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Showing posts from August, 2011

Just Wondering

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I was reading this article, in CNA,  on the Pope asking forgiveness for cradle Catholics for not passing on their faith.  It made me wonder about my own catechesis.

My formative years were spent in public schools.  For Sunday School, I went to the children's Mass, which was held in the basement of the church.  Adults went upstairs and we kids went down.  The entire basement church was all kids supervised by a few Notre Dame de Mure Sisters.  All I remember is the Sisters teaching us to sing the songs that went to the Mass.  They were the old Catholic hymns.

But what has me wondering was the catechesis.  We didn't have the sisters; we had high school kids.  After Mass we went upstairs.  Maybe it was girls upstairs, boys down, I really don't remember that.  But upstairs there were about 5-8 kids in a pew, with a high school kid.  Then you skip a few pews.  Then another 5-8 children with a high schooler, and it continued like that through out the church.

The lesson was to ju…

Why Confess Your Sins to a Priest?

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Confession is one reason I'm glad I'm Catholic.  Confession is called the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  I love that--reconciliation.  What a wonderful word.  Sinning distances ourselves from God, but this sacrament reconciles us with God.  I find that beautiful.

My religion-impaired friends question why not just confess them to God yourself.  Well, one reason is that sin offends God and He's the one that set down in (Matt. 8:6) (Jn 20: 21-23)  what to do.  You can't just make up your own conditions; some people would be too easy on themselves; some too hard.  Besides, a confessor does more than just listen; he talks with you and advises and the best part--absolves in the name of Jesus Christ.  I remember reading a book about Billy the Kid.  He was telling someone that God forgave him.  See Billy was one of those who believed in God automatically forgiving.  Well Billy was half right.  But don't you wonder what kind of spiritual direction God gave Billy.  I wonder w…

Hurricane Irene

We finally got our electricity back.  Deo Gratias!

Let me count my blessings:
    * I found a church that had a 7:30 PM Saturday night Mass.  My church dropped it's 7 PM Sat. Mass and
     that was the one I use to go to, when I wasn't down the Cape.  Since then, I never have found my niche.  I
     just can't find a Mass that I feel comfortable with.  You have to be Catholic to know what I mean.  It's a
     biological/spiritual thing.

    *I really got into the next book club book and I didn't like it, or get it, until today--page 76.  The book is         Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson.  If it weren't for Hurricane Irene, I probably would have  put the book away.  It's humor.  I didn't realize that until I was up to page 76.  It's that stiff obvious English observation, stated so matter-of-factly, that got me.  The Major was eating  at a restaurant and wondering what" holes in the face disease" all the young servers …

St. Augustine

Today is Sunday so I'm not celebrating his feast day at Mass.  Rather I'm giving him honor as a Holy Father to the Order of Preachers.  Along with St. Francis, Augustine, is called our Holy Father, along with Saint Dominic. The Dominicans follow the Rule of Augustine.  Also, Dominic was an Augustinian Canon.

Since my Dominican Study Group is reading the Confessions, I have a new appreciation of him.  I've always enjoyed his sayings:

Give me chastity and continence, but not yet.


Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.


Faith is to believe what you do not see.  The reward of this faith is to see what you believe. 


I want my friend to miss me as long as I miss him.


It was pride that made angels into devils; it is humility that makes men into angels.


Love and do what you like.

St. Monica

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Next to Ven. Pere Lataste, St. Monica is my favorite saint.  That's because my life has revolved around her in many ways.  Mainly, all my sacraments were received in St. Monica's Church.   Well, I continue to receive Holy Eucharist and Penance, here and there and everywhere, but the sacraments that you only receive once, were at St. Monica's.
    I've always used her as an example of womanhood, wifery, and motherhood.  She was a grandmother too, but no one mentions that.  But a good mother would be a good grandmother; that's reasonable.
    She is best known for persevering in prayer for her son, St. Augustine.  One time, my nephew, Fred, sitting next to me in a pew, in St. Monica's, was incredulous, upon hearing her story.  He exclaimed, "You mean she's a saint for just being a mother!?!!!!!"
I give my sister credit for putting up with this brat.  Virginia must have been a very good mother for her son to think that all mothers just automatically …

Community

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Some friends and I went to see the movie, The Help.  I have never seen a movie that followed the book so closely.  It's about the Black maids and the women they served in the 1960's.  It's chick lit and the theater was full of women, too.  I saw a total of three men.  

