Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Best Moments of 2016


January   A Snow Altar    Olivier Messiaen  Forgive


Nothing memorable.

March  Re: my husband  Discussion with Fr. Mullady

April   One of my fav poems


Nothing memorable

June  My  first story in the Boston Globe

July   Pokemon craze

August Ask someone who is wearing a rosary as a necklace if they pray it?

Catholic Churches are unfriendly --  misperception

October    A Helpful Admonishment

November   A step towards my dream of a cyber chapter.

December   My new patron saint for 2017 was God given.

p://   My favorite Christmas Carol

Friday, December 30, 2016

New Year's Plenary Indulgences

Holy Mother Church grants a Plenary Indulgence to all the faithful who recite the Te Deum "in public" on Dec. 31, in thanksgiving for the year ending.
 On Jan. 1, a plenary indulgence is granted to those who devoutly pray the "Veni Creator Spiritus."
The usual conditions apply: 
-- prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff (on the day of the indulgence)
-- Holy Communion (one for each indulgence, within ~20 days, before or after the indulgenced act)
-- Confession (one Sacramental Confession is sufficient for multiple indulgenced acts, within ~20 days, before or after.
-- a total detachment from all sin, even venial sin.
An indulgence can be gained for oneself, or for a deceased person (but not for the living). One can gain one plenary indulgence per day (in Canon law, a day lasts from midnight to midnight).

Remember How He Came The First Time

My pastor thinks our church should be the nicest church in town.  I wonder.

Look at these church renovations from the Christian Review.  Again, I wonder.

What I wonder about is whether Jesus would come a second time, to the nicest church in town.  Well, He does already.  Being Catholic I believe He is in the Eucharist.  So that's His second coming.  But I'm referring to the popular concept of the Second Coming in Revelation.

Think of the environment that He chose to come to the first time--a very humble stable for animals.
Jesus has an affinity for the most humble.  He chooses the humble to shame the proud.

You know where I picture him coming.  The interdenominational chapel in MCI Norfolk is exactly where He would be most comfortable--welcome to!

A Church Full of Sinners

Aleteia has an article which reminded me of an incidence with the mother of a friend.  The article is about people criticizing Catholics as "bad" people:

Renaissance cardinals who have mistresses
Catholic mobsters
Catholics are drunkards
Catholic girls are "loose"
Catholic boys are petty criminals

Yet, these "bad" Catholics wear large crucifixes around their necks and have statues of Mary on their front lawn.

The author, David Mills, converted to Catholicism essentially because of people with "logs in their eyes."  (Matt 7: 5)  His former religion had its share of "bad" people, also, but they didn't acknowledge it.

Anyway, I remember my own Protestant friend had a mother who was very anti-Catholic.  We were discussing this very fact.  People go to church to straightened out their lives.  Don't sick people go to doctors to get well?  Well, spiritually sick people go to church to get well.

However, there's a joke that builds on this idea:

I don't go to church.   
It's full of sinners!

She didn't get it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

New Saint Patron for 2017

Due to the generosity of my oldest child and her husband, hubby and I received a trip to Ireland for a Christmas present.  Needless to say, we are thrilled.  Hubby was so touched, he cried.  Naturally, our thoughts are filled with plans of what to see and where to go.  But meanwhile, life goes on.

Blogging continues.  Last night I came across a site that I usually frequent, this time of year.  In one of the posts, the tradition of picking a saint for a patron, for the new year, was posted.  I forgot about doing that.  But I did take advantage of that suggestion.  Guess who I got.

St. Brigid of Ireland.


St. Brigid is one of Ireland's patron saints.  Mine too, now.  She is the patron saint of

babies; blacksmiths; boatmen; brewers; cattle; chicken farmers; children whose parents are not married; children with abusive fathers; children born into abusive unions; Clan Douglas; dairymaids; dairy workers; fugitives; infants; Ireland; Leinster, mariners; midwives; milk maids; nuns; poets; poor; poultry farmers; poultry raisers; printing presses; sailors; scholars; travellers; watermen

That must cover everybody and everything.  Busy lady!  I like her cross.  The story goes that Brigid sat beside a sick man who was raving in the throes of a fever. Of course, she prayed.  As he got better, she made a cross for him by scooping up the straw from the floor.  And that's why the cross is so primitive looking.  (I know.  It looks like a swastika.  I guess that's the best she could do with the time and material she had on hand.)  

