Monday, October 31, 2016

Disapointed in gods of Tango

The novel, The gods of Tango by Carolina de Robertis was surprisingly disappointing.  It's on many best sellers' list.  It's highly recommended on Amazon and Goodreads.  Upon reflection though I think I know why.  I speculate that the lesbian communities are reading and praising this novel.  It has highly detailed, graphic, lesbian, sex scenes.  Not my thing.  Anytime I come across explicit sex in a novel I suspect that the author is using sex as a selling gimmick.

The story line of a female posing as male isn't new, even Shakespeare uses it.  But the ad nauseum detail that de Robertis used was tedious and just not believable.  When the guys urinate together and Dante, the main character, doesn't because he's shy may work once, but not continuously.  Or dressing together.  Or brothel hopping together.  Or bathing--swimming--disrobing...

Unbelievable.

How come no one question the lack of hair on Dante's body, no Adam's apple, no beard...

I guess sex makes up for credibility?

The story line that gives the novel its title, "the tango," was interesting at first.  But the author's trying to convince the readers of its hypnotic, seductive and addictive nature became tedious.  I was just bored by it.  And generally, I was just bored by the entire book.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Are God and Allah the Same?

Are God and Allah the same? No!



Muslims, Jews, and Christians claim Abraham as their father but these religions are not the same.  Three of us can claim you as our friend.  But to me you are a fellow blogger.  To someone else you maybe a neighbor.  And to another, a coworker.  You are a friend to all three of us but we view you through different lens.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Forgiveness Heals

Another thing I learned from Life in the Jar: The Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer, is about forgiveness.  I keep relearning and relearning the meaning of this concept.  But the way, Norman Conard, the history teacher,
explained it to his students resonated with me.  He said that not forgiving is like taking poison and hoping the guilty person will hurt.  Putting the perpetrator to death only releases him from life.  His death leaves you bitter and hurting for the rest of your life like YOU are in prison.  Hate wears you down and your enemy doesn't even know about it.

An Indian Grandfather tells a story that two wolves lived inside him and were always fighting to control him.  One wolf is vengeful and angry, the other forgiving and kind.  The grandson asked his grandfather, "Which one wins:"  The old man smiled and said, "The one I feed."


Jan Karski


I'm reading Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer.

I will write a review of the book, another day.  However, in the book, Irena tells the story of Jan Karski.  What he did affected me so much, that I need to post it immediately!

The time is World War II, Poland.  The year is 1942.  A spy by the name of Jan Karski, from the Polish-government-in-exile, was assigned to gather evidence of the Holocaust out to the world.  Karski toured the Polish underground network.  He was disguised as a Ukrainian partisan in uniform so he could get close to trains, prison camps, and extermination centers.  A dentist removed several of his teeth so the resultant swelling would disguise his Polish-accented German.  I guess it was obvious that he had recent dental work done.

He traveled taking pictures of places, documents and other evidence of the genocide.  He went from Poland to Berlin, then through Vichy France to Marseilles where the French underground smuggled him across the Pyrenees into Spain.  Several weeks later, Jan Karski related his story in London.  Newspapers declined to publish his story, nevermind the pictures!  No one believed him.

Today there is a Jan Karski Award for Valor and Compassion, presented by the American Center of Polish Culture.

I guess it isn't his courageous deed that so impressed me, worthy as it is, as the refusal of the Allies to believe.  What other evidence did they need?!


Relic of St. Teresa Venerated on World Mission Sunday

Relic of St. Teresa venerated at cathedral on World Mission Sunday: SOUTH END -- A procession of people holding flags, each representing a different country, made its way up the center aisle of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Oct. 23, at the start of the Mass of World Missions.  St. Teresa is Mother Theresa, the sister who ministered to the poor in India.  She is a model for all those wishing to do missionary work.  Look at the article for a slide show of the procession before Mass and see all the flags from different countries.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Walls aren't Answer to People Fleeing War

Walls aren't answer to people fleeing war, climate change, pope says: VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Closing doors to immigrants and refugees is not the answer -- in fact, it only helps encourage the crime of human trafficking.

