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Showing posts from September, 2014

The Pessimistic Optimist

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We're discussing whether the glass is half full or half empty.  If the glass is perceived half full then they considered you an optimist, and vice versa.  I didn't agree.  It's because I'm a pessimist, that I'm an optimist.  When I'm anxious about something, I turn my problem over to God.  But I know He doesn't give me anything I can't handle.  So I have something that worries me.  I handle it by imagining the worst that can happen.  OK, then I make plans to handle that worst scenario.  Once I have a plan in place, I can relax, because if I can handle the worst thing that could happen, then I can handle anything.

By the way, when I look at the glass, I always think, "Some bastard stole half my drink."

Failure

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Failure is not the worst thing in the world.  Worse is fearing to try.  This platitude was in the forefront of my mind today, as I visited Boston's Museum of Science.  Looking at all the inventions and experiments, brought to mind all the failures that went into making one success.  It's something to think about.

This is a picture of me getting out of a space craft.

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

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Two of my favorite blogs, that I check out just about every day is Michael Seagriff's Harvesting the Fruit of Contemplation and Christopher Smith's Christopher's Apologies.  Both bloggers are my confreres, but I would willing read their blogs every day, anyway.

Talking about blogs, today is Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival.  We bloggers link together at This And that And the Other Thing and share our week's posts.  This week I posted:

Sunday--The first thing I'm going to do when I die and see Jesus, is jump his bones.  But I'm in no rush to get there.

Monday--Matthew 20: 1-16a.

Tuesday--Book review

Wednesday--Riding my bike along Cape Cod Canal

Thursday--I went to hear the author of Jesus A Pilgrimage, speak.

Friday--Don't trust Main Stream Media.

Saturday--I went on retreat.

It's a busy week and I'm really on retreat so click yourself over to R'Ann's and do your own spiritual reading.

Lay Dominican Prison Ministry Initiative

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The Lay Dominican Prison Ministry Initiative had a holy day today.  We gathered at the Connors Family Retreat Center (formerly St. Stephen's Priory) to have a day of retreat, sponsored by the Bethany House Ministries.  Members of three chapters of Lay Dominicans attended: Our Lady of Mercy Chapter, MCI Norfolk, Hope of Bethany Pro-Chapter, Norfok, MA, and the Community of the Resurrection Chapter from Casco, Maine, attended along with others who follow the spirituality of Father Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P.

The theme was advertised as "Holding Up the Mirror God's Grace in Action."  What this meant was to really look at our perceptions in looking at people.

We began with Professor John McDargh, PHD talking about his father telling him to watch out for the men in prison because they were bad men.  John's dad perceived prisoners as bad men.  But when John went to the prison, he found out that they were just people.  In fact, they were good people who chose to do bad t…

Misconstrued Information

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Don't you think the media has done itself in?  I'm writing about how it highlights pieces of a feature to get your attention.  TV news will do this.  The 5 o'clock news will announce some interesting news that it knows most people are interested in, only to say that it will be on the 10 o'clock news.

Months ago the media was a buzz about Irish nuns massacring babies found in a cistern.  Later the news had to apologize for misinformation. It makes me wonder how many people believed and heard only the condemning information.  I hope however, that as fast as bad news spreads, so can't good news.

Now it's the Pope performing wedding ceremonies with couples who admittedly were living together.

Oh horrors!  (sarcastic emphasis)  Think about it.  It's the job of the church to legitimize the relationship.

The bulletins the media chooses are sometimes laughable.  Are people stupid?

My mother taught me, as I was learning to read, "Believe half of what you read…

The Price of a Ticket

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Tonight some friends and myself went to a lecture by Father James Martin, sj.  Father Martin is promoting his book, Jesus, A Pilgrimage, and that was the title of his talk.  He gave the human interest stories.  I, in particular, enjoyed them because his companion on the pilgrimage was Father George Williams, sj, whom I also know, and could just picture the two of them gallivanting through the Holy Land.

I bought the book, but I didn't want to wait in line for Father Martin to sign it.  There were two other strange occurrences tonight.  A man and his son sat next to us.  He did a double-take and asked, "Are you people from Franklin?"  He recognized us from church.  His son goes to Boston College, and that's where we all were.

The other occurrence was not a happy one.  We lost the ticket to the parking garage and had to pay an exorbitant price to get out.  But, if you consider that the talk was free, it was worth it.