Anyway, go to the saint's name generator and get a patron for the new year.  It's always nice to have a new friend.

As you can see, Brigid is a patron of those who need to feel they have a home, someone to come to, a hearth, to feel safe near, and a protectress to love.  This prayer applies to all who need such a patroness.

Hearth Keeper Prayer

Brigid of the Mantle, encompass us,
Lady of the Lambs, protect us,
Keeper of the Hearth, kindle us.
Beneath your mantle, gather us,
And restore us to memory.
Mothers of our mother, Foremothers strong.
Guide our hands in yours,
Remind us how to kindle the hearth.
To keep it bright, to preserve the flame.
Your hands upon ours, Our hands within yours,
To kindle the light, Both day and night.
The Mantle of Brigid about us,
The Memory of Brigid within us,
The Protection of Brigid keeping us
From harm, from ignorance, from heartlessness.
This day and night,
From dawn till dark, From dark till dawn.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

John's Nativity Story

John's nativity story?  What one?  He didn't write one.  Strange isn't it, since he spent so much time with Mary?

But look at today's Gospel reading: John 20: 1a, 2-8.  Compare it to Luke's nativity story: 2: 1-2.                                

Luke                                                                                   John

Annoucement  --   Jesus born                                           Jesus --  Risen
Herald  --  angels                                                               Mary Magdalene
What do they seek  --  Jesus                                                Jesus
What do they see --  manger                                                 empty tomb
Clothing  --  white swaddling cloths                                     white shroud

Like all believers, death is a birth into eternal life.  That white baptismal robe that was put upon us will become the white pall put over our casket.  Our birth into eternal life will be forever.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Not Enough Information

Riding on the bus with my friend, Barbara, I criticized her for shopping at Walmart.  I don't because of their business practices.  Barbara shut me up with "Well, they give employment to those who need a job."

I was reminded of this incident when I read, "Quick Note on Living Wages and Social Justice: Profiteering."  The author, Jennifer Fitz refers to another article, "Outside the Asylum" by Theodore Seeber. This article has an interesting subtitle, "why I am against the Jesuits."

My take is that Seeber judges unscrupulous Catholic employers who take advantage of their employees as unworthy to receive communion.  Jennifer Fitz explains Seeber:

The one concept I thought worth highlighting from Seeber’s comments is that there is a moral distinction to be made between solidarity and profiteering.  Everything else equal, if the business owner is profiting from the low wages and poor working conditions at his factories, it is a serious sin.  That should be contrasted to the situation of, say, a subsistence farmer whose hired workers live and eat just as badly as the employer.
In terms of economic theory, the challenge is overcoming the idea that just because an exploited worker is better off being exploited than being dead, does not therefore mean that we have a free and fair exchange of labor for wages.

 The one concept I thought worth highlighting from Seeber’s comments is that there is a moral distinction to be made between solidarity and profiteering.  Everything else equal, if the business owner is profiting from the low wages and poor working conditions at his factories, it is a serious sin.  That should be contrasted to the situation of, say, a subsistence farmer whose hired workers live and eat just as badly as the employer.
In terms of economic theory, the challenge is overcoming the idea that just because an exploited worker is better off being exploited than being dead, does not therefore mean that we have a free and fair exchange of labor for wages.  Anytime your only alternative to a course of action is certain suffering and death, we cannot say your choice has been “freely” made.
I guess I'm more Jesuit influenced--also with a Dominican spin.  I need to make distinctions.  How can everything be equal?  There's no such animal.  OK, speaking hypothetically, suppose  the business owner paid the highest wages in that area.  What would that do to their local economy?  What would that do to his product?  To consumers?  
Anytime your only alternative to a course of action is certain suffering and death, we cannot say your choice has been "freely" made.  No, it isn't.  But I wouldn't judge the employer's worthiness to receive communion.  Who knows the shoes he walks in?  Like our Jesuit leader says, who am I to judge?

