Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. Thomas Merton

Monday, September 29, 2008

Burning, Breaking, and Knowing

Today's Art of the Day from the website Art and the Bible ( is Caravaggio's version of Supper at Emmaus painted in 1606. This is Caravaggio's second version of the subject. He painted an earlier one in 1601.

One of Rembrandt's versions of this subject ( was featured on Art of the Day on 9/2/08. This one was done in 1628. Rembrandt did two other versions in 1648.

These paintings illustrate one part of one of my favorite Bible passages, Luke 24: 13-35, the story of the two disciples walking to Emmaus after Jesus' crucifixion and the things that happen to them on the way and after their arrival there.

It was the morning of the Resurrection, Easter Sunday. Two disciples walk from Jerusalem to the town of Emmaus about seven miles away. Along the way, they discuss the events that have transpired since the arrest and execution of their beloved teacher, Jesus. As they walk along, they are overtaken by another traveler who listens in on their conversation and and asks them what they are talking about (here is a Rembrandt drawing to the right). They cannot believe that someone who has been in Jerusalem for the past few days cannot know about the things that have been going on there. They cannot comprehend why these things have happened and that some of the women among their group have reported that Jesus was alive, risen from the dead. Then the stranger chides them for not being able to understand the significance of the events that have taken place. With great authority he begins to explain to them how the events are the fulfillment of earlier scripture foretelling what must happen to the Christ. They listen attentively, hanging on his every word, amazed at his knowledge, and eager for more. When they reach Emmaus, the stranger says he must go on his way, but the two disciples beg him to stay with them and have supper. When the stranger blesses and breaks the bread, their eyes are opened and they recognize him for who he truly is, Jesus the Lord, but just as they become aware of his identity, he vanishes from their sight (the Rembrandt drawing at the left). They speak of how their hearts burned within them as he spoke to them on the road and opened the scriptures to them. They decide to hurry back to Jerusalem right then to tell the other disciples of the experience. They find the others gathered together, saying that the Lord has risen and appeared to Simon. Then the two tell them about the events on the way to Emmaus and how Jesus was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

These four paintings all depict the reactions of the two disciples after they discover who their companion is. Here are the other two that Rembrandt did in 1648.

In all four of the paintings, the two disciples react with awe and amazement. In the paintings, they are shown variously throwing their hands up, gripping the table, looking awe-struck, and in one of the Rembrandts, one of them is kneeling in the shadows at the feet of Jesus.

I get excited when I read this story. I think about how the disciples said that hearing Jesus speak and explain the scriptures to them made their hearts burn within them. That is the way it should be. We should experience that burning excitement in our hearts when we hear or read scripture. Then in the breaking of the bread Jesus was made known to them. Yes! I think of the whole experience of the Mass, including the Liturgy of the Word with the scripture readings and the Liturgy of the Eucharist with the Eucharistic Prayer, the Fraction Rite (the Breaking of the Bread), and Holy Communion. The words, "Take this, all of you, and eat it; this is my body which will be given up for you." During the Mass, the bread is blessed and broken just as Jesus did at the Last Supper and at the Supper at Emmaus. A hymn that we sometimes sing says,"We remember, we celebrate, we believe." We do this each time we attend Mass: remember, celebrate, believe. Our hearts burning within us, He is made known to us in the breaking of the bread.

For more information:

I could not find publication information for the hymn, "We Remember" at this time.
All art is from Art and the Bible

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How Cool is This?

My inspiration for today's post (and it's about time!) is from the NASA Photo of the Day. Here are the space shuttles Atlantis on launch pad 39A (foreground) and Endeavour back there on 39B waiting for the October launch. This is the first time since July 2001 that two shuttles have been on launch pads at the same time. Endeavour is ready and waiting in case of the necessity of a rescue as the Atlantis STS-125 crew services the Hubble Space Telescope. Endeavour is also scheduled for a launch on Nov. 12, STS-126, to make a delivery to the International Space Station. Now, look closely at the photo and you can see a bit of a rainbow back there near Endeavour. I think that's really neat.

You might have figured out from my recent posts that I am a space program enthusiast. I know and understand--and even agree with a few--of the arguments as to why we should not spend so much money on space exploration, but I am also glad that we do. If you stop to consider all the things that space exploration has added to our lives--well, I probably wouldn't be sitting here at a home computer if not for the space program and there are lots of medical advances that we would either not have or would just now be trying to develop, not to mention little everyday conveniences that are too numerous and taken for granted to even begin to enumerate. We have really come a long way in technological development and its applications since the 1950's and much of it is a result of the space program.

