Monday, January 31, 2011

My Brother

My brother, Ronnie, died this morning.  I don't know how to take it.  We weren't close.  He's 22 years older than I.  He was married and had a family and had moved on before I was even born.  I've only seen him a few times in my life.  He lived on the West Coast.  I live on the East Coast.

I have shed a few tears, and then wondered why.  Perhaps for a relationship that never was developed?  Probably because his death is a reminder of my own mortality.

 I don't know.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Glory to God

Fr. Nic today went over the changes in the parts of the people in the Order of Mass in the Roman Missal, Third Edition.  I like the changes to the Gloria in particular.  They seem more appropriate to giving glory to God.  In fact, the part "We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, Heavenly King, O God, almighty Father."  reminds me of the way the charismatic Catholics pray.  I can just picture them praying, standing up with arms raised, praying these words and elevating the prayer to "speaking in tongues."

Doesn't "...on earth peace to people of good will." remind you of the angels heralding Jesus' birth?

And "Only Begotten Son,...Son of the Father..."  show the relationship between Father and Son more closely?

And "with the Holy Spirit," which isn't a change, but adds a connection to our Trinitarian God that just nails it for me.

Change is good.
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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saint Thomas Aquinas

I know it's a day late.  AQ's feast day is January 28th.

I answer that not everyone has the talent of an Aquinas; not everyone has talent to master S.T.; not everyone has a taste for the study it requires; not everyone has time to devote to such study; and I'm a day late and a dollar short.


Friday, January 28, 2011

New Psalm

The news tonight is flooded with the trouble in Egypt.  It seems particularly upsetting because there's always some country whose people are protesting one thing or another.  But this time, the news breaks into the regular programming again, and again.  It's serious.

I started to pray for the Egyptians.  My prayer turned to psalm.  I wrote it down.  As I've said before, the most focused prayer (for me) is psalm writing.  The entire psalm turned into synonymous parallelism.  The outline is Introductory Lament (1), Lament (2-4), Trust (5-9), Praise and Conclusion (10-12).

Psalm (Lament)

(1)Come Lord, help your people.
(2)Rescue the innocent from evil.

(3)The people are angry;
(4)they cannot think, only feel.

(5)I know You are everywhere,
(6)although it seems like you're gone.

(7)You are the God of all.
(8)We are Your people.

(9)You are our refuge.
(10)O glorious God!

(11)Come rescue your people.
(12)O glorious God!

As I pray and look it over, it seems to me that this prayer is universal.  Not only does the psalm apply to the current craziness in Egypt, but to my own country as well.    Amen!
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Thursday, January 27, 2011


Mailbox entombed in snow
US Mailbox
I think I'll run a contest to see how often one can shovel out the driveway and have the plow come and push all the snow back in.

One of the drawbacks to living in New England.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Catholics Come Home

I'm glad the Archdiocese of Boston is promoting this "Come Home" initiative.  We've been doing this alone.  Now we have help.

I love being Catholic and want everyone to experience what I feel and see, too.  I want to share the wealth.

Those of us who feel likewise are inviting our non-practicing family and friends back to church.  C'mon, let's talk.  Tell us what questions you have.  What' s bothering you.  We can faith share.

What are you waiting for?

Wild Goose Chase

I funny thing happened at work today.  My Director is working on the next Fiscal Year's Budget.  He said to me, "Find out how much we paid that guy who shakes the goose eggs, last year."

My intelligent response: "Wha......?"

Followed by, "We pay a guy to shake goose eggs?"

Yeah, he's the Department of something or other...Agriculture....Environment.....Massachusetts Department of something.....maybe.

So, I went to the bank of files.  I was lucky to have a teenager doing community service, so I had help going through last years' invoices.


We looked up payments in our computer server.  We tried all the Department ...   Massachusetts....  MA....  Mass....State....

As we were looking up every possible connection to a company that would shake goose eggs, I had an epiphany.  This is a joke.  He's playing a trick on me--he's sending me on a wild goose chase.  Of course!  What kind of job is shaking goose eggs?  He's kidding, of course.

