Showing posts from December, 2013

Dynamic Catholics

This Christmas, my pastor gave every family a copy of the book, The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, by Matthew Kelley.  Actually, this is my third time reading it.  I read it last year, along with Rediscover Catholicism, Forming Intentional Disciples, and Rebuilt.  My prayer group also subscribes to Lighthouse Catholic Media, so we’ve already heard Matthew Kelley’s Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic.
I’m up to the discussion questions in the study guide and I’m starting to wonder why I’m reading this.  I already AM a Dynamic Catholic.  Look at these questions:
Do you have a daily routine of prayer? If so, what is it? If not, what would you like it to be after reading this chapter?  Do I ever!  Daily Mass, Divine Office, Rosary, 15 minutes Lectio Divina, and a few other personal intentional prayers.  And this is the bare minimum that I do.  If I have time, I do more Lectio.  I pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  I also have a Spiritual Director who sits on me, or I’d really be off the …

The Gift of a New Beginning

Faith, the magazine from Lansing Michigan, had an article on gift giving.  The topic was gifts.  A sister felt cheap because the gifts she gave to her nieces and nephews weren’t equal to the gifts her sister gave to her own children.  I found this subject interesting. 
Gifts have always been a nuisance for me.  I have friends who obviously re-gifted their gifts.  I know.  Once I gave a friend a gift, and she must have forgotten who gave it to her, because I received that very same gift on my next birthday!
One of my most embarrassing stories concerns gift giving.  On year I had to buy too many “little” gifts:

two book clubs yankee swaps under $ 20
work gift exchange under $ 20
my work cubby-mate—whatever
walking group gift exchange-- $ 10
hairdresser-- $ 25
women’s club--ornament swap
two Bible studies gift swap $ 15-20
paper boy--$ 10
ladies from work, monthly dinner, gift exchange--$ 10-20
One of the ladies, in this last gift exchange, had eight children—all grown, with families of…

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

RA'nn at the blog This and That and The Other Thing graciously hosts our weekly link ups.  We're a group of Catholic bloggers, who gather at RA'nn's every Sunday and talk about our week's posts.  But before I get into that, I want to answer a question I was asked.  "What is my spiritual New Year's Resolution?"

My New Year's Resolution is applicable to all areas of my life.  It is to change my attitude.  I tend to be negative, snarky, and cynical.  I'm going to try to be positive, charitable, and kind.  This applies to my everyday activities.  I want people I meet to go away from me happy that they met up with me.  This attitude will even spill out on my weight loss issues.  Positive people are happier people and that affects everything you do, and everyone around you.  Consequently, my spiritual life will be better because I won't be hurting others with my snarkiness and bad humor.  Pray for me.

Monday -- At my advanced age, it finally o…

Christmas with Br. Tonto, Cappa, and Canis


Linking the Resurrection to the Nativity

Msgr. Moran gives his daily homilies in a Socratic style.  Today's Gospel was John 20:1-8.  It was about the Resurrection.

After the homily, Msgr. Moran walked down to the pews.  He asked, "Why is this Gospel placed in the Christmas season?"

That was exactly my question when I heard the Gospel proclaimed.  Some answers the people gave:

Without the Resurrection, why bother with the birth of this baby?
The Resurrection completes the story that began with the Nativity.
Today's the Feast of St. John the Evangelist, and he is a part of the Resurrection story.

Msgr. Moran then asked for similarities between the two events.

                           Both involve caves--birth and death.
                          Both are heralded by angels.
                         Both involve Good News.
                        Both have people rushing to see.
                       Both involve women named Mary.
                      Both mention cloth (swaddling and shroud)
The Mass celebrant this morning was Fr. Bob.  He's a Xaverian missionary.  Of course he wished us all a Merry Christmas.  His homily was about his experiences in Bangladesh.  He spoke of celebrating Christmas Mass.  The children climbed above a ledge, bordering the windows, to view Mass better.  Most fell asleep.  The people were packed in.

