Friday Five – Volume 76

Friday Five_2014 logo

— 1 —

Don’t laugh, roll your eyes or tell me you’ve heard this before, but I believe I may have bought the final books of my lifetime with my last two purchases. The first is a book of over 900 pages called Return To Tradition that was compiled in 1948 and published by Roman Catholic Books. The second is a five-volume set that has been on my wish list for 20 years: the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas. I’ve been waiting for the price to drop and this week it finally did. Two years ago I paid around $1 for it to load on my Kindle, but so help me I can’t stand reading something like this on an electronic screen. I wanted the physical book in my hands.

Return To Tradition is a collection of poetry, essays and stories meant for the discussion of theology in modern society. I’ve been able to spend some time flipping through it and I wouldn’t be surprised if in future posts I quoted from its selections. It’s beautiful and fantastic. In #2 below I quote an part of Fr. Gerald Vann’s wonderful dissertation on love in “The Vision of Man”.

Summa, Summa, bo-bumma Banana-fana fo-fumma Fee-Fi-mo-mumma Summa!

Summa, Summa, bo-bumma
Banana-fana fo-fumma
Fee-Fi-mo-mumma
Summa!

Among the readings I have planned for the rest of 2014 my most ambitious is at long last tackling St. Augustine’s City of God. It remains one of the giants of Western literature that I’ve yet to read. I’m in the process of putting together a reading plan for Aquinas’ Summa. No doubt I’ll write a bit more on it someday once I become more familiar with it and use it to assist me in my studies with the New Saint Thomas Institute.

I am serious about buying no more books. We are in the beginning stages of adding a wall of bookcases upstairs that will assist in my thinning out those downstairs and allowing me to finally dispose of the oldest, and most worn, bookcase. As I began to sort through my books I realized what a rich man I am in this regard and see no reason to buy any more. I’ve already deleted half of my Amazon Wish List and will get rid of the rest of it later. I have made arrangements to donate those books I will not be keeping.

I’ve spent twenty years building my library. I’m hoping that I have another twenty or even thirty years to enjoy it. 

— 2 —

“If you degrade love by brutality or selfishness or pride, you destroy it; and you will find its wholeness broken up into two fragments, each of them ugly; you will find passion twisted into lust, and emotion twisted into sentimentality. Both of them are superficial, both of them are unreal, both of them are disruptive; and their fruit is loneliness.” – Fr. Gerald Vann, The Vision of Man

— 3 —

One of the reasons we bought Buster two years ago was due to what had become an almost unhealthy fear of dogs by our two youngest children. Whether a St. Bernard or a poodle, my shrieking kids ran quickly to high ground (usually my arms…or shoulders) to avoid them when they approached. It took Buster a single afternoon to get them to fall in love with him when I brought him home at six weeks old. How much has he won them over? Take a look:

another puppy

— 4 —

As we prepare for another spring and summer of baseball in our household I wanted to share one of my favorite stories from the game. This is an excerpt from the Champions of Faith: Baseball Edition DVD that I watched it again last night. Rich Donnelly’s story never ceases to move me. Watch “The Chicken Runs at Midnight” beginning at the 2:48 mark of this video:

— 5 —

Man is free to refuse grace. When he does so, he inevitably falls back into sin and error. But because he is a creature of flesh and spirit, he cannot survive long without a spiritual life. For that reason whenever he denies the whole truth of his being, and at the same time rejects the truth of the created order, he must construct his own “vision” to fill the gaping hole within himself. – Michael O’Brien, A Landscape with Dragons

*****

One of the things I found I was muttering to myself on a constant basis while on Facebook, other social media, or while reading the headlines was the phrase “First world problems.” If it were not for my being the senior parent representative for baseball this spring I wouldn’t be going back to Facebook next week. I simply cannot stomach the continued bitching, griping, sneering and snarking over all things politics that I witness daily there or on news outlets. Being a Catholic who is construed as a conservative in the current political climate makes my voice or opinion an unwelcome one. Thus the paradox: I am to be tolerant by shutting up so as not to disturb the tolerant who are intolerant of my position/opinion/beliefs/breathing/existing.

First world problems.

We are destroying the very fabric of our own country in our refusal to speak out when wrongs continue to be committed by politicians pandering to interest groups who have them in their back pockets. Because that politician is a member of the political party with which we agree…or more likely because they are not a politician belonging to that other, obviously evil political party.

First world problems.

Instead of bettering ourselves and then our immediate neighborhoods or communities we are isolating ourselves behind media screens telling us what to buy, to think and how to feel. We are manipulated into dehumanizing “the other” and then bemoan the plight of the poor and starving children yet can’t quit playing Candy Crush long enough to do anything about it.

First world problems.

It’s why I read, study, pray and write. It’s why I volunteer. And later this year I am enrolled in another silent retreat so that I can recharge my batteries and do it all over again. I’m not alone in this as there are many who do the same. We are here. We exist. The media ignores us and the combox warriors mock us, but we are here. We are here until this government finally finishes transforming our once powerful but now selfish nation into a lawless shit hole.

And then those of us left will be dealing with third world problems, right here at home, and long for the days when we had first world problems.

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