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Tuesday, August 31, 2010


...You are the God of the lowly, the helper of the oppressed, the supporter of the weak, the protector of the forsaken, the savior of those without hope.  Judith 9:11

Sometimes I see him in the Common.
Sometimes he appears on the "T."

It's Jim, the Suitcase Man,
My friend who thinks I'm an angel.

He's walked the day; God knows where!
Traveling for hope, looking for love.

He's talking to invisible people.
but they're nicer than most.

Head down, one foot in front of the other.
Plod, plod, plod along, my friend.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

God's Got My Back

Before  Chapter, I had a conversation with one of my "cloistered brothers," that reminded me, (again) why I love them so.

Brother is telling me that he's been feeling lethargic and just "punky."  The doctors tell him that he has an iron deficiency.  Then he goes into detail about his regimen of pills and diet.  I'll spare you the details that I had to listen to, not because there not important, but because I kinda zoned out mid-way through his recitation.

Somehow this monologue segued into his diverticulitis.

After all this, he said something that woke me up.  "But I'm not worried.  God's got my back."

Indeed, when I think of the twists and turns in Brother's life, I can see that he has a full regiment of angels working overtime.  And all that work is not in vain.  He is now one of the most pious people I know.  His Faith is solid.  He doesn't even watch TV.  It holds no interest for him.  Praying and spiritual reading are his life.

He also said that God loves him so much, that He's crazy about him.

Yeah, me too.

Word to the Wise

Capuce up

If you ever see a Dominican friar in this position,
don't bother him.

In particular, don't ask him a dumb ass question.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Understanding St. Augustine in a Minute

Want to understand St. Augustine?  It'll only take you a sec.  Just click on this link.

Actually, I owe a lot to St. Augustine.  He is an indirect founder of the Dominicans St. Dominic was an Augustinian Canon.  Also, I follow the rule of St. Augustine, as does the entire Dominican Family.  Spiritual hugs today

Friday, August 27, 2010

When in Rome...

Did you know that "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." comes from a conversation between St. Ambrose and St. Monica?

When Monica moved from North Africa to Milan, she found religious practices new to her and also that some of her former customs, such as a Saturday fast, were not common there. She asked St. Ambrose which customs she should follow. His classic reply was: “When I am here, I do not fast on Saturday, but I fast when I am in Rome; do the same and always follow the custom and discipline of the Church as it is observed in the particular locality in which you find yourself.”

Have a good Feast Day--St. Monica.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

You're So-o-o-o Catholic!

My friend Chris and I use to tease each other by playing a game we called "You're so Catholic."  I was reminded of this game, when I read Matthew Warner's article in the National Catholic Register, "How "Catholic" should you be online?"

Chris to Faith:  You're so Catholic that all the religious medals you wear clang so much, the cows come

Faith to Chris:  You're so Catholic that the UPS driver gets lost in the Nativity Scene set up in your front

Get it?

We're not crazy.  We're just Catholic!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Atheist Meets the Dominican

An Atheist is flying in a hot air balloon.  Heat lightning strikes the balloon, and the Atheist crashes in a tree.  He's physically unhurt but is dangling helplessly, caught in the branches of a tree.  A Dominican praying his rosary walks by, and says,  "My good man, you are dangling helplessly, caught in the branches of a tree."

"You must be a Dominican."  The Atheist accuses.

"I am," replies the Dominican.  "How did you know?"

"Well," says the Atheist,  "Everything you state is the truth, but it is absolutely of no practical use to me."

"Ah!" exclaimed the Dominican.  "And you must be an Atheist."

"I am," replied the Atheist.  "How did you know?"

"Well," says the Dominican "you don't know how to save yourself, yet you expect me to do it.  And you have found yourself in an insolvable situation, and it doesn't occur to you to appeal to a higher power."
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Yesterday's post on Mother Teresa had a good comment, that I forgot to mention.

The post related the story of Mother caring for a dead man.  A journalist writing and taking pictures of Mother Teresa's Homes, said to her, "I wouldn't do your job for all the money in the world."  Mother responded, "Neither would I."

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Mother Teresa

Father Martin Hyatt celebrated the Mass tonight.  It was wonderful to see him.  I haven't seen him in a few years.  I've known him from childhood.  In fact, I call his mother, Auntie Angie.  He looked like he lost weight.  He certainly did -- 55 pounds.  He also had heart trouble.  He's had a couple of shunts put in.  Please pray for him and his continued healing.

