Thursday, May 31, 2012

Within the next couple of hours, I'll be leaving for Besancon, France.  I'm going for the beatification of Pere Marie Jean Joseph Lataste, OP., as the Apostle of Prison.  I'm not taking my lap top with me.  So there will be no blogging until I come back.  I'll be gone for a total of two weeks.  Then I'll chronicle the event and my prayers, poetry, and thoughts, from the retreat at St. Niklausen.

I’m very excited.  This is an adventure.  I even feel like Mary in this morning’s gospel, “My soul magnifies the Lord.    My spirit rejoices.  He has looked with favor upon me.”  That’s how I feel.  Wowza!
I was blessed beginning with Morning Mass at the Abbey.  An old friend was there—Deacon Dick.  He was never my spiritual director-- he was better!  I would go and tell him what my SD said and we’d discuss it.  It was perfect for me.  He always helped me put things in perspective.  Dick lives in Virginia now, and was just by coincidence visiting friends around here.  See—I feel so blessed.
All day friends and family have been calling and tweeting and texting their good wishes and love.  I am very blessed.

Last night, Fr. Frank Campo said a beautiful blessing over me.  My parish prayer group prayed over me.  Before that, my Dominican Study Group prayed for me.
My soul really rejoices in the goodness of God.  I’ll tell you all about it when I return home, after June 14th.
Within the next couple of hours, I'll be leaving for Besancon, France.  I'm going for the beatification of Pere Marie Jean Joseph Lataste, OP., as the Apostle of Prison.  I'm not taking my lap top with me.  So there will be no blogging until I come back.  I'll be gone for a total of two weeks.  Then I'll chronicle the event and my prayers, poetry, and thoughts, from the retreat at St. Niklausen.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Apostle of Prisons Mimics St. Dominic

Pere Marie Jean-Joseph will be beatified in four days--June 3, 2012.  In reading Hope Beyond Hope, by Sister Emmanuelle-Marie, O.P., I can see that Pere Lataste is following the example of St. Dominic.  Page 61, asserts that the religious foundation that Lataste wished to be begin had to be Dominican.  Didn't Dominic begin the Order by creating a convent made up of women converted from the Cathar heresy, that permitted all kinds of sexual abuse, in the name of some kind of sadomasochistic contempt of the human body?  Didn't he give these women the task of sustaining his preaching, and his future friars, through their prayers and contemplative life?

And so Pere Lataste would emulate St. Dominic.  The preacher of the prison of Cadillac wanted to entrust all victims of evil to the Dominicans of Bethany.  He wanted them to pray like St. Dominic, praying all night.  He wanted them to be like Mary Magdalene, apostles of the Resurrection.  He wanted them to be holy.

These are the Dominican Sisters of Bethany.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Two Year Olds and Mercy

She wouldn't come out of the shower.  My granddaughter is only 22 months and already she was throwing a temper tantrum.  I take her swimming once a week in a YMCA pool.  She loves it.  She loves to shower, also.

The problem was that she was tired.  Swimming wipes her out.  I told her it was time to go home--to see--Mommy and Daddy.  But she was screaming so loud she couldn't hear a word I said.  I shut the water off.  She screamed louder.  I tried to pull her out but she was slippery wet and backed away from me.  I offered her food and she took it and threw it at me.  I offered her a toy.  That was thrown at me, too.

She was uncontrollable.

I didn't know what to do.  She had to come out.  I wrapped her in a towel and took her out screaming, crying, kicking, slapping and also slippery wet.  I had a hard time drying her, never mind her resisting and hampering every article of clothing I put on her.

Everyone in the locker room looked at us disapprovingly.  Not one look of sympathy!  Not one offer of help.  In fact, the locker room emptied of people.

I got her dressed, socks nor shoes because she wasn't walking; she had to be carried out.  She still screamed bloody murder.  Her hair was a mess.  There was no way I could dry it, let alone comb it.  Forget barrettes!

She's about 30 pounds.  That's 30 pounds of resistance.  Besides kicking, punching, slapping, she was now biting.  Did I mention that I was carrying a backpack of wet towels and bathing suits?
I also had the diaper bag.  In addition, my pocketbook was a heavy burden.

