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Showing posts from January, 2013

Can I Play?

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This video gives you the raison d’etre for the book, It’s Game Time Somewhere, by Tim Forbes.  This is the theme—watch 100 events, 50 sports, within a year.  But why?  This is the story, and the journey to get there.  That’s why you’ll keep turning the pages.  And that’s why you’ll nod your head in agreement.
Not every dream ends when you wake up.  Some people are blessed to continue the dream.  Tim Forbes was blessed enough to drop out of the corporate world and step into his dream world.  It’s Game Time Somewhere: How One Year, 100 Events, and 50 Different Sports Changed My Life, relates this dream of Tim Forbes, who left his successful corporate job and lifestyle to pursue his love of sports.
Tim and his wife, The Bird, make a deal.  The deal was that Tim would support The Bird, while she went for her MBA, and then the roles would reverse.  The Bird would support Tim, while he left his corporate job and pursued his dream—working in sports.
The tale is the story of what happens to Tim.…

Pray to Listen and Understand

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Luke 4: 20-30 relates the story of Jesus preaching in the temple.  "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."  And he goes on to tell the people that they don't listen.  That they don't get it.

Can you imagine the scene?  Everyone arguing, shouting, pushing, and maybe calmer people trying to make sense of it all.  The result being that the crowd wanted to push Jesus off a cliff.

Nice.

He escapes.  I picture his escape was due more to the crowd arguing among each other.  They probably turned their wrath from Jesus to someone else, like some obnoxious loud mouth. I also don't think it would be common practice to throw someone off a cliff because they didn't like his preaching. Who'd open their mouth, it that were so.

You have to have "ears that hear," to understand Jesus' message.  You have to have faith and hope, too.  Greater than faith and hope, Jesus shows us how to love.  We are to love the Father; we are to love our nei…

Pope on Social Networks

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I'm happy to see the Pope tweet and on Facebook, and blogging.  All media should be utilized to promote the Good News.  But I'm glad that he's he, and not me.  I could never stand all these "hangers-on" types pulling on me.  Just look at them, in this short clip.  Don't you feel like shouting, "Leave him alone?"

The Angelic Poet

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Today is the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas.  He is a famed Dominican.  He is known as a celebrated philosopher, theologian, and professor.  But in the Dominican family, he is known for his humility, discipline, and obedience.  And to me, he is loved as a poet.

        Come Adore

Come adore this wondrous presence,
Bow to Christ the source of grace.
Here is kept the ancient promise
Of God's earthly dwelling place.
Sight is blind before God's glory,
Faith alone may see His face.

Glory be to God the Father,
Praise to his coequal Son,
Adoration to the Spirit,
Bond of love, in Godhead one.
Blest be God by all creation
Joyously while ages run.


Pirate Ordained Deacon

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There's no Chapter today.  There's no study group.  There's no reason to leave the house today, so I caught up on my reading.  In reading The Pilot, I was happy to read that two seminarians I know, are now Deacons.  I was very happy to learn that Chris Wallace, who taught me how to pray like a pirate--ARRR was among the three ordained on Jan. 19, by Cardinal Sean Patrick.

A deacon is the first of the three ranks of ordained ministry in the Catholic Church (Deacon, Priest, Bishop).  Now, these three deacons may preside at baptisms, weddings, rites of Christian burial, assist at Mass, proclaim the Gospel, and deliver homilies.  And I do hope that some priests will offer them the opportunity to do so, before their ordination.

Please keep these three Deacons in your prayers, ARRR, as they prepare to be ordained as priests in June.


Oh God

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If you're human you've suffered.  It is to be endured.  It is said that suffering makes you stronger, that it builds character.  True in many ways and sometimes.  What about spiritually?  Why does God purposely allow suffering to occur.

What do you do when you suffer?  Is your first reaction to say, "Oh God?"

That "Oh God," should be lifted up in prayer, because that's the prime reason God permits suffering.  Suffering is supposed to force us to turn to Him.  He is with us, always.  He is in our everyday existence.  He wants us to depend on Him.