He told us a story about Mother Teresa.  She and another sister came upon a man in the gutter.  He was disgusting, and obviously dying.  He reeked; he was lying in his own diarrhea and vomit.  A cloud of flies buzz around him.  He was covered with bugs and maggots.  Many would have walked on and let him die.  But not Mother Teresa.

She hailed a cab to take the man to their home for the dying.  The cabbie said that he'd take Mother and Sister but not the man.  His stench would permanently linger in the cab, not to mention stain the upholstery.  He couldn't do it.  So mother looked around and saw a wheelbarrow.  That's how they transported the man home.

As they got close to home, the sisters ran out to help them.  They lifted the man out and hosed him down, gently.  When he was clean, Mother said, put him in the guest room for honored guests.  You know where that was?  It was a bed at the foot of the statue of St. Joseph.

Mother Teresa fed him a little bread and water.  He died soon after.  Requiescat in pace.

Father Martin was telling us this story because the Thurs., Aug. 26 mother would have been 100 years old.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

In Love -- AGAIN!

My daughter and I were deep in discussion.  This is the daughter who just had a baby a month ago.  The discussion was about how we loved our husbands.  We married them because we loved them.  But after having a baby, we have to add a new definition to "love."  Love of your own baby, your own flesh and blood, love of this child that you helped create -- well -- words fail.

The love between mother and baby is above the love between husband and wife -- exponentially!

Who knew?

And there is no way, anyone can understand this.  You have to experience it.

Just think.  God loves us more than this much.  WOWZA  That explains why He did what He did.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I'll Love You Forever -- Vows

Read Paul's declaration of love in his vows.

This human longing to love God, to possess God, if you will, as one's beloved, is found in many expressions throughout Holy Scripture. One could think of the author of the Book of Wisdom when he writes, "I loved her [Lady Wisdom: a feminine image of God] and sought her from my youth; I desired to take her for my bride, and became enamored of her beauty." (Wisdom 8:2); or think of the many images from the Psalms, such as: "O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water" (Psalm 63:1). or "What else have I in heaven but you [God]? Apart from you I want nothing on earth. My body and my heart faint for joy; God is my possession for ever" (Psalm 73:25-26). Yeshua ben Sira put it bluntly, "With all your might love your Maker..." (Sirach 7:30a)

Perhaps no other book captures the human longing and love for God as poetically as the Song of Songs where the Shulamite woman writes of her beloved:

"My beloved is all radiant and ruddy,
distinguished among ten thousand.
His head is the finest gold;
his locks are wavy,
black as a raven.
His eyes are like doves
beside the springs of water,
bathed in milk,
fitly set.
His cheeks are like beds of spices,
yielding fragrance.
His lips are lilies,
distilling liquid myrrh.
His arms are rounded gold,
set with jewels.
His body is ivory work,
encrusted with sapphires.
His legs are alabaster columns,
set upon bases of gold.
His appearance is like Lebanon,
choice as the cedars.
His speech is most sweet,
and he is altogether lovable.
This is my beloved and this is my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem." (5:10-16)

Here her love for the man, captured in her very detailed account of the beauty of his body, is a metaphor for the human spirit's appreciation for God's perfection and loveliness. Once a glimpse of God's loveliness is had, a passionate desire is enkindled in the human soul which cannot be satisfied by anything less than the sweetness of God's company. This is no tame or platonic love--but an intense, consuming love. It is this type of love which motivates a man or woman to follow in the way of Yeshua the Messiah and live a life completely oriented on God. Historically in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, this following of the Messiah's example has taken many forms, including the secluded way of life of the desert fathers and mothers, the cloistered way of life of monks and nuns, the active way of life of religious brothers, religious sisters, priests, and missionaries of all sorts.

Let me remind you, Paul is not talking about marriage.  Continue....

In truly Catholic form, one's profession of vows (for example, vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience) plays out concretely in the context of the Church community, and most especially, in the context of one's religious community of brothers or sisters. Vows are not abstract, theoretical "nice ideas", therefore, they are part of a greater blueprint of the life of Grace--the wood and nails, if you will, of the bridge that guides a person from his or her former life of sin to the Kingdom of God. 