I carried all.  But with her squirming and pushing, I had to keep stopping and adjusting my hold on her, so I wouldn't drop her.  It seemed an inordinate amount of time to traverse my way out of the locker room, down the corridor, through the foyer, out to the parking lot.  Meanwhile, trying to sheepishly smile away the hostile glares.  I was not a monster.  She was!

She kept it up as we painstakingly staggered to the car.  Damn!  Why did I park in the last row?

Finally, the car door was opened.  I resisted the urge to throw her in her car seat, and firmly placed her in a secure position.

Do you believe the volume of her screams never lessened?

I backed out of the parking space.  I put the car in gear and proceeded out of the parking lot.

All of a sudden, it was quiet.  I looked in the rear view mirror.  Could she be asleep, already?  I stopped the car and looked at her.

She was sound asleep.

No she didn't look like an angel.  Her expression showed that she was asleep under protest.

So be it.  And she stayed asleep, as her mother carried her to her crib.  She napped for three hours.

I was upset and angry.  I thought of God's providence.  Hmpf.   Then I thought of Father Lataste's message of love and mercy.  Hmpf.

Yes, she's my granddaughter and I do love her.  I'm upset but not angry.  She's not even two, so who can I be angry at.  God?  Well, who else?

So OK, there's nobody to be angry at.  I have to forgive her because she's only a baby and doesn't understand.  She can't articulate her feelings any other way.

Do you think God feels the same way about us?  We sin because were human.  We upset Him but He has to forgive us because we don't know any better.  Is this what Father Lataste was trying to tell the women in Cadillac?

God is all merciful, full of love.

Hmpf.  But I'm not divine.

I will never take her into a shower, again.  Never.  From now on, we come out of the pool, and walk by the showers, and go to the dressing rooms.  No more showers.  Never.  At least until she out of the terrible two's.

Monday, May 28, 2012

God Bless America

Today is Memorial Day.  Daily Mass was so crowded that I wondered whether people thought Memorial Day was a Holy Day of Obligation.  Then I thought again.  What better way to honor our dead veterans and other loved ones, than by celebrating Mass?

Memorial Day is a time for people to remember and honor veterans.  Fr. Moy related a story about his friend, the military chaplain.  When his friend became too old to serve in the military, he would still remember all servicemen at his Masses.  He would remember them, individually.  What he did the was cut out the obituaries from the Armed Services newspapers.  Then he brought the newspaper cutouts to Mass.  He'd announce before Mass began that Mass was being said for .....  He'd read the name, rank, branch of service, where they came from, dates, and where they died.  He does this every day.

The recessional after the Mass was the organ playing God Bless America--just the organ music.

Guess what.

We people spontaneously broke out singing God Bless America.

I was very moved.  I had a flashback from my childhood.  As a petulant child trying to avoid going to bed, I would often beg for more stories, prayers, songs, etc., from my babysitter--my great aunt.  She was my grandmother's sister.  She never married, and more or less adopted us as her own children.  I loved her very much.  She never learned to speak much English, but she was a patriotic American.  She only knew one song in English--God Bless America.

Let me tell you.  No one sings God Bless America, as heartfelt as an immigrant American, with broken English.

I love you, Auntie.  Requiescat in pace et in amore.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Birthday Catholics

Summer is here.  At least my own official summer on the Cape has arrived.  At Mass this morning, I had a pleasant surprise.  St. Anthony's is my summer parish.  I found that the tabernacle had been moved.  It is in the center of the sanctuary.  I like it better because now no matter where I sit I can see it.  Today I sat under this window.

It is Pentecost.

The parish was having a festival for the Holy Spirit.  This is a Cape Verdean parish and the Portuguese Club is the place to go.  That's where the action is.

I also feel like I've been infused by the Holy Spirit.  I'm starting to get hyper over my trip to France for the beatification.  I'm leaving in four days!!! The beatification of Pere Lataste is in a week.  