After Mass, outside, the courtyard had numerous ovens situated around the perimeter.  This was to cook up a feast.  Although the small church housed a hundred, the outside celebration was for thousands.  Their Christmas was                                           for everyone.  All faiths were invited.  This is the true Christmas--for all.

No More Waiting

The waiting is done.
 Christmas is here.
Advent is finished.
Christmas has begun.

Not only the physicality of counting the days, opening presents, but the most telling proof of all.  The spirit has peaked.  The Advent sense of expectation has come to fruition with Christmas.  He has come.  Our long awaited Messiah is here.  Like the birth of all babies, we sigh, we see He's safe, healthy, well,--real, and we smile.

Last year I wrote these poems for Advent: Advent in Franklin, MA, Haiku, and More Advent Haiku.  So I didn't want to post them again, especially since my local newspaper just published them for Christmas.  But in my writers' group, Senior Scribblers, my fellow writer, Carol Belcher wrote a poem about coming home; it's in the local paper along with mine.  Strictly speaking, it's not about Christmas. But who's strict?  And Christmas is all about coming home.  Besides, this is my blog and I'm the mommy, that's why.  I'm putting it in.


A Present from the Massachusetts Family Institute


Addendum to Examination of Conscience

Confession has often been the theme of my posts.  I thought I knew everything there was to know about Confession and the examen.  However, you're never too old to learn.  A friend gave me my Christmas present, today.  It's the book, 7 Secrets of Confession, by Vinny Flynn.  No.  I haven't read it already, but I did flip through it and something caught my eye.

p. 187  # 7, Pray for your Confessor.  He is instructed by the Church to pray for you, so you, in turn should pray for the light of the Holy Spirit to guide him.

I think every Confessor ends the session with "God bless you, pray for me."  I take it as a priests' "Have a nice day."  It's just a common platitude.

But it has never occurred to me to pray for the Confessor before Confession.  What was I thinking? Rather, I wasn't thinking.  Of course, that would be the time to pray for the priest hearing your sins, guiding you, trying to understand your motives, your contrition, your inten…

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

Four more days before Christmas, and it's Sunday Snippets.  This is a post where some of my fellow bloggers and I gather together and share our week's posts.  RAnn at This and That and the Other Thing is our hostess.  So go over there and read what we've been up to this week.

Before I get into all that, I'd like to tell you about our crazy Christmas tradition.  When my children were very young, life was crazy and to make life easier, we ate Chinese Take Out, for Christmas Eve.  With a young family, this was a treat.  It was even considered a Christmas treat--Chinese food!  As teenagers, one of my daughters was dating an Italian boy.  He was invited to our traditional, annual, Christmas Eve Chinese Take Out.

He couldn't believe it.  He was appalled.  He said, "My family has been cooking for two weeks, and you Irishmen order Chinese Take Out?"

Italians have a 7-9 course fish dinner as a traditional Christmas Eve meal.

Nowadays, my daughter and her husband…

Confession for Christmas

Give yourself a gift, and go to Confession.

St. Catherine of Siena in Letter 36 says, "First of all, arrange for holy confession, and unburden your consciences."

Letter 35, "Go to confession often, and seek the company of people who will help you possess God in grace."

Dialogue, "You have to be set free.  Leave deadly sin behind by a holy confession with heartfelt contrition, satisfaction, and resolution to sin no more."

Take the hint.  St. Catherine of Siena is telling you how important it is to have a clean soul.  Go to Confession.  Don't you want to be as clean as possible for Christ's Mass?

Disciplining Prayer

Setting regular time aside to pray, isn't the end.  Just because you are quiet with no distractions, doesn't mean you are praying.  Staring off into space, doesn't do it.

There's a little bit more involved.  A memorized prayer can open your session, e.i., Our Father would be excellent, because Jesus taught us this perfect prayer.  Then I'd go over yesterday.  What went wrong?  What could you have done to make it better?  What was good, yesterday?

Next is planning today.  If you know what you are going to do, plan for meeting the people involved and how your encounter with them, could make them happier.  Are you dreading any encounter?  Ask for God's help?