Before I made more of a fool of myself, I asked around the office to see what others thought.  Everyone agreed that the Director is not the joking kind.  He would not play a trick on me.

Mmmmmm......I wondered if everyone was in on the joke.

Nah, someone would give it away.  I could tell.

So back to chasing the goose.  I reasoned that where we have a problem with goose eggs is around the pond and wet lands.  I telephoned all the people concerned with those areas, and got a lead.

It's not state, it's federal--U.S.

Back to computer surfing.  Bingo!  United States Wildlife Service!

But it still was kind of a wild goose chase because we didn't call them in at all, Fiscal Year 2010.  So we spent, "0".  

All that for nothing.  What a wild goose chase!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I've been thinking about what I posted, yesterday.  I don't mean whether or not I have more virtual friends, than real.  I'm thinking about the Pope's message for World Communication Day.  I'm examining how I communicate.  That line of thinking brought me to the newsletter I am blessed to edit, eLumen.  eLumen is the newsletter sent out for the Lay Fraternities of Saint Dominic, in the eastern US (Province of Saint Joseph).  And I came to realize that eLumen does all that the Pope recommends.  Do you think he reads eLumen?

Pope Benedict XVI's  message is entitled, Truth, Proclamation, and the Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age.  You can find the entire text on the Vatican Archive Site:
B16 encourages Catholics to get involved in the internet. ( Are not we Dominicans encouraged to stay alert to the times in order to preach the Good News?)  Throughout the entire message, the Pope highlights the tremendous potential of the internet, its benefits and risks.  An example of one benefit would be the way eLumen gives witness, in the life of Christian internet newsletters.  B16  asks all Catholics to use this new technology and take what is good from it. 

I would like then to invite Christians, confidently and with an informed and responsible creativity, to join the network of relationships which the digital era has made possible. This is not simply to satisfy the desire to be present, but because this network is an integral part of human life. The web is contributing to the development of new and more complex intellectual and spiritual horizons, new forms of shared awareness. In this field too we are called to proclaim our faith that Christ is God, the Saviour of humanity and of history, the one in whom all things find their fulfilment (cf. Eph 1:10). The proclamation of the Gospel requires a communication which is at once respectful and sensitive, which stimulates the heart and moves the conscience; one which reflects the example of the risen Jesus when he joined the disciples on the way to Emmaus (cf. Lk 24:13-35). By his approach to them, his dialogue with them, his way of gently drawing forth what was in their heart, they were led gradually to an understanding of the mystery.

eLumen has brought the Lay Fraternities of Saint Dominic, and its many friends, into a new phase of Dominican life – the digital phase.  eLumen allows us to come together in an “e-chapter,” where we share our thoughts and prayers, and communicate along the lines expressed in the Holy Father’s message. 

Kinda makes me proud.  

Monday, January 24, 2011

Virtual Friends v. Real Ones

St. Francis de Sales 
St. Francis de Sales is the patron saint of journalists and modern media.  Today, his feast day, the Holy Father talked about modern communication, specifically the internet.  He must read my blog.  ;-)

This is the 45th message on World Communications Day.  The title is "Truth, Proclamation, and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age."  The full text can be found on the Vatican's Document Site.

I found it interesting that it is noted that the internet is altering not only the way we communicate, but how.   The language is changing.  The speed of a message may alter situations.  The potential for spreading the Gospel is exciting.  Yet, like all good things, there is danger.  There are also those that spoil the "good thing."  IOW, words can hurt and tone can affect the meaning.  Besides, there's always the danger of living your life on the internet.  The internet can be a giant time waster.  Some people may have more virtual friends than real ones.

Yikes, last time I looked, I had over 700 Facebook friends.  Do I have that many real friends?

I dunno.

But B16 is a FB friend.
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Stop, Look, Be Aware

Window - Milton Hospital 
Father Kevin added new insight to this morning's Gospel (Matt. 4: 12-23).  This is where the common phrase, "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand," comes from.  Father said that the translated word, repent, is debated.  Repent comes from the Greek word, metanoia.  Some think that metanoia would be better translated in English as "convert," meaning to turn towards.  I like Father Kevin's translation.