Just think, Father Lataste beatification really started when he witnesses the conversion of women prisoners.  They were touched by the Holy Spirit.  He was blessed by the Holy Spirit.  His work was guided by the Holy Spirit.  Father Lataste's beatification is the work of the Holy Spirit.  You can't hold back the Holy Spirit.  Deo Gratias.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fortnight for Freedom


“Religious liberty is not only about our ability to go to Mass on Sunday or to pray the Rosary at home. It is about whether we can continue to make our contribution to the common good of all Americans without violating our deeply-held moral beliefs,” Bishop Malone said. “This issue affects all Americans — it is not a Catholic issue, a Jewish issue, an Orthodox, Mormon, or Muslim issue. It is an American issue.”

In an April 12 statement, the U.S. Bishops’ ad hoc committee for religious liberty called for a “fortnight of freedom” from June 21 to July 4. The period includes a series of feasts of “great martyrs” who faced political oppression. Their statement was an “urgent summons” to U.S. Catholics, stressing the need for prayer, fasting, and public action for religious freedom.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Pentecost Cures Fat Faces

Contemplating Pentecost had me searching what Thomas Aquinas wrote.  He used images that my frame of references honed in on:

 The prophet says: “His face is covered with fatness” (Job 15:27),

Naturally, I looked up that verse.  It gets worse.  The rest of that sentence is:

and his thighs too heavy with flesh.

It's no wonder AQ quoted that verse.  We both have a weight problem.

I know...I know he wasn't talking about body fat, but rather mind fat, or lazy thinking.  But he and I know that it's the same principles.  In order to get rid of the fatness we have to change our lives.  That's the entire theory behind T.O.P.S.  

You have to change the way you do things.  Your life has to change.  Make good choices whether it's food or moral behavior, and you'll be healthy--both body and soul.

I propose that St. Thomas Aquinas become the patron saint of T.O.P.S.  


Today I was giving a presentation on snacking.  A discussion arose about those that felt eating three large meals was better than six small meals.  Something I said as an aside, triggered an outcry.  What it was, isn't important.  It was something about snacks triggering a desire for more.  But it was the fact that an "aside" elicited more discussion, than the discussion topic itself, that impressed me.

When reviewing my presentation, I always try to evaluate what worked, and what didn't.  I was surprised that an "aside" turned out to be the more interesting.  It has happened before.  But it is always a surprise.  It reminded me of when Fr. Aquinas was talking about spiritual direction.  He was talking about soaring off the earth (aircraft carrier) and climbing above the mundane and reaching union with God...

He happened to say in an "aside" voice, "You're not a crop duster."


It bothered me that he used that image.  Did he think I was a "crop duster?"  Did Father AQ think that I thought, or sounded like, of behaved, like a "crop duster?"

That my spirituality wasn't a beautiful, sleek, jet.

Years have passed and I still wonder mediate on that "aside."

What's wrong with being a crop duster?

I am a Lay Dominican, and not a monk like AQ.  I should be out dusting the crops.  I'd like to soar like a jet, off the aircraft carrier and into the heavens.  I'm working on that.  But right now, the crops need tending.

Do you think when I go on retreat, I'll have the opportunity to soar like a jet?

You'll be the first to know.    Oremus.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

First v. Last

Matthew 20:16 talks about the first being last and the last being first.  This particular scripture has always been meaningful to me because I'm usually first.  It makes me nervous when I'm not early.  There are a few reasons for this propensity of mine:

Always waiting for my mother, drove me insane!  I swore I would never be like that.

I'm competitive.  Very!  I've got to be first.

I want to get the paper, job, etc., done.  So I can get it off my mind.

I'm cheap.  I want to get my money's worth.  Hence, I arrive early and if I'm having a good time, I leave last.  I've got to eek out every single inch of the enjoyment.

So you see Matthew's verse always bothered me.  Of course, he wasn't talking about me.  I don't have to be first in church.  In fact, I choose the last pew.  Although that does allow me to be first to leave.  Mmmmm  But I'm not first in the Communion line.  I'm not first in the cafeteria line.  (I do have some standards.)

Now, I read Varieties in Procrastination, by David Purlmutter.  This Chronicle article brought me to reflect on being first/last.  (I bet Mr. Purlmutter would be surprised to know that he brought someone to prayer.)  It really is best to be sensible about deadlines.  I have been burned many times by being early.

