Friday, October 31, 2014

Adult Bullying

Another sad tale of bullying.  However, this is adult bullying.  Lamentable as this is, that isn't my focus on this post.  I'd like to call your attention (again) to the role of communication, namely the media.




These links tell the depressing tale of misinformation perpetrated by various communication sources.  In the case of Robert Oscar Lopez, he has been wrongfully labelled and maligned, by various people spreading hate and fear through letters and articles in various media.  Mr. Lopez is the adopted son of two lesbians.  He writes of how difficult this made his childhood.  Because of this, he is labelled anti-gay.  Because he is not gay, himself, he has been labelled bi-sexual, and as such, a pervert.  

He can't do anything right.  People with their personal agendas attack him and it has come to the point of hindering his career.  Now I see where besides spreading misinformation, communication can be considered bullying. 

 Don't believe anything you hear, and only half of what you see.  And certainly, speak only the truth.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Catholic Answer to Islamophobia



Father Aniello Salicone, sx, discussing Hinduism
Every day we read and hear, (nevermind see) atrocities committed by ISIS.  We are shocked and rightly so.  That's why these atrocious acts are called terrorist.  The feelings terrorism give rise to vary: rage, silence, shock, etc.  Probably the last feeling would be to converse in a calm and intelligent manner.  But, I think this is the correct, and the Catholic response.

You can't equate ISIS to Islam, no more than you can equate Christianity to the Klu Klux Klan.  So I don't mean to enter into discussion with them, at least in the beginning.  We need to converse with the practitioners of Islam who are just as horrified at terrorism, as everyone else is. It may seem counterintuitive to talk to Muslims, but from my experience of talking to practitioners from different religions, in prison ecumenical groups, it is a very good method of overcoming prejudice and fear.

Talking to people leads to understanding.  I've seen this in simple matters.  I know that my perceptions of people in prison changed when I talked with them (got to know them).  I know that my perceptions of gay couples, the transgendered, and other people from different faiths, have changed.  Hence, talking with Muslims will lead to understanding on both sides.  

Think of it.  If we all unite, we can push out the extremists.  Think of dialogue, as building the future.  That's the way Bishop Denis Maden, from the U.S. bishops' Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue
sees it, too.  On the site Global Mission, Bishop Maden proposes that dialogue take place in our parishes and communities.  We must respect everyone's views and work together for peace.

I know that in my prison we have ecumenical discussions.  My parish, also, is in an interfaith consortium.  In fact, we're hosting the Thanksgiving service.  In a nearby shrine, Fatima Shrine, the Xaverian missionaries host ecumenical discussion forums.  In fact, their mission statement explains:

We respond to Jesus Christ's invitation to be His witnesses to the ends of the world by a life-long commitment to serving the global mission of the Church through interreligious dialogue, support to fledgling Christian communities and solidarity with the poorest among them.

I know that if you're upset and angry at the terrorists, you probably want to lash out. But Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies.  Do that.  Pray.  While you are praying, also look around for opportunities to learn about Islam.  Go to the ecumenical and interfaith functions.  Read balanced and fair articles on Islam.  This is the way to understanding.  And understanding is a good solid step towards peace.





Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Let's Pause a Moment


Let's pause for a moment, for prayer.  You see, I've been touched by the sacrifices people have made for me and my fellow countrymen.  Today, I visited Battleship Cove in Fall River, MA.  I toured the battleship, the USS Massachusetts, the destroyer, the Joseph P.Kennedy, the submarine, the Lionfish, and the missile corvette, the Hiddensee.

I'd like everyone to remember all the men and women who served in these ships, and others, who have defended our country. May they all rest in heaven, and may their relatives and friends, appreciate, recognize, and enjoy the freedom, they fought so hard to keep for us.

In pray this in the name of Jesus, our Lord, and Savior.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Last Rose of Summer

I picked the last rose from my garden, to bring to Gloria.  I was visiting her, since she's been house bound ever since she hurt her back.  Did you know that the rose is a symbol of Mary?  The rose is known as the "Queen of Flowers".  Mary is called a "rose without thorns."  The rose is the emblem of the Incarnation and a symbol of Divine Love.

St. Ambrose tells us that the rose was in the Garden of Eden.  But after the Fall, the rose grew thorns as a reminder of man's fall from grace.

Is it me, or have roses lost their smell?  My garden only has tea roses, so maybe the tea roses don't have a strong smell, but it seems to me that even the large roses don't smell as strong as they used to.