"To hell with the past."  (No, Father didn't say that.)  Once you turn toward the light, toward God, is where your world will open up.  Everything is viewed through different eyes.

You see God's hands in events.  You see miracles in everyday occurrences.  You see God in people.  You get the idea?

If you've experienced this metanoia you know what I say is true.  Otherwise, it's like trying to "talk to a stranger about rock n' roll."

There is no need to go to Medjugorje, or Fatima, or Lourdes.  You don't have to go to Milton, MA to see Our Blessed Mother in a window.  You don't have to travel to a Tibetan mountaintop to visit with a guru.

All you have to do is look around you.

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Married Saints

Sometimes I joke with hubby about being married to him is my ticket to sainthood.  Then, sometimes, as an excuse for him not going to church, hubby will say that he doesn’t have to, “You pray enough for both of   us.”

Have you ever noticed, though, that there aren’t as many wives or husbands saints, as there are unmarried?  I don’t mean married saints, like Blessed Zelie and Louis Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux.  I mean one of the married couple is a saint, and the other not.  It seems it would be easier if the couple were on the same wave length, than one be the church goer, and one not. 

For example, let’s look at St. Anna-Maria Tiagi.  She lived with a demanding husband, (he was a church goer and pious in his own way,) and at times with her parents added to their household, and then her own widowed daughter and her six children.  She was that type of person.  Some people bring home lost kittens, Anna-Maria brought home lost people. 

She was of a spiritual bent and prayed often.  She was blessed with visions.  In one revelation, the Virgin Mary told her that it was her special vocation to show that holiness was available in every walk of life.  She became a Lay Trinitarian and followed their rule.

Anna Maria was known to be a pacifier.  She was able to calm her hot tempered husband.  She could defuse her mother.  In his witness statement for his wife’s canonization, Domenico often spoke of the peace she brought to a busy and crowded household.  She managed the family’s budget, but mostly just trusted in God’s Providence.  She taught her children, and everyone, for that matter, religion, and all about the corporal works of mercy.  Anna Maria brought her children with her to visit the sick.

What can I say?  She was a saint.

h/t   Father Thomas Kevin Craft, OP

Make Up Your Mind

C'mon St. Paul

1 Cor. 11:5    contradicts      1 Cor. 14:34

I've looked up the commentaries and no answer satisfies me.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pakistan Earthquake

It wasn't that long ago, Jan. 14th, where I posted the results of the relief efforts of the Dominicans (Order of Preachers).

No sooner had they finished sweeping the floor, when an earthquake struck -- 7.4 magnitude.  While it is 7.4, the loss of life is not what it could have been.  Still, work has to be done.

If you would like to help out with monetary donations, the address is below.  The mail is a little disorganized right now, so the Mission Office in New York will be used.  This is the office that the Lay Dominicans use.  Send your donations there and note that it is specifically to be used for the victims of the Pakistan Earthquake 2011, as opposed to our mission in Kenya.  Although that is a most worthy effort, also.  In fact, Father Tom's Kids is one of my favorite charities, but the Pakistan relief is more immediate.

Mission Office
Provincial Office
Province of St. Joseph
161 East 65st St.
New York, NY 10065

Monday, January 17, 2011


It's an interesting linguistic fact that, in English, a double negative forms a positive.  In some languages though, a double negative is still a negative.

However, there is no language in which a double positive can form a negative.

Yeah, right.


Although the L'Angelus band is cajun/country, they're Catholic, too.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Martin Luther King Service

3. Martin Luther King, Jr., a civil rights act...                                            Image via Wikipedia
Tonight the Franklin Interfaith Council held a service celebrating Martin Luther King.  I thought it was very tastefully done.  The Cameroon Singers were a big hit.  They had everyone up on their feet and clapping their hands.  It was great fun.  I'd say they were the hit of the night.

