Monday, January 29, 2007

In the early morning of my life

In the early morning of my life, every day was a bright, new adventure. The golden sun shone upon new experiences and new inventions.

By mid-morning I'd noticed the fog. But the sun continued to shine on new thoughts and new strengths.

Noon I did not notice. The fog was thick; all was a blur. Day blurred into day, week into week. Years shuffled past, unheeded.

Now, in the mid-afternoon of my life, the landscape is stark, lighted by a wintry sun. A distant hammering is the sign of single-minded industry. Days run by, but calmly. Pleasant, mindless routine.

What shall the night bring? What storms, what floods? A night of fire or a night of peace?

For three or four weeks I have neglected my evening reflective walk

For three or four weeks I have neglected my evening reflective walk, so I will take one now, PDA in hand, at 11 PM on a Sunday night. May God protect me from danger.

A dozen stars are visible - year-old light from stars in our galaxy. My mind cannot comprehend this, so I think no more of it and begin my walk.

A faint charcoal aroma is in the air. The night is chilly, so I draw my hood.

Do I know myself? My thoughts have been exclusively on my work and my books. What of my human journey - where am I and where am I going? I am in Victoria, British Columbia, the city of my youth. Where is life taking me? I alternate my numb hands in my pockets.

Who is Love, and where does Love reside? What is youth, and whither has it gone? It has not snowed, yet the pebbly sidewalk has a slippery coating; it sparkles as I walk past.

In California, the air is not so cold as here.

Pretending to be big when I am little, pretending to live as I have lived not, pretending to speak as I have not spoken. Pretending to be great when I am small; to be grand, when I am simple; to be holy, when I am profane. In my littleness and smallness I cry out: God, deliver me from my pretense.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Why I am a Catholic

Why am I a Catholic? Several reasons:
- An ancient worldview
- Plausible, reasonable
- The religion of my ancestors
- Comprehensive; answers the question of the meaning of life (love of God and of neighbour)
- Completes the mental, emotional, and physical dimensions of life with the spiritual
- Tradition, ritual. A counterpoint to technology and the efficiency of the machine.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

"May God...forgive you both in this life and the next...

From the Byzantine Liturgy:

"May God...forgive you both in this life and the next and enable you to appear before his awe-inspiring tribunal without condemnation..."

[Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1481]

Friday, January 19, 2007

This evening I attended a seminar on evangelization

This evening I attended a seminar on evangelization at St. Andrew's Cathedral. I will not be doing the homework, nor the exercises in the workbook. Mainly I was there to fish for ideas: ideas for how to talk about my beliefs with others.

Mine will be a different path - not conversing with half-strangers in person over coffee, but writing - letters or writings on the web. The rule of thumb is: if it's awkward, then something is wrong. Holding up the pearls of theology to the light should be like discussing fine wine with someone, and equally as enjoyable: indulging in tradition, and respectful of taste.

And - I'd forgotten - prayer, to lay the groundwork, to soften the heart.

Monday, January 15, 2007

I wish to live a life dignified and honourable

I wish to live a life dignified and honourable, high-minded, mature, a life of fortitude in the face of personal or physical pain. To grow wiser with age, and respectful of the wisdom of the young. Conscious of the finitude of life, seeking the wisdom of God, valuing Love above all things. May I hold fast to these ideals in the years of famine.

The Rich Young Ruler and the Eye of the Needle

Answer to a question I have been struggling with for twelve years: Given what Jesus said in Luke 18:22, does this not mean that the rich are barred from entering heaven?

"To sum up: it is possible to be rich, and married, and held in honour by all men, and yet keep the Commandments and to enter heaven. Christ's advice is, if we would make sure of everlasting life and desire to conform ourselves perfectly to the Divine will, that we should sell our possessions and give the proceeds to others who are in need, that we should live a life of chastity for the Gospel's sake, and, finally, should not seek honours or commands, but place ourselves under obedience."
- Evangelical Counsels, Catholic Encyclopedia

So one way is fine, but the other is better.

Reading the Catechism lead me to this answer. As I continue reading, I look forward to more insights like this one.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Woke up at noon after staying up late writing an impassioned blog post on refactoring. I'd like to use Saturdays for reading the books of my profession, and Sundays for reading the books of my religion.

The sidewalks of Victoria are made treacherous by invisible ice.

Tomorrow I am meeting with Mathieu Balez - a fellow technologist visiting from Montreal. He wrote a piece on YubNub for the online magazine Maisonneuve, back in the early days.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Two software lessons learned

1. When you make a change, tell somebody about it. Don't just make the change willy-nilly without telling anyone ("While I'm here, I might as well fix this..."). IM your manager, send a note to the mailing list, or file a bug so QA is aware. Someone may raise an objection you hadn't considered.

2. Never throw an exception without a message (throw new Exception()) - put some message inside. Even if the stack trace is logged. Otherwise it can be harder for someone else to debug.