Now be still and stare into space; but listen for God's voice.

End in prayer, thanking God for loving you.

Perron and Simpson Warp Us, Again!

Perron and Simpson Warp Us, Again!

Wasteland Renegades by Kristene Perron and Joshua Simpson, is book two of the Warp World Series.  It is also the answer to one of my wishes.  I was so hooked on the characters and their adventures that I wished for more and I got Wasteland Renegades.  I am not disappointed. 
Ama and Seg are in Seg’s world.  But they spend most of the time separated.  Seg has everybody on his back and has to keep everyone as satisfied as he can.  Ama doesn’t understand.  She has no patience and causes all sorts of trouble.  Poor Ama, although I could have shook her if I could, my heart went out to her when she was being “processed.”  She will never be the same.
There are some new characters.  The bad guys are really bad.  The good guys are likeable.  The authors, Kristene Perron and Joshua Simpson characterize very well.  I love and hate exactly where the authors wanted me to.  These authors are masters of thrilling suspense.  Their depiction of Warp World is delinea…

Christmas Skit on Nutrition

Surviving the Christmas Party with TOPS
Five Characters:   Narrator 1, Narrator 2, Trudy TOPS, Sally, Susie Props:                   None really, just acted out.

Narrator 1:           Healthy lifestyles are what TOPS is all about.  If you have a                            healthy lifestyle, you will be  what you are meant to be. Narrator 2:          During the holidays, a TOPS knows that a cheerful, optimistic,                            caring demeanor is the best clothing anyone can put on.  Trudy TOPS:       Well!  Now that I’m dressed in satin and velvet, and more importantly,                                 I’m in a good, healthy, frame of mind, I’ve got to plan. This Christmas                              party will have a buffet. Narrator 1:          Trudy TOPS is wise.  She knows what she’s up against.  She's using mental imagery                         to practice overcoming tough situations.  She is imagining herself moving down the

Worshipping Mary--Not!

Yesterday's encounter with the ministers was still on my mind.  So I asked my RCIA candidates and catechumenate, what they thought of the ministers' refusal to engage in conversation with me.

Geeesh!  If I had said, "Look at the facial expressions of 'Little Bo Peep,' in these paintings.  What do you think?"  Would the ministers have reacted differently?

They can't even look at Mary?

Come on!


Well, the RCIA candidates who were Protestants, and the one Buddhist, said that "Mary" was the issue.  If I had said the woman was Little Bo Peep, the ministers would have responded differently.  Mary is the problem.

Sad, very sad.

One of the candidates is a former Protestant who has some sort of mystical relationship with Mary.  In fact, he said that Mary told him to go to the Catholic Church.  He seems normal; he's your average guy; until you bring up the subject of Mary.  He wears a rosary around his neck and also, another rosary is wra…

Traditional Mary

See these artists' depictions of Mary at the Annunciation.  My "cloistered brothers" and I were discussing the artists' interpretations.  Of course, this led to our own individual ideas of Mary at the Annunciation.

I think we passed a couple of hours in discussion.  It was very spiritually fruitful.  I was very impressed with this session.  I'm still meditating about our thoughts.

What is troubling is the fact that some people miss out on the Catholic view of Mary, the Annunciation, and Incarnation of Christ.  Walking away from having this graced filled experience with my "cloistered brothers,"  I walked with a couple of Protestant ministers.  I was so filled with the enthusiastic  benevolence I had received from this discussion, that I talked about my experience with these ministers.

I showed them these pictures.  I pointed out the various different expressions on Mary's faces.  I rattled on about some of the insightful comments my "cloiste…

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

Rejoice!  I say it again, rejoice!  It's the third Sunday of Advent and the Lord is coming.  \0/ \0/ \0/  

RAnn asks what spiritual gift I would like to be blessed with.  What I need is the gift of moderation.  I tend to jump in with both feet, when just a toe would do.  Please God, place a hand over my mouth, handcuffs on my hands, and shackle my feet to You.  Sit on me Lord, I don't want to make a fool out of myself, anymore; although I will for you.

