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Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Phantom Gourmet

On my way to Mass this morning, I found myself driving behind a little purple car.  The car had written all over it, The Phantom Gourmet.  After a while  following behind it, I began to wonder where it was going.

Then, I thought, "If he's going to Mass, he'll get the best meal he's ever had in his life."

From Thomas Aquinas' Pange Lingua Gloriosi Corporis Mysterium

The Word as Flesh makes true bread

into flesh by a word
and the wine becomes the Blood of Christ.
And if sense is deficient
to strengthen a sincere heart
Faith alone suffices.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

Once in awhile I surprise myself and write something worthwhile.  At least I consider it, worthwhile.  My blogging friends and I are sharing our posts over on the blog, This And That And The Other Thing.  You might like to see what we've posted. Click on over.

An explanation of who I am.
It's still my favorite place. 
My favorite cross is a meditation.
You just can't stop the Holy Spirit.
Prayer does work; he was beatified.
My spirituality.
I try to explain the Trinity.
A beautiful poem.
My pilgrimage for the Beatification of Blessed Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P. and my retreat.
A resolution that I've kept.
The only answer is that Jesus must be God.

As for this week, I posted:

Monday -- A joke.

Tuesday -- A reflection on my morning's lectio divina.

Wednesday -- Guest post.

Thursday -- Defining greed.

Friday -- Boy am I old!

Saturday -- Duped!


Jeremiah 20: 7-9  You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped...

This reading shows Jeremiah doing what he doesn't want to do.  He can't help himself.  He finds himself preaching because he's compelled to talk about the Lord.

I envy Jeremiah.  It's not the job of being a prophet, I envy.  It's the certainty that he's doing God's will.  I usually find myself doing some boring, distasteful task because I felt "called" to it.  I think it's Satan that has duped me.

If so, let Satan laugh at me.  My intention was to do God's will, and it's the intention that God considers.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Generational Differences

I'm getting ready to drive my niece to college.  We're not sure of the way, so I'm going to use the GPS App on my iPhone--WAZE.  So we get in the truck.  I don't usually drive hubby's truck and I have never had need of using the GPS, in it.

I look around for the cigarette lighter outlet. Outloud, I ask, "Where's the cigarette lighter?"

I'm looking on the dashboard.

She's looking on the floor for a bic or something like that.

When she sees me plug my phone in the cigarette lighter outlet, she says with the utmost surprise:

"OH, That's what those are for?"

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Definition of Greed

My "cloistered brothers" and I were talking about greed.  How do you tell whether or not you have an inordinate desire to have money or material things?  We were thinking a sure way to tell would be whether you cared too much.  We were thinking of someone who collects antiques, cars, diamonds, etc.  It could be anything.

If a tornado came and destroyed those things that were dear to you, and that devastated you, does that mean you were greedy?  Some objected.  Some felt that most people would be devastated--the average person would naturally be traumatized.  So that example was discarded.

Next was proposed the idea that people who have money and use it to build a library.  Now that's a good thing, right?  What if they put their name on it, i.e., The John Smith Library?  Does that prove that you have avarice?  Some felt that was a good example because if the donor wanted to give a library, he would have given it anonymously.

The group couldn't agree on a definition.  We came to the conclusion that greed was an interior disposition.  A poor person could be greedy, just as well as a rich person.  It's a matter of conscience and only God knows your heart.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Whisper in the Wind

Guest post by my "cloistered brother," Mick.

The Whisper In the Wind

Walked into the house of hallowed ground, a small place of peace in the walls of hell.  Where pain has its own story to tell...  The gentle voice of everlasting, quietly it sang to me.  In that place of darkness "Come Home" was whispered in the wind.  give to me your heavy heart and I will give to you a brand new start...  With fear, with shame, my spirit's crippled, my soul is lame.  It's hard to believe I can be whole again...  Speak to me my son.  I already know what you've done, step into the light, let the Father's healing light finish what you've just begun...  With thanks, with joy, like a child with a brand new toy, I sing and dance, laugh, and shout, be glad for the chance, to hear the Lord of the dance, Whisper in the wind...

* from MEK's Pencil in the Hole p. 5

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Five Paths of Repentance

My take on Saint John Chrysostom's homily on his Five Paths of Repentance.

All these paths lead to heaven:

(1)  Know that you have sinned.  If you aren't going to Confession because you can't think of any sins you have committed--that's your first sin!  You have dulled your conscience!  You are living in a world of excuses.  Find an adult examination of conscience for your state in life, and go through it slowly.  Here's a pretty thorough examen,

(2) Forgive.  Forgive yourself for whatever you keep berating yourself for.  Forgive your parents for their sins.  Forgive your friends for their slights.  Forgive your neighbors because they're clueless.  Forgive your enemies - they're ignorant.  Yes, forgive everyone; you want them to forgive you, don't you?  The world will look better if you do this.

(3)  Pray.  Get in the habit of conversing with God, all day.  Greet Him in the morning.  Thank Him at meal times--snacks, too.  Pray for people you encounter.  Pray in difficult situations.  Praise Him for the beauty you see.  End your day with an examination of conscience and thank Him, praise Him, and love Him.