I can't wait to start reading Jesus, A Pilgri…

A Bike Ride

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It was such a beautiful day that hubby and I rode our bikes along Cape Cod Canal.  We could have gone on forever, with the wind at our backs, but riding back into the headwind was heavy going.  I could see the boats having a hard time with the wind and the strong currents.  A sign on the Sagamore Bridge gave me pause.  It read "No Wake 10 MPH".  How is a boat to go through currents running at a coefficient of about 100, with the wind at 30 kts.?

I marveled at the men painting the Sagamore Bridge.  They were way, way, up there in the wind.

Hubby and I came upon a man who was struggling to bring a big fish in.  It was almost half the size of the man!  His name was Danny and I took his picture and emailed him the photo.

We only biked bridge to bridge (Bourne Bridge to Sagamore Bridge).  It was a good workout because we really had to struggle riding into the head wind.

The Red Sheet

The Red Sheet by Mia Kerick is a book parents won’t want their teens to read.  But on the other hand, teens are going to love it.  The story reeks of teen angst.  There’s sports, “cool kids”, even a cool kid lunch table, bullying, sexual identity, and parent and teacher relationships.
The parents won’t like the casual profane language, or the sexual identity crisis. It's too racy.  But that’s real.  Kids do talk like that, and they certainly go through the same problems Bryan encounters.  Although I bet the teen readers will think the red sheet idea, lame, it won’t stop them from continuing to read, because the author, Mia Kerick hooks her readers.
The story is about Bryan Dennison waking up one morning feeling abnormally generous and kind, and having a weird desire to wear a red sheet, like a super hero’s cape.  Although this preposterous desire may turn you off, the author, Mia Kerick hooks her reader into wanting to read more, with her colloquial language and story line and true…

New Insight

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Father Wally was talking about Sunday's Gospel, Matthew 20:1-16a.  In discussion with my "cloistered brothers," I was given a new insight.  This Gospel about the landowner paying everyone the same, no matter how long they worked, used to incense me.  I even expressed my anger on another blog.  I knew that the parable was supposed to be encouraging, especially for my "cloistered brothers."  However, it was just unfair.  Tonight, however, someone asked a good question, "Why do you suppose no one hired these workers?"

I had never given that a thought.

Some answers were that these workers were too old to work.  Maybe they were crippled.  There had to be something wrong with them, or they would have been hired.

If these reasons were true, then that landowner did exactly what I would have done.  I would have been generous and told anyone complaining that it was my choice what to do with my money--exactly what the landowner did in Matthew 20: 15.

It's Nice to be Wanted, But...

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As I was preparing the readings for the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, the second reading had much for me to reflect upon.  It's Philippians 1:20c-24, 27a.  I too, as Paul, am looking forward to seeing Jesus.  In other words, I'm looking forward to death.  But like Paul, I know that others need me.  So I leave it up to God.  He knows best.  I trust Him.

This morning, as I proclaimed this second reading, I thought of the Mass celebrant, Father Jack.  I bet he also is looking forward to seeing Jesus, yet we parishioners love and need him.  The Archdiocese of Boston needs him.

When you think of it, every Lay Dominican is in the same boat.  We are looking forward to meeting Jesus, yet as lay people, we have families and obligations that need us.

 The same could be true of all people who take their religion seriously, couldn't it?

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

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What's your favorite prayer?  I've already blogged about mine, three years ago.  It's the prayer cried out in the slave markets of Alexandria, which was known as the Valley of Tears.  It's called Salve Regina or in English, Hail Holy Queen.  The words fit a drama queen, like myself.

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,Hail our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry,Poor banished children of Eve;To thee do we send forth our sighs,Mourning and weeping in this vale of tears.Turn then, most gracious advocate,Thine eyes of mercy toward us;And after this our exile,Show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.O clement, O loving,O sweet Virgin Mary.℣ Pray for us O holy Mother of God,℟ that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, thy Son,Our Lord.
Click over to my blogger friends' post, linked on This That And The Other Thing Blog, to see their favorite prayers.  We also talk about our week's post.  Here's mine:
Monday -- My first movie revie…

When Did You Stop Praying?

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Have you noticed that people you used to see at prayer group, or Ultreyas, or daily Mass, and you no longer see them, aren't as happy as they once were.  They just have a look of discontent.  After talking with them for awhile, you see why.  They stopped praying.  They just don't see with the same eyes.

When God walks with us (thru prayer) during our day, we see lots to talk (pray) to him about--the man with an angry expression, the child walking to school crying, the worried lady.  When we stop talking (praying) we don't look at everything in the same way.  That's not a good thing.  It will affect us negatively.  Most notably, we will focus and magnify our own troubles.

Let go and let God.


