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Showing posts from February, 2014

Ultreya

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Before I tell you about Ultreya, let me ask you for prayers for Amanda.  I spotted her sitting alone in church, tonight. So I went over to her after Mass and asked her if she was new.  She responded in the affirmative, so I told her that I was too, and that we should go downstairs for refreshments together.  She refused.

So I went over to Bob and sent him over to her.

Then I sent the Deacon over to her.

Lastly, I told Father Al about her, and he went over.

She went with Bob. I went over and sat with her.  Her name is Amanda and she doesn't know why she came into the church, or what we were doing, or what we're about.  She ate something and left.  I just feel she needed prayers.

What we were doing was celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and an Ultreya.  Ultreya is continuing the Cursillo experience.  We listened to Paul give his testimony.  He taught me a maxim that I never heard before.

When God upsets your plans its because you were going to upset His plans for you.

The Last 24 Hours

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Whew!  I've been in a whirlwind of activity these last 24 hours.  I've been too busy to think, never mind worry.  In fact, I've decided that keeping busy is the best way to stop worrying.  I know that Matthew 6: 25-34 tells us to trust in God, and when you're busy you are trusting Him because you're too busy to trust in anyone else, certainly not oneself.

Yesterday, we started by going to the Russian Icon Museum.  I wished I lived closer; I'd be a docent. Afterwards, we had dinner at The Mill Restaurant.   I had chicken champagne salad, and hubby had baked haddock.  In the evening, my parish had a book discussion on Mathew Kelley's Four Signs of aDynamic Catholic.  It was incredible.  There were over a hundred people.  I think the Holy Spirit was bouncing off the walls.  Everyone left excited!  In fact, my friends and I weren't ready to go home.  We went out for coffee and appetizers, and continued our discussion.  When I came home my phone messages we…

Mary Three Hands

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Hubby and I went to the Russian Museum of Icons, again.  This time I was impressed by the Icon known as Mary Three Hands.

Here is the story.  The pope at the time of St. John Damascene was afraid that the people were worshipping their beautiful icons, instead of God.  So he ordered all the icons to be burned.  St. John Damascene wrote a defense saying that the icons are not worshipped.  The icons are venerated and only God is worshipped.  The icons are used to bring God to mind.  Icons are more than religious pictures.  They're catechesis, and even history because some were made to celebrate military victories or some other celebratory occasions.  St. John Damascene wrote letters to everybody he thought necessary to change the pope's mind.  He made such a fuss that his writing hand was cut off.

St. John Damascene prayed to God, in front of an icon of the Theotokos, and she restored his hand.  In honor of the restoration of his hand, St. John Damascene had a silver hand made t…

No One can Avoid the Sun, nor the Rain

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Matt 5:45: tells us that the sun shines on the just and the unjust.  The rain falls on the good and the evil.  My understanding of this idea is that we are to live every moment.  Don't stay out of the sun because it shines on all.  Likewise the rain.  Since we can't avoid the sun and the rain, they must be necessary.  For sure, they're necessary for spiritual growth.  If it never rained, we wouldn't appreciate the sun.

Also, God loves us all.  I know more people than most, who have done some pretty terrible things in their lives.  Yet, I know they are good people.  Good people make dumb choices resulting in bad things. I'm glad God loves them.  He loves all.  Thanks be to God.








Treating Others How You Want to Be Treated

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Guess who I met tonight.  Scot Landry came to Mass tonight with Fr. Chris.  Scot talked with my "cloistered brothers," after Mass.

We all listen to Scot's radio show, "The Good Catholic Life" on Boston Catholic Radio.  So it was nice to put a face on the voice.

Personally, I wanted to meet Scot because he is the Executive Director and President of Catholic Voices, in USA.  I had a few things to get off my chest.  First of all, when Catholic Voices first came to this diocese, why did they ask for applicants?  You see Catholic Voices does what we Lay Dominicans have been doing, since the thirteenth century--defend the Faith.  So also do Lay Franciscans.  We both are half contemplative and half apostolic.  We preach.