Originally, He created us, so we depended on Him for everything.  This suffering is a reminder that He is our Protector.  God is trying to restore us back to the original order of things.  Misery would make life here in the world unbearable, were it not for God.  Man can not satisfy himself.  Only God satisfies.

Suffering is a blessing from God, Who knew that His children, disordered as they were, would not …

Winter in New England

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My friend was thinking of reasons why she likes living here.  When the temperature is zero, that's a mammoth effort.  As for me, I like all the seasons.  Summer is my favorite, but it wouldn't be if there were no winter.  Winter does have its good points:

No Cape traffic.

No mosquitoes.

No sunburn.

I look better in winter clothes.

Hot comfort food.

Fires in the fireplace.

Hockey

Christmas

Creches

Advent Wreathes

Jesse Tees

Mistletoe

Snow angels

Christmas Cacti  

Talking to neighbors after snow storms

Snow Days

Hot Cider

Smell of wood burning in wood stoves

Sledding, skiing, snow boarding, ski lodges

Hot chocolate with marshmallows

Soft, warm, flannel pajamas

Snowmen/ladies/chickens

Nutcracker

First Night

Skating on the Frog Pond

Too many to list...


God Kisses Better

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My “cloistered brothers” were recollecting when they first encountered God.  Some felt peace, saw light, heard joy, in various circumstances.  Some were in accidents, some while attending Cursillo, some participated in a healing service, and some were reading scripture.  
The memories soon changed into life after encountering God.  My brothers spoke of feeling protected, not alone, or God has my back.  There were frequent references to God’s plans. We realized that we were speaking as if God planned this to happen, which isn’t true.  We very well could have chosen not to be receptive to the Holy Spirit.  We could have shaken off whatever grace filled promptings that were blessing us.  But we didn’t.  We freely chose to accept God.
We were sounding like we had no choice--that we were predestined to such and such behavior.  Just the thought evoked laughter because with our history, we were more than likely to choose the wrong way.  (So much for predestination).
The way to look at it, we con…

Forgiveness Again and Again

Apropos to my post yesterday, on "forgiveness," is this Pastoral Exhortation, from the USCCB, on Forgiveness.  Please read it:
 http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments/penance/upload/Penance-Statement-ENG.pdf

Forgiveness

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Since I'm in prison ministry, I sometimes listen to the victims of crimes.  They tell heart wrenching stories of being hurt.  They find it hard to forgive.  I mostly just listen.  I figure it's the Holy Spirit that has the job of changing hearts.  I feel very deeply for them, because they go over and over the past.  The perpetrator of the crime committed against them is in prison.  They're not.  Yet, their anger, hurt, and that very unforgiveness has put them in a prison, too.  And in not forgiving, they're not moving on.  They're keeping themselves in prison.

And it's not only crime that does this.  I was reminded of this, when I read a young person's poem about the girl who left him.  He is angry, hurt, and wishes to get revenge.  Every time I see him, I listen to him lament his lost girl.  He's still in his self inflicted prison.

How does one change this perspective?  After the period of shock, and grief, one needs to look after one's own best in…

Trust Me

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"Trust me," has become a trite expression.  Every time someone says something, they punctuate it with, "trust me."  It has become so commonplace, that I have learned to never trust anyone who says "trust me."  Not so with God.  You know why?

It is because right from the beginning, right at the beginning of sin, God showed His loving care for us, never mind proving His love by sending His Son to redeem us.   Before Jesus, before we were kicked out of the Garden, God's plans for Adam and Eve shows His love.

He punished Adam and Eve like any good Father does.  Look what He did to the serpent!  Adam and Eve were dealt with in a different manner.  God allowed Adam to give a name to his wife.  God wanted them to continue, as best they could, the life He had ordained for them.  He did not want Adam and Eve to be naked and defenseless.  He clothed them better than they could have done themselves.  Adam and Eve were sad and ashamed to leave the Garden.  But t…

Mors Inceptio Solum Est

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Another funeral today.  One of the reflections referred to this life closing, but not ending.  Not only does this reflection remind me that Christians believe in eternal life.  This life closes but that’s not the end of life. 
Think of all the “closings” you've had, in your life: close of high school, close of a high school romance, close of college life, close of a career, close of friendships, etc.  In each of these, life did not end.  Life continue onto something different.
So it will be in death.