(4)  Be generous.  Buy girl scout cookies, the Knights of Columbus raffles, the Right to Life roses, etc..  Take home your parish's Vocation Cross and pray.  Give of your own time, besides money.  Giving, adds to your own spiritual bank account.

(5)  Be humble.  There's always someone smarter than you, prettier, richer, luckier, funnier, etc..  Everything you have is only temporary.  The bigger you are, the harder you will fall.  God knows who you really are, who are you trying to impress?

"When you are spiritually strong, then you may approach the divine table with confidence.  Glorify Christ, the king of glory, and attain the eternal blessings through the grace, mercy and kindness of Jesus Christ, our Lord."  (Hom. De diabolo tentatore 2, 6: PG 49, 263-264)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Groceries Provided by Satan

Another Fr. Chris homily opener:  an elderly lady came out of her house onto her porch every day, twice a day, morning and evening, and praised the Lord.  "The Lord is good.  All the time.  Alleluia!"

This happened every day.  Even when an atheist moved in next door, the lady continued praising God.  "The Lord is good.  All the time.  Alleluia!"  The atheist complained saying he didn't want to hear it; he was an atheist.  The lady just continued.

One day the lady's social security check didn't come.  She ran out of food.  "Aha" thought the atheist, "Here's my chance to prove to her that there's no God."  So he ran out and bought her a generous supply of groceries.  The atheist put them on the elderly lady's porch and then he hid in the bushes.

The lady came out to praise God.  "The Lord is good.  All the time.  Look at all this food He has provided.  Thank you Lord.  Alleluia!"

The atheist jumped out of the bushes, "No I bought the food.  There is no God."

The lady didn't even blink.  She continued praising and thanking God.  "The Lord is good.  All the time.  He even makes Satan buy food for me.  Alleluia!"

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Snippets - A Catholic Carnival

Martha (Thank You, Jesus)  

Have I ever introduced myself?  Well, I will now.  I'm a grandmother of two, the mother of three adult children, and the wife of a long suffering husband, whom I think of as my "Martha."  By "Martha," I am referring to the parable of Martha and Mary.  (Luke 10:41-42)  Martha does all the work, which makes it easier for Mary to spend her time with Jesus.  Hubby used to cook supper while I taught religious education.  He baby sat while I went to Lay Dominican Chapter meetings.  All in all he puts up with a lot, and I thank God for him, every day.  As to why I blog, well since I belong to a family of preachers (Dominicans), blogging is how I preach.  My aim is to show how a simple grandmother gives witness.  Hopefully, others will be brought a little closer to God.

So what prompted this disclosure?  R'Ann from This And That And The Other Thing blog did. Every Sunday, a group of us bloggers link together and discuss something like "Who are you?"  (see first paragraph) and we tell about what we posted the past week.  If you're interested, click on over to This And That And The Other Thing blog, and read what my fellow bloggers have been up to.

Monday  --  Haiku

Tuesday  --  I met my friend Kevin, coming out of daily Mass, and he was wearing a tee shirt, that shouted exactly who he is.  I just had to memorialize it, in picture.

Wednesday  --  Book review of Polonaise by Piers Paul Read

Thursday  --  A history lesson.

Friday  --  Jean Joseph Lataste

Saturday  --  Karen Rinaldo

How did your week go?  Tell me all about it, 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Inner Vision = Grace


The Cape has been a second home to me for over forty years.  For almost forty years, I have been an admirer of the artist Karen Rinaldo.  Karen is known for her Cape Cod scenes, especially Falmouth.  This Friday, Falmouth's newspaper, The Enterprise, did a feature on Karen Rinaldo, which I read with great interest.  The writer, Theresa Pease did a good job in creating a picture (pun intended) of this local artist.  If you need to reference, it's The Enterprise, Friday, August 2014, Page One A and continued onto Page Three A.  The article ended with this paragraph,

"My mother was always deeply involved with what I was doing," the artist said, "and when she lost her sight I found that I could use only words to convey to her what I was working on.  But before she died she taught me about another whole vision that she called the inner vision.  She told me that when I had a problem, or wanted to recall or create something beautiful, I could shut my eyes and find a path to it.  Now, as an artist, I close my eyes and tap into that inner vision almost on a daily basis."

Ms. Rinaldo is talking about meditation. She is doing it without knowing the correct terminology.  Although inner vision is apt.  Whether one is talking about Buddhist or any Eastern meditation, or Christian contemplation, meditation, centering, lectio divina, etc., the result is a clear path to an answer.  Catholics call this grace.

It's the grace of God that leads us.  Anyone who spends time alone and centers himself, knows whereof I speak.  It's very beneficial and I don't know how people live without it.

I wish Karen Rinaldo would write a book of her meditations.  It would be great if she illustrated it, too.  She could even call it, Inner Visions.  I bet it would exemplify the grace of God.

Cordial Intimacy

In reading Pere Lataste words during a retreat to the women in Cadillac prison, in 1864, I am constantly struck by his words, "I shall be more than your me 'Father', and I shall call you 'my children.'... There will be established... the most cordial intimacy possible."

