Friday, October 31, 2014

Adult Bullying

Another sad tale of bullying.  However, this is adult bullying.  Lamentable as this is, that isn't my focus on this post.  I'd like to call your attention (again) to the role of communication, namely the media.

These links tell the depressing tale of misinformation perpetrated by various communication sources.  In the case of Robert Oscar Lopez, he has been wrongfully labelled and maligned, by various people spreading hate and fear through letters and articles in various media.  Mr. Lopez is the adopted son of two lesbians.  He writes of how difficult this made his childhood.  Because of this, he is labelled anti-gay.  Because he is not gay, himself, he has been labelled bi-sexual, and as such, a pervert.  

He can't do anything right.  People with their personal agendas attack him and it has come to the point of hindering his career.  Now I see where besides spreading misinformation, communication can be considered bullying. 

 Don't believe anything you hear, and only half of what you see.  And certainly, speak only the truth.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Catholic Answer to Islamophobia

Father Aniello Salicone, sx, discussing Hinduism
Every day we read and hear, (nevermind see) atrocities committed by ISIS.  We are shocked and rightly so.  That's why these atrocious acts are called terrorist.  The feelings terrorism give rise to vary: rage, silence, shock, etc.  Probably the last feeling would be to converse in a calm and intelligent manner.  But, I think this is the correct, and the Catholic response.

You can't equate ISIS to Islam, no more than you can equate Christianity to the Klu Klux Klan.  So I don't mean to enter into discussion with them, at least in the beginning.  We need to converse with the practitioners of Islam who are just as horrified at terrorism, as everyone else is. It may seem counterintuitive to talk to Muslims, but from my experience of talking to practitioners from different religions, in prison ecumenical groups, it is a very good method of overcoming prejudice and fear.

Talking to people leads to understanding.  I've seen this in simple matters.  I know that my perceptions of people in prison changed when I talked with them (got to know them).  I know that my perceptions of gay couples, the transgendered, and other people from different faiths, have changed.  Hence, talking with Muslims will lead to understanding on both sides.  

Think of it.  If we all unite, we can push out the extremists.  Think of dialogue, as building the future.  That's the way Bishop Denis Maden, from the U.S. bishops' Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue
sees it, too.  On the site Global Mission, Bishop Maden proposes that dialogue take place in our parishes and communities.  We must respect everyone's views and work together for peace.

I know that in my prison we have ecumenical discussions.  My parish, also, is in an interfaith consortium.  In fact, we're hosting the Thanksgiving service.  In a nearby shrine, Fatima Shrine, the Xaverian missionaries host ecumenical discussion forums.  In fact, their mission statement explains:

We respond to Jesus Christ's invitation to be His witnesses to the ends of the world by a life-long commitment to serving the global mission of the Church through interreligious dialogue, support to fledgling Christian communities and solidarity with the poorest among them.

I know that if you're upset and angry at the terrorists, you probably want to lash out. But Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies.  Do that.  Pray.  While you are praying, also look around for opportunities to learn about Islam.  Go to the ecumenical and interfaith functions.  Read balanced and fair articles on Islam.  This is the way to understanding.  And understanding is a good solid step towards peace.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Let's Pause a Moment

Let's pause for a moment, for prayer.  You see, I've been touched by the sacrifices people have made for me and my fellow countrymen.  Today, I visited Battleship Cove in Fall River, MA.  I toured the battleship, the USS Massachusetts, the destroyer, the Joseph P.Kennedy, the submarine, the Lionfish, and the missile corvette, the Hiddensee.

I'd like everyone to remember all the men and women who served in these ships, and others, who have defended our country. May they all rest in heaven, and may their relatives and friends, appreciate, recognize, and enjoy the freedom, they fought so hard to keep for us.

In pray this in the name of Jesus, our Lord, and Savior.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Last Rose of Summer

I picked the last rose from my garden, to bring to Gloria.  I was visiting her, since she's been house bound ever since she hurt her back.  Did you know that the rose is a symbol of Mary?  The rose is known as the "Queen of Flowers".  Mary is called a "rose without thorns."  The rose is the emblem of the Incarnation and a symbol of Divine Love.

St. Ambrose tells us that the rose was in the Garden of Eden.  But after the Fall, the rose grew thorns as a reminder of man's fall from grace.