The Third Epiphany

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My “cloistered brothers” and I discussed the “Third Epiphany,” today.  What’s that?  You might ask.
The first epiphany was Jesus’ birth.  He entered human life.
The second epiphany was the recognition of his kingship, by the Magi.

Today, the second Sunday in Ordinary time, could be considered, the Third Epiphany.  It is an epiphany because the wedding at Cana is Jesus’ public “coming out.”  This is His first recorded miracle. 
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed His glory, and His disciples began to believe in Him.  (John 2:11)
It is very apropos to have this reading in the context of today’s marriage controversy.   The definition of marriage is being reconsidered.  That everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, is deserving of equal rights.  That’s a given.  But traditionally, marriage is between a man, and a woman.  Nowadays, same sex couples are demanding marriage, also.  Their arguments are here.
One of the ideas that came out of the discus…

What is the Communion of Saints?

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To Catholics, the communion of saints is comprised of everybody except the damned.  That means, all the living, AND the dead, i.e., those in heaven and purgatory.  That’s why we lucky people believe we have friends in heaven, praying and waiting for us.
We are all connected.  My prayers are really “our” prayers.  Faith includes all this.  Even in the Mass we say, “Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church.”  Note the plural reference.  It is not only my personal faith, nor my parish’s, but everyone who makes up the Body of Christ.
I see my family and friends, in heaven, waiting for me.  They’re my fan club, so to speak.  I see the Catholic Church, universally, including all of us, praying for each other.  All for one, and one for all.

How Dominicans Pray the Rosary

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How Dominicans Pray the Rosary
The Dominican family follows the medieval custom of beginning the Rosary like the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary—for the Rosary is known as Mary’s prayer. Let us pray.    In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,    Amen. V.   Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. R.    Blessed art though amongst women & blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. V.   Lord, X open my lips. [trace cross on lips] R.    And my mouth will proclaim your praise. V.   O God X come to my assistance. [bless self] R.    Lord make haste to help me. V.   Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, R.    As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen. Now begin the mysteries.  Begin each decade with an “Our Father,” 10 “Hail Marys,” and end each decade with a “Glory to the Father.”

An Uncovered Lamp Spreading Joy

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I know the Christmas season is over.  But yesterday’s hike through the woods put me in a poetic mood.  Here is another poem.  This one is from a good friend, a fellow Lay Dominican, and lover of mysticism, Mr. John Barron, O.P.
Like yesterday’s poem by Mary Oliver, this is a prayer of praise.  Praising God is actually beneficial to us.  By praising God, not only are we praying, but praising reminds us of His greatness.  His power and presence in the dawn's light, reinforces our faith.  I also feel that praising, which gives voice to our feelings,  pleases God, and disposes Him to bless us.

Christmas Dawn
       (2 Peter 1:19-"And we have the prophetic word         … a lamp shining in a dark place until the day        dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”)
Light fills each morning sky, Dawn delivering God’s new day. Ending briefly night’s emptiness, A sign of hope to guide our way.
But the Dawn of Christmas Day, Is unlike any since or before. The Divine Light arriving this day…

I Happened To Be Praying

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It was beautiful today, hiking Borderland State Park.  I was dressed in layers, and hand and toe warmers.  None of it was needed.  The temperature was in the 40's and the sun was strong.  Naturally,  we couldn't go out on the ice, but walking the trails was nice.  We followed deer tracks, and probably dog tracks, but we pretended they were fox's.

The air was so crisp, clean, and clear.  You just had to pause and pray.

I Happened To Be Standing by Mary Oliver

I don't know where prayers go,
     or what they do.
Do cats pray, while they sleep
     half-asleep in the sun?
Does the opossum pray as it
     crosses the street?
The sunflowers?  The old black oak
     growing older every year?
I know I can walk through the world,
     along the shore or under the trees,
with my mind filled with things
     of little importance, in full
self-attendance.  A condition I can't really
     call being alive.
Is a prayer a gift, or a petition,
     or does it matter?
The sunflowers blaze, maybe …

Jesus and Complacency

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Father George Szal, S.M., was giving advice to the seminarians.  He joking told them something that isn't really a joke.  He said, "You think you'll be all set, once you're ordained.  You have no clue.  You expect that everyone will love and respect you, once your a priest.  Ha!  Ten percent will love you.  But another ten percent will hate you.  And the other eighty percent don't give a damn.  They're complacent.  They're occupying a seat; doing the minimum to get to heaven."