The good friar is talking about confession.  Imagine, having a Confessor like Pere Lataste.  Imagine the most cordial intimacy possible.  That is sitting with and before Jesus, in that confessional.  Bless me Father for I have sinned.

And I, so unworthy as a minister of God consecrated to the service of the altar, vowed for all my life to the absolute privation of all that you have misused, voluntarily bound by perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Yet I come to you, without waiting for you to call me. I hold out my hands to you and I call you my poor, my dear sisters! And that is not just a meaningless phrase; I am ready to do even more for you. If you have the will and desire, you have only to present yourself in the confessional. I shall be more than your brother. A relationship will be created which is the most wonderful and the most loving known to this world. You will call me “Father”, and I shall call you “my children”. There will be established between us the most frank, the most sincere, and the most cordial intimacy possible. I shall open my heart to you and you will open yours. These bonds, though only lasting a few days, will be so strong and so sacred that not even death can destroy them.  We shall find these again in heaven, you and I, if we get there…

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pilgrim Monument

Mass Moments reminded me that today was the day the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown,  MA was completed.  P-town is the place where the Pilgrims first landed, after crossing the Atlantic.  They were grateful but tired and grouchy.  Their captain wrote:  Hence

The day the ship dropped anchor off Provincetown, concern over "discontented and mutinous speeches" led the leaders to require the 41 free adult men on board to sign a document that later came to be known as the "Mayflower Compact." Although numerous nineteenth-century writers would claim that the Compact was "the germ of American republicanism," it was in fact intended to reinforce "due submission and obedience" rather than establish new democratic liberties.

While the shallop was being repaired, groups of men set out to explore the area on foot. On November 15th, a line of men armed with muskets and swords walked behind Captain Miles Standish into the "wilderness." Soon they saw five or six native people, who immediately fled. The Englishmen followed their tracks without encountering the Indians. They did find small hills and valleys, a pond, and a field that had been cultivated. They unearthed a store of corn buried in baskets and took as much as they "could carry away," intending, Bradford wrote, to pay the "savages" if they met up with them.

Time was running out if they were not going to remain in Provincetown. The fishing and whaling appeared to be good, there were cleared fields ready for planting, and the harbor was shallow but well protected. In short, Provincetown was "healthful, secure, and defensible," and surely late November was not the best time to explore further. But Provincetown had one critical drawback: a shortage of fresh water.

On December 6th, Susanna White gave birth on board theMayflower to her son Peregrine, the first English child born in Massachusetts. That same day, 18 men took the shallop and sailed west across the stormy bay. On December 8th, as they approached modern Plymouth, their mast split apart and the rudder broke. They had no choice but to row and use an oar to steer. They spent the night and the next day, which was Sunday, on Clark's Island. On Monday, they first set foot on the land that would become Plymouth.

They "found it a very good harbor. . . We marched also into the land, and found diverse cornfields, and little running brooks, a place very good for situation [settlement], so we returned to [the Mayflower] again with good news to the rest of our people, which did much comfort their hearts."

Almost five weeks after it had made landfall on Cape Cod, theMayflower sailed for Plymouth. Of the 102 passengers when the ship left England, one had died en route and four more succumbed while they were anchored in Provincetown harbor. Ninety-nine passengers were aboard when they arrived in Plymouth on Monday, December 18, 1620. It would be the early eighteenth century before anyone claimed the Pilgrims stepped ashore on Plymouth Rock.

Hence, Plymouth became more famous than P-town.  The Yankee ancestors of our early settlers wanted to memorialize their contribution to history.  They were gradually being nudged out of P-town by Portuguese immigrants.  So the Pilgrim Monument was conceived.  Eventually it was a reality.   

People may climb up the monument and take in the view.  The view is spectacular, but to see the steps that memorialize the various Massachusetts towns that contributed money is something I found interesting.  Even more interesting is the museum at the foot of the monument.  That's where I learned about the legend of St. Brendan celebrating Mass on the back of the whale.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Piers Paul Read

Polonaise is an excellent book by Piers Paul Read which mimics the Polish dance of the same name.  The Polonaise dance is the national dance of Poland.  Poland plays an important part in the novel.  The story starts before World War II in Poland and ends after the war.

Like the dance, the novel’s characters walk together, bow, and circle around.  The dancers have to adjust to a change in meter, where there’s a hop into a bow, with a couple of quick steps as the body straightens out.  Likewise the characters fortunes fall and rise.

The main character is Stefan Kornowski.  The reader will see his character develop into a student, a revolutionary, a writer, a husband, father and widower.  There are times the reader will sympathize with him, but he is so weak, he never becomes what we hope him to be.  He is a fallen man.

His sister Krystyna is another important character.  She seems to be stronger than Stefan.  She is capable, and does what needs to be done.  Sometimes what she does is morally wrong, but Krystyna knows right from wrong and accepts the consequences.

Early in the story, one summer while in their aristocratic estate’s summer house, Stefan tells Krystyna, that there is no God.  Stefan is a thinker and dreamer.  He has deduced from his teenage ruminations that belief in God is an ideal only necessary for peasants to believe in.  At first, Krystyna thinks Stefan is wrong, but life assails her quickly and her own young faith isn’t adequate to match what fate has in store for her.