This article emphasized the pope's plea to help our brothers and sisters.

Look Me in the Eyes


We were shaking hands goodbye– but he didn’t let go.  “I have to tell you something.  We’re friends, right?”

“Yes.”  He finally let my hand go and continued to explain.

 “When we were shaking hands, you weren’t looking at me.  You were looking behind me.  Is there someone more interesting there?  More important?  Look, I know you.  I know that you’re not that kind of person.  You’re too kind and thoughtful and caring to be like that.  But your body language is telling people that you don’t value them.  When you shake hands with someone you need to look them in the eyes. 

What could I say?  Of course I apologized.  He wasn’t being mean.  He was trying to be helpful. 
Still.  His words (helpful as he said) were embarrassing. 

Was he right?  I thought about it.  It didn’t take me long.  I could replay the last few moments of saying goodbye to him and shaking his hand, in my mind.  And I could feel my eyes looking at the crowd behind him. I did do that.  I do, do that.  I do.

Why?  Well, after thinking, I dunno, I reflected deeper. 

Is it possible, that I’m just shy?  I was extremely shy as a child.  Haven’t I outgrown it?  Do people ever outgrow it?  Of course they do, but is a part of me still afraid of people?  Well, it is possible. 
What can I do about it?  Just look people in the eye, Silly.  Well, yes. 

Is it also possible that I wasn’t paying attention to him and was looking for someone more interesting?  I don’t think so.  I was leaving, not staying. 

Well, whatever!  I hearby resolve to look people in the eye. 
                        I will give the person I am talking to all my attention.
                        I will make them feel attractive, interesting, and valuable.
                        I will engage them for as long as needed.
Actually, my resolution willprobablly improve the quality of my interactions with others.  And that’s certainly a good thing.  Eyes may not literally be windows to the soul, but they do speak emotionally.  I hope my eyes speak sincerety, honesty, and kindness.  And with a smile!  Smiling eyes are the best conversational accessory. 


But I have to look at you to convey all this.  And that’s what I resolve to do.

P.S.  It's been a couple of weeks now since I made this resolution and you know what?  I'm looking people directly in the eye but most of them do not look me in the eye!  Most of them look down.  

Why do you think?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

House Blessing

Father Chris Bae came to bless Ester's new house.  Ester is a member of Our Lady of Hope Prayer Group and she invited all of us to the house blessing.  Once all of us were present, Father Chris poured a little salt on a napkin and some water in a cup.  He then blessed the cup and salt and poured the salt into the cup and blessed it.  He prayed out of a Book of Blessings, which also included some readings.  Then we all followed Father Chris walking through every single room, blessing it by sprinkling holy water in every nook and cranny.  He blessed each person, too.

Everyone ate and socialized.  Father Chris, too.

This picture is Father Chris blessing the salt and holy water.  Ester is watching from the stairs.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Easy Action for Syria

Dear anti-genocide activist,
As you know, the situation for civilians in Syria is dire. 250,000 civilians remain in besieged Aleppo, trapped and bombarded by Russia and the Assad regime. In only one month since the breakdown of the September 19 ceasefire, nearly 500 civilians have been killed in Aleppo alone. Hospitals and civilian sites continue to be targeted.
Please make an easy phone call to help. The Syria Civilian Protection Bill, HR 5732, helps alleviate violence and promote accountability for those perpetrating atrocities in Syria. The bill calls for targeted sanctions on individuals with ties to the Assad regime and an assessment of the potential effectiveness of safe zones and no fly zones.
Join this easy action (from STAND and Students Organize 4 Syria) urging Congress to make civilian protection in Syria a priority and to hold perpetrators of atrocities accountable.