During college, working three part-time jobs taught me to be very organized.  I needed to study at certain times and be a Nazi about it.  I couldn't let it go until the night before.  I couldn't pull an "all nighter."  I was probably working the night before or had to get up early to go to work.  So I'd be all prepared for that test on Friday, when the date was changed.  The test was moved to Monday.  This wrecked havoc on my schedule because working weekends meant double time.  I couldn't give that up.  So now everyone else is studying while I'm forgetting what I studied.  It would have been better to procrastinate.

Getting papers in early sometimes was a detriment.  I get better ideas, later on in the semester, but it was too late to change my theses.

Sometimes in the working world, being early doesn't pay.  I've been the first to put a bid in, figuring being early would give me an advantage.  But then the specs changed, and it would be too much work to redo the bid.  In fact, I've noticed that the late bidders usually get the job.

Shopping early often doesn't pay.  I buy Christmas presents year round.  But more than once, someone asked if they could return the gift.  No, because I bought it early in the year and there's no store with that generous a return policy.

I often find that the sale items aren't even out yet, I'm so early.  Sometimes, the sale prices haven't been changed from the regular price, yet, and I've been burned.

Timing is a science.  There's a time to be early; there's a time to be last.  It's knowing "when" is the science.  Maybe I should call it an art, instead.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Support a Fair Farm Bill

Take Action While Your Senators are Home for the Memorial Day Recess and Urge Them to Support a Fair Farm Bill!

Tell your Senators that our nation needs to feed the hungry, preserve God's creation, support small family farmers and help rural America thrive!
During the Memorial Day recess take the opportunity to visit, call, or write your Senators and urge them to support a Farm Bill that will help feed hungry people here at home and abroad, support growth in U.S. rural communities and promote stewardship of God’s creation. The Senate will vote soon on its version of 2012 Farm Bill and their decisions will impact the lives of hungry people at home and abroad and the lives of our brothers and sisters around the world.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in partnership with Catholic Relief ServicesCatholic Charities USA, and theNational Catholic Rural Life Conference, have identified some positive provisions in the bill that we support as well as some provisions that need improving. We ask you to set up a district meeting with your Senators and urge them to support policies in the Farm Bill that:
  • Oppose cuts or harmful changes in domestic hunger and nutrition programs such as SNAP (formerly food stamps) that will harm hungry and vulnerable people;
  • Maintain funding for the Food for Peace Food Aid program to combat chronic hunger and provide nutritious foods to poor and malnourished families overseas;
  • Preserve funding for overseas anti-hunger programs that provide resiliency in the face of emergencies and are funded through the Food for Peace development “safe box”;
  • Fully fund important conservation programs such as the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and other programs that promote stewardship of God’s creation;
  • Preserve funding for rural development programs such as Value-Added Producer Grants, the Rural Micro-Entrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) and other programs that helps rural communities thrive and;
  • Redirect subsidies to small and medium-sized farms, especially minority owned farms and ranches that truly need assistance. Savings from reductions should be used to fund domestic nutrition and international assistance programs.
Current Situation & Background: Senators will be home in their districts for the Memorial Day recess starting on May 25. We anticipate that when they return to Washington they will finalize and vote on the Senate version of the Farm Bill.
The Senate is considering Farm Bill legislation that will reduce agriculture funding over 10 years by $23 billion. This includes over $4 billion in proposed cuts to the food stamp (SNAP) program and over $6 billion in cuts to conservation programs. At this time of continued unemployment and high levels of poverty, the Senate should oppose cuts to effective and efficient anti-hunger programs that help people live in dignity.
The Senate’s proposal calls for ending some subsidies (direct payments) and this is a step in the right direction.  Further reductions and re-directing subsidies that disproportionately go to larger growers and agribusiness are still needed. Savings from cuts to subsidies should be used to support hunger and nutrition programs that feed hungry, poor and vulnerable people at home and abroad.
The bishops acknowledge that reducing future unsustainable deficits is important but remind Congress that their decisions are not just economic in nature but are “political and moral choices with human consequences.” As pastors and teachers they offer several moral criteria to help guide difficult budgetary decisions. Read their recent letter on potential SNAP cuts here.
Last October in his Address on the Occasion of World Food Day 2011, Pope Benedict stated that “liberation from the yoke of hunger is the first concrete expression of the right to life.” The U.S. bishops join the Holy Father in asserting that food is a fundamental human right. In, For I Was Hungry and You Gave Me Food,” the bishops wrote, “the primary goals of agriculture policies should be providing food for all people and reducing poverty among farmers and farm workers in this country and abroad.” The U.S. bishops urge Congress to join them and other Christian leaders by forming a “circle of protection” around programs that serve hungry, poor and vulnerable people.