The times are 1935-6.  Poland watches Germany and the rise of Hitler with incredulity.  Stefan and Krystyna are bankrupt, so their eyes are focused on their own problems.  Their father has gone mental and eventually dies.  Their lost aristocratic status isn’t felt as acutely as it could have, due to the fact that Stefan and Krystyna have become students of Marx and Lenin.  They eventually marry other communists and have children.  The story touches on the economics of socialism, fascism, and capitalism, with their class struggles and materialistic views.

Stefan has always dreamt of becoming a writer in Paris.  To get out of Poland, he leaves his wife to join the war against fascism, in Spain.  Stefan takes his sister Krystyna’s husband, Bruno, with him.  Bruno does go to Spain.  Stefan stays in Paris.  Both men eventually make it back home to Poland. 

Because the reader is reading the novel after the story’s timeline, he knows that Stefan’s wife, being Jewish, isn’t going to survive.  Neither will their children.  The author doesn’t build up sympathy for this angle, in the plot line.  Stefan doesn’t invest too much sentimental emotion on his family at all.  He is out of the country when the Nazis take over Poland.  The readers eventually learn that Stefan’s wife and children were killed, but their deaths are not part of the story.

 Polonaise is divided into three parts.   Part I goes to the beginning of the Nazis taking over Poland.  Part II deals with Spain, Paris, the USA, and the characters quickly adjusting to the quick political changes in Europe.  Lastly, Part III ties the main characters together.  The reader learns that Stefan’s family has perished.  Krystyna’s Bruno has died, but their son Teofil is fine.  In fact, Krystyna is living in Paris, and has remarried.  Her second husband, Alain de Pincey, has adopted Teofil.  Stefan also moves to Paris.  He is still trying to be a writer.

A new and important character enters the scene, Annabel Colte.  She is a rich young lady who has come to Parish to broaden her parochial education.  She boards with Krystyna.  She also meets Krystyna’s son, Teofil, and the two fall in love. 

Unfortunately, Annabel’s parents don’t want her to marry Teofil.  They try to discourage the marriage.  When it seems that the parents have reluctantly resigned themselves to the marriage, Stefan perceives a villainous plot to derail the marriage.  This is where learning how to dance the polonaise becomes useful.  Stefan, maintains the dance’s noble image.  He steps up and saves Annabel from ruin.

Not that Stefan is a noble character, by any means.  He never was.  The readers’ first encounters with him at the summer house view a slothful, cheerless, blasé teenager.  He freely admits to cowardice.  He never really loves his wife and children.  He seems too cynical to love anyone.  In fact, Stefan falls deeper and deeper into lechery.  He fantasizes committing sadistic, masochistic sex.  His writing is pornographic and dark.
The author Piers Paul Read, manages to convey sensuality throughout the book.  All his characters, except for Teofil, have sex on their minds.  Teofil believes chastity proves strength.  He only wants the best for Annabel and that would be his pure love.  Well, I guess Teofil does have sex on his mind, like all of us.  Teofil, however, has the moral strength to wait for the marital bed.

The novel concludes  with Stefan writing his masterpiece.  Annabel and Teofil figure into Stefan’s work.  But in writing the preamble, Stefan found himself philosophizing.  He had many unanswered questions, starting with that summer house declaration to Krystyna, that there was no God.  But if there were no God, why is everybody always pursuing happiness?  What was he always searching for?  Why was important to him that Teofil and Annabel live happily ever after? 

The novel ends with a polonaise circle, again asking the ultimate philosophical question the teenage Stefan pontificated to his sister, Krystyna: God is an ideal only necessary for peasants to believe in.  Really?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tee Shirts

Tee Shirts tell you a lot about a person.  I took this picture this morning of my friend, Kevin.  I thought it should say, "Retired, now I have time for everybody."

But Kevin's tee shirt reflects his personality.  We were talking about the bible sharing we both attend.  I asked Kevin why he doesn't go anymore.  He told me that it was because it turns into a gab session.  Well, that's why I like it.  It's casual.  I get to share what goes on in my life and ask for prayers, and so do others.  Kevin doesn't want to be bothered by prayer requests and he doesn't want to ask for prayers for himself and his dear ones.  He feels it's none of anybody's business.

His tee shirt fits his personality, does it not?  I'll have to note if all tee shirts do this?  

Monday, August 18, 2014


KU is an app on my phone.  You write a form of haiku and post it.  Other people on KU can read it, as you read theirs.  Today I wrote:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

What did I do on my summer vacation?  This is what my fellow bloggers and I are discussing on R'Ann blog, This And That And The Other Thing.  Click on this link and you will find us bloggers.

But back to what I did.  Actually, I didn't do much.  My daughter was having a difficult pregnancy and no one felt like being too far away.  Providentially, everything turned out awesome.  Monday, my daughter gave birth to a little girl.  She had a Caesarean that took the baby three weeks early.  Even so, the babe is 7 pounds and 13 ounces!

Outside of visiting the hospital, every day this week, I did post.  This is my week:

Monday -- Monseigneur Moran always gives a good homily.

