Suffering and diminishment are not the greatest of evils..."
"... but are normal ingredients in life, especially in old age. They are to be accepted as elements of a full human existence. As I become increasingly paralyzed and unable to speak, I can identify with the many paralytics and mute persons in the Gospels, grateful for the loving and skillful care I receive and for the hope of everlasting life in Christ. If the Lord now calls me to a period of weakness, I know well that his power can be made perfect in infirmity. Blessed be the name of the Lord!”
Those words are from the last McGinley Lecture given by Avery Cardinal Dulles. He was no longer able to speak and his lecture had to be read for him.
On his trip to America, Pope Benedict visited Cardinal Dulles, then 90, at Fordham University
Benedict, the university professor, saluted America’s greatest scholarly theologian. And, suitably, the latter encounter was private, at Fordham, a place of teaching, with the two scholars speaking about their earlier theological collaborations and their books.
“Eminenza, Eminenza, I recall the work you did for the International Theological Commission in the 1990s,” said the Holy Father as he greeted Cardinal Dulles with obvious enthusiasm. Cardinal Dulles kissed the papal ring and smiled back at Benedict. Unable to speak, Cardinal Dulles had prepared a text that was read to the Holy Father by a fellow Jesuit priest.
Cardinal Dulles then presented Benedict with a copy of his most recently published book, a splendid collection of the McGinley Lectures he has been delivering at Fordham for 20 years under the title Church and Society.
Benedict immediately took it in hand, read the inscription and began to look through the pages — as happy as any scholar is to get a new book by a respected friend.
I learned about Obituarieshelp.org from Melanie Waters who wrote to tell me about her website that turns out to be a wonderful resource for grieving people who must write an obituary or a eulogy or friends who want help to write a letter of condolence.
She says "ObituraiesHelp.org is a work in progress. I'll be adding to it weekly until ObituariesHelp.org becomes the one unified source online for Funerals, Obituaries, and Sympathy and Condolence resources."
For genealogists, obituaries are often the best way to learn about your ancestors and Melanie provides many links and resources.
A site to bookmark.
As you ponder what to save in your personal legacy archives, a description of your daily routine is always revealing and often interesting as this blog Daily Routines proves.
Dip in and see how writers, artists and other interesting people organize their days.
To wit: Kidmondo, which we covered this summer, has since added a print option to its offerings. Through a partnership with custom publishing platform Sharedbook, Kidmondo now gives parents a fast and easy way to turn all the content they create online into a "KidBook" in the brick-and-mortar world. Users can pick which parts of the online journal they want to include in the book as well as customizing the content, cover, titles and more. Pricing for the KidBook begins at USD 28 for a perfect-bound softcover book with 20 full-colour pages and free US shipping. Hardcover is also available, and additional pages can be added for USD 0.50 each. KidBooks are currently available only in English, but Kidmondo hopes to accommodate other languages in the future, it says.
BabyChapters, meanwhile, is another site that lets parents share their baby's precious moments with family and friends in a safe and secure way, and also offers an online-offline combination. After creating their free online baby book, parents can select the chapters they'd like to include in a hardcover print version. Prices begin at USD 27.95 for a 24-page book, with a 20 percent discount for additional copies. Los Angeles-based BabyChapters launched in April.
Ghostly voices from a family celebrating Christmas together during the First World War have been heard for the first time in nearly a century. The recordings provide a fascinating insight into an English family living at a tumultuous time in world history.
Sean Street, professor of radio at Bournemouth University has studied the recordings. He said: 'They are extraordinary and very moving partly because it is in the middle of the First World War.'We don't know the end story of what happened to the family after the recordings.
'It is like them coming through time at us. When you listen to them it is almost like they are really there.
'They are fascinating documents. It is oral history for the people by the people.
Avery Cardinal Dulles, R.I.P.
New York Times obit
Cardinal Avery Dulles, a scion of diplomats and Presbyterians who converted to Roman Catholicism, rose to pre-eminence in Catholic theology and became the only American theologian ever appointed to the College of Cardinals, died today died Friday morning at Fordham University in the Bronx. He was 90. ..
