Tuesday, November 29, 2011

St. Andrew's Novena

St. Andrew's Novena is a prayer that is recited fifteen times a day, starting on the Feast of St. Andrew November 30, until Christmas. I know a novena is for nine days, but this one is for 25 days. The prayer is very short, so it's not a hardship.

As Catholics, we know we're praying to God, not St. Andrew. It's called St. Andrew's Novena because it starts on the Feast of St. Andrew, that's why.

It's a good way to focus on Christmas,because of the meaning of the prayer:

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Fr. Chris and the New Translation

It's a good thing Father Chris is Father Chris because my "cloistered brothers" and friends blew him away with our "And with your spirit."

The Mass began, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." We responded "Amen." Father Chris looked at us and said "The Lord be with you." Then the walls reverberated with our "And with your spirit."

That's the way it was. Everytime we responded with the new translation we prayed loudly. We didn't mess up at all.

One good thing about the new translation is that it made us pay attention to the words in the Mass. And that's a beautiful thing.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Frere Benoit

Frère Benoît from M duf animation on Vimeo.

Look what happened to Brother Tonto's friend, Frere Benoit!

Help Build an Inclusive Playground

The Kennedy School is an elementary school in my town. The school children need an inclusive playground. An inclusive playground is designed for children of all abilities. Everyone will be able to use it. The Building Committee has hooked up with Pepsi Refresh Challenge. Pepsi awards the one with the most votes. So voting won't cost you a cent!!!! I repeat, they're not asking for money. They're asking for you to take the time to vote. Please find it in your heart to do so. Read below.

Help my kids school - PLEASE. It just takes a second to help

PLEASE!! I need more help!! We are #11 in the Pepsi Challenge and need to be in the TOP 10 to win.

As many of you may already know, my children's school is trying to raise money for a new Inclusive Playground. Our current one is deteriorating quickly despite the efforts of our DPW to keep it maintained. In deciding to rebuild we have designed a new Inclusive one, where all children of all abilities can play together.

I am asking for your help - it only takes a few seconds and cost you nothing. I am just asking that you vote for our project in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge. We are in the running for $50,000 and just need to reach the TOP 10 to win. We are currently at #17. We started at 43, moved quickly to 22, then 19, 17 and now we are at 11!! We need more votes and support!!!

Go to the Pepsi Website - If you click on this link it should take you directly to us - www.refresheverything.com/kennedyplayground - There is a wonderful video that the KennedyKids are in!
ALSO you can vote a 2nd way by Texting in a vote - TEXT 109738 to 73774

Vote EVERYDAY until Nov 30th to help us!

Any and all help would be appreciated. If you could ask friends and family to help too, we would really appreciate it! Anyone 13 and older can vote! Please help my kids school!!! Our website is www.kennedyplayground.com if you would like to learn more about this project.

Thank you
Sandy Brown
Kennedy Playground Committee

Franklin Matters: Help my kids school - PLEASE. It just takes a seco...: PLEASE!!  I need more help!! We are #11 in the Pepsi Challenge and need to be in the TOP 10 to win. As many of you may already know, ...

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Eucharist

This morning I was blessed with a an encounter with a poem. I say "encounter" because it touched me. I'm still thinking of my conversation, yesterday, on the Eucharist. There's so much I wish I could've said. But how could I, a simple old lady fingering her Rosary ever explain Transubstantiation? This poem says what I wish I could. It's by Monica. That's all I know. She must be a beautiful person to write so poignantly. I found this little gem on the Lay Dominican's site from Raleigh, North Carolina. The site is called Dominican Echoes.

A Single Drop

Just one drop of water
Yet a million believers
Poured into the wine
Tossing and tumbling
Swirling and whirling
Merging and mingling
Dispersed and disseminated
Into this cup

By the mystery of this water
By the mystery of this wine
We ask for what we have been given

Our share in the divinity

Inebriated and intoxicated
Co-mingled and consecrated
Grace filled and grateful
Blessed and beatified

With mere words are we joined
Transformed and transubstantiated
Sacred and sacramental
We are the Body
We are the Blood
We are humanity we are divinity
The flesh made Word
In this mystical mystery

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Questions About the Eucharist

Going to Mass was interesting. I have lots of questions, but first is the one about when everyone went quiet. The atmosphere changed, too. I could hear the old man behind me praying in a whisper, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus….” And then everyone said, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”

What was that all about?

