Thursday, August 31, 2017

Jesus, Jesus, Wake UP!

Cardinal DiNardo said, "Considering the "cosmic" damage caused by Hurricane Harvey so far, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston said Monday, “The people of Houston, I have to sayare rather resilient, but this is really stretching them." Calling for prayer on behalf of the affected region across the country and around the world, DiNardo said, “I think we have to wake up Jesus in the boat!”

Jesus in the boat is a reference to Matthew 8: 23-27.  

Enough!  Hurricane Harvey caused the kind of panic we now see in Texas.  They need God's help, yesterday!  It's time to appeal to God.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Avoiding Embarrassing Situations Receiving Holy Communion

A Priest Distributes Communion As Pope Francis Celebrates Mass Marking The Feast Of Pentecost In St. Peter's Square At The Vatican June 4. (CNS Photo/Paul Haring)

Avoiding Embarrassing Situations Receiving Holy Communion: I was recently making a retreat at a Monastery in the Catskills. At Sunday Mass, I was asked by the Chaplain to distribute the Precious Blood to the nuns and lay people in attendance.

This article in the Pilot relates the story of the priest distributing the Eucharist and asking the person if they were Catholic. It was a girl.  She must have not been holding her hands out correctly.  Just in case you didn't know that there is a correct way to receive, this article will tell you how.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

God the Designer

For Boston priest and bishop, eclipse trip went 'from science to spiritual very fast': BRAINTREE -- For three days they traveled, driving a total of 1,352 miles from Massachusetts to their eventual destination of Athens, Tenn. Once there, they pulled into a parking lot, put down chairs, and settled in to watch the show.



Father Paul Soper and Bishop Mark O'Connell, the event marked their friendship with clarity.  Clarity?  During an eclipse? Yes, their friendship with clarity, not the event--itself.  You see Father Paul is interested in science, Bishop Mark is interested in law/people/etc.--not science.  Their friendship is an example.  They are different but enjoy and appreciate each other's uniqueness.



Since science can tell us when each eclipse is coming, Father Paul and Bishop Mark have been planning to see it since they were in the seminary.  And so they did.  Bishop Mark said, "all very interesting, cool science, but not exhilarating."


Father Paul saw it differently: "It was exhilarating to me!" he chimed in amid laughter. "I like the science!"


In fact, Father Paul connected it to God who created it, "from science to spiritual" real fast--light speed.  ;-)




Friday, August 25, 2017

Update on Poem Project

Last April I presented the My Favorite Poem Project to my writers' group, the Senior Scribblers.  They said, "Go for it!"  So I thought I'd tell you how it's progressing.

I think it's progressing very, very well.  The local newspaper is covering it.  The local cable company is covering it.  And!  They are reading their favorite poems.

I have sent out twenty six invitations.  I've got back eleven.  Six have said yes.

I've got the space secured and the time.  I'm in the process of making up flyers.

What do you think?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Trust

Lectio: Isaiah 22:19-23

Thus says the Lord to Shebna, master of the palace:  
"I will thrust you from your office
and pull you down from your station.
On that day I will summon my servant
Eliakim, son of Hilkiah;
I will clothe him with your robe,
and gird him with your sash,
and give over to him your authority.
He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
and to the house of Judah.
I will place the key of the House of David on Eliakim's shoulder;
when he opens, no one shall shut,
when he shuts, no one shall open.
I will fix him like a peg in a sure spot,
to be a place of honor for his family."

Studium:

It was not unusual for a change of positions in the court.  Princes are fickle.  In these verses, Shebna is in disgrace.  He was the treasurer.  What he specifically did is not the point.  He did something.  The point is that temporal positions aren't forever.  Don't rely on princes.  Their favors are fickle.  We need to pray for our princes (leaders).
   Eliakim is God's servant and He has called him to a higher position.  It was foretold that Eliakim should be put in Shabna's place.

