Sunday, April 30, 2017

Brotherhood of Hope: What's a Brother?

Brotherhood of Hope: What's a Brother?: What is a brother? Why become a brother? What is the difference between a brother and a priest? Why aren't all brothers priests? These are some of the questions that the Brotherhood of Hope has encountered.

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Have you ever wondered why any man would feel called to this vocation.  Read this article.

Steps Towards Loving Your Enemy

MK artwork

My "cloistered brothers" and I were discussing the Gospel of Matthew 5: 43-46.  Here Jesus is asking us to do something very hard--not impossible, but as close to impossible as one can get (sometimes).

(1)  It's natural to hate those who harm you.  Even a baby will slap at a mosquito.  It's not because he wants to hate the mosquito, but rather he wants to stop the pain.  It's as simple as that.  Someone hurts you, you want to stop that hurt.  The knee-jerk reaction to stopping hurt is to hurt back.
      Once one recognizes this fact, then he can see that he may not even know the person who is hurting him, so how can he hate him?  What he hates is what he is doing.

(2)  Another thing to consider is Jesus' command "to love your enemies," itself.  Think of the different kinds of love: agape, eros.  Also, love is translated as "charity."  So how do you love an enemy.  First, think of love not as agape, certainly not eros, but as St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologica II-II, 26 teaches us, "To love in charity is benevolence: to will the good to a person or God...."
     Hence, don't harm the person you hate.  Think "Do unto others as you want them to do unto you."  So push yourself to do something good to that person.  Some acts of charity my "cloistered brothers" did for their enemies: nursed, made a meal and fed the person, gave them something they wanted, etc.
     It seems that these acts of charity softened the enemies' stance.  It was a visible difference.

(3)  Be open and receptive to your enemies' gestures toward friendliness.  Then talk.  Talk again.  Talk, some more.  Communication should bring understanding.  Understanding will dissolve the hate and soon you will find forgiveness.

That's the method we came up with.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

God Raised Jesus

Lectio

Third Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 46


Reading 1ACTS 2:14, 22-33

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
"You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem.
Let this be known to you, and listen to my words.
You who are Israelites, hear these words.
Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God
with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs,
which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.
This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God,
you killed, using lawless men to crucify him.
But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death,
because it was impossible for him to be held by it.
For David says of him:
I saw the Lord ever before me,
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted;
my flesh, too, will dwell in hope, 
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.

"My brothers, one can confidently say to you
about the patriarch David that he died and was buried,
and his tomb is in our midst to this day.
But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him
that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne,
he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ,
that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld
nor did his flesh see corruption.
God raised this Jesus;
of this we are all witnesses.
Exalted at the right hand of God,
he received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father
and poured him forth, as you see and hear."
Studium
Acts is written by Luke who was not an eyewitness to the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus.  He is a convert and writing from the oral tradition handed down by the Apostles.  This is why he assures the crowd that they are hearing the Truth, passed down from Peter and the Apostles.  To reassure the people even more, Luke shows that Jesus fulfills David's prophecy.
Meditatio
We believe and we, like Luke, weren't there with Jesus.  We have scriptures, traditions, and magisterium to aid our faith.  We trust in Jesus.
Oratio
O my God, I believe You are always there.  I believe You sent Your Son, Jesus, to make up for Adam and Eve's sin. I believe Your inspired Word.  I also believe in the Holy Catholic Church, which Jesus founded.  This is my faith.
Contemplatio
Thank you, Jesus, for loving me.

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Conclusion to the Peeps Experiment

After the fifth day, this is the result. 

You Can't Run Away from Love

Nec mortem effugere quisquam nec amorem potest.  I translate this as no one is able to flee from death or love.

Think about it.

True isn't it?

This is a maxim from Syrus.  Syrus was a Syrian who was brought to Italy as a slave around 85-43 BC.  His wit and talent earned him fame.



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Monday, April 24, 2017

After School Experiment

eggs covered in water

Starting to fizz
My granddaughter and I were experimenting after school today.  The directions said to cover these Peep Easter eggs in water.  So I searched through the house looking for the biggest bottle or jar I could find.  I even considered a large pail.  But when I opened the package, I saw that the eggs were already in their own containers.

Next we wait for the bubbles to stop.  Change the water and watch the eggs hatch and grow.  Stay tuned.

BTW, in the sink you can see the we washed rocks.  That's our next project.  Stay tuned for that, too.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Scattering the Ashes of the Dead

This article in XT3 explains why Catholics don't scatter their ashes.  Father Brian puts emphasis on the dignity of the body.  But to me, the best reason is  Having my ashes scattered means that there's no place where those who remain behind me can come and pray for me, while burying them in a sacred place is continuous with the Christian tradition of showing our remains the deep respect our body deserves as a Temple of the Holy Spirit which one day will rise again.

