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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cops Aren't Your Enemies

Women prisoners, c 1864, Cadillac, France

This post is inspired by Kareem-Abdul-Jabbar's message on FaceBook.  Click here.  I agree with his saying that the newspapers and other media, that label the marches as anti-police, miss the point.  They're protesting the anti-black, anti-poor, anti-minority, anti-youth, anti-vulnerable, attitude.

Volunteering in a prison, I can personally affirm that fact.  Just look at the color of the majority of the prisoners.  Look at the predominant nationality.  Look at what economic strata the majority of prisoners come from.  It all can be simply reduced to the fact that the majority of prisoners are poor--the vast majority.  If you have the money to get a good lawyer, you can get away with murder.

Since most of the poor are profiled as a certain race/nationality/ minority, they are viewed and treated differently than the more affluent.  Those profiled as such, are presumed guilty before even given their chance in court.  That's what I deduce from Kareem-Abdul-Jabbar's comments.

The police aren't the enemy.  They're the victims of this culture, too.

Once everyone recognizes that fact, maybe we can focus on figuring out what to do about it.  How do you change minds?  More importantly, how do you change hearts?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Do You Want a Patron Saint for 2015?

Because we’re Catholics we believe in the Communion of Saints. That means we pray for our beloved dead, and they pray for us.  Since we’re still here in this world, and fighting evil, we’re called the Church Militant.  The saints in heaven are called the Church Triumphant.  The Church Suffering is those souls still in Purgatory, who haven’t made it to heaven, yet.

We pray for the souls in Purgatory.  The saints in heaven pray for us. That’s called the Communion of Saints.  We honor the Saints and try to imitate their example.  We ask the saints to intercede for us with God and continue our prayers.

A Patron Saint is one who has been chosen as a special intercessor with God.  The custom arose from the Biblical fact that a change of personal name indicated a change in the person, e.g., Abram to Abraham, Simon to Peter, Saul to Paul, and Linton to Moses.  We are named for patron saints in our baptism.  We may take a patron saint for Confirmation.  The Lay Dominicans may take a patron saint’s name to imitate and whose intercession to invoke. 

We should frequently pray to our patron saint for our needs.  Pay attention to your saints Feast Day because everyone likes to have a special day celebrated for them.  Today, we will choose a patron saint for this year. 

Let’s pray that our patron is someone we can identify with and be a powerful intercessor for us. If you would like a patron saint to assist you and accompany you throughout 2015, write to me and tell me a little about yourself:

your vocation (single, married, religious, priest)
your work
your health

On January first, I will pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and choose a patron for you.  Email me at      God bless.

Monday, December 29, 2014

I Think It's The Mouth

Faces intrigue me. And I don't mean Hollywood faces. Hollywood's idea of beauty is laughable.  Hollywood worships youth and bling.  Get a face lift and wear bling and you're beautiful.

What I think of beauty is the aura a person exudes.  It's the way they carry themselves.  And, strange as it may sound, and this is my personal gauge--how they hold their lips.

I know.  I know.  The eyes are the mirror to the soul.  I haven't found that to be true.  Unless eyes have tears, I can't tell whether they're happy or sad.  Nevermind, whether they're kind, or lying.

But the lips change shape according to the meaning they want to convey.  Lips tighten to small when the person feels mean or doesn't agree with you.  Lips open when laughing.  Lips turn down when the person is sad.  Lips are soft when relaxed.
Portrait obtained from Wikipoedia Creative Commons by
Robert Perez Palou

The next time you want to see if someone is mad at you, don't look at their eyes.  You won't see anything, but look at their lips.  If they're angry their lips will tighten.

If you looked at this picture of Mother Teresa and put your hand over the lower part of her face, you'd think her eyes would tell you she was angry.  They're small.  Now look at Mother's mouth.  She naturally has thin lips but here her lips are as soft as her lips can be.  The lips are open and turned up.

I think she's beautiful.  

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

Since it's Christmas time, I've a lot to post about.  I've linked this post as I usually do every Sunday, to This That And The Other Thing blog.  This blog is where some of my fellow bloggers and I gather together to share our week.  Why don't you go visit them, here, and enjoy their daring do's.  My daring do's may not be daring, but they're busy.  How were yours?

Monday -- I'm really pushing myself to do de Montfort's Consecration to Mary.

Tuesday -- I am a maggot on top of scum.
                 Confirmation that I am an ugly and loathsome maggot.
                 What's in store for the rest of the consecration.

Wednesday --  I love being a mother.

Thursday -- Reflection on Christmas day.

Friday -- I hate the Litany of Humility and I can do better.

Saturday -- Cartoon.

