Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lataste Spirituality

Sister Ruth says Lataste spirituality is based on mercy.  Yes, but I'd say it's focused on redemption.  But you see how they're connected?
  
Father Marie Jean Joseph Lataste, O.P. is known as the "Apostle of Prisons."  He was a French Dominican who lived in the 19th century.  As a new preacher, he was assigned to preach a retreat in a women's prison.  The women were use to sermons that condemned them for their crimes and emphasized their unworthiness.  But Pere Lataste's sermon spoke of God's love. (Quotes from Hope Beyond Hope, by Emmanuelle-Marie, O.P.
           My dear sisters! You ask yourselves why you are so dear to me, you who the world rejects and despises?  I tell you: I am a minister of God, who loves you regardless of your mistakes, with a love that is not known on earth, the love of a God who pursues you with His love, and who in the very moment I am speaking with you, is already within your hearts. p. 19.


The women were surprised.  They came into the chapel with their heads down, disgraced women who were too ashamed to look a priest in the eyes.  But as the good friar spoke of God's love, then one by one their heads popped up.  Their expressions changed from surprise, to attentive, to hopeful, to being, oh, so very open.

Nota Bene: this is Lataste Spirituality.  He tells the inmates that they are equal to nuns and monks.
         For God, is not what we have been that counts, but what you are today.  God remembers only the struggles that you encountered.  He already forgot about the wrong that you have done, if you return to Him with a sincere and trusting heart, as did the prodigal son and as Mary Magdalene did.  The heavenly Father wants to console you.  If you want you can immediately consider yourselves equal to the nuns, moreover you can compete with them in love, perhaps even in sanctity.
       Just as the Sisters, you can choose to freely bear your condition out of love.  You who are rejected and set apart by the world can become for God as precious as the religious perhaps even more so, if you love Him more.
       For God, there is no difference between you and them, if you are ready to transform your rebellion into love and your pride into humility and tenderness--if you learn how to trustingly abandon yourselves to the Father.  p. 20


Wowza!

See how his profound compassion, and his projection of hope to these women prisoners offers redemption.  They are just as good as any other person.  Just as good as nuns and monks.  They can be better.

Now you understand why I call the guys in my chapter my "cloistered brothers."

This is a spirituality that is understood in the context of redemption, particularly through Jesus in the death He suffered after being taken prisoner from the Garden of Gethsemane.  It is a spirituality that directs preaching to those in challenging situations of despair: the poor, immigrants, persecuted, rejected, sick, and prisoners.

My "cloistered brothers" enjoy reminding me, "Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bethany House Ministries


What a great site.  Bethany House is a Catholic Ministry that services the families of prisoners and programs for prisons.  Currently there are two stores in Millis, MA.  One of the stores sells bric brac that has been donated.  This is the Hope Chest.  In addition to the Hope Chest, is another store right next door.  It is Threads of Hope and it sells donated clothing.

I love both stores.  Before I go shopping for clothes I'll go to Threads of Hope and see if maybe I can find
what I need there; instead of spending a lot of money
someplace else.

Bethany House Ministry has also rented a house for ex-cons to live in.  Sometimes when a prisoner is released he has no where to live, so the House of Hope is a place for them.  Mostly, it is for when an ex-con needs a residence to satisfy the requirement for being released.  Some can't be released unless they have a place to go to.



Then there are programs for the prisons themselves.  Around Christmas, packages are made up as presents for the prisoners.  They mostly consists of personal hygiene items.  But still.  Presents are presents.  Also at Christmas, Bethany House Ministries hosts a Christmas party for the families of prisoners.  That's always a good time.

Sister Kathleen and Ruth run the organization.  It's their baby.  One's a Franciscan and one's a Dominican.  That's the perfect combination.  A business with a heart, that's Bethany House Ministries.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Shroud

Tonight I went to a Talk by Dr. Gilbert Lavoie on the Shroud.  He's promoting his new book, Unlocking the secrets of the Shroud.    Those that have read it, say it's very interesting.  And his talk was interesting.  I guess I believe that the Shroud of Turin is Jesus' Shroud.  Why not?  I'm not even taking into account any of the scientific evidence Dr. Lavoie spoke about.  Like my brother, Charlie said, "I have shirts that don't last two  years.  How come this material has lasted centuries, through traveling, handling, fires, heat, and cold?"

