Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Trinity

We went to Mass this morning at Our Lady of the Mountains.  The priest said we couldn't understand the Trinity with our mere intelligence.  It's beyond us.  Of course that got me thinking.

I can try can't I?

The Trinity is like:

An egg--shell, yolk, egg white.

Sun--sun, light, heat.

H2O--water, steam, ice.

Triplets--3 persons with same DNA.

Towel--one towel with three folds.

Shamrock--flower with three leaves.

Cake--one three layer cake.

You can't help but try to understand.  Otherwise, one wouldn't have any idea and give up--no image, no picture=no god.

OK.  instead of nouns how about verbs:

The Trinity is like an action verb:

Shine--radiate, warm, glow.

Whisper--murmur, buzz, purr.

Love--feel, embrace, yearn.

Speak--talk, articulate, verbalize.

But there's too many ways to express the ineffable.

How about the verb to be?

The Trinity is like verb to be:

I am!



Saturday, May 30, 2015

Monthly Church Themes


There are Holy Days of Obligation.  There are some famous holy days, e.i., St. Patrick's Day.  There are some traditional church related days, e.i., Ash Wednesday.  Did you know that the months have traditional character, too?

January -- Holy Name of Jesus.  The feast is on January 3rd.  The beginning of the month is still Jesus' birth.  The beginning of the year should be devoted to Jesus.

February -- Holy Family.  What can be more important that the family?  Families are the building blocks for society.

March -- St. Joseph.  His feast day is March 19th.

April -- The Blessed Sacrament.  Easter usually occurs in April so I think it's appropriate to honor the Blessed Sacrament during this month.

May -- Our Lady.  It is nice to place flowers before a statue of Mary during this month.

June --  Sacred Heart.  A month to contemplate Jesus' love for us.

July -- Precious Blood of Jesus.  May the Blood of Jesus inebriate us.

August -- Immaculate Heart of Mary.  August 15th is an important feast day for Mary--the Assumption.

September -- Seven Sorrows of Mary.  A month to contemplate the seven sorrows: Simon's prophecy, flight into Egypt, Jesus lost in the temple, the road to Calvary, Crucifixion, taking down Jesus' body, and the burial of Jesus.

October -- Holy Rosary.  Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is this month.

November --  All saints and all souls.  November 1st and 2nd is All Souls Day.

December -- Immaculate Conception.  Without Mary being conceived without sin, we wouldn't have Jesus.

*Adapted from The Little Oratory by David Clayton and Leila Marie Lawler

Friday, May 29, 2015

A Beautiful Day


It was so beautiful today that hubby and I went hiking.  It was so beautiful today that while hiking we came across some kids skipping school.  They were swimming.  It's a little too cold.  This is Jackson Falls in Jackson, N.H. The water is cold mountain water from melting snow from Mt. Washington and other mountains.  Too chilly for me.

Another blessing today was that Catholic365 published a post of mine.  I'm not sure of the date but it was a few years ago.  Do you remember it?  http://www.catholic365.com/article/1559/what-is-truth.html 

God is good.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Phew


Phew as in smell.  Have you ever walked into an establishment and were hit with an unpleasant odor?  I bet you couldn't wait to leave that place.  I'm thinking of a friend's house that smells of cat's urine.  P-h-e-e-e-w!  How about entering a car stinking of cigarettes!  Ugh!

Don't you think the opposite must be true?  Is there is a pleasant aroma in your home, people will want to stay?  This is my way of thinking also.  In the winter, my secret is to put a few drops of pine sol into the humidifier.  It helps keep the humidifier clean and emits a smell of pine throughout the house.  All other times, I open windows to let the fresh air permeate the atmosphere.

I hope my home gives people a whiff of whom I am, my family is.  I'd like to convey a sense of peace, comfort and love, much like the feeling I get when I enter a Catholic Church.  Smells help do that.  I'm reminiscing the cobbler's shop, when I was I child.  I loved the smell of leather.  I love the smell of Yankee Candle shop.  And I love the smell of incense used during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Let my prayer be counted
as incense before thee,
and the lifting up of my hands
as an evening sacrifice!

Doesn't incense bring you into a different world?  Certain smells send me into different worlds.