Monday, October 27, 2014

St. Teresa Would Be Amused

Prayer of Saint Teresa of Avila

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

-- St. Teresa of Avila

 

 The pastor, Father Diotrophes was dreaming in his sleep.  He was having a dream with St. Teresa of Avila.  She was expressing the same feelings as he, himself, had.  "Lord, preserve me from overly pious gloomy saints."

Actually, Father Diotrophes was dreaming about the prayer group.  Their shuffling around with pious expressions, always irritated him.  Why? He wasn't sure.  But he wished he could get rid of them.

Fortunately, or unfortunately for the pastor, the prayer group always prayed the Prayer of St. Teresa.  They trusted in God.  Nothing disturbed or frightened them.  They knew that God was in charge.  They just waited things out.  They had God, and that's all that matters.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

Cord Rosary blessed by the Master General of the Dominicans

The Rosary is what we're discussing over at R'Ann's This And That And The Other Thing blog.  This is a blog we link up to on Sundays.  If you click on one of the blogs, you'll read about their doings during the week, and hopefully learn a thing or two about the rosary.

Since I'm a Lay Dominican, I pray a rosary every day.  The Rosary is not my kind of prayer.  If it were not in my Rule, I wouldn't do it.  However, I am happy now that I am required to do it.  I love the rosary, even though I still push myself to do it.

That being said up front, I have tried all methods of praying the rosary.  I am constantly trying to find a way to keep the prayer a conscious connection to God.  A new way will be good until it's not new anymore.  But I'll give you some examples of rosary methods.

CD's  --  There are a plethora of people praying the rosary.  This is good when you are driving alone.  I even have one of John Paul II praying it in Latin.

TV  --  I know that the Rosary is on Boston Catholic at 6:30 PM.  If I'm home I'll watch it and pray.

Radio -- I know it's on station 99.1 Boston, at 5:30 AM.   If I'm awake I'll pray it with them.

Scriptural --  This method is to read a bit of scripture, relating to the mystery, you're on.

Before daily Mass --  If you go to daily Mass, some parishes have a group whom pray the rosary before Mass, or go 15 minutes early to Mass, yourself, and pray it.

This last one works the best, but it takes the longest, so I rarely use it.  Every time I pray a Hail Mary, I put a person's name in.  So that 150 times!  "...Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for Richard, now, and at the hour of his death."

Also, I love to use a beautiful rosary: some smell of roses, some feel nice and pearly smooth, some are tiny, some have personally meaningful medals attached to them, some have holy water inside the medallion, some have been blessed by someone special, and some are just unique.  I know a friar who uses a belt rosary that a nephew made in summer camp--made out of a watch band.  There are rosaries made out of cord and macrame knots.

I like to feel a rosary in my pocket.  It's a constant reminder to pray, and who I am.  I've also taken up the habit of always carrying two rosaries with me.  One to give away and the one I was intending to use personally.

Today, I'm pretty busy.  So I think I'll break up the rosary by only praying a decade, here and there.  A decade going, a decade leaving, and I'll get a rosary prayed going to Mass, then a Chapter meeting, afterwards, my son-in-law's birthday party, and finally home.

If you're serious about the rosary, keep at it.  I've been at it for 14 years, now, and still push myself, but happy that I do.  I encourage you to try.

Now, about my week.

Monday  --  Whom is Jesus talking to?

Tuesday --  email meditation

Wednesday  --  It's been staring me right in the face since 1980!

Thursday -- How to explain indulgences.

Friday  --  Faith Counts!

Saturday --  a poem

Have a good week.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Conversing With Jesus

I asked God if I could exaggerate,
     and He said, "Depends."

I asked God if it were okay to be fat,
    and He asked, "What's fat?"

I asked God if I could write about
people with small minds and big mouths.
    He said, "My Beloved,"
    He calls me that, sometimes.
    "Take care
you don't hurt anybody."
"Thanks God," I said.

And is it even okay if I write poetry
that has impossible imagery,
difficult diction, and is meaningless?

      "My Love," God said.
He's really crazy about me, you see.
      "What I'm telling you is
      Yes, Yes, Yes...but with love."


* This is my response to Kaylin Haught's poem God Says Yes to Me.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Push for Faith

I was reading Cardinal Sean O'Malley's blog and read where there's an initiative by USSB, the Seventh Day Adventist, Jews, Mormons, Sikhs, and the Partnership for the First Amendment, to get youth to think about the importance of having faith.  Naturally, I'm on board.  I think it's the only thing that makes sense out of life.  Otherwise, why are we here?

