Friday, April 30, 2010

A Word of Hope


Prisoners Need Hope, Says Benedict XVI in the April 30, 2010 issue of Zenit. BXVI was talking about a new organization,the National Reinsertion and Work Agency, in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice and the Monsignor Francesco Di Vincenzo Institute of Human Promotion Foundation, to help prisoners and ex-convicts to join the community after serving their sentences.

The Pontiff stated, "This project is all the more valuable in the present moment of difficulty of the prison world that has such need of hope and, hence, of the Gospel."
The agency is currently working in Catania, Sicily, to give a group of 12 prisoners an education in human, spiritual and professional topics. Salvatore Martinez, national president of the movement, stated that this project "represents an original operative prototype dedicated to the prison world." He explained that it is a "social system" that incorporates "four invariables:" family, church, culture and work. Martinez added that the agency is a "placement agency" that operates throughout the national territory in order to create ways of humanization and human redemption, professional formation and work reinsertion, through "personalized supervision" and operating as a "business incubator."


You can't help but see my "cloistered brothers" in this article. They are "hope" itself, in a very dark place. In fact, my brother, Dennis wrote a book called A Word About Hope, about my "cloistered brothers." It's free. It's on the net and downloadable.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gestational Diabetes


My baby who's having a baby has been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I'm worried and I request prayers for her and her baby.

I've been doing a little research on gestational diabetes and found out that it is high blood sugar. She had no symptoms, yet the test was so high that it's definitive. No second test is needed. She's had no symptoms. And then there's concern about the health of the baby. But all tests so far say the baby is doing well.

Luckily she's a bit of a health nut and eats right. That alone is puzzling because she watches her calories and nutrients as a matter of course, pregnant or not. As for regular exercise, well she majored in exercise physiology. For cryin out loud, she's a doctor herself!


I suppose every pregnancy is different and her doctor and dietitian will create a diet just for her. She's also anemic so she's probably be given different vitamins. I hope she won't need insulin therapy.

I also read that women with gestational diabetes usually have large babies, which may mean trauma to my daughter and grand-daughter, or even a c-section.


And then when she's born she has to be monitored for low blood sugar. And mothers with gestational diabetes have an increased risk for high blood pressure during pregnancy.
There is a slightly increased risk of the baby dying when the mother has untreated gestational diabetes. Yikes! This is where I stopped reading.

I'm praying instead. It's in your hands, Lord.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jesus' Personality Type

My "cloistered brothers" and I are still working on the Enneagram, in Study Group. You have to know the nine personality types to understand this post. Tonight we looked at Jesus, according to the Enneagram.

Jesus is the perfect balance of all types. He is the best of each, a healthy balance. Let's take a look:

(1) Jesus was a Reformer, Idealist, Teacher, Crusader, Moralist, Perfectionist, Prophet & Organizer. Everywhere in the New Testament, Jesus taught and healed. Think of him in the Temple at twelve, the Sermon on the Mount, preaching the Kingdom of God.

(2) Jesus was a Helper, Altruist, Lover, Caretaker, Pleaser, Enabler, Mentor, and a Special Friend. Again, think of Jesus healing, caring for Lazarus, and anyone who asked. He had to be pretty special to have followers.

(3) Jesus was an Achiever, Motivator, a Role Model, Communicator and a Paragon. Jesus certainly was a role model in his non violent behavior. Even Jesus turning over the tables in the temple was a controlled behavior. He did enough to make a point, not enough to get arrested.

(4) Jesus was an Individual, an Artist, a Tragic Victim, a Special One. He certainly was an Individual and led the crowd, not part of the crowd. He was a Special One and a Tragic Victim on the Cross.

(5) He was an Investigator, Thinker, Innovator, Observer, Specialist, and an Expert. Think of Jesus noticing the woman who touched his garment, Zacheus, a Samaritan woman, etc. He questioned the rabbis.

(6) The Loyalist, Guardian, True Believer, Traditionalist, Stalwart, and even a Troubleshooter. Jesus was a loyal Jew. He was loyal to His Father, even unto death. As a loyal Jew, he was a Traditionalist.

