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Showing posts from April, 2015

The Odor of Sanctity

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This post was circuitously inspired by "That Smell," an article in Dominicana.  Br. Paul Clark, op, the author, asks what holiness smells like.  He goes on to describe how the sense of smells many times will trigger memories, set the scene, make us drool.  It's a viable sense to reckon with.

I immediately thought of Anne Marie Schmidt.  She has the "odor of sanctity."  I know you're asking, "What?"  She carries around the smell of roses.  It emanates off of her.  She is not aware of it.  Her husband can't smell it, but everyone else can.

Some years ago, I was blessed by going to one of her retreats.  She is an elderly lady who lived through a concentration camp.  Her experiences are filled with God's mercy and providence.  Again I was blessed, with a session of spiritual direction with her.  What does holiness smell like?  Holiness, to me, smells like Anne Marie Schmidt.   I don't remember what she said; I do remember how she made me …

Museum Surprise

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Massachusetts Archives Museum was our day trip, today.  Hubby is hooked on genealogy.  I appreciated the history of the place.  But as I was walking around the genealogy section I was surprised by seeing a friend's picture.  Shocked!

There on a column was a picture of the Jepsens.  Don Jepsen died a few years back, but Jane is still around.  They used to come to my prayer group.  They were very vibrant members.  I remember them showing me this family picture and saying, "Look what you two started."

I said a prayer for Don and I think I'll telephone Jane.  (I can take a hint.)

Time Not Wasted

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I noticed today when traffic was stopped, due to an accident, that I wasn't exasperated.  My reaction was "Good.  Now I can finish praying my rosary."

I guess I pray all day.  I talk to God like He was with me.  Well, He is.  Always.

What would I do if I weren't a prayerful person?  Drumming my fingers on the steering wheel?  Trying to find a good radio station?  Calling friends on my cell phone?

I welcome all the inconvenient stops.  "Good.  I can pray."

Stargate

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This afternoon while waiting for my "cloistered brothers" to come, I looked across the yard and saw this huge circular structure.  I asked what it was and was told that it once was a huge gong.  But the middle gong part broke, never to be from again.  That left this huge circular frame that I was looking at.

I learned that it was called Stargate.  My "cloistered brothers" tried it.  It didn't work.

*Stargate was a science fiction series where a person could be transported to another place.

Sometimes When You Lose, You Win

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My friend, Donna and I saw an advertisement about a cribbage night at a nearby church, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.  Donna and I have been learning to play.  The ad had a category for "recreational players", so we signed up.

It was a very small group. And Donna and I were the only recreational players.  So we played with each other.  She won once and I won once and we started a third game to break the tie but we got involved in a long conversation with someone and when we got back to the game we couldn't remember whose turn it was and we didn't care.  (You can tell we're not serious players.)  So we quit.

The people were so friendly.  It was not a cutthroat atmosphere.  I knew three people from town or church.  I made friends with two others.  Everyone else was nice, too.

And!  I won free ice cream and a gift certificate. Donna won some flowers and free ice cream.  They actually had more prizes than people, so everyone got something.  Everyone was a w…

Walk for Hunger

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Can you Help? On Sunday, May 3, the men at Norfolk State Prison will join in Boston’s annual WALK FOR HUNGER by walking up to 20 miles within the prison confines (that means walking over 140 times the inside perimeter of "the Yard"). This is the 26th year that the men at MCI Norfolk will participate in this worthwhile event. Besides helping those who suffer from hunger, it gives the men an opportunity to reach out to those who are less fortunate than themselves.
Because it is difficult for the men to find sponsors, we are reaching out to the outside community for support. All sponsor donations will be sent to PROJECT BREAD in Boston to help feed those who are hungry and suffer from malnutrition.
If you are willing to sponsor the men for this year’s WALK FOR HUNGER at Norfolk State prison, please make your checks payable to:
PROJECT BREAD
Send to: Bethany House Ministries
1049 Main Street
Millis, MA. 02054

Once Bethany House receives all the donations, they will send them direct…

A Star for Mrs. Blake

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A Star for Mrs. Blake is a novel by April Smith.  It's an historical novel about a subject I never heard of and an era of which I know little--after World War I.  The subject is Gold Star Mothers and their journey to France.

