Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mass Readings 1/26/12

II Timothy 1:1-8

One thing that seems to happen again and again in the New Testament and in the history of the Church is that conversions, especially those leading to great saints, very often are the result of many pains and efforts by others.  Timothy's mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois were both Christians.  As Paul only mentions these two, I assume that his other ancestors weren't.  What must it have been like for these two women to live with pagan husbands and, perhaps, to see most of their children follow paganism?  

I'm currently reading through Story of a Soul by St. Therese de Lisieux, and she too is surrounded by faithful Christians.  Not only her parents, but her four older sisters as well supported her, and later on so did her uncle, aunt, and two cousins.  Her teachers were fond of her, as were the priests and the bishop.  She mentions that she even prayed to her four siblings who died in infancy, as they would be holy innocents and therefore be with God in heaven.  She often mentions that, with her temperament, she might very well have turned out rotten had it not been for all these graces.  I need to take stock of the many blessings of my life and regard them as far more important than whatever troubles I have had.

Lord, You choose who You will, and yet it is so hard to be a Christian unless one is surrounded by good witness.  Help me to recognize and appreciate the blessings of my life, to be a helper to those around me, and to seek the assistance of not only the Church on earth but the Church in heaven as well.

Luke 10:1-9

 "Make straight the way of the way of the Lord."  Just as the Old Testament prophets and John the Baptist helped pave the way for the Messiah by preparing God's people for the Incarnation, the 72 disciples sent out here were sent out to let those in distant towns and villages know of His arrival.  These disciples were sent to sow the Good News, but were probably not going to be able to teach much of the faith or be the ones to reap converts themselves.  For us today, we are also often sent out to those who have yet to hear the gospel in a way they can understand.   Are we willing to trust that God will watch over us and leave many of the worldly things we think we need behind?

Lord, help me to trust in you.  When opportunities arise to share Your gospel, help me to be knowledgeable, wise, and able to truly reflect Your Grace.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It'd Be Tempting to Call It Vera

This is exactly what I'm looking for to use as a home defense gun.  A .300 AAC Blackout AR-15 that will take a suppressor inside the rail and come pre-assembled.  I've put together a few ARs, but for something this important I think I'd prefer it to be done by the professionals.

Here's what I'd been looking for:
AR Platform - It's simply a very ergonomic, easy to use platform.  Parts are easy to find, and the gun is easy to repair and maintain.  I can swap various spare parts that I already have.  Very importantly, I'm already familiar with the AR's manual of arms.  I can also swap the upper portion and either shoot with a full-length barrel or even shoot .223 caliber.
.300 AAC Blackout - This is a round that has the power of 7.62x39, the cartridge size of .223 (meaning I can use the magazines I already have), and which can be had at subsonic velocities without losing most of its power.
Short Barrel - I want to have a suppressor inside my rails, both to protect it and to keep the overall length of the gun short.  This gun will be used indoors, and 9" is enough for that.

Guns are loud without suppressors, and I don't want to sacrifice my hearing (and my family's hearing) if I should ever need to fire in defense. 

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Mass Readings 1/25/12

Acts 22:3-16

Today's first reading, for the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, obviously describes the conversion of Saul to Paul.  Originally a young Pharisee of impeccable credentials, a conversion like this would be like a member of the Kennedy clan declaring himself to be a member of the Tea Party (or, if you prefer, Mark Levin suddenly throwing in with the Occupy Wall Street movement).  What struck me today was that Saul was left blinded until a Christian, Ananias, came by and gave him some basic instruction in the Faith.  Are there people around us every day who have been primed for conversion and who need a bold evangelist to help get them started?  How many such opportunities have we missed because we are too wrapped up in our own issues, or because we're playing Fallout: New Vegas, instead?  It's a little overwhelming and a rebuke to think how many such opportunities I've missed, and it gives me hope to remember those times in my past where I have been available and ready to help others.

Lord, help me to learn your ways, to have an answer ready for those who ask, and to do what is right that I may be in position to help when needed.

Mark 16:15-18 

This passage, describing the many signs that will accompany the Eleven, is somewhat challenging for me.  I know Bible and Church history is full of miraculous signs accompanying those evangelizing.  Today, though, not only do we very rarely see such things (if ever), but we're so jaded by televangelists and "snake-handling" churches that many of us have effectively dismissed the possibility of such things happening today.  I've heard stories of some of these things happening today, both from Church teaching and from friends' personal experiences.  I've even been healed of a minor affliction myself, although not by laying on of hands.  What does it mean for us today?  Are there so few signs because we, especially in the first world, would be too cynical to recognize them for what they are? 

Lord, please keep my heart and my mind open to your blessings and your signs.  Surrounded by a culture that despises the holy and the supernatural, help me to stay fixed on you.


What does it mean that Paul became so like Christ that "It is now no longer I that live but Christ lives in me."  Are we to be transubstantiated into hosts, like the wine and wafers at communion, for Christ?  This would seem to deny our individuality and effectively destroy our selves.  Rather, I think we are called to be conformed to Christ and are thus to be consubstantiated, a hypostasis where we are both Christ within us and yet our true selves as well.

Lord, help me to understand Your call to be one with Christ.  Help me to be like your Son and yet to retain the individual characteristics You created in me for Your glory. 

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