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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Rosary Bracelet



The Trail Hikers meet at the usual place.  It takes awhile to get going; we're waiting for everyone to get organized--get directions, decide whether to take your own car or ride along with someone.
As this was going on, Don ran up to us.  He had run up from his house.  He's a marathon runner.  He ran up to tell us that his wife had a medical appointment and they wouldn't be coming.

While he was telling us this, I noticed that he was fingering a rosary bracelet.  I was impressed.  He runs every morning.  I bet that's when he prays his rosary.  God bless him.

Monday, October 18, 2021

The Third Try

Sunday didn't start as a good day.  I intended to go to Mass outside, at Fatima Shrine.  I arrived at 9:45 for a 10:00 Mass.  No one was there.  I looked at their sign and it read: Sunday Mass 11:00.  So I left and did some errands and arrived back at 10:45, only to see people leaving!

I stopped someone I knew to talk to and she said Mass was at 10:00 after all.  So the sign was wrong.

There was only a noon Mass to go to, so I went to my own parish church.  I was early and since I was running around all morning I had to go to the bathroom. So once in my own parish, I went to the basement floor.  When I was finished I decided to take the elevator.  On the way up the elevator stopped in the middle.  Father Frank got on. I hadn't seen him in about five years!  

So what turned out to be a terrible morning, turned out to be a blessing.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Seacoast Blvd.

 My favorite place in the world is at the end of Seacoast Blvd., in Falmouth, MA.  We have a summer place off of Seacoast Blvd.  Just about every evening, that we are down there, we walk out to the end of the Blvd., down the path, to the steps leading to the water. 

There before your eyes lies a panorama of nature that for me, packs a spiritual punch because it lifts me out of my ordinary life.  I usually sit on the steps and just contemplate the vista before me.

First, you see the boats, buoys, seagulls, terns, and maybe an osprey.  The water is clear so you might be able to pick up a crab, or even catch a fish swimming by if you’re quick or have a net.  Within swimming distance is Washburn Island.

Washburn Island is home to my family’s favorite beach.  It’s safe to say, that everyone who lives on this peninsula (Seacoast Blvd.) and has a boat, has their favorite beach spot planted on the island.

Observing Washburn Island is a lesson in theology because watching the weather and seasons caress and assault the isle reminds one of God’s care over His creation: clothing Adam and Eve in their nakedness, marking Cain to protect him, protecting David from King Saul’s wrath, freeing Peter from prison, etc. 

26 Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value than they?  Matt 6: 26

God has a plan and it’s not the one we planned.  What am I talking about?  I’m specifically thinking of hurricanes.  I love to rush down to the end of Seacoast Blvd. to see what Mother Nature has done after the Cape has been hit with a hurricane.  More often than not, Washburn Island is literally broken.  The crashing waves and relentless wind break through the land so there are two islands—a parent and a child.  But over time, we watch the parent reach over and pull her little one close and closer until the little one is hugged by its parent.  The ocean has brought sand, silt, and rocks to fill in the break.  The two islands and now one, again.

Sitting on those stone steps you forget where you are because you’re gradually placed in a different dimension of experience.  You are in a place of light—sunlight and light reflected off the gentle motion of the waves, the clanging of the ropes on the masts of the sailboats, the clanging of the buoy, the gleeful voices of the young, the slapping waves against the rocks, the crying of the seagulls, and the tender kiss of the wind caressing your sunburnt skin.  One can’t help but fall into transcendence.  You find yourself contemplating a Divine Presence and Divine Providence.

And that’s not all.  That’s only Washburn Island.  Beyond Washburn is Vineyard Sound., home to the largest flounder in Cape Cod Bay.  And Martha’s Vineyard, which in our little Boston Whaler, is two hours away.  But who wants to boat over to that tourist trap when we have our own slice of nirvana at the end of Seacoast Blvd.

Eventually, however, you become aware that other people have walked into your space.  Well, after all, we don’t own the venue.  The path and steps at the end of Seacoast Boulevard are actually only a public Right of Way.  

Well, it’s time for others to admire the scene and hopefully experience the majesty of the view.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Who Did It?

 A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J. Gaines is a story that tells how it was in the South for Black People.

It begins with the killing of a white man.  Candy, a white lady who was brought up by Mathu, a black man has killed a white man.  To help Mathu, who is like a father to her, she confesses to the murder.  So do about 10-20 other black men.  Hence, the title, A Gathering of Old Men.  They're old and lived under the degrading rules of segregation for a long time.  

When each man is asked why he committed the murder, they tell stories of they have just had it with being treated as less than human.  Some of their stories are heartbreaking.  The author uses each story in their own chapter.  So there're many different points of view.

Besides expecting to go to prison, the men and Candy expected the murdered man's family to come and punish the black men.  They don't because the times have changed and the black men have earned respect.  The college-educated won't take revenge.

As a surprise, the man who really shot the victim finally walks on the scene and confesses that he did it and why he did it.  The ending is nicely tied up.  There's a shoot-out between the Klan types and the old man and there's a trial.  In the end, the judge administers justice.  You'll have to read it yourself to put flesh on the bones I've related. It's worth it.  I learned and enjoyed.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Mary of the Plague

 Tonight after the Rosary, the deacon explained that: 

Holy Mary, Mother of God
pray for us sinners,
now, and at the hour of our death.

was added during the Plague in Medieval times. Now during COVID-19, I think we should say this often, especially at the hour of our death. 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Spoiler Alert for Eifelheim

 There's no way I can write a review of Eifelheim by Michael Flynn without spoilers.  So if you read this, get the book to see how the author weaves everything together.

Cliologist (some kind of historian) noticed that a small town, Eifelheim, disappeared off the face of the earth.  We're in the Medieval Times.  The historian, Thomas, along with a research assistant, and his girlfriend, Sharon, pieced together the story.  It seems that a flying ship crash-landed in the nearby forest next to Eifelheim.  The aliens looked something like giant grasshoppers.

Everyone of course is afraid of these strange beings.  Since this is Medieval times, they were thought to be demons, except these demons were afraid of people.  

One thing I liked about this novel is that the priest is a good man.  He was not a pedophile.  In fact, this priest found a little girl and cared for her. He also helps with the sick, including disrobing and washing the sick women and the author treats the priest's caring as perfunctory.  The Black Plague hits the village and the priest works as nurse, and priest.

When the villagers gradually meet the aliens most of them help them with food and taking care of the wounded.  Of course, some stay away and call them demons.  The aliens weren't used to the cold so the villagers gave them warm clothing and took them in their homes to be near a warm hearth.

When the Black Death came, the aliens helped with the sick villagers.  The aliens weren't affected by the plague, at all.  But they gradually died off because they weren't getting the nutrition they needed.  So Tom and Sharon concluded that everyone died in Eifelheim and those that didn't, left and told the story about the demons that kept the town from ever being inhabited again.

Rosary Bracelet

    The Trail Hikers meet at the usual place.  It takes awhile to get going; we're waiting for everyone to get organized--get directions...