Another way I have said this is found in my description of the Dominican Cooperator Brother vocation: "Cooperator brothers are men whose love for God and desire to serve the Church has led them to seek to live as vowed religious. They are freed by the vow of poverty to give what they have to others; freed by the vow of obedience to do what the Church, through the Order, asks of them; and freed by the vow of chastity to love all those they encounter. With the support of their community of fellow Dominicans, they go about their prayer, study, and ministry with joyful hearts. And though they are not priests, their lives are rooted in the sacramental life of the Church."

The vows ultimately are aimed at liberation, not restriction--thus, in a way, one's profession of vows is the reversal of the Fall from Grace, since such an action is a freely-chosen submission to the Will of God out of love. As the Messiah put it: "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it" (Matthew 16:24-25; Luke 9:23-24). This "freedom/happiness-through-self-denial/self-giving" is Christian wisdom, often rejected by the modern world which believes freedom only comes from the power to determine everything for one's self. 

What is the result of this kind of self-giving? In a word: Holiness--that is, a sharing in the very life and holiness of the Holy One [Hakodosh]through the mystical communion made possible through the Messiah and the work of the Ruah Hakodesh (Holy Spirit). St. Paul explains this when he writes, "For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:19-20). 

St. Augustine is another example of a person made free by the love of and for God. Famously he wrote:

"Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace." 

We can only understand the conversions of St. Paul and St. Augustine and their subsequent religious fervor in light of the great Revelation that Christianity proclaims about the nature of God--his own extraordinary self-sacrificing/self-giving love. 

Blessed Julian of Norwich, whom (if she were a Doctor of the Church) one might call the Doctor of Divine Mercy, understood this self-sacrificing aspect of God through Christ not to be of one moment in time [the Crucifixion], but an on-going reality of God's loving desire for us. She wrote:

"For his [the Messiah's] love is so great that everything seems a trifle to him in comparison. For although the dear humanity of Christ could only suffer once, his goodness makes him always ready to do so again; he would do it every day if it were possible; and if he said that for love of me he would make new heavens and a new earth, it would be but little in comparison, for he could do this every day if he so wished, without any hardship; but to offer to die for love of me so often that the number of times passes human comprehension, that is the most glorious present that our Lord God could make to man's soul, it seems to me." (Revelation of Divine Love, chapter 22). 

It is, therefore, because God has already pledged his love to us [through the saving Cross of Yeshua the Messiah], that we who profess vows to him do so with happy and joyful hearts, hoping to, in our very little and human way, reciprocate that awesome love shown to us.

--This, I believe, is the meaning of the profession of religious vows, of consecrated life, and of Christian living.

Isn't Brother Paul Byrd, O.P. a beautiful writer?  Isn't his vocation beautiful?  Make sure he's on your prayer list.  I pray that he's generously blessed.  
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Count Your Blessings

.....ah, what concerns you?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Blogging Rules

In "A Holy Rule for Internet Communicators," Father Mark Carr reiterates what the USCCB has said about blogging.  IOW, play nice.

Father Carr thinks like a Dominican.  He uses his blog to preach.  More specifically, Father Carr thinks like a Lay Dominican Blogger -- like me!  He not only sees, but recommends that the laity use blogging to preach the gospel.  I call it my cyber-ministry.

But I'm not tooting my own horn.  I can't.  I must not!!  I have always kept in mind that everything I do must be for God.  I have to stay humble or I'm lost.  Father  clearly admonishes:
However, blogging and other forms of media on the internet have a severe spiritual danger to them as well. When one is commenting from his own perspective on everything in light of Catholic values, one can easily become self-focused and develop a higher opinion of him or herself. This is a danger in any form of social ministry.
Interesting, Father continues  by recommending a way of life for bloggers.  This Rule is to focus the blogger on God, not herself,  by following the Rule of Canção Nova [Cahn-Soum Noe-vah] (New Song).
More interesting, is the fact that I follow the Rule of the Lay Fraternities of Saint Dominic.  The two rules are comparable.  We are called to bring the divine message of salvation to all.  How we do that depends on one's state in life.  My vocation is bringing the Word to the world, especially in dark places.  (That's not you.  Dark places don't have the net.)  
But I do hope that I speak to you.  I hope.  I pray.  And I try to be humble about it.  I make too many mistakes to take pride in what I do.  Besides, my "cloistered brothers" keep me in my place.  Some people give me flak for associating with them.  But their humility humbles me.  They keep me grounded.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Friar Solves a Mystery

The story in the Catholic Herald, would make a great movie.  A book  would be a classic who-done-it.

