220beedleKnocked off a twelve-hour day today on top of ten yesterday. That title I feel deeply. But after a shower and fresh clothes tonight and a loaded trailer (thanks to friends stopping by throughout the day) I’m nearly horizontal now and if you see something like “gjfndskslnflkzd2iwoegs” you’ll know I’ve drifted off to sleep.

My wife’s faith sharing group invited us all out to dinner tonight. I took a pass. Two friends helped me finish off the trailer after their work, and I really didn’t want to leave it till the morning. Nor lose time when I had two people to assist the home stretch.

Empty houses make me sad. A lot of family time and memories of it to leave behind. Above is an image I captured shortly before we moved in. The tree on the right split and fell in a storm a few years ago, leaving branches sprouting from the stump. I liked the look of leaves and branches right from the ground up rather than dig out a traumatized plant.

Monday morning: westward ho!

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Hymn To Glacier Peak

Glacier PeakI’ve been studying up on the geology of my new state. Some basic Wikipedia stuff, but also this summary of the last thirty-seven million years of the Pacific Northwest. This is far headier and (potentially) more dangerous stuff than the gentle rolling topography of the Eastern US, where I grew up and enjoyed camping trips and hikes as a young person.

The science is cool, but one also needs musical inspiration, like one of Alan Hovhaness’ better late symphonies.

Image credit.

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PF Popularity

Pope Francis approval ratings in the US take a dive.

I suspect the Holy Father doesn’t mind, if he has even caught wind of the news. Likely ditto for at least the previous two popes.

The three of them and I would likely agree the Ministry of Peter is not one of popularity, but rather unity and pastoring. It’s likely that if a pope had single-digit popularity, but a billion-plus Catholics were out among the needy, the poor, the throwaway persons, and laboring in the field hospital, the Gospel message and mission would likely be furthered in an even more efficacious way than millions of pilgrims attending papal mega-events, then returning to life-as-usual afterward.

The tone is pretty vicious in the links on the Pewsitter aggregator. And those are just the headlines. I don’t even click on those anymore.

I think if conservatives or other folks disillusioned with Pope Francis have a problem with anything about him, so what? The mission is to spread the Gospel of Christ, not the Gospel of Popularity.

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Dives in Misericordiae 11e: Evil and Uneasiness

Divine_Mercy_Sanctuary_in_Vilnius4The pilgrimage to a just and human utopia will always be waylaid by evil.

This picture of today’s world in which there is so much evil both physical and moral, so as to make of it a world entangled in contradictions and tensions, and at the same time full of threats to human freedom, conscience and religion-this picture explains the uneasiness felt by contemporary (people). This uneasiness is experienced not only by those who are disadvantaged or oppressed, but also by those who possess the privileges of wealth, progress and power. And, although there is no lack of people trying to understand the causes of this uneasiness, or trying to react against it with the temporary means offered by technology, wealth or power, still in the very depth of the human spirit this uneasiness is stronger than all temporary means. This uneasiness concerns-as the analyses of the Second Vatican Council rightly pointed out-the fundamental problems of all human existence. It is linked with the very sense of (human) existence in the world, and is an uneasiness for the future of … all humanity; it demands decisive solutions, which now seem to be forcing themselves upon the human race.

I’m not sure about St John Paul’s last point here. I’d say that the past three-point-five decades have been more about delaying solutions. There’s no real force for good at work. Sure: the Soviets fell, but other movements have sprung into their place. One real danger is that the uneasiness of the powers-that-be can parlay apathy into a quasi-status quo. The privileged perhaps make few gains, but they have been able to preserve their economic superiority over the ninety-nine percent with near impunity.

Dives in Misericordia, the second encyclical of Pope John Paul II, is available online here, and is copyright © 1980 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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Let Our Passing Be …

sunrise in vietnam

An overlooked song from the St Louis Jesuit catalogue: “May We Praise You.” Even when I was younger, I loved the line from verse two:

And when life is done, let our passing be like a birth into light of day.

We hope our passing will be free of trauma or worry or pain. One prayer I frequently use at Mass or at the Hours is from the resource Praise God in Song.

For a Christian end to our lives …

What does that mean exactly? That we move from life in this world in a calm way, without panic? That we will stand on virtue at the end? Or that we have let go and are prepared to be carried, like infants brought into their very first world?

Image credit.

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Laudato Si 39: Replacement Too Often Inadequate

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website.

39. The replacement of virgin forest with plantations of trees, usually monocultures, is rarely adequately analyzed. Yet this can seriously compromise a biodiversity which the new species being introduced does not accommodate. Similarly, wetlands converted into cultivated land lose the enormous biodiversity which they formerly hosted. In some coastal areas the disappearance of ecosystems sustained by mangrove swamps is a source of serious concern.

Planting trees to replace those cut down is not always well-considered. Again, the human effort is limited with the consideration of a tree as an individual organism, and not the realization of the whole–which has been severely damaged by relentless harvesting or even destruction.

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Where Does Disney Fall?

I found an interesting quote in a CNS news brief (third from the top) Tuesday:

Young girls are being bombarded with photo-shopped images and are buying into unrealistic expectations set before them at an age meant for skinned knees and the Disney Channel.

As a father of a Disney Channel viewer, I’m not sure I would put the network on the side of injured knees. Disney’s female teen stars don’t have a spotless record in avoiding exploitation by their elders. Corporations present certain expectations in order to maximize profit. Even kid-oriented advertising doesn’t escape the taint of setting up young viewers to live as commodities. Sex is not the only porn peddled by some of our corporate masters.

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