Tuesday -- The baby is here!

Wednesday -- What do you do with cremains?

Thursday -- What Liberty Tree?

Friday -- I HATE Satan!

Saturday -- This can't be all there is.  Hope is necessary.

I hope you had a good week.  May this coming week be even better.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Proof of a God

You know what really convinces me that there really is a God.  Life.  The unfairness of life is what convinces me. Life sucks.  There's war, hunger, poverty, chaos, unfairness, and just the brokenness of mankind.  I know some people think that's proof that God doesn't exist, but it's really the opposite.  Think about it.

There has to be more.  There must be something, or someone,  who will even everything out.  Otherwise, what hope do we have?  If you take away that hope, what's the use of living?

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Howl of the Dragon

Revelation 11:19a; 12: 1-6a, 10ab always made me shudder.  Imagine going through childbirth and having an evil creature waiting to catch your newborn.  That's a nightmare for sure.

Since today is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, this very scripture was the reading.

She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth....Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth.

The image is really alive for me since my daughter gave birth four days ago.  I pray I don't have nightmares.

Her child was caught up to God and his throne.

There is a happy ending.  Deo Gratias!

But that dragon is still out there.  Don't forget that.  Think of all the hostilities all over the world.  That dragon has hold and wants to swallow us.  But remember, you know the end of the story.  He doesn't win.  The dragon has been defeated.  He still prowls around and makes horrible bellowing noises and creates disorder, but we must stay focused on God.

Now have salvation and power come/ and the Kingdom of our God/ and the authority of his Anointed One.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Lesson from the Liberty Tree

An email from MASS MOMENTS told me that today, August 14th, was the day the protest against the Stamp Act occurred.  The Stamp Act was the last unjust tax that the American colonists could stand.  This was the last straw.  Resentment against England had grown.  King George was across the pond and couldn't relate to what was happening in the colonies.  The Americans were being taxed to death.

When word spread about this tax on stamps, the resentment grew vocal.  People came out of the pubs and met at a certain spot, that came to be known as the Liberty Tree.  An effigy of the official who enacted this stamped act was hung on the tree.  The tree was an elm and became the place to go whenever the people wanted to rage against the King.  

(As an aside, since I'm a Catholic blogger, the practice of hanging an effigy arose from anti-Catholic sentiment.  In colonial Boston there was a surefire way to gather a crowd: hang an effigy, or dummy, of just about any authority figure. Effigies were closely associated with November 11th, known as Pope's Day, when Protestant laborers reenacted an oldEnglish custom — hanging effigies of the Pope, setting bonfires, and brawling in the streets. In a fiercely anti-Catholic city, indulgent officials looked the other way while the lower classes used the excuse of an Old-World holiday for a bit of hooliganism.)

Many towns copied the idea and had their own Liberty Trees. All too soon, the British soldiers cut down the tree, known as the Liberty Tree.  A plaque was erected in Boston, at the location of the original elm tree.  

A lesson from scripture is exemplified here.  2 Corinthians 4:18 For the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal.  I'm talking about the Liberty Tree.  This tree that sparked the birth of our country was cut down during the British occupation.  The plaque that marked its place, became a nonentity in the ignoble neighborhoods that grew up around it. The area was known as the Combat Zone.  It was a rough place where decent citizens wouldn't walk at night.  Prostitutes, drunks, muggers, and the homeless prowled around the ignored plaque.  No one would notice this marker.  It was covered with the grime of time and bird droppings.

Tourists in Boston often walk what's called The Freedom Trail.  Guess what.  The tour doesn't take you to this site.  The site that sparked the birth of our country.

What did scripture tell you?  The things of this world, are just passing.  Let the Liberty Tree be a lesson for you.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ashes to Ashes

Someone called in a question to Catholic Answers, on the radio.  The caller wanted to know why Catholics can't have their ashes scattered, after they died.  The response had to do with our bodies being temples of the Holy Spirit and as such should be treated with respect.

I wasn't satisfied with that answer.  I would say that the church desires our cremains to be buried in sacred ground.  The human body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and as such, should be treated with as much respect as possible.  To ensure that the cremains are respected, they should be placed in designated holy areas where people come to pray, places that have been consecrated, like a cemetery.

Scattering ashes in the ocean goes ???????????  Placing ashes in favorite places doesn't ensure respectful treatment.

I'd say Mother Church knows best.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Fishing for Money

The Gospel this morning was Matt 17: 22-27.  I was surprised to see a lady taking notes during the homily.  I know her.  I may not know her name, but she is a daily communicant.  My point being that she wasn't a "spy", taking notes.  She is a serious, religious person.

The Gospel is the story of the temple tax collectors asking Peter if Jesus paid.  Father explained that earlier in Jewish history, the Jews paid as much as one third of their income to the temple.  They were happy to do so.  The temple tax was a significant form of prayer.  However, when the Romans came, the temple tax wasn't all for the temple.  After the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem, the Romans actually still collected the temple tax and gave it to their pagan god, Jupiter.

The point of the story is not about giving money.  It's about God providing.  The fish had enough coins in its mouth to pay for two temple taxes.