Cardinal Dulles, a professor of religion at Fordham University for the last 20 years, was a prolific author and lecturer and an elder statesman of Catholic theology in America. He was also the son of John Foster Dulles, the secretary of state under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the nephew of Allen Dulles, who guided European espionage during World War II and later directed the Central Intelligence Agency.
His spiritual passage to Catholicism was like a fable. A young scholar with a searching mind, he stirred from his establishment Presbyterian family to face questions of faith and dogma. By the time he entered Harvard in 1936, he was an agnostic.
In his second book, “A Testimonial to Grace,” a 1946 account of his conversion, Cardinal Dulles said his doubts about God on entering Harvard were not diminished by his studies of medieval art, philosophy and theology. But on a gray February day in 1939, strolling along the Charles River in Cambridge, he saw a tree in bud and experienced a profound moment.
“The thought came to me suddenly, with all the strength and novelty of a revelation, that these little buds in their innocence and meekness followed a rule, a law of which I as yet knew nothing,” he wrote. “That night, for the first time in years, I prayed.”
His conversion in 1940, the year he graduated from Harvard, shocked his family and friends, he said, but he called it the best and most important decision of his life.
From a 2001 interview with Avery Cardinal Dulles by Michael Paulson in the Boston Globe. (He came to faith in my parish, St Paul's in Cambridge.)
Dulles, a brilliant student passionate about learning, found himself ravenously consuming the new works of French Catholic theologians, and one day he marched into a Catholic bookstore and asked, "How do I get into your church?"
Q. What drew you to Catholicism?
A. Perhaps it was the studies of the Reformation period. We had to read Luther and Calvin and the decrees of the Council and Trent and all those sorts of things, and I just found myself resonating with the Catholic positions in all those controversies, and also feeling that the culture of Europe was destroyed or ruptured by the Reformation in a way that was unfortunate. And then I discovered the Catholic Church as it existed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and it was a very vital, vibrant thing. St. Paul's parish there - the liturgy was very well performed, and Sunday evening they were having benediction, they were all singing the hymns of Thomas Aquinas in Latin, and I said, `This is the church for me.'
Q. Your journey to Catholicism strikes me as having been more intellectual than spiritual.
A. I think that's probably true. I hope there was some spiritual aspect to it, but I've never had any great taste for what's called spirituality. I think it deals so much with emotions and feelings. I don't have many emotions or feelings. I tend to have ideas. I was interested in Catholicism ideally, intellectually. I was convinced that it was true. I was interested in truth.
His obituary by Joseph Bottum at First Things
By the time of death, from the after-effects of the polio that he had contracted during the war, Dulles had published more than 700 theological articles and 27 books, becoming, along the way, the most important American Catholic theologian of the twentieth century.
“Christian tradition is marked by a deep reverence for its own content, which it strives to protect against any dilution or distortion,” he once wrote, and he saw that the purpose of theological writing is not intellectual surprise or verbal fireworks. It is, rather, “to impart a tacit, lived awareness of the God to whom the Christian Scriptures and symbols point.”
This anecodote comes from the London Timesonline
After his consecration as a cardinal in Rome on February 21, 2001, the Gregorian University hosted a meal in his honor. Over the rattle of after-dinner coffee cups, various high-ranking ecclesial figures rose to praise Dulles’s life and work. The most revealing moment, however, may have come when, unexpectedly, one of his Dulles cousins stepped to the podium. An aristocrat of that strange, old American variety — tall and puritanically thin, well but primly dressed, a daughter of stern Protestant New England — she explained that she had overheard as a child the outraged family discussions of the young Avery’s conversion. Uncle Allen, Aunt Eleanor, John Foster, all the senior family members gathered around to complain that the best and brightest of the family’s next generation seemed determined to throw his promising life away. “And, of course, they were right,” she said. “He did throw that life away. He threw it away for God.”
The Anchoress eulogizes her "birth" brother who died yesterday after A sad painful life.