What is your experience of the Resurrection?

What is your experience of the Resurrection?: During this Easter season, we are reminded again and again about the activity of the early disciples of Jesus. They were witnesses. They spoke about what they had seen and what they had heard.



And we do too. It's an ongoing experience.  Read this article to understand.

New Tees


The  Hope of Bethany Pro-Chapter's apostolate is helping ex-cons.  They support prison programs for prisons and also help the families of prisoners.  A Stitch in Time Textiles is a new business started by two ladies who were once in prison.  The chapter had them make tee-shirts for them.  The emblem is beautiful  It is not stenciled, but rather embroidered.
                             Beautiful, no?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Patron of Sailors, Bl. Peter Gonzalez Telmo

Bl. Peter Gonzalez Telmo, O.P.
Shrine's altar to hold relic of patron of sailors: Since the earliest days of the Church, relics of martyrs and saints have been venerated by the faithful. In keeping with this tradition, to this day Catholic Churches around the world all have a relic inside their altar.

This new shrine in Boston, Our Lady of Good Voyage Shrine, is a welcome sight.  It is welcome, not only because of it's great vista, but also because it's the first church to be opened in Boston for 60 years! And there is a relic inside its altar from Seville, Spain.

Much to my surprise here is a saint (Blessed) I never heard of.  Shame on me.  Double shame because he's a Dominican.  Bl. Peter Gonzalez Telmo ministered to sailors and their families, in Spain and Portugal.  This article, from The Pilot, says he once was pretty worldly but had a religious experience and not only repented but joined the Dominicans.  (Good choice!)

He is known for his ministry to sailors and their families.

"What's very interesting is that for centuries the reliquary of Blessed Peter has been closed," noted Father Jonathan Gaspar, priest secretary to Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley and Director of the Office of Divine Worship for the Archdiocese of Boston, "but they have agreed to open it and give us a relic for our chapel."




Friday, April 21, 2017

IOW

IOW is internet slang for "in other words."  It occurred to me, as I was pray ing, that God and I have our own intimate, personal slang.  I carry on a conversation with God, just as if he were my constant companion, all day.  Well, He is.  And this is my preferred prayer.  I often pray formal prayers, e..i. Rosary.  But I "yak" to Him all day.  Even when doing Lectio Divina, I point out things and ask questions.

I'm comfortable with God and share my thoughts and heart with Him.  Yes, He talks back.  Not audibly, but I sense in my heart, i.e., feelings of consolation, a sense of trust, comfort.   My thoughts shoot out to Him, like internet slang
 I don't even need words.

Think of Jeremiah's conversation with God, "You will be in the right, O Lord, when I lay charges against you; but let me put my case to you." Jeremiah 12: 1.  Even though He's God and knows what I'm going to say before I say, I reiterate it.  It helps me, not Him. In this way, I find myself walking with God, all day.  It makes me continuously conscious of Him. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Charles River Link Trail


This is a hiker.  It's Don, one of my fellow Trail Hikers.  Today we walked around the Charles River Link Trail, Medfield, MA.  It's on the grounds of the old Medfield State hospital.

I'm amazed when I look around the old hospital grounds.  I try to picture the bustling life that once lived and worked there.  Time marches on.  It started in 1892 as the Medfield Insane Asylum.  It was the state's first facility for dealing with chronic mental patients.  It was built to be a village with little cottages.  The name was changed to Medfield State Hospital in 1914. The property was pretty much self-sufficient.  It raised its own livestock and produce, and generated its own heat, light, and power.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 and was officially closed in 2003.

It saddens me to see such grand, brick structures abandoned.  The broken windows and decrepit condition speak despair.  I get the same feelings when I look at the canyons of brick factories in Lawrence and Lowell, or the huge building and parking lot that was once General Motors in Framingham.  The people employed there never would have imagined that these strong, stalwart edifices would one day sit abandoned and condemned as unsafe.

But I wasn't there for the buildings.  We were hiking in the woods around the property.  We went to the area known as the Narrows.  Besides seeing the wooded area,  we also saw a deer swimming against the current of the Charles River.  I took about 5 pictures--none of them any good!

We saw a bluebird, not a usual sight. When we ran into some skunk cabbage I had an urge to pick it up and throw some at people.  That's what my friends and I did when we were children.

But I've matured.  Regardless of what Don's antics are in the picture.



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

'Second Chance Month'—A Bipartisan National Movement

'Second Chance Month'—A Bipartisan National Movement: Update 3/31/2017–U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced a resolution that would designate April 2017 as 'Second Chance Month.' 'We applaud Sen. Portman for his resolution declaring April as Second Chance Month,' said Craig DeRoche, Prison Fellowship®'s senior vice president of advocacy and public policy. 'As America’s largest outreach to prisoners and their families, Prison Fellowship was founded on the conviction that every person has God-given dignity and potential. We join over 50 organizations in celebrating Second Chance Month this April to unlock brighter futures for the millions of Americans who have repaid their debt to society."