Because of my husband's career, our family has had a few opportunities to go down to Cape Canaveral and watch some launches in person. It is really an experience and I would recommend that anyone try it at least once. The only problem is that you never know when there will be a postponement for whatever reason. Fortunately, we haven't had that happen when we've been down there. Of course, the space shuttle launches are not the only ones you can view. One time when the kids and I were there visiting while Dad was working, we got to see the launch of a Delta rocket. It was pretty impressive, even from the balcony of the condo. There are off site areas for launch viewing that are open to the public and you can check out the details on the NASA website ( ). Although security concerns have made it necessary for NASA to not allow on site viewing from personal vehicles at this time, tickets are available for viewing through tours at Kennedy Space Center (

As impressive as the launches are, one of my favorite experiences was when I got to see a shuttle approach for landing. I didn't actually get to see it land, but my husband watched from the roof of one of the buildings at Kennedy where he was working for a few weeks. The day of the landing, lots of us folks just went out onto the beach at the condo complex to watch. We were talking and chatting until the shuttle became visible. There were some shouts of, "There it is! There it is!" as it came in from the west, gliding in silently with no engine power, but then we all became very quiet and there was very little talking as we all watched it get closer and lower in the sky. Suddenly, there were two loud pops, the sonic booms created as it passed overhead breaking the sound barrier. Then you could hear a sort of sizzling sound as it streaked past almost directly overhead, still fairly high, but low enough that the landing gear was visible, on its approach for the runway at Kennedy. We all just sort of stood silently in awe of what we'd seen. It was really neat and something I will not ever forget.

I have been excited about our space program ever since I was five years old--a long time ago, folks--not that long after the beginning of the U.S. space program. If you check out my earlier post of 5/13/08 about my sister being an only child, you'll know that she was married by the time I was about nine months old. I spent my summers with her and her husband from the time I was five until I was eighteen. I had some really wonderful summer vacations because of the various places that they lived as a result of my brother-in-law's work with NASA. Because of his work, I used to watch every launch that was on TV. I would be so excited! I always wished that one day I could be an astronaut and get to go into space with the likes of John Glenn and Alan Shepard. Back then, it seemed like something that a girl could only dream about doing. I can remember just after graduating from high school back in 1969, watching our first lunar landing on TV at my sister's house that night of July 20. Shortly after Neil Armstrong took that first step onto the moon, I just had to go outside and look up at the moon shining there in the sky that night, thinking about those brave men who were up there so far away. I can't tell you how many times I have wished that I had pursued that dream, but I have to add that I am not sorry that my life turned out the way it has, even though sometimes I wonder about getting to the next day when things are really hectic and crazy.

All photos are from NASA files.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

NASA image of the day 9/11/2001

Today's NASA image is a photo taken by the crew of Expedition 3 of the International Space Station as they flew over New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. For a larger view, or if the picture does not load, click on the caption and it will take you to the larger image with the comments of Commander Frank L. Culbertson ( As I recall how I felt as I watched the events unfold in the comfort of my home, I cannot imagine how the crew must have felt as they watched from the tiny space station so far above. I hope we all take time today to pause and remember the tragic events of that day and its aftermath and to pray for those lost, those who survive, and for peace on Earth.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Off to the Cape

I dropped my husband off at the airport this morning for his week at Cape Canaveral. It doesn't look like Ike is going to be much of a threat to the Cape. The biggest problem for that area will be if they have to evacuate the Miami area and everyone heads north. In the meantime, here's another Ike graphic from NOAA ( I'm sure that you are all getting plenty of information on Ike from the weather reports.

Here is a recent photo from NOAA of Ike raging over Cuba. It's really hitting hard down there. Let's hope that it doesn't gain strength when it hits the warm waters of the Gulf.