This is the part I was telling you about that was so important, it has many names: the Sacrifice of the Mass, Holy Sacrifice, Holy Mass, the Lord’s Supper, the Breaking of the Bread, the Eucharistic assembly, the Memorial of the Lord’s Passion, death, and Resurrection, the Holy and Divine Liturgy, the Sacred Mystery, Communion, Holy Communion. We have so many names and terms because it’s so ineffable. It’s what keeps me Catholic. It’s because you don’t get this, that I told you not to come up and receive it.

Look. I’ll quote the Bible for you, this is from John 6: 53-58. Sorry, I can’t quote from memory, we Catholics don’t memorize verses. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food, and my blood is real drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

There! Right from Jesus’ mouth. Who would dare tell Him that He didn’t mean what He said? Was He lying? Did He say pretend? Reenact? He specifically said, “Do this in memory of me.”

So even though those little round pieces of bread, and the wine, look the same as they did before the priest prayed over them, they’re not the same. Whether you believe this is not depends on the grace of God. If you desire to understand, then pray for understanding. Even Jesus lost disciples because they thought His teachings too hard. John 6: 61.

This is called Transubstantiation. I can’t explain it any more. I can give you books. We can google it, but I still say your best shot at understanding is praying for it.

You know, Transubstantiation is so important that I think that’s enough for you to chew on today. Next time, I’ll answer more than one question. I’ll meet you tomorrow: same place, same time. Your turn to pay.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What do you do at "Mass"?

While we’re on our way to Mass, let me give you a “heads up” on what to expect. I’m explaining now, because during Mass I can’t. I’ll be focused on prayer, and can’t answer your questions satisfactorily. After Mass, we’ll go to Dunkin Donuts for coffee, and you can ask me anything you want.

Let’s go through the front door up the long, wide steps. I’ve heard that every church has five doors, for the five wounds of Christ, but my parish church has seven. It’s a nice symbolism, though.

Every Mass will have two parts: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Word is first. Let’s choose a pew. Yes, that’s called a kneeler. We Catholics pray with our bodies. (Let me tell you about St. Dominic’s Nine Ways of Prayer, sometime.) We genuflect before entering the pew. Genuflecting is kneeling on one knee—as if you’re meeting Queen Elizabeth. However, when you genuflect to God, and we are, you kneel on the right knee. And when you meet the Queen, you genuflect on the left knee, because God is God, and she’s not.

The Mass begins with a Procession of altar servers, the Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, the Lectors, and a priest will bring up the rear. One of the altar servers will carry the crucifix. He will lead. The others follow. You’ll see one person processing with a big book, held high. This book is God’s Word; called the Gospel. Without the Gospel we wouldn’t know that God sent His Son to us out of His love for us. It’s very important. In fact, you’ll see the priest kiss the Book of Gospels.

First, the Mass celebrant, the priest, will greet us. After the greeting comes the Penitential Rite. If we are sincere about worshipping our God, then we want to be worthy of Him. So we take a few moments to ask for forgiveness for any wrongdoing.

The Gloria is sung, next. No matter how beautiful the choir sings, or the congregation belts it out, nothing, (nothing!) can compare to the way my “cloistered brothers” do it. It really is a glorious affirmation of the wonder of God.

The Readings are next. Lay people read. One reading will be from the Old Testament, and one from the New Testament. That means one is from before Jesus was born, and one after. Between the two Readings a Psalm will be sung. The last part of the Liturgy of the Word will be the priest, or the deacon, reading a Gospel. (Watch him kiss the Book.) Then he will give a sermon, or a homily.