Five mothers are invited by the US government to go visit their sons' graves in France.  Well, a lot more than five ladies go, but the novel is the story of these particular mothers.  As a mother, at times the plot is heart wrenching.  As a woman, I found the story heart wrenching.  As a human being, I found the novel heart wrenching.  I loved it.

Two women come from New England, which were the most familiar characters to me.  The others were from New York.  Added to the stories of the mothers, were the stories of Lily and Thomas who were their "guides."  Lily was a nurse, and Tom was career army.  Eventually, all the characters will become enmeshed in tragedy--from the past and the present.  I won't spoil the plot, for you, sorry.

The story…

Human Nature

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Email and phone conversations have taken up an inordinate amount of my time, lately.  They're from two organizations, of which I am president.  The point of these conversations is to change my mind.  I listen politely, as I like to think is my nature, and end up saying that we'll discuss it further at the next meeting.

What goes?  Why does this happen?  We discussed it and voted at the previous meeting.

I think the opponents of the decision get together and contact others and decide to approach me to reopen the discussion.

What I don't understand is why don't they object at the meeting before we voted.  I've come to the conclusion that decisions take two meetings.  The first meeting is to approach the subject and talk about it.  Then dismiss people with think about and we'll vote next meeting.

I'm thinking of taking a person to person vote to write down "yay" or "nay".  So when they call, I'll point out that they voted for it, or …

Pestering God

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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.
“Be careful 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 mostly
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.”

What Do You Want?

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"What do you want me to do for you?"  Jesus asks Bartimeus.  And Bartimeus answers, "That I may see."  Jesus grants Bartimeus request.  Not only does Bartimeus see with eyes but also with his heart because he goes on to follow Jesus.  (Mark 10: 46-52)

This same question is asked of Thomas Aquinas.  Aquinas had written about the Eucharist and was pondering if he had done it justice.  In prayer, AQ put the book down in front of the crucifix.  He heard“Thou hast written well of me, what recompense dost thou desire?”
Thomas humbly answered, “None other than Thyself, O Lord.”  
I think Thomas Aquinas' answer is the best answer.  I'll have to remember it if and when God asks me what I want.
Nothing but You, My Love.

The Cross and the Lotus

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Two recent converts to Catholicism were in my RCIA class.  They come from a Buddhist tradition.  I've found being an RCIA teacher, that Buddhists make excellent Catholics.  They have been a great help to me.  They also told me some stories from Buddhism that resonate with Christian stories.  They even tell me that legend has it that Jesus traveled East and met with the Buddha.

Well, what was Jesus doing between the ages of 12 and 30?  Nice legend.

My friend, Mary, who is from Kerala, India, speaks of other Christian faiths in India.  Her husband is a Syriac Christian who trace their history back to Jesus' followers and once called themselves Nasranis.  Think Nasranis = Nazarenes = followers of the Nazarene, Jesus.

Mary is quite comfortable talkings about Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and Protestants.  She looks at their similarities.  In fact, she has a symbol of the cross blooming out of a lotus blossom.  The lotus is a symbol of Buddhist enlightenment.  And see what's b…

Drained

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You know what?  Maybe people are just tired.  They want to take the easy way out.  So they want to be left alone.

I'm talking religion.  That means evangelizing.  I also mean educating, proselytizing, and just plain chatting.  Some people don't even want to think.

Leave them alone.  Let them wallow in their self absorption.

I guess you can tell that I'm tired of their refusal to look deeper.  Is it laziness?  Sigh...I guess the Holy Spirit will have to take over, I quit.

Ordination of Salvatore Mellone

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Zenit this morning has a story about Salvatore Mellone.  He is a terminally ill seminarian.  Before he dies, he was ordained and gave his first blessing to Pope Francis.