Sen. Portman is the author of the Second Chance Act.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Goat Rock


We went into the Warner Trail near Lakeside Pavillion.  It was a moderate hike but we walked for three hours.  Time flies!

It was hilly and rocky.  This rock formation is called GOAT Rock.  Only a goat could climb them.  I didn't even try.

Beautiful day.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Morning Rant



It's Easter morning and I'm all set for that bunny to show up.  While waiting, I wanted to post Catholic Easter greeting on my page, Give Faith a Chance.  Every beautiful Easter expression that was Catholic wouldn't let me share it!  I got the message "the privacy settings won't permit sharing."

Listen Catholics, if you want privacy, open a page for family and friends, ONLY.  Set that page to "privacy" settings.  Otherwise, let your Catholic faith be spread.  Jesus commanded us to evangelize, not keep your faith private!!

Well, at least the Holy Father agrees with me.

BTW, rejoice.  He is risen!  Truly, He is risen.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Fighting a Toxic Culture


Fighting a toxic culture: In today's America, as in other countries like it, people of faith are facing a question of critical importance: How should they respond to a dominant secular culture that's not just hostile to their beliefs but hell bent on squashing them.

Russell Shaw says exactly what I wish I could say as well.  I wish I could memorize this article to articulate his thoughts when needed.  He's talking about our current culture, which seems to overrun Catholic principles.

He says that it started in the late 19th century, probably with the influx of immigrants, who were mainly Catholic.  The predominant Anglo-Saxon individual, strong cowboy mentality often clashed with the Catholic community, forgiveness and peace attitude.  But immigrants try to fit in, don't they?  And so they do.

It's a battle that is really noticeable when the sacrament of marriage is attacked.  Nevermind the sanctity of the womb!

Russell Shaw says it so much better than I.  Read the article.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

It's Never Over

Like a rock skipped over water, the rock has not disappeared off the face of the earth.  There were ripples created where the rock hit the water.  The ripples created ripples.  As for the rock itself, it settled down to the bottom--into the bottom.  Who knows what became of it then?  Was it used by a subterranean marine creature?  Did it gradually erode?  Gather sea moss?  Harbor tiny creatures?  The possibilities are endless.


These thoughts came to mind as I read Dr. Ryan Anderson's article on the Heritage Foundation page.  He wrote an organized, clear-cut argument against "physician-assisted suicide."  His reasons summarized into Key Points:

PAS takes advantage of people in their weakest state.

Leaves decision only to the very person who needs the support of family, friends, and trusted care-takers.

"Death with dignity"  is a lying euphemism.  There is no dignity to suicide.

"Aid in dying" is another lie. Physicians cure not kill.  "Aid in dying" corrupts the medical profession.

When someone is terminally ill, weak, and suffering, we should respond with appropriate medical palliative care and human love.  Insurance providers may not want to spend the money to help alleviate suffering and live.  Relatives may want an inheritance, sooner rather than later.  Maybe taking the time and care for the patient is inconvenient?  Perhaps some think that a particular life isn't worth living?

 We should respond to suffering with true compassion and solidarity. Doctors should help their patients to die a dignified death of natural causes, not assist in killing. Physicians are always to care, never to kill.

Dr. Anderson expresses his views more clearly than I.  But he speaks for me.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

A Sign of My Faith

Since my RCIA class was finished early, I dropped by my Protestant friend, Steve's scripture class. They were faith sharing.  The passage was Matt. 20: 1-16, commonly known as the Laborers in the Vineyard.

If you're not using your eyes of faith, but only the eyes of the world, you would slap the owner of the vineyard with an unfair labor practices lawsuit.  But God sees differently and he loves everyone and gives generously.

The parable is meant to give hope.  The believer who professes belief, (like St. Dismas), in his last breath, has every right to be in heaven as the cradle believer.

I added my two cents to the class.  We ended in prayer and I made sure I made the sign of my faith--I blessed myself with the sign of the cross.


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Favorite Poem Project


On this day in 1998, Robert Pinsky, the U.S. poet laureate launched an idea that captured the hearts and minds of all poetry lovers.  http://www.massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=107   Mass moments tells of various sundry people reading their favorite poems.  I'm going to suggest that my writing group do this.

Visit the project's website.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Bigger and Better

America has an article on the largest parish in the USA.      They are humongous!  But they seem to be handling it very well.
Does St. Matthew's have cushioned changing tables in the restroom?

http://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/04/05/lessons-evangelization-largest-parish-united-states 

The article leaves some questions.