What can I tell you? Expect the worse; pray for the best. Priests are human. Some give good homilies. The homily should tie in all the Readings together into something that is relevant. I’m sure most homilies do. However, it’s the delivery that doesn’t get the message across. I think all priests should go to Toastmasters. I think they all should have yearly public speaker refresher courses. I think they should constantly strive to be better speakers. I’m not asking to be entertained. I’m asking for a homilist to deliver God’s message in a worthy manner.

Oh well…thank God for our ears to hear what He wants us to hear. I’ll try to listen better.

After the Gospel is proclaimed, we profess our faith with a prayer known as the Nicene Creed. This prayer is followed by the Lector asking us to pray for certain intentions.
When the Lector sits, you’ll notice the altar servers going back and forth with dishes, linens, and a book. You could think of this as the servers setting the table, with dishes, cups, napkins, and a book of recipes. We Catholics call this the preparation of the gifts. The book contains prayers, the dishes and cups are for the bread and wine. The linens will be used like napkins. People from the congregation will carry up to the priest, the bread, and the wine.

OK. The best is yet to come. The high point of this part of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Eucharist, is the Eucharistic Prayer, which is introduced by a Preface, and a prayer called the Sanctus. The priest is doing what he became a priest for. He is not acting as a mere human being; we Catholics believe that the priest, standing at the altar is Christ, Himself. This is known as in persona Christi capitis. This means that priests do not merely act in Christ’s place, or at his command; but are ordained, Christ, Himself. Christ acts through them.

We have many names for what the Mass celebrant is doing: the Sacrifice of the Mass, Holy Sacrifice, Holy Mass, the Lord’s Supper, the Breaking of the Bread, the Eucharistic assembly, the Memorial of the Lord’s Passion, death, and Resurrection, the Holy and Divine Liturgy, the Sacred Mystery, Communion, Holy Communion. We have so many names and terms because this transsubstantiation of ordinary bread and wine into God, is so unfathomable, that we have difficulty giving it a name. Through the actions of the priest, the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus.

That’s it. That’s the Sacred Mystery. This is what keeps me Catholic. My belief in this transsubstantiation keeps me Catholic. Thank you Jesus. It is a blessing.

The Eucharistic Prayer concludes with the Doxology, and then the Lord’s Prayer. The Doxology is praising the Trinity. The prayer will begin with “Through Him, with Him, and in Him…” and leads into the Lord ’s Prayer. Following is the Kiss of Peace. Now, you’re not politicking for Mayor, so just nod to those around you. Don’t glad hand everybody in the surrounding pews.

We will pray for peace, and the priest will break the bread, and afterwards, we faithful go up to receive these holy Gifts. Not you, not yet. It doesn’t mean to you, what it means for Catholics. So please don’t offend us by taking what we consider so sacred. It would be like giving a family heirloom to children, who don’t understand its value, to play with. If by the grace of God, you do become Catholic…well, then you’ll understand.

The Mass ends with meditation, thanksgiving, a concluding prayer, and a blessing by the priest.

Thanks be to God.

I’ll answer your questions in the next post.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stupid Idea

You know what this is? No, whatever you think, it's wrong.

What it is, is...a stupid idea. It's the result of someone not thinking.

You see, we were celebrating my daughter's birthday, and the candles were all covered in cake, and ice cream, and frosting. What's the easiest way to wash them off?

Not the dishwasher!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Glorious just Glorious

Thanks to my sister in community, Mary Snow, I have this wonderful video of the solemn profession of two Dominican nuns. Please pay attention to the shower of roses. Remember these are nuns from Peru, the home of the first saint of the Americas--St. Rose of Lima. She is

pictured with a crown of roses. Roses are the queen of flowers, and as such are befitting for the Madonna (and Dominican nuns).

After the shower of roses, is the ceremony of the wedding ring, because these nuns are espoused to Jesus.

Lastly, look at the expressions on the faces of Sister Yolanda Del Nino Jesus and Sister Victoria de Nuestra a Senora del Rosario. Reminds me of my own wedding. I remember what I felt marrying Dick, a mortal. Imagine marrying the Son of God.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thank you Jesus for Loving Me

Yes, He loves me! He really does. He thinks I'm # 1. He's God and He truly loves me. Didn't He die for me? What more could He possibly do to prove His love?