Something else I found interesting was the famous Icon not made by hands.  I saw that in the Russian Museum of Icons, in Clinton, MA.  That story reminded me of the Shroud.   King Abgar of Edessa heard of Jesus and wished to know more about him.  So he sent an artist to find Jesus and draw a picture of him.  The man found Jesus and was drawing, when Jesus came over to him and asked what he was doing.  When Jesus heard that he was being drawn, Jesus took a cloth and wiped his face.  The cloth had Jesus' image.  It is said that that Icon has the same face as the Shroud.  Very interesting




Sunday, June 27, 2010

"You're So Vain"

This is my friend, John.  He went to hear and critique the Talk I gave today.  He prayed too.  I was giving a Talk to the St. Martin de Porres Chapter of Lay Dominicans, in Natick, MA.  I was talking about the spirituality of Father Jean Joseph Lataste, O.P. 

Afterwards, John and I went to Dunkin Donuts.  John thought my Talk went OK.  We think the Natick Chapter learned something new and have a new appreciation for my cloistered brothers.  But then the conversation turned to God, and about God, and for God--you know--Dominican stuff.  We must have spent an hour there.

Somewhere in the conversation the talk came to "perfection."  Is it really humble to deny your talents and downplay your accomplishments?  Aren't we suppose to try to be perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect?  How does one combine humility with perfection?  Is that the aim of Christianity--to be perfectly humble?  How about humbly perfect?

If I am good at something, and thank God for my talent, and work at perfecting that talent, isn't that giving praise to God?  Rejoicing in my God given gift is honoring God.

When does one cross the line to vanity?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Casualness

I have absolutely nothing in common with Lady Gaga, except her regrets over the "casualness" of dress.  It seems that I'm always overdressed.  I don't mind being only a notch up, but not noticeably sticking out like a sore thumb.

The first time I noticed it was in church.  I feel people will act better when dressed best.  It's more respectful.  I guess I'm wrong because I seem to be the only one dressed up.

Another time when I felt out of place was at the dress rehearsal dinner for my daughter's wedding.  I thought a dinner, especially a special dinner, would call for a dress.  It wasn't anything fancy dress, just a dress.  But I was the only one not in shorts.

 Now tonight, I've just come back from a retirement party.  I wore the dress in the picture.  I was so overdressed I felt like I was the Mother of the Bride.  People wore shorts.  Most just wore pants and a top.  My Director wore jeans, an Hawaiian shirt, and a sports jacket.  I felt like I was among the Village People.

I just feel that I'm right.  It's the rest of the world that's wrong.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Father in the Trinity

Duff and I are writing a formation module on the Trinity.  Who said we're not ambitious?  Duff is the brains and I'm the legs.  Fingers, too because I'll type.  IOW, I'm the grunt.  So Duff has assigned me to look up the documents from Vatican II.  I did.  I have 16.  I don't think any of them are applicable.  Maybe Dei Verbum can be used.  That's the dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation; but I haven't read it, yet.

He also told me to  write on Fatherhood in the Trinity.  I'm glad.  I'm very comfortable with the image of God as a Father.  And I can find lots of scripture to quote God as Father:

Phil. 1:2     God our Father        Sirach 23: 1, 4     Lord, Father, and God  

and think of all the times Jesus prayed to the Father:

Matt. 6: 9-13     The Lord's Prayer           Luke 6: 36    Be merciful as your Father
and all of John 17 is a prayer addressed to the Father.

Jesus also taught about the Father by way of parables:

Luke 15: 11-12      Prodigal Son      Matt. 18: 23-35      Unforgiving servant.

And don't forget Jesus as the snippy adolescent who told His mother that He must be about His Father's business.  (Nevermind what Mary and Joseph must have said and did--that's for another time.)  Make note that even at this age, Jesus knows that He came to do the work of His Father.

Another good one is James 1:17, "Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."  St. James tells us that God the Father is the source of all good things, and that's why I love God as Father.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Times Are A-Changing

Have you ever watched the McLaughlin Group?  If you're not a usual viewer and you have just meandered onto the show, it might seem like everyone is hollering at each other.  Well, oftentimes I am reminded by that at my own dinner table.  Often I am reminded of that in the cafeteria, at work.  Heck, just friends and I in a restaurant, can go at it.

This is especially true when the subject is religion.  It doesn't matter what religion; we can all be Catholics.  But when the subject is immigration, gays, health care, traditional Masses, Liturgical Dance, BXVI, or how to receive Communion, you'd think you're experiencing the McLaughlin Group.