Is this the only parish in the area?
Do the priests visit the sick or lay volunteers?
Do the priests drop into all the various activities for a few minutes?
Do the priests teach religious ed?  Adult formation?

This church, St. Matthew's, has big screens with the songs' lyrics displayed.  Does this result in more people singing?  Are their children Masses?  How many altar servers do they have?  How many priests have come from St. Matthew's?  How many religious vocations?

The parish sounds wonderful, but for the few unanswered questions.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Miraculous Image of Our Lady of Las Lajas

Our Lady giving Dominic the Rosary and Jesus giving Francis the cord.


The Miraculous Image of Our Lady of Las Lajas: In 1754, an event took place in Colombia that continues to baffle geologists and other scientists. This event was the miraculous appearance of the image of Our Lady of Las Lajas (Our Lady of the Rocks).



I can't believe the whole world doesn't know about this.  Look at the basilica!!!  Please do yourself a favor and read the article.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Secret Christian

Today at Mass, the celebrant told an interesting story.  I can't verify it, though.  The gospel was the one about Lazarus coming out of the tomb.  The priest was talking about Martha's faith.  Jesus asked her, "Dost thou believe?"   Then the priest tied "faith" to people's beliefs about death.  Martha believed all shall be "resurrected, on the last day."  Well, it turns out, that many believe this, no matter what they say.

Father said that in 1982, Leonid Brezhnev died.  He was the leader of atheistic, communist, Russia.  At his funeral, full of military accolades, accouterments, etc., with his coffin surrounded by soldiers, Leonid's wife, Viktoria, trace the sign of the cross on his chest, just before the lid of the coffin was closed.

Remember, this an atheist, communist country.  She did this in public.  How's that for witnessing?

Friday, March 31, 2017

Self Control


Specifically speaking, an unhealthy lifestyle is a sin.  Obviously, sexual promiscuity is sinful.  But I'd like to focus this post on eating and exercising. If we don't honor the gift of life God gave to us, we are sinning.  We need to honor our bodies as God's creation by taking care of them.  Smoking is unhealthy and should be avoided.  Why put smoke into our lungs?

God gave us grapes for eating and drinking, but too much is the sin of gluttony.  Proverbs 28: 7 warns us, "He who keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father."

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are immorality, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, jealousies, anger, quarrels, factions, parties, envies, murders, drunkenness, carousings, and such like.  And concerning these, I warn you, as I have warned you, that they who do such things will not attain the kingdom of God.  Galatians: 5: 19-21

Having self-control is one of the fruits given to us by the Holy Spirit in Confirmation Galatians 5: 22.

Also, having been given limbs (arms and legs) by God, I think we should use them.  One of the first things hospitals have you do, is "get up."  Nowadays, we sit too much.

My day today: moved from my bed to a chair to drink coffee
                         moved from the chair to another chair to pray the Divine Office
                         move from the chair to the chair I'm sitting in now

Note:  More time sitting than moving

The least we could do is walk.  Since it is still the Lenten season, I'm going to make a conscious effort to honor God's creation of me and practice more self control.  Choosing healthy food and walking is my aim, so help me God.





Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Irish Always Hope to Be Buried Back in the Homeland

Last week I was in Leitir Meallain, Ireland, visiting the village where hubby's ancestors' originated. We visited the village's heritage museum and met Jack Mahon.  The place is wonderfully organized with historical items, from pictures, tools, and artifacts from a century ago  I even saw a poster advertising the sale of a ship from 1659.

The most interesting historical artifact was the curator, himself, Jack Mahon. He helped hubby locate a relative, Thomas Flaherty.  A picture of Thomas resembles my husband. You could tell that Jack was a generous man.  He tried hard to locate and help us.  He even gave me a book that he helped write.  A Woman of Aran.  Bridget Dirrane is the subject of the book.  She dictated her story to Rose O'Connor and Jack Mahon.

When Bridget told her story, she was 103 years old.  The book was published in 1997.  This is an autobiography. Her childhood on the island of Aran was a good one.  The island of Aran may be harsh and cruel, but the people weren't.  Bridget tells of the people and lives.  The children played catch, ran around, walked to school.  Food and fun were plentiful.  Everyone had potatoes, chickens, ducks and their eggs.  They fished for food, also.  Some had cows and sheep.  They had everything.

Bridget left to train to become a nurse.  Her career carried her to the United States and a husband.  She never had any children.  Eventually, she came back to Ireland and her beloved Aran Island. She saw history.  She met famous people.  And she records them all.