I learned this more than ten years ago from Father Aniello Salicone, sx, and it was hammered home, again, last night, at Father Aniello's healing service.

Many people were there for many different reasons. I was feeling so helpless and sad when I saw these people so desperate for relief from their illnesses. Father Aniello explained to them that Jesus always answers prayers, and if you don't get what you want, he gives you something better. Spiritual healing is better than physical. God's ways are not our ways and His time is infinite, not according to our schedule. So we prayed to be touched according to God's Will, and the understanding to know and accept God's Will.

Thank you Jesus for loving me, is Father Aniello's favorite prayer, and has become his trademark. It's so easy; yet it says it all. I pray it every time I receive Communion.

Thank you Jesus, for bringing Father Aniello into my life.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

St. Albert and Alchemy

One of the mottoes of the Order of Preachers is Veritas, or Truth. St. Albert the Great, whose feast we celebrate today, exemplifies that Dominican search for Truth. There is a plethora of subjects, one could focus on, when posting about Albert Magnus, e.i., theology, chemistry, teacher of St. Thomas Aquinas, translator of Aristotle, medicine, botany, geography, astrology, general science, philosophy, and really so-so much more. He was the quintessential searcher for the truth.
But what interests me is his work with "alchemy." I had associated the word alchemy with magic. But that's not accurate. Alchemy is embryonic chemistry. By this I mean that it was chemistry before chemistry was organized into a separate science. In the early stage of alchemy, the experiments alchemists conducted were probably medicines. Some of which worked better than others. I can readily see where the term "charlatans" could probably have readily been applied to some alchemists. But alchemy continued.

Alchemists seemed to be interested in making precious metals by mixing common ingredients together. Trying to make gold and silver was one objective. There were other aspects of alchemy. Making an elixir to prolong life was another objective of many alchemists. Combine the ideas of making precious metals to prolonging life and you give rise to the notion of the "philosopher's stone." Legend has it that Albert found it. What he probably found was that it was not physical, but a spiritual concept: eternal life, living in sacramental grace, etc. At a time when the typical medieval scientist regularly resorted to magical incantations, St. Albert’s investigations were based on observation and analysis. His writings give some of the earliest evidence of the scientific method: the use of controls in experiments, verification of results by careful repetition, and conclusions drawn from sound hypotheses.

Albert constantly taught the connection between faith and reason. Each is incomplete without the other.

It is important therefore to recall that the truths of faith and of reason never contradict one another. The Church’s mission, in fact, involves her in humanity’s struggle to arrive at truth. In articulating revealed truth she serves all members of society by purifying reason, ensuring that it remains open to the consideration of ultimate truths. (Pope Benedict XVI)

Part of alchemy was philosophical. To Albert and others like minded, this meant spiritual. The search to heal and prolong life was the human desire for God. Searching for the philosopher's stone was the search for eternity--the search for God. Experimenting with common substances to make precious metals was an analogy of transmutation of the soul. Albert constantly strived to comprehend the good in the world around him. His influence was great; hence his name "Magnus."

Alchemy may have morphed into Chemistry, but Albert morphed into sainthood. Albert teaches us to trust in God. May all your work glorify him.

h/t to the Nashville Dominicans

Monday, November 14, 2011

St. Vincent Ferrer

St. Vincent Ferrer was a great preacher. On one occasion, when St. Vincent Ferrer was entering Barcelona, he saw the Angel Guardian of the city. He spoke of this fact, when he gave a sermon to the people. As a consequence, a special devotion sprang up toward the angel, and a monument was erected in his honor. At the hour of St. Vincent's death, a multitude of angels came to
accompany his soul to heaven. The angels filled the house in which he lay dying under the appearance of snow white birds of ravishing beauty, and disappeared at the moment that the Saint breathed his last breath.

St. Vincent is frequently depicted with wings like an Angel because he had a special rapport with the angels.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Hero in Matt. 25: 14-30

Well, well, well. I heard something new today. The parable about the servant burying his talents is the hero. Fr. Frank offered that idea, this morning. That servant didn't invest, or even put the money in the bank. That was what the "world" would do. Cultural, societal pressure tells people to save, invest, make money, and more money. But this little guy, went against the grain. He's a counter-cultural hero. He's not interested in the money. He gave back exactly what he was given.