Fr Marius Zerafa, OP,  a Maltese Dominican and former museum director, helped retrieve a painting of St. Jerome, stolen from the co-Cathedral of St. John in Valletta on New Year's Eve 1984.
For two years after the heist, nothing was heard about the picture. It had simply vanished. Then one day Fr Marius was approached by a young man who handed him a tape and a Polaroid picture of the painting of St Jerome. Over the next eight months he would work ceaselessly towards retrieving the lost painting.
“They gave me a password,” he says. “And indicated that I wasn’t to speak to the police. They wanted half a million Maltese lire for the painting.”
At the time Fr Marius was director of the Museums in Malta and had set up the National Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta.
Today, the Dominican art historian lectures about sacred art at the Angelicum in Rome, hears Confessions at Santa Maria Maggiore during his holidays, paints, sculpts, does some restoration work and continues to be the chairman of the Archdiocese of Malta’s Commission for Sacred Art. He is full of life and curiosity. His snow-white hair stands on end in marked contrast to his tan, the mischievous twinkle in his eyes is barely hidden by the bottle-thick 1970s-style glasses he sports. Fr Marius is a born storyteller; he has lived through a lot and seen a great deal.
Back in 1986, after the first note was delivered, Fr Marius was worried because he thought the gang might be in cahoots with the police, so he took the injunction not to report the theft seriously. He says he struggled to raise interest in the case either among the country’s ministers or the monsigniori in the local curia. He started getting daily phone calls about St Jerome. Then, in the art thief’s equivalent of chopping off a hostage’s fingers, the gang started sending Fr Marius little pieces of the precious painting. In his efforts to keep the band of thieves talking to him and give them the impression that he was interested in buying the painting back he started negotiating down the price to a quarter-of-a-million Maltese lire.
Was he frightened?
“Well, yes and no,” he says. “I was terribly relieved because after two years we thought that we had lost it. What worried me was that at one time I got a parcel and thought there was a bomb inside but there wasn’t one. And I was worried that they would come to Confession to me because that would have made it difficult.”
If they had come to him, he would have been bound by the seal of the confessional, he says, and would have had difficulty retrieving the painting from them.
After eight months Fr Marius, with the help of a technologically minded young man, managed to trace the calls to a small shoe factory on the island where the thieves were operating. He got hold of their work books and finally passed the information on to the police. It was his first contact with the authorities. A week later he chose August 4, the traditional day on which the Feast of St Dominic is celebrated in Malta, to be the day on which the painting would be retrieved.
The police arrived with helicopters and cars at the arranged meeting place and they retrieved the Caravaggio and arrested the gang members. It emerged that the gang had paid £5,000 to have Fr Marius kidnapped during the exchange.
The members of the Caravaggio gang were never brought to justice. They started a constitutional case against the police because of illegal phone tapping. Of the two men accused, one had possibly been given an overdose and died, while the other died as the case dragged on in court.
The painting was quite damaged as a result of the heist, but was spoiled even more while it was stored by the police. The painting suffered because it had been cut from the stretcher and was rolled up. Fr Marius travelled to Rome in an old military plane without seats to have the painting restored there. He says that it is now in a perfect condition.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Book Club

The Argonauta Book Club met at Jayne's house for Brunch and book selection.  As usual, Jayne out did herself with her selection of food: quiche, fruit, mimosa, pancakes, and I'm afraid I don't remember what else.  Fantastic!  Jayne is a gourmet cook.

The book club received its name from the very first book we ever read, Anne Murrow Lindberg's Gifts from the Sea.  In Gifts from the Sea,

The Argonauta is an unusual creature that is not attached to itsshell at all. It is a cradle for the young, held in the mother Argonaut's arms until the egg hatches and swims away. The shellis then left behind while the mother sets out to seek a new life. The author sheds any melancholy and allows herself to be entranced by the concept of the Argonauta shell. It is freer than the other shells and is the best representation of the middle years of life. The children have gone and the mother is left to venture out to sea in search of the unknown next step.

