Thursday, December 31, 2009

Seven Swimming Swans

Alliteration in the Twelve Days of Christmas!

The Swan refers to the astronomical constellation "Cygnus," which is shaped like a cross. It is also known as the Northern Cross.

A swimming swan is the perfect image of the Church at peace.

There are also seven sacraments, so the seven swans a swimming could be referencing that also.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Husband Gifts


Have you ever received a gift that you didn't want, but you knew that the giver put his/her whole heart into it and is just watching your reaction?

Most wives know what I'm talking about.

Many husbands are clueless when it comes to buying their wives gifts. They think they've hit upon the best gift ever, and in reality it's the last thing their wives would ever want. And then they present the gift with such happy, hopeful expectation illuminating their faces, that we wives....well what can we do.....(sigh).

They really are dears.

But.

We were talking about this at work today. One wife received a new camera. She loves her old camera. She's still learning all the many features on it. She takes it every where and is always taking pictures. Hubby to please her bought her the latest model on the market. She hated, loved it. It has a strap to go over her right hand to make it easier to secure the camera. Holding it in her right hand allows the fingers to access all the buttons and dials and gizmos within easy finger reach. It can switch from camera to video. It has audio and is wonderful, except for one thing. She's left handed. :-(

My story is that hubby bought me a TV with a DVD inside it. That was why he bought it. :-/

How much do you want to bet that they won't break at the same time? I mean one or the other is going to break and I'll have a broken appliance that I can't throw away because the other half still works.
:-/

Are we wives ingrates?

Not really. We do appreciate the thought and love that went into the gifts. That's why we don't return them for something we really want. We don't want to break their dear, dear, but misguided hearts.

God bless them.

Six Geese A-Laying

Laying eggs represents birth. It too God six days to create the world. Meditate upon that.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What in a Name?


I'm having the "dickens" of a time trying to name a group I'm giving. I've been asked to help an adult Korean male with his English. I'm thinking of having some friends and this "student" come over for tea.

The "teas" will provide a stage for learning how to present ourselves (student) better. We will all benefit from it, but for us, participation is voluntary; it will be mandatory for the student. The atmosphere will be friendly and informal. The talks will be to help the student communicate better.

We'll discuss whatever: current events, problems and how best to deal with them, etc. The idea is to help this young man improve his English. He's 29, a graduate student and a professional person. All he needs is language skills.

After about an hour, we'll evaluate how we presented ourselves and especially the student. It will be a discussion evaluation.

I can't call this a "class," or "workshop", or "seminar." How about "circle," "forum," or "group?" MMmmmmm, Korean/American Tea---KAT?

What?

The Archbishop's Ring

The "golden ring" in the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" doesn't refer to a ring, but a golden pheasant. This bird resembles St. Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, around the time of the song. An Archbishop wears a red cape, like the golden pheasant. St. Thomas was ever present in people's minds at this time, since he was recently martyred.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Want A Patron Saint for 2010?


Mathew at Catholic Life is offering to give you a patron saint for 2010. This is a fun and nice thing to do. Last year, I did the picking and in so doing, fell in love with the Archangel Raphael. I just feel an affinity for him.

Anyway, hop over to Matthew's blog and request a saint. See who you get?

Colly=Calling

When I learned the Twelve Days of Christmas, I sand, "On the Fourth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, Four Colly Birds....." Colly is an old expression for Calling Birds.

It doesn't matter what they're named because it's the color that's important. These birds are black. Black symbolizes death.

Death? Yes because today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, December 28. The day we remember all the babies slain on Herod's orders. Herod had heard that a new baby was born that was the true King. Herod was eliminating the competition.

Nowadays the Feast of the Holy Innocents commemorates all the innocent babies who have died in abortions.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Five Second Rule


A funny thing happen to me while on the way to the altar, this morning.
Frank and I were the lectors. We were finished the consecration and Father was rearranging the linen and chalice, when his sleeve, or something knocked out a Host. I think he saw it because he looked down. Frank and I saw one Host on the floor. Then Frank and I looked at each other.

I said, I'm sure Father saw that."

But when Father left the altar to get more cibori from the tabernacle,he didn't pick it up, and we saw that there were really two Hosts on the floor.

Frank left my side, picked up the two Hosts and carefully, ever so gently, placed them on the altar, next to the ciborium.