I guess that's the intent. I do have an incenser and use incense granules.  But I'm always looking for easier Glade products that lift my spirit to prayer.   I'd like my home to convey a spirit of love.  What scent conveys familial, yet spiritual love?  Are there any incense granules that combine the smell of cookies baking and three kings resin incense?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Prayer Journal

When folks ask me to pray for them and/or their intentions, I either key them into my iPhone notes, or scribble them into a small note pad, I carry in my purse.

These prayer intentions then get transferred into my prayer group's Prayer Intention Book.  This Prayer Intention Book has an attractive cover.  Inside the cover is a history of Our Lady of Hope, also known as Our Lady of Pontmain.  I happen to think it's beautiful.

Getting slower and dimmer as I age, and maybe I always was a slow learner, it suddenly occurred to me to buy for myself a nice, as beautiful as I can purchase, prayer intention book.  It will be my very own special prayer journal.  So when I pray my daily prayers, I don't have to take out my iPhone notes, scribbled note papers, and note book, to pray for those that asked for me to pray for them and their intentions.  I'll make the transferring of their prayer intentions from here and there, into my own meaningful prayer journal, a prayer in and of itself.  I think it will be beneficial to have all my prayer intentions in one book.  I can review them and pray again.  Also, the intentions will be kept in mind and I can ask my friends how their intentions are coming along. Hopefully, their intentions will result in prayers of thanksgiving and praise.

Now to go shopping to buy the most beautiful prayer journal I can afford. Rather, do you think I should buy the cheapest notebook, I can find and doctor it up?  I could decorate the cover with my favorite holy cards?  That would be more meaningful, would it not?  Mmmmm, decisions, decisions, ....

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Future


I've just come up for air.  The pollen is doing a job on me.  Yesterday, I was so tired.  I fell asleep three or four times during the day, and when I was awake I was very grouchy.  My eyes were itchy and tired.

I've just gotten to my computer, now.  Not that I couldn't before, I just didn't feel like it.  I didn't want to use my eyes.  I didn't want to read anything.  But now that I'm better I was watching a Youtube video of Mons. Paul Tighe talk about the future of the Church in 2025.

Of course, the future is speculative, but I like what he was saying.  Mons. Tighe thinks social media will help with relationships.  News will be spread not by sitting alone in a chair watching to news.  You'll get it tweeted or instant messaged.  The real and the virtual will enhance each other.

Sounds good to me.  There will be less proselytizing and more sharing. Our relationships will grow and so will community.  Always remember to be encouraging and supporting.

The hope and joy of Jesus will always be relevant.  

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Segatashya

In prayer group a friend gave me a book called The Boy who met Jesus by Immaculee Ilibagiza.  As soon as I saw that Immaculee wrote it, I was interested.  I love Immaculee.  Before I heard about Immaculee I never heard of the apparitions at Kibeho.  I still know very little about it.  But I'm learning.

This apparition was different in that some other people also saw Mary,
besides the three visionaries.  And!  There was a little boy who saw Jesus.  He was pagan and knew nothing about Jesus.  He is known as Segatashya, which means the boy who met Jesus.

I'm hooked.  When I finish reading the book, I'll write a review for you.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

God is Our Savior

Psalm 107 is a hymn of thanksgiving.  It is a praise to God for being rescued, from physical conditions, imprisonment, situations, etc.  These particular verses spoke to me: Psalm 107: 8-16.

...
Let them thank the Lord for such kindness,
 such wondrous deeds for mere mortals.
For He satisfied the thirsty,
 filled the hungry with good things.

Some lived in darkness and gloom,
 in prison, bound with chains,
Because they rebelled against God's word,
 scorned the counsel of the Most High,
Who humbled their hearts through hardship;
 they stumbled with no one to help.
In their distress they cried to the Lord,
 who saved them in their peril,
Led them forth from darkness and gloom
 and broke their chains asunder.
Let them thank the Lord for such kindness,
 such wondrous deeds for mere mortals.
For He broke down the gates of bronze
 and snapped the bars of iron.