I don’t blame him for not having faith. I can’t think of any example of love he ever encountered that did not - ultimately - get distorted or misrepresented or prove itself to be wholly untrustworthy, not to be counted on, not to be believed.
I loved him, but I was much younger than he, and of a completely different nature. I doubt he believed it, that I loved him. He had no tools to believe it.
How tragically sad is that?
I say to hell with that. He was loved into being; he was baptized and sealed. The people who were supposed to teach him the way in which to go spun him madly, incessantly - then allowed him to get dizzy and lost. He lived a sad, tortured life the best way he knew how - quite imperfectly, but then his tools were also very insufficient and his trust was non-existent. I cannot claim to know anything, but I do not believe that a loving God would look upon this much-sinned against man and reject him once again, as he was rejected all his life.
For one thing, none of us know what happens in those infinitesimal moments between life and death, if mercy is offered one more time, and accepted.
Tonight, I am believing that my brother John is finally in the presence of the all-encompassing and unconditional love in which he can finally trust, finally surrender to…or that he has glimpsed enough of it to want more, however long it takes to become fit for it.
When that Marine Corps jet crashed in San Diego, it killed two woman and two children. Remarkably, the husband who survived, a Korean immigrant named Dong Yun Yoon told the media he did not blame the pilot.
Please pray for him not to suffer from this accident," a distraught Dong Yun Yoon told reporters gathered near the site of Monday's crash of an F/A-18D jet in San Diego's University City community.
"He is one of our treasures for the country," Yoon said in accented English punctuated by long pauses while he tried to maintain his composure.
"I don't blame him. I don't have any hard feelings. I know he did everything he could," said Yoon, flanked by members of San Diego's Korean community, relatives and members from the family's church.
Yoon named the victims as his infant daughter Rachel, who was born less than two months ago; his 15-month-old daughter Grace; his wife, Young Mi Yoon, 36; and her 60-year-old mother, Suk Im Kim, who he said had come to the United States from Korea recently to help take care of the children.
Yoon's minister, Daniel Shin, told reporters the Yoon family had moved into the house a little more than a month ago. He said Yoon came to the United States in 1989 and had since become a naturalized citizen. Yoon works as manager of "a variety store -- a store where they sell a variety of things," Shin said.
Yoon's wife came to the United States about four years ago, Shin said.
Yoon spoke softly when he talked about his wife.
"It was God's blessing that I met her about four years ago. She was a lovely wife and mother," he said.
His voice fading, he added: "She loves me and babies. I just miss her so much."
HT Michelle Malkin
It seems to me that his religious faith and patriotism helped him find a forgiveness so deep, it leaves me awed. What a noble example he is, one I will not forget.
Dominic Mallary, a 24-year-old lead singer of an emerging rock band that just landed a record contract had a signature move,
howling into his microphone as he coiled the wire tighter and tighter around his neck.
But this time, the edgy flourish proved deadly. The pressure caused a clot in his jugular vein, later cutting off the flow of oxygen to his brain, according to his mother, band members, and friends. Mallary, an Emerson College graduate who counseled the homeless, died Friday afternoon at Boston Medical Center.
Mallary appeared fine during and immediately after the show, but about an hour later complained of dizziness and a lack of sensation in his legs. But even as he was taken by ambulance to Boston Medical Center, he remained conscious and called his girlfriend to let her know what had happened.
"I figured he was going to be all right," said Murphy, a 21-year-old who lives in Douglas. "We didn't think it had anything to do with our performance."
But when Mallary arrived at the hospital shortly after 11, he suffered a seizure and lost consciousness, Murphy said. He later fell into an irreversible coma and was pronounced dead Friday.
Death of singer, 24, tied to stage stunt.
Condolences to his family and friends.
As heirs to Western civilization, our common legacy as is so vast and so great, we can not take it all in. At best, we dip into it from time to time, sometimes as a citizen when we vote or speak against the government without any fear ; sometimes as believers when we gather in faith communities to worship God without any thought that we may be endangering our lives. Other times we are transported in a museum before a Renaissance painting or a Greek sculpture or in a symphony hall listening to Bach's St. Matthew's Passion.