I was glad that it was held in the Church of Latter Day Saints because that's just about the only church in Franklin that I haven't been in.  They have a nice big hall and gymnasium.  It was perfect for gatherings.  It's nice and new.

Their bishop, Tom Badstubner always has such a gentle voice.  He must be very pastoral.  I saw the pastor of the Methodist Church, Dianne Carpenter, for the first time, also.

The highlight however was meeting a beautiful little girl with the name "Faith."  I didn't say anything (See my post about "Faith.)   She seems OK with it.  She was named after her mother's friend.  This friend drove her mother to the hospital when she was in labor with Faith.  Little Faith didn't seem shy.  She was beautiful and had big blue eyes and dark brown hair and a fair complexion with rosy cheeks.  I love dark hair and blue eyes.  What a beautiful child!

But I'm "The One True Faith."
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Ring Card Announcing the Word

Most people would be surprised to learn that I'm self conscious.  They see me give talks, act, lector, lead groups, facilitate classes, teach, and other positions that push me to be "up front."  But what they don't realize is that I don't enjoy doing these jobs in the front (with everybody looking at me).  I push myself to do them mostly because no one else will do it.  Usually, no one else stepped up, volunteered, or agreed to do it.  Sometimes because it's my idea and I don't trust anyone to do what I envision. It's a job I have to do!

I'm rambling.

Let me explain.  When I was a child, every Friday night my Dad would watch the Friday Night Fights, sponsored by Gillette.  (I can still sing their Look Sharp/Be Sharp March, by Mahlon Merrick.)  When a round ended, a young lady would enter the ring, raise a sign high over her head, and sashay around the ring.  She was always scantily clad and wore spiky heels.  Of course, this would always draw a response from the neanderthals .  These ladies are called Ring Card Girls.  They have an important job.  The Ring Card Girls enter the boxing ring between rounds to alert fans as to what round is coming up.

You couldn't get me to do that job even with a gun to my head.  Even in my prime!

What does this have to do with being self-conscious?  Well....I feel like a Ring Card Girl every time I'm the Lector who has to carry the Book of Gospels in procession.

I can't help it.  I just do.

If this image is subject to
copyright please tell me and I'll remove it.
It's because the Lector has to carry the Book of Gospels high enough for everyone to see.  The Book of Gospels is a sign of Christ's presence in the Liturgy.  It's sacred.  It's so important, that you'll see the priest kiss it.

The instructions for Lectors in procession to the altar, are to hold the Book of Gospels up high enough for all to see.  That's about head level.  The problem with that is, I can't see where I'm going--the Book is eye level.  So I have to raise it above my eyes, and "walk slowly and reverently up the aisle, leaving space between the altar servers and other ministers, ...."

....making me feel like a Ring Card Girl.

But I do it anyway.  God has a gun to my head.

Ha!  You know He doesn't operate that way  -- "free will" et al.

I do it because I feel that it's the least I could do for a God that suffered from much more than a little self consciousness.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

St. Placid

St. Placidus

This morning at Mt. St. Mary's Abbey, it was a Mass for Sts. Maur and Placid. Father Kevin said St. Placid always made him feel uncomfortable because he was too perfect.

 But today's Gospel, Mark 2: 13-17, tells us that Jesus was most comfortable with sinners.  So that makes Fr. Kevin feel better.

He also said the nuns make him feel very comfortable.

The Divine Word Expressed

The divine Word is truly expressed in human words.  I'm talking about Scriptures.  My chapter is reading Verbum Domini and I'm loving it.  I'm only in Part I.  This is just the introduction to the overall exhortation, and exhortation is what it is; it's not an encyclical.  I surmise that it is a summary, explanation, and perhaps even Pope Benedict XVI's reflections on the Bishops' Synod in 2008, on the Bible's relationship to the mission of the Church.  I'm appreciating how I view the Bible.  It's not just history, is it?  It's not just stories, nor poetry, or genealogy.  Of course Scriptures have all that and more.

This morning a novice sister read the Reading from Hebrews 4: 12-16.  It echoes my thoughts.