Wherever God's people were, He rescued them.  This is shown through out Israel's history.  My "cloistered brothers" consider themselves saved, also.  Many think that they would have been dead by now, were it not for being arrested and ending up in prison.  Many call it a blessing, not only for stopping their destructive behavior, but also for finding God.  "Let them thank the Lord..."

Friday, May 22, 2015

Do You Love Me?

Fr. Kevin said he was annoyed by Jesus always asking him if he love Him.  What is Father talking about?  The Gospel was John 21:15-19.  This is where Jesus keeps asking Peter if he loved Him.  Father Kevin was telling us that Jesus asks everyone the same question.  Of course when we answer in the positive, the response is prove it.

How do I love Thee?

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)
        from Sonnets from the Portuguese
                              XLIII
    How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
    I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
    My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
    For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
    I love thee to the level of everyday's
    Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
    I love thee freely, as men might strive for Right;
    I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
    I love thee with the passion put to use
    In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
    I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
    With my lost saints,–I love thee with the breath,
    Smiles, tears, of all my life!–and, if God choose,
    I shall but love thee better after death.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

God is Not a Genie

"I've tried everything else, why not try prayer?"  What have you got to lose?

My prayer group gets a lot of this type of prayer.  Do people think God is a genie?  He doesn't grant wishes.

When we pray for certain results, we are asking God to join us. He will be with us, listening, holding  You can't make God do anything.  If you are paying attention to God, the Holy Spirit may change your perspective in accordance to God's will. Remember God sees things differently than you do.  He has the whole picture; you see your immediate situation.
our hand.  But don't tell Him what to do.  We should listen.

Thankfully, Our God is generous.  He gives us many many gifts and sometimes those gifts are exactly our size.

I often think when someone prays for someone's conversion to a certain point of view that perhaps God is working on the "prayee". Maybe God is working on their perseverance, patience, and love.  Take praying for the health of someone.  The sick person may not recover, but prayer is never wasted.  Some good will come.  The sick person received a blessing no one but he himself knows.  The person praying receives a blessing.  Just communicating with God is a gift.  We are inviting God into the praying circle.  Of course He wants our happiness, also.  He wants what's good for us.  Trust in Him.

That's what we have learned in prayer group.  Praying for others' intentions have taught us to trust in Him.  Most of the time, people don't come back and say thank you.  God granted my prayer.  And we don't expect that.  It really doesn't matter if you got your wish.  You can't compel God to do anything.  St. Catherine of Siena reminds us, "God is God and you are not."  But He is always waiting to hear from you and be invited into your situation.  He has broad shoulders.




Monday, May 18, 2015

The Chaplet for Faith



How about praying different prayers on your rosary beads?

On the large beads:  Lord, increase my faith.

On the small beads:  Thank you Jesus for loving me.

Begin with:  Open my mind, my lips, and my hearts, to hear Your Voice, O Lord, while blessing yourself.

Glory Be.

Three Hail Mary's.

Our Father.

I think I'll call it the Chaplet for Faith.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Grace of Community


I've spoken about community before.  It's extremely important.  It's one of the pillars in my Dominican family.  It's very important in AA.  We see exactly how important it is in my TOPS chapter.  You just can't go it alone.

This was fact was brought home to me, again.  We're reading Sacred Fire by Ronald Rolheiser.  In chapter 5, pp. 137-139, Fr. Rolheiser tells several stories.  They all point to "you can't do it alone."  Community support is needed.

Whether you are trying to quit drinking, lose weight, or just become a better person, you need to join a support group.  Learn to share, to help, and to love.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Links

I spend way too much time on the computer, surfing around.  It's my TV and my books.  Anyway, I have a few favorites that I always check out, every day.  Here are a few (just a few).

First is the daily news.
http://www.boston.com/

Maybe some opinion on the news.
www.thebostonpilot.com/opinion/index.asp

I need to step back and pray.
http://harvestingthefruitsofcontemplation.blogspot.com/

Marina's take.
https://graceinmidlife.wordpress.com

Back to the news.
http://paper.li/antoniospadaro/1306325259

And what else is happening.
www.christophersmith-op.com

Friday, May 15, 2015

With Pere Lataste

My friend and confrere, Mr. Charles Adams, O.P. died from cancer last week.  I just came back from his wake.  There were many many people there.  He touched so many.  Now he is at rest and at home with the other deceased Dominicans.  St. Dominic welcomed him home and Pere Lataste kissed him like the French do--both cheeks.  I picture Mary introducing him to Jesus and showing him around.
    This picture serves as his holy card.  Our "cloistered brother," MEK drew it.  That's Charlie in the center.  And he was our center.  My chapter will have a difficult time adjusting.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Why Confess to a Man instead of to God?

