Showing posts from November, 2015

The Devil's in The Details

If you know me then you know I don't bother with details.  I think the "Devil's in the details." means that if you pay attention to details, you'll be driven crazy.  That's my experience.  Perfectionists drive me crazy.  "Good enough!" is my favorite expression.

Anyway, my Lay Dominican Chapter was blessed to have Father John Vidmar, O.P. visit us.  He talked about the Inquisition.  Everything he seemed to say hinged on the details of history.  O.K. I see his point.  My "cloistered brothers" definitely pay attention to details.  There's a huge amount of  difference between Murder One and Murder Two.  In fact, that's the distinction that turned my opinion around.

Since coming to that conclusion, I could see how distinctions are important to teachers.  Academics reward distinctions to give recognition for superior work.  Also, societal class distinctions can be felt, nevermind, seen.

Of course, there are other examples, but I don…

Your First Christmas Card

Cleverly done!!!

T'was two months before Christmas
When all through our land,

Not a Christian was praying

Nor taking a stand.

Why the PC Police had taken away
The reason for Christmas - no one could
say. The children were told by their schools not to sing

About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.

It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say

December 25th is just a ' Holiday '.

Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, cheques and credit

Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!


A Secret to the Grave

Sometimes we took a short cut walking to school.  A rather dangerous short cut which went across the Spicket River.  I’m talking about the winter time when the river was frozen.   We could save five minutes this way.
It was around 7:15 in the morning.  We had missed the school bus, so we were rushing.  Sliding down the hill with the snow filling our boots wasn’t a concern.  Even knowing that we’d be sitting in school all day with wet feet, we couldn’t take the time to be facetious. 
So we ran and slid and ran to the frozen river.  Again we ran and slid and slipped and ran until Sheila fell.  She fell hard and cried out.
I knew immediately that something was terribly wrong because her cry was full of pain.  I thought she had broken her arm or wrist, but she said it was her shoulder.  I tried to help her get up, but she said not to touch her.  She managed to stand and I carried her book bag. 
We walked slowly to school and believe it or not, we prayed for a miracle.  Sheila’s parents…

Your Safe Place

You must always come in when it rains.  You never know what wet clothes can do.  I mean keeping them on will give you a chill.  And your hair is ruined.
You need a safety place—a place to return to when the clouds open up and attack.  This is the place where you can wait out the rain.

The same is true when trouble attacks you spiritually.  Get out of that mood.  Run to your safe place.  Jesus holds the door open for you.  And this place doesn’t have to be physical.  It can be like St. Catherine of Siena’s cell.  She had an interior place to retreat to when she felt the rain.  That’s what you need.  Otherwise, you’re all wet.

Rant of the Day

Intruding into my semi-conscious internet surfing are some discussions on weather and newscasters' appearance.  Here's one sample here.  Some of the comments resonated what I've been thinking for years.  But I've never blamed the performer herself.  I blame her costumer, or whoever plans her wardrobe.

When the credits roll, I see who did the hair, makeup, and clothes for the newscaster/weather person.  I blame whoever chooses the "clothes."  If the store who provides the clothes aims to get customers from the show, they've lost me.  Most people buy clothes for work.  The people on television need to reflect that.  If they did, 99% of the time, the women would be wearing pants and tops.  Usually, the women wear dresses that you'd wear to a wedding reception.  And I get that sleeveless is "sexy," but it would be more sensible to have a cardigan or jacket paired with the dress.  In fact, taking the sweater off or putting it on would advertise…

Doing What's Right Isn't Easy

In the King Arthur environmental crusade novel,Warrior Kids: A Tale of New Camelot byMichael J. Bowler , Lance and his cohorts work to change the world.  This is a modern story about today.  It is aimed for kids in the middle grades and thankfully has no embarrassing sexual situations or bad language.  I enjoyed reading it and wish I had a child that age to discuss it.  The culture contributes to today’s environmental mess.  Lance and the knights traverse the glove talking to governmental agencies and authorities.  The problem is that big polluting corporations want the kids out of the way.  A few attempts on Lance’s life are made.  But with the help of Excalibur, the mythical sword, Lance managers to escape.  I think it’s a nice gimmick that the author, Michael J. Bowler has some twelve year-olds as major characters: Billy, Enya, Itzamna, and Chris, yet Lance is eighteen.  Something for every teen and pre-teen.  Lance has most of the kids in the U.S.A. and maybe the world, on his side…

Preparation for Mass

My best prayer time is usually in the morning.  I sit myself down with my prayer book and a cup of coffee.  But sometimes, like today, God wants to talk to me, when He wants to talk.   Tonight, Sunday, I went to a 5:00 PM Mass.  I parked my car at my daughter's house and walked to church.  I was doing this because I didn't exercise today and I was a little bit early for Mass.