What's taking up a lot of my time, and making everything so crazy busy is that I'm doing St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion Consecration to Mary.  It's eating up a lot of my time.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Consecration to Uplift You

Picture from MEK's Pencil in the Hole

This morning's post about wasting your prayers, was just confirmed.  It really was.  I was whining about the Litany of Humility.  This litany asks the person praying to pray for things that will happen anyway.  Hence I said to not waste your time.  I developed that thought deeper, yet I applied it generally to St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion Consecration to Mary.  I am doing the entire five-week consecration.  I'm finding it tremendously outdated, especially because most people, nowadays, don't have the time.  I really feel badly about this.  Many would want to do this consecration but can't because of today's demands.  This results in making people feel bad about their spiritual lives.  Prayer should not depress people.  Prayer should lift people up to God.

What am I babbling about?

I just sat down to do Week 2: Day 4 -- Second Meditation and I read:

Dearest soul, do not let the labors, which you have taken up for Me, break you, nor let tribulations in any way cast you down; but let these words of Mine strengthen you in every situation.  I will repay you beyond all measure.  You will not labor long, nor will you suffer forever.  Wait a while and you shall see all your evils disappear.
     Do all that you have to do, well.  Toil faithfully in my vineyard.  I will see to your reward.  Write, read, sing, sigh, weep, be silent, pray, carry your cross manfuly--eternal life is worth all of these and even greater combats.

I take the saint's words as confirmation of my idea to write my own consecration.  It's going to include all Mary spoke of: readings, singing, prayers, etc.  I think I'll start small and not make it 365 days.  I'll aim for the 40 days of Lent.  What I write will not break anybody.  I hope the opposite happens.  What I write will build and lift people up towards God.  I want them to love Him, and see Him as I see Him.  Through Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Don't Waste Your Prayers.

Contemplate this picture by MEK, Pencil in the Hole.

I question the usefulness of the Litany of Humility.  The litany has you praying for something that will happen anyway?  It's life.  There's always somebody smarter, more handsome, richer, pleasanter, more personality, etc.  Capece?

Here are some of the petitions:

That others may be loved more than I.

That others may be esteemed more than I.

That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease.

That others may be chosen and I set aside.

That others may be praised and I go unnoticed.

That others may become holier than I.

Do you see what I'm saying?  What a waste of time!  This will happen whether you pray for it or not.  Sigh (Resigned sigh.)  I don't think St. Louis de Montfort and Thomas a Kempis are on my wavelength.

I'm thinking of writing my own book, Commuting Consecration to Mary.  It will be short, but to make up in brevity, it will last 365 days.  I'll pray about this.  I'll even put some editorial cartoons in, to contemplate.  Catchy songs you'll be singing all day. What about riddles?  Jokes?  A scavenger hunt!!!!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Holiday that Keeps Giving

When we brought my granddaughter to Jordan Furniture's Enchanted Village, she had a good time, just as we expected.  I thought of the Enchanted Village, the same as I thought of Disney World.  Things and places that are geared for children, are wasted on children.  Isn't school wasted on them?  The children just don't appreciate what goes into making an event, a place, etc..  They enjoy according to their own level of enjoyment.  Adults enjoy even more.  The adult level of understanding, frame of reference, etc., allow for more grateful appreciation.

Christmas is the exception.  There are so many levels to view Christmas, that there's something for everybody.  Today, even in my late age, the fact of the Incarnation inspires such a depth of awe, that I don't have the vocabulary, nor wherewithal to express what I feel.

When I saw my infant granddaughter's eyes round into circled amazement upon looking at her first Christmas experience, I felt her understanding confirm mine.  Should I say, my understanding confirms hers?

And Christmas isn't just one day.  Advent doesn't end.  Christmas is a journey itself.  Our level of reaching the Christ child takes a lifetime.  Ponder that thought.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Being a Mother

Today, December 24, I keep thinking of Mary's labor.  I think of mine and wonder if she felt like I did. Did she feel like a whale?  Was she dying to pop that baby out? Did she worry if her baby would be all right--probably not because of what Gabriel told her.  So she had no fear that the baby would die in birthing.

Was it a long labor?  Did she even have labor pains, since she was conceived free of Original Sin?

Was she exhausted afterward but elated?  Imagine her feelings, emotions, thoughts, after giving birth.  I know how I felt after each of my babies were born.  She like I gave thanks to God for allowing me to be a partner in His creation.  We certainly were His instruments.  It's awesome being a mother.

Picture from MEK's Pencil in the Hole.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Preparation

According to St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion Consecration to Mary, I have twelve days (at least) of ridding myself of the worldly things.  Then three weeks of filling up with Jesus, by the holy Virgin.

During these days of self-examination, I should use the prayer ejaculations:

Lord, that I may see.
May I know myself!      All three are to be employed with the Litany of the Holy Spirit.
Come, Holy Spirit
Plus ask the Blessed Virgin to grant grace to persevere, and end with Ave Maris Stella and the Litany of the Blessed Virgin.

And!  I have to make a confession sometime during this five-week period.  Preferably a general confession of my whole life, if possible.


Here's confirmation regarding this morning's meditation from today's Morning Prayer, Psalm 144: 3-4.