In Beyond the God Gap by Jim Kessler and Robert P. Jones, PhD in the Huffington Post, I read where it's normal to holler at the dinner table.

It's time to drop all divisive language and rethink the way we talk about opposing views.  Stop vilifying the liberals/conservatives.  LISTEN instead of shouting.


These old "god gap" assumptions we encountered in our pasts were not atypical. Public conversations about religion and politics continue to fall into well-worn ruts based on stereotypes: evangelical Christians march monolithically to a right-wing tune; mainline Protestants are no longer relevant; Catholics in the pews affirm all official church positions; and the non-religious are moral relativists. But as we have discovered through research and in our own lives, the truth is more nuanced and interesting. And understanding this truth is heartening and essential not only for anyone hoping to make progress on specific issues such as gay and lesbian rights, abortion, and immigration reform, but also for anyone working to foster a more civil dialogue throughout the country.




Today, Kessler and Jones assert, are four religious groupings: white evangelical Protestants, white Mainline Protestants, African American Protestants, and Roman Catholics.  They are finding differences of opinion in all groupings.  More vocal gay and lesbians are shifting opinions.  More immigrants are adding a new dimension to all churches.  Hispanics are changing the Catholic Church.  
Yesterdays conservative is today's liberal.  Not quite.  But there is change happening.  It's time to rethink our stereotypes and listen with open ears and minds, and hearts.  

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Prayer Request

"Please mark your calendar for Tuesday, June 29, 2010," says an e-mail alert. "At 11:11 a.m. Pacific Time, 12:11 p.m. Mountain Time, 1:11 p.m. Central Time, 2:11 p.m. Eastern Time, we would like everyone to stop what they are doing and spend a few minutes praying for the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico region. Man has for too long tried to rely on his own feeble knowledge to fix disasters in the world. It is time for man to ask God to intervene in this disaster. Why on earth has the human race decided that it is the only one that can do anything? God has and always is in control at all times. At this time we are in a crisis that is beyond our technological capabilities, we need to be humble and pray. As a stiff-necked people we are trying to go beyond what we can do and we need to ask God for His pardon and help. So, on Tuesday, June 29, 2010, we need to stop for a few minutes, humble ourselves before our Creator, ask His forgiveness and ask Him to help end the crisis in the Gulf. The 29th is the feast day of St. Peter and St. Paul, apostles to our Lord Jesus. It doesn't matter what version of Christianity you are, the differences need to be set aside, and we all need to pray as the Christians that we are. Please send this to as many people as you know that will pray on this day. God hears all our prayers and maybe if we set aside our pride for a while, He will be happy with us as humans doing His will and not ours. God bless you all."

Life

Today is Tuesday in Week IV and in the Office of Readings, Psalm 102, II, I prayed for two causes dear to my heart:

Let this be written for ages to come
that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord:
for the Lord leaned down from his sanctuary on high.
He looked down from heaven to the earth
that he might hear the groans of the prisoners
and free those condemned to die.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Confirmation

Tonight I went to the Confirmation Mass of  8 men.  It was wicked awesome.  The celebrant was Cardinal Sean O'Malley OFM Cap.

The music was charismatic: Enter the Journey, La Paz & Cordero De Dios, Espiritu de Dios, This is Holy Ground, Alabare, and Marty Haugen acclamations.  It was provided by a combination of the Instruments of Peace, Echoes of Truth and the Spanish Catholic Choir, and the Vietnamese Choir.  The Mass was tri-lingual: English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.    And after the Mass was a liturgical dance.  Very nice.

There was quite a few people there, like it was a Christmas or Easter.  The atmosphere was celebratory.  Cardinal Sean was good.  He told of his first assignment as a priest--chaplain to a prison.  To encourage the men he told of "Great Escapes" from prisons.  Later, eight prisoners tried to escape!

After the Confirmation, there was a collation.  I started to eat my second cookie, when I remembered that I hadn't eaten any supper.  It was waiting for me at home.

I put back the second cookie.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fatherhood

An old friend came to visit us in Chapter, today.  Seeing that today is Father's Day, Brother Augustine's Talk was on Fatherhood.

I nearly fell off the chair when he asked for association words for "Father."  For any other group, this question would have been O.K.  But for my "cloistered brothers?"  Eh?