It's called Faith Counts.  They have a Facebook page, and a newsletter you can sign up to receive.  Young people who are recognizable, post about their faith.

Let's pray that this initiative helps our young.  Spread the word.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Indulgences = Good Time

Usually, when talking about indulgences, I have a hard time explaining what they are:  

What is an indulgence? The Church explains, "An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain defined conditions through the Church’s help when, as a minister of redemption, she dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions won by Christ and the saints" (Indulgentarium Doctrina 1).

Got that?  It's as clear as mud.

I even know a priest who doesn't believe in indulgences.  It is very hard to understand.

But not for my candidates in RCIA.  They immediately connected indulgence with good time.  You see, I do RCIA in a prison, and the inmates understood indulgences, almost instinctively.  It's call good time:

Good time is remission before the state, courts, and legal authorities of the temporal punishment due to crimes where time has already been served, which the inmate who is duly disposed gains under certain defined conditions through which the correctional institution's help when, as a minister of justice determination, she dispenses and applies with authority the power of satisfactions given to her by the state's courts.*

 I'm going to call this frame of reference cognitive intelligence.

* Book of Faith ;-)





Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Marian Symbol

This is the symbol on the inside cover of the Catholic Women's Club.  It's the same symbol that graces the cover, every year.  I don't particularly like it.  It looks too spindly.  A child could have drawn it.  But it must have had some meaning for the club to choose that particular emblem.  I asked around and no one seems to know.  I googled it, too.

I was looking for a name for it.  Something like Chi Rho, Tau, Jerusalem cross, would be nice.  But no one seems to know.

If you break down the picture, you see the Ave Maria symbol on the bottom.  A crown is on the top.  So Mary, Queen of ????????.  It's the flower in the middle, that's the puzzle.  It could be a lily, except a lily doesn't have petals that point down.  Maybe it's a sorrowful lily?  It could be an edelweiss.

Mary, Queen of purity --  lily.
Mary, Queen of sorrow -- downward petals.
Mary, noble queen--edelweiss.

Last Sunday, I found myself sitting in a pew, in an area where I don't usually sit.  I looked up and saw this.

It's beautiful.  Now here's a symbol to be proud of; whatever  it represents.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How the Apostles Died

Father Al just sent me this meditation.  It's perfect for Lent, but I need it now.  Maybe you do too?



How The Apostles Died/ The Death of Jesus
       
      Matthew 

Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, Killed by a sword wound. 


     Mark
Died in Alexandria, Egypt , after being dragged by Horses through the streets until he was dead.


    Luke 


Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous Preaching to the lost. 
 

John 

Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge Basin of boiling oil during a wave
of persecution In Rome . However, he was miraculously delivered from death.

John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison Island of  Patmos.
He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos. The apostle John was
later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey. He died
as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.



Peter 

He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross.
According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors
that he felt unworthy to die In the same way that Jesus Christ had died.



James 

The leader of the church in Jerusalem, was thrown over a hundred feet
down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny
his faith in Christ.  When they discovered that he survived the fall, his
enemies beat James to death with a fuller's club.
* This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation. 




James the Great 

Son of Zebedee, was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to a
lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately
beheaded at Jerusalem.  The Roman officer who guarded James watched
amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked
beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he
declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept
beheading as a Christian.



Bartholomew 

Also known as Nathaniel was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our
Lord in present day Turkey.  Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching
in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.


Andrew 

Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece.  After being whipped
severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to
prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward
the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: 'I have long desired and
expected this happy hour.  The cross has been consecrated by the body
of Christ hanging on it.'   He continued to preach to his tormentors for
two days until he expired. 

Thomas 

Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to
establish the church in the Sub-continent.


Jude 

Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.


Matthias 

The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.



Paul 

Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67.
Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many
epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire.
These letters, which taught many of the foundational Doctrines of Christianity,
form a large portion of the New Testament. 

Perhaps this is a reminder to us 

That our sufferings here are indeed minor compared to the intense persecution
and cold cruelty faced by the apostles and disciples during their times for the
sake of the Faith. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: But he
that endureth to the end shall be saved. Matthew


Faith is not believing that God can,
It is knowing that God WILL!”

