Saturday, August 30, 2008

McCain's own Family Values

Is the character and marital history of a man who offers himself for hte highest office in this nation worth examining? My conservative friends accuse me of being “nasty.”

Is it not curious that the social conservative “family values” crowd holding srict application of bible passages to denigrate gays can so easily overlook the adulterous behavior of their standard bearer John McCain.

McCain “chased” (Cindy’s own word) Cindy Hensley while still marrried to his wife Carol. Although McClain claims in his autobiography that “Months” separated his divorce and his new marriage, actually it was five weeks.

The divorce was granted April 2, 1980, and he wed Hensley in a private ceremony five weeks later. McCain obtained an Arizona marriage license on March 6, 1980, while still legally married to his first wife.

His wife Carol was blindsided by John’s asking for a diivorce and so distraught that the Reagans took her under their care with the help of friends.

In a television interview with Jay Leno on the "Tonight Show," Cindy McCain joked about how the Navy captain had pursued her. "He kind of chased me around . . . the hors d'oeuvre table," she said. "I was trying to get something to eat and I thought, 'This guy's kind of weird.' I was kind of trying to get away from him.”

McCain wrote in his court petition that he and his wife had "cohabited" until Jan. 7 of that year -- or for the first nine months of his relationship with Hensley.

John McCain was 42; Cindy was 24. Is it not curious how a man who prides himself on his principles while running for President can have it both ways with the party of “family values”?

It is not adultery that is a threat to family values. It is those gays that the bible more clearly condemns. They are the ones that really scare us.

Friday, August 15, 2008

What I Know for Certain?

What I know for certain?

What is it that I know for certain? Not simply what I believe, but what I really KNOW.
If you will, what I know so surely that I will stake my life and my reputation on? Here is what I know, really know for certain, in order of priority as of August 2008 in my 79th year.

1. Family love is most precious and to be honored. Midlife will present challenges. Sooner of later, we shall be greatly disappointed, either by children, siblings, parents, in-laws, spouse, or friends. This stumbling block is a necessary stepping stone to full maturity.

2. We are each and everyone of us selfish, prideful, wounded and blind to our egotism. Failure is inevitable. Because we and all others are imperfect, forgiveness is essential. For ourselves and for others.

3. When we run f rom darkness, we are running from ourselves into great darkness. The easiest human reaction is to blame and find fault. This is a projection of what we refused to face in ourselves and an effort to make ourselves better than others.

4. In Him, we live and move and have our being. We are surrounded, infused, hounded and haunted by the mystery of Grace,.a Hound of Heaven who will never let us go or hide successfully.

5. We have a hole in our hearts, each of us, that can be filled only by love of this mystery we call God, neighbor and family. We are not humans trying to become spiritual. We are spiritually beings becoming wholly and fully human.

6. Everything, every single thing in life and life itself, is a gift, an undeserved gift. We are entitled to nothing in life. When we accept this we shall live with humility and gratitude, easily.

7. Awareness is the key to understanding. Only with awareness do we realize that a sense of unfairness or bitterness, and on the other hand, forgiveness and healing is a constant choice.

8. We must wrestle with this mystery we call "God." We grown only by risk, vulnerability and loving. Noblesse Oblige.

9. Truth is best conveyed by Love. Story , metaphor and parable are the best vehicles.

10. A community of faith is not optional but necessary. The best "ticket" is acceptance that alone we are “lost,” have need of one another for support and balance, and that we are all "outsiders”"in some way.

Paschal Baute, August 15, 2008

Saturday, August 09, 2008

What does it mean to belong to the "People of God"

"The People of God"
Q. What does it mean to belong to this community of faith?

A. Long form first, then short form.

A1. To belong to the People of God can mean a great many things,
illustrated by the diverse meanings of "church" as many Christians follow the gospel.

Traditionally and most early, these were found in the beliefs in the Our Father prayer.
In the 4th century these beliefs became codified in the Nicene Creed.

The earliest form of the People of God took five guidelines:
Gather the People
Tell the Stories
Break the Bread
Celebrate the Vision
Welcome the Stranger.

My own best form of Celebrating the Vision is found in the words of Mary in response to the message of the angel that she was “full of grace,” and her womb blessed. In Catholic tradition, these 16 verses are called the Song of Mary, or the Magnificat. (Luke 1: vv 46 ff)

I truly love this song of Mary. Its verses have become my morning prayer, my midday prayer, my evening prayer, my mantra. I never seem to tire of it. It is, I believe the song of the Christian community, one that each of us is invited and intended to sing from our own hearts, because the “lord is with us.” It is, in fact, the prayer read, sung by every priest, monk, nun for at least the last one thousand years, and possibly 1500 years since the time of Benedict.

"My soul magnifies the Lord!" The response, the sone that each of us is invited to sing.
My Spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He who is mighty has done great things to me,
and holy is His Name....
Are not all of these verses meant to be celebrated and sung by all the faithful of the community of God?

As young priests just ordained, we were invited to give a brief homily to our community. In 1959, I* chose the Magnificat, and committed all the verses to memory for this occasion. Since then it has become my favorite prayer. I love every verse.

I am still selfish and still do not pray as I should, constantly. But increasingly, now working on my 80th birthday, my heart is increasingly full of humility and gratitude for so many undeserved blessings, that this prayer often comes to my mind, my heart and my lips.

My soul magnifiers the Lord.
I can never give back sufficient to this Divine Mystery
that long ago captured my heart.

I would love to be able to sing this song
with body, heart, mind , soul for 50 years,
God willing and the crick don't rise.

Paschal Baute, August 9.

Short form answer:
A2. Find and love Christ everywhere.

St. Benedict advise the Abbot to find Christ
not only in the stranger who comes to the gate
but also in the youngest in the community,
"because Christ may speak through him."
(Matthew 25: vv 31 ff)

Friday, August 01, 2008

Noblesse Oblige

Someone wondered recently
about my stamina.
I remenbered that once I
wrote about its source
or tried to. . . ..

Noblesse Oblige:
my constant liege

Add all power ever burst
by tempest or nuclear quake in
Words: Truth--fully
ready to cut or heal--still
mighty to free!

Sum all longing ever felt
by lame, lost, last ‘n least:
'twould never equal yearning
His must be:
wanting our free choice with such

Count all risks ever ventured
by prophets, pilgrims, 'n pioneers:
'Twould never equal chance
taken when He
gave His life yet Father left;
abandoned Thee!

Reckon all love ever encountered
'tween lovers, friends, ‘n families:
'Twould never equal passionate
Love for me
in a Heart that yielded all,
nailed to a tree!

Recite all grief ever endured
for children 'n loved ones lost and gone:
'Twould never equal heart
ache for me:
when from Thee to self I turn
to view just me.

Heap all joy ever shouted
for children lost ‘n found again:
'Twould never equal great
joy for me
when I turn from self and sin
back to Thee!

Take all refuge ever sought
by sailors lost or stormed at sea:
'Twould never equal shelter
offered free:
safe harbor, peace-anchor
His heart bids me!

Figure all faithfulness ever kept
by saints and Gandhis great and small:
'twould never equal pledge,
lasting decree:
Covenant kept with us,
now given me!

Relate all gifts ever bestowed
by princes, kings, lovers and friends:
'twould never equal generous,
precious gifts we
brought to earth by maid when
"yes," said she!

Advent, 1984
Paschal Bernard Baute

Like Dante with Beatrice, I am seized and haunted by a vision of the Immensity of Divine Love that is simply inexpressible. Words fail. The above was one puny failed attempt, except for last verse.