I hope that's not true.  I hope that more than ten percent love their priests.  I don't think anyone hates, (maybe dislikes), their priest.  But is the complacent eighty percent true?

Complacency makes Jesus sick.  He will vomit the complacent out of His mouth.  Rev. 3: 14-16

...thou art neither cold nor hot.  I would that thou wert cold or hot.  But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to vomit thee out of my mouth; ...

I don't think eigh…

Morning Blessing

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This morning's blessing was being surrounded by Benedictines.  Some novice Benedictines are on retreat at St. Mary's Abbey.  I attended Mass with them.  Two Benedictine priests concelebrated Mass with Father Kevin, also.

The Cistercian nuns follow the Rule of St. Benedict, so there's some familiarity and connection between the Benedictines and Cistercians.  Father Kevin announced that today was the Benedictine Feast of St. Placid.  He told the story of St. Placid almost drowning in a pond, and St. Benedict swimming out to save him.  Father Kevin suggested that we don't start looking for ponds, to become saints.  But saving souls is something to emulate.

Pontifex

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I did it!  I finally sent a tweet to Pope Benedict XVI.

I don't really like Twitter.  There's no pictures.  There's no sentences.  (usually)  I tend to think of it as instant message but it's not because there's no give and take interaction, unless my receiver is "on."  If they are, then I switch to instant message.

Anyway, I wanted to encourage his Holiness for trying.  He is trying to reach out to people.  So I responded.

What did I tweet?  I thanked B16 for the Beatification of the Apostle of Prisons, Blessed Pere Marie Jean Joseph Lataste, op.

The One True Faith: Bethany House Ministries

The One True Faith: 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...

You're a Gossip, a Liar, and a Do Good Failure

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The Argonauts were discussing The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye by Rachel Joyce.  One of the supporting impetuses of the pilgrimage was a story someone told Harold.  What’s interesting, we find out in the end, is that the story was made up.
This story reminded me of my own.  I had a friend, whom I wanted to encourage.  I made up a story of a friend in similar circumstances.  It had a happy ending.
Well, my friend whom I was trying to encouraged, backed away from me.  She scolded me for being a gossip.  She said that I shouldn't be talking about people behind their backs.  And if this is what I did to friends, then she didn't want to be considered a friend of mine.  Then she turned around and walked out of my life.   
Paralyzed in shock, I think would describe my reaction.  I didn't dare call her back to explain that I made the entire story up.  What would she have called me then?

I know Why the Caged Bird Sings

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Maya Angelou’s autobiographical book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, came to mind when I walked into church, tonight.  I didn’t smell incense and candle wax.  I smelled paint.  And I saw that we parishioners were in a cage.
You see, St. Mary’s is painting the interior dome of the church.  There’s painting scaffolding caging the sanctuary.  I felt like I was in a cage.  And the Preface for today, the Baptism of Jesus, read:
And so, with the Powers of heaven,
we worship you constantly on earth,
and before your majesty
without end we acclaim:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Yes, we sang the praises of the Lord.   See it’s glory to God, that gave voice to the caged bird.  Hosanna in excelsis!

Man Owes Woman

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Today, I read Genesis 3.  I know some people automatically blame Eve for committing the first sin.  However, read Gen 3: 6.  The verse clearly states that Adam was with Eve.  How can Eve be blamed for eating the apple, when Adam was there.  Why didn't he shout, “No.”  Hence, it was Adam’s silence, and also his inaction, that damned them.
Still, Eve never blames him.  Adam blames her; she blames the serpent.  In this “blame game,” Eve never says, “He, the man who was made first, he just stood there, like one of dumb boulders, with his jaw slack, and his eyes blinking a thousand times; he didn't stop me; he didn't say anything.  He did nothing.  He let me do his dirty work!  He didn't protect me.  He didn't stop the serpent.  He just let me do what he didn't have the balls, guts, nerve to do.”
She didn't snitch.  The way I figure, man owes woman, big time.