Br. Tonto and Cappa

I'm still working on my lesson plan for Confession.  I had a dry run this afternoon.  They loved the skit and everything about it.  When we came to the time for asking questions, everyone felt the question uppermost in everyone's mind would be "Why do I have to go to a priest to confess?  Why can't I just tell God?"  So we're going to dedicate time to address this important question.

First, Scripture.  James 5: 16 instructs us to "confess to one another."  Note, it doesn't say "confess to God."
      Matthew 9: 6 tells us that Jesus was given authority to forgive sins and continue to 9: 8 and Jesus tells us that this authority was given to men.
      John 20: 21-23 is famous for Jesus blessing his disciples with the grace to forgive sins.  "Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained."
     The quote from John is the money quote.  This statement is the reason priests have the authority to hear our confessions and absolve our sins.
   
Second, now that I've given the references for the priests' authority to hear confessions, I'll give you the reason why they have to even do this.  It is because we're human.  Of course, the minute you are sorry for a sin and pray to God, you are forgiven.  But Catholics go to a confessor because the priest is acting in persona Christi and is exercising Matt 9:6.  We can actually see physical evidence of the priest (in persona Christi) blessing us and audibly hear the words of absolution.  In persona Christi is a Latin phrase for "acting in the person of Christ."

Isn't this great?  Trust me, nobody ever regrets going to confession.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Skit for Confession

Here is a skit I made up for my "cloistered brothers."  It is written specifically for those in formation for Lay Dominicans and those in RCIA.  Remember these men are in prison.  Yesterday's post was the plan for the evening.  This skit will be the last item on the list.  I need your input.  Do you think the mock confessions are apropros for the men's situation (prison)?  Also what do you think of the last penitent?  Is it inappropriate?  Should it be eliminated?

Mock
Sacrament of Reconciliation
Skit
Props:  two chairs, purple stole
Characters:  narrator, confessor,  3 penitents
Scene: Confessional—two chairs facing each other

Narrator: This is a simulation of different types of confessions.  The first is the no nonsense, just the facts type of confession.  The penitent will just give a list of sins.  The second type of confession is someone working on one area of his life.  The penitent needs spiritual direction.  The third type is …well, different.
The Confessor is sitting and waiting with purple stole.
The penitent comes and sits across from the priest.

1 Penitent: Bless me Father for I have sinned.  (Make sign of the cross.) It has been two months since my last confession. Here are my sins: I lack patience and often bark at people.  Sometimes I make hurtful, snarky remarks when someone asks me a simple question, particularly my cellmate.  I seem to have become very selfish and self-centered because I don’t even have the patience to listen to them.  I’m inattentive to other’s problems.  I’m also angry and jealous when I see others have more than I.  I’ve also been looking at porn and I’m afraid I’m getting addicted because I keep looking for more opportunities to look and fantasize and I don’t want it to get out of control.  I’m trying to stop.  Well, that’s enough.  That’s what I wanted to tell you.  And I am sorry for these sins and all the sins of my life.  I ask for forgiveness, absolution and penance.

Confessor: Well, let’s step back and see what’s going on in your life that has made you angry and impatient.  Has anything changed in your life?

1 Penitent:  No Father.

Confessor:  Have you had bad news from home or the prison administration?
1 Penitent:  No, no Father.

Confessor:  It just might be the porn.  It’s making you uncomfortable, anxious, and you’re slipping in deeper and afraid you can’t stop.  You’ve lost control and it’s becoming an obsession so that when friends speak or make demands on you, you react by snapping at everyone.  Am I right?

1 Penitent:  Maybe.  I don’t know.

Confessor: You have to quit the porn.

1 Penitent:  I want to.  I want to stop.

Confessor:  Do you think you can throw the junk away?  Can you walk away from situations where you see it? 