The Word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart...

and tonight when I Lector, I'll finish with a newer meaning, the concluding words, "The word of the Lord."
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Report on the Order of Preacher's Pakistan Relief

Here is a brief report on  what we have done and what we have stared to do.

Phase One: Flood Relief already offered:

A.    We helped through Pakistan Television Relief program:          200 Families
B.     Financial Help for  Medical Camp help in Noshera:                  100  Families
C.    Financial help for  Kot Addu  victims c/o Major Superiors
Relief trip from Lahore:                                                                200 Families
D.     Financial help for Medical Campy in Rangpur:                        100  Families
E.     Financial help to Dominican laity in Khushpur
 and Warispura :                                                                             70  Families
F.     Financial help to Victims of floods in Lahore  city:                      20 Families
G.    Financial help to the Victim of floods in Sindh
and Faisalabad:                                                                             80  Families
H.    Flood relief offered in Kot Adu in November                            100 Families

All together we have offered flood relief to 870 Christian, Muslim and Hindu families if different parts of Pakistan.

Phase Two: Construction and Repair work

Our second phase  is of constructing 30 new Houses and get 70 Houses repaired rehabilitation  started  in September  and will be completed in January 2011.
Here are the details of the new houses we are constructing and repairs of the houses   we are doing.  We decided to build houses in the following areas. The cost of building a new house is   about Euros: 2,500 and the cost of repairing a house is around Euro: 500 to 800

Construction Work of  New Houses

1.      Construction of  6 houses  of Christian families in Lahore c/o Fr Siddique M. Sunder OP
2.      Construction of 5 houses in Warispura c/o Fr Iftikhar Moon OP.
3.      Construction of the house of  Javed Saleem in Ranjpur c/o Fr Yaqoob.
4.      Construction of the house  of Fr Yaqoob’s sister in Khankah Dogran
5.      Construction of the house of Fr Marcus Daniel OP  family in Kushpur c/o Fr Iftikhar Moon OP
6.      Construction of  the house  of Fr Roccus Patras OP family in Khushpur c/o Fr Iftikhar Moon OP
7.      Construction of  the house of Thomas Munshi in Khuspur c/o Fr James Channan OP
8.      Construction of the house  of Ms. Clara in Khushpur c/o Fr James Channan
9.      Construction of  the house  of Joseph and Paul in Khuspur c/o Fr James Channan
10.  Construction of  the house of Kamal c/o Fr Siddique m. Sunder OP
11.  Construction of the house of t Javed, the driver of Justice and Peace of Commission c/o Fr Yaqoob Shahzad OP
12.  Construction of the house of the driver of Pastoral Institute, Multan.
13.  Construction of the house of the sister of Fr Pascal Paulus.
14.  Construction of the Church in Ibn-e-Mariam Colony, Warispura c/o Fr Pascal Paulus

