Search This Blog

Saturday, September 30, 2017

And the greatest of these is Love

St. Sophia married a non-Christian in the early days of Christianity. It was against the law to be Christian.  But her husband loved her and shielded and protected her.  He was wealthy and powerful.  They had three daughters: Faith, Hope, and Love.   Their father died.  Fortunately, Sophia was left with her husband's fortune and did not have to worry about money.  Faith, Hope, and Love were brought up as Christians.

The Emperor, Adrian heard about this family and summoned them to Rome.  Sophia knew why and what was going to happen to them.  She prepared her daughters. 

Once in Rome, they were questioned and found to be Christians.  The little girls were promised fame and fortune and their lives, if they renounced Jesus Christ.  They didn't and were martyred. They were tortured and beheaded in front of their mother, Sophia.  The mother buried her three daughters and she, herself, died soon after.

Love was the last to be martyred.  But that's not why Love is greatest.  It's because it is lasting.  When you die, you don't need Faith because you are looking at God, Himself.  You certainly don't have to have Hope because you made it to heaven.  What's last?  Love--right in front of you.

Thursday, September 28, 2017


The hiking group hiked around Blue Hills Reservation today.  It was long.  Some of it was across a bog and the trail was reduced to planks.  One of our members, concentrating on his footing went smack into a low branch.  The planks were wet, some covered with slippery moss, and rotten in various places.  Everyone had to focus on their footing.  That's what happened. John went smack into a branch that hung just about his forehead level.  He also fell back onto me.  And if that hadn't happened to him, it would have happened to me because I was right behind him. 

One interesting thing we came across, on this hike was a pitcher plant--a carnivorous plant that eats bugs.  See it is shaped to trap insects. Once inside, it closes and the liquid will digest the victim.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Do Stray Cats Purr?

Here's the thing.  I like the Psalms.  I like to write psalms. I find that writing my own psalm about God is prayer--my most focused prayer.  However, I need a poem for my writer's group and a poem about God wouldn't be acceptable.

So I wrote a psalm about my cat.  I used the same literary form as Psalm 1:

Blessed is the man who does not walk
   in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the way of sinners,
   nor sit in company with scoffers.

See how synonymous ideas are expressed, line after line, yet the original theme is developed.  You get the idea?   Well, here's my secular psalm:

Lucky is the cat who lives in my house
   in the bosom of my loving family,
in the warmth of a fireplace,
   or an air-conditioned, sunny room.

Rather than the stray who thinks he is free
  and though he may go here and there,
he will never choose to enter human embrace
   nor feel a gentle pat on the head
nor the stroke of a caressing hand
   nor the kiss of a child--or anyone.

          Do Stray Cats Purr?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Franklin Cultural District: A Favorite Poem Project - Oct 25

Franklin Senior Center
Franklin Cultural District: A Favorite Poem Project - Oct 25: The Franklin Senior Scribblers' Writers' Group is hosting A Favorite Poem Project . It is scheduled for October 25 at 10:00 AM at the Franklin Senior Center.  I'll post more as the date approches.

Heaven for Stutterers

At retreat today, the retreat friar told us a poignant story.  The assignment was "What is heaven?"  Naturally, everyone had their own opinion.  There was one, however, that stood out.

One of the eighteen-year-old students stuttered very badly.  She said, "Heaven is a place where everyone stutters."

She explains that once a year she attends a conference for people who stutter.  She loves to go to this conference.  Everyone there stutters.  She feels very comfortable.  She is not alone.  She can relax and stop thinking about what others think of her.   She feels most at home there. It's heaven.


She's right.  Heaven is where we will feel the most comfortable.  We will be home.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Nothing is Impossible with God

This is the first "interview" type of book, I've ever read.  I'm referre ing to God or Nothing, Robert Diat.  I liked it and when I think about it, I think I'd like any book that used an "interview".  Think about it.  Read the question, and if you don't care about the answer, skip it.  You only read the questions that interest you.
Cardinal Sarah, A Conversation on Faith with Nicolas

The book was written by Nicolas Diat.  The only information in the book about the author was this terse sentence, "Nicholas Diat is a French journalist and author."

The book was translated by Michael J. Miller and that's all the information that is given.  Imagine that!