Jesus' Death
The Death of Jesus 

THE (SCIENTIFIC) DEATH OF JESUS 
At the age of 33, Jesus was condemned to death .  At the time
Crucifixion was the "worst" death. Only the worst
criminals were condemned to be crucified. Yet it was even
more dreadful for Jesus, unlike other criminals condemned
to death by Crucifixion, Jesus was to be nailed to the
Cross by his hands and feet.
Each nail was 6 to 8 inches long. The nails were driven into
his wrist, not into his palms as is commonly portrayed.
There's a tendon in the wrist that extends to the shoulder.
The Roman guards knew that when the nails were being
hammered into the wrist that tendon would tear and
break, forcing Jesus to use his back muscles to support
himself so that he could breath.

Both of his feet were nailed together, thus he was forced to
support himself on the single nail that impaled his feet to the
cross. Jesus could not support himself with his legs
because of the pain so he was forced to alternate between
arching his back then using his legs just to continue to
breath. Imagine the struggle, the pain, the suffering, the courage.

Jesus endured this reality for over 3 hours. Yes, over 3 hours!
Can you imagine this kind of suffering? A few minutes before
he died, Jesus stopped bleeding. He was simply pouring water
from his wounds. From common images we see wounds to
his hands and feet and even the spear wound to his side
but do we realize his wounds were actually made in his body.
A hammer driving large nails through the wrist, the feet overlapped
and an even larger nail hammered through the arches, then a
Roman guard piercing his side with a spear.  But before the nails
and the spear, Jesus was whipped and beaten. The whipping was
so severe that it tore the flesh from his body. The beating so horrific
that his face was torn and his beard ripped from his face. The
crown of thorns cut deeply into His scalp. Most men would not have
survived this torture.  He had no more blood to bleed out, only water
poured from his wounds. The human adult body contains about 3.5 liters
(just less than a gallon) of blood. Jesus poured all 3.5 liters of his blood;
he had three nails hammered into his members; a crown of thorns on
his head and, beyond that, a Roman soldier who stabbed a spear into his
chest.

All these without mentioning the humiliation he suffered after carrying his own
cross for almost 2 kilometers, while the crowd spat in his face and threw
stones (the cross was almost 30 kg of weight, only for its higher part, where
his hands were nailed). Jesus had to endure this experience, to open the
Gates of Heaven, So that you can have free access to God. So that your sins
could be "washed" away. All of them, with no exception!
Don't ignore this situation.

JESUS CHRIST DIED FOR YOU!

He died for you! It Is easy to pass jokes or foolish photos by e-mail, but
when it comes to God, sometimes you feel ashamed to forward to others
because you are worried of what they may think about you.  God has plans
for you, show all your friends what he experienced to save you. Now think
about this! May God bless your Life!
60 Seconds with God... For the next 60 Seconds, set aside what you're
doing and take This opportunity! Let's see if Satan can stop This.. All you
have to do Is:
1. Simply Pray for the person who sent this message to You:
2. Then, send this message to people. The more the better.
3. People will pray for you and you will make that many people pray to God
    for other people.
4. Take a moment to appreciate the power of God in your life, for
    doing what pleases him.

If you are not ashamed to do this, please, follow Jesus' instructions.
He said (Matthew 10:32 & 33):  "Everyone therefore who acknowledges
me before others, I also will acknowledge before My Father in heaven;
but whosoever denies Me before others, I also will deny before My
Father in heaven".

Yes, I love God. He is my source of life and my Savior. He keeps me alive day
and night.

Without Him, I am nothing, but with Him "I can do all things through Him
who strengthens me". Philippians 4:13.


Monday, October 20, 2014

You Can't Take It With You

Today's Gospel was the parable about the rich farmer who had an excess amount of grain and didn't share it.  Instead he planned to build bigger storage.  He died that night.  Luke 12: 13-21.  I had always thought that parable was directed to the selfish, rich people in Jesus' audience.  

A few Sundays ago, we read the Gospel Matthew 21: 28-32, where a man asked his sons for help.  The one that said no, did eventually help.  When I read that particular Gospel, I associated that son, with Jesus' response to His mother, in John 2: 4-5, known as the marriage feast at Cana.  Both had to do with responses that were the opposite of the final actions.

Well, this is what I had in the back of my mind, when I heard today's Gospel Luke 12: 13-21.
                                       Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher,
                                       tell my brother to share the inheritance with me."
                                       He replied to him, "Friend, who appointed me
                                       as your judge and arbitrator?"
The parable that follows, I always took as Jesus doing what the man asked.  Jesus, in effect, was telling the man's brother to share the inheritance, through this parable.  Just as the actions were the opposite of the responses to Matthew 21: 28-32 and John 2: 4-5.

However, this morning I realized that this parable also could be applied to the man who asked Jesus to tell his brother to share.  Jesus was telling him to not be anxious about money.

