Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Coffee Sombrero

After shoveling, I wanted a drink--a warm drink. Specifically, I wanted something like a hot chocolate but I wanted a kick to it. So I made a coffee sombrero. A coffee sombrero consists of coffee liqueur and milk. I usually use Kahlua, but when I was in Mexico, a few years ago, the liquor salesman talked me into buying Cleofas. He said Kahlua is what is sold in my area and so that's what I'm familiar with, but Don Cleofas was better. Of course, he gave me a sample. And I agreed with him. Cleofas is better.

Zapping the mixture in the microwave a bit will warm it up. Mmmmm, hot coffee Sombrero.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year

The New Year isn't starting very well. A snow storm is predicted for Dec. 31st, which means I won't be going to church for the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.
Also, my Spiritual Director, Fr. Aquinas Keene, ocso has been transferred. Now what?!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Virtual Jubilee Gallery

The Order of Preachers (Dominicans) are celebrating their 800th anniversary from 2008--2016. One way they are celebrating their anniversary is to open a "Virtual Jubilee Gallery" that will be an exhibit of Dominican art (writings, poems, art work, music and other artistic media), which will be displayed on their website, www.op.org. Each year of the Jubilee will have a different theme and invitations to contribute each year are given. This year the theme is "In the beginning was the Word: St. Dominic, Preacher of Grace." Naturally, I sent something. I wonder if they just put everybody's work up, or do they pick and choose.

I guess I'll find out soon enough.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Contemprismatic

Contemprismatic=contemplative + charismatic

Actually, I have to give half the credit for this word to Charlotte Therese. http://charlotte-therese.blogspot.com or http://katolskakyrkan.blogspot.com I met Charlotte Therese in a Charismatic Discussion Forum, a few years ago. I have since lost touch with her and the group. No reason especially, just new servers, new computers, and getting too old to remember email and site addresses. Anyway, Charlotte Therese is a Lay Carmelite and I'm a Lay Dominican. Both of us thought it odd that we were comtemplatives, yet participating in a Charismatic Discussion Group.

Being a Dominican, however, it really is not all that odd. Dominicans and half and half: contemplative and active. To combine the two charisms, we came up with the term and concept.

I think it is an important contribution to our language.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Feast of St. Stephen

I don't think I could ever be a martyr. I'm too much a coward. God would certainly have to bless me with super human courage. I probably would be crying too much to beg for mercy or say anything. Hopefully, I'd have enough presence of mind to write Credo in unum Deum, in my blood before I died.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Alex's Christmas Light

Alex beams as he shows his Christmas card--

The prisoner artist, with soft eyes,
has to peer beyond to see
behind bars

Happy garland embraces think branches,
bright lights shining
behind bars.

Kairos moment! When I see
that emblazoned tree is,
behind bars.

Alex gives a present of hope
to us--who put him
behind bars.

Merry Christmas to all and
may all see the Light.

*First published in Justitia, Schoolboy Publications, 2006, p. 23.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Advent Wreath Fire

A Christmas Eve to remember! Since my children are adults, now, we exchange presents on Christmas Eve because Christmas day they go visit their in-laws, and boy friends and girl friends. So there we are exchanging gifts, after our supper of Chinese food. No one was paying attention to the Advent wreath, which was the center piece on the dining table. Karen asked, "What was that burning smell?"
"What' smell?"
I think we all looked at the fire place at the same time. But this was a different smell--a pine smell.
I looked at the table, and there was our Advent wreath on fire! Dick threw his wine on the fire and then someone else threw water. It was out and no damage done, except that's the end of that Advent wreath. We won't be able to light the white Christmas candle.
But we got a new story to add to our repertoire of Christmas tales.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas

You know what I like best about this time of year? The way people treat each other. It just seems that every one is happier and kinder. Even if they're rushed and in a foul mood, they often apologize because they know they shouldn't be.
Today was a really happy day because we had our Christmas party at work today. We gave out our presents; everyone brought food, and we wished everyone well. This is what is meant by the peace of Christmas.
I wish the day was longer.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Chanukah

The Festival of Chanukah is celebrated by lighting candles for eight nights. Actually, olive oil is preferred but candles are permissible. Chanukah is commemorating the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem after its desecration by Antiochus of Syria.
The lights must burn for at least a half hour after the stars appear. On the first night, the first candle is set at the extreme right of the Menorah. On the second and each succeeding night, an additional light is set to the left and kindled first.
May your Chanukah candles burn brightly.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Updates

First, I'm not as alarmed as I was about Agustin's letter. Fr. Wayne said Agustin's verbal or rather written expression is not uncommon for his culture. We Anglo's don't refer to deliverance or exorcism. I told Agustin to talk to an ordained minister, either a priest or a deacon. He needs to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation, too.
Second, the snow sets a prayerful mood. The rhythm of shoveling reminded me of chanting. I wished I knew some psalms by heart. But the Jesus prayer works, also. It was so quiet out there in the snow. I just felt close to God.
Tonight I went to the 7:00 PM Mass. Very few people were there due to the snow storm, no doubt. That's why I went. There's another due tomorrow. The thought occurred to me that I bet the Lector didn't show up. So I read the Readings while waiting for Mass to begin.
I was right. The Lector didn't show up. So when Father asked for a Lector, I volunteered.
Guess what.
I was the Lector that was assigned for tonight. Idjit!
:-/

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Cancellations

Too many Christmas parties. In a way, I'm glad a blizzard is storming outside. Tonight's part is cancelled and so is tomorrow's. Good. I can finally get my tree decorated and wrap presents. It's hard to keep one's mind peaceful and serene and focused on the true meaning of Christmas when social obligations beckon.
Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Response to Cronkhite Canada Syndrome

the path seemed as easy and unsuspecting
as falling in love,
but that’s the draw–the love pulls like taffy
and everything is sweet;
then the path veered away from the warmth;
and You were silent.
The path was very cold among silent gods;
hypothermia in the soul
worse than the purgatorial illness
confusing Jesus
with zeus and mars and zen and no one;
and You were silent;
warm love emanated from the circle’s center;
I felt it.
dare I crawl closer, unworthy worm that I am;
I believed it;
You were there. You are there. You were there.
help my unbelief.
Mary, John, and Mary hovered at the foot of Your cross;
I believe it
My husband, children, and friends stayed by mine,
I saw them as
I saw You in their eyes and hands and words;
I walked the path.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Agustin

Agustin sent me a very disturbing letter. He speaks of sprinkling holy water around his cell and reciting prayers of exorcism. I feel very unprepared to help him, especially since he's there and I'm here.
What really frustrates me is that I've asked for help from others, via email, and they haven't responded? I hate it when people don't respond. Can't people say that they don't know, or they'll get back to you? But in ignoring me, I'll only resend the message because I think you didn't get it.
Poor Agustin, whatever it is that he's going through, he sure could use some prayers.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Prolatio Singers & Players

I went to a concert of Advent, Marian, and Christmas Music by the Prolatio Singers & Players, this afternoon. It was really different. Prolation is a subdivision of the rhythmic system which in Medieval Music governed the proportionate duration of the semibreve and the minim. And Medieval it sounded, especially Dennis Ferguson's Mi Atyank Ata Isten. Mi Atyank is a 16th century Hungarian carol. Ferguson arranged it such that tenors and altos augment each other. The first stanza was the original. But after that several composition devices are used. Tenors sing the melody as basses mirror the tune. Altos sing it a fifth higher in augmentation. Sopranos also sing in augmentation, but at pitch and in retrograde. Lastly, the Sopranos sing the original melody in duple time as the other three voices sing in three different pentatonic modes simultaneously. Hence they are called the Prolatio Singers. Very nice.
The other works use three voice for antiphons and two solo voices for verses--typical of Medieval times. There were also recorders and a cello.
It was such a nice afternoon with a nice way to spend Advent.