Now for Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival, where I give you my week, in review.  This post will link up to RAnn's This That And The Other Thing, where other bloggers will also link up.  Together, we share, read, and discuss our posts.  It's fun.

Monday -- I wanted to call attention to the vocation story of three seminarians, one of whom is from my own parish.  Patrick Fiorillo gives witness to his faith journey.  Pray for Pat and his classmates.

Tuesday -- A rant against recreational sex and living together.


Where Are You At?

Father Rocco told us about Beverly Blue, this morning.  She was a lady with a big voice and a big heart.  In the morning, every morning, Beverly helped make sandwiches for the homeless.  In the evening she sang the Blues.  She was good at both.

One of Father Rocco's students was amazed.  At what?  That she made sandwiches for the homeless and sang the Blues.  "How can she do that?" The student asked.

Father Rocco responded, "because that's where Jesus has led her."

Where has
Jesus led you?

Lucy Lego

Lucy Lego’s Christmas Ordeal
The big tub said 1000 legos.  But nobody bothered to count.  Among the lego blocks were some lego people.  Lucy was one of them.  She was a happy lego little girl.  She loved to play with the children and had as much fun as they did.
The children received the 1000 legos for Christmas and liked to play under the Christmas tree with them.  Particularly nice, was when all the lights in the room were turned off, except the Christmas tree lights.  Lucy Lego’s eyes sparkled with the reflection of the lights. 
She was a favorite of the children because there weren’t any other child legos.  There were her parents, and a lego dog and a lego cat.  Sometimes the children would fight over her.  This frightened Lucy because their Mother said that she would take Lucy Lego and throw her away, if the fighting didn’t stop. 
But the fighting didn’t stop.  One little boy was mean, and refused to share.  This made the little brother  cry, and the other children called him …

Ruler of Demons

Scott A. Lerner’s Ruler of Demons is a fast read.  At first I laughed out loud at the depiction of Catholic transubstantiation, Catholic clergy, and the hovering hints of secret plots.  My Catholic senses braced for Catholic bashing and ridiculous portrayals of what I hold sacred.  But then I got drawn into the story.
The story has the major character, Sam, in a race, to solve a puzzle, prevent more ritualistic murders, and crazy as you probably think, force God’s hand to end the world.  You won’t think it’s so crazy when you’re in the story.
Hey, this isn’t theology 101; it’s a story, and you will be following Sam, and his sidekick, Bob, traveling from the USA, to Israel, to France.  They have a week to fix everything, solve the mystery, debunk the myth, and stop the bad guys.  And oh yeah, save the world.
One of the best techniques in this thriller is the pace.  Your heart will race.  But you won’t have a heart attack, because the author is skilled in breaking up the pace with hum…

Prayer by Drake, Tutu, and the One True Faith

My "cloistered brothers" and I examined a prayer by Archbishop Desmond Tutu from the Forgiveness Project.  At the bottom of the prayer, credit was given to the original prayer by Sir Francis Drake.  My curiosity was piqued by the name Sir Francis Drake?  Wasn't he a pirate and traitor?

 Naturally, I googled him.  He wasn't a traitor and he was a legal pirate.  He raided the Spanish and at that time, Spain and England were at war, so his illegal endeavors were sanctioned or winked at.

He did write, including poetry, and the prayer that is famous.  When I compared the two prayers, I didn't see any difference in meaning.  Surely there are words that are different, but not the sentiment.  I imagined Archbishop Tutu memorized this prayer, but when he wrote it down, he didn't write  word for word.  The same ideas came across.  I like it, and I want to do the same.  My take on the Francis Drake Prayer:

Disturb us Lord, when we're drifting,
When our course doesn…

Normalizing Perversion

Good grief!  What acrobatics we put out consciences through to justify our actions!  I'm thinking of how young adults justify "recreational sex."

"We've made a personal commitment to each other."  That's their reason.  Mmmm, like I've made a personal commitment to feed my cat every day?  Walk the door?  Take care of my pets?

Is that what love has been reduced to---a personal commitment?