The Eucharist is the True Presence.  We should be encouraging people to come to the Eucharist, not discouraging.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Priestly Blessings


Numbers: 6:22-27

The LORD said to Moses: 
"Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them: 
This is how you shall bless the Israelites.
Say to them:
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites, 
and I will bless them."


Numbers is the fourth book of the Pentateuch.  It continues the Exodus journey.  It is called “Numbers” because it includes two accounts of “numbering” the Hebrew tribes.  It gathers different laws and rituals that will be further developed in later times.
This particular passage is called “the priestly blessing,” which was said at the end of the service.  It was an appropriate send-off for the priest to bless the people.


There are three blessings in these verses.  Think about them and let them sink in:
·         The Lord bless you and keep you!  May you always feel loved and protected by the Almighty.
·         The let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!  May you feel His goodness always.
·         The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!  May you have peace in knowing Him.


Heavenly Father, as I begin this new calendar year, help me keep my resolution to carry You with me throughout my days.  I want to feel Your presence, always.  I want Your Will to be mine.  Send down Your blessings upon me.  Amen


Bless me Lord for all I want to be is Your child.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

A T.O.P.S. Christmas Party

T.O.P.S. is an organization that promotes health.  I wrote this skit for our Christmas party.  Note the unhealthy food in the beginning, then I replaced it with some more nutritious options.

Christmas Past versus Christmas Present
Setting:   Silly Samantha’s Christmas party

Characters:  Silly Samantha, Dippy Diane, Zany Zoe, Daffy Dana, Kooky Karen, Narrator

(Door Bell Rings)  (Silly Samantha answers the door.) 

Silly Samantha: Merry Christmas!  Come in, come in.  You know everybody, make yourself at home.  The food is in the dining room.  Help yourself.

Dippy Diane:  Merry Christmas!  I brought my favorite recipe—pecan pie.  I hope you have some ice cream to go with it.

Silly Samantha:  Of course.  My freezer is full of ice cream.  Put the pie with the other desserts.

Dippy Diane:  Oh your pecan pie looks so good.  I haven’t eaten all day so I can eat all I want now, at the party.  I’ll be sure to save room for a big slice of pecan pie and ice cream.

Zany Zoe:  It’s a good thing I wore loose clothes.  I don’t want a belt to restrict my stomach as it expands.

Dippy Diane:  I know what you mean, that’s why I prefer elastic waist bands.  I don’t feel it when I gain weight.

Daffy Dana:  Diane, did you bring your delicious chicken wings?

Dippy Diane:  No.  I didn’t have time to make anything.  I stopped at the bakery and picked up some pastry.

Daffy Dana:  Too bad.  I like your buffalo wings.  I brought the Swedish meatballs in cream sauce.  I hope everyone likes them.

Kooky Karen: I like everything, that’s why I’m sitting closest to the food table.

Silly Samantha:  Come eat.  Help yourselves.  There’s enough for seconds, thirds, etc.

Dippy Diane:  Leave room for my pecan pie with ice cream.

Zany Zoe: There’s also death by chocolate, caramel pie, and Boston cream pie.

Daffy Dana:  Try the Swiss Cheese fondue, too.

Kooky Karen:  I made the chili with venison.

Silly Samantha:  And we have plenty to drink: egg nog, Irish coffee, mulled cider, beer and some hard liquor.

Kooky Karen:  I’m already working on my seconds.

Narrator:  Everyone overate. They were actually sick the next day.  Nobody felt good about themselves.  In fact, come New Year’s they all resolved to get healthy, and that included eating healthy and fitting some exercise into their daily routine.  They joined TOPS.  And they attended regularly.  They learned how to eat nutritiously; they exercised, picked up some healthy eating tips, and made some new friends who supported each other in changing their lifestyles.  Take a look at Samantha’s Christmas party this year.

(Door Bell Rings)  ( Samantha answers the door.)  Merry Christmas!  Come in, come in.  You know everybody, make yourself at home.  Walk around and socialize. 

Diane:  Merry Christmas!  I brought a new healthy dessert.  It’s chocolate cake with chocolate-orange sauce.  I swapped applesauce for butter and used nonfat cream cheese.

Samantha:  That sounds wonderful.  Please put the pie on the table with the fruit.  Fruit is considered a dessert, too.