Anyway, I learned a lot.  Cardinal Sarah is not the conservative right-wing nut the liberals make him out to be.  He's very reasonable and even when explaining difficult dogma, he's very kind and compassionate. His journey from a small village in Guinea to become a Cardinal in Rome is nothing but divine intervention.

I highly recommend the book.  Read and learn.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Latest Update on My Favorite Poem Project

Hostesses for My Favorite Poem Project

There are now 18 readers, plus a Middle School Class reciting O Captain, My Captain!  I sent out 26 invitations and I got 20 responses.  Half of the six who didn't answer are politicians.  Politicians!  Do you believe it?  What kind of politicians don't respond to their constituents?  Why don't they just say "no."  What?  Are two choices, "yes or no" too many for you?

One is a state senator, another is a state representative, and last is the chairman of my Town Council.  Do you think I'm going to vote for them again?  Do you think anyone in my family is going to vote for them?  Do you think any of my friends are going to vote for them?

If they can't respond to an invitation, how can we trust them to respond to our needs?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Not Your Usual Prayers

This article in Aleteia caught my eye.  It is talking about dangerous prayers.  The article's author, Elizabeth Scalia says that Flannery O'Connor once said, " my prayers take a line through Flannery O’ Connor: “Lord, I’ll never be a saint but I might be a martyr if they can kill me quickly!”

I'm even worse.  I will try to be a normal, ordinary saint, but please Lord, never a martyr. I'm such a coward.

The article's eye-grabbing headline is "Dangerous Prayers."  I won't be a spoiler.  Read the article to see what they are.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Funny Thing Happened at Mass

Welcome to the 7:30 AM Mass, Father.  

Little did this unsuspecting priest know about the first morning Mass on Sunday.  Because people are just waking up, or because there is no music and that throws people off, or because God wants us to pay attention, crazy things happen:

Lectors read the correct Sunday in Ordinary Time, but the wrong year.

Mass celebrants knock consecrated hosts off the altar.

The entrance procession goes the wrong way.

Acolytes don't show up, drop the chalice, can't get the tops of the cruets, have no water to wash away the priest's iniquities, etc.

Lectors don't show up.

People show up during the Liturgy of the Word.

The celebrant announces the wrong intention.

Do you get the idea?  This morning hit a new high/low.  Everything was fine until just after the Consecration.  Everyone heard a loud thump.  99% of the people wouldn't know what happened because they couldn't see what had happened.  But we lectors who are up on the sanctuary saw.  Father's microphone, amplifier box, whatchacallit, dropped and hit the floor with a loud thud.

That stuck Father as funny and he couldn't wipe the smile off his face. The fact that he was struggling to keep composure struck us, lectors, as funny.

The worse is yet to come.

Just as Father stepped away from the altar to go distribute Communion, his cincture dropped to the floor.  There it lay--curled up in a circle.  He shook his head in disbelief, stepped out of it, and continued on to distribute Communion.  At least that was quiet, and 99.999999% of the congregation wasn't aware of what had happened.

Father also forgot to bring the celiac pyx with him.

Welcome to the Sunday 7:30 AM Mass, Father!

Friday, September 15, 2017

On the Way to the Concert

Some friends and I went on a pilgrimage of sorts to a John Michael Talbot concert.  First we lunched

Then we happily chatted as we traveled to a Poor Clare Monastery in Andover, MA

Onward to Saint Basil's Seminary in Methuen, MA.
Our final destination, All Saint's church in Haverhill, MA, where the concert was held.

And lastly, John Michael Talbot, himself.  

Thursday, September 14, 2017

100 Years

Last night I went to Fatima Shrine in Holliston, MA for the celebration of the 13th.  The 13th is the
date, 100 years ago, that an apparition of the Virgin Mary appeared in Fatima, Portugal.  Mary appeared on the 13th of every month for about three months, except for the time the children were in jail.

The children never changed their story, even jail didn't deter their memories.

Here is a picture of Bishop Thomas Tobin from Providence, RI, diocese.  He was the Mass celebrant.  After the Mass, we processed reciting the rosary and singing and holding candles around the rosary rock formation.  It was quite impressive.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Beryl Markham

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain had me fooled.  I thought it was fiction.  I didn't know that the main character, Beryl, was a real person until I finished and read the Author's Note, at the end of the story.