The More You Give, The More You Get

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Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts, heaven and earth are full of Your glory.  (This ejaculatory prayer is known as the Angelic Praise of the Most Sacred Trinity.)

More and more I see and understand that the more we people praise the Lord, the more we are aware of God's abiding presence.  And that causes us to praise Him more!

Besides, I myself feel my negative, sarcastic, and cynical self melt away.  It's like all negative thoughts drop the closer I become to God.

And it feels great!

I praise You Jesus for the grace of knowing You and for the anointing of the Holy Spirit that You have given me.  I praise You for giving me the spirit eyes to see Your presence in my life.  I praise You for You.  Thank You Jesus for loving me.

The Cross

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"Why do you Catholics always bless yourselves so often?"

"We often make the sign of the cross to begin and end our prayers, because it's a sign to remind us of Jesus' love for us."

The Find in my Closet

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One morning when I opened my closet door, my eyes were instantly drawn to a dress.  It was a dress I never saw before. 
“What is this?”   “How did it get here?”
I live alone.  “Where did this come from?”  I pulled out this navy, long sleeved, dress.  It had a pencil skirt, to the knee length I liked.  The neckline was jeweled.  “O-o-oh.”  I liked it.  “But this dress isn't mine.  Where did it come from?  Am I going crazy?”
I thought about this.  No one had recently stayed at my apartment.  No one had even visited me.  “How bizarre!”
I even opened the closet door a few times, just to check that my eyes weren't playing tricks.  The dress was always there.  And I was beginning to like it more and more.
“Would it hurt to try it on?”  I looked at the tag.  It was my size.  The name brand read, Imagination. “Humph—never heard of it.” There were washing instructions.  “Good.  I don’t buy dry clean only clothes.”   What am I saying?  I didn't buy this.  I know I didn’t.  I have …

My First Movie Review

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This is my first movie review, and it's unsolicited.  I can't stop thinking about Cavalry, directed by John Michael McDonough, starring Brendan Gleeson.  Mary and I couldn't stop yakking about it, on the way home.  It embodies so much.  There's a lot to chew on.

We walked in when a man was in the confessional, telling the confessor he was going to kill him on Sunday.  So the movie takes you through the priest's week.  And what a parish he has.  Any pastor that thinks his parish is dysfunctional, has to see Father James'.  What a group!  They all disrespect their priests.  They're insulting and rude.

Father James has a milk sop for an associate priest.  I felt kind of felt sorry for him.  In fact, Father James loses patience with him and asks him why he isn't an accountant for an insurance company?  Everyone laughed at that line because it was so fitting.  I don't know why Father James treats him like that when you consider that he's kind to ev…

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

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Here we sit again, surfing the net, and reading blogs.  As usual on Sunday, I'm linking up to the blog, This And That And The Other Thing. Go to it and read some other blogs; you're sure to find something interesting.  We bloggers are sharing our parish activities.

I am a lector.  I belong to the parish prayer group.  I also go to the parish book club.  I belong to two book clubs, one secular and one the parish's.  I'm the president of the parish's women's club.  I go to one of the parish's Bible Study.  We use the Little Rock Scripture Series.  I go to a different parish's Bible sharing, too, because as a lector I find it very useful to discuss the coming Sunday's readings; this parish does this, mine doesn't.  Also, in this other parish, I help with their Adult Formation, because my own parish really doesn't have any Adult religious ed.  In this other parish, I go to their Ultreya meetings, because again, my parish doesn't have one.

Catholic Aerobics

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A co-worker once complained that she went to a wedding in a Catholic Church and was so tired of kneeling, standing, sitting, and genuflecting, that she said, "Thank God I'm not Catholic."  I laughed this off and told her she could use the exercise.  (She could have, too!)  I explained that Catholics worship with our whole bodies.  We don't just sit and listen to a sermon.         When I think about it, I'm glad we Catholics have these different positions of prayers.  They help me focus and think about what, and more importantly, why, I'm in a certain posture.  Actually, the posture itself can be prayer.       This is why I read with interest Father Joseph Briody's presentation to the seminarians in Boston's St. John's seminary.  I've copied and pasted it for you. Adoring the Lord: Posture and Practice Kneeling and Standing:  Because kneeling is probably the most distinctive posture, let’s look at it first. “Kneeling doesn’t come from any (particul…

Praying for Our Country

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How about this?  Every time you pass the flag of our country, you pray a Hail Mary for keeping our people in God's hands.  It is very appropriate to pray this prayer because Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patron of the Americas and the United States is dedicated to Mary of the Immaculate Conception.