SOLT

We went to a Christmas party, last night. I met a priest there that belongs to the religious order, SOLT. SOLT translates into Society of our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. This caught my attention because my religious name is Sister Faith of the Most Holy Trinity.
This morning I googled SOLT. Surprisingly, this order was founded in the 1950's and their founder is still alive.
I thought this a kick because being a Lay Dominican, my order was founded in 1206. Imagine being able to see, to talk to, to touch....your founder.
Imagine if Dominic Guzman were still alive.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Omega

She's here! Omega is finally here! Omega is Helen, who finishes the newsletter eLumen. I start it, so I'm Alpha, and Helen finishes it. You have address us with a solemn deep voice: The Alpha and the Omega.
Seriously, I was worried that she'd have trouble. She was driving through an ice storm. But she arrived safely. She's here to give a Talk to my chapter on Sunday. So we have the weekend together.
After supper we chanted Evening Prayer together. I love to chant with someone. I do it alone sometimes but it seems to take forever. But with someone else--I could go on for ever. Community is important, isn't it? Someone once told me that just the fact that we all are born because of the union of two people is proof that we're not made to be solitary human beings. Makes sense to me.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Integrity

Those of us who leave work early today to go to Zumba Class cut short our lunch period, from an hour to half an hour. Well, I forgot and used the whole hour lunch. Later in the afternoon I asked my cubby mate, how come she didn't go to lunch and she responded that she only took half an hour because of Zumba.
I forgot!
So I said I'd put half an hour vacation time on my time sheet to make up the time. My friend said, "Don't be so stupid. No one will know." She was really angry about it. She also said she'd tell our union rep about how stupid I am. "I'll tell everybody." She said.
I wasn't even tempted to do what she wanted. I know the difference between right and wrong. It's a matter of my personal integrity. I have my own standards.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Our Lady of La Salette

"P and P" is Pray and Play. I took a "P and P" day off from work. I slept in. I took a long bath. I dressed and went out to eat at a good restaurant. Afterwards, I went to the national shrine of Our Lady of La Salette in N. Attleboro, MA. I was blessed to see and hear Fr. Pat give a concert. Afterwards, I received the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I went to Mass, I prayed for the Pope Intentions.
You know what this means?
I received a papal indulgence! La Salette is a pilgrimage site.
The Shrine is also decorated with lights--like 3000 + lights.
A blessed day!

Human Life International praises His Royal Highness Henri de Luxembourg

Founded in 1981, the Human Life International is the world's largest pro-life, pro-family organization that is dedicated to defending life, faith and the family. HLI praised
His Royal Highness Henri de Luxembourg for refusing to sign legislation legalizing euthanasia in Luxemburg. The Grand Duke said that for him this issue is a “question of conscience.” Rev. Euteneuer, President of HLI, expressed his appreciation in a letter faxed on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
The move represents considerable political risk for the Grand Duke, as Reuters reported December 4, “Luxembourg's parliament looks ready to strip the Grand Duke of his last lawmaking power as a controversy over euthanasia comes to a head. One of Europe's last royals with political sway may lose his formal veto by taking a stand against a law legalizing euthanasia.”
The sovereign dropped his traditional political neutrality by announcing he would refuse to sign a bill adopted by parliament to legalize euthanasia. Since then, Minister of State Jean-Claude Juncker announced that a Constitutional Amendment would be proposed, whereby the signature of the Monarch would no longer be needed for a law to take effect. This would remove one of the legislative roles of the Grand Duke, namely approving new legislation. The Grand Duke’s strong Catholic beliefs have been cited in his bold stand that bucks the pro-death trends of the European Union.
Euteneuer’s letter said, in part, “Please accept on behalf of all the associated member organizations of Human Life International in eighty countries our greatest admiration for your courage in refusing to sign the legislation legalizing euthanasia in Luxembourg.
“Your well-formed Catholic conscience is a precious gift that honors the Royal Family of Luxembourg, as one of the greatest responsibilities of the monarchy is the duty to resist demagoguery and all attacks on public morality.
“Human Life International, which has offices in eighty countries, exists to defend the right to life from the moment of conception to natural death as well as the sanctity of marriage. You have our deepest admiration and support in this battle to respect life. Thank you for the magnificent example that you have given to all the heads of state in this difficult period of history.”

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Communion

Book Club was tonight. We have a wonderful celebration at Jayne's house. We always go over to her house because she decorates so beautifully and she's a gourmet cook. Everything was wonderful except the conversation at the table. We asked one of our member's about her mother, who had recently died. She told us about how wonderful the staff was at St. Vincent's. She said, "Sister Ramona gave us all communion." We questioned ALL. She said, yes All. See, she's Episcopalian. Then she said, "To tell you the truth, the thought of Communion grosses me out!" Another friend, who I respect very much, also Episcopalian said, "Well, think of it as a tangible expression of Love." I chimed in saying that that was a good way of looking at it and then the rest of the table agreed.

Monday, December 8, 2008

John Mallon steered me to a funny video of Cardinal Arinze on pro-abortion politicians. It's from Andrew Rabel in 2005. Still current.


Dear friends,
Hey, have a good laugh at this one on this Youtube video. Cardinal Arinze is quite amusing. Sad that the latest stories are that he is about to retire, and a house is being built for him in Nigeria, where he will settle now. He just passed the milestone of his golden anniversary of priestly ordination, in his home diocese of Ontisha.
God blessAndrew
PS But remember at the age of 76, he still gets a vote in the papal conclave until he is 80! So we see what happens.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kv3MRyKfEHA

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dinner with Friends

My friends and I had our annual birthday dinner. My birthday is the end of Nov., Merrell's next Sat., and Chris' is near the end of the month. Judy is included but excluded. Her birthday isn't even close to ours, but we let her tag along.
It was a good time. We talked a lot. I brought grilled chicken salad. We talked a lot. Chris brought junk food. We talked a lot.
Oooppss!!! I just realized that we forgot to sing Happy Birthday. But we ate the cake; it was oreo cake. We also talked a lot.
Merrell and Judy were our hostesses. Chris gave me a beautiful wreath to hang on my front door. She made it herself. Know what she gave me for Christmas? She gave me another beautiful handmade wreath. I have two side-by-side front doors. Don't forget; we talked a lot.
And I gave Chris something that I've wanted to give her since September. Between talking a lot, I explained to her that I entered a poetry contest. The poem I entered was about her and our relationship. Our relationship involves a lot of talking--a lot! But I won first prize with that poem! I've been waiting for the moment to give her the poetry book. I explained that she was the inspiration and well.......the poem explains it better.

Missing Chris
Happy is he who find a friend and he who speaks to attentive ears. Sirach 25:9
My soul mate, Chris would help with my mess,
over spinach artichoke dip, nachos,
ice tea, girl-talk, dope slaps, and laughter;
deftly would your perspective fix my problem;
snap smooth wrinkled excuses and cobwebbed thoughts,
as we share late night secrets and pray for grace.
__________________________________
Before I went to the birthday dinner, I was at Chapter. One of my brothers, out of the blue, asked me who Chris was in my poem, that won first prize. I was very surprised! That poetry book has been hanging around since September. What made him read it now? What made him pick out that poem? What made him ask "Who's Chris in your poem?" So I explained that Chris and I were on parallel faith journeys and use to "talk a lot" together, and I mean "talk a lot." We had fallen in love with Jesus, somehow. We're both cradle Catholics but in 2000 the Holy Spirit dope slapped us in a Life in the Spirit Seminar that our prayer group conducted. We were born in the Holy Spirit. All we could talk about was Jesus. All we could think about was Jesus. All we wanted to do was do things involved with talking and thinking about Jesus. We became very close friends with the spiritual director of the prayer group--Our Lady of Hope Charismatic Prayer Group. He, Father Aniello Salicone, Chris and I would go out to eat, after prayer group. We talked a lot. We talked and talked so long that the restaurants would ask us to leave. We'd stay and the employees would be cleaning up and there we were talking, talking, and talking.
That's what the poem is about. That's the story I told my brother. For some reason, my little story about our friendship touched him. My brother told me that he was going to relate my story to his support group, read my poem, and ask for prayers for Chris and for everyone to have one good friend.
Did I mention that we talked a lot?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Meme

Since Eric Pavlat invited all bloggers to participate in this Christmas Album Meme, I'll bite.

