Sunday, June 26, 2016

Lectio Divina for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C

The Gospel reading for today is from Luke 9: 51-62.  But this Lectio Divina is Luke: 9: 51-56.


When the days for Jesus' being taken up were fulfilled, He resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem and He sent messengers ahead of Him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for His reception there, but they would not welcome Him because the destination of His journey was Jerusalem.  When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, "Lord, do You want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?"  Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journey to another village.


Hostilities and disagreements about proper worship dot the centuries-long history of relationships between the Judeans and Samaritans.  In the first century, B.C.  Pompey rebuilt Samaria and Herod built a city there that included a temple to Caesar Augustus.  This did not endear the Samaritans to the Jews.  Later events make matters worse, i.e., Samaritan vandalism of the Jerusalem temple in A.D. 6 and 9, murder of a Judean pilgrim en route to Jerusalem in 51 A.D. and the subsequent retaliation of a massacre of Samaritans.


Does not this vile animosity remind you of the world, today?  Liberals against conservatives, Muslims terrorists against Western values,  citizens against immigrants, Constitutionalists against reformers, pro-lifers against abortionists, etc..  When Jesus turns and rebukes His disciples for wanting to call down fire from heaven upon the inhospitable Samaritans (Luke 9:56)  He is rejecting the old "eye for eye, tooth for tooth" laws proscribed in Leviticus.  Jesus, later on will have the good Samaritan save the day for the wounded man, whom the priest and Levite ignore (Luke 10:25-37).  Jesus is witnessing to respect neighbors and reconcile our differences.  There is more than one way to live and worship God and we are to respect all of them.


Lord, may we have the graces of wisdom and understanding, for those who are different from us.  May we help towards reconciliation between all who love You.  Help us not to allow cultural and historical differences to divide us.  May we all serve You.  May we all love You.  I ask this in the name of Jesus Who taught us this.


Lord, Jesus Christ, help me be Your instrument today.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

My life can get back to normal, now.  I finished reading, The Free Frenchman by Piers Paul Read.  I normally read about 8-10 books, at a time.  Some I have to, i.e., I was given them to review, some I am required to read for Lay Dominican Study Group.  I also belong to two reading groups, so there's two books I also have to read.  But there's always one or two that are recommended by friends and I am seduced.

The Free Frenchman fell into my lap, while I was sorting books for my town's library book sale.  Once a month the library has a book sale.  I volunteer to help sort the books into some sort of order.  (Not that I have any selfish motive for volunteering.  Perish the thought.)

I read Alive by Piers Paul Read and was riveted by the author's narration.  I also read Monk Dawson by the same author.  So the novel interested me because I knew it would be a good read.

However, I was almost turned off by Read's simplistic depiction of Dominican history.  Being a Lay Dominican I was offended by Piers Paul Read's specious history of the role the Order of Preachers' played during the Middle Ages.  (Secret police of the Catholic Church--I admire the author's imagination!)  I know there were bad Dominicans and very bad Dominicans, but they don't define my family.  It was just that Read only told his readers the bad stuff.  He should have had Dominique enter the Dominicans, as a penance, to make up for his one-sided depiction.

Oddly, I didn't mind that Antoine Dubec was a Dominican friar.  I kind of liked the man.  He certainly was committed to his interpretation of Christian social justice and was willing to risk his life for it--and more.  He broke the Seal of Confession.  He's in hell.

Anyway, as I was saying, I was reading a chapter or so from each of my tower of books, until The Free Frenchman hooked me.  I had no idea of the machinations behind the German occupation of France.  It was riveting.  From page 100-584, I only had eyes for The Free Frenchman.  My tower of books collected dust.  I stayed up too late reading.  I ignored my blog.  I was too involved with Bertrand de Roujay.  I admired him.  I was shocked by his immoral behavior.  I was nervous he'd get caught.  I was saddened when Madeleine was unfaithful, and Jenny, too.  How could he ever trust another woman?  And then he himself...  And he used Lucia--how could he! And how many times can a man die?

So the hero is human;that's true.  The story rings true.  The history is convoluted but true.  The de Roujay family itself branches out in three different directions to fight for France. More than that if you count ex-wives and lovers.  What a story!

Who wins?  "In a war it is always the devil who wins." Spoken by Edmond de Roujay to his sobbing grandson Thierry.  Those who are traitors become heroes, and vice versa.  History is written by the winners.