Meditatio:

It's easy to identify with Shebna, in today's world--not his crime, but certainly his demotion.  Today, young college graduates are often hired by large fortune 500 companies because they're cheap, bright, and hard working.  They're anxious to prove themselves.  Give these same young lads twenty years, and it is not uncommon to find themselves out of a job--to make room for the next generation of smart young college graduates because they're cheaper than their fifty-year-old predecessors.
    I'm sure everyone knows their jobs are not like a peg in a sure spot.  That's just the way, today.  Only God is constant.  He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Oratio:

Lord, be at my side, always. Be my companion.  Help me to do Your Will and not be anxious about my job and home life.  Give me the grace to trust in You.  You alone are the same.  Your love and care I need to trust.

Contemplatio:

Lord, Your love is eternal.  Thank You for loving me.




Wednesday, August 16, 2017

No one Cares


The Coleridge Taylor Mysteries are about a newspaper reporter who is interested in solving the murders no one cares about.  Lights Out Summer by Rich Zahradnik is the latest Coleridge Taylor mystery.
 
Taylor works for a news wire.  The large, flashy newspapers cover the big news.  They seek the sensational, the latest titillation that the public seems to clamor over.  But Taylor would rather find the story of the people who interest him the most, like Martha Gibson.

Martha was a hard working young woman, who was murdered.  The crime seemed unsolvable, but Taylor was determined to find the killer.  In researching Martha’s life, he becomes enmeshed in Martha’s sister’s drug life and her employers’ rich lifestyle.

The reader will expect the drug dealer to have killed Martha.  Then it seems like someone in Martha’s employer’s family.  All this sleuthing is done on the side because Taylor has to do some reporting on other news. 

Taylor has a girl friend named Samantha, who is a private detective.  Taylor’s grandfather owns a coffee shop where Taylor and Samantha hang out.  It’s a place to relax and regroup.  Taylor often uses it as a meeting place.  Samantha and Grandpa support Taylor and help him recharge, besides offering him a sounding board to bounce his theories against.

I liked the pace in Lights Out Summer.  It was faster paced when the thrills erupted on the scene.  There were moments when I thought Martha Gibson was murdered by the Son of Sam.  Oh, that psycho is around.  In fact, the newspapers are clamoring over themselves to get that story out.  But Taylor only pays lip service to the Son of Sam.  He’s more interested in Martha Gibson. She was a good girl who came from a loving and supporting family.  And the police and media don’t seem to care because they’re chasing Son of Sam.  The author has the reader caring about Martha, too. 

That’s the beauty of the story.  The author has the reader care. The characters are delineated well. They are real people.  (Speaking fictionally)  I know people just like these characters.  Unfortunately, I know a few murderers.  (I volunteer in a prison.)  I know enough that people are people and everyone has choices to make. Unfortunately, some bad choices are life altering mistakes.

 Lights Our Summer is a good choice to read.  You just may get hooked on the Coleridge Taylor mysteries.  I was given this book to read and review, but my opinion is my own choice.

Author’s Web Site:
http://www.richzahradnik.com/

Rich Zahradnik's Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/richzahradnik/

Rich Zahradnik's Twitter:
https://twitter.com/rzahradnik
 
Rich Zahradnik's Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8335771.Rich_Zahradnik


Rich Zahradnik's Blog:
http://www.richzahradnik.com/blog/

Lights Out Summer Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34605303-lights-out-summer

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribute-Books-Blog-Tours/242431245775186

Lights Out Summer
 blog tour site:
http://lightsoutsummerblogtour.blogspot.com/

Rich Zahradnik's Bio:

Rich Zahradnik is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Coleridge Taylor Mystery series (Lights Out Summer, A Black Sail, Drop Dead Punk, Last Words).



The first three books have been shortlisted or won awards in the three major competitions for novels from independent presses. A Black Sailwas named winner in the mystery category of the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Drop Dead Punk collected the gold medal for mystery ebook in the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards. Last Words won the bronze medal for mystery/thriller ebook in the 2015 IPPYs and honorable mention for mystery in the 2015 Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards.

"Taylor, who lives for the big story, makes an appealingly single-minded hero," Publishers Weekly wrote of Drop Dead Punk.


 A Black Sailreceived a starred review from Library Journal, which said, “Fans of the late Barbara D’Amato and Bruce DeSilva will relish this gritty and powerful crime novel.”

Zahradnik was a journalist for 25-plus years, working as a reporter and editor in all major news media, including online, newspaper, broadcast, magazine and wire services. He held editorial positions at CNN, Bloomberg News, Fox Business Network, AOL and The Hollywood Reporter.