Diane:  Oh your chocolate cake looks so good.  I may take a piece home because I don’t think I’ll have room for dessert.  I ate an apple just before coming to this party, so I wouldn’t fill up on junk.  Although Samantha is serving only healthy foods.

Zoe:  Do you like my new outfit?  Since I’ve lost so much weight, I delight  in wearing form fitting clothes.

Diane:  Yes, you look fantastic.

Dana:  Diane what did you do to your chicken wings.  They taste better than ever.

Diane:  I baked them for an hour, basting with honey mustard twice.

Karen:  They look delicious and will go perfectly with the garden salad, I made.

Zoe:  Chicken wings, salad, and chocolate cake for dessert.  What more could anyone want?

Dana:  Plus we have a vegetable dip.

Diane:  And for beverages, we have coffee, tea, and of course water.

Samantha:  This is turning out to be the best Christmas party we’ve ever had!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Cardinal O'Malley's 2016 Christmas message

Cardinal O'Malley's 2016 Christmas message: Christmas is such a special time for families and loved ones to come together to share their gift of love and faith in the Christ child.

At this time of year, we are called upon to be more mindful of those not as fortunate as us. Pray for all. I pray and wish my "cloistered brothers" a holy and blessed Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Over My Dead Body

This is a book review of an audible book.  I enjoyed the book and I enjoyed being read to, as I drove the car.  That's how I listened to the book.  But it's hard to write a review because I can't flip back pages like you do in a hard copy.

What's that character's name?

Didn't that happen, first?

Whoa! wait a minute, isn't he contradicting himself?


I think you get the idea.  Over My Dead Body was written by James R. Callan. Since my version was an audible book, some credit must be given to Jonathan Mumm, who narrated the story.  The narrator changed voices so distinctly that I had no doubt who was speaking to whom.  So Mr. Mumm gets some of the credit for making Mr. Callan's characters come to life, as well as making the story's point of view clear.

Progress has come to Pine Tree.  A large, aggressive land development firm wants to build a shopping center.  Overall, the town's people want it, except for one old curmudgeon, Syd.  (Sorry, I can't give the last name because I can't flip back to the page it's on.)

Syd commits suicide.  The thought of Syd committing suicide was just plain out of the realm of possibility for Father Frank, the protagonist in this mystery.  Father Frank is a priest, and as such, Syd's confessor.  So he knows Syd well.  But Syd's friend, Georgia, also finds the idea of Syd committing suicide ridiculous.

Father Frank and Georgia first have to prove to the police that Syd's death was murder and not suicide.  Luckily, Georgia's boyfriend is a cop, and is able to not only help in investigating but adds the authoritative dimension that is needed in some situations.

If it's murder, then who did it?      The suspects are:

                                                   Near-do-well brother in law
                                                   Agents from the land developers
                                                   Friends jealous of Syd's money
                                                   Beneficiaries of Syd's will  (includes Father Frank)

Everyone single one of them is credible, except Father Frank.  Not because he's a priest, but because the author would be killing off his protagonist, and this is only the second Father Frank mystery.  The first was Cleansed by Fire, which I will purchase because I enjoyed this book.  

In fact, Father Frank is almost murdered!  He, like Syd, was in the way of the land development.  Plus, Father's parish inherited quite a bit of money from Syd.  He also was snooping around too much, trying to find out who was behind Syd's murder.

Father Frank is likable.  We get to know him as a regular guy who likes sports and people.  We come to know his sister, Maggie too, who comes to him for fraternal love and marriage advice.  Will she figure in future mysteries?  I hope so.

This is a good story.  I love audible books.  I get to "read" more books while commuting.  But they are not so easy to review.  Names will be lost and maybe even the sequence of events.  It's difficult to trace back.  But that is just an inconvenience.  It doesn't detract from the fact that this is an enjoyable mystery; Father Frank is a love; the parish is friendly and interesting, and you can continue living in this community with the other Father Frank books.

I was given this audible book for free, for the purpose of review.  But so can you.  The audible book is being offered free as an audible trial.  How's that for incentive!  What have you got to lose?

