Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lecture d'aujourd'hui

Lettre de saint Paul Apôtre aux Philippiens 3,17-21.4,1.

Frères, prenez-moi tous pour modèle, et regardez bien ceux qui vivent selon l'exemple que nous vous donnons. Car je vous l'ai souvent dit, et maintenant je le redis en pleurant : beaucoup de gens vivent en ennemis de la croix du Christ. Ils vont tous à leur perte. Leur dieu, c'est leur ventre, et ils mettent leur gloire dans ce qui fait leur honte ; ils ne tendent que vers les choses de la terre. Mais nous, nous sommes citoyens des cieux ; c'est à ce titre que nous attendons comme sauveur le Seigneur Jésus Christ, lui qui transformera nos pauvres corps à l'image de son corps glorieux, avec la puissance qui le rend capable aussi de tout dominer. Ainsi, mes frères bien-aimés que je désire tant revoir, vous, ma joie et ma récompense, tenez bon dans le Seigneur, mes bien-aimés.

Je n'ai pas de commentaire. Je crois que ce que j'ai souligné dit tout.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

THE DARK SIDE OF OLYMPIC GLORY

From: Joy Smith, B.Ed., M.Ed,
Member of Parliament
Kildonan - St. Paul
www.joysmith.ca

Winnipeg, MB – Over the past two weeks, we Canadians have enthusiastically cheered on our athletes as they have competed for Olympic glory on our home soil in Vancouver. I, along with countless others, was so proud to watch our men and women vying to be the best in the world, and was filled with patriotism as the Maple Leaf was hoisted over the medal podium. I extend my warmest congratulations to all our Canadian athletes as we mark the close of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

Unfortunately, there was also a dark side to the Olympic Games in Vancouver: human trafficking. Similar to many other large sporting events where the demand for paid sex spikes, young women and girls were trafficked to Vancouver from across Canada to be sexually exploited for the gratification and profit of others.

As the 2010 Games began, the Citizens Summit Against Sex Slavery issued a press release noting that front line agencies in Vancouver had witnessed an increase in underage youth being bought and sold for sex on the streets of Vancouver. Even before the Games began, pimps and traffickers were posting ads on Craigslist to anonymously sell young women for sex.

The term sexual slavery is very deliberately used to call attention to the true nature of human trafficking. The young women and girls who fall prey to human traffickers are targeted because they are vulnerable in some way. They are first befriended by traffickers to gain their trust. However they are soon beaten, raped, and set to work servicing dozens of men a day in order to make a profit for their abusers. These young women are from all walks of life, but they are all someone's daughter, sister, or friend. They should be loved and valued, not stripped of their dignity and forced into sexual servitude. We would be horrified if this happened to our own daughters, yet so many people turn a blind eye to this heinous abuse of human rights when it is someone else's daughter who is suffering. It is much more comfortable to think of these women as "happy hookers" than as victims who need our help.

For many years, I have been working to stop human trafficking in Canada. One of my more recent efforts, Private Members’ Bill C-268, has successfully passed through the House of Commons and is currently being considered by the Senate. If passed, Bill C-268 would require a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years for anyone convicted of trafficking a person under the age of 18. It is time for Canadians to join the international community in taking a stand against this egregious crime against our children. You can help Bill C-268 become law by writing to Senators to encourage them to pass the Bill as quickly as possible.

Although our chance to prevent human trafficking at the 2010 Winter Games has passed, we still have the opportunity and responsibility to stop this growing crime in Canada. As we celebrate our athletes at the closing ceremonies of the Vancouver Olympics, let us not forget about those in the background of the Games that still need our help to recover their dignity and their futures.

For more information please contact:

Joel Oosterman
Chief of Staff
Office of Joy Smith, MP
Phone: (613) 992-7148
Email: smithj8@parl.gc.ca
Website: www.joysmith.ca

Friday, February 26, 2010

Please keep my dad in your prayers...

