Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is a synopsis of what I wrote this week, sent to by Catholic Blogger buddies.

My favorite posts were Bad Wolf versus Good Wolf, and the Narrow Gate.  I also had a friend as a guest blogger do a review of the movie Triumph, which is about Medjugorje.

Which were your favs?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul


Father Moy had this picture, of Sts. Peter and Paul, by El Greco, circulating before Mass, this morning.  I thought it very apropos, since it fits my exact idea of Sts. Peter and Paul.  Paul is the more charismatic one, so he would be wearing red, and to me, the one you notice, first.  Peter doesn't seemed too excited to be next to Paul.  I don't imagine that any of the original apostles were very accepting of Paul.  And Paul always has to prove that he's an apostle, just as much as the original apostles.  Even in the picture, Paul is using the Word.

Peter is wearing gold.  Well, as the first pope, he's entitled.  Note Peter is holding the key to heaven.

How much do you want to bet, that although Peter is the first pope, and he's holding the keys, that it was Paul, who has the last word?  Just look at Paul face.  Intense--personified.  Dare you say differently?  

Friday, June 28, 2013

Chant to Pere Lataste


   Dominican Sisters of Bethany chant a prayer to their founder, Pere Marie Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bad Wolf versus Good Wolf

Did you ever hear of the old Indian tale, where grandfather explains to his grandson that there are two wolves that live inside you, a bad one and a good one?  They constantly fight.  "Who wins?" asks the little grandson.

Grandfather responds.  "The one you feed."

My "cloistered brothers" and I discussed the wolf that won.  Some of them said they grew up feeding the angry wolf.  One said that if came home with a tale of unjust treatment, his father would have handed him a baseball bat and told, "Go get him."  That was his environment--angry wolves.  The strongest wolf won.

Most of us, however, had a little bad wolf, and a lot more good wolf.  Sometimes, peers would feed the angry wolf, and sometimes drugs.

But we grow up and matured.  We can see that it is better to be a good wolf, and we try to feed the good wolf.  The question of "how," was the following discussion.  Adult issues: intimidation, unfair treatment, rejection, etc. give rise to that big, bad, wolf.  But if you feed the good wolf, with Christian love, understanding, and wisdom, you can overcome the bad wolf.  But you have to face down the bad wolf.  This takes courage, and not the courage of the bad wolf.  Adult, Christian courage,  is a moral strength that knows you may not win, but it is the right thing to do.  We decided to call this spiritual courage.

Seguing into my morning reading of Henri Nouwen about "Spiritual Courage," and I found food for the good wolf.  The meditation led me to see that spiritual courage is not doing stunts like Nick Wallenda. That kind of courage feeds, if not the bad wolf,  the ego.  It's a desire to be famous and popular.  Spiritual courage is taking a risk that you might lose fame and popularity.  It's risking your present life to gain eternal life.

Let us pray for spiritual courage to feed the good wolf.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Circus--God's Creation




We took out granddaughter to the circus last night.  What a blessing to enjoy the circus through the eyes of a child.  We went to the Kelly-Miller circus in Mendon, MA.  It was little Lucy’s first experience of a circus.  She didn't know where to look.  Wonder was written on her face.  The fascination was contagious.  No wonder kids want to run away and join the circus.
    
Below is Little Sister Jo’s poem, and that says it all.


The Little Sisters of Jesus are based on the spirituality ofCharles de Foucauld. Here, Little Sister Jo, whose community “is with the circus,” describes their life at the circus in a poem.


Do you realize how the Circus speaks of God?
It was mid-season and it seemed we were living in a whirlwind. We were tired and complaining, saying:
 “We’re crazy to work so hard, to keep up such a pace. For what, anyway?”  When out of the whirlwind, God answered and said:

Who is this who speaks so?
Stand up and be questioned.
Do you realize how the circus speaks of God?
Where were you when I created light and darkness,
when I laid the foundation of the earth and spread out the firmament,
when I created light and stars?
Where were you when the living creatures came forth and animals and humans
lived in harmony and worked together?
You were not there and could not have known it.
So I inspired your forefathers and mothers
to create the circus!
A child comes out at dawn to watch the circus unfold,
and experiences in a few hours what unfolded billions of years ago
when I created the universe.
In the twilight of dawn, in that virgin point of time
between darkness and light, come children of all ages,
and as day bursts they see nothing but an empty field
still damp with the dew of darkness.
Then trucks arrive, stakes are driven, wood and rust split the dewdrops,
like the firmament of old.
Did you see their eyes when the elephants came lumbering
forth upon the field, and camels and horses,
and how the workers called them each by name—Minnie and Susie,
Barbara and Margaret, Gismo, Tchaikovsky and Brahms,
Katie the miniature hippopotamus and Goliath the water buffalo?
Did you feel their awe when man and beast worked together
pushing up the tent poles?
It took me 7 days of billions of years to create,
and here one can experience it, fresh and alive, in a few hours!