(7) Jesus was an Enthusiast, Generalist, Multi-Tasker, Connoisseur, and an Energizer. One of my "cloister brothers" joked that Jesus was a Connoisseur because He saved the best wine for last. ;-)

(8) Jesus was a Challenger, Protector, Provider, a Leader, a Maverick, and a Rock. Jesus challenged the Pharisees. He protected the adultress. He was trustworthy like a rock, yet He was different like a Maverick.

(9) Jesus was a Peacemaker, Healer, Optimist, Reconciler, Comforter, and Nobody Special. Jesus humbled Himself to become Man. He preached peaced and healed the sick. He comforted us all by offering us Eternal Life.

Amen.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Giving this Blog Soul

Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, the president of the Pontifical Council of Social Communications, said in Zenit today, that the world needs digital witnesses to evangelize and dialog with other religions through the Internet. The Internet is a new world to spread the Good News. We who witness, represent a change in the way people have learned in different ages.

The archbishop affirmed, "Life, events, all that surrounds us are a continuous and incessant reminder: The media has already entered our life in many ways and often not only orient it but condition it; they claim, so to speak, a consideration that corresponds to them by right. Because of this, he said, attention must now be focused on the human being, "who has run the risk of being crushed by the invasion of new technologies and who is asked to take up again fully his own responsibility."

Archbishop Celli affirmed, "We are called, to leave a visible imprint," the prelate said, "recognizable imprints that make one think because of the marks we have in fact left by our presence. If the Internet by definition is virtual, to us corresponds the task of making it concrete, of giving it depth, of offering it, in a certain sense, a soul and hence, life," he said.

"As the first apostles went out into the then known roads," the archbishop affirmed, in this way the Internet "will have to serve us to spread the Good News," which is not only a "poetic image."

Referencing the words of Benedict XVI for the 44th World Communications Day, Archbishop Celli called for "authentic and courageous witnesses," so that the digital continent will "smooth the way for new encounters, always ensuring the quality of the human contact and care for persons and their real spiritual needs."
This means to employ "the digital culture that presents itself today not only as a useful but a necessary service, underlining the anthropological dimension of the whole phenomenon of communication," he said.

This is "deja vu." St. Dominic sent out his friars out on the then known roads, to spread the Good News. That's the definitive poetic image.

Veritas!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Terce


"Teach me O Lord, and I shall live."
The morning chanting blends with sparrows' song,
And I lift my voice,
Or rise to fly.

Sparrows' trill praise You, Lord!
Glory Be bows,
And I blend in.

"Teach me O Lord and I shall live."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Meditation on the Priestly Sexual Abuse



Is what the media projects the whole story? Most people would say, "Of course, not." That's what they say; but they can't help but believe what the media has hammered into their subconscious thoughts. Time after time, again and again, we see priest after priest abuse yet another victim, and again their bishop covers. But I'm going to try to offer you some other thoughts to consider. Take your time. This is a meditation.

Many of my "cloistered brothers" have been abused. You can imagine, (rather I hope you can't)the severe emotional, physical, and sexual abuse some poor children have endured from their parents, foster parents, relatives, residential care, teachers, scout leaders, etc. One of my brothers pointed out that no money was given to him after his abuser admitted his guilt. In fact, after being abused in another situation, no money was even thought of, never mind given. He never thought of asking for money. How can money make up for lost childhood, hurt and trauma lasting a life time? "Yet," he thought, "If I said a priest abused me, I'd be a victim; I'd be paid for it; and my crime would have been the priest's fault, not mine."

Meditate on the implications of what my brother is saying.

Could it be possible that the media is deliberately focusing on priestly abuse? If the media is purposely focusing and/or keeping the church abuse on the front page, then the distortion is viciously wrong – not only to priests and Catholics as a whole, but to millions of adult victims of abuse whose suffering has been ignored by the distortion that only victims of Catholic priests are worth hearing and compensating. What about my brother abused by his grandfather? And Sister Pauline abused by the very ones who were suppose to help and protect. What about...

Pray for all the victims of abuse.