Zahradnik was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1960 and received his B.A. in journalism and political science from George Washington University. He lives with his wife Sheri and son Patrick in Pelham, New York, where he writes fiction and teaches kids around the New York area how to write news stories and publish newspapers.
  
Lights Out Summer Book Summary:
In March 1977, ballistics link murders going back six months to the same Charter Arms Bulldog .44. A serial killer, Son of Sam, is on the loose. But Coleridge Taylor can't compete with the armies of reporters fighting New York's tabloid war--only rewrite what they get. Constantly on the lookout for victims who need their stories told, he uncovers other killings being ignored because of the media circus. He goes after one, the story of a young Black woman gunned down in her apartment building the same night Son of Sam struck elsewhere in Queens.

The story entangles Taylor with a wealthy Park Avenue family at war with itself. Just as he's closing in on the killer and his scoop, the July 13-14 blackout sends New York into a 24-hour orgy of looting and destruction. Taylor and his PI girlfriend Samantha Callahan head out into the darkness, where a steamy night of mob violence awaits them.

In the midst of the chaos, a suspect in Taylor's story goes missing. Desperate, he races to a confrontation that will either break the story--or Taylor.

Book 4 in the Coleridge Taylor Mystery series.
 
Prices/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $15.95 paperback, $29.95 audio
Genre: 
Historical, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Pages: 
288
Release: 
October 1, 2017
Publisher: 
Camel Press
ISBN: 
9781603812139

Amazon buy link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/160381213X?&tag=tributebooks-20

Barnes and Noble buy link:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lights-out-summer-rich-rich-zahradnik/1126293458?ean=9781603812139

IndieBound buy link:
http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781603812139



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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cat Got Your Tongue?


Has the cat got your tongue?  It's an expression that is asking someone why they're not answering.  Well, my cat didn't have my tongue, he had my iPad.

I've been looking for my iPad for four days.  The last time I saw it, one of my grandchildren was playing a game on it.  I've been looking for it, ever since.

I'd hear it gong for the Angelus.  So three times a day, I'd be alert to listen from what direction the gong sound of the Angelus was coming from. It was in the living room, somewhere.  I dusted.  I vacuumed, lifting furniture.  I searched the bookcase.  I tore the room apart.

NADA!

I prayed to Saint Anthony:

Tony, Tony, please come down.
Something's lost and must be found.

Today I went to my Lay Dominican Chapter.  During the Intercessions in Evening Prayer, I asked that my iPad be found.  Afterward, one of my "cloistered brothers," suggested I go to the APPLE website and have them find it.  I said, "How can they find it?"  He said they'd "ping it."

Not quite.  But he offered me hope.

I have an iPhone. The iPhone and iPad are compatible since they are both Apple products.  I asked Siri, on my iPhone to find my iPad.

Up popped a map of my location.  I saw my street and neighboring streets.  Near the end of my street was a house.  It was my house!  Near my house was a blinking target circle.

Ah, my iPad! At first, I thought it was in my car, outside.  But as I walked through my house, the blinking target moved closer.  Soon the house and target were one. I was in the living room.  But I had looked there...everywhere...but NOT the cat's blanket.

I had never touched that dirty blanket full of cat hair.  But when I picked it up, VOILA!

Deus Gratias!

And thanks to St. Anthony's intercession which prompted me to add the loss of my iPad to the Evening Prayer's intercessions.  And thanks to my "cloistered brother" who suggested that I go to  Apple.  And thanks again St. Anthony for having Siri find the location.  Finally, thanks, Saint Anthony for prompting me to pick up the cat's blanket.

I feel like throwing a party.  (Luke 15: 8-10)


Towards the Feast of the Assumption


Painted by Grace Gifford Plunkett in her cell in Kilmainham Jail.

Towards the Feast of the Assumption: The old Catholic Encyclopedia, published before the dogma of the Assumption of Mary was defined by Pope Pius XII in 1950, is nonetheless edifying in what it says about the Feast which the Church celebrates on August 15...



Read The Pilot for the rest of the article.  It's a Holy Day of Obligation and while the pews aren't filled as they are on a Sunday, there are a surprising amount of people, especially considering when the parish offers a selection of Masses to accommodate people's schedules.  I credit it to the love the people have for the Blessed Mother.