Adam's and Eve's Confession

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Tonight's Bible study led me to a different insight.  We're reading Genesis 3.  Specifically, we read verses 9-13.

Here God questions Adam and Eve.  He asked a number of questions: "Where are you?  Who told you that you were naked?  What is this thing that you have done"

For sure God knew the answers already.  Then why did He ask?

This was the discussion:

The parents and teachers in the group said these are the type of questions you ask to understand.  God loved them and wanted to talk about the deed and its consequences-- for Adam's and Eve's benefit; surely not His.  He wanted to make sure they understood what they did.

Others said that God kept Adam and Eve talking to build up their shame and guilt.  This is how one forms a conscience.

Some said the questioning was a sign of hope for Adam and Eve.  God knew that Adam and Eve were guileless and would never have disobeyed on their own.

Then, the scripture opened up for us and gave us a new insight.  Altho…

St. Catherine and the Tree of Virtue

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Do you know how these three virtues exist?
         Imagine a circle traced on the ground, and in its center a tree sprouting with a shoot grafted into its side.  The tree finds its nourishment in the soil within the expanse of the circle, but uprooted from the soil it would die fruitless.  So think of the soul as a tree made for love and living only by love. Indeed, without this divine love, which is true and perfect charity, death would be her fruit instead of life.  The circle in which this tree's root, the soul's love, must grow is true knowledge of herself, knowledge that is joined to me, who like the circle have neither beginning nor end.  You can go round and round within this circle, finding neither end nor beginning, yet never leaving the circle.  This knowledge of yourself, and of me within yourself, is grounded in the soil of true humility, which is as great as the expanse of the circle (which is the knowledge of yourself united with me, as I have siad).  But if your…

Make Way -- Heaven Here We Come

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Thank you Loretta Oliver for the reminder.

Catholics Sign the Anti-Petition Petition

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There are posts all over blogs, and announcements on social media, concerning a petition going to the government to designate the Catholic Church, as a "hate group."  Various bloggers, and other media are fighting this with a counter proposal--to designate the people who propose this petition, as the "hate group."

Please defend your church by signing this government petition.  You will have to register and confirm, but please do follow through.

A prayer to St. Michael wouldn't hurt, either.

Cold is Beautiful

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This You Tube video is of riding on  Diamond Hill Reservoir Road in Cumberland, RI.  This is a beautiful place.  The video does not do it justice.  This is just a video of pavement along a small stretch of road going into Diamond Hill Reservoir.  You can't appreciate God's glory looking at pavement--nor man's either.

Today the Trail Hikers walked up this road.  There was a snow storm last week, so we couldn't go into woods.  It's too slippery to walk over ice encrusted rocks.  A walk up a plowed road, with little auto traffic, yet beautiful scenery was perfect.

Hubby was going to come, but when this morning's temperature said that it was 6 degrees, he said "Are you crazy?"

Crazy included eight of us, this morning: two men, and six women.  We were dressed for the Arctic.  I was fine.  My buff kept my face warm.  Two mittens and a pair of gloves kept my hands warm.  My jacket and pants were appropriate.  The only complaint I have, is that my toes froze…

Inauspicious Beginning to 2013

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This morning I sat down to my computer to find a flood of email.  All said the same thing.  Every one was alerting me to the fact, that we had sent out last month's newsletter, instead of January 2013.

Mass this morning, also had an inauspicious beginning.  We process either of two ways: the short way or the long way.  It all depends on the occasion and the priest.  Fr. Jack didn't tell us.  All of a sudden we noticed that he was gone.  Did he go to the bathroom?  Is he off talking to someone?  Someone said that they noticed someone vested in a chasuble, in the front of the church.  So all of us trooped down to the front of the church: Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, and all the altar servers.

It's funny how one little thing can throw you off.  Well, I guess the rush to get to Father, or maybe it was the crush of people coming in, just at that moment.  I dunno.  The result was that no one seemed to know what position to get into.

I'm before Father, …