If you were trapped on a desert island and it was Christmas and all you had was a small generator, Christmas lights for your coconut tree, an endless supply of Christmas cookies and eggnog, your CD player and 6 Christmas CDs , which 6 albums would you want them to be?
I would choose:
Gentle Night by (gulp) the St. Louis Jesuits, distributed by North American Liturgy Resources
Christmas Regina by the Regina Musical Company
The Bethlehem Children's Chorus by Metacom, Inc.
Joy To The World by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir by Columbia
Tchaicovsky's Nutcracker, read by Christopher Plummer and conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas and the Philharmonia Orchestra
and the sixth would be a homemade cassette, Christmas, of Rev. Pius Devoti, s.x., may he rest in peace.

My fellow bloggers can all consider yourselves tagged.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Shopping

Oh, oh. I was suppose to do Christmas shopping. I did shopping for myself, instead. Ugh! I only did a little and that was for my daughters. But I bought myself two pairs of dress boots: black and brown. Some jewelry for me. Some fragrances for me. Some pajamas for me (and the girls). Some underwear for me.
Me, me, me......
I'm disgusted with myself.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Laptop

My husband, Richard, has fallen in love with the Sony Outlet Store. For my birthday last month he bought me a Sony Cybershot. It's a camera. For Christmas he just got me a new laptop. It's a pretty pink color with nice big screen. I've been having fun with it all night. It's not connected to the internet, yet, so I can't blog on it yet. That's coming, for sure.
I saw him eyeing the TV's. I have a good idea that that's what Santa is going to bring him.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Catholic Bloggers Union

Message from John Mallon
John Mallon is trying to assemble an email list of Blogs in the English speaking world, especially in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines. He is currently working as Contributing Editor for Inside the Vatican magazine, doing media relations for Human Life International, and assisting at the Envoy Institute in a promotional capacity. He has two degrees in theology and frequently has items of interest to Catholic Bloggers worldwide. With 25 years of experience in the Catholic Press, he has found that major secular outlets are often closed to these messages. If you have or know of Blogs that would be interested in receiving press releases and other pertinent materials for your Blogs, he would very much appreciate getting a mailing list of these blogs for this purpose. This is not spam. Anyone not wishing to receive these materials will be removed from the list immediately upon request. Catholic Blogs are absolutely critical for spreading credible information on the Church. This mailing list could serve as a News Agency supplying news and other information to Catholic Blogs.
It is absolutely maddening trying to harvest emails off of Blogs, where people won't post their emails. He is only interested in people who want to receive these messages, not bothering anyone.
For more on John Mallon please visit his website at: http://johnmallon.net <http://johnmallon.net/>
Please let me know if you can help.
Thanks & God bless you,
John Mallonjohnmallon@mac.com <mailto:johnmallon@mac.com>
http://johnmallon.net <http://johnmallon.net/>

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Moral Life

Fr. Bob gave a little adult catechises, last night. It was good. Some of it was over my head, but I got a lot out of it, nevertheless. I think most people felt the same way. It's Father Bob's style. For example, the title of this posting is what I would say his talk is about. But he named his talk, "How Can I Live a Moral Life that is based upon Sacred Scripture and the living Apostolic Tradition?" See what I mean? He talked about freedom, law, Truth, conscience, choice and a lot about sex. He said we all desire: happiness, life, love, and sex. Can't argue that.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Role Models

Haeyeun and I went to Norfolk Prison to give a talk on the "Role of Asian Men in Society." Actually, Haeyeun gave the talk. She was great. I was so impressed and proud of her. And I learned something. There were 39 men attending. Most of them are Cambodian. This is Asian Cultural Group that meets once a month on Fridays. Haeyeun spoke of role models. She contends that in order to grow up well, a role model is needed. Since these inmates came with their families from Cambodia and other South East Asian countries, their fathers came into a new culture, so very different from what they were use to. In fact, in some cases things were the exact opposite of their own country. Their fathers were confused and unsure how to behave. They wanted their children to fit in but didn't know when to encourage and when to discourage. Haeyeun contends that that's why these inmates landed in prison. They didn't have good role models.
This was very interesting. I never thought of role models contributing to the success of a child in that way. I think she's right.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Praying for the Souls in Purgatory

I found this blog that offers to pray for your loved ones from Nov. 25--Dec. 25.
It's A Month For The Souls In Purgatory 2008 and I gave them a long list to pray for and said I'd link to the blog. http://onionboy.typepad.com/a_month_for_the_souls_in_/
Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us.

Cronkhite Canada Syndrome

Today is Thanksgiving and like last year, I am just so very, very grateful to be alive. Not so long ago, I almost wasted away in my own sh**. It was disgusting. I had diarrhea for months. I lost 58 pounds in just one month. I lost all my hair--everywhere--not only on my head, but no eyelashes, or anything. I lost all nails--fingers and toes. I was so weak. My voice sounded like I was 100 years old. I was a mess. Worst of all, I almost lost my faith. A terrible coldness came over me. That's the only way I can describe it. Cold, dark, lonely thoughts oppressed my soul. I couldn't shake it away. The prognosis wasn't good. Since the disease is an late adult onset disease, it is not unusual for old people to die from it. I was afraid that there was no God, not because He didn't cure me, but because He wasn't with me. I doubted that He was there, or ever was. I tried to write my thoughts down, but it didn't really express my feelings. This is the best I could do.

Shackled in chains blurred by ennui
My world is my bed
sometimes the couch.

Hovering or
floundering
between death and
wishing for death.

Sleep wasn't easy,
but dreams abounded.
Praying wasn't easy,
but dreams abounded.

Shouldn't there by
a difference
between Jesus
and Zeus and Mars?

How would you know?
Same result.

Shouldn't there be
feelings of comfort,
assurance from angels,*
warmth from a Presence?

Worm that I am,
crawling in sin,
not worthy to be
heard nor loved.

Surely no one
is righteous to You?**

You are there.
You are there.
If repeating
makes it true,

You are there.
You are there.

There or not--
same result.

How do I know?
How do I know?

Same result.

Beyond human
understanding.

Silence.

Lord, help my unbelief. ***

*Luke 22:43 **Psalm 143:2 ***Mark9:23

First published in The Map of Life, Poetry from the Third Annual OPrize for Poetry, ed. Robert Curtis, Dominicus Books, Inc., 2007.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey Stuffing

It's done. The stuffing is the hardest part. It's my mother's recipe, that she spiced up from my French Canadian grandmother. My mother's first generation Lithuanian. Her mother didn't really have a good stuffing recipe. When she married my father Mama's cooking skills greatly improved due to her French Canadian mother-in-law. Mama took Grandma's stuffing recipe, which is really a pate, and doctored it up. It consists of ground pork, bread crumbs and spices. The secret is really the addition of cinnamon. It sweetens the meat.
Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without this stuffing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Marginalized Friends

I'm a terrible excuse for a human being. I have lots of friends. Some I'm ashamed of. I'm ashamed to be ashamed. I don't know what to do about that. I should not be ashamed to be friends with anybody; then how do I get over that feeling?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Contemplation

I equate contemplation with meditation and mysticism. I think it's the same awareness level into which I'm absorbed. It's an experience. I'm having difficulty articulating that experience because, well...it's inexpressable.
Afterwards, I am not the same person. Let me correct that. Actually, I am the same person; only more aware of me.
It is peaceful. Nice. I thank God for this gift.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

Tonight I went to an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. It involved the Federated Church, the First Universalist Society, Temple Etz Chaim, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and of course, us Catholics. The choir included members from all the faiths. I was touched by the fact that here we were, from diverse faiths, worshipping together. It was nice. The service was hosted by the Federated Church and they did a good job. There was a little colation after that was good.
The best part was a young man who played a Nardini Violin Concerto. He was very talented. His name is Ton Lazinski and he was from the First Universalist Society.
Actually, that wasn't the best part. The best part was when the minister of the host church, the Federated Church, the Reverend Vicki Hammel quoted Meister Eckhart. :-)
Rev. Vicki said that Meister Eckhart said that sometimes the best prayer is simply to say "Thank you."
What a way to end--quoting a Dominican. I loved it.

