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Showing posts from October, 2015

Luke 18: 11-14

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Tonight is Halloween and if the kids don't start coming I'm going to make myself sick eating all this candy.  But for now, I'm giving thanks.

Let Me Die Naturally

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First I want to make it clear that I don't want extraordinary measures taken to extend my life when I am obviously dying.  I want to die naturally.  I want to be kept free of pain, free of depression but not pressured to end my life for convenience or  others' misperceived judgement.  I want to enjoy every single sunrise and sunset that I can.  And how many sunrises and sunsets that is, is NOT my decision.  It's God's.  I place my life in his hands.  Don't forget.

I believe my life is just as valuable as yours.  Every life is precious--a gift from God.  When I am ill and become disabled, it is an unfortunate burden on everyone.  But I am human and don't want to be pressured by society, laws, doctors, or family to end my life to make everyone else's easier.  Please respect my human dignity.  The disabled and mentally ill are no less valuable than anyone else.  When I am most vulnerable I want to be treated as importantly as if my decisions and opinions are st…

Halloween and the Communion of Saints

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Halloween is fun, is it not?  But it has me worried--a bit.  Our children want to wear scary costumes that have to do with killing.  I'm thinking of those that dress like Jason in Friday the 13th.

When I see these kind of costumes, I am reminded that we really do live in a culture of death.  We live in a world where new life is aborted or contracepted, and our sick and elderly are encouraged to commit suicide.  WTF!

Lord, help us.  Hear my plea.

This is why I prefer happy jack-o-lanterns and smiley, dancing scarecrows, to  ghosts and scary creatures.  And actually, Halloween was never meant to be scary.  I don't know how such a dark view came about.  It can't be a Wiccan influence because Wicca was started by Gerald Gardner around the 1950's.  It merged a bit with some "new age" stuff, but anyway, I don't think Wicca influenced our Halloween customs.  Wiccans like to celebrate Halloween because they think its anti-Christian and/or anti-cultural and it&#…

Luck v. Blessings

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Boy! Am I in a good mood!  I just won three games out of three playing cribbage this afternoon. All three games came down to the wire and in all three I counted first.  That's pure luck.  And I had good hands.  That's luck too.

And that!  Boys and girls, is the difference between luck and a blessing.  A blessing is a grace from God.  Luck is the card hand you're dealt.

Heart and Soul

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For the past few days, I've been absorbed in the book The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  It was one of those times when you can't put the book done.  I highly recommend it as a very enjoyable read.

Near the end, the character Isabelle tells her sister something that someone told me a long time ago.  I've never forgotten it.  Isabelle, broken and beaten, suffering and sick, tells her sister "They couldn't touch my heart.  They couldn't change who I was inside.  My body...they broke that in the first days, but not my heart..."

Where I heard this before was from a prison inmate.  He was trying to tell me the very same thing.  He said, "they've taken everything away from me, but not my soul.  They can't take that."

Who you are, can't be taken away.  Maybe identity cards and name changes look like you've changed, but you don't.  Not if you don't want them to.  It's up to you.

Story of Waste

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The preacher looked out over his small congregation.  He began:
There’s a testimony in here that you don’t cry about your situation, you don’t feel helpless, you don’t feel useless, that you’re not a failure…. Amen, Brother…
                     Amen…
                                Amen…
I’m going to tell you a new parable.
There was a baby camel that came to his mother to ask some questions.  “Mama, why do I have two toes on each foot?” “The toes spread wide when you take a step.  This helps support your body as you walk across the desert sand.” “Mama, why are my eyelashes so long?” “The eyelashes keep the desert sand out of your eyes.” “Mama, why are their two big bumps on my back?” “They are reservoirs to store water as we travel across the desert.” “So Mama, the toes are for walking in desert sand, the eyelashes are to keep out the desert sand, the bumps are for water storage for the desert.” “Yes, my Son.” “Then Mama, why are we here in a zoo?”

The preacher then turned around to look at t…

Hiking on a Beautiful Day

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F. Gilbert Hills State Forest is where my hiking group went today.  We saw some wonderful color in the leaves reflected in Sunset Lake.  Most interesting was the man who donated the forest to the state.  Rev. William Barton donated the land around the turn of the century.  That's over a thousand acres.  I was impressed with the wild rhododendrons.  They must be beautiful in bloom.  Mrs. Barton even had a secret garden with a statue of Pan in it.

