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Showing posts from March, 2009

Courage and Chastity

Marina led the discussion in Chapter, today. We prepared by reading Timothy Radcliffe's What is the Point of Being a Christian?, chapters 4 & 5.

Chapter 4: "Do Not Be Afraid" was the one we spent most time on. My brothers liked to tell their stories of courage. It is hard to belong to a religious order in their environment. It takes courage. It takes courage to walk over to the outcasts of their society and risk being labeled as one of them: pedophiles, homosexuals, snitches, etc. Just being Catholic takes courage because some of the people stay away from Catholics (the faithful ones that attend Mass)just because the say our church is full of pedophiles. And there they are, the "great sinners" kneeling there before the altar. So does sitting next to them in the pew and praying with them, label one as one of them. Some think so. It does take courage to be a Catholic.

Chapter 5: "The Body Electric" is about chastity. Actually, it's about honesty.…

Poetry as Prayer

My way of praying with poetry is not really unique. I do lectio divina this way, also. This is what I do:

I look to see if I'm drawn into the poem.
What is especially striking?
Does it help me understand God better, or the world, or myself?
What mood is the poem and what mood does it draw me into?
What are the metaphors? What do they say to me?
What is the tone?
Is the voice of the poem helping me identify with the poet, or what he is saying?
Do I really understand what the poem is saying?

Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess what is seen during a moment. ---Carl Sandburg

Facebook and eons.com

Social networking like Facebook.com is more than just fun. It's a way to meet new friends who share your interests. You form a community with people you would never have had a chance to meet because this is the internet, after all.

What I get a kick of, is how some people use FB. Instead of discussing a topic or introducing one, they give you a run on commentary on their activites: "I'm sitting in traffic listening to the radio while I'm texting to my FB account on my Blackberry." I don't think that's what FB is for. Yeah, people do use it for that but I see that fading out. More and more you'll see people put in something that interests them. Then we can comment on it and maybe a discussion will ensue.

I've also just joined "eons.com" but haven't gotten on yet. I have to wait for confirmation. Eons.com is for boomers, old farts like me. It doesn't look like that much fun, but wait till I get on.

Facing History & Ourselves Part II

This time my Dominican Study Group worked on identity. Doc Miller said that Duff's comment on "seeing God's image in each person" echoed within him all week. The rest of the night's discussion pivoted around this phrase. We looked at two gospel stories that related God's affect on people.

The story of the good Samaritan exemplifies Christian behavior. The wounded man is Christ calling out. The Samaritan is Christ saving man. The two religious passer-bys are people who are thinking of themselves and not others.

Zacchaeus, the tax collector was the other story. His behavioral turn around was not lost on my "cloistered brothers." People's perception of Zacchaeus was that of a crook. Once meeting Jesus, however, Zacchaeus wants to be like Jesus. Jesus' influence was that strong.

The entire session, I kept thinking of two books: Timothy B. Tyson's Blood Done Sign My Name and Timothy Radcliffe, op, What is the Point of Being Christian?. "B…

Grill the Prez

President Obama is 'Open for Questions' Online
White House Launches Online Town Hall for Americans to Grill Prez
By KAREN TRAVERS
March 25, 2009

President Obama is 'Open for Questions' Online
On Thursday you can ask him directly when Obama takes questions from the public in an online town hall-style forum on the White House's Web site, www.whitehouse.gov. The Obama campaign used the internet more effectively than any other campaign in history, so it comes as no surprise that they would continue that cyber outreach from the White House.

They are deeming this forum an "experiment" where Americans can send questions and vote for the submissions they like.

An administration official will moderate the event and pose the most popular questions submitted on the Web site to the president.

In addition the president will take questions from the audience in the room and will field questions from YouTube submissions which will be played back on a monitor in the room. …

DFL Democrat of the Week: Jim Oberstar

From the Democrats For Life Site:

PRO-LIFE DEMOCRAT OF THE WEEK: CONG. JIM OBERSTAR

U.S. Congressman Jim Oberstar (DFL-MN) has been a friend and ally to the pro-life community for his entire career in elected office in the United States House of Representatives. He founded the bi-partisan House Pro-life Cacus with Congressman Henry Hyde in 1976. The National Right to Life Committee rates Congressman Oberstar with 100% approval rating on all pro-life issues he voted on in the U.S. House.