Father Mellone's story reminded me of my post from May 21, 2011.  It is unusual for a seminarian to be ordained on his death bed.  But not only did this happen for Father Mellone, it also occurred with Bl. Hyacinth Marie Cormier, O.P.  The miraculous thing is, Hyacinth, (who received that name because his health was as delicate as a hyacinth) recovered.  Not only did he recover, he  went on to become the Master General of the Order of Preachers.

May Father Salvatore Mellone recover as did Bl. Hyacinth, for this I pray.

God's Power Made Perfect in Weakness

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The story of Bill Atkinson is very inspiring.  I did a double take at first because the words quadriplegic priest leaped out at me.  I didn't know this was possible.  A priest needs to be able to elevate the Eucharist and a quadriplegic wouldn't be able to do this.  This story explains how it happens.
      Bill wanted to be a priest.  He chose to belong to a community, rather than become a diocesan priest.  In my opinion this was divine intervention because I think living in a community would be more inclined to help their confrere than the lonely diocesan cleric.  Bill chose the Augustinians.
      During Bill's first year in the seminary, he had a toboggan accident that left him a quadriplegic.  The Augustinians thought that Bill could still be a priest.  They worked with him, including asking the pope for permission to continue his studies.  Cardinal Krol, with permission from Pope Paul VI, ordained him.  Father Bill consecrated with the help of a deacon.
       Father Bi…

We Stunk Up the Place

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The women's club went bowling tonight.  As usual, I did fantastic--at first.  I've done that all my life.  I just do well in the beginning and then from then on, it's all downhill.  We played two games and I scored 77 in the first game.  The second game I scored 44.  See what I mean?

Besides, I broke a fingernail.

And I Realized This was the Wrong Place

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"One large cheese pizza."
"Ten minutes."

Sticking in the snow, a flag waved "Open." The man behind the counter said "Hello."


"I called ten minutes ago for a cheese pizza?" He smiled and said, "fifteen minutes."


Mmm...I thought; on the phone he said ten. I sat down and watched the news on their TV.

He turned the oven on and walked in back, soon he came back with a white bumpy circle
and opened the oven door and gave the doughy circle a shove that sent it well inside the heat.
The news was the same old and I was bored. I picked up a menu and stared at he cover...

My eyes grew wide reading the name on the front;


Knights of Malta

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Last night I ran into a Knight of Malta.  He explained that the Knights of Malta originated during the crusades as an organization dedicated to help Christians.  They founded a hospital to provide care for the sick and poor Christians on pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  But when more and more pilgrims were killed and harrassed on their journey, they felt they had to protect them.  They then became a military order.

Their patron is St. John the Baptist and their patroness is the Blessed Virgin Mary with the name "Our Lady of Mount Philermos."  Their symbol is a Maltese cross.

Nowadays, they are known primarily as the group that take the sick to Lourdes.  And they do it for free, too!

BTW, pray for Craig, a Knight of Malta, he has been diagnosed with cancer of the tonsils.  May Craig, who himself shows compassion to the sick, feel the love and comfort of Our Lord, and a healing if it be His Will.  Mary, Our Lady of Mount Philermos, and St. John the Baptist, interede for Craig i…

Rejection = Opportunity

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My niece is applying to college.  Of course, she's been rejected here and there.  And it hurts.  We all know that.  You can't be human and not get hurt at some time.

It didn't help to tell her to look at the rejection letter as an opportunity to narrow down her prospects--"Good, now I can focus on other schools."  No more than telling yourself when you're fired, "Good, I hated that job anyway."

It still hurts.

But it is an opportunity.  It's an experience that you need to feel.  You need to feel rejected to learn how to handle it.  You will live through this.  The sun still shines.

Kick the dust off your sandals and move on.


Good is Not Equal to Evil

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CRAZY! Crazy Weekend.  Since my nephew's accident, life has been discombobulated.  There is no
end to the paperwork.  Police report, insurance reports, rental car report, and the hassle of telephoning the proper people, have used up all our family time.  The accident spoiled our fun time.

But wait a minute!  We're Christians and if that means anything, it means life makes sense.  Let's ponder the accident.  After all, we know that joy and suffering are related.  What is God's plan?