Do you realize how I made the circus to speak of my creative work?
Why do you think so many tents are decorated with stars?
Do you realize that the tent is not only firmament
but tabernacle, church, tent of worship
wherein takes place the Liturgy of the People?
I have made it so, years ago, when I designed it
in the hearts of your forefathers and mothers.
There is a curtain in the temple separating this sacred space,
hiding ordinary life from our eyes for a few hours
Through it will step the priestly ringmaster.
musicians and the makers of wonder and mirth.
The worshippers are waiting anxiously for the service to begin,
with ritual foods and their programs in hand.
Now for a few hours a transformation takes place.
You, artists, and your audience are one.
When you let go of the trapeze bar and trust the catcher will catch you
do you realize your audience is letting go and trusting, too?
Perhaps they’ll one day do the same with me.
When you perform feats of balance and skill,
do you realize your audience is doing things
they never dreamed they could do before?
Perhaps they’ll realize
that if they have faith the size of a mustard seed
I, too, can help them do extraordinary things.
When you clown and mimic their foibles and blunders
do you realize you are getting your audience to laugh at themselves?
I wish I could get them to do that.
A sense of humor is so healthy and humility so holy.
Animals do seemingly impossible things for animals to do.
Performers do seemingly impossible things for humans to do.
They perform “divinely” we say.
Like me, the Master of the Impossible.
Long ago I planned all this so my children would not lose
their sense of creation
of sacrifice and self-forgetfulness
of yearning for the divine
of awe and wonder
and laughter and love
Do you not realize it’s so?
Do you not realize how the circus speaks of God?
I who cross deserts and mountains to come to you.
I who am on the road with you.
Do you not realize it’s so?
Do you not realize how the circus speaks of God?
I who am Awe and Wonder
and Laughter

and Love.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Where is the Narrow Gate?


Enter by the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who enter that way.  How narrow the gate and close the way that leads to life!  And few there are who find it. Matt. 7: 13-14
Fr. Damian, who celebrated Mass at the Abbey, this morning, said that he thinks the “narrow gate,” is the present moment.  Thinking of the past, i.e., it’s hurts, broken dreams, and wishes never fulfilled, will not only lead you into depression, it is a real distraction from your present.  And thinking of the future is really silly.  It doesn't exist.  It’s a concept.  It’s a waste of time because it may never be.

Why is it so difficult, to be satisfied with the here and now?  Personally, I blame Satan.  He is always showing us where we failed in the past.  He makes sure the hurt is in the forefront.  He won't let go, and the past is always a monkey on our back.  Satan uses the past to cause anxiety about the future.  Satan gives the worst predictions and we worry that they might be true.

Satan drives us crazy.  We need to trust in God.  We came through the past, and we’ll always come through.  Let God do the worrying; He’s in charge. 

Lately, I’ve been using my mantra.  I sit quietly and concentrate on calming my breathing.  I pray while inhaling , “All is passing.”  Then I exhale, and pray, “God, alone abiding.”


This brings me to the narrow gate.

The Triumph

I have a guest blogger, today.  Mr. Geoff FitzGerald, O.P., is the Formation Director of the Boston Pro-Chapter of St. Dominic, and the previous Justice and Peace columnist for eLumen, and most importantly, a good friend.
     Geoff has written a review of the film, The Triumph.
You can correspond with him at desidero.ergo.est@comcast.net.