I fully expected:
Father = drunkeness
Father = physical abuse
Father = deserter
Father = wife beater
Father = absent
Father = Bastardo!

In fact, upon leaving, I advised brother to never begin with a question, you don't know the answer to.  But he told me, he was prepared for answers like the ones I expected.  He knew what he was doing.

But my fears didn't happen.  My "cloistered brothers" knew where he was going, and gave answers that were helpful to Brother.  Their answers were something along the lines of "guide, loving, teacher, provider, protector, etc."   Qualities in fathers that were the ideal.  That we all wished we had.  (Don't you just love my brothers?")

One of the points of Brother's Talk was that the quality that is present in any Father and child, is "relationship."     And even if the father, or even the child, dies, that bond remains, even though it is not physically present.  Does a priest feel that bond to all the people that he is responsible for?  Don't all men feel that bond?

Many discussions arose during the talk and this was one.  Does the bond die with death?  Does one become more of a father when more children are born?  Do children become "one with their father," when they look exactly like dad, act like dad, talk like dad, take over for him?

Eventually, Brother steered the discussion to the relationship between God the Father and God the Son.  Jesus says, "Whoever sees me, sees the Father."  "The Father and I are One."  This relationship didn't die with Jesus' death.

And we are the adopted children of God.  Wowza!

How's your relationship with your Father?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

God is Good

You can't get any better than this: Falmouth Heights Beach, sun, sea breeze-17 knots, not too many people, lounge chair, good book, cool drink, and a sleepy morning.

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.

Dominican Chauvinism

In an End of the Year of the Priests Talk given by Bishop Anthony Fisher, O.P. to Irish Dominicans, the Bishop explains why being a friar, specifically a Dominican is an enhancement to the priesthood.

Bishop Fisher is funny and informative.  This essay is a keeper.  He begins by looking at the dichotomy between a monk and a secular priest.  Do Dominican friars suffer from a multiple personality disorder?  Are Dominicans religious clerics or clerical religious?  


Actually, both comfortably fit a Dominican friar.  In Lumen Gentium, there is a distinction between the common priesthood of the baptized and the ministerial priesthood.  But the times of the era required Vatican II to promote the vocation of the laity out in the world.  The priesthood, of course is special, but it was not touted, here.  (A Council can't cover everything.)
The People of God is formed into one in the first place by the Word of the living God (1 Pet 1:23; Acts 6:7; 12:24), which is quite rightly sought from the mouth of priests (Mal 2:7; 1 Tim 4:11-13; 2 Tim 4:5; Tit 1:9). For since nobody can be saved who has not first believed (Mk 16:16), it is the first task of priests as co-workers of the bishops to preach the Gospel of God to all men (2 Cor 11:7). In this way they carry out the Lord's command "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature" (Mk 16:15) and thus set up and increase the People of God... Priests owe it to everybody to share with them the truth of the Gospel (Gal 2:5)...[15]


Both the clerical, religious and lay vocation are all Christological.  They are similar yet have different ways of participating in the salvation of souls.  Baptism has a certain chronological, logical and ontological priority: it is the sine qua non of faith, membership of the Church, all other sacraments and professions, and the promise of eternal life. But as, Lumen Gentium tells us, the common and ministerial priesthood are ordered together--the baptized exercise their royal priesthood best by participating in the Eucharist--which can only be affected by a ministerial priest.   To that extent,  being a baptized Christian, along with being a professed Dominican, and also an ordained priest, draw a friar closer to Christ, and give him specific Christic inspirations and arenas of activity, so that they are integrated in Jesus Christ.


Wowza.





Friday, June 18, 2010

Killing as a Solution

I dunno.  I dunno.  The beginning of the week, I read where a Buddhist monk immolated himself in protest of a public works project.  (I can relate. )  Then today I heard on the radio that in Utah, a man was executed by a firing squad.  

Also today, I was listening to Patrick Madrid on a CD where he quotes Bishop Chaput as saying that he can picture himself dying in his own bed.  However, he pictures his successor, dying in prison, and his successor being martyred.

The world is getting more and more violent.  Where is the peace of Christ?  This is not the way it should be.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Going to the Dentist is Like Going to Confession

  1. You pray before going.
  2. You don't want to go.
  3. You know you should.
  4. You try to forget about going.
  5. You make yourself go.
  6. You prepare to go.
  7. You prayerfully and patiently await the service.
  8. You give thanks to God that's it's over.
  9. You promise to do better.
  10. You feel so clean and spiritually good about yourself.
Whew!  Deo Gratias.