OK, so they were ignorant.  They didn't know Church history.  They didn't know we were here.  They didn't know us.  They didn't know that Dominicans have the model for disputation. ( Do you see any Albigensians around?)

So we Lay Domi…

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

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Hello, and welcome to Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. This is a group of Catholic bloggers who gather weekly to share our best posts with each other. To participate, go to your blog and create a post titled Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. In it, discuss and link to your posts for the week--whether they deal with theology, Catholic living or cute Catholic kids. Make sure that post links back R'Ann's This and That And the Other Thing.  I'd like to read it.

This morning at Mass, Father Anthony told us a joke which is my new favorite Bible verse.  "A husband and a wife were arguing over who should make the coffee.  The wife insisted that it should be her husband because he was up first.  The husband said that the kitchen was the wife's domain, so she should make the coffee.  Finally, the wife open a Bible and pointed out scripture, to prove to her husband, that it is the man who should make the coffee.
    'Where does it say that,' the husband demand…

In Good Hands

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Still thinking about tomorrow's first reading, Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time A, Leviticus 19: 1-2, 17-18.  Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.

It's unfathomable to me.  How can I?  What are You asking me, Lord?

One of my "cloistered brothers", helping to facilitate RCIA, said he can't think when he receives Communion.  He receives in his hand, and he feels he should say a prayer of thanksgiving, or praise, or something.  But he's just dumbstruck.  He can't get over the fact that He has God in his hands; the One who has him in His hands.



Be Holy as I am Holy

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The workbook for Lectors directs the readers of Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18, to read with a compassionate tone.  God is explaining to Moses, not barking orders.

Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.

You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart.
Thought you may have to reprove your fellow citizen,
    do not incur sin because of him.
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people,
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

This is hard to do.  God is asking us to be like Him.  The human response is to fight back and plot revenge.  But wouldn't do that.  Is that what being holy is?

I'm not sure "being holy" is what we think it is.  It's not a moral code.  It's a state of being.  If we are thinking and feeling, as God does, why would we care that something was stolen from us?  We would consider material things as unimportant.  The only important thing is our relationship with God.  Things are junk.  They will pass.

Be holy, fo…

My Picture of Heaven

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The resurrection of the body means that what we have lived in the body will not go to waste but will be lifted in our eternal life with God.  As Christ bears the marks of his suffering in his risen body, our bodies in the resurrection will bear the marks of our suffering.  Our wounds will become signs of glory in the resurrection.   
I hope Nouwen isn't correct in his view of heaven.  I don't want my fat body with its too long legs and nose.  Glorified fat isn't my idea of heaven.  Fatness is a wound and I don't think it want it to be a sign of my glory.
I picture heaven is where everybody is equally beautiful.  I've heard it said that we will have our bodies as they were at age 33.  What if you didn't live that long?  What if you were grotesquely fat at age 33.  I don't want this body at all.  I want a new one.
If happiness is heaven, then what will our glorified bodies look like?  All these people who have had near death experiences always recognize thei…

Definition of a Bad Day

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I didn’t know what else to do.  When I called up work to tell them the alarm clock didn’t go off, I was told “Don’t bother comin in, you’re fired.” 
Contacting my parents was too humiliating.  I had burned that bridge, long ago. I was out of smokes, too.
I had no girlfriend, anymore, if ever.  Ha!  I don’t even have ANY friends!
I didn’t have enough money to pay the rent.  Bill collectors were on my back.
I just didn’t know what else to do.   I needed a job.  I needed money. I needed a life.
And the only thing I could think of was stealing. I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t see any other way.  How else could I get rent money, or food? 
I thought just this once.  Just once!  All I need is enough money for rent and food, until I find job and get paid.  Was that asking too much?
I’m not robbing a bank.  That’s too dangerous, with cameras and all, maybe security guards, besides I don’t need much.  I figured just a thousand. 
Grocery stores have cameras, too.
“Hey,” I could beg.  I won…

Where are Mary's Shoes?