From my dad (Jean-Nil):

Hi children,

When I passed a kidney stone, not long ago, the hospital did an ultrasound on me. They discovered something that could be pollyps on the wall of my bladder. Those could be malignant or benign. On March 8, I will undergo a cystoscopy (examination of the bladder through the urinary tract). If the pollyps is malignant, they will remove it, which would involve a couple of days in the hospital. So, I hope you will keep me in your prayers.

With love,

Dad

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Pearl Method

How many children must die before Mike and Debi Pearl are held accountable? Read the tragic story, with links here: http://www.elizabethesther.com/threes_a_crowd/2010/02/how-many-children-must-die-before-mike-debi-pearl-are-held-accountable.html

First Confession

Maryssa did her first confession this evening. She is in second year of Parish catechism, and on the way to being confirmed and receiving Holy Communion.

I also talked with a lady I often see at mass, a good Catholic lady, about my age, with a daughter about Jean-Alexandre's age or older and another about Nicolas's age. Would be nice to get to know her even better.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

I am soooo doing this...

Getting rid of 40 bags of stuff for each of the 40 days of Lent. I've already got a few bags done up... which means, even though I'm late starting, I'm not really behind...

http://www.faithandfamilylive.com/blog/40_bags_in_40_days/

Sunday, February 21, 2010

In a perfect world...


I actually happen to like winter, although I am always ready for spring when it comes too, and late spring is my favourite time of year... but for those who hate winter...


So young, already so wise... :)

Nicolas: How come some of the mothers (of the preschool children) never come get their kids?
Me: Well, some of the mothers can't come because they have to work.
Nicolas: Well, you come.
Me: Yes, but I don't have to work.
Nicolas: Yes you do, you go get the groceries.

I'm glad someone appreciates what I do as being "work". :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I used to listen to CHOM FM, the classic Rock station in Montreal, quite a bit. In the past year however, they annoy me more often than not. First it was the suggestive condom ads running all hours of the day, despite the fact that people's kids may be listening along. Then there were the ads for the big Convention on everything sex-related.

If you don't know what such and such a term is, if you think such and such is referring to it's original innocent meaning, then you need to come to this sex conference, they claimed.

Uh well, I beg to differ. I have no idea what such and such a term is, and I do not wish to know. I also happen to naively think that such and such other term still refers to its originally intended innocent meaning, and I do not wish to be informed otherwise.

I do not believe that true love requires sex to be anything but simple. Simple straightforward honest sex with the person you love, the person you are faithful to forever, is enough. There is no need for embellishments. There is no need for excitement or novelty. A deep understanding between two like-minded souls is enough.

The more recent cause for annoyment coming from the station is their latest grand prize. A trip to Las Vegas (yay, my dream vacation, throwing away my money - not!), and a peep-show with this and that sexy, famous girl. And if you win "we'll tell your wife you went fishing." Wink, wink.

Great. Now we are glorifying everything that puts tension into a couple's relationship.

I give up. I want out. (Packs bags and moves to Antarctica)

The Mother Theresa Stamp

Chuck Colson
Feb 18, 2010
The folks at the Freedom From Religion Foundation have a complaint. It’s just this: Mother Teresa was a nun! I’m not making this up.

There are certain things in this life that no sensible person wants to waste his time and energy arguing against. Things like mom and baseball and apple pie.

And high up on that list—perhaps at the very top of that list—is Mother Teresa. You may get the occasional crank like Christopher Hitchens trying to debunk the selfless nun, but most people justly honor and revere her memory. Her legacy of love and service is an inspiration all over the world.

Which makes it all the more incredible that the Freedom From Religion Foundation is going after her now. The Foundation is arguing against an upcoming stamp planned by the U.S. Postal Service honoring Mother Teresa. And if it is issued, they’re promising a boycott.

http://www.breakpoint.org/commentaries/14502-pick-your-battles

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Giving up Facebook for Lent

However, I cannot give up internet for Lent, as I did a few years back, in 2004. Too much important information is passed alone through e-mail. I wasn't the team manager for a soccer team back then, and in fact, none of my children were even in competitive soccer at all yet. Now I have four in competitive soccer.

