Monthly Archives: November 2012

Advent is for fasting and praying – and yikes, we need it!

Put down that soap opera and step away from the chocolate filled advent calendar. It’s time to take Advent seriously. Get off your bottom, get down on you knees (if you can). I don’t know why the Latin Rites seem to have let it slide so much. While our Eastern Rite fellow Catholics and Orthodox brothers and sisters are preparing for the fast, I’ve hardly seen a mention of fasting for Advent among the Latins.

Well. We are supposed to, and God know we need to. On the side of Light and Life the 40 Days for Life this year showed great fruit in over 800 babies’ lives saved, 6 abortion workers left; which I hope means they converted – and one Planned Parenthood Abortion Mill has closed. This is wonderful news.

But here in the UK, where 40 Days doesn’t get the same support’ And I’m sorry to say I haven’t been on the ball with it either – we can’t show the same results.

In fact the devil seems to be giving us a kick back just as the 40 Days closes with the papers running the story of killing sick babies by being starved and dehydrated to death. Many of these poor kids take ten days to slowly die. WHAT are we DOING? WHAT KIND OF COUNTRY IS THIS, WHERE WE STARVE BABIES TO DEATH!?

If you take a look at this report and take a look at this comment you will see that so-called experts are saying that the net of those considered unworthy of life should be widened to include newborns who are “morally irrelevant.”  I don’t know how anyone can look at this and not see the philosophy of death that underpinned the Nazi’s. This is not a misuse of the term. We are doing exactly the same thing as they did.

Britain, shamefully, has a long history of vile mistreatment of those the establishment saw as inferior. I’ve recently finished reading a harrowing account of the Irish Famine. Then there was slavery and there’s the wholesale killing and persecution of Catholics that happened over 300 years. We are not a country clothed in glory quite frankly.  It has always been the little side people who have stood up strongly. Cardinal Wiseman,  Elizabeth Fry, Wilberforce and writers like Dickens and Chesterton and Belloc who tried to stir the apathy of the British conscience.

The Church needs to stand up and fight. Full on Church Militant, if we are going to stop this. We have to put Christ centre at last, and speak out against this encroaching legal murder.

So pray and fast through Advent.

Be of good cheer, but don’t just sit on your rear.

If Christians are silent in the face of this, we will pay a heavy price in eternity.

Home education; quick chemistry/physics freebie

It isn’t quite Friday, but here’s a freebie for those of you who want a more physical hands on approach to the elements. Ive made this set of Bohr diagrams. You can use three different beans to make the elements. We use black beans/turtle beans as electrons, mung beans (green) as neutrons and  red beans/adzuki as protons but you can use whatever best suits you.

I have linked to this website with all the elements laid out in Bohr diagrams All you have to do is click on each element and it gives a good overview of it with an accompanying Bohr diagram.

Bohr Diagrams freebie

We’ve used the first ones to make Hydrogen and helium using two hydrogens to make a helium as hydrogen is built into helium in the sun.

I’ve also got the children to glue the electrons slightly off the black line to show the fourth state of matter -plasma. (The electrons are free).

It’s much simpler at that level than it might first appear. Honestly.

Wake up! We shouldn’t need awareness campaigns!

Oh no! Not another awareness week! Yup. It’s Mental Health Awareness Week this week. It just so happens that it coincides with the anniversary of a dear friend who died when she was refused hospital admission, even though she was desperately ill with depression.

Why do we keep having awareness campaigns? Why are they all the same? They are all the same, you see. All the posters say something along the lines of “People with this disease are not to blame for being sick.” and “Stop treating us badly just because we are sick!” and then there’s the “stop walking all over is as though we don’t exist” messages.

Most posters covering illnesses like mental illnesses and some physical illnesses like Lupus, Lyme, Graves, the dysautonomic illnesses, early stages of MS and of course ME /cfs are called INVISIBLE. I contend that they are not invisible and I don’t just mean those of us using wheelchairs, crutches or having tremors, myoclonic, or other visible symptoms. I mean no one who is seriously ill looks like they are perfectly fine. The “But you look ok” message that so many complain of receiving is a reflection on the speaker, not the sick person. It’s a let-me-off-the-hook of actually caring response.

Why does modern Western culture seem to treat disease and sick people so weirdly? The media has two stereotypes; “the brave cripple” and “the benefit scrounging lay about”.  Despite the well known fact that the media can’t be trusted to tell the truth about anything, people seem to have absorbed this and then sick people get sandwiched in the middle.

Case in point: Let’s call her Jen. She is very ill with a chronic disease. She tries to get on with her life and yes that often takes enormous courage. But there are times when her courage fails and all she wants to do is sit in a corner and cry. This is part of any chronic illness and most acute ones too. It’s normal life.