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Yesterday, my three year old granddaughter was playing with all the interesting little  things on my dresser.  I  asked her if she knew who the statue was of.  She answered, "Baby Jesus."  Well, she was half right.  We were looking at a statue of Mary holding Jesus.  I explained that His Mother Mary was holding the Baby Jesus.

She examined the statue more closely.  Then she asked, "Where are Mary's shoes?"  I never noticed that Mary was barefoot before, and I didn't know.  I admitted I didn't know, and we went on to other interesting things, like spraying perfume all over everything, and opening my jewelry box.  But ever since that simple question, I've been wondering why doesn't Mary wear shoes.

I've seen statues where she does.  They did wear shoes in her time.  Remember Yahweh told Moses to take his shoes off.  Exodus 3:5

So if it were the custom to wear shoes, probably sandals in her part of the world, why is she barefoot?  She definite…

De Colores!

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Cursillo is a short course in Christianity.  It is a three day working retreat. REC, Residents Encounter Christ is Cursillo in prison.  Like Cursillo, the REC team are volunteers who go in, sit with prisoners, give talks, and share their lives.  They try to show the residents that there is hope in following Christ.  The goal is to try to break the cycle of recidivism and to encourage prisoners, many of whom were victims of abuse who turn to alcohol and drugs to consider the hope offered by following Christ. 

 We will be having a REC retreat (Residents Encounter Christ) on February 20, 21 and 22 and March 15, 16 & 17 at Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Massachusetts. This is a super maximum prison. I will like to request prayers for the men participating in these weekends.

If you are a cursillistas you know what palanca is.  Please consider writing some palanca for the REC.  Palanca are letters of support promising prayers of support during the REC.  Please send them to:

Bethan…

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

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R'Ann asked "What's your favorite book?"

Answer: "My new favorite book is Island of the World, by Michael D. O'Brien.  I admit it's heavy reading, but that's why I keep going back to it.  It is a keeper.  I easily imagine for the rest of my life, I'll be going back to it.  The main character, Josip, will have you in love, in tears, in pain, and enthralled.  Whew! What a book!  I did once write a review of it, but it was too long (three pages and over 7000 words), for Catholic Fiction.  The novel leaves such a large impression, there is no way a quick review would do it justice.

That answers R'Ann's question.  R'Ann hosts Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival.  This is a place where Catholic bloggers, like myself, link up with our week's posts.  Go over there and read some other bloggers.  As for me, my week went like this:

Monday -- This post is really my Lay Dominican Chapter's discussion on the New Evangelization.

Tuesday --…

The Prayer Group in Winter

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Everything about the Prayer Group irritated the pastor, Father Diotrophes.  They haven't changed at all. 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 just as bad.  It really was a lame little group.   He could see them now from his "watch tower" room in the rectory, trudging through the snow.  They're going to hold their prayer meeting in this weather?  There really is something wrong with those people.   UN belive ABLE !  Well God bless them!  It is said that God takes care of drunks, old people, and fools, and they're two out of the three.  Father …

A Valentine for You

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My Dominican rosary will be prayed for all my readers, today.

The Valentine Bandit

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Tomorrow will be Valentine’s Day and Spidey just had to break-into her apartment and steal back the TV she was holding.  She used to be Spidey’s  main squeeze, but their romance went down south.  Spidey owed her money.  He couldn’t pay her back.  And she wouldn’t give him back his TV until he paid up. 
Spidey was good at climbing into windows.  He had a rep for walking up buildings, like Spider Man.  Since tomorrow was Valentine’s Day, Spidey planned to steal the TV and leave a Valentine card.  He planned to sign it, “Guess Who”.
He planned to hit at night.  She worked as a night nurse, so she wouldn’t be home.  She’d come home Valentine’s Day to see no TV and the Valentine’s Day card.
He dressed all in black, including black water shoes (good grip for climbing), and a black ski mask.  He waited in the parking lot, for her to leave for work.  In fact, he waited half an hour longer.  The entire apartment building was quiet.  Spidey went around the back and with a running jump, leaped…

Now versus To Come

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My Lay Dominican study group discussed living in the moment.  Doc was facilitating and he was waxing poetic about the joys of living in the present.  Some of my "cloistered brethren" could see where he was coming from, and agreed with Doc.  However, some others, including myself,
disagreed.