The writer in me is coming back to my blog, after a couple of years of neglect, this is one good thing that not going on facebook is giving me, the urge to write, no matter how mundane the subject, on my blog. Most of my writing or comments has been done on facebook in recent years. It's time to pay a little more attention to the poor neglected blog and other little writing projects.

By the way, Facebook imports my blog posts, so while my posts may appear in my facebook notes, I am not actually writing them on facebook, and I will not see comments posted to them until Sunday.

The Dark

Jeanne Chabot
© 2010
Every night when Nicolas went to bed, the dark came to visit him. It came to his window and stared at him through the drapes. Nicolas huddled under his blankets and did not move until his older brother Gabriel came in to bed. Then the dark left and Nicolas could sleep.

“The dark is going to eat me.” Nicolas told his biggest brother Alex.

Alex laughed. “There is no such thing as a dark.” He said.

But Nicolas knew there was a dark. He could hear it laughing outside to itself. He knew it was the dark because when it laughed it sounded like the branches of the great old maple tree creaking in the wind.

That night, the dark did not go away, even when Gabriel came in to bed. Nicolas did not sleep until very late.

“The dark is going to get me.” Nicolas told his sister Maryssa. “He wants to eat me.”

“The dark can’t eat you.” Maryssa said. “It doesn’t have teeth.”

But Nicolas knew the dark did not need teeth to eat him. The dark could swallow him whole.

Nicolas learns how to overcome the dark by goodness and light, with the help of his guardian angel.
“Hold out your hand.” His guardian angel told him.

Nicolas did as he was told.

“Now bring all your light to your hand.”

Nicolas closed his eyes and concentrated on his hand.

“Good.” Said his guardian angel.

Nicolas opened his eyes. In his hand was a flaming sword of light. He felt no more fear. He was stronger than the dark. He rushed to the drapes and pulled them aside. The darks, with their little horned heads shrunk back in to the shadows and disappeared.

That's my latest. For kids. I think I shall read it to Nicolas tonight, and see how he likes it.

Ash Wednesday

I wanted to go to mass yesterday with the kids and get the ashes for Ash Wednesday, but when I phoned in the afternoon, to find out when the service would be, th elady who answered said there weren't any, there had been a mass in the morning and that was it. "In all of the churches?!" I asked, amazed.

"In all of the churches." She replied. "They'll be doing the ashes at Sunday mass too."

Yes, but it won't be Ash Wednesday anymore, it'll be the first Sunday of Lent. (Pouts)

Why is there only the one service in the morning? Nobody could have gone to that, not with school and stuff. I don't get that...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tolerance is over-rated

The problem with the world today is that there is too much tolerance, and not enough real love.

I tolerate the heat and the cold. I tolerate noise, headaches, long waits, even mosquitos. But why on earth would I only just tolerate people?

Behind every face of every minority group is a person. To get to know a person is to love them, eventually. Sometimes, love doesn't always equal like. But if you truly love a person, you have their best interests, whether you like them or not, at heart.

Every person should be treated with kindness and respect, even if they don't deserve it. If it doesn't make them a better person, it will certainly make you a better person.

There is too much tolerance. Too much tolerance by parents of their offspring's rudeness. Too much tolerance of bad attitude, too much tolerance of harmful behaviour.

Love has to be tough. Tolerance will agree with you that you are a sad victim of life. Love will tell you how it is and hopefully you will be a better person for it.

Love doesn't mean I agree with everything you say or do. Love doesn't blindly accept everything as right and good. Love doesn't have to approve of everything you do. Love loves in spite of everything. Love hurts when it sees you going down a bad path. Love doesn't want you there. Love doesn't want you to make the same mistakes it did.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I agree with this...