Meanwhile Jen is stuck between two sets of people. The ones who catastrophise her illness so that she is forced to either reassure, or simply hide the truth – not easy due to the way she is ill – and then on the other side there are the ones who simply don’t get how sick she is and expect her to perform. Worse still one relative feels it’s his duty to reassure the others by making out she isn’t that sick – so she is set up to “perform” for all.

This isn’t a one off story. So. Let”s try a build a world where people can be truthful, encouraged and cared for; a world where there are NO INVISIBLE ILLNESSES.

Home Education; making them learn?

A few things have come up recently that leave me wondering about the narrow road we have to walk as home educators when it comes to the discipline in our home and the learning that goes on.

Both Charlotte Mason and Dr. Montessori had a gentle, but firm and consistent approach to discipline, that respected the child but recognised that human nature is fallen.  If education is going to lead a child out – it must offer  system for them to be able to “be out” and among other people. Respecting a child does not mean expecting them to have the same emotional and social maturity of an adult (of a properly formed adult). Part of the process of growing up and being educated is learning the virtues. Then in adulthood the skills in self discipline and self motivation should have been learned so that it won’t take someone else to push them all the time.

But there are fall off cliffs on either side of parenting. On the one side discipline can become bullying and aggressive and on the other side loving the child can become permissiveness and allowing them to do what they like and have what they want, which of course isn’t love.

I’ve spoken with more than one parent who believes that making a child do anything is bad for them. They should decide what they learn and when they learn it, they insist.

I just don’t see how that would work. It certainly wouldn’t work here. As things are now the children each have a learning box with most of their work books and stuff in there. Each learning day I set out the work first thing in the morning. Then the children come to do their work. They can do it in any order they like and take the time they need, but it must be all done. There is plenty of free time in and around the work, but no “privileges” until the day’s work is complete.

There are a number of aspects of the children’s learning that I am “in charge” of. Although we decide together, the children and I, what kind of learning we need to use, I choose and buy the stuff.

The children are part of a family. They can’t just do what they want when they want or have what they want when they want. Life isn’t like that. So, they learn to work and live within the confines of life. That’s not a bad thing really. Sometimes they have to do work they are not that interested in. Sometimes they find the work a bit of a struggle. But they do the work; they learn to ask for help when they need it and to be willing to stretch themselves a little to get to grips with something. (And stretch me a great deal at times!)

We learn together and there are times when they are well ahead of me in some areas.

I’ve decided, in light of how things are, and could be, that I need to plan ahead a bit with their work. This means I set out a minimum requirement for each learning day and try to plan it ahead. This should cover all, or most, eventualities. It does need to be flexible to cover stuff I haven’t thought of. But it also needs to be clear so that they can get on with whatever they need to do, regardless of what’s happening with me.

The knock-on effect is less spontaneity. But I think there’s still some space for that.  It’s a case of making things work for the children, no matter what life throws at us.

Christ the King and off to Advent.

It was the feast of Christ the King yesterday. The salvation history story comes to it’s end with the return of the King. Christ comes as the Just Judge and there is  the triumph of His Kingship.

This feast is one of those “already and not yet” things about Christ. He is already King, but He hasn’t fully revealed Himself as such and won’t until He comes in glory.

Then He will perform the General Judgement and after the Judgement there will be Heaven and Hell. All those souls in purgatory enter heaven and all is done.

We have pointers in Scripture and Tradition that God is merciful, but He is also Judge. Christ is our brother but He is also our King. He is glorious and powerful and according to Scripture He will come and kick some butts. We are supposed to make sure it isn’t ours.

In Divine Office and Mass readings we have come to the end of the story with John’s Revelation (Apocalypse).  Christ has fulfilled His Mission and is the King of Kings.

If we are going to meet Christ the King and be part of the Church Triumphant in heaven we have to “seek first the Kingdom”. If we aren’t seeking the kingdom, we will find it might difficult to find the king.

The Scripture stories have come from the darkest days of persecution through the Prophecies of Daniel and the stand of the Maccabees, through the war in heaven and Satan wanting to destroy the Child of the Woman. Then at last to the great Triumph. It is promised. God always keeps His promises.

What is a priest for?

The first priest was Adam. His role as priest was to care for his bride, tend his garden and when the time came to make the sacrifice.

When the test came, Adam was supposed to speak out for his bride and protect her. The dragon/serpent Satan would very likely have tried to kill him. But Adam had a great weapon, right there; the Tree of Life. Only Adam sinned instead and the rest salvation history.

While Adam lost grace and the garden, he didn’t lose his bride or his priesthood. But now that he couldn’t sacrifice himself, he had to sacrifice something very important. Cain and Abel understood this and were to bring their priestly sacrifices to the altar.  Adam, as their father-priest would have taught them.