I walked up the hill with a brisk pace because there's no sidewalk and it was dusk.  I was worried that motorists would find it hard to see me.  Once at the top, I was out of breath and stopped for a bit.

The Jesus prayer popped into my head.  "Lord Jesus Christ pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death."  I took this thought as a mantra as I walked the rest of the way.  Much to my surprise, my heart beat in rhythm to my steps.  I prayed out loud as well as in my mind and now my heart: "Lord Jesus Christ pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death..."  Every…

Sometime When You Lose, You Win

We played cribbage tonight.  I lost every single game.  It must be a record.  It's a good thing I wasn't playing seriously.  I didn't put any money up.  I just joined the recreational table because I didn't want to play for hours.  I wanted to get home to watch Boston College play Notre Dame.

Even though I lost, I had a good time and I met some nice people.  I even met a neighbor, who used to "trick or treat" at my house; we even rode the same bus to see the pope. It really is a small world.

Our little "recreational" league laughed much more than the serious players.  We were nicer to each other and we finished playing sooner.

Tolerate is Not Agreeing

Just because I tolerate your opinions, doesn't mean that I agree with you.  Think about it.  I tolerate being cold or hot.  It's not what I like or want.  I tolerate it.

If I agree with you, I agree.  It's when I don't agree with you is when I'm tolerating your views.  Just because I don't walk away, or punch you in the face, doesn't mean I agree with you.  I'm tolerating you.

Chair Volleyball

We won! It wasn't easy.  Our opponents were formidable.  Their hitters often spiked the ball close to the net and we were hard put to keep one cheek on the chair.  Their servers were very accurate and often assisted in fake serves.

The rotation was strong.  It didn't matter who served, they seem to always set point.  They were expert in quick rolls and the ball often bounced off our heads.  Even the net posts seem to mock us.

But it didn't matter.  Perseverance paid off.  We tired them out.  We just outlasted them.  We won.

See the crowns we winners were given.  Better see the smiles.

Mass and Healing Service

My prayer group was blessed tonight.  We went to see an old friend and mentor, spiritual advisor and priest.  Father Aniello Salicone celebrated Mass tonight and had a healing service afterwards.  I don't think he's changed at all.  His hair is thinner and whiter, but so is mine.  He's still the gentle, prayerful priest, I remember.

His teachings tonight were of God's love (of course).  That's his thing.  But he solved a problem that's been bouncing around in my head for awhile. You see one time when I was praying the thought occurred to me that I was kind of wasting my time because what I was praying for was something that God wants, too.  Father Aniello proved statistically that God answers prayers and either gives us what we want or something better.  I don't remember the exact figures, but I remember that we get what we ask for 4% of the time.  Yet 50 % of the time we get something better.  We also don't see immediate results.  Father Aniello quote…

Sympathizing with the Antagonist

Have you ever sympathized with the bad guy in a story?  That's what happened to me in Once WeWere Brothers by Ronald H. Balson.  I don't think the author intended sympathy for him; it's my make-up and personality that made me identify with the antagonist.

It's not that Otto is likable.  It's that he falls into the same sins that I would have been tempted to do.  I can just see myself doing exactly what he did, during the war.  I'm afraid I'm a coward or more correctly, I'm afraid of being a coward.

Also, I'd also do what Otto did after the war.  I'd try to make up for my wrongdoing by doing good works.  I just self-identify too closely for comfort.

Once We Were Brothers is a good story.  I love the love story between Ben and Hannah.  And I like how everything is neatly tied together.