Interesting article on the effects of pornography on marriage and sexual behaviour...
In many cases the wives of pornography users develop deep psychological wounds, he observed. This includes feelings of betrayal, loss, mistrust, and anger. Wives can also feel unattractive or sexually inadequate, which in turn can lead to depression after finding out that their husbands view pornography.

Male viewers of pornography, Fagan added, tend to diminish their emotional involvement in their sexual relations, which has the effect of wives experiencing decreased intimacy from their husbands. In one study husbands reported loving their spouses less after long periods of looking at pornography.

Pornography also has an impact on the physical side of the relationship as prolonged exposure fosters dissatisfaction with the other spouse and their sexual behavior.

Other studies referred to by Fagan found that pornography users increasingly see the institution of marriage as sexually confining and this leads them to doubt the value of marriage as a social institution.

Jane Austen

Arwen on Faith and Family Live wrote this post, at the end of which she asks "How do you feel about Jane Austen's works?"

It so happens that I have been reading Jane Austen's books for the first time recently and had a few observations, which I meant to write down eventually. So I am just going to paste my comment on her post here:

I remember my sister read Pride and Prejudice back in high school, but I never did. It wasn't on our reading list in English Litterature. She enjoyed it, but I never got around to reading any Jane Austen books until my sister-in-law (who also happens to be a Jane) lent me Emma. This year, being quite tired of reading books in which the characters all go on about Jane Austen books and Wuthering Heights and the like, I went on Amazon.ca and bought myself 4 of Jane Austen's books (Pride &Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma, and Persuasion) plus Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. I read Wuthering Heights first, and found it very dark, although the ending finally makes up for the rest of the book.

I enjoyed the first three Jane Austen books (am starting Persuasion now), but I suspect that I will enjoy them even better perhaps a second time around, once I have gotten used to the strange turns of phrase and the words or expressions which have since taken on a slightly different meaning. (Such as lover or to make love, but also to be sensible that...)

I actually find Shakespeare easier to read, probably because I am more used to the language, but also because Jane Austen tends to use a lot of run-on sentences, and by the time I have finished the sentence, I am not quite sure what the beginning was, and I have to go over some of them 2 or 3 times before I can make out what she is really saying. Sometimes it starts out like she is saying one thing, but then the end of the sentence sounds like she meant the opposite. It gets confusing.

Other than that, I really liked Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen has deep insight into human character. It also seems to me that she lived among many people who, thanks to fortune inherited, had grown up quite conceited and spoiled, and knew not how to work, nor had any inclination to either working nor bettering themselves. There seem to be more insupportable characters in her stories than truly interesting ones.

Upper class people of her day seem to have nothing better to do than invite each other to dinner, have parties, or go dine at someone else's house out of sheer boredom. Presumably because of the lack of any day job. Or any work to do at all.

It is quite the window into the type of life upper class people of her time lived. I think, personally, I would rather have been the wife of one of the tradespeople in the villages, who are barely even mentioned in her stories at all, almost as if they did not even exist. Which is kind of significant to how they were viewed by the upper class people.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Live and let live

I hate conflict. Seriously. You wouldn't believe it to see me yelling at my kids some days, but kids can be frustratingly brain damaged, so does that really count? In adult to adult relationships, I hate conflict. Yell at me and I may cringe and back into a corner, unless you really get me going.

I'm pretty much a live and let live type of person. My personal opinion may not be the popular opinion, nor even the politically correct opinion, but I believe in my right to hold it anyway. I also believe in your right to disagree, and I can even put myself in your shoes, and imagine why you believe the way you do.

I believe you can still love people even when you disagree with them, and more importantly, even when you think that what they are doing is bad for them. You only have to look at any parent with his child to know this.

When government decides it knows better than me what I should believe and what I should teach my kids about what what is right or wrong, and maintains that if I do not believe the same way they do, then I am racist or sexist or have a phobia or I'm ignorant, or something is wrong with me, then they are pushing the wrong buttons.