Call your Representative, 9am-5pm, via the Capitol Switchboard, 202-224-3121, press 2 for the House, then enter your zip code to be connected to your Representative. Suggested text:

“Hello, my name is _______, and I’m calling from [Town], Massachusetts. I'm calling to ask [Representative X] to co-sponsor and support H.R. 5732, the Syria Civilian Protection Act. It's a bi-partisan measure introduced by the Representative Engel, the Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Representative. Royce, the Committee Chair, is co-sponsoring the bill as are two Massachusetts Representatives, Keating and Moulton. Please ask [Representative X] to join his/her colleagues and co-sponsor this bill. Thank you."
If your Representative is either Keating or Moulton, please call and thank them for supporting the bill.


Eric Cohen
Chairperson, Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur


* Our website is savedarfurma.org

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Perfect Sunday Lectio


Discover the Lectio Divina #800
Monday, October 24, 2016
The Perfect Sunday
Lectio
Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, “There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.” The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering? This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?” When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated; and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.(LK 13:10-17)

The cure of the crippled woman on the Sabbath and the controversy that results shows a parallel to an incident that will be reported later, in Luke 14: 1-6—the cure of the man with dropsy on the Sabbath. A characteristic of Luke’s style is the juxtaposition of an incident that reveals Jesus’ concern for a man and one that also reveals his concern for a woman.

If the Jewish traditional law allowed for the untying of bound animals on the Sabbath, how much more should this woman who had been bound by Satan, be freed on the Sabbath? Yes, Satan is blamed for infirmity. Imperfection is taken as evidence of Satan’s hold on humanity. The healing ministry of Jesus reveals the gradual wrestling from Satan of control over humanity and the establishment of God’s kingdom.

Do you wonder what the leader of the synagogue was thinking? V. 17 He was humiliated. Perhaps not as much as you think. Jewish dialogue took place in the synagogue when discussing the Torah. The synagogue leader is reading the Torah correctly. But he’s “cherry picking.” He chose a section from the reading. Jesus agrees! But Jesus continues on reading V. 15 the legitimate allowances of restricted kinds of “work” on the Sabbath. Jesus also argues for the appropriateness of healing especially on the Sabbath. Then Jesus frees the “daughter of Abraham” from Satan.

Not only did Jesus win the argument, He also freed the crippled woman from her infirmity. Note that the woman never asked for healing. She was just a part of this congregation V. 12-13. Jesus asked her if she wanted to be healed. So this was part of Jesus’ lesson plan in the temple, from the beginning. Although we don’t know what the woman said, I can imagine her praise of thanksgiving was mixed in with the crowd’s rejoicing. Don’t you love it when your plans come together? We thank God, too!

Dear Lord, we praise and thank you for prayers that are answered, for the support of family and friends and the many blessings you have given us. We especially thank you for healing those who were sick, suffering from various illnesses and are in remission from cancer. There is so much sickness in this world. We appeal to you for healing, especially spiritually healing so that all may come to know and love You. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Contemplatio: 
Sunday is dedicated to Our Lord.  All thought, prayer and work should be for the greater glory of God.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Trolley Problem

The trolley problem and the presidential election: There is a thought experiment in moral philosophy, made famous by Philippa Foot, called the trolley problem. Imagine you are the driver of a runaway trolley that you can steer but not stop. Up ahead, are five workers you are heading to kill.  On the right side track, is one worker on the tracks, that you would kill.  What do you choose?  The lesser evil?  But one cannot choose evil for a good.  That's the problem.

Friends Feeding Families

Friends feeding Families campaign: Recently released census data that shows that poverty in the United States has declined for the first time since 2007, down 1.2 percentage points in 2015 from 2014. The census data also notes that the median income is declining.  These are the working poor and need supplemental help to make ends meet.  Read this article to see how you can help.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Runner for the Japanese Mafia.