Catholics have a soft spot for Mary.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Argonauta's Selections

This is how one of my book clubs (Argonauta) chooses its book selections.  No more Irish stories, memoirs, and mysteries.  Not because they're not good, au contraire; it's that we've read too many and are sick of them.  I predict we will add African stories to the list because there's two on this year's list.

We met in a restaurant for breakfast--a quiet, not rushed atmosphere, place.  Each of us ordered a huge breakfast.  After breakfast, the bidding discussion began.  Here are erthe resulting selections:

September:  Lilac Girl by Marsha Hall KellOctober:  Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
November:  Britt Marie Was Here by Felix Bachmann
December:  Bossy Pants by Tina Fey                                        
January: Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
February:  Eleanor Oliphant by Gail Honeyman
March:  The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper
April: Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Burke
May:  The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies
June-August: To Be Decided

We leave the last months open because, during the year, one of us will read something so fantastic that they insist the book be read.  This always happens.  Also, during these free months, we come across books we want to recommend for Argonauta's list. This method works for us.

By the way, I know I misspelled authors and titles.  I also know you will correct me.  

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Fairy Rings and Fairy Forts

Today in my writers' group, a member read her piece on Fairy Rings.  This is what she described:

They're on hills.
Trees are clustered together.
From the sky, they're circles of trees.
Walking into the trees, you'd fall down into an abyss.

Theories abound as to their purpose.  A popular guess is that these were for defense.  The enemy would fall into the deep holes.

Curious?  I know I was.  My google search couldn't find these types of Fairy Rings.  In fact, Google references mushroom circles as fairy rings.

However, there's something called Fairy Forts.  They are circular settlements.  Around them were walls made from rocks, gravel, dirt or some sort of earthenware, and maybe trees.  The purpose was for protection from wolves and other predators.

Better information is from the website where I got this picture: http://irishimbasbooks.com/the-difference-between-irish-fairy-forts-fairy-rings-rath-and-lios/
This woonderful has a plethora of Irish folklore.  Click over to enjoy.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Naivete

Spine Damage by Sharon St. George will leave you with a good feeling.  All’s right with this world.  St. George ties up all the loose ends.  There are no dangling story lines or plot plops.  Everyone and everything are as it should be.  The good guys win and the bad guys get their just desserts.

What else do you want?  Good writing?  How’s this:

When we reached the location on the dock where I’d seen the man fall, a roly-poly harbor seal with impressive whiskers poked its head up from the basin’s briny seawater.  He gazed at us with round, curious brown eyes—another hungry resident hoping for a handout.  P. 226
Saturday morning, I woke to the harbor’s usual salute to the senses: the crying of gulls, the pungent smell of seawater, and the bright morning sunlight striking my face through a porthole in the forward berth.  The aroma of coffee confirmed that Nick had been up at least long enough to start a pot brewing.  P. 232

Spine Damage is the fourth book in the Aimee Machado Mystery series.  Aimee is a librarian and along with her pilot boyfriend, they solve mysteries.  The novel is told in the first person, Aimee, whose detailed descriptions allow her characters and settings to come alive.  In this particular story, the setting is California and the Azores.  An unconscious man with a bullet in his spine is brought to the hospital, where Aimee works as a librarian. The man is from the Azores and only speaks Portuguese.  Aimee is half Azorean.  So she helps his family, which is how she is drawn into solving this mystery.

The injured man’s fifteen year old sister is missing and the worse is feared.  Rightly so, because the trail leads from the kidnapping in the Azores, to drug trafficking, to female slavery, to murder.  The pace is quick and full of twists.  It’s a page turner.

Sharon St. George has written another good mystery in her Aimee Machado Mystery series.  Add this one to your “to read” list.

Although I was given the book to review, I was not required to write a favorable review.  This review is my own honest assessment. 