Father came back. He saw the two Hosts. He picked them up and tossed them in with all the others.

Frank and I looked at each other.

Then Frank, dead pan, said, "Five Second Rule*."

Cracked me up....

........things are ever so much funnier in the sanctuary........

* From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The five-second rule is a popular polite fiction regarding the eating of food that has fallen to the floor or ground. The origins of the rule are unknown. The substance of the rule is that if food falls on the ground, it may be safely eaten as long as it is picked up within five seconds.

Female Eagles

The emblem Charlemagne chose as King of the Franks was the Eagle. A French Hen is the golden hen eagle, the largest and highest flying of birds, representing St. John the Evangelist, whose readings are for today.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

First Born

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me: two turtle doves ...

Why would he do that?

Because you and your true love have produced a child. And that child requires an offering in the Temple of Jerusalem It's the custom.

For the poor, the offering is two turtle doves.

You can buy it from the money changes in the temple.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Word Incarnate

Have you ever heard the song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas," being a sort of underground catechism? Actually, there is no proof that that's true. On the other hand, there's no proof that it isn't.

I like to think of it as a memory help to learn the Christmas story. In days when children learned to read by using the Bible as a Reader, why wouldn't the Christmas story be a way of learning catechism?

Today, Christmas is the first day. And A Partridge in a Pear-Tree is given as a present. There is a myth of Perdix and Athena. Perdix is Latin for the lost one (Adam). The King of Athens fell into the sea. (Fell from grace) but was miraculously transformed into a partridge (the new Adam) by the Goddess Athena, whose symbol was the pear-tre,e and who was called the Mind of Zeus (Divine Logos) and carried to heaven by her. Thus, the partridge in a pear-tree emphasized the union of Christ's human and Divine natures.

Christmas Presents

I was reading what Arianna Huffington gave for Christmas this year, and got some good ideas for my friends. Here you go:

Meg -- money to pay off her student debt, so that she can enter the Dominican Sisters of Mary

Marie Cecile -- a kitten

Jan -- airplane ticket to Boston

Gabriella -- lots of comment activity on her blog

B16 -- a safety shield

Cardinal Sean Patrick -- new sandals

Shastadaisy -- daily Tridentine Mass

Tricia -- good health

Steve & Doc -- bottle of Jameson

Bob -- book of my poetry

Ron -- get out of jail free card

Mick -- new set of brushes and pigments

Dennis -- new computer

Bobby -- a good paying job

UMASS alum -- color shock Wordmark decals

Faneuil Hall -- wicked fire proof neighbors

Marina -- book of Jesuit jokes

Vito -- book of Jesuit jokes

Mark -- membership to the Vatican museum

Arianna -- vacation on Nantucket

Deval -- a definition of marriage

Bostonians -- a Stanley Cup

Helen & Paul -- vacation home in Falmouth

Fr. Wayne -- a faculty position at B.C. teaching practical theology

Dismas -- ticket to Boston to visit OLMC

Sisters Ruth & Kathleen -- $$$$$$

OLMC -- beatification of Father Marie Jean Joseph Lataste, O.P.

A Blessed Christmas to all my dear ones.
Love & prayers,
Faith

Thursday, December 24, 2009

How do you tell if a Question is Worthwhile?


Last night, in Study Group, my "cloistered" brothers pounced on a question I posed. It doesn't matter what the question was. That's not my point. My point is what they said to me because I asked a question.

I was accused of being a pharisee.

Yes, because I question.

You can tell that this bothered me because here I am blogging about it. After a good night's sleep, and reflection, I've come to the conclusion that questioning is not wrong, and I'm sure they'll agree. It's the type of question.

But that's so subjective!

How to tell if a question is worthwhile is the question! :-D

Some teachers say that all questions are good questions. All students know that's B.S. because we've all been bored by stupid questions by the some "stupid" students. Some people just like the attention and so ask questions. Some want to side-track the instructor so he won't have time to cover the material and so postpone the assignment or test. Some students truly ask dumb questions.

Do my "cloistered" brothers think my questions are dumb?

Mmmm, possibly?

Nah! Perish the thought.

Though, come to think of it, in this particular group, quite a few think some things are NOT to be questioned, i.e., Eucharist, Trinity, BVM, etc.

Ah......that's the rub. It was a question on the Eucharist. Actually it wasn't. I was looking for suitable responses to a question on the Eucharist. But they took my question as questioning the dogma. I wasn't questioning the Eucharist, but a question on the Eucharist. Get it?

