Showing posts from October, 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.

concluding with
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…

The Catholic Answer to Islamophobia

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…

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.

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.

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 Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

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…

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.

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.

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 …

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 usuall…

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.


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


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.


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 wa…

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 repl…

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

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.

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 …

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 …

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 …

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.


Why do Catholics Bless Themselves?

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."

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…

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

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!

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?

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.

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 ta…

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 c…

Our Lady of the Rosary

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 fo…

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


Friday--Mass greeting, NOT!

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

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?

...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 unde…

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

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.