Prices/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $16.78 paperback
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 328
Release: May 15, 2017
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603815819



Last Day



This is the covenant with them which I myself have made, says the Lord: and my words that I have put into your mouth shall never leave your mouth, nor the mouths of your children, nor the mouths of your children’s children, from now on and forever, says the Lord. (Isaiah 59:21)
As St. Dominic lay dying just outside of Bologna at St. Mary of the Hills, he requested to be taken back at once to Bologna that he might be buried “under the feet of my brethren.” There, having assured his spiritual children that he would be of greater assistance where he was going, he left them his last will and testament: “Behold, my children, the heritage I leave you: have charity for one another, guard humility, make your treasure out of voluntary poverty.”
Be therefore followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)
O wondrous hope that you did give at the hour of death to those who mourned you, when you did promise to help them even after death.
   Father, keep your word, and aid us by your prayers.
You who did shine by so many signs in the bodies of the afflicted, bear us the help of Christ and heal our souls in illness and unrest.
   Father, keep your word, and aid us by your prayers.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
   Father, keep your word, and aid us by your prayers.
Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.
Let us pray, O God, who enlightened your Church by the merits and teachings of blessed Dominic, your confessor and our father, grant through his intercession that it may never be destitute of temporal help, and may always increase in spiritual growth. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Entering Eternal Life

Eighth Day: The Death of St. Dominic

Well done, good and faithful servant; because you have been faithful over a few things, I will place you over many. Enter into the joy of the Lord.        (Matthew 25:2)
St. Dominic died at Bologna, August 6, 1221, at midday. Father Ventura, prior of Bologna, was present and thus describes the death of St. Dominic. “Father Dominic returned from Venice about the end of July. Although very weary with traveling, he conversed on the affairs of the Order with me till late. I begged him to rest that night, but he prayed in the Church till Matins at midnight, and then was present in choir. Afterwards he complained of his head, and his last illness began. Lying on a straw mattress, he called the novices around him and exhorted them to fervor with cheerful words and smiling coun­tenance. After being carried to a hill not far off, for better air, he preached to his brethren and was then anointed. Fearing that he would not be buried ‘under the feet of his brethren,’ he was carried back to the convent. The brethren re­cited prayers for a departing soul. When they came to the words, ‘Come to his help, ye saints of God; hasten to meet him, ye angels of the Lord: receive his soul, and offer it in the sight of the Most High,’ having lifted his hands to Heaven, he gave up his spirit.”
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered the heart of man to conceive what God has prepared for those who love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9)
Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.
Let us pray, O most kind father, St. Dominic, by your saintly life and death, bless and guide us in the path of your holy rule, that persevering until death, we may, through it, attain the eternal joys of heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Loving Like God

Seventh Day: Love of God and Our Neighbor

That we have passed from death to life we know because we love the brothers. The man who does not love is among the living dead. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that eternal life abides in no murderer’s heart. The way we came to understand love was that he laid down his life for us; we too must lay down our lives for our brothers. (1 John 3:14-16)
Love is the fulfilling of the law, and Dominic, the preacher of God’s law, was consumed with the fire of love. In all his actions his love for God appeared and his constant prayer was that he might have true charity and love God purely for his own sake. From this love sprang that ardent desire to suffer for God which made him a martyr in spirit. So deeply was he moved by the love of Jesus Crucified that he longed to die for him. His life of generous self-sacrifice proved his love sincere. As a youth he sold his only treasure, the books from which he studied, to feed the poor. His life was entirely devoted to the hardest apostolic labor, traveling far and wide to seek the lost sheep of the Good Shepherd and braving every kind of danger. His prayers for souls were continual, and daily he did penance for sinners. The one object of his Order was the salvation of souls. Throughout his life he preached to the heathen hoping for martyrdom. He had compassion for the suffering and misery of others. To all he was gentle, kind and merciful.
The true love of God is proved by the desire to be like Christ, and to labor and suffer for others.
Beloved, let us love one another because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten of God and has knowledge of God. The man without love knows nothing of God, for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)
Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.
Let us pray, O Holy Father St. Dominic, who showed us the way to eternal happiness, and won many souls to God by founding the Order of Friars Preachers, pray for us, that we may follow in your footsteps, and ever work for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Friars of Mary