They didn't.

Teachers encourage questions. Even teachers who want students to hold their questions to the end. (And I use to do that.) It's a method of gauging how the material is going over. So of course it's good to question.

What separates dumb questions from good questions is the value of the question. Brother Augustine Marie Reisenauer, O.P. (above picture) encourages questions. He uses questions to engage everyone in the learning process. A good question is one that is of value to the group as a whole.

That was the problem last night. My question was not of value to that particular group.

That particular group is challenging, in many ways.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Before Christmas

It's "Jest 'Fore Christmas" by Eugene Field,

Jest 'Fore Christmas

Father calls me William, sister calls me Will,
Mother calls me Willie but the fellers call me Bill!
Mighty glad I ain't a girl -- ruther be a boy,
Without them sashes curls an' things that's worn by Fauntleroy!
Love to chawnk green apples an' go swimmin' in the lake --
Hate to take the castor-ile they give for belly-ache!
'Most all the time, the whole year round, there ain't no flies on me,
But jest 'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin be!

Got a yeller dog named Sport, sick him on the cat.
First thing she knows she does n't know where she is at!
Got a clipper sled, an' when us kids goes out to slide,
'Long comes the grocery cart, an' we all hook a ride!
But sometimes when the grocery man is worrited an' cross,
He reaches at us with his whip, an' larrups up his hoss,
An' then I laff an' holler, "Oh, ye never teched me!"
But jest 'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin be!

Gran'ma says she hopes that when I git to be a man,
I'll be a missionarer like her oldest brother, Dan,
As was et up by the cannibals that live in Ceylon's Isle,
Where every prospeck pleases, an' only man is vile!
But gran'ma she has never been to see a Wild West show,
Nor read the life of Daniel Boone, or else I guess she'd know
That Buff'lo Bill an' cowboys is good enough for me!
Excep' jest 'fore Christmas, when I'm as good as I kin be!

And then old Sport he hangs around, so solemn-like an' still,
His eyes they seem a-sayin': "What's the matter, little Bill?"
The old cat sneaks down off her perch an' wonders what's become
Of them two enemies of hern that used to make things hum!
But I am so perlite an' tend so earnestly to biz,
That mother says to father: "How improved our Willie is!"
But father, havin' been a boy hisself, suspicions me
When, jest 'fore Christmas, I'm as good as I kin be!

For Christmas, with its lots an' lots of candies, cakes an' toys,
Was made, they say, for proper kids an' not for naughty boys;
So wash yer face an' bresh yer hair, an' mind yer p's and q's,
And don't bust out yer pantaloons, and don't wear out yer shoes;
Say "Yessum" to the ladies, and "Yessur" to the men,
An' when they's company, don't pass yer plate for pie again;
But, thinkin' of the things yer'd like to see upon that tree,
Jest 'fore Christmas be as good as yer kin be!

O Emmanuel


O EMMANUEL,
king and lawgiver,
desire of the
nations, Savior
of all people,
COME and set
us free, Lord
our God.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

O Rex Gentium


O KING OF ALL THE NATIONS,
the only joy of every human
heart; O Keystone of the mighty
arch of man, COME and save
the creature you fashioned
from the dust.

Monday, December 21, 2009

O Oriens


O RADIANT DAWN,
splendor of eternal light,
sun of justice:
COME, shine on those
who dwell in darkness
and in the shadow
of death.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

O Clavis David


O KEY OF DAVID,
O royal Power of Israel
controlling at your Will
the gate of heaven:
COME, break down the
prison walls of death
for those who dwell
in darkness and in
the shadow of death,
and lead your captive
people into freedom.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Faith



I'm a Faith nut. I love to read about faithful people who have doubts and see nothing wrong with that: St. John of the Cross, Mother Theresa, any person who thinks.

But fundamentalists are shocked when they hear talk like this. They quote scripture like an avalanche. So when they do think, and they must, do they berate themselves, think they've sinned, or what, when they question?

Another reason to give thanks I'm Catholic.

In Jan. 2010, Catholic Digest, I was reading about Matthew Kelley. He's an inspirational speaker. He was answering a question about handling the doubt questions. His response was my meditation today.