Praying from the Heart

Balloon Rosary
This morning's Zenit, had an article by Cardinal Grech, whereupon he mentions that it's praying from the heart that is the most effective.

I agree.  The Rosary is the perfect example.  You can recite the words and think about sports, or anything else, except God.  That's OK to an extent.  After all, intention in prayer is what counts.  But it's only when you pray with and from your heart, that the Rosary sails up to the heavens.

Heartfelt praying bumps the pray up exponentially.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday Morning Reflection

This morning's Morning Prayer's Reading, Acts 10:40-43, had the answer to my question about whether or not the whole world could see the Ascension.  "God raised up Jesus on the third day and granted that he be seen, not by all, but only by such witnesses as had been chosen beforehand by God...".

Am I right in concluding that at Jesus' Second Coming, it will be the same?  Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on us.

Father Kevin this morning talked about unity.  He said Jesus' last words were about unity.   

The First Word:
“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.”
(Luke 23:34)

The Second Word:
“I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
(Luke 23:43)

The Third Word:
“Dear woman, here is your son.”
(John 19:26)

The Fourth Word:
“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
(Mark 15:34)

The Fifth Word:
“I am thirsty.”
(John 19:28)

The Sixth Word:
“It is finished!”
(John 19:30)

The Seventh Word:
“Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!”
(Luke 23:46)

 I don't see anything about unity.  There's lots of important reflections here, but none would be about unity.  Oh well, I probably didn't listen to everything.  Mea culpa.  Mea culpa.

My favorite "last words of Jesus,"  is telling the prisoner that he would be with Jesus in paradise.  A convicted criminal is the only one Jesus promised paradise.  This image should be on a banner for the beatification of Pere Lataste, (Pere Lataste will be beatified in TWO weeks!)


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Old Ladies and the Rosary

Did you read Zenit today?  Cardinal Schonborn was interviewed.  He is often in the news, both as a confident of the Pope, and as a much beleaguered prelate with many dissident priests.  He is as solid a traditionalist as the catechism he edited.  Yet he is a believer and supporter of Medjugorje.  He is very, and maybe too pastoral, in that he hasn't disciplined any of the dissident priests who want women priests, and to get married, besides other things.  He may be Pope some day.

But now he has another accolade to add to his list.  He is now in my heart because he said, " And whoever scorns the old ladies who pray (the Rosary)  has understood nothing of the Gospel."

Ah, words to warm the cockles of this simple old lady's heart, while she fingers her beads while praying the Rosary.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Eyes of Faith

How many people saw the Ascension?                                               Could everybody in the world see it?  If so, then how come it's not recorded in history?  Why aren't there Chinese or Wampanoag stories of a man being beamed up to heaven?

The only conclusion is that the Ascension was only seen by a chosen few.  So, do you think the second coming will only be seen by a chosen few?

This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.

The "chosen few" must be believers.  Those who see through the eyes of faith.  That's the only thing that makes sense.

When Jesus comes again, only those who see through the eyes of faith will recognize him.  Is that what you conclude, also?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Prayer Request

Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli, O.P.
During the process towards sainthood, there are some procedures to follow.  The steps are Servant of God, Venerable, Blessed, and Saint.  Miracles have to be accepted as true to pass through these stages.  Praying for the intercession of the candidate for a miracle has to be proven.  This is exactly what we're trying to do for Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli, O.P.  He was a missionary in the northwestern part of the United States.  He also founded the Dominican Sinsinawa Sisters.  You can read more about him on the sisters' site.

More urgently, I'm begging you to pray for a fellow Lay Dominican, Mr. Norm Larendeau, O.P.   Norm has been battling acute leukemia since August, 2011.  He is now on palliative chemo.  Please pray.  And make sure you pray for a miracle through the intercession of Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli, O.P.  