Sixth Day: Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Mother of God

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest in which she puts her young by your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God!   (Psalms 84:2-4)
The Eucharist and the Mother of God were objects of Dominic’s special devotion. Before the tabernacle he spent his nights, finding there rest after his labors; and arriving weary and foot sore from a journey, he always visited the Blessed Sacrament before refreshing his body. However much fatigued, he always celebrated Mass, and if possible sang it. During the celebration of Mass tears were often seen flowing down his face, moving all to devotion.
Of God’s Mother he was always an ardent and reverent lover. His life, his work, his Order were placed under her protection, and he invoked her in every difficulty and danger. He began the custom of saying the Hail Mary before preaching. The Blessed Mother filled him with heavenly favors, watched over him with motherly care, and gave him the habit of his Order. A tradition cherished in his Order, and supported by the testimonies of many popes, ascribes to him the first teaching of devotion to the recitation of the Rosary. His disciples were called “Friars of Mary,” and have carried her Rosary and scapular to the uttermost parts of the earth.
I myself am the bread of life. No one who comes to me shall ever be hungry, and no one who believes in me shall ever thirst. (John 6:35)
I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come to me, all you that desire me, and be filled with my goodness. (Sirach 24: 18; John 14:6)
Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.
Let us pray, O most blessed father, St. Dominic, who loved our Lord Jesus Christ in the most perfect manner and served Mary, His Virgin Mother, with most fervent devotion, pray for us, your children, that we may ever grow in love of the Sacrament of the Altar, and that, next to God, we may at all times trust in the protection of the Queen of Heaven, so that at the hour of death we may be received by her into heaven, and ever abide under the mantle of her love. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Spirit of Prayer

Fifth Day: The Spirit of Prayer

True devotion was in his mouth, and no dishonesty was found upon his lips; he walked with me in integrity and in uprightness, and turned many away from evil. (Malachi 2:6)
As an unbridled tongue destroys a spirit of prayer, Dominic loved silence and retirement, that he might dwell with God. His intimate friend, William of Montserrat, said that “Dominic always kept the silence prescribed by the custom and rule of the Order, abstained from idle words, and always spoke either of God or to God.”
Dominic considered custody of the senses important and fed his soul constantly with spiritual reading. His books were the Bible and Cassian’s Conferences of the Fathers of the Desert. The Holy Scriptures he always carried, and ordered his spiritual children diligently and unceasingly to read them. At dinner one religious used to read aloud, that the souls of all might be fed on the Word of God.
If any man offends not in words, the same is a perfect man. (James 3:2)
Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.
Let us pray, O most Holy Father St. Dominic, who always showed yourself loving to all and never despised, wounded or offended anyone, obtain for me from our Savior, the grace to be severe only to myself and my evil passions and always gentle and loving toward my neighbor, ever like him, pardoning all who injure or offend me. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen

Thursday, August 3, 2017

They Think We're Crazy


More and more I can see how being Catholic is counter cultural.  Now I feel it. 

I am at the bank trying to open an account for my Lay Dominican chapter.  The banker asks:
When was your chapter founded?

Now how am I supposed to know that?  I don’t know when my chapter was founded, nor my region’s founding, nor my province’s.  I do know when the Order of Preachers was founded.  The date of the Dominican Laity is arguable.  So I gave the banker the date I know.
1216, I say affirmatively.

The banker’s eyes open wide.  “What?”
I explain that Dominicans have been around for 800 years.

OK.  He fills that line in and asks.  Who was your founder?

Saint Dominic.

How do you spell that first name?
This is where I realize that this person has no clue what I’m talking about.  But I explain that the first name is Dominic and the last name is Guzman.

The next question I’m asked is, “What is your purpose?”

Save souls.

What? 

I would have repeated my answer but I instinctively intuited that “save souls” would never be comprehended.  So I said, “fight heresy.”  The banker’s lips got thinner and the eyes beadier. I tried “evangelization” for an answer.  For a response, I received a cold, hard stare.  My final try was “preaching.”

This is where I heard a loud, long, sigh.


Is there someone else in your organization who can help you answer these questions?