Monseigneur Moran always gives a culturally, historical, homily.  No wonder people take notes.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

Here we are, again, at Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival, which is a place where bloggers link together.  The place is a blog entitled, This That And The Other Thing, hosted by R'Ann.  We also discuss a question, a week.

This week's question, is when should school start.  I think beyond the question.  I think the school year should be year round with a break of two months, every five months, run in three cycles.  For example: cycle one =  Jan. -- May with vacation break being June and July, cycle two = March -- July with a break being in August and September, cycle three =  October -- Feb. with a break in March and April.  Do you get the idea?  In this way, families may choose which vacation would suit their families' life style best.

My week:

Monday - guest post

Tuesday -- a humorous "prayer group tale"

Wednesday -- No Pee Zones

Thursday -- Getting excited about St. Mary's Catholic Women's Club

Friday -- A Wonderful Day! It was the Solemnity of Saint Dominic.  I prayed.  I read about St. Dominic.  I also went to St. Dominic's parish and witnessed the Temporary Promises of a Lay Dominican.

Saturday  --  I'm an incorrigible home body.

That was last week.  Tomorrow please pray for my daughter, who will be having a C-section, on Monday, August 11.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Why I Hate Vacations

Cancun, Mexico
Vacations and retreats are periods of stress for me.  I can't relax.  I don't de-stress; I stress more.  The thought of all I have to do to catch up from being away is what's stressing.  And since I'm on vacation or retreat, I have all the time in the world to think of more things to do, just makes matters worse.

Besides, everyone I love and want to be with, isn't with me.  All my favorite things aren't with me.  I don't have my pillow!  It's not my cooking, which leads to an intestinal adjustment, which isn't pleasant.

Also, the going there and coming home makes me sick.  I have motion sickness.  My ears suffer excruciating pain when I fly.

Ugh.  Leave me alone.  Let me stay home.  That's where I'm happiest.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Blessed Saint Dominic's Feast

Tonight I traveled to St. Dominic's Church in Swansea, Massachusetts.  The Mass celebrated the feast of Saint Dominic.  It was celebrated by a relative (very distant) of St. Dominic Guzman, Father Joseph Vivieros.  Father Vivieros is also a Lay Dominican.  After the homily, the congregation witnessed the temporary promises of Mr. Donald Furlong, O.P., from the St. Rose of Lima Chapter.  And after the Mass, we had veneration of a relic of Saint Dominic.

Like all good Dominican celebrations.  We had food.  A buffet supper was served.  How's that for a blessed event.

The Monkey's Taunt at Saint Dominic

I've known the legend of the monkey and St. Dominic.  I've even blogged about it here.  But I never heard or read what actually the monkey was saying.  Today, on the Catholic Exchange blog, I read a post by Sean Fitzpatrick which gives the monkey's taunt.  It's amusing.

Dost thou here write when all do sleep?
O vanity of vanity,
To drive men to insanity,
With teachings of inanity–
Far better would it be to sleep!

Dost thou here muse when all do sleep?
O, thou, dim-witted Dominic,
Thou dost neglect the poor and sick,
For thine own liking dost thou pick–
Far better would it be to sleep!

Dost thou here pray when all do sleep?
O scribbling scrabbling Pharisee,
Are thy prayers of such quality
They merit immortality?
Far better would it be to sleep!

I enjoy the part where Dominic tries to ignore the pest.  Isn't that everyone's first reaction?  

Imagine calling Dominic, dim-witted?  Or a Pharisee?  

Praying Like Saint Dominic

I turned the page in my prayer book this morning, and came upon a little slip of paper I had torn out of a magazine.  It was titled "Meditation of the Day/How to Think as God Does."  The little meditation was about Saint Dominic's Nine Ways of Prayer, written by Pope Benedict XVI.

Obviously, I tore this meditation out because I'm a Lay Dominican, and I put it between the pages dedicated to the Feast of Saint Dominic, August 8.  All Dominicans know the nine ways of prayer.  There's showing reverence by bowing, prostrating, genuflecting, kneeling, doing penance, adoration, standing in orans position and alleluia position, walking while praying, and lectio divina.

B XVI, however, points out that all Dominic's ways of prayer point to Jesus.  Naturally!  But also, all these physical movements lead into one kind of prayer.  That kind of prayer being deep contemplation.

So very true.  My prayer eventually leads to quiet meditation.  I talk to God and He talks to me.  Prayer concludes with my listening.

Happy Feast of Saint Dominic.  May all your prayers bring you closer to Jesus.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Planning Meeting

My salsa was a hit.  Actually, it was Fred's recipe.  I'll have to tell him that the Woman's Club loved his salsa.

I guess the planning part went OK.  I had everything all planned.  The meeting was just for me to tell the Board of Directors what I was doing.  Only it didn't work out that way.  I'm not quite doing what I wanted to.  Changes were made.

This reminded me of teaching.  My favorite part of teaching is lesson planning.  The worst part of teaching is teaching the kids.  Most of the time, the kids didn't stick to my plan.  And the younger the kids were, the more my well thought out plans had to change.