Lust

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Today's RCIA class was on the last capital sin, "lust."  It wasn't as bad as I feared.  I mean, think about it; I'm the only female in the room.  Everyone else was a "cloistered brother."  But of course, they were gentlemen.  I asked them how they handled chastity.

One said that whenever a sinful thought entered his head, he put his mother or his grandmother's face in the picture.  He would not like people looking at them, in a lustful way.

Another powerful thought was presented by 1 Corinthians 6:13-20.

Now the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.  Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?  Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot?  By no means!  Or do you not know that he who cleaves to a harlot, becomes one body with her?  "For the two," it says, "shall be one flesh."  But he who cleaves to the Lord is one spirit, with him.  Flee immorality.  …

The Discomfort of Silence

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You have to know where my "cloistered brothers" are coming from.  Their frame of reference in looking at John 8: 1-11, was something I had never considered before.

This is the story of the woman caught in adultery.  Jesus bends down and writes in the dirt.  This was our discussion.  Nothing was proposed that wasn't heard of before, until one of my brothers suggested that Jesus bending down was a technique.  He was stalling for time. Everyone was quiet and wondering what He was doing.  During this time of silence, they had to be thinking.

This is an interrogation technique.  The police interrogating a person uses silence.  The interrogator will stare and wait.  The silence is uncomfortable.  Most can't stand it.

One by one, the accusers went away.  The more they thought about it, the more uncomfortable they felt and that drove them away.

A Necessary Tattoo

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I was telling my Bible sharing group about hubby's Atrial Fibrillation.  I also told them that while he was in the Emergency Room, I heard the same question asked of each and every patient.  "Do you have any religious or cultural customs, we need to know about?"  
So as Catholics, we should respond, "Yes, I'm Catholic, I'd like to see a priest for the Anointing of the Sick." Every time you are going to be given anesthesia, you should be given this sacrament. 
We were wondering how we would convey that message if we were unable to speak.  Then we came upon the perfect solution.  We should have tattoo on our chests, "Call a Priest."  The tattoo should be placed above our hearts because the hospital personnel always place the stethoscope or electrodes around the heart.  For sure, they would see the tattoo and get the message.

Pranking Grandma

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I felt a tap on my right shoulder.
But when I looked over that shoulder, there was no one there.  Then I heard a giggle—a little girl’s giggle.  
And I knew that my four year old granddaughter was playing tricks on her grandmother. I didn’t let on.
She someone tapped my right shoulder again.
Of course when I looked over my right shoulder there was no one, but this time I said, “Hmph!”
But I was prepared for the next time.  When I felt that little tap, I quickly grabbed those little fingers poised above my right shoulder.
“Got you, you little monkey, trying to fool your grandmother.” She giggled and giggled.
“Do you know what happens to little girls who prank their grandmothers?” No answer but a giggle.
“You have to help grandma make cookies and tap a thumb print in the middle of the cookies.” And that’s how Thumb Print Cookies came to be.
Thumb Print Cookies
Ingredients:                                                                                         Directions: ·3/4 cup butter, softened     …

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

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This week, my fellow Catholic bloggers and I, at R'Ann's site, are discussing Mass hymns. Unfortunately, music is not one of my gifts.  I think I have weak auditory perception since I have never been able to learn a foreign language (I grew up with Lithuanian spoken at home, I had four years of high school French,and two years of college French, and private tutoring before visiting France.)  Maybe, it's that, but the only music I like is happy, clappy, charismatic music.  So I love, absolutely love, the music my "cloistered brothers" sing.  R'Ann said that Amazing Grace is her favorite.  It's mine, too, but only when my "cloistered brothers" sing it.  They belt it out!  They bring the roof down.  They bring tears to my eyes. It's because they mean those words.  They have lived it.

Other hymns I like to hear them sing, are the ones they identify with, like Amazing Grace, I've been Redeemed, I'll Fly Away, and their special arrangemen…

Atrial Fibrillation

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Lord, You're jerking me around.  Just yesterday, I was exasperated with hubby.  Last night, he ended up in the hospital, with A-Fib.  He's fine;he'll be home today.  But, Lord!  I get the point.  Please don't do that again.

He was watching TV when he came to me and said, "Feel my heart."

I did, and felt the beat race.

We locked eyes.  He said, "Let's go."

He was already in the driver's seat and I said, "You driving isn't wise."

With an incredulous look, he responded.  "You want me to have a heart attack?  Get in."

So that man You gave me as a husband, drove himself to the emergency room.

Thank you, Lord.  I trust in You.