What a life!  Beryl's parents moved to Africa when she was a child.  She grew up there.  Beryl's mother left her and her father, for a lover.  Regardless, she had a happy childhood, albeit, unconventional.  Africa is off the grid.  Due to unfortunate circumstances, Beryl married while still a teen.  I don't think she had a choice.  Her father had to move and she was on her own.

That was disastrous.  Beryl goes on to marry others, although her heart really belonged to Denys Finch Hatton, but he was unavailable.  Beryl became a noted horse trainer and later an airplane pilot.

Her life was anything but quiet.  She was considered a loose women and scandal followed her everywhere.  There was nothing she could do to stop the gossip so she lived the way she wanted to and let people talk.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Good Thief

This past weekend, some unauthorized person used my credit card.  How did he get it?  Dunno.

I only use this particular card to track certain expenses.  Vacation expenses are an example and this is the last time I used it.  That had to be when they got my number.

But I also got an e-receipt.  So as soon as I received that receipt and saw this unfamiliar charge, I called my bank and canceled my card.

I wonder if the thief purposely had the store send an e-receipt just so I would cancel it, and not be out of any money.  He knew that anyone would cancel their card when they saw someone was using it.  But they didn't care.  They had already received their stolen goods.  Only the store would be hurt.  Their goods were stolen.  But I wasn't hurt.

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Bell Tolls

The Bell Tolls by R. Franklin James is a Hollis Morgan Mystery.  Hollis Morgan is a probate attorney who finds herself involved in criminal law.  What’s interesting and what shadows her, is that she is also an ex-con.  Flashes of her past are haunting.  Breath catching fears pop up unbidden.  But this adds interest to her research and current detective work.  The reader will find himself rooting for her and fearful of anything that would knock her down.

Hollis currently has the task of delivering packages that a client has requested to be delivered after his death.  Unfortunately, his demise was caused by murder.  Also, unfortunately, Hollis gradually realizes that these packages were proof that her client was engaging in blackmail.  Hollis’ deceased client has her returning the incriminating evidence to his victims, to let them off the hook.  Why?  Good question—keep it in mind, because being kind is out of character, for Hollis’ client.
The bell really tolled because Hollis’ client was murdered.  All his victims are suspect.  If this weren’t enough, Hollis has other clients: a stripper who wants her will drawn up, plus satisfying her boss’ demand for billable hours.

Did I mention Hollis’ personal life?  The love of her life dies.  Her estranged mother will die if she doesn’t get a new kidney.  Guess who is a perfect match.  Talk about multitasking!

Somehow, Hollis deftly dispatches one demanding task after another.  Plus she figures out “who done it.” Despite the twists and turns, James’ new mystery is really about the characters.  Hollis is hard working and honest.  The reader wants her to succeed.  She overcomes her past, personal tragedies, and maintains her objective judgment and detective skills.  All the suspects are believable.  Each one of them is drawn to be a murderer. 

Another aspect of James’ writing that appealed to me was that the mystery unfolded chronologically.  With so many suspects, I appreciated that I didn’t have to take notes to keep up with who’s who.  Gradually, the story unfolded and so does Hollis’ personal trials with her mother and her boyfriend.  The struggles are real and heart wrenching.

The Bell Tolls has a good plot, is beautifully told and filled with interesting characters. Even though I was given this book for free to review, I am not obliged to give a positive review.  The Bell Tolls deserves a good review.

R. Franklin James's Web Site:

R. Franklin James's Facebook:

R. Franklin James's Twitter:

R. Franklin James's Goodreads:

The Bell Tolls Goodreads:

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:

The Bell Tolls
 blog tour site:

R. Franklin James's Bio:

R. Franklin James grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. From there she cultivated a different type of writing—legislation and public policy.  After serving as Deputy Mayor for the City of Los Angeles, under millionaire Richard Riordan, she went back to her first love—writing, and in 2013 her debut novel, The Fallen Angels Book Club was published by Camel Press.  Her second book in The Hollis Morgan Mystery Series, Sticks & Stones, was followed by The Return of the Fallen Angels Book Club, and The Trade ListThe Bell Tolls, book five was released in June 2017.