Rabbinic tradition has it that the sacrifices Cain and Able brought to God (in Genesis) were to meet God’s approval for claiming a bride. Cain blew it big time.

God did not remove the priesthood from the father’s and first born sons. Instead Seth became a new father and a new firstborn son (priestly-wise speaking).

The epitome of the priesthood is Melchizedek – a name meaning King of Righteousness. He brings bread and wine as the priestly sacrifice when he meets with Abraham (who is also a priest remember).

The priesthood remained with father’s and first born son’s until the Golden Calf incident in the desert. After everything God had done for Israel, enough was enough. This time He did remove the priesthood.

He gave it to the Levites. The men of Levi received the priesthood as they had not worshipped the golden calf.  That priesthood was to be temporary, but it was in place to care for Israel in the Promised Land.

The first non-Levite priest to be ordained afer that was King David who was of the tribe of Judah.

You may remember that King Saul could have been ordained but he made a vital error. He decided he had the right to the priesthood without God’s permission. All he had to do was await the arrival of Samuel who, under God’s guidance, was to anoint Saul, but he went ahead and made the sacrifice without Samuel or God and lost his throne as a result.  No one, not even a king, has a “right” to the priesthood. God calls and He puts in place a system to ensure men are tested and anointed. In over-riding the authority Samuel had, Saul was over-riding God.

David received his priesthood legitimately and was allowed therefore to make the sacrifices. In his priesthood David brought the Arc of the Covenant home to Jerusalem.

Then Solomon the son of David, also of the tribe of Judah was made a priest-king after his father. God reminded everyone of His Promise to send a Saviour and made it clear to David that the Saviour would be of his household.

So we find the role of priest is expanded from Father-first born son, sacrificing for the bride and children; to a king.

Meanwhile the priesthood remains in the tribe of Levi.

Fast forward to St. John the Baptist. Here we find the First Born son of the High Priest. John is a Levite. He begins his work at the River Jordan when he is 30 years old. That is the age when a man of the tribe of Levi could be made a priest.

John is the last Old Covenant prophet, but he also symbolises the end of the Levitical priesthood.

Jesus comes to the Jordan six months later when He has reached the age of 30 – the age of priesthood – and John baptises Him.

Jesus is the New Adam. He must tend the garden and as the Bridegroom, He must make the sacrifice for His bride, and will have a Tree of Life to help Him.

Jesus chooses 12 men to be apostles (sent out) and overseer’s (bishops) of His church. We do know that St. John was a Levite, but the tribes of the other men are not mentioned. (We know that only Judah and Benjamin returned after the exile in great numbers so the fact that Anna the prophetess is of  Ashur is mentioned as a sign of the redemption of all Israel, not just a couple of tribes).

The role of the apostles was to take on Jesus’ priesthood. He is the eternal High Priest but they are all priests forever of the order of Melchizedek. They are to be Bridegrooms and fathers and they are to make the eternal Sacrifice for the bride. His Bride, the Church.

The priesthood of Melchizedek is about making the Perpetual Sacrifice. It is about passing on the Sacraments, the gifts Christ has given His church. It is NOT about power or politics. It’s about being a father and a bridegroom to Christ’s Church, His Body.

Want to get a deeper grip of this? Try Prof Kreeft’s lecture. Brilliant stuff.

Happy Feast of Christ the King.

research into ME/cfs at Newcastle University

Via the POTS Uk facebook page I’ve learned that a group at Newcastle University here in the UK, have received £1.6 million to do research into the bio-medical side of ME.  Specifically they are trying to discover what causes the autonomic dysfunction in patients with ME.  Prof. Julia Newton is involved and from what I’ve gathered on forums she has a very good reputation.

I can’t work out exactly what’s happening here but from a discussion on Pheonix it looks as though this new research is a continuation of a sleep study done some time ago.

What’s interesting about this study is it seems to see ME and dysautonomia as linked. Prof. Newton is known for her work with POTsies. According to one comment on the Newcastle University page Ramsey in 1981 included orthostatic tachycardia as part of the ME diagnosis.

There’s a couple of aspects of this research that I am uncertain about – and therefore being cautious about. First of all there doesn’t seem to be a definite answer, that I can find, on the ME criteria they will use. One poster suggests separating out patients who fit the International Consensus dx and those who don’t.

Proper well targeted research into ME in the UK has been very thin on the ground. The bizarre insistence that patients have either made the disease up, brought it on ourselves or are depressed (and nothing else) has helped block funding and proper care for patients, especially in the UK, but elsewhere as well.

I am not an optimist. But I’m not a pessimist either. I do wonder, even hope, that as the “old school” people retire and die off, their egos in tact, that new research, that genuinely tries to find a suitable treatment, management and, hope of hope, a cure, could happen.