But often we depend on others to communicate the greatness of someone long dead but whose legacy still nourishes minds and hearts. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was such a man.
According to George Eliot, Goethe was "Germany's greatest man of letters. —poet, critic, playwright, and novelist—and the last true polymath to walk the earth." I suppose he holds a similar position in the German imagination as Thomas Jefferson, another polymath, holds in the American imagination.
The Reader's Companion to World Literature says
Goethe comes as close to deserving the title of a universal genius as any man who has ever lived. though he will be considered here as a man of letters, it is important to remember that he had an intelligent grasp of all the arts, that he successfully carried burdensome responsibilities as a public administrator, and that his scientific interests led him to make significant contributions to mineralogy, optics, comparative anatomy and plant morphology.
Today we look to bloggers who write about what they love. Elizabeth Powers is the Goethe girl, a writer and literary scholar with a Ph.D in German literature and a consultant to the Metropolitan Museum. She loves Goethe and has begun a blog Goethe Etc. that vibrates with sympathy with this great man and, like him, is interested and learned about many things.
Maybe that's how we ordinary people can preserve Western civilization. By writing about what we love and value, sharing our appreciation with the world and passing it on to the people we love.
Maybe we only have time for quick bites of what we most need - the accumulated wisdom of the past. For me, quick bites are quotes and here are some:
On Character: Talents are best nurtured in solitude; character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world.
On Courtesy: There is a courtesy of the heart; it is allied to love.—From it springs the purest courtesy in the outward behavior....There is no outward sign of true courtesy that does not rest on a deep moral foundation.
On Happiness: The most happy man is he who knows how to bring into relation the end and the beginning of his life. One has only to grow older to become more tolerant. I see no fault that I might not have committed myself.
On Kindness: Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together.
On Life: Life is a quarry, out of which we are to mold and chisel and complete a character. Life is the childhood of our immortality.
On Love: We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.
On Immortality: Those who hope for no other life are dead even for this.
On Architecture: I call architecture frozen music.
On Nature: Nature is the living, visible garment of God.
On Riches: Riches amassed in haste will diminish, but those collected by little and little will multiply.
On the Bible: It is a belief in the Bible, the fruit of deep meditation, which has served me as the guide of my moral and literary life.—I have found it a capital safely invested, and richly productive of interest.
And others I liked
Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.
Which is the best government? That which teaches us to govern ourselves.
First and last, what is demanded of genius is love of truth.
The refusal by Muslim clerics to bury the Mumbai terrorists is an "original and bold protest against Islamist violence by religious authorities who would normally make sure any Muslim got a proper burial" writes Tom Heneghan of Faithworld, a Reuters blog.
This is symbolically very important,” Mustafa Akyol, a columnist for the Hürriyet Daily News in Istanbul and an active Muslim blogger. “I’ve heard of imams declining to lead a prayer for the deceased because he was an outright atheist, but never of people being denied burial.”
Given the way Muslim protests against Islamist violence do not seem to attract much attention, is this a proper way for the religious authorities to dramatise their stand? And, as asked above, did you see this in your local newspaper? If not, do you think it should have been there?
By the way, this decision did not come out of the blue. Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, one of India’s leading Islamic groups, endorsed a fatwa against terrorism in early November. More than 6,000 clerics signed the edict, which follows a similar one issued in February by India’s top Islamic seminary, Darul Uloom Deoband.
via Mindful Hack
A romantic marriage proposal on the Oregon coast turned deadly for the bride-to-be when a wave swept her out to sea.
Scott Napper had taken 22-year-old Leafil Alforque to Proposal Rock near Neskowin Beach to pop the question at a place that got its name from couples ready to marry. Napper and Alforque had been dating since they met on the Internet in 2005. But Alforque had arrived in Oregon on a visa from the Philippines just three days before the fateful trip to the coast.
Napper said the tide had receded around Proposal Rock on Saturday when the couple began to walk to it. He planned to propose and give her the ring he carried in his pocket. About 10 feet from the rock, a wave about 3 feet high suddenly came toward them.
