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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

The Blood of Goats will Shatter Diamonds

                                                          Greek bronze bust of Aristotle by Lysippos,

                                                                  c. 330 BC, with modern alabaster mantle

Aristotle once said that the fresh warm blood of a goat would shatter a diamond.  It's a famous quote, but why I don't know.  I can't find what it means on google.  

It's nonsense, is it not?  Diamonds don't shatter.  They can only be cut with diamond precision tools, certainly not a liquid.  

What did Aristotle mean?  

How would anyone test this?  Diamonds aren't readily available.  Who would kill a goat and pour its blood over a diamond.  

This is just nonsense.  We don't have the context that Aristotle was using.  Maybe he was using it as a simile.  

Trying to empty the ocean of salt is akin to shattering a diamond with the fresh warm blood of a goat.


Tuesday, October 4, 2022

What is Preaching?

Preaching is declaring God's truth.  It is a means to save souls.

St. Dominic requested that his friars be dedicated specifically for preaching, hence their name, "friars preachers."  They are not monks, who do not preach. They are not diocesan priests, who are pastors.  Friars are centered on proclaiming the Word of God.

Jesus Christ asked His Apostles to spread His Word.  The Apostles passed it on to their successors, the bishops.  Today the bishops entrust the preaching of the Word, not only to priests but also to those trained to preach, and have a solid faith formation dedicated to God's truth.  

This is the vocation of the Lay Fraternities of Saint Dominic. Today, the laity must share the call to preach.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Your Annunciation

 Saturday, I attended the Worcester Women's Conference.  One of their speakers, pictured, left me with much food for thought. Laura Mary Phelps spoke about Mary's Annunciation.  Now when I thought of the angel Gabriel announcing to Mary that she was to be the mother of God, I always thought happy thoughts.  She was going to have a baby.  She was chosen to be the mother of God.  And, if so, she didn't have to worry that her baby would be stillborn.  He was going to be perfect.

But Laura Phelps introduced a different perspective. Once Mary said "yes," all her beautiful plans were dashed. No wedding shower, hope chest, beautiful white dress, or anything.  Can you imagine what was going through her mind?  

I'm going to be stoned. I'm pregnant and not married.  Poor Joseph, is going to be heart broken.  

Did her parents know what was going on?  Did they send her to her cousin, Elizabeth's, to have her baby?

Scripture tells us that an angel let Joseph know what was going on, maybe Mary's parents, too. What a mess, when before that angel came life looked so rosy.

Laura Phelps called this scenario, an Annunciation moment. We all have them.  You can't be human and not have your plans dashed to the ground.

I immediately thought of my "cloistered brothers."  No one plans to go to prison.  They surely must have had Annunciation Moments.

Some other examples:

People left at the altar.

Sudden deaths of loved ones.

Getting fired.

Your spouse telling you he wants a divorce.

Not getting into the college you want.  Flunking out.

You have a terminal illness.

What was your Annunciation Moment?

The only way to survive an Annunciation Moment is to stay close to Jesus.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

They Are Us

 Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections hooked me early.  I became emotionally involved with the Lambert family.  There are five in this family plus spouses and friends.  But the relationships between the family members is the story. The patriarch, Alfred has Parkinson and invading fast is dementia.  His wife, Enid, is a living saint. She tries to hold the family together and put on a brave, happy front.  She wants to have one last Christmas as a family together.  What a nice thought; is that too much to ask?

It certainly is.  Add the human factor in the equation and complication arise.  The oldest, Gary, seems like a solid up-coming, family man.  But his wife doesn't like his mother, Enid, so the wife refuses to attend the Christmas celebration.  Denise, the middle child, is in the middle of being pulled by her newly realization that she's a lesbian, she had just lost her job, and she feels as the only girl, no family, and arguably the most dependable of the family, it's her responsibility to solve the problem of what to do with Mom, if and when, Dad gets put in a home. Lastly, is Chip.  He is the most irresponsible of the group, but the most loved by his parents.

Franzen's drawing of each of these characters is masterful.  He has the ability to relate people and family dynamics in such a way that all readers can recognize themselves in each character and/or situation.  The reader is emotionally drawn into caring for these characters, especially Enid. The Corrections is us.  It's America.

Friday, September 30, 2022

T'is Better to be Lucky


Cribbage players always say, "I'd rather be lucky that good."  By that they mean that being skilled in the game of cribbage isn't a guarantee of winning.  It takes luck.  
I couldn't believe I was winning.  I barely breathed.  I was hot but didn't want to change my luck, so I kept my sweater on.  I wanted to put my glasses on, but I was winning without them.  I needed to go to the bathroom, but I didn't.  I made it.  I didn't win by a large margin on any game, but I won every game I play.  And you and I know, it's just plain ole dumb luck.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

The Well Dressed Priest

 Since Saturday was the beginning of the Jewish holidays, and their New Year, I've been thinking of the Catholic Liturgical Year, which begins in Advent.  So my grandchildren and I were talking about the Liturgical Year and how the priest's vestment colors change with the year.  Accordingly we made some vestments.  We have a stole for the priest or deacon and some chasubles to match the liturgical seasons.

They are made of felt.  We have a white ribbon to use as a stole.  White is used for Christmas, Easter, Baptisms, Confirmations, Weddings, and Funerals.  Green is for Ordinary Time.  Purple is for Advent and Lent. Red is for Pentecost and Masses celebrating martyrs.  We chose to use yellow to represent Triduum.  Since we didn't have a male doll, we used a cross to dress with our home-made chasubles. Since we are still in Ordinary time, the cross is wearing green.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Never, Never, Never, Never, Never, Never...

 "Winston Churchill gave the shortest and most memorable commencement address in history, at his alma mater during World War II.  It consisted of just one sentence: "Never, never, never, never, never, never, never give up."

I'm quoting the conclusion of Peter Kreeft's book, Prayer for Beginners.  I took my time with this because I was reading it as Lectio Divina.  I read just a little each day.  The dedication matches the end--never, never...   The prologue states "to the person who taught me to pray, or rather is teaching me (with astonishing patience), Jesus Christ."

IOW, don't give up, ever!  Keep it up.  Come back to it, but don't give up.  

It's a small book, barely a hundred pages, perfect for a beginner.  I remember going to a Spiritual Director and my first statement was that I wanted to pray better. This book should have been given to me.  I think everybody at one time or another want to learn to pray.  Kreeft first explains what you need to pray and then how to pray.  There are many "how's."  Work can be prayer.  Dance can be prayer.  Art can be prayer.  Get it?  

But the best advice is the last chapter on perseverance.  Hence, the "Never, never, never..."

The Blood of Goats will Shatter Diamonds

                                                                        Greek bronze bust of Aristotle by  Lysippos ,                       ...