The book is not fiction.  It is told in a matter of fact, simple style.  Bridget's life is interesting and easy to get into.  I found myself thinking of Leitir Meallain, as I read it.  Bridget and the Irish are salt of the earth.  They are what makes people tick. Love of country and the Blessed Mother are what Bridget affirms contribute to her longevity.  I believe her.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sister Pauline

Fraternities OP  has an article on how special Sister Pauline Quinn, O.P., is.  She is a religious woman  
Picture from http://www.bpofcourage.org/about-us.html  
who overcame a difficult adolescence and has dedicated her life to helping others overcome their difficulties.  There is also a biography about her,Secrets Shared, the Life and Work of Sister Pauline Quinn, O.P., by Susan Negelsen and Charles Huckelbury.


My favorite story about Sister is how she introduced dog training into the prison system.  There's a movie about it: Within These Walls starring Ellen Burstyn.



However, right now, Sister Pauline is having her own difficulties.  She is battling cancer.  Kindly add her to your prayer list.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Tomáš Halík: atheism and patience

Tomáš Halík: atheism and patience: The T&T Clark blog mentions that Czech theologian Tomáš
Pix of Halik is from the referenced link.
Halík has been awarded the prestigious Romano Guardini Prize. Halík is a Catholic who explains his take on the difference between atheists and believers.  In a word, it's patience.  Interesting, no?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

So Blessed

Dominicans in Claddagh, Galway at St. Mary's
Here I am in Ireland with a bunch of religiously  impaired people. And today is Sunday.  From the plans they were devising I knew Mass wasn't on the schedule. I mentioned going to Mass but they said "We're going to the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock Wednesday.  You will have all the church you want then.

Bummer 😩

So, We were planning on going shopping in Claddagh. We parked along the harbor and we're walking to the shopping district when I saw a Dominican friar at the entrance of a church greeting people!

Suddenly, words came out of my mouth.

"Hey! Look.  I'm going to Mass, come back in an hour.

And no one batted an eye.  They said "OK."

Why Catholics in Scotland want a Statue for a Martyred Priest

Mosaic of the martyrdom of St John Ogilvie in St Aloysius Church in Glasgow. Photo credit: Lawrence OP via Flickr CC BY NC ND 20 CNA
Why Catholics in Scotland want a statue for a martyred priest: Glasgow, Scotland, Mar 23, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Four centuries after the martyrdom of St. John Ogilvie, Catholics in Scotland have launched a campaign to mark the place in Glasgow’s city center where he was executed.

Definitely, needed.  John Ogilvie is the only martyr Scotland has.  Click on the link to read the story.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Way It Was

Bourne Bridge over Cape Cod Canal

“There is only one reason I would ever leave ever you.”

 I explained to my fiancé about my alcoholic parents.  I had had a childhood of bickering, fighting, drunken screams, police, embarrassing situations, and secrets from friends.  No more… I couldn’t bear it.

“If you ever become a drunk, I’ll leave you.”

And that’s the way it was.  Oh, I’m not a prude.  I’m not against wine at meals, a nice cold beer on a hot day, Friday afternoons at the VFW.  But not habitual drunkenness.

And that’s the way it was.  There was one time, however, when I did pack up my bags and leave.  It was B. C.  (Before children).   It was a Friday.  He didn’t come home his usual Friday time.  And when he did come home, he staggered through the door into the bedroom and fell face down onto the bed.  He was stinking drunk!

I screamed.  I cried. 

I couldn’t believe it.  He was just like my father.  How could he turn into such a selfish, weak, booze soaked wretch!

He wasn’t responding.  He was out of it.  What could I do?  I needed to show him how I felt but he wasn’t listening.  I told him I would leave him and that’s what I decided to do.

I packed a suitcase.  Even though we were renting an apartment, we owned a summer cottage down the cape. I thought I’d go down there for the weekend and after a few days, sort things out between us.  Let him stew.

Just before I left, I put the cat and dog in the car.  He wasn’t getting them!

We lived in Hyde Park, at the time, so it was a good hour before I was crossing the Cape Cod Canal.  I cried all the way there.  And it was while crossing the Bourne Bridge when I remembered that we had rented the cottage out that week.  I couldn’t go there. 

 Well!

 I thought I’d stay at a motel and charge it.  Let him pay the bill.

But I had the cat and dog with me.  Damn.

The only other alternative I could think of was to go home to my parents.  No way.  What a predicament!  Before my tears were mostly anger, now I was wallowing in self-pity.  What to do?
My sister’s, that’s what I decided to do.  She had six kids and no room for me, I know, but she’d let me stay.  I knew she would.  The only problem was that she lived in Methuen, which is on the border to New Hampshire.  It was early morning.  I had already driven more than hour to the Cape; here I was driving back an hour to Boston; it would be another hour and a half from Boston to Methuen.  I was tired.  But I was still steamed and all cried out.

By the time I reached Boston, my eyes were burning.  The lids were heavy and it was a struggle to focus. I would never make it to my sister’s.