Repair Work of Flood Damaged Houses

1.      Repair and construction of  15 houses in Sajjawal Colony in Sind Province, c/o Fr Younas Shahzad OP
2.      Repair of the houses of 26 lay Dominicans in Khushpur c/o Fr Raphael Mehnga OP
3.      Repair of the center of Dominican Laity in Khushpur c/o fr James Channan
4.      Repair of the house of Fr James Samuel OP in Rangpur.
5.      Repair of the house of Thomas John in Khushpur
6.      Repair of the house of Sadiq Jalal in Khushpur
7.      Repair of the house of Mrs. Kanwal in Lahore
8.      Repair of a  house c/o Sr. Merceline OP in Gujrawala
9.      Repair of a  house c/o Sr. Josephine OP in Gujranwala
10.  Repair of  a house c/o Sr. Surraya Joseph FC in Lahore
11.  Repair of the house of Sr. Sabina’s family in Khushpur c/o fr James Channan
12.  Repair of the house of a lay Dominican Ms. Margaret in Khusphur
13.  Repair of the house of a lay Dominican Mr. Sadiq Ranja in Khusphur
14.  Repair of the house of a lay Dominican Mr. Yousaf Sandhu  in Khusphur c/o fr James Channan
15.  Repair of the house of a lay Dominican Ms. Celine James in Khusphur
16.  Repair of the house of a lay Dominican Ms. Rashim Sadleaf in Khusphur
17.    Repair of the house of a lay Dominican Ms. Maria Gracia in Khusphur
18.  Repair of the house of a lay Dominican Ms. Viro Michael in Khusphur
19.  Repair of the house of a lay Dominican Ms. Magdalene  in Khusphur
20.  Repair of the house of a lay Dominican Ms. Martha William in Khusphur
21.  Repair of the house of a lay Dominican Ms. Martha Ghani  in Khusphur
22.  Repair of the house of a lay Dominican Ms. Clara Joseph  in Khusphur
23.  Repair of the house of a lay Dominican Ms. Nusrat Joseph in Khusphur
24.  Repair of the house of a lay Dominican Ms. Safia Bibi in Warispura
25.  Repair of the house of a lay Dominican Ms. Nasreen Khaliq  in Hasilpur
26.  Repair of the house of a lay Dominican Mr. Tariq Masih in Warispura
27.  Repair of the house of Mr. Suneel in Khusphur
28.  Repair of the house of Mr. Samuel in Khushpur
29.  Repair of the house of Mr. David in Faisalabad
30.  Repair of the house of Mr. Suneed in Faisalabad
31.  Repair of the house in Alvin James in Khushpur
32.  Repair of the house of  the sister of Fr Yaqub Shahzad OP in Hafizabad
33.  Repair of the house of the sister of Fr Patrick Peter in Khuspur
34.  Repair of the house of Mrs. Shareefan in Warispura
35.  Repair of the house of Bro. Emmanule Fazal in Sajjawal, Sindh.
36.  Repair of the house of Mr. Sardar in Okara
37.  Repair of the house of Mr. Nazir in Renalakhurd.
38.  Repair of the house of Mr. Sarfraz Masih  in Lahore.

This way all together we have will build  30 new houses and will  help 70 houses to have major repairs.  There are still hundreds of thousands of people who are in grave need of clothes, blankets, medicine, food and to get their house repaired of rebuild.

Thank you very much for your generous contribution for  making the Dominican Vice Province in Pakistan  to help the heavy rains and floods victims in Pakistan! God bless you for your generosity and solidarity with us!

Reported by:

Fr James Channan OP
Prior Vice Provincial
Ibn-e-Mariam, Vice Province Pakistan
153 Ali Block
New Garden Town
Lahore 54600 Pakistan
Cell: +92-300-8730 669
December 17, 2010

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

God Encounters Man

This picture of a wall of icons, is from the Russian Museum of Icons.  Icons are prayers.  Looking at one will lead you to prayer.  Sometimes they tell a story, sometimes an image will touch you, and bring you to prayer.  That's what icons do.

Prayer is different for all of us.  Right now I'm having a discussion with the blogger of Adoro te Devote.  We're talking about contemplative type of praying.  But there's different kinds. There's something for everybody.

St. Augustine tells us that singing is praying twice.  I wish I could sing.  Lectio Divina is reading and praying.  The Rosary is a combination of contemplative, rote, repetition, and active prayer.  Praying the Divine Office is joining in a world-wide praying of the psalms that continues around the world, praying constantly to God.  The Mass is the best prayer.  Adoration is important, too.

In all prayer, we have to remember to pause and listen.  Listen for God speaking to us.

If you can't hear Him, it's because it's not time.  His time is not our time, necessarily.  Let God choose the time; you can't force Him.  The mountain does not come to Mohammed, either.  Be patient, humble, and don't worry; He will come to you.

The Importance of a Name

My granddaughter's Baptism, where she was given the common Christian name, Lucy, with common spelling.
All my life I have struggled with my name, "Faith."  From childhood to adulthood, I hated my name.  It made me a shy child.  It made me different.  And as a child, that's not a good thing.  I remember as a Brownie Girl Scout, knocking on doors to sell my cookies, and people yelling from inside, "Who is it?"  I would answer, "Faith."  They's say, "Who?"  I'd repeat, "Faith, even louder."  They'd repeat louder, "Who?"  (In fact, this happens today, too.)  People never understood what I was saying.  So I tended to not enter into situations that would possibly involve people asking my name.