My personal mantra has always been, "All is passing.  God alone abiding."  And if you're cloistered as by brothers are, I would think that would be the only hope you have.

I think, life has to be pretty good, in order for one to live in the present, to savor the present.  If your basic needs aren't met, how could anyone say, "Enjoy the moment."

Doc's life is too good.

Typical Book Club Meeting

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As of four hours ago, I had nothing to post.  I would have posted something, according to my personal philosophy.  But nothing inspired me, then.  I also knew something would happen at Book Club.  It usually does.

The book club has been going on for years and years.  It's beyond ten years.  The name is Argonauta, because the first book we ever read was Anne Murrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea, and in it she talked about the seashells, Argonaut.  They travel the seas, and that, to us, conveys adventure.  Hence, we chose Argonauta as our Book Club's name.

Tonight, we discussed The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.  Keeping with the flower theme, our hostess had flowers around her living room and dining room.  Her dining table was beautifully set with hydrangeas.  We all love hydrangeas, but in The Language of Flowers, they meant dispassion.

For hors d'oeuvres we had shrimp with two kinds of dips, a couple of cheeses, chili, etc.  Of course, the wine was what…

Evangelizing the Complacent

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My Lay Dominican Chapter, Our Lady of Mercy, is reading Evangelii Gaudium.  We were discussing paragraph 24, which exhorts the Church to "smell like sheep."  The pope visions a church reaching out to the people, particularly the marginalized.

Jesus got involved with the lowly, including washing the feet of his disciples.  An evangelizing community gets involved by word and deed in people's daily lives...  Evangelizers thus take on the "smell of the sheep" and the sheep are willing to hear their voice.

Sheep in general became the topic.  One of the "cloistered brothers" said how stupid the sheep were.  They don't know enough to come in out of the rain.  One of my sisters, who is from Scotland, where she said there were more sheep than people, added," If they were crossing the road and decided to stop, they stayed there.  No horn blowing, revving your engine, yelling at them, shooing them, would work.  If you were in your car, there was nothi…

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

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Today is Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival hosted by R'Ann from This And That And The Other Thing.  What?  I'm talking about R'Ann blog, where we Catholic bloggers link out weekly posts together in one spot--This and That And The Other Thing. Click over there and look around, yourself.

Before, I list what I posted about this week, R'Ann asked who my favorite Catholic author is.  That would be Michael D. O'Brien.  He is an artist extraordinaire.  Not only does he paint pictures, he paints redemption in his novels.  He's about the only novelist about whom I've read everything (novels) he's ever wrote, at least once.  My favorite is Island of the World.

The week's posts:

Monday -- Book Review, I Am Abraham by Jerome Charyn

Tuesday -- Matthew 5: 13-16

Wednesday -- Ignoring Pope John Paul II last wishes

Thursday -- How blogging is a ministry.

Friday -- A chance to win a trip to Rome for the canonizations of John XXIII and John Paul II

Saturday -- Pray…

Another Step for Father Gordon MacRae

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Perhaps, you've read my posts regarding Father Gordon MacRae, before, here and here.  In short, he's a wrongly convicted priest, who's been in prison for 20 years, for something that never happened.  He could have been out, if he had pled guilty, but he's not.

Another turn of events has occurred.  The National Center for Reason and Justice has just announced a new federal court appeal, on behalf of Father MacRae.  This is a major step aimed towards freeing Father MacRae.

I can't explain it better than this excerpt from the post by Ryan MacDonald on These Stone Walls.