The car found its way back to Hyde Park.  I was too emotionally wrought to think.  All I wanted to do was sleep.  The dog and cat were glad to be home. The house smelled like a barroom.   I put my suitcase in the closet and followed the stench to the bedroom.

There the drunken sot lay.  He hadn’t moved.  He was oblivious to the emotional hell I had just been through.

And I was too tired to care. And that’s the way it was.


I woke to the sound of vomiting.  He was extremely sick.  His world was spinning.  He was miserable.

I didn’t speak a word.  He was too miserable to notice. 

Actually, I don’t think I knew what to say.  Should I tell him how I spent the night?  For some unknown reason, I decided not to; we weren’t speaking anyway—with me it was deliberate—with him it wasn’t possible.  He was preoccupied with the devil’s revenge.


The next year we were entertaining friends.  The occasion presented itself—the story was told.  My friends laughed at the time I left my husband—for four hours.  (Is that all?)  We all laughed, except for hubby.  I turned to him and said, “You never knew that.  You were too drunk!!!!)  He was silent and his eyes inscrutable.

And that’s the way it was, until months later when we were getting ready for vacation, but I couldn’t find our suitcases. 

“Have you seen our suitcases?”

“Yes.”

“Where are they?”

“I hid them.  I don’t want you to leave me, again.”

And that’s the way it was, is, and always will be.




Thursday, March 16, 2017

Jesus Wouldn't Say That


In RCIA class we were doing a skit reenacting the story of Bartimaeus.  The skit has Jesus saying "Go your way; you are healed."  But it was read as, "Go away!"

It was so funny.  He said it so emphatically.  I think he really saw the words as a command without thinking that Jesus wouldn't have said that.

After everyone laughed, he looked at what he said and laughed at himself.

Another blind man was healed.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Why It Matters Who Jesus Is

Why It Matters Who Jesus Is: "I have been reading, with both profit and delight, Thomas Joseph White's latest book, The Incarnate Lord: A Thomistic Study in Christology. Fr. White, one of the brightest of a new generation of Thomas interpreters, explains a different attitude of approach when considering Jesus."  Bishop Barron, the author of this article, explains that he was taught in the 1980's to look at Jesus psychologically and relationally.  Fr. White's approach is to understand Jesus ontologically.



Bishop Barron explains his view on the link above.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Empty Tomb


Grace Gifford Plunkett

One of my favorite Irish songs is "Grace."  It's a love ballad.  The story is a true one; it's about the love story between Joseph Mary Plunkett and Grace Gifford.  Plunkett was an Irish rebel and was executed because of the part he played in the Easter Uprising.  Just before he was executed, Grace and a priest were allowed in his jail cell.  The priest married them.  The couple only had 15 minutes together.

Grace painted this picture of the Madonna while she was in jail, in 1923.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Madonna_and_Child_painted_by_Grace_Gifford.JPG#/media/File:Madonna_and_Child_painted_by_Grace_Gifford.JPG

Monday, March 13, 2017

A New Lenten Discipline

A new Lenten discipline: For Lent 2016, I adopted a new Forty Days discipline in addition to intensified prayer, daily almsgiving, and letting my liver have its annual vacation: I quit sports talk radio, cold turkey.



Wow!  I'm impressed!                                   Big time!!!!!

Love is both tolerant and intolerant

Love is both tolerant and intolerant: Every community, inevitably, has a value or set of values that it considers fundamental, some basic good which positions every other claim to goodness. For most of the modern liberal democracies, for example, freedom and liberty play a determining role in the moral discourse...



This is a good article which explains how love may have to correct and redirect.  It's not love to allow the beloved to be harmed.  This is why the church says "All are welcome," but you have to understand that you are welcome according to Christ's teachings, not your own.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Inside Out

See if you can follow my drift.
       Inmates in prison refer to me as an outsider.  They are insiders.

We were discussing the Samaritan Woman at the well in John 4. The woman was drawing water from the well at the hottest time of the day.  She was the only one there because no one would go to get water at that particular time, unless they really had to.  So why did she?  We learn that she is not the average wife, at all.  In fact, she has flaunted the social sensibilities because she is living with a man and they were not married. She also was married five times before!  So she was ostracized.

I asked these inmates if they ever felt ostracized, left out, or an outsider.  As soon as I said it, I realized that they literally were ostracized, left out, and outsiders.  But they thought the opposite, because they are on the inside and people like me are the outsiders.

Do you see what I'm saying?

There's a lesson in this exchange.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Re-examen


The other day, I was talking to a friend about another friend, who is a Wiccan.  My friend is into yoga and meditation and she said she was surprised that wiccans meditate, just like Christians do.  We kind of ended our conversation with the realization that all religions have a lot in common.

