31 July 2007

Babylon 5: The Lost Tales

Today I'll be heading to the store immediately after work to obtain the newest chapter in the Babylon 5 saga, "The Lost Tales."

It's been a while since fans of the series saw some new B5 (specifically the horrid "Legend of the Rangers" movie that my beloved New England Patriots outrated back in 2001 with their win over Oakland in the AFC Playoffs).

Bruce Boxleitner returns as John Sheridan, Peter Woodward reprises his role as Galen, and even Captain Lochley (Tracy Scoggins) returns for this adventure.

I'll post some thoughts after I have a chance to watch the movie.

New Star Trek Movie...

As many of you may know, this past weekend we learned the identity of the new Spock for the upcoming Star Trek feature film. I'm not flamiliar with Zachary Quinto, so I'll just have to reserve any commentary on his acting ability until I see Star Trek next year. However, I am very encouraged to see that Leonard Nimoy is returning to the role of the elder-Spock (I recall back in the 1990's he quite prominently announced that he was retiring from acting).

We shall indeed see what occurs between now and then...

30 July 2007

Saint Silas

Memorial - July 30

Prayer - Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Silas, whom you called to preach the Gospel to the peoples of Turkey, Greece, and Macedonia. Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom, that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Readings - Acts 16: 16-40 and Luke 10: 1-9

Biography - Saint Silas was a respected figure in the original Church at Jerusalem, one of the "chief men among the brethren" (Acts 15:22). The Council of the Apostles was convened at Jerusalem in the year 51 to deal with the question of whether Gentile Christian converts should be required to observe the Mosaic Law. The Apostles sent a message with Paul and Barnabas to the Christians of Antioch, giving the decision of the Council that Christians of Gentile origin did not have to observe the prescriptions of the Mosaic Law. Together with Paul and Barnabas, the Council of the Apostles sent Silas and Jude to explain the message in greater detail, since they both were filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Jude was later sent back to Jerusalem, but Silas remained at Antioch and zealously assisted Paul on his missionary journeys preaching the Gospel. Together, they visited Syria, Cilicia, and Macedonia.

In the city of Philippi they were accused of inciting unrest among the people, and for this they were arrested, beaten with rods, and then thrown into prison. At midnight, when the saints were at prayer, suddenly there was a strong earthquake, their chains fell off from them and the doors of the prison opened. The prison guard, supposing that the prisoners had fled, wanted to kill himself, but was stopped by the Apostle Paul. Then, he fell down trembling at the feet of the saints, and with faith accepted their preaching about Christ. He then led them out of the prison and took them to his own home, where he washed their wounds, and was baptized together with all his household.

From Philippi, Paul and Silas proceeded on to the cities of Amphipolis, Apollonia and Thessalonica. In each city they made new converts to Christ and built up the Church.

At Corinth, Silas was consecrated bishop, and worked many miracles and signs. He finished his life there. The details of his death are not known.

27 July 2007

Bad News Day for NASA

Well, it's been a couple of days for NASA in the news.

First comes word that a piece of space station equipment, slated to launch in August aboard the space shuttle Endeavour, has been sabotoaged.

Unfortunately, the second piece of news is far more disasterous to NASA's PR image. In the light of the Lisa Nowak scandal, NASA launched a review of astronaut behavior. It seems that the press is now going to have a field day with this one... as at least two astronauts entered the shuttle for launch after drinking within the twelve hours before launch.

How long until MSNBC, CNN, and other news agencies begin running the old Jose Jimeniz routines from the 1960's...

Saint Panteleimon

Commemoration - July 27

Prayer - Almighty God, you gave great grace to your servant and martyr, Panteleimon. He ministered your gifts of healing to those in need and was a stedfast witness to the true faith that saves. May we, like him, endure the hardships that faith brings, remaining always faithful to the calling you have placed on our lives, even unto death. We make our prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Readings - No Appointed Readings

Biography - This Saint, who had Nicomedia as his homeland, was the son of Eustorgius and Eubula. His father was a pagan, but his mother was a Christian from her ancestors. It was through her that he was instructed in piety, and still later, he was catechized in the Faith of Christ by Saint Hermolaus and baptized by him.

