Posts

Showing posts from March, 2013

Easter Blessings for the World

Image
Easter message and Urbi et Orbi blessing of Holy Father Francis.

Easter Bunny or Jesus

Image
Parents have always debated whether of not to tell their children stories about the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus.  They're afraid that when they find out that the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus aren't real, then maybe Jesus isn't, either.

My children grew up with both--Jesus and the mythical bunny and Santa.  It was a problem only once.  An irate parent telephoned me and berated me about my son, who had told her son, that there really was no such thing as Santa.  No explanation could calm her down.  I had ruined all the fun of childhood.

My own adult daughter is raising her daughter with stories of the Easter Bunny.  The little girl is two years old.  Today, Holy Saturday, our parish church is open.  It's nicely decorated for Easter with flowers everywhere.  The tabernacle is open.  We don't cover our statues anyway, but our statues of Mary are beautiful.  So I took my granddaughter for a visit.

She didn't have a clue.  We happened to be walking in the church, wh…

Why did Jesus Do It?

Image
Reading The Way of the Cross with St. Catherine of Siena, I come to Jesus dying on the cross.  Catherine asks me, "Do you think nails could have held Him, if He didn't want it to be so?"  And I meditate on her question.

As a child, I envisioned God as deus ex machina, and wanted the Father to come thundering out of the clouds and strike dead all the Roman soldiers, and people who had done this to Jesus.

But as an adult, I see that I am one of the people who did this to Jesus.

We were that soil in which the most holy banner was set.  We became a sort of vessel to receive  the blood of the Lamb, which ran down from the cross.  Why were we that soil?  Because the soil was not sufficient to support the cross erect, rather would it have rejected such injustice.  Neither would a nail have been enough to hold Him, fastened and nailed, if it not for the indescribable love He had for  our salvation had not held Him bound.  So then it was the intense love for the Father's hon…

Washing in Humility

Image
At that time, Peter was the only disciple who questioned Jesus washing their feet.  Usually a servant would do this.  But they didn't have any servants.  So Jesus did it.  Was He being a good host?  More than that, much more.  He was teaching, preaching and setting a precedent.

Do you know what I have done to you?  You call me Master and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.  If, therefore, I the Lord and Master have washed your feet, you also ought to wash the feet of one another.  For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you also should do.
John13: 12-16

IOW, if Jesus, humbly and loving served His followers.  Then they should do likewise. No Christian should put himself above others.  God blesses those who honor Him by serving others.

The Lord in dialogue with Saint Catherine of Siena, teaches about saints:

"My goodness permits this to strengthen them and make them great in my own sight and the world's, since they have made themselves small in tr…

Crossing the Bridge

Image
To Catherine Siena, Jesus is the bridge on which we cross over the turbulent river of life.  In one of their dialogs, God spoke to Catherine:

"But first I want you to look at the bridge of my only begotten Son, and notice its greatness.  Look!  It stretches from heaven to earth, joining the earth of your humanity with the greatness of the God-head.  This is what I mean when I say it stretches from heaven to earth--through my union with humanity.

This was necessary if I wanted to remake the road that had been broken up, so that you might pass over the bitterness of the world and reach life.  From earth alone I could not have made it great enough to cross the river and bring you to eternal life.  The earth of human nature by itself, as I have told you, was incapable of atoning for sin and draining off the pus from Adam's sin, for that stinking pus had infected the whole human race.  Your nature had to be joined with the height of mine, the eternal Godhead, before it could make …

Cooking with the Blessed Mother

Image
Today in my Holy Week Walk with St. Catherine of Siena, we are joined with Mary.  I was eating a breakfast of hot cross buns and was reminded of a Caterinati story of Mary helping Catherine cook.

It was a time of famine in Siena. Catherine was with her friend Alexia.  Alexia was making bread.  However, some of the grain was moldy, and Alexia was going to toss that portion out.  "Oh, no." Catherine cried.  The poor would be happy to have bread, any bread.

And Catherine took the grain with water, and made a paste of it.  As she kneaded the dough, so much had it grown, that Alexia joined in to help.  The two of them, made several trips, back and forth, from the kitchen to the oven to bake .

The smell of the baking bread was so savory that everyone drooled.  Usually bread made from corn meal, like these loaves, don't have much of a savory odor.  But these smelled heavenly.