He was a runner for the Japanese mafia. Now he's a Catholic priest.: Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Oct 15, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- Fr. Donald Calloway could give St. Augustine a run for his money, in terms of dramatic conversion stories. Read the article for the highlights of Fr. Calloway's life.  He wrote a biography, No Turning Back.  But I really want to point out to you that he's the author of Champions of the Rosary, which I reviewed a few days ago.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Mercy

Mercy offered to driver after accident that took teen's life aids healing: WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The driver of a vehicle who caused the death of a Washington Catholic high school student said the compassion shown to her after the accident by the boy's parents was the most profound experience of grace she had ever felt in her life.  Good article explaining mercy and what happens afterward.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Beam me Up

Insurance denied her chemo treatment. But it covered drugs for suicide.: Orange, Calif., Oct 19, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- Stephanie Packer cherishes every moment with her husband and four children. Living with a terminal illness in Orange, California, her goal is “to do everything I can with my family."



Diagnosed with terminal cancer, her insurance company denied her coverage, but they would pay for drugs for her to kill herself.



Beam me up Scotty.  There's no intelligent life down here.

Cardinal O'Malley Oppose Recreational Marijuana

Cardinal O'Malley urges faith leaders to oppose recreational marijuana: A group of about 40 faith leaders from around the Boston area gathered at the Archdiocese of Boston's Braintree headquarters Oct. 18 to discuss their opposition to Massachusetts ballot Question 4, which concerns legalizing marijuana.



Look at all the young people in prison now due to drugs and this law would legalize more?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

That's the Story of Love


Alice and Ted had a hard life. Both worked in the same factory, but in opposite shifts so that one of them would always be home with their four children.  They lived pay check to pay check.  They paid the Christmas bills when they got their tax refund.  They never went on vacation because they chose to spend their money on their children.  They tried to provide for their children as best as they could.  They would not have thought themselves deprived in any way because they were happy and had made a happy home.

Even the day when their youngest daughter, Debbie brought home her girlfriend who had been thrown out of her house.  The friend’s mother chose her new boyfriend over her own eighteen-year-old daughter.  Alice and Ted opened their home to her.  They made it work.

Life goes on and Ted died when he was 65.  He never retired and worked and enjoyed his children and grandchildren.  Without Ted, Alice felt her home was too big and empty.  She moved in with her daughter, Debbie and helped care for her children.  Somehow Alice also found time to knit, read, and play cards.  She did what she chose to do.

At age 70, Alice started to forget things.  She couldn’t be trusted to drive the car.  She forgot she left the stove on.  Dementia was taking over.  Then Alice contracted pneumonia.   She never really recovered.  She was bedridden and needed constant care.  Poor Alice, who once was so active, was now completely dependent on others.

Alice was placed in a nursing home near her daughter, Debbie.  Debbie visits her mother every lunch hour and has tea with her.  After work she, and sometimes her brothers and sisters visit Alice.  They all try to smile and make sure Alice is happy in whatever world she lives in.  Debbie’s sister is a hair dresser and cuts and styles Alice’s hair.  All Alice’s children make sure she is dressed to the nines. The grandchildren burst in the room with their happiness and joy, too.

  Alice is happy.

One day, Debbie’s husband asked her why she and her brothers and sisters even bother.  Alice doesn’t know one day from another.  Debbie simply responded by saying, “My brothers and sisters and I went to bed every night knowing we were loved.  My mother deserves to feel the same way, now.”


Champions of the Rosary

Champions of the Rosary, the History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon by Donald H. Calloway, MIC, is a thorough examination of what makes the Rosary the most beloved prayer of Catholics.  Father Calloway gives new information that most Dominicans probably aren’t familiar with.  The pictures Father adds are beautiful -- 26!    He even had some new ones commissioned just for the publication of this book.  I’m tempted to cut them out to be framed.

My favorite is St. Dominic slaying the dragon:
Let victory be thine, O Mother.  Thou wilt conquer.
Yes, thou hast the power to overcome all heresies,         
errors, and vice.  And, I, confident in your powerful
protection, will engage in the battle, not only 
against flesh and blood, but against the prince     
of darkness, as the Apostle [Paul] says, grasping
the shield of the holy rosary and armed with
the double-edged sword of the divine word.