He was punished for not going along with the common thought. Maybe he "offered up" his punishment (that's nun talk for "suck it up.")

Then again...maybe not. Do you think he knew what he was doing?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Always Praying

Fr. Kevin before Mass said that the first sentence in today's Gospel told us how Jesus wants us to pray. This is Luke 18: 1-8. Jesus told his disciples a prarable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. Of course, Fr. Kevin is a contempletive monk, so he has the opportunity to pray. But how do we Lay People pray all the time?

There's the famous Jesus Prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,have mercy on me, a sinner."

There's prayer ejaculations: short prayers.

There's Mass, Rosary, Lectio Divina, Liturgical Dance,fasting, and probably more that I can think of. In fact St. Dominic had nine ways of prayer. Like all Catholics, he knelt, bowed, genuflected, sat, stood--Catholic aerobics.

The first way is bowing. Gentlemen bow to ladies as a sign of respect. Catholics bow to the

altar to reverence it.

The second way is prostrations. This is laying flat out on the ground to make yourself as low

as possible before your God. You'll see priest do this at their ordinations. It really isn't very practical for all the laity to do this in church--how. You could do it at home, if this type of prayer appeals to you.

The third way is penance. This picture is of a friar hitting himself. It's called taking the discipline. I'm not called to do this, and I don't know anyone nowadays who is, but in medieval

times, it was practiced. I would do penance in place of the discipline.

The fourth way is kneeling. This is the common prayer stance.
This is St. Dominic kneeling in Adoration of the Crucifixion.

The fifth way of prayer is supplication.

I picture this as talking to God using hand gestures. Since I'm such a drama queen, I could easily implore, shake my fist, beg, etc..

St. Dominic's sixth way of prayer is the Orans position. This is the position people use to

invite people to pray. The priest will use it and say, "Let us pray." The people use it at Mass to pray the Lord's Prayer.

The seventh way of prayer is stretching up your arms as high as you can. St. Dominic use to

look like an arrow. How's that for shooting your prayers up to heaven?

The eighth way of St. Dominic's prayer is Reading. This is reading and contemplating what you

have read. This may turn into Lectio Divina. There is no prescribed method for this type of reading except to pray beforehand and afterwards talk to God about it.

St. Dominic's last method of praying was probably the one he used most often. This is walking. Since he walked everywhere, he prayed as he walked. I pray when traveling. I may use my iPod,

but Dominic prayed and sang as he journeyed along. What better way to pass the time?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Choi Sung-Bong

Watch this video and you'll hear an amazing story and an amazing voice. It's like one of the judges said in the end, "I just want him to be happy from now on."


Everybody's talking about the changes in the Missal. Personally, I'm sick of hearing about it. That's all I read about in my diocesan newspaper, on other blogs, in Chapter,on iCatholic TV, and radio...ad nauseum. Yet I hear that people say they haven't heard anything about it.

Are they blind, deaf, and dumb? Don't they read their Catholic periodicals? Don't they watch and listen to Catholic TV and radio? Don't they listen to homilies, read their parish bulletins, and go to parish activities?

Don't they read blogs?

SIGH. Guess not.

I really don't know what the big deal is about. I lived through the big change from Latin to English. I certainly can live through the change from "one in being" to "consubstantial." Consubstantial is more precise. When I say "one in being" I imagine a spousal relationship. That's hardly the image one should have for the relationship between God and Jesus. And that's the purpose of the Nicean Creed--to prove that Jesus is God.

Besides, it's not new to me. I still have my First Communion Prayer Book. "Consubstantial" was the word that I read, as a child. The Latin was on one page:

Et in unum Dominum Jesus Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum, et ex Pate natum ante omnia saecula. Deum de Deo; Lumen de Lumine; Deum verum de Deo vero; genitum non factum; consubstantialem Patri, per quem omnia facta sunt.

and the Enlish was on the opposite page, right beside the English:

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. Gog of God; Light of Light; true God of true God; begotten,not made; consubstantial to the Father, by whom all things were made.