But when they were baked and set on the table to eat, they that ate of them could find no manner of …

Pregnant with Jesus

Image
On March 25, I always start my Nine Month Novena in Honor ofthe Virgin of the Incarnation.  March 25-December 25 is nine months.  So for nine months I am pregnant with Jesus. 
However, this year, 2013, the celebration has been moved.  We will celebrate the observance, after the conclusion of the Octave of Easter, April 8.  This definitely throws praying nine months off kilter.  I don’t want to confuse the pregnancy calculations.  Hence, I’m starting my novena today, March 25.
Also, since I’m walking with Catherine of Siena during Holy Week, I am recollecting her closeness with Mary.  Catherine, quite a few times, had visions of being espoused to Jesus. (See Denis Vincent Wiseman, op, Mary in the Life andThought of Catherine of Siena.)   In all of these mystical experiences, Mary gives Jesus to Catherine.  I however, never envision that.  For some reason, I identify with being pregnant with Jesus.  I like to think that He is dependent upon me, for food, love, comfort, and physical s…

Looking Through the Mirror

Image
We were at a meeting.  I was having a good time.  It was after the meeting, that my friend confronted me about my negative behavior.  She said I made sarcastic, snarky remarks that were really uncalled for.  More than one person asked her what was up with my backbiting stabs.

Really?  Here I thought I was the bon vivant!

Now is the time, during Lent, to examine our behavior.  Do we really know ourselves?

St. Catherine of Siena was good at this.  She had a gift of looking inside, not only herself, but others, as well.  In her Dialogue, Catherine tells us:

A soul rises up, restless with tremendous desire for God's honor and the salvation of souls.  She has for some time exercised herself in virtue and has become accustomed to dwelling in the cell of self-knowledge in order to know better God's goodness toward her, since upon knowledge follows love.  And loving, she seeks to pursue truth and clothe herself in it.
      But there is no way she can savor and enlightened by this trut…

How We Are Not Like God

Image
St. Catherine of Siena spent three years of contemplation in her room in her parents' home.  Since there were over twenty children in the house, I doubt she had much privacy.  Consequently, she learned how to meditate within.  Her life became inner prayer.  She called this her "cell within."  She didn't mean "jail cell" although I'm sure her critics, at that time, would have wished to put her in a jail cell than traveling and conversing with princes and popes.

Catherine encourages me to enter into the depths of my being.  My aim is to know myself so that I can transform into God's will.  IOW, become holy.  This takes honest self-assessment.

Catherine uses her famous, dramatic juxtaposition of opposites to speak about God in relationship to herself (us).

You, eternal Godhead,
are life
and I am death.
You are wisdom
and I am ignorance.
You are light
and I am darkness.
You are infinite
and I am finite.
You are absolute directness
and I am terrible twi…

Losing Weight with a Rosary

Image
I found myself sitting next to a president of St. Mary's Catholic Women's Club, at today's T.O.P.S.' meeting.  Since T.O.P.S. is about "Take Off Pounds Sensibly", we were talking about how our week went--weight wise.

Since three days out of seven this week, I partied with heavy "fat" food, I'm sorry to say, I gained a couple of pounds.  I had two St. Patrick Day parties.  That means two kinds of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, squash, turnips, carrots, parsnips, and Irish bread.  And you know how dry Irish bread is unless you slather it with butter or jam?  And don't forget the green beer!

Besides, last night was a friend's birthday party.

These are real excuses.  I don't even consider them excuses.  They're so real that they're reasons, not excuses.

Although I gained, my Catholic friend didn't.  Still she complained.  She bemoaned the fact that her weight never changes.  It's always the same.  She also said that he…

Dominicans Hear Habemus Papam

Image
Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist react to hearing about Pope Francis being elected.  Jubilation!

My Favorite Story About Pope Francis I

Image
There are many endearing stories circling our new Pope Francis I.  We hear about how he likes to mingle with the people, walk the barrios, ride the bus and subway, etc.

My favorite is why he chose the name Francis.  Yes, it was because the pope has a soft spot for the poor, nature, and the simple life.  But the name has a more deeper meaning than Francis of Assisi.

Pope Clement XIV suppressed the Jesuits in 1767.  (The usual political BS)  It was whispered in Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio's ear, to take the name Clement XV as sweet revenge on Clement XIV.