Champions of the Rosary is the comprehensive book I have ever read on the connection between the Dominicans and the Rosary.  I kept flipping back to the cover of the book to check to see if the author was a Dominican. Father Donald Calloway belongs to the Congregation of Marians Immaculate Conception.  Still, I wonder if he were commissioned by the Order of Preachers to write on the Rosary.  It’s awfully coincidental that this book came out for the Dominican’s 800 Jubilee.  Plus, the publication date was August 8, 2016, (Feast of St. Dominic).  My Dominican senses twitch. 

Praise and thanks be to God for whatever reason Father Calloway was inspired to write Champions of the Rosary.  Every postulant should be given this book to read.  It belongs in every Lay Dominican’s Library.  It is an important, powerful story of our beloved rosary.


Monday, October 17, 2016

The Finish Line

Since I'm assigned to read 2 Tim 4:6-8, 16-18 on Sunday, I've decided to do a Lectio Divina on the reading.

Lectio

I am already being poured out like a libation,
   and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have competed well; I have finished the race;
   I have kept the faith.
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me,
   which the Lord, the just judge,
    will award to me on that day, and not only to me,
   but to all who have longed for his appearance.

At my first defense, no one appeared on my behalf,
   but everyone deserted me.
May it not be held against them!
 But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
    so that through me the proclamation might be completed
    and all the Gentiles might hear it.
And I was rescued from the lion's mouth.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat
    and will bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom.
To him be glory forever and ever.       Amen.

Studium

You might think Paul was going on a sea voyage by his usage of "my departure is at hand."  Also immediately before he said he was "being poured out like a libation."  In Paul's time, offerings to the gods often preceded a sea voyage.  Where is Paul going?  He's leaving this earth because he has been sentenced to death.

There is also  some reference to those who once were with him but have moved on.  There was one who left Paul to return home (Acts 19, 20; Col. 4:7, 10-18; Philem 24). Another previously abandoned Paul and came back (Acts 15: 37-39), John Mark, 2 Tim 4:11.

Paul had a hearing, "preliminary inquiry".  He sees he has no hope of acquittal. Paul is looking forward to meeting the Lord.  So he ends with a doxology.

Meditatio

Innocent prisoners can identify with Paul.  Maybe political prisoners feel like Paul, i.e., proud to have been arrested for their cause.  Paul sees and accepts that capital punishment is near and he reviews his apostolate.  He did the best he could.  "He finished the race."  He didn't waver and now a "crown of righteousness" awaits him.  Paul doesn't seem concerned that no one spoke up for him, after all, no one spoke up to defend Jesus.  Finally, Paul will be released from his mission and he is looking forward to it.  "The Lord will rescue me...bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom."  No wonder he ends with glory to God.

Oratio

Trust in the Lord.  We must do the best we can and when we die we will be rewarded.  The Lord will give us strength. Be confident that we will see the Lord.  At that time we will sing His praises, like Paul, "To Him be glory forever and ever." Amen

Contemplatio

May all I do be for the greater glory of God.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Catholics Urge Physicians to Support AMA Code on Assisted Suicide

Catholic groups urge physicians to support AMA code on assisted suicide: WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Two Catholic organizations are calling on physicians to urge the American Medical Association to maintain its current stance against physician-assisted suicide.  



When Massachusetts had its last elections, euthanasia was on the ballot.  It was the Massachusetts Medical Association that campaigned against it.  It's what doctors do--cure, not kill.

Jose Brochero

Pope Francis refers to him as the Gaucho priest.  He's Jose Gabriel Brochero from Argentina.  He was what I would call a 'street' priest.  He wasn't a businessman.  He didn't stay in the rectory office.  He traveled his extensive parish.  And he did it by traveling on a burro.  Read more at Aleteia.