Think deeper.  The parable applies to both brothers, equally.  The rich one and the other.  Neither one should be overly concerned about the future and who inherits what.  You can't take anything with you when you die.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

Provincetown
The question asked this Sunday for our weekly "link up" at This And That And The Other Thing, is whether or not we use Liturgy of the Hours.  Yes, as a Lay Dominican, our rule requires us to pray Morning and Evening Prayer.

That question was easy.  This week's activities were easy, also.  What do you think?

Monday -- Talking to a pacifist

Tuesday -- Questions

Wednesday -- UMASS Lowell Catholic Student Union rocks!

Thursday -- A snake story.

Friday -- Power technique

Saturday -- I learned about a new martyr (new to me).

Today is a beautiful day.  God is good.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Blessed Peter Higgins

Today I went to A Day To Honor Our Blessed Mother Queen of the Holy Rosary, at Providence College Priory.  The special speaker was Father James Cuddy, O.P.

He was excellent.  I enjoyed listening to his voice.  It was strong, clear, distinct, sharp.  His content was interesting.  He certainly loves our Blessed Mother.

I could post about Father's sermon.  But instead, I learned about a new martyr, and I want to tell you about him.  While walking to the refectory, I passed some famous Dominicans.  This picture is one I didn't know.  It's Blessed Peter Higgins.

In 1655, Father Higgins was brought before the Lords Justices of Ireland, charged with proselytizing Protestants from their religion.  They offered him a deal--apostatize and save your life.
He was on his way up the steps to the scaffold when he was handed a paper he was to sign.

He didn't.  Instead, he read it aloud and denounced the lord Justices of Ireland.  "Knowing well that there were Catholics in the crowd, he said addressing them:- 'My brethren, God hath so willed that I shonld fall into the hands of our relentless persecutors. They have not been able, however, to convict me of any crime against the laws of the realm; but my religion is an abomination in their sight, and I am here to-day to protest, in the sight of God and man, that I am condemned for my faith. For some time, I was in doubt as to the charge on which they would ground my condemnation; but, thanks to Heaven! it is no longer so, and I am about to suffer for my attachment to the Catholic faith. See you here the condition on which I might save my life. Apostacy is all they require but, before high Heaven I spurn their offers and, with my last breath, will glorify God for the honour He has done me in allowing me thus to suffer for His Name.' Then, turning to the executioner, after having cast the Justices autograph to the crowd, he told him to perform his office, and the by-standers heard him returning thanks to God, even with his latest breath. Thus did iniqnity lie unto itself - thus did the martyr's constancy triumph." (From History of the Geraldines by Dominick de Rosario O'Daly, O.P., originally written in Latin, and printed at Lisbon in 1655; translated by Rev. C.P. Meehan, and printed in Dublin in 1847. See also De Burgh's Hib. Dom., page 561.)


What I can't get out of my mind is the description of his dead body.  His body wasn't allowed to be buried in Dublin.  So his friends carried him outside the city walls to be buried.  The partisans of the Lord Justices shattered his lifeless head with their muskets.

Acta Capituli Generalissimi.  Romae, 1644, p. 119.





Friday, October 17, 2014

Spreading Power


Since I've found myself in front of a few audiences, lately, I thought I would brush up on my public speaking skills.  I was surprised (not really, I've heard it before) about how much body language can tell you about a person.  In particular, I watched and listed to Amy Cuddy talk about Power Poses.  Essentially, if you spread yourself out, you assume a power position, which means a confident and self assurance charisma that will be attractive.

Think of a turkey or peacock spreading out their tails.  That's what humans should do--male and female.  If you can't, before you find yourself in a situation, assume a spread out position.  For example, go into the bathroom and raise your arms like you made a touchdown.

In the situation, itself, try to spread out.  If you are standing, teaching, or presenting, stand with your feet spread apart.  If sitting, place your arms on the armrests.

Do not, fold your arms or cross your legs.  Not because its rude, but rather because it looks like a submissive, powerless pose.

Unfortunately, not only do I fold my arms, but I push my arms up into my sleeves.  Not only do I cross my legs, but I cross them triply.  That's three times!  Why?  Because I'm cold.  It's that simple.  Holding onto my elbows, I put my hands between by body and arms.  It's a nice, cozy position.  Likewise with my legs.  I do it because it keeps me comfortably warm, especially in air condition.