Distractions during Prayer

Thomas Merton's New Seeds of Contemplation is just a mother lode of spiritual directives. This morning in chapter 30, Merton talks about DISTRACTIONS. I'm the Queen of Distractions. I often think the Rosary that I pray each day is a disgrace--due to the amount of distractions I have. Sometimes I finish and wonder if I just fingered the beads or did I pray. Am I going senile?
Well, Merton says, "If you have never had any distractions you don't know how to pray." Ha! If that's the criteria, then I'm sitting next God!
The chapter goes on to say that it's all part of being human. There's no good in being upset by it. Keep refocusing. Keep at it and expect it to be part of your life ad infinitum. So quit bitchin' and offer it up.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Church

Tonight I Lectored the 7:00 PM Mass. It's scary how fast the congregation grows from my greetings before Mass, to when I announce the intentions for the Prayers for the Faithful. I don't think I'm exaggerateing when I say it triples.
Another strange thing, tonight. The church is being painted. So there's scaffolding around the sanctuary. I was surrounded by the scaffolding and thought, "I feel like a caged bird."
Someone stopped me when I was leaving the church and complained about the church decorations. There's a liturgy committee that decorates and some people like what they do and some don't. What can I say? Although a while ago there was a helium baloon behind the altar. My first thought was that it must have belonged in some wedding ceremony. But I found out that it was put there by that liturgy committee. Well, Father in moving it.....let go. It rose to the very tippy top of the ceiling--way up there. And it stayed there.....until the painters used their scaffolding to get it.
Ha! I call that Divine Intervention!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cardinal Schonborn

Don't people love to jump on those in authority? I'm referring to the criticism Christoph Card. Schonborn, the Archbishop of Vienna is receiving for the youth Mass he celebrated, the beginning of this week. I would think people would give a person a break, but no they're so easy to damn. Since I've been following Card. Schonborn, (I'm rooting for him to be the next Pope.) is that he wasn't aware that this was going to happen. This was not his Cathedral. He was invited to celebrate this youth Mass. He probably arrived and was surprised. Also, the video producers might have had an agenda that they're promoting and just looking for liturgical craziness. Who knows? But give the guy the benefit of the doubt.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Arise: Together with Christ

It's over. Kinda. We had our celebration and evaluation of the Arise program in the parish tonight. We had a celebration Mass then a little social. It was very cold, windy, and dark. It's also a week night. I wasn't expecting many people to come to Mass.
But I was fooled. About 50 people came. Their responses were quiet positive about the program. The Mass seemed very personal. I don't know why, but I felt that we were all one. It's hard to put into words. I'll have to try and put it in a poem.
The social was fun. I thought people would never leave.
I pray people were brought closer to God. I hope they have a better relationship with Jesus. I pray they have been brought further along the path of salvation through this program. I ask this through Jesus Christ, my Savior, my Lord, my Beloved.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Karen

Today is Karen's birthday. Dick made a strawberry birthday cake for her. He's so thrifty that whenever he puts the oven on, he puts other stuff in there as well. So we have a lemon cake and brownies, too. We'll give all this away to our kids, because I don't want desserts around the house tempting me.
We in TOPS are trying to lose a pound, each, this week. That way, we won't feel so bad eatting all that food on Thanksgiving.
But this is a birthday celebration. You have to have cake and ice cream. You just have to.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Retreat

A Monastery
on top of the grassy mound
my old car climbs up

Mother of God Monastery has the most beautiful Eucharistic Shrine, I've ever seen. The Dominican nuns there have perpetual adoration. I plan to stay the weekend: resting, praying, re-acquainting myself with my Beloved.

Inside the Monstrance
Love Itself beats a warm pulse
Heard inside my heart

All my senses feel His presence. After a while, we are One.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Theology of the Body

Awesome! Wicked Awesome! While I'm keying these words on my blog, I am simultaneously listening and watching a live stream of TOB by Pauline Media. Fr. Loya is teaching. He's sitting at a table and explaining to the people sitting at the table.
It's almost like being there. Fr. Loya happened to say that he heard the Pope say that husbands who lust after their wives are sinning. This was said in the context of talking about Humanae Vitae. This statement about husbands lusting was earth shifting (I love this image. And I may steal it.). Well, we who are watching had comments entered on this "lusting". But Fr. Loya goes past this part and continues on. If we were there we'd raise our hand and ask questions, but we have to submit our questions, and he'll address them next week.
So, live stream lectures aren't perfect, but close to it.
The lecture is too long. Not because of subject matter, nor Fr. Loya's teaching/delivery, but rather it's just the time. Two hours is too big a chunk of time. I know I won't always be able to watch because of it. Too bad.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Truth and Charity Discussion Group

My chapter has a sub-group, The Truth and Charity Study/Discussion Group. Last night we had a wicked awesome discussion. We started talking about St. Bernard of Clairvaux's four degrees of love. We ended by discussing Kant. I found out that I'm pretty Kantian. I believe that if you make a deliberate choice to love, as opposed to doing just what come natural, you have loving in a more worthy way.
I'll give a specific example. You love your work with Downs Syndrome children. For some reason, I just can't see it. In fact, looking at a Downs child turns my stomach. I think badly about myself for being this way. So I decide to change. I volunteer to work with you. Soon I become use to the Downs kids. I learn to know them individually. In fact, they work their way into my heart. Guess what. I have grown to love them. Hence, I think, in a way, that my love is better than yours because I chose, even forced, myself to love them. You just did what came naturally to you.
Is that Kantian?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Favorite Place

Seacoast Boulvard

My prayer place is at the very end,
where steps of stone just fade away
into eternal depts of sea and sun.
Sailboats reverence, bow, and genuflect.
The nun buoys bob and ring, antiphonally.
The wind intones a canticle, a psalm.
And I announce the glory due today.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Another Place

This is another place where I spend a lot of wasted time. It does offer an opportunity for prayer and mediation, I'll give it that. This is called a "haibun" -- half prose, half haiku.

Waiting at the Gatehouse


A mix of parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, spouses, friends, and lovers patiently wait to be called. All nationalities, shapes and sizes share the time. I am reminded of Anna Akhmatova’s Requiem, and am ashamed of my impatience. We the waiting become one in prayer.


Leningrad -- Norfolk
snowflakes fall on both prisons
one tormented cry

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Places

Tonight I was the Lector at the 7:00 PM Mass. We celebrated the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome. Fr. Bob told us about the basilica of St. John Lateran being the cathedral of the Pope as bishop of Rome. Therefore it is called the "mother church" of Rome and the world. It is a visible symbol of the universal Church.
At first, I was thinking "big deal." But then I thought how important places are to us. Think of those people who refuse to leave their closed churches. Geesh! I get upset when my favorite restaurant goes out of business. Seriously! I use to live across the street from a school and now that school has been made into an apartment building. Very strange.
The biggest emotional punch in the stomach was the closing of St. Stephen's Priory. I could still work myself up over that.

Memories of St. Stephen’s


It’s been a year now, the door to the priory
closed. Plants in bright uniforms, which use to
guard the entrance are missing. Sightless windows
search for the statue of St. Dominic.
I drive through the circle driveway,
listening for prayer, looking for
movement, but the stones are silent,
the fountain dry, and the benches empty.
Cob webs bloom among Queen Anne’s lace,
in St. Cecilia’s garden. The branches beckon
me to walk the overgrown path to the Charles.
No canoe, no paddle, no contemplation.
Where’s the praise for this dusky woods?
Laudare. Benedicere. Praedicare..
I wish.
I pray.
I could.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Kalista

My daughter Karen had her first party, tonight. It was a jewelry party. The jewelry is from a company known as Kalista. Parties sell expensive stuff. The cheapest item was $ 60. Since it was my daughter, I wanted to show support, so I let her buy two pieces: one for her birthday, next week, and one for Christmas. I would have hosted a party, myself, but I don't know anybody that would spend that kind of money. Most of my friends are elderly and can not afford it. People I work with would never spend that amount. So I didn't volunteer to be a hostess.
Karen only had three people. Besides myself, she had her future mother-in-law, and future sister-in-law. That's it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

AFSCME

I went to a Union meeting tonight. Why is it that everytime we get a raise; we have to pay more dues?
We talked about establishing a sick bank for our members.
How much to spend for flowers and donations for deceased family of members?
Should Union stewarts be given a stipend?
Managements reorganization and how this will affect us.
How many of us were thinking of retiring?
It was an interesting meeting, but not many came. The weather may have been a factor. It was and is raining very hard.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

In the Heart of the Sea

Something is bothering me. In the book, In the Heart of the Sea, by Nathaniel Philbrick, a true story about the tragedy of the Whaleship, Essex, there is something disturbing--cannibalism. It's not disturbing because of the cannibalism. That is heinous, enough. No, it is the very humane, even (I dare say), Christian way, they tried to approach the act. They prayed about it. They prayed not to have recourse to it. But they looked upon it as a Christ model of self sacrifice. They ALL agreed to participate. They ALL agreed to offer themselves up so that the others may live. It seemed a very Christian thing to do.
At the end, they chose straws. The one with the short straw was shot. His dead body gave the others life so that they lived to be saved.
...........some people think we Catholics are cannibal-like in eating the Body & Blood of Jesus.
Of course, we're not cannibals eating Jesus. That's not what disturbs me. It's the abomination of cannibalism being compared to acting like Jesus. You can't take a life to save a life.
They didn't always draw straws. Most of the men died, anyway, and they ate the dead.
Another thing--how come they never thought of using the dead as bait, to catch fish. Throwing the dead, overboard would have resulted in the fish eating it, anyway. Right?
Ugh!