R. Franklin James lives in Northern California with her husband.

Prices/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $15.95 paperback
Women's Sleuth, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
June 1, 2017
Camel Press

Amazon buy link:

Barnes and Noble buy link:

iBooks buy link:

Kobo buy link:

Overdrive link: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway   ($10 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash):

Saturday, September 9, 2017

To Win Them Back

Dominican Sisters of Bethany

To Win Them Back: As Ezekiel is appointed watchman over the house of Israel in today's first Reading, so Jesus in the Gospel today establishes His disciples as guardians of the new Israel of God, the Church.

Out of love, we correct people.  And we are not to do it in anger, or in any manner that would drive them further away from God.  Simply ask them to open their heart.  Give Faith a chance.

Read the rest of the article by Scott Hahn.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Prove That You Love Me

Lectio:  Romans 13: 8-10

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.  The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.


These are specific examples of "love."  Love is an emotion that some find easy to profess and even easier to betray.  If you really love someone, your actions will prove it.  Doing the commands that Paul tells the Romans is how to prove to neighbors that you care about them.  Christians should be doing these things.  Love your neighbor and you fulfill God's law.
   Rabbi Hillel says, "What is hateful to you, not do to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah, while the rest is commentary on it. Go and learn."


Note that Pual use "love" five times in this Lectio.  Do you understand that love is the essence of following Jesus?


Lord, give me the grace necessary to fulfill Your law.  I know you want me to treat everybody as I want to be treated, but some people make it so difficult.  I can't do it alone.


Lord, help me to love as You love.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Morning Walk

Either before daily morning Mass, or after, I've been walking.  This walking has a dual purpose: exercise and prayer.  I pray a rosary while I walk.  It takes about 15 minutes, which I consider perfect.  My favorite route for walking AND praying is a cemetery.

Walking through the cemetery focuses my praying because I pray for certain names on the grave stones.  Sometimes it's for all the oldest dates of death.  Sometimes it's for children.  Sometime's it's for stones so aged with mold and moss covering them that the engravings are illegible.
Today I came across a grave with the inscription above.  I know that's a popular saying to put on grave stones.  At least that what's I've always been told.  But I had never personally seen it.  As I read it this morning, it struck me in a humorously reflective way.  What kind of person would put such a verse to perpetually mark their last words?

Was the deceased angry?  Did he think it was funny?  Then again maybe the deceased had no say in the matter; it was the person (not necessarily the deceased) ordering the grave stone.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Falsely Accused Priests

We all know there are bad people and priests are people, too.  What some priests did was despicable.   But there are some priests who were falsely accused.  They are innocent.  And I know a few inmates in my ministry who are not priests and are innocent, too.  But it's the priests I want to focus on because the church gave out money to accusers which resulted in a flood of accusations.

A good article to read is one by a falsely accused priest, Father Gordon MacRae.  Because the main stream media usually doesn't publish religious articles, this piece is on Linkedin.  Please read it.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Cardinal O'Malley urges president to keep DACA policy

Cardinal O'Malley urges president to keep DACA policy: BRAINTREE -- Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley urged President Donald Trump not to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program amid reports that the president is considering doing so.

Not considering it.  He's done it.


I've been on a hiatus down the Cape.  While there, I devoured the book, Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.  I was engrossed.  The story is true; the details aren't, but they give you a taste of what Kelly wanted to convey--an important part of history.

The heroine was a real person, Caroline Ferriday.  She was a socialite who before WWII was trying to help French orphans.  Then war breaks out.  After the war, Caroline learns about the experiments the Nazis were doing on healthy Polish women and feels she must help them.

Parallel to Caroline's story is Kasia Kuzmerick.  She is one of the Polish women who were victims of the experiments.  Her story is riveting.

Also is the story of the doctor who did the experiments, Herta Oberheuser.  A Nazi who let her ambition drive her.

The story is about the three women.  Also, remember that after the war, Poland was annexed by Russia.  The poor women who were experimented upon weren't helped, at all.  Caroline Ferriday gets them to the United States where they are treated.

Ravensbruck is the name of the camp where the Polish women were interred.  What a book!  God help us.  May horrors such as those performed in Ravensbruck never happen again.

The Blood of Goats will Shatter Diamonds

                                                                        Greek bronze bust of Aristotle by  Lysippos ,                       ...