"I turned into it to keep from getting pulled under it," Napper said.
By the time he turned to find Alforque, only 4-foot-11 and 93 pounds, she had been caught by the receding waters.
"She was about 30 feet away, getting swept away," Napper said.
The 45-year-old Silverton man tore off his jacket to get rid of any extra weight, and when he looked up again she was gone.
"That's the last I saw of her," he said in an interview Wednesday, breaking into tears.
IN VENEZUELA, thugs are worshipped as saints: but instead of lighting votive candles, followers light cigarettes and place them in the mouths of statues.
Karina Perdomo, a lively 22-year-old woman dressed in a tight black shirt, stares blankly at the figure of a saint in the General Cemetery in southern Caracas, puffing on a cigar absent-mindedly.
This saint's name is Ismael. He wears a baseball cap and dark glasses, smokes a cigarette and carries a gun.
He is the king of the santos malandros or holy thugs, a group of popular saints who were petty criminals in life and were gunned down by the police in the 1960s and 1970s.
Growing numbers of Venezuelans revere them, despite the fact they are not recognised by the church. It is an increasingly typical feature of Catholicism in Latin America, where religion is mixed with non-Christian figures and beliefs.
The popularity of the dead hoodlums has soared since the rise in crime during the last decade and has become almost a trend in the past few years.
a teenager arrives, and bends down to tap the stone grave to salute the saint, carefully lighting a cigarette in the statue's mouth. The youngster's name is Johnny, and he has come here to ask Ismael to ensure he's not to be captured by the police. "He's my only hope, I'm alive thanks to him, I was shot 22 times," he says, lifting his T-shirt to show his scars.
Patron saints of Venezula gangland crime
Little Moshe Holtzberg cries for his mother during a memorial service in Mumbai for his parents, Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, who were taken hostage, tortured and killed by the terrorists during the Mumbai terror attack.
Even the little two-year-old did not avoid a beating as bruises were found on his back. He was rescued by his Indian nanny Sandra Samuel who, when the terrorist attack began, locked herself in a room with another staff member. The following morning, she heard little Moshe crying for her and went to look for him. She found him, his pants covered in blood, crying beside the motionless bodies of his parents. She grabbed the baby and ran outside even as the terror attacks on Nairman house continued.
The state of Israel sent a plan to Mumbai to carry back the bodies of the Jewish victims along with little Moshe and his nanny who was the only person the traumatized toddler responded to.
At the funeral in Israel, Rivka's father revealed was six months pregnant.
The rabbi who delivered the eulogy said,
'You don't have a mother who will hug you and kiss you,' Rabbi Kotlarsky cried out during a eulogy that switched back and forth between Hebrew and English. But the community will take care of the boy, he vowed: 'You are the child of all of Israel.'
The terror in Mumbai has been horrific, both in the numbers of people killed and the failure of the Indian police to fight back, thereby causing more deaths of innocents
Sebastian D'Souza, the Mumbai photographer who captured a photo of the "baby terrorist" caught alive and now pleading for his life, said, "I wish I'd a gun, not a camera. ...
...what angered Mr D'Souza almost as much were the masses of armed police hiding in the area who simply refused to shoot back. "There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything," he said. "At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, 'Shoot them, they're sitting ducks!' but they just didn't shoot back."
Just a few of the victims:
A selfless young couple, Rabbi Gavriel Holzberg and his wife Rivka left Brooklyn to open a Jewish outreach center in Mumbai as part of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. Chabad.org says of them,
For five years, they ran a synagogue and Torah classes, and helped people dealing with drug addiction and poverty,
Their selfless love will live on with all the people they touched. We will continue the work they started.
They were sought out, tortured and killed.
Firing grenades and automatic weapons, the men took the Holtzbergs and at least six other people hostage, according to friends of the Holtzbergs. The cook, who was also a nanny, managed to escape with Moshe about 12 hours into the siege, the friends said. The boy’s pants were soaked in blood when he emerged.
