Thursday, January 31, 2013

Can I Play?



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.  Starting at Professional Golfers Career College, to “sports society experiences", the reader is taken on tour in making life-changing decisions, to disenchantment slowly evolving, back to capturing excitement.   As an adult looking at his childhood's favorite sports, they seem like love—better the second time around? 

Forbes writing style is fun.  His descriptions, surprises, disappointments, and disgust, are portrayed vividly.  The reader will feel.  He calls the commercials during TV games Television Interruptus.  Watching the games as a spectator at the real event, he can pick out the wasted time the game is forced to play around, just to accommodate the sponsors' commercials.  At least at home, you can switch channels, but at the event, itself, Forbes cries out, “What to do?  What to do…?   I’ve got it!  Let’s break up the monotony with a beer and a quick fistfight!”

The Little League World Series had such long breaks that “Several of the players completed puberty in the time it took to get the back underway.” 

Forbes landed a job in golf, after Professional Golfers Career College.  It soon became a “job.”  After this job, Forbes took up his “sports walkabout” seriously—50 different sports.  And the sports weren't just the big ones: football, baseball, soccer, etc.  He visited 100 events from car racing, swimming, tennis, kickball, cross country, curling, etc. 

He learned that being a sports fan wasn't as much fun as it use to be, and it just may be the fans’ fault.  But you will see, reading further, it will depend on the level of the sport.  “There is an undeniable ugliness in the world of spectator sports.”  Money spoils the fun. 

The amateurs, the second-tier, the no-hyped, fringe sports, were where the spectators found the most satisfaction.  “Smaller just may be better.”  Who knew?

Somewhere from packed stadiums to counting heads, the spectator atmosphere changed for the better.  The smaller group lived and died with their athletes.  These second-tier sports had die-hard followers.  They took their victories and defeats to heart.  And get this—they also took their good attempts to heart. 

Another surprise was learning about the transition from paying athletes to play, to athletes paying to play.  What a concept!  This epiphany came when Forbes realized that The Bird paid an entry fee to run a marathon.  Now here’s proof of an athlete loving her sport.  She actually paid for the privilege to play!

There are many lessons, in It’s Game Time Somewhere.  Tim Forbes learns to love a new sport—lawn bowl; he makes new friends, he has new found appreciation for some hard working, and deserving athletes, and he has written a book.  A good book, that relates how a man learns a lot about himself, while journaling the process.  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pray to Listen and Understand

Open these ears.

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 neighbor.

And this is why they wanted to throw Him off a cliff.



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pope on Social Networks


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?"

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Angelic Poet

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.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pirate Ordained Deacon

The pirate is to the left of Monsignor Moroney

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.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Oh God

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 on their own, realize that the good around them was from God.  Our memories are like sieves.  When everything is going well, we tend to forget God, from whom all blessings flow.  Suffering reminds us, of God's existence.
 Never to suffer would never to have been blessed.      Edgar Allan Poe (1809 - 1849)

Winter in New England

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...


Thursday, January 24, 2013

God Kisses Better


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 concluded, was that we freely chose, but accepting God and His Will, made it better.

 Oh yes, it makes all the difference in the world.

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  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Forgiveness

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 interests.  Counseling can help.  Spiritual direction can help.  And asking oneself, how important is it to hold onto this pain, hurt, anger, and unforgiveness?  Over time, I pray, that all people hurting, realize that for their own well being, they need to forgive.

Nelson Mandella said it best, "There is no future, without forgiveness."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Trust Me


"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 they weren't desolate.  God have given them hope.  They were to wait for the seed of a pure woman to make up for their sin.

Personally, what I, as a woman, a grandmother, and mostly as a mother, consider proof of God the Father's loving care for us, is child birth.  Mothers have to suffer.  Mothers face the pain of child birth.  But isn't this exactly where their greatest experience of joy is found?

Trust Him, from Whom all good things flow.


Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise God, all creatures here below;
Praise God for all that love has done;
Creator, Christ, and Spirit, One.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mors Inceptio Solum Est


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.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Third Epiphany


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 discussion was that the Catholic Church should get out of the marriage business.  Meaning, let marriages be in civil domain.  Recording and licenses, etc., be satisfied civilly.  If the couple is Catholic, then they can go to the Catholic Church to receive the sacrament of Marriage.  This would be similar to Baptism.  When a baby is born, their birth is recorded in their town’s register; the baby receives a social security number, etc..  And if the parents are Catholic, then they can go the Catholic Church to have their baby receive the sacrament of Baptism. 

Note that marriage is about love.  Homosexual or not, we are all God’s children.  We must keep this mind, as we debate and discuss.  Laws are laws, and then there’s the Gospel.  Follow Jesus.

What is the Communion of Saints?

Revelation 5:8 presents the saints in heaven as linked by prayer with their fellow Christians on earth.
