Caveat:  the book needs to be edited by a Catholic priest.  Everything about the story was good, except for the Catholic religion.  Three things stood out:
 (1) Syd's sister was concerned that her brother wouldn't have a Catholic funeral because he committed suicide.  Suicide is unacceptable.  However, the church recognizes that many people have psychological, mental and emotional illnesses and may not be responsible for their actions. (CCC # 2282) Syd would have a Catholic funeral.
(2)  Father Frank's sister, Maggie came to him because her husband didn't want any children.  In the marriage ceremony, Catholics make a solemn vow to be open to having children.  If Maggie's  husband won't give her children, that's grounds for an annulment.  He lied when taking his vows.
(3)  Father Frank is a nice guy but in not explaining that Syd could have a Catholic funeral and that his sister could annul her marriage (Not that she was asking that, but the priest missed an opportunity to teach the faith.), he missed a couple of opportunities to evangelize.  The author missed the opportunity.  I liked the book.  I would have loved the book if the author also used his gift of writing to explain the faith.  It would be nice for James Callan's purpose in writing to be to entertain with a good story and also evangelize.  The author certainly has the skill to do that.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Preaching in the Digital Continent

Preaching in the Digital Continent I just love this essay from Fraternities OP. And I hope this blog does witness, not by bombarding the internet with religion, but with my life pointing to Jesus.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

St. Joseph's Broken Heart

This morning during Mass someone mentioned how Joseph must have felt when he heard that Mary was pregnant.

I never thought of this before.  Imagine how you would have felt.  How can this be? Well, it could be like how everyone else gets pregnant. Talk about being kicked in the stomach.

Fortunately, he didn't react by wanting to hurt her as much as he thought she had hurt him.  Before he even knew the reason for her pregnancy, his reaction was to protect her.

God chose wisely.  Joseph was the perfect foster father.

'Orans' Posture During Our Father

'Orans' posture during Our Father: So it's settled. Do what you are comfortable with. There are no rules written down for the people to observe. Read the article.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

St. Joseph: a Model for Lay Dominicans

St. Joseph: a model for the lay Dominicans Ms. Ruth Henderson, O.P. goes for the strong silent type. She is an admirer of Saint Joseph.

Who wouldn't be? Joseph is quiet. We only hear of him twice: re: Mary's pregnancy and birth, and when Jesus was lost at 12 years old. Both times, it's Mary who dominates the scenes. Yet, he seems to have quietly provided for his little family and brought up a Son, Who turned out pretty well.

"He was a lay person who made his own invaluable contribution to the life of the most important child in history, and thus to the life of all humanity. What a wonderful model for us lay Dominicans as we prepare for Christmas!"

Lay Dominicans live in the world, like Joseph. We strive to adhere to our religious and moral and civic duties, like Joseph. We could find no better person to emulate, than Joseph.

Mass. Bishops Urge Criminal Justice Reform

Mass. Bishops urge criminal justice reform: BRAINTREE -- On the eve of the upcoming 2017 Legislative Session, Massachusetts Catholic bishops sent a letter to state leaders urging them to consider filing legislation that would reform the criminal justice system in MA. Called the CSG Justice Center-Massachusetts Criminal Justice Review, the review is expected to be fully released in early 2017, and its findings are meant to inform lawmakers in developing policy options.

In their letter the bishops said they hope that, at a minimum, the review and subsequent legislation will both recognize and address several "critical areas" in the current judicial system.

Their suggestions include repealing "excessively long" mandatory minimum jail sentences for non-violent drug convictions, and offering treatment programs rather than imprisonment for offenders suffering from substance addiction.

Additionally, they are urging policymakers to increase funding for in-prison and re-entry programs focused on providing mental health and drug abuse services, as well as education and job training.
It's time to fix our broken justice system. Let's pray 2017 will be the year we begin.

The bishops also suggest altering the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) system to reduce the amount of time potential employers have access to an individual's criminal records, and propose simplifying parole eligibility and "the cumbersome system currently in place for granting parole."

Friday, December 16, 2016

The DominicOption

A couple of years ago, the Benedict Option was the answer to countering the alarming secularization of our culture.  This morning, I read Father James Dominic Rooney, O.P.'s article in America, "City of God", pp. 20-22, America, April 18, 2016. Father Rooney proposes another way to counter the culture--the Dominic Option.