...I think great faith and great doubt go hand in hand. ...Most people don't understand what it (Church teaching) is. If there's any issue that you massively disagree with, delve into that. ...when we're saying the Church is wrong, we're just saying it's inconvenient. That doesn't mean it's not true.

Yes, when I can't see why the Church declares something, I delve into it. I pray and study. I always come round to the Church.

Mother Church knows best.

O Radix Jesse



O FLOWER OF JESSE'S STEM
,
you have been raised up
as a sign for all peoples;
kings stand silent in your
presence; the nations bow
down in worship before
you COME, let nothing
keep you from coming
to our aid.

Friday, December 18, 2009

O Adonai



O SACRED LORD
of ancient Israel,
who showed yourself to
Moses in the burning
bush, who gave him the
holy law on Sinai
mountain: COME,
stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Messy Christmas




The tree fell over a couple of nights ago. We went to see what that noise was, and there was the tree spread out on the floor. We just picked it up and it stayed put.

?????????

Why did it fall? We don't know. And Dallas was asleep on a bed, so she's not guilty. She doesn't bother with the tree, anyway. Any ornaments that fell off we just threw back up onto the tree, figuring it's going to fall again, so why bother.

As you can see things are a little askew. The tree top angel is about to fly off, but that can't be helped. Besides, like I said, what if it fall, again?

The tree also matches our advent wreath. For some reason, the candles have melted away. We can't light them anymore; they're down to stubs. And that's another thing. Our advent wreath broke. In order to fix it we would have had to weld the candle holder to the metal frame of the wreath. We don't know how, and don't have the tools to do that, especially for a cheap wreath. So we just took four unmatched candle holders and placed them around the wreath. Looks like he**.

Now the candles have melted too fast. Mmmmm, about par for the course.

Not to mention that Dallas keeps squashing her fat body inside the manger knocking Mary and Joseph aside.

Did I tell you that my oven's busted? I'm waiting for the repair man now. No Christmas cookies. :-(

If it weren't for Jesus coming, I'd think somebody invited the Grinch. I'm focusing on Jesus. I have to. He's what's important--not cookies, trees, wreaths, candles, or perfect mangers. Bah Humbug. No, Merry Christmas!

O Sapientia


The "O Antiphons" are the beginnings of the prayers used before the Gospel at Mass on weekdays from Dec. 17 to 23.

The "O Antiphons" have been sung since the 6th century as antiphons before the Magnificat at Evening Prayers. They are called "O Antiphons" because each begins with the interjection "O."

The first "O Antiphon," is:

O SAPIENTIA

O WISDOM
O holy Word of God,
You govern all creation
with your strong yet tender care;
COME and show your people the way
to salvation.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

March for Life


Join your fellow Catholics and pro-lifers from all over the country at the annual March for Life in our nation's capital on Friday January 22, 2010. For more information about this event, check out March for Life as well as the American Life League.

In addition to the gathering on the National Mall and the walk up Constitution Ave. to the Supreme Court building, the events include morning Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and a youth rally at the Verizon Center. Last year's speakers on the Mall included Congressmen Chris Smith from New Jersey who is the most outspoken pro-life congressmen in Washington, Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr (visit the web site, Bobby Schindler, the brother of Terry Schiavo (visit the web site ) who died of starvation by a court order in 2005, and Judie Brown of the American Life League.

St. Mary's Parish in Franklin, MA is going to the March. Depending on the number of people from our parish, we will either provide transportation from St. Mary's or share a bus with St. Brendan's in Bellingham. We encourage adults as well as high school and college students to attend this special event.

To sign up for the march please contact Frank Fiorillo at 508-528-7930, or email at ffiorillo@verzion.net by January 6th so that we may plan for sufficient seats on the bus. Hope to see you there.

What is Truth?




The media drives everyone crazy. Does anyone believe anything they say?

I fall for it myself. Last week they had me rethinking global warming. The media reported that some emails were hacked that showed the climate scientists in a bad light. They were expressing doubts and questioning each other. But think about it. These were e-mails, not final documentation. e-mails are discussions. And discussions involve doubts and contradictions. Geesh! Man-made global warming is not a fabrication. See the Panel on climate change.

Also going around a couple of weeks ago was the "you tube" video of Obama admitting that he was Muslim. Who would be gullible enough to believe a video? Obviously, the video was purposely edited to omit words to create a false impression.