You can google the movie and read all about it.  What I noticed the most, besides the story line, was the black community, itself.  What a great support group.  Their church was their stronghold.  Prayer was their strength.

Abileen is a prayer intercessor.  She writes down her prayers because she feels God listens better when she writes them down.  People come to her and ask her to pray for them.  She's the writer and God her inspiration.  If it weren't for her faith, she wouldn't have been able to get through the day.  If it weren't for her faith, the book wouldn't have gotten written.  And no book--no movie.

Hardwired for God

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You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless, until they rest in You.  This famous quote is from St. Augustine's Confessions.  My Dominican Study Group is reading Confessions.  This quote is in the beginning, when Augustine starts to prove that his entire life was a search for God.

He begins in infancy and describes the self absorbed baby.  Childhood proves to be selfish and instant gratifying, also.  Sounds like kids today.

Augustine is showing his readers that he might have thought he was happy, but he wasn't.  One has no idea what happiness is, until they've fallen in love with God.  That's the only thing that will satisfy us.

We get it.  I get it.

How do I Become Catholic?

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Once, after Lectoring, I was taken by surprise by a lady stopping me, as I walked out of the church.  She asked, "How do I become Catholic?"

What surprised me was that she asked me--not the priest, nor the deacon, who were out front shaking hands with everybody leaving the church.  I was so taken aback that I just gave her a pamphlet for RCIA and walked on.

Since then, I've prayed for her.  It's the least I could do since I failed her miserably when she reached out to me. And when I think about it, we Lectors and Cantors, are the most approachable, of the visible participants, in the Mass.  I know everyone is participating, but I'm trying to look through the eyes of a non-Catholic attending a Mass.  Approaching the priest or deacon, is too intimidating.  It's the lay people, a lay inquirer would seek out.  I know I would.

What would my advice be now?  I'd befriend a Catholic who knows what they believe.  I'd ask the Catholic if they attend Sunday M…

F.P.O.

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A Dominican went to a Mass, celebrated by Father Benedict, who is a Franciscan.  Sounds like a joke.  A Dominican, a Benedictine and a Franciscan walk into a bar...

Tonight I met a Franciscan of the Primitive Order.  He celebrated Mass for the Bethany Community.  Father Benedict is missioned to Lawrence, MA.

They are truly mendicants.  They don't work; they beg.  They beg for food and rides and whatever else they need.  Father Benedict was a good preacher, too.  His voice was melodious.  I liked listening to his talk on Mary.

The Order is just starting out and doesn't have many vocations.  Right now, they're in two Massachusetts' cities: Roxbury and Lawrence.  Their Lawrence home is Holy Trinity Church.

May God use them well.

Another Married Saint

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Usually, I read about saints who knew from an early age that they were destined to be a priest, or a nun.  But Conchita knew from an early age that she wanted to married.  And she wanted to marry to have a lot of children.  Why?  She figured that with many children there would be all the more to pray and love God.

Ven. Conchita Cabrera de Armida loved the Blessed Sacrament.  As a child she often prayed in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and often felt incapable of loving God how He deserved to be loved.  Hence her desire to be more people--to love Him move.  This was behind her childish wish to have a lot a lot of children.

Conchita picked out her future husband at age 13, Pancho Armida.  She considered herself engaged to him and never considered anyone else.  She married at age 22 and went on to have nine children.  She attended Mass every day and prayed constantly.  She is considered a mystic and her writings reflect that.  See, Conchita, A Mother's Spiritual Diary, by Fr. Marie…

Why?

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Three questions today: why did it rain and why are people like that, and why does it get to me.

We went to the beach today.  It was a beautiful day.  There were a few white fluffy clouds, but the weather said no rain today.  I put my feet in the water.  It was a little cold.  Hubby would say "It's refreshing."  So I settled in the beach chair with my kindle.