Being proficient in the physician's vocation, he practiced it in a philanthropic manner, healing every illness more by the grace of Christ than by medicines. Thus, although his parents had named him Pantaleon ("in all things a lion"), because of the compassion he showed for the souls and bodies of all, he was worthily renamed Panteleimon, meaning "all-merciful."

On one occasion, when he restored the sight of a certain blind man by calling on the Divine Name, he enlightened also the eyes of this man's soul to the knowledge of the truth. This also became the cause for the martyrdom of him who had been blind, since when he was asked by whom and in what manner his eyes had been opened, in imitation of that blind man of the Gospel he confessed with boldness both who the physician was and the manner of his healing. For this he was put to death immediately.

Panteleimon was arrested also, and having endured many wounds, he was finally beheaded in the year 305, during the reign of Maximian. Saint Panteleimon is one of the Holy Unmercenaries, physicians who ministered their gifts of healing to all they encountered, regardless of their ability to pay.

24 July 2007

Saint Christina of Tyre

Commemoration - July 24

Prayer - Mighty and loving God, you kindled the flame of your love in the heart of your holy martyr Christina of Tyre. Grant that we, your servants, may be filled with a faith as strong and powerful as the faith that sustained her in the midst of her trail. May we rejoice in her triumph, learn from her example, and always cling to your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Readings - No appointed readings.

Biography - Saint Christina was from Tyre in Syria, the daughter of a pagan named Urban. Enlightened in her heart to believe in Christ, she broke her father's idols, made of gold and silver, and distributed the pieces to the poor. When her father learned this, he punished her ruthlessly, then cast her into prison. The rulers subjected her to imprisonments, hunger, torments, the cutting off of her breasts and tongue, and finally impalement, in the year 200, during the reign of the Emperor Septimius Severus.

23 July 2007

Disc Golf Video

Pursuant to my previous post, here is a video that introduces you to disc golf.

Disc Golf...

How do you go to the links and play eighteen without a ball or clubs? Simple... you head out and play disc golf.

Disc Golf, sometimes called Folf (short for Frisbee(R) Golf) is played with a set of flying discs (not Frisbee(R)s) in much the same manner as regular golf. You take your first shot from a tee (usually concrete, rubber, or dirt) towards a pole-hole a bit of a distance away.

The distances are shorter than in ball golf (with holes being measured in feet instead of yards) but it can still prove to be an experience that gets you all the excercise you need in a day.

Here in the Indianapolis area, I have played on two courses, Brookside Park and the course at the Avon Town Hall. Kristen and I plan to hit the course at George Washington Park on Friday night.

This afternoon, I played eighteen at Brookside Park. There were a pretty good number of golfers out playing, and almost all of them were quite friendly. The low cost of equipment (one could, in theory, play with a single disc... though different discs are designed to do different things) makes Disc Golf one of the most egalitarian sports out there.

I actually birdied a few holes, made par on several, but on the whole its too early for me to be keeping score. Right now the fun and excercise is enough for me. Let me share a bit about my experience today.

I got a really good shot off the first tee, but cut my second shot too close to the woods. After catching a tree-branch, my driver went deep into the woods. I took solace in knowing that I wasn't alone. While looking for my driver, I found two other drivers (and I called their owners... one had just been lost the day before!) in the underbrush. I hope the owners of those drivers don't care, but I played out my round with their drivers in my bag.

Anyway, my best hole of the day was my first birdie, #5, thanks to the best approach shot I have ever thrown in my life (It was my third round and I took up the game last Friday... that kinda puts it in perspective).

I was starting to get a bit discouraged around #9 and considered packing it in and heading home... but my walk to the tenth tee calmed me down. I really picked up my long and midrange game from #10 through #14, with fatigue and a touch of dehydration hitting around the fifteenth hole. My longest drive of the day was on the tenth hole...

By the time I got to the bowl (a large depression on the west side of the park) I was just plain getting tired and sloppy... all I wanted was to refill my water bottle and lay down... but I trooped through.

