While reading the TU’s online obits this morning — at 53, that’s what you do — an interesting advertisement appeared at the top of the screen. It was for a Clifton Park business called Among Angels, and the ad offered to “Help you connect with those who have crossed over.”
Interesting. And nice ad placement, by the way.
One way they offer to connect you is through an Angel Circle, a group activity where participants are guided by a medium. The website says,
While not everyone will necessarily get a message, everyone will experience the wonders of spirit communication, and discover that death is not the end but merely a doorway though which we all must pass!
Like a lot of people, I have mixed feelings about this. Part of me wants to believe there is some sort of spirit world — but my rational brain always comes down firmly with the skeptics.
A lot of money has been paid over the years by people who want to get in touch with dead loved ones. Maybe there’s something to it — but do note the disclaimer way at the bottom of their website: FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY.
Belief in heaven is where faith is truly tested and it’s something I think about all the time. It’s hard for the rational mind have it all make sense, to completely accept that our souls will go on after death. The lack of proof is what makes it faith, not fact.
But what’s the harm in believing? There’s nothing wrong with that boy expecting to see his dog in heaven. And if after death there is nothing, he’ll never know the difference.
It would really be something to spend eternity with my dogs. The cats too, as long as I don’t have to change the litter boxes. That’s more like Hell.
Church on Sunday featured one of my wife’s favorite readings. You may know it, it’s from Proverbs 31, and begins, When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls. It goes on to list some virtues of a worthy wife:
She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. She obtains wool and flax and works with loving hands. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her fingers ply the spindle. She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy.
This naturally caused her to beam and nudge me and look very pleased, until I muttered, “She changes the litter box now and then…”
This caused her to reach out her hand to me and poke me hard in the soft spot under your ribs. That may not be listed as one of those virtuous attributes, but I suppose it’s an important part her job anyway.
Unwanted by the Albany Diocese, the St. Patrick’s property was sold off to a developer, and where people once prayed, they now will shop. Yes, I suppose it’s a little sad; the building holds many memories — and in terms of the environment, a nice old church has more eye appeal than a supermarket. By the time you read this, it will most likely just be a pile of rubble.
When it comes to buildings like this, everything’s relative. In our young country a church built in 1891 seems ancient. In Europe, something constructed in 1891 would not be thought of as terribly old. When I visited Transylvania, there were truly historic churches everywhere, like the Sibiu Lutheran Cathedral, which was completed in 1520. Now that’s old!
One funny thing about all this, though: throughout the week, local news outlets have had to station photographers at the church, because nobody wants to be the guy who missed the bell tower coming down. Are we sentimental or do we just like watching buildings demolished. I’m voting on the latter.
On hearing that Rick Santorum dropped his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, I quipped, “Thank you, God!”
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I prayed for Santorum to lose, but I’m pretty sure Santorum prayed for victory — and that being the case, I stand by my first remark: “Thank you, God!”
But seriously, it seems unlikely that God will listen to your prayers and make things happen. Prayer may bring you comfort and give you strength, but if it caused worldly things to change, we’d all be lottery millionaires.
By the way, “Thank you God,” is also one of my all time favorite movie quotes:
If ever a movie line belonged on the American Film Institute’s list of top movie quotes, it’s that one. It’s certainly better than, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”
Price Chopper rolled out the Passover items this week. At my store they loaded up a big table right next to the produce section. In Bethlehem there’s always a lot of Passover stuff; pickings are probably slim in a place like Granville.
What caught my eye immediately was the breakfast cereal, Magic Max’s Fruity Magic Loops. Basically, it’s Manischewitz’s kosher for Passover take on Fruit Loops. Instead of Toucan Sam on the box it’s Magic Max, who is a magician of sorts with a Star of David shaped head. Naturally, it’s made with tapioca and potato starch, rather than wheat products.
I had to have a box, but almost changed my mind when I saw the price: $5.99. We all know breakfast cereal is expensive, but this was for a 5.5 ounce box, making these $17.44 per pound. A few aisles over, Fruit Loops cost just $5.23 per pound — and Price Chopper’s Fruit Whirls, only $2.67 per pound.
I eagerly opened the box in the car because I couldn’t wait to try them. The verdict? Terrible. Fruity Magic Loops have an odd, chalky consistency unlike any breakfast cereal I’ve ever tasted. You would never grab a handful of these and stuff them in your mouth as a quick snack — not that I would eat cereal out of the box with my hands, or anything.
Magic Max’s Fruity Magic Loops are like something you’d make kids eat to punish them — but maybe that’s part of the point. If they tasted exactly like Fruit Loops, you would lose the significance of doing something special, wouldn’t you?
We learn small lessons in strange places, sometimes even in a box of cereal. For that I am grateful — but I do believe if I want to experience a bit of Passover, I’ll just stick to the matzah.
I don’t understand all the fuss over Tim Tebow because I pray all the time during football.
In fact, everyone in my house can hear me praying during NFL games, invoking the name of our Lord and Savior, especially when the NY Jets are playing.
My wife will call out from the other room, “No swearing!”
I inform her that I am not taking the name of the Lord in vain, but in fact praying for strength. And what could be holier than screaming out the name of the Lord on the Sabbath? Then, another incompletion.
“Stop that,” she will shout back.
What is with this infernal woman — does she not recognize my prayers?
I should mention here that I am not praying for God to alter the outcome of the game — no, I would never pray for victory, except maybe during the playoffs. Instead I am asking the Lord to help me survive a brutal ordeal. I pray for patience, resolve, fortitude. And maybe just a little for the Patriots to lose.
The font, if not of impermeable stone, must be lined with metal; it must be used exclusively for baptism, and to guard it against profanation, securely covered and locked. Frequency of thirteenth-century legislation on this point throughout Northern Europe reveals the prevalence of a passing superstitious belief in the magical efficacy of the font and its waters.
No, that’s not much of a lock — but enough to comply with the age-old belief that the baptismal waters needed to be protected.
We visited a church on Inis Meáin, one of the Aran Islands, and during our ten minutes there three different people came in to say a prayer and light a candle. Considering less than 200 people live on the island, that’s really something. As we walked the narrow lanes, among the stone walls and tidy cottages, there were numerous well-tended garden shrines.
Scattered across the Arans you can see where monks and saints prayed 1500 years ago. Today it still seems it would be a good place for those seeking the monastic life.
Naturally we thought it would be a good idea to go to mass during our trip; how this came to be was nothing short of providence.
Late on Saturday afternoon we visited Gallarus Oratory on the Dingle Peninsula. It’s Irish name, Séipéilín Ghallarais, means The Church of the Place of the Foreigners. This couldn’t have been more appropriate.
Just before we got there, a bus arrived carrying a tour group from a church in Frederickburg, Virgina. Their pastor, Fr. Don Rooney, was saying mass just outside the ancient chapel, and we joined the group in their celebration.
The best part was afterward when Father Rooney and his parishioners told us how happy they were to have us among them. These pilgrims on their bus were doing what the earliest Christians did, travelling far from home, and carrying with them the word of God.