Suddenly, I felt sprayed with water sprinkles.  I looked around and there weren't a kids or any reason for me to feel water. My kindle was getting wet.

What?

There weren't any clouds.

This is what is called a sun shower.  It doesn't last long and at first it felt nice.  But then it got cold.  Nobody moved off the beach.  I took my beach towel and covered myself like a blanket.  And after about five minutes, it stopped.

Then another interruption.  We had picked this spot on the beach because it was an isolated area.  There was no one around.  But when other people come, please tell me why, out of the ent…

"Everybody's Talking at Me"

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This Sunday's Gospel - the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, Matthew 16: 13-20, makes me think of Harry Nilsson's song, "Everybody's Talking at Me."  This song is from Dustin Hoffman's and Jon Voight's movie, Midnight Cowboy.  ".

Jesus asks His disciples, what people are saying about Him.  Curiosity?  Testing them?  Interesting because everybody seemed to know Jesus as the carpenter's son, from Nazareth.  But aren't we all more than members of our family.  There's always more to us than what people see, or think they see, and know.

And in this Gospel, Peter gives the correct answer and moves to the head of the class.

Funny how the song "Everybody's  Talking at Me" came to my mind.  The lyrics have nothing whatsoever to do with this Gospel.  Jesus does move on, but not to a place where the weather suits his clothes.

WYD Faces

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Web Site Shows Living Faces of the Church
Pope2you.net Launches Photo Networking Initiative

By Jesus Colina
VATICAN CITY, AUG. 17, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Ahead of Madrid's World Youth Day, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications has launched a photo-based social networking Web site that demonstrates how all members of the Church form one body in Christ. "Living World Faces" (www.pope2you.net/livingworldfaces), which was carried out with the support of the Italian Episcopal Conference, allows young people to share their pictures with other participants in the youth gathering, which is set to begin Thursday. But that's not all. Once a photo is uploaded to the site, it becomes part of a mosaic of photos that forms either the image of Benedict XVI, an icon of Christ, or the logo of the 2011 World Youth Day. Father Paolo Padrini, who is the director of the project, told ZENIT that the aim was to "offer young people a 'virtual square'" in which to particip…

Book Selections

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The Argonauta Book Club has met and made its selections for the next year.  The choices are:

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Greater Journey by David McCullough
Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
What Remains by Carol Radziwill
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Since Mary Oliver didn't publish this year, we couldn't decide on what poetry book to read.  So one meeting we'll bring a favorite book of poetry and have a poetry reading.

Luigia Tincani

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Did Wikipedia screw up?  I was looking up this new Lay Dominican, soon to be Venerable, and although Luigia is a female name, and the picture is of a woman, the entire article is written with male pronouns.

It's a distraction, but it doesn't take away from Luigia's accomplishments.

the heroic virtuesof the Servant of God LUIGIA TINCANI, founder of the Union of Saint Catherine of Siena of the Missionaries of the School; born on 25 March 1889 in Chieti (Italy) and died on 31 May 1976 in Rome (Italy).


h/t   http://newsaints.faithweb.com/index.htm

Lay Dominican Slapdown

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It was the novices v. the postulants.  And since the President of the Chapter popped in, he was put on the hot seat, too.

What's a Lay Dominican Slapdown?

This Slapdown is the invention of the Formation Director to evaluate the materials and instruction of the Chapter.

Since I'm the Formation Director, I got to make up the questions.  The questions consisted of the history of Saint Dominic, Ven. M. Jean-Joseph Lataste, OP, the Family of Preachers, Our Lady of Mercy Chapter,and Lay Dominicans.  There were also general questions on the Catholic Religion--apologetics.

I didn't expect Bible verse quotations, as long as they knew where to find the answers.  I didn't expect them to know the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, kinds of graces, precepts of the Church and all those rules, as long as they can find them in the catechism, when needed.

When the novices and postulants didn't know the answer, the Chapter President was asked.  We were glad to see that most of the time he d…

Suffering Children

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Fr. Keven this morning gave a few words on today's Gospel, Mt. 19: 13-15.  This is the Gospel where Jesus tells his disciples to let the children come to Him, and He blesses them.  Fr. Kevin said that children are among society's most vulnerable.  And they still need protection today.  We still have child slavery, child porn, abuses, and neglect.