Monday, November 3, 2008

St. Martin de Porres

Today is the Feast of St. Martin de Porres. One of my favorite stories about St. Martin is the one where he cut the hair of a friar too short. The friar called him every racial slur he could think of, insulting his intelligence, and whatever else he could think of. The prior happened to over hear and reprimanded the friar, but Martin said he didn't mind, everything the friar said was true. You see Martin had learned to offer up the crosses he met in the day. Every hurtful thing the friar hurled at Martin was used by Martin to bring himself closer to God.
I like the story, but I think with today's references. Martin would have been labeled a "sap." In letting people verbally abuse him he was enabling their abuse. He was not helping them advance on their path to God.
Complicated?
That's the meditation I like.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mother of God Monastery

Mother of God Monastery is the home of Dominican Nuns in W. Springfield, MA. I spent the weekend there to attend a Regional Meeting of the Lay Fraternity of Saint Dominic for Region One. The meeting was interesting. We had an interesting talk on St. Paul by our brother from the Clerical Fraternity of Saint Dominic. Fr. Marc Bergeron, the pastor at St. Ann's in Fall River, MA was the speaker. He spoke of the Letters of St. Paul.
Besides the educational side, we also held elections. We were to elect a new President and secretary. But nothing is that simple. First, I was told that I was unelectable. I could vote but never be elected to anything. It seems that the Provincial Council once voted that nobody from my chapter (Our Lady of Mercy Chapter, MCI Norfolk, MA) could ever be elected. I suppose they were afraid that a murderer from my chapter might be elected to be the President of our Province. How would that look? A murderer as President of the Dominican Laity! Horrors! You better believe I'm going to work to change that law.
The person we elected to be President was our Vice-President. So being elected now meant the Vice President's slot was empty.
So we elected a new Vice President. But that person was our Third Delegate to Provincial Council. Now we need a new Third Delegate.
When it came to voting for Secretary, we had to run through the voting process three time. The winner, the first time declined the office. The winner of the second election, likewise, declined the office. The time was a take. Alleluia!
Our elections make the national election inconsequential!
Because West Springfield is a two hour drive, I made arrangements to stay for the weekend at Mother of God Monastery. Finally, a good silent retreat. I needed it. I reconnected with My Beloved.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dominican Study Group

Tonight the Dominican Study Group met. The discussion was led by Dr. Marina McCoy. Dr. McCoy teaches philosophy at Boston College. Tonight we discussed Nicomachean Ethics. I was "wicked lost." I just don't have the time to read the material that my "cloistered brothers" do. Maybe I should quit the group. I do love it. It's just that I feel that I can't contribute to it.
What would Aristotle do? Since we seek the virtuous good, then I'll stay. I like Aristotle and I can readily see why Aquinas was attracted to his philosophy. "The good of man is an activity of the soul in conformity with excellence or virtue, and if there are several virtues, in conformity with the best and most complete."
Aquinas takes Aristotle and pushes it up a level by applying God as the greatest Good. I like Aquinas better than Augustine. Augustine isn't as happy and optimistic as Aquinas.
See, I am learning. I guess I'll stay in the group. It is a "good."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Death

My very first Spiritual Director introduced me to Carlo Carretto. Once in awhile I reread something of his. In Robert Ellsberg's Selected Writings of Carlo Carretto I was surprised to see that the last twenty pages were about "Death." I didn't remember that. Carretto lists all the reasons why he welcomes death. Tonight that was my mediation.
I welcome death because I'm dying (pun intended) to see Jesus. Will God the Father look like a white bearded old man? How will the Trinity concept be portrayed? How long will I have to stay in Purgatory?
Who do I want to welcome me? That's easy. Fr. Marie Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P. I follow his spirituality, which I define as what you are now is what matters. One's past does not define one. Redemption is possible for all people.
Another thing I definitely want to do is dance all over heaven with St. Jean Vianney. I've wanted to dance with him ever since I read in high school that he wouldn't allow dances in his village. I was shocked. I love to dance. I happen to think that dance can give glory to God. Anyway, I expect to dance in heaven--with a lot of people.
I'd like to see my parents again. I'd like to meet relatives that died before I was born.
Geesh! I can make a list just like Carretto did. My favorite of his is "I love death because it give me back life."
Yes!
Is that just Wicked Awesome"

Monday, October 27, 2008

Eagle Eyes

Today I had my last appointment with the ophthalmologist. Both my eyes had cataract surgery. He said that I don't need to ever see him again, unless I have eye problems. I don't need glasses anymore. I don't have cataracts anymore. And I don't need eye drops anymore.
The first thing in the morning, as I get out of bed, is to reach for my glasses. After all, I've done that ever since I was ten years old. It makes me smile, when I realize that I don't need glasses.
That's a good way to greet the day--with a smile on your face.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dallas

Last night I went to Mass so that I could sleep in this morning. No such luck. We were awakened with "Squeak, squeak, SQUEAK!" Dallas had caught a mouse. Dallas is the cat we inherited when my son, Mark, moved out.
I tried to get Dallas to go outside on the porch, so I could shut the sliding glass door and go back to bed. No such luck.
She dropped it on the kitchen floor. It looked dead. Dick picked it up with a paper towel and placed it outside on the grass. He said he thinks it was still alive, just in shock.
Whatever.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

LOH

By mistake, or God incidence, I opened my LOH this morning to the wrong day. I was reading Wednesday, instead of Saturday. I was just too engrossed in what I was reading (doesn't happen too often, so I went with it.) It was Esther 14: 12, 13, 9; Job 24:23.

King of the saints, all-powerful Lord, give me courage.
--Put the right words into my mouth, that I might
speak wisely.
Give us some time for repentance and do not silence
those who sing your praise, O Lord.
--Put the right...

Oh, how often have I wished I could say something to support the Church, or belief in God, or even words of comfort to someone who need such.
Now I have the words with which to petition Our Lord.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Jon's Birthday

My son-in-law, Jon, is 36, today. We just came from Cheryl and Jon's house. Cheryl, my daughter mad a delicious meal: chicken parmasan, meatballs, pasta, salad, bread, condiments, and wine. The name of the wine was thee blind moose. It wasn't bad, especially after the first glass.
The birthday cake itself was white with white frosting. I had my choice of cookie dough ice cream or reese's peanut butter ice cream. I had it all.
Good thing T.O.P.S. was earlier in the afternoon!

T.O.P.S.

Take Off Pounds Sensibly is a group I belong to. It's not really a diet club; it's more of a support group. We meet every Friday and basically have a good time.
What was funny this week was that when I stepped on the scale, it said that I had gained a pound. So I took off two rings, a bracelet, and my watch. Then the scale read that I had maintained my weight.
If only it was that easy.

Update on Agustin

Ruth called the chaplain. She said that Agustin is innocent and that he should be released in a few days. Whatever it is that put him in the "hole," was bogus.
I'll have to write him snail mail and get the story.
On another note, Paul's father died. I'll have to write to Paul, too.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Agustin

I'm worried about Gus. He's one of my "cloistered brothers", who happens to be in prison. He is a good man who did a bad thing. Yes, good people sometimes do bad things. He has been placed in the infamous "Hole." His unint was search and after the search, Gus was taken to solitary confinement.
Everyone is surprised. He is not the type that this sort of thing happens to. He is a prayful and pious person. We can't imagine what the problem is. He does have a bit of a mouth and is not afraid to write against human rights violations. Perhaps this is an opportunity for the prison administration to settle a score with him. Maybe, a fellow inmate planted something in his cell.
Whatever.......
Please pray for him.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

50 Top Five of Everything

Fr. Philip Neri Powell, O.P. suggested that bloggers list their Top Five of Everything. Here's my contributions.