The Triumph

             My wife, Janice, and I, with Postulant Patrick Murphy, joined a packed house at the Norwood Theater on June 23.  We’d attended the Dominican Forum featuring Fr. John Vidmar, OP, hosted by our Boston pro-chapter; he’d spoken about his new book on The Crusades and the Inquisition.  We enjoyed a vegetarian dinner including gluten-free pizza, then saw the film, The Triumph.
 (The people of Norwood took pains to build and maintain the theater; it’s used mostly for live performances now.  Across the street on the Norwood Common a swing band was entertaining folks on lawn chairs on a beautiful warm early summer night.)
                There’s a trailer for the film at thetriumph.org; it doesn't reveal anything about the subject matter.  The flier we were given last week didn't, either.  Took some Google work to find a film review and learn that it’s a documentary about Medjugorje.
                This was a private showing; reserve tickets in advance, pay at the door.  The seats downstairs were filled; the balcony where we sat was half full.
                The film concerns a 28-year-old named Ben who makes a pilgrimage to Medjugorje.  He serves as Everyman.  Very appealing normal guy, does nice back flips.  His progress becomes the viewer’s.  He encounters one of the visionaries, Maria, young in 1981 when this all began and older now 30 years later.
            The film promotion may have chosen not to speak openly about Medjugorje because the site and the claims and the reactions among church officials have been controversial.
                This is not a sidebar, but is a story illustrating a point:  I spoke with a man who attended the Dominican Forum on the Crusades and the Inquisition.  House arrest of Galileo came up, which led this man to speak about religion and science.  The man once believed in the theory of evolution, he said, but not anymore.  Geological rock striations don’t have to mean the earth is billions of years old.  The timeline in reality is what the Bible says it is, he thinks.  [I didn’t respond that his argument means that Anglican Primate James Ussher may have been right in 1650, calculating backwards through Biblical genealogies to conclude that the earth was created at 9:00 AM on October 22 in 4,004 BC.]
                My answer was, I am disinterested (not uninterested).  Scientists aim a telescope and conclude that the universe was created 12 or more billion years ago.  Fine by me.  100 years from now there will be a different interpretation.  Science never proves anything; it only demonstrates.  This is fundamental, and every scientist knows it, and ordinary folks have to keep it in mind.  How God created, whether in six literal days or in six eons, does not matter.  Scripture is the revealed word of God given for our good.  Its aim is to bridge the gap between infinite God and finite us.  Speculation about the interplay between science and faith is a distraction.
                The point for Medjugorje is that the controversies are a distraction.  Something miraculous has happened or it has not.  Since reason alone cannot answer, we turn to faith.  Is Medjugorje a source of renewal, of deepened faith, of wonders, or not?  Folks from everywhere report that they have been moved to conversion and confession.  The joy on the faces of the one visionary in particular and of others in the crowd is perfectly plain.
                Has one of the visionaries chosen to pursue wealth and fame in later years?  Maybe so; I see no evidence of it in the visionary Maria, who waits tables, speaks humbly and simply and joyfully.  I hear no errors in faith or morals in what visionaries tell us that the Blessed Mother tells them.
                There’s no point getting legalistic about all this.  You go round and round forever.  I believe the appearances are not false claims.  Janice and Patrick and I saw the fruits in the film.  I could see in the faces of others in the audience after the film – folks of all ages, particularly those Ben’s age – that many were moved.  I believe there will be many confessions next weekend, of folks who saw this film.
                No doubt the film will be released on DVD; we will buy it. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Preach It!

 
How many times have you heard, “Preach always, and sometimes use words.”; meaning your life, or actions should do your preaching.  I've always thought what an easy cop-out, lazy excuse that is.  Lots of people live virtuous lives, and they're not religious at all.  Maybe they're the opposite.  Yet, they do good works.

Clearly, to me at least, it is not enough for us to live righteously.  We must assign words to what we are living.  If we don't, no one will know why we are doing what we are doing. 

Don't you cry out in surprise, when you're surprised?  Don't you exclaim awe, when you see an awesome sight?  Don't you express disgust, when you are repulsed?  When you're in love, aren't you bursting to announce it?  When you're in pain, don't you groan and moan; even if you don’t, the expression on your face screams pain.


Through the verbal expressing of ourselves (preaching), we concretize what was assumed.  Our preaching nails it down—loudly.  You must proclaim what your actions are trying to convey.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Catholic Sunday Snippets


Thank you RAnn at "This That and the Other Thing" for hosting this site and for providing a welcoming place for so many talented Catholic Bloggers to share their work. It is an honor to be here.
 
I'm only highlighting one post, this week, because of its importance.  That's Prayers Requested for Thomas Beirne.  We're praying for a healing, but we're specifically praying to Pier Georgia Frassati because he needs one more miracle for canonization.  This would be a perfect match (made in heaven).

Crusades to the Inquisition

The Boston Chapter of St. Dominic had a guest speaker, today.  I went because the speaker was my very first spiritual director, Fr. John Vidmar, O.P.  He presented his new book, The Crusades and the Inquisition.  