The Benedict Option was made popular by writer, Rod Dreher, who writes for the American Conservative.  Dreher explains that St. Benedict left the craziness of the Western Roman Empire and formed a community of monks to pray. These Benedictine monks kept the faith alive.

In the 1980's, Alasdair MacIntyre wrote a book, After Virtue, which proposed that moral people get together to oppose the crazy secular culture, which touted immorality. Families had to be strong.  Communities had to stand together.

Father Dominic explains that the Benedictines were the first monks.  The Benedict Option was a good first response.  It offers a time of reflection.  But after the Benedictines, came the Dominicans and Franciscans.  Their charism takes the Benedictine's prayer component into the market place.  The Dominicans

          ...take traditional monastic contemplative living, to unite it to apostolic ministry in 
          preaching and care of souls in cities and to found third orders--associations in which 
          the ordinary lay faithful could associate themselves to a worldwide order through
          promises of conversion and the following of a rule of life. The priory then becomes 
          not only a contemplative haven for the friars themselves but a hub for a "community 
          of love" that extends into all ways and walks of life.

Well what do you know!  I've been living the Dominic Option without knowing it.  My Lay Dominican community is a third order.  And is not my chapter, Our Lady of Mercy, a community of love that lights up the world we live in?

My chapter is a Eucharistic community within a prison.  We have definite prayers, traditions and practices grounded in a living doctrinal commitment to Catholicism and desiring to transform our world, not become isolated from it, like the Benedict Option.  We certainly are in the midst of a very worldly, secular, dark place.

It's certainly comforting to know we are on the right path.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Father Patrick Joseph Power

This picture shows a fenced in monument.  It is the gravesite of a good priest, Father Patrick Joseph Power.  It is fenced to keep people from chipping away at the monument.  Surrounding the monument, up to the fence is cement or something like that, to keep people from scooping up soil, from Father Power's grave.  People did that before this monument was placed in this part of Holy Cross cemetery in Malden, MA.

In examining Father's brief life, there's nothing extraordinary.  See Charles Radosta's story.  He died young from tuberculosis, age 25. But afterward, miracles started occurring, at his grave site.  As usual at such places, crutches, eye patches, hearing aids, etc. started to accumulate at the gravesite.
People even took soil from around his gravemarker.  His gravestone had a chalice on it and people would scoop out the rain water that had accumulated.  Naturally, the surrounding, neighboring gravesites were trampled over.    

Eventually, Father Power's grave had to be moved, away to a separate location.  This is the picture above.  Now there's a monument instead of the gravestone with a chalice.  But people still come to pray and ask for Father's intercession.

Such was the case with a member of my prayer group.  He visited the site to pray for a friend who has cancer.  However, my friend was cured.  He had a carotid endarterectomy that cleared his carotid arteries, but it affected his neck.  He couldn't turn it to the right side.

Now he can.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


At that time, John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”  When the men came to the Lord, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?’” At that time Jesus cured many of their diseases, sufferings, and evil spirits; he also granted sight to many who were blind.  And Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.  And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” (Lk 7:18b-23)
John is in prison but must hear news of Jesus’ ministry. John can’t do anything from prison, so he sends two of his disciples to ask Jesus right out, if He is v. 19 “…the One Who is to come…” The holy scriptures make frequent references to a coming prophet, Mal 3:1, Deut 18:15. It is understood by John and his disciples that the prophetic office would find its completion in a Messiah. And when John’s disciples come upon Jesus healing the sick, they quickly think of Isa 29: 18-19; 35: 5-6. They hopefully ask Jesus, “Are you the One…?” They are told to report back to John “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard…” And when Jesus quotes Isa 29: 18-19; 35: 5-6! John’s disciples must have raced back.
John’s two disciples are told to tell John v. 22 “what you have seen and heard.” This is what we are to do, not only John’s disciples and Jesus’ apostles. Tell the world about Jesus. Spread the Good News. Evangelize. The apostles will carry this mission out even when persecuted. Do we?