If children could read then, what everyone is arguing about, now, then I think the new translation will readily be accepted. Besides, I attended Mass where the New Translation was used, and I overheard the comment, "I don't see any difference?" I don't know if the pic I took of my childhood's missal is readable, but the footnote on the bottom says, "...kneel down to adore God for the ineffable mystery of the Incarnation." I get a kick out of the fact that we children knew the word "ineffable." Well, why not? We knew consubstantial; why wouldn't we know ineffable?

For a really thorough and understandable explanation from somebody other than a "simple old lady fingering her Rosary beads", I'll point you to Fr. Cessario's article in the Jan. 14, 2011, Pilot, "Preparing for the Changes in the Roman Missal, 3rd Edition: 'Consubstial with the Father'

Thursday, November 10, 2011


In preparing to Lector this Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, I always read all the Readings. I lucked out this time, because I'm reading 1 Thessalonians 5: 1-6. It's easy to read and fun to proclaim.

It's the Gospel (Matthew 25: 14-30) that bugs me. Of course, being a product of my culture and time, I think the poor servant who was so afraid of his Master, that he didn't do anything with the money the Master gave him, was wronged. If he was beaten for giving back the money, what would have happened if he lost it, or spent it?

The only way I can justify the thinking in this Gospel, is to literally think "talents," as talents, not money. Talent is a gift of something, e.i., singing voice, learning languages,playing an instrument, intelligence, etc.. The way I see it is, if God gave you a talent, then you should use it for the greater glory of God. To not use it, is a waste, and is the equivalent of the servant burying his Master's "talents."

Mmmmmm. I still don't think that really fits. If a person doesn't use his God-given-talent, it would be a sorry waste, but not wrong, as a sin.

Maybe the kids Occupying Wall Street are right--the rich get richer, and the poor, get poorer. Matthew 25: 14-30 is proof.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Order of Preachers All Souls Day

Today everyone in the Dominican Family celebrates ALL who have gone before us. The Order of Preachers (known as Dominicans from its founder-St. Dominic)is made up of friars, nuns, and the laity. At one time these divisions were known as First Order, Second Order, and Third Order. Since August 8, 2008, however, this terminology of "divisions" has been done away with. Now we are all one Dominican Family. Now we all use the same initials "o.p." after our names, to designate that we belong to the Order of Preachers. That's why it is so important to prefix your name with a designation, to indicate your state in life. "Lesley, o.p.," doesn't tell us whether you are a priest, or a brother, or a sister, or laity. It must be Fr. Lesley, o.p., or Br. Lesley, o.p., or Sr. Lesley, o.p., or Mr. Lesley, o.p., or Ms. Lesley, o.p., or Miss Lesley, o.p., or Mrs. Lesley, o.p. Now we now who, and, what you are!

Our big brother, St. Thomas Aquinas, o.p. would say that "distinctions are important."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Feast of All Saints of the Order of Preachers

The universal Church celebrated All Saints Day on November 1st. We, in the Dominican Family, celebrate November 7th as our special feast day, in addition to the one on Nov. 1. Today is the Feast of all saints in the Dominican family. Many other Orders, also have their own special day. The Benedictine Order was the first to receive this privilege from the Holy See. The Dominicans were second. In 1674, Pope Clement X wrote:

Rightly, my Lord Cardinal, ought your Order to celebrate the solemnity of all its Saints on one appointed day; for, if we wished to assign to each of its holy sons his own special feast, we should have to form a new calendar, and they alone would suffice to fill it.

And it is for this reason, I'm not listing the Litany of Dominican Saints. You can find it if you click here. Today it would be most appropriate to pray it. Veritas.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Always Be Prepared

Matthew 25: 1-13, today's Gospel for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, was not the best fit for today being Day Light Savings.

One of the themes of this Gospel is "being prepared". Of course, I'm not thinking in terms of the Second Coming. I'm trying to cope with today; this morning, to be specific. Try forgetting to turn the alarm clock back, last night. So that the most important clock in the house is now an hour late.

