Thursday, November 18, 2010

Opinion: The Present Age Needs Psalms and Prayer

Mental prayer is the most effective means of a...
The Angelus
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"Prayer and the computer age may strike us as incompatible. However, I see their intersections, don't you? Prayer, both individual and communal, is to me like a resting place of praise and thanksgiving amid information saturation. I see us choosing to respond to and live in the world in either belief or disbelief. We can stand at the crossroads and decide. The question is to pray or not to pray."
Thoughts adapted from Psalms for All Seasons

A boy concentrated on features of a mobile phone while the grownups talked before Thanksgiving.

His uncle watched a while, then finally asked the boy: 

"What if you spent as much time getting to know the Bible as you do that phone?"

This was said gently, and we could ask a similar question about our digital distractions. When we think, we know that no Age, however advanced it may seem, can outdo or drive out prayer. Age to
Age, God remains high and lofty and yet as near as our breathing. He is the same, and prayer takes us near Him.

Source of the opening quote is the book Psalms for All Seasons by John E.Craghan, 1993, The Liturgical Press, pp. 1,2
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Monday, November 08, 2010

Writers: Veterans Day, This November 11, What Did You Write?

A bagpiper with the U.S. Naval Academy Pipes a...Image via Wikipedia

What did you write about Veterans Day if you know no one who is a veteran?
If you know no one who is now in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere?
If you know no one who is now in one of the training institutions, like West Point, US Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD, or the Air Force or Coast Guard academies, or the Marines? The answer is obvious, isn't it? Do you appreciate freedom won for nations by the sacrifices and shed blood of others?

Professional writers do research for fiction, news columns, and other purposes. Special days like Veterans Day are a time to pay attention and do the research.

Thankfully, my brother Gerald returned home near the end of the war, having flown more than the maximum number of combat missions in his (second) P-38 Lightning fighter. Yes, I am proud of his service during WWII. I was old enough to pick up the quiet feelings in our home, to remember the service star in our front door window, and to remember the photos taken of my mother when he sent flowers for her birthday. American services organizations helped veterans to send special gifts or notices to family, as well as mail, and they were able to keep in touch on special days. I remember my mother crying then smiling on such a gift occasion. Although I was in preschool, the impressions remained.

It honors veterans and their families whenever a writer honors their service, no matter what they did. Military cannot function without fighters and also without those who are part of provisions and other logistics, as well as medical teams.

It will mean a lot to families of military now if you write on some "angle" of service, including how the family support helps each person in service. Write about the families. Encourage the children. Let them know how much their loved one's service means to this country.

What did  you write?

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Thursday, November 04, 2010

What Good Are A News Columnist's Thoughts on Unknown Soldiers?

     "No writer can adequately express the beauty of the service person’s call to duty; no painter can paint it, no song can capture it’s fullness no matter how beautifully each measure is written. But at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier the beauty becomes clear, in silence and dignity, and something that feels like a hint of angels guarding the guards themselves. And that beauty is something we can be worthy of if we develop souls that aspire to honor only that which is good, and turn away from the trivial, the fleeting, and the evil. Time is shorter than we think, as a country and as a society. Let us use the service person’s example to shine a light that will show us the way out of the darkness. The guard walks the mat, with thoughts known only to himself and to God, who also knows the identities of the Unknown Soldiers – all of them."

Those words come at the end of a moving article by columnist Deirdre Reilly, about the 2010 U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan, after she visited the Tomb of the Unkowns, formerly known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, representing all unknowns. Written for the Reading Advocate and syndicated by Gatehouse News Service, her article is titled:  Sobering Thoughts on New Troop Surge to Afghanistan. Are you a columnist? Do you ever wonder "What good are a news columnist's thoughts about...matters of importance?" Read Deirdre's entire article and see what you think then. Be encouraged to take your writing where it needs to go to be of some good. Bravo.

Opening Quote Source: Reading (MA) Advocate newspaper, of Gatehouse News Service, 2009.
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