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Thursday, December 3, 2020

Mercy Woods

 Joan and I hiked a new trail today.  Since Joan is 90 years old, it took awhile to walk a mile and a half.  It took 90 minutes to be exact.  Joan cracks me up.  Every time she talks, she stops.  She can't talk and walk, at the same time.  

It was a beautiful day.  We were walking the grounds around the Sisters of Mercy.  They have a rehabilitation center, a school, and offices.  The woods are called Mercy Woods. 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Get This Monkey Off My Back

 Father Rocco's homily today included a story.  

A monkey was riding on the back of a panda.  They were comfortable ambling along, when the monkey asked the panda, "Is the destination more important than the journey?"

What do you think?

Well, the panda replied, "Neither."

"It depends on the companion."

Friday, November 27, 2020

Lowell's Braided Knotsox


Today was just one blessing after another.  First, I had a wonderful walk with my two friends, Lillie and Joan.  We walked the Franklin, MA, SNETT Trail.  We walked a couple of miles and had a good time.

When I arrived home, there was a package waiting for me.  It was from an old friend, that used to belong to my hikers' group, Lowell Whitlock.  He sent me the above Dominican Cross. It was such a surprise that I'm still marveling over it.  I haven't seen Lowell for a few years.  He was in my Spanish class and cribbage class, at the Senior Center.  Then he moved to Texas--never to be seen or heard from, again.  So I thought, until this morning.  

Isn't it a godsend to hear from old friends?

My son came for lunch, carrying a Christmas kissing ball.  It smells wonderful. 

He said it was for my birthday since what he ordered was back-ordered.  But guess what, as we were eating, the package arrived.  It was a box of specialty cookies.  One more surprise: he volunteered to wash my kitchen garden window.  It hasn't been washed in about 2-3 years because it's too hard to get to.  It's right above the bulk-head.

What a day of surprises!  My favorites are the window washing and my Dominican cross.  

God is good.

All the time.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Rotten Tomatoes

 The characters in Walker Percy's "The Moviegoer," are the first time I've never liked any of them. None of them had any redeeming features.  Well, what do I know.  It's only a story.

The main character, Binx, was a dud. I keep thinking that there should be more to this story but if there were, I missed it. It was an easy read. I liked the descriptive detail, especially when Percy was describing a person. His diction is precise. I really got a flavor of the south in the 1960s.

I guess that's why this book is considered an existential classic.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Mary's Non-Fiat


Here's how the play went:  Mary's sitting nonchalantly and singing to herself.  When out of the sky drops this huge crocheted creature.  Mary freaks out.  She trembles and cowers and wrings her hands.
The crocheted creature says, "Do not be afraid!."  Mary is too frightened to understand what is being said.  Again, "Mary!  Do not be afraid!"  Mary looks at the crocheted creature and it speaks to her: "Hail Mary, full of grace!  I am the angel Gabriel and I have come to make an announcement."  Mary has stopped shaking and says, "Wha...why...huh?"  Gabriel continues, "The Lord is with You.  Behold, you will have a son named Jesus Emmanuel Christ.  He is the Son of God; you are to be the Mother of God.  Mary answers, "Cool!"

What can I say?  Theology of a ten year old.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Wedding at Cana


On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.[a] Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

12 After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers[b] and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.


2:1 The Third Day.  Interesting.  Jesus for the first time will manifest His glory on this "Third Day,"  as He manifests His glory three days after His death.  Why three days?  The third of these wedding celebrations?  Three days after calling some of His apostles?

Also note that John doesn't call Mary anything other than the Mother of Jesus.  And why would she be so concerned about running out of wine?  Who would notice that?  Well, a relative of the wedding party would, wouldn't she? 

And I've heard many times that Jesus calling His mother, "Woman," 2:4, was not rude.  It just would be rude today.

2:5 Mary knew Jesus would do whatever she asked, her tone is assurance.  "Do whatever He tells you." are the last recorded words of Mary.  One of my "cloistered brothers" calls this incident the first catechism, i.e., just obey Jesus!

2:10  Jesus transforms water into wine, just as He transfigures wine into His Precious Blood at every Mass.  

Finally, Jesus' attendance at this wedding is the basis for sanctifying a wedding into the sacrament of marriage.


Wowza!  Jesus starts His public ministry giving us a sacrament and an introduction to Mary, changing water, and impressing everyone, especially His disciples.  But Mary knew He would.  Does she feel sorry that this is His beginning of leaving her?


Thank you, Jesus, for sanctifying marriage.  Thank you, Jesus, for changing water into wine to prefigure the Eucharistic celebration.  Thank you, Jesus, for showing us that this wine looks forward to the marriage supper of the Lamb.


I am awed by Your care for us.


I will work towards spreading the glory and power of God.

Advent/Christmas Reflection from Behind the Walls 2020

 Let's face it, these are tumultuous times for all of us.  Time in which I find myself often gazing from my cell window and wondering, what it might be that you yourself are seeing from your own window? For me, I see a co-mingling of sorrow and joy.  The leaves are changing and so are we.  Colder weather is moving in, and the ways in which we now interact with one another are dramatically altered.  So much suffering abounds, often it is difficult to know how best to help.  Many have become cynical, fearful, disillusioned, and stress and anxiety and frustration can get overwhelming.  I get it, I have my moments too.  However, the longer I gaze out my window, the more deeply I feel drawn to go deeper within myself.

From this vantage point, the window of my heart, my Advent journey is beginning.  I can see that many of us have grown older, more infirm, are struggling to make ends meet, and are wrestling with the innumerable uncertainties life now challenges us with. Many more of us are also grieving the losses of both loved ones and the way life used to be. In the windows of my own nostalgic moments, I fondly recall your face and the many memories we share from our vibrant Bethanian communal days.  It is the memory of your face, like a shining star to me, that brings me both solace and hope.  Comfort knowing that we may be separated, but we are far from being apart.

For a few moments, I had wished to turn back the hands of time.  Then a realization struck me, Advent calls us forward, not backward. We have grown since last we met, and each of us is on a journey now to transcend who we are at this moment.  Like the Wise folk of old, who took a risk, took off their masks, and dared to follow that bright shining star into an uncertain future, so too are we called to do the same, to step out in faith.  Advent journeys are about learning to trust, and about learning to see through the darkness and into the Light.  Often it is one baby step at a time.  Advent feeds us the nutrients we most need to bring new life in us.  Christmas dispels the dark, transcends the fear, in the humble gathering where we meet once again at the manger of Christ and together are fed.  May we be starts for others along the way to the Celebration.  See you at the manger of Love!  Your "cloistered brother," Phil.

Mercy Woods

 Joan and I hiked a new trail today.  Since Joan is 90 years old, it took awhile to walk a mile and a half.  It took 90 minutes to be exact....