus meekness preserves the soul:  “Keep thy soul in meekness” (Eccles 10:31).
  • In the fourth place, that He might teach meekness: “Learn from Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart” (Mt 11:29). The meek will come into the land of the living:  “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Mt 5:5).

Let us, therefore, ask that this Lord and King may come to us.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Christ, Devotional Resources, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Meditations, Notes on Matthew, Quotes, SERMONS, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Twelve Days Of Global Warming

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 28, 2009

Just in time for the holiday Christmas season.  H/T to Argent via the creator: Minnesotans For Global Warming.

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Overture (From Handel’s Messiah)

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 27, 2009

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Aquinas’ Epistle Notes For The 1st Sunday Of Advent

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 27, 2009

The following notes are based upon the Epistle text used in St Thomas’ day (Romans 13:11-14).  I’ll post his notes on the Gospel later today or tomorrow.  These notes provide some excellent points for meditation.

The Four-Fold Day

The day is at hand~Rom 13:12

The word day is to be taken in a four-fold sense-“The day is at hand;” the day of mercy, the day of grace, the day of justice, and the day of glory.  That Sun makes this a four-fold day, whose advent holy Church now celebrates.  The day of mercy is the birthday of the Lord, in which the Sun of Righteousness arises upon us; or more truly, He Who made that day so glorious.  The day of grace is the time of grace; the day of justice is the day of judgment; the day of glory is the day of eternity.  Joel speaks of the first-“In that day the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk” (3:18).  Concerning the second, st Paul writes- “Behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2).  Of the third Wisdom speaks- “The day of wrath, that day the day of tribulation.”  Concerning the fourth day the prophet Zechariah states- “But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord-not day, nor night; but it shall come to pass that at evening time it shall be light” (Zech 14:7).  Psalm 134:10 has, “One day in Thy Courts is better than a thousand.”  The birthday of the Lord draws near, that devoutly the day of mercy may be celebrated and honored; the day of grace that it may be received; the day of judgment that it may be feared; the day of glory that it may be attained.  The Church celebrates the first meaning, “For the Lord is at hand” (Phil 4:5).  “For my salvation is soon to come, and My righteousness is soon to be revealed” (Isa 54:1).  On account of the second meaning, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 4:2).  On account of the third meaning, “Behold, the Judge standeth before the door” (James 5:9).  On account of the fourth meaning, “Behold, I come quickly, and My reward is with Me to give to every man according as his work shall be” (Rev 22:12).

We ought to celebrate the birthday of the Lord, the day of mercy, with mercy and truth.  Christ came to us in these two ways, and so we ought to go to Him.  “All of the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth” (Ps 25:10).  Te celebrate the day of grace with purity and humility, for these two graces make acceptable grace.  Of the first, Proverbs 22:11 sates: “He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips, the King shall be his friend.”  Of the second James 4:6 has, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.”  The Church celebrates the day of judgment with meditation and fear.  As St Jerome says, “Whether I eat or drink, that voice seems ever to resound in my ears, ‘Rise up, ye dead, and come to judgment.'”  On the contrary, it is said of the wicked, “Evil men understand not judgment” (Prov 28:5).  We ought to hasten to run and meet the day of glory with righteousness.  “Let us labor, therefore, to enter into that rest” (Heb 4:11).  To four Christian virtues the Apostle exhorts us in this epistle.  To mercy and truth in the words, “Let us put on the Armour of light.”  For the arms of light are mercy and truth; for merch is the shield by which we are defended from the enemy, and truth is the power by which we overcome all things.  Of the first, “Shut up alms in thy store-houses, and it shall deliver thee from affliction.  It shall fight for thee against thine enemies better than a mighty shield and a strong spear” (Eccl 29:12-13).  Of course, “Truth is great and will prevail; it is great, and stronger than all things; the whole earth invokes truth, and it blesses heaven itself; it moves all work, and they tremble because of it, and there is no iniquity in it.  A wicked banquet, a wicked king, wicked women, all wicked sons of men, and all their wicked works, and truth is not in them, and they shall perish in their iniquity and truth shall remain” (Eccl 3:4).  The Epistle further exhorts us to purity and humility, “Not in chambering and wantoness, not in strife and envying.”  Chambering and wantoness are acts of riot which make impurity.  Strife and envyinig proceed from pride.  In prohibiting immodesty it exhorts to purity; in prohibiting pride it exhorts to humility.  In the words, “Let us walk honestly, as in the day,” it awakens us to reflection upon and to fear the judgment; that is, that we should so live as it is meet to live in the day of judgment.  A man is in the judgment by thinking upon the judgment; he lives honestly by fearing the judgment.  It exhorts us to justice and despatch-“Now it is high time to awaken out of sleep;” andm therefore, by hastening from the sleep of sin, to arise to the fulfilling of justice; and the reason is given why a man should do this: “For now is our salvation nearer than when we believed;” to which salvation may we be led by Jesus Christ Our Lord.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Christ, Devotional Resources, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Meditations, Morality, Notes on Romans, Quotes, SERMONS, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Alasdair MacIntyre: A Select History of the Catholic Philosophical Tradition

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 26, 2009

Posted in Books, Philosophy, ST THOMAS AND THE SUMMA, St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentes | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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