Later on, I came across this examination of conscience on the Defend the Catholic Faith website.  It's quite comprehensive.  I  glanced at the list of sins that broke the first commandment.  I immediately recalled my conversation with my friend where we concluded that wicca is on par with Christianity.  Yikes!  What an idiot I am!  I knew it's not; what was I thinking?

And scandal!  Scandal is an attitude or behavior that leads one to evil. Hence!  That's a sin against the fifth commandment.  Who knew?

And "adulation!"  I didn't even know what that was.  That's being an accomplice in another's vices or grave sins.  Ah.....

I'm going to Confession at my first opportunity.

Monday, March 6, 2017

A Covenant of Trust

Lectio:


Genesis12: 1-4a

The Lord said to Abram:
"Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father's house to a land that I will show you.
          I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you;
          I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
          I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.
          All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you."
Abram went as the Lord directed him.

Studium:

Abram is considered the father of God's people.  Genesis contains Abram's stories which show him as a model of faith.  In Genesis 17:15, God changes Abram's name to Abraham.  They mean the same but a name change is important.  Think of when a woman marries.  Her new name connects her to her husband and his family.  Name changes change identity.  However in Gen. 12: 1-4a, God is giving directions and promises.  A covenant is formed.  Honor Me and I will honor you.

Meditatio:

God is giving much to Abram and his people.  The passage conveys God giving strength to His people.  Obviously, these blessings come from God, not Abram or anyone else's efforts.  We should take note that we can do all things, but God can.

Oratio:

Lord, may I always love and trust you.  I pray to recognize my blessings and not ever think that my personal behavior is the cause of my good things.  A situation can change in a second.  But You, O Lord are always there.

Contemplatio:

Lord, Jesus Christ, I trust in You.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Look Beyond

Flying from Boston to Orange County, I read The Rent Collector by Camron Wright.  Good story!  It is fiction but based on a real place, Stung Meanchey.  Stung Meanchey is a dump in Cambodia.  People live in the dump.  They make a living there.  In fact, the main character is a young mother, Sang Ly, who with her husband and baby, move from her family village for a better life, scavaging in the dump.

  They have a regular routine.  Sang Ly takes care of her son and hubby scavages.  He picks metals and such and sells it.  He gets money to pay the rent on their cardboard hovel plus some for food.  Once in a while, they have a little to save.  Their savings are eaten up by medical bills because the baby has chronic diarrhea. The diarrhea goes away when he's on medicine but it always comes back when the medicine runs out.  It's a constant worry.  Also, overshadowing the little family is the rent collector.

The rent collector is a bitch on wheels.  Her demeanor is terrorizing bullying.  But one day an incident happens that alters Sang Ly and the rent collector's lives. While scavaging, the father finds a child's book and brings it home to his son.  No one can read, but he's only a baby, anyway.  They all enjoy the pictures.

The rent collector happened to see the book while collecting the rent.  What happened when she spied the book was earth shattering.  The rent collector pounced on the book like a cat on a mouse.  She snatched it up and almost kissed and hugged it.  She cried.  She wailed.  And she collapsed on the ground and read the book, hiccupping tears of joy.  She ended up taking the book, in lieu of rent.

Sang Ly had always wanted to read but never went to school.  She sweet talked and strong-armed the rent collector into teaching her to read.  In the process, Sang Ly and the rent collector developed a relationship which was based on admiration and respect, if not friendship.

Another strange thing happened.  Sang Ly (out of the blue) had a dream.  She dreamt she was in her village and the witch doctor or shaman (you know what I mean--one of those guys) was telling her to come see him to cure her son's diarrhea. Sang Ly had to act on this vision.

The family travels back to their village.  They meet the witch doctor and the baby is cured.  Meanwhile, back at the dump, the rent collector has moved.  I don't want to spoil the ending for you, except to tell you that you'll like it.

I couldn't put the story down.  It made the flight fly by.  I cried, laughed, and bit my nails.  The characterization is well drawn.  The fact that I would have never picked up a book about dump pickers were it not assigned by book club, and I literally devoured it with my eyes, tells you how good the book is.  It should be an award winner.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Fools


The Fool of New York City is Michael D. O'Brien's latest novel.  I didn't like it as well as his others.  The first few pages were difficult to get into.  I remember thinking to myself that I could recommend this book to friends--they wouldn't get past the first few pages.
But then the story hooked me.  A giant (man almost seven feet tall) rescues a man with amnesia.  How they trace back the amnesiac's life, is the plot.  O'Brien has a knack for character depiction.  Although I enjoyed the book, I thought the ending rushed.  



Friday, March 3, 2017

Home

Home Sweet Home!  I'm glad to be back.  Unfortunately, I came home with a UTI and a frozen iPhone.  My broken cell phone caused me much anxiety.  I couldn't tell my family I was leaving; I had arrived; when are you coming; help!
I spent all yesterday morning trying to fix my phone.  It was dead.  I had to buy a new one.