Lord, what is man that you care for him, 
mortal man, that you keep him in mind;
man, who is merely a breath,
whose life fades like a passing shadow?

In fact, today, St. Louis de Montfort tells the story of Our Lord telling one of His saints--"If you saw yourself as I saw you, then you would die of fright!"   And that's to one of His saints!

We're that ugly and loathsome.  :-(

From Temple to Rubble

Less than twenty-four hours ago, I was chafing under St. Louis de Montfort's exaltation to hate ourselves.  I summed up the first week of St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion Consecration to Mary as outdated and, well, ...ridiculous.  I wrote:

"The meditations are mostly from the Imitation of Christ.  That was written in Medieval times, and the language isn't updated.  The theme this week is to hate one's self.  I expect flagellation, on the next page.  It's too much. 

I was made in the image and likeness of God.  My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  I think it's disrespecting God when I disrespect myself.  I understand what de Montfort is saying.  We are nothing compared to God.  We owe Him everything.  But the medieval concept of denial and the language is so self-deprecating, that it's a turn off.  It's just too much!"

 Today is a new day.  Everything I read for this morning is pointing me towards being like de Montfort's ideal.  What really blows my mind, is that this morning, I'm receptive to it.  I don't rail against it.  I'm listening/reading.  I'm open to the saint's suggestions.

They (meaning me) can look upon themselves during...this week as snails, crawling things, toads, swine, serpents and unclean animals...(True Devotion, Section 228).

See, I told you this consecration is self-deprecating.  It's probably meant to be.  He's got to break you, bring you down, before he can mold you into what he wants you to be (what God wants us to be).

For some reason, I'm drawn to this book.  I yearn to read what's next.  And I'm finding more and more interesting concepts, upon which to meditate.  I may let you in on some.  Stay tuned.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Evaluation of Week One

I've completed the first week of St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion, Consecration to Mary.  My thoughts tend to be critical.  I'll still persist to the end.  I'm faithful to the point of stupidity.  In this case, I have nothing to lose.  Time?  Hey, I'm retired!

And that's my first criticism.  No way could I be doing this consecration in any other time of my life, except in my retirement.  Today's lifestyles are just too busy, regrettably so, but necessarily so, if one has to compete in the workplace.

The other criticism is it's outdated and confusing.  My first day was just scripture.  I skimmed over it because I know these verses, so well.  There was no commentary, whatsoever, accompanying them.  The language is not modern, so it may confuse the reader.  Before one starts, you are supposed to sing or read Veni Creator--all seven stanzas!  Each time!  There are five meditations each day, hence I'm supposed to sing Veni Creator's seven stanzas, five times, a day.

I used to like that song, Veni Creator.

The meditations are mostly from the Imitation of Christ.  That was written in Medieval times, and the language isn't updated.  The theme this week is to hate one's self.  I expect flagellation, on the next page.  It's too much.

I was made in the image and likeness of God.  My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  I think it's disrespecting God when I disrespect myself.  I understand what de Montfort is saying.  We are nothing compared to God.  We owe Him everything.  But the medieval concept of denial and the language is so self-deprecating, that it's a turn off.  It's just too much!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

Crazy!  Crazy.  It's crazy busy around here.  I don't think I'd feel as stressed if it weren't for the fact that I'm still recuperating.  I tire so easily.  Yesterday, I had to walk for a mile and I did OK but I slept all the way home.  We were visiting my son in Roslindale.  It's hard to find a parking spot, so we didn't move the car; we walked. However, I still managed to post every day.  And today is the day my fellow bloggers and I link together at the blog, This And That And The Other Thing.  We catch up with each other to see what happened during the week.  Here's what's happening in my world:

Monday -- Mary, Mary, Mary, Mary, Mary, Mary, ...

Tuesday -- I started St. Louis de Montfort's Total Consecration to Mary.

Wednesday -- You know, it's hard to live in the world, and not be in it.

Thursday -- Did you know that a god is judged by how he treats mankind?

Friday -- Book Review of An Amish Second Christmas.

Saturday -- My Christmas present to all my friends.

Hope everybody is having a blessed Advent.  Christmas is coming this week.  Enjoy.  Our Savior will come.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Cards

It's taking me longer than usual to write my Christmas cards, this year.  I pray for each person and/or family I send a card to.  I also pray for the people who sent me cards.  It's my Christmas gift for each one of them.

Friday, December 19, 2014

An Amish Second Christmas

An Amish Second Christmas is a collection of four novellas by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Ruth Reid, and Tricia Goyer.  All the stories deal with Amish life, and the day after Christmas, which is a fun, social activity day, in the Amish world.  This day after Christmas is known as Second Christmas, hence the title. 