Thank you.  God bless.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Video Experiment

Hey Hey Hey!  I did it!  I figured out how to post a video!

It helps if it's not private.  I didn't know there was such a thing.  Anyway, I'll be able to post more now.  What you're seeing is a talk on my religious family.  One of the participants is my chapter's spiritual promoter, Fr. Nic Austriaco, O.P.  He is with Fr. Benedict Croell, O.P.  They are being interviewed by Fr. Mitch Packwa.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Father, in his homily today said that you can tell what kind of person, someone is, by the way they drive.  Oh-oh.

By the seat of my pants?

Well, today I was lost, twice.  But I never panic.  After all, I'm female.  I ask directions.  I also never panic.  I figure I'll just figure it out.  Like today...

Kim and I went to a Region I Spring Regional Meeting.  I was using my GPS, but I don't trust it.  Not since I was just starting to go over the Jamestown bridge, and the GPS told me to take a sharp right.

Anyway, I made one wrong turn and ignored the "recalculating," and just cut through an alley.

We were not so fortunate coming home.  Kim had to get to work, so I was stressed.  I got on the highway going South, when I wanted to go North.  I should have listened to the GPS.

In trying to correct, I ran into a detour and got stuck going through downtown traffic, twice.  Finally, I was back on the highway going North, but in the wrong lane, and was forced to go a route North that I didn't know.  What could I do?  I continue on and headed north all the way, until I finally recognized where I was.

Now according to Father Izzo's theory, what kind of person am I?

Kim said I bring him to prayer.

That's a good thing.  Isn't it?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Death by Life Sentence Without Parole

Somehow tonight's discussion on Doctor-Prescribed Suicide turned into a discussion on Capital Punishment.  Massachusetts will have a referendum this November on Assisted Suicide; that's what the topic was.

My "cloistered brothers" weren't that interested in legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia.  The discussion segued into capital punishment.  Most of them felt that capital punishment was the easy way out.  If they were facing a life sentence with no chance of parole, and all appeals had been exhausted, then they would prefer to commit suicide.  The electric chair, the guillotine, lethal injection, whatever, as long as it were quick, would be better than living in prison.

The loss of hope would be death.  Living a long life in prison would be tortuous.  IOW, sentenced to life without parole was a worse death than the electric chair.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Feast of the Patronage of Our Lady over the Order of Preachers

We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God. Despise not our petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer us. Amen.

The Sub Tuum is one of the most ancient prayers to Our Lady. We would be most grateful to all our friends if you would say this prayer to Our Lady every day for your special intentions.

St. Dominic had a very tender love for Our Lady and taught his sons and daughters to turn to her in all their needs. It was he who taught us to always say an Ave Maria, asking for her blessing and guidance before any action, such as preaching, studying, writing, visiting, working, etc. In fact, for many years an Ave was said before each of the Hours of the Divine Office. From the very beginning Dominicans were called by the people - the Brothers of Mary. In the Lives of the Brethren are several incidents told of how Our Lady showed to persons outside the Order that it was she herself who obtained from her Divine Son the Order itself.
This vision was told by an aged and holy Cistercian monk of the Abbey of Bonnevaux, in the diocese of Vienne, to Brother Humbert, who was afterwards Master of the Order.
He saw in his dreams, for several nights, Our Lady at the feet of Her Son in Heaven begging mercy for sinful mankind, which at that time had sunk deep into heresy and all kinds of vices. At length, on the third day, raising her up with great tenderness, the Son replied: 'I know, sweet Mother, that sinners are being lost for want of preachers, having none to break to them the bread of the holy Scriptures, or teach the truth, or open the books now sealed to them. Wherefore, yielding to thy entreaties, I will send them new messengers, an Order of Preachers, who shall call the people and lead them to everlasting joys; only then shall we bar the gate to all slothful, accursed, and empty-handed souls.'

h/t  Nuns from St. Jude's Monastery 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Spiritual Direction Catholic Style

There was an article in today's Boston Globe about spiritual direction becoming more common.  It seems that since the culture today is not church-going, that need that all humans have for God, is not fulfilled.  That need for love.  That need to be loved.  That need to make sense of life.  That draw towards something.  That something that is ingrained in our genes.  That ineffable feeling that searches for meaning, love, wisdom, God.  St. Catherine of Siena, in her Dialogue would remind us:
"The human heart is always drawn by love." Dialogue 26

People today don't think the answer is in church, I guess.  Why would 20 centuries of traditional answers be smarter than they are?