1 Penitent:  I’ll certainly try.

Confessor:  How about putting your mother’s face in the picture?  Your grandmother’s?

1 Penitent:  Ah…that might do it.

Confessor:  What I want you to do is pray to Jesus for strength to resist temptation?  Ask Mary for help?  Do you know the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel?

1 Penitent:  No Father

Confessor:  That’s your penance.  Look up the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel and pray it.  Meditate upon it.  You’ll understand why, when you pray it.  Now make a good act of contrition.

1 Penitent: O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee and I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and avoid the near occasions of sin. Amen.

Confessor:  May God the Father of Mercies, who through the death of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, give you pardon and peace.  And, now, I absolve you from all of your sins, In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 1 Penitent makes sign of the cross.

1 Penitent: Amen

Confessor: Go in peace.

1 Penitent: Thank you Father.

Narrator: This is only one example of confession.  If you don’t know an act of contrition just tell the priest and say I'm really sorry for all my sins and, because I love God, I will try not to sin anymore”
        In this next scene, the penitent doesn’t give a list of sins.  He confesses frequently because he says his last confession  was a week ago.  This penitent is looking for spiritual direction, especially if he always goes to the same priest, who know s him well.

Second Scene

The  2 penitent comes and sits across from the priest

2 Penitent:  Bless me Father for I have sinned.  (Make sign of the cross.) It has been one week since my last confession.  I’d like to confess my feelings of helplessness, anger, and frustration towards my wife.  She’s getting into heroin again and won’t listen to me.  When I get mad she stays away.  I don’t know what to do.

Confessor:  I can feel your sorrow and frustration.  You have no control over the situation.  Prayer is really your only recourse.  Pray for yourself.  Pray that you can think clearly and influence her wisely.  Pray for her that she will see what she is doing and step away from it.  Pray for help, for intervention.  Perhaps in prayer, you will think of someone or some way to help her.  I will pray for you two, too.
      Is there anything else you want to tell confess?

2 Penitent:  No Father

Confessor:  For your penance say three Hail Mary’s and make a good act of contrition.

2 Penitent:  O my Jesus, I am sorry for offending You because I have hurt You and Your Church.  I firmly intend, to make up for my sins and to sin no more. Amen.

Confessor:  May God the Father of Mercies, who through the death of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, give you pardon and peace.  And, now, I absolve you from all of your sins, In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 2 Penitent makes sign of the cross.

2 Penitent: Amen

Confessor:

2 Penitent: Thank you Father.

Narrator:  You have seen two types of confessions: one who gives a list of his sins, and the other who is working on correcting one area of his life.  The priest will help you confess whichever way is the most comfortable.  Just ask the confessor for help.  Here is the last scene.

Scene Three

The 3 penitent rushes quite hastily to the seat.

3 Penitent:  Hey Father, I just had sex with three women at the same time!

Confessor:  Whoa, wait a minute.  When was your last confession?

3 Penitent:  Confession?  This is my first time here.

Confessor:  Oh, this is your first confession.  You need to tell me that.  Have you examined your conscience?

3 Penitent:  I don’t know what you’re talking about?  I just wanted to tell you that I had sex with 3 women at the same time.

Confessor:  Are you sorry for this?

3 Penitent:  Hell, no.  I’m proud of it!

Confessor:  In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the penitent must have sorrow for his or her sins, must confess them to a priest, and must do satisfaction for the sins.  This is what all Catholics do.

3 Penitent:  But I’m not Catholic.

Confessor:  Then why are you here?

3 Penitent:  Because I’m 95 years old and just had sex with three woman at the same time (Stand up and as he leaves he says.)  I’m telling everybody.

Confessor:  Stands up and explains. The Sacrament of Reconciliation, sometimes called the Sacrament of Penance or Confession, forgives the sins of baptized persons committed after baptism. 

 Narrator: The Sacrament of Reconciliation restores the gift of God’s grace after it has been lost by mortal sin or weakened by venial sin.  In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the penitent has a personal encounter with Jesus Christ who is represented by the priest in the confessional.

Confessor:      As members of Christ’s Body, everything we do affects the whole body.  Sin wounds and weakens the Body of Christ; the healing we receive in this Sacrament restores health and strength to the Church, as well as to ourselves.