Since I read this book in December, I enjoyed the holiday theme even more than usual.  The four stories are light and easy to read.  I am going to recommend An Amish Second Christmas for my own book club to read for next December.  The first novella, When Christmas Comes Again by Beth Wiseman was a thriller, but not a scary thriller.  The suspense was tempered by the safety of the Amish culture.  An Englischer appears to be following Katherine.  Katherine’s husband has recently died, so this stranger stalking her made for some unwanted stress.  That is until he made himself known by giving Katherine pictures of her late husband, and a story that just couldn’t have been made up, or could it?

Her Christmas Pen Pal by Ruth Reid was very original.  I thought the story line different.  Joy was a hard worker.  She was such a hard worker that she didn’t have time to socialize.  Her fiancé dumped her because she was too involved in her work.  Her friends were her relatives, but since the family was struggling financially, everyone was working and trying to cope with the stresses of finances, family, farm, and work.  Joy confided her thoughts and feelings to her cousin in a letter.  Unfortunately, the letter was missent and Noah unknowingly read it.  Although it didn’t take him long to figure out what had happened, he felt the need to write back to Joy and express what he thought about her situation.  Well, they eventually become pen pals, and friends, but you need to read it yourself to enjoy the twists and turns, and of course the happy ending. 

A Gift for Anne Marie by Kathleen Fuller was a pleasant surprise.  The mother was getting married, and this fact was a shock to her family, especially to Anne Marie.  The father of the family had recently died.  And Anne Marie’s mother was remarrying so soon!  It’s time for Anne Marie, herself, to be married.  And Anne Marie’s mother was remarrying!  A stranger was stepping into her father’s place.  This stranger was taking the family out of state to his farm.  It’s a good thing Anne Marie’s best friend, Nathaniel, was there to support her.  She couldn’t have understood and dealt with the shock of her mother remarrying were it not for him.  Nathaniel was more than a good friend and he manages to surprise me, as well as Anne Marie.

Don’t read The Christmas Aprons by Tricia Goyer on an empty stomach.  The plot of this novella turns around a super fantastic vanilla crumb pie.  This pie is so good, its recipe is a secret—until the end.  (I bet more than one reader has made this recipe.) The pie was entered in a fund raiser.  Only bachelors could bid on the pie.  The winner of the bid, also won a date with the baker.  That’s how Ester met Ammon.  What’s funny is that neither one was looking to be married.  Ester was only visiting to help out a relative.  The same with Ammon, but his mother unfortunately had a stroke during the visit.  He didn’t know what to do: stay and care for Mom, or go back and care for his farm.  He chose his mother, which I thought very commendable.  How a young man treats his mother speaks volumes about how he will treat his wife.  Ester thinks like me; that’s why this novella was my favorite—the pie was good, too.

Every single one of these novellas was an enjoyable read.  I think they’re perfect for the busy season because they’re easy and quick.  I learned about the Amish, too.  I had never heard of a Second Christmas, before this.  I also learned that the Amish are no different than I.  This only proves that we really are all made in the image of God.

This book was given to me in exchange for my honest opinion, by

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Sometimes, I wonder why God bothers with us.  People can be unfaithful, unthinking, dirty, miserable lowlife.  Really--why does God put up with us!  Why?

Reading a treatise Against Heresies by Saint Irenaeus, in this morning's office, I found one answer.  The saint says,

Just as a doctor is judged in his care for the sick, so God is revealed in his conduct with men.

Imagine that!  Following that line of thinking, St. Paul says,

God has made the whole world prisoner of unbelief that he may have mercy on all.

I'm gobsmacked!!  This is way beyond me.  Also, I kind of think it's passing judgement on God, which of course would be wrong--way out of line.  Who are we to even think of judging Him.  But wait a minute.  Don't people do this all the time?  When someone blames God for the bad that happens, aren't they judging God for what they perceive as His doing?

I think it's best just to trust God.  As mere humans, we can't see the whole picture, only the part that we play.  And I also think it's best not to judge anybody, let alone God.  Judge not, lest ye be judged.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Virtues of the World

St. Louis de Montfort, in his Consecration to Mary talks about avoiding the  lures of our culture.  He refers to the lure as virtues.  But those that are tempted are only using their eyes and feelings.  People appear to act as Christians, but they never think of God, or trouble themselves with discernment of His Will.  These are some of these worldly virtues:

  • what people say
  • convention
  • good cheer
  • witty deprecating jokes
These people can be unaware that without God, they'll never be satisfied.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Rush, Rush

Day One of my consecration to Mary isn't going so good.  Tomorrow will be worse because I'm babysitting all day.

Time is the culprit.  I didn't sleep well, so I woke up late and rushed.  I was in a hurry so I threw a smoothie together so I could drink it while I was running around.  I had no time to shower, maybe later.  I did sit down with my cup of coffee and looked at the first meditation for Day One.  It was Chapter Five in Matthew.  That's the beatitudes.  I thought I could skip that because I stare at the framed beatitudes every day; they're on my wall.