Amen!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dunce

Do you know who Duns Scotus is?  He was one of the more important theologians and philosophers of the High Middle Ages. He was nicknamed Doctor Subtilis for his penetrating and subtle manner of thought.  Scotus has had considerable influence on Catholic theology.  Scotus also developed a complex argument for the existence of God, and argued scripturally for the Immaculate conception of Mary.  (Wikipedia)  


Knowing what an eminent scholar and celebrated theologian, he was, I was surprised that one legend attributes the "Dunce Cap" to him.  It seems that King Philip IV of France wanted to tax the church in order to finance his war in England, but Pope Boniface VIII threatened to excommunicate him instead. Duns Scotus supported the pope and was banished from France. Those who disagreed with Scotus' teachings started referring to his supporters by the word 'dunce', which meant 'stupid or dull witted'. Duns' books on theology, philosophy, and logic were university textbooks. His followers were later challenged by their opponents about what was perceived as a system of hair-splitting and distinctions; their obstinacy over an increasing array of challenges posed first by humanists and then by reformers led to the term "dunses" to denote fools in general.  


How ironic!  The followers of  Dun Scotus are dunces.





Sunday, June 13, 2010

More Thinking than Praying Doesn't Work


Using Carlo Carretto today for Lectio Divina.

Carlo assumes the voice of St. Francis of Assisi giving women advice, by referring to Saint Catherine of Siena: "Transform your home into a convent--an ideal, spiritual one, as Saint Catherine did.  Let prayer reign there, good counsel, and peace.  Let your toil, wherever it is, be illumined by the power of your calling--for you were made to love, to comfort, to serve."

Mmmmmm.......knowing St. Catherine like I do, I think she'd tell Carlo where to go.

You know, like she told the Pope to leave Avignon.  Carlo is giving advice in the 1980's to women who want to be priests.  He thinks women should be priests.  He's (St. Francis) telling priests, "Are you still the slaves of ancient cultures, in which a woman was of no account, in which she was subjugated by male arrogance and destined only to live behind a curtain like the women of the Muslims?"

Oh Carlo!  You are besmirching the names of St. Catherine and St. Francis.  I'm sure both are spinning in their graves.  Good Grief!  When I think of the many times Catherine defended priests, no matter how undeserving they were!   In one of her dialogues St Catherine of Sienna was told by Christ what He thinks of priests. "They are My anointed ones”, the Savior said, “and I call them My Christs because I have given them the office of administering Me to you. The angel himself, has no such dignity, for I have given it to those men whom I have appointed as earthly angels in this life."


Catherine, and I'm sure Francis, too, would have unquestionably obeyed the Church laws.  Where does Carretto come off?


Mmmmmm....does prayer sometimes lead you to sin?

Sayonara

The Atlantic's Ross Douthat wrote an article about the Catholic Church being finished.  You know--done for.  Gonzo Baby.  Kaput!  Like dead.

Ross not only doesn't know his history, he doesn't know his Scripture.  Matt. 16:18 gives assurance that the Church will always prevail.

But I get his point.  The Church for some people is gone.  Sad as that is, well, that is part of the human condition.  After all, has anyone ever told you that they'd love you forever?

Life happens.  People come and go.  Life goes on.  Only trust in God.

God does not lie.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary

           John 19: 27.  "Woman, behold thy son...."

Reminds me of Fatima, when our BVM showed her Immaculate Heart to Lucia and said, “Behold this heart surrounded by the thorns that men are driving into it by their sins, their ingratitude.  But you, at least, console me by making reparation….”    And thus the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is epitomized.

When we consecrate ourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary we offer our good works and prayers through her to Jesus.  In this way, our offerings are packaged inside her own heart.  This is pleasing to God.  
    

        

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Still Praying for Father Jo Jo

On June 19th, everyone in the world is invited to pray a decade of the Rosary for priests.  This is to mark the closing of the Year for Priests.  