No one was seriously hurt.  Everyone is alive.  That's the best result.  We have a renewed appreciation for our lives.  As a family we bonded in trouble, which would have been completely different if we were bonded only in fun.  We figured and worked out difficult situations like how to get a rental car delivered when they weren't open, or there weren't any companies in the area.  We made do or we did without.  We felt a sense of accomplishment.  We learned that five big people …

An Accident

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Wait till I tell you what happened!  Disaster, that's what.  My nephew and his family were on their way to visit me and a few blocks from my house, they were hit by another car.  He was crossing the intersection and WHAM!

Here is a picture of the car.  Remarkably, he was the only one hurt.  He never saw the car coming.  All he saw was the car coming into his car.  The air bag on the side protected them.  Most of the damage, as you can see, happened to the back.  My niece was there.  Her glasses went flying off and a pierced earing popped out of her ear.  That's it.


My nephew couldn't move.  He thought he was paralyzed.  His side hurt and he worried that he broke a rib or ribs and punctured his spleen.  Help came immediately.  He was lifted out of his vehicle and placed on a back board and brace and taken by ambulance to the hospital.

He's back with me now, and everyone is fine.  Thanks be to God.

Prayer of St. Catherine of Siena to the Precious Blood of Jesus

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Precious Blood, Ocean of Divine Mercy: Flow upon us!

Precious Blood, most pure Offering: Procure for us every Grace!

Precious Blood, Hope and Refuge of sinners: Atone for us!

Precious Blood, Delight of holy souls: Draw us!  Amen.

We are Still Kingdom People

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This morning's reading from Peter 3: 1-17 was confirmation for yesterday's post on turning the other cheek, blessing people instead, acting like Christ.

In summary, then, all of you should be like-minded, sympathetic, loving toward one another, kindly disposed, and humble.  Do not return evil for evil or insult for insult.  Return a blessing instead.  This you have been called to do, that you may receive a blessing as your inheritance.
...You must turn from evil and do good, seek peace and follow after it, because the Lord has eyes for the just and ears for their cry; but against evildoers the Lord sets his face...If it should be God's will that you suffer, it is better to do so for good deeds than for evil ones.

What does all this mean to you?  To me, it means "suck it up."  Be strong in being the better person.  Don't act like a child--tit for tat.  Offer the hurt up to God like Jesus did on the cross.

We are Kingdom People

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My Lay Dominican Chapter is inside a men's prison.  Tonight was our study group.  We were discussing Matt. 5:39.  This is the turn the other cheek teaching.

But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

Personally, I was a little worried how the discussion would turn out; the make-up of the group being a bunch of alpha males.  And in their environment!  I thought they would think this teaching a sign of weakness.

They looked at this scripture verse as the ideal for Christians.  But they acknowledged that the worldly view was the exact opposite.

Some remembered stories about Martin Luther King's non violent protests.  The prevalent opinion was that one really had to be morally strong to keep Jesus' teaching in our secular world.  It is easier in a group, like the marchers with Martin Luther King.  But very, very hard when you're standing alone.

We have to follow Jesus' example.  We are king…

My Prayer Style

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I was reading how Al Kresta prays.  He's the honcho of Ave Maria Radio.  I liked best how he didn't fret over not having a set schedule of devotional prayers.  His life makes a set schedule impossible.  I thing most of us can relate.

He is responding to a series, "How I Pray" on the blog Patheos: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godandthemachine/2015/03/how-i-pray-al-kresta/

He does what he can, when he can.  I'll add that I think his perseverence is the best prayer.  He called it his prayer style.  You have to find your prayer style.  What others do probably won't fit no more than Saul's armor fit David.

My prayer style is a constant attempt to live and pray as a Lay Dominican.  I pray the Liturgy of the Hours and Rosary.  I do Lectio Divina and the Rosary.  I also am supposed to go to Daily Mass.  Conversely, when I worked, I did.  But now that I'm retired, I usually don't.  I feel guilty about it.  You see, when I worked I went to daily Mass befor…

He Is Risen.

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He is truly risen.  Happy Easter!  Today make your consecration.  Before or after Mass today, place yourself in front of the tabernacle and pray this consecration.