We felt that we had reached this point in our lives, as the sea shell, Argonauta, searching for adventure.  Also, we remembered the Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts and felt that being Argonauts was a noble thing to be.  Hence, the name.

We didn't have any rhyme or reason for choosing our books.  They're just books we wanted to read.  We didn't pick out 12 books for each month, however.  We left room for us to decide later.

Our list:

Sept:    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Oct:     The Help by Kathryn Stocket
Nov:     Still Alice by Lisa Genove
Dec:     The Swan by Mary Oliver
Jan:     The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larson
Feb:     Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Mar:     The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
Apr:     Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
May:    What is the What by Dane Eggers

Any suggestions?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Readville, MA

Hubby is always talking about Readville.  He comes from there.  When I married him we lived there--for about 8 years.  I liked it.  I particularly enjoyed that I lived in Boston, and could take advantage of all that Boston offered; yet I was outside of it.  Readville is the name for a section of Hyde Park, and Hyde Park is a section of Boston.

Anybody who lives, or comes from Readville, does not say they're from Boston, or even Hyde Park.  Oh no!  As Thomas Aquinas says, "Distinctions are important."  You are from Readville.  And proud of it!

Now I live in the suburbs.  But when I do take the train to Boston, I always gaze wistfully out the train window at Readville, and reminisce about the many times I heard those trains go by and listen to the train whistles.

All this came to mind tonight.  I was at Mass.  The celebrant was the Rev. Msgr. Peter Conley, from St. Jude's Parish in Norfolk, MA.  Msgr. Peter told a story from his youth.  He comes from Readville, too.  He told of learning the Lord's Prayer.  He thought "Lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from evil."   was   "Lead us not into temptation,  and deliver us from Readville."

City boys have a peculiar sense of humor.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fr. Lataste Discussion

Aug. 11, 2010, I blogged about Fr. M. Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P. and the retreat that he gave to the women. prisoners in Cadillac, France, in 1864.  At the time, I couldn't get over the fact that these sermons were written over one hundred years ago, and I was still feeling moved by them.  Well, today in chapter we discussed these sermons.  And it turns out, that I wasn't the only one.  Some of my "cloistered brothers" were moved, also.  Yes, some admitted to crying.  Can you imagine the impact of hearing and seeing Fr. Lataste in person; when we're moved just by reading? 

He must have had a very charismatic personality.  And don't forget; these were written in 1864. 

Let me give you a little taste of Lataste:

Christ our Savior was on the cross, and all the people -- soldiers, Scribes, Pharisees and the priests -- everyone who was there -- insulted and mocked him.  (Matt 27; Luke 23)  Two thieves were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.  One was stubborn and self-willed; neither punishment nor kindness had any effect on him.  He was quite insensible to the goodness of Our Lord, expressed in his every word and especially in his prayer for his enemies and executioners.  He was almost insensible to his own suffering.  All he could think about was insulting and blaspheming. "If you are the Christ," he said, "prove it.  Save yourself and us."  But the other reproved him saying, "Are you not ashamed?  You have been condemned to the same punishment.  What is more, we are suffering a just punishment of our crimes, but this man has done nothing."  Then in a sublime act of faith and hope, he said, "Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom."  And Jesus replied, "This day you shall be with me in Paradise."  But to the other, he said nothing.  As far as we know, he died still blaspheming.

My sisters, how right the Apostle was when he said that it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.  If there is anyone here, who is obstinately refusing the grace of this retreat, -- think again!  You are playing a dangerous game.  You are faced with the justice of God.  But no, there is no one like that here, I am sure.  Forgive me, if I have spoken harshly.  I will not do so again.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lee Dae-ho

South Korean slugger Lotte Giants' Lee Dae-ho celebrates
after hitting a three-run home run as a world record
 with 9 consecutive-game home runs
in the second inning of a professional baseball game
 against the Kia Tigers in Gwangju, south of Seoul, South Korea,
 Saturday, Aug. 14, 2010. (AP Photo/Yonhap, Hyung Min-woo)

US doesn't own baseball.

South Korean sets home run record
Associated Press/AP Online

SEOUL, South Korea - South Korean slugger Lee Dae-ho has set a Korean major league record by hitting home runs in nine consecutive games.
Ken Griffey Jr., Don Mattingly and Dale Long share Major League Baseball's mark by hitting home runs in eight straight games.