This led to my reflection on today's gospel.  I was reading "Our Endangered Species, A Hard Look at How We Treat Our Children," by Andrew Vachss and was given plenty of food for thought.  Vachss' article begins with an infant showing signs of suicide because he had no reason to live.

He was only an infant, and his mother was torturing him.

Yeah...when you start breathing again, Vachss explains how society has not advanced when it comes to parenting and protecting our most vulnerable.  It's shocking and it's true.  However I tie in the religious aspect.    While it is unconscionable to maltreat a child and h…

Resisting Cravings

I didn't realize that I had so many tricks up my sleeve.

First you have to realize that cravings are a physical response to specific situations.  The way to handle the cravings is to change your response.  How?

Try these:

*     Chew gum
*     Drink water
*     Take 10 deep breaths
*     Put one hard candy in your mouth
*     Brush your teeth
*     Telephone someone and talk for awhile
*     Do something with your hands that takes concentration, like knit
*     Just leave the room

If you survive for 20 minutes, the craving goes away.  Persevere.

Mutts or Show Dogs?

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Matt. 15: 21-28 relates the story of the Gentile woman nagging Jesus to heal her daughter.  Remember that in Matt. 10: 5-6, Jesus' instructions to his disciples were to stay clear of Gentiles and Samaritans.  So in this Gospel, Jesus is also not associating with Gentiles.  In fact, to get rid of the shrew, He calls her a derogatory name that is an insult in any language and time.  Jesus calls her a "dog."

Shocking.  What can I say?  Jesus is a product of His time and culture.

But the woman is desperate to get help for her daughter.  She'll try anything and bear any insult--it's worth a try--it may be her last resort.  She stays with Him and shows that she's not insulted, she just wants His help.  He is merciful and grants her prayer.  Deo Gratias.

I found it interesting that she didn't allow a name used as an insult, to insult her.  She was focused on obtaining help.  The insult wasn't important.  And they're not, are they?  "Sticks and stone…

Perception Deception

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This weekend I read the children's book, Slippery Willie's Stupid Ugly Shoes, by Larry Peterson.  It's a good book.  I recommend elementary school teachers'  read it to their classes, because it is an important story about accepting differences.  Willie is different than everyone else and has to wear special shoes.  He's afraid these stupid ugly shoes will make him the object of ridicule, among his classmates.  You'll have to read the book yourself to get the lesson and story.

Willie's perception of his shoes, and his imagination caused him a lot of pain.  It reminded me of my youngest child refusing to wear his Halloween costume to nursery school.  The class was having a Halloween party and the teacher had asked that the kids wear their costumes to school.  He absolutely refused.

O.K.  I could understand that he's thinking he'll be the only one dressed up, and everyone else will be in their regular school clothes.  So I offered to carry the costum…

Ninth Day

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St. Dominic's Sweetness and Patience


"By patience let us run to the fight proposed unto us" (Heb xii. 1)

It was St. Dominic's gentleness and sweetness which won many souls to God, when all his other powers seemed in vain.  On one occasion, a heretic maliciously led him through a thorny wood, where his feet were terribly lacerated.  He exhibited such patience and sweetness towards his persecutor that the miserable man, touched with remorse, fell at his feet and renounced his errors.

During all the years of his apostolate St. Dominic not only endured the sufferings of hunger and thirst, but he was ever pursued by relentless hatred and persecutions of wicked men and Satan himself.  Under all these trials he bore himself with invincible patience.  Like St. Paul, he would engage in combat only with the arms of patience and sweetness.  With these he conquered the demon, and won many triumphs among men.  Never did he yield to impatience; never did he allow natural repugnance…

Glory to God in the Highest

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This is the highest our sunflowers have ever grown.  Notice that they're up over the middle of the window.  Now that the blossom is growing, it will grow heavier and heavier and start to bend over.  So I mark this as it's highest height.

The vegetables in the rest of the garden aren't shabby, either.  The peppers are the best, with zucchini coming in next.  The tomatoes are slow, but when they ripen, we'll be giving them away.