He is currently also co-sponsoring the Pregnant Woman's Support Act in the U.S. House. Congressman Oberstar has always been a trusted ally of DFLA. In the U.S. House, Oberstar has used his experience and Minnesota common sense to build a consensus on quality of life issues. Also, his constituents think he is doing a good job as well. Since his first election in 1974, he has earned only less than 60% of the vote in one election, in 1992. That year, he garnered a mere 59%! Click here to learn more a…

Obama at Notre Dame

The controversy over Notre Dame inviting President Barack Obama has me wondering--again. I don't think walking out, taking back invitations, etc. are the best methods to handle situations like this. I also think maybe it's personality differences that dictate how one approaches situations. I'm thinking of how people are perceived and the good that will result.

Look at Bishop D'Arcy refusal to attend Notre Dame's graduation ceremonies, as he explicitly has stated, he sees his attendance as an acceptance of the President's abortion position. Well, I don't think so. Everyone knows Bishop D'Arcy stance. No one could accuse him of being pro abortion.

My approach would be to attend Notre Dame's graduation and have the President walk into a pro-life set-up. Everyone would talk on abortion. What a teachable moment! Use it. Since the media would be covering the event heavily (it's the Pres, after all)abortion and its evils would be broadcast over the air …

Why Catholics Have More Fun

This morning was St. Mary's Women's Club annual Laetare Breakfast. It was excellent. The pastor, Fr. Dave celebrated Mass for us. After Mass, we went to Rossi's in Millis for the breakfast. It is a beautiful atmosphere for a restaurant. It's a converted old beautiful Victorian home. The food was exquisite. You name it, they had it: eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, fish, salmon, pork, toast, muffins, bagels, fruit, vegetables, etc. We certainly had our money's worth.

Our guest speaker was Dr. Ernie Collamati, the Chairman of the Religious Studies Department at Regis College in Weston, MA. He is quite the entertainer. I bet his students love him. He's so funny; I'm still laughing.

His topic was "Why Catholics Have more Fun or Ought to." He involved the audience in his talk. For example, he asked us what Catholic objects we had in our homes, and then he explained why.

One thing gave me pause, however. I told everyone about my holy water fo…

Resurrection Cookies

A cook, I'm not. I'll be the first to admit it. I tend to let food burn because my nose is in a book. My family jokes that when the smoke alarm goes off, supper's ready.

Well, on my other blog, http://arisestmarysparish.blogspot.com I have a recipe for these Easter cookies that I called Resurrection Cookies. I made them today. They didn't come out as planned. They're suppose to be little dollops of whipped peaks and tomorrow when you bite into them, they should be hollow or empty, like Jesus' tomb.

The cookies were peaks until I added sugar. Where did I go wrong? Now they're flat cookies.

They still might taste decent.

Crucifix

I have a really old crucifix that belonged to either my grandmother, or her sister, my great aunt. It's about a foot tall and black. The corpus is metal. The left hand if broken off its nail. I have to snap it back into place. Also, when you pick it up, you get stabbed. It looks like the nail fell out, and it was replaced with a nail that is too long, so it was bent down. That's it--a nail point that stabs you when you pick it up.

For some reason, I love this crucifix. The face on the cross is very tiny but full of expression. It's strange because the features are very crude: basically slits for eyes and there's a regular nose, but the mouth is "0" shaped. Put together, it's full of agony.

Somehow, I think it fitting that I have to put that hand back on its nail. I also think it very meaningful to get stabbed by one of Jesus' nails. This crucifix is a great aid for meditation.

Making Rosaries

I finally finished making my daughter Karen's wedding Rosary. This had better be a family heirloom--it took me long enough. Cost enough too! It is beautiful. The beads are cyrstal, the center medallian has two wedding rings entwined together, and the crucifix has Karen's name engraved on it.
Making rosaries is fun. I like fixing them, too, because usually the only thing wrong with them is that the link has opened. All I need to do is get my needle nose pliers and close the link. People are so grateful; you'd think I performed a miracle.

Sr. Damian, o.c.s.o.

This morning's Mass at Mt. St. Mary's Abbey was postponed because Sr. Damian died, yesterday. It was a blessing because she had been suffering physically for a couple of years. Now she's free of pain.

I've been meditating on death and suffering all day. Then I read the following:
"Cindy Winters eulogizes her husband, Rev. Fred Winters, who was shot dead in his church while delivering his Sunday sermon, at his funeral, at First Baptist Church in Maryville, Ill., Friday March 13, 2009. "On Sunday, my husband did not die .... He just simply got a promotion," Cindy Winters said in her eulogy."