Why would the media deliberately load the dice to land on the church? How about...sex sells? Not only are people reading about priests and sex and cover-ups, but some are making money (besides newspapers)--think lawyers. Some lawyers have a substantial part of their clientèle, people who have been abused. They seek them out like heat seeking missiles. Suing the Catholic Church is their business. They advertise for people hoping to jiggle their unconscious minds from twenty or thirty years ago. Do you honestly believe these types of lawyers are interested in helping victims?

Meditate on Satan's wiles in this Church Scandal. Pray the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

Let's go back to the media. They want to sell news, so they sell "sex." If they were serious about their work they'd be interested in the "truth," and not keep flaming the church angle. Report on all abuse. Be honest about the numbers. Tell what the church is doing to correct the abuse. Who is doing more? Report that!

The reality of child abuse is everywhere. To report only on the Catholic Church is a distortion. This is not fair, balanced reporting. It is not helping victims. It's about sex and money. Be honest.

Pray for the Church.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

“Dol janchi” or in Hangeul: 돌잔치



Today I attended my friend, Haeyeun's grandson's first birthday. When a Korean child turns One, it's a big deal. Haeyeun gave her grandson the party.

He wore the traditional costume. This isn't a picture of Kolby, but Kolby did wear clothes like that. He wore yellow pants, socks and rubber shoes. His kimono was red and ornate and on top of his head was a cloth miter. That's right, like a bishop. I asked Haeyeun what the hat meant and she said longevity.

Placed in front of Kolby were four choices of presents: wealth, longevity, security, and wisdom. These were represented by wealth=fruit & grain, longevity=3 skeins of yarn, security=bow & arrow, wisdom=calligraphy pen & ink stone with rice paper. Kolby fingered the fruit but didn't pick it up. But when he stuck his finger in the yarn he lifted the entire skein. We considered that the choice. Kolby will have longevity.

Another Korean custom, was given by Changhun. Changhun gave Kolby a 24 karat baby ring. Gold rings are the customary Korean birthday gift. But because gold is expensive, people give ordinary gifts, just like in the USA. So the gold ring was a pleasant, and much cherished surprise. The gold ring represents health, wealth, and prosperity. Kolby will always have it to sell if he needs money. It's insurance for the future. Hopefully, he never will.

Finally, Kolby's Dad read the Birthday Declaration, where Kolby promised to be a good son and make his parents proud. He will always honor them and take care of them. Then Kolby put his hand on the Declaration which represented his signature. We at the Birthday party were witnesses.

Good health and fortune, Kolby!
May God bless you, always.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Impossible Pie


This weekend's bulletin at St. Mary's had a new addition. On the bottom of page 4 was a recipe called Impossible Pie. Intriguing huh? I've never seen a recipe in a bulletin, before. And what's impossible about it?

Well, since I had all the ingredients (including the coconut!)I made it:
Impossible Pie
4 eggs.........1/4 c. margarine
2 c. cold milk.......1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. sugar.........1 c. coconut
12 c. flour

Look at the flour. 12 cups! Nah, that can't be right. The recipe said it was by JoAnn Larsen and it is in St. Rocco's Cookbook. Well, I don't know JoAnn, but I do happen to own a St. Rocco's Cookbook. (St. Mary's celebrate the feast of St. Rocco with a big 4 day festival.)I looked it up.

The 12 cups was an error. A big one! It should have read 1/2 c. Big diff!

It was delicious. And I guess the impossible is doing it with 12 cups?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Novena for the Pope


Prayer for Pope Benedict XVI

Lord, source of eternal life and truth, give to your shepherd, Benedict, a spirit of courage and right judgment, a spirit of knowledge and love. By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care, may he, as successor to the Apostle Peter and Vicar of Christ, build your Church into a sacrament of unity, love and peace for all the world. Amen.

V/ Let us pray for Benedict, the pope.
R/ May the Lord preserve him, give him a long life,
make him blessed upon the earth,
and not hand him over to the power of his enemies.
V/ May your hand be upon your holy servant.
R/ And upon your son, whom you have anointed.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

h/t to K of C

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The end of the world according to the ATARI Prophecy

The end of the world according to the ATARI Prophecy

Sleepy morning. It took me a minute to get the connection between "Atari" and pixel.