The important thing we all need to teach our kids is that regardless of what the next person thinks or does, he still deserves our respect and kindness. You can love a person through anything, no matter how negative it might be to yourself. Sometimes you have to let a person make his own mistakes. Sometimes you have to let a person go. Sometimes, it turns out you were the one who was mistaken.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cats

D. Allan Stares
The Christian Renewal.

I have owned a reasonable number of cats in my life and, for the life of me, I can’t really figure out why. If the only option available for a pet was a cat, I could understand the attraction, but when a dog comes into the list of possibilities, the cat automatically drops to the bottom of a very short list and comes to rest immediately above the chimpanzee, which sounds like fun, but really isn’t an option at all. Throw a hypothetical ferret, hamster, or raccoon into the mix and cats start to shift to another list all together.

There is no good reason to have a cat in the house, and yet millions of people, including yours truly, keep them around. Perhaps this is why I find the whole idea of cats interesting. Somehow, the cat has managed to hang on to its position on the pet list despite its obvious distain for humans, lack of intelligence, refusal to engage in anything approaching social behaviour, and general uselessness. This admirable tenacity made me sit back and think about my experiences with cats, and this thinking led me to an unexpected conclusion: I have learned a lot about life from cats.

When I was very young, we brought home a little orange barn kitten from my uncle’s farm in exchange for a rabbit that had gotten too large to be cute and just large enough for my uncle to have found a use for it. George eventually grew into a very large orange cat who feared nothing due to the fact the he had spent much of his early time in our home as the special possession of our dog who had never had pups, but mothered him mercilessly. George was big and cranky and absolutely unafraid of dogs.

I clearly remember seeing him deal with a German Shepard who was surprised to find that George did not know that cats were supposed to run away from dogs. George stood his ground as the unsuspecting dog ran at him and calmly unsheathed his claws when the dog’s nose came into swatting range. There was running away involved, but it wasn’t George. That big orange cat taught me a little about dealing with bullies and the kind of courage that comes from an ignorance of fear.

Last year we brought home an enthusiastic young dog to join my daughters’ cat as a pet in the house. As a Duck Tolling Retriever, Kassy is smart and agile and very good at chasing things, but coming from a very small home without exposure to cats, she had no interest in the resident critter. She looked at the cat a couple of times, but generally ignored it as part of the furniture. As a cat, Hannah was too stupid to let sleeping dogs lie. With all the misguided, fear generated, feline aggression it could muster, the cat stalked the intruding dog until an opportunity presented for the cat to swipe at the dog’s nose. This was a bad plan.

The dog suffered a small scratch on the nose; the cat earned herself an antagonist. It didn’t take Kassy long to figure out that this cat ran when she chased it. She also discovered that pestering the cat was fun and entertaining. Hannah now spends much of her time avoiding the joyful attention of this quick and agile chaser. Of all the examples which emphasise the wisdom of attempting to live, as much as possible, at peace with all men, this one is the most often reinforced for me. I see it every morning when the cat tries to get to its food and every evening when the dog decides that the cat should not be allowed into any room to spend time with the rest of the family.

A couple of months ago I noticed that one of our sons had a series of long scratches on his arm. In response to my question, he relayed a story of discovering a small cat in the neighbour’s yard that had its head firmly stuck in a small plastic peanut butter jar. He had climbed over the fence and had unsuccessfully tried to remove the jar from the cat and had received the scratches as his payment. Since my daughters were also at the table and I don’t like the thought of animals suffering, even due to their own foolishness, we all went on a search and rescue mission.

A few minutes later, I discovered a very disoriented and ratty looking little cat cowering behind the neighbour’s shed. Its head had obviously been trapped in the jar for some time and it was justifiably terrified. When I picked it up I was surprised at how thin it was and how pointy its claws were. It probably had little understanding of its present condition. It could neither see nor hear nor in any way comprehend the bewildering world around it. It did not know that my only intention was its salvation, and met my efforts with the only response it knew. The claws went through a jacket, a sweat shirt, and my skin with amazing efficiency. I guess I should not have been surprised.

