Saturday, December 31, 2011

Gathering with other Christians inevitably leads to distractions on differences. All personal preferences, I suppose. But, for instance, among the regulars who pray the rosary on Friday morning after mass is a woman who instinctively bows her head at the name Jesus in the prayers. And if a participant drops a Hail Mary inadvertently, not to worry, the next participant says 11 to make up for it. They say the Fátima Prayer before any mysteries or decades.

During the prayers of the faithful at daily mass, a woman prays the same intention, verbatim, every day. I could recite it for her, I've heard it so often. I murmur it under my breath along with her. I'm tempted to throw her off one day by slipping in my intention ahead of hers! I'd have to be fast.

The ladies in Allenwood, all variations on a Baptist theme, similarly bewilder me. Make-up, coifs, manicures, jewelry, accessories. But no perfume, which is, naturally, the only purely feminine item I go for. Instead of showing compassion towards a pregnant middle schooler, one complained that her young niece encounters her in class everyday. Several shared her concern.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

With the kids off school and Jeff on vacation, I've been able to swim every morning this week for as long as possible. Most days, that's worked out to 90 minutes, except yesterday was only 70. On a good day, then, it's over two miles of swimming. It takes me about twenty minutes to warm up and, actually, 45 minutes to "feel good." After 30 minutes, I switch from three stroke breathing to five stroke. I swim five stroke breathing for 30 minutes, then back to three stroke breathing for the final 30 minutes. Today I tried something different: I swam five stroke breathing for 40 minutes without any problem. And the last two laps of that I tried seven stroke breathing. That didn't go too well. I was gasping and one time, I turned my head to breathe and couldn't open my mouth!

Why force this breathing pattern instead of just breathing naturally? Because I hate breathing. That is, I hate turning my head to breathe. I was actually a bit dizzy this morning for the first fifteen minutes or so from turning my head side-to-side. I'd much rather just swim, just pull with my arms and skip the breathing part. The solution is probably to get a snorkel, but I like the discipline of holding my breath and breathing deeply at regular intervals.

On Thanksgiving, I started jogging. I call it jogging because that's what it is, even though it feels like running to me. And I wish it was running. I run jog down the street and back. Nothing complicated. There aren't any significant hills or traffic. I've seen just about all my neighbors at one time or another, so that embarrassment factor is over and done. I had tendonitis in my right knee from running, similar to my shoulder pain from swimming. I used that Icy Hot stuff immediately after running and the pain went away for hours. And now I don't need the Icy Hot anymore. The pain has just gone away.

I wanted to add some time onto my running, so I leave my street at the end and run down the main road to Fairplay. Then I turn around and come back. There's a bit of an incline getting to Fairplay but I tell myself that it's downhill on the way back! Yesterday there was a strong, cold wind blowing. Again, I told myself as I ran into it, that it'd be blowing me home on the return trip! I actually ran the loop two minutes faster yesterday than the day before. I credit the nippy December wind.

I prefer running in cold weather. I've never been one to run in the summer. Off-season training for cross country always took the form of cross training: swimming, biking and weight lifting. But I'm finding out that my college coach spoke the truth long ago when he said that running is the best preparation for good running. Not swimming or biking. No, two miles in the pool or five on the elliptical does not fully prepare one for road running. My breathing is strong but my legs were not quite strong enough to support me for the whole time.

However, now that I am running, my legs are stronger on the elliptical and on the leg weight machines. I'm increasing the total weight I'm lifting with my legs very rapidly since I started running.

And getting good nights' sleep is also very crucial. So, g'nite!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sunday Snippets - a Catholic carnival hosted by Rann at "This That and the Other Thing."

Click to join sunday_snippets
She let it slip that she's a universalist. Given the subject matter - the Book of Revelation - I could understand and wasn't too surprised. The rest were stunned, however, mistakenly thinking she'd have them also adopt universalism. She had no such intention. They sought to disabuse her of her position, citing various Scriptures. Her own son, who had arranged for her to teach at his parish, professed to being as surprised as everyone. "She sees things this way since I've left home!"

But she did persuade some people, I'm sorry to say. Not that I'm so opposed to universalism, but they ended up arriving at the worst conclusions. Must be they just haven't read the books I've read.

For instance, one of them, trying on how universal salvation might work after one died, decided that encountering the overpowering love of God - in the context of a judgment, keep in mind! - would win over absolutely anyone. Well, not according to C. S. Lewis, in a couple of places:
"The point is not that God will refuse you admission to His eternal world if you have not got certain qualities of character: the point is that if people have not got at least the beginnings of those qualities inside them, then no possible external conditions could make a 'Heaven' for them." (emphasis mine)
It's a little like, "It takes one to know one." Emphatically, opposites do not attract.

So, Lewis again:
"For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. ... That will not be the time for choosing: it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realised it before or not." (emphasis mine)
With the recent passing of Christopher Hitchens, I'm reminded that there's much in Scripture and Tradition to caution us against universalism.

Saturday, December 10, 2011