But now, I'll try not to fold myself up.  Not all the time, only when I need to give a Talk, otherwise, I'll stay nice and cozy and warm, folded up within myself.  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

People Do Not Have The Same Nature As Snakes


When I told her that I volunteer in a men's
prison, she shook her head.  She wondered why I was wasting my time with people like that.  She doesn't really believe that people can change.  I asked her why and she told me the story about the snake..

Once upon a time a boy was looking for a birch tree.  He couldn't find one.  He thought he'd climb a tall rock and look around from that height.  Meal times came and went.  He was getting pretty hungry.  As the boy stood on the boulder, a rattle snake slithered across his path.

The looked at the snake and the snake looked at the boy.  The backed away.  But the snake said, "Boy, I'm lost and you look hungry.  How about we help each other.  I'll show you where there's some food and you bring me down.

The boy said, "No.  I know what you are a rattlesnake.  You can kill me."

The rattlesnake said, "If you lead me down, I'll lead you to food.  I promise I will not hurt you."

The boy thought.

So the boy lead the snake down from the big boulder.  The snake showed the boy where there were berries and water.  The boy ate and drank.

The snake began to dance, and the boy did too.  The boy danced and the snake danced, and they had a good time, and then all of a sudden the snake struck out and bit the boy.

The boy screamed "You promised!  You promised not to hurt me."

The snake smiled back and said, "You knew what I was when you picked me up."

My friend was equating prisoners to rattlesnakes.  They can't help but be bad.   It's their nature.

At the time, I wasn't able to respond.  But what I should have said, was that people are not snakes.  People are made in the image of God, and as such means we were made good.

God is infinitely good and all his works are good.  (CCC 385)  It is out of his goodness that God created us in his image and for good.  (Gen 1;27-31)


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Matthew 25:45


Something's been bothering me, ever since my niece told me of her experience of feeding the homeless.  She's a freshman at UMASS, and she and some friends, from UMASS Catholic Student Union went to a homeless shelter to help out.

She was very surprised at the large number of young men that came to eat.  She was there, helping to serve a meal.  These boys were homeless, living in abandoned buildings, or sleeping on the Common, or wherever.  They must have been thrown out of their parents' homes.

Why?  What happened?

I can only imagine.  I know how difficult puberty can be.  Some families can't handle it.

The fact is, these kids, who should be full of hope, just starting out in life, must feel pretty hopeless.  This was what was bothering me.  Think about it.  My niece, about the same age, going to college, with a family to support her, has a wonderful future before her.  These boys, on the other hand, seemingly, have no future before them.  Yet, she is serving them.

May God bless her, always.  And God bless the UMASS Catholic Student Union and all who serve others.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why do Catholics Bless Themselves?

Holy Water Font
The question took me by surprise.  I hesitated a minute before answering the little boy.  I said,
"I say in the name of Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, while I dip my fingers in the holy water.  The prayer and the water are to remind me of my Baptism.  The reminds me that I am a child of God."

He didn't say anything.  He just ran over to his mother.

I think I answered his question in a way he could understand.  Just to make sure, I asked my Google app, "Why do Catholics bless themselves with holy water?"

My iphone answered back,  "People have religion.  iPhones have silicon."


Monday, October 13, 2014

Sacrifice versus Example

This morning started with a theological discussion over a cup of coffee.  I was introduced to a new idea and have been mulling over that idea, all day.

We were discussing Jesus' mission.  I automatically said that He came to redeem us sinners.  He is Our Savior.  My companion didn't think so.  He contended that Jesus came to show us sinners, a better way to live--with non violence.  He was giving an example of how to behave in our world.  He let Himself be taken, scourged, and crucified because we are to follow His example.  No swords, no fighting, no weapons will be employed.

I was thinking of all the violence in the Old Testament and said that I thought the Old Testament didn't support his thesis.  He said the Old Testament was an example of mankind's deafness and stubbornness.  The behavior in the Old Testament was decried by God.  So Jesus came to us to show us the way to live--non violently.

I mentioned Jesus' whipping and overturning the tables in the temple.  We looked it up.  Jesus doesn't whip anybody.  He drove out the animals and with them the money changers.

I pointed out Luke 22: 36-38, where Jesus tells the disciples to arm themselves with swords.  But He limited them with only two, and then stops the fight that ensues, and heals the wounded man.

Finally, there's Revelation 19: 11- 15, where God's justice is fierce with a sword.  The response to that was to look at all the different commentators' take on Revelation.  It's too obtuse to interpret.

Mmmmm.   I still don't buy the non violent example, as Jesus reason for being.  Maybe.  No...