Resolution 15-66

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Tonight the Franklin Town Council voted to accept Resolution 15-66, Reconstructing, Adding to, Equipping and Furnishing the Franklin Public Library. Woohoo!
You see our library is the first public library in the USA.  Yes, even before Boston!  Our claim to fame is due to Ben Franklin sending the town books for public use.  The books were placed in the minister's home and were available for the town's people to  borrow. 
At the turn of the 19th century, a wealthy family in town, the Ray family, donated money to build our current building.  Since then the funds left the library from the Ray family were used to fund the library.  NO taxpayer dollars were spent!  It was all Ray monies.  That lasted until the 1980's.  The town took over the library and helped expand and support the library.
A history of the library can be read here.
Presently, the library needs to be updated and expanded.  The library needs $ 11, 500, 000.00 for updating electrical, mechanical and plumbing in …

Stories Inside Stories

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Book Club is in about an hour.  I want to get my thoughts straight before I go and their opinions influence me.  The book is Copper Beech by Maeve Binchly.  I have never read her before because I thought she was a sappy romance writer.  I admit I was wrong.  I loved the book, Copper Beech.  Maeve Binchly is excellent in character development. The title comes from a tree that grew in front of the school everyone in the village attended.  The stories and the lives of 10 characters are what the book is about.  Their lives are interwoven and intersected are expertly crafted in the plot.  Everyone is tied together.  Binchy paints everyone compassionately objective.  

My favorite character was Maura Brennan.  I loved her pragmatism.  Her common sense and practical assessment always proved the best.  I loved how she mothered her son.  In fact, this child is the catalyst for the climax of the story.  I won't spoil it for you, but I think everyone will love this book.

Exclusion

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The question is "who might feel excluded from parish life?"

Divorced?
Gays?
Single people?
Young Adults?

What to do about it?  The answer for "divorced and gays" would be support groups and that would take a facilitator with expertise in dealing with those issues.

How about single people?  Any single person could start a group for social, and spiritual support.

The same would be true for young adults.  It does seem that from high school until one gets married, there's nothing for these young adults to do.  One of these people needs to start a club or group for social and spiritual support.

All these people can be welcomed to parties, meals, ministries.  Why not have a thanksgiving reenactment?  Games--Bingo, cards, stump the priest, etc.

Speak to Me

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Today's meditation was on this drawing by my "cloistered brother," MEK.  What do you see in it?

I see God holding the world in His Hands.  In particular, God is Jesus.  See the wound in His hand?

What are the flames coming out of the globe?  Fire?  Prayers reaching up?  Perhaps both?  Because the world is at war, the people's prayers are lifted up?  What do you think?

What else do you see?  I see part of Saturn.  I see stars and the moon and other planets.  I see a cross in the stars.

God has everything under control.  This is my mantra:

                                               All is passing.
                                           God is everlasting.

Halloween at the Brick School

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It’s known as the Brick School.  At one time, all the children in Franklin attended that school.  It was remembered quite fondly by the residents.  But time goes on and change is inevitable.  The town grew and needed more schools—bigger and better schools.  Inevitably, the town closed the school.  And there it sat—unused.  That was the state of the building until this one particular Halloween night.  Neighbors noticed that there were lights in the windows.  When people approached the school, children’s voices were heard.  The children were singing: One little, two little, three little pumpkins,
Four little, five little, six little pumpkins,
Seven little, eight little, Nine little pumpkins,
All forHalloweennight. People tried the door, but it was locked.  The windows were locked, also.  What was going on? What mischief was this on Halloween night?   Word spread quickly and soon the entire neighborhood surrounded the Brick School.  The mood was curiously anticipatory.  Everyone wondered wha…

Glowing in the Dark

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My granddaughter and I have tea and dessert, after school.  This afternoon, she spilled her tea on her dress.  It just so happened that I had bought her a Halloween tee shirt and gave it to her to put on.  The front of the shirt had a huge jack-o-lantern on it.  There was a sticker on the shirt that stated, "Glows in the dark."  When Daddy came to pick my granddaughter up, I noted that he picked off that sticker.

Fast forward a few hours, and I'm going into the prison for study-group.  I have to go through a security check, just like people do at the airport.  When being searched, the correctional officer asked me if I glow in the dark.

Immediately, I knew what happened.  The "Glows in the dark" sticker was stuck on my back.

Very funny.

Angel Hair Alpacas

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Yesterday, I went to an alpaca farm.  The alpacas were so cute.  They weren't  as big as I thought.  None of them were my height, but they are very strong.  I love their fleece.  It's so thick and fluffy.  The fleece is sheared in the spring, so today the fiber was about an inch long.  It curls into a tight wick.  But it will grow to about four inches long before it is sheared.