Don't you love her "...my husband did not die...He just simply got a promotion."

May God have mercy on their souls and on the souls of those who have no one to pray for them.

Conscience Protections Rule

The US Dept. of Health and Human Services is accepting comments until April 9th on its move to rescind a Bush administration regulation giving federal protection to the conscience rights of health care providers.

The Dept. is looking for comments on four specific aspects of the regulations

(1) The nature of the problems giving rise to the federal rule, including examples (be specific) and how the current rule would resolve the problems.

(2) Information, with examples again, to support or refute allegations the the rule "reduces access to info and health care services, particularly by low-income women."

(3) Is the rule understandable?

(4) Could the objectives of the rule be accomplished through other means, such as education?

Planned Parenthood has files suit against the regulations of the past administration and is trying to rescind them. PP has said that rescinding the regulation would restore "the rights of patients to receive complete and accurate reproductive health …

God's Will

Everything just fell into place today, for my friend Rich. At 11:00 AM, he emailed me from NY saying he was going on retreat in Pembroke, MA. He was free tonight and Sunday afternoon. Was there anything LFSD going on?

I waited for another friend, Raimondo, to come home from work, and called him. He lives not too far from Pembroke. I gave Raimondo, Rich's cell phone #. Then I stepped back.

Raimondo telephoned Rich. Soon after Rich was eating supper at Raimondo's.

Also, Sunday, Rich is attending Raimondo's pro-chapter's meeting.

If it's meant to be, nothing can stop it.

Amazing. Wicked awesome!

Facing History & Ourselves

My Dominican Study group is having a very interesting workshop. We have two facilitators leading us in a program called, "Facing History and Ourselves." The leaders are teachers: Doc Miller, and Steve Pope.

Tonight we talked about "Identity." We began with reading a children's book, "The Bear that Wasn't," by Frank Tashlin. Simply put, the story is about a bear who hibernates in the winter, while a factory is built above. When he wakes up, he's in the middle of the factory. The foreman yells at him to get back to work. The bear tries to explain that he's a bear and not a man working in the factory. The foreman calls him a "silly man who needs a shave."

The foreman takes the bear to his supervisor, the manager. The manager, likewise thinks the bear is a "silly man who needs a shave." The manager takes the bear to the vice president who also calls the bear a "silly man who needs a shave." And this sce…

Book Club

Book club was a very small group, tonight. There were only 5 of us. Which turned out fine because that made all the wine and food for us. We discussed Mary Oliver's Blue Iris. Mary Oliver is the group's favorite poet. We read some of our favorite poems. I was surprised to find out that I understood a poem better, when I heard it read.

Our hostess, Cindy had some different food: stuffed grape leaves, cucumber dishes, different dips and home made pita bread. The wine was a Chardonnay--very light. Afterwards, we had tea and desserts. The desserts were made by a former bakery chef, from Mike's in Boston. Mmmm.

Next month, it's my turn.

Chapter Community Meeting

Our Lady of Mercy Chapter had a community meeting, today. It was an excellent example of personal interaction. I mean that in a good way. Differences were put out in the open and addressed or at least a process was set in motion to address them.

Over and over it was stressed that each one of us was important. Each person was to be listened to. If my former chapter had run their community meetings like this, the history of the chapters in this area would be very different. There probably would not have been any need to leave or break away from that chapter. No one is more important than another. The council serves the community, not the council mandates orders to the community. The president of the council serves the community, which is very unlike some chapters. Some chapters have their president as a despot.

I just love my chapter. It's what a LFSD chapter should be. It's the best.

Spiritual Direction

Fr. Ted and I were talking about retreats and spiritual direction, in the sacristry, tonight. We both like Cistercian retreats. We like the contempletive atmosphere and the nuns and monks. We laughed because we're both going on retreat at the same time, but Fr. Ted is going to the nuns at Mt. St. Mary's Abby and I'm going to the monks at St. Joseph's Abby.

I told Fr. Ted about my Spiritual Director, Fr. Aquinas, who is now at St. Joseph's Abby. I hooked up with Fr. Aquinas via the nuns. I was looking for one of the sisters to be my spiritual director, and Fr. Aquinas offered his services. AQ said that he would make a better SD than any of the nuns because men complement women and vice versa. IOW, women should be spiritual directors to men, and men should be spiritual directors to women. God created us that way--to complement each other.