Narrator:  The last penitent, penitent # 3 was not sorry.

Confessor:
  In fact, he didn’t see any sin at all.  We don’t know if anyone was hurt by his actions; it’s only a humorous story after all.  He was so far away from God that he only thought of himself.  Lust is selfish, self-seeking and hurtful.  His sin besides being fornication or adultery was more worship of himself and whatever whim entered his head. 

Narrator:  No absolution for penitent # 3.  He didn’t fulfill the requirements: 

Confessor:  He was not sincere and honest.

Narrator:  He wasn’t sorry—not repentant.

Confessor: He didn’t resolve to do better.

Narrator:  He is not reconciled with God.

Confessor:  But these are only mock confessions.  The real Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the reasons we should be glad we’re Catholic.  Getting rid of guilt, and hearing from the priest’s mouth that your sins are forgiven is a blessing we all crave.  We can see, hear, and feel the grace of absolution as surely as we can taste the Body of Christ in the Eucharist.

Narrator:  Thanks be to God.

Everyone:   Amen!






Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Lesson Plan for Confession

I'm having my Lay Dominican formation students give a lesson on the Sacrament of Reconciliation to the entire Catholic community in the prison.  Here's my lesson plan:

Ask if they know these vocabulary words that we'll be using: confessor, penitent, examen, etc.

Catechism definition

Explain why confessing to a priest is better than confessing to a bartender or hairdresser.  Why we confess to a priest instead of directly to God?

History of the Sacrament of Reconciliation

Some Confession facts: mortal and venial sin, when, how, how often, etc.

Fun reading of Psalm 51: 1-13--people pinch their noses when sin is mentioned and hand washing motions for words of cleansing and forgiveness.

Skit:  Someone plays the Confessor and have 3 different penitents give examples of making a confession

Ending by distributing an Examination of Conscience specifically crafted for them in their particular situation
.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Prison is a State of Mind

Drawing by MEK

Blessed Jean Joseph Lataste used to tell the prisoners that nuns in convents lived like them, e.i., got up to bells, went to bed with bells, had to ask permission, ate what was given, and could never leave the premises.  Yet the inmates were miserable because they were in prison.  Yet,  the nuns were happy.  The difference is attitude.

The nuns chose to go behind the wall.  They praise God all day and count their blessings.  Whereas, prison inmates are put behind walls.

If only the inmates could turn to praising God and counting their blessings, they'd be happy even in prison.

Sister Confida has a lot in common with Blessed Jean Joseph Lataste.  Sister thought her convent walls were a prison and she was unhappy.  So she asked for a vacation.  Sister Confida and two other nuns went to Vermont.  One morning Sister was making coffee and in a cup she found a mouse.  She carried it outside.  Once outside, Sister put the mouse in an empty flower pot.  She watched the mouse for awhile and realized that it must be hungry.  She went to the kitchen and brought the mouse a handful of cheerios and dropped them into the pot.  The mouse loved them.  He'd pick one up and hold it in his front paws and ravenously nibble the cheerio.  He was standing on his hind legs and looking up at Sister.  She felt that he was thanking her.  He looked so grateful.  She also realized that he didn't know that he was inside a big flower pot.  He was happy and grateful.  All of a sudden she had an epiphany.  His gratitude made all the difference in his world.  She should be grateful for her blessings instead of thinking herself in a prison.  If only she would appreciate what she had.  Her convent wasn't a prison; it was a flower pot where blessings rained down upon it.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Weekend From Hell

Drawing by MEK
It started Friday night.  The night was spent moving my niece out of college.  We couldn't use my truck because it's broken, so we had to impose on someone else to borrow their truck.

Saturday I had a Lay Dominican Regional Meeting.  I got lost driving there.  I wasn't late but it frazzled me a bit.  At least I got to go to Confession.

Saturday night, my niece and I gave each other manicures and pedicures.  We spilled nail polish on the carpet.  We couldn't wipe it all up.  Luckily the design is persian rug and it's so busy the spill isn't that noticeable.