My doctor's appointment is this afternoon.

But the trip to the RE Congress and my visit with my relatives: nephew Fred and his wife, Monika was great.  Fred always takes us to fantastic places.  He drives me crazy because he offers too many options, but it's always fun.  The Congress was my best.  I chose good speakers this year.  Every single one of them was interesting.  I'm sure I'll be posting thoughts I've gleaned from them, later on.

Since I was traveling on Ash Wednesday, and would not have been able to get ashes, we made up a ceremony.  Fred burned last year's palms, Tuesday night.  Wednesday morning, we set up a little holy space: candle, holy water, and ashes.  We blessed ourselves with holy water as we lit the candle.  We said a little prayer.  It was extemporaneous so I don't remember it.  Then we smeared ashes on each other's foreheads.  Fred got his revenge on me by smacking me with a humongous cross.  SoI went all day feeling kind of embarrassed but sacrificial.

The sad part is that during our flying home, across the country, I only saw two people with ashes.  No one in Orange County airport.  One person in Chicago.  And one person in Boston.  Two.

Lord have mercy on us.

Faith can't grow without temptation, pope tells Rome priests

Faith can't grow without temptation, pope tells Rome priests: ROME (CNS) -- Faith is a continuing path of growth and maturity that cannot progress without the presence of temptations, Pope Francis told priests of the Diocese of Rome.



Doesn't this remind you of Dostoevsky's faith?                  



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Off-Line

I'm off to the Religious Education Congress sponsored by the diocese of Los Angeles.  See you next week.


The Pope Teaches the Children

I hope the pope doesn't give up his day job.  See if you agree.


Pope’s Chat With Children, Other Groups at St. Mary Josephine of Heart of Jesus Parish on Outskirts of Rome
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Below is a Zenit working translation of Pope Francis’ chat with children and other groups during his visit to a parish on the outskirts of the city of Rome, the afternoon of Sunday, Feb. 19, the second of this type since the end of the Jubilee of Mercy, and the 13th visit of this nature. The parish of Saint Mary Josephine of the Heart of Jesus in Castelverde di Lunghezza, is six kilometers east of the circular highway around Rome:
***
Pope Francis: I’ll ask question and you all answer. How many “Gods” are there? [“One”]. But … I know three! [“The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”]. Father, Son and Holy Spirit: one and two and three. They are three. What do you answer to this? Who can answer? [Someone says: They are three”] Are there three Gods or one?  [Someone says: [There is only one divided in three parts”] — in three parts? No, God is one [“He is only one but who represents more things”]. It doesn’t work … How many “Gods are there? [“Three”]. Three “Gods” or one? [“One”]. But if there is one … I ask you this question: Is the Father God? [“Yes”] Is the Son God? [Yes … No …”]. So, He’s not God? [Yes, He is God”] Is the Holy Spirit God? [“Yes”]. They are three, but this is something that’s not easy to understand: they are three Persons, have you understood this? They are three Persons, but the three Persons make only one God. Agreed? [“Yes”]. Aren’t you convinced? So, what three things are they? Three [“Persons”] and one [“God”]. Three … [“Persons”] and one [“God”]. And is Our Lady God? [“No’] What is Our Lady? [“The Mother …”]. The Mother of God. Why is she the Mother of God? Because she is the one who brought Jesus to the world. Agreed? [“Yes”]. Yes. And Joseph truly helped Our Lady. Is the Father God? Yes. Is the Son God? Yes. Is the Holy Spirit God? Yes. Three Persons, agreed? How many Persons? [“Three”]. How many “Gods”? [“One”]. Is Our Lady God? [“No”]. Our Lady is …? The Mother of God.. This is clear. Never forget this.  All right.



Monday, February 20, 2017

Posterity


My neighborhood once was a haven for families.  When my children were young gangs roamed our backyards and walked in and out of our kitchens.  Literally, there was a path in the hedges between the house next door and mine.  The voices of children echoed in the air.  Bus stops had lines of children queuing.  My children had a wonderful neighborhood to grow up in.  They and I have good memories.  That was then; this is now.

For a long time, I've wondered where the children went.  I see plenty of young people jogging.  I also see many couples, also singles, walking dogs.  The thought has occurred to me that people aren't having children nowadays, but rather they're pet owners.  Pets are satisfying the human need to love and nurture.

My thoughts were reinforced today by the article, "Fur Babies," in Breakpoint.  John Stonestreet articulates what I've long thought.  He calls it "pet parenthood," or "fur babies."  Young people today opt to care for pets because it's less an investment than a child.  With a pet, life is still focused on them.

Kind of selfish, heh?

I enjoy the thought that when I die, I still live on, in my children and grandchildren.