 (Zenit.org).- relates that a worldwide rosary relay event will unite participants around the globe to pray for priests.
The June 19 event, sponsored by Worldpriest, will begin in Brisbane, Australia, and will continue at Marian shrines through Japan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, India, the Levant and the Middle East, South Africa, Bosnia, Italy, Poland, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland, Wales, England, Mexico, Argentina, Canada and the United States.
The faithful are invited to participate by praying a decade of the rosary for priests at a scheduled time, thereby marking the end of the Year for Priests with a 24-hour prayer relay.
Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam, Ireland, episcopal advisor to Worldpriest, affirmed the "great potential" of this event, which "will bring many spiritual benefits to all involved."
Worldpriest planned this relay as "an opportunity for us to raise our hearts to God for all priests in the exercise of their ministry; that they will be blessed, through our prayers, with God's grace for their priesthood; that in this worldwide communion of prayer for them, they may experience our gratitude and support; and finally that they will persevere in unity with Christ and his Church and shepherd the Lord's flock to the safe pastures of his kingdom."

For the past year, I've been praying for Fr. Jojo Vattakeril MCBS, whom I spiritually adopted for the year.  Holy Spirit increase your blessings upon Fr. Jojo.  Renew and sanctify him to become a more powerful, holy and humble instrument of God's plan for the salvation of humankind.  Amen

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hell


Hell is not a swear word.  It is a reality.  A couple of my "cloistered brothers" were telling me about life in the RB.  When one lives there, you are subjected to a constant "pinging."  It's a computer pinging one short low ping, and answered with one high pitched ping.  This is constant, all day and night.

I responded with an incredulous, "but maybe they don't know that the computer is making this annoying noise." They said, that not only do they know; they do it on purpose.

"But why?"  I asked.

"To break us."

Monday, June 7, 2010

Temple of the Holy Spirit

What I love about T.O.P.S. is that it's not a diet.  Some of us do.  Some belong to diet clubs like weight watchers, Jennie Craig.  Some have had weight loss surgery.  But we all support each other.  T.O.P.S. doesn't endorse any one diet.  If anything, they promote the exchange program, i.e., exchange a high trans fat food for something less.  We aim to be healthy and more active.

This weekend I met a lady who lost 100 pounds.  It took her 35 years!!!  It takes persistence and most people give up because the pounds aren't dropping off fast enough.  But if you lost 1/4 of a pound in a week, you'd have lost 13 pounds in a year.  We think that's excellent.  It's small changes that change your life style.  And that's the problem with dieting.  When you go off the diet, you gain the weight back.  You have to change your life patterns.  This takes time. 

Small ideas such as:
  • choose fruit instead of juice
  • choose fish packed in water
  • lower the fat in your cottage cheese
  • cut back on your portions of starch--rice, pasta
  • eat several small meals instead of three large ones
  • park father away from your destination

A few small changes to add to your life--like a 1/4 of a pound a week.  Take care of yourself.

One fun and educational help is an interactive activity to help you plan your daily meals.  Too many of us overlook the benefits of including enough fruits and vegetables in our meal plans.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently revamped their "5-a-Day" program with more personalized advice.  Look at their website.

This picture is my T.O.P.S. group.  We are eating sensibly, nutritiously, and enjoying each other's company.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Corpus Christi

I went to two Masses today. The first one was in my parish, where I was assigned to read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. Drama Queen that I am, I relished putting my heart where my mouth was, and proclaiming This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.

Besides being food for the soul, this reading was food for my mind. I find it amazing that for over 2000 years this memorial has been continued. That today, I am in communion with the early Christians. We carry on. This Eucharist unites us into the Communion of Saints. We are one catholic family: Mary, apostles, saints, everyone, and me. United through God because once we partake of His Body and Blood, we are united in Him. We become part of His divine life. It's wicked awesome, when you think about it.

Then in Chapter, Father Nic celebrated Mass for my "cloistered brothers." Again I heard 1 Corinthians 23-26. But this time, Father Nic emphasized the reason we believe that God is truly present in the Bread and Wine. And although Father Nic didn't reveal anything new; it wasn't anything I didn't know; it wasn't anything a child making their First Communion couldn't have told you; yet it reached my heart. Before I knew it in my head. However, this time my cloistered brothers reached my heart.

The reason we Catholics believe that the Bread and Wine on the altar is God, is because Jesus told us. God can not lie.

My cloistered brothers understood it in simple terms. They believe because Jesus told them too.  Their faith reached into the heart of this Faith.  God bless them.

Ave, verum corpus
natum de Maria Virgine,
Vere passum immolatum
in Cruce pro homine,
Cujus latus perforatum
unda* fluxit (et)* sanguine,
Esto nobis praegustatum
in mortis examine.