I am thankful for:
1. My 3 children
2. My husband
3. Fr. Aniello Salicone, s.x.
4. St. Stephen's Priory
5. Spiritual Direction

Glad I didn't
1. Enter the convent
2. Marry Peter
3. Become a drunk
4. " " smoker
5. " " drug addict

Favorite Foods
1. Maine lobster
2. Fried clams
3. Garden salads
4. Avocado
5. Ice cream

Favorite Prayers
1. Jesus Prayer
2. Our Father
3. Hail Mary
4. Salve Regina
5. Fr. Lataste's Prayer

Wish I Did
1. Learn Lituanian from Mom
2. Learn French from my Grandmother
3. Went into the medical field
4. Never stopped writing poetry
5. Learn to play piano

Wish I Could
1. Pray better
2. Love the Rosary
3. Help people more
4. Go to the Holy Land
5. Speak another language

Five Favorite Books
1. St. Catherine of Siena by Fr. Thomas McDermott, O.P.
2. Hope Beyond Hope by Sr. Emmanuelle-Marie, O.P.
3. Changing Habits by Mr. Robert Curtis, O.P.L.
4. Poetry As Prayer series put out by Pauline Books
5. My Love: A Prayer Journal by Fr. Andrew Greeley

Five Pople I Want to Meet In Heaven
1. Fr. M. Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P.
2. Dance with Jean Vianney
3. Little Rose Ferron
4. St. Catherine of Siena
5. St. Dominic

Five Favorite Poets
1. Charles Peguy
2. Fr. Ernesto Cardenal
3. Mary Oliver
4. Steve Kowit
5. Robert Curtis

Five Movies that Impressed Me
1. The Passion of Jesus Christ
2. The Great Silence
3. The Devil Comes on Horseback
4. How to Make an American Quilt
5. Gone with the Wind

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Standing Pilates

This is my third class in Standing Pilates. I am getting better. And I don't practice, at all, in between classes. I think I'll try to remember to practice. It's easier than most exercise classes, certainly easier than the killer Zumba class I'm taking. You can do them while waiting for something to cook in the microwave, or the kettle to boil, or while talking on the phone--you get the idea. The idea is to keep the core part of your body still--firm, while you do balance type movements. I picture it as pulling my belly button all the way to my spine. It's great exercise for the lower back. This type of movement strengthens your core. The result should be a stronger back, better posture, firmer abdomen and just overall better. What's funny is that I always feel taller, after class.

Monday, October 20, 2008

PPC

PPC is Parish Pastoral Council. I've just come back from my parish's. It was a good meeting. We were talking about working on certain projects. I signed up to be on two committees--The Liturgy Committee and the Web Site. I'm interested in liturgy that's why I'm on that group. And I'd like to learn more about how to do a web site. I do do Our Lady of Mercy Chapter Web Site, but that's a google site; just like this is a google blog. IOW, it's easy. I'd like to know how to set up a site myself, design and maintain it.
Well, we'll see what becomes of it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Arise Together With Christ

Tonight was my first meeting with my Arise group. I had one more person than expected. So there were eight of us. It went well. I ended sooner than expected. Everyone seemed happy about it.
We discussed the story of Jesus and the paralytic, Mark 2: 1-12. Some of us were the paralytic, some the friends, some were even the crowd and no one was Jesus. What I thought was interesting was that while we thought we were friends at times, and would willing bring people to Jesus, we would never push our way to the front of the line, and certainly not presume to take apart the roof and get to Jesus that way. That's too nervy. We also wondered why Jesus didn't reprimand them. "The first shall be last, and the last first..." or something like that.
But that's not the point, is it?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Day With Mary

What a busy day! This morning, a couple of friends and myself went down to the Priory at Providence College for A Day with Mary. Two Dominican Laity Groups sponsored the event. We prayed, sang, had a talk by Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P.. He was very good. He explained Marian Dogma by going through the Hail Mary. He also touched on abortion and euthanasia--well he is an ethicist/biologist. He made the picture whole.
Naturally we prayed the Rosary. Father celebrated Mass and then we ate lunch there. It was a very good morning.
Later, I Lectored at the 7:00 PM Mass. After Mass I went over to the Parish Appreciation Night. We ate and socialized. Now I'm exhausted.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Library Book Sale

My town's library has a book sale twice a year. Tonight in four hours we made $ 3500.00. I volunteered to help out. I also had first crack at the books. I went for religion and poetry. Some people bought boxes worth of books. Hardcover books are $ 1.00 and softcovers are $.50. I think some people went for old books just to resell them on ebay or craig's list. It was fun but tiring.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Zumba

Lord have mercy. I'm really too old for this. Today, I had my first Zumba class. It turns out that Zumba is aerobics to Latin music. I'm surprised that I'm just as good as everyone else. I'm also surprised that some people just didn't drop--especially the heavy ones.
We began so fast. There was no easing into it. Bang! We were moving fast, wiggling, gyrating, and anything else the body can do.
Next week I'm wearing shorts, head band, sports bra, and bringing a towel.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Abortion

Something happened to me today that rendered me speechless. I was talking to a co-worker about someone who had a child with Down's Syndrome. She went into a rant. She talked so emphatically, so fast, and with such conviction that I didn't respond. I couldn't. I have never encountered anybody who openly promoted murder on innocent babies. She actually believes that if there is anything wrong detected in the womb, it should be fixed. If it can't then it is an unfortunate fact of life but life is for the mentally and physically fit. She believes this because of the tax money that is spent on special education. It's her hard earned tax dollars that are used to support the handicapped.
I was shocked into silence. I won't allow this to happen to me again; I'm going to do some research and have some ready responses to rebut her arguements.
It is important to remember, however, that this person comes from a different culture--one that aborts more than one child.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Speakers

A friend criticized my criticism. I happen to think that homilists, retreat masters, presenters and speakers should be entertaining. What's wrong with that? She said somethimes people are there to learn and not be entertained. But why can't it be both?
Personally, IMHO, teachers, priests, ministers, and lawyers make terrible speakers. They are so use to speaking in front of a captive audience, that they just talk--no presentation tricks. To have a successful speaker you have to get an entertainer. Someone whose profession is to hold an audience.
Don't you agree?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Magnificat's Pilgrimage of Hope

It was the experience of a life time. I feel spiritually lifted. I learned about the concept of Christian hope and to read scripture like a Catholic. I met more Dominicans than angels on the head of a pin. I ate like a queen. I heard music like angelic choirs of nine dimensions. I met new friends to send Christmas cards too.
I learned that Logan airport is the next exit too close to Boston Convention Center. Yeah, I found myself at the airport. No big deal. I just went out the departure exit. I lost my pocketbook and found it right where I found it. Evidently pilgrims aren't thieves.
What can I say?
I thank God for this gift.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Waiting

I just blitz cleaned the house. I have three people sleeping over. We are all pilgrims on our way to Magnificat's Pilgrimage of Hope. I thought I did a pretty good job until I just looked at the closet doors. Ugh! They're louvered. I can't remember the last time I dusted each slat. Years and years, ago! Oh well, I'm too tired to do it now. Besides, my digestive system feels funny. I have Cronkhite Canada disease and I don't want a flare up. It's caused by stress and I think obsessing about dusting the slats in louvered doors qualifies as stress.
Tomorrow and Sunday we go to Magnificat's Pilgrimage. I hope I make it. Lord, calm and heal my digestive system. I would like to go closer to You through this pilgrimage. As is Your will, My Love.
There's a Plenary Indulgence attached to going to this Pilgrimage. I should prepare for Confession.
I probably won't have time to post my impressioins, until it's over. But I will--God willing.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Honorary Bostonian

Okay......I've been trying to tell you about this for two days, now. I was reading Boston Magazine www.bostonmagazine.com/issues/in_this_issue.html
This issue is October 2008. The cover story is about envy/how great Boston's places are. The lead quote is from St. Thomas Aquinas, "Charity rejoices in our neighbor's good, while envy grieves over it."
ROFLOL! The last thing a contemplative would do, would frequent the places Boston Magazine refers to.
I'd love to think of the Angelic Doctor in Boston. Where would he fit? MIT, Harvard?
Last night when I tried to write something about this esteemed Bostonian, everything disappeared when I hit "Post." So I'm making a point to Ctrl+C before I Post.
This may be my last post until Monday. I'm going on Magnificat's Pilgrimage of Hope.
www.pilgrimageofhope.com I have three people sleeping over, and four people traveling with me, and ten people to rendevous with. I'll have a lot on my mind, not blogging--that's for sure.
All for the glory of God.