J.K. Moon, an official with the Korea Baseball Organization, said the Lotte Giants infielder hit a three-run homer Saturday in a game against the Kia Tigers in Gwangju, about 210 miles southwest of Seoul.

(This version CORRECTS to Korean league in first paragraph, extended headline)

A service of YellowBrix, Inc. .


The Pope has only spoken infallibly twice in the history of the Papacy. And both had to do with Mary. Being a Dominican, I know the first--The Immaculate Conception. (AQ was wrong.) The second time was in 1950, when Pope Pius XII declared the doctrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Enjoy the feast.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Blogging, Again

Boston hosted the Catholic Media Celebration, recently.  Here is a video of the presentation of blogging.

Faithful Faith

My brother in community, Tom posts a little observation:

A virtue, not a metric

Somewhere along the line, the term "faithful Catholic" changed from a description to a grade. The adjective "faithful" changed from characterizing actions to measuring opinions. It stopped referring to the theological virtue of Faith and started referring to The Faith -- specifically, The Faith understood as an itemized set of propositions to which assent is to be given.

I think it's time we stop preparing for the Council of Trent.

If we do that, if we understand "faithful" as properly applying to someone who lives by faith in Jesus Christ rather than to someone who signs off on a list of doctrines, then I think we will have a much better grasp of what's going on. (We also might be able to wean people off that noxious phrase of self-puffery, "faithful to the Magisterium.") At the very least, our conversation and thoughts will be about Jesus rather than about which revision of which list is the one that counts.

My terminology would be to MYOB.  Taking care of ourselves is enough of a job.  We shouldn't be looking around judging others.  
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fr. Lataste in Prison

It's 1864 and Fr. Marie Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P. is giving a retreat in Cadillac prison.  This is a prison for women.

I can't get over the fact that these sermons I'm reading are a couple of centuries old, and they still touch me.  Imagine if I were there!

I must tell you--how deeply I have been touched by you.  More than once, I have been moved almost to tears in the confessional.  When I have urged some of you to patient and offer your suffering to God, you have replied: "O, yes, Father.  It is so miserable here, I have suffered so much, but I never allow a day to pass without thanking God for bringing me here.  Deep in my heart there is a great joy, since I love him.  I would never have believed that one could find such joy in loving.  [and when I said], "Do you really love God now?"  [you replied,]  "Oh yes, father, yes I love him with all my heart."  ...

The world, which judges only the surface of things, would find it hard to believe that.  But I believe it and I understand.  What I see here is not new to me.  Only two days ago I told you of the life of Dominican Sisters...They are enclosed as you are, in a silence that is rarely broken.  They submit to a rule and obey their Superiors.  Like you, they are deprived of the comforts of life.  But they are there for life, without any thought or desire of release.  You have poor food, so do they -- days of fast and abstinence, too.  You have rough clothing; they wear coarse wool all year round.  They sleep on planks with three blankets and get up every night at midnight to pray.

And in spite of that they are happy.  No, not in spite of it, but rather they find their happiness in all that because it is all seasoned with the love of God.  That is why it does not surprise me that you should be happy too, in the midst of your suffering...

It is true that they have freely chosen what you endure by force.  But in the sight of God, that which was originally forced becomes voluntary when it is voluntarily accepted.  Yes, you are on the right road.  You just have to continue.  But no matter what you have done, you must never, never again think of yourselves as prisoners, but as individuals given to God like those Dominican Sisters....

Part II, Seventh Sermon

For the Sake of Argument

Outside of the Echoes of Truth Choir, Dominicans sing terribly.

Know why?

Because they're eyes aren't on the notes.  They're too busy looking ahead to see if they agree with it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

In Spiritu et Veritate: The Great Reversal

In Spiritu et Veritate: The Great Reversal: "Homily: August 10, 2010, Feast of Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr; St. Catherine of Siena Church ; Austin , TX The Great Reversal I..."

Fr. Gerald Mendoza, O.P. posts a homily on his blog about C.S. Lewis's Narnia.  Everything is winter without Christmas until Aslan comes along.  He sets about reversing the great winter.  So does Jesus, set about reversing our Original Sin.  He has a couple of good stories on this one posting.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Afraid Not!