Hail,true body
born of the Virgin Mary,
Who truly suffered, sacrificed
on the Cross for man,
Whose pierced side overflowed
with water* and blood,
Be for us a foretaste**
In the test of death.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Gay McDonald's Ad in France

Sad. That's what I feel. What people do to make a buck! How low can you sink to prey on people, to cater to appetites, to feign caring for seducing your support from you. I'm talking about McDonald's advertising to reach the gay crowd.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Spirituality

Everyone seems to be spiritual, but not religious. I take this to mean that they think about God, now and then, but they don't go to church. I don't buy this. I think this is just an excuse for laziness. And not just laziness to physically getting one's body inside a pew on Sunday, but intellectually laziness, as well. I don't think most people have thought out, why they chose not to attend a church.

I can only judge myself. I try to be spiritual and part of that is being religious. My spirituality involves a way of life and not adherence to St. Teresa of Avila's prayer life, or St. Ignatius of Loyola's spiritual exercises. I need liturgical prayer, Daily Mass, if possible, but an ordered prayer life. My prayer must include contemplation. I need time alone to converse with God. God's voice sometimes is a whisper. Quiet time is a necessity.

Almost a prayer, is my study. Learning about God is necessary. I will never understand God, but sometimes I feel closer to understanding than others. . For holiness is not just about the heart, but also the head. By grace, thinking can become a sacred activity. Many times, what I read to understand for myself, comes in handy explaining to others. I can see where the fruits of my contemplation are passed on. An intelligent presentation of the Gospel by its nature draws souls to Christ, not me, but what I have learned.

In my prayer, I pray for others. The "others" are important. I need the support of people who think like me. No man is an island, and finding encouragement, love, and support helps me to carry on. My prayer group, my parish, my study group, my Lay Dominican Chapter, my "cloistered brothers", and my friends are my life line. My community "has my back."

The work I do for God is a necessary part of my spirituality. Everything ties together to do this work: prayer, study, community. I wouldn't be able to do my prison ministry without my preparation in prayer, study and support. Even blogging, like this becomes a prayer, or brings me to prayer, and connects me to an even bigger community so that I am sometimes emboldened to think of my internet activity as a cyber-ministry. Why would I bother, were it not for the greater glory of God?

Indeed.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Pelvic Trinity


I'm still thinking, researching, and praying about and to, the Trinity. And this morning I've come across fellow blogger's Eric Sammons' site, The Divine Life. I'd like to give him a hat tip. His posting was my meditation this morning. Eric sets the scene by talking about my patron saint for this year, St. Nicholas. It's a cute story about jolly ole St. Nick punching Arius in the nose. :-0

This is how emotions flared over religion and politics. Well, you know, or can imagine. Eric segues into today's heresies, which he names as the Pelvic Trinity: abortion, contraception, and homosexuality. Eric says, "This unholy trinity of issues are of course interrelated and they all revolve around our “right” to engage in sexual activities with no consequences. But these issues go even deeper, as they touch whether we have the right to define morality as we see fit, or if there is One above us who makes those determinations. Ultimately, it comes down to the question of who is in charge: us or God."

The poster child of this line of thought is disgraced Catholic priest Fr. Alberto CutiĆ©, who left the Catholic Church to become Episcopal after being caught with his mistress last year, has adapted his own views on sexuality to be more in line with his new ecclesial communion. He was recently ordained an Episcopal priest and now he is admitting that he had struggles with the Catholic Church’s position on the pelvic trinity."

I wish St. Nicholas were around now.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Defining the Trinity

My "cloistered brother", Duff, and I are writing an adult formation module on the Trinity. Where do we get the chutzpah to do this? We figure it this way. We're writing something people can read, will want to read, and should read. There are plenty of books written on the Trinity, written by theologians. How many have you read? See; I rest my case.

We've made a tentative outline to propose our subject.

Defining the Trinity:
*Where does the word "Trinity" come from (History)?
*The first known existence of a family/community -
*How can we understand the Trinity?
*Who are the members of the Trinity?

Understanding the roles of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
*What is the role of God the Father?
*What is the role of God the Son?
*What is the role of God the Holy Spirit?

How does the Father, Son and Holy Spirit function as One?