Rabbi Kotlarsky said that Rabbi Holtzberg had called the Israeli Embassy from inside Nariman House and was describing the situation when the line went dead. His last words before being cut off were “Lo tov,” Rabbi Kotlarsky added, which means “not good” in Hebrew.
“This is a tragic loss for the Lubavitch community, and for our entire city,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “That their son survived is a miracle, and our entire city is grateful for his nanny’s heroic act. During a time of terrible sadness, her courage reaffirms our faith in the capacity of good to triumph over evil.”
Yaacov Ben Moshe at Breath of the Beast writes
They were neither Missionaries nor ultra-Orthodox zealots they were, simple, devoted and loving people serving a very high purpose.
They were murdered by zealots for purely political and bloody purposes.
Zealots indeed. Doctors were shocked at the torture of the hostages
this was entirely different. It was shocking and disturbing," a doctor said....Another doctor said: "It was very strange. I have seen so many dead bodies in my life, and was yet traumatised. A bomb blast victim's body might have been torn apart and could be a very disturbing sight. But the bodies of the victims in this attack bore such signs about the kind of violence of urban warfare that I am still unable to put my thoughts to words,"
"Of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture marks. It was clear that they were killed on the 26th itself. It was obvious that they were tied up and tortured before they were killed. It was so bad that I do not want to go over the details even in my head again,"
Other victim The Fearless Brit
Andreas Liveras, a self-made businessman went out for a quiet meal with three members of his staff.
After the initial attack on the hotel, Mr Liveras, a father of four and grandfather of eight, phoned his family to say that he had survived Wednesday evening’s assault – and he had also spoken to the BBC to describe the scene in the hotel.
“We knew that he had been taken from the restaurant, through the kitchen and to the basement – and then on to another room. There were a lot of people milling about.
“Typically, my father remained calm throughout his ordeal. He was fearless man – he had flown round the world in his own plane, he had travelled around the world in his own boat. He had done things that most people would be afraid to do.
“Eventually, however, the gunmen got into the room where my father was and sprayed bullets. He was fatally injured and died from multiple wounds."
The family suspect that Mr Liveras’s courage may have contributed to his death. “He would put the safety of his staff before his own. He would not bow down, or crawl and hide, in the face of these people [the terrorists]. I think that is why he got it [the bullets] first,” said his son.
May they all rest in peace and may their memories be a blessing to all who knew them.
"If it enriched the soil we wouldn't mind so much but the ashes have no nutrients at all,"
said Mrs West , collections manager of the Jane Austen museum, in an open letter to the Jane Austen society.
'While we understand many admirers of Jane Austen would love to have ashes laid here, it is something we do not allow.
'It is distressing for visitors to see mounds of human ash, particularly so for our gardener. Also, it is of no benefit to the garden!'
While Jane Austen expert, Professor Kathryn Sutherland, of Oxford University, thought
'I think she would think it's hilarious and be thrilled she inspired such devotion'.
When the Red Sox finally won the world series, there were stories of people who laminated the front page of the Boston Globe and brought to the graves of their parents to plant instead of flowers.
Now, you can be buried in a Red Sox casket and prove your undying eternal loyalty.
Yes, the officially licensed Red Sox casket has arrived. The team logo is embroidered on the soft velvet of the lining and pillow, each of which is as white as a home uniform on Opening Day. The logo also appears on the exterior of the casket, which is made of high-gloss 18-gauge steel accented with baseball bat-style wood, tassels, and polished chrome - more Cadillac than bullpen car, headed for the hereafter.
"It's really a beautiful thing," said Dan Biggins, 28, co-director of Magoun-Biggins Funeral Home in Rockland, which recently took delivery of the first Sox casket, serial number 0001. "It's really neat."
The casket is manufactured by Eternal Image, a Michigan company started about five years ago on the notion that branded funeral products could make money and fill an overlooked need. The founder, who hatched the idea after looking unsuccessfully on the Internet for a 1967 Ford Mustang casket for himself, spent the next few years persuading well-known brands - including the Vatican Library, the American Kennel Club, and Star Trek - to enter licensing agreements.