Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Infinite Possibilities

Lectio:            2 Kings 4:42-44

A man came from Baal-shalishah bringing to Elisha, the man of God, twenty barley loaves made from the first fruits, and fresh grain in the ear.  Elisha said, "Give it to the people to eat."  But his servant objected, "How can I set this before a hundred people?"  Elisha insisted, "Give it to the people to eat.  For thus says the Lord, 'They shall eat and there shall be some left over.'"  And when they had eaten, there was some left over, as the Lord had said.

Studium:

Misplaced modifier??  Did Baal-shalishah give Elisha barley loaves plus corn (fresh grain in the ear)?  Or, Did Baal-shalishah give Elisha barley loaves made from first fruits and corn?
     It's not important to the point of the reading.  Such stories about feeding many people occur in the Old Testament to show God's care for His people.  They also give a foretaste of Jesus feeding the five thousand.

Meditatio:

Can God make something from nothing?  Of course.  And He can also make sure such incidences in both the Old and New Testaments are written down and taught to us.  Why?  I suggest God miraculously multiplying food is to show us, people, the infinite possibilities our little contribution can make in the Kingdom of God.  We should do our little jobs and leave the rest to God.
    There's the story of the man who had a huge rock in front of his house.  God told him that the rock was important and that the man should push it.  So everyday day the man pushed the rock.  Day after day the man pushed and pushed.  But the rock never moved.  Not an inch!  Exasperated, the man cried out to God, "I can't move it.  It's too much."  God replied, "I never told you to move it.  I told you to push it."  And that's an important lesson: our contribution is not the completion of anything.  We all have contributions to make, according to our gifts.  We don't see the complete end.

Oratio:

Lord, please give me the grace to do Your Will.  I trust that You are in charge and whatever little contribution I make will be according to Your Will.

Contemplati:

You are God.  I am not.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

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-gritty and better, the soul, of a priest.  It's hard to believe that she isn't Catholic.  How could she write so emphatically about the life of Jean Marie Latour, the Apostolic Vicar to New Mexico?

Her story starts at the Bishops' arrival in America.  It ends at his deathbed.  In between, we meet all walks of life, all religions, all the blessings and hardships.  The physical landscape of the country is described to contrast and sometimes to explain the land's inhabitants.  The difficulties of a mission are insurmountable but a start has to begin.  Even the priest's innermost feelings of loneliness, despair, hopes, etc. are described.

I recommend this book to all.  Much of the duties and liturgical ceremonies are still in practice, so it's not outdated.   Good read.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Ouch!

Pixabay.Com CC0

A Slur that Cuts Deep: He's a loser! You're a loser! Among all the hurtful slurs we mindlessly utter this particular one is perhaps the most hurtful and damaging. It needs to be forbidden in our public discourse.



Father Ron Rolheiser's article is tough.  I can think of many times I've been hurt.  And it wasn't a label; it was the tone.



          Oh!  You're so Catholic!


         Well, you would!



By themselves, these phrases are hurtful but add a deliberately hurtful tone of voice and ...OUCH.

Monday, July 16, 2018

It's the Culture


What's the difference between then and now?  Most think technological differences, but I contend it's cultural differences.  And there lies the devil.

I am reading or rereading (I can't believe I haven't read this before.) Willa Cather's Death Comes for The Archbishop.  I find the life of our early Catholic missionaries fascinating, heroic and inspiring.e

The Archbishop asks her friend, his classmate, his best priest, to be his vicar.  He wanted Father Vaillant to help him administer to the diocese.  Father Vaillant argued against this proposal, vehemently.  He wanted to "hunt for lost Catholics."

...I want to go from house to house...They are full of devotion and faith and it has nothing to feed upon but the most mistaken superstitions.  They remember their prayers wrong...They are like seeds, full of germination but with no moisture...

I am not writing a book review, now, because I'm only halfway through the book.  But how the character, Father Vaillant describes his people reminded me of people today.  They don't remember right.  They have nothing to feed upon BUT it's by choice, not circumstances.  Today's Catholics don't want devotions; they choice to distance itself from religion.  What's the difference?

Both people are starved for faith, but today's people choose not to partake of the feast set before them.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

My Personal Litany

Over at Windows to the Soul Blog, Sister Marie Paul Curly wrote a post before she went on retreat.  She actually wrote her own litany to her favorite saints--the ones she usually prays to.  And that's what I am doing here.

Lord, You who made everything on earth and heaven, I implore you to listen to my prayers and the intercessory prayers of my saintly friends.