How can we apply the understanding of the Trinity to the life of the Lay Dominican?
*Dominican Spirituality
*Modern times/culture

How can we present the Mystery of the Holy Spirit to other faiths, who do not believe in the Trinity?
*
*

What do you think? Any suggestions?

Some are called to teach. We are all called to preach.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What a Difference A Day Makes


Memorial Day weekend was a weekend from hell. It started with rushing around throwing anything that wasn't nailed down, into the car, to be brought down the Cape. The mail came, hubby's Father's Day present wasn't there, but my Franican Rosary was. I really didn't have time to look at it enough to appreciate it, but I did open it and was impressed.

Finally, the cat was hiding. The damn cat slept in her carrier all week. Now that she should be in the carrier, she wasn't. Of course, she won't come when you call. I tried shaking her food. I squeaked her toys. I opened the refrigerator and opened the package from the deli. (That always works. The deli packaging has a distinctive sound when opening.)

So I was off. Since I was leaving at 9:00 PM, there was no traffic. I gave thanks to God all the way over the Bourne Bridge.

Hubby and I took separate vehicles since his truck was stuffed with boat and fishing stuff; there wasn't any room for me and a cat. But we arrived at just about the same time.

The minute I walked into the cottage, I was hit with a wall of damp mustiness. Ugh. Unused summer cottage smell. But this time my throat closed, my nose filled, my eyes itched and watered, and I started coughing. I couldn't breathe. Instant head ache! I could barely breathe. Dick had to unpack the cars while I tried to nebulize. He also put a dehumidifier in our bedroom. We also discussed my going home if I didn't stop coughing. I decided that if I couldn't sleep, I'd go hope. So I took a cocktail of allergy pills, and tylenol PM and went to bed.

I did sleep, but woke up with a head as heavy as cement. I was still coughing but not as bad as before. I didn't make it to the daily Rosary and Mass and that always sets the tone of the day. Bummer.

During the day, son and new girlfriend came to visit. Also daughter and husband came. We all cleaned house a bit and played pool. Something was wrong with the pool table because all the balls kept clustering in the middle. Time to go to the beach.

It was a little too windy and cool for the beach, but if you lay flat, it was nice. You felt the hot sun on your body and the cool breeze cooled you off. My cough was better. It was so n..i...c...e..z..z..z..z..z...z.

When I woke up, I was laying on my side. I had a sunburned neck and ear. And I couldn't get up. My back hurt. Great. Watery, itchy eyes, stuffy nose, hacking cough, head ache, back ache and a sunburnt neck. See, I knew it was going to be a bad day, when I missed Mass.

After supper, I set up my lap top but couldn't get the internet. I freaked! I have a newsletter to get out by the first! I telephoned Verizon, but since they're in India, they don't know that Memorial Day Weekend is a holiday, and don't know why my local office won't respond. See, what happens when I miss Mass. Luckily Omega is very competent and was able to proof and send out the newsletter, by herself.

The next day was Sunday and I did go to Mass. And I raged at God. He told me to cool it.

What could I do? I cooled it; I had no choice. I enjoyed the family time, but gradually everyone went home.

Monday, I went to a Memorial Day Mass. It was going to be a good day. I planted flowers in the window boxes. Hubby was sanding and painting. But suddenly he came to me pointing to his eye.

I was alarmed. His right eye looked so small and red. It was watery and looked so sore. Dick thought he got Rustoleum in it. The can said to seek medical attention immediately if any eye contact occurred. So there we are sitting in the Emergency Room of Falmouth Hospital. They keep good records there. They have our whole family history. There was a time when my kids got swimmers' ear, every summer. Cheryl got bit by a dog. Karen sprained her ankle. Mark got stung by a jelly fish.

The emergency room doctor didn't think Dick got any paint in his eye. He thought it was an allergic reaction to pollen, or the haze that engulfed the Cape (Forest fire from Canada were causing a smoky haze.)How can you have an allergic reaction, in just one eye?

Anyway, hubby was given some ointment and we went home, packed, and really went home--to civilization--and the internet. The first thing I did was write a thank you to Brother Vito for the Rosary. The second thing I did was download eLumen--Omega came through. Well done. Praise God!

Today, was a new day. I went to work. I also went to the doctor's and was given a new inhaler and some IC Iophen. My headache is gone. My cough has quieted. I can breathe. My back is better. My sunburn is gone. And hubby's eye is much improved. God is good. All the time.