Of course, I also went to learn.  All I know about the Inquisition is that the Dominicans ran a cruel torture chamber.  Well, Fr. Vidmar tied the Inquisition to the Crusades just as the Nuremberg Trials followed World War II.  Inquisitions follow wars.  Vidmar further explains:

But the Inquisition tried to do both more and less than the violence it sought to replace: more in the sense that it introduced a legal process by which a wide range of heresies would be addressed, and less in that it narrowed its energies to theological issues.  It did not always succeed in these two aims, and it could be used (either by politicians or churchmen) to spread its theological reach too far--such as when Ignatius Loyola and Teresa of Avila were both threatened by ecclesiastical censure--or to blur the lines between theological error and political opposition, as when John of Arc was accused of witchcraft.
      Despite the abuses, which are fully treated in this book later on, the institution of the Inquisition can be seen as a replacement for the military action it followed.  That it succeeded in this and was a noble and civilizing force in pursuing truth, and was not a prostitution of Church power and an obvious attempt to silence dissent, or something in between, ...  pp. 53-4

Recent research has reversed many misconceptions regarding the Crusades and the Inquisitions.  The book is an honest and fair attempt, at the truth.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Open Letter to Nancy Pelosi


This letter's message is too important not to share.  Please go to Fr. Pavone's web site, Priests' for Life, and fill out the form to tell Nancy Pelosi, to change her heart.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 

Dear Mrs. Pelosi,

      Last Thursday, June 13, you were asked a question in a press briefing that you declined to answer. The question was, "What is the moral difference between what Dr. Gosnell did to a baby born alive at 23 weeks and aborting her moments before birth?"

       Given the fact that the Gosnell case has been national news for months now, and that Congress, where you serve as House Democratic Leader, was about to have a vote on banning abortion after 20 weeks fetal age, this was a legitimate question.

       Instead of even attempting to answer the question, you resorted to judgmental ad hominem attacks on the reporter who asked it, saying, "You obviously have an agenda. You're not interested in having an answer."

Mrs. Pelosi, the problem is that you're not interested in giving an answer.

      Your refusal to answer this question is consistent with your failure to provide an answer to a similar question from me and the members of my Priests for Life staff. Several years ago, we visited your office with the diagrams of dismemberment abortion at 23 weeks, and asked the simple question, "When you say the word 'abortion,' is this what you mean?" In response, nothing but silence has emanated from your office.

      In what way is this refusal to address an issue of such national importance consistent with the leadership role you are supposed to be exercising? Public servants are supposed to be able to tell the difference between serving the public and killing the public. Apparently, you can't. Otherwise, you would have been able to explain the difference between a legal medical procedure that kills a baby inside the womb and an act of murder -- for which Dr. Gosnell is now serving life sentences -- for killing the same baby outside the womb.

          Moreover, you stated at the press briefing on June 13, "As a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me when we talk about this. I don't think it should have anything to do with politics."

         With this statement, you make a mockery of the Catholic faith and of the tens of millions of Americans who consider themselves "practicing and respectful Catholics" and who find the killing of children -- whether inside or outside the womb -- reprehensible.

      You speak here of Catholic faith as if it is supposed to hide us from reality instead of lead us to face reality, as if it is supposed to confuse basic moral truths instead of clarify them, and as if it is supposed to help us escape the hard moral questions of life rather than help us confront them.

       Whatever Catholic faith you claim to respect and practice, it is not the faith that the Catholic Church teaches. And I speak for countless Catholics when I say that it's time for you to stop speaking as if it were.

        Abortion is not sacred ground; it is sacrilegious ground. To imagine God giving the slightest approval to an act that dismembers a child he created is offensive to both faith and reason.

       And to say that a question about the difference between a legal medical procedure and murder should not "have anything to do with politics" reveals a profound failure to understand your own political responsibilities, which start with the duty to secure the God-given right to life of every citizen.
   
       Mrs. Pelosi, for decades you have gotten away with betraying and misrepresenting the Catholic faith as well as the responsibilities of public office. We have had enough of it. Either exercise your duties as a public servant and a Catholic, or have the honesty to formally renounce them.
Sincerely,
Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

Thursday, June 20, 2013

West Hill Dam

The Trail Hikers had their last hike of the season, in Uxbridge, MA, at West Hill Dam Reserve.  It was the best hike, yet!  We had so much fun.

The picnic tables are flooded!
The dam is unusual in that it isn't filled unless there is a flood.  It was built in the 1950s to protect the Blackstone Valley from flooding.  Park Rangers work there and we were fortunate enough to have one keep an eye on us, right from our entrance to the park.  We were just starting up the road when a ranger came out of a building and greeted us and exchanged small talk.  He told us about the flooded trails and what our best course of action would be.  Then we encountered him again near the flooded out picnic tables.  He was in a tractor, so he drove the tractor through the water and we saw that the water  really didn't reach too high up the tractor tires.  He stayed with us, while we waded through.  We waded through two flooded areas of the road.

He was also nice enough to unlock the public toilets for us, since we were an organized group. Here are some pictures of the flooded picnic table areas, and the ranger driving the tractor through the flooded road, and us--wading through up to our knees.
Park Ranger rode this tractor through the flooded road.

We saw a big, black, water snake, and a turtle.  Near the end of the hike, we were blessed by walking through a field of wild flowers.  It was beautiful.