Early Sunday morning, 4:00 AM the phone rang.  Being asleep and slow to respond, we let the answer machine take the call.  I was surprised to hear my niece's voice!  That woke me up; after all she's asleep in the same house as me!  I couldn't understand what was going on, so I got out of bed and went to listen to the machine.  She was crying because she was in pain.  I went to her bedroom and found her head in the wastebasket vomiting.  The poor kid had been vomiting for hours and in acute pain.

There we were in the emergency room at 4:30 AM.  The ER was a mad house.  So many children crying.  We were in a room for procedures but most of the time we were stuck in the hall.  I was so tired, hungry and thirsty.  She had a cat scan and a sonogram but everything looked fine.  .They were thinking of sending her home but her pain was worse and she felt nauseous.  The morphine was useless.  The only thing left was surgery.

So I went home at 11:30 AM.  I was tired, hungry and needed coffee.  I walked in on a brunch--a Mother's Day Brunch my kids had planned.  "Happy Mother's Day!"  "Oh yeah."  The kitchen was a mess from everyone cooking.  The weather was unseasonably hot and I was dressed for 4:00 AM weather.  I'm trying to say, I felt too miserable to enjoy the Mother's Day surprise.  I couldn't wait for everyone to leave so I could change into cooler clothes and take a long nap.

Besides!  I didn't get to Mass.  I suppose I could have gone to the 5:00 PM but I blew it off.  And I just went to confession, yesterday!

After a little nap, I had a new attitude.  I went to visit my niece in the hospital, who felt much better without her appendix.  It was inflamed.  She'll come home tomorrow.

All's well that ends well.  At least our finger and toe nails looked nice.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Rosaries blessed by the Pope

Rosary blessed by the Master of the Order of Preachers

It's a contest!  Click on this link: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/rosaries/rosary-contest.cfm  and you may enter a contest to win a rosary blessed by the pope.  Additionally, the book of the pope explaining the importance of the rosary is available at less than $ 5.00!  It's perfect for prayer groups.  Take a look and see. http://store.usccb.org/praying-the-rosary-with-pope-francis-p/7-476.htm 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

At the Movies

We went to see the movie Little Boy, tonight.  It was fantastic.  I cried shamelessly.  My favorite line was "It takes a lot of courage to have Faith."


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Poetry Reading

My writer's group had a poetry reading today. I was surprised at the people.  The room was full.  If we ever have another Reading we'll have to find a bigger room.

I was surprised because I would have never gone to a ladies poetry reading.  It just sounds boring.  But it wasn't.  It was fun.  I read two funny pieces and one serious.  I was surprised to see that I got the audience going.

Here is a picture of Diana Thomas reading a few of her poems.  Here's one of them.

Flight
by
Dee Dee Thomas

I had a dream come to me one night.

All I could see was the world was near me
I did not know what or where I was--I was in Flight.

I could feel the wind all around me
Then it started to rain and something made me come back to earth
I could feel the wind come over me, so refreshing.

Then without a warning
Something made me take Flight again.
This time I moved even faster than I had done before.

Then it came to me I must have been a feather that had come out of a bird.

But could I be that bird you have seen in the sky
Day after day?

You can think what you want
And you can dream what you want.

Use your mind to fly like I have done this day

To the sky of your dreams.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Confession


In the Confessional
Listening for the door to slide,
                I self examine.
My throat spasms up thru my lips,
                a ball of gossip.

Gossip rolls down the front of my dress.
                Horrified, I grasped
for it, as it ricochets off the walls
                and out the door.

Gossip sneaked under the pews.
                That slippery sphere
rolled on faster and faster,
                murmuring away.

Horror sucked away my breath;
                mocking me, rolling on.
I find myself running on my knees,
                passed shocked penitents.

Down the aisle to the Tabernacle.
                Gossip mocked louder.
How vile and loathsome is gossip,
                Slippery, slimy, sphere.

Leaping to snatch it up quickly,
                it slips my fingers
and rolls down the steps out the church,
                muttering insults.


Once outside, gossip bounces
                every which way.
Stop it.  Stop it.  Stop it.  I scream.
                It’s uncontrollable.

Uncaring, gossip runs away
                into the busy street,
Right under the tires of a car.
                The taunting stops.