Yesterday and today, it's all over our local news that the Taunton School System has singled out a little child for drawing a picture of Jesus. The boy's father was on TV showing the picture, (which was innocent enough--a crucified Jesus). However, today we hear the school's story: that's not the picture in question. Whoa! Will the media get the facts before they upset families and create turmoil. The facts need to be sorted out.

How about that picture of Obama standing with his hands by his side while everyone else is showing respect to the flag and National Anthem. Guess again. That's not what's happening. The song is "Hail to the Chief." Oh.

What about the innoculation misinformation: safe...unsafe...tainted...not enough...?

What is truth, is Pontius Pilate's famous question. Well, the Truth was staring him right in the face.

The truth is not a book, person, government, picture, TV station, a movie, a recording, or even the law. It certainly can't be ascertained through intelligent reasoning. The Truth can only be known when your heart and mind are open and ready. Truth requires being open to God. "I am the way, the truth and the life." John 14:6.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Adopt Fast Eddy

Eddy is a Greyhound. He is also a N.E.A.D.S. dog. NEADS is a non-profit organization established to train and provide rescued dogs to assist people in leading more independent lives, whether at work, school, or home. These are trained service dogs. Once trained they become an extension of their owners. As you can imagine, the dogs bring assistance, security, freedom, relief, and love to people who may very well have become isolated and helpless.

Eddy is a rescued greyhound. When he entered the NEADS program he was obviously abused. You couldn't even pet him because he'd shy away from your hand. He was so skinny you could count his vertebrae. After a few weeks, he was very changed. Even his facial expression had changed. What a difference some TLC makes! One of my cloistered brothers was assigned to care for Eddy. That's how I got to know him.

It turns out that Eddy has flunked the training. There are many reasons for this: temperament, personality, acclimation facility, health, ability to focus, etc.. Many dogs flunk. They are affectionately known as "flunkies." Even so, they make wonderful pets. They're already trained, been to obedience school, have shots, been to the vets, etc.

Eddy is one of my favorites. If I didn't have Dallas, the bi-polar cat, I'd adopt him no matter what hubby said. I'd like some wonderful family to get him.

If you'd like to talk to his trainer, Christina, call (508) 989-5859, or email Christina@alphdogk9.com

Look up N.E.A.D.S. to see what a great program this is.

Eddy may not fit in a Christmas stocking, but he'd lie under your Christmas Tree very quietly.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Inter-religious Dialogue


Yesterday in Chapter, my brothers invited as many representatives of different faiths that they could. We all sat down together to get to understand and know each other better.

Right off the bat, our facilitator let us know that our feelings might be hurt. In fact, she said, "Expect to get your toes stepped on." Speaking in groups like this is like dancing with a stranger. You want to dance but you're unsure and may accidentally step on your partner's toes. It's not done on purpose. Remember that.

Naturally, we began with prayer. We prayed 12 prayers for peace, each taken from different spiritualities. Then there was silence as we looked at each other appraisingly. We were invited to ask questions.

Bam.

Immediately, the first question was hurled to the Wiccans. It was a question as to the relationship between Satanism and Wicca. Their spokesperson was the high Wiccan priest. He did an excellent job explaining the difference. He also volleyed questions back, but they were more rhetorical and no one took him up on it. There were a lot of questions about Wiccan symbols and Satanic symbols. I finally got that straight; they both use pentagrams, but Wicca has the point up and Satanists have the horns up and point down. Also, it's the Satanists who use the upside down cross. Wiccans are really pagans.

I thought we'd use up all the time with them until there were questions to the Muslims. They were on the defensive. A lot of questions were about the extremist fundamental terrorists. The media makes it look like the majority, but they are not. Their Imam was their spokesperson. He made the religion seem very peaceful.

Actually, all the time was almost used up until someone asked the Buddhist about their stand on war. Is it ever just? The answer was "in self defense." This led to questions about the Dalai Lama and Tibet.

We were almost out of time when a Pentecostal Evangelical asked the Catholics why they distinguish between Catholic Christians and Christians. I was trying to think of an answer when a couple of Catholic converts immediately answered. That's not surprising if you think that they've answered this question in their own minds in their discernments over whether to convert or not. They had ready made answers.

There just wasn't enough time. Every one left saying that they couldn't wait for Part II.

God is great! Allahu Akbar! Alleluia!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Funnies


This morning I actually read the Funnies. I haven't done that since I was a kid. I enjoyed every single one of them. I even laughed out loud (LOL)!