Off came the hiking shoes and socks; we rolled up our pant legs; and we waded through.
The rangers provide visitor assistance to fishermen, hunters, birders, hikers, snowshoers, cross country skiers--year round.  The dam reserve is a park that has 34 picnic sites, one playground, and a swimming area.  There are five miles of hiking trails.

We ended the hike with a picnic lunch, beside the dam.  The picnic was fun as we said our goodbyes until the fall.  There is one more interesting fact.  When we looked down at the river rushing from the dam we could see the water flowing downwards, very fast.  However, when we looked left toward the dam, the water was flowing up towards the dam.  No ranger was around to explain this countercurrent exchange of water.  My questions will just have to wait until next time.  And there will be a next time--definitely.






Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Calling All Catholic Writers



Several prominent Catholic writers will speak at the fifth annual Catholic Writers’ Conference LIVE taking place August 7-9, 2013, at the Garden State Exhibit Center in Somerset, NJ. Sponsored by the Catholic Writer’s Guild and the Catholic Marketing Network (CMN), and held in conjunction with CMN’s annual retailer trade show, the Catholic Writers Conference LIVE provides Catholic writers with a prime opportunity to meet and share their faith with editors, publishers, fellow writers, and bookstore owners from across the globe. The theme of this year's conference is “The Year of Faith.”

Speakers at this year’s conference include authors Patti Armstrong (STORIES FOR THE HOMESCHOOL HEART), Teresa Tomeo (Ave Maria Radio, WRAPPED UP, EXTREME MAKEOVER), Michelle Buckman (RACHEL’S CONTRITION, MY BEAUTIFUL DISASTER), Randy Hain (THE INTEGRATED CATHOLIC LIFE), Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle (EWTN, CATHOLIC PRAYER BOOK FOR MOTHERS), Ellen Gable Hrkach (STEALING JENNY), Regina Doman (RAPUNZEL LET DOWN), author, blogger and podcaster Pat Gohn (BLESSED, BEAUTIFUL, AND BODACIOUS) and many others.

The conference will give authors an opportunity to meet personally with publishing professionals and pitch their writing projects. Some participating publishers are Ignatius Press, Full Quiver Publishing, Ave Maria Press, Christus Publishing, Tuscany Press and Servant Books.  In addition, attendees have the opportunity to sign up for critique workshop with award-wining short fiction writer Arthur Powers, and attend a writing workshop with award-winning novelist Michelle Buckman. Information for these events can be found on the conference web site.

Maurice Prater of Missionaries of the Holy Family attended in 2012, and he says he did not know what to expect at first. “But, what I gained from attending the Catholic Writers Conference, in terms of personal contacts and what I learned, has proven to be one of the best decisions I have ever made." Author Ann Frailey, concurs. “I met writers, publishers, artists and a whole host of other people whose mission it is to transmit the message of truth and hope to the world in a living, vibrant manner.  It was an exciting adventure!”

The Catholic Writers Guild, a religious non-profit organization affiliated with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, sponsors this conference in August, an online conference in March, and a writers' retreat in October to further its mission of promoting Catholic literature. "With members all over North America, these events bring our diverse membership together for fellowship and networking to promote our mission of creating a rebirth of Catholic arts and letters," says CWG President and award-winning novelist Ellen Gable Hrkach.


Registration costs $80 for CWG members, $85 for non-members and $45 for students. There's also a discounted combined membership. To register or for more information, go to http://www.catholicwritersconference.com.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lauda Sion Sequentia--Gregorian

Note the different founders of religious orders surrounding the Divine Presence.

Monday, June 17, 2013

You Have the Right to be Wrong

G.K. Chesterton once said that he didn't want to belong to a church that told him he was right, when he was right. He wanted a church to tell him he was wrong, when he thought he was right.

I always liked that thought.  I think wrestling with the church's teachings are good.  It shows that you are taking the church seriously.  You have to think through the reasons why the church is teaching a dogma.  The church never tells you what to do because all humans have free will.  The church explains its teachings and asks for the respect to consider its teachings.  They need to be studied, maybe researched, and definitely prayed upon.

Like Chesterton, I want to know when I'm wrong.  I'll take it seriously and look into it.  Praying, all the while.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival


This week I wrote every day, except for Saturday.  We celebrated Father's Day that day, a day earlier. It was just easier.  When you're adult children have children, they have three fathers to honor, i.e., their own, their spouses', and their husband (he's a father, too).  So we spread Father's Day out--all weekend.  Anyway, no post.

The best ones this week was my first attempt at a ballad about the Boston Marathon.  I also choose the parable called, A Prayer Group Tale.  This story was so much fun, I think I'll  make it a series.  I'll have this simple, self-effacing, prayer group tell tales of spiritual heroism.

