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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Pass the Baton

 Today the homilist talked about relay races.  He is fascinated watching how each runner runs his best and hands over the baton to a new runner.  He connected that image to us.  Jesus handed over the baton to the apostles.  The apostles handed on the baton to the first bishops.  This is called Apostolic Succession.  

 Today it's our turn to run.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Expressions of Reverence

 I'm reading God is Near Us by Ratzinger and he is talking about different ways to receive communion.  We know about receiving in the hand and/or the mouth, but did you know that the monks at Cluny, around the year one thousand, took their shoes off to receive communion?

BTW, Jesus and his apostles received in the hand.  As a matter of fact, everyone received in the hand while standing until the ninth century.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Patron Saints for World Youth Day 2023

 Here are the patron saints for the World Youth Day in 2023:

1.  St. Pope John Paul II, who start WYD.

2.  St. John Bosco who started schools for boys.
3.  St. Vincent Saragossa who is patron of Lisbon, Portugal, where WYD will be held.
4.  St. Anthony who finds everything and found a spot here.
5. St. Bartholomew of the Martyrs who was born in Lisbon.
6.  St. John Brito was born in Lisbon.
7.  Bl. Joana of Portugal.
8.  Bl.  Maria Clara of the child Jesus worked in Portugal.
9.  Bl. Joao Fernandes, martyred in Canary islands.
10. Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati young Lay Dominican--inspiration for young people.
11.  Bl. Marcel Calo was another young man who was a scout and youth worker.
12. Bl. Chiara Badano was a young lady who offers hope to the young.
13.  Bl Carlo Acutis a youth who created an exhibit of Eucharistic miracles.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Luck Undermines Skill

 After winning a "string of pearls" ("0" points) tonight in cribbage, I'm meditating on "luck."  I've noticed  that some times I can do no wrong.  I win.  Analyzing those times leads to no conclusion.  Luck doesn't depend on how much or little sleep one has.  Nor does it matter whether one is thinking positive thoughts. Anyone walking outside during a thunderstorm must have been thinking positive thoughts, until they were struck by lightening. 

But let's go back to playing cribbage.  If I am skilled and am experienced, then I should win, right.  Then explain beginner's luck.  Why wouldn't the most skilled player win most of the time?  It is said, that cribbage is 10% skill and 90% luck.  Those aren't good odds.  But it does offer hope to poor players.

Card players will say they're lucky or unlucky, today.  "Why", is a futile question.  Luck is random.  But if you are winning, then don't change anything.  Use the same cards, don't change your seat, or anything.  However, next week you can wear the same clothes, use the same cards and sit in the same seat, and you lose. Luck is fickle.

 The conclusion is that there just seems to be no plausible explanation.  So what should I do about it? Since luck is unforeseeable, maybe I should not try

to be lucky, but rather aim to be"good" at what I am doing.  Play cribbage the best that I can and if I lose, consider that I played poorly, or that I was beaten by a better player.  I should learn by these mistakes.  Of course, when I get a string of pearls, like today, there's no explanation except I had no luck.  That doesn't make me feel better; I'd rather be lucky than skilled.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

 Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a serious medical condition that many pregnant women have and deserves to be known and treated properly by doctors. Many doctors have no standard treatment plan for HG, and some even deny medication because "everyone gets morning sickness." Please sign this petition to advocate for HG education and standard treatments. This can literally save lives.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

St. Ewolda Where Are You?

 If you like to read thrillers, then Charlie Lovett’s novel, The Lost Book of the Grail, will suit you just fine. It is a unique kind of thriller, though. It’s not violent. There’s a mystery to solve. There’s romance. There are places to go where you know no one should be going, but you will follow curiously if anxiously.

The setting is in England with references to P.G. Wodehouse. The reader follows the adventures of Arthur and Bethany. These two are an unlikely pair. Arthur is a medievalist who resists modernity. He is aghast when he is introduced to Bethany.
1. She’s a wise mouth American. (Arthur is a wise mouth Englishman.)
2. She’s a computer whiz who comes into Arthur’s library to digitize the manuscripts (some date from the sixth century).
3. She has faith. Arthur is an atheist.
4. Bethany’s father is an Evangelical preacher. Although a nonbeliever, Arthur loves the rhythm and poetry of the psalms and attends all the monk’s hours.
5. She’s young—20’s. He’s 20 years older.

The adventure begins when Bethany starts putting two plus two together and squares it with her computer skill, to help Arthur find lost manuscripts. There are pressures from rich people who want to buy the old manuscripts, superiors who need money to keep the library open, and those who need to keep the cathedral viable.

The setting and story remind me of Brother Cadfael’s mysteries. There’s history from medieval times to the reformation. The author has his character explain how to make vellum and how the scribes made their ink and art work. Some of the manuscripts are written in Latin and some in Saxon and of course there’s a code that hints of where the Holy Grail is hidden.

The town, college, abbey, cathedral, and the ever important, St. Ewolda, are all fictitious. But they remind the reader of real places, saints, and characters. All in all, it’s fun.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Don't Stop Praying

I often feel prayer is useless, especially long devotions, litanies, novena and specifically the rosary.  I know.  I pray a rosary every day, but as a Lay Dominican, that's a rule.  I pray the rosary because I follow the rule.  Besides, my prayer partner calls me to it.  

However, this story from Warriors to Lourdes Pilgrimage hit me in my mind and heart.  I have hope and better belief, that prayer is not useless.  I believe it.

 "In 2001, Richard Johnson suffered a major knee injury during an operation in Kosovo. He was given strong painkillers, which led him into an addiction that gradually dragged him into the abyss.

He spent the next 14 years in growing isolation and despair. When his family — practicing Catholics with a proud tradition of military service — lost all influence over him, they resolved to support him by prayer, from a distance.
“My family grieved me as I was basically gone,” Richard, 47, told CNA during the May 10-16 Warriors to Lourdes
 pilgrimage. “I spent years in darkness, with no thought, no emotion. I felt I completely lost my soul, while my mom was praying the rosary continuously.”
He is aware, with hindsight, that it is thanks to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary that he emerged into the light.
In 2014, he experienced a psychotic break in which he lost all contact with reality. It took four years for him to come through it.
“One night, in 2018, in a totally sudden way, I heard the first thought in my mind in four years,” he recalled. “And I know now that all was connected. At that point, I felt what I would describe as a flood of grace. I felt at peace, started to feel emotions again, my soul was coming back.”
That night, Richard felt compelled to pray, even though he had cut himself off from his childhood faith as a teenager after his parents’ divorce, some 20 years earlier. A week later, a strong will to pray the rosary arose in him.
“I asked a Catholic friend I had in the Army to help me pray as I had forgotten everything,” he said. “Then I started reconnecting with people, with my faith and Scripture, and I became a completely new person.

Pass the Baton

 Today the homilist talked about relay races.  He is fascinated watching how each runner runs his best and hands over the baton to a new run...