Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for them that love him.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Book of the week (or month)

I am reading "The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life" by Fr. Charles Arminjon. This book was originally published in 1881 and reading it was considered by St. Therese to be "one of the greatest graces of my life."

As I read through it, I will post things that really strike me.

For instance, in the forward, Fr. Arminjon writes:

"It has seemed to us that one of the saddest fruits of rationalism, the fatal error and great plague of our century, the pestilential source from which our revolutions and social disasters arise, is the absence of the sense of the supernatural and the profound neglect of the great truths of the future life. The earth is afflicted with a dreadful desolation, because the majority of men, fascinated by the lure of fleeting pleasures, and absorbed in their worldly interests and the care of their material affairs, no longer fix their thoughts on the principal considerations of the Faith, and stubbornly refuse to recollect within themselves...

"The two causes of this terrifying indifference and profound universal lethargy are, obviously, ignorance and the unrestrained love of sensual pleasures that, by darkening the interior eye of the human soul, bring all its aspirations down to the narrow level of the present life...

***This was published in 1881---wow.

In the first chapter, titled, "The Necessity of Judgment" he writes:

"The materialistic, atheistic science of our century...persists in regarding the order and perfection of the universe merely as the result of chance. According to this false science, the present universe will always subsist, or, if it becomes progressively better, this will be solely through the effect of man's genius.

"...man, with the aid of science, will one day attain the pinnacle of his sovereignty. He will conquer time and space, make himself wings in order to propel himself toward the stars, and explore the wonders of the constellations... Nature, completely subdued by his genius, will then open like the horn of plenty upon a new humanity, pouring forth the fullness of desirable goods.

***emphasis mine. Humanity has now done this...

Fr. believes such a worldview is folly. He thinks that, "Just as the world had its youth, so there will come a time when the world will have its twilight, when it will hasten toward its evening and decline."

As Christians, we believe that when the world ends there will be a "new heavens and a new earth." While Scripture does not tell us the day or hour, it does provide some clues--"signs".

Some of the signs are vague and have been occurring to a greater or lesser degree throughout history, like earthquakes, flooding, large storms, large fires, etc.

However, there are some distinctive signs which are to precede the end of the world.

"The first of the events foreshadowing the end of time is the one to which the Savior refers in Matthew 24:14, when He says, "This good news of the Kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world as a witness to all the nations. Only after that will the end come." The second of these signs will be the appearance of the man of sin, the Antichrist. The third: the conversion of the Jewish people, who will adore the Lord Jesus and recognize Him as the promised Messiah. Until then, says St. Paul, "Let no man deceive you my any means...as if the day of the lord were at hand."

The book then goes into these signs, judgment, and eschatology (last things).

Looking at these signs, I realize that technology has now made the first two possible. Technology has also made possible some of the foretold acts of the Antichrist--like some sort of implanted "mark" that will be required to buy or sell goods.

So, what do we do? There was a time when I was younger that I would be filled with dread after reading these passages. Now I simply pray that I play the role God has given me to the best of my ability with the help of His grace. If we trust Him when He promised in Isaiah that "All things work to good for those who love the Lord," than we have nothing to fear.

Jesus compared the "end of the world" to labor pains. They come on slowly, build up to a hard and fast (and painful) labor, and end in new life.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Times have changed

When I was just eight years old, I went to Girl Scout camp for the first time. I was a little homesick and got eat up a bit by mosquitoes, but it was a generally good experience. I went a few more times in the following years and had a wonderful time. I learned so much there.

During college I decided to go back to camp--this time as a camp counselor. Now, camp counseling is not a summer job one takes for the money. I think we were paid around $800 for the whole summer. Even then, that was mere pocket change.

Being a camp counselor was one of the most adventurous, fantastic, and challenging things I've ever done. I absolutely loved my childhood camp, so I applied at the SE LA Girl Scout Council. That summer, I became "Ribbit". My specialties among the campers included canoe instruction, critter and plant identification, nature trail guide, and singing camp songs.

At the start of my third summer the director decided it was time to blaze a trail through camp to the Tangipahoa River. So, for a week before the official start of camp, we counselors, armed with bushwhackers, machetes, saws, and axes, cleared a winding path. At one spot we even had to have the camp ranger cut a tree down to serve as a "bridge" across a small waterway. For the next few days as we completed the trail, we had to cross on that tree carrying all those tools and equipment. At the end of the week we emerged on the bank of the river and set up camp for the night. The following morning we tubed down the river before officially starting camp already very sunburned.