What I find strange is that my favorite posts are the ones that get the least hits.  I know all I have to do is post something controversial and I'll get lots of hits.  But I'm not about "getting in your face."  And what I find very, very sad, is that my most popular posts, are about getting jobs.  I pray for job seekers.

Anyway, here's this Sunday's Snippets.  Be sure to check out others at This n' That Blogspot.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fat Rapunzel

This is a skit, I've made for my  T.O.P.S. chapter.  What do you think?



Rapunzel
 4 people: narrator reads the bold parts.  Rapunzel.  Prince.  Mother.
Props:  ladder and a large ribbon
###
Nowadays, it is very hard for a single mom to raise a daughter all by herself.  This mother thinks that she has solved the problem by locking her daughter, Rapunzel, in the tower of their attic, at the very top of their old Victorian house.
        There Rapunzel grows up to be a beautiful teenager.  Although she has everything she could possibly want, Rapunzel doesn’t get enough exercise living in a one room tower.  This doesn’t really bother her all that much, after all, who cares if she’s fat.  She never sees anybody except her mother.  So she wiles away her time by reading and listening to music.  She likes to sing, however, and daydreams that she’s a famous opera star, traveling around the world singing in opera houses.
        One day, a handsome prince hears the beautiful voice and follows the music.  He is enthralled to see a beautiful girl, way up in the window of the tower.  As he looks up and enjoys the music, we join him…
Prince:  Her voice is so beautiful.  She is beautiful, too.  I could listen to her forever.
The prince claps, when the song ends.  (Clap, Clap, Clalp)
Rapunzel:  Oh!  You startled me.  I didn’t see you.
Prince:  Please don’t stop singing, beautiful lady.  You sing so beautifully.
Rapunzel:  You embarrass me.  I –I – I don’t think I can sing, anymore.
Prince:  What a pity!  What is your name?
Rapunzel:  Rapunzel
Prince:  Come down so we can get to know each other.
Rapunzel:  I can’t.  I’m  locked in this tower.
Prince:  Why?
Rapunzel:  My mother loves me and is so afraid of the world.  I’m locked away to keep me safe.
Prince:  I’ll protect you.  Ask your mother to let you out.
Rapunzel:  OK.  I will ask her tonight when she brings my supper. 
Prince:  I’ll come back tomorrow, the same time.  Good-bye beautiful lady.
Rapunzel:  Goodbye, sweet prince.
Later on in the day, Rapunzel’s mother unlocks the door to the tower and brings in a huge platter of spaghetti and meatballs, garlic Italian bread, butter, whole chocolate milk, and pecan pie with ice cream. 
Rapunzel: Oh mother, thank you.  The most wonderful thing happened today.
Mother:  Yes dear.
Rapunzel:  I met the most handsome prince, and he wants me to leave the tower, and go down to meet him.
Mother:  What!  Oh dear, this is what I was always afraid of.  Think Rapunzel.  Why does he want to meet you?
Rapunzel:  He likes my singing.
Mother:  Ha!  Don’t be na├»ve.  You think he’s impressed?  Wait till he sees you.  You are over twenty  pounds over-weight.   He’ll back off faster than ice cream on a hot day.
Rapunzel:   oh (sadly)
Mother:  Never mind, my dear.  Mumzie loves you.  Now be a good girl and clean your plate, I’ll be up later and we can play cards.
Poor Rapunzel ate her food choking back deep sobs.  What can she do?  Fate is so cruel.  She finally meets a young handsome prince, and she’s too ugly to let him see her. 
      The next day, the prince comes back.
Prince:  Rapunzel, Rapunzel, come out and play.
Rapunzel:  I can’t dear prince.  My mother forbids it.  I must stay in the tower.  But I will sing you a song.
Prince:  But why?
Rapunzel:  Because it’s safer than outside.  What song would you like to hear?
Prince:  I don’t understand.
Rapunzel changes the subject by singing.  She sings so beautiful that the prince is lost in thought.  When she finishes, they bid each other good night.
     The next day, he’s back.
Prince:  Rapunzel, how’s this idea?   If you can’t come down, can I come up?
Rapunzel:  Er…er…er The room is a mess.  I’m embarrassed for you to see it.  
Prince:  I don’t care about the room.  I just care about you.  You can clean the room and tomorrow I’ll bring a ladder.
Now what was Rapunzel going to do?  Once the prince saw how overweight she was, he’d never come back.  Maybe she’ll tell him she’s very sick with something contagious.
     The next day, he’s back.
Prince:  Rapunzel, I’m here with a ladder.  Let me come up.
Rapunzel:  NO!  No, you can’t.  I’m sick.  I’m sick with measles.  It’s highly contagious.
Prince:  That doesn’t bother me.  I’ve been inoculated. 
And the prince starts to climb up.  But the ladder is too short to reach all the way to the window. 
Prince:  Oh Rapunzel, what can I do? 
Rapunzel:  Whew!  Oh.  I mean, Oh Well!  Maybe it’s not meant to be.  Let’s just talk and get to know one another.
Prince:  We’ve done that.  And I already know that I love you.
Rapunzel:  And I love you.  But you, well, you don’t really know me.
Prince:  I do.  I love you.
Rapunzel:  What if I’m fat and ugly?
Prince:  I’ve gotten to know a beautiful girl.  If the outside of this beautiful girl is fat and ugly, that won’t matter at all.  That’s just the outside.
Rapunzel:  Really?
Prince:  Yes, I mean it.