    A piece of string thinks he has a vocation to the Dominicans.  (Yes, even string can preach.)  So the piece of string rings the doorbell to the priory.  A friar answers the door and the piece of string says he wants to speak to the prior.  The prior comes and the piece of string tells the prior that he would like to join the Dominicans.  "But, you're a piece of string!" exclaims the prior.  "So?" says the piece of string.  "We don't accept string in the Order.  The LFSD is enough!  But I draw the line at string entering.  No I'm sorry but no pieces of string may enter the Order of Preachers."
   What a sorry sight to see the poor piece of string droop away.  Dejected and alone he told his tale of woe to his string friends.  One of them comes up with a brilliant idea.  He said, "Take your two ends of string and tie a big, bit knot in them.  Then take the two ends above the knot, separate the strands and tease them into frizzies.  There, it looks like hair.  No one will recognize you."  
     So we find the piece of string ringing the bell to the priory, again.  Once again, the prior comes.  The piece of string asks to be admitted to the Order.
     The prior does a double take.  "Hey," he accuses, "Aren't you the piece of string that came yesterday?"
     Nope.....a-frayed knot!

In Spiritu et Veritate: Thomas Aquinas and the Summa Theologiae: Week One...

In Spiritu et Veritate: Thomas Aquinas and the Summa Theologiae: Week One...: "Thomas Aquinas and the Summa Theologiae: Week One This is the first week of a promised overview of the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas ..."

V for Victory!: August 8th: Litany of St. Dominic

V for Victory!: August 8th: Litany of St. Dominic

Celebrating St. Dominic

op and osf
My "cloistered brothers" were in rare form today.  They put on a special program to celebrate our Feast Day.  We didn't have enough time together.  It all had to end too soon.
   The chapter's music group, Echoes of Truth, played and sang for us.  The chapter's Sacred Movement Group performed, also.  We played Dominican Trivia.  And we even had a Franciscan preach to us.
   Father Martin Curtin, OFM CAP preached on the beginnings of the two Orders.  What particularly impressed me was the story of seeing Christ in others.  Fr. Martin made me see Christ in a new way.  I use to wonder, when I saw a particularly revolting person, where Christ was, in that person.  Fr. Martin in talking about community life, said that annoying people encourage us to act like Christ.  That's where Christ is--"us" being moved to be better persons.  Finally, I get it.

And in a Franciscan's preaching!  Who knew?


 Dominic Preacher of Grace, Christ the Heavenly Face
Mrs. Faith Flaherty, O.P.

Dominic the contemplative, Christ Paraclete Divine;
Dominic the holy priest, Christ our Most Sacred Wine!

Dominic the teacher, Christ the Living Word;
Dominic the merciful, Christ our One and Only Lord!

Dominic blessed preacher, Christ the Divine Prophet;
Dominic full of compassion, Christ who paid Adam’s debt!

Dominic our founder, Christ the King of Kings;
Dominic disciple, Christ in whom salvation brings!

Dominic man of Mary, Christ the Son of Man;
Dominic light of the Word, Christ the world’s New Adam!

Dominic man of prayer, Christ with us, Immanuel;
Dominic, communicator, Christ with whom we choose to dwell!

Dominic man of faith, Christ the Divine Way;
Dominic confessor, Christ the Holy Gate Way!

Dominic lover of God, Christ the promised Paraclete;
Dominic saintly religious, Christ Sacred Mystery Most Complete!

Dominic disciple, Christ the Head of the Church;
Dominic carrier of the torch, Christ the Living Torch!

Dominic Master of the Order of Preachers, Christ Our Savior;
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word will live forever!

I wrote this poem for the OPrize Contest.  This is a contest open to all members of the Dominican family.  When the international web site asked for poetry submissions to post on their Jubilee section, I submitted the above poem.  I got the idea from an old medieval hymn called "Mary the Dawn."  I explicitly stated so, in my submittal.  I followed the form in "Mary the Dawn."  Somehow, I think that was interpreted as I didn't write Dominic Preacher of Grace, Christ the Heavenly Face.  That this poem is from "Mary the Dawn."  I guess that's how it happened, because I wrote and asked the web master why my name isn't on the poem, like the other submissions.  I never got an answer.  And if you look at the Order's international site, and look at my poem, you'll see an asterisk on the bottom.  The asterisk explains "from Mary the Dawn."  That's wrong.  That's not the truth.  It's from me, using the form from "Mary the Dawn."  It doesn't bother me that I'm not given the credit.  St. Dominic, himself, never left any writings, prayers, treatises, or works of any kind.  He, himself, was not important.  I use him as my example.  But St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that distinctions are important.  So today, on the Feast of St. Dominic, on my own blog, I'm posting my own poem for St. Dominic.  And that's the truth!  Veritas.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cyprian's Letter