Flattened, the ball of gossip breaks
                open a bleeding stream
of lies, stories, and useless talk--
                dripping a foul trail.


Off the road and into the gutter
                run my lies and shame,
now absolved by God’s mercy,
                down the sewer drain.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The High Cost of Incarcerating the Elderly and Infirm in the Massachusetts Prison System


I know that the men and women in prison are there because they committed serious crimes.  They are being punished not only because they are away from family and friends, but they also live with the horror of their transgressions.  So they should; their victims do.  However, many of these offenders are elderly and are no more a threat to public safety.  It is costing the Massachusetts taxpayers dearly to keep these elderly incarcerated.  Is there a better alternative?

According to the 2013 Department of Correction Annual Report, medical care for prisoners cost Massachusetts taxpayers $98,520,685.  By 2015 the figure is expected to exceed $ 100,000,000.  Massachusetts state officials estimate that the state will need to build separate, specialized long term care units for the chronically ill and disabled for at least 600.  These people are severely disabled with illness.  They have debilitating chronic diseases.

The current trajectory on this critical issue is economically infeasible and morally untenable.  Something has to give.  Any ideas?

Here's a few:

  •  release those who pose no risk to society into supervised medical care
  • develop an Assisted Daily Living Care facility for the incarcerated
  • train and utilize life and long term prisoners as basic health care providers to care for the elderly
  • support legislation that calls for supervised medical release of prisoners suffering from chronic illness.  Contact your local State Representatives to request that they support medical release legislation.
Yes, it is true that many years ago some offenders committed serious crimes.  Many of these now elderly and infirm men and women have paid dearly for those transgressions through years of incarceration.  Today, an ever growing number of these former offenders are very ill, dying, and need specialized care that prisons are not equipped to handle.  They are not capable of hurting anyone and pose no threat to society, any longer.  The situation needs to be addressed.

This information was put together by the Norfolk Lifers Group.  You may contact them at 

Norfolk Lifers Group
P.O. Box 43
Norfolk, MA  02056


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Mass for Anna Devasiea


The prayer group, Our Lady of Hope, went to 9:00 Mass this morning.  The Mass was a memorial for Mary's mother, Anna Devasiea.  Mary's mother was 91 when she died.  May Anna run to meet the God who loves her.  May she enjoy the blessings of eternal life.

After Mass we all went out for breakfast.  Here is a picture of us around the table, minus Liz who was taking the picture.  Blessings abounded.  

Friday, May 1, 2015

Sibyls

Internet Image

The term sibyl refers to the prophetesses that lived in history.  They were pagan, but as Christians are wont to do, they Christianize pagans.  The word itself is Greek for prophetess.  They were strong women who spoke out.  They were named after places they lived, i.e., Delphic Sibyl, Persian Sibyl, etc.

Some of these Sibyls are mentioned in Christian history.  "You may see some on altarpieces and illuminated manuscripts and even on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel, the periphery of which is dominated by five Sybils (the Delphic, Cumaean, Libyan, Persian, and Erythraean) interspersed with seven Old Testament Prophets (Zacharias, Isaias, Daniel, Jonas, Jeremias, Ezechiel, and Joel).

Pay attention to the words in 'Dies Irae,' sung at Masses for the dead.  It's opening lines:

Dies irae, dies illa,
solvet saeculum in favilla,
teste David cum Sibylla.
 That day of wrath, that dreadful day,
shall heaven and earth in ashes lay,
as David and the Sybil say." *

Does it bother you that we Catholic Christians seem to honor these pagan myths?  It shouldn't.  As I said earlier, Christians baptize pagans.  St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us that there's truth in everything.  Look for that.  These Sybils remind us that the Church teaches that actual grace and the natural virtues exist outside of the Church and we Catholics are to honor Truth no matter where it comes from.  Did not Aquinas learn from Socrates?  Arrogance and spiritual pride have no place in a Catholic.  We shouldn't presume to know whom God blesses.  The Holy Spirit may bless anyone by sanctifying grace.  The best and most wise way to follow would be to treat everyone equally with charity.  Honor Truth wherever you find and live your life according to God's commandments. 

* Thanks for the information found on https://www.fisheaters.com/sybils.html 









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