IndyParks has done a pretty crappy job of providing for maps at this particular park... and I would offer the very serious complain that there are no places to sit down between holes (with the exception of around 5 and 7, where basketball court benches are avalaible).

Well, that's my little trek for today...

Saint John Cassian

Presbyter, Monk, Theologian
Commemoration, July 23

Prayer - Father, you filled your servant John Cassian with your grace, and the wisdom to understand and teach the truth as it is manifest in Christ Jesus. Grant that we may be inspired by his teaching to know you, your Son, and your Holy Spirit, the one true God, living and reigning in Triune glory; now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Readings - Proverbs 3: 1-8 and Matthew 13: 47-52

Biography - Saint John Cassian monastic saint known for his writings on the monastic life and for correctives of the anti-Pelagian writings of Saint Augustine of Hippo. His feast day is also celebrated in France on July 23.

Born in the Danube Delta in what is now Dobrogea, Romania, in about 360, Saint John entered a monastery in Bethlehem in the year 382. After several years there he was granted permission to visit the Desert Fathers in Egypt. They remained in Egypt until 399 (except for a brief period when he returned to Bethlehem and was released from the monastery there).

Upon leaving Egypt he went to Constantinople, where he met St. John Chrysostom, who ordained St. John Cassian as a deacon. He had to leave Constantinople in 403 when Chrysostom was exiled, eventually settling close to Marseilles, where he was ordained priest and founded two monasteries, one for women and one for men.

St. John’s most famous works are the Institutes, which detail how to live the monastic life, and the Conferences, which provide details of conversations with the Desert Fathers. He also warned against some of the excesses in St. Augustine of Hippo's theology whilst refraining from criticising him by name. For this reason he has sometimes been accused of Semi-Pelagianism by the Roman Catholic Church and some Protestant commentators.

St. John died peacefully in 435.

19 July 2007

Saint Gregory of Nyssa

Commemoration - July 19

Prayer- Almighty God, you have revealed to your Church your eternal Being of glorious majesty and perfect love as one God in a Trinity of persons. Give us grace that, like Saint Gregory of Nyssa, we may continue stedfast in the confession of the true faith, and constant in our worship of you. To you, o God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be glory and honor, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Readings- Wisdom 7: 24-28 and John 5: 19-24

Biography- Gregory of Nyssa was born in Caesarea, the capital of Cappadocia (central Turkey) in about 334, the younger brother of St. Basil the Great and of St. Macrina, and of several other distinguished persons. As a youth, he was at best a lukewarm Christian. However, when he was twenty, some of the relics of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste were transferred to a chapel near his home, and their presence made a deep impression on him, confronting him with the fact that to acknowledge God at all is to acknowledge His right to demand a total commitment. Gregory became an active and fervent Christian. He considered the priesthood, decided it was not for him, became a professional orator like his father, married, and settled down to the life of a Christian layman. However, his brother Basil and his friend Gregory of Nazianzus persuaded him to reconsider, and he became a priest in about 362. (This did not affect his marriage.)

His brother Basil, who had become archbishop of Caesarea in 370, was engaged in a struggle with the Arian Emperor Valens, who was trying to stamp out belief in the deity of Christ. Basil desperately needed the votes and support of Athanasian bishops, and he maneuvered his friend Gregory into the bishopric of Sasima, and (in about 371) his brother Gregory into the bishopric of Nyssa, a small town about ten miles from Caesarea. Neither one wanted to be a bishop, neither was suited to be a bishop, and both were furious with Basil.) Gregory did not get along well with his flock, was falsely accused of embezzling church funds, fled the scene in about 376, and did not return until after the death of Valens about two years later.

In 379, Basil died, having lived to see the death of Valens and the end of the persecution. Shortly thereafter, Macrina died. Gregory was with her in the last few days of her life. Afterwards, he took to writing sermons and treatises on theology and philosophy. His philosophy was a form of Christian Platonism. In his approach to the Scriptures, he was heavily influenced by Origen, and his writings on the Trinity and the Incarnation build on and develop insights found in germ in the writings of his brother Basil. But he is chiefly remembered as a writer on the spiritual life, on the contemplation of God, not only in private prayer and meditation, but in corporate worship and in the sacramental life of the Church.