Figures!

Last night, I spent the time to post about Boston Magazine quoting Thomas Aquinas and the whole damn thing disappeared when I hit "Post." Everything was lost. So as you can see, I just tested the waters here and it worked. Figures--I don't have time to write anything now.
Catch you later.

Bostonian Aquinas

This is just a test.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pilates

Tonight I started a class in Standing Pilates. It's hard. Very Hard! I'm sore already. I have absolutely no balance. I must hold all my stress in my shoulders because they ache. We were just standing there and gently moving, but I was sweating. What gives?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Lost and Found

The Suitcase Man has been found. He's been home sick for a week. Although, his landlady said she went into his apartment and he wasn't there. He says that he must have been asleep.
I still don't trust the Housing Authority. This is not the end. Watch. Somehow this will be used as an excuse to evict Jim.
He always did need prayers, now and forever.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Retreat

It was great, but a casual observer would probably raise his eyebrows over my descriptions. Everyone except Louise and I knew each other. They all come from the same region: PA, NY, NJ and Conn. They hadn't seen each other since last year, so they had a lot of catching up to do. Louise and I were new, so we had a lot of getting acquainted to do. IOW, forget the "silent" in this silent retreat. Each day ended with a social, which meant a lot of wine drinking. I couldn't believe the bottles of wine they polished off!
Praying was intense. I guess you could say they played hard and prayed hard. Saturday we prayed all four mysteries of the Rosary, by the end of the day. LOH was prayed, and of course Mass. There was time for Adoration, and Confession, too.
The retreat Master was Fr. Lawrence Donohoo, O.P. His theme was "Knowing and Loving" God. He is in the process of writing a book on his 21 ways of loving God -- or something like that. I could relate to his theme because as my eye is healing, I am seeing more and more, which I likened to knowing God's creation more and more, leading me to loving Him more and more.
Coming home, Louise and I were assessing our feelings about the retreat. We concluded that never mind the spiritual aspect, the community aspect gave us such a shot in the arm that our spirituality was deepened, our vocation was rejuvenated, and our faith was deepened. What more do you want?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Villa of Our Lady Retreat House

I'm waiting for Lousie to pick me up. Having just had eye surgery, I'm not that crazy to drive over five hours to the retreat house. I'm very anxious to meet my fellow Lay Dominicans, there, especially Helen. We've emailed and chatted on the telephone for almost two years.
And I'm looking forward to relaxing with Jesus. We haven't had concentrated time together since vacation. Chilling with Jesus, that's what retreat is all about.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Anticipation

My eye is doing very well. The doctor took the patch off today.
I'm starting to pack for retreat. It's a weekend retreat at Mount Pocono, PA. I just looked up the local weather and it said 46 degrees. Brrrrrr! I'll make sure I pack warm pajamas.
The "Suitcase Man" is still missing. I found out that he used his "food stamp" charge card on Sept. 25th. But that doesn't mean that he was the one who used it.
My Love, I lift Jim up to You. I trust You to do what's best. Amen

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Suit Case Man is Missing

Jim, a/k/a the "Suitcase Man" has been reported missing. He's a "poor soul." I don't know how to describe him. Let's say that his cognitive ability is not normal. He walks all over carrying a suitcase. It's like his pocketbook. Inside is "stuff" he might need. Jerks sometime push him around, insult him, and he's even been "rolled".
I met him when I use to work for Human Services. He was one of our clients. When the department was eliminated, I still helped him. I'd help him fill out forms: fuel assistance, medicare, disability, transportation, etc. I'd bring him to the welfare office, St. Vicent de Paul's store, to pay his rent. He lived in subsidized housing. I helped him as much as I could until I got very sick a couple of years ago. That was a sign to me to slow down. I just couldn't help him anymore when I was coping with trying to help myself. All I can do now is pray for him.
His land lady from the Housing Authority telephoned me to tell me that she reported him missing. No one has seen him lately. Everyone keeps an eye out for him. The police haven't seen him around, nor the bus drivers, or train conductors. The land lady went inside him apartment and it didn't look like he'd been there for days.
I'm fearful that he might be ill, or worse. I also don't trust the Housing Authority. Poor Jim also has compulsive hoarding disorder. The authorities have been trying to get him out for years. I admit he is a fire hazard. But they don't find him any place else for him to live. He'd be homeless. He was homeless before, but he's in his 70's, now. He refuses to go into a nursing home. He just doesn't understand. Part of me thinks, that he isn't missing; the Housing is just looking for an excuse to take his apartment.
Sigh...............all I can do is pray.
I wrote a poem about Jim.

Sometimes I see him in the Common,
Sometimes he appears on the "T,"

It's Jim, the Suitcase man,
My friend who calls me an angel.

He's walked the day; God knows where!
Traveling for hope, looking for love.

He's talking to invisible people.
But they're nicer than most.

Head down, one foot in front of the other.
Plod, plod, plod along..........my friend.


"You are the God of the lowly, the helper of the oppressed, the supporter of the weak, the protector of the forsaken, the savior of those without hope." Judith 9:

Cataract Surgery

I'm back from my second cataract surgery. It went well. I'm very pleased. I was worried that the doctor wouldn't do it because my blood pressure was too high. When they took my blood pressure 144/78 the nurse just recorded it, not saying anything. So I didn't say anything. After the surgery, I was getting dressed and chatting with the nurse. I mentioned that I was worried about my blood pressure. She told me that during surgery something is fed through my IV to keep my blood pressure down.
Hrmph! I worried for nothing.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pleasantly Surprised

We in the parish of St. Mary's have been working very hard organizing groups for the Arise Together with Christ program. I thought we were finished. The group leaders are calling their members, this week. Well, one of the leaders found that one of her people had been waiting to get a call about her being a leader because she already has a group formed.
It turns out that she and her husband have been meeting informally, for quite awhile, with four other couples, to faith share. !!!!!!!! Yes, that's right. This neighborhood has been meeting, on its own!
Do you believe that?
I find it hard to believe. Praise God! 10 people get together with no urging, no priest, no formal training; and instead of playing cards, watch sports, have dinner, they read the Bible. What world is this? I still find it hard to believe.
Thank you Lord for the blessing of finding God-loving people. I believe, I guess.....Lord help my unbelief.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

10 Commandments for Christian Bloggers

Here is a story from The Telegraph in the UK:
Bloggers given new Ten Commandments by church leaders. Christian bloggers have been given a new set of ‘Ten Commandments’ aimed at delivering them from the temptations of online arguments. By Alastair Jamieson Ten Commandments for Christian bloggers: No. 3 You shall not misuse your screen name by using your anonymity to sin The guidelines have been drawn up at a conference in London by the Evangelical Alliance in response to concern at how religious blogs can quickly descend into vitriol. The commandments, based on those delivered to Moses by God at the top of Mount Sinai, order bloggers not to "make an idol" of their web space, not to misuse their screen name by using anonymity to sin and to remember the Sabbath by taking one day off a week from blogging. They also order: "You shall not use the web to commit or permit adultery in your mind. "The Evangelical Alliance is an umbrella group founded in that represents thousands of churches of most denominations nationwide. Bloggers are commanded to honour their fellow bloggers and not to get too upset by their mistakes. They shall not murder the reputation of another blogger, shall not give false testimony against a fellow blogger and shall not steal the blog content of another. Bloggers are also told to be content with their own creation and not to covet their neighbour’s blog ranking. Many thousands of blogs have sprung up in the past few years, offering easy access to online opinion forums to any user of the internet. The "instant access" nature of most blogs means people posting comments often do so in the heat of passion and rarely stop to reflect, as they would if giving a lecture or writing a letter. The result can be intemperate and sometimes foul language aimed at either the author of the blog or other contributors. Krish Kandiah, executive director of Churches in Mission, said: "These commandments are virtual rather than set in stone, but are offered to the blogging community as a way to link the Ten Commandments with the art of blogging. "In the ever-changing information age, what we need is wisdom for life, and God communicates wisdom to our culture through the Bible on every issue from social justice to social networking. "Mark Meynell, senior associate minister for All Souls Church, Langham Place, London, said: "The internet is merely the latest step in the evolution of human communication – and so like any other new medium, it presents us with huge opportunities as well as challenges."It is essential that Christians make the most of it because we believe we have good news that is as relevant to those in cyberspace as it is for those in real space."