Mother Superior

Do you want to know what it is really like to be a Mother Superior?  Read the article in Aleteia.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Three Converging Paths

Stony River by Tricia Dower is a worthwhile read.  It is promoted as a book for young adults, but I
enjoyed it so much that I’m promoting it as a “coming of age” story for everyone.

 This is a story about three girls in a small town, during the 1950’s.  One of the girls is dramatically different.  She was raised by an emotionally ill father, who fathers her child.  When her father dies, protective services places her in an orphanage.  Fortunately, a young mother watches over her eventually adopts her and mentors her fragile emotions.

The removal of this young teenager and her infant son from her crazy home was witnessed by the other two girls.  They happened to be just playing around the house.  But now, each one of their lives takes off in different directions. 

Tereza comes from a dysfunctional family.  Her father beats her and her mother is too insecure to help her.  She runs away and finds herself married by fifteen and widowed—left with a baby and a dependent mother-in-law.  I don’t know why, but Tereza is my favorite character.  I was always rooting for her, but she lives a hard life and there’s no sun on the horizon.  She wanted to be an actress but can’t read; she has dyslexia.  I hope, Tricia Dower continues Tereza’s story in another book.

Linda is the good girl.  Her family is loving, maybe a little too controlling, but loving parents cover a lot of sins. Unfortunately, the parents have difficulties and Linda tempts fate.  She starts flirting with the wild boys and accepting rides from strange men.  She’s lucky because girls start getting raped and murdered. 

Miranda is the young girl who was placed in the orphanage.  It turns out she’s an empath.  An empath is someone who feels the energy from people and objects. Perhaps her strange childhood with her father’s Irish paganism, mixed with the orphanage’s religious sisters’ mystical spirituality nurtured her empathetic gifts.  Miranda was adopted by Doris-the young mother. And Doris is her bulwark—her mother, sister, and best friend.  Miranda eventually uses her empathetic gifts to solve the murders.

These are the three protagonists.  I hope their stories continue in a series.  I liked them that much.  Stony River, like most good novels, is primarily about the characters.  Tricia Dower makes the reader care about all three girls, and the innocent baby, Cian.  That’s why I want more.

The setting is a close-knit community in the 1950’s.  Everyone thinks they know everyone and everyone’s business or think they do.  That’s why rape and murder shook their world in such a horrific manner.  Tricia Dower knows how to convey emotionally charged situations.  If you don’t feel Miranda’s panic when her baby was taken, then you’re not human.  Also, the fear and tension when Linda accepts a ride from a stranger is palpable.  Tricia Dower is an excellent writer.

Stony River is an intense story.  The characters are believable and interesting.  I recommend the book highly.  Although I was given the book to review, I was not required to write a favorable review.  This review is my own honest assessment. 

Author’s Biography

Tricia Dower confesses to smoking a river punk or two in Rahway, New Jersey, where she was born and raised by perfectly fine parents who did not keep her hidden in a spooky house. You can find her on the “Rahway’s Own” website with other individuals the town has recognized for innovation and creativity. A graduate of Gettysburg College and a Phi Mu, she built a career in business before reinventing herself as a writer in 2002. Her literary work has crossed borders and won awards. She expanded a story from her Shakespeare-inspired collection, Silent Girl (Inanna 2008) into Stony River, which was first published in Canada (Penguin, 2012). Her novel, Becoming Lin (Caitlin Press), was released in Canada in 2016. A dual citizen of Canada and the United States, Dower lives and writes in Brentwood Bay, BC.