I had to pick up my granddaughter and bring her to nursery school.  Then I had to go to physical therapy.  I've been given exercises to do 10 times a day!  When do I have time to do that?

Afterwards, it was time to pick up my granddaughter and bring her to daycare.  Finally, I could go back home.  I prayed Morning Prayer.  I looked at the second meditation for the consecration.  It was a continuation of chapter five in Matthew.  That's all.  I know these verses.  There's no commentary.  Oh, I found my breakfast smoothie.  I figured that would be my lunch too because I don't have time to prepare anything.

I'm in a cribbage tournament, this afternoon.  No way I can let my partner down and not show up.  Besides, if I stayed home, do you think I'd be in a mood to pray?

Cribbage is now over.  I'm making supper and getting ready for a Christmas party, tonight.  I'll also look at the third meditation for Day One.  And now I have physical exercises to do.

One nice thing encouraged me today.  Anna Elissa, from Bent Bow Blog wrote a comment on yesterday's post encouraging me.  She said she was nudged into the Monfort's Consecration to Mary, too, and it changed her life because it changed her attitude.  Read her post here.

After reading Anna Elissa's comment, I felt guilty.  I can't just glance at the meditations and say "yeah, yeah, I know these verses."  I should meditate on them.

I tried.  I looked at the Tips on Prayer and Meditation and read a good method.  The word ALTAR helps.  A is for adoration of God. L is for love and that's reciprocal love for God.  T is for thanksgiving.  A is for ask. Lastly is R, for reparation.

I'd say "Well, tomorrow is another day, except tomorrow I will have even less time than today.  Lord help me.

Monday, December 15, 2014

I Can Take A Hint

I give up.  As my four-year-old granddaughter would say, for a couple of whiles, I have been hearing "Mary, Our Lady, the Blessed Mother."  Now I honor Mary as the Mother of Jesus.  But I don't love her as a mother, or sister--maybe a friend.  Well, I'm tired of being pushed into the same room as her; people mentioning her to me, and picking up something to read and it's about Mary.

First it was Father Gordon MacRae and his consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  I've been following his blog, These Stone Walls, for years.  I really didn't pay much attention to his posts about his consecration.

Then it was Donna in prayer group who spoke about visiting Medjugorje.

Then Father Francis asked me if I knew a lady by the name of Janine who lives in my town and has visions of Mary.  "What?"    "No I don't."  But still.  Mary, Mary, ...again and again.

The other day I got a Christmas letter from Father MacRae.  Again with his consecration to Mary! OK.  I think I'm being nudged in that direction.  And I'm pretty sure I have a book on the total Consecration to Mary, somewhere.

So I dig out my book, St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion Consecration to Mary.  It's no pamphlet!  It's bigger than some bibles!  It's a whopping 420 pages.  And I'm supposed to follow it for 5 weeks! 

OK.  I'm being led to do the consecration. I'll try it.  I promise I'll try it and I'll blog about my progress here on my blog.  I'm praying it will make a difference in my life because Mary brings you to Jesus.

Prepare the way.  Look out Jesus, I'm looking to hook up with You.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

What a blast I'm having this week!  Omega is here, visiting.  We're having a grand time.  This week's posts reflect the thinks we've done and thought and talked about.  I'm going to link up with my fellow bloggers on This That And The Other Thing blog for more can read what I posted.  Click here to read more.

Monday:     Short story.

Tuesday:  Book review of a classic.

Wednesday:  Mary's story.

Thursday:  I still haven't found it.

Friday:   Dominican Sisters of Bethany fun.

Saturday:  Profession Day in my chapter.

How's your Advent going?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Litany of Mercy

My Lay Dominican Chapter held its Promise Day, today. Of course, we had Mass.  When it came time for the Prayer of the Faithful, my "cloistered brothers" prayed a Litany of Mercy.  I never heard this before and thought it was beautiful.  It was created for the beatification Mass for Blessed Jean Joseph Lataste, O.P.

Leader: Gracious and loving God, be present with your mercy in the house of Bethany, the house where everyone is welcome, an open house without bars.

With your love          ALL: be present here

Through your forgiveness          ALL: be present here

In your reconciliation            ALL: be present here

With your light            ALL: be present here

In your sympathy            ALL: be present here

With your fidelity            ALL: be present here

In human forbearance          ALL: be present here

That we may meet everyone with respect         ALL: help us good God

That we may accept everyone in hospitality         ALL: help us good God

That we may accept everyone with acceptance          ALL: help us good God

That we may not disturb the peace of others          ALL: help us good God

That we may meet everyone with discretion         ALL: help us good God

That we may grant the necessary silence to everyone         ALL: help us good God

That we may admit a thought to everyone in our prayer         ALL: help us good God