Rapunzel:  Well, I could let down all my hair, and you could climb up.
Which was exactly what the prince did.  The prince and Rapunzel are together.  And he was not repulsed by Rapunzel’s weight, at all.  She was not ugly, just overweight, and he knew exactly what to do about that.
Prince:  Rapunzel, it’s no wonder you’re overweight.  You don’t get enough exercise.  You won’t be able to escape out of this tower if you can’t fit through the window.  Let’s set up an exercise regimen.
Rapunzel:  Yes, you are so right.  I get no exercise at all.  And I’ll eat less.  My aim is to fit through that window to be with you.
We will now fast forward to a month, ahead.  Rapunzel has been dancing to her singing.  She has taken up zumba and pilates.  She also dropped out of the clean plate club and told mumzie that she wants salad to be part of her dinner and cut the portions drastically.  Mumzie wanted to keep Rapunzel happy and Rapunzel never seemed happier.  The prince came everyday.
Prince:  Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair. 
Rapunzel:  Here you are.
Prince:  My goodness.  Look at you.  Your clothes are too big for you.
Rapunzel:  I’ve lost ten pounds.
Prince:  I think if you keep the regimen up, we can elope, next month.  Let’s dance to that.
And so Rapunzel and the prince danced the night away, planning their elopement.  The prince made wedding arrangements and planned the great escape.  Finally, the day came.
Prince:  Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.
Rapunzel:  Here you are.  Why, what are you carrying?
Prince:  Rapunzel, you can fit through the window now.  You can also fit this engagement ring on, and the wedding ring that awaits you.  Here is a strong satin ribbon to tie on the bed post, so you can lower yourself out the window.
Rapunzel:  The ring fits!!  And I fit through the window! 
Prince:  Rapunzel you have made me so happy.
Rapunzel: You have made me happy too.  Who knew what exercise and eating less would do?

 


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Stinkin Like Low Tide


You have to follow my thinking process, here.  I was reading Sunday's Gospel Luke 7: 36-50.  This reading tells the story of the woman washing Jesus' feet, drying them with her hair, and perfuming them.  This washing of the feet reminded me of a few weeks ago.  Hubby and I were at the beach.  I went for a walk.  It was low tide, and I haven't walked and explored the beach, since last year.

You know how it is.  I poked in ebb pools, lifted periwinkles, watched sea anemones, slushed, splashed, and smushed, in the low tide mud.

I had a ball!

I had picked up so many interesting shells and rocks that my pants were hanging off my hips.

When I arrived back to the car, hubby was none too pleased.  I smelled like low tide.  "Wash your feet off."  He said.

So, I walked back down to the water and let a few waves wash my feet off.  But going back to the car, they got all dirty again.

Hubby was not amused.  He told me to sit down with my feet out of the car, and he'd wash my feet.

I thought he was fooling.

He wasn't.  He did.

It reminded me of Pope Francis I washing the feet of prisoners.  I just had to take a picture.  (Dick emulating Pope Francis I).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Ballad

Ballad of the Boston Marathon

                      (bombing 2013)


“I’m thinking of going to the Marathon,
leaving early in the morn,
and watch the runners cross the finish line
at the Boston Marathon.”

“No! You know what a mess traffic is,
today will be more than crazy,
parking will be impossible and expensive,
and the crowds whipped to a frenzy.”

“We’re taking the ‘T’ to Back Bay Station.
The finish line is there.
And my friends will guide and protect me,
we’ll be good and take care.”


The mother finally smiled in acquiescence,
to think her child safe
and happy with sensible companions.
All too soon that smile was erased.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lessons from OZ


You wouldn't believe it.  Everyone was talking about it, afterwards.  Fr. George linked religious lessons from the Wizard of Oz, to Christianity.  The subject was how we're really dead until our baptism.  With baptism, we start the promise of a new life.