Is it me, or have roses lost their smell?  My garden only has tea roses, so maybe the tea roses don't have a strong smell, but it seems to me that even the large roses don't smell as strong as they used to.

Monday, October 27, 2014

St. Teresa Would Be Amused

Prayer of Saint Teresa of Avila

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

-- St. Teresa of Avila


 The pastor, Father Diotrophes was dreaming in his sleep.  He was having a dream with St. Teresa of Avila.  She was expressing the same feelings as he, himself, had.  "Lord, preserve me from overly pious gloomy saints."

Actually, Father Diotrophes was dreaming about the prayer group.  Their shuffling around with pious expressions, always irritated him.  Why? He wasn't sure.  But he wished he could get rid of them.

Fortunately, or unfortunately for the pastor, the prayer group always prayed the Prayer of St. Teresa.  They trusted in God.  Nothing disturbed or frightened them.  They knew that God was in charge.  They just waited things out.  They had God, and that's all that matters.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

Cord Rosary blessed by the Master General of the Dominicans

The Rosary is what we're discussing over at R'Ann's This And That And The Other Thing blog.  This is a blog we link up to on Sundays.  If you click on one of the blogs, you'll read about their doings during the week, and hopefully learn a thing or two about the rosary.

Since I'm a Lay Dominican, I pray a rosary every day.  The Rosary is not my kind of prayer.  If it were not in my Rule, I wouldn't do it.  However, I am happy now that I am required to do it.  I love the rosary, even though I still push myself to do it.

That being said up front, I have tried all methods of praying the rosary.  I am constantly trying to find a way to keep the prayer a conscious connection to God.  A new way will be good until it's not new anymore.  But I'll give you some examples of rosary methods.

CD's  --  There are a plethora of people praying the rosary.  This is good when you are driving alone.  I even have one of John Paul II praying it in Latin.

TV  --  I know that the Rosary is on Boston Catholic at 6:30 PM.  If I'm home I'll watch it and pray.

Radio -- I know it's on station 99.1 Boston, at 5:30 AM.   If I'm awake I'll pray it with them.

Scriptural --  This method is to read a bit of scripture, relating to the mystery, you're on.

Before daily Mass --  If you go to daily Mass, some parishes have a group whom pray the rosary before Mass, or go 15 minutes early to Mass, yourself, and pray it.

This last one works the best, but it takes the longest, so I rarely use it.  Every time I pray a Hail Mary, I put a person's name in.  So that 150 times!  "...Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for Richard, now, and at the hour of his death."

Also, I love to use a beautiful rosary: some smell of roses, some feel nice and pearly smooth, some are tiny, some have personally meaningful medals attached to them, some have holy water inside the medallion, some have been blessed by someone special, and some are just unique.  I know a friar who uses a belt rosary that a nephew made in summer camp--made out of a watch band.  There are rosaries made out of cord and macrame knots.

I like to feel a rosary in my pocket.  It's a constant reminder to pray, and who I am.  I've also taken up the habit of always carrying two rosaries with me.  One to give away and the one I was intending to use personally.

Today, I'm pretty busy.  So I think I'll break up the rosary by only praying a decade, here and there.  A decade going, a decade leaving, and I'll get a rosary prayed going to Mass, then a Chapter meeting, afterwards, my son-in-law's birthday party, and finally home.

If you're serious about the rosary, keep at it.  I've been at it for 14 years, now, and still push myself, but happy that I do.  I encourage you to try.

Now, about my week.

Monday  --  Whom is Jesus talking to?

Tuesday --  email meditation

Wednesday  --  It's been staring me right in the face since 1980!

Thursday -- How to explain indulgences.

Friday  --  Faith Counts!

Saturday --  a poem

Have a good week.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Conversing With Jesus

I asked God if I could exaggerate,
     and He said, "Depends."

I asked God if it were okay to be fat,
    and He asked, "What's fat?"

I asked God if I could write about
people with small minds and big mouths.
    He said, "My Beloved,"
    He calls me that, sometimes.
    "Take care
you don't hurt anybody."
"Thanks God," I said.

And is it even okay if I write poetry
that has impossible imagery,
difficult diction, and is meaningless?

      "My Love," God said.
He's really crazy about me, you see.
      "What I'm telling you is
      Yes, Yes, Yes...but with love."

* This is my response to Kaylin Haught's poem God Says Yes to Me.