I like it.

Lord have mercy.

h/t to Patrick Madrid.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Attacks on the Church



Kim Yu-na is standing next to Cardinal Cheong Jin-suk in this picture from Rok Drop, the blog about Korea. It's a nice picture accompanied by not so nice comments. The comments saddened me. Instead of honoring Kim Yu-na, the comments were focused on the priest. And His Eminence did nothing to deserve any disrespect. The ridicule was on the church. One commentator asked if the Cardinal had abused her yet. One response was that she was a girl--not a boy. When another commentator suggested that the comments were out of line. The retort was simply, "It's a valid question."

This reminded me of exactly what's happened with Pope Benedict. Of all people, who have worked tirelessly to rid the church of permissiveness of all kinds and at all levels!

Since BXVI has taken office, he has been taken to task: at Regensburg for being an enemy of Islam, forced to cancel a talk at La Sapienza, criticized for reconciliation with Lefebvrists, and TAC, and dialogged with Constantinople, and now accused of covering up the scandals of priests sexually abusing children. Is he going to be blamed for the weather, next?

Would I be accused of paranoia if I expressed a conspiracy to discredit the Church? You do have to wonder. Who benefits from disgracing the Church? Whatever, or whoever it is, comes under the general noun "Satan." Whatever and whoever benefits, does not have the best interests of humankind in mind. That's evil; that's Satan.

Do you know the pray to St. Michael, the Archangel?
'

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ethics


"P-P" day, today. Every once in awhile I take a day off from work to "Pray and Play." That's how come today I found myself reading the April issue of Philanthropy Journal. I have never heard of this illustrious magazine. But this morning found me surfing the web for "ethics," and I came across this interesting article by Tim Delaney.

It all started with my reading of the blog by Fr. Tim Finigan, "The Hermeneutic of Continuity." Fr. Tim comments on an article by Jason Berry in the National Catholic Reporter. Father Tim relates how ironic it is that the media is attacking BXVI, who wouldn't accept gratuities for speaking engagements.

This resonated with me because we're suppose to sign an "ethics statement" at work. Some co-workers are pissed off about it because they feel that our wages are so pitiful that when someone wants to tip us,it should be accepted, maybe even acceptable--sort of part of the job (much like tipping the paper boy). However, the Town Administrator, Jeffrey Nutting thinks that the best way to handle the ethics question is to refuse all gratuities. Then you don't have to even think. "Just say 'NO.'"

Having the time this morning, I looked up the Federal standards for ethics. which sounded like the state of Massachusetts'. All this is governmenteese for "they're covering their asses."

OK. I see the government's point; also Jeff's. It would be best, not to take anything. But why? It's against the Ethics' Law is one reason, but I wanted a moral reason. So I did a "ProLifeInternet.com" search, (a moral version of Google). This is how I found Tim Delaney's article, "Ethics require background, not compass."

The article lists some of the trouble that ethical failures have recently been noted for: Enron, governors' taking bribes and breaking vows, members of Congress-likewise, priests causing scandal, investors influencing the Baptist Foundation, ditto American University, ditto again the Smithsonian Institute, etc. Ugh.........

Delaney ends his article with an admonition that if you have to ask if it's permissible for you to accept a gift, then don't do it.

Don't do it. It's just easier. Don't even start. Don't take anything from anybody. Make it a rule.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Forgiveness and Ego


AQ says that honesty is being open to the truth. This idea was more or less the theme in Study Group Tonight. We were discussing "forgiveness." We were honing in on what makes it difficult to forgive. And you know what I attribute the difficulty to be?

Ego

Yup. If you personally were hurt by someone, it is nigh near impossible to forgive. You really need the grace of God to forgive.

My brothers related many stories. Someone told one brother, "I hope you rot in hell." Another was told that he would never be forgiven. These victims feel deeply hurt (ego). It's ego that won't let you forgive.