R.  Pray for us.

Jesus, my Lord and Savior                          R.

Mary, Our Lady of Mercy                          R.         

Ven. Pere Marie Jean-Joseph Lataste         R.

St. Catherine of Siena                             R.

St. Dismas                                                 R.

St.  Peter                                                     R.    

St. Paul                                                       R.

St. Maxmillian Kolbe                              R.

St. Faith                                                     R.                                             

St. Dominic                                               R.

St. Padre Pio                                            R.

All holy men and women, pray for us

Monday, July 9, 2018


I Remember My Heart Stopping

I remember as a child shopping in Twaites Market.
It had three aisles plus one wider one for vegetables
and fruit, plus all the current week’s top specials.

I remember Mom cashing her pay check on Fridays.
We’d do the week’s shopping then, going up and down
every single aisle, grabbing  and dropping the usual,
in an ever-growing pile in the grocery cart.

Conversation consisted of imperatives:
“Get…No…Reach…No…Enough…Put…Go…”

Distracted seeing some shiny silver shimmering.

She was gone!

“MA!”

“Here.”  She was only in the next aisle, around the corner.

I remember that heart stopping feeling,… still.
The intake of breath, the widening of little eyes,
The scream ready to burst through my body, MAMA.


I remember this feeling as I look through those cages
into pools of terror filled eyes screaming MAMA.
I remember.  What will they remember?        

Sunday, July 8, 2018

A Gentleman Always Masters His Circumstances

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles is well worth the time spent reading all 462 pages.  The writing is beautiful.  Note this alliteration:
In a single week, there might be committees, caucuses, colloquiums, congresses, and conventions variously coming together to establish codes, set courses of action, levy complaints, and generally clamor about the world's oldest problems ...
Towles diction is remarkable.  My favorite "bon mot" is A gentleman always masters his circumstances.  Don't you think this should be everyone's motto?

And this motto is the theme of the novel.  I claim that it's a historical novel because the setting is the aftermath of the Bolshevik revolution.  Due to the demise of the Russian aristocracy, our hero, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel in Moscow.

This hotel is the count's world.  And what a world it is!  Anybody who's anybody befriends the count, even a little girl who becomes one of the Count's best friends.  When this little girl grows up, another girl will insinuate herself into the hotel's life.  The chef, the maitre'd, the manager, the dressmaker,  and even a communist dignitary, all become important in the story's plot.

It's amazing how the author ties everyone and everything together.  The characters are very well drawn and I know which actors I would cast in each part when the movie is made. 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Living next to St. Dymphna's

I've been on vacation and brought with me two big books.  I'll review one of them now and the other one tomorrow.

The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn is a 427-page novel.  At first, one would think that a story about a woman who has agoraphobia would be boring.  What kind of story could they be when the main character won't leave her house?  Well, you're wrong.  There's a great story with thrilling adventure.

Anna Fox, although housebound, spies on her neighbors through her window.  She has a good view of a few neighbors' windows and has learned who's who.  One day she sees a murder.  Of course, she called the police.  The only thing is, the police can't find a murder victim.  The people who live in the house say it never happened.

Is Anna crazy?  The thing is, she does have mental issues.  But still.

Anna has a tenant who is an ex-con.  He is suspicious.  But he has an alibi.

The husband in the window seems like a tyrant.

The son in the window is a teenager with teen problems, identity problems, and emotional issues.

The wife and the mother in the window are very much alive and she shouldn't be.

Life would go on except for threatening messages.  If Anna was crazy before then she is really going off the edge.

The story climaxes with Anna almost being killed.  But she triumphs.

Not only does Anna prove that she's not crazy; she exposes the killer and his victim, she confronts her past and what caused the agoraphobia and steps outside.

I can see this story as a movie.  It'll be a real thriller.

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Greatest Commandment.

This morning in prayer, I was bemoaning the state of the world and telling God that I prefer He take me sooner than later. I am sick of sin all around me. The world seems to have passed me by. I am not part of it, anymore.

He told me those weren’t good enough reasons.

Well, what would be a good reason?

Love!  When you love Me so much you can hardly stand it.

Oh.

Of course.  Sometimes my stupidity overwhelms me.

All day I have been praying for the Lord to give me the grace to love Him more.

Now I am praying Evening Prayer. Guess what the antiphon is for the Canticle of Mary is.

Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the law? JESUS said to him: You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart.


The Past two Days

Unbelievable!  The demands upon my time are unbelievable.  Really!  And it's not me thinking I have to do this or that, I really HAVE...