So that we may be light for the hopeless     ALL: open us up Oh Lord

That we may be light for the prisoners         ALL: open us up Oh Lord

That we may be light for the seeker          ALL: open us up Oh Lord

That we may be light for those in doubt          ALL: open us up Oh Lord

That we may be light for those in fear           ALL: open us up Oh Lord 

That we may be light for the distressed          ALLopen us up Oh Lord     

That we may be light for the homeless           ALL: open us up Oh Lord

Emotional security          ALL: Grant us, God

Fellowship          ALL: Grant us, God

Joy            ALL: Grant us, God

Diversity          ALL: Grant us, God

Togethernesss          ALL: Grant us, God

Community           ALL: Grant us, God

Creativity          ALL: Grant us, God

For your love          ALL: We thank you Lord

For our charism          ALL: We thank you Lord

For Bethany           ALL:  We thank you Lord

Friday, December 12, 2014

Games for the Temporary Professed

Sister Barbara asked for some English sentences, for a game.  Tomorrow is a celebration for professions.  Two novices will be making their temporary profession.  Sister plans to give the novices some sentences to translate.  The languages will be English, French and German.  I'm doing the English.  I'm going to sneak in some Latin, too.    What do you think?

The silence of a stupid man, looks like wisdom.

Speech is given to many, intelligence to few.

Nothing moves faster than gossip.

Don't whistle and drink at the same time.

An ugly vase doesn't break.

Community is being together--even when apart.

Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness.

In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.

The harder you work, the luckier you get.

People forget how fast you did a job, but they remember how well you did it.


Fortunam citius reperias quam retineas.

Summum ius summa iniuria.

Nos in vitium credula turba sumus.

Falsum etiam est verum quod constituit superior.

Virtuti melius fortunae creditur.

Can you translate these?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Calling All Prayer Warriors

Help! I've lost my niece's passport and she is going to need it next week.  Pray.  Please.

Tony, Tony,
Please come down.                            
A passport's lost
And must be found.

Our Lady,
Undoer of knots,
Please untie the
mystery of where
I put that

It goes without repeating, that I ask all through Christ,
Our Lord.  Amen

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

St. George and the Chickens

My friend, Mary, told me an interesting story, today.  She was born in Kerala, India.  She was baptized in St. George's church.  St. George is honored in Kerala, and especially in this church.  They have festivals to celebrate St. George's slaying of the dragon.  In Kerala, since there are a lot of snakes, the snake is symbolized by the dragon.  They see St. George protecting the people against the snakes.  On the day of the festival, people bring their chickens to the church.  The chickens are auctioned off and the money goes to the church.

One year, Mary said she wasn't going to bother.  She didn't bring her chicks to the festival.  That night a snake came in and ate every single one of her chicks.

You better believe that she brought her chicks every year thereafter.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Kristin Lavransdatter

Kristin Lavransdatter III: The Cross
Sigrid Undset

Tiina Nunnally
Faith Flaherty
Kristin Lavransdatter is a trilogy of historical novels written by Sigrid Undset. This edition is a translation by Tiina Nunnally, which I found very understandable.  Notes are included for further explanation, in the back of the novel. 

The Cross is about the life of a Norwegian woman living in the fourteenth century.  The culture was completely foreign to me.  I found the customs fascinating. 

I was particularly interested in the fact that there seemed to be no capital punishment.  Two men were killed and the perpetrators weren’t arrested, thrown in prison and subjected to inhumane deaths.  Instead, they had to make restitution.  The details weren’t given, just that they had to give property and money to the victim’s family.  The perpetrators were worried that banishment may sometimes be required, as part of restitution.

Another cultural and historical fact that surprised me was that priests were married.  The priests’ wives, and children, and even their bastard children, were casually referred to as frequently as other villagers’ families.  It was as common as the hay in the fields.

I was also impressed by the people’s devout allegiance to their church.  They unquestionably believed their religion.  They would complain about this priest being lazy or stupid, but they had no doubt about the priest’s charisms when it came to celebrating the Mass, or other sacraments.  They prayed all day at prescribed times and used prayerful ejaculations.  They breathed faith.

The Norwegian medieval theology was curious.  Most people couldn’t read.  Only a couple of Kristen’s seven boys were interested in learning.  Otherwise, it wasn’t really necessary.  So the people couldn’t do research in St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, but they knew their faith and its practices.  Their prayer life, piety, work, and family life were all interwoven together.  Even when a group of ignorant men wanted to offer the human sacrifice of a child to satisfy an angry god, the people knew better.  This was a time of sickness.  The black plagued devastated the area, and people were desperate. 

The novel itself started with too many characters.  I had to write them down to keep them straight.  I wrote about two pages worth before I became too interested in the story to bother to stop and write down who was who.  From then on, Kristen and her family’s life took hold of me.  My life stopped and Kristen’s ruled.