My Jesus, I love You with my whole heart.  I soemnly consecrate myself to You through Your Mother, Mary.  I surrender my entire life--everything to You, as my God and King.  Since Your Mother is so dear to You, I also offer her the highest veneration I can.  I ask her to intercede with You when I am unable.  May she bring me close to You.  May she guide me as she guided You.
I ask this of You My Lord and My God, according to Your Will.  Amen.

Don't think that because you have made this consecration, you will become a saint.  You have planted a seed.  You need to grow.  Please make use of the externals--read about Mary, pray through Mary, use prayer ejaculations, use holy water to bless yourself, wear the brown scapular, bless yourself going by a Catholic Church to recognize Jesus in the tabernacle, pray for your deceased…

Day Forty Consecration to Mary for the 21st Century / A Lenten Journey

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Day Forty of Lent
Holy Saturday
Prayers for this week, Days 35-40 in Lent:
Begin each day with "Mother Mary pray with us to your loving Son, that God's Will on earth be done."

Holy Saturday
First Meditation
Meditate upon this photo.

Second Meditation
Read and meditate upon this ancient homily:
Something strange is happening--there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness.  The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep.  The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began.  God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.     He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep.  Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve.  The Lord …

Day Thirty-Nine Consecration to Mary for the 21st Century/A Lenten Journey

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Good Friday                                                                     Day Thirty-Nine
Friday of Holy Week of Lent

Prayers for this week, Days 35-40 in Lent:
Begin each day with "Mother Mary pray with us to your loving Son, that God's Will on earth be done."

Good Friday
Day of Fasting
First Meditation
Hopefully you have made arrangements to take today off, or at least the hours from noon to three.  If you have, spend some time in church.  If not pray and specifically pray for these intentions:
For our sake our Redeemer suffered death and was buried, and rose again.  With heartfelt love let us adore Him and pray:     Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ our teacher, for our sake you were obedient even to  accepting death, --teach us to obey the Father's will in all things. Christ our life, by your death on the cross you destroyed the power of evil and death, --may we die with you, to rise with you in glory. Christ our King, you became an outcast among us, a worm an…

Day Thirty-Eight Consecration to Mary for the 21st Century / a Lenten Journey

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Day Thirty-Eight Consecration to Mary for the 21st Century/A Lenten Journey
                                                                     Day Thirty-Eight
Holy Thursday

Prayers for this week, Days 35-40 in Lent:
Begin each day with "Mother Mary pray with us to your loving Son, that God's Will on earth be done."
First Meditation and Second Meditation and Third Meditation
Pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary
(1)  Apostle's Creed, (2) Our Father, (3) three Hail Mary's and a (4) Glory be...
The Agony in the Garden(Intention: For the ability to do God's Will and to accept the cross) (5) [ Recite 1 Our Father - 10 Hail Marys - 1 Glory be to the Father ]
My Jesus, You told Your Apostles many times that You looked forward to the final hour of Redemption, and yet as you foresaw the sufferings to come you shuddered with fear and anguish of soul.

You asked the Father to let this chalice pass and you received a refusal. My future looms before me at times, dear J…

Day Thirty-Seven Consecration to Mary for the 21st Century / A Lenten Journey

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Day Thirty-Seven Consecration to Mary for the 21st Century/A Lenten Journey
                                                                     Day Thirty-Seven
Wednesday of Holy Week of Lent

Prayers for this week, Days 35-40 in Lent:
Begin each day with "Mother Mary pray with us to your loving Son, that God's Will on earth be done."
First Meditation
Look at this picture.  What do you think is going on here?  Meditate upon what you imagine.
Second Meditation
This picture was painted by a Dominican Friar in 1450; he is known as Fra Angelico. Fra is colloquial for friar and since he painted like an angel, he was called Fra Angelico. The painting itself is called the Mocking of Christ. Jesus is seated on a raised dais and red box, meant to mock a king's throne.  Green curtains usually meant the figure was in glory and used as a backdrop in this painting highlights Christ as the central figure.  Jesus is blindfolded as he was when taunted by the high priest, but we viewer…