I don't like democracy.  I'm more of a benevolent dictator.  Now I have to carry out ideas, I don't believe in.  We're planning a wine tasting, a craft, a day of recollection, pot luck dinner and a movie night.  The fund raising elicited the most discussion.  We decided to have one bake sale, a fund raiser with a local store, a plant sale, and a Christmas ornament sale.

This year is going to be full of good ideas.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

No Pee Zone

I left the dog in the car while I went to the library.  Afterwards, to make up for my leaving him alone for ten minutes, I took him for a walk.  We casually sauntered along the sidewalk, until I saw this sign.  So we crossed the street.  There was a similar sign, forbidding dogs' peeing.

What's this world coming to, when an animal can perform a natural body function?

At first, I intended to write a scathing article about Dean College not allowing dogs to do what comes natural.  Who'd send their student to a college that wouldn't allow dogs to pee?  Hmpf!

But being smarter than the average bear, I did a little research before I wrote an article condemning Dean College's curbing canine behavioral practices.

After only five minutes of googling, I couldn't find any documentation supporting my indignation.  It seems, my ire was misplaced.  I had to admit that I was wrong.  Dog's pee is toxic to lawns--quite toxic in fact.

Poor Poochie.  He can't even pee wherever and whenever he wants.  He can't go inside, and now he can't go outside.  What's left?

There are dog parks and the woods.  Guess again.  More and more woods have signs saying "No Dogs Allowed."  Well, at least they're dog parks and my back yard.

Now I wondered what to do when Poochie and I went for our walks and he sniffed his way looking for a place to pee and poop.  I'd hate to choke him half to death, yanking the leash.  So I thought about the situation.  I meditated upon the problem.  I contemplated about the predicament.  I even brought it to prayer. And I discerned a solution.

We are going to walk too fast to sniff.  I'm even going to toss treats before us as we speed walk by the No Pee Zones.  Not only will this result in urine free walks, but also it'll be fun exercise (I hope.).  We both might shed a few pounds, too.

Now,  I'll have to ask the fire department how I go about putting a fire hydrant in my backyard.  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


The prayer group was cleaning out all their stuff out of the parish shed.  The pastor, Father Diotrophes told them he needed the room.  The group didn't realize they had accumulated so much.  There were song books, devotional books, prayer books, rosaries, and even things like paper plates and plastic spoons.  Most of the stuff was outdated and would be thrown away.

Father Diotrophes came to inspect their work.  Unfortunately, a wind came up and slammed the door.  Really slammed the door.  It was stuck, solid.  It wouldn't budge.

The pastor started hollering.  The prayer group didn't know what to do.  They couldn't open the door.

Their leader, all of a sudden had an idea. They were a prayer group; they would pray.

"Don't worry Father Diotrophes.  We're going to pray you out."

So they started their charismatic praying, which led to singing, which led to praying in tongues.

Father Diotrophes was yelling something.   ????????

The prayer group couldn't hear him because of their loud singing and praying.

The door still didn't open.

Finally, all that praying gave them an idea.  They'd burn the door down.

So they lit the door on fire.

Father Diotrophes wanted to know what they were doing.

"You're better off not knowing, Father."


Soon the wood was cackling and smoking.  Plenty of smoke.

Even though, Father Diotrophes was yelling, the prayer group didn't understand a word he was saying.

Soon the sound of fire engines could be heard.  The fire trucks came right up to the shed.  They put the fire out with the water, and when the firemen heard that the pastor was stuck inside, they smashed the door down with their axes.

Father Diotrophes came out of the shed, all red faced.  He glared at the prayer group.

"See Father, we told you not to worry.  Prayer works."

Monday, August 4, 2014


A guest post by my "cloistered brother," Mick.

Broken and empty,
Hollowed out like a tomb, barely any room, for life to bloom...
Yet, You call for this to be given,
You've crossed over from the land of the living...
Sin's power has been shriven, the pain you I could go on living...
So I kneel upon this sacred spot, I see the wounds,
I don't feel so hot, burning and searing like I'm the one, who's been shot...  
The bruises for losers,
Nails for those in jail,
The wood's for those who don't live as they should...
Holes of the sinful souls,
 Still I kneel upon this sacred spot,
A broken and empty heart is what I've got, still you call for this to be given,
Clean and white like the finest linen, this is the promise you've given, only asking that I, learn to stop, sinning...

*Pencil in the Hole, p.3.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

Rabbits frolicking

Hello, and welcome to 
Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. We are a group of Catholic bloggers who gather weekly to share our best posts with each other. To participate, go to your blog and create a post titled Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. In it, discuss and link to your posts for the week--whether they deal with theology, Catholic living or cute Catholic kids. I'm mostly a book blogger so my posts are generally book reviews, some Catholic, some not. Make sure that post links back to This And That And The Other Thing.  
R'Ann, the blogger for This And That And The Other Thing, asks what advice to give someone who wants to start a blog.  My advice would be to have a purpose.  Why do you want to blog?  If you are serious, then be faithful.  Go and have fun.

The purpose of my blog is to preach.  I aim to show that you don't have to be a minister to preach, just an ordinary person can share their faith.  Sometimes I share my day; sometimes my thoughts; sometimes something I've come across, e.i., a poem or a story.