What surprised me was the contemporary adult content of the Funnies. And I'm not talking about vulgar language or references, either. I mean that the Funnies weren't written for kids, but for adults. The children wouldn't get it.

My favorite was Adam @ Home by Brian Basset. The first frame shows a father and son on their way to buy a fresh Christmas tree. The son comments, "I thought you told Mom we were going to get a fake tree." The other frames tell Dad's point of view: "bad idea," "tradition, great smell," "Mom doesn't mind the dropped needles and the garbage men need the work picking them up." The son says that these are all "thin arguments." The last frame shows the son saying that "Some traditions evolve." To which, Dad responds, "Like the tradition of parents buying gifts for their children?" Sonny ends with, "A real tree it is!"

That one I enjoyed the most, but there was one that proves my point that the Funnies are written for adults. It is Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau. The guys were talking about how they enjoyed reading the Sunday Funnies with their parents. So they text the kids to join them in the family room to read the Funnies. No one came.

Do you think a kid would think that was funny?

No I thought not.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Damn Yankees


Since I was going out to a Christmas Luncheon, I brought my camera to work. I didn't want to leave my camera in my car because the temperature was freezing. So I brought it inside.

In walking around the office, snapping photos, I was horrified to see this poster. Imagine, a Yankee poster hanging in Red Sox Country.

What unmitigated gall!

Who would do such a grievous act?

The engineer who purpotrated this heinous crime shall remain unnamed to protect his guilty self.

Lord have mercy, for some people sin more than others.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 268A

This is the State Ethics Law. Chapter 268A of the Mass General Laws require that state employees be trained every couple of years on "ethics." As public employees we have to be sure that our private, financial, and personal relationships do not conflict with our public obligations. This law governs what you may do on the job, what you may do after hours, and what you may do after you leave public service.

Upon completion of the training, there was a 25 question test to complete. I printed the test out because it was a more concrete example than the abstract governmentese explanation of the law. Some things surprised me, but others were common sense. I'll give you an example:

You administer tests for the Board of Registration, which provides professional licenses to individuals who receive a grade of 70 of better on the tests. May you accept a $ 100 bill from a test taker to ensure that his test receives a grade of 70?

Of course not. That's a bribe. Easy question.

Try this one. You are a former assistant attorney general whose responsibility involved consumer fraud litigation for the state. You successfully sued a mortgage company for predatory lending practices. You now represent private clients in litigation matters. Can you represent the mortgage company in its appeal of the court decision fining it million of dollars?


If you think that this appeal is a different matter than the original litigation, you are correct in a way, but it doesn't matter. It's related, so you are wrong. If you think that you are no longer a state employee so it shouldn't matter, you are wrong, again. You were involved, and so still are.

There is a conflict of interest here. The conflict of interest law bars a person who worked on a matter while a state employee from ever working in connection with that same matter for a private party when he leaves state service, whether or not he is compensated.

Fortunately, the State Ethics commission provides free, confidential legal advice about how the law applies in a particular situation. So even if one flunks the test, he can ask the experts.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hope

In Dominican Study Group tonight we discussed an article on Hope by Fr. Albert Nolan, OP. The beginning was concerned with the difference between optimism and hope. We went round and round about this, but I like what Tim said best: "Optimism comes from the head, whereas Hope comes from the heart."

What Doc Miller was impressed with, was Fr. Nolan's idea of Christian Hope. Fr. Nolan says, "Our Hope is based upon God and God alone." All my brothers agreed with this concept. I, myself couldn't stop relating our discussion to Jacques Fesch (see post from Dec. 6) If Fesch isn't an example of Hope, then nothing is. Same person, same situation, but look at the difference hope made in his life, once he found God. Fesch was a different person even though he was facing death with or without hope. With Hope, Fesch was living in God's Kingdom. That was why he his attitude changed.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Jacques Fesch


Father John Burchill, O.P. celebrated Mass for my chapter, today. His homily of course, was about hope, since today's readings were for the second week of Advent: Baruch 5:1-9, Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11, Psalm 126,and Luke 3:1-6. In talking about hope, Father happened to mention Jacques Fesch. I didn't know that much about him, except that B16 met with his sister this week, after his General Audience.