I know as an adult, you're probably thinking, "but I like different names".  That may be nice to read a pretty sounding name, as a character in a book, but in reality, living with a different name can be a burden.  It makes me wonder about the intelligence of parents who give their babies different names.  Don't they think?  Rather, what are they thinking?  Certainly, not about the child!  Don't they realize that they are assigning their child to a lifetime of giving their name--numerous times, explaining their name, spelling their name, and maybe even ridicule?

One reason for a parent giving a child a name that is different, and which I think is despicable is, "I like it."
How selfish can you get?  "I like it!"   Not a thought given to the child.  "I..." !!!!!!!

May God forgive your selfish, egoistic, affected, self-centered, self-interest, self-seeking, self-regarding thoughtlessness; because your child may not.

The same prayer also holds true to those (selfish, egoistic, affected, self-centered, self-interest, self-seeking, self-regarding thoughtless) parents who change the spelling of a common name to make it different.  They have just burdened their child with a weird name--every blasted time they say their name, they have to include the spelling.  I know many of these parents.  And the reason they give for changing the spelling of a common name is precisely to make it different.  Yes, that's the reason.  Believe it.  Again, they are not thinking of what they are doing to the child; they liked it.

All my life I have been on this rant.  People with common names have no clue how serious I am.  A person's name can shape the personality of that person.  I know first hand--it made me shy.  Since most people have ordinary names, they think I'm exaggerating.  I remember the first speech I gave at Toastmaster's was on this subject.  A first speech in Toastmaster's is an introduction of oneself.  I was too shy to talk about me, so I took the focus off me and talked about nomenclature, in general.  The speech turned into a similar sort of rant, like this post.  You know what happened?  They laughed at me.  Yes, they thought I was giving a humorous speech!  I even told them to stop laughing because I was serious.  Yes, all those "Johns and Anns" could not relate.

When I went to college, I thought I'd be rid of the name.  I went by "F. Donna."   That's my first initial and middle name.  I got the idea from F. Scott Fitzgerald.  It worked.  But!  I then had to explain what the "F" stood for.  When people heard that "F" stood for "Faith," I was subjected to being reprimanded for being ashamed of a pretty name, for dishonoring my parents for not using that name, to the usual jokes about the name "Faith,"  yada the point of my feeling silly for wanting to change "Faith" to "Donna".  It was silly.  It backfired.  It caused me more embarrassment.  

Interestingly, I dropped that affected "F. Donna," on the advice of my manager.  We were real estate brokers.  He said that no one would remember Donna.  People would be more likely to remember Faith, and in Real Estate, you want to be remembered, so people will think of you when they want to sell or buy property.  Since I regretted the "F. Donna," change, anyway, I welcomed the chance to go back to my given name.

Recently, two happenstances have occurred to bring these hurtful remembrances to the forefront.  One is an audio book, and the other is Pope Benedict XVI's homily on the Feast of Epiphany.

I am listening to Richard Russo's Bridge of Sighs. The major character is Louis Charles Lynch.  Unfortunately, his life took a turn when his kindergarten teacher read his name as "Louis C."  From then on, Lou became known as "Lucy."  If I were in graduate school, I'd write my dissertation on how the nickname, "Lucy," helped to shape the life of this child, Louis C. Lynch, and  even continued to determine his adulthood.  But I'm not writing a dissertation, so I just listen and empathize.

I realize that the parents of Louis C. did not purposely give their son a name that set him up for ridicule.  **it happens.  But my point is the importance of names, and this novel is an excellent example.

The other circumstance was the homily the Pope gave when he baptized 21 babies of Vatican employees.
In his homily, B16 recommended that people give their children distinctively Christian names because in today's denigration of family culture, kids need all the help they can get. A patron saint will aid the child to grow in faith, and hopefully inspire the child to live up to Christian ideals.