Another reason, I am glad I'm Catholic.  All you have to do is make an appointment with a priest, to get spiritual direction.  And priest do it for free.  We Catholics get some spiritual direction in Confession.  In confession it would be narrow focused, but all you would have to do is ask the Confessor for an appointment for more time,  to discuss your concerns.  It's that easy.  Call the rectory.  Make an appointment.

Tabernacle Thomas Aquinas Priory
As a Catholic I am surrounded by spiritual fulfillment.  That's what our sacraments are for.  The Eucharist feeds us spiritually.  The outward appearance of the sacraments: water, wine, bread, salt, oil, blessings, hit me in the eyes.  The prayers, chants, songs, liturgical music, hit my ears.  The readings, scripture, early church fathers, papal writings, hit my mind with beautiful language.  The smell of incense, oil, candles, hit my nose.  The taste of the Eucharist: bread and wine, hits my soul through my mouth.  The feel of my brothers and sisters' kiss of peace hits my heart, with this early sign of Christianity.  I even love the debates and arguments of our theologians.  The governance of my pastor, bishops, and popes.  I love the struggles of our saints and martyrs.  I love the poetry of our poets.  I love the architecture of the different expressions   of worship in our church buildings. I love everything about the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church embodies the presence of Christ.  Yes, God is everywhere.  But He's tangible in the Catholic Church.  His true presence lives there.  

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Superficial Discourse

In reading Paul Tighe's The Challenge for the Church in a digital culture, I realized how the vast amount of available information can actually confirm opinions.  You would think that the new social networks would make people closer.  It can, but there is a trend to gravitate towards people and sites that will agree with you.

In religious and political opinion sites (two areas where passion resides) people read sites that support their ideas.  They refuse to read alternate views.  Eventually, people become polarized.  If you try to express a moderate opinion, then both sides attack you.

And when arguments get heated, attacking the person who disagrees with you will result.  Of course religion and politics are passionate subjects.  There is good in every argument.  The best way to approach these topics is to be wary.

Archbishop Caput also cautions that sound bites, the viral capability, and questionable images, have the ability to be generated with such speed that by the time a response is formulated, the damage has been done.  Thinking isn't fostered.  Reacting is.

What do you think?  There is enough truth about the criticism of cyberspace to make everyone wary, but I think it's too new to get a handle on it.  Doesn't everything have some good and bad?  At least it is interesting to see what the future changes will be.  Approach cyberspace intelligently.  Think before you read and write.  And pray before you think.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

2012 National Day of Prayer

The National Day of Prayer is an annual day of observance held on the first Thursday of May, designated by the United States Congress, when people are asked "to turn to God in prayer and meditation". Each year, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day.                                                                  

Having a day designated for prayer is disputed by the Freedom from Religion people.  Just that fact alone, makes me want to promote National Day of Prayer.

So, where is everybody?

Why aren't all religious people out there promoting and praying?  Where are our preachers, church leaders, and prayer warriors.
Where is everybody?  What could possibly be their excuse?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Victim Souls

When I'm attending the beatification of Pere Marie Jean Joseph Lataste, OP,  I'll be staying at one of the retreat houses, Foyer de Charite, founded by the Victim Soul, Marthe Robin.  
     Victim Souls are rare but are definite examples of God's presence.  My friend Rose Ferron is one.  I never met Little Rose, personally, but I was introduced to her in a retreat.  Victim Souls suffer much more than most of us.  They agree to undertake their sufferings as expiation for the sins of mankind--just like Christ. 

I've changed my Mind

I did try the new template.  I couldn't work with it.  When I tried to embed the code for You Tube, the template didn't follow my instructions.  

Besides, I missed my sidebar.

So, it's back to this template.  

I missed you.  

A Priest's Day

Here is the book review I promised on Monday, for Death Comes for the Archbishop , by Willa Cather.  She really gets into the nitty-grit...