Oh, did I mention that I was the Lector at the 7:30 AM Mass?

Rushing around like a maniac, I wrenched my back.

After Mass, one of our crew, got her signals crossed and went to the wrong restaurant. And that was my fault, again, because I misled her. (not on purpose)

So I identify with the ten unprepared virgins, in today's Gospel. I think a little slack should be cut for them. I, they do not intend to be unprepared, or uncaring, or disobedient, or insubordinate, or disrespectful, or any other attribute that describes me, them, in an unflattering manner. I'm, they're, just human, and everyone once in awhile need a helping hand.

Errare humanum est.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Small Dominican Scapular

My Lay Dominican Chapter, Our Lady of Mercy, has the best spiritual director. Today he gave us, what my "cloistered brothers" call a retreat, but it's only one day. So it's really a Day of Recollection. We also advanced in formation, two brothers, from Novice to Temporary Professed. In so doing, he blessed and put small Dominican scapulars over the two men. (See picture) These small white scapulars are known as Dominican scapulars. We Lay Dominicans can't wear the full Dominican habit, that our brother friars, or sister nuns, wear. So we have this small white scapular in place of the full habit. Although, we Lay Dominicans can be buried in the full habit--but that's a whole different post.

Father told us how he felt when his habit was placed over him. He also pulled out from underneath his habit, that little small scapular. He told us that he likes to wear that small scapular to bed, because he doesn't wear his habit to bed. So the small scapular replaces the full habit. He also wears it when he travels--under his black priest clericals. So a Dominican scapular is always protecting him.

You see, we Dominicans believe that Our Lady gave Saint Dominic the scapular. That's why it's important.

Another Day, Another Joke

God was talking to one of his angels. He said, "Boy, I just figured out how to rotate Earth so it creates this really incredible twenty-four-hour period of alternating light and darkness." The angel said, "What are you going to do now?" God said, "Call it a day."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Another Pair of Married Saints

The title isn't correct. Takashi Nagai and Midori Moriyama are married and good, saintly people. But it is only the husband, Takashi Nagai that has started on the path to official sainthood. He has been declared a Servant of God, the first step in canonization. Reading his life will bring you to admiration of this young doctor. He already is a saint, in my eyes. He was born in 1908 into a doctor's family and that meant he had a better than average upbringing and education. He didn't want for anything. He also became a doctor, specializing in radiology. His religion was Shintoist and Confucianist.

Takashi became interested in Christianity when he was in college. He happened to have lodging in with the Moriyama family. The Moriyama family were Kakure Kirishtans in Urakami. They also had a young pretty daughter who was a teacher and lived in a different town. The daughter, Midori Moriyama met Takashi Nagai on one of her visits to her parents. The Moriyamas were good Catholics and their devotion caught the interest of Takashi. He was also reading Blaise Pascal in college. He became interested in whatever it was that motivated the Moriyamas, and I imagined that he and Midori had a few discussions on Catholicism. When she invited him to Christmas Mass, he was impressed. But it turned out, that he gave Morihamas a gift that no one, even he, expected.

During that Christmas visit, Midori was hit with acute appendicitis. At first, it was not diagnosed correctly, but Takashi recognized the ailment for what it was. He ended up carrying her on his back to the hospital, in the middle of a snowstorm, so she could receive an emergency operation.


I stop here and take a deep breath.

I also was misdiagnosed with an abdominal issue that actually resulted in a ruptured appendicitis, when I was a teen. I don't know how Midori could have withstood the pain while being carried. (Maybe she was drugged.)

A few years later, after he received his degree, and after his military service, they married. During this time, Takashi converted. I like to think that not only did he fall in love with Midori, but also our beautiful Catholic religion. Before he married Midori, however, he had to be sure that she understood one thing. That was that he was most probably going to die young. You see his field of expertise was radiology. He worked with x-rays and at that time, that was considered the cutting edge of technology. X-ray machines were remarkable. You actually could see inside a person. It was an exciting time and Takasi wanted to dedicate his work and life to medical science, but he understood that Midori may not want this.