Needless to say, I enjoyed the novel.  Kristen’s life was hard, yet so identifiable that one can easily relate.  Sigrid Undset tells a spell binding story with memorable characters.  I am still thinking about the book, even though I finished it weeks ago.  It definitely is a classic.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Mensch on the Bench partners with the Elf on the Shelf

Today, the Elf woke up to being squashed between two big books on the bookshelf.  Every morning Elf wakes up in a different location.  It’s a hard life, but an important one.  Every Advent, Elf keeps an eye on the children, until Christmas.  It is Elf’s job to report to Santa Claus how the children are behaving.  And with this family of eight, oh wait, baby Dominic is a new addition this year, this family of nine children, Elf is kept very busy.

Yikes!  Hannah is shoving a chocolate into the baby’s mouth.  Whew.  Abraham to the rescue, he’s the oldest and the most responsible of the children.

Last night, the children set up the crèche.  And Abraham gave me the baby Jesus to hide, until Christmas.  Jesus wasn’t born until Christmas, so he’s not put in the crib, until then.
Mary and Catherine are setting up the menorah. Tonight, Dad will light the first candle, commemorating the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem, at the time of the Maccabean Revolt.

It is interesting to observe this family celebrate both Christmas and Hanukah.  Dad is Jewish and Mom is Catholic.  Both religious traditions are observed in this family.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Oh NO!  Simon is making Judith and Aaron cry.  He’s a bit of a bully, but when Patrick comes to help Judith and Aaron, Simon back off.  Now, they all run off to supper.  Whatever happened, it’s over and forgotten.

The supper consists of potato latkes, which is a family favorite.  I also saw Mom working on a Buche de Noel, so I know what’s for dessert.  I just love this time of year.  It’s the first night of Hanukkah, so Dad will light the first candle.  Each child usually gets a little present for each day, but this year, I don’t have a clue what it is, and no one’s more observant than I.

Mmmm.  There is one present under the tree.  It could just possibly be one family present, like the year the first Hanukah gift was a toboggan for the family.  But this little-wrapped package is so small.  Maybe it’s a new dreidel?  But there’s nothing wrong with the old one.  Everyone loves playing with it.  I can’t wait for sundown and the first candle is lit.  The children are all excited.

Now the beautiful blessing is being prayed.  Dad lights the shamash and uses it to light the first candle.    I love it.  The children look so angelic and happy.  Did I tell you I love this stuff?

Ah!  It is that little present under the Christmas tree.  It’s … it’s what?  A funny teddy bear?  He’s wearing a prayer shawl, a beard, a soft black fedora, and a big, big smile.  He’s a mensch!

The children love him.  Dad explains that the Mensch is joining with me.  We both will be a team.  Now, I won’t be overworked and stressed.  I have a Mensch and he’s even winking at me. 

I don’t know what the kids think, but you know what I think?  I think Santa has given me an early Christmas present.  He’s given me a helper.  Together, Mensch and I have this family covered.                                                                                               Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah!

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

Yes, I know today's not Sunday.  I had company all weekend and I've been running around like a headless chicken, so I didn't have time to link up on the proper day, with my fellow bloggers who join together at R'Ann's, This And That And The Other Thing Blog.  Here's how I spend my week:

Monday -- You MUST talk to God.  That's called prayer.  Then listen.  You will soon be conversing and that's how you become friends. 

Tuesday --  Book review on a book by one of my "go to" authors, Cristelle Camby.

Wednesday -- Christmas Eve tradition from my mother's side of the family.

Thursday --  I wish I would win one of these raffles.

Friday -- One of my favorite religious nuts.

Saturday -- At least someone in the family appreciates my efforts.

I have company next weekend, too.  Hope to connect with you next Sunday.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Cat Nap

It took my thirty-seven years to complete a Christmas tree skirt.  I started it when my oldest was an infant but when she started crawling around and getting into things, I put my knitting away.  I know that when mothers have babies, is when they knit, but that's not me.  I focused on doing baby things.

Anyway, once I retired, I took up knitting again and I finished what I started thirty-seven years ago.  I'm proud to have finished, but no one seems impressed, except the cat.  She loves it.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Henry Suso's Good Christian Men Rejoice

Since I didn't sleep well, last night, I had the TV on.  I was surprised to see that my fellow Dominican, Henry Suso wrote the Christmas hymn, Good Christian Men Rejoice.  I had never heard that story before. Naturally, I googled Good Christian Men Rejoice.  I eventually did find some reference of him, but it wasn't easy.  Everything said the hymn came from Medieval times.  The hymn originated with the Rhineland mystics.  Both these references fit Henry Suso.  Only Wikipedia names Heinrich Seuse circa 1328.

 What I know of Suso, obviously, isn't much.   I consider him a religious nut.  One incident he did was tattoo himself with his pen point.  He wrote Jesus over his heart.  Additionally he gave himself some extreme penances, which finally did him in health wise.  Also, he affected the people he lived with by his crazy ideas.  He didn't bathe for 25 years!  He died in his thirties, so consider it his entire adulthood.  I guess he never heard the expression,"Cleanliness is next to Godliness."  Or, maybe it's because of Suso, the axiom originated.  That's why, I consider this image of Suso dancing with the angels, the opposite of what it's suppose to be portraying.  See Suso, in a mystical trance, envisioned this scene of angels dancing with joy.  Hence the inspiration for the hymn, Good Christian Men Rejoice.  However, that not what I see.  I see people running away from him, waving their hands,"Stay away. Stay away.  You stink!"