John is also warned v. 23 “And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” Jesus is warning us not to hinder God’s plan. Jesus’ Good News is to proclaim “glad tiding to the poor…a year acceptable to the Lord.” (Luke 4: 18-19) Do not block Jesus. Accept Him. Help spread His Good News. 

Today is also the Memorial of St. John of the Cross. St. John was an sixteenth century Spanish mystical poet. He is famous for writing “The Dark Night of the Soul.” This meditation closes with St. John’s words of prayer. You must love Jesus to work for Him effectively. Love Him and tell the world. 

“No matter how much individuals do through their own efforts, they cannot actively purify themselves enough to be disposed in the least degree for the divine union of the perfection of love. God must take over and purge them in that fire that is dark for them, as we will explain.”  (St. John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul) 
My Jesus, we wish to do great deeds for You. Help us with Your grace to do Your Will. Through our preaching of the Good News, may our work please You. May everyone come to know You. You who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.
Jesus is the promised Messiah.  May our lives give witness to this Truth.  Be open to God’s plan.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Home is Where the Heart Is

Did you ever think or feel that certain houses have personalities?  Well, of course houses reflect eras and personal tastes, but could a house be a living entity?  If you haven’t given it any thought, you will if you read Following Disasters by Nancy McCabe.  The house that Maggie-Kate inherits from her Aunt Beth, I think, is the main character.  Everything revolves around this house.

Aunt Beth was childless.  She had a big house and her dream was to fill it with children.  She had an unhealthy obsession about it.  One room was designated and decorated as a nursery.  Aunt Beth’s hobby was sewing and she not only made baby clothes for the nursery, but went on to make various clothes for an imaginary daughter, all the way up to a wedding dress.

Maggie-Kate was Aunt Beth’s niece who inherited her house.  Maggie-Kate was working as an insurance adjustor when she learned that Aunt Beth left her the house.  An insurance adjustor follows disasters, hence the novel’s title.  Also, Aunt Beth’s death was a disaster.  The reader is led to think that Maggie-Kate’s decision to live in the old house will turn into another disaster.  The house does seem to arrange Maggie-Kate’s life.  There’s a love interest in the next door neighbor.  Joe, is a helpful neighbor, both to Aunt Beth and Maggie-Kate, although at first glance the reader might judge him as another disaster.

I enjoyed the author, Nancy McCabe’s characterization.  She has a way with words.  She told the story in two voices: Aunt Beth’s and Maggie-Kate’s.  The diary entries were easy to follow.  The setting of the old house was the story.  Consciousness of the house drove the reader to keep reading.  And so I did, and I think you will too.

I was given this novel to review but not directed to write a positive review.  I am doing that on my own because I did enjoy the book.  You may purchase the book:

Prices/Formats: ebook, $16.00 paperback
Gothic, Horror, Ghosts
October 1, 2016

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Monday, December 12, 2016

My Heart is Still Racing.

As I prayed the last Joyful Mystery, this morning, I was reminded of how I felt two nights, ago.  The last Joyful Mystery recollects "the finding of Jesus in the temple."  Remember the situation.  The holy family assumed Jesus was in the caravan.  He thought he was just hanging out with the other boys his age, or walking with relatives.  Imagine how they must have felt when they realized hat he wasn't in the caravan.

Well, Saturday night, hubby and I took our grandchildren to Fatima Shrine to see their Christmas light display.  The six-year-old kept running off to look at this or that.  Her baby sister wanted to follow her. It's dark out and her coat is dark purple and with her dark hair, it was easy to lose her.  Once, when we were busy and distracted by the two-year-old, we lost sight of the six-year-old.  I looked up and realized she was gone.  She was out of my sight.  We called her name.  Again we called.  Again.  Everyone called her.

My heart dropped.  I thought of Mary losing Jesus in the caravan.  I thought how would I tell my daughter and son-in-law that I lost their daughter.  She must have been kidnapped!  Imagine how Mary felt.  She lost the Son of God!

Then she came running back to me.  I asked her, like Mary did, "Why did you do this?"  But unlike Jesus, my granddaughter apologized.  "Sorry".