Day Eight

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St. Dominic's Zeal for God and Souls

"The zeal of Thy house hath eaten me up"  (Ps. lxviii. 10)

St. Dominic's love for God and his neighbor bore marvelous fruits through his zeal for souls.  This was a natural outgrowth of his love; in truth, it was part of his love.  The goodness of our Blessed Lord, His mercy, and His love, were so deeply fixed in St. Dominic's heart that he longed to make all men partakers of these divine gifts.  His life was spent for souls.

The vision which was granted to him, -- in which St. Peter and St. Paul appeared to him and told him to preach, for God had chosen him for this office -- was but the confirmation of that other vision in which his saintly mother saw him, as with a flaming torch, going over the entire world, enlightening all men with the fire of divine love.  To him the words of St. Paul may well be applied: "He maketh his ministers a flame of fire."

His apostolate among the Albigensians God blessed with wonderful …

Day Seven

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St. Dominic's Spirit of Mortification


"They, who are of Christ, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscence's" (Gal. v. 24)

St. Dominic well knew that without the spirit of prayer and mortification all his works would be in vain.  From his childhood, therefore, he was a model of mortification.  Though most innocent, he longed to suffer with Jesus and to weep for the sins of others, in imitation of his Blessed Lord.

His penances were most rigorous.  At all times gentle to others, he spared himself neither sleeping nor waking.  Day and night he girded himself with an iron chain.  His fasts, most severe in themselves were continued until death.  During his journeys on foot he suffered much.  Even when wearied nature obliged him to take some repose, it was hard stones or leaning against the altar steps, that he reclined his exhausted body.  Whole nights he passed in the church; never did he posses a bed or room which could be called his own.  Whenever he …

Sixth Day

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St. Dominic's Spirit of Prayer

"We ought always to pray, and not to faint" (Luke xviii. 1)

The wonderful sanctity to which St. Dominic attained was due to his continual prayer.  He, indeed, prayed always.  Like the apostle, he could well say this his conversation was in heaven.  Prayer was his life, his light, and his strength.  The spirit which in early youth made it his delight to serve at the altar, to visit the Blessed Sacrament, and to sing in the Office the praises of God, was the spirit of prayer.  From prayer he learned more than from books.  By prayer he accomplished more than by preaching or miracles.  When his eloquence, and the wonders which he worked, failed to convert the Albigensians, it was the prayer of the Rosary that overcame them.

Whole nights he passed in prayer.  On his journeys he prayed almost continually, often going aside from his companions that he might give himself to deeper contemplation.  His love of prayer, as it exalted him in sanctity, al…

Adjusting the Sails

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We use to have a sail boat.  My husband loved it although it turned him into Captain Bligh.  It was a day sailer--22ft.  He steered with the rudder, while we had to stay "put" -- yet also move when he said move!  So at the start of summer, everyone wanted to go sailing with Dad, by the end of summer, the crew had deserted.  No one wanted to get yelled at, anymore.

Besides the yelling, the sail boat was scary.  I never felt we were safe.  If it were too windy, it was hard to manage the jib, main sail, and the rudder.  I often felt like I was at the mercy of the wind.  If there were no wind, there wasn't a damn thing you could do about it, except drop the motor down and use it.  You definitely were at the mercy of the wind.

This memory was brought to the forefront in my reading of Sunday's Gospel: Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Matthew 14:22-33.  I can really feel for the men being tossed about in the boat.  I know that Jesus will calm all our fears, if only we t…

Day Five

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St. Dominic's Love for His Neighbor

"This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you."  (John xv. 12)

As St. Dominic loved God for His own sake, so he loved his neighbor in God and for God.  In each individual he saw a soul redeemed by Christ, and this loved and longed to save.

