Friday, February 21, 2014

Wacky Weather, Global Warming and the Sin of Pride

There are many people who deny global warming, even in the face of mounting evidence and climate scientists who state emphatically that global warming is not only a reality but it's dangerous to ignore.
I have no doubt that global warming is taking place, even though I live in the Northeast where we have been going through a bitter cold and snowy winter. The jet stream which affects weather patterns over North America and Northern Europe is undergoing a dramatic shift, which may mean harsher winters. There is no proof that it is related to global warming but it could be, since weather patterns are changing. "Temperatures in the Arctic have been rising two to three times faster than the rest of the planet" according to weather expert James Overland (see Mail Online-"Is The Jet Stream Changing Direction?")
I read a while ago that one of the effects of global warming is that some areas of the world will receive little rain and experience severe droughts and other parts will receive excessive rainfall. From what I read, it will seem in certain parts of the world as if the "door" to the Arctic was opened, which is what it felt like in NY for many weeks before the recent warming trend began. It was bitter cold for weeks and it was the worst winter I can remember.
Parts of England are experiencing record rainfalls and flooding, the pictures are sad.
Parts of southern California are experiencing historic droughts, which is affecting the farmers and may soon threaten water supplies.
And so, when will human beings wake up? When will they take responsibility for their actions and start adopting measures that will help the environment and lessen greenhouse gases?
The scientists say we are approaching a tipping point. A point at which the damage that has been caused so far will be irreversible.
Is it human pride or just plain foolishness? God created such a beautiful world and yet we continue to pollute it and destroy eco-systems, thinking that there will be no repercussions to selfishness, arrogance, and irresponsibility. No wonder pride is a deadly sin.
Christians must always remain hopeful so for the good news.... China and the United States, announced a plan to combat global warming together.  Let's pray their combined efforts, ideas and action plan works and encourages other countries to follow.

Pride is the primal sin and the most grave of all the sins, the spiritual rebellion that untuned the harmony of the Universe. Pride is also the most glamorous, pervasive, fatal and insidious of the sins.
(from "The Wisdom of the Saints" An Anthology-Jill Adels

The climate system is an angry "beast" and we are poking at it. (Dr. Wally Broecker)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day 2014-It Comes Back to Jesus

A day to celebrate love. Perhaps only the poets and artists capture it best. Or perhaps Jesus captured it best. Self-sacrificing, unconditional love- deep, pure, without conditions.  When I give talks I usually tell people that many of the saints (St. Augustine, St. Therese of Lisieux) said that God loves each soul as if there were no other. It's very personal. People often seem shocked when I say that, but its true. Though it's a mystery as so much is when you are in relationship with the Divine, God loves us personally, individually, knows "each hair on our head."
And we are to love Jesus, to love The Trinity, in return, with all our being.
As Pope Francis recently said, "it is not enough to say one loves Jesus, it must be shown in love for those he loved (loves). 'Ask yourself, if going to Mass helps you to reach out to the suffering, or am I indifferent or am I gossiping.'"...................The Pope said going to Mass should be a life changing event. And of course it should be , if we truly believe what we say at Mass and what we believe is taking place at Mass.
At Mass I feel totally calm, at peace, enthralled with the ancient ritual and the feeling of being so close to God in worship in that sacred, consecrated place. I wish everyone felt as I do, because then it would be life changing and people would want to come for that feeling of fulfillment, enrichment and peace and to give glory to God and to be closer to the One who deserves our commitment, prayers and unconditional love.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman-The Demons That Haunted Him

Such a sad story about the untimely death of talented Oscar winning actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Much to the dismay of his family and friends, he gave into his demons and succumbed to a heroin drug overdose. He tried to stay away from alcohol and drugs for years and was reportedly going to AA meetings for over 25 years, but for some reason, he couldn't fight off addiction. The demons kept coming, kept gnawing at him.
Perhaps I'm idealistic but I always think that if perhaps he had "clung" to Jesus,  prayed and kept going to the AA meetings regularly (those meetings have helped so many overcome addiction), he could have been helped, could have overcome his addictions. His partner and the mother of his children tried to help him and encourage him to seek help but I guess he was too deep in his addiction for it to do any good.
At the Sundance Film Festival in January people said that he "looked more like a homeless man than a movie star." Didn't anyone think to contact his partner inquiring to what was happening to him or to question him and ask if he needed help? Perhaps someone did and it didn't make the news.
So sad for his children. What do they know of addiction, demons, the evils of heroin and drug abuse. What do they know about the stress of acting or being famous and staying in the limelight? All they know is they lost their father, all they know is that he isn't coming anymore to pick them up. So tragic, so sad, so senseless.

In every human heart there is a God-shaped vacuum which nothing created can fill. 
Blaise Pascal

It is in prayer that God completes us.  Doris Strife

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Movie "Philomena" anti-Catholic?-I Think So

Today I saw the movie, "Philomena," after a friend suggested I go. It is based on an investigative book, "The Lost Child of Philomena Lee." I didn't want to see it at first as I was told it was anti-Catholic but then I decided to see for myself. Did I think it was anti-Catholic? Yes, I did and I thought it was anti-belief- in -God as well. I thought the acting was excellent and the story, since it's true, deserves to be told, but it could have been done differently, more respectfully. (After reading Bill Donohue's article-"Debunking Philomena," I would have to say it's fictionalized truth.) And I certainly didn't like when the actor Steve Coogan (playing journalist Martin Sixsmith) states in the movie, "F---ing Catholics!" That should have been eliminated from the script, that was crass and unnecessary and yes, anti-Catholic. That offended me as a Catholic.
The story tells the real life drama of Philomena Lee, an Irish woman who was forced to give up her toddler for adoption in a convent in the 1950's after he was born out-of-wedlock. Decades later, (over 50 years) Philomena consents to go in search of her son (who she has never stopped thinking of) with journalist Martin Sixsmith. What transpires is very interesting. She does find closure at the end of the movie and the movie is engrossing and has won many awards.
However, as one writer (CNN) mentioned, "The film doesn't mention that in 1952 Ireland both a mother and child's life would have been utterly ruined by an out-of-wedlock birth and the nuns are actually giving both a chance at a fresh start, that both enjoyed." Of course the nuns at the center of the movie, who apparently put up for adoption children born out of wedlock are portrayed in a one sided way.  Many of these children were sent to America, without ever knowing their biological mothers and there's no question it's a sad story and those adoptions should have been handled differently as well as future inquiries. But the fact is Philomena, in real life,  went on to become a nurse and have a career and family and her son who was adopted by a wealthy American family went on to a successful career as well.
But there are subtle ways that anti-Catholic dialogue and attitudes creep into the movie, alittle here, alittle there. And at one point, Steve Coogan (an atheist), who is playing the journalist Martin, who is also an atheist, compares God to a terrorist. That offended me as a believer. So atheistic views seep into the movie as well.
Some good is coming of the movie as the real Philomena Lee has begun an initiative (The Philomena Project) to reunite Irish parents with their children, seperated by oversees adoptions such as portrayed in the movie.
Judi Dench was excellent in the role portraying Philomena. And those are my impressions after seeing this controversial movie, but I'm not a film critic, just a believer in God, who thinks religious views and beliefs,  should be treated more respectfully, in all art forms.
UPDATE: Philomena meets Pope Francis

To all unbelievers I quote the "Cloud of Unknowing"
Thought cannot comprehend God. And so, I prefer to abandon all I can know, choosing rather to love God whom I cannot know. Though we cannot know God, we can love God. By love God may be touched and embraced, never by thought.

I would add that we can come to know aspects of God through love as the mystical saints attest to.