(Thank you Jesus for Dick, my hubby.)

That kind of personal commitment doesn't do it for me.  I want a sacred covenant relationship, made before God, and sealed with the Eucharist.

How did we ever get to this stage of human development?

Isn't love a supreme desire to seek the true good of the other person?  Forever and ever?  A desire to grow old together?  To enjoy children together?

The nature of marriage is love. I always think of Tobit praying before taking his wife, "...And so I do not take my sister for any lustful motive; I do it in singleness o…

Evangelization of Witness

Pay attention to my parish's seminarian, Patrick Fiorillo. His journey is what we hope for all our children, indeed, all people.

Advent is Waiting

Msgr. Peter reminisced about "waiting."  When he was a boy of eleven years, he loved his father most.  His father was the head of the family and always insisted upon the family eating supper together.  One day there was a blizzard.  He had no school.  It snowed all day.

Dinner time came and his father wasn't home yet.  The family waited half an hour.  They waited an hour.  No one voiced what they were thinking.

Peter worried that something had happened to his father.  After a couple of hours, he told his mother that he was going to wait at the bus stop.  His mother didn't stop him.  So Peter bundled up to walk in the snow and trudged out.  He walked up the side street.  He walked up the main street, crossed the railroad tracks, climbed the little hill, and stood at the bridge.

There were two busses his father could take.  One would stop at the bridge, and then cross over the bridge.  The other would stop at the bridge, and continue on straight.  Peter waited.  He …

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

It's Sunday, again!  That means it's time for A Catholic Carnival's Sunday Snippets, generously hosted by R'Ann and her This and That and the Other Thing Blog.  I suggest that you go over to her blog to see what Sunday Snippets is all about.

R'Ann was talking about her favorite title for Mary, which for her is Our Lady of Divine Providence.  My favorite title is Our Lady of Mercy because that's the title of my Lay Dominican Chapter.  The Chapter is inside a prison, so we have a very heartfelt connection to Our Lady of Mercy.

What happened this week?

Monday -- I did a book review of Ruby Heart by Cristelle Comby.  This is book two, of a detective series.  The detectives are a unique complementary combination.

Tuesday -- my thoughts about Father George's homily.

Wednesday -- I made a fool of myself, again--almost.

Thursday -- Catechesis about the Church Fathers.

Friday -- A post about hubby's toilet paper fetish.

Saturday -- Two posts: a quiz to help bu…

The Holy Spirit and Fire Ignites Priest

We almost had a real live demonstration of Matt. 3: 11-12, and/or a catastrophic event.  Father Jerry Hogan, the circus priest, almost went up in flames.  No he wasn't performing, just giving a homily.  It wasn't boring before the fire, and it certainly wasn't after.

Father Jerry was talking about John the Baptist proclaiming:

 I indeed baptize you with water...He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

When the people sitting on the side aisle starting exclaiming.  "Look out...the candles...your vestments...the flame...the chasuble...catching fire...Advent wreath..."

Father Jerry looked behind him.  Father Jerry jumped down three steps at once!!!!!


Thanks be to God that he wasn't hurt.  Nothing happened.  The Advent Wreath is placed on the floor in front of the altar.  And that's where Father Jerry stands to give the homily.  The vestments weren't even scorched.

I think this is one homily I will never forget, (nor Father Hogan).

Quiz to Help You Find the Perfect Present

Are you overwhelmed with thoughts of what to get people?  Money and gift cards show no thought.  You want to do better than that.  This quiz  will help.

1.     Does the person like music?

2.     Does the person like to read?

3.     Does the person watch movies?

4.     Does the person dress stylishly?

5.     Does the person wear rude, crazy, tee shirts?

6.     Is the person a sports fanatic?

7.     Does the person wear pajamas?

8.     Is the person sentimental?

9.     How close is the person to you?

10.     How much money do you have to spend?

So take the questions you answered "yes" to, and take questions "9" and "10" into consideration, and you should have a pretty good idea what to buy.