While, I certainly can see where B16 is coming from, I must add my own codicil.  I recommend parents give their children common Christian names.  (Reread my first few paragraphs if you don't remember why.)

I know what of I speak.  I have a Christian name, and that Christian name, for most of my life, has caused me problems.  As a child, it caused embarrassment.  As a teenager, ridicule.  As an adult, sometimes embarrassment, sometimes ridicule, sometimes attention,  all of it unwanted.

There are two other people in the world with my name--at least on Facebook.  We've connected (Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg).  In commiserating about our name, we listed the jokes we've heard, i.e.,  "Do you have two sisters named Hope and Charity?".  It was a sad list.  It's not funny to me.  I fail to see the humor in ridicule.  Although, I understand that most people don't intend to be hurtful.  "Oh Lord, forgive them.  They know not what they do."  (Luke 23:34)

All because of a name.

Names are important.  Parents think of the child; not what you like--the child, the child, the child!  A name can influence a person's life.

And you want to know the kicker?  My name has nothing to do with Christianity, nor religion, and definitely not God.  My father gave me the name "Faith," with hopes that I would believe in nothing--except myself.

I guess I showed him.

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Sunday, January 9, 2011


This morning I wrote a post asking why Jesus would bother with baptism.  A bigger question would be why He would bother with the crucifixion, but that question is for another post.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear Fr. Frank (Fr. Frank is in the picture) ask the same question, in his homily.  He thought the best answer he ever heard was from an elderly priest in a nursing home.  The priest said that Jesus was making water holy.

Yup, that simple.  Don't dismiss that explanation.  Look what Thomas Aquinas has to say.

Article 1. Whether it was fitting that Christ should be baptized?

Objection 1. It would seem that it was not fitting for Christ to be baptized. For to be baptized is to be washed. But it was not fitting for Christ to be washed, since there was no uncleanness in Him. Therefore it seems unfitting for Christ to be baptized.
Objection 2. Further, Christ was circumcised in order to fulfil the law. But baptism was not prescribed by the law. Therefore He should not have been baptized.
Objection 3. Further, the first mover in every genus is unmoved in regard to that movement; thus the heaven, which is the firstcause of alteration, is unalterable. But Christ is the first principle of baptism, according to John 1:33: "He upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, He it is that baptizeth." Therefore it was unfitting for Christ to be baptized.
On the contrary, It is written (Matthew 3:13) that "Jesus cometh from Galilee to the Jordan, unto John, to be baptized by him."
I answer that, It was fitting for Christ to be baptized. First, because, as Ambrose says on Luke 3:21: "Our Lord was baptizedbecause He wished, not to be cleansed, but to cleanse the waters, that, being purified by the flesh of Christ that knew no sin, they might have the virtue of baptism"; and, as Chrysostom says (Hom. iv in Matth.), "that He might bequeath the sanctified waters to those who were to be baptized afterwards." Secondly, as Chrysostom says (Hom. iv in Matth.), "although Christ was not a sinner, yet did He take a sinful nature and 'the likeness of sinful flesh.' Wherefore, though He needed not baptism for His own sake, yet carnal nature in others had need thereof." And, as Gregory Nazianzen says (Orat. xxxix) "Christ was baptized that He might plunge the old Adam entirely in the water." Thirdly, He wished to be baptized, as Augustine says in a sermon on theEpiphany (cxxxvi), "because He wished to do what He had commanded all to do." And this is what He means by saying: "So it becometh us to fulfil all justice" (Matthew 3:15). For, as Ambrose says (on Luke 3:21), "this is justice, to do first thyself that which thou wishest another to do, and so encourage others by thy example."
Reply to Objection 1. Christ was baptized, not that He might be cleansed, but that He might cleanse, as stated above.
Reply to Objection 2. It was fitting that Christ should not only fulfil what was prescribed by the Old Law, but also begin what appertained to the New Law. Therefore He wished not only to be circumcised, but also to be baptized.
Reply to Objection 3. Christ is the first principle of baptism's spiritual effect. Unto this He was not baptized, but only in water.

Can't argue with that!

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