The story Father Burchill told was the same story as many of my cloistered brothers. It was not so remarkable to us. Yet, some think of Jacques Fesch as a saint because of his spiritual turn around. B16 should come to my chapter if he wants to meet some living saints.

Jacques Fesch was a spoiled rich kid. He was a disappointment to his family. He squandered their money and love. He never took anything seriously. He was only interested in having a good time. He could have gone to any university in the world, but he was too lazy. His father took him into the banking business but he wasn't interested. He married young and wasn't faithful to his wife. He fathered a daughter with one of his mistresses. Then Jacques decided to get away from it all and wanted to sail to the South Pacific and live there. His parents were fed up with him and wouldn't give him the money. So he stole it. Jacques shot a man in the robbery. In fleeing he emptied three shots into the heart of a police officer and one into another. The dead police officer was a widower and the sole support of one very young child. Jacques was caught red handed.

No remorse was shown at his trial. In fact, Jacques was quoted as saying that he was only sorry that he didn't have a machine gun, so he could have killed them all and gotten away.

He was sentenced to die by guillotine. This is 1957, France.

Cardinal Angelo Comastri happened to be the chaplain in the prison where Jacques Fesch was incarcerated. He was present also, at the audience Fesch's sister had with the Pope. Comastri testified to the spiritual conversion Fesch underwent.

Jacques' lawyer was a devout Catholic. Paul Baudet continually prayed for Jacques conversion. So Baudet was fighting for Jacques soul, as well as for his body.

Somehow grace entered Paris' La Sante Prison in 1957. Jacques, himself, can't explain. He went to bed as an atheist young man, and woke up a converted believer.

...a powerful wave of emotion swept over me, causing deep and brutal suffering. Within the space of a few hours, I came into possession of faith, with absolute certainty. I believed, and could no longer understand how I had ever not believed. Grace had come to me. A great joy flooded my soul and above all a deep peace. In a few instants everything had become clear. It was a very strong, sensible joy that I felt. I tend now to try, perhaps excessively, to recapture it; actually, the essential thing is not emotion, but faith. Source

From then on, Fesch's life was one of asceticism. He tried to atone for his sins. He did penances; he prayed constantly; he wrote to beg forgiveness from everyone; he hungered for the Eucharist.

It wasn't fake. Jacques look forward to meeting Jesus. He accepted his fate. His prison writings have gained attention. It is the depth of his spirituality that have caught people's attention and the idea to propose his cause for sainthood.

It's a wonderful story of conversion, isn't it? Praise God!

But you should meet my brothers!

Amen.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Appendicitis and Faith


Tonight I attended a Christmas party. (I was obeying the rules to having a stress free holiday and avoided the food table.) I was engrossed in conversation with a friend that I haven't seen since the summer. She was telling me that she almost died. She had a ruptured appendix. She's in her 60's. Do you know the same thing happened to me, but I was twelve? It's not only the fact that we were misdiagnosed but that we'd been having symptoms for about a year and had just ignored them.

It occurred to me that our souls are like a bad appendix. If we don't go to the doctor when we are sick, how can we be healed? If we don't receive the sacraments, how can our souls be healed? If we ignore symptoms, we will be ill. We may even die. If we ignore the sacraments, our faith fades. Our faith may even die.

...O that today you would listen to his voice. Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, when your ancestors tested me and put me to the proof... Psalm 94 (95): 89.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

How to have a Stress Free Holiday


I went to another Stress Class today. It was called Holiday Survival. Some of their suggestions are useful. Here are some that will work for me.

1. Don't go to a party hungry. I use to not eat all day because I was going out to eat. But if you're watching your weight, then eat good food before you go out so that at the party you'll be too full to eat junk.

2. Don't stand around the food table. Distance yourself as far away as possible.

3. Don't forget to keep up with your exercise program. Besides keeping calories in check, it regenerates your spirits and is overall good for your physical and emotional help.

4. Get organized and stick to it. Shop online. Shop early. You don't have to wrap every single present. The cat doesn't care.

5. Get plenty of sleep. Not enough sleep makes you grouchy and depressed. Nobody feels like doing anything in that foul mood.

6. You don't have to send out Christmas cards. If you do send out cards, you don't have to write a letter in each one. People who are late and send out their cards after Christmas, do that to assuage their guilty consciences.

7. Be mindful of the season, each day. Enjoy the moment.

8. Don't waste your time blogging.