Always Pray and Pray Always


Fourth Day: St. Dominic’s Prayer

Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and inspired songs. Sing praise to the Lord with all your hearts. Give thanks to God the Father always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:18-20)
Prayer was the breath of St. Dominic’s life, the light on his path, the staff on his pilgrimage. He prayed always. In childhood, his delight was to serve Mass, to visit the Blessed Sacrament, and to chant Office. As a student, he learned wisdom more from prayer than from books. He won more souls by prayer than by preaching or miracles. In traveling, St. Dominic prayed as he went, sometimes singing the Veni Creator Spiritus, or the Ave Maris Stella, or sometimes he recited psalms. He often reminded his companions to think of God. Many times St. Dominic spent the night in prayer before the altar. His methods of prayer were various: sometimes he lay prostrate, then stood erect, then knelt down. For hours he would stand before a crucifix, genuflecting and making fervent ejaculations. Often he stretched out his arms like a cross, pleading earnestly to God. On occasion, he was seen in rapture by the vehemence of his prayer. “In all labors and trials, in hunger, thirst, fatigue, his heart turned always to God.”
Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.
Let us pray, O God, who enlightened your Church by the virtues and preaching of St. Dominic, your confessor, and our father, mercifully grant that by his prayers we may be delivered from present dangers and ever increase in spiritual blessings. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Sovereignty of God

Lectio:  Daniel 7: 9-10, 13-14

As I watched:
                Thrones were set up and the Ancient One took his throne.
                His clothing was bright as snow, and the hair on his head as white as wool;
                His throne was flames of fire, with wheels of burning fire.
                A surging stream of fire flowed out from where he sat;
                Thousands upon thousands were ministering to him, and myriads upon myriads attended                     him.
                The court was convened and the books were opened.

As the visions during the night continued, I saw:
                One like a Son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven;
                when he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him,
                the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship;
                all peoples, nations, and languages serve him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away,
                his kingship shall not be destroyed.

Studium:

Although Daniel’s vision is dramatically apocalyptic, it was intended to comfort the persecuted Jews, who were exiled in Babylon.  It was written in the style of Semitic poetry.  Look at the parallelism: all the fire repeated and especially the rephrasing of the same image:

Thousands upon thousands were ministering to him,
 and myriads upon myriads attended him.

Daniel tells the exiled that their persecutors will be judged in the heavenly court. Take comfort that whoever is ruler over them, they only have One King, the Ancient One.

Meditatio:

Thinking of all that is and was and will be, as God’s dominion, I am in awe.  No matter who is president, we only have One King.  And He is powerful as flames of fire, with heavenly beings attending Him.  Some day, I will meet Him and be judged by Him and the court of heaven.  May Jesus be my advocate.

Oratio:

Lord have mercy on such as me.  You are God and I am not. 

Contemplatio:


Weep and Weeping

Third Day: Compunction of Heart

Those who fear the Lord seek to please him, those who love him are filled with his law. Those who fear the Lord prepare their hearts and humble themselves before him. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord and not into the hands of men, for equal to his majesty is the mercy that he shows. (Sirach 2: 16-18)
ROSA PATIENTIAE             ROSE OF PATIENCE
Though so pure that Holy Church calls him “Ivory of Chastity,” and Christian art puts a lily into his hands, Dominic was always weeping over sin. His soul being full of contrition, acts of sorrow were constantly upon his lips. On seeing towns or villages, he used to weep over the sins committed there against God. But this sorrow was not merely hidden in the soul; it bore fruit in works of penance. Three times every night he scourged himself: once for his own sins, once for those of others, and once for the suffering souls. He was a rule of abstinence, even on journeys never eating meat or food cooked with meat. His fasts were strict and continual; even when traveling over Europe on foot, he fasted from September until Easter, though preaching daily. He never had a room of his own, but slept anywhere: on the ground, a bench, or the altar step. Being a zealous lover of the rule, he punished faults, but with such fatherly love that penance was accepted and even desired from his hands.
“If you have no sins of your own to weep for,” St. Dominic would say, “still weep, after the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, and grieve for the sinners of the world that they may repent.”
Anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:27)
Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.
Let us pray, O zealous preacher of penance, Holy Father St. Dominic, whose ardent desire for the salvation of souls made you ever ready to endure the greatest labors and fatigues and even to give your life in order to win them to God, pray for us, that treading in the steps of Jesus Crucified, the Redeemer and Physician of souls, we may disregard all suffering and generously sacrifice ourselves for the needs of others. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Communications

last night I went to a talk by Bishop Robert Reed.
 Here Bishop Reed is talking to a friend he only knew virtually.  He is congratulating her on her 90th birthday.

The Third Death

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