A secondary purpose is that I like to write.  It used to be poetry, but lately, it's reflections.  I try to write everyday, and posting on my blog, keeps me on task.

So, what did I write about this week?  

Monday: -- A book review of Ken Dalton's Brother Can You Spare A Dime

Tuesday: -- My tone, again.

Wednesday: -- The Novena to Saint Dominic.

Thursday: -- Mr. McGregor was justified!

Friday: -- Look Ma.  I am delighted to see your selfies.  It makes me happy.

Saturday: -- Talk to the hand.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Praying for Others

I don't know whom to give credit to for this drawing.  If anyone objects please contact me, and I'll take it down.
Today I was attracted to the Eastern Dominican Student Brothers' blog, Dominicana.    Br. Timothy Danaher, O.P. writes about how all people are connected.  He relates a story about Mother Teresa reminding us about the five fingers:  

“Remember the five fingers.” What she meant by this is explained well by a Dominican priest of the Irish province. In a memoir he recounts how on many occasions she asked him to hold his hand, and touching each finger one-by-one, she said, “You did it to me.” This was the secret of her whole spirituality. It’s a simple and sustainable model lifted from the pages of Scripture, and lived out by perhaps the greatest saint of our times. Mother Teresa knew that in loving the most unlovable in our midst – the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger – we love Christ himself.

I don't think Mother Teresa would complicate the five finger prayer.  I really think something is lost in translation.  The way the "You did it to me." is explained, doesn't make sense.  If Mother wanted to get the "You did it to me," message across, she would have pointed to the center of her hand (where Jesus was nailed).

Each finger was not nailed to the cross.

I think Mother Teresa was simply thinking of the five finger prayer that is taught to children:
Hold your hand out.
1.  The finger closest to you is your thumb.  It is pointing to your heart.  Pray for those closest to your heart--parents and other loved ones.
2.  The next finger is the finger you point with.  Pray for those who point the way for you -- teachers, priests, etc.
3.  The next finger is your tallest finger.  Pray for your leaders -- the pope, the president, etc.
4.  The next finger is known as the weakest finger in your hand.  Pray for the weak -- the sick, dying, prisoners, etc.
5.  The little finger is last.  Don't forget to pray for yourself.

Doesn't this explanation of the five finger prayer sound more like Mother Teresa?  Compare it with:

Mother Teresa always told her sisters to remember the “Gospel on Five Fingers.” She would say the words, “You did it for Me,” as she held up each finger of her hand. These words come from the Judgment of the Nations (Matthew 25:31-46) where Jesus tells us that we will be judged by how we treated those who were thirsty or hungry or sick. When Mother Teresa began her work with the poor she cared for thousands of people who were truly thirsty, hungry, or sick, but later in her life as she became world famous and was invited to travel to the United States she began to teach that even people who have food and clothes and lots of material possessions can be poor because they are lonely or do not know God. She began to encourage all people to know who the poor were in their own corner of the world.    source

Either explanation of the "five finger prayer" has the same message, however.  We all belong to the Communion of Saints.  We need to support each other.  Pray.

Friday, August 1, 2014


Selfie with Timothy Radcliffe, O.P.
I was just reading the Dominican student brothers' blog, from the Western Province.  Brother Thomas Aquinas Pickett, O.P., wrote an article warning Christians about "selfies." Brother tells us to look at our intentions.  Why do we want to take this "selfie"?  Isn't it a sign of pride?  If so, then the selfie is a hindrance to one's spiritual life.  Are you constantly taking "selfies?"  Why?  To show off?

See what brother is getting at?

In fact, I feel sorry for Brother Pickett's mother.  Didn't he ever shout over to his mother, "Look Ma, no hands!"  The purpose of this "shout out" is the same as the "selfie."

"Look Ma, I'm in Italy, see me and the pope."
"Look Ma, I'm in the Holy Land, see me and the Wailing Wall."
"Look Ma, I'm with the President."

Of course, anything can be overdone, but to have one's very first reaction to a "selfie" be repulsion, is puzzling.  Pictures are visual aids to help inspire, remind, and communicate. That's what I get from "selfies."  When a family member, or a friend, sends me a "selfie", I'm delighted. It's a remembrance of a happy occasion.

I can just picture Saint Catherine of Siena meeting Saint Dominic, you don't think she'd take a "selfie?"  Just think how much more effective the Dialogue would be with pictures.

Nevermind worrying that "selfies" show that one's too prideful; how about repulsion of someone taking a "selfie" with you is a sign of one's exaggerated sense of self.  Do you think you're too important to be seen with this peasant?  Are you a felon and afraid to have your picture taken?  Are you embarrassed because you're having a bad hair day?

How about stop thinking of yourself, and think of pleasing your neighbor?  They want their picture taken with you.  It doesn't hurt.  It's such an easy thing to do.  In fact, it just might make someone's day.

Mercy Exemplified

My Dear Sisters Life of Bl. Jean-Joseph Lataste, OP Apostle to Prisoners by Jean-Marie Gueullette My rating: 5 of 5 stars "My ...