Our future Pope took revenge the Christian way--through reconciliation.  You see, Clement XIV belonged to the Franciscan Order.  The founder of the Franciscans was St. Francis of Assisi.  Hence, our future Pope reconciled the Jesuits and Franciscans, plus honored one of his favorite saints, by choosing the name Francis.

BTW, these two religious orders concelebrated the Pope's Inaugural Mass. The superiors, Jesuit, Father Adolf…

Imitating Adam and Eve

Image
Yesterday, St. Patrick's Day, we had a party.  It was a grand time.  Everyone who is dear to us attended.  It was so much fun, so much food, so much laughter, so much busyness, that my two year old granddaughter didn't pay attention to nature's call.  It was too much distraction for adults too, so no one remembered to remind her to try and go to the bathroom.  Hence, she had an accident.

As I was fixing her shoe, I noticed that her pants were wet.  I asked her "Why are your pants wet?"  She told me that Dallas, the cat, did it.

I was reminded of Eve blaming the serpent, and Adam blaming Eve.  This incident is proof that we really are Adam and Eve's descendants.

This would be funny, except that I was told that she has been blaming Grandma for naughty things she has done.


St. Patrick and the Four Leaf Clover

Image
The four leaf clover is considered lucky because of its rarity.  Just try to find one!

I consider St. Patrick lucky to have been kidnapped and forced into slavery because it deepened his faith.  In prayer, Patrick learned contemplative listening and trust in God's plan.  I also consider St. Patrick lucky to have not only survived the pagan hostility, but overcame it.

But it's not the four leaf clover that is associated with St. Patrick.  It's the shamrock--the three leaf clover.  There are many stories about him using the three leaf clover to explain the Trinity.  It worked at the time, and for the pagans he was ministering to.  There are three person in one God.  And I've also heard that St. Patrick stuck the shamrocks on his clothes, so that people would inquire about them.  Hence, he would be given the opportunity to explain the theological concept of the trinity.

It worked.  And it still works--to an extent.  It has its limitations.  There are three distinct perso…

Vote for These Stone Walls

Image
Dear Reader,

These Stone Walls is a blog by a falsely accused priest who has been in prison, in New Hampshire, for almost twenty years.  He would have been released, long ago, if he had said he was guilty.  But Father Gordon MacRae is not a liar.  The truth is the only truth.  He blogs by sending his post to a friend who runs the blog, These Stone Walls, for him.  It's not as easy as it sounds.  Father types on a cantankerous old typewriter.  Note, not a word processor, nor an electric typewriter.  He balances that typewriter in his cell, somewhere (toilet? cot? floor?).  But the message gets through.

Father MacRae's blog has been nominated in the yearly contest, My Favorite Catholic Blog.  I'm praying that his blog wins, to call attention to the injustice being done to him.  Please click on this word link, and vote for These Stone Walls.  You can vote, once a day, every day, until the Feast of Saint Joseph, March 19.

Thank you.
Faith

http://catholicism.about.com/library/…

One Reason to Confess to your Parish Priest

Image
During my life, I've been blessed with wonderful guides, soul mates.  I thank God for them.  My sister was my mother/best friend/sister, as I grew up.  I wonder how people can grow up without someone like her.  Once I got married, my husband was my husband/ best friend/soul mate.  Plus all along the journey, I make friends, and I usually have a few very close friends.

These people know me well. When we're together, no one has to talk.  We communicate soul to soul.

This is like baring your soul in confession.  If you go regularly to your parish priest for confession, he'll get to know you.  He'll see patterns.  He'll direct you spiritually because he's learned how you think.  He knows what kind of person you are.  He will become like a very close friend.

I had forgotten this, while I was going for Spiritual Direction with AQ.  He always began spiritual direction with confession.  So for quite awhile, I had no need to go to confession in my parish, I went to AQ…

Memory Loss

Image
How quickly we forget!  Most of time when I read about the Israelites forgetting about the God that had delivered them out of Egypt, I wonder how could they forget?  God does so much for them.

Then I remember that we are not so different.  Today's Mass reading from the book of Exodus tells of God's wrath against the Israelites who had made a molten calf and were worshiping THAT.  Moses talks God out of it.  While I wonder how the Israelites could be so faithless, I see that God really wants to be merciful.  He even forgives the idol worshipers.  All we have to do ask for mercy.