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Enter to Win

The United States Council of Catholic Bishops is having a raffle to promote the book, Catholic Households Blessings and Prayers.  It is perfect for families with young children, newlyweds, and grandparents like myself, who are active with their grandchildren.

If I can get you to enter (What have you got to lose?), I get another entry.  Just enter from  and I'll get a bonus entry.

  • Learn essential prayers that Catholics need to know by memory
  • Bless before games of sport
  • Bless on the road
  • Practice the simple form of the Liturgy of the Hours
  • Celebrate the feasts and seasons of the Church year in ritual and prayer
  • Bless the advent wreath, Christmas crèche, and Easter foods
  • Lead grace before and after meals
  • Pray for family members
  • Bless the home before a move and in times of trouble
  And I'd add to bless yourself every time you pass a Catholic Church, to recognize the presence of Jesus in the Tabernacle.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Shared by Creative Commons

Since I'm half Lithuanian, I try to carry on some of the traditions my mother had.  One of them was sharing the Christmas wafer, on Christmas Eve.  I purchase it in a Polish deli.  There it is called oplatek.  It's made up of the same ingredients as a communion wafer.  Of course, it's unconsecrated.  Think of it as a traditional sharing of goodwill.

The Christmas wafer will have a Christ related scene stamped on it, e.i., creche, holy angels, Mary with Jesus.  It will sit in the center of the table and will be the first thing people touch.  The father, or in my case me, (Hubby thinks I'm nuts.) will say a blessing before we eat and then I'll break off a piece of the wafer and pass it around for everyone to break off a piece and eat.

I like to think of it as wishing everyone health and good cheer.  Hubby says he'd rather clink wine glasses, but it's the same idea.  In my family, we do both--pass the wafer and toast.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Neve and Egan to the Rescue

Danse Macabre, Cristelle Camby’s latest mystery is the third in the Neve & Egan cases.  The other two are Russian Dolls and Ruby Heart.  Like the others, Danse Macabre is a good whodunit, solved by the unlikely, but successfully adept,  private investigators, Alexandra Neve and Ashford Egan. One is a young lady, and the other is a blind man.  

The novel begins with a prologue to explain how Alexandra Neve and Ashford Egan came to be private investigators.  Just the fact that Egan is blind, will want the reader to read on to see how this unlikely pair can function at all, never mind be successful.  That’s what intrigues me, in this mystery and in the entire series.  How can this team of handicapped investigators solve these crimes?  That’s what the reader wants to know.

Danse Macabre tells the story of a serial killer.  At first it’s a pianist, then a ballerina, and then a singer.  The story itself begins with a mother looking for her missing daughter.  The police think the 24-year-old ballerina has simply taken off, especially since she took money and clothes.  But this is uncharacteristic of her. 

Then, a singer was found dead.  The victim’s body was arranged in a grotesque position.  Plus her eyes were stitched open. The tension and suspense mount, as the reader realizes that the missing ballerina may meet the same fate.

There are enough plot twists to surprise you and keep you turning the pages.  Another missing person is reported.  When more young artists are missing, the public is starting to think,“serial killer.” Scarier too—he’s committing strange ritualistic torture on the young ladies.

The characters, Neve and Egan are drawn well.  Crombley drew the killer so well, you’re terrified.  The author also does a fine job of building suspense.  I think young adults, as well as adult readers who love suspenseful thrillers, will be the target audience.  Everyone who loves detective series will enjoy the Neve and Egan cases, especially Danse Macabre

 This was an honest review, which I agreed to write in exchange for the free book.

Prices/Formats: $2.99 ebook, $11.99 paperback
Genre: New Adult, Detective Mystery
October 2014

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Danse Macabre Summary
Private investigators Alexandra Neve and Ashford Egan are hired to succeed where the police have failed, to safely return home a missing ballerina. With no lead to pursue and no idea who could be behind the young woman’s kidnapping, they soon find themselves at a loss as to what to do.

To make matters worse, the heart of England seems to be caught in the middle of a little Ice Age. With snow endlessly falling and Tube lines either too cramped up to use or out of service, it is a pain to do any legwork in the huge metropolis.

Oh, and because trouble never comes alone, there may also be a serial killer on the loose in the streets of East London...

Cristelle Comby's Bio: 

Cristelle Comby was born and raised in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, in Greater Geneva, where she still resides.

Thanks to her insatiable thirst for American and British action films and television dramas, her English is fluent.

She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting.

Danse Macabre is her third new-adult novel, and she’s hard at work on the next titles in the Neve & Egan series.
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