The photo above is the crossing where we initially had a tree. The bridge there is relatively new. The camp is Camp Whispering Pines in SE Louisiana. It is a fantastic camp.

This sounds like a miserable week, right? It was amazing. True, it was hard, blistering work, but the memories I have from that experience I will cherish forever. The sense of accomplishment was surpassed only by the spirit of adventure present. What an experience!

There were many other things that we did at camp that I wouldn't trade for anything.

That is why I am so disappointed that I cannot, in good conscience, send my own children to camp (or Girl Scouts).

There was an innocence back then that I don't see in today's children. I see it in my own because we have worked to maintain it in our home.

Movies, television, video games, music, etc. have all changed drastically. Shows that are PG or PG-13 now would have been R back then. Once we were watching Bambi with the children. I repeat, BAMBI (for heaven's sake). For the commercial break we were treated to a public service announcement featuring teens imploring their parents to talk to them about sex. During BAMBI!! Seriously??

Viagra, Extends (sp?), diet aid commercials, ads for horror movies or shows---it's apparently all fair game at any time of day and during any programming.

Let's just say that now my kids know what to do when we holler to look away while diving for the remote.

I do have acquaintances and relatives who would shake their heads and condescendingly inform us that:

1. The kids know about it already. No they don't. We homeschool and their experiences are censored. That's our job.

2. They will find out about it eventually and if they learn now they won't be shocked later (presumably in college). Well, heck. Someone may introduce them to drugs later. Maybe I should inject just a smidge now. Someone may introduce cigarettes later so I should let them smoke one a day now. Someone may get them addicted to porn later so I should buy them each a pin-up now. I am certain they will get drunk in college so I should get them drunk occasionally now so they know what to expect!!!??? I could go on. The fact that Planned Parenthood addresses Girl Scout events is also rather disturbing IMHO.


I believe that it is my job to foster the natural innocence in my children. It is also my job to inform them, at an appropriate age, of any potential "sins" they may encounter and to teach them that true friends do not encourage their friends to gravely sin. It is my job to instruct them on the nature of sin--its effects and consequences. I completely disagree that the probability of "sin exposure" necessitates "early sin education/experience".

Give me a break. God save us from ourselves.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Painting the canvas

I took a class on painting in college. The professor told us that sometimes we will have a hard time putting brush to canvas because it is so white. There might, at times, be a strong sense of "I don't want to mess it up." Her solution was to start any project by just painting the entire canvas whatever light color we wanted. Seeing an already painted canvas would be less, um, intimidating.

This post is me painting my canvas. Several people have said they wished I had a blog. I thought, "Seriously? Who would ever want to read what I would write?"

No matter. I'll just write what seems important at the time, hoping that God shows the way.

On seeing this post my friends (and relatives) will probably think, "What? She has time to paint?"


I haven't painted anything since that class, though the large "final" painting I did in that class is hung prominently over our front door. I really enjoyed painting. I'll pick it up again in the future...when there aren't several little people thrilled at the prospect of getting their little hands full of gooey paint and personalizing our house and furniture. We do have one piece of furniture which has been artfully decorated (scribbled upon) with a Sharpie. We will keep it as is. It is one of our few pieces of "art by Gabe."

Who is Gabe? He is my fourth child. We had him for twenty seven months and loved every bit of it.

Yesterday was the second anniversary of my mother's death. I remember thinking several years ago that I would always want her around to share life with. I would briefly contemplate that the time would come when she would be very old and frail and not enjoy the kids as much. Then she called one day in late 2006 with the news of a diagnosis. Those thoughts came immediately to mind and I convinced myself that all could still be well. Less than two years later and after much surgery and treatment, she died at a relatively young age. She'll never have to get old.

I know that it is only her body that has died. I know that she is now far more alive than ever before and knows a joy we can't even fathom. That is our promise. Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what God has prepared for those that love Him.

I look around and see all that
has entered into the heart of man. Mankind is brilliant, artistic, creative, and endlessly imaginative. God has made us so--in His image and likeness. We have come up with everything from Velcro to super duper crazy insane roller coasters to recliners, video cameras, Ripstiks, and sippy cups. Iron Chef shows that our culinary creativity sometimes crosses the line...fish ice cream?

Yet God promises that we still have not conceived what He has prepared for us. Oh, how I wish my mom (or son or dad or sister....) could just send me a little note telling me just a fraction of what it's like.

The darkest of our hours, the death of a loved one, is the most amazing and joyfully bright for the loved one. We are made for heaven.