The sounds they make are interesting.  They hum.  I only saw once incidence of spitting and I was told that tame alpacas don't spit.  Only badly trained alpacas do that.  The boys were kept away from the girls because they fight.  There were two cria (babies) about three and four months old.

We fed them some feed, although they live on hay.  The feed has other nutrients they need for health.  Each one had its own personality.  Some were so sweet, whereas others were just plain nasty.  Just like people, huh?

The Family Goes to Confession

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Watching your children enter the confessional, do you ever wonder what they're going to confess.  Better, or maybe worse, what do you feel when you see your spouse go in to confess?
Do I wish to be a fly on the wall?  Am I better off not knowing?  What if they think the same about me?  
Definitely, this is an exercise in futility.  We should just pray for them to make good confessions, that God touch them, thank God for this saving sacrament.  
Pray for ourselves.

The Dominican Works of Mercy

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Yesterday I wrote about the Corporal Works of Mercy.  We Lay Dominicans like to think of them as the Franciscan Works of Mercy.  There are also what we call the Dominican Works of Mercy.  They are popularly known as the Spiritual Works of Mercy:

To instruct the ignorant;To counsel the doubtful;To admonish sinners;To bear wrongs patiently;To forgive offences willingly;To comfort the afflicted;To pray for the living and the dead.  These seem easy for my "cloistered brothers" to do.  They instruct the ignorant because they facilitate a couple of Bible studies and conduct RCIA classes.  For sure they counsel the doubtful; we do that for each other, never mind others who approach them.  I've been admonished myself, more than once for not being all that I should be.  "I am broken!"  
My "cloistered brothers" bear many, many wrongs patiently.  They have no choice.  And they have to forgive offences willingly because they've been on the other side.  They…

The Corporal Works of Mercy

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My "cloistered brothers" and I were discussing the upcoming Year of Mercy.  We were going through the Corporal Works of Mercy:

To feed the hungry;To give drink to the thirsty;To clothe the naked;To harbour the harbourless;To visit the sick;To ransom the captive;To bury the dead. and wondering how they could perform some of these tasks since they were "cloistered."  I thought their solution to "to clothe the naked" was ingenious.  When they need a new habit, they can't get one, until they hand over their old one.  So what they do is find someone else who is their size, and whose habit is raggier than theirs, and swop.  The raggy habit is then turned in and the "cloistered brother" can then get a new one.  
"Ransom the captive" is difficult.  Since my brothers have no money, they pray and try to help others who are captives in other ways, e.i., captive to an addiction, a bad habit, etc.  
The other corporal works are easy for them to…

The Grand Game

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I am writing a comparison between two writers of detective stories.  While researching, I came across Monsignor Ronald Knox's satire/bad joke/ semi-serious comparison of the Bible with Sherlock Holmes.  It seems that the clever monsignor started a phenomenon  that is continued to this day.

It all begin when Ronald Knox had to prepare a talk for two different groups.  They were completely different groups.  Think theological versus a general subject for college students.  Let me preface the story by explaining that Ronald Knox was a stickler for orthodoxy and it bothered him, more than a bit, that nit-pickers were arguing over whether authors of certain books of the Bible were the one person the book was attributed to, or his disciples.  Knox, ingeniously, pointed out in his paper, Studies in theLiterature of Sherlock Holmes, inconsistencies in the detective stories. He offered the Sherlock Holmes stories as a Bible.  He proposed a theory that Sherlock Holmes was not written by Si…

Food is Good

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Yesterday, the Office of Reading spurred a sharp rebuke aimed at St. Paul's letter to Timothy.  Today, again, the Office has inspired a post.  I may not be advancing spiritually, but I am paying attention.  In 1 Tim 4: 1-5, Paul warns us of following teachers of error.  I'm specifically looking at demons who teach people to turn away from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by believers.  Everything God created is good; nothing is to be rejected when it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by God's word and by prayer.

That's T.O.P.S.' philosophy.  Everything in moderation.  Do not deprive yourself to the extent that you are starving.  We eat mindfully.  We practice portion control.  We eat all the food groups and do not eliminate carbohydrates, or dairy, or red meat, or meat at all.

TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is the short name for TOPS Club, Inc., the original nonprofit, noncommercial network of weight-loss support groups and…

A Letter to Paul

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My dear brother,

I am sorry it has taken me so long to respond, but life has a habit of getting in the way, so to speak.  Please forgive me.  However, some sort of response is necessary because of the inappropriate and misinterpreted manner in which  your teachings are currently being used.  I wish you were here, yourself, to set everyone straight, but that obviously cannot be.  So be it.

It is your closing remarks to Timothy, in your first letter, that I wish to address.  You advise women to dress modestly and quietly and not wear fancy hairstyles, or jewelry.

Then how do women show the glory of God's perfected creation?  Should not an image of God be glorified?  After all, God created man, and then perfected that creation with a second try.  Think about it.  Man was made from dirt.  Woman was made from a human being.

While the subject is self-adornment, why do you not address the blatant and blaring bodily adornments of men?  Men exercise and buff up their muscles and puff ou…

Bible Roulette

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Have you ever played Bible roulette?  Here's how it works:  you have three chances to find one verse in the Bible that will apply to you.  I'll play it for you.

I'm using King James Version for absolutely no other reason than this is the one closest to me, on the book self.  I flip the pages.  Near the beginning I stop.  It's Judges.  I pick Chapter 12.  I close my eyes and my finger rests on 12.  So my first chance is Judges 12:12.  It says:

And E'-lon the Zeb'-u-lon-ite died, and was buried in Ai'-ja-lon in the country of Zeb'-u-lun.

Yikes, am I going to die soon?  Someone I love?  I don't like this game.

Quick, I'm choosing another verse, near the end of the Bible.  It's Hebrews.  I pick chapter 5.  I close my eyes and my finger rest on Hebrews 5: 6:

As he saith also in another place, THOU ART A PRIEST FOR EVER AFTER THE ORDER OF MEL-CHIS'-E-DEC.

At first I thought "well, that doesn't apply to me."  Then I remembered that…

Catholic Vocabulary

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Catholics have a short-cut way of referring to Catholic devotional subjects.  Not only do we not realize the understanding of what our words mean, but we defend them without trying to think how they are perceived.

Huh?

Take a phrase like, "Pray to St. Anthony."

A non-Catholic would say, "No, pray only to God."  We Catholics do pray to God but we ask St. Anthony to intercede for us by continuing our prayers.   It's quick to say, "Pray to Saint Anthony."  It would take too much time to say, "Since I believe in the communion of saints, which is ...... hence I'm appealing to saint ....... to intercede for me to God, since I can't always dedicate a lot of time constantly praying."

This short-cut Catholic terminology caused a stir on FaceBook, the other day.  Some non-Catholic said that Catholics don't use the Bible.  In the backlash, a Catholic quipped, "Catholics wrote the Bible."  Well!  Now the discussion picked up!

Now …

Another Flowers for Mary Story

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How do you define a miracle?  Read this story.  My friend Marie's birthday is December 8.  A few years ago, her husband bought her a bouquet of roses for her birthday.  December 8th is also a religious feast day--the Immaculate Conception.  This day we honor the fact that Mary, the Mother of Jesus was born without Original Sin.

Anyway, Marie was overjoyed to receive this bouquet and felt very blessed.  She felt moved to thank God by attending the daily Mass in her parish.  She also thought of pleasing Jesus by honoring His Mother by giving her one of her roses.  So on her way into Mass, Marie placed a rose at the foot of the statue of Mary.

After Mass, Marie prayed a rosary. Upon leaving the church, Marie saw her parish priest looking at her rose.  As she approached, he spoke to her.  "Look at that rose.  Every Feast of the Immaculate Conception a rose appears at the foot of this statue."

Marie didn't tell the priest that she was the one who left it.  She, like the …

Flowers for Mary

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The first thing the pope did when he returned home to Rome, from the United States was not crash into bed.  He brought flowers to the statue of Mary in a church in Rome.  This must be his favorite statue and favorite church.  It reminded me of Han.  Han is a Vietnamese/American.  She has a story.

Han is one of the Vietnamese boat people.  These people were prey to pirates.  Many of them were robbed and killed, if not just starved to death because no one would pick them up.  Father Anthony Le tells us that if a boat picked you up, then they were responsible for you.  So many boats passed them by.  Father Le was picked up by a Norwegian boat.  Han's story focuses on divine intervention.

Han's grandmother told her to keep praying to Mary, ask her to protect you.  On Han's boat, every single female was raped, except Han.  And Han was a teenager.  It was like she was invisible.

Ever since then, Han constantly thanks our Blessed Mother, particularly in the image of Our Lady of Ho…