Prices/Formats: $10.99 ebook, $15.95 paperback
Genre: 
Crime, Historical, Coming of Age
Pages: 
320
Release: 
September 13, 2016
Publisher: 
Leapfrog Press
ISBN: 
9781935248866


Amazon buy link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/1935248863?&tag=tributebooks-20

Barnes and Noble buy link:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stony-river-tricia-dower/1123485056;jsessionid=04D1856B3A4CE64B6A66D3E483B84E76.prodny_store02-atgap01?ean=9781935248866

iTunes:
https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/stony-river/id1135492622?mt=11&at=10lu5f

Free Raffle for Stony River
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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Knowing Who We Are; Knowing What We Are Supposed to Do

Knowing Who We Are; Knowing What We Are Supposed to Do: This fall I am giving presentations to all of the high school teachers, staff and administrators in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. These talks take place on an annual basis, and this year the theme is morality.



Lucky Bishop Barron!  Read the article to see what he says.

https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/sacramento-parishioners-minister-prisoners-their-loved-ones

https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/sacramento-parishioners-minister-prisoners-their-loved-onesThis article from National Catholic Reporter by Dan-Morris Young has reference links in every paragraph.  You can read personal testimonies of how volunteers are personally rewarded by helping prisoners.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

From the Mouths of Babes


There was a time I worried about my young  daughter’s development.  Language skill was a particular worry.  Is she stringing together two or three words to make sentences, or is she still only using one word and pointing?

 I know I tended to worry too much.

She could say, “Mama,” “Dadda,” and “Wawil” (That was Cheryl, her big sister.)  She could point to and say “dog.”  Other one syllable words were used frequently: “Milk,” “nap,” “car,” etc.  But they weren’t sentences.

There were two words used now and then: “Me go.”  “Me come.”  “Good bye.”  “Mama come.”

Well, I thought,  speech will come and I told myself not to worry so much.  Life went on.  It was spring and an opportunity to go outside and play and also increase our vocabulary. 

Every day, however, getting outside became a problem.  The back door leading to the back yard would sometimes swell and become stuck.  It was a struggle to get the door opened.  I’d yank and pull and rattle, until the door finally creaked open.  One time during this tough struggle, the door gave up sooner than expected and flew open right smack in the baby’s face.  She had an obvious egg on her forehead.

Well she certainly didn’t have the vocabulary to tell me exactly how badly she was hurt.  She just screamed bloody murder.  I thought she might have a concussion, so I took her to the pediatrician’s.
But at the doctor’s my one syllabic daughter had no trouble relating what had happened to her.  Dr. Robb asked, “Where did you get that boo boo?” 

Sadly, she very distinctly said, “from the damn door.”


Ooops!

I wonder where she learned that.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Archaic Punishment

Photo Credit UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Sentencing someone to death has no place in today's world.  Did you read the United Nation's Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's statement?  He states that it is of no value.  It certainly does not deter anyone from committing crimes. He specifically is talking about terrorism. Terrorists want to be martyrs for their cause so they look forward to a death penalty.

States in the United States that have death penalties still have people killing others.  Death penalties don't work and in today's society where we have other means of deterrents, it's not necessary.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Tarred and Feathered -- The 1854 Letter of Father Bapst

Pilot, October 7,2016
Tarred and feathered -- the 1854 letter of Father Bapst: In the papers of Bishop John Bernard Fitzpatrick there is a letter written in the hand of Father John Bapst, SJ, and dated Oct. 20, 1854. In the letter, Father Bapst discusses a well-documented incident, where he was tarred and feathered.

It was a time of anti-Catholic sentiments and the parish he ministered seems to have been a hot-bed of Know-Nothings.  In fact, he was transferred for his safety.  However, a year later, he happened to be traveling through his old parish of Ellsworth and stopped to visit his some of his former parishioners.  While there the Know-Nothings grabbed him, stripped him, tarred and feathered him, placed him on a rail and promenaded him through town and eventually left to die.

No one was ever prosecuted for the incident.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Hail Mary

The entrance antiphon before today's Mass for the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary read:

Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among
women and blessed is
the fruit of your womb.  (Note ending punctuation.)

Some people automatically added "Jesus," as if they were praying a regular Hail Mary prayer.
But for centuries, the name of Jesus wasn't used there.  People just prayed the direct scripture quote when Elizabeth greeted Mary.  St. Bernardino of Siena, who had a special devotion to the holy name of Jesus, used it, and it caught on.