We do the same.  Once when I was visiting my brother, we went to Mass.  The way this parish distributed communion, had people walking around the pews to get back to their seat.  As I was passing the back, I remembered seeing this one pretty lady.  She stood out because she was so pretty.  She also was the only Asian.

After Mass, as we were caught in the traffic exiting church, I saw this same lady,cry…

Don't Cry for me Argentina. Pray for me.

Image
Prayer for Pope Francis
Our Father, we the faithful, humbly thank and praise You for our new Vicar.  We ask You to protect him from the malice of the world.  Defend him from all who wish him harm.

Have mercy on us all, O Lord, and bless Pope Francis with the gifts of knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and the wise discernment to know Your Will.  May he serve You faithfully, as Your representative on earth.             Amen

Mary, Mother of the Church, intercede for blessing upon our Pope Francis.

St. Joseph, patron of the church, pray for us.

Art thou the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened...?

Image
This morning I was reading Dominican Daily, specifically Br. Raymund Synder, O.P., Smoke andFrescoes: the Papal Buzzand , and I was provoked to scream.

It is a pet peeve of mine  that people who are selfish, self-centered, self absorbed, self-interested, self-involved, and egocentric boors, absolve their boorish behavior in smug self-righteous, holier than thou justification.  The article, Smoke and Frescoes: the Papal Buzz, is the perfect example.

Br. Raymund waxes poetic how admirable it is to remain above the fray.

"B" as in B___, and "S" as in S___.

Your neighbor needs you, and you are unaware.  How will you know this and call for help, unless you look out the window and see smoke coming out of his house?
A natural disaster has occurred in your country.  How will you be able to go help, unless you watch TV, listen to the radio, read media reports?
A far-off country is at war and needs prayers and money.  How will you be able to respond, unless you are alert t…

Papal Politics

Image
As an American who is so tired of hearing people being categorized as "liberals" and "conservatives," it is amusing to see people label the Cardinals as "First World" v. "Third World," "Traditionalists," v. "Progressives," and "Everybody Else" v. "The Italians."

Doesn't make you wonder why we have this propensity to label.

Renewal Prayer

Image
Dear Heavenly Father,
     Through the intercession of Blessed Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P., our Blessed Mother Mary, Our Lady of Mercy, and our holy Father Dominic, and with the grace and blessing of the Holy Spirit, I renew my promise to live my vocation as a Lay Dominican.
      Ever mindful of fulfilling the obligations of Lay Dominican life, may I be fervent in my prayer and love of neighbor.  Amen.

How the Apostles Died

Image
This compilation is making the rounds.  





Matthew 

Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, Killed by a sword wound. 

Mark




 Mark Died in Alexandria, Egypt , after being dragged by Horses through the streets until he was dead. 


 Luke

Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous Preaching to the lost. 


 John 

Faced martyrdom when

he was boiled in huge Basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution In Rome . However, he was miraculously delivered From death.
John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison Island of  Patmos ..

He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos . The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve As Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey . He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully. 



 Peter

He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross.

According to church tradition it was because 

he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die In the same way that Jesus Christ had died.


James

The leader of the church in Jerusalem , was thrown over a hundred feet do…

Jesuitical Decision Formula

Image
St. Ignatius Loyola is the founder of the religious order, known as the Jesuits.  He was a noble knight. While recuperating from wounds, he had a religious conversion.  The rest is history.  

It was immediately after Ignatius' conversion that he was traveling to meet with his confreres regarding his new religious order.  It's the sixteenth century; so his mode of transportation was a mule.    While traveling, Ignatius met a man also riding on a mule.  In the course of their brief conversation, the man insulted the Virgin Mary and then quickly took off.  Now, mind you, Ignatius is still new in his religious conversion.  His first reaction was to run the man through with his sword.  But the man took off.  He still wanted to chase him down and then kill him.

As he trotted or rambled, whatever mules do, Ignatius fumed.  His good angel said let God handle the insult.  His bad angel said murder was justified.  Try as he might, he was unable to decide whether he should kill the man or …

Family Dynamics

Image
It's a wonder that we grow up, at all, considering the families we grew up in. That's what I was thinking when I read, Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, today, in the Pilot.  I understand his point.  The best parents are models for their children, i.e., one male and one female.  That you need these two sexes to grow up normal.