Toilet Paper Roll School of Thought

Yesterday, the RCIA catechumenate discussed self-esteem and narcissism.  Self-esteem is good.  You should be proud and have faith in yourself.  Narcissism is too much self-esteem.  You would never think of anyone but yourself; rules and laws don't apply to you.  Narcissists think they're always right.

When it comes to going to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, they're in a quandary.  They probably wonder why they have to, because they haven't sinned.  Everyone understood this.

Everything was going along fine, until someone mentioned that narcissists don't change the toilet paper in the bathroom because they had what they needed; let the next person change the roll.  Everyone laughed but me.  Hubby is always accusing me of doing this.  But I don't think I'm being narcissistic.  It's just because I change it when it's near the end of the roll.  He always wants an extra one handy, all the time.  I claim it's just a different school of thoug…

Who are the Church Fathers?

A few days ago, we celebrated the saint, John Damascene.  My book said that he is regarded as the last of the Church Fathers.  This made me wonder who the other church fathers were, how many there were, and why are they called "church fathers." Today, I finally had time to delve into my questions.

They are all from the early church.  St. John Damascene died in the eighth century, and that is customarily considered the cut off date.

Why they have this title varies.  Some were religious, some clerics, but all were leaders who were listened to.  They had influence and that influence shaped the church.  Hence, they are considered "fathers of the church."

According to Catholic Answers:

The Church demands four major characteristics to be exhibited in the life and works of an early Church leader if he is to be considered a Father of the Church. These are antiquity, meaning that he lived before the eighth century doctrinal orthodoxy; personal sanctity; and approval by the…

Called to Help

After Mass this morning, at the abbey, I went to get the book with the psalms to sing Terce with the nuns.  I noticed this man in the last seat, in the last back pew, of the chapel.  He was standing up ready to sing.  But, he had no book and I thought he looked confused.  So I went over to him and asked him, "May I pray with you?"  He said "Yes."  We prayed, sang, and prayed, again.  He followed me along.

When it was over and the nuns were recessing, he turned to me and said, "Sometimes it's nice to just listen.  The words get in the way."  He said some other things, also, but the words in the quotes are what resonated.  I thought he was trying to tell me that he would have rather I had left him alone.  I had interrupted his prayer time.

I walked out feeling very down about my self.  I had done it again.  I had presumed too much.  It's like helping an old lady cross the street when she didn't want to get there.  She was just standing on the c…

Turning the Corner

The Archdiocese of Boston has turned the corner.  That's what Father George said in Sunday's homily.  After years of being ashamed and struggling and plodding along to keep the faith, there's hope.  Father George related an experience he had as he was walking to a parishioner's home.  A young man across the street from where he was walking raised his hand in a salute and shouted, "The Pope's the man!"  This is the equivalent of "hurrah!"

Father George also told the story of something that happened at a catechesis class for adults.  This class had been advertised for weeks before it began.  The night it started, the priests and teachers were outside the church to greet the people coming to class.  A man came holding a baby.  He said he was coming, but forgot something.  He asked a lady to hold his baby.  She did.  He went.

He was gone.  The class was held and he didn't return.  The class ended and he wasn't back.  As they were discussi…

Ruby Heart

Have you ever heard of a blind PI?  Well, read the Neve & Egan series, and you’ll meet one.  Ashford Egan is the analytical, organized, and blind component of the detective team of Neve & Egan.  Alexandra Neve is the impulsive, loose cannon.  Somehow they complement each other. 
Ruby Heart is the second  novel in the Neve & Egan series.  After I read the first ten pages, (the Prologue), I had to buy the first book, Russian Dolls.  I devoured both novels.  But you don’t have to read Book One before you read Ruby Heart.  It stands by itself, and explanations are given for reference, when necessary for the story.
Ruby Heart is a necklace, a very dear necklace.  It was given to Neve & Egan’s client before World War II. The client is elderly and seriously ill.  Actually, she’s at death’s door.  So the pressure to find the necklace before Doris Hargrave’s death is critical. 
Alexandra Neve searches Nazi newspapers and actually does see the necklace on the neck of a lady, i…