What do you think?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

Source: http://www.stlukeyoungchurch.com/?page_id=203

I've already blogged about my granddaughter's mystagogy.  She is so cute!  The other bloggers of at R'Ann's This And That And The Other Thing Blog are talking about their kid's cute happenings, regarding religion.  You can read about their cuteness here.  But personally, nothing tops my granddaughter's rapturous expression when she saw the little girl altar server process down the aisle carrying the cross.  I pray that she becomes an altar server, too, and the future mother of a lot of priests.

But for now, this is what's happening:

Tuesday--A meditation of the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

Wednesday--No one appreciates me.

Thursday--No one can take this away.

Friday--Most important part of the Synod on the Family.

Saturday--Turkeys, again!


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Where have all the Foxes Gone?


This is another post about turkeys.  How do I introduce the group of hens on Maple Street, to the Tom on Elm Street?

Tom's strutting about and pecking at my hub caps and chrome fenders made me late to an important appointment.

When does hunting season start?

What predators do turkeys fear?

Isn't Canada's Thanksgiving now?

Do I call the police?  Animal Control officer?  Public Works?  

Friday, October 10, 2014

How to Begin


Every day I read about the Synod on the Family. In all, two weeks of conversation are to be heard.  Reports from all the family and marriage arrangements that our modern world can concoct, are reported.  That's our world.

What caught my eye, was a report from Time  The theme was how Pope Francis is pulling the participants into spiritual reflection.  I particularly noted, how the Synod began--in prayer.  Isn't this how we should begin all meetings?  Our day?  Everything?

Vieni Santo Spirito

And Pope Francis entreated the intercession of his favorite title for Mary, Undoer of Knots.

Undo the knots which prevent people from helping one another.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

They Can't Take That Away




My "cloistered brothers" and I were discussing torture.  Never mind why.  Actually, if I remember correctly, it probably was because there were three doctors and a nurse in the study group, and we wondered if it were a good thing for a doctor to be present during torture sessions to be a stop gap--the voice of reason.  The doctor would say when "enough is enough."  Of course, this line of discussion gave rise to the doctor's ethics.  Is he, or isn't he, violating his oath on conduct?  Is he helping, preserving?  Is he cooperating with evil?

Eventually, the discussion led to the victim.  To stop the torture, wouldn't you say whatever your torturers wanted you to say?  The poor victim can be stripped of everything, e.i., dignity, identity, future, except for what's inside him--his faith.

The same could be said of those in American prisons.  Lifers have their homes, families, money, careers, dreams, all taken away.  But not their faith.

No one can take that away.  Even if your tongue says that you have no faith, your heart knows differently.  Your mind can be altered; your soul is yours alone.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What's My Problem?


Why am I so piqued at being told not to pray the Rosary?  I really shouldn't be, because I didn't want to do it in the first place.  So I should be happy, right?  What is my problem?

Here is the problem.  My parish has Eucharistic Adoration once a month, for an hour, after Mass, on the first Friday of the month.  I don't go to morning Mass at my parish, but I thought I would go to the parish's Adoration, to support them. Very few people go.  I thought it would be nice (I'd like to think, I was called.) to break up the hour with community prayer.  I have seen this done at other Adorations.

The Adoration begins with the priest taking out the Blessed Sacrament and placing it in the monstrance.  We all sing O salutaris Hostia.  Afterwards everyone sits quietly and does their own praying.  An hour later, the priest comes back and replaces the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle.  We then pray Tantum ergo Sacramentum, pray the Divine Praises and that's it.

I felt called to help out the people by breaking up the hour with some community prayer.  So I talked it over with my prayer group, and we thought we would lead the Rosary after 20 minutes of the silent prayer.  And after another 20 minutes, we'd pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

This worked well (so we thought) for a few months.  Now the prayer group was told NOT to pray the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, because it interrupted the quiet.

My first reaction was anger.  I didn't say anything, but many retorts were in my mind.
     I didn't want to do this in the first place.
     Do you know the emotional turmoil I went through to begin praying the Rosary with these people.                               "What  if no one answered in response?"  "What if no one heard my soft voice?"  "What if...."
     I certainly wasn't doing it for myself.  I had to push myself to do it--I did it for my parish.
     So much for being called to minister to others for Jesus!

So, why am I upset about being told not to pray aloud?  I don't understand myself.  I should be saying, "Thank you, Jesus.  You got me out of an uncomfortable situation."


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Our Lady of the Rosary

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upper_Rhenish_Master
October 7 is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.  With this in mind, I meditated upon this famous picture known as Little Garden of Paradise, by an unknown artist, Rhenish Master, c. 1410.

