Pastor’s Memo…   As retirement looms ever closer on the horizon, I've been clearing the stacks of papers, books, and magazines from my desk.  More than I wish to admit goes straight into the trash.  Why some of it ever made it to the desk is beyond me.  But every excavation holds out the possibility of finding a treasure or two.  If you have ever been in my office and have seen my desk, you would say "buried treasure."  Well, as the waste basket fills, so too is my memory jogged.  I discover bits of paper on which I have jotted down thoughts and dates and names.  I find lists of things I wanted to remember and, in time, the list was lost to the stacks of other stuff.  Below is a sampling of what I've found.  "Restraint is a lost virtue in this century."  "Loneliness is a poverty.  Solitude is a treasure,"  "Alms giving is the opposite of idolatry."   Voltaire reminds us "those who can make you believe absurdities, can also make you commit atrocities."   I have no attribution to this next thought: "The Church will do effectively both its prophetic and pastoral work only if it is concerned first with gratitude and joy."  "Greed is the enemy of mercy."   We have heard it said over and over and over that one cannot "shout fire in a crowded theater."  To claim a free speech protection for that utterance is not what the Constitution permits.  Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote this: "Falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic" is not protected free speech.  Justice Holmes made a clear distinction highlighting speech that is dangerous AND false is not protected, as opposed to speech that is dangerous but also true.  When quoting the good Justice Holmes, we should be more precise.  After all, if a fire did break out in a theatre, we would surely want some one to raise the alarm, whether by voice or siren.  "Creation, redemption, and reconciliation is a trinity that reflects the grace manifest in God's perfect desire for the lives of all earthly creatures."   Lastly, I found Dante's Circles of Hell, not literally, of course. There are ten of them and Lucifer occupies the lowest level all by himself.  Above him in level Nine are Cain, Judas, Ptolemy, and Antenor (Google the last two if you are confused.)  Google Dante's Circle's of Hell if you want the entire list.  Well, back to the excavating and all those levels of stuff.

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