His treatise On the Making of Man deals with God as Creator, and with the world as a good thing, as something that God takes delight in, and that ought to delight us. His Great Catechism is esteemed as a work of systematic theology. His Commentary on the Song of Songs is a work of contemplative, devotional, mystical theology. (The preceeding biography was written by James Keifer, and has been abbreviated. The full text may be found at The Lectionary Homepage.

18 July 2007

Saint Macrina the Younger

Monastic, Deaconess, and Teacher
Commemoration - July 18

Prayer - Merciful God, you called your servant Macrina to reveal in her life and her teaching the riches of your grace and truth. Mercifully grant that we, following her example, may seek after your wisdom and live according to your way. We make our prayer through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Readings - Ecclesiasticus 51:13-22 and Matthew 11:27-30

Biography - Saint Macrina the Younger (324 - 379) was born at Caesarea, Cappadocia. Her parents were Basil the Elder and Emmelia, and her grandmother was Saint Macrina the Elder. Among her nine siblings were two of the three Cappadocian Fathers, Basil the Great and Saint Gregory of Nyssa, as well as Peter of Sebaste. Her father arranged for her to marry but her fiance died before the wedding. She devoted herself to her religion, becoming a nun.

She became well known as a holy woman and instructed many young women religiously. For this she is honored as one of the most prominent nuns of the Eastern Church. She had a profound influence upon her brothers with her adherence to an ascetic ideal. Gregory of Nyssa wrote a work entitled Life of Macrina in which he describes her sancity throughout her life. In 379, Macrina died at her family's estate in Pontus, which with the help of her younger brother Peter she had turned into a monastery and convent.

11 July 2007

Major Site Update In Progress

As you may have noticed, I am in the midst of a major site overhaul today. Hope to have it completed with in the next 24 hours.

Space Shuttle Endeavour Arrives at Launch Pad

NASASpaceFlight.com is reporting that the shuttle Endeavour arrived at Launch Complex 39a just after 2 AM this morning in preparation for an August 7th launch to the International Space Station. The mission will loft another portion of the station's backbone (truss) in preparation for future assembly missions.

Saint Benedict of Nursia

Commemoration - July 11

Prayer - Almighty God, your precepts are the wisdom of a loving Father. Give us grace to follow the teachings of your servant, Saint Benedict of Nursia, by walking willingly and lovingly in the school of your service. Let your ears be open to our prayer, and pour out your blessing upon the work of our hands. We make our prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Spirit, one God, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Readings - No Appointed Readings

Biography - Instead of trying to improve on something someone else has done better, I have chosen to point you to the page concerning St. Benedict provided by Conception Abbey in Missouri. http://www.printeryhouse.org/icons/C01.asp

10 July 2007

Space Updates: Endeavour's rollout and Dawn's Launch Delayed

The Dawn spacecraft, a NASA mission bound for Vesta and Ceres (two large planetoids in the Asteroid Belt) has been delayed, with a liftoff scheduled no earlier than the end of this week.

In the meantime, bad weather has forced a delay for the rollout of Space Shuttle Endeavour to Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in preparation for her August launch to the International Space Station. Rollout is now scheduled for around 10 PM EDT on Tuesday, July 10.

More information on both stories can be found at NASASpaceFlight.com or Space.com.

Photo: Space Shuttle Endeavor waits for rollout of the massive Vehicle Assembly Building at Florida's Kennedy Space Center. Rollout has been delayed until Tuesday night at 10 PM. Photo Credit: NASASpaceFlight.com

09 July 2007

Back from Vacation

As many of you may know, my vacation was tied into my wedding to my new bride, Kristen. We (literally) tied the knot on Saturday, June 30th in Indianapolis, and spent the following week on our honeymoon in Tennessee.

It was good to be away, but it is also good to be back. Thanks to all those who have sent their greetings along on this happy occassion, and thank you for your prayers!

All original material (C) 2007-2010 by Father Robert Lyons.

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