Mary is seated in a garden.  Connect garden to Eden.  She is surrounded by flowers and a tall wall.
            Mary is wearing a crown.
            The baby is being tended to by young maidens.  Think Jesus being taught by angels. 
            St.  Michael (adorned in flowers and St. George in armor) sit talking.
            Flowers are everywhere, so are apples.  (Think Adam and Eve tasting the apple.)
            See the food on the table.  (altar)
Because of Mary, we can approach the Garden of Eden through her Son's sacrifice.  Do you see that little, tiny, man hiding in the dark shadows?. It's Satan.  See St. Michael's foot on him.
That's the tempter from the Garden of Eden

The first thing you see in this picture is the child, with light bouncing off Him.  Mary is the next focus your eyes will see.  But you have to really look to find that little insidious devil.

Don't be fooled.  Satan hangs around.          

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival




My fellow bloggers and I were asked the question, "What do you like best about your parish?".  We're on This And That and The Other Thing, every Sunday, where we link together.  Click here to see what I'm referring about.

Anyway, what I like best about my parish is that it's big.  It has many ministries and groups, i.e., something for everybody.  It's my spiritual family.  It's my faith home.  Actually, the word home sums it up.  It's home.

This is what I was busy with this week:

Monday--Museum of Science

Tuesday--My personal philosophy

Wednesday--The difference between a sermon and a homily

Thursday--Tradition

Friday--Mass greeting, NOT!

Saturday--Gobble, gobble, gobble.....

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Turkeys in the Play House

All of a sudden my neighborhood is being inundated with turkeys.  One street is owned by a lone turkey.  
 He's all by himself, so he must be a male.  He parades up and down the street and often prevents cars from passing.

The other day my daughter took this picture of a flock of turkeys in the kids' playhouse.

How do we get rid of them?

Friday, October 3, 2014

...and with Your Spirit


Since the new Mass translation in 2011, I always hesitate at the priest's greeting, "The Lord be with you."
I just can't remember the response.  I want to say, because it makes more sense to me, "And also with you."  However, the correct response is, "And with your spirit."  This seems awkward.  We don't talk that way.  When we're greeted, we respond, "and you, too".  So I never remember what to say: the one that makes sense, or the awkward phrasing one.

This morning I was listening to Dr. Edward Sri, walk through the new Mass translation, again.  The CD is from 2011.  I'm listening again, because tomorrow I'm helping Father Al give some adult faith formation.  He's talking about the Mass.  So I've been reading up on it, and also listening to CD's.  Well, this morning I heard Dr. Sri speak of the Lord be with you and also with you.  Finally, his words didn't just pass through one ear to the other.  I understood.  I got it.  Eureka!  Epiphany!

As I always felt "and also with you" to be the correct response to a greeting, and it is.  However, we are not just exchanging pleasantries with the priest, we're doing something theological.  We are acknowledging that the priest has a gift of Holy Spirit, that we ordinary people, don't have.  He's been ordained to consecrate the bread and wine.  He has been given that power to call down the Holy Spirit. So at the beginning of Mass we tell the priest this in,"and with your Spirit."  The priest will soon be using that Spirit in the Canon of the Mass.

Hence, "and with your Spirit" is stressing an important theological concept, right at the onset of the Mass.

I don't think I'll confuse the two responses, any more.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Why is Tradition Important?

The lady across from me, expressed negative thoughts regarding tradition.  We were playing cribbage.  Someone said the person on the dealer's right has to cut the deck.  She asked why.  The answer was tradition.  To which she said, "Tradition isn't good.  It holds us to the past."  I said, "I think the opposite.  "Tradition lays the foundation upon which we can confidently go forward."  I'm not sure what I said made sense, but I've been thinking about tradition, ever since.

What I wish I had said:

Tradition links us to the past:
                           to our parents, grandparents, etc.
                           to events that formed who we are
                           to places that helped shape us
                gives us a common ground with our relatives
                helps us share memories
                compares hopes and dreams of our parents with their parents
                helps us understand our heritage better
                helps us share family memories and love  
                is something to have pride in
                gives us hope in the future built when we view our past
                passes on the love of our families
                brings the family closer together
               
What a wonderful inheritance!  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Sermon Versus the Homily

Did you know there was a difference?

Well, read and learn.

The homily is a talk relating to the readings at Mass.

A sermon is on a defined topic.

For example, if the priest talks about needing money, that's a sermon.  If he talks about the connection between the two readings and the gospel, and how they relate to people's lives, that's a homily.