It's like we're on the farm and facing bankruptcy.  Then Dorothy meets three companions who help her along the way:
          The lion, in search of courage.  Yet it is he who braves the dangers ahead.
          The scarecrow, in search of a brain.  But he's the one who plans.
          The tin man, in search of a heart.  Note his love and compassion for his companions.
Do they remind you of how God doesn't choose the qualified?  He qualifies the chosen.

The climax is when they baptize the evil witch.  They threw water on her!  Bam!  Evil is washed away.

And they continue on the yellow brick road.

As St. Catherine of Siena would say, "All the way to heaven, is heaven."

h/t  Picture from Wikipedia Commons under Creative Commons license.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Prayer Group Tale


Everything about the Prayer Group irritated the pastor, Father Diotrophes.  They were overly pious.  Because of their kindheartedness, he couldn’t be angry with them.  But he was.  Their leader wore a pectoral cross, bigger than the pope’s.  He was a little deaf, so when he was told something, he just gave you that subservient, obedient smile, nod, and move on.  You never knew if he understood what you said, or he understood, and decided to ignore you, or he forgot.

The others in the group, which was only about two or maybe three, were inconsequential.  It really was a lame little group.  They have the entire church to meet in and they met in the sacristy.  They’re in the way.  Father Diotrophes told the leader to move, but they still met in the sacristy.  And their junk was everywhere.  In the vestry drawers were bottles of holy water, prayer books, holy cards, a relic, rosaries, chaplets, etc.  Milk crates filled with their Bibles, Catechisms, music, Magnificats, etc. , were stacked in a corner.  The metal closet housed their statues, large crucifix, and candles.
They were less than a handful of people, and they took over the church!

It was a ridiculous situation. Father prayed over it.

Since asking them to move, didn’t work, he had to take matters directly in his hands.  They didn’t take hints, either.  Father was abrupt and sharp with them, but they obediently accepted whatever he threw at them.  Then they’d forget and go back to doing whatever they did.

What did they do?  Well, they prayed the rosary.  They were forever rattling their beads.  How could they stand it?  Sure the rosary was a catholic tradition.  But nowadays, people are more educated and need Lectio Divina, and scripture sharing, and book discussion groups.  Perhaps, he should try a different tactic and shepherd them more.

Yes, that’s what Father Diotrophes decided.  He’d help them.
 
And that’s how Father Diotrophes came to find himself praying the rosary, one night.  He was sitting in the middle of them.  At least, he got them to move out of the sacristy and into a back room!  (They’d probably forget and be back there, next week.)  They took forever praying the rosary.  They added what they called the Fatima prayer, and then they had a personal intention for each decade.  Whew!  They turned a ten minute prayer into a routine that was longer than his Mass!  And that’s not all.  They had what seemed like a hundred “add-ons!”   Once the rosary was completed, they added an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, for the intentions of the Holy Father.  Then they added three Hail Mary’s for an end to abortion.  Then they prayed a prayer to St. Michael, the Archangel.  Then a prayer for priests.  Then he forgot what else because he zoned out.

Good grief.  Lord have mercy.

Finally, it came to an end.  They were so happy and proud, and looked up to Father Diotrophes with such respect and reverence, that he felt his distemper melt away.  He explained to them that the rosary was good, but he wanted them to learn about their faith, and he introduced a form of prayer called Lectio Divina. This is a slow, contemplative praying of the Scripture.  Lectio Divina will give them rhythm. Within this rhythm, they will discover an increasing ability to offer more of themselves and their relationships to the Father, and to accept the embrace that God is continuously extending to them in the person of his son, Jesus Christ.

Father Diotrophes was very proud of himself.  They asked no questions.  He was encouraged and continued.  “Prayer is standing in the presence of God with the mind, that is, at that point of our being where there are no divisions or distinctions and where we become one with Him.  There God’s Spirit dwells and hearts speak to hearts, because we are standing before the face of the Lord, all-seeing, within us.”

The group was enthralled.  “Yes, Father.”  They said in chorus.

Father Diotrophes was satisfied.  He left them smiling and bowing.  Father was happy to have done some pastoral work, and felt pretty good about himself.

But, just as his hand was about to turn the knob on the door, the group came running to him, “Father, Father, we have forgotten the prayer you taught us.”  And as he turned around to face them, his mouth opened in astonishment.

The three of them seemed transfigured before him.  Their clothes were brilliantly white.  And their faces!  (Dear God!)  Their faces were radiant.  An aura surrounded them so incandescent, that he had to close his eyes and step back.
When he opened them, everything was back to ordinary.

Father Diotrophes, overwhelmed by what he saw said, “Just continue, praying the Rosary.  Our Lord loves to hear your prayers to His Mother.”