I am once again pleased to write about a major step in the effort to free Father Gordon MacRae, a priest of the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire now in his twentieth year of unjust imprisonment. In a memorable quote in “The Trials of Father MacRae” in The Wall Street Journal last May, Pulitzer-prize winning author and columnist, Dorothy Rabinowitz summed up an appeal to state courts to overturn …

Win a Trip to Two Canonizations

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I've been to a beatification, Pere Marie Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P. but I've never been to a canonization.  I've never been to Rome.  Have you?

Here's your chance.  CatholicVote.org is having a raffle to win a trip for two to the canonizations of John Paul II and John XXIII.  It's on Facebook.  Follow directions and fill out the form.  I did.

The Blogging Apostolate

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Today's Zenit, contained an article by Father John Hardon, S.J., entitled Writing to Sainthood.  You know how the internet is.  Reading this article, led me to the Marian Catechesis Blog, which led me to the Catholics Writers' Guild, which led me to think.

Blogging is my way to preach.  My blog isn't preaching catechesis.  It's giving witness to how a human being is trying to walk the straight and narrow; how a saint in the making is about never giving up; how Christians are human, yet trying to do as Jesus wants.  So, OK, I guess it is catechesis without the catechism.  I hope it is a living human catechism.

That's the intent.  Hence, I post my thoughts, poetry, jokes, pictures, and rants.  Now, after reading the aforementioned  posts on writing, I realize how easily Hardon's suggestions apply to blogging.  Here's my adaptions:

(1)  Post daily.  This disciplines your thoughts.  If you can't think of what to write on any given day, write anyway.  Share…

Last Wishes

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Everyone seems upset that Pope John Paul II's last wishes weren't kept.  I'm not.  I think the Pope's secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwiszdid what he felt best.  He is not making money; he's giving the proceeds from the sale of the book away.  He is saving the Pope's papers for the world to read.

Look at it this way.  Last wishes and just that--wishes.  If Pope John Paul II wanted his papers destroyed, he would have done it himself, before he died.  I did.  I've burned my personal journals and diaries.

It was easy.

One can never know what will happen when you die.  St. Dominic was a very humble man.  His explicit directions when he was dying was to bury him on the path where his brothers would walk over him.  Did you ever see the marker that indicates his grave?  He who wanted no marker except to be trampled upon, has a monument.  It took centuries to finish.  Renowned artists, including
Michael Angelo, added to it.  It is so huge, it is called the Arc…

How Does Salt Lose Its Taste?

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This Sunday's Gospel talks about salt.  Matt 5:13-16  My Bible sharing group questioned how salt could lose its taste.  If you tried to water it down, you'd just make salty water like the ocean.  If you throw salt in soup, it doesn't lose its taste; it adds taste.  Would the people in Jesus' time know how to separate the chemical properties of chloride and sodium?

The conundrum was solved by Kevin.  Kevin usual knows.  He's a great reader.  Kevin said salt was used in making ovens because it held heat (think salting ice on roads).  People made their oven.  Then they put a layer of salt across the floor of the oven.  Tile was placed over the salt layer.  Now the oven held the heat.  Eventually, the salt's ability to hold heat lessened and was gone.  Then the salt was "no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot." Matt 5: 13.

Jesus is telling us not to lose our "flavor."  Glorify God by being His disciple and season…

What Strength and Force of Character Can Do

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I am Abraham by Jerome Charyn According to the back of the book, Jerome Charyn is a master writer.  I am Abraham does not prove that description wrong.  I received an understanding of not only a man, but the times, the politics, the family life, and the Civil War. This story may be fiction, but Jerome Charyn captures the spirit of the times. 
I am Abraham begins with Abraham in his twenties.  He’s a young man who defines the term “self-made man.”  He was born poor and had to work hard, twice as hard, to overcome his origins.  By sheer force of personality, intelligence, and perseverance, Abe earns respect and position, even a wife.
This book is significant historical fiction.  My appetite to learn more was increased.  I kept googling generals, Jeff Davis, Robert Todd Lincoln, Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Todd Lincoln, etc.  I knew Lincoln had to juggle stress from his wife, children, political factions, and generals, but I never considered his own mental and emotional state.  Everyone want…