Saint Cyprian
This AM I was reading a letter by Saint Cyprian, bishop and martyr.  He is writing to his fellow Christians about what the Emperor Valerian did to the Pope.  Since I tend to converse in hyperbole, I was bemused by the casual tone of his missive.  He lists the atrocities as if he were listing grocery supplies:
Emperor Valerian
If these Christians do not recant:
Senators, distinguished men ----- deprived of rank and property
Upper class ladies ----- deprived and exiled
Imperial staff ----- property confiscated and imprisoned
Sixtus II ----- put to death
4 Deacons ----- put to death

Was St. Cyprian in shock?  How could he so calmly write about such vile slaughter!  Granted, not everyone's a drama queen, but for cryin' out loud, atrocities cry out for notice.  Someone's has to call attention to evil machinations.

Contemplating Cyprian's letter I see that he, and probably his readers, were actually rejoicing.  Yes, rejoicing.    They considered martyrdom a welcome goal.  They were happy for Pope Sixtus II, who was beheaded in his chair.  BTW, that bloodied chair was enthroned behind Sixtus II grave.

...we are standing firm in faith and ready to endure suffering, in expectation of winning the crown of eternal life through the help and mercy of the Lord.

How's that for Faith?! (See Aug. 6, 2010 post) I am humbled, humbled I tell you, to read of these early Christians.  I'm afraid I wouldn't be so eager to sacrifice my life.  Well, maybe, like fellow blogger Kat, I could if I were killed quickly.  I guess God knew what he was doing when he put me in this century.

Let all our people fix their minds not on death but rather on immortality; let them commit themselves to the Lord in complete faith and unflinching courage and make their confession with joy rather than in fear, knowing that in this contest the soldiers of God and Christ are not slain but rather win their crowns.

Then Cyprian, who himself is eventually martyred, closes his letter:

Farewell in the Lord, dearest brother.

Indeed, Farewell in the Lord.

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Franklin TOPS MA 463

I won the sampling slap down.  After all our discussion about how to make healthy exchanges in rich ingredient Italian cookies, when it came to putting your money where your mouth is, when the rubber hit the road...nobody brought in their cookies.  No one except me.  Therefore, I won.

Mmmmmmmm.....sometimes when you win, you lose.

Now, I have to make them again to enter the St. Rocco Italian Cookie Contest.  And I'm going to be busy next week, too.  Laurie's wedding is next weekend and it's a weekend event.  That's also the time of St. Rocco's.  Somehow or other, I've got to make time to bake those cookies.  And do a good perfect job of it, too.  After all, the honor of T.O.P.S. is at stake.

Lord, help me.  Is there a patron saint of baking?  St. Rocco will have to do.

St. Rocco intercede with prayers for me since I'll be extremely busy.  If possible, a miracle would be appreciated.  You know I'm not the world's best cook, and I'm up against some really fantastic Italian bakers.  Please see what you can do for me.

Cardinal Law

Note the Cardinal in procession.  Somebody relay the message that there's some people in Boston who would like to speak with him.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Amaretti Lite

Amaretti Lite, like it?  That's what I'm going to call my Italian cookie.  (See this morning's posting.)  I went shopping after work for the ingredients.  If T.O.P.S. choses my recipe, I plan to make some alterations.  First, I'm adding Amaretto.  The mixture was too dry, anyway.

I wouldn't form the dough into balls.  Actually, I thought they'd melt down, but they didn't.  The result was that they took too long to brown, and the bottoms got too brown.  They just don't look that good.  Next time, I'll flatten the dough on the cookie sheet.

Even if my T.O.P.S. group doesn't pick my Amaretti Lites, to enter the St. Rocco Italian Cookie Contest,  I'm still making it again.

I  can do better.

The Blood of Goats will Shatter Diamonds

                                                                        Greek bronze bust of Aristotle by  Lysippos ,                       ...