In a perfect world, I agree.  Actually, even now, I agree.  What I don't agree with are the examples and studies he uses.  I don't think there's such a thing as perfect parents (including hubby and myself).  We do the best we can, and pray.

The examples rubbed me the wrong way.  Of course, Fr. Tad was talking about two active homosexuals bringing up children.  But I know many, many people who were brought up by same
sexes and are as normal as others.  What about children whose father died and they were brought up by a single parent mother and their grandmother?  A single mother and big sister?

How about a single mother with a family of girls and o…

Communion of Saints

Image
This sculpture was created by Vytautas K. Jonynas for the Vatican Pavilion in the World's Fair in New York, 1964-64.  It depicts the church militant, the church suffering, and the church triumphant.  That is the church on Earth, Purgatory, and Heaven.  You can see it at the Franciscan Retreat and Guest House in Kennebunk, ME.








Cardinal Mahony and Forgiveness

Image
Surfing the net this morning, I came across Cardinal Roger Mahony's Blog.  He was blogging about "forgiveness."  Of course, my interest was piqued, and I read on.  He referenced, the same Guardini article that I used on my post on forgiveness. I wanted to comment on his post, but like myself, he doesn't have "comments."

I noticed that he does have a Facebook page.  So I went to that and posted what I wanted to say.  I also noticed other commentators on his page.  Most were sharply negative, crude, and full of deprecation.  Ah, flashback!

Coming from Boston, which is ground zero for clerical sex abuse, I empathize. Time is healing, and my righteous anger has yielded to rational judgment. I understand that our church leaders at that time followed standard procedures, followed current medical, psychological expert counsel, and legal advice.  Even so, they were in charge and bear the burden of responsibility.  The buck stopped with them.

Ministering to men in…

The Man Who Would Be Pope

Image
Some jobs require applicants to go through several interviews, because experience and education aren't  the only indications that this particular job is a good fit.  The experience and education won't matter, if the applicant can't get along with the rest of the department.  That is why applicants meet with the employees they'll be working with.  There is an informal question and answer session for both the employees and the prospective employee.  This has proved very valuable.

I thought of this when I read Father Peter Daly's wish list, for qualifying a prospective pope.  Father Daly wants a pope who has worked as a parish priest, as opposed to an academic, or monk, or lawyer.  These are admirable and valuable positions, but serving as a parish priest is people experience.  The kind of people experience that most of the world lives in.

It's a very good article, as far as it goes.  I'm adding my own qualifications:

The man who would be pope must have done…

Forgiveness is for the Victim

Image
Forgiveness is for the Victim.  It is permission to let go of the emotional baggage that is weighing you down.  Monsignor Romano Guardini, in a reading from Magnificat, p. 79-80, explains what I’m beginning to see.  We react like animals, i.e., strike back.  That’s our first reaction.  But we are human beings and need to overcome that first primitive instinct.
Creatures are so ordered that the preservation of the one depends on the destruction of the other…He who injures me or takes something valuable from me is my enemy, and all my reactions of distrust, fear, and repulsion rise up against him…Here forgiveness would mean first that I relinquish the clear and apparently only sure defense of natural animosity; second, that I overcome fear and risk defenselessness, convinced that the enemy can do nothing against my intrinsic self…But the crux of the matter is forgiveness, a profound and weighty thing.  Its prerequisite is the courage that springs from a deep sense of intimate security, a…

Forgiveness is not the Same as Absolution

Image
For the past few days, I’ve been mulling over a question: How do you act like a Christian in prison?  Then last night, while watching the DVD, “For the Greater Glory,” I realized that each time a Cristero told the man about to shoot him, “I forgive you,” that murderer didn't have a clue what he was saying.  The poor victim was saying he forgave, for nothing…or was he?
Last Wednesday, my “cloistered brothers” and I discussed “turning the other cheek,” and “forgiving your enemies.”  How do they do it, particularly in their environment?  After an hour or so, no definitive answer was determined.  But that’s not the end of the thinking process.  We’ll continue it, next meeting.
It is difficult, in my “cloistered brothers’” environment, because they can’t afford not to have a macho persona.  To anything less, than the attitude that I can take down everyone in here, would be perceived as cowardness. 
On one hand, being a Christian makes a big positive difference in my brothers’ lives.  Chr…