Just try to give up "ourselves," and try to see the other point of view, is a start to forgiveness. Give up our egos and look at the other side. It's not about me, or us.

Tim told a humorous story about coming home at 2 AM and making a lot of noise. His next door neighbor peeked through the blinds and hollered for Tim to be quiet. Tim gave some rude comment and was angry at his neighbor.

Like it was the neighbor's fault? Tim was the one making all the noise at 2 AM. See, Tim was corrected, and rightly so, but he didn't look at himself; he blamed the neighbor.

Tim it's not all about you. Be honest and open to the truth.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I Couldn't Say It Any Better


This is from Mark Shea's A Catholic Notebook. I couldn't say it any better, so here it is.
It seems crazy to me to believe that God supernaturally protects the church against errors in faith and morals in very narrowly defined cases, but allows an almost unimaginable culture of abuse and corruption. That makes for a very very weird, legalistic conception of God, IMO.
And the idea that we should defer our opinions on sexual morality to a church whose abuses and corruptions are in precisely that area .... That seems even more crazy.
The depth and extent of the sex abuse crisis is simply astounding. Not in the percentage of priests who were wicked, but in the way the institution covered it up, attacked the accusers, and enabled the abusers to abuse again. It shows that something is horribly, deeply, disastrously wrong at the core of the RCC.
And we’re supposed to believe a bunch of tortured moral analysis from those same guys?
Humanae Vitae would have us believe that there is an important moral distinction between a married couple temporarily delaying conception through NFP and the same couple doing the same thing with some barrier method. It rests on a very weird set of assumptions and arguments. And we’re supposed to accept that from these guys?
It strains credulity beyond the breaking point.

There seem to me to be several notions blended together here. Let’s tease them apart.

First, is the (to me, baffling) claim that saying that the Holy Spirit guarantees that we idiot humans do not muck up the content of the gospel is “legalistic”. I have no reply to that, because I cannot grasp what my reader means. Legalism is the notion that one can be saved by keeping the law, rather than relying on grace. What that has to do with anything here I cannot fathom. Certainly, as Catholics we do not believe that a Pope who transmits the Tradition accurately is automatically bound for heaven. They’ve all done that. They can’t help it: they have been given the charism of infallibility. But they can still be scoundrels and fail to practice what they preach. So how this amounts to legalism, I simply don’t know.

Second, there is the notion that the Church’s teaching stands or falls with the faith and morals of the Pope and bishops. That would be true—if the teaching of the Church was their personal invention and private property. But, of course, it’s not. It’s a Tradition: a thing they are handing on from others which they themselves did not invent and can neither add to nor subtract from. Bishop, including the Pope, are not prophets speaking from some personal revelation or charism of sanctity. They are merely custodians of the Tradition, regurgitating stuff that the Church has always said. They may not believe, practice or even understand it fully to do that.

Exhibit A: the first Pope, Peter. The guy promulgates the Church’s teaching that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ and not by works of the Mosaic law, one of the absolute pillars of the Catholic faith. In short, he is the guy who tells us that you can’t be saved by legalism. Next thing you know, he’s chickening out on his own inspired teaching at Antioch and Paul has to chew him out and get him back on track (Galatians 2). A Judaizer of the first century could have (and some probably did) say, “It seems crazy to me to believe that God supernaturally protects the church against errors in faith and morals in very narrowly defined cases, but allows the teachers of faith and morals to then ignore their own teaching and avoid eating with Gentiles.” Ironically, such an objection would bind us to… legalism since it would “prove” that we shouldn’t listen to an unstable two face like Peter and his weird teaching!

Paul, in contrast, believed that when the Pope and the Church in council taught something, that something remained true even when the Pope wimped out on it later on due to the fact that he was, in the words of Chesterton, a coward, a shuffler and a snob: in a word, a man. And, of course, we believe the same about bishops who fail to uphold the Church’s teaching.

Humanae Vitae is an expression of the Church’s teaching. It is not Paul VI’s personal opinion. It is basically a restatement of the same thing the Church has always said: God is the author of nature and we can cooperate with the nature he has created, but not thwart the nature he has created. It’s the same logic which says, “If you are fat, eat less and exercise more, but don’t try to lose weight by reinstituting the Roman vomitorium.” The former cooperates with how God made you. The latter tries to strip mine pleasure while defying what God created the body to do.