At first I was annoyed at how long it took Ben to get into the story, just like it annoyed Catherine, his attorney.  But the author, Ronald H. Balson is an attor…

Laetamur Magnopere

Don't ask me why, but in helping the catechumens make up a Catholic trivia game, I happened to be using the glossary in the back of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  I flipped to the front of the book and read the Apostolic Letter in which the edition of the catechism I was using was approved.
It is called Laetamur Magnopere, written by Pope John Paul II.

I read it.  That's what I meant by my opening statement: "Don't ask me why?"

I just love our Catholic Church.  It is so rich in teaching, history, spiritual  and spiritual exegisis.  There's no end to what you can learn.  I am just amazed how everything relates to each other.

In Laetamur Magnopere I learned that in 1993, Pope John Paul II appointed Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to preside over an Interdicasterial Commission to prepare a revised version of the first catechism.  Do you know who this Cardinal is?  He became pope--Pope Benedict XVI.

I was also surprised that in 1997, the year Laetamur Magnope…


I'm not a detail person.  "Good Enough!" is one of my most usual expressions."  But The Nightingale by Kristan Hannah was so well written, down to the minuteness of details, that she had me drooling.  I see the importance of details in writing, at least.  What a writer!  Her written expression seems so effortlessly done.  The story is about living in occupied France during World War II.  TheNightingale refers to the code name given to the guide who helped people cross over the Pyrenes.

Hannah's descriptions of the hardships endured had me suffering.  And what I particularly noted was the description of cooking.  This is not a book about cooking, nor hardship.  It's a story of two young women and their differences, especially their different ways of approaching the war.  They both get drawn into the battle.  Hannah deftly describes the scenes so well that you're there.  Although, food was rationed, and they grew what they could, the people had to make d…

Cooperation Not Transformation

My co-facilitator asked our group, "How many of you read the Bible?"  The people I was standing next to mumbled their responses, but I distinctly heard, "It's too hard."

He continued on about how much he enjoys reading the Bible every day...blah, blah.

But I couldn't get that short sentence out of my mind, "It's too hard."  What did he mean?

There are all kinds of translations, fer cryin out loud!  You could even read a children's Bible!  What's the matter with people?

I've been thinking about "It's too hard.", all week.  I've come to the conclusion that the person who said that, probably hasn't really tried.  Not really!  The Bible he looked at probably used more difficult language than we commonly use.  That person was simply intimidated.  He looked and gave up.

Obviously, since he came to our Adult Faith Formation, he is open to being transformed.

Mmmmm.  Maybe not.  His heart and mind are open a crack, b…

The Devil's Never Idle

When the Devil’s Idle by Leta Serafim is more than a detective story.  Before reading this novel, I knew nothing about Greece.  Leta Serafim’s descriptions of the country, her explanations of historical events intermingled with Greek mythology, made me fall in love with Greece.  The setting is on the island of Patmos.  You will learn that the evangelist, St. John wrote the Book of Revelation here.  The island is very popular with Greek tourists.  It’s like the snow birds in the US going south for the winter.  German tourists fly to Greece.  It must be a “deal” financially.  It is here that a crime takes place.  A German tourist is murdered with a swastika carved on his forehead. The detectives are a team.  The leader is Yiannis Patronas.  His cohorts are a fellow policeman and a priest:  Giorgos Tembelos and Papa Michalis.  There’s another.  For comic relief add Evangelos Demos. 
Evangelos is a screw-up.  He is described as “Fat and incompetent, he’d been forced out of the Chios Poli…

Lee Strobel's Conclusions

Lee Strobel and I used some of the same proofs to settle in our mind, whether or not Jesus is Who He says He is.  It's the apostles' behavior after Jesus' crucifixion that convinces me.  Why would they persist in proclaiming Jesus' resurrection, if it were not true?  There's no money in it?  They all were and remained poor their entire lives.  They were persecuted.  Why go through that unless moved to by the Holy Spirit?  And they all died terrible deaths.  John didn't die violently, as did the others, but he died in exile.

Why, if it all were not true?

Lee Strobel was a successful editor of the Chicago Tribune and an atheist.  His wife told him that she was converting to Christianity.  He set out to prove to her that she was foolish. Instead, he found himself proving to himself that she was right.  His reasons include:

History shows that Jesus Christ lived.
   "            "        "      "         "       was crucified.
   "     …