I did not let it escape. After some gentle but insistent manoeuvring, we managed to remove the cat from its jar. When I put him down, he ran away without so much as a thankful meow and I have not seen him since. I have come to realize that I learned a few things from this cat.

I learned that even if it is not intended, sniffing around the edge of a jar can sometimes lead to having your head so far in that you cannot get it out. I also learned that when your head is in a jar, it becomes very difficult to understand what is happening outside the jar you are in. I discovered that even when it is clear that the jar is a bad place to be, the prospect of having it removed will often be met with wild and indiscriminate aggression. Perhaps the most interesting thing that I learned was that the secret to removing the jar was persistent and consistent force, in spite of the protestations of the jar’s occupant, and is best done with a second pair of hands. And yes, one should not expect to be thanked for removing the jar, at least not right away.

I will have to sit down and ponder how this cat inspired knowledge can be applied to people. Let me know if you come up with anything.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Imagine a Stupid Song

I cannot imagine a more unfitting song than John Lennon's "Imagine" sung to help Haiti. I have come across a number of artists here and there, singing to raise funds for Haiti, and choosing that song, of all songs.

To like a song, I have to like the lyrics. I hate the lyrics of Imagine.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky

Ah yes, an atheist's song to represent the vibrant faith of the Haitian people, who, in the face of incredible poverty and destruction continue, not only to believe in, but to praise GOD. How utterly ironic. They don't need John Lennon or his song.

"Imagine there's no Heaven", now there's a depressing thought.

To quote the great conceited fool John Lennon himself; "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock and roll or Christianity."

"I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right." Wow. He's right because he's right. What insight. How can anybody argue with that?

Imagine all the people
Living for today

"Living for today", that is soooo sixties peace and love, The "me, me, me" generation. Let's not think of any of the consequences of our acts, nor if they are wrong or right, nor if they will end up hurting ourselves or others in the long run, let's just do what feels good in the present moment. Yep, Haiti surely needs a bunch of belly-button centered people right now. In the words of Socrates: “Worthless people live only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live.” In other words, get your priorities straight.

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

"Nothing to kill or die for." What a worthless life we would live if there were nothing to die for. If there are things in life worth living for, it goes without saying that they are also worth dying for.

Obviously, he blames religion here, as one of the major causes of war and conflict. Well, excepting where religion is based on war and conversion by force, I have to disagree. The crusades, you ask? The crusades happened between the years of 1095 and 1291. A very slow reaction to the 911 invasion of Christian lands by muslim forces and done in the hope of freeing the Holy Land, which was now rendered inaccessible, among other things. Christians did not exactly start the conflict. Also, the denomination of "christian" vs "muslim" or "Catholic" vs "Protestant" such as in the case of Northern Ireland, does not do justice to the actual causes of the wars. Too many people in high places use religion as an excuse to wage war for much more greedy reasons. AS in the case of Northern Ireland, it is also easier to say "protestant" instead of "those descended from the British invaders (which happen to be protestant)" and "catholic" instead of "those descended from the original Irish inhabitants (which happen to be catholic) ". Thus, war fought purely on political grounds, involving the conquerors vs the conquered, suddenly becomes known as a religious war. Which is absolutely untrue.

True christians, following the teachings of Jesus, do not start wars, they are more often the peacemakers. They are overly tolerant of abuse, being used to "turning the other cheek". It is easy to beat up on christians, just look at the news today, how many people who hate christianity get away with saying things against christians that they would never dare say about any other group.

With no religion, John Lennon thinks, all people would live life in peace. So, no more Catholic charities in Haiti for instance. No more protestant charities either, nor jewish for that matter. Take down your hospitals and clinics, because the nuns running them are leaving. Does John Lennon really believe that people like Mother Theresa would exist without the Catholic faith? He is a fool, and "The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good." (Psalm 14:1)

Not that atheists are bad. Some are good. Most have some good in them. But none become Mother Theresas. Why? Because God puts good in people, and without Him, none can be truly, perfectly good.