In short, grace perfects, not destroys or defies, nature. This is not something Paul VI invented in 1968, and though every bishop in the world were in a state of mortal sin it would not change that fact one iota. You won’t get an argument from me about there being something rotten in the Church—just as long as you don’t mean “In those people over there, not me, of course.” The something rotten in the Church is, precisely, seen whenever any one of us finds an excuse to reject what the Church teaches when it touch on something dear to us. That’s not something confined to bishops who ignored revelation and the sense God gave a goose to protect pervy priests. It’s also something we righteous laymen participate in when we use the sins of bishops as an excuse to pretend that some piece of the Tradition we dislike can be safely ignored. The old-fashioned term for that is ad hominem. Ad hominem works when the argument rest on the personal sanctity of the person making the argument. The used car salesman who says, “Trust me” can be refuted if you produce his rap sheet. But the math teacher who says that 2+2=4 is not refuted when you show him to be a drug dealer. The truth that bishops hand along does not depend on their personal holiness, any more than the truth of our salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ was disproven by Peter’s chickenhearted failure to live by his own preaching at Antioch.

A useful thing to recall on the evening our entire Church remembers Peter’s cringeworthy declaration: “Though everyone else deny you, I will never deny you!” Paul’s advice is still sound: “Let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Vigil


Since Hubby is a Christmas/Easter Catholic, we go to celebrate Easter wherever he is the most comfortable. He always picks Mt. St. Mary's Abbey, in Wrentham, MA. I like it too. Good choice! However, I would like to celebrate the catechumens that are entering the church. My parish had seven. I love to hear and see the spontaneous applause that erupts in the church when they're baptized. But on the other hand, for a chance to have my husband praying beside me, I'll forgo my druthers for his.

The sisters' voices were heavenly, as usual. Fr. Gabriel's voice is always a pleasure, also. I particularly enjoyed the different sisters reading the Readings, and singing the Psalms. I wonder how they chose whom to do what. They were all good, right on cue, very practiced.

The ride home was romantic. The moon was hazy and there were stars. It was so quiet. We were the only ones on the road.

The two of us were just riding along and talking about all that we had just witnessed and while we were conversing, Jesus Himself also drew near and went along with us. I felt His presence and was greatly comforted, but the other's eyes were held, so that he did not recognize Him.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Controversy


An incident happened yesterday at work, that required my defense of my faith. It surprised me.

It was not about the Pope and what he knew and didn't know about Fr. Murphy. It was not about the sex scandal, or pedophile priests, or the Eucharist, or anything else that its news.

It was about the Shroud of Turin.

The people I work with are all non practicing Catholics. One is a practicing Wiccan. So they all assume that they know all about the Catholic Church. IOW, you can't tell them anything because they all went to Catholic schools and were taught the erroneous ideas that they know hold.

The Wiccan happened to say that it was interesting to see how old the Shroud of Turin is and how they can determine how the person died and how old it was, etc. Well, it just so happens that I have my doubts that that shroud is Jesus'. I base my opinion on 1Corinthians 11:14. "For a man to wear his hair long is degrading."

St. Paul is a contemporary of Jesus. No, they did not know each other, but they lived at the same time, i.e., same fashions. No man, especially one not married would wear his hair long, because homosexuals did that. Jesus would not have wanted to take the chance of being labeled homosexual, especially if He were unmarried, which was unusual for a man at that time. Holy men married and had lots of children.

Anyway, that's why I have my doubts that the shroud is Jesus'. Well, the Wiccan said "I believe Jesus was married to Mary Magdalen." Another said "How can you believe that nails were hammered..." I retorted that their objections were historical facts, not religious. They finally settled on the Resurrection. They all agreed that the story of the Resurrection was just that, a story.

I did my best, but this is a matter of faith. Of course, now 24 hours after the fact, I'm going over what I should have said. What would Patrick Madrid have said?