But then again, Jesus had an excuse.  "Don't you know I must be about My Father's business?"  (Luke 2:49)

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A Huron Carol

My nephew sent me a playlist to play during Advent.  So I was going to send him my blog post on the Huron Carol.  Only I can't find it.  So, I'll give you the story.  This carol is probably the first carol written in the Americas.  It was written around 1642, by the Jesuit missionary, Father Jean de Brebeuf.  Pere Brebeuf was one of what the Indians called "Black Robes."  He ministered to the Hurons in Canada.

Pere Brebeuf wrote it in their language and with references the Indians could identify with: Gitchi Manitou is God or Great Spirit, the babe was wrapped in rabbit skin, the wisemen were chiefs from afar and their gifts were fox and beaver pelts.

Anyway, what happened to Brebeuf and his Huron friends is not pretty.  They were raided by the tribe's enemy, the Iroquois and tortured to death.

Here is a version in English.  I bought the song on iTunes. I recommend it. The melody is  traditional Native American.
'Twas in the moon of winter-time
When all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim,
And wandering hunters heard the hymn:    
 "Jesus your Chief is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria."

Within a lodge of broken bark
The tender Babe was found,
A ragged robe of rabbit skin
Enwrapp'd His beauty round;
But as the hunter braves drew nigh,
The angel song rang loud and high...
"Jesus your Chief is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria."

The earliest moon of wintertime
Is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory
On the helpless infant there.
The chiefs from far before him knelt
With gifts of fox and beaver pelt.
Jesus your Chief is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

O children of the forest free,
O sons of Manitou,
The Holy Child of earth and heaven
Is born today for you.
Come kneel before the radiant Boy
Who brings you beauty, peace and joy.
"Jesus your Chief is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria."

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Rescuing Refugees

There's an article on the European Lay Dominican Blog that touched me.  A Lay Dominican, Anna Marija Edith Foss of the Fraternity in Oslo, Norway and a month later, joined by Br. Haavard Simon Nilsen OP.  It's a pictorial essay. The narrative says the refugees come from Turkey to Lesbos, Kos, and Athens, Greece.  The journey takes 4 hours by boat.  The pictures tell the story.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

In Love with Mary

Just now I came across this article in Crux, about Pope's Francis' devotion to the Blessed Mother.  What I love about it is the picture of the Pope tripping.  He didn't fall completely because he was caught by his aides.  Why did he fall?  The Pope said that he couldn't take his eyes off Mary.

Picture credited to Crux


Gamma is the name my youngest grandchild calls me.  Makes sense; if your mother is Ma then it follows that Grandmother is Gamma.

Oh no, I'm sounding like the story I just finished, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry, by Fredrik Backman. If you like fantasy, you'll enjoy this book.  I had trouble getting into it. Simultaneously, I'm reading: Mary, Queen of Heaven by Scott Hann, Chesterton's Everlasting Man (for the second time), Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching by Anthony Esolen, and The Many Sides of Peace by Brayton Shanley, among various others, which explains why reading a novel like My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry was hard to get used to.

Of course, I did -- get used to it.  How could one not?  This is the type of book that keeps a smile on your face throughout your entire reading.  The theme is the importance of grandmothers to their grandchildren.  Intergenerational differences are celebrated.  In fact, individual differences are celebrated per se.  The story line involves a little girl delivering letters (which isn't easy) to people the grandmother wants to apologize to.  This simple idea, however, is interwoven in the fantasy world the grandmother made up for children.  It works, trust me, it works ingeniously.

My favorite part of the book is when two grandparents visit their grandson in prison.  This direct quote will give you a taste of the author's writing:

And probably a lot of people think Maud and Lennart shouldn't do that, and that types like Sam shouldn't even be allowed to live, let alone eat cookies.  And those people are probably right.  And they're probably wrong too.  But Maud says she's firstly a grandmother and secondly a mother-in-law and thirdly a mother, and this is what grandmothers and mothers-in-law and mothers do.  They fight for the good.

See why I enjoyed the book?  By the way, this is a Christmas story because of the timing of the climax and ending.  So it was perfect for my book club, Argonauta, whose Christmas party is tonight.  I finished this book at breakfast--nine hours before the meeting.  I had to finish it.  I enjoyed it too much to miss out on the discussion.  I recommend it so you don't miss out on this unique story and delightful gamma.

A Priest's Day

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