Ten commandments for bloggers:

1 You shall not put your blog before your integrity
2 You shall not make an idol of your blog
3 You shall not misuse your screen name by using your anonymity to sin
4 Remember the Sabbath day by taking one day off a week from your blog
5 Honour your fellow-bloggers above yourselves and do not give undue significance to their mistakes
6 You shall not murder someone else’s honour, reputation or feelings
7 You shall not use the web to commit or permit adultery in your mind
8 You shall not steal another person’s content
9 You shall not give false testimony against your fellow-blogger
10 You shall not covet your neighbour’s blog ranking. Be content with your own content.

Ooops. Am I committing a sin against # 8, by putting up the Telegraph's Blogger Commandments?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Faith

My spiritual director advises that when I have doubts, or question an article of faith, until I am certain of my position, then I should just follow the Church's teachings. This has always given me an uneasy feeling. Then recently I read in chapter 15 of Merton's New Seeds of Contemplation, edited by Sue Monk Kidd, that the definition of "faith" has the word doubt in it. IOW, "faith" includes doubt. It is necessary to have doubt to say that you have "faith." Let me quote exactly:

You cannot be a man of faith unless you know how to doubt...Faith is a
decision, a judgment that is fully and deliberately taken in the light of a truth
that cannot be proven. It is not merely the acceptance of a decision that has been made by somebody else.
A "FAITH" that merely confirms us in opinionatedness and
self-complacency may well be an expression of theological doubt. True faith is never merely a source of spiritual comfort. It may bring peace, but before it does so it
must involveus in struggle. a "faith" that avoids this struggle is really a temptation
against true faith.

Well! Well said, and just what I needed. I still have questions and doubts, but I don't want to. So I consciously choose to believe. This is "FAITH."



And according to Merton, the best kind of "faith."

It always bothered me that I had these doubts and also the name, Faith. It didn't seem right. I even felt hypocritical. But now, I'm proud of my doubts. To me, it proves that since I deliberately have chosen to believe, in spite of the doubts, that indeed, I do have faith.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Praying

This morning I'm in a prayful mood. I'm requesting prayers for the Catholics in the state of India and Vietnam. There are major persecutions going on in those countries and they're definitely being under reported in the media.
I also feel moved to pray Fr. M. Jean Joseph Lataste, O.P. prayer.

Prayer of Fr. Lataste

Oh my Jesus, I want to love You.
Give Yourself to me and grant
that I may give myself to You.
Make me one with You.
May my will be Yours.
Unite me to You so that I may
live only in and for You.
Grant that I may spend for You
all that I have received from You,
keeping nothing for myself.
May I die to all for You, and bring
other to You. Oh my Jesus, many
others. Amen

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Meditation

The other day I was visiting the "cloistered brothers" in prison and I noticed someone missing. It was Rosie. Rosie is a beautiful golden labrador retriever. This prison has some sort of arrangement whereby some of the inmates train dogs to be service dogs to the blind, handicapped, etc. I had often seen Rosie and her trainer.
Rosie would do anything I asked--anything anyone would ask. And therein lies the problem.
Rosie flunked her service test. She was obeying an order when someone else gave her another. She obeyed the second, which was not from her trainer.
Poor Rosie.
In explaining this story to me, one of my brothers said, " You know, it's like when you've been in too many foster homes. You don't know which authority figure to obey. You know?"
Actually..........no...............I don't.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Aim

Do you remember who was the best supporting actor, last year? Who won the Nobel, this year? How about, name a teacher that left an impression on you? Can you name your best friend in high school?
How come you can remember so long ago, and you can't remember last year?
It's not because we are old; it's because we remember what has touched our hearts. We remember the names of people who have been important to us.
This is what I want my poetry to do--touch people. I want to not only leave an impression, but also stir my reader into wanting to be a better person. I definitely try to accomplish this with my social/political/religious poetry. I usually am not moved to write a poem about the sun dying. I am very moved about people dying. I can't do anything about people dying; that's why I write about it--to at least get others involved, to educate them, to enlighten and inspire. Message, along with metaphor and meter trump all else. That's my aim.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Thinking out Loud

Am I sorry I started this bolg? Mmmmmmm. The jury's still out on that one. I wanted some kind of journal. Something to look back and see if I can tell what direction I'm on. Rob said to write at least two poems, a week. I can't even write one. I'm trying to organize my thoughts, first.
In today's mail came my medal and certificate from the OPrize for Poetry. It took a long time to get here, since it was mailed Parcel Post. I wonder if my cloistered brothers got there's. Next year, I can't enter, but I'll still write some poetry for it.
I don't think I can stop writing. It's how I think. It's me.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Window into Darfur
or a
Study of Complacency


Ann’s retirement home was idyllic:
water view, temperate climate, close to nature.
Stories of deer crossing through and salt licks,
cohogging, bass fishing, trapping lobsters,
and a tale of predator and prey that'll
always walk inside and around my head.

She tells of putting up a bird feeder
placed high on the large dining room window.
Clever arrangement, don't you think, to watch
and dine and let nature entertain?
Sparrows would gently land and peck at seeds.
First one, then two and more would come to feast.

A veritable convention! !
A union meeting of laborers A. F. B. U.
Amalgamated Feather Bearers' Union.
Noisy, all clamoring for position.
It made her laugh, such raucous behavior.
No Roberts Rules ruled here, just pure chaos.

Soon, the sparrows that came often became
individuals with familiar markings.
There was Bossy Bertha and Tiny Tim...
you get the idea; they became pets.
It became a study of comparison
between us and them--skin and feathers.

But in the Garden of Eden, roamed
an insidious serpent. Ann’s didn’t crawl
on its belly, rather it flew from high
and swooped down swiftly snatching smaller prey.
Hawks! Yes, hawks invaded Ann's domain.
A veritable feast for predators.

Imagine the dining table that night-
conversation stopped with a thud.
A thud on the window and a red
feathered smear dripping down into steamers and broth.
What the hell? Yes, what the hell. What the hell!
The sparrows were gone, scattered in a shriek. .


But sparrows have short memories and came back.
Only to be snatched up in grasping talons
and smashed against the idyllic opening.
The water view, the temperate clime so close
to nature, too close, too much nature.
Naiveté lured the innocent.

What started with such promise, a good idea;
even a mutual beneficial deal:
people provide food, and birds entertain,
ended with a twist from Mother Nature.
A cruel lesson on human interference:
an indictment of indifference.

That’s just like the janjaweed,*
who swooped down on the farmers,
killing, raping, looting a path;
shocking complacent diners who
are repulsed, but turn a blind eye and
yawn indifference and shrug helplessly.

After all, only the strong survive.
Ethnic cleansing is an exaggeration.
Genocide’s not possible, states the UN.
What can one do against hawks, or
devils riding on horseback, leaving
trails of dripping blood and feathers?


*janjaweed—an Arabic colloquialism of the words, “devil” and “horse”.
Winner of the OPrize for poetry. See Preacher Poets, 2008, ed.
Mr. Robert Curtis, O.P. www.lulu.com

Poetry, Psalms, and Prayers

Seacoast Boulevard
My prayer place is at the very end,
where steps of stone just fade away
into eternal depths of sea and sun.
Sailboats reverence, bow, and genuflect.
The nun buoys bob and ring, antiphonally.
The wind intones a canticle, a psalm.
and I announce the glory due today.
First published in Ruah, Vol. XVI 2006,
Power of Poetry--A Celebration
Berkeley, CA