A friend of ours was stranded in Haiti during
Hurricane Gustav's rampage. He'd gone down on August 19th with a group from our church to do some work at our mission there and to attend the ceremony in which one of the brothers took his final vows at the monastery. Everyone made preparations to ride out the storm. They had 40 inches of rain over a 24 hour period. Winds reached 70 miles per hour. Flights were cancelled. After considerable delay, our friend arrived at the airport on Thursday, Aug. 28th along with 750 other people trying to get home. We were glad to have him back safe and sound.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Well, it looks like Hanna isn't going to be much of a problem at Cape Canaveral. Ike, on the other hand, could result in the meetings being postponed. As of last night's weather report, Ike was really turning into a meanie. By the way, I was checking out my two brightly colored wind speed charts on the previous post and it occurred to me that it looked like I'd posted the same one twice. They are small enough that I couldn't read the print. When I checked the originals, they do look just about the same. Your best bet is to go to NOAA and check ( There could be some changes now since the storms have moved.

And it looks like going down for the launch on Oct. 8, probably won't work due to the possibility of launch cancellations for whatever reasons. Phooey. I was just hoping for a little beach time. Oh, well.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Trip to the Beach?

Just this morning my husband told me that he'll be out of town all next week for meetings. When I asked where, he said Kennedy Space Center and that he'd been trying to work things out so that I could go along. Well, we both agreed that with a 17-year old son in high school, that probably isn't the best thing. It's rather short notice to try to work out arrangements with anyone to "babysit" him for the week, anyway. On top of that, what is the weather going to do over there on the Atlantic coast over the next few days?

I'd really like to try to work something out. I haven't been to Cape Canaveral in several years. It is one of my favorite places to go. I love to just sit on the beach and watch the surf. Even though I'm partial to the warmer waters of the Gulf, Cape Canaveral just appeals to me in some way. I especially like the Merritt Island National Seashore and the nature center there. Not only that, we need a little time away. Guess I'll check out NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Here's the latest NOAA satellite photo of the Atlantic. Doesn't look too promising, does it? With Hanna on the way, then Ike and Josephine (not shown) following right behind, it's possible that things will be postponed, anyway. Take a look at the wind speed probabilities through Tuesday, Sept. 9, that are shown on the NOAA site.

The graph on the left shows the 5-day projected path of Hanna. The one on the right shows Hanna's wind speed probabilities and the one below these two shows Ike's projected wind speeds. Hmm. Doesn't look too good for sitting on the beach, does it?

There isn't a launch scheduled until October 8. It was postponed from August. The photo of the shuttle Atlantis being taken out to launch pad 39A was taken by Reuters photographer, Scott Audette, this morning as it began its 6-hour trek out to the launch pad. Here is the Atlantis launch information from NASA ( They expect Hanna to be far enough out from the coast that it won't pose a threat.

Hmm. The launch is scheduled during our city schools' fall break, Oct. 6-10. The kids and I haven't been down to a launch in several years. Maybe I can persuade a certain someone to take us down for it. Of course, there's always the possibility of a postponement with or without a hurricane, but if you take the chance and it's a go, it's really worth it.

My thanks to NOAA, NASA and Reuters for the images and information.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Green Knitting

Inspired by Mary, one of my knitting and spinning friends, I decided to knit a few bags to try to minimize the number of plastic bags I use when shopping. Mary was knitting the Everlasting Bagstopper she found on Knitty, designed by Amy R. Singer (, as a Christmas gift for a friend and I thought I'd do one. Our bags vary from the original pattern a little. Rather than the hemp that the pattern calls for, we are using cotton because it is easy to find. I'm doing this one in two of Sugar and Cream's colors: Soft Teal # 01009 for the base and Butter Cream Ombre #00222 for the rest of the bag. I think I will switch back to the teal for the top of the bag. I am also using only one set of needles, size 9 Addi Turbos. It seems that Mary was using 7's. Whatever she used, I really liked the way the bag was working up and wanted to make one.
I am thinking of omitting the drawstring that Amy puts in so that the bag can be stuffed into itself for stowing in a purse. I might also do a different treatment of the top--maybe a drawstring made from I-cord, maybe not. I'll just have to see how I feel when I get to that point.

This is an easy pattern and fun to knit. My knitting tends to go slowly because I am bad about putting projects down and not picking them back up for several days. This is a good project for those times when you need something to do while waiting in places like doctors' offices (which I did recently and got quite a lot done on it). I usually keep one or two simple projects going just for waiting room knitting. It really helps to pass the time. If you are a knitter and haven't checked out Knitty, I strongly recommend you give it a look.