Fr. Ted agreed.

I, however, am not so sure. I just think that women are naturally better spiritual directors. As Margaret Guenther sa…

Save Darfur

On Wednesday, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President al-Bashir. In response, Bashir has launched a crack down on humanitarian aid organizations,reportedly ordering a dozen major aid operations to leave Sudan.

The U.S. must lead an urgent, intense and sustained diplomatic push to ensure the continued flow of humanitarian aid and end the genocide in Darfur. As the U.S.'s top diplomat, Secretary of State Clinton must speak out now. Please click below and tell Secretary Clinton to make the potential catastrophe in Darfur her immediate priority TODAY.

Please click the link below to join me and send your own letter today. Lives are at stake.http://action.savedarfur.org/campaign/iccclinton

Emma Forbes Cary

The Boston Pilot has a little section that highlights "Figures in Our Catholic History." Emma Forbes Cary was featured in this week's edition, February 27, 2009. In introducing this remarkable woman, foundress of Radcliffe, and a Yankee convert, they happened to mention that "Emma Cary was one of the scores of 'Yankee converts' of the late 19th century in Boston." This is what interested me; the fact that so many famous Yankee names converted. Among those mentioned are: Hawthorne, Longfellow, Whittier, Bancroft, Webster, Dana, Winthrop, Quincy, and James. Wow! Illustrious.

Hawthorne must be referring to Rose Hawthorne who founded the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne. They dedicate their lives to taking care of cancer patients who can't afford medical care.

Interesting.

Montana Abolishes the Death Penalty

Good News. From (Zenit.org).- A Montana state Senate decision to abolish the death penalty was marked in Rome on Monday -- the Colosseum was lit up to celebrate another step toward the end of capital punishment.

The Senate's decision last month still has to pass through the state's House of Representatives and be signed by the governor to become law.

If Montana abolishes the death penalty, it will be the third state to stop the procedure, following New York and New Jersey. Last week, Montana legislators acted as the first U.S. state senate to approve a personhood amendment. Like the death penalty ruling, the amendment has to pass the House of Representatives and be signed by the governor. But pro-lifers are lauding the vote as a key accomplishment.

The bill defines persons as "a human being at all stages of human development of life, including the state of fertilization or conception, regardless of age, health, level of functioning, or condition of dependency."

Litaniae Sanctorum et Beatorum Ordinis Praedicatorum

On Feb. 23 I blogged the Litany of Dominican Saints. My friend Jan translated the prayer in to Latin. If any Latin scholar can correct it for him, please contact me. Thank you.

Litaniæ Sanctorum et Beatorum Ordinis Prædicatorum
Kyrie eleison. R/. Kyrie eleison.Christe eleison. R/. Christe eleison.Kyrie eleison. R/. Kyrie eleison.Christe, audi nos. R/. Christe, exaudi nos.Pater de cælis Deus, miserere nobis. R/. Pater de cælis Deus, miserere nobis.Fili, Redemptor mundi, Deus, miserere nobis. R/. Fili, Redemptor mundi, Deus, miserere nobis.Spiritus Sancte Deus, miserere nobis. R/. Spiritus Sancte Deus, miserere nobis.Sancta Trinitas, unus Deus, miserere nobis. R/. Sancta Trinitas, unus Deus, miserere nobis.


Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis.
Sancta Dei Genitrix, ora.
Sancta Virgo virginum, ora.
Sancte Michaël, ora.
Sancte Gabriel, ora.
Sancte Raphaël, ora.
Omnes sancti Angeli et Archangeli, orate.
Omnes sancti Patriarchæ et Prophetæ, …

Fr. Nic

Image
Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P. came to give a lesson to our chapter, today. We had read Dignitas Personae in preparation for his visit, because that's what he talked about. My cloistered brothers asked the real world questions and Fr. Nic didn't flinch. He answered them head on.

If embryonic stem cell research will help cure illness, why does the Church forbid it?
Because you can't destroy life to save life. All life is sacred.

Why is eugenics wrong?
Because it's playing God. Who's going to decide what is desirable?

Why in some fertility treatments frown upon?
Because they aren't using the methods God created man and woman for. Actions which assist the conjugal act are allowed, but not those that replace it.

Who does a baby belong to if a woman rents a womb to carry her baby, another woman donates her eggs, a man donates his sperm, and another woman carries the baby in her womb?
Good question. That's a problem.

What about cloning perfect people?
Cloning is manipulation …