God's Humor

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Lord, you know that man You gave me for a husband, You were kidding, right?  Remember that time he was doing the shopping and he bought that jar of yucky pickles that no one in the family liked?  I mean, it took us twenty years to finish it because no one was eating it.  And when I asked him why he bought pickles that no one liked and it took us twenty years to eat.  His response was "I thought it was a good buy.  It lasted us a good twenty years!"

And don't forget the time I asked him for some sort of hook in the closet, to hang my bathrobe.  He was puzzled so I showed him the nail sticking out of the closet, which he used to hook the belt loop of his jeans.

"You want a nail?"

"No, I want something nicer--something better--something more special than just an ordinary nail."

You remember Lord?  Do You remember?  And his response

"Do you want a galvanized nail?".

OK.  See my point?  I mean, he is a love, but is he suppose to be my ticket to …

Freedom is Acknowledgement of Sin

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"When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, 'Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.'"  This verse is the crux of the meditation in Magnificat, Sept. 2014, Vol. 16, No.7 issue, pages 64-5.  Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (before becoming Pope Francis) states:

From that moment on, Simon Peter never separates these two dimensions of his life: he will always confess that he is a sinful man and a fisher of men.  His sins will not prevent him from accomplishing the mission he has received...
...Thus, what follows from every sinner's conversion is mission: the desire that others may receive the same gift of forgiveness which Jesus has bestowed upon the pardoned sinner.  True conversion always entails an apostolic dimension!  It always means to stop focusing on one's "own interests" and to start looking after the "interests of Christ Jesus."

This is what Pere Lataste knew.  This conversion is the origin of Bethany.  As…

The First Will be the Last

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We had planned a night on the ocean.  Yes!  Believe it.  Us!  A night lulled to sleep by the calming lackadaisical slap of waves hitting the hull of our new sailboat--the music of a distant buoy ringing antiphonally; a fog horn in rhythm with our dreams, and waking to the gentle alarm of seagulls calling for breakfast. 
This was to be a night to remember.  Our children would have wonderful memories of the family sleepovers on our sailboat.  We had just bought a 22 ft. O’Day sailboat and were anxious to start building those fantastic memories.
The family gear was packed, and after work we headed down the Cape.  The night was perfect—warm, full moon, the water looked iridescent.  We moor our boat, so the family waited ashore as Dad rowed out to the mooring.  Soon the boat was near enough for us to load our gear.
What now?  We decided to go out to eat supper and then go to the town’s band concert.  Isn't that a good family thing to do?  Well, supper would have to be “take out”, since w…

Pop Quiz

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This was inspired by the new web site Crux. Today they have a quiz on How Well Do You Know Your Saints.  I got two wrong.  How well do you know these saints?

(1)  This saint was our first pope.
     Paul
     Benedict
     Peter
     Francis

(2)  This saint founded the Order of Preachers.
     Ignatius
     Dominic
     Thomas Aquinas
     Catherine of Siena

(3)  This mother prayed for the conversion of her son, St. Augustine.
     Monica
     Theresa
      Martha
      Agnes

(4)   Christmas is this saint's favorite day.
     James
     Stephen
     Benedict
     Nicholas

(5)  Patron of lost things.
      Rocco
      John
      Anthony
      Charles

(6)  Founded Sisters of Charity in India
      Mother Teresa of Calcutta
      Sister Teresa of the Cross
      Sister Theresa Lisieux
      Mother Theresa of Avila

(7)  The Cure of Ars
     Joan of Arc
     Guillaume
     John Vianney
     Martin de Porres

(8)  Angel who overthrew Satan
     Gabriel
     Cherub
     Joseph
     Mich…

Miracles and Beauty

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There was a discussion on Facebook about miracles.  Specifically, why doesn't God perform miracles in front of atheists and bring them back to faith.  One commenter said He did, look at the book of Exodus.  Time after time, God performed miracles and the people would still turn away from God.

An interesting comment was about Marie Bailly and Dr. Alexis Carrel.  Since I never heard of either one, I googled the names.  I found their stories very interesting.  You will, too.  Dr.  Carrel was a surgeon who doubted. You know the ones who think they're being scientific and above faith.

Carrel wanted to see for himself about all this miracle stuff happening at Lourdes.  He did and still didn't believe it.  He saw Marie Bailly be cured.  She was dying of tuberculous peritonitis.  Water from Lourdes was poured over her abdomen and a miracle happened.

Carrel downplayed it.

You know what I think.  I think miracles are like beauty.  They depend on the eye of the beholder.

Read the st…