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.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

How Dominicans Pray the Rosary



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.”
After each decade say the following:
Mary, mother of grace, mother of mercy, shield me from the enemy and receive me at the hour of my death.      Amen.

Conclude with these prayers:
Hail, holy queen, Mother of mercy, hail our life, our sweetness, and our hope.  To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.  To thee do we send up our sighs mourning and weeping in this vale of tears.  Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  O clement, O loving, O sweet virgin Mary.
V.   Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us.
R.    That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray.— O God, whose only-begotten Son, by His life, death and resurrection, has purchased do us the rewards of eternal life; grant we beseech thee, that meditating upon these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain, and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord.              Amen.
May the divine assistance remain always with us.        Amen.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.                        Amen.
May the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit descend upon us and remain with us always.                      Amen.

Friday, January 18, 2013

An Uncovered Lamp Spreading Joy



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,
Shines deeply into mankind’s core.

For the Source of this Light,
Is the Father with whom He is One.
Sent from Heaven to break upon us,
Never setting like our celestial sun.

As the light cast forth from candles,
Or that splayed from moonlight beams.
He bathes all with a surreal beauty,
Unlike the radiance from lesser means.

The Dawn of Christmas Day,
Promises a Flame that will endure.
Even in times of unholy darkness,
Its Presence will be certain and sure.

With awe and splendor we exult,
The true Light from Heaven is here.
An uncovered Lamp spreading joy,
Keeping the promise He would appear.    

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I Happened To Be Praying

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
The Trail Hikers
     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 that's their way.
Maybe the cats are sound asleep.  Maybe not.

This is part of a poem in Mary Oliver's new book, A Thousand Mornings.  The rest of the poem is on page 3-4.  But prayer is all this and more.  It's a spiritual mystery, and no God is any good without mystery.  If you understood Him and His ways, you wouldn't be you.  You'd be God.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Jesus and Complacency


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 eighty percent are.  Maybe now and then most fall into being too comfortable, but something always comes along to shake them awake.  That's life.  You can't be human and not be affected by death, unhappiness, unfairness, etc.  The Newtowns, the 9/11's, war, etc., sooner or later something will touch the hearts of the complacent, and they awake and seek Him, Whom comforts.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Morning Blessing

St. Placid
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.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Pontifex


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...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

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



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?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I know Why the Caged Bird Sings


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!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Man Owes Woman


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.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Adam's and Eve's Confession

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.  Although God knew what had happened, He wanted to make Adam and Eve accountable, just like we should be, when we sin.  God was actually showing Adam and Eve how to make an Examination of Conscience.  We must know that what we did was wrong.  Then, we must confess it!  Following, we have to take responsibility for our sins.  Do penance, and resolve never to sin again.

And we receive forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

St. Catherine and the Tree of Virtue


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 knowledge of yourself were isolated from me there would be no full circle at all.  Instead, there would be a beginning in self-knowledge, but apart from me it would end in confusion.
        So the tree of charity is nurtured in humility and branches out in true discernment.  The marrow of the tree (that is, loving charity within the soul) is patience, a sure sign that I am in her and that she is united with me.
         This tree, so delightfully planted, bears many fragranced blossoms of virtue.  Its fruit is grace for the soul herself and blessing for her neighbors in proportion to the conscientiousness of those who would share my servants' fruits.  To me this tree yields the fragrance of glory and praise to my name, and so it does what I created it for and comes at last to its goal, to me, everlasting Life, life that cannot be taken from you against your will.
         And every fruit produced by this tree is seasoned with discernment, and this unites them all, as I have told you.

How's this quote for vivid pictorial expression of ideas?  This is from Suzanne Noffke, O.P., Catherine of Siena the Dialogue.  This is God talking to Catherine.  He is teaching her the value of virtues and using the tree as an example of how the virtues are nurtured and rely on each other.  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Make Way -- Heaven Here We Come

                                         Thank you Loretta Oliver for the reminder.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Catholics Sign the Anti-Petition Petition


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.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Cold is Beautiful

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.  Next time, I'm getting toe warmers to put in my boots.

We spent some time trying to figure out what a couple of birds were: a blue bird and a gold finch.

I bet the man videotaping this video didn't see any birds.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Inauspicious Beginning to 2013


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, holding the Lectionary.  But I couldn't fit in--so I placed myself off to the side.  Then Joan pointed to the kids and said "GO!"

And they did.  They went.  No one was ready.

There was no music to process in to.  The Cantor wasn't even in position.  The Lector who announces the Sunday and who's celebrating Mass etc., wasn't in position, either.

But off we went.  As I fell into line, I turned around and glanced at Father--the Mass celebrant.  He wasn't moving.  He stood his ground with a confused expression on his face.

About half way down the aisle, the music began; the Lector announced what's what and who's who; and the Cantor announced the hymn and began singing.  I'm guessing that's when Father started processing because at the altar we were standing, waiting for him.

...and waiting.

Good thing we sang all the versus to Joy to the World.

Veni Creator Spiritus in 2013.