You know how she answered? She gave the same response Ruth did to her mother-in-law Naomi (Ruth 1:16-17): "It will be my privilege to share your journey wherever it leads, and to accept whatever happens along the way."

They married and had two children. Nagai work in radiology. At that time, 1930's, safety standards were not understood and many radiologists died from radiation exposure, and Takashi began to see some symptoms himself. His diagnosis was leukemia with a life expectancy of two or three years. His writings show that he began to doubt his faith, but he also was thankful for the many blessings he had received. In fact, his illness drew he and his wife and children closer than ever. The family united in prayer.

Then in August, 1945, pamphlets dropped down upon their home in Nagasaki from American planes warning that a bomb would be dropped. Takashi and Midori sent their children to their grandparents home to stay. They stayed in Nagasaki. Takashi and Midori carried on their lives.

At 11:03 AM, on August 9th, the atomic bomb fell on Nagasaki. Takasi was in the university hospital and was buried under debris. He managed to dig himself out and then immediately helped others. Doctor Takashi worked day and night wondering and praying for Midori. He hoped to come across her in the hospital, but she wasn't among them. He wanted to run out and look for her, but he was needed at the hospital desperately. He worked day and night until he collapsed himself. He had leukemia, a few wounds from the explosion that caused blood loss and finally his legs gave way. He woke up on the operating table. His wounds had been dressed and he felt better. Finally, he allowed himself to go out and look for his wife. He did manage to find his house. The only thing he could find from Midori was her skull. Her body had been incinerated. He buried what he could, himself.

He returned to work and eventually went and gathered his children to another home. He had lost everything but his faith and his children. Barely a month after the atomic explosion, Doctor Takashi leukemia worsened. He was given the Last Rites. He fell unconscious and everyone waited his death. But miraculously, after five days in a coma, he recovered. He wasn't completely cured but he grew strong and lived for six more years. He wrote and talked, and taught. He left behind a voluminous amount or writings. In fact, the Bells of Nagasaki got the title from the bells in the Cathedral, and the book is an account of living through the atomic bomb. His works are spiritual chronicles and have been translated into many languages.

He truly did God's work. I hope to meet him someday.

*h/t Fr. Kevin Kraft, O.P. for his research on well married saints.

The Priestly Prayer of Jesus

Last night, in prayer group, a strange phenomena happened. We often do Lectio Divina. Last night we read and meditated on John 17: 1-26. I was reading this Prayer of the hour of Jesus. At first I thought the Priestly Prayer of Jesus was the Lord's Prayer. But these verses were clearly not "Our Father,..." John 17: 1-26 is Jesus praying to God the Father. Some of it was familiar from Mass Readings, but I didn't tie it all together as Jesus' praying in the Garden.

It was my turn to read aloud. I began, John 17: 1... and understood as I read. When I came to about John 17: 11-26, somewhere around verse 15, my voice broke and I cried.

I don't know why.

Stranger, everyone was crying. We all cried and kind of laughed and I continued on, to the end.

When I finished, we all looked at each other, and thought, and said, "Wow, what happened?"

We meditated in silence, with smiles on our faces. Every once in awhile we'd look up at each other, and shake our heads in wonder. We felt very blessed.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Saints Alive

This is Pere Marie Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P. I thought I'd use his picture for an All Saints Day

Posting, since he will be beatified in seven months. He is Venerable now. On June 3rd, he'll be declared Blessed. Next he'll be recognized as a Saint for all the Universal Church to honor.

Today is the day to honor All Saints, that's ALL, even those whom we don't know. The famous celebrity saints are the ones that get all the honor, but today's the day we Catholics honor everyone in heaven.

And all we aspiring saints belong to the Communion of Saints. The Communion of Saints are all we living, all those in Purgatory, and all in Heaven. In fact, everyone, except those in Hell, are part of the Communion of Saints.

I love being Catholic.

The Third Death

Today as I was praying and walking through the cemetery , I came across a gravestone that I couldn't see due to the overgrown bush ...