No sacrifice for the welfare of his neighbor daunted him.  When a student he sold all his books, then far more precious than now, in order to relieve the poor.  Twice he offered himself to be sold into slavery that other might be assisted.  He knew no distinction of persons.  He yielded no distinction of persons.  He yielded to no personal likes or dislikes.  The image of his Divine Master, which he saw in every soul, was the power which moved him.  His prayers, his tears, his vigils, his sufferings, his penances, were nearly all offered for others.  Three times nightly he scourged himself, once for the souls in purgatory, once for sinners, and once for himself.  He worked mira…

Fourth Day of the Novena

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 St. Dominic's Love for Our Lady

Behold thy Mother.  (John xiv 27)

St. Dominic's devotion to Mary grew with him from his childhood.  He chose her to be his Mother, and under her protection he placed all his works.  For her he did all, knowing that this was the best way to do all for Jesus. Her Ave was ever on his lips before he preached.  Together with the name of Jesus, he ever proclaimed the glory of His Mother.  The same spirit he bequeathed to his followers so long known as the Friars of Mary.  And she, in her turn, was always mindful of St. Dominic, whom she lovingly called her son.  As a pledge of her gracious favor, she gave to his dear Reginald the white scapular of his Order.  To himself she gave the Rosary, the sweetest devotion to our dear Mother.  One night as he prayed, a comforting vision was granted to him, as he beheld a great number of his children in heaven, even under the mantle of the Queen.  And when about to close his eyes in death, our Lady made him a co…

Why do you go to Mass?

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I was reading Bishop Dowd's blog Waiting in Joyful Hope, and he gives three reasons for people going to Mass.

1.  Communion
2.  Homily
3.  Eucharistic Prayer

He was talking about the Eucharistic Prayer--importance--meaning.

But I'm still thinking of other reasons why people go to Mass: habit, family, business reasons, your ministry obligates you to, personal promises, social reasons, what else?

...yeah, the Eucharistic Prayer trumps.
Related articlesThe importance of the Eucharistic prayer (fatherdowd.net)

Third Day

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St. Dominic's Love for God


"If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema" (1 Cor. xvi 22)

St. Dominic's love for Jesus Christ was the mainspring for all his actions.  For Him he lived and died.  All his labors, his preaching, his writings, his journeys, his miracles, were the outpouring of this love that God might be better known and better served.  He ever prayed that he might love God with a pure love, that he might love Him solely for His own sake.  Jesus Christ and Him crucified he only desired.  The passion of our Blessed Lord was the object of his frequent meditation and this so inflamed his heart that he longed to yield himself up a victim, to shed his blood to prove how much he loved his Master.  And when he was asked by the heretics what he would do if he fell into their hands, he replied that he would ask them not to kill him by a single blow, but to cut off his members one by one, and then, plucking out his eyes, leave him there to die.

T…

Matisse's Masterpiece

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For years I've been carrying around this postcard from Chapelle du Rosaire a Vence, France.  It's a post card of an altar and stained glass window, designed by Henri Matisse.  As beautiful as the colors of the window and design of the altar are, that's not why I still have, and admire this postcard.  Behind the altar is a simple drawing of a Dominican friar.  This is what attracted me.  In a way, it reminded me of those games where you are suppose to draw something in one line without taking the pencil off the paper.  In another way, the simple curves and smooth folds of the cloth attracted me to the beauty of the habit.  I wonder if someone who doesn't have any idea of a Dominican friar could appreciate this wonderful drawing.  Probably not, otherwise I think this drawing would be as famous as Mona Lisa.

This post card was tacked to my bulletin board, for years.  All I knew about it was that Matisse had drawn the friar while convalescing.

Then I went to the Chihuly …

Day Two

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This is day two of my novena to St. Dominic.

The Humility of Saint Dominic

"Learn of Me, because I am meek and humble of heart, and you shall find rest to your souls." 
 (Matt. xi 29)

Though of illustrious birth, and endowed by God with the most splendid gifts of mind and heart, St. Dominic considered himself the lowliest, and the most miserable of men.  He well knew the grace he had received; but to God he gave glory.  He realized that humility was the root of perfection, and as such he cherished it.

So deep was his conviction of his own unworthiness, that before he entered a town he always knelt on the road and prayed to God not afflict the people for his sins, but to make his efforts fruitful in their behalf.

He embraced every occasion of humiliation.  In choosing a place of residence, he always preferred Carcasson to Toulouse, because in the former place he was treated with contempt.  Three times he refused a bishopric, preferring to remain with his brethren, under whose fe…