Here also is where many people add different various phrases.  If one wanted to focus on the mystery of that decade, they could add:

for the Nativity
...blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus, who was born in a humble stable.
and say it on each of the ten beads.

for the Crucifixion
...blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus, who suffered and died for our sins.
and say it on each of the ten beads.

Get the idea?

or special intentions
...blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus, whom I beg to help my son find work.
and say it on each of the ten beads.

...blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus, whom I ask to heal my sick child.
and say it on each of the ten beads

Although one might say this makes the rosary too long, you can't deny the fact that it keeps you focused on your praying.






Colombian President Wins Nobel Peace Efforts to End Civil War

Colombian president wins Nobel Peace Prize for efforts to end civil war: OSLO, Norway (CNS) -- Even though the people of Colombia rejected the terms of a peace accord ending more than 50 years of civil war, the Nobel committee chose Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos as the winner of the 2016 Nobel prize for peace.

This is not as strange as one might think at first.  The people aren't rejecting peace.  They want peace.  They are rejecting certain terms in the peace agreement.  Discussion is ongoing.  President Juan Manuel Santos has his hands full.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Catholic Prosecutor and Death Penalty


Catholic prosecutor and death penalty: Q. As you can see from the envelope, I am in prison. Since the church opposes the death penalty, I am trying to understand how a Catholic prosecutoer can be allowed to argue repeatedly in favor of it.

Father Kenneth Doyle attempts to respond to this question.  Keeping in mind that on June 26, the pope sent out a video message to an international congress against capital punishment.  In fact, the pope said he wanted "a world free of the death penalty."

Read the article to get the rest of Father Doyle's answer.




Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Use of death penalty re-examined in the states, at Supreme Court

Use of death penalty re-examined in the states, at Supreme Court: WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The United States, with its mixed record on the death penalty, is about to take a closer look at the issue this fall with two cases before the Supreme Court and three referendums on state ballots in November.
To me, it's obvious that the death penalty doesn't work.  It doesn't deter anybody.  Nowadays, too often the only ones in prison are the poor, who can't afford to appeal and appeal, etc..  The justice system is too fallible.  The innocence project has proven that.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Gender Difficulty


Pope Francis: Love those who struggle, but don't push gender theory on kids: Aboard the papal plane, Oct 2, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- On his way back from Georgia and Azerbaijan Pope Francis criticized what he called the “wicked” push of gender theory in schools, but stressed that everyone is to be treated equally and with mercy.

People with gender difficulties aren't the only ones struggling.  I do, too.  I don't know how to handle them.  I don't understand their problems.  It's beyond my comprehension.  And I don't know how to react nor respond to them.

I have one friend who is transgendered.  I don't understand why he changed into a woman.  I feel sorry for him/her because he/she's always alone and every conversation he/she has is about his/her transgender issues.  I don't know what to do to help him/her.  He/She's very spiritual and feels God is with him/her.

Since I don't know what to do, I do nothing.  In fact, I stay away from my problem.  But there are occasions when we run into each other.  When that happens, we hug and chat like old times.

But still.

It's hard.

So I am very happy to read the above article.  The pope says to be kind and merciful and walk with our transgendered friends.  That I can do.

St. James

This morning's meditation included a reading by St. James, (James 2:12-13).  It struck me how James theme of mercy ties in with Pope Francis Jubilee Year of Mercy.
 
Always speak and act as men destined for judgment
under the law of freedom.  Merciless is the judgment
on the man who has not shown mercy; but mercy
triumphs over judgment.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Pro Patria: A homily 50 days before the election

Pro Patria: A homily 50 days before the election: (The following is reprinted from the Sept. 18 post of Msgr. Moroney's blog, sjsrector.blogspot.com).

While you are discerning, pray and take a look at Joe Schriner.