But miracles do abound, thanks to a praying grandmother--Alice de Roujay.  She holds the family together with her prayers.  Her little part of the world is a sanctuary.  I always felt relieved when all the characters were at Saint Theodore, with her.  "The world outside...was the principality of satan, and it was impossible to live in it without giving the devil his due." Actually, these expressed thoughts are Bertrand de Roujay's about his sister's convent, but I thought they fitted Saint Theodore.

France was a nightmare in WWII. The author proved by his story that morality is relative.  Everyone claims they are on the side of God.  Foolishness!  How wretched the illusions of those who imagined that it could ever be right to kill for Christ.  How mistaken the example of the crusaders; for evil could only be answered with evil, the bombardment of London with the obliteration of Berlin.  God took no sides in wars, because as Christ himself had said, his kingdom was not of this world, and no legions of angels were ever summoned to battle for His cause.  p. 565  Bertrand de Roujay's thoughts in prison.

I loved the book.  I learned a lot of French history.  I learned how weak human nature is.  I learned how noble humans can be.  Although I found myself depressed, when I finished the novel.  But I'll attribute that for wanting more.  Piers Paul Read gives us much to chew on.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

St. Toribio Romo

Toribio Romo was born in Jalisco, Mexico in 1900.  He always wanted to be a priest and was ordained when he was 22.  But this was a time when religion was not only frowned upon, in Mexico, there were laws severely restricting Catholicism.  The President, Plutarco Elias Calles was very hostile towards Catholicism.  His anti-Catholicism fueled the Cristeros.

In order to minister to his people, Father Romo had to go underground.  He celebrated Mass in factories and residences.  I imagined he prayed for a lot of strength, but his fears didn't stop him.

On February 25, the government soldiers woke him up at 4:00 AM and shot him. The story of his martyrdom spread.  He became the patron saint of those who watch over migrants and refugeesand border crosses
.  In 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized Father Toribio Romo, along with 24 other martyrs murdered for their faith during the Cristero War.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Book Selections

St. Mary's Book Club met last night and decided
which books to read for the coming year. 

June – Sept.       Wolf Hall                              by Hilary Mantel

October               The Nightingale                by Kristin Hannah

November          Life in the Jar:The             by Jack Mayer
                Irena Sendler Project

December           The 100 Year Old               by Jonas Jonasson
                                Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
January                                The Glass Castle                by Jeannette Walls

February              The Caning:The                 by Stephen Puleo
                                Assault that Drove American to Civil War

March                   The Soul of an Octopus:                by Sy Montgomery
                A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness

April                      The Mayflower                 by Nathaniel Philbrick

May                       The Circle                             by Dave Eggers

June – Sept.       What Alice Forgot            by Liane Moriarity

Monday, June 20, 2016

Count Your Blessings

Another story one of my confreres related yesterday in chapter had to do with the way we look at the world.  Remember, we're discussing prayer.  Gary was thinking positive.  Too many people focus on what they don't have or what's missing, rather than looking at what they do have and should be thankful for.  His story:

A grandmother (why a grandmother I don't know) and her grandson were walking the beach.  The boy stopped to play in the waves and the grandmother sat down to watch and enjoy.  Suddenly, a rogue wave came and snatch the boy up and pulled him far out in the ocean.  The grandmother freaked!  She screamed to heaven, begging God to bring her grandson back.  Then just as suddenly as the grandson was snatched away, a wave brought him in and deposited him back on shore.
    Instead of thanking God, she said, "He was wearing a hat."

Sunday, June 19, 2016


We were talking about Faith in Chapter, this morning.  We actually were discussing prayer.  What makes prayer fruitful is Faith.  Not necessarily that we pray for a miracle and have faith that a miracle will happen, but that it could, if it were God's will.  Faith knows that prayers are heard, acknowledged, and we get what we ask for if it is good for us.  We trust that God, Who is omniscient, will allow what is good for us.  Anyway, you get the idea--how and what we were saying.  Nghia told us a story that hit the nail on the head.

There was a drought in the land. The people prayed for rain.  The village leaders decided to get together and all pray together, to pray for rain.  They decided on a date to do this.  The date came and everyone came out to pray together.  There they all were.  Only one of them had an umbrella.  He had Faith.