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Showing posts from January, 2011

The Apollo space program an anomaly?

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This very interesting article from Nancy Atkinson of Universe Today looks at the US Apollo space program in the context of current US space program cutbacks, as one motivated more by politics than by the desire to "boldly go where no-one has gone before".

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How often have you heard (or thought) the sentiment that all NASA really needs is a President who will issue a bold challenge for the space agency, like Kennedy did in 1961, initiating the Apollo program to the Moon? Can we ever expect to witness such a call to action again? “It is very unlikely,” said space historian and author Andrew Chaikin, who believes Apollo was an historical anomaly. “I think for many decades people saw Apollo as a model for how to do a space program; that you get a President to get up and make a challenge and the country follows along and does great things. But that was only true that one time in the context of the Cold War.” We went to the Moon when we did not because we were a nat…

St. Diadochus of Photike

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Although Friday 2 days ago was the memorial of St. Agnes, and therefore we had prayers and readings for Divine Office that were specific to her feast, I happened to look in the Office of Readings at the ordinary readings from Friday of Week 2, instead of those for St. Agnes. I came across a wonderful text by a certain St. Diadochus of Photike (or Photiki). He is especially venerated in the Orthodox Church.

From the Treatise by St. Diadochus of Photike, "On Perfection" (Ch. 14)

"He who has a heartfelt love for God is known by him. For a person grows in the love of God in the measured in which he takes that love into his inmost soul. Which is why, afterwards, such a one passionately longs for the illumination of knowledge to the point of feeling in his very bones, no longer aware of himself but wholly transformed by the love of God. Such a one is in this life without being in it. He still lives in his own body but unceasingly goes out to God through love by the very momentu…

"How Wonderful" - Leeland

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Since I first heard this song a couple of years ago I have used it frequently in personal prayer and also as a pick-me-up. I find it uplifting, inspiring and quite beautiful. It is by the successful young US Christian band Leeland.


"How Wonderful" - Leeland

Lifting hands in song and dance
Humbled by the glory of the cross
We've been redeemed and reconciled
Caught up in the splendor of it all
Eternal life You gave
So we will bring song of praiseHow wonderful
How lovely is Your name
You captivate our hearts
You save us by Your grace
God of mercy, God of love
How we marvel at Your majesty
As we kneel before Your holy throne
In the beauty of Your mystery
We are children of the King
Father, of Your love we singHow wonderful
How lovely is Your name
You captivate our hearts
You save us by Your grace


And You are
Closer than a brother, Jesus
Closer than a brother, Jesus
Oh, the name of Jesus
Oh, the name of Jesus
Oh, the name of JesusHow wonderful
How lovely is Your name
You captivate our hearts
You save u…

Friendship + God's grace

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Friendships have been a source of tremendous consolation in my life and have also been channels for God's grace. It never ceases to amaze me how just when you need it most a friend can be there for you with a kindly gesture, word, message... I try to offer that same presence to those same friends and make sure I am with them in their time of need.Ultimately, such relationships are what life is about. And since Christmas, a particular friend has been a true channel of grace, acting in such a way towards me that I have felt God's love most deeply through that person: as if they were my guardian angel sent by God to look after me.I pray that all of you who might read this might have hearts open to receive (and/or continue receiving) the gift of such a person into your lives, and that you may allow yourselves to be "sent" by God to those friends of yours who, in turn, are in need of a guardian angel right now.

A good news story about Muslims + Christians together

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Thanks to Fr. Ray Blake for the hat tip. It makes a change to hear a positive news report about relations between Muslims and Christians, though the wonderful film "Of Gods And Men" seems to have done a lot of good work to bring Muslims + Christians together in places like France (its country of origin) where it was a massive box office hit.

Muslims protect churches
Hassen Jouini, Agence France-Presse; with files from National Post · Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011
Muslims offered themselves as "human shields" on Friday to protect Coptic Christians celebrating their Christmas in Egypt just a week after a church bombing that killed 21 people.Armoured cars were also stationed near churches filled for Christmas services and drivers were banned from parking in front of churches, which were being tightly monitored by explosives detection teams and police, said a police